Faith, God, Uncategorized

He Named the Stars

stars
Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

 

According to NASA, our sun is one of about 200 billion stars in our galaxy.¹ That’s more than any of us can see with our eyes. I am overwhelmed by the few stars I can see at night. The most stars I’ve seen at once was at the Grand Canyon. I wish I could have captured that beautiful view. It’s forever in my memory, until I lose my memory. Hahaha!

We can never reach any of the stars, besides our sun. Proxima Centauri, our closest star, is approximately 4.24 light years away. A light year is 5.88 trillion miles.² Yeah, we’re never going to get up close to a single star. And we are not supposed to. Each star is exactly where it is meant to be, far, far, away.

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. Genesis 1:16, NIV 

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a God when I look at the night sky. But when I think about the fact that God named the stars, my mind is officially blown. Only God, who made billions of stars, also named them. 

He determines the number of the stars

and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4, NIV 

 

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

    Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one

    and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

    not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26, NIV

God made and named each and every star. Not one star is missing or out of place. 

God is in the details of the universe and the details of our lives. 

Do you feel like He has forgotten about you? Do you ever wonder if He sees you and what you’re going through? Does God really care about me? Yes, God really cares about every heartache, trial, and pain you experience.

God made every single part of the universe and He made you. He knows everything about you. He even numbered the hairs on your head. He doesn’t just count how many individual hairs you’ve got. God numbered your hair. Reach up and touch a piece of hair on your head. Maybe that’s number 1000 or 50. Who knows? God does. 

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30, NIV 

God has intimate knowledge of us. He is not a far-off, too busy for us, God. The God who made us also deeply loves us, and deeply cares about our needs and sorrows. He is in the details. 

Whatever you are going through today, or tomorrow, He cares. God cares so much that He wants you to trust Him, to talk to Him, and give Him all your concerns. He will take care of you. It may not be your way, or your time, but He will provide. 

As for God, his way is perfect:

    The Lord’s word is flawless;

    He shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30, NIV

The God who named the stars, and numbered your hair, loves you. Trust Him. Cry out to Him. Praise Him, and thank Him. Spend some time with Him. He loves hearing from you.

 

Love you all,

Meghan 

 

¹ https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/other-solar-systems/en/

² https://www.britannica.com/story/how-do-we-know-how-far-away-the-stars-are

 

Do you want to know how to photograph the night sky? Read this informative article from Pixpa filled with great tips. 

https://www.pixpa.com/blog/guide-to-astrophotography

 

Food, mustard seed sentinel

Canned Tomatoes

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We had a large tomato harvest in our backyard garden this summer. There were so many that a quick decision had to be made on what to do with the tomatoes before they spoiled. Enter the canned tomato. This was my first time canning, and I loved it. 

There is something so satisfying about preserving food that you’ve grown. Even the basil in each jar is from our garden. I have a whole new respect for the generations before me who had no choice but to preserve their food for those long winter months. No wonder not a drop of food was wasted back in the day. Each morsel meant hard work was involved.

A few things to consider before you decide to take the plunge on this endeavor. It will make a decent sized mess in your kitchen. It will take at least two hours of your time. You don’t need a canning pot. The only tool you should purchase or borrow is canning tongs, and of course jars. 

If you have ever wanted to try canning, tomatoes are a great way to start. They are probably one of the least fussy foods to preserve. You will still need to sterilize your jars and lids, but there is less concern over botulism because tomatoes are a high acidic fruit. You will have your very own tomatoes on hand to make sauces, soups, stews, or any other tomato based recipe. 

I love trying new things and canning tomatoes surprised me with happiness. Tomatoes are a staple in my cooking, and now I have my own canned supply from my garden. If you decide to take the leap into canning like I did, send me your pictures. I’d love to see what you accomplished. You can do this!

Happy Canning!

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

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Canned Tomatoes

 

Ingredients

  • ½ to 1 lb. Roma tomatoes per each 16 oz. jar
  • 1 bottle concentrated lemon juice
  • fresh sprigs of basil

 

Instructions

  1. Prepare canning jars. Place jars and lids in simmering water for 10 minutes to sterilize them. The rings do not need to be sterilized and just need washed in warm soapy water. To make it easy, just leave the jars and lids in the warm water until you’re ready to fill them. 
  2. Remove the skins from the tomatoes. Wash tomatoes and make an “x” shape with a knife on the bottom of each one. Bring a large pot of water to boil and place scored tomatoes in the pot for a minute or two. When the skins start to tear, scoop out the tomatoes and place them in an ice water bath. Remove the skins, cut out the core, and slice the tomatoes into quarters. 
  3. Cook the tomatoes. Place one fourth of the tomatoes in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher. Add the remaining tomatoes (do not crush these tomatoes) and boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Fill jars with cooked tomatoes. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice concentrate per jar and one sprig of fresh basil. Fill jars with cooked tomatoes leaving ½ inch head space. Wipe the rims and place lids and rings on each jar until finger tight.
  5. Process jars in a hot water bath. Place the filled jars in a warm water bath covering them in at least an inch of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and start timing. 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. Process times can vary depending on your altitude. https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_03/tomato_water_pack.html
  6. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down when the center is pressed. You should hear a popping sound when they cool or even while they are boiling. Store canned tomatoes for up to a year. 

 

Notes:

  • Make sure to use canning tongs. It will make your job much easier and safer.
  • I used a stock pot when processing my cans since it was deep.
  • My jars are pint size (16 oz.) 
  • A wide mouth canning funnel is quite helpful when filling jars.
  • Use bottled lemon juice to ensure high enough acidity.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for quart size jars.

 

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Click on the link to get all of my recipes. Go to More and scroll down to Meghan’s Corner. Mustard Seed Sentinel is an online magazine filled with all sorts of fantastic articles. The contributors are accomplished, talented writers. Check it out and subscribe.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com

Authors, Joey Flynn's Extraordinary Tale

My Author Interview on Novel Thoughts

stack of thick books on table
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Hello,

I hope and pray you are doing well. Just wanted to pass along my recent author interview. My friend and fellow author, Sharon K. Connell, included me in her monthly newsletter. Sharon’s newsletter, Novel Thoughts, is filled with all sorts of good information like poetry, art, writing tips, funny stories and recipes. One of my recipes is also included in July’s newsletter. So, I’m very blessed to have such an opportunity.

Sharon is an accomplished author with quite a few books to her name. Her genre is Christian Romance Suspense. The links to her books are included in Novel Thoughts.

Please go to the link and read all the great content Sharon has in her newsletter. Also, you can read my interview and find out about my writing process, and a few other fun facts about me.

Thank you!

Meghan

 

Novel Thoughts, July Edition

https://mailchi.mp/1873f80052ae/july-edition-of-novel-thoughts

Obedience, Prayer

Speak Lord, Your Servant is Listening

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There are so many voices in our lives telling us who we are, what to believe, what to do, and what to think. Social media, news, podcasts, Youtube, movies, shows, and every form of media give us dozens of different messages every single day.

Like this

Don’t like this

I’m right

You’re wrong

How dare you

You’re not good enough

You’re too good

Your views are wrong

Your views are right

You’re bad

You’re good

You don’t care

You care too much

Do more

Do less

Buy more

Buy less

And it just goes on, and on, and on. 

We are being bombarded in our connected world, with other people’s opinions. Most of these people we do not personally know. Yet, they have influence, and can be quite persuasive. We start to believe everything we read, or hear, or watch on the news about ourselves, and the world, and our future. We need to be very careful what we allow in our head. Of course be informed, watch the news–if that’s your thing. But go to the source, God, before you make a decision on who, or what, or where, or why.

How much time do we spend listening to God? How much time do we spend listening to all the other voices? What influences us and our decisions? If you are a Christ Follower, there is one voice that needs to be the loudest, the Lord’s. 

Many years ago there was a child, who listened to God’s voice, and did what He said. Samuel was just a boy when he first heard the Lord’s voice. According to the historian Josephus, Samuel was around 11 years old. God spoke directly to a kid. He was no ordinary kid though. Samuel was set apart for the Lord’s purposes.

Hannah, Samuel’s mother, had prayed for years to have a child. God answered her prayers by giving her Samuel. Hannah gave Samuel back to the Lord. 

She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.” 1 Samuel 1:22, NIV 

Hannah brings her very young child to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. She then hands Samuel over to Eli, the high priest, to raise him. (1 Samuel 1:24-28)

Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 1 Samuel 2:19, NIV 

Samuel only sees his mother once a year. She must have loved him dearly to leave him at the temple with Eli. I bet Hannah took great care in making those robes each year. 

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:21b, NIV

And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people. 1 Samuel 2:26, NIV

Samuel keeps growing both physically and spiritually before the Lord. He’s just 11 years old when something remarkable happens. Samuel hears the Lord’s voice. 

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.

In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 

2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 1 Samuel 3:1-7, NIV

Samuel hears the voice a third time and goes to Eli again. Finally, Eli realizes that the Lord was calling the boy. Eli tells Samuel to go lie down and if he hears the voice to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”. Then the Lord stood there and called, “Samuel! Samuel!”.

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:8-10, NIV)

I love Samuel’s eagerness. He ran to Eli the first time he heard the Lord call him. Samuel didn’t say he was too tired, or just ignore the voice. Samuel ran to Eli. He didn’t know it was the Lord at first, yet Samuel was obedient. 

God is personal when dealing with us. He called Samuel by name, twice. I can picture the Lord smiling at Samuel as He called for him. God loved Samuel deeply, and He loves you and I deeply too. 

Years later, Samuel will anoint a young shepherd boy, David, as the King of Israel. Jesus comes from the line of King David. (Matthew 1:1)

It’s pretty easy to take for granted that God wants to speak to us and actually use us in His plan. He sees the big picture. God sees the entire picture from beginning to end. (Isaiah 46:10) What may seem small to us could be one tiny part of something big God is doing.

God wants to speak to us today. Every Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has the gift of the Holy Spirit inside of us. (1 Corinthians 6:19) We also have God’s Word, the Bible. 

The Lord has something to tell you today. Seek Him. Spend time with Him. Run to Him, like Samuel did. Make His voice the loudest in your world. Listen to His voice.

Love you all,

Meghan 

 

Heavenly Father,

You are awesome, Holy God. Thank you that you still speak today. May we hear your voice loud and clear above the noise of the world, above the lies, above the distractions. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening.

In Jesus name,

Amen 

 

Faith, Food, Uncategorized

Mock Mojitos

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There is nothing quite like a cool drink on a hot summer day. Sometimes, plain old water is not enough. You want something special every now and then to quench your thirst. This mojito does the trick without any alcohol. It’s crisp, sweet, and slightly bitter. 

You don’t need any fancy equipment or bartender tools to make this delicious mocktail. It comes together quickly. The only time consuming part is squeezing the limes, but so worth the effort. I prefer fresh lime juice over bottled. But by all means, use bottled juice if that’s your groove. 

Mint leaves add tartness while the basil brings some sweetness to balance out the mojitos. There’s nothing better than adding fresh ingredients to any recipe. If you’re like me, you’ve got plenty of herbs growing in your yard. If not, they are easy to find at your local grocery store.

I suggest using flavored sparkling water to sweeten the mojitos if you’re making these for kids. The sourness may be too much for some children. This delightful drink would be lovely for dinner guests at a barbeque, or pool party. Surprise your family with this refreshing non-alcoholic treat, just because. 

Happy Drinking!

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

 

Mock Mojitos

 

¼ cup mint leaves

¼ cup basil leaves

½ sugar

¾ cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 liter sparkling water

ice

For garnish: lime wheels & mint sprigs

 

  1. In a medium pitcher add mint, basil, and sugar. 
  2. Using a wooden spoon, mash until the herbs are fragrant.
  3. Add lime juice and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Top with sparkling water.
  5. Pour into four ice filled glasses.
  6. Garnish with lime wheels and mint sprigs.

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Read this article at the link below, and get all of my recipes on Mustard Seed Sentinel. Go to More and scroll down to Meghan’s Corner.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-mock-mojitos