Archives for April 2011

Recipe : Granola Peanut Butter Balls

If you are looking for an amazing high energy snack, these are for you.  They are quick to make and delicious!  Granola Peanut Butter Balls are great if you are busy at work, on the move, if  your kids need an after school snack or a quick bite before practice.  Try them, you just might fall in love with them like I did!  I’m SOLD!

Granola Peanut Butter Balls
Recipe courtesy of  Gale Gand and Nancy Russman
Prep Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 16 balls
Ingredients
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups granola
2 to 4 tablespoons milk, or as needed

Directions
In a large bowl, mix together the honey and peanut butter. Using a spatula, stir in the granola. Add enough milk to just moisten–you want it to stick together. Form into balls. Chill until ready to serve.
These are a great snack when you are low on energy and just need a quick snack to hold you over.  They are delicious!

A New Morning

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.                         Lamentations 3: 22-23

If there is one scripture that sums up the heart of this blog, it is this.   It is a verse that speaks of grace, second chances, a new day where God’s mercies are fresh for each of us. 

There are days that my kids have really hard days…a little teasing on the bus ride home, maybe a consequence for misbehavior, a put-down from a sibling, and then to top it off they are served (by their loving mom♥) a meal they don’t care for and then sent to bed early for rudely complaining about it.  By the time they crawl under the sheets, they are frustrated, sad, and feeling a little hopeless.  At these times, I sit on the edge of their bed, with the darkness of night settling in their room, and share a little piece of life I have learned:  “I know things seem hard at the moment, but the good news is that God will give you a brand new day when you wake tomorrow, and it will be better.   God will let you start over again tomorrow and as many times as you need.  Let’s take the lessons from today and work on what you have control to change (complaining), and forget about what you can’t (teasing). ”  Somehow those words seem to relax their limbs just a bit, and they nod and settle in to their pillow.

I tell myself these same words after certain long, hard days, or stressful seasons of life.  God has promised me grace for the next day.  He will give me perspective on what I need to work on, and what I need to let go of.  And, its true.  I have yet to wake not feeling a little better, having an ounce more strength, or a touch more hope to make it through whatever is going on.

Grace is the heart of our message here.  It is why we named this blog GraceFULLhome.  We want our lives to be full of grace to others, because we know so well that it is only because of God’s unconditional grace that our own lives are constantly being renewed, forgiven, and changed. 

We hope you find here the grace you need for today.

Welcome to GraceFULLhome!!

Hi! Jen and I are so glad you stopped by our blog for a visit!  Please take a few minutes and click around…above you will see our pages like “ABOUT” where you can get a feel for the heart of our blog, or click on the drop downs “TO DO” or “TO THINK” to see the topics we will be writing about.  There is so much here already that we have brought over from our old GraceFULLhome, so if you want to still see that favorite recipe (of course I’m talking about Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins) or to remind yourself of some New Year’s Resolution ideas, it’s all here!

We would LOVE for you to become a follower…just look to the right for some options.  Subscribe by email, follow us on Facebook with Networked Blogs, Like us on Facebook (see Being our Friend), or click on Google Friend Connect to follow us on your reader. (If you were a follower on our other blog by any method you will need to start over on this site).

You may have noticed a lot of “Friend” references.  That’s because if you are following our blog, we consider you a friend!  Jen and I are super relational, and our circle of friends is one of the most important things in our lives.  We consider this blog an essential part of this circle. You will be hearing about our lives (the great, the crazy, and the not so pretty) and we would absolutely love to hear about your lives too.  To us, GraceFULLhome is a community of women (and some men :)) who are trying to do life better with the help of a loving God who wants to be connected in relationship with us.

We wanted to do something fun to kick off the new GraceFULLhome, so we decided to give away two copies of the book I mentioned in yesterday’s post:

and one stylish Pottery Barn lantern that you can stick a candle in and hang from a tree at your next outdoor gathering:

 

Here’s how the give-away works:

When you sign up to follow this new blog, through any of the ways I mentioned above, we will put your name in a drawing.  In two weeks,  May 9th, we will gather up all of those names and draw three!  If you do not live locally, we will ask you to send us your address and we will mail it to you.

So, join us throughout the week as we post on everything from how to take a great picture to life after losing a loved one.  We will share a great charity to dive into or some great resources on parenting, and so much more.

Friend, welcome!

Wise Words : Easter

I have been reading John Pipers book called The Passion of Jesus Christ; Fifty Reasons Why He Came To Die. It has been an encouraging read in getting my head wrapped around why Jesus had to die and what is the big deal about Easter in the Christian faith. I have put the opening scripture that John Piper starts his book off with and then added part of the introduction. You can download this book for free at John Piper’s web site. I hope where ever you are in your faith journey that this book will encourage you.  I know it has been encouraging me!  If you are just checking Jesus out, this is a great philosophical read.  I hope you have a wonderful Easter.  He has risen, conquered sin and death for you and for me.  Jesus did not save us when we had it all together, but he died for us while we were living in sin.  He loves you and me.  There is nothing, not one big bad thing in your life that Jesus’ blood can not wash away.  He loves you, right now, the way you are.  He is our righteousness.  He stands at our door and knocks, if you open the door, he will come in.

Below is the scripture and the introduction to John Piper’s book.  If you don’t have time to read it now, find a minute this week to curl up with a cup of coffee and read this if you can.  It’s so good.

TO
Jesus Christ

Despised and rejected by men
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . .
we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. . . .

He was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people. . . .
There was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief.

The prophet Isaiah
Chapter 53, Verse 3-10

INTRODUCTION

The Christ, the Crucifixion,
and the Concentration Camps
The most important question of the twenty-first century is:
Why did Jesus Christ suffer so much? But we will never see
this importance if we fail to go beyond human cause. The ultimate
answer to the question, Who crucified Jesus? is: God did.
It is a staggering thought. Jesus was his Son. And the suffering
was unsurpassed. But the whole message of the Bible leads to this
conclusion.

God Meant It for Good
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah said, “It was the will of the LORD to
crush him; he has put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10). The Christian
New Testament says, “[God] did not spare his own Son but gave
him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). “God put [Christ] forward . . .
by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:25).
But how does this divine act relate to the horribly sinful actions
of the men who killed Jesus? The answer given in the Bible is
expressed in an early prayer: “There were gathered together
against your holy servant Jesus . . . both Herod and Pontius Pilate,
along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever
your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts
4:27-28). The depth and scope of this divine sovereignty takes our
breath away. But it is also the key to our salvation. God planned
it, and by the means of wicked men, great good has come to the
world. To paraphrase a word of the Jewish Torah: They meant it
for evil, but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20).
And since God meant it for good, we must move beyond the
question of human cause to divine purpose. The central issue of
Jesus’ death is not the cause, but the purpose—the meaning. Man
may have his reasons for wanting Jesus out of the way. But only
God can design it for the good of the world. In fact, God’s purposes
for the world in the death of Jesus are unfathomable. I am
scraping the surface in this little book as I introduce you to fifty
of them. My aim is to let the Bible speak. This is where we hear
the word of God. I hope that these pointers will set you on an endless
quest to know more and more of God’s great design in the
death of his Son.

What Does the Word PASSION Mean?
We associate at least four things with the word passion: sexual
desire, zeal for a task, an oratorio by J. S. Bach, and the sufferings
of Jesus Christ. The word comes from a Latin word meaning suffering.
That is the way I am using it here—the sufferings and death
of Jesus Christ. But it relates to all the other passions as well. It
deepens sex, inspires music, and carries forward the greatest cause
in the world.

How Was the Passion of Jesus Unique?
Why did the suffering and execution of a man who was convicted
and condemned as a pretender to the throne of Rome unleash, in
the next three centuries, a power to suffer and to love that transformed
the Roman Empire, and to this day is shaping the world?
The answer is that the passion of Jesus was absolutely unique, and
his resurrection from the dead three days later was an act of God
to vindicate what his death achieved.
His passion was unique because he was more than a mere
human. Not less. He was, as the ancient Nicene Creed says, “very
God of very God.” This is the testimony of those who knew him
and were inspired by him to explain who he is. The apostle John
referred to Christ as “the Word” and wrote, “In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through
him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. . . .
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen
his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and
truth” (John 1:1-3, 14).
Then add to his deity that he was utterly innocent in his suffering.
Not just innocent of the charge of blasphemy, but of all sin.
One of his closest disciples said, “He committed no sin, neither was
deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). Then add to this uniqueness
that he embraced his own death with absolute authority. One
of the most stunning statements Jesus ever made was about his own
death and resurrection: “I lay down my life that I may take it up
again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own
accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take
it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John
10:17-18). The controversy about who killed Jesus is marginal. He
chose to die. His Father ordained it. He embraced it.

His Passion Was Vindicated by the Resurrection
Because of this unparalleled passion, God raised Jesus from the
dead. It happened three days later. Early Sunday morning he rose
from the dead. He appeared numerous times to his disciples for
forty days before his ascension to heaven (Acts 1:3).
The disciples were slow to believe that it really happened. They
were not gullible primitives. They were down-to-earth tradesmen.
They knew people did not rise from the dead. At one point Jesus
insisted on eating fish to prove to them that he was not a ghost
(Luke 24:39-43). This was not the resuscitation of a corpse. It was
the resurrection of the God-Man, into an indestructible new life.
The early church acclaimed him Lord of heaven and earth. They
said, “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right
hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus had finished
the work God gave him to do, and the resurrection was the proof
that God was satisfied. This book is about what Jesus’ passion
accomplished for the world.

The Passion of Jesus Christ
Fifth Reasons Why He Came to Die
John Piper
Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004 p. 11-14)

Easter Baskets

Try a twist on Easter baskets, and make a paper basket bouquet for every place setting.

Basket Bouquet How-ToAll you need are small brown paper bags and baby-food jars or shot glasses to hold the flowers for individual place settings. A centerpiece requires a larger bag and a mason jar or drinking glass as a vase. The bags you use must be gusseted, with side pleats and a flat bottom.

1. Draw lines on a bag to make an upside-down T with a fat horizontal bar.

2. Cut along the lines with decorative-edge scissors. Open the bag. Arrange a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vessel of water; set bouquet inside the basket. Join the two halves of the handle with double-sided tape.

I found this on MarthaStewart.com.  Not having as many Easter decorations as I would like, I thought these were so cute and easy—the kids would love to help create this!  An added thought–create little bunny or cross tags with guests names to tape to the bags or hang from the handles.   Happy Easter!

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Paper Basket Bouquet – Martha Stewart Crafts

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