Monday, November 30, 2009


Over the weekend, my dads health has deteriorated. This man, once so tall and proud, is now confined to a hospital bed. His kidneys aren't functioning properly, his potassium level is dangerously high, blood work shows that he's had a heart attack sometime within the last two weeks. He is experiencing severe dementia symptoms and both his hips are now dislocated due to degenerative disease. My tall, strong dad will never walk again. 
In the dementia, he was trying to remove the IV's, and other assorted equipment. When the nurse tried to stop him, he became uncharacteristically combative and they had to put him in restraints. He's been experiencing mild dementia for a year or so... but this weekend, it roared through him. The doctor's believe this is tied to the high potassium levels. They don't promise that it will improve if they can get the potassium down, but they're 'hopeful'. That is of course, if he survives this. They have told us that a massive heart attack is imminent if they can't lower the potassium quickly.
How do you deal with the heartbreak of seeing your parent suffer these things? How do you adjust yourself to this new picture you have of them... especially when we all long to remember them in their days of strength. How do you grieve the loss of one so special and dear to your heart?

 I will trust in the Lord. I will rest in the knowledge that my father is being held by his Father. Our Father knows when a sparrow falls. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He has prepared a mansion with many rooms. He has written my dads name in the Lamb's Book of Life and He is joyously anticipating the homecoming of his son... my dad. 
And when that day comes, whether it's now or ten years from now... though this earth will be poorer and my heart will be wrenched, Heaven will be even richer for me.
1 Peter 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

Several of you enjoyed the recipe for the Spice Cake so I wanted to share one more with you during this holiday week!  Blueberry muffins aren't particularly your normal Thanksgiving fare, but they happen to be what I'm craving right now and plan to make this afternoon!

There were several inquiries about the cookbook and how to get one. If you're interested, just leave me a comment and I'll get back with you. The book are $12.00 + actual shipping costs (no handling fee.) I'm also working on getting it formatted into an Ebook, so it can be paid for and downloaded with the click of a button. (Those will be $10.. no shipping.) Hopefully soon, I'll have a 'buy now' option on the blog to pay securely through Paypal. (This all involves a lot of computer techno-speak that my menopausal brain is grappling with! But I'll figure it out eventually. I'm confident. Yeah. haha!)

These are so easy and so good!

Blueberry Muffins

3 Lg. eggs
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate (undiluted) OR 1 10oz. jar unsweetened Apricot Jam
1 cup blueberries (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. In small bowl whip eggs, margarine and juice. Add to dry incgredients and mix till well blended. By hand, gently stir in blueberries. Spoon into greased or papered muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Monday, November 16, 2009

A Thanksgiving Gift to You

Thanksgiving is next week and one little thing that I'm thankful for is dessert. Does that sound silly? Maybe it wouldn't if you'd spent 18 years going without dessert! That's what I did. You see, I can't have sugar and all the artificial sweetners taste, well... artificial. (Sugar tastes really 'chemical' to me now, too!) I don't know why I can't have sugar. I just know what it does to me. I never bothered having tests run, because I figure they would just say "yep, you're allergic to sugar, so avoid it." What's the sense in paying for that?!

I tried a few things that were sweetened with honey... cookies, cake, etc., but lets be honest... most of them taste like sweetened cardboard. So, I chose to just go without dessert, until one day when I happened on a frozen cherry pie that said it was sweetened with fruit juice only. I decided to give it a try and OH MAN, it was goooood! Eventually, I clued into the fact that this couldn't be that hard to make and so I came up with my own cherry pie, peach pie and a fabulous apple pie.

After giving a dear friend a slice of peace pie, she went back to the doctors office she worked at and told a doctor how great this pie was. Since he dealt with a lot of diabetic patients, he was interested and from there, I wrote a cookbook consisting of sugar-free, chemical sweetener free, desserts. It was quite an experinence. I'm not really that into cooking. (Don't tell!) But, this was a project I could sink my teeth into. Literally. Happily! And so, Return to the Garden was born.

I love this cookbook. The cover is a drawing I did of my sister and I from an old photo. (My sister died of leukemia two years ago. The same photo graces the cover of the CD she made - she has an incredible voice! Yes... has. That's not a typo. She's living in Heaven now and her voice is even more amazing! I can hardly wait to see her again and to hear her sing with her 'new voice'. I can hardly wait to sing with my own new voice, either... since the one I have now is less than spectacular, but we won't talk about that right now.

This Thanksgiving, I want to share a dessert from my book with you. One that even sugar addicts enjoy! (If you don't tell them there is no sugar, they'll never know.)

Spice Cake
4 eggs
2 10 ounce jars apricot jam (unsweetened)
1 1/3 C vegetable oil
2 1/2 C flour
1 C grated carrots
2 1/2 C grated zucchini
2 tsp. each of baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon
1 tsp. each of ground cloves, allspice and powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. each of nutmeg and salt

1 8oz. pkg. softened cream cheese
1 10oz. jar of apricot jam (unsweetened)
1 tsp. nutmeg

In large mixing bowl, with a fork, combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.
On high speed mix wet ingredients. Add to dry. Mix thoroughly. Pour into large, oiled casserole cake pan.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until inserted knife comes out clean. Allow to cool.
In small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, Apricot jam and nutmeg till smooth and fluffy. Spread evenly over top of cake and serve.
If you'd prefer less oil, use 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1/3 cup vegetable oil --- instead of 1 1/3 cups oil.

This cake tastes pleasingly sweet and spicy, with a lovely moist, cakey texture. (Your kids won't mind eating their fruit and vegetables at all with this one!)

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving from my kitchen to yours!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Cleansing of the Leper

The holidays are rushing at us and in my home, it's a time of joyful reflection of the things that really matter. Thanksgiving for all the gifts of God... salvation, family, friends, His beautiful creation and His provision.

One of my favorite reminders is my Christmas tree. Not only is it beautiful, but there is meaning threaded through it. At the top rests a single red bird. Below that are multitudes of white birds and transparent birds. White pearl garland graces it's branches, along with red glass balls, red ribbons and occasional splashes of gold.

Jesus is the red bird, hung upon a tree, His blood flowing for our sins. We, the believers, are the white birds, washed clean. The transparent birds reminding me that we are to live our lives in transparency before God and others. The pearls because Jesus said that He left Heaven in order to purchase a pearl of great worth. That's us! The red glass balls, because His sacrifice was great... and He sweat great drops of blood. Gold, because He is the King.

My tree is an illustration of Leviticus 14. I wrote the following Bible study a few years ago. I hope you enjoy!

The Cleansing of the Leper - Leviticus 14

Matthew 8:1-4 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

This is the first specific miracle recorded in the book of Matthew and when we look at the symbolism that God has threaded throughout His word, it’s thrilling to search and discover just how intricate, how detailed, how planned His word is.

There is no book on earth so fascinating, so alive, and yet we so easily neglect it, believing ourselves sufficiently acquainted with it that we have no need for intensive study of it.

Yet when we dig, when we seek the Lord with all our heart, mind and strength, He faithfully reveals Himself and we find His word to be layer upon layer, upon layer of the marvelous mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We find that no mere man or group of men could so precisely and intricately have woven the 66 books of the Bible into the masterpiece that it is.
And no mere cursory glance will unveil its riches.

So I have to ask myself why. Why did God place this particular miracle first in this particular book? And is there something more to this story than the obvious… that Jesus revealed His compassion and His Deity in His power to heal the leper?

The command that Jesus gave this man is unusual. It isn’t the instruction He gave to those He healed with other diseases. “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Leviticus 14:1-4 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing:
He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall look; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop.

If we look at the typology, the priest representing the Lord, the leper representing the sinner, so much begins to come clear.

The priest shall go out to meet the leper… Jesus the High Priest left heaven and came to earth to meet the need of the sinner.

The priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop.
(We’ll get to the birds in a minute.)

Cedar wood… Jesus was nailed to a wooden cross. Scarlet… a symbol of the blood of redemption. Hyssop, a purgative… Jesus has by Himself purged (cleansed) our sins. (Hebrews 1:3) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through eternal Spirit offer Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)

Leviticus 14:5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water.

Jesus was killed in an earthen vessel… the body of a man.
Running water can stand for, 1) Purity, 2) the Holy Spirit, 3) living water.

It is also interesting to note that on the night Jesus was arrested in John 18:1 we’re told: “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.”

The Brook Kidron ran at the base of the temple and this being the week of Passover, the brook would have run red with the blood of the sacrifices.

And Jesus passed over the running water… and was killed.

Leviticus 14:6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water.

His death on the tree, redemption, purging of our sins… these are ours as we have come to be dipped in His blood.

Leviticus 14:7 And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field.

The number seven is often associated in the scripture with completion. The Son of God died — the sacrifice was absolutely complete, so that we could be cleansed and set free from the power of sin. By His death, by His blood, we can rise up in new life, redeemed forever.

Leviticus 14:8 He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean.
After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days.

Those who are forgiven, who have been cleansed by the Sacrifice shall change. They will put off the old man and walk as one cleansed. They will keep nothing hidden, but will be transparent before the Lord and men.

They shall be in the camp… in the body of Christ, the church, as a fellow believer… but shall remain on earth the ‘complete’ number of days before entering heaven.

The Lord knows the number of our days. He has work for us to do here while we joyfully await the day we will be with Him in heaven.

Leviticus 14:14 the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.

There is only one other time in scripture that this ceremony is performed. In Leviticus 8, this is what was to be done to consecrate the priests to the Lord, that they could serve before the Lord in the temple.

The leper, the sinner has been cleansed, set free from sin and is now sanctified (set apart to God) and made a priest.

Revelation 1:5-6 …Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first born from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

In verses 16 and 17 of Leviticus the same act is performed with oil. So first blood and then oil are placed on the tip of the right ear… that we may listen obediently to God.

On the thumb of his right hand… that we may do the work of the Lord with our hands.

On the big toe of the right foot… that we may walk in His ways.

Cleansed by His blood, sanctified to His service, yielded to and led by His Spirit.

Back to Matthew....

The book of Matthew is written by a Jew to Jews about a Jew. Matthew is the writer of this gospel, the nation of Israel is the reader, and the message is that Jesus Christ is the long awaited Messiah. He is The High Priest. Christ the King.

When Jesus heals the leper and tells him to go and show himself to the priest, He is making a radical statement of Who He is.

Since there are only two recorded times when leprosy has been cured before (Mariam in Numbers 12 and Naaman in 2Kings 5), it’s safe to say that the priests wouldn’t be entirely up to date with what needed to be done for the lepers that began to arrive at the temple. They would need to pull out the scrolls and study up.

Did they ‘see’ Him? Did they understand the significance of what Jesus was telling them?

More importantly… do we?

Was this portion of Leviticus written years and years and years before for this very day? For this very reason? To announce the Messiah to the Priesthood of Israel?
Was there even one that sought Him out, that asked in the still of a night, “What must I do to be saved?”

Have you?

Father in heaven, how awed we are by the love You’ve poured out on us. By the vastness of Your plan. By the ways You reveal Yourself to us.
What are we that You should think of us?
Yet from the beginning to the end, Your plan is laid and remains the same.
Salvation is a free gift, but oh Lord… the cost so high.
Thank You Jesus for what you’ve done.
Sanctify us to Your service and enable us by Your Holy Spirit to live as children of the Living God.

Copyright  T.K.C.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

If You Could See What I See

 Thirty one years of marriage. When we started out, I couldn't even begin to imagine such love existed.
Through many joys, trials, hurts, gifts of laughter, forgiveness and commitment... through the grace learned lessons of God... we stand. Till death do we part.