Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe!

Cookie

Like many Southern women, I love to cook with cast iron and have a nice collection in my kitchen. I have two cherished skillets that were given to me 30 years ago by an elderly woman at our church back in Athens, Georgia. They are very old and very special to me…seasoned to perfection. I love old cast iron and that just confirms I’m Southern to my bones.

Most of the time I use my cast iron pans and skillets for cornbread and biscuits. This deep-dish cookie recipe is sweet and good and I just had to share. When my boys were growing up, we rarely had birthday cakes for them. Instead we always ordered giant chocolate chip cookies from the Cookie Store at our local mall. The boys just preferred those cookies and we did too. They were delicious!  The Cookie Store closed and I’ve tried without success to duplicate the recipe…until now!  I hope y’all enjoy this Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie as much as we did when I made it last week! [I used my stand mixer.]

No, grandson Abe had not just eaten Gran Jan’s chocolate chip skillet cookie, but the sweet chocolate smile on his face made me so happy. I will make one for him the next time he comes to visit!FullSizeRender

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional but not optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and sift/whisk together, set aside.
  2. Place the softened butter and both white and brown sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until they’re light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down the paddle and the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract. Now mix again until the egg is fully incorporated into the butter. [Using an egg that is the same temperature as the other ingredients really speeds this process along, which is why so many baking recipes call for “room temperature eggs.”]
  4. When the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla are mixed together, you’ll have a lovely fluffy, mixture.
  5. Add the dry ingredients you set aside earlier, and turn the mixer to low speed. Mix it just until the flour disappears into the batter. Stop the mixer as soon as you get to this point so the cookie won’t be tough.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and stir them in by hand. Give the sides and bottom of the bowl a good scrape to get all that delicious dough!
  7. I rubbed a very thin layer of butter into my cast iron skillet, then scraped the cookie dough into the pan and smoothed it out to an even layer.
  8. Bake the skillet cookie at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until it is golden, and the edges have nicely browned. I always look to see if it has started to pull away from the sides like in my picture. It is better to undercook a wee bit than overcook!
  9. Let the skillet cookie cool until it’s warm to the touch, not hot. Use a knife to cut it into wedges or squares like I did with this square skillet.
  10. Serve with ice cream!

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Zeke’s Baptism & Family Blessings

The Good Lord has been especially near to me lately. He is always near, even those times when I’m not where I need to be to hear Him, and for that I am thankful. But lately His goodness has been evident in many ways, more than I ever deserve. This past weekend we enjoyed one of the most blessed days in the life of a family of faith. We witnessed and celebrated the baptism of our oldest grandchild, Zeke, for whom this blog was begun almost 8 years ago now.  I wrote my very first post back in July 2008 about waiting for his birth. So much living has gone on since then. My name changed to Gran Jan and nothing is the same now, and it’s wonderful! This picture is from Sunday when my oldest son Jeremy baptized his oldest son Zeke. It was a precious visible picture of our spiritual legacy continuing to the next generation. Blog18

These are my four oldest grandchildren together at Cartersville First Baptist this past Sunday [April 24, 2016] for Zeke’s baptism. Sweet cousins holding hands. I love everything about this picture! Zeke was so happy and isn’t his plaid jacket the greatest?  I love even more that he and cousin Jackson were sporting their plaidness together. Our sweet granddaughters are bookends in this picture, Jackson’s sister, Emery is on the left and Zeke’s sister, sweet Madie is on the right. Little Abraham was in the church nursery.
Blog10After we had a delicious lunch prepared by our daughter-in-love Carrie, Zeke’s mom, Sunday after church, Pop and my mom and I drove back to our home church because Jackson had a solo with our Preschool Church Choir. He is a singer like his Pop. Jackson throws his head back and sings! We loved hearing him singing “You Are God Alone.” He is in the orange shirt below at the microphone. He did so well – we are so proud of him, and he knew every word!Blog8

Here is my husband, Gary. The grandkids call him Pop.  They love him and so do I!  The top picture is from a recent opportunity he had to participate in a Worship Symposium at Liberty University. I was so proud of him as he was able to share his knowledge and experiences as a worship leader for over 40 years! The next picture is the famous RACE that the grandkids love. They are always bantering back and forth about beating him in a foot race. He told me that sweet Jackson will sometimes “slow down” and let him appear to win…love that sweet boy.Blog17

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Here is the Maloy patriarch, my father Tom Maloy, also from this past weekend. My dad will be 82 years old this Friday, April 29th. He hosted a family reunion and I saw cousins I haven’t seen in years! He is the only child still living from his family of origin that included 11 children. He was ninth in birth order, there were  8 girls and 3 boys. Here he is in his element – cooking! He smoked a whole hog and made his famous Brunswick stew and my mom and sisters made cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans, and there were lots of desserts. It was a great day for the Maloys. My three men are in the picture below Dad, enjoying the delicious meal. Blog2

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The next pictures are all from the past several weeks, just random family times and fun with the grandkids. I love every picture and the LOVE it represents in our hearts and home.  Here are the 3 grandboys at our church one Sunday. Jackson, Abe, and Zeke, all sporting their plaid shirts!Blog14Here is sweet Emery Caroline. My daughter-in-law captured this picture from Emery’s preschool at church as the kids were saying the blessing. This picture is already one of my all-time favorites. I don’t think words can describe the sweetness here. I said a blessing of thanks for the privilege to have her as a granddaughter. Blog15

Here is a picture of Jackson and Emery from Spring Break back the last week of March (2016). They spent the day with me at the Morton Farm. We planted green beans and squash, had fun with the animals and enjoyed the beautiful day.  I can’t wait for them to see the vegetables they planted – they are growing well!Blog12

This is sweet grandgirl Madie Ruth on a Daddy-Daughter Date with Jeremy.  She is as sweet as sugar, a little shy, and I believe she’s going to be a good athlete!Madie

Here is another athlete! Basketball is Jackson’s main game, but he’s doing well with T-Ball too! We love watching him at whatever sport he is playing at the time. Jonathan sends us videos on our phones of him playing with kids in the neighborhood who are older. Jackson holds his own and normally outplays them.  Hashtag Proud GranJan. Blog1

Abe loves to eat. He’s a Morton all the way with this trait 🙂 and reminds me of his daddy so very much. I captured this picture from my son’s Instagram account of Abe at a recent church dinner. I’d say it appears he enjoyed his chocolate brownie!FullSizeRenderI made a quilt as a gift for my youngest sister Jo’s 50th birthday on April 8th. She has told me several times how much she loves it and I can say I loved making it for her. I hope it brings her years of joy, just as she has brought to me.Blog11I discovered a nest of redbirds (my favorite) last weekend while doing some weeding in my garden. They are in a yellow rosebush. I saw the mama bird fly away so I know they are Cardinals. I can’t wait to see them fledge. Granddaughter Madie loves the outdoors with me too.  She already knows the names of flowers and loves to see the birds too.  Gran Jan’s JOY!Blog4

This last picture is of the Resurrection Ferns on the pecan tree near our driveway. They are dormant most of the time, but when it rains and they are refreshed they come out and make me so happy! Thank you Lord for times of refreshing. Blog13

Acts 3:19
Repent therefore and be converted,
that your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of refreshing may come
from the presence of the Lord

The pictures I’ve shared today have all refreshed my heart in some way. The Good Lord has blessed this Gran Jan beyond what I ever deserve. His grace is so real to me, His mercy so tender. I pray for times of refreshing in your life today.

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South Africa ~ A Reunion!

Gary and I went to South Africa for 10 days back in August of 2009. I journaled the entire experience and included lots of pictures. I love this journal and really enjoy going back and experiencing our time there all over again. The link below is toward the end of the journal, but you can easily navigate by visiting this link:

South Africa – 14 (Journal Day 9)

Fast forward almost 7 years later and my husband Gary and I were so blessed to see Rev. Errol Wesson again. He had been in the USA for several weeks and was speaking at our own Second Baptist Church.  Some of my fondest memories of our time in beautiful South African were with Brother Errol and his lovely wife Claudia in Cape Town. It was just like we had never left! That is one of the joys in the Body of Christ. He gave me a letter from his wife and she said “if lilies were allowed through the borders, Errol would bring a dozen for you.”  One day we drove along the Cape on our way to church and there were thousands of white calla lilies everywhere. One of the prettiest views I’ve even seen…

Errol_Wesson

God Bless You All!

GRANJAN

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Leap Day Love – 29 on the 29th

Happy Leap Day! I just had to post something on this fun day so it would show up as February 29th on the post. So, I decided to do something I have not done in a while…an iPhone photo post. The following pictures are 29 photos from the past couple of months. It was hard to select only 29 favorites from the 2,426 photos I have on my phone. The theme runs strong…family, grandkids, Gran Jan’s JOY!

Our Five Precious GRANDCHILDREN!5Grands

Abe loves Pop’s tractor.Abe-Tractor

Zeke & Madie playing at the Farm pond.Zeke-Madie

Zeke swinging way high on my tree swing – my birthday present from Gary.Zeke-Swing

 Celebrated my birthday at a special called Choir Rehearsal for Christmas music.Choirbday

Emery & Jackson love our miniature donkey Maybelle, and she loves them too.MayBelle

Precious Christmas ornament from our First Christmas in 1977!
A lot has happened in 38 years…2 sons, 2 daughters-in-love and now…
5 wonderful grandkids [in matching Christmas pjs]!
Eleven stockings on the mantle.
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Gran Jan rode the Ferris Wheel at the GA National Fair with Zeke.FerrisWheel

  Son Jonathan finished his master’s degree with great JOY!MasterJW

Sweet Jackson boy. He can play basketball with amazing skills!Jackson

A trip to New York City the week before Christmas with our
friends and back-door neighbors of many nears, the Dutchers.
This was made in Central Park. We had the best time!
Laughter is a gift from God!
CentralPark

Taking Abe home and suggested he take a nap during the ride…
He said, “okay, I take a nap Jan-Jan.”TakingANap

Princess Emery in all her finest! Look at that smile.PrincessEmery

The Bonus Round Puzzle my friend Jan and I solved while on the Wheel of Fortune!
It could not have been truer – In Good Company!  InGoodCompanyWheelTeamJan

A very special time to share together in Dallas, TX at the invitation
of special friend, Beth Moore on the Life Today TV show.LifeTodayBeth Jan-Beth

My three handsome men, I love them so much.    my three men

The pastor’s wives of Second Baptist Church at our Christmas Brunch.
Very special ladies married to some mighty special pastors!
I love these ladies!
PWs

In the kitchen at church for a Taste & See Mentoring Ministry gathering.
My friend Jan Hamil and I love this ministry and
look forward to growing it more and more…
TasteandSee

Sweet grandgirl Madie Ruth with her daddy at chick-fil-a for Daddy-Daughter night.Dad-Daughter

Beautiful Spring Daffodils from my garden.
Springtime is on the way!
Daffodils
Ladies Night Out Paint Party with my mom and sister Jo.
Luke 1:50
“And His  mercy is for those who fear Him
from generation to generation.”
Paintparty
Pop and Abe having fun together…always
(except when he wouldn’t take a nap, see above)!
Pop-Abe
Gran Jan and her 3 grandsons – sweet family time.Grandboys
Morton Family Mountain Vacation –
all my people together just 2 weeks ago.
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I enjoyed the memory of every picture above. I consider myself blessed that I don’t have to wait every four years to celebrate with my family. Sometimes I will just scroll through my phone to look at the pictures, it makes me so happy to do that.

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days
so that we may gain a heart wisdom.

GranJan-BlogSignature

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TEAM JAN, Our Wheel of Fortune Adventure!

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I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM GETTING TO WRITE THIS POST!  I don’t have a Bucket List, but I may create one just so I can check off appearing as a contestant on The Wheel of Fortune! I am so blessed because one million people each year apply to be on “America’s Show,” the WHEEL OF FORTUNE! Only 10,000 of those folks get auditions, and then less than 600 people actually make it on the show as contestants! I am a blessed woman because I am one of the million who made it through, by God’s great grace!  Just last month, on Friday, January 8th my friend Jan Leary and I were in Culver City, California at the fabulous Sony Studios to appear as contestants for a Girlfriend Getaways themed week on the Wheel.  So technically, we are two in a million! Below is our “official photo” on the set of Wheel of Fortune! Meet TEAM JAN! JAN SQUARED!

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TEAMJAN-OnWheelI have a daily prayer calendar on my desk that I have owned for many years. It never grows old to me. One of my favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot, compiled it. It is called KEEP A QUIET HEART On the morning of our taping, this was the thought for the day…FullSizeRenderI shared it with my friend Jan. “It is His providence that has put us where we are.” Of course that’s true every day as we know the Good Lord orders our steps. But it was a comfort to read and press in as we were heading to California! Our individual journeys began years ago as we both applied to be on the show, way before we even knew each other. On a beautiful June day in Atlanta in 2013, Jan invited me to accompany her for a Wheel of Fortune contestant audition when she discovered they were looking for “teams.” My getting on the show was ALL grace, Jan received the official invitation. I am forever thankful she picked me to be her teammate! Woohoo! TEAM JAN was formed that day. We did really well and made it through to the final cuts. We had to play several mock games and then take a written test. Even us being there was part of God’s plan as my husband Gary had an appointment in Atlanta a few blocks from where the taping was. He literally dropped me off and came back to pick me up! After each round of auditions, they would “weed out” people, and Jan and I would hold our breaths! We made it down to the final few left standing out of a large group of over 100 contestants, so we already felt like winners! Several months later we got an email asking us to fly to California for a taping! WE WERE ECSTATIC! We made our reservations and then the snowstorm of Atlanta in January 2014 hit. It was a mess! Our flights cancelled and our trip to spin the wheel was postponed. Jan was on her way to the airport and became stranded on the interstate. She had a very scary experience, she now calls it Wheel of Fortune PTSD. It was rough. Talk about hope deferred. The wonderful Wheel contestant producer who kept in touch with us, Ms. Shannon Bobillo, assured us she would get us back on one day. Now almost to the day two years later, January 8, 2016, our dream was realized. This is the picture from June 2013 when we made it through the Atlanta auditions. WOFI wanted to journal my adventure story, as much for myself as anyone. One day I can come back and re-live the absolute BLAST Jan and I had appearing on America’s Game. So here goes! A memory from my earliest school days resurfaced a couple of weeks ago. I started first grade as a 5-year-old and fell in love with books and reading. I just had a wee problem. During times when we took turns reading aloud if a classmate hesitated or stumbled while sounding out a word…I would blurt it out. The teacher would scold me and if I did it again, she would draw a circle on the blackboard with chalk (yes it was 1963) and I would have to put my nose in the circle as punishment. Well, it was liberating to yell out letters and words during my time on the show! And believe you me, I didn’t yell out any answers if someone stumbled. I had learned my lesson and was in this for the win! I love the show and have been a Wheel-Watching fan for over 30 years. In fact, when my son Jonathan, now 31, was not even 2 years old, I realized he knew all his letters. I had no idea! One day while standing near a bulletin board at our church, he started pointing his chubby little finger and correctly calling out the letters. He was a Wheel-Watcher from his playpen and I didn’t even realize! A family tradition had begun.

The reality of the event set in for me the day the FED-EX package arrived with all the paperwork! Lots of paperwork! There were rules to learn, contracts to sign, puzzle categories to study, suggestions for what to wear, what NOT to wear, airline tickets to purchase to Los Angeles, hotel recommendations for Culver City, CA, and a really encouraging letter from Pat Sajak. I am such a Pat Sajak fan and loved meeting him! To me, he makes the show. I love his quick wit (totally unscripted)! For years I’ve watched him help contestants out of embarrassing moments by saying just the right thing at the right time. Meeting him just confirmed what I had watched on TV all these years. He is truly kind and very funny, two great qualities. Vanna is as gracious and beautiful in person as she is on TV, very genuine. She spent some time talking to the audience and they loved her too!

When we boarded our flight in Atlanta on Thursday morning, January 7 and got seated, this “WINNER TAKES ALL” picture was on the back on the seats in front of us! Jan and I both decided it was a definite YES and purposed to be WINNERS all the way. We decided NOT to share that we were going to Wheel of Fortune until we were on the way home. We each had several close friends praying, but did not want anything out on social media. My friend Beth was sent me a fun yet inspirational voice message. She said she was calling it the “Wheel of Favor” because we are “Women of Faith.” I loved it! That thought resonated in our hearts and Jan and I carried it the entire weekend. We wanted to savor this trip and then exhale when it was over! No more hope deferred! We had great flights to Los Angeles and stayed at a nice hotel in Culver City, California, not far from SONY STUDIOS where the Wheel of Fortune tapes. DeltaSeatWe were within walking distance of a nice mall and several restaurants, so we headed out to eat supper and take a long walk. It felt so good to walk after that five-hour flight from Atlanta. The weather was a bit cooler than normal, but it felt great to us! As we were walking to the restaurant, I stopped to take a picture of the “Culver City, California” sign. We were finally there and it was such a relief. We were on our way!  CulverCityCAThe time difference made for a long day, so we went to bed early because the Sony Studios shuttle would arrive at 6:30 AM the next morning . Woo-hoo! It was fun to see all the women there in the lobby the next morning for the Girlfriend Getaways themed week. We talked to some women from North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, Hawaii and Washington. When we arrived at Sony Studios for our actual taping, contestant producers Shannon, Gary, Alex and Jackie made sure everyone was prepared. They are the best at what they do  – very organized at keeping everything moving along; building in our confidence during a very long, exciting day. We met in the Jeopardy studio all morning for our training and going over the legal contracts prior to walking over to the Wheel of Fortune Studio 11 for practice rounds and more Wheel of Fortune School!  JeopardyEveryone signed their legal paperwork, got their makeup tweaked a bit, practiced our “Pat Chats” introductions, and then we were finally ready to walk over to the Wheel of Fortune studio, Stage 11. With all the technology of the puzzle board, we actually went old school with two things: determining which show we would tape, and where we would stand. A representative from each group of six women reached in a bag and drew out a golf ball. Jan drew out #3 which meant we would be the third show and it stood for Wednesday. I then drew a marble out of a sack to determine where we would stand. I drew out #3 and that meant the third position at the Wheel, the far right.  It was exactly where I wanted to be! This old fashioned way to do this actually gave me comfort that it was all above board.  All 30 contestants could see it going on in front of us! So fun! I could hardly wait to see that WHEEL! Some fun trivia we were told is that the actual studio where Wheel of Fortune is taped is the same studio the famous tornado scene from the Wizard of Oz was filmed some 70 years ago. It was actually the Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer studio then. Here is TEAM JAN outside the studio with the big puzzle board painted on the wall!  We saw a Porsche parked there as we were leaving later on that day and the tag said “BONUSRD,” which I’m quite sure stands for Bonus Round. How fun! Wonder if it was Pat’s or Vanna’s vehicle? WOF_TeamJANI quickly learned that being a contestant on the show is way harder than playing from my sofa at home. I owe an apology to every player I’ve yelled at from my sofa for buying vowels, spinning again, calling a letter already called, or otherwise just messing up. So much happens simultaneously when it’s your turn: watching the used letter board, trying to solve the puzzle, having only 3 seconds to either spin, solve, or buy a vowel. What a rush! Helpful advice I have for future contestants is to pay close attention to the specific puzzle category while you are playing. Practice, pray and prepare to play [Same Letter Puzzle]! After a little flub or two, Jan and I quickly got ourselves in sync. Jan kept me calm (or she tried to) most of the entire time we were at the studio that day! She was an excellent wheel spinner and I watched the used letter board and whispered letters in her ear to call and helped her work on solving the puzzles. The Wheel weighs 2,400 pounds and I really had difficulty spinning it. We made such a great team. The puzzle board is really big. There are 52 spaces on the board, 4 rows of 12, 14, 14, and 12 spaces respectively.  Another thing to remember is unlike viewing from home, you can see the board the entire time. So you can work on the puzzle even when it’s not your turn. That was a bonus as well – even though it seemed our turn came around pretty quickly each spin!BlankWheel_WOFWe met some really nice girls from Hawaii and enjoyed playing the game with them too. They were actually on our episode. We took a picture with them and with the Pat and Vanna cardboard cutouts before we left.  WOF_TeammatesFullSizeRenderMy oldest son Jeremy gave me some great advice before I left home. He said “remember it’s a game, Mom, and just have fun, enjoy yourself.” I heeded his advice and Jan and I made some special memories. It was also a blessing and a special gift to be there with my awesome husband of 38 years, Gary! He was our biggest supporter the entire time. I didn’t want to miss a moment. I love this quote, “Wherever you are, be all there!” Remember me mentioning the author Elisabeth Elliot above? That quote is attributed to her husband, Jim Elliot, Christian missionary and martyr. I was there! Woo-hoo! A contestant on the Wheel of Fortune, America’s game! And the added grace to come out on top and win the Bonus Round? It just doesn’t get any better. And to spend the day with a wonderful friend named Jan? More grace!

Jan agreed for me to spin the little wheel for the Bonus Round since she was the big wheel champion spinner during the game. I spun and the flapper landed on the “C.” Jan Leary then handed Pat Sajak the envelope which contained our unknown prize. [This is an overhead picture of the Bonus Round Wheel below.] We found out within seconds that our puzzle would be a “phrase.” Three words popped up on the board: the first had two letters, the second had four letters, and the third had seven. Contestants are given the customary R-S-T-L-N-E  and only two N’s filled in…not much help! Jan Leary leaned over to me and whispered, “call out the letters.” She later told me that the Lord told her to do that so she did. I believe her because I had no idea what letters we needed. So I asked for D, M, P, and then chose O as the vowel. Pat Sajak said, “well the good news is all those letters are in the puzzle!” When the letters began to fill in, I started jumping up and down! We knew immediately the answer was “IN GOOD COMPANY” and so we shouted it out. And yes I was in good company! So thankful that Jesus is ALWAYS with me every moment, my fabulous friend Jan, my wonderful husband Gary in the audience, and much support from home! I repeated the verse from 2 Timothy 1:7 all weekend…”For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” He gave me peace without fear, power to play, love to share with others, and a sound mind to solve puzzles!                     BonusRound_WOFThis experience will definitely be in my mind and on my heart for a long time. I had so much FUN! Thank you for taking time to read my great Wheel of Fortune Adventure. I hope wherever your next adventure takes you that you will “BE ALL THERE!” In fact, be all there wherever you are – around the table for a good meal with your family, in the quietness of your home, shopping at the grocery store, worshipping with your church family, riding a ferris wheel with your grandchildren, or taking a walk through the woods. All of life is a great adventure! I’m so thankful I had the privilege to be a Wheel player, it was a great adventure for this old gal!

GRANJAN

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The Loft Link-Up [Hope…]

The Loft Linkup

It has been a while, too long actually, since I was able to join you Loft Link-Up bloggers. My word for 2016 is “LESS” and part of the less I am lessening involves less social media. I don’t include blogging as part of the less! Bloggers are writers, special folks, and I am proud to be one of y’all. The word HOPE resonated with me this morning, and I really wanted to share the reason for my HOPE! And I dearly love my friend and women’s ministry partner, Leah Adams!

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Years ago I attended a Women of Faith event in Atlanta, GA and I heard Thelma Wells speak.  Her theme was HOPE. She said something that has stayed with me all these years. Her statement was “GIRL, YOU BETTER GET YOUR HOPES UP!”  This is the opposite of what we usually hear…don’t get your hopes up. The big difference is location, location, location! Where do you place your hope! Taken from the old hymn THE SOLID ROCK, I can confidently say “my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

About seven years ago our family went through a season where our hope was deferred over and over again. It involved my oldest son and his wife in their heartfelt desire to become parents. After several years of infertility, they had decided to adopt a child and within weeks discovered they would be the parents of triplets, two boys and a girl.  After several months and the discovery of a scam, all hope was deferred.  But within one day, ONE DAY, my daughter-in-law discovered she was pregnant.  You can read the story on my blog at the link below.

What A Difference A Day Makes

The Tree of Life from the second part of  Proverbs 13:12 is found in the three beautiful children my son and his wife now have, from three healthy, wonderful pregnancies. And yes, they have two boys and a girl.  HOPE FULFILLED by the power of God and answered prayers.  So my friends I want to encourage you today. Get your hopes UP – but keep your hope in HIM. The only One who can bring that peace, that Tree of Life, that dream to you. Zeke_Madie_Abe

 

HOPE HAS A NAME! Jesus.
My Hope is in Him,

Jan

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 24 – December 15, 2015

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It’s a rainy night here in Georgia this New Year’s Eve Eve. Two of my grandchildren are playing nearby and it’s been nice to have some days at home. Being at home for several days in a row centers me. I’m a homebody at heart, although my husband and I did enjoy five days in New York City just two weeks ago with our friends the Dutchers. It was the perfect getaway after a time of loss as my precious 93-year-old mother-in-law passed away on December 8. She was a wonderful woman of faith and very special to me. We miss her but we rejoice that she is in the presence of the Lord.

I realized just earlier this afternoon that I had neglected to post my final Scripture Team Memory Verse of 2015. It makes it even more appropriate on this next-to-the-last-day of the year when you read it below…2 Corinthians 4:18:

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In some ways I can relate this verse to 2015 and 2016. Tomorrow is the last day of 2015. Except for tomorrow, 2015 is now SEEN.  I can roll events over in my heart and mind and replay them like a DVR. But as 2016 rolls around in 28 hours it remains totally UNSEEN.

I have no idea what this new year holds for me and my loved ones – but I hold fast to the truth that God knows. He knows because He is already there. He is omniscient, not limited by time or space, He is eternal. He is always the same. That truth comforts me. He promises to never never never never leave me and I’m counting on that.

So on this December 30th rainy evening I am fixing my eyes on what is unseen, what is eternal. I am trusting God to do a work in me in 2016 like never before. Less of me, more of Him. More time for others on things that count (eternal), less time wasted looking at screens (temporary).

I’ve enjoyed this Scripture Memory Team and the discipline of memorizing scripture is something I treasure. I’m thankful for the mind to do it and for the Word of God to hold in my hand, my heart, and my head.

Blessings and Happy New Year’s Eve Eve,

GranJan-BlogSignature

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 23 – December 1, 2015

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Psalm 19:12-13
12 Who could possibly know all that he has done wrong?

    Forgive my hidden and unknown faults.
13 As I am Your servant, protect me from my bent toward pride,
    and keep sin from ruling my life.
If You do this, I will be without blame,
    innocent of the great breach.

I read this passage last week, after Thanksgiving. It was a balm to my hurting heart. I truly believe that a wise woman listens to her critics. As a woman, pastor’s wife, women’s ministry leader, and good grief — as a human being, I’ve been criticized!  At some point we’ve all received criticism. Have you ever heard the term “constructive criticism?” As opposed to what? It all hurts and it’s hard, but in my recent experience, it was healthy. We are ever growing…and hopefully, ever maturing in our walk of faith. My heart was hurting because I had to face some hard truths about myself – all of them stemming from my bent toward pride. My dictionary app defines pride as “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Go to my favorite Bible search site BIBLE GATEWAY and type in the word pride. Get ready for all the passages you will discover. Over 64 came up when I used the New Living Translation.

The twelfth verse is so comforting. How could we possibly know all we’ve done wrong? We are so frail. The Psalmist pleads to be forgiven of hidden and even unknown faults. This I know, I have them and recently when some were pointed out so they became known – I had to deal with the fallout. My emotions were everywhere, but thankfully they settled down on the side of grace and peace and a true desire for introspection.

I’m really praying verse 13. I’m asking the Lord – as His servant – to protect me from myself, from my pride. I truly want to be without blame and “innocent of the great breach.”  A breach is a violation of a law, trust, faith, or promise…a severance of sorts.

One of my mother’s favorite verses is the last one in this Psalm, verse 14. I have included it below. I’ve known verse 14 from memory for a long time, but honestly never realized it’s depth based on verses 12 and 13, the ones I am memorizing now. It means all the more now, this plea:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Yes and amen.

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 22 – November 15, 2015

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Ephesians 4:23-24
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
Put on your new nature, created to be like God—
truly righteous and holy.

The struggle is truly real. I hear and see folks use that phrase sometimes and it is usually over something that is NOT really serious or a true struggle. However…the daily struggle to walk in the Spirit and live righteous and holy lives is indeed serious and very real. The only way we can put on our new nature is to renew our thoughts and attitudes – every day and often every hour or in moments.

I’m in the middle of a Bible study by Priscilla Shirer entitled “The Armor of God.”  Below is an excerpt – in fact my memory verse for November 15 came from my time in this study.

All day, every day, an invisible war rages around you —
unseen, unheard, yet felt throughout every aspect of your life.
A devoted, devilish enemy seeks to wreak havoc on everything that matters to you:
your heart, your mind, your marriage, your children,
your relationships, your resilience, your dreams, your destiny.

But his battle plan depends on catching you unaware and unarmed.
If you’re tired of being pushed around and caught with your guard down,
this study is for you.

The struggle is real and so is the enemy. However, there is a Savior and His Name is Jesus. And He is REAL and he really cares for you and will make a way for you to have a renewed heart and mind from any and all negative talk and strongholds.

Blessings to you today!

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 21 – November 1, 2015

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Galatians 5:25 – NKJV
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25 (AMP)
If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit,
we must also walk by the Spirit
[with personal integrity, godly character,
and moral courage—our conduct empowered
by the Holy Spirit].

My pastor, Dr. Jim Perdue has been preaching through the book of Galatians and the simplicity of this verse jumped out at me a couple of weeks ago as he completed the sermon series. I made a mental note to consider this as a memory verse, so here it is. What I believe this verse means is obvious; however, daily living it out is not as plain. Basically if we belong to Christ and live in His Spirit, then our lives should reflect the same.  I especially love the Amplified version of this verse, seen above in BLUE.

I was in the marching band in high school and we had to “keep in step” all the time. If one of us got out of step it would be obvious to those in the stands, and even more evident to a judge if we were at a competition! Regardless of whether we were just out on the ball field rehearsing or trying to win yet another competition…keeping in step mattered. The same is true in our daily lives. Keeping in step matters every day. Whether we are just at home doing laundry, going about our simple routines…or if we are at church teaching or leading a group of people in Bible study, we must walk in His Spirit.

The best news is that we aren’t left to keep in step in our own strength. His Spirit indwells us…Spirit with a big capital S! As a child of God the Holy Spirit equips me to live the Christ life, to walk in Him, to keep in step. And when I stumble and falter, or even fall flat on my face, that same Spirit is there to pick me up and keep me focused and in step. I’m thankful today that I live in His Spirit and that Jesus enables me to walk in the Spirit and that He orders my steps and lights my path!

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