2017 Scripture Memory Team – November

I love this time of year! Fall is my favorite season and Thanksgiving is the best! November is my birthday month and this year was a “big one.” They are all worthy of celebration, but this one…well, I celebrated the big 6-0 on Thursday the 16th. That post will be next, but for now…I want to share my November memory verses.

Psalm 34:4
 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.

I’ve never been a fearful woman. I’m not the bravest by any means, but I’m not a scairdy cat. I like to try new things and have fun. Lately however, I have found myself being fearful for no apparent reason. The fear I experience is unfounded, unnamed. An unsettled feeling in my spirit will arise and that is why this verse has encouraged my soul. I know it’s not from the Lord, so I’m calling it what it is and trusting Him to calm my heart during these times. It could be my age…remember, I’m 60 now! Getting older can be hard, there are so many changes coming my way in the months ahead. Whatever the reason, I am trusting Christ, praying it through and walking by faith. I’m so thankful that at the mention of His great Name I sense His presence and His peace washes over me. The key is I have to seek Him and the joy is that He answers and delivers.

1 John 3:20
For if our heart condemns us,
God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

This verse also goes along with unnamed fear or anxiety. There is a great difference between conviction in my heart and condemnation in my heart. At my age (I’m 60 now, remember?) I know the difference, and that comes about from living long enough to have experienced the difference. Sometimes we have feelings of false guilt (in whatever our heart condemns us). I really believe that women know this well. We can guilt ourselves over many things, we run a lot on feelings and emotion. God made us this way and it’s good to have feelings and emotion but we cannot be ruled or overruled by them. We have to remember that God is greater than our guilty heart and He knows all things.  By this I mean He knows our real motives.  Isn’t it good to know that He does not judge on the basis of how things appear? We often judge ourselves that way and end up with that self-condemnation. So rejoice today that He is greater!

He Answers
He Delivers
He Loves
He Knows

Peace to you today,


 

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – October

I hope the beautiful day I’m enjoying this day will be conveyed in my love for God’s Word in these two memory passages for October. And today marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation! Glory to Jesus!

On my way home from choir rehearsal a couple of weeks ago I was listening to Dr. Charles Stanley, long-time pastor of Atlanta’s First Baptist Church. He has meant so much to me for over 35 years. The morning I trusted Christ (July 7, 1985), I had been listening to Dr. Stanley on television. I share my story of faith in Christ in a post here on my blog dated July 7, 2009. I was blessed to meet Dr. Stanley back in 1987 and remember every detail of the time he so graciously gave me that day. Anyway, he referenced this verse and it has stayed with me. It follows the beautiful passage about the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-23.  

Galatians 5:25 (ESV)
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

How do we keep in step with the Spirit? Just as we learned to walk as little children, we have to learn to walk with Christ by trusting Him as He leads. It’s a process of faith as we mature in our relationship with Jesus. We stay close to Him through praying, worshipping, and reading the Bible. We become attuned to hearing His voice as He helps us along our way. It is a JOY to know He is speaking to your heart. Let’s keep in step with Him. I pray to grow old gracefully and I know the only way I will is by keeping in step with my Savior.

James 4:10 (AMP)
Humble yourselves
[with an attitude of repentance and insignificance]
in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you
[He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

This passage is from the Amplified version of the Bible and it’s beautiful. My big 6-0 birthday is next month. I can’t even believe I’ll be that old. I’m young at heart and that’s the truth – but sometimes I’m an old soul. And that’s the truth too. But this I know – the older I get the more I regret times in my life when I didn’t have a humble spirit. I’m a first-born take-charge girl and always have been. That’s okay. But attitude is everything and I’ve failed in this area many times. You know the saying, “large and in charge?” It’s so much better to be “small and in charge.” The in charge part is leadership, and that’s okay. But attitude in leading is crucial. See the parenthetical statements above? The first one – with an attitude of repentance and insignificance? Yep. It’s so much better for the Lord to be the One lifting us up – not ourselves.

My favorite phrase is the last. HE WILL GIVE YOU PURPOSE. As I celebrate 60 trips around the sun on November 16, I want to know my life has had purpose. I’m a daughter, sister, sister-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, wife, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend. All these roles give me purpose. But I want to live on purpose for Christ. I’ve prayed for years “make my life count for You today, Jesus.”  I’m going to be praying that as long as I have breath. With a humble heart.

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October 2017 – iPhone Pix

A scroll through my iPhone pictures makes me so happy! I easily get lost in the memories they evoke. I replay conversations and the sweetness of events. I did that this weekend and saved several pictures to share here for the grandkids’ enjoyment too. I do wonder about this iPhone generation of kids. I know my daughters-in-law each make memory books on-line through various resources, and I’m thankful they do.  But I rarely print a picture anymore. Not like I did when my boys were little. We were forever printing “rolls of film.” Even typing that seems strange.

Whenever all FIVE of my grandkids are together there is lots of NOISE and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are all healthy, wonderful, and so very smart. They decided to put on a “program” for us down by the pond. It was such a great show. The only props were sunglasses and a little orange flag that stood in for the Grand Old Flag we love. Grandson Jackson was the Producer-Director. We were all requested to stand and recite the Pledge to the Flag, followed by singing the National Anthem. Then each of the actors introduced themselves, giving their age, school name, and something interesting about them. Little Abe told us he was “upset with tractors,” and the others quickly corrected his line and he repeated that he was “obsessed” with tractors. It was quite a show. Best I’ve seen in a long time. A bag of popcorn would have added to Gran Jan’s JOY.Fall gardening is my favorite for two reasons:  no humidity and I love greens!  This was my first year to plant kale and it has gone crazy in the garden. I couldn’t share a post without some garden JOY! I cooked that basket of collard greens and they were ALL eaten because Jonathan took the leftovers home.

Sweet Madie Ruth helped me roll out the dough for yeast rolls. I love time in the kitchen with the grandkids and it is becoming even better as they get older.This is one picture from a bunch I am saving for a future post! My husband and I are making a farm table for our home. We’ve been working on it for a couple of months and it is almost ready. We have taken two adult Wood-working classes and I have learned so much. Gary has really done most of the work, and we will be so proud to get the table home soon – before Thanksgiving!My sisters and I got together and made cookies together. Our mother stopped by and we had lunch together. It was one of the most delightful days I’ve had in a long time. We laughed so much I know it was pure therapy for body and soul.Our youngest grandson Abe was so proud of his John Deere Trio. He wanted me to take a picture and even got our dog Copper to pose for the picture. Abe is obsessed with tractors. 🙂   Abe’s siblings Zeke and Madie joined in the John-Deere-Trio picture to round out the fun.  I love these kids so much sometimes I think my heart will just burst. My son Jonathan will often bring Jackson & Emery down to the Farm on the weekends to play. Emery especially loves the donkeys and cows. I have a swing under a huge oak tree that Gary gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago.  I love it so much and love it even more when the grandkids swing together.Life is good in the country.


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Gran Jan Camp – 2017

The second GRAN JAN CAMP is a wrap! I went from one camper to three, so it was BIG BIG BIG! Here are my campers, my three oldest grandchildren, Madie, Jackson, and Zeke! Zeke attended the inaugural Gran Jan Camp last summer, so he was a great helper and co-director and “watch me, this is what we do” guide! He just finished 2nd grade and Madie and Jackson just completed first grade, the only prerequisite for attending, besides being my grandchild!
The theme for our camp this summer was “ENCOURAGEMENT!” Our focus verse was I Thessalonians 5:11:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Our focus was that our WORDS MATTER! We talked about encouraging people we don’t know and people we do know, most especially our families. We started this year with a Scavenger Hunt! I had the best time putting this together. I had 15 clues that ended up at the firepit by our pond. I worked on the clues and enjoyed putting them out all over the place… Clue 1 started inside our home, and the next clue led to another spot, to another, to another! These are some smart grandkids, I tell you that. I had to run to keep up with them and I don’t run. 🙂

So our big project was “encouragement rocks.”  Each grandchild had 4 rocks to decorate with words of spiritual encouragement, and they did amazing! Just look at these rocks! We encouraged folks we don’t know with words of hope and healing. We then went on a field trip to place the rocks in three different stores. We prayed that just the right person who needed to be encouraged that day would find the rock meant for them. We had a blast and talked about the joy that was ours to be an encourager to someone else.

We made snack necklaces to enjoy from all our hard rock placement that morning! 🙂 Zoom in close to see the “snack necklaces.”  They used pretzels, cheerios, fruit loops cereal, and gummies and enjoyed munching on these. Zeke had almost eaten his before I could take the picture!

When you live in the county without a swimming pool and it is over 90 degrees you buy a “slip and slide!”  They had a blast on this thing during the early evening and Pop and I enjoyed watching them.  After they had slipped and slid they wanted to play in the pond, and off they went. Pop even got in on the fun in the pond with them and then our lab, Copper jumped in with them too.

One of my favorite things we do is bury a time capsule on the last day of Gran Jan Camp. Jackson and Emery wrote letters to “their 18-year-old selves.” Yes they did! We will unearth these in 10 years and I pray we can all be together to do so. “Lord willing,” as my Granny Maloy always said about everything.

Madie and Jackson each added a “fidget spinner” to their time capsules.  It’s a recent new toy that is all the rage now. You basically just hold it, twirl it, and watch it spin. Jackson wondered if in 10 years if fidget spinners would even still be around. Stay tuned!

The time capsules were placed in the ground right outside Pop’s shop in Gran Jan’s zinnia garden.  Zeke’s was already there from last year and so we know exactly where they will be. I printed some pictures from the week to place inside, and I also wrote a letter to Madie and one to Jackson to place inside the time capsules too. Pop wrapped them up tight with plastic and sealed them well.

The joy of Gran Jan Camp is all about memories and family legacy. I loved having uninterrupted time with my grandchildren these three days.  Time to just be with them, praying and playing together. What a joy to be able to share in the lives of these precious little people.  I love them so much it hurts. You grandmothers out there know exactly what I mean by that.

I’m already getting a folder of ideas for next year’s camp and will enjoy this season while it lasts.  To everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and I know my campers will eventually outgrow Gran Jan Camp, but prayerfully they will never outgrow the memories.

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – May

May is here and has been delightful in many ways. The weather today is so nice. Right now it’s a beautiful 77 degrees with a nice breeze blowing. My favorite kind of gardening weather.  Two of my wonderful grandchildren have May birthdays and were born exactly two weeks apart back in 2010, Madie on May 10 and Jackson on May 24. They both just finished first grade and are Gran Jan’s JOY! The time is flying by.

Another fun event in May was our annual Worship Ministry Picnic for our choir, orchestra and technical team workers. We hosted it at the Morton Farm the first Saturday of May and it was a lot of fun. The families enjoyed having the room to roam and see the cows and chickens, and fish in the pond. Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs with all the trimmings filled the menu.  Everyone pitched in and helped serve one another in love. The fellowship was sweet. That brings me to my May 1st memory verse. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s necessary! Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. Offering hospitality is a way to show love. Doing it without grumbling is icing on that cake you may serve! We had over 150 folks and we enjoyed each one.  I pray I will always be kind and hospitable…without grumbling.


This next verse jumped out at me during a recent sermon by my Pastor, Jim Perdue. I love the Psalms and when he announced his text I was eager to turn there in my Bible. The Lord IS righteous and he LOVES righteous deeds. The best part is He gives us the righteousness through His son Jesus to do those deeds. We can’t be righteous in our own strength.  He will take care of us with His fellowship, protection and with the favor of a loving father. One day we will be in His presence and enjoy those blessings for eternity. But aren’t you thrilled to know those blessings now? I need Him every hour of every day.

It seems as though our society is getting darker and darker, people getting more and more evil. I believe it is because of quick news and media and the way we hear about everything so quickly that makes it seem this way.  This verse helps me press in to my heart the truth that God is in control. He sees and He knows every single deed being done, whether righteous or unrighteous.  I don’t need to keep any score pads in my purse (or in my mind and heart either). He’s got it all in His Mighty Hands. Let’s remember that He will take care of us as we trust in Him. And one glorious day, we will BEHOLD HIS FACE! Wrap your mind around that truth for a moment.

Gran Jan

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Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

A week ago my friend and ministry partner Jan Hamil and I hosted the Spring Session of our Tasting Grace Mentoring Ministry. We went Southern all the way with homemade biscuits and delicious sausage gravy.  Tasting Grace is a “mentoring-in-the-kitchen” ministry of encouragement. It is our passion, and we have loved every single moment we’ve spent in the kitchen with the women who attend. All ages come! Women of all ages attend and that is part of the joy!

This past Saturday I was blessed to serve by teaching two sessions on Tasting Grace at the 2017 Georgia Baptist Women’s Spring Event.  I had the absolute best time! My husband Gary came and supported me and ran the book table. He was so much help and we sold 70 Tasting Grace books. I pray each and every attendee caught the JOY of Tasting Grace and will use it as a ministry outreach in her church and community.

I wanted to share the recipes here with anyone who happens to stop by.  As I shared with the girls last week, this is a moderation meal. Not something you eat often, but definitely enjoy on those occasions you prepare this delightful Southern delicacy.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS – Doubles easily!
(This makes about 10-12 medium sized biscuits.)
2 1/2 cups of White Lily self-rising flour
1/2 cup of Crisco shortening
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 stick of melted butter to brush biscuit tops when done

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a cast iron skillet or baking sheet pan w/Crisco.
  3. Mix flour and shortening together until the mixture resembles crumbs. You may use a fork or pastry tool, but I just use my hands and squish the flour and Crisco together.
  4. Next, pour in buttermilk and mix well. (I hold the bowl with my left hand and use my right hand to mix everything together – but you can use a large fork to mix if you prefer.)
  5. Now wash and dry your hands well and then “dust” your hands with more flour.
  6. Pinch off some dough, enough to fit in your palm  (you’ll get the size down as you make more and more biscuits) and roll it by cupping your hands with your palms sufficiently floured. Don’t handle the dough too much – my Grandmother always told me the biscuits would be tough if you overwork the dough. Just a quick knead is all you need! You will get better each time you make biscuits.
  7. Place the biscuits on the pan so they touch each other – this makes them softer. There’s a lesson here in staying close and working together! Amen!
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and serve.

The Fine Art of Biscuit-Making ~ “Roll & Cut Out” Biscuits OR “Pinching & Patting

  • I’m a pincher-patter-placer biscuit maker because that’s how my Granny taught me. I like to roll the dough and cut the biscuits out sometimes, but my go-to method is pinch and pat.
  • Accurately measure ingredients. Flour is measured by the “SPOON & LEVEL” method – spooning into a measuring cup and leveling off with a straight edge (like a butter knife). Sifting is not needed.
  • Shortening should be packed into a measuring cup so there are no air pockets. Then it is “cut” into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two knives or a fork. The result should be pieces the size of coarse crumbs.
  • Mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry ones can be done effectively with a fork. First, make a well in the center of the flour. Using a fork to gently blend in the milk or buttermilk lessens the chance of over-mixing.
  • Rolling & Cutting: Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter top or use parchment paper. Knead gently only until dough holds together and can be rolled out – about 10 to 12 strokes or less. Please be careful not to not add too much additional flour when kneading and rolling.
  • Roll dough to about 1/2-inch thickness to ensure a biscuit with good height. Cut biscuits with a sharp-edged cutter. Cut straight down without twisting cutter to ensure tall, straight biscuits.
  • Place on a baking sheet 1-inch apart for crusty sides or almost touching for soft sides.

SAUSAGE GRAVY – doubles easily!
(Serves 4-6)
1 lb. Jimmy Dean pork sausage (mild, hot, sage flavored or a mixture)
[I like to mix the mild and sage and double the recipe by using a pound of each)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 cups milk (whole or 2% milk)
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Crumble sausage and brown the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Sprinkle on half the flour and stir so that the sausage soaks it all up, then add more little by little. Stir it around and cook it for another minute or so.
  4. Pour in the milk, stirring constantly.
  5. Continue to cook the gravy, stirring frequently, until it thickens. (This may take a good 5-7 minutes.)
  6. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and continue cooking until very thick and luscious!
  7. If it gets too thick too soon, just splash in another 1/2 cup of milk or more if needed. Taste and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Spoon the sausage gravy over warm biscuits and serve immediately!

My friend, you will love serving your family this comfort food.  I plan to make this for breakfast when my family is together for our beach vacation this summer. I know my boys will love it and I hope to teach it to my daughters-in-law.  I’ve taught them both how to make biscuits, sausage gravy is next!

Happy May Day to all,

Gran Jan

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – February

Happy last day of February! It is like Springtime here in Georgia. We always have a cold snap before spring officially arrives, so I’m sure March will come in like a lion tomorrow before going out like a lamb at the end of next month.

I am continuing with the Living Proof Ministries plan for memorizing scripture and can’t wait to share my two verses for the month. This is one of the best plans for accountability with a “do-able” program to keep you encouraged.

February 1: I am continuing with the Psalms – Psalm 62, verse 8.  Dr. Thomas Constable says, “There is scarcely another psalm that reveals such an absolute and undisturbed peace, in which confidence in God is so completely unshaken, and in which assurance is so strong that not even one single petition is voiced throughout the psalm.” What a JOY to know that we can Trust in God at ALL times and pour our hearts out before Him.  He truly is a refuge. A refuge is a shelter or protection from danger and trouble, a place of safety. Isn’t that wonderful news? God is a refuge. Pour out your heart before Him – He is safety. Tell Him everything – He already knows anyway and you will be so refreshed when you lay those burdens and heartaches down. 

February 15:  February 15th is my husband’s birthday. He is a wonderful man, worship leader, husband, father, grandfather and more. The simplicity of Philemon verse 4 is how I feel about this man of mine. I thank God for him daily as I pray for him.  I thank God for bringing  us together over 40 years ago as high school sweethearts.  I really do thank God for the joy of being his wife and partner in ministry, and the mother to our sons.

Our choir had a surprise party for Gary as his birthday fell on a Wednesday this year. We celebrated at the end of choir rehearsal with a beautiful cake and much love and laughter! We love our Second Baptist family and are thankful and blessed to serve them. This cake was HUGE and very delicious (from the awesome Wilson’s Bakery in Warner Robins, Georgia).

“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
the last of life,
for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand who saith,
‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half;
Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” 

Robert Browning

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