2017 Scripture Memory Team – June

June, how I love June! This month brings so much gardening JOY for me in my zone 8 garden. The daylilies and hydrangeas are at peak and so are the blueberries. The tomatoes are ripening and so are the peas and peppers.

June also brings my wedding anniversary and this year was extra special because in ended in a ZERO! Seems as if the celebrations and milestones that end in FIVE or ZERO are extra special, although we know they really are not!  Every celebration in life is special because life and family are gifts.  JUNE 11th WAS OUR 40TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

I am posting about that next, but wanted to share my two June memory verses here. The theme is God’s tender CARE and COMFORT of us. I read the Isaiah 46:4 verse recently during a Bible study and it immediately resonated with me. Something about being married 40 YEARS…you ponder about how long that really is – 14,600 days plus at least 10 more for leap years! This verse has ministered to my soul. I’ve shared it several times with friends. We may change (and you’ll see that in the pictures in my next post…) but GOD IS THE SAME always and until my old age he will bear me up when I turn gray (it’s happening). He has made me and He will carry me. PRAISE HIS NAME!

Psalm 38:9 is especially tender too. He understands, he knows, he cares. My heart’s desire, my groaning. They are not hidden from Him. Sometimes I don’t even know myself, do you get that too? But He knows…and His Spirit interprets and intercedes on my behalf.  I know one thing, I want to make it to the 50th and 60th anniversaries with my sweet man!

Celebrating the JOYS of JUNE!

 

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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 – April

It’s the last day of April and this month brought joy to my gardening heart. I planted flowers and fixed up some containers on the front porch for ferns and red geraniums. In my raised bed vegetable garden, I’ve planted tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, sweet onions, butter peas and pink-eye peas. Everything is up and growing. In fact, we just got home from church a little while ago and I couldn’t wait to get in the garden to check out how everything was doing. I let my hens out of the chicken house to free-range for a bit and just enjoyed the last few hours of this last day of April. The two verses I am working to memorize from April are in the New Testament, I John 2:6 and Ephesians 4:32, both of them have to do with our walk, our behavior.

Our beliefs dictate our behavior. We behave what we believe. If we claim His Name I just believe folks ought to see that in our daily lives. Do I mess up? Of course, every day. But my aim is still to walk in the manner Jesus walked. Shining His light, listening for His voice throughout the day and walking in His Spirit. I can do that by praying, reading His Word, and by just being kind – as stated in Ephesians 4:32. I want to be known as a kind woman, and for the law of kindness to be on my tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

I love the tenderhearted word in this verse. To stay tenderhearted we have to forgive, be kind, forgive, love people, forgive. FORGIVE. As we’ve been forgiven. If you’re hurting due to unkind behavior from someone, as hard as it is to do – pray for them and ask God to help you forgive them. The more you pray for them the more tenderhearted your heart will become. And tenderhearted folks are a joy to be around.

Signing off now, expecting some April showers tonight…my next post will be my May flowers.

Blessings,

Gran Jan

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – March

March is a month for change. Change in the weather, change in time (daylight savings), and even change of season. The Vernal Equinox – when both day and night are each 12 hours long.  The old English proverb “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” is surely holding true here in Georgia with such varied temperatures! March also brought the “time change.” Springing forward is challenging to us non-morning folks. However the trade-off is worth everything because dusk, eventide, twilight…is my favorite time of day, and I love more light in the evenings.

My verses for March brought some change too. A sense of challenge to recognize some of His amazing attributes. Loving and obeying Him more, and recognizing His faithfulness in everything.

March 1: My Pastor, Dr. Jim Perdue is preaching through 1 John and I have really been encouraged and strengthened through these sermons. This verse is one of those “jump off the pages of the Bible” verses. I have been taught from childhood to obey His commandments. Love and obedience walk together. I always wanted to please my parents and be obedient. I’m a rule follower, truly. The joy in this verse is the second half ~ His commandments are not burdensome. You know how your heart rests and is at peace when you are obedient. You don’t carry the burdens of guilt and fret over your poor choices.  Isn’t it good news to know that His commandments are not burdensome? Thank you Jesus for being our burden-bearer and commandment-giver.

March 15: Girl, you better get your hopes up! I remember hearing that quote at a conference from Thelma Wells. She rolled it off her tongue like this…Girrrrrrrrrrrlll, you bettah git yo hopes up. That challenge to remain hopeful has stayed with me for years. We must always have hope and our hope must be in Christ. Not a wavering hope, but steadfast hope. And why? Because He who promised is faithful. The older I get the more I see His faithful ways. It’s because I have more days to look back on and see His faithfulness in my life. I’m confident in my confession of unwavering hope. Not because I’m strong, but because Jesus is, and He doesn’t break His promises.
I hope you are resting in the truth of these two verses…whether you’ve ever read them or not.

  • His commandments are not burdensome.
  • He who promised is faithful.

The Solid Rock is one of my favorite hymns.  I love this first verse especially:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Believe, hope, obey, and celebrate!


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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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2017 Scripture Memory Team – January

Welcome 2017!

This will be my 5th year participating in the Scripture Memory Team with Living Proof Ministries It is both challenging and wonderful at the same time. This special team is held every other year. The accountability and method of memorizing two verses each month keeps me coming back. I was part of the very first group in 2009, and haven’t missed one since, having participated in 2011, 2013, 2015 and now with the 2017 group. I attended the inaugural celebration held in Houston, Texas in January 2010 (following the 2009 year of memorizing).  The blog post from that wonderful memorable event is here:  2010 SSMT Celebration 

I am sensing a theme for January and the word is “strength.” Each of my two January 2017 memory verses are from the Psalms, one of my favorite books of the Bible, and probably the one I go to the most for encouragement and yes, for strength. Psalm 105:4 says seek His strength, Psalm 59:17 says His name is Strength. I need the strength Jesus gives and I find it in His Word. Thankful.

If you don’t have a method for memorizing scripture, I encourage you to find one and get started. This method involves writing the verses in a small spiral book of notecards and carrying it with you. Repetition and reading the verse over and over will help you press it in your heart and mind.  It is a lifeline for me and God brings the verses to my mind when I need them for myself and even when encouraging someone else. I’m looking forward to this year of scripture memory.

 

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