Cheerful Satisfaction

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I meet with a group of wonderful women to study the Bible. We are currently looking into the book of James and his advice on how to live a successful life following Jesus.

James wastes no time getting right to the point—

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2NIV

I have to admit, this verse makes me cringe a little every time I read it. Perhaps it does the same to you. It’s a good thing it is followed by verse 2 and 3 which tell us—

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (NLT)

Here is a short devotion I wrote a while back on finding joy in our trials. I hope you enjoy it.


 Cheerful Satisfaction

Groans could be heard throughout the airplane as it bounced and dipped. Turbulence. It was going to be a long flight. Each jerk of the aircraft caused a new round of complaining from its passengers with one exception. From seat 27D could be heard squeals of delight. A small, blue-eyed, blond-headed mite of a girl cheered with joyous abandon. To her, this flight was more than she could hope for. Her ‘sit in your seat and just be quiet’ ride had turned into an exhilarating experience. I couldn’t help but smile at her happiness. In the midst of a less than satisfactory situation, this little one had found great pleasure.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 Galatians 5:22-23


Joy

Greek: chara khar-ah

Meaning: Cheerfulness, Calm delight


Joy’s very definition can make us smile. The idea of being full of cheer lightens our mood. But there is one more definition we should consider.  Delight means an extreme level of satisfaction, and satisfaction means a source or means of enjoyment: Contentment

Ahhh. . .Who knew that joy bubbles up right from satisfaction and is quickly followed by contentment. Out of the list of attributes of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, joy is the one that shouts out “This is pretty great!” If this were fruit we were eating, joy would be the part that would make us want to take another bite, savoring every bit of its lip-smacking goodness.

Joy is the optimist, bringing with it the knowing that hope is still alive. Joy is the spark of a smile mingled with tears as we remember God is near and He has a plan. Joy is the light that brings new perspective.

So when you feel joy slipping away, just think of little Miss 27D and her infectious giggles. No matter what you are facing, God is in it with you and that is cause for celebration.

“A cheerful heart brings good healing. . .”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:22‬ ‭NET


I hope joy finds you today wherever you are today.
Do share.
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Savor the Joy

candy-cane-488009_1920 (1)Christmas is on our doorstep and there are only a few days left to enjoy the celebrations. As you know from a recent blog post, A Large Helping of Joy, Please, my ‘new’ tradition this year has been to make the most of every opportunity to join in the merrymaking to make some new memories. No more ‘maybe next year’ attitude. Life is short and I don’t want to miss any fun. I want to remember this year as one filled with joy.

So far, my husband and I have attended a local production of It’s a Wonderful Life, met with our small group for dinner, experienced my niece in all her drama at her church Christmas Extravaganza, and played bunco to raise the money needed to gift a needy family in Mexico with a home. Still to come—Christmas light viewing, caroling, a piano recital, a pazole party, Christmas Eve services (two of them—one fantastically modern and the other full of candle light), and an open house with friends to savor what is good in the world. Yes, joy has really shown up this year.

Another tradition we will be enjoying on Christmas day will be what our family calls The Favorite Foods Feast. It started one year when we were short on cash, so instead of presents to my kids and grandkids, I asked them what their choice would be for dinner. I figured we had to eat, after all.

Now, before you get too troubled at the idea of preparing a dish for each person in your family, know that I don’t whip everything up from scratch. I purchase some (the kids want the stuff from the freezer at the store anyway) and I save my energy for the things I really enjoy making. That way it’s a gift to me as well.

One thing that seems to happen is from each person’s selections there are items that seem to fall naturally into the appetizer, main and dessert categories. This provides us with literally a whole day of yumminess. Pizza, tacos, sushi, prime rib, Pumpkin Dump Cake along with a few surprises have shown up on the menu. The beauty? Everyone has something they really like to eat and everyone feels special because their choice is honored. No one ever goes hungry, and they are filled up, both stomach and heart.

Simply enjoy life and the great pleasures that come with it.

Karolina Kurkova



 

So for my choice this year I think I want some egg rolls. Our family recipe is made from sausage with shredded cabbage, onions and carrots. We rely on the seasoning in the sausage to make it delicious. Not too much more than soy sauce is needed. I can almost taste them as I write this. I can’t wait to see what the others are choosing. No matter what it is, the best part will be enjoying it together.

Egg Rolls (Schell Family Style)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 large head of cabbage, shredded
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package of egg roll wrappers

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef, then mix in onion, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Continue to sauté just until onions are tender. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, sauté cabbage and carrots 1 tablespoon oil, and soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Continue to sauté until cabbage/carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Return meat mixture to pan and stir together with cabbage over low heat until heated through. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour oil into a deep pan and heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Fill each egg roll wrapper with approximately 1/4 cup of filling and roll up according to package directions. Fry in preheated oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

*Can be baked as well. Just place prepared egg rolls on a cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees until crispy.

Enjoy!

A Large Serving of Joy, Please.

jouful

Porch Post by Lyndsey Buckley, Show the Joy

I hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable, filled with family and friends, good food and good memories. Thanksgiving serves as starting line for the holidays for most people I know. At least, it does in this house. I am glad that we begin the entire holiday season with gratitude, following up with a month long party of joy, love, hope and peace. But I have a small confession to make: Over the past few of years, I have not felt so grateful. In fact, I was low on the joy level as well. So many changes have occurred that affect the family dynamic of the holidays.

First, my mom left this earth to dwell in heaven. Good for her. Not so good for me. I am so pleased when all is said and done, we will see one another again. That is a comfort, but for now, I just miss her. I think of several things a day that I want to ask her or tell her. It’s tough, and on the holidays it seems to magnify the feeling of loss I have. I imagine I will always feel this way although time will smooth some of the jagged edges disappointment brings because of her absence.

Then, there are the girls. Two of my three daughters moved out of state. Not a short jaunt, but halfway across the country. Both they and their husbands work in food service or retail, so for them the holidays exist in the form of serving others. No time to come home and enjoy a meal at Mom’s house. And even with one daughter living close by and anxious to share the special times with me, I let myself sink into a bit of a pity party hoping the holidays would just slip by. Then, life could just continue with its routine. It would be better that way. Right?

Hardly. This year, I have come to my senses. I realized I need lovely, new memories of a holiday shared with loved ones nearby while reminiscing about the ones who were not. I want a fresh store of memories to go with the ones in the “remember the time when” bank in my heart.

So, that is exactly what I am setting out to do. I am embracing the holiday I have in front of me, and enjoying the memories of times past. Open heart, pour in thanksgiving, good memories old and new, and laughter. Mix well. Produces an abundant serving of hope, love, peace and joy.

It is a fine seasoning for joy to think of those we love.

Moliere


Part of my reminiscing brought about thoughts of my mom’s kitchen and a cake she used to bake. It was an Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting. I don’t know the recipe she used so I found one that was comparable. On Thanksgiving, we enjoyed it alongside some pretty decadent desserts that came from other people’s kitchens as a finish to a wonderful meal.  It brought Mom just a little closer that day.

The funny thing about the Thanksgiving feast is that every household has their traditional foods that must be served or it just wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving. They bring back memories of good times, and with them—a measure of comfort. My grandson brought another Marine home for the holiday and I asked him what the traditions were in his family. His mama, he said, always made chocolate cream and lemon meringue pies for every special occasion. Luckily, I had the ingredients for the lemon pie so I whipped one up. I’m sure it didn’t quite measure up to the one his mama made, but my desire to offer a familiar tradition to a young man far from home was appreciated.


It’s funny that the name of the apple cake recipe turned out to be Mom’s.

Mom’s Best Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups apples, peeled and diced

Topping

  • ½ butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Cake: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and baking soda. Beat together until well-incorporated. Stir in the apples.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes. Cool completely before adding the topping.
  4. Topping: In a saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Boil without stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately spread over the top of the cooled cake. Let sit for an hour prior to serving.
  5. Enjoy!

The Sparkle in Life

I along with my Bible study girlfriends spent some time last year studying Galatians. One of the lessons we covered was living a joy filled life. If I take into consideration all of the stress and turmoil each day brings, this may sound like a crazy idea. But when we set our eyes on the Lord, the struggle diminishes and the joy increases because we know that ultimately our sufferings are part to moving us forward of that “hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 talks about. This shift in focus from ourselves onto God draws our attention to purpose of life’s experiences but there is more to be seen. We begin to see something that is beautifully purposeful and the result is joy.

“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the LORD’s declaration —

“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

            I would like to use one of my friends, Julia, as an example for a moment here.  She has a knack for taking an ordinary, worn out pair of shoes and turning them into a sparkly expression of joy by embellishing them with crystals. She does beautiful work and her creations certainly grab your attention. I can’t help but think that no matter where those shoes may take her, they have to give her some measure of joy when she happens to look down and catch their glimmer.

sparkly shoe 2

I think that is how God works in our lives, too. Life can be a drag, wearing us out and leaving us discontented, even hopeless. But if we take time to glace at him even for a moment, we will see the glimmer of his light. A sparkle of truth will catch our attention. We will be drawn in and reminded of the joy of living in His presence while walking out His will no matter where it takes us. Delight in the Lord and allow him to show you the joyful expression of his work in you.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4,

. . .for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10