Sausage and Apple Herb Stuffing

Here is a great stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving that comes from Pampered Chef.

1/2       lb bulk pork sausage
1/2       cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 1/2    cups sliced celery
1 1/2    cups chopped onion
1          package (14 ounces) herb-seasoned cubed stuffing
1/2       cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2       cup coarsely chopped apples
1          tbsp Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix
2          cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place sausage into (10-in.) Skillet; cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles. Remove Skillet from heat and transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate. (Do not drain Skillet.)

Add butter to Skillet; heat over medium heat 1-3 minutes or until foamy. Add celery and onion; cook and stir 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

In Mixing Bowl, combine stuffing, cranberries, apples, seasoning mix and sausage. Add vegetable mixture and broth; toss until moistened. Spoon stuffing into Baker. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Carefully remove lid using oven mitts, lifting away from you; bake an additional 30 minutes or until stuffing is golden brown and heated through.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 210, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 4.5 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 27 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 720 mg, Fiber 3 g

Giving Thanks in ALL Things

by Sarah Nelson

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thanksgiving always brings to mind one of my first attempts at making gravy. I was a
young bride bursting with domestic enthusiasm. My husband and I invited another
young family from our church over to celebrate the giving of thanks, including sharing
what I envisioned to be the Good Housekeeping seal of award Thanksgiving dinner.
The turkey was roasted to a nice golden brown crispiness on the outside, and tender
perfection on the inside. Marshmallow covered sweet potatoes were ready to be popped
in the oven for a quick bake. Now it was time to put what I thought would be the easiest
of all food preparations together. The gravy. How hard could this be? I had my pan
drippings from the turkey. Had some salt nearby. Was it cornstarch or flour? I could not
remember, so I got both out from the pantry. Browning liquid? Oops – didn’t have that,
so I was set to be creative with just the right mix of food coloring. How hard could light
brown be, really?

After several emergency phone calls were placed to my grandma and mother who
graciously didn’t laugh at me (at least that I heard), I was ready to proceed. Why wasn’t
my gravy thickening? Must need more flour, a little more cornstarch too couldn’t hurt.
A few drops of this color, a few drops of that, surely soon this gravy would look
somewhat brownish.

As we gathered around the table I explained that the gelatinous glob of lemon yellow
foodstuff in the gravy boat was not a custardy dessert, but indeed gravy. My dear
husband tried to be a good sport with his affirmation that it was sure to taste good. I did
my best to hold back the tears and enjoy the presence of my dear friends and our little
family gathered around the table. The truth was, the “gravy” didn’t taste good. It was
like trying to swallow wet chalk. Believe me, the last thing I felt like doing was giving
thanks.

As I think back to the circumstances of that long ago Thanksgiving feast failure, I am
reminded that all of us as women have seen circumstances of much greater depth,
disappointment, and discouragement than a batch of botched gravy. Giving thanks in
seasons of grieving the loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, the pain of
moving, all are difficult if not nearly impossible in our own strength. And yet, as a
follower of Christ we know that His will for us is to give thanks in ALL things.

This Thanksgiving, whether you are in a season of rejoicing, or in one of pain, let’s give
thanks together to the One who deserves our gratitude every moment of every day. When
we feel like the world is crumbling around us, let us rest in the One who holds every
moment of every day together by His will and perfect plan. It is His will that we give
thanks in all things. Will you?

Take Your Fears to God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

 Around here I am sometimes referred to as the “cat lady”. Not because I have so many of them, but because I talk about them. But, my cats teach me things I need to learn, about trust, fear, anxiety…

 We got these cats as 3 or 4 week old kittens that had been abandoned or thrown out. Whatever happened they ended up with us. I remember once one of the kittens thought she was lost. We had gone into the kitchen and she followed. But she was playing when we left and hadn’t seen us leave. All of a sudden I heard her screaming at the top of her voice. I ran into the kitchen to find her standing stiff in the middle of the kitchen floor, screaming. Of course, I picked her up and cuddled her and she went to sleep on my lap. Another time, my husband and I were watching a movie. In the movie was a jaguar that was fighting and screaming. Both kittens had been sleeping on my lap. When they heard the jaguar, they both fled up my chest and buried themselves under my chin. They knew they would be safe.

The last incident I’ll tell you about happened recently. Both of the cats are loving, cuddly little beings. However, when taken to the vet, one of them becomes a little monster. She growls, and hisses, and swats any of the resident cats who dare to get too close. I recently discovered that she was doing this, not because she was mad, but because she was scared. I had picked her up and put her on the table to be examined. As long as I stayed beside her, she let the vet do anything she wanted. Afterwards, as I was sitting in the lobby talking and holding her, she actually tried to go to sleep. In other words, she trusted that I would keep her safe.

 In our lives, we have times when we feel lost or threatened by the circumstances we find ourselves. Do you know where to turn to feel safe? In Philippians we are told to be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and thanksgiving to make our requests known to God. We are told that God will give us his peace and keep us. I know that’s not always easy to do. It’s something I struggle with. The last time I was feeling anxious, every time I thought anxious thoughts, I prayed: “Okay, God, you said I am not supposed to borrow from tomorrow. You said to come to you with my troubles, and I’m standing here. I need you.” The funny thing (or maybe not so funny) was that I could feel God’s peace. He was there holding me.  I pray that as you face fearful situations in your life that you learn a lesson from the Bible as illustrated by my cats.  Trust.  Take your fears to God, as often as needed.  He will be there.

Velma Amundson

The Family of God

by Lynn Wellumson

My dad and mom had five children in five and a half years. Thankfully we had a brother in the middle to keep us on our toes.  My mom and her mom liked to make us matching dresses for holidays occasionally.  When our oldest sister hit junior high she mentioned, and the idea grew, that this was something we were no longer interested in doing.  (This must have been especially burdensome to the youngest, who probably ended up wearing all four of them for several years. )

My sisters and I were able to attend a women’s retreat a few years back.  We all came from different directions and had made plans to meet in the motel lobby at a designated time.  You can already hear the laughs as we gathered and found we all had on the same color green sweater.  Our roots were showing.

Whether we are meeting members of God’s family for the first time or if we have been friends for years, there is a commonality in purpose and bond of love.  I recently took part in the Black Hills Shepherds Retreat and fellowshipped with pastors and wives from a variety of denominations.  The love of God and the love of Christ’s finished work on our behalf was the center of our workshops.

I can say along with Bill Gaither “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood.  Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I’m part of the family, the family of God”.

 

Let Him

If I ever went back to college, I think I’d get a degree in psychology. I have no idea what I’d do with it; I just like to try and figure people out. Like what made my brother-in-law Caleb decide to be a cat one day in school? Or what made him look in the freezer for a lost pair of shoes? There are other things I like to try and figure out too. Like why some days my son fights his naps and other days he quickly succumbs to sleep. Or why certain days he is excessively spitty more than others. But I’ve simply had to resign myself to the reality that I’ll never have it all figured out; I’ll never truly understand why people do what they do.Sometimes we do that with God, don’t we? We try to figure Him out. We try to decide why He does what He does. We try to determine why He allows certain events to happen. And I believe there are times when we believe we’ve got the Lord all figured out.

But we don’t. And we never will.

“Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?” – Romans 11:33-35 

“The thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:11

Take comfort in the fact that nothing escapes the Lord. He knows about your heartache. He knows about your pain. But maybe instead of trying to figure Him out, trying to decipher His reasoning and decisions — maybe just let Him be God and let you be His child. Let Him hold your tears; let Him bring you strength; let Him be your joy.

I think that’s what trust is all about: not having to know everything and simply leaning on the strength of the One who does.

“‘I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.'” — Acts 20:24

Diapers and Grace

Little things can have a big impact. Like diapers. The Miriam Home receives donations once a week, usually fruits and vegetables, sometimes day old baked goods. Last month the donation included large disposable diapers – the first time we have received them since I’ve been here. And it was funny timing…we didn’t have any babies in the house and hadn’t for a while. Then two hours later a familiar white car pulled up, one that belongs to the juvenile authorities, bringing two year old Nicholas to us.

This sweet little boy is with us because of neglect at home but each person involved is telling a different story and Nicholas isn’t the first member of the family to stay in the Miriam Home.  We have cared for all three of his older siblings in the past.  It is hard to say right now how long he will be with us. But it was the timing of his arrival (and the diapers) that touched my heart!

I normally do the weekly shopping for the Miriam Home and, like most families, the bill comes in pretty close to money available.  Baby things are expensive:  formula, diapers, wipes and ointment.  Just to be honest, they send chills through me because I know what they do to the budget!!! God knows too, so He sent us diapers before He sent Nicolas.

The question isn’t if the Miriam Home can afford to buy diapers, but that our Father knows the beginning from the end and meets our every need! More than that, it was a reminder for me that the Father knows my heart and makes sure I can see His grace! I hate to admit it, but it is easy for me to fall into worry – yes, Jonni, the missionary, worries. I know better.  The front half of my brain is confidant and secure. But the back half wakes me up in the middle of the night faster than a hot flash with the “what ifs”. Things like what if the visa doesn’t come through?  I am coming home the beginning of April to request a new visa. As clearly as I “know” that my days are in the hands of the Father and not an official in any embassy, my spirit needs to be reminded, and the Father is faithful to do that too!

I am so thankful that the Lord understands me better than I do myself. He not only meets my needs but guards my heart. Thank you, Father!