Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas
from my family
to yours!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cookie time!

I baked Soft Maple Sugar Cookies this morning!  They are delicious! You willl want to add these to your Christmas cookie collection.

Here’s the recipe, found in the  Better Homes and Gardens “Christmas Cookies” magazine.

Soft Maple Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Shape dough in to 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes (I did 12) or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes (they’re super soft right out of the oven!) Transfer to a wire rack; cool. (Centers will dip as cookies cool.) Drizzle with Maple Icing. Makes about 48 cookies.

Maple Icing

In a medium bowl, stir together 1/4 cup whipping cream or milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, and 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup. Whisk in 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar to make an icing of drizzling consistency.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Act of kindness and love

Jim and I were invited by our friends, Sally and  Ron, to go to Aruba.  They had been blessed with a week at a condo! We had a wonderful time being with them and away from the normal busyness of our lives. 

I knew we were coming home to Christmas time.  The tree needed to be bought and the house decorated. I was feeling the stress of all that needed to be done.  We were picked up at the airport by our daughter and son-in-law.  When we arrived home I walked through the door and had the most wonderful surprise.  There in the living room was
a pretty tree decorated so beautifully by Stacy, Shawna, Ashlynn, Austin and Travis.   The house was decorated and Christmas music was playing. 

 Jim and I were both so happy and felt so loved by our daughter's and their husbands!!!  They spent their Sunday afternoon doing this for US!

What an awesome gift of love! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thoughts on Christmas

I have shared the devotions A Heart to Hear by my friend Jennifer before.  I wanted to share the one she wrote today and pray that it blesses you as we begin the month of December.

Here we are, poised on the brink of the Advent season, like a roller coaster at the peak of the first hill. Now more than ever, we need to hear the Lord! Everywhere we turn, voices are shouting for our attention, our time, and our money. Pleas for giving to those in need compete with commercials touting the latest trends in toys. The desire to focus on simply celebrating the birth of Christ collides with a calendar that is suddenly covered with special events. Most stressful of all is trying to figure out what will bring joy to each and every person on our lists without causing a financial meltdown. Suddenly the joy of the season is wavering as we take up the burden of making Christmas wonderful for all the people we love. Does anybody besides me tremble a little at the daunting task of decorating, planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, baking, gift wrapping, gift giving, memory making, and don't forget photographing and scrapbooking the whole thing? Oy vey! in my quiet place, I'm coming to the Lord and I'm asking Him to make my mind new about Christmas. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. When it comes to preparing my heart for Christmas, that's exactly what I need Him to do. First on the agenda is dealing with the fear I feel over wanting to make everyone happy and being pretty sure I will fail. When I brought these fears to the Lord, He told me gently, yet firmly that He alone is responsible for each living soul. He said, "You can love, care and do what I allow you to do, but you will NEVER be able to make them happy or holy or whole. This is MY work. You are required to trust Me and stay out of My Way!"
There are many things I can give my family for Christmas, but happiness is not one of them. What I can give them is myself, at peace, simply loving them with no guilt, no stress, and no strings. I can give them freedom to be who God is making them to be. I can give them the gift of enjoying the imperfect instead of driving everyone crazy in my obsession to make everything flawless.

One more deep breath, and I think I'm ready to look forward to Christmas. My heart feels lighter, because I know now that my Abba Father has His own plans for this special season and He alone is able to make Christmas exactly what it needs to be for each one that I love.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

~~Jennifer Davis

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Free downloads

"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory."
Isaiah 6:3b

 Dennis Jernigan has two free MP3 downloads.  If you don't recognize his name you might recognize some of the songs he has written.  Check out: and enjoy the music!  This is over November 30.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy feet

This morning after my husband, Jim, finished his devotion, he walked through the dining room and said, "I'm walking with "happy feet" today".  I had to know what he meant by that because I wanted to walk that way too. He further explains, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17) "God has covered me with peace and I am walking in His peace so I have "happy feet".  That made me smile. I had been thinking about the last 24 hours and all that so quickly had happened.  Jim had arrived home from a mission trip in Honduras.  We were happy to be back together and I looked forward to hearing about the trip as well as telling him about my week. We went to dinner before going home. After the meal as we still sat talking a waitress came up and asked him if he had a white Ford Expedition. When he said yes, she asked him to come outside with her. I was so confused so quickly followed him. Someone had broken the back window and taken Jim's brief case.  We both felt sick and even sicker when he began to realize what all was in the brief case. He has $500 which one of the team members had just given him, $40 in Honduran money, ipod, Bose headphones, watch (I had given him), video camera, all the videos he had taken in Honduras, Bible, books, journal, notes, passport... The list goes on but those were the big things. We spent the rest of the night calling the police, making a list of everything for the insurance, and just feeling bad about it all.  I don't think either of us slept much that night. The next morning Jim was up early ready to see what he could do about his passport. We needed one quickly as we are going to Aruba next week with dear friends. He also needed to get his window fixed in the Expedition and call the insurance company about the loss.
As the day went on we saw things to thank the Lord for:
Jim was safely home, his luggage was not in the car because it was not on the plane (we got it later), for the kind words from friends that helped soothe our hearts, for the company that came to replace the window in the Expedition rather than us having to drive to them, for the lady who was willing to give Jim a discount on expediting the passport so that it will be in our hands tomorrow, for the manager of the restaurant that bought our lunch (we went back to look around the area hoping the thieves had thrown some of the things out) and apologized that this had happened at his restaurant and for the sweet friends who gave us a very generous gift.  So today, even though a alot of things have been taken from Jim, no one can take the peace of God from him, or from me.  So, like him, I am walking today with "happy feet". And yes, we pray that the people that took the brief case will open the Bible and find forgiveness in Jesus and the peace of God like we have.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Give thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome Home a Hero!

Saturday Jim went to the airport to meet the troops coming home. He really did not know what to expect as this was his first time to do this. Because he is a veteran he was able to be in the front. He greeted the soliders, shook hands and welcomed the men home.  It was a very touching experience and he came home saying,  "I gave them the welcome I never received when I came home from Vietnam".

I have included a link below and if you look towards the front and see a silver haired man with a black hat, that is Jim. :)
Welcome Home a Hero

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A tribute to a dear friend...

This week, we lost a true man of faith. Tom Dooley went to be with the Lord. My husband, Jim,  wrote this amazing tribute to him.

A Voice to the Nation for the Cause of Christ

Fifteen years ago, I was privileged to speak at Tom’s Ordination Service ... there I compared Tom’s ministry to the military tradition of “Reveille” ... an early morning bugle call to awaken soldiers. Each morning at reveille is when accountability for the troops was taken—honor to the nation was rendered—and orders for the day were issued!

This is what Tom did each day ... brought us all to accountability—rendered honor to our Lord and King—and provided practical words for Christian living that served as our orders for the day!

Now he is in the presence of the Commander and Chief ... and no doubt Tom has taken his new position in heaven ... responsibility for Reveille.

I can hear him now calling the saints into accountability—rendering honor to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords—and issuing the orders for the day!

In the distance I can still hear Tom’s voice ... “Welcome to the Journey ... where the words and the music go together!”

Tom’s "Journey” has come to an end ... but his message remains!

Farewell my Friend ... I’ll see you soon!

Colonel Jim Pack

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Destiny in Bloom is an online women’s magazine that aims to inspire, uplift and challenge our readers through articles written from the heart, yet in different perspectives."

My daughter is one of the authors of this magazine and today I would love for you to read her blog on best friends!  It would be an encouragement to her if you would leave her a message under comments!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

What are you reading?

I love Max Lucado's books.  I just finished reading his newest one.  The name got my attention - Out Live Your Life! This book will challenge you to think about ways you can make a difference in other's lives. As you read it you will hear the heart of God for the world. One hundred percent of the royalties from this book benefits children and families through World Vision. You can find it on at a very reasonable price!

I am starting a new book called Shame Off You.  Yesterday the author Alan Wright held a conference at our church.  He taught us from the book and had us answer some of the questions in the workbook. I bought the book and am excited to read it and complete the work book as I read. 

I'd love to know if you have read either of these books or if not, what books are you reading?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Three October gifts...

Happy Birthday
to our nephew Joshua, our daughter, Shawna and
our son-in-law Travis!

We are so thankful for you!
You are each unique and precious gifts from the Lord!





Friday, October 22, 2010

He can turn your sadness into gladness!

She read the words written to her and could not believe what she was reading.  Her heart sank and that was when the sadness began.  That is when the enemy began to whisper lies to her.  They did not sound like lies at the time.  They sounded like truth and the more of them she believed the sadder she became until she was crying.  She continued to feel worse and worse...about things, about who she was, about who she wasn't.  She could not bring herself out of this sadness, even when she thought she heard the Lord reminding her of things totally opposite of what she was believing. She wanted to take hold of truth spoken but it was quickly replaced with the lies that were being repeated over and over to her. Several days later she called a friend to check on her.  They hung up after a short conversation but the friend called back to ask if she had read a particular day in Streams in the Desert. She hadn't read it.  The friend told her how much it had helped her with the sadness she was feeling over the loss in her life. She only told the friend she would read it but knew that God had something for her in this. She got the devotional and found the day. As she read, she read it as if it were written to her by someone that knew how she was feeling, because that is how it seemed. She cried, but this time it was because she was seeing things God's way. She began to change her thinking and in doing so the sadness began to leave.  God was replacing it with His joy. A few days later she was able to share this devotional with another person that was going through something that had made them sad in hopes it would be an encouragement to them. Someone reading this may be needing God to replace the sadness you have with God's gladness/joy! He will do it! Then when you see the need, pass it on to another.

Streams in the Desert - Oct. 15 by Mrs. Charles Cowman

Satan's Tools

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and, let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
There are weights which are not sins in themselves, but which become distractions and stumbling blocks in our Christian progress. One of the worst of these is despondency. The heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.
The failure of Israel to enter the land of promise began in murmuring, or, as the text in Numbers literally puts it, "as it were murmured." Just a faint desire to complain and be discontented. This led on until it blossomed and ripened into rebellion and ruin. Let us give ourselves no liberty ever to doubt God or His love and faithfulness to us in everything and forever.
We can set our will against doubt just as we do against any other sin; and as we stand firm and refuse to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid and give us the faith of God and crown us with victory.

It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, fretting, and wondering if God has forsaken us and if after all our hopes are to end in failure. Let us refuse to be discouraged. Let us refuse to be unhappy. Let us "count it all joy" when we cannot feel one emotion of happiness. Let us rejoice by faith, by resolution, by reckoning, and we shall surely find that God will make the reckoning real. --Selected

The devil has two master tricks. One is to get us discouraged; then for a time at least we can be of no service to others, and so are defeated. The other is to make us doubt, thus breaking the faith link by which we are bound to our Father. Lookout! Do not be tricked either way. --G.E.M.

Gladness! I like to cultivate the spirit of gladness! It puts the soul so in tune again, and keeps it in tune, so that Satan is shy of touching it--the chords of the soul become too warm, or too full of heavenly electricity, for his infernal fingers, and he goes off somewhere else! Satan is always very shy of meddling with me when my heart is full of gladness and joy in the Holy Ghost.
My plan is to shun the spirit of sadness as I would Satan; but, alas! I am not always successful. Like the devil himself it meets me on the highway of usefulness, looks me so fully in my face, till my poor soul changes color!
Sadness discolors everything; it leaves all objects charmless; it involves future prospects in darkness; it deprives the soul of all its aspirations, enchains all its powers, and produces a mental paralysis!

An old believer remarked, that cheerfulness in religion makes all its services come off with delight; and that we are never carried forward so swiftly in the ways of duty as when borne on the wings of delight; adding, that Melancholy clips such wings; or, to alter the figure, takes off our chariot wheels in duty, and makes them, like those of the Egyptians, drag heavily.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

So good with a cup of tea...

This afternoon I made a recipe that Jim and I really liked.  It is easy to make and tastes so good.  It is a very moist cake. I found the recipe at:  You can find the calories and nutritional information for this recipe, as well as other recipes on this site.

Lemon Poppy Seed Snack Cake

1 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt (optional)
1 T poppy seeds
1 C. All-Bran Original or 1 C. All-Bran Buds
1/4 C. fat-free milk *
2 egg whites
3 T. vegetable oil
1 C. (8 oz.) low-fat, lemon flavored yogurt
1 T grated lemon peel
1 t. powdered sugar

  1. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, comine All-Bran, cereal, milk, egg whites, oil, lemon peel and yogurt.  Let stand about five minutes or until cereal softens Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined.  Spread evenly in 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
* If you are like me and thought you did not like fat-free milk, try organic fat-free milk.  It is delicous.



Monday, October 11, 2010

Where He leads me...

On Sept. 15th I received a phone call that broke my heart. Our precious friend’s 37 yr. old daughter died from an epileptic seizure. The next few days were spent trying to figure out the best time to go to MN to be with our friends.  It was decided that waiting for a couple weeks would be better than coming right away.  Reservations were made and I was all set to be gone from Friday to Tuesday morning.  I am not the best flyer and much prayer is prayed when I do fly.  I asked the Lord to give me a smooth flight and that it would be nice if I sat by a woman (I had a middle seat). While waiting to board the plane I sat down by a lady reading a Randy Alcorn book I had read.  As she and I talked she told me how she had had these reservations for a long time and this week decided to change the dates she would go to MN. But she forgot to do this and two days ago her sister called to tell her that her father had passed away.  So because she had the ticket she was prepared to go.  As I listened to her story I thought again how God directs our steps.
1Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you...
I boarded the plane and when I got to my seat I saw that I was sitting between two women.  Thank you Lord!  The one by the window greeted me and we quickly began visiting.  She was a Christian, her parents had been missionaries in Hawaii (where I once lived) and half way through the flight I found out she attends my daughter's church.  When she found out where I was going and why, she shared about her mother's sorrow and how she coped when her baby sister died.  How interesting that I was once again gfiven an opportunity to share about grief.  As I was walking off the plane I was filled with thankfulness to the Lord.  My visit with our friends was so sweet and I prayed that the words spoken or not spoken were just what they needed.
2Corintians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
I loved my time with them. I know that the Lord will continue to comfort their hurting hearts and meet their needs.  After many hugs and tears my visit with my friends was over and I was boarding a plane home. Again I prayed about the trip and who I would sit with.  This time, as before, I was sitting beside a lady.  Our conversation began with talking about Mexican food and how she prepared it. As we talked I also learned that her mother had passed away three years ago and she seemed to be handling it OK but her sister wasn’t.  I was able to share and suggest some things from my own experience that could help her sister.  As we began to land she said she sure hoped that her next flight would be safe and that she would sit by a lady. Without a thought, I began to pray out loud for her, her next flight and then for her sister.  I was surprised but happy for my boldness. As I finished she said, “in the name of Jesus”.  I told her I hoped she did not mind me praying.  She didn’t. I smiled inside remembering times I had heard others tell about their times on planes, praying or witnessing to people and was glad this time I was the one experiencing it. I am thankful for this trip and the time I had with my sweet friends.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Soup's on!

Autumn is here!  That means our Texas days and nights will finally be a little cooler.
I decided to make some soup for us tonight.  I also wanted to try a new recipe.  So I looked a favorite cook book for soups, Taste of Home Soup cook book, and found one that sounded good.  I loved that I had most of the ingredients on hand and it seemed pretty easy to make. Jim and I really liked it. 
Yesterday my sweet neighbor brought us some brownies and cornbread.  The cornbred was perfect with this soup. I wanted to let her know we liked her cornbread (liked the brownies too) so thought it would be fun to let her try the soup so off I went to her house with a bowl of it. She just returned with the empty bowl and said she loved it and wanted the recipe.  What fun to share with neighbors. I am sure you have a neighbor that would love to be blessed by something you have baked, or take them a cup of this soup!

Here is the link to the recipe >>>> White-Bean--n--Barley-Soup

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Loving acts of kindness...

We were stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas when my father passed away some years ago.  My parents lived in Ohio and after the funeral it was very difficult for me to leave, knowing we lived so far away.  I remember pulling up in front of our house in Kansas and thinking how everything had changed in my life and how sad I felt.  I was still setting in the car when Jim reached the door.  He yelled to come see what our friends had done.  There were notes all over the place, beginning with the front door.  I saw little notes on the bathroom sink that said, "cleaned with love" and notes on towels that said, "folded with love".  I could hardly see through the tears but kept walking through the house and kept finding notes everywhere. Our friends had cleaned our home while we were gone.  When I made my way to the kitchen I saw food  for us with a note "prepared with love".
On the counter were chocolate bars with a note that said, "baked with love".  We were laughing and crying by the time we walked through the house and saw all the love that had been bestowed upon us by our friends.  God was indeed loving us through these wonderful friends.  I will never forget their kindness and so wish today I could see them and thank them one more time. 
The other night I needed to bake something for our church staff Life Group meeting.  I looked in my recipe box for something to bake. I found the recipe for the bars that our friend Kandy had left on our kitchen counter those many years ago.  A flood of memories came to my mind as I held the recipe in my hand.  I also thought about my sweet friend, Kandy, who is now with the Lord, and was very glad she had given me her recipe. I prepared it and took it to Life Group.  Everyone loved the bars.  It was fun sharing with the ladies the story of where the recipe came from and the precious acts of kindness we received.  Below is the recipe.  I hope you will enjoy it and maybe pass it along to someone in need of a hug!

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars
1/2 C. crunch style peanut butter
1/3 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 C. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and sugar.  Beat until creamy. Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla.  Blend in flour, baking powder and salt.  Spread in a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  Place in oven for 3 minutes. Remove from oven;run knife through to marbleize. Return to oven for about 30 minutes (I suggest checking on them at 25 minutes).  Cool and cut into bars. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lovin' the beach!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One of my favorite places...

 If you seek Him 
 you will find Him

I have always loved the beach.  The first time I ever saw the ocean or was on a beach was after I graduated from high school and visited a friend in CA. I still remember the wonder of seeing it all, laying on the beach and feeling the hot sun on my back and loving it. I knew I wanted to return some day.  The next time I went was for our honeymoon at Virgina Beach.  It was so awesome to hear the roar of the waves each night from our ocean front room. Then while Jim was in Viet Nam he was able to fly to Hawaii for R and R.  We spent a glorious week on the beach!  We talked about how fun it would be to be stationed there one day.  About two years later we were indeed stationed at Scholfield Barrack, HI.  We lived on the beach on the North Shore for almost 5 years.  An amazing time in our lives and a dream come true. There is so much that I love about the ocean and the beach. I love the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore.  I love the look of the ocean, so powerful and mighty or  very calm and gentle.  I love the feel of the sand between my toes as I walk along the shore.  I love getting up early to watch the sun rise over the ocean. I love seeing it set at night as it looks like it is falling into the ocean. I love looking out at the ocean and catching a glimpse of dolphins or whales jumping or a boat sailing by.  Truly it is one of my favorite places to be.  For the past four years we have been fortunate enough to take a yearly trip to Gulf Shores, AL with our family.  I get to enjoy all the beauty of the ocean and beach for one week. I am full of thanks to God.  I see Him in the beauty all around me.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First day of preschool...

Thank you Lord for this precious child.

"I have a new Hello Kitty backpack and a new Hello Kitty lunch box for preschool". 
 "I am going to preschool the day after tomorrow." 
"My mommy bought me a pencil with flowers". 
All this from a very excited 3 1/2 yr. old going to preschool...our sweet granddaughter.

Bye Mommy!  See you this afternoon!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Amy Elizabeth Pack Memorial Scholarship...

Honduras, 1998

We are happy to once again contact you as the time approaches for the presentation of the Amy Elizabeth Pack Memorial Scholarship. With your help last year we once again presented a $1,000 scholarship to a student from Ruach International Christian Academy in Comayagua, Honduras.
 We are excited to be able to make this scholarship available again this year. Jim was in Honduras last November and was so honored to present the scholarship in person. He will be there again this year as the graduation speaker.

We have an unusual situation this year. There are two very deserving students. We have watched them over these years as they have grown in the Lord, developed into excellent leaders, and have performed well academically. It has been very difficult to make a choice between them, so we are hoping to be able to present both with a scholarship. You have all been faithful over these past ten years so please do not feel any pressure, but if you are able to do a little extra this year we would be honored. Either way we greatly appreciate your faithfulness to this scholarship.

Helping young people fulfill their dreams is a blessing to us, as is keeping Amy’s life story and testimony alive. You will never know how meaningful that is for us, and hopefully for you also, as you remember Amy in this way!

If you would like to donate, please leave me a comment and I will give you the information you need.

Thank you for your love for Amy and for our family. You remain an important part of our lives!

Jim and  Elaine

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Always in my heart...