A fun story about the Queen and how sometimes we can easily jump to the wrong conclusions!

 

 

 

Today will certainly go down in history as honored and memorable as Queen Elizabeth is mourned and laid to rest.  She served her country for over 70 years traversing changes she probably would never have believed possible in her lifetime.  Yet, even as earthly royalty, a day would come when only one decision would matter as she breathed her last---what did she decide about Jesus for this would be the decision that determines eternity.  Regardless of our titles here on earth, there is one title that we can know and have--CHILD OF GOD!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:16-17

 

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." 1 Peter 2:9-10

 

 

 

This makes us heirs with Christ and a royal priesthood.  We don't have to wonder, guess or gamble.....we can KNOW that we are a CHILD OF GOD!   This Wednesday @ 11 AM, Larry will be sharing a marvelous message on COFFEE & CONNECT about that very thing---what are you counting on for eternity?  You can go to our Facebook page>> https://www.facebook.com/groups/590560935145210  to watch or by Wednesday afternoon, the video will be posted here>> /CC-LIVE.

 

In honor of the Queen's memory, here is an unforgettable Queen story and life lesson:

 

Years ago, Larry and our ministry team was traveling in Canada. We pulled our coach into Regina, Saskatchewan, and we were looking for the auditorium where we were to have a concert/rally that evening. Streets were blocked off in every direction.  We tried and tried to find an alternate route.  We drove this way and that and each time discovered the main road we needed was blocked off when we got to it. 

 

People, hundreds and thousands of them, were lined up.  We actually got to the main street only to find it was also roped off--a dead end again!  Frustrated, I remember expressing, “What on earth! We need to get through this!  We are running late!!!!”  Larry was driving, and I was in the  "buddy seat" fuming and thinking, “Well, it must be an annual parade, how ‘unlucky’ can we be to get stuck in all this traffic standstill.  We can’t go across, can’t back up.  What are we going to do?" as exasperation and a bit of panic began to set in.

 

Just then, music started, and we watched as the English with all of their royal pomp, glamour and glitter strode before us along with the Royal Canadian Mounted police abreast on their majestic horses, followed by a Royal Canadian marching band . It was all happening about 15-20 feet in front of our windshield!   I was still wondering, “What on earth is all of this?”   

 

Then we saw following the procession, an open air stunning black limousine convertible, was inching in front of us.  To our great surprise, it was Queen Elizabeth!!!!!!  We gasped in shock and awe as she waved to the crowds of spectators, turned our direction, and smiled and waved to us!  

 

We had just encountered the presence of the Queen of England!!  While embarrassed by our previous frustration, we cracked up laughing hysterically, thinking how upset we were to be detained and sidetracked by this interruption----“The Queenof England"!

 

Lesson learned: never allow the frustration of a delay “get cha”… you never know what’s really coming into your daily life. God has it all under control!

 

With that, have a lovely week.  Please know that Larry and I continue to pray for you and thank the Lord for you!

 

Gloria



 

Cream Puffs

 

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sifted flour

4 eggs

 

Heat water and butter to a rolling boil.  Turn heat to low and stirl in flower vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of hte pan and forms a ball.  Remove from heat; beat in eggs, one at a time and mix until smooth and velvety.  Drop from spoon onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degress.  You can make 8 large puffs and bake 40-50 minutes or 14-15 small puffs and bake 20 minutes.  Cool.  Fill with whipped topping, ice cream or custard!

Here is a quick update on what we have faced this week---so thankful for God working in our daughter's health!

Have you ever had one of those weeks that just didn't go as planned?  The unexpected happens!  Well, we had one of those weeks.

 

Our daughter, LaDawn, hadn't been feeling quite like herself for a little while so she was really encouraged to go to the doctor to see if the source of her symptoms could be identified.  As they ran tests and ultimately did an ultrasound, it was discovered that she had a blood clot in each lung and one also in her leg.  This needed immediate action so she was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital.  We are thankful for God's timing and hand in all of this.  They ran numerous tests, gave blood transfusions and watched her numbers closely to make sure things didn't get worse and to also identify what was taking place in her body.  

 

We are thankful to say that after a few days treating her with blood thinner and B12 (she was deficient), along with making sure her systems were not damaged during this time, they released her to our care.  She is improving and it warms our heart to see this.  She is under close watch by blood specialists to make sure things keep going in the right direction and is also on extended rest for her body to be restored.

 

We posted on Facebook the immediate prayer need, and we were so thankful for all that went to prayer immediately.  We are ever grateful for each and every one.  And we also give thanks to those who were not aware until now, but are willing to continue to uphold her in prayer that she will be fully restored and there will be no complications!   Thank you so so so very much!

 

We are so thankful for God's Word and the comfort within.  This verse from Jeremiah 30:17 was on my lips, "But I will restore your health and heal your wounds..."  When we are going through trials, we often find how precious the Word of God is.  We also find out how important JOY is ("the joy of the Lord is our strength") and how we must not let the enemy steal it in the hard times.  In today's COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE, I shared an update on LaDawn and how I chose to navigate this "bump in the road" with her health.  You can listen to the video here:

 

 

We pray that you are doing well and that you would know that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.  Don't let the enemy steal your joy (strength), but lean in, let the things that need to be revealed--be revealed, and let the FAITHFUL ONE make you more like Him!

 

Gloria

 



 

RECIPE

 

This is a yummy recipe to utilize those fresh garden veggies!

 

CHICKEN & VEGETABLE STIRFRY

 

2 lbs. chicken breasts

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp garlic powder

vegetable cooking spray

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 large green peppers, cut in strips

1/2 cup carrots, diagonally sliced

1/2 cup celery, diagonally sliced

1 1/4 cup chicken broth, divided

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges

4 cups hot cooked rice

 

Cut chicken into thin strips; sprinkle with paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Coat a wok or large skillet with cooking spray.  Allow to heat to medium-high for two minutes.  Add chicken and stirfry for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Next, add onion, green peppers, carrots, celery and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Cover and cook for 1 1/2 minutes.  Combine remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, cornstarch and soy sauce, stirring until blended.  Mix well.  Add broth mixture to wok or skillet, stirring well.  Add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Serve over hot rice!

It sure is hot in Nashville and Gloria is in a war with some rabbits, but God continues to be good and faithful!

Oh my, did I say hot???   Yes with all capital letters….HOT!  The meteorologist came on and said that the heat index today here in Nashville is 119°. I am so thankful for air-conditioning, and my heart goes out to all those who have to be outside working. I have several plants and vines outside that I’m trying to keep alive. I go out at about 8:30 at night when it’s a bit cooler to water and tend to them. I water the plants, the flowers and the vines and then proceed to go back in our temperate home.  Well...evidently  after I go to bed, the rabbits come and for some reason they think that my sweet potato vines  plus everything else I have out there must be a “luscious salad bar”. I went out there three days ago, and they were just nipping everything down left and right.  Well, this Norwegian got her dander up and was ready to face the challenge set before her so I put out  big traps.  Yes, I know my daughter thinks I am mean, but I thought if I could scare one rabbit by its tail in there, it would scare the rest of them away.  I ventured back out the next morning in suspense to see what had happened.  I found that the traps with peanut butter were snapped but no rabbit. Yesterday I went back out to check the traps and instead of a rabbit, I had a bird in a trap. I can’t win so I decide to put mothballs in with my vines and my flowering plants. We’ll see what happens now. You can tell the war zone between the Norwegian and the rabbits is on…. who is going to win?  Stay tuned!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other news, Larry and I both escaped getting Covid for the past two years, but 12 days ago it caught up with us.  We both tested positive. I tested positive first and tried to stay totally away from Larry so he wouldn’t get it, but it didn’t work even with our masks on.  He tested positive next.  I thought, "Oh well, we both got it at the same time so we don’t have to hide from each other anymore."  (Besides he can only make oatmeal, coffee and toast; he really wanted something else to eat.) I’m a softy!  I was thankful we could be together. He has been doing well with the Covid. I’m having a little bit of a problem as it is messing with my Afib, but I’m laying low and am okay.  It will be okay, especially as we know you will lift us up in prayer for complete restoration!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This summer is speeding by so quickly.   We have so thoroughly enjoyed doing our COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE.  I encourage you to CLICK HERE and catch up with some of them if you have missed a few.  You’ll enjoy the guests that we’ve had on!  This week we had our special guest (and former team member for a couple of years), Jeff Nordin, play a concert of patriotic songs.  It was marvelous and I know you will love it!   

 

Check it out:

 

 

And just as a note, as we focus on America,  I thought how tragic and true the following is.  God has blessed America.  God please give us wisdom, give us hearts that will pursue you above all else, give us a fervency to share the Gospel, give us an urgency to pray like never before.  Lord, please have mercy on this great nation.

 

Top 10 Ways to Destroy America

  1. Replace civility with disrespect and impulsive reactions.
  2. Watch violent and shameless entertainment.
  3. Reward bad behavior and ridicule good deeds.
  4. Substitute things that matter with alcohol, drugs and pleasure.
  5. See yourself as a victim to diminish your responsibility.
  6. Deny welfare is addictive when it has ensnared three generations.
  7. Embrace the idea that inconvenient laws may be ignored.
  8. Elect hypocrites who shirk their sworn duty for votes.
  9. Don’t ask questions, just follow the crowd
  10. Ignore advice from those who paid the price in blood, sweat and tears.

-Quentin Kent Sr


 

 


RECIPE

 

Here's a refreshing dessert for a hot summer day!

 

Ice Cream Dessert

 

60 Ritz crackers, crushed

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 boxes instant pudding (your choice of flavor-pistachio, vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, lemon)

1 1/2 cup milk

1 quart ice cream, softened

1 carton whipped topping

 

 

Mix cracker crumbs and butter; reserve a few crumbs for topping.  Put rest of crumbs in a 9x13 pan.  Mix together pudding, milk and ice cream.  Put on cracker crust.  Put a layer of whipped topping of the mixture.  Spring the reserved crumbs on top!  Put in freezer and let harden.  Enjoy!

Happy Father's Day!! Enjoy this special word of encouragement to parents from Larry and Gloria.

 

 

Greetings from Nashville!  God has turned up the thermostat here in Nashville and it has been steamy with temperatures in the 100’s.  We are soooooo thankful for air conditioning, electricity and all the things that make us comfortable when it is this warm.  We hope you are staying cool wherever you are!  We continue to stay busy with physical therapy appointments for Larry (we praise God for every bit of progress), doing the COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE program, taking care of our  office to do’s and keeping up with texts, phone calls and letters.  We are thankful for every day that we have together and are able to serve the Lord together fulfilling the calling He has on our lives!

 

As Father’s Day approaches, we can’t help but think about our kids, our parenting experiences and all the letters, texts, and calls we have received from parents that are hurting, wounded, unsure, and broken.  We want everything to be perfect in our families, but the reality is we live in an imperfect world and things don’t always go how we desire them to.  What do we do when that is the case?

 

 

We shared the article below in our monthly newsletter.  We pray that it gives you some HOPE where you are right now as a parent, grandparent or even great grandparent as we are now.  Don’t give up!  Keep praying and believing for your family!  We also shared on this topic on our most recent CCLIVE….click here to view that.

 

 

Wounded Parents

 

I would suppose the yearning of every parent is to raise a perfect child: physically strong, emotionally stable, intelligently gifted and a spiritual giant for others to admire. A child that is, above all: loyal, honest, sincere, ambitious, motivated, an up-and-aspiring young man or woman who will make all the right decisions and choices, and who will take the world by the tail and win in every situation and circumstance.

 

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD! To begin with, let us confirm that “we” are not a perfect family. We have problems and face disappointments just like any other family. As of yet, we have not met a parent that could honestly verify all of the above in their children. Why? Because children are human; they are not perfect, trouble-free, carefully-programmed robots. Almost every day Christian parents tearfully acknowledge, “We’ve tried so hard to raise and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. But still, after all of this, some of our children have strayed into sin. Why? We just don’t understand.” Why the problems? Because children are born with a “free” will. From the onset of the first whimper or cry, they are expressing their will. Then as the years pass by and they age, their environment, culture, and morals play an integral part in shaping their will. While all of this is happening, we, as Christian parents, do the best we know how to instill God’s Word, His principles, and a life of godliness within them through Bible-reading, prayer, Sunday school, church, special events and family devotions. Somehow even amidst all the spiritual investment in our children, some still stray away from God for a season. The most heart-wrenching pain a parent can experience is to see their son or daughter fall into rebellion, turn against God and wander into sin. The parents’ minds are then bombarded with, “Why? How could this have happened? Whose fault is it? Who is to blame?”

 

Please allow us to share some of our observations, facts, feelings, and advice with you that we have learned over the years.

 

Don’t dwell on the blame game. It’s tempting and dangerous for one parent to toss the blame on the other parent. Avoid it at all costs! Channel your energies toward restoring the prodigal, rather than destroying the marriage relationship. Luke 11:17 says, “A house divided against itself will fall.” Agree to re-evaluate. Look at your past mistakes and learn from them. Determine to pull together as a couple and fight the spiritual battle, not each other.

 

Forgive yourself and each other for the mistakes you have both made in child rearing. Can we just say that there is only ONE perfect parent—God the Father—none of us have parented perfectly, so lay aside your egos and pride, and ask God to forgive you. Then go one step further: ask forgiveness of your prodigal for anything you did or said as a parent that caused him/her to stray. We’ve had to go to our children many times to ask forgiveness.

 

Realize your child has a will! It’s inevitable that someday our children will have to exercise their own will and make their own choices and decisions. Whether right or wrong, they will be responsible for that choice, and have to live with it and learn from it—whatever the consequences. A part of growing up is falling down. As parents, what should we do? We shouldn’t try to break their will, but try to bend the will. A will that is broken is a useless will, but the bending of one is directing it into the right channel with a purpose and goal.

 

Whatever you do, never reject or alienate them from the family. Resentment will keep them from ever coming back home. You are their parents, not just until they are eighteen, but for all eternity. When they come to their senses, they’ll need a refuge to retreat to, and a family to love and guide them down the right path.

 

Love your prodigal unconditionally. That’s hard, especially for a Christian parent whose principles and values have been willfully rejected and they have turned against all you believe and stand for. Nevertheless—LOVE THEM! No matter how tough it gets out there, they need to know they are loved. Tell them you love them. But, also express to them that you are hurt by their disobedience to God and you, their parents. It’s okay to let them know you hurt…YOU ARE FAMILY.

 

Pray—pray— and pray like you never have before. You may have many, many sleepless nights ahead of you, so use those anxious, hurting hours and moments to pray for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Let them know you are praying day and night for them. You may have to invest in a pair of football-player kneepads for all the hours you’ll spend on your knees before God.

 

Give your children to God! Give God freedom to work in their lives as He chooses. That’s hard! This helps lift that unbearable pain and burden. Psalm 68:19 says, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

 

Believe that God is able. He is able to return to you what Satan has stolen. Even if you don’t see it, pray in the fourth dimension. See them serving God. See them loving God. Romans 4:17 says: “The God who give life to the dead, and calls things that are not as though they were.” Begin to call those things in their lives “that are not—as though they were.” Be encouraged. God is able!

 

Lastly, begin to praise God for what He is going to do. Psalm 92:1 says, “It is good to praise the Lord…” Proclaim God’s love in the morning and His faithfulness at night! Trust and praise Him until your victory comes.”

 


 

 


RECIPE

Take dad out to the lake and make him this taco salad to enjoy for lunch!

Summer Taco Salad

Ingredients:

3 Flour Tortillas

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Pinch of Salt

1 pound Hamburger

4 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning

1/2 Cup Water

1/2 Head Iceberg Lettuce

Cherry Tomatoes - Halved

Black Olives - pitted and sliced

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Dressing:

1 Cup Sour Cream

2 Tablespoons Salsa

1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning

1 Tablespoon Dried Ranch Seasoning

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tortillas into thin strips. Toss with oil then transfer to baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, toss half way through.  Brown the ground beef. Add taco season and water to taco season and summer until the water evaporates and turns into a saucy consistency. For the dressing mix sour cream, taco seasoning, and ranch seasoning.  Add water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to get desired consistency. For the salda mix lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, taco meat and tortilla strips. Mix in salad dressing and serve immediately.

Happy Mother's Day! Gloria shares an article about the power of a mother's love and how her mother helped shape her life and love for Jesus!

It is so hard to believe that Mother's Day is quickly approaching!  This year sure seems to be flying by.  As I look back on the prior months and the challenges that we have had with Larry's surgery and recovery, I can look back and  say how thankful I am for my mom, Julie Brooks, who was integral in teaching me, guiding me and most importantly, showing me how to love and lean on Jesus! ( miss her so!)  As we have faced some hard moments and some great joys recently, my mom helped build in my life a solid foundation on which to stand because she showed me that Jesus is the only Rock we can count on each and every day!  I think  of the words to an old song written in 1834:

 

 

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

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

 

In today's COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE, Larry and I both share on the memories, the characteristics, the sacrifices and the legacies our mothers made.  We are who we are in part due to their love, their prayers and their influence in our lives.  And I just want to take a moment to say, "Mom.....you are needed.  You may not feel seen, you may feel like you aren't making a difference, you may have a broken relationship with your kids, or you may feel like a failure in this moment of time, but please know this....God made you to be the mother of your children.  He chose you for this time and this moment!  You are exactly who they need in their lives!"  I am praying for you that you will know how important you are and that every prayer you pray for your children isn't wasted----if not you---who will pray for them?

 

If you would like to watch the CCLIVE video from today, here is the link to do so:  

 

 
 

I wanted to share with you my article from the newsletter this month---A Mother's Love.  Enjoy!

 

Growing up in a rural community with our town’s population “pushing” 3,000 people left lots of room for imagination and creativity. We didn’t have all the extra entertainment a larger city could offer. For that reason, my father always made sure we had enough to keep us busy and occupied, or as he would say “keep us out of mischief.” 

 

 Our big old two story house sat on a quarter city block and the other fourth of a block was our huge family garden. My brothers and I were convinced that Dad planted enough string beans to feed all the hungry all over the world. Much to our dismay, we had to pick those beans day after day all summer long. (Not our favorite thing to do!) Alongside the garden was a little chicken coop that my grandfather and Dad built to house the chickens to satisfy the “itch” my dad had for a little bit of a farm life environment around him. He had grown up living in the western plains of South Dakota. One year Dad bought Bantam chickens. If you know anything about these chickens, they are little, full of spitfire and definitely hot-tempered birds. Even so, I enjoyed having them…most of the time. It was my daily chore to have a regular hunt for eggs as I tried to collect eggs but had to first figure out where they would lay them. They would never lay them in the chicken coop. They laid them under bushes, old tires, in rotting tree trunks, along ditches, in the flower garden… everywhere but the chicken coop! I loved to gather eggs, but it didn’t take me long to learn that these chickens were very protective and possessive of their chicks. They would “fight” for their brood! It didn’t make any difference how big we were. If we crossed their territory or entered into their arena, the mother hen would drop her wings, puff up her feathers and make a beeline for me. She would let out a terrifying squall and would hit the ground which signaled to the chicks to run and hide in all directions. She would then proceed to fly up in the air, pick at me in her attempt to detour me from her precious chicks and nest. Many times, I would get so angry, I would want to reach down and twist her head, but I knew that wouldn’t make my father very happy.

 

It is amazing how time changes things! Now years later, I identify with that mother hen. When I see the enemy coming at my family with temptations and problems trying to wrench them away from God, I find myself like that Bantam hen. By nature I am pretty easygoing—until my family is on the line, then I come out fighting. Larry and I realize the devil is out to destroy families and relationships, and we are no exception. But…we have the KEY! 1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”  If there is any work of the enemy in my family’s past that seeks to encroach upon the life of my family or your family, we can break it by the power and authority given to us in Jesus Christ. It’s ours. It’s free. It works. Let’s use it!

 

GLORIA

 


 


RECIPE

 

This would be a yummy recipe for a Mother's Day brunch!  

 

Streusel Coffeecake

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter

1 cup milk

1 egg

 

STREUSEL TOPPING:

1 cup nuts

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 Tbsp firm margarine

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare streusel topping: mix all ingredients until crumbly.  Set aside.

Mix cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for two minutes.  

Spread half of batter into greased 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle with half of the streusel.  Top with remaining batter.  Sprinkle with the remaining streusel.

Bake 35-40 minutes.

Greetings from Nashville, TN! As you prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Jesus Christ join us on COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE as we share on the proof of the resurrection and how our families were changed forever!

 

Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee!  Larry and I just love this time of year as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ which changed the entire world and certainly changed our destiny for eternity.  We also take this time to further celebrate two families that are very dear to our hearts that came to the Lord during the Easter season!  In 1957, the Lundstroms came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and in 1952 the Brooks family came to know the Lord. 

 

Truly, every day is Easter to us knowing the abundant life we have and secured eternity we have because of asking Jesus to be Savior and Lord of our lives!

 

So as we walk through this Holy Week, may we remember and celebrate fully the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ for you and me and all humanity---and may we overflow with thanksgiving and rejoicing for His resurrection from the dead that changed everything! 

 

 

We encourage you to tune into the COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE this week at 11 AM in our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/590560935145210)  or watch it later in the day on our website at http://www.larrylundstromministries.org/CC-LIVE.  We will be sharing on the proof of the resurrection and how our families were changed forever through the resurrection!

 

Below is my newsletter article on “Is Good Friday Really Good?”  What was so horrific and devastating was for our good!  How great is our God!

 

I will never forget the moment! Our son, Donovan, was about five years old. We had just finished devotions, and the story for that evening was about Good Friday. With hands tucked under his chin and big blue eyes ready to spill over with tears, he looked at us and asked in confusion, “Dad, was it really a good Friday?” Knowing we always vowed not to intentionally lie to him, Larry and I looked at each other searching each other’s face for an honest answer to that innocent question. God gave us wisdom to answer him.

 

We explained that Good Friday wasn’t good for Jesus… but indeed, it was very good for us. If He hadn’t died for our sins, we wouldn’t be here and we would have no way to go to heaven. God somehow in His mercy enlightened understanding to his young tender heart. I still find it difficult to explain or figure out why bad things happen to good, godly people. Every day we receive news from people in our lives who have experienced tragedies such as untimely deaths, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, Covid, Alzheimers, fractured families, prodigal children, financial hardships…the list could go on and on. Our hearts hurt for each one and we cry out and question, “My God… why have You forsaken them?”

 

Then I revisit those last six hours of Jesus’ life and death. “Those were no normal six hours,” Max Lucado writes, “for during those six hours on that Friday, God embedded in the earth three anchor points sturdy enough to withstand any storm or hurricane.”

 

Anchor #1 My life is not futile or in vain.

The Rock, Jesus, secures the hull of your heart. Its sole function is to give you something you can grip when facing futility. It is the “grasp” on the conviction that there is truth. It reminds me that God will never allow me to go through any more than I can bear so I can make it through the storms of life. God is in control and there is a purpose for which I have to seek God for. In other words, God doesn’t want me to waste my pain or sorrow. It can be turned from tragic to triumph, and from triumph to a testimony!

 

Anchor #2 My failures are not final.

God does not like or approve of what we’ve done wrong, but He forgives us when we ask Him to in sincerity. He is a God of second chances. We don’t have to be a prisoner to failures. “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” John 8:36

 

Anchor #3 Death is not final.

If you know Christ, the grave is not the end. It is just a doorway! I can’t imagine believing in a god where the tomb is the end. Jesus knew all along He was born to die and He was obedient unto death. The tomb was just a “stage” for a miracle. When they rolled that stone in front of the tomb, they could just as well have put a piece of tape on it. Jesus only went into the tomb to prove He could come out! When the moment of the miracle happened, Jesus arose triumphant, and the immense stone was rolled away. Death was swallowed in victory!

 

Friend, if it were not for the tragic “Good” Friday events, we would not have the joy and hope of Easter. Praise the Lord! Those three anchors are what I hold on to when it feels like all hope is gone and when the trials and storms of life are raging and feel like they are going to overtake me. The words from Bill Gaither’s song, “Because He Lives” ring every true…Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! Let me encourage you…you can face tomorrow…if only you put your hand in the nail scarred hand of Jesus


 


Easter Bread

One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface and kneading

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/3 cups milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the bowl

1 teaspoon fine salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 lightly beaten for egg wash

1/3 cup sliced skin-on almonds

1 tablespoon mini white nonpareils

Pour 1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently whisk in the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the flour and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Set aside until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles start to form around the edges, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, the remaining sugar and the salt. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, set on medium-low speed and pour the milk mixture into the yeast mixture. Add the 2 beaten eggs. Gradually mix in the remaining flour, and beat until a soft dough forms. Increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball, about 5 minutes (the dough will be sticky). Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead, adding more flour as needed, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Put the dough in a lightly buttered large bowl, cover and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and cut it into 3 equal parts. Gently roll out each piece into a 16-inch-long rope. Transfer the ropes to the prepared baking sheet. Press the ropes together at one end, braid them, then gently tuck both ends under to form a long loaf. Cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the entire loaf with the remaining beaten egg. Scatter the almonds and nonpareils on top, concentrating them down the middle of the loaf (they will spread as the loaf bakes). Bake until the loaf is dark golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool about 30 minutes before slicing.

Some smiles....some cookies....some progress...all good things!

 

 

 

Hello again!  Yes---we are still here!  While we aren’t currently doing our COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE, rest assured we are staying busy.  Larry is still actively going through rehab.  It has almost been  a month since his back surgery and as you know, we encountered some health speed bumps along the way that we are still working on.  The biggest issue being Larry was diagnosed orthostatic hypotension which causes his heart rate to go low causing dizzy spells/fainting.  They have changed his med and we are overjoyed that the last three days, it has been better.  It isn’t perfect yet, but we are seeing improvement.  The other issue was have faced is that Larry has had extreme weakness.  We are thankful he is in a place where they are working on building his strength back up diligently.  We would appreciate your continued prayers that we would continue to see forward progress in these areas. 

 

 

 

 

 

The good news is Larry is as active as ever witnessing to as many as he can right where he is at.  Many are the staff at the rehab place, and he has been excited to pray with a few.  Of course, he always starts winning them over as a friend with jokes and laughter  and then leads into the more serious conversations.  I love that Larry is the same no matter where he is at---his heart is always to reach people for Christ!

 

Thank you in advance for your continued prayers as Larry is quite anxious to get up and going and out and home.  He is also ready for some home cooked food (It’s not necessarily a gourmet meal service).  Needless to say, I bring him coffee and treats and the family brings him things he likes---burgers, fries, milkshakes and his son-in-law even made him Irish stew.

 

Speaking of treats, how blessed we are to have such wonderful neighbors.  These two little sweethearts, Rosemary and Caroline, brought over these cookies they made with their mom.  They wanted to give them to Larry.  Wow…did that ever put a smile on his face!  And yes…I even gave him some ice cream to go with them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, just to make you smile….here is a little chuckle I recently had:

 

I was in a rush to get dressed and made presentable as I knew I needed to go to the post office, grocery store and the bank before heading through crazy traffic to be with Larry at the rehabilitation center.   I parked at the bank in the handicap spot, and realized I left the handicap card in LaDawn’s car, reparked the car, rushed into the bank to cash a check and was greeted by three tellers asking  “Where’s Larry?”  I proceeded to explain that he is in a rehabilitation center after undergoing back surgery. They chirped,

 “We have missed him lately.  He always has a joke and brings laughter and joy in here!”  To which the gal working at the drive-thru window turns around and says, “Tell him we miss him and his jokes.”  All the while, my teller was busy checking my driver’s license, groaned, continued checking , hesitated and stated “Something is not right.   It keeps coming up you were born in 1900!”

She continued searching as I told her, “Well, you made my day !!!!  I tried to make myself look halfway alive and good this morning.”  As I am waiting, I am thinking to myself, “I certainly look my age today..( not good) but if it says I was born in 1900….. I think I look pretty good for my age of 122 right!”

Then, the teller laughed, “Oh here it is, you’re only 77, just about 78!”

I guess that was supposed to make me feel better!    Guess it did!


 


RECIPE

Try this for a little green fun dessert for St. Patrick's Day!

Pistachio Pudding Dessert

5 dozen Ritz crackers, crushed

1 stick margarine/butter

1/2 gal vanilla ice cream

2 boxes pistachio instant pudding

green food coloring

Frozen whipped topping, carton

Butterfinger candy bars

 

Mix crushed crackers and margarine/butter for crust.  Press into a 9x13 pan.  Bake 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees.  Soften ice cream enough to mix in pudding with food coloring as needed.  Pour over cooled crust.  Freeze until firm.  Cover with layer of whipped topping and then top with crushed Butterfinger bars.  

Thank you to each and every one who has prayed for us as Larry underwent invasive back surgery and is in the process of recovery.

 

 

Thank you to each and every one who has prayed for us as Larry underwent invasive back surgery and is in the process of recovery. While we would love to be able to report that he is excelling in recovery, that isn’t quite the case. We have hit some speed bumps in the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been on the run to doctors, the ER and a trip back to the hospital in the ambulance. He is being monitored and is in great spirits, but we need to get some answers to some blood pressure issues before he is released again. At this time, the doctors are baffled as to what did happen or what is happening. The family is calling in some additional doctors to make sure we get to the source of the issue. He may spend a few days at a rehab facility before heading home to make sure he is good and strong.

 

 

 

 

So, we would appreciate your continued prayers for him that we would get answers, and he would speedily recover fully. We are ever grateful!


Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:13-16

Here is just a quick update on Larry's surgery and how he is doing!

Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee!  I am wearing my nurse hat, but I am so thankful to have Larry back home from the hospital!

 

Larry successfully underwent a 7 hour back back surgery on February 17th to repair five vertebrae where the nerves were being pressed causing immense pain.  The surgery went well, but we are now in the long journey of recovery.  Things going pretty good, but we did just have a little speed bump with this invasive of a surgery.  Larry is experiencing bleeding from his incision that doesn't want to stop so he went back into to get an extra stitch.  We are trusting that will take care of it, and there will be no infection.  He also is experiencing a bit of pain, fatigue and dizziness, but we are working on that and believe it will improve with each day!

 

We appreciate your prayers for him and me as his nurse (to keep him in line).   Please pray that he stays healthy through this process and that he regains strength and mobility as he recovers through physical therapy.  


Thank you!

Happy Valentine's...almost at least! A quick update from Gloria and some reflections on First Love! May we never forget our FIRST LOVE-Jesus Christ-who changes everything!

 

Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee!  We are excited that today is a sunny warmish day of 55 degrees.  It feels like we have been on a rollercoaster lately with the weather---a wild ride UP and then DOWN and then back UP!   The weather may not know what it wants to do, but I am thankful that we do not have to fear that with the Lord in our lives!  I think of the verse in Psalms 139 where the Lord speaks of us being fearfully and wonderfully made and then makes this declaration, "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."  It reminds me that in His perfect love and care as He formed and made me, He also knew what every day would hold and has a future for me!  How amazing is our Lord!

 

It is almost Valentine's Day and on that day many will be celebrating LOVE!  I am so thankful for my sweetheart of over 55+ years.  And we thank the Lord for His love.  A love that gave everything so we could live!  Larry and I hope you will take a moment during the holiday to remember this death-defying, all-giving, perfect love and give the Lord thanks for what He has done.

 

I have placed below some of my reflections of my first love!  I think you might get a chuckle or two!  Happy Valentine's Day and please know that you are LOVED by us and especially by our Lord!

 

Gloria

 

REFLECTIONS OF FIRST LOVE

 

Valentine’s Day has a way of making one sentimental (especially women), and sending us down the path of reminiscing about our present or past loves. As a result of being raised in a family of 10 brothers, I really wasn’t a tender, frilly or petite little girl. I had to be rough, tough and ready to defend myself against one of my brothers or one of their “neighborhood bully-friends.” That was my interaction with boys.

 

Then one day, something happened! I think I was about a 5th grader when I met a boy with dark brown hair and big brown eyes. My heart went “pitter-patter”, and after a quick glimpse of eye-contact between us, I thought, “Well, maybe there is one boy out there who’s not a mean bully!” My heart continued to flutter every time our eyes met. A few years later, this “special” boy told me he was going to go to the football game and asked if I would like to walk with him. Inwardly I was exploding with excitement, but I managed to contain myself and answer rather nonchalantly, “I guess I will.” When he left, I ran to my house, climbed up to my bedroom, threw myself on the bed and thought, “I must be feminine and cute if he asked me to walk with him to the game.” In my mind, I was about to encounter my first “unofficial” date! I couldn’t sleep! All I could think about was my “date” coming up.

 

On that fall Friday evening, I impatiently looked out my second-floor bedroom window so I could see him coming. Sure enough, I caught a glimpse of his plaid jacket and dark hair slowly shuffling his way in the direction of my house. I was so excited! I ran downstairs, grabbed my billfold, and ran out the door. Being a tomboy, and therefore used to “roughing it” with 10-20 neighborhood boys and girls, I wasn’t tiny and tender. I was more like a husky wrestler! So when I saw him walking up the driveway, I couldn’t contain the combustion within me. I flew out the door, dashed down the sidewalk, grabbed him, threw a “half-Nelson” hold on him, pitched him down to the ground, pinned him and grinned!

 

Just then, my “killer hold” was interrupted by my mother who was hollering from the porch, “Missy, Missy, get off of Ronnie and let him up! Come in here right now!” When I looked into the face of my “first love,” lying on the ground, and saw the look on his flushed red face—somehow I knew I must have done something wrong. I slowly walked up to the house. Mother firmly said, “Missy, we need to have a talk. If you like someone, you don’t tackle him and beat him up!” What a revelation! Well, after a five-minute sermon, I sheepishly walked back out the door. There my guy stood, with fear written all over his face. I apologized. He cautiously grinned and said, “Yeah, okay…let’s go.”

 

That was my first episode with my “first love.” You can probably guess that I never married him! I’m sure he thought, “No way will I ever get tangled with a woman wrestler!” Well, thank God, I have changed “some”! HA! But, first love is a special love; you never forget. You may date a hundred people, but that “first flutter love” is never forgotten.

 

In the spiritual sense, I’ve never forgotten my “first love” encounter with Jesus Christ when I was just eight years old. That special Sunday morning, I felt a LOVE like I’d never felt before. It was different from a parent’s or a family’s love. When I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart, I didn’t fight or tackle the feeling. I simply melted and submitted to Him. Oh, the joy and the peace that settled upon me! I felt like I was being cradled or snuggled into someone’s arms— and they belonged to Christ Jesus. I pray I’ll never forget the precious feeling of my first love for Christ—for He is my best friend. He loves me when I’m unlovable. When I make mistakes, He gives me a second chance. But, even more than that, His “Valentine,” His “Gift of Love” to me is eternal life with Him in heaven if I remain faithful in my relationship with Him. Yes, Christ captured my heart fully, and I’m totally happy and secure in His care. How about you?

 



RECIPE

 

For a quick and easy Valentine dessert...try this!

 

Cut-It-Short Torte

 

1 pudding recipe devils food cake mix

8 oz carton whipped topping, thawed

21 oz can cherry pie filling

 

Mix and bake cake as directed on package, in greased and floured 10 inch tube pan at 350 degrees.  Cool.  Split cake into 3 layers.  Spread 1/3 of whipped topping and then top that with 1/3 of pile filling.  Do this with each layer and on top.  Chill until set.

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