A quick update on what we have been keeping busy with, a few firsts shared and some encouragement!

 

 

Wow---what a ride this past 2 ½ months has been!  I always say, "I plan my days, weeks and months, but somehow they never quite go as planned!"  This has been especially true since mid-March when most everyone's world came to a screeching halt.  I think we all thought and wished that the Covid-19 virus would be over after a two week quarantine and life would be normal again.  Now, ten weeks later, life is not normal, it won't be normal and my life calendar is all messed up and mixed up.  Like thousands others, Larry and I have been on a "shelter in place" order for many weeks.  For people like us who are used to being on the run  and on the road for over 54 years, it has really taken the wheels off of our chariot.  We had our ministry schedule tentatively set to take us back to the Midwest for services starting the 1st of May.  Well, that has come and gone and here it is almost June.

 

 

 

 

I told Larry, "Honey, I'm sure glad we like our home because the way it sounds, with all the uncertainty involving the virus, we are going to see a lot of it."  Then I chuckled and continued, "It's a good thing we are best friends and are used to being together 100% because we are totally together always."  

 

We did have the opportunity to celebrate LaDawn's birthday as well as my own as we share the same birthday.  It's hard to be believe she turned 49...which then makes me 76!  Where did the time go?

 

 

As I think over the past ten weeks, I have to say it has been wonderful to "Be still and know that He is God."  For the first time in our lives, we have a SET schedule.  We love the SET time (7-8 AM) in a SET place (my office/prayer room) where we meet in the quiet with God and pray together over family and pages and pages of prayer requests of our ministry friends and partners. 

 

We also spend many hours each day sending emails, cards, texts and phone calls to those who are struggling through this challenging time.  Many are feeling alone and are hurting;  they just need to know that someone cares and have someone to talk to. 

 

On the other hand, there are always some "firsts" in life and we are experiencing a few of those.  For us, this is the first time we have been "home" in the summer since we were married 54 years ago.    What a change!  And I must admit, it's a nice welcome change.  Even though it has been forced upon us, it has been a very productive time.  We have been trying to do the "some-day-some-year" procrastinated jobs and tasks that have piled up over the past 54 years as we would normally be home only a few weeks out of the year.  When we moved to Tennessee, we moved many of our ministry files and countless totes that held ministry archives and thousands of photos as well.   Being on lockdown, we decided it was a good time to attack the looming project of going through this mountain of ministry photos and archives that had been packed away and put in the corner.  This last month we have spent countless hours sorting papers, files and photos that go clear back to the early 60's before we were married.  Who said I never got rid of anything?  They are right!  HA!  In the process, we have scanned over 2,000 documents and photos, as well as, placed numerous photos in books and binders giving us the ability to look back and see where we were and what we did those many years.  We were too busy IN REAL TIME---- AT THE REAL TIME to take it all in.  There is much more to do but it feels good to get his far.  I encourage anyone to do your photos and keep up with it right where you are----don't wait until you get this old! 

 

And another first...guess what...for the first time in my married life, I even got to plant a few bushes and perennials.  For many people that would be a perfectly normal task, but for me, I've never been home long enough to plant something, water it and watch it grow.  That has been refreshing and truly makes me appreciate the process of nurturing and growth.  How good the Lord is to plant seeds, to water them, to pull out the destructive weeds and to nurture that which He wants to see grow in my life! 

 

Larry has appreciated the uninterrupted moments of bible study and sermon building time.  As always, anyone who has "an ear to hear", he is going to share Christ with them.

 

We sure miss physically going to church but have been blessed to take in so many online ministries.  It may be a challenge to get "back to normal", to get out of my pajamas and set aside my coffee cup to go back to real church.  HA!  But seriously, we are looking forward to meeting again.

 

 

 

 

As of now, in our area alone of Tennessee, we have confirmed 19,789 cases of Covid cases and 329 deaths with 460 new cases within the past 24 hours.  With that being said, the mask is a huge deal for us.  We have only been to the grocery store a handful of time in the last few months.  I've done more cooking in the last 10 weeks than I have done in the last 10 years.  I'm ready to hang a sign in the kitchen that says "CLOSED until further notice."  We have enjoyed eating at home, especially if Larry still has his ice cream!

 

 

We are praying each day that God would keep you healthy and well, protecting you from all harm.  May you fine the strength and peace through the Lord as you put your trust in Him in these trying times.

 

 

 

 

"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'"  Isaiah 41:10

Gloria



RECIPE

 

BUSTER BAR DESSERT

 

1 (15 oz) pkg chocolate sandwich cookies

1/4 cup margarine, melted

1/2 gal soft vanilla ice cream

Nuts or salted Spanish peanuts

 

TOPPING:

1/2 cup margarine

2 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cups chocolate chips

1 (13 oz) can evaporated milk

 

Crush cookies and mix with margarine.  Pat into 9x13 pan.  Carefully spoon ice cream over the crumb mixture.  Sprinkle with nuts/peanuts.  Place in freezer while preparing topping.  Mix together the topping ingredients.  Heat until chips melt.  Bring to a boil then simmer 10 minutes.  Stir often.  Cool.  Pour over ice cream.  Freeze until firm.  Soften 10 minutes in refrigerator before serving.

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As Mother's Day approaches, Gloria shares some fond memories of her mother and a very special constant...her apron!

Wow!  What a month!  Who would have ever thought we would be experiencing what we are at this time---a worldwide pandemic?  I am thankful the Lord is the One in whom we put our trust as He is unshakeable while everything else shakes around us.

 

Many have asked how we are doing.  We continue to be on "stay at home" orders as the statistics for our area keep rising.  Larry and I have commented how we are sure glad that we love our home as we may be spending a lot of time here according to the spread of the virus.  We are thankful to be doing well healthwise.  I keep Larry happy by keeping lots of ice cream in the house!  HA!  Our children have been so good to help by bringing groceries or staples to enable us to not have to venture out.  I've been to the grocery store only 3 times in the last two months.  When I put my mask on, I feel like I am in a Lone Ranger movie!

 

I have to chuckle.  We used to be known as Larry and Gloria Lundstrom.  Now since this virus°.we are known as the vulnerable and the elderly.   Not sure I like that description!  But I suppose at our age, it is true.  I know that we sure don't want to act our age, we want to feel younger°ha!

 

As Mother's Day approaches this weekend, I wanted to share this Mother's Day message with you that I hope blesses you!

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The Apron— protector, holder, comforter, altar

 

When I hear the word "apron," it still makes me giggle!  My memory bank starts flinging out visual memories of my mom's many aprons when I was just a kid.  Just imagine—a mother of 11 children cooking and baking nonstop—the wear and tear that her aprons got.  Just for fun, I decided to ask my cell phone Siri the definition of apron.  This was the response "a protective or decorative garment worn over the front of one's clothes and tied in the back."

 

 Hmmm—I never thought of it as protection when I saw my 5 younger sibling brothers run full speed to the kitchen between her legs and almost trip her.  No—that apron did not protect her from the surprise ambush.  Decorative?  I don't ever recall Mom's aprons looking fancy like those on the "I Love Lucy" shows. 

 

 

 

Mom's aprons were made of a collage of materials that wrapped around her and definitely served multi-purposes.  While baking and cooking, she'd wipe the excess flour off her hands onto the apron.  I often saw her use it in the garden collecting fresh beans, tomatoes, peas, carrots, onions, etc.  For dinner she would scoop them into the full of her apron like a basket to carry them into the house.  Many, many, many times I would see her take a quick break to play with a new baby and toddler, and she would use her apron for a swing tenderly swaying the baby back and forth like in a hammock.  Her apron also held many diaper pins so she knew exactly where they were when changing a diaper.  You didn't want to be searching around for those!  Oh yes—another familiar sight was to see 5-10 clothespins hooked on her apron as she went out to hang clothes on the line.  With her apron, I saw her wipe tears off the cheeks of my siblings, even sometimes wiping their runny noses after a tussle with one another.  When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I remember coming home from school on a  -10 below zero frigid winter day and my wet feet and hands were freezing.  She wiped my tears, removed my freezing mittens and frozen wet socks and cradled them in her lap while wrapping them in her apron. 

 

 

 

Mom did have some special clean aprons, of course, which were reserved for mealtimes with guests.  Also, on Sundays I saw her apron as decorative as she served a special roast beef meal with all the trimmings. 

 

 

 

Primarily though, Mom's apron was a "work" apron, and they wore out quickly with a family our size.  I loved watching her on baking days (which was almost every day).  We would head to the kitchen, and we all knew she was going to bake and cook our favorite dishes.  One day I complimented her on how delicious everything was.  Years later I complimented her again on how great her cooking was even up to the age of 94 years old.  She responded, "Missy, I prayed over everything when I made it that God would help it to be tasty and good." Those prayers were certainly answered!

 

 

 

 

 

All of those stories shared were great impactful memories, but my favorite and most memorable remembrance of those aprons was when amidst all the busyness of our home, Mom would put a pause on everything, wipe her hands on her apron, and encourage us to sit down on the old couch.  She would then reach out and pray for each one of us.  As she would pray for her children: the one that was sick, the one that was discouraged, the one that felt rejected, the one that had a fresh cut on their eye from sibling friendly fire, the one that was struggling spiritually and somehow she always knew—that apron became an altar of contact between us, her and God.  She truly was a shelter for us in the time of storms.  She was a Proverbs 31 woman and mother.  Mom lived what she taught and she taught what she lived by her daily example.  What a legacy of love for God and each other that she gifted to all of our family that now numbers almost 150.

 

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."  Proverbs 31:29-31

 

Gloria


 


RECIPE

 

CRACKLY GINGER SNAPS

 

There is nothing quite like some ginger snaps dunked in coffee.  Memories of conversations shared over coffee bring comfort during this time when I miss my mom greatly.  Make sure to enjoy all the moments with your mom!

 

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup shortening

1 egg

2 cups flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp giner

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp salt

 

Mix ingredients together.  Chill for one hour.  Form dough into balls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Make sure to share with a loved one!

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Greetings from our home in Tennessee!  We are under "shelter in place" orders from our state and have stayed safely tucked away during that time.  We are certainly living in unprecedented times, and how honestly fitting that as we are in Holy Week, coming up on the crucifixion of Christ, that we remember it was His sacrifice that actually gives all of us HOPE in these days of uncertainty.  Not only did He provide a way for us to be made right with the One true God, but His resurrection is the very sign of VICTORY over death, hell and the grave.  This earth is not our home.  As a follower of Christ, we have a home eternally with Him in heaven.    I love the words of the old song, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because He lives, all fear is gone."    Because He lives---we can live in peace and hope!  This Easter---even though you may not be able to gather like you normally would---share the Good News!  The world desperately needs to know that "Life is worth the living, just because He lives!"

 

 

______________

 

Prophecies Fullfilled--Promises Forthcoming!

 

Easter—it's more than colored eggs and chocolate bunnies.  Although to be perfectly honest, as a child, I loved that aspect!  I would go with my dad, and he would buy 12 dozen eggs in a crate from a local farmer.  The process would begin: we  boiled, we colored eggs, we boiled more eggs, and we colored more eggs.  Eventually, we would have 10-12 dozen colored eggs for the household because we needed enough to  go around. I also enjoyed making the Easter baskets for everyone filling them with colored eggs and candy.  This maybe wasn't the best thing because more than once, a week or so after Easter, while cleaning up my younger brothers' bedroom, I would catch a whiff of something really rotten.  I followed the smell and sure enough under the bed was a mess of green fake grass with jelly beans and uneaten colored eggs.  I'm not sure if they deliberately hid them or just forgot about them, but that was not a pleasant smell!  HA!

 

 

I heard about a little boy sitting next to his friend at church one Easter Sunday.  His friend asked, "How did you get that bruise on your arm?"  The boy replied, "I ate some Easter candy."  His friend said, "Eating Easter candy won't give you a bruise."  The boy quipped, "It will if it is your big brother's candy!"  This reminded me of my siblings!

 

Now to what matters— the REAL Easter story.  As one reads the Easter story account in Luke, it is very thought-provoking.  It is interesting to note that the disciples never seemed to understand the things that Jesus was telling them until after He was dead as to what was going to happen to Him.  Even after Peter saw the empty tomb, Luke 24:12 states, "He was wondering in himself at that which was to come to pass."  I believe even as they looked into the empty tomb when they saw nothing, they saw much!  This is what I believe they saw°

 

PROPHECIES FULFILLED

 

°    "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day."  Luke 9:22

 

°    "I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. "

 

°    "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. "  Isaiah 53:3

 

 

PROMISES FORTHCOMING

 

°    Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."   John 2:19

 

°    Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom."  And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."  Luke 23:42-43

 

°    "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansion; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know."  Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?"  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  John 14:1-6

 

°    "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with t hem in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be withe the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with thee words."  1 Thes. 4:16-18


Revelation 21:4 rings loud in my spirit,  "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. "

 

Whatever trial we face or are going through, He is and will be there.  Larry's and my hearts go out to the many families and partners whose lives have been broken through the loss of a child, mate, parent, or miscarriage.  Their hearts are broken due to the indescribable pain and loneliness of their absence.  Here is the Good News!  The resurrection takes the sting out of death.  Easter shows us that there is life beyond the grave!  Death is no longer a giant; it is a mere blip on the screen of eternity.  Knowing this, we have a different perspective of death.  For the person who trusts in God, death is just a transition into a new life.  

 

Matthew 28:20 says, "Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world. "  John 20:21 says, "So Jesus said to them again, Peace to you!  As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

 

You may be reading this today and you feel like you are living the crucifixion Friday in excruciating pain or you may feel you are in a no hope, no courage Saturday filled with disappointment and fear of a bleak future.  But HOLD ON---SUNDAY IS COMING!  That's the hope of the resurrection for the Christian.  He will take us HOME—no more tears or fears.  We will be reunited with our loved ones and forever be with the Lord.  That will make you shout!  Sounds good to me!

 

Gloria
 

 

 

 

 


 


RECIPE

We love Easter and all that we celebrate about Jesus.  We also love family and the privilege it is share about the death and resurrection of Jesus during this time.  I don't know about you, but my kids always enjoyed the hands on activities and it always made things come alive.  

So here is a fun recipe to try...super easy...super yummy...but so meaningful!

 

RESURRECTION ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (10 ounce) package jumbo refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin pan (preferably jumbo muffin pan) with non-stick cooking spray.

Separate rolls into eight triangles and set aside. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Then, dip each marshmallow into butter, rolling it in cinnamon-sugar.  Place the marshmallow on a triangle piece of  dough. Pinch dough around marshmallow, sealing all edges. Make sure to seal well or all the marshmallow will escape.

Dip tops of dough into the remaining butter and then into the cinnamon-sugar. Place roll with the sugar side up into prepared muffin cups.

Bake at 375 degrees for 13 - 15 minutes. Eat warm.

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While you are making these, you can read the Easter story found in the Gospels.  As you read, you can express that in this illustration, Jesus  is represented by the marshmallow.  After Jesus died on the cross he was wrapped in linen thus you rolled it in butter and cinnamon.   Jesus was then put into tomb which was the crescent roll dough.  And finally, after the 3rd day, Jesus has risen and is no longer in tomb.  You can now open the cooked roll to find there is no marshmallow!  

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A quick update on how we are doing and encouragement to HOLD ON through it all!

 

Hello from Nashville, Tennessee!  What a difference a few days can make in our lives!   It seems like all was looking up and then the bottom fell out of everything boggling the minds of every American at the rapidity and extent of life as we know it changed.  Right now the world is essentially at a standstill. 

 

Nashville is known as one of the top entertainment cities of the US and now it feels more like a ghosttown.  The past month it has been deluged with devastating flooding, a deadly tornado killing several dozen with hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed leaving many homeless or without employment, and now the Coronavirus.  Like many areas of the U.S., the virus has engulfed our local area and the health department has ordered all to shelter in place for two weeks to help stop the spread at this time when the U.S. has reached a bleak milestone.  With all of that being said (and I know you have heard it over and over), we see much panic and fear gripping a great number of people. 

 

My memory is drawn back to the month of December and as I always do, I was praying and asking God what is coming in the new year.  What do I need to know to move forward in the next year (2020)?   As I prayed for weeks, it seemed like heaven was silent.  My daughter, LaDawn, kept asking, "Mom, what is God saying about next year?"  I didn't have an answer and then finally the second Sunday, January 12th, Larry and I were in the car on the way to church.  Actually I was agonizing and wondering, what do I need to know about this coming year?  Then...BOOM...like a lightning flash came two words---"HOLD ON!"  I was physically taken aback and pleaded, "God, what does that mean? Hold on?"  God began to speak to my heart, "Hold on---when things are falling apart.  Hold on to your faith---stay firm.  Don't be moved.  Hold on---when fears try to wear you down.  Hold on to your beliefs---don't compromise.  Hold on to my Word.  I promised I would never leave you nor forsake you.  Hold on---I will see you through.  Call on Me!"

 

Now, as we have had difficult experiences in the past month, when Larry and I struggled with the flu and bronchitis, various attacks on our family, hearts breaking, the flooding, the deadly tornado, and now the worldwide pandemic----I get what God was telling me and our family---HOLD ON!  With God, we will go through it.

 

Could it be that God could take what was meant to destroy and instead see a mighty harvest of life as America turns back to Him?  Could it be that we would once again see God as the one true God in us and our families as there is a removal of the other gods of convenience, entertainment, comfort and money that have sadly pulled us away from Him?  Just thinking...

 

God wants us to now (no choice because we have to stay home)..."Be still and know He is God."  We are finding out what it could mean when God lifts His hand of provision and protection on America.  God help us---not to groan through this but to go and grow through it!  

 

 

Gloria


REFLECTION

 


RECIPE

With some extra time at home, maybe now is a great time to try all those recipes that you have set aside to try on a rainy day!

 

SALSA CHICKEN SOUP

1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed

1    14 1/2 oz can chicken broth

1 3/4 cup water

1 tsp chili powder

1 cup frozen corn or canned corn

1 cup of favorite salsa

Shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, optional

 

In a large saucepan, combine chicken, broth, water and chili powder.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 mintues.  Add corn; return to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and corn is no longer tender.  Add salsa and heat through.  Garnish with cheese if desired.  Makes 6 servings so double if needing a larger portion.

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WE ARE SAFE AND SO IS OUR FAMILY! We thank the Lord for His protection, but Nashville needs prayer today and in the days to come.

Hello from Tennessee!

 

We have felt so loved and cared for as so many of you have reached out to find out how we are due to the recent tornadoes that hit last night, in Nashville.  We are so very pleased we are able to report that all our family is okay.

 

But I will say, it's the first time I heard a train, with no train coming.  It was a tornado passing over.   It is a sound I won't forget soon.

 

We are thanking the Lord for safety.  Please pray for all those who are affected by the tornado and those that are experiencing grief and loss due to tragic deaths.?  We need you, Lord, so desperately.

 

Gloria

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We all enjoy a wonderful LOVE story, but how many of us know that all of our stories don't always look like the movies. Our story is no different; it didn't exactly start out as a fairytale and definitely hasn't always been one, but we are more in LOVE today than ever. Enjoy hearing about how our story began....

 

 

 

 

 

Hello from Tennessee!  Wow....we had a blast of winter here a few days ago.  It is very unusal to get snow in Tennessee where we are at, but we got 4 inches which makes us giggle when we think of our winters in South Dakota.  Two flakes of snow here shuts down schools and events! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tennessee blizzard!Larry went out to scrape off the car.  

 

 

 

Valentine's Day is almost here, and I thought I would share our story of how we made the decision to tie the knot!  We laugh about it now, but it was very serious time for us back then.  We are very thankful for the decisions we made.....enjoy the story!

 


"I Don't Like You!"

 

I was stunned and shocked by Larry's response! We had been dating for several months and I was thinking about the future and thought, come on, LARRY, really in this relationship, where is it going? I was 21 years old, which back in the 50's and 60's was getting too old to get married. I had determined that if he wasn't talking marriage or going to bring it up that he maybe wasn't serious about our relationship and I would move on. As the old saying goes, "There are more fish in the pond."

 

On a spring night in 1965, he brought me out to his parents farm. We ate, chatted, and his parents later went upstairs so it was just the two of us sitting on the couch. This determined Norwegian wanted to know the future for us. We had talked about his call to full-time ministry on the road and I knew that when he would leave again in a couple days, he would be gone for three months. There still were no hints as to the future so I softly approached him, "Larry, we've been dating for months, and you have never talked about the future or where this relationship is going."


To my disappointment he just sat quietly and emotionless. Again, I pressed him, "Do you like me?" To my total shock he looked at me and calmly said, "NO"!   Those next few seconds seemed like hours. My heart just about stopped, and then he smiled his big huge grin and said, "I don't like you, I LOVE YOU!" My heart fluttered with emotion.  

 

From that night we began to make plans for our wedding. To us, this was life's biggest decision for us, next to being born again. We knew this was the one time decision "till death do us part," and it was a serious one. I would like to say that our courtship was a path of roses.  It wasn't!  In fact, it became a bit 'testy.'  Larry was scared that I would marry him just to be in the limelight of a well-known ministry and to be on the stage singing. He actually made everything sound so bad that there were nights I would cry, "God, are you sure about this?  We have both prayed for God's mate for our lives since we were both teenagers. God, please confirm again that this is the one."


As Paul Harvey used to say, "...and now the rest of the story." 

 

Closer to the wedding date, the more intense he became. He was less carefree and lighthearted. I was deeply concerned! This was serious. He wanted this to be God's relationship, and he was really worried about if I could handle the road with all it struggles and challenges. (Years later when I shared this story to my mother she said,  "Missy, God knew he was preparing you for this. God knew if you could handle growing up with 10 brothers, you could handle everything and anything you would face on the road. You are a tough Norwegian.")  I questioned him why he was so uptight as I never saw him that way before and he said, "Honey, when I say I DO at the altar, I will change." Oh, I thought to myself, now what?


Well, from the moment he said "I do," Larry held true to his word. He returned back to the happy, fun loving Larry I was accustomed to. He truly is my best friend, and a great father, grandfather and great grandfather to our family.  How blessed I am every day that he treats me like a queen (I probably don't deserve it all, but I sure do like it. I think he has spoiled me.)  


God knew our hearts and our desires. Psalm 37:4 says, "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  To take delight in the Lord means to fully commit your life to Him, not just part of it. To take delight in the Lord means to worship him, to engage in His Word , to spend time in His presence to hear His voice. To take delight in the Lord means to ask God to give you a pure, tender and loving heart. 

 

Jeremiah 24:7 is my prayer for Larry, I, and our family, as well as, for you dear friends, "I will give them a heart to know me that I am the Lord."    May we all have a heart that longs to know the Lord!

 

Have a Happy Valentine's Day knowing you are loved so much!

 

Gloria


REFLECTION

 


RECIPE

One of my favorite cakes of all time is the Red Velvet Cake my mom used to make.  It is the perfect dessert to celebrate someone you LOVE with its vivid color and scrumptious taste!  You can top it with cream cheese frosting for the perfect pairing.

 

RED VELVET CAKE

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cup corn oil

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cocoa

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

2 oz red food coloring

Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 inch cake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

EASY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a bowl using a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix for about 30 seconds-1 minute until well combined and smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until mixed well.  Spread on your cake.

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January is past and February is steam rolling ahead! As we near Valentine's Day, may our hearts be pure before you!

Happy February to you!  I can hardly believe a month of this year is already history.  It seems like I just put away the Christmas decorations and here we are speeding towards Valentine's Day.  When I was younger, my "older" friends (LOL...as I am now) used to always admit and tell me that the older you get, the more quickly days, weeks, months and life flies by.  I guess I must now confess that I am older because I think the same thing. 

 

A couple of days ago I went to CVS to pick up some refills of medications.  I was welcomed by red foil hearts, lace hearts and paper hearts suspended from the ceiling dancing in mid-air as if all jockeying to get my attention.  Guess what?  It worked!  I walked aisle after aisle viewing all the shelves littered with red satin heart boxes, sparking red foil boxes along with every kind of chocolate and candy imaginable.  Down and across from that long aisle of candy were hundreds of Valentine's cards.  It seemed the company was doing everything conceivable to convince me that LOVE IS IN THE AIR.  Of course, Hallmark, Russell Stovers, Hersheys and numerous companies want you to buy all the goodies to celebrate the holiday!

 

How crazy is this?  Just two minutes ago on my phone came a news alert.  This is what the headline states, "A Detroit woman bit off a man's tongue after she asked him not to use his tongue when kissing but he did anyway."  That's not fake news°that's stupid news.  Excuse my venting!

 

Then I saw another "crazy" as we were driving down a highway here in Tennessee last week as I was looking at all the Nashville entertainment billboards, which are many.  The one that caught my attention said, "TN attorney offers free divorce for Valentine's Day."  (I chose not to use the attorney's name).  How sad and sick is this world becoming?  As if the divorce rate isn't skyrocketing the way it is, this attorney offers disgruntled couples a "gift" of a free divorce.  God, help us!

 

God's heart must be broken seeing all that is going on and the way in which LOVE has been perverted and the true meaning discarded.  Jeremiah 17:9 in the NLT states, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked.  Who really can know how bad it is?"  God knows and He showed us true LOVE anyway sacrificing Himself for me, for you and for the entire world!

 

My daily prayer is found in Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer."  Lord, help me keep a pure heart and one that honors you.

 

Have a great week and be sure to check your email for my next week's web telling about Larry's and my two love stories and how Larry and I decided to "tie the knot".  You will laugh and see how God was in our "strained" pre-marriage journey!

 

Gloria

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Happy New Year! May 2020 find us growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ and sharing the GOOD NEWS with others!

Greetings from our home in Tennessee to you!  Our home office just got pummeled with a good ol' fashioned three day snowstorm.  We will take green grass and temperatures in the 60's, especially after seeing some of the photos of the snow piles left behind!

 

 

We came across this little "announcement" and thought we would share it with you!

 

 

 

FUNERAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR "2019"!

 

It is with our deepest heartfelt sympathy I want to inform you about the death of our beloved friend and sometime enemy Mr. 2019.  He is survived by 12 wives, 52 children and 365 grandchildren.  The funeral will take place on Tuesday, 31st of December at 11:59 PM.  

His family members asked me to inform you that he accidentally died with ALL your problems, sicknesses, disappointments, frustrations, untimely deaths, shame, disgrace, barrenness, discouragements, failures and rejections.

Yet, his successor, Mr. 2020, will give : life, good health, abundant blessings, epace, joy, righteousness, promotions and breakthroughs.

May God bless you to have a prosperous New Year!

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It is truly our prayer that in this New Year, you will have the opportunity to leave behind the things that easily entangle us and instead pursue the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength!  There is truly nothing else like living as a child of God, in the freedom that He provides and in His strength made perfect in our weakness!   May you have 20-20 vision in the New Year seeing clearly the Gospel and accepting His most priceless gift to you!

 

Gloria

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Christmas wishes from our home to yours!

 

Let's face it—Christmas, unfortunately, can turn into a Christmas crisis. Things can easily escalate from fun to feuds, inspirations to exasperations, from giving to non-forgiving. Please allow me to share this article with you and then I encourage you to share it with your family to remind everyone—Christmas is about the joy of a child being born to become our Savior and Prince of Peace when we keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS.

 

'Twas The Fight Before Christmas

 

'Twas the fight before Christmas, And all through the house, Not a creature was peaceful, Not even my spouse. The bills were strung out on our table with dread, In hopes that our checkbook would not be in the red.

 

The children were fussing and throwing a fit, When Billy came screaming and cried, "I've been bit." And Momma with her skillet, and I with the remote, She said, "You change one more channel and I'll grab your throat." When on the TV there arose such a clatter, I sat up on the couch to see what was the matter.

 

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, The cable was out, it was my worst fear. "The Cowboys, the Celtics, the Raiders, the Knicks, Without the sports channel I'd soon need a fix!" And then in the midst of my grievous sorrow, I remembered the times I had promised, "tomorrow°"

 

"Not now, my children, but at some soon time, Dad will play with you, and things will be fine." Now under conviction, I looked at my wife, Where was my kindness? Why all the strife? My heart quickly softened; I now saw my task, Some love and attention was all they had asked.

 

I gathered my family and called them by name, And told them with God's help I'd not be the same. We'll keep Christ in Christmas and honor His plan. No more fights before Christmas—on that we will stand.

 

My children's eyes twinkled; they squealed with delight. My wife gladly nodded; she knew I was right. It was the fight before Christmas, but God's love had come through, And just like He does, He made all things new.

 

by Tony Cooke and David Beebe

www.tonycooke.org

 

 

This Christmas, let's be intentional to remind ourselves this is a season to share love, joy and the gift of forgiveness. It's the season to forgive the past and look forward to the future. We will be celebrating Christmas in Nashville with family and look foward to all the opportunities for memory-making!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

 

Gloria

 


REFLECTION

 

 


 

RECIPE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Dipped Sugar Cookie Sticks

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies (or your homemade recipe)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

8 oz white candy coating (almond bark), cut into pieces (from 20-oz package)

2 tablespoons red, green or white decorator sugar crystals, decors or sprinkles

 

Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper.

In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add flour; stir with spoon or hands until well blended. Place cookie dough on cookie sheet; press into 15x8-inch rectangle. With pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 30 (4x1-inch) sticks (do not separate).

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes. Cut into 30 sticks with pizza cutter or sharp knife. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks, separating into cookie sticks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, melt candy coating as directed on package. Dip one end of each stick into candy coating; dip or sprinkle with sugar crystals.


 

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A Tennessee "snowstorm", sweet Thanksgiving memories and thanks to you for helping keep the Gospel going!

I have to chuckle, here I am in Tennessee where usually the temperatures are nice and moderate in the 70's.  However, last night, we got a strong "taste" of the cold front that moved through.  The temperature dropped from 64 degrees yesterday to 7 degrees wind chill, and we even were surprised to wake up to a slight dusting of snow.  They have cancelled most of the schools in the area due to the "snowstorm" and as you can see by the picture, this "snowstorm" is certainly not quite like the South Dakota snowstorms we are used to!   I am sure my Midwesterners can find some amusement out of this like I do!

 

 

 

 

 

Regardless, it turned from fall to winter overnight.  The freezing rain that came with the snow is certainly not fun so it is a good idea to stay put.  Again, I am reminded how "tough" we Midwestern people are!  I think of all the farmers, ranchers, construction workers that continue working in cold, blustery and often dangerous conditions because you just do what you have to do!  I don't, however,  miss bundling up the kiddos in their snowsuits in the old bus in order to keep them warm overnight in the freezing temperatures.  I've grown a little soft!  HA!

 

 

 

 

 

With Thanksgiving arriving, we are so thankful for God allowing us the privilege of being in ministry and seeing so many lives changed by being able to share the simple Gospel message this past year and all the years prior! 

 

Larry continues to witness daily to people, one on one, which is certainly his niche!  I love to see him in his element with the twinkle in his eye as he begins to share the Gospel!  He keeps on going and going winning souls for Jesus!

 

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!  Truly  remember to give thanks that we are free in America ot worship!   

 

As we enter into this Thanksgiving season, I wanted to share this article with you...some favorite memories!

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD....FOR HE IS GOOD!

 

 

Thanksgiving always brings back memories of my childhood. With a family of 13—there was always a hustle and bustle for Mom and I to get ready for the big day; there was an immense amount of baking to be done. The previous day she would bake white bread, dark bread, wheat bread, dinner rolls, buns, filled bismarcks, donuts, several varieties of pies, cinnamon rolls and bars. The kitchen and dining room looked like a city bakery! The dining room table, the top of the chest freezer, and all the counters in the kitchen and stove were covered with baked goods just waiting to be devoured. You would think it would take a while, but with our large family and guests, it barely made it two days before it was all gone!  Then mom, bless her heart, the day before Thanksgiving would take out a 25 pound or even bigger turkey and begin the preparation process for the oven. She placed it in the oven about midnight on low heat, getting up every two hours to baste it so it would be super moist.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Day would arrive and while the turkey was nesting and roasting in the oven, my dad and brothers would go on their traditional hunting excursion, returning home about 2 PM. The aroma literally sucked them into the house as they returned. The smell of the turkey made their taste buds dance and tested their patience while they waited for mom and I to get the mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing and side dishes completed and on the table. It was always precious to hear the Thanksgiving prayer offered up for God's goodness to us as a large family, for coming into our lives, and as mom would always say "bring us the 'Joys of Salvation'. "

 

 

After the prayer there was an exuberant chant "pass the turkey!!!!" For the next couple hours we sat there eating till we thought we would bust. This would be accompanied by roars of laughter, teasing, and squealing by siblings as we would all tell stories on each other. It was warm. It was close. It was cherished. It was home. It was togetherness.

 


Thanksgiving is different now, as mom and dad are in heaven. The families have grown and have spread out here and there, but we still have the abundant memories of a family who gathered, loved God, depended on God, called on God, believed God for the answers to countless prayers and gave ecstatic thanks over the answers we received for needed miracles! Yes, Lord, we give you thanks this Thanksgiving and every day, for Your goodness to us!

 

Gloria

 


 


CHUCKLE  -  A Little Thanksgiving Humor

May your stuffing be tasty,

May your turkey be plump,

May your potates and gravey

Have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off of your thighs!


RECIPE

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

2 cups unsifted flour

3/4 firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, divided

1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted

3 eggs, beaten divided

2 teaspoons vanilla, divided

1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 16-oz can pumpkin or 2 cups fresh pumpkin

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, 1/2 cup nuts and margarine until crumbly.  Stir in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla; mix well.  Press onto bottom of 15x10 inch jelly roll pan.  Bake 15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, beat cheese until fluffy.  Beat in sweetened condensed milk, remaining eggs, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and remaining vanilla until smooth.  Pour over prepared crust; sprinkle remaining nuts on top.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until set.  Cool to room temperature; cut into bars.  Store in refrigerator.

*If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, an approximate equivalent is 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp cloves.

 

 

 

 

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