Monthly Archives: November 2013

What I Learned by Eating Stringy Pumpkin Pie


You might call me stingy, but I prefer to think of myself as thrifty. Either way, I’m all about saving pennies where I can…which is exactly what I did two years ago when I salvaged several small pumpkins from being tossed.

My initial plan was simply to roast the pumpkins’ seeds. (If you’ve never had roasted pumpkin seeds, you’re missing a big piece of life.) But once I had the pumpkins cut open, I got to thinking about how much I could save by not purchasing canned pumpkin. Why spend $1/can when you can do it yourself?

A quick call to my mom (pretty sure she always knows when I’m baking by my calls) and I was in business. It was a cinch: cut the pumpkin into chunks, place in a casserole dish with a little water, cover with a tin foil tent, and bake. Once the pumpkin is tender, remove from oven and scrape from its peel. Who would buy canned pumpkin with this easy process? I even froze some for later.

While I was on a roll, I went ahead and whipped up a pumpkin pie with my freshly baked pumpkin. Continue reading

Book Review: A Word to the Wise Daily Devotional


Just this week, Striving Together Publications released a new daily devotional by Pastor Chappell: A Word to the Wise: Practical Advice from the Book of Proverbs.

With a devotional reading from Proverbs for every day of the year, this book is perfect as your daily devotional or as a gift. (Through Wednesday of this week, if you purchase the hardback, you receive the ebook free—so it can be your devotional and a gift! Also through Wednesday, if you purchase multiple copies, you receive further discounts. These are release week bonuses only, however. So hurry!)

Each day’s reading begins with a text from Proverbs followed by a brief action-orientated application. Although the devotions are all drawn from Proverbs, there are support/cross-reference Scriptures all throughout the book. Additionally, each page of the devo includes further reading that will guide you through the Bible in a year. Continue reading

Words for the Week: It Is God


For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.—Philippians 2:13

One of my favorite words is hustle. I like it because it is an action word, and I like action. If there is a desired outcome, I want to know how to get there from where I’m at, and then I want to get busy on the first step of action.

For some years, this was my approach, not only to projects or assignments, but to the Christian life. I figured if I could discern what changes I needed to make, I could lay out steps of action toward those changes—and then hustle on the steps to become a good Christian.

I think you can see where I’m going with this. There are some areas in which we don’t hustle, we look to God. And Christian growth is one of those areas. Continue reading

I Will Hope: 13 Practical Ways to Choose Hope


Hope is a noun and a verb. It is what we have, and it is what we do. We who know the Lord already have hope, but we must also choose hope.

I recently did a Bible study on the word hope, and I was amazed at what I found. With 121 verses with this word (and 12 more verses when you add forms of the word), hope is all throughout Scripture. I prepared a Sunday school lesson from the study, and I had to leave out more verses than I could include!

Through my study, I compiled a list of thirteen practical ways we can choose hope. Continue reading

Words for the Week: Hope Thou in God


Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.—Psalm 42:5

Hope is one of the greatest gifts of life. It is faith’s twin sister, and it is courage’s strength.

Christian hope is far more than a Pollyanna outlook; it is confidence in our sovereign God.

I recently read a statement by G.K. Chesterton: “Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.” Continue reading

Book Review: Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss


On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your gratitude? If you had asked me this spring, I probably would have rated mine about a 8.2.

But then I read Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Through this book the Lord worked in my heart to show me how ingratitude had worked its way into my life in ways I had not recognized. Subtle expectations I hadn’t identified and buried pride surfaced.

As the subtitle suggests, this book connects the dots between gratitude and Christian joy. I already knew the two are related, but I was challenged through the book to recognize specifically on what points they connect—namely humility and an outward focus.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in ourselves—even in our service to others—that we become burdened and inward focused. Choosing Gratitude highlights how effective gratitude is to usher us into the presence of God. It enables us to break away from ourselves and renew our joy.

Even today, as I flip back through the book to reread my highlights, I was challenged anew. Here are a few: Continue reading