Last May, I happened to be driving on I-85 in North Carolina on what could be called “Turtle Day.” Seemingly every turtle within a five-mile radius of the interstate crawled onto the busy road.
Traveling at 65 miles per hour, I came upon turtles so quickly that there wasn’t time to swerve to avoid them. Fortunately, I missed every turtle in my lane for at least 25 miles.
Then came the small turtle. Cringing, I prayed that my tires would miraculously miss the little terrapin with a great desire to cross a high-speed highway.
But it wasn’t to be. With a thump, I knew I’d run over him. Heartsick, I looked in my rearview mirror only to see pieces of exploding turtle shell. I had murdered my first (and hopefully my last) turtle.
Fast forward to this week. Back on I-85 in North Carolina, I saw a small groundhog on the left berm, and hoped he’d stay put. But this little guy had the heart of an adventurer.
Scurrying into the lane ahead of me, he stopped cold and stared at me. Bearing down on the little guy at 65 miles per hour, I could not swerve without losing control of the car. I prepared myself to become a double-murderer.
Then, little guy made an on-the-spot decision: he bolted for the right side of the road as fast as he could run. Just as he reached the safety of the right berm, my car passed him thump-free.
The turtles’ and groundhog’s approaches to adversity made me think of how people handle tough spots.
Some folks allow their problems to immobilize them. They view some difficult situations as hopeless. Usually it’s because they can’t see how God can deliver them out of their troubles. Like a turtle, they pull in their appendages and shut their eyes to what God can do.
Other folks see their problems as overwhelming as the national deficit. But rather than sit still, they, like the young groundhog, take charge of their situation. By turning their problem over to God, they run the race the Lord puts in front of them and they keep moving forward.
Hmm. Turtle or groundhog. Which approach makes sense to you?
For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLV)
Photograph by Andrea Bowling Perdue © 2013
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
It’s the one day each year set aside to honor women who are mothers. Why are we mothers? The obvious reason is because we bore babies and birthed them into this world or adopted children in need of a mom, but the heart of the matter is that we are mothers because God gives us children.
It’s funny, but in all the hoopla surrounding Mother’s Day, I rarely hear anyone mention God’s hand in motherhood. It seems like it would be obvious.
While science makes it possible to collect sperm and eggs and combine them in a test tube to create a human life, I know of no person or process able to create sperm or eggs except God.
This morning when I walked into the kitchen to find three beautiful cards and a bouquet of fresh flowers wishing me a happy Mother’s Day, I remembered immediately who really gave me those two beauties I call son and daughter.
Thank You, God, for my precious children and for the joy and love they have brought to my life. Thank You, Father God, for my own mother, for her love, guidance, and Godly wisdom which, through your grace, continues at age 89. Thank You, Lord, for my two grandmothers, Alice and Anna, now in glory with You, who brought such love and happiness into their family’s lives, with their eyes firmly and constantly on You.
Thank You, God, for Mother’s Day.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:25-29 (ESV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
I learned about the Boston bombings yesterday while I was writing about my ancestors surviving British and Indian attacks near their Pennsylvania home in 1778. Just like the people who attended the Boston Marathon, my fifth-great-grandparents only wanted to enjoy life.
But sometimes things happen that we can’t foresee. God does not give us a crystal ball to view what lies ahead of us.
But what God does give us is the ability to seek His wisdom when we’re caught in the crossfire of evil.
God’s word tells us: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
My ancestor, Colonel John Kelly, was a godly man who lived by his faith and the Word of God. In July, 1778, when fellow settlers in a nearby fort were surrounded by 300 warring Indians and British, Colonel Kelly, a Revolutionary War officer, quickly assembled a small group of militia and drove off the aggressors.
I like to think that the scripture from Isaiah was going through the Colonel’s mind when he gave his orders to the brave – but vastly outnumbered – men he commanded. The Colonel and his men had every reason to fear: they were a group of no more than 30 facing 300 — but fear did not stop them from helping their friends and neighbors. Rather, God gave the ordinary men the courage and ability to fight evil and win.
The Colonel’s story is timeless: God’s help never wavers when we keep Him the focus of our lives. Yesterday, when bombs exploded in Boston, brave people ran toward the explosions to help the injured. Their own lives were at risk; no one knew if another bomb would explode in their midst.
Wherever we are, in whatever situation we face, we can confidently go forward – without fear – knowing that God is with us and will provide the courage and skill we need to persevere and win against evil.
But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31.
IN GOD WE TRUST – TO HIM BE THE GLORYRead More
So many people enjoyed yesterday’s article – “Morning Biscuits” – and several readers asked me to post Miss Megan’s southern biscuit recipe. If you read the article, you will know that you cannot substitute any of the ingredients!
Please write and let me know how Megan’s southern biscuit recipe turned out for you! I’d love to see a photograph of your biscuits!
MISS MEGAN’S SOUTHERN BISCUITS
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup butter, cold but not too hard
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450°. Place 1 1/2 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Add butter, and use your fingers to work it into the flour. Mixture will be crumbly and should look like small peas. Add buttermilk and cream, stirring just till flour is moistened.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Using floured hands, knead dough 4 to 5 times by folding dough over and pressing down with the heels of your hands; gradually add as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a smooth dough. Dough should not be sticky.
Pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter without twisting the cutter. Combine dough scraps, pat to 3/4-inch thickness, and cut into rounds. Place biscuits, with sides touching, in an ungreased baking pan. (Do not use non-stick pan!).
Bake at 450° for 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 16 biscuits.
Spread with butter and your favorite jam.
Northeast Georgia girls like sorghum on their biscuits. Southern Georgia girls, like La-Tan Roland Murphy, prefer their mama’s homemade fig preserves.
I sure hope Mama Nadine Roland sends some jars of her homemade fig preserves to Richmond this year.
We are grateful to Miss Caroline of Rabun County, Georgia, for the tasty sorghum syrup, and for teaching Miss Megan and me – with great patience and much love - how to be southern.
Share what you have with Christian brothers who are in need. Give meals and a place to stay to those who need it. Romans 12:13 (NLV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph by Cynthia Howerter © 2013
“Megan, I bought ingredients for homemade biscuits. How about making some for us this morning, please?”
“Sure, Mom. Help me set out the ingredients and utensils and I’ll make up a batch of biscuits that’ll set your mouth to waterin’.”
I’m assuming that my northern friends are now realizing that the Howerter girls have gone southern. No one makes biscuits like Megan, so when I knew she was coming home for the weekend, I hurriedly looked up her biscuit recipe. I didn’t take time to thoroughly read the list of ingredients; the only item I saw that I needed to purchase was buttermilk.
“Mom, is this flour self-rising?”
“Self-rising? No. Why?”
“Well, Mom, it takes self-rising flour to make good biscuits.”
I plopped a can of baking powder on the counter. “Just add some baking powder and that’ll take care of the rising.”
“Where’s the cream, Mom?” Megan held the refrigerator door open with a hip while she routed through the dairy shelf.
“Cream? The recipe calls for cream? Oh, gosh, I didn’t buy any. What about using some half-and-half? That should work.”
“I dunno, Mom. The recipe calls for cream.”
“We’ll have to improvise, honey.” Megan shot me a glance that questioned my culinary skills—make that my southern culinary skills. “The biscuits will turn out fine. You’ll see,” I assured my daughter.
In no time at all, Megan cut out circles of dough and placed them on a large baking sheet which went into the hot oven. I enjoyed a cup of hot coffee while I watched the biscuits through the oven window. Twenty-five minutes later, it was obvious to me that those biscuits really did need self-rising flour. Another ten minutes, and I realized that cream and half-and-half aren’t equal substitutes.
Acknowledging that our homemade southern biscuits looked nothing like the photograph in the cookbook, I cut one open to find that the inside wasn’t flaky and fluffy. Rather, the dough was a little undercooked. Well, maybe a lot. Yes, I ate it anyway.
Taking another biscuit, I examined the exterior before mutilating -uh, make that pulling apart – the inside. Those biscuits were so much like my life, I realized.
Rather than take the time to start my day the right way with prayer and five minutes of Bible reading, I frequently start my day in a rush and, hours later, I wonder why it is so unfocused and helter-skelter.
Then, when trouble and difficulty hit, I find myself not properly prepared to handle it – all because I’ve neglected taking ten peaceful minutes to start my day focused on my heavenly Father. Just like biscuits that turn out flat and undercooked because I was in a hurry when I skimmed through the recipe, my life isn’t full and rich the way God intended it to be when I ignore Him.
I licked the last of the Georgia sorghum off my fingers and picked up my Bible that sat in full view on the coffee table.
Ten fulfilling minutes of Godly focus— or a day of raw, lumpy dough.
Are you making wise choices every morning when you wake up?
Great riches are in the house of those who are right with God, but trouble is what the sinful will receive. Proverbs 15:6 (NLV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photographs by Cynthia Howerter © 2013Read More