Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pizza Soup

OK, folks.  Here it is - the ever popular, much ballyhooed  "Pizza soup" recipe. We first had this soup when some cherished friends had us over for dinner.  It was so good that we decided to give it a place in our family cookbook, including it often when we plan our weekly meals.  We made a  slight change, with the addition of a small amount of pasta, and occasionally a bag of frozen spinach, when we have it on hand.  

Pizza Soup


2 cans chicken broth (or 4 cups homemade)
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 small can pizza sauce
2 medium zucchini (sliced)
1 red or green pepper (chopped)
pepperoni slices (thin)
1/2 cup small, tubular pasta (we use elbows or ditalini)
mozzarella cheese

Put everything but pepperoni and cheese in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered about 8 - 10 minutes. Add pepperoni and simmer another 1 - 2 minutes. Serve, topped with mozzarella on each bowl.

Monday, July 25, 2011

James 1

There are times when I am too lazy to share things on my blog because of the amount of writing that is required to adequately explain the topic.  This is one of those topics; I have so much to share that I am overwhelmed and I don't know where to start or how much to write.

A bible passage has been speaking to me in recent weeks; Several weeks ago Pastor Brian spoke about how we are blessed with adversities; the Christian radio preachers have been speaking about the same subject, and again yesterday during Mr. Jackson's message the Holy Spirit got a hold of me and said, "You must blog about this."

James 1:2-7
"2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."

Do I "consider it pure joy" when things go wrong?  I would like to say "yes," but the truth is that I whine and complain like a real pro when things don't go exactly as I envision. "Considering it pure joy" ranks right up there with "in everything give thanks."  But even when I cry out to God in my frustration and anger, I know that He is using my situation for my own good.  So should I just smile and be happy (*insert Bobby McFerrin music*)?  I don't infer that meaning from this passage.

Instead, the joy comes from knowing that the outcome will be good.  Gold must be refined in a hot fire in order to be purified. The same is true for me in particular.  .For example:

  • When my gf dumped me harshly and suddenly, I didn't exactly view the incident with joy.  I was angry and upset, and I was convinced of, and began living, my inevitable bachelorhood.  Until ... years later God gave me a stunningly beautiful woman who turned out to be the love of my life.  She was there all the time, being prepared for me right before my eyes, but I never knew it until the time was right.  Then the Lord said to me, "There she is."  Looking back now I can clearly see that my life would have been a disaster if I had followed my original path.  There is joy in my life, but first there had to be pain.
  • When my father retired and sold his insurance agency, I was guaranteed a position with the new company.  Then a few weeks before the deal was done, they sent their business manager to tell me that, after devoting eleven years of my life to the job,  my services would no longer be needed.  Effective immediately.  I was not exactly joyful; I was angry and frustrated and scared. But the Lord knew that I would not be happy as an insurance agent.  I sat at my part time jobs for a long time until I discovered my true calling.  Then I withdrew my life savings, continued my education, and never looked back. I have found great joy as a music teacher, but first I had to endure the pain of losing my job.
  • When we bought our home, I had ZERO experience with home improvement projects.  Sure, I could use a screw driver and a hammer, but the real stuff was best left to the professionals.  Then a flood destroyed most of our house.  Needless to say, I was less than joyful.  But God intended it for good. After we were able to think clearly, He sent people to help us; they didn't fix our house, but they taught us how to fix our house.  It has been five years since the '06 flood, and I can say that I am no longer intimidated by home improvement.  I have tools and am able to use them correctly.  I would not have learned these things if we had not been through a natural disaster.  The joy was in the outcome.  
  • In September my job will undergo a dramatic change.  I will have to learn new skills in order to teach subjects for which I feel hideously unprepared.  When I was told of the change, I was angry and afraid.  In light of the recent messages and the study of James 1, I am confident that, if I listen to god and allow Him to refine me, the outcome will be joyful!    
Below is a link to a song that explains the emotion behind this scripture better than I can.

Be joyful!!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I'm told that I have amazing composure and that I'm incredibly calm in a crisis.While that may be true, it isn't something that I would wish on anyone.  The sort of composure I possess is not something a person is born with.  It is a process that unfolds as events occur in life. It's the kind of thing that develops ...
  • when your older siblings tease relentlessly, and your parents don't stop them.
  • when the school bully follows you home and you have to be brave.
  • when your childhood friend dies on the same day you have an important job interview.
  • when you sneeze all over the microphone in front of 500 people.
  • when your ex-girlfriend brings her new boyfriend to see your show.
  • when you're called out in front of your friends.
  • when Mom catches you doing something naughty ... then tells your sister.
  • when you get a traffic ticket in front of your own house.
  • when you have to go to school the day after your grandfather dies.
  • when you get the news of your grandmother's death while at a graduation party for a friend's daughter.
  • when you have to stand up and tell a crowd of people something they don't want to hear.
  • when your boss smiles as she hands you the pink slip.
  • when a flood takes away everything you own.
  • when the baby is born blue and your wife is hysterical.
  • when the car breaks down in the middle lane of the highway.
  • when you're in front of a fourth-grade class and you get the news of your father's death.
These are some of the events that assist in developing amazing  composure.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Remember ...

Our family spent this week at the beach.  That isn't unusual, as we gather every year at this time in the same house on the same beach for a week of swimming, shopping (where would we be without the boardwalk), eating, playing, and conversation.

Honestly, the beach doesn't thrill me like it used to.  With so many children to watch, it's difficult if not impossible to actually swim in the ocean.  It generally consists of getting wet up to my knees, except for one glorious 1/2 hour when I'm able to go all the way past the breakers and enjoy the ocean.  Aside from that one short extravagance, the sun is hot, I sweat like a pig, I get sand in my shorts, and I can't breathe from the heat.

However, the beach holds a place in my heart that I can't explain.  I'm drawn to it for reasons unknown to me.  It must stem from the memories I hold of family vacations when I was a child.  I remember so many things - some are vivid pictures and some are dull visions.

I remember ...
  • Dad - the typical American tourist, with a Mickey Mouse shirt, shopping bag, camera bag, BIG hat, BIGGER sunglasses, gold watch, brown socks, and wing-tip shoes.
  • Atlantic City - Mom's purse was stolen on the beach.  Didn't ruin the vacation, we just didn't get souvenirs. 
  • All the kids got kazoos at Woolworth's, and we marched down the Boardwalk humming "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know."
  • Digging for sand crabs.
  • Camping - no one was allowed to use the bathroom until the entire campsite was set up.
  • Camping on the beach in Florida
  • That place at the end of that rickety, little pier where we got fried clams.
  • Morey's Pier and Steele Pier (and the diving horse - way cool)
  • "Watch the tram car, please."
  • Mr. Peanut
  • Fralinger's taffy and Steele's fudge (I liked to watch them make fudge in the window).
  • Going out for breakfast.
  • The big rocking chairs on the porch at the Havilla (the oldest building on the island) 
    • Sitting on those big rockers, talking until the wee hours
  • Miniature golf
  • Lucy the Giant Elephant
I hope that when my children grow up, they will remember the big things and the little things we did when we were on vacation.  I hope that, even though the traditions are quite different, they hold onto the memories and pass them on to their children.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Who's Praying For Casey?

I'm sure that most of you have followed at least part of the Casey Anthony trial on television, whether is was the entire trial or just the excerpts that were shown on the news channels.  The case has certainly sparked lively conversations around town, in bars, on the street corner, even at my own kitchen table.

Whoever I talk to, the same mood is set, and the same questions are raised:

  • How could a mother kill her own child?
  • How could she wait so long to report the child missing?
  • She should be executed for murder.
  • She's a heartless monster to go out partying while her child lay dead in the trunk of her car.
Yes, these are all valid question, but I also have a question:

Who is praying for Casey Anthony?  Is anyone bowing before God to pray for the soul of this woman?  Isn't that what we are supposed to do?  Aren't we supposed to pray and witness and win the lost for Jesus? 

Why are we turning our porch lights on for Caylee?  Why are we praying for her?  She doesn't need our prayers - she's in the arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, where she doesn't feel any pain or need anything that we can offer her. 

Here is what I propose:

Pray for Casey's soul.  Pray that she finds peace. Pray that she discovers joy in her life, in her family, in her work (whatever form it may take).  Pray that her family heals and that she becomes a part of their circle again. Pray for her parents, her brother, the friends that were deceived.  Pray for all of their souls, that they might accept Jesus and be reunited with Caylee in Heaven.

Are you praying for Casey?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011