I See Good People #2

Thank you to all those who are sharing your inspirational thoughts and spreading cheerfulness.  You’re lighting up social media (Matt. 5:16)!  Here’s just a glimpse of some of the good stuff going around:

Mandy Liddell posted this poem.  I need to memorize it!

Dear Lord, may I ever refrain
From speaking ill of others;
May I have kindly thoughts, as well,
For all my earthly brothers!
May I, dear Heavenly Father,
Radiate pure love for all…
May I see good in everyone;
May I pray for those in woe…
If I can do these things, O Lord,
While I am here on this earth,
I’ll feel my life’s not been in vain—
That I was blessed at my birth!”
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

-In the past three days, I’ve been excited to read three new blogs by young Christians.  I thank God for their desire to encourage others and share God’s Word.  Let’s encourage them, too, by supporting their efforts.

-For something fun, girly, and helpful, check out this new planner by Virtuous Magazine:

-Sometimes I read something and know the thoughts will stay with me for days.  Such was the case with these words by the brilliant mind of Cindy Colley:

-Recent terrific tweets:

  • @Gospel Advocate-  “Jesus viewed the 39 OT books as inspired by God and devoted Himself to studying them. Should we do any less?
  • @Stan Butt “If anyone ever tells you, “It’s okay to be selfish,” they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
  • @Kevin W. RhodesWhen people do not see the good in life, it is because they first fail to see the God of life.”
  • And just for grins….@Tim Hawkins– “Conversation heard:

‘Grandpa, did you ever work out?’

‘No.’

‘Why?’

‘Because I was out working.'”

-Hugo McCord quote posted by Jared Jackson:

When two people disagree on the interpretation of a Bible passage, one or both are wrong … but the Bible is always right.”

-Looking for some yummy recipes?  Check out the lovely Chelli Guthrie‘s blog, “The Planted Trees.

Prayer for Today:  Bless these good people, Lord, as they continue to brighten the lives of others!

New bloggers, Dale Pollard & Katlyn Vanderwende
New bloggers, Dale Pollard & Katlyn Vanderwende

Meet Brittany Davis, Christian magazine editor (and a recipe)!

Brittany Davis is a woman who decided to use her talents in a way that would spiritually uplift other women.  As a wife, new mother, editor, speaker, and author, she understands the need for good time management and proper priorities.  Anyone can see that Brittany is a beautiful woman with a radiant smile.  It doesn’t take long to discover that her beauty is heart-deep.  Please enjoy this pleasant conversation with our dear sister in Christ.

Kathy:  Tell us a little about yourself, Brittany.

Brittany:  My name is Brittany Davis I am the eldest daughter of Eric and Vanessa Owens. I’ve been married to my dear husband for five years and this past August we welcomed our first child, Landon. I am an author, speaker and publisher of the website, www.virtuousmagazine.com.

Kathy:  Virtuous Magazine is such a great resource!  What led you to start it?

Brittany:  I married my beloved in May 2009 and about a month before the wedding we found out that he had medullary thyroid cancer. So in June, right after the honeymoon, we came home and he underwent surgery.

To say I was stressed was an understatement. All went well with his surgery, but my very active and new husband was practically on bed rest for about four months.  I needed to channel my jumbled nerves, and painting rooms and scrapbooking weren’t cutting it. So I started Virtuous Magazine.

I’ve always wanted to use my talents for the Lord and I love magazines so it was a natural fit. And running the magazine has led to writing books and speaking.

Kathy:  We gave away copies of your book as awards at our teen girls’ camp.  Can you give us a brief summary of what “Style Your Soul:  Getting Dressed from the Inside Out” is about?

Brittany:  Oh wow, that’s awesome! Style Your Soul is a guide book for walking worthy and for presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord. It’s unlike anything because it gets to the heart of the immodesty epidemic that’s plaguing our homes, church and nation, but also shows that modest style is not an oxymoron.

*Note:  Brittany has also written “Awakening Love:  30 Days to Renewing Every Relationship” and “Ladies’ Day Themes.”  For more information, visit http://www.virtuousmagazine.com/books/.

Kathy:  As an editor, writer, public speaker, wife, and mother, you stay pretty busy.  Do you have any time management tips?

Brittany:  I’ve definitely been on a steep, sleep deprived, learning curve with my new baby, but I’ve found that advance preparation is the way to go. I try to do everything the night before from picking up the house to putting the diaper bag together, making lunch and laying out clothes. I don’t always get it all done, but when I do it makes the next day a breeze.

Also, working in batches has been beneficial for me; meaning doing all of one thing at a time whether it’s the laundry or writing articles. Instead of having loads of laundry each day I just do it all in one day, even if it takes the whole day, to get that task checked off the list.

Kathy:  Would you mind sharing one of your favorite recipes?

Brittany:  Lately I’ve been enjoying pan seared salmon with a side of mixed garden vegetables. I simply put some olive oil in a pan on the stove and sear the wild Alaskan salmon on both sides until it’s flaky and has developed a slightly crunchy coating. I season it with Tony Chachere’s original creole seasoning, cumin and rosemary. The vegetables are frozen so I just cook them on the stove with some olive oil butter.

Kathy:  Thank you so much for sharing your time and tips with us, Brittany.  May God bless you and your sweet family as you continue to shine for Him!

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Encouragement for You!

According to my pocket calendar, today is the Day of National Encouragement.  To celebrate, please enjoy some uplifting Scriptures, quotes, and even a treat!

Scriptures for You

  • “As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him” (Psalm 18:30).
  • “In the world you will have trouble; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).
  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
  • “Now may the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).

Quotes for You

  • “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  –Anne Frank
  •  “Do you want to know who you are?  Don’t ask–act!  Action will delineate and define you.”  –Thomas Jefferson
  • “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  –Leo Buscaglia
  • “The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.”  –Martha Washington, first First Lady of the United States

A Treat for You

“Warm Spiced Milk”

  • 2 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. apple butter
  • 2 1/2 T. real maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

-Whisk together all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over low heat until milk steams.  Do not boil.  Serves 4.  (Recipe from Gooseberry Patch Blue Ribbon Family Favorites)

-We enjoyed sipping this belly-warming beverage last night on a chilly, drizzly Colorado evening.  I used Pumpkin Pie spice in place of the cinnamon and cloves and simply heated  it all up in the microwave.

A Prayer for You

Bless each reader, Father, with strength, peace, and compassion as they reach out to those around them and influence all who know them.

 

 

A Much-Loved Preacher’s Wife–interview with Tish Housley (& recipes!)

Tish Housley made an impact on me.  In March, Neal and I walked into her home in Montgomery, AL, for a meal.  Her cozy kitchen and warm smile instantly relaxed us.  In one weekend, she had us over for a home cooked meal three different times!  She is an excellent cook and sweet conversationalist.  What struck me the most about Tish, however, is how much her church family loves her.  I watched her interact with members of all ages.  Their faces would light up as she hugged and talked with them.  The members talked about her behind her back but it was all complimentary.  Even though I didn’t ask, they told me about her sincerity and loving heart.  Here’s the amazing part–Tish isn’t adored because she is new.  Steve and Tish have been serving with the Eastern Meadows congregation for almost 30 years!  If we lived closer, I know I’d want to spend as much time as possible learning from this delightful Christian woman.  Tish graciously agreed to let me interview her.  I love her answers and I know you will, too.

Tish, tell us a little about yourself, please.

I grew up on a dairy farm near West Plains, Missouri.  Yes, I know how to milk a cow, with an electric milker.  I attended Freed-Hardeman University, and there I met my best friend, Steve Housley.  We married in May of 1980 after we both graduated.  In the summer of 1980, Steve and I worked with the Central congregation in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Steve had the pleasure of working alongside James Meadows as the assistant minister.  In the fall, Steve continued his education at Harding Graduate School, and I taught fifth grade at Harding Academy.  After only a year, we moved to Lucedale, Mississippi, where we worked with the Rocky Creek congregation.  During the six years we were blessed to be at Rocky Creek, Beth and Brooks were born.  In November of 1987, we moved to Montgomery, Alabama, and continue to be at this wonderful church.  During this time, I stayed at home with my children for ten years.  Beth and Brooks attended Alabama Christian Academy, and I would help out at school when needed.  Gradually, I found myself at school more and more frequently substituting, and before I knew it, I was teaching full time.  I taught there for nineteen and a half years.  I loved being there with my children.  My father’s and father-in-law’s health began to decline so I retired to help out with them.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a preacher’s wife more loved by her church family.  How have you been able to get into the hearts of your Christian brothers and sisters?  

“First of all, I try to simply be a part of the congregation.  I really think they are in my heart more than I am in theirs.  I love them; they are my family!  I don’t want it to be an “us and them.”  I want it to be a “we.”  Try not to hold back.  Jump in and help no matter what the job is.  Find ways to encourage but not take over.”

What advice can you offer other preachers’ wives who are trying to build good relationships?

“Be careful to be friendly to everyone.  We all have our close friends, and we need that.  Get with those special friends at another time other than before and after the worship service.  Try to get around to everyone especially those that seem to be isolated.  

Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and work.  I will never forget meeting Sister Howard, V.E. Howard’s wife.  I was twenty years old on a campaign in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  We girls always did the dishes after lunch before going out door knocking.  Sister Howard had eaten lunch with us that day.  After eating, she didn’t just sit there.  She stood up, walked over to the sink, and began washing dishes.  That impressed me.  I thought she was royalty, but yet, she did not think of herself that way.  She was one of us.  I loved that!”

What do you love most about being a preacher’s wife?

“I love being able to serve, but anyone can and should do that.  I do think we have a unique way to serve in that we are closer to the preacher than anyone.  I feel like I am his number one assistant.  I want to make home special, a little vacation place for him.  We might only have an hour in the evening to spend together, but I want that hour to be like a mini vacation.  

I don’t want him to nervous about being able to invite people into our home.  I try to keep it presentable.

I don’t think of being a preacher as his job; we are a team!  I love that!”

You are very hospitable, Tish!  What is your favorite company meal?

“The easiest meal is a roast.  I can put it in the oven and go on with other things.  I will put onions and carrots in the roast.  Every once in a while I’ll put potatoes but Steve really likes yellow rice.  I cook different vegetables to go along with the roast, but most of the time, green beans will be a side dish and also a salad.  I love the Chinese chicken salad.  For dessert, I will make an apple pie or red velvet cake.”

Would you mind sharing one of your favorite recipes with us?

“I will have to share two.  (You can pick the one you want to keep.)”

I’m going to share both (see below).   I’ve had your Tomato Pie and it’s delicious!  Thank you, Tish, for your time and for your wise insight.  I thank God for you!

TOMATO PIE

  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped (I use dried about 1 ½ teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion (You can also use a regular onion)
  • 1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

3. Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

4. To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

PORTABLE CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (16 ounce) package coleslaw mix
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages chicken flavored ramen noodles, crushed, seasoning packet reserved
  • 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds (I brown them in a skillet with the ramen noodles)
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 cup rice garlic vinegar or regular vinegar
  • 1 packet artificial sweetener or regular sugar

Directions

1. Sauté chicken in a large skillet until well browned or boil in water and drain (cool chicken). Place coleslaw in a large bowl, add chicken and set aside (or refrigerate if not serving soon).

2. Break up ramen noodles into a small bowl; add almonds.  I brown in a skillet with oil.

3. In a small bowl combine the corn oil, vinegar, ramen seasoning packets and artificial sweetener or sugar. Mix well and set aside until ready to serve.

4. When you arrive at your destination, add noodle mixture and dressing mixture to large chicken/coleslaw bowl and stir together.

Steve & Tish Housley

Meet Alicia Bookout! (a Christian woman interview & recipe)

She’s young, beautiful, warm, and fun-loving.  Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy this interview with Alicia Bookout, a sweet preacher’s wife and mother.

Kathy:  Hi, Alicia!  Please tell us a little about yourself.

Alicia:  “Garrett and I met for the first time on January 28, 2006 at a get-together for the freshman at the Bear Valley Institute of Denver. He had just moved from TX. He asked some people about me, but was told I was younger than I actually was, so didn’t pursue.  He later learned my real age (whew!) and a year later we fell hard for each other. We just celebrated 6 years of happy marriage!

Right after marriage we were given the excellent opportunity for Garrett to work as the Intern for Bear Valley church of Christ for two years. Our “mentors” (as we like to call them) were some people named Neal and Kathy Pollard. 😉 Since 2010 we have lived in Clovis, NM where Garrett is the pulpit Minister for the 16th and Pile church of Christ.

I’m blessed to get to stay at home with our two wonderful, fun and energetic kids, Emma (4 yrs) and Wesley (2 yrs).” 

Kathy:  You write for KatharosNOW.  What’s that all about?

Alicia:  “It is a blog aimed to encourage teenage girls to remain pure and clean (katharos) in this world. My sister-in-law started it a couple of years ago. Several different Christian women and young ladies from around the country write for it. I think it is a great resource for young ladies today.”

Kathy:  Sounds wonderful!  I know many will enjoy checking out http://katharosnow.com/

You fill many roles. Many young mothers struggle with feeling like they don’t have enough time to accomplish everything. What advice would you give them?

Alicia:  “Pray and drink lots of coffee! I still struggle with this problem myself. One thing that has really helped is making daily lists. Especially on days that I feel overwhelmed. I will list at the top things that I absolutely have to get done that day and then add extras. If I get to the extra part of the list, that is great, if not, I really try to not lie in bed and stress about it. So many young moms (myself included) can run themselves ragged trying to make everything perfect. Some days it will just not be that way and that is ok. As long as you are taking care of your biggest jobs God has given you (hubby and children) then you are doing good. I would suggest though to NEVER allow your alone/quiet time with God to go on the “extras” part of your list. That has to be a priority daily or it will lead to more stressed and unaccomplished feelings (learned from experience).” 

Kathy:  What’s your favorite company meal?

Alicia:  “Crockpot Shredded Italian Beef Sandwiches! It’s easy, can feed an army and something I grew up with so it always reminds me of home. I usually prepare Velveeta cheese dip to go along side so that you can smother your sandwich with it if you want. Needless to say, this is not a dish for those counting calories.”

Italian Beef Sandwiches

  • 1 sirloin tip roast, rump roast, etc. (pork works good, too…cheaper!)
  • 1 pkg. dry Italian Dressing (about 1 per 1 1/2 lbs of meat)
  • one can of Beef Broth

Put in Crockpot on low for 8ish hours (depends on how many pounds of meat you use). Shred and put on rolls!

Kathy:  Would you mind sharing another favorite recipe with us? 

Alicia:  “I have too many favorite recipes so this question was one of the hardest to answer. Chocolate Éclair Cake kept coming to mind though. So easy to make and I could eat the entire pan if I’m not careful.

  • 1 Box Graham Crackers
  • 1 big box Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 8 oz. container Cool Whip
  • 1 tub Chocolate Frosting 

Make Pudding according to directions and mix the cool whip into the pudding. In a 9×13 dish layer graham crackers and top with pudding mixture. Make 3 layers ending with graham crackers as the top. Heat up your chocolate frosting and pour over the top of the graham crackers. Refrigerate for a couple hours and then gobble up!”

 Kathy:  As a busy mom of young children, how do you keep the spark alive in your marriage? 

Alicia:  “As newlyweds we were told a number of times “enjoy the romance before kids come along!”. Garrett and I were determined to not let our romance fizzle out once I got pregnant with our first. It definitely takes more work, but I truly believe that having kids has made us more in love and a stronger couple. 

 I would suggest DO NOT give up on your quiet time and dates! We love our kids to pieces but need our time together. We do this by making sure our kids have a strict bed time (8 pm in this house) so that we have nightly alone time. If you don’t have a babysitter for a date out on the town, one of our favorite things is in-home dates! After kids are in bed cook together, watch a movie, play a game, just get creative! Home dates can be cheaper, cozier, more fun and romantic than a night out.

Also, make sure even though most of your time is spent caring for the children, that you still let your hubby know that you think of him daily. Take time in your hectic day to flirt with him. Text messages, Facebook and phone calls are great ways for that. Get dressed up just for him occasionally. My sweet husband says my “mom outfits” (sweats, t-shirt with kid food and marker and pony tail) are cute, but I also know he doesn’t complain if I fix myself up.  Little things that show him you care are always a good thing.”

Kathy:  What is something about you that people might be surprised to know? 

Alicia:  “I was born in Okinawa, Japan and have lived in 9 different states. I was an “air force brat” growing up and loved the experience of seeing all sorts of new places and people!”

Kathy:  When I think of you, I think of someone who’s joyful, warm, and real. I’m sure you deal with your fair share of stress and problems, so what’s your secret to maintaining these admirable traits?

Alicia:  “I appreciate you saying that. I can definitely say I have not dealt with stress like I should at times and have to work on it a lot. My new favorite thing to do when I am feeling especially stressed, upset or anxious is to do a word search in scriptures. I use my bible program online (concordance works great too) and look up words like “comfort”, “worry” and “joy”. I will read most of the scriptures that pop up. Some of my favorites I end up reading a couple times throughout the day and even writing them out on sticky notes and putting them on my walls as reminders. It is amazing how much better I feel and how my attitude changes after I do this.” 

Kathy:  Thank you, Alicia!  It’s been a real pleasure ‘chatting’ with you, and I appreciate your beautiful insight and wisdom.  May God bless you and your sweet family as you shine for Him!

Alicia & her husband Garrett
 

Meet the Jackson Women, Part 3 (plus recipes!)

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Our final interview in this series is with my dear friend, JILL JACKSON.  She is an easy-to-love Christian woman, and you’ll enjoy reading her practical parenting tips!

Share a little about yourself, please, by way of introduction.

“Jason & I celebrated our 16th anniversary in September.  We have 3 daughters (Natalie, 14; Kara, 11; and Allie, 8).  Jason preaches at East Main St. church of Christ and works at the Christian Courier.  Most of our time is spent homeschooling our girls.  I am currently teaching Allie’s Bible class on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Sometimes I help with administrative tasks at the Courier, but now that we have several teenagers in our family, we delegate most of those tasks to them.”

We’ve heard about the Christian Courier from Betty and Sandy.  What can you tell us about it?

“The Christian Courier is a wonderful avenue for educating the lost and keeping the saved saved.  It began as a monthly newsletter, and is now that and much more.  We have a website where articles and sermons can be accessed.  We hear many wonderful words about individuals searching for the truth who stumbled upon the Courier online– some of which later obeyed the gospel.  We are constantly told by preachers, elders, and others within the Lord’s body that the Courier is a useful resource for their daily lives and Bible study.  We are proud to be a part of something that provides sound doctrine, encouragement, and beneficial study aids to others.”

*Visit https://www.christiancourier.com/ to take advantage of this wonderful Christian resource.

The first time I was in your home, you served steak and creme brulee.  I’ll never forget that incredible meal!  What’s your go-to company meal?

“Southern BBQ, of course!  We love to fix ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and baked beans.”

*To try a couple of Jill’s favorite recipes, see the end of this post.

If you could give only one piece of marriage and/ or parenting advice, what would it be?

“My one piece of parenting advice would be to parent your children with the relationship you want to have with them as adults in mind.  Do you want your home to be a place your children look forward to bringing their families to?  Then as they grow up, your home needs to be a place of peace, security, and happiness.  Do you want to be someone your children can look to for spiritual guidance and wisdom?  Then as they grow up, they need to see you studying your Bible, hear you talking about spiritual things with them, hear your prayers for them and others, and see you walking the walk.  Certainly loving, spiritual parents rear their children with the number one goal of helping them get to heaven, but our focus on that important task should not cause us to lose sight of the joy of parenting.  Good parenting should cultivate a relationship between the parent and child that brings much delight to the lives of both through all stages of life, not just the years the children live in your home.

My one piece of marriage advice is to have a healthy marriage you must have healthy habits.  One can’t expect a strong marriage if their marriage is full of selfishness, score keeping, or a spirituality that lacks roots.  Healthy marriages are a result of a union that has Christ at the center, that looks to the needs of their spouse, that proactively focuses on turning good intentions into intentional actions.”

What do you do to stay motivated and encouraged in your ministry work?

“I think about the fact that while my hospitality may be encouraging to the visitors in my home, those who benefit the most are really those within my home– my children.  By being hospitable to others, I am seizing an opportunity to train them to be hospitable when they are grown.  The same could be said about anything we do, from teaching Bible class, preparing food for someone, visiting someone, etc.  What I choose to do today shows my children what my priorities in life are and instills those priorities within their hearts.  That is what encourages and motivates me aside from the obvious that these are works God expects and delights in.”

Baked beans
1 52 oz can of Van Camp’s pork and Beans
3/4 c brown sugar
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs mustard
1/4 c molasses
1 c. BBQ sauce
(Optional–chopped up brisket or pork roast)
Mix all ingredients well. Pour into a glass 9×13 baking dish. Cook, uncovered at 325 degrees for 75 min. Let stand 10-15 min before serving.
Peanut butter cake
1/2 c butter
1 c water
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c oil
2 c flour
2 eggs
2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Frosting:
1/2 c butter
1/3 c milk
1/2 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c powdered sugar
Combine butter, water, peanut butter, and oil. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and pour batter into a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 min.
Frosting:
Heat butter, milk, and peanut butter until comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Pour hot frosting over cake.

Meet the Jackson Women, Part Two (+ a recipe!)

Jacksons

Continuing our interviews of the Jackson women, today we’ll spend time with SANDY JACKSON.  She and her beautiful family live in California.  As you read her replies, you’ll find her personality is as sunny as the state in which she lives!

Please share a little about yourself. 

“Our story began when this Alabama girl shook hands with a tall, handsome, west coast gentleman at the social club mixer in front of Freed Hardeman’s  Milan Sitka building 25 years ago.  With a bit of persuasion to my dad, Jared and I were married in May 1990.

We have two quick-witted teenage boys (a gene passed down from their Pappaw Wayne and a few other close relatives). I am a full-time wife and mother.  We have home-schooled Nicholas and Matthew since the day they entered the world.  I work about ten hours each week at the Christian Courier office helping with mail-outs, church bulletins, and organizing recorded audio  lessons.

Jared’s job is difficult to define. He works full-time for the Christian Courier, but his work encompasses so much. He manages the technical side of things, but he also writes a monthly Christian paper called “Fortify Your Faith” that emphasizes the practical application of biblical principles in the church and in the family. He has just finished teaching an extended class on the Bible and money that was interesting, and this only scratches the surface of what he does. In spite of his very busy work schedule, he has always been a full-time dad. His family is his most important work.”

How long have you lived in California, and what do you love about it?   

“The day I received my college diploma we had the U-haul loaded to head to California, my new home for the next 22 years.  Jared and I decided, even though we were married the summer before my senior year at Freed-Hardeman, we would stay in Henderson, Tennessee so I could graduate the following spring.  I joke now that the finance degree helps me balance our checkbook each month.  All humor aside, I gained more in those four years at Freed-Hardeman than just a degree; blessings I continually reap to this day.   My husband’s family took me in as one of their own making being away from my own family a bit easier.  It has been a blessing for our children to sit on the same church pew with their cousins and grandparents all of their life.

The weather here is gorgeous.  I have only slightly felt one earthquake; something I don’t think as often about as others.  California is deemed as “the liberal state….with fruits and nuts.” Yes, it has been hard in many respects raising a family here, but the sound teaching and warm family connections at East Main Street Church of Christ in Stockton have been the calming peace among the immoral hurdles around us. I do wish California wasn’t so far from our other friends and family across the country.  A monthly cross-country trip would be nice, but the budget just has not allowed for that.”

We appreciate your efforts with the Christian Courier. Tell us about it, please.

“The Christian Courier started as a monthly journal of biblical studies in May of 1965 by Wayne Jackson, my father-inlaw.  Over the years, the Christian Courier gained a reputation as a trusted and balanced source for preachers, teachers, and elders. In 1998, the Christian Courier entered the digital age by expanding to the internet. It really has become more than simply a paper. The Christian Courier now is a full-time mission work reaching more than 274,000 visitors in just the last thirty days and 2.76 million people to date this year alone. Every month people living in over 212 countries come to the Christian Courier seeking information on biblical topics. It has been amazing to see how the resources produced by the Christian Courier are being used. Once when traveling, we stopped to worship on a Wednesday night in Wyoming. In the ladies’ Bible class, the teacher pulled out an article from the Christian Courier during her lesson. People from around the world send in their questions and use the information to deal with difficult situations. It is truly a blessing to be a part of such an important and meaningful mission work like the Christian Courier.”

I know from personal experience that you’re all very hospitable. What’s your go-to company meal?  

“I enjoy making chili.  You can put it with cornbread, crackers, baked potatoes, corn chips, sour cream, and cheese and feed an army of people.  It is comfort food for me.  I also love my husband’s smoked ribs and brisket.  Making sides for that meal means a good party is getting ready to take place at our house!”

Will you share one or two of your favorite recipes with us, please? 

“We love chocolate chip cookies. Since Jared was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of years ago,  I try not to bake them while he is home, because the smell is tortuous.   We make them for potlucks, gifts, and just a small treat while watching a good ballgame.  I shape them with a tiny scoop, after all it is less calories to eat 6 tiny cookies than 2 big ones, right?  I have tried several recipes, but we have voted the best one is from Alton Brown’s Good Eats show and website. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-chewy-recipe/index.html You can freeze the cookie balls and bake only the number you want/need to eat!”

Would you mind sharing something about yourself that others might never have guessed? 

“I am a twin.  I was born 2 minutes before my brother.  My mom and dad did not know twins were in their future until an hour after my mom came out of cesarean surgery. She fed me then a few minutes later, my brother was brought to her for his feeding.  She commented to the nurse, ‘There must be a mistake…’  I grew up hanging out in trees and doing boy things since my brother didn’t buy into the doll setup.  I think God gave me boys to raise knowing I love anything to do with a ball, and I don’t know how to do hair.”

If you could give only one piece of marriage and/ or parenting advice, what would it be? 

“Jared and I try to walk two to three times each week.  We usually go for five to six miles at a time.  We have found this time free of interruptions to visit, plan, troubleshoot and hopefully burn a few calories (in his case, lower his blood sugar levels).  I truly believe a couple has to spend time together frequently to really enjoy each other.  I’ve never bought into the idea, ‘Distance makes the heart grow fonder.’

Parenting advice? I’m still in the training process myself, but I would say cultivating a sense of belonging in the family is vital.  Many enemies are attacking the home today and pulling our children away.  The family is where God designed love, forgiveness, affection and discipline to be experienced and practiced to cause a child to say, ‘This is where I belong’ – as opposed to looking for these things elsewhere.”

What do you do to stay motivated and encouraged in your ministry work? 

“Have people over to our house.  We love company!  We have a guest room ready at all times…come visit us!”