Today I can…



Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful
That the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money or I can be glad
That my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me
Away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was
Growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that
Thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a
Quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy
Because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my
Mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can
Feel honored because the Lord has provided shelter for my mind, body
And soul.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the
Sculptor who gets to do the shaping. What today will be like is up to
Me.

I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

~Author Unknown By Me~

Sax ~ Cathy Mogus

The little chapel—a nondescript square building that was painted red—had been an army barracks. But what did my pastor husband, Jim, and I expect from a tiny coastal town in British Columbia? A cathedral? We added beige siding, and tried to provide stimulating Sunday services to the tiny congregation of about 30 people.

Music always helped. I played piano and another member played the organ. We even had a gentleman on saxophone, who sometimes led the hymns instead.

One Sunday morning our sax player led the congregation in song, while I accompanied him on piano. In the middle of the first hymn, I could have sworn I heard a saxophone playing, soft and mellow.

I discreetly glanced around the room, but could not determine where the sound was coming from. Not from our sax player—his hands were empty.

Hymn after hymn, the invisible saxophone player accompanied me. Following the service, several parishioners commented on the mysterious saxophone playing. “Did you hear it too?” they asked me.

My husband and I discussed the unusual service when we got home. So many of our church members had noticed the saxophone music, it became obvious to us where the music had come from.

I had always heard people talk about a choir of angels singing—but now I knew that at least one of God’s angels played the saxophone. Just for our little chapel.

~The Window

~Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital Room.One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each Afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed Was next to the room’s only window.The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.The men talked for hours on end.They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, Their jobs, their involvement in the military service, Where they had been on vacation.Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window Could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his Roommate all the things he could see outside the Window.The man in the other bed began to live for those one-Hour periods where his world would be broadened and Enlivened by all the activity and color of the world Outside.The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children Sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm In arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view Of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.As the man by the window described all this in Exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the Room would close his eyes and imagine the Picturesque scene.One warm afternoon the man by the window Described a parade passing by. Although the other Man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window Portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and Weeks passed.One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water For their baths only to find the lifeless body of the Man by the window, who had died peacefully in his Sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital Attendants to take the body away.As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other manAsked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after Making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one Elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window Beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked The nurse what could have compelled his deceased Roommate who had described such wonderful things Outside this window.The nurse responded that the man was blind and Could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he Just wanted to encourage you.”Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making Others happy, despite our own situations. Shared Grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, Is doubled.

For Only A Dollar

Today I went to Wendy’s, the restaurant, which was one of Those rare occasions I get to treat myself. I had it all Planned out. I had been thinking about it all day. I was going to have my Wendy’s usual, a chicken sandwich, Small fry and small drink, which were all off the dollar menu. However, while placing my order, I had a change of heart. You See I live in Phoenix Arizona, and its 110 degrees today. So I Decided to have the dollar frosty instead of the small drink. I decided to wait to order it until I finished my meal so that I could have it on the walk back to the bus stop. By the way, I was telling all this to the young guy who was taking my Order. It makes me laugh at myself now. But he politely Smiled, nodded and offered me a cup of ice water. I took my tray and sat down to enjoy my meal. As I was sitting There eating and listening to 3 unruly, crying kids and Noticing 2 parents who think they are acting normal, an older Gentleman came into the restaurant. He appeared to be in his Seventies, very tall, very skinny, and a few days unshaven and Very white hair. His clothes were clean but didn’t fit right.He was carrying 2 backpacks, several newspapers folded neatly Under his arm, and a large Igloo(r) water cooler. He placed his Things in the booth next to mine and proceeded to the counter To order. At that time, I noticed how quiet the restaurant had Become. No one was staring at the gentleman because they Didn’t want to make eye contact with him. Even the unconcerned Parents were forcing their children to be quite and not look At him. I continued to watch everyone’s reactions towards him, and I Knew exactly what it felt like to be in his position. You see For the most part of the past 2 years, I have been homeless And it’s hard to hide that fact. People don’t know how to Respond to you. They want to help, they know they should help, But for whatever their reasons are at the time they don’t. So What do they do…? They get quiet and for God’s sake don’t make eye contact. As Long as they don’t make eye contact with you, they think you Don’t know that they know. However, we know and feel it more Than you will ever know. I watched him order; he asked the young guy for ice for his Cooler, then he ordered a large drink without ice. He paid With pennies. I noticed the look on the young guy’s face. I Recognized that look, he was nervous that the gentleman would Not have enough money to pay. He then would have to make a Decision on what to do; call a manager, put in some change of His own or tell the man to buzz off. The man had just enough to pay. He too had been planning his Treat at Wendy’s all day, he had counted that change over and Over again to be sure he had enough before ever entering the Restaurant. He didn’t want anyone to know and it was embarrassing enough To have to pay with a handful of ‘found’ pennies; but to do so And find you don’t have enough is an even a bigger fear. So he Paid and at that moment, he was rich. He was able to go into a Cool place, order something, pay for it, read his paper and For a brief moment, feel normal.I continued to watch him and the others, not knowing exactly What to do myself. Sometimes we just want to pretend that no One knows. I watched him organize his things and he sat down Next to me. He faced the window and his back was towards me. He didn’t make eye contact. I watched him wipe the table and Seat down before he sat down to read his paper. He took the Drink without ice and poured it into the cooler; he stretched His dollar. I continued to enjoy my meal and tried not to Feel sad for him, myself or those watching. Then I remembered my decision not to order the drink and to Get a frosty instead. It all became clear. If I had ordered The drink, I would not have had the dollar in my pocket Waiting on that frosty. I smiled at myself and said, “I get it God”. I knew why you made me act a fool at the counter when Ordering; I was suppose to have the dollar in my pocket at That moment. So I got up and walked up to the counter. The Young guy said, “Ready for your frosty”, and I said, “no, I Think I need another chicken sandwich”. He said, “Still hungry?” I replied “something like that”. I took the chicken sandwich, sat back down at my booth, waited a couple of minutes and spoke to the gentleman. I told him I had an extra chicken sandwich and asked would he like it.He nodded his head yes, took the sandwich and began to eat it before he could unwrap it completely. I then noticed a strange reaction in the restaurant. It was no longer quiet. There was a buzz, but I wasn’t sure why. Feeling good about what I had done and how much better that felt than the brain freeze I would have gotten from the frosty, I finished my meal. As I was gathering my trash, there was a rush to the counter. 3 people from 3 different tables, including one of the parents from the unruly kid’s table all headed to the counter. I sat back down to watch. One by one, they all brought him something over; first a fry, then a small salad and then a bowl of chili. All 3 saying the same thing I had said, I have an extra item, would you like it. He never said a word; he just reached out to take it and nodded yes to each. I watched for a minute longer as he arranged his banquet; he bowed his head for a moment and then continued on with his feast. I watched the others begin to leave the restaurant. They were walking very tall, big smiles and feeling pretty good. They got that feeling “For only a Dollar”. I think sometimes we just don’t know what to do, and we’re just waiting for someone to show us. Today, God showed me what I needed to do. When I listened, look what happened. When we do something small it makes a world of difference. As I was Leaving, the guy at the counter called his manager up and they Both smiled at me as I left. I smiled with my big “Dollar” Smile back and I felt seven feet tall. As I walked by the window, the gentleman waved at me and Mouthed the words, “God bless you”. I think I saw him wipe a Tear from his eye. At that moment I felt pretty blessed and I Definitely had to wipe a tear from my eye. And I got all this “For only a Dollar”.

Pickled Garlic Yum

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 heads garlic
  • 1-pint jar
  • 3 dried red chili’s (optional)
  • 1 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Gather the ingredients
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, separate the garlic into cloves. Drop the cloves into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. (You’re blanching the garlic to make it easier to peel, not cooking it to any real degree.
  3. Drain and rinse the cloves with cold water. Peel the cloves.
  4. Pack the cloves in the pint jar, and arrange the chilies in a jar, too, if you like.
  5. Combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a bowl, stirring until the salt and sugar fully dissolve.
  6. Pour the mixture over the garlic cloves to cover them completely. (You may have some left)
  7. Cover the jar with a lid and store it in the refrigerator for at least 1 month before using. The pickles will keep, chilled, for at least a year.

Texas Trash dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soup cream
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded Cheddar cheese
  • tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine sour cream and cream cheese. Add refried beans and taco seasoning. Use a mixer to combine.
  3. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese. Pour the dip into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through and the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips.

Puppy Chow snack mix

  • Total TimePrep/Total Time: 15 min.
  • Makes13 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 box (12 ounces) Corn Chex
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • Pour cereal into a very large bowl. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Stir gently. Continue microwaving on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and blended. Pour over cereal; gently stir to coat
  • In batches, place confectioners’ sugar in a gallon-sized bag, add cereal mixture and shake until well coated. Spread cereal out on a baking sheet. Let stand until set. Store in airtight containers.

Banana Chocolate cake

Recipe details

  • Yield8 servings
  • Time spentPrep time: 15 MinutesCook time: 30 MinutesTotal time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup (96 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  • 11/2 cup (190 grams) plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) white sugar
  • 3/4 cup (120 grams) dark chocolate chips, optional

Instructions

Grease a loaf pan with baking spray or line with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 180°c/350°f.In a bowl or jug, whisk together your wet ingredients: banana, oil, eggs, and milk.In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients: cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and sugars until combined.Add your whisked wet ingredients into your dry ingredient mixture and mix thoroughly with a whisk or spatula until you get a smooth batter. Your batter would be on the thick side.Pour your batter into your pan and sprinkle your chocolate chunks/chips on top of your batter. (if using chocolate chips)Bake in your oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few MOIST crumbs.Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing from the pan and allowing to cool completely.

Pineapple pretzel squares

Betty Crocker cookbook

These perfect Pineapple Pretzel Squares have got the perfect balance of sweet ‘n’ salty, and a satisfying pretzel crunch! With whipped topping and cream cheese added to the mix, these dessert bars-are bound to be everyone’s favorite dessert.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 (4-serving) packages pineapple gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided

What to Do

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine crushed pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press mixture into bottom of baking dish. Bake 8 minutes; let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in ice water and pineapple, and chill until slightly thickened.
  4. In another large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in 3 cups whipped topping and spread evenly over pretzel crust. Spread pineapple mixture over cream cheese layer.
  5. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or until firm. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and cut into squares.

Coffee Grounds Garbage Disposal DeodorizerBy: Stephanie Gerber from Hello Glow


Nothing ruins the aroma of homemade cooking faster than a stinky garbage disposal. Learn how to get rid of that smell with this recipe for Coffee Grounds Garbage Disposal Deodorizer. With this tutorial, you can use a natural deodorizer to clear up any strange odors coming from your garbage disposal so you won’t have to keep pouring chemicals down your drain. This homemade air freshener uses classic cleaning ingredients like baking soda and vinegar to scrub away anything that’s causing odors in your sink. Simply drop one of the deodorizers down your sink and rinse to make your kitchen smell good again.
Supplies:
 1 cup coffee grounds (used or fresh)
 3/4 cup Epsom salt
 1/2 cup baking soda
 3 tablespoons vinegar
15

Instructions:

  1. If you want to be really green, collect your used coffee grounds each morning and sprinkle them out on a plate until they are completely dry. Store them in a zip top bag until you have at least 1 cup. If you want to get started right away, pick up an inexpensive bag of pre-ground coffee at the market.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine coffee, Epsom salt and baking soda and mix well.
  3. Slowly add the vinegar. The baking soda will react with the vinegar and start to bubble a little bit, but will subside quickly.
  4. Stir the ingredients so the mixture starts to clump together. If your mixture is too dry, add more vinegar (1/2 teaspoon at a time) until it becomes damp enough

Using a melon baller or small scoop pack the mixture and create as many little tablets as you
5.

  1. To Use:
    can. Lay them out on parchment paper until they are dry, then store in a jar.
  2. Put them out on parchment paper until they are dry, then store in a jar and keep close to your garbage disposal.
  3. Simply drop a tablet or two down your garbage disposal while it’s on, rinse with a stream of cold water. To really pack a punch, drop a tablet or two down the disposal and rinse with 1 cup of vinegar

MY OLD FRIEND P. S. Gifford

It was during my Summer vacation in 1978 when I made a memorable New friend. I remember it as distinctly as if it was yesterday. I Would have been 13 years old back then. One particularly sunny morning I awoke and over my usual bowl of Cereal a curious idea formed in my young mind. I decided to go to The zoo. I had always liked zoos, finding never ending joy in the Delights and beauty of all the creatures. Now, living as I did in Birmingham, England, we were most fortunate to have an excellent zoo, Dudley, a mere eight miles from the house. I recall it was about 9am when I set off on my trusty old Bicycle. On my back hung my tattered back pack, which contained my Favorite sandwich, cheese and onion, and a flask of hot tea. This Was going to be an adventure I thought! About 90 minutes later, I dutifully arrived at my destination. I did not have any money, I rarely did back then. However I had Formulated a cunning plan. I was, after all, an exceedingly Determined 13 years old. I rode to the back of the park, in search of an alternate Entrance. I soon spied a climbable fence at the back. I chained my Bike to a lamp post and being rather agile, I scaled the eight foot Railing. Then with a combination of courage and foolishness, I Leaped onto the grass on the other side. I got up and jubilantly Discovered that I had made it in one piece. However, my cheery disposition quickly disappeared when I found Myself in the llama pen. My escape would involve a steep descent Covered in stinging nettles. I started off by carefully climbing Down the hill. It did not take me long however and I awkwardly Slipped and fell. I suddenly regretted wearing short trousers and a T-shirt as I rolled and rolled through the bushes, ripping my skin, And stinging me all over. I landed at the bottom with a resounding thump. As I opened my Eyes, I felt a strange sensation. A llama was affectionately licking My cheek. Alarmed, and rather embarrassed by the affection, I Quickly stood up, raced to the fence, and as the Llama watched with a Seemingly broken heart, I ungraciously leaped out of the pen. I eagerly began to explore the rest of the zoo. Within an hour I began to feel puckish, so I searched for a comfortable shaded spot To relax and eat. Before long, I found the ideal place — a little Wall surrounding a shallow body of water, where a giant tortoise Lived. As I crouched down and began my little feast, the tortoise Hurried away as quickly as he could, which wasn’t particularly fast At all. I watched and was strangely fascinated. In fact, I was so Intrigued I continued to sit there. The sad truth was that so very Few people actually gave this magnificent fellow much more than a Fleeting glance. They were far too interested in the monkeys, the Lions and tigers. Yet, here was the oldest (and perhaps wisest?) Animal in the entire place. I found out by reading the information Card that he was already almost a hundred years old, and still in his Prime. After a while, a peculiar thing happened. He walked over to me. I was taken aback, and I might add, flattered. It appeared this Fellow was enjoying my company as well. I cautiously and nervously scratched his head. My new friend Seemed a little unsure at first as he quickly sunk back deep into the Safety of the shell. But, a few moments later, his head returned, And I went back into scratching mode. He seemed to stretch out his Neck as far as he could. I had made some sort of a connection with The fellow! I ended up sitting there for the rest of the day until the park Closed and I was forced to leave. As I got up to go, the tortoise Tried to follow me. I distinctly remember him trying to lift himself Over his enclosure. He couldn’t make it and seemed to be a little Frustrated. The next day found me at my local library discovering all I Could about these creatures with prehistoric roots. Over the next Few weeks, I went back quite often and I soon found a much easier way To sneak in the zoo. I even got friendly with some of the zoo Keepers. They obviously knew I wasn’t paying, yet seemed to turn a Blind eye. I always found myself back at that seemingly magical place. It Became my sanctuary. My old friend seemed, in my imagination, to be Looking for me, eagerly anticipating my arrival. As I walked up, I Would watch him plod over to me. I started to bring a few radishes Or pieces of lettuce — he seemed to appreciate the gesture. Soon, summer was over, school started, and I stopped my visits. I was also turning into a mature teenager and I regret to say that Perhaps I had other things on my mind than the wonderful friendship I Had developed over the summer. As I have gotten older, whenever I go to the zoo, I always check out if they have a giant tortoise. Whenever I see one, my mind and Heart goes back to that wonderful summer of 1978. I suspect he is still there, waiting and looking. The next time I am back in England I think I shall go and see. Only this time, I will actually pay to enter the zoo!

The Wren Still Sings-by Pamela R. Blaine

It was one of those rainy and dreary spring days. Although it-wasn’t extremely cold, it seemed that the wind caused a chill to-come over me. It was the kind of weather that after a few days-of it, my mood began to match the gloomy climate.I had finished my chores and was hurrying as fast as I could toget back into the warm house and out of the continuous drizzle when I heard something. I ran on inside the back door to get outof the rain but I turned and peeked back out the screen door. Iwanted to see if I could discover the origin of the lovely soundthat I was hearing. As I listened, I heard the sound again. I looked over toward the lilac bush and there sat a little wren that had made her nest in the tomato juice can that Mom had hung inthe bushes years ago. The wind was causing her house to sway and-the rain was coming down harder than ever.Yet, she seemed to look upward as she held on tightly with hertiny bird feet to a small branch and continued her sweet musical-solo. Although her world was shaken, the wren still sang.Perhaps we could take a lesson from the birds and learn to makeour nests, feed our young, and sing to God. The birds don’t askfor better nests or even better material for nests. They don’t complain about their lot in life, but they take what God has given them and then they do their best to create something beautiful with it.I have always enjoyed watching birds. I delight in the brilliant red of the cardinal, the beauty of the bluebird, and the unique touch of red on the red winged blackbird.The birds each have a special song of their own to sing. Somehave a very brief series of chirps while others have a whole chorusto perform. The Whippoorwill seems to sing her name while the quail simply calls his “bob white”.I have a tiny hummingbird’s nest that is a work of art. It isso small and beautifully made that I wonder at the perfection ofthis wee bird’s creation. It is completely round and about thesize of silver dollar. The outside is foundational with the rougher pieces of sticks and materials at the bottom of the nest.Gradually, the materials become softer until the finishing touch on the very top of the inside of the nest is covered with a softlayer of hair and fur.The birds around us are all different yet they don’t seem unhappy with their plumages nor do they try to look like other birds. The sparrow doesn’t rush right out to get his feathers dyed red to look like the cardinal nor does the robin try to peckaway on a tree like the woodpecker.The birds seem to be very content as they sing, fly, and work at their job of being a bird. It doesn’t seem to me that birds have much trouble with being happy. It must be because they trust their heavenly Father. They don’t worry about life. they just-live it. The birds neither sow nor reap yet God feeds and takescare of them and we are told that we are of so much greater valuethan the birds.The wind, rain, and the storms of life happen to people as well as to birds, but let’s try to look up when our world is shaken too, and remember that the wren still sings!