Saturday, November 19, 2016

Recipe: Avgolemono - Lemon Chicken Soup

This took less than 20 minutes to cook up! 
Here's my #supersimple #Recipe, and yes, it's a great way to enjoy your #lemon #essentialoil... #Enjoy and tell me if you #tryit 

½ C finely chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
3-4 sprigs thyme
2 tsp Kosher salt
2tsp Black pepper
8 C chicken stock
3-4 C cooked, chopped chicken
2 eggs
¼ cup #fresh lemon juice
3 drops #doterra lemon eo
Heat evoo and saute until soft and translucent the onion, garlic cloves with salt, pepper and thyme (tied with string) on med heat in your stock pot. try not to let onions get dark
Deglaze the yummies in that pot with 8 cups broth, bring to boil, add 1½ cups orzo, return to boil then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile whisk eggs with lemon juice. Add 2 cups of the hot broth to the egg mixture to temper it. Then stir this slowly back into into the soup. Add chicken (I had a roasted chicken on hand! Score!) and 3 drops lemon essential oil and stir. Remove thyme bundle, check seasoning, add water, salt, lemon juice as needed to adjust to your liking. Serve with a sprinkle of #fresh thyme and enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Am I Gonna Die In Church? ...thoughts from my ten-year-old self

We all had silly notions when we were young of how life worked - like thinking there were actual little people in the TV doing all those shows. But some might not have been so silly! Some were life and death! Communion at church! Eeeeek!!

Taking communion at church used to scare the Hades out of me. I had heard the preacher say that people had “fallen asleep” (which I found out was code for “died!”) because they were unworthy, and because they took communion with unconfessed sin….at least that’s what I thought he said. So, when the elders would assemble at the front of the church to pass around the communion plates it got real for me...and I got my prayin' face on! I’d start my prayers in earnest as they headed my way...head bowed, hands folded tightly and trembling...

”Oh dear Jesus, I’m so sorry for all the bad things I’ve done and the way I treated my sister and disobeyed my parents…”

And I’d open one eye from my praying to see the communion plate getting closer, and I’d squirm back in the hard wood pew and prayed a little faster…

“…and for not studying for that test…and for my messy room…and for being so selfish….”
One row away and the man in the blue suit would be handing me that plate…I sped things up and did the big coverall close...

“…and for anything I forgot to confess I confess that too…amen…”
The plate passed by…

I took the bread…crunch. 
I took the cup…sip. 
I passed it along. 
I waited. 
Not dead…Phew.

Fortunately we only took communion once a month at my church soI had 30 days to wait for my next near-death experience. My friend's church took it every week! No thank you! Too much drama for me!

Well, like TV actors growing to full size, those thoughts have grown up in my understanding and are far away from me now both in time and in maturity because I grasp the context of that Scripture and how I my naive younger self had misunderstood 1 Corinthians 11 which, while still very serious actually says:

So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
Now, that makes sense! He didn’t say we had to be worthy because that would be entirely impossible ”…there is none worthy, no not one.[1]” This is an immutable truth and an eternal problem save the rescuing grace of the Lord whose death we remember in this very ordinance.

He didn’t say we had to have all sin confessed which would also be an impossibility because the “heart of man is deceitful above all things, who can know it?[2]”

He did say we had to “examine[3]” ourselves which in the Greek means “examine yourself.”
We can pray as David did in Psalm 139, "Search me Oh God. Know my heart. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."

In the verses right before this Paul had admonished them because they’d been coming to church drunk and had been divisive and dishonoring to one another and still just taking the bread and wine like it was no big deal. This was literally breaking the the third commandment not to take God's name in vain. They had been admonished that taking the bread and wine was to “proclaim the Lord’s death”…instead their sin was such a distraction they were proclaiming their debauchery instead.

So, if I could sit next to my younger self in that church pew some 40 years ago I think I’d remind the younger me how deeply I loved Jesus…how strongly I desired to serve and honor Him and that while capable of finding and punishing the unworthy, God is less inclined to do that and more inclined as Scripture says to “to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him[4]” …and my little 10 year-old heart really was committed to Him.

The next time we prepare our hearts for communion, let’s take time to quietly examine ourselves, not so we’re all “prayed up” and can avoid sudden death but because we’re so incredibly thankful for His life and for His death which is, after all, what we’re supposed to be focused on anyway.

For more reading on communion from one of my favorite Bible teachers, read this blog

What about you? Did you have any naive notions about church or faith growing up? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

[1] Ps 14:1-3; Is 53:6, Rm 3:10-18

[2] Jer 17:9

[3] Strongs #1381 “dokimazo”

[4] 2 Chr 16:9

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The One When Lucy Got Scooby Scared

We used to have quite a little farm at our home. Having lots of pets makes for lots of stories and this was one I remember like yesterday... Our mini poodle Lucy FREAKED out. One second she was trotting without a care ahead of me as I walked to the kitchen and the next she's practically jumping into my arms like Scooby into Shaggy's. Something in the shadows by the piano startled her - and by startled I mean she literally skidded to a stop and back peddled on her clicky little paws until she slipped - back legs first - down the stairs. Now, mind you, normally Lucy assertively goes for any little critters she crickets and beetles, or grasshoppers, even mice. She scared up a rat from the side yard a few weeks back and killed it. She keeps the stray cats in their place, tried to take on a skunk last week, and even attempted to bark a Rottweiler into submission at the beach a couple of days ago. But this time she was acting more like a scaredy cat, instead of my usual perky poodle. She kept tentatively prowling forward investigating something she'd seen in the shadows...nose to the ground, paws moving slowly like a chameleon on a twig, then skittering back, with that puffball of a tail tucked between her hunched up legs. I couldn't, for the life of me see what the heck was setting her off. I flipped on all the lights and called for the boys who were upstairs watching Captain America. She kept at it..sneaking forward, skittering back, glancing uneasily toward me, gathering courage, then at it again...all attention focused on the space between the upright piano and the wall. At this point I was getting a little Scooby-scared myself. "What the heck has her so messed up?" I asked as the boys emerged and surveyed the situation from the top of the stairs. There's Lucy still nervously vacillating between brave hunter and scared sissy sneaking back and forth from my feet to the piano shadow. Then Jonathan, after gathering in all he needed to know headed calmly down the stairs and says one word. One word that upon hearing causes me to scoop up Lucy and scoot out of his way: "Dean." "It's Dean." my son states frankly. Yes, folks, it was Dean, Jonathan's 2 foot long python. Dean had somehow slithered unnoticed from his cage in Jonathan's upstairs room, out his door, across the hall, down the stairs and was now behind the piano in the living room. Jonathan tugged the piano away from the wall and saw a portion of Dean's long body. He tried to grab him but Dean's apparently feeling comfy in his new crib, which, by the way is a few feet away from our three pet rats. (Yes. We also own rats. Stay focused.) Dean has tightened and plumped his already thick body like a Ballpark Frank making him fit super snug in the small space between the base of the piano and the hardwood floor. Jonathan tries again to snag Dean, but no go. So, hubby steps in and lifts the piano giving Jonathan more access to Dean and allowing him to dig him from his den. The python now in hand, Glen lowers the piano, I release Lucy, and Jonathan heads upstairs to return the python from his pilgrimage to our piano. Lucy is now fully recovered and back to her brave little self, sniffing the piano's shadow and prancing around as if to say, "That's right. I smoked that snake right out, baby!" All in a night's work here at the Richmond household.

Monday, August 1, 2016

I Don't Really Trust God...or Do I?

During a particularly stressful season in my life it occurred to me that I liked the idea of trusting God, but I didn't actually trust him. I knew the Bible verses - "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not blah-blah-blah..." I knew the songs, " and obey for there's no other way to be blah-blah-blah-blah..." but reeeeeally, truly was I actually living in way that showed I trusted him? I realized, when I sat down in my office chair, I just sit. I trusted the chair to hold me. When I turned the faucet I just held the cup and trusted the water to splash worrying, wondering, second guessing...I just went on past experience without a 2nd thought and, voila, my cup runneth over. So, what was up with how I was thinking of "trusting" God? 

I realized my concept of trust in God and how that looked in my life was connected to my expectations on how this or that situation might turn out. So I was trusting God only to the extent that what I imagined He might do or allow was what I could imagine possibly happening. And when I couldn't imagine a situation working out, or I was fearful that how things might work out would not be the way I would want them...I got panicky. Yikes. That's not actually trusting God now, is it? 
No. No it is not.

Trusting God is not based on what we hope will happen, what we wish would potentially happen or what we can imagine might happen...trusting God is rooted in our concept of His character. Like anything we might trust, it's based on past performance. That chair held me last'll hold me again. The water faucet turned on yesterday, it'll turn on again. 

Think about it. How many times in the Word of God do we read about the mighty works he's done in the past? How many encouraging verses have to do with his faithfulness to all generations, how he's the same yesterday, today and forever; and reminders not to forget his many mighty deeds? I'll give you the short answer...hundreds! Hundreds of verses and passages point us to God's faithfulness and history of being there continually for the faithful. Here's where it's tough (don't think I don't realize it's really tough!) - it's tough when we do not like the situation we're in. We're in a dark place, a scary season, a season of lacking, a season of pain...and this is when it is so hard to trust. When will it end? Will it get better? Will I find relief? When? I'm scared, God!! I do NOT Like this season!

You are in good company if you are feeling this angst. You are among great leaders in our faith if you are worried and fearful...but do not be swallowed by this. This is precisely the season in which you must sit confidently in that chair, when you reach confidently for that faucet...know this: you will be held, the water will CAN trust God. Return to the Word and find reminders of his character. Anchor your confidence, your willingness to actually trust, not in your personal hopes and expectations, but in the historical and present truth of WHO GOD HAS BEEN AND WILL BE... 
"...none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. 4Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.…" (Ps 25)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.…" (Heb 12)
"...good and upright is the Lord, for instructs the sinners in His was, He guides the humble in what, and teaches them His way..." (Ps 25)

Knowing the TRUTH about God is where real trust can begin. Do you need fresh reminders of this? Do you need strengthening in the area? Can I encourage you to do two things this week?

1) Read Psalm 25 and Hebrews 12 - and read them aloud...and stand up while you read them! Do it. It makes a big difference.
2) Write down the stressful craziness of what's going on in your key words, write each of those on a slip of paper, set those papers on a big, firm chair and sit on them. Then pray, "God, I really do want to trust you. You've proven yourself to be faithful and true and even if I don't like the outcome, even if it takes a lot longer to resolve than I have been hoping...I am trusting you for these situations. Amen." Period. Done. 
...ok, three things...
3) Reach out to a trusted friend, pastor, mentor...and confide in them your desire to grow in your ability to trust God. You could even call me! Let's talk this out and get real and really grow in this!

Remember, the world is full of cliche messages about God, the real God and His real story for you are bigger, harder, and way more trustworthy than the bumper sticker or Hobby Lobby woodprint quotes you're reading. Get into the Word of God and get on your knees. You can grow in this's totally worth it.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Taco Tuesday and The Flaming Tower of Terror

Sometimes you are glad that there's no cameras around to record your goofy nonsense...other times, you want evidence so you can review it later and share with others! I'm not sure which category this life event would fall under, but, none-the-less, it's one of our favorite family stories:

I was frying up a batch of homemade taco shells, left the pan on the stove top to sit down and enjoy Taco Tuesday with my son Jonathan and his friend, Tommy, when Jonathan looked up and said, 'There's a fire' and he said it with a pretty calm voice so when I got around to looking back into the kitchen behind me the fire was looking more like the Lord God Almighty leading the children of Israel by night with a pillar---only the pillar was billowing out of my taco pan! The fire was HUGE and licking the ceiling!
I jumped up from the table, ran back into the kitchen, grabbed a lid, but the flames were so high and hot it was too hard to get the lid to stay on and smother the pan. So, Tommy says in an equally nonchalant tone to Jonathan's original announcement, "Well I'm a certified Boy Scout with a fire patch…got an extinguisher?" To which Jonathan says, "Oh yeah we DO have one!" He gets it and the Boy Scout starts to get ready to earn another badge (the 'Saving an Old Lady in Distress' badge I think) when it occurs to me, "Hey, I wonder if that extinguisher is rated for oil fires?" So I quickly stop Dudley Do-Right from potentially igniting himself AND me along with the pillar of fire and landing us all on the evening news.
Meanwhile the eternal flame is continuing to combust and now a cloud of thick black smoke has decided to join the party and is accumulating in my kitchen. So, the boys run around like the Keystone Cops and open all the windows and doors while I look for a hot pad to protect my hand because I've decided I could at least get the towering inferno out of my kitchen. I secure a hot pad (my husband's fleece vest that was draped across the chair back) and exit with the flaming pan through the sliding glass door out to the side yard trying all the while not to catch myself or the over-hanging trees on fire.
I set the pan-o-fire down, get the lid and try again to smother it...this time it works, and the goo that used to be the oil for our lightly crisped tacos is all that remains...well that is until I get back into the kitchen to find that the paint on the stove hood is cinder black and bubbled like your first sun burned back of summer.
Just as I'm reaching up to feel the puckered warm paint, a fire alarm shrills through the house so I dart from room to room until I find that apparently Jonathan's the lucky one with the only working alarm in the house. I balance tip-toe on his guitar amp and remove the battery, silencing the screaming alarm then step back down to the kitchen to survey the damage...Meanwhile, believe it or not, Glen has been asleep, hibernating blissfully through the entire "I Love Lucy meets Jennifer Richmond" episode!
So could we all just keep this on the down low, and next Tuesday the tacos are on Taco Bell!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thoughts on taking "Communion"...

Heading to church this morning and maybe, like me, you'll be taking communion? How many of us have taken "communion" and not fully understood the history and context of what the cup - or really, cups - meant? In Christian churches, communion is observing one fraction of the full event. What we now call, "The Lord's Supper" was a Passover Seder at which Yeshua would have had four cups of wine. Each cup was a reminder of an aspect of God's deliverance and our response... The cups of sanctification, deliverance, redemption and finally, praise. 

This charm is a special reminder to me of Yeshua's last Passover Seder. Lifting the fourth cup, The Cup of Praise, at the Seder that night with his disciples He said, "I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit if the vine from now until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's Kingdom." Next time you take communion, maybe pause and think of that night when Jesus spoke those words and then left to pray in Gethsemane, then ultimately give His life in fulfillment of prophecy so that all of us might be saved. He was the final and True Passover lamb, the "lamb of God" who took away the sins of the world. 
Read Isaiah 53
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen. Blessed are You, Our God, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the vine. ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו, מלך העולם...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Johnny Cash Was Right

Gotta love Cash. 
His words ring so true. Who would say that they "live for the devil"?...The reality is, if you're not truly living for God, you are living for the devil. Plain and simple. It's not that you'd put on a" Team Satan" t-shirt, or wear a WWSD - "What Would Satan Do?" - bracelet. You wouldn't actually identify that you're living for the devil, but think about it - if you're not for Him (God) you're against Him. And if you're against Him, whose side are you on? As passive as it is, your inaction on this point really is an action. It might not be considered polite conversation, but I'm going to suggest it needs to be discussed. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

The One Where I Get Political

There's a video going around showing Obama at a press conference saying that world leaders are concerned about the statements coming from Trump and even Cruz. Gasp! 
They should be concerned. Americans are pissed and over it with a president who bows to muslim leaders and lies to his own people. They should be concerned. Americans don't want the citizens of these countries illegally infiltrating our land. 
We're trying to elect a leader who will - and call me crazy here - uphold the consti-flippin-tution and the intent of our founding fathers! We don't want your failed socialism, communism or any other pathetic -isms that are financially and morally bankrupting your countries. We are angry and motivated and working to get America back on track. Don't misunderstand me, I don't believe in the political system. No, "my faith is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but only lean on Jesus' name." My citizenship is not of this earth. I am passing through. But my time here will NOT be spent supporting immorality and those who legislate for it. My hope isn't in Trump or Cruz or Rubio or any of them. I'll not use this platform to promote a politician. I will, however denounce Obama and his attempt to get Americans to align with him because other nations "are concerned" about one of our candidates. Where were they when he was the one running? Have they no concern that he supported the legalized murder of babies? Their "concerns" are misplaced. I don't trust their judgment and I don't give a flying euro, peso, rial, or yen about their opinions.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

You and Your Political Correctness Are Pathetic

Not too long ago, any man claiming to be a woman or vis versa would be pitied as mentally unstable and in need of help. But today they're lauded, protected, honored, and society is redefining itself on the perverted premises of these and other aberrations.
I believe the root of this is simple. Pride. Total lack of humility. Complete unwillingness to say, "My way is wrong. God's way is right."
When we allow wrong to be called right we invite insanity. Go back and read the account of Nebuchadnezzer. His lack of humility before God led quite literally to his complete insanity. His sanity was restored, but only after he humbled himself before God. The more we make allowances for aberrant behavior like this gender identity nonsense, the further our society drifts from sanity. When Roe v Wade was decided and the murder of babies was legalized, we opened the floodgates and the tide of insanity has streamed through every channel of our society. 
The insanity of redefining murder as "choice" was the beginning. Evil was not called out, instead it was redefined in direct violation of God's order. So now anything can be redefined. No one has the right to call anyone out. We've abandoned God's natural order and called it compassionate. But, you see, there's no compassion in letting someone live in sin and foolishness. That's not compassionate; it's laziness.
Capitulating to political correctness is the sign of a pathetic and willfully disobedient generation of people who want the warmth of God's love but deny the fire of his justice. "Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit." (Galatians 6) I strongly encourage you who say you hold true to God's Word, who claim to follow Christ, who say that you are a Christian to examine your heart, to pray along with David who after crying out, "if only you would slay the wicked, oh Lord... Do I not hate those who hate you, oh Lord?" said then, "search me, oh God. Know my heart...see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." 
Stand firmly against sin in your own life first... every corner of it. Ask God to reveal your sins to you and get right with God. Then with humility and true compassion speak boldly the truth of God's way to this lost and dying generation. Humility before God... Compassion for mankind...Boldness to bring God's truth. Do the right thing. Micah 6:8

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The One When I Talk About Farts...and The Bible

I've been teaching for going on 30 years. That's nearly 1000 students! 
As unique as each child has been, there's a few traits that students have in common year after year, one of them is their silly obsession with body noises...farts in particular. There. I said it. If one student let a toot slip in class it inevitably brought snickers from the others and great embarrassment to the child. 
So, in keeping with our class code that ours was a safe place for all and that no one would ever need to feel afraid, I started the, "I did it!" rule. Quite simply, when a toot slipped, everyone in the class would say, "I did it!" We all pitched in to "cover up" for the tooter and in so doing, instead of strife we got laughter and peace and everyone felt a sense of safety and acceptance. 
In today's sensibilities we see covering up sins as something wrong because it's making excuses for someone else's wrongdoings, enabling or worse aiding and abetting. And there's definitely room for that and often a need for us to be bold in calling out sin. However, that's not what this means. 1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." Deep, true, biblical love doesn't allow for strife, much less stir it up... It "keeps no record of wrong" not because it wasn't wronged but because the greater good for all is love. 
Proverbs 10:12 NKJV
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.
I betcha didn't think I would share Scripture and farting in the same post....well, think again.


Hebrews 13:9-16 {Lesson 13/Day 7}

Not too long ago a young lady asked me what my church was like. She hadn’t attended church in several years but was thinking that she might...