Dwelling Places

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Another incredible view in Transylvania

Why am I here? …And why are you there?

Yea, yea, yea….some of it may have to do with the choices we made and all that, but sometimes we have done some of the exact same things and yet one of us is living out some challenging consequences and the other is not.

Sometimes where we are has nothing to do with our own choices. In fact, many times it has nothing to do with what we have done. We might experience the benefit or the consequence of someone else’s doing.

We didn’t choose the family or circumstances we were born into nor did we choose our ethnicity or our race. We had no choice about whether we were born into poverty or crazy wealth or a barely functioning family. We didn’t even choose the country we were born in.

And yet all these factors play into our early years, which, in turn, can create a path for our lives.

Life is hard and it definitely isn’t fair.

Some “advantages” aren’t actually advantages but it takes some time to sort that out. And sometimes what we think we see isn’t accurate at all… our own perspectives are often skewed.

Good deeds go unrecognized. Bad behavior appears to be rewarded. Illness doesn’t care if you have the sweetest heart or the most meager of bank accounts or even if you live in a remote village, away from any modern medical services.

I can’t dwell there.

Loss and death and disease are universal and trusting in God’s provision and comfort is the only way I survive. Sharing God’s love and compassion in practical ways is one of the ways I cope and move forward in a positive direction. If I think too much about the injustices of life on Earth without a plan to give and serve, I dwell. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by your situation, I have included some Bible verses that are good to memorize. If you are going to dwell anywhere, God’s Word is the place to do it:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

On the way,

Liz

Snapshots: just a moment in time

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A snapshot never tells the whole story. It just records a moment in time:

  • That Pinterest post you admire doesn’t reflect the hours and hours of orchestration.
  • The financial picture that may not look good to likely doesn’t tell the story of how far someone has come.
  • The family that struggles so much but paints on a smile at just the right moments.
  • A miserable moment for someone who is more often a genuinely positive person.
  • A glimpse of a bank statement that looks like success doesn’t show the big picture of many failed relationships.
  • The meager bank account that doesn’t reflect the family love and unity.
  • The smile that might hide a diagnosis but also reflects a renewed sense of joy for deeper things.

A picture can only say so much, so don’t let it fool you. And more importantly, don’t make rush judgments. Pray continuously. We never know what someone is going through at first glance..

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. [1Peter 1:22 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

Baby steps with friends!

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Yesterday I got together with my cousin for a little Hungarian cooking extravaganza. Her dad and my mom were first cousins and they were great friends. But those two have passed away and it is our opportunity to be cousins and friends! Since I moved to New York in 2013, we have been intentional about getting together as often as schedules have allowed. A few months ago we decided to get together at my home in Tuckahoe so we could do a little cooking.

Our main goal was to make szilvás gombóc (plum dumplings) but it isn’t the season for those little Italian plums so we had to come up with an alternate plan. We decided to make almás rétes (apple strudel) and gesztenyepüré (chestnut purée) —neither of which we have made before! But please don’t be concerned. We didn’t just eat desserts all day! We also made rakott krumpli, túrós csusza, and paprikás csirke (with homemade nokedli). Wow! We sure ate a lot!

Retes5wMy confession is that we did not make everything from scratch. I have made spaghetti sauce before but there is also some great spaghetti sauce in a jar. I definitely do not make my spaghetti noodles from scratch although I have done it. Once. I haven’t ever made the tortillas and taco shells when we have a Mexican meal so I am not above using some prepared things for convenience or speed. Sometimes, the main goal is to put food in the mouth! Someday, though, I will get brave enough to roll out my own strudel dough, but yesterday was not that day.

Baby Steps!

I have cooked a lot of different foods and I have had some great success over the years. But staring down at the phyllo dough (mind you, already prepared) and the filling ready-to-go (we used apples, raisins, and walnuts with a few other things) but I was just so nervous to put it all together.

I have no idea why.

Retes3wAll I can say is having friend along on the adventure is a great thing! My sweet cousin read several recipes in my cookbooks but also online and was quick to say “let’s Google that” if we were still unsure about a part of the process for all the things we cooked together. (Remember, we don’t have access to the family experts any longer so we just needed to get brave and not take ourselves too seriously.) She would patiently read, then read aloud, encourage me, and we finally decided that no matter how it looked in the end, all of the elements going into it were things we liked so it was going to taste great. We took turns buttering the dough and rolling it up and decided it was crazy easy. Why hadn’t we tried this before? But, there is no time like now! There are some things you just need to step out and try!

It is so nice to have a like-minded buddy in life!

ReteswThe rétes was so ridiculously easy to make and so wonderfully fresh when it came out of the oven that it will be a long time before I buy some at a pastry shop. Now that I have done it with assistance I think I might be able to do it on my own, but it sure won’t be as fun! My cousin and I thought of all the different kinds of fillings we could use! Her dad used to love káposzta (cabbage) in his rétes so it would seem fitting we would give that a shot next time. And she adores mák (poppy seed) in general and it’s wonderful in rétes so that will be on our list too. It was delicious with coffee for our afternoon break! And then we went on to tackle the rest of our list. Not everything looked pretty but it all tasted fantastic! And we had a great time working and playing and visiting about all kinds of things!

Do you have a special project that you would like to tackle? Find a friend! Do you have a friend who needs someone by their side as they work through something? Be a friend! We all have things to do that are much more fun with a friend. And the hard stuff? It is much better with a friend too. And if they are family members, even better! We had so much fun together we are planning another Hungarian food day in early May. We are hoping those Italian plums will be available so we can tackle the szilvás gombóc!

And, someday, I will tackle the dough for the rétes. I just need a little more time to get the courage.

Thanks, Cuz, for being by my side!

On the Road,

Liz

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PrayerPoints ~ Wednesday, March 9th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 90

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world; from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:1-2

One thing I am always reminded of when I read Scripture is that it involves generations–time after time….from the beginning of time until the end of time…so many people and time periods….

You might not have generations of believers in your earthly family line, but you can look to the generations of believers and know you are a part of a spiritual family of believers. And, you can be the one God uses to impact your earthly family line with His message of love, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and grace.

God has the big picture and uses all generations to share His Good Word. Today I am giving thanks for the many previous generations as well as those to come. May we each share the pieces of His-story to the generations!

 

State of the Union

Our family gathered around the television last night to hear the State of the Union. It was another great reminder to pray for our country and for those who are serving and leading our nation!

Christians have many differing views on where our country is headed and the best way to get there. It is important to be informed on the issues, prayerfully ponder them, seek God’s heart on the matters, and vote when given the opportunity.

Members of US government would benefit from our prayers. We have city, county, and state government officials who would benefit from our prayers as well. Please consider praying specifically for those serving in all levels of public office that God would:

  • guard their marriages and families
  • protect their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health
  • safeguard them against the schemes of those who intend to harm or lead them astray
  • defend them when they are in the correct course of action
  • convict them when they are not
  • unveil the eyes of those who do not believe in Him
  • surround believers with others who will encourage spiritual growth
  • surround unbelievers with opportunities to engage in healthy spiritual conversation with Godly men and women

Ask God to give you other prayer areas to add to this list. You can even pray for your local, state, and national leaders by name! Don’t get too bogged down in the details–start by praying in general and ask God to direct your prayers through His Word.

Here is a link to an organization offering many different angles and opportunities for prayer. Check them out when you have a chance!!

http://presidentialprayerteam.com/index.php