Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

Scripture: Luke 12:35-38  

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.” Click here to read entire passage. 

get ready

I’m one who likes to keep things relatively clean all the time so that I don’t have the big job of seriously cleaning the house. Growing up, I had 5 siblings. Not all of them were tidy and I hated to clean up after them. If we were to have company, my mother would crack the whip and get us all cleaning the house to the nth degree. All the high places and the low places. Places that no one ever went… even us. It was drudgery for me. 

The Holy Spirit coming into our hearts has been compared to a house. When we are saved the Holy Spirit comes in as a guest. He is in the Living Room, maybe the kitchen. But He wants to have access to every part. He wants to clean the high parts and the low parts because God cannot abide with sin. It must all go away. He wants to have access to your bedrooms and those closets where you hide away stuff that you want no one to see. He wants to go up in the attic and down in the basement to dig out things you have hidden away so far and so deep that you have completely forgotten about them. 

Just like we look forward to having a guest, we look forward to Jesus coming back and we shall ever be with the Lord. We need to do more than just keep watch at the window for His coming. We must prepare by having our whole hearts cleaned and pure. 

Points to Ponder 

  • Matthew 24 says BE READY for Christ’s Return. How can we be ready? Read (Matthew 24:45-50
  •  Study Matthew 25, What does Jesus say in these parables on being ready: 
  • Matthew 25:1-13 
  • Matthew 25:31-46 
  • What instructions did Paul give about being ready? (1 Thessalonians 5:1-24


Lord, You have shown us through Your Word that You will come again to reign with us. I pray that I will be ready and watching for that day. Help me to remain in Your Word and work to show others the Way until You come. Work in and through me to shine as a light to the nations so that others may know You and be ready as well.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

P.S. Are You Ready For His Coming?

Friend, it may not be long until Christ returns for His Bride. I hope and pray that you are ready for the day. No one knows the day or time. It will happen in the twinkling of an eye. There will be no time to get ready. The time is now. If you are unsure that you are ready, click through this link for more understanding.

get ready

Trusting God’s Plans and His Ways

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

Trusting God’s Plans and Ways

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25:1-22

“In you, Lord my God, I will put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” 

I grew up in a farming community. Most farms are on country roads connected by county roads named only with a letter or two. But beware because the next county over may use a different letter for the same road.  

One day, my brother was invited to visit his friend in another county. Mom was busy with farm business and she asked if I would drive him there. I had only a vague idea of how to get to this farm. Mom said that my brother could direct me there. So, with a little fear and trepidation, I headed out the driveway with a five-year-old in the co-pilot’s seat. 

God wants us to trust Him like this. To allow Him to show us the path of life. Usually, He only points in the direction He wants us to go. We must move ahead until He tells us to change directions. It may feel a little risky to trust Him and move ahead without any real plans on where we might be heading. Others might think us a bit foolish. They would say that we need a course of direction. They might say that to head out with no direction is “preposterous.” 

But when we move out on faith, we will find that we are not disgraced. My brother and I arrived safe and sound at his friend’s home. It’s the same with our faith. Trust God and we will arrive safely and right where God wants us to be.  

Points to Ponder 

  • Have you ever struggled to trust God when not knowing His plan? What truths about God do you lean on to help you trust Him more? Think of your own or look up these scriptures (Psalm 9:10, Psalm 28:7, Psalm 37:4-6, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 26:3-4, Matthew 6:25-27, 1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:19)
  • God always has a plan. He is never far away, and we can trust His plan. What do we know about God’s plans and His care? Make your own list or use these scriptures.  (Genesis 28:15, Joshua 1:9, Job 42:1-2, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 23:4, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Cor. 3:16, John 14:16-17, Romans 8:37-39, Galatians 2:20)


Dear Lord, You are the God of the impossible. You can do anything. I want to trust your plan for my life whether I know Your will or not. You see the whole picture, so help me trust You completely as I follow You. Teach me to see things from Your perspective, and to know that You go before me and behind me, and Your hand covers me with protection. I declare my faith in Your promises, Lord. You are mighty, powerful, righteous, and true.  

In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen! 

Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

God is Singing Over Us

The Lord is with you… in His love, he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.” 

Scripture: Zephaniah 3:14-17 

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series #5 of 7

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

God Sings Over us

He will rejoice over you with singing

Our daughter was born three weeks premature. Extra days in the hospital, she lay in an incubator. We could only hold her at feeding time. Once she was home, I loved to rock and sing over her. It was the Christmas season, so I began to sing a Christmas song… “Sweet Little Kaela Girl…” I created lyrics about how beautiful she was and how much we loved her. I believed the singing was just what she needed. Hearing my voice was a great comfort to her. 

Think of how God loved His people, the Israelites. Because of sin, a great chasm kept God from coming and walking with them every evening. He wanted to comfort them in their sorrow. There they were in captivity because of their sin. The next best thing was to send them prophets to speak His love over them. 

God sings over us

Zephaniah was one of those prophets. He told them that God loved them, and He had a plan. One day their sins would be completely gone. God would be with them forever. In the meantime, God would comfort them with singing. 

God has sent many muses our way also. He has given us beautiful words of comfort to our souls. I have often gone to playing the piano when my heart was sad. I would open a hymnbook and begin to play the hymns. Soon I would find myself singing the words and finally be comforted through them.  

Is your heart heavy today? Find an old hymnal and meditate on the lyrics. God is singing over you. 

Points to Ponder 

  • What hymn or song do you use to lift your spirits? Find the lyrics of that song or Civilla Martin’s hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow. Meditate on the lyrics. Think about each word as you read and sing. 


Lord, I come to You praising You for all You have done. You have _______ (list at least 3 specific blessings from your life) What a joy to know that You are singing over me. Tune my ear to listen to Your song. Thank You for loving me and caring about my every need.

In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen. 

Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

Christmas Goodies 2020: Part 1

With Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to share some delicious recipes. Christmas brings back lots of childhood memories. Memories of all the Christmas cookies, candies, pies and of course, the presents!

This week we have a variety of recipes from different church cookbooks from near and far, and Mrs. Esther Avers has some recipes to share as well. If you’re reading this digitally, you see that “Avers” and “recipes” are highlighted with links back to my previous articles. If your thumbing through a paper (thank you!) you’ll have to go back to the first two weeks of November 2020 to check out Esther’s recipes there.

First up is a Stollen recipe. I have to tell you a story before I give you this recipe. Though this isn’t my mom’s recipe, I remember her making Stollens for my dad’s department that he managed. Along with other goodies, each employee got a big box full of Christmas goodies.

The boxes were well received in his department but the “political correctness” and “fairness” were hard at work in liberal Madison, Wisconsin in 1982. He was told by upper management to never give Christmas boxes of homemade goodies again because the “other departments” didn’t receive those boxes and that’s “NOT FAIR”. Long live generosity and the Christmas spirit!

Christmas Stollen

Image by kakuko from Pixabay

This recipe is from Esther Avers. It makes three stollen. Feel free to give them out in your neighborhood or at work. Enjoy!

Ingredients For The Dough Base
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup lard or butter ( Esther, you have my baking heart)
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Mix as for pie crust.

  • 3 eggs yolks separated, keep the 3 egg whites and set aside for the moment
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 packages of dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup sugar

Take your two packages of yeast and dissolve them in the 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Then add the three beaten eggs and the dissolved yeast in the water to the dough and mix together but as little as possible. ( If your a tactile person hold yourself back or you’re going to ruin the dough!-m) Now divide the dough into 3 parts. Roll out each dough ball thin.

Take the three egg whites and beat together till stiff, then one cup of sugar and mix together. Spread this mixture out on the dough. You can sprinkle cinnamon on top of the egg mixture if you like. Now add to that any fruit or nuts of your choice and roll up like a jelly roll.

Place rolled dough on a greased cookie sheet and let rise in a warm, moist place and let rise for 3 hours (go wrap some Christmas presents or send out some more Christmas cards) and then bake at 325° until done (golden brown). Once cool frost with powdered sugar icing and decorate.

Now for a delicious treat, Caramels (yep it’s spelled correctly, how you pronounce it is up to you!). These are fun to make. Enjoy!


Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 lb butter or oleo (PERISH THE THOUGHT ON THE OLEO)
  • 1 pint light Karo syrup
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • kettle or a big pot
  • candy thermometer

Mix together in a large kettle, stirring in a large kettle till it comes to a boil. Cook until 250 °F or forms a firm ball in cold water. Remove from heat, add 1 cup nuts and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour into large greased jelly roll pan to cool. Cut into squares and wrap in wax paper.

Caramels make great little gifts. Nothing says love like homemade caramels.

Pecan Tarts



  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 c. flour


  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add flour. Make 24 balls and press into the bottom and up the sides of small muffin tins. Mix filling ingredients and fill each muffin cup. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.

Next week I will share more great holiday recipes! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and the Happiest and Healthy New Year.

Prepare the Way

Prepare the Way of the Lord

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series #4 of 7

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

Prepare the Way of the Lord

prepare the way of the Lord God with us

Scripture: Isaiah 40:3-5Mark 1:1-5 

‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ Click here for entire passage. 

The Transcontinental Railroad was a particularly large feat for America. It strained the resources of this young country, being built during The Civil War. A path needed to be forged across mainly unknown lands. Over 10,000 Chinese immigrants did the hard work of preparing rail beds, laying tracks, digging tunnels, and constructing bridges. Workers used chisels and hammers to blast away the rock. All types of landscape brought different challenges; desert heat in some places; other places had mountainous terrain and winter storms. This is just a quick peek into all that the workers faced as they prepared the way for the railroad.  

Isaiah Prophesied, “Prepare…”

In Isaiah’s day, when a king was coming, the road would be prepared so there would be no obstacle in the way of the king. It would be easy and safe for the king to arrive. Much work was involved in preparing the way. Terrain and weather both brought many challenges to building a road. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah King was coming, and the way needed to be prepared. He prophesied about John the Baptist who would prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. Ultimately, it was not a road that needed to be prepared but people’s hearts. Their hearts needed to be ready for the Kingdom of Heaven. 

John the Baptist Proclaimed, “Prepare the Way…”

John the Baptist called out to the people to repent and to turn from their sin and to be baptized as a sign of their repentance. This created an environment for Jesus to enter this world and preach His message of the Kingdom of Heaven. He had a new message that the world would not like, but John prepared many hearts to be open to that message. 

Are you preparing the way of the Lord in your own heart?  

Points to Ponder 

Prepare the Way - God With Us
  • Just as the transcontinental railway was prepared from both ends that met in the middle, God and man have a part to do. God did the work of salvation and His Spirit woos us towards Him, but we must open our hearts to Him and make room for Him. How do we open our hearts for Jesus? (1 John 1:7-9,  Proverbs 28:13) 
  • Hebrews 12:14 tells us that “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.” If there is sin in our lives, God cannot come in but if we repent of our sins and turn to him and away from our sin, we will be cleansed and the Lord can then enter in. (1 John 1:9
  • How do we make room for the Holy Spirit to come? (John 14:15-17Acts 1:14;2:1-4Romans 8:5-10Ephesians 4:20-32



May Your Spirit open our hearts to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Because of His death on the cross, we have been set free from sin; we have been renewed and redeemed. And by the grace of God, we can live victoriously. May our humility allow the Holy Spirit to lead our lives not just in times of trouble, but every day as we proclaim Your Gospel.

We understand that our human abilities are limited, so we put our faith in You. We rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to move us according to Your will. Continue to transform us so that we can pattern our ways to the life of Christ. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we shall walk in You and with You for Your glory.

In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen. 

Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

Let’s sing together…

God Promises to Comfort Us

God’s Preposterous Promise – Devo Series

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

God’s Promises to Comfort Us

comfort ye my people Isaiah 40
images created for free in

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-3 

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Click here for entire passage.  

Our Fear of Punishment

My young son’s lips began to quiver as his daddy caught him in an act of defiance. He knew there would be punishment to pay. “Wait until we get home”, his father whispered in a low voice. The sternness in his voice made our son keenly aware that this was serious. But then there was the waiting. Just thinking about the trouble that he would be facing made it worse.

Finally, we made it home. He was so repentant, hoping for a reprieve, but punishment had to be given.  Our hearts ached and we all cried. Handing out punishment was not enjoyable, but we knew that letting him off the hook was not the best way to teach him a lesson. We were learning there was truth in “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”. Afterward, we took him in our arms assuring him that we loved him and that he was forgiven.  

The Hope of Comfort

As a musician, when I read Isaiah 40, my mind goes to the lyrics from Handel’s Messiah. “Comfort ye, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people.” That smooth tenor voice pleading with God’s people to be comforted. He was there; He had a plan; their sins were forgiven.

Think about how sad God must be because of our sin. Oh, how He wants to reach out and hold us in His arms and say, “It’s okay. I have paid the debt. Don’t be troubled. You are set free from your sin.” 

And here again, is that preposterous promise. After Jesus came and paid the price for our sin, he left us a Comforter to be with us. When we repent, we are forgiven. And now we have the Holy Spirit within us to be our daily comforter, our advocate, our counselor. And we can sing as Handel did, “Hallelujah!” 

Points to Ponder 

  • What was God’s promise from the beginning, after the fall of man, to now? (Gen. 3:15, 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 11:1-3, Isaiah 53, Romans 16:20, Revelations 22:3-4 )
  • After Jesus came to earth, He told the disciples that He would have to leave so that the Comforter could come. Why was it better for the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to come than for Jesus to be here on earth with us? (John 14:16-18)
  • If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit now lives within us. How and why does the Holy Spirit comfort us? (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Romans 8:18, 26-27, Ephesians 3:16)


Dear Holy Spirit, 

You are God in us, and I praise you because you are holy. Thank You for dwelling in our hearts. Thank You for comforting us in our time of trouble. Teach us how to comfort others that they may also know You. Open our eyes to Your Truth. Help us to see more clearly and follow You more closely. 

We ask for Your comfort and peace today. You know our pain and our sorrows. Thank You for interceding to the Father for us. Help us rest in Your peace today. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen. 

Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

The Promise of Restoration with God

God’s Preposterous Promise

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming

The Promise of Restoration With God

JEremiah 33 restore The days are coming

Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16 

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made…‘” Click Here for the entire passage 

As I write this, I am watching video of the devastation from Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas. Thirty-six hours of hurricane-strength winds and ocean water thrown onto the islands. Trees and plant life stripped of all that is green, many flattened to the ground. Water rising to the roofs; roadways and airports underwater. Nothing left but large piles of debris. And this doesn’t touch the loss of life. My heart is sickened. 

I wonder if the Israelites were having similar feelings as they were captured by the Babylonians. How their hearts must have ached to see the beautiful, holy city in ruins, the temple destroyed. After Nebuchadnezzar carried them off to captivity, Jeremiah lamented the loss and destruction. He went to the tribes of Israel to offer hope and to encourage their hearts. 

He let them know that God would leave them in captivity for 70 years, but that God had promised to restore Jerusalem and raise up a “Son of David” who would restore righteousness to Jerusalem. 

God Will Restore

This was fulfilled in part during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, restoring the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. A second fulfillment came through Jesus, the Messiah, who came to bring spiritual redemption to the people.  

Ultimately, Christ will return to earth and establish His Kingdom forever. God will once again live among His people. God with us… that is the preposterous promise for God’s people. 

Today, we have this same hope in Christ Jesus: that He will return to restore the earth to its original beauty. The New Heaven will come down and Jesus will reign on earth. God With us! 

Points to Ponder 

  • Read Jeremiah 33. Describe the devastation of Jerusalem and the God’s promise of a restored Jerusalem. 
  • What hope do we have for our future and what should we do as we wait for the day? Read John 14:1-41 Peter 1:3-9,13-222 Peter 3:13-14 
  • What will make the New Jerusalem more wonderful than ever before? Hint: His name is Emmanuel-God with Us! Isaiah 60:19 


Our God Emanuel, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You for the hope we have in You. We watch expectantly for Your return so that we can live together for eternity.   

In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen. 

Published with permission. Originally written by Mandy Farmer and published at the Discipleship Place ~ Women’s Ministries at The Church of the Nazarene November 2019

Help Restore the People of The Bahamas

My denomination, The Church of the Nazarene, is working to help the people affected by Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas. Consider a monetary gift this Christmas to help. Click here.

Celebrating a Friend and Good Cook

A few weeks ago a friend and good cook passed away. Henry Klumper peacefully passed away Tuesday, February 18th, 2020. Over the last 11 years, Henry and I have many cooking “chit-chats” Most of these conversations centered around cooking.

Henry was easy to talk with, a good listener and could carry on meaningful conversations about life, religion, politics, people, dogs, and cooking. Henry’s ability to adapt to person and place was one of my favorite things I enjoyed about him.

Holidays with Henry

We celebrated most holidays together and he always liked to bring something to add to our feasts. There were times he was not feeling well, and so would decline the need to bring something. But when he did it was always appropriate and was a great addition to the main course.

Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2019 Henry wasn’t unable to join us for our usual holiday feast. The last meal we celebrated together was Mother’s Day 2019. We smoked a pork loin, made cheesy potatoes, roasted asparagus and had chocolate pie for dessert.

Henry loved chocolate pie and would often tell me about his mother’s homemade chocolate pie. Why I didn’t catch on years previous that he was hinting he would like me to make it. DUH!

From the beginning

Henry Klumper
Photo by a friend of Henry

Most people ask me “How in the world did you meet Henry Klumper?” My response is, “I was asked to help paint Henry’s newly remodeled bedroom and closet.” That’s how I met Henry.

Back to my painting for Henry. We began painting around 9:30 am. Periodically Henry would come and check how we were getting along. I am sure all us gals painting had quite a conversation going and he was probably concerned there was more conversation than painting going on.

About 11:00 am Henry told us to stop painting and come eat. We agreed, washed our hands and sat down at the table. Henry placed a bowl of beef vegetable soup before each of us, along with a spoon and a glass of water.

This old guy cooks?

I looked up to the rest of the group for some guidance as to how we were going to proceed. Henry interjected a prayer for our food and gave thanks for our painting efforts and we all closed the prayer with “Amen”.

Being a “type A” person I was needing details on this guy. First, how are his dishwashing skills? Second, I see he had a dog. Did the dog participate in the dishwashing? Third, has anyone ever eaten his cooking? Lastly, just for confidence’s sake, is he a bachelor or a widower? I figured if he was a bachelor and lived this long food had to be involved. If he was a widower we could be in for some gastronomical trouble.

Curiously, I looked up once again looking for any signs of hesitation and no one said anything, they just picked up their spoons and began to eat. I drew my breath, muttering internally words of courage, picked up my spoon and took my first spoonful. Hmm. Not bad. Pretty tasty. This guy is a good cook.

I finished my bowl of soup and a glass of water in record time. My parents taught me that I needed to eat first, then talk. As I enjoyed talking so much, I simply inhaled my food and thus, began to talk. This rule was made to serve as a deterrent but backfired on my parents. Basically it just gave everyone five extra minutes of oxygen before I started talking.

The rest is history

Over the next few years, we forged a friendship through painting, cooking, canning and good conversation. We enjoyed the holidays together, an occasional Sunday evening dinner, games of Mexican Train dominos and lots of coffee. Anytime we had a remodeling project going on, he would pop over to see how things were going and of course drink some more coffee.

One of the very last recipes he shared with me was probably the most different combination of food items but certainly the best. He called my phone and I answered. “Hello, its Henry. Say, I made a recipe and I’d like you to try it.”

It was about two in the afternoon, so I jumped into my car and drove over to check out this new recipe. Henry was a good cook. I always enjoyed his cooking adventures. Letting myself in I shouted out that I was in the house, sometimes he would reply “Thanks for the warning!” Ha… always a sense of humor. I could hear him busy in the kitchen so he didn’t respond.

This is a recipe?

Rounding the corner into the kitchen my eyes about bugged out of my head. “Holey Moley Henry!” I said. I stood next to him staring at a huge bowl of noodles, diced ham, and cabbage. “What is all this?!”

Henry chuckled and told me he didn’t realize that the recipe made so much. Being a good cook, he grabbed me a bowl and filled it up with the noodle concoction. I grimaced a little, to which he said: “Aww, come on!”. I smirked and grabbed the fork from his hand.

Digging the fork into the bowl, I pulled up a good helping and gave it a try. Henry grinned as I chewed and chewed. All I could manage was to nod my head and continue chewing.

As the mouthful of noodles and company found their way into my stomach, I spoke briefly out of the corner of my mouth giving a “chew by chew” of the “salad”. It had great taste. The cabbage and ham together were interesting but delicious. The noodles, well… it was good too. Great salad.

Quite seriously, he shook his head and said it was not a salad, that it was the main meal. Dumbfounded I just sat and stared at him. I went on to laugh and said that I hoped he had a large family reunion to go to or two church picnics because this recipe made a heap of food. He smiled and gave me a wink and said that he had no family reunion or church picnic to go to.

Where are you going to put this all?

pile of delicious bacon
Image by Pearl Vaj from Pixabay

Reaching into his cupboard Henry pulled out some gallon zip lock baggies. We filled up three bags and had about 4 cups left. He wanted me to take two bags home. I declined and took one and told him to call another friend. I washed up the dishes for him and then headed for home.

That night and three lunchtimes later, we dined on this recipe. We decided that it was great warm the first time and needed to be eaten cold thereafter. It was certainly unique, but a good cook always likes variety and Henry never shied away from trying new and different recipes.

Saying goodbye

I watched Henry transition from his own home to assisted living and then to the Luverne Veterans Home. There were a few stints at the nursing home for rehabilitation and the comebacks he made were notable.

I enjoyed Henry’s attitude that he shared with me. “This is just all part of my journey Michele, its God preparing me.” I smiled with tears as I recognized that was a good and important way of viewing life. Just part of the journey.

I was grateful for a phone call from his nephew Ron informing me Henry was not well and was not expected to live long. I hopped into the car and drove right to the VA nursing home. As I drove I cried and gave myself pep talks. I remembered all the great memories of holidays and dinners together. Drinking lots of coffee, laughing and talking.

I entered Henry’s room to find him eating his supper. I greeted him and he smiled. We talked as he finished eating. He had trouble breathing but was making an effort to keep with the conversation. We sang several hymns and he did his best to harmonize. I paused occasionally to cry and apologized for my tears, but he told me it was good to grieve and he appreciated me.

See you later

After a few hours, I could see he was tired and that I should let him rest. I told him how much we as a family appreciated his friendship and company and that as a fellow believer I would be seeing him again. He smiled and said he was not afraid to go home. He asked me to take care of his Norfolk pine tree and I said I would. We said our final goodbyes- I hate goodbye. I prefer “see you later”. I picked up his pine and he waved goodbye to us both.

In honor of my good friend and good cook Henry Klumper, I give you this adapted recipe of the cabbage, noodles, and ham. It has a name and it is called Haluski. It is a Czech comfort food. Enjoy!



  • 2 oz of pancetta or bacon- diced small
  • 1 1/2 pounds green cabbage- cored, and rough chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 cups white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 oz. of egg noodles- choose your desired size


In a medium fry pan melt 2 tablespoons butter and fry pancetta or bacon till crisp. Add the onions and sauté for two minutes. Taking 2 more tablespoons of butter, as well as the cabbage, salt, pepper and on medium-high, cover waiting till the mixture is hot. Then reduce to medium and cook for 10 minutes. You can get your water boiling for the noodles and cook according to your package directions when finished drain the noodles.  Once your cabbage is tender you will add the cooked and drained noodles, as well as the remaining butter- cook, bring to serving temperature. Enjoy!

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Hate is strong and mocks the song 🙁

Do you hear the sound of Christmas bells this season? Sadly, 2019 this has been the Christmas song on my mind. I look at the headlines and watch the news. It saddens me that we must be at each other’s throats. We can’t seem to find anything to agree upon. If we do, we don’t dare admit it.

Longfellow wrote this poem in the years of the American Civil War. In many ways, we are again fighting a civil war. Lives are being lost and hate grows strong. May we find peace in Christ this Christmas.

I pray that God will help us find commonality in our lives. In so many ways we all want the same things. I know that true peace will only come when Christ returns to rule the world. I ache for this day. But I also know that God is waiting so that He can save as many as possible.

Do You Hear the Christmas Bells?

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Longfellow’s Complete Poem

Longfellow wrote the poem on Christmas Day in 1863. “Christmas Bells” was first published in February 1865, in Our Young Folks, a juvenile magazine published by Ticknor and Fields.

In 1861, two years before writing this poem, Longfellow’s personal peace was shaken when his second wife of 18 years, to whom he was very devoted, was fatally burned in an accidental fire. Then in 1863, during the American Civil War, Longfellow’s oldest son, Charles Appleton Longfellow, joined the Union Army without his father’s blessing.

Longfellow was informed by a letter dated March 14, 1863, after Charles had left. “I have tried hard to resist the temptation of going without your leave but I cannot any longer”, he wrote. “I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would be of any good.” Charles was soon appointed as a lieutenant but, in November, he was severely wounded in the Battle of New Hope Church, Virginia, during the Mine Run Campaign. Charles eventually recovered, but his time as a soldier was finished.


Let’s listen for the Christmas bells and find the true peace only in the Christ of Christmas.

Longfellow’s Poem Set to Music

In our hymnals, music by Jean Baptiste Calkin, 1872 sounding somewhat like this by the Spartan Dischords

Recently by Casting Crowns

May you find true peace this Christmas

Mandy Farmer

Continued Thoughts: Defiant Joy

Celebrating JEsus this Christmas

Celebrating Jesus at Christmas

I finished wrapping gifts at 3 am that Christmas morning.

too much christmas
image credit:Gerard Gellinger at Pixabay

I looked around somewhat in disgust as I realized that I had gone overboard once again… really overboard. There were gifts everywhere. And we only have two little ones. There has to be a better way to celebrate Christmas without making it all about the gifts.

Who’s birthday is it anyway?

We are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the World. But we are teaching greediness and debt. How can we find our way to Christ in the midst of this materialized world? I shared earlier that family advent devotions are one way that we can turn our attention to the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.

How to Celebrate Jesus This Christmas

Celebrating Jesus
Celebrating Christmas ~ image credit: Jo at Pixabay

When I was small, I learned a little acronym for joy – Jesus, Others, You. We can find real joy if we serve Jesus first, then others, and then yourself. Let’s consider this acronym for celebrating Jesus this Christmas. 

This week I’m writing over on Lullaby Lark. It’s a short and sweet devotion to Finding JOY in Jesus this Christmas. Join me there today on her Cultivate Joy Series.

curleque by Coffee at pixabay
legacy link-ups

There’s still time to share your Christmas thoughts on our Holiday Legacy Link-up

How do you create a legacy during the holidays? Link-up below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thanks for participating!

curleque by Coffee at pixabay


We are always looking for guest writers to introduce our Legacy Link-up. If you are interested in being a guest writer click here for upcoming topic ideas and then contact us to begin the process.

Mandy Farmer

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