Archive | November 2012

a “chilly” tradition

If you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give– large or small– will be used to measure what is given back to you. Luke 6:38 NIV


Our lives are rooted in tradition and sometimes we begin them without realizing it. Such is the case with my chili. Many years ago I made a big batch of chili, a toss salad, and homemade rolls and took it all to work the Saturday of our town festival. Aside from Christmas festival week is probably the most hectic week of my year. We have our biggest sale at the store which means long hours of preparation and then I have work more hours including Saturday and the only Sunday of the year we are open.

It is always cold festival week and one year I thought chili would be a nice treat for all of us. There were only a few of us then and it wasn’t much trouble. The chili was remembered the next year and every year since. Now there are twelve employees plus family and friends and they all stop in for a bowl of festival chili on Saturday. My one little batch has progressed to two crockpots plus my biggest stainless steel pan. As soon as I get home from work on Friday I start working on this feast and by 9 O’clock I have three big pots bubbling away on the stove, rolls in the oven and huge bags of salad washed, cut and chopped. I tell myself this is getting out of hand but I know next year, a few days before festival time, everyone at work will start talking to me about my wonderful chili and I’ll be at it again. After all, some traditions can’t be broken.

Betty’s Festival Chili

1 pound ground beef

2 quarts stewed tomatoes (I use home canned)

3 Tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon onion powder

15 oz. can kidney beans

12 oz. pork and beans

Cook and stir beef until light brown, drain fat, stir in chili powder, onion powder, sugar and salt. Mix well. Add tomatoes and beans, stir. Bring to boil and simmer at least one hour on stove top or transfer chili to crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Serve and Enjoy

From the journal of Elizabeth “Betty” Garrigues


How often do you see a red sky and chant a little rhyme? “Red at night – sailor’s delight; red in the morning – sailor take warning.” If you don’t say it yourself I bet you have heard a parent or grandparent say the little rhyme while looking at a red sky. This rhyme is a simple way to predict the weather. If it is night and the sky is red, the next day’s weather will usually be good. However, if it’s morning and the sky is red, there will most likely be rain that day. Do you think this is from the Bible or simply sailor lore? Guess what, it is actually from the Bible.

Jesus said: “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning,‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’” – Matthew 16:2-3a NIV

I think it is neat that the “red sky at night” saying has been around since Bible times. Jesus himself spoke these words. He wasn’t speaking as a poet just to make up a clever little jingle. He was taking something the people could relate to and using it to make a point. He wanted to let people know that the prophecies of the coming Messiah were fulfilled in Him. He was right there with the religious leaders, ready to teach but they did not “see”. They were not willing to listen learn or accept. They knew how to interpret the sky, but they would not interpret the signs of the times.

Looking back it’s easy to criticize the leaders who should have known the Word of God, they should have known their history, they should have known the signs of the advent of the Messiah, and they should have recognized Jesus Christ. It’s easy to look back and wonder how they missed it. Are we any different though? Another Advent season is upon us. Do we know the Word of God as we should? Do we know our history and the history of God’s people? Do we recognize Jesus as our Savior and the Savior of the world?

Next time you see a beautiful red sky and think about the weather maybe you will also pause to think about Jesus. This Advent season LOOK for the coming Messiah. He is waiting to be recognized.

Devotional and photo by Marge McCoy

another thing

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son… John 3:16


Years ago, my mother and I had a little wallpaper shop. I loved working there. I loved meeting new people every day and hearing their stories. I loved helping them pick out just the right wallpaper to decorate their homes. One of my favorite memories stems from those days. I think of it often.

One day, a mother and daughter came into our shop. The daughter had just purchased her first home, and her mother had come to help her pick out some wallpaper. The house was a fixer-upper, she told me. It needed a lot of cosmetics, but even so, it was her very own. She decided to start with the kitchen, where she spent the majority of her time, and little by little, make her way through the rest of the house.

I pulled out some sample books and we started looking. The pile of discarded books grew and grew as she decided against plaids, loud colors, prints that were too fussy, or just not quite right. Finally she came across the perfect paper; a whimsical folk print with honeybees and sunflowers. On the next page was a complimenting print with an oversized border that she and her mother agreed would be perfect for the adjoining dining room. She flipped to the back of the book and gulped when she saw the price.

“Let’s figure it up anyway,” her mother said.

They gave me the dimensions and I figured up a price for both rooms.

“I could maybe do the kitchen, if I don’t eat for a couple of weeks,” the woman joked. “The dining room will have to wait.”

Her mother turned to me. “Write up the orders for both rooms anyway. It will save us figuring it all out later.”

When I went to phone in the order, the mother took out her wallet. “Order it all,” she told me.

“No, Mom,” her daughter protested. “That’s way too much. I can’t let you do that.”

“I want to do it,” she said. “It will be for your birthday.” She handed me her credit card.

By then, her daughter’s eyes were filled with tears. I could see that she was overwhelmed by her mother’s generosity. I could also see there would be no changing her mother’s mind.

“My birthday and Christmas,” the girl said.

“Fine,” her mother said.

“Don’t do anything else.”

Her mother smiled. “I won’t.”

“I mean it, Mom. Don’t you do another thing.”

She smiled again. “I won’t.”

The memory of that day warms me. The memory of that mother’s lavish love for her child makes me  think of God’s lavish gift in Christ, who laid down His life to secure my place in heaven. When I stop and think about it, I am overwhelmed and astounded by this gift. I am reminded of the debt I owe that I could never, ever repay. Above and beyond all of this, God daily pours out his blessings on me.

And in my humanness, I ask for more.

Then I think about the suffering Jesus endured willingly for my sake, and the sake of humankind. He died that we might live. And for that He deserves my eternal praise and thankfulness. Even if He never did another thing.

Devotional by Jean Pike

Photo by Cheryl Cook




thankful people

Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home!

We ourselves are God’s own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Grant, O harvest Lord, that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take the harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offences purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In the garner evermore.
Then, thou Church triumphant come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All be safely gathered in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In God’s garner to abide;
Come, ten thousand angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home!

Hymn, Come Ye Thankful People, composed by George J. Elvey in 1858 (with lyrics by Henry Alford)

Photo by Marge McCoy

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Psalm 128: 1, 2

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