Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Third Way to Draw Your Family Together - Pray Together

While I was in France on that summer missions experience for ten weeks, we often had outreaches in local parks. One night after we had shown a Moody Science film, a man stayed after to talk. As he was talking with the one who was going to drive us back to the house where we were staying, about 5 of us were waiting. After putting everything away and picking up any garbage lying around we gathered together. Someone suggested we use the time to pray for the man who obviously had some spiritual interest.

We bowed our heads and began praying that this man would understand the gospel and be saved. After about ten minutes of prayer, the tone of our prayers began to change and we found ourselves thanking God for hearing and answering our prayers. We went on to boldly thank Him for this man's salvation. And then we closed in prayer.

When we opened our eyes, we looked at each other in surprise. I think each one of us was wondering, "Did we just do that? Was it presumptuous? Or was it in faith?"

Soon the two men walked over to where we were sitting and our driver said, "I'd like you to meet a new brother in the Lord!"  


















I wish I could say that was my experience in prayer often, but that is the only time I can remember believing that God had answered my prayer as I prayed and thanking Him before I had "proof". Because of that time in prayer, the five of us had a special bond for the rest of our time together. We had prayed earnestly together and had seen God answer!

I have come to believe that there are (at least) five ways you can draw closer to people and families can become closer to each other. I'm talking about the third in this post. Below are the links for the first two. Come back to read about one in each of the next three posts. They are 

3. Pray Together -- At our local church, I am in charge of a ministry called Titus 2 Alive! Our goal is to have women who are older in the faith, pray with, mentor, and disciple younger women. When my co-leader and I were getting this off the ground in a church where it hadn't been in practice for its 35 years of existence, we were a little fearful about reactions and how to get it going, so we decided to start last summer with "Ladies Summer Prayer Partners". 

We invited the women to sign up if they wanted a prayer partner for the summer. They could either sign up with someone they had already talked to, or we could match them up with someone. We ended up with about 11 pairs of women praying together. 

The results have been amazing! Most of them didn't end their time together at the end of the summer, but have kept going all year. They have become friends, started having lunch together, or visiting the farmer's market together, and one pair even took a flying trip together to visit a great aunt who needed care!

This all happened because they had grown closer to each other by sharing their personal concerns and taking them to God together in prayer. When we pray with someone, we will also probably pray for that person on our own because their needs are in our minds and come to be on our hearts, giving us an emotional bond. Then when we talk with that person, we don't have to fritter the time away with small talk about the weather, we can get deeper by asking about how God is working on various concerns and how the Lord has led us to pray for them.

This will work in families, too. Perhaps the family times of prayer won't be as earnest, especially when children are young. But that's when we should start praying together, modeling how we pray for our needs and for one another. As our children grew, we had them pray from the youngest one to the oldest, which meant Dad closed in prayer during our family devotions. Usually it took about six minutes or less for all six of us to pray, but some nights when someone had a concern, or we had learned about a missionary, we would go a little longer. Today when I hear my grown children pray in church, my heart swells with joy and love!

Some practical ideas:

  • Have short family devotions. A good time is when you are together around the table for a meal. No need to regather everyone, they are already there. Close that time in prayer.
  • Vary your prayer times. Maybe go around the circle and let each one pray for whatever is on their heart. Another time, have "popcorn" prayers where each one can pray two or three short prayers as something comes to mind. Have a time where you only thank or praise God for what He has done and what you have. Have each person pray for the person on their left or right. It is so wonderful to hear brothers and sisters pray for each other.
  • Read excerpts from a missionary letter and pray for them.
  • Have each one pray for the person whose birthday it is, even if it is Grandma and Grandpa who live far away.
  • Ask for prayer requests and assign who will pray for each one.
  • Keep track of prayer requests and answers in a family notebook. We did this for a while and it was an encouragement to see how God was working.
  • Stop and pray about things as needs arise throughout the day. I remember holding my 3 year old's hands praying the electricity would come back on in time to cook dinner for guests and praying with my teen and tween daughters before we went shopping for clothes.
Whatever you do, keep it interesting and length appropriate for their ages. We want to inspire them to pray, not make it a chore! And Mom and Dad, you two should be praying together, too! You will be amazed at how making the effort to pray together will draw you closer to one another.


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How does your family pray together?
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Second Way Your Family Can Draw Together - Laugh Together

My five month old granddaughter has the best laugh! When we find something that can get her laughing everyone loves it. The other day it was just saying, "Ma-ma-ma-ma!" Sometimes it's a game of peek-a-boo or little tickles. But I tell you, we adults will do some crazy things to make that adorable little one laugh out loud! And we all love it when she does.


















Laughing together draws peoples close to each other. It releases stress, relaxes you, and improves your mood. When people laugh together they are bonded over something special between them. You can create opportunities to laugh, but the best way to laugh is to be willing to laugh at life and yourself.

When I was 19 I went on a missions trip in France, our carload got slowed down by the Tour de France crossing the town we needed to get through. By the time we got on our way again, it grew dark and late and our driver was tired. He decided we should pull over into a field. The other girl, who was from England, and I would share a tent and the two guys would sleep out in the open. The two French guys had blankets or something but Chrystella and I only had my sleeping bag and sheet. We put the sheet under us and the open sleeping bag on top of us. 

Chrystella and I had only met each other that day, and here we were sharing a sleeping bag! We talked for a few minutes trying to overcome the awkwardness of the whole situation when the team leader said in his thickly accented English, "Seestairs, Eet ees time to slip." Suddenly we got the giggles.

Maybe you had to be there...but the next three weeks, Chrystella and I were fast friends and we kept in touch for years after that while she married a Swiss man and went to Nepal as a missionary and I married an American raised in South Africa and lived in Peru and Colombia as a missionary. We had our faith in common, but not a lot else, except that night when we had laughed together in a tent in an empty field somewhere in France.

I have come to believe that there are (at least) five ways you can draw closer to people and families can become closer to each other. I'm talking about the second in this post. Read the first one here and come back to read about one in each of the next three posts. They are 

  • Be Together
  • Laugh Together
  • Pray Together
  • Work Together
  • Cry Together

2. Laugh Together -- How can you set up laughter in your family? Here are some ideas to get you going. 

  • Laugh at Yourself--Maybe, like me, you aren't someone who guffaws easily, but let's work on seeing the funny side of life and not taking ourselves so seriously, it will make us more enjoyable to be around and draw us closer to those we laugh with. We don't want to laugh at people, but we should invite them to laugh at our foibles. I think that is one of the things that draws people, young and old, to my husband.
  • Tickling and Rough Housing--This is especially good with little ones. My grandkids love it when Daddy or Grandpa gets on the floor and plays with them by giving them rides, "wrestling," or just tickling. And it takes one sour person to not laugh when a child is laughing! 
  • Tummy Time--From time to time on family nights we would have our whole family lie in a circle, each one with their head on another person's tummy. Then one person would start making laughing sounds. As the next person's head started bouncing up and down they would start laughing for real, which in turn bounced someone else's head. It didn't take long for the laughter to become contagious and everyone was burning calories and sending endorphins through their bodies!
  • Act Out of Character--If you do something fun that is totally out of character, especially if you are usually a serious person, you will get your family laughing. Maybe you could come to the table dressed in a funny outfit and wig and have a strange accent and pretend that you are Nahid from Nigeria or something. Tell wild stories about the things you've experiences, the more outlandish the better. You can bet the chuckles will come.
  • Jokes--I once sent out an invitation to a get together that read on the outside, "What happened to the butcher who backed into the meat grinder?" Inside it said, "He got a little behind in his work." Then I asked the people to come to a "Groaner Joke Night" at our house. I promised refreshments and plenty of groans and laughs. They came with their jokes and we had a hooting time!
  • Funny Games--One of our favorite things to do was play charades with our kids. The best part is when someone starts getting answers that are no where near what they are trying to portray and they get the giggles. Pretty soon no one can talk as they dissolve into laughter. Here's another game that got me laughing so hard I cried.
  • Do a Phunny Phamily Photo Shoot--In the first two pictures in this post, we wanted to get some family pictures, but we had a little tension going on. As we walked toward the camera I said, "On the count of three, everyone jump!" We did it and felt so silly that our laughter over came the situation. Try getting fun props to use. One of our ways to get a good mood going was to tell everyone to do their "album cover" photo. Each person would pose as they've seen on an album cover and, "click." The result could be hysterical, especially when Grandma and Grandpa or Mom and Dad didn't realize what was happening and sat stiffly smiling at the camera!
  • Words--Words can be very silly. Get a book of tongue twisters and try to read them outloud. Ask silly questions like: If we all lived in a zoo, what animals would we be?
  • Just Laugh--see what I mean here.

When you share joy with someone it multiplies the joy and provides a common bond that gives your relationship an extra dimension which will draw you closer. Find a reason to laugh today and then tell someone about it so you can laugh together.


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How does your family get laughing?
Tell me in the comments below or
Maybe I'll share your idea with my readers!

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Be sure to check out the whole series on how to draw your family closer!





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Thursday, June 16, 2016

The First Way Your Family Can Draw Closer -- Be Together

During the eight years we lived in Peru it was the height of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) Terrorist group and it wasn't safe for us to go more than a few hours outside of Lima unless we flew to another city. Camping was out of the question. But I had a group of 5 women I was discipling and I wanted to have some sort of retreat with them, so I settled on having a sleepover in my living room. 

There we were, six women ranging from early 20s to early 50s sleeping on the floor of my living room. (I think we gave the oldest the long couch to sleep on.) We talked late into the night, even though my brain shut down at 9:30 and Spanish no longer came out coherently! Of course, I was the first to fall asleep.




In the morning, I announced to the women that I overcame a great temptation during the night. They all said, "You wanted to go sleep in your own bed upstairs!" That was definitely it. I thought about my husband in our comfortable bed and wondered if I was crazy to be sleeping on the parquet floor.

After that we had a bunch of private running jokes that we could just look at each other, or say one or two words and start giggling. It drew us closer together. 

I have come to believe that there are (at least) five ways you can draw closer to people and families can become closer to each other. I'm going to talk about one in this post, and one in each of the next four posts. They are 

  • Be Together
  • Laugh Together
  • Pray Together
  • Work Together
  • Cry Together


1. Be Together -- Sounds pretty obvious. That is what these women and I did that night. We didn't have deep discussions, or bare our souls but we spent time together. 

I remember an annual conference when I was growing up that was every evening Monday through Thursday and all day Friday and Saturday for one week. It was an hour away from where we lived and many people from our church would go, so we carpooled with a different group each year. After spending 12 hours together in the car over the space of a week, we had gotten to know each other and become friends.

On our younger son's wedding day he had six groomsmen, five of whom spent the morning at our house waiting for their time to go be in the photographs. As they ate lunch together, I listened to these young men from different eras of my son's life get to know each other by talking about their favorite movies and why they liked them, what kind of food they prefer, and what sports they watch. They didn't get deep into life goals or thoughts on marriage, but they started getting to know each other over lunch and a game of Settlers of Catan.

Families can easily work on time together as they all live in the same house. But you have to be sure you actually spend time living there and not just sleeping and grabbing a bite to eat. It seems like it should "just happen", but really it has to be intentional.

How can you do it? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Family meals -- you knew I would say that, didn't you? If you carve out half an hour (and some days an hour) to sit around the table, eat, and talk to each other, you will have a regular time to spend with each other.
  • Car rides -- the "taxi mom" is a reality in today's life. Make that time count. Don't let everyone plug in their earbuds all the time, but listen to something together, talk, even pray! A friend of ours drove her children and several others to the school where she was Director every day. Anyone who rode in Mrs. Afanador's car knew that on the way they would pray--outloud! No one was forced, but everyone was encouraged to bring to God whatever was on their hearts.
  • Outings -- whatever your family likes to do, do it together. For us it was, and still is, picnics. As you might know, I don't particularly enjoy restaurants, but I love a picnic! But for you it might be attending a kids' sport event, going to the mall, taking a hike, and yes, maybe, eating out. Just do it together.
  • Road Trips -- this is a longer version of rides, but where you are "trapped" together in one car for hours on end. Interweave family time between time-for-earbuds-in. Play the alphabet game, guess how far it is to that sign up there, sing a song for each letter of the alphabet (we did this often), listen to an Adventures in Odyssey (our family favorite), or a sermon, tell jokes, or just listen to music together. Back in the day before personal music players, my parents had the rule that we each could listen to one tape of our choice and no one could complain or make rude comments. My mom chose hymns. I picked a popular Christian artist, my brother had rock music. And Dad? He had a 90 minute blank tape!




Just choose activities where you get to talk to each other, not just watch a movie in a dark theater, or if you do, go out for ice cream after to talk about it. 

The first level of drawing closer to each other is just spending time together. Make time for your family today!


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Thursday, June 9, 2016

"Hold Both the Blessing and The Trial Lightly"

I was lying in bed in great pain. I'd been to the urgent care facility and had the antibiotics for my UTI, but hours into it, it still hurt...bad. I was drinking gallons of water and waiting. If my husband hadn't been sleeping next to me, I think I would have moaned.

I remembered the words of a friend, "I've learned to hold both the blessing and the trial lightly." I cried out to the Lord, "How can I hold this lightly? This hurts so much, it's all I can think about!" 



I knew my friend's wisdom came from scripture. 2 Corinthians 4:17 "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" and Job 1:21b "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Not that a few hours of pain can be compared with what Job went through! A few hours..."momentary". I focused on that for a minute. I knew the antibiotics would take affect and within a few hours I would have relief for most of the pain I was feeling. In the grand scheme of things, a few hours is momentary.

"Light", at that instant I could not call what I was feeling "light affliction." It was definitely the most painful bladder infection I had ever experienced, but it was light in that I could go to a doctor, the medicine was there and I could afford it. What did they do before antibiotics? I have no idea. Could one die of an untreated UTI? Did they?

I had been studying passages in the Bible on suffering and trials and now God was giving me a small practical test. I recognize now, and even then, that this was not a huge trial I was going through, but God still brought home some lessons:

An Eternal Perspective -- In the course of a lifetime, what are a few hours of pain? But stretch that out even further, what is it compared to all of eternity? Recently a girl I'm discipling said to me, "No one has suffered more than one lifetime." When I think of someone who has chronic pain or sorrow that lasts a lifetime, I wonder if they could be comforted by that thought? I can't speak to that, but even a lifelong trial or persecution "is not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18 What will that glory be? Seeing God in all His holiness, majesty, and splendor!

A Dependence on God -- Whenever we recognize our weakness, we can have the blessing of depending more on God. It's so easy to rely on ourselves when everything is going well. "I've got this one. I don't need to disturb you, Lord with this little thing." But God wants us to lean on Him all the time. That's why Paul said, "When I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10 When we are strong, we are only as strong as ourselves. When we are weak, we let the "power of Christ dwell in [us]." (verse 9)

A Greater Understanding of Others -- I had a bad ear infection a couple of months ago with both ears draining for almost two weeks. When it was all over, I had lost 30% of my hearing. Suddenly everyone had to be looking at me when they talked to me and background music became an annoying noise. My mother and mother-in-law are quite hard of hearing, to the point that hearing aids are not always effective. Suddenly I felt like I could identify with them to a much greater extent. It made me more patient with repeating, at least I think it did! And more aware of how someone raising their voice to be heard sounds like being shouted at. (Thankfully, a "patch" on my eardrum has given me back much of my hearing.)

Rejoicing in Blessings, While Realizing They are Temporary -- I'm rejoicing in being able to hear today. There is a house wren outside my window who sings until I sometimes think the tiny bird will burst. I can hear the woodpecker knocking on my tree, my neighbor's lawn mower, and the voices of the children who live behind me playing in their yard. Thank you, Lord! I think I'll hear in heaven, too, but, if I live long, there's a good chance the ability to hear these things will diminish. I have a lovely house and garden, but one day it will mean nothing to me, this body will be in the ground and I will be in a mansion in eternity. I can't grasp these and other blessings tightly, just like I can't let trials and suffering control me. God is the only permanence in my life.

Live by Faith -- This brings us back full circle to our eternal perspective. "We look not at the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 How do we look at what is not seen? By faith. Hebrews 11 tells us of men and women who were able to look at what was not seen...Noah built an ark when it had never rained before...Abraham followed God, not knowing where he was going. They lived in tents, how temporary is that? But they looked "for a city whose architect and builder was God." Hebrews 11:10 This was a city they could not see, but one they knew would mean truly coming home. Forever.
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I would love to hear from you what you have learned through your trials. You can respond in the comments below or by writing to me at: 
aroundthetableblog (at) gmail (dot) com




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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Twelve Things You Want Around Your Table

Today I made spinach lasagna, except I left out the spinach! Have you ever tried to take apart a lasagna by layers? Well, I used uncooked noodles, so I can tell you it is somewhat possible! My daughter's friends will find out with us tonight how it works to spread the spinach over the ricotta instead of mixing it in!



Just like recipes have essential ingredients, family mealtimes do too. I got to thinking about this and came up with Twelve Essential Ingredients for Family Mealtimes. In no specific order, here goes:


  1. The Fam -- It's not really a family mealtime without the family there. If the "kids" are still living at home, you want them all, or at least as many as possible, all eating together at the same time. (I wanted to be snarky here and say, "What a thought!" but I'm resisting temptation.)
  2. Good Food -- By "good" we can mean healthful, tasty, or quality. You get to decide. I strive for healthful and tasty most of the time, but once in a while we go for just tasty. Quality? I hope so, but my frugal gene gets into action here, so I'm not as picky as some. 
  3. A Cellphone Basket -- We have never actually had one of these, and I don't police my now grown kids. Sometimes I see some texting going on. (I've even seen my mother text at the table!) But then, I've been guilty of it too. However, there's a difference between someone at the table having a continuing conversation with people who are not present and answering a quick question. If you have habitual phone checkers, maybe you should have a cellphone basket. You could do a twist on the restaurant game: whoever touches their phone first during the meal does the dishes! 
  4. Time -- Most of the rest of these things won't happen unless you have time to spend together. I know, there are those days when you have to eat and run, but don't let that become the routine. Plan to have at least half an hour together on a regular basis, and some days when you linger longer at the table. Here are some strategies to get them to stick around.
  5. Laughter -- If I could bottle anything and spray it over my dinner table it would be laughter. I love it when something strikes us all funny. My dad has a lot of memory loss and doesn't always know what city he is in, but he's listening and sometimes he comes out with the best one-liners around!  I encourage bringing something to the table to read that struck someone funny so we can all share the laugh. I've seen my husband laugh so hard he's hitting the table with his hand. I have even laughed so hard I cried, to which one of my sons said, "Who are you and what did you do with my mother?" Of course, that brought on more laughter. It's true, I'm more likely to smile than laugh, but laughter is so good for you, it relieves stress, is good exercise, and is one of the five things that I believe draw people together. (Maybe I should write a post about that sometime.)
  6. No (Less?) Bickering -- No one enjoys bickering. At least I don't think they do! This isn't something that can always be avoided. Our kids aren't the ones in the Sunday School paper story who always let each other go first, choose the best piece of chicken, or apologize to one another, and some meals were disasters in this way. I think most honest parents would have to say that too. But you can create an atmosphere conducive to bickering or to not bickering. The younger you start, the better, of course, but just allowing each one to (calmly) state their opinion and understanding each other can help everyone see the other side.  I remember when my grandchildren were four and two. The four year old didn't want the two year old to open the closet door, which, of course, he wanted to do. I asked her why she didn't want the door opened and she told me, "My baby is sleeping in there." I asked if we could open the door a little bit and show him that the "baby" was sleeping so he would understand. She agreed and when the door was opened he reached in and rescued his favorite stuffed dog we hadn't known was trapped in there. We closed the door and everyone was happy. 
  7. Conversation -- this means people talk to each other about the same topic, each one adding a bit or asking...
  8. Questions -- Many families tell me that questions for conversation flow naturally and they don't need written up ones. I find the written ones helpful for the times when the conversation is lagging or going down the toilet. But just knowing how to ask a question can really help. Of course, if you ask you also need...
  9. Listening -- Have you ever asked someone a question and then a few minutes later you realize you don't know what they said to answer it? Mmmhmm. Me too. When we are in a conversation we need to hear what the other person is saying. Whether they are communicating facts, a joke, or their feelings, they deserve to have you listen. That's hard when everyone is talking at once, so that's why learning about conversation is so important. There can be two (or more) separate conversations going on at once, but not more than one talking in a single conversation at a time.
  10. A Learning Atmosphere -- Did you learn a new word? Did one of the kids get some exciting knowledge in school today? Do you know when the next full moon is or what a "blue moon" actually is? Talk about it together and be willing to learn. And, this is when we used to run for the World Book encyclopedia to find out a fact, and today, when we are allowed to look up information on our phones or tablets at the table. 
  11. Helpfulness -- Learning to work is a big part of life. I remember one time when my two grown daughters were at the table with guests and one got up to clear the table and the other served dessert without me saying a word. Yes, I was very proud of them and proud to be their mother. If people are willing to help one another, the atmosphere becomes that much nicer.
  12. Traditions -- Traditions can be small like always giving thanks before the meal, making the person who commits some faux pas sing a silly song, giving a special plate to someone who is celebrating something, or holding hands while you pray. This defines your family, sets you apart, and unites you. Your children will always talk about these things when they are older, even if they never say anything about them now. But, if you forget one, they will be sure to remind you!
What about you? What do you think is an essential ingredient for a successful family meal?





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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Authentic German Cheesecake

One of my daughters lives near Frankfurt, Germany. She and her German husband live a a quaint town complete with castle ruins and post-war three story, steep roofed houses placed close together on narrow streets fronted by flower boxes and vegetable gardens. I love it!

My son-in-law's grandmother owns and lives in the house where they are (though they have separate apartments) and she is a wonderful Kuchen baker. She made eleven cakes for their wedding and whenever we are there she invites us in for Kaffee und Kuchen. Those are German words I definitely understand!



Every town has bakeries with a variety of home baked Kuchen like Apfelstrudel and Käsekuchen. We stop nearly every afternoon for a treat. 

I am not supposed to eat sugar, so never order my own piece of cake, but I liberally help myself to what others have ordered! It's just so good. Besides, just like calories, if it comes from someone else's plate it doesn't have any sugar, right?



I enjoyed the German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen) so much that I had to find a recipe. Since I can't communicate with Grandma Unger and she probably doesn't follow a recipe anyway, I resorted to Google and then I adapted the recipe to get the taste I rememebered.

This delicious cheesecake has so much protein and relatively little sugar, that I indulge in some when I bake it. It doesn't have a crust, but the flour and cornstarch in the batter seem to bake to the bottom and sides to form a bit of a crust.

This is an easy make ahead cake, so it's great for company, but hard to wait for! It needs to be baked for 70 minutes and left in the turned off oven for 2 more hours. Then it should be refrigerated for at least four hours, but overnight or several nights, is fine, too.

I find that this recipe has more batter than fits in my springform, so I make a small cheesecake in another dish. Of course, that gives me one to nibble while keeping the large one looking nice!



In German restaurants and bakeries they always offer whipped cream on it, but I like it best with fresh fruit like strawberries or peaches and a bit of jam melted and drizzled on it decoratively.

Authentic German Cake

1 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons white flour
16 oz. cottage cheese 
16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 medium eggs
1 to 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I prefer 1)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom of 9 inch springform pan. Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.

Beat together cream cheese and cottage cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and somewhat fluffy. (I prefer using the "wire whisk" beater on my mixer.) Add the softened butter and beat well. Beat in eggs until completely mixed. Add sugar mixture 1/4 cup at a time, blending well and scraping down bowl after each addition. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.

Pour batter into springform pan and bake for 70 minutes. Turn off oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven with the door closed for 2 hours. Remove and cool completely on wire rack. Chill tightly covered for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


I accidentally left my oven on a bit longer than indicated.
Your cheesecake will not be quite so dark. But this was still delicious! 

This cake will keep in the refrigerator at least a week, if you can keep it from being eaten that long! Enjoy it and say "Danke schön" to the Germans for coming up with the delicious recipe!




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Thursday, May 19, 2016

To Talk or To Serve?

There were at least three conversations going on at all times around my table. My husband, daughter, and I had invited a missionary couple to Japan over for dinner. Along with them were their two sons, four and two years old, her parents, who attend our local church, and a good friend and mentee of mine.

Apparently I had succeeded in putting together one of those groups that clicks, where the conversation just rolled along without any help. I contributed nothing, or at least very little. 

I'll admit that there were times when I wanted to say something or ask a question, because, you know, what I have to say is interesting and maybe even wise  (smile), but I just couldn't get it in.  As I got up to replenish one of the serving dishes and turn on the coffeemaker, I felt a little frustrated. But then I thought some more.




My goal for hospitality is to give comfort and refreshment, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I want people to leave my house feeling glad they came, to be a bit more relaxed, to have enjoyed themselves, and to want to know God better. To do that, I don't necessarily have to talk, but I do need to serve.

Since I didn't have to carry the conversation that night, I was free to serve. I could get up and clear the table and serve the dessert and coffee without really being missed. 

I don't want to be invisible, but I don't want to be the focus either. When I invite people into my home I want to see what I can do for them, not what they can do for me. Sometimes I need to be reminded of this. Sometimes I need prodding to follow the example of my master and be the servant of all. 

In other words, I don't entertain guests, I practice hospitality.


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Recently I was "grilled" for another blog. I had fun being interviewed about being a grandma! You know, sometimes I still wonder how I got to this stage of life so quickly! Me?  A Grandma? Really?! It comes so much faster than we think. I'm so thankful for the time I spent with my children when they were younger and, yes, you know I'll say it...for the time we spent around the table daily.

grilled grandma
How many children do you have?
We have 4 children ranging from 22-31; boy, girl, boy, girl; my plan was to have my children 2-3 years apart but God had other plans. They are 3.5 years, 8 months (one is adopted!), and 4.5 years. I always say if you add them up and divide, you get my original timetable!

How many grandchildren? What are their ages?

We have 4 grandchildren and two on the way. This year we are doubling the number and my oldest son no longer has the corner on the market. Three (soon to be four) live three hours away, one lives in town, and one will be in Germany.

Any great grandchildren?
The oldest grand is 5, and we’re still filling the basket with grands…great grands will be here before we know it, though!

What do your grandchildren call you?

The two who can talk say “Grandma” (and “Grandpa”) but...

To continue reading this post click here!




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