Friday, January 10, 2020

He is Faithful, Guest Post from Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

This is the post for Meeting in the Meadow today, but it was so timely as I read it in my memories from several years ago, that I felt I would share it here too. 
This post, originally from 2009, came up in my memories. I couldn’t help but think how perfect these words are for 2020 too!

It’s my prayer that as you read them you will be reminded of the assuredness of God’s faithfulness throughout the coming year.

God Is Faithful
-Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

Often, as the New Year approaches, I quiet myself before the Lord and listen to hear if He may have something to say to me about the coming year. This year, as we approached 2020, I sensed God speaking something specific to me through various sources. The words were simple and clear and straight from Scripture, “God is faithful.”

God did not give me a list of Bible prophecies that would be fulfilled in 2020. He did not tell what was going to happen in the stock market, in Israel, or in world events. I have no idea what things will unfold over the next twelve months, however, I am certain of one thing, “God is faithful.”

God does not want me to place my focus on my needs, but on His faithfulness; not on world problems, but on His faithfulness; not on circumstances, but on His faithfulness; not on my feelings or opinions, but on His faithfulness; not on political change, but on His faithfulness.

The truth of God’s faithfulness is something each of us will need to be reminded of many times throughout this year. Our faith needs to rest in His faithfulness; our feet need to stand upon His faithfulness; our heart needs to trust in His faithfulness; our emotions need to celebrate His faithfulness; our mouths need to proclaim His faithfulness.

Here is a little poem that may be a helpful reminder for you in 2020…
I’ve a word that is clear
It is for the New Year
God is faithful, God is faithful.

Its meaning is dear
It will bring you a tear
God is faithful, God is faithful.

God is faithful it’s true
He will make all things new,
Just trust Him to do
All He’s promised to you.
God is faithful.

It’s a word that brings cheer
It will break every fear
God is faithful, God is faithful.

It will help you draw near
It will bless you to hear
God is faithful, God is faithful.

God is faithful it’s true
He will make all things new,
Just trust Him to do
All He’s promised to you.
God is faithful.
Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations, Deuteronomy 7:9 AMPC

God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
1 Corinthians 1:9 AMPC

God is trustworthy and faithful and means what He says, 
2 Corinthians 1:18 AMPC 

O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O LORD? You are entirely faithful. 
Psalm 89:8 NLT


©2009, 2020 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow, all rights reserved. This post originally appeared online in 2009.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Gratitude and a Thankful Heart

Happy New Year!
I’m starting my gratitude journal again, and counting #1000gifts in 2020! I still love Ann Voskamps' old calendar list of prompts, but I’m going to go beyond her suggestions and use photos too.
Will you count along with me? Please share your own 1000 Gifts this year and let’s be purposeful in changing our minds from wherever we feel stuck to thankfulness.
It only takes 3 things a day, and it will change your mind and focus. I love doing it in the evening, to clear my mind and set me to thankful before closing my eyes. I won’t stick to the calendar of listed things but may use it if I get stuck. I’ll use my camera to help me remember things through the day, and post in the evenings. You can put yours below in comments, or tag your posts with: 

Joy Dare Collection ©2020 Ann Voskamp, used with permission. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Merry Christmas

I've been really busy, and not busy enough. My heart has been breaking in unexpected places the past few months...friends passing away unexpectedly, illnesses attacking loved ones, me missing kids and grandkids, and not wanting to feel nostalgic for all the sadness around my heart right now. I feel tender and raw...vulnerable. I cry at the drop of a hat, even over silly things, like TALKING about not watching a movie that would make me cry...not even watching that movie. Just talking about it. Oh dear!

I did want to touch base though as we approach Christmas...all the sadness is making me draw even nearer to Jesus, because He is my hope (and the hope of the world). I've enjoyed my time of Advent, singing in the choir at church, baking cookies for friends and neighbors.

It helps me to shift gears emotionally and mentally when I can change it up a bit and do something new. And in God's goodness, He is allowing us to do something new for Christmas! I'll share the details on the other side of the experience, but for now just know that if you'd have told me this 5 years ago I wouldn't of believed it. He is amazing in ways like that.

Are you facing sadness this Christmas? Do you get winter blues, or are other circumstances making it difficult to cope? Please take time to be good to you. Take a warm bath. Sit in a sunny window. Breathe deep and read scripture...promises from God's heart to ours. Share with a friend. Share with me if you don't think you have a friend who will understand. I will pray with you and for you. I am praying for the sad hearted friends right now...may you feel His peace near to you.

Take time to gaze up at the winter's sky and marvel at His creation. He is so good to us, for us. He loves us so much, no matter how things are going on around us. He is in the midst of it with us. He feels our pain, our heartache, our sadness. He understands. He wants us to invite Him into those seasons, to walk with us.

Walk with me, God. Walk closely to me.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Feeding the College Ministry: Mom’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Marina’s Kitchen Table, Feeding the College Ministry
Mom’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Last night I cooked for our College Ministry from church, at the 316 building (a local car lot that’s opened their spare converted space - made to be like a coffee house - doors after-hours for us to meet in). I always try to make it a home-made meal, warm and yummy and stick-to-your-ribs good. It happens that most of these kids are college athletes at our local state college, so they’re not afraid to eat.

We have a lot of people at our church who recognize how pivotal these college years can be to a young adults faith, so we are blessed to have a great group of volunteers!

One dish that I’ve always had success with feeding people of any age is an adaptation of my mom’s macaroni and cheese, with ham in it. I’ve cooked it at camp, for missions training sessions of adults, and raised my kids on it. It’s a favorite! Last night we served it up with a salad, and one of the other volunteers brought a pot of home canned green beans with new potatoes in them. With a white Bundt cake (from another volunteer!) and a pan of brownies with walnuts in them, it made for a very home-y meal!

This is one meal I don’t use a recipe for, so the estimates are in the recipe below.  As with anything homemade, you’re free to adjust this to your taste, but trust me on this, and don’t leave out the tomato sauce!

Roaster-sized Recipe
Marina’s Mac ‘n Cheese
(Family sized recipe follows)

5 boxes of large elbow macaroni
about 2/3 of the ham off a spiral sliced ham (cut in cubes and trimmed of the fatty edges)
2 sticks butter
nearly a whole 30 Oz (?) can of tomato sauce
4 lbs shredded Colby jack cheese

I boiled the macaroni and cut up ham into cubes ahead of time.

In a very large pot, melt the butter and heat up the ham in it until it’s heated through. It will make the ham release a lot of it’s water, but don’t pour it out. Pour the tomato sauce into the ham mixture. Add pepper (maybe a half teaspoon, but if you’re serving little kids you could leave it out).

Grease the bottom of the roasting pan, with butter or whatever you prefer (spray?).

Pour about a third of the elbow macaroni into the roaster pan. Add 1/3 of the ham mixture, stir to combine and coat the macaroni. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese.

Then pour the rest of the macaroni into the HAM POT, stirring to coat. Put 1/2 of the mixture over the cheese in roaster, layer cheese on top, and repeat with the last of the macaroni/ham mixture and grated cheese.

I put the roasting pan in a 325 oven for 1 hour to bake thoroughly, because of time restraints, but you could just use the roaster base to bake if you had more time. I don’t think the roaster would make it crispy on top(?).

After baking I placed in the roaster base on lowest temp to keep it warm while transporting and serving.

Family sized recipe

1 box large elbow macaroni
2 cups ham, cubed
1 small can tomato sauce (3 or 4 Oz?)
1/2 - 1 stick butter (to taste)
Pepper to taste
About 2 cups grated Colby jack cheese (or more if you like it super cheesy)

Boil macaroni, drain into colander.
Use same pot to melt butter, heat ham, add sauce and pepper.

Add macaroni back to pot and mix to distribute ingredients evenly.

I then add the cheese, reserving some for the top of pan (my cookware can go into a low temp oven), but my mom would layer in a buttered 9x13 pan, making 2 layers and ending with cheese. Bake at 325 until cheese is melt or crispy on top.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

My No-Go Missions Story

Random picture...we kicked off our College and Career group tonight, and I got to provide dinner for them... baked potato bar! Since I was making so many potatoes I used a camp kitchen trick and ran them through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher. I still rinsed and used a vegetable brush on them, but so much less work than if I’d only done them in the sink!
I had an important reminder tonight that came to me over and over... definitely God whispering (no, shouting!) in my ear. I’ll sum it up like this...

Sometimes God plants a vision, an idea, a dream...and He only wants us to be obedient in taking the first step. He MAY bring the whole plan into fruition, but that may not be His long-term goal. He really just wants us to listen to His voice, remain disciplined, and trust Him in that first step.

I shared my missions story tonight, the time I fell in love with deaf children in northern Mexico. Back then all I could dream of was being a dorm mom for the girls that lived there and leaving behind all the comforts of life in Southern California. But it wasn’t to be.

After it was all said and done, I couldn’t pass the physical, as my bloodwork showed signs of what they eventually found to be an autoimmune disorder. It took about 4 months to diagnose it and about 6 months to force it into remission. It was a really hard season.

When I was first sick, when I realized I couldn’t go to Mexico, lots of people had questions about whether or not I heard God right about going in the first place. I never doubt that I did, very clearly. I had nothing to gain by going, only knowing I was being obedient to His call. But as I was recovering I realized that His will was for me to take the first step, to be obedient to be WILLING to leave this all behind. I was also called to walk with Him through the months of testing, pain, medications and side effects. Just one foot in front of the other, day by day.

I got to walk with Him through disappointment and fear, through heartbreak and joy. That season was one of the hardest for me, yet its’ roots continue to grow fruit from deep within. It’s still a part of my HIStory, and it’s still relevant to be told as others are led by Him, called to just take that first step in obedience.

Deuteronomy 33:3
Indeed, he loves his people; all his holy ones are in his hands. They follow in his steps and accept his teaching.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Cold Weather Recipe: Potato Corn Cheese Chowder

Last week our church hosted a Trunk or Treat, which got moved indoors because of the cold weather and rain that came upon us. Since it was going to be inside, they decided it would be nice to have a soup supper for everyone to enjoy.

For years I have made this soup, Potato Corn Cheese Chowder, at home, for church potlucks, youth activities, and even served it at summer camp! Everyone likes it! I've never had anyone turn up their nose at it once they tasted it!

I don't really use a recipe when I make it, but isn't that how the tastiest things go? I'm trying hard to estimate my measurements! I'm also going to keep it my original sized recipe, but it makes a LARGE pot of soup. If you're needing it for your family, please cut it in half, and if you are making it for just yourself and your roomie, or spouse, either third or quarter it!

I hope that you'll enjoy it, and that it will "stick to your ribs" during the coldest of weather yet to come!

Marina's Potato Corn Cheese Chowder

1- 5lb bag red potatoes, rinsed and cubed (I keep skins on, but that's personal preference)
4 - 12 oz frozen sweet corn
8 cups chicken broth
15 shakes of Tobasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup milk
40 slices American cheese
Place cubed potatoes in a large stock pot, and cover with water. Over high heat, bring to a boil, and allow to cook until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart. Turn off heat, and add frozen corn, allowing to barely cook in hot water.

Drain potatoes and corn mixture, return to the pot, and pour in chicken broth, Tobasco, and spices. Heat over medium heat until it barely begins to boil, then reduce heat to low and add milk. It should barely cover the vegetable mixture. Add cheese slices a few at a time, and stir often, to distribute and melt cheese into the broth.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A Devotional Memoir

I wanted to say "Thank You" to all of you who have been so supportive of my first book, and also share a little insight from the book to those of you who may not have seen it yet. In a little way, this is my abbreviated and a little late book launch.
I'm including Day 1 here, so you can read it and see how it's to be used. There are a few prayers, a little essay on my life experience, another prayer, a few more verses for you to look up, and an exercise to do. I pray that it's a blessing to you, and inspires you to spend more time with God in the midst of your morning. Stay tuned for other posts this week, where I share other parts from the book.

Day 1
Morning Prayer

God I need You in my life today. Thank You for meeting me here in the quiet of the day, allowing me to discover Your peace and presence. Settle my mind and spirit and help me to focus on Your presence right now. I feel You, and I need to know Your touch, hear Your voice, and sense Your Holy Spirit with me. Please allow me to abide in You and be so close I can hear Your heartbeat. I love You. Amen.
Focus Verse
Psalm 139:5-6
You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
When I was eight months pregnant with my third child (3 kids in 3 years!), my husband accepted a job change, moving us from our home and family in Southern California to Northeast Georgia, where we didn’t know a single soul. Our home sold immediately, and we lived in a hotel for a few weeks until we could close on our new home in Georgia. Meanwhile, all of our belongings were being shipped across the country. It was the first of many company moves, but we were excited for all that the opportunity held.
Once we moved and got settled in, my husband started traveling for his new position immediately. Just a few weeks after arriving, our son made his appearance, and though we had barely met our neighbors and only visited a few churches, we were blessed beyond measure by their displays of Southern hospitality and thoughtfulness. Some of the ladies in the church we had begun to attend had also made big cross-country moves, and understood what it meant to be alone in a new place. They graciously threw me a baby shower and welcomed my family with open arms, providing meals after the birth of our son.
Our closest neighbor had two teen daughters who adored our kids, and they were kind enough to help accompany me in emergencies, such as having to go grocery shopping alone with all three kids. One time, I came down with salmonella, and a neighbor got my medications from the pharmacy and helped feed my kids, while I camped out on the bathroom floor for a few days.
Still, there were times I felt very alone. Like the night all three kids climbed into bed with me before I realized somehow my bed had been taken over by ants. Or the long night where I scared myself into staying awake all night even though exhausted, because I was hearing noises on my roof. It turns out there were baby possums falling out of the tall Georgia pine trees. My new friends from church had a good laugh with me about it.
Living in other places, I was not always sure I had good neighbors, or there was not a church reaching out to us. There were months I lived petrified of being alone, our dog hearing every quiet sound in the night, then leaving me diligent to stay awake and protect my family.
In retrospect, I realize how foolish that sounds, but this was the time before technology, and we did not always have a cell phone in our hand and a security system set up.
There were times I felt even more hopelessly alone with a house full of kids, simply because I was disappointed in my husband not being there for me to rely on.
It took me a while before I learned that I was not alone, but I was not relying on the right person. God was with me, and I should have known He knew my needs and would send others to assist or encourage me.
So many times, I should have called upon the name of Jesus in prayer, inviting the Holy Spirit to bring peace into my fearful mind. I wasted so many nights when I could have been sleeping peacefully, knowing He was standing guard, watching over us, and protecting us. I should have been speaking to Him, instead of wishing my husband was home. I regret the fear I undoubtedly planted in the minds of my children, and thank God they are so much wiser spiritually than I was at their age.
I have learned to enjoy being alone, not because I’ve become an introvert, but because I have learned to recognize God’s presence. I don’t believe we are ever truly alone. Even though we may not see another person in the room, He is with us. He hears us, through our prayers and songs and words of worship. He speaks to us through His word, the Bible, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is with us, and we are not alone.
A Prayer
Father, there are so many times I feel anxious and frantic, and I cannot be still before You. You meet me here and quiet my spirit and mind. Other times I feel totally alone and abandoned, yet I know in my heart of hearts You are here with me. Lord, let me not forget Your position near me, that You will not leave me alone, and You will never abandon me. Teach me to call upon Your name, to welcome You into the quiet places, and to trust You will speak to me. Help me recognize Your voice today. Allow me to be alone, confident in Your presence and promises. Amen.
Table Talk
Genesis 3:8, Jeremiah 29:13, Psalm 139:7, James 4:8, Psalm 56:8
Write out an “action plan” of scriptures to read if you are alone and become frightened or sad. Include a prayer from your heart you can say in anticipation of any fear or disappointment you have experienced in the past. Ask others to pray with you and for you when you know you will be alone, focusing on God’s promises that He will not leave you.
©2019 Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table, and Soaring Beyond, an imprint of Winged Publications. Used with permission. Available online only at…/…/ref=sr_1_1?

Friday, October 11, 2019

He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. Philippians 3:21
Like He changes the seasons, He will change us. Glorious!
Where spring seems tender and fragile, and summertime a season of visual growth and abundance, fall tends to bring fresh eyes to the scene with its changing colors and beautiful vistas, but ultimately by death.
It seems by the end of October nothing will remain but bare hillsides, brown empty branches and muddy fields. But in the remnants of that lays the quiet dormancy of winter, where roots grow deep, renourishing, and preparing twigs, branches and fields to regenerate life. Seeds dropped in fall are buried in rich organic matter, only to be protected from the harsh winter elements as they wait for spring’s return.
So goes my life.
Take this weak and decaying body and mind, Lord, and pull me deeply to You, to be broken of myself and my weaknesses, my habits, my humanity.
Draw me close to Your heart, and make me more like You. Strip me of anything that distracts me from You. Grow my spiritual roots deep. Prepare me for the new growth, the new work You desire to do in me. Let the old pass away so the new can take root and grow.
Prepare me to be a glorious reflection of You.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

From a recent Amazon book review...

From a recent Amazon book review...
"I’ve only just begun this devotional and already I’m a huge fan. The first couple chapters have been immediately relatable to me as a young mom. I love the additional scriptures that help you dive deeper in God’s word, and the questions at the end have really challenged me to act on the convictions God brings through the reading. Already I can see how this study is going to deepen my faith and encourage me to apply what I learn. My quiet time was kind of stuck in a rut of routine reading and immediately forgetting what I read. This devo was just what I needed to have a real heart to heart conversation with God each day."
Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table, a Devotional Memoir, by Marina Bromley

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Book Release!!

It’s time!! Thanks to everyone for praying with me and for me as I’ve worked to get my first book out! It’s been a learning process, for sure, and none of this would be possible if God’s hand wasn’t firmly holding me!

Here’s the back cover description for now. I’ll have some memes and more information about the book later in the week! 

“You can learn from my mistakes, and it won’t cost you a thing!” is one of Marina Bromley’s favorite quotes. Over the years she’s had time to reflect on her life lessons and the grace-filled ways God has turned them into blessings. This book is based on what she’s learned through those mistakes, much as she’s shared around her Kitchen Table online and in person over the past 35 years. If you’ve longed to have an older friend, someone who won’t gloss over the mistakes she’s made and will own up to the realities of life, then this book is for you! Take this 30-day journey of scripture focus and practical life application and reflection in Morning Meditations at Marina’s Kitchen Table. 

Available on Amazon and Kindle. Free for those of you on Kindle Unlimited! 

The REALLY Empty Nest... A Parents of Missionaries Post

The house still has evidence of Miss J being here all last week, and grandkids Norah and Isaiah a few weeks before, and to have these 2 pop up in my memories this morning makes me miss them (and their brothers and sisters). 
Yesterday, on our way home from dropping off Jac, the dad of these 2 in the picture (Ryan), was doing a Facebook live video from a visit to their friend’s village, where they buy charcoal for ones cooking and their coffee (growing on the side of the road!), and pick berries in season. In the video, he turns to Bella (pictured here) and asks her something in Spanish, and she answers back in Spanish. It was beautiful to see her not hesitate, just to speak it so naturally. I knew the littlest would pick it up quickly, but didn’t know what that would look like time wise.
Although we get to talk with them via video calls nearly weekly, we miss this family so much. All the good stuff that goes on in our lives doesn’t replace them not being here. We miss them. It’s hard.
It will be a year in December since we saw them last. A year since we had giggle-filled hugs, walks, played games around the dinner table, had bedtime devotions and said goodnight prayers together. When we do these things with our grandkids living stateside, it so much fun, but it reminds us of how fun it was to do it with all of them too. I’m thankful for the memories, but sometimes it makes my heart hurt a little more.
I’m so grateful for technology, for getting to see how they’re growing and learning, even though it’s a tiny snapshot. I’m so thankful to get to talk to them and hear about the good and the bad in those few minutes each week, but it doesn’t take the place of making memories with them.
I’m not sure if we will make it there before they visit here in a year or so, but I know that I already dread the goodbyes, no matter where or when we will meet again.
God growing my faith this way keeps my heart tender. It takes a lot of exercise to keep my faith bigger than my fears, and those fears loom just around the edges of my heart, looking for any opportunity to sneak in. But God is bigger.
I’m reminded of the first all summer mission trip my then 16 year old daughter was taking to Mongolia, and the phrase that God etched on my heart, “I’d rather have her in the center of God’s will than in my own backyard against His will.” So I pray God’s will for these kids, for this family. I ask God to refine the parents wisdom, and that they can discern the heart of our Father for this family. To do what’s best for His Kingdom, not only to help others hear about Jesus, but also in nurturing their own children’s faith and physical health. And yes, for me to continue to trust Him with each of them, grown ups and grandkids alike, because He loves each of them too.
And when bad stuff happens, because it does, He is with them in the midst of it all, and I pray that their FAITH > fear too.

He is Faithful, Guest Post from Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow

This is the post for Meeting in the Meadow today, but it was so timely as I read it in my memories from several years ago, that I felt I wo...