Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 - By Faith

In the year of 2013, I would like to be able to say that I am living a life of faith, so that others may see and be drawn to the Author and Finisher of my faith.

I am studying faith in the Bible; for the next couple Mondays, we are going to look at faith in the lives of some elders that obtained good report. These were our forefathers that, through faith, moved mountains, kept His promise in their hearts, took the gospel, didn't care what others thought, only cared about what God thought and, ultimately, brought glory and honor to their God.

This song is by Keith and Kristy Getty - (our theme song for this bible study)

  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. - Hebrews 11:6

So what is Faith?!?

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:2

The Google dictionary says that faith is...
**Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
**Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

My definition: Hope and belief in something that you have no evidence for, just "trust".

Faith in everyday life

You have to have faith in everyday life.  How do you know that the air is not filled with gas?  How do you know that the food you are eating is not filled with poison? Every time you sit down, you have to trust that the chair is going to hold you. When you open a door and walk into a room you are demonstrating faith in the building that it's not going to fall on you. When you walk you are trusting your legs to carry you. Every breath you take, every move you make, it takes faith.
Hebrews 11:3 says "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
How did God make everything out of nothing?  Were we there when the world was created? No.  I could get into a big evolution-vs-creation debate, but I will not. To sum both of them up, you have to have FAITH.  You were not there. Yes, there is evidence of a world designed by an orderly God but  point blank, you were not there. So to believe in Creation, you must have faith; to believe in Evolution, you must have faith.
How do we know the Creator did not mess up? What if the world just blows up? We have to have faith. How has God always been? How is He going to live forever?  It doesn't make sense.  I don't understand it all but I trust the all knowing, powerful Creator, my God.  By faith.

Faith in trials

Oswald Chambers said "Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace."

Many people say they have faith that God will deliver them from "this or that" but when they don't see the result that they wanted, they get bitter and angry. Faith is not proving God by getting what you want. Faith is trust in every situation that God is in control, whether good or bad and you will embrace and learn whatever He wants you to learn.

We are going to study many different Bible characters and we are going to see the many "fiery trials" that God took them through to refine them into beautiful vessels.

We are going to see trials and faith. We are going to see everyday faith. We are going to see the power of God and the results of faith. I hope you will join me on this journey and pray that our faith grows in this next year of 2013

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Due to Christmas and family time, I will be taking a week off from this blog. I hope you stick around. See you back on New Years Eve.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Homemade Healthy Yet Edible Body Scrub

Thanks to Food Renegage for this healthy, fragrant, edible body scrub - Rejoicing in the Present

Cinnamon Vanilla Spice Body Scrub Recipe

  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sweet almond or apricot kernel oil* (OR olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil (or substitute extra sweet almond/apricot oil)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract**
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E (optional)
To Make
1. Place brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
2. In a separate bowl blend oils, vanilla extract and optional vitamin E.
3. Pour oil mixture into sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon into an airtight container and store out of direct sunlight.
To Use
Scoop a tablespoon of the scrub into damp hands and rub them together. Apply to body and scrub in a circular motion until most of the crystals dissolve, focusing on rough areas such as elbows, knees, and heels. Rinse and repeat if desired. Follow with moisturizer.
Shelf Life
If only sweet almond/apricot oil are used, up to 6 months. If the other more stable jojoba oil is incorporated, up to 1 year
This scrub is not appropriate for delicate facial skin.
* If you’re wanting to use what’s already in your pantry, olive oil can be used. However, the fragrance can overpower the vanilla/cinnamon scent of the scrub.
** Make sure your extract contains alcohol. Alcohol-free extract will make the mixture vulnerable to spoilage

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cooking w/ Brandy - Black Forest Cake

This was taken from one my recipe books. It is simple and delicious for family baking. Hope you enjoy it. - Brandy O.

What you need...

1. Box of Devil Food Cake Mix (also eggs, oil and water)
2. 1 20oz Can of Cherry Pie Filling
3. 1 Package of Vanilla Instant Pudding
4. 1 Cup of Milk
5.  1 8oz tub of Cool Whip

What you do...

1. Preheat the oven to 350
2. Follow the directions on the Devils Food Cake Mix. (Mix the ingredients and place in a 9x13 pan and bake.)
3.  While the cake is still warm, fork the top of the cake and then spread the cherry pie mixture on top.
4. While the cake cools, make the pudding (follow the directions on box) and then fold in the cool whip.
5. Then spread the pudding mixture over the cherry filling and efrigerate.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cooking with Brandy- Granny's Ice Box Pies


This recipe is my sweet Granny's. It is a favorite in our family and is a super easy recipe.

DAY 3 - Granny's Icebox Pies

What you need...

Graham cracker crust (homemade or store bought)
8 oz tub of cool whip
14 oz can eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 tsp of vanilla
Cherry pie filling or berries

What you do...

1. Combine cool whip, condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.

2  Mix well.

3. Pour into crust and refrigerate for 2 hours.

4. Top with cherry pie filling or berries and serve.

5. ENJOY - Brandy O.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cooking W/ Brandy: Reindeer Cookies

These are so easy and the girls LOVE THEM! Abby helped with these. All you need is a good peanut butter or sugar cookie recipe and the extras...

DAY #2  Reindeer Cookies

What you need...

1. Peanut Butter Dough or Sugar Cookies
2. M&Ms
3. Pretzels

What you do...

1. Place a Tablespoon of Dough on a pan.
2. Place a Teaspoon of dough right under it, attached.
3. Repeat this on the pan until it's full. Make sure the "faces" are not to close
4. Cook @ 350 for 5-7 minutes or when done
5. While the cookies are cooling, place the M&Ms as eyes and the pretzel as antlers.
6. Grab some hot chocolate and one of those warm cookies and ENJOY! - Brandy

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cooking W/ Brandy - Peppermint Cheesecake Bites

Due to Christmas and baking for parties, exchanges and family gatherings that goes with it, I've asked Brandy to give a plethora of cookie recipes. So here goes...- Rejoicing in the Present

DAY 1 - Peppermint and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

What you need...

(this was created by Nestle but you can use any brand and they are still yummy)
  • 1 package (16 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Ultimates™ Refrigerated Dark Chocolate Delight Cookie Dough
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 can (14 ounces) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 24 peppermint candies, unwrapped

What you do...

PREHEAT oven to 325° F. Paper-line 24 muffin cups. Cut each square of dough in half. Place one half of dough in each muffin cup.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie has spread to edge of cup.

BEAT cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

PLACE peppermint candies in heavy-duty plastic bag. Then place bag between towel layers. Crush candies using rolling pin or other heavy object to about 1/4-inch in size. (Livy is crushing these peppermints in the picture to your right) You should have a little over 1/2 cup. While holding strainer over batter, pour crushed candy into strainer. Shake to release all small candy pieces into batter; stir. Reserve larger candy pieces.

SPOON about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over each cookie in cup. Top each with 1/2 measuring teaspoon of reserved candy pieces.

BAKE for additional 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Remove from oven to wire rack. While still warm, top cheesecakes with additional 1/2 measuring teaspoon of candy pieces. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

We made these with the girls this last weekend. They were pretty easy to make and so delicious. Cecil (hubby) took them to work on Monday and his coworkers were begging for more. :-) ENJOY!! - Brandy O.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ideas to Keep Christ the main part of CHRISTmas

Being a parent, I want my little boy to know that Christmas is not about waking up early on Christmas Day, tearing into presents and eating a big yummy meal. No, I want Avery to know that Christmas is about a God, who loved us so much that he put on the clothing of a human and became a baby boy so that he could one day give his life for us and this all started at his birth.

So I asked some Christian moms how they kept Christ central in their lives. I wasn't planning to share this but the ideas were soooooooooooo good that I just had to. Here they are:
J.B. - We have a nativity set (wood) the kids can play with and the kids love it when I get it out.  They help act out the Christmas story with the nativity set.  We do a different scene each night. We also do a share-the-joy night--take a night and go caroling at a nursing home, taking homemade cards with you to give away. The kids love it and so do the older people! You can make cards together on a night before you go out . We also do a share-the-joy night for our teens at church. They each bring $5 that they earned themselves (can't just ask mom for it) and then we give them certain ages to buy for. We take the van/bus to Wal-Mart, split up in groups and give them 20 minutes to buy presents and be back on the bus. Then we go back to the church, wrap them, get back on the bus and drive to the family's house that the presents were bought for! At the house, they carol and hand out their presents. It is the best attended teen night of the year!

V. W. - We grew up working on a bus route with my dad as the captain.  Every Christmas we would help out at least 10 or more of those families struggling financially by bringing them a ham dinner basket--ham, canned green beans, potatoes, rolls and whatever else! it was so neat to see them light up and to make their Christmas a little better

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Healthy Baking Substitutes

Thanks to, here are some really interesting substitutes for baking. Check out picklee for a better explanation on why you can use these. I am totally going to try these! - rejoicing in the present

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cooking W/ Brandy - Lemon Drops

For all those cookie exchanges and Christmas parties...Here is an EASY but YUMMY recipe to wow your friends and loved ones :-)

What you need...

1. A box of lemon cake mix
2. A tub of cool whip
3. 1 Egg
4. Powder Sugar

What you do..

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Blend the lemon cake mix and cool whip with a spoon.
3. Add Egg and MIX WELL. (The mixture will be VERY sticky)
4. Create teaspoon size balls and roll in sifted powdered sugar
5. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for approximately 10 mins (DO NOT OVER BAKE)
This recipe should make about 3 dozen cookies. ENJOY!!! - Brandy O.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gift Idea: Homemade Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate, presented in a cute cup, is always a fun, heartfelt, yet inexpensive gift. Here is a simple recipe. You can make a huge recipe and store it or make all your gifts at once.

What you need...
3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1½ cups cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred, but regular okay)
1½ cups white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)
¼ teaspoon salt


1. Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

2. FOR A GIFT: Fill a baggy and tie with a bow. Place the baggy in a cute cup and then wrap the cup and hot chocolate in clear plastic with another bow

3. Another gift wrapping idea: You can also fill a mason jar and label it.

Write these directions on a cute label and tie to the hot chocolate
To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows.

Thanks to brown-eyed baker for the recipe. - rejoicing in the present

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Almost everybody has somebody in their life about whom they can say "they made a difference in my life".   For me, that special lady is my mom. She was my teacher in middle school and high school, my nurse through 4 major surgeries, my encourager, my example of the Proverbs 31 lady and now my best friend.

Today we want to honor another very special lady...She is Brandy's Granny, (Brandy from Cooking with Brandy). Bonnie Turner went home to heaven yesterday morning. Many of the recipes that you will see on Fridays are from Brandy's Granny. She is the one who taught Brandy to cook and was like a 2nd mom to her.

Brandy wrote the following poem about this special lady. Even though Granny is no longer here, she is in the hearts of many...

Why God Blessed us with Granny

Granny was a blessing;
Sent from God above;
To bless our lives with happiness;
And teach us how to love.
She spoke words of encouragement;
Helped us conquer fears;
Read us books, sang us songs;
She even dried our tears.
She spoiled us with her generosity
Her banana pudding, pies and cakes.
She taught us how to keep the house clean;
And how to cook and bake.
She taught us patience and kindness;
To hold our tongues when we were mad;
She scolded us in her gentle way;
And directed our path when we were bad.
She showed great strength and wisdom;
And prayed for us each day.
She loved us unconditionally;
Even when we lost our way
Why did God bless us with Granny?
I think the answer is clear;
To fill the void in our lives;
When no one else was near.

Did God bless you with someone like "Granny"? Give that person a call. You never know if you will have that chance tomorrow. Much love to Granny! - Rejoicing in my present

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gift Idea: Homemade Bath Salts

This is a great gift for any woman! Just imagine using this, after a long day of work...candles, lavender and a soak. Ahhhhhh! :-)

Thanks to DIY and my mom for this awesome idea :-)

Homemade Bath Salts

What you need..
What you do...
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Transfer to a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

You can add these instructions to a cute label:
Add approximately ½ cup of bath salts to warm running bath water.

Ps. After you make a few of these gifts, take the extras and run yourself a relaxing bath :-) - rejoicing in the present.

Monday, December 10, 2012

True Love

It's Christmas. YAY! Many people have charity in their hearts at this time of year. People give presents to their family, put money in the Salvation Army box and toys in "Toys for Tots" box, and much more. The "Christmas Spirit" gives us charity. When God sent His son Jesus to a manger, He gave us his best gift, Jesus. So we give, in honor of God's gift, His sacrificial gift.  Charity is a sacrificial love. It is the love that God had for us . It is TRUE LOVE. I Corinthians 13 teaches us more about this love and shows us the characteristics of it.

1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Patience, Kindness, Humbleness...Loving the person who doesn't love you back. Spending time and care on those who never cared for you, while doing it privately so as not to put yourself forward.
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
More humbleness, more patience and pureness of mind...Sometime I believe we love because the love is returned. We love because it give us attention and "fame". What about the unlovely? Do we love them? Do we get annoyed with those "ones" or are we praying and loving on them?  What is on our mind? Are we thinking good thoughts? Are we hypocrites, pretending to love but not really loving them in our hearts?

1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
more pureness of soul and spirit.

1Co 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
This is hard, to be a uplifting, patient Christian whose testimony points others to Christ and Him alone...I recently had a situation where a woman was spreading nasty lies about me. I wanted to go to those people and tell them the truth. However, I shut my mouth, though it wasn't easy, and bore it. This is what God commands of us in his love chapter. We must endure and bear, yet love and bring hope and Christ to others.

1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
You can preach Christ but if people don't see the love, it will be nothing to them.

You may have noticed the picture of the sweet older lovebirds at the beginning of this blog. This is my friend Tori's grandparents. They were both in the hospital recovering from illness when this was taken. They loved in "sickness and in health."

Tori said about them... "I have never witnessed a love like theirs. They have always shown so much Jesus to me. I hope to one day reach the love capacity they have for each other in my own marriage. The kind of love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things..." 1Cor 3:17"

My dear friends..."Have you shown so much Jesus?"...this is TRUE LOVE - rejoicing in the present.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Healthy Homemade Christmas Potpourri

This is really simple and you should have the ingredients in your cupboard. The recipe below is from moneysavingmom, however I have used JUST oranges, cinnamon and water and it's produced a delightful smell as well. So give it a try...

What you need...
1. 2 oranges (or the peel from 4-5 whole oranges — no need to ruin good oranges if yours aren’t past their prime like mine!)
2. 1 teaspoon cloves (ground or whole)
3. 1 teaspoon nutmeg
4. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
5. 2-3 cups water

What you do...
1. Boil the above ingredients and then simmer for 6-8 hours.
2. Make sure you check the water level. You can keep adding water if it gets low.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cooking w/ Brandy: Upside Down Pizza Bake

Here is an easy but yummy Friday night dinner. This is especially good for moms that are in a hurry and KIDS LOVE IT... 

Upside Down Pizza Bake

What you need...
1. 1/3 Bell Pepper (chopped finely)
2. 1/2 Onion (chopped finely)
3. Tomato Sauce (I prefer Hunt's Garlic and Herb Tomatoe Sauce)
4. 1 lb ground beef
5. 1/2 cup of mozzarella or piazza blend cheese
6. 1 can crescent rolls
4. Garlic Salt and Italian Seasoning 

What you do...
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Spray a 9x12 baking dish
3. Season the beef with Garlic salt and Italian Seasoning and brown with onions and bell peppers
4. Drain the meat mixture and return it to the skillet.
5. Add the tomatoe sauce and heat
6. Next pour the meat mixture into the baking dish and cover with cheese
7. Lastly unroll the creascent rolls and place evenly over the cheese and meat.
8. Put in the oven for 25 mins or until the rolls are done.

YUM!!! - Brandy :-)

Gift Idea: Sweater - Mittens

Here is another cute idea for Christmas. If you have a nice sweater but it has a hole in it.  Use it for mittens. Thanks Pinterest!! - Rejoicing in the present.

Pinned Image

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gift Idea: Decopage Ornaments

This is great gift to personalize for that special person in your life. This can be a grandparent gift, teacher gift, a friend gift, you name it. It works!!! This activity would also be fun for your kids as well.

 What you need...
1. Mod Podge
2. A napkin or piece of decorated paper
3. An Ornament Ball
3. Scissors
4. Glitter (optional)

What you do...

1. Separate the napkin and the tissue ply...

2. Cut the napkin in pieces and paint them on the ornament ball
3. Allow the glue to dry and apply glitter or not :-)
4. You can apply another layer of mod podge on top (optional)
Below are some examples of a few I did...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

THIS is what Christmas is about!!!!

I love this clip. I hope you will have time to watch it. This is truly what Christmas is about... worshipping Jesus. Love love love! - rejoicing in the present

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Synthetic Vs Natural Vitamins

What are the best vitamins to take? This is an educational yet interesting video about different types of vitamins. - Rejoicing in the Present

Biblical Health Principles

I love that the Bible gives us EVERYTHING we need in life. It even includes health tips. Here are some helpful principles, for good emotional and physical health, found right in the Bible..
  • Don't overeat (Proverbs 23:2, Luke 21:34).  
  • Don't harbor envy or hold grudges (Proverbs 14:30, Matthew 5:23,24).
  • Maintain a cheerful, happy disposition (Proverbs 17:22; 23:7).
  • Balance work and exercise with sleep and rest (Exodus 20:9,10, Ecclesiastes 2:22,23; 5:12, Psalm 127:2).
  • Keep your body clean (Isaiah 52:11).
  • Avoid eating animals that were strangled (Acts 15:20,29; 21:25).
  • Be temperate in all things (1 Corinthians 9:25, Philippians 4:5).
  • Help those who are in need (Isaiah 58:6-8).
  • Bury body waste to avoid disease (Deuteronomy 23:12-13). [Note: This is obviously for health reasons, because history and science has shown that if this was not done, diseases would spread and people would die from them]
  • Avoid eating animals that die by themselves (Leviticus 17:15; 22:8, Deuteronomy 14:21, Ezekiel 4:14).
  • Put full trust in the Lord (Proverbs 4:20-22; 19:23).

Very interesting!!! Thank you for this thought - rejoicing in the present