Sheila's Motto

"Endeavor to enhance the lives of others through education and encouragement."

Monday, February 29, 2016

Real Women ~ Real Answers: Are You Following An Illusion?


My Monday commenced with a brisk early walk under a waning moonlit canopy of black velvet sprinkled with innumerable stars that glistened as diamonds in the sky.

As I continued on my way, I heard a strange noise behind me.  It took me a couple of minutes to discern that it was the tinkling of a bell.  In the pitch darkness, I attempted to locate the sound since it was quite foreign and intriguing so early in the morning.

I turned around several times trying to determine the source to no avail.  Suddenly, I spotted an object behind me and to my right.  When pivoting to the side, what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a feline sporting a bell tied around its neck!  It lunged toward me, then backed off, and continued this pattern for a short while.

Considering that cats are often independent creatures and not all of them happen to be friendly to strangers, I did think it a tad strange that this particular one was following me so closely.  Suddenly, the reason became obvious.

The bottom of my walking stick must have resembled a mouse, of sorts, to this cat!  Ergo, perhaps it thought it might be able to score an early breakfast.  Actually, since I am no Felis catus expert, I am only conjecturing as to what might have been flitting through the cat’s mind.  My assumption is based upon its actions at the time.

Thank you for granting me some grace in the area of artistic design.  Obviously, from the picture above, my talents lie elsewhere.  Some days, it seems as though I am still looking for them . . .  But, I am quite confident that you can at least get the gist of my story.  I am quite elated, however, because I have progressed from simple stick figures to some pictures that closely resemble a cat and a mouse.

The kitty-kitty continued to follow me for the next several minutes and departed as abruptly as it had appeared.

There are times when nature can be a valuable teacher, and I deem this one no exception.  It begs the question, “Are you following an illusion?”

Just exactly what is an illusion?  It is something that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses.  It is also a deceptive appearance or impression, false idea or belief.  Since we have five senses, this increases the probability of wrong perceptions, deceptions, and false beliefs.

In my real life happening, the cat thought it was following a mouse or other object in which it was keenly interested.  It’s obvious that when it got close enough to the bottom end of my walking stick, it realized it was not a standard menu item, and lost interest.  But from a distance, the constant movement of the black padded object moving along the asphalt might have appeared to be a mouse or edible object.

Without getting too far off in the weeds with my little story, cats have a wider field view of 200 degrees compared to that of a human’s 180 degree view.  Their eyes have six to eight times more rod cells which are more sensitive to low light which help them to sense motion in the dark.  Also, a cat’s elliptical eye shape and larger corneas and tapetum help to garner more light.  Humans have the eye edge in the areas of the retina, motion detection in light, eye cones, etc.  The creator’s design is perfect for each species.

There are times in life when not everything is at it appears.  It’s when we get up real close and personal, so to speak, and do some examining and investigating of our own, that we can make a correct judgment.  Sometimes this requires removing the “rose colored glasses” as those have a real tendency to distort reality.

This little Monday morning experience has stirred my spirit to examine the subject of illusions in my own world.  There is one area, however, that is of utmost importance which is the spiritual one.  In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus’ disciples came to him privately inquiring as to the signs of the times.  Verse 4 of that chapter reads, “And Jesus answered and said to them [the disciples], ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.’”

I would encourage you to study the Bible from Genesis to Revelation to arm yourself with the whole counsel of God.  Truth can and will defend itself.  Within the pages of the most important book ever written, we can discern truth from falsehood and empower ourselves as women to fulfill the entirety of what God has called us to be and to do.  As we walk out our lives, I am beyond confident that all of us can hear those “warning” bells when applicable.

Happy Reading as you discern those illusions in your life!

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Poetry & Prose ~~ "True Beauty"

"True Beauty"

Does not matter the race, color or creed,
Or the current fad, latest trend or fashion design,
True beauty can only be seen in those
Whose heart is genuine, loving and kind.

You can see it in the twinkle in someone’s eyes,
And in a smile that comes from the heart.
You can hear it in softly spoken words,
Sharing the mercy of God, His hope to impart.

You can feel it in the gentle touch of a helping hand,
And hear it in a child’s laughter as they play.
You can experience it in hugs freely given,
And see it in the face of a new born babe.

You can see it in hands that are lifted high in praise,
While tears are streaming down another’s face.
You can hear it in a new song being sung,
As one experiences a special touch of amazing grace.

It can be felt and seen in the eyes of those who
Face life’s storms with strength, courage and peace,
Knowing that their trust and hope is in God alone,
And He is with them in their time of need.

It is when we look beyond the outward appearance,
And look into the heart of those we meet,
That we will experience the depth of God’s love for us,
And share it with others as it was meant to be.

As we learn to see others through the eyes of love,
And look at things from God’s point of view,
We will be filled with His compassion for all,
And see His beauty that is kind, loving and true.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time
and He has put eternity in their hearts……...” 
Ecclesiastes 3: 11

Contributed by Lesta of Heartsong Treasures

Poetry for the soul ~~ Happy Reading!

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Poetry's Presence ~~ "Someday"


Someday I’ll find the time
            to do the things I want to do.
I’ll venture into the attic
            and find the recipe for that roux.

The ancestral trees on both sides
            continue to call my name,
Reminding me ever so gently
            that they’re nowhere near the same.

Aunt Allene’s heirloom quilt
            must be removed from its display rack,
As it beckons me to follow
            the nine patch pattern in the stack.

Audrey insists her roma tomatoes
            produce the finest salsa yet,
To which one must add cilantro,       
            and jalapenos for extra zest!

Foreign lands seem so intriguing
            and not just via the news.
The globe is meant to be traveled
            while one can still pick and choose.

So many books with so little time
            carry me to enchanting places.
Rella’s brown velour couch or chair
            vie for the comfortable spaces.

Orion and the Big Dipper glisten
            as diamonds in the night sky.
Shall I purchase a nice telescope
            to watch them by and by?

Alas, yesterday is history and
            tomorrow may not be.
If I continue to wait for someday
            my desires I will never see.

Happy Poetry Reading!

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sweet & Savory Thursday ~~ Busy Day Casserole

                                                    BUSY DAY CASSEROLE

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Seasonings of your choice such as garlic powder, seasoned pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, seasoned salt, dehydrated onion, etc.
  • 1 - 14 oz. can of cut green beans
  • 1 - 10.5 oz can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 -  24 oz. bag of frozen tater tots

  • Place uncooked ground beef in bottom of 9 x 9 inch square bake ware.
  • Sprinkle with seasonings of your choice.
  • Drain liquid from can of green beans and spread evenly over top of seasoned meat.
  • Spread cream soup evenly over top of green beans.
  • Layer tater tots on top.
  • Bake one hour at 350 degrees or until tots are golden brown.

Helpful hints:
  • The very best part about this recipe is that it can be assembled in about 10 minutes flat, and you do not need to brown the ground beef before placing it inside the bake ware!  This is a huge time saver to say the least.
  • It's fun to experiment using different seasonings in this recipe.  I would start out using the seasonings that your family likes the best, and then add some additional ones the next time you make it.
  • This is a great dish to take to someone who has just experienced a death in the family; to the mother of a newborn baby; to a potluck dinner, and so forth.
  • The recipe can be made ahead of time and placed in the freezer to be cooked at a later time.
  • Some people like to put Ketchup on top before eating their serving of it.
  • This recipe has continued to be one of our family favorites for generations. 
  • I have made this dish in a crock pot and cooked it on a low setting for about 6 hours and it turned out very well!

Living in the west, it puts a big smile on my face to be using beef and potatoes when preparing meals for my family.  

Happy Eating & Happy Reading!

This recipe is taken from the official Sheila Fabulous Collection.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Real Women - Real Answers: The Demise of A Pretty Pink Dress


     Years ago, when I was a young girl, I heard the story of how Jesus walked on water, held out His hand to Peter, said "Come," and Peter obeyed. Somehow, I missed the part that Peter sank!  In the same sermon, the Pastor read the scripture that with God, all things are possible.  Those are the two things that I heard in that sermon so long ago.

     You can do anything if you have enough faith, even defy gravity and walk on water.  Sounds easy enough!  In my young and innocent mind, I just knew this to be true, and I came up with a bright idea that would simply put that truth to the test.  After church and still dressed in my pretty pink dress of many pleats, I bravely walked out to the canal behind our house and just knew without a doubt I could do the same thing as Jesus did – because after all – all things are possible with God – right? 

     Well, I took my leap of faith, stepped off the canal bank and into the water – and guess what? Yep, you got it right!  I got wet – very wet, and my pretty pink dress with many pleats was now a brown muddy mess without any pleats.  Oh dear, now what was I going to do to?   How on earth was I going to keep my mother from finding out that I ruined that dress?  (She had bought it for me as an Easter dress and told me to take good care of it as it was a ‘dry clean only’).  I literally trembled with fear.  I hid that pretty pink dress and to this day, I have no idea or remembrance of what I did with it.   Must be lost in the sea of forgetfulness!  My mom, well, she never asked about it.  Talk about the mercy of God at work in my life and me not getting what I am sure I deserved! 

      I believe God had a good chuckle because of my foolishness. I did not drown that day and that dress was never to be found.  And -- I was spared my mother’s wrath!  It did not even enter my mind that she just might have been grateful that I didn’t drown! 

       While we are sojourners in this life, we walk by faith and not by sight.  Sometimes it is a blind faith because we do not see beyond our first steps as we travel life’s pathway.  Sometimes it may be a leap of faith by launching out into deep waters trusting God with the outcome.  Then there is a child like faith that is simple and uncomplicated by letting Him love us, taking Him at His Word, and knowing His promises are true.  There are other types of faith, some of which might be a misguided faith, foolish faith, unfounded faith and/or a misplaced faith.  Without question, the faith I operated in that day long ago was definitely one of those last four mentioned.  I took the portion of the Bible that I heard and by not hearing anything else, I acted very foolishly.  My question is, do we do that today?  Do we hear just what we want to hear to make us feel good, or do we desire the whole counsel of God?  Do we earnestly seek His face, study His Word, and learn to walk in His ways – or do we just pick and choose what we want to believe, see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and choose to walk our own way?

        I learned a few lessons about that event long ago.  God definitely has a sense of humor. He keeps us from drowning in the sea of our own foolishness, ignorance, and stupidity.  He forgives our sins and throws them into the sea of forgetfulness.  He holds out His hand and lifts us up out of the sea of circumstances.  He helps us up out of the miry clay, cleans us off, and places our feet on solid ground so we can walk with Him as we learn to walk in His ways.  Let us seek His face, study His Word, and learn His ways.  Let us walk in the Light of His Presence and trust Him in all things. The Holy Spirit is with us and abides within us. He will guide us, teach us, comfort us and empower us as we surrender our lives to Him.  God is more than able to keep us on the right path as we put our faith and trust in Him.  I just need to learn to do things His way, not mine. Yes indeed, I still believe with all my heart that with God all things are possible.  (Matthew 19:26)

Contributed by Lesta of Heartsong Treasures.

If you have a comment related to child-like faith or faith in general, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Keep the faith and Happy Reading!

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Sweet & Savory Friday ~~ Blackberry Crisp

Blackberry Crisp

  • 2 - 1 lb. bags of frozen berries or 6 cups fresh berries                 
  • 2 cups brown sugar                                                                        
  • 2 cups oatmeal  (not the quick cooking variety)                                                                         
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp. salt, optional
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup)


  • Spray a 10 inch pie plate or a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan lightly with cooking spray. 
  • Place berries in pan.  
  • Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and blend in butter with a fork or pastry blender.
  • When mixture is crumbly, spread it thickly over the berries. 
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until hot and topping is browned.

Helpful Hints:

Serves 6 and can be easily doubled.  Blackberries may be substituted with a variety of other fruit or berries.  I have an old 10 inch round Corning Ware® oven pan with 2 inch sides that I use to make this recipe and it works very well.  Since I like to make it with a lot of “topping”, I use a pan with “tall enough sideboards”, so to speak, so that when the crumble mixture is initially placed on top and before it sinks down a bit during the cooking process, it does not fall over the sides of the cooking container and onto the counter.

Serve warm with Cool Whip® or ice cream!  Enjoy!  

From the Official Recipe Collection of “Sheila Fabulous”

I would enjoy hearing from you if you try the recipe and like it or if you have a variation of this same basic recipe with some other helpful hints!

Happy Reading & Eating.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Real Women ~ Real Answers: Celebrating the BIG SIX-ZERO!

           This year will be a really big one for me.  I turn 60.  The big six-zero.  The decade of Social Security and Medicare.  The age of new aches and pains.  I’m not depressed or upset about turning 60. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m now an older woman.  I feel blessed to have lived so long and so well. 
At 60, I can see life’s cycle more clearly.  I was once a girl who watched my mother and grandmother.  Then I was a mother who watched my daughter and my mother.  Now I’m a grandmother who watches my daughter and my grandchildren.  It’s a beautiful system that been going on since the beginning of time.


          Although the calendar says I’m 60, it’s not how I feel.  In my mind’s eye, I’m the age my mother should be and my daughter is the age I should be.  Somewhere across the last decade or so, I’ve become an older woman—on the outside at least.  I still feel young on the inside, like I always have.
           In Titus 2, Paul says the “aged women” should teach the younger women to be good wives and mothers.  I know I’m an older woman, but am I already an aged one?  My how time flies!  So I’ll do as I’m expected and pass on wisdom to young women. 
 Since the wisdom of the Preacher is greater than mine, I encourage all young women to read Proverbs 31:10-31 and consider those words. Be a virtuous woman.  Be a woman who puts in the work and effort to make a good life for yourself and your family.  Be a woman who values inward beauty. Let your works and love for your family reveal your inward beauty.  Outward beauty is passing, but inward beauty lasts a lifetime, and I’m glad of that.  My “pretty days” are behind me, but I continue to try to grow more beautiful on the inside.  The real me is living inside this aging shell, unseen by eyes, but seen in my works. The next time you see an elderly woman, remember she’s only old on the outside.  Inside is a beautiful young girl wondering where time went.

          Contributed by Author C.S. Kjar who lives with her long-time first husband in their empty nest. Since retiring from her technical writer/editor job, she and her husband travel quite a bit which gives her time to dream and imagine new stories and worlds.  Her novels fall somewhere between the women's fiction and Christian fiction genres.  Written without obscenities or detailed sex scenes, her stories weave romance, mystery, and suspense in different places and times.  She also writes an occasional children's book. When not writing or daydreaming, she loves to quilt, sew, and read to her grandsons.

          Check out her books The Treasure of Adonis and The Five Grannies Go To The Ball which are available on, and drop in and read her blog at

Happy Reading, and Happy Birthday, Carol!

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sweet & Savory Thursday: Humdinger Hummus

So is the Chickpea or Garbanzo Bean actually a bean, a pea, or a fruit?  All I know is that it is beyond delicious and does not come from a chicken!  J


Sheila’s Humdinger Hummus

  • 2 – 15 oz. cans Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • 2 -  heaping Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3 -  Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 -  Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 –  tsp. cumin
  • ¼   cup water
  • 2 – tsp. freshly ground kosher salt, optional
  • 2 – Tbsp. hot sauce (I prefer Cajun Sunshine)
  • Dust with Hot Hungarian Paprika

  • Rinse Chickpeas in colander.
  • Place all ingredients except paprika inside food processor and blend until smooth.

This scrumptious concoction can be spread on crackers, pizza dough, bread, or veggies.  It can also be added to salads, hamburger patties, or thinned into a sauce to use when preparing other dishes such as hummus and spaghetti noodles.

Question:  What other suggestions do you have for ways in which to prepare or serve hummus? I would enjoy hearing from you.

Happy Reading & Eating!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Poetry & Prose Tuesday ~~ "Love Is"


Love is like a flower
            that never fades away.
It blooms forth ever so brightly
            and does not close at the end of day.

Love is like a fragrant aroma
            that lingers in the air.
Its scent grows even stronger
            when matched up with a pair.

Love is like a delicious dessert
            piled high with whipping cream.
It covers over a multitude of sins
            and helps you live your dream.

Love is that touch of a tender hand
            that signals you are special.
It’s quite often extended
            just when your need is crucial.

Love is the song that plays
            upon the tender strings of your heart.
Its melody is the shield
            that will protect you from the fiery dart.

So reach out and
            And listen to love today!

You will be glad you did
            and it will keep you from fading away.

Watercolor Flower Art Card

Blank greeting cards are a great way to express your Valentine’s thoughts ~~

Poetry for the soul ~~ Happy Reading!

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