Sheila's Motto

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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sweet & Savory Thursday ~~ Bacon Bow Ties

  • 1 pound bacon
  • brown sugar

  • Line jelly roll pan or baking pan with aluminum foil.  Place cooling rack on top.  You could also use a broiler pan.
  • Tie bacon strips into bow tie shape.
  • Cook for one hour at 300 degrees.


  • Turn bow ties over and sprinkle with brown sugar.  
  • Bake for another 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Make sure to check the centers of the bow ties to see if they are cooked completely.

Happy Reading as you enjoy your bow ties!  Let me know if you can eat just one of these and leave the rest of them on the plate.  :-)  

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Poetry & Prose ~~ "Take Time"

Take time during each day
            to pause and reflect,
Give thanks for your blessings
            even if they aren’t perfect.

Take time to tell those you love
            how much they mean to you.
There may come a day
            when they are no longer in view.

Take time to pen a letter or note
            just to say thanks or a mere hello.
You just might be the bright spot
            that helps a life to glow.

Take time to perform
            a good deed or two,
Lessen someone else’s burden
            so they won’t have to cry boo-hoo.

Take time to watch a sunset
            with its tapestry a flame,
Let it warm your heart and spirit
            and readjust your game.

Take time to plan your work
            and to work your plan,
This will save you hours and weeks
            down the road a span.

Take time to honor those in your life
            even if they don’t deserve it now.
You will have shown them a better way
            and then you can take a bow.

Take time for yourself above all else
            to nurture your life and spirit.
For if you will do this
            then you will greatly benefit.

 Happy Reading in Poetry's Presence.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sweet & Savory Thursday ~~ Sundae Pie

There are desserts, and then there are desserts. This one has been around for decades, but is still an all time family favorite.  Every now and then it's okay to set aside your calorie counter.  You will need to do that for this recipe, too!

  • STEP 1:
  • Mix and spread in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter (mix in with pastry blender or fork)

Remove from oven and place baking dish on cooling rack.  Cool to room temperature.

  • STEP 2:
  • Mix together and spread onto cooled crust:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipped cream or cool whip  (if you whip the cream in a mixer, make sure to measure it after whipping)

  • STEP 3:
  • Mix together and pour over ingredients of Step 2:
  • 1 large package vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 large package chocolate instant pudding
  • 4 cups milk

  • STEP 4:
  • Spread whipped cream or cool whip over the top and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Serve with a nice cup of coffee or tea.  Enjoy!

Happy Reading & Eating.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Real Women ~~ Real Answers: "A Woman of Worth"

I conduct Bible studies for high school girls.  Each one of them is searching for her worth.  As older or mature women, isn’t this something they should see in us?  Not all of these students have good examples set before them.  Even the ones who do still struggle. Our culture is pressing in harder than ever on the youth.  Remaining a virgin is mocked, while having lost it is the norm.   I listen to the high school girl who allows her emotions and feelings to dictate what she believes. These feelings surpass God's word and His truth. Last year one of the young women took her own life. I was devastated. I felt like I was in a losing battle for these girls and was tempted to give up. But, I know I am not in a losing battle. I am on the winning side!  This motivated me to teach the following truths from scripture pertaining to the source of our worth, but it has to start from the older women mentioned in Titus 2:1, 3-5.

Colossians Chapter 2:

I can relate to Paul in Colossians 2:1-3 (ESV), "For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance and of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I encourage the young women to substitute the town in which they currently live for "those in Laodicea."

What are you seeing about you in these verses?  Paul has a struggle for you.  I have a struggle for the girls I lead in my Bible study.  Do you struggle with those to whom you have the opportunity to minister?

What does Paul want for us?
       To be knit together in love.
        To experience all the spiritual riches.
      To have understanding.
      To have knowledge of God's mystery in Christ.

      What is hidden like a treasure in Christ?

God is the ultimate source in our lives for all that we need.  Proverbs 2:3-7
"Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom from the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity."

As women, if we struggle with how to find our worth, these verses show us where we need to go.  But what do we do instead? Do we talk to our friends, shop, eat, or keep overly busy?  We look for the hidden treasure, meaning our worth and purpose, in all the wrong places.

Where is the treasure found? In Christ.

Colossians 2:6-7,  "Therefore as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk with him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."

When we are in Christ what are we instructed to do?
1.     Walk with Him ( learn how he lived His life)
2.     Get rooted in Him ( all the manure ( trials we go through) around the trees helps them grow and have strong deep roots)
3.     Get built up in Him ( let Him be our strength and comfort)
4.     Get established in our faith. ( study the word by yourself and with others)

Colossians 2:9-13, "For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and YOU have been filled with him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Having been buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God who raised him from the dead.  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us ALL our trespasses."

How did Christ Jesus give us worth?
1.     We are filled with Him.
2.     Buried with Him; our old sin nature is nailed to the cross.
3.     Raised with Him ; we are new creatures in Christ.
4.     We were dead (don’t drag the old nature of the cross behind you. It’s a rotten dead corpse!)

5.     We are forgiven! We did nothing to earn this forgiveness. We are alive! But God!  Ephesians 2 : 4 -5, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -  by grace we have been saved!

God not only offers us Salvation, but secures it!

6.      Ephesians 2:8, "for by grace you have been (perfect tense) saved through faith. And it is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

There is even more. Ephesians 2:6, "and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

We are going to be given new bodies when Christ returns. My worth doesn’t need to come from my body shape. Thank you, Jesus! But, this fleshly body has to die. My wrinkles are telling me that I am in the process of cocooning!  A butterfly doesn’t get beautiful until the caterpillar part dies. My flesh is in the process of dying. 

Do we really take all this to heart? Why do we turn to other ‘things’ to find our worth?  Why do we act as if we have no worth? Why is not what Christ did for us enough?

When we don’t recognize and steward our worth in what Christ did for us, we can’t give it to the next generation. 

Contributed by Elaine Oostra, Parma, Idaho who has just authored her first book titled One Brick At A Time.  Congratulations, Elaine!

Happy Reading for Real Answers!

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Poetry & Prose ~~ "In the Palm of His Hand"


As we journey through this life,
We may encounter mysteries we cannot explain,
But in our hearts abides a true and living hope,
As we trust in His holy Name.

Though the pathway before us might seem unclear,
And we may not know what lies ahead,
We can walk with faith and confidence,
Because of what Jesus has said.

Let not your heart be troubled,
You believe in God, believe also in Me.
I will come again and receive you unto Myself,
That where I am, forever you will also be.

He is a very present help in times of trouble,
He is our refuge, strength, joy, and peace.
Though mountains may tremble and the waters may roar,
His grace will strengthen us in our time of need.

With His Word living in our hearts,
We know He is faithful and His promises are true.
We can enter into His rest with hope in our hearts
Knowing the victory is won and He will see us through.

For He knows what our future holds,
And His plans and purposes will forever stand.
He will never leave us nor forsake us,
And He holds us tenderly in the palm of His hand.

Psalm 46:1-3; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 49:15; and John 14:1-3
Contributed by Lesta of
Heartsong Treasures

Happy Reading in Poetry's Presence.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sweet & Savory Thursday ~~ Guest Food Blogger Anna Crisman

As a Christian wife and mother, it is my desire to inspire and encourage you with the richness of God’s many blessings! At, I blog on a variety of topics that are near and dear to my heart — family life, homeschooling, organic food/recipes (which of course includes chocolate!) and our many adventures in the country with a tabby cat, several rabbits, and seven Rhode Island Red hens!


I love the flavor of candied pecans as well as the combination of chocolate with pecans, so I’ve tried to incorporate all three flavors into this new muffin recipe. These are great for a snack, light dessert or sweet breakfast. I hope you’ll give them a try and let me know how you like them!

Honey Pecan – Chocolate Chip Muffins
*I prefer to use all organic ingredients
1 cup pecans, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup vanilla almond milk
2/3 cup raw honey
6 Tablespoons coconut oil, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

-In a food processor, pulse together the pecans, cinnamon and coconut sugar. You can also finely chop the pecans and mix together in a small bowl.
In a food processor, pulse together the pecans, cinnamon and coconut sugar. You can also finely chop the pecans and mix together in a small bowl.
-In a stand mixer, with a hand mixer or by hand, gently whisk together the eggs, vanilla almond milk, honey, coconut oil and vanilla until combined.
-Gently blend in the flour, baking powder and salt until incorporated into the wet ingredients.
-Gently fold in the pecan, cinnamon, coconut sugar and chocolate chips by hand.
-Fill muffin liners or cases approximately 2/3 full, and bake for 13-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
-Garnish with chopped pecans and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Please stop by Anna's blog and take a tour:

Happy Eating & Reading!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Writing Journeys ~~ "Enhancing Creativity"

It's hard to imagine from looking at the above picture that it's the first step to a poem, movie or television script, novel, novella, short story, song, memoir, personal essay or speech.

Creative writing is defined as "any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified as an emphasis on narrative, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics." []

Before we proceed further, we should probably address the whole "left brain - right brain" issue as well. 

"People who identify as left-brain thinkers might feel that they have strong math and logic skills. Those who profess to be right-brain thinkers, on the other hand, feel that their talents are more on the creative side of things.  Given the popularity of the idea of 'right brained' and 'left brained' thinkers, it might surprise you to learn that this idea is just one of many myths about the brain."  [Chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=what%20side%20of%20the%20brain%20is%20the%20creative%20side]

"The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body.  It also performs tasks that have to do with logic, such as in science and mathematics.  On the other hand, the right hemisphere coordinates the left side of the body, and performs tasks that have to do with creativity and the arts." []

The last time I checked the initials Dr. were not in front of my name, and M.D. did not follow my last name.  Those would apply to the first born of The Tribe of Wood.  However, in checking my family trees on both sides, I made the wonderful discovery of branches containing authors and poets.

I marvel that our Creator has given us the gift of creating written works for the enjoyment of mankind.  Creativity is the gold of the writer's life. Just as the price of pure gold has fluctuated over the decades, there can be times in our writing journeys when we may feel that we have penned something far more valuable than at other times.  We may be surprised to learn later that what we deemed of little value was of great assistance or enjoyment to a reader in a far away land. 

What are some ideas that you have implemented when you find your creativity waning or wanting to take a vacation? Don't get me wrong as I am in favor of vacations ~~ just not of the permanent variety!  

Here are some helpful hints I have used to get my creative juices flowing when necessary:

  • I look through my container of handy dandy quotes, pictures, poetry, etc. that I continually collect.
  • Read short passages from a completely different genre.
  • Take a stroll up and down the aisles of our local book store(s) to drink in the titles, cover designs, and so forth.
  • Dial up a brainstorming session with a trusted fellow author who won't just tell me what I want to hear, but who will offer constructive criticism and boatloads of encouragement.
  • Give the passage a rest for a short while. When I return to it, I imagine that I am a total stranger reading the description or portion of writing as opposed to being the one authoring it.
  • Watch an old movie without offensive language or scenes.

I am presently penning Book Two of The Sabblonti Series which is the fictional saga of several cattle barons and their spreads located in the high desert mountain regions.  Macey Meadows, a nurse at the rural hospital, needed a description, so here's what I imagined she would look like:

"Dr. Shaw was struck with Macey’s milky white teeth showcased inside her lovely pomegranate tinted lips, her olive complexion, high cheekbones, and intense emerald green eyes.  He glanced down at her left hand which revealed no jewelry.  Then again, some nurses do not wear their wedding rings while on shift.  Oh, could he possibly start to get his hopes up once again only to be dashed?  Hope deferred makes the heart sick."

What happens to the country veterinarian and the lovely nurse?  Stay tuned to find out!

My encouragement for your writing journey is to continue writing.  Do what works for you and share your ideas with fellow authors.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, it's encouraging to know that some of the "left brain folks" enjoy reading the creations of the "right brain folks" or however that actually works.

Happy Reading, spend some of that "creative gold" on others, and Write On!

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Writing Journeys ~~ Write On Schedule

According to Merriam-Webster, any writers' friend, 
According to

If you are currently working on a literary project or manuscript:
  • Do you have a writing schedule? 
  • Is it written or printed out?
  •  Which do you prefer — a certain time frame or a specific number of words?
  •  Are you able to adhere to your schedule?
  •  What happens when the wheels fall off your writing plan?
According to Merriam-Webster, any writers’ friend, the definition of schedule [noun] is:

·        a plan of things that will be done and the times when they will be done
·        a written or printed list of things and the times when they will be done.

I adhered more strictly to a writing schedule after embarking upon my first western fictional novel, Book One of The Sabblonti Series titled Janzti’s Jokers.  Due to physical limitations, it was easier for me to work for a certain period of time on the days my schedule permitted as opposed to trying to set a goal of a certain number of words.  Now that I am penning Book Two of the series, I am implementing that practice as well.  Just for grins, I record the number of words on a small yellow lined tablet stored close to my computer. 

Prior to writing fiction, I authored primarily inspirational books along with some poetry.  If I had to take extended breaks between writing those genres, it did not seem like it took much to “get back in the river”, so to speak.  

Experiencing quite a few interruptions or having to be absent from Jantzi Belle and the cattle crew in my fictional novel proved to be far more challenging as I would have to retrace my steps and figure out where I left off the last time my fingers touched the keyboard.

Stephen Covey’s sage advice comes to mind, “the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

I recently started blogging and have found that I enjoy it far more than I thought I would.  One thing that has kept me on track is a blogging calendar.  Businesses typically give out calendars at the beginning of each year, so I pressed one of those into service for my new found writing interest.  Granted, it’s easier to use a calendar for blogging as most posts are short and to the point.  A novel consisting of 80,000 to 140,000 words can seem far more daunting.

Times and seasons can also affect our writing schedules.  As I am typing this, it is a glorious spring day in the mountain west complete with a gentle breeze, bright sunshine, blue sky, and the birds chirping outside my office window.  When the thermometer registers 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the wind is howling, and it’s snowing sideways, it’s much easier to sit at a computer and hammer out mega words.

Let’s consider some things which may help to increase your writing capacity:
  • Determine what is your optimum time of day wherein you are most productive, and strive to use that block of time for your writing endeavors.
  • Take a long and short look at your calendar.  Mark off some specific days that are set aside just for writing such as you would do for a doctor appointment.
  •  Analyze your daily routine to see if you can rearrange it to carve out more time for writing.  For instance, if you have household chores or other things for which you are responsible and you normally do those in the morning, flip your schedule, and do those in the afternoon which frees up your morning to write.
  • Assess your writing style.  Are you trying to edit as you write?  If so, this may be cutting into your initial productivity.  Granted, there are different opinions on this matter.  Some writers deem it’s best to get their thoughts down on paper and edit afterwards whereas others edit as they go.  Different key and pen strokes for different folks.
  • Some authors outline their manuscript ahead of time while others bemoan even the very suggestion of such a thing.
  • Try talking a walk before you write to unleash the creativity within.
  •  Mothers with young children can sometimes find another mother with young children and work out a shared arrangement to free up time for each other.
  • Comparing yourself to other writers and their schedules is counterproductive.  Do what works for you.
  • Join a small writer’s group where the members can assist and encourage you.
  • Book fairs, signings, and related events are wonderful incentives to help keep your writing flowing.  Endeavor to associate with writing clubs or organizations which conduct events as this will help you achieve your goal of getting your book published in a timely manner.
  • Reward yourself for achieving your writing goals.  This could be something as simple as a pretty bookmark, a fellow author’s book, a canister of your favorite tea, etc.  The higher end, of course, would be that trip to the Bahamas or elsewhere that you have always wanted to take.  J

 I would like to hear from you as to what suggestions you have for fellow writers as to how to stay on schedule, increase productivity, reach your writing and publishing goals, and live happily ever after in the process.

Happy Reading & Write On Schedule!

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