Simple Hospitality

Only By God's Grace


January 6, 2016


Winter Days

winter sweaters (1)

I think we are finally at “winter-time” here in West Tennessee. We have had cold temps for much of the past week and very cold nights. I am so ready for winter! I love that I spend my days at home cleaning out, decluttering, down-sizing….whatever you may call it.  I rethink everything that I have collected and decide if I can live without it…must have it….or maybe I might use it now. I usually start in my kitchen. This is truly the “hub of our home”.  We gather in the kitchen at night to have our “girl-talks” or to decide what the plans are for the week. We cook and bake together in the kitchen, we show hospitality to others in the kitchen. We plan our future around the island table in the kitchen. We truly “live” in our kitchen. And because of this, I just have to have the clutter out. I don’t rest when there is clutter on the counter tops.  Sure, things pile up during the day but by evening I want everything back in place. I love that when I turn off the lights for the night, there is an “emptiness” to the kitchen. It isn’t a lonely thing… it is a CLEAN thing, lol….  It also makes for a better start to the next morning!


So back to what I was talking about. I always start in my kitchen with the down-sizing, decluttering and organizing work.  I go through every cabinet and see if I still use everything in it. Is there something broken, unusable, old and ready to go.  I clean out the food cabinets and check for dates on the items still sitting there. If it has been there for a while, I think about why I haven’t use it in a recipe or meal. Is it something that I will use? Did I just forget that I had it? Or should I pass it on to someone else? Or just throw it away because it is too old? This is also a great time to clear out items to donate to Goodwill or a place like that.  I sometimes will first ask around friends to see if the item might be something that someone has been wanting. I would rather give it to someone I know before donating it.  This is also a great time to rearrange the cabinets if something is not working in the place that it is in.  I can’t tell you how many times I have changed up cabinets in this kitchen, lol… My poor husband has to figure out where I have moved the glasses or his coffee or the cereal.  Ha Ha!


I also will make plans to head to my laundry/pantry room.  Yes, you read that right. I had to start using our laundry room as part of our pantry when my kitchen hit its limits to how much it could hold.  It has worked out great. I have a large laundry room and we placed shelves in there to hold the items. But I will admit it is time to down-size, declutter and throw out even in there. I have stored things in there and then forgotten that I even had it. How sad is that? It is like Christmas all over again when I “dig” in to what is in there.  I really do love neat, orderly rooms.  So this has been on my radar to get to for quite some time. I will be happy to get this done.


After I finish these two rooms, I will move on to the master bedroom.  There is so much that I need to get done in there. I will wait and post about this room once I get to it. But for now, I am focusing on the kitchen and laundry/pantry room.


So while the temps are cold and you are spending more time inside, pick a room in your house and start this same process as I am doing. You might be amazed at what you find hiding behind something or under something. You might have forgotten you had an item or two or find out that you really don’t need it anymore. Stop by here to let us know if you join in with me and how it goes for you.  I will post again this week on this “weather-shape up my home” time and let you know how it is going.

January 1, 2016

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Happy New Year 2016!



This is going to be a great year! God has given us instructions as to where we are heading as a church and for each of us personally.  I have many thoughts and dreams that I hope to see come along this year.  Most important to me is what does God want for me this year? It is not me praying and asking God to come over to where I am and be with me…..It is me praying asking God, “Where are you Lord and what would You have me to do?”

God knows our dreams and thoughts…..He wants to be good to us….He wants to love us…..But most of all…..He wants us to love Him….to want Him….. to serve Him…. Go where He is at…not us ask Him to join us…..

So how does my outlook for 2016 look for me? Well from here…it looks wide-open….wide-open for God and His plans.  But until I hear from Him and know where it is He wants me…. I will be right here waiting for Him….waiting for His instructions…waiting for His guidance….waiting to hear His Word…for my life.  I will strive to be the home-maker, wife, mother, friend, sister and church-member that I can be…..but remembering….it is not in me to have the strength or the knowledge to do what is right.  It is all in Him… He is the Way…He is the Who…He is the How….It is He…. and I will look to Him…

How are you looking to this new year? Is it in your power or His? Who will be leading? You or the Lord? Will it be your goals or His?

December 31, 2015

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Which Wheat for What Baking….

Wheat for Biscuits, Pancakes, Pastries, Cakes, Crackers and Cookies
Soft white wheat is ideal for baked goods that not kneaded, like cookies and pancakes, pie crusts and crackers. Soft wheat has a very low gluten content, which, when used in baked goods that are not kneaded, results in a tender finished product.


Spelt and Kamut can work well in both, yeast or sourdough leavened breads and baking soda leavened goods like pancakes and muffins. (Just remember they tend not to rise as high and lofty in yeast and sourdough leavened breads because of their low gluten content.)


hard white


Prairie Gold Hard White Wheat

Prairie Gold is Wheat Montana’s brand name for the hard white wheat they grow. Hard white wheat is slightly higher in gluten than hard red wheat, milder in flavor and naturally lighter in color. Bread made with hard white wheat has a sweeter flavor and lighter texture than traditional whole wheat breads; it is never dense or bitter and doesn’t require any added white flour or gluten to create beautiful light loaves every time. A good choice for those who are hesitant to switch to whole wheat baking.


Hard red

Hard Red Spring Wheat

Bronze Chief is the brand name of spring-grown hard red wheat that we offer. It’s excellent for turning out loaves of classic whole wheat bread with their nutty flavor and springy texture. Bronze Chief wheat is best for yeast or sourdough breads. Although it is not as mild as the Prairie Gold, we love the depth of flavor this traditional wheat imparts.


Hard red winter

Hard Red Winter Wheat 

Very similar to Hard Red Spring Wheat for baking, but when it comes to sprouting, many people say the Hard Red Winter Wheat is superior to the spring-grown red wheat.

For baking, use Hard Red Winter Wheat in yeast or sourdough breads. It is interchangeable with Hard Red Spring Wheat and imparts a classic, nutty whole wheat bread flavor.



Soft White Wheat

Soft white wheat has a very mild flavor, similar to Prairie Gold hard white wheat, but is used differently. Because it is low in gluten, soft white wheat is best for baked goods that should have a tender crumb, like muffins, pancakes, quick breads, biscuits and pie crusts. It’s usually a bit more expensive than the hard wheats, but the results are well worth it! When I started using soft white wheat, and milling my own, I was able to eliminate the unbleached flour I had been using altogether.




Spelt is a species of wheat that was widely grown in the Europe during the middle ages but has only recently gained popularity in America. It has less gluten than hard wheat, but with some practice, it can be used to make delicious breads and other baked goods. Although spelt does contain gluten, it is easier to digest than modern wheat varieties. In fact, some people who have mild wheat sensitivities can tolerate spelt.

We have found spelt to be the tastiest of all the bread grains in our experiments!



Kamut is a recently rediscovered variety of wheat that is gaining popularity as an alternative for modern wheat. Kamut is actually a brand name of organic khorasan wheat, which is a relative of durum wheat. It is a high protein grain that is also particularly high in selenium and lipids. It’s best for baking bread or making pasta. Since it is easier to digest than modern wheat varieties, many who are wheat-sensitive use Kamut for pastries as well.

Like spelt, Kamut contains gluten but can be tolerated by some people who have wheat sensitivities. It’s also very tasty!



December 30, 2015

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I love when things get tight and I have to press towards God…



I know that as one who is saved by grace and a child of God’s, I am expected to walk with God daily. At all times. But…. I still live in my fleshly body and I am not perfect. Not at all..

Here we all are, as is most families right now, almost living paycheck to paycheck. It’s okay. We have what we need, we are not doing without and the power is still on and we haven’t lost any weight, lol… You know what I mean?

But it is only by the grace of God that we are where we are. That the bills are being paid and food in the cabinet. Clothes on our back and shoes on our feet. All by the grace of God.

But it is these times that you have no choice but to press towards God and totally rely on Him. Because in you, it doesn’t look possible but with Him… all things are possible. And this is where I get excited !! I love being pressed to rely on God and not myself or even rely on my husband. I do rely on my husband to be the head of the home and to know what to do and what not to do. You know what I mean, right?

But it just really bonds a family and a couple together when you rely on God, call on God and wait on God, together in these times and in all times.

Tonight my husband and I had to sit down and look at the checking account, see what was there and look at what is coming up due and map out what needs to be done. Things are tight, there really isn’t any “extra” but it is all going to work out.

And even though things are tight, and we have to count every penny we spend, we are trusting God and still have our family and friends over for dinners from time to time. This weekend we have a younger couple and their children from our church coming for dinner. God is good and our money stretched enough and I am going to be able to honor them with a really nice meal. I know that the meal does not matter. They will love whatever I serve. But it is an honor to me to be able to “love” them, to “prefer” them above us and doing so by serving them a meal that is special. So for their meal this Saturday the menu will be:




Garlic bread

Home-made cake


I can not wait !!

December 30, 2015

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Black Bean Chicken – Slow-cooker Meal

Black Bean Chicken – Slow-cooker Meal

16oz jar of Salsa

2 large chicken breast

1 can pinto beans, drained

1 can black beans, drained

1 can corn, drained

1 can Rotel, undrained

Spray a large crock-pot for easy clean-up. Put the black beans, corn and half of the salsa in the bottom of the pot. Put the chicken in next (frozen is fine). Top with pinto beans, Rotel and rest of salsa. Cook on low all day or high for 3-4 hours. When chicken is cooked, remove from crock-pot and shred with two forks. Put shredded chicken back into crock-pot and mix with other ingredient thoroughly.

Serve over chopped lettuce with tomatoes, sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips. This can also be served over rice or rolled up in tortillas. Yields about 8 cups.

(I used frozen corn and I don’t like to use can beans, so I prepare my beans first and then use in the recipe.)

I also double this recipe for my family and to have left over’s for the next day’s lunch.

December 29, 2015

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Eat Better – Feel Better

Only By God's Grace -

Everyone is looking to make New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 but I think I am going to make it real simple for this new year. I think I will follow this Eat BETTER – Feel BETTER!

So if you would like to join me in this, step right up! Let’s help each other, encourage each other, check on each other. We can all have our own way of doing this. It’s not about “how” you do it…’s just about “doing” it. So whatever you chose to do, just do it! Let’s all make 2016 the year that we Eat Better – Feel Better!


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