Monthly Archives: August 2017


Fresh Fruit Salad with Orange Simple Syrup

Fruit salad kind of gets a bad rep.


It’s sometimes rather bland and tasteless, and even worse {shudder}… it’s boring. Sort of been-there, done-that.strawberries

But not this fruit salad!

It is loaded with fresh berries of all kinds- strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, plus big, juicy red seedless grapes. It’s simple enough to make a big batch and just store away in the fridge for snacktime or for a delicious breakfast treat, and sophisticated enough to serve a crowd for a brunch party, bring to a potluck, or even serve at a wedding or baby shower. blueberries

Then, all that deliciousness is tossed in a sweet and tangy Orange-vanilla simple syrup. It is so lovely, colorful, dripping in shiny syrup, and really, really delicious.

Image result for fruit salad with orange simple syrup

It is a perfect addition to your summertime table.

Fruit Salad with Orange-Vanilla Simple Syrup 

{original recipe from Pioneer Woman here, but I have adapted it to our tastes… i.e.- more berries!} 
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • Juice Of 1 Orange
  • Zest Of 1 Orange
  • 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 pints Strawberries, Hulled And Halved
  • 1 pint Blueberries
  • 1 pint Blackberries
  • 2 cups Red & White Grapes, Halved
  • Coarsely chopped Mint Leaves, optional


For the simple syrup…

1. Place the sugar, water, orange juice and orange zest into a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 to thicken slightly. Set aside to cool, then store in the fridge until cold.

2. Mix together all the fruit in a large bowl and pour the syrup over the top, tossing gently to coat. Garnish with sprigs of mint leaves and serve.

3. Simply pack into resealable little plastic containers for easy transport and keep them chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Image result for fruit salad with orange simple syrup

All the glorious pleasures of summer in one delicious dish!

I hope you’ll enjoy this one…



Holding Back

And the Pastor tells the story…

“Suppose I owned 45 acres and was willing to sell you 44 of my 45 acres for a very reasonable price. It would be your land to farm, to care for, to build a nice big house on, to host bonfires, or whatever your heart’s desire. The catch is that the 45th acre that I am holding back for myself is in the dead center of your property. You can buy 44 acres, but I still own the center, or the heart of the acreage.”

Would that be a good deal to you??

Would you take that deal??

Of course not! Because even though we own the majority of that land, the landowner in the middle of our property could make it very miserable for us to own the 44 acres that surround them.

We would never take the deal, but we often expect God to. We expect Him to be okay with our 44 acres while we hold back the 45th.

Do you see that truth in your own life?

I do. I hate to admit, but I do.

You see, I accepted Him at a very young age. I was 9 years old and it was Easter week and I was the littlest angel on top of the cross at our Easter Pageant, The Living Pictures. Yes, it was just a musical put on by a small town Baptist church, but the music was amazing and the message we conveyed on stage night after night was life-changing. And as I stood up on that very high riser looking down on a struggling, agonizing Jesus as he took his last breath and the stage shook with the beat of the drums, something broke and shattered inside of me. It wasn’t until much later that night in the car riding home with Dad that I was able to ask questions and he pulled the car over and we prayed together, therefore ensuring my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The following Sunday, I walked the crimson carpeted aisles of FBC and make a public declaration of faith. I remember that I couldn’t wait to tell my teacher, Mrs. Copeland, about it on Monday morning in class. I was so very excited.

It was not hard for me to comprehend salvation, or the merciful Savior who gave the gift freely. It was a simple, childlike faith, but it was not hard for me to understand. I knew He loved and I knew I loved Him and accepted Him. It was not hard to accept the Savior Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the forgiver of our sins. But, as I have grown in my faith walk, and as I have gotten older, it has been increasingly difficult to accept the Lord Jesus Christ, lord of my life. My whole life. All the acreage.

“If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.”

Do you believe that is true?

That He can be Lord of your finances? Of your relationships? Of your past, present, and future? Of your career? Of your health and well being and the health, wellbeing, and safety of others important to you? Of your decisions, both big and small? Of your marriage? Of your children? Of what you put in your mind- music, media, words, etc. that don’t honor Him?

I have been holding on to my final acre for far too long.

Maybe you can relate?

You see, I like control. I’m not too proud to admit it. I like knowing that I can take care of the situation in my time, in my plans, and in my way; the right way! So, there are certain areas of my life I have withheld from my Master. Letting Him in when it was convenient or it served a purpose or a goal. But, the burden is too heavy to continue to carry and I am weary from effort.

That last acre is a big one, one of my larger acres for sure.

It contains my singleness.

Will I ever get married? Will I ever meet “the one”? How will I know that it’s him, that he’s the one? What kind of wife will I be? Will I have kids? 

It contains my hope for the future, in the uncertainties I harbor around my career decisions.

Does what I do really make a difference? Am I in the right seat on the bus? Am I honoring God through my work, in my day-to-day efforts? What goals am I setting for the career I am striving for 5 or even 10 years down the road?

It contains fear.

Fear of failure, of ending up alone. Fear of losing a loved one, and trusting God with their total health and well-being. Fear of just existing, just getting by. Fear of losing myself while I am running the hamster wheel. 

It’s a big, hairy, ugly, fear-filled acre. And I don’t want to maintain it anymore.

I’m making a commitment to til it up and hand it over to the master gardener because I know what He can and will do with it. I know He can produce beautiful blooms for years to come. I know that His way is the only way and I trust Him because He is my Good Shepherd and He only wants what is absolute best for me.

So, why should I fear?

It may not be done in my way, in my plan, or in my finite sense of human timing, but divine work is about to happen on my acre and I cannot wait to put the “For Sale” sign in yard!

It’s always been yours Lord, my whole life, my whole heart, my everything. But I give up the 45th acre. I relinquish it to you. I have been foolish to think that it was mine or that I was owed a portion of all that you give. I’m tired of maintaining it. I’m tired of carrying the burden that you want to shoulder for me. Thank you for this journey you have me on, and I thank you for walking it with me. Be patient with me O God, because my flesh will fail and my spirit is often weak. Don’t let me take back “control” of that acre. Help me to hold firm to your promises that you have spoken over my life. Remind me daily of your unfathomable love and of your absolute truths. Amen.