Sunday, September 30, 2012

Introducing a new Take Six Contributor and Pumpkin Bars - Grain Free

We are really excited to introduce a new contributor here at Take Six.  

Our friend, Gwyneth, and her family have changed their eating/baking habits this past year. I was so excited when she said she would share some recipes with us, because any recipe she has ever given me has been a keeper!

I asked her why she started changing the way they ate and her baking ingredients.   This is what she told me.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"New" Fall Wreath

~Welcome Fall~

 Hubby painted the front door black this summer.  We've only lived here 10 years, so that's not bad eh?  For the first few years, there were other projects that took priority.  But I have to admit, it was me dragging my feet on the color.  Decisions are hard sometimes.  ;)  Once it was done, all I could picture was a beautiful colorful fall wreath welcoming everyone who came to the door.  

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Real Women: Real Life ~ Depression #2

Welcome to entry #2 of our dear friend's 

journey through depression.

Depression is part of who I am.  God is patiently teaching me how to view it as a gift.  On a bad day it is very tough to do that.  I’ve struggled with this illness for many years.  Like Paul in the Bible, it is my “thorn.”  Even though I am learning how to manage it properly (and I am a slow learner in this regard) it continues to torment me leaving me weak, frustrated and sinking low.  God doesn’t want me there, the enemy does.  I need my weapon, God’s Word.  (2 Cor. 12:9) “But he said to me, ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. “

 God understands and knows it’s overwhelming when I’m in a depressed state.  He knows it’s tough getting out of bed some mornings, tough making a simple meal for the family, tough coping with life in general.  He keeps reminding me that He is there and He’ll help me get through.  As much as I want this tormenting visitor to just plain leave me alone, it won’t.  I’m learning to accept it and learning to rest in Jesus during these hard times.  (Psalm 62:5,6) “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Sometimes I just don’t know what to do.  I am a wreck.  I sit and I cry and I cry some more.  Simple tasks are overwhelming.  Life itself is overwhelming.  I cannot even muster the energy to get dressed and fix my hair.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and I should be smiling, but I can’t.  It’s dark around me and lonely.  I feel like I’m sinking and out of control.  “Here I am again, Lord.  Please, help me get through this.”  I absolutely hate being here.  It’s awful.  I feel so hopeless.  I have a hard time praying.  I have a hard time focusing on good things, positive thoughts.  I feel scattered in my thinking and can’t even formulate my thoughts enough to pray.  God knows.  He gets it.  He reminds me that He’s got me and this problem.  Very often that’s all I need for the moment.  Words to a song come to mind as I go about my day and I feel encouraged, “Find rest my soul, in Christ alone, know his power in quietness and trust.”

Until next Tuesday,
Real 4 Him :)

Fellowship Fridays
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Waiting...Anguish or Serenity?"

Do you know anyone who enjoys waiting? I find it hard to think of one person who hasn’t been frustrated to some degree or another with waiting. I used to consider myself a patient person, but I’m afraid I succumb too often to the aggravation that results from waiting. Just this past week I found myself waiting…

            …for sleep to come late at night

            …in a long check-out line

            …for a doctor’s appointment

            …to fill the car with gas

            …for a waitress to serve our food

            …for the kettle to boil         

            …for my salsa to process in a hot water bath

            …for the washer and dryer to finish

            …at a long stop light

            …for my computer to download the latest updates

            …for test results from the doctor

            …for a building permit to come so we can replace our deck

            …for a road crew to turn the “stop” sign when I was stuck in traffic

            …for the plumber to phone back after our water heater sprang a leak

            …for the plumber to install the new tank

            …for news about a missing friend of the family

            …for replies to my emails and text messages

            …for my pesky cold to run its course

            …for the sun to shine again after several days of rain

I wonder how much of my week was spent simply waiting? Most of the time I could do nothing about it – except wait! Waiting can fuel frustration, frustration simmers to the point of anxiety, and anxiety boils over into insecurity, despair, or anger.  The next thing I know, I’ve said something I regret or acted in an uncharacteristic manner, not to mention ungodly. Then guilt and shame creep in a take right over.

All of these thoughts flooded my mind on Friday afternoon as my kitten, Symba, nuzzled his furry little body under my chin as I reclined in my LazyBoy. For over an hour, we shared a sweet serenity – broken only by the occasional car driving by, the distant warning whistle of a blasting crew as they dynamited yet more bedrock, the patter of raindrops on the skylight as a shower passed over, and the gentle humming of the air exchanger.

I found myself wishing I could be as blissfully content as my kitty, lazily stretched across my chest without a care in the world! Thoughts flashed back twenty-three years ago when my tiny son would lie peacefully in my arms, his precious sleep undisturbed by distractions.

Bedford waterfront, Nova Scotia
Why am I so bothered with waiting? Why can I not just rest in the fact that my Heavenly Father has all things under His control and He knows what’s happening every second of my day? How come I have such trouble overcoming my fears, worries, and anxiety?

I look at others who seem to take things so in stride, who view frustrations as challenges, and who quickly turn times of waiting into opportunities. How do they do that?

So, what’s the secret? It’s not found in the analogies of a “quick fix”, or an “easy” button, microwave convenience, or instant messaging. It’s more like being in a slow cooker that takes a lifetime melting my spirit and soul into tender acceptance of the will of God for my life. And that includes all those day-to-day seemingly meaningless minutes and hours of waiting.

Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland
It’s often in those times of silence when, if I’m still enough, I hear the sweet tender voice of my loving Father as He whispers to me,

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7a, NIV)

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1, NIV)

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” (Psalm 130:5, NIV)

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31, NASB)

Waiting is hard, sometimes painful, agonizing, lonely, laborious, boring, and silent. There are times when it feels as though even God has turned a deaf ear and left us to fend for ourselves. Not so! As Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)

Times of waiting are for my benefit, whether I like them or not. Just as it took time for my salsa to cook, blending all the flavours and spices, and more time to process it to guard against spoilage, so God uses all those minutes, hours, days, and years to develop my character into that of Christlikeness.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr[i]

Until next Sunday,



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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Takin' Charge

Isn't spray paint the best thing since sliced bread?
Honestly, what did DIYers do before spray paint?

What I'm sharing with you is not rocket science.
Just real quick, easy, and so easily changed.


8 dollar store charger plates that you've had for ages
1 can of spray paint

that's all folks!!

These silver chargers have been around for awhile,
and like some of us, they are starting to show their age. ;)

But after 2 coats of "Hammered Copper"...

they will be perfect for my Thanksgiving table plans.

For the price of a can of spray paint, I have a set of 8 "new" charger plates.

For the price of another can of spray paint,
 can paint them again and have another "new" set for my Christmas table! 
How easy is that?


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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Real Women: Real Life ~ Depression #1

Welcome to our new feature, "Real Women:  Real Life".  We are so thankful for a special woman God has given us who is willing to share her real life journey with depression.  I know you will welcome her!  ~Tanya

Recently, I rescued a bird that had flown into my neighbor's window.  I heard a "thud" and saw it helplessly laying on the deck as if it were dead.  After carefully scooping up the fragile creature and gently stroking its feathers, it all of a sudden perked up and flew off.  I've thought a lot about that little bird since that day and I have come to the conclusion that I am similar to it.  Under the dark cloud of depression, I feel stuck, helpless and weak – unable to shake the dark feeling that envelops me.  I have been here before, many times, actually.  I need help, I need rescuing, I struggle to move on.  I lack the energy and strength to cope, to pick myself up and move forward.  It’s awful.  I hate it.  It’s very dark and hard to live. . . . . . but,  I have a Father who is here.  He is right here during my dark periods of depression where I think I would rather die than go through these times.  Like that helpless bird, God picks me up and holds me close to Him.  He tells me to hang on, it’s going to be okay.  He’s patient.  He knows it’s hard.  Sometimes it’s a few moments and then I can move on and sometimes it’s many hours or even days before I feel like I’m out from under that horrible dark cloud.  No matter if I’m right in the cloud of depression or out from under it and doing fine, God wants me to lean hard on Him for strength - always.  Very often I forget that part, because I’m human and like to do my own thing and often find out the hard way.

Til next Tuesday, 

Real 4 Him  :)

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Introducing Our New Feature...

Do any of you like "new"?

New shoes, new jewelry, new top, new dishes, new furniture, new car, new nail color, new lipstick, new friend, new curtains, new school, new program, new...

We like new, too.

Which is why we are excited to tell you about a new feature on Take Six.
"Real Women: real life"

It's a spot where some really special women will share their very real life experiences. Their individual journeys will encourage you, touch you, teach you, assure you.

We simply are not alone. While our stories may differ, we'll discover we share similar circumstances. And similar circumstances evoke similar emotions.

We are not alone.
We are real women.
Living a real life.



Every Tuesday, starting tomorrow, September 18th!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Selfless Devotion..."

What does selfless devotion really mean to me? How do I live my life in such a way that nothing or anyone takes away from my relationship with Christ? In what ways have I allowed things to replace that space that is to be reserved for God? These are some questions I have been challenged to consider over the past couple weeks.

At a memoir writing workshop I enjoyed attending this week, the guest author/speaker led us through several composition exercises. She also encouraged us to continue at home with more assignments, one of which involves writing about a possession we treasure. Although I haven’t yet completed this, I expect it will be enlightening.

This week as I studied a very familiar passage of Scripture, the Lord gave me a fresh perspective on a model of selfless devotion contrasted with a glaring example of selfish greed. It’s found in Mark 14:3-11,

While He (Jesus) was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.” (NIV)

First of all, for a woman in that time and culture, to enter a room full of men eating in such a manner would have been imprudent and inappropriate. Furthermore, her actions may have implied impropriety in their eyes and it was a very risky move. What makes the story even more compelling is her lavish expression of love and devotion for Jesus. I believe she understood that He was the long-ago promised Messiah and she sacrificed, no doubt, her most precious possession to anoint her Saviour.

alabaster jar
Alabaster is a mineral that was commonly used in ancient times to make perfume and ointment bottles. Because of its transparent nature, the attractiveness of such items was enhanced. Usually white in colour, it could also be found in yellow or red and the extraction method from limestone caves or hot springs contributed to the bottles being so expensive. The alabaster of the Bible times mostly came from the Orient or Egypt.

Nard oil comes from the Valeria plant which grows in Nepal and the Himalayan regions of China and India. Its intense fragrance makes it popular for perfumes and incense. It also has medicinal qualities that are used for sedation, skin ailments, and palliative care. In ancient times it was used as a burial ointment. The perfume this woman possessed was much more valuable than your most expensive Chanel, Gucci, or Estee Lauder collections. In fact, Scripture states it was worth an entire year’s wages!

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor’. And they rebuked her harshly.” (Mark 14:4-5, NIV). Matthew’s account in 26:8-9 clearly indicates “those present” were Jesus’ disciples.

A year’s wages in those days was about 300 Greek Denarii and in the minds of the disciples this was an extravagant waste when so many hungry people scrounged for food outside in the street. But I love Jesus’ reply,

Leave her alone,” Jesus replied, “Why are you bothering her? The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” (Mark 14:6-8, NIV)

Whether or not this woman was aware of Jesus’ imminent death and sacrifice of His life to forgive our sins, she chose her most precious possession to express the depth of her love and devotion to Him. Would I have been willing to act so selflessly or would I allow my most prized belonging to take precedence over my relationship with Christ? I wonder…

In stark contrast to this woman was Jesus’ disciple, Judas Iscariot, who was known for his greedy control over the disciples’ money bag and he frequently stole from it. Instead of devoting his life to following and serving Christ, he looked for every chance to serve himself and betray the very One who had chosen him to be part of this elite group. Immediately after witnessing the woman’s unreserved sacrifice, Judas “…went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Matthew 26:14-16) He sold Jesus out for about four month’s wages of a skilled laborer. What blatant blasphemy!!

My intention this week will be to discover what I treasure most and determine whether it prevents me in any way from devoting myself selflessly to God. May God give me the courage to follow through!

Until next Sunday,


    iv.            NLT Study Bible, pg. 1632, 1684-85, 1718-19, 1796

A new series coming soon to Take Six!!
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade Salsa

Once I realized that all 24 of our tomato plants had not only survived the hot dry summer, but were bearing MUCH fruit, I knew I needed help.  I've only made salsa once before and wasn't happy with the way it turned out.  So I wanted to use a tried and true recipe this time.  My friend Robyn gave me her recipe, and  I've made a single batch and a double batch!  It smells absolutely heavenly while it is simmering away on the stove, and tastes delicious!

Homemade Salsa

8-10 tomatoes, peeled
2 onions, chopped
4-5 green or red bell peppers (or some of both)
3 medium fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 C vinegar
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp chili powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp oregano
4 stalks celery, chopped

Simmer everything on top of stove for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a water bath canner or large pot, bring enough water to a rolling boil to cover jars with 4 inches of water above the lid. Ladle hot salsa into clean, hot canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rim of jar with a clean, damp paper towel. Secure jar lids. Lower jars into boiling water. When water returns to a boil, begin timing 15 minutes. After 15 min remove jars from canner using jar lifter. Place in a draft free place to cool. Do not touch jars for 24 hrs. Enjoy!!


PS.  Later this week I will be putting a yummy crock pot recipe on our Facebook page that uses one jar of salsa!!  How convenient eh? 

We'd love for you to visit Take Six on Facebook!!


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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "A Fig Tree and Faith..."

For the past couple weeks I’ve been reading through the biblical book of Mark before bedtime. A few nights ago, I was reading the story of the fig tree that Jesus and His disciples came upon as they left the town of Bethany on their way to Jerusalem. It was early in the morning, as clarified in Matthew 21:18, and Jesus was hungry…perhaps they hadn’t eaten breakfast.

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to find out if it had any fruit. When He reached it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then He said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And His disciples heard Him say it. (Mark11:13-14)

How strange, I thought, that Jesus cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit out-of-season! Wasn’t that an unreasonable expectation on His part? Matthew mentions in his account that the tree withered “immediately” (21:19), but in Mark we discover that the disciples didn’t notice this fact until they left the outskirts of Jerusalem the next morning. Maybe it was in the darkness of the early dawn the day before that this event occurred and while they had heard what Jesus said to the tree, only the light of the following day revealed the extent of its demise.

Although this act of Jesus is generally thought to be a prophecy about the Temple in Jerusalem – interestingly enough, Mark sandwiches the story about Jesus clearing the Temple of the merchants and money changers in between the cursing of the fig tree and the discovery of its withered state – it is Jesus’ conversation with the disciples later that really spoke to me.

Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” (Mark 11:21)

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. (Matthew 21:20)

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:21-22)

Mark adds a little more detail:

Wengen, Switzerland
“Have faith in God”, Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark11:22-25)

I’ve been wondering the past few days, what does this kind of faith look like? Is it possible to attain such faith? Would I ever be able to believe so completely that I could tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea and it would listen to me? When I pray, am I able to put aside all seeds of doubt and unreservedly believe that God will do what I ask and give me what I request? Am I able to pray without any unforgiveness toward another in my heart? Do I pray believing, but then allow those seeds of doubt and anxiety to creep back in so that I take back what I have prayed?

Oh, how I desire to know that kind of faith! The kind of faith that Jesus spoke about when He rebuked those who tried to keep little children from bothering Him,

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)

For thirty-four years, I experienced the great blessing of working in children’s ministry. During that time, I had the thrill and privilege of sitting down with many children and leading them to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. I never ceased to be enthralled by their simple and inherent ability to trust in God’s forgiveness and His promise of eternal life. Their little minds and hearts are so open and receptive to the love of God. It’s only as we begin to experience the injustices, disappointments, hurts, and betrayals life throws at us, that it becomes increasingly harder to believe in a God of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

As I pray for what often seems impossible, unlikely, undeserved, and beyond my limited understanding and wisdom, I long for God’s enablement to pray with this level of faith. And I look forward, with great anticipation, to His answers!!

Until next Sunday,

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Take Six Pumpkin Waffles

Imagine with me that it is a cool fall morning.  There is a little bit of frost on the roofs of the homes in your neighborhood.   You are looking around for that pair of slippers you haven't worn since last winter because that ceramic tile is so chilly on your feet.  At the risk of being a "party pooper" I need to warn you...that morning is closer than you think!!  ;)  My son headed back to school this week.  It is so hard to believe that summer is rounding the final bend and fall is on the horizon.  
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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Adopting Symba..."

Yesterday, my husband and I accompanied my son and daughter-in-law to the SPCA to “look” at baby kitties. Since they adopted a kitty before Christmas, they have been trying to convince my hubby it was time I should have one. They didn’t have to convince me!! I had two cats when I was growing up and we’d had a dog for a few years after we were married, but for about 12 years we’ve been without a pet. It gets pretty lonesome sometimes when I’m home alone through the day, so off we went to see if there might be one which we could adopt.

Welcome home, Symba!
It was the first time I had been to the SPCA, and it was busy! As we walked into the first room, I immediately saw the sweetest tan-colored tabby in a woman’s arms. My heart melted! Oh, it was so cute and I wished I could have that one. But, out the door it went on its way to a new home. As we peered into each cage at several cats from tiny to grown and all different colours, I made my way down to the last cage and there he was! He looked exactly like the one that had just been taken home. I found out later, it was a brother to six others from a litter which had been left on someone’s lawn. As I picked him up and held him, he was purring like a motor and starting cuddling up to me caressing my face gently with his soft little paws. I was smitten! So was my daughter-in-law and if it had been a female I think we might have had a problem as they may someday adopt another kitty to be company for their girl cat.

As I held several of the other kittens, none of them quite matched the first one. I guess it was love at first sight. So, with the choice made, I filled out the initial paperwork and said we’d be back for him after lunch and shopping for kitty supplies. The three of us all agreed he looked like a little lion cub and the name “Simba” just stuck. Just the spelling got changed a bit. We could hardly wait to go back and take him home (my husband was less enthusiastic). After purchasing a carrier, litter box/kitty litter, and a scratching post/house tower, we headed back and I filled out remaining paperwork, paid the fee, and the attendant said, “Congratulations! It’s a boy!” We chuckled on the way to the car remarking we hadn’t heard those words said to us in almost 24 years.

He's a playful one!
Once home, it was pretty hilarious watching little 2-month old Symba explore his new home – we’ve had to temporarily weave bristol-board around the railings of the basement steps, put old towels over one cloth couch, put up barriers so he can’t run behind the entertainment stand with its maze of enticing wires, and close the bedroom doors so his domain is limited for a while. He’s a flying fur ball of energy and I finally had to put him in his carrier so he could calm down and sleep a while which is where he was as I took time to write this entry yesterday.

Being able to adopt an animal that might otherwise have not survived is a wonderful thing to do. The staff at the SPCA said they had adopted out a good number of cats yesterday and they were so happy to make room for more. Several dogs had been adopted this past week too, so they’d had a good week.

As we were having lunch, the following Scripture verses came to mind reminding us of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ:

“For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)

How amazing to know that God, in His infinite love, chose me to be His child and inherit all the blessings that come with belonging to His family!

Until next Sunday,

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