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It Could Only Happen To Me

I hope you’re ready to laugh.

Yesterday afternoon, I fell into my house. As per my normal craziness, I had four grocery bags on each arm, my purse in my left hand, and my bookbag in my right. I unlocked the door, opened it, and tried to step inside, but my right foot was unable to move.

If you’ve ever taken a spill, you know the feeling that prevails right before you tumble. No-no-no-please-don’t-fall-I’m-falling-please-don’t-let-me-break-anything-oomph. I fell into my house and landed on my right hip.

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Other than my scream, there were no other sounds. Sounds I would have loved to hear like, “Mom! Are you okay?” Or even the muffled coughs of my husband attempting to cover his laughter. But I was home alone in a tangled heap on the floor, unable to extricate my foot from whatever was holding it captive. It simply wouldn’t budge. At least I hadn’t had a stroke, because my right hand could still wiggle—the same right hand that was pinned beneath me.

I tried to untangle myself from my awkward position, livid that I couldn’t get my foot to cooperate. I couldn’t even see what was hindering it since I was surrounded by all manner of groceries blocking my view. With my left arm, I reached down to take off my shoe, but couldn’t reach it.

I couldn’t stand, couldn’t extract my foot, and I was thoroughly ticked off, so I decided it was time for a ten second nap. I just laid there. The cat walked by and meowed, as if to say, “Hey, Stupid.”

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I finally untangled myself from my purse, bookbag, and groceries, then reached down and took off my shoe. My foot was once again free and mobile. How had I fallen, you wonder? The head of a nail was visible at the bottom of the threshold. That blasted nail jumped up and grabbed my shoelace at the mid-tongue section of my sneaker!

Thankfully I didn’t break anything, but today my hips feel like I’ve been imitating Elvis. I can barely walk!

I’m so grateful a merry heart is like medicine… Because I could use some! ♦

Jericha Kingston


A Wedding!

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My son is getting married this weekend!

Oh, the preparations. We’ve been planning since November, and the big day is finally upon us. I don’t think I can adequately relay my excitement to you.

As excited as I am to see my son marry his intended, one thought keeps running through my mind – I hope I don’t fall on the dance floor. Because this mama plans to rejoice at the reception!

But there’s another wedding for which I’m longing, a wedding that will outshine them all.

Weddings are a beautiful representation of God’s love for His bride, the church. All those who have trusted in the finished work of Christ and turned from their sins are the beloved of God. One day there will be an eternal union between God and His people when He calls them to Himself. No ceremony on earth will ever compare to that Day.

United with Christ forever, sharing in the inheritance of the saints, worshipping the Creator of the universe – in His presence, mind you – forever redeemed from sin, and being reunited with faithful loved ones who’ve preceded us… Now that’s a wedding.

Oh, and I’ll be wearing white. Not sort of white, but dazzling white, as bright as the sun. That’s because I’ll be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Praise God!

What a Day that will be. Will you be in attendance?

Jericha


Going for Gold

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Do you like watching the Olympics? I do, and I hope the athletes will be allowed to compete this year amid coronavirus concerns (safety first, of course).

People, these competitors are top tier—prepared, trained, and disciplined. I have to admit, when I watch the games, I’m a nervous wreck. I feel like the parents who sit in the stands, shrinking back when their children perform actions that could change their lives, for better or worse–because they can. I hate to see the athletes get injured, but I love to see them win medals.

I also enjoy the camaraderie between Olympic team members. Whether a team member performs well or poorly, other members of her team encourage her with kind words, high fives, fist-bumps, or a hug.

When athletes win gold, their reactions are intriguing. Some throw their hands in the air and shout. Some laugh and hug their competitors. Some beat their puffed-out chests and wave their arms up and down to garner more applause from the audience. A few winners simply look up.

It takes supreme effort to train for the Olympics, but it takes supernatural intervention to remain humble amid fame and success.

There’s a funny meme going around that shows the difference between dogs and cats. It basically says,

If a man feeds a dog, the dog thinks, Hey, this guy’s feeding me. He must be God! If a man feeds a cat, the cat thinks, Hey, this guy’s feeding me. I must be God!

Sometimes we respond with the same mindset. If we have an incredible gift, we think we did it in our own strength when we’re only dust. We forget that it’s because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. I hope, if the Lord ever allows me to achieve any status in this world, that I’ll respond in humility, realizing from where my success came. I pray the theme of my life will ever be Soli Deo Gloria – to God’s glory alone.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”

In this race of life, I’m going for gold. Sometimes I stumble, but I must remember there’s an imperishable prize ahead. Christian, keep your eye on the prize!

Jericha


Foodie Friday

Wedding season is upon us! My son gets married in two weeks. In honor of his impending nuptials and my future daughter-in-love, here are some delicious recipes for you.

Mexican Wedding Cookies:
1 C. salted butter
1/2 C. 10X sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. pecans, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 275*. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla, then add flour by increments. Stir in pecans by hand. Dust your hands with flour, then pinch a teaspoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Place dough balls on the baking sheet, an inch apart. Bake at 275* for 40 minutes. While cookies are still warm (not hot), roll in 10X sugar. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container. Makes 2.5 dozen cookies.

Italian Wedding Soup:
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped fine
2 T. fresh chopped parsley
1 small egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1 slice white bread, crust removed and broken into little pieces
1/4 C. grated parmesan
4 oz. ground beef
4 oz. ground pork
black pepper

Meatballs: In a large bowl, blend the first six ingredients listed above. Stir in cheese, beef, and pork. Combine well. Shape meatballs by the tablespoon. Place on a baking sheet.

Next, the broth:

48 oz. chicken stock
1/2 lb. chopped kale
1 large egg
1 T. grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Bring stock to a boil in a large pot. Add raw meatballs and kale. Simmer about 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked. In a bowl, whisk egg and cheese. As you stir the soup, drizzle the egg/cheese mixture into it. The broth will slightly thicken. Season with salt, pepper, and extra parmesan if desired. Serve with crusty bread.

White Almond Wedding Cake:
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. granulated sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/3 C. water
1 C. sour cream
2 T. canola oil
1 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla extract
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 325*. Butter and flour 11X13 pan. In a large bowl stir the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. Add the sour cream, water, oil, extracts, and egg whites. Using a mixer, mix on low about 5 minutes. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake on 325* for 20-25 minutes. Test cake with a toothpick to ensure it’s done. Allow to cool completely.

Icing:
1 C. shortening
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. almond extract
1/2 C. water
2 boxes 10X sugar, sifted

Mix ingredients, but only use one box of powdered sugar. Mix for 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the other box of powdered sugar and mix another 5 minutes, adding extra water by teaspoon until you achieve the consistency of icing you desire. Frost the cooled cake. Refrigerate.

Enjoy!

Jericha


What Can You Do?

Teenagers are an incredible group of people. My husband has the privilege of working with them every day. He’s an instructor at our city’s high school. It’s quite a job, and I often help him. I didn’t realize the impact of my help until the day I assisted at a 12-hour event. One of our students approached me and said, “Is there anything you can’t do?”

His statement shocked me. I assured him there’s a lot I can’t do. It’s only by God’s grace that I achieve anything. Without Jesus, I can do nothing. But his question convicted me, and made me wonder, what other things might I accomplish if only I endeavored?

If given the opportunity, what advice would you share with the next generation? I persuade them to spend time in activities that will endure, in actions that positively impact the lives of others. This is a concept with which I’ve struggled. The older I get, the more introverted this extrovert becomes. Events I formerly enjoyed in social settings are not nearly as inviting as a quiet room and a book. Sure, I’d prefer to come home Friday afternoon, shut my garage door behind me, and not resurface until Monday morning, but that’s folly. We’re here to serve others.

The Lord Jesus must have amazed His disciples with the words we find in John 14:12. “Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on Me, the works that I do will he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to My Father.” He continues astounding in verses 13-14. “And whatever you will ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you will ask anything in My name, I will do it.” He ensues with a pivotal stipulation in verse 15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Christian, what can you do? You can serve, heal, love, bless, forgive, help, and minister—powerfully—in The Name of Jesus.

~ Jericha Kingston


Mumtaz Mahal

Does that title mean anything to you? What about the name Arjumand Banu Begum? Probably not. But if I said Taj Mahal, you’d immediately know to what I was referring.

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Mumtaz Mahal – born Arjumand Banu Begum – died on this date in 1631 in Agra, India. A daughter of Persian nobility, she was married at age 19 to Prince Khurram – Shah Jahan – the emperor.

Arjumand was Shah Jahan’s third wife, but became his favorite, as denoted by the title he gave her: Mumtaz Mahal. It means the chosen one of the palace.

Arjumand traveled with Shah Jahan exclusively. She was a positive influence on her husband, and she often intervened on behalf of the poor. An official court reporter wrote that the couple was so in love, Shah Jahan had no interest in his other two wives except to fulfil his requirement to father a child with them.

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Arjumand died during the birth of the couple’s fourteenth child. Heartbroken, Shah Jahan mourned in seclusion for a year. In Arjumand’s honor, he built the Taj Mahal as her mausoleum, a task that took 22 years to complete. For more about Arjumand and Shah Jahan, check out The Complete Taj Mahal by Ebba Koch.

While the romantic in me can appreciate an epic love story, I can’t help but wonder about Shah Jahan’s other wives. How did they endure the lack of their husband’s love?

We have a record in Genesis of Jacob’s first wife, Leah, who felt unloved by her husband. She longed to have first place in Jacob’s heart. But Jacob loved his second wife, Rachel – Leah’s own sister – more than he loved Leah. Though Leah was Jacob’s first wife, the knowledge of her second place standing became evident in her words and actions (Genesis 29:16-30). She bore 7 children to Jacob. By the time she had her fourth son, she praised God. Leah recognized the kindness and mercy of God and found Him to be the true Lover of her soul.

Have you found God to be the Lover of your soul? Has He chosen you and crowned you with compassion? What are some ways He has lavished His surpassing love on you?

~ Jericha Kingston


Foodie Friday

Are you ready for your weekend foodie fix? Since half of us are wearing snow boots and the other half are wearing galoshes, I’ve decided to delight your taste buds with both a northern and a southern specialty…clam chowder and crab pie!

Clam Chowder:

1.5 lbs. chopped, sauteed clams
2 C. bottled clam juice
2 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 small diced onion
2 T. all-purpose flour
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3 C. cream
1 bay leaf
1 t. thyme
salt and pepper

Saute chopped clams in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside. In a large pot, fry the chopped bacon on medium-low heat. Add the onion and stir until cooked. Add the flour and stir for another 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the clam juice and simmer. It should resemble a gravy consistency. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with more clam juice. Add the potatoes and simmer until cooked. Add the cream, clams, and bay leaf. Stir. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently as not to scorch the cream in the pot. Add thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir. Turn off and remove pot from burner. Cover the pot and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Crab pie:

2 nine-inch pie crusts, baked for five minutes
1 lb. canned crab meat
4 eggs
2 T. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 C sour cream
1 C. milk
8 oz. grated Gruyere cheese
8 oz. grated cheddar
1 T. minced onion
1 T. minced green bell pepper
2 T. minced red bell pepper

Bake the pie shells for 5 minutes and allow them to cool. In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Mix in milk and sour cream. Mix in flour. Gently STIR in rest of ingredients, mixing well. Try not to break up the crab. Evenly distribute crab mixture into pie shells. Bake at 350* for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of pie is clean.

Enjoy!

Jericha


Beneath the Surface

Six years ago I returned to college as a 45-year-old radiology student. Yes, I was the oldest one in my class. But that was cool, because I got to encourage the younger students.

You may wonder, why radiology? Due to technological advances, imaging allows us to see beneath the surface and get to the heart of the patient’s problem.

But I couldn’t administer ionizing radiation to patients until I was qualified. When I was only a student working in a clinical atmosphere, I hadn’t yet received complete knowledge about the powerful tools at my disposal. Until I’d studied, performed, passed my certification exam, and received authority to image, I didn’t have access to the powerful tools that assist in healing.

Even if a radiology technologist sees exterior signs of an injury or malady, she’s unable to see the interior problem with the naked eye because the issue lies deep to the skin. That’s why imaging is the best way to assess what’s gone wrong physically.

Things go wrong spiritually, too. We injure ourselves in this world in which we walk. Sadly, many of our injuries are self-inflicted. Our spiritual sickness causes us pain and discomfort, and we need to be healed. Thankfully, the One with the power to heal us—Jesus Christ—is the Great Physician, and He’s full of mercy and compassion. To be healed of our sin, we must become a child of God.

How does a person become a child of God? It’s all of grace, and it’s possible through faith. Faith is believing what God says.

Just as you had a physical birthday, which made you a child of your biological mother and father, you must have a spiritual birthday to become a child of the Heavenly Father. This spiritual birth takes place when you trust Jesus Christ and turn from your sin. The Great Physician sees through our facades to who we really are, and He has the power to heal us of our sin.

Don’t understand it all? Neither do I, but this I know: If I’m honest about my symptoms, the Great Physician can make me well.

Ask Him for an examination.

Father in Heaven, have mercy on me. You are perfect. I’m a sinner. But I turn away from my sin. I place my trust in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to pay my sin debt. You’ve exposed me to myself, and revealed Yourself to me. Heal me and make me new. Thank You for forgiveness and eternal life. From this day forward, allow me to live in a way that pleases You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

To as many as received Him (Jesus Christ), to them He gave the power to be called the children of God. ~ John 1:12

~ Jericha Kingston



Pickled!

While some of us have barely tasted spring, summer is just around the corner, and with it comes fresh vegetables.

I live in southeast Georgia–where it’s hot ten months of the year–and I’m always on the lookout for recipes with fresh veggies. If you’d like to perk up your standard summer vegetables, consider pickling them!

Pickled veggies are so refreshing, and perfectly compliment fish or grilled chicken. The only downfall? Pickled veggies need to be refrigerated for three days, to soak up all the wonderful flavor. Also, the veggies must be fresh. You can’t use frozen.

Think it’s too labor-intensive? Think again. If you have a refrigerator, a glass jar with a lid, fresh vegetables, some vinegar, and salt, you’re set. Prefer sweet instead? No problem! Just add a teaspoon of sugar.

Like the idea? Then try some of these!

Pick two fresh veggies:

  • cucumber (cut into spears)
  • carrots (sliced thin, on an angle)
  • corn (sliced off the cob)
  • grape tomatoes (halved)
  • whole green beans
  • thinly-sliced red onion
  • sliced radishes
  • sliced summer squash
  • thinly-sliced green cabbage
  • cauliflower florets
  • red or yellow bell pepper slices
  • snow peas
  • young okra

Pick a flavor:

  • American: Dill seed, mustard seed, celery seed, and black peppercorns.
  • European: 2 cloves of smashed garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh oregano, sliced lemon peel, and black peppercorns.
  • Asian: 1/2 teaspoon of peeled, julienne-cut ginger, sliced orange peel, green onion slices.
  • *Whichever flavor you choose, a tablespoon is all you need per jar!*

Pick one:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • red or white wine vinegar

Method: Wash and slice your vegetable choices and place them in a clean, 1 lb. glass jar. Add a tablespoon of your flavor choice. Fill the jar HALF-FULL of your vinegar choice, and add one teaspoon of salt. Fill the rest of the jar with water. If you want sweet pickled vegetables, add one teaspoon of sugar. Seal the jar, shake well, and place in the refrigerator for three days. Pickled veggies will keep for two weeks.

My favorite is green beans and red onions, American-style, with white vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar! Which would be your favorite?

~ Jericha Kingston

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