Are You a Good Steward of Your Talents

Be a good steward - Use your talents for good


Accountability is a fundamental part of life.

The employed are accountable to the employer. The married to spouse and family. The citizen to society, and all of us are accountable to God. (see Romans 14:12)

Jesus once told a parable about a rich man. It was about a steward accused of wasting his masters’ goods. When asked to give an account, he quickly and wisely set things in order. (see Luke 16:1-10). He ended the parable with this quote: “He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much.”

While spending some quiet time with my Heavenly Father this morning, I felt convicted of not being faithful with the things he has given me…

I have my farm. I have my love of cooking, including my cooking demonstration business. And, I have a love of creativity and design.

However, I’ve spent money on things that haven’t panned out. I haven’t done anything that either of my two business mentors have challenged me to do. Plus, I haven’t been faithful in following advice I’ve been given.

Why? Fear, perhaps?


Whether the managed resource is time, talent or money, I, the steward, should endeavor to avoid waste, maximize return, and above all, assure that the investment is pleasing to God.

Time should be used wisely, talents should be shared to edify others and glorify God. And, money should be spent carefully and given responsibly.

Ouch! I just felt my toes getting stepped on!


God is the creator and owner of all things. Everything that I possess, whether it be money, talents or time, everything comes as a gift from His hand. And one day, I will give account of everything that I have done while in this body. ((Deuteronomy 10:14, Psalm 24:1-2, Acts 17:25)

We should be using the gifts we have been given. Especially since we know that one day we are going to be held accountable. Using them for good! Things like encouraging others. Administering Gods’ grace in various forms.

For example: My gifts are farming, working with food, and design. Since I have a creative side and like to draw, I can use those talents and make someone a handcrafted card. It might be exactly what is needed to encourage and lift up spirits!

Or, another example could be, making a meal for someone in need. I remember a time when a woman at my church was grief stricken. Her husband had passed away. She had the arduous task of dealing with the funeral arrangements.

So, I decided to make a meal for her family. I created a basket of picnic goodies filled with sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad and chips. I remember when I delivered the basket. She was so touched! To me, it was just a simple basket of sandwiches… to her, it was the world! She had been so busy taking care of the funeral stuff and dealing with her own grief, that she had completely forgotten to go shopping for food!

Yes, our time should be used wisely. Our talents (gifts), shared with others. And yes, our drive to use our gifts for good should come from having an acute awareness of our own personal accountability to God.


This morning, I am feeling the conviction of my own wasted talents. I need to change… Like the steward mentioned earlier, I need to act quickly and wisely… I need to do what is right and wise in Gods’ eyes…

Do you have gifts that you are wasting? Are you creative? Do you love to cook? Perhaps you enjoy working with fabrics… you could possibly become the next designer on Project Runway!

Not using your abilities given you by God? You’re wasting your talents!

One day we will all have to give an answer to what we’ve done – whether good or bad! Let’s hope it’s for good!

With that thought, I know of someone who is going through some personal difficulties… I think I will head to the drawing board and create a card and let her know she is in my thoughts and prayers!

So, what are you doing today! Are you using your talents for good?

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Finding Joy, Even When Things Go Wrong

Finding Joy, Even When Things Go Wrong


Oh joy! This morning, I woke to a very cold house! Our heating system had decided to start spewing forth nasty exhaust fumes! So, until we can get someone in to fix the problem, we’ve been limping along with a few space heaters and our oven for heat!

We have an old, drafty 6 bedroom farmhouse. And even after closing off all rooms that are not presently in use, it is still very, VERY cold in our house!

However, I had decided NOT to let this get me down… I decided to ‘James 1:2 it.’

This little quote came from a conversation my best friend and I had had a number of years ago. It was during a time of great trial in our paralleled lives. James 1:2 tells us to ‘Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds.’

Why, ‘because… the testing of your faith develops perseverance.’


I was glad when I decided to ‘James 1:2 it’ with the heating situation. I thanked God that I still had some form of heat with these freezing temperatures, especially with the threat of a snow storm this week.

But even after I decided to ‘consider it pure joy,’ my perseverance, or patience, was tested even further, when the electricity shut off!

My first thought was ‘how are we to keep from freezing or make meals to eat?!? Everything in our house is run by electricity! That means, no heat! No cooking! No water! Our pump for the well runs on electricity, too!! How would we survive?

Here we are 2 1/2 years after we moved to the country, for a more sustainable lifestyle, and I’m worrying how we’re going to eat and stay warm… and let’s not forget about bathing…

The joy I was feeling from the knowledge that I at least had the space heaters and the stove for cooking, left me! My heart sank!


However, while spending some quiet time with the Lord, I was reminded that I am not to worry.

I Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all your cares (our anxieties and concerns) on Him, because He cares for us.” And over in Matthew 6:25-34, he tells us that we are not to worry about what we will eat or drink or even about what we will wear.’ Even the birds of the air don’t sow or reap, nor do they store food in barns, yet our Heavenly Father takes care of them!

After reading these promises, I felt my joy, my gladness of heart start to return… even more so, when the electricity was restored!

I was glad that I had decided to not let this situation get the better of me!

Did it make it any warmer in the house? — No, I’m still quite cold! I plan to hibernate under the covers in front of the television. But, at last we have heat, and we can cook our meals indoors! Thankfully, I will NOT have to stand outside in the freezing weather to cook our meals on the grill!

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Fresh Vegetable & Ham Strata


Fresh Vegetable and Ham Strata

Fresh Vegetable & Ham Strata

Raising chickens as I do, it’s not uncommon to have eggs on hand – a LOT of eggs! As a result, I am always on the lookout for new recipes so I can use my lovely surplus of eggs! Quite honestly, I do believe this recipe is a keeper!



  • 1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) ham, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4   sourdough English muffins, split in half
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Co-Jack cheese, divided
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 package (0.9 ounce) hollandaise sauce mix


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In (2-qt.) Saucepan, cook asparagus, covered, in small amount of boiling water 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Using Food Chopper, chop ham and bell pepper. In bottom of Rectangular Baker, place English muffin halves, split sides up. Top with 1 cup of the cheese, asparagus, ham and bell pepper. In Classic Batter Bowl, whisk eggs, milk, dry mustard, salt and black pepper until well blended. Pour egg mixture over ingredients in Baker. Bake 35 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 5-7 minutes or just until cheese is melted. Meanwhile, prepare hollandaise sauce according to package directions. Cut strata into squares. Serve with sauce.


  • 12  servings

Nutrients per serving:

Approximately 270 calories and 16 grams of fat per serving

Cook’s Tips:

  • To snap off and discard the woody base from fresh asparagus, hold spear at both ends and bend several times until it breaks.
  • To cook the asparagus in the microwave, place asparagus pieces in Large Micro-Cooker®. Add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave on HIGH 5-7 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring after 3 minutes.
  • Fresh broccoli florets may be substituted for the asparagus. Cook as directed.
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Getting Ready for Planting Seeds

Planting Seed


Planting seeds… What can I plant in a cold frame or green house? In March… In southern PA?

Everyone I know seems to be mad at that famous little rodent! Once again, he has predicted another 6 weeks of winter!

Personally, I have decided to enjoy these last remaining weeks. Thoughts of planting seeds and growing a garden are a plenty in my mind.

It’s actually been a very mild winter here in southern Pennsylvania. Most days have been in the high 30’s to low 40’s. And lots of rain…

However, who knows what March will bring. March is usually when we have our biggest snowfalls. One year, on March 17th, I was snowed in for 5 days after 3 feet of snow was dumped on us… with another 1 foot of snow just days after! That was a fun year!

Just last year, brought us lots of snow as well…

Winter 2015-16


Because of the mild weather we’ve been having, mom and I took advantage and started clearing out the last of the weeds. Pokeberry bushes loomed over our heads this past summer. Although they are very poisonous, I didn’t want to pull them out. They were a source of protection from overhead predators.

Our chickens enjoyed laying under them while dust bathing.

With the clearing of weeds almost finished, I think the chickens are quite aware of the lack of protection. The roosters made quite the fuss. Crowing up a storm, while mom and I were pulling the remaining stalks. As if they were warning the others to find protection elsewhere…

I hate taking away their protection. Hawks have been flying overhead quite a lot lately…

But, preparations for spring planting have to get done.

Most of the area we plan to use for a garden is now clear… just a little more…

Around here, most farmers plant during Mothers Day weekend.

We hope to get a head start on planting by using cold frames. And by turning our back porch into a makeshift greenhouse. We still have time to prepare.

My hope is that we can start planting seeds by March 1st.

Today, however, has once again turned cold… Too cold to work outside. Looks like a day for an indoor project.

Hope your day is a productive one!

~ Sheri



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Taking Stock – Keeping Record


Keeping record of our flock or our homesteading projects hasn’t exactly been our top priority. Even though I have often been told by fellow chicken farmers that I should, in fact, be keeping record.

This thought must have been lying dormant somewhere in the crevices of my mind. Because the other day I woke from a dream that was trying to tell me something. But, I didn’t understand, until I woke up!

In my dream, I was standing before a scroll. A scroll of many jumbled words. No matter how hard I tried to read the words, I could not make any sense of what I was reading. Waking from the dream, I heard the word ‘registry.’

Registry. registry. Funny sounding word. So, I decided to look it up and see what Merriam-Webster had to say!

The word actually means ‘a place where official records are kept; a book or system for keeping an official list or record of items.’

I have been taking mental notes of such things and a written record of how many eggs… but not a really a detailed record of my flock. Or for that matter, other things on the homestead…


Today, I start fresh. I will be keeping record (a journal, if you will) of my homesteading ventures. Keeping record of things like:

Chicken Characteristics: Do I have friendly chickens? Do I have any aggressive chickens? Are there any complainers?

Chicken Health: Are my chickens happy and healthy? Are there any issues I need to address?

Chicken Safety: Are there ways to improve the safety of my chickens? Are their any fences to fortify? Do I need to plant more bushes for protection from high flying predators?

Chicken Eating Habits? Are they eating? Do they like what they are being fed? How can I improve the feed?

What should I plant?

How large a garden should I plant?

What projects do I need to work on immediately? What can wait…?

These are just a few of the things I will be journaling about…

Today is a new beginning… today I am going to be better at keeping record of my homesteading/chicken raising adventures!



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What’s for Supper?

What's for supper?


What’s for supper?

I wake up with the strangest things on my mind sometimes…

After falling asleep in front of the Telly last night, I woke to find mom sitting in her favorite chair, playing a game on her phone. She’d been awake all night with the all too familiar burning and gas of GERD.

Have you gotten any sleep?

‘No.’ was her reply.

I could see the headlights of the newspaper carriers car coming up our driveway. Signs of fog permeated the night sky.

Fog in the morning gives you an eerie feeling, here on the homestead… as if something from the Walking Dead is about to appear! Yes! I am a fan!

I decided to leave mom to her own devices and went upstairs to my room.

As I opened my Bible, I turned to some passages relating to the word ‘work.’ Something I didn’t finish the day before.

Sounds of our roosters crowing wafted up to my bedroom window… Good morning guys… I’ll be out in a little while…


While reading, my thoughts wondered off to what I would be working on in my design studio today. Saturdays are a day that I designate to creating pieces for my jewelry business.

Yet as I continued my reading, I began to see a pattern emerge…. the words cooking, mealtime, weight control and hospitality kept finding their way to my line of vision…


Now, as I sit here in my office, I find myself wondering ‘What’s for supper.” But not just for supper! I have 3 meals to make today, and I struggle to figure out what to make for myself – – let alone mom!

I thought of making my Country Chicken and Veggie Soup. However, although delicious, I have been eating it a lot lately… I don’t want to get tired of it! It’s my ‘go to’ meal when my GERD is acting up… and yes, it has been acting up! 

So, what to make?

Mom and I have very different tastes. She likes hot and spicy. I can’t eat it!

True, back in the day, I could eat a bowl of chili with oodles of jalapenos, and love every bite! But not any more!

If it were up to her, we would live on hot dogs and buttered corn! Yeah, no!

To start, I think I will go back to my Pennsylvania Dutch roots and make a BIG batch of Ham & Green Beans. Mom likes that!

One meal down, two to go.. Hmmmmm…

I’ll have to figure that out later… I just realized, it’s time to go feed the chickens!

Talk to you soon!


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Homemade Salmon Cakes

Homemade Salmon Cakes

Homemade Salmon Cakes, A Gut Healing Dish

Trying to get a handle on eating gut healing foods, I started reading Digestive Health with REAL Foods.*

The book starts you out on what is called an ‘Elimination Phase.” The purpose? To eliminate the cause of pain in the digestive system!

You start out with only a handful of foods! Proteins, such as chicken, beef, lamb, pork and seafood are on the menu. Four vegetables that are nutrient dense and easiest to digest are included (Zucchini, Spinach, Carrots and Green Beans). Add some fats, seasonings and homemade bone broth and you’re done!

My favorite recipe when my gut is out of whack, is my Country Chicken and Veggie Soup. Using only the four veggies, chicken and homemade bone broth, it is so easy to whip together when you’re in a hurry!

Homemade Country Chicken & Veggie Soup

My problem is that I find myself easily bored with the limited choice of foods! I like variety!

Like my father, I am a meat and potatoes and oodles of noodles kind of gal! You didn’t see potatoes or pasta on the list, did you?!? Yeah, neither did I!

However, when I eat too much beef, I get indigestion… something I am trying to get rid of! So, I reach for the chicken soup!

Next problem? I get myself into a chicken soup rut!

Trying Something New!

Needing to get out of my chicken soup rut, I decided to try my hand at making homemade salmon cakes.

I’ve never been a big fan of fish!

Growing up, there were only two kinds of fish I would eat. Those all too familiar breaded square fish patties, and canned tuna! You might say, I’m persnickety!

Mom loves salmon! So, I decided to give this recipe of salmon cakes a spin!

Turns out they’re pretty tasty! Making this recipe again is a sure thing!

How to Make Homemade Salmon Cakes


  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter), but if you only have regular butter, that will work too!
  • 4-8 oz canned Salmon (drained)
  • 2-4 Tbsp. Unsweetened dried coconut (optional)
  • 1 egg beaten (you can leave this out if your tum-tum can’t tolerate eggs)
  • Unrefined salt to taste
  • 1-3 teaspoons Wildtree Dill Dip Blend (or to taste)


  • Drain the canned salmon and put it in a bowl. Remove any skin. If there are bones, use a fork to mash the bones and salmon together until well blended.
  • Add all other ingredients, and give it a stir.
  • Shape the salmon mixture into patties and put aside. (if omitting the egg, the cakes won’t hold as well, but it will still work.)
  • Heat coconut oil or ghee in a skillet. Once melted, add your salmon cakes and cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip each salmon cake and grill the other side until browned.
  • Serve warm or cold

Kitchen Tips:

  • Drain the salmon! I missed that step when making my salmon cakes, and wound up with a HUGE watery, eggy mess!
  • You’re going to want to double up on this recipe, which is very easy to do! People will want seconds! (and this is coming from a persnickety fish eater!) – They’re also great for leftovers to take to work the next day!
  • Serve your salmon cakes with lemon juice and fresh cilantro. You can also use homemade mayo, my homemade Dill Dip, guacamole, coconut milk, or a mango salsa as a dip.
  • Try adding diced onions, grated garlic and diced celery to the salmon mixture before cooking.
  • Want a little kick? Try using Turmeric or Curry powder to season your salmon cakes. You’ll enhance their anti-inflammatory properties!


*This page contains affiliate links. What does that mean? When you click on a link and purchase the product, I make a some money. Not a lot, but it does help keep the chickens fed and they are very appreciative! 😉

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Commitment: Word for the Day

Commitment - Holding Hands

What Exactly is Commitment?

Commitment is defined as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”

Yesterday, I once again resolved my commitment to working on my weight loss. Although, I do wonder if I’m crazy for making such a decision the week before Christmas! Around our house, it usually means tons of food including cookies, cakes and pies! Oh my!

If we look to the scriptures, we find Jesus wasting no time getting to the heart of commitment. He asked the disciples to give up their own lives and desires to follow him, or choose to go their own way and deny him. They had a choice. No matter what our beliefs are, we all have the same choice… to commit to our beliefs, or pursue our fleshly desires.

Like our beliefs, we can choose to commit to other things as well. Such as a commitment to our health, to our businesses and to our families.

Commitment Demands Action

When we choose to commit to things such as weight loss, it requires action on our part. It requires responsibility. Responsibility develops character. Character takes discipline.

In Proverbs 16:3, it says, ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.’ – When we commit to whatever we do, it becomes a lifetime venture, requiring time, work and determination.

Decision Making for Health and Homestead

Not too long ago, I had to make some tough decisions. Deciding whether to stay on our homestead, or go out into the workplace and earn an income. I’d felt the Lord speak to my heart about providing for my family. According to I Timothy 5:8, it says that if we do not provide for our family, then we have denied the faith. This led me to make a renewed commitment to my business – a commitment I am willing to make.

I also had to decide if I was going to work on my health and weight loss. After a week of ‘cheating’ during meals, I wound up in a great deal of pain. This alone helped me to renew my commitment to my health. Here are 6 tips that help me with my struggle on weight loss.

In a Nutshell – Commitment is a Choice.

Like Ruth, who, in the Bible, made a choice… made a commitment to Naomi. She left her family and homeland to return with Naomi to Bethlehem.

When two people marry, they have made the choice to commit to each other, exclusively and permanently.

With weight loss, although it can be a struggle for most, it is a choice where we commit to eating healthy and taking care of our bodies.

And finally, in business, should we decide to branch out on our own, we make a commitment to build a business that is successful so we can provide for our family.

Is commitment easy? No. As I’ve said before, it requires decision. Then takes determination, action and responsibility. Whatever decisions we make and choose to commit to, it has both immediate and long-term consequences.

As a believer, I know that wise decisions can be made with the confidence that God will direct my every step as I seek His will through prayer, Bible study and listening to the Holy Spirit – the divine counselor.

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Weight Loss and Holiday Eating

Vegetables are helpful with weight loss

Is Weight Loss Possible During the Holidays?

Weight loss, if I’m truly honest, hasn’t been my key focus with eating. Eating easily digestible, nutrient dense foods to help heal my gut health has. Yet with the Holidays right around the corner, I’m concerned I won’t be able to maintain my recent weight loss. The question “Is weight loss possible during the holidays,’ is constantly on my mind.

Living in a household where there are many different and finicky taste-buds, it’s been difficult to stay on track. When I followed one plan, I was so restricted with what I could and couldn’t eat, that I would cave in to others demands when it came time for meals…

In my heart, I knew that if I lived alone, I wouldn’t have any trouble with eating healthy! I’ve lost weight in the past! Two years ago, I lost 50 lbs. through clean eating… but alas, this past year has brought family members into my home that sabotaged my eating habits! If it’s in the house, I eat it! Including all the greasy fried foods and the ‘oh so delicious sweets!’

Seeking the scriptures for wisdom as to how i should deal with weight loss, I keep coming back to 6 basic principes. Principles I continually struggle with…

Weight Loss – A Disciplined Body

  1. Be accepting. God designed our physical make-up, therefore I need to refrain from criticizing His creation. I need to stop finding fault with this body. Sure, there are things I can and want to change, but I don’t need to keep putting myself down. Instead, I need to find things that I LIKE about myself! For instance, I have pretty eyes and I also have a great pair of legs! True, they may need some toning right now, but I have been known to turn a head or two with gams! According to Psalm 139:13-16, I am fearfully and wonderfully made… It’s all about attitude!!!
  2. Be grateful. God has already given me victory through Christ Jesus. I CAN do this!(Philippians 4:13)
  3. Be careful. The Bible, speaks FOR moderation (portion control) and AGAINST gluttony! In other words, I need to eat in moderation. I am not to overindulge in the sweet and sugary foods that I love so much. I need to know when to stop and watch my portion control. No more extra helpings! (Proverbs 23:20-21)
  4. Be disciplined. Achieving self-control in eating will strengthen other areas of my life. Although all things (food) are permissible, not all things are beneficial (helpful) to my weight loss (I Cor. 6:12, 10:23). If I can learn self-control with my eating habits, then other areas can be disciplined as well…such as exercising… UGH!
  5. Be active. Regular exercising will help me reach and maintain my ideal weight. Activity also improves productivity, cardiovascular stamina and mental alertness. Another benefit is that it helps you feel good! Being active is an area that I struggle with… but once I get up and get active, I feel better physically AND emotionally! I feel better because I know I’m doing something good to improve my health!
  6. Be persistent. Persistence is key to weight loss! I can’t give up! Even if I feel like a failure because I ate that second or third slice of pizza or decided that I just can’t exercise today, I need to be persistent!

Weight Loss and How to Handle Failure

Again, it’s all about attitude! So you failed. You ate that extra helping. You over did it with all the pies, cakes or Christmas cookies. Own up to it, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Be honest with yourself…

Okay, I failed! I went off the deep end with my eating habits. And although it has caused me weight gain, and physical pain, I CAN start again, right where I am! I’m not going to beat myself up about it! I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself off and start again! So, keeping these 6 points in mind, today, I start fresh! A new beginning! I CAN do this!

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How to Make Homemade Chicken Bone Broth

Homemade Bone Broth

The Benefits of Bone Broth

I will never go back to store bought bone broth again! When my digestive health took a nose dive, I started reading Digestive Health with REAL Food * One of the first recipes within its covers is Bone Broth.

I’d heard about the benefits of Bone Broth for some time. Why didn’t I try it sooner?!? With my digestive system in an uproar, I decided to finally give it a chance! It was delicious and so easy to make!

If you’re like me, striving for your most favorable digestive health, then Bone Broth is a must! The benefits are amazing! Bone broth can help heal and seal your gut to improve your intestinal permeability. It also helps your joint and skin health. Let’s not forget, it also helps keep your bones and teeth healthy!

How to Make Homemade Chicken Bone Broth


  • 1 large or 2 small chicken carcasses (including the bones, skin, neck, feet and gizzards, if you have them)
  • 4-12 cups of water
  • 1-3 Tbsp of vinegar (apple cider or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp of salt (adjust to taste)

Optional Ingredients:

  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks. coarsely chopped
  • 2 or 3 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp whole crushed black peppercorns
  • a few branches of rosemary, thyme or parsley


  1. Put all the main ingredients along with any optional ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker.
  2. Heat on high until the broth starts boiling. Stay close to avoid an overflow. Remove the foam if desired to improve the taste of your broth.
  3. Once broth is boiling, reduce the heat to low. This allows the broth to simmer. (You should only see very little bubbles in the center of the pot).
  4. Cook on low temperature for at least 6-8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  5. When it’s ready, let it cool down an hour or so, then strain the broth using a colander (and cheesecloth if desired).
  6. Discard the bones. If the veggies are not too mushy for you, you may keep them if you wish. (Personally, I don’t like mushy veggies, but my chickens sure do!)
  7. You can keep your bone broth in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Helpful Hints:

  • If you have more broth than you can use is 4-5 days time, freeze it! You can portion it out into pint sized mason jars, leaving 1 inch at the top of each jar to allow for the expansion of the broth. This keeps the jar from breaking and making a huge mess in the freezer! — You can also use ice cube trays to freeze your excess broth!
  • When you want to reheat your broth, avoid using the microwave, as it damages the healthy amino acids your gut needs for optimal health.
  • Drink your broth out of a cup, or use it to make soups, stews and sauces.
  • A good quality broth should gel in 1-2 days once in the fridge. Reheating it in a saucepan will allow the broth to become liquid again.
  • Every time you have chicken, keep the bones and freeze them. You’ll have a whole bunch of bones to make a new batch of broth in no time!

*This post contains an affiliate link.

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