April 17, 2013


(as quoted by Charlotte Lankard from the book Devote 40 Days by Jane Jayroe.)

  Thanksliving. An attitude that finds treasure in the plowed field of routine…that sees daily bread as a provision of the Bread of Life..that holds a cup to the water of life and drinks the mystery of being with zest. 

Thanksliving. An eye for perspective, for color, harmony and balance…that sees how “all things work together for good to them who love God”…who find in life that God loves them. 

Thanksliving. An ear for the cry of pain, the laugh of joy, the dirge of woe, and the lyric of delight…the hollow echo of lonely, the vibes of together, the whisper of help, and the shout of love. 

Thanksliving. A touch for appropriate, for right, for compassion, for care, for simpatico, for grief, for anger, for all meaningful deep feeling.

Thanksliving. Seeing, hearing, feeling the “God-with-us” in simple truth, in complexity: an umbrella in rain/ a convertible in sun…wool for a sheep in winter and shears in spring…salt on meat and sugar on tea…coping and hoping. 

Thanksliving. Seeing that the beauty of life is in its pace, direction, movement, ebb, and now…falling in line with its current…conquering in adversity…rejoicing in joyful splendor. 

Thanksliving. To live and give, to “do it…” to make a “hobby of being.”

Thanksliving is from the book Agaperos by Grady Nutt.

This tidbit of encouragement is such an inspiration to live a life of gratitude for the everyday life God gave us! It is an inspiration to live and love joyfully as Jesus commanded in John 15:11&12:

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

We want to encourage you to think differently about the life you were given, and the marriage you were given!

April 9, 2013

Star Spangled Cherry Pie

Pie Crust

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients into the food processor. -If your kitchen is warm, put the butter cubes in the freezer for 15 minutes before starting the process) Process until the dough comes together in a ragged mass. If after 30 seconds or so it doesn’t come together, add a tablespoon of cold water to it and continue processing. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten it into a disk.
If the kitchen is warm, wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for 15 minutes before you roll it out. Don’t chill for longer than that or it will be hard to roll out.

The Filling
1 can Cherry Pie Filling
1 can Tart Cherries (drained)

Top with your choice of Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream

April 9, 2013

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

What can you do to keep intimacy alive in your marriage, even when times are tough?
“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:3


April 3, 2013

A Bit of a Boost

Marriages experiencing difficulty are also experiencing aloneness in their relationship.
Intensives at the Refuge at River Falls focus on meeting each other’s needs in a way that brings couples back into an intimate relationship.
Do you know your emotional needs? Do you know your spouse’s emotional needs?


March 26, 2013

There is Always Hope (MarriageToday)

MarriageToday Blog | March 21, 2013 | Jimmy and Karen Evans

MarriageToday Blog: There Is Always Hope

Right now you are reading a short devotional about marriage. Maybe it arrived in your in-box. Maybe you found it on our website or saw a post on Facebook. Maybe someone tweeted the link and you clicked it.

Regardless of where you are reading or how you got here, I know one thing to be true: Your time is precious.

Most people won’t start reading marriage advice because they are just plain overwhelmed by the amount of free time they have and need something to do. If you are reading this, you probably have a good reason for it.

The assumption I make when I write these is that my readers are not reading for pleasure, but because they’re looking for help. They might be struggling with a difficult issue in their marriage. They might find themselves frustrated with their spouse, or even indifferent.

Some relationships may feel so fractured and damaged that it seems no amount of devotional reading or books can save it. Some readers might have ended up here feeling it’s the last stop before divorce.

If any of these descriptions resonate with you, then I want you to hear a very simple message I have for you about your marriage: THERE IS HOPE.

There is hope no matter how bad things seem at the moment.

There is hope no matter how frustrated you feel.

There is hope no matter how much pain and heartache you’ve experienced.

There is hope no matter how strained your relationship has become.

There is hope even if you feel completely out of sync with your spouse.

There is hope even if the only words you say to each other are hurtful.

There is hope even if all you see is the end of a broken love affair.

There is hope even when divorce seems the only option.

There is hope.

Karen and I have been married for four decades. We are happier and closer today than we ever imagined possible.

But we barely made it here. Early in our marriage we made mistakes that bordered on irreparable. Mistakes that very nearly shattered the foundation of our marriage—and it wasn’t a very strong foundation to begin with.

By the grace of God, we weathered these storms. We found the strength to move forward. We took the advice of some wise counselors. We prayed and talked and gave our marriage over to God, because only He could heal it.

In the process, we learned some profound, life-altering truths about ourselves and God’s purpose for our marriage. Ever since those days, we have been sharing those simple truths with others. We have seen God do amazing things. We have seen so many wounded marriages made whole.

All of this is to say: We know exactly what you’re going through. We have been there. And we know that it can get better. Broken marriages can be restored. Good marriages can become great.

Do not give up on your marriage, because there is hope. There is always hope.

March 5, 2013

River Falls In Winter

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A look at the falls when it freezes.

February 28, 2013

Beer Bread (Recipe)

Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 can beer

Mix and pour into loaf pan.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter and pour over batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes.

February 21, 2013

Connie’s Creamy Coconut Pie (Recipe)

Connie's Creamy Coconut Pie

the crust

1 1/3 cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup Crisco
3 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl. Put in Crisco. Sprinkle with water one tablespoon at a time. Work dough into a firm ball. Press dough into a flat circle and roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Gently ease dough into pie plate. Flute edges. Prick bottom and sides with fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

the filling

3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut

Mix ingredients in saucepan, except coconut and vanilla. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add coconut and vanilla. Pour into pie shell.

the meringue

3 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons of sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Beat with mixer at medium speed for about 1 minute or until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed about 4 minutes or until stiff, glossy peaks form. Immediately spread meringue over hot pie filling, carefully sealing to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Top with toasted coconut.


February 14, 2013

Is your marriage founded on God’s power?

Meditating on Isaiah chapter 40

Founded On God's Power

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing.

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?
To what image will you liken him?

January 29, 2013



Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

– I Corinthians 13:4-13

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