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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: You’ve Got Something New!

Providence always seems to make our Bible studies very applicable to our lives. Here we are in the initial days of 2017, trying to make our lives better this year for His glory and our study coincides with a new journey made by His people of old from a life of bondage to a life of freedom and, ultimately, rest. God is good! Their passover was in their first calendar month and, from there, life changed in some very good ways for Israel. Today, let’s notice some of those new  experiences for Israel and how they correspond to the new lives that we have in Christ. Here’s the list from last night’s podcast. It will make you appreciate the cross and the deliverance from your bondage of sin even more. These are taken from Exodus 14-24.

  1. A new camp (14:2). Christians are moved to a new place, too. Colossians 1:13, I Peter 2:9.
  2. A new champion (14:4). Don’t miss these great passages: Romans 8:31-39, Hebrews 13:6.
  3. A new guide (14:19). We follow the Lamb (Rev. 14:4)
  4. A new song of praise (chapter 15). This was the song of Moses. But we get to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev. 14:3).
  5. A new promised inheritance (15:17). Heaven is our inheritance. Are you an heir (I Peter 1:3,4, Revelation 21:7)?
  6. A new voice (15:26). Matthew 17:5. Are you listening (Hebrews 1:1,2)?
  7. A new source of sustenance (16:1-10). He always provides for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
  8. A new urgency about bread (16:16-18). We should seek the Bread of Life every day, too (John 6:35; Luke 4:4)
  9. A new priority (16:26). Their sabbath took precedence over gathering bread. Matthew 6:33 says our priority is seeking the kingdom and He will provide the bread!
  10. New battles within the camp (17:4). Do Christians have discouragements within the church? (Take a cursory look at the book of James and the book of I Corinthians. The devil doubles his forces when people become Christians!)
  11. New battles from without the camp (17:16). Ephesians 6:12-13. Living for him is spiritual warfare.
  12. A new evangelistic thrust. (18:11). If we live for Him, the great commission (Mark 16:15, 16) becomes second nature to us. There are those, like Jethro, who will naturally be impacted by our faith. 
  13. A new clean (19:14). We are washed (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
  14. A new priesthood (19:22). Praise God for our high priest and for the fact that he made us holy for the priesthood (Hebrews 4:14-16)!
  15. A new freedom ((20:2). We are no more servants of sin (Galatians 5:1)!
  16. A new purity (20:20). We are done with intentional sin (I John 2:1).
  17. A new law (21:1; 24:12). The law of the Spirit in Christ has made us free from the Mosaic law of sin and death (Romans 8:1,2). We, too, have a new law!
  18. A new standard of morality (chapter 22). The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is replete with “You have heard…but I say unto you.”. Jesus’ way is a path to a new morality.
  19. A new rule of giving (22:29-30).  Leaving the tithe behind, we give as we have been prospered (I Corinthians 16:1,2). 
  20. A new passover feast (23:14-19). Christ is our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7) and we memorialize our Lamb in the Lord’s Supper as instituted in Matthew 26:26-29.
  21. A new covenant (24:4-7). Have you signed on to the covenant that required His blood (Hebrews 8:6)?

Catch-up on Recipes! Here are three more from the December contest: 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

(This recipe, from Lindsey Cella, sounds good for Alabamians today! Brrr!)

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed (We use 1 (48 ounce) bag of Tyson’s boneless skinless chicken thigh strips, it works out the same)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 onion, chopped
3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (10 ounce) cans tomatoes and green chilies
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
(Tortilla chips and shredded cheese added by bowl, if you want it. We always want it.)?
•Combine chicken, corn, onion, broth, tomato paste, tomatoes and green chilies, cumin, chili powder, 1 tsp of salt, and garlic in large crockpot.
•Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 7 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours to 3 hours and 30 minutes(essentially just cook it until the chicken isn’t pink that’s what we do?)
•serve with Tortilla chips and shredder cheese serves about 6 to 8 (that’s what our recipe says, it’s a lie, this makes tons?)

Easy and Delicious Peanut Butter Fudge

Ginny Vines

1 package of white almond bark
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 16 Oz jar of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
Melt the almond bark according to directions on package.
Stir in peanut better until smooth.
Stir in condensed milk. You must do this quickly because it will start to harden.
Put in refrigerator until cool and hard, cut and enjoy!

Pineapple Casserole 

Janice Knight

This goes great with ham.
2 tall cans pineapple chunks with juice
6 Tbs. flour, mixed with 1 cup white sugar
1 sleeve town house or ritz crackers
1 cup shredded cheese
1 stick butter or margarine, melted

Using a 9×13 inch dish, pour in the pineapple.  Then stir in the flour/sugar mixture till combined.  Put half the cheese in next, and stir. Crush the sleeve of crackers and distribute crumbs evenly on top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on that, then drizzle the melted butter all over.  This makes it shiny and crunchy.  Bake till brown (about 25-30minutes at 375 degrees F.  This is good hot or cold.  Greg at church eats it for his dessert.

(from cc: Shout-out to Greg, I guess! This is a favorite at the Colley house, too!)


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Recipe Contest Winners!

unknownNever have I gotten so much encouragement from a bunch of recipes. It isn’t so much that I’ve become better at holiday kitchen proficiency as it is that I’m just very excited that so many people are reading a blog and checking out a website that’s mostly just all about the Word. And then there are the recipes, too!…which are just icing on the cake…and the cake, itself…and the pie and the dip and the soup, too. I am pumped about cooking for the holidays around here. (When I say that, I kind of feel like that writer-lady on the holiday movie “Christmas in Connecticut”, because I don’t know how much cooking I’ll actually get done in the next couple of weeks, at the rate life is happening….And, if you haven’t watched that movie, you should!) Thank-you for participating and being the blessing to me that you consistently are.

At any rate, I’m sharing the winning recipes today  and I plan to share a recipe at the close of each post until you have them all! They are all that good! Of course, the “winning” is all so very subjective. But the winning recipes are all timesavers (that criteria was a must) and all of them sound good enough that I want to try them after my very next trip to the grocery.  

So, if you see your name on one of the three recipes below, email  me (byhcontest@gmail)  your home  address and the names of the two products you choose from here: Hurry to try and get in time for Christmas!

Winner #1…Wilburta Arrowood

Do-Ahead Six Week Raisin Bran Muffin Mix

Wilburta says, “My family loves these hot from the oven with butter. That and coffee

or hot chocolate is all we need.”  😉

I say “I love this because it feeds a crowd breakfast several times and because it has that long refrigerator life! Can’t wait to try it.”


4 eggs

3 cups sugar

1 quart buttermilk

6 cups raisin bran cereal

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup vegetable oil

5 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until well combined. Stir in

buttermilk, cereal, flour, oil, baking soda, nuts and salt; mix well.

Refrigerate at least 6 hours before using to plump raisins. Fill as

many as desired of your greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds

full. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted

near the center comes out clean. Batter may be stored, covered, in the

refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Yield: 5-6 dozen.


Winner #2…Marsha York

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

This one got me at tortilla strips. And, it’s obviously from a woman who is not wasting any time on presentation! It made me laugh. I guess we should thank Danita Coker (whoever she is) here, too…and even Lecia Eubanks. (We did get an extra recipe -and-a-half here.) Winner Marsha York says “Not in a Crock-Pot..but super easy..and no one will know you didn’t roll out dough for the dumplings. I made this today and instead of canned chicken, I threw 3 frozen breast in the Crock-Pot this morning and they were ready by the afternoon. I used that broth instead of the canned.”

unnamed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I

Winner #3…Allison Nix

Caramel Cobbler 

Ally says “Outrageously tasty. Super easy. What’s not to love? Great for a large group, too, because it’s so rich that a small helping goes a long way.” I agree.

½ c butter

1½ c self-rising flour

1½ c sugar

¾ c milk

1 tsp vanilla 

1½ c packed brown sugar

1½ c hot water

Melt 1 stick butter in 9×13 inch pan. Whisk together flour, sugar, milk, and vanilla, then pour over melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar over top of batter. Carefully pour hot water over butter and batter. Do not stir. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Crockpot Christmas CONTEST!


unknownEvery December The Colley House has a fun contest and give-away. This year’s contest is unabashedly self-serving for me.  Perhaps it will be helpful to someone else who’s got a lot going on this Christmas, as well. Since I’ve got at least four Christmas dinners for which I’m preparing all or a significant amount of the food, I’m asking for your best and most SIMPLE holiday recipes.  Who’s in? Just send me your favorite holiday crock-pot recipe OR a simple tried and true recipe that your family loves around the Christmas table. It can be anything from appetizers to desserts or any dish in between. It can be for your football game gatherings during the holidays or even the cookies you leave for Santa. The key is simplicity! I want recipes that I can make quickly AND that will be popular with the family. (Popular food makes the cook popular, too!)  You can enter as many times as you like and the top three winners will get to choose any two Colley House products at no cost! (There are four new Colley House books published in 2016, so you might want to check those out.) I’ll publish the best of the recipes and I’ll think of you all while I’m cooking those holiday meals. (I know I could go to Pinterest, but I love sister recipes because they’re sort of a like a long distance potluck!) Deadline is December 16th at noon. You can email the recipes to So hurry and send me a taste of your holiday! Blessings and much holiday happiness to you and yours!

P.S. I’ll share first. Here’s the recipe for Caramel Popcorn Balls, the traditional tree-trimming snack at the Colley house:

1 box brown sugar–1/2 cup butter–1/2 cup light corn syrup–1 T water–1 t. salt
Mix all that up (you don’t have to melt the butter. Just throw it in there) Microwave all that for 10 minutes. But after five of those ten minutes, take it out and stir it and add 2 tsp. of baking soda.) Then finish microwaving. Then pour over or mix in 3 quarts of popped corn and 1 cup of peanuts. (We leave out the nuts and just add a little more corn, because Hannah doesn’t like nuts) Spread on foil or waxed paper to cool or form balls. (We like the balls and to do this I spread butter on a piece of wax paper and hold this in my hand while I “squish” the ball together. You need something in your hand, because it is very hot when you mold them.) We love these! (The original recipe says microwave 12 minutes, but my microwave burns the caramel at 12 minutes, so I guess you kind of have to play with that!) They are so yum. Ezra left little sticky “Ock-corns” all over the house! He went crazy over them!15250781_961064418549_1488882612686999350_o


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #43–Cooking Times Four

Portrait of happy mother and her daughter cooking in the kitchen

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 43 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

I’m sure you’ve thought of doing this with your kids, but it’s been a real benefit to ministry on several occasions for this family. Every time I make a casserole, a cobbler or a soup of any kind, I multiply all ingredient amounts by four, prepare the ingredients, and then spoon them out into 4-6 casserole dishes (depending on dish sizes), cover them well with heavy-duty foil, and freeze all of them except the one we are having for supper. I usually place the wrapped dishes in individual giant zippy bags to help guard them from freezer burn. I also label the bags with the name of the dish and the instructions for cooking or re-heating the dish. The casseroles and pies are almost always placed in the freezer before the baking, so you can just grab them from the freezer, thaw them and bake according to directions. Soups only need reheating. This is great math for upper-elementary kids, as they multiply the fractions of cups and teaspoons, and it’s great hospitality and benevolence planning for kids (especially daughters) of any age.

I know I don’t need to explain the benefits of this, but here goes. It’s cheaper to buy ingredients in bulk.  It greatly reduces cooking time because it only takes a few more minutes to make four casseroles than it takes to make one. When you do four meals at the time, you have one mess to clean up instead of four. 

But the biggest plus for me is being able to take a dish to a grieving family on the spur of the moment or to enjoy time with visiting family or friends instead of spending all my time cooking and cleaning the kitchen. It’s great to be able to have food on hand for Sunday dinners or fellowship meals. It’s great to be able to take a meal to someone who has just gotten home from the hospital or to someone who has a sick child. Best of all, your kids are watching and absorbing this active freezer ministry which just becomes a part of your family’s routine. It would be worth the price of my deep freezer many times over just for the consistency of hospitality and benevolence that it afforded our family. Of course we were still not even close to thorough or perfect as we took advantage of having a deep freezer. But still, it was/is a very helpful tool. 

Here are some dishes that work particularly well in the freezer. I’ve included the most recent recipe that I prepared and froze as well. It was very good! Thanks to Diana Shafer in Collierville, TN for sharing! It has already gone to a couple of octogenarians in their home in Tennessee and  to a visiting preacher-student family around our table.

These work well: 

Any kind of soup



Poppy seed chicken casseroles

Chicken, broccoli and rice casseroles

Most pasta dishes (especially if they are creamy)

Ground beef and vegetable casseroles

Dumpling dishes

Cobblers of any kind 

Dump cakes

Enchilada casseroles

Casseroles with crescent roll type crusts/toppings

Homemade Bread (Wrap well in a couple of layers of heavy duty foil or plastic wrap.)

(If a casserole calls for a cracker or potato chip or corn chip topping, add this after you remove it from the freezer.) 

                                                                                  Creamy Chicken


4-8 chicken breasts or 1 chicken

1 pt. sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 8 oz. package Pepperidge Farm dressing mix (may use more)… (Also, I think I used a store brand and it was yum.)

1/4 c.milk

1 can cream of mushroom soup


Cook chicken (boil or cook in microwave). Cool. Remove skin and cut into bite-size pieces. Line 9×13 dish with chicken. (But you can really use any size dishes. cc) Sprinkle with salt. Combine soups, sour cream and milk. Spread this over chicken.Prepare dressing mix according to directions on package. Margarine may be omitted if you do not like rich dressing. Use broth from chicken or chicken bouillon for liquid required in dressing mix. Spread dressing on top of soup mixture. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. May be frozen before baking.  (This is easy and so very good!)


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to SIster: Meringue

Lemon_meringue_pie_(5631639248)I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve failed at making it. Sometimes my meringue has fully qualified as a Pinterest fail.  Seriously. It’s looked like everything from raw egg yolks to day-old  dishwater. That’s why for years—lots of years—I’ve pretended that Cool Whip was just as good. I’ve done puddings and pies with it. I’ve mixed it with powdered sugar and drizzled it with caramel. I’ve layered it with Eagle Brand milk and I’ve mixed Oreos with it. I’ve been Cool Whip crazy because I secretly wanted to forget that meringue was a thing. Even the word started to sound sort of like an omen of failure, rhyming with “slang” and “pang” and “fang” and “harangue”…all words that call to mind situations I’d rather avoid. So, I avoided meringue. Every time I was tempted to try to make that chocolate pie, I found a decadent way around it-usually brownies. Mix, bake, cut—you’re done. Every time that lemon meringue called my name, I remembered those lemon chess bars and pretended they would be just as good. But really, no one can even pretend that Jello and Cool Whip and vanilla wafers are really as good as the real banana pudding.

It was my Dad that prompted me to venture into the world of standing at the counter whipping egg yolks till my wrists were in full carpal tunnel mode and adding cream of tarter and sugar ever so slowly while I imagined over and over that the liquid dripping from that beater was turning into what the recipe described as “peaks”. I’d do almost anything for Dad and he can get excited about banana pudding.

I’ll go ahead and say (and I’m really trying not to brag here) that, after what seemed an eternity tonight, my meringue was perfect. Perfect. It was perfectly white, perfectly light, perfectly peaked, and, when I put it in the oven for five minutes at 350 degrees, it came out perfectly golden toasted. Okay, I’m bragging.

But let me tell you the reasons it was perfect:

  1. I found a recipe where the chef really went into detail about each step of the banana pudding and there were about a dozen pictures of what he was doing all along the way. I found it here:
  2. This chef kept on saying “You can do this.” At every juncture where people mess up meringue, he pointed out the pitfall to avoid, as in “This is where you might over-beat and your peaks will fall. Be patient. You can do this.”
  3. I made up my mind that I was just about as smart as all the other women who can make meringue and, if I really applied myself, surely I could do it, too.
  4. I decided not to think about all those other times the meringue had not worked out.

As I stood there stirring, I thought about how conquering meringue was a little like rising to other challenges, even spiritual ones. I need directions. I need patient people who already know what they are doing to model the tough parts of Christian living  for me.  I need their reassurance and encouragement. I need them to show me what successful Christianity looks like. I need a picture.

I need all those Biblical examples of faith. I need to look at ordinary people who did extraordinary things by faith. I need those people who “died in faith not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off”. I need that great cloud of witnesses. I need Hebrews 11. If they could do it, surely I can, too. After all, they were serving in faith before the empty tomb. I have a great advantage.

And, like Paul, I need to “forget the things that are behind me and press toward the mark of the high calling” (Phil. 3:14). I need to forget all the “fails” and focus on the future. I need to keep heaven firmly in my distance vision.

Surely, by His grace, I can do this. And it will make my Father happy.