Thursday, January 23, 2014

Crystal's Dill Pickles Recipe


* 8 pounds 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
* 4 cups white vinegar
* 12 cups water
* 2/3 cup pickling salt
* 16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
* 8 sprigs fresh dill weed
* 8 heads fresh dill weed


1. Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink (I use the bathtub!) with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required. Sterilize 8 (1 quart) canning jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
3. In each jar, place 2 half-cloves of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 pound). Then add 2 more garlic halves, and 1 sprig of dill. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar's rims of any residue.
4. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process quart jars for 15 minutes.
5. Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.

Transformation Begins With Confession

"Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there." 1 Corinthians 7:17

I was talking to a friend this evening and we were discussing inner peace and the long journey we have taken to be covered with the peace we have now. One of the things we both agreed on is how confession nourishes our relationship with God. Not only does it nourish it but it enhances our peace in Him. One of the biggest things I had to come to terms with when I handed over my whole life to God was the sin from my previous years. I look back now and it is safe to say, I was a TOTALLY different person back then. I can't even believe some of the choices I made or how I treated others. I dwelled on those choices for so was when I finally confessed to God all my sin that I felt complete peace. Sure, I knew that He already knew but me ignoring my sin was putting a wall in between us. My sin that I was trying to look past and just "move on" from was hindering my relationship with Him. Why? Because I was ashamed and I knew that He knew all the ugly in me, so how could such a pure God love such a mess like me? 

The day I finally laid it all out for Him was the day I felt complete freedom and that was the day I was able to really turn my life around. It was the day I said goodbye to those old characteristics and say hello to the true gifts of God and my TRUE character. I was able to accept the gifts that were being overshadowed by my sin. The gifts I KNEW were inside myself. Once I confessed and released it all to Him and received His mercy, I was able to share His love and give to others with a pure heart.

"Open your hearts to the love God instills....God loves you tenderly. What He gives you is not to be kept under lock and key, but to be shared." ~ Mother Teresa

The most amazing gift we can give to others is a heart of service. Once we receive His mercy and love, we open our hearts to so many possibilities.  My heart wants to set the world on fire for Him and I was unable to share the love of Christ when I, myself, was unable to fully receive it.  I know He is still preparing me to carry out His ultimate plan for my life and that's ok.  He has been molding my heart for a while now.  My relationship with Him has grown so strong, so much that I cannot even believe who I am now as opposed to who I used to be. He is changing my heart and how I view things so much that it amazes me the power He has if we just ask. I asked for a humble heart and a selfless spirit and He is transforming me into the woman I have always wanted to be and the woman I knew He put me on earth to be. 

Confession, forgiveness, prayer, and mercy are so would be amazed at what He can do with our hearts if we just seek and ask for the transformation!!!