Archive for the ‘Personal for the Smids’ Category
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
My Mom’s Pumpkin Pie
From the farm in rural South Western Kansas
Every year I make Pumpkin Pie. I love the flavor, the creaminess and the crust mixed with it all. On this special day I also use “real” whipped cream. Ummm. Nothing like the rich thick flavor of the real thing. But something else that is really special for me is the recipe. I use my mothers ingredients for the pies that were made all through my childhood.
The secret ingredient is Molasses. Her pumpkin pie had a dark rich sweetness that was unlike all of the others. It is easy to make and tastes so good! (If you want the recipe – click here)
I have always had a really complicated relationship with my mom. My life was deeply wounded by some of the dynamics of our relationship and at times it is hard for me to think positively about it allt. But, after all, this is Thanksgiving and we are supposed to be thankful!
So, this is one way for me to be thankful.
My favorite meal is spaghetti. Once again, I make my mom’s recipe. It is nothing like anyone else’s sauce. It also has a secret ingredient that makes it different! I won’t tell you what that is because to do so would give away the family secret and I might get in trouble! Just kidding, it is Worcestershire Sauce! It also gives a rich unique flavor to an otherwise typical tomato sauce. But, it is something I thoroughly enjoy and it seems that when we invite others to join us for this delicious meal, they also enjoy the flavor.
Yes, my mom has been difficult. I have at times felt jealous of others who had a mother who taught them the love of Christ, sought the Lord for their salvation and promised them good things would come from knowing Jesus. But not for me. My mom didn’t discuss anything of God other than to say her understanding of God was very personal.
But, a few years ago, I realized that my mom did lead me to Christ! Maybe not in the conventional way, but the complications and resulting wounds brought me to my knees in 1982 where I had no where else to turn but to Christ! So, for that I became thankful.
Yes, when I taste of the goodness of Pumpkin Pie each Thanksgiving I think of my mom. When I share spaghetti with my friends, I think of my mom too.
So, this Thanksgiving I want to have a thankful heart for my mom because she did give me some things that have deeply impacted my life. She taught me to “live in moderation”. She gave me a sense of competency early in life because she didn’t do it all for me and asked me to do things for myself. I learned to cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry, wash dishes, buy my own clothes, and build a life of self sustenance. So, it seemed to bog me down at the time, but today I live out of those tools of life every day. For that I am also thankful.
Thank you Lord, for giving me the mom that you did. I found You, and found myself from my life experiences as a result of having the mom I did.
I also want to say “Thank You” to all of youl who pray for us, support us, and receive from the things we do. We love you and are incredibly thankful for our friends and family.
“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.” Romans 1:7-9
Like Paul expressed to the Roman Christians, you are all very special to us. We pray for a time when we will all be together in eternity sharing of the real feast with Jesus.
Have a great Thanksgiving and see if you can see thankfulness in some of the challenges in your life. God can show you what they are.
Mom’s Recipe for Pumpkin Pie
Makes one 9 inch Pie so just double it for two! You’ll probably want enough to share.
1 1/2 Cup Pumpkin
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ginger
2 Tablespoons Molasses
1 Cup Carnation Evaporated Milk
Mix all together in mixing bowl with electric mixer
Pour into a pie shell prepared in a pie dish
Bake for 45 minutes in a 425 degree oven
When serving, top with REAL whipped cream for the fullest experience!
Of course you can use can spray whipped cream, non-dairy topping, or vanilla ice cream.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
As I spend time praying for reaching out to those near to me I ponder who that might be. Who is God leading me to this week, this month? The grounds seemed to have been dry with regards to our seeing new salvations in Christ! But, much to my amazement, God is at work in ways I am not conscious of!
June 9th I was sitting in a prayer meeting with our church fellowship. We were praying earnestly for God to move amongst us. We prayed for those He has placed in our lives and hearts. We prayed for divine appointments and prayed for people by name.
During our prayer time my cell phone vibrated and I looked at it. It was my grandson calling me from Louisiana. We have talked with him some since he left after school was out but this was the first time he initiated a call. I wondered what he may have wanted. Since we talked to him on his birthday on Monday I thought maybe he is feeling the freedom now to call “just because” and I looked forward to hearing what was on his mind.
So, on the way home I called him back. “Hey Devin, did you just want to chat?”
No, Grandpa, I have something very important to tell you. (this means, set aside all other distractions and pay attention!) During vacation Bible school today we went through the Roman’s (what was it, oh yea) and we both said Road. When I got to the top of the hill I stopped by myself and God spoke to me! I asked him what He said and Devin said, “God said “accept” so I did”. I asked him if he had ever heard God speak before and he said, “yes but it was mostly gibberish” but this time it was clear”.
He then began going through things in his bible saying he never understood them before and that he couldn’t pronounce many of those words and names. Then he said, “Grandpa, when I get home, you have to go to a church”. I said, we go to a church, it is just a home group church. He said, “no, grandpa, I mean a building church”. I further assured him that we would be certain to include him in our church where he could grow in his faith.
Our new Celebration Fellowship is a great place for Devin. We have six other kids involved and potentially two more coming who amazingly are between the ages of 8 and 12. (Devin is 10) Boys and girls. We’ve talked about how we are going to put special attention on the development of the kids lives in authentic Christianity and relationship with the adults in our faith. I am thrilled to see Devin become a part of this.
He was very excited about his new relationship with God and I am MORE than THRILLED that he was so excited he had to tell Vileen and I. He knew we would relate to his new faith. After we talked a little more about it all he said, “Grandpa, when did you accept God?”. He is really personalizing this special event in his life which gives me even more hope.
He also told me, “My dad cried when I told him, and it takes a lot to get him to cry!” His dad followed up by sharing about his own experience in accepting the Lord. Devin has many who love him and are praying for him, for which we are very glad.
So, as we prayed, God was already at work in a very special place in our lives. Our Grandson had experienced a very real, significant, God ordained, Holy Spirit led, salvation! Just as we had been praying.
God loves us, hears us, answers us, and moves quite of His own initiative. It is not by our works, but by the grace of a loving God, lest any of us can boast!
(c) John J. Smid 2010
Friday, January 1st, 2010
New Year’s resolutions are not something I have ever really gotten into. However, when my wife and I celebrated our 21st anniversary this last December we made some decisions about how we wanted to spend this next year.
We love people and cherish our friends. We have been privileged to know many awesome people and really love to spend time with them. But, as many would say about our convictions about money, just look at my check register and you will see where my priorities are. It is the same about our relational calendar. We go year after year “wishing” we would have spent the time more with our friends. There are friends we have known for a very long time that we have not chosen to spend time with unless it is a common event or passing by in a store. We feel regretful and know we have missed out because we have ignored initiating more time with them.
So, this year, we are going to take the initiative to act upon our heart’s desire. We are going to choose to invite people into our lives. We will also invite ourselves into their lives! If it is just a stopping by, or a simple pizza night at our house, it is our hope that next New Year’s Eve we can say we were richer because of the time we spent with people that we love.
Then, there are those who we don’t know so well that God has laid upon our hearts. Those folks that we have said, over and over, we need to get with them. Some of these people are struggling with life and we have wanted to encourage them. Others may not be someone who is naturally who we would choose to spend time with but God is nudging us in that direction. We need to make them a priority as well.
So, friends and soon to be friends, look for John and Vileen to interrupt your lives with our smiling faces! For those of you who may not expect it, look for us to “invade” your lives.
Or, if you’d like, give us a call! It is our intention to not spend as much time letting the weeks go by sitting around home in our lazy routine. I do plan on watching American Idol and Biggest Loser but it may be recorded for later.
How about you? Is there someone God is laying on your heart to spend time with? Let’s compare notes in a year.
Monday, October 12th, 2009
(John and Best Man, Rex)
36 years ago today it began then six years later, divorce took it away.
October 12, 1973, I got married for the first time. I was just 19 years old and in many ways I was mature for my age. I had worked for many years to provide for most of my own needs. I cooked, cleaned, and did laundry for myself for many years. I had developed a pretty deep level of independence. I felt deeply convicted about living a moral about life and felt that I had made pretty solid personal choices. I was sexually a virgin and marriage seemed to be the next natural step in life.
Upon our wedding week we found that the state of Nebraska had a waiting period for marriage licenses that we had not known about. So our wedding plans were changed a little! We were married early in the morning of our planned wedding day but not where we had planned. We were married instead, in Iowa at a small church there with only a few in attendance. Our planned wedding would come about later that day and it all went off without a hitch from that point on.
I married Kris, a girl that I had dated in high school. I remember one of our times together as we were getting to know each other. We were driving on the interstate in Omaha and through our conversation, I felt deeply connected to her. I remember thinking, “she can really relate to me”. Our lives were so similar considering our family backgrounds and life experiences that I felt valued because it seemed she understood my pain.
Since I was aware of much of the pain in my life, I remember saying to myself, I will never do to my kids what my parents did to me, divorce and separate our family. I held family values and relationship commitment in high esteem. The divorce in my childhood home was a devastating blow to us all and in no way did I want to repeat that tragedy.
So, I moved on with marriage and life. For three years I spent a lot of my energy remodeling our home. We put forth a significant amount of our time with friends and family. It became time to build our own family. Alysha was born in 1976 and Amanda in 1977. Life seemed to be pretty good overall. I had reached all of my own goals by the time I was 24 years old. They were quite materialistic, a new home, new furnishings, a new car, and the proverbial “big wheels” in the driveway for our kids. But soon, the pain I had been feeling all through the years surfaced in a very unsuspecting way. I had never considered that I would break our marriage vows through adultery but on that fateful night in 1979, I was susceptible to the enemy’s schemes and acted upon my own lustful flesh with another outside of my marriage.
Looking back, if it weren’t for the deeply seated brokenness in my life, our marriage might have survived but as the Song of Solomon says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. (2:15)” The little foxes were not readily seen but very present and came to life much to my surprise and that of many others around me.
In 1979 our marriage changed its course forever and my decision of divorce devastated our home.
I don’t ever forget this date. Each year, I ponder what was, what has happened, where I am today and seek God’s forgiveness and grace all the more. I am woefully aware of my own ability to be selfish, to think more highly of myself than others, and to run from pain.
How can I forgive myself for exploding the bomb of divorce with shrapnel flying all over my family, and myself? Only with the forgiveness of Christ can there be a cleaning of the soul. None of this caught our Heavenly Father off guard. He had made a way for me. He searched out my life and introduced me to His forgiveness and gave me a new life.
It doesn’t change what happened 30 years ago. But, it has given me a foundation of grace to build upon that I didn’t have at that time. I can only pray that He will do the same for each one who was devastated by my choices.
He can do that.
Monday, September 21st, 2009
As I reflect on my recent blog about Sabine Ball and the Lord’s land, I want to share about the most special “Lord’s Land” moment of all, my engagement to Vileen.
Vileen and I had dated for about six months when I moved to California in December of 1986 to volunteer for Love In Action. Leaving Omaha was a challenge and a freedom. A challenge for Vileen and I since we had grown so close. A freedom because our relationship had become strained due to some of my fears of opening up to her further in our relationship. It offered a break from the intensity that seemed to be looming over us.
When I left Omaha, in my mind, our relationship would be in the background of life and I was focused on the new ministry I was working with. We stayed in contact with each other but through a safe mode of telephone calls and letters I found free again to be open with her. However we still seemed to be in limbo with moving forward in the relationship.
After about six months Frank Worthen basically exhorted me to #$%& (not his words) or get off the pot. They felt concerned for Vileen’s heart and my lack of commitment to engage further into the relationship. I saw the wisdom in their counsel. So, with great fear and trembling I went to Omaha with the plan that I would break up the dating component of our relationship.
So, while we were out to dinner, Vileen started the conversation. “John, the Lord told me that I was to let you go and that we were to no longer be in a dating relationship” What?? “Well, Vileen, the Lord told me the same thing.” I came back to California free of the burdens I had carried. Interestingly enough, we continued on with our phone calls and letters.
Vileen knew how much I loved the Faith Cabin at The Lord’s Land. It was a really special place for me to sleep and spend time with the Lord. I had sent her a picture of this favorite place and she took notice of my heart in it. She decided to consign a friend of ours to paint an oil painting of that picture for me as a Christmas present. Vileen didn’t know what to do with the gift considering the change in our relationship. She didn’t know whether to give it to me or keep it. She liked the painting so much she toyed with the idea of keeping it.
When Christmas came she had second thoughts and went ahead and sent it to me as a present. When I opened the gift something changed in my heart. I could see that Vileen cared about what I cared about. She knew my heart’s desires. I began to reflect on our relationship and realized that I did truly love her and that God had led the woman into my life that would become my wife.
The Faith Cabin oil painting showed me Vileen’s heart. The Lord’s Land became the place of our engagement. The Faith Cabin is one of the safe places in my heart I visualize to spend with the Lord!
So, shortly thereafter, I asked Vileen if we could start over and rekindle our relationship. She agreed so we moved forward into a rediscovery of our goals. I decided that I would ask her to marry me that summer during a trip she had planned to bring my daughters to California. I was enthused about her coming and the plans I had in my heart so I wrote a letter to my sister and included in it that I was going to ask Vileen to marry me.
Well….. I had said some other things in the letter that I wanted Vileen to read and absentmindedly copied the whole letter and sent it to her. Little did I know that she now knew my plans but didn’t tell me that she knew.
When the trip came about, we travelled to the Lord’s Land to spend a few days away from the ministry. My kids were there and we began to enjoy the wonderful place that Lord had set aside. I had planned on asking her to marry me there. Vileen loved the sunsets on the ocean which was only a few miles from where we were staying.
In my desire for complete obedience to the Lord, I made a deal with Him. I said, “Lord, if there is a sunset on the ocean, I will know you are in agreement with me to marry Vileen.” The day I was planning on asking her was overcast, dreary and wet. I woke up with FEAR in my heart. “Oh, no, what will I do now?” I just kept praying, Lord, help me, I want to marry her but without a sunset on the ocean – it is off!
As the day progressed I remained focused on my plan waiting for the Lord’s will to be made known. At 5:00 PM we drove to the ocean view. As we got closer something became clear – a sunset began to shine through as the clouds and fog lifted. Wow! This is amazing. God has moved and we are free to go forward.
So, as I planned, I wanted my daughters to feel included and yet we needed some privacy. So, I asked them to take the camera across the road so that they could take pictures of me asking Vileen to marry me. They did and we have a picture of the exact moment!
With the ring, the commitment, and the future before us, Vileen and I married six months later on December 10th, 1988.
The painting has hung in our bedroom since our marriage as a cherished memory of the vehicle the Lord used to draw us together.
Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
December 10th. This is our 20th wedding anniversary. Vileen and I married in Omaha Nebraska with all of our good friends and family surrounding us. Our singles pastor Dennis Franck, the first pastor for both of us when we started walking with the Lord, married us which was a great pleasure.
After our wedding, we jetted off to Hawaii for our honeymoon. We were miraculously given a week at the Hyatt Waikaloa as a travel agent trade off and enjoyed every minute of our time there. It was glorious!
The next 6 months were spent adjusting to a brand new life together. I can’t say it was always glorious but the Lord prevailed in our life and helped us to establish a solid foundation for our married life.
I never knew love before in my life like the love I have for my wife. This kind of love transends lust, fondness, physical pleasure – it is deeper than all of that. I am grateful that the Lord has trusted me with marriage since I messed up my first marriage so deeply.
Tomorrow, Vileen and I will travel to Nashville Tennessee. We will be engaging in the “Country Christmas” events surrounding the Opryland Hotel. We received a gift from a friend that provided for our trip that allowed us to have this time away. We are so grateful to the Lord for His goodness to us.
Well, here’s to another 20 years of God’s grace!
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
Well, God has brought us another challenge to walk through. Yesterday, Vileen informed me that her employer shortened her hours. She will now be working only 2 1/2 days per week. This is what I wrote her:
God is working His will and purposes through all of this. He is moving us in directions of discomfort because He knows that we are sold out to Him and will trust Him with whatever direction He moves us.
Each day is a day of faith and trust. Will we trust Him? I know your heart Vileen, and I know my own, yes we will walk forward no matter what. We have walked with Him through so many things together, this is His trust in us! He knows our hearts and will send us as He will to whatever, wherever, and however He wills, knowing that we will serve Him no matter what.
Amazingly, I am not afraid or worried. He has us in his hands. This is ALL for His glory and for our best.
So, here we go! We are praying for His direction. I have two thoughts that I am praying for – either God wants Vileen to seek other employment that affirms her quality and ability in a greater way, or (here is the scary one) He wants her to work with Grace Rivers Ministry beside me.
Time will tell and we will know His will sooner than later because we cannot afford to have her working part time unless some other opportunity opens up for us.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008
In two weeks, Vileen and I will be traveling to Omaha NE to visit our families. We will spend time with our daughter’s family as well as some good friends. While we are in the Omaha area we will drive to Minnesota to spend time with our good friends in Owatonna.
At this juncture in our lives, every facet of our lives touches the development of Grace Rivers. We have several important meetings on our agenda that we are asking your prayers for. While we look to the future of Grace Rivers we are praying about those who would partner with us in financial and practical ways. We are building a ministry team to assist us in carrying out our mission. We would appreciate your prayers for these two things as we look at our Omaha Trip.
Wisdom for John and Vileen
Financial provision for our personal needs
For Bart (ghost writer) and my book project
Our meetings while in the Omaha area.
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
Phew! God has provided for us! We received financial provision at just the right time. Things were getting a little slim around the Smid household. I deeply appreciate your prayers and thoughtfulness. Keep praying for our finances and God’s wisdom as we continue our pursuit of developing Grace Rivers.
We are praying about some more long term plans for our financial needs and how God wants to direct our path.
Wisdom for John and Vileen
Financial provision for our personal needs
For Bart Green (ghost writer) and my book project
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
I am still experiencing God’s peace however, at this time, Vileen and I are one month behind in my salary from Love In Action. Love In Action has had a very hard summer financially and really needs your prayers to help them and for Vileen and I as we continue in our walk of faith for God’s leading.
The Book Project
I received some work back from Bart, my author. I have to be honest, I wept all the way through it and this is just the beginning. He has very eloquently captured my heart. Please keep Bart in your prayers. He experienced a medical reaction last week that put him out for 10 days. There is such an anointing on this book project that much prayer is needed to make it to the end of this one!
Wisdom for John and Vileen
Financial provision for Love in Action and for John and Vileen
For Bart and the Book project