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Hodge Podge Casserole


By definition a casserole is a compilation of ingredients cooked slowly to develop the flavours fully. Then there's the other type of casserole known as leftovers plus everything including the kitchensink. We're very conscious of not wasting food and will generally eat leftovers the next day. By the third day however the dogs get lucky. We often make a big batch of Bolognese sauce and freeze portions which can then be transformed into cottage pie, lasagna etc. Last night we used the remains of the day before's cottage pie to make another concoction of sorts with the addition of parsnips, chick peas (of all things) and even leeks. Served the lot with a creamy spinach side dish. Not exactly ha...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  71 Hits

7 Real Reason Why You May Be Stuck in Life

We seem to miss the point of life when we fail to understand God's intent for creating human beings and that there is a guide to how we can and will overcome all obstacles life throws our way. The Bible is the only source of transformational teachings that allow room for us to grow, and offer specific answers to life's most challenging problems. But how does one go about finding such answers to a very complex life and often caught up in a series of unfortunate events? Well, this is why consistent Bible study, a heart wide open to receive, believe, a desire for change, and the ability to be patient, is the only way to truly see results. The Real Reasons Why People are Stuck in Life The real r...
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  91 Hits

The Golden Goose


Today at the local village market, I ordered my Christmas goose. What a delight to choose between a white fat bird, another variety which is more elongated like a duck or the smaller Guinea variety which is dark feathered and comes in at around 3.5 kilos. I asked about the fat content as goose fat is positively the best for chips and was assured that the fat will be plentiful. So delivery on 23 December just after dawn in the village square. Only in France does one wax lyrical for several minutes about food. And the same supplier sold me a half dozen eggs laid this morning. The chickens didn't lay last week as it has been cold and wet plus they're losing their feathers which means they're ge...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  91 Hits

Thank you Bees


The month of November reminds us to be grateful for the little things. Can you imagine Thanksgiving dinner without vegetables, salad, green beans, potatoes, pies or even the centerpiece of flowers? Without bees there wouldn't be honey-roasted carrots, or honey-mustard dressings, all-important herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. The delicious and festive holiday would be bland and rather boring. Of course, the bee is not responsible for our cooking or dull and dreary relatives. 😁   Here’s a little poem I wrote about bees. Every year, they forget. Arms flailing, they live in fear. Our hive abuzz with laughter. But not for long. Little guy in our garden next to a small twig. Joyful...
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  76 Hits

4 Things Every Culturally Intelligent Leader Knows

Being a leader is no easy feat. Let’s be clear, leadership and management are two very different approaches to occupying time on earth. It’s time we examine what we are truly up against when we demand action from leaders within the home, at work, in churches, in our community, and within the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government respectfully. How can we expect those we call leaders to lead when they don’t know? What seems to be occurring is, leadership is being miscommunicated as managing. Though some people are gifted as managers, it is leadership, sound leadership which improves the lives of all people, not just a chosen few. Is everyone born to lead others? While this...
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  75 Hits

One of the strangest things I've seen....


...a 'pigeonnier', or pigeon coop, handcarved out of stone in the attic of a house once belonging to a former President of France. I am told that birds always come home to roost (when I stupidly asked if they did). Humans therefore differ from their feathered friends as many a man and woman don't sleep in the same bed every night... Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  85 Hits

And The Church Falls Away

THE POSITION Have you ever heard of a sincere preacher, pastor, teacher or anyone in your life span who has ever given you anything without a price? Has anyone ever asked you how you are doing and meant it? Have you ever felt truly loved, regardless of who you are, how much money you have or where you originated from, as in race, creed, nationality? You may wondering right now about the true purpose of the relationship you have with who you live with, are married to, or work for, right? If you are, that's good! You see, life isn't about who you're with, it's about who you are. And who you are determines who you are with. You know, we are judged by the company we keep. THE FALLING AWAY We've ...
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  71 Hits

Why It’s Important For Parents To Tell Their Children About Their Past

THE PROBLEM Can we all agree that in order for a person to fully understand the present and even begin to honor the future, they must understand and reconcile the past? The truth is, we have too many people, young and old who are walking around numb, hurt, guilty, ashamed, confused, hurt, bitter, resentful and extremely introverted simply because no one gave them permission to live. You see, there is more to life than physical food, there is such a thing as spiritual food . Listen there are far more important things that a human being must have which does not involve money or some other bargaining tool. Which is why a child must come to know who God is at an early age. This is the missing el...
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  69 Hits

The Day I Got Off Government Assistance This Happened

THE BEGINNING No one ever truly wants to be a burden, a hindrance or obstacle on someone else’s path to freedom, but somehow life seems to begat circumstances that breed tragedy, chaos, confusion, and a whole laundry list of choices which turns into the lives people end up living. Some people are born into wealth, fame, popularity and influence. Some are born into poverty, shame, guilt, lack, oppression, pain, and pure hell. Who’s to blame? The answer is, it’s not just one person. We are all at fault somehow. Why? Because our ancestors did things that we, unfortunately, have to endure and somehow make atonement for in this life. Is that fair? No. How can we avoid life’s repercussions? We can...
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  74 Hits

Is there anything more evocative?


Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  85 Hits

The Unfortunate Demise of Infidelity Counseling Network: The Struggle Is Real

This makes me incredibly sad. A much-needed nonprofit organization, Infidelity Counseling Network, is closing its doors. This group helped women heal their many infidelity wounds. I became acquainted with them through online networking. We found ourselves in the same “circles” for obvious reasons. It was a pleasure to have been a part of their noble cause, if only peripherally. ICN offered call-in peer counseling with compassion and care. This type of service takes time, dedication, patience, know-how, and money. Unfortunately, people found it difficult to contribute financially to this ideal. Adultery is publicly maligned, yet there is resistance to support its healing and prevention. The s...
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  57 Hits

Preparing for Winter...


...wood is cheap in France due to the plentiful forests. Our trusty wood burner keeps us warm and repels the mice who have all migrated to the neighbour next door (he caught 30 in one week!). Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  101 Hits

A Post of Memes


Thought I'd write a few inspirational memes.  I took the photos too, and don't mind if you share these. Hope you liked this post. I'd love to see your comments. Thank you! Original link
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  88 Hits

La Toussaint


La Toussaint is celebrated on 1st November in France. Across the land, families gather at the graves of their dearly departed and place chrysanthemums, symbol of death. Known as 'flowering of the tombs', generations of families unite in order to remember the dead. France remains a devoutly Catholic country and maintains its traditions which to me, orphan and without siblings, is wonderful to observe. The Catholic faith is also civilising: families abandon their differences for an annual pilgrimage where it is not about them but those who have died. I went to mass last Sunday and as much as I groaned at the priest's extra long homily, the message of loving one another as Christ loved us was n...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  72 Hits

Why Study The Bible

So, why study the Bible? For those of you who went to Sunday or Sabbath school, you know by now it was a requirement of your parents to be a person who God would receive and favor. Yes, going to church or attending regular Bible classes wasn’t simply a chore, it was your parents saying I love you! You see, your parents knew full well that they couldn’t raise you by themselves. Whether they themselves were indoctrinated and went to church out of obligation, they too were also on a journey as you are now, simply because it was the right thing to do. I mean, there could be worse things to do, right? So, let’s explore why bible study, and understanding the Bible is essential for you and me, now ...
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  95 Hits

Tricks or Treats?


Halloween is a fun time to celebrate life. Death should wait somewhere far away, out of town, on a hill, under a tree, behind a gate, in a cemetery. Sadly, not everyone agrees. Even walking by a few homes here in my neighborhood gives me the creeps. This is an old, actual, cemetery in Julian, California  There are homes around here that could compete with this view. Needless to say, that doesn’t mean we don't honor and remember those who have gone before us. Though our loved ones remain in our hearts and walk with God, it's a special blessing to have days on the calendar set aside for spiritual reflection.  I'm sure you probably know that faith-filled memorials follow all the trick-or-treat ...
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  90 Hits

Savour life the French way...


Today in our weekly village market a new face appeared and the queue at his stall was long. An earthy perfume wafted towards me and the memory of more than thirty years ago sprang back as if it were yesterday. Me poking a stick into foliage at the base of oak trees in forests where hunters wouldn't hear or see you unless you shouted out to alert them of your presence. A ritual after the first heavy rains in October and finally, once the sun would reappear, albeit briefly, off I would go in feverish anticipation, basket in hand. Oh, delectable cêpes, which appear miraculously out of the earth. Local foragers never reveal their secret patch which in some families, has yielded the prized delica...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  76 Hits

Retrograde Heart


There’s a character in my novel, Penniless Hearts who reads her horoscope each morning, to find out whether she’s going to have a good day. Though my characters are all fictional, I knew someone who did the same thing every day. If her horoscope sounded undesirable, this colleague would throw the newspaper to the side, in a quest for something better, and march off to find the competing newspapers. The rest of us would snicker in our cubicle waiting for her to return. We waited, hoping the stars aligned, and she’d be placated by finding something positive in her search for another horoscope. When things went well there’d be stealth thumbs up signs, notifying the oblivious or busier employees...
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  128 Hits

Sometimes we get squashed by life..


...and it can finish us off. But if we have an ounce of life left, with the strongest will we can bounce back. It ain't over 'til it's over. For Rikki and Sita. Er....you lost. On my morning dog walk near my home in France. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  136 Hits

Why Christian Leaders must become Culturally intelligent 

  “Some individuals have high CQ and others don’t, but almost everyone can become more culturally intelligent. Cultural intelligence is uniquely suited for the barrage of cultural situations facing today’s leaders. It includes a set of capabilities needed by leaders in every field. Without it, leaders run the risk of driving their careers and their organizations into obsolescence. But leaders who commit to improving the ways they think, plan, and act through intercultural situations have an unusual edge for navigating the fascinating terrain of our curvy, multidimensional world...." What is Cultural intelligence? CQ is a learned capability that builds on the other forms of intelligence neede...
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  178 Hits