Photo by Susie Reuter

This recipe is great for summer, I like to make the marinade the night before. When I get home from work, I put the shrimp in the marinade while the grill is preheating. It’s ready in 15 minutes! Goes great with simple white rice on the side.

2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 fresh limes, cut into wedges

For Sauce:
7 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare the paste by first mashing together garlic gloves and salt. Add juices, let sit 20 minutes. Place the olive oil in  a small saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. When small bubbles form, add garlic/citrus mixture to the pan and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat grill on high to 550 degrees. Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with oil Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Place shrimp on oiled grill, cook 5 minutes or until outside is bright pink and the inside flesh is white. You do not need to turn it over. Place on platter, garnish with lime wedges and serve with sauce.


Sharon M. Knudson

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a plaque that says, “Prayer changes things” on my bedroom wall. I wonder how many hours I’ve spent lying in bed, staring at that motto.

Over the years, I’ve sometimes wondered about the effectiveness of my prayers. Sometimes it seems like long-term problems will never go away. I’m apt to tell myself, “Nothing will ever change. The situation is hopeless.” I’m sure that motto was meant to be an encouragement to people, but when there doesn’t seem to be any change in sight, it stabs me in the heart. What am I doing wrong? I ask myself. Why aren’t my prayers working? Why is the world in such a mess?

That’s when I need to remind myself that it does no good to focus on the prayers themselves. What I should be focusing on instead is my loving heavenly Father.

Perhaps the plaque should be changed to read, “God changes things!” That would put the emphasis where it belongs. It’s not my correctness in wording, or my prevailing attitude, or my trying to please God that gets my prayers answered. It’s not my strength and perseverance (or the pitiful lack thereof) that makes Him listen to me. Sure, there are many factors that enter in, but only God determines what they are. He has promised to hear and answer our prayers, but He alone decides when and where and if and how He will answer.

God changes things! He is our all-powerful, almighty Benefactor. Full of mercy and loving kindness, He is to be honored and praised. Prayer is not a magic formula that we can tap into to make things happen our way. It’s not a list of requests we make to a “butler in the sky.” Let’s make sure we keep our focus off the characteristics and logistics of our praying—and on the God of Heaven and earth who sovereignly responds. Then He will change things!

“Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:1-3).

Mary Fran Heitzman

My friend, Gretchen, recently gave me a 365-day devotional book by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson, 2004). The title is “Jesus Calling.” Each devotional is written as if Jesus is speaking directly to the reader. Though I do my best to “trust in the Lord with all my heart,” the March 4 entry really resonated with me. This is what Sarah/Jesus has to say:

“REFUSE TO WORRY! In this world there will always be something enticing you to worry. That is the nature of a fallen, fractured planet: Things are not as they should be. So the temptation to be anxious is constantly with you, trying to worm its way into your mind. The best defense is continual communication with Me, richly seasoned with thanksgiving. Awareness of My Presence fills your mind with Light and Peace, leaving no room for fear. This awareness lifts you up above your circumstances, enabling you to see problems from My perspective. Live close to Me! Together we can keep the wolves of worry at bay.”

My Death He Died

Sharon M. Knudson

The only down-side to the Easter season is that it involved a death. It’s a given that Jesus had to die in order to be resurrected, but how often have we stopped to consider that we, too, must die in order to live the resurrection life?

Scripture tells us that as believers in Christ, we must die to ourselves. That means we must continually identify and confess our sin. The spiritual goal Jesus has in mind for us was clearly expressed by the Apostle Paul, who said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

If we will seriously contemplate Jesus’ death and resurrection, we’ll come to understand that a faith-response is required. This is more than pausing for a quick glance at the cross, making some casual observations, and then carrying on as usual. Instead, we need to stand like the disciples did and really, really look into the empty tomb. If we do, we’ll find ourselves asking some serious questions:
1) Will I truly believe that Jesus is alive and relevant today?
2) Will I take a good look at myself in order to identify and confess my sins to God?
3) Will I accept the fact that Jesus wants a relationship with me even though He’s physically absent?
4) Will I converse with God and worship Him in spirit and in truth?
5) Will I honor Jesus by living the Christian life even at the risk of being ridiculed for it?

One of the hymns Christians sing on Good Friday ends with these words: “My debt he pays, My death he dies, that I might live, that I might live.” Have a blessed Easter season, and remember to take Jesus’ death and resurrection to heart.

Naan Bread

Recipe and Photo from Susie Reuter

Naan is a delicious bread, served for dipping or stuffed with a variety of meats and vegetables. Topping can also be placed on top of the bread, such as hummus or artichoke dip. Naan is like pita, yet softer and larger.

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1  1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
Measure 3/4 cups warm water in a measuring cup. Add sugar and yeast. Allow yeast to soften and stir until yeast is dissolved. Cover measuring cup with towel and allow yeast and water to froth for 5-10 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast water, yogurt, and shortening and begin to knead for 5-10 minutes until a dough forms. Place dough in bowl coated with oil and turn dough around to evenly coat. Cover bowl with towel and allow to rise in a warm area for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide dough into 10-12 pieces and roll out on floured surface into circles. Place rolled out dough on greased cookie sheet and brush with melted butter. Cook in oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned and puffed up. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight plastic bag for 7 days. Also can be frozen.

Mary Fran Heitzman

Here in the cold north country of Minnesota, we’ve trudged through a loooong, snowy winter and we’re ready for spring! We yearn for thunder, lightning, winds and rain that will sweep our landscape clean—as long as we know we’re safe from the storm. We’ll hang out on our front steps and watch the thunderheads roll in, and then we’ll take shelter when refreshing raindrops pellet our arms and face.

None of us, though, eagerly anticipate the storms of life that shake us to the core. But come they will, and then, even if we haven’t talked to God for a long time, we’ll cry out to Him. But what will we say? Will we praise God or will we despair?

If you haven’t heard the song “I Will Praise You in This Storm” from the group, Casting Crowns, here is a bit of the lyrics:

I was sure by now
that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say, “Amen”
and it’s still raining.

(There are several verses but we can’t post them here because of copyright laws.)

Chorus: You’ve never left my side
And though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

This is a mighty strong spirit of praise. If you haven’t heard the entire song, take a little trip to http://www.YouTube.com and search for “Casting Crowns” or “I Will Praise You in This Storm.” It could be the most inspirational four minutes of your day, and I’m sure that no matter what your circumstances, you will be moved to praise Him in whatever storm you find yourself.

Lemon Asparagus

Recipe and Photo by Susie Reuter

I love asparagus, but usually only buy it a few times a year when it is on sale. Otherwise, it is often over $5.00 per pound. Instead of traditional steaming, I almost always prepare it on the grill, using a flat, unpierced 8×8 piece of foil as a “pan”, so the butter does not drip through onto the flames.

1 lemon, halved
1 pound asparagus, washed and 2 inches cut from bottom stems
1 – 2 tablespoons butter or butter substitute
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Place foil on grill, crimping up edges, then preheat indoor or outdoor grill on high for 5 minutes. While grill is heating, cut lemon in half, then cut 4 rounds off of one piece. Set the rounds aside to garnish when done. Cut asparagus pieces in half.

Place butter on foil (on grill), spread around a little. Place asparagus in butter, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While asparagus is cooking, squeeze the remaining lemon half over it and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately garnished with a lemon round, serves 4.