Giving Thanks For The Small Things

Some days I find, it’s easy to lose track of time and place. Easy to forget the small but important things.

Yet, every second my mind is collecting information through the five senses reminding me there is so much more than the daily routine if only I’d stop and enjoy the moment. And those are the moments when memories are made. Those are the moments I never forget.

I’m a reformed workaholic. I used to work from the time my feet hit the floor until I fell into bed again that night. Never mind the breaks. My motto was to work until the job was done.

But in 2007 that began to change. Physical problems kept me from going 24 hours a day. I had to take breaks, pace myself and know when it was time to stop. I learned the world didn’t end when the job wasn’t done at the end of the day. It was waiting for me the next morning. With my slower routine, I began to notice the little things.

  • The melodious song of birds outside my window
  • The different hues painted upon a petal
  • The tranquil beauty of waves as they wash ashore
  • The smell of a slumbering newborn’s cheek when stealing a kiss.
  • The touch of the Master’s hand

And then, there is taste. I thank God for taste buds. Experiencing a new taste for the first time and finding that you like it is pure joy! My newest delight is salted caramel gelato from Fuse on St. Simon’s Island. But my oldest delight is chocolate. And yes, I have thanked God, many times, for chocolate. Anytime I can add chocolate to an old recipe or invent a new one, I do.

The following recipe is one of my favorites. Chocolate Ice Cream! Need I say more?

As before, you can eat it as soon as the churn stops. But this flavor tastes better when poured into popsicle molds or a freezer container and frozen. This gives the flavors time to blend. If you are not a CHOCOLATE fan, you will want to freeze it.

When you take your first bite, remember, close your eyes, allow your taste buds the pleasure of the moment, and thank the Lord for the small things. Enjoy!

Johnson's Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Johnson’s Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Johnson’s Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

2-14 ounces condensed milk
4 ½ cups whole milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa
¼ cup (according to taste) brown/white sugar (your choice)

Blend the cocoa and sugar with the evaporated milk, removing the lumps. Add remaining ingredients to the canister. Place inside the churn and layer with 8 parts ice and 1 part ice cream salt. Churn and enjoy!


Using your five senses—sight, hear, smell, taste, touch—what are some of your favorite small things? Why not offer a praise for them today.



Johnson’s Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Hi, everyone!

It’s that time of year. Time to enjoy the outdoors with family. Honestly, I like nothing better than spending time with my family. And they like nothing better than food!

Today, I want to share a simple and easy family recipe for ice cream that I have tinkered with until I came up with this recipe. It’s the base for several different flavors. Today’s flavor is vanilla. Feel free to add as many toppings as you like. 

Johnson’s Homemade Ice Cream


 Ice cream ingredients

 2 cans condensed milk (any brand)
1 can evaporated milk
4 ½ cups whole milk
2-3 tbsp. vanilla (I go by taste. I don’t measure. I use lots of vanilla!)
1 box ice cream salt (I use pickling salt. I get better results.)
1 large bag ice
 1 ice cream churn


Combine condensed milk, cream, milk, and vanilla in the canister. Stir well Place canister into the ice cream churn. Lock into place. Turn on the machine. If you wait, the ice and the salt can freeze the canister in place and it won’t turn. If this happens, you have to work until you get it to turn or start over. Bummer! So, turn on the machine and begin to layer ice and salt in the freezer bucket—1 part salt to 8 parts ice according to the salt-box.

Layering is an art you learn as you go along. I like to add thin layers of ice with more salt. That way, when the churn stops you can dig in without waiting.

If you like hard ice cream, drain the salt and ice when the churn stops, repack and allow to harden 1 hour, or pour ice cream in a freezer container and freeze.

This recipe makes half a canister because we like it fresh, not frozen. So we make enough for one afternoon and eat it all day long! If I were making a full canister, I would just double everything.

And there you have it. Simple. Easy. Delicious. A great way to spend the afternoon with family.




Crossing the River

In the book of Joshua, the priests were commanded to stand in the river, and the Bible said the flood waters of the Jordan rose upon a heap and they passed over on dry ground. Afterward, the Lord commanded that stones be taken and set as a memorial, a testimony to coming generation.

window2I have a memorial. It’s a sixty-year-old window hanging on my dining room wall—a—reminder of character building years. During those five years, we were stripped of everything but the absolute necessities.

It was “through” that time, I learned how to “to trust in Him” and “pour out my heart before Him” as Psalms 62:8 tells me to do. And when I became overwhelmed and felt as if the flood waters would overtake me, He comforted me. He whispered hope and encouraged me amid my troubles. He didn’t remove me from the situation, but He gave me the strength to cross to the other side.

It wasn’t an easy journey, by no means. But I came to understand that all seasons are necessary if I’m to grow. Something else I learned was seasons change. I will not stay in the place I’m in at the moment, for He promised I’d cross the river and take new ground.

Maybe you’re in transition. Maybe you’ve been stripped of everything but the necessities. Maybe you’re on a Spaghetti-O budget. Or maybe you’re without a car—pennies have become precious to you. Maybe you’re in a new field, uncertain and feeling vulnerable. Maybe you’re wondering if you’ll ever see the other side of the river.

Trust in the Lord. He never fails. Just as Joshua and the children of Israel crossed to the other side to claim the promised land, you will cross to the other side, too.

And when you do, I encourage you to write it down, or as I did, take part of that which helped mold you and hang it somewhere as a reminder. Then, when hard times come knocking again, and they will, remind yourself of the past victories and stand assured of this one thing: He is with you.

Fear not. Take courage. You’re not alone. Someone is praying!