Visions of hope

By Don Bingham

Most of us spend time reflecting and visioncasting during the month of January — maybe a little dieting thrown in the mix, as well! For me, it is a time of introspection, moving past regrets, and a time accessing the important things and how to encourage those around me. 

I also love reading, and the following quote from Samuel Davies (17231761) has guided me through the past years and will do so in 2021.

I have a peaceful study — a refuge from the hurries and the noise of the world around me. The venerable dead are waiting in my library to entertain me and relieve me from the nonsense of surviving mortals! 

Whether it’s reading a magazine article, a recipe, a book, or Scripture — it’s so comforting to bring into focus those aspects of time and the new year that will propel me into hope and not despair. Listed below are ten of my choice “guideposts” that I must return to, not only at the beginning of every new year, but at the beginning of every new day! 

1. We exist for God.

2. Our thoughts of God are too human (Luther). 

3. Pray TO God, not AT God. 

4. The Holy Spirit is God, too! 

5. Keep confession up-to-date.

6. Cultivate silence.

7. Know experimentally the Omnipotence of God .

8. Read!

9. Worship!

10. Breathe. 

Whereas this “happy new year” message is more focused on valuable food for thought — I have included a few of my favorite recipes that will make a regular appearance on our family culinary table. Oh yes, and in conclusion, Happy New Year and we pray great hope for you in 2021!

Bean Soup 

A new twist to hearty chicken soup. 

1 fryer cooked, deboned 

1 cup dried beans 

5 cups chicken broth 

1/2 cup chopped celery 

1/2 cup chopped onion 

1/2  cup chopped carrots 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 

1 bay leaf 

1 tablespoon catsup 

1/2 teaspoon dried whole basil 

1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano 

Sort and wash beans, place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above beans; let soak overnight. Drain beans and combine with 5 cups of chicken broth, celery, onion, carrots, parsley, a bay leaf, basil and oregano; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, or until both are done. 

Add catsup and chicken; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Makes about 5 cups. 

Grilled Chicken Salad 

Cube or dice 2-3 cups cooked, grilled chicken 

Chop 1 bunch of green onions 

2 stalks of diced celery 

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds or pecans 

Water chestnuts, halved (optional) 

DRESSING 

for Chicken Salad 

1/4 cup granulated sugar 

1/4 cup white vinegar 

1/2 cup salad oil 

1/2 cup orange 

1/2 cup sour cream 

2 tablespoons honey


Toss salad ingredients with dressing; serve on lettuce leaf. 

Hot Almond Tea

6 cups water 

1 cup sugar 

Juice of 3 small, or 2 large, lemons 

2 1/2 teaspoons almond-extract 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix well. Heat thoroughly in a non-metal pan. Do not boil. Serve hot.

Don Bingham