Hosea & Gomer on Discover the Word

I used to have another blog called Gomertopia. For years, it was home base for the Gomers, the world-wide family of fans of a rock band I love called Third Day. I started the Gomers in 2001. At one time, there were over 40,000 members. They call me Mama Gomer. (The name of this blog, More than Happier, is actually a line from Third Day’s song “Gomer’s Theme”. I’ve always loved line, because it sounds so screwy. I mean, it’s either, “He was happier” or “He was more than happy” not “He was more than happier.” But it’s cute, and I love it, so my title is an homage to Third Day and the Gomers.)

But life being a growing and changing thing like it is, I’ve moved here, and the Gomers home base has moved to Facebook. If you’re a Third Day fan looking for other Third Day fans, check out the Gomer family. They’ll make you feel welcome and loved.

All that to say this: I turned on my radio this morning and Discover the Word was just coming on KHCB. This show is three friends sitting around a table and talking through a Bible study. Their latest study concentrates on sorting through some things in the Bible that may be confusing. Today was the third and final part on the story of Hosea and Gomer from the book of Hosea.

The thing that is confusing about this book is why would God ask a prophet to marry a prostitute? Not a repentant prostitute, but one who still had ideas of continuing her lifestyle, married or not? But God, as always, knew exactly what He was asking Hosea to do. He wanted Hosea’s love for Gomer to reflect His love for Israel, who were prostituting themselves with other gods instead of loving God as their first and only love. It was God letting them see Hosea marry this unclean person who showed him no love or respect, yet he loved and cared for her. Then Hosea could say to Israel, “Do you think my wife is terrible?” and of course they would say, “Yes! You should stone her!” and Hosea could say, “God set this whole thing up to show you how you are treating Him!” and Israel would say, “Whoa…” You get the idea.

You can listen to all three parts of the discussion of Hosea and Gomer on the Discover the Word website, but the part that will really touch your heart is the third and final part. Click the link and give it a good listen. (It’s only about 13 minutes long.) You might need a tissue or two when you hear how much God loves you. It’s an amazing story that will give you some insight into the depth of God’s love.

Cookies for Breakfast!

Got to admit, this is what I had for breakfast this morning. (What? They’ve got eggs & flour in them, same as eggs & toast or pancakes, right? Cue Bill Cosby’s “Dad is great! Gives us chocolate cake” bit.)

After I posted my chocolate chip cookie recipe (below), my son J texted me, “Do we have the stuff to make cookies?” I thought that was quite the coincidence, but no. Seems J’s sweet girlfriend Andi read the blog, and it made her crave the cookies. So of course, J jumped to his feet to make some for her.

No, seriously. He’s just that kind of boyfriend, and it thrills me no end! I’m happy to say both my boys have learned much from their father about how to treat their woman. They are such caring boyfriends. Makes me happy, and makes Hubby proud.

So yesterday J made these cookies for Andi…and he let us have a few. They are so big and fluffy, I just couldn’t pass them up this morning. Now Andi and I are wondering if this would work for other things, like say I blog about ironing. Andi reads it and says, “Sigh, that reminds me. I have a few shirts I need to iron, but I just haven’t found the time.” Will J jump up and do it for her?

Never underestimate the influence of a good woman, nor the willingness of the man in love with her.

Better Chocolate Chip Cookies

If there’s one thing I can make really really well every time, and there’s really only one thing, it’s chocolate chip cookies. 

I get a lot of compliments on my cookies. People seem to think they are something special. I started making them when I was a teenager, and taking them to rock bands that I liked. I still do that from time to time. Mostly I make them for my kids…and myself. To tell the truth, our favorite part is the dough! 

I use the Toll House® recipe on the back of the NESTLÉ® Chocolate Chip package, but with a couple of changes. The first change my mom made back in the 60’s. Toll House cookies are amazing, but they tend to be flat, not fluffy. So Mom added more flour, adding 2 ½ cups instead of 2 ¼ cups. That gave the cookies more body.

When I started making them for my family, I changed the two sticks of butter or margarine to one stick of Butter Flavored Crisco® (both equal 1 cup). The Crisco fluffs the cookies up quite a bit!

Here’s our changed recipe.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks of butter or margarine 1 stick Butter Flavored Crisco sticks (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in medium sized bowl. Mix lightly with a fork. In a large bowl, with a fork or electric mixer (I use a fork. Easier to clean up afterwards, and you won’t over-mix them.) Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. (I dump it all in at once.) Stir in chocolate morsels and nuts (optional). Drop by rounded tablespoon onto lightly greased baking sheets. (I take a stick of butter and use it to grease my Air-Bake cookie sheet. The Air-Bake sheet keeps the bottoms from burning. You only have to grease it before the first batch. It’ll stay greased after that.)

3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Pan Cookie Variation: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars. 

Slice and Bake Cookie Variation: Prepare dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen 

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks. 

Everything to Everybody (or We’re All Superwomen, Right?)

When I started this blog, the idea was to post three to five times a week. Hubby thought that was a tad ambitious, but I said I wanted it to be alive and consistent. Well, consistency has never been one of my strong suits, and here it’s been a week with no posts at all.

Remember my mom? Being about as coordinated as I am, she tripped over her ottoman and broke her wrist. So for the past couple of weeks, especially last week, I’ve been playing chauffeur, nurse, helper, maid, etc. to my mom.

She has kept me very busy.

That’s what kids are for, right? …to take care of their parents in their old age? I think I read that somewhere. And I hope when it’s my turn to be the one who needs help, my kids will happily and not begrudgingly do the same for me.

Really, I don’t mind that much. We have fun. I mean, I’d run her all over the city three days a week, and relax and love the weekends with Hubby and the kids and pets…if the house and laundry and bills and everything else magically kept themselves up.

But they don’t. I have to find a way to do everything and be everything to everyone who needs me. (Cue the laughter/big sigh/guffaw/head shake/etc. of all those who read this and feel the same way, at the same time knowing it’s impossible, and that we should just cut ourselves some slack.)

I love being with people, and I love to help people, but I also LOVE to be alone. I can’t get any work done if other people are here. I’m too easily distracted. I have to be alone and in the zone. I’m a Mary who loves to just hang out, but with a Martha in my head making me feel guilty for all the work that’s not getting done while I’m being social. (Luke 10:38-42)

Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” but I often wonder, if Martha had sat at Jesus’ feet instead of cooking, and in a little while everyone was hungry…what then? They couldn’t call for pizza delivery.

I’m guessing Martha was a perfectionist (and a bit of a martyr) and Jesus was telling her to get her priorities in order, not to be so consumed with making everything perfect to exclusion of fellowship with those around her. The keyword is “Balance”.

Balance sounds good, but my gears take a real long time to shift. Hubby tells me I should do a little of this and a little of that every day. I can see where he’s right, but I don’t operate that way. It takes me so long to get started on anything that once I do, I don’t want to stop. But I’m working on this balance thing.

So here I am, on one of the two days I have by myself at home this week, and I’m putting on the blinders and not seeing the mess to do some writing. And then the plan is to do some cleaning. And some laundry. And some organizing. And some ironing. And some…well, you get my drift.

I need a clone.

Dirty Soda Cans Hazardous to Your Health?

I was all set to blog about the dangers of drinking from soda cans before you wash them off. It has to be hazardous to your health to drink from a can after rats have peed on it and cockroaches have scurried across it in the warehouse, right?

Turns out, there aren’t really that many dangers. I mean, it’s unlikely that you will die or even get sick if you drink out of a soda can that you didn’t wash off first. At least, according to two trusted sources, Snopes and Myth Busters. Even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (aka the CDC) don’t have anything on their site about what I presumed might be a health hazard.

And that’s good. One less thing to worry about.

I mean, I wouldn’t neglect at least wiping the top of the can off before I drank out of it, just to be safe.

At our house, we keep the soda cans that won’t fit into the refrigerator on the floor of the garage. I don’t think there are many rats in our garage (I hope not!) but I know there are a couple of mice, and just possibly a few (dozen) bugs. And they might be walking across our soda cans when they take their midnight strolls. Maybe even stopping for a potty break atop one of the cylindrical aluminum insect outhouses. Even if our garage was free from creepy crawlies, it’s pretty dusty out there.

And who knows when the stock boy at the grocery store who stocked the shelf with my Vernor’s Ginger Ale last washed his hands?!  *shudder*

So I wash the tops of my cans, and the side where my mouth is going to be, before I open the can, just for my own piece of mind. Even if it just gets the dust from the garage off, a little soap and water never hurt anyone or anything.

Except…be sure to rinse it well before you open it. Last Tuesday I didn’t, and soapy ginger ale ain’t no good for nobody. Yuck.

Quick Tip: Quicker Breakfasts

There’s nothing I love for breakfast better than soft tacos with eggs, potatoes, cheese, and salsa. They are one of my comfort foods. But they are not quick to make because the potatoes take a while to prepare. So, when I have time to make a nice breakfast, I make extra potatoes. That way, I’ve got some to use for the rest of the week. This allows me some variety in the mornings. I can have tacos, omelets, or just eggs with potatoes on the side, and all I have to do is make the eggs and zap the taters in the microwave, or just throw them in the pan with the eggs.

Do you have any quick breakfast tips?

It’s a Kind of Magic

From time to time on this blog, I’m going to talk about products I’ve used and really like or disliked.

In my lifetime, no product has blown my mind like the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. I’ve never seen anything work like these little babies do! I’m convinced they either have some kind of acid in them that is taking off a layer of the surface of whatever they are cleaning, or they really are magic! Since they don’t ask you to wear gloves when using them, and they have not taken off a layer of my skin, I’m thinking the former explanation is out. That leaves magic.

Now I know you don’t believe in magic, not the actual Bewitched style wiggle-your-nose-and-it’s-clean kind of magic. (Wouldn’t that be awesome?!) But whatever these things have in them really works, and I’ve got pictures to prove it.

I told you about cleaning my son A’s bathroom in my last post. Well, let me fill you in on the details of that one, specifically the bathtub.

The condo A shares with two other boys who attend the University was purchased last year by one of the boy’s parents. From what I understand, prior to their buying it, another houseful of students lived like…well…college boys, in it. It was a mess. When we came to help move A into the condo, Mrs. Condo Owner was scrubbing the bathrooms, a job I did not envy her and would not have attempted without a hazmat suit.

I know for a fact that Mrs. Condo Owner scrubbed her heart out in those bathrooms. She scrubbed until they were clean and shiny and sanitary and smelled like bleached white springtime. She used most of the same cleaning products I use at home and the same scrubby sponge, and I could tell from the sweat on her brow and the huffing and puffing that she put some serious muscle into it. But the bottom of the bathtubs laughed at her in resistance, and held tight to their black stains.

It’s that coating the manufacturers put on the tubs to give you a little traction so you don’t slip. That coating grabs hold of every bit of dirt it can and never lets go. 

And that, my friends, I took as a personal challenge.

That is why I was so anxious to have some time alone with A’s bathtub. I wanted to show it who’s boss. I wanted it to say hello to my little friend, Mr. Clean. I knew he’d do his Magic, and that tub would have to give up its hold on those stains.

Here is how the tub looked before I sought to bring it to justice. This is not dirt, but stains.

My first strike was with another product I love, Mr. Clean Disinfecting Bath Cleaner with Febreze Freshness, which is quite a mouthful to say, but works well. I like it better than anything I’ve used for cleaning showers and tubs, because it gets the soap scum that traps the dirt and the dirt without needing a separate soap scum spray. I also used my old standby, Comet Cleanser .

First, I cleaned the shower walls with the Mr. Clean spray and the business end of a Scotch Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge. After I rinsed the walls, I sprayed the tub with the Mr. Clean spray, let it set for a minute or two, and then sprinkled Comet on top of it. (Manufactures will probably tell you not to do this, but I didn’t notice any fumes from it.) Then I scrubbed that tub to within an inch of its life…or mine.

It was like night and day! Or actually night and dusk. The Mr. Clean spray combined with the Comet cleanser had really tackled the build-up. But it was still stained quite a bit.  

Time for the finishing touch, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber. I actually could have cleaned the entire thing with this product, but I thought it’d be easier to take it in stages with different products.

There are a couple things you need to know about the Magic Erasers. As you use them, you actually use them up. The sponge will get smaller and smaller, and pieces will fall off of it. Just gather up those pieces, stick them under the rest of it, and get as much out of every bit of that sponge as you can. I’ve even stuck the small pieces under a regular sponge and scrubbed with them that way. It gets a little awkward towards the end, but it’s worth it to use up every molecule of each Magic Eraser as best you can. Even the tiny pieces clean better than anything else. All you have to do to use them is wet them with water, and rinse them out when they get dirty. Also after you use them, rinse or wipe the surface you used them on, as they sometimes leave a bit of a white film or pieces of sponge behind.

So I scrubbed the tub I had just scrubbed with the spray and cleanser, but now with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I scrubbed until the Magic Eraser had completely disintegrated, and the tub was whipped entirely into submission.  

The tub looked like new! It was a miracle! Well, a miracle wrought by human hands and chemical products, but a miracle nonetheless. I stumbled out of that bathroom sweaty, sore, and TRIUMPHANT!  I had risen to the challenge and conquered those stains. And I proved to myself that Mr. Clean products can clean just about anything. Nice to have products in my arsenal that work so well.

To add a disclaimer, this post is not sponsored by any of the products mentioned, so you know I’m telling it like it is. I have nothing to gain from this, but the weird pride I get from showing off that shiny bathtub. 

I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.

Jani Ortlund