Monday, December 27, 2010

Off The Deep End....

Hi ya'll. How is everybody? Long time no blog, I know. I've been very busy being very busy. I've also been in kind of a funk, but I'm pretty sure that's over. Christmas was fab. How 'bout you?

So, I've been seeking God on what 2011 is going to be about and I'm pretty excited about the direction He is pointing me. By excited, I mean, 90% excited and 10% scured.

I've been sensing for awhile that God wants the theme of 2011 to be depth. Every song I hear, every book I read, every where I turn, I keep hearing deep, depth. I won't even begin to pretend that I really know where He is going with it, but I'll tell you this: I know it's gonna be good.

I know our relationship is going to go deeper. (My relationship with God, not you dearest blog readers. reader?) I am learning a lot and I hope He will help me apply, understand and put it all into consistent practice.

I am finally in a place where I am fostering deep friendships again. After I had my daughter, many of my friendships changed and some of them even ceased all together. So sad for me. About two years ago, God told me He had some new friends lined up and well, wow. He is blowing my mind. I am very much a "deep calls to deep" sort of person, especially where friendship is concerned. God has brought multiple people into my life that fit the bill for that type of friendship, and let me just tell you.... I am excited.

The next element of the year of depth is less exciting. I'm getting the sense that God wants to do some heart surgery on me this year. I understand "dying to self" as a theory, but I can't say I am truly living the life Paul describes. There are many selfish layers that need to be peeled off, and well.... Yikes. I know it's one of the main road blocks to a deeper maturity that God is calling me to, so... here goes nothin'.

Last year, (probably Sept. of '09) I started reading in Genesis and really wanted to make it through the entire Bible by the end of 2010. I did not. I'm not ashamed of myself, though. I read more of the Bible this year than I ever have in any other year. I read the majority of the New Testament, and I made it to I Chronicles in the Old. I will keep on keepin' on with that, but I think this year - I want to dig deeper, rather than focusing on getting through all of it. I want to start studying, as I feel led, and I want God to begin to show me His heart where many of my questions are. I could easily go read a book on different issues that I don't understand, but then I would just be getting some other "man's" interpretation of Scripture, and I'd really rather hear what God has to say to me about certain things. I have no idea what I'll even study, but I trust God has a plan and that He'll issue the memo when He sees fit. ;)

I also hope to explore some sort of mentor relationship. I'm hoping to find two or more older women in the faith that can be a sounding board and source of encouragement. I know that I know that I know that I need strong women to guide me in this journey. I will not attempt to be a lone ranger!! Again - I have no clue what it will look like, but I believe God has it all planned out, and when it's my turn to know, I will.

There are multiple verses that I've been pondering, some of them for more than a year. I love how God plants a seed and later (sometimes years), Shazam! - He shows you how it all ties together.

I have written down Philippians 1:9-11 multiple times in the past couple of years. (I've been reading through my old journals...) I think it might be THE verse for this year.

Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

I memorized Ephesians 3:16-19about 5 years ago. I wish I could say that I "get it". But I know for a fact that I don't. I hope that this time next year, I have a completely different understanding when I read these words:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Yeah - maybe that is THE verse...

So. I hope to get a chance to share an occasional nugget with you, but I definitely think my blogging days are mostly behind me. Time is such a commodity these days, and I hear it gets worse the older you get. My commitment to a year of depth (which is hopefully the year that changes EVERYTHING) by definition doesn't allow for a lot of blogging. Or facebooking. But don't tell my alter ego who thrives on being told she is funny. She is not going to take that news well...

Until we meet again, consider His deep love for you. It's a game changer. But only if you let it be. I've decided I will.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Christmas Prayer, By Amy Parker Illustrated by Marijan Ramljak

I am excited to recommend A Christmas Prayer, by Amy Parker, illustrated by Marijan Ramlja. It is an absolutely delightful children's Christmas story. It is perfect for young toddlers and even older children. The melodic rhyming will keep even the youngest ones engaged in the story. It focuses on each main character of the Christmas story, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds, etc., and beautifully and simply tells the Christmas story through the eyes of gratitude. Each page has a simple short verse and it ends with a prayer thanking God for the character referenced on that page. It is so refreshing and sweet. The illustrations are also very simple (almost chalk like) and appealing to young children. This is the sort of book I would love to give as a gift. I wish I could afford to buy it for all of my daughter's little friends. I look forward to many nights this month reading this story before bed. It will be a new favorite, I'm sure.

Thank you Thomas Nelson and the BookSneeze Program for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's ALIVE.....

Or, I'm alive, as it were. In the words of Bob Wiley:


It seems I may have over committed a bit this fall. Except that I have every intention to continue with everything I signed up for until May. Awesome.

Speaking of alive... My heart is actually pumping at a decent clip for the first time in weeks. I fell off the running wagon, and didn't have the gumption to chase after it and climb back on. Not that I would have time to run anyway, but if they decide to ditch daylight savings in exchange for adding three hours to our day, I might just be able to wedge it in somewhere.

Looks like the winter exercise regime will consist of turbo worship with Chloe. David Crowder is the sound track. There's lots of jumping and clapping, and well - the baptists would just have a fit. I may be in the market for a bladder lift or whatever they do for you when jumping and sneezing is problematic. Thank you, Eve.

So. Between not running, working, prayer ministry class, Bible study, MOPS, and the 17 other things I've volunteered to participate in (and bring baked goods to), the bloggy blog is probably going to be parked on the back burner. Sad but true.

Hopefully, I'll at least be around occasionally. Gotta vent the funny somewhere.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Busy As a Bee

I have so much going on. All good stuff, but it still leaves me feeling like there isn't time for extra things.

Like blogging.

That makes me sad.

Be back when I get a free minute.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fruit of Righteousness

I've been reading through my prayer journal and two days in a row I've been struck by a passage of scripture I felt God wanted me to focus on for this year. Philippians (one of my favorite books, by the way...) 1:9-11 says ~

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

What stands out to me in this passage is what results from the abounding love. We are filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. We don't produce the fruit ourselves. We are filled with it. It's not our efforts, but what Christ can do. It's always about Jesus, and never about ourselves. How different would your life be, if you lived according to that? Mine would be unrecognizable. Here's hoping no one knows who the heck I am, sooner than later.

Friday, September 10, 2010

One Hand, Two Hands By Max Lucado, Illustrated By Gaby Hansen

One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado is a precious children's story about how we can help others with our hands. It is illustrated by Gaby Hansen and she has added so much to the story through her whimsically detailed pages! Each page has beautiful, colorful pictures that would capture the attention of any child. This book is a delightful bedtime story, just perfect for very young children who are in the process of learning about how to use their hands. The message of using our hands as a blessing to our family and friends will be well received by families of all kinds.

My two year old daughter and I loved it. It is perfectly age appropriate for her and ties in quite well with what we have been learning and doing around our home. She connected well with the lesson of the book and I would recommend it to anyone with small children. This one is a keeper! It will be on our book shelf for years to come!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Legitimate Work From Home Jobs

They're out there, yo. You just gotta find 'em.

I knew they were out there. I knew of a couple different people who had them. I just wasn't sure how to find them. The internet... Well, the internet is a peach - but there are many a rotten spot. Have you ever googled work from home? Yeah... Don't bother. Scammy McScamster is busy as a bee flooding the internet with stuff where you pay him to work from home. Hi. I need money - I'm not going to pay you money. Duh.

So I was lamenting on facebook one day about wanting a work from home job. One of my childhood best friend's dad pointed me here. And I was shocked at the number of options. Most of them don't work for me at the moment, but it was very encouraging to see that the opportunities are there. The whole "quiet work environment" is sort of a deal breaker for me... Pesky two year old. ;)

I had decided that I really wanted to get serious about blogging, but well - that is a big time investment with no compensation... I'm willing to invest, but mama needs a new pair of shoes today! Interestingly enough, it was in my research for blogging that I came across this website. He is quite the smarty pants where blogging is concerned, and I saw he had a link to work from home opportunities. CLICK! And that is where I found this company.

(PS - While I was trying to find all the links, I came across this article, too. Very helpful.)

I have been hesitant to say a lot for numerous reasons. The biggest being that they have a confidentiality policy and I can't remember what all I promised I wouldn't share... :/ Oops. So - I will direct most questions to their website.

I will say this. The test? Was HARD. It's not for sissies. Not that I'm calling ya'll sissies, but if the shoes fits, don't waste your time. I have easily invested 30 hours into studying and taking the test. That doesn't include time spent updating my resume, which I did for the sole purpose of applying for this job. I kind of had all my eggs in this basket. And you can only take it once. If you fail, well - so long sucker. No pressure or anything...

I had been praying for a specific type of opportunity. I had been praying specifically for the what the when and the how. It is very apparent to me that this is the answer to more than 8 months worth of prayer. Isn't God awesome?

And let me just say - if I've ever been patient where waiting on God is concerned, it has been here. Not because I've got it all together and have unwavering faith, either. Because I didn't want a stinkin' job.

As only God can do, He has slowly changed my heart in this area. At the end of last year, I began thinking that it might be time to start trying to find something. I didn't want to do this, and I refused to do that, and it had better not entail X, Y or Z... But as long as it fit nicely into the box I had dreamed up, - Sure! I'd get a job. Over the course of the next several months, that changed into a desire to do whatever it takes, as long as I was certain it was from God. It's cool how it took that journey, with a long stop in Surrenderville, to get me to the place where I am now. With a job that fits the exact specifications I originally had, even though I had finally opened my mind to whatever God wanted for me. Kinda reminds me of this. Oh when, when will I learn?

It is my prayer that one day (soon would be awesome) when God says, "Do you trust me?" I have an affirmative answer spouting off my lips before He even gets the whole question out. Not there yet. ;)

So, back to the job. This is the job description. If you have mostly no idea what they're talking about, then you are just like I was when I first read it. 30 hours later, I'm confident that I can do it. Well, confident might not be the most accurate word, but I will get there. Did I mention that the test was HARD? My Word. I think it might be their intention to weed out the riff raff with the long and arduous application process. I'm sure it works.

Here's why it appealed to me:

There are no set times I'll have to work. I will be able to work late nights, very early mornings, or days when Frank is here and can take care of Chloe.

The pay. I know that ya'll want to know how much. That I know I'm not supposed to share, so I'll just say this. In my opinion, it will be worth the efforts I've put forth. I am confident that I could not find a flexible part time position around these depressed parts for anywhere near the coin they are going to pay me. If you decide to apply, that information is given to you before you have to give birth. And by that I mean take that crazy test. :)

A few more things... This company is looking for highly educated people. I also think my past (non-teaching) experience really impressed them. Specifically, the year I spent as a Business Systems Analyst. (Oh, to have that pay check again.) If this particular company doesn't work for you, do some serious searching and you just might find the perfect work from home opportunity!

There you go. That's what I've been up to. Happy? ;)

WFMW - Freezing Garbage

Ever come home and think - Wow, there is a rotting carcass in my house. Awesome. -? Well, the real question is - what on earth is in the garbage? Meat wrappers (especially chicken, yuck) make for some very stinky garbage.

Here's what works for me. When I make chicken or anything else that might be especially stinky, I put the waste into a plastic grocery bag and pop it in the freezer. On garbage day (when I remember), I put it in the trash. No more stinky garbage!

Now, I should clarify. I have two deep freezers along with the one attached to the fridge. I can imagine that some people might not have lots of room, but if you do - give it a try!

For more great tips, check out Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy Who Changed The World By Andy Andrews Illustrated By Philip Hurst

The Boy Who Changed The World, by Andy Andrews is a book meant to teach children that the choices that they make have a greater impact than they realize. It is a full sized story book with beautiful illustrations by Philip Hurst. The book tells the stories of multiple historical characters and how their lives changed the world. It is very interesting to see how their lives are intertwined and how their interactions effected our world and how we live our lives. This would be a great resource to use in an educational setting. It is meant for older children, as there is a considerable amount of text on most pages.

This is a book that I would recommend. I would have liked to see the message of God and His purpose for our lives a more central theme in the book, but am thankful that it was at least mentioned. It is still a good jumping off point for that conversation. Probably my favorite part of the book would be the illustrations. They are fantastic! Vibrant and interesting, life-like and realistic. The story is engaging and leaves you thinking what the author intended, - "wow, what I do does matter." This book will be well received by a wide range of young readers, and whoever is reading it to them will likely enjoy it as well.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Butterfly Effect By Andy Andrews

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews is a gift book that uses the Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions, which is a scientific principle of cause and effect, to inspire people to greater lives. He states, "Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world." Mr. Andrews uses true stories from our country's history to prove the point that everything you do can effect the world for years to come.

I found it odd that God was never mentioned in the book. I like the concept of the book, and agree that our choices matter and that we were created for a purpose, but there's more to the story than just that. We were created by God, for God for the purpose of worshiping Him and advancing His Kingdom to the glory of His name. Coming from a christian publisher, I would have expected that to be the punch line and it wasn't. I found that rather disappointing. That aside, I did find the facts and the way the history was told in story form quite engaging. I think history buffs and someone in the military might appreciate this gift book, but I wouldn’t use it as a ministry tool. I don’t think that it would influence an unbeliever in any way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, September 3, 2010

Motivation - Time = Frustration

Yikes. Math.

I'm going through one of those hyper creative phases where I'm texting myself messages in the dark so I don't forget all my great laying-there-trying-to-sleep blog post ideas. If only I had time to put them all on paper. As soon, as things calm down you're going to have lots of reading to do...

But until then, I'm studying like a football player who runs the risk of riding the bench while his teammates play in the state championship game. Which stinks. But if it pays off, it will be totally worth it.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Feel free to pray for me.

And in the meantime, if you need a belly laugh that makes you cry, watch this video. Thank you, Boomama for posting it. If laughing extends your life, I will plan on living until I'm 114.

Just know that if I don't pass this exam (which thankfully is in English, muchas gracias) I will be spitting mad, too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I mentioned here how I'm currently starting my day. Within the first couple of days of starting my day with this prayer, I began to feel a fog lift and it was almost as if I was able to perceive things I had been completely oblivious to before, or maybe I was just ignoring them. Either way, it has been interesting coming off of 'auto pilot'.

One morning after my extra long prayer and devotional time (what I usually refer to as my 'quiet time'), I went for a run. A two mile run. Up hill. Both ways. My road thinks that the laws of physics are just suggestions.

As I was running, with Shane and Shane blaring in my headphones, I heard something in the grassy, leafy ditch next to me. I'm hoping it was a chipmunk, because if it was a snake, it was a BIG one. I found it interesting that, despite the fact that I was focused on something else (getting up the hill while remaining alive), and even playing loud music in my ears, I could still hear and sense what was going on next to me.

It was sort of a revelation to me. There is stuff going on that is normally very easy to ignore. Until we begin to focus in on the unseen, we live haphazardly, not claiming the authority that has been given to us through Christ and the work He has done for us.

Many of the things referenced in the morning prayer that I have been using are things that I know about. I believe all of it is available to me and that there is a supernatural power that is mine for the taking. But how many years have I been running along, not taking hold of it? How much have I missed because I've allowed distractions or worse - laziness - to keep me from the fullness of what Christ has for me.

Take the armor of God. Ephesians 6. I know about the armor of God. Why I don't think about it everyday and pray that I would be clothed in it is beyond me.

Back to the fog that has been lifted. I think when we begin to focus on the unseen things or at least acknowledge that they are there, daily, we begin to subconsciously (and consciously) be on guard. We are more likely to remember to take our thoughts captive and walk in the victory that is ours. When there is a snake in the grass, we can be aware of it, even when we are engrossed in other things, because we will be engrossed in other things. I mean, come on. I have a two year old. It's not quiet around here very often. Even if you don't have little ones noisin' up your day, I have to believe you have stuff to do.

When we set our minds on eternal things first thing in the morning, we are much more likely to come back to that repeatedly during our busy and noisy days. When we let the noise start before even bracing ourselves, we often operate in survival mode. Survival is better than the alternative, but I'm looking for victory. How about you?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get More, Pay Less

We went on a little mini getaway last week. We took Chloe to a children's museum (ee-um, as she calls it) and a really cool zoo. We needed a place to stay, so I used as I have a few times in the past. I'm never disappointed when I do.

I thought I might share my experiences, in the event anyone is curious about how it works.

First of all, you don't have to use the 'name your own price' feature. But that's what I always use and we get a steal of a deal every time. The major downside to the 'name your own price' feature, is that you have to give your credit card info and if they accept your offer, it's a done deal. Understandably, this might scare some people off. This is the main reason I'm sharing my experience. If you understand how it works, you will likely be more willing to give it a try.

This time I decided I wanted to spend 40$ on a hotel room. Now, you might be thinking - well, stay at the Red Roof Inn or Motel 6. Not to say anything bad about either of those places, but I'm looking for more of the quality of a Hilton or Holiday Inn for the Motel 6 price.

The cool thing about priceline, is you put in when and where, and then you tell them what star level you want and how much you are willing to pay. The trick to getting a great room at a great price, is to select a high star rating and then put in your price. As long as you're specifying a 2.5 or 3 star rating, you don't have to worry about winding up in a rat trap. They might not accept your offer, but you never know... They might!

There are certain limitations, and you can't just keep upping your price by 5$ until they bite. There are different criteria that you can change and every time you are denied, you have to change one of the criteria, or wait for 24 hours before trying again with a higher price.

For instance, we stayed in Grand Rapids, Mi. There were 4 different areas you could choose from in GR. I obviously wanted the one closest to the museum, but that was one criteria that I could change to see if it made a difference. Eventually, I had to lower my star rating to a 2, before it accepted my price of 40$. I waited until the day before we left (on purpose, for weather reasons) so I didn't have the cushion to try for a nicer room at a slightly higher price.

As it always does, it worked out fine. We wound up at a Baymont Inn. It was a nice spacious room, with a king bed and plenty of space for a pack N play. It had a pool and hot tub, a work out room, and free breakfast. Not bad, huh?

I've booked rooms in NYC (twice), Grand Rapids (twice) Fort Wayne, IN, Tampa, FL, and surely a couple other places that I can't remember right now.

Go check it out. You can see everything I've talked about, and play around with it before you click accept. You'll be really glad you gave it a try!

I have nothing to do with priceline or Baymont Inn, I justed want to share my experience in an effort to help anyone who may have considered using priceline, but didn't know how it worked.

For more great tips, visit We Are That Family for Works For Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What A Way To Start The Day

I've mentioned that I'm a bit burned out on getting up at the hiney crack of dawn and running. Here's the funny thing... I'm totally in the habit of getting up early, so it's rather natural at this point. Instead of physical exercise, I've been working out spiritually first thing every morning.

I recently heard someone say something about how she prays to cover her day and family and what a huge difference it makes in how she interacts with people and how she stays in tune with the Lord. I know this is an important thing to do, but it's not something I've ever really done. (Confession time....) I once read this great book Walking With GodIn it, the author, John Eldredge shares his daily prayer. And it is a doozie. Not sure I've ever heard a more intense prayer. Well, maybe the day my prayer counselor prayed for my DNA when I hurt my back.... ;)

A few mornings ago, I woke up bright and early with Jesus on my mind. I got up, dug out my copy of John's book and began copying it into my journal. It's long, as you'll soon see, so I broke this up over a couple of days. Each day, I've been praying it and surprise, surprise, I'm seeing great results. I thought I would share it with you here.

Kinda wish I would have known that it was ON HIS WEBSITE before I spent multiple wee hours writing it out....

My dear Lord Jesus I come to you now to be restored in you, to be renewed in you, to receive your love and your life, and all the grace and mercy I so desperately need this day. I honor you as my Sovereign, and I surrender every aspect of my life totally and completely to you. I give you my spirit, soul and body, my heart, mind, and will. I cover myself with your blood—my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind and will. I ask your Holy Spirit to restore me in you, renew me in you, and to lead me in this time of prayer. In all that I now pray, I stand in total agreement with your Spirit, and with my intercessors and allies, by your Spirit alone.

[Now, if you are a husband, you’ll want to include your wife in this time of prayer. If you are a parent, you’ll want to include your children. If this doesn’t apply to you, jump to the paragraph after this one.]

In all that I now pray, I include (my wife and/or children, by name). Acting as their head, I bring them under your authority and covering, as I come under your authority and covering. I cover (wife and/or children, by name) with your blood – their spirit, soul and body, their heart, mind and will. I ask your Spirit to restore them in you, renew them in you, and apply to them all that I now pray on their behalf, acting as their head.

Dear God, holy and victorious Trinity, you alone are worthy of all my worship, my heart’s devotion, all my praise, all my trust and all the glory of my life. I love you, I worship you, I trust you. I give myself over to you in my heart’s search for life. You alone are Life, and you have become my life. I renounce all other gods, all idols, and I give you the place in my heart and in my life that you truly deserve. I confess here and now that this is all about you, God, and not about me. You are the Hero of this story, and I belong to you. Forgive me for my every sin. Search me and know me and reveal to me where you are working in my life, and grant to me the grace of your healing and deliverance, and a deep and true repentance.

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and choosing me before you made the world. You are my true Father—my Creator, my Redeemer, my Sustainer, and the true end of all things, including my life. I love you, I trust you, I worship you. I give myself over to you to be one with you in all things, as Jesus is one with you. Thank you for proving your love by sending Jesus. I receive him and all his life and all his work, which you ordained for me. Thank you for including me in Christ, for forgiving me my sins, for granting me his righteousness, for making me complete in him. Thank you for making me alive with Christ, raising me with him, seating me with him at your right hand, establishing me in his authority, and anointing me with your Holy Spirit, your love and your favor. I receive it all with thanks and give it total claim to my life—my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind and will. I bring the life and the work of Jesus over (wife and/or children, by name) and over my home, my household, my vehicles, finances, all my kingdom and domain.

Jesus, thank you for coming to ransom me with your own life. I love you, I worship you, I trust you. I give myself over to you, to be one with you in all things. And I receive all the work and all of the triumph of your cross, death, blood and sacrifice for me, through which I am atoned for, I am ransomed and transferred to your kingdom, my sin nature is removed, my heart is circumcised unto God, and every claim made against me is disarmed this day. I now take my place in your cross and death, through which I have died with you to sin, to my flesh, to the world, and to the evil one. I take up the cross and crucify my flesh with all its pride, arrogance, unbelief, and idolatry (and anything else you are currently struggling with). I put off the old man. I ask you to apply to me the fullness of your cross, death, blood and sacrifice. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my spirit, soul and body, my heart, mind and will.

Jesus, I also sincerely receive you as my life, my holiness and strength, and I receive all the work and triumph of your resurrection, through which you have conquered sin and death and judgment. Death has no mastery over you, nor does any foul thing. And I have been raised with you to a new life, to live your life – dead to sin and alive to God. I now take my place in your resurrection and in your life, through which I am saved by your life. I reign in life through your life. I receive your life – your humility, love and forgiveness, your integrity in all things, your wisdom, discernment and cunning, your strength, your joy, your union with the Father. Apply to me the fullness of your resurrection. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my spirit, soul and body, my heart, mind and will.

Jesus, I also sincerely receive you as my authority, rule, and dominion, my everlasting victory against Satan and his kingdom, and my ability to bring your Kingdom at all times and in every way. I receive all the work and triumph of your ascension, through which you have judged Satan and cast him down, you have disarmed his kingdom. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to you, Jesus. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to you, and you are worthy to receive all glory and honor, power and dominion, now and forevermore. And I have been given fullness in you, in your authority. I now take my place in your ascension, and in your throne, through which I have been raised with you to the right hand of the Father and established in your authority. I now bring the kingdom of God, and the authority, rule and dominion of Jesus Christ over my life today, over my home, my household, my vehicles and finances, over all my kingdom and domain.

I now bring the authority, rule and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fullness of the work of Christ, against Satan, against his kingdom, against every foul and unclean spirit come against me. (At this point you might want to name the spirits that you know have been attacking you). I bring the full work of Jesus Christ against every foul power and black art, against every human being and their warfare. I bind it all from me in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and in his Name.

Holy Spirit, thank you for coming. I love you, I worship you, I trust you. I sincerely receive you and all the work and victory in Pentecost, through which you have come, you have clothed me with power from on high, sealed me in Christ. You have become my union with the Father and the Son, become the Spirit of truth in me, the life of God in me, my Counselor, Comforter, Strength, and Guide. I honor you as my Sovereign, and I yield every dimension of my spirit, soul and body, my heart, mind and will to you and you alone, to be filled with you, to walk in step with you in all things. Fill me afresh. Restore my union with the Father and the Son. Lead me in all truth, anoint me for all of my life and walk and calling, and lead me deeper into Jesus today. I receive you with thanks, and I give you total claim to my life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for granting to me every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. I claim the riches in Christ Jesus over my life today, my home, my kingdom and domain. I bring the blood of Christ over my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind and will. I put on the full armor of God – the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel, helmet of salvation. I take up the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit, and I choose to wield these weapons at all times in the power of God. I choose to pray at all times in the Spirit.

Thank you for your angels. I summon them in the authority of Jesus Christ and command them to destroy the kingdom of darkness throughout my kingdom and domain, destroy all that is raised against me, and to establish your Kingdom throughout my kingdom and domain. I ask you to send forth your Spirit to raise up prayer and intercession for me this day. I now call forth the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout my home, my family, my kingdom and my domain, in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, with all glory and honor and thanks to him.

Do you cover your family in prayer each morning? I'm praying that this will be my new normal.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Hoard, Therefore I Am Scared

This has been the summer of almost no TV. I was a little obsessed last winter, what with Lost and 24 and American Idol and whatever else I'm forgetting to admit. I declared this summer a TV free summer, and aside from plenty of Curious George (and other PBS Kids) and some very occasional Food Network, it has been just that. I'll watch a movie occasionally or flip through looking for something to watch about once a week, but I'm really quite proud of myself for not getting hooked on any new summer shows.

This past week, when I was flipping through the channels, I landed on Hoarders.

Oh. My. Word.

Now. I am a self-proclaimed clutter bug and I have almost no shame in that. I save too much stuff, but my house is clean (ish - most of the time). Every closet and drawer I have is currently in 911 need of re-org, but we have been having entirely too much fun this summer to sort socks and alphabetize spices, yo.

Then I watch this Hoarder show. As I'm sitting there listening to these people explain why they do what the do, and the therapist (THERAPIST!) try to help them work through it, I am appalled that I think (all.the.time.) what they are saying out loud.

Well, I might use that someday.

It was a great deal.

But it was my grandma's.

It was a gift.

I almost broke out in a sweat.

Two summers in a row I have gone through all of my stuff in hopes of selling unused items in a garage sale. Here are a few things I have kept, and my reasoning behind keeping them:

A sweater. That I will never wear again, for various reasons. Why keep it? Because it was what I had on when I said a final goodbye to a dear friend. (My mind is a steel trap, I tell you. I can't remember what plans I have for the day, but I know what I wore 8 years ago. Yikes.)

A picture. That my husband (before he was my husband) bought for me, even though I will never hang it on the wall again. Why? Because I'm sentimental. It was a gift.

Baby clothes. You know what, don't even get me started on the baby clothes.

This tiny little clock thing. It was my grandma's. And while I have it in a drawer because it doesn't match anything in my house, I know she loved it and so I can't seem to part with it.

I went to bed after watching that show, VOWING that the first chance I got - I was going to go medieval on the storage area. It was the most pressing matter in the house, and I couldn't even get to the back of the room without climbing a little. Eek!

I'm happy to report that within an hour and a half - it was completely clutter free, everything was back in it's place, and several things had been placed in the garage sale pile. And by pile, I mean mountain.

It's a start.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lost: Motivation - Reward For Information Leading To Its Return

I should have seen the burn out coming. I should have known better than to run/workout 6 days in a row. That was our bright idea a couple of weeks ago and now I'm dangerously close to being over it.

The early mornings are definitely out. I'm not sure who that person was that seemed to enjoy getting up at 5 am to run, but whoever she is, she has left the building. Or maybe she has fallen and can't get up.

My crazy running buddy is a teacher and goes back to work soon, so that is going to change things up and I hope that ends up being a good thing. I don't want to quit, but I'm definitely flame broiled, burnt out to a crisp.

Maybe if Jillian Michaels wasn't such a big mean bully. Or maybe if my running shoes actually fit me and didn't smell like mold. Or maybe if there were 36 hours in the day.

It's not just exercise, either. I had grand plans for an enormous garage sale, and I can't get it in gear to work on that either. Summer's almost over, so unless I can convince the die hards to trek all the way out to the middle of nowhere to buy my grandma's silk tree and my stained t-shirts, I'm not even sure it's worth the effort.

And the poor blog. Have you noticed? Running out of steam. Running out of ideas. Forgetting to write down the rare idea I do get.

I think I just need a long winter's nap.

Not to be confused with the daily summer nap I've been taking, because when you get up at 5 am to run, there's not a lot of choice in the matter. Momma gotta sleep.

And baby gotta have clean underwear, so I have to hide this Macbook and lock myself in the laundry room.

No time for a clever ending.

The End.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jesus Calling - Deluxe Edition: Enjoying Peace in His Presence By Sarah Young

Jesus Calling - Deluxe Edition: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Edwards is a devotional book unlike any other I've ever used. The author takes things that God has spoken to her in her quiet times and has made them into a letter from God to her readers. Each short devotional has two or three scriptures referenced, directing the reader to the biblical truth that is being shared in the daily devotional. I have found this book to be very beneficial in my daily reading. This particular version is a gift book and I would highly recommend it as a gift for any occasion. I think any adult or teen in a serious pursuit of the Lord would enjoy this devotional, regardless of how far along they are in that journey. I know that I will be using it for many years to come.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Softening Butter Quickly

I love to bake. Especially cookies and muffins. Anything with a chocolate chip in it, really. The one down side to baking is the whole softened butter business. I'm more of a spontaneous baker. I don't usually think to myself - Hmm... I think I'll bake cookies in about three hours (or whatever the ample time for a stick of butter to come to room temperature is). Nope. It's more like - Mmmmm, I think I need to get my Tollhouse on, how can I get this butter the perfect texture to make an amazing cookie?

The past few times that I've done this, I have been softening my butter in the microwave. That sound you hear is everyone on the Food Network collectively gasping. But, whatever. It works for me. I put one or two sticks of butter in the microwave for six seconds. Then I turn it to the next side and then give it another six seconds. I think it takes a total of three times, but I'm sure microwaves vary, so continue to do this until you can feel that the butter is soft enough. You may even want to do smaller increments, if you have a turbo microwave. Make sure to turn it each time, though. It's a fine line you have to tread. You don't want melted butter. Better to err on the side of too hard. Especially if you use a stand mixer (does anyone still stir cookies by hand?), once you cream it with the sugar, it'll be fine!

For more helpful tips, visit We Are That Family.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A New Way To Worship

I'm reading The Battle Belongs To The Lord, by Joyce Meyer. That woman is smart. And God is amazing. He is amazing in the way that He delivers what I need when I need it. He's never early. He's never late. He's always on time. Oh, how I love His timing.

Here is one of the paragraphs that has totally rocked my world and flipped the switch on how I worship:

If you are not the way you want to be in some area of your life, begin to worship God in that area. As you worship Him for any of the attributes of His character - His faithfulness, His loyalty, His goodness, His kindness, His love, His graciousness, His longsuffering, His slowness to anger, His plenteousness in mercy, His patience - whatever you worship Him for will begin to be manifested in your own character.

It works, yo. I've been doing it and am noticing such a huge difference.

This is my new theme song. I've loved it since the first time I heard it, but given my new mission in worship, it's pretty much my battle cry. If you're not familiar with the artists, they are Shane and Shane and if I had to pick one artist/group to listen to for the rest of my life, they would win hands down and I wouldn't think twice about it. I would miss David Cowder and Misty Edwards, but I wouldn't think twice about it.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dreaded To Do List

As I shared on facebook yesterday, I've "noticed that there is a direct correlation between the amount of fun had over the weekend and the state of my house on Sunday night. Current status: Disaster of epic proportions. We done had some fuuun this weekend."

So, yeah... Here's a list of what MUST get done. Before the health department shows up and shuts this operation down.

Laundry - I wore dirty work out clothes today. Neat.

Dishes - Um, who has time for dishes when there is FUN TO BE HAD? Well, if we want to eat stuff off of plates this week, I'll have to unload and reload that there dishwasher.

Clean Out Fridge - Well. This has been on the to do list for, approximately, ever. Lord, give me strength.

Vacuum - I refuse to do another push up in the basement until the vacuum is put in high gear. And since we shred it up down there on Tuesday morning, I should probably put this one closer to the top of the list.

Bathrooms - Nuff said.

I'm sure there's more, but I'm losing my will to live sitting here thinking about it. I hereby vow not to look (to not look?) at this black hole of time sucking de-motivation, also known as, the Apple Crackbook, until my house will pass the white glove and I have spent some quality time with Jesus.

The end.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No Pain No Gain

Running is one thing, but now I'm actually doing The 30 Day Shred. I have heard horrifying things about it, and it wasn't until a friend told me that it's only 20 minutes long that I even considered it. My work out buddy, L (also known as the most stubborn, refuses to quit, even when death is laughing at us hysterically, person I know), happens to own it and given her personality disorder where pain is concerned, she is the perfect person with whom to enter into that commitment. (Can't I just say to enter into that commitment with? Does that make me sound dumb? I am a rule follower by nature, so I feel compelled to follow the rules that I know. You're on your own for the many that I don't. Never mind that I majored in Language Arts, which is what we old farts used to refer to as English. Apparently.)


The girl is crazy. That's my main point.

I'm just going to be honest. I wasn't entirely on board the first day we did it. You see, I enjoy being able to move about the cabin without pain shooting through every muscle I have, including all of the ones that I didn't even know I had, since I haven't used them since 1999, when I had a short fling with Billy Blanks before the wedding. So. It's entirely possible that on Tuesday when Jillian said "engage those abs!" and whatever other things that I can't remember because I was terribly busy trying not to engage anything so that I could get out of bed the next day, I may not have followed the orders she was barking at us. I'm more interesting in easing into this one, Jillian. Unless of course you want to come take care of Chloe and empty my bed pan, I think my way will work best for the time being.

Today, I stepped onto the scale and realized I had gained two pounds (Curse you, Tollhouse and your cookie recipe of perfection! That I doubled.) since I first weighed myself last week for my starting weight for Operation Lose 10 lbs. by 10-10-10.

I may consider trying it Jillian's way.

I'll keep you posted. If I can type.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Does Not Work For Me Wednesday

Did I say that I was going to go low carb? Well, I must have been delirious. I hereby strike that one from the record. I was looking at the P90X diet and saw that carbs are your friends when you are working out a lot. Which compared to every other time in my life, right now I am. Couple that information with the sale on Asiago Cheese bread at VGs today, and you have the official end to my 2 day (One of which consisted of caramel apple pie - self-control? No, you have me confused with someone else.) low carb adventure.

I've decided instead to attempt to find balance. I'm such and all or nothing kind of girl, and I know it wouldn't be long before I switched gears from NO carbs to NO dieting whatsoever and possibly NO exercise, either. I so know how I roll.

So, the new plan. Greatly reduce my carb intake and make healthier choices, especially where carbs are concerned.

Dear Tim Horton, I think we might have to break up.

I know that I know that I know that if I completely deny myself of all of the things I love, I will never stick with it and the efforts that I put forth will be wasted anyway. My hope is to change some habits, tone up this ol' carcass and live in freedom, rather than be a slave to some diet.

Because, people, a life without carbs is not a life I'm interested in living. Ever.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Favorite Weekend Of The Year

For the past four years, we have been invited to go sailing with an awesome group of friends. We have gone three of the four years and it has become the weekend that I most look forward to every summer. The other year would have required excessive amounts of quality time with a breast pump, so I decided to stay home. I was only slightly bitter...

My friend's parents have this fantastic sailboat that sleeps 8, and they are so kind to have us for a super fantastic fun filled weekend every summer. The first couple of years we sailed to Mackinaw Island, but this year we did something a little different. Normally, it's about a 45 minute trip and for me, that's a long time. I'm usually car sick by the time we even get to the marina, so sailing is actually a pretty risky adventure for me.

This year we ventured to a new destination, about 3 hours from Mackinaw City. Or 1 hour by car, which is how I opted to travel. It worked out really well, and while I didn't technically do much sailing, it was still really fun. The wind didn't cooperate much, so no one did much sailing, but I rode in style in Dr. C's BMW and met the rest of the group at the destination. To say I felt super cool would be an understatement of epic proportions.

So, I could say that I went sailing this weekend, but that would be lying. I slept on a sailboat and ate obscene amounts of snack foods while hanging out with friends on a sailboat, but I did not go sailing. It was still my favorite weekend of the summer. No question.

363 until the next sailing trip! Woot woot!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Low Carb And Loathing It

I've been on my low card diet for about ten hours. The first six hours I was sleeping, so that was pretty easy. Once I got up and ran TWO MILES, it got a little harder. I had scrambled eggs and cheese for breakfast and now I'm sitting here trying not to think about the toast I didn't eat and the juice I didn't drink.

I'm planning to eat a turkey sandwich on lettuce leaves for lunch. I bought sunflower seeds for snacking. I'm taking dinner to book club tonight, and I'm making sloppy joes. They are kind of sweet, so I guess my carb consumption will take place at the dinner hour. Maybe I'll jus tuse half of a bun.

I'm not crazy enough to think that I can go completely carb free, but if I can cut them down considerably I will be very impressed. I've never truly dieted, so this is uncharted territory for Madame Eats A Ton.

My goal is to lose ten pounds by 10-10-10.

Clever, I know.

Since The Hubster lost forty pounds while doing South Beach, I figured that might be a good place to start. I'm not looking forward to it. Feel free to pray for me.

And pass along your low carb diet survival tips. What did you eat for breakfast? What did you snack on? I don't mind eating meat and veggies for lunch and dinner, but eggs will get old for breakfast. I welcome your suggestions!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Too Much Fun

Hi Friends....

I'm having far too much fun to write up in here. For once, I have lots of great ideas and no time to get them on paper. Hopefully, next week will be better. If I get a chance, I'll post a recipe tomorrow. We're going sailing this weekend, (AHOY!) so that may or may not actually happen.

Here's hoping.

I also hope you're having at least a minimum of half the fun I am this summer. If so, you're having plenty. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


For thirty three years, I could say that I had never had a dog that had been sprayed by a skunk. Not anymore. Apparently, getting up close and personal with a skunk was on Kiley's bucket list. Oh that dog, I'm telling you.

It was, of course, while The Hubster was away on his annual golf weekend. Chloe was at her grandparent's house and I had the house all to myself. I was really looking forward to a glorious night of sleep. It was 11:30 and I was just in from a fun night of second hand shopping and eating delicious food with my bestie. When I let the dogs out, I thought I could smell a hint of skunk in the air, but honestly I didn't think too much of it. We live in the middle of nowhere, so it's not out of the ordinary for a skunk to be in the hood.

Well, when I let Kiley back in, there was no denying something had happened. It really didn't smell like skunk at all. If it hadn't been for smelling that a few minutes earlier, I never would have made the connection. It totally smelled like burning rubber. It was very strong and very stinky, but not skunky at all. She kept licking her paws and trying to wash her face, which is right where she got sprayed.

Did I mention it was bedtime? Grrrr.... I don't enjoy giving dog baths ever, let alone at 11:30 on MY night. Alone. With all the awesome sleeping. Seriously, dog?

It was just on her head so I lathered it up a bit and tried to wash it off. I even rubbed baking soda on her face. It was tolerable so we went to bed. The next day, once I was pretty much used to the stench, The Hubster's parents came over and the first thing out of his mom's mouth was, "I smell skunked dog."

So that cleared up that mystery...

The next day, The Hubster came home and said the house reeked.

Did I mention I was having a party at my house within a few days? Super fantastic.

The Hubster did some research and washed her with a dish soap, baking soda and peroxide cocktail, and I wish I could say it worked. I really, really wish I could say that.

Since it was on her face, it was hard to really apply it well, and honestly, I think her mouth was wide open when that skunk let loose. It's almost like it's ingrained in the plaque on her teeth. For the most part the fur on her face is back to just a normal smelly dog, but her breath?

Oh. My. Word.

It's like triple turbo tuna breath. Now mind you, she is a 13 year old dog. Her breath is not likely to smell great anyway, but skunk breath on an eldery dog is not something I'd recommend turning into a candle fragrance. Unless you are Shrek, in which case you would probably find it delightful.

So. The moral of the story is if that skunk shows it's stripped face around these parts again? He's going down. And, as if I need another reason to say this, NO MORE DOGS.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Don't Give Up

Ever feel like disciplining a toddler is a waste of your time? I've so been there. A lot lately.

I really like the idea of "yes, mom." When I say something to anyone, I like some sort of confirmation. Being ignored is not my favorite thing. So when I give a command or even state a fact to my 2 year old, I want something in response. Many times, I'll say - "It's time for lunch, okay?" (Not to be confused with "would you like to eat lunch now?" Because that's not what I'm asking.) Whenever I say something ending with an okay, I have been saying to Chloe, "say okay." Now. It kind of defeats the purpose if I have to tell her to say it, but you have to start somewhere, right?

I also say to her often, after telling her what to do (or not do), "do you understand me?" When I first started saying it, I would say, immediately afterwards, "say, yes mommy." And while it took forever, and I again felt like it was a waste of time, and that she would never catch on, she finally automatically says, "yes, mommy" every time I say, "do you understand me?" And more often than not, when I say something with an "okay?" at the end, she replies with "okay".

When she was small, I started this with saying please and thank you. Even before she was able to say it. I'm so glad I did, because now that she can say it and does understand it, it's like second nature. Of all the things that people say to me about Chloe, I hear that she is very polite most often.

I say all of this to say, don't give up! When it seems like your correction and teaching is fruitless, know that with time and consistency, it will pay off.

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

What have you had to persevere in that truly paid off where discipline is concerned?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Running Just As Fast As We Can

Oh, that title makes me giggle... For countless reasons, not the least of which is how slow we actually run. Whenever I mention that I'm running, I say that it's neither far nor fast, and that is a very accurate assessment. Today, while we were running I was thinking, if I ran any slower I would be walking backwards. Needless to say, if someone were chasing me, they would not have to exert much energy to catch me.

But I've stuck with it for an entire MONTH! Did you hear that? I have been consistently running for a whole entire complete 30 day month.

That's a big deal, yo.

Here's another one. I'm thinking of trying to lose 10 pounds. A friend of mine wants to lose 10 pounds by October 9, but I think I'd rather shoot for 10 by 10-10-10.

I'm a sucker for a gimmick.

I'm not, on the other hand, a sucker for a diet. I think I've talked about it over the years, but I've never actually committed to a diet before. See, here's the thing, home girl likes to eat. So this new development could be just as monumental as the new adventures in running.

Feel free to quiz me on my chocolate intake at any time. I will confess that I bought a carton of Ben and Jerry's yesterday, and I do plan to eat it. Hopefully not all in one sitting... It's on this list and well, I haven't been able to find it anywhere, so when I saw it yesterday and it was on sale, I completely disregarded the little diet conversation I had just had. Lack of follow through is somewhat of a gift with me...

Wish me luck. And check back often. I love to tattle on myself, so I'm sure it will make for some entertaining posts. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Desk In A Milk Crate

I'm one of those people who loves to stack stuff on surfaces. If there's a chair in my bedroom, give me a week and you won't be able to see it for all the clothes heaped on top of it. When it comes to desk space, oh my, it's not a pretty sight. In our old house, we had a dedicated room for our office and The Hubster and I each had about 6 feet of desk space.

Not a good idea, for The Stackmaster...

So when we moved into our new house, I made a point of not making desk space for myself. It's always a looming pile of doom hanging over my head and I just didn't want to go there. So I didn't.

Junk mail, recipes and the 15 books I'm reading at any given time just have to find another place to live. Unfortunately, that ends up being the dining room table a lot of the time, so that poses a new problem.

Never fear, I have the solution! I started designating a milk crate as my desk about a year ago. When I want to go through coupons, or meal plan or something like that, I get out the crate and spread everything out. When I'm done, or even if I'm not, everything can easily go back into the crate if I need the space it's currently occupying. I can take it into the living room and plop down in front of the TV and sort through everything when I need something or when it starts getting a little unruly.

It has really worked for me! For more great tips, check out We Are That Family.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Scraped Knee And Lesson

There is a little splash pad not far from where we live. We went for the second time today. The first time we went Chloe was slow to warm up, which is normal for her. I had my doubts about today, because it was just her and one of her favorite friends, Sammy. There were no bigger kids to encourage her to get wet and have fun. This resulted in Chloe wanting Mommy to "come on!" Finally, the mommies decided to get a little wet and it made for a very enjoyable time for the little ones.

Then Chloe fell. As always, it looked worse than it was, but it did result in the worst scraped knee she has had to date. She also has little scrape on her cheek. And Mommy has a tummy ache. Do you feel me, mommas? That ick in the pit of your stomach when something happens to your little one. We praised Jesus all the way home and that helped immensely, but when I asked her if she had fun at the splash pad, all she said was "boo boo." I got very serious and said this, "Chloe, I know that you fell and hurt yourself. But that does not take away from the fun time you had. Remember how you ran through the rainbow and got soaking wet? Remember how much fun you had?"

I smell a lesson for me in this. This morning, before we even left for the splash pad, I was reading in I Kings chapter 9. The Lord appears to Solomon and says, amongst other things:

I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, 'You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.' - I Kings 9:3-5

Here's what I find so interesting. God refers to King David as being upright and having integrity of heart. In fact, David is known as a man after God's own heart. Now, I don't know about you, but I just read First and Second Samuel, so I know that King David fell at the splash pad. He stole a man's wife, and then had the man killed. Not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of integrity, right?

What a relief to know that when God looks back on our lives and choices, He chooses to see the good in us. He chooses to remember the good times instead of letting the poor choices define how He thinks of us. We could do well to follow suit. Everyone makes mistakes. What God wants to see, is us picking ourselves up, vowing to WALK instead of run, and continuing to enjoy our lives and trust Him. Isn't that what David did? I hope in the example of the splash pad, that Chloe will literally do that. And in my life, I pray that I would learn from my mistakes, and choose better for the future, but not allow my life to be defined by them and not put a crick in my neck looking over my shoulder dwelling on them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keep It Simple

Something has been brewing for awhile... It's so interesting to me how far the pendulum can swing when it comes to my relationship with the Lord. I'll just go ahead and be honest here.

I'm lazy.

And I hate it.

I go for long periods where I am focusing on God and seeking His face regularly. And then I get lazy. And then things go downhill. Fast.

Lately, God has been revealing some things to me. He is simplifying and streamlining some things that I was making more difficult than they needed to be. No wonder I was having a hard time with it! Prayer equals praise. Okay, got it. God's will for my life? Too big picture. Important, yes. But not for me to know and understand and dwell on. (Ahem. Control.) Staying in step with Holy Spirit minute by minute is more important and, though hard, truly way more doable.

Think of a road map. If you live in Michigan, you can pull out your poster sized mitten map. If I want to get from the Mid-Michigan area, to say, the Mackinaw Bridge, it's a long hike. At least a 4 hour drive. When we leave our driveway, I'm not going to be focusing on northern Michigan. I will direct my attention on the map to where I will be immediately. First go here, then go there. To stare at the destination would not be the best use of my time. The longer I stare (or obsess over or fret about) the destination, the longer it will take me to get there. It's so much smarter to take baby steps, and enjoy the journey.

So that's where I'm at. Trying to slow it down and not think so hard and just enjoy the presence of God while I'm doing laundry. What is the benefit in making something WAY more complicated than it has to be? I'm looking back at all the stressing and fretting I've been doing my whole life, worrying about the big picture, the whole map, and I'm not seeing where it ever did me any favors.

Where are you headed and how can you simplify?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Letter To The Spider In My Window

Dear Big Scary Spider,

I would like to commend you on your ability to weave a web that would leave Charlotte's jaw hanging open in jealous astonishment. You are a marvelous creature. How you managed to unweave your amazing web and then reweave what appears to be the exact same one in another window within 12 hours is beyond me. I notice you are hard at work again, so I'm more than a little anxious to see what spot you have picked out for tomorrow. Please be warned that if you bring your little side show inside, I will have no choice but to murder you. In fact, I cannot guarantee your safety if you insist on hanging out in my windows, even if it is outside. I would greatly appreciate if you would head back to one of the many barns, or even a horse lean to on our property would be super fantastic. The neighbors have a fountain in their yard. Maybe you could head over there for a vacation of sorts.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What I'm Reading


The Bible

The first book keeps telling me to read the third book more, so as soon as I'm done with the first and second, I'm going to stick to mostly the third.

I think I'm a little (or more likely a lot) addicted to books. Though I say with my mouth that I want transformation, I think I'm actually more into information. Tsk tsk tsk... Gotta do something about that. I think more # 3 is the answer to that dilemma.

What are you reading? Or maybe I don't want to know... Wait, I do. I will just have to exercise my self-control to not immediately order it from the library. Yes, tell me. My self-control could use a work out. Along with it, what's your favorite book of the Bible? That is information that I can use to work on the transformation.

The Better Thing

I'm in the process of reviewing this awesome gift book by Sarah Young, called Jesus Calling - Deluxe Edition: Enjoying Peace in His Presence So far, I love it! It's a daily devotional book and Sarah shares what God has spoken to her, so it's written in the first person from God's perspective. It's not the Bible, but it's very cool to hear the truth and life God has spoken to his daughter. She references all of the scriptures that apply, and it makes for an awesome devotional tool. I just had to share one from this weekend. It really hit home.

(All caps and italics are her emphasis, and all bolded words are mine.)

COME AWAY WITH ME for awhile. The world, with it's nonstop demands, can be put on hold. Most people put Me on hold, rationalizing that someday they will find time to focus on Me. But the longer people push Me into the background of their lives, the harder it is for them to find Me.
You live among people who glorify busyness; they have made time a tyrant that controls their lives. Even those who know Me as Savior tend to march to the tempo of the world. They have bought into the illusion that more is always better: more meetings, more programs, more activity.
I have called you to follow Me on a solitary path, making time alone with Me your highest priority and deepest Joy. It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised. However, you have chosen the better thing, which will never be taken away from you. Moreover, as you walk close to Me, I can bless others through you.

Isn't that awesome?

The verses she references are:

Song of Songs 2:13
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me."

Luke 10:42
but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

What is God speaking to you?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Black Beans and Yellow Rice

I'm having a wild love affair with all things cilantro and lime. When I came across a recipe for beans and rice that called for, you guessed it, cilantro and lime, I had to make it. I made a mental note to pick up a saffron rice packet, which I did. Then I proceeded to completely forget where I even saw the recipe. Then weeks went by. Then I was searching high and low for a CD and I could no longer ignore my desk-in-a-milk-crate, so I dumped it out and sorted and tossed and filed and almost cried at my complete inability to throw things away. And then I rejoiced because I had finally found the recipe. (The CD is still #1 on my most wanted list. You can't have it all people, you can't have it all.)

And now, so that it doesn't happen again - I give you, from Southern Living Quick and Easy Weeknight Favorites:

Black Beans and Yellow Rice

1 (5 ounce) package saffron rice mix
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Garnishes: sour cream, sliced green onions

Cook rice according to package directions, keep warm. Meanwhile, drain beans, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Combine beasn, reserved liquid, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated, stir in 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Serve beans over rice, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro. Garnish if desired, Yield 3 servings.

Huh. Now that I read through the recipe, I realize I totally made this wrong. I dumped all of the other ingredients into the cooked yellow rice, stirred it and served it. It was extra limey, and I bet it would have been better had I READ THE WHOLE RECIPE. Nice.

Als0 - I bought a 10 ounce package of the saffron rice, so I doubled everything else and it made a ton! I served it as a side with steaks, but it would make a very hearty lunch or would be fine for a vegetarian dinner.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ultimately, It's About Trusting God

What is?


I've known this for a long time, but it's been coming up a lot lately.

I'm reading The Battle Belongs To The Lord by Joyce Meyer, and let me tell you - it's good. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but it is already worth it's weight in gold.

One of the things she talks about a lot is waiting on the Lord. Was that a collective sigh that I just heard? Oh, I've been there, friends. Honestly, I'm perpetually there in some way, shape or form. I feel ya. Every time I find myself in that place, AGAIN, I think, "Hmmmm..... Really should of learned this lesson last time." I honestly think Waiting On The Lord is a class that we, as believers, will NEVER graduate from in this lifetime. I think it will get easier, as we either A. graduate to the next level. or B. retake the class that we fail. (Ask me sometime about my four summers in a row of waiting on God for basically the same exact thing. It's a great story, now that's over.)

Joyce says, "the sooner we depend entirely on God, the sooner we will have the victory."

What are you trying to control? As a dear friend says a lot, (which is funny, considering this post that was written long before I met him) what's in your hand? What do you need to lay at the feet of Jesus, so He can bring the victory, like He has been waiting to do?

Any time I'm talking with a friend who is struggling with something, or working through something of my own, I (we) can always trace a straight line back to something that I've (we've) not surrendered.

Joyce talks about how the enemy whispers and sometimes screams in our ears, "What are you going to do?"

For someone who has always been the git 'er-done type in life, that is the right question to send me off in the wrong direction. How can I fix this? How can I control it? How can I make it what I want it to be?

But God says, wait. Let me do it. I already know what I'm going to do. It's all planned out. My way is better. You will benefit more, it will have a happier ending and you won't be as exhausted at the end. Let ME be God. You're terrible at it.

And He's right. What are you waiting for? Or holding onto? Or holding out for? Don't give up! Know this: No matter what it is, it's truly about trusting God, and you can DO that! It's easy. Look at His track record. It speaks for itself.

I think the hardest thing to wait for is for God to change someone else's heart. I have been praying for God to move in the life of someone VERY important for a long time. I have the 5 year old journals to prove it. I speak from experience when I say, the sooner you take your hands off of it, the sooner God can do what He does. I can also speak from experience when I say, we miss the lesson when we don't lean into God in those times of waiting and learn what God has for us to learn, and allow Him to make us more like Him while we wait. When we try to bring about change that only God can bring about, we miss the opportunity to see how He can work ALL things together for our good.

There are lessons in the waiting, and though they are not fun to learn, they are the lessons that we will never forget. They are the lessons that we carry for the rest of our lives.

In everything, wait and trust. Trust and wait. He is so faithful, you will never look back and think, shoulda done it my way.

I pinky promise.