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.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How I Remember to Pray

I try to be in a constant conversation with the Lord. I fail miserably, but I sure try. I'm not sure if having a two year helps or hinders more. It definitely adds to the need for constant prayer. Can I get a witness?

Especially when I have a friend or family member who I want to pray for often, I need a reminder. Something that prompts me to lift up the need more than just once or twice a day.

I don't wear a lot of jewelry, and bracelets in particular kind of drive me crazy. Over the past year or so, I've been using a bracelet as a prayer reminder. Whenever I have an important prayer request that I want to be focusing on often, I wear a bracelet and every time I notice it, I pray. This has been such a great way to remember!

Another thing I used to do a lot is put up sticky notes. In the cupboard, on the bathroom mirror and by the changing table. When Chloe was a tiny baby that was the prime real estate for the most important prayer requests. If you made it to the changing table, you were getting prayed for at least 10 times a day! ;)

How do you remind yourself to pray? For more great tips, check out We Are That Family.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cheap Entertainment

My bestie and I got some quality time out together last week. We thought about doing dinner and a movie, but there was nothing we were dying to see. We were going to head to the mall after the delightful middle eastern dinner, but as we drove past the Salvation Army, it was as though a magnetic force field was drawing us into the aisle upon aisle of rejected, decades old fashion. It didn't even occur to us to fight it.

In we went.

Oh my word.

We had so much fun, it was ridiculous. Totally ridiculous. One of the highlights was when I tried on this homemade house dress circa 1970. It smelled funky, but I powered through for the comedic value of modeling it. As I took it off, (it fit me like a glove, by the way) I noticed the atrocious arm pit stains. Yikes! I'm pretty sure it came straight from some dear deceased granny's closet. Do not pass go, do not stop in the laundry room, go straight to the Salvation Army.

The things I'll do for a laugh...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Like Breathing

One of my life long goals is to learn to think before I speak. It's good to have goals, right? It's even better if you can see progress. I can't say that I'm seeing a lot...


Another thing that I desire more than anything is to be considered a gentle person. Especially when you don't think before you speak, gentleness isn't always the most natural thing to fly out of your mouth.

As I mentioned here, I tend to be a complainer. The good news is, I'm realizing it more and more, so the likelihood of improving it is much more than it once was.

Here's what I would love. I would LOVE it if thinking before I spoke, gentleness, and gratitude were like breathing. Automatic. Something my body did on it's own with no effort on my part required. Ah, if only.

The good news is that I'm more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus, so there is hope.

Recently, we were talking about 'dying to self' in life group. A man in the group said something really profound. He was saying that when we decrease, by our own strength, it kind of defeats the purpose. We have something to be proud about and even though we've decreased, it doesn't necessarily allow Christ to increase. Another man made this great point: when we are seeking more and more of Jesus, we begin to be filled by His spirit, and when we are completely filled by God, there is no room left for self. So the answer, as always, is surrender. Surrendering our desires, surrendering our plan and allowing God to fill. When there is more Jesus, by definition there has to be less me. Less me will get me a lot closer to the goal. More Jesus equals more self-control, gentleness and gratitude.

Among other things.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Isn't It Ironic?

It's so much more enjoyable to run with a friend. Even if it is at 5:30 am. Also known as dark thirty... We have strict rules though. No talking while running. Why? Thanks for asking. Because it takes complete concentration to not keel over, and if I lose my breathing rhythm, I also lose the ability to be alive.... So we listen to our iPods for the very short period of time while we are running, neither far nor fast. I usually go for the shuffle option and sometimes find it incredibley amusing which songs come up.

If God really is in the details, and I firmly believe that He is, then I will tell you right now: He has a sense of humor.

One day, I was seriously about to burst into flames. It was the only day that I actually ran in the middle of the day. And it was a scorcher. Right at the worst part of the route, an old alternative song that I used to LOVE came on. One of the lines that is repeated through out the song is, "Pardon me, while I burst into flames." It was all I could do to contain myself. If it wasn't for the fragile life or death situation I found myself in, I would have burst out laughing...

Then yesterday, we were running a different route and had gone the furthest we had gone up to this point. I really wanted to stop, but was trying to break into the record books by running over a mile. (That is huge for me, and just as a snarky aside, I'm convinced that people who run actual marathons are liars. I think they all go watch a movie somewhere and all agree to lie about the fact that they ran 26 miles. How in the WORLD is that even possible?!?!?!?) So back to me wanting, yet totally not wanting to stop... I'm seriously ready to cash it in and the song Run It comes on.

I also firmly believe that God can speak through anything, including Hip Hop music.

Thankfully, not far into the song, my partner-in-torture grunted or gasped or something signaling she was about to burst into flames, too.

So we stopped.

And that's the only reason I lived to blog about it.

Do you run? My apologies (and mad props) if you are a marathon runner. If they ever show a chic flick, let me know. Maybe I'll join you. :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Air Conditioning. God Bless You, Freon.

The movie, 27 Dresses. Especially when watching it with my sissy.

New friends.

Premier Jewelry.

My new dish washing apron.

Wearing my hair curly. Who knew?

Cherry Limeade From Taco Bell. Yum.

How Chloe knows h - p of the alphabet. She knows most of it, but she seems to enjoy h-p the most. Way too cute.

That my room is clean. It usually looks like a teenager lives there, but I opened a can of whoop-tail on it last week, and in an unexpected twist, I have managed to keep it picked up!

This song.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Southwestern Rice Salad

One of my favorite blogs for delicious recipes is Cooking During Stolen Moments. I've never made one of her recipes and regretted it. One of my all time favorites is this Southwestern Rice Salad. It is such a departure from the typical summer salads. If you're like me and are a little burned out on the classic potato and pasta salads, you will LOVE this!

Southwestern Rice Salad

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 5oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 c. fully cooked brown or white rice

  • 1. In a large bowl, combine rice, black beans, corn and chilies.
  • 2. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and seasonings. Add to the other mixture and stir to combine.
  • 3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors start to develop.

Click here for a super yummy bean salad, and click here to see all the other great recipes at We Are That Family.

Attack Of The Sleeping Mommy

The list of things that change when you become a mommy is vast. I'll just make it short.

1. Everything.

That mostly covers it, I think.

One of my more entertaining changes is in my scary dreams. No longer do I dream about falling, or going to school/work without pants. Nope. I dream that Chloe is falling. Or running into traffic. Or drowning.

The funny part is what I do when I have these dreams.... The first time it happened, I sat straight up in bed, leaned over and slapped Frank.


Thankfully, he laughed.

Last night, when I had the drowning dream, I sat up and dove for him. Apparently thinking it was her? I don't know. He just kindly asked, "What was that about?"

"Chloe drowning." I replied.

And then we went back to sleep.

What do you do when you have a startling dream?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Freedom, Yo!

Holy Exhausting Weekend, Batman!

I go to a church called The Freedom Center, so when it comes to the holiday where we celebrate freedom?

Yeah, we don't mess around.

So when I recover from all that, it'll be back to business as usual around here. Including finding my running shoes. They haven't been used for a few days...

Okay, almost a week.

Friday, July 2, 2010

This Little Piggie Is Delicious

When I was little I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandmother. She was the picture perfect grandma. She got down on the floor and played, she told the greatest stories, loved to play cards and games and best of all - that woman could cook and bake.

I made a chicken pot pie for dinner the other night and had some leftover pie crust and it made me think of my Gram. She would always take the excess crust and make what she called "piggies" with it.

They are so simple and so delicious. I hadn't done it in ages, and they were so good, I just might be making a full batch of pie crust just for the piggies sometime soon!

All you do is roll out the dough and spread butter over it. Next, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it and roll it up. Cut it just like you would a cinnamon roll. Bake at 400 degrees until golden and delicious.

So very yummy.

And nostalgic.

I miss you like crazy, Gram.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's Getting Hot In Here

You may have seen this information in an email forward, many years ago. I printed it out when I got it in 2005. It has been such a comfort to me during difficult times. I hope you enjoy it! (I apologize for the wonky formatting, not sure how to fix that...)


Malachi 3:3

"And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver"

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what
this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women
offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the
group at their next Bible study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to
watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her
interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the
fire and let it heat up, He explained that in refining silver, one needed to
hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as
to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us
in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits
as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true
that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was
being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there
holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the
entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in
the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith,
"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy--when I see my image
in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has
His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.