January 24, 2013

They called it crack at work...

and I promptly got an email with instructions on how to make it. So easy few words are needed....

Ingredients
1

Combine
2  3

Store
4

Consume
5  6

January 23, 2013

There is no small.

Some days it’s hard. It’s hard to believe I was made for anything when I seemingly do… nothing. I have filled many roles in relation to those around me, but often I look around and wonder why I’m not doing something like everyone else is. Why is my life so small?


Have you ever felt this way before? I can honestly say I certainly have. I have hoped that being a wife and mom was “enough,” struggling with what seemed like a small life. Did that make it any less valuable? Was I less important because I didn’t have some large goal placed in my heart? I felt defeated and alone and left out. But then, I guess that’s the nature of being a girl on the edge. You stand there wondering why everyone else is doing something, and you have to go run the vacuum.

Let me tell you, there is no such thing as an invaluable life. We are important because God has loved us and placed us to be right where we are. Whether we have a full time job which keeps us busy during the day, or we are changing the bazillionth diaper of the morning, God sees us, and we are important to Him.

Luke 12 6 7

So, what is it we are to do when we start feeling small and unimportant?
  1. Don’t compare your life to anyone else's. God chose you to bear fruit where you are. If you are wishing you were doing something different, chances are you’re not doing what you should be doing to the best of your ability.
  2. Find contentment where you are. There are different seasons to our life, and each season has pros and cons. I challenge you to focus on the pros of where you are right now. It may not make the cons go away, but focusing on the positive has an effect on how you see even the negative.
  3. Prepare yourself for what the future may bring. You will receive opportunities where you are right now which will help you for where you are going. These opportunities may not reveal themselves as such until after the fact, so the easiest way to prepare is by doing what you feel God calling you to do.
  4. Give each moment the fullness it deserves. Some things can be done without thinking, but make sure you are thinking when you do the things that need you to be engaged. Cleaning the toilets is one thing, but helping your child with your homework is another. Don’t treat your relationships as chores. Take the time a moment requires.
  5. Trust God with your today and tomorrow. He sees you and you are no less than anyone else. When you feel forgotten remember He has placed you where you are for a reason. Embrace that truth regardless of how you are feeling.
You are so important, right here and now. No one could replace you or do the things you do quite the way you do them. God knows this, and that’s why He designed your life and you the way He did. Choose to embrace where you are. Remember, size is both relative and comparative. Try to see your life as God does. 

January 22, 2013

Apple Oatmeal... Crisp?

I have a recipe for an apple crisp dessert hidden away amongst my many cookbooks and recipe pages. I honestly don't know where it is, but I have made a few times so the basics were in the back of my head. I decided I wanted to make it, and I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. Now, I have remade this recipe twice to make sure it came out basically the same each time, and it did. I wanted to share this with you because in all honesty I have served it as dessert AND breakfast. Aside from cinnamon rolls how many recipes are that flexible?? Okay, here it is.

Start out with these ingredients:

1




1 cup all purpose flour
4 packages of original instant oatmeal
2 cans of fried apples (with cinnamon)
cinnamon sugar
1 stick of butter

Spray your container well with a spray oil, and turn your oven on to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, and cinnamon sugar. I can't honestly tell you how much cinnamon sugar I used, but even if I had measured I would still tell you to go according to your taste. The cinnamon in the fried apples flavors well if you don't want to add any extra.

Place the fried apples WITH the liquid into the container, and pour the dry ingredients on top. With a wooden spoon mix gently so that the liquid is absorbed and the apples are covered. It should look like this:

2

At this point take the stick of butter and slice it up into near teaspoon slices. This does NOT need to be perfectly measured because you will simply be laying the top of the apple mixture with the butter. Before it goes into the oven it should look like this:

3

Put it in the preheated oven and let it cook for 30-45 minutes. When it is ready to come out the liquid will be bubbling out on top in a few places, and the rest will be slightly browned. The best part is your kitchen will smell scrumptious! Here is what mine looked out coming out of the oven:

4

Now, you can simply scoop this into bowls and hand it out, or you can serve it with ice cream and whipped cream for a little extra fun. Everyone in my family really enjoyed the results, though I think they liked it better as the dessert than the breakfast.

January 18, 2013

Stop being Vulnerable

Yes, yes I know. Currently the one thing everyone tells us to do is to "be vulnerable." I think all those who are saying this would agree there is a time and place for everything. For example::
you want to be vulnerable in your marriage,
but you don't want your marriage to be vulnerable
or
you want to be vulnerable over coffee with friends,
but you don't want to be vulnerable getting there

You see, there are times vulnerability is not a good thing, but so often we don't imagine ourselves vulnerable at these times. We think the wall that protects our hearts protects us all the time. The thing is, while in relationship with another person we have to choose to be vulnerable, in other life situations, we have to choose not to be.

I hope to learn more and more about how not to be vulnerable and how to be stronger in life, and my plan is to share it here as I go. Don't worry, I wont overwhelm you with negativity or pessimistic thought. I will address situations realistically, and look at the chances of things happening. Why? Because it seems in this world of ours we all walk around thinking nothing bad is ever going to happen to us. The problem is there is evil in this world. I also know that as much as we learn, as many precautions we may take, and as often as we stay alert bad things could still happen. We can't stop them from happening, but does that mean we don't try to protect ourselves?

I don't want to change who I am, but I want to see things as they are. I care about each and every one of you, and if something happened because I didn't share the information I learn I would hate myself. The exciting prospect is this covers so many different avenues and possibilities. I can see I need to learn more spiritually (put on the armor of God...), relationally (keeping relationships safe as they grow...), physically (precautions to take before anything ever happens...), and emotionally (how to deal with a situation that comes up...). This is not a one month series, nor is it something I will be done with at a certain point. This is a way of living life so that we are stronger and safer than we would have been before.

Yes, in your writing, with your heart, and in your relationships be vulnerable.
But in your life, stop it already.

(I hope you join me as I learn more, and if you have anything you would like me to research please let me know! You may have thought of something I haven't yet.)

January 17, 2013

A few I pics I couldn't share before...

I was busy working on projects in December, but couldn't share them because I was gifting them. I thought I would just share a few shots of what I gave....

Mary's Quilt
Mary's Mary's

Mom's Quilt
Mom's Mom's

Amanda's slouchy Hat                    Mrs. Binnie's scarf                 
side 2 004

Mary's Eternity Scarf
20121130_202405

Dad's blanket                                                 Cman's blanket
019 016

I also made a few hats, but apparently forgot to get pictures of those. :)

January 15, 2013

Museum impacts

May-Oct of 2011 the Passages Interactive Bible Exhibit came through Oklahoma City. On one of the many days that fall in those months our family went to check it out. I fell in love with the earlier copies and the scribes work. You can catch glimpses of it in this video:

About a year later I wrote this piece about writing the bible. My notebook does not have the amazing pictures or the words put in such a way that it makes a design of it's own. I simply write out the words one phrase at a time.

I finished my first notebook this month, and Captain got me a new book for me to move into. Esther, Lamentations, Hebrew, and Micah are done. I'm still not sure what I am going to do with these notebooks, but I would like to go back and add my thoughts, questions, and comments on the left side of the pages. I just don't know when I will get to that. Maybe when I finish all 66 books?

Some things grab your soul and you do something or make a change you never would have imagined making prior. Writing out the Bible is definitely one of those things I never considered doing before my trip to the museum that day. Have you ever had an experience in a museum which pushed you to do something new?

(Topic from Marion Roach Smith's Interactive Calendar)

January 11, 2013

5 things I want to share from a non-incident

It was a night before Christmas, and it would have been spectacularly normal except for the feeling that was still with me the next morning. I had needed to run to the pharmacy, and while the sun was down it was only six thirty. The family were all doing different things, so I ran off by myself to return shortly.

I didn't get what I had hoped for, but such is the case on many store runs. You dribble and you shoot. As I walked out towards my car another car stopped to let me pass. As he pulled up a little past me his window was down and he said something which I could not hear. Taking one step closer to the vehicle, but far enough away so that I couldn't touch it, I asked him to repeat himself.

stay safe

January 10, 2013

That day... you know the one.

I hit it. I really don't like hitting it, but I'm not sure how to avoid it, actually. You know what I'm talking about, right? Here we all are, talking about resolutions, words, goals, and dreams. We've told a few people what our ideas are. I shared different aspects with different people, but each thing excited me and made me nervous at the same time. We get encouragement, and we get even more excited. And then comes the day....

Something doesn't go quite as we expected. Someone says something which isn't quite as encouraging as we hoped. We try to take a step and fail. Or maybe... maybe nothing tangible happens at all which we can point to and say "this" is to blame. Whatever causes it, our heart trembles a little and the doubts see the crack and swarm in as quick as they can.

And then I ended up on the couch, hair cascading over the edge, staring at Captain upside down as he flipped the channels on the television. The sun was beginning to set, but I had a little bit before supper needed to be started. As I laid there I doubted everything I had been hoping for. I doubted my ability. I doubted this was something I could do. I doubted this was something I should do. I cringed at what everyone else thought, and closed my eyes as I heard the echoes of their laughter across the miles. And I realized I had hit the wall and was starting to drown.

perseverance

What do you do when you hit this place? Because, honestly, don't we all at some time or other? Or maybe over and over?! The panic sets in and we question everything we knew for sure beforehand. Our hearts fail us. How do you get out of the slump rather than slide further and further in?

I can tell you what I did this time. I got up and made supper, because it had to be made. But instead of walking around the kitchen, I hopped. Yes, my friends... I hopped. And I realized there is no way you could be "hopping mad." When you hop to get where you want to go you feel a little foolish, a little childish, and a little funny. And then making the sausage, potatoes, and baked beans was no longer a chore from my to do list, but it was something I enjoyed. Oh yes, Captain eyed me funny, but he's used to me doing odd things occasionally. The point was, I hopped my way out of the funk and back into hoping for the future. It didn't take too long before I could walk again without the funk surrounding me.

The truth of the matter is for me to carry out my big dreams God is going to HAVE to give me a hand. I can't do it by myself, and as excited and nervous as I am, that is the truth. Even the small day to day things I want to do or need to do to get further down the road will have to be handled by Him. I'm just going along for the ride, trying the hardest I can, grateful for Him to pick me up as I go along, and hoping that something like I am dreaming can actually happen.

And that? The hope I find in God for my future? That, my friend, is the best place to rest because the doubts can't shake that away. Regardless of where my future takes me, I will always be with God. And He smiles as I hop across the kitchen in order to regain my hope. And He's with me through this kind of day, and the good ones. And He's with you too.

I hope when you hit the wall, and come upon THAT day you will find something to help you out of the slump. Whatever it is. And if nothing else, the thought of me hopping in my kitchen should make you giggle at least a little!

love you friend!

January 7, 2013

Soft target?

I sat at the table with the rest of the "staff" of the church. No, most of us weren't paid, but we helped in deciding what would happen at the church. We never got a notice of what would be discussed so preparation was impossible. That evening I sat a little shell shocked as the pastor said he wanted to put up signs keeping out concealed weapons. I had no evidence, I had done no research, but I knew in my heart it was the wrong course of action. When he didn't get us to vote the way he thought we would, the topic was tabled never to be mentioned again.

When I went home that night I knew I had to get my research together. You see, I didnt' know it wouldn't be mentioned again at that time. I just knew I needed to find out: was what my heart told me right?

Once my research was completed I found out that most massacres happen in gun free zones. Recently this topic has been in the news a lot because of the tragedy in CT. My heart breaks for those families, but did you know CT has some of the most stringent gun laws?

I understand we feel this need to figure out the why it happened to keep this from happening again. I understand the desire to do something, make a difference, change anything because something must be changed. But I need you to stop for a minute and think. The reason all of the massacres took place was not because law abiding citizens had a right to bear arms. It was because a very sick individual did something that was unthinkable.

When a gun free zone goes up you make that location a soft target. If you are a crazed individual determined to live out this deranged plan you have come up with, will you go somewhere you know others have no guns, or will you go somewhere there is a possibility someone is armed? Taking away our guns is not the answer to this problem. Unfortunately more laws do not keep people from doing crazy things or our jails would not be overflowing. All more stringent gun laws do is keep us from protecting ourselves.

As I knew sitting in the church that one day I still know now sitting in my home: I prefer not to be a soft target. I know I don't have a story to tell where I have been involved in such a shooting, so maybe my words don't have as much weight. Please then, listen to someone who has been there and was denied her right to protect herself.

 
The cafeteria she was in, Luby's, was a gun free zone. The research I did was years ago and I did not save it once we left the area and moved to a new state, but I suggest you not be controlled by your emotions. Instead do some research on your own. I know statistics and facts can be twisted, so try to go to original sources and reporting of the tragedies. You may realize you don't want to be a soft target either.

January 4, 2013

What brings you confidence?

I remember the first time it happened. We were in the sixth and third grades, respectively. I had issues with his sisters, so it made sense my brother had issues with him. I don't know how it started or who was to "blame" but my brother ran behind me away from him. I stood there thinking, "There is no way this kid is going to get past me." The next thing I knew my friends were picking me up from the ground and my brother was on the boy's back.

I wanted to defend my brother, but instead I got hit with a right hook.

I have always wanted to defend those I loved. This protection impulse is strong through-out my family. We all want to protect one another, and I am grateful we feel this way. However, while my intentions were grand I couldn't follow through. I simply didn't have the knowledge or the means.

In November 2011 I began taking taekwondo lessons at my church. Youngest had been there for a few months prior, almost six, and I decided this was something I would regret not doing if I let the opportunity slip past me. I had to at least try. I had no idea how this would stretch and grow me.

My second class I ended up in tears walking the track above the class. My second sparring session I turned my back to my partner and stated I simply couldn't do it. My first tournament I took home a 2nd placed trophy and two 1st place trophies. I think it was a fluke, but it was also a crazy whirl wind of learning which I am still going through. Just a few months ago I stressed over falling forward, and learning new forms. Also, over this past Christmas break youngest told me if I could let go of worrying about hurting someone I would be able to do much better.

Ironic, no? I hoped this would help me learn to defend myself and those I loved, yet I am worried about hurting others. I'm learning that's part of who I am: I want to protect everyone. But I'm also learning to work around it all. There's a time and place for everything, right?

As I look back to who I was when I began class and compare her to who I am now, the greatest change has been within me. Taekwondo is helping me become the confident person I believed I could be. I love that I am more confident in being able to defend myself and my loved ones, but it has transferred over in so many ways to me simply being more confident. Not that I don't still have my moments, or shutter as they tell me the best way to break an arm in a specific position, but I'll always be me too. And I'm learning that blending is pretty cool. You know the insurance commercial of the happy witch in the broom factory? My classmates tell me that's me in taekwondo laughing all the way down to the mat.

I know everyone has to find their thing, I just never imagined mine would be this. I'm thrilled it is though. I'm looking forward to learning even more in class as we start this new year knowing it will also affect new opportunities, dreams and goals.

What is it in your life which has challenged you to grow and become more you? Is there something you always wished you could try, but haven't done so yet? I challenge you to take the steps you need to in order to do that. It's a new year! It's a new chance! You never know how it will affect your life.

January 3, 2013

Hold on tight.

If He truly loved me......

How would you finish that statement? I would have an easy life? I would have lots of friends? I would feel the love all the time? I would feel as if I belonged somewhere? It's easy to forget how much He loves us when we are basing it on how we feel in a moment.

Too often I have allowed my circumstances, or how other's treated me be the definition of how much God loved me. Unfortunately, I always saw things as fairly negative. Not really feeling as if I fit in I would think there was something wrong with me. If these people couldn't love me (as I needed) then how could God? After all, we were His hands and feet, right? If I didn't feel it from others, then He must not have felt it towards me. Yes, my logic was flawed, and my emotions controlled me, but it was where I was and it kept me from seeing how much God truly loved me.

As this year progresses I want us to be able to move out of our emotions and flawed logic and into the truth. We will look at how we can know God thinks we are important first, and move on from there. But this is my challenge to you right now.

Romans 8 37 39

In this very moment I have no idea how you are feeling about how God feels towards you. I want you to just let go of that feeling, even if it is a good one in this moment. We cannot define how God thinks of us by our feelings. We're too wishy-washy. Even the strongest among us will have a moment where they feel isolated and alone and on the edge. This is when we have to know the truth and hold onto it with all our might.

No matter the circumstances you find yourself in, or the emotions that are rolling through your heart, always remember that God loves you. Just accept it. Also know that nothing will separate you from that love. I want you to hold on to that fact as tightly as you hold on to the fact that 2+2=4. Know it, my dear, as well as you know your alphabet. We'll learn together how much He loves us, but never let go of the knowledge that He does indeed love you.

January 1, 2013

2013 Admission

Have you seen this video? Take a moment and watch it. (please)


Now, I will be honest and let you know I generally do not watch youtube videos unless someone has shared them with me. Jo always shares the best videos, and I thought this one was no exception. This young man states quite openly and honestly how he is feeling, and I'm beginning to think it's how many of us feel. I know I do.

I love writing. In the past month as I have been sharing all my favorites I had a lot of fun. It wasn't in depth, and at times I worried y'all would think I was being incredibly selfish or even secular, but it felt right. I hoped maybe something I shared was something someone had been looking for. Or maybe it was just selfish.

I have also struggled with the idea of connection and how much I do and don't connect with others. I have been given opportunities to connect with people in my life, and I have tried to take them. I probably didn't do enough all the time, and sometimes I may have gone overboard. It happens.

My connections here, online, are no exception to that mess. When I read other people's stories it makes my heart sing. Whether I am crying or laughing at the end of it, I feel as if I know someone else a little better, and most times I know something more about myself or life or this world we live in as well. I want to be able to write like that, but they scare me. You have to have a level of vulnerability. It's hard, so I haven't been practicing that very much.

Sometimes in the middle of our own lives we feel we can't write about something, or we don't have anything to write about. But then there are times I don't write something simply because I don't want to offend you. The person who happens by. I'm scared you wont like it. I'm scared you will belittle it. I'm so much like the boy in the video up there. I'm scared you wont like me. But for the thousandth time I am going to plod on, press the restart button, and try to not worry about that. Like he said, I don't know exactly how to go about it, but it's something I'm working on.

So you see, this is a new year, which is always the time to start new ideas. (Though there are a bazillion other perfect times through the year too.) But truth be told, I'm not announcing any new idea. I simply wanted to start the year out saying, "I'm scared." I want you to like me. I want you to like my writing. I want you to see promise, hope, and feel different when you leave here. I want to make you think. (In a good way.)

I know. Not all of you will come back. And please know, that's okay too. But if you have any tips, links, or other videos you think I should see? Or if you have something to share about what I have written, whether you agree or not, I would love to hear it.

So, Happy New Year friends. I know you may not always like what you find here, but I am determined to write anyway. It's 2013 and we made it past the end of the Mayan Calendar. (Hope you didn't do anything stupid.....)
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