Friday, May 17, 2013

If there is ONE thing in my soul that needs to be worked on each day, it is this:

hope in God...

Hoping in God sustains us.

Hoping in God gives us joy and peace and contentment.

Hoping in God is our security.

Hoping in God gives us purpose. 

Hoping in God is ours in Jesus. 

Yet...I can at least speak for myself here...So often we worry (with or without God), question, fret, and a whole slew of other things that leave us as ships ready to be tossed by whatever wave happens to come our way next. 

I went to write out a verse in Lamentations about the mercies of God being new every morning. As I copied it down, I decided to read the verses around it. And that's when my mind turned right back to that familiar place: 

hope in God...

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in Him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24

 The steadfast love is with us, His mercy is always new, He is faithful, He is our portion...We have so many reasons to hope and when we have come to the end, to hope some more. 

Hope in God...You won't be disappointed! 

Real Faith

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ladies, I have a question for you today....Do you pray? By this I mean, do you spend earnest time in prayer to God? 

I do and I don't. I have seen God move in specific ways in answers to my prayers over and over again. It blows my mind. It's exciting and yet it's humbling. The God who made and keeps EVERYTHING is here calling me to pray to Him, to have faith, and to watch as He works. 

I am quick to thank God. I am quick to look to God. But I'm just not quick to ASK for things. 

Even so....Every single time I have asked for something specific I've seen a clear answer to it. No spoken words, no writing in the sky, and no pretty package on my doorstep...Not even a "still small voice". What I've seen is CHANGE...Changed hearts, changed situations, growth, understanding, overcoming, and quite a number of times, something given. Usually, answers didn't come overnight, but they came. 

Last week, while I was watching Heidi's kids I decided to turn a sermon on during "nap time". I looked through my iPod and decided on a sermon Mark Dever preached last year. Check it out HERE: Real Faith...Prays. 

Dever is one of my Mom's favorite preachers and I have to say, I can see why! He brings Scripture to real life and I happen to love how he ALWAYS has some piece of history to add to the point he is excited about. 

Ladies, listen to the sermon. Examine yourself and follow Dever's advice!!! Do you pray as though you believe that God is listening and will actually MOVE? 

Pray: Boldly...Specifically...Perseveringly....and WATCH as God works. 

2013 has been about DRINKING and a huge piece of that is praying...God works through our prayers. He works today and our prayers live on long after us! 

Praying isn't mainly about talking to or hearing from or getting something from God...Praying IS about setting a pattern of FAITH. Praying is KNOWING truth, STANDING on truth, and staying FOCUSED on God. 

As I pray, I need God, I need His Word, and I make for myself a path that leads me to walk with Him....Praying is what builds and strengthens and "fleshes out" the mind of God in my own head. 

Dever says to think about what you didn't pray about yesterday and pray about it today. That's A LOT....Don't run, don't worry, don't fear: do pray, do wait, do believe....He cares and He is working and in prayer you are saying, "in faith, I believe".

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess our sins one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three ears and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5: 13-18

S'more, Please

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A year or so ago, "s'more" everything was all the rage. Everyone was making s'more cookies, bars, and pies. I couldn't wait to get in on it! There was only one problem. Ever single recipe I saw was basically chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers smooshed and repurposed. 

Eventually, I came across a recipe that wasn't quite so boring. I bookmarked it and decided to save it for later. Last summer, later never came. 

Last Saturday, we had the first cook out of the year and I decided it would be the perfect day to make that S'more Pie I'd been so excited about. 

After it turned out, I knew I wanted to share it with you here! Unfortunately for you, I was so excited to actually eat it that I just snapped a few quick pictures with an iPod...

I'll put a link to the original recipe at the bottom of this post. If you make the pie, I'd love to hear from you!!! 

The only tips I have: 

Nope, there is no added sugar in the filling. That's okay, don't freak out. I used 8oz of chocolate, half bittersweet and half semisweet. 

The marshmallow fluff goes FAST, it might be helpful to have someone else scrape it out of the pan while YOU blend it up....

 Click HERE for the recipe complete with a printable file over at Just A Taste

Do you have a favorite cook out recipe? 

While we're recipe swapping...

Do you have a favorite potato salad recipe?

What about a recipe for a raspberry, pineapple, pecan jello salad with 7up in it?  

Once Upon a Saturday

Monday, May 13, 2013

Another weekend is over and with it another holiday has come and gone...I get the horrible daughter of the year award! I made sure to be there to spend the holiday with my Mom but that is all I had for her this year.

Saturday marked the first official cook out of the season. It was HOT and perfect.

Sunday was (of course) Mother's Day. There was face timing, chalk drawing, a dinner with friends, and "Lincoln" watching. My Mom is an AMAZING woman and yet honoring her on the holiday marked for it was PATHETIC. She's reading this shaking her head I'm sure...I love you and you know it, Mom, even when I STINK at helping you know it!


LAST weekend, my brother and sister asked me to put together an obstacle course for them. I looked around for things to set up and hours worth of fun was born...The time JUNK came in handy, or something like that!

They ran, jumped, crab walked, crawled, balanced on a barrel, carried water, dribbled, and jump roped....OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. The scores got faster and slower. "Hey, Mom, watch this!!!!" was shouted. Videos were made, pictures were taken, and I hope another fun memory was added to the banks. 

Every now and then a quiet Saturday at home turns into something a little less quiet. I love those days!!!


Uno mas, Meh-Mah.....I LOVE you and I'm GLAD you're my Mom and my best friend! There may not be any grandbabies, but there are still plenty of good times. :) 

They Matter More Than We Think

Friday, May 10, 2013

Frankly, life does not have to be exciting to be good. You don't have to take trips...Or know many people...You don't have to have a nice car...And you don't have to be important...Life can still be good.

I have spent most of my life living in small towns. Even when I've lived in the city, I've seen that neighborhoods become their own small town, their own safe haven. 

These places are full of people who are all "busy" and yet if they died, life would go on just fine without most of them. They spend their days going to work, cleaning the house, fixing food, taking care of the lawn, checking the mail, getting gas for their car, watching TV, and occasionally they get together with family for a party, a cookout, or a milestone. 

Life in these safe havens have things to teach us...

Time goes on and things don't matter, people do. Yet, it's always the things that bring us together.  We see the same people at the post office, our kids play on the same sports teams, and maybe our Grandma's go to the same beauty shop. As we do the menial things, we get to know each other and we start to CARE for each other. 

 When you know the people around you, you know that we're all in it together. And together, we can see that a quiet life really can be quite good. 

This weekend, especially if you're just taking it slow, take some time to think. We're not going to be around forever. MOST of the things we do don't even matter. Think about the people around you and take some time to pour into them the joy and the life that you have in Christ. 

In Christ, the "pointless" minutes and hours and days have purpose. He gives them to us and He means for us to use them well. 

Believing AND Caring

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Last month I reviewed a copy of Joshua Harris's brand new book, "Humble Orthodoxy". 

I really enjoyed this book! 

As you can guess, Harris's aim was to communicate the fact that while orthodoxy (right belief about God) is absolutely necessary, so is humbly living alongside others who may or may not share those beliefs. 

There are several extremes: Some people don't know what they believe and don't really care what other people may or may not believe. Other people know exactly what they believe and don't have the time of day to calmly reason with others who do not agree with them. Still yet, some people know what they believe but are not concerned with what others may be dealing with.

Live and let live is NOT an option. 

Live and force to live is NOT an option.

Through "Humble Orthodoxy", Harris communicates just how we should aim to live as we stand firm in the truth and yet remain compassionate and concerned for those around us. 

Pick up the book and measure yourself. Click HERE

My guess is that you're either apathetic or rude...Unfortunately, I know that I bounce between the two. 

"Humble Orthodoxy" is a great companion to Harris's other book, "Dug Down Deep". With the two, you'll be able to get a grip on right thinking and right communicating....You'll be able to be a Christian who knows truth and lives to continually and humbly defend and share the truth that is changing your life each day. 

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All thoughts and comments are my own. 

More in May

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

There's a challenge to "blog everyday in May" going around this month. I was thinking about doing it...Then it was May 3 and May 4 and May 5 and since I hadn't blogged yet, I decided it was just too late. 

My challenge? Blog more in May. 

We'll see how it goes. 

Lately I've been...

* Clearing out flower beds. Weeds and grass and spring flowers that have come and gone needed to be dealt with. To be honest, I'm kind of sad that part is over. 

*Dreaming about what to plant this year. I picked up some seeds and am trying to decide just how much I'm going to take on this year. 

*Listening to good music. Still enjoying Talented Xth and now I'm moving on to "Heroes For Sale".

* Rearranging things. My room, closets, cabinets, the fridge, and the garage. Operation: ORGANIZE. 

* Trying to "plan not plan" the summer. There are several places I'd like to go this year and I want to be sure not to miss special events happening at each place. The calendars have been printed and things have been penciled in (penciled = "plan not plan", it's an option but I'm not bound to anything). It's coming together!!!

*Enjoying time on the patio again! So far I've spent plenty of time out there, but Sunday marked the first MORNING on the patio.
*Cooking up new things in the kitchen. Over the last few days I've boiled taco meat, tried to figure out burrito sauce, and shot from the hip at some teriyaki chicken. I'm ready to do some things I'm comfortable with too....Cold brew coffee, anyone? 

So, it's May. It's almost summer. 

Winter has come and gone. It turned out to be a pretty good one. 

We celebrated the holidays, beat the "blues", played lots of games, celebrated lots of birthdays, saw my brother, spent time with my friend and her newly expanded family, put on a play, and made it out with smiles on our faces...Mostly! 

What have you been up to lately? 

What are your "plans not plans" for summer 2013?

The Scenic Route: 15 Years

Monday, May 06, 2013

Last week, we had a little party to celebrate my sister's 15th birthday! In case you haven't noticed...I love getting together with people. If it involves setting the table, fixing food, and putting up some kind of decoration, that's even better.

A few years ago, I bookmarked a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte. I sent my sister a picture of said dessert and she was all in favor of it being her birthday "cake". 

Having never made it before I was VERY nervous about how it would turn out. It involved using a spring form pan. I've never used one of those either. Thankfully, it turned out just fine and I was not the least bit embarrassed to serve it on that special day!

My sister LOVES pasta...The menu that she picked for the evening was: Baked Alfredo, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread, "Jay" Juice, and of course the fancy "torte" (I'm still not sure why it's called a torte).

After the dessert was done, I was on to bigger and better things. I headed out to the tulip garden and cut every single last tulip that was worth looking at. I'm not really into flowers in the house, but I knew that my sister would love it.

I have to say, I'm thinking it was a good move. The tulips are looking a little sad by now, but they are probably looking better than they would have if they were still outside.

There was also some last minute gift wrapping going on. One of her gifts was too large to wrap...It got turned into a "scavenger hunt" without a single clue beyond "you have one more gift and it's somewhere in the house."

She found it.

Every year, these two sit together while the other opens their gifts. I love watching them get excited together about whatever gifts were received. This year was no different.

This is where I should say something sweet and sentimental....I'm getting there.

At 15, my sister is very excited to be starting DRIVER'S ED soon! She's done so much in the years God has given her. With a compassionate heart and a spirit of joy, I trust that God is going to make something pretty special out of her!

These next few years are the "big ones". She'll have major decisions to make. I'm excited to be around to watch how she uses these years and what comes of them.

My prayer is that she would grow so close to God that her identity is TOTALLY in Him. I hope that her dreams revolve around truly knowing Him and helping others do the same.

Wherever she goes...Whatever she does...I want her to be a woman of God who is devoted to His truth. A woman whose presence brings the light that God places in the faces of His people.

We've had a lot of good times...I look forward to the good times the years ahead will bring. Times are changing, but for once, I'm kind of okay with the change!

To my sister: 
Hope you had as much fun on your special day as the rest of us did!!! 
I'm glad we're sisters. :) 

God is Right There

Sunday, May 05, 2013

What a morning it has been! I woke up to the sun coming in through the window and decided that I would get out of bed and head out to the patio. I love beginning my day outside in the fresh, cool air while it is still completely peaceful. 

This morning I brought out a glass of water, my Bible, and my journal. I decided to read the five Psalms of the day (take the day and keep adding thirty to it until you run out of Psalms). As I read Psalm 5, 35, 65, 95, and 125 I saw one theme:

The cause of the Lord stands. 

I was also reminded that my soul needs to KNOW that God is at work. He is my salvation. He surrounds me and keeps me walking in that salvation that He has given to me. 

Everything He made is in His hand. I can be sure of that. In Him, we have our cause. Oh that I would be led by that cause daily! 

Since then, I came inside and had breakfast and visited with my Mom. Then I settled back down to read "Knowing God" by JI Packer. I'm not one to re-read books, but there are a few books I do re-read. This book is one of them. 

If there is one book you should read this year (I hope I haven't already said this...), you should read "Knowing God"! It has been a few years since my last trip through it....I forgot how RICH it truly is! 

In the first chapter, Packer quotes Charles Spurgeon in a call to the journey through coming to truly know God, 

"Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity...Go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in the immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead..."

Any of you who have spent time with God in an attempt to KNOW Him, know this to be true. Whatever questions are raised, whatever convictions are had, there is NOTHING like sitting with God. 

However strange it sounds, there you find plain truth that leads to the clearest thinking you can have about life. And what PEACE and JOY and SECURITY truth brings. 

Packer describes Psalm 119 as communicating the fact that,

"His supreme desire was to know and enjoy God himself, and he valued knowledge about God simply as a means to this end. He wanted to understand God's truth in order that his heart might respond to it and his life be conformed to it."

I promise...If you take the time to read this book you will be on your way to knowing and enjoying God and having a heart that responds to His truth and a life that is conformed to it....And there you will most certainly find REST. 

The last few weeks have been full of spending time with people who love God and to be able to know them and the God that they love is absolutely refreshing. 

I hope this spring has been this for you too! If not...It's not too late! Today, dig in. Seek Him!