Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Determined Abandon

Okay, so there was this little conference last weekend.  You may have heard of it - Allume.  Well, I didn't go...big bummer, but you can bet I'm already praying about next year!  

I was however able to catch the keynote speakers because the wonderful people at Teach Them Diligently offered them in their entirety.  I have yet to listen to Ann Voskamp's, mainly because of that silly little thing called time, but I wanted to share one of my take-aways from Problogger - Darren Rowse's keynote.

Darren did a great job of lacing blogging gems throughout his testimony, things like the idea of following "sparks" -  those seemingly "little things" that happen, that if we act fast, could produce great results, and if not, we may miss something very special.  He gave several examples in the area of blogging and community, but my takeaway was for life in general - my walk.

How many times, oh Lord help us, but how many times do we miss opportunities at the grocery store or the dry cleaner because we are in a rush to get to the "next thing"?  Maybe it's just a smile that will "spark" a conversation in the meat department that could lead to someone finding some peace - the Prince of Peace in their life storm.  I've seen it happen - when I'm looking.

That was awesome, and I'm still chewing on it, trying to absorb the bigness of it, but his final story was just as powerful. 

Darren told this crazy story about being in a cafe and eating an extra large slice of  mudcake. With a Fork.  Nearby, a little girl got the same {extra-large} size piece of mudcake and she ate it...face first.  She went after that thing.  She wanted it, probably looked forward to it all day, and by golly she went after it.

I could totally picture the whole story in my mind's eye as Darren is a great story teller.

His charge with that story was that we "put the fork down" and pursue God with the same gusto as that little girl. 

He used John 6:57 as a text...
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
Darren also explained that "feeds" in this passage means "feasts"...big difference.

Immediately, I was reminded of something someone said to me awhile back.  

"We should pursue God with determined abandon."

Determined abandon.  What does that mean?   

Determined = resolute, staunch, decided, settled, resolved
Abandon = to give up control of; to yield oneself without restraint or moderation

God really is trying to get my attention, and maybe yours too... He's saying that we need to let go of our preconceived ideas.  Take the lid off of the box that we've put Him in and make a decision to "put the fork down" and follow HIM wholly, completely, without restraint.  Just follow Him, wherever He may seem crazy at times, but I for one don't want to live so reserved, that I miss the "sparks" or opportunities that He may have for me.

Thank you Darren for your inspiration!  Even though I wasn't in the room, I received the impartation!  You can be sure of that!

There was so much more I gleaned, but I am focusing, really focusing on these nuggets for now.  I want to get it right.   

I don't want to miss those little sparks of opportunity anymore.  

I'm putting the fork down...

Honored to be Linking up with:
New Life Steward - WIP Wed
Women Living Well
that I joined for the month of October.


Friday, October 26, 2012

My Voice

I actually listened to my own voice yesterday on a recording.  It sounded crackly and squeeky and even little girlish.  But it sounded real, and full of the love it was delivering.  You see, I was ministering to a woman, and we recorded it, like we do every first Friday night of the month at church.  There are a team of us, and we minister.  We love the people, we share what is on the Father's heart with them, and we record it for them to have later.

But my voice.  I couldn't help but hear those qualities..squeeky, crackly, young girlish.  But when I listened, I heard the love I was sharing ~  The love the Father had for that woman.  I don't know her.  I may never see her again, but I was honored to share His love with her that night.

That's my desire here....To share His love with friends.

And honestly, sometimes, well, most times really, I feel squeeky and crackly.  But my heart is only to share Him.  To share the  abundance of what He's done for me and mine.  

His love.  His grace.  His mercy.  Him...

That's the voice I desire.  Not only in this big ole blogosphere, but real life...

Lord, please use my voice...

  Honored to link up with a wonderful mob of writers over at
Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday!

that I joined for the month of October.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Musings {10/22}

I sit here and I stare at this blank screen.  I wonder.  I ponder.  I think about the events of the last few days, of the message at church yesterday, of this headache that just won’t seem to let up and I wonder.  I wonder what in the world God wants to do with all of it.   

I know I should be writing.  And I want to.  I really do.  I just get in front of this screen (if I even make it that far) and I draw a blank.  What in the world…..   

These thoughts somehow led into Monday Musings, so I’ll run with it today and see where we land.

Today I’m thankful.  Thankful for so many things.  Thankful for a husband who loves and supports, in spite of it all.  Thankful for two wonderful kids, teens now, who still enjoy being around their parents (or at least they make us feel that way), and who love the Lord with all that is within them.  Thankful for the many material, worldly things that the Lord has graciously allowed us to steward – our home, our vehicles, etc.  Just so thankful. 

Most of all though, I’m thankful for Him.  His Presence.  His leading.  His guiding.  His sacrifice.  His love.  His Word.  His prophets – the mouthpieces He uses these days. 
Just. So. Thankful.

I’m praying I can learn to walk in a state of thankfulness, that it not be just hit or miss, but a lifestyle.  Ann Voskamp is amazing in this area – I have her book, 1000 Gifts – maybe that would be a good place to start huh?

To walk by faith and not by sight.  God is showing me things daily, and most days they make no sense to me.  But that’s ok, since He uses those things.

Since August, I’ve been consumed with my Bible in 90 Days readings, and haven’t picked up another book since then.  This Bible in 90 Days is no joke.  It’s hard and it’s cool, and it’s hard, and it’s inspiring, and yeah, did I mention it’s hard… I’m massively behind, but plugging along through Jeremiah right now.

What we did LAST WEEKEND…
It’s was quiet for a change.  Friday night we had our Life Group, and Chris did an awesome job teaching about leaving the last season behind and moving forward – writing our new chapter.  
I’m gonna have to get busy and read the book, since I’m teaching next month…oi vey.  
Saturday was consumed with apples – lots of apples.  I helped Chris with freezing and saucing about a bushel of lovely apples, so we’d have homemade yumminess all winter.  Lots of work, but so worth it!  And Sunday we had Chris’ parents out for dinner.  It was such a nice time. Just sitting and catching up as we haven’t seen them in quite a few weeks.  I know how much it meant to the kids too.

What am I looking forward to THIS WEEK…
It’s a pretty standard week.  I have a seminar at church on Saturday, which promises to be intense and awesome all at the same time.

What I’m BUYING….
I’m almost in full Christmas Planning mode – budgets and lists, and lots of ideas.  We are going to be doing the Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child boxes this year.  We haven’t done them in a few years, but the kids are really into it.  Should be a fun family day one of these days…

How I wish I knew…that’s on my mind for today.  I really need to get my menu-mojo back!

A PHOTO to share…   Anna & John at the Corn Maze...they were so excited to do it...I pray they always keep that child-like excitement!
Have a Great week!

that I joined for the month of October.

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Mom, look..." {#FiveMinuteFriday}

"Mom, look..."

How many times in the last 15 years have I heard that?  Too many to even consider counting.

How many times have I only half-heartedly responded and then gone back to what I was doing?  Again, too many to count...

Sad, I know.

But over the years, and especially recently, I've learned to stop what I'm doing and "Look Mom..." and even listen to what my precious ones are saying...what they are trying to convey to me that in that very moment is the most important thing in the world.

Even today, with teenagers, they want my attention.  They crave it.  And those moments when I stop what I'm doing and "Look Mom...." probably mean more to me than they do to them.  I know just how fleeting time is, and how soon they will be leaving the nest, and asking others to "Look..."

Lord, help me to tune in and Stop what I'm doing, Look in those precious blue or gray eyes, and Listen, really listen to what they are saying, and more importantly, what they are not saying.  And please don't ever let me take those "Look Mom..." moments for granted.

K.  I'm done.  How about you?  Did you write about "Look" today?

Join me won't you - over at Lisa Jo's for Five Minute Friday, where we write for five minutes flat, not overthinking and no editing.  It's fun!  Give it a shot!!  If you already did, leave me a comment and I'll stop by for a visit!!

Have a great weekend!!!


that I joined for the month of October.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Homemade GF Granola

This is one of our go - to recipes.  We love it on yogurt, as a take-along snack and plain with milk as cereal.  It's super-easy to make and the variations are endless.  The photo shows our favorite combination - chopped pecans, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips with {homemade} vanilla flavoring.  I also add in sesame and whole flax seeds whenever I make a batch as well.  
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
 MASTER GRANOLA RECIPE (Gluten Free Adaptations)
Ziplist Link - Homemade GF Granola

2 Cups Oats (old fashioned or quick works fine)
½ Cup Wheat Germ  {Milled Flax Seed for Gluten Free}
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 Cup “extra ingredients” (see complete list below)
¼ Cup (2oz) Maple Syrup
3 Tbs. Oil, flavorless such as vegetable or canola
1 Tbs. Water
Flavoring (see below)

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat to 275˚.
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
Mix first five ingredients (dry) in a bowl.
Bring syrup, oil, water and flavoring to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat.
Add warm liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir to combine.
Pour mixture onto prepared pan.
Bake 45 minutes, stirring with a spatula at 15 minute intervals.
**Add any dried fruit at the 30 minute point. 

1.  Classic Granola
“Extra Ingredients”: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup coconut; 1/3 cup raisins
Flavoring: ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
You can replace the ¼ cup of maple syrup with 2 Tbs each of maple syrup and molasses. 

2.  Crunchy Granola
“Extra Ingredients”: ¼ cup slivered almonds, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, 2 Tbs sesame seeds, 6 Tbs. currants   Flavoring: none

3.  Tropical Granola
“Extra Ingredients”: ¼ cup chopped roasted, unsalted cashews, ¼ cup chopped banana chips, ¼ cup coconut flakes, ¼ cup chopped dried pineapple
Flavoring: ½ tsp ground ginger

4.  Cherry Almond Granola
“Extra Ingredients”: 1/3 cup sliced almonds, 1/3 cup coconut flakes, 1/3 cup dried cherries
Flavoring: ¾ tsp almond extract

5.  Trail Mix Granola
“Extra Ingredients”: ¼ cup chopped, roasted, unsalted peanuts, ¼ cup flake coconut, ¼ cup raisins, ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Flavoring: none.   **stir chips into the granola only after it has completely cooled.

6.  Orange-berry Granola with pecans
“Extra Ingredients”: ½ cup chopped pecans, ¼ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup dried blueberries
Flavoring: ½ tsp finely grated orange zest

7.  Pear Granola with Hazelnuts & Vanilla
“Extra Ingredients”:  ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, ¼ cup chopped dried cherries, ¼ cup chopped dried pears
Flavoring: 1 tsp. vanilla extract

8.  Orange-flavored Granola
“Extra Ingredients”: ½ cup chopped roasted pistachios, ¼ cup chopped dates, ¼ cup chopped dried mangos
Flavoring: ½ tsp finely grated orange zest and ¼ tsp allspice

Original Source: USA / Modifications Mine

that I joined for the month of October.


It's Bigger Than Me...

It's bigger than me...
It's bigger than us...
What if we...

These are all statements I keep hearing...from different people, in different contexts.

It's the stirring in my heart.  

I don't want to be so self-focused that I miss the needs around me.  And let's face it, that is mighty easy to do given the times we are living in.  Jobs, kids, schedules, it all requires our attention.

BUT, what if?

What's your dream?  
What do you want to DO?  
How do YOU dream of making a difference?

My answers are still forming.  I started this blog in 2008, and only now, four years later, do I have an idea of its purpose - to make some sort of a difference. 

How does that work?  Honestly, I have no idea.  But God does. 

He knows the desires of my heart
Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him and he will do this

Psalm 37:3-5
He knows the plans He has for me (and my blog)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jer. 29:11
I have every confidence that what I give to Him, He can use.

So tomorrow I'm taking a step toward making a difference. 
Christian Mommy Blogger is encouraging a Revival Blackout to pray for our nation, the upcoming election, and our President.  

Leighann hit the nail on the head when she spoke in her video about Revival starting with us and reaching our spheres of influence, and reaching their spheres, and so on...what if???  

Bottom line? We are called to pray for our leaders, regardless of how we feel about them or whether we agree with them.  
The call to pray is always bigger than us.

I'm in.  Are you?


Linked with Courtney at Women Living Well. 
                       Mary Beth @ New Life Steward

that I joined for the month of October.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday {October 14}

"The pastures are clothed with flocks;
The valleys also are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, they also sing."
Psalm 65:13
I realize it's corn by the way...but I loved the pics and the verse...

Happy Sunday!

that I joined for the month of October.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Weekly Savor 7 {10/13}

Happy Saturday Friends!
Once again, I am joining Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates for Savor 7 Saturday, when we stop and count a few of our blessings from the last week.  It was a good week, as they all are so here we go...Enjoy...
Scripture - 1Peter 3:3-4
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."
 I actually wrote about my thoughts from the #keptstudy here.

Storyteller -TLHV button 
I was really touched yesterday when I read this post by Sheila @ To Love Honor & Vacuum.  She does such an amazing job tackling the tough relationship issues and she is really taking a lot of flak for it these days.  I just wonder sometimes, what do people hope to gain when they act so mean and crazy-like?  Have you read her book?  Check it out here.

Social -This week I had a wonderful blogging opportunity!  Remember a couple weeks ago I shared about going to the Quitter conference in Nashville?  Well, while we were there, my Man put my name in a drawing for a coaching call with Jeff Goins, and I WON!  I had that call this week.  I need to write a post about it, so I won't belabor things here, but it was so inspiring and encouraging!!

Silly - We had lots of silly moments on our trip to the Pumpkin farm earlier this week.  The recap is here.  We had such a great day, just the four of us...

Snapshot - Anna and John at the Pumpkin Farm this week...

Sips - this week I discovered the Pumpkin Spice coffee at my favorite place - Dunkin Donuts! 

Sweets - At the Pumpkin Farm we had this wonderful sweet treat - Oh My Goodness! It was so good!  Fresh cut apples, warm homemade caramel, topped with whipped cream and cinnamon!!! MMMM!

Have a Great Weekend!!


that I joined for the month of October.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Day At The Pumpkin Farm

This week, the kids both had Monday off from school, so Chris & I cleared a few appointments, and we decided to spend the day at a local pumpkin / Christmas tree farm farm.  The drive was about an hour, back to where we used to live actually, so we drove by our old (rented) house, and then onto the farm.  Considering it's been seven years since we lived there, it was pretty cool to hear the memories flood back to the kids, who were then five and seven.  
Here they are back in 2004.

It was a bit of a chilly day, but the farm was still packed with families, and groups of kiddos.  It wasn't too bad though.  
There was only one really long wait!

We rode the pedal car, which was interesting to see John steer.   
He and Chris did the pedaling by the way!

They did the pumpkin launcher and had a blast even though they didn't hit any of the targets!

 The Corn Maze was Anna's Request & she claimed the victory!
The Zipline...need I say more?  It's a ZIPLINE!!
And of course, the food...we downed almost an entire large bag of fresh, hot, sweet yet salty, Kettle Corn as we wandered around to each of the 30 activities.  

When we were done, we stopped by the cafe, and each of us had a wonderfully yummy caramel apple!  Oh it was sooooo good!  Anna especially loved it because with braces, it was pretty easy to eat, unlike a whole caramel apple.

I'm oh so thankful for the time we had that day to spend as a family making those memories.  The kids are no longer five and seven, but thirteen and fifteen.  They just grow up so fast!

I had purposed before we left the house that I was going to take lots of photos and chronicle the day.  How did I do??   
Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

that I joined for the month of October.

Race {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute Friday ~ Where a beautiful crowd spends five minutes all writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here. Where we just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. 

Today's Topic...Race.

First thing that came to mind was The Amazing Race.  The reality show on TV, where teams race around the world, competing in challenges, all for a big money prize at the end.  That's all pretty cool, but the real Amazing Race is the one fought out amidst the "Crazy" of the day.

Raising toddlers or teenagers or both.

Meals, menus, groceries.

Finding family time amidst school & work schedules, and church commitments.

Having snuggle time for just a few minutes in the quiet of the evening.  Even if they are teenagers.

That's the race I'm a part of.  
That's the ace I run. Every Day. 
And you probably do too.

How are you doing?  

Are you going strong or do you need to step back, take a deep breath and re-focus so that you can keep moving forward?  
"...holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain."   Philippians 2:16
I needed one of those breaks not too long ago.  And for once I recognized it and actually acted on it.  It did wonders.

And now I'm actually in a place where I'm Enjoying The Process of this Crazy Race...

that I joined for the month of October.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What are you adorned with?

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."  
 1 Peter 3:3-4

Photo Source

This passage really got me thinking.  

What am I adorning myself with? 
Adorn is "to enhance the appearance of especially with beautiful objects" (Webster's Dictionary)
Does that mean we shouldn't get nice things, stylish hair cuts, use make up, wear nice clothes and jewelry?  Honestly, I don't think so.  It says "...don't let your adornment be merely outward..."  - so basically it shouldn't be the only thing we focus on.  Right?

I think the next verse really clarifies things - what we should focus on is that "inner beauty" - the hidden person of the heart (the soul) - the spirit man if you will.  That's where the bulk of our efforts should go.  Developing our spirit man by spending time in the Word, Worship the Lord, Fellowship with other like-minded believers, those kinds of activities.

I guess the question is this - do we spend as much time adorning "the hidden person of our heart" as we do the outer?  That stings a little bit.  How long do you take to get ready in the morning?  Me, it's about 30 minutes, without interruption - Ha!  Do we spend at least that much time with the Father each the morning?  

Don't get me wrong, I like to look nice and wear nice clothes, and I really do believe God would have us to be presentable because that re-presents Him as well.  Not to mention it's a blessing for our husbands... 

BUT the development of that quiet, gentle spirit is much more important to Him.  Gentle here means - lowly, a humility that is considerate, unassuming, gentle, mild, and meek.  And let me just say this too, meekness is NOT weakness, it's power under perfect control.  

Those are the traits I want to develop.  I can't shop for them at the mall, I have to develop them in my quiet time of study and prayer, and even more so in the crucible of life.  That's where true gentleness and humility are developed.  Daily life.  The Crazy.  The Mundane.  The Process...

What do you think about this whole adorning idea?

Have a great rest of your week!!

Linked with Courtney at Women Living Well. 
                               Mary Beth @ New Life Steward

that I joined for the month of October.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The D Word

There are just certain words I don't care for.  Do you have words like that, that evoke that clenching in the pit of your stomach?  Well, the "D-word" does it for me.  Discipline.  Maybe it's because I've struggled with Discipline and it's sister, Consistency for a long time.  Recently, they double-whammied me.

Eight weeks ago I started with Hello Mornings. I've talked about it before, the accountability group for Bible Study, Planning your day, and Exercise.  Well, I did great for 6 weeks or so, and then I drifted.  Essentially I fell off the wake up at 5:30, have my quiet time, get some exercise wagon.

Sure, I have a handful of excuses - travel to Nashville and my back being out both played a part in messing with my progress.  But I think it's bigger than that.  Bigger than the excuses.

I think for me it was when I got comfortable.  I started to feel like 5:30 was no big deal, and I was exercising 3-4 days a week.  No problem.  Life's schedule was already out of control, so I was just dealing with that anyway.  But I got comfortable.  I no longer looked at that morning time for what it was - life-giving.  It's my time to re-charge and move forward so that I was ready for my day, my family, my job, whatever came my way really.

Consistency in Godly living, despite circumstances, is the true test of growth in Godliness.

Reading that in my Bible notes was a real wake up call. {pun totally intended}

So today, I re-invoked that muscle - that discipline and consistency muscle.  I was up at 5:30 am {I like to call it dark o'thirty, because it's really dark!}  I've had my quiet time, read my 90 Days reading, had breakfast and now I'm writing.  Pretty cool.  And not at all comfortable.  It's early, dark, and really chilly, but it's quiet and it's awesome to get up {well, the actual getting up and out of bed part isn't so awesome}, meet with Jesus, tweet with the Hello Mornings Girls, and write a little.  What a blessing.

And why did I fall off that wagon again?
How about you?  
Do you struggle with Discipline and or consistency?  
Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear from you!

that I joined for the month of October.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday {10/7/12}

Behold, I will do a new thing, 
Now it shall spring forth; 
Shall you not know it? 
I will even make a road in the wilderness 
And rivers in the desert.  Is. 43:19

 This is also Day 6 in my 31 Days of Practice Series. 

Happy Sunday All!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Savor 7 Saturday {10/6/12}

It's that time again, Savor 7 Saturday over at Stop & Smell The Chocolates, where we take a moment, stop, and count our blessings.  

Here we go...

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm 62:1 "Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him."  While I was working to catch up on me Bible in 90 Days reading, I got stuck on this verse.  Love it!

STORYTELLER: One of my favorite blogs is by my new friend Michele-Lyn at A Life Surrendered. She is wonderful with words and oh so encouraging! She just spent some time in Guatemala with iRescue.  Take a moment and check out her blog and find yourself blessed!

SOCIAL:  This week I was blessed to spend some time with two of my favorite girls. These are the girls I am most privileged to mentor in this journey we call motherhood.  They bless me so!

SILLY:  Oh Lord! It was less silly than it was downright crazy! Today was my boy's last baseball game and it was terribly cold!  See the snapshot below!

SNAPSHOT:  It was a VERY cold and windy day at the baseball park!

SIPS: Apple Cider Vinegar. Diluted of course, with a bit of agave and LOTS of ice. I learned about some of the benefits from this post, and I decided to give it a shot. I've been drinking it daily, and hopefully I'll be seeing some results real soon.

SWEETS:  Well, homemade bread is not really sweet, but the fact that I baked GLUTEN FREE bread that everyone liked was well....SWEEEEEEEET!!!!!!
So that's it at this end.
How was your week? Have a GREAT Weekend!!


By the way, this is Day 5 of my 31 Days of Practice.  Check out the full list here...