Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Veggies, Long Walks, Good Movies and Sunsets...

Hey! This post gives a rundown of last Saturday. Folks hold the presses. Some exciting stuff here! 
(Not really, but we had a nice day.)

We are trying really hard to eat organic and to up our veggie intake right now.  Sometimes I will buy the veggies and just don't take the time to cut them up where they will be ready to eat. If they are there to grab, cut up and ready to eat then I am more inclined to eat them and not grab chips or something else that is not so good for me. (Trying hard not to even buy chips- they call my name.) Anyway, the bowl below is just organic cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper and avocado with organic Leo's Italian dressing. Very few calories and lots of nutrition. My Naturalpath says we need to get our veggie intake up to 70 percent of our diet. Ouch. Well- I'll try but that is a hard request. 

I'm hoping to start really loving it soon. 
I wish they made potato chip flavored dressing. :) 
The skies finally cleared for a few hours on Sat. to enable us to go for a good long walk.  Things are starting to green up a little (well, they were until the temps dropped below 32 degrees last night.) EVERYONE was out with their dog or multiple dogs grabbing what sunshine they could grab and enjoying walking off the cabin fever after being stuck inside for a number of cold rainy days. I wish I had taken a picture but I was just enjoying the moment when we walked up on a girl with 7 blond little lab puppies and their mama. What a joyful, fun time they were having.
There were lots of gorgeous red berries along this trail.
So beautiful.
After our walk we decided to go see a movie that a lot of our friends have been talking about. Believe me this is noteworthy because do not go to the movies very often. But, when we do it is a popcorn, finger licking time. (You see why I am working on the veggie intake.)
The movie was called McFarland, USA. We loved it. So inspiring and a true story.
We both cried most of the way through it. (Happy tears. Please don't tell my manly man of a husband that I told you that he cried!)
Go see it.
When we walked out of the movie theater God was talking to us. Wow. 
So breathtaking.
Psalm 18

12 Out of the brightness of His presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning He routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
    at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

I hope that your Saturday was fun and restful and full of good things to eat, long walks and lovely sunsets, or full of whatever you find beautiful and encouraging. 

Pray- 7:03...Idols...

Join us as we pray everyday at 7:03 am for the persecuted church and for ourselves as we realize our idols in our lives that we must lay down and give over to God.
He is to be on the throne of our hearts.
The verse above speaks of the idols of Baal or Ashtoreth that were worshipped in early days and who knows, may still be worshipped.

Could our idols possibly be sports for our children and watching sports for adults? Other idols for us seem to include television and movies and music or making idols out of our children instead of teaching them the fear and awesomeness of the Lord and the fact that life is not about them. Of course, there are many more like sex and food and possessions, etc., and on and on.

I am praying that God can help us identify our idols in our lives and take them down a notch below the top of the throne. I don't feel as if we have to do away with some of these more harmless things we enjoy, but to have the right priorities about where they fit in in our lives. If they are causing a large space and distance between God and I, then they cannot be healthy.

I love these verses:

2 Corinthians 6: 16-18
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? 
For we are the temple of the living God. 
As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”

17 Therefore,
“Come out from them
 and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
 and I will receive you.”
18 And,
“I will be a Father to you,
  and you will be my sons and daughters,
  says the Lord Almighty.”

Food for thought and for Praise! Again...

As God has said:
“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”
We serve only THE true God. Not cold stone.
Not our own desires or loves.

Friday, February 20, 2015

40 Days of Focus...To The Cross...

I have never really thought about or focused on Lent before. It is not a practice that the Christians that we fellowship with have ever focused on or thought about much. So- I looked it up and this was the first definition that popped up:

  1. Lent (Latin: Quadragesima - English: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday.   And this:

    Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.  The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ- His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection.  Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by the Roman Catholics.  

    The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21
  2. So, as interesting as all that is and by the way- seemingly a man made idea I looked up these verses:
  3. 2 Samuel 13:19- Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
  4. Daniel 9:3-6 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
  5. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: "Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our Kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 
  6. Job 2: 5-7 But now stretch our your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face. The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.  Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
  7. Matthew 11:20- Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of His miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.  "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgement than for you.
  8. Esther 4:1- When Modecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.

  1. Wow. All of the Bible references and examples of ashes are all about the need for forgiveness or help from God. Great need.  All I have ever heard about Lent was "oh, I'm giving this or that up for lent." I have never heard anyone in anguish or pleading for forgiveness when talking about lent. But, like I said, I have not been around the concept much or studied it. 
  2. It is intriguing though, to have a focused time of asking God to reveal in our lives what we need to lay down and walk away from. A focused time to see the real need for forgiveness and clarity in our lives about the strongholds that satan has on us all. 
  3. So- I think this man made idea is good. We have implemented lots of man made ideas to help in our spiritual walk. Bible class for instance. Just a thought. I believe today marks 38 days away from Easter.  We would love for you to join us.
  4. Here is what we are doing:
  • We are trying to truly lay down and walk away from one thing that keeps us from drawing near to God, something that we have made an idol of in our lives. Even if it is a small as not being on facebook, or not mindlessly watching television. Maybe all of that time we spend doing those things could be spent reading the Bible through in the next 38 days- like a novel. Yes. Let's do that. 
  • We are reading 6 Psalms each night from here to Easter together or by ourselves (we hope together as a family) and talking about them. 
  • We are intentionally THINKING about the Cross. Every day we thank our Jesus for saving our lives. (Find a resource that helps you to focus on the cross.) This resource below comes from Ann Voskamp-
  •  Free Tools- Downloads
    Do you want to do this together? The next 38 days of focus like this can only do us good and draw us closer to our life line, our rock, the precious lamb, our mighty God. Oh, how I long to be closer to Him.
Here is a powerful blog post by Ann Voskamp about lent and her take on what to focus on. 
Blessings on your day as we focus on Jesus...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Heart on Valentines Day...

I hope that your Valentines Day was a happy one.  Truthfully- I don't care for it much.  You see, people should love and cherish each other on every day that exists on the calendar.  I have a husband that does that beautifully and I am thankful.  The pressure that goes along with doing something fabulous on Valentines is enough to make me pull my hair out. I guess that is just a cop out in a way to allow me to be lazy or not care, but I do truly hate the pressure.

I also feel sorry for people that find themselves single on this day of love and cherubs and flowers and chocolates. I have been there too, years ago and I recently saw the tears of a person I love talking about how it is painful to see all the exchanges of love by couples on Valentines Day. She has a heart of gold and knows that God is enough and is her Valentine, but still, it is hard.

Anyway, I say all of this because it is how I have always felt.  So- this Valentines, I did not want to be the person dreading not being able to do the right thing or something good enough for my man, so...I just did something. Just did something.

For me that is good. You see I have a tendency to withdraw and just take my ball and go home if you will if I am feeling insecure. Weird. I am not even sure why I am writing all of this right now, and I for sure am beginning to think I am entering into the you are not making any sense zone. Yes. I am.

ANYWAY-  We did Valentines this year and I really enjoyed it. We just went and did what we were drawn to do and I loved it. We picked up Thai food in Styrofoam boxes and grabbed a few blankets and some chocolate covered strawberries and headed to our local downtown amphitheater to watch "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" on a big screen with 10 or so other random couples enjoying each other's company.  We laughed and loved being outside and held hands and ate good food out of a box.  We then walked down the street to a coffee shop and drank lattes and held hands across the table and talked about today and the future and about Jesus.  It was good.  I am thankful for my Valentine of  26 years and came to the realization that we only have today and to get out there and love and celebrate.  No guilt and no pressure. Our love is our love and it is good.

So- here we are in the week after Valentines Day and we press on. 
My prayer for all of us today is this:
Father God, please give us healthy fear and awe of You. Please give us a secure fortress of faith for ourselves and our children. Help us to spread this saving knowledge of faith to everyone that we meet. Thank you for being our refuge in good times and in times of trouble. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Coffee and Dreams...

Hey friends! Wow, the New Year is FLYING!!  You know when you are about to have an empty nest (those sweet kids are flying away) and wonder what you will do with all of your time and you think you will just sit around and cry and watch the time tick past? Well- who ever said that is crazy!!
We are working and busy with church and some travels and many other fun things this life has to offer.

As the days fly by I realize more and more that the statement above and below in these pictures is very accurate. Coffee is pretty mandatory every day not just because of the caffeine content but also because it just tastes good and is warm and comforting. It's a thing.  But...more importantly, is the fact that I need Jesus a lot more than I need coffee and I need a whole lot of Him. Kind of like when I take the bread plate during communion and sometimes my thought is "I need to eat the whole cracker!" Not because of hunger of course, but because I am THAT thankful for the saving of my life and I want as much of Jesus as I can get into me!! Right?

This sweet little wall applique came in the mail today and I LOVE IT!
(The little boys in the photo on the bottom left? Love them more.)
Here is a secret dream of mine.
I guess the moment I let the cat out of the bag that it will not be a secret any more. Not sure why it is...
We have been doing a lot of thinking about what God is calling us to do for the rest of our lives.  I have no idea if this might be a part of His plan but I am talking to Him about it.

Wouldn't it be fun and gratifying to run a B and B especially in an old historic home with a acre of land around it? Part of the dream is to have a neighborhood garden and even possibly a work program and food for the needy program somehow. Just dreams, but we will see...
This beauty is up for sale. Oh, how fun it would be.
Dreeeeeeeeeeeam, dream, dream, dream...

P.S.- Registration for Camp Blue Haven youth camp is tonight at 9:00pm SHARP!If you want your kiddos to attend the best Christian Youth camp in the country- pop over and register tonight. You have to type fast and hit the go button quick. It is very competitive. Good luck and we are already praying for the new counselors and all of the campers that will cross that bridge this summer.

Jesus is better than anything the world offers!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year- Bring It On!...

Yes- well, not too fat but the kind of uncomfortable fluffiness that is just irritating!!
So...this is where we decided to start our new 2015 year early this morning. Planet Fitness!!
I promise, I might be REALLY fat if I did not have a wonderful husband that encourages me to exercise.
I love how I feel after I workout. It's getting a little easier attitude wise after all these years. 
Thank goodness!! Fluffiness BE GONE!!
 We also started this day in a renewed effort to include this yummy green drink back into our routine daily.
Here though, is the part of the day I am looking forward to. :)
As my husband has been heard saying more than once- "It is stinkin-eyed-dog cold" here today. We are not having ice or snow like so many but rain and in the 30's is chilly. SO- it's soup time!! I found this recipe for Cream Cheese Chicken Chili a month or so ago and have made it several times since. LOVE IT!!
Here is my very, very lazy way of giving you this recipe (a photo!): 
One or two things about it- I have also made it on the stove top like above instead of the crock pot. When made this way for just a soup recipe add 4 cups of chicken broth.   Simmer for 45 minutes or so.  We just eat it with tortilla chips and call it a soup instead of chili. It would be great with cornbread too.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Things to Ponder and Put Into Practice for 2015:

Such great ideas below to put into practice in our lives.
 Let's do this New Year right and let's do this together. 
Together is good!! 

I’ve got a river of life flowing within me;
It makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.
It opens prison doors, sets the captives free.

I’ve got a river of life flowing within me. Spring up, O well, within my spirit!
Rise up and tell, so all can hear it!
Spring up, O well, so I experience
That life abundantly.

I’ve got a river of life flowing within me;
It started gushing up when God set me free.
That I keep the flow is my only plea.
I’ve got a river of life springing within me.

Once I call His name there’s a flow within;
It turns me from my day, makes Him Lord again.
As my spirit burns, Satan cannot win.
Calling, “Oh Lord Jesus,” keeps the flow within.

These thoughts are from Ann Voskamp's blog called:

1. First things first: Word in. Work out. Work plan.
Open your eyes every morning and just do three first:

Word in: Get into God’s Word and let it get into you.
Work out: Work out. Even  5 minutes of moving is better than nothing. (baby steps! together we can do this!)
Work plan: Write out the work plan. And then work the plan.

2. “What a heart knows by heart is what a heart knows”
Write your memory verses on a sticky note, on a chalkboard, for your pocket.

Because when you are memorizing Scripture, quiet time with the Lord — becomes all the time. (Who doesn’t want that?)

3. Flame first.
Light a candle first thing in the morning.
So you remember: You are the light that is put on a stand so that it gives light to everyone in the house.

4. Your work is art: it needs a soundtrack.
Find your music.
Play your music.
Sing your music. This is profound.
Vincent van Gogh said: “When sailors have to move a heavy load or raise an anchor, they all sing together to keep them up and give them vim. That’s just what artists lack.”

5. Step on the Snake Before Breakfast
Before breakfast, crush one hard thing that is tempting you to think there are impossible things.
Before breakfast, crush that one thing and prove that all things are possible with God.

6. Stay in the pool
Michael Phelps said it in an interview: “You’ve just got to stay in the pool longer than others.”
Set the timer. Get in the pool. Stay in the pool. Do your work. Don’t get distracted. Don’t flit from one thing to another and back.
Don’t get out of the pool, don’t leave your work, until the timer goes. The way to win is to stay in the pool.

7. Clean a space = clear headspace
Keeping the workspace clean, clears your headspace to think.
Every night, after dinner, the timer gets set for 30 minutes. And we all just clean. Everybody. Every day. Yeah, so things get off kilter through the day — but the boat stays afloat if we all clear the decks for just 30 minutes each day.

8. Go Slow. Life Zone. Life isn’t an Emergency: It’s a gift.
Life isn’t an emergency. It’s a gift.
Life’s so extraordinary it warrants going slow, held in reverential awe.
Only the slow see their lives. Which makes it seem longer and richer.

9. Make Laughter Your Chocolate
The more you laugh, the longer you live. You can’t afford not to laugh more. Watch this. Make laughter your chocolate.

10. No songs without rhythm
Every song needs a rhythm; every week needs a routine. Tie certain tasks to a day or another activity.
Always memorize after breakfast or always make a double batch of soup on Saturday.
Your life makes music when you play a string of tasks always together.

11. On 25, Take 5
For every 25 minutes “in the pool” working – take 5 minutes off. Live by pomodoros. Really. Life-changing.

12. Unplug to plug into your purpose
Only if you want to plug into peace and purpose and your big picture – then unplug for certain hours everyday.
Constant connectivity effects productivity like a marijuana high.

13.Watch Your Nos & Your Yeses will take Care of Themselves
Everything you say yes to, you say no to something else.
Are your yeses forcing you to say no to what really want to say yes to?
Don’t have guilt over a no – because every no is saying a better yes.

14. Daily Stillness Appointment
When is your 5 minute stillness appointment everyday?
Write that midday time in stone. No cancellations allowed. For 5 minutes midday, be still and cease striving.
Know He is God and the day looks very different.
Slow down: You only pass by this way once.

15. If the Heaven’s Declare, get out there.
The whole of the sky and the world is speaking endlessly of His glory.
When you step outside and listen, your soul revives. You need that.
You really need one walk outside a day. Even it’s just out the door to get the mail or walk the dog around the block or a walk around the yard before you have to get in the car.

16. Work on your Wall before Noon
Like Nehemiah who worked on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, build your wall, building whatever God has uniquely called you to — a particular work project, a creative project, homeschooling, homemaking, a ministry. Here’s the deal, Self: Everyday before noon, work on your wall, laying down 3 stones before noon.
If you don’t intentionally work on your wall, the tyranny of the urgent can make your life a rubble heap.

17. Envision the End Goal
Like God gave Abraham a vision of the stars of the sky and told him he would have that many children, hang up a picture of the End Goal — so you always have a vision of what you envision.

18. Everyday, not Every Now and Then
Random acts of greatness pale in comparison to habitual acts of faithfulness.
It’s not what you do every now and then, but what you do everyday, that changes everything.
Do something at the same time everyday and you find yourself a new person.

19. Hard Stops
The only way to get anywhere safely is to make complete stops.
Make hard, complete stops at set times throughout the day to pray. Otherwise you’re risking a crash.
9, 12, 3, on the hour, might be times to set an a gentle, chime alarm for – and just stop and pray.
Praying at set times throughout the day is how both Jesus and the early church lived their days: God marking time.
20. The Holy, Happiness Habit {Count Gifts}
It’s not finally finding yourself joyful  — that lets you finally be grateful.
It’s being grateful that lets you finally be what you really want:  joyful.

Get this, really get this, because it’s deeply Biblical: Living Grateful is definitely 100% God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
All research says that giving thanks is guaranteed to make you 25% happier. Who. Doesn’t. Want. That.?

Write down 3 things a day you are grateful for. Hunt for His glory. Look for His beauty right in the midst of the ugly. Count 1000 gifts.
Start the year afresh with the 60 Day Devotional with fresh numbered pages to write out 1000 thousand gifts, that makes JOY POSSIBLE wherever we are.

Take the Joy Dare!  Make right where you are your happy place. [Counted  1000 gifts this year? Enter the draw for a new Nikon DSLR D90 camera next Monday on the blog…. And begin counting  1000 gifts today for next year’s draw of a new DSLR camera!]

21. Ebenezers for the Efforts
Mark little milestones! Celebrate! The little things!
A treat at the end of the day, end of the week, end of the project, end of the term.
Hang a bunting. Taste something sweet. Take a happy, thumbs up picture to mark your progress!
Make an album of a year, of the process, of the overcoming.

22. Father Affirmations
You need these everyday. Whisper them aloud, who you really are if you are IN Christ:

I am complete in Christ. Colossians 2:9-10
I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16
I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1-2
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:28
I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God. Romans 8:31-39
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me. Philippians 1:6
I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

23. Breathe
Breathing in and breathing out like this will radically change the quality of your life. Breathe.

24. Hard, Bad Day? Hot Bath
An evening routine of a hot bath at the end of the hard and bad days?


25. Rest so you can have the rest of God.
Sleep is more than your friend — it’s your God-given fuel.
Tomorrow always begins with the night before, so turn in early so tomorrow can turn out well.

And A Grace Plan unfolds a bit of hope….

with the exhaling relief of daily being more grateful for what is than feeling guilty for what isn’t…

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

You and Me Forever...

My wonderful husband gave me this Francis Chan book for Christmas. Such profound thoughts even if you are not married.  I am just on the second chapter and am already so impressed with his and his wife Lisa's thoughts on marriage and our mission in life. I highly recommend! 

Christmas Photo Fun...

Best Bro's on earth...

 Christmas morning kids jump on the bed picture...
  These two are two peas in a pod...

 Sweet Ky...
 Love em...

 Warming his fanny by the fire...
 Looking off of McCoy mountain...
 What a stack of stockings- and they are not all up

 This was a toasty, wonderful place to sit...
 Twins and a photo bomber...
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!