Sunday, May 29, 2011

Children of God

"Jesus says to receive the kingdom of God — to come to Him — like children, fudgesicle stains and all. The fact that the Father loves, endures with, protects, provides for, instructs, and corrects us reveals that He’s glorious. We, by the grace of God, get to be children of God, the objects of the Father’s love, his glorious inconveniences. That’s what Christianity’s all about."

"We're a family. Church is like a big living room. God is our Father. And you know what happens at the house? The kids show up, they break things, they spill things, they make noise. Praise be to God. That's how it is in my house. That's how it is at this church." -Pastor Mark Driscoll from sermon 'Children are a Glorious Inconvenience'

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Test Kitchen

A baby shower is in the works for my sister-in-law who is expecting her first child this fall. The detail I am working on now is the menu. What would be delish to serve to a large group of people, including men, who I happen to know eat a LOT!? I did some searching on the web and found some great looking dishes. So I went to work to make sure these were every bit as yummy as they looked online.

My test subjects were my in-laws who visited last weekend. I told them to be completely impartial and let me know what they thought of the recipes. This salad was yummy AND beautiful. The strawberry vinaigrette was tasty but one of my 'guinea pigs' said that maybe adding a bit of honey or agave nectar would make it even better. I have a mean sweet tooth so how could I say no to that?

I also made a dessert that I think would be so adorable on a pretty little table at the shower. Totally cute and boy are they a cinch to make. Combine strawberry yogurt with whipped cream and fresh cut strawberries. Fill mini graham cracker pie crusts and chill in the fridge or freezer. Top with strawberry garnish and enjoy. SO yummy!

The work was hard and the testing was quite a challenge :) but the results are in and the food was fabulous. Looking forward to my next round of testing and trying out this recipe!

Monday, May 23, 2011

When I feel overwhelmed

When I was young I always thought there would be a time in my life when I would be set and life would be easy. Don't we all wish that were true? Well, I have grown up and come to realize that life never really gets easy. We live our lives and complete our various daily tasks. Along the way we experience God's blessings but ultimately the struggles still come and the heartache, too, will inevitably rear it's ugly head.

I recently had to come to grips with this idea that life is tough. Jesus told us this some 2000+ years ago. So many times in the bible, He told us not to be afraid because He had out back.

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -John 16:33

What we must remember is that even though we will experience hardship in this life, He is there for us and He said "He will never leave us nor forsake us". What a wonderful truth we can rely on in those difficult moments of life. He is here. I am experiencing His peace because I know that He is always with me in the storms of my life!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Great Indoors

The sun has not been making very many appearances in the Pacific Northwest this 'spring'. So instead of sulking around inside about how we can't do that many outdoorsy things, I decided to bring the outdoors indoors.

We laid down a picnic blanket in the office and had some good ol' camp food including brats, potato salad and every one's favorite; bug juice! Very yummy food if I do say so myself.

After dinner we put a sheet over the window to block out the daylight and make the room dark in order to see the celestial beauties I stuck to our ceiling. We counted the stars and moons and looked for the big dipper. And following our 'star gazing' we played some cards. What screams camping more than card games? Maybe it is just me that is what we always did when I go camping. :)

All in all, it was a wonderful evening spent in the great outdoors, indoors. And this morning the weather man forecasted some actual nice weather coming. Maybe we can do this for real next weekend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A little help from my friends

It has been about 5 years since I ran my last 5k race, so I really had to train for the Free Them 5K. In the weeks leading up to the big day, I was in the gym running up a storm to make sure I was prepared for the race.

Come race day, the run itself was fine, just what I expected. I was ready physically, however I was not ready mentally. That's the thing about running; you have to set in your mind to just keep going, to push through the negative thoughts until it feels like second nature, like you could go on forever.

At first I was doing great but about 3/4 of a mile in, some negative thoughts crept in. I then started to entertain them. "I have got to stop." "I'm going to walk because it's too hard." "I'm not good enough to finish this race." As I ran, I noticed another gal keeping pace with me. As best I could, I then set in my mind that she was my 'running partner', my way of gauging how I was doing. The battle in my mind continued as I raced on.

As we neared the end of the race I told her she was keeping me motivated. She told me that I was doing the same for her! But even with my new found friend's support, my desire to stop became too strong. I said I wanted to stop and start walking but she reminded me that the end was so close. I knew she was right. So instead of giving in, we completed the race together. Crossing that finish line felt so good!

I am reminded of the verse that says, 'As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.' My 'running partner' stood by me and encouraged me to keep going, even when it felt tough. She reminded me that the end was just around the corner and so was the victory. As it is in running, so it is in life. This world can be a hard place to get along in. The daily struggles can sometimes feel like too much. What a blessing to have a godly friend to encourage us and help us along. I know in my own life I have had plenty of times when I just wanted to stop and give up, but thank goodness for those dear friends who have been my support. God made us humans to be relational, to grow friendships and to encourage and love others. What a sweet reminder of the great blessing God has given us. What about you? Who are you encouraging today?

*To read more about the results of all the fundraising and what World Concern is doing to prevent human trafficking, follow this link.*

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Music to my Ears

One of my favorite things is music. I love to listen to it. I love to sing it. And someday I'd love to play it (my only experience thus far is with the recorder in grade school :P but hopefully that will change soon) Musicals? yes please! All of the above!

I don't know what it is but it just energizes me. Especially when working out. It always seems the time goes by much faster and I can go longer when I have a song playing in my headphones or in my head. And let me tell you, that music gives me the extra push I need, especially while getting ready for my 5K race coming up.

I listen to a whole lotta different genres of music; oldies, old school R&B, country, alternative, soft hits (yes, all the sappy love songs) and of course, my main source of music joy comes from christian music. What is so cool is that within christian music is a whole array of genres so I can listen to christian pop or christian rap or even christian rock. I love it all! And it is all sung for God's glory. That's the way music is meant to be! "Sing to the LORD, you saints of His; praise His holy name." -Psalm 30:4

Here is a sampling of the songs I'm rocking to now:

1. Good Morning- Mandisa
2. High- Lecrae
3. This is the Stuff- Francesca Battistelli
4. Beautiful Things-Gungor
5. Funky Jesus Music- TobyMac
6. Rise Up- Lauren Camey (from this awesome video)
7. Christ is Risen- Matt Maher
8. Carry Me Home- Evan Egerer (My brother-in-law!!!!)
9. Don't Waste Your Life- Lecrae
10. Love Addict- Family Force 5
11. Blessings- Laura Story
12. Heartbeat- Remedy Drive

One day we will all be singing for Him and His awesome majesty. What a glorious day that will be! "Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" -Revelation 5:13