Welcome to my blog! Odd title you say? Yes, maybe, but I bet you would agree with me that life is chaotic! I'm mindful though, in the midst of the chaos, of Colossians 3:17 "Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father!" I thank God that my life gets to be chaotic...I know that through the chaos He is transforming me to be more like Him!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Laugh! It's almost 2010!

"A wife of noble character who can find?...she is clothed with strength and dignity: she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:10a,25

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get the perfect snapshot of someone laughing at something funny that happened? You've got to be quick if you're going to capture someone's reaction to something funny. I noticed this several times during Christmas. My husband and I gave a couple of funny gifts, and we were so excited to see the recipients' reaction to the gifts. Bryant would hold the camera up in the air, pointed at the person unwrapping the gift...waiting for the perfect second to take the picture so we could have that snapshot of them laughing to remember forever.

I've noticed this in my own life recently. My life is filled with so many blessings, but we all have days that we wish would never have started. We have problems we wish we could fix, but we can't. And many times, I get so focused on my problems and the things that are wrong, and that's all I can think about! Then I flip through mental snapshots in my brain...something funny that happened, or a time when I was experiencing great joy, and I think..."why can't I feel like that right now?" I long to feel that happiness in my moment of my frustration over my problem or situation.

Reading through Proverbs 31 today, I stopped on a part of the verse. "She can laugh at the days to come." But I can't help but wonder, did she always feel that way? Really? I mean, yes, her husband calls her blessed. Yes, her children are protected and have what they need. Yes, she is praised by others in the city gates because of how great she is. But, did she ever have days where she just didn't think she could go on? Did she ever feel tired and worn out from taking care of everybody and making sure everything was perfect? Did she sometimes sit and think of the snapshots of days when she wasn't as tired and didn't have so many responsibilities...times when someone wasn't sick or when money wasn't so hard to come by? I mean, I know everyone refers to her as "the perfect Proverbs 31 woman." Let's face it though, she wasn't Jesus! I think the truth is that she did sometimes have these thoughts. I think sometimes she did feel overwhelmed by all of her responsibilities...and the expectations of her husband, children, and those in the city gates. But I would like to think that her glory was in the fact that she didn't sit and dwell in those thoughts. 2 Cor. 10:5 says, "and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ." She didn't let those thoughts and feelings become her identity and dictate her mood. She didn't waste her time thinking and talking about how life used to be or could be better. Her attitude was like David in Psalm 17:15 "...when I awake I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness." She quoted Psalm 23 often "...He restores my soul." Her heart's desire was to bring God glory! She knew that even though at times she may feel tired and weary, she was being obedient to her Lord, and if that's what it took, that was what she did. She knew God had called her to live on this earth for His glory, and this is the reason "she can laugh at the days to come."

We live to bring God glory! No matter what it takes. No matter what situation we've had to walk through or we are walking through presently. If we are living obediently and walking in His way, then He has a plan for us. David lived and experienced both good and bad circumstances but he said in Psalm 37:25 "I have been young and now I am old and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Although at times I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances or by the uncertainty of the future, I know that I am living to bring God glory. It's not always the way I would choose to let Him be glorified through me if I was in charge, but it's great to know that He sees a much bigger picture than we see. Because He is in control, we CAN laugh at the days to come!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy December!

It's December 1st already! I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked at the calendar yesterday. As you can tell, judging from the date on my last post, things have been crazy busy. Too busy for blogging, unfortunately. Because my mom and I own a retail business, we have both been running around like chickens with our heads cut off!

Thoughts from Black Friday: So many joyful people. Rushing around to find the best sales, and asking you if all the things that don't have sale signs on them are on sale! No, if they were...they too would have a SALE sign. (I'm venting, can you tell?) Waiting outside for you to open the door...most popular "can't wait to get in the door item" this year? Silly Bandz! If you haven't heard of them, they are rubber bands in the shape of animals that kids from 2 to 32 are wearing on their wrists as bracelets. They sell in a pack of 24 or individually. They are collected, traded, etc. Craziest thing I've seen in years! Parents waiting outside for us to open so they could be the first to buy up all of our packs of Silly Bandz, and by 11am, they had succeeded! Attitudes, long lines, and people shopping for family and friends just because they "have to." You have to wonder what God thinks about how we prepare for His most special holiday?!

In other news, Bryant and I will be putting up our Christmas Tree and decorations tonight! I'm so excited! We had planned to do it sooner, but we have been working hard coordinating Best Gift, Pinelake's Christmas presentation. It's been crazy but fun. Long hours at the church, fast food, and little sleep. But tonight is a free night, so up goes the decorations! I know Bryant is thrilled. He doesn't get into it as much as I do...as I'm sure is the case for most guys. Sweet as he is though, he will be crawling into the attic tonight to bring down all the boxes! I'll be sure to post pictures when it's all decorated! Have a Happy December 1st!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just Keep Swimming!

I'm reminded today of the words of Dori on Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming..." Haha! I have watched that movie it seems like a million times, and it cracks me up everytime! I'm singing Dori's tune in life right now. I'm not really sure what God is doing, and circumstances have left me extremely confused! Many times lately, I have felt like giving up on what God has called me to right now in my everyday life. "God, if you aren't going to do it my way, then fine! I just won't do anything!" As soon as this thought enters my head, it takes about 2 seconds for conviction to set in. I know that's not the right attitude. I'm a servant of God, and that means I serve Him even when it's not the most fun. And I know that while it may not be the most fun at the moment to serve Him in the midst of my circumstances, I know that serving Him is always the most fulfilling! So I've gotta keep swimming! My small group and I are reading through James right now and studying it verse by verse. This past Sunday we were in James 1:1-4. "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." God knows what I need, and He knows what situations I need to go through in order to become "mature and comlete," thoroughly equipped for the next steps in life He wants me to walk in. In the meantime, while I don't understand things...while most mornings I don't even want to get out of bed...I've got to persevere. I've got to "just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming..." Thanks Dori for the encouragement!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Here's a new favorite recipe! My and husband and I aren't big Chinese food eaters, but this one was a win at our house! It took about an hour and a half to make - but it was definitely worth the time! My sweet husband helped out and it made the prep work go faster. I made this chicken with a big batch of rice and some steamed stir fry veggies. Yummy!

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced - about 6-8 minutes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You are my Sunshine!

"For the LORD God is a SUN and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Psalm 84:11
Well...we haven't seen the sun for a few days now. It's getting to be depressing. Even when it's not raining, there's still no sun. When you wake up in the morning, it feels like it's 6 o'clock at night! So when I read this verse today, it spoke to me in a whole new way. How great is our God that He is a SUN for us! No matter what our circumstances are around us, we have hope that our God will always be what we need, when we need it! He is our SUN. We can wake up each morning, regardless of what's going on around us and claim His promises. Another thought I had, even though the sun seems to be hiding somewhere deep beyond the clouds...I know it's there. We still have enough light to see. Just like our God. He is always there, even when it's hard to know or see. There are some circumstances in my life right now that are making it very hard for me to remember that God is still with me, that He hasn't gone away. Thank you God for this promise, you are my SUN! Even when we can't see God, He is always shining! He is always taking care of us!
God is also our shield! When we're too weak to fight and defend ourselves, He is a shield around us. He protects us from the enemy! God is for us! At the end of this verse the Psalmist writes"...no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless." God knows what we need and longs to "bestow favor and honor" on us. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but we have to look through the eyes of faith. As I taught my small group girls a few weeks back, F.A.I.T.H stands for "Fully Anticipating It Totally Happening!" "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11:6. I have learned that recently, as I have taken off my FAITH glasses and put on my LOGIC glasses. I have been trying to make things make sense and be better for me, because I had convinced myself that God didn't care about my circumstances. FAITH.
God is for me.....Fully Anticipate It Totally Happening
God loves me.....Fully Anticipate It Totally Happening
God has a plan....Fully Anticipate It Totally Happening
I heard a song on the radio this morning while driving to work. It was by Brandon Heath called "Wait and See." "Still wondering why I’m here, Still wrestling with my fear but oh,He’s up to something and the farther on I go I’ve seen enough to know that I’m, not here for nothing He’s up to something...He's not finished with me yet!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crockpot Apples

Here's a new recipe a friend of mine gave me last week! There's something about the taste of baked apples on a cool, fall afternoon. This weekend we had a taste of fall weather and it put me in the mood to try out the recipe! Because I work full-time, this recipe worked for me. You mix all ingredients in a bowl and throw it in a crockpot! Once it's done, you can slip into your pjs and uggs, and enjoy!

Crockpot Apples

8-10 cooking apples (not Red Delicious)
1/2 cup water
1/2 - 1 cup sugar or splenda (I did half of each!)
2 tsp. cinnamon

Cut and peel the apples and put into a bowl. Add water, sugar, and cinnamon. Toss it around making sure the apples are evenly coated. Throw into the crockpot and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 2-4 hours. (I used 8 apples and they were done in 2 1/2 hours on high).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Going to the Fair!

Aahh! There's nothing quite like going to the fair on a beautiful day in October! Except for today wasn't quite what I would call a beautiful day because of the rain, but it was my day off and I wanted to go to the fair! I had mentioned it to my husband several days leading up to today because he doesn't really enjoy the fair at all, so I wanted to be sure he had plenty of time to prepare himself mentally. For him, I think it's something about the $5 parking, plus $5 to get in the gate, the $7 for 4 small pieces of chicken and 5 fries, the $2 for a small coke, the carnies that shout horrible things at you as you walk by, the crowds, the waiting in line for food, the heat, the rain...I could go on and on. For me, it's a reminder of my childhood. It's the taste of the chicken on a stick, the caramel apple, and the chocolate covered strawberries. It's the smell of the funnel cakes and other fried goodies in the pot. The thrill of the rides even though you have a good idea of the intelligence that assembled the parts and pieces you are trusting your life with. For me, it's a good time!
We decided to go today during lunch so we wouldn't have to pay for parking and we could get in free! Great idea, so we thought. It was SO incredibly hot as we walked through the fair. And the moment I decided to order my chicken-on-a-stick was the exact moment that they ran out and everyone else at the fair decided they wanted a chicken-on-a-stick too! We were so hot we just wanted to go inside somewhere to get some air conditioning! Which led us to the antique car display! We have never been so interested in old cars or air conditioning! We cooled off in enough time to walk outside for the thunderstorm! Thankfully we had an umbrella...but it fought with the wind and lost. We were soaking wet, but I still hadn't gotten my strawberries on a stick! Needless to say, we got those strawberries and ended our day at the fair after only 2 hours. Thus we returned to our car surrounded by mud, and soaking wet. You can imagine how excited my husband was about our trip to the fair this year...I better start working on him now if I want to go again next year! And I certaintly do!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chaotic Transformation

Let's face it...life is chaotic! I know that God has promised that the things we go through all work together to bring Him glory, but sometimes I wonder does life really need to be this chaotic? I think it's worse for us females...yep, ten times more chaotic because God blessed us with the ability to be so emotional! "Thanks God, for that gift...the one that causes much of the stress in my life! Do you think I could trade that gift in for...oh, I don't know, some more logic?! This would really help me when communicating with my husband!" For whatever reason, we women mix emotions into everything else we've got going on and it can be pretty chaotic! For example, this morning I decided to be a good wife and make my husband some breakfast. His breakfast of choice = muffins. Not too hard, I thought, pour the Betty Crocker muffin mix, add some milk, stir, and wahlah! The only problem...no milk. And so the thoughts begin to surface in my head..."he just asked for muffins, a good wife would have made sure we had milk in the fridge!" Isn't it crazy how the enemy puts these thoughts in our head, and we really believe them at the time! I have about 10 minutes to whip up something that he can eat on the way to work (because that's the way we roll...sleep late because we stayed up too late the night before!). How about bacon and a bagel? We only have a few pieces of bacon left, but this I thought, would be a quick, easy alternative. A chance for me to redeem myself! Somehow at the end of the bacon cooking process, the bacon came out burned and extra crispy. How does this happen to me?! How can I make something so simple so difficult! So my sweet husband had a bagel and burned bacon for breakfast...bless him Lord! And so my attention turned toward dinner tonight. We have a full night and we ate out last night because we had a busy night, but we really need to eat at home if we can. So I decide, "I'll make a roast in the crockpot...it can cook all day and be an easy way to eat a late supper tonight! Surely this can make up for the burned bacon!" Everything is going well until I realize...I just used the last of my 2nd main ingredient for the roast! There's no choice, I've already begun the roast-making process and I will have to run to Kroger and get what I need! Again I ask how can I make something so simple so difficult?! So...unshowered and with no makeup, I treck through the pouring rain to Kroger to get what I need, but I need to get back and finish the roast, and quickly get ready to make it to work on time! I get the ingredient I needed, but then remember that I need milk (remember the muffins?!), and walking to get the milk I see the cheese and realize that I will probably need cheese soon enough so I should get some of that too! So I return home sopping wet to quickly make dinner, get ready, and get to work. It isn't until I get to work that I finally breathe and I think..."what is it about Wednesdays?"...life is chaotic but I'm mindful in the midst of the chaos of Colossians 3:17 "Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father!" Thank you God that my life gets to be chaotic...I know that through the chaos you are transforming me to be more like You!