Tuesday, April 28, 2020

People are Weary

People are talking about the weariness of it all. Fear is giving way to complacency. The glassy-eyed "quarantine
fatigue" is settling heavy over shoulders causing many to wonder if the giant will ever just go away.

With each day, the enemy steps out to boast his size and his exploits and his intentions. Fear. Destruction. Loss of Finances. Death. The target of his insults drop their weapons and shrink back, together, or never even bother to come out of their tent.

The kid shows up. He had been told to stay home, but longs to be with his big brothers giving the enemy the "what for" and, then, howling at the moon, together, like the old days.

Being the baby, he'd been included in brotherly wrestling matches and come up with a bloody nose, but always dove back into their mix. Playful tussles built strong muscles and strong bonds. They fought, together.


Arriving at the place of the battle, he sees something he's never seen before... the defeat in his brothers' eyes. To hear it in their voices is like hearing a foreign language. "Why are you here? You're too little and lazy. Shut up and go home! GIT!" As the the youngest and the smallest, he's accustomed to being the butt of their jokes as they poke fun and punch his arm, but this sounds different. Even the air around them feels off. Shame tinges their barbs.

Slack-jawed and rejected, he snaps, "Can't I even talk?" and turns to the other countrymen who snarl and shove his courage to the back of the line.

Anger and frustration subside just enough to remember his anointing. There is no boldness like that of one who remembers his or her anointing. It strengthens their heart and causes them to stand up. Then, the battle seems more like an annoyance and the giant is of little threat.

Yesterday, he was a shepherd who calmed his sheep with his voice on verdant hills. Today, he (or she) is a warrior. Before launching into battle, the bold one senses the need to calm the fear and intimidation in those around. "Don't lose heart on account of this enemy." 

Holy boldness rises up as this warrior warms up his shoulder. He sees the victory before the first stone is released. The warrior's eyes narrow on the enemy. The stone is placed in the sling. Raising his voice for all to hear, he declares, "This is the day it ends. The battle is the Lord's. Without sword or shield, He will deliver it into our hands, together."

Take heart, my friend. The Lord is on your side and wants to see you live in victory. How can I join you in prayer?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Tuesday Recipe: Pumpkin, Bean and Chicken Enchiladas

Once again, my skepticism with a pumpkin recipe impacting one of my fave genres of food turns to OH MY GOODNESS! THIS WORKS!

Hubby & I love TexMex! We could eat it 3, 4, 5 times a week! So, when somebody wants to mess with it, we're like, "Naw." But, this is #PunkinChunkin month when I like to try a pumpkin or pumpkin pie spice twist on sweet and savory dishes. Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications issued the PUMPKIN edition for America's pumpkin addiction

After reading several articles online about the ancient Hispanic culture and the pumpkin, I figured the two have made a beautiful life, together. Who was I to think my Mexican food and my orange squash don't work in the same recipe?

I used a blend of the cute little Sugar Pie Pumpkin and the Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin to measure enough cooked pumpkin for this recipe. The Kabocha is a brighter, sweeter flavor -in my opinion- compliments the cumin seasoning, fresh cilantro and soft corn tortillas! It just works!

Pumpkin, Bean & Chicken Enchiladas

2-4 tsp Olive Oil (enough to sauté onion and jalapeño)
1 small Onion, chopped
1-2 Jalapeños, seeded & finely chopped
1 3/4 cups Cooked Pumpkin -OR- 1 (15 oz) can 100% Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups Water
1-2 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp ground Cumin

1 can Black Beans or Kidney Beans, rinsed & drained & smooshed!
2 Chicken Breasts, cooked & shredded -OR- 2 cans of (12.5 oz) Chicken Breast
1/2 cup shredded Cheese (your preferred)
Cilantro, chopped
6-8 Corn Tortillas, softened in microwave 30 seconds between paper towels) I purchased the "Super Soft" White Corn Tortillas at Walmart and bypassed the microwave.
  • Heat oven to 400*. Lightly coat square/rectangle baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In medium skillet, heat onion and sauté onions & jalapeños until tender and onions are opaque.
  • Stir in pumpkin and water, chili powder, cumin and heat through. If needed, add enough water (up to 1/4 cup) to your desired consistency. 

  • While this mixture is heating...Turn beans (already rinsed & drained) into a large bowl and slightly smoosh with the back of a fork.
  • Add HALF of the pumpkin mixture, all the chicken and cheese and cilantro. Reserve the other HALF of pumpkin mixture to pour over the tortilla rolls, once assembled.

  • Assemble tortillas: Onto a soft(ened) tortilla, spoon about 1/3 cup bean, pumpkin & chicken mixture; roll up tortillas and place seam sides down in prepped baking dish. Pour the remaining half of pumpkin mixture over all of the assembled tortillas. COVER DISH with lid or foil.

  • Bake, covered, 15 minutes. The lid or foil keeps the tortillas and pumpkin mixture
    from drying out.
  • Sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired, and Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until heated through.
  • Serve with extra cilantro, salsa or limes.
Note: I thinned the left-over filling with a little of the pumpkin mixture and poured into an oven-safe dish coated with non-stick spray. Then, topped with the remaining pumpkin mixture and crunched up tortilla chips on top with extra cheese. Made a great TexMex Lunch Bowl for later!

GO PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD! 

I'd love to hear how your enchiladas turned out and what you thought of them or how you changed the recipe to make it your own!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Tuesday Recipe: Crockpot Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Talk about easy! Sometimes, I am skeptical and ditch a recipe before I ever attempt it, because the results seem puffed. The results -taste & texture- were not puffed with this #PunkinChunkin recipe for #31DaysofPumpkin. In fact, they were right on!

Last year was not short on busyness and we found it necessary to fire up the crockpot for food prep and dinners several times each week. At the onset of the holiday season, I found Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications' Pumpkin Recipes mag with this too-good-to-be-true recipe. Yep, I ditched it thinking there was no way the texture could come out as though baked in an oven.

I was wrong.

This bread is every bit easy. Every bit full of flavor. Every bit oven-baked texture. It takes 2 hours on high. 

One note: I was thinking of making this with blueberries, instead, because I haven't seen fresh cranberries in the grocery store, yet. Then, Momma and I mulled the use of dried cranberries, like Craisins. We rehydrated less than the recipe's measurement of dried cranberries with enough hot water to cover the berries and let stand while I worked on the rest of the recipe and prepared the crockpot. When it was time to add the berries, I drained the water, patted them dry-ish with a few paper towels and referred back to recipe. They worked just fine!

Crockpot / Slow Cooker Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread

2 eggs
3/4 cup Pumpkin Purée (100% canned pumpkin)
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil (I used olive oil.)

1 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Pumpkin "Pie" Spice (You can totally make your own PS.)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

3/4 cup Fresh or Frozen (thawed) Cranberries (or refer to the note, above)
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour (to coat part of the cranberries)
1/4-1/2 cup Pecans, chopped


  • Coat a 4 qt Slow Cooker with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. I would suggest NOT USING the slow cooker/crockpot plastic bag liners, because of the steam issue.
  • In first bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil.
  • In second bowl, stir together next four ingredients. 
  • Add pumpkin mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir just until dry is combined. Do not over stir.
  • Toss 1/2 cup of cranberries with 1 Tbsp flour and fold into batter.
  • Spoon batter into prepared crock of your slow cooker (a.k.a. crockpot).
  • Top with remainder of cranberries and pecans.
  • Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. If possible, lift and half-turn crock insert halfway through cooking. BE CAREFUL WHEN LIFTING LID... do not let steam condensation from lid drip onto bread. Wipe the lid. After the half-turn, cover and continue cooking.
  • Bread is done when toothpick comes out clean... 2 hours.
  • If possible, remove crock insert from slow cooker and set on wire rack for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  • Place a cutting board or plate on top of crock insert and carefully flip crock and plate, together, allowing bread to drop out of crock. THEN, turn bread over onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
NOTE: Do you know why it's necessary to coat part of the cranberries? Whenever you plan to stir-in berries, nuts, or choco chips, you want them to "suspend" in the batter while baking instead of sinking all the way to the bottom and possibly scorching. Just toss the stir-ins in a tablespoon of all-purpose flour and, then, stir into the batter!

GO PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD! I would love to hear how your bread turned out! Lemme know, below...

"Sam"

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Tuesday Recipe: Pumpkin Farro Risotto with Roasted Winter Veggies

Last October, I tried this recipe for my yearly #PunkinChunkin / #31DaysofPumpkin from
Vegetarian Ventures and loved it! Of course, I would, because I sub'd in PUMPKIN! One could easily substitute their fave winter root veggies instead of my beloved orange gourd. 

Shelly Westerhausen is a foodie and food photographer with impeccable taste! I look forward to her emails tempting me to get creative in the kitchen! Oh, by the way, she is the genius of two cookbooks on my wish list and both may be purchased on Amazon or other online booksellers. The Platters and Boards book is the current #1 Best Seller and will have you looking like a pro during upcoming holiday entertaining! Check 'em out for yourself after the recipe or scroll to the bottom for your next cookbook!

PUMPKIN FARRO RISOTTO with ROASTED WINTER VEGETABLES

For the Roasted Veggies:

  • 2 cups Pumpkin and/or winter veggies (carrots, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.), chopped or cubed 
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika (I don't know how I lived without this stuff for so long!)
  • opt: S&P, to taste


For the Farro:

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (+ more for finishing)
  • 1 Tbsp Sage Leaves, chopped (+ more for finishing)
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Pearled Farro
  • 1/4 cups Dry White Wine / Cooking Wine (You can even find this at Walmart)
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree (not the pumpkin "pie")
  • 2 Tbsp Hard Cheese (purchase already shredded, vegetarian is another option)
  • 1 tsp Thyme, chopped
  • opt: S&P, to taste
  • opt: Hazelnut Oil (I didn't have this, but don't let that stop you! I suppose, you could actually get creative, here, by adding chopped hazelnuts when toasting the faro or at the end for finishing!)


Instructions for the Roasted Veggies:

  • Preheat oven to 375* and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat.
  • Toss veggies in 1 T Olive Oil Smoked Paprika and S&P (salt & pepper) and transfer to the lined baking sheet in an even layer.
  • Roast 30 minutes, flipping halfway through or until the veggies are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Remove from oven and set aside.


Instructions for the Farro:

  • Heat Olive Oil and Sage over medium heat in a large pan or skillet.
  • Add Farro and let toast... watching carefully so as not to scorch... stir often, for 1 minute-ish. (It would be totally creative to toast chopped hazelnuts at this time, too).
  • Add Onion and cook until opaque / translucent, stirring often for 5 minutes.
  • Add cooking wine and cook until absorbed, again -- stirring often, about 2 minutes.
  • Add Water,  1 CUP AT A TIME, stirring yet some more until most of the water is absorbed before adding the next cup of water. Continue until farro is soft and creamy, about 30 minutes.
  • Stir-in Pumpkin Puree for a couple more minutes to heat it up.
  • Remove from heat and add the Thyme (and hazelnut oil).
  • Top with Roasted Veggies or Roasted PUMPKIN and season, to taste, with S&P (salt & pepper)
  • Serve right away with more chopped Sage, cheese, toasted chopped hazelnuts and a drizzle of olive oil!


GO PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD! But, first, check out Shelly's books...

-Click this Link-



Thursday, August 29, 2019

100 Days of Summer 81-90/100

08.29.19.  Self-control. Are you kidding me [more of statement than a question].

Since last weekend, most of the devos Lysa TerKeurst has covered in the EMBRACED book circle around allowing the Word at work in me to control me, because it's changing me from the deep core of the soul outward to my reactions to strangers, family, friends and that other group of beings who have no category with the exception of they get on my one last nerve. My solace is that category is small.

sigh.

My blood started simmering, today, while in a waiting room. A gloriously deserted waiting room. I plug in my cell in the only outlet available and hidden in the room. I retrieve my water bottle and a novel from my roped KAVU®, where all sorts of personal luxuries exist for an extended stay in the waiting room, and settle in for an enjoyable, quiet reading session.

Then, just as the young bride on St. Simon's Island, Georgia, is to plight her troth to the handsome groom from Scotland, he swaggers by and cusses to another lady who just came around the corner and works in this building. Then, he slouches into a chair across the once-empty room and continues to filth & foul about things that only the miserable filth & foul loudly about. 

My head is down and my hat's brim shields my rolling eyes as I continue to refocus on the bridal party's dinner and the many toasts offered up by the loving father of the bride.

He mutters something about fixing or painting something very slowly and making it an all-day project because this is his Friday. With that he starts walking down the hall. My joy is fleeting as he pauses and stands smack dab in front of her whispering in a throaty sound as he makes, what appeared to me, a covert grab at what did not belong to him. Did I really see a sexual harassment just take place? Didn't he just talk about himself having a wife?

Squirming from hip to hip, crossing and uncrossing my legs, I pray, "God, he makes me sick. Make him go away before I stand up." They both move across the hall where I cannot see their activity, but still hear that low, muffled voice. Then, another employee walks down the hall causing the two to separate. I'm just looking around for a supervisorly-ish person to report that bad man's bad behavior. Not a single camera is mounted. Not a single person with authority shows up. Again, they separate, but meander down the hall in the same direction.

I decide that the first chance I get, when she's alone, to let her know she is not being respected and can do better and neither one of them should be conducting themself in this manner in this place...MY QUIET, DESERTED, PUBLIC, WAITING AND READING PLACE!

I never got the opportunity. How I wanted that opportunity with every indignant fiber of my simmering self. I really wanted to verbally kick some tail, today. Honestly, I wasn't sure how he would react to my reaction and I really didn't want him to filth & foul at me, which is most likely what would have happened as I tried to put him in his place. Would I have felt triumphant in my righteous piety?




Ok. So. Back to the Lysa's devotions. Like a sharpened arrow zinged into my brain, instantly I'm reminded of Hebrews 4:12, "For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it slices cleanly through dividing soul and spirit, bone and marrow; its surgical precision separates my thoughts and attitudes and motivations.Scriptures point me back to self-control allowing the living and active Word to be at work in me to control all of me. 

Don't think that I believe God intended for us to be doormats and cowards shrinking away from injustice. I believe He wants us to use wisdom and lean into His voice for guidance.

My blood still simmers thinking about today. But, I know that God's voice whether sensed, heard or written down is working in me and for me. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

100 Days of Summer 74-80/100

08.19.19. I love a fresh start. I even love Mondays. I know. Weird. On Mondays, there's the opportunity to start anew feeling energized. I love a do-over. Growing up, I played church volleyball. If you had any kind of accurate serve, your team was pretty much assured a win. But, if you missed and the ball went wonky or got caught in the net, you got a do-over! I loved church league volleyball for that little grace!

It's Monday morning. Remember, I love Mondays, but today, feels like it's on the brink of doom, like when there's a major fault in a dam and the little town, below, has been evacuated. I feel like my insides are on alert with a spinning red emergency light to that ear-piercing siren honk-blasting the warning. 


Just like the rings of the famous Olympic symbol, everything about us is interconnected with one part effecting the other parts -- body, mind, heart and soul, inside to outside. If one is weakened, the others will feel the need. 

So, I take a quick inventory.

Am I worried? [the mind] There's plenty to be anxious about. But can I actually change one of them by allowing my mind to brew in a vat of worry? No. If I were to make a list of the Top 10... naw, let's go lesser... Top 3 Worries, I may be able to alleviate them in a practical method, but ultimately God's got my back. He isn't surprised and He works on my behalf so that I can keep moving forward.

How's my soul? [the soul] A soul weakened by neglect or hunger can topple the entire structure of body, mind and heart. But, I've been nourishing my soul with scripture and praise music and prayer, both privately and with others. My soul is full and spiritually strong.

Am I tired? [the body] It's been an engaging weekend with a physically exhausting week prior. Some time back in one of the previous 79 devotions in the Embraced book, Lysa TerKeurst acknowledges her own fatigue overlapping into her emotions: A depleted girl can quickly become a defeated girl when she lets emotions dictate her reactions. 

Am I broken-hearted? [the heart/emotions] Aha. Ouchies. Found it. For me, today, this one tends to sit on the curb slack shouldered and teary. This is the culprit that catches in my throat prompting me to ask Why. This is the reason I want to quit everything and run from the crushing pain isolating my broken heart from anything or anyone who intentionally or unknowingly caused the injury. What do ya know, there was a crack in the dam and my eyes are leaking.

Like that little dark cloud raining above a cartoon character's head everywhere he goes, the sadness will hang around. I can't speed off away from it thinking it'll remain in the dust I just left. Nope. That's stinkin' thinkin'. 


It's time to take sound action to acknowledge the hurt [the mind], to pull back from the busyness into a quiet comfortable place for as much time as I need to let all my parts gather in rest [the body] to let being in God's presence [the soul] begin mending my brokenness [the heart].

I won't let this crushing feeling choke my energy by tangling up my thoughts. I choose to trust God.

It make take awhile. And, in the middle of my heartache it may feel like God's not around. But, I will hang my hope in His peace because His love is constant as the sun and His faithfulness is everlasting. This is what I trust. This is where I will find healing. 


"All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and goodness and truth and faithfulness to those who keep His covenant and His testimony." (Psalm 25:10)
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." (Psalm 34:18)
This is the embrace.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

100 Days of Summer 55 - 73/100

08.13.19.  Some look forward to summer as a break from the norm adding vacations and extra outdoor dinners and quick weekend excursions. Some take a laid back approach to summer opting for more relaxed time to pursue the latest read or binge-watch a series on Netflix.

Our summer schedule has included all the above and, then some.

This year we launched a non-profit while continuing to press forward with the ministry. My weeks are full leading fitness classes and preparing for fitness classes. Together, Terry and I try to find opportunities to open our home and gather around our table. We live an abundant life full of God's blessing. We don't live large, but our hearts our large to live out the blessings and to make His name known. We pray for miracles. We see miracles. We encourage and receive encouragement. 

Encouragement. The bible speaks of just-right words being spoken at the just-right
time as a beautiful piece of museum worthy art, fine jewelry and a welcome change of weather. (Read Psalm 25:11-13.) This reflects how my spirit has received the 73 devotionals in the EMBRACED book, this summer. 

Each day, Lysa TerKeurst sets a table with nourishment welcoming me to slow down, sit and open my spirit to God's encouragement and, sometimes, rebuke. His rebuke is gentle, because it is savored with love. As I take it in, I'm both corrected and cherished knowing He won't abandon nor punish me with sullenness.

So, as a catch-up of exhortation, I offer standout Lysa-statements from my past very-busy-non-blogging days:


[God] can handle your honesty. 
Disappointment only stings as long as I let it. 
We must process our hurts through the filter of God's love, not through the tangled places of our hearts. 
Grace given when it feels least deserved is the only antidote for bitterness.
Healed people, heal people. 
In this set-apart place, God will give you much-needed special wisdom for the assignment ahead.
The voices of shame and rejection can come at you, but they don't have to reside in you. 
A depleted girl can quickly become a defeated girl when she lets emotions dictate her reactions.
Live from the abundant place, where you are loved and you won't find yourself begging others for scraps of love.
Are you doing this because you are loved or so that you'll be loved?
Proximity and activity don't always equal connectivity.
Do I walk into situations prepared with the fullness of God in me, free to look for ways to bless others?
If we give [a short-term setback] the power to refine [and not define] us, the hurt will give way to healing.
Isn't it comforting to know God isn't ever broken? He isn't ever caught off guard, taken by surprise or shocked by what happens next.
To dwell on hard things keeps us in hard spots and only serves to depend our feelings of emotional emptiness.
Wisdom will help us not repeat the mistakes we've made but rather grow stronger through them.
Our souls were formed to recognize and respond to the calm assurance of Jesus and truth.

Now, after that meal I can recline, pat my tummy and declare myself, "Full to the brim!" Until, tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

100 Days of Summer 47-54/100

07.24.19.  The goodness of God questioned.

During the past week, hubby and I have been uber busy with ministry and the other responsibilities that our names are associated with. Sharing a home-office computer is a little like doing a dance. 

"While he's with a minister, I'll duck in for a quick stab at the blog." 
"She's doing classes and her 'office' days are Monday and Friday, and I need to get a report done."
"If I don't blog really quickly before he wakes up, then, I'll have to wait until tonight after dinner."

All the while, my brain is pinging on ideas to spiritually connect the dots of the next EMBRACED devo to the next EMBRACED devo and the next day's until there's a week of days piled up and not blogged about. Allow me to catch-you-up on the pile without toppling it over and trapping you underneath...

Lysa TerKeurst has transitioned into Part 3: Embracing Him in the Midst of the Hurt & Heartbreak while asking questions most of us have asked. 

Is God good? If so, how can He allow all this craziness, tragedy and hurt?
Is God good to me? 
Has He rejected me? Do I trust God? 
Where is God when my heart is crushed? 

Smack dab in the confusing middle of a hard-press heartache, I have screamed out to God, "Where are You? Do you see, this?" I'm not the only one. Lysa shares the crushing of her childhood and I'm wide-eyed and jaw-slacked saying, "Me, too."

First, you soooo need this book. Order it here or here. When someone asks what you want for Christmas, tell them about it! Then, you could start your first 100 days of the new year with it!

Next, God IS good. The living and loving Heavenly Father is concerned about everything about you. Even when we question His existence or care about us or the chaos of the world, He is still good. Even when our heart is so heavy to the point of rupture, He is good. 

During a sermon, a father-figure during my teenage years made a statement that stiffened my spine, "How you see your earthly father is how you see your heavenly father."

There's not time enough for me to develop the blog, this morning, because hubby needs the office and I need to get to my classes.  So, to leave you in a state of "Wait, what?" I'm simply going to leave the blog hanging as you think over that statement: How you see your earthly father is how you see your heavenly father. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

100 Days of Summer 43-46/100

07.16.19.  Catch up. Sometimes, I'm caught in a whirlpool of perpetual catch up. How about you?

From sun up to sun down. From Monday to Monday. From meal planning to meal prepping to meals-on-the-table. From laundry room to bathroom. You get the picture. You're probably spinning around inside your own whirlpool.

Hubby and I are in different churches most weekends for ministry, which usually entails Saturday travel. This has been our lifestyle for years. At some point, our home needs attention and underwear needs washing. While many do all the house stuff on their weekends, my Monday is everyone's Saturday. Monday is for catching up on all things that keep us going and in good standing with our neighbors.

Occasionally, Monday is too busy from a too full list of catch up items and Monday stuff gets pushed into Tuesday. And, there you have it -- today is Tuesday which finds me able to sit in front of the computer, finally, to catch up on #100daysofSummer.

The EMBRACED book devotions by Lysa TerKeurst that I haven't blogged about over the past three days have been soul-filling. One especially caught me. Day 44: The Courageous Choice.

Lysa addresses two kinds of courage. One we see in firefighters and other heroes who do brave things by slaying evil things. Then, the other is the courageous choice as she defines "is the decision to do the right thing even when it's unpopular, uncelebrated and probably even unnoticed."


That definition. (gulp)

That definition paired with Philippians 1:20. (double gulp)


I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

So, I decided to catch up an inventory of courageous choices I make to see if they bring a smile to the Father's face. When we make courageous choices, seen or unseen, we are living in faith and faith makes the Father happy! Read Hebrews 11:6 for extra credit.

I make a courageous choice to:

  • read my Bible and to read other books, like EMBRACED, to nourish my soul
  • be active and provide a way for others to be active
  • select clean music in my fitness classes
  • gather in pinky-prayer at the end of my cardio classes
  • send love note text messages to my children
  • pause the schedule to attend doctor appointments with my momma
  • promote missions, local, homefront and international on social media
  • wear a running skirt with confidence, because #modestishottest
  • plan health-conscious meals for my household
  • happily greeting business men into our home for their breakfast Bible study on Fridays
  • keep my mouth closed when it's not that important for me to verbally beat my chest
  • speak up when the situation demands a voice
  • find time to pull away from all the noise and recharge my inner battery
  • blogging for 100-ish days about what God drops in my heart even if my followers are less than 20 
  • being ok living in my own skin without comparison to others

Everyday we choose to show up for that every day thing that we do is brave. We could throw up our hands in frustration because of the monotony of the mundane or the unappreciative feeling that sparks inside our chest when others appear flippant. Yet, we remain constant. We are not doormats, but we are gracious. 

It's time to go catch up on your own courageous choice list, hand it over to God without being ashamed.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Stuck in the Muck

07.12.19.  Goodness! What a great EMBRACED devo by Lysa TerKeurst! You've gotta get this book! (click the word Embraced for the link)

Lysa asks the reader who feels she is in the middle of a mess to answer the following question: Am I letting this mess define me or refine me? Then, she explains the reader's answer is crucial to feeling hopeless or hopeful

We all know we cannot stay in the mess whether the mess has us feeling stuck or stranded. Lysa uses scripture to develop three "Go-To Scripts" which become new patterns of thought to speak Truth of the Word into her mess. You'll just have to get the book and look up Day 42 for these Turning North Go-To Scripts.

Reading through today's devotion, my own messes came forward. Some are messier than others. It seems like there are always lessons to be learned in a muck of a mess.  I cannot imagine ever intentionally wanting to remain in a mess especially when we have the power within us to get out of the mess. However, when the mess leaves us feeling stranded --as if God forgot about us-- we can feel that hopelessness weighing heavier and pushing us deeper into the sludge.

I have been there. 

Honestly, I let the mess define me. The word abandoned seeped into my heart adding to the ugliness of being in the mess. From there, anger would climb over a great disappointment choking off my breath. I was sure I would become the first person in history that God forgot and refused to hear her prayers. It wasn't about the mess, anymore. It was about my brokenness.

It is important that Truth resides in your heart. For even when broken or stunned, Truth will surface.

When the enemy of my soul would insert a lie, Truth surfaced.

"God has forgot about you." Then, a bubble would break the surface, "Don't fear. I won't leave you nor forsake you."  


"God won't answer." <blip, blip, blip> "Don't be stressed. Don't be discouraged. I will help you with My right hand."

"You're too weak." <pppp-shsssssshhhhhhh> "You are more than a conqueror through God."

"This is impossible." <fizzy, fizzy, pop> "With God, nothing is impossible."

The scripture Truth I had memorized (maybe not remembering where they were located book, chapter and verse) was rising from the deep and so was my faith!

Then, I broke free to inhale sweet air and let it fill my lungs... "I am a child of God. I am chosen by the King. What touches my life is, first, felt by Him. He knows where I am. I cannot run or hide or be hidden where He cannot find me. I can come boldly to the throne in His presence making my requests known to Him. He hears my every cry. He goes before me and hems me in from behind. I put my hope and trust in Him because He loves me!"

Are you stuck in the muck or stranded in the mess of your own life situations? It's time to let Truth surface.