Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Resurrection

He is not here..


Such profound words. Words not just about an event, but about a man--the Resurrection Himself.

He's no longer trapped by death, or confined to a borrowed tomb.

And because He isn't, we aren't either. 1 Peter 1:3 speaks of a living hope that we have because of Christ's resurrection:  " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"

And though we may all die, Jesus said this:  “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,"

This morning, I'm REJOICING in Jesus Christ my Risen Savior! 
He's alive!

Happy Easter/Resurrection Sunday!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate No-Bake Energy Bites

Chocolate.  Doesn't the word just give you warm and fuzzy feelings? It's almost my BFF.
But unfortunately, a lot of the chocolatey goodness sold today is pretty much h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e for us.


However, when I came across the recipe I'm about to share, I was giddy with excitement. You mean I don't have to feel guilty about eating something chocolate? Oh my. Sign me up.
I found the original recipe via The Cheapskate Cook.
Ladies, these are splendidly simple and you can mix things around. It's totally forgiving. (My kind of recipe)

photo from The Cheapskate Cook

The list of ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats*
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (sweetened works fine)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds (or ground nuts or flaxseed) **
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or raisins, mini chocolate chips, M&M’s or ground nuts)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

*(From the Cheapskate Cook herself) "My only disappointment with these is that they use uncooked oats, which according to my research aren’t the easiest for your body to digest. I’m sure these can be replaced with something healthier, but up until now I’ve just been thankful for a frugal treat that doesn’t have an ingredients list a mile long."

**Instead of the sesame seeds, I ground up raw walnuts, raw almonds and raw organic pumpkin seeds. I also sprinkled in a tiny bit of ground flax. (Not a huge fan of the taste of flax, but that stuff packs a nutritional punch, so I put in just enough to get something out of it, but not enough to really taste it ;)

I like that this recipe uses honey as the sweetener. It's still a sugar, but it's nature's sweetener. Good ol' raw honey.

Just FYI: Your kids will totally think you are the coolest mom ever if you give them a few of these beauties for breakfast.  I honestly don't feel bad doing that every now and then, because not only is this recipe a "not as bad as..." one, but depending on which ingredients you choose to add, and their quality, these Chocolate No-Bake Energy Bites can actually be very nutritious! 

Now, I'm off to the fridge to get my Chocolate fix. And I'm not feelin' an ounce of guilt about it ;) 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


There seems to be a great awakening in the hearts of believers. An awakening toward those who need to be rescued--orphans. Those precious children who have no home, no security, no love of a mother and father, or siblings.

James says that pure and undefiled religion is " visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world"  (James 1:27 NASB)
We may not all be called to adopt or to foster a child(ren). But we are all called to help in some way. That's what the Word of God tells us.

Bob and I have been challenged by our church and its mission to care for the orphans of our city, state, nation, world. We are praying for wisdom in this area to know exactly at what capacity He would have us obey. It's a little scary, I must admit. But we know how important it is for our children to have a loving and secure home--we want that for others, too.

In the words of R.C. Sproul Jr., "God didn't say natural born children are a blessing; God said children are a blessing."  All children. Orphaned or not. They're a blessing. And we are to care for them in some way. 

There's a documentary coming out soon called Rescued. I'm a documentary-lover, much to the chagrin of my husband =) But he's a trooper--he's watched documentaries ranging from health, homeschooling, abortion, and natural birth to even...gasp...the beauty industry! That's true love my friends. But back to the point at hand...

Here's the trailer for the upcoming documentary Rescued. I believe it's something all Christians should watch, if possible, and to pray fervently about how they are to answer the call "to visit [care for] orphans and widows in their distress"

Let's be the church. Let's not just be hearers of the Word, deceiving ourselves. But let's be doers of the Word, to the glory of God!

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:22 NIV

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Look at Gratitude

The ungrateful thought struck me in the middle of my complaint-filled internal tirade. "What on earth are you saying? You have nothing to complain about!" It must have been the Holy Spirit gently prodding me to remembrance. Remembrance of all the unmerited blessings in my life. Even though some days are tough, some seasons of life are longer than I would like, I have been given blessing after blessing. If I were to count them and name them one by one, it would surely take an eternity.

I know how hard it is for me to bear my son's constant whining. Is that what I sound like to God sometimes?  I feel like a spoiled child at times, so prone to whine and complain when things get tough--even if it's mostly inward--for God certainly can hear those complaints when others do not. It grieves Him, too, those wayward thoughts. Because as the following quote points out, an ungrateful and complaint-filled life is a life full of pride. 

"Gratitude is the overflow of a humble heart, just as surely as an ungrateful, complaining spirit flows out of a proud heart. Proud people are wrapped up in themselves. If people or circumstances don’t please or suit them, they are prone to whine or become resentful.

A humble person thinks much of God and others and little of himself. He recognizes that anything he has is better than he deserves. He doesn't feel anyone owes him anything. He doesn’t feel entitled to have more, or for life to be easy, or for everyone to love him and treat him well. He’s grateful for the least little kindness that’s extended to him, knowing it’s more than he deserves."
~Nancy Leigh DeMoss~

What conviction for me!  I don't want to be wrapped up in myself. I want to think much of God and others. I want to realize the truth that is this: I don't deserve the goodness of God--certainly not His salvation. But He, the God of the universe, humbled Himself and came to earth in human form and willingly laid down His life to save us all.

How can we not be humbled at such deep, unwavering love? Divine love. Amazing and unmerited grace. In light of all that, how can we possibly be ungrateful? Ladies, let it not be named among us.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crusty Cheese Bread

I love to bake.
But since I've drastically cut down on the amount of sugar I eat, I haven't been baking dozens of cookies each week like I used to. Sigh.

So, I've turned my attention to homemade bread.

I've always been nervous around recipes involving yeast. Not sure why. But I've dodged yeast-necessary recipes for years.

However, I think I'm becoming more courageous as I age. It's probably motherhood that's done it for me. After all, if I can survive the shockingly wild tantrum of an almost three year old boy while simultaneously nursing a 10 month old baby girl, I should be able to handle a recipe that involves yeast. ;)

The recipe I'm sharing today is from Hallee the Homemaker. And my word, it's good. I'm a carb and dairy lover by nature, so this is heaven in my mouth!

Crusty Whole Wheat Cheese Bread --- Here's the link to the recipe

2 packages (4½ tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (it should feel warm to the touch – if it feels hot, it’s too hot)
5-5½ cups of whole wheat flour {I used unbleached all purpose flour}
2 TBS sugar
2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
2 TBS unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley leaves
16 slices provolone cheese {I d
idn't quite have enough provolone, so I added freshly shredded Mozzarella}
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. 
Grease a large bowl. Grease the bread pans. 
Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and salt, garlic, and herbs to bowl.  Stir (or if using a stand mixer, mix on power level 2 with bread hook for 1 minute.)
With the mixer running, gradually add the yeast and water mixture, warm milk, and softened butter.
Mix on level 2 for about 2 minutes. Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the side of the bowl.  Don’t use all of the flour in the recipe unless you need it – the amount of flour used will be dependent upon the moisture content of your flour. 
Knead dough for 2 minutes on power level 2 (or knead by hand for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.)
Place in greased bowl, turning over to grease the top.  Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, for one hour or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down and divide in half.
Place dough on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle approximately 9×14 inches.
Evenly distribute 8 slices of provolone cheese.
Starting at the short end, roll the dough tightly. Pinch the ends. Place in greased bread pan.
Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Cover and let rise for one hour or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 375° degrees F (190° degrees C).
Bake each loaf for about 40 minutes, or until browned.
Remove from pans and cool on a wire cooling rack.
Slice and enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Enemy of Our Marriage

Recently, it was made aware that someone whom my husband and I look up to had fallen into infidelity and adultery.

It was a jaw dropping, heartbreaking discovery.

I hurt for this man.
I especially hurt for this man's wife and children.

More than ever--and maybe it's just because I'm older, married and more aware--marriages are being destroyed left and right.

How does that happen, especially to a Christian couple? That's what I always wonder. There's a little fear to that thought. If it could happen to them....

Which is why we MUST. WE MUST be on guard. Our enemy, who is very, very real, wants nothing more than to steal from us. Our joy. Our marriage. Our children. All that we hold dear. And he will kill and destroy if he has to. (John 10:10)

He has no sympathy.
There is no kindness in him.
Age isn't a factor. He targets young and old.

At first, this can all be a scary realization.
But goodness. If God be for us, who can be against us?? (Romans 8:31)

We have the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord! (1 Cor. 15:57)
We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!! (Romans 8:37)

While we should realize the power of our enemy, we should not cower down. We have no need to lack faith or lose courage.

Let's fight the good fight!
Let's fight for our marriages.

Let's be the woman of God, the wife and the mother the Lord has enabled us to be. Has called us to be.

Women, I know when there are little ones in the house, time alone with God seems impossible.

But it can't be. It just can't.

We must be in the Word and on our knees in prayer.
We must meditate on, and commune daily with our Lord.

We may not be able to sit down in the afternoon with our Bible and some uninterrupted time. But either in the morning before the kids arise, or in the evening after they've gone to bed, we should spend some time with the Lord. We should work to hide His Word in our heart. That way, we can recall those precious and powerful words to our minds during the day. We can be encouraged during days of frustration. We can find a soft answer when we want to speak harshly. We can respect our husbands when we'd rather fight back. We can choose to walk in love and humility when pride says we deserve better.

We can fight the enemy with the power of the Living Word.
We must. We must.
Don't ever let the enemy have a foothoold in our lives. In our marriages.
Because that's just what he's looking for.
And that's what he found in our friend I mentioned earlier.

To end, and to hopefully sum up what I feel are scattered thoughts, I'll share a video that has been floating around Facebook lately. It's short, but quite powerful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Divine Challenge...

The best way to make homemaking a joyous task is to offer it as unto the Lord;

 the only way  to avoid the drudgery in such mundane tasks 
is to bathe the tasks with prayer and catch a vision of the 
divine challenge in making and nurturing a home.”  

~Dorothy Patterson

Homemakers, are we bathing our tasks in prayer?
 I hope to better catch the vision and divine challenge of serving my Lord and my family through the keeping of the home God has so graciously blessed us with!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back From A Break

I'm back from an impromptu blogging break.

Honestly, I've been too lazy to upload my recent pictures onto the computer, re-size them, and then choose which ones to post about. ;)

And..I really just enjoy reading other blogs more than I do writing my own. But I don't want to let my blog go by the wayside like I have so many times before.

So, I'll get back in to the swing of things by posting a lovely article from a blog I recently stumbled upon. (Deep Roots At Home)

"How of ten have I said that I long for the 'good ol' days' when life was simpler......instead of a random neighborhood--a community of brethren......instead of the nursing home--family......instead of family movie night--family devotions...instead of running around town all day--staying at home......instead of a Facebook status--a private letter or card......instead of sharing thoughts on the internet--sharing thoughts with the family...We all hold dear the values that strengthened the family as portrayed in these winsome images. But, we can never go back to the former times as we imagined them to be."

You can read the full article here. 

What ways do you strive to live a more simple life in the midst of a busy and overstressed culture?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Get Out Of That Pit

While on Facebook last night, I came across a Youtube clip of Beth Moore that a friend had shared.

I watched it.
It was pretty good.
I didn't see how it applied to me, though.

When it was over, and as usual, all the other similar clips were shown at the end.

And I saw, "Get Out Of That Pit"

"No....I don't need to watch that one.", I thought. [heart tugging]
"It's 49 minutes long! Woah, definitely not going to watch it!" [heart still tugging]

Sigh. "Ok, I'll watch it."

Truth is, I knew I needed to. I've felt for awhile now that I've been stuck in a pit of discouragement--a pit I've lived in for too long. And not just discouragement, but all the other struggles it produces. The lack of trust and faith it can foster. The anger and discontentment it creates.

So, it's time to take the pictures down, to hire a moving truck. I'm so out of this pit! God has been victorious for us! There's no need to remain where we are at. No need at all.

In the video, Beth shares three ways we usually find ourselves in a pit:

A. We are thrown in by others. Remember the story of Joseph? His brothers literally threw him in to a real pit. Maybe you've been thrown into a pit by your spouse's infidelity. Or your business partner's deceit.

B. We slip in.  We let sin take a foothold and before we know it, we've slipped in to some type of
bad habit or relationship that we never dreamed we'd find ourselves in.

C. We jump in. Willful, planned sin. Even David asks in Psalm 19:13 for God to keep him from willful sins.

Beth Moore finishes her message by proclaiming the power that Christ has to deliver us from our pits. He is our rescuer.

Are you in a pit today? It may be something as serious as alcohol addiction or something as seemingly minor as laziness and lack of discipline. But they're all pits. Anything that keeps us from the victorious and free life that Jesus has for us, is a pit we must be pulled from.

We can't be completely sinless while on this earth--we'll never really have it all together--but by God's grace, there's no need for us to be overtaken by any sin. As much as satan wants that to be our end--to bury us alive--Christ has conquered Him for us! He is our Victor! And He stands ready and willing to deliver us and give us the abundant life that can only be found in HIM.

If you feel a tugging, please watch the video. It's long, but it's so worth it! Let's Get Out Of That Pit!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Toys. And footholds.

I was strolling through the toy section at Target with Ethan and Emma and came across these two vampire dolls. I'm especially fond of the guy vampire with that "special dress" (more like lingerie, don't ya think?) for his "goulfriend". What a wonderfully wholesome set of toys. [facepalm]

Actually, when I saw these, my jaw dropped.
And quite frankly, I became angry.

For some unfortunate reason, our culture is totally wrapped up in all of the vampire, witch, werewolf hysteria going on. And it's dangerous.

We as Christians should be extra cautious before we watch any show, read any book, or buy any toy if we know it has this darkness involved. It may seem like a "silly little toy" or "just a fun movie" but "what fellowship hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14)

 Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have you, to sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31)

Let's use discernment.
And let us never allow Satan a foothold. He'll sift us like wheat. And he wants only to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

It's bad enough to be involved in this darkness as an adult, but when we start allowing our children to be involved as well....

Then shame on us.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."  Mark 9:42 ESV

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All Things New

The Christmas decorations are packed away for another year (sigh), and memories are tucked safely inside my heart--ones I'll treasure forever.

It was a great few days with family. Bob and I are blessed to have our parents so close. My siblings also live nearby. I'm very thankful for that.

Ethan was incredibly excited this year about all the toys he received. It was adorable to see the spark in his eyes, to hear "Oooh Mommmyyyyyy!" at each new gift he received, and "Daddy, loooook!" as he figured out how each new toy worked.

So. Stinkin. Cute.

It was Emma's first Christmas, which of course, is always a special occasion. She's enjoying the toys she recieved, as well. Although, as it goes with babies, I think she would've been just as happy with the boxes and wrapping paper that housed the toys.


Now it's time for birthday planning! Ethan will be three....Threeeeeee! I can't believe it. Completely ridiculous.
That's the 25th of February.

And then my little Emma girl will be ONE whole year on March 4th! It's literally been the fastest year of my life. Pinterest will be my best friend for the next few weeks, I'm sure!  =)

Emma's birth was the highlight of the year for me; otherwise, 2011 wasn't the greatest, although I'm incredibly thankful I could be a part of it!

With that said, 2011 has sparked something in me--an intense desire to make 2012 better. To not waste my life (As John Piper's book so aptly encourages)

I want to live with purpose---to be intentional.

I have so many goals for this year. And I actually wrote them down and got specific. I don't believe I've ever done that before.

I've got a lot of changes to make, and with the grace and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, I can make those changes! I'm so excited for a fresh start!

I'm so thankful that He makes all things new! (Rev. 21:5)

A few goals from my list:

*To spend time with God, everyday. To pray without ceasing. I want Him to be my priority. My All.

*To wake up before my family, at least 5 days out of 7. It should probably be all 7 days, but I'm going to start easy on myself as I adjust to a more disciplined schedule. (It's embarrassing for me to admit that I usually rise when my children wake me up--but that's how it was for most of 2011--and I'm ready to change that!)

*To exercise at least 3 times a day. Long enough to break a sweat and get my heart pumping.
I used to be an athlete and was in great shape. But now I think I'll need to get in shape just so I can get in shape! 

*To lose 30 lbs. Ahhh!

*To cut waaaaay back on our sugar intake (I love to bake, so this will be super tough!)
I've studied nutrition for several years, so I know what we should be eating. But putting all that into practice is usually easier said than done.

*To be in bed by 11pm. It's currently 12:32am. Needless to say, this is going to be a tough one, too.

*To stop being so distracted by silly things!! I've already deleted my Facebook and Pinterest apps off my phone. I need to spend much less time online, and much more quality time with my Lord, children, and family. 
Many women do not have an issue with wasting too much time via the internet, but I do. This is something the Lord has really laid on my heart.

*TIME MANAGEMENT. I am so bad about being late to places. It's embarrassing and incredibly rude. I've struggled with it for as long as I can remember. This is a huge goal for me.

I have other more specific and personal goals, but these are some of the majors. 
I have a lot to work on, don't I?

It's a good thing I have the Lord on my side =)


Do you set goals each year?
If so, what are some of yours?

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