Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"I'm Not Wonder Woman!"

This truly is NOT my blog, but God's. My "main ambition" is to be real....I think that's the only way you can then see God, you know? That's why my biggest fear and yes, even "pet peeve" is that people might think I'm Wonder Woman. Honestly, truly, I can't stand that! I am not any more than anyone else, it's simply God shining through my brokenness. I struggle sometimes, just like anybody else. And yet, God is ALWAYS so faithful. Daily, sometimes hourly and minute by minute, I have to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and get back at it. Does that come across in my blog, or am I making it appear that I am wonder woman? I don't want that! I need people to know that you simply have to place your full hope and trust in God alone, and take life one step at a time.

So whaddya think? Can I make up a t-shirt that says,

"I am not Wonder Woman!"

Luke 18:27
Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Rahab the prostitute

Well, in my study of the women of the Bible, I am up to Rahab. Her story is in Joshua 2. This morning I made a list of lessons I can learn from her.
  • She had faith in the God of the Israelites. She had heard what He had done for them and she knew and feared the Lord.
  • She was wise (she knew how to protect the Israelite spies)
  • She didn't wait until her life was "right" to come to God
  • She knew her life could only be saved by coming to God
  • God used her "bad" for His good
  • She was in exactly the right place for God to use her
  • She walked away from her old life and walked a new life with God's people

Think about it, she's a why would the spies even have entered her house? Because that is how God designed it. She could have turned them in to the authorities, but she didn't....why? Because she recognized God in the reports she had heard of these people.

But you know what is my favorite part of this Rahab story....she didn't just help the Israelites....she became part of Jesus' lineage!! I love that!!! Rahab the prostitute....when we hear Rahab, that's what we immediately think, but what a beautiful picture of 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" The prostitute became an ancestor of Christ, the old had gone and the new had come! Praise God for His goodness!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yesterday's Sermon

I have been eagerly waiting for them to post this sermon to the web. I was so happy/excited after hearing yesterday's sermon. You know sometimes you just "know" something, but you don't know how to put words to it? Well, Pastor Bryan put words to my faith. I love it! I pray that it will encourage all who hear it!!

The Anatomy of Faith

Counting my Blessings

Proverbs 10:22 {Amplified Bible}
The blessing of the Lord--it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

I have a confession to kind of stresses me out when my hubby gets time off from work. Not that I don't enjoy having him around, but my schedule gets all out of whack. We sleep late, lounge around enjoying coffee...I pretty much try to be super-flexible when he's home. So, while I was glad he would be having time off last week to get things taken care of, I was also a bit stressed by the thought.

Well, I have to say that God richly, lavishly blessed our time together. I prayed that we would have good, memory-making family time together, and I have to say that God more than amply blessed that prayer! Yesterday the kids all told me they wanted Dad to make the mashed potatoes (weird, but bear with me, there's a point). I'm thinking, "What can possibly be the difference between my mashed potatoes and DH's?" He's been busy outside fixing up a trailer and so I'm SURE the last thing he wanted to do was come in and make mashed potatoes! However, when I told him that was the plea of the children, he laughed and came in to make them. I then realized that the difference is I mash the potatoes, and he attacks them! So he is "manhandling" the potatoes and I laughed and said, "Show-off!" To which he turned and stuck his tongue out at me. I then bent over so that my head was almost in the potatoes to look in his face.....okay, okay....the point is, we have had so much fun together this week (and you know that's a God-thing as it was also my time of the month!) We have laughed and played and worked together this week. It has been great.

While I "love" my husband as his wife, this week I remembered again that I "love" him as my best friend and companion as well. Life isn't always a "jolly holiday", I assure you, but I was reminded again how very blessed I am!
Abba, Father, thank You for the immeasurable goodness of Your love for us. Thank You for the time we had last week as a whole family. I pray that in the tough, lonely times that come, You will renew me as well as the children with these precious memories. Abba, Your love is beyond ANYTHING I can ever understand, yet here I will stay, resting wholly in You.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sloppy Joe BLT's

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 lg tomato, chopped
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar
1/2 cup real bacon bits (found near salad dressing in grocery aisle)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
12 slices Italian bread (3/4 inch thick), toasted

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato, cheeses and bacon. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper; spoon over salad mixture and toss to coat. Spoon about 3/4 cup over six bread slices; top with remaining bread.

Serves 6

We love these sandwiches! They are very quick and easy. I've been told that they are "deli-quality" sandwiches. I'm making them for lunch today, and we're out of bread so I'll just put some in tortillas and call them BLT wraps. Yum! Enjoy it!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mr. Cool in his Shemagh

A Shem-what??

So today my DH picked up some MORE equipment, including a Shemagh (say "shmog"). It is BEAUTIFUL!! I want one. I told him he has to bring it back to me. SmileAnyway, this is a very important item for a desert soldier and so, this evening I had to 1.)figure out how to spell it, so I could 2.) look it up online to 3.)figure out how to use the silly thing! You want to know? Click on Shemagh Kinda interesting really, and who knows, you may find a good use for it around your home!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hubby's "Sand Toys"

And that's not even all of it!! He's packing it all up right now, so I had to hurry and get a picture. My heart did a little flip as he said he was packing, but "My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do!!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mercy and Grace

That word, grace, is amazing to me. That means, "getting what I don't deserve." And usually, mercy, goes along with that. Mercy is, "NOT getting what I DO deserve."

Someone dear to me got caught doing something very wrong. And I don't mean caught by, sadly, this person was caught by the FBI. This person and the family are devastated, naturally. And our tendency is to point and say, "Look! Look at them! See what they did? What were they thinking?? How awful!" Look! Look.......
John 8
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Mercy and grace should abundantly flow from us as an outpouring of the tremendous mercy and grace God has bestowed on us. We all do foolish things at one time or another in our lives (or, for most of us, many times). Thank God that while He is a just and perfect King, He is also a gracious, merciful Father who is able to look past the gunk and see the person.

May we each be blessed with opportunities to lavish mercy and grace on others! What an awesome chance to be more Christlike and less "world-like".


Monday, March 19, 2007


Well, yesterday DH decided to take me around the house to "show me things". I thought he meant things like how to run the sprinklers, or what to watch out for in the boiler-room, or things like that. I said, "Should I take a notepad with me?" He said, "Sure."

Well, our tour begins with him pointing out some paint on the outside of the house that is bubbling. He said, "That'll need scraping and repainting." Then he begins closely scrutinizing all of the window frames. "Yup," says my darling man, "these are going to need to be caulked. I had planned to do that this summer." Okay, now I'm not exactly smiling as my list grows: replace sprinkler heads, plant a couple lines of shrubs as "fencing" for the back yard,replace the starter in the Camry (yes! I'm serious!), keep checking the oil and fluid levels....thankfully, at that point he got sidetracked with the fluid levels in the Camry, and our "tour" came to an abrupt halt.

By now, I really am not smiling. I'm kinda fuming. THIS is not my job! I'm going to have very sad children and a very sad dog on my hands, many people planning to visit througout the summer, a huge garden to tend, canning to do, a quilt I'm planning to make as a surprise for my DH, besides making and selling things at the Farmer's Market....I thought I did a fairly good job of finding things to keep our minds otherwise occupied while he was gone!

I then remind myself to take a breath, and think this through slowly. Here's what I've come up with:: 1.)He wants to make sure that we have things to do to keep us busy while he's gone (kinda lame excuse though) or 2.) He trusts me absolutely and has full confidence in me (seriously! I know, I know....part of me wants to ask him if he's crazy, but.....)

That got me to thinking about one of my favorite passages in the Bible. And yes, it is a favorite....I believe this is not describing Wonder Woman, but rather pointing out things we should aspire too, things we can do when we trust and fear the Lord our God. Know which one I'm talking about? Yep, Proverbs 31! Check this part out:
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Well, this is certainly something I strive for, but actually seeing it play out....whew!! Interesting, to say the very least! I admit I was kind of self-concious as hubby and I had our heads under the hood of the Camry. "What will the neighbors think when I'm out here doing this on my own this summer??" And yet, that is not what matters. What does matter is my commitment to God and to my spouse. Should be an interesting summer, don't you think??
Abba, loving Father-God, thank You for this marriage partner You have blessed me with. Thank You that he has confidence and trust in me. Abba, I pray for Your strength and wisdom in this time. Help me to lose my worldly focus on all of this, and keep a heavenly focus instead. Thank You Abba, for Your mercy and grace in my life, may that same mercy and grace overflow into the lives of those around me regardless of what I must face. In Christ's name....Amen!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Yummy Scones!

I got an email from a Louisiana friend today (LOVE that baby, C!! Too cute!!) and she asked for my scone recipe. Yeah, we used to attend this neat church in Louisiana that actually served breakfast before the first service every Sunday. And it wasn't just donuts and coffee, but a full-fledged breakfast! And me, with my love for baking? How could I resist? So these scones are one of many of the baked goodies I would bring. And believe me, they're easy enough that I could make them in the morning before heading to church!! The recipe is from Taste of Home, the Dec./Jan '03 issue.

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup cold butter (no substitutes!)
1 egg, separated
1 1/2 cups flavored non-dairy creamer, or half and half, (or, in a pinch, I've used a can of evaporated milk)

Your choice of extras.
We like::
Orange zest and dried cranberries
Finely chopped pecans and/or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients; cut in the butter (I actually do this first part in a food processor and then dump it in a bowl once the mixture is crumbly). In a separate, smaller bwl, whisk egg yolk and creamer; add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in the extras of your choice. Knead in the bowl 10 times. Dough should be slightly sticky. Divide dough in half. Pat each portion into a 7 inch circle on a greased cookie sheet. Cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate them.

Beat egg white, brush over dough. Sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve.

Love notes from God

Jeremiah 29:11:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

I love this verse! And you know, the hope entailed here isn't that everything will be "peachy-keen" this side of heaven, but that God's got it covered!! How cool is that??

What does that have to do with love notes? It's fun to tuck little love notes in hubby's lunch, or (my favorite) write a message on the mirror with a dry erase marker so he gets it as he's shaving in the morning, or what have you. Well, God loves to tuck little "love notes" in various places for us too. But what if hubby doesn't bother with his lunch, or doesn't notice the words on the mirror. What if he's not even caring to look for them? What if we're not even bothering to look for God's love notes? Nothing fancy, written on scented pretty paper, but a napkin or something...something ordinary. You really need to be looking.

WHAT am I talking about? Let me share the "love note" I discovered this morning. DH and I were sitting in the sunroom drinking coffee. He was looking through a Book of Prayers that he has to take with him. I asked why he had it rather than the Chaplain. He said that they both have one in case they are separated. Somehow that led to the discussion about the team that he is assigned to. They are a group of guys, volunteers, who are going over to build because they love to build. I asked, "Are you going to be able to work with them?" And he said that most likely he will be with them, as the chapel representative, because he can carry a weapon (a chaplain cannot).

See how easy it could be to miss that love note? What is the love note? Well, DH LOVES to build things. He didn't know he was gifted in that area until only a few years ago, and since then, wow!! So as DH is telling me this, God is smiling and saying, "See, I've got this covered. I know this guy, I know his heart. He's going exactly where I want him to be." What a treasure to me that hubby got this kind of assignment, out of all the myriad assignments he could have received. No doubt, God's got him. And this chat this morning was God's reminder to me, His love note.

God's got him!

Abba, what can I say about You? You are amazing! You have such a sense of humor. Your love is beyond anything I can imagine! I feel so cherished by You. Thank You that You are so much bigger than the military, than this war. Father, thank You for again reminding me that You've got things covered. Sovereign Father, true Love of my life, my All in All, I thank You!! Through the shed blood of the Lamb....Amen!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Boy, O'Boy!

I have been doing devotions from a book called Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler & Jean E. Syswerda. It's a one year devotional of women in scripture. I'm really enjoying it. This week I've been studying on Jochebed (Moses' mom) and Pharaoh's daughter (Moses' adoptive mom).

Before I got into the study, I had been praying for my children; something I don't do nearly as often as I should! I struggle with major "issues" I see rising up in them. I have been deeply concerned with Big D's selfishness. He thinks of himself first, making himself happy, etc. One thing that really stumps me is that he is so eager and willing to help out other people, no matter what the job. He has spent 2 days in our new neighbor's yard helping them clean it up. He used to do this when we were in Louisiana too. It bugs me because I think, "He can't be bothered to help around here."

Well, this morning a lightbulb went off! He is outreach oriented. He is a LOT like his Daddy. Hubby has been able to help and bless many people, while I'm at home tending to the "home fires". Sometimes this has really been a struggle for me, but then I realize that he can be out there doing those things because he knows that I am here, keeping things going smoothly. When I do really need help, he does step in, but otherwise, it is as if this is starting place, his jumping off point. He trusts me to keep things steady here in order for him to be able to minister to the needs of others. That's pretty neat. So I realize it's more of a matter of fine tuning Big D so that he understands his own responsibilities, and from there, can reach out and bless others. (Does that make any sense at all? Cuz it's so totally clear in my head!)

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.

The prayer at the conclusion of this week's study was this::
Father, thank You for the gift and calling of motherhood. Help me to remember that my love for my children is merely a reflection of Your own love for them. With that in mind, give me grace to surrender my anxiety. Replace it with a sense of trust and calm as I learn to depend on You for everything.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Different Kind of Tough Love

The time of Hubby's deployment is drawing closer. I knew that. Yeah, I knew that......

Yesterday he came home from work while I was in the kitchen making dinner. Kids were splayed all over the livingroom doing different things. I heard Hubby come in and go out a couple of times and heard exclamations of awe from the kids. I peeked around the corner as Big D exclaimed, "Wow Dad! Those are just like mine!" He was referring to the 2 new pairs of desert boots Hubby had plopped on the to a mountain of military issue desert gear. The kids thought it was "really cool" my heart flipped a bit as I backed into the kitchen again to continue dinner. But I couldn't help but smile too, at the kids AND G's excitement over "all this new stuff", as if it were neat toys....rather than items we hope will keep him safe from the enemy.

Later, Little D (who is suffering another ear infection) and I were laying in my bed watching Bob The Builder. I had the lights off (hoping he'd crash). Hubby kept popping in with some cool new piece of equipment to show me. Struttin' his stuff, trying to look so tough. After the third time, I realize just how excited he really is, so I got up and went out into the other room to "check things out". Do I really want to think about all this? No. Does G want me to be part of this with him? Yes. And so I check out all this cool stuff, exclaiming over his handsomeness in his "boonie hat", marveling at his buff looks with his "camel pack" on, laughing with him at his obvious excitement over glasses (they gave the man new sunglasses!! And yes, they are pretty cool), and teasing him about the goofy "eight cornered soft cap" (marine style).

Am I crazy? Shouldn't I be in a corner crying, refusing to be anything other than upset over this whole thing? And what, exactly, would that bring - other than misery - to both of us? I laid in bed last night thinking, "I know I don't need to worry, but surely it's okay to worry about things like this." But thinking that through, it's not. There's NEVER a good reason to worry. God's got it. Why worry that G won't make it back? Will that cause him to make it back? No. But I can pray about it, entrusting him fully to our Father's care (where I know he is already). That's all I can do or even need to do. So, since I don't have to worry, surely I can take this time with my dear hubby and join in his excitement, show him my everlasting support and love wherever he goes.

He has a ton of equipment and I just can't imagine how he'll move with all that on... the armor, the equipment belt, the backpack, not to mention weapons, aid bags....the list could go on. Lots of stuff. So, to keep his load light, I'll do my part and not add guilt, fear, worry, or what have you, to his burdens.

Thank you Abba, for my faithful, strong hubby. Thank you that he is a hardworking man of integrity. Father, You have richly blessed me with him and I fully trust whatever You are going to do in our lives. Father, near or far, help me to be his helpmeet. Help me to create a haven for him here. Give us all courage and wisdom in this, to continually put You first in all of this. In Christ's name I pray this! Amen!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chickpea (Garbanzo bean) stuffed Shells

We had this for dinner this evening. Glenn really likes it and doesn't mind that it's vegetarian! :)

18 jumbo pasta shells, cooked
1 (15oz can) garbanzo beans
2 egg whites
15 oz ricotta
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs parsley
1 tsp pepper
1/3 c. parmesan
28oz can of spaghetti sauce
6-8 oz shredded mozzarella

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, puree garbanzo beans and egg whites until smooth. Add ricotta, onion, garlic, parsley, pepper and parmesan and process until well combined. Pour 1 1/4 cup sauce into 13x9" pan. Put 2 Tbs bean mixture into each shell and lay them on the sauce in the pan. Pour remaining sauce over top of shells, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove cover, sprinkle mozzarella over top of shells, return to oven 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts. This is SO yummy!!

The good, the bad, and the ugly

This is a brief teaching from Sunday's sermon . I can't tell you how happy and excited I was to hear this stuff, because this is what I believe, how I live my life! People think I'm crazy, or just a "Pollyanna" (which is fine by me!) but it sure makes life easier to live!

We have been doing a study on Acts, and this week we were up to Acts 11-13. Chapter 11 opens with James being singled out and killed by Herod. Then it goes on to the arrest of Peter, who is then set free by an angel. The next person to look at in this section is Paul, who is stoned and left for dead outside the city, yet he rises up again and re-enters the city.

The good? Peter, who acted hastily in the garden of Gethsemane and later denied Christ 3 times, is arrested and under heavy guard, and is then freed by God.
The bad? James, a son of Zebedee, someone that we never hear anything "bad" about, is murdered, and God simply allows that.
The ugly? Paul, who earlier in life severely persecuted the Christians, all in the name of God, is tortured and suffers frequently, and yet is continually restored by God so that he can go on teaching.

Does this make sense? Is there a formula that we can figure out in order to be saved by God? Does God promise us perfect health and wealth in this life?? To all that, the answer is NO!

Well that seems rather hopeless, doesn't it? Are we then left to fate?? Again, NO! We are "left to" God's ways, which are ALWAYS better than our ways, whether we understand them or not. Well, you think, how can I live that way? How?

3 realities of the Christian life::
  1. Hardships do not mean God is mad at you. As a child of God, your position will never change. God will never love you any more or less than He does right now! (I love that!)
  2. Hardships do mean that God is growing you. Check out James 1:2, Romans 5:3-4, Romans 8:16, and Romans 8:28.
  3. We have an eternal hope in Christ Jesus ~ He has overcome and promises eternity to us. Check out Revelations 21:4.

Father-God, You are amazing beyond belief! Thank You that Your ways are so much better than our ways, and we can absolutely trust You in all things. Help each of us to walk this out in faith. Through the blood of Christ Jesus, Amen!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

And so I begin...

Yesterday DH and I went to a Katinas' concert. A friend volunteered to keep our kids, and insisted on taking them 3 hours earlier than needed! So we were able to go out to dinner, just the two of us, and then head to the concert. Lots of 'just us' time. During that time we were discussing my desire to minister to women, with one woman especially in mind. I had thought about having a Bible study, but that just doesn't seem to be something that would work right now.

Over a year ago, before we moved, my walking buddy, S, and I were talking about this desire that I have. I just feel like my ministry is to women who desire God's plan and purposes for their lives. I have seen that submission works and actually brings JOY to my life....because I'm willing to fully rely on God's ways rather than my own. I wanted to find a way to share that with other women, to encourage them. S and I had talked about me setting up a blog of some sort, but I haven't done much with that since and NEVER spoke about it with DH.

Okay, so back to last night's date and the discussion. I was telling DH that I really wanted to do something, but just wasn't sure how. And DH (are you reading this S?), yes, DH said, "I really think you need to set up a blog. You can have different sections in it for different topics. And then just get the word out that it's there and let God handle the rest."

So, here I am! I'm planning to journal a bit, write out verses that really strengthen this walk, and even have helpful tips on ways to bless our families. I hope you enjoy this. Please feel free to comment here or email me with any comments, concerns or questions you might have. If you have something you think would bless others and fit this blog, let me know, and we'll see what can be done.

Father, to You alone goes ALL the glory!! In Christ alone, I am worthy to be counted as Your handmaiden! Amen!