Archive for the ‘Discourse’ Category

A Week in the Life…

Hey-O! I’m kind of copying this off of another blog that I frequent and it’s something that I find inspiring and useful, so I thought you might as well. I actually, and honestly, don’t have many original ideas. *gasp* Don’t stop reading! Are there ever anymore truly original ideas? Things like that keep me up at night so I choose to ignore them :) Here’s a mind-bender: GOD has NEVER been surprised by ANYTHING! Maybe that only bends my mind. And it wasn’t even actually that exact phrase. Our pastor said something about God not having an original thought? But thinking about that definitely doesn’t seem right, so I went with surprise. On with the show. Money Saving Mom’s weekly menus have been inspiring to me. I plan dinners two weeks in advance, but this amazing mom includes breakfast AND lunch too. Now, I’m only baby steps into incorporating breakfast and lunch because well, life is hectic. I work nights so lots of times by the time I get home everyone is starving and we have cereal or frozen (homemade) pancakes (Money Saving Mom inspiration) and a protein (cottage cheese or yogurt, sometimes fruit). And lunch is a free-for-all, but I’ll get to that. So, here is what my one week dinner plan looked (I’m late writing this, imagine that!) like.

  • MONDAY Shepherd’s Pie Not anyone’s fav, but the casserole dish is empty y’all! (It was Paula Deen’s recipe). My favorite recipe I already blogged about here.
  • TUESDAY Pretzel Dogs SLAMMIN’
  • WEDNESDAY Poor Man’s Chili  There was a glitch in the system and this didn’t get made. OH! We had a birthday party and ate there :)
  • THURSDAY Nothing happens here because Abby went to daddy’s and me and mom fought over leftovers. And my sweet neighbors let me have some of their pizza too!
  • FRIDAY Buffalo Chicken Pasta This is…there are no words to describe its deliciousness. I leave out the gorgonzola and green onions.
  • SATURDAY Beef and Broccoli New to my repertoire. I might even blog about it in the next six months.
  • SUNDAY I work and the childrens go to daddy’s so mom is on her own (sorry).
  • MONDAY Classic and easy, breakfast for dinner :) Pancakes and bacon anyone?
So that’s kind of how I do life. There is no rhyme or reason, other than the budget. Chicken is expensive. Especially if you buy the organic, hormone-free chicken. And I happen to just really love beef. Even ground beef. Sure, that’s probably not healthy either, but it works for us. The fun part that a lot of my real life friends seem to get a kick out of are the lunches I make occasionally. And those aren’t original either. They’re all from my Pinterest board, Play With Your Food. Go forth, and make lunch fun! And PS-when presented in this manner, Abby eats all of the fruit and veg. With the house lunch, she ate all the peppers and celery and skipped the sandwich! :)

True Confessions

I’m going to go ahead and preface this by saying that I’m not writing this for sympathy or pity. I just have so much floating around in my head and there must be an outlet every now and then or I’m just not someone with whom I enjoy living. I choose this as my outlet. I have this idea that has proven true with me my whole life: secrets are parasitic, toxic, and dangerous. Especially secrets that don’t really need to be secrets. Things like, I get depressed sometimes. It makes me anxious when seat belts or car seat buckle straps are twisted. I haven’t read my Bible in…a while. My marriage broke. I prefer wearing t-shirts over anything else, every day. I don’t always practice what I preach. I yell at Abby sometimes. I react in anger when I shouldn’t. I harbor resentments and bitterness. I wish my hair was long again. I watch more Bravo shows than I should. Et cetera.

I think people are so concerned with ‘image’ and having the appearance of having it altogether that we think everybody must be doing better than we are at life. But I think if people (myself definitely included) were more honest, we’d all have a more accurate and truthful portrayal of each other. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but fortunately/unfortunately, a lot of people (most of the people) who read this, I know in real life, and I hope no one finds it too…forward. Honest. Raw. Real. But I just don’t have the energy to keep up appearances all the time anymore. And these things happen to people. People feel the same things I do sometimes. Everybody gets down. People get divorced. It shouldn’t have to be a secret.

My life kind of blew up a few months ago. My marriage broke. As in, you know, the D word. It’s a lengthy process, and God is mighty, but the journey has begun. Then my basement flooded. Then there was mold and rotting wood and drywall. Then other stuff happened that I won’t mention, but it sucked too. Sucked bad. I have good days and bad days. More good than bad, definitely and thankfully. Today has been on the fence, which I guess finally led to the writing of this post, finally.

I want to make sure and give God praise and glory, truly, because He has been the Rock of my Salvation in ways I’ve never known before nor would have, had any of this not happened. He has given me energy and strength to work and be strong for my babies. And not only just by being physically present, but I’m so much more cognizant of my parenting now and how much patience I lack at times. I’m a better mommy. You know that quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle?” I’ve become so much more aware of this, too. Of other people. Of the struggles that they may be facing that no one knows. That I don’t know. Because actually, I’m a pretty private person in real life. At least I think so. I DO like to keep up appearances, very much so; but they’re so exhausting and now I just don’t have it in me some days. But despite everything, God has kept His promise of never leaving me. He never has. He’s pulled me, work situations, classes for school, the house, my girls, and my finances together in such magnificent ways that you know only He is responsible.

But while I feel MY version of close to Him has been very deep and sincere, actual time spent in the Word has been next to nothing, and that needs to change. Maybe it’s laziness. I usually blame it on the fact that my head is so busy and so full all the time, that when I do have a free moment, I either want to sleep or make goals. Not even life goals, just simple ones, like building furniture, making a craft, or finding a recipe to make. That’s just an excuse though. Really, I know it is. I read Pride & Prejudice (great book) and To Kill a Mockingbird, so I know I can read, but reading the Bible is convicting and introspective.

“I don’t want to,” says the petulant and obstinate child.

 

Mostly, that’s what it boils down to I guess. Since the physical separation, I just feel kind of wild a bit. Turbulent. Changeable. Restless. Again. I feel like God made me to be a wife and mother and having one of those core roles in my life unavailable is like missing a kidney. I miss my kidney. I do well enough without it, but I was made to have two. So I don’t like to think about it much. Or me. Or me regarding my current marriage discombobulation, specifically. It’s painful. It’s sad. It’s lonely. It makes me crazy sometimes. I try not to stew and think on that part too much, and I feel like if I got in the Word, that’s what God would deal with. Me. Not the house, or the girls, or money, or schedule, or energy (although He does bless me so much in each of those areas). Just me. And that’s hard. But I’ve got to give in at some point. And I know if I could just do it once, it would be enough to leaving me wanting more. Cause God is like that. Once you hang out with Him once, you want more. He’s awesome like that.

So that’s that. My life blew up, but we’re all still here. God is good. All the time, no matter what. The things I’m dealing with now are temporary. This is not my home. This is not all I have to look forward to, although He has blessed me beyond measure with two indescribably amazing little girls. When all this first happened, I questioned God’s timing with Lily. I did. However, with each passing day, it is confirmed that His timing is perfect. Each day, they are exactly the little girls that God knew they would be and it’s nothing short of wonderful. God is good. No matter the situation or circumstance, He is good. Nothing happens in your life or mine that He doesn’t know about. And it all has a purpose, I promise. People say that I’m strong, but to this I say:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.

Anything of worth that I am able to do is solely because of the God who lives in me. I am weak, broken, and rebellious. I can do nothing good of my own accord. Nothing.

Sites that Keep me up at Night

It’s been awhile. I’m so sporadic these days, about everything. It’s a bit ridiculous. I know that my life will once again settle down eventually some day upon a time when my little almost four-month-old (what’s the rule about hyphens? I <3 grammar) is not a wee one anymore. I am trying to enjoy both the fairies together and individually because time is precious and life is short and I’m pretty sure we’re done in the baby-making (I <3 hyphens, only when used correctly and I never know when that is) department. Unless of course, God does something radical. So that means less baking (I miss it SO. And coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.) and less fun cooking adventures. For now. BUT, I do have time to spark my inspiration during those late nights when I can’t sleep because I just got off work or I’m going to work or I’m waiting to feed the tiny one (she ain’t tiny. she should be nicknamed Bruiser. Or Hoss.) and I wanted to share with you the current sites I’m crushing on and some of my favorite posts.

Bakerella I’ve mentioned her before. She is the cake pop queen. All of her posts on cake pops are great and these are what I’ve currently got my on specifically.

Spring pops

Easter pop heaven

Easter dos

i am baker This woman’s cakes are UH-mazing. I mean, that’s all there is to say about them. I have my eye on several, but they would be very time-consuming (hyphenage! made-up-word alert). For me anyway :) I’m obsessed with her cakes. And she also has some beautiful cookies. I have lots o’ bookmarks with her name on them.

Faith Cake I think she is kind of ‘known’ for having surprises in her cakes. I’m in love. And awe. I think this would be a neat baby shower cake if you made the inside pink or blue. Also a neat way to announce the sex?

Christmas Cake

Shamrock Cake

Halloween Cake

4th of July Cake

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake This, to me, is like the Mt. Everest of cakes. Oh my.

Vertical Layer Cake I will make this. When I have a dozen or so free hours.

Baby Shower Cookies

Courier Cookies

Ok, that’s enough. I’m truly obsessed. Two more.

Sugar Cookies #1

Sugar Cookies #2

This website really does keep me up at night. Truly.

Baked With Love and Butter A great site with sweet and savory recipes. Two that I’m going to be giving a whirl:

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins Perfect for MOPS.

Poprocks Cake Pops As stated, previously these will be fun for the 4th!

Cheeky Kitchen Perfect website for easy desserts and dinners.

Pizza dough Quick and homemade. I made the veggie calzones once, but no one liked them :( They just don’t dig veggies. Also, I add about a half less olive oil than the recipe calls for and less salt too. I add oregano and basil.

Chinese Chicken paired with Chinese Noodles One of my favorite dinners. A bit involved on the chicken part, but its certainly a crowd pleaser. You just can’t go wrong with Ramen.

Cookie Log I was really obsessed with these for a while last year and even made an Easter version.

The Pioneer Woman This website has recipes, confessions, homeschooling, photography, and even home and garden. It’s my one stop shop. I haven’t gotten too into any of her recipes yet, but there are a lot of things on my list :) I did make this:

Meatloaf I love meatloaf. It’s super easy (throw some meat & junk in a bowl and stick it in the oven) and filling and can be as healthy as you like; I’ve been known to put carrots in celery in mine. It was divine. I won’t add the bread next time though. Just not my thing.

The Coffeeshop Blog This is a fantastic resource for all your Photoshop or Photoshop Elements needs. She has a ton of free actions to help make your pictures the very best they can be. She accepts donations :)

lookie what I learned

before

after

before
after #1
after #2

Actions and Pre-sets

Tutorials

Clipping Masks (for storyboards)

That’s all she wrote. I gotta go to work mayne! Let me know what y’all think!

I Wear my Heart on my Blog

I totally stole the title from a friend. At least I was honest about stealing it? I don’t suppose it’s too strange that I can be more honest with myself and others in writing than in person. I’m actually a pretty private person for the most part. I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like being ‘that’ girl who is always having a crisis, but it seems like I usually am. I don’t ever really have it ‘together’ for long. I think the past year and a half or two years is the longest I’ve gone without something crazy happening. My streak ended recently. I won’t go into details. I don’t really want to discuss it. I was going to say I don’t want to talk about it, but obviously I want to talk about it, but I don’t want to discuss it. Catch the difference? It’s subtle.

I wouldn’t say it’s a dark time, but it’s certainly cloudy. Big, stormy kind of cloudy. You ever have those days where each breath hurts a little? When your thoughts are a thousand little wrecking balls knocking around inside your head? One of those days where if you take your eyes off God for a second it all just becomes too much? It’s times like this I am keenly aware of why God said we need to renew our mind. To ‘focus on these things.’ To ‘take captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ.’ It’s important. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I wish my brain had an off switch. Like sharks circling for prey, my thoughts circle around the same circumstances. Same conversations. Same unanswered questions. While the Holy Spirit (?) in my mind is running around trying to stamp them out. Take them captive. Replace them with Life.

Replace them with Life. Life. God is sovereign. Replace replace replace. But I want to be mad. I do. I really do. I want to fall apart. I mean honestly, doesn’t it feel good to just give in sometimes?Fighting the devil is hard. That’s why its a fight yo. Replace replace replace. Do not grow weary in doing good. Blessed is the man who endures trials for once he is approved he will receive the crown of life. God really is so wonderful to bring these to my mind. They really do pop in at the right time. And it even says in John that the Holy Spirit will bring these things to remembrance. Another one. Sometimes I feel like if I move…an eyelash away from God’s face I’m going to fall to pieces. That’s why it’s critical to keep the focus on Him. Especially when life gets cloudy. He gives life and brings life and breathes life into my circumstances. He can’t do that if I let the devil set fire to my mind. He just can’t. It’s so crucial to cast down anything that raises itself against the knowledge of God. Critical. It’s not easy. Sometimes it sucks. But you know what? I already feel better. Know what else? I know I’ll go right back to being a hot mess if I don’t continue casting down and fighting the good fight. I don’t think anywhere in the Bible it said that would be easy.

As soon as I go back to life though, Satan slips back in with his matches. His wrecking balls. His lies. His anger. His hurt. His clouds. Oh to live in a God bubble where there is no more fighting. No more casting down. The battle is over and I can rest. Wait, I guess that would be heaven ay?  Reminds me of a Matthew West song. One of my favorites.

There is a longing deep inside my soul.
There is a place my spirit wants to go.
It’s far away from all these chains that bind.
There is a world I long to leave behind.

Just a few more days I’ll be going home.
Just a few more hours and I’ll be flying.
It could be any minute now, that you’ll take me away,
or maybe just a few more days.
A few more days.

To you a day is like a thousand years,
and only You know when the clouds will clear.
So, let me not forget and fall away,
because a thousand years could be today.

I’m trying not to fall away. If I could have my MOG playlist on repeat inside my head I would do better. God gave me a spirit that responds very strongly to music (which is why I must be very careful what I put into my little heart garden) and I’m very thankful for that. When I was a teenager the stuff I listened to was such pure hot garbage. The stuff I was letting into my spirit. Singing and speaking over my life. It’s no wonder my behavior and thought life was pure hot garbage as well. That’s a whole ‘nother blog.

Peace and chicken grease. Don’t grow weary. I won’t if you won’t.

Running Away from God for my ME Time

It’s been months.  A lot has happened. We welcomed beautiful girl number two back in December. Her name is Lily but she is far from delicate. In fact, she’s quite a beast. God and I grow some healthy girls. I’m not complaining.

Up until Lily was born I connected semi-regularly with the Lord. I mean, I talk to Him throughout the day, but as far as sitting down and keeping up with my Bible study or digging into His word, I was only doing that mostly regularly.

I would take most regularly over what I’m doing now. The past eight weeks I’ve barely cracked my Bible open. I took it into Abby’s (that’s the name of my older girl) room to read her the birth of Jesus from Luke 2 and that is where it sat until yesterday. Dusty. Yes, my Bible collected dust. I took it to work with the intention of reading it. I didn’t. Even as I sit here now, I’m thinking, “I should really go read that chapter about peace in that one book and catch up on Galations for Bible study tomorrow.” And yet here I sit.

Instead of actually reading the Bible, I’m talking about reading about it. I have a go-to list of 47 things that I can do before I actually sit down with the Word. Why am I trying so hard not to spend quality time with the Lord? I’ve tasted and seen that He is good. I know that I will only truly be refreshed and my thirsty soul quenched by the living water only He can give. I mean really, why I am trying so hard to skate on by and waste this precious quiet time (and it is precious. it is a rare thing now for me to ever have time to myself)?

I think a lot of people do this. “Not now God. I’m really busy and I just need some time to myself to ‘relax.'” Me, knowing full well I will only really be relaxed and peaceful after some time with Him. “I need some ME time God. You understand don’t you? Work has been really hectic and I just want to space out and watch some L&O: SVU. ” Well, that’s great and all, really, but since when is life supposed to be about me? And yet here I sit. Me. My me time. It’s funny because I always tell Abby something along the lines of “its a good thing God wasn’t too busy for us that day” or “Jesus didn’t feel like dying for our sins, but He did anyway.” Is that bad? I don’t know, but I have a very self-absorbed 3 years and 364 days old little child. I know, I know, its apparently normal, but still. What if Jesus decided He needed some ME time two years ago when my marriage was falling apart? Or when He was knitting together my two precious children? Or when the eternal life of man hung in the balance? What then?

This is sort of spending time with the Lord, in a way. But while talking about spending time with Him and thinking about spending time with Him are nice in theory, I don’t really think they cut the mustard. Jesus didn’t just think or talk about dying on the cross now did He?

Hmph. Heavy stuff for a Monday. And poof. Just like that. Motherhood calls. Maybe next time.

Vampires, Christians, and Werewolves, OH MY!

Vampires are hot right now. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of the flood of books, television, and movies being dedicated to the subject. This current fascination with vampires has invaded every aspect of our culture, and frankly, I’m a little put off by it. I guess I’ll need to premise this by saying that I’m not trying to condemn anyone or paint myself in a brighter light than someone else and that I have many  friends and family  who are  fans of some of the vampire stuff out there now. I’m writing more because I know, for me, it’s something I’ve been called away from, and I’m trying to figure out the bigger picture and how this vampire ‘culture’ relates to Christianity, if it all.

I’ll also start by saying that I rarely missed an episode of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ when I was a teenager and I don’t feel as strongly about Harry Potter and the like, but nonetheless, that’s still witchcraft, right? So I’m still working out the kinks in my beliefs and convictions I suppose. I think it’s the sudden in-your-face-ness of it now that strikes me differently than when ‘Buffy’ was just a sleeper show on the WB (?). Here’s what started my desire to finally write about this.

really?

Is this really a magazine cover that will be on newsstands nationwide? You’re really telling me its not on a magazine from one of those places? I’m kind of speechless even just seeing it again. Why is this happening in our world today? I mean, I know why, but why does it seem like everyone thinks this is ok? Why are vampires and blood suddenly sexy? Sex has been perverted enough, but blood and the undead? (I’m not even going to mention the stuff I’ve learned that goes on on the show ‘True Blood’). And like I said, this isn’t something you’re going to find in an X-rated store off the interstate–its everywhere.

Girls so in love with a vampire that they’re willing to give up everything, including their soul, for his sake (I’ve never read or seen Twilight, but I’m told that’s the gist of it). Our girls are being seduced by this vampire culture. Seduced away from the One who can truly make their lives eternal. Seduced away from the One who can truly fulfill them and meet their needs. Seduced away from the One who truly did shed His blood for them.

I’m being a bit dramatic. But am I? This is a big deal right? Sometimes I’m even tempted to explain it away as ‘harmless’ entertainment, and for some maybe it is, but is it? This vampire obsession has literally gripped our country and become so prevalent that I’m not so sure its harmless anymore. Isn’t evil, even handsome, idealized, romanticized, sugar-coated entertainment, still evil? I don’t know. I watch plenty of things I know I shouldn’t (Real Housewives anyone?), but there’s something about this that kind of makes my stomach churn.

Shedding (drinking?) blood to cause one’s immorality–isn’t that Jesus’ job? Not a vampire? Is it offering a cheapened form of Christ’s work on the cross? Is the country being led astray by something masquerading around as ‘no big deal’? That’s what Satan does right, trick us? We don’t really need Jesus because there are other paths to take to receive eternal life? “There is a way that seems right to a man..”? Sure, maybe not everyone who reads a vampire book gets sucked (pun? yes please!) in like that, but my fear is for the people who do. Who don’t know Jesus. Young girls caught in the romantic side of it all, looking for their Edward, when they should be searching for Jesus. Even for the Church who has totally turned a blind eye and been seduced as well.

My conclusion? My only conclusion is that for me, vampires are not something to which I’m supposed to give my time or attention…after spending 30 minutes writing this :) I guess my hope is that people will seek the Lord in this. Maybe it’s one of those gray areas like drinking (not getting wasted, but a glass of wine here and there)? Like, God convicts certain people about that at His timing and not others? I don’t know though, the Bible is pretty clear about the sacredness of the shedding of blood, the path to eternal life, witchcraft, and socializing with the dead.

What do you think?

Updates, Adventures in Parenting, and the Like

Im really sorry to say that I haven’t made anything fantastic lately. But in my defense, it IS cookout season, and I’ve been to two this week! :) Who doesn’t love cookout food?! It’s also a cool 100 degrees in these parts. And by cool I mean Death Valley hot. You know how there can be a difference between 98 degrees in…Aspen and 98 degrees in…Alabama? If you don’t know, let me tell you. Usually in Aspen, the humidity is zero and you’ve got a nice breeze (at least when I was there). Where I am and in Alabama? It’s stifling. Suffocating. Miserable. Oppressive. All I have to do is think about how hot it is outside and I start sweating and getting weak from the sun. So, my desire to cook is measuring right up there with the desire to be in labor.

Speaking of labor, looks like we’re going to have another wonderful little girl. The little alien crazy eye-socket face flashed us the hamburger, so it looks like more pink for us! The Little Big Girl has maintained that she wanted a girl since the first three minutes we told her we were having a baby. So she says now; we will pray it stays that way. So anyway, that’s that.

Speaking of Little Big Girl. She’s been in dance camp all week which is just too cute for me even to handle. But yesterday I brought her clothes to change into because we were going to lunch and then the ultrasound right after. So while at lunch, she spilled milk all in her lap. Nice, right? In lieu of yucky milk panties, I decided that we should just forego them altogether, which is usually fine. She’s gone commando before. But not in a dress. What choice did I really have though? Going home was not an option and I didn’t have any spares. She knows (as much as any three year old does) to keep her dress down, but I stressed to her then that it was extremely important. She’s got it, she told me. So while we’re standing in line at Starbucks (for a decaf frappe, don’t judge me. even if it wasn’t decaf) I turn around and what’s she doing? Spinning around with her dress twisted up to her belly button. Awesommeeeee. I thought it was hilarious, but at noon on a 100 degree day, Starbucks was packed (and someone even ordered hot chocolate, seriously?!) and I didn’t think busting out laughing would be appropriate (although…looking back, maybe it was). So I just scooped her up and kind of explained to everyone and no one (mostly the air) that she spilled milk earlier and I didn’t have any other choice. That she normally wore panties. And that I really wasn’t a horrible, weird mom. Oh boy. It was funny :) But seriously, what else could be done with milk panties on a hot day?

Garden!

a blurry, tiny, fuzzy watermelon!

baby cuke!

All hard work DOES bring a profit! :) Still no action from my tomatoes though, which is disappointing. They’re growing tall and strong, but I’ve only seen one or two yellow flowers :( It is stupid hot though. Poor babies.