Monday, October 26, 2009
I want to be a different me. I don't really like the me that I am right now! It isn't that I am a bad me - or that there are a whole lot of things about me that are horrible. OK - there are plenty of things I would like to change. Hence wanting to be a different me! But I really just don't feel like the me that I am used to...and really enjoy being!
I want to be more artsy. Instead of dabbling here and there in the arts, I want to be proficient...at about 10 different mediums!
I want to be more confident. I don't want to let all of the crazy imperfections of my day drive me so batty! So what if my hair won't stay styled for more than 10 minutes after I have fixed it? It still looks fine. And does anyone else really care that I am wearing a shirt that I have owned for 5 years? It isn't stained, torn, or faded...it's ok.
I want to not have RA...or migraines! Therefore, also having more money! Not that money matters too much to me, but I would at least like to have enough that I know it is ok for me to sign a lease without fear that I am going to leave my roommates in a lurch! Plus, not being in pain all the time would be so amazing! I think that is one of the things about Heaven that I look forward to the most!
I want to do work that makes me happy, makes a difference, is fun, is meaningful, and doesn't involve getting yelled at, cussed at, or always having to put "band-aids" on gaping wounds. I want to be able to talk about Jesus, pray, and share real things in real ways. I don't want the success of my day, week, or month to measured in metrics like how quickly I can close the door on the last person I talked to or how glued to my chair & phone I am.
I want freedom! I feel like such a caged bird these days! I feel like everything inside of me wants to explode out in an uncontrollable gush - like the molten-hot lava pouring from an active Mount St. Helens. What I feel like is really happening is that I am just dieing though. I can't explode, so all of the passion and energy and joy that makes me who I am is going to just fizzle out and die until there is nothing left but silent apathy! Then what?
Life isn't worth much without passion! Without the swell of the ocean's wave, there would be no tide. Without the climax in a good book, there would be no resolution. Without a growing tension in a beautiful symphony, there would be no tears! We need passion to live; to enjoy life!
I want to be a different me, because the me that exists right now has lost my fire! I have lost the things that make me want to get up and chase the day! I have lost the desire to push back when I don't like the way things are! I have lost something...something that is crucial to who I am. But how to get it back, I haven't figured out!
Friday, October 23, 2009
OK. So I think I might be sort-of back from my BELOA (Blogger's Extended Leave of Absence).
I have been in a bit of a funk over the last couple of months and just needed to let some things go for a bit. I stopped writing on my blog and gave myself a reprieve from making my bed one day a week. Then, I took my car through a car wash - the kind where you actually get out so they can vacuum the inside for you before running it through the sprayer thingy and then the guys dry the car for you. I also got a pedicure. All of this in the last month-and-a-half. It was nice to let go of a few things and treat myself to a couple of others. I needed it.
However, the funk is not gone. Life just isn't what I want it to be - or what I planned and I think I am having a hard time figuring out how to move forward with joy and confidence. I am still a long-term guest in a home that is not my own. I don't have my cats. I still have no clue what I want to be doing or am supposed to be doing for "life-work". Then there are all of the other things of life - health, finances, relationships... I am so restless where I am, yet I completely lack the energy or courage to make any changes right now! Please don't take these all for complaints! That is part of the reason for my BELOA! I needed to take some time to try to re-focus on the things that really are important to me and somehow find them - or find me in them. I'm not there. I am around, though.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Emily made it out of her Mama's belly and into the world! She is a precious doll! A 7 lb 13 oz, 21 inch long, baby doll! Oh My! Isn't she beautiful?
I have an adorable picture of her Mommy holding her, but I'm having issues getting it to post. Here are a couple of me holding her. I also wanted to post some of our friend, Randi. I think she was awaiting this baby with more excitement than anyone! She is calling her "Little Tree Frog". Too cute! It brought me so much joy to watch her holding her and cuddling her! You can see pictures of her here: http://rmichelle.blogspot.com/ .
(And it's so not the point of this post, but don't I need a hair cut oh so badly? It's horrible! My hair has lost all ability to hold a style! I'm just too darn cheap to go get it cut, though. It's in the "wish" budget for November. Can I make it that long???)
Monday, August 31, 2009
My small group has gotten into the *sort-of* habit of doing high-lows when we get together. We share with each other our "highs" of the week and the "lows" of the week. The last family that I lived with did high-lows most every night at dinner. I like this. I think it really does help us learn to love each other better - rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. (Thank you Mike Watson for the great series of relational growth teaching!)
So, today I want to share my high-lows. I always like to start with my lows, so I can end talking about the things that make me happy. So, here are my lows of the day:
1) I never got my coffee - when I was able to make it to the break room, it was all gone. I made a new pot and by the time I made it back to get some coffee, that pot was all gone. No coffee for the coffee fiend today!
2) I had to explain to at least 10 people today that no, I am not going to school and yes, I am staying in Austin and continuing to work at ACS. I am VERY thankful to have my job and to have roots where I am at, so that is not a complaint. It is just still hard. I think I am in a new phase of grieving this and it is just hard to not be where I want to be!
3) I got a call from a good friend today who had a doctor's appointment. It didn't seem to go poorly, but also didn't seem to go well. The doctor ran some additional labs and told her she will have to wait for the results before knowing more. From what she had to say, it doesn't sound like he did a good job of telling her what he was looking for/ruling out or if she should be concerned. I think most people's default is that when the doc only gives you a penny's worth of insight it leaves a lot of room for questions, doubt, fear, etc. I'm a little perturbed that he didn't take better care of her and arm her better to know what to do in the mean-time while she waits. Plus, she is supposed to be leaving to go to school across the country and he didn't tell her if it was advisable to stay or safe to go -- seems like he just left the ball completely in her court. Don't doctors understand that we look to them (rightly or not - absolutely NO judgement here) for wisdom and guidance? Yes, we have to be our greatest health care advocate, but if you don't know what questions to ask the doctor, he should be kind enough to help guide you through the muddy waters. Sorry - this could very easily become a rant...in fact, maybe it has! I'll stop it here.
Here are my highs. I am so gonna rock the highs out of the water tonight!
1) Jenn is having her baby. Like right now! PUSH!! Welcome to the world little Emily Loraine! I can't wait to see you tomorrow. I couldn't wait for you any longer tonight, I had to come home. But I am so looking forward to meeting you face-to-face tomorrow and seeing this beautiful doll that I have been praying for, for the last nine months! Do you have any clue how loved you are? Any clue how many people are waiting to hold you and kiss you and cradle you and teach you about life? Oh, this world isn't that frightening when you have people who want to embrace you - and you have LOTS!
2) As if No. 1 isn't enough... I talked to an amazing, and hilarious woman today at work. She insisted that I am the only "case manager" she wants to talk to from now on. When she calls back if it isn't me and the Cancer Information Specialist who answers can't transfer her (which we can't), she will hang up and call back until she gets me. Does she realize I am one of about 250 Specialists in our National call center that is open 24/7 (of which I am there 30 hours a week)? I tried to explain, but to no avail. She insisted that when she wants something, she gets it. You know, I believe her! In her thick, New York, elder Jewish woman accent she closes the call by saying, "Oh Baby, you have just been the sunshine in my rainy day! You're such a Doll! May God bless you all the days of your life. No really, I mean that; all the days you live! You have given me hope today and that is more than anyone has offered in a while. God love you." It made me laugh and smile and gave me warm-fuzzies all over!
3) When I got to work this morning and checked my schedule, I saw that I have tomorrow off! Wow! I had requested the day off like 4 months ago and had forgotten about it. Since I didn't change my schedule after getting re-hired back to work, they never cancelled this time. I thought about giving it back. But given that it is now 10:30 at night, Emily is joining the world and I want to hang out with her and Jenn & David a little tomorrow, and that well...they're paying me to sleep in, I figured I would go ahead and take the time off! It is probably really good for me. Plus, the couple I'm staying with is getting back from vacation tomorrow. This will give me a chance to do a once-over on the house and make sure everything looks nice for them when they get home.
Yay for high-lows! It's good to practice sharing what's going on in life. It isn't always easy, but it is good. What are your high-lows for the day/week? Please share them with me. I really do want to know!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I am just not ready for the weekend to end and to go back to work tomorrow. I have so greatly enjoyed the solitude and the time away. It was great to have two consecutive days where I didn't have to talk to anyone about cancer and where I didn't have to talk to anyone about not going to school. I got to spend time doing fun things that are healing to my heart in some funny way. I got to hang out with just God and myself. I spent time watering plants and trees and birds and making the house all clean and sweet smelling. It was just such a great weekend that I am not ready for it to end! I rather like having time alone, away from the realities of sickness and pain and the fragility of human-kind. I'm not saying I would want it this way forever - not at all. I just don't think I'm ready right now. Alas, it is 9:00 pm, which means it is time to get everything laid out and ready for work tomorrow because the day will be coming ... ready or not!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I told a friend at work the other day that I just wasn't "bouncing back" as quickly as I would like from this whole Bethel thing. It was hard for me to make plans to go and then in the blink of an eye have to change course! I haven't done a lot of talking to other people or blogging about this, because I really wanted to spend time with God and know that I know that I am good with Him before dealing with the periphery of everyone else's thoughts and opinions. I need to know what God is saying to me in this. Not so much what Adam, Brandy, and Caleb are saying.
I think that today something in me turned a bit. I have had time to lounge around and spend time with ME. I said "no" to going to an amusement park with friends, helping with a service project at church, and helping to take care of a friend who isn't feeling well this weekend - for the sheer purpose of just having some alone time. All of the other things would have been great too, but they weren't what I really needed - they were distractions right now! I would have been very blessed to have spent the day with friends playing, serving with my church, or loving on a friend that needed me. Those are all things that would have blessed other people too, in some way. They just weren't what was needed. I had to choose which was the best investment of my time today. Sometimes these choices are hard, but I am glad that I chose the way I did.
My heart somehow feels less burdened. I feel a little more confident in resting in the Lord for direction. I have been singing and smiling and enjoying the day. I got some things accomplished, and that is good. I made laundry soap - which spells super yummy and I can't wait to finish off the last batch so I can start using this one! I played some games on the computer. I spent some time outside. It was just a great day - and I am very thankful for it!
The couple that I am temporarily staying with is away on vacation for a few days. I have the house to myself. It is so much fun! I thought I would take advantage of the space and have a project weekend!
Yesterday, I scrubbed the kitchen. I loved it! I wish that I had the time & energy to have tackled cleaning off all of the cupboard doors. I didn't, though. I am happy with what I did! After getting a nice clean space, I let the fun begin!
Tonight I made a batch of Lip Balm. I adjusted my standard Peppermint Rose recipe a bit and I really think I like the way this batch came out! It's a bit heavier on the Vanilla Flavor. I think it will be fantastic for the autumn - maybe it's wishful thinking that the autumn will come very soon! I have hopes for a Cinnamon Spice recipe for the upcoming season as well. I'm working on a new base recipe as well, but not ready to make it in batches yet - this one will be good for the drier months of winter -- it has Vitamin E in it.
Tomorrow, I am going to make a good sized batch of laundry soap. I have some soap shavings that have been waiting for me to get to and I just haven't had the space. I think tomorrow will be a great time for that. It is so easy to do, it just takes some time and a willingness to slow down a bit. I think it is good for me!
While I'm letting the laundry soap rest, I may also make some shampoo from some soap that I made a few of months ago. It's Patchouli Lavender. I have been using the bar since it cured, but I am ready to experiment with turning it into a liquid shampoo. This will be a new one for me, because it is a milk soap base - goat's milk to be exact. I will start out small and see what happens. There is this piece of me that is fearful - probably irrationally - that once I emulsify the soap it will go rancid faster. I don't have anything to base this off of - at least not in the quantities that I will be making it in. I would like to get a good liquid base for shampoo, though because sometimes it is nice to have a liquid shampoo. I know it is probably what most people are used to, so it may sound strange for me to even refer to shampoo as anything but liquid. Since starting to make my own soap or get good quality natural soaps, I have found that I actually really like lathering up and soaping my hair down though. It works well, uses less soap, and I know exactly what is in it! Plus, there is something very fun about getting a fresh lather of creamy bubbles all over your hands! I reminds me of childhood!
I may be overestimating my ability for tomorrow. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I am! I may not get to it all, but it sure does sound fun. Doesn't it?
What are your fun plans for the weekend? Anything exciting?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thank You God for the Rain!
We are in the midst of a horrible drought. Tonight, it poured! There was a beautifully bright lightening show that preceded the opening of the flood gates of heaven. Once it started raining, it came pouring out though! It was SO beautiful!
There is something amazing about rain storms; something almost healing to the soul! The plants, animals, water sources all needed refreshed by this down pour. I think my heart did too!
I have always loved rain storms. I think my favorites were as a child out at the farm. During the summer, I would take a trip to the panhandle of Texas and visit my grandparents at the farm. I remember my grandfather taking me out in the tractor one day and going through the wheat fields with him. It started lightening and we had a deep conversation about where lightening comes from, who makes it, how it warns us that rain is coming, and how when it thunders it is not God bowling. It was probably the deepest conversation I had been invited into in my seven or so years of living! That night, it poured! We got back to the Yellow House (that's what I called my grandparent's home) just as the rain began to fall on the Texas Plains! I loved listening to it hitting the roof of the house and beating against the aluminum siding of the window unit. The bonus was that my grandmother wouldn't let me take a bath that night - for fear that I would get electrocuted! My grandfather and I sat down at the kitchen table, ate a bowl of cereal together, and then played a game of cards.
This is the memory I commonly think of when I have the pleasure of observing one of God's really good rain storms! It brings me back to a simple day of hard work, lots of love, and good conversation! There is definitely something healing about rain storms! Thank you God for letting it rain tonight!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Without saying too much - primarily because I do not feel like I have a lot in me to say - the plans are changing. I will probably write some things to post later, but don't feel as though I can really put my thoughts and feelings together into coherent words at the moment. I am not going to Bethel, however.
I am terribly sad! Even more than I am sad, I am very confused! I know that time (and a lot of prayer and rest before the Lord) will offer consolation and answers. For right now, I just feel a bit lost - and as if I have lost something!
As I'm sure you know, this came as a great surprise! It was not what I expected. I do still declare that the Lord, God, has ordered my steps! He will not lead me into harm and will not lead me away from His goodness! This whole process has been greatly bathed in prayer by myself and many trusted friends. We have been praying for a FULL provision of the Lord in this! I trust that even if it is not what I expected, this door closing at this time is mercy and provision by God!
Please be praying for me to have a great understanding, comfort, and peace. Please also pray that I pick myself up well and continue stronger, braver, wiser, and more committed to the Lord than I was before! May His glory be shown in this! Thank you!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My current obsession is getting my support letters signed, stuffed, sealed, and sent! It's taking much longer than I expected. I guess it doesn't help that I am writing a little (or long) personal note to everyone. It just seems that it's appropriate to do! So, it is taking a L-O-N-G time for me to get them out! I now have several completely done and ready to go and many other's just about there. The other thing I have learned that may have saved me some time is that I should have just made a mailing list and printed labels! I thought about it and then decided not to, because I thought it would be more personal if I hand labeled all of the envelopes. I think that when I send out my update letters, they will be machine labeled!
While I'm taking a break from the very urgent task at hand, I want to tell you a really cool story from this morning.
While I was sitting at the table eating my breakfast, a young female cardinal slammed into the window. She fell fast to the ground! I jumped up and ran over to the window and gasped when I saw her lying on the ground. She was stone-still on her back, head toppled to the side, beak and eyes wide open. I thought for sure she was either dead, or would be shortly. I ran outside and kneeled down beside her and just started crying over her. I felt like the Spirit was asking me to "bless her". So I began to pray for her through my tears.
I saw a slow rise in her chest - then stillness again. I reached over and gently laid my hands on her chest -- something I have always been taught to never do! Don't touch wild birds - if they survive, it may be difficult for them to "re-enter" the wild...so I have been told. I just felt like it was the right thing to do, though. I continued praying for her, this time claiming dominion as given in Genesis. A minute later, another rise in the chest and a quick blink of the eye! I continued praying and asking God to revive his created one to the fullness that He made her in. I stroked her head very gently and started claiming her health; wholeness; recovery from this accident. Within about five minutes, she twitched her talons and picked her head up. A few minutes later, she flicked her wing and turned to her feet; standing very still. I backed away from her a bit, to not frighten her and continued to pray.
A little murmer of a song came out of her and then she flew about 2 feet toward me and stopped about a foot away from my hand. I reached toward her to see if she would flinch, and she didn't. So, I continued to touch her chest while I prayed some more. It wasn't long after that that she flew a few feet away from me and landed on a window sill on the porch and just perched there for about 30 minutes. She was flicking her tail, adjusting her wings, and breathing beautifully! I knew she was ok! More than that, I knew that God had revived her!! He heard my hearts cry for this little bird and was moved to re-create His created that was surely lost! I gave her a name - "Mercy" because the mercy of God was shown. It was beautiful!
It served as a great encouragement to me. Not only did it remind me of the authority that has been given to me in Christ Jesus, but it also reminded me even more how much my Father in Heaven will care for me! This is such a great reminder at any time, but so powerful right now! I am letting go and leaving behind just about all that I humanly call my provision and trusting in God to provide for me. It can be very frightening! But I cling to my faith and trust that God - in His love and goodness provides for me! It reminded me of Matthew 6:26-33 (NLT) - emphasis mine.
"Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need."
Now it's back to signing, stuffing, sealing, and sending! If I don't have your address and you would like to receive a support letter, please e-mail your address and I will get it out to you - with a personalized note! Blessings, my dear friends!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
My blog has been a bit neglected in the past weeks. It isn't because I haven't had anything to say! In fact, I have thought through at least 20 complete blogs that I would have liked to have posted. I just haven't had 1) the time to stop and write or 2) the easy access. I have been checking in on my friends blogs from my phone so that I could stay on top of what everyone else has been posting - I just hate trying to concentrate on writing out what I am thinking about while trying to type on a keyboard that is 1 inch by 1.5 inches. =)
So, today I would like to post my response from my quiet time this morning. I thought it was quite appropriate to post. Enjoy reading.
I'm a Captive Set Free!
In Luke 4, we see a scene where our Lord, Jesus, went to the synagogue in Nazareth. He chose to read from Isaiah 61:1-2.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, for He has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim the captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the down trodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come!"
I have been captive to many things; sin, sickness, and fear - just to name a few. But God has set me free! This scripture in Isaiah continues.
"To all who mourn - the time of the Lord's favor has come and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. To all who mourn (in Israel), He will give beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory!"
It is the Lord, God, who set us free!
I am privileged to have an opportunity to dedicate myself to a time of learning more about how God desires to move. I welcome the opportunity to learn how He desires to use His (broken and redeemed) children to bring forth His will and work on earth. I believe that God has great desires for this nation and world - I want a greater understanding of what these are and how to move in the power He established us with to accomplish this!
I know God is calling me, and I have decided to attend a ministry training school where the power of God is present! The instructors are fully submitted to Jesus and desire to chase after Him and accomplish the work He intends - all of the work He intends for us to do.
When Jesus walked this earth, He did so with great power! Of course! He is God! He gave His disciples the authority and instruction to do the same! I believe that just as the Lord instructed His twelve (disciples) to go out and heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out the demons; we are (still) given the authority, power, and instruction to do these things! "Give fully as you have received" (Matthew 10:7-8)
It is just simply not enough for me to be a spectator in the spiritual war - I must engage!
"Therefore: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power! Put on all God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world; against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers everywhere. And pray for me too. Ask God to give me the right words as I boldly explain God's plan that the Good News is for all. I am in chains now for preaching this message as God's ambassador. But pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him as I should." (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Quite Possibly the Saddest Day Yet
Today was quite possibly the saddest day I have yet had. As of about noon, I am no longer a pet owner. It is the hardest part of this whole transition! I had to find new homes for my cats. All three of them got to stay together and they went to a wonderful family that I know from church. I know they will be well cared for, will get prayed for and blessed regularly, and will be treated with a great deal of love and respect. It is still so hard, though!
As I was preparing to leave the house with them today, the overwhelming sadness slammed into me like a tidal wave! I couldn't catch my breath! I knew I was doing the right thing, but it just hurt so bad! I felt like Piglet in Winnie the Pooh - "I'm not quite brave enough." I called on the Lord and He answered! He ushered in the strength needed - and even brought in a great deal of peace and some joy. It was still very difficult!
Noelle and Cinnamon transitioned very well! They eased in and found their way through the house. They got acquainted with Obie and Chewie (the two cats that already reside in the house). By the time I left, they were perfectly fine and were acting as if they have always belonged in this place. Truffle has a different tale, however. He was not too happy with the change. He groaned and growled. He didn't want to be in his cage, out of his cage, held, anything...he just wanted to go home! How sad it was for me to try to communicate to him that this was his new home! We finally left him locked in a very small powder room with his ball, carrier, and some water. He seemed ok with that - but still not the happy-go-lucky baby I know him to be. I know he will be fine! It makes me feel so much better to know that at least the girls adjusted well - within moments of entering the house.
I am doing ok. Very sad, but doing well. I know that God is preparing me for a time to focus on learning more about Him and growing in that. He was very faithful to provide a loving home for my babies. He has been faithful to provide peace to me, in the midst of a LOT of change!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Moving day No.1 is just 5 days away. There are empty boxes stacked up against the wall outside of my bedroom and a smattering of packed boxes here and there in my room. There are stray pieces of furniture that didn't sell at the garage sale in the living room, my bedroom, and in the laundry room. My closet still has clothes in it. My filing cabinet - which is staying where I have been living - is still full. I have 1/3 of my books packed. My movies are packed away, but the box is left open just in case I need something to entertain me while I pack away the rest.
I woke up yesterday morning for work and felt like a load of bricks had fallen all over my body - and I had swallowed a drawer full of knives. I think the stress got to me! I had a horrid headache, my stomach was sick, my throat was very sore, and by all of the joints in my body were stiff and screaming at me for trying to move! I couldn't miss work, so I got ready and showed up. I looked at our PTO log and saw that we had several available spots for the next few days, so I requested some time off! I now have today, tomorrow, and Thursday off. I got home from work yesterday at 3:00 and crashed! I slept hard for a few hours, woke up and made dinner, went back to sleep. I woke up today at about 9:00 - for a total of about 16 hours of sleep. My throat and tummy feel a bit better, but I still have a headache and body ache!
I know I have a TON to do, but I am tempted to just take it easy today so that I feel more like pushing hard tomorrow and Thursday. We'll see what happens! A few days ago, I posted on facebook that my Things to Do list was now 7 pages long...correction...it is now 9! I just keep thinking that once I get moved a HUGE step will be done!! Then I can focus on support letters, meeting with people, and gearing myself up for moving again! =)
At least I now have a wonderful home for my sweet cats! I am blown away by the amazing provision of God in this! A family I know from church offered to take all three of my cats for me! They already have two cats of their own - and a little boy (who is super sweet and adorable!) They are such a sweet family! I know they are going to love and bless my babies so well! I can rest in knowing that they will be well cared for!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I made dinner the other night for a friend who was coming over. Little did I know that meal would end up serving another guest as well. The following night, I fed the left-overs to one of my sisters. Both of them wanted me to write out the recipe and send it to them, so I decided to just post it.
It really isn't too difficult to make. I gave it a medium-high difficulty level only because of the number of ingredients & steps and the multi-tasking. I think most of it is multitasking that is commonplace for dinner time meal prep, though. Please try it and let me know what you think. I am still contemplating making a gluten-free cookbook one of these days. This one would definitely make the entry. It's one of my favorite recipes that I have worked on - and it meets the criteria for not causing migraines or stomach upset for me -- two must haves but hard to finds.
Basil Chicken Primavera with Rice Pilaf
Recipe By: Lynn McClellan
Serves: 4-6 Adults
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min
1 Cup Orange Juice
1 Cup Olive Oil
5 Tbsp (1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp) White Distilled Vinegar
¼ Cup finely chopped Basil (can use dried if fresh is not available)
1 Tbsp Oregano
4 tsp (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp) Ground Mustard seed/powder
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Pepper
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (add more for a more spicy dish)
2 tsp Cornstarch – this will give a thicker, less watery sauce in the end
12 chicken strips or 4-6 chicken breast halves
5 Tbsp Butter - unsalted
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp (a squeeze of the bottle) Honey or Agave Nectar
¾ Onion - chopped
4 Cloves Garlic (you can grate these over the pan instead of chopping to save some time)
¾ of a 16 oz package of mushrooms – cleaned and sliced
1 Zucchini – sliced
1 ½ lbs mixed peppers (Yellow, Red, and Orange) – sliced (Costco sells 2 lb bags of mini
mixed peppers for around $4.00)
2 ½ cups Carrots - grated
1 large can (28 oz) Diced Tomatoes – drain and rinse well
1 ½ Cups Short Grain Brown Rice
¾ Cup Wild Rice
4 ½ cups boiling water or stock (reduce salt if using stock)
3 Tbsp Butter - unsalted
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
2 tsp Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Oregano
2 tsp Thyme
1 Tbsp Rosemary
3 Tbsp Parsley
¼ Onion – chopped
¼ of a 16 oz package of mushrooms – cleaned and sliced
½ Cup Carrots – grated
1 Tbsp (a squeeze of the bottle) Honey or Agave Nectar
This all comes together very nicely – in good timing. You can even make the sauce the night before and leave the chicken to defrost and marinate in it. I definitely recommend marinating the chicken for at least a few hours to develop the flavors well. If you are intimidated to do the whole recipe, try making the rice by itself a time or two before taking on the whole meal.
- Make the sauce. You can use a standing blender or handheld blender. Mix all ingredients together and blend until it looks a little creamy and the oil does not separate from the other liquids. The spices should be well incorporated – not “floating” on the sauce. Pour this over the uncooked chicken – set aside to marinate.
- Wash all the veggies well and chop/slice. Separate out what will go in the chicken and rice. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a large sauté pan or skillet on Medium heat for chicken/veggies. Melt 5 Tbsp Butter. Add onion and begin cooking down until golden. Grate in Garlic and continue cooking. Add mushrooms and salt. You may need to add a bit of Olive Oil at this point. Let the mushrooms wilt down a bit.
- Start to boil the water/stock for the rice in a large pot. In the pan you wish to cook the rice in, heat 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil on Low to Med-Low and add in the rice to toast it. Stir rice mix often so it does not burn.
- After the mushrooms have wilted down a bit (about 2 minutes), add in the zucchini, carrots, and honey/agave nectar. Cook together for a couple of minutes. Add in the peppers to start cooking down a bit.
- The rice should be toasted and the water should be almost to a boil. Add in the onions and spice pack to the rice and stir well. Add in the mushrooms, carrots, honey/agave nectar and butter. Let the veggies begin to cook bit while you get the chicken in the oven.
- Remove veggies from heat and stir in tomatoes. In a large casserole dish, ladle in about 1/3 of the veggies to cover the bottom. Pour in the chicken that has been marinating along with all of the sauce. Cover with remaining veggies. This will go into the hot oven and cook for about 1 hour - until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Measure out and pour in 4 ½ cups boiling liquid to the rice pan very carefully! Turn the heat up to high (or move back to the burner the water was boiling on). Once the rice begins to boil, stir and cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 45-55 minutes. When the rice is done there will still be a little liquid in it – this is ok. Turn the heat off and let it set until the chicken is done.
- When making the sauce, add a little bit of the vinegar or OJ to the cornstarch to thin it out before mixing it in with other ingredients. This will help prevent clumps.
- When measuring out spices/herbs for the sauce, I find it helpful to go ahead and make the spice pack for the rice pilaf - set it aside and it will be ready when you make the rice.
- Have a pot of liquid (water or stock) ready on the stove so that all you have to do is turn on the burner. Have some extra liquid in the pot as some will evaporate away while heating to boil.
- Take it slow and enjoy the process! Cooking is fun! =)
Friday, July 17, 2009
I have two things working against me in making tonight's dinner. This has left me with a small injury.
- I am cheap!
- I am lazy!
I am making Basil Chicken Primavera, which requires 3 cups of grated carrots. I am cheap! In my kitchen are 2 Costco bags of baby carrots. I am too cheap to spend an extra $3.00 to purchase a bundle of whole carrots to grate. I am certainly too cheap to spend $5.00 on the pre-grated bag of carrots that measures out to right about 3 cups. Given the plethora of carrots currently occupying the refrigerator, I decided to grate baby carrots. FYI: it takes about 25-thousand-million baby carrots to end up with 3 cups, grated. This is where the second part comes in.
I am lazy! I have a food processor. I could get on my hands and knees and dig the food processor (and it's seven necessary parts) out of the cupboard designated for awkward kitchen appliances. That takes effort. Then, after I remember how to put the thing together right and use it for the 20 seconds it would take to grate an entire bag of carrots, I would have to take it apart and wash each of those seven separate pieces. This just seems like too much work!
So, I individually grated baby carrots with a hand-held cheese grater and stopped after skinning my knuckle twice - with about 2 1/2 cups of carrots to use for dinner. Don't worry - no flesh (or blood) made it's way into the carrots. I washed everything very well! But after all of that, I decided that it may have been worth the extra money to just buy the "convenience" bag of pre-grated carrots!
Oh well, at least I now have a legitimate excuse to wear a princess bandage on my finger! =)
The last month has been a little hard. It has felt like I have been keeping this huge secret! In every circle I am a part of, I have wanted to just shout out and tell everyone that I am planning to go to Bethel. I haven't been able to because there have been certain people that I didn't want to find out through the grapevine - I wanted to tell them! People like my family, my closest friends, and my pastors. Well, it's summer and that means that everyone is away on vacations and mission trips and this and that. I have been telling people as I can because the time is close and I am making arrangements. Plus, when people looked horribly shocked and make comments like "Something huge must be happening if you're looking for homes for your cats." I feel like telling them anything but the whole truth would be...well...a lie! (Side note here - I haven't been not telling people what's happening. It has just been really important to me that some people find out from me - not someone else - that I am picking up and moving to California!)
I have now spoken with my pastor and church leadership. I have been able to tell my family. I have told almost all of my closest friends - and have let those individuals I haven't been able to meet with know that I have news to tell them. And, as of today I have officially told my supervisor and manager that I will be leaving in the fall. I didn't submit an official resignation, since I still have time, but let them know that I was planning on leaving. I just feel so much more freedom, knowing that I'm not holding this "secret" in. So share away!
Another bonus to me being able to freely share is that more people can be happy for me and rejoice with me! I am so excited about this and I want the people in my life to be excited with me!
Monday, July 6, 2009
I think we all go through seasons in our life where we feel like we are just wandering somewhat aimlessly; despirately searching for where we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to be doing, and just knowing that there is something more around the bend...but where is the bend in a wilderness?
I have been in one of those seasons lately. I have been happy enough, just not fully content in my situation; knowing that the Lord has called me to something more but not knowing what it is. Well, I am overjoyed to say that I feel like I have some answers to many of the questions I have been asking God. He has been speaking them to me for quite some time, but I was too afraid to really listen. I wanted the answer, but had deaf ears. I don't think it has been pointless. In fact, I believe the last year has served me very well! I feel like I have a greater understanding of "walking through fire and not being burned." I feel like I have a greater understanding of what it is to be disciplined in love and mercy, not in anger and fear. I have a greater understanding of my own temperment, personality, needs, and desires. Most of all, I have a more intimate relationship with God! Amazing that all of that can come out of a year of wandering!
So, what is the answer? I'm heading off to another season of schooling! This one much different than the last! (This is all presuming I am accepted - which I would love prayers about!) I am very excited! So much so that I just want my wording here to be perfect, which I know is impossible!
Over the last year, I have spent a lot of time looking at a school of ministry in Redding, California; Bethel (www.ibethel.org). I have been drawn to what was happening there. Many times I have opened the application and started to fill it out, but have always stopped myself. I didn't feel like it was the right time. What about money? I am in treatment for two chronic health conditions, so I have to have health insurance! I am trying to pay off student loans, not acquire more student debt. It is in freakin' California - that's far from Texas! The list of excuses goes on!
I still feel drawn. In fact, I feel sad about the prospect of not being there - and I haven't even gone! I hear that still voice of the Lord very clearly asking me to submit. He is asking me how long I am going to wait. He has asked me why I haven't already done it. I know it is the right thing. So, I started looking at each of my excuses. The response to each one of them was fear! I am afraid of not being in control! I am afraid of asking for support! I am afraid of going somewhere new! I am afraid of failure! But in the Lord, there is no fear! "For God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
So, the preparations have begun! I am moving out of my current home at the end of the month and will be staying with a family from church until I leave for school in September. I am ready to submit my application. I have my support letter written and just about ready to copy and send out. Both of these actions are just on hold until my pastors to get back from Turkey so I can talk to them about this, get a reccommendation, and have one of them help me finalize the letter. I am trying to find homes for my precious, sweet, adorable kitty cats (call me if you want to foster one of them)! This one is really hard, but even in it I have peace and joy - which helps confirm that this is right.
There is still a lot to do, but God is giving me the grace to take baby steps - very quickly!! It's amazing! Since I made the decision to follow through on this - and actually started taking action - I have had more peace and joy than I have in over a year. Once again, this is not to say that I have been moping around for the last year. I have just known that God was calling me to something new and I wasn't sure what it was. Now I feel like I know and it is great!
If you want to be included in the support and newsletter mailings, please make sure I have your address. Like I said, this is happening faster than I am used to working. Therefore, I know I am missing some people. Just e-mail me and I will make sure you are on the list. And thanks in advance for the prayers and support!
Monday, June 29, 2009
I have started writing several entries over the last few days, but haven't been able to complete one of them for various reasons. Here is an update.
On Wednesday, my best friends mother passed away. You may remember me mentioning her in a couple of my writings. She has been fighting a battle of recurrent ovarian cancer with metastasis for many years. The last few months have been quite rough! I will write more about this in a moment.
On Thursday, I had a Sozo - which had been scheduled for a couple of weeks. Sozo is the Greek word for saved, healed, or delivered. The point is to uncover places of (spiritual) lies and allow God's freedom in that place, ushering in healing. If you want more info about this type of prayer ministry, try going to http://bethelsozo.com/ I will write another entry on this at some point. Bottom line is that it was amazing! God is so great! The Spirit is so wonderful to carry us through the places of brokenness and offer good gifts for healing in place of devastation! Oh, He is just amazing!
Friday, I came back to work and had this mixed feeling - euphoria from Thursday and sorrow from the pain of losing such a wonderful woman who has impacted my life. I made it through the day. That night was the carnival at my church - it was great. My group served ice cream. It was so much fun to watch children and adult-children alike trying to decide which flavor was the "best"! It was wonderful! That must be what the first day working at Baskin Robbins feels like.
Saturday I slept in a bit and then had a slow morning doing laundry and preparing to leave to drive four hours for the funeral service. I left that afternoon and had a safe drive. I stayed the night with one of my best friends from college, Summer. I was once again reminded of the blessing of friendship! I was thinking about it - we are about to hit the eleven-year mark on when we met and became friends! How amazing! We have been through so much together and when we see each other now, we just pick up wherever we left off the last time we saw each other - no matter how long that may have been! Our friendship is a true treasure to me! That night we stayed up kind-of late and watched a movie and ate ice cream. How fun!
Then Sunday was Summer's birthday. It was so neat to get to be with her on her birthday! We went to church. The teacher in the Sunday school class had been one of my professors in college many years ago. It was so surreal to be back in a "teaching" environment with him! When I walked in and saw him I had this little flash-back to 9 years ago. It was really funny! After church and lunch, I had to leave to drive another hour further north to go to the funeral. It was lovely - if that is ok to say. I walked in and saw Lisa (that is my friend) - she came over to me with tears streaming and gave me a hug. It was so hard to see the pain that she was in, but I was very glad that I could be there to support her. After hugging her, I went to her dad to give him a hug - that was the really hard part! He said something to me that meant so much, though! He embraced me and started tearing up. Then he thanked me for being there and for my endurance in praying for Sue through this ordeal. It amazed me that this is the word he chose, because this is exactly the word (endurance) that I have been asking God for and asking others to be praying for me in this! God is so amazing to provide what we need and then to confirm that He has provided what we need! After the service was over, I shared my condolences with the family again and then headed back home.
Now, I am back home. I am tired, and I have this very odd mixture of joy and sadness still. I am very happy that Sue is no longer hurting or suffering. I am overjoyed that she is now with the ultimate love of her life! I am very sad that we did not see the miracle that we have been waiting and contending for! I am very sad that we have lost such a wonderfully amazing woman on this earth! She has not gone without leaving a legacy. She will be missed, though!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I'm feeling a bit discouraged today. I need some good news!
I look to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth! He will not let my foot slip. He watches over me and does not slumber! He watches over Israel and neither slumbers or sleeps! The Lord watches over me; He is my shade at my right hand. The sun will not hurt me by day nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep me from all harm! He will watch over my life! The Lord watches my comings and goings all of my days. Psalm 121
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Why do they make fish oil that is strawberry flavored? And why did I buy it? I can promise you this...it doesn't really taste all that strawberryish. What it actually tastes like is oil with a fishy flavor and a hint of strawberry. It doesn't really go! What was I thinking? It's not that bad - and it's only a teaspoon a day. I do think that I'm going to go for the lemon or orange flavor next time - I just think it might go with the already present fish flavor a little better!
Everything in life can be a learning experience, right?
Monday, June 15, 2009
I am ready for a collision; for a collision of the will of man and the will of heaven! I am ready for the Spirit of God to move so freely among mere men, that nothing stands in the way! I am ready for the glory of God to rise up and men to fall to their faces to worship the King who is worthy! I am ready for the dead to live and the sick to be well! I am ready!
I am tired of contending for things to happen that I already know to be the true desire of the only One who can make them happen! I am tired of waiting! It isn't because I don't think these things are worth waiting for - Oh no! Just the contrary! I believe the glory to God is all the greater the more impossible the feat. But in the waiting is so much anguish - and that is where I get lost! I don't want to get lost or caught up in myself! I just want to stay at the feet of my love and wait - with peace - for what I know He has promised will come!
Some may think I am crazy for even waiting - I am not! I know that the will of man and the will of God collide - and when it happens, there is beautiful rejoicing in both heaven and earth! I think about my friends Allison and Amy, who have both struggled for years to get pregnant with many difficulties. Yesterday, I was holding baby Willow (Allison's daughter) and praying for her while I was staring at Amy's ever expanding belly. I had to walk away for a moment because I was tearing up in gratefulness because both of these women are proof that healing and miracles happen! Yet while I rejoice in the collision that occurred for these dear friends, I long and wait expectantly for similar miracles for other friends!
I have several friends that wait to have babies, one of my best friends mother's is fading away as her body is tormented by cancer, I have a friend whose back is injured and we contend for his healing, several friends with various auto-immune diseases that are being affected by immune systems that are fighting healthy body tissues, and of course for my own healing. Everywhere I look, I see the proof and effects of living in a fallen world! I will not quit fighting or quit believing that the good of God can and will triumph! I am just so ready for the will of God and my own to collide!
I don't need God to work miracles to trust in His goodness or to know that He can do it! I want to see it happen because I believe in the depths of my being that He desires it to be that way! He desires that the captives be set free, that the sick are healed, that the lame walk, that the blind see, and that the deaf hear! And in it all, I desire that glory be given to the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the One True God!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
On Saturday, I had to take my sweet Siamese cat, Cinnamon, to the vet for her check-up and vaccinations. It was good timing for her appointment because for the last few weeks her eye has been looking a little weepy. Being that it is the spring and everything is blooming and growing, I figured it was allergies and didn't worry too much about it. Last week I noticed that both eyes were weepy and one of them was looking pretty irritated. My eyes are also pretty weepy and irritated - once again because of allergies, so I dismissed it. I knew we were going to see the doctor this weekend, so I didn't feel too neglectful. When we get to the vet, they proudly inform me that my sweet baby has conjunctivitis - that's right, my cat has "pink eye". How that happens, I'm not quite sure! Had it not been for the doctor's appointment, I probably would have just continued ignoring and dismissing the symptoms for quite a bit longer, though.
The fun part about this is that I get to put eye drops in her eyes twice a day for the next week or so. Have you ever given a cat eye drops? Can you imagine the drama that ensues? This cat, who is an absolute sweetheart, is also...well...a CAT! Cats are very dignified! They are very private! They like to be touched when they request it - and generally only when they request it! Cinnamon is no different! Amazingly enough, cat's also don't seem to like to be picked up, tipped over like a little baby, and then tortured by having their human hold open their eyelids while dropping some cold medication (that I can only imagine stings) in their already hurting eyeballs! I can respect that! Here's my question though, how do I make it better if I can't put the drops in her eyes???? Does she understand that I am trying to help her? I don't think so. And if so, I don't think she cares! I think that in her own cat way she is cursing at me and planning her revolt!
So, you can imagine how excited I was to go about the scene of drama and torture (for both of us) tonight. To my surprise, she let me pick her up and hold her. Then, she let me hold her eyes open and drop the drops in without so much as a squirm! I was so proud of her!! She was sooo wonderful! If she was a human child, I think I might even feel tempted to reward her with some extra-special treat! I gave her the cat equivalent, though -- I put her down as soon as I finished putting the drops in! Man did she run away fast! When she got to the other side of the room, she turned around and looked over at me like I was the most evil person she had ever encountered! Once again, I imagine there was some feline cursing going on!
Here's what I wonder now...what will happen tomorrow morning?
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I was in a meeting today and a friend mentioned a card that she had received many years ago when she was going through a rough situation. She said that a woman sent her a card that said she was praying for her to have endurance through the situation she was in. It stuck with my friend. What a great thing to pray for! Endurance! That has stuck with me for the rest of the day!
The fact that I have been feeling weary is no hidden secret! Every little blow seems to knock me down even harder than the last! I think sometimes, "do I really have it in me to keep at this?" Well, endurance is what I need right now! I need friends and hugs and little sentiments of encouragement! I also need endurance!
So in the 3 minutes I have before I have to be in class, I write from Colossians 1:10-13
"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves."
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I am not someone that tends to need a lot of hand-holding and encouragement. In fact, I tend to get annoyed with people when they offer too much of it. I am, quite often to my own detriment, very independent! I do not do well at asking for help or receiving it; even when I am desperate! I do need a little bit of encouragement - a "you can do it" "way to go" or "that's awesome" every now and then! I'm not saying that I don't want to hear that. If you say those kind of things to me, please don't stop!
I do however recognize that I am in a place and time where I need more encouragement than I usually do. Specifically encouragement in strength! I have been feeling very weak and tired lately! My energy supply is low, my resistance to adjusting is high! I was realizing last night that with the lack of energy I have had, I feel like less of a person! I feel like I am not as qualified for very basic things - and when I say qualified I mean it in a heart sense! I am not moping, but I do feel like I have been somehow robbed by this illness and the medications that I have been taking!
Sometimes I feel really angry, but at what? RA? Shots? Doctors? Blood work? Fatigue? Financial struggles? I don't really know what to blame...or who!!! I could blame satan, myself, or even God. I don't really think that any of those would be rightfully placed! I think they would just be places to lay anger! What I want is relief! Relief from pain, fatigue, fear, and everything else negative that has taken root since this diagnosis was made! I really do want God to be glorified in same way, but I also want to just live life! Was this part of the plan? I don't know that I can answer that, and honestly I don't know that I want the answer right now! Either way the question is answered, it has the potential for cataclysmic impact!
So, what I need is encouragement! Encouragement in strength! I was reading some of my favorite scriptures today, and amazingly enough they are all encouragement in strength! Here are a few!
"He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:29-31
"So be strong and take courage, all you who hope in the LORD" Psalm 31:24
"But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says, 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you, I have call you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.'" Isaiah 43:1-2
"He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength." Psalm 23:2-3a
Please, send me more! I would love to see what some of your favorite strength-encouragements are!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Today I'm having and ugh day. I really just feel like laying it out there and saying the things that I am dissatisfied with. I don't just want to leave it there though. Ok, maybe I do just a little. I think a part of me would be satisfied to just say all of the things that I am unhappy about and then close and go to bed. I know that isn't right though! I need to turn it over to God and ask Him to take control and bring satisfaction, even where I do not see a way. Right?
Here is a theological question for those of you who are exploring an understanding of where God stands on good and bad. Is it ok to simply be unhappy? Do we always have to try to flip it to the "But God is good because..." side of the coin? Sure God is good! I'm not questioning that, but sometimes down right crummy things happen and my opinion is that it is ok with God for us to be discontent in that! Is it sinful to be unhappy? I would probably question someone who said it is. I would certainly listen to their argument. I would most likely have a few rebuttals, though.
We are told to "consider it joy when we face trials of all kinds" and to "persevere in trial" in James 1:2 & 12. We are also told to "mourn with those who mourn" in Romans 12:15. King David and Jesus, alike cried out "My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1 and Matthew 27:46). This suggests to me that it is ok to stop and think on the things that hurt, dissatisfy, and grieve me. The question then, is what do I do with the pain after I have acknowledged it and thought on it?
I don't know that I have the perfect response. In fact, I am pretty certain I don't have the perfect anything! What I do know is that God is close to the broken-hearted! I know it and I trust it. It doesn't make me any less dissatisfied with my circumstance, but it does offer peace to know that I can rest in the hands of a maker that loves me and cares about my circumstance even more that I do!
So, after recognizing the things that hinder my happiness, I go to God and cry out! "Father? Where are you? I know you hold me close, but right now I need to know how to bring these things before you and find contentment. I need to learn how to persevere and find joy in my trials. I need you to pour your perfect love over me to wash into the dark places that can't see your love! I need you to give me strength where I am weak and offer me rest! Restore me, God! Restore my body and my spirit! Let me dance before you with the joy of a young child! I will only bless your name, God! Regardless of my unhappiness, I will stand firm that you are righteous and good! In your Holy name! Amen!"
Sunday, April 26, 2009
In the last two months, I have been without a car of my own. I have been very blessed to have a couple of cars loaned to me during brief periods and friends who have provided rides when I didn't have a car. I have had to sacrifice a lot of independence, drop a lot of things out of my schedule, and do a lot of asking for things...none of which come easy to me. God could teach me a lot in any of those places. For instance, some light was shown on my lack of willingness to just ask for help when I need it. For all that God could possibly teach me in this situation, I celebrate to say that He has simply (or not so simply) been showing me that He loves me! He has been fathering me, and asking me to allow Him to do so!
Over the last two months God has been speaking to me about allowing Him to provide for me, and about asking Him not only for what I need but what I want. He has also been teaching me about why He values me! This isn't the first time that God has urged me in this, but this time it has been as if scales have been breaking away from my heart! God was speaking to me about this prior to my car dying - and it isn't my car dying that caused me to see. I think that it was just being in yet another place in my life where I am not equipped to solve the brokenness -- alone! I needed help and that meant I had to seek it. Right? Well, not exactly. Let me start with what my standard approach would have been a crisis of this sort...
Car dies. That day I cry and look at every financial obligation I have; I furiously look over the budget and lack of money and think "I just don't know where it will come from." I start praying and getting creative. The following day I call at least 10 places to ask about quotes on fixing the car and opinions on "which way to go". I continue praying and planning. I will come up with something! On day three, I have contacted a list of at least 10 people letting them know the situation at hand and letting them know the need and begin selling myself in whatever way they are able to provide financially...I will babysit, clean cars, clean garages, organize houses, do what you need me to do...I will earn my way. (By the way, I am not saying anything against working for the things you need...it's a good plan!) But in this situation, I knew that wasn't what God wanted from me! I am already very busy! I am already very tired! And, the more busy I get, the more tired I get, the sicker I feel, and the less I can do. Even more than that, God wants to teach me that He loves me and loves providing for me because He is my father! Sometimes, He just wants to give me what I want or need, because it brings Him great joy to do so!
So when this happened, what I heard from God was "Wait! Trust in me and let me provide. Ask me for what you desire! Don't I care for the lilies of the valley and the birds of the air? They don't earn what I give them. I just give to them because I know their needs. Let me know what you want so I can give to you what you desire!" So, I waited. Some times less anxious than others. But I haven't let myself believe that I had to make it happen! What God has been doing is teaching me how He values me not for what I do, but for who I am. He hasn't pursued me because of what I can offer Him! He pursues me because HE LOVES ME! He wants me to be secure in knowing that I am worthy, not because I can do any good work, but because He calls me child! I am a daughter of THE Most High King!
Friday night I got a call from one of the elders at my church who told me they have a car that was donated. It needs some repairs and is in the process of getting fixed right now. Nothing is certain as of yet, because the title hasn't been transferred, but I think I have a car! We spoke again this morning and it seems that everything is a go for now. I am very humbled! I am however, not surprised! Isn't God wonderful?
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This is not the most pleasant update for me to write. I don't like writing these, but I think it is important for me to do so. This week has been a hard one for me. I don't have a tangible something wrong, I just haven't been feeling well this week. I have been fighting a lot of fatigue and pain this week, and just plain feel drained! I haven't done my shot for this week yet, because I am already so wiped out that I am afraid I won't be able to move after taking it. My days are pretty booked from now through mid-May, but I think the reality is that I am going to have to put some things on hold. That is so hard for me! I hate walking away from commitments without seeing them through! I hate slowing down - even more, I resent having to slow down! Plus, so many of the things that fill my time are also things that bring me a sense of purpose and joy - to put them on hold makes me sad! I feel incomplete because of having to slow down. I am, after all, only 30! Why do I feel like I am double that?
I am not complaining - just asking myself and God some questions! I think it is ok to do so! I just need to keep my eyes on Jesus and know that even though I am weak, He is strong!
God, I ask that you will give me the energy and encouragement that I need right now! Please bring about your perfect will in and through me! Lord, I pray that somehow in my imperfection that I can still bring glory to your perfect name! Bless me, God, with the ability to keep my eyes fixed on you regardless of my circumstance! Continue to teach me how to intercede on behalf of myself and so many others that I have been given the honor to intercede for! Teach me more God, how to seek healing! Lord, deliver me! I love you Lord, and thank you for the perfect love that you show me! In your precious and holy name, Amen!
Friday, April 17, 2009
I have been giving my blog a "make-over" this past week. I felt part of that was updating my profile. Here is what I started out with before narrowing it down to 1200 characters. Really - it is at exactly the 1200 character limit now! Enjoy!
I write these things because I am a captive set free! A captive to depression, fear, sickness, and sin. The good news is that I have been set free by the love and mercy of my precious savior, Jesus Christ! Through Him, freedom has been ushered into many areas of my life and I know there is more to come!
In college, I suffered from depression. I found my greatest friends during this time to be God and writing. In fact, in large part I discovered the love that God has for me through writing. The massive chasm between the got-it-together life I attempted to portray and the torrents of pain I was really living in was eating away at me. I was very new to following Christ and was recovering from a lot of hurt that I had grown up with. Writing was a way to focus my inner voice and give it a way to speak. It was also a way for me to hear what the Lord had to say to me.
In 2oo3, I went to visit a friend who lived out of town. While attending her church, a word was spoken over me, as an anointing to "write and speak the word of God for a new generation to know His affection." I was re-invigorated to begin writing again; something that I had become fairly complacent in. I had a new desire to be disciplined in this.
In the summer of 2007 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), an auto-immune disease. At the time I was diagnosed, there was already joint and organ involvement of the disease. One of the challenges I was given around the time of the diagnosis was to "write often."
I still write frequently in my private journals, but I felt challenged to share some of my writing along the way. This blog is my attempt to be faithful to something I believe the Lord has given me - and asked of me. I have seen over time how writing has been a tool of healing in my life. I trust that it will be a conduit for healing in this time, as well.
It is my hope that as you read my random ramblings, prayers, and struggles they will touch you in some way. It is my desire that I will be able to grow in wisdom, truth, and vulnerability. I also desire for this to be something that brings honor and glory to my Lord of Lords! Please join me! And please feel free to leave your comments along the way.
I have been thinking a lot about destiny and purpose lately. I have even written quite a bit about it, but haven't gotten the posts up. I believe that God created me, and the rest of us, with a purpose in mind; a destiny. I really want to know what mine is and how to live it out! My life counts for nothing if I haven't lived out the will of God in it!
I moved to Austin in 2002 with a sense of calling to be here. I didn't know why I was coming to Austin. I just knew this is where God was calling me to be. Since that time, I have been involved in multiple communities, lived with several families that I trust I have left a mark on, and have grown more in understanding and developing my own knowledge and relationship with God. I have grown up a bit! I feel as though there is more...I know there is more! I know that God has more for me to accomplish, and I want to have the faith to just dive in! Not fool-hearted, but faithfully!
So I guess for today, my prayer is that I would have a greater wisdom and understanding of the plans and purpose God has for me. That I would be submitted before Him, at all cost to myself, to know how to follow after Him and the desires He has for me! I ask God, that you would reveal to me a new vision of how to follow after you. Help me to trust in you more today than I ever have before! Give me child-like faith; a faith that is unabandoned and unashamed! Lord Jesus, be glorified!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I feel as though I should write something, given that it is Easter weekend! I am just now, as an adult, learning to appreciate what Easter really is. As a child, Easter was about wearing a pastel or white colored fluffy organdy dress with itchy tights that had little bunnies or chicks embroidered all over them and a new pair of white patent leather dress shoes that were being worn for the first time of the year. It was about getting a pretty little basket that had some plastic eggs filled with candy and change, and then running through the yard with my sisters finding the real eggs we had dyed the day before. After the exhaustive hunt for the eggs and the chocolate bunny, my mom would make us wash off, pack us in the car to head to church. When we got home we would sit at the table to eat a family lunch of ham, green beans, and deviled eggs that were made with the eggs we hunted that morning. I didn't ever really get that Easter was about anything much more than all of the (out of the ordinary) stuff that we did that day.
Over the years, my view of Easter has changed a bit. It really happened a few years ago, though. I was a live-in nanny for a family where the father was an atheist and the mother had been exposed to Christianity but didn't really think it was for her. I frequently had to work on the weekends. When I first started, I told her that I wouldn't work Sundays unless I could take the children with me to church. She agreed. She was happy to let them go with me and they really enjoyed it. Even on the Sundays that I wasn't working, they would go with me. The children loved going to church and loved learning about Jesus and the Bible. Their mom saw this and got into it. For Easter that year, she said that she wanted me to help her. Instead of just putting money and candy in plastic eggs and hiding them, she wanted me to help her go through the Bible and find verses that she could print out and hide in the eggs to encourage her children in their new-found passion!
At first, it was lost on me. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a great idea! I loved the idea of encouraging children with scripture! And I though it was a neat way to get beyond some of the commercialism that has become the focal point of this Holy-day. But I also thought "why wait until Easter to give them scripture...what makes that day any more important than today to live it out?" I didn't get it! Easter is the day that Jesus ROSE!!!! That is something that the world knows we as Christians celebrate! They know that Easter is important for that reason; something I was taking for granted! She wanted it to be that day because to her, that was the day that counted. THAT was the day that mattered!
My theology about Easter changed quite a bit that day...and continued to! To finish the story out, the next year I was working for and living with another family. The week before Easter, I got a call from the family I had previously lived with and they asked if they could come to church with me...the WHOLE family; father, mother, and all three children! It brought so much joy to me that I still tear up when I think about it! I can't tell you how special it was to me to be sitting in church with that family, who I love so much!
So, when I think about Easter, I don't really think about the eggs and baskets and pretty white dresses anymore. I think about the faces of the people I love who have yet to know the truth of what Jesus has done for them and just how much he really loves them! I think about my father. I think about my friend, Michael. I think about the families that I have lived with and loved who are not followers of Christ. I am undone by the vast amount of love that God has; that I know he has been able to forgive and wash away my many sins and love me despite all of my failures! He loves us! He cries out for humanity and I ask that he would give me but a taste of his heart for the lost! I pray that somehow I can bring grace and love to my friends and family and that my heart can become more and more a reflection of my precious Jesus!
Happy Easter to all of you! May you be blessed!