Friday, December 31, 2010

Francis Chan - Balance Beam

I Just Love Her

God put us together like He put macaroni & cheese, French fries & ketchup, and Italian breads & dipping oils together. Brittany adds so much to my life!

There are times we're frustrated with one another, but I know Brittany loves me and I think that love has been forged out of years of knowing I love her with no strings attached in return. My love for her isn't contingent upon what she can do for me.

I do my best to say and do what is helpful and edifying to Brittany and I believe she does the same for me. Does this mean we will never make mistakes?? Absolutely not. Mistakes are a whole lot different than ill-intentions to hurt another.

I'm not crazy about tomatoes by themselves, but oh, when I dice them up and add a few spices, onions, and cilantro... YUM!! Or, stewing them into a delectable marinara sauce, sprinkle them atop a garden salad, or add them to creamed corn, as in the following recipe... all of a sudden the ordinary becomes extraordinary!!

SCALLOPED CORN & TOMATOES
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (15oz)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained (15oz)
  • 1 can cream-style corn, (15oz)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups soft bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Stir together tomatoes, corn, cream-style corn, eggs, flour, sugar, and pepper. Pour into casserole. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter; saute onion until soft. Combine with the garlic powder, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Serves 8.


I'm kinda like tomatoes and Brittany is like everything else I like to add to them. She adds a spice to my life and I love who I am when I'm with her. So, just as God put creamed corn and tomatoes together, God also put Marisa and Brittany together and I am eternally grateful that He did!

Marisa

Out With A Girlfriend

I had dinner with a great friend the other night. We laughed and chatted and it was amazing to us the number of parallels we have in our lives. These friendships are truly the replenishing ones... the ones where we feel rejuvenated and filled back up again after just one night on the town. 

We chatted about a similar relationship we have with someone who is difficult to love. We were then burden by the truth that God wants us to love everyone, including our enemies. How do we love the unlovely? How do we love someone who continually knocks us down?

We concluded that night that we can't love like this on our own power. I'm working through a book entitled Forgotten God by Francis Chan (check out our "favorites" column to find this book at Amazon.com). The idea is that we don't tap into the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit living within us. We have so much in the United States (material wealth, education, careers...) that we often rely on our own strength and power and what results is a mediocre life filled with a lot of heartache. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in ME! Can you wrap your mind around that?? As a Christian, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in ME and YOU! This would be the only way to love the unlovely... God would be the only one to help us love with this kind of love. It's impossible to do it on our own.

Wayne Dyer talks about the fact that people have inside of them bitterness, anger, resentment, pain... and this is what others often see in them when conflict arises. Many people are living with their own demons and if we could rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to help us forgive those who hurt us, this approach would not only diffuse the problem, but we would not have to wander about life with unresolved issues and pain. If what we have in us is grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness... and all of the other Fruits of the Spirit, then that is what others will see in us.

Let's begin this New Year praying that God will help us to unleash His supernatural power living in us so we can begin to do the extraordinary in our lives. Let's work on making this world a better place in which to live. Why allow satan to rob us of our joys? 

It's amazing what happens to creamed corn when you add a few wonderful herbs and spices to it! Check out this recipe:

Fabulous Creamed Corn 

Let's learn to make the very best from the messes we make by adding a few wonderful "herbs and spices" to our lives... the results will be "delicious!"

Marisa

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wayne Dyer- You Can't Give What You Don't Have

Nearly Naked

Let's just face it... exposing ourselves in this world of hurt and back-stabbing is a risky thing to do, but what choice do we have if we want to make and keep relationships?

Honestly, we have some of the best relationships and then again we have some of the most high-maintenance relationships... I guess this brings balance to our lives. People drain us and people fill us back up again.

If you're gonna run around naked, do it with a bit of caution and leave your slippers on 'cause if you leave yourself totally exposed, you're opening yourself up to a world of pain. There are people who get a kick out of robbing others of their joy. Use the "bend and snap" philosophy. Bend to help others, but snap in confidence when others are using and taking advantage of you. We are all called to help, but we can't help those who won't help themselves.

This blog is about making some sort of sense out of the messes we make in our lives and in the lives of others and to grow and learn from our mistakes. Hey, if we're going to make creamed corn we need to figure out ways to make it taste better, right??

As long as we're all living here together, we need to make the best of things. I heard a twist on an old saying, "If life hands you lemons make orange juice and people will be in awe as to how you did it."

So let's make OJ girlfriends (and boyfriends)!! Let's not waste our lives away being gripers and complainers. It's best to not use the gift of speaking if we're going to use it to make someone else miserable. Let's make every intention to keep our mouths shut if what we are about to say is hurtful and speak only when what we are going to say is truly helpful and edifying of others.

Hey... btw, try putting creamed corn in a corn bread casserole and serve it with that OJ you just made... YUM!!