Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Source!

Have you ever stopped to think about your source... the source from where you came? I have always known I came from God, but I watched a presentation by Dr. Wayne Dyer recently and it prompted me to reflect a little deeper about just what it means to be created by God... in His image.

Dr. Dyer used the analogy of an apple pie to make his point. He said if you slice a piece of that pie and remove it from its source and begin to ask it from where it came, the piece will respond, "I came from my source. I can't possibly be made from peaches or cherries. I have to be made of apples... so, the only explanation is I came from an apple pie."

Just as we cannot be anything but fearfully and wonderfully made because our Source is the Almighty God Himself! Not only did He create us, but He created us in HIS image! We can't get any more perfect than that.

The problem we face is over the years we have chosen to listen to what others say about us instead of listening to our Source. We have been told over and over again:

  • we're not worthy
  • we're not good enough
  • we're not pretty enough
  • we're not skinny enough
  • we're not athletic enough
  • we're not smart enough
... and the list goes on and on until one day we realize we've "checked" the baggage of everyone else and we're carrying around the burden of untruths and lies. We go through life imposing our nasty baggage onto others in hopes we can find some relief for ourselves. Satan has us spinning around and around on the conveyor belt of life handing off and receiving the heavy loads as if that's just "life"... the lot we've been given.

God has a different plan for our lives! He's begging you to listen to Him! When others tell us we're less than God created us to be, simply respond as that little piece of apple pie responded and say, "That's impossible! I can not be anything less than the very image of God, for He is the Source from which I came!" 

Let's turn our baggage over to God. He's willing to ease the load, to claim our baggage, so we can be rid of them once and for all. When others want to hand you their baggage, politely inform them that you are NOT their baggage claim and steer them in the direction of the One who is!

Follow the Star!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

To Save A Life

A year ago my husband and I attended a little country church in the Midwest to support my father's ministry. One blustery fall Sunday we were cleaning up in the kitchen after a potluck dinner when a gentleman peered out the window above the sink and chuckled. The rest of our curious eyes fell on a church sign propped against an exterior wall. Stenciled against a white background in black lettering was the name of our church with an arrow pointing downward... apparently an old road sign that hadn't yet been disposed. The gentleman jokingly said, "We really ought to turn that sign in the opposite direction!" At which we all giggled in agreement.

Though that was a light-hearted interchange, I'm reminded of the awesome responsibility we have as believers and followers of Christ. I remember conveying to my children as they were growing up that they may be the only link to Jesus for some people. Our actions, what we say, and our choices to be inclusive or exclusive have monumental effects on the lives of others.

I know this to be true because it hits too close to home. It was very important to me to raise my children in the church. My son, who suffers with learning disabilities and ADD attended church for 17 years. He was faithful in attending every event:

  • Sunday morning worship
  • Wednesday night Bible study
  • Activities
  • Conventions
  • Summer camps
...and after 17 years he walked away friendless and a promise to never step foot in church again. He is now 20 and has dabbled in destructive activities, has a tobacco addiction, listens to antisocial music, and sees Christians and the church as anything but desirable.

My husband said to me just a day or so ago, "Honey, there's something that simply won't escape me. God will forgive the church kids who have ostracized our son, but what will ever come of Josh?" Tears welled in both of our eyes as we were in the face of a grim reality. Josh is so unique and special, with a heart so big it covers the whole continent of Africa. That goofy guy who smiled and laughed at the mere thought of living... and wept while watching "Save the Children" on t.v. has been swallowed up by a sea of evil both in and outside of church.

Are we going to link up with God by stepping outside of our comfort zones to show others the love of God? Or, are we going to link up with satan by shunning those who don't fit into our neat and tiny boxes we've created? 

A simple random act of kindness like inviting someone to the movies, including an outsider in a group activity, or conveying to another how special they are just might save a life! Folks... there's a mission field in your own back yard!

What will ever come of Josh? There are 2 things I know to be true:
  1. God will NEVER forget Josh and the anguish he has suffered.
  2. God has a very special plan for Josh's life.
What about the rest of us? Let's join forces and link up for Heaven's sake! May the pain and suffering of another not be the result of our choices. God has freely given us His love and He loves us just the way we are... imperfections and all. The least we can do is love others... imperfections and all
  • The autistic adolescent with deficient social skills
  • The senior citizen with troubling dementia
  • The vagabond who makes his way to the church pew
  • The young adult with learning disabilities who has lost his faith in Christians, the church, and God
God loves us all...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Better LIfe!

Many years ago God used a star to guide people to a new beginning... a better life plan and God inspires us to look at life anew and afresh today as well. 

When we are filled with agape love:
  • A rainy day can exude sunlight
  • A lost job can mean an open window leading to new ventures
  • The tears cried over the loss of a loved one can quench the thirst of another lost in a desert of pain. 
On the other side of our darkest hour shines a new dawn, a star awaiting our faithfulness to follow. God has promised us to never leave us and He also promised ALL things will work together for the good to those who love Him!

Am I going to settle for a life of darkness, or am I going to opt for a better plan, a better life by following God's star to a new beginning? 

There's a lot of hype over the "One-Word" Resolution for the upcoming New Year and I LOVE IT! My "One-Word" Resolution for 2012 is going to be "Star." I am ready to meet God on the other side of these dark alleys I've been muddling through to follow His vibrant light to a new life plan, to a better life, to my Heaven on earth... 

What will your "One-Word" Resolution be that will lead you to a better life? God desires great things for His children and YOU are no exception and I am no exception!

Michael Buble ushers in this Holiday season so beautifully with these words: 

It's a new dawn. 
It's a new day. 
It's a new life for me...
and I'm feeling GOOD! 

Follow God's star my friend toward a new beginning, a better life, and a life plan that has eternal value!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Organic Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte

I LOVE chai tea! No... let me rephrase that... I'm addicted to chai tea :) So, I thought what better way to begin my Thanksgiving than with a Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte! It is warm, soothing, and delicious along side of a biscotti or two and voilà a perfect start to a perfect day :)

Mix a can of organic pumpkin puree, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 cup of raw agave, and 2 cups of chai tea in a medium sauce pan:

Steam organic vanilla soy milk until warm and foamy (it isn't necessary that you have a latte machine...)

I mixed one part pumpkin chai to one part steamed milk. You can add more agave if you like it sweeter (I like it sweet:) and there you have it! Enjoy!

My wish to you is a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Realize Your Dreams

Do you like to dream about the future? I sure do :) Often, however, there are road blocks that seem impenetrable to realizing my dreams. Do you find that to be true with you as well? Here are some of the obstacles I need to overcome to be able to move forward:
  • Lack of Confidence: Do I really believe I can do it? Do I really deserve to be both happy and successful?
  • Fear of Failure: My husband and I have hit the bottom a couple of times and when this happens, it's very difficult to dust ourselves off and try again. I know if I want to do something out of the ordinary I'm going to have to overcome this fear.
  • Feeling of Being Overwhelmed: The prospects of realizing my dreams can not only be exciting, but overwhelming as well, so it's easy to cower and settle back into the mundane of life.
  • Programming: As a result of living this life, I have been programmed to handle my fears, pains, and adversity. Can I make the adjustments necessary to be able to handle success?
If I'm ever going to combat these obstacles and tear down the walls preventing me from being creative and living an extraordinary life, I am going to have to use some, if not all, of the following strategies to take me from clustering with the chickens to soaring with the eagles:
  • Create Goals: Setting goals and benchmarks for various projects that will move me closer to attaining my dreams is essential to maintaining focus and keeping on track.
  • Start Small: Whatever dream I am working to fulfill, it's important to not set unrealistic expectations of myself. This threatens to squelch any dream of becoming a reality.
  • Being Confident: Giving myself permission to be both prosperous and happy is one of the biggest steps I can take toward fulfillment.
  • Make Dream a Priority: If I constantly push my dreams back under the surface I'm likely not going to take steps each day toward accomplishing my goals. It's important for me to recommit to my dream often to keep proper perspective and to keep it a priority.
I read a wonderful blog post by Stephen Cox on The Change Blog about the steps we can take to realize our dreams. He inspires us to imagine our lives as a ship, navigating the seas of life:

"I would like you to imagine your life as a ship, a great ocean liner navigating the stormy seas of life. Within this ship, which is your life, are three compartments. The first compartment at the rear is your past. It contains all your yesterdays, regrets, and could-have-been’s. The middle compartment is today. It is the endless right now of the present moment. The final compartment at the front of your life-ship is your future. It contains all your hopes, dreams, worries and paralyzing anxieties.

You will notice, as you picture your life-ship, that between each of these three compartments are enormously strong bulkheads. Right now those impenetrable steel doors between each compartment are open and cracks in your past compartment and your future compartment are causing your today compartment to flood. Because the bulkheads are open you are frantically working the pumps to keep your life-ship from sinking, to keep your head above the waters of the stormy seas of life.

Picture now, those impenetrable steel bulkheads closing and locking tight. Sealing off the torrent of worry and anxiety that was roaring into your today from the past and the future. You don’t have to worry about either of them any more. You’re safe and secure in the compartment of today. You no longer have to man the pumps. Instead, you can get down to the very pressing business of today. You can set to the things that you can do today that will bring you that one step closer to your dreams."

I don't want to go through life "drowning in a sea of anxiety and worry," do you? Let's let go of the worries of our past and the anxieties of our futures and live in the tight compartment of the here and now so we can successfully implement the strategies I've listed above and knock down the barriers that often hinder us from realizing our dreams.

Blessings today for a bright future ahead!

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

The Farm Girl posted a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate that looks mighty tasty! Perhaps we will have to top off our pumpkin pie with this little, cozy, delectable mug! (I'm going to text my brother with this recipe since he's our Thanksgiving barista this year:)

Wishing you all a joyous Holiday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

God Wins!

Dropping by to hang out with all of my "bloggies" and to just run something by all of you...

I teach special education and one of the things I remind myself of every morning is to always downplay my students' weaknesses and focus on their strengths. The result is a school day of appropriate expectations and incredible success in my book.

A friend and I went out last night. I especially enjoy this friendship because she prompts me to dig an little deeper into life. We tend to leave our outings emotionally fed... I love that!

Last night as my friend and I were chatting she took out a notebook and began to jot down the things we were talking about. I was thinking oh my gosh... I never do that! She shared with me that on Thanksgiving she is going to be with a cousin with whom she rarely sees eye to eye. In fact, there's often real contention. She told me he even defriended her on Facebook.

As she was writing and we were sharing I couldn't help but think that we all have a stinky story to tell. Life is hard at best. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from the difficulties this world has to offer. I was once again reminded of my students who didn't ask for the life they are living. It wasn't as a result of choices they made...  They nonetheless have to muddle through life just like the rest of us. This is why focusing on their strengths and magnify the things at which they are good enables them to find purpose and productivity and loving them as they are with all their quirky little ways affords them the confidence to be all they can be.

In the end, I encouraged my friend and I to do the same... to downplay the cow pies of life and accentuate God's blessings we often miss because we're wading through the devil's sh*t.

My students end their school day strutting out to the bus ready to conquer life head on... perhaps we have much to learn from them! Perhaps we should hold our heads a little higher and approach life with a little more confidence knowing we are children of the living God!
If we truly want to spit in the face of satan and send him back to hell where he belongs, let's use God's ultimate weapon against him...LOVE! Let's do our best to love people even in the face of adversity and we can reap the rewards of watching satan slithering his nasty, snaky backside away.

No matter what we do we're never going to please everyone. We can't control how others respond to us, but we can control our response. If we hold on to bitterness, if we aren't willing to forgive, if we holler and scream and fight it out... satan laughs and loves it (in fact, he thrives on it). There's nothing our enemy hates worse than when we respond out of a loving spirit. He hates it! He weakens and cowers in the face of it.

Who are we going to let win people?? God or satan??

God wins!!

This Holiday season let's give the gift of love to the people around us no matter our circumstances and I believe we will witness monumental blessings as a result :)

Sending out my love to all of you!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Organic Split Pea Soup

Tonight I made organic split pea soup... the perfect warm comfort on this cool fall day in the Midwest. I love this recipe because it's full of fresh organic veggies and the combination creates a creamy, rich soup without all of the cream and fat of traditional split pea soup recipes.

I start by rinsing and boiling the split peas in just enough water to cover the peas. Boil for 15 minutes, or until the peas soften. This cleans the peas and shortens the cooking time once in the broth.

Then rinse peas with purified water:

In a large pot add 2 boxes of organic chicken broth:

Add to broth peas, celery, carrots, golden potatoes with skins, and onion (veggies can be diced in larger pieces as soup will be pureed in the end):

Add salt, pepper, and cilantro to taste, along with 1 bay leaf:

Bring to boil and simmer for an hour and a half, or until peas and the rest of the veggies are soft:

Puree in blender until smooth:

This is one of those dishes that screams, "Don't judge a book by its cover!" Looks aren't everything when it comes to culinary delights because this soup is outstanding and tremendously healthy to boot. A must try this fall season!

Bon Appétit!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our Traditional Fall Outing

Brittany and I take our yearly excursion to the pumpkin patch and high tea (when available) every fall. We love this time together! She flew all the way back to Indiana from Las Vegas just to uphold this special tradition.

This little farm is adorable! They even had a few handmade Christmas items to peak our excitement for the upcoming holiday.

After our special outing at the pumpkin patch, we went to the Ruby Pear for high tea. Wow! That was a real treat... a perfect ending to a perfect day!

This day was so special and we made memories that will last a life time. Life is too short to neglect precious moments such as these. Thank-you Brittany for the gift of our relationship! And, thank-you God for the gift of my daughter!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Physical and Spiritual Detox

I haven't checked in for a while and thought I'd stop by and say, "Hi!!"

As I was driving along this evening to take clothes and hygiene items to a family who lost everything in a house fire, I got to thinking that I don't much like crop dusters (I know, kind of random). I'm not talking about the person flying the plane, but I am talking about stooping low and spreading poison. I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here because that certainly isn't my intention and I don't want to get into an argument over whether or not we should crop dust (quite honestly, I'll never change my opinion on that subject anyway, so it wouldn't be worth the effort to even discuss it).

The crops are laced with toxins, they're harvested, placed neatly in rows like sardines in the produce section of our grocery store, and we eat them (well, I don't eat them, but most do). Here's the deal... we go day after day after day consuming these toxins and our livers simply can't keep up and the end result?? We eventually get sick. And, by the way, don't think you can merely wash those puppies and expect the yucky stuff to disappear. The chemicals are a part of the very fiber that make up whatever it is we're eating, from the roots to the very core. There's no amount of scrubbing that will "make it all better." The sad part and even scary part is I believe we've been brainwashed into believing that all of this is okay, that it's necessary for our safety! Guess what?? We are kind of like the crops we eat. If we eat poison and we are what we eat... well, you get the point. No amount of scrubbing on the outside will make it all better until we get rid of the poison from within and allow our bodies to renew themselves.

I couldn't help but liken this to our relationships. Let's just say satan is the crop duster... no, NOT the person flying the plane, but the one who stoops low to spread the poison (because remember scripture even says we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but rather satan and his demons). He goes around and laces us with toxins and we in turn spread those toxins to others and its all pretty subtle and actually seems okay for awhile, until one day we recognize there is a wildfire raging all around us and it's nearly impossible to extinguish. We become charred and the scars run deep. Just as the toxins we consume eventually spread cancers throughout our bodies, satan's poisonous arrows we shoot at one another spread cancer throughout our spirits... so sad! No amount of outward scrubbing will make it all better.

Our liver is no match for the toxins bombarding it and our spirit is no match for satan. We cannot withstand his attacks without the armor of God's protection and without an inward change. People, if we're going to live our lives to the fullest and be all we can be for God, we need to take a stand for God, both physically (after all, our bodies are His temples) and spiritually by rebuking satan. 

Instead of poison, let's spread God's fruits of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to others around us. Life on earth is too short to wallow around in sickness and disease of the spirit (and the body for that matter) when we have been called to be the Hands and Feet of Christ to the world around us. The beauty is our spirits can be redeemed by the grace of God! We don't have to be sick forever... we can get rid of the poison and our spirits can be renewed, refreshed,  and redeemed!! Amen!!

Let's not waste time spreading poison by bickering, fighting, gossiping, and on and on. For this will lead to our sickness and demise and there's no eternal value in that. Let's join forces against satan! Let's detoxify and spread God's fruit to those around us and watch satan cower and slither away!

Won't you join me... for God's sake?!!