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Monday, November 23, 2009

I Remember, Again

This week is going to be crazy busy for me and seeing as I will be out of pocket Monday and Tuesday I thought today we would look back and do a little reminiscing. 

This is a week we are all conscious of our blessings, which requires us to ponder the past and appreciate our present.

Here is a post titled 'I Remember' from last year I wrote and I feel it is fitting for this week because it is a great thought provoker, or should I say Thanks provoker.

Hope it blesses you...

My kids will attest that I am borderline OCD when it comes to taking pictures. Whenever you see me, you can rest assured I have my camera with me, which has allowed me to capture some really great moments that would otherwise only be a memory. And I don’t know about you, but my camera works much better than my memory.

I was looking at all the pictures I have stored on my computer last night and remembering some really great times God has blessed me with: pictures of my family on vacations, my kids sporting events, Christmas, birthdays and so much more.

Have you ever thought about the fact our pictures for us are like the altars in the Old Testament? Me neither. It is true though. Pictures are memorials of important times in our lives.

If you look through the Old Testament you will see where God’s people built altars to mark their own moments in time. Times when God delivered, or provided, or spoke peace to troubled lives. They serve as touch stones of remembrance.

Sometimes I wish we still built altars. I am very sentimental and objects like pictures or altars help us remember. All too often we have the tendency to get caught up in the routine of everyday life and forget all the times God has been faithful to His people not just thousands of years ago, but today as well.

I wonder… Did Peter ever row out to the spot where he walked on the water and relive that day?

Did Zacchaeus ever take his grandkids and climb the tree and say, “This is the exact spot I saw the Master for the first time!”?

Did Abraham and Isaac ever go back to Mount Moriah and rejoice once more for the ram caught in the thicket?

Did Moses ever go back to the desert where he saw the burning bush, take off his sandals and say, “Thank you God for still using messed up me?”

Oh, it is so good to remember. We need to remember. It is like breathing in the moment all over again.

We do not have altars we walk by every day serving as reminders. So just for today… for this very moment… let’s build an altar in our hearts and minds and remember God’s faithfulness and simply say once more… “Thank you God. I remember.”

Lord,

Today I stop and remember and say thank you again for my salvation. Thank you for setting me free from the bondage of fear. Thank you for protecting my marriage, for always guiding my steps. Thank you for healing my son of a paralyzing disease. Thank you for giving me courage to do the things I thought I never could. Where would I be today without you, only you know. Father, I just simply and purely want to stop, remember and say thanks.

Your daughter,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mom's Cornbread Dressing

I just remembered that NEXT Thursday is Thanksgiving. Where oh where has this year gone?

If you are like me you are already planning out your menu and trips to the grocery store.

Yesterday I said this post was going to be 'spiritual' but seeing that the greatest day of feasting is on the brink of commencing, I thought I would change today's My Fav Friday to help a few sista friends out.

EVERYBODY loves good ole Southern Homemade Cornbread Dressing on Thanksgiving, but most of us are unaware of how to actually go about making it.  So, I wanted to give you my mom's recipe (Because her's is the best I ev-ah had!  Martha Stewart move o-va!)

First make your cornbread.

2 cups self-rising corn meal mix
1 egg, beaten
1 1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil or melted shortening

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Grease 9" oven proof skillet or 9" square pan; place in oven to heat.  In large bowl, combine all ingredients, mix well.  Pour into hot greased pan.  Bake at 450 for 20 to 25 minutes. 

Dressing Recipe:

1 recipe cornbread (above), crumbled (approximately 6 cups)
3 eggs, boiled and chopped
1 1/2 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp sage
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 to 7 cups turkey or chicken stock

Cook celery and onion in some of the canned chicken stock until tender, approximately 20 minutes, set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, mix cornbread, eggs, and the cooked celery and onion mixture.  Add the seasoning and mix well.  Add stock one cup at time until you get a juicy consistency.  Place in a 13X9X2 baking pan and bake for approximately 30-45 minutes, until nice and brown.

I do hope you will try this.  Ya know, it does not even have to be Thanksgiving to enjoy it. (I am 'thankful' for that!)

I would love for you to share with us your fav dish for this special Holiday!  Click comment and type away. 

Sistas helping Sistas, "It's a good thing."

Hope ya'll have a great Friday!! 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Night of Two Firsts

What a cool and amazing evening the hubbs and I had last night.




It was filled with two Firsts for me.  My first 'First' was seeing Tim Tebow.  And not only did I see him, I got to see him do his thang on the practice field.  So I guess that qualifies as two first 'Firsts.'  Anyway, here is the pic I 'snapped' (pun intended) through the fence on my cellular device.



Yea, it was through a fence, but who cares.  It was neat to watch a few minutes of practice, even though we were not allowed.  Who knew.  Well we did after this nice young man informed us this was a closed practice and we needed to move on.



So we moved on and finished our walk over to the O'Connel Center to see my second 'First', Gator Basketball.




I guess church isn't the only place people will not come early to.  Did I just write that out loud?  Sorry. Also there was a double negative in that sentence.  Sorry again to all my English majors.


                                              
Oh My Goodness, this was the most AH-mazing $6 frozen yogurt I have ever tasted.  Yes, I only tasted.  Not because the greatest hubby in the world would not share more, if you remember from a few post back, I have a 'lil, or should I say 'heavy', issue. 

There is something about going to your yearly doctors appt (fun, fun) and stepping on the scale and that nasty thing telling you you have gained 20lbs from last year.  TWENTY I say.  So we, AHEM, I mean I have been working on that. 





At some point in the night you can expect to have a need to use the ladies room.  I wonder if my CCA gals will agree this is definitely the soap dispensers we need in the restroom of our new church.  How many should I order?



Albert and I

Note to self, Take your good camera to the next Gator sporting event.  iPhones are great but Nikons are greater in the pic dept.

I know this posting was not very 'spritiual' (well, unless you are a rabid Gator fan, then it fo sho was spiritual).  Tomorrow on My Fav Friday I am going to share another first with you.  This one is spiritual.

Love you guys and love the Gator Nation!!

Now I'm off to do a 'lil cleaning in the Johns Nation. 

See ya back here tomorrow,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tis the Season to Get

As I have mentioned here before, our church has a Crazy Love Project each week where we encourage our congregation to do specified acts of kindness.

The holiday season affords many opportunities for our weekly endeavors.  As a matter of fact, this week's project is for our people to bring in canned foods for the Mebane Middle School's Thanksgiving Food Drive.  (Mebane is the school we are currently meeting at each Sunday for service)

The food will go to families in need.  Families that we may never know their names or see their faces.   

I actually love giving anonymously.  To me it is pure and unconditional giving.

Oh the many stories I could tell of times my family gave and got back way more than we ever imagined possible.

Tis the season to give, yes.  But you cannot give without getting. 

I love what my husband always says, We give, to get, so we can give yet again.

There are needs all around us.  And they do not all involve money.  A mom may need a break and a babysitter.  A coworker may need a friend to confide in.  An elderly person may need someone to help with housework.  A teacher may need an encouraging word.  A sick friend may need a meal.

It is so easy to see only our needs and our wants.  This season, let's open our hearts, our homes and maybe even our wallets to those around us.  I promise you will get back way more than you will ever give.  And then you can... give yet again.

Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Luke 6:38 Message Translation 

There is not a greater joy on this earth than to know you have made a difference in someone's life and that's all the Christmas presents I need this year.





To all my family and friends,
If you still wanna get me a 'lil somthing, I'll take it.   I sure wouldn't want to deny you your blessing.
(wink, wink)

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Road More Traveled

I visited a website last night called Plinky.com where everyday a question is posed to which you can respond with your answer along with the ability to post pictures, add maps, playlists and more.

Some bloggers (ahem), when experiencing writers block, have been known to visit this site to get ideas to blog about.

Well, yesterday’s question was Describe a scary stretch of road you’ve traveled.

That is easy for me. It was a road I have traveled many times before but in 2007 my journey on it was a little different.

That fall, myself and three gal pals decided to book a chalet outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a weekend.

We had a blast.

But getting there was scary.

If you have ever traveled to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area from Florida you know there's more than one way to get there; over the mountains and through the woods or around them with interstate all the way.

We chose the over the mountains and through the woods route. A road I have traveled many times.

It is 45 minutes filled with the most curves, high altitudes, and the greatest scenic views you could ask for. Our problem was it was around 10pm by the time we began our journey over the mountain and through the woods. That, I was fine with, it was the drizzling rain and blinding fog that had me in knots.

Because I was familiar with this road, I knew there were steep drops just inches from the right side of the pavement, with no railings to keep you from, well, total disaster.

What were we thinking?

I was scared to death but tried to not show it. We literally got to the point where I was driving about 20 miles per hour and Jenny, our front seat passenger/navigator, was helping me look for the reflectors in the middle of the road to help keep me on the road.

A little freaked out. Oh yes I was.

I could not see ahead of me so I had to just trust the few signs of direction I would receive every few inches in the form of those little glorious reflectors glued to the center of the road.

Because we slowed our journey down, kept our cool and focus, we were able to arrive at our destination safe and sound. It took a little longer than expected but that was ok. We were alive and at that point I think that is all we really cared about. Know what I mean Vern? (Some of our younger generation didn’t get that I’m sure. I’m not liking this getting older thing.)

But seriously, I know that not all scary roads are physical roads, your scary road today may just be the road of life filled with many curves and high altitudes. Your journey could be one you have taken before, but this time it's filled with drizzling rain and blinding fog.

My advice is to travel inch by inch, day by day, and prayer by prayer.

Stay centered in Jesus, and His Word, and He will guide your next step and will guard your life.

It may take you a little longer, but I promise you will arrive safe and sound.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Even if He has to use little glorified reflectors!!



 
  I almost forgot about our give-a-way.  And the winner is.... Desiree Steiner!!! 
 
It's not too late to take the journey with some really great gal pals.  Click here to see what it's all about.  I promise, this one's not scary at all!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Fresh New Look at the Word

Did you know that most people will hear the Word read aloud in church more than are likely to read it for themselves?

We love God.  We serve God.  We try to obey God.  But the one thing that helps us the most in our daily walk is the one thing we do the least.  Which is, read the Word.

Don't worry if you are feeling conviction right about now.  We all struggle to set aside time to read the one thing that can change everything for our good.

Makes no sense, I know.

We find time to shop, watch our fav shows (sports for the guys, HGTV for the gals) on the greatest high def TV's, read our favorite authors, spend time with the greatest friends.

I have always said, You make time to do what you want to do.

You might not be an early bird, but you let your favorite purse go on sale, starting at 7am, and you'll be the first in line (and I'll be right behind ya).

But seriously, this is My Fav Friday and what does all this have to do with that?

So glad you asked.  Really I am.

I read about this book last year.  Bought it this year.  And plan to start reading it next year.  Yeah, I like to really plan things out like that.

It is the One Year Chronological Bible written in the New Living Translation. 



365 days. 

15 minutes a day.

And on December 31, 2010, I will have read the entire Bible, in one of the greatest and easiest translations, in the order the events happened.

A fresh new look (or read) on getting into the Word daily. 

So, if you would like to take the journey with me click here to order your new Bible.  Or two.  Great gift idea ya know.

And if you leave me a comment sharing your desire to pack your bags (and reading glasses) and travel through a few thousand years with me, I will enter you into a drawing for your very own Chronological Bible. 

The journey will be long, but oh the stroies we'll have to tell.

Grab your cameras and lets go.



  

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cha, Cha, Cha, Changes

I LOVE CHANGES!!

Well, if you have read my blog for any length of time you know I love lots of things: family, friends, cooking good food, Fall, Christmas, eating good food, of course Jesus, and last but not least, change.

I so cannot stand for things to stay the same. Whether it is my d├ęcor, the seasons, my wardrobe… I just love changing things up! It’s amazing how just a gallon of paint can make me feel. Weird, huh?

So, as you can tell (Oh, I really hope you can tell) I, with the help of one of my new BFF’s, have changed the look my blog.

Although I do like change I am so glad we serve a God that never changes.  His love, His grace, His forgiveness, His power... it never changes.  (Malachi 3:6)

Ironically, all these unchanging truths of God should forever be changing us. 

I wanna challenge you today.  What is something you know you really need to change?

Maybe it's negative thoughts, bad eating habits, bad spending habits (ouch), or maybe it's a few of your friends you need to change.  Whatever it may be, purpose today to work toward changing that one thing you know plagues you and changes who you are. Changes who you should be. 

You can do it.  WE can do it. 

Look at it this way, it will be one less thing to add to your New Year's Resolution list.  Yes, ready or not 2010 is peaking around the corner at us.
     
I so pray you enjoy stopping by and spending time with me as much as I do.  I so love your company. 

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for this week’s My Fav Friday.

By the way, is it too early to start decorating for Christmas?

I really like change ya know.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Out of the Ordinary

Last Tuesday was just an ordinary day.  Or was it?

I did nothing different than usual.  Came to the office.  Started working.  Did some research.  Ate lunch.

Same ole, same ole.

But somewhere in the midst of all this, God had ordained a moment.  A moment out of the ordinary.

You see, that morning I was looking at the design of a blog I frequent because I am in process of redesigning mine.  Ahem, I mean having someone redesign mine.  I design as well as I sing.  And if you've never heard me sing, then you're one of the lucky ones because it isn't pretty.  Trust me on that one.

Anyway, back to the blog I was looking at.  I happened to read the post for that day.  It was good.  But I really didn't think that much about it.  And I moved on to look at some designs on other blogs.

After lunch a dear friend came in the office on her lunch break.  I knew she was having a tough week and I could tell she was just desiring a friendly face. 

The conversation was light until she starting sharing more of her heart concerning the situation she is currently moving through.  My mind went to the blog post I read just a couple hours earlier.  The title was... I Wasn't Planning to Write this Post.

And I'm sure she wasn't, but God was.  It was just what my friend needed to read on that day, at that moment.  So I forwarded it to her.

God used my ordinary day to minister to a friend in need through an extraordinary way.   

To be used by God does not mean you have to have a Masters in Theology,  'Pastor' in front of your name, or be the President of a large ministry. 

You just have to be willing and inviting.

Willing- to be God's hands extended. 

Inviting- allowing Him to use your ordinary day in extraordinary ways.

So, what ordinary moment has God used in an extraordinary way in your life?  Do tell. 




p.s.  If you are like me your curiosity is about to get the best of you.  Click here and you too can read the post I sent my friend.  :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

He's Still Working on Me

Yesterday, a dear young lady on our ministry team asked me to fill out a referral form.  She is applying for a new job and I was more than thrilled and highly honored to do this for her.  She's so giving and for me to be able to give back was a wonderful treat.

Limited space was provided to write all I desired to share regarding her character.  So I did as any good person would do and made my own space, another words, I wrote on the line provided and added an arrow instructing the reader to turn the page over.  Where I wrote some more.

These were the extra words I wrote...
She is someone who always goes above and beyond the call of duty.  Her attitude is always positive and she is a pleasure to work with.  I trust her implicitly.
I meant every word of it.  I've known her for over 20 years and seen her go through some great and some not so great times.  Never have I seen her overreact, be unkind, or demonstrate a bad attitude. 

Man, I wanna be like that.  

I for sure wasn't yesterday morning.  My son got to see me overreact, be unkind, and demonstrate a bad attitude.  Glad he was the only one who saw my little tangent. 

But, sad he saw it.

I asked him to forgive me.  I got over my issue.  Which in hind sight was totally not anything worth acting the way I did.  But I did.
 
Thankfully today is a new day.  I'm moving on and striving to be the kind of person someone could easily write sweet things about too, and mean it. 

As we would sing in Children's Church, He's still working on me... 

That's for sure.