Thursday, September 30, 2010

Growing Up

Do you remember being a child and something bad would happen and you knew that your mommy or daddy would just take care of it? You knew that you could just go to sleep and in the morning it would all be better. Life sometimes seemed complicated as a child, but most of those complications weren't really that complicated. Our perspective was just much different because we were children.

Then we became adults and somehow we had to suddenly learn how to take care of the complications in our own lives. There are far less "just go to bed and it will be better in the morning" scenarios. I'm not talking about being tired or having the flu. I'm talking about the serious stuff. Over the last 20+ years of being an adult, I have faced plenty of trials. Sometimes I really did just want to go to bed and pretend that everything would be better in the morning. Other times I went straight to denial. If I don't acknowledge it, then it isn't really a problem is it? Those are two very adult-like, responsible ways to handle life - not!

Eventually God taught me to take everything to him in prayer and to persevere and see it through. God would do his part, but I needed to not give up or give in. I needed to continue in fasting and prayer and hold on to the promise of His Word. It wasn't always easy and still isn't, but God has been faithful.

But here's the deal - sometimes I still want to go to bed and not deal with something difficult. I want to just pretend this isn't happening and then it will be better. And that is a lie. Nothing is impossible for God and no one or any situation is out of God's reach. God, however, needs me to stand firm and to continue to bring it to Him in prayer. I need to trust God and his Word and hold fast to the promises that He has given me. I need to see it through. Things may not go the way I want or hope and well, that's okay. God's plan is perfect and right and greater than I can fathom or imagine. I have also learned over the years that sometimes the answer we seek will cost us something. It isn't always just an "ask and get it" policy. God desires our obedience and sacrifice as we follow after Him and seek His blessings and provisions. This is part of growing up in our faith.

As I sought God in prayer this week, I found my way into Psalm 107. It was either by Divine appointment that I landed there or a complete accident. I prefer to believe Divine appointment, because it was exactly what I needed to know and hold on to. Praying scripture has never failed me and I am trusting once again that God's Word will hold true and powerful in every possible way.

No matter what our age or situation, we have a Father who hears us and is able to do exceedingly more than all we can ask or imagine; a Father who is able to do the impossible. We have a heavenly Father who hears our prayers and praises and can save us in our time of need. Whether you are praying through something in your own life or interceding for someone else, may you persevere in prayer and be strengthened by His Word in your time of need.

Grace and blessings to you

Monday, September 27, 2010

Countdown to 25

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary. Later this week I will post more about that. But this weekend, we had the opportunity to be somewhere having breakfast where there were several older people - older couples to be exact. It was such an incredible joy to watch them. I could have easily gone up to all of them and asked them to tell me their story. I wanted to know how long they had been married, what trials had they survived, how the met and on and on. I like being married and keeping my husband happy, so I refrained from going around asking personal questions of complete strangers.

But it didn't keep me from people watching and smiling as I did. Little old ladies and little old men opening doors for one another, waiting on the other to come along as they moved about. Watching them eat breakfast together. How much fun to see them eating the same foods, as they though over time their choices had grown to be similar. Lovely older women with their jewelry just so and their lipstick on just right. After all, they still wanted to look good for their man. The men were opening doors for the women and waiting on them to sit down before they started eating. There is something endearing about the unspoken way that couples who are at that stage of life and after many years of marriage somehow just know what the other wants and needs. No words were necessary.

The last 25 years have been anything but boring. The next 25 are going to be better. I pray that God allows us to grow old together gracefully and that He is gracious to us. One of the joys of growing older will be the blessing of growing together.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Regret Thursday

God has given me plenty of things to list this week that I do not regret. The lessons have been plentiful and my head about hurts from the various ways God is speaking to me and teaching me and refining me. I never regret it when the Lord purifies and sanctifies my soul. If you smell something burning right now, that would be the dross the Lord is removing from my soul as He has allowed me to walk through a bit of fire this week. Okay, if you really do smell something burning perhaps you should go check. But here is this week's list of things


1. Being obedient to the Lord
2. Eating way too many shrimp at Red Lobster last week
3. Being obedient to the Lord even when things don't turn out like I thought they would
4. Being obedient to the Lord when the enemy tries to mess it up
5. Choosing Jesus
6. Not shopping at Wal-mart
7. Resting in the Lord
8. Waiting on the Lord
9. Eating Starbucks ice cream
10. Not giving in to gossip

2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

So what do you Not Regret?

Grace to you,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's for Dinner?

I have been in an absolute slump lately as to what to cook for dinner. Tonight was no different. On top of that, I needed to cook something that would yield some leftovers for tomorrow night. When all else fails, cheeseburgers and french fries will work just fine. I had hamburgers already in the freezer that were in patty form from a previous meal I had prepared for. So this was going to be simple. Homemade fries and burgers on the grill.

Thawed the hamburgers. Heated the oil for the fries. Grabbed the matches to light the grill. We have a gas grill, but the starter quit working and so you need to use a match. Turned on the propane tank, turned the first knob on the grill, lit the match and threw it in. Turned the three other knobs to "on". Then checked to make sure that everything was lit properly. Hmmm - what is that in the corner of the grill? A pile of grass? Why would my husband or son put a handful of grass in the corner of the grill? Were they trying to startle me in some way that they would find funny? Were they just being lazy and threw it in the corner of the grill instead of the trash? I leaned in a bit to see what it was or what it smelled like? After all I had already reasoned it was not a bird's nest due to the location in the grill. So what could it be?

Then it happened. Not something I could have ever imagined and nothing that my husband or son could have set up to make me scream. There they were popping out of the top of the grill - baby mice! Now lest you think that I should have rescued them, I am a country girl through and through and mice are not something you rescue. You will have to visit another blog to find that.

I am still trying to overcome the sight of mice popping up out of my grill and running off the deck. If you are wondering did I still cook the burgers on the grill? Are you kidding me! - Frying pans work just fine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No Regret Thursday

It's Thursday, which I am now thoroughly convinced rolls around more often than Monday. The list could be long this week of things I don't regret. Some of them are not meant for posting and some will have to wait until next time, unless they get bumped. I am seriously hoping that next week I can tell you I don't regret all the shrimp I ate at Red Lobster with their "All-you-can-eat shrimp" deal. But here is this week's list of things

1. Spending time with my grandson Simon
2. Letting my grandson pull my hair while he 'smooches' my cheek
3. Taking a season of rest from the regular bible study routine
4. Not posting "I Do Not Regret" posts for the last couple of weeks
5. Making sacrifices so that my husband and I can get away together
6. Any of the family vacations we took with our children
7. Staying up really late to play games and spend time with my son, daughter & son-in-law
8. Buying used Bible Commentaries
9. Baking cookies - even if they don't last long!
10. Memorizing scripture
My verse for this time: His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 NIV

2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Grace to you,

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Gift of Hunger

Living in a culture where we can have whatever we want to eat at any hour of the day or night, we tend to take for granted the idea of hunger. After all, we often satisfy our hunger before we are even hungry. I know that hunger can also be associated with all sorts of difficult and negative situations, such as poverty, eating disorders, etc. But for one moment, let's look at hunger as a gift from God.

Without hunger, the scents and smells coming from the local bakery of fresh baked bread would not hold the same meaning for us. Without hunger, where would family dinners and family recipes fit into our life? Hunger actually gives us much pleasure. In our hunger, we appreciate a good meal. We desire to grow vegetables, bake pies, use our hands and minds for creative meals. Hunger makes us depend on God even if we never acknowledge it. Hunger causes our senses of sight, smell and taste to come alive. Hunger awakens our sense of hearing as we hear the steak cooking on the grill. Every part of our being can enjoy a good meal or a favorite food that we haven't had in a long time. In our hunger, we may desire foods that are associated with pleasant memories. Hunger in its proper place is a gift from our Creator.

In our hunger, we appreciate the end of a fast. The Last Supper would have seemed so different if people were not gathering to eat. Manna from heaven, ravens providing food for on-the-run prophets, sacrifices of the last oil and grain and so much more would have little meaning for us if we did not have the gift of hunger. Hunger provoked the blessings and miracles of the loaves and fishes. Hunger required obedience. The gift of hunger allows us to fast. The gift of hunger brings to life the miracles of the Old & New Testaments.

The gifts of God come in so many forms that we tend to overlook or take for granted. My prayer is that God will continue to open my eyes to see the multitude of blessings that fill our daily lives that so often remain unnoticed.

Time to make dinner. My husband is almost home!

Blessings to you,


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just a Little Breakdown

Time to get back in the blogging ring and up the posts a bit. If you have ever read this blog before, you probably know I love the whole saving money/coupon clipping thing. Some people tell me it isn't worth the time. Here's a little run down from today, thought it might inspire any coupon skeptics:

Started the day with a shower (shampoo, conditioner, body wash and razor - free). Put my contacts in. (Contact solution - free). Washed face with name brand face wash. (Free) Brushed my teeth. (Toothbrush and toothpaste - free). Applied name brand moisturizer to my face and another brand of eye cream under eyes. (Both free after rebates and coupons) Loaded up the hair with name brand styling foam (less than .50 for whole bottle). Almost forgot - name brand deodorant applied before getting dressed. (Free)

Breakfast for me was actually leftovers so that doesn't count. However, it very easily could have been a bowl of name brand cereal (choosing from one of about 10 different varieties in our cupboards). All of them free or under .50/box.

For lunch the three of us had buffalo chicken salads. Lettuce (.60 - manager's special at Kroger's) Shredded cheese (.25 - used about 1/4 cup from a package that cost $1.00 on sale) Fresh sliced mushrooms. (.25 - manager's special was .50 for 8 oz. only used 1/2 package) Tomatoes - free from garden. Chicken breast ($5.37 for 3 lb bag courtesy of my daughter's savvy shopping - used 2 chicken breasts so about $1.75 for lunch) Name brand hot sauce to make the chicken "buffalo style" (free). Name brand ranch dressing. ($1.00 for whole bottle - hardly used any)

Spent the afternoon in a beautiful setting of large oak trees, warm sunshine, the scent of Fall, and a blue sky with large white clouds. (All free courtesy of God). Furniture to sit on the deck - paid cash with savings from grocery money after using coupons and snagging a 70% off outdoor furniture sale at Target last summer. Feeding of the soul - free from the Word of God.

Baked 3 dozen oatmeal craisin cookies. ($1.75 total cost for ingredients after stocking up on name brand craisins for $1.00 per bag on sale this summer) House filled with aroma of fresh baked cookies. (Free)

Supper for three - bowtie pasta with name brand pasta sauce and sausage stuffed banana peppers and cream cheese/sausage filled jalapeños. Bowtie pasta (.25 - used 1/2 of the box and the whole pound of pasta was .50) I stocked up on pasta during previous sale at Krogers. Pasta sauce ($1.00 for 1/2 jar of $2.00 total cost. We are very name brand loyal on the pasta sauce, however, so this could have been cheaper). Banana peppers and jalapeños - all free from our garden. Name brand cream cheese to stuff jalapeños - free from Kroger mega event and catalina deals. I stocked up on the cream cheese after making sure to check the expiration dates. The sausage was $2.50 (could have gotten this cheaper, but I didn't want to wait for the sale). I mixed up the whole pound for the peppers and only used half of the mixture. So when the other peppers are ready, I will pull the remaining sausage mixture out of the freezer and be ready to go.

Ran a dishwasher full of dishes after lunch and filled it again after baking cookies and dinner. (Dishwasher detergent free from a great sale at drugstore earlier this year) Washed remaining items by hand. (Dish soap free with coupons and sale at drugstore)

Heading back to the kitchen to make a pot of Starbucks coffee. ($3.98 for 12 oz package manager's special at Kroger, used $1.00 coupon on purchase for a total of $2.98 for 12 oz of whole bean Sumatra). Cost of coffee for the evening - .50.

All of these deals were from using coupons and pairing them with great sales at a grocery store that doubles coupons, along with using rebates and drugstore chain deals. Yes, drugstore chain deals was what you just read. Drugstores are typically higher priced than your national "W"store. But if you watch the sales, rebates and learn how to effectively use their promotions, you will never pay for basic hygiene items again (or at least you will get them for pennies on the dollar). When was the last time you got anything free from the national "W" store?

Total for 6 meals, 3 dozen homemade cookies, one pot of Starbucks Sumatra coffee and all personal products for 3 people today: $7.60

Feeding of the soul also provided my current verse for my Scripture Memorization:

You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great. Psalm 18:35 NIV

Remembering that it is God whom I seek to please and God who sustains me helps to keep my daily perspective in order.

Praise be to God and blessings to you


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Sometimes it is okay to not answer emails or blog or send timely thank you notes or promptly respond to text messages. Sometimes it is okay to lay our agendas aside and to lay our people-pleasing standards aside and all that we deem important and do what is important. Sometimes we just need to listen and be available and be Jesus as best we know how.