A place of encouragement:

Living By Faith, Walking in the Light, Saved By His Amazing Grace

Monday, March 25, 2013

Christ Follower

We say it, but do we believe it? Do we tend to live it out right here in our little messy corner of the world? And oh......I'm not casting judgement with out looking at my own dirty little corners first.

Saying your a Christ follower is one thing. Actually following CHRIST is another.

It's easy to say I BELIEVE! Not so easy to live. Especially when the world creeps in to even the holiest of places......And we Christ followers, we don't understand. How in the world can this be? Not here! especially not here!

Oh Beloved, is there really ever a building that's so sacred, that not even the sinned soaked can't move into and take up space? And hear my heart.....I never want to put myself above any or all who walk in the doors that hold the CHURCH. You see, we have been told before that the walls are not sacred. That the bricks don't become holy, but it's the Christ lovers that make up the church. We are the Saints destined to be His disciples.

And we as believers, we will still stumble and fall. Please don't label me as perfect because I say I'm a Christian. I've messed up more times than I care to count. I still do. I still get myself into the muck and mire if I'm not careful. Just because I claim to be His, does not mean I have arrived, I am a work in progress.

This building you call Holy, holds all sorts of sinners. From baby believers to long time followers. We should welcome the Lost and broken. And yes they will see we are not perfect, but that shouldn't turn them away......although it does.

 I believe it's because we don't communicate with each other. I believe we create this facade unintentionally. We look and stare, talk and gawk. We forget who we are in short moments at a time until it's too late to notice the damage has already been done. We assume the worst and create upheaval by giving the silent treatment. We shy away from telling the Truth because.....Well because TRUTH hurts, sometimes. But speaking truth can also save so much pain in the long run.

When we see tongue lashers, liars, and ones with messy corners spilling out into the church, than maybe we should speak truth. Maybe we shouldn't walk away, give up and never go back. Maybe we should communicate in LOVE as Christ would.

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25

So what can we do? Well I believe one by one we should keep our temple HOLY. By looking into the messy dark corners of our hearts and asking Him to clean them up..........And asking daily.

Being real. Messing up and being humble enough to admit it. Realizing that just because we are in a building doesn't mean that the building is Holy. It's the Christ followers in it that make up the Church. And if we keep walking away because we see hypocrites then where are we to shine our light? Because we are called to go out into the world and in the world there is darkness and remember the world also walks in and out those doors all the time!

Being strong in Christ and not turning your back on those that may need to see just a little ray of hope somewhere.........Even the ones that need to hear the truth once in a while. Even the long time Christ followers need to see hope as they walk through this life. Holding each other accountable. The darkness will flee, especially all the brighter the light  shines.

We as Christ followers seem to forget the power dwelling inside us. We give up all too easy. Call it quits when the going gets tough. And then we wonder where has our God gone? Christians He is our voice, our courage, our strength....He is our Heart! So when the world starts creeping in to all those places we hold sacred, Remember who holds your soul!

Christ Followers, YOU. ARE. THE. CHURCH!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Comfort Places And Awkward Spaces

I create spaces and places in my mind so that they can be filled with sweet life.........

And I live with the intentions of creating memories....You know the ones that you tie up in pretty ribbon just so you can untie them again someday.

And it seems I'm having moment after moment of ribbon tying lately. Mixing and mingling with faces in certain places and I smile because this is what it means to LIVE life.

Eating ice cream with 8 middle school girls and playing the game Quelf. Being silly and doing things you wouldn't normally do other wise. Because things like that bring you closer....Make you real and touchable. And I look into the eyes of all of those girls and see my once awkward self, so afraid I'll never fit in. So afraid to live........I just want them to know how quickly these years pass and one day they will look back and wonder why all the fuss......I have this amazing urge to love on them and to just let them know how beautiful each and every one of them truly are.

Teaching scripture and realizing there are things we may never understand, but we can try real hard to learn together and love on one another because in the end LOVE is really all that matters.

My Open Door brings in people who were once strangers but so quickly become close friends. And I love to feed people and make them happy. I believe in being loved by someone other than the ones that already do, because in this world we need each other for every season and so many reasons.......

My daughters and I were able to help a homeless man the other day. We gave him a bag full of needful things. And I am reminded how spoiled I am. And how I need to get back to "simple" way more than I do. This man had such a thankful smile. I was blessed by his simple words....."Oh Thank you so much. I sure could use this!" And I'm thinking I sure could use LESS!

Worshiping The God/man who knew me even before I was cradled in my Mama's womb. Singing songs that melt my heart and stand me straight up because I can't imagine sitting down with a love so strong. And my hands are raised most of the night....uninhibited, unaware of 600 other brothers and sisters singing and praising right a long side me.

I noticed lately that moments come more often when your willing to open doors and windows. When your willing to be real and touchable. When you step out of your comfort places and step into HIS awkward spaces. Living life is more than an everyday chore. It can be an adventure if your willing to see with His eyes and follow His lead.....If your willing to LOVE the way He does.

The more I trust in His lead, the more incredible life gets! It may not always be Sunshine and rainbows, but I'm learning that  in everyday there is a hidden miracle or two just waiting for you to discover ........It's what you do with the miracles that matters in the end.

So if I'm not in this space often enough please forgive me, I was never one that liked a strict schedule.....I'm probably out tying ribbons somewhere. I promise I'll be back to share periodically to show you all my hidden miracles before I tie them back up for safe keeping.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Strawberries ~N~ Cream

This is an amazingly simple and wholesomely good dessert! Strawberries are in season here in Florida right now. So we have many opportunities to make up our own recipes, try new ones and stay true to the old ones. I wanted something simple but not having a simple taste and this is what I came up with!

You will need:
2 1/2 quarts of Strawberries
Honey {the real deal...not the stuff that has everything but the honey in it}
Molasses cookie crisps. You can make your own or buy them.
1 pint of heavy cream
1/2 cup unrefined pure cane sugar. { I know it's not the best for you, but it is better than that over processed bleached stuff!}
2 Tb. of corn starch

Wash, slice and hull 2 quarts of berries.
Place them in a medium sauce pan and turn your heat on low. Add a 1/2 a cup of unrefined pure cane sugar. Heat until sugar has melted and it starts to boil. This is going to be your Strawberry Glaze.

In a small bowl add 2 Tb. corn starch to 1 cup of water, mix well. Pour mixture in with your berries and simmer until it thickens. Remembering to keep stirring so it doesn't stick to your pan. After it has thickened turn off the heat and slice up some strawberries and add them to your Strawberry glaze. While that is cooling you can make your whipped cream.
I sweeten my Cream with honey....Mmmmm so Good!

Add 1 to 2 Tb. to a pint of heavy cream. Duhrool, Duhrool.......
Whip and mix and beat and whip and mix and beat some more until your heavy cream and honey becomes fluffy white clouds of heavy thickness.

This is the fun part! You get to layer your creation. Start with your molasses crisp cookies crumbled up in the bottom. Then your berry mixture, your whipped topping and more crumbled cookies. Top it off with your cream and add your cookie to make it pretty! Drizzzzzzzle the honey over the top and that's it! It tastes like you have been slaving for hours. It looks like you went to cooking school. Your husband will adore you and your kids will expect more tomorrow! *Smile*

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Home Made Granola

This Granola is amazingly addicting! I wanted to make my own granola so I searched on line and looked at several recipes and decided to make up my own.

It was so good I thought it was worth sharing!
You will need:

  • 8 cups of rolled oats
  • a 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of molasses
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup grape juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup of ground flax meal
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of craisins
  • 1 cup of dried blueberries
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
The first thing you need to do is melt your coconut oil and butter in a small sauce pan on the stove. Put 8 cups of oats in a large bowl add your melted oil and butter and stir well. Spread evenly on 2 cookie sheets. Put them in a 350* oven until oats are lightly toasted. Pull them out and pour them back into the large bowl.

Next you will want to take your molasses, brown sugar, grape juice and honey and put them in the small sauce pan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. You will want to keep stirring it. Then turn off the heat and add your vanilla.

Add your chips, nuts, cinnamon and berries to your oats. Mmmmmmm Looking yummy!
Then drizzle this sweet stickiness to your dry ingredients. 
 Mix well...........
Spray your foil covered cookie sheets with cooking spray and spread  the mixture evenly between the two pans. Place in a 325* oven for 20 minutes. 
Cut up into bars or............
Crumble it up and use it for topping your yogurt, ice cream, or put it in a baggie or a bowl and eat it just the way it is. Tastes so much better than store bought! I'm sure you could cut back on the sugar if your trying to cut calories. Or you can dig deep, pull up on that will power and refrain from eating too much! I'm diggin' deep! *Smile*

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!

In honor of Dr. Suess' birthday today I thought I would share my favorite story "The Sneetches".  I could relate to the sneetches when I was a middle schooler trying to fit in, not because of racial issues but, because of popularity and peer pressure issues. To me this book spoke in loud volume! Even as a child, I got it! I understood what it meant not to have "a star upon thars". So later on I went and got the infamous star and found there was no best kind of Sneetches! The star only labeled me something I was not.

The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss
Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball,
Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all.
You only could play if your bellies had stars
And the Plain-Belly children had none upon thars.

When the Star Belly Sneetches had frankfurter roasts
Or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts,
They never invited the Plain-Belly Sneetches
They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches.
They kept them away. Never let them come near.
And that’s how they treated them year after year.

Then ONE day, it seems while the Plain-Belly Sneetches
Were moping and doping alone on the beaches,
Just sitting there wishing their bellies had stars,
A stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars!

“My friends”, he announced in a voice clear and clean,
“My name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean.
And I’ve heard of Your troubles. I’ve heard you’re unhappy.
But I can fix that, I’m the Fix-It-Up Chappie. 
I’ve come here to help you.
I have what you need.
And my prices are low. And I work with great speed.
And my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!”

Then, quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Put together a very peculiar machine.
And he said, “You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch?
My friends, you can have them for three dollars each!”

“Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”
So they clambered inside. Then the big machine roared.
And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked.
And it bopped them about. But the thing really worked!
When the Plain-Belly Sneetches popped out, they had stars!
They actually did. They had stars upon thars!

Then they yelled at the ones who had stars at the start,
“We’re still the best Sneetches and they are the worst.
But now, how in the world will we know”, they all frowned,
“If which kind is what, or the other way round?”

Then up came McBean with a very sly wink.
And he said, “Things are not quite as bad as you think. 
So you don’t know who’s who. That is perfectly true.
But come with me, friends. Do you know what I’ll do? 
I’ll make you, again, the best Sneetches on the beaches.
And all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.”

“Belly stars are no longer in style”, said McBean.
“What you need is a trip through my Star-Off Machine. 
This wondrous contraption will take OFF your stars 
so you won’t look like Sneetches that have them on thars.”
And that handy machine working very precisely
Removed all the stars from their tummies quite nicely.

Then, with snoots in the air, they paraded about. 
And they opened their beaks and they let out a shout, 
“We know who is who! Now there Isn’t a doubt. 
The best kind of Sneetches are Sneetches without!”

Then, of course, those with stars got all frightfully mad.
To be wearing a star was frightfully bad. 
Then, of course, old Sylvester McMonkey McBean
invited THEM into his Star-Off Machine.

Then, of course from THEN on, as you probably guess,
Things really got into a horrible mess.

All the rest of that day, on those wild screaming beaches,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie kept fixing up Sneetches.
Off again! On again! In again! Out again!
Through the machines they raced round and about again,

Changing their stars every minute or two. They kept paying money.
They kept running through until the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
Whether this one was that one or that one was this one. Or which one
Was what one or what one was who.

Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went. 
And he laughed as he drove In his car up the beach, 
“They never will learn. No. You can’t Teach a Sneetch!”

But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say.
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day.
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
They had one, or not, upon thars.