Monday, March 30, 2009

What's On Your Mind '09 - Faith Journey

This Tuesday's What's On Your Mind, '09 challenges you to share your faith journey.



I was raised to always attend church. One of my earliest memories was being at children's church down in the basement of the church. We were singing the song, "Behold, Behold. I stand at the door and knock, knock, knock..." and we all turned around and pounded our fists on the metal chairs as we sang "knock, knock, knock."



So, from early on, I knew the Lord wanted to come into my heart. I just wasn't ready to let Him in.



It's funny, when you have been raised in church, people assume you are a Christian. But as Joyce Meyer says, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than sitting in my garage all day makes me a car."



When I was fourteen, my GA (Girls' Auxiliary) leader, Mrs. Bates, just came out point-blank and asked me if I have ever asked Jesus into my heart and made a public profession of faith. (You can read about Mrs. Bates here.) I told her no, I wasn't ready to do that yet. She told me that she hoped I wouldn't wait until it was too late.



The next week, I went with my parents on vacation. We traveled by car up north to visit relatives. While near Chicago, my dad had the brilliant idea to buy a used car he saw up there and bring it back home with him and sell it to make a profit. He said in Chicago you could buy cheap, but sell it high in Florida. Then he had another flash of brilliance; why not pull his car behind the used car back to Florida, thereby putting all the wear and tear on the car he was going to sell anyway?



What he didn't know was that the used car did not have a good exhaust system...



As we traveled down the highway, dangerous carbon monoxide gas was backing up into the back seat where I was sleeping. Deciding to stop for lunch in Nashville, he pulled into a parking lot and everyone tumbled out of the car -- everyone but me. When he was unable to wake me, he pulled me out onto the ground and frantically tried to get me awake. My eyes rolled back into my head and I moaned a few times but would not wake up. A kind stranger offered to take me and dad to the hospital.



The next thing I know a large nurse was trying to hold me down after she had waved something (smelling salts, maybe?) under my nose. After examining me, the doctor on call told dad it was a blessing he stopped when he did. If I had breathed much more of the carbon monoxide, I'd be dead!



I had one goal after that, just let me get home and back to my church. I was definitely going to go to the altar. I had almost waited until it was too late!



The next Sunday I made a beeline to the front when the invitation to accept Christ was given. I'm so thankful I didn't have to earn my salvation. I just admitted that I was a sinner (that was not hard to do!), I told the Lord that I believed that Jesus went to the cross for our sins and that I believed He arose after three days in the grave. I wanted to make a new start and turn from my old ways and become a new creation in Christ.



And that is how my faith journey began. I would like to say that I have served Him perfectly ever since, but that wouldn't be true. I have made mistakes, messed up, and even had times when I felt cold to the Lord and didn't respond to His Holy Spirit like I should have done. The great thing is whenever I would confess my failures, He forgave me!




"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9





If you would like to read other testimonies, visit Shane at Heart Reflections.

The Simple Woman's Daybook - March 30, 2009, Edition


FOR TODAY ...


Outside my window...


traffic passing by -- people on their way to work or school.


I am thinking...

that spring gives me energy! I just feel better when spring comes ...

I am thankful for...

the Lord's mercies. I need them ...


From the kitchen...

homemade chicken pot pie today and for tomorrow, crock-pot barbecue pork.

I am wearing...

my favorite brown pants, and brown, yellow and lime green top. (I may have put this on last week's post, but if I did, I promise my clothes have been laundered!)


I am creating...

still working on that "order out of chaos" thing!

I am going...

to run some errands today.

I am reading...

Galatians. I just finished Karen Kingsbury's "Divine."

I am hoping...

to summon up some will power to start exercising.

I am hearing...

the hum of the computer.

Around the house...

laundry needs to be done, and I STILL haven't put out my Easter tablescape.

One of my favorite things...

going out for ice cream with my friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

lesson preparation Tuesday evening, attending a play that my baby girl is in on Thursday.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...




I love this picture taken of two boys who grew up in my church, and their father, performing in a concert at our church. The boy with the banjo, Adam, wrote 3 of the songs they played! It does my heart good to see boys playing music for Jesus!


To read other daybooks, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's Fave 5 - March 27, 2009



Another week has rolled around and it's time for Friday's Fave 5, a time set aside to reflect on our week.



1. Sunday, after church, I took my baby girl shopping for a prom dress. Now, I'm not a shopper, and neither is she, and I was worried that the day might not go well. I worried in vain, it all worked out well. Bonding time with my child - you gotta love it!




2. Monday, I watched a couple of my favorite TV shows: "Little People, Big World" and "Jon and Kate + 8". Really, those two shows plus the game show channel is all I watch.




3. Tuesday was the day I set aside to get things ready for the board meeting. Imagine my surprise to find I had already typed up the minutes of last month's meeting. Hard to believe I didn't remember doing that, but it was a bonus to find a job already completed! I love getting out of work!




4. While reading a post this week, I found another favorite quote:

"Mistakes are the price we pay for being human; repeated mistakes are the price we pay for being stubborn!" Laurie at Women Taking A Stand. You can read her thoughts about this subject here.

Meditate on that thought for awhile!



5. As many of us have been sharing, we are all waiting anxiously for spring. One of the things I love most about spring is when the trees bud and flower. Here is a picture of a beautiful flowering tree outside my church that I took this week:



If you would like to read the favorites of others, visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Random


It's time to count our blessings. I do write a lot about thankfulness and sometimes I feel I might be repeating myself. Truly, we do have a world of things to appreciate. Today, I thought I might focus on some of my everyday blessings:

  • Chocolate - it just makes me happy.
  • Spell Check - a writer's best friend. (I did say this would be a random list, right?)
  • Sweet Tea - another thing that makes me happy and just seems to pep me up.
  • Email & Comments on My Blog - ok, I'm a "words of affirmation" girl. I truly love when people comment (so far I haven't gotten any negative ones) and I love personal email. Forwards? Not so much.
  • Books - I'm a voracious reader and would be lost without something to read. I even read the backs of cereal boxes. It's part of who I am - queen of a wealth of trivial knowledge!
  • Different translations of the Bible - It helps me so much to compare versions when I'm studying. My favorites are the Amplified Version, the New Living Translation, and The Message. Of course, I compare them with THE standard, the King James Version. If I'm having trouble grasping a concept, I read all four versions and usually feel much more enlightened. I might add that the first step is always to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for illumination of the scriptures.

Well, I must save some for another day. Look around you. I feel sure that, like me, you'll be able to list several every day blessings in your life. Now go share them over at Lynn's, Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's On Your Mind '09 - Radiant? or Dull?

This week's What's On Your Mind '09 assignment: Discuss the following question: Is your devotional life radiant or dull? Read Exodus chapters 33 - 34, paying particular attention to Moses’ relationship with God and his radiant face (as described in Exodus 34:29-35)

Radiant? or Dull? I would contend that there are times in any believer's life when it can be both. Unfortunately, in my experience, it seems that there are times when I'm very fervent with passion for the Lord, but it doesn't last forever. Life gets in the way. Trials and disappointment may temporarily dull my times with the Lord. However, the embers of my zeal for the Lord are always there. They just need to be "stirred up!"

The question is, how do I make my devotional life radiant? Using Moses as an example, I paid attention to what he did in Exodus chapters 33-34.

The first thing I noticed was that Moses made spending time with the Lord intentional. He set aside a time to meet with the Lord. He also designated a special place, the Tent of Meeting, to fellowship with Him. This Tent was far from the camp.

Do I set aside time for the Lord? What about a special place to meet with Him? Notice that Moses met far from the camp. Our time should be removed from the distractions of life.

I also noticed that when Moses talked to God, it was as friend to friend, and God responded in kind!


"So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face,
as a man speaks to his friend."
Exodus 33:11 NKJV
Moses also told the Lord that he didn't want to go if the Lord's presence didn't go with him. I was struck by the thought that friends talk that way. "I'll go if you'll go" is something I just said to one of my friends last week.

Moses also wanted to see God's glory. Shouldn't that be our aim, too? What would happen if during our devotions, we asked to see God's glory?

The thing that struck me most while reading this passage, though, was that Moses became most radiant when he was with the Lord for 40 days. He was so radiant that the people couldn't stand to look at him and he had to wear a veil! (See Exodus 34:28-29.)

I also want to point out that Moses paid a price for his radiance. The bible says he didn't eat or drink during that time. He was supernaturally sustained.

Going back to my question, "How do I make my devotional life radiant?" I think the answer is prolonged exposure to the Lord's presence.

When I'm feeling that the zeal of the Lord is dulling in my life, I should make certain that I spend even more time in His presence. I want people to see the radiance of Christ on my face!

Check out Shane's blog, Heart Reflections, and see what others had to say about this topic.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - March 23, 2009




FOR TODAY, MONDAY'S MARCH 23RD EDITION ...




Outside my window...



Spring!




I am thinking...



I have to start some type of exercise program.




I am thankful for...



for the growth I've been seeing at my church home.



From the kitchen...



sauerkraut and wieners tonight, tomorrow shrimp, salad & fried okra. I have not planned the rest of the week yet.



I am wearing...



brown pants, brown, lime green and yellow top, and SANDALS! (Hope it's not too early!)



I am creating...



order out of chaos. (This is my standard answer, and I'm still working on it!)



I am going...



to a city beyond compare, I'm going to a city and I must go there ... A city where the Lamb is the light! (Sorry, I couldn't resist -- there's a song that goes like that. I can't remember the whole thing ...)



I am reading...


"Divine" by Karen Kingsbury. I finally finished the Mitford series. I'm kind of sad there is no more ...



I am hoping...



to get a lot accomplished this week.




I am hearing...



silence! I love it!



Around the house...


my kidlets are gone to BETA convention -- all three of them. It's going to feel strange without them.



One of my favorite things...


tulips. I'm thinking about buying some for my kitchen. It just feels so spring-y!



A few plans for the rest of the week:


a couple forms need to be created for church, board meeting on Thursday night, a little stenciling around the house. I might go get my hair trimmed.



Here is picture thought I am sharing...



This is a picture of historic Bollinger Mill in Missouri. This picture was taken almost two years ago in the summer. I like the beautiful blue sky and fluffy clouds in this picture. Soon, it will be nice enough to go traveling to visit sites like this.

To read other daybooks, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's Fave 5 - March 20, 2009


Time for Friday's Fave 5! This is a time set aside to reflect on our 5 favorite things from this week. It could be an event, a picture, a quote -- anything that brightened your week.
1. One of the highlights of my week was that one of our church members, a returning soldier, came home from Kosovo safe and sound. We are so glad to have him back. Welcome home, Bro. Michael! You may not realize it but your church home is not the same when someone is missing.
2. We had a Welcome Home potluck for Bro. Michael and someone made one of my favorite things: 7 Layered Salad. It was delicious!
3. As I've said before in other posts, I am a procrastinator. This week, I did one of my favorite things - finished a project that had been hanging over my head. I got my taxes done. Why I kept putting it off, I don't know. I knew I was getting a refund and still did not want to do it.
4. Last night, I made one of my favorite dishes: Fried Rice with Shrimp. (It's sad that two of my favorites are food ... ) Anyway, I got the basic recipe from Mother Hen at Ship Full O' Pirates, and added shrimp to it. Thanks, Mother Hen! (Sorry, I couldn't find the link to the recipe.)
5. Here's a favorite scripture:
“In the morning O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
Psalms 5:3
Are you expectantly waiting?
To read other lists of favorites, visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday - We are Free!



This week's Thankful Thursday focuses on freedom. Lynn asks the question: "How has Jesus freed you?"



As I considered this question, I got to thinking about this verse:



"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are
in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1

and,

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:17


I have long struggled with feelings of condemnation, but when I focus on these verses I realized that Jesus isn't the one condemning me!

Well, if not God, then who? Satan, that's who! The bible tells us that satan is the accuser of the brothers (saints) in Revelation 12. Not only that, but he accuses us day and night.

Let's stop a minute and look at what condemn means: to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation. [Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary]

Satan tries to get me to feel that I am wrong most of the time, or that I'm no good (evil). Why, there are days he tries to get me to believe I'm not even saved!

That's not what Jesus does. He loves me with an unfailing love and with tender mercy. Not only that, but His righteousness is imputed unto me (or put into my account). When God looks at me, He sees Jesus' righteousness, not mine. Whew! Am I glad! My righteousness is less than nothing.

The Lord does convict, or convince of error or sinfulness. [Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary] He does tell me when I've sinned or had the wrong attitude, but He doesn't condemn me and say I'm no good or that I'll never amount to anything.

When I can grasp the fact that He is not condemning me in my soul, it frees me up. That awful weight of my own shortcomings doesn't press me down like it used to do. I realize that those times in the middle of the night when I wake up and rehearse all the times I've failed is brought upon me by satan, not Jesus!

It makes me feel ... well, free!

To learn how others have been set free, visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's On Your Mind '09 - Write Your Own Psalm

Our challenge this week at "What's On Your Mind, '09" is to write our own Psalm based on Psalm 31. Below is my humble attempt. One thing I've found is that I find it hard to be as wordy as David!

My Psalm 31
Section 1 - My Safe Place:
Protect me, Lord!
I know I can count on You because You always do the right thing.
Quick! Let me hide in You where my enemies can't touch me.
I trust You, Lord, I know You're faithful. I know You won't let me down because I have trusted in Your Name.
Satan has tried to trap me but You are my Protector.
I despise those who trust in other gods: I rely on You!
You make me joyful even though I'm hedged about with troubles and despair, I know You love me with a love that doesn't give up. Though Satan wants to hurt me, You have kept me safe.
Section Two - Lament:
Have mercy! I need help.
My heart is heavy. Sadness clings to me.
A weight of fear is crushing me -- it's paralyzing me and I feel as if I'll never get free.
I feel looked down on -- a failure. Failure as a person. Failure as a mother. Failure materially. I feel whispers behind my back: "she'll never amount to anything" "what will she ever have to show for her life?"
Section Three - The Big "But":
But I trust You!
I put my future in Your hands.
Give me favor ...
I know You won't let me down.
Let the evil ones know shame. Hush their mouths!
Section Four - Praise His Faithfulness:
You are Awesome!
You bless and protect those who honor You.
You do it with everyone watching!
You keep me safe from those who plan to bring me down.
Your Holy presence catches me up -- far from those who want to talk about me.
I praise You for keeping me safe when I was being attacked.
I felt fear and yelled,
"I can't feel you" and
"Have mercy on me."
And You did!
So, all my brothers and sisters in Christ, remember God will protect His loyal ones.
If you're prideful, you'll be brought down, but don't be fearful if you hope in Him.
Be strong!
Thanks to Karen at Surviving Motherhood who taught me about writing my own psalm. Visit Shane at Heart Reflections to see who else met the challenge!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - March 16, 2009



FOR TODAY, MARCH 16 EDITION...
Outside my window...
Sunny blue skies, 55 °
I am thinking...
of a new file system for all my hand-outs and bible study notes. I need lots and lots of hanging file folders!
I am thankful ...
that I finally got my taxes done. I feel great, without something hanging over my head.
From the kitchen...
I need inspiration this week. I think I'll visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.
I am wearing...
Brown pants, peach top. It's warm enough for short sleeves, today!
I am creating...
order out of chaos. (This could be my standard answer!)
I am reading...
"A Cousin's Promise" by Wanda Brunstetter
I am hoping...
to get an estimate on the labor for redoing my bathroom.
I am hearing...
my computer hum.
Around the house...
laundry and dusting needs to be done. (Always!) I also have a bookshelf that needs re-organizing.
One of my favorite things...
good services at my church. This week was one of the best!
A few plans for the rest of the week:
to take some walks, clean out that bookshelf, change my time for study and Sunday School lesson preparation to Tuesday nights instead of Saturdays. (Saturday has NOT been working out for me ...)
Here is picture thought I am sharing...


This shot was taken by me last Summer at a little park overlooking the Mississippi River. I want to go sit on that bench and watch the river float by.

To read other daybooks, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Fave Five: March 13, 2009



Once again, it's time to focus on our favorites for the week. This week wasn't one of the bigger weeks in the favorites department, but I can always find something I like:


1. A clean kitchen is one of my favorite things to come home and find. It just gives me a feeling of peace. What's even better? A kitchen that has been cleaned by someone else!


2. Another thing I love is Bath and Body Works shower gels and lotions. My current favorite is Midnight Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash.


3. Lime green shirts are a favorite to wear with all the black clothing I have.


4. My favorite worship song is "Open the Eyes of My Heart."


Open the eyes of my heart Lord,

Open the eyes of my heart,

I want to see You. I want to see You. (2x)


To see You high and lifted up,

Shining in the light of Your glory.

Pour out Your power and love,

As we sing holy, holy, holy.


Holy, holy holy.

Holy, holy, holy.

Holy, holy, holy, I want to see You. (2x)

(Written by Paul Baloche, Integrity's Hosanna Music)


5. One of my favorite candies, Andes Mints. I'm going to have one right now!


If you'd like to read other Fave 5 lists, visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Epic Story

Today we're focusing on how God's hand has been in our lives. Lynn, today's Thankful Thursday hostess said: "We are living, out loud, the grandest drama ever. Real-life far exceeds anything Hollywood will ever dream up. Living for Jesus Christ is exhilarating, challenging, difficult, rewarding, awesome, and certainly NEVER boring. Jeremiah 1:5 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Our destiny is not left to chance. Our lives are vital. We are all players in this grand drama, penned before time began. I am thankful I serve the Master Author. What is He writing in your life today?"

It's interesting that this was the topic chosen today since I had been doing a little geneaology research. It just so happens that a lady at church and I were talking about orchards. I mentioned that my great grandfather had an orchard in this part of the country. Turns out that her mom visited that very orchard many times and she had seen my relatives! She didn't know their first names but knew where they lived.

This fueled my curiosity because although I had heard my great grandmother mentioned many times along with my great uncles and aunts, no one had said much about my great grandfather. So, being a child of modern technology, I just typed in his name and the town he lived in and I found his obituary. I found out that he passed away before my father was ever born, which explained why Dad said little about him.

However, what was so exciting to me is that I found evidence that he was a Christian. Back in the day, an obituary could tell much more than just the statistical information that is so often written today. Read the following:

"In the year 1883 God's Holy Spirit opened
his heart that he attended unto the things spoken from the Lord. Saying the time fulfilled the kingdom of God's at hand repent ye and believe the gospel having given himself to the Lord now gives himself to the Lord's people casting his lot with them in the Missionary Baptist Church at ..." (location of church
removed.)



Isn't that awesome? You won't find that published in a newspaper today!

After listing all the family, the obit ends with this gem:

"He, with his companion assumed the burdens of
life energetically and industriously undergoing the hardships so common with those who are homebuilders. Under constant strain of storms of life and toil and strife he tires on lifes weary road. Affliction seizes his battles for freedom for more than two years he at last succumbs to death on March 15, 1928 at the age of 70 yrs, 9 mths, 1 day. This ends the history of one of God's noble men, a loving companion, a good father and neighbor. He has gone and many relatives and friends will miss him. But the thorn strewn paths [nor?] again shall pierce his
glory guided feet as he humbly vies around God's throne and his dear name repeat."


To me, this relates with our topic of God working in our lives. My great grandfather was a man of faith, who I'm sure prayed for his offspring to be likewise. This post would be way too long if I listed all the twists and turns that our family has taken through out the years. Despite all that has happened, I was raised in church. The Word says that no one can come to the Father unless the Spirit draws him. It's no accident that the Lord had His hand on me. I've often wondered why the Lord chose to bless me when so many that I grew up with never had any Christian influence at all.

"Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God
is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9


This truly is an epic story. Epic means "extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope." This story extends beyond a generation. God is working in my life, just as He first worked with my great grandfather and on down to me and my children. Who know what He has in store for my grandchildren!

To read how God is working in other people's lives, visit Lynn's blog here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WFMW-Bathroom Stone


My hubby and I are getting ready to re-do our bathroom. Our bathtub is old. I'm talking 50 years or more old. It was stained and embarrassing to have anyone look at it. We went and priced new tubs. The one I liked was $214; however, that is not the only cost. You have to figure hiring someone to take out the old tub and then installing the new tub. There's not a lot of space to take out the old one, so you might have to take out a wall. Costs might run to at least $1000, just for the tub.


I didn't want to spend that kind of money, yet I hate that tub!


One day, at Wal-Mart I saw a type of pumice stone for bathrooms. I remembered I had read on Flylady that pumice stones could get stains off toilets, so I thought why not try it on a bathtub?


I purchased the "Bathroom Stone" for $3.27. (See the picture below.) I brought it home and told my hubby about it. He was skeptical that it would work. We had tried everything over the years on that tub. Nothing budged those stains.


Later that night (hubby is a night owl), I heard the sounds of scrubbing. It went on for a long time. I smiled to myself because I knew it must be working or he wouldn't scrub that long.


I wish we would have taken before and after pictures. When I got up and went in to see my husband's handiwork, I was amazed! It looked pretty and white, just like new.




My $3.27 (and hubby's hard work scrubbing) saved us up to $1,211! That works for me!


Now, let me clarify a couple things. You do really have to scrub to get a stain out. It takes elbow grease! Also, you can't use this on fiberglass tubs, ours was a cast iron tub with a porcelain finish. But if you're thinking of replacing an old tub, give it a try. You might save yourself a bundle.


For more great ideas, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.





Tasty Tuesday - Jerri's HomeMade Hamburger Helper



I'd like to share with you now my world-famous HomeMade Hamburger Helper -- well, Liss and I like it, anyway ... This is a quick, cheap meal that can be served with basics that are in your pantry. It doesn't have any nasty preservatives!


Jerri's HomeMade Hamburger Helper


Step One: Brown one lb. hamburger in skillet. Sprinkle in dried onion flakes to taste. When hamburger is done, drain grease and return hamburger to skillet.


Step Two: Pour into skillet 1 small can tomato sauce. Rinse out can with half cup water and add to mixture. Add 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Simmer on low heat.


Step Three: Meanwhile, put on water to boil in 3 quart saucepan. When water is boiling, add approximately 8 oz. pasta. I usually use rotini, but last time I did bow-tie pasta and it was great. When pasta is done, drain and add to mixture in skillet. Mix well and bring to boil. Cover the top of the mixture with shredded cheese. (I usually use colby-monterey jack mixture.) Put a lid on the skillet and turn off the heat. Steam for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.


This is yummy and filling. I usually serve this with corn and bread and butter. As a bonus, it makes great leftovers to take in your lunch if you have access to a microwave!

For more great recipes, check out Kim's Tasty Tuesday at ForeverWherever.com.

What's on Your Mind '09 - The Bucket List

This week's "What's on Your Mind, '09" is about what is on your bucket list. What do you hope to accomplish before your life ends? We've been asked to leave out the obvious such as wanting to see our kids married.


When I think about what I want to do before I die, I think in three areas. The first area is kind of superficial. For example, I'd like to visit every state in America. (I'm not even half there yet.) I'd like to go on a cruise. Those things are great, but if I don't get it done before I pass on, it's no tragedy. I'm sure the scenery in heaven will more than make up for what I missed here on earth.


The second area is victory in discipline. What I mean by that is that I don't want to die knowing that I never was able to be disciplined in my body or in my habits. When I go, I want to be at my goal weight. I want to leave this world with no unfinished business - no clutter in my house that needs to go, no work that should have been done.

Finally, in the most important area of all, spiritually I want to complete my calling. I've always felt that I have been called to be an encourager. I want to continue this until the day I go. More than that, I want to have the assurance that not only am I going to be with Jesus, but others whose lives I touched along the way will be there, too!

I realize I can't just float along through life and all these things will be magically done by the end of my life. I'm going to have to intentionally work at getting these things crossed off my list. It's a scary thought, but my time is already more than half over, even assuming I live to be really old. I'll have to have the Lord's help -- which brings to mind another question -- what is the Lord's bucket list for me? That's a whole 'nother post!

I'm going to indulge my love of listing, and actually write out a bulleted bucket list:
  • Visit every state in the United States.
  • Go on a cruise.
  • Reach my goal weight.
  • Be a published author.
  • Know that I've made a positive spiritual influence for Christ on people. (I haven't figured out exactly how this can be measured, I may have to wait until I get there to find out!)


I also realize that the older I get, the less on that list will seem as important. And 5 years from now, that list could have different things on it. I know that the last item on my list is the really the most vital and will always be my main goal.

Visit Shane at Heart Reflections and see what others had to say about their bucket list.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - March 9, 2009



FOR TODAY MARCH 9 EDITION ...



Outside my window...
blessed sunshine and 50 degree weather!


I am thinking...
of how much I love my life!

I am thankful for...
my hubby of 33 years. He is my blessing.

From the kitchen...
homemade pizza tonight, and I have a chicken paprika recipe I want to try sometime this week ...

I am wearing...
dark brown pants and shoes with a lime green shirt.

I am creating...
a peaceful home, one step at a time.

I am going...
to run errands on my lunch hour.

I am reading...
Galatians. I'm reading a book of the bible 20 times before going on to the next one for my devotion time this year. I'm on #13 for Galatians. I'm guessing it might take me a long long time to read each book of the bible 20 times!

I am hoping...
to do better in the area of self discipline.

I am hearing...
the tick tock of the clock.

Around the house...
things are looking pretty good right now, but there's always laundry! I also want to change out my table runner and decorations for something Easter-y.

One of my favorite things...
apple slices with peanut butter.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I have some correspondence I need to get caught up on ...

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

These are my babies! I love pictures of sisters. I'm thinking of making a scrapbook filled with sister shots ...

To read other daybooks, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Friday's Fave 5 - March 6, 2009



Happy Friday! I love to participate in Friday's Fave 5 where we share 5 of our favorites from our week.


1. My first favorite I want to share is my favorite author, Karen Kingsbury. This week I was able to read, "This Side of Heaven" and "Every Now and Then." It's not every week that I get to read two of her books!




2. Secondly, a favorite scripture: "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you." Isaiah 26:3




3. One quirky thing about me is that I love to create new file systems. I set up a new one this week. I feel great when everything is in order!




4. A new favorite quote:



I pray to God this day to make me an extraordinary Christian. –Whitefield




5. One of my favorite wall arrangements is shown below: the cross stitch picture of the poem "Footprints" was found at a yard sale for $5. (Can you believe someone would sell all that work that they did for $5???) The Home Interior plaque on the upper left is a copy of the ten commandments. The heart shaped plaque (also Home Interior) is inscribed with Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." This has special meaning because it was a gift from my former pastor's wife, who is now in heaven.






If you'd like to read other favorites, visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Thankful Thursday - Bloggy Voice



It's Thursday! Time to reflect on what I'm thankful for today.




I was thinking yesterday about how thankful I was to have become part of the blogosphere. I am excited about all the people I meet and the ideas shared on blogs -- I have learned so much!




I count my blog as one of my greatest possessions. It is free, but I have to put some work into it. It's just a little blog right now, but it contains a lot of my thoughts, ideas, pictures, and recipes. It means a lot to me.




My dearest hope is that someone will visit my blog and see that I love the Lord. I hope to encourage and edify believers, and make non-believers consider Christ. If I can do that for just one person, I will be thrilled!




Thankful Thursday is hosted this month by Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Visit her blog and see what others are thankful for this week.

SFMTY - Kitty-Cat Cake



Last week, at the SFMTY carnival, Wilma posted a picture of a Winnie the Pooh cake she tried to decorate for Pebbles. I thought she made a really good attempt. I promised to share my efforts at cake decorating.


Behold, my kitty-cat cake:



Actually, this was my second attempt. This cake was served at my youngest daughter, Malia's, first birthday. My first attempt was this same cake, 21 months earlier, at Janae's 1st birthday. Her cake was green. I don't know why since I had never seen a green cat! I suspect that it was because green food coloring was what I had on hand.


I've searched through all my pictures and I can't find a picture of the green cat. I'm pretty sure it is on the VHS video we took of her birthday. It's too bad you can't see it, because it was something else. From cutting the cake into shapes to assemble my cat, crumbs collected all over the top. Being the culinary genius that I am, I did not brush all those crumbs off; therefore, the green cat had chocolate freckles all over his body!


I got the idea for the kitty-cat cake from my trusty Betty Crocker's Cookbook. The cookbook is a classic, but I don't know about that cake!


If you'd like to see other humiliating photos, head over to Marcy's at The Glamorous Life Association. She is now hosting Sincerely 'Fro Me to You.



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

WFMW: Greatest Tips Edition - Totebag Queen


This week's Works for Me Wednesday is a themed edition: we are to share our best tip that we have shared in the past. I pulled up all my WFMW posts and decided that my post about using totebags garnered the most attention. I truly do use this tip every day of my life!


Let me just say, "I love totebags!" A really cool totebag is so awesome. Maybe I love them so much is because I like to have my stuff with me wherever I go. As a former girl scout, I love to be prepared for anything.


However, the reason that I am Queen of the totebags is that I have learned to use them to be organized. If you are like me, you have more than one area of your life that you need to be organized. For example, I am a working mom with two jobs, a Sunday School teacher, and for the time being, a worship leader. I have totebags for each of these areas.


On Sundays, I obviously need the Sunday School totebag. I keep my notes for my lesson, my prayer list, notebook, pencil, and my "going to church" bible in this bag. [I don't take my study bibles to church because they are large print and so heavy. I have a cute pocket edition of the bible that I take to church and squint as I read.] This is also useful to take special items in. Did I promise to bring Sister Church Member a copy of my fabulous taco dip? I copy it and drop it into the Sunday School tote. Was I going to loan the Pastor a book? Drop it in the bag. When Sunday comes, I don't have to search for things, I just grab the bag and go.


I have totebags I carry for each job. For my main job that I go to every day, I also include some stationary, stamps, and greeting cards in that bag so that during lunch hours and breaks I can go about "encouraging others." I also put in bills that I need to pay, which takes away from the good feeling of encouraging others but keeps others from having to write me at the debtor's prison.


On Wednesdays, I take my work totebag and my worship leader totebag to work with me. On my lunch hour, I break out the worship leader bag and go through my songs for Wednesday night and get organized for the night. Then I leave the bag in my car so that as I rush home to fix dinner, clean up the kitchen and then jump in the car to drive 35 minutes to church my mind can be free of worrying that I forgot something.


When I used to go to Curves [long story] I had my workout totebag with, you guessed it, work out clothes and tennis shoes.


When I tan, about a month every year, there is a special totebag with my tanning lotion, goggles, etc.


I'm just sayin', every area of my life has a totebag. It works for me!


For more ideas, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cry of the Heart - John 4:4

This week's challenge for "What's OnYour Mind, '09" is to write a devotional. Visit Shane at Heart Reflections to read the other blog devos.




John 4:4 “And he must needs go through Samaria.”



It is so interesting to me that the Word tells us that Jesus needed to go to Samaria. It even said that He must! One of the dictionary meanings for the word must is “to be required by immediate or future need”.

Why did He need to go to Samaria? Could it be that the cry of someone’s heart summoned Him?

In Jesus’ day, taking a detour was not a simple thing. After all, He and His disciples walked everywhere they went. Today, we don’t take the time to call someone that is on our heart; however, He spent the better part of the day walking just to talk to someone.

That someone was the woman at the well. The Bible doesn’t tell us her name. Maybe that was a kindness. Perhaps if people knew her name, they would look down on her for having five husbands.

Five husbands. Five rejections. How bruised the heart of this woman must have been! Could it be that each time her marriage ended, she cried out to God, “Help me! What’s wrong with me? Why does this keep happening?” Or perhaps, she was the one that ended those unions. Perhaps guilt wracked her conscience.

Whatever the reason, Jesus heard her heart cry. At just the right time, He showed up. He offered her the Living Water, the only thing that would heal that broken heart.

Father, I thank You that You hear the cry of our hearts that no one else hears. It’s so wonderful to know that if need be, You will go out of Your way to show up and meet our need. There is no other God like You! You are full of loving-kindness! I love you! Amen.

Tasty Tuesday - Easy Cheese Potatoes



I'd like to share with you one of my family's favorite side dishes, my easy cheese potatoes. I most frequently serve it with meatloaf.


Easy Cheesy Potatoes


Peel 4 medium potatoes and slice into circles. Put the potatoes in a pan of water and bring to a boil on top of the stove. Cook about 10 minutes.


While potatoes are cooking, make you basic cheese sauce. Combine the following:

2 tbsp. butter, melted



2 tbsp. flour



1/4 tsp. salt



1/8 tsp. pepper



1/8 tsp. dry mustard (very important!)



1 C milk



Mix together with a whisk. Microwave two minutes at a time until thickened. Next, add slices of Velveeta cheese until it becomes the cheesiness that you like. It takes about 8-9 slices for my family. I add about 4 slices at a time and microwave the mixture and then stir, then add more cheese and melt it.


Next, drain the potatoes and place in a casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle the top with extra cheese. This time, I used shredded cheddar cheese but I often put a shredded colby and monterey jack cheese mixture on top of my potatoes.


Then nuke it for 7 minutes.


Wah-lah! Easy-peasy Cheese Potatoes





Comfort food at its cheesiest.



For more great recipes, visit Kim at ForeverWherever.com for her Tasty Tuesday Parade of Food.

Simple Woman's Daybook, March 2, 2009




FOR TODAY, MONDAY, MARCH 2 EDITION...

Outside my window...

9 degrees wind chill!

I am thinking...

about certain old memories that came to mind this week. If you believe, as I do, that nothing happens in your life that is not God-ordained, these memories helped shape the person that I am and God had a purpose for them.

I am thankful for...

for those same memories!

From the kitchen...

I have not done too well in the menu planning department this week. So far I've planned to have a meatloaf night and a ham and beans night, but am stymied on the rest of the week.

I am wearing...

my favorite brown pants, brown top and brown boots with my moss green suede jacket.

I am creating...

a plan to re-do my bathroom. Actually, my hubby and I are working together on this.

I am going...

to Wal-Mart after work ... once again ...

I am reading...

"Shepherds Abiding" by Jan Karon. Amost done!

I am hoping...

for Spring!

I am hearing...

of growth in both my churches. It is exciting!

Around the house...

plans to update a few things. A new stove may be in the works!

One of my favorite things...

candlelight from scented candles. (I'm sure I've said this before but I do really love them.)

A few plans for the rest of the week:

some bloggy goals to be written, some paperwork to be done.

Here is picture thought I am sharing..
Take heart, the landscape will be green again! Here's a picture that helps me to remember that, and not focus on the gray, drab and dreary outdoors that I presently see outside. (This was taken a couple summers ago. I took this with my old camera with 5 megapixels. I want to try it again with my new 8.2 megapixel camera)
To read other daybooks, join Peggy at The Simple Woman.