Welcome to my blog! To get an idea of what this blog is about you might want to read the "About Me and My Family" page as a starting point. You can browse through the archives or head over to the "Articles" page to read on specific topics I've written on over the years. Keep checking back because I'll be posting new articals from time to time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More Than Obedience

This morning as I put on the little bit of makeup that I wear I felt pretty. Driving to work I admired the beautiful touch the fog had on the bright green trees. Later in the morning the weather was sunny and beautiful followed by a light rain that I could watch through the big double glass doors in "my" office. After I gave a piano lesson during my lunch break my student offered me a piece of cake that was accompanied with pleasant conversation. Throughout the whole day what could have been boring and meaningless was now filled with excitement and life!
Thankful for the small things. It's not just because I'm a Christian. I am thankful because I'm a Christian but being a Christian doesn't make me thankful automatically. There have been days that I wasn't thankful for even the big things in life but rather I could find a reason to dislike it. There were days that I woke up and determined to be thankful and muttered a prayer which consisted of things that I knew made my life better but my heart didn't reflect the words of the prayer. So if being a Christian isn't enough to make us thankful, then why is it so easy to be thankful some days and not at all on other days? Circumstances? I don't think so.
Luke 6:45 says "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." When our heart is full of selfishness, pride, anger, worry, and bitterness, it is impossible to be truly thankful. Being thankful to God and others is to be aware that we haven't gotten where we are today by ourselves. It means we realize how important others are to us and knowing we could never attain this happiness without God. There is a sense of humility in thankfulness. Sure, it's also an act of the will, but if we harbor bitterness in our heart and refuse to let go of the anger that drives us away from God then determining to be thankful out of obedience to God's word wont do us much good. God isn't concerned as much about us doing the right thing as He is with us being the right person and having the right heart.
So I don't just want to be thankful. I want to have a thankful heart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring is Coming!

After a very long and cold winter there are finally signs that spring is coming. One of those signs is strawberries! Every year I look forward to getting fresh strawberries and eating them in all sorts of different ways. Strawberries are such a bright and happy looking fruit (not to mention my favorite) and I have so many memories of going to farms and picking them with my family in the wee hours of the morning before it got to hot. This year it had been so cold that I forgot that it was time for them to come in! Just a few days ago we were sitting around the fire place to keep warm and now the weather is beautiful and I'm cleaning strawberries! That's the south for you!

I love seeing the clean strawberries in the colander!


This was my first time experimenting with the white chocolate drizzle.
I thought they turned out very well!

I hope y'all have a blessed day! To find out what else I've been up to, check out Bethany's blog and Amy's blog. It has been a busy 2015!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Walking in the Spirit

This past week my sister Bethany and I had an amazing opportunity to bring the word of God through a seminar to a woman's prison. Many of the women responded well and gave testimony of learning how to be thankful, break down strongholds in their life, and how to deal with irritations. One woman was so excited to tell us that before the seminar she had been crying out to God to answer the many questions she had about being angry, bitter, and many other things, but after the seminar she said that all her questions were answered! God had been faithful! Some women just wanted to talk about their hard life and Bethany and I were privileged to give a listening ear. By the end of the week Bethany and I had gained so many new friends in these ladies who loved the Lord so much! It was really sad to leave.

Every morning I prayed before we left and while we were in the car on the way to the prison. I wanted to walk in the spirit, but I was afraid that I would mess something up that would instead quench the spirit. God taught me several things about walking in the spirit. One morning He just told me to stop trying. I was trying to walk in the spirit in my own strength, when all I needed to do is rest in God and trust Him fully. If I did this, He would show me if there was sin in my life that needed to be repented of and He would tell me what to say and when. I had to learn to take my hands off of the situation and stop worrying about making mistakes. Worry will quench the spirit.

Another morning while I was praying in the car I told God, "I'm not doubting You, I'm doubting myself!" But God reminded me of Moses when he stood near the burning bush. Moses said that he couldn't do the job because he couldn't talk well. He had excuse after excuse until he finally told God, "You chose the wrong man!" He was really saying, "God, you made a mistake. I don't trust you to pick the right person to do the job." No wonder God's anger was kindled. God wasn't pleased to see his humble spirit, He saw that Moses didn't trust God to work through him. That morning I realized that I was doing the same thing. I knew that God could do wonders, but I didn't think He could do it through me. I had forgotten that He chose me for this mission so therefore I could be successful.

God showed me so many other things during the week that I will never forget. I saw God's power and it gave me a greater hunger to always walk in the spirit. The Saturday afterwards as Bethany and I were on the way to a church to babysit some kids for the evening I was overwhelmed with happiness as I realized that I am truly happiest when I am serving God. Everything else seems to fade away in the distance when I realize how great it is to be in God's will, walking in the spirit, and laying up treasures in heaven! God is so good!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Recipe, New Tool, and a New Song!

Soooo . . . the holidays are over and for the first time that I can remember, I'm kind of glad. Don't get me wrong, I loved having Phillip  home, looking at Christmas lights, making personal pan pizza's, decorating Christmas Cookies, participating in the Christmas Cantata, bowling with my siblings, the church youth cookout, some Christmas shopping, and the youth rally. But what I don't like about this season is changing the piano lesson schedule ("When did you say you were coming for your lesson?"), eating way too much, having to re-learn all those Christmas songs for church, and always staying so busy! Plus, I had to work the week of Christmas and the week of New years (just a fill-in job that I am  incredibly thankful for!) so no sleeping in for me!

But I said all that so that you would understand how excited I am to have a day at home! My brother Phillip left Monday, and Tuesday . . . well we wont go there. So today has been great! I tried a new recipe for lunch which my sisters and I really enjoyed. Easy Pull Apart Pizza Bread (you know, monkey bread style) is definitely one we are going to make again. I forgot to take a picture so you'll have to go to the link to drool over how delicious it looks. We are pizza lovers around here so it went over well!

Chopstir Beef Masher
Now for the new cooking tool. While my sisters and I were in TN and NC I was on the lookout for something to bring home to mama. Bethany showed me this cooking gadget that she used at summer camp and said it worked really well. I bought it but later decided to give it to Mama for Christmas instead. Anyways . . . mama loved it so much that she bought one for each of us girls to put in our hope chest and she bought one for each of her co-workers. Today I got to use it for the first time and it does make chopping hamburger so much easier. One lady that mama works for said that pampered chef cooks act like this is the magical wand. (Just so you get an idea at how great this is!) You can buy the Chopstir at Wal-Mart or cooking stores. It's worth the space it takes up! Here's a link if you want a better idea of what it looks like.''

He is Really All That Matters
Bethany, Amy, and I are learning a new song called, He Is Really All That Matters. How true that is! I hope y'all have a blessed week and that you make time to put God first!

Verse 1
If I could say one thing, it would be He's the best thing.
If I had only one word, Jesus would be heard.
If I had but one breathe, I'd use it to praise Him with.

For He is really all that matters.
When this thing is over, I've crossed death could waters.
We'll see more clearly, and see that really He's it.

Verse 2
If this were my last day, I'd shout Jesus all the way.
If this were my last mile, I'd spend it praising Him awhile.
If I had but one breathe, I'd use it to praise Him with.

If He hadn't love me, like He does I wouldn't be.
If He hadn't saved me, I'd suffer through eternity.
If I had but one breathe I'd use it to praise Him with.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sunday School Helps

The amazing prop room at ITG
When I went to In The Gap last year I learned so many valuable ways to communicate truth to children. We never taught a lesson without some kind of visual, hands-on activity, song, poem, or object lesson. Children simply don't want to listen to a 30-45 minute lesson, they want to see, feel, and touch. The more they can experience it themselves the more they will remember it and they more it will make sense.

Now that I am teaching Sunday School at my church I have tried to apply this to every lesson to some degree. Oh how I would love to have In The Gap's prop room at my house or church but since I don't, I have had to come up with my own resources.  Flannel graph is used every Sunday morning in children's church so I avoid using it to give the children variety. Some times it is hard to come up with ways to make the lesson come to life and since I have been using curriculum that has already been used years ago I don't have all the recourses that came with it.

So here are two recourses that I have found to be very helpful in preparing my Sunday School lesson.

Creative Object Lessons e-book
This  one isn't free, but it can be used over and over. I've used some of the object lessons they recommend and it has helped me come up with my own. When you run out of ideas and imagination, this book can spur on new object lessons.

Free Bible Images
This has to be one of my favorite (and most used) recourse. Before I found this website I would spend so much time looking for images to print up for my lesson. Some of the images would be to cartoonish, some were too small, while others weren't descriptive enough. This website offers 8x11 colored pictures that can be opened up by several different files and printed right at you home. They cover every aspect of the lesson and have such great detail. They always have more pictures than I would ever use so I pick and chose which ones I want. Just for the story of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dream there are 14 full size pictures. They also have a collection of real life photos if you prefer not to use the illustrated stories/ clipart. It's great! But I have noticed that I can't use these every week because the children will get bored after a while. I still have to incorporate new ways of keeping their interest.

Did I mention that they had EVERYTHING?

It was even organized!
 This week I was reminded to do everything with my whole heart. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Col. 3:23. I realized that for so long I had unconsciously  interpreted that to mean all my energy or effort, but there is a big difference between effort and heart. There are many people who can do something very well because they see it as their duty or because they are trying to please someone, but doing it with heart takes love, compassion, and commitment.

You may not teach Sunday School or help out in any children's ministry, but there are things you can do with all your heart. Find a way you can help out in church and do it heartily as too the Lord!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

When our pastor started getting this year's Christmas cantata put together he asked Bethany and I to do a piano/fiddle duet for the program. I'm thinking this is going to be no problem, we could do O Holy Night like we did another time or something similar. But a few days later Bethany e-mailed me the link to the Piano Guy's sheet music to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Ugh! I don't like sheet music! It's so much work. Why can't we just come up with our own arrangement by ear? But I knew this was something Bethany really wanted to do so I ordered the music download (all 9 pages of it!) and we got to work. We both thought we would only do half the song since the second half was a harder key, but we pushed ourselves through the whole song and now I can't imagine only playing half of it!

Looking back at the experience I am reminded that there are rewards when I do hard things. If I had never ordered the music I wouldn't have the pleasure of playing such a beautiful song or the enjoyment of blessing others with our melodies. Bethany and I also had the joy of spending many hours together laughing at our mistakes and  sharing our excitement over how much fun we were having! I am so glad we did it!

Since this is probably the biggest song we've done together, we decided to video it. We transformed our piano room into a recording studio complete with Bethany's camera lights and tri-pod. Amy was a great videographer! It was a lot more work than we expected and a lot more fun! Three hours and seven videos later we finally had to take a break so I could give a piano lesson. We thought we would have to resume our project the next day, but we found one that we all agreed was good enough.

The first video is our complete song and the second one is the bloopers. You may not find them unamusing, but we thought they were funny and it will give you an idea of how it came together. :)

I hope y'all have a merry Christmas!

Bloopers! : )

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Song In My Heart

One of my favorite types of music to listen to (Christian, of course) is piano instrumental. Listening to beautiful music inspires me to practice more so that I can play what I hear in my head and feel in my heart.

My newest CD is Hannah Rose Stahl's A Song In My Heart. Hannah and I met online through blogs and other social medias and found out that we had similar interests like our love for Jesus Christ, modesty, and music! Maybe that is why I like her CD so much, I know the values she has. I also know that a lot of work goes into making a CD like this which shows that she is not afraid to do hard things which is not very common these days.

But it's not just her character that I like. . . her piano playing is beautiful! Some of the hymns have a classical touch while others are very bouncy and fun! You can go to her website and hear some of the songs and order a CD. And while you're their, check out her blog!
I hope y'all have a great week!