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.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Apple Pie Oatmeal

A few months ago I started eating oatmeal, mostly because I saw this delicious looking recipe. I knew I wouldn't be able to start eating oatmeal unless it had lots of flavor and this recipe does. I don't feel guilty for eating this for breakfast because it has fruit and oats in it. Healthy, right? I've also substituted the apples with peaches.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

1 apple, cored and chopped (I don't eat the skins)
1 cup water
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Then add the oats, apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Adjuste the heat to low and simmer the oatmeal for 3-5 minutes. Serve it with a splash of milk if desired and a little or a lot of brown sugar sprinkled on top.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Today, my expectation is from God.
It is time for thee, Lord to work.
Today I want to see God at work
in the children's lives and in my life.
Today I choose not to complain
and have determined not to fear,
For the Lord is my helper.
Today I am going to be diligent as an ant
Never stopping, always going.
Today the wicked and my enemies shall
stumble and fall when they come against me. (Ps. 27)
Today I shall be victorious because greater is He
that is within me than he that is in the world.
Today I shall remember that Christ is my life
and I am merely a servant to all but that which is evil.
Today I will thank God as much as I possibly can
and meditate on who He is.
This day belongs to God.
Today, I live a surrendered life.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maple Butter Blondie

Several months ago I found a copycat recipe for Applebee's Maple Butter Blondie. I've never ate this at Applebee's, but the picture looked so good I just had to try it. The first time I made it my whole family was complaining because I didn't make a larger pan! Several batches later this has become our favorite dessert . . . and it's not even chocolate! It's that good! The original recipe is found at recipesecrets.net. Oh, and did I mention it is super easy and quick? It's best when eaten warm, so you don't even have to wait for it to cool!

Applebee's Maple Butter Blondie
Ready In: Under 60 minutes

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or more if desired)
1/3 cup butter or margarine (melted)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Maple Butter Sauce
3/4 cup maple syrup ( I highly recommend using REAL maple syrup )
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add baking powder, baking soda and salt to the already sifted flour. Then sift dry ingredients again.
Add chopped nuts and mix well. Set aside.

Add brown sugar to melted butter and mix well. Then add egg and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Add flour mixture, a little at a time, until mixed well.
Stir in white chocolate chips. Spread out dough in a 9-inch pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick or fork to test if it is cooked in the center.
Serve warm with ice cream and Maple Butter Sauce.

Maple Butter Sauce
In a pan, add real maple syrup and butter, cook over low heat until butter is melted. Next, stir in brown sugar until completely dissolved. If you desire, add walnuts. Best served with vanilla ice-cream.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Leaving for the Ministry

This Thursday I'm flying out west to join a group of young people to work with a children's ministry. I can't help but think back to the day God told me to quit my job to do ministry work and the only ministry work in sight was one week of youth camp. Now, several months later, I'm leaving for 2 1/2 months to serve God in a way that I've never done before. A step of faith has now turned into sight. I will be stretched beyond any service I have ever worked with, forced to look at myself to see where I am lacking, and expand my outreach to others. Yes, I'll be out of my comfort zone but it's during those moments when I feel totally inadequate that I have to depend on God all the more. Like I should every day.

I always doubt if I am doing God's will. Did God really lead me to this ministry? Is this really the right time? What if I was wrong? While all these questions went through my mind yesterday I was prompted to ask God to rebuke the devil (if the doubts were in fact coming from him and not myself) and then purify my mind with scripture. Realizing that I haven't changed my calendar to September, I flipped up the next page and read the scripture that was printed on the picture. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:" Hebrews 10:23-24. With that in mind I can go forward confidently knowing that God will be faithful.

I have always wanted to work in the ministry but when I actually got a chance it was hard to believe that my desire was really being fulfilled. And of all places it's in the west! Somewhere I've always wanted to visit! God is very good!

I've scheduled a few posts so that this little spot on the web doesn't go completely dormant. I don't expect to be able to post any updates while I am away, but when I return I will write of all the things God has done.

All of this started with committing my life to the Lord. Don't hold back! Surrender everything to the Lord and be willing to do His will. I'm glad I did.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Love Letter From God

God is all this, and so much more!

Monday, August 12, 2013


If two people read a scripture and take away the same interpretation, but one thinks upon it for a long time while the other goes on to other things, the one who meditated on the scripture will get strong.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Will I love my life unto death?

The junior kids playing "Crazy Bird"
Two weeks ago three of my siblings and I went to a camp in North Carolina where we enjoyed some crazy fun and great church services and devotion time. I went as a helper from our church so I didn't get to do everything, but I enjoyed being right where I was at. I followed the junior kids and took lots of pictures while they had their chapel time and fun activities, and even made it to a few of the teen activities and church services. I absolutely LOVED the junior's preacher and his ministry he has for children. His silliness (or crazyness?) kept their attention, yet he also knew how to get on their level with the spiritual things so that they knew exactly what he was talking about. He took time for everyone whether it was playing carpet ball with them or talking about a hard trial in their life. His heart was full of compassion and he took everything they said so seriously. He is a great example of what a children's ministry worker should strive to be.

Bethany and Amy durring group time.
Throughout the week we heard a lot about mission work and the great need for missionaries in the 10/40 window. Even the juniors learned, durring a message titled "Open Your Eyes", about chilren in other countries who were suffering. One of the scriptures that was expounded upon during the week was Revelation 12:10-11, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." Many people don't give their lives to become missionaries because they love their lives. Since hearing this message I have kept asking myself, "Am I going to love my life unto death?" It would be a tragic thing to stand before God one day and realize that I could have done so much for eternity and those who will spend it in heaven or hell, but I chose to spend my life - my short life - enjoying the pleasures of life?

Phillip durring group time.
 Bob Roberson, that I just spoke of, began to realize that he was not giving God his all, but was instead living the American dream. When the opportunity arose, he and his wife moved to Hong Kong where he and his wife teach english and the Bible in the public shools. He extanged his large house for a smaller one, a home by the river for a home in the crowded city, and comfortable places to serve God for a life long experience of serving God in a foreign land. Bob Roberson chose not to love his life unto death. What will we do?

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Scrapbook Solution

I have quite the collection of scrapbook paper and tools that I have bought or where given over the years. I don't do much scrap-booking, but I love to make cards and (my new interest) envelopes. But every time I get my scrap-booking supplies out I get frustrated at the unorganized mess it is in. I use to store it in a large, shallow container that fit under my bed, but that didn't work well, so I now keep everything in a 31 bag my aunt gave me for Christmas. It's a cute bag, but not practical for storing scrapbook supplies.

Today while I was making a card I came up with a fabulous way to store my scrap pieces of paper that always get bent and tore. I took an scrapbook that I'm not using (and probably wont for a long time) and put all the little leftover pieces of paper in each sleeve. 

Some of them are color coordinated, while there were some scraps I couldn't do that with.

My supplies are far from being as organized as I want them, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. So, while we're on the subject . . . here's some of the cards I've made. Nothing fancy, but I love the look of a handmade personalized card.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Best Time Management

Martin Luther once said, "If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer." That has never left my mind. So busy he has to spend three hours in prayer? Don't we usually think the opposite? If I'm very busy my first tendency is to spend less time in prayer, not an extra hour! But what a great mistake that is.

While at a Set Apart Girl Conference in June Leslie Ludy said that the best time management is prayer. I have since made an effort to make prayer a priority in my life and have been so blessed by doing so! This morning I didn't make much time to pray, but I prayed anyways and continued to pray as I did my hair and made my bed before I left for a shopping trip to buy some necessary items. From the first store to the very last I found everything I needed and in a timely manner! I almost always go home without something on my list because I couldn't find what I needed or I got so frustrated that I decided to buy it later, but this morning it was so easy to find everything I needed with no frustration. A huge blessing was to find modest clothes and on sale as well! Praise the Lord! Putting God first is the best thing I could ever do! Thanks, Easter, for the inspiration to put this to the test!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A week of being TOGETHER

Last week we had a great week of Youth Camp with almost 200 campers and counselors. The theme was "I Can Through Christ" which was so amazing, because while I was preparing for camp I knew that the only way I could make it through the week successfully is to let Christ work through me. He did that and so much more! All week I could feel God helping me every step of the way. I felt empowered by God in a way that I've never felt before.

I enjoyed having church in an open air tabernacle!

It was such a blessing to see teenagers get right with God, apologize to their friends and siblings, and surrender their lives to God and the ministry. God worked in a mighty way in so many lives. On Thursday night God began to show himself to me before the service even started. He showed Himself to be mighty, strong, a protector, and lover of my soul. He showed me that I have no reason to fear, because he is more than capable to help me as I try to accomplish His will. His presence was very real from the first song we sang and by the time the preaching was over I couldn't wait to find a place to praise and worship my God! The time I spent with God was so sweet! When I went back to the church service God was working in others lives and we were able to have a wonderful time encouraging each other and praying with one another in the very presence of the God himself. God showed me how precious togetherness is. What great joy there is in praying together. Praising God together. Singing to our Lord together. That night we experianced that God's goodness is too great to be kept to ourself.

Every one fo the morning devotions spoke to my heart.

Other blessings from the week was seeing people with such a great servant's heart that encouraged me to be more ready to serve at the first sight of need. The activities we had were loads of fun and we made friendships that will not be easily forgotten. I believe the greates result of the week was knowing that lots of young people went home seeking God's will for their life and entertaining the thought that they need to take a new path on a journey designed by God, not themselves. For some, that means being a better example at their school and speaking up for what is right, others may feel they need to get more involved with their church and start hanging out with Godly friends instead of the worldy influence they have been around, while some now realize that God wants them to serve Him to a far greater extent then they ever imagined. So many of us have decisions to make and a lot of praying to do as we seek God's will for our lives. One thing is certain, God is trustworthy. If we give Him control, He will not steer us in the wrong direction. God has promised that if we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him! (Due. 4:29)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Starting a New Chapter in This Life

(Part III [final]. Scroll down to read Part I and II.)

Monday when I got to work I told my boss and then all my co-workers that I was turning in my notice. They were all sad to see me go, but they said they were proud of me and didn't blame me for making that decision. I was very happy to tell them all the amazing details of how it came to be and they all made it somewhat easy for me to leave because they all backed this decision.

Within a few minutes of telling them I was quitting, someone reminded us that a woman who use to code at the hospital and was the manager of medical records at one time, had moved back to the area only three weeks prior and she just happened to be looking for a job. Ever since I had worked at the hospital I've heard about what a great coder she was and how everyone loved her. I knew right away she would be the perfect replacement, because after all, I still loved the hospital and I wanted to see someone who knew what they were doing to take my place. So they tried to get in contact with her right away knowing that she would need a lot of training before I left. They couldn't find her phone number online, so one of my co-workers drove to the neighborhood where she lived with the hopes that she would remember which house was hers. Later she told me how she found her: As she turned the corner, there she stood talking to her daughter on her cell phone. Had my co-worker been a few minutes earlier, she would not have been at the corner, and had she been a few minutes later, she would have walked across the road to someone else's house. It was as if God told her to go out to the road and wait. When we heard this even my co-workers knew that God was in this. I was so glad that God was receiving recognition and glory for everything that was taking place.

Tuesday she was interviewed and Wednesday she was hired. It all happened so fast and smoothly! The last week that I worked I was able to show her how I did everything and I am confident that she will do great.

The last two days of work and the few days following were kind of scary because this is the first time in six years that I haven't had to work. I was afraid that I might not manage my time wisely or that I wouldn't feel like I really had a purpose. At least when I went to work every day a part of me felt like I was being a wittness to those I worked with, but now my average day will consist of staying home until God opens up more opportunites. But then I was reminded that I have to depend on God moment by moment and turn to Him to know how to spend my time. He wants me to surrender all my time to Him, something that I couldn't do while I was at work, but now I can.

So for now I will spend my time studying my Bible, preparing devotions for camp, reading the many books on my desk, hanging out with my family, and what ever the Lord tells me to do. That is amazing to me! My schedule belongs to God and I'm trusting Him with it. Moment by moment. Oh, and this week? I'm watching the ATI Conference in Nashville TN *Live* in my own living room. Something else I wouldn't have been able to do while I was working! God is good!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Decluttering my Life

Sometimes decluttering my life is so much more than cleaning my desk out or organizing my schedule. Sometimes it's not a matter of when should I do it, but should I do it? Last week I deleted two folders from my computer. Remote Coding and Wedding. Those are two things I no longer have to think about right now amidst everything else. I am devoted to serving God and God alone. . . and it feels great!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

God is the Master Ochestraitor

(Part II. Scroll down to read part I.)

The next day as I was getting ready to climb into bed and go to sleep, I strongly sensed God was telling me to pray. So I knelt down and began my usual prayers, not thinking about anything particular. Within seconds I realized that what He really wanted me to do was stop and listen. So I did, and I instantly felt like I should quit my job. I thought, "That's not God. That's my own thoughts. That's just me wanting to quit." So I got up and went to bed and as I rolled over I felt like I was turning my back on God. It was as if God had told me to do something and I was ignoring Him. My spirit was quenched. This made me think that maybe it was God speaking to me. My mind raced as I thought about all the ways my life would be impacted if I no longer had to work 40 hours a week. It was sad to think of leaving the ladies I had worked with for almost 5 years, but exciting to think about all the better things I could do with my time. The next day I couldn't think of nothing else. I decided that as soon as I got home I would pray about it, but God seemed to say "What is there to pray about? I've already told you what to do." It was that clear!

As I read Psalms 90, verses 10-12  stood out to me as the desire of my heart. "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.  Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." I felt as if I was wasting time as I filed paper work at the hospital day after day. It wasn't completely useless, but I saw very little fruit coming from my efforts to be a light in my little corner. I kept hoping that one day I would be able to get more involved in ministry, but the days were quickly slipping by and before I knew it another year would pass.

During this time, I was practicing a song for a friend of mine to sing on Mother's Day at church. One of the lines said, "Modern women want their rights, their job, their career. They have no time for a family, they can't waste their younger years." That was exactly what I felt I was doing! Wasting my younger years. . . all for what? A little money in the bank and something to fill time? How many times have I thought that if I could go back to my teen years I would have never started working in the secular world if my parents agreed? Oh, if we only knew back then.

That night I talked to mama for a long time about it and she thought it was a great idea. It was late at night when we finished talking, so I talked to daddy about it the next day (Wednesday). I wasn't sure what he would think of this decision, but I had to ask. I knew I wouldn't be able to rest until I had at least tried to follow God's plan for my life. Much to my joy, he was totally okay with me quitting my job to get more involved in ministry work and even said that he thought it would be great if I went to such and such a ministry . . .the very one I wanted to volunteer at! I told my brother and sisters what I was going to do and we were all so excited together! It was a done deal. Within three days of me telling God, "I don't know how you're going to make this happen," He not only freed me up for the week of camp, but every other week as well! My mind went back to the times I always thought I would be at the hospital until the doors closed or I got married . . . whichever came first. Even when I had looked for another job or a part time job, God would never give me peace about it. It wasn't until I was willing to give up everything to serve God that He allowed me to quit my job to do something more important. After 6 years of working, I was finally going back home where I belonged!

Thursday and Friday some of my co-workers were going to be out of the office, so I decided to wait until Monday to turn in my notice so that I could let them all know at one time. However, this didn't stop me from e-mailing the preacher to let him know I could go to camp and play the piano for him. I let him know that I would be willing to help out where ever necessary and left it at that, but I was really hoping he would use me as a counselor. The next day he e-mailed back and said he wanted me to be a counselor! Need I even say that I was excited?

That Sunday when we went to Sunday School, before I could even sit down at our table, I was given another opportunity. A girl in my class had just gotten a job and could no longer go to camp,
( a different camp and different month) so the coordinator needed someone to fill her spot as a sponsor. The registration fee was already paid, all I had to do was "try" to get off work. She told me, "I know before you said you couldn't get off work, so I know that's going to be the hard part. Don't worry about the rest, just try to get off work." I so badly wanted to tell her, "That's the easy part because in a few weeks I wont have a job anymore!" But since my boss didn't know yet I kept quiet and simply told her I would pray about it. Once again, God opened the door and I had peace about going. God was making everything fall into place so perfectly! It was so evident that it was God's will and there was no opposition coming from any side. I could not have orchestrated it any better!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Decision to Commit and the Faith of a Mustard Seed

Before I went to the Journey to the Heart in Illinois this past March, I had to watch the Basic Seminar as a prerequisite. Along with this I had complete access to their Embassy Institute which is filled with hundreds of great preaching and speaking on almost any topic imaginable. In February I watched a video by Christiana Reed Moss on "6 Ways to Say I Love You to Jesus", not realizing what it was exactly about. In the video she shared how she had committed four years to the Lord for what has become known as "single service". The purpose of these single service years is to be able to serve God single-heartedly without the distraction of wondering when you will meet your soul mate or wondering if that guy across the room a potential partner. Many say that there is a freedom that comes with sacrificing your single years to serve God alone because you love Him and desire to give Him your best. As Christiana talked about how great these years were, so much that she dedicated an additional 2 years, her face just glowed as she talked about her love for the Lord. She had a confidence and genuine sincere love for her God that I didn't have . . . and I wanted it!

For a few weeks I prayed about it, and then made my commitment. Directly after making this decision I felt like it was the worse thing I could have ever done (which is usually how I feel when I make any big decision) so I didn't think about it much anymore and I didn't tell anyone.

A few weeks later my sisters and I went to Journey to the Heart. Before heading to the Northwoods for our week with the Lord, I had a chance to talk to Mr. Gothard about my vow to serve God single-heartedly and how I felt afterwards and he assured me that it was the devil making me doubt because God would be pleased with such a vow. He also told me I should talk to my parents about it, which I was later eager to do because I wanted to give my all to God and serving Him alone did not seem like a scary thing anymore. During that week I had such a desire to serve God that I didn't want to hold back because I was afraid. I was willing to fail trying instead of not trying at all. I couldn't wait to get started with the Lord's work!

Three weeks later I found myself stressed and so overwhelmed with the busyness of work and life in general. My relationship with the Lord was better than before Journey, but I was just as stressed as before and ready for another break to get away and seek God. But I kept going, thinking I needed to learn more about time management.

God gave me such a break when my family and I drove two hours to spend the weekend with our family and go to a church nearby that we loved. While we were at church the pastor asked me if I would come to their camp (as we did last year) and play the piano for them. I responded that I couldn't because I had to work. Seeing from his expression that the answer I gave was not good enough, I continued to explain how I took off 8 whole days to go to Journey to the Heart . . . but he interrupted and said, "I don't want to hear any excuses! What's it going to take for you to come to camp?" I wanted to go but I didn't know what to say. After the service as we walked out the door he asked me again, "So what's it going to take for you to come to camp?" Not knowing what else to say, I responded, "I'll pray about it," to which he jokingly told my brother that there were some things you didn't have to pray about. As I walked out the door I thought to myself, "Lord, I don't know how you're going to make this happen." At that moment I had the faith of a mustard seed.

Stay Tuned!

In the next few days I am going to give a series of posts on the amazing work God has been doing in my life. The purpose is to give God the glory for his wonderful detailed work . . . and because I am excited and eager to tell others! ☺ Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bible Notebook

Yesterday I told mama that I felt like all my thoughts were all jumbled up together and I really needed to write them out while they are fresh on my mind. I have been reading so many books, listening to so many sermons, and sitting at Jesus' feet that I can't keep all these new treasures organized! I'm trying to figure out how to write about faith, and love, and surrender . . . but they are all kind of jumping around in my mind and my notes right now only consist of long lists of scriptures with two or three sentences! Like almost always, mama knew how to help.

By Grace has a wonderful post on Building an Effectual Scripture Journal. I haven't started mine yet (I just looked at it today) but mama and I can't wait to start! And since I haven't posted  in a good while I thought this would be a great topic. Some of the tabs I plan on adding that Mrs. Susan doesn't mention (thought she probably has) is Sermons and Praise. While I was at the Journey they encouraged us to write out a praise to God using the Psalms, and I really enjoyed it. It would even be a great idea to add a tab just for the books you've read and something that stood out to you so you can go back and find it. The possibilities are endless!

It feels so good to be organized!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Before I went to Journey I read John 8:32, hoping to gain relief of the stresses in my life. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." I didn't understand this verse because I felt that I knew the truth, but it wasn't making me free. During the beginning of Journey to the Heart God showed me that the truth will only set me free if I believe it by faith and keep my eyes on it. Psalms 16:8-9 says, "I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope." During the first morning devotional we had together with our whole team I wrote, "Faith is the only way I can receive blessings. How can I receive anything of the Lord without faith? What is faith? It's believing in something we can't see or prove that it is real. Faith can be belief that God hears my prayer. Fullness is received by faith. Faith is simply (yet not so simple) believing in God. Close your eyes and believe everything God says, then trust Him. Choose to have faith in God." It's faith in the truth, not just having a common knowledge of the truth.

I really like Psalms 119:30 and it kind of became my theme verse throughout the whole week. "I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me." For example, it is possible for me to believe that God doesn't love me, and know Romans 8:38-39 by heart. You see, I know the truth that is spoken in these verses, but I am choosing to believe the lie that God doesn't love me. That's why Psalms 119:30 is so amazing! I have chosen the way of truth! Romans 8:38-39 says, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angles, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, not things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." In those moments of doubt, I need to look to Christ and look to this verse and the many others that are in God's word and say to my soul, God does love me and there is nothing that can separate me from His abundant love! That's why it is so important to set God's word continually before our eyes. Not so we can point out sin in others lives, but so that when the devil throws lies at us we can bring that scripture to our memory and focus on the truth.

This is something that I've had to be reminded of over and over, because even two weeks after Journey I found myself discouraged and lacking the zeal that I previously had. I had gotten my focus onto myself and my heart issues, the whole time neglecting to have faith in the truth. Proverbs 19:9 tells us that "he that speaketh lies shall perish." I always thought that meant when the wicked lost sinners lied continually, his body would some day perish, whether it be in hell or by judgment on this earth. But now I see the verse in a new light. When I speak lies to my soul, my spiritual walk with God is damaged and my joy in loving God and others perishes. Therefore will I choose truth, and my soul is set free!

There is so much truth in God's Word that could change our lives if we would only read it and believe. Do you want freedom? Have faith in the truth!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

May the Journey Continue!

I am back from Journey but with mixed emotions. I already miss the girls on my Journey and all the joyful people at IBLP Headquarters, but as I traveled home with my sisters and friend Katie, I was very conscious of everything that needs to be done. I have LOTS of books to read (and a list of many more to buy!),  I have so many things I want to teach my brother and sisters, and I want to be a shining light to the people I meet in every day living. But before I can do this, I have to steadily be filled with the Holy Spirit because one thing I learned last week is that I can't do anything without the Holy Spirit guiding me.  I can't pray unless I am praying through His spirit, and I can't understand the Word of God unless his Holy Spirit is guiding me.

Our first snowfall! Rebecca was not shy about throwing snow balls!

All week I was amazed at God's creation. During one of the morning sessions at the lodge you could hear the wind howl around the building and it reminded me of God's power and strength. In the other window you could see the snow dancing with the wind, which reminded me of his gentle and tender love. God's presence was so real!

My favorite part of the whole week were the two walks I took with God. Our there all alone, I was able to pour my heart out to God aloud and sing praises to Him and Him alone.
I will miss those times the most.

But this journey is not over. It's just the beginning!

Visit the Journey blog to see more!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Journey to the Heart

This Friday me and my two sisters, Bethany and Amy, along with a friend of ours, are leaving for the great Journey to the Heart. I would have posted about it before now, but I have been busy getting the prerequisites done. They asked that we watch the Basic Seminar and read two books that they sent us. I am very excited about the prerequisites because I see it as a way to prepare my heart and start getting sin out of my life now, so that when I get to Michigan I will be able to focus more on the sweet fellowship I long for. Just to have 12 days away from work will be such a blessing and opportunity to search the scriptures more than I am able to do now. My prayer is that I will be able to let go of everything going on at work and home, and just focus on meeting with God in this special place.

Please pray for us as we are there. We are expecting to see snow, so maybe you should also pray that we southern belles don't get pneumonia or hurt ourself in the slippery snow! ☺

Monday, February 25, 2013

Singleness Quote

"Don't try to do something about your singleness, do something with your singleness!"
~ Christianna Reed Mass

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wisdom and Honor

Recently God has shown me the difference between seeking wisdom, and crying after wisdom. It is the difference between knowing you need water and thirsting after water. I have never been one to drink a lot of water or anything. As a child mama would have to tell me to drink some water because I might go several hours without getting thirsty. Even as an adult I will often drink my coffee in the morning and neglect my need for water simply because I am not thirsty and I get so busy that I don't think to get something to drink. But those times that I am thirsty I don't hesitate to satisfy my desire and I usually drink 2 or 3 glasses as apposed to the 1 out of necessity. Jesus said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6)

For several months I have been seeking wisdom on how to honor the authorities over me, weather it be my parents, boss, or teachers. I have searched the scriptures diligently and tried to put my own reason to it, but I couldn't grasp the true meaning. Finally I cried out for wisdom, and patiently waited for God's answer . . . not mine. I didn't have to wait long. In that moment when I wasn't searching or expecting an answer, God reveled His truth to me in a way that I can only give the glory to God, for which I am very thankful for.

I can honor the authorities over me by acknowledging and respecting the fact that God is using that person to shape me, and if I respond in a righteous manner to that authority over me, I will be a better Christian as a result of it. Sometimes God uses ugly things in life to bring about beautiful results. Just look at the refining of silver. Would it be right for the silver to say to the fire, "Stop burning me! That hurts!" or to the silversmith, "Take me out! I've been in here long enough!" If it weren't for the fire the silver would never be beautiful. We are to see every person in our life (good and bad) just as David saw Abishai the son of Zeruiah who cursed the king. David declared, "It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day." David would not kill Abishai because he acknowledged that God may have sent him to afflict this curse upon him. (2 Samuel 16)

I may not understand this fully, but I can lift up my voice for understanding, and patiently wait.

"But if from thence thou shalt seek, the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him
with all thy heart and with all thy soul." Deuteronomy 4:29

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ramblings of a Piano Player

For a while now I have been stuggling with my piano practice, just not knowing where to go with it. I have discovered long ago that if I am going to stay active in my practice and keep up the creativity, then I have to keep myself inspired. I practice the most when I listen to instrumental music by CD or YouTube, as well as instructional videos online since I haven't taken lessons in years.

With every new instrumental CD I listen too, I feel that I am pushed to a new level. I haven't reached those levels, but I have something to aspire towards. The latest CD I've been listening to is Robert Staddon and Clayton Reedstorm's Inspiration on the Ivories. Since it is a duet I doubt I will be playing like them any time soon! I suppose Bethany and I will both have to practice hard! Robert and Clayton's style differs greatly from anything else I've ever heard in the way that it sounds more classical than it does Southern Gospel. The length of the songs is also something that I've never encountered before, one being 11 minutes long, but both of these things are interesting to me. Each hymn has a refreshing, pure sound to it, untarnished by the world's modern harmony. The CD and DVD are both great.

Since observing their style I am about to determine that it is a good idea to practice classical music. It isn't the first time I've seen the benefits of clasical music, but it was never enough to convience me to learn it. You see I am very goal oriented when it comes to the piano. Ever since I was eight years old I knew I wanted to play the piano and sing in church. That was my desire so I never put much thought or effort towards anything else. Sure, I can play Fur Elise and a Waltz or two, but besides that I am not at all familiar with classical music. My piano teacher was a pastor's wife with obviously the same idea, because other than a few Rag Time songs, I learned mostly hymns. Now I wish I had been more disciplined and taught myself.

In the mean time I have been practicing heavily in my finger exercise book . . . much to my family's dismay! (I don't know why they don't like hearing the same 6 notes played over and over in different octaves.) This is something else that was never stressed to me, most likely because my teacher never had a use for it in the playing that she did in her small country church. Of course, I am extremely grateful for my teacher because had I went to anyone else they may not have taught me the beloved hymns I wanted and needed to learn so badly. She gave a thorough knowledge of hymn playing in the congregational setting which has proved very rewarding over the years. I have seen students, from other teachers, that struggle in hymn playing, and I must say I would most definitely rather struggle with classical music than hymns. With that being said, it is still good to know both.

I finally feel like I know where I need to go with my piano practicing. Instead of trying to put together hymn medleys that are cluttered and not smooth, it would be in my better interest to focus on finger exercise (which has already improved my arpeggios and runs tremendously), and buckle down and learn some classical pieces.

So my word of encouragement is this: no matter what area you are looking to improve upon, keep looking and God will show you the direction you need to go.