Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Resolutions

It's getting to be that time of year again. You know... where you start to think up all those crazy goals for yourself. Last year, a Christian radio station I listen to encouraged it's listeners to do a "one word challenge". My focus on the word "peace" for 2011 did wonders for my spirit and well being, so I've decided to take up the challenge again. 

For 2012 I will focus on the word, JOY

Webster defines joy as: "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of  possessing what one desires". 

The important thing to remember is that by well-being doesn't come from possessing the worldly things that I desire... it comes from possessing the hope of eternal salvation. It's so hard to remember that my eternal life is so much more important than my life on earth. In fact, it's hard to really wrap my mind around that concept. Thankfully, because of Christ's death, we are allowed to be in the presence of God on a daily basis through the holy spirit. Now THOSE are somethings to be joyful about! 

My hope is that toward the end of 2012 I will have become a more joyful person. I'd like to be a young women who is known for a joyful spirit. Now that I've learned to seek peace through the Lord, I want to seek joy through Him.  The Lord has the power to make ALL things good, but we have to open our hearts and ask Him for understanding. 

Along with the the focus on joy, I've made a couple of other specific goals for myself. 

Here is my list of goals for the year: 

- Read 4 books (hey.... for me that's doing pretty well)

- Read Karyn Henley's Day by Day Bible for Kids (I want to read the overall story of the bible this year)

- Be able to run for 30 minutes (Using the Couch to 5K plan)

Here is a list of my goals to be completed each month:

- Write a note of encouragement every month

- Cook something new 3 times a month 

Here is a list of my goals for each week:

- Say a weekly prayer of just thanksgiving 

- Pray for the people in the church bulletin 

I usually don't make this many goals for myself but I'm feeling ambitious. I think I'll print them all out and tape them to my mirror so I'll remember them! 

Good luck with all of your new goals for the new year! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 4 Favorite Food Network Stars

In this rather relaxing phase of my life I'm getting in plenty of TV time. It's no big secret that I LOVE the Food Network.... actually I love any show that offers cooking instruction. (Maybe I should have gone to cooking school!) 

I really think that I could watch cooking shows all day and not get bored of it. I think it's one of the only things that I just LOVE to learn. 

So I decided to blog about my personal favorite food network stars. Here are my top 4! 

 4. Paula Deen
My belly certainly can not handle her meals very often but goodness I just love watching her. She got such a fun personality and recently she's had lots of fun guests on her show. I love it when her son Bobby joins her and often makes lighter dishes. She rightfully deserves to be on my top list! 

3. Rachel Ray
I was a fan of Rachel Ray a long time ago when we first got cable and I discovered the Food Network. I got a bit burnt out on her though because all of a sudden the whole world seemed to be in love with her and she was everywhere. Lately I've been recording her talk show (which isn't on Food Network) and I love it. She uses such good ingredients and her food is always so fresh. Gotta love her!

3. Ree Drummond 
OK so the Pioneer Woman hasn't seen too much of the Food Network yet but it's coming. According to the Food Network she'll have new shows in January! Woo hoo! I love her family, her style, and of course her food! I think I'm such a huge fan because she literally taught me how to cook. From chopping onions and peppers to braising meets to rolling out pie dough..... I've learned a lot from her. 

1. Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) 
I haven't always been a big fan of Ina, but as I've gotten older and actually am in the kitchen a lot more, I've learned to appreciate the many things she brings to the table. Her style is simple yet elegant. She doesn't make anything too dressy... but it always looks fit for the fancy. All of her recipes that I've used have turned out fabulous. I love the ingredients she uses and I love the things she cooks. I ALWAYS look forward to her show on Saturday morning! 

So there you have it! My top 4 favorite food network stars! Who's yours? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

chores chores!

Last week I got behind on chores. Actually it seems I'm always behind on them. I know you're thinking "how many chores can this wife with no children in a one bedroom apartment possible have?"..... and I know I know I don't have that many.

But I'm still managing to be behind. And it drives me crazy. And I know I'm beginning sentences with "and" which is wrong.

So I'm sitting and thinking that I wish I could snap my fingers and everything be perfect. I'll keep it perfect... I just don't want to make it perfect!

But I know it's been perfect before and I haven't kept it up so I know that I'm lying to myself.

I know I know "just wait until you have kids and a house"...... I KNOW! That's why this bothers me! It's only the 2 of us in a small space and I STILL am a lousy housekeeper!

So now that I've vented to you a little bit about the reality of perfect me.... I'm going to get up and clean out fridge, clean our little bathroom, and do a load of hand washed clothes. Then I'm going to make a schedule for my chores. Maybe that will help.

Except.... oops.... it's time to start cooking dinner!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

perfect peace

A few weeks ago a dear friend of the family gave me a book by Sarah Young called "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence". It has short daily readings that are written like Jesus is directly speaking to you. I tend to read it right before I go to bed so I can ponder it as I try to go to sleep. Tonights was so moving to me that I had to share it with you all.

I know I'm sure to be breaking some sort of copyright law but because hardly anyone reads my blog and I'm not taking any credit for it and because it's so good.... I'm willing to take that risk!

"I am with you in all that you do, even in the most menial task. I am always aware of you, concerned with every detail of your life. Nothing escapes My notice- not even the number of hairs on your head. However, your awareness of My Presence falters and flickers; as a result, your life experience feels fragmented. When your focus is broad enough to include Me in your thoughts, you feel safe and complete. When your perception narrows so that problems or details fill your consciousness, you feel empty and incomplete.

Learn to look steadily at Me in all your moments and all your circumstance. Though the world in unstable and in flux, you can experience continuity through your uninterrupted awareness of My Presence. Fix your gaze on what is unseen, even as the visible world parades before your eyes."

Wow... I don't think there is a more fitting thought for me to read. Now, I am very thankful for my current job, but there are many times when I feel shame in being an aid... a lunch lady. I certainly did not want that for my future when I was in high school. (I'm just being real with you). When I first started my job, I met a wonderful woman who is also an aid. We both studied religious matters in school and are in a little bit of the same situation. Her positive attitude and continual reference to the Lord has helped me to see God at work in my life through this job, and has helped me to find the blessing in it. And when I'm focusing on how God is working in my life I feel completely at peace.

In reality, from time to time, I get distracted from my God and His purpose and I grow anxious and unhappy with myself. I loose sight of the unseen because I'm only focusing on what I can see right now.

At the beginning of the year I made a resolution to focus on the word "peace". I think the greatest lesson I've experienced this year is that true peace ONLY comes from finding God at work in your life. For feeling God's presence in my life has brought about the greatest sense of peace I could have ever hoped for.

So go back and read that excerpt from the book and give it another thought. I hope you'll find encouragement in it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

a call

I while back I was given a difficult situation at work and, of course, I immediately began to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and completely out of my element. I wanted to run away -right then and there- just so I wouldn’t have to figure it out. Have you ever been there?  It took me a couple of days before I was reminded that I could pray about the situation. I tried to approach God with humbleness. My first thoughts were, “Dear Lord, I’m approaching you tonight simply because of the amazing truth that you are my Lord. I know that you’ve got the power to get me through anything.”

As I started to elaborate to the Lord about my situation, my mind began to drift a little bit. Then, like lightning, a solution to my problem came to me. I suddenly felt silly for being so overwhelmed in the first place. I knew right away my Lord heard me and had brought me the peace I was seeking. It was incredible.

I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies”, says David to the Lord after he was saved from his enemies. (Psalm 18:3)

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord is my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he was delighted in me”, sang David to the Lord. (Psalm 18:16-19)

Sure, my problem was completely trivial compared to David’s problems, but I still called to God. He took hold of me and cleared my mind so that I might see a solution! He was there for me to lean on for support. He rescued me from my anxiety. Praise be to God!

It’s a simple lesson I’ve heard all my life- cast your burdens onto God.  Yet time and time again I try to rely upon myself. Sometimes I remember to pray, but lack the faith that God will deliver. When I surrender my problems to Him in full faith, I’m always amazed. God hears my prayer and he delivers.

When we call to the Lord, He will take hold of us, support us, and rescue us. You might not always receive the peace you desire right away, but if you hold tight and continue to lean on God, He will provide the support you need and He will deliver you!

I hope my testimony will remind you of the times you’ve felt God at work in your life. Never forget those works of the Lord! Use them as fuel for your spiritual life, and may you be reminded and encouraged to always call on the Lord!