Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Every Morning

  It is of the 
LORD'S mercies 
that we are not consumed, 
because his  
compassions fail not.  
They are 
New every morning
great is thy  
- Lamentations 3:22-23
I was sitting in church Sunday morning.  The minister was talking about how NOTHING is impossible with God.  I know how true that is.  
I don't know if you ever feel this way.  Sometimes I think the best thing for me to do would be to give up hope. Sometimes I think I HAVE given up hope.  Sometimes I think I'm in a place so dark and deep that God doesn't even know about it.  
But these valleys have their purpose.  For one thing, I have learned, in each and every valley that God is always there.  I have learned that every time I "give up" deep down in my heart, deeper than I knew I had thoughts... God is there.  And He won't let me give up.  The hope He has given me is stronger.  It is deeper than the valley.  
As Corrie Ten Boom said: "There is no pit so deep that the LOVE of GOD is not deeper still."

And then the thought came to me, so clear that I cried for the joy of it.  
It was then that I carried you.
           -From the poem Footprints in the Sand  
If you haven't read this poem yet I encourage you to do so.  Maybe you're going through a valley right now. If you are, be encouraged!  There's only one set of footprints in the sand. 

  For I know the thoughts
that I think toward you
saith the LORD, 
thoughts of peace
and not of evil, 
to give you an 
expected end
-Jeremiah 29:11


Friday, June 26, 2009

Recipe Time!!!

Sliced Steak with Deconstructed Guacamole - Katie Style, a.k.a with many substitutions or omissions(*) - serves 4

2c. Chicken Stock (*water)
4-5 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 c. White Rice (*whatever rice is in the house)
4 Scallions chopped (*none)
1 (15oz) can of black beans - drained
1 T. Hot Sauce (*none-see mustard)
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 T. Grainy Mustard (*my brother picked out a spicy grainy mustard and we used it for the mustard and hot sauce, it was really quite good.)
1 1/2 T. grill seasoning (*Spike, or other various spices)
1 3/4 to 2 lbs. Skirt Steak (*checked is less expensive and I actually have it in the freezer all the time, steak not so much :-) )
4 (1-inch thick) slices of red onions
2 jalapeno peppers - halved and seeded (the store was out of Jalapeno peppers so I picked up some Anaheim peppers, they're good, but I think Jalapeno would be better if you like spicy.)
2 avocados
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes - halved (*grape)
4 limes halved (*1)

Bring chicken stock and 1 T. EVOO to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in rice, boil, cover, reduce heat and cook for about 12 minutes over low to medium heat. Stir in scallions and black beans, cover and cook for 6 minutes.

Heat oudoor grill to medium-high. (*we don't have a grill so I did all of the following in 2 skillets) In a shallow dish combine hot sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, 3 T. EVOO and grill seasoning. Coat the steak and marinate for 10 minutes. Stick a toothpick through the side of each onion to keep the rings together. (*or throw them in the skillet) Brush the oinons and jalapeno with a little EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place the meat, onions, and jalapeno on the grill. Cook the meat for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. After you turn the meat, onions, and jalapeno, halve and pit the avacado. Place the avacados on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes to char and mark. Remove the meat, onions, jalapeno, and avacado to a platter. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, tented with a foil, to settle the juices. (*I cooked everything up in the skillet, didn't tent anything and didn't char the avacados, they were a little overipe, and I didn't want to ruin them.)

To serve thinly slice the steak on an angle. (*I sliced the chicken before I cooked it, you could do it either way.) Divide the steak slices among 4 plates. Serve with an avocado half, a thick slice of onion, a jalapeno half, a sprinkle of cilantro, and a few halved tomatoes. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the vegetables and meat. Serve black bans and rice alongside.

*I think my favorite part was the chicken. The marinade was really excellent!! The original (pre Katie-style) recipe was from a Rachel Ray cookbook. I copied it out months ago. With fresh produce back on the market and in garden's everywhere. This would be an easy and fast summer meal. And now just for fun, a few pictures :)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Experiencing Disappointment

Disappointment is one of the worst emotions in the world.  I've been experiencing it lately. 
But, I came across this quote by Oswald Chambers at the perfect time the other morning.  I wrote it on a Post-It and stuck it in my pocket so I could pull it out and read it all day. 

"If your hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now it simply means that they are being purified.  Every hope and dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God.  But one of the greatest stresses of life is the stress of waiting for God."

I know the feeling of waiting all too well.  I'm experiencing the purification of my hopes.  My noble hopes and dreams WILL be fulfilled.  But, they will be better than I can imagine in my finite mind. 


Monday, June 22, 2009

Worth It

While trying to organize my bookshelves somewhat better the other day, I renewed acquaintances with a few old friends. While flipping through the pages of L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle, I found this quotation that made me pause for a moment to think:

"I'm glad I never had any children," said Cousin Sarah. "If they don't break your heart in one way they do it in another."

"Isn't it better to have your heart broken than to have it wither up?" queried Valancy. "Before it could be broken it must have felt something splendid. That would be worth the pain."

I can't help but think that there is some truth in it. Understand that I'm not condoning falling in love with or giving your heart to just anyone. But in trying to shut up all love, romantic or sisterly, I cannot see it as right. As C.S. Lewis said,

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

One of the problems with the emotional purity and courtship movement lies in how we can tend to lock our hearts away – oftentimes out of fear. Fear of being hurt. Fear of falling. Fear of being vulnerable.

We talk about boundaries, about not becoming close friends with guys, about maintaining emotional purity. But at what cost? Are we truly seeking to please God or are we foolishly trying to insulate ourselves from all pain? You see, to love is to be vulnerable. And to be vulnerable is to open yourself to the possibility of pain.

But, in the end, I think it is worth it.

Everything comes at a cost. Everything has a risk. Love - true love - cannot live with fear. Fear stifles and freezes more than anything. Don’t be reckless with love, but don’t be afraid of it. Trust God with it. Be vulnerable. It will hurt sometimes, but the beauty and the joy that results…it’s worth it.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Bring On the Rain

I'm not a big fan of Country music, never have been, probably never will be. But, there are a few Country songs I like and enjoy listening to.  This is probably my favorite.  Every time I hear it it makes me think.  It reminds me that no matter what happens. No matter how far I am buried under the pile of things I have to do, or the discouragements or happenings of everyday life.  No matter what happens to just keep pressing on.  I might be in the torrential downpour of life. But I need to rain that comes from heaven and refreshes my soggy soul.   I need to remember that no matter what happens to keep looking up. To not worry and fret.  To stand still, hold out my arms and allow the goodness, peace and love of God to rain on me.

Bring on the Rain - Jo Dee Messina
Another day has almost come and gone
Cant imagine what else could wrong
Sometimes I'd like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

Its almost like the hard times circle round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing - but I'm not dead

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

I'm not gonna let it get me down
I'm not gonna cry
And I'm not gonna lose any sleep tonight


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Verses for the day

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;

my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;

he is the saving refuge of his anointed."

Psalm 28:7-8 (ESV)
We serve an amazing God! What things can you praise Him for today?


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Rain

The sun has finally come out today.

It feels as though it has been hiding behind rain clouds and gray skies forever. It’s funny how the weather seems to add to life. If the day is sunny and bright and cheery, my mood improves and the stressful things don’t seem quite as bad as they do on the gloomiest rainiest of days.

I’m glad for the sun.

And for the rain.

The sun would not seem so beautiful or the skies so blue today if it weren’t for the rain. If it weren’t for the struggles in my walk with God, there would be no growth, there would be no blessed sigh of happiness when God let’s the sun back in and says, “Yes. I’m here.”

Even if it’s just for a moment. Even if it’s just a snatch of blue sky.

The rainy days come.

The rainy days go.

But the sun…it’s always there. Somewhere.

I’m remembering that God, like the sun, is always there. It might not be easy to hear Him or see His hands at work; it might hard and gray and a struggle.

But He’s there, in spite of the grayness. He’s there. And it’s beautiful when He’s so clear, like the sun against the blue sky. It’s beautiful…because without the rain, I’d take the sun for granted. And without troubles and stumbling and falling, I would take God for granted, too.

Today, I thank God for the sun, but I also thank Him for the rain.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Keyboard Shortcuts!!

O.k. let's talk more computer talk :-)

Keyboard shortcuts are one of my favorites computerisms.  The fact that I can get something done without moving my hand to the mouse and clicking several times makes me happy :-) Not to mention they save time.  There are lots and lots and lots of keyboard shortcuts but luckily for you I only know maybe 10% of them :-)

A little formality:  most keyboard shortcuts involve holding down more than button therefor a + b means to hold down the a and b keys at the same time. 
Here are 15 of them. Just for kicks :-)

  • Ctrl + c = copy
  • Ctrl + v = paste
  • Shift + left or right arrows keys = selects letters and numbers one at a time
  • Ctrl + shift + left or right arrow keys = selects by word
  • (for Windows users) Windows/start key + d = minimizes all widows/takes you to your desktop
  • On most computer, sadly not all F5 will refresh/reload your current internet page
  • Alt + Tab = allows you to switch between programs you have open 
  • Ctrl + z = undo
  • Ctrl + y = redo
  • Ctrl + b = bold
  • Ctrl + u = underline
  • Ctrl + i = italic
  • Ctrl + r = aligns text to right side of page
  • Ctrl + e = centers text
  • Ctrl + l = aligns text to left side of page


    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Just a little too high

    The Wild White Rose
    by Ellen H. Willis

    It was peeping through the brambles, that little wild white rose,

    Where the hawthorn hedge was planted, my garden to enclose.

    All beyond was fern and heather, on the breezy, open moor;

    All within was sun and shelter, and the wealth of beauty's store.

    But I did not heed the fragrance of flow'ret or of tree,
    For my eyes were on that rosebud, and it grew too high for me.

    In vain I strove to reach it through the tangled mass of green,
    It only smiled and nodded behind its thorny screen.

    Yet through that summer morning I lingered near the spot:
    Oh, why do things seem sweeter if we possess them not?

    My garden buds were blooming, but all that I could see
    Was that little mocking wild rose, hanging just too high for me.

    So in life's wider garden there are buds of promise, too,
    Beyond our reach to gather, but not beyond our view;
    And like the little charmer that tempted me astray,
    They steal out half the brightness of many a summer's day.
    Oh, hearts that fail with longing for some forbidden tree,
    Look up and learn a lesson from my white rose and me. '
    Tis wiser far to number the blessings at my feet,
    Than ever to be sighing for just one bud more sweet.

    My sunbeams and my shadows fall from a pierced Hand,
    I can surely trust His wisdom since His heart I understand;

    And maybe in the morning, when His blessed face I see,
    He will tell me why my white rose grew just a little too high for me.


    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Of happiness and joy

    Rebecca wrote about Pursuing happyness the other day. It got me thinking about happiness versus joy. I've grown up in a church that distinguishes between the two. Happiness is an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Joy is a spiritual emotion--not even an emotion really. A gift. One of God's graces which we never deserve but which he gives us anyway.

    Happiness is transitory. It's great while it lasts, but when you're done with the ice cream cone, you're done with the ice cream cone. That's it. No more. Oh, sure, you could get another ice cream cone, but sooner or later you would run out of ice cream or cones. And you'd probably be sick to your stomach.

    Joy, on the other hand, may leave you, but it is a reaching into eternity. It's quiet, reaching into the corners of your heart and filling them with something both heady and sobering. And joy comes regardless of the circumstances. I believe that it is one of the marks of a great Christian that they carry joy and peace in their heart no matter what the outward aspects of their life. I know that's challenging. Believe me, I fail every day.

    Happiness is great. But you can find it anywhere. Books make me happy. Cooking makes me happy. Chocolate makes me happy. Dogs sitting on my lap (nice, small dogs, that is) make me happy.

    But joy? I can only find joy with God. So I'll seek joy.


    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Isaiah 40:28-31

    Hast thou not known? 
    hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, 
    the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, 
    fainteth not, neither is weary?
    there is not searching of his understanding. 
    He giveth power to the faint; 
    and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
    Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
    But they that wait upon the LORD 
    shall renew their strength; 
    they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
    they shall run, and not be weary; 
    and they shall walk, and not faint.


    Friday, June 5, 2009

    A Quote From Winston Churchill

    In my belief, you cannot deal with the most serious things in the world unless you also understand the most amusing.
    ~ Winston Churchill


    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    One road

    "There is but one road to the Kingdom of God--a cross, voluntary or involuntary."
    ~St. Theophan the Recluse, The Art of Prayer, p. 231

    I think there are several things to be said about the quote on several different levels.

    First, the difference between this attitude and the attitude which I have sometimes seen which says, "If you're doing Christianity right, everything will be fine. You'll have a nice family and a nice house and a nice income. If you're suffering, you're doing it wrong" (paraphrasing here, obviously) strikes me very sharply. In fact, the two thoughts are almost completely opposite. On the one hand, you have the idea that if you're following God's will, material success and happiness will come to you. On the other hand, you have the idea that if you are following God's will, you will be carrying a cross. You will be suffering. I cannot help but believe the second idea over the first. For one thing, we see it played out over and over again in the lives of the holiest of people. Can we really say that St. John the Baptist, who ate locusts and honey and lived in the desert, was lacking--he who baptized the Lord? St. Paul says, so specifically, "Time would fail me to tell of Gideon and of Barak, and of Samson and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets....Women received their dead raised to life again and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy)." (Emphasis mine.)

    It is both daunting and encouraging to realize that it is not only the spiritual heroes of old who have a cross, but that I do as well. It is daunting because I am so unready, so weak, so sinful. I don't want to have a cross. I don't want to suffer and struggle. But there it is. Unless I take up my cross, with a glad heart and good grace as well, accepting the Lord's will, I will never gain heaven. And yet it is encouraging because I know that I am not alone. The people who look as if they have everything--not necessarily in the material sense--those who are musically talented, and pretty, and outgoing--they too have a cross. I don't know what it is, but I know that it is there. I know they are fellow-travelers. And I can hope to reach out and pull them up when they need it. I can hope for God's grace on my path because it is only through Him that I can carry whatever I must.


    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Pursuing Happyness

    Author's Note: In this article I refer to the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.  Please note that the IDD Blog does not condone or recommend the movie because of certain content.  The movie has a wonderful, inspiring message but we feel the message would be just as powerful without requiring a PG-13 rating.  

    "It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there?"
    Chris Gardener
    The Pursuit of Happyness

    Have you seen this movie? The Pursuit of Happyness? I reviewed it HERE on my blog. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. The "Pursuing Happyness" part. Maybe it's the job hunt that got me going.

    See, I have this idea that my goal in life is to be happy. It's a good goal right?? I thought so. But, it's a tough one.

    I'm smart enough to know that if I run around wildly trying to do everything that will make me happy, I'll probably end up miserable. Ultimately happiness isn't in how many books I'll read in my lifetime, or how many yummy dinners I cook, or how many shopping trips I take.

    I like to do all of these things, it DOES make me happy to read a good book. But, it's a short lived happiness, it will last during the story, and if it's a really good book, the glow will stick around for a few days afterward. After that it will fade and only resurface in memories. "That was a good book." I might read it again, looking to go back to that happy place. But, it will never be that good again, never as good as the first time.

    So, I've been thinking about continual happiness and wondering if it's really possible.

    As a single young lady, it's easy to blame my discontent on my singleness. But, I strive not to do that. Of course, I wish for marriage. It's only natural. It's a good desire. But, it won't bring me continual happiness.

    So, what kind of happiness should I be pursuing?? There's only one kind that will last forever, that won't fade with time.

    Psalm 144:15 "Happy is that people whose God is the Lord."


    Monday, June 1, 2009

    Journaling (again)

    So, you want to keep a journal. How do you begin?

    You need a journal. This can be as simple as a simple 10 cent notebook from Wal-Mart or as fancy as a leatherbound book. It might be a weblog or an online journal, or just a document on your computer. Find what fits you best - some of us write better by hand, others find typing easier - and start writing!

    And write.

    And write.

    Write when you can. Don't beat yourself if a month goes by before you get another chance to write; just pick up the book and start writing again. I've found that I put off starting up again because I feel like I have to recap the missing weeks between now and the last time I wrote. If that's holding you back, don't worry about it. Forget about going into all the details of life. If you must recap, keep it short, brief and sweet. If not, just skip it. Skip it and move on to what is happening now.

    Write short entries. Yeah, details are great. But sometimes details hinder you from writing. If you are short on time, short entries are awesome. Ten short entries are better than nothing! And sometimes the brief entries are the most poignant and memorable.

    Write longer entries, too. Okay, so that sounds like an oxymoron. If you do have the time, include the details. Even if they seem silly. Looking back, details can be great! Details aren't necessary, but they are...icing on the cake. Cake is delicious, but the frosting completes it. Details finish off the story - and yes, that's what you're writing. The story of your life!

    If you have trouble coming up with what to write about...

    - write about daily life. So maybe it's boring, but see how you can make it interesting. Little vignettes about your world...someday that will be interesting!

    - write about what you see. People watch. Listen. Learn. Now write about it!

    - take a headline from the newspaper and write about it. What are your thoughts on the current politics? The latest media craze?

    - journal about...your thoughts on life. What has God been teaching you? What has grabbed your attention the most while reading His Word?

    - journal your prayers. Some of the best entries will be your prayers. They don't have to be eloquent, just heart-felt.

    The biggest key is:


    Just write. When you can. Where you can. It's hard to find the time, but if you really want it, you will find it.


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