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Sinner saved by grace. Wife to a cute preacher. Momma to 2 precious baby boys. Blessed beyond measure. And I deserve none of it.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meal Making Party

Last night I went to my first meal making party. I had been skeptical until my sister in law went to one and now goes regularly. When it was time to sign up for the next one, I was on board. We were to all bring a cooler or large bag to put our made meals in and a check. Once you walked into the front door of the girl's home you were to place your cooler/bag underneath a clipbaord which were placed all around the entry way. On the clipboard were the 8 different meals that were being prepared. Then we were assigned to a meal station. Julie and I were assigned to the Pork Tenderloin. At our station was the bagged meat and all the dry and wet ingredients for the marinade. Julie and I mixed the marinade together and poured it into sandwich bags then placed the bagged meant and the bagged marinade into a another ziploc bag with the cooking instructions. Then we delivered the bags to each cooler and then marked that meal off of their clipboard. An hour and a half later I had 8 meals (16 really because its just the 2 of us so I can split these meals up.) in my cooler, dessert in my belly and we were on our way home.

These were the meals:
-BBQ Chicken Pizza
-Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
-Tortilla Soup
-Pork Tenderloin
-BBQ Roast
-Merlot Chicken
-Asian Chicken and Rice
-Bacon Ranch Burgers

They all smelled delicious and they haven't even been cooked yet! The beauty of these meals is they all laid so nicely in my freezer so they didn't take up a lot of space. I enjoy cooking, but don't always have the extra time to do so. This is a great way to ensure we have delicious meals on hand with busy schedules.

This was my counter as I explained the meals to D... which he is very excited about.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

In Difficult Times

I had the privilege of teaching our students at church this past Sunday. Our church has been using The Gospel Project curriculum and we are loving it. The point of this series is to show how the whole Bible points us to Christ.

The lesson I was to teach was on how God desires us to respond in difficult times. We took a look at Daniel and Ezekiel and through their stories we learn how God desires us to:

*Trust that He will Deliver
*Remember He will Restore

God taught me so much through my study of these stories. Its amazing how you can read a story, but its merely a story until we really start studying it. Then it becomes more than just a story but an event with life changing truths.

Here's the lesson as brief as I could make it for you...

At 9:02 a.m. on April 10, 1995,  a Ryder truck with almost 5,000 pounds of explosives detonated beside the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast injured 680 people, killed 168, including 19 children. This is the most destructive act of terror in the United States- surpassed only September 11.

If you were to go to Oklahoma City today, you will find a  National Memorial. At that memorial there is a tree standing tall at the center of this ground zero. Its called the survivor tree. Though the blast damaged 324 buildings in the surrounding area, this American elm tree survived....
 because its roots branched deeply into the ground.

Same is true for us as believers. When we are firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, no matter what heartache, tragedy, destruction comes our way- we won’t be moved.

Last few weeks, we’ve been talking about…northern and southern kingdoms of Israel
- they too experienced catastrophic disaster when the Assyrians and the Babylonians conquered them.
-God preserved a remnant—a group of survivors who went into exile
-These people were caught between two worlds: the world that they knew back in Israel and the world where they had been taken.
-A few would live to see God deliver His people but most had to remain faithful to the Lord in the midst of a pagan and foreign land
-Discovered the consequences that came from rebelling against God’s commands.

This week, we are going to look at Daniel and Ezekiel and how they remained faithful to God while living in captivity.
-see how the Jewish people trusted God to fulfill His promises

-we must TRUST He will deliver
-we must REMEMBER He will restore

So in difficult times, God desires us to...

1.Trust He Will Deliver (Daniel 1:1-17) 

Daniel and his friends were chosen to be trained for the royal service, had their names changed,  given pagan food, but instead of partaking they requested vegetables and water.

Name changing is significant because it was apart of the Babylonian brainwashing process. 
-Went from having names that honored God to names that honored the Babylonian god.

Daniel and his friends had to trust that God would deliver them through this trial.  Easily could have eaten the food from the king's table, but they knew it was part of the idol worship and was not honoring to the one true God. So they requested vegetables and water instead.

Now if I simply ate vegetables and water I would get down to my desired weight in no time! These guys though are training to be apart of the royal service. They need big muscles and more importantly protein! By them, requesting vegetables and water, this allowed them to say watch what my only my God can do. They trusted that God would see them though. And he did.

 God blessed...
15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

The point of Daniel’s story-
-not about Daniel courage or willpower
-but how Daniel trusted that God’s Word was good/commands true
-like the other heroes of the Old Testament, Daniel points us forward to Jesus- Great Deliverer

First, we have to trust God will deliver…

Secondly, we have to remember God restores… Ezekiel shows us how… crazy story

2. Remembrance (Ezekiel 37:1-14) Ezekiel recalls… 

I love this story and I think its worth another read!
The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”

Ezekiel’s vision proves God restores. His vision shows that God reverses the process of death.
-Instead of decomposition, God composes.
-Instead of decay, God restores.

In a vision, Ezekiel looks out upon a valley of dry bones.
These bones represented the nation of Israel, a nation that had been slaughtered by Babylonians.

And in Ezekiel’s vision, God tells him, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!” (Ezekiel 37:4-5). 

After God’s Word went forth from the lips of Ezekiel, a rattling sound could be heard.
-Bones joined together.
-Ribs and collarbones, kneecaps and shoulder blades—they began to re-socket themselves.
- skeletons had been fully repaired, muscles began to grow upon them-Biceps and triceps, Calf muscles and deltoids found their proper places. Then blood vessels and arteries branched out throughout the lifeless bodies. Skin, hair, and fingernails began to form. 

But after everything had come back together, something was still missing.
-bodies were fully reconstructed but life missing. 

That’s when God said to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live” (Ezekiel 37:9).

At that moment, another noise could be heard- A gasp must have come from the lungs of a thousand warriors. Now I have never almost drowned but I know the burning, panic sensation of neededing a breath... I can only imagine what this sounded like!

-Just like (Genesis 2:7) God had “breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a living being”)- the valley of dry bones became a living, breathing, active army of men. 

As unbelievable as this story is…We as followers of Christ can claim the same hope
- we too may experience the life-giving restoration that comes from Jesus Christ
- exiled- dead in our sin- through Jesus God promises to resurrect
-at salvation, God raises us from spiritual death

Through daily time talking to God and reading His word, we become more alive each day.
-old self is dying, new self is growing.
-minds are being re-wired.
 -hearts are being revived
-God is putting His words in our mouths so that we can offer a message of hope and life in a world of death and decay.
* time with Him is essential

Be careful... we too are caught between two worlds: where we were and where we are now. We can have hope because he is FAITHFUL to fulfill his promises
God is the ultimate example of faithfulness.
-when Daniel and his three friends were faithful to the Mosaic Law, God enlivened their bodies-blessed them
           -Ezekiel’s’ vision foreshadows- dry bones were resurrected

 Ezekiel and Daniel show us that even in the midst of difficult times…
We can trust that God will deliver.
We can remember that God restores.

Their stories point us to Jesus. The ultimate Deliverer and Restorer if life.

Unfortunately we forget these truths and wander from God. There is good news though. Even when we rebel (our choice) against God and suffer the consequence God is still faithful and he desires to restore us and give us life.

Some might say for us to live like Daniel and Ezekiel is radical. The word “radical” and “root” share the same Latin stem. To be radical is to lay down deep roots. Just like the American elm tree that withstood the blast of the Oklahoma City bombing in1995, Christians whose faith goes to the very core of who they are can withstand any assaults from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Stay rooted in Jesus, so that no matter what heartache, tragedy, and destruction comes our way we can stand firm because we know God is faithful to deliver and restore his people.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Day

I love how February 14th brings about many different opinions. Some love it, some hate it, some are indifferent. I truly believe its more of a scam to make tons of money on cards, candy and flowers, but none the less... I love this day... and the sappiness that it brings. I love buying people gifts. I especially like buying d gifts so I love that this days gives me another reason to. I also don't mind receiving them ... I love fresh flowers even if they're over priced, I love the $1 box of chocolates, I love the idea of d standing in the card aisle at the store trying to pick out a card (when I know how much he hates cards) but does it anyway because he knows I like them, I like thoughtful gifts.... and I like surprise gifts!

This year we celebrated valentines day on Tuesday instead of Thursday. We went out to eat and before we left he pulled a nicely wrapped box out of his coat pocket. I had no idea what it was. I hadn't really even given him any ideas so I wasn't expecting anything. That's when to my delight I opened that box and found this...

Holy. Moly. He did good. He even chose the charms I would have. Well done Jerkins.

Now let me clarify and I say, I'm not one who has to have stuff. I'm human so I like stuff, but could easily do without. I don't wear brand name stuff in fact I could care less about the brand names. I could do without gifts. I will say though that there is something about receiving a gift that does make you feel special and loved. The fact that someone put thought, action, and money in it for you. Its just plain sweet. I know everyone is wired differently, but for me this sign of thoughtfulness means so much.

Therefore, February 14th, you are not of the devil and I in fact am quite fond of you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Try It Tuesday

I found a pinterest fail. Everything I have tried has been pretty great. This simple recipe not so much. It wasn't terrible, but it was weird enough that I thought, I'll probably never make this again. In fact, d who will eat most anything agreed.

I'm talking about the Angel Food Cake with 1 can of blueberry pie filling. Sounds easy enough, right? If you use low fat pie filling it even becomes a reasonable treat option. (ww= 2 points) I will say the taste wasn't bad... I like blueberry flavored things: cakes, muffins, donuts... it had a nice blueberry taste, but it was the texture that was weird. It was more spongy than light, fluffy.

Have any of you tried it? I thought it might be a good dare for Try it Tuesday. You could really use any pie filling. Maybe you shouldn't use the whole can. Or maybe not cook it as long as it calls for... let me know if you try it and what your thoughts are!

What You’ll Need:
  • 1 box of Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix  {I only use the Betty Crocker brand.  Do NOT use brands that have 2 mixes, like a cake mix and an egg mix… you’ll end up with the wrong consistency}.
  • 1 can of berry pie filling {blackberry, blueberry, etc.} ~ approx. 22 oz.

What You’ll Do:

Mix powder cake mix and pie filling together…
{don’t add any other ingredients}
Place in 9×13 ungreased baking dish…
Bake at 350 degrees for 28 – 30 minutes.

Note:  It’s common for the cake to fall in the middle a bit after cooking… and that’s okay ~ it won’t be the consistency of your traditional angel food cake, but it WILL be a gooey blueberry tasty treat!

I grabbed this recipe and pictures off the girl's site. I just now noticed the disclaimer at the end about the consistency... she's not kidding. So maybe I shouldn't call this a fail as much as I'm not a fan.

Aren't you dying to go fix this simple, cheap, sweet treat now? Go prove me wrong.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Riley's Dedication

Yesterday, I had the privilege of being apart of Bellevue Arlington's morning worship service. Being a minister's wife provides very few opportunities to attend other church services other than our own, so I was thrilled at the opportunity to be apart of a church that I love dearly. Technically, I don't know this particular church well but since it is a piece of big Bellevue I know the staff and many of the members... so I feel like I do.

The reason I went to this service was because our precious Riley was being dedicated. The campus pastor there, Phil Newberry, was our youth pastor growing up and also helped marry us. It was great to talk to him, hear him preach and also watch him lead the dedication part of the service. What a sweet time it was as Jeremy and Kacie dedicated this sweet baby to the Lord. Acknowledging the fact that she was a gift and it was their responsibility to raise her, guide her, train her, teach her and point her to Jesus. Then as a family, we gathered around them and prayed over them.

It was a sweet, sweet morning.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mary Poppins

A couple of years ago the boys went to Haiti for a week. As a fun way to pass the time, all of us girls went and saw Shrek at the Orpheum together one night. The movie was ok so I didn't really know what to expect in a Broadway show. It was fabulous! Probably one of my favorites. So when we found out we had another girls night planned for the orpheum we were thrilled.

We can all thank Julie for this picture that documents our excitement before the show. Unfortunately she's not in it though.

It was hard to tell who was more excited... the big girls or the little ones. It was this little ones first Orpheum experience and I think just maybe she was a little excited.

We were even going strong at intermission even though it was after 9:00p.m.

Sadly I have no pictures of Lily. But Maggie and Hallie cheesed it up enough in her absence.

This was a great show. It included  lot of the classic scenes, but had several nice additions also. The talent level was through the roof... from the actors, set work, lighting... it was phenomenal.


Thank you Grammy for a fun girls night at the Orpheum!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday Splurge Day

So... my title doesn't technically rhyme but close enough to make me feel like I came up with a  clever, appropriate title. I hate titling things... especially on here. So when I knew what I was going to be blogging about it was only fitting.

Thursday Splurge Day

And by splurge I mean 440 delicious calories of goodness, 20 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein... for breakfast. But man is it worth it.

I am obviously talking about the one. the only...

Chick.fil a Chicken Biscuit

Chick-fil-A<span class='reg'>®</span> Chicken Biscuit
I apparently have not really been an American up until about a month ago. I'd eat chick fil a, but it wasn't my favorite like every other American citizen would claim. I'd much rather choose McDonald's if I was going to splurge on fast food. I know. I can hear the gasps and the arguments about the fake meat made with yoga mat materials already. Nonetheless Chick Fil A was never a hit for me. In high school my friends and I, in between classes, (yes we were homeschooled, but took lots of classes outside of the home) would go to Chick fil a where they'd down their chicken biscuits and I'd simply opt for a coke because I just was not a fan....

That is until about a month ago. My secret sister at work brought me one for breakfast one morning. And because I didn't have the heart not to eat it, I gave it another chance. Let me just tell you. I was in heaven as I savored the crumbly, buttery biscuit and the crunchy chicken combination.I was hooked.

Enter Chick Fil A Fridays.

The school I teach at has 4 campuses. 2 of them sell chick fil a every Friday morning. How did I not know this?! Guess which campus then started. That's right... mine. So every Friday I splurge and savor my 440 calorie breakfast. Except this week my splurge day was Thursday because my secret sister brought me one today. As hard as it will be, I will forgo my chicken biscuit tomorrow... yea consuming this bad boy a couple of days in a row def voids out all my working out. As much as I love this, I love my skinny jeans more.

And lets be honest here...everyone knows some body types should never attempt skinny jeans... so unless I want to fall into that category.... this Thursday was my only splurge day.