I am so over this… I think

I have been evaluating my mobility, expectations of myself, what’s realistic for me… that kind of thing. For most of my life, I have wanted and tried to keep up with everyone else— figuratively and literally. If my friends were running to their next class, I wanted to run with them, no matter if it was safe for me to do or not. I didn’t want to be left behind. If my friends were all driving, then I wanted to try it too. No matter if was safe for me to do or not. I didn’t want to be left behind. If my friends were playing hide and seek in the dark (and I do mean DARK), I wanted to play it too. Even though it wasn’t safe for me to do… well… you know what comes next.

I just wanted to fit in with how everyone else was doing life. Even as an adult, I never wanted to use my cane out in public for fear of standing out from everyone else. I could hear the whispers before they even happened. You know the ones, “oh wow, look at that… she’s blind”, or “oh I feel so sorry for her”, or my personal favorite, “I could never go out in public if I was blind”. Mind you, these comments were not actually said to me, I just knew somehow that they would be. I did hear phrases like “what are you blind or something?” if I cut someone off in a grocery store isle. I’ve heard “Are you trying to smell that item?” when I’ve had to put something REALLY close to my face to see it.

-Just a little side note in case you are a new reader… I have 10 percent vision so I do see a little bit-

I have had people tell me how sorry they are that I’m blind. I’ve had people tell me they couldn’t do it. I’ve had people say how awful it must be to be blind. All those things and more. This didn’t exactly give me a lot of oomph to be using my cane and draw more attention to my blindness. The people who say how awful it must be or how sorry they are for me, really don’t mean to sound cruel or disrespectful in any way. I’m sure most of them are simply expressing sympathy for my situation. But this leads to feelings of being broken in some way.

But I can’t keep trying to keep up with other people. My blindness does not permit me to walk as swiftly as others do. I must be mindful of my steps to prevent me getting injured. The reality is that I would probably get much more of the “I feel so sorry for you” if I was trying to keep up and fell down a flite of stairs, as opposed to taking my time, using my cane, and walking with more grace and confidence. Don’t we all rush to much anyway? This is an adjustment for me in many ways. Slowing down is just necessary but not easy. I never wanted to be different from other people. I wanted to be as competent as anyone else. Slowing down was not proving that I could be. Not in my mind anyway. I just wanted to be like everyone else! But I’ve learned that I’m not meant to be like everyone else. Neither are you!

Psalm 139:14 says “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

This use of the word “fearfully” means respectfully— reverently! Isn’t that cool? God made you with the upmost respect and reverence. Wonderfully means extremely well. You are extremely well made my friend! And so am I. Don’t we want to purchase things that are extremely well made? Don’t we honor things that are made with reverence and respect? Guess what? You have been bought, you are honored because you are well made and with respect. Jesus bought both of us with His very blood. Bet ya won’t find that on Amazon!

If I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I should be very careful with God’s merchandise huh? I am so over trying to keep up… I think. It’s a road I am traveling with Jesus. Maybe you’re on a road too? No matter what has happened… YOU ARE fearfully and wonderfully made! Will you pray for my journey? Will you let me pray for yours?

Now, may I offer you something to eat?

This is my kids’ favorite part of fall baking. My banana bread…

10-31

1 ¾ cups unbleached flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter flavored shortening (you can substitute 1 stick of real butter) softened

2 eggs

2 Tbl. Cream (half & half)

Splash of vanilla

3-4 very ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat softened shortening or butter together with sugar in large bowl. Add eggs, cream and vanilla, beat well. Add dry ingredients slowly to sugar mixture. Add smashed bananas and beat together. Pour into greased loaf pan (3 x 9). Bake for 50 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tip- parchment paper is the way to go on this if you have it. Easy clean up and keeps the bottom from getting to overdone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you want from me anyway?

I have been trying to build this ministry for a while now and I want nothing more than to do what God is asking of me. Sometimes I feel like I need to do more work on growing this ministry. You know, seminars on growing your blog, workshops on getting more subscribers and followers, Email lists… all that techy stuff. It can feel like a battle against all the other blogs and social media pages on line to get content out there. I for sure want this ministry to reach more people so that more people can find Jesus. Not that this blog is a person’s only link to find Him, but I certainly wouldn’t be apposed to being one of the bricks in a path to Him. That’s all… just a brick. If God decides to grow this more than a brick, well, I’ll do my best to keep up.

I recently had a moment of frustration with people/circumstances going on around me and felt so powerless to change it. God reminded me of a verse… over and over, in fact. It’s one I have read many times and one I have breezed by many times. When you feel powerless, I pray this verse will comfort you and bring you some peace.

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”

Oh if I only knew how to be still! Do you know the dictionary definition of still? As an adjective, it means not moving or making a sound. As a noun it means deep silence and calm. WOW! Those are pretty strong words. Deep silent? Not making a sound? How hard is that? This is so hard to do in our multitasking, ladder climbing, time is money, way of life. Even in those moments that we simply don’t want to fight the battle anymore and we wish someone would just fight it for us… we will do something to help the person who steps up to fight for us, don’t we?

Exodus 14:14 is a clear statement that God will do the fighting and we need only to BE STILL! No amount of workshops, seminars or on line courses can grow this ministry the way God can. No amount of our own strength can work out a situation the way God can.

Now I’m not suggesting any of these things are bad to do. I’m just saying that God WILL fight for us! When you feel that sorrow will overtake you… God will fight for you. When you feel like people step in front of you, God will fight for you. When you feel hopeless, God will fight for you.

Defeat can seem overwhelming. But it’s in those moments of feeling defeated that being silent is the only thing left to do. Now God can fight for you. I need to be silent more often and let God do the fighting. He already has a plan for this ministry and He has a plan for your life as well. Just be still.

The baseline purpose for this blog is to serve. Serve God and serve my readers. When you go to a restaurant, a server will come to your table and ask you what you would like to order. You have perused the menu and made your selection. You give the selection to the server and soon you received what you desired to have from the menu. I am going to ask my family of readers here to tell me what you would like to order. What would you like to see more of from my table? I want to bring you what you’ve ordered. I want to hear your opinions about what I should write to you each week. I truly want to serve my readers what they want. What would you like to order?

Here is my selection from my menu for you this week:

Chicken in a Hurry

10-24

8 chicken tender loins (or 4 chicken breasts) -these can be cooked from the frozen state-

1 cup ketchup

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup water

2 envelopes dry onion soup mix

In medium bowl, stir together ketchup, brown sugar, water, and onion soup mix. Place chicken in crock pot. Pour ketchup mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Serve with your favorite side dishes or over pasta. This also makes a great 1 dish meal like chicken bowls. Simply Cut chicken into bight size pieces and place over mashed potatoes and add corn. Voila! 1 dish dinner!

Is God really like that?

I often read or hear about people who have gone through something challenging and said, “well, it’s just God’s will”. You know, like the loss of a job, a natural disaster leaving them homeless and without anything, or even the death of their child. I have wondered for years, is God really like that? I mean does He really want for me to suffer the death of my child? Is it really His will to leave me with no home and no basic needs met? Did He really want me to be blind and go through the everyday struggles of that blindness… just because? My friends, I mean no disrespect or argumentative viewpoint here but I would like to offer another way of seeing God.

This is merely my own way of seeing God in my life and gives me a little different view of Him that, for me, is a little easier to swallow. For those of us with children, imagine if you will, that child jumping on the bed to spite all your warnings that they would get hurt doing it. The dreaded and warned about day comes that they are jumping on the bed and bounce right off and hit their head on the dresser, causing them to cry out in pain. You come rushing into the room to find them sitting on the floor, hand on head, tears streaming down their face. As a parent, our natural instinct is too crouch beside them and wrap our arms around them and very gently say “didn’t I try and warn you that this would happen?” Ok, maybe it wasn’t always as gently as I had hoped, but ya know what I mean. Now you have told your child over and over not to jump on the bed, but they did it anyway and now they are feeling the consequences. Does this mean you pushed them off the bed? Does it mean that you wanted them to fall off the bed?

Your child falling off the bed was a natural result of the choice they made not to heed your instruction to not jump on the bed. Now what if their younger sibling was also in the room playing with their toys and obeying the rule to not jump on the bed. The child jumping falls off and lands on the sibling. Now both children are hurt. But the obedient child is hurt because of the free choice of their sibling. It was never in your plan for either child to get hurt. But because of the fact that your children are not robots and have the ability of free choice, the deed has happened.

Friends, this is how I see my heavenly parent. Back in the garden of Edan, God’s children Adam and Eve were going about their day and the one who chose to go his own way tempted Eve with a piece of fruit of which God, (AKA; their parent), instructed them both not to touch. God knew what would happen if they chose to eat of it. They were both aware of the instruction God gave. Eve repeated it to the serpent in Genesis 3:2-3; “The woman said to the serpent ‘we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it , or you will die.’”

The choice Eve made, knowing that her Father gave specific instructions about that tree and its fruit. Because of the serpent’s choice to go against God and Eve’s choice to do the same, we become that sibling who got crushed under the one who jumped on then fell off of the bed. So you see, it wasn’t Gods plan for suffering… it was Satan’s plan. He wanted the suffering, he wanted the loss, he wanted the pain and heartbreak. Our loving Father sits with us on the floor with His arm around us, drying our tears after the fall. Whether it is our own choice or that of another, the natural result of sin is heartbreak, pain, sorrow, and much more. We can stay very close to Jesus and He will see us through all those sorrows, but because of sin being in the world, there will be sorrows. Not because God wants it, but because He gave free choice to A L L of His creation. He, like us as parents, has to let the natural result of sin be seen so we can make a FREE choice to always want to follow Him. The end of all these results will come, after everyone has had a fair chance to choose for themselves.

Just as our children are not robots that can be programed to do exactly what we demand they do, God’s children were not created to be robots to be programed. He created us to freely make the choice to love Him. I want to choose to love Jesus because I have that freedom to do so. He will hold me and dry my tears when I fall off the bed or get crushed by the one who fell. I hope this helps someone to see God as the loving Father He is.

 

I wanted to share that bit of sweetness with you… and this bit of sweetness too:

Mini Apple Turn overs

1 can crescent rolls

1 large apple

Brown Sugar

Cinnamon

2 Tbsp. Melted butter

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to crescent roll package directions. Peal apple and slice into 8 wedges. Open, unroll and separate crescents. Melt butter in microwave safe bowl, about 30-45 seconds or until completely melted. Brush butter over crescent one at a time as you work. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over crescent. Place one apple wedge on crescent. Roll up from widest edge towards the point. Place on non-stick or lightly greased cookie sheet, point side down. Repeat with remaining crescents. Bake as directed on package. Pull them out after directed time and while they are still warm, sprinkle each one with powdered sugar. Serves 8. Unless you are in my family… then it serves 1! ME!!!

 

 

 

 

What exactly are you saying?

Have you ever said something to someone and then wished you hadn’t opened your mouth at all? Oh friends, I have done this more often than I care to admit. I have gotten on my kids’ cases about cleaning their rooms. Now what I want them to understand is that a clean room helps them to have a clearer mind. The ccaos of their rooms spills over to their moods. They can’t find something so they stomp around in a bad mood because they need it and it’s “just gone”. I want to speak encouraging words to them, but what comes out of my mouth is usually something like “You need to clean up this pig sty right now!” Sigh… my frustration speaks louder than my reasoning. I’ve lost the ability to share why it’s a good idea to keep our rooms clean.

I have taken this same approach with my husband. When he is late at work, I wanted to convey that I missed him and wanted him to be home. What came out was something like “You never consider that I might need you here!” Sigh… again. Why oh why can’t I just say what I mean, what’s in my mind to say?

Friends, anytime we come at someone with the word “YOU” on our lips, it almost always means certain disaster. It is attack mode. Can’t you just see the imagery? A nagging old prune faced person with index finger shaking, tsking you for your bad behavior. Like an old school marm looking disapprovingly down her long nose at you. One hand on a hip and the other shaking with emphasis on every syllable. This is the image given when we start with the word “YOU”. No matter what we intend to say, if we are not mindful of what comes out of our mouth, then anything can come out of our mouth.

I know that frustration can sometimes get the better of us, that’s why this is such an example of what self-control looks like. I want to share some words from the bible with you that draw another picture of this.

James 3:2-5 says, “For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says he is a perfect man. Able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.”

You see, we actually have the ability to guide our loved ones based on our manner of speech to them. My son might be in a perfectly fine mood, then I come in with guns a blazin’ and demand he clean his room right this minute. Now I may have asked him a million times already (which is usually the case) but I can choose to be encouraging with my request thus guiding him in a more positive direction. My daughter might be just chillin’ on the couch watching a movie, then I come in hand on hip, shakin’ that finger, lookin’ down my nose and declaring that she always leaves a mess in this room for me to clean up. I could have given a gentle reminder… again, to please pick up her things when the movie is over because I’d love her help with dinner as soon as she puts them away. My husband could have had a terrible day at work and just needed me to be his rock and understand that though he’d rather be home, he is stuck there at the job having to finish it. I should respond with a loving and sympathetic tone. Not the wicked witch of the west assuring him I would get him for this. My dear loving readers, we must realize the power our words carry. It can make or break the day of a loved one or friend. It can also make or break our day as well. Speak kindly to yourself too. I’m working on this one. Choose the road less traveld and speak kind words to your people. Tell them what exactly your trying to say with loving words.

Now for that recipe…

This is a side dish to accompany… well, anything. It was a new find and we had this over the weekend and it was a hit!

Herbed Baby Potatoes

Herbed golden brown potatoes on a baking sheet

1 lb. baby golden potatoes

4 Tbls. Butter melted

1 tsp. thyme

2 cloves fresh garlic minced

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. (approximately) grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In Dutch oven, place scrubbed, unpeeled, whole potatoes and fill with water to completely cover potatoes. Boil until tender (about 20-25 min.) drain. Return to Dutch oven. Melt butter in microwave or on stove top. Add Thyme and garlic to butter. Mix well. Pour over potatoes and toss to completely coat potatoes with butter mixture. Place potatoes on cookie sheet with sides in a single layer. With mason jar or large glass, smash down each potato but still keeping it in tact. Sprinkle on salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes. Ooooooohh, they are soooooo good!

Additional tip— To dress these up a bit for an appetizer for a party or just for your own pleasure, you can also top these with:

  • Green onions
  • bacon bits
  • French fried onions
  • other cheeses
  • sliced mushrooms

t’s really up to your personal tastes!

God’s love is like a warm fireplace

Well we have entered into my most favorite time of year, like it is for many of you. When autumn is ushered in by all the beautiful autumnal colors, my soul just settles back with a warm drink, a cozy throw, and a warming glowing fireplace to snuggle by. I know a lot of you may be Summer junkies and I love being able to just throw on a pair of flip-flops and run out the door, but there is just something about autumn that lifts my spirits to new heights. I have many candles and small sparkling lights in various places in my home. It’s comforting and just seems to welcome visitors into my home, as well as welcoming my husband and son home from work. The smell of dinner cooking and a fall candle burning does more than you think to a weary soul.

I’ve always wanted my home to be a haven and resting place for people, first and foremost, my family. But when I started decorating my home for autumn and my daughter’s friend made that comment that she loved when we decorated for fall, that it made her happy… that’s for me! It warms my soul. You know what else warms my soul like a glowing fireplace? God’s love for me. When those flames are waving in the fireplace with that orangey glow, it reminds me of God waving to me and saying, “hey, just so you don’t forget, My love for you is burning brightly.”

Jeramiah 31:3 reminds us, “The Lord appeared to him from far away, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.’” God’s love has no boundaries. It has no limits. It burns like that fire in the fireplace, steady and strong. Giving off warmth to a weak and weary soul— one who feels like they are out in the cold. They can come to the hearth of God’s loving fireplace and warm themselves. If it’s hard to imagine that God loves you this way, ask yourself: does a fire choose who it will keep warm?

A fire warms any and every person who comes to be warmed by it. It just gives warmth freely. Come to Gods’ fireplace and get warm.  Open His word and feel your soul being wrapped in the Glow of Gods’ everlasting love for you!

Now about that smell of dinner cooking… I want to share this recipe with you. It’s a great comfort food dish for a fall family meal around the table. This can easily be modified to be a vegetarian dish if that is a preference. I hope you like it!

Turkey Ham Pasta

1 pound spaghetti

1 bag frozen broccoli

1 chub turkey ham (or veggie meat)

1 cup sour cream

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

½ cup parmesan cheese

In a medium sauce pot, heat sour cream, milk butter, and parmesan cheese over medium low heat until butter is melted. Cook pasta as label directs, Drain. Cook frozen broccoli as label directs. Return pasta to pot. This should be a Dutch oven pot. Add broccoli. Cut turkey ham into 1 inch cubes and sauté’ in a skillet over medium high heat for about 10 minutes. Add to pasta and broccoli.   Pour sour cream mixture over pasta, turkey ham, and broccoli. Mix well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour pasta into a 9×13 baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top if desired. Bake up your favorite rolls and ENJOY!

Sink or swim

Well I just got back from a little overnight stay at an indoor water park with the fam. We try to go to this park every year on the off season. Since my kids have been home-schooled, we are not bound by certain days off from school in order to go places like that. It’s kinda a hobby of my husband’s to see how good a package deal he can get on these little mini vaca’s. He’s honestly really good at it too. We got a beautiful hotel room that had two separate sleeping quarters with an intimate little living room area including a fireplace. Two bathrooms for convenience and balcony overlooking the water park. It was quite lovely.

Well as you might imagine, racing down water slides with jets spraying water at you from all directions and twists and turns, not always being aware of which direction you are going, might not be so great for someone with vision loss. But ya know what? I had a blast! I’m almost forty-five-years old and as long as I can physically handle the rides, I’ll keep going. Even if I lose the rest of my sight, I’ll keep going.

I spent a relaxing time on the lazy river with my husband (who tried but sometimes faltered, to keep me from going under the waterfalls). I raced at top speed down the Zip Coaster with my daughter, then sister-in-law, then niece, then husband… multiple times. I went on a slide that took us around and around like we were being flushed with my hubby, sister and brother in law while I screamed my fool head off. Incidentally, my throat is a little scratchy today. We ate, we laughed, we splashed, we chilled in the hot tub… well I guess chilling in a hot tub is kind of impossible, but you get it.

The point is, if I let my blindness define me or dictate what I do or don’t do, I LOSE! I miss out on the experiences that create wonderful memories. Sure, there were times on this trip, like others before, that I had to take a time out to regroup and settle a bit. However, I’m inclined to think that since I was huffing and puffing climbing umpteen thousand flights of stairs, I didn’t need the break because of stress to my eyes. No, more like I’m getting older and much to out of shape… sigh!

Holding the arm when needed of the person I was riding or walking with, I just embraced and enjoyed the time with my family. I trusted them to lead me and I can walk up steps with no assistance. So why not grab all the experiences I can? I can not let my disability stop me from doing the things I love or am able to do. Blindness has robbed me of enough, I’m not going to willingly give it anymore. My fear can not rule my choices. Of course, there are things that are not possible for me to do and I don’t attempt those things. But those fall into the category of robbery. I hope to fulfill my bucket list items (or at least some of them) over the next several years. I want to parasail, visit Ireland, do more hiking, speak as the Lord asks me to and open doors for, and other things along the way.

Friends, even if you don’t have a disability, you can experience much the same robberies. The enemy will try to rob you of your faith through fear. Life altering things can happen to shake your trust in Jesus. A death of a loved one can leave you feeling hopeless. These are the things Satan tries to use to rob you of Jesus. If we have a trust that goes beyond what is based on what we see, then that trust is concrete. Just as I trusted my family to lead me at the water park, we need to take the arm of our Lord and Savior and let Him lead us. Psalm 18:2 says “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”. This verse gives me the promise that God is steady. No matter what is going on in my world, God is there. When a war is going on, soldiers back in the day used shields to protect them and they trusted those shields to work. Fortresses were designed to be the ultimate in safe places. A rock is quite a handy place to stand on if the ground around you is sinking.

Oh my dear readers, as we sit here at the table together, let me encourage you to hold the arm of the one who sees where to go even if you can’t. He wants to lead you and He will protect you in the twists and turns of life. Not necessarily from the twists and turns, but through them. As the water rushing down the slides carried us along with it, I knew there was going to be someone I trusted at the other end to catch me.

Don’t let the enemy rob you anymore. Put your trust in Jesus and take His outstretched hand and let Him lead you. I could have chosen to stay home and let my family go without me thus letting my heart sink with disappointment. But I chose to tell my blindness what we were going to do and I jumped in the wave pool to swim. Jump in with me.

My new little addition to the family

My hope and prayer all along this journey of blogging has been to bring some encouragement, hope, inspiration, enlightenment, laughs and many more things to my readers. Our family is a small one at this time and I dearly adore all of you. I would love to hear from each and every one of you so feel free to Email me with your thoughts, prayer requests, family traditions, favorite memories, or just anything you wish. I welcome everyone at my table and there is plenty of chairs for anyone who wants to join our Table family. You are a very important member of this family and I want you to know how much I value your place at the Table.

When we look at Jesus in the Bible, He is often extending hospitality to others. He is also asking for hospitality to be extended to Him as an example of how we are to treat one another. He calls down Zacchaeus from a tree and tells him that He wants to come to his house (Luke 19:1-10). Zacchaeus was overjoyed to have Jesus come and stay with him. Hospitality was given to Jesus.

There were other examples of Jesus extending hospitality to a large number of people on a few different occasions. Such as is found in Mark 6:30-44… Jesus had been feeding a large number of people the spiritual food they craved. But as the hour grew late, He instructed the disciples to now give them physical food. Jesus used what was available and God multiplied it to be enough for everyone with leftovers! I love that Jesus simply used what He already had. No need to go to the grocery store.

There were other times that Jesus provided spiritual food and then physical food. He knew that both of them were needed.

So, with that being said… my first desire is to share spiritual food. My second is to extend hospitality at my physical table and at my virtual table. Starting October 3rd, I will be adding a recipe for a family favorite dish at the end of my blog posts. I am excited to add this element to the blog because it helps me to carry out in a very tangible way, some of the ways Jesus reached people— by meeting a need. We all eat so I really want to make this a part of our time together. One of my three goals I had set for myself for 2018 was to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a more real and tangible way. Well I must admit to you that it hasn’t gone quite as well as I’d envisioned. This is one way to make a step forward in that goal. Along with the ideas I already had in mind to do here locally.

I’m so grateful that God gives me new opportunities every day to begin again. Honestly, I haven’t done very well with any of the goals I set for myself, but I don’t want to focus on the things I haven’t done. I want to look ahead to the new opportunity to begin them again. We can’t change what we haven’t done, but we can choose to do them now. I hope the new addition to the family will be something you will enjoy. Please let me know your thoughts on this and if you would like to get recipes to add to your recipe box or file or however you organize your favorites. I look forward to hearing from you and blessings to you all!