Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It is times like these, yes even during the holidays that oppression sets in. It is not of the Lord, and certainly Christ would never want us to live under such a heavy cloud. God gave me a vision yesterday, and I think this not only applies to me, but to those of you who are experiencing harsh times.
Here is the vision:

I saw a person who had fallen into a lake of mud. It was really more like quick sand but looked muddy. Weird I know. Anyway, that person was struggling to make their way to the top of the mud to catch a breath and see sunlight. Their movements were slow but the person was very desperate to get to the top. Anxiety flowed through them as they kept thinking "I can't breathe, this is too hard". The pressure from the mud all around them seemed unbearable, as if it was squeezing around them.
Eventually I saw this person rise to the surface, just enough to allow their mouth and nose to breath in fresh air and to see the light.

I have been pondering this vision for a while. I had to wonder why God did not just reach down and pull this hurting soul out of the miry muck. It's like this verse in Psalm 43:2 "You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?". This person was doing the best they could just to breath and not fall deeper and deeper under oppression.

I still do not know the full answer to this, but this is what I do know. God calls us to seek Him--to move towards him, even when we feel like we cannot move. Every muscle and fiber of our being is His. He can snap his fingers and any illness or burden can be lifted in an instant--he has done this before. But most of the time I believe he has called us to a higher level--a level that requires a little bit of sweat and endurance on our part. It would be easier if he just rescued us and we didn't have to do a thing, but we would never have learned anything. How did we get into that mud hole/quick-sand in the first place? What was it that drew us to it? It certainly didn't smell good or look appealing. There was work involved to get there, so there is work involved to get out of it.

What draw's us to get out of it? It's the hope and love of God--the promise of tomorrow and the healing of today.

Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1 Samuel 10:18
...“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’

Psalm 9:9
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 103:6
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

Psalm 146:7
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,

Music is such a great resource to sooth the soul. We all have things going on in our lives that it is really hard to communicate. I believe music does it so well for us.

Children sleeping, snow is softly falling
Dreams are calling like bells in the distance
We were dreamers not so long ago
But one by one we all had to grow up
When it seems the magic's slipped away
We find it all again on Christmas day

Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe

Trains move quickly to their journey's end
Destinations are where we begin again
Ships go sailing far across the sea
Trusting starlight to get where they need to be
When it seems that we have lost our way
We find ourselves again on Christmas day

Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe [x4]

Just believe

Monday, December 13, 2010

Did you know?-Butternut Squash

So, I guess this could end up being a multi-post day. ;-)

On my lunch break I was reading this holiday magazine "for Women First" and I came across this recipe for Butternut Squash. It's simple, supposed to be super tasty and created by the "Pioneer Woman". This magazine was published last December but I am sure you can find this recipe and many more on her website ThePioneerWoman.com.

Butternut Squash Puree
1 Butternut Squash
2 Tbs Butter
4 Tbs Real Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt.

1. Slice squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds and membranes. Place both halves face down on rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 min. or until squash is fork tender from the oven.
2. Place butter in a mixing bowl. With a spoon, scrape out flesh of squash; add to bowl with butter. Let sit 1 min. or until butter melts
3. Add maple syrup and salt, then mash mixture together until large chunks are broken up. Serve mixture as is, or place in a food processor and puree until smooth and pourable.

4 Reasons to love Butternut Squash
1. Optimal Immunity
Enjoying just 1/3 cup of this golden vegetable daily bolsters the body's defense against winter colds and the flu. It is packed with beta-carotene (a phytonutrient that neutralizes immunity-sabotaging free radicals and stimulates up to a 33 percent increase in blood levels of infections-fighting T cells)
2. A Happier Mood
The tryptophan in this sweet squash can boost feelings of happiness by as much as 20 percent.
3. A Healthy Heart
Contains significant stores of folate and fiber.
4. All-day Energy
Is packed with omega-3 fatty acids to boost the body's ability to convert stored fat into energy.

Wow, sounds like a great way to stay healthy and lose weight. I am all for this and should buy some today. ;-)

Different-A Tribute to the "special people"

OK, you might be wondering what in the heck does the title of my post mean. LOL! Well, I'll tell ya.

I believe God has made us all different. In fact, even for twins there are always things about them that are different from the other.

Really, what I am referring to are the differences in personalities that separate some of us from the pack. Have you ever felt different, or have you ever felt like you didn't quite belong? Are you in a place where you wish you could be friends with more people or possibly be understood by others?

Well, you have come to the right blog my friend because I am in that same club. I find myself wondering why I cannot connect with certain people, or why is it that my personality does not fit most scenarios. I am a creative person to the core. I love to sing, paint and cook. My thoughts most of the time revolve around one of those things. My sense of humor is different too--I find that not many people truly understand me, but then every once in a while I find that unique sole that just "gets me". Can you hear the Hallelujah Chorus? ;-)

Being different can also be how we process things--how we deal with life’s issues. Are you a sensitive person or do you just let things slide off your shoulder? Do you show your feelings on your shoulders or do you hide them under the surface? How about your relationship with Christ? Do you want to go deeper with him and seek out his voice for understanding?

Many of these things factor in how we live our lives and how we interact with others. God has shown me that He made us all different in a way that we are unique. We are all "quality" people when we allow him to do a good work in our lives. It's OK to be different--to be set apart. It's not easy. It's not always fun. Sometimes it’s lonely. Sometimes it’s confusing and upsetting but if we look at it through God's lenses, it makes a little more sense. ;-)

I would like to dedicate this song to all of my "groupies" who are different. Love you!!!

Trying out new recipes

Hello all. Not much to write about today, so this post might be random.

I went to see the new Narnia movie this weekend. It was pretty good. I really enjoyed watching it 3D. I do have to say that the 1st and 2nd movies are still my favorite, but they did a pretty good job with this one.

Also, I tried out a new recipe. It was good, but different. I didn't add bacon to it, so I think next time I will. I think it would add a lot of flavor.

Corn and potatoe chowder. I couldn't find a good recipe to use, so I just winged it.

I used about 8 red potatoes peeled (Cut to small bite size pieces)
1 bag frozen super sweet white corn
4 green unions (cut up small)
2 large garlic cloves (minced)
2 boxes of low sodium chicken stock
I let all of this cook for a while then I added...
Table Cream
Sharp Cheddar Cheese (add as much as you want. I think I did just less than 2 cups)

Let all of this cook until the potatoes are cooked through. You can serve with a small dollop of sour cream if you want.

Well, this week is going to be pretty full. Working 45 to 50 hours and then fun times to be had with friends.

Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

O Holy Night

The most beautiful Christmas song EVER!

LOL!!!!!!!!!! Sike!

Holiday Highs and Lows

Experience:I have been really looking forward to all of the fun festivities this Christmas is bringing. I am so blessed to be a part of 2 different volunteering opportunities. First, I am going to ring the bell at Wal-Mart with my roomie and then the second I am joining some other really great friends (C.A.M.A.) in working at "Feed the Children". I am not sure what we will be doing exactly, but I am excited about it. I have wanted to volunteer for some time but really never followed through with it. I guess it just takes a little shove to get started. ;-) I think that helping someone in need is beneficial especially if one is having a hard time.

Highs and Lows:Two Christmases ago things were really hard for me. There was so much drama and heartache going on I didn't want to even celebrate Christmas. Last year it was better but very different from the Christmases of long ago. My family was separated and everyone was doing their own thing. I got to spend most of my Christmas with my Mom which was nice. This year I am finding a mix of major heartache and joy combined. It is a really weird thing to experience both at the same time. I want to celebrate the Holiday's, but then again I don't. I am finding myself straining to just focus on what is good about this season and not be an emotional basket case all the time. Sigh...... So that is my low. Just trying to hold my head above water to breathe and listen for God's voice.

My highs are much better of course. ;-) I am looking forward to being creative and baking things. I think I will start a painting again. I have had a picture in my mind for some time now, and since I am blessed to have a little bit of a Christmas break this year, I will start it. Painting, making bread and just wanting to bless others is a very therapeutic approach to sadness. I thank God for these talents that He has given me to pull me through the muck.

Handel’s Messiah:(This will be a topic for another post including pictures and video later.) I was so blessed to be invited to watch Handel’s Messiah performed live. The opera was AMAZING!!! The talent that these people have is SPECTACULAR!! What an amazing treat to be a part of. Thanks Cara for inviting me. I will cherish that moment.

On that note, I found a song from another concert for Handel’s. Amazing. This is a great start of a most wonderful time to celebrate Christ's birth.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Call to the High Places

Especially for the Unmarried (Warning, this is long but if your ready, it is REALLY good)
The Call to the High Places
By Natalie Marie Nyquist
Jan 4, 2005 - 8:12:00 PM

The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God, the God who girds me with strength…He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places. ~ Psalm 18:30-33

“Lord! Why are all the girls my age falling in love and getting married (or so it feels), and I have no one? How can I survive this painful thing called singleness, especially when so many friends are getting married?” Every girl cries these words at some point; most of us must face them again…and again…and again. How do I best live this unasked-for life of singleness? Granted, this season seems bearable and even grows pleasant for a while—until another wedding invitation comes in the mail or another friend emails the joyous news that she is courting. Familiar panic and frustration squeeze in our throats, and we feel like emptying the house of anything that hints of marriage, family, romance, love, or happiness. Anything that will mock our own state of lacking (seemingly) all of these treasures.

As young women, our longing for romance and marriage is a desire at the core of our beings. This hope is part of the foundation of our identity as women; thus the wrestling we face when we are told to be content as singles or to “put our emotions to sleep” can be overpowering. The answer I have discovered is simple, yet so profound that I can barely scratch the surface of its truth, even in a full-length book. It lies in keeping our eyes fixed on something higher than earthly romance: the High Places. Just what are the High Places, you might ask?

The High Places. Was it the desire for a strong hand to hold mine and share this timeless moment? Yes, if I listened to the message whispered from every side. Everything is sweeter when you are with your boyfriend, husband, special friend, you fill in the blank. Without him, all is loneliness and melancholy. With him, all life turns into a passionate intoxication of delight. From secular love songs to Christian novels, the climax of a woman’s life always comes when she is finally with her man. Sound familiar? Perhaps it does, not only because it is touted in our culture, but because a similar cry echoes from inside us.

What is this thing that draws us? That will not allow us to remain content in the valley our entire life? This tug women feel cannot be captured in mere words, nor confined even within the vast reaches of our own hearts. It is what I refer to as the call to the High Places. Not to a man, romance, or marriage, which the world magnifies as the ultimate goal: but to our Father’s High Places. What we translate as a girlish longing for romance runs far deeper. Our Lord, the mighty and loving King of Kings, calls us to come with Him to a life the world will never understand. He has a much higher purpose for our lives than we could ever imagine (Eph. 3:20).

The only desire that can carry us through the hard times ahead stems from a love for our Lord. We want to go to the High Places because He is there. We want to follow Him. Anything short of this commitment will soon weaken under the rigors of our journey. If we set out hoping marriage will be a nice bonus to the equation, we’re preparing for dissatisfaction and disappointment. A loyal, committed love for our Lord that is faithful even when feelings rebel: this is what can keep our eyes fixed on our goal.

A desire to trace the footsteps of our Father is not enough if there is no commitment. It will sometimes be easier to stay where life is predictable and comfortable. The High Places held a holy wonder that sparked terror deep in my heart. In the core of my being echoed a question unbidden, which I was incapable of answering: “Do I really want to go there? Do I really want to be laid bare before this Holy God in all His majesty?”

Most of all, a fear hovered at the back of my mind holding me back from action. “What if God does not give me what I really want?” It sounds foolish when spelled out in black and white, but that does not invalidate its grip on me. How about you?

In Hannah Hurnard’s allegory, the shepherdess Much-Afraid earnestly wanted to go to the High Places, but she also battled fear:

“I am afraid,” she said. “I have been told that if you really love someone you give that loved one the power to hurt and pain you in a way nothing else can.”
“That is true,” agreed the Shepherd. “To love does mean to put your self into the power of the loved one and to become very vulnerable to pain, and you are very much-afraid of pain, are you not?”

Oh, not pain! The thought makes us shrink inwardly, tension making our body rigid as we brace ourselves to face the dreaded monster of pain. Haven’t we had enough? Why is God allowing so much suffering in our lives? It is a paradox I cannot understand, but I accept its truth because I trust the One who told me: pain is a necessary step to growth and maturity. We cannot reach the High Places without sacrifice. Accepting that fact now and not hoping to somehow find the invisible path around pain will give you a head start on this journey. Yet these fears will not surrender their hold willingly. We dread giving up our treasured dreams to the Lord, because…what if He takes them away? How can we bear to give up something so close to our heart? To do so would rip a gaping wound, and pain is to be avoided at all costs—right?

Dare we trust our Father to faithfully provide for us? Are we willing to give up the dreams for marriage and romance and allow Him to do with them as He chooses? Are we committed to seeking the High Places even if it becomes clear that our journey will not include the firm grip of a prince’s hand to help us over the tough spots? Is our passion for God’s glory strong enough to withstand the screaming of emotions?

Oh, to be able to echo the words of Much-Afraid and say to Him, “In all the world I have no one but You. Help me to follow You, even though it seems impossible. Help me to trust You as much as I long to love You.”

God knows that we are weak. We do not love Him even the smallest percent of what we should, nor do we give Him half of the devotion He deserves. Yet no matter where we are on the path, God simply offers His hand to us. “You love me only this much?” He asks. “Well, then I will give you the strength to love Me just a little bit more today, and a little bit more the day after that, until you are so full of love for Me that there is no room for anything else.”

If only our own fairy tale promised a beautiful ending. Right now we do not know if our knight will ever come. Sometimes we would prefer not to have so many reminders of that fact, yet the same fairy tale is echoed over and over wherever we look. And it draws us…something in its nature draws us to sit before the story yet again as our minds ask God again: “Will I ever have this?” We feel an ache inside that only increases as we feel the beauty and power of the story.

A lovely young princess is captured by the evil adversary of her kingdom and taken to the villain’s fortress, where any hope of rescue or help is seems futile. This maiden is very beautiful, with curls that tumble to her waist and captivating eyes the color of a summer sky. Her purity and virtue are known throughout the land. A young warrior loves this maiden with all his heart and is willing to sacrifice his life if it means she can be set free. He fights through unspeakable difficulties with amazing courage and chivalry until at last he conquers the evil and rescues his princess. With a tender look and kiss upon her dainty hand, he lifts her onto his horse, and they gallop into the sunset. Returning to their kingdom amidst great rejoicing, they are married and live happily ever after.

While the world wishes us to attempt to fill that hole in our heart with wild adventures and passionate romance, God says that these things are merely a symbol of a deeper reality. They are a signpost, pointing the way to the ultimate relationship that brings fullness of joy and pleasures forever! Is this not what we really seek in the dreams for our own fairy tale?

Psalm 20:4 exclaims, “May He grant you your heart’s desire!” In the next chapter it says, “Thou hast given him his heart’s desire and Thou hast not withheld the request of his lips” (verse 2). God has put these yearnings in us not to frustrate us, but for His sovereign purpose--a purpose that goes beyond what we can comprehend in our limited vision. Despite what the world would have us believe, those fairy tales are not the ultimate goal. The story may end with the couple living happily ever after, but real life continues and something deeper and stronger than these must be our highest focus. If we keep them in their place, fairy tales and their real-life parallels can be a beautiful, fulfilling part of life. Pushed onto a pedestal they were never meant to occupy, their worth is twisted and distorted.

Most of us have been guilty of clinging to something, whether it is an attraction to some young man, a fascination with romance itself, or a dangerous emotional attachment. We cannot know true love for anyone or anything until we let that thing go utterly, completely, and forever into the hands of our Father. Not on the condition that our true love will then appear on our doorstep, but because it is the only path to true peace.

The Lord has created us to be young women with all the intricacy and complexity that entails, yet He also governs the expression and use of these feminine gifts. This is the goal of our journey to the High Places: to first understand ourselves and our desires, then to live a lifestyle pleasing to the Lord that brings complete satisfaction and fulfillment. The soul sigh must be surrendered and our grasping hands loose their hold on the things that will not fill our void. God did not plant this need inside to be satisfied with anything less than Himself and His best.
A verse I've often repeated to myself was the last half of Job 1:21: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” If Job could praise the Lord with confidence in the midst of his trials which were so vastly greater and more difficult than mine…then I must praise Him in the small annoyances and heartaches He graciously allows.

Knowing God is the greatest adventure of all time: a life-long pursuit, the ultimate romance, the fulfillment of every yearning. Apart from this relationship life is a mere shadow of its full potential. Remembering that even life at its best is only a dim reflection of Heaven proves that we have a wonderful future to anticipate. Be encouraged! It is far too easy to get bogged down in all the emotional confusion of guy-girl relationships and unfulfilled longings. At the end of the day we must come back to the same simple truth and accept it without conditions or reservations. Our lives are in the loving and capable hands of the Father. Our quest is to seek Him and follow Him to the High Places by whatever paths He chooses. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).