Saturday, February 21, 2015

He Doesn't need me...

I just Wanted to share something that recently happened in my life.  I have this best friend of 10+ years who had been going through A LOT and I live cross country from her.  Between my dad's health declining with ALS and my best friends life going really rough, it pains me to be so far away and unable to physical be there for them.  Of course I pray for them daily but I can't DO much this far away.  Well the last 3 weeks I was back visiting my parents and helping my mom get their new house decorated and more homey for them since they had to move 6 months ago to a place that my dad could get around in his motor chair.  While there  spending time visiting my parents I had 2 opportunities to make it over to the city where my friend lives, and it was perfect timing too because her baby was having heart surgery so I could actually be there to serve her in person and be the friend I wanted to be and show Her God's love.  

She doesn't have any type of community that would get her signed up on meals and stuff like that you may get from a play group, MOPS or church community so I wanted to stock her kitchen with lots of easy meals and whatever else I could while there.  I was very concerned about her being cared for in that way and had even considered calling a MOPs group or something near her and asking them to bless her with was a big concern for me.  I've prayed many times to The Lord to pour out His love on her over the last year so she would KNOW His now I was going to show it to her by being the best friend I could.  But come the day I was to go over, my son got the flu and I couldn't leave.  My path was blocked and as I was dissapointed, I really felt that for whatever reason it was meant to be that way, so I just looked forward to my next opportunity to see her before we flew back home.  

That last day my path was continually blocked again, we had a rental car situation that my husband has NEVER had before and he rents cars all the time for work so that put a huge dent in our day getting over there.  Once we made the drive over, thing after thing caused delays and at the end if the day I was not only unable to go to the store and bring her any groceries but I ended up showing up completely empty handed...not a card or anything for her or the baby who was just released from the nicu.  All I had to offer was me and some hugs.  I was like what the heck this is sooooo opposit my plan.  But....

While I was there she shared something with me, earlier that week as my path was being blocked to come see her the first time, she had credit card fraud which, for some reason, when she purchased vitamins and a small high chair seat on amazon the vitamins went through but not the high chair even though it was the same order.  So she decided to go on her local city neighborhood Facebook swap & trade page and ask if anyone had a high chair and this woman had one that she gave her for free.  When she saw the lady's profile picture it was the symbol for the same health issue her baby was having surgery for.  When she picked up the high chair she had this weird feeling like she knew her already.  That woman then asked my friend if she could post about her situation on the Facebook page they met on anonymously and my friend was surprised but said ok.  In no time she had meals lined up for the next 3 months, people wanting to help clean house each week, people bringing loads of groceries and dinner gift cards, the outpouring of love and support...from strangers...was totally amazing.

As I left her place that night, I was driving across a long bridge that leaves the city and I felt The Lord tell me "I don't need you.  I have angels everywhere". I couldn't help but laugh!  Like I was a little offended like I've invested so much in this friendship and prayed so much for her and I wasn't able to "do" anything for her but The Lord ANSWERED those prayers and did more than I or any of the other handful of people available could have on our own.  I was just supposed to be her friend and pray for her in this situation and it taught me to trust The Lord even more because He does got it...He has angels everywhere.  It's good that we are willing to be used but He doesn't always need us to do the job that He can do better through someone else.  It was also humbling because no matter how good our intentions, we aren't going to single handedly BE God to others even if we don't realize that's what we are trying to be.  We don't need to be anxious and worry that if we can't be the ones physically being there with someone than God's going to miss them.  That he can't reach them without our involvement.
He loves His children.  He has angels everywhere and our prayers for others do more good than what we, on our own strength, can attempt to do for them.   So, while I was bummed at first He didn't want to use me in this situation to fill a need I knew was there, I am relieved to know His love and His ways far outdo whatever we can think of and so the best thing we can ever do is pray, trust The Lord with it, and move and act when God leads and inspires you to and gives you the grace to do so.  In this situation it was so obvious He was not giving me the grace to do what I thought I needed to and wanted to do, and I am so glad knowing what he was orchestrating behind the scenes meanwhile as he blocked me for now, more LOVE from more people is flowing out into the world, love from neighbors who are strangers but what a good loving father He is to pour His love on my friend with the love of people in her community and giving all those people the opportunity to love their neighbor.  

So, if The Lord tells you He doesn't need you, don't be offended...let others and continue to pray and be ready for when He does.  His ways are above our ways.  

This situation as well as my parents situation living with ALS, is a good reminder of Newton's Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposit reaction.  In both situations of difficulty, the reaction is love and tender mercies poured out and shared by many people in their communities.  It kills me not being close to my parents as they live with ALS, but they too have received an outpouring of love, help and service from members of their community and church.  It still hurts not living closer to them but I now more fully understand....There are angels everywhere.  We can't be everywhere we may wish to be and serve those we may wish to serve but we can pray for them and be ready to serve those we are granted to grace to serve and love.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Realigning Lives with The Way, The Truth and The Life...

Image result for seasons of life ministries

Today I would like to introduce you to a local ministry called Seasons of Life.  Our friends there have both been married before and know the pain of divorce, healing, blending families, having a Godly marriage and now work full time helping to heal marriages through one on one or couple to couple discipleship to counsel individuals and couples to heal, grow and succeed in their relationships by putting Christ at the center.

When they felt the Lord calling them to full time ministry, they were obedient and jumped in trusting God for provision.  They got rid of many possessions, moved to a smaller home and live a simple, happy beautiful life serving others.  They to me are the epitome of the verse Luke 21:4 For all of these have cast in whatever excess they had into the place of God's offerings, but this one from her want has cast in everything that she owned.”  They have given everything, even their daily lives to serve the Lord by being available to serve others.  

Here is more details about what this ministry does from the website.

1. Discipleship – weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings at least 60 minutes in length investigating 3 basic questions:
  • What is God showing you in His word this week and how is it challenging you?
  • What’s happened to you this week that was undeniably God?
  • How can I pray for you/where are you struggling?
2. Speak Life – this is a broad category where we serve as the hands and feet of Christ through food, clothing, and personal care items distribution. But, in the past 5 years it has also extended to putting a homeless family up in an extended stay hotel, providing fuel for single moms, Christmas trees for families who would not otherwise have one, marriage retreat and youth conference sponsorships for troubled marriages and needy teens. Anywhere that a little life is needed to bridge the gap from one challenging season to another have been places God has called, equipped, and used this ministry to care for those in need.
3. That Day – A full length, one man show about a guy you might know and the judgement seat of Christ.
4. Clean Slate – A half day workshop designed to develop a biblical approach to productivity.
5. Uprising – The sum total of our children’s discipleship programming and efforts to encourage home educators and promote development of a biblical worldview.

We have been to the That Day performance and it was awesome to say the least.  If you have been struggling with day to day stresses and need help with gaining that eternal perspective, watching Aarron's one man show will not only entertain and impress you with his endless characters he can play so well all at once, but will help you gain that eternal perspective that will really help with handling the day to day stuff in life with more grace, peace and wisdom.
To get an idea of what the marriage counselling looks like, you can watch "Frank & Ellie's Story" shared by Aarron from Seasons of Life Ministries below

There are so many good causes out there and this ministry is one of them and I just wanted to share because it is not one you will find when searching online for charity's or ministries to give to as it is local and small.
AND If you need help in your faith or in any of your relationships, then contact Seasons of Life Ministries, even if you are not local, I'm sure they would be more than happy to help you by phone or email.  That is what they do. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Babycakes Book Review

Spring almost 2 years ago we had the opportunity to go to Disneyworld for a couple days after we had reunited as a family and moved to GA...prior to that the kids and I had still been in Nebraska waiting for our house to sell while the hubby was commuting and already working down south so it was a very stressful time and we didn't have much family time for quite a while.  While down there, one of the highlights of the trip for me was going to Babycakes bakery in Downtown Disney.  I was also pregnant with my third during this time along with gluten and dairy free, so being able to walk up to an amazing bakery counter like that and get whatever I wanted was pretty much totally amazing!!!  The Babycakes donuts were awesome.  My hubby who can eat whatever agreed they were some of the best donuts he's ever had.  Not just "good for being gluten free" but actually really GOOD!  They aren't like regular donuts from a donut shop...they are more gourmet and cake-like but all in a good way.   Here is the picture I took at the time of my Babycakes donuts in the pink cake box.

Skip forward to present day, I didn't realize Babycakes had come out with a book until I saw it on my sister's (who is gluten free dairy free and now egg free) amazon wish list.  Since it was her birthday I got her that and made the donuts for her birthday to, and also the chocolate chip cookies the next day.  
This is a gluten free vegan cookbook that is simple yet awesome!  The recipes I've tried so far are so easy and turned out great.  The donuts I made for the birthday were enjoyed by all, even the family members who have no food allergies or restrictions.  

I made plain cake counts dipped in chocolate with cookie crumble topping and others with vanilla glaze coated in toasted coconut.  Only change I made was adding a but if lemon juice to the vanilla glaze because I distinctly remember the lemony flavor my donut had at Babycakes in Downtown Disney and the glaze didn't call for that so I added it in.  I can't wait to make these again and try even more recipes!   

Here's a peak at the donuts, some I left with just the chocolate or vanilla glaze in case anyone didn't want coconut or cookie crumble, but I was surprised the kids loved the toasted coconut donuts more than I expected.

So,  if you are looking for a great gluten free dairy free egg free cookbook whether it's because you're vegan or have food issues that make you require you to make good like a vegan I definitely recommend this book.
The beginning of the book is very informative and instructional as to ingredients she uses and recommends and other tips.  
I can't wait to order my own copy, my daughter already told me she wants the vanilla glazed coconut donuts for her birthday.

Framed Iron Key Wall Decor

My mom and I were trying to figure out what to put on her entryway hallway to complete the wall decor.  She had the framed "K" and the family established sign I made her a few Christmases ago but she needed something else to complete the wall, so after some tinkin' we can up with this framed iron rustic key ring mounted on burlap.  The frame was from a collage frame that we took apart, then my mom had some thin plywood stuff leftover in the garage from her kitchen renovation and so she cut that to fit the frame, then put a layer of thin quilt padding under the burlap and hot glued it  on the back.

 Then mounted the iron key hook with small screws.  We colored the heads of the screws with a black sharpie so they blend in.

Then hot glued around the inside edge of the frame to secure/mount the thin plank of burlap lined plywood in.  We had to glue a small strip of quilt padding to the back where the tips of the screws from the hook had poked through a little...

Then hung the large old fashioned keys on the hook and tacked down each key with a little hot glue to spread them out.

And here is the completed hallway wall...