Saturday, August 18, 2012
On May 23rd, Olive was born, our precious gift who has softened our hearts and turned me into more of a chill and patient mom that I could've ever imagined becoming. And a week later we were packing our things in a moving truck to move to Three Rivers, Michigan (there is a McDonald's) to be youth pastors. Alongside those 2 big adjustments, is Olive's beautiful mouth, that needs extra love and care through doctor's visits and surgeries. That's a lot of change in a short amount of time. In times like that, you don't have a lot of time to think, you just hear God and then you do. And later you think. We are in such an amazing place in life. I love where we are. There has been so much confirmation for Jared and for me that we are right where God wants us. I'm almost crying because of how grateful I feel for where God has placed us and what he is doing in us. Anyways...
For those of you that know me, you know that I have always been extensively involved in ministry, dragging my kids behind me. :) I've just always wanted to do everything, which is totally impossible, by the way. And over the last couple of years, God has led me to establish more balance in my life and it has been a very healthy journey. But a tough one too.
Right now, most days I feel like all I do is eat, feed Olive, and referee my other 2 while we all survive this season. But some days I get to do more, like be involved with the services and hang out with the leaders and chat with the students. I kind of feel like it's 2 different worlds trying to collide into what I call my life. And I love every bit of it. I love the days that I don't make it out of pjs and I love the days that my house is such a wreck because all I did was spend time with people. But sometimes I just want to be able to do so much more, with my kids and with the youth. And I catch myself in these, why-can't-i-give-and-do-so-much-more moments. When I catch myself in one of those moments, first I remind myself to breathe, and second I take a look at where I am in my life and what season I'm in. My little spot in life. And I think, ok, my baby is 3 months old, I just moved across the country, my kids are out of school for the summer... and we're alive... and they're smiling... and my husband is smiling... and most of the time I'm smiling... we're good! We're so good!! Sometimes, when we feel like we are not doing enough or that what we are doing doesn't matter, it just might be because we are looking at others in other seasons of life and discouraging ourselves through comparison. And it's just not fair to do that to yourself!! So I just want to take what God is teaching me and encourage you. When you start to get that overwhelmed I'm a loser, what am I doing that's worth anything feeling, just take a breath and let the Holy Spirit take you on a journey of where you are and what you are doing and how it is putting a smile on God's face. And get back up and remain diligent in where he has you. Because life is made up of moments and seasons. So embrace each moment and every season for what is it and what it means right now.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." Ecclesiastes 3.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I dice it first so it cooked fast, and I skillet cook it with salt, pepper, and a little bit of garlic powder)
- 1 pkg. frozen mixed veggies (carrots, corn, green beans, peas), thawed, drained
- 1/2 lb. (8oz) velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. (I used the off-brand and it was still good)
- 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (Again, off-brand, still good)
- 1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (Yet again, off-brand, still good)
Heat oven to 375
Combine first 4 ingredients in 13x9 baking dish
Unroll dough; place over chicken mixture
Bake 20 t0 25 min or until crust is golden brown.
Done! Served it with a salad. So easy!
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Today is laundry day. Not because Tuesday is my official laundry day, but because if I don't do laundry today, I will have to dig out a dirty school uniform and spot wash it for my daughter, because there are just none left clean. That's why. I don't have washer and dryer hookups or space to put them in our apartment, as well as the rest of students, staff, and alumni that live on this campus. So, we wash them in at the coin laundry. I am blessed to have one in my complex, so I don't have to go to the laundromat to wash them. But I have before on days that the one in my complex was too packed or when I just wanted to go do them away from campus by myself. There's one really close to where we live so every once in a while I use it. It has tons of washers and dryers, you never have to wait for one, and it has coin machines. That's right, not just one but two. It's awesome. Not the prettiest place you've ever seen, but still. And on days that I forget to get quarters from the bank, I stop in to use those awesome coin machines so I can go wash clothes at home. (Is that wrong?) :)
Today I ran in to get some quarters and ran back out and as I was backing out of the parking lot I stopped and stared at a more than picture worthy moment. Now, if I wasn't so against strangers taking pics of my kids and posting them online for the world to see, I would've gotten a pic of these 2 little girls. But I refrained. Picture with me... There are 2 beautiful little girls around 4 or 5 years old. They have pretty dresses on and bows in their hair. They each have their own special animal they had brought with them. They were sitting on the floor of the laundromat, propped up against a set of washers, and they played while their moms worked. Now I made this laundromat out to sound awesome because of it's convenience, but you've got to know... there is trash everywhere, you've got to watch your purse like a hawk, and there may very well be a drug deal going on around the corner. It's the hood. But please understand that I say this lovingly, because I too live there. It's hood, but it's my hood. :) So, it's kind of gross. And there are these 2 little girls totally oblivious to where they are or how it could affect them. Why? Because they are princesses and they know it. That's who they are. The world around them is not affecting their beauty and their goodness, their beauty and their goodness is affecting the world around them.
A while back I started an Esther study that a friend of mine recommended. I never finished, and I hate to leave things unfinished, so I picked it back up this week. To finish what I started. I couldn't help connecting this scenario to that of Esther. Esther is beautiful, she's the queen, she's the only one that won the king's favor, she's got it going on, etc. etc., but she's surrounded by thugs. Her husband was known to be one of the biggest jerks of that time, and his right hand man Haman was much worse. While I was thinking about Esther I realized something. We always see Esther as the orphan and the nobody first and the queen and the somebody second. But I think we have it backwards. I believe that her character and her identity were decided before she ever stepped foot inside the palace. She was a queen before she was ever crowned. She was a beauty before she ever had beauty treatments. What she inwardly knew about herself was outwardly revealed in time. How else did she get to where she was and win the king's eye, heart, and favor? How else did she make one of the wisest and most important decisions of all time? We often let where we are and what happens to us determine who we are. But God has already told us who we are. Who we are can affect where we are and what happens, if we will allow it. God loves to start with the YOU ARE. He takes people who look like nobodies, he tells them something they don't believe about themselves, and he reveals a masterpiece for all to behold. Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Ruth, Rahab, Esther, ....... Jesus. Jesus shows up on the scene.
"I am." Huh? What do you mean you are? You are what? Son of a carpenter, dude who doesn't have a home and probably doesn't bathe a lot? Dude who hangs out with tax collectors, drunks, and prostitutes? That's what people saw on the outward, not what was already inwardly determined. He is. And out of him, everything else is. He is, you are.
“I AM the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” John 6:35
“I AM the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
“I AM the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” John 10:11
“I AM the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25“I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6
"But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted."
1 Peter 2:9-10 The Message
YOU ARE chosen, YOU ARE lovely, YOU ARE important, YOU ARE redeemed, YOU ARE blessed, YOU ARE healed. YOU ARE. Period.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Fall is my favorite season, hands down. I love watching the leaves fall, I love the sound of them rustling on the ground, and I love the crunch of them beneath my feet. I love making pumpkin bread with the kids and eating it in the mornings. And I love the weather. I'm a pretty steady person, not known to do things to the extreme, at all. It's not too hot, it's not too cold, it's just right for Sarah. Being a native Georgian, it's usually not at blazing hot as it is here, so the seasons are a little more defined. But that's not really the case here. It's takes a little while for a season to take effect and then you still keep all seasons of clothing handy just in case. So the first day of fall rolls around and I'm really excited about it. A few days later however, it still feels like mid-July. I was still determined that I was going to celebrate. So I came inside, bumped the air down, lit my salted caramel candle, and made myself a chai tea. And as long as I didn't open the door, it actually felt like the season it was, despite the Texas heat. In every season of life there are things that happen that take us on journeys and sometimes I think we can make the mistake of taking the hardships of a situation and making them what that season of life was all about. I think we all have had really hard seasons of life and I'm not discounting the pain that comes in each season, but if we focus only on the pain we don't leave room to celebrate that season and rejoice in it's gifts. There's going to be heat. Jobs may be lost, homes may be put on the market, diseases may present themselves, a spouse may be unfaithful, we may lose a family member or a friend, mr. right may be taking his sweet time while all your friends are getting married, you may battle depression or lust or insecurity, or you may think the dream in your heart will never come to pass. But those trials don't have to steal entire seasons of life. If you take your single life and fill it with misery because you are not married, you will miss out on the beauty and freedom of that single season. Your kids will only be young for a certain period of time. If you take the time they are young trying to prove your worth by working every chance you can get, you just might miss one of the most beautiful seasons that God sent your way. If you hate your job and only dream of a better day, you will get to the better day and think that you could've made that job a little more enjoyable. If you hate living at home and just can't wait to be out on your own, you will regret not appreciating it more once you have to pay for your own things. Have you ever heard someone say or caught yourself saying, "I just don't know how they are smiling right now with everything going on. How can they be happy in such a bad time?" It's a choice. Rejoicing in the midst of a hard time is not easy. There is no secret ingredient or recipe for happiness, but there is always something to celebrate and something to be thankful for.
All of my life, in every season, you are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship.
With that being said, below is a recipe I use for a pumpkin pie dip. It's divine and it will be sure to help you celebrate this beautiful season, whether it's 62 or 92 degrees outside. ;)
PUMPKIN PIE DIP
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add pie filling, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ginger, beating well. Cover and chill 8 hours (if you have that kind of time. It's still good if you don't.) Serve with your favorite yummy cookie, like gingersnaps or graham crackers. I carve out a small pumpkin and pour the dip in it so it looks cute. Super easy, super yummy.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
One day when this was happening, the Holy Spirit started speaking to me about seasons. There are reasons why we are where we are. There are reasons why things happen when and how they happen. And when we go through "time-out" seasons, our true nature shines through. Time-out seasons are those times when you think you should be doing something great and it doesn't look like it, or when you know you blew it, or when you should be really happy with your life but for some reason you're not. It's when you thought God would do one thing and he's doing something else. It's in a tough time that I find out who I am. It comes right out. When you get squeezed, something's coming out, that's for sure, and it's not always pretty, and we shouldn't always expect it to be. The point is not doing things just right, always keeping a smile on our face and every hair in place. Sometimes the point is to just make it out alive. Sometimes the point is to have a testimony to help someone else make it through something similar. Sometimes God uses those seasons to prepare us for something we are not ready to face. Sometimes we have no clue of what's going on and we come out with an odd look and an "I got nothin."
The importance is not that we know what's going on and why we are in a certain season but that we know that God does and we trust him to know what he's doing. I need my kids to trust me. If I tell them to sit this one out, I need them to do it, even if they don't understand. Sometimes when God says, "Sarah, sit this one out," I ask questions and I try to reason with him and I read old journal entries trying to look for clues as to what he's doing and why I'm on the sideline of a situation. Basically, I'm telling him, "God, I done." Really I think he just wants me to say ok and obey. No matter what I think, he's doing something even when it looks like he's not and when I protest, I'm only getting in the way of his divine plan. Whatever he asks of us, it's only out of his deep love for us, and that's an immense comfort.
"We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails."
Prov 19:21 The Message