One Word 2018 – Peace

Last night I reflected on my One Word for 2017, and today after more thought and prayer, I have finally selected my One Word for 2018.

Peace.

And I have some specific reasons why this is my One Word for the upcoming year.

The main reason is because of 1 Peter 2:11 – Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. (NLT).

This was something Lysa TerKeurst talked about in her book Made to Crave, and it’s something that has stuck with me for years. I know what it’s like to have a “wage war within my soul”, and I’ve come to realize it must be treated as an alarm to danger. Ignoring it means I am refusing to heed the Holy Spirit, refusing to exchange my will for the Father’s. In my experience, this has always been a path that leads to chaos and despair, never peace.

So this year I want to walk and grow in true peace. I believe true peace is something that comes only from the Lord when we are obeying His commands to love Him first and love others second. I believe it doesn’t fit any human definitions, and can be obtained regardless of outside circumstances.

I know what my struggles are. Over-indulging in food and desiring to be lazy with my physical body. Depression and discontentment, especially in winter. While these are not my only struggles by any means, these are the re-occurring ones where I seem to struggle the most with being at peace. I praise God for how far He has brought me in these areas and the victories He has already given me. Now I long to continue this path with Him because I know I’m not done yet, and having tasted some victory I long to drink of His peace.

Additionally I want to have peace this year when it comes to serving. The last few months have left me frazzled and I’m not sure if it’s an issue of poor time management on my part, or if it’s an issue of over-committing myself. However, THE issue I KNOW I have is not spending serious time in prayer with God seeking HIS will in this area of my life, and as He is the only source of peace, it’s time I really lay down at His feet and ask for His direction.

Redeemed. Mending. Discipline. Hope. Focus.

Peace.

Thank you Lord for another year to continue in this journey and this life.

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A Tale of Cake and Love

Gather round dear friends and let me tell you a tale.
It is a tale of love.
Love of parents to their children, and of spouses to each other.

It all began innocently enough when Mom decided this year she wanted to make their children birthday cakes from scratch. With the help of the son and a little input from the daughter, she determined to make from scratch a “Prize Chocolate Cake” and a “Golden Lemon Chiffon Cake“.

The Prize Chocolate Cake started easily enough, until she realized it was a 3 layer cake and she only had 2 pans. And then of course, in addition to that, she quickly realized not having a Kitchen Aide meant she was short a few hands, so Dad came to the rescue.

Now Dad and Mom have worked all day. Additionally Dad had worked hard remodeling the basement all week while Mom was busy rearranging the upstairs. As Dad assisted Mom with the chocolate cake baking, he was simultaneously working on the “honey-please-do” list Mom had given him. And she was simultaneously trying to clean the house to prepare for the Birthday gathering the next day.

They laughed and talked and joked. They complimented one another’s work on the house. How much more would they had savored the moment had they knew what was to come?

After the first 2 layers baked, Mom quickly washed and dried the pan in order to get the third layer baking. Alas. This was when things began to take a turn.

Mom, tired and slightly frazzled, started washing the pan while still wearing oven mitts. Dad laughed it off as did she. Next she cried out in a panic when she realized the oven timer was not set. Of course, it took her a moment to realize there was no cake in the oven yet as it was what Dad was currently working on. He laughed, and she decided to sit down and start reviewing the instructions for the second cake.

While round two of the son’s cake was cooking, Mom started prepping for the daughter’s cake. The instructions had phrases in it which she had never heard of before. She OK GOOGLE’D what it meant to make a “well” in flour. She sifted the flour. She made the “well”. She added in the exact order the wet ingredients just like it said to do. Meanwhile Dad was busy separating egg yolks and egg whites for step 2 of the lemon cake.

Finally it came time to “beat the mixture satin smooth“. Dad started beating, and almost instantly the mixture, a glob of thick glutenous glue, started climbing up the beater.

“How are you supposed to beat this “satin smooth”?!” Dad declared, “This is not going to happen.”

“Maybe you are supposed to use a whisk or a fork or something?” Mom wonders, not phased and simply prepared to just work around the small detail. She tries without a lot of success to get all of the glutenous glue off the beaters. Dad continues to mix it with a spoon, shaking his head.

Next came the forming of “very stiff peaks” with the egg whites.
What was to follow was the “pouring the batter in a stream over entire surface of egg whites“.

Now, Dad knew this step was coming, and his anxiety was growing with every stir of the glutenous glue. “Honey, this is NOT going to work. We need to throw this out. Something is wrong.”

“It will be fine,” Mom said, refusing to admit defeat. “Maybe it won’t be light and fluffy but I’m sure it will still taste fine.”

Dad attempted to combine the two bowls, and this was when he really started to have a very great concern over the condition of the batter.

“I’m telling you, this is NOT going to work. Seriously, we can’t serve this tomorrow. This is no good.”

“It will be fine. Maybe we need to beat it from the middle of the ‘well’? Maybe that’s why you make a well? I only have enough ingredients to make two and one is to share and one is to send home with her. We will just cute it up into bite size pieces or something and send her home with the other one.”

*** tense marital silence ***

“Honey, this is NOT going to work. This is just wrong. We did something wrong. How much oil did you put in?”

“I put in exactly what it said.”

“What about water? How much water?”

“The book is right there. Take a look yourself.”

Dad walks away from the glutenous glue which he is attempting to force to “blend” into the egg whites. He is muttering to himself, looking over the list, looking back at the bowl.

“Something isn’t right. This just isn’t right. We are not making another one. I’m making the executive decision right now. We are not making another Chiffon Cake.”

Mom puts the bowl she was preparing to start adding ingredients to for the second chiffon cake and walks away, clearly agitated. She sits on the couch. There must be two cakes. TWO CAKES.

*** tense marital silence ***

Dad calls out from the kitchen, “Can you look this up on a YouTube video or something?”

Without answering, Mom turns on the TV, pulls up YouTube and searches “How to make a lemon chiffon cake“. She plays the first video that comes up.

Dad comes out of the kitchen, watching the video. For the last 10 minutes he has given up “blending” and is beating the glutenous glue mercilessly with the broken hand mixer.

(That’s right, my apology reader, in addition to all of the above, the one and only hand mixer the couple owns is broken, so one beater won’t latch into place. This means it constantly tries to fall out of the hand mixer WHILE in mid operation.”

Watching the TV Dad says, “Did you put lemon juice in it?”

“The receipe doesn’t call for lemon juice.” Mom says, a tinge of exasperation beginning to break into her voice.

“Well, something is missing. Something has got to be missing.” Dad goes back into the kitchen. He stands over the recipe book, reading glasses on his nose. He goes back over to the glutenous-gluey-egg-white mixture.

He tastes it.

“Does this have any sugar any it? Any at all?”

Mom blinks. She gives him a blank stare. Meanwhile her brain is going off into a fire ball of “Wait, sugar, mix the dry ingredients. It said sift dry ingredients together. Wait a minute….” She leaps up from the couch and exclaims “That’s it!”

Dashing into the kitchen, shaking her head, she says, “I didn’t put any sugar in it. Or anything other than flour. It needs sugar! Add the sugar and other stuff!”

Dad at this time is now skeptical. The sugar, baking powder, and salt all get added. He continues to blend and finally, oh finally, the glutenous glue begins to dissolve.

“We will just serve this as lemon squares and the other will be the cake!” Mom calls out!

“I really think you should make a different cake.” Dad says. “I still don’t see how it’s going to get satin smooth.”

“I”m telling you it’s the sugar. That was the problem. It will smooth right out with the sugar.”

Now, in Dad’s defense, this is coming from the same woman who kept saying it would be fine when the batter was clearly NOT fine. We cannot blame him for not believing that the sugar would prevent another glutenous gluey mess.

“I don’t know.” He says, his face really saying it all.

“It will be fine.” Mom says, determined now to prove it will work. She gets the second bowl prepped with ALL the dry ingredients this time. She starts adding the wet ingredients to the center of the “well”.

“Are you adding those in the correct order?” Dad asks, looking over her shoulder.

“Probably not,” she says, “But it will be fine.”

“Well, let me go clean this spatula, because you are going to need it when that batter starts climbing into the mixer again.”

“It won’t, I’m telling you, trust me, it’s the SUGAR!!!”

Dad stands next to Mom, spatula ready. Mom begins the beaters, and behold, no glutenous glue forms.

“See,” she says cheerily, “The sugar! Can you get the egg white mixture ready?”

“Sure,” he says, still watching to make sure the glutenous glue doesn’t return.

“Here,” mom says, stepping out of the way. “Make the very stiff white peaks, and then you can add the satin smooth batter so that your soul can be at peace again because it’s doing exactly what the book says.”

She then bursts out into laughter. Dad turns and smiles at her. “Thank you for laughing,” he says, genuinely meaning it.

And then she REALLY starts laughing. She’s laughing so hard she nearly falls over.

“What? What?” Dad asks.

“I love us. We are so stupid. I forget half the ingredients. You can’t handle a receipe not doing exactly what the recipe says. We have spent an hour on this ONE cake batter. I just love us. We are perfect for each other!” She exclaims, and she genuinely means it.

Dad smiles and pours the second cake into it’s pan. He looks back at the first pan.

“That’s not going to cook right.”

“Oh just cook it! It’ll be fine!”

True Love.
The love of Parents to their children – to make home made, from scratch, birthday cakes when they don’t have enough pans, counter top space, or a properly working hand mixer.
The love of Spouses to one another – when they can make two complicated, from scratch birthday cakes for their kids, when they don’t have enough pans, counter top space, or a properly working hand mixer, at the end of a long busy work day, and still love one another with laughter and smiles. Even when the cakes come out of the oven and one looks fantastic while the other looks a little special.

The End.

The Mundane Morning and The Truth

There is a routine that happens during the fall/winter mornings at my house.
I confess, it’s pretty sad.

It begins with my alarm going off multiple times.
I set 4 different ones.
This is after my husband’s has already gone off.
And 99% of the time, I still don’t wake up until he comes to gently nudge me awake, encouraging me to get up before I am late again.

For the record – I am always late again.

In a rush I get up, get dressed, get my make up on, rush to prepare my lunch, check to make sure the manchild has everything he needs for school. Without fail, I always forget something.
My water. My coffee. My lunch bag. My phone. My breakfast shake.

Finally with everything in tow, our manchild calls out to his dad
“love you dad, hope you have a good day!”
My husband wishes him a good day at school and calls out “Love you too”.
Then I give my hubs a good-bye kiss and follow the manchild out the door.

Getting into the actual car becomes another whole ordeal.

Holding a water bottle, a coffee cup, a purse, a breakfast shake,
and a lunch bag proves to be too much.
Without a word, I hold out my coffee cup to the manchild
who takes it and places it in the cupholder.
Then he takes the water bottle while I twist and turn to set my bags in the back.
Most mornings he or my husband have already cranked the car, so it’s warm and defrosted.
On the rare morning they don’t, at this point my son and I scramble back out of the car to wipe and scrape off any snow or ice.

Once we are in and actually ready to take off,
he is in charge of making sure my coffee doesn’t spill.
He turns on the radio, I drink my breakfast down.
Then I’ll toss the empty shake cup down and reach my hand out, he hands me my coffee.
After a bit of coffee we may pray together about the day ahead, or just chit-chat.
Sometimes we sing along to the radio, or we laugh and poke fun
at each other about who made who late.
Some mornings one or the other or both of us are grumpy, maybe instead of “I love yous” we left the house with harsh words and criticism.
Those mornings we ride in silence until it’s time for him to get out of the car.
No matter what, he always turns down the radio as he gets out of the car,
I always say “love you, have a good day”.
And he says “love you too, bye”.

Last week, in the midst of one of these mornings
when we reached the point he was handing me my coffee,
after protecting it from spilling as we bumped over all the potholes on the dirt road,
it struck me.

aaaaaa

I’ll only be taking him to school for two and half more years.
A little less if he has a car to drive himself his senior year.

At the stop sign, as he was checking with his head turned away from me
calling out “nothings coming”, I just took the moment in.
The rushing. The hecticness. The frustration and the laughter at it.
The reality that these mornings are coming to their end, this season of our lives together
as parents and child is winding down.
I took a deep breath to steady my emotions and pulled onto the road.
In the quiet I said gently, “I’m going to miss these mornings with you kid.”

Because it’s true. I am.

I only have one biological child, this manchild of mine. My husband adopted him,
he’s our son growing into a young man.
I have a step-daughter who is already out in the adult world with her own son.
In a few years time my husband and I will enter into what people call “the empty nest”.

Which is a lie. 

That’s what the Lord has laid on my heart these last several months.
You see, my husband and I will not have an empty nest, because we are still here.
He and I, we are the ones who will be living in this nest of ours.
With a puppy, a kitty. And the fish if I can remember to feed them. (RIP greenie).

I was too young when I had my son. The teenage mother statistic.
The truth is, I’ve never been an adult without being a mom.
It’s terrifying to think about.
My entire “adult” life, every decision I made, every thing I did,
I had to consider this son of mine.
I didn’t do it perfectly by any means.
I have volumes I could share with you on all the wrong things a parent can do
because I’ve done it.
However, I did try my very best. I still do.

So as my son is preparing to step out into the adult world, in a way, I am too.
For the first time, I’ll be an adult without a child at home.
My husband and I will have a wide open future before us.
Which is why I think the Lord is telling me to start nesting.

Preparing the nest for the hubs and I. 

I remember nesting before my son was born.
It was instinctual. A God given instinct to prepare myself
and the space I had to bring this boy into the world.
Now I am nesting because my son is becoming an adult.
This is a God given instruction to my heart,
to prepare myself and the space I share with my husband
as we prepare to release this manchild into adulthood.

I don’t fully know what this will look like. I just know that it’s happening.
Writing helps me to process things, and this life transition is both painful and exciting.
My mother’s heart is sad and struggling with what life will look like
when the manchild is no longer in this nest.
My wife’s heart is excited about the future adventures with my husband,
the two of us having precious time together we’ve never had before.

I know I’m not alone in this life transition.

In the upcoming years I am praying the Lord will place women in my path who have gone down it before me, who can encourage me and lift me up.
I have women in my life who are going through it at the same time as I am,
and I am praying we will be an encouragement to one another.
All this so that ultimately, one day, I will be the woman who has gone through it
and can love on a younger sister facing it.

I guess that’s why I’m choosing to blog about this.
To tell the mother hearts out there, your nest is not empty, and you are not alone. 

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One Word 2016 – Good bye 2015

One Word 2016“The world is full of broken people. 
And I am one of them.” 

A few years ago I wrote a New Year’s Eve blog post with that statement as my opening line. This New Year’s Eve I found myself thinking of those exact words again.

For some people 2015 was a spectacular year full of accomplishments, wonder, and memories to cherish for the rest of their lives. For others, it was nothing more and nothing less than another year gone by.
And for the rest of us, there were beautiful moments we hold closely guarded in our hearts, and moments that nearly broke our hearts and left them shattered.Read More »

Prayer Running and Living Room Worship

 

2 Corinthians 12 9Sometimes I have these amazing “God Moments” and I debate sharing them. I never want to sound like I’m aiming spotlights at myself and saying “Check me out!” because I am seriously so not worthy of any spotlight.

I feel compelled to share tonight because I want to give God all the Glory.
I pray He will use my experience tonight to comfort and encourage someone else, because I know I am not alone.

I’ve faced some trials recently that have been very discouraging to my spirit.
Honestly, I’m “in the trials” now.
I’m not writing this from the other side saying “I made it through”. I write it while still walking through the storm that changes from drizzle to downpour to roaring thunder to drizzle again.
It’s a season of pruning for me in so many ways and honestly, for anyone who has been through a season of pruning or is going through it now, you know what I mean when I say it can be very painful at times.Read More »

WellnessUp: The Serious Question You Need to Ask

This health journey for me isn’t anything new. Let’s face it, I’ve done “Weigh-In Wednesdays” and “Wellness Wednesdays” and “Stand In Front Of The Mirror Eating Ice Cream Wednesdays“.  I joined Facebook groups focused on food and exercise. And while I have participated in and LOVE challenge groups, my challenge is ultimately me.

Just me.

Last year, something snapped. That snapping bleed into this year, and as I find myself coming out more and more on the other side of it, I realize that my overall Wellness is truly important.  My picture of Wellness incorporates so very many things. So many things that trying to even classify them or organize them in and of itself can become overwhelming.Read More »

Feminine Appeal: GET THIS BOOK WOMEN

HerReadingHave you ever read a book and find yourself telling people, “I seriously recommend THIS book“? A book you go back to, re-read, and use as a tool to check your clarity and intention?

Be prepared.
Because this book review is about THAT kind of book.

The book is Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney.

 photo d11a9799-e63c-4f70-bdd1-55120a05811d_zps2f7fb3fd.jpg

The title alone had me intrigued.

The foreword is written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and while I’m not always a fan of name dropping, I’m dropping this one because I typically skip over the foreword and jump straight to the meat of a book. Seeing DeMoss take the time to write the foreword however slowed me down. It got me pumped. It got me thinking about what it means to be a woman. So don’t skip the foreword. It’s a great start to the journey you are about to take with this one.Read More »

WIW: Seek and Ye Shall Find

It’s been one week since I’ve refocused my health journey. I think whenever we step out and make a new commitment to something, we leave ourselves wide open for everything that can go wrong to go wrong. The question is do we keep adjusting the strings of our life to get that beautiful sound of victory, or in frustration do we twist too tightly and hear the “boing” of another string broken? I guess it’s time to Weigh In….

Weigh In Wednesday

Faith

I’ve spent a little time each day praying the Lord to speak truth to me about my health, my idols, where I’m being deceived on my quest for a healthier lifestyle, and truth about other areas of my life which are lacking discipline. I also spent this week going back to the Made To Crave study and very slowly and prayerfully reading through the introduction.Read More »