Monday, September 29, 2014

Be still and know that He IS God

It's Marvelous Monday again!  (The older I get the faster the weeks fly by) We had a great Sunday and are refueled and ready to go.  I am getting ready to plan my special meal tonight. (will share later)

However, I want to share something with you. As I journey through this Monday, God keeps bringing something to my mind over and over; Be still and know that I am God. What does that mean to me?  Well, as I keep pondering these words I realize that God is reminding me of this: He is God in the midst of my children and their choices, He is God in the midst of my finances, He is God in the midst of  my health concerns,  He is God and I am not.  As a born-again Christian I am a daughter of the King.  (a Princess)  I don't have to stress, plot, or worry about what's going on around me or even inside of me.  My job is to TRUST Him.  My job is to KNOW that He IS God and He will have the final word.  Now to me, the "be still" is the hardest part.  My mind is seems to be constantly thinking of solutions, plans, etc.  Let me make clear that God is not telling me to sit on the couch and stare.  On the contrary, He is telling me that the basis of everything I do should be complete, unwavering TRUST in the Father.  When your mind is at peace because you know WHO is really in charge, you are free to love and serve others without fear.  So, I want to encourage you: Be still (calm down) and know that He is God (over everything).

 Have a "Marvelous Monday" and let God do what only God can do!

Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.  Psalms 46:10



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Yummy Blessings

Chad and I had a great date yesterday! I won a sweepstakes from Bubbly Nature Creations. Rachel Rockwell, the creator of Bubbly Nature, has a great blog website with awesome recipes.  You can follow her at bubblynaturecreations.com.  Part of what I won was a food tour from Food Tours of America.  Our particular tour was of West Village in Dallas, Texas.  We had a great time!  Our tour guide was named Jason.  He was a great guide and made the tour alot of fun.  We also met three sweet ladies that toured with us. 
The tour started at the Baboush Resturant where we had delicious Mediterranean appetizers and a chicken dish with very yummy and unique seasonings.  Next, we toured the awesome West Village shopping district and ended up at the Taco Diner for our next tasting.  At the Taco Diner we were served warm tortilla chips and five delicious sauces to dip from. Along with the chips, we  were served 2 wonderful tacos: chicken and fresh pineapple and fried avocado with black bean.  It was amazing.  We had to take a small detour from the original plan but it made the tour very special.  We rode the neighborhood trolley and ended up at the Shell Shack in Uptown.  At the Shell Shack we were served an amazing shrimp and corn boil.  Words can't express how tasty that was.  Another cool thing was their cool automatic hand washing machine! Last, but certainly not least, we stopped in at the Bread Winner's bakery and cafe.  At the bakery we were served an out of this world 4 layer chocolate cake! I won't even try to tell you how yummy that was!  
God is so awesome and we thank Him for allowing us to win this food tour; it was such a blessing and made an awesome date!  We highly recommend Food Tours of America in Dallas, as well as our great guide Jason. 
I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday worshiping our God.  We will visit again on Marvelous Monday!
Pics of food tour:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Date your Mate!

Chad and I are going on a special date today. (more details to come later). Yes, we date.  We have been married almost 23 years.  It did not take us long to realize that making time to date was very important.  Think about it, before you were married wasn't it important to spend quality time together? Well let me tell you, it's even more important now.  When we were younger we were advised to date weekly.  I will admit, we found that really hard to do.  However, when we would skip that quality time for our marriage it became very obvious!!  Of course, the most important relationship in our marriage is our relationship with God.  When that relationship is top priority, then our marriage relationship is much stronger and loving.

I want to encourage you not to let finances or other things cause you to put off spending date time with your spouse.  If you are tight on money, have your date after the kids go to bed.  Chad and I had many movie dates at home after the kids were in bed.  We would make some nachos (our fav) and watch a movie.  Sometimes we would play cards or dominos. When the kids were older, we would take walks together. With a little creativity, you can have a great date without spending money.  I remember one particularly stressful season in our lives in which a date was greatly needed.  We really needed to get away but couldn't afford a trip. I asked God for direction and felt I was to try to create a vacation in our home.  Chad's parents agreed to watch the.boys over night.  After they left, I got busy.  I made supper, set the table and lit candles.  However, I knew Chad would come home dirty from work.  I had a great idea that I laugh at now.  I ran him a hot bubble bath and put on his favorite music. I wanted him to feel he was on a real vacation so I dragged every pot plant in the house to the bathroom.  I then lit some candles. It looked like a tropical rainforest by candle light!! Haha... Needless to say, he was very surprised and appreciated my efforts.  It really doesnt matter what you do when you it out of love!  So, start planning that special date for your mate!  Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

D.I.M.E

Today I met my dear friend Laura for lunch.  Laura's oldest son, Dylan, recently passed away. He was 21. My heart breaks for this precious family.  However, as I visited with Laura I was reminded of D.I.M.E.:Does it matter eternally?  So much of what we stress over  just really doesn't matter.  God and people matter most.  Sometimes I get so busy with the daily chores that the most important things fall to the wayside: time with God, my children, husband, parents, family and friends.  Of course we all have responsibilities, but sometimes there is a greater priority.  God tells us in Matthew 22:37 that all the law and prophets are summed up in this; love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul and love one another.  I want to encourage you to take a deep breath and slow down.  I want to encourage you to take time with God, hug your family, listen to your kids talk, kiss your spouse and encourage your friends.  In one moment your life could change forever.  Have a great evening enjoying your blessings! 

Laura & I at lunch

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Encouragement is as sweet as sugar!!

About six years ago, with the encouragement of my Dad, I set out on a journey to lose about 30 pounds. After I became a busy Mom of three sons,  I had let my health take a back seat.  I had started having some trouble with blood pressure and felt tired all the time.  I knew I needed to do something but was not motivated.  My Dad introduced me to a diet that he had previously tried.  The particular diet I used was a 30 day plan that was to lead to a lifetime of healthy choices.  I'm going to be honest with you.  The first week of the diet I thought I would die.  I had to give up sugar!  Sugar had been my friend and comforter for 20 years or more.  I remember one night I had to go to bed at 7:30 because the alternative was to eat cookies.  It was an eye-opening experience for sure.  I never realized that my love/addiction for sugar had eased up on the throne of my heart.  Yes, it was true.  When I was nervous or sad, I would eat first and pray second. As I really let go of sugar, I clung tighter to Jesus.  This may sound silly to some of you, but it is the truth.  I was a sugar-addict!  However, each day would get a little easier.  I prayed for strength and perseverance and God helped me.  Not only did God give me the strength, He provided me with a personal encourager, my Dad.
Each morning my Dad would call me. He would usually greet me by saying, "Good morning skinny!".  I would laugh, but little did he know, I would feel a little more hope to go on.  Through-out the 30 days I almost quit at least 6 times.  He would not let me quit. He even bribed me saying if  I met my goal, he would buy me a new dress.(in my new size of course!)  He was my accountability partner through-out the diet.  I did reach my goal that year and it was awesome.  It was about much more than losing weight for me.  It was about letting go of the temporary to walk in a deeper faith-walk with God.   

Now, my Dad is in Heaven and I am carrying on his role of encourager.  I have a small group of women that, along with me, are trying to maintain healthy lifestyles. I have been nominated by one of them to be the weekly encourager.  So, every Wednesday morning I send out a group text entitled "Weigh-in Wednesday".  We all report our weight on that morning. I try to send encouragement along with scripture.  We are accountable to each other in our successes and failures.  I like being the encourager, because I remember how much a difference Dad made when I was on my initial life- change diet.  Reminds me of another scripture:  Ecclesiastes 4:12  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I have decided that in memory of Dad, each Wednesday I will post an encouragement pertaining to
weight-loss, exercise or just health in general.  I hope you will feel encouraged and know that you are NOT alone in this journey! 
My Dad and Personal Encourager, Troy

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn, Truth, and Love is in the Air!

As I walked out the door this morning, I instantly noticed the beautiful "first day of Autumn" air.  We have had such heavy humidity for so long that I had forgotten how light the Fall air felt.  The sudden change of the air reminded me of a scripture in Proverbs.  Proverbs 27:5-6 says, "An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy".  You are probably wondering how I was reminded of that scripture by the cool, refreshing morning.  Well, to me, it is so refreshing when someone cares enough to say something you need to hear in love.  I'm not talking about someone who doesn't love you hurting your feelings.  I am talking about someone that loves you enough to say those uncomfortable things that sometimes you need to hear.  This morning I was talking with a friend about something that happened almost a month ago.  I had a decision to make and it was eating me up.  Little by little, my joy was being sucked out.  Little by little, I was getting weaker emotionally. I had not even realized this until my friend brought it to my attention.  Her exact words were, "Melaina, you  have so much on your plate; don't give Satan  anymore of your time."  Instantly, I knew what I had to do. I had to let it go. I made a decision right then to close the door that I had left open for the enemy to take ground.  Done!  Now, I can focus back on what God has called me to do today!  Anyway, how refreshing and much needed was that "truth in love."  When we hold back the encouragement or loving rebuke from a friend who is in need, it often feels like we are walking around in heavy humidity; the air is heavy and oppressive and we feel tired!  Of course, please always talk to God first and then if you feel His leading, move forward. Hope you enjoy this beautiful day!

(Simple Fall centerpiece made with 1$ plate, 50¢ saucer, and Cilantro Lime Candle)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Marvelous Monday

Monday's have a bad reputation;  they usually signify the day that the fun is over and all the work begins.  An old 80's tune deemed this day as "Manic Monday". No wonder we all get a little sad on Sunday evening; Monday is around the corner!   But what if...just what if, Monday was something very special? What if on Sunday night after church, instead of feeling blue, we started planning our very own "Marvelous Monday"?
     There are many creative ways to make Monday special.  One idea is to plan a special meal for Monday evening.  You may could plan a favorite crock-pot dish or another family favorite that's easy to prepare.  If making a meal doesn't fit your schedule, then you could plan to pick up a pizza or tacos. The menu is not as important as the people eating it.  When my boys were little, we would go around the table and each say our "High-low".  Each person would tell the high point of their day, as well as the low point. Another thing we did, was have a  "Star of the Day". The person that set the table would secretly draw a star on the bottom of someone's plate.(we used paper plates lol) The "Star of the Day" would get to pick what we did after the meal. Chad and I would give several choices to choose from:  You could take a family walk, play dominoes, watch a movie, or make and have a special dessert, etc. If you are empty-nesters you could even have date night on Monday instead of Friday! (Gasp)  Even if you don't have a family, you can still have a special Monday. You could designate that day to meet a friend for lunch or do a special activity that evening. The ideas are endless!
     I am determined to change Monday's reputation in my home! This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it....even if.....oops, I mean especially if it is " Marvelous Monday"! 

(Below are pics of some of the things that made up our special evening meal today.  I'm still trying to decide about the cake! Lol)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life is like a cupcake

I have a dear friend that made a request for my Chocolate Fudge cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing. So, this afternoon I set out to whip up a batch. I got out the eggs, oil, sour cream and various other ingredients and began the process.  As I added each ingredient in my large red bowl, my mind drifted back to days gone by.  I thought of my Dad who is already in Heaven and the day he left this earth. I miss him very much and I don't guess I will ever get use to him not being here.  Three weeks ago I had a really bad wreck and walked away with no injuries. I know the Lord was with me and saved my life. The evening of my wreck alot of my family stopped by to check on me. I was so grateful to be alive. My son Jordan called from California and we visited for awhile. After I hung up, I kept feeling like something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on it.  Then it hit me....Dad was missing.  In every other serious moment of my life Dad was there. It was strange. Yet a part of him is always with me.  I have his love for God,  people, and even garage sales:)  Alot of things in life are not pleasant:  losing Dad, having a wreck, my son moving thousands of miles away...kinda like the individual ingredients. A mouth full of vegetable oil is nasty.  A raw egg is not my favorite either.  However, as you take all those ingredients and mix them together, they make something wonderful. Such is life. Sometimes the things we face are hard to swallow, but as we let God take all these things and mix them up with His love, grace, and Holy Spirit, something wonderful happens. God shapes us more into His image and we can be a blessing to others.
     Suddenly, the timer buzzed and the warm fudgy cupcakes were ready. Later,  I topped them with the creamy rich icing. At last, it was time to taste the final product.  Words couldn't express how good it tasted.  Similiarly, one day I will live in Heaven with Jesus, Dad, and my other family.   All the unpleasant ingredients of my life will melt away as I see Jesus and all will be sweet.  Until then, I will trust God to continue  making beauty out of ashes....and I will continue to make yummy cupcakes out of less appetizing ingredients.  Hope you all have a blessed Sunday worshiping our God.

Friday, September 19, 2014

September 19th's Post:)

My Mom and I have a standing date each Friday. We love to spend our time together looking for treasures at garage sales or Goodwill. We have found some rare finds on these special days. Right after my oldest son left for Navy Bootcamp, I found an awesome Sailor Monkey cookie
jar for (drum roll)....25¢!!! It's so much fun finding rare and inexpensive treasures and being a good steward at the same time. Another great find was our kitchen table.  Chad found an old black oval table needing work for only 4$...yes 4$!!!  With about 20$ and some elbow grease, he transformed an ugly black table into one of my very favorite treasures! The key to finding great finds is to get to the sales very early.  If a garage sale opens at 8, be there by 7:45. I usually "scan" the items quickly and if anything interests me i pick it up.  Later I may decide not to purchase the item, but at least I will have a chance.  If you want the best prices, it is best to go near closing  time.  Usually after noon everything goes half-price.  However, the later you go, the least likely you are to find that rare treasure.  Another thing I do is to only take the amount of cash that is in my budget to spend.  If I need to only spend $10, then I take only 10$ and when it's gone, I am done.
   Saturday is around the corner! I want to encourage you to rise early, have a great quiet time with God, and then hit the sales!
Happy Treasure Hunting:)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Coat racks and Cheap Paint

I have always wanted a coat rack to have by our front door.  I have been looking for one for a few years and either can't find the design I like or can't afford the one I do like.  Recently, I asked my Mom if she knew where to find a good coat rack. She was excited to tell me that she had one she no longer needed or wanted. So, I sent Zach out to get it not knowing what to expect.  When he returned I was pleasantly surprised to see a "just the right size" coat rack.  There was only one problem with the coat rack; it was plain wood.  Yes, I know that plain wood is great, however, any one that knows me well knows that plain wood doesn't last long in my house.  This plain wood coat rack lasted longer than most because of several unexpected events; including my wreck that totaled our van.  Needless to say the coat rack took a low priority.  Finally, this week my attention drifted back to the skinny plain friend in the entrance hall. My first thought was my favorite color turquoise.  After all, I love turquoise and I have painted many pictures frames, chairs, and stuff that special color. However, after much thought I decided upon "Golden Sunflower".  I was so excited and went to Walmart to buy some paint.  I usually will look at the discount paints first, but not this time.  I wanted that PERFECT color and it had to be "Golden Sunflower".  Now, it has been several years since I have bought brand new paint in a can.  I was thinking of buying a whole gallon to have on hand for other things.  I marched right up to the counter and told the nice lady I wanted the cheapest semi-gloss they had.  She then informed me it was $17 for a gallon! Huh? I was shocked!  Now this certain day, I actually had $17 to spend, but I just didn't feel quite right about that.  I immediately called Chad, who is also an expert of cutting corners, and asked his advice.  He encouraged me to maybe find a similar color in spray paint bringing the cost down to under 4$.  So, I told the nice lady that I would be right back.  As I looked over the spray cans, my beautiful Sunflower color was no where to be found.  My heart sunk.  I really wanted my coat rack to be perfect and I was convinced that my color of choice would make it so. Suddenly I remembered something very important.  I forgot to pray.  Yes, that might sound silly to some, but I talk to God all day long. "Lord, what should I do?"  Instantly my mind went to the discount paints.  I really wanted the PERFECT color, not someone's mistake!  However, I walked over to the back of the paint aisle to look for clearance.  There it was, one quart (all that I needed) of perfectly mistaken SUNFLOWER for 5$.  I blinked my eyes and laughed.   I was reminded of two very important things that day.  First, always pray for wisdom no matter how "small" something seems and second, always check clearance first!!! 

My golden SUNFLOWER coat rack:)