Monday, June 29, 2009

Spreading the Gospel with a little PB&J

This past weekend was spent on HWY 20, well not the actual highway, let me explain.

For the past 3 years Bible Baptist Church has been working at evangelizing the HWY that runs from the south of Whidbey Island in Clinton, all the way north and over the Cascade Mountains. The desire that was impressed upon our Pastors heart was that we should be reaching out to those people outside of our Jerusalem and into the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8), as well as our home town, bringing the light of the gospel to those that have a need for Jesus Christ in their life. We have put forth the physical effort, but our prayer has been that God would open up the doors and show us where He would desire to have us plant a church. Many doors have been shut along the way, places that are still in need of the gospel but have not shown a spiritual desire, we pray that will change as we continue in the Lord's work. However, more doors have opened because as Jesus commanded the apostles in Matthew 10:14 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet," so too have we done, and concentrating our efforts in places that have shown a desire in the good news of Jesus Christ. This effort has left our concentration, for the most part, in the Methow Valley in the towns of Twisp and Okanagan. Since our initial work began we've seen two people come to know the Lord as their saviour and we are continuing to work with others. This weekend we were blessed again to renew our outreach and head up North again to hold a rally in Twisp, to have others hear the gospel, as well as find out if there were others in the community who would have an interest in starting Bible studies as well.

I felt super happy to not have to go up in the bus with the kids, and instead ride with Tim, Josh H., Alyssa, and Kali, in Tim's van. Not that I don't enjoy the kids, but 4 hours worth of silly chants, yelling kids, and countless pleases to stop for a restroom is not my idea of fun. Not to mention that even as a 30 year old woman, unless I'm in the front seat or driving, I have a tendency to get motion sickness. Even though I did not get to sit in the front at least I had Dramamine to get me through the twists and turns that HWY 20 offers. On the way up to Twisp we practiced the song (For the Faith of the Gospel) that the SPG's are learning for the much anticipated SPG service, ate the lunches that some ladies of the church made for the trip (minus myself of course), and just talked about the things that we anticipated on the trip. Some even managed to find time to rest up for the weekend that lay ahead of us.
~ Psalm 16:9 "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall in hope."

The Caravan
We stopped at Diablo lookout mid way through the trip, only after being told that there would be no bathroom breaks. With 60 something people in tow. . .I don't think so. Obviously noone else did either. Here's where things took a turn in the SPG's favor.

As you can tell from the first picture we ended up in the back of the caravan, which was mostly my fault because I needed to stop for Dramamine on our way out of town. Trust me it was a stop well worth it. There was a little bit of a fun race to see who could get into "first place" between the van that Solomon was driving and the SPG van. However, as we approached Burlington Solomon overtook us, and so we were stuck because now we were going top be on a two lane stretch of road for the next 3 hours:P. Well our stop at Diablo was just the ticket we needed to get ahead. See Solomon had Chris and a bunch of younger boys (I think there was 6), while Tim had himself and 4 adults in the van. Which do you think is easier to coordinate? The SPG's thought so too. The minute the van stopped we bolted for the bathrooms, we were the first because it's easier to stop an Odyssey than a school bus. All of us got in. . .and out in record time and even managed to take some spectacular photos at the lookout point.

Soon enough though we gathered ourselves together motioning to Tim, who was in a conversation with our rival, that it was time to beat feet. Both of them got the big picture of what was taking place and Tim bolted to the van. Yet again the kids were Solomons foil and Tim was able to beat him out of the parking lot putting the SPG's in front of the pack. Try as he did Solomon could not over take the SPG's and we safely arrived at the campground in first place. Better luck next time Solomon.

Diablo lookout

Mountains of Majesty

We gotta hit the road
Ha, ha we made it in front of Solomon At 1:11 we were listening to song #11
The scenary was amazing!Yup, the SPG mobile was first to arrive
To bad Solomon...better luck next time

Soon after we arrived the Calvary followed and the men wasted no time in setting up the tents while the children played and the girls rested up, knowing that our lot could soon find itself with the domestic camp duties (mess tent and dish washing) as soon as the ladies that held those items in their vehicles arrived. The tents were set up in record time too. I don't think I've ever seen a camp set up go so smoothly. Really people setting up camp for 60+ people is no small task.

There was plenty of tent hopping too. Of course the kids started right in trying to see how they could angle getting into one of their friends tents. Josh H. and his brother wanted to sleep in the boys tent, instead of share one with their sister, which lent Alyssa's tent to the girls (Kali, Maggie, & Linnea) to share, which gave us with air mattresses more room in the girls tent. This was my first year with an air mattress. After last years experience in the Skagit Valley outreah I realized that my body is to old to be sleeping on bare ground (the recovery was not as quick as it had been in my youth) and so I resolved that this year I would suck it up and invest $20 in an air mattress. As things started to come together I was thinking out loud that next year I may end up buying a small tent for myself too (the constant in and out of the tent in our first few hours at camp was driving me nuts). Well Sharon, having heard this, and also knowing that her husband had mentioned that they had an extra small tent suggested to him that I may want my own tent this year. So he offered it to me. Really, it was a huge blessing and I slept better than a lot of people did that first night. The privacy made all the difference. It was cold for sure, and with only one shower for all the ladies (mine ended up being freezing cold the next morning) the little bit of pleasure that the privacy of a single man tent afforded me helped keep me in a right spirit as we were going to be sent out on a big day on Friday.

The calvary arrived soon after
The guys set up the tents
The tents were set up in record time
Ahhh, my own tent:)Games... Fellowship...
& rest were now called for
3 awesome ladies that had the the mess
tent streamlined. Way to go!!!
Captain Kiesel at the grill
Pork Ribs and Chicken were on the menu
Dave was an awesome cook!
As I said it was cold, of course noone had a thermometer with them, but I could see my breath in the wee hours of the morning, on my way to the shower. I actually can't crow to loudly about the lack of heat in the water. First, because I'm blessed enough to live in a country where I can at least get a shower and second, because even though the shower was cold, it made the air when I got out actually seem warm (total reverse psychology in play).

One thing that Dave came prepared with was the black nectar that starts every sleep deprived adults day. That's right people COFFEE, Java, Qahwah (Arabic, where the word coffee actually evolved from), Cafe, Jo. . .whatever you call it the hot beverage was a welcome sight for many that morning. It was simple, no fuss, good ol' fashioned black coffee, my favorite (next to a Capo from the Bee Bar of course).

Trish up and "ready" for the day as well and set to work on breaking the eggs for the breakfast that morning. There were 90 of them. Watching her work was oddly serene for me. I feel the same way anytime I'm watching someone else work in the kitchen. After a bit she seemed to develop a system of efficiency without loosing to many of the eggs out of the bowl as she beat the yellow goo. Josh was in charge of the buttery goodness that we call hash browns and Chris had the bacon and sausage. While Dave overlooked the proceeding action and running back and forth to the mess tent for more supplies, with all the teamwork involved the cooks were actually ready with breakfast before our scheduled time. Even with the little things bathed in prayer it all can go smoothly, PTL.
~ Psalm 119:76 "Let, I pray
thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant."

Coffee to start the long day ahead
Breaking the eggs for scrambling
There were a lot!
Josh eyeballs the hashbrowns MMM...they were delicious
Before our morning devotion we girls were sitting around, a bad thing when someone is camping and there are things to be done, and so we got tasked with washing the remnants of breakfast off of the dishes that had been used to cook the delicious fare. Now there wee 5 of us, which slowly turned into 7 or 8 as some of the teens decided to join us too, so with 5 ladies and one cold water spicket trying to delegate was interesting to say the least, eventually we worked out a system that seemed to work. Of course nothing happenes with the girls without it's own dose of silliness. The stories are to incredulous for even myself to believe that the took place. I'll let the pictues speak for themselves.

We had to clean up Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a matchScrub, scrub, scrub the eggs away from the tub
The women by the well...
This trip was different in the fact that I think we all felt a measure of boldness, that we had not felt before, I know that I did. Our door knocking efforts this year were designed to draw people into a conversation, which personally I enjoyed much more that past efforts. Tim's devotional charge of PB&J was certainly inspiring and left us all (I think) excited to see what the Lord would do with his Power, Boldness & and Joy.

The previous evening we went through a devotion that encouraged us to engage people in coversation. Those that were seeking after spiritual things, those that were searching for the truth, and those that were just interested in holding bible studies. The focus, unlike in previous years, was not so much on to get material into people hands, but rather to make them understand how we, and especially God, cares about their sould and where they will ultimately spend eternity. This is what the HWY20 project has been all about.

However because of it's different set up some people were thrown off as to how to engage complete strangers into a conversation, that many consider to be a private matter. It showed me the limits that I put on myself during out reaches and putting my own pride into the outreaches that I'm a part of. Not a good thing. When we get used to doing things a certain way we limit ourselves and the Lord in his direction toward us. It was very enlightening.

Maggie and I were partners for the afternoon, which was nice not only because Maggie is pleasant to be around, but because we were also partners 2 years ago the first time that we had an outreach over in the Methow Valley. We walked a different part of Okanagan this time around. The neighbor hood wasn't the greatest and so I was very happy to have Chris and Steve on that route with us. Solomon and Jim weren't to far off in the bus either. However, many of you may already know, even though things may not seem safe on the outward appearance, there is no where safer to be than in the center of will of God.
~ Psalm 119:117 "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually."

Me and Maggie
We were all bushed when we got back to camp and soon after we arrived back at camp Dave started dinner. Hamburgers and Hot dogs, beans and potato salad were on the menu. Sitting in the shade of the bus Chris turned to me to inquire about my solitude. The business of the day and the swell of people that I was around could easily send someone, such as myself who is not around people like that on a daily basis, into sensory overload. So I was seeking out some place of "quiet rest" when he asked me about it (it looked like he was trying to do the same). However, through all the squeals of the children about, the kitchen crew coordinating dinner set up, and people discussing the excitement of the afternoon with the people they talked to I found a place of quiet rest inside my soul, something that I had been missing with the business that encompasses my life on a regular basis. With the excitement of graduation, getting ready for the HWY 20 outreach, the excitement of Amber & Dave's wedding and another one coming up in September, the quietness was welcome as I sat there in peace. Telling Chris as much I said "You know I am tired, it's busy, there's noise, but I'm in a happy place. It's peaceful here in the shade of the bus (which BTW was the only place in our campsite that had shade), and that's the best kind of tired, exhausted but peaceful." Chris nodded in agreement finally leaning his head back on his water bottle, catching a few zzz's before we were rallied for dinner.
~ Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace
, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"

The Life, Liberty, & Happiness rally in Twisp was set up earlier on throughout the month by Chris Majors who has been up in the area working with people who have been saved, through some of our previous outreaches, as well as continually reaching out to those that are still in need of having their eternity settled. Some of the men went ahead of the crowd to get the speakers system and the chairs situated for the visitors that we would have that evening.

All set up for the rally
Waiting for the visitors
We did have visitors too. There was a couple that came late, but were excited about the work that was taking place, and we also had two ladies that we've been working with for the past year show. It was finally nice to meet Ruth and Theresa. There were also a couple of older men that came to hear the preaching as well. I didn't see how many people were watching from the outskirts of the park though, and I heard that there were a couple more of those as well. Steadily the Lord is gaining ground in the Methow Valley and it will be a cause for rejoicing when we can see a church planted there in the area.
~ Proverbs 8:17 "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."

Our musicians played wonderfully, and for the Lord
After the rally we headed back to the campsite, hoping to get in some Smores time before the lights out rule for the campground was enforced. Lights out was at 10 and we didn't end up leaving the park until 9, then to start a fire and get things set up that would take until almost bed time once we did get back, so at first we weren't very hopeful that we would get any. Then Kali reminded me that the Vaughn's had stayed behind to sit a watch over the campsite. Ah, Ha...I had Sherri's cell phone, so I called hoping that they had reception and they did. I felt a little bad because it sounded like I had woken Sherri up at first, but she assured me that I had not, after that I dove right into the excitement of my reason for calling. . .

Me: "Sherri would it be too much to ask if Steve could get a fire started for us so we can have some Smores before lights out at 10 (it was now 9:10)?"
Sherri: "You want Steve to start a fire? Sure. . .He's already out of the tent."

We could see the fire blazing from the highway as we approached the campground. Way to deliver Steve! Tummy full and my veins pumping full of sugar from my GF Smores I laid my sleep eyes down on my pillow and fell asleep to the campfire glee that engulfed the night, all before lights out, satisfied with the day I had left behind and dreaming of the future ahead.
~ Ecclesiastes 5:12a "The sleep
of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much:"

The final morning we all slept in, which is code for waking up around 6. Those of us gathered around the morning campfire enjoying our java were greeted by a hot air balloon flying overhead. Breakfast was simple cereal and fruit for most, GF banana bread and cherries for me. People started packing right away. I had all my stuff packed as soon as I woke up but I didn't have any tools to dig the tent steaks out of the ground so all I could do was deflate my air mattress and wait for the guys to show up with their tools to do so (Steve ended up disassembling my tent for me later when he found the missing hammer from 2 days earlier, the men that put up his tent left it under there by accident). Some of the youths had woken up early in the morning to climb the mountain that was behind our campsite and they sat around reveling in their conquest.

The devotion that we closed with was a time of shared testimony of the people that we had talked to and shared the gospel with combined with the things that the Lord had shown us personally, and what the blessings we had received were. Tim also left us pondering his message of what the Lord will do through our efforts.
~ 1 Corinthians 3:6 "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."

The final morning...
Hot air balloon before breakfast
The towering mountain
Finally it was time to go. We gathered up our belongings and the pets that had accompanied their masters, cleaned up our trash, and headed back to the Island. There were some sleepy heads on the way back home also.
Animal visitors
Chester...the amazing winnie dog!
& Levi...everyones favorite performer
Cleaning camp can be messy business
Ya'll Come back now ya here
Hi, ho, hi, ho it's off to home we go
Some people couldn't stay awake on the ride home either
The SPG mobile was alas not the first vehicle back in the church parking lot, we rolled in around 3:30 in the afternoon, but it was nice to be home none the less. I quickly departed due to my need to prepare for my Sunday School lesson, which was on naming the animals, but the treasure of the weekend will not be soon forgotten. Through the power of His word I received boldness, and gained joy in the process of sharing the gospel that Christ charged us with. PB&J is good stuff no matter how you slice the bread.

The BBC motto
Blessings received from the weekend
~ The personal growth from the preaching
~ The joy that working in a team offered
~ My own tent and "soft" bed (God cares about the little things too)
~ Getting to meet Ruth and Theresa
~ Getting to share the gospel with people whi wanted to listen
The list goes on of course those were just a few. Have you tapped into the Lord's PB&J lately?

video

Tradition, TRADITION

I do love to partake in traditions from time to time, but it seems as if people go a bit overboard at times.

With the recent number of weddings that I've been to in the past few years it's made me wonder about where wedding traditions come from and why we are so bent on fulfilling everyone of them. Is it to please the people that have graciously given of their time to attend the wedding? Or is it because they really think that the poor single girl that will catch the bouquet will be the next one to walk down the alter? Let me assure you, from experience, that the latter is completely untrue.


I wasn't on any particular quest to investigate this superstitious tradition, and any of the others that precede such a glorious day, but I did happen to come across a blog last week, while looking for examples of wedding photos, that caught my attention. The
blog basically shows people tricks on how to have a wedding for under $2000. Pretty cool! At least I think so.

This couple chose to take a road less taken in the over inflated world that has become a wedding planners dream and a brides nightmare. Rather than make their budget conform to what the wedding industry and tradition said they should have, they chose to focus on what was important to them their union of husband and wife (in archives she says they actually came in at around $1900). Minus the dancing and immodest wedding dress the pics make it look like the couple got exactly what they wanted, a nice time with family and friends. It's very inspiring, take a look.


Anyway, she posted an article that she found online that referred to where the wedding traditions that we hold so dear actually came from. I thought I would re-post it myself, click here for the article.

Reading it for me was just reconfirming the thoughts and plans that I desire for my own day, once the Lord blesses me. I'm not a person that feels the need to go with tradition just because everyone else is doing it. The thought of following other peoples ideas of what should be done for a day such as this just rubs me the wrong way. It should be a day that the couple decides what is right for them, not the other way around. Most of the traditions listed have a dark past that is layered with superstition and male chauvinism. I by no means am a superstitious person, as a Christian my conscience won't let me be. To do such, I find, is to give credence to other spirits rather than the Holy Spirit, which goes against whom I'm to be controlled by. Though there are some traditions that I do think are sweet, like the father giving away his daughter, even if it did come from the "right" for a man to sell off his daughter to pay his debts. This tradition I think has evolved into a more sentimental one that is used to symbolize the passing of one authority figure to another. I know for me, though it is not my desire to stay single forever, that should something happen to my Dad before I get married, that no one else gets to have that privilege. I'm sure I'll be able to figure something else out.

What about the dress? Well lets just face it girls, we all want to look and feel like a princess on that day and besides it's just plain fun to shop:) Although for the record I don't think that it should take up a hunk of the budget, like some boutiques think it should.

Who wants to keep a cake top for a year? Not me:) One, I can't eat it and two, GF baked goods tend to spoil faster than regular items. No, I'm thinking pie:) Take a look at what this one new bride did.


One tradition on the list that I particularly appalled by was the bouquet toss. I don't know about you but for me standing in the middle of a circle of ladies, waiting to see if fate will fall upon them in the disposal of unwanted flowers, not to mention the obligatory taunts that come from the blessed onlookers that already have had their fate decided for them, is not really all that fun. Plus the history behind the tradition of the bouquet toss is rather demeaning and vulgar, not the pleasant tossing of fate that we've turned it into, trying dispose of a sordid past. No, that's definitely one tradition that I'm going to revamp, or leave out completely, when my time comes.


All in all I found the traditions and the history behind them interesting to say the least and thought I would share for those of you who might have wondered about them for yourself.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Website

There's a new website added to my sidebar lists, GoodBite.com

I found out about it reading Gluten Free Girls blog. It already looks yummy. Basically it is a round table setup, of foodies and food bloggers, that share recipes, how to make them, and the like. Already GFG has posted a chickpea spinache salad recipe, and there is a sausage lentil soup receipe as well, they both look amazing. It's not strictly GF, but the fact that a GF blogger was asked to be a part of the website is encouraging.

I hope you all get a chance to take a look. I know I'll be going there frequently.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Poem

Here's another poem that I didn't write, but like it enough to share.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I do not choose the colors,
But God works steadily.

Often God weaves sorrow,
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget that God sees the top
While I the otherside.

Not until the loom is silent,
And the shuttles cesase to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas
An explain the reasons why.

But the dark threads are as needful
In the skillful weaver's hand,
As the threads of God and silver
In the pattern God has planned.

I just really like this poem.
A lot of times there are things that we can't understand when we are in the midst of them, but it's encouraging to know that we have someone at the loom that cares enough to do His best at creating a work of art.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Betty Crocker Goes GF

Yesterday I had to make a run to the grocery store to refill my water bottles and get some last minute amenities for the arrival of my friends this afternoon (They're staying with me for the weekend because we're all participating in the marriage of her cousin). I live in a small town and I know the ladies at the grocery store pretty well, one of them especially since she cooks GF for her family as well, Debbie is her name, and we're usually caught up in conversation about new products and other things on the shelves that might be of use to me.

Honestly I don't get a lot of my food from the traditional super market, unless it's meat, or veggies. Now that it's summer the Farmers Market's here are in full activity, so I utilize those until the fall, when sadly it is to cold and rainy to enjoy the open air market. Or I go to the Food Co-Op in Mt. Vernon. It's a little bit of a drive, but they have a large variety of things for me to choose from unlike someplace like Safeway or Albertsons, that have a arsenal of deadly prepackaged "food" that is ready to shoot the GF strides that I've made in my life down, like a gate runner fleeing at 25 miles an hour (yes that's an homage to my favorite post thus far).

But I digress.

I entered the store unassumingly enough, when I know what I'm shopping for I'm all business and do little browsing since I want to get in and out, so I made my bee line for the water dispenser in the back of the store. Before I knew what was going on Debbie stopped me and told me to make my way over to the baking isle because Betty Crocker had come out with GF cake mixes and that since they weren't in the computer yet she would give them to me for the same sale that the other ones were on, 3 for $5. Hey, I'm all about a deal so after I filled up my water bottles I strolled over to the baking Isle and got the GF Brownie mix, the Chocolate Cake mix, and the White Cake mix (If I had seen the cookie mix I might have gotten those as well).

In all honesty I enjoy more of the baking from scratch these days. Messing around with different flours to get the right consistency. Knowing that I'm making something that my body will be able to digest (not necessarily thank me for, which is why I have a gym membership). Baking, even cooking for that matter, are two creative mediums where noone can really tell you you're wrong. The only judge is your taste buds. I've always found baking to be relaxing and when I'm stressed out that's what I like to do. There were many batches of chocolate chip cookies the year my parents got divorced, and if I had had an oven in Sicily you can bet that I would have been baking up a storm there too. Cooking is also something that nourishes the body and senses. I love walking back into room, that I had previously left, to smell the aroma of the spices blending together. It's very comforting. I think that if more people cooked for their families, instead of ordering Pizza or running out for fast "food" (I mean can we really justify calling it food) that not only would they be healthier, but they'd probably all be able to communicate better as well. Food just has a way of doing that. Think about it the next time that you gather for a family feast like Christmas or Thanksgiving.

The mixes were not something that I had planned on purchasing, but they will come in handy the next time that I'm in a pinch for something to make for a VIP fellowship or SPG get together. These mixes also work out well for those that may not know to look for Bob's Red Mill or have ready access to his products as well.

Happy GF baking folks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sluffin' it off

A little known fact by many is that plenty of beauty products contain gluten. People affected by celiacs disease, however, are generally aware of this. The gluten is usually contained in the scents and other so called "natural" ingredients. It's a facet of the disease that can be controvercial in the celiac community, and I never gave it much credence until the other week, when post work out I hopped into the shower and proceeded to sluff off the offending workout odor with my luffa sponge and a little Caress. After the I got home I was fine for the first few hours, but that evening my skin started to crawl. I didn't break out into hives but the itching feeling would not let up. The only thing that I can attribute it to was the soap.

AGH, not this too! Was my initial thought, but then I decided to do a little research like Rachel from The View From My Fishbowl (seriously people what did we do before Google).

What I googled was "sugar scrub recipe" and Voila! I found what I was looking for instantaneously at Bath & Body Recipes. This afternoon, post workout again, I decided to give the Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub recipe a whirl and my skin feels like silk. The key is that the sugar is the exfoliant while the sesame and coconut oils are the moisturizers. It not only is natural, but most everything in the recipes are things that we use or are in our cupboards already. So cost effective beauty is a great thing, right girls!

Anyway, I'm super happy with the choice that I made to investigate on how to take care of myself better. So here is the recipe for the Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub. So sluff off the old epidermis girls!!! Your new skin will be thank you, and so will your wallet.

Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub
1/2 c. of sesame oil
1 c. of sugar
1/2 tpsn of vanilla extract
1 tspn of cocnut oil

Mix all ingredients and store in a clean dry jar.
Warning: Your bathtub will be slippery because of the oil. The hazards that are associated with beauty:P

Final Grades for the Quarter (#2)

Even though graduation was on Saturday that still did not mean that the official grades had been put into the college computer system. So I have been left to wait for "What sayeth the college?" as to what my final grades would end up being. Guess what? They're better than I even thought.

Interpersonal Communication: A
Marketing Fundamentals: A-
Statistics: B

Final GPA: 3.57
Cumulative GPA: 3.05

Definitely grades that a person should want to transfer to a 4 year University. My whole goal these past 2 years was shooting for Phi Theta Kappa (Honors Society). So now those friends that have known me throughout this time can see why I always put so much pressure on myself for grades. It was obvious to me that after my Chemistry debacle that Honors would be hard to come by and it was. That was a quarter that I simply couldn't recover from. I don't know what I was thinking, trying to take Algebra and Chemistry in a quarter that is purposefully shorter, by 4 weeks. It was to much with my other responsibilities, however it was a good learning curve for me, and I'm not so goal driven that I can't appreciate the hard earned grades that I did receive, but everyone needs a goal to work towards. Though I did not reach that goal (yet) a 3.05 for the cumulative is nothing to scoff at.

Ahhh, the rest is nice!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

As I'm sure many of you have graduated you'll recognize the title of my post as the song that is usually played at a graduation ceremony, which can only mean one thing. . .today is graduation!

Graduation this year is being held on the Mt. Vernon Campus since the gym here is being renovated. A couple of friends are coming and then last night they also offered to take me out to dinner. It's very nice that they offered. I was really surprised. We've all faced challenges this year so I'm hoping that it will be a nice time. They're much like a family to me. I'm thankful that they are in my life.

Well I'm off to get ready for the pomp and circumstance:)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Morning Hour

This poem was sent to me by my good friend Laura.

About 5 years ago I was on deployment in Japan. My first det to Diego Garcia, 2 years prior, didn't go well for me and I was anxious as to what the 6 months gone from my church and friends would bring me. However, Shannon and some of the gals got together to send me notes of encouragement while I was gone. Six of my friends each had a month that they were in charge of and at the beginning of every month I would receive a big FAT envelope, or box, filled with notes and cards to encourage me daily. Basically I had a new card or letter to open everyday. Most all of it was filled with scripture and each one of my friends found a unique way of encouraging my heart while I was a way. Let me tell you deployment flew right by, and I even got back home the day before Thanksgiving! Talk about being thankful.

I enjoy the poem below a lot, and it was one of the things that I kept from that time away. I hope that you all enjoy it too.

The Morning Hour
Alone with God, in quiet peace,
From earthly cares I find release;
New strength I borrow for each day
As there with God, I stop and pray.

Alone with God, my sins confessed
He speaks in mercy, I am blest.
I know the kiss of pardon free,
I talk to God, He talks to me.

Alone with God, my vision clears
I see my guilt, the wasted years
I plead for grace to walk His way
And live for Him, from day to day.

Alone with God no sin between
His lovely face so plainly seen;
My guilt all gone, my heart at rest
With Christ, my Lord, my soul is blest.

Lord, keep my life alone for thee;
From sin and self, lord, set me free.
And when no more this earth I trod
They’ll say, "She walked alone with God.

I think a person can only hope that the last words are spoken of them one day.

For those that have family members or loved ones serving overseas, I really encourage you to consider doing the same thing. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, beats mail call for a person in the military (just ask them). And to have something to open every day, well the words are to overwhelming. I realize that may be difficult for some, especially if they are only able to carry a ruck sack, or are on the move a lot, but I encourage you to try.

What's for Dinner

A few months ago my friend Sherri encouraged me to work on two weeks worth of recipes. That way I can have a rotation going. One day when I have a family to cook for it will be more useful, and I think that was the actual motivation behind the suggestion, but it is a good practice to get into anyway. Actually, when I recently sat down to think of those meals, it wasn't that hard to think of 2 weeks worth of recipes that I know. Some have been old standby's, some are new, but at looking at my list I realized that I have a lot more than I thought, and even more to work on making GF. Now that I'm done with school my cooking skills are something that I can hone in on and work on cracking through the gluten barrier for those recipes that I've put aside do to time constraints. So I suppose you might be interested in what recipes actually comprise my list. So, in no particular order, her you go.

1. Tacos
2. GF Mac & Cheese
3. Paparazzi Pot Pie
4. Plum Good Chicken
5. Crunchy Chicken Casserole
6. Chicken Cacciatore
7. Pot Roast
8. Rice Lasagna
9. Savory Lemon Herb Chicken
10. GF Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
11. Broiled Salmon & Vegetables
12. GF Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes
13. Egg Drop Soup
14. Pork Ribs & Sauerkraut

Of course I'll be working on more recipes as the time allows me. So stay tuned!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Final Grades for the Quarter

I just got my grade on my Marketing Plan and out of 150 points possible I received 150 points! Seriously, this is the only class that I've ever taken where I've received full credit on all discussion points, and the big projects of my marketing paper, which was on ethics in marketing and my big marketing plan. If you'll indulge my enthusiasm, IT FEELS REALLY GOOD!!! I always work hard for those grades and usually fall a little short of my goal, but nothing worth complaining about. So when those things happen it always feels really good. I got B's & C's on my quizzes, and all B's on my 3 tests so there wasn't a full A in the class for me, but really it's nothing to sneeze at because as most of you well know I work full time as well, which makes the good grade even sweeter.

So the final grades stand at:

Interpersonal Communication: A
Marketing Fundamentals: B+
Statistics: B

God has been very good in helping me get this far. All my praise goes to Him. The rest feels good too. I can't wait to see what God will do next. I'm living in the moment, but looking forward to the future.

~ Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

(Thanks to Bro. Casteel for expounding on that verse last night)

Graduation is this Saturday, June 13th. Ironically that it also 12 years to the day that I graduated from High School.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

He is

The below poem was shared with the ladies at our LBF (Ladies Bible Fellowship) this past spring. I asked Mrs. Sargent for a copy of it and reading it again tonight and reflecting on certain things lately I thought I would share it with you as well.

When you are the neediest, He is the most sufficient.
When you are completely helpless, He is the most helpful.
When you feel the most dependent, He is absolutely dependable.
When you are your weekest, He is the most able.
When you are the most alone, He is intimately present.
When you feel you are the least, He is the greatest.
When you feel the most useless, He is preparing you.
When you feel the least secure, He is your rock and fortress.
When you are the most humble, He is the most gracious.
When it is the darkest, He is the only light you need.

It's easy to forget that the Lord is really the one who is really incharge when we are focused on our own inadequacies. We should continually look to Him for the security that we inwardly seek after.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who needs lines to color in?

My cousin sent this email to me and I've seen Julian Beever's work before, but every time I see it again I'm totally amazed at how realistic his sidewalk art looks. So I'm posting some of the pics for your enjoyment as well.

Self Portrait

Kill the Bug

Feeding the Animals

The way he captures depth in the sidewalk is amazing

White water rafting anyone?

Where are the water conservationists at?

Do you see how people are avoiding the "whole" in the sidewalk?

Kids exploring nature, is there anything cuter?

I definitely think that Julian was the kid coloring outside the lines in kidegarten.

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