This thought of “why did this happen to me?” “What was God’s plan during this?” has come up in many different groups in my life lately and I’m holding to the scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord and He will direct your paths! He has a plan for your life and it may not seem like it is a plan to prosper you (Jeremiah 29:11) or for your future but he has a plan. It may be years (or a lifetime) from now until you can see what God was doing in your life. Every season, every hardship or challenge or hurt, every triumph and joy… it was all on purpose and all part of your plan to make you who you are! No matter what you have gone through, take courage that the Lord has a plan. He will reveal it one day, stay steady and faithful to the Lord, let him show you his plan while he teaches you and grows you along the way! There was a purpose to your past and there is hope for your future, but for now be present and let God worry about the rest!!!
Lately my favorite worship song has been wrecking my heart and soul, reaching me deep, allowing me to reflect on my life and relationship with the Lord. Every time I worship God with this song I hear it differently, I focus on a different part of it, a different verse or even word hits me!!! I can’t control the emotion, I’m overwhelmed by His spirit!
Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting.
I have experienced many different seasons of waiting.
Waiting to make that decision to let go of my past and live only for God. Waiting to find a godly husband who would love me beyond my past, waiting till the right time to then become that wonderful ‘perfect for me’ man’s wife, waiting to be ready to be a mom, waiting until my husband was ready to be a dad, waiting for my first baby to grow, waiting for her to arrive and join our family, waiting for her next smile and next cuddle and next milestone, waiting for her to say “I love you mommy!”, waiting for her next kiss or big hug. Sometimes even waiting for the next meltdown that needs calming and love. Then waiting to be ready to grow my heart enough to decide we were ready to grow our family, waiting through the unknown of infertility and unhealthiness, waiting to find out we were actually expecting another perfect baby, waiting to finally tell the world and our family, waiting while growing our baby boy, now waiting for him to make his arrival into our life. And so many more moments that came between the bigger waiting seasons.
In every stage, the waiting showed me something. The waiting at times was very challenging filled with sadness, impatience, hurt, sickness, confusion, full of the unknown… but at other times the waiting was exciting, happy, wonderful, full of joy… The waiting sometimes was short and sweet and flew by, but other times it was long, and hard, and took way longer than I ever thought it would have.
But no matter which it was, my God never failed me, he never let go! God provided me the love, support, peace, hope, and grace to survive or even thrive in the waiting! He was always 10 steps ahead to prepare me for the next “waiting”! I’m thankful for the waiting, I’m thankful that through it all, trials or triumphs, God changed me, grew me, held me tight and allowed me to experience a God!!
“Miracles happen, when we fix our eyes on Jesus”
I’ve seen miracles happen in my life in the seasons of waiting. I am thankful for my waiting. Life happens so wonderfully and sometimes so challenging during the waiting. I am thankful I have allowed God to use those times to stretch and grow me. So I will continue to praise Him not only in the triumphs and victories, but more even so in the waiting.
“Slow down, Take time, Breathe In, He said He’d reveal what’s to come. The
thoughts in his mind are always higher than mine. He’ll reveal all to come. So take
courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting. He’s in the waiting. Hold on to your hope as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing.”
Song credit to Bethel Music “Take Courage”
Today is full of moments I do not ever want to forget with our sweet baby girl. There was nothing special or spectacular about today, honestly, I never even got out of my pajamas. Today our sweet baby woke up and was sitting in her crib waiting for me to come in (I was being summoned for a few minutes already). She gave me the biggest smile and started bouncing and reaching for me. When I picked her up she laid on my chest and snuggled in so close. She gave me such wonderful laughs and smiles all morning. She ate her breakfast and played like normal. She would find something new to play with (the remote, my phone, my credit card… not one ‘baby toy’ lol) and she would hold it up to me and smile with a very proud ‘look at me’! She took her normal 3.5 hour nap, and mommy even got a nap today also (woohoo!! I LOVE naps and they are very rare these days, stupid productivity!). When she got up from her nap we played outside on a blanket for almost 2 hours while Joe and my father-in-law rebuilt our back steps. She was content, happy, sweet, adventurous, smart… she was just her everyday normal amazing little self. One point she saw me pulling grass while talking to my mom on the phone and she looked up at me, and back to my hands, and then started pulling grass too. It was so amazing to see her mimic me. She gave daddy lots of smiles and waves while her worked, and facetimed Nana to show her how she could be like mom and pull grass too. Then she fell asleep nursing, so I just gently laid down with her and let her nap snuggled up to me, I never get to do that anymore because she has become such a big girl and mostly only wants to sleep in her bed. I just laid there and snuggled her and kissed her head, cherishing each little breath. Then once she woke, she played with Joe and I for two hours, just being content and happy. My favorite part of the day was bedtime though. She snuggled up to me while we read our “Night Night Prayers” book, which is rare because she is typically “talking” to us or trying to still play or trying to nurse too soon. But not tonight, tonight she looked at every page, touched every page (tried to turn every page lol). Then she was quiet during our prayers, which is rare, she normally has her own version of prayer (hehehe God hears all prayers, right? even her yelling baby ones hehehe). Then she snuggled in close to nurse, then she stopped and stared at me, studying my face as to trying to never forget it. She kept switching between staring at me then Joe then raising her hand for kisses (she always raises her hand for us to kiss her palm, something I think she learned for her buddy Keaton). I felt so loved and felt such overwhelming feelings of love as I held this sweet loving baby. She looked at me as if to say, “I love you mommy, thank you for loving me and giving me such a good day!” We kissed her a few more times and laid her in bed, she grabbed her blanket to snuggle and went sweetly to sleep. I so cherish these amazing very ordinary nothing days that are filled with such warmth and love, those smiles, those studying looks, they moments of pride in a new skill she has learned… those are the memories that I never want to forget. These are the days that I am most thankful for with our baby girl. Being a mom is just so amazing to me!
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were laid by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nana soon would be there.
The girlies were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
Uncle Joe in his jammies, and Aunt B in her’s too,
Had just settled their brains for a short winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a BMW, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a pretty little driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nana.
More rapid than eagles her coursers they came,
And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the BMW full of Toys, and St Nana too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nana came with a bound.
She was dressed all in bling, from her head to her foot,
And her clothes were all stylin with diamonds and fur.
A bundle of Toys she had flung on her back,
And she looked like a queen, just opening her pack.
Her eyes-how they twinkled! Her smile oh how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her lips like a cherry!
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the blonde of her hair glistened like the snow.
The sophistication of a wine glass she held in her right hand,
And the Christmas lights encircled her head like a wreath.
She had a narrow face and a flat little belly,
That was rock hard when she laughed, nothing like a bowlful of jelly!
She was thin and lean, a right jolly sweet elf,
And I laughed when I saw her, in spite of myself!
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying her finger aside of her nose,
Then giving a hug, up the chimney she rose!
She sprang to her BMW, to her team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard her exclaim, as she drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to-r all, and to-r all a goodt-ninght! Thank yer!”
A few months ago, at a women’s conference at my church, I had a realization! God had been laying on my heart and making me aware of how unhappy I allow myself to be. I have always done this. I go through ups and downs of happiness and it has nothing to do with anything except how I allow myself to feel. Sadly, the ones that get the short end of the stick of my unhappiness are the ones that care the most about me and would do anything to make me happy. I do not allow them to do anything right, even if they do everything right. So, I was sitting at the women’s conference, listening to Mrs. Cremeans speak about being content. Not being content where God has you is like saying “God, I see what you think are good plans for me, but I do not agree… my happiness should look like this!” Wow, I cannot begin to say how much pride is involved in that statement and thought process!! I broke down to my best friend afterwards about how I do not allow myself to be happy, I do not allow my husband to do anything right! She always shoots it straight, which I LOVE about her!!! She told me I need to chose to have joy!! Simple concept, right? Yep, it is that simple!! I have to wake up everyday and choose to be joyful!! I have to accept what God is doing in my life right now, not what has been done, or what I want to be done, but what He is doing now, today, this step, not the next!! He is an amazing God that way, I need not worry about what the next step is, He already knows the next step, I just need to follow Him!
So for the past few months I have been choosing joy. I have not been 100% successful, but I have been pretty joyful! I have let some walls down to my husband and I accept all the good he does for me. Our marriage is better than it was 6 months ago, as it always should be! My life in general is just happy. I still have low days, but I try to have a better view of it all. God plans my life, I need to stop doing the planning and start living out the plans that He makes! this is still a work in progress, but aren’t we always a work in progress!
I leave you with this: find joy in every moment of your life (yes even when your flight is delayed making you miss your connecting to have to get rerouted to a totally different city causing you to not reach your destination at your mom’s for Christmas till the next day… true story, I am writing this on the plane, but instead of getting angry or cry, I handed the not so kind or empathetic girl at the counter a candy cane and wished her Merry Christmas with a smile on my face!!) Every moment has the possibility to bring joy, you just have to look for it.
The other day I was slightly disappointed because our house closing got delayed and I did not want to have a negative attitude and started thinking of the things I love in my life. So I decided to share a few of those things with everyone else.
So here are a few of my favorite things…
*The Bible: I can always find all the comfort, encouragement, knowledge, wisdom, and direction that I could ever need. It is filled with amazing stories and lives that have helped me get through my stories and life.
*My Husband: He loves me. He trusts me. He provides for me. He makes me laugh. He looks at me like I am the most beautiful, most amazing, only girl in the world, because to him, I am. He loves the Lord and I can always count on him.
*My Parents: They are both so strong and have spent the better part of their lives loving and caring for their children. Without them there is so much that I would not be and so much I would not have. I will forever be grateful for them.
*My Nieces and Nephews: I wish I could give all eight of them the world, I love them so much! My only non-favortie thing is that seven of them live so far away-nothing breaks my heart more!
*My Friends: Some of my favorite moments are spent talking though ideas, thoughts, and randomness with a sweet friend. I may only a select few, but those few mean so much to me. I can always count on a few laughs, tons of inspiration, and lots of comfort.
*Music: I love to sing. I am not really that good, or even somewhat good, but I love it and singing makes me happy. Music inspires me, lifts me up, reminds me of the things I love, and soothes me.
*Sweet Tea: I was raised in good ole Texas with plenty of sweet tea! Now that I live in Jersey, I either have to make my own sweet tea or go to McDonalds or Chikfila. When I have a glass, for one quick moment, I feel at home! Silly I know.
*My Iphone: I have all the information I could ever need at the tip of my fingertips. It is a life saver when I am bored or need to figure something out. I love my phone!
*My Apron: I love to cook and when I put my apron on I feel like a pro and am inspired and challenged to create something new and exciting. I also love when I take the apron off, right about the time that my husband takes the first bite and smiles. ahhhh…. satisfaction.
*My bed: It is not necessarily the most comfortable, it is old and pretty broken in, but its cozy and warm. I love snuggling up surrounded by fluffy covers and my squishy (my pillow that is super squishy, hence the name! lol).
*My jewelry box: I saw it and fell in love! So my wonderful hubby made me a happy wife and bought it for me! It makes accessorizing so easy and fun.
*HGTV: I cannot get enough of designs and home buying shows, they make my dreams much bigger! uh oh!
*Lists: I love making lists, I love organizing and things in order. I am a visual person and need to see my to do’s and other such things written down, it’s soothing to me.
*Blogs: I could spend all day looking at other’s blogs. There are some really creative and innovative individuals out there. I love to be challenged and inspired and blogs do that!
*Facebook: To me, facebook is a way to stay connected with my family and friends. I watch my little nieces grow, share laughs with new friends, and memories with some old ones. I ‘stalk’ all my friends to stay up to date with them in this crazy busy world. I can help encourage them, share in their happiness, and pray them through their trials.
These are just a few of my favorite things. I feel it is always important to remember even the little things that I am blessed with in life. What are you blessed with? Stop and think about it, I guarantee you’ll begin to smile! Enjoying smiling!
…is a virtue I have never really had, however recently the Lord is really calling on me to use it more than ever. In the past four months I have been tested with so many things that have forced me to learn to simply wait on the Lord. My husband and I began house hunting for our first home together. We have been renting from his father for a year now and have been blessed with our current home, but we figured it would be wiser to put our money into something of our own instead of just ‘throwing it away’. We found a home we LOVE and it is just about perfect for what we want, even the price! So we put an offer in over 45 days ago to the bank, as our dream home is a short sale. I am not sure why it is called a short sale, there is nothing short about it! We put the offer in at the asking price, which the bank had approved prior to our bid for someone else, hoping to get a quicker response. However, here we are 45 days later and we have only had the bank respond once with a counter offer, guess they were not satisfied with the asking price. So it has been a week since the counter and I am so anxious and excited. I have had to exercise a great deal of patience since this process started in January, but it is really wearing thin, not that it was very thick back in January! I have also started two new part-time jobs in addition to my other three part-time positions. Starting something new has had my patience exercise level higher than ever, a good kind of exercise, but nonetheless it is being exercised! We have had some car trouble and are waiting to see how a few other things pan out before we make any big decisions regarding said troubled car. There are so many other things happening that are presenting themselves constantly as an exercise of my patience. So there are many things that are testing my patience. I have had to use my patience and faith more than ever lately it seems. I believe God uses different things in your life to teach or show you something, and I think He has been teaching me to lean on Him and trust in Him, so I have been going to His Word and prayer to allow Him to teach me patience during this time of life. The funny thing is that things always seem to happen when they need to happen, although it may not be when we want them to happen. So for now I am patiently waiting on life to happen, I just hope I remember to live the life that is here now while I wait.
So to pass the time I have been trying some favorite new recipes… hope you enjoy this one that my husband and I loved!!
Stuffed Mexican Cornbread
3 boxes Jiffy Cornbread
3 eggs (as stated on Jiffy box)
1 cup milk (as stated on Jiffy box)
1 lb ground meat (any meat will do, I use soy ‘beef’)
1 package Taco seasoning
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel* tomatoes
1-2 cups shredded cheese (I use cheddar, but a taco blend will work great)
1. Brown meat with taco seasoning (may need to add a tiny bit of water for mixing). Add corn, beans, and tomatoes.
2. Mix cornbread, eggs, and milk.
3. Grease 9×13 baking dish and pour 1/2 of the cornbread mixture in the dish and spread evenly. Add meat and cheese and then spread the remaining cornbread mixture on top.
4. Bake at 450* for 20-25 minutes, or whenever the cornbread is no longer wet, stick a toothpick in to test.
*you can modify this recipe by adding whatever spices and extras (like the corn, beans, and Rotel) you like.
This recipe is easy and quick, and requires not a lot of patience!!!
I am not that wonderful at actually blogging. I have so many ideas and things that I do and think that I should blog about this, and never do. So I am going to be better at blogging more often, simply because I want to. So this is a more a introduction leading you into the next few post of a few wonderful moments in the past few month. I was able to see most of my family, meet my newest niece, christmas gifts I made as well as a few other projects I took on. So I hope you enjoy or at least are slightly encouraged.
I started blogging a short-time ago with hopes of blogging much more often than I actually have, and I have no excuses, except I have been so busy?? Well ok, I have no excuse, but don’t we all make up excuses all the time for why we don’t do the things we set out to do? Well I do, often. Why do we do that? Why do we make excuses for not following through, or not doing everything that we expect out of ourselves? Is it that we feel like we have let ourselves down? or let others down? Maybe we just feel obligated to everyone else to explain the whys. Life is about life! This statement automatically puts the word DUH! into your mind, but in reality for me, life is all the things that happen that we probably do not plan for. Life is all the moments that happen everyday, planned or spontaneous. And to be honest, the spontaneous ones are the ones I cherish the most some days: the dishes magically (by my husband) being put away, a long kiss as my husband leaves for work replacing the everyday peck bye, chit-chatting with a friend for hours unexpectantly, last-minute date nights or girl nights, etc. Often times, these spontaneous moments can change our ‘plans’ or leave us rearranging our schedules. So then if these are some of the greatest moments in everyday life, why do we make excuses for keeping us from achieving minor things or from delaying following through on something? If we are still accomplishing and attending to our priorities in life, then why do we feel so bad about the little things being put on hold for another day when we are cherishing what God gave us today. Everyday new day is a gift from God and it is to be cherished. James 4:14-15 (HCSB) states “You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring- what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” So cherish the day the Lord has given you TODAY, don’t just plan to cherish it tomorrow, or don’t get all upset that what happened today, good or bad, expected or unexpected, got in the way of the little things that you thought MUST be accomplished today. The floors will still be dirty tomorrow, the flower bed will still need to be weeded tomorrow, your toes will still need a good pedicure tomorrow… so do as Psalm 118:24 says: rejoice and be glad, because this is the day that the Lord has made! So rejoice and stop making excuses because you are enjoying the life God gave you TODAY!!
“…can I have the recipe?”
The number one thing said about the food that I post on facebook, and it got me thinking, why not start a blog of all the recipes that I try or develop. This blog will not just be about cooking and recipes, but also about my thoughts and feelings on what God has done and is doing in my life; cooking just happens to be a big part of that right now. I hope you find some really great recipes, thoughts, incite or ideas that you can pass on and share with your family and friends. Happy reading… and eating! 😉