Monday, June 28, 2010

Reaching the heavens

The sweet scent of honesty filled the room. Everything was out in the open, and vulnerable she took a chance with me. Pray for me she asked. I could sense the sincerity in her heart, the longing in her eyes and the urgency in her words. Together we agreed that there is nothing more powerful than words, more sudden than regret and more damaged than trust. Together we stood on the edge of our lives, trying to make sense of it.

I could feel her pain so close to me, almost one with me and I prayed the best I could for her, for me and for anyone else wanting this prayer. From the honest part of me, the hopeful part of me and the searching part of me, I let the words coming out of my mouth be words that were filled with purpose.

I began by believing that there is no circumstance that is too big for God to deal with, the understanding that even in our worst timing lies his perfect time and the faith that when all road's seem to be at there end, it is only then when they begin.

Help them see the beginning of their lives. Stir up their love for each other again, remind them of their commitments to one another and help them see past the place they are at. Surround them, be with them, and live in them. Always as the God that you are.

Release them from the guilt that they feel, the hold that the enemy has on them. Instead, open their eyes to each other and accept the truth that is yours instead of the lies that the enemy has made them believe. Help them clearly distinguish what is yours from what is not, through the power of your words and the truth of the bible.

Talk to them. Teach them how to communicate with each other, with understanding and without blame. Begin filling the silence of their lives with your purpose, so that nothing is wasted. Instead let each moment be an opportunity where they could rebuild their trust.

Be their foundation, so that they may not waiver off the path that you have set before them. Let it be stronger and more fierce than what the world offers, than what the enemy holds in his hands. May they not be tempted. Instead, during their faithful walk would you bring wisdom and understanding to their actions and persistence in their minds. Help them fight the fight for what is right.

Most importantly, use this season in their lives to be the season that they see you.

Pray, Hope.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ruffled up laundry

The loads of laundry looked dreadful. Colors, whites, darks, jeans, sheets, and stains ran through my mind. Just the thought of it exhausted me. For those that don't know me, laundry is my least favorite thing. Continually it poses to be an ongoing struggle.

In my first years of marriage, I composed the perfect plan. Laundry day would be my "chick-flick" day. Crying and laughing I would sit in the middle of the piles folding away. Since then our family has doubled and so has our laundry, the children grew up and time escaped. Now, laundry is simply fit in with all of the other stuff. And some days, on my good days, I choose to do it with a smile.

This week, a friend asked me an interesting question "Does it ever get to be enjoyable?" Well, I have never been asked the question before so immediately I began to wonder. Does it? Has it? And will it be?

One thing I knew for sure. I do my chores, no matter what. I hold them equally important to each other, but joy on the other hand, was a little different. The best thing I have, is that I seem to easily recognize the things I don't like and to try to find ways to make it into some thing I do.

For instance, people think that I have a passion for cooking. And it might seem that way, but the truth is that I have a passion for new flavors and if I don't cook up something new, by itself it is not a passion at all. Early on I discovered that if I wanted delicious, I would need to make it delicious. Now I just follow the instructions of people who do have a passion for it.

Cleaning is another big one that I get asked all the time. For me, cleaning is one way I help free my mind of the clutter that I can control. By taking a few minutes out of my day, I find that I am in a better mood and less overwhelmed. This way I can spend the rest of my time filling it in with the things that I love.

I love having friends over, I love making things for them and with them. I love the feeling I get when I spend the day enjoying the sun and doing nothing at all, but having every thing done. I love to create and implement it into every area I can. That I have a passion for and I use it to drive me to do the things that I don't.

But joy? Sometimes I just hum the line "Our joy comes from the Lord".

On the other hand, there also comes along moments, right after laundry and in between dinner where I have a small amount of time to be free. And in this ruffle, joy happened.

Joyous, hope.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tea Party

I don't try to throw the most outrageous parties, just the ones I can afford. Very often, I find myself smiling at a fifty dollar budget. Visualizing the grand possibilities that always seem to push my creativity. I actually love challenges because instead of seeing limitations I try to see opportunities and this was one of those times.

(Dishes, borrowed $0)

Using a set of the classic "blue and white" dishes I started to create my palate. I knew that they were not the traditional colors for a girls baby shower, but I also knew that being different had a way of grasping attention so instead of changing them I crossed my fingers and took a chance. One thing about taking chances is that you can't let people influence your decision, believe in yourself and in your idea.

(Napkins, Ikea. Table cloth $25)

Even though I was pretty certain that the colors would be beautiful, I also looked for ways to add femininity to the table. At the time adding gold and yellow seemed like a good idea until I realized that they were "Royal" colors. Not wanting the guests to think that this was for a "little-prince-in-waiting" I felt stumped.

(Paper birds $6, spray painted curly willow $3)
(Plants from the yard $0)

Seeing as the weather was going to be warming up, I took the extra step in taking the table outside. I felt that it would lighten the atmosphere and give my mind some much needed air. Looking out, I recalled the popular phrase "Easy, breezy, beautiful....Cover girl" With that said, a new direction was inspired. White curtains, fresh fragrances, barefoot pleasures, and elegance. Were the few feminine things that I wanted to incorporate.

(Furniture and curtains I had so $0, lanterns $1 each)

Excited about my new approach I spent the next two weeks preparing. It seemed that even though I had my ideas in place and my challenges faced, I knew that more importantly, more then the decor, more then anything. Women love food. To gather, to sip and to chat amongst ourselves, some would say, is what we live for. But just as we would dress ourselves to the occasion we must also dress our food.

Our eyes like to be drawn to things that excite us and make us wonder. Wanting to create visual appeal I tried to incorporate this to the perimeter of the table. Adding personal dessert trifles and a delicious brew of pomegranate iced tea were ways I added texture and appeal. Quietly, they proclaimed themselves "personal".

But no matter how well any party is planned, it is still dependent on your guests for a great turnout. Being personal is one way to make your guests to feel welcomed and comfortable. It is by them that the mood of the party is determined, so when I looked at all the bare foot ladies in this picture I finally accepted that this was a success.

Verse of the week:

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing
some people have entertained angels without knowing it"

Hebrews 13:2

Friday, June 11, 2010

Holy Rain

They say that the North West has hundreds of names for rain. This week it rained Holy rain. Not very often do the heavens fall down on me, drenching me with their grace. So I watched the rain as it continued to pour, breaking all records and penetrating into every root of life, including mine.

In the day that that work overwhelmed me, he was there with a solution. With a person and a plan that exceeded anything I could have even prayed for. Relieved, I rested in his rest.

In the day when I had nothing, He was there with everything. With a person and plan that was uncalled for but at the same time very much appreciated. Excited, I rejoiced in him.

In the day when I was doubting, He was there with a gift. With a person and a plan that was personal to me. Thankful, I accepted it.

In the day when I didn't have enough time, He was there with plenty. With a person and a plan He offered me help. And I took advantage of it.

For four days he poured into me, into my life, and into each desire. He was there. I think he was building me up for the last day when we received an offer on our house. Taken a back I questioned him. I asked him if this was his will and he spoke...

"Look at your week, look at what I have done for you. Of course my hand is on this." He said.

Reassured, I let him take it. I knew that His will was better then mine. I knew that He was able to do anything that he willed to do. And that even my desires were part of his plan.

Verse of my week:

"Because I am doing something in your days-You would not believe if you were told"
Habakkuk 1:5

His plans, my hope.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Favor Flavor

This mushroom dish is an adopted version of an appetizer 'Genius' and I had at a restaurant years ago. Sparking up old memories we spent the evening trying to capture the moment again by piecing together his recollection and mine. After we paired it with a bottle of wine and fresh bread, there could not have been anything better to bring our day to a close.


6 cups Mushrooms, halved
1 shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup of Sherry
1/2 cup of beef broth
8 tbsp unsalted butter
Parsley, chopped

Melt 2 tbsp of butter with 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the quartered mushrooms and saute until their juices release and they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reducing the heat to medium, continue to cook the mushrooms. Stir frequently as they brown, deepening the color. This should take another 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and shallots to the mushrooms and stir for a minute to release the flavors. Add the wine and stir for another minute letting it reduce slightly. Add the broth and allow the mixture to cook for another minute before turning it off. Swirl in the last of the butter, one tbsp at a time to create a silky and buttery sauce. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and serve with warm bread.

Sprinkle with parsley or any of your favorite herbs. If your having it with steak, blue cheese would also be a great option. Enjoy.

Verse of my week:

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Ecclesiastes 9: 7