Saturday, January 31, 2009

What a day for a daydream...


All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
~T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1926


Friday, January 30, 2009

Fun Friday


Today is my day off and it's not so much fun as relaxing, which I really need and appreciate. At this point it's not over...but I thought I'd blog before midnight since I have been so late in posting this week, and right now I have a totally quiet house.

This morning I got Jordan up for school and then went back to sleep and when I got up my husband made me pancakes. Now THAT is the life. Being honest, I have quite a bit of work left to do this weekend but the Lord has been speaking to me about that whole Sabbath thing so I am determined not to work today. After eating pancakes I took a bath and then got my nails done. It felt so good. Both my hands and feet were so overdue. Larry met me and took me to lunch afterwards at a brand new place called The Hungry Greek. This was amazing, first of all for two reasons:

1) I was hungry.
2) I'm Greek.

In addition to that the food was INCREDIBLE. It was one of those places I had a really hard time selecting what to eat because the aroma was amazing and there were so many choices. After a nice lunch together we had an appointment to take Maddie for her next shot series. I dread it as I can't stand for her to go through any pain but on the other hand I want to be there to wrap her in a blanket and comfort her and bring her home afterwards. Yes, I absolutely treat her like a child. She's been sleeping ever since we got home which is expected after the shots.

Larry took the kids to a youth STL rally tonight and I'm home by myself in the quiet just enjoying a few moments peace. Dustin and Casey stopped by for a sandwich on a way to a party tonight and are coming back later to spend some time. I enjoyed talking with them as well as my friend, Pastor Judi Cotignola who called to talk for a while and is such an amazing woman of God, and encourager. It's been a good day, and...it's not over yet. I have a full day of work tomorrow before me, but I'm not worrying about it, I'm just enjoying today and all that it holds for me.


Thursday play by play...

Maddie in her raincoat that Jordan got her. She hates the hat and tries to push it back all the time. In about a week she'll outgrow this outfit.

I know. I didn't post again until late... 12:17 am to be exact this time so I guess I technically missed blogging yesterday which is highly unusual. It's just how the schedule went. This week I have missed twice...just so much going on.

It was a really busy day (Thursday) at work. We are getting ready to bring about 6 new leaders onto our core team at the church, and we are preparing for what I believe will be our most important leadership meeting ever. This has necessitated some planning meetings...lots of them. It's all good...in fact it's GREAT! But it's keeping us running that's for sure.

We had a full day at work and meetings with leaders and then we came home and I had to finish an article I am on deadline to write for this weekend and then start on another one that I have a deadline for earlynext week. I do write for fun and my own catharsis but I also have freelance jobs at times and right now I'm in the middle of a few. This is good, especially in this economy. It keeps the highlights in my hair. (GRIN) Only half kidding there...

After finishing the article, I made a big batch of my famous chicken salad for the boys. They love it and make sandwiches with it whenever they feel like it and it saves me from hearing that phrase, "what do we have to eat?" so much. That is the never ending phrase no matter how much I cook. I live in a house of bottomless pits. The groceries we go through are amazing.

I held Maddie on the couch for a while as we watched American Idol with Savanna before she went to bed. We laughed at the singers as we usually do and marveled at how these people have absolutely no clue that they can't sing. Afterwards, Larry wanted to go on a late night date with me to the movies. Sometimes we go after the kids are in bed ~ which is nice at this stage of our lives. Dustin was still working at the theatre as he was closing, but the other two were home and we headed out to see Last Chance Harvey. I enjoyed being out with Larry but neither of us would ever see the movie again. It's extremely slow and makes you feel like you just want to pull the plot out of the screen and say, "enough already people, just get together....." and you really don't feel exciting tension as you watch, you just feel...bored. The only reason I wasn't completely bored is because:

1) I was with my husband

2) I had a hot chocolate.

Tomorrow is our day off. As I've been reading through the book of Genesis and Exodus this past month I'm convicted about really having a Sabbath. I'm going to try and take one but it won't be easy...I still have a few projects to wrap up this weekend and I am thinking, "do I really want to do all this on Saturday?" I have life coaching and then some remaining preparations for Sunday. We'll see what happens, but a Sabbath is the goal.

One thing I'm thinking right at this moment is that the ebb and flow of writing is so interesting. This morning I was sitting at my desk drawing a blank about this freelance project I was working on. I'm finished it now. As I sit here now, a plethora of writing ideas are flooding my mind. But I really need to go to sleep. Tomorrow's a school day so I still need to get the kids up for school even though it's my day off.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CHURCHZILLA


This is a new word I've created, at least to my knowledge, I am the first to come up with it. If you were at our service at Northside this past Sunday morning, you know this was part of my message that I preached. Then, I shared about it in my weekly "cup of coffee" ezine devotional this morning that goes out to a mass of people, and immediately had my e-mail box absolutely flooded with people going crazy about it.

One pastor is sharing it at his business meeting tonight. Another pastor thought it was brilliant and just sent the devotional to every single person in their address books, and the list goes on. Every time I check my e-mail box I'm getting more mail from people about it...and the ezine has only been out a few hours...so......

After seeing the flood of e-mail come my way I realized it hit a chord with A LOT of people. I was delighted but kinda scared at the reaction, because...

I don't have it copyrighted! The first moment a few weeks ago that God dropped the word in my heart as I was out walking I thought about writing a book on it. Then I preached a message on it this Sunday. Some of you are wondering why I didn't just keep the idea to myself and wait til' I wrote a book. Are you a preacher? Probably not if you are wondering that. (GRIN) Um, when God gives you a word it burns so much you just can't wait to unleash it, at least with most preachers.

I realize ideas are a hot commodity and can also easily be taken and capitalized on by someone else. I immediately thought this morning of copyrighting the word so that if I do write a book I can prove I had the idea first. Upon researching I've learned you can't copyright a word. But advice given was to document your word in several ways showing you were the first to use it, if indeed you are wanting to write a book with the word as the title. I've got my preaching CD from Sunday but will also use my e-mail and this blog. Any of you who comment me here will go on record with the date and time to show that this idea was documented here with the time stamp of your date/comment. (Thankyou friends!)

Please know, this is not about money, it's about writing. If you know anything about me you know that I live to write!! Ideas are precious to a writer. The Lord dropped this into my heart and if somebody writes a book about it -- honestly, I do want it to be me. I would like to have the first opportunity to write a work about this, not somebody who jumped on the bandwagon because they heard the word. Anybody who is a writer will understand what I'm saying.

Okay, here's the brief devotional about the word that was shared on the ezine today. I'm planning to put a podcast up of my message in the next week or so. I'll link to it here on the blog.

CHURCHZILLA

Because the foundation of the church is Jesus, we are unlike any other organization in the world.
When our foundation is right, we shine. When the focus strays from our first love, Jesus - when we don't keep him the focal point of everything we do, we become repulsive.

This week I had a revelation. I have made up a new word. You heard it here first, in fact let it go on record, I'm even thinking about writing a book about this. The word I came up with is CHURCHZILLA.

You've heard of bridezilla, I'm sure. Usually these brides have their focus on the wrong thing. They are not focused on the love for the groom anymore. The marriage is not the reason for the wedding. The wedding becomes the reason for the wedding. The trappings become more important than the relationship. They care more about the design of a cake or what kind of flowers they are having rather than how much they love the groom. They turn into bridal monsters, thus the name bridezilla.

When the church gets her focus off of the groom and begins the focus mostly on the trappings, we become churchzilla.

What's right with the church? Well when the foundation is right, nothing is more beautiful. When the church focuses on Jesus and acts as He does and loves as He does we are a beautiful radiant bride, and we become captivating to those around us.

Ever been to a wedding where the bride was just so stunning you couldn't take your eyes off of her? That's what the church is like when it's foundation is right. The world can't help but stare for all the right reasons.



It's ladies night and the feelin's right...

Last night was our women's meeting at my house and quite a few people left before this pic above was taken, but we took it before everybody was gone so we'd have some kind of group pic from the night. What a FANTASTIC night we had. I am still on a little cloud after it...SERIOUSLY. I will share some things in posts to come about what God is doing.
Left to right...Heather, Savanna (my daughter), Trudy, Debra...awesome chicks!

Left to right ~ Patti, Anita, Juleen, Gayle...some of my favorite peeps in the world! I am blessed to have them in my life. By the way, Patti brought the most interesting dish of the night. It was a dessert called, "Sex in a Pan." Of course as people were looking over the food dishes and asked what it was and recieved the answer, it made for a tons of jokes. I won't go into sharing them all here but will just say, it was a good dessert. :-) I will ask her for the recipe and try to post it this week.
Left to right ~ Rosa, Candy, Angela, Becky, Sonia, Susan. Getting last minute drinks and dessert before sitting down in the living room to hear what God laid on my heart for them...man, I love these women!

Cathy, "sitting on the throne!" (and no Cathy, it wasn't just because you were passing out papers...) lol

And in other news...my husband had a board meeting last night as well that was absolutely off the chain amazing! Um, get ready...seriously folks, change is coming in a BIG way. I can hardly stand waiting...............


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2 things


I saw a meme last night on a blog and it simply asked a question ~ what are the two most important things people would need to know in order to do your job?

I didn't have to think more than a second about the answer:



1) God loves you with the deepest most everlasting love beyond your imagination.
2) God is in control and will never leave or forsake you no matter what.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up and What's Happening


I know, I know...everybody who reads my blog in the morning, especially my sister Kim, is disappointed that I didn't post til 10:41 tonight. Sorry guys. Things have been a lih-tle crazy. Between our busy ministry schedule and getting our refrigerator, microwave and dryer fixed (yes, when it rains it pours) I have had a few other extra things on my plate that I don't normally have either so............

I find myself posting late tonight and a day behind on my "through the Bible in one year" bible reading so I have eight chapters to read tonight. Okay, some quick bullet highlights from this weekend:

We did a major amount of cleaning Saturday. It's never done though...

After cleaning we went out with Pastor T and Misty to a nice dinner. Always a great time to be with them.

  • Thanks to all of you who went over and gave a shout out and your prayers at Pastor T's blog. It means so much. He has people all over the world praying for Him. We are confident, he will not just survive, he will thrive! He was amazed at all of you who came over. Please continue to stop by his blog. If you are just reading this about his blog for the first time, go over here as soon as possible.

Sunday was a great day all around. We had a powerful morning service...one of the best ever. God is doing great things!

We've been continuing to enjoy our sweet Madeline and at the same time work on potty training her. It's just like a child...what a job. I've included a few pics of her here with Jordan after he got home from work tonight. You can see she's growing so much...just 8 weeks and she is growing by leaps and bounds.

Savanna made the honor roll again this quarter! Way to go Rosie girl!

I had a lot of Bible reading and blog reading to catch up on tonight before bed. I busted through a lot of work today including things for my women's meeting tomorrow night where I'll be casting the vision for the year.

Last but not least, my friend Tara Sloan did a post tonight that almost made me spit out my iced tea...go here to read it...

Lots of other things going on that I'm praying about but not ready to blog about...thanks for reading and being my friend.

Always,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just for the health of it!

"Eat honey, dear child—it's good for you— and delicacies that melt in your mouth.Likewise knowledge, and wisdom for your soul—Get that and your future's secured, your hope is on solid rock."
Proverbs 24:13-14


The other day I blogged about the wonderful healing powers of honey. Seriously, I am experiencing it, although I'm not 100% better yet, it is truly helping me. So far I have gone through about a jar and a half in a week. I am following instructions I got on a site about it, to take a teaspoon whenever I am in pain and also right before going to sleep.

Church member and friend Becky Faux had talked to me months ago about the healing elements of honey and cinnamon and then she just found this scripture yesterday that actually talks about it being so good for us. So my friends, it's not just a health food store that talks about this -- it's in the B-I-B-L-E!

Try it sometime and see if it helps you as it has me. I'm a believer now and I'll probably take a spoon a day even after I'm totally better just for the health of it!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Special Prayer

Hello my friends ~ I've so appreciated all of the love, care and prayers you regular readers have given me through years of writing and commenting here on the blog. Now I'd like you to ask you to throw some of those prayers in another direction as well as someone very dear to me is in need of them.


Our children's pastor, Trinity Mackley, was diagnosed with cancer (Hodgkins) on Thursday. We are totally confident that God will heal him! But we need your prayers to press this prayer request right on through to the heart of God. He will now be undergoing treatment notwithstanding a total miracle, and we do believe all things are possible!!! He is a man of courage and strength, and faith. He is equipped for this battle. If you look up "loyal staff person" in the dictionary you'll see his picture there along with some other guy named Sam Diaz. :-)

I am also praying much for his precious wife, Misty. I am believing that God would give her the peace that passes all understanding during this time. She is a woman of God and incredible staff pastor's wife if I ever did know one! I'm telling you, she's THE BEST. I have been, and continue to be so thankful for her. As her pastor and as her friend my heart goes out to her right now as much as it does to her husband. I am standing in fervent prayer for the both of them every day and ask that you would add them to your prayer list as well.

I will keep you posted as the miracles unfold, but you can also go to Trinity's new blog where he is keeping everyone updated daily as well here. It will be kind of hard for him to keep up with updating everyone individually so he created this blog to stay in touch. Stop by and comment if you like and let him know I sent you!


Friday, January 23, 2009

If you care...

If you care about the issue of life (what could possibly be more important?) and you have been praying, you have even more reason to pray RIGHT NOW. Click the graphic above to go to the news story link...HAPPENING NOW!!!

UPDATE: It is done. The order has been signed. God help us...God help the children.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Contentment Crisis
Teaching Notes #2


This is the manuscript from my teaching notes last night at Fusion. The intro to why I did this series can be found here on the blog, and the teaching notes from part one last week can be found here with last Thursday's post. Alrighty, here we go...


Last week we began to talk about an issue that I believe is plaguing individuals and the body of Christ. Again before I pick up with tonight’s teaching where we left off last week, let me remind you that to be content does not mean we are lazy, or not expectant about what God will do, or that we are not desiring more of Him in our lives, or to ever achieve anything else in life. No, no, no. We’re going to unpack what contentment really means and why a lack of it is hurting us all.

Isaiah 55:1-2 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of provision. NIV

What are you truly hungry for? What are you truly thirsting for? TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD….HE IS GOOD….AND HIS GOODNESS SATISFIES ME!

Psalms 107:9 (NIV) “…for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

God will satisfy every thirst that is a thirst for Him. He will satisfy every hunger that is a hunger for Him. HE WILL SATISFY EVERY CRAVING FOR HIM.

We must get our appetites (the flesh) under control. Many are hungry and thirsty for the wrong things and we wonder why we feel so empty.

I’m going to talk food right now, it’s something I know quite a little about because it’s been my addiction.

God satisfies us with good things. Last week I mentioned the truffles I have so enjoyed that someone gave me for Christmas. I still have some left, as I will not eat more than just two or three a week. Weight Watchers has a new thing called the momentum program and it’s simply to teach people about filling foods that are good for you. Things like fiber. Now the fact is, for the same amount of calories that are in a candy bar, I could eat an entire humongous platter of fruit. And fruit is good for me. But often I am craving the wrong thing. The fact is, that huge platter of fruit would satisfy me in fact just a few pieces of fruit would satisfy most people. But the point is, we often eat a candy bar and wonder why we are still hungry. The answer is, we were filling up on the wrong thing.

When I eat the breakfast I am supposed to eat that is good for me, I am not famished an hour later or even two hours later. Yet when I grab two cookies and a coffee and walk out the door I feel like I’m going to faint just two hours later and I’m buzzing my husband’s intercom to say, “what are we doing for lunch?”

My appetite is not satisfied because I was not hungering for the right things. It’s the same spiritually. Until we realize He is what fills us and satisfies, we keep on this perpetual merry go round of searching. We eat our spiritual candy bars and then wonder why we’re still hungry.

I said last week that I was going to say some hard things and last week I talked about people who go into ministry thinking it will satisfy and then being disappointed and unfulfilled. Not to be outdone by last week, let me continue to say a few more hard things…

There are some folks out there going from church to church searching for God knows what, but they are looking for the wrong things and therefore it doesn’t matter if they go to the latest greatest, they will never be satisfied. Until they deal with the issues inside between them and God they will never be happy, for long.

Yes, they will be happy in the beginning. Anything new is a novelty of sorts and you will hear people talk in the beginning about:

Their new church…
Their new boyfriend/girlfriend…
Their new house…
Their new job…
Their new car…
Their new friends…
Their new whatever….

But until a person has learned contentment in Christ, these things have a short contentment shelf life and soon they will be on the hunt again for something else that will satisfy.

NOT GETTING THIS UNDER CONTROL WILL WRECK YOUR LIFE AND YOUR FAMILY!

Illustration: I have a relative who has completely ruined her marriage and family. She was completely in love with her husband and when they married she had never slept with anyone besides him. In the beginning she saw him as the greatest guy in the world. That continued through several years of her marriage but after a few years she began to wonder if she had missed out on something. She would read women’s magazines, and watch various movies or shows about casual sex people were having and it sounded so exciting and fulfilling. She was intrigued about what another man might do for her. Although her husband didn’t mistreat her or be unfaithful to her, she felt maybe she was missing out by only having sex with one man her entire life. So, she cheated on him, not once but several times. This was simply for the experience of sex with another man since she felt there had to be more than what she already knew and wondered, “could another man make me feel different than the one I’m married to?” Unfortunately once she realized sleeping around wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, her husband left her, unable to handle the revelation of her unfaithfulness. She is more miserable and discontented now than ever, her family in ruins. And it all started with, “Hmmmm…I wonder, am I missing out on something?”

Here is the bottom line…

Without contentment we have no rest, no true peace, no true joy. Discontent will eat away at you like a cancer.

Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV) says, “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

When we are in need, we can still be content! When we are going through hardships, we can still be content! While we arewaiting for God to answer our prayer…we can still be content, because we are filling up on Him!

Psalms 16:11 “…In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

And I don’t know about you…but I am never out of His presence…we are called to live in His presence…to be praying always, to be living a life of worship always. Therefore, we are always at His right hand….so therefore I can, in all things, be content and receive the fullness of joy every moment of my day.

1 Timothy 1:6-8 – “Godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

Psalm 107:2 – here’s a verse you need to memorize today…this will strengthen your resolve to accept contentment in Christ…

”LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY….SO…”

(What does that have to do with being content?)

Whenever the enemy says:

You’ve still got pain in your body…your faith will rise up and say “SO”
You didn’t get that raise you wanted….”SO”
You still haven’t paid off that credit card…”SO”
You still haven’t heard from your prodigal son/daughter… “SO”
You still haven’t sold that property….”SO”
You still have started building a new building…”SO”

I AM REDEEMED…AND IN THAT…I AM CONTENT…
LET THE DEVIL RAGE
LET THE STORMS COME
LET THE WINDS OF ADVERSITY BLOW…I HAVE JUST ONE WORD, AND ONE WORD ONLY TO SAY ...........................SO!!!!!!!!!!

We are serving the great I AM. This is one of the names of God…the great I AM. The Bible says that even his NAME is strong! The NAME of the Lord is a strong tower…the righteous run into it and are safe…

When God says He is "I AM" it means "I AM" whatever you need at any given time.

He says, “I am your salvation…I am your peace…I am your provider…I am your healing…”

IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING!!!

Godliness with contentment brings GREAT GAIN….CONTENTMENT PUTS ME ON THE RECEIVING END!

THE SECRET TO RECEIVING FREELY FROM THE LORD IS CONTENTMENT!

The word of God says, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD….HE IS GOOD….AND HIS GOODNESS SATISFIES ME!

Something else we need to realize as a huge bonus is that contented Christians have REST.

Matthew 11:28– here’s the greatest “pick up” line Jesus ever used on people -
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

There are so few Christians today who really have REST in their souls.

WHO ARE TRULY “AT REST” IN THEIR SOUL!

Rest – refreshed….relaxed…at “ease” in your spirit

Philippians 4:6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 46:10 – “Be STILL…and know that I am God…”

Hebrews 4:9 declares – “There remains therefore a REST for the people of God…”

I don’t know about you but I have to work at resting! I have to discipline myself to rest. For my flesh doesn’t want to rest many times. I want to worry, to fret, and yes, to be discontent.

What does being at rest mean? Simply being quiet and receiving from the presence of the Lord.

Sometimes we need reminders from others. The other day I was worried about something and I told Michele so and asked her to pray about it and here’s what she told me: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere.” We need to learn to RELAX and REST. I know it sounds odd that in this new year when we should be taking off like a rocket, I’m preaching about resting. But you know what, admist the rocket, you must rest.

Now, some take that rest to mean, “yep, thanks for that word PD, I’ll be resting on Sunday morning at 10:30.” Hmmmm…a lot of Christians have taken great license with God’s Word and twisted it. It’s interesting to me that many Christians across the nation have missed lots of church and claimed it’s because of family time. No, I’m not talking about that. There are other times besides Sunday morning or Wednesday night that you can rest, and you know it!
But we do need to have times, other times where we rest.

Practice the presence of God…
Practice resting…
Practice being still…

Illustration: The other night I got out of my Jacuzzi, put my robe on and sat on my swing. I didn’t have any pressing work to do although my house could have been a bit cleaner, it wasn’t a mess, and my church work was done, and two kids were working and one was in bed. However, after sitting for about ten minutes I felt, “okay I need to hurry and get up from here…” And then I wondered, “why? Why do I need to get up from here?” And I realized, I didn’t need to. So I sat there and practiced being still for about 20 minutes and it was very good for me.

Contented Christians are much less subject to the traps of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the cares of life…because contented Christians have received from the Lord, taken delight I what He has already given, and have cast their cares on Him.

1 Peter 5:7
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)- Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Is lack of contentment ruining your life?

Again, this is something to get under control at the beginning of 2009 so you can go into it and truly receive all that God has for you and not continue to chase the wind if you have been doing so. Don’t ruin your future by being discontent with your present.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yet another Madeline picture...

Maddie takes a snooze on Savanna while they watch American Idol last night.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Low Fat Apple Crisp


So tonight I wanted to eat some fruit (always have problem getting enough fruit in my diet ~ I'd rather have veggies) and also incorporate some of my new best friend ~ cinnamon ~ into my menu for today. So, I decided to make apple crisp, especially since it's very cold by Florida standards. In fact, I heard a report today which I can hardly believe but they actually said SNOW (a light dusting) is possible here tonight. I'm still thinkin' that's quite improbable, but...we'll see. Anyway, it's cold and we are lighting our fireplace and eating apple crisp in the Shrodes house.

I decided I would share the recipe. It's 5 weight watcher points by the way. I used my "5" bonus points for the day on it but will probably try to do a walk off the pounds video before bedtime if I have time.

INGREDIENTS:

6 small apples, peeled and sliced.
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon


TOPPING:

1 c. quick rolled oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. soft butter


In 2 quart baking dish put apples on bottom. In small bowl combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add to fruit and toss. Topping: Combine oats, sugar and cinnamon. With 2 knives cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Serves 8


Becoming...



I am posting this information today for of my ladies who are Northsiders, as well as any other women within driving distance of us who might want to come. I'm the women's ministries rep for Tampa. I recently blogged about our meeting in Sarasota, which was amazing, and one of the aspects of the weekend was receiving the details of the first ever upcoming regional meeting. Buckle your seatbelt! It's going to be AMAZING!

So ladies, if you live anywhere in the area, please mark your calendars as the Pen-Florida District Women's Ministries is hosting their first regional event called, "Becoming", on February 6 & 7, with guest speaker Martha Tennison. If you have never heard Martha, WOW, WOW, WOW...you are missing out, so do WHATEVER you need to do to be there. You will be so blessed, I guarantee it. This is a free event, by the way. How much better can you get than that? F-R-E-E! The Friday night service is at 7 pm, with Martha, and then on Saturday morning at 9 am there is a service or "chat" as they are calling it with our district women's director, Marsha Woolley. Please join us for this incredible gathering at: Victorious Life Church, 6224 Old Pasco Road, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544. If you have any questions, please e-mail me and I'll be glad to answer.


My two new best friends ~
honey and cinnamon!


My friend Pastor Leanne Weber did an excellent blog post yesterday on the healing power of honey and cinnamon. I wholeheartedly believe in this. Yes, I believe in the power of divine healing but I believe God has also given us other means by which to physically heal us at times. I encourage you to click the link to her post and see just how amazing these two ingredients are and what God made them to do.

As most of you know I've been sick for two months ever since I got back from Africa. Last week I had every test you can imagine. It appears my stomach problems have returned. I have an appointment with a specialist on the 29th. However, I have this thing I love to do ~ sleep. And with the pain I've been in it's been impossible to sleep or get comfortable during the day either. I have been trying everything OTC you can imagine. The other day I was surfing for "natural cures" and lo and behold I heard about honey. I tried it and in just two times of taking a teaspoon of honey I started to feel a little better. Please understand, I am not pain free yet however it has greatly improved after three days of taking teaspoons of honey whenever I feel the worst, plus taking a teaspoon right before I go to sleep. I have actually gotten rest the past few nights. Turning over does not wake me up because I feel pain.

I just want to let everyone know about this so that if you are dealing with any of the kind of pain Leanne's post describes, try honey first. You might be surprised!

Stylin' Madeline

Sporting her new outfit Jordan got her from Petsmart...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Serious Rarity: No blog yesterday

Maybe this is my problem? Or maybe my thyroid is out of whack? Um, no...folks, I can't blame it on anything else. It's my same journey every single day that I have battling the flesh. But I'm doing it! I'm fighting the fight and winning! Kudos to all of you who are on the road alongside me doing it. It's a battle each day but we are going to win. I did good this weekend and just want all of you to know that 15 pounds IS coming off of me! (I gained back 15 of the 40 pounds I lost a few years ago, if you aren't up to speed on that or have been totally blind to the weight I've gained in my blog photos.) I know, I know, some of you just looooove me so much you only look at me through rose colored blogging glasses. LOL! On with the weekend update...

I can't remember the last time I didn't blog, in fact I don't think I've missed a day since I started publicly blogging years ago. I do say publicly because realize, I was blogging before blogging existed! I just did it in private journals.

I still have the private journal for the posts Larry would kill me for posting. :-)

I was simply too busy yesterday to have a few seconds to sit down and write. I was literally in motion from dawn to bedtime and I'm so glad our office is closed for MLK today because I could really use a break after yesterday.

Saturday night was busy unpacking and prepping last minute things for Sunday and talking to Lar. Then yesterday my day started as it usually does on Sunday...at the crack of dawn. I am up way before the sun rises and ready and heading for the church at 7:30 am.

We had a good service yesterday and best of all, my son played the piano for the altar call, and I did not! Yes! You'll never know how happy this made me. He led worship by himself Friday night, using both the piano and the guitar, while I was away in Sarasota. Everyone raved about it. I'm so glad because it's giving him the confidence to do it more on his own and Momma is getting a break. I want to pray with the people more and him being at the keyboard will free me to do this. Halleluiah, is all I have to say to that one! Not to mention, he's really, really good! He needs to use his talents fully for the Lord. He is just so critical of himself and unsure many times that he is truly "good enough" and thinks I give him all the kudos I do because I'm his mother. He often says to me, "you have to build me up like this and say all this stuff because you're my Mom. Moms do that." Well, while it may be a Mom's job the truth of it is, I am being sincere in my comments to him. He really is talented.

After service Dustin and Casey ran the fine arts practice (they are leading fine arts for our teens now) and Larry and I headed to a new restaurant we just love, Cafe Fresco, with the Rivera's and Ruiz's, two A-MAY-zing couples in our church. We had such a good time we didn't want it to end but we had to leave to get ready for our newcomer's night. Straightening up the house had to be done as well as some food purchase and set up so we did that and just in the nick of time before our guests arrived. Speaking of food, Jordan had this special Steelers ice cream cake made for his Dad last night. He works at DQ and he actually made this ice cream cake (assembled it) but his manager decorated it. He was so proud. He called and said he had something special for his Dad and that it would be used for newcomer's night. He brought it home right before the evening began and everyone enjoyed it. As you can imagine, Larry is ESTATIC that the Steelers are going to the Superbowl!

Newcomer's night was really fun...we had a great mix of people last night and I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time. Mike, a newcomer to our church has such a great sense of humor I can't wait til' our stand up comedy night at the church because he's just perfect for it.

I'm glad I have today to re-coop and tomorrow will start with a bang catching up at the office.

About my health, tests have all come back negative, PTL, and I have an appointment with the specialist on the 29th for my stomach. However...I am finding some relief from a unique source! I have been taking all kinds of different OTC meds and none of them are really touching the pain. However I googled cures for this ailment, seeking anything natural that might help me besides the power of prayer which I have already been pursuing. One thing that came up was honey. The instructions were to eat a teaspoon of honey whenever I was hurting, and especially one teaspoon before bedtime. Evidently honey has enzymes and healing powers in it that help the stomach. Here's another article about it. Would you believe this is the only thing that has given me some relief? Seriously. I notice a remarkable difference! So far I only did this Saturday night and Sunday but I am noticing a change. I have now stopped taking all the OTC's and am just doing honey for a while. Someone else also told me vinegar that you get from the health food store but I haven't been to the store yet. I plan to pursue that as well. Thanks readers, for all of your suggestions and prayers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Push through to receive your blessing!


The devil just hates you. I'm serious. I'm telling all of you reading this blog right now...please WAKE UP and be aware of his devices! Don't be deceived. Come out of your naivety if you do not believe he has an assignment against you. This weekend has shaken me up a bit. I am realizing just how much the enemy hates me and did not want me to receive what God had for me this weekend.


Up til' the last minute, I was not going to reps meeting in Sarasota at the Hyatt. (Pictured at right) I have been feeling miserable as all of you know who read my blog. (I did get an appointment with a specialist by the way, the first available is January 29 so please keep that in prayer.) The last thing I wanted to do feeling this way was drive to Sarasota or anywhere. All I've wanted to do is lay in bed and work from there. Truthfully I didn't even feel like doing my work but being that I'm faithful to the 'nth degree, it's all done from my laptop while I sit with ice packs and heating pads. Anyhoo...

Joy wouldn't hear of me not coming and said she'd drive. Let me tell you, the enemy did everything he could to keep me in Tampa this weekend. I had every excuse not to go including the fact that there was a major event at our church which I normally lead worship for. (No problem, my son took care of leading worship. What a blessing.) Well...

I pressed through and went to our meeting in Sarasota and basically all I can say is MY ENTIRE LIFE HAS BEEN GREATLY ALTERED AS A RESULT OF THIS MEETING. I hate to blog about something and then not blog about it, but truth be told I cannot tell everything that happened for me during the weekend because some of it is confidential right now. A few of you who are very close friends of mine reading this know and some of you who know me personally will know but for now some things I do have to keep under wraps. But I will just say, as my friend LaDonna Jones, who is a fellow rep said this weekend, "Deanna, it's AMAZING the blessing that God has seemingly just 'dropped into your lap this weekend.'" Yep. The thing is, I realize although it appears to be that he's dropped it into my lap suddenly, He obviously knew from the beginning of time what He planned to do, and and many friends have been praying for this kind of a blessing for me. The price has been paid because certain people have prayed. So...not sure when I can talk about it but undoubtedly at some point I will.

Second, just being with my friends on the reps board was such a blessing. Yes I did sit with an ice pack on me, and yes I was hurting all weekend. But it was worth it!!! I was so ministered to. We all were. It was not only our regular business meeting but there is much ministry involved. Marsha brought a message and ended up washing our feet and when doing so she prayed a prayer over each of us and also had prophetic words. Tammy wrote down all of the prophetic words exactly for each person so we could take them home. It was a very emotional time. The following were some things in my prophecy that Marsha said word for word:

Deanna, you are a black woman in disguise. Even as I wash your feet, healing is coming to your body. I wash your feet because you have not been afraid to go where no white woman has gone. Thank God for your obedience. The healing of God goes through Deanna...now. Any discouragement is going in the name of Jesus. Breakthrough will come. The fullness will come to pass in her life. These feet will walk where the enemy thought was his. BACK OFF ENEMY! The Lord says to you that the attacks came first from without, and then from within. But none shall defeat you says the Lord. He says complete restoration is coming to you. The restoration will be repay you for all you have given out. You are not a prissy woman. Because of your humility and desire to help others, you Lord give her your anointing. Now this will be a year that you will bless her socks off! If they weren't already off now, they sure will be this year because You're getting ready to do it! You are humble, you are not afraid to eat African food. You are anointed for the road ahead. There is breakthrough for you in 2009!"

Wow-ee I do receive that in Jesus name! Thank you Jesus and thank you Marsha for speaking what the Holy Spirit imparted to you.

The weekend also had other elements to it such as going to dinner at the the Columbia restaurant as a blessing from Marsha, and receiving some wonderful gifts from Bath and Body works, and sharing breakfast together this morning, and hanging out at one of the world's most beautiful hotels (Hyatt Sarasota) I don't think I've ever stayed in a hotel with a more magnificent view. It was amazing. Marsha is not only an amazing spiritual leader but she treats us in so many ways to let us know we are appreciated for what we do for the ladies of our sections. It means so much.

I was so blessed and this was just what I needed at this time, in so many ways. More than anything, through a few opportunities and miracles that God "dropped into my lap" I know more than ever He has His eye on me and He cares for me and knows all. God is soooooo good! Praise His name forever!!!




Friday, January 16, 2009

My word for the year


My personal word for the year is FEARLESS.

I want to let go of fear in so many areas in 2009. As much as I've studied about fear, preached about it, and talked about it, I realize I still have way too much of it.

I wasn't sure what my word would be. At first I was going for the opposite of fear...and I thought of "faith" and "courage" and some biblical websites even listed the opposite of fear as love. (Since perfect love casts out all fear, the scripture tells us.) But after talking it over with Tara, I settled on the word, "fearless."

My friend/hairdresser Ada also helped me arrive at this thought the other day when I was talking to her. I said, "Ada, this year my goal is to get rid of fear in all areas of my life" and she suddenly turned to me and exclaimed with intensity, "NO FEAR THIS YEAR!" I said, "yes, yes, that's it! That's my theme!"

So there you have it ladies and gents, my goal this year is no fear!

I found the "touchstone" above in the photo at a website called "fearless living". I haven't read the materials yet but they look interesting and I might order some...definitely I would like to order the little stone to keep with me all year as a reminder. The website says fear is "the only thing that ever stops anyone from anything." Yep, that's right.

I took some steps and did some things this week that I can't really detail on the blog. Not out of fear, but out of respect for some others, I will not share it, but suffice it to say I took some steps this past week that have been months in coming...some of them six months along but I had just procrastinated out of fear. This week I did it. I made decisions. I acted on them. It was worth it and I am already reaping the benefits.

It's a new year, without fear.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One Word Challenge


My friend Pastor Tara Sloan issued a challenge this past week on her blog based upon an idea she found about selecting "one word" as your personal theme for the year.

The original creator of the One Word Challenge, Ali Edwards, says the following: "A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow. It can be something tangible or intangible. It could be a thought or a feeling or an emotion. It can be singular or plural. The key is to find something that has personal meaning for you. This is not your mother's word or your spouse's word or your child's word - this is YOUR word. One little word can have big meaning in your life if you allow yourself to be open to the possibilities. And here's one thing that is totally interesting: sometimes a word will pop into your brain and it will not make any sense to you right now. Give it some time. Let it percolate a bit. I have often found that our hearts speak to us in very unique ways. Maybe this is a word you need to hear but just aren't ready for it yet. Again, be open to the possibilities."

You can special order a necklace that displays whatever your special word is, here. Although I have found by googling the word jewelry and many words, you can find all kinds of jewelry that have various words on them at great prices. In fact, I found my word.

I have finally selected my word of the year, but...I'm not telling what it is, til...tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The state of things


Thank you, dear friends, for all of your prayers while I've been trying to move forward the past few days. The doctor thought I might have gotten a bug such as a parasite or malaria on my Africa trip and I have been getting extensively tested for that these past few days. I've had pain for a while and it progressed to become so great on Monday that I moved a doctor's appointment up a few days to get in quicker. I have one more test to undergo in the morning to completely rule out any "bugs" but so far it looks like my anti-bug drugs did work while I was in Kenya. :-) Halleluiah for that. The odd thing about this is that on my first trip to Africa I didn't get bit by one bug. This past year I got bit by a ton of mosquitos one night while I was preaching, of all things. They were nipping at my legs incessently. I really wish I could wear pants while preaching there to avoid all that but honestly it's not allowed. Women have to wear skirts or dresses that come well below the knee. So these mosquitos were just loving my calves and ankles. Anyway...despite the critters biting me it looks like my meds worked.

So why am I still in this pain? Well, I did have an ulcer and hernia in the past, due to stress. And, I've been treated for that in years past and moved ahead. But, to be perfectly honest, what my doctor thinks is that due to the stressful season I have gone through in ministry I've probably had one of these issues come back up. Provided the last malaria test is clear, my doc has referred me to a gastroenterologist, and with the power of God, and the wisdom of the specialist as well and the Lord's hands to guide them, I will be on the road to recovery again. We'll know more in the next few weeks, and start treating whatever it is. In the meantime my ice pack and heating pad are my good friends. Many of you who read my blog prayed for me about all this and some of you were such good friends to listen privately. I really am blessed to have people who care and listen and are there pretty much 24/7. Thank you, to all of you. I appreciate all of your love, encouragement, prayer and anything you've done for me more than words can say.

I just ask for your prayers over the next few weeks while I'm getting it worked out. Honestly it hurts to sit at the piano bench, hurts to sit at my desk, hurts to stand up at the keyboard, hurts to eat, hurts to not eat, hurts to ride my bike, hurts to turn over in bed, and most of all hurts when I wake up or when I go to sleep and basically...well, hurts all the time unless I have an ice pack on the left side of my stomach, and a heating pad on my back. And that is how I sit most days. I even take my little microwaveable heating pad to the movies. Before I go I heat it up double the amount I usually do, take it in a towel and then it lasts me for a 2 hour movie. My kids are a bit embarrassed that I've been taking a heating pad to the movies, but hey, it's just how life has been the last two months. It's either do that or stay home and not do anything. The past few weeks I've greeted visitors at the end of service but asked Tom and Cathy to help me to be able to leave quickly after that because I've not felt well. If anyone from church reading this feels like I've snubbed you the past few weeks and moved on quickly, honestly please forgive me, it's not you...I've just not been feeling well.

I have women's ministries reps meeting this weekend in Sarasota and was really looking forward to it. I love these ladies -- they are my dear friends and mean the world to me, and honestly I just love being around them and that's the real bonus of being on the reps board, not even the work we do. My real honor is just to sit in the room with them quite frankly. Well, despite that, I decided not to go because I didn't want to yank out the heating pad and ice pack but then my dear, dear, dear friend Joy Conley who is also a rep wouldn't hear of it and said, "you're going and I'll come pick you up!" so with that settled, I'm going. The main thing I was not wanting to do was drive because I am in pain but Joy said she'd handle it. These women are my real friends and honestly they won't care if I have a bag of ice on my stomach while we take care of business.

The bottom line of it is that sometimes life and ministry get overwhelming and it affects our bodies. You are going to get a chuckle when you see what my "word of the year" is. My friend Pastor Tara has encouraged everyone to pick a "word of the year" as a theme and I chose mine last week but haven't posted on it yet. (I will in the next few days.) I am hoping that my theme of the year personally and the journey God takes me on in this coming year will help me to better deal with the stresses that life and ministry throw my way. I am just being honest and vulnerable in telling you that while I consider myself to be a pretty strong woman and can handle a lot, there is a price to it. Part of that price is what I've paid this past week, in my bed. I still want to be strong, I still want to do for God, for people, for the Kingdom, however my ways of coping with some things do have to improve. Obviously my body is telling me I don't have it all together in that area...in fact not even close. For all the skills and talents I have, one thing I really stink at is handling stress.

A few months ago I posted about some big breakthroughs we had going on. God has been good, but going into 2009, like so many of you, we are not without challenges. Did you ever feel like you were in a continual cycle of one step forward, two steps back? *sigh* Somehow despite those challenges I have to find a way to stay healthy. Before the new year even hit, I decided to get very strictly back on a health regimen because of the way I was feeling. I went full tilt with it on December 26th. Some friends said, "no, no, don't do it before Jan 1! You'll crash from depriving yourself!" They were encouraging me to go ahead and blow it out on New Year's Eve and then get strict on January 1.. Well, what they didn't understand was that I was crashing already and had to do something, so I did. Since then I've been pretty strict with my eating and working out. That will continue. But I also have to process things better emotionally. I'm a person who leads, disciples and teaches (like many of you reading this) but I am also in process on a journey. So NOT perfect. So NOT together. Really. Seriously. I can look cool as a cucumber on the outside and be freaking on the inside at times. I'm just a fellow traveler trying to make sense of it all. Thanks for continuing to read the ramblings and happenings of someone who is sometimes a wreck, but loves God with all my heart.

I know God has good things for me in this coming year and one of them involves dealing with this very issue I mention and getting it under control. Yes, I'm going to tackle it! I'm going to pursue it! I'm going to overcome. I won't give up. I am 42, but I believe a middle aged dog can learn new tricks, otherwise why would they have obedience school? I'm going to God's obedience school. I'll learn what He wants me to this year.

I've been really blessed this past week by a few notes from people I didn't even know were reading my blog! I think that kind of stuff is really a day brightener for any blogger. It's nice to know when you make a difference in some way. Thanks for your continued prayers. I am so thankful all tests have come back good so far, and now I'll keep my little ice pack and heating pad going and try to get more rest when I can while waiting for the specialist give me something to patch me up for good once again and wean me off of them. :-)


Love you all much...


Breathe


"Sometimes the most urgent thing you can do
is take a complete rest."
Ashleigh Brilliant