Thursday, September 15, 2016

Italian Parmesan Tilapia

I needed a quick easy lunch. And something not PB&J. I'm not supposed to have processed meat right at the moment, so my favorite grilled cheese (with real Swiss cheese, not processed American cheese and 5 slices of black forest ham lunchmeat, and fresh baby spinach and a sliced avocado over whole wheat bread. Yum. There's not a good substitute for the ham so that meal will have to wait.

So what else is quick when the fridge is out of leftovers?
Chicken or fish usually. I try to keep a bag of frozen chicken breast and a bag of frozen tilapia or swai fillets in the freezer, and have found that the fish makes a super quick easy and healthy meal. I opt for the fish first, because they are faster and easier than chicken.
The last fish I had, though, cooked up a little dry, so I decided to try something new. I had little inspiration. I opened up the fridge, wondering if I ought to try it with some of the Asian Zing we got at Buffalo Wild Wings. That'd probably have been good. But then I had already thought to make a roast with some of that for supper tonight, and thought maybe I shouldn't make the same thing for two meals in a row. I am not usually a fan of salad with italian dressing in it, but somehow we have two or three bottles of various versions of italian salad dressing in the fridge.
Olive Garden's is my favorite. It's the only one I'll ever actually use on a salad. The rest are yucky on a salad. Ha. (In my opinion anyway. If you enjoy it, then by all means continue. Don't mind me.)

I opened a few different bottles of dressing and smelled them to see what I was in the mood to put on my fish, and that Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing won today!
What followed was simply divine! Not at all dry, full of flavor, and a completely wonderful after-church treat while my kids enjoyed their PB&J. I may or may not have licked my plate. ;)

Here's how I fixed it:

Italian Parmesan Tilapia

1/4 C Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing
1 T. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C parmesan
1-2 Tilapia filets (I use frozen, and thaw them in the microwave before cooking)

Heat dressing and butter until bubbly. Add garlic and parmesan. Saute 2-3 minutes. Add tilapia. Season with salt and pepper. Turn periodically until fish is flaky in the center and cheese browns.
When serving, there will probably be extra sauce in the pan. Drizzle it over top.

Want some of the dressing? You can order some today. Olive Garden does not sponsor this post, but I do get a few cents if you order from my Amazon affiliate link. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Avocado Lime Ranch Copycat Recipe

I love food. And flavor. And apparently all things processed, because I can’t seem to think of anything not processed that I can eat (right now until this baby comes I’m supposed to be avoiding sugar, and processed food.) I have lost weight without trying, just trying to follow those two rules, and I’m not supposed to be losing weight right now in the last stages of pregnancy, so I knew I needed to up my fat intake. 

Enter avocado.

I was being good and making myself a salad for lunch after church (why do the best food creations for me always come on a Sunday afternoon? Weird.) and started wanting some avocado lime ranch dressing to go over top.
But it’s Sunday.
Chick-Fil-A is closed.

Plus technically their dressing is probably considered processed, but I’d have let myself do it anyway. Because, Avocado Lime Ranch.

So I decided to make my own. Here's what I came up with. It was completely delicious and satisfied my avocado lime ranch craving, and got myself some good probiotics and good fats at the same time. Win-win.

Avocado Lime Ranch

1 avocado
3/4 c. plain greek yogurt
1/2 to 1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp ranch seasoning to taste (I use homemade- from here)
2-4 Tbsp water to texture

Use immersion blender to mix all ingredients together.

That’s it! Easy peasy! You’ll see from my pictures how thick it is. I did not use a ton of water because I wanted mine fairly thick. Just add more water if you want it more “pourable”.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Pulled this from my archive - I wrote it in September 2015 but it never got published. It blessed and challenged me anew today, and I pray that it does you too.

Today I had an almost audible question from God in the Spirit that lives in me.

I felt Him asking "Would you be okay if you never got to be the person to lead someone to the Lord?"
NOT asking if I would never partake in that process; not keeping silent; just being the one who plants the seeds and prays, where someone else may witness the "harvest".

Let me back up a bit. Three times in my life before I saw fruit on something I deeply desired, I had similar conversations with God - Wrestling. Begging and bargaining sometimes.

"Would you be okay if it was just you and Me? If you remained single your whole life, would I be enough?" The same thing before we had our first child, and again with our second. It has not really gotten easier to surrender. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I wanted to be married. I wanted a sweet baby. I wanted a second child - really a whole houseful.

My physical flesh craves these things, and it is no small emotion.

So each time when God asks me if I'll be okay if I never get those, it is difficult.

You can imagine how that question seemed out of the blue today. I believe I was pondering over a recent Bible conference I had the privelege of serving at. Because I was a volunteer, I had to get up and leave before the audience was fully dismissed so I could be at my post when they came out. I have covered this event in much prayer and began to get excited that maybe, just maybe, I would finally be able to walk someone to the Lord.

Not only did this not happen, but I also missed seeing the hundreds of women come forward in the invitation or respond from their seat. I saw none of this.  It was not until two days later when I was listening to my friend, who was also in attendance that day, recount how marvelous an experience it was to witness all those women with their hearts touched, changed, broken, mended. And we got to be a part of that!

But as I thought over this today, I felt disappointed that I wasn't "in on it" so to speak. I didn't help lead those women to the Lord, and didn't even get to witness it from a distance. As I felt disappointed, I felt God asking me that question.

Would I be okay?


This is one I didn't realize was so fully rooted. As of right now I would not be okay. I will be thoroughly disappointed if I get to the end of my life and havaen't gotten to lead someone to Jesus and watch them be redeemed.

Late last year I accepted a challenge to ask a given number of people "Do you know what Jesus has done for you?" and I have not done so well.  So at this question, and my unwillingness to be okay I realized I need to step it up. Not even just for that challenge, but if it means so much to me, I need to act on that. Make it a part of my routine.

Sometimes on my way home I'll see a beggar on the side of the road with a cardboard sign. Typically I have nothing to offer them readily available. Today, however, I had some breakfast bars in the pantry, and as I brushed my hair, I felt God telling me to put them in my purse, along with a little Bible, so that I would be prepared in case I saw someone in need today.

I forgot.

I realized it when I was about half-way to my destination. How had I gotten more wrapped up in my life - little socks and shoes, fresh diapers and blankies that I forgot someone's eternal life?

We are on the heels of Jonah - a new Bible study that I have really had trouble connecting with, that is until it has been finished. Principles we studied and I glossed over have been tugging at my heart this week. Jonah. The one who wanted to pick and choose who he shared God with, and where, and when.

I am that man.

Here is a quote from a recent homework assignment from that Bible study:
"When I'm excited by my own need being met but not nearly as anxious to see God's purposes served, it's apparent I've got some work to do."
-Jonah, Pricilla Shirer

Will I be okay if I don't get to play the role in serving that I'd like? Will I be okay serving and obeying God, and trying and praying and never seeing any results?

Will I obey even if I don't get to pick who I share God with, and where, and when?

Am I okay being disappointed?

Appointed - Psalm 104:19 Watercolor by Nicole Rethmeier. Available on Etsy

I've been marvelling in accounts of appointment, and they seem to be on a God-parade lately! I studied in Psalm 104 (read it!) and how all the creatures and everything in the earth, heaven and space is appointed and brings him glory by fulfilling their purpose - and lately in Jonah, we're highlighting all the divine appointments - the wind, storm, sailors, fish, Ninevites, plant, worm, sun, scorching wind - and yes, Jonah - were all appointed, and filled their mission, and God's plan was carried out.

So disappointment feels like un-appointment, and rejection and that God's will is not carried out. But maybe the dis-appointment is my own appointment being left unfilfilled, so that God's may be. So disappointment need not be disappointment at all, but rather Divine appointments, provided I'm obeying and not running.

Will I be okay?

Will I continue to obey?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hearty Italian Soup Recipe - Easy Gluten Free and Dairy Free!

When my husband and I first got married, I’d cook up something, and he’d ask, “What are we having for supper?”

My answer? Almost always, “Ummm, I don’t know. I made it up.”

See I cook like my dad- you start with a little idea in mind, and some general ingredients and flavors in mind, and just run with it.

My husband was gracious, and answered, “Oh, hmm. Okay. Well, I’ll try it.” A bit skeptical, I could tell, but he was always great about trying not to show it.

Soon, he stopped being skeptical, and just sat down to dinner, and just ate.

Then, before long, we ran into problems. Problems of this sort:

“Hey honey, how about we have that one supper you made, with such-and-such ingredients? That was really good.”

Hm. Well that would be really great if I could remember what I did.

More often than not, when I blog a recipe, it’s for that very purpose- so I can remember what I did.

Today is Sunday, and it’s rainy. So today called for just such a creation.
Also, my youngest is on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet right now, so I had to do something along those lines.

I’m not really a fan of GFDF dishes that include some kind of expensive substitute item (i.e. making the same recipes you made before, only with the ‘dairy-free cheese’ or the gluten free bread/pasta, etc.). It’s costly. I know, because we tried going that route when I was gluten-free and dairy-free (and a whole lot of other things-free) a while back.

This time around I bought a few of those things, but mainly planned to do what we could to just eat around them. There really are a lot of options. Chinese food, for one, (the healthy homemade kind, not the deep-fried kind) is a great option that is naturally dairy-free and gluten free. Mmm chicken, veggies and rice! Our barbeque sauce is gluten free, so we’ve done pulled barbeque sandwiches, and our one-year-old just has it without the bread, which he likely would have anyway.

Today, when I got busy in the kitchen, I knew we didn’t have a lot of time before he’d be tired and need to go down for a nap, so I needed something quick. I was also really wanting soup- because, as I said, it’s Sunday and rainy.

We already had some sausage browned up and in the freezer, so I thawed it out, and put it in the pot first. Then I added some garlic. I love fresh garlic, and have an incredible garlic press, but I rarely use either, simply because I got this fantastic –huge– container of minced garlic at Sam’s Club and it’s lasted me forever and cost about the same amount as the little 4 or 8 oz jar (can’t remember because it’s been so long) we used to get. I’m only about half-way through it, and we use a lot of garlic. Mmm garlic.


So, sausage, garlic. Then I opened one of the jars of stewed tomatoes I canned last year, put it through the food processor till the bits were smaller, but not totally pureed. Then I dumped the whole thing in the pot. I did the same thing with some Swiss chard we had frozen from the garden. Chop to smaller bits, then add to pot. I added a bit more garlic, because it seemed like there wasn’t enough in there. I told you I love garlic.

Then upon checking the Italian seasoning label, it said there might be some wheat in it (because that totally makes sense. Not.) so I decided not to chance it. I then added some thyme, some garden-oregano (which did not have wheat in it. Ha.), basil, parsley, salt and pepper. I also added about 1/2 c. rice and 1 cup of water, popped the lid on and set the timer for 20 minutes (so the rice would be done).

When I checked on it a little later, it seemed to need a bit more broth, so I added a can of tomato sauce, and a touch more water (maybe 1/4 cup?).

And that’s it. My three-year-old (who was asking for purple soup on the way home from church for some reason. “Purple soup is yummy, mom!” “Hm. Okay. How about red soup instead?”) asked me what was for lunch, and he doesn’t do okay with abstract answers, so this soup promptly got a name. “Italian Soup” was born.

Here is the recipe without the commentary. Thanks for joining me!
As always, spices are to taste, as I didn’t exactly measure them to begin with.

Italian Soup
1/2 to 1 lb. Sausage (regular or Italian)
4 C. Stewed tomatoes, lightly pureed.
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1/2 to 1 C. frozen chopped Swiss Chard or Spinach, thawed slightly
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1/2 C. dry white rice
1 C. water (adjust as needed)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Brown sausage in soup pot. Drain excess grease, but don’t drain completely. (We really like Jimmy Dean, because there’s hardly any excess, and I never have to drain it.) Add tomatoes and garlic and bring to low boil.
Once boiling, add remaining ingredients and cover. Cook 20-23 minutes.

Serve with parmesan. (Or don’t, for dairy free)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Christmas Watercolor Giveaway

Hello again!
I am hosting my Christmas Kickoff Sale over at my Etsy shop, with a sale and a giveaway!

You can save $3 on a purchase of $15 or more - which is 20% savings! Yay!
Go to my Etsy shop and use code ChristmasKickoff2015 at checkout.

I'll be giving away this watercolor Christmas print trio - one of my favorites, by the way. It is a $25 value and makes a great gift, especially for the person you don't really know what to buy for them.

Here's how to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Carpe Diem

Carpe diem is a Latin phrase, usually translated "seize the day”. This painting, along with its series, was inspired by a recent loss in our family. We so often forget to slow down and live the today that we are given. To enjoy our loved ones. To sit and savor. To linger a little longer around the table after a meal. To love.

Some of the verses that echoed around my heart in the weeks surrounding our loved one’s death are these, all speaking of the brevity of life. Our life is but a vapor, and we do not know if we will have tomorrow. Let’s enjoy each other while we can. We are only given the gift of right now.

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 1Pe 1:24

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Psa 39:5

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Jas 4:14

The rest of this series employs coffee ring art, because most of the time we linger together, it involves a hot cup of coffee which encourages us to sit and sip, instead of gulp and go.

This particular painting is unique, and dedicated to the memory of my father in law. It features tea rings, because his hot drink of choice was tea. Winter days would often find him with a cup of this or that variation of tea in a mug. His open Bible would likely not be far away.
He will be greatly missed, and we long for Heaven when we will see him again. For we will, with certainty, see him there.

If you would like to learn how you can be forgiven, and have the same certainty of life after death in heaven, please message me and it would be my pleasure to introduce you to Jesus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Faith Spoken Of: Stay

Faith Spoken Of: Stay: It’s hard to fully express what I felt God working in my heart last night when my husband was reading the Jesus Calling Bible Storybook to our kids.

Visit the link to read the full story.
I will likely be adding new devotional-type posts over at Faith Spoken Of, and keeping this blog to more personal/family posts, and of course DIY and recipe posts.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Let There Be Light

The first thing God created was light.

Because light gives life.

Because by light we may see His works.

Even from the beginning of creation, He was revealing Himself to us.

And then He brought another kind of light.

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
Psalm 112:4 NKJV

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5 NIV

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV

They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:5 ESV

And so He bookends His precious words to us.


His desire to reveal Himself to us.

Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:19-20 NIV

And then He becomes not only light to us, but He becomes our fullness. Our sufficiency. That we need no lamp or sun.

God’s very first recorded words were
“Let there be light.”

And there was light.

Gen 1:3

And from the beginning, His powerful words came true.
From the beginning, the whole of creation is influenced by Him. Unchangeably marked.
And without Him, the earth was not formed.

It was a void.

And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:4 NKJV

…The light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Corinthians 4:4b KJV

 Yes it should.

Let there be Light.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Doing Away With Tissues and Using Our Sleeves

We're a cloth diaper family. I don't really do it because I care about the environment, although I agree that is important.
Mainly I'm cheap and hate buying disposable things.

We make our own baby wipes for the same reason. While, yes, they are disposable, they are cheaper, and I know what's in them.

When I can, I make our own spices, as well, such as pumpkin pie spice, ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning mix. Partly for health reasons, but mainly because 1) they taste better, and 2) CHEAP!

I am cheap frugal when I can be. Allergy season had me cringing over the amount of Kleenex boxes we were going through. And sometimes (okay, you have permission to announce "how cheap! those poor kids!") I would let my toddler's nose run just a bit longer before he was old enough to blow his nose, just because I didn't want to waste a whole kleenex if I was just going to wipe it again in another minute and a half. (I know, I know...)

So I got an idea.



Not original with me.

But here's the thing. I don't know how they did it back when Kleenexes weren't a thing, and tissues were... especially with a cold, or allergies. The same ol' hankie all day long??

This is what has stopped me from trying it sooner.

But then somehow I got the idea to use some old t-shirt sleeves we had in the scrap bin. (I think these are left from the t-shirt quilt I have cut out but never sewn together.)

I cut off any seams, since those wouldn't feel good on a sore nose, and cut each sleeve into two pieces. If you want larger, just use the whole thing. I cut out a bunch! I knew we'd need several to keep us stocked while they cycle through the laundry.

I kept an empty tissue box to stuff them into. (Which by now looks a bit too beat up for a blog pic, since my two-year-old found it and decided it was a toy, or something to jump on, or who knows what, so you get a pic of what we're using right now, which is an empty diaper-liner box which is working nicely) Then after a bit of blowing our nose and running to the laundry room to discard the used hanky, I decided we needed a handy place to put them.
Hence, the little blue basket in the pic.

And again, my boy decided this was a toy, and commandeered it, and guests didn't know what they were for either, so I labeled it.
I used just a scrap piece of cardstock and punched holes in it, and tied it with some cute twine left from the goody-bag from my niece's 1st birthday.

And there we go! It's been a pretty easy transition for my family. It has taken a bit longer to get guests to love the idea, so we still have Kleenex boxes around, but we've totally saved money so far!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Toy Spice Container DIY Tutorial

My funny little niece received a beautiful play kitchen from my sister and her hubby this year for Christmas. My sister asked for the other gifts from the family to go with it. Play dishes, food, etc.

In the midst of making dinner (and consequently, a grocery list…) I emptied a few spice containers. Thought about washing them to use for herbs from this year’s garden, and then realized I really have enough. So I thought about tossing them.
And then I remembered Christmas.
I did wash them.
And here’s what else I did with them.

I could’ve left them as-is, and it would have been fine, but I just can’t help myself sometimes. So I got out the construction paper, mod podge, marker, stencil, and a couple other fun things.

I had asked my sister whether her daughter would have fun with little things to shake in the spice containers (I’ll never forget the little toy salt and pepper she and I had growing up- they had little plastic bits you could see shaking around as you “salted” you play-food. It was delightful.), or whether she’d be frustrated at a glued-shut lid. My sister replied that her daughter loves to open things and would probably either get frustrated that it wouldn’t open, or break it open, one of the two.
Since I wanted neither to happen, I came up with a compromise, as you’ll see below.

First, I have a very technical way to measure the paper.

Lay the container next to it, make a little mark where I want to cut. Then roll it around to see how big it should be to go all the way around, and make another mark. Cut accordingly.

Told you it was technical. Ha.

When I had all the papers cut, I wrote on them. I used the Tupperware alphabet stencil I found at a garage sale. It made such adorable letters! I could have freehanded it, but I was happy enough with the stencil that I decided to go the easy route and stencil it.
I went for “Sugar”, “Spice”, and “Everything Nice”… because that’s what little girls are made of.

Not that she’ll be cooking up little girls any time soon…

I hope.

For the pepper container, since it wasn’t round, I looked at the faint folds in the paper from when I wrapped it around to see where I ought to write the words. And I wrote it on both sides. You can do yours however.

I mod-podged them on (See my newsprint tray tutorial for tips on mod podge if you’ve never done it before, so you don’t end up with wrinkly labels on your play-kitchen spices.) and then added some little paper-punch stars. I used a scrapbooking star punch, and punched various colors. I even used the construction paper packaging from the store (The one that is on the top, like the label for the pack of paper. “250 sheets! 8 colors!” or whatever… Yep I saved that.) to punch stars with. It made some of them have a fun color pattern. (I must not have gotten any pictures of that part.)

I modpodged the stars on as I did my second coat of mod podge. By the time I got to the fourth spice thing, the first was dry enough for me to add a third coat. I have no idea if it really needed that much mod-podge but I thought more is probably better when it’s going to be a toddler toy. More durable that way.

So about the shaking/opening dilemma. I really really wanted to put something in there to shake around, but wanted to honor my sisters request to just leave them all openable. Here’s my compromise.

The two “Spice” containers and the “Pepper” container I left openable and empty. They weren’t really see-through enough to warrant shaky little pieces inside anyway.

But the more clear one (from parsley or something?) also had the two-way lid (pour and shake) so the lid opened with a flip top, instead of just the screw-off. With me so far? After punching a decent amount of fun-foam confetti and putting it inside (actually I gave up on using the hole-punch and just cut little tiny pieces with scissors. It was faster)  I cut a circle in the fun-foam the same size as the lid and superglued it inside. Then I superglued the lid onto the container over that. So you can still open the shaker, but no pieces come out.

And that’s all I did! You can go easier or more complicated- totally up to you. You could do more writing on it, or cut out some pictures from magazines to mod-podge on there, or whatever!
I’d love to see pics or hear your ideas of what you did.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What I’m collecting this year

For the last few years I’ve tried to pick a word for the New Year in lieu of making any resolutions. The idea is to be able to focus on forming new habits or traits and not being overwhelmed with a list of hard-to-achieve goals. I’m all for goals, don’t get me wrong, but finding a single word to work toward makes it a lot easier to focus.

Here’s the way puts it:
The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.
 This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.”

In the fall, through some excellent studies I’d been participating in, one theme kept sticking out to me in the verses I would read.
Wait on the Lord.

But my soul kept asking me, ‘what does that really even mean?’

So my word this year is wait.

And it will become a matter of deeper study and reflection for me as I discover what God meant when He tells us, yes, urges us, to wait on Him.

From time to time you’ll see a post here delving into some of those reflections and discoveries- like today! What better way to start the new year than to be in God’s word?

Today, as often happens, I went on a daisy-chain search through the Bible, finding what I wasn’t really looking for. I was looking up the cross-reference listed in my Bible to one of the Jesus Calling daily devotional verses for today. (I highly recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, by the way! You'll probably see me reference it a lot in times to come.) When I arrived at the cross-reference verse, I started looking at all the verses on that two-page-spread that I’d marked or underlined. And that’s when I landed on this verse:

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27:14 NKJV

 And I cried. God does know His children.

He knows me.

I decided to look up the word wait in Strong's and was very blessed. I think you will be too.

To wait, look for, expect
Waiting (participle)
To linger for
To collect

What if I linger a little longer, and my collections were God – could I gain more enjoyment from collecting God than any other thing collected?

I linger at the window when my husband goes to work.
I linger a little longer in the coffee aisle at the grocery store than the other aisles.
I linger at the doorway when I lay my sleeping sons in their beds.
I linger to witness the sunset, sunrise, clear stars or breathtaking sky.

Would I linger at God’s word and allow Him to offer me strength in return? Will I linger in prayer a little longer instead of becoming distracted with my to do list for the day? Would I linger in an attitude of worship before moving on to the next thing?

And what if God was my favorite collection?
And why do we collect things in the first place?

Because we really like them.
Because we can’t get enough.
Because looking at them makes us happy.
Because we like finding them at all the places we visit.
Because there are so many varieties and we just love all the different kinds.

And aren’t these all great reasons to collect God?

Let’s develop insatiable appetites for Him! Let’s take joy at looking at our collection. Let’s look for Him everywhere we visit. Let’s be in awe at all the different marvelous facets of Him.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for anything you order through them, but the price will be the same for you either way. Thank you for helping to support this blog!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forty-Five | And a Giveaway

45. That’s the speed limit on a particular road near my house. Has been 45 for as long as I can remember. There’s not much on that road- no businesses really, no houses. It’s just a road from here to there.

But for some reason I have trouble going past 30 on that road.

I don’t know why. I’m not a speed demon by any means. Kindof a self-proclaimed granny driver normally. But typically I try to drive at *just* the speed limit. If there’s a place I feel wont to speed, I put it on cruise control so that I don’t accidentally do so.

Rules are nice. So are speed limits.

So why on that particular road do I always have trouble?

I don’t have an insightful answer for you, but it does provide a great illustration for a bit of soul searching I’ve been doing as a result of our recent Bible study at church (Beth Moore’s Breaking Free).

There are some areas that for one reason or another, I refuse to let go, and be free in God. I am held back. And it’s not pretty. It’s frustrating for everyone around me. And my Authority is telling me, “You can go faster… It’s okay. You’ll reach your goal sooner.”

But there are areas where I have allowed my pain to define me, and my fear to keep me back. And it has made me slow in growing, slow in my faith growing and altogether captive. But just in those areas. I have not been held back completely; in other areas I’ve grown and matured, even felt like ‘speeding’ (to stay with my illustration).

It is possible to have split captivity and freedom.

But I desire to just floor it and go! Just throw the top down, crank up the worship music and just thrive in Jesus!

Jesus, help me. It’s 45! This vehicle was made to go faster than I’m letting it. Anyone in the car with me – my kids or my husband, or friends and family – are also held back when they’re on the ride with me.

Not only do I hold up others, and take longer to reach my destination than I ought to have, and frustrate those around me, but I’m wasting precious time! Remember I said there’s nothing on that road. It’s just a journey. So then opportunities could be lost for my wasting the allotted minutes of my life on dawdling. On fear, or bondage of any kind. It is such a waste of my life to stay in it.

Let’s go! It’s 45.
I have reached a measure of healing. I am by no means where I ought to be, but definitely farther than I was.

That’s all I have to say. Nothing terribly profound- just thoughts. If any of this resonates with you, though, I would strongly urge you to read the book or participate in the study or both.

Also- I want to let you know about a giveaway I am blessed to sponsor! It is over at Created to Glorify and there’s only a few days left to enter. Here’s the link:

It features words from one of the memory verses from Breaking Free, Isaiah 61:3, with which I’ll close.

“…and provide for those who grieve in Zion
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”

Isaiah 61:3 NIV