Monday, January 31, 2011

Are You an Ass?



The Ass and His Driver (Aesop’s Fables)

                AN ASS, being driven along a high road, suddenly started off and
bolted to the brink of a deep ravine.  While he was in the act
of throwing himself over, his owner seized him by the tail,
endeavoring to pull him back.  When the Ass persisted in his
effort, the man let him go and said, "Conquer, but conquer to
your cost."

A willful beast must go his own way

I love to read my kids stories and Aesop’s Fables is one of my favorites. As I read this story today, I had to chuckle as I was reminded of how so many times in my life, I was this ass (donkey) or literally the other ass in life- just saying!-lol.  So many times God was that driver trying so hard to get me to obey and not run zealously ahead of Him, but because I was that stubborn ass, I toppled over my pride.  However, unlike this ass in the story, I have a driver who is always willing to save me from my falls.  His mercies are made new to me every day! 

Are you like this ass in any area in your life where you have allowed your pride and stubbornness to get in the way?  Are you zealously running ahead with your own will leading the way instead of allowing your driver to graciously steer you in the right direction.  If so, take heed of the pull being given to you to slow down and allow your driver to lead the way.  Don't be an ass today- allow yourself to be driven by truth and God's will for your life!

Winter Weather Spiritual Advisory



There’s an old saying that says, “You can take the girl out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the girl.” This remains to be true for me, an  Asian Georgia Peach! Since living in Kansas , I’ve had to get use to the snow. Honestly, I don’t like it and I would much rather be beat down with heat and humidity then be housebound by cold temperatures and shoveling snow for days. Of course, I say that now but I am sure when the high temperatures hit again, I will be singing another tune.  I am SO human!
            Last night after seeing the winter weather advisory for our area, I did what any typical ignorant Southerner would do when it comes to preparing for snow-I ran to Walmart for supplies! Yep, there I was just past 10p.m. with a cart full of groceries wandering the aisles like some crazed man woman. I was not about to be un-prepared. Then I did what any wise wife would do, I had my hubby bring in all of the groceries in that bitter cold when I got home. Hey, I am no idiot!
            This morning when I was reading I came across this scripture and I had to laugh to myself as the Lord reminded me of His provision constantly -even in the cold snowy winter months. Proverbs 31:21 says, “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”  Okay, Lord , I get it! You see no matter what circumstances we have in the everyday of our lives, either storms of life or even weather storms; God is always there providing us shelter and  provision within them.  I am thankful as I am reminded of this simple but powerful truth. Yes, Walmart has its place in my life, but it is God Almighty who is my true refuge from the storms.  This all comes at perfect timing as I know I will probably be facing more days at home with housebound kids that will be testing my patience. Hopefully, their scarlet will be worn too, Godly behavior, peace and joy! One can only hope.
            What things do you fear ? What provision do you need in the storms you are facing?  Do you need to be reminded that you are clothed in scarlet today?  God’s love and His promises cover you?  As the snow approaches, I pray that you will be encouraged as you watch it fall with hope and let it be a reminder as it blankets the ground with pure white that you too are covered with peace that surpasses all things!  Have a blessed and warm Monday!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Favorite- Chicken Marsala !!!!

Everyone has a favorite comfort food and Chicken Marsala is mine! I love the richness of the sweet and savory sauce that nestles the delicious  mushrooms and tender chicken to perfection. Along side it, I make garlic mash potatoes and roasted asparagus. This dish has also become one of my hubby's favorites and hopefully it will become one of yours too!:)- Enjoy!

 Tyler Florence's Chicken Marsala

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces crimini or porcini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
  • 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.
Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don't fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.
Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spiritual Burn



This isn’t your typical editorial on health fitness and learning how to burn more fat.  I’ve read enough of those articles to ignite a bonfire that would warm a whole city for a year.  Like most women, I am interested in improving myself daily as I get older.  Physical exercise has its benefits but I believe spiritual exercise is the most important.You can improve what's on the outside all you want but if you don't strengthen your inner beauty then it is pointless. Eternal beauty is lasting and physical beauty is fleeting.
            Today, my usual monthly subscription of Fitness magazine arrived in the mail.  As usual, it got thrown aside on the kitchen counter with letters, bills, and tonight’s taco dinner. Normally, I do most of my casual reading in the evening when I don’t have kids competing for my attention. So, I figured I would muddle over the guilt filled articles of how I should sculpt my muscles and eat better over a warm cup of coffee with an extra shot of caramel. I figured I needed the extra sugar to keep me awake as I read about exhausting calorie burning-just saying!
            As I was reading, I thought of how I wish I could read more articles like, “How to sculpt spiritual muscles to burn more lies from Satan.” Now that’s what I am talking about!   So, I put my thought into action.  So here are just a few tidbits to help move you on your way to a healthier happier spiritual you!  Hopefully, it will help you become that lean mean Satan fighting Machine!
                   Tip #1- Make a decision to be spiritually minded. It’s just like when you are dieting, you should be mindfully aware of the foods you eat.   Remember you have an enemy out there that wants to steal, kill and destroy your peace and prosperity daily. The Word of God tells us to walk in spirit and in truth ( Mark 4:24). We must remember that God is spirit and we are made in His image so we must battle with the truth- God’s Word. Be aware of the thoughts you have throughout the day. Are they tempting thoughts that bring you strife, depression, shame or guilt? Or are they thoughts that help sustain your appetite for a happy healthy day in Christ?
#2 Incline Mind Press- Target your weak areas with scriptures that will help you strengthen your weak areas. At a physical gym, you would target those areas of flab that needed it the most, first, right?  For example, if you have anger or forgiveness issues, then look up scriptures to memorize about what God says about anger and forgiveness.  Write them down on index cards, recite them daily and incline your mind towards them when you are struggling with the weight of your weakness. Hold those thoughts captive to Christ so you aren’t tempted to indulge in lies that  sabotage your mind health.
#3- Assisted Friend Machine- Use a friend to help encourage and strengthen you in your walk.  Accountability is key when exercising because it keeps you on track so that you can reach your goals to improving your mind to fight those lies you have consumed all these years. Share goals and strategies with one another. Pray with each other. A friend is one of the greatest assets you can have.
#4-Stability Class- Sign up for classes that will challenge you spiritually. It can be at a church or just with friends over coffee doing a simple bible study.  It helps being around other motivated people with like-minded spiritual goals. Seek out spiritually strong people who have been able to be successful in the areas of spiritual warfare and victory in Christ.
#4- Wear the Proper Gear- Ephesians 6: 10-18 tells us to put on the full Armor of God so that we can fight Satan daily. Again, in order to get the most out of your spiritual exercise you must be wearing the right equipment to help assist you.  Do you need to put on some more truth to help conqueror your fear of becoming spiritual unattractive? Is your exercise  attire outdated and you need to purchase some that help shape and  properly fit you better- just asking?

#5- Be Committed -  Zig Ziglar  said, “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”

 

 Without commitment you lack the necessary mindset to accomplish your goals and without Christ you can’t win the battle for your spiritual health. What spiritual health choices do you need to change and what spiritual gym membership works best for you?

 


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Did Someone Say, "New?"



I love new things.  I don’t know what it is about something new that really gets me excited but it does.   For instance, new clothes, just thinking about getting a new outfit makes me giddy like a school girl with a crush on a boy. They are bright and fresh, wrinkle and stain free-just like I love them!  I also like a new car. Nothing beats the smell of a clean fresh new car!  Of course, with 4 kids it doesn’t stay new long. I love new furniture-just ask my husband. I hate to admit this but I look for new furniture about every 3-4 years. I know that is awful, right? But with being in the Army, new furniture helps me cope sometimes with all the moves-lol!  I even love to move my furniture around for a new layout every few months or so.  This definitely drives hubby bonkers!  What about new babies?  Oh, my goodness, the smell of heaven wrapped up into 6-8 pounds of pure love! It doesn’t get better than that!  I love a new house, the New Year, new friends -the list goes on and on.
            I have always clung to the verse 2 Corinthians 5:17, ”If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.”  When I was adopted I had to learn to get use to a new family, a new house, new food and a new country and way of doing things. Who knows, maybe this was the beginning of my new fetish.   Not sure, but the thought that God makes all things new is beautiful concept to me.  It's not about the materialistic aspect as much as the prophetic symbolism it holds to me.  Especially, when I have days that I could use a new chance to make up for my mistakes; or when I need some new thoughts to ponder on because my old ones have just held me back.  God is always offering me new things in the spirit daily!  It’s mine for the taking. It is like going shopping all the time for the new things for free.  It doesn’t cost me a thing to receive the new life He has bought for me.
            What new things could you use in your life today?  Could you use some re-newed hope for a broken or strained relationship? Could you use new fresh vision for your life because you are tired of the old way of seeing things? What about a new body to go along with that new mindset? New attitude? Wouldn’t it be nice to have some new truths to live by because of the old lies have kept us back from prospering?  What about new habits? By now you get my point about the hope of Christ and being made new daily.  You have not because you ask not.  Ask God what new thing HE would like to do in you this season? Make a new commitment to Him today to receive it and walk in it.
Have a blessed Thursday- Stay the course!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where is your Boat?... Faith vs Fear



                Recently, I’ve been pondering on making a decision that will affect my life because it will mean more responsibility, more time, and more energy(ugh!).  Bottom line- sacrifice! At the same time, in the back of my mind I feel led to take on this  position because I feel it’s something the Lord is requiring of me.  I try to make it a point not to allow my emotions or flesh to get in the way of obedience (easier said than done). Because I’ve slowly learned that obedience requires a sacrifice but the pay off it always worth it in the end.  God will always require sacrifice because it's about becoming less of us and more of Him!  But there are times when I allow my emotions of fear, anxiety and worry begin to sneak in and begin to doubt if I can really do this difficult task in front of me.  In other words, I look at the impossible (me) instead of the possible (God.)
                As Military wives, we too are faced with times like these in the form of deployments.  We know this is something that God is calling us to do but we also know that it requires MORE of us(ugh)!  It means that we will have to take on more responsibility which requires more energy and time. Bottom line-sacrifice!  In the month before a deployment or even in the days of, we might look at our circumstances as overwhelming and have no idea of how we will be able to do it.  The dishes are piling up, the kids are misbehaving, homework has to be done, laundry is calling and dinner still has to be cooked! How will we get it done?
                In these times, I’m often reminded of Jesus in the boat with his disciples in a storm(Luke 8:22-25).  He is relaxed and sleeping and they are all frantic and fearful.  When they scream out to Him, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Or for us, it might sound like, "Oh God, where is my Calgon moment-please take this away!" He simply replies, “Where is your faith?”
                How are you like those disciples in the midst of your everyday or during a deployment when the world around you is chaotic and overwhelming? Do you feel like you can’t make it? Are you perishing emotionally and spiritually? Today, where is your boat headed? Where is your faith?  Call to your Master and take faith because He will calm the raging storm in of doubt and fear.  When we see the impossible, He is the possible!

Monday, January 24, 2011

No Fear of Bees! (Fear is part of success)



                               
                       Shakespeare said, “He is not worthy of the honeycomb that shuns the hive because the bees have stings.”  Fear is part of success.  However, you don’t have to let it control you.  I remember the first time I spoke in front of a group of Christian ladies, I was terrified! My hands began to sweat, my voice crackled and I was terrified of looking and sounding stupid. I had no clue of what I was doing.  I was asked by a friend to simply give some encouragement to some ladies and because that was important to me, I was going to have to conquer my fear of public speaking.  I did what anybody else in my shoes would have done and I shortened my speech and got out of there! (LOL) 
                                Seriously, my point is  I tried and I did my best. I looked fear in the face and I slapped it! I made the decision to overcome my flesh and instead acted in faith.  It turns out that the ladies actually laughed and enjoyed my less than 15 minute speech.  I learned something about myself that day that I never knew before; I was actually talented at speaking.  Who knew?  The only speeches I ever gave before then were to my poor family when I was lecturing them about life.  I had no clue!  Had I not taken that chance, I would not be the woman I am today, a Christian Speaker and writer passionate about God’s love!   Since then, I have spoken at several Christian organizations across the United States.   Fear would no longer be a factor for me.  Had I not decided to overcome it, I would’ve never have experienced the success I did that day. Success comes in small steps that begin with making a decision to take one!  A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.  When you have God leading your steps, there is nothing to fear because He is there holding your hand and cheering you on!
                                It’s been almost 8 years since that day and speaking comes as natural to me as sleeping and eating.  I love it!  It has become part of my ministry and call in life.  What fears are holding you back today?  How can you take some small steps in overcoming them?  Move past fear and into the arena of success.  What are you willing to do to get the honey without being stung?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kimchi’s Thai-Like Pizza (SO- simple , even a cave man can do it!)

  I love to cook! Most people who know me know that I love to throw down in the kitchen. After spending a recent birthday with my son at the California pizza kitchen and spending waaaay too much money on this pizza, I knew I could go home and make it better and cheaper. SO, here it is- Kimchi Style! Hope you enjoy it with some family and friends:) Happy Eating!!



Ingredients
-¼ cup of House of Thai’s Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce or any Chinese Peanut sauce
-1 pre-made pizza crust
-2-3 Chopped green onion
-2-3 Tbspns of Cilantro
-1  seasoned cooked chicken breast( salt and pepper)
-1/2 cup of fresh bean sprouts
-1/4 cup of peanuts or cashews
-1/4 cup of thinly sliced carrots
-1/4 cup of thin raw white onion
½ cup of mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees . Place peanut sauce, white onions, cooked chicken ,carrots and cheese on uncooked pizza crust.  Cook for 10-15 minutes- remove from oven, then add remaining ingredients ( Cilantro, peanuts, and green onion)
Enjoy!:)

FAB Life- Army Wife!: Simple is as Simple Does....

FAB Life- Army Wife!: Simple is as Simple Does....: "I love the simple life! However, I wasn’t always like this. I sought after the world for most ..."

Simple is as Simple Does....



I love the simple life! However, I wasn’t always like this.  I sought after the world for most of my happiness by desiring the latest fashions and finest things in my home.  I simply wanted more and more  but the more I got, the more I was left  still feeling empty inside.   My happiness had turned to things and when that didn’t fulfill me, I turned to people and so the cycle continued. Trust me, people couldn’t define my need to be fulfilled either.  It truly was a sad place to be and I made my life more complicated for myself without even realizing it.  I had debt and I had broken relationships.  Life was definitely not simple or fulfilling back then.
                Today, in my quiet time I read in 2 Corinthians 3:18,” We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being  transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”  I smiled as I read this because it reminded me of how much God has literally transformed me from a life of emptiness and stress to a life where I simply enjoy it!
                The word behold in this verse in the Greek is katoptrizomai  which means, “to see, behold, contemplate or reflect.”  And the word transformed in the Greek is metamorphoomai, which looks much like the word metamorphosis.   In Romans 12:2 we’re told we should not to conform to this world but rather be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  I was literally changed from one degree of glory to another by the Holy Spirit and I will never be the same again!
                My life these days is simple.  I have come to love basic living in all forms.  I enjoy savoring small conversations with my friends while wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. I no longer feel the need to be wearing the best.  My home doesn’t have to be perfect or have the latest Pier One items displayed.  Instead, I long for basic treasures that come in the form of enjoying each moment I have without all the fluff.  The treasures I desire now is my God, my family, and even myself. 
                As you go through your day, I pray  that you too will enjoy the simple life that is offered to you in the everyday -with beautiful sunsets, smiling faces , hot cups of coffee(had to throw this one in there), warm socks, lush green grass and great conversations with loved ones.
                The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.”  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hugs and Kisses


              
  As  I woke up this morning and made my way into the kitchen for  some much needed coffee, my  four year old son  ran  towards me  and greeted me with an enormous hug and kiss! It almost knocked me down as he flung his little arms around my legs and puckered his sweet lips . I just loved that moment, it was priceless; and it immediately filled my spirit!
I don’t get greetings like that every day from my kids.  Don’t get me wrong they are affectionate but my greeting this morning was impactful and made my morning.  Why did this greeting touch my heart so much? Maybe it was because it made me feel special, needed and appreciated.  I pondered it as I drank my coffee and read.  Immediately, I thought of how in each chapter of the bible it starts out with a greeting from the author, “Greetings from and peace be with you,” or something to that point.  It reminded me of 2 Corinthians 13:12, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” 
God knew that holy kisses and special greetings make a difference.  God wants to greet us every morning with a special display of His love for us too. But more importantly, He wants us to greet Him with the same adoration and love!  Do I always go running to my Lord in the morning with a Holy kiss?  Sure, I love to dive into His Word and love on Him throughout my day, but do I have the same passionate, loving and spectacular response as my son did towards me today?  I want to, but I am sure that I miss it on some days.  Why?  However, the good news is  that no matter what  greeting  I make towards God , He is faithful to greet me daily with His insatiable love towards me, but am I always willing to receive it or better yet; make time and acknowledge it?  We are always on our Heavenly Father’s  heart and He can’t wait for us to get up so He can pour down that love in ways that move us to go around and kiss everyone we meet.  Now that is love, are we willing to pass it on?
Do you give Holy kisses to God each morning? Do you greet others with love and honor, sharing a little bit of God’s love with them? If not, then begin to start your day greeting God with Holy affection and watch the love flow.  Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Truth is Heavy..( Teaching Kids Honesty)




Truth is heavy; therefore few care to carry it.  Isn’t this statement about honesty, true?  I am a mother of four children and teaching them to be people of truth is no easy undertaking. Especially, when we live in a world where honesty and telling the truth is not as desirable as having the latest I-pod touch or wearing the most fashionable pair of jeans on the market. Why do I say that? Well, you just have to look at our world today and see the evidence. We live in a world of materialism and status. Virtues like honesty are not the top 10 goals kids have today.  In fact, being honest might make them uncool, kind of like being the smartest kid in the class. Who needs that reputation when their idols are superstars that reel and deal in a world of corruption? Isn’t that stuff more fun?  There are TV shows, movies and books that exploit being secretive as being cool. Also, our Government Leaders fail to be the example when they hide their mistakes behind their powerful positions. How is it possible to teach our kids about the virtue of honesty when the examples they have before them are not positive?
This is the dilemma that we face as parents today.  As for me and my house, we shall choose to teach our kids that telling the truth is a noble character to have.  Yes, it has its responsibilities but in the end, the benefits are far greater.  How do you teach truth to your children?  Here are a couple of things that we try and do:  Be an example of truth.  Let your kids see you speaking the truth to others and mostly to them.  Children are smart and they watch and hear all that we do.  Don’t lie about things.  Don’t hide your mistakes, but rather confess them and allow your kids to see that you are human too.   Another way of encouraging the truth is to not overreact when your child lies to you.  Instead, be gracious and forgiving and help them find a better way to tell the truth without feeling they have to hide something.  Most people lie due to fear or shame.  We need to teach that telling the truth is one of the most powerful principles they can live by. 
            These are just a couple of ways we can help encourage and develop our children with a virtue that will help them be successful in life.  They need to understand that being honest is the right thing to do and God blesses honesty.  The Message Bible says in Isaiah 59:14 ,“Justice is beaten back, Righteousness is banished to the sidelines, Truth staggers down the street, Honesty is nowhere to be found. “  Yikes, this is our world today! My hope is that my children will be the ones to bring back justice, righteousness and truth to this nation, but it starts with us believing those values are worth pursuing. There is an old saying that says, “Home is where the heart is.” However, maybe it should also read, “Home is where truth starts!” How are you teaching your kids to be honest? Are you being the best example of honesty? Please share with me some thoughts or ways in how you teach your kids about being honest and how you deal with lies.  Have a great Thursday!