Thursday, November 20, 2014

Random Thoughts for 11/20/14


I have a dream. I’m sure you do, too.
It’s a hope and a wish, really. Something to strive for. A great big sparkly desire held tight in my heart of hearts.
I see glimpses of what the dream will look like when it’s finally realized...when I’m standing there in the big middle of it smiling and breathing deep. 
But like anything else in life worth waiting for, the biggest, grandest of dreams seem to take the most time. The most sleepless nights. The most prayer.
It takes a precise measuring out of ingredients. Mixing in a little of this and a lot of that. And then the wait.
Oh, the process!
And all the while, I’m being “processed,” too. It’s an ugly battle of releasing my impatience, worry and anxiety from tightly-clenched fists and handing it over to the Giver of dreams. Trusting Him. Growing faith in Him. Following Him. Allowing Him to work the dream at His pace...not mine.
And in all that waiting and hoping and trusting, I’ve realized that I’m only supposed to see the glimpses. For now, I’m to only hear the rustling of angel’s wings. For now, I’m to only catch its slight, sweet fragrance on a passing breeze.
For now....
I press on(A) toward the goal to win the prize(B) for which God has called(C) me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14) NIV

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I'm beyond blessed to live so close to where I work. Each day I leave the church office and drive around the corner to my house for lunch.
Today it was bacon and eggs. Nothing else sounded good, as it's been one of those cloudy, cooler, come-on-and-rain-already, I-even-wore-a-turtleneck kind of days.
Bacon and eggs isn't a quick, "gotta get back to work" kind of meal. It's comfort food plain and simple. The kind that lets you know you're "home," settled. Ready to hang out and relax awhile.
It's funny how just a few minutes of the true comfort of "home" can recharge me for the rest of the day...much like spending a precious few minutes in God's Word and in His presence through prayer recharges my soul. His Word brings peace and joy to the very heart of me.
Whatever struggles or challenges, whatever weight is pressing in on me, spending just a few minutes with my Jesus resets and recharges my spirit. With Him, I know I'm "home" and in that safe place.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, 
equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)


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Oh, and THIS happened again. My son, now a whopping 22 years old and just under 6 feet tall...well, you can read all about it Here





Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me share my random thoughts with you.
Wishing you many blessings today and always,
Debbie


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Stuff of Life


I remember how much I used to love the swings at the playground when I was young. I’d swing higher and higher and then jump/fly off to see how far away I could land.
And then there was the merry-go-round. My playground friends and I would pile on to see just how fast we could spin before one of us either got sick or until we’d had enough of the bouncing, the spinning and the squeak of rusty metal. We’d then drag our feet on the ground to slow it down before jumping off dizzy and giggling.
Life, for me, lately has been that merry-go-round (hence the inconsistent blog posts).  One thing cascades into another and then another and sometimes I just want to stop the spinning and jump off the ride.


It’s a busy time, and in the midst of the chaos, my house is suffering from a sort of identity crisis. It’s decorated half-way between fall and Christmas. I’m doing a little bit here and there and the tree is going up this weekend.



















And then there’s the magazine. All SORTS of to-dos associated with this right now.











Oh yeah…and we’re remodeling 2 bathrooms at the same time. So, right now, we’re 4 people under 1 roof sharing ONE bathroom. Upstairs, there’s an almost-done bathroom where we can actually shower and even flush the toilet! (Don't you go gettin' jealous now, LOL). The main one downstairs, sadly…well, you know.
And then during the day, I’m here at the church office pushing papers around, typing away at my computer, answering phones and offering a prayer or a listening ear for those who need it.











After that, I’m back at home cooking, cleaning, picking up dog hair, doing laundry…the usual…












all for these precious people.











And in between the busy and the running and the spinning…God offers little glimpses, little reminders to carve out little moments in the day to be still and quiet. To simply breathe. Reminders to inhale His peace and His joy and exhale ALL the rest. 
(Taken this morning - zoomed in from my not-so-clean kitchen window.)
This life is a gift. His design. We take each day, each moment as He prescribes. 
We go about our days breathless and harried. 
Always the clock.
Always pressed between the minutes.
And the merry-go-round keeps spinning.
Take time to be still. To be quiet. To simply breathe.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, 
but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:17)




Thursday, October 9, 2014

Eager to Be Heard


I wish I was better with bird names.
I wish I could just hear their sweet song coming from high up in a tree somewhere and announce with great confidence, “Oh, that’s a red-winged something-something.”
Sadly…I cannot.
Like a couple of days ago – I happened to glance up from the kitchen sink to see what looked like someone's run-away canary sipping from my patio fountain. I just stopped and stared not wanting to scare it away. It stared back at me through my dirty window, (water spotted from my doves who splash around in their water dish) bright yellow and alert waiting for my next move. It quickly fluttered away toward the pepper trees and I returned to filling the dishwasher.
Minutes later, the little darling started in with such a beautiful call. Such a sweet song from such a tiny creature eager to be heard.
Hmmm…aren’t we all eager to be heard?

It seems the enemy’s running at full speed through our world today
trying to silence the voice of the believer.
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, (Psalm 107:2)
2 Corinthians 5:20 says we are ambassadors for Christ. We’re to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). The gospel is to be published among all nations (Mark 13:10).
How can we NOT share His amazing work in our lives???
I just want to encourage you, friend…Share. Your. Story. Share what the Lord has done for you. Share how He’s pulled you through. Share who you were then and who you are now and let the world know that it’s all because of Jesus.
Write it. Speak it. Sing it. Share it. Talk it up and never let the story wane because it hasn’t ended yet. Your story isn’t over. If you’re still here, He’s STILL working! There’s more to be done. There’s someone who still needs to hear about Him through you! Someone out there is hungry for the joy and the peace and the power of our one true living God.
Let your story sing bigger and louder than those trying to silence it. 
Oh, dear friend...your heart beats because of the Lord. 
If it beats for the Lord…let the world know it.





Monday, September 29, 2014

Amazing Salmon Bisque



So, I brought out my boots and socks today and tossed the flip-flops aside. Just a little sign that I’m officially ready for fall (even though we’re expecting hot, dry Santa Ana winds down in our area later this week…grumble and growl). I love all things autumn, but it looks like I'll have to wait a few more days.

I also especially love Mondays; it’s my errand day. Grocery shopping day. My pay the bills day. Buy massive quantities of bird seed day. AND…it’s also cook and bake and don’t be afraid to try new recipes day J And today was no exception.

I noticed a box of seafood stock in my pantry this morning so the wheels started turning. I threw this together today after all the groceries were put away (after I’d made the recipe in my head about 14 times, LOL) and I’m happy to share it with you. My measurements aren’t exact – you’ll have to be the judge, depending on how large your fillets are.


What you’ll need:
3-4 small to medium Salmon fillets (Not whole fillets - I just used packaged, frozen fillets)
1 shallot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced small
½ red bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. flour
26 oz. seafood stock
2 c. white wine
1 c. heavy cream
¾ of small container sour cream
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
Seafood seasoning (I used Old Bay)
Olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Pour a Tbsp. or so of olive oil in a large pot (with a lid). Cook salmon fillets, both sides. Season with your favorite seafood seasoning. Once cooked, removed from pot and set aside.
In same pot, scrape up little bits of salmon from bottom. Add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and a pat of butter. Sautee shallots, bell better and celery until translucent. Add a little salt and pepper while cooking. Add minced garlic and cook another minute or so, but don’t let garlic brown.
Add white wine. Bring to a slow boil and cook until liquid reduces by about half (about 7-8 minutes).
Reduce heat and sprinkle flour over mixture. Cook a few minutes to thicken (I use a whisk to mix it in well). Add tomato paste, rosemary and red pepper flakes and mix.
Whisk in seafood stock and bring back to a boil. Add heavy cream and sour cream. Mix well.
Break salmon into pieces and add to the pot.
I used an emulsion blender to blend it all together and thicken it.
Add Italian parsley.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

He Who Set the Stars in Place

It was early, but not too early for an ohmygosh moment.

This morning, just after 6am, I stepped outside with Willy, my recovering-from-surgery dog. (He’s such a sweetie). Anyway, once he’d finished what he went out there for, I happened to look up….a deep sigh for the day(s) ahead and an unpleasant, impending event.

And there it was.

In a clear, midnight-blue sky…before sunlight, before the rush of the day…a single star burning bright as anything and refusing to give up its light.

A burning reminder that the One who set that particular star in place so long ago and then held it there, suspended by the very breath of Him even to this day, so high up yet so seemingly close I could almost reach out and touch it…fashioned my heart with the same hands. From something so magnificent for all the world to see clear down to something so minute and small as MY heart, MY life, MY cares and concerns. He – the God of wonders - created it all.

Instead of feeling really small compared to the star, I suddenly felt just as big and just as important standing there with my sweet dog on a leash in the clear, cool of a fresh new morning.

And I wanted to shout right there next to the chicken coop in my pajamas and morning hair, “That’s MY God! That’s what MY God can do!” He alone takes us low and small and broken and holds us up as His dearly loved children and makes us new and promises unconditional love and redemption and grace and salvation and space reserved just for us in His house with many rooms (John 14:2) and He makes us shine like those stars for Him!

He alone makes all things new.

It’s never too early…nor too late…for an ohmygosh moment.


Sometimes, we simply have to look up.

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.
(Psalm 40:5)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcome the Scent of Fall

The past couple of weeks have been exhausting. It seems I’m never completely “done” checking off all the boxes when I finally fall into bed at night. Yesterday was no exception.

I’d spent the day running errands, cleaning, shopping, laundry…the usual Saturday stuff. I must have passed by the bunch of over-ripe bananas sitting in the basket 100 times thinking, “I really need to make some banana bread,” until finally last night…after dinner and after dishes and after dogs were fed and all was taken care of…the exhaustion of these past weeks sort of melted away when the heavenly aroma of banana nut bread filled the house.

I was given this recipe several years ago by another mom when our girls were in pre-school together, and I’ve used it ever since (and our girls are still best of friends). It’s a simple and basic recipe and will definitely bring glorious fall into your home.

What you’ll need:
¾ c. sugar                                          5 Tbsp. stick margarine
2 eggs                                                1/3 c. water
3-4 medium ripe bananas, mashed  1 tsp. baking soda 
1 2/3 c. flour                                       ¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt                                           ½ c. chopped nuts
2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 8” round baking pan (I made 8 mini loaves and had enough left over to fill a small square pan for the loaf pictured). Mix sugar and margarine. Stir in eggs until blended. Add bananas and water, beat 30 seconds. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts just until moistened; stir in nuts. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (about 20 minutes for the mini loaves; 45 minutes for the larger pan size). Cool 5 minutes before slicing. Freezes well! Enjoy!!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lessons Learned from a Mini-Dachshund

I never realized I could learn so much from my mini-dachshund.
Willy had surgery recently to repair a ruptured disc in his back. He was in agony and paralyzed in his hind quarters.
Despite the vet’s cautious optimism and the raised eyebrows of the many nurses who treated him, Willy is proving that through his determination, he’s going to beat the “50/50 chance” to ever walk again. He’s incredible and getting stronger each day!
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)






Willy has shown me that it’s not enough to simply “want” something. You have to think past the pain and into the victory; to pull yourself up on wobbly legs, maybe listing to the left or to the right but never losing focus of the end result. Maybe the process isn’t pretty or graceful; maybe even a little humiliating, but it’s necessary to meet the goal. And, like the many prayers that have helped him heal and find strength to move forward, those prayers turn to rejoicing when we can stand without help and run on our own!
I praise God for the many practical ways He speaks to my heart.

And I praise Him for the work He’s doing in my sweet Willy.

  

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