Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shower Time - Part III

I have actually made these several years in a row for Christmas gifts, but never thought to make them for a shower until the other day when another blog I follow suggested the idea! What fun!

Just in case I lost ya, the yummy treats above are chocolate covered pretzel sticks. They are super easy (and affordable) little treats to make for any occasion. All you need is a little imagination on how you want them to turn out!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks
1 Bag Large Pretzel Sticks
1 Bag Chocolate Chips

If you have a double boiler this process can go a lot smoother, however I have never had one so I made my own version and it works great! Just take a sauce pan and pour enough water in it to keep a boil for a while. I use a metal mixing bowl and place it over the sauce pan (when the water is boiling). Place the chocolate chips in the metal sauce pan and let them completely melt. Once the chocolate is a smooth consistency, then start dipping the pretzel sticks in half way. I normally line a cookie sheet with wax paper and have it waiting nearby. Once you dip the sticks, place them on the tray. Now is the time to "decorate" them. This is where your creativity can come out! Here are a few suggestions:
  • Baby Shower-Girl: Use white chocolate with pink sprinkles
  • Baby Shower-Boy: Use white chocolate with blue sprinkles
  • Christmas handouts(these make great teachers gifts):Use white or dark chocolate with crushed peppermints, or Christmas colored sprinkles.

There are sooooooo many new items out there for candy/cookie decorations. A personal favorite is the colored sugars. They are very classic and pretty. At Christmas time I buy the cellophane bags from Walmart, put a few chocolate covered pretzels in them and wrap them up in a bow. So cute and very affordable!

Anyway, have fun! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

By the way, I know the topics have been kinda light around here lately. Thanks for hanging in with me. Next week I'm going to be getting back to some more serious items. See ya then!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shower Time - Part II

There are so many things I enjoy about baby showers, but the food is always at the top of the list.
My favorite thing to eat is petit fours (the tiny little cake bites covered in frosting with a cute decoration on top)! YUM-O!
Here is another thing I love to take. It is so easy to make and every time I make it I am always asked for the recipe.
Sweet Meatballs
1 package frozen meatballs (I like to use the mini sized ones)
1 Jar Chili Sauce
1 Can Jellied Cranberry's
In a sauce pan over medium heat, add all of the ingredients. Simmer for 10-15 and enjoy.
YES, it is that easy and they are so good. Be sure to bring toothpicks with you and don't expect to bring any home!
If there is something you are know for making and taking to a baby shower, then please share! I love having new things to add to my recipe book!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shower Time

I am starting to feel like I am coming down with something, so...I'm going to keep this week light. (I am drinking plenty of fluids and taking my vitamins :) )

Anyway, the season is upon us. Shower Season. Baby Showers!!! I LOVE baby showers! Love the food, love the decorations, love the gifts, love the fellowship and my favorite ones are when the baby has already been born because then we all get to hold it and love on it and get our baby fix without having to take it home!! :) light of this special time of year I thought I would post three yummy treats I always have for baby showers! Today's is a yummy punch, which I actually made this morning (for a goodbye party).

Frosty Punch

1 2 liter bottle of 7 Up
1 Frozen Pink Lemonade mix (the kind you find in the frozen foods section, where the frozen juice is)
1 Container of Sherbet (I like to color coordinate mine according to the event)

Let everything set out for about 20 minuets. In an average sized punch bowl, add the thawed pink lemonade, then add half of the 7 Up. Take an ice cream scoop and scoop in the sherbet. Then add the rest of the 7 Up.

Here are some tips I have used along the way:
  • If you are going to a girl baby shower then get Raspberry or Strawberry sherbet.
  • If you are going to a boy baby shower then try to find a Kroger in your area because SOMETIMES they will carry a Wild Berry sherbet that is blue. If not, I have tried this: get Pineapple sherbet (because it is usually white) and then take blue food coloring to the 7 Up. It tasted fine, but you will need to pour out the 7 Up in separate bowl, mix in the food color and then add it to the punch.
  • If you need to make a pink colored punch but cannot find pink colored sherbet, what I have done before is bought the cherry flavored 7 Up and then used the Pineapple sherbet.
  • I highly recommend using 7 Up. I have tried it with Sprite, Ginger Ale and even some of the store brand drinks, but none of them ever taste as good as 7 Up. I'm not sure why, put after 12 years of making this punch it is the only brand I will use.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Little Bit of Random - Part III

Today is the day!
This time 417 days ago I started reading the Bible shown above. I have to admit that I never thought I would finish it. Actually, that is not entirely the truth. I wanted to finish it on time because I am a very competitive person and I did not want to "loose". I know, I know, not the best reason to do this, but once I got started I really enjoyed it. So, today 52 days after the "end date" I finished.
I hate to admit this, especially as a minister's wife, but I have never read the entire Bible all the way through. In fact, there are several books of the Bible that I have never read even one time.
Going through the process of reading this Bible has changed my life in so many ways. I honestly feel like I know more about God than I ever have. So many things about Him that I "knew" but never really allowed to change my heart.
If you have not read through the entire Bible, I challenge you to. It will change your life, your relationship with God and the way you see people that He created and loves.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Little Bit of Random - Part II

Isn't it amazing what a little coffee can do to your life? I love Starbucks. Always have, always will. A good nights sleep and a good cup of coffee. A great combination to start the day!
In keeping with the "random" theme, I thought I would share a verse that has really taught me a lot this week.
If you have your Bible's today, please turn with me to I Peter 3:8-9. HA! I've always wanted to say that! Seriously, if you don't have it with you then just check out the link.
So, verse 8 is pretty self explanatory. I don't have any issues with it. It makes sense.
It's verse 9 that trips me up. Big time. Why? Well, because I'm human. If you cause me pain, then you should have pain too.
Verse 9 says, "Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing." (Honestly, while I was typing this out I thought about the God's Pottery from Last Comic Standing. In one of the episode's they had to square off against another comedian and take turns insulting each other. God's Pottery chose instead to "hurl" love at their opponent. It was funny). But I digress.
Ok...back to being serious. So, when people insult us, we are supposed to give them a blessing. So, as I always do when I have a question, I pulled out my John MacArthur Commentary and looked up the verse. Here is what is says about the word blessing. "Blessing means to speak well of, or to eulogize." As I read that I was thinking, "Ok, I can do that. Not to hard. I just need to speak well of them." And then came the kicker. Let me finish writing the rest of what it says. "The blessing that a Christian is to give to the reviler includes:
  • 1) finding ways to serve him
  • 2) praying for his salvation or spiritual progress
  • 3) expressing thankfulness for him
  • 4) speaking well of him
  • 5) desiring his well-being"


So needles to say I have A LOT to work on.

Over the last year I have come to learn that holiness simply means set apart. If we are to be holy as God is holy then we are going to have to be set apart from the way the world operates. When we are set apart is when the world has a chance to see something different. This will hopefully bring them closer to God. I'm not saying I have it all together, but maybe we can all think about these simple blessings the next time our feelings are hurt, or we receive hurtful words from a friend.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Little Bit of Random

Can I just say how much I envy this woman? Ugh, I need me some SLEEP! My youngest is teething and it is killing me, our oldest, my husband, the name it. I know this is just a phase and it will end like all of the others, but man.....I'm tired. In fact, I think my tired humor scared a co-worker today. You see, when you haven't had a full nights rest in over two weeks you mind gets a little funky and you say things that probably should not cross the great divide between your mind and your mouth. Here is what I said to my co-worker. "I now understand why Zombies eat humans. They are so tired, they don't know the difference. They'll just eat whatever is in front of them." And here is the best part. I then put my arm up next to my mouth and pretended to chew on it. I then experienced the longest awkward pause of my life. I know, I know. This is what happens to me when I am sleep deprived.
So, in light of that I decided not to tackle a deep issue tonight here on the old blog and decided instead to share something on the lighter side.
A few months ago I ran across this prayer in the Bible. Philippians 1: 9-11 says (in the New Living version), "I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation-the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ-for this will bring much glory and praise to God."
What an awesome prayer! Paul knew what he was doing. Over the last year I have Incorporated the aid of a wonderful commentary, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur. This book has opened the Bible to me like never before. Mainly because I trust this man and his writings. I want to share with you what he says about a few of the key words in these verses.
Verse 10 - "understand". The word approve is used in the New American Standard Version. "Approve in the classical Greek described..the testing of money for authenticity. Believers need the ability to distinguish those things that are truly important so they can establish the right priorities."
Verse 9 - "understanding". The word discernment is used in the New American Standard Version. "The English word aesthetic comes from this Greek word, which speaks of moral perception, insight and the practical application of knowledge. Love is not blind, but perceptive, and it carefully scrutinizes to distinguish between right and wrong."
Here is my version of how this prayer might look like when I pray it for a friend.
"Lord, I pray that "___________" 's love will overflow out of what you give them. I pray that they would continue to seek out that which is important instead of that which is here today and gone tomorrow. I pray that they will be able to know without a shadow of a doubt what it real and what is fake in this world, so that they can run after You with a clean heart and clear conscience. I pray that they will glorify You in all of their pursuits and will continue to grow in the gifts You have given to them."
So, who can you pray this for? We all have someone in our lives that needs all the prayer they can get. Take a minute and pray for the person(s) God prompts you to. When you are done go read this and have a great laugh! (Tiffany, you never disappoint!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Review - Part III

For the last part of this blog I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes from this book and why I like them.
  • "Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be." This one statement is what helped me realize the difference between a vision for something and just a need you think should be met. This is a very important concept for anyone, no matter where you are in life. There are a lot of "good" things we should be doing, but if it is not your passion then you shouldn't guilt yourself into doing it.
  • "A vision rarely requires immediate action. It always requires patience." Well, thank you Mr. Stanley for saying what we have all been thinking! Sometimes what you want to happen is not going to happen overnight. I really believe this is why people get frustrated a lot with certain ministries. They come into a new project ready to see "miracles" and then a year goes by and they are severely defeated because nothing exciting ever happened. Last year I went to a one day women's conference here in Columbia and a lady from Indiana (I think) was taking about the inner city ministry she and her husband were in. They had been there for about three years and were trying everything they could to get people to their church. They were near a very successful church and decided to meet with the senior pastor to pick his brain and see what they could glean from his ministry. They met him in the gym his church had just built. They looked around and were amazed at all of the young volunteers he had to help with the after-school program his church had just started that year. She and her husband began to ask him how he did it and how long did it take him. She said he politely smiled and then pointed to a young women (probably 19 years old) and said, "She was the first member of my church". They both paused and continued listening to him. "You see", he said, "the two of you are not going to walk into your neighborhood and change things overnight. You are going to have to start with the elementary school kids in your area and walk them through middle school and high school. These kind of volunteers do not walk in off the street. They are born out of years and years of laying the foundation." In essence, he was telling her that she and her husband needed to be in it for the long haul if they ever wanted to see real life change.
  • "Why should God bring an opportunity your way if you are not in a position to take advantage of it?" Wow, this is so true. This helped me to realize that planning is so important to seeing my dreams accomplished.
  • "Once God decides something needs to be done, it is never a matter of if. The issue is usually who. Who will step forward, embrace the vision and move ahead by faith." This ignited the fire I needed to finish what God had called me to. When I realized that God was asking me to do this task, then I knew I could not turn away.

Whatever your passion is, I think this book can help. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Book Review - Part II

I thought about trying to write a fancy-schmancy review of this book, but then I realized I should leave that to the experts. :)
Here is what the back of the book says: "Visioneering is the engineering of a vision. It's the process one follows to develop and maintain vision. "Vision," writes Andy Stanley, "is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be."In the bestselling Visioneering, Stanley builds a compelling case for the necessity of a clear, God-ordained vision for each of the roles of your life. Whether you're a parent with a vision for your children or a CEO pursuing a corporate vision, Visioneering is the perfect tool to help you develop and maintain God's unique purpose for your life."
One of the coolest things to me is that in the inside of the book are the reviews by other people and they range from pastors to CEO's. This book really is for everyone who has a vision to see something happen.
One of my favorite chapters in this book is chapter two, Praying and Planning. To me, it is the fire that everyone needs to sit on to get their butt in motion. So many times in life we all have things we would love to do, but it never goes any farther than that. This chapter helped me to see that God really does care about the things I dream of doing, and that HE put those dreams inside of me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Book Review

Why I Love This Book!!!
In 2008 I wrote out a list of books I wanted to read. I think the grand total came to eight and I finished ......... 4! A personal best for me!
The funny thing is that this book, Visioneering by Andy Stanley, was not on my list. I was actually looking up another book and happened to notice this one in the "readers also bought this" section of the web-sight. It caught my eye, so I decided to read some of the reviews. Once I looked at the chapter titles I knew Jeff needed to read this book. (Like any good wife, I knew what was best for my husband.) The funny thing is, I needed this book more than any of the others I read this last year (excluding the Read-Through-In-A-Year Chronological Bible).
Jeff and I decided to take it two chapters at a time. We would read on our own through out the week and then on Sunday night we would meet together to discuss what we liked and what we learned. (And by the way, yes, we each had our own copy of the book because getting two only children to share is NEVER going to happen in this marriage.) :)
I can honestly say that this book has had a profound influence on my life. It has given me hope for the dreams I wish to accomplish in my life and a firm biblical foundation for why my dreams should be pursued.
Sometimes, as Christians, we use the excuse "God must have other plans for me" when things don't go the way we hoped they would. For years I accepted this excuse as truth. I don't anymore, and this book is why.
The rest of this week I will be sharing a very brief review of the entire book and some of my favorite quotes. I hope you'll come back!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is Serious - Part III

This is Serious - Part III

Last night my husband rented Madagascar II. We are big fans of these movies and we were not disappointed in this one. It is very cute and so funny. I highly recommend it!

I don't want to give away too much of the movie, but I wanted to talk about one particular part of it. The cute zebra above is named Marty. In the second movie he finds a whole bunch of other zebra's. He is so excited at first, then he realizes that he is no different than any of the rest of them. During the movie his friend Alex (Alex the lion), tries to find Marty in the midst of the other thousands of Marty's. Alex picks him out of all of them and they finish their task of saving the world. At the end of the movie Alex looks Marty in the face and says, "I can look into your eyes and I know it's you.".

This whole idea captured my mind for a few hours after the movie and I wanted to share it with you. Ya see, what we do is serious. The way we present ourselves in the world is serious, because there are people out there just like Marty. People who think they are just a number. People who think they just blend into the crowd. People who probably after years of just feeling like a nobody eventually start to think that God probably sees them that way too. You and I know that that is not the case at all. We know that our God formed them in their mother's womb and has an awesome plan for their life. We are called to be light to these people who are searching for the truth.

Every single Sunday morning people like "Marty" walk into your church and my church. They sit in a seat during the service and think that no one else will notice them, no one else cares especially God. We need to be the hands and feet that point them to the God who loves them unashamedly and who wants to whisper into their hearts, "I can look into your eyes and I know it's you.". Everyone needs to be known. They need to know that they are not just another number, that they are not just another face in the crowd.

I don't know what they look like or what their name is, but God does. Take a few minutes before you leave for your church service and ask God to use you in the life of a "Marty". Maybe you could be the one that points them to a great small group, or a mommies group or whatever. Take a risk and help someone to know that they are not alone in this world!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This Is Serious - Part II

This Is Serious - Part II

I doubt there is one person in America who can not identify the guy in the picture posted above, but just in case, it is Michael Phelps. Eight time gold medal winner in the last summer Olympics. Without a doubt, he is an unbelievable talent.

The sad thing is that I have had more discussions about him in the last week than I ever had during the time he won all of his gold medals. (Just in case you've been out of touch for a while, he was caught smoking marijuana.) I've also read a few blogs about it and thought this one did a good job of expressing what I feel about it as well. I highly recommend, if you have the time, to read through all of the comments.

Tonight, during a good conversation with a GREAT friend, Michael Phelps was brought up. During our conversation I was reminded of a chapter I read in the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley. This particular chapter deals with the topic of moral authority. Here is how he defines it: "Moral authority is the credibility you earn by walking your talk. It is the relationship other people see between what you say and what you do, between what you claim to be and what you are." Here is a simple example of this idea. You have a cavity, so you go to the dentist, but when you get there you see that his (or her) teeth are disgusting. They have very yellow teeth that are black with decay. Their teeth are all chipped and some of them are missing because they had to have them pulled out. You get the picture. What kind of a dentist are they if they can not keep their own teeth clean and healthy. You are most likely not going to take their advice on oral hygiene if they won't do it themselves.

The same idea is true for us. We can not speak into the hearts of the people God has placed in our lives if we are not striving for the same things we are teaching them. Whether we like it or not, we are known by our actions. Andy Stanley said it this way, " must be careful how you live. Everyday represents another potential opportunity to develop or destroy your moral authority.".

All of us make mistakes. We are human. It's gonna happen. What we should strive for is not perfection, but purpose. Sometimes it is good for the people who follow us to see us make a mistake because it helps them to relate to us. I believe what they are truly looking at is how we handle the mistake AFTER it is made. Do we have repentance over the mistake? Do we set up check-points in our lives to guard ourselves against another mistake?

What we do is serious. It affects the lives of those who follow us. As leaders who are trying to point people to THE ONLY THING that really matters in this life, we should admit when we have made a mistake and then strive to live a life that pleases God.

Monday, February 2, 2009

This Is Serious

This is Serious
For those of you who do not have young children, let me introduce to you Ming Ming. She is the beautiful yellow duck pictured above in her fancy-shmancy green cape! HA!
She is one of the characters in a Nick Jr cartoon called Wonder Pets and just in case you have never seen the show one of her most repeated lines is "This.... is .....serious".
This is the exact same thing I said when I read Leviticus 10:1-10.
The first time I really read this story was just about this time last year. I still remember pausing after I read it, just to catch my breath.
You see, I have two children. Two very sweet, very cute children who are learning everyday what it means to obey their mama and daddy. I can not IMAGINE watching them die right before my very eyes in a blaze of fire. I can not imagine dying in a fire at all. I think that would be the worst way to die.
Unfortunately this is what happens in our churches on a regular basis. Take a minute and think about some of the people who were in your church this time last year but are not there this year. Is it because they got divorced? Are they in jail for a crime they committed (while attending your church)? Did one of their kids get kicked out of school because they tried to set it on fire?
What we do in our churches is not a game, it's serious. We have to be light, not only to the lost world, but to the people we stand beside on Sunday mornings.
Sometimes our "ministry" can feel like such a routine.
Get to church, do our thing, go home.
Get to church, do our thing, go home.
God has placed these people in our lives for a very specific reason. Read verse 10 again, "You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean". I look at Aaron as the founding father for all of us who are in the ministry today and I believe that God considers what we do on Sunday's, Wednesday's and every other day just as important as what He wanted Aaron to do with the Israelites.
Being able to witness real life change is an honor reserved for the truly committed. We have to take what we do seriously. Marriages are at stake, families are at stake and people's eternity are at stake.
It truly is a blessing when someone is allowed to minister. Take this blessing seriously in your own life and strive to live in such a way that people will stop, take notice and want the same God you serve in their life.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How To Support Your Pastor's Wife

How To Support Your Pastor's Wife
Last night I was catching up on some of the other blogs that I read when I noticed something funny. This particular person happens to be a senior pastor and he wrote about the fact that only one person in his church had invited him to a Super Bowl Party.
One side of me chuckled under my breath and said, "Welcome to the club buddy." The other side of me (the nicer side) said, "I understand."
We have all been there. I started to understand this after Jeff and I had been in the ministry for about three years. We had a youth function at a church member's house and the women who's house we were at came up to me (during the event) and began to tell me how nervous she was with me in her house. She went on and on about how she had cleaned it the best she could and how she had spent hours at the grocery store buying just the right food so as not to offend me. WWHHAATT?
I still remember laying on her floor that night thinking, "What was that all about?" A few weeks later it began to sink in, when I had another women come up to me and tell me how nervous she was having Jeff and I in her small group because she was afraid she wasn't going to be able to answer any of the questions right.
I am sure that at one time or another this has happened to us all. People in our churches forget that we are just as human as them. They begin to erect the pedestal to place us on, only to be let down when they realize just how human we really are. Then, out of hurt or disappointment they proceed to knock us off the pedestal, leaving us in a pile of confusion and heart-ache.
It is at this time when we can really show support to our pastor's wife. Here is how:
  • When someone wants to talk to you about how your pastor's wife has let them down, STOP THEM! Explain to them how much you respect her. Encourage them with the truth that she is just as human as they are. Direct them to have grace towards her, and to forgive her.
  • When you hear other church members say things like, "I really don't want (pastor's wife) coming to this baby shower because I never know what to say to her.", STOP THEM! Gently remind them that she needs friends just like they do. Give them a few topics that they can bring up in front of her, to get to know her better. And, when you go to the shower (or whatever event it is) hang around your pastor's wife and get her talking about some of the crazy things she did in college, or help her bring up some of the funny stories she has about her kids.

We can help to be the mediator between our church members and our pastor's wife. Maybe, by our efforts, our pastor's wife can see the love that our church members have for her!