Looking for Fall

Monday, August 27, 2012  ::   5 important comments

About this time of year I start getting a feeling inside that fall is about to arrive. This is proof that you shouldn't often trust feelings because since I live in Tucson, summer will stick around to mock us for at least another month, probably longer.

But, a girl can pretend.

My favorite way to pretend fall is in the air is to cook up tasty pumpkin treats for my family. Muffins, cookies, fancy desserts, and pancakes regularly make appearances in my kitchen starting this time of year through about February or March. Oh, who am I kidding? I make pumpkin muffins/bread year-round.

I'm sure many of you eat pumpkin pancakes. I'm also sure many of you want to eat pumpkin pancakes.  So let me do the google work for you. After experimenting with several recipes, this one rose to the top as my family's favorite.

I always double it for three reasons. First, my kids eat a lot. Second, a double recipe gives us enough for breakfast the next morning. Pop them in the toaster and ta-daaa! Third, I prefer to use a whole can of pumpkin rather than just one cup. Often I would end up throwing away whatever was left in the can because it would spoil and I hate throwing food away.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 c flour (I use mostly whole wheat and add flax meal)
3 TBLS brown sugar (I cut this in half because syrup is sweet enough)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin (make a double or be good at using what is left.)
1 egg
2 TBLS oil (I use olive oil)
2 TBLS vinegar

Mix wet ingredients then add it to the dry mixture. Then griddle them up!

I love the color of pumpkin batter.

Wow! Look at those cakes of awesomeness.

While your at it, you should just go ahead and make your own syrup. Why pour carmel color, high fructose corn syrup, or preservatives all over your homemade goodness? It is so easy to make. One cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of water makes enough for my family. I cook it until it bubbles clear and then add a a teaspoon of maple flavor. If you don't want to make syrup at least splurge and buy real maple syrup. 

A giant stack of fall on a plate. That's right. Even though there are a ton of pancakes. It is only two breakfasts worth for all my little piggies. 

I like mine topped with chopped pecans. Oh my goodness. Fall in my mouth. If you are going to pretend you might as well pretend with food! 

Happy autumn to you! What is your favorite part of fall? Do you do anything special to pretend it is almost here? 

Strength of my Heart

Thursday, August 23, 2012  ::   10 important comments

Awhile back I made a list of my personal values. I've written about that list before. Today I've been thinking about the fact that I truly value strength, emotional, physical, and spiritual.

I notice people who are emotionally strong. Drama frustrates me, so when someone processes difficulties in life with thoughtfulness and a heart to grow I take notice to learn from them. 

Chad's hands are strong man hands. The strength of his hands are one of my favorite things about him. He has a killer grip. I've seen him twist and turn such tightly stuck pipes and trinkets that his knuckles were white with strength. His grip and inner grit give him the ability to unstick just about all stuck junk. I dare you to play mercy with him. 

My parents taught me when I was younger if I'm ever in a situation where someone is working that I shouldn't just sit and watch or turn away and ignore. I should get off my derriere and help! If there is work to be done, do it! Therefore, if Chad is scraping tile and glue off our floors until midnight I feel compelled to help. If we are cleaning the yard, I don't stop until it is finished. My desire to be strong enough to finish the job often overtakes the logic in my head telling me to go to bed. Hard work makes me feel durable and tough. 

Today I am reflecting on a personal situation with which I am dealing. In taking the first step to open my mouth to share I feel like a deer in headlights. I just don't want to talk about it.  

Because my desire to be strong betrays me. 

Because admitting I am worried makes me feel weak. 

Because physical pain is often difficult for me to discern. I struggle with wondering whether it really hurts or am I just being fragile. 

Because re-telling the story over and over or answering sincere questions of how I'm doing is a constant reminder of the possibility that I could just be an impotent weakling. 

My heart and brain wrestle with the truth of His Word. Jesus whispers a reminder of strength that is found in weakness. His power rests on those who delight in Him.  Surrendering these frustrating lies of how strong I should be to Christ is my hope and goal. 

Strength is displayed in allowing people who love me to carry and pray for me. 

Strength comes in knowing that the name of the Lord is a strong tower. 

Strength from God brings peace, trust, and hope that He will complete the work He began in me.

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 

I'm taking my wrong thoughts about strength captive and surrendering to the Spirit weaving His strength through my heart and mind. My self-centered ideas of strength exhaust me. To believe that as my heart grows in commitment to Him, that His very eyes are on me, strengthening me. There is no strength that compares to the strength of the God of the universe. 

My contrived notions of what it means to be and act strong are a pitiful imitation compared to being a woman who is clothed in the strength and dignity of Christ. 

Whom have I in heaven but you? And the earth has nothing I desire besides you. My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

Just Some Photos

Thursday, August 16, 2012  ::   2 important comments

Roswell, New Mexico July 4th week
Time with my family 

Archery lessons for the whole clan. 

Looks like trouble! Kyle with his cousins, Mark and Luke. 

I love this shot! 

Meeting their new sweet baby cousin. 

Every time we visit my parents home Grandma and Grandkids have a prank war. Usually Grandma wins because she is very mischievous. This year the kids ran her granny panties up the flag pole, marched out, and saluted. My mom laughed so hard. They won! But, I have a feeling she will have some witty revenge up her sleeve for our next visit. Grandkids probably can't outwit Grandma. 

Do these kids look like the kind of kids that would run their sweet old grandma's undies up a flag pole? 

My brothers! I love these guys so much! 

My proud parents with all their grandkids

The whole family trying to act like we are a dignified bunch. 

This photo is a bit more accurate. 

Moxie Memorizers

Wednesday, August 15, 2012  ::   12 important comments

I often have "Angel moments" when I'm completely engrossed in thought and forget what I'm supposed to be doing.

Sometimes while I'm instructing my spinning classes we will be in a simulated heavy uphill climb and I'll start daydreaming and forget to tell the class to take a break.

Sometimes I'll make tortillas and put in baking soda instead of baking powder. That does not work, friends. It's actually pretty gross.

Sometimes I'll be driving across town to a meeting and be reviewing my memory pack and get so involved in a particular passage, get all choked up, and drive a couple of city blocks passed my destination. Today, Titus 3:1-11 did that for me. Oh man. So good.  Thankfully, I was only a few minutes late to my meeting.

Are you reviewing? I hope so. Not to sound extreme, but unless you are one of those amazing people who remember everything forever, you will probably forget your verses unless you review at least two times a week. I go through my packet 3-5 days a week depending on attitude and time.  Sometimes my attitude is lazy and stinky so I ignore the very thing that can revive my mopey spirit.

You've heard my say over and over....review, review, review. This isn't the post with some fantastic new idea. This post is a friendly reminder to not forget what you've already learned.

Over the next couple of weeks I will memorize Colossians 2:6-7 to add on to verse 8 that I memorized a few years ago.

Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 

The next verse goes on to talk about not being taken captive by a humanistic world view. I'm adding verses six and seven because without being rooted in Christ and continuously walking with Him, I have no sure footing to avoid my brain being tricked into thinking the way the world thinks. Since Kyle and Esther are at the age where they are hearing a lot of interesting opinions and thoughts in school, they will also be memorizing this passage with me.

Post your verses, friends. Thanks to all of you who jumped back in the game last time around! It encouraged me greatly! I'm so thankful to be growing in my knowledge of God with each of you.

*Guest posts are returning soon

Moxie Memorizers

Wednesday, August 01, 2012  ::   17 important comments

Let us not become weary in doing good for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 

Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. Philippians 4:8 

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:18-19

My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation. He is my Fortress. I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

O God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied with the richest of foods. With singing lips, my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:1-5

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering becoming like Him in His death and so somehow attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11

I could go on and on, but I'll stop for now. One of the excuses I hear (read excuses) about not memorizing scripture is not knowing what verses to memorize. My first question in response is, "Are you reading your Bible?" My second response is to offer some of my favorite passages. 

When I have been really at a loss, I've tackled my favorite chapters. It kept me busy for awhile and I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished. My first chapter to memorize was Psalm 139 way back in 1993. The Spirit still consistently uses it my heart to refine me. 

There are about 1000 excuses a person could come up with for not memorizing. Don't get caught up in an excuse. Make it happen. You will be changed and blessed. I promise. But, more than that, He promises. 

All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training for righteousness so that the man of God will be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates even  to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight, but everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account. Hebrews 4:12-13

How can a young man (or woman) keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart. Do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11

Post your verses, friends. If you aren't sure what to learn next, feel free to pick one or all of the ones I typed out from memory. Please give grace to any missed words.