Friday, March 30, 2012

Heart to Heart Friday

I can't believe it is already Friday! I guess the week flies by when you are having fun. I hope your week was just as fantastic as mine was. Thank you for taking the time to join me this morning for a cup of coffee, sweet tea, or whatever your preference is. 
I look forward to these Friday dates. I love the chance to share with my family, friends, and readers, the great things that God is doing in my life. I also hope that God uses me to encourage you in some way today. 

I have been on spring break this week. 
I have discovered that spring break is not for the students.
It's for teachers!
No lie-I needed the break!

I started off the week with an amazingly fun trip to Brown County, Indiana just a couple hours away with a few girlfriends.
We stayed at the cutest little ranch hotel and went shopping, hiking, horseback riding, and had a blast together!
 

Last night, my hubby and I went on our weekly date night! We always have a great time together whether we stay at home and watch a movie or go out and fish at the river. Lately the weather has been so nice, fishing seems to be our first choice. 
Last night, we picked up Chinese food, and went out to the Patoka river. We built a fire, had a little picnic, and fished until almost midnight. 
Usually Jimmy catches more fish than I do, but last night was a pretty successful night for me! 
I caught the second biggest fish I've ever caught!
I was pretty excited about it :)

And now, friends, let me switch gears and go a little deeper. 
We were meant for so much more than small talk, especially as sisters in Christ.

This morning while I was having my quiet time with the Lord, I had the christian music station playing in the background and this song played-summing up everything that God has been trying to teach me.
In Your Arms
by Meredith Andrews

I've been too caught up
I've been so stressed out
And all of the noise replaced the whisper 
that used to be so clear

So I close every door
 and put my face back on the floor

And I'm in your arms 
where I belong
There's no other place for me
Than right where you are.

In the busyness of life, I have been getting caught up with all of the things I need to get done. I forget to find my way to my heavenly Father's arms. 
Instead I stress myself out. 
I get discouraged.
I end up burnt out.

How refreshing to be reminded that we can just let this world go.
We can let our fears go, and hold on to the one who is really in control, even when we think we are.

Are you where you belong? 
Have you found your way back to your heavenly Father's arms?

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


Now, don't forget to visit my friends and have a cup of coffee with them this beautiful Friday :)
 Alissa from  Rags to StitchesNatassia from Nat's Knapsack, Chrissy from Boerman Ramblings,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Late Friday Coffee

I realize it may be too late for coffee tonight, and by the time I finish writing this, it will probably not be Friday anymore! But better late then never right? 
The reason I'm so behind today is that I got off work today, picked up my brother Abe from school and have been cat fishing at the river ever since! Cat fishing makes for some late Friday nights, but is sure is a lot of fun. 
Life has been crazy lately. And that's not an understatement!
But guess what? I'M ON SPRING BREAK!!! 
I am more excited about spring break as a teacher than I ever was as a student. 
I'm looking forward to a lot of great projects, spring cleaning, and of course the stack of papers I brought home to grade. 

I started off this week geocaching with a some friends! 
Have you ever been geocaching?
It's like a worldwide treasure hunt that anyone can participate in. There are clues and maps on the website that will lead you to the treasures around your town. we found 5 in Princeton in just a few hours! It was a lot of fun!
This week the weather was so beautiful outside. For our date night, we drove out to some back country roads and just walked together until the sun set. One of the things I have been so grateful for in our marriage is our commitment to date night. Every Thursday night we have set aside time to invest in our relationship. It's unbelievable how life can slip by without us spending much time together. Our Thursday date nights have been a great time for us to just talk and enjoy being together!


Things are still up in the air right now for us. We aren't really sure where God is leading us, or how things are going to turn out. I wish I could share with you in more detail, but that time will come. For now, God is teaching us to trust and rest in Him. 

James 4:13-15
Now listen you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

What a beautiful place to be-resting in God's will, trusting in His promises and knowing that He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Enough of Me

I finally had some quality alone time with Jesus, outside in the sunshine, just enjoying the life He has blessed me with. I have been asking God for wisdom in my teaching this past week, and tonight I came across this verse.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 

My wisdom doesn't even come close to that.

So I realize as I ask God for wisdom with my students, that I need to let go of all my "techniques" and "strategies" and let Him lead me.
I got a cool visual image of letting a balloon slip through my fingers and into the sky. 
Once I've let go of the "string" and let God take charge, I can't take it back.
It's all in His hands now. 
God I pray that you would live through me so that others may see You in me.

Not my wisdom, but yours.
Not my love but yours.
Not my strength, but yours.
Not my words, but yours.
Not my life, but yours.
Not me, but You.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekends to Remember

Now that I'm working full-time, weekends have become 10x better. 
The weather was perfect this weekend for doing stuff outside, so me and the hubby headed out to KY to hang out with our good friends Matt and Nicole.
Friday night we had an awesome bonfire (built by Nicole and me) and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.
I don't think there's a better way to kick off the spring season!

Saturday, Nicole and I headed to Marion, KY to do some shopping at the Amish community.
It's the coolest thing. The Amish people just sell the things their handmade items from their houses or barns, and we just drive from house to house and see what they have. It's a lot of fun!
I bought fresh cows milk, homemade butter, some spices, honey, and some tomato plants.

Here is a picture of one of the Amish farms
Baby Sheep 
 Well, remember the boat story from last weekend? It seems like adventure seems to find me on the weekends. 

This weekend, as we were driving around in the Amish community...
our car died!

What do you do when your car dies in the middle of an Amish community? That's not something you normally have to think about. 
But, it happened.

We made the most of it as we waited for our husbands to come find us.
 We didn't have to wait long before a man selling sugar came to the farm we were at. 
He cracked a joke about how Jebediah couldn't really hook his horse up to the car and charge the battery so it was good he came when he did!

It took a little while for the battery to charge, so we made friends with the Amish lady and her dog before heading back to the house.

When we got back to the house we spent the rest of the afternoon on the four-wheeler!


It was a great weekend with my hubby and friends, and a much needed break from work :)
Now back to another week...with spring break only 4 days away! Woohoo!! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Coffee With Me :)

Welcome back to our weekly coffee chat:) I would love to sit down with many of you for real someday and learn about who you are and what's going on in your life.

This week as we start off, I would ask for your prayer.
I've been overwhelmed.

I started off this week with a burden on my heart for one of my siblings. When anything goes wrong with one of my siblings, I care, and I feel their pain right along with them. I want to fix it, but as my hubby so gently reminds me, it's in God's hands and I can't change things.
On Monday, I started teaching High School. It's not going as well as I hoped. I'm feeling overwhelmed and inadequate.
Also on Monday, my hubby faced some serious moral issues at work. I can't go into details at the moment, but it's tough. He has been put in a horrible situation and needs prayer as he works through everything.

It's life. And life isn't always easy!

I really believe that God is trying to build our trust in Him through all these challenges. However, I am disappointed in myself for my lack of faith. I so often have my own agenda for my life. There's a way that I would like to see things work. 
God clearly has different plans, and instead of resting in His perfect plan for my life, I get all flustered and overwhelmed when He steps in and takes over. 

My sister encouraged me this week, reminding me that God's plan is so perfect that if we could see the whole picture, or understood what He was doing, we would choose His way every time. 

I am really learning to let go of my plans and choose God's plan for my life even when I don't understand.

Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Peace... 
I can't wait to share with you how God works in each one of these situations! I know He's going to!

What about you? What's going on in your life this week? How can I pray for you?

Have a refill with my sweet Christian friends over at Boerman RamblingsNats Knapsack and Rags To Stitches!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A good first boating story

Hey friends! I've been meaning to share this memorable experience from this weekend, but somehow it has taken me until the middle of the week to get it out there. 
Either way, it's still a great story :)

Sunday, we decided it would be a great day to take the boat out for the first time! Jimmy has had this thing for over a month now, and dying to get it on the water. We had our friends Micheal and Kristyn with us and it seemed like it was going to be the perfect little fishing trip!
We started out with just a little trouble getting it out on the water....
But once we got out on the water, our concern changed to how to get it to move...the main motor was too deep for this lake and kept hitting the bottom and our trolling motor moved at about 1/2 a mile per hour.
 I mean it was reeeaally slow!
We decided on the trolling motor as our safest option, and we slowly made our way to the other side of the lake, fishing along the way. 
As you can see from the photos, we had a lot of fun...oblivious to what was going to happen on the way back....

As it started to get dark, we decided that we had better put that little trolling motor to work and head back. We started along at our ridiculously slow pace, realizing that it was going to take us too long to get back before dark. 
So we ventured to put that big motor to work. 
The guys strapped it up so that it wouldn't go as deep and we started moving....making pretty good time and it was awesome to be going so fast!
It was awesome until we heard a loud CRACK and the big motor slipped from the strap and cracked its case!
Well, at least we had the trolling motor to get us the rest of the way back....
or not...
You see, while we had been going so fast with the big motor, the trolling motor had fallen off the boat!
We looked at each other with unbelief, realizing that our last option was to grab the single oar that we had brought and get to work oaring back. 

It was dark long before we got to shore. At one point we got stuck in a shallow patch that we weren't able to see and no matter how hard the guys pushed with the oar, we just rotated around in circles until finally micheal was able to push us free. 

Slowly, we caught a glimpse of the shoreline's shadows as we inched our way closer! 
We finally pulled up on the bank, and loaded up the boat in the dark, happy that we had made it! 

Who would have though, boating could be so adventurous?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Have some coffee with me today :)

Hey friends! I'm so glad you are taking the time to stop by with me and chat over a cup of coffee. The weather is getting warmer and soon we will be having sweet tea instead! I can't wait for that summer weather just around the corner :)

As we sit down at our little imaginary coffee table, you will probably notice that I'm a little sad today. The reason is, today was my last day at the middle school with my 8th graders. I started out this year thinking I was going to make a difference in their lives....although I hope that I have made a difference, they have changed my life as well. I never thought I would care about them so much, but they have a special place in my heart. I know I've been blessed to have such a great student teaching experience so far. Today, I was so blessed by my students and all the little presents and notes I got. I had the best supervising teachers and students anyone could ask for!
The sweet notes left for me by my students :)

I will begin teaching Juniors and Seniors on Monday. I'm nervous but also looking forward to it!

I would tell you that I'm excited because my brother Kevin is coming to visit me tomorrow on his way back from Spring break! I have great brothers and I'm looking forward to a great weekend with him and my little brother Abe.
If only Josh were here, the team would be complete!

I would tell you that I am weak and I'm so thankful that my God is strong. God has been teaching me much lately about discipline and re-prioritizing my life. I love the life that God has given me and sometimes I love it a little bit too much. I was reading the other day in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. We look up to all these "heroes of faith" because of how they lived, but verses 13-14 challenged me. They say, "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own." This world is not my home, and I am quick to forget that!

 So, dear friend, as we wrap up this time together, I want you to know that I would love to hear what is on your heart as well. You can leave me a comment or even send me a private message with your story, your struggles, and your prayer requests. Let's be in this together, challenging and encouraging each other as we all seek to glorify God!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spending time with Jesus

Discipline: Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.
     a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.
     b. A systematic method to obtain obedience
     c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: 
*Definition from Free Online Dictionary

Discipline is something I have been working on lately. Discipline of my mind, body, and my spirit. I think they all go together.
I used to say that I didn't have time to work out, spend time with the Lord and all the things that require..well...discipline.
I wasn't lying. I really felt like the reason I didn't do those things is because I didn't have time. While that may really be the case for many of you, I have discovered that lack of time was a pseudonym for lack of discipline in my life.

Notice in the definition above that the main idea is "training". Not just training, but training to improve.  I know there's not 5 easy steps to anything...much less self-discipline. But let me share with you how I am attempting to train my mind and body in order to live healthier both physically and spiritually.

Priorities: We all have them whether we realize it or not. Yes, we have busy schedules and often come home exhausted. However, when I re-examine my busy schedule, I often find that I am busy with things that have no eternal value; things that tomorrow won't even matter. 
Often, I find myself putting my homemaking above spending time with the Lord. If there's dishes in the sink, a dirty floor, dirty clothes, and streaky windows, I hesitate to lay it all aside and read my bible. 
If you have a godly husband, ask him if he would rather have a clean house or a wife who is in love with the Lord and spends time searching the scriptures. 
Guarantee it will be the latter. (Yes-there is a balance here)
Your house will be dirty again tomorrow (hate how that happens) but you will never lose the wisdom and spiritual blessing that comes from earnestly seeking Christ. 

 Excuses: We all make them. I'm too tired. I have so many other things to do. I don't feel like it. I don't have time. I'll do it later. 
 Just today, I am ashamed to admit that I had an inward struggle between spending time with the Lord and watching the next episode of my TV show. No, watching TV is not wrong, but when it becomes more important to me than my relationship with the Lord, it is very detrimental. 
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Training: You know that feeling of accomplishment and pride right after you work out? Sadly enough, that feeling fades by the next time you get ready to work out and you approach that treadmill with dread. A good athlete trains for years to acquire discipline. Why then do we expect as Christians, to have the discipline to read the Bible when we make no effort to train ourselves to that end. We easily refer to working out as training our bodies. I think training is also required when it comes to our spiritual health. 
1 Corinthians 9:25
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

It's definitely not a pleasant feeling to set down your homework, turn off the TV, let the dirty dishes smell up your house, or whatever you may have to give up in order to get in The Word. However, according to Hebrews 12:11 discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it. 

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Mindset: Where is my heart at?  If I'm making excuses to avoid spending time with the Lord, it's a pretty good indication that my heart is in the wrong place. Having the right mindset requires discipline. 
Along the same lines, In order to have deep devotion time with the Lord, you have to be all there. For many years, I've checked devotions off my "Christian to do" list by just reading a chapter from the Bible. It so easily becomes a ritual when my heart and mind aren't in it. It takes energy and focus to avoid all the distractions around us and really give all of me to the Lord. Devotion time is so much more than just getting a chapter read. It is about having that sacred time with the Lord where you share your heart, search the scriptures, and listen for His voice. How do we expect Him to speak when we are scurrying through a chapter with half our brain and making a grocery list with the other. 

Proverbs 2:2-5 Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 

Notice the verbs seek and search. Those require dedication, focus, time, commitment and yes, discipline. 

Reward:  Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

There is much reward found in spending time with the Lord. You will not only be renewed spiritually, but you will be ready to pour out the love of Christ into those around you. That, in itself, is a reward.
While there are eternal rewards for obedience to Christ, but there are also immediate rewards that come from being disciplined. I have noticed how different I am when I take time for devotions. My perspective on life changes as my focus becomes eternal. 

The most important thing to remember is that devotions aren't a requirement for being a Christian, but they are an evidence of our relationship with the Lord. They are also fundamental for spiritual growth.

 Look at the very term we use to describe our time with the Lord: devotion. 

Devotion:  love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person. 

As Christians we should be so enthusiastic about the Lord and our relationship with him that it overflows into devotion and a longing to spend time with Him. 
It is so worth it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ever eaten an Ugli fruit?

My friend Kristyn and I are working on a "bucket list" of weird/exotic fruits we want to try. It's been a lot of fun trying fruits we've never heard of before! Every time we see something new at the grocery store....we try it...even if it looks....well....strange!
So here is what we found last week. 
It's an UGLI!
 It really is ugly too. It looks like a big misshaped orange. Apparently it is a cross between an orange, grapefruit, and lemon.
 This particular one was from Jamaica!
 We always pose with the fruit...even though this particular time we were looking a little rough having just gotten back from cat fishing at the river!
 To eat an ugli, peel its thick peeling just like an orange. Divide it into sections and enjoy!
Beware...it is extremely juicy...but good :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Beloved

This song was very special to me last year at this time when I was planning our wedding. In fact, we were trying to come up with a way for me to walk down the isle to it. It didn't end up that way, but this was the theme of our wedding and we want it to be the core of our marriage as well.

You're my beloved, lover I'm yours
Death shall not part us, it's you I died for
For better or worse, forever we'll be
My love it unites us and it binds you to me
It's a mystery

Such a beautiful way of describing our relationship with the Lord and how it should be reflected in our relationship with our husbands. 

Ephesians 5:21-33
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband

When we choose to look at our marriage from this perspective, it should not be a burden to submit or be respectful to our husbands. It is a privilege! Just think-we have a calling to be an example of Christ and His church. That's not demeaning at all but rather an awesome opportunity. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sweet Saturday Breakfast

I have been planning on making this blueberry breakfast ever since I first pinned the recipe on pinterest. I finally took the time to try it out, and it was delicious!
blueberry buttermilk breakfast cake
I made it a little differently, leaving out the lemon zest and using frozen blueberries rather than fresh. As you can see, mine turned out a little darker because of that. It was still great....definitely a Saturday morning favorite <3


Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup of butter
3/4 plus 2 TBSP of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking pwder
1 tsp salt
2 cups of blueberries
1/2 cup buttermilk.
    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with the sugar (setting 1 TBSP aside for sprinkling on top) until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Spread batter into pan and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. 
Enjoy your yummy blueberry breakfast cake!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Coffee Date

Thanks for joining me for another week of virtual coffee! Isn't it funny how quickly a meaningful conversation can spark over a meal or something simple like coffee?
The reason I began Friday Coffee Dates, beginning with my testimony, is because I really felt challenged to be more genuine in my writing. There is a real person behind these posts and I'm not going to pretend to be someone I am not! Although being honest is not something I necessarily enjoy doing, God has blessed me tremendously through these "heart to heart" coffee dates.

     As this week winds down, I would sit across the table from you and tell you how happy I am that you are here with me. I love the friends that God has brought into my life through blogging. You truly are a blessing to me.
     You would probably ask my why I look so tired this morning-well it's because my hubby and I and two of our friends went cat fishing at the river last night...and...well...let's just say, once all the poles are set up and the fire's started, it's hard to get away:) I'm loving the spring weather already!


I would then sadly tell you that I'm coming up on my last week teaching at the middle school. I will be teaching juniors and seniors at the high school in just over a week. If you're wondering if I'm nervous about that, the answer is yes. I'm also excited for the new experience and the new opportunities! I'm going to miss the kids and teachers I've met over the last 8 weeks here though. I hate goodbyes!


I would get excited as I told you about spring break coming up in about a month. I want to visit home so badly. I've been missing my family and would love to spend some time with my adorable nephews...
                  
It breaks my heart to be so far away from my family at times. I know that I'm exactly where God wants me to be, however, and because of that, I couldn't be any happier.


On a more serious note, I have been very challenged this week through the Bible study book we are reading for church. It's called Radical by David Platt. It's a book that has shaken my world a little. It's made me uncomfortable with the way I've been living and forced me to reevaluate my priorities. This world is not my home, so why do I live as though my comfort and success are the most important things, and Christ's kingdom is an after thought? It has definitely challenged me to be more intentional about living for the Lord, that's for sure! If you are looking for a good, challenging book, I definitely recommend this one!


I wish that I could stay and talk with you longer, but 170 eighth graders are waiting for me at the Middle School! Thank you for joining me this morning. If you are up for some more coffee dates, head over to Boerman RamblingsNats Knapsack! They are two of my sweet Christian blogging friends and I know you will love them. 
Have a great weekend!

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