Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No Fear!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18

Pain is hard. It hurts, you know? I've had a hard time with fear these past two years, and it's mostly been a fear of pain, specifically in relationships. Then I chose to embrace my biggest fear...and boy, does it hurt. And it probably will hurt even more own the road, leaving me with a fear of that. This evening on the way from work I thought about fear again, and this verse settled on mind. "There is no fear in love...perfect love drives out fear." Perfect love drives out fear?? It sounds wonderful, but how does that actually work in my life? "Because fear has to do with punishment." Fear has to do with punishment? *light bulb moment* I'm viewing pain as a bad thing, and that's why I'm afraid of it! Okay, I know, duh. But this has so many implications! The first being that if I view pain as bad and something to be feared, then I'm saying that God is giving me something bad...punishment, per say. Secondly, if it's NOT bad, then it is good! Lol, I don't know why it takes so long for these things to sink in for me. I'm starting to see...once again...that pain is a good thing. There's a cowboy quote that says, "Pain is weakness leaving my body." Well, whatever, but maybe pain is a chance for some selfishness to leave my heart, or some distrust of God. "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us." 1 John 4:16 I can know and rely on the love that God has for me and know that any thing He gives me is for my good and for His glory. No fear!

I pulled up a preview of this post to proofread and listened to the songs on my playlist, realizing how well they go with this post. If you haven't yet, do turn on a speaker or put on some headphones and listen to "Blessings" or "Bless the Lord" by Laura Story in the playlist beneath the posts on this page. 

What if Your blessings come through raindrops,
What if Your healing comes through tears,
And what if a thousand sleepless nights,
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

my petty life and the rest of the world

This week I read Priceless by Tom Davis and Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis(not related to Tom Davis), each in one day. I'm pretty sure my life can't be the same.

Barely drag myself out of bed
think seven hours of sleep
(in a warm safe place) was not enough
and I forget about the girl
who was up all night
marketing herself and being beaten for her life.
Complain that there's no cereal,
Only eggs and oatmeal, Mom!
and I forget about the girl who had nothing yesterday
but a crust of bread
laced with something that takes her senses away.
Run out the door late for work
too rushed to give my family kisses
and I forget about the girl
that hasn't seen her family since she was three.
Watch the clock, waiting to go home from a job I love
and forget about the girl
that doesn't have a quitting time
forced to stay in this place
with a living hell for her life.
Hang out with my friends tonight
laugh about nothing
and forget about the girl
who's forgotten who to laugh
Now I remember and I look at my life;
my petty, cushy, blessed, ungrateful life.

Facts from

  • 1.2 million children are trafficked every year; this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking. 
  • Every 2 minutes a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation. 
  • The average victim is forced to have sex up to 40 times a day.
  • The average age of a trafficked victim is 14 years old.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This evening I'm going to a banquet for our crisis pregnancy clinic. We'll be talking about life; celebrating it. But right now I'm putting on black, grieving because of death. The death of a three year old. Such a contrast, life and death. Black and white. Given, and taken away. Take a moment to give thanks for life, and to pray for more life; please also pray for Wilson and Amanda Martin and their family as they grieve the loss of their little girl.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grace for the Good Girl

My apologies for the weird changes in font size. Something happened in the formatting between writing and posting that I had no control over.

I hardly know where to begin. When I ordered this book, I knew I needed it. Bad. I was so ashamed of the failure that I saw myself as. I tried so hard to do things right--be a good sister, a good daughter, a good friend, a good home maker--and I just couldn't do it. I was supposed to be strong. I've always been the strong one. Everyone thinks I'm a strong, very good girl. But here I was, finding myself helpless when it came to knowing what God wanted me to do about a job, constantly messing up with my family, and even my friends. I felt so weak, so broken. To be honest, I was depressed for a couple weeks, feeling my failure so keenly. Knowing I was depressed made me feel like even more of a failure. After all, good girls don't get depressed!
Those who sow with tears 
will reap with songs of joy.

Those who go out weeping, 
carrying seed to sow, 
will return with songs of joy, 
   carrying sheaves with them.
Ps. 126:5-6

Opening this book was like opening my heart's journal. Emily took the time to talk about the ways we good girls have made ourselves prisoners. We create expectations for ourselves---"I must be a good sister"---and then we create definitions to go along with those expectations. We define "good" as "perfect". When we can't be that perfect someone, we feel guilty. Not only do we feel guilty, we feel ashamed. We can't see past our own failure. It keeps us from moving on, and, most importantly, it keeps us from God.

"But then something happens to offer a bit of encouragement, and I find the strength to redouble my efforts at goodness...I feel empowered, and so I try again. Then, I fail again. I don't like to fail and I certainly don't want you to know I've failed. And I'm embarrassed at the predictable pattern of defeat that my life has become." Grace for the Good Girl, page 25

"Guilt says I did wrong. Shame says I am wrong.
Guilt deals with behavior. Shame deals with identity. 
Guilt leads to repentance. Shame leads to hiding."Grace for the Good Girl, page 117

Another miserable part of being a good girl is the masks we wear. We want everyone to think we've got it all together. We don't let the walls down and let them see that we're not so strong. We might get hurt. And good girls run from pain. 
"One of the worst consequences of the Fall is the elaborate barriers people erect between themselves and others." Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
So we leave our messed up lives in secret, ashamed before God. Ah, but we forget. 

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42
We've forgotten what is better. We've chased so hard after being good, that we stay in the kitchen, away from Jesus. 
"But Jesus is calling us to a deeper, truer, freer identity. All He wants is simply you--minus your good works, minus your perfect attendance, minus your politeness. When you really believe that, you may discover that all you want is Jesus, simply Jesus. Not just to get to heaven or to help you be a good person or do the right thing, but to simply love and be loved by Him." Grace for the Good Girl, page 36
"So now I stand at a fork in the road: I can try to figure out a way to continue making life work on my own or I can accept defeat and accept Jesus' invitation to simply Come." Grace for the Good Girl, page 25

Oh man, the freedom I found in taking that road of just going to Jesus! I quit trying. I couldn't do it. 

"Lord, I lay my good girl images before you. I can't be good enough for my parents, myself, or anyone else. My righteous acts are filthy rags. Father, I want to become a Jesus girl, not a good girl! Please, live my life for me! Let me walk through you alone! Mold me into Your image, not that of a good girl." Journal entry, 10/12/11

As Emily went on through the book in her warm personal style, identifying many of the lies that she had believed, and sharing the truth about them, I began to see the lies in my life.
"What have I been doing to make me a "bad" good girl?
-Creating expectations for myself--good sister, good daughter, friend, wife, housekeeper
--Creating expectations for my image
--Defining "good" as "perfect", instead of "walking with God."
Truth: The only place I should go to hide is the shadow of His wings.
What does being a bad good girl do to me?
--I fail to reach my expectations and feel guilty and ashamed.
--I begin to think that if I fail, I'm a failure.
Truth: My failure has been redeemed.
Truth: I will never meet God's expectations, but Jesus did on my behalf. I am freed from trying.
Truth:"We Know that God gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty."~Elizabeth Ann Steton
Truth: He will satisfy in every longing and comfort in any pain.
Truth: If the Lord delights in a man's way He makes his steps firm. Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand. Ps. 37:23&24 "Journal Entry, 10/17/11

A fresh start. A new beginning. Learning to stop trying, and just rest in Jesus. Emily delved into many practical areas of life as well, such as dealing with sin and having quiet time.
"Quiet time is no longer something I do. Rather, it is a description of what happens when I am with God."Grace for the Good Girl page 149
"There is a difference between the discipline of sitting down with God and the pleasure of knowing his voice.It is one thing to make yourself do something. It is entirely another to find pleasure in relationship." Grace for the Good Girl, page 76

It's difficult to detail the things that the book said, because, as has happened with other life changing messages in my life, the memory of what was said fades into the background of what God said to me through it. All I can say is to come broken to Jesus, and ask Him to take over. If you, like me, need some help in knowing where to begin, Grace for the Good Girl is a good place to go. Otherwise, just pray. Pray, pray, pray. Instead of trying so hard, just pray about those things that you failed at. Pray about everything! Ask God to help you get up in the morning. Ask Him to help you be self controlled and disciplined with your eating and exercising. Ask Him to give you His love for someone. Ask Him to change you from the inside out into a servant. Ask Him to give you grace with others while you head is hurting.
"Do this. Change your definition of prayer. Think of prayers less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God. Seek to live in uninterrupted awareness. Acknowledge His presence everywhere you go. As you stand in line to register your car, think, "Thank you Lord for being here." In the grocery as you shop, "Your presence my King, I welcome." As you wash the dishes, worship your maker." Max Lucado, Come Thirsty
Above all else, seek God. Desire Him above all else. Ask Him to become your one delight and passion. When you desire nothing but God, everything else changes. 

"Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Psalm 73:25

"My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek." 

Ps 27:8

Overall, this book is definitely rated a ten! I'd say it's on my list of current top five books.
1. Radical by David Platt
2. Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman
Set Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy
4. Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy
5. Praying for Your Future Husband by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer

One Month, One Hundred Gifts-October

 October was a month of many events and changes for me. At the end of September I was laid off my job, due to the store being sold. God did an amazing thing through that and gave me the best job I could ask for! I'm enjoying every day of work as the housekeeper and cook for a single mom and nanny for her two little boys (1yr and new born)! I also spent a week in Florida for the celebration of my Grandparent's 50th anniversary. During all this...I felt like an incredible failure. I felt so weak and helpless. Everything I tried to do seemed to turn back on me. But God. I love those words. But God. And His, what can I say? (Hopefully more on this soon in a post on Grace For the Good Girl.)
You turned my wailing into dancing; 
   you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 

that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. 
   O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Psalm 30:11&12

101. 10 Hours of Sleep
102. A Happy Heart
103. Sunrise and Smiles
104. Sipping cider with my baby
105. Perpetual smiles and good mood songs
106. Thirst
107. The Counselor
108. Getting to say goodbye to Mr. Hunt
110. Assurance
112. Anticipated Job Interview
113. Messed up lives
114. Strength in weakness
115. Imperfectness
116. The joy and blessing of His presence
117. His truly awesome Glory
118. His gentleness and loving kindness
119. His anger and justice
120. His mysterious ways
121. Smooth interview
122. Phone calls
123. leaves, pictures, and smiles
124. Pumpkins
125. Perfect Days

128. Painting
129. Blue Jeans
130. Handprints
131. A gift multiplied
132. Voices lifted in praise
133. Elderly voices lifted up too
134. Peace from god's care
135. Slowly forged friendships
136. A moonlit morning
136. awakened by His joy
138. Captured by His Love
139. Encouragement and sharpening
140. His delightful Touch
141. Rain!
142. The security of His love
143. A friend I can allow to see behind the masks
144. Love that casts out fear
145. The stillness
146. Lessons in relationships
147. Little bits of laughter
148. Walls taken down
149. Immanuel
150. My new job!!
151. A od who knows my name
152. Bouncing on the trampoline
153. Playing in the leaves
154. Freezing at the football game
155. Fussy Babies
156. An open door
157. Pacifiers
158. Finger kisses
159. Greedy
160. Walking in town
161. Picnics on the lawn
162. Target shooting
163. Pistols
164. Whack, whack, whack!
165. Flies in the sweet potatoes
166. Balls
167. Wagons and walks
169. A friend's growth and prayers
170. Cuddle Time
171. His promise to satisfy my desires with good things
172. Bonding time with my boss
173. Pumpkin spice and hot chocolate
174. His new job and my answered prayers
175. Research on autism being put to use
176. Missing my best friend
177. Realizing I've already fallen in love with my babies
178. Diaper changes
179. Baby swings
180. Letters and new friends
181.Small towns to walk in
182. My big boy reaching for me on the trampoline
183. Cuddles with the baby boy
184. Temptations to fight against
185. Perfect Peace
186. A new chance to trust
187. My big boy wanting to give finger kisses
188. A little chat with Brit
189. Laughing around the fire
190. God waking me up early
191. Security, knowing He knows my anxious thoughts
192. A power outage and object lessons from God
193. The big boy saying my name
194. Lovins from my big boy
195. Rearranged days
196. Time with Jenika
197. Talking with my boss in the car
198. Watching my big boy play contentedly
199. Healthy babies
200. Stares at Walmart

Friday, October 28, 2011

A narrative of a fall Sunday

This past Sunday it was so nice out, we decided to eat our lunch outside. So, we finished preparing our lunch after church and trekked it out to the lawn.

Our friend Jay came over for lunch. I believe at this moment he and Caleb were studying Katrina--perplexing, to be sure.

This is Mom.

And this is Dad. lol

I've been wanting to get some target practicing in before deer season(Opening day November 12th! yay!), so after lunch I pulled out some targets, the 22 and several boxes of ammo. Everyone got in on the fun--even Mom!

This is me. I like this.

No Mom, I don't always shoot in my Sunday clothes, only when I feel like it.

After awhile we headed over to our friends the Browns. My very good friends Cody and Chancy Brown turned 19 Sunday, so we were kind of celebrating that. After some more shooting, this time with hand guns, we played washer board for quite some time.

The story of my life. really. Except usually I've got a smile. or try to anyways.
Crystal. nuf said.

The gang around the table for an intense game of Spoons after supper.

Melody and Justin playing at the last, with Cody trying to get in on the action.

 And believe me, get in on the action he did. When everyone else sat down to watch a movie I snuck outside and gave some long deserved retribution. Long story. But it was really fun to give. =)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Perfect 100% Whole Wheat Bread

One thing that I've found since I have begun learning to eat healthy, is that I am now enjoying cooking and baking! I've always been able to do it and I did it often enough, but I never did it for fun. Now it's fun! I think it's partly because the challenge of making something healthy that tastes really good is appealing to me. I love a challenge! I also love good tasting food. And especially healthy good tasting food! I've always made the bread for our family, and I was pretty hesitant about trying something 100% whole wheat and sugar free. I don't like the whole wheat taste and texture that comes through in many things(whole wheat pasta for instance), so I wasn't very optimistic when I tried this recipe from The Healthy Choices cookbook published by Keeper's at Home. However, I was totally blown away by how good it was! Okay, actually, it wasn't very good the first time because I forgot the salt. Go figure. Don't do it, it doesn't work. However, after I tried it again, I was sold! We use Prairie Gold whole wheat flour, which is a very fine 100% whole grain flour. It has some "whole wheat taste", but the texture is mostly like white flour. I do use 3/4 c flour when a recipe calls for 1 cup, but it turns out great for picky eaters like me. I've made this bread for coworkers and friends and everyone loves it--most people can't tell it's 100% whole wheat or sugar free. Here, for you to try, is the recipe for Perfect Whole Wheat Bread.  Note: This is for a Bosch mixer. I've never made bread without one, so I can't help you if you don't have one. One day I'll learn to make bread without one, but I love this recipe so much that I haven't risked it yet. Also, this hasn't been rising very high for me. I'm considering making a double batch and still making only five or six loaves. If you divide it evenly into loaves they get as high as a bread pan, but not much over. Update10/10: I made a batch this morning into three loaves, which worked really well. I've only been using about 9 cups of flour, so it turns out to 3 cups of flour per loaf, which is what my old recipe used, so I figured that's about right. Also, I've modified this recipe for use with regular yeast instead of instant yeast.

4 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 c olive oil
1/2 c honey
1/4 c yeast
2 T lecithin(granules or liquid)
2 heaping T wheat Gluten
1 1/2 T salt
9-14 c whole wheat flour (I use mostly Prairie Gold, with some fine stone ground whole wheat as well)
Briefly mix together yeast and 1 c water in a small dish and set aside until bubbly. Put remaining water, oil, and honey in Bosch mixer. Mix briefly. Now add next four ingredients and yeast mixture. Mix briefly. Next add 6 cups flour. Mix well. Add 5 more cups flour, switch to the dough hook, and mix well again. Continue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time (while mixer is on speed 1) until dough starts cleaning side of bowl. Mix for 10 minutes on speed 1. Let set 5 minutes, put into a  large, oiled dish pan to rise. It rises best if you preheat your oven to 200 degrees, then shut the oven off, and set it inside to rise with a dish towel over top. Let it rise at least an hour. Once you feel that it is risen, divide it into 5 loaves and "spank"* each loaf as you put it into greased bread pans. Let them rise as high as you want them, then bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and let set on cooling racks. Lightly brush a stick of butter over the tops while they are still warm. Let them cool before putting into bags. Freeze until you want them and store in the fridge unless you're going to eat it really fast (As in, a day or two). To relive the moment of slicing that warm bread just after it's out of the oven, warm a thawed loaf for 1 minute to enjoy it's wonderful tastiness. Great with butter and honey, jam, apple butter, or anything else your heart should desire.

This will feel very different than your normal bread dough. The first time I made it I was sure I had flopped it. It's very elastic and unusual feeling. It also has a tendency to fall more than any other bread I've ever baked, so be careful when taking it out of the oven and pans.

*Slapping the tops with your fingers together helps eliminate air bubbles. You may also prick the tops with a fork for this purpose.
Now, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm very happy because this book is on it's way to my mailbox, courtesy of two Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks! This is how it works--you use swagbucks as your main search engine(it works just as well as google, yahoo, or anything else), and you accumulate swagbucks just for searching! You then redeem your
swagbucks for prizes or for gift cards! We've gotten a number of amazon gift cards simply just by using the search engine! There is a special promotion right now that earned me two amazon gift cards--a $10 value! I simply signed up for the free trial of Netflix, as promoted though swagbucks, and presto! Gift cards! After a week I canceled the trial, but I still have the swagbucks. If you're considering signing up for swagbucks after you've read this raving review, would you consider using one of my links to sign up so that they know I referred you? I would be delighted. =) You can go here:

One Month, One Hundred Gifts--September

I've been blessed by Ann Voskamp's quiet thoughts of blessing and gratitude at her blog,, and have decided to start my own list of One Thousand Gifts, little gifts from God for which I am grateful. I began this list on August 30th and it worked out almost perfectly to 100 gifts in this month. I thought this would be a nice habit to keep going--One Month, One Hundred Gifts. It was a blessing to read back over these as I typed them in, remembering God's goodness. So here you have, to rejoice with me, One Hundred Gifts.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Phil.4:4
  1. Healing in my body—energy!
  2. Fresh smelling crisp laundry
  3. Possessions to give away
  4. Listening to my best friend plead with God for the soul of another friend
  5. Hearing the littlest boy pray for Cody and Nepal so grown-up like
  6. Puppy dog kisses
  7. Hearing them cheer me on when they knew I was trying hard
9. Refreshing sleep
10. The pink in the sky
11. Dancing in the rain
12. Running a quarter mile
14. Her excitement over losing 20 lbs
15. Hard times at work
16. Investigating the Word together
17. Discipline
18. Time to get everything done
19. Star gazing
20. The smell of fresh bread
21. Grace
22. Promises that I will find when I seek
23. “Tansha!!”
24. Marjorie’s cheerful smile
25. Hugs at the table
26. Child training ideas
27. Their patience with me
28. Lessons children teach
29. Breaking free from my addiction
30. Rodeo sounds
31. The freedom to live as God directs
32. The security of God planning and shaping my days
33. The safety of a friend whom I can tell my hardest struggles, and know that they will still love me, pray for me, and protect my heart.
34. Raindrops
35. Tea in polka dots
37. Butterfly kisses and Eskimo hugs
39. Squeals of delight in a ball game
40. Friends showing up unannounced
41. Swinging in the moonlight
42. Seeing my breath in the air
43. Ball games
44. Wanted ads
45. An extra day at home
46. Sore throat
47. My failures
48. Death
49. Promise of the Spirit
50. Runny nose
51. Talk with Mom
52. Surprise smiles
53. Pink sunshine and lemonade
54. Heroes
55. Singing on the bus
56. Getting dumped
57. A break from work and stress
58. Quiet campfire conversations
59. Peace like a river
61. Change
62. Possibilities
63. Brother-friends
64. Best friends
65. Mommy hugs
66. Grouchy people
67. Messy rooms
68. Sock feet and squeaky floors, bare feet and stars
69. Picture perfect moments
70. A new friend
71. Sanctuary
72. Towels on the line
73. Pictures of me and the littlest boy
74. Curls in their hair
75. Wood stacked for winter
76. Being together with a little boy
77. Late night frustrations
78. Cold toes
79. A new morning
80. A sister’s growth
81. Hard choices
82. Impossibilities
83. Froggies and raindrops
84. Stillness
85. Desperation for the Spirit
86. Promises of perfect peace
87. A soul that is alive
88. A good night’s sleep
89. Contentment
90. Each breath
91. Lessons
92. Fall colors and falling leaves
93. Loss of control
94. Weakness
95. Autumn smells
96. Crickets
97. Joy in His presence
98. Pain in my shoulders
99. Kittens and boots
100. Dissapointment

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