“…for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) This is such a profound thought. God knows what we need. He knows our deepest desires, our longings, and… More
I was at an auction bidding on a small box lot. I was quickly out bid. So, walking over to the lady who had bought the box I asked her if she wanted the two small items that I had wanted. “No.” she snorted. I wondered if I might have them for a few dollars. It was a fair price, and it is a common thing done at this particular auction. “No, I’m not selling them!” She said with a snorting laugh, barely taking the time to glance at me like I might be a two headed frog. Then turning to the lady beside her, she said in a low voice, “She wanted them for two dollars!” In a tone that suggested that I was a little stupid. They both laughed to themselves. I was insulted.
Later on in the day, at the same auction, I was bidding on a different box lot. It again went too high. The lady who bought it, picked it up and came over to me saying, “I only wanted this (a pottery bird), was there something else you wanted?” I smiled and pointed at the few items that I had had my eye on. “Come over here.” She said with a smile. She walked over to a more empty table, and set the box down. She suggested a price and I agreed. She was so gracious, and her personality was bubbly and cheerful. She was such a sweet older lady, and I instantly felt happier.
See any difference?
I was instantly struck with the difference between these two women. I’m a sensitive person, and when people think I’m stupid, I feel it hard. In fact, it just about ruined the day until… Ms. World Changer waltzed into the picture. I call her that, because that is exactly who the lady in the second example was. Her sweetness just radiated around her and made me feel like smiling. It changed me in a moment.
The examples above, illustrate the two choices we have. We do have to make a choice, and I’m sure you know well what the default is!
I will mention that later, I got a chance to see the woman’s whole face from example one (I had previously seen her from the side). Though dressed in nice cloths and make-up with a fancy perm, her eyes were absolutely dead. It was painful to see not a slip of life or joy in the otherwise pretty face.
So, what is you’re choice?
Mine, is certainly the second: Have an uplifting attitude and shine life to those around me and help brighten my corner of the world. No, it’s not going to be easy all the time, but it is worth it!
Will you join me, pal?
Don’t forget to pray and ask God to help you in this feat! You’ll constantly struggle and fail, but don’t give up!
Hey folks! Here are five quotes that are sure to inspire you to live from your heart (from God’s heart really!). The first one, just might be the hardest.
“Love is counting someone else’s needs and interests as more important than your own needs or interests or comfort.” ~ Timothy Keller
Wow! This is pretty hard. In today’s “ME” culture, we’re taught that it’s okay to think about and obsess over ourselves all the time. It’s all about learning to love our Selves. But we as Christians are to put others before ourselves, as Jesus stated in John 15:12-13. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus was the perfect example when he laid himself down to be a sacrifice for all of us.
2. “The measure of a life, is not its duration, but its donation.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
This is so extremely true. I have met people who made an impact on my life before they had hardly said ten words. One young lady touched my heart when she encouraged me in her sweet, empathetic way. I haven’t seen her since, but it impacted me so much, that I still cannot forget her. An ordinary girl, with a huge heart.
3. “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
There is no need for a comment for this one, it is just so good!
4.“When I feel like stopping, either for satisfaction or despair, I remind myself – Earth is for work; there is rest enough in Heaven, when my Lord finishes with me here.” ~ Caleb Rodriguez
This is for all of you who feel as if you are in a whirlwind of activities and feel like you need to rest. (Though I’m not promoting never having a little rest!)
5. “Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.” ~ Erica Jong
This is something I feel so passionate about. Following a talent is at times challenging and difficult, but it is so rewarding in the end. It is generally the place where we feel most at home.
I think all five of these quotes put in quite simple terms what a truly beautiful life. Now let’s try to live them out!
These easy to make and fun to eat muffins are a delicious compliment to almost any meal. Perfectly chocolaty with a subtle hint of spice.
So, for that special recipe!
Spiced Chocolate Muffins
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. sour cream
5 T. milk
generous 1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
2 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 t. allspice
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips.
- Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners (two pans may be needed).
- Place the butter, powdered sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl and beat well. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, and milk until thoroughly mixed. Stir in flour, baking soda, cocoa, and allspice. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. Divide the batter evenly among the paper liners. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Best served when hot.
Since beginning to draw, in November 2015, I have continued to enjoy drawing portraits every now and then. I’m continually refining and changing my technique; sometimes drastically between portraits. It’s fun and I love it, yes, even all the hours and hours and hours spent at my desk because of it… they’re fun too!
Recently, I realized that there is something important that we can learn from drawing. And it’s this: taking everything step by step.
If I were to start working on a picture and try to
do everything at once, I would be overwhelmed, hate it, and the piece would turn out less than desirable (if it would ever be completed in the first place!). I simply cannot draw that way. I start with what I’m most inspired to do; maybe something simple, like the ears. From there I can go on and do teeny section by teeny section till finally, I realize that it’s almost done! And most times after a picture is complete, I look at the picture and think, “How on earth did I draw that? It’s way above my skill level!” And it is, unless I break it down into bitty chunks.
I believe that life is much the same way. It’s a fact: You can’t do every thing at once. It’s as simple and as complicated as that! So let’s face this. If you are ending up with a disaster because you’re taking on too many projects at one time, you’ve got to become a wise manager of your time. Okay, that sounds boring. But it’s not. Promise.
I encourage you sit down and write a list of all the things you want/need to do. Then break it down from there. Maybe do only a couple of the items on your list per day. Whatever you do, find what works best for your lifestyle.
For some of you, though, you may feel that not much is happening in your life. You feel like life is going nowhere at all. You wish something big would just happen and, voila! Life would be more interesting. I’m sorry, it’s highly unlikely that’s going to happen, unless… you continue to work with what you’ve got. Sometimes the baby steps are part of laying a foundation for something more interesting later on. Like art, the sketch is never pretty and generally looks really weird! Learn to trust God in the slumps and continue asking him to guide you. Don’t let the valleys make you discouraged! There’s so much right around you just waiting for you, but only if you are willing to take the baby steps to get there!
Learn to trust God in whatever he has for you. He can see into the future; you can’t. Ask Him to guide you, he won’t let you down! Dig into your Bible. You’ll find so many ways to do meaningful things for God right now! Little things like being a little more gracious or sharing a smile can make a difference in someone else’s life that impacts them. Ready to try? Great! Ready, set… Go!
These hearty cookies are easy to make, AND they have CHOCOLATE CHIPS which is always a bonus around me. If your kid is begging for cookies for a snack, these are a go-to. They are high in protein, really yummy, and don’t contain tons of sugar.
If you want to make a smaller batch, try using the amount given in brackets.
12 eggs, beaten 
4 1/2 c. brown sugar 
1 lb. soft butter [1/2 c.]
1 tbsp. vanilla [1 tsp.]
3 lbs. (6 3/4 c.) peanut butter [1 1/2 c.]
8 tsp. baking soda [2 tsp.]
2lb. 10-oz. box (or 14 c.) quick oatmeal [3 1/2]
2 c. chocolate chips
Measure all ingredients in a large mixing bowl in order given. Mix thoroughly. Dip with ice cream dipper (I use an extra large cookie dipper) onto greased cookie sheet. You may need to push them down so they are flatter.
(Optional: place several M&M’s on the top of each cookie.)
Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes. Do not over bake! Theses are flat moist cookies. For slightly thicker cookie, include 1 or 2 cups flour.
Yield: about 144 monstrous cookies.
Finally, I got around to doing a portrait of a little (ahem), I mean small girl. Or, more precisely, me when I was about five. I didn’t count the hours, but it probably took the longest of any picture I’ve drawn. I had great fun applying some new techniques to the hair, that I had learned through observation on Pinterest.
A Little Tip: A quite important thing I learned, is when drawing a child, you’ll want to make the skin lighter than in the original picture. Accent the dark areas, but let the highlights shine. Excess graphite will make the child look much more mature than he/she actually is, and can cause much aggravation that could easily be avoided.
When it comes to banana bread, there is one particular recipe that stands out from the rest. It is sooo delicious and you can’t go wrong. Moist and fluffy with a perfect dose of chocolate chips, it’s perfect for a snack, to go along with your supper, or even as a light dessert.
I got the recipe from my cousin, Valerie, after she made an amazing loaf of it for our family for Christmas. Yup! It makes a great gift too! Who doesn’t like banana bread?
When I made it, I was juggling making banana bread and baking Monster Cookies (another amazing recipe I should post). I was tired and just trying to get my scattered brain to focus and get things done in an orderly manner. Before I knew it, the bread was in the pans and in the oven, and I thought to myself with a jolt, “Why, how on earth did it go that fast?” While it takes a little longer than most breads to bake, the actual time spent putting it together is quite minimal.
Valerie’s Banana Bread
(preheat oven to 325)
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup oil
3 cups (about 6) mashed bananas
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine dry ingredients and stir into the first mixture just until moistened:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Fold in: (optional)
1 – 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
Pour batter into 2 or 3 greased and floured loaf pans (9x5x3). Cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 20-30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted tests done. Do not over bake. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool banana bread completely.
It’s just that easy!
1-2-3 and it’s done! A promised delicious result!
So here’s the question: what is the purpose of music? First answer: to listen to! Obviously, if music was never listened to, there would be no use for it. But I think the question is more like, why does it benefit (or degrade) us spiritually, physically, and emotionally? That question, however, is quite broad, as music styles range from my personal favorite, choir and orchestra, to gospel, bluegrass, country, jazz, rock, and many others. The effects of these different styles can vary greatly, so I will focus in on Christian music; music that is dedicated to the glory and honor of our Heavenly Father. It’s not my purpose to rant about what styles I think that includes or excludes, but rather leave it to you to decide in your own heart what music you feel truly pleases God.
When we create music, it should be for:
- The glory and honor of our Lord, Jesus Christ
- The furtherance of His Kingdom
- The edification of the Saints.
Performance should be secondary. Not because it’s wrong to perform well, but because when there is too strong an emphasis on performance, the music loses its message. In my post on The Greatest Audience, I describe further how the greatest audience truly is Jesus Christ because he is bigger than any other audience we could ever have. Yes, God loves music well done. But He loves even more, when it is done to Him.
If this is what creating music should look like, than shouldn’t that be the purpose of listening to it as well?
So why does music speak to us even if it is a piece with no words? Simply put, it’s because music is spiritual communication. It is the only language that all human beings can understand.
So let’s put all this into a condensed list.
The purpose of Godly music is:
- To honor and glorify God
- To edify the saints
- To convey a message that can’t be spoken
- To shine a brilliant light to those around us in the world.
Isn’t that cool?
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
There’s an awful lot that goes into being a skilled musician… practice, practice, and more practice. Plus, there are the lessons that have to be counted in as well. Sometimes we musicians come to that desperate point where we feel that we will either determinedly keep on practicing and become skilled with that instrument (or voice), or trash the whole idea right then and there. Sometimes for me, the trashcan seems terribly tempting. Sound familiar? But wait! Before you choose to give up, there’s a bonus to being a musician! Creating music (in general) is scientifically proven to have a lot of benefits. Here is a cool little diagram originally shared by Sheet Music Plus on Google +.
Sound too amazing? Well then, good. Keep it up and good luck! 😉