October 31, 2012

Coffee Shop Inspiration

Not to make ya'll jealous or anything, but as I type away at my keyboard I'm sitting in an adorable little coffee shop sipping the last bit of an amazingly yummy mocha frappe through a big pink straw. Having just finished a lovely chat with a dear friend, I thought I'd pull out my laptop and type out a few things that are on my heart. Ya know, coffee shops seem to hold an abundant source of inspiration. The warm colors, comfy chairs, and calming atmosphere create a great space for thinking. And writing.

Alright, fast forward with me several hours, and change locations. I'm now situated in a comfy chair in my living room, no longer all "dressed up" for an afternoon with friends but in sweat pants. Though I didn't have time to get all of my thoughts typed out earlier, my "coffee shop inspiration" still whirls around in my head. It's late, and the house is silent except for the rhythmic ticking of the clock. As I sit here, many things run through my mind, but one thing in particular continues to weigh on my heart...

Change locations with me one last time. But this time I want to take you to the heart of one of the most impoverished continents in the world: Africa. Outside of a small, dirty hut, a thin girl is gathering sticks for their fire, her tiny stomach pinched with hunger and lifeless eyes devoid of all hope. Her mother is dead and her father abandoned her and her siblings several years ago. She now lives with her elderly grandmother who hardly has enough food to feed herself, let alone the four children she now has living with her. All this little girls wants is hope, in a place where none is to be found. She wants to know that she is loved. She wants to know that someone actually cares about her.

While the scenario that I described above is not based off of any particular story, it's an all too common occurrence. Not only in little African villages, but all over the world. There are kids who just want someone to love them and give them hope. Now, I'm not trying to run an "advertisement" or make anyone feel pressured...but one organization that has impacted me is Compassion International. Their program allows you to sponsor a child, but not only by helping to pay for their education and participation in the program. You also having the opportunity to personally correspond with that child! As a sponsor, not only am I able to tell a child that they are loved, but it is such a blessing to me as well! To know that a child on the other side of the world is praying for me? And to know that the Compassion program has given them the chance of finding the only true and lasting hope - Jesus Christ? It's a pretty amazing feeling! All I'm asking of you is that you prayerfully consider how the Lord is asking you to reach those who are looking for hope. Maybe He'll lead you to sponsor a child, or maybe He's asking you to reach out to a single mom in your neighborhood. I don't know what He is calling you to do, but I do know that obedience is an amazing adventure!

Well, thanks for joining me on my little trip around the globe. We stopped at an adorable coffee shop, chatted in my living room, and even visited Africa. Pretty productive evening, wouldn't you say? Or maybe I just have a hard time staying on topic? Whatever the case may be, thanks for sitting down and letting me share my heart with you!

(Be on the lookout for a fashion - yes fashion - post coming up soon! I have a review that I'm looking forward to sharing with all of you!!)

October 26, 2012

Choose Joy

The day before had been a long one, and the night had been short. When I woke up yesterday morning, let's just say I didn't feel like being cheerful. I was tired. I was slightly grouchy. And I felt like going back to bed.

During my devotions that morning, God challenged me. I was reminded that each day I have a choice. A choice between throwing a pity party for myself or being joyful. One verse that came to mind was "Be joyful always, pray continually." I realized that I had a choice before me, and my response to that choice would determine how my day went. So I asked God to help me be joyful, even though I wasn't feeling joyful. And you know what? I had a pretty good day.

God showed me how many things - even little things - that I had to be thankful for. I have the opportunity to learn. I have an amazing family who I love a ton. I have the freedom to worship God. I have a roof over my head and I never wonder if I will have to go to bed hungry. God has blessed me more than I could ever deserve, and has given me so many reasons to be joyful.

And for a little bonus that made my day even brighter, that afternoon my sister Sarah and I made Oreo Cheesecake for her birthday. We laughed a lot and ate way too much cream cheese filling. We made a mess of the kitchen as we measured and mixed, but it was so much fun! (And I'll have to say that the final product of all our work was pretty good too...it tastes as yummy as it looks!)

Life would be dull and boring without joy! So take a look around and look at all that God has given you to be thankful for. Today you and I have a choice...choose JOY!

October 20, 2012

One Life...One Chance

It's a word that scares some people, and yet for others it's something that just seems to come naturally. For some, organizing people, putting on events, and being "in charge" is totally their thing, and then there are those who would rather just follow the leader.

Recently I've come to realize an important thing about leadership. It doesn't just come with being a certain position of authority or having a certain personality, it's a lifestyle. Whether you like it or not, you are leading people by the way you live. As Christians, people watch the way we act, how we talk, and even how we dress. Yikes...that's kind of a lot of pressure if you ask me! Even if you are the type of person who is scared out of your mind by the thought of having to lead something, people are watching you. Not in a creepy sort of way, but I think you know what I mean. Your younger siblings, that neighbor girl across the street, those you come in contact with throughout the day...they are looking to see if you really live out this "Christian-thing" you claim to have.

You don't have to be in a position of "importance" to lead. As Christians, we have the responsibility to not only proclaim that we love the Lord, but then to show that to be true by our actions. People take note when they see us living a life that is different from that of the world. We only have one life. And that one life has one purpose - to glorify God. How are we handling that responsibility? Leadership isn't just a position...it's a lifestyle.

1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

October 6, 2012

>> Cheesy Potato Soup >>

Nothing tastes better than a bowl of steaming soup on a chilly autumn evening. Vegetable soup, tomato soup, chili, chicken noodle soup, clam chowder...I even had a chance to try pumpkin soup a couple of weeks ago (and it was really good!). But of all the soups that I've tried, my all time favorite remains cheesy potato soup. I was sort of craving it a few days ago, so I volunteered to make it for supper. It's the perfect blend of cheesy-ness and tender veggies on a chilly evening. Only problem is that I accidentally put in way too much cheese...instead of doubling it like I did with the rest of the recipe, I quadrupled it. Still not sure how that happened...

So, if you're looking for an idea for supper tonight, here's a suggestion. It doesn't take a ton of effort, and it's quite delicious :)

Cheesy Potato Soup

- 2 or 3 cups potatoes, diced
- 1 1/2 cups celery, diced
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 3 cups milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 6 oz. Velveeta cheese
- 2 cups water
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes

Bring water and bouillon cubes to a boil. Add first 4 ingredients and cook until vegetables are tender. Add milk, flour, and cheese until well blended. Serve hot. Can use broccoli or cauliflower if desired.