Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pumpkin Season!

In honor of favorite explosion of pumpkin! I found an ode to the pumpkin that sums it up much more eloquently than I ever could, over at Please allow me to share:

"We found our favorite canned organic pumpkin back on the store shelves this week. So be prepared for pumpkin recipes. I, for one, Darling, can't get enough. Pumpkin is my favorite fall ingredient. Maybe because it cozies up to gluten-free flours so well. It adds moisture and depth to g-free baked goods. It flirts with cinnamon and ginger like the sexiest, inscrutable movie star. You know what I'm talking about. It's not overt. Or blatant. It's not over the top. It is subtle. Secure. Pumpkin doesn't demand to be admired.

Because it doesn't have to prove itself.

It's not a bully flavor that crushes gentler flavors in its wake. It doesn't bark and claw to be Top Dog twenty-four seven. It doesn't have a deep seated need to own the room, to dominate, to control the ingredients it shares a bowl with. Pumpkin goes with the flow. It likes vanilla. And it likes chocolate.

You could say, it's bi-flavorful.

Which as it so happens, is a quality I admire. Even embody and embrace. Because life is brimming with diversity. Life is rich and complicated, sticky and glorious. And for every preference I may think I cherish, there are sure to be a dazzling array of alternative preferences twinkling beyond my peripheral vision like so many bokeh jewels.

Read more:"

These are some off the beaten path pumpkin recipes I am trying this season...

Veggie Pumpkin Seed Quinoa Salad

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How Great is Our God

I don't know about you, but I need a daily dose of perspective with the way that life is lately. When everything around me seems to be falling apart and everyone around me is struggling with all kinds of issues it's easy to become discouraged and forget exactly Who is in charge and how AWESOME He is. I needed to be reminded today how BIG God is and how much He cares, so I popped in the Louie Giglio DVD How Great is Our God. It leaves me in awe every time and reminds me how small and insignificant my worries are. If you have never seen this DVD I highly recommend it. Check out this link to see a snippet of the video about Laminin, the amazing protein God created that holds us all together.

May your worries fade today as you melt into the arms of Jesus :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

I will never be able to watch reality television the same way after this week. It's Hollywood, people...lots of staging and lots of re-takes. I have often watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and wondered what really went on behind the scenes. Well now I know! Ty, Paul, Ed, Paige, and the rest of the awesome crew from EMHE pulled into town and surprised a very special and deserving family this week: CJ and Lindsay McPhail and their three sweet boys (whom I have met on several occasions!). I was excited and honored to be able to help out in some small way...even though my shift was after the big reveal. I watched the house go up all week and saw the community come together to raise over $50,000 and help in so many ways. For hours I waited in anticipation with nearly 1,000 others to yell MOVE THAT BUS and see the family's first glimpse of their fabulous new home. Then after all the excitement was over I spent the day picking up garbage, moving barricades, taking apart signs, dancing, singing, and chatting with the crew and some great local people with big hearts. The day after the reveal the family was still filming their reactions to the inside of the house and twice I was asked to be in a scene, but then they canceled on me. O well...I don't have a need to be on television or be famous. It was just exciting to help.

Everybody wanted to be a part of this project or at least talk about it...but why? I have been asking myself this question, as I know some of the rest of you in this area have too. It's fun to have a project that the whole community can be involved in. And of course it is exciting to have film stars like Ty Pennington in town, and camera crews, and the chance to get a few seconds of fame. Maybe it's the chance to get one of those signature blue Extreme Makeover t-shirts to prove that we were involved. But when there are no shirts involved, no camera crews or publicity, and no movie stars, there will still be thousands of hurting and needy people in this valley-people with no home at all, children who struggle with illnesses, mothers who fight every day to be able to feed their children, families that are breaking apart. Will we care about those people? Will we do something about it? Will we rally around those in need to love them and meet their needs? Will we pool our resources to take care of one another? I loved watching this community rally around the McPhails this week. It is my hope and prayer that this would be the beginning of a revival here in the Rogue Valley. Let's continue to love and serve one another, people. Let us glorify God and live in true community as he intended us to live. What do you say? Will you join me in praying for this community and reaching out to those around you?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Year of Learning

I just recently passed the one year mark of being sick and mostly stuck at home with random and somewhat mysterious health problems. I praise God that He has brought me through and I am feeling much better these days. Though this journey has seemed long, emotional, and full of valleys I rejoice in who I am becoming, because of Him, through it all. As I have pondered what specific way I have grown and things I have learned this year, I came up with this list. I'm sure it is not comprehensive, but it's a pretty good start...

God's nearness on the lonely sleepless nights

On those nights when I laid awake for hours in the dark, shaking and feeling like I was going to die, the only One who could bring me comfort was my Savior. I prayed, read scripture, and listened to praise music on YouTube. He got me through every night and gave me breath each morning.

Compassion for those who struggle with hidden illnesses

When you have a disability that shows on the outside people see it and they treat you with compassion and understanding (hopefully!). But when you have an illness that nobody can see or understand it is difficult. You feel the need to constantly explain so people know how you feel or you just wish for people to GET it. I understand that much more clearly now.

God uses the most unlikely people to encourage

People I never talked to and hardly knew took time this year to send me cards, pray for me, and encourage me. People I never expected that God would nudge to speak into my life. They shared their own stories of illness and struggle and together we were able to praise God in everything.

Living an adventurous and full life doesn't always mean traveling and changing scenery

The past ten years of my life I have traveled a great deal and experienced so many wonderful places. I am grateful for those opportunities, but I recognize now that while traveling is awesome the adventurous life God calls us to live does not always HAVE to include travel and moving to be exciting and meaningful.

Every small thing is a gift from God

From the morning glory blooming in my yard to the friends that enrich my life...I have begun to write it all down in a notebook each day and not take for granted all the beauty around me. Life has slowed down and while it doesn't always seem exciting I have plenty of time these days to enjoy all the small things.

Trials are a gift from God

Difficult and painful circumstances may seem like they are consequences or just seasons to survive, but indeed they are a gift. They draw us closer into the presence of Christ. They build our character and develop us into more mature, compassionate beings. When we suffer with Christ, we also are able to share in his victory and blessing.

Perseverance produces character

I've read it a thousand times and believed it every time. But now I KNOW it first hand.


So much about this year has been very humbling. I've had to be very dependent on the Lord and others. I have had to give up so much of what I love to do. He has refined me and humbled me in my ideas and stripped me of much pride. Thank you Jesus.

The crippling power of fear

I've never experienced fear like I have this year. It's horrible. I hate it. I will overcome it. In His power. Now I can better understand those who struggle with so many different fears every day.

In person friends are vital

O, how I have missed so many of my dearest friends who are in other states and other countries and cannot be by my side. I shall never take good friends near me for granted. And thank you to the few people who have taken the time to encourage me with a hug or a visit this year.

It is important to respect people's fears even while helping them to overcome

when I didn't struggle with fear it was easy to dismiss another person's fears as silly and just expect them to get over it. I can now say from experience that is not helpful. It is important to acknowledge a person's fears and be sensitive while pushing them to face what makes them afraid.

Spiritual growth takes time-it can't be rushed

I've never been one who liked to wait a long time to see results. I like to make things happen..quickly. Unfortunately spiritual growth doesn't work that way. I used to try and grow quickly. Silly me. Day by day, moment by moment, trial by trial; He stretches us and shapes us and teaches us to let go of ourselves and identify with Him.

Dying to self means letting go of my longings and ideas of my ideal life in this world

I used to have so many aspirations, so many passions, so many goals, so many ideas about what I thought I might do with my life. This year I have learned to let go of so much and yield to whatever my Lord's plan entails. It is much greater than my plan. I am sure of it. Maybe I won't live in Africa. Maybe I won't continue to travel all over the world. Maybe I won't teach thousands of kids. Or maybe I will. Either way I'm okay with it.

I NEED children in my every day life

Children bring me immense joy. They bring healing and make me smile. I have had very little interaction with kids this year and that has been so difficult for me. I need them and I look forward to hanging with kiddos on a regular basis again one day soon.

It is okay to let go of some friendships or allow them to change

I've met a lot of great people over the years in many different places. I have diligently attempted to keep in touch with most of them. But some just don't work out. People don't write back. People change. People get busy. Some people are friends for life and some people are friends for a season..and that's okay. I don't have to fight to keep every friendship alive forever. Thanks to all the people who have impacted my life over the years, to all those who are still here reading my ramblings, and to those who are so faithful to pray for me. I am so blessed.