Sunday, October 25, 2009

The More I Seek You, Lord

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.
Jeremiah 29:11-14

Blessing on your day today,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Fun

I thought I would join in the fun today at All The Small Stuff and...

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam because I have a great cupcake recipe to share with you for Halloween. Please visit these two very talented ladies later to view all of the mouthwatering recipes from the other participants. Thank you ladies for hosting this fun event!

Last weekend we had an Octoberfest block party in our neighborhood. I was asked to make some cupcakes for the event and after searching the internet for some ideas, I came up with these:
Hmmm....not the best photos but you get the idea! These were taken very early in the morning so I am showing both pictures - with flash and without flash. I made these beauties at 4:00 in the morning before I left for work so that my hubby could take them to the party - hence the rush job on the lettering! The kiddos didn't seem to mind though :-)

So simple to make and not too scary for the little ones! They were a huge hit and disappeared quickly.

If I were to make these again I would probably use a different frosting for the word"Boo". The gel icing wasn't thick enough and made it kind of messy to eat.

The "tombstones" were made with NutterButter Cookies

I dipped them in melted white chocolate. You could probably use the Milano cookies from Pepperidge Farms instead if you wanted to leave them plain.

These cupcakes are so rich because I used my favorite cupcake recipe - you could always use a mix from a box for these as well.
Here is my very favorite cupcake recipe - I am sure they will be your favorite too. They have cream cheese and chocolate chips in the middle of them - yummy!

Black Bottom Cupcakes
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tsps vanilla
3/4 cup oil

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
8 oz. cream cheese
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips

Mix cupcake ingredients in bowl. Pour into cupcake containers. Fill halfway.
Mix filling ingredients except chips.Whip until fluffy, add chocolate chips. Spoon heaping teaspoon of filling in center of each cupcake. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Check with toothpick. Store in refrigerator.
Hope you enjoy them!
Blessings to you,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Look Who's Reading You

I am heading off to work this morning so I won't be able to join in with all of you today at Spiritual Sundays until I get home. I don't have time to "pretty up" this post so you are reading it in it's raw form today!

I wanted to share a great devotion that I read every morning. I have recently subscribed to Our Daily Bread and am enjoying it so much. If you have never read this powerful devotional, I highly recommend it! So many powerful messages in such a little book. I can't wait to read it every morning!

Here is a great message that I read yesterday:

Look Who's Reading You
I heard about a judge who used bumper stickers to encourage better driving. He gave two options to people guilty of driving while intoxicated.
The first option was to attach this message to their bumper. "This car owned by a convicted drunk driver." Almost all offenders preferred the judge's second option: Enroll in an alcohol treatment program. The majority of people cared about what others thought of them and wanted to maintain a good image.
The fear of embarrassement applies to other kinds of unacceptable behavior as well. For example, not many of us would be willing to walk around with a sign on our backs that read something like this: "Danger: I am a Christian who doesn't spend time in prayer or Bible study."
Nor would we want to wear a sign that read:"Warning: I am a child of God who gossips too much," or "Be careful: I'm controlled by lust rather than love."
If God required us to display such a sign, would our desire for the respect of others keep us from revealing our true spiritual condition? The way we answer that question says a lot about our sense of shame before the Lord, who judges us accurately. (1 Peter 1:17). Is it possible that we fear His opinion LESS than we fear the opinion of others?
Mart De Haan 11

Be Holy
13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
16for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
17Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
24For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord stands forever."And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:13-25

Blessings to you today,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Courage In The Midst Of Danger

I encourage you to stop by and visit all of the participants of Spiritual Sundays. Such an uplifting way to spend a Sunday! Read a variety of wonderful devotions, Bible passages, and listen to edifying music while praising the Lord on His special day of rest for your soul. A special thank you to Charlotte and Ginger for organizing this awesome event for us each week!

I found an awesome video to share with you this week. It is a news clip of an inspiring woman who has touched the hearts of many with her bravery. I fell in love with this sweet woman and know that you will too.

Even in the midst of danger she saw an opportunity to share Christ!

Blessings to you,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

God's Confidence

Self Confidence is something I severely lack. God has been teaching me how to turn this negative into a positive these past few weeks that I have been working at my new job. There have been so many times that I have wanted to run screaming for the nearest door! So many times that I have questioned myself - whether I TRULY have heard the call on my life to do this job - or if I have just stepped into something WAY over my head. Through this journey, God is showing me that I truly can't do any of this on my own - every day I must fully rely on Him to get me through it. I hope that by sharing this today - that perhaps YOU will begin to see yourself in my struggles and realize that YOU TOO can serve God in the capacity He has called you to. If I can do it - BELIEVE ME - so can you!

I have been working as a Nursing Assistant for about a month now in a long term care unit in a hospital. While I truly love being able to serve these dear deserving people in this capacity, I also realize my limitations for this job. I am not as efficient in my work as some of the aides in our unit. I am often clumsy - I know this about myself and therefore I try to tackle a job slowly so as not to cause an injury to the dear person I am caring for. I am not a mechanically inclined person either - buttons and gadgets tend to frustrate me and I can look at them every which way and they don't make sense -so if asked to fix something, or if I need to adjust a bed, wheelchair, etc. I am out of my comfort zone and end up taking forever to complete a simple task. While the other Aides are finished with their tasks for the day I am still working on mine and usually am dashing around up until the last minute trying to get everything completed.

Because of these limitations I ask myself everyday why God would want to use ME in this way - Why am I being called to do this work? What could I possible have to offer to this job?

Friday evening was an extremley hard night. I prayed as I always do before every shift, that God would help me do the best job I could for these dear people He had put in my care. I have been working in this particular unit now for a few weeks and am becoming familiar with my patients and their routines - but this particular night was a difficult night for one of my patients, because he had just lost a beloved brother unexpectedly that day. Because of this, he was extremly agitated most of the evening. He kept using his call light every few minutes - asking me to adjust his pillow, hand him his remote, raise his head...lower his his wife, call his sister, hand him a cookie - you name it- he asked for it! This dear man has a disease that has severly contracted his body so that he is unable to do simple tasks for himself. He is in extreme pain and has a hard time getting in a right position that will allow his poor body to relax. On this particular night it was near impossible to help him get into a comfortable position. I raised his head as he asked me to - only to have him ask me to keep lowering it until we were back to the very position I had started at. I sat with him and talked to him about his brother and held his hand - hoping that by doing so it would allow him some time to relax his ravaged body enough so that the medicine that the nurse had just given him could take affect and help him fall asleep comfortably. As I sat with him, an aide rushed into the room and admonished me saying, "Do you realize you have been in here for more than 30 minutes? You just can't take this much time with these people or you will never get finished!"
She proceeded to whisk me out of the room and stayed with me, helping me finish my rounds. She told me that I really shouldn't be an aide -that my heart was too big for this job! She told me that I needed to learn to say no and walk out of rooms quicker or I would never be able to finish the tasks set before me. She told me people were beginning to talk and wonder if I truly had the experience doing this work that I said I did on my application!

I was devastated! I fought back the tears and the urge to run for the nearest door. I felt like a utter and complete failure! How could God use me - even the Aides around me were losing faith that I could do this work! I began to feel extremely sorry for myself.

I have been reading a book that is very convicting. It is written by Kay Warren and is called "Dangerous Surrender - What Happens When You Say Yes To God?"
As I pondered yesterday over the events of Friday night, I read these words from the book:
"God prepares a cross for you that you must embrace without thoughts of self-preservation. The cross is painful. Accept the cross and you will find peace even in the middle of turmoil. Let me warn you that if you push the cross away, your circumstances will become twice as hard to bear. In the long run, the pain of resisting the cross is harder to live with than the cross itself."


I also read these words:
"To want to serve God in some conditions, but not in others, is to serve Him in your own way. But to put no limits on your submission to God is truly dying to yourself. This is how to worship God. Open yourself to God without measure. Let His life flow through you like a torrent. Fear nothing on the road you are walking. God will lead you by the hand. Let your love for Him cast out the fear you feel for yourself."

Did you get that? I will repeat it - "Let your love for HIM cast out the fear you feel for yourself." WOW! Powerful words aren't they? I stand convicted when I read this!

Now...the part of the story that I DIDN'T tell you is this - I was called to the office of the nurse supervisor for our floor. I was very nervous and just SURE that she was going to point out all of the wrong things that I had been doing. She didn't. Instead, she told me that she had been hearing wonderful things about me from the patients and from the staff. She told me that the patients loved me for my kindness and that the staff felt that I had been very helpful to them and always willing to lend a helping hand. A few nurses had told her about my professionalism and work ethic. The few who were grumbling about my work were coming from individuals who were gossipers and who happened to complain about everyone in the building! She went on to ask me if I had ever considered a permanent position on that floor! As I have said before - I work on an "as needed" basis right now - but this kind lady told me that when a position opened up - she would put in a good word for me because they "needed good workers on this floor."

Wow! It is amazing that we see ourselves so much differently than others do! The devil had tried to whisper negative words in my ear to try to turn me aside from the job the Lord had called me to do. Had I LISTENED to the words, I would have run - like I always had before.

God's work is never easy - it is not for MY glory that I do it - but for GOD'S glory! THIS I need to constantly remember! God will help me in my weakness - HE will be my strength. This is His promise to me - THIS I have to remind myself of daily!

All of the supposed "inadequacies" - that I whisper in my own ear - how many times have they kept me from doing the Lord's work! How many times have I played right into the devil's hands?
How he LOVES to use our own self worth against us! We MUST remember though - "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."
I hope that this story will help you realize that YOU TOO can do the Lord's work - right where you are at today! Let Him use you and you will be amazed at how you will grow through the process.
God's richest blessings to you as you do the work He has called you to do,