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Monday, July 25, 2011

Humbled by my kids...again

Once again I have been humbled by my kids. This weekend we moved the majority of our things over to our new house. It didn't work out to move it the weekend we actually move because we didn't have help to do it. My cousin Angie and her family kept all three kids over the weekend so we could move as much as possible without having to feed and put kids to bed and out of trouble. I picked them up Monday morning and I warned Maddie that the apartment would be different. I warned her that our things are at the new house but that there were still a few toys to play with and we have beds to sleep on.

Maddie walked into the living room and exclaimed, "What!" She then went into all the other rooms and in each room exclaimed, "what!" When she got to her room she said the same What!, but then she saw her bed and said, "oh, my bed!" She then went about playing with Naomi and Titus with the few toys we do have here.

It hasn't fazed Titus and Naomi that our sofa and recliner are not in the living, they haven't noticed that our dinning room table isn't were it should be. What they have noticed is that they have a few toys, each other to play with, and Mommy and daddy are here.

Lesson learned, life isn't what you have, life is who you have! This is actually a biblical truth. Everything including my life could be taken from me and life still boils down to who I know, not what I have! Life is about knowing Jesus Christ, who saves us from our sins, who has covered me with His blood!

Life isn't about what you have, but who you have!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Corrie Ten Boom and Harriet Tubman

Corrie Ten Boom and Harriet Tubman are two women whom most after reading their stories would say, "Wow, these women are amazing." I am among such people who says this. But after reading about the lives of these women I think they would both would say with confidence, they were only the servants of the Lord doing his work during a horiffic and tragic time. Both women experianced a type of imprisionment, both experianed cruelty at the hands of those they would see as lost, hurting souls in need of Jesus. Both women felt the call from God to rescue people out of the hands of slave masters and nazi soliders. If caught both of these women could have faced punishment that could have certainly brought about their death. Yet, leaning on the Lord, they both Trusted the Lord with all their hearts and leaned NOT on their own understanding, in all their ways God directed their path. They trusted that whatever happened, God was still good and still loving.

 These women trusted God with their griefs, sorrows, and the injustices of this world. Harriet trusted God so throughly that when He told her to get off of a road she got off. When the Lord told her to hide, she hid. She knew the voice of God without a shadow of a doubt. Corrie trusted God so throughly that she did not fear death and was able to bring those around her in the concentration camps to the eternal life in Jesus.

After reading so many of Corrie Ten Boom's books and after reading about Harriet Tubman, I want what they have with God! An ability to trust God no matter what they may come up against. To trust God with my emotions, my money, my relationships, and everything that passes by me in this life. The thing these ladies had was relationship! They dwelt at Jesus feet, they needed to be near Jesus, they needed to cling to him like my kids do when there are strangers around they don't know. These ladies were able to look beyond circumstance, because they had a relationship with Jesus that was greater than their circumstance. Life is NOT about circumstance, it is about relationship! It is about trusting God with all my heart and leaning not on my understanding, and in all my way acknowledging the ONE TRUE GOD, and He WILL (not maybe or he'll think about it, not just a minute) direct MY path.

My question to myself is this, "What does my relationship with Jesus look like and what areas are there that I need Jesus to search and see if there is any wicked way in me. To see if there is anything that under fire would take my eyes off of Him." I am comforted by the words of Corrie Ten Boom's father. When Corrie was young she went on an outting with her father, Corrie told her father she was afraid to die. Corrie's father told her that death is like a ticket that you pick up once you are at the train station. Once you get the ticket God will give you the courage you need.

I acknowledge that God does indeed bring what I need when I need it. When Mark was in school and we didn't have much money for groceries or we didn't know how a bill would get paid, we would find food in our cupboards and bills paid in full. We even had someone give us a vehicale! With this knowledge that God is taking care of me even now, he will of course take care of me in the gravest and darkest of times.

Relationship, it all starts and end with relationship! Father God make me hungry for time with you. May I never be fullfilled until I have sat at your feet. Let me, like Harriet and Corrie be used for your kingdom and your glory. Harriet and Corrie's lives were not about being brave or hero's, it was about bringing people to the saving power of Jesus, it was about doing what they did because Jesus asked them to.

What is Jesus asking you to do? If he has asked you, then he will supply all the means you need to fullfill the task!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What does it mean to be satisfied?

"I know some may shake their heads while thinking I take all this God stuff too seriously. And I would have to agree completely. I've tasted the deep satisfaction of God and I know all other things are but cheap imitations. And I don't want to be enamored by the lesser things wrought with momentary pleasure."
-Made to Crave, by Lysa Terkeurst-

What do you crave? What things absolutely scare you to loose? Does it scare you to think of not being loved? Do you cringe at rejection? When you find for one reason or another you are being "denied" that craving, how do you react? Do you panic? Do you cry, get angry? Do you pick up the quickest, easiest thing to pacify your craving?

I personally have two answers. My answers depend on if I answer in the flesh on my own strength or if I enter into it in the spirit. If I answer in the flesh I am going to be grouchy, irritable, and I am going to probably act like a tiger in a cage desperate to get out.

I have a deep craving to be loved. It use to and sometimes still scares me to think of someone denying me their love. I desire and crave answers to all the questions women ask. "Am I beautiful? Am I worth loving? Will I be persuade."

 If I answer in the spirit this can look like a couple different things. There are times when I am in perfect peace and contentment in knowing that God in heaven is in charge and knows full well what is going on. I have peace and am rooted in the truth of the scriptures and what they tell me about who I am and who God is. There are other times when I still go to God but I am either grieving what I think I am loosing or I get rebellious towards God with a rebellious heart. Weather I go to God grieving or rebellious I have gone to the right person for both. He is the God of comfort, He is the God of truth, and will walk me through my grief. He is also wonderful in aligning me with His authority and reminding me that he has my good in mind, but doing it  in a way that only my amazing everlasting love Father God could do. He is able to take my rebellious heart and align it with His will, bringing me to a place of peace.

For me being satisfied is only possible through Jesus Christ, who is able through His blood to bring me before the Father of this world to fill my deepest voids. To heal my deepest wounds, to bring everlasting joy and peace into my life. Everlasting joy and peace are possible, everlasting love is possible. But it is only possible with God, through Jesus Christ. Anything else will leave you craving and wanting something else. Relationships will not be enough, the chocolate bar will not be enough, alcohol, sex, nothing will be enough. God has made us with a beacon inside of us that is looking for Him and until you connect with Jesus your beacon will always drive you nuts because you won't know how to shut it off until you meet Jesus. He will switch your beacon from driving you nuts, to a beacon that will need to be shut off with daily meetings with the Father. Meetings that will fill your soul, that will satisfy you in a way you never thought possible.

Don't know how to be satisfied with Jesus? You don't know what it all means. I would LOVE to walk  you through what it means, how you start a relationship with Jesus. I invite you to come be satisfied with Jesus!


Titus David Russell, is my son, he's my youngest by a whopping 13 minutes. He is a love bug who gives fabulous hugs, he is mechanical and we are often amazed at how he can figure things out. He loves playing with his sisters, but he also enjoys picking on them. I am forever amazed at how different he is from our girls. I realize the obvious difference. But you have to take in consideration that I had two sisters and zero brothers. Boys are a whole nother realm to me. I am pleased that my son is all boy! He has been walking around shooting things pretty much from birth, I distinctly remember him pointing his sippy cup at Mark and shooting him, while making the gun noises. He discovered the other day that when you push two things into each other at a rapid rate it makes a very fun crashing sound. He now crashes his tonka cars, he crashes into his sisters, anything he things would make a fun crashing sound, he thinks is great.

One of these boy moments hit home with me and God used it as a parable in my life. I can only chalk this moment up to a boy moment. Titus was standing on the couch, he turned around, and ran and leaped off the couch. Now I don't know how he thought he was going to land, he simply thought hmm I'm going to run and jump off the couch. Thankfully I was sitting beside him and quickly grabbed his hand and helped him land a little smoothier. He thought that was great and proceded to do it a couple more times. Now I can vouch and tell you my girls have never thought, "hey, I'm going to run and jump off the couch".

After thinking on this leaping episode a bit. God then spoke to me, he reminded me that there have been plenty of times in my life when I have leaped without thinking what the consequences would be or worse lept knowing there would be consequences but I didn't care. God also reminded me that when I have leaped he has grabbed my hand and helpd me have a smootheir landing. There have been times when God has felt it safe enough to allow me to belly flop. Two things can happen when I am allowed to belly flop. One, get embarrssed and throw a tantrum because I'm made I flopped. The second option is to humbly accept that I flopped, ask for forgiveness, and see to reconcile with God and those I may have hurt in the flopping process.

When I look at Titus, I often think to myself as God spoke to Jesus, there is MY son in whom I am well pleased. The next time I watch my son leap, I will remember there is one bigger than I who is ready to catch my son and who loves him more than I do. One who knows when it is best to let Titus belly flop or when to grab his hand for a smoothier landing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bean dip

Maddie snacking on my homemade bean dip.
Kid tested, mommy approved!

My bean dip is so fabulous! The first step is making homemade re fried beans. It is so simple, it's frugal and it's delicious, it doesn't make sense not to make your own beans. I use dried pinto beans that I soak for 24-8 hours prior to cooking them. Soaking beans does two things. First, it usually reduces the cooking time. Secondly, it is suppose to allow you to digest them more easily. Soaking the beans breaks down the beans and allows your cut to digest them more easily. I soak the beans in enough water to cover them, leaving about an inch or two above them. It's important to give them lots of water as they will soak up quit a bit of the water. Then I add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to the water and cover it with a clean dish towel. That's it for soaking! Once the beans are done soaking, drain them in a colander to rinse the beans, and prepare as normal. Super easy and much easier on your digestive system.

Now on to making re fried beans:
Re fried Beans
1 onion peeled and halved
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons garlic (minced)
5 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cumin
9 cups water

Place onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on high 8 hrs. adding more water as needed.

Note: If more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, temp. is too high. Because we have little kids who I want to be able to eat the beans, I omit the jalapeno pepper so it is not spicy for them.

Once beans have cooked, staring them and reserve the water. Mash the beans with potato masher (I use my kitchen aid mixer, much easier). Adding the reserved water as needed for consistency.

Cheesy Bean Dip
1/2 the batch of re fried beans from recipe above
1 16 oz. sour cream
1 16 oz. of your favorite salsa (you can use smooth or chunky)
as much cheddar and mozzarella cheese as to your taste

Place re fried beans in large pot, stir in sour cream and salsa. Continue stirring until heated through and well blended. Then add your cheeses, adding a little at a time and stirring until the cheese is totally incorporated. You can also mix match your cheeses to your preference of cheese.

Note: I often use these beans when I make enchiladas. Because the cheese and salsa are already in the beans it saves me a couple of steps. Very delicious!