Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Friday Blessings

When I say, “God is amazing,” I mean He is really amazing. Two things have happened lately that reaffirm this to me.

One. This past Friday, in the wee hours of a new day, God spoke to my groggy mind. He called me from my warm bed. He said He wanted to spend a little time with me. One may ask me, “Joanie, how did God speak to you.” The answer to that question is simply, “God spoke by placing a gentle nudge on my heart when I awoke from a deep sleep suddenly troubled and worried about an announcement that I was to give in church the following Sunday.” There was no burning bush, no thundery voice from heaven, just a gentle (and persistent) tug at my heart that I needed to get out of bed, go downstairs and pray and read a few passages from God’s word.

So, obediently I got out of bed and proceeded downstairs. Once I got downstairs, I was somewhat unsure of how to proceed. I decided to light a three wick candle to read my Bible by and as I lit each wick I said, “Father God, please come and join with me. Lord Jesus, please enter this place and be with me. Holy Spirit, I ask that you come and be present, lead me and guide me, give me divine understanding.” After I did this, I felt that my heart was ready for prayer as I felt such a peace wash over my countenance. I then asked that any barrier to hearing from the Lord be removed from my life, and I asked God to guide me to the words in Scripture that He wished me to read.

My prayer led me to Psalm 71. As I read the words of that Psalm, words jumped off the page at me. Thoughts flowed from my mind as I would pause to contemplate the words I had just read, and then I would reread the words once again. I was filled with marvel and wonder! The words had a melody to them. There were words of praise. There words of advice. There were words for living life – no make that they were words of life!!

I spent several hours on my knees in my living room floor and the hours felt as only minutes; precious life-giving minutes. I was given a new direction for the words I was to speak in church on Sunday morning. I was given new thoughts on how to close out a six-week Bible study class that I had been co-leading! God’s word became so active and alive for me during those early hours of Friday morning!

No, this was not the first time I have climbed out of a warm bed to meet with God during the middle of the night; but it was by far one of the most memorable times. After the refreshing that God blessed me with during this time with Him you can bet that the next time I feel God tugging at my heart to join Him, I will JUMP out of bed and run down the steps to meet Him!

Oh, and by-the way, the second amazing thing that occurred happened at the last of the six-week Bible study. When I began to read from Psalm 71 my co-leader stopped me to say, “God gave me this same passage of scripture to read on Thursday night before I went to sleep.” How cool is that? This lady and I have a connection that is so deep and God blesses both of us with the same passage of scripture within a 10-hour window of time.

Isn’t God neat?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Today I am participating in a Recipe Swap -
from a Blog Post by Lysa TerKeurst

Once you check out my recipe, click on her link and you can return to Lysa's site and check out the other great recipe suggestions.

I am always searching for new recipes. Especially ones that are easy and really good. So, both recipies below are easy and delicious! Yummy!

Baked Tilapia:

8 Tilapia Filets

1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 cup Velveeta Cheese, coarsely shredded
1 teaspoon crumbled blue cheese
1 cup potato chips crushed
olive oil or vegetable spray
sea salt and black pepper
garlic powder, for sprinkling
paprika (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a small baking sheet with olive oil or vegetable non-stick spray (or line pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil before coating with a fine mist of oil for easy clean-up). Place fish filets on pan. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, ground black pepper, and a light dusting of garlic powder. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise with Velveeta and blue cheese. Spread mixture over fish. Sprinkle with potato chips and paprika. Bake for 8-15 minutes, or until fish is no longer translucent and is flaky white.

Grilled Veggie Packets:

Mix together in a large bowl:

¼ C butter (melted)
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 tsp. thyme (can use dried)
1 Tbs. honey
½ tsp. black pepper

Add the following and toss:
6 mini corn cobs
1 large red onion cut into small wedges
1 red bell pepper – cut into strips
1 green bell pepper – cut into strips
1 cup baby carrots
About 4/5 small red potatoes – quartered

Tear aluminum foil into 6 sheets and place equal amounts of veggies onto each and then fold aluminum foil into sealed pouches.

Place pouches on pre-heated grill and cook over medium heat for approximately 35 – 45 minutes. (Until veggies are tender.)

Can also be baked in pre-heated over at 350° for 45 minutes, or until tender.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bloggy, blog, blahh!!!

I have been wanting to have a few minutes to write down some profound thoughts to share with anyone who may venture to my blog site. But alas, life has been nipping at my heels of late.

Take a quick journey with me. Last Saturday, the 29th, by late evening my son complained that the left side of his neck hurt. His Daddy asked, “Did Gabe fall down and hit his neck?” So, being Mommy, I asked Gabe what was wrong. I checked his throat, which was a tiny bit red, felt his neck which seemed slightly swollen, and then I felt his head for a temperature, which seemed to be perfectly normal. By late Saturday night Gabe was awake and crying. He kept saying his neck hurt and it was clear that his throat was becoming swollen. By Sunday morning it was clear that Gabe was one sick little boy. The left side of his neck was so swollen that he appeared to have half of a softball tucked into his cheek. His throat was also swollen to the point that he had only an ink pen size opening to breathe through. It was clear that we had to take him to the ER.
Once we arrived at the ER we thought that we would be given a prescription for antibiotics and sent home. After all our community had seen a wide spread outbreak of strep-throat over the recent days. That was not to be the case. By 6:00 p.m. my little boy was hooked up to an I.V. and was admitted to the hospital. A CAT scan of his neck was inconclusive, except to the point that the doctors could tell us that Gabe was suffering from a massive infection. The swelling was too great to determine if he had a cyst or an infected gland. The doctors put Gabe on IV antibiotics and we waited to see if his condition would improve.

Praise God, the antibiotics began to work. By Wednesday morning Gabe was up and playing and more than ready to go home. Finally, we were released from the hospital on Wednesday evening, the 3rd, about 6:30 p.m. We still did not have answers as to what the cause of the infection was, but at least we were able to go home.

I decided to keep Gabe at home through the rest of the week, just to be on the safe side. I didn’t need him to return to Pre-K and day-care and get exposed to some virus and add to the problems that we were dealing with.

This illness took me away from my job for one-full week. I realized that my place was with my family, but at the same time I knew that I would be behind in my job duties when I did return to work. I also missed leading a Bible study class on Sunday night. This meant that my dear friend and co-leader of the Bible study had to pick up my slack. Additionally, I missed one-week of working on plans for an upcoming women’s ministry mini-retreat.

Can you feel my stress mounting? Now this week I am back at work. Well after taking one-half of the day off on Monday to take Gabe to the pediatrician for a post-hospitalization follow-up appointment, then going in to work about ½ hour late on Tuesday due to icy and snow covered roads. I am trying to catch all of my work up, and trying to catch up on my women’s ministry event duties, plus prepare for the next Bible study class that will be held on Sunday evening.

You see what I mean? Life has really been nipping at my heels.

But through it all, my God has been faithful. I wish that I could tell you that I have handled all of this with “strength and dignity,” but alas, that would be a lie. I can however affirm to you that, “With God’s grace I will not only survive, but thrive.” And, I have a little something to share on my bloggy, blog, blog!