Hi all –
These days of quarantine have been challenging and I know many of you are serving our communities on the front line. THANK YOU ! I wanted to offer a bit of encouragement.
I started a challenge. It is called the 3:16 Challenge Why 3:16? It is in reference to the Bible verse John 3:16 – ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son , that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I have been watching all of these challenges on social media and I thought if people could encourage each other to do 10 push ups , post unflattering pictures of themselves, or awesome pictures of the food they are making, surely we could challenge each other to pray.
Here is how it works –
- Set your phone alarm for 3:16 pm your local time
- Pray for others around the world
- Tag 3 friends and encourage them to do the same
- Use the hashtag #3:16challenge
It is simple yet profound. Encourage your family and friends to join in. Please know, I am praying for all of you and if you are needing specific prayer, please feel free to send me a note.
We will get through this and be a stronger world for it – Join me in prayer!
In my latest blog post I talk about sharing your story. This recipe was given to me by a neighbor when I lived in Indiana. She brought them to my house as a ” welcome to the neighborhood ” gift. They were delicious and just what I needed to feel like I could begin a new chapter of life. For two years we shared stories and recipes. Kathy is no longer with us but her stories and generosity live on. I hope you enjoy this recipe.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup milk ( can substitute with soy or almond milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups mixed berries ( blueberries, strawberries and raspberries )
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 12 -18 muffin cups with paper liners ( depending on if you want small or large muffins)
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then add the softened butter and mix with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Gently fold in the berries.
In a small bowl, mix together softened cream cheese and 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar until smooth.
Scoop a heaping tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Add a small amount of cream cheese (about a teaspoon) – Top cream cheese with another spoonful of batter. Sprinkle with coarse sugar or pink colored sugar if desired.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
I love going to the movies! I enjoy the story telling and the cinematography , the music , and of course the popcorn and Milk Duds. I enjoy laughing and I must confess I cry easily too. That is the beauty of a great story, it evokes a myriad of emotion.
This past weekend I went to see “ Little Women”. I remember reading the book when I was in middle school and then have seen each screen adaptation since. I enjoyed this new version brought to life on the big screen. The story is much more complex now that I am an adult and view things from a mothering perspective. Being the oldest of four children and being somewhat stubborn and very independent, I can relate to Jo March. However, this viewing I found myself relating to the mom and her struggles to keep her family safe and loved. The joy and sorrow she experienced through her children was palpable.
I left thinking more about motherhood and how since becoming a mom the way in which I view life has changed. I believe I am more empathetic and more vulnerable to what is going on in our world and how this affects families. Having the privilege of working with moms around the world through my job at MOPS International, I believe that motherhood is a universal language. The nod we give each other whether it be at the grocery store with toddlers or at the school parking lot with our teenagers – We just get it, don’t we?
I recently read a quote that said, “ When a writer knows themselves, they can write their story and the reader reads their own.” How true that is and what an encouragement to us all. We all are story tellers to some degree. The life you are leading right now is telling a story. I was challenged to think about what my life story is saying to the world. I would encourage you to think about that and share your life with those around you. Sharing the good, sometimes the ugly and all the boring in between unites us in our authenticity, realizing we are all trying to give our best. Share your story so others feel the freedom to share theirs. Maybe something you share will let someone else know they are not alone or maybe what you share will be just the right encouragement to create a catalyst for someone else to branch out and start fulfilling their dreams.
Your story is important, I encourage you to share it!
I am extroverted by nature and love spending time with lots of people. I am energized by the crowd. Sometimes; however, when I spend a lot of time with people and have lots of different conversations, I have a hard time winding down and falling asleep. Last week at MOPS we brought our entire remote staff in to engage in our annual strategic planning. I was thrilled because the majority of my staff is remote and we spend most days connecting via Facetime, phone and Zoom so having time in person was wonderful.
I found myself restless at the end of the week. I was processing plans, replaying meaningful conversations and honestly had a lot planned for the weekend as I was hosting a large party at my house. I decided to stop tossing and turning and make my way downstairs so I didn’t wake my husband.
I walked around the Christmas tree and began reminiscing. My tree is a story tree. It is a bit of a hodge podge so to speak but so many ornaments hold sentimental value to me. A green felt ornament with my oldest son, Justin, centered in the middle with his first grade smile. An ornament with Spencer’s old football number, Taylor’s picture secured in a hot glue gunned popsicle stick triangle. Then there is Lexi’s picture,surrounded by gold painted noodles her beautiful smile and the “ I cut my own bangs with play scissors” look that she sported as a preschooler one year. Our first year married Christmas ornament which is now 33 years old. The beautiful ornaments my sister has given me over the years and the ones we have collected on our travels. Then one in particular caught my eye – It says, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. Santa is kneeling in prayer at the manger. It is sweet. I then glanced over to my nativity scene and the lights from the tree reflected so beautifully on the manger scene.
It is the season, the birth of the Christ child. The celebrations of it all. Looking at the baby Jesus in the manger made me grateful that He is not just the reason for the Christmas season but He is the Reason. The meaning to our earthly lives. This Christmas let’s not leave baby Jesus in the manger. As fellow Christians let’s love all people well and share the hope that is only found in Him. Those thoughts allowed me to settle back into bed and I slept so peacefully.
I realize Christmas can be so hard for many. I know we have had our years when the thoughts of Fa La La seemed impossible. This year many we know are struggling with health issues and the sadness that comes with the loss of those we love. Even more reason to stop and share God’s love. Let’s be mindful of the Reason this holiday season and beyond.
Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas!
Isaiah 9:6 NIV For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
2 Qt Cranberry/Mango Juice
2 Qt. Pulp Free Orange Juice
2 Liter 7 Up
2 Mandarin Oranges
1/2 c. Pomegranate seeds
1/2 c. Fresh Cranberries
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
In large punch bowl combine juices and 7 Up. Add ice
Then slice oranges and limes. Add sliced fruit, pomegranate seeds, cranberries and fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish.
- This can easily be turned into a Holiday Rum Punch by adding Blue Chair Coconut Rum *