Another Thing to Do

That face you make when Jesus reminds you you've got it wrong.

Recently, He's opened my eyes to something resolving "ministry." And the revelation of it, though now seemingly a "duh" thing, has made such an impact on my thoughts. 

For years, ministry was a  THING (or things) we were supposed to DO. 

I won't lie, it was introduced in an unhealthy way, so I didn't fully understand how to view it or incorporate it into my life. 

Because I was so focused on just DOING A THING, (or all the things), it felt more like a chore... even a burden at times. 

I mean, life is busy. If I keep adding things to my plate, something important will be left undone, right?

So then, I thought I had it figured out. What ministry (THING) is out there that fulfills me? What would bring me joy? Which THING wouldn't add stress for me?

Trying to come to this conclusion took months out of my life. 

Then, one day, I felt a little heart nudge.

Since when has ministry ever been a THING. 
And when was it ever designed to please me?

Ministry is a lifestyle. An act of worship. There are many ways to minister, but it's still so much more than a thing to do.

It's a way to be. 

And ministry isn't there to make me feel all fluffy inside. Its whole purpose is to serve... others.

While I do understand boundaries are so important... and you should serve where you're most passionate... there will be (many) times you're needed in areas that aren't so fulfilling.
They're hard and tiring. They take time and energy. 

And if ministry is a just a thing to do, it'll get old really quick. 
But, if ministry is a way to be, it'll come much easier and mean a lot more. 

"Not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interest of others..."
Philippians 2:4

Grace Requires Nothing of Me

"I've spent my whole life searching desperately... to find out grace requires nothing of me."

I am one with a panel of inner critics. 
(Enneagram 9 wing 1 through and through.) Things have to be perfect; well, my things have to be perfect. I have to do better, look better, talk better, cook better, be better... work harder, be smarter, keep up with laundry better, play with my dog more, take paint lessons, piano lessons, be more frugal... on and on... always convinced I should improve.

When in a heathy place, it's not so bad.  But, when I look around and start comparing bits and pieces of my life with others, boy oh boy. I've learned to plaster a smile on my face, chuckle when cued, always respond with a "life is great!" even when it doesn't feel that way. 

BUT- God is showing me more every day that I'm okay. Like, really okay. I can always do better, but I don't always have to right away. He loves me and accepts me as I am! And people all around me with hearts like His do, too! I can just be me. However scattered, wrinkled, exhausted, boring, or weird and corny that may sometimes be.
Knowing that brings a joy and freedom that can't be explained! Life is quite amazing. 
"I've spent my whole life searching desperately, to find out grace requires NOTHING of me."


You're in His Sights

“I smile. Even though I hurt, see I smile. I know God is working so I smile. Even though I’ve been here for a while, I smile.” 

Today at church we had our “5 for 5.” It’s where 5 people speak for 5 minutes each. So good!

While all were amazing, one of our students spoke first. Toward the end of her message, she said something that hit my heart.

“When you feel unseen, keep looking at Him...”

That was a line meant for this gal. As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I haven’t had children yet, but there’s no explanation as to why. That alone can be exhausting.

Then, on the spiritual side, when you pray for something for years and years, but see no answer, that too gets confusing.

Top that with the statistic that only 12% of couples deal with infertility, of which only 3% face “unexplained” issues, and you can feel isolated... misunderstood... invisible.

Man. I’ve been so focused on trying to fix myself... solve my dilemmas... understand my feelings... control my emotions... know my place... figure out my purpose... 

All of those things are healthy and good when balanced properly. But when you’re consumed with trying to understand or figure “it” out... you become more distracted and more confused.

“When you feel unseen... look at Him.”

Not your fears, frustrations, unknown future... Not your situation. Not your timeline.

We -no matter how hard we try- cannot understand God’s infinite wisdom with our finite minds. We won’t be able to see the entire picture through our human lenses. Our best plans can’t come close to the awesomeness interwoven into His.

Friend, if you’re waiting, tired, or confused, focus on what we know to be true. Read His word. Ask for His direction. And be open to however He chooses to relay the answers to you.

I’m waiting, too. And while I sometimes feel unseen, He tells me otherwise.

We’re in His sights, friend. He keeps the stars in place... He can hold us, too!

Here's to the Rest of 2020

Here I am in every ounce of my early morning glory to tell you that the rest of this year will be amazing.


Because we can MAKE IT HAPPEN.

I think it’s safe to say that none of us have been fond of 2020. I could even go a step further to assume that we’ve despised it a little.

I have! So many plans canceled, trips postponed, big moments minimized...

Now we’re approaching Fall... *squeal*, but I’m feeling some disappointment because I know it won’t all be the same.

Trick or treating... fall festivals... a quiet stadium on Super Bowl Sunday? Pics with Santa? There’s really no way to know how all this will look this year.

But, I’ve found a way to make those same warm, fuzzy feelings a part of my everyday life nonetheless.

Cultivating simple joys. 

Homemade meals. Growing pretty plants and some yummy herbs and veggies. Some DIY projects. 
(I can make things with my bare hands!) Nature walks. Bike rides. A game of HORSE. Yoga. Coffee on the porch with friends.

Time alone with Jesus. 👈🏻

When the anxiety is just too much, He’s where I find peace. His Word offers so much direction and assurance... And when that’s felt, I realize there’s REAL JOY waiting for me, too. 
(In His presence there is fullness of joy!)

2020 has provided us a time to slow down, really get creative in how we celebrate, and clearly see who and what is important to us. That’s actually a blessing, right?

When I view these changes in this way, I can actually start to appreciate this year despite all of its ugliness.

I understand some will roll their eyes at the passion I share for rolling out my own pie crust, but I’m telling ya... give it a try and see if life’s simple things don’t bring a fulfillment that was missing before.

Pepper Bites in Under 30!

As much as I would love to have a grand display every night at dinner, that's just not in the cards for me at this point in my life. Thus, my beautiful plated meal. While weeknights may not allow for a lot of extra minutes, I do know that by adding to my prep/cook time, this delicious meal could also be pretty to look at! (I mean, check out the colors!)

I can guarantee you, that this will be a meal that I whip up again... and most likely on many occasions. Somebody say, lunch! Appetizers! Finger foods! LOW CARB! Errbody's happy with this one. 

We try to stick with the healthiest possible options, so we choose super lean beef for this meal. (However, you can obviously use whatever your pretty little heart desires!) There's only two of us to feed tonight, so I only used a pound. I cooked that up and then poured it all into a casserole dish. I mixed in some sugar free marinara sauce, sprinkled with garlic powder, onion powder, and crushed black pepper, and then topped that with (you guessed it) TURKEY pepperoni, and shredded cheese. (We like colby jack, but mozzarella and parmesan would have been divine, too!) 

My husband isn't much on veggies. (He gets all of his in via shake each day.) I refuse to go that route, so peppers are my bff. I had planned to dice them up, cook them separately, and toss them into the dish once plated, but I just didn't want to spend that extra time, so I had an idea. Slice them in half and just plop them onto the meats and cheese! 

Once I did that, I covered with aluminum foil and baked for 17 minutes at 350F. Pulled it out and let it set for only a minute or two. I pulled off the peppers and put them on a plate for me.

Then, I scooped out a little more than half of this for my husband and saved the rest for yours truly. I took spoonsful of the goodness and laid them right on top of each pepper half. 

Voila! Dinner was delicious and done in under 30 minutes!

                                                        Pepper bites > bagel bites, for realz.

Next time I make this, I'm going to use mushroom caps and use this same concept for my sweets! He's pretty fond of them. I, however, am totally sticking with the peppers.

Try them out and let me know what you think!

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