One of my Facebook friends recently posted that, in light of the rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in Cleveland, Ohio, he’s not sure if he believes in God anymore. After all, how can a good God allow three women’s prayers (& their families’) to go unanswered for 10 years, while his prayers for winning sports teams seemed to be answered?
In fact, there are lots of events in history–big and small– that don’t make a whole lot of sense to us down here. Like the Holocaust. Or slavery. Or the Boston Marthon bombing. Or Columbine. Or any number of other tragic and evil events in human history–and the many going on today. Of course it seems like God should just step in and fix it all (sort of like Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty).
Aside from the “free-will” argument, the “simple” truth is that God doesn’t always answer prayers–at least not the way we want Him to. In fact, He didn’t even answer Jesus’ prayer to be spared crucifixion. And yet, as Christians, we find great joy in our salvation. Even my young children can see how that one horrific event has a joyful eternal consequence for billions of believers throughout history.
God can see every piece of the puzzle. And I don’t think He’s simply picking and choosing what prayers to answer. In fact, I would venture to say that a faith that is grounded in events alone (whether good or bad!), is not one that will endure.
Imagine if our children only thought we loved them when we gave them every thing they asked for. And they stopped loving us when we didn’t. And then we responded accordingly–giving them everything they asked for in order to prove our love. (Wait a minute–I think we all know where that leads! lol)
One of my favorite verses is one my Dad used to sing, “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed until Him against that day.” My faith is firm regardless of my circumstances because I trust that God is who He says He is. Is yours?
A few weeks ago, the kids and I spent a few hours with my brother & sister in law in Phoenix before we headed home to Texas. When we arrived, there was a bowl of the most amazing popcorn ever on the counter. It was perfectly seasoned and perfectly buttered.
Travis was nice enough to explain how he made this amazing snack–the old-fashioned way!
Start off with some olive oil in your pan. Add in some seasonings. Trav’s popcorn was spicy–he put in some red pepper, some Mrs. Dash seasoning, and some other yummy stuff. (I didn’t write it down, so I made up a recipe when I got home). Heat up the olive oil a bit.
A great tip from (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_popcorn/) is to put in just 3/4 kernels and wait until they pop–that will tell you the oil is at the right temperature. Remove the pot from the heat and put in about 1/3 cup of kernels–enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Give the kernels about 30 seconds to heat up, and then put the pot back on the heat.
Make sure you have the lid on! When the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot back [...] Continue Reading…
Our family just doesn’t eat a lot of lettuce. I’ve gotten pretty great at adding spinach in to pretty much anything–from smoothies to quesadillas–but it takes us awhile to use up lettuce. So when kale came with our new CSA basket, I knew I had to get creative. (especially since we don’t have chickens to feed it to! lol) I’ve been hearing about kale chips, so I thought I’d look that up. I am so glad I did! Even Tristan (our family Mikey–remember those old Life cereal commercials?) loves them and couldn’t wait to tell Daddy about the lettuce that tastes like potato chips!
Even better–it’s SUPER easy to make kale chips!
Just cut the middle stem out, leaving the leafy edges.
Put in a bowl and pour in a little bit of olive oil. I put the lid on the bowl and shook it around to coat the leaves with the oil.
Put on a baking sheet, shake on a little sea salt, and bake for about 20 minutes in a 300 degree oven.
Amazing! They DO taste like potato chips–what a great, healthy snack!
We gobbled them up!
When I first started teaching at Grand Canyon University in 2000, I made a decision. If I were going to set myself up in a leadership position, I had to ensure that I was setting a good example. I never knew when I might run into one of my students–or when they might be watching me when I didn’t realize it, so I knew that I had to always make decisions as if I were standing in front of the classroom. As a professor in a Christian university who signed a statement of faith, I believed that was the right thing to do.
You might be thinking, “that’s not fair!” or “it wasn’t any of their business.” Maybe so, but here’s the thing. I have watched more than one pastor make some bad choices. And those choices resulted in many people turning away from God. To them, their pastor represented God. And so did his actions. I realized that, as a teacher, I had a similar influence on my students. I couldn’t stand in front of the classroom representing one thing and then act another way outside of it.
Think about it–what is the number one criticism people have of the [...] Continue Reading…
One of the most disastrous errors I’ve discovered women making in the past five years of my Network Marketing journey is the adult version of, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” I can tell you numerous stories about people I’ve met who say, “Hey, why don’t we set up a time, and I’ll tell you about my business, and you can show me yours.” Only to be subjected to videos and offers to contact their sponsor and invitations to a meeting–and no time to listen to what I have to say. It’s a set up–and one that is extremely offensive.
If you’re not truly interested in someone’s business, please don’t act like you are! I’m open to hearing what someone is doing because I may know someone who can benefit from her business–even if I can’t. But please don’t try to trick me (or anyone else!) into listening to your information by pretending that you’re interested in me or my business!
Another version of this is the consultant who thinks that once you’ve met her, you’re hers for life. You can never buy anything from anyone else because “you’re my customer!” Or perhaps the gal who is calculating [...] Continue Reading…
Most women I meet who are building a direct sales or network marketing business are either working full time or have little ones at home full time. I do both! If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I home school my three kids, who are 10, 8, and 6, and also teach composition courses online full time. So, whether you’re working or have little ones at home or BOTH, I can relate!
When I talk to these women who are struggling to balance everything, I hear some of the same phrases over and over again.
“Once I get my house organized, I’ll be able to really spend time on my business.”
“Once I get my schedule together, I’ll be able to really build my business.”
See, we all want to believe that getting organized or making a schedule is the magic solution to achieving balance in our lives. We believe that if we can just get our act together, our business will start to grow. And once our business grows, we’ll have more time for our relationships, and we’ll be able to do the things that really matter to us. But the truth is that if your relationships aren’t ok [...] Continue Reading…
Have you ever looked at the clock and thought, “Not again! It’s 6 pm and everything is frozen!” Yeah. Me, too. All the time! And it drives my husband crazy! The kids and I are perfectly happy with cereal or sandwiches or eggs or even cheese and fruit. But he wants a meal.
I started researching something I’d heard about before–making a bunch of meals at one time and freezing them. I’ve had a lot of success in the past with making a few meals at once and freezing the extras–see my post on beef HERE and chicken HERE. So, when I read this post over at Annie’s Eats about freezing food for all different meals, I decided to give it a try.
My list evolved over several days to include:
Baking: bread, hamburger buns, muffins, cookies
Burritos: breakfast, bean & cheese, beef and green chili, chicken quesadillas, and chicken enchiladas (all use tortillas! ;) )
Ground beef: tacos & nachos–cook up ground beef and shred cheese, freeze separately, then bag together.
Chicken: chicken nuggets & marinated teriyaki for stir fry
Stew meat: stew (of course) & stew pastries (sounds yummy!)
Pasta: lasagna, manicotti, penne pasta
Veggies: zucchini & squash, twice baked potatoes
Turkey pot pie…
Yes. I feel a [...] Continue Reading…
I don’t know what it is, but I have been really in the mood to organize the past few days. I think it’s the fact that I’m not teaching & I always take a few weeks off from my business during the holidays so that I can feel like a normal person for a few weeks out of the year. :) Here are some of the projects I’ve tackled so far:
1. Vanity in my room. I have a cute little built in vanity in my room that has become kind of a catch all. There was a plastic crate underneath filled with files, so I couldn’t put a chair there. On top, thanks to my friend, Jean Ann the Jewelry Lady, I had two jewelry boxes OVERFLOWING with beautiful jewelry. Not to mention all of Ryan’s junk. SO, I made this fun little jewelry holder to hang in my closet, cleaned out those files, and cleared off the top of my desk. Now I have a nice little workspace! Loving it!
(Basically, I took a linen towel that I got at Handy Andy for $1 and used white tulle & seam binding to make pockets. Clear vinyl would be sturdier, [...] Continue Reading…
I hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas! The kids and I had so much fun doing all our Christmas activities! Here are some of the highlights:
We made these cute no-sew ornaments by wrapping a styrofoam ball with a strip of Christmas fabric & pinning the ribbon and the top of the ribbon with a stick pin.
I found a really cute post on Pinterest about making ornaments out of old spoons. Since I didn’t have any old spoons, I bought some cheap new spoons at Handy Andy & some metallic acrylic paint and we made these:
On the first day of winter, we made these cute giant snowflakes out of popsicle sticks (another Pinterest idea!):
We also made these cute snowmen out of white bottle caps that I bought at Hobby Lobby. I hot glued the caps on a piece of ribbon and the kids decorated with markers.
Another fun project we did with our friends at writing class. The kids each decorated one cookie, and then I had them write down instructions for making their cookie. They swapped instructions and each of them tried to make the same cookie as their partner. It was fun, and I was impressed with how close [...] Continue Reading…
Megan’s two best friends had their 11th birthday last week, and Megan, of course, wanted to do something extra special for them. She had purchased journals and “Smencils” for them already, but needed something special to pull it all together. All of the girls carry around their journals with them everywhere they go, so I thought, why not make a cute purse to hold their journals?
I don’t have a specific pattern (this is a “Karen” thing! lol), but the basic idea is to create a “purse” that opens up and holds a journal and pens/pencils or even a small Bible. I chose three colors of fabric–one plain, one with a basic pattern, and then one with a really vibrant pattern. I cut out two pieces of the plain fabric to be the backing–these are about 12 x 18. Then, I cut out two pieces of the basic pattern to be the pockets on the inside–these are about 8 x 11. I decided to quilt the front cover, so I used all three fabrics to cut out 12 smaller blocks (4 of each fabric)–probably about 4 x 5. The long, skinny pieces are the handles–you’ll need two strips about 20 [...] Continue Reading…