thank you, Jesus

January 31, 2012

Dear Jesus,

I want you to know how thankful I am for your LOVE and GRACE and MERCY.

I am so blessed.

I cannot even put into words how humbled I am that you would set-in-motion the events leading up to being admitted into Renfrew.

Lord, I ask that during the next 3 months, you surround me with positiveness, hope, determination, and courage.

I want this time to be devoted to getting well, and I know You are a major source in my recovery, because I would not be where I am now without You.


January 30, 2012

Just wanted to update you all on what's been happening with Renfrew. I am going there tomorrow to get evaluated one last time before being admitted (all fingers crossed) Wednesday! Praise God Almighty for His amazing grace. They've also opted to let me go dairy-free, which is such a relief. I was panicking about that.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. I am so blessed with such wonderful family and sisters in Christ. <3

my sissy-2012 Senior

January 25, 2012

She's the funniest person you'll ever meet. Oh, but don't get me wrong, she can be a mighty serious force to recon with when she has the mind to be!
You could say she's my best friend, but I like to call her my shadow, my keeper. She shouldn't and doesn't need to watch over me like she does, yet I know she does it out of love. 
She's my support and shoulder to lean on. She's there when I need a good listener, and when I need some company. 
She's a pretty unique gal, and I aspire to be like her, because she's so vibrant and, in her own right, captivating.
My sister is one heck of a confident gal. If only more girls could embody her confidence....
I love her with all my heart, and I am proud to tell you that this girl is my sister. And no, you can't have her (although sometimes I do play with the idea of selling her to a flea circus!).
I don't think I would be able to live without her for a long period of time. I wouldn't be able to sleep in the dark without knowing she's in the bed next to mine.
She's my sister. A PHENOMENAL one at that. Have a sweet Senior year chica! Make it could and enjoy the blessings that God will be sending your way this year in 2012. <3

warning: this is a rant. it's long winded

January 20, 2012

I got a comment on my blog today in regards to the post I did on the two web-based bills that are scheduled to be voted on in a matter if days (3 days to be exact). The commenter, Miss Makay (love ya girl!), was aware of what the bills entailed. And yet, she was infuriated by the number of people coming together, up-in-arms about their personal "online" social liberties being taken away from them, in contrast to the startlingly low number who come together to protest against the genocide of thousands of unborn infants across the world.

This is what she wrote:
I know the people of America need to take a stand against these bills, and I have already signed a boatload of petitions... however- the uprising about these bills infuriates me. More people have been shaken by this bill than the bill legalizing murder in all 50 states... millions of babies are just being slaughtered through a genocide behind sterile doors- and more people care about SOPA and PIPA infringing their rights! What about the rights of the silent? Or the helpless? Argh. Makes me angry. -Ky 
I have to say that I agree with her. Until she raised this concern, I was unaware of just how many people were in an uproar over these bills. Granted they are an intrusion to our rights as individuals, but there is a difference between the importance of these bills and the bills that infringe upon the rights of unborn babies, and the elderly. 

Why is it that the bills that pertain to internet are more important than the bills that allow the right to kill to become law? Come on! Yes, the fight against these bills are very crucial. But it seems to me that the Internet takes more precedence over the life of humans. Pinterest, Wehearit, all those other interactive sharing sites are a great way to captivate bloggers and create couch potatoes out of others. Yet, none of this matters if you think about it. So what if they end up being blocked? More time for doing important things with the family, duh. Yeah, I use these tools, but I don't consider them a critical part of my life. However, for my blog to succumb to this, that would bother me. Yet there is an emotional aspect to losing a life that doesn't even enter the back of my mind with the threat of losing my blog because of a link infringement. 

A link infringement. Great! I probably have a gazillion of those. I can deal with that. Infringing upon human rights by taking matters in to our own hands, deciding whether or not they're going to live is a whole other issue and that needs to be taken a heck of a lot more seriously that these web-based bills. 

I know I am probably hitting this issue hard, and a lot of you are probably shaking your heads right now in disagreement. "I don't condone abortion, but these bills are important, too!" I hear you, and I agree. But life and the Internet are two very different things, and quite frankly, human life wins out over these bills that are about to pass through congress. Not saying they aren't important, they're just not something that I'm going to get irate about. I posted about it. I was angry; the more I thought about Makay's comment, the brighter my perspective became. I had to decide which was more important--waste me energy fighting bills that pertain to the Internet, or save it and fight for those fighting a losing battle every second?

You all have your own opinions on this. That's great! However, do not care to hear them if you decide you are going to bash me about my stand on this. I may seem like I am completely contradicting myself when comparing this post to the last post, but I would like to point out that I am a person who is for God-given rights regardless of what part of those rights are being infringed upon. I would speak out about issues that bash our human rights regardless. If I believe in something I am going to speak up; and if I decide to change my mind...I will. Life is more important to me than this internet thing. If you don't agree, that's fine. 

It's me; just musing

I still have a while still school starts and then I'm going to be really busy keeping up with three college courses. I've decided to take an AA History class, a Creative Writing course, and a class on the basics of Photography. (I'm hoping I'll get to do a lot of film development and photojournalism). It's become a passion of mine to take natural, unaltered photos of life. I could care less for wedding or baby photos, because, well, anyone can take a photo of a baby or a bride and groom. Not everyone gets to take pictures of history in the making (not private history, but world history...the kind that makes it into the history books). I want to capture real life events in black and white--photos that tell a story of America. I've got chills just thinking about it!

Today I visited my Chiropractor/Kinesiologist. As usual, he cracked my buttery, popcornlike bones and released tension from my lower back. It's always elating for me to be completely free from the surging pain my joints cause me before an appointment. What relief!

Like last week, my Kinesiologist went over more emotional stressers, one of them being my sister. Everybody's siblings stress them out from time to time. But I felt the need to lay this out for him to help me work through. Basically, after testing for the exact reason my sister seemed to be a stresser for me, this came up: I felt disrespected by her innability to ask before using (or taking) my things. Her insensitivity to me in regards to using my property is irksome. And the allencompassing word used for that point in the session was frustrated.

Yep. Frustrated with my sissy. There are a few reasons why. All of which I think are justifiable. But that doesn't mean I don't love her. It just means I have a hang up about all the little things she does that drive me crazy. Well, they're little things to her, but to me, well, their kind of BIG. Like using my face scrub, for example. That drives me batty. It's like someone using someone else's tooth brush. Gross. And inconsiderate. Or taking packages of gum, pens, pads of paper, expensive hair accessories, MP3, clothes, shoes; you name it, she'll probably take it. So hide it carefully!

Nah, other than that, she's OK with me. ;D

On the other hand, my Dr. and I went over a word that kept reoccuring everytime I journaled: invisable. Except the word he used was unnoticed.

....that word. Wow, um, it's a pretty sore wound that I have tried to nurse and heal from for what seems like an eternity!

fight for the future

What is happening to our freedom? Can anyone answer me this? Our coutnry was created on the foundational principals of personal freedoms endowed by our Creator, which are inallianable rights we Americans are entitled to as humans. Yet this does not register in the slightest with the government and it's minions who take great pleasure in lording over the law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of this country. Such an attack on our personal freedom to speak about whatever we see fit to stand up for is an insult to all who posess an intelectually thinking cell in their body. 

The reason for my storngly worded introduction is the undertanding that there is to be a couple of new bills, called SOPA and PIPA, that congress will be trying to vote in on January 24th.

I confess to knowing little about this. However, I do know that I will not stand for the infringment upon personal rights, the rights of others, and the innability to allow peopole to share with each other links that may or may not be "infringable". And have you heard that these bills will most likely make it unfair to certain web-based business, due to the fact that the government would  they would have the power to decide what businesses get more advertisement than others? This is a loadf of crock, if you'll exuse my language. I am so infurriated by this that I went ahead and signed the petition, Fight for the Future. 

What are you guys going to do bout it? I hope you're not going to let this slide on by without taking action and showing your government and local legislators what freedom really looks like in the hearts of the American people. If we allow these bills to pass, it will not only affect us, but will affect other countries in the future. If we let them tell us what we can and cannot do online, what are we going to do five years from know when they want to tell us how to live our lives at home? Take a stand. Speak out. I did; and I MADE HISTORY. You can too.

captivating femininity {part 1}: the heart of a woman

January 17, 2012

Tammy Wynette 
"Sometimes it's hard to be a woman."

Every woman is a wallflower with a fear to bloom. A fear to lose or a fear to win. A fear to be invisible or a fear to be noticed. A fear to be loved or a fear to go unloved. Each one of us, in our own way, has a fear of being...captivating. Doesn't that seem to contradict what God has told us about ourselves, about fear?

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Before reading Captivating, I would probably have laughed at the idea of being feminine. Me, feminine? You have to be kidding me! I hardly resemble a feminine woman. I never was one for frilly things. I hate the color pink, and can't stand to wear a skirt (much less a dress) other than when doing historical reenacting. I am by definition not a girly-girl. I squish spiders, swim in the mud (yes, I do!), and throw horse manure. I go barefoot in all kinds of weather, throughout all seasons, read books that are gross, depressing, and packed with violence (I do have a tendency to read melodramatic novels from the late 19th century); and I'd much rather listen to pop-rock, techno, or 80s music than a good classical soundtrack. 

On the flip side, there are parts of me that, not matter how hard I try to put it on the back burner--the core of who I am and who God created me to be--my femininity can't help but shine through. I love dolls (I am 16 American Girl dolls); I crochet, embroider; I love to braid my hair, and take showers and smell divine (I have six different perfumes and body washes). Sewing and writing have always been a passion of mine; and I do a LOT of dreaming, laughing and smiling, singing to the top of my lungs, and twirling. I am loyal to the umpteenth degree, passionate, overly sensitive, and very, very stubborn!

But, as I look at all these things I have listed, these are  characteristics of a feminine woman. These things are the things that make me uniquely feminine. It's my identity; and my own femininity in Christ allows me to be in a category all my own. I don't have to be one or the other. I can be a girl who likes loud rock music and a girl who twirls and longs to be admired. However confident I am in knowing that I can have my cake and eat it too, I am like all women. My heart has been broken and dragged through the mud. It's pulsating blood from old wounds that have failed to heal. 
I remember when I was young asking myself as well as older females in my life how a woman of God could actually be confident, scandalous and beautiful, yet not portray herself as a feminist Nazi or an insecure I-need-attention emotional whore. How can I become a strong woman without becoming harsh? How can I be vulnerable without drowning myself in sorrow? (Captivating 5)
There is more to a woman than meets the eye. More to her life than tending to her house and children, putting food on the table, and being a helpmate to her husband. A woman is also a princess, "valiant and strong" (Captivating 3). But how can she be all this when she is struggling to mend a broken heart and is so closed-off, a shell put up around her person to guard her shredded heart?

While it's not all that simple, being able to be vulnerable and strong without overdoing it or while your heart is still very much bleeding, there is only one remedy. That remedy, of course, is knowing that "God created you [and I] as a woman" (Captivating 8). 

Genesis 1:27
"God created man in his own image...male and female."

Ladies, there is no doubt in my mind that we were created for more than what we believe we were put here on this earth to do. Whatever it means to bare the image of God, Stasi Elderedge author of Captivating says that we bear God's image as a woman. Not only were we physically created in the image of God, but "[our] feminine heart[s]," she says, "[have] been created with the greatest of all possible dignities--as a reflection of God's own heart" (8). 

Whoa. Talk about an eye opener. Our hearts, that's where it all starts; and it started with God who designed us to reflect a side of Him that no one else could do as good as a woman. So what is a woman, and what is it that her heart longs for? For one, a woman is captivating because of the great purpose she was made for. Secondly, a woman is the very essence of God (we'll get to this later). And thirdly, knowing that her heart is a reflection of God's self is only the beginning of her journey to discovering what it truly means to be a woman. As for the desires of a woman's heart; Stasi Eldredge mentions that there are three things: "to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty" (8). We are women of mystery. A grand and glorious mystery.

Captivating - Disc 1 by John & Stasi Eldredge on Grooveshark

>> 2012 Affirmation: Never give up for that is just the time and place the tide will turn.

>> one thousand gifts:
  1. fleece socks
  2. the little things in life
  3. exhilarating movie soundtracks

*Find introduction, go to A Feminine Introduction.

do not give up

January 16, 2012

Psa. 27:14 
"Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord". 

Another week of delays until I can be admitted to  Renfrew . Seems like there are so many roadblocks in my way right now. As I take two steps forwards, I am thrown four steps back. It's frustrating. I hate venting to you all like this, but writing helps me to clear my mind.

The reason why I am unable to admit myself to Renfrew next week is-unfortunately-because I still have more allergy testing to have done before they'll be comfortable letting me join the program. They have a GF menu that I will be able to eat from, but they need to know for sure whether I have Celiac or not. That in itself is going to take some time-getting tested for Celiac; there's a slew of things that needs to be done!
  1. See if the allergy doctor's office has sent their results to Renfrew (if they haven't already).
  2. Have my allergy doctor schedule an appointment time for me to see the GI doctors for an endoscope test. (They said they would have an appointment time by TODAY. We'll see what they've gotten done when my mom calls them later.)
  3. After GI test, have the GI doctor's office send results to Renfrew.
  4. Talk to my Primary Physician about having a Hydrogen Breath Test (to see of I am, for certain, Lactose Intolerant). 
  5. Schedule the Hydrogen Breath Test.
  6. Have my Physician send the results of the Hydrogen Breath Test to Renfrew.
  7. Schedule an appointment to have a blood test and EKG done by my Physician.
  8. Call Renfrew to see if they got all the results from the tests (hope so!).
  9. Pick a date to start Renfrew (if all has gone well).
  10. Wait and call doctors; call Renfrew again, and then pick a date to start.
The people at Renfrew mentioned at our second meeting that the reason they're having us wait a little longer is that they need to make sure they've covered all aspects of the medical side to me, so that they know what they can feed me without causing me to have an allergic reaction. Or worse, cause my fear of food to  take a turn for the worse. So, it's totally understandable-the delay. It does, however, cause my moral to go down. The lesson out of this is to have patience, which for me, is something I have to work on! Galatians 6:9 says this (something I am trying to take to heart and keep in mind): 

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

On another note, since I have been clinically diagnosed as having an allergy to oats and barley, I have been able to solidify in my mind my choice to go Gluten-Free. Plus, it show me and everyone else that I am not crazy! However, I still haven't been able to prove that I am Lactose Intolerant. And that scares me, because if I can't prove it, then Renfrew will make me drink/eat it. It's causing me to spazz! There is a test that my mom's going to have me do that will test for any lactose intolerance. What a peace of mind it will offer me to know for sure whether or not I am dairy free.

Ephesians 1:11-12
"In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will  so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, would be to the praise of his glory".

Of course, God will provide all in due time. Until that time in which I am tested for such an intolerance, I will wait upon the Lord and put my faith in Him. Whatever the outcome is, I just have to trust that he knows best. 

>> 2012 Affirmation - #3: I will be patient in steadily working toward my goal, remembering that all good comes in time.

>> one thousand gifts
  1. almond butter
  2. almond milk
  3. his still and small voice

A Feminine Introduction

January 15, 2012

Stasi Eldredge
“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.” 

In prelude to a series on captivating femininity, there are things that need to be brought to the surface before commencing delicately into a touchy subject that deals heavily with the matters of a girl's heart. I have been reading this truly transforming book by John and Stasi Eldredge called Captivating. This book and it's authors address some issues that have (and still do) plague the hearts of women, young and old. 

To be a woman. What does it mean-to be a woman? Our idea of being a woman is being that perfect 1950s housewife, leading everyone to believe that everything is exactly what it seems. Perfect. Stasi Eldregde writes, "there has been precious little wisdom offered on the path to becoming a woman. Oh, we know the expectations that have been laid upon us by our families, our churches, and our cultures. There are reams of materials on what you ought to do to be a good woman. But that is not the same thing as knowing what the journey toward becoming a woman involves, or even what the goal really should be" (6).

Church even, carries out this unrealistic perception of the perfect woman. It's a huge part of the problem, sending a message to women, plastering it on our foreheads like a branding: YOU ARE HERE TO SERVE. THAT'S WHY GOD CREATED YOU: TO SERVE (Eldredge 6). We're all trying to live up to this unrealistic, fictional version (or model) of femininity. But do any of us know what being a woman is all about? Or do we simply chose to live by the standards of the world that they tell us we're useless unless we have dinner on the table at 5 o' clock, can manage to take care of 2.5 children, have a clean home, and are devoted wives; all this while holding down a full-time job.* Whoa.

Dear darlings, we are all destined to be women. Yes, women. But our soul's purpose is not to be a woman whose identity is wrapped up in materialistic things, or striving to be the woman that wins a Grammy award as best actress for pretending to be a paradisiacal housewife. 

When I think of feminine, my mind automatically takes me to the roaring 1920s when a woman was expected to be the doormat for her man. A mother to her children. The chef cooking the food. The maid cleaning the house. All of the above. Granted women are still doing this today (maybe no longer doormats ), but the great thing about living in the 21st Century is that women have this beautiful freedom to go on an adventure of a lifetime that is liberating and freeing. This liberating journey is a journey towards discovering who we are in Christ, healing those deep and painful wounds, and coaxing that captivating princess to shine through our crumbling shells. 

If you've ever wondered what makes a woman captivating, it's really quite simple. Stasi Eldgredge plainly states that the makings of a captivating woman is her heart. I like the message that Captivating preaches to women-young and old-about their purpose in life and the effect they are to have on the world. We have a job here on earth, sanctioned by God to be captivatingly beautiful, elegantly feminine; to be inviting, vulnerable, tender, merciful, and "also fierce and fiercely devoted" (30). 

Girls, we've all had our hearts wounded. Life is harsh on a girl's heart. As well as a woman's. We grew up dreaming of fairy tales and sparkling ball gowns, talking mice and magical pumpkin carriages, dragons and knights in shinning armor. But, if you're like me, somewhere down the line those fanciful fairy tale dreams faded into the background, overshadowed by a deep and resentful pain. Those dreams have been locked up tight behind a stonewall of hidden, hardened emotions that say, "Don't notice me. I don't want to get hurt." 

But the beauty of the way God looks at us is extraordinary. And if you will let Him, God will show you that being vulnerable is an essentially captivating part of a woman's beauty, because "every story has a Hero", says Stasi Eldredge, "just as Cinderella was invited to the ball, God is inviting you to a great Romance with Him. 'The eyes of her heart are ever upon you. The King is captivated by your beauty'"(inside cover)

>> 2012 Affirmation -#4:To be upset over what I don't have is to waste what I do have.

>> one thousand  gifts

  1. the golden shimmers of sun through the clouds
  2. the rhythmic chirping of frogs at sunset
  3. dust bunnies under my bed
>> Song of the day:

Beautiful by Bethany Dillon on Grooveshark

>> Verse of the day
Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." 

*I am not implying that there needs to be a feminist movement. I am not in the least a feminist, but a girl striving to be feminine. I am not saying that taking care of the house, the kids, the husband, etc. is not or shouldn't be part of a woman's job description. But I am saying that there's more to a woman than her domestic duties, and I am just trying to encourage others to look deeper into what a woman's role is, especially the role she was meant to play for Christ.

to everything there is a season

January 14, 2012

>>2012 Affirmation - #2: 
Though no one can go back and make a new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.

>> one thousand gifts:
  1. drooping flowers
  2. fat cats
  3. every one of those uniquely designed snowflakes fluttering outside my bedroom window
>>I woke up this morning to find that the Grape Hyacinth-that I had gotten mom as a general present-was killed in the middle of the night by two very huge, fat cats. I had bought those flowers as a means to supply this wintry home with a smidgen of spring. And now I have nothing to show for it except bare and withering flowers, mangled and dismantled leaves with discolored and drooping stems.

It was then that I realized how true the saying was, that "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"-Ecclesiastes 3:1-3. 

While I don't know if it was the season for murderous actions committed by two likely culprits, bound together by some plant-eating brotherhood, but I do know there is a time for everything on this earth. And whether we want it to happen, or it simply happens because it's the right time for it to happen, I try to remember to take joy in all that is happening. 

1 There is a time for everything, 
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.
 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
 15 Whatever is has already been,
   and what will be has been before;
   and God will call the past to account.[b]

Not always having everything go your way has a tendency to blind us to what is really important-that whatever God has in store for us should be what we should wantHappiness isn't always found in the most likely of places, or from receiving what we wanted. 

Sometimes, happiness is found in the journey, not the destination! Thusly, I think it's fitting to end this post with a little reminder: enjoy every moment and live to the fullest for the Glory of God!!!

>> Song of the day:

Turn Turn Turn by To Everything There Is A Season) (The Byrds on Grooveshark

like a postage stamp

January 13, 2012

>> 2012 Affirmation- #1: Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.

>> one thousand gifts:
  1. rainbows
  2. wiskers on kittens
  3. dell inspiron
>> Is it alright to be excited that treatment is so close in hand? And is it alright to be dissapointed when it's snatched out of your hands just as fast? Getting into Renfrew as been a jolting ride of twists and turns, ups and downs. One minute I am going into the Out-Patient Program, the next it's In-Patient. Now we'ere back to the Out-Patient, but are having to wait for medical results to come back is another set-back that I have to deal with, as well as the tests having to be redone, the doctors not doing their job right, or the nurses sticking me in the arm where there is no vein!

All of this, of course, is just God's way of teaching me patience, and the value of time. Sometimes, while sitting at my computer and staring blankly at the screen, I wonder why God has chosen to use this situation in my life to teach me the lessons of life. It never crosses my mind that through our choices God creates a beautiful ending. And even though there are still consequences for the actions, there's beauty on the other side.

I love what Psalm 37:7-9 has to say about patience. It's comforting to read such wise words from such a spiritual man like King David:
"Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land."
I admire eagles for their resilience and power. As a little girl I wanted to be one so that I could soar high in the sky, away from all my troubles and worries. In my mind I imagine them to be free-thinkers, easy-going and unaware of the chaos that goes on down below them. They're free. And I want that-to be free.

Amazing...what I've been learning from 2011-2012. God has been merciful to me, and His grace is more than sufficient for a broken, bleeding, mending heart like mine. Time and again, when my world seems to be crashing down around me, and I feel that all hope is lost, I turn to my favorite verse, Isaiah 40:31, and dwell upon the beautiful words: 

"Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."
>>While I'm at it, I wanted to share with you all my new "monthly" favorite song from Peter Furler called Psalm 23.


January 12, 2012

Josh Groban sings a song called Thankful, and I thought it went well with the meaning of this post. Now, it's nothing really-this post. Only a listing of the three things I am thankful for today.

Starting the one thousand gifts has opened my eyes to the little blessings in life that I often took for granted. It's unbelievable how beautiful some of the blessings are that I have failed to find joy in.

But that's going to be different this year. I will not let those big, or small blessings pass me by without once  stopping to look at them. Or smell the roses!

  1. my brother
  2. my sister
  3. zinnias growing every year in my back yard

Thankful by Josh Groban on Grooveshark

at home

January 11, 2012

I am at home today trying to stay busy with the chores my mom has left for me to do. I know I have already posted this morning about the things I am thankful for today, but I am blogging merely to occupy myself while I take a break. Of all the things I have to do today, I decided to test out a new cookie and bread recipe that is both gluten free and dairy free.

Finding delicious gluten free recipes for baked goods can be a trifle. The recipe either consist of a strange flavor, rawness, an interesting texture, so utterly flawed the thing you intended to bake is beyond recognition, or that cookie that was supposed to look like a cookie looks more like Mount. Rushmore instead. It's difficult to get satisfying results, and even harder to get that delectable taste we're used to getting from foods that contain gluten.

So how did my cookies and bread fare? Let's not go there with the whole bread thing. Been there done that; I don't know why I keep trying to follow bread recipes when I know they're not going to turn out. My hopes are dashed. This is why I am going to stick to using King Arthur's magical bread mix. No, really. It's magical. If you've ever had Udi's bread you know that's stuff is the bomb, but compared to the amazing of King Arthur's bread mix...well, let's just say Udi's doesn't compare.

As for the cookies. My Aunt Shae actually made some out of Pamela's yellow cake mix that was far better than the ones I made (crispy goodness!!!!), but they're fairly good considering they were made from scratch-no help from prepackaged magic. The cookie recipe was actually simple compared to others I have tried in the past. The dough is bitter (no cookie dough eating here). And it's lacking in sweetness a bit (needs chocolate!); or you could do what I did and smother them with powdered sugar right after they come out of the oven.

For one of the better sugar cookies I have found, I used a recipe from a small booklet called Gluten-Free Baking by Esther N. Byler. The prep time for this recipe is minimal, as well as the cook time. So, so simple! And the best part about them is that they bake in whatever shape you form them into. And, if you add just the right amount of moisture (you'll need to add a few teaspoons of water or milk because the dough can be a bit crumbly), you can roll it out and cut the dough into cute shapes! A truly cool sugar cookie.

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 2/3 c. raw sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. lemon juice (worked just fine without it, though it might have helped with the crumbliness of my dough!)
  • 3 t. baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 c. rice flour
  • 1/3 c. potato starch
  • 1/4 c. tapioca starch (I used cornstarch) 
  • 1 t. x-gum
  • 1 t. salt
Combine butter, honey, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Add eggs and beat well. If not smooth enough, add water (or milk) by tablespoonful until right thickness. Can be made into chocolate chip cookies or different flavors. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until done. (No greasing of pans are needed). 
Guess I'll get back into exploring the semi-uncharted world of gluten free dining. I wonder...could I eventually make Date Pinwheels? Oooh, that would be mighty fine. Whelp, gotta go.

count my blessings instead of sheep

I have been blessed with so many gifts. So many in fact, that I have been so blind to many of them; especially the small ones. They all seem so insignificant bundled so tightly together that often the smaller, more intricate ones are the ones that I need to take the time to admire and be really thankful for. 
"I count my blessings instead of sheep...And I fall asleep counting my blessings." Bing Crosby
Count Your Blessings by Bing Crosby on Grooveshark

So here's my three things I am thankful for today. I probably should wait and do this at night, but like the lyrics above state...I counted my blessings last night and know exactly what I am thankful for today. 

  1. dragonflies
  2. music
  3. whispers

1 thousand gifts

January 10, 2012

This year equals blessings in disguise oozing a fresh, pungent fragrance. This year, the pasts will be buried in the past, and futures will be allowed to flourish. This year trials and tribulations will try to weaken my faith. This year, faith, hope, and love will be lessons learned and blessings gained. This year, I will take life one step at a time. This year, my word is JOY-I will find joy in all aspects of my life. And this year, God's essence will flow through me as I learn to be the captivating woman he designed me to be!

Blessings are around us. And if we stop and look closely, we will find more to be thankful for than just the average ordinary things we're used to being thankful for. These new blessings we become aware of throughout the year of 2012 may not be extraordinary, but they will be lovely little gifts from God-those little things that make life sweet. 

Inspired by Elizabeth Rose's post, I have decided to take the Joy Dare in 2012. Battling an eating disorder-and straddling the fence between life and death-has opened my eyes (and made me extremely aware) to the little blessings that I have never stopped to notice, and have regretfully taken for granted. In my daily life discontent is a deeply rooting seed that needs to be cut out at the source before it can grow into a tree. I have found this one thousand gifts to be a captivating way for me to do just that.

Mrs. Voskamp over at A Holy Experience has challenged all of us to record 1000 gifts or blessings in 365 days. That's only three blessings a day! Simply, right? I'll be recording them in a daily post, as well as on a page in my navigation bar, which will be updated every day as I add new things to the list. 

As Elizabeth Rose stated at the end of her post, "This is not something for the faint of heart. This is for those of you who want to live wholly, intentionally, and God-centered. So will you take up the Joy Dare with me and dare to find 1000 blessings in twenty twelve?" (Living On literary Lane)