Sunday, November 29, 2009

children's choir of africa (what they taught me)

SO, I meant to post this last week before Thanksgiving…but you know how it goes….

Last week, the Daraja Children's Choir of Africa came to town to perform at a local church. This is a choir based out of Kenya through The 410 Bridge organization. They had been on tour seven nights straight at that point. I was tired and it was after work but I went. And I'm so glad I did. They are AMAZING!!! God used His perfect timing to put in perspective just how much I have to be thankful for. And this was done just by listening to Kenyan boys and girls sing and dance to OUR Risen Savior! The same Savior that we sing to and worship. Although I might have an abundance in materials, money (not really, but you get the point), and temporary things, it is these children that have been given an abundance of joy, peace and most of all, hope. A hope that overcomes all the trials, all the losses, all the unknowns and all the doubts that this world has thrown at them over and over.
I think having been to Kenya myself before made it a little more real and emotional. I could just picture the scenes I witnessed while there. Scenes no one should have to see, much less live in. I have been there. I have been amongst the trash-filled slums overflowing with raw sewage with little kids playing and searching, urinating on the ground, dogs and pigs roaming and disease running rampant. And the smell…I don’t even have the words to describe how awful. Millions and millions of people in one slum, living crammed in a little shanty (tin roof/hut) that they call home. This is all they know.

But not for these kids. They know of the smell and the sewage. They know what it is like to search among the trash to find food just to stay alive. They know what it is like to wonder if they will have a meal to eat or water to drink. They know what it is like to lose a mother/father to disease. They know what it feels like to not have family at all. They know what it means to have nothing. They know and live in these circumstances. They have faced their hardships and are able to look beyond their trials and sufferings. All of this while singing, dancing and shouting to the King. This is just a testimony of God’s redeeming love. They know and face their daily circumstances but their faith remains unchanged. Their smile says it all.

If these Kenyan boys and girls can worship their Creator all while in their current circumstances, then why can’t I, being right where I am…right where God has me, worship my Heavenly Maker just the same. Through the eyes and the hearts of these children.

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done." Psalms 105:1

Hope ya’ll had a Thankful Thanksgiving !

Sunday, November 22, 2009

here and there

We've had a busy past week going to Louisville Kentucky, Athens for the UGA/Auburn game and then to a B&B in Dahlonega GA for some relaxing (minus the hiking) downtime.

First, Louisville. Every year, there is a medical missions conference held in Louisville. The program residency here sends a group of residents/spouses to go and recruit and also helps with future decisions concerning mission work. I didn't get any pictures from the conference (that would have been boring) but we did go to a beautiful park while there and practiced taking pics with our new camera!

(just a little photo shoot :) )

After the conference, we went to Athens for the Georgia/Auburn game! I'm glad we went last weekend and not this one...what happened??
Oh well, this game was a blast!

They won!!

We walked around campus the next day and took some random pictures.

the victory bell...we were sure to ring!

Last stop, Dahlonega GA. We went up to the North Georgia mountains to a Bed and Breakfast. It was fabulous with beautiful views and really good breakfast each morning! We also did some hiking and saw some waterfalls.

We also went to the apple orchards and picked out some (only good pic I could get- through the fence).

On a side note, sometimes I wonder why I blog??? Thanks friend for the encouragement this morning!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

fun on the farm

Russ and I went a few weekends ago to visit his parents and spend some time on the farm. Its always fun to go this time of year, with the cool weather and changing of the leaves. I'm just now getting to write about already seems like we went months ago. Anyway, here are some pictures of our adventures on the farm...

playing with the kiddos

feeding the rabbit

my favorite part is riding through the pastures in the evening...this time I got out and fed the very hungry cows

trying to look excited while hoping not to get attacked by one of those cows (my husband would laugh at this...because cows are so mean and all)

hungry cow

eating and watching


always gotta have a bonfire and s'mores

perfect way to end the day....

needed grace

More and more I realize the need for grace and the dependence upon grace in our every day lives. During worship on Sunday, this song reminded me again of this. I love the truth to these words...

Grace Unmeasured

Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear your righteous name
Grace, grace, grace Paid for my sins and brought me to life
Grace, grace, grace Clothes me with power to do what is right
Grace, grace, grace Will lead me to heaven where I'll see Your face
And never cease to thank you for Your grace
Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending, all my days
You'll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

Sunday, November 8, 2009

ruffled pillow

I finally made this ruffled pillow a few weeks ago. I got the idea from my friend over at City Grace. She has some great crafty projects that I love to steal!:)

Monday, November 2, 2009

famous in a small town...

or so we can pretend when you're dressed up like this....

We went to the annual resident's halloween party. Can you guess who we are dressed up as...

You guessed it (hopefully)....Elvis and Priscilla! I really didn't get any great pictures but I promise at one point my hair was BIG with bumpit and all. Of course, everyone knew who Russ was...I was questionable at times if I wasn't right next to the "king" as Russ liked to call himself all night.

Some pictures with friends...

Fairy God Mother, Priscilla, and Carlos

Hope ya'll had a happy halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

pumpkin cheesecake bars

This is a really good pumpkin dessert. I think the chocolate topping helps to make it so good :) but I highly recommend this one.

Pumpkin cheesecake bars with chocolate topping

1/2 c butter
1 17.5 oz package oatmeal cookie mix
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 15oz. can pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 c semisweet chocolate pieces
1/4 c butter
48 pecan halves (I skipped this one)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15x10x1 inch pan with foil, extending foil over the pan edges. Lightly grease foil. Set pan aside. In a large bowl, use a pastry blender to cut 1/2 cup butter into cookie mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until set.
2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour pumpkin mixture onto the hot crust.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes more or until mixture is slightly puffed around the edges and just set in center.
4. In a small microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate pieces and the 1/4 cup butter. Microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds or until softened; stir until smooth. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled bars and carefully spread evenly. Gently press pecan halves evenly across top (optional). Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

a greater purpose

I was encouraged the other day when I was driving to work and the singer from Casting Crowns was talking about their new album/song, "Until the Whole World Hears." He was talking some about the ministry he is involved in but also the fact that we're called to so much more than just the everyday living that easily consumes our lives. I know for me, it is easy to do what I know is comfortable and routine forgetting even some days what my real purpose is. Although I may not fully know that yet, I know, as a child of God, there is more than just what I am doing now. I have to remember to slow down and look at the opportunities placed before me and take full advantage of each one. Not for my glory, but for His. This is not always easy especially in a fast-moving, all about me world that can easily suck you in. Some days I come home from work and am frustrated and think how did I even show/share the love of Jesus...just because I didn't slow down and make time. I think of missed opportunities and negativeness (is that a word??) that I showed throughout the day. But then I remember how big a sinner I am and how great a Savior I have.
Because of this, because of renewed mercy and undeserving grace and the hope I have not in this world...I have a purpose, just as everyone saved by grace, to share this...until the whole world hears.

Here Casting Crowns shares their meaning behind their song...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

pumpkin candles...

Found yet another little project on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. It was too cute not to do and perfect for the start of the fall season. Of course, there is not much to it but its so fun to decorate this time of year!

Back with a pumpkin dessert recipe soon!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Fall Ya'll!

Who does that sound like...none other than Paula Dean herself. (I hope nobody read this last night because yes, I did change the title).
It's fall time!! Time for pumpkins, pumpkin spice candles, cool weather, mums, football, and chili (and another season of So You Think You Can Dance)!!

Anyway, on to the Paula Dean part....this is a must try dessert (unless you don't like coconut, then you are missing out)! Its straight out of her dessert cook book so you know its full of all those wonderful ingredients that make a dessert worth eating again and again...just when you think you had enough, you have to go back for one more bite! This recipe is so easy:

Cool and Creamy Coconut Cake
1 box yellow cake mix (plus ingredients to prepare)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 15 oz. can cream of coconut
1 8 oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 1/2 to 3 cups flaked, sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 inch pan. Prepare cake as directed on package. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for time indicated on package. Remove cake from oven and, using a fork or skewer, poke holes in entire cake. Mix together condensed milk and cream of coconut and pour over warm cake. Cool cake completely. Frost with whipped topping and sprinkle top with coconut. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This cake is best prepared a day or two before serving.

Couldn't be much easier than that!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

He is enough

Last night, I was quickly reminded once again, just as the Lord gives so graciously and freely, He also takes away just the same. I've thought about this a lot before, reading through Job, wondering why certain things happen the way they do and trying at the same time to see how God is going to work through such sufferings. I know I will never understand, nobody will. I know all I can do is put my hope and trust in Him, no matter what the circumstance. Although my faith has been tested, I know during these times it is when Christ is shaping us into His own and refining what we have come to believe and hold on to.
My friend called me last night to give unimaginable news about a friend through the MCO community (Russ knows him better than I do) that lost his two little boys earlier that day so unexpectedly. The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this was the passage in Job 21. I have lost a loved one and this is the verse that would always come to mind when questioning/doubting. This family is going through true suffering and is learning what it means to suffer for Christ. I pray God will reveal Himself more than ever now to them and meet their every need during this season of darkness as He promises us He will.
It is times like this that I have to take time and question/think about my own faith. Just as God can take away, is He alone enough for me? Am I still completely satisfied in Him and only Him? I've had to ask myself this a lot...sometimes I wish the answer was more clear. I have to remember that we are never promised another day on this earth and nothing I have is mine. I never want to take a day I have here for granted or not tell those I love what they mean to me. I want to stand firm in my faith, even through the hardships and even when the world around me is constantly shaken and unstable. I want to look to Christ for hope, not to anything this world can temporarily offer. I want to know in my heart that my Jesus is enough for Jesus alone. The one who took my place on that cross so that I could live and know His goodness, mercy and grace.

Please pray for this family as they suffer, grieve and cling to the promises of Him who brings comfort, peace and hope.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 21

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

its that time again...

With fall soon to be in the air and football season starting up, there is much to be excited about! Fall is my favorite and if you know my husband, you know our lives are soon to revolve around this....

The Georgia Bulldogs.

I don't mind though because I enjoy college football. Here's to a new season and new start for the dawgs!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

three years ago...

Three years ago (would say today but really yesterday), God made me the happiest person when He brought Russ and I together in marriage. We made a covenant before God to live a selfless, Christ-centered life together and love one another as He loves His own. We have been through a lot, but what an amazing journey it has been!

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2

This is such an important truth in the role of marriage. I hope that this verse will reflect our lives, not only in our marriage, but in all we do as God continues to work in us and through us.

Celebrating our third year anniversary!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

peach enchiladas

I have another dessert. The name might not sound too convincing but I promise, this is a good one. I made this dessert awhile ago for my husband. I wanted to make a "healthy" dessert and something he would really like. He likes fruity stuff, I don't. But...I thought I would try something new with good intentions on making something that would be good for us. So, I went to a roadside stand in town and got some of these...

The lady that was selling these peaches gave me a list of recipes and told me the peach enchiladas was the best one. I saw all the ingredients and there goes all my good intentions. I couldn't resist though. So, I thought I would try it. It sounded easy. And it was. Here is the recipe:

4 peaches quartered
2 8-oz. cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 12-oz. Mountain Dew

Mix melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Roll 1/4 peach in crescent roll section from large to small end. Place in 12x10x2 pan or casserole that has been sprayed with Pam. Pour butter/sugar mixture over this. Pour Mountain Dew over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
So, it wasn't exactly a "healthy" dessert. sure was good.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

oreo truffles

Found a great little recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine for any truffle/chocolate lovers out there. This one is too good not to share. I made them for some birthday parties we were going to (its dangerous to keep them in your own kitchen) and they were a huge hit. Here is the recipe:

1 18-oz. pkg. chocolate sandwich cookies with white filling, finely crushed
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. white baking chocolate, melted

In large mixing bowl combine crushed cookies and cream cheese. Beat with mixer on low speed until well blended. Form 1-inch balls by hand. Dip balls in white chocolate; place on baking sheet covered with waxed paper. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. To store, cover and refrigerate.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

trinidad trip in pictures

We had a great time in Trinidad. We have been back for almost 2 weeks now so I better update before I forget everything. Its storming pretty bad here and making me sleepy so I hope to make it through this post. I do love a good storm though...something about it brings on excitement...especially when you are in the middle of doing your grocery shopping and a major downfall occurs and then you have to run fast through all the muddy puddles and crazy rain with grocery bags in hand trying to unlock the car doors. Needless to say, it was quite the adventure for the day.
On to the purpose of this post....

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

Here are some highlights of the trip:

some of our first patients

sweet old couple. this man was 96! he asked us the same questions over and over and over again!!

our first clinic site

mighty fine d-group

another clinic site

landscape pic...trying to get the mountains in background

a day at the beach...nothing like some bake and shark!

hike to the waterfall

russ thinking he can play the steel pan drums...what trinidad is known for

we ate this one night. don't remember what it's called but it was no good (I was one of the only ones who thought this)

sad little baby

eating some yum-yum food

another clinic site

look at this cute bundle of goodness...nobody could resist this little one

this was our room

and here are our roomies (minus their daughter..she stayed in another room)

I would post more pics but that is enough for now. I'm so glad we went on this trip. God did some amazing things during our time there and really worked in our lives. I feel blessed to serve in this way...even though HE doesn't need us, HE calls us to further His kingdom to bring Him all the glory and praise!