Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New year!

Last year I was not happy thinking about 2013. I just had a feeling it would be a tough year and boy was I right!

Right from the start it was very difficult and filled with grief and loss. From then on it continued to bounce up and down like an airplane hitting turbulence and at times it felt as if our airplane crashed and burned. But somehow, but God's grace, we've still made it through!

For 2014, I've determined to make this a better year. To work hard and cling to my new theme: God's Got This!

When I was thinking of all the difficulties of this past year and talking to God difficulties my family was going through he just impressed upon me to not worry. Stop beseeching and begging and crying for him to come through and just believe that He's got this!

With that in mind I'm going to attack this new year with resolve!

Hope you have a blessed New Years! Stay safe and party lots!:)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

God's Got This Part 2


Turning Point

Psalms 73:28

“But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.

I finally came to a turning point about four months into 2013. I was worn out even more than I had been at the start of the year. One day as I was reading my bible I saw a verse that lead me to a life changing moment-and I don’t use that phrase lightly: “life changing moment”.

Often when I hear people say that they had a life changing moment I feel like it’s not always sincere. It’s a phrase that gets used a lot and that life change can be easily tossed aside as life goes on. So when I say it was life changing-believe me, it helped change me.

The verses that caused me to take this new path were:

Joel 2:12-13

“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting,

And with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”

It was as if God was telling me that it was okay that I was angry, it was okay that I was crying and in mourning, so to speak, about my life and things happening in it. But he was also asking that I turn to him and give it all to him. What confirmed it even more was that evening as I was talking with a friend she brought up a verse that said:

Hebrews 4:9

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

I came to the realization that I was trying so hard and maybe I just needed to stop trying and rest. Just give it all to the Lord and see what he would do. I committed the next day to doing just that.

I gave everything to the Lord. All my dreams, goals, life plans, wishes, wants, everything. I turned to him and told him that I can’t do this anymore. I need him to clearly show me what he wanted from me!

I fasted that day, prayed and told God that even the music he had given to me-which I knew he gave me to share with others-I would give it up. I wiped my life and my expectations to a clean slate. I sought God that he would look at my blank canvas and paint with the colors he wanted. And I determined that I wouldn’t grab onto the brush as try to paint my own picture. I would trust that he would lead me.

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God
must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

As the day went on God clearly showed me what I needed to do. One thing I’d been holding onto was my job. It was working at a Christian camp and I loved it. It had been my life for four years. It was a perfect schedule, I had plenty of time to work and keep busy, but there was also plenty of down time where I could rest, which really helped me with my health. It didn’t pay much, but what I did earn was just enough to cover my small bills. I’d known for a long time that I needed to move on, but move onto what? There was nothing to move onto. But I was holding onto that job so tightly that God couldn’t show me any open doors. That weekend I resigned from my position at the camp.
Even the day I was going to resign I was still asking God if it was the right thing to do! God responded, “You already know what you need to do, you don’t need me to show you anymore. Just trust and take that step.” So I did.

I wish I could say that I learned my lesson so well that I’ve never had a problem with trusting God or any challenges the rest of that year….but things still continued to go up and down and down again. My faith was tested time and time again.

But since I didn’t have the work at the camp anymore I was able to put a lot of time into working on my health. I’ve always been a person who took care of my body, but I really needed a chunk of time where I could just do what I needed done to help me take that first big step in overcoming some of my physical challenges.

I also started to put a lot more effort into my music and writing. Both things that God clearly showed me I needed to be doing.

Finally, we came to the end of the year and even more challenges arose! For almost exactly a month everything that could go wrong did and even things that couldn’t go wrong did. But through each of them God showed me his hand working and making the wrong-right.

November was the month that we moved my mom to Florida. The trip started out with us driving a truck and a van loaded to the brim with everything my mom wanted. Two hours into the trip, the truck decided it didn’t want to go all the way to Florida…in fact, it didn’t even want to leave Pennsylvania! 

When you’re on a long journey like that you want to get there as quickly as possible. So when the truck broke down my brother and I had to make space in the van for three of us instead of two, which meant that we needed to move a bunch of stuff from the van to the truck. We move as quickly as humanly possible, and I even remembered to grab the bucket that had most of my mom’s clothes and we hit the road again. The problem with leaving the truck wasn’t just that most of my mom’s stuff was still in it, but also that the truck was the way my brother and I were going to make it home!
God’s hand was in that situation though as I wasn’t feeling so great. So now instead of having to switch three drivers between two vehicles, we had three of us for one vehicle. Which worked out as I only drove the first two hours and was able to be the miserable and sick navigator instead of having to drive to relieve someone!

Then we got down to Florida and things weren’t as it should have been. We were exhausted from our twenty-two plus hour trip and didn’t even have a chance to rest before everything was crazy and just thrust upon us! We had two crazy days and then a wonderful-much needed mini vacation.
Upon returning from our vacation we had to figure out how my brother and I would make it back home. So we looked and found the cheapest most efficient option: a car rental. Simple, right? No. Weren’t you paying attention? 2013 is a tough year!

We go to get the car and find out we can’t rent it, so while postponing our twenty two hour trip home, because we were waiting on a friend to help us, God’s hand stepped in again. We were able to have breakfast with my mom and assist her in settling in a little more.

We then left Florida and drove straight through-only stops for food and bathroom runs-and let me tell you, God’s hand must have been with us as it was the shortest twenty two hours I ever experienced!
We had a nice Thanksgiving and then less than six days later my dog got hit by a car. God’s hand: my dog could have been hit by the actual car-which it was more like a dodge truck- but instead he got hit by the small metal box the truck was towing.

Instead of broken bones, internal bleeding or things much worse he had a very bad laceration and some muscle damage. It still wasn’t good, but it wasn’t terrible! God protected my puppy boy!
The next challenge was getting our heat turned on; we wanted to have it ready knowing that when our dog came home from the vet he would need to be warm and not freezing. I mean they shaved half his fluffy fur off!

We had gotten our tank filled with the oil we needed, but the furnace wasn’t lighting. Now I don’t know how it is where you are, but here it’s expensive just to have the furnace guy step in the house much less light the pilot! I’d spent almost all night and morning trying to get it lite, and I wasn’t feeling the greatest as I’d had one of my health flair ups. 

So I figured I’d learn from a trust lesson. I was talking to the Lord about everything going on and telling him that I needed help, blah, blah, blah. It hit me then. I realized I didn’t need to tell God everything over and over and seek his help. I just needed to realize one thing: God’s got this.
God has the plan in place to work everything out…why was I worrying and sweating over it. So I got up off my prayer stoop-also known as my bed-and said, “God, you’ve got this so I’m going to start doing my work for the day.” 

God’s hand again: my sister knows a guy who works for the people that know how to get our furnace going. He’s a good friend who came over that night and got it going for free. Perfect timing as we picked up our little buddy from the vet the next day.

Since then I’ve decided to add a theme to my life. When the going gets tough I’m going to get going and trust that: God’s got this.

To be continued....

Friday, December 27, 2013

God's Got This Part 1


New Year

Let’s travel back in time to December  31, 2012. The clock is steadily ticking closer and closer to mid-night. Parties all around the globe are in full swing as everyone breathlessly waits for the countdown that will soon begin. 

Not everyone, however, was at a party having fun and getting ready to sing “Auld Lang Syne” or get a kiss from a sweetheart. This particular year I was one of those people missing out on all the fun and games.

Instead of looking forward to midnight and staying up specially to greet the New Year I was sitting on my couch dreading the seconds that quickly slipped by. Side note: why is it when I want time to slow down it doesn’t but when I need it to speed up it drags on slowly?

I was not looking forward to 2013 at all and the only reason I was awake was that I was hoping that if I stayed up 2013 wouldn’t actually start. Since I’ve not figured out how to control time there was a fat chance of that happening! Was there something bad that I knew would happen in 2013? No. Was something planned that I was nervous about? Nope! Just not looking forward to spending another year taking a half a step forward and getting pushed, shoved and smacked back three steps.

To be fair, 2012 hadn’t been the worst year, but for quite a few years both my family and I had been struggling. For me it wasn’t just with the financial strain, but also physical-I have health challenges that make it difficult to function. The mental and emotional strain was suffocating me-when you’re constantly struggling with physical challenges it’s hard to have energy to even think about things that normally you could do in your sleep! As for emotions, let’s face it, when you’re constantly stuck at home on a couch or in bed when everyone around you is busy doing and living life…it’s tough. Even the spiritual struggles were wearing me down as each year passed by.

I continued to read my bible and pray, but quite often I struggled with bitterness and anger at God for allowing me to go through the trials that kept coming and living a life I did not choose. Some days I knew God was reaching out to me, but I refused to pick up his word. I would tell him: “I’m upset at up you and I know if I read your word today you’re going to show me something that will make me want to come back to you and right now I don’t want to hear it!”

Need-less-to-say, I was tired and worn out. The prospects of facing another year, but did not cheer me at all. What made this night even sadder was that after sitting on the couch by myself for a while, my sister joined me. We must have looked sight! 

Both of us checked the clock and saw it was only a half hour before the New Year rolled in. we turned to look at each other and my sister said, “I’m not looking forward to this new year.” My heart readily agreed with her sentiment. 

There was still something inside of me that said, I can make this a good year! I just didn’t see how it would be a good year. 

Well, one thing you can’t stop is time and the New Year started whether we liked it or not. And it was the worst start to a year you could have. Three days in we received a call from a family that we really cared about. Their oldest grandchild, who was just shy of turning thirteen died in a tragic accident.

Our hearts were broken. Attending the viewing and then the funeral was the hardest thing I’d had to do. Knowing the loss and heartbreak the family was going through and would go through over the coming years just tore me up inside. I felt like I was going through the loss of my dad again. The only difference was the emotions were ten times worse.

As the months continued it was one situation after another that took place and continued to beat me down. There were little blessing mingled in here and there throughout the year, but over all a lot more valleys than mountain tops. A lot more struggles than victories.

God had been teaching me to trust him for years-by this point and time it had to have been at least six years since I’d come to that point were God was teaching and showing me how to trust him. Each time I felt like I was beginning to make progress in my trust in God, and he’d then show me that I really hadn’t learned my lesson yet, and would take me a little farther down the trust road.

Often I would believe he’d come through and give up right before he’d provide the blessing I was looking for. Sometimes I’d stay strong right to the end, but I was frustrated that I kept faltering and failing. I mean he’s my heavenly father…I can trust him just as I trusted my parents as a child. Why couldn’t I learn my lesson?

I get annoyed at things and let’s just say I was fully annoyed by this point! Yes, fully trusting someone is choice and it can be a hard choice when you are believing in faith that things will go right. Looking back on all the trust lessons I’m seeing that God teaches us as we go so we don’t get overwhelmed and I am grateful for him allowing me to see his work in my life. 

To be continued....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jesus Has Come!

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas holiday season has been quite different for my family. My brother is still overseas-like her has been for the last 3 Christmas's, but now my mom lives in Florida and unfortunately can't come home for Christmas.

While it may be different than other years, we are still making the best of it and enjoying the time we have together! We never know when one Christmas holiday season will be the last one we spend with our family as a whole. Meaning who knows when the next sibling will run off and be into something new with their life!

I did want to share a Christmas song I wrote a few years ago. I've always wanted to do a Christmas song as it seems like there aren't many out there...and as usual God didn't disappoint me!

Hope you have a very special Christmas this year and that the new year is simply amazing!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Puppy Love

It's been a crazy month with many ups and downs and all I've been thinking-especially in the last two weeks is....I just have to survive till Christmas Eve. Well, that's tomorrow...so wohoo!!!! I made it! 

The last two weeks have been overwhelming to say the least, and quite honestly I haven't focused very much on what's been going on. Just put one foot in front of the other and kept going...hard all day long. Last week every day I was awake at 4:30 am and got right to work and continued until I went to sleep at 10:00 pm. It was nuts and crazy, but I kept in mind that "this too shall pass" and "God is faithful to bring me through!"

I couldn't have done it without God being there and helping me each and every day, but boy am I glad to have it over.

Tomorrow starts my Christmas holiday and I intend to relax and enjoy myself as much as possible!

Today I took my dog Judah to the vet for a checkup and it wasn't the greatest report, but I am trusting that the Lord will create a miracle healing in his body and that all will be well by the next checkup this coming Monday.

Tonight I was able to snap this cute picture that just grabs my heart every time I look at it! It just made my day!

My sister and our baby puppy-Juni. notice how my sister's doll-she's had it since she was a baby, has had to take a back seat to the puppy love!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

God is on Time-P.U.S.H.

God is on Time was written on February16-17, 2011.

The way I got the idea was very special and actually the very date I got the idea was on Christmas day in 2010. It had been a rough holiday season-well it'd been rough for quite a few months, but my holidays that year were like no other year before.

 I was actually working at an assisted living home and while I loved working with the people, the work was hard, stressful and very draining. Quite often you were doing the work of three people in just one 8 hour shift. It was difficult and I struggled almost every day to keep my attitude right and to be a light to the people around me.

They had a policy where if you worked one holiday-Thanksgiving or Christmas-you'd get the other one off...and you'd either work the day before or after but you'd at least get one day off around the holiday you worked.

So I worked Thanksgiving. Which was great as my family really wanted to spend Christmas day together. Then a week or two before Christmas 3 people up and quit...who does that? So our work load and days the rest of the employees had to work increased. I was also asked if I could work on Christmas day. At least out worked out that I was able to split my shift with a friend so I wouldn't have a full shift, but I was still disappointed.

I did the same thing I did every other day I worked and felt upset, down, depressed or whatever other emotions I was feeling. I prayed. I asked God to help me be a light to the people I was helping. To let me shine for him and asked if he could please just give me a special blessing that would brighten my day.

God always answers when you seek him. Every time I asked him to help me through a day he would give me a bible verse or a song that would go through my head all. Day. Long. It was something that may not seem like much, and maybe to some it would seem annoying, but to me it gave me strength to get through the day. It also made me feel special-like God was watching over me and loved me enough to fill my day with joy.

I arrived at the home-still continually praying that he would work in me and help me keep my attitude right as I was working the day before, the day of and the day after Christmas. God came through for me!

I was running around getting medication to some of the residents when one of my co-workers pulled me aside. She told me that she'd heard something from her pastor and wanted to share it with me. Despite being super busy, I stopped to politely listened. Here's the story she told me (I actually found the story she told me online and just copied that below. http://www.fathershands.com):

Pray Until Something Happens

A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared.

The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. So, this the man did, day after day.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into his weary mind:

"You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't moved."

Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. Satan said,
"Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough."

That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

"Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

The Lord responded compassionately,

"My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done.
Now I, my friend, will move the rock."

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves the mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong ... just PUSH!
When the job gets you down ... just PUSH!

When people don't react the way you think they should..... just PUSH!

When your money is "gone" and the bills are due ...just PUSH!

When people just don't understand you ... just PUSH!

After my friend told me that story, it was as if God had shown me to keep doing what I was doing. He would move those mountains when the time was right. He WAS and still IS working in my life. I just needed to keep on Praying Until Something Happened. Keep faithful to him.

Each of the verses touches on struggles we go through in life. The first verse touches on how you've been praying for so long that you're beginning to feel like giving up. Your joy, peace and happiness feels like it's gone and there is no hope of getting it back. You begin to think and even believe...if God had just come through this wouldn't have happened!

The second verse talks about how your heart and arms are empty because of the trials you've been through.
Perhaps you've been looking for that one person who will be your true love and God just hasn't brought them into your life.
Maybe you've wanted a child for so long, but nothing has happened or maybe you've had a child and God took that precious life to heaven.
At last you just fall into tears and your heart never feels full from all the loss you feel.

The third verse reminds us that we must keep looking to God through those moments in life where you never seem to make headway. To remember that God has a purpose in all that happens and he will be gloried as he works in our lives!

And finally the chorus:

God is one time, my friend,
Pray until something happens,
For he has not left you alone,
Just have faith he's by your side,
God is on time.

Trust, believe and keep the faith!

Cookie day!

At last the day has arrived! It's time to get oodles and oodles of delicious cookie making going! What I have planned is my cut out cookies-with loads of butter-cream frosting and sparkly sprinkles, the ultimate chocolate chip cookies, white velvet cookies-also with frosting and sprinkles, rice krispsy treats and apple bread.

I did get a a head start yesterday by making Cookies & Cream Fudge-which is: Out. Of. This. World. DELICIOUS!!!! Imagine Oreo cookies with just the right amount of cookie and dream....I mean cream.

It's very simple to make and a wonderful treat of you-and if you decide to let share-your family and friends to enjoy!

Cookies & Cream Fudge

Cookies and Cream Fudge

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) Evaporated Milk
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) White morsels
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 cup crumbled cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies


LINE 9-inch-square baking pan with foil.

COMBINE sugar, butter and evaporated milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

STIR in morsels, marshmallow crème, finely crushed cookies and vanilla extract. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle crumbled cookies on top. Gently swirl cookies into fudge using a knife without touching bottom of pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 


The 9 inch pan makes a super think fudge so this year I not only doubled the recipe, but I poured the fudge into 2- 15 inch cookies sheets. This made the perfect thickness and allowed for cutting the perfect sized piece. Trust me...this is one rich fudge-you'll want it to me a tad thinner than it would be by putting it in a smaller pan.
Happy baking!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ultimate Cookie

One more day and then I will be in the midst of a baking frenzy! While I am looking forward to it I know it will be an exhausting day! But I already have my night planned for the perfect chill...a night at the movies with friends, popcorn and the new Hobbit film!

Here is one of the cookie recipes I will be making tomorrow. I love this recipe! You can make HUGE cookies and they turn out perfect! There have been days where I make a batch and get 24 large cookies. I eat like, 2 or 3. My brother comes home between 4-6 from work and all but a few are gone by the time I go to bed at 9:30/10:00 pm.

Now whenever I tell anyone that these are THE ultimate chocolate chip cookies...they roll their eyes. But they always end up asking for the recipe and agreeing with me! Try them and you may find your new favorite chocolate chip cookie!

Makes 2 dozen large cookies

1 cup butter, melted (no substitutes)
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups chocolate chips*

Stir melted butter and sugars; mix well. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, soda and salt and stir into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Using an ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheet, two inches apart. 

Bake in 325* oven for 12-13 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Let rest on cookie sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.


~*you can use any kind of chocolate-I've used chunks and I know of
 some people who've used cut up chocolate bars. 
 ~Mix by hand, do NOT use a mixer
~Only use a plastic or metal bowl, do NOT use glass
~MUST use real sugar and white flour! :-)
~It may look like the cookie isn't done when it comes out of the oven, but as long as you don't have it too thick it will be fine...be sure to let it sit for 5 minutes!

Enjoy!!!! And please be sure to share the cookies...your waistline will thank you! ;)