Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Follower

Follow me on:


Today we are inundated with so many requests to follow people. I have to admit that at times I have difficulty saying "No" to everything as some 'follow me' pleas catch my attention.

But are we so caught up in following people that we have forgotten the most important 'follow me' plea?

Seventeen times Jesus used the phrase "Follow Me". His command was given to those who eventually became his disciples, given to the rich man who wanted to know what more he should do to enter heaven, given to us:

"Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
Mark 8:34b

With the technology of today the temptation to get caught up in our daily social world on the web sometimes takes time away from the One we should be following. 

If we truly desire God to work in our life we must be a follower of him- just as we check our phones or computers every time it blings that there is a new notification- we should be just as hooked on Jesus.

This brings up another you have followers on your social media accounts? What do they see in you? Do they see that you are a follower of Christ? 

Or do you constantly complain about your life and circumstances? (I  understand the need to ask a prayer request or seek some support- I'm talking about those who every day must share everything that goes wrong....may I say, "Blah")

Do you post and share Godly pictures or are you sharing things that aren't Christlike? Or are you choosing to uplift your followers with good thoughts, words and pictures?

We are all followers of someone, just as in this day and age, we all have followers. We must always endeavor to use wisdom in whom we chose to follow and not lose sight of the most important One we should be following: our Saviour- Jesus.

Speaking of following....did you know you can follow me on twitter, Facebook, YouTube and of course this blog?

Follow Me: 

Twitter- @rebgres
YouTube Channel- A Song of Deliverance
This blog- You can subscribe through the email link to receive updates whenever a new post goes up!

Friday, May 23, 2014


I made a pork shoulder roast the other day (see this post for that recipe) and needed a to find a good recipe to use up all the leftovers I had. I looked at ideas and decided to try on: Pork Nachos.

From the many pictures I found online, the recipe looked both appealing and unappealing. I wasn't sure if it was a wise recipe to try. I asked my siblings and they weren't so sure they wanted to try it either! But I was determined to try a new recipe!

I poured over the many recipes online and took notes on what I liked and didn't. I then created my own recipe.

Pork Nachos

2 cups Pork-shredded
1-1 1/2 cups Barbecue sauce-I used Sweet Baby Rays
Nacho Con Queso Cheese Sauce-click to see my recipe
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Tortilla chips

Re-heat pork with barbecue sauce until warm. Heat nacho cheese. 

Place chips on a cookie sheet or oven safe serving tray. Layer pork mixture over chips, then nacho cheese, olives, tomatoes, shredded cheese and chives.

Place in pre-heated 400*F oven until cheese is melted and nachos are warm. Serve immediately.

There are many other things you could add to these nachos to give them your own flair: jalapeno peppers, refried beans- or other kinds of beans, sour cream, onions, salsa

Side ideas: salad

My notes:

Don't layer your nachos until you are ready to eat...this will keep the chips from becoming too soggy.

This recipe would be great for a dinner or an appetizer

I used the leftover pork for pork barbecue side sandwiches-which most of use ate without the bread.

Overall, despite our misgivings, this recipe turned out AMAZING! I would make it again...I even had the leftovers, of what little we didn't finish, was delicious!

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Whose fault is it?

I suffer with pain or health issues on a daily basis. It gets very difficult to watch others live life while I feel confined to my sickbed. It often leaves me feeling very down and it's a minute by minute fight to keep my head above water and try and stay positive!

I've prayed for healing, eat right, tried all sorts of health regimens and continued to pray for more and more healing. But while I may have an occasional relief, it never lasts long and I'm back to the sickbed.

Ugh....I hate my bed, the couch and every other thing that holds me back. Sometimes I can remain strong through the weak health moments...or more accurately days or sometimes the weeks they last, but many more times I tend to wonder: When will it end? 

I beg God to take me home so I no longer suffer; but while I don't want to live anymore I also don't want to die. Why? Isn't my future secure in Christ? Why then do I fear death? 

It's quite simple and maybe even a little silly: I don't want to miss anything! Funny- even when I was a little girl I remember my dad and mom talking about how hard it was to pull me away from a tv show or movie we were watching to do some small task or help my mom with dinner. 

It was simple... just that I HAD to see what was going to happen next! Not much has changed...sometimes I get a book or movie just because the little teaser I'll read makes me want to know what will happen. I've been given the reputation for picking boring features, but, least I know how the story ended!

It's the same reason why dying scares me. There have been a few deaths around me lately and the one thing that saddens me the most about death is that everyone else lives on. They continue to laugh, cry and live life. But the person that has died will no longer see the accomplishments their loved ones make. They will no longer hold the people they love in a tender embrace.No longer have another chance to do that one thing the never got around to doing.

They've gone on. Yes, to a better place, but the chances they had in life are no more. All the suffering they went through, no longer makes a difference to them. Their favorite foods....why should they care about food anymore? Their hopes and dreams...all gone. Never to be fulfilled, completed or enjoyed.

But heaven is so wonderful...why would those things make any difference? Shouldn't you desire to be with Jesus so much that life down here no longer matters?

Perhaps what hits me the most, of all my fears and questions, is that when you die you no longer have a chance to do anything more for Christ. What you've done is all you will ever do. Will it make a difference? When you stand before God and his judgement will all you did be enough?

I know, no matter what I do it will never be enough. I am so weak and small...sickly beyond ridiculous! I so desire to do more for Christ, but yet I so often feel stuck.

I then start to think back to when it all happened. What was the turning point for my health? When was the moment that I found myself so befuddled by my own circumstances that my daily life became a constant fight from morning through the whole night to keep my sanity while enduring the discomfort and pain.

I asked this question of my sister as she listened for perhaps the thousandth time to my wailing's. Why? Why do I suffer so? Why is it so hard for me to keep joy in my life? Why do I feel like my prayers aret just words I'm saying and not me and Jesus communing together. I have a life to live, so when and whose fault is it that I'm this way? Have I ruined my life somehow?

She then said something profound. It was so profound I didn't know how to respond. She told me how she was talking with our youngest brother about things in her life and how she was wondering why and who was to blame for it. 

He responded with the story of the blind man in John 9:1-3.

Who's to blame for this man being blind? Obviously, someone did something wrong here....

I love Jesus' response. I imagine that he looked up in shock at the question and then gently shook his head as he looked at the man he was about to heal.

Jesus answer basically said, "No one is to blame. There is no one at fault. This happened so God could be glorified."

As my sister shared what our brother had told her I was left breathless in awe of the wisdom that was shared.

I wanted to blame someone, something, myself even for everything that was happening in my life. True circumstances in life lead you to difficulties at times; and you can find and know the root cause if it. But sometimes there is nothing and no one to blame or be at fault. It just happens and is apart of the journey you are on.

However, what happens next is up to you. You can choose to use it for God's glory or drown yourself in the wallowing pit of despair, grief and depression.

I admit, it's not easy pulling yourself up each day to face a life you didn't ever think you'd have to live, but isn't that why God is there for us? To help us carry those burdens? Isn't that why he gives praying friends and family? To support you in prayer and give you an understanding shoulder to cry on and then help you move forward?

I don't know how some of the people I look up to, who also suffer with health afflictions, do it. They always have joy, peace and are so in love with Jesus! Perhaps it's because they are older and have been through much more of the physical challenges and now they've reached a point where their faith has grown enough for them to be at peace and just rest in the grace God has given them.

I still struggle on a daily basis, and for that I ask that you pray for me. Just because you may think I look okay and may be feeling fine doesn't mean I'm not having a rough day. I learned years ago-even before my dad died- how to smile even while in some pretty nasty pain. I suppose I always figure that if I can hide it then people won't know how broken I am! ;)

But truth be told, I am broken right now, and I'm always trying to move forward and out of it! Everyday I seek God's grace as I step into a day where I never know how it will end: in unbearable pain, pain I'm trying to to stave off from getting worse or the comfort of a good day-usually it's not the last one....yet- still working on that! 
Sometimes that little understanding from others can go a long way to helping me feel encouraged enough to make in through the next hour. It's exhausting to always feel like I'm fighting all time. Never knowing if what I'm eating will cause me to feel sicker, fighting to keep my head in the game and not give up, not knowing if when I go to sleep I'll wake in the middle of the night in pain and discomfort and be much uncertainty and most of it leading to a less than desirable outcome.

But I keep believing that God has a purpose and will use me in His timing to accomplish that purpose. I still believe that he is working on my body and making me whole again. I believe that He is going to bring about a better ending to my story than the last few chapters have led me to believe. I only hope I can do everything he has for me to do! And of course I keep reminding myself:

God's Got This!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

There Is Victory

Life is filled with ups and downs galore, but one thing is promised to the child of God: Victory.

We have the victory because Christ gave it to us through his death on the cross. In our daily struggles we don't always see the victory. Sometimes we do, but it is often swallowed up in the next struggle.

Tidbits about this song:

The first verse was written on February 25, 2013.
The second verse and chorus on May 18, 2013.
And lastly the third verse was written on May 22, 2013.
(It never ceases to amaze me at how often a verse of chorus comes and then months, sometimes years, down the road the rest of the songs comes about.

The first verse was written from the view of Mary Magdalene. She watched Jesus die on the cross and then went to his grave after the sabbath was over, only to find him gone. She had loved the Lord so much as he had set her free from her own demons. It was through him she found peace in her life.

The second and third verse of course could be anyone of us. We travel this life without hope or peace and it isn't until we find the Jesus that we find what we are seeking. Only then can we have the victory over this world!

I hope you enjoy this new song!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Did somebody say cheese...sauce?

I made a dinner the other night where I needed nacho cheese...or at least some kind of cheese. Not having any Con Quesa Cheese sauce on hand, and despite the fact that I love that cheese sauce, I know it's not very healthy.

So I went about seeking for a way to make my own from scratch. After studying many different recipes, I felt confident enough to make my own person recipe. I had to add to it after it was done to get the desired taste, but it was worth the effort!

I will be using this recipe as often as I can whenever I feel like I NEED cheese sauce!

Nacho Con Queso Cheese Sauce

1 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 TBSP Cornstarch
1 can- 12 oz. Evaporated Milk
½ tsp Salt
1 TBSP Hot Sauce- you can use more or less depending on your taste
3 TBSP Taco Seasoning
¼ cup Salsa-I use my homemade salsa (will have to add the recipe someday)

Mix cornstarch and cheddar cheese together. Place in sauce pan and add milk. Cook on medium heat until cheese is melted and sauce begins to thicken. The longer it cooks the thicker it will get- usually takes at least 10 minutes.

Add salt, hot sauce, taco seasoning and salsa cook until heated through and thickened to your liking.

Serve with tortilla chips or tacos.

I didn't get the end picture of how it looked, but check out the post on Pork Nacho- coming out in a few days! This recipe was perfect for that and gave it such a good flavor!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Breakfast For Dinner

 Yes, it's true, it was a breakfast for dinner kind of day! I had plenty of leftover in the fridge, but didn't feel like any of them. However, my little bro. came to the rescue!

The other day he brought home a bottle of maple syrup his boss had given him. Now this maple syrup had just been bottled within the last it was fresh from one of our church people. Little bro. kept saying that we needed to use the syrup to taste it. So tonight we did just that!

What was on the menu? 

Hashbrown patties- made in our handy toaster oven!

French toast

Add some sausage and maple syrup and there you have it!

While my french toast recipe changes, here's the recipe that I made tonight:

French Toast

8 Slices Bread- I used regular split top wheat bread
6- Eggs
1 TBSP- Milk
Dash or two- Salt
Dash or two- Pepper

Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a flat dish. Heat skillet over low-medium heat. Melt butter. Dip bread in egg mixture until soaked.

Place in heated pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until light brown and egg is cooked. Flip bread to cook other side.

Serve with warm Maple Syrup.

Side ideas: sausage, hashbrown potatoes or your favorite fried potatoes, bacon, applesauce, fresh fruit.

Who says you have to follow the custom of having dinner foods for dinner? Sometimes breakfast can be just as good anytime of the day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Writing: Figuring Out Your Niche

You know you need to write and write a lot, but what are you writing about? Perhaps you have a clear idea of what your niche will be, but aren't sure if it would sell. What can you do?

First, be sure you're writing what you know. This is assist you in writing clearly and succinctly about your topic. One of the reasons my first book was about gallbladders is that it was easy to write what I knew so well and lived everyday.

With my other books I had gotten stumped, not because I was writing out of my league, but I had to work harder to get it going.

As an example, let's say you work with computers everyday, but your hobby is reading romance westerns and therefore you want to write in that genre. While you may want to write the fiction books you are finding it slightly more difficult than you thought. Doesn't it make more sense to write about computers?

I'm not saying don't write the fiction book, but if you're desperate to get something out there, then write what you know. You know computers. You know what most peoples challenges are with computers. You also know there could be 100 books out there about computers, but remember, you can know who in those books is or isn't helping people and build off of that with your own material and knowledge.

Someone out there needs what you have to offer so get to it! Write what you know!

While you're writing what you know, you can be working on enhancing your skills as a writer. Use your computer book to practice and get better. This will help you when you get back to working exclusively on your fiction book.

What if you don't have a niche or skill you would write about?

We all have a story a tell and there are always people who need to hear your story. Write what has inspired you and keep a running log of those inspirations. Someday you will have enough to make a book and then there you go! You wrote what you know.

If you're not in a niche and just looking to see what's selling...then this part if for you:

On Amazon there is a spot where you can see what the top 100 books are that are selling. This can help you determine what main genre most people are buying.

Look at movie coming out: when the Twilight series came out everything vampire and werewolf was suddenly super popular. If you were a writer who cashed in on that then you would have found that authors couldn't write fast enough for the fans!

Lastly, if you are writing a book on computers and wonder how well similar books are selling, then look them up on amazon. Click on the book and scroll down to where it has the information on the book. It will tell you what number it is in sales for that category.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Still Hoping Part 6

The last and final video for the Still Hoping series! There was so much going on in my mind when I recorded this that it was hard to keep the videos under 15 minutes- I promise, I tried to keep them under ten but sometimes I just couldn't stop talking!

I hope you were blessed as much as I was as I went through Lamentations 3. Each time I read it I learn something new and am encouraged beyond what I expect. 

What are some of the things you learned from Lamentations 3?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Writing Tips 1.0

Business Lady Writing On Notebook Stock Photo

There is so much information on writing and publishing that it's hard to know where to start. From personal experience, I have found that I get caught in the research trap. By that I mean, the research of how to write, what to do and not to do, where to find publishers, self-publishing information, promotion, events and webcasts to attend...the list could go on.

Everyone has what worked or didn't work for their own situation and they share it. One person tried it one way and it stunk, another person did it that same way and they had super success. Ultimately, it's your journey and you will face your own person challenges and triumphs.

Your learning curve will be different than anyone else out there as you have been affected by your own personal experiences. With that in mind I have decided to add my two cents worth of information that has or hasn't worked for me.

And I guarantee that over the next whenever amount of time that passes, I will be learning on a continual basis. And I'm perfectly okay with that. Success in life comes firm stepping outside the box. Leaping from your comfort zone and standing in a place that might not always be familiar, but will allow you to grow, learn and change into the person you want to be.

So the first and biggest tip I've learned is very simple:


Whether it's just a small paragraph or a long two hours worth of writing, write, write, write.

You will learn how to use words to express what you want to say and over time, you will increase the quality of your words not just the quantity.

What does that mean?

Quantity means how many words. You can write a sentence 20 words long, but it could be a run-on sentence that takes up space.

Whereas, quality means you find yourself re-writing that 20 word sentence into 10 words that make it sound profession, classy and doesn't lose your readers in the process.

What are ways you can write, write, write?

  • Blogging- start a blog that you will update at least a few times or more (preferably more) a month.
  • Journal- keep a journal on hand and write about your day, thoughts, ideas. Even if it's just a simple story about how your day started. 
  • Feelings/emotions- perhaps I'm just putting this in because I'm a woman and women are emotional. But I have found that by writing during an emotional time, it was both therapeutic and helpful in allowing me to work on my writing skills.
  • Notes- write out the notes to story ideas you have. it can be simple, but effective in helping you to get a better idea of what you'd like to do in a story. Write out descriptive words that come to mind for a part of you're writing.
  • Letters- write friends and family. Send them a letter or short message on facebook. it doesn't have to be long, but it's at least you writing something- and always use proper punctuation and spelling! No shortcuts! You're a serious writer, so BE a serious writer.
  • Books- if you want to write a book, then work on it everyday! Even sitting for 15 minutes and challenging yourself to write something for your may find that you make more progress then you realized.
But some days, I don't have any ideas! Been there, done that. I'm a simple person who wants everything to work just the way it should. I'm also creative. My imagination runs wild; every day I get tons of ideas for stories and writing. 

But there are times where I sit to write and my mind goes blank! Creativity and imagination just leave- in fact there are many times when I sit to write nothing comes to mind! Some days I even just start writing something like this:

I supposed to write everyday, but nothing comes to mind. How am I supposed to be a successful author if I can't even get my ideas on paper! At least I'm writing something...even if it's not for the story I want to work on.

I wish my ideas wouldn't leave as soon as I sit to work on them. This is so frustrating! 

Still can't think of anything but my 15 minutes isn't up....why is it that last week I sat for 15 minutes and ended up working for over 2 hours? Blah-hum-bug!

What to write....what to write....the sun was out today and I it made me feel really good. First thing this morning I did my bible reading. I wasn't hungry so I went outside and got some yard work done.....

I will then go on about my day. I may not have made progress with my book or project, but I did do some writing! In fact I used quite a few of the writing ideas I just offered. Can you figure out how many I used?

Challenge yourself to write a little everyday, no matter what it's about, no matter how long. Just write. 

Can you think of other ways to incorporate writing into your day?

Until next time! Write on!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Being Vulnerable

Being vulnerable is something that's not easy for everyone. For me, I'm a private person and my vulnerabilities are weakness that I don't want to share. I want people to see me as this person who has it all together and doesn't make stupid mistakes.

But the truth is....there are times I feel like I'm barely making it. Holding it together- it's a front and a fascade just for the benefit of those around me. Often inside I was crying out for help, but for some reason, felt that if I shared my need for help it would ruin my credibility.

What. A. Lie. True, some people could use a more restrain in holding back their problems, mistakes and feelings. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. The people who talk about it so much that it's all you hear from them. And you eventually get to a point where you ignore and try to stay out of their way because- God forbid you start a conversation as you'll be stuck the next 45 minutes listening to: "blah, blah, blah....and then I just couldn't take it anymore! (cue the crying). Blah, sniff, sniff, blah."

Thankfully, most people I've met aren't like this. But why do we feel like that's what we're doing when we're being true about ourselves? Why is it that instead of being vulnerable we feel like we need to present this fake person who is on top of everything?

I know that from my upbringing, there was a time where I felt like if I was true to who I was- I wasn't a good person and probably backslidden. Or I'd get reprimanded or chewed out and it was inapropiate to stand for what I thought because then I was being disrespectful.

There is a fine line between disrespect and standing for what you believe it right and true. Being a hypocrite isn't the answer. And that's what I felt like I was. And I hate hypcrites. I'd rather a person be honest about themselves than live a lie. Or work to better themselves than hurt those around them.

Being a writer has been difficult at times as I've had to use my personal, deepest and most inner struggles, thoughts and who I am and bring it out for the world to see. But I've always appreciated when someone I looked up to spoke about something they went through and became vulnerable.

It made me feel like I wasn't alone. Someone had been through what I'd been through or was going through and if they could do it- and still be awesome- so could I!

It still isn't easy. I still wonder...what are people thinking? They must think I'm pathetic! But then I remember: what other's think of me doesn't matter. It doesn't define who I am, what I've done or what I will do.

Not everyone will be happy or like what I say, write or share. But that's okay. Obviously, they aren't who I'm called to reach in that moment. They may hate me...but really does that matter?

What's important is that I'm living my life doing what God has for me to do. If being vulnerable and being the real me is hard, then I have to trust that God will use that for a purpose greater than I can know and understand. Frankly, I'm okay with that because I believe that God's Got This and I trust in him!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pork Shoulder Roast

When I was cleaning out my freezer I came across a pork should roast that had been in there for a few months. It had been given to me by someone, but as I'd never cooked a pork shoulder...I left it in the freezer until such a time where I would gain the courage to make it for dinner.

The time had arrived. I figured worst case scenario, it doesn't turn out and the dogs will eat it. That was not meant to be!

I researched some recipes and determined the best way to cook it and then proceeded with creating the following recipe (I didn't get a picture of it when it came out of the oven, but it looked fancy and delicious!):

Season Pork Shoulder Roast

1 Pork shoulder roast (mine was 7 lbs and had a bone-do they come without a bone?)
1 small Onion- quartered
2 Carrots- peeled and cut up into desired size (I threw in some pre-cut organic baby carrots)
2 cups Water
Garlic Salt

Place pork shoulder in a roasting pan (Click here to see the pan I used.). Season with salt, pepper  and thyme. Turn roast over-fat side should be on top- and season the top of the roast.

Place carrots and onion around roast. Add water. Back at 400*F for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 325*F and back for 4-6 hours more or until tender and falling off the bone. Let roast sit for a few minutes before cutting.

Side ideas: mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, applesauce, mac & cheese, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, or any other personal favorite!

Leftover ideas: barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, pulled pork nachos, shepherds pie, pork pot pie, pork sandwiches, pork enchiladas, pork, rice and bean dinner, chili, pizza, omelet with pork, cheese and any other delicacy you like with your omelet. Do you have any other ideas?

My notes:

I used one small onion and a two handfuls of carrots as I am the only one who will eat them. However, for larger portions it should be no problem to add more.

You can also throw in some potatoes to bake with the roast as well- just be aware that the cooking time may increase. I felt like mashed potatoes when I did this so I didn't put any in.

As for the range on the cooking time- that will vary depending on how many veggies or potatoes you use. I put mine in around 10:30 in the morning and had it baking until 4:00 pm- that's the total baking time, including the 400*F time. I then let it sit in the oven as even though the meat was was too early for dinner!

You can use the drippings to make a gravy, but it be super fatty. The meat should be tender and juicy enough that any additional gravy isn't necessary.

Servings- the final product, all cut up, filled my 3 Quart Princess House Bake, Serve and Store dish!

Now that I have overcome my fear of making a pork shoulder roast...with so many leftovers the decision is up in the air: should I try and new recipe- I'm thinking Pulled Pork Nachos- or be content with enjoying it as is, a simple seasoned, luscious pork dinner?