One of Those Days

Yesterday was One of Those Days.

One of those days…

…when you don’t hear your alarm and you oversleep. 

when you open the garage door and find that the rabbit who lives there had gotten a little happy during the night and sprayed its reddish-brown lovelies all over the hood of your silver car, and then kicked hay and pellets on it. And then everything froze.

…when you go to start that silver car and realize its oil supply has been depleted and you do not have an extra jug in the garage to refill it with. So you drive it anyway.

when breakfast is a protein drink that you shake in the cup as you hurry out to the car, lunch is bought while on an errand across town (forgive me, Lord), and supper is a granola bar taken from the kids’ breakfast stash in the church cupboard (forgive me again, Lord).

when you wait until you arrive at work to look into a mirror, and you realize that your hurried updo did not actually conceal the fact that you chose to forgo brushing your hair that morning, like you had hoped it would. And those tights? Really don’t match your outfit.

when you spend 14 minutes trying to load a spool of tape into the nifty label machine, and then the next 17 minutes googling for the online manual, only to finally click the right link and be told that you were indeed pushing all the right buttons - you had just neglected to replace the back cover. Which is apparently the magic step that makes the whole contraption work.

when you grab an oversized bag in a full embrace to help someone carry their load, and then discover that the side you are hugging is covered in a fine red glitter, and you are now fully glitterized for the rest of the day, despite the multiple pieces of sticky sheets you rolled up and down your body.

when you text someone and the reply texts come back repeatedly saying they don’t know you and you think they’re just playing a joke. But then multiple texts into the conversation you finally realize that you indeed typed one digit wrong, and the person you are texting really doesn’t know you.

when you arrive at a client’s house to take their dog on a 40 minute walk in true Wisconsin winter weather, and you realize you left your gloves at home.

when you notice that you are on day 43 of the current year, and have yet to write dates and events into that cute daily planner you were so sure was going to be the key to organizing your life.

when you stand in the aftermath of a tornado your home and try not to think about how long it’s been since you vacuumed the floor, while you eat applesauce with a measuring spoon because all the normal dinner spoons are dirty.

when you criss-cross the town and have to visit the same store 3 times because you didn’t make a shopping list, and you kept forgetting things that you should have remembered.

when more things were written on the to-do list than were crossed off.

when you were busy doing everything, but accomplished nothing.

And then you receive a phone call.

And with that call, it will become one of those days… when you learn that a dear friend woke up that morning to find her illness had taken a turn for the worse, that she was coughing up mouthfuls of blood, and that she was to be admitted to a hospital hours away from home to receive treatment.

Suddenly, the words of the apostle Paul will begin to sound in your mind:

"Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others."
Philippians 2:4

And you will clearly see that while your day was filled with drama, there was not much sorrow; that you experienced inconvenience, but did not know heartache. When the sun goes down your day's episode will quickly fade and be forgotten (unless you blog about it). But for your friend, her journey will have only just begun.

In that instant, you will realize that the little bumps in your road should not be envisioned as something to stumble upon, but rather a hurdle to leap over as you rush to help a friend climb their mountain.

In that instant…

…cleaning your car, vacuuming the floor, and washing the dishes are no longer on the to-do list. In fact, you don’t even know where your to-do list is. The only list you’re focused on is a prayer list.

… your 31 minute struggle with the label machine seems foolish; you have a friend who is struggling for her life.

…you forget your embarrassment over the text-message-mix-up, and suddenly want to pick up the phone to text, call, and plead with everyone you know and everyone you don’t know, asking them to lift your friend up in prayer.

… you don’t care that your hair is still a disaster, that you lived the day covered in red glitter, and that society saw you in a mismatched outfit. You’re not going to care when you walk out of the house today, either, because chances are that your hair will still look a bit neglected and your mind might not be clear enough to match those clothes yet, but that’s ok. Heaven knows you spent the midnight hours petitioning God for a miracle, and God doesn’t need a fashion show to grab His attention. He just wants to see your faith. And you know that your God can perform the miracle you are asking for.

In that instant you will most certainly stop doing everything, and will do nothing but show your friend that you love her dearly.

I know. 

Because that day you just read about?

It was mine.


Time to Simplify

With all of the house/pet sitting that I do, there are some weeks that I literally live in 2 or 3 different houses. They're all local here in town, and I absolutely love it, but carting around bags and suitcases every few days is enough to drive me nuts! 

So I made a rule that I could only bring along what fits inside one laundry basket. That's usually no problem, but as I was getting ready this afternoon to leave for an 11-day job, I began to think that this might be the exception. And so down to the basement I went, in search of a few pieces of luggage.

But as I groaned a little at the thought of hauling multiple heavy pieces of luggage up the huge flight of stairs that this particular home has (hmmm...maybe I'm just lazy?) something switched to "challenge mode" in my brain, and I decided to see if I could pack for 11 days with the "one basket rule." 

And I Did It!!! 
EVERYTHING fit inside, with the exception of a few refrigerated foods.

And all of a sudden it dawned on me...

Uhhhh..... why do I live in a house that's overflowing with things?

And furthermore,

Why do I keep buying more things to put in it?!

Is it because they're cute? 
...they're on sale? 
...they remind me of someone special?

Whatever the reason, I have decided that my home needs a good cleaning. Not clean as in "sweep yesterday's crumbs off the floor, attack the ever-growing spider web, and finally fold the laundry" clean (although I should consider those tasks as well). Rather a type of clean that clears the clutter and creates a space of peace; a space that is free of distractions and needless accessories.

So the challenge will be...
What is needed and what is needless?

The next few weeks will reveal the answers! 

(after I return from house sitting, of course)


Sweet Sixteen

"Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed?" the radio announcer's voice boomed across the airwaves.  My family had surprised me with a wake-up call from the local radio station on my 16th birthday, and I can still remember the sound of amazement in his voice as he stated that such a thing was almost unheard of.

"It's a promise that I've made to God." I proudly affirmed. "I'm saving the first kiss for my wedding day."

Filled with optimism as to when that day would arrive, I began to envision the next few steps my life would take.....

  • Graduate high school & college
  • Secure a job
  • Get married & have kids
  • Live happily ever after

Of course I knew that ultimately God was in control, but how long could it really take to get to the "happily ever after" part, especially because I wanted it so much? In my naive mind, I thought I'd be well on my way within a few years.

But as I hurried to complete steps 1 and 2, I seemed to have forgotten that my life was not my own. That there is a God who cares much more about the details than I do, and He saw fit to have me pause midway through my goals -- and not just a little pause, either. In fact, I've been lingering here so long that other people are starting to wonder what is going on! Like the one individual, who after not seeing me for quite a few years, walked up and greeted me with the words, "You're not still single....are you?"

I crawled into bed that night feeling like someone had diagnosed me with a horrible disease. And the worst part was that I had no clue what caused this "singleness" to happen, how long it would last, or when the cure would come. I would have to wait it out.


I began reading forums and websites, books and blogs, all filled with similar stories of being "stuck in the single years" and learning about the "common mistakes singles make." I shared my struggles with friends and listened to how they wrestled with much of the same things. It seemed like it was a common thing for young adults to have trouble navigating this path of middle ground between high school and the married life. I mean, even the word "singleness" itself sounds so empty and forlorn! No wonder no one wants to stay here very long.

One night as I brought my tears of frustration before the Lord, my mind was drawn to a certain passage of Scripture that reads,

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." 
Romans 8:35,37. 

Now I'll be honest and admit that I don't know much about famine or swords, but in that moment I can assure you that I experienced a taste of the tribulation and distress. And as I sat there with my face buried in a bucket of ice cream, I felt a gentle urging to apply this Scripture to the increasing struggles and loneliness that singles have to face.

Love. It's what we all want, right? To love and to be loved, to have the companionship of another in our life. Too often we find ourselves wishing away the days until we can experience that love, thinking that it will only come in a package that is tall, dark, and handsome, or lovely, fair, and beautiful. And all the while we end up overlooking the depths of amazing love that is right there in front of us...the Love of God.

It is His perfect love that has been with us since the beginning of time and will be with us throughout all of eternity! When we are lonely, it is His comfort that warms our soul. When in distress, it is His peace that calms our fear. When sorrowful or burdened with trials, we have the blessed hope that He will be with us to bring joy and victory in our lives. We can be more than conquerors over any situation that is presented us! 

Why then do we try to merely "cope" with being single? Who came up with the notion that singleness is just a period of life that we have to "get through" on our way to the married years? Listen, my friend - there is a God who loves us and has promised that nothing - not even our distress of a certain situation in life - will take away the constant love and care that He has for us! That in and of itself should be enough to put a skip in your step along this journey...I know it has for me.

So as I turn another year older tomorrow and consider the fact that "Great Twenty Eight and still never been kissed" doesn't quite have that cute little ring to it, I am inclined to believe that this portion of life was never meant to be trudged through with blinders on. Oh yes - we need to keep our eyes on the goal (marriage!) but our focus should lie on the beautiful love that God has  offered us today.

Surely then, as we delight ourselves in Him, His love will guide us to the desires of our heart. If you are single, use this time to learn about His love....the perfect love. Learn about kindness; develop a spirit of patience and mercy so that when you are blessed with the opportunity of marriage, you will be ready to give and receive love as Christ meant it to be. 



Wisconsin's Winter Wonderland

After being teased with a few snowflakes during the past month, winter in Wisconsin has finally begun...in Eau Claire, at least! The first real snowstorm came this past Saturday night, blanketing our world with snow. I was out at my Mom's house that day for our traditional family decorating of the Christmas tree, and on the way home had to stop and take a photo of the peaceful countryside.

That night I went to the grocery store, and these bright red berries were hanging on a tree in the parking lot, just begging to be photographed with their fresh layer of snow crystals! Of course, I had to oblige. 

With as much as I love the beauty that snow brings, I really (really!) don't like to shovel the ka-zillions of flakes off the driveway and sidewalks. So when I came home after church the next day, I was really happy to see that the neighbor girls had a different perspective! 

In case you're wondering, I didn't make them do all the shoveling ;-) but as soon as it was done, I quickly traded in the shovel for my camera, and went downtown to capture a few glimpses of God's handiwork.

SNOW - God's frosting for the earth

I'm in the mood for Christmas! 
How about you?


Pumpkin Oatmeal with Blueberries

Um, hello.

I guess you all know what's not been top priority on my to-do list basically all year for awhile! ........this blog. Funny thing is, there are multiple 1/2 written blog postings in the draft folder that just haven't quite made it out into the blogosphere.

Would you like to see them?

Yeah, I wasn't so sure either. But chances are they'll be posted here soon, so if you take the time to read them please comment and let me know what you think!

In the meantime, take a look at what I made for breakfast earlier this week. And for supper last night. And for lunch today. 

 Go ahead and accuse me of being a creature of habit, but when food is this good, it really is a wonderful habit to form!


Not only does it taste great, but this is a hearty meal that you can even feel great about eating!! It's packed full of 16g of healthy fibers and 17g of protein. And those blueberries? Mmm! My favorite way to consume plenty of wonderful antioxidants. This recipe will be sure to fill you up and give you loads of energy for the day!

Pumpkin Oatmeal with Blueberries
makes: 1 serving

2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of cloves
1/2 tbls brown sugar
1 egg white
1/3 cup oatmeal
1 tbls wheat germ
1 tbls milled flax seed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup blueberries, fresh or thawed

1.) Heat water, vanilla, spices & sugar on stove. Bring to a boil. Whisk in egg white.
2.) Remove from burner. Add oatmeal, wheat germ & flax seed.
3.) Return to burner and continue whisking until mixture is thick and there is no liquid left in the pan.
4.) Stir in pumpkin puree and 3/4 cup blueberries, stirring until heated through.
5.) Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup blueberries.


But God...

We have all found ourselves in the midst of hardship, bearing burdens that seem to drain us of the very life within. BUT GOD. We may experience days that seem bleak and be tempted to give up. BUT GOD. We have a blessed assurance that God sees our every circumstance; our every need. When we are lost and all else has failed to give us hope of ever returning, we can know that God is our Redeemer and He alone will watch over and keep us from all harm. No situation is ever too despaired for God to step in and prepare a way to escape.


And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times;
BUT GOD suffered him not to hurt me.
Genesis 31:7

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; BUT GOD meant it unto good,
to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Genesis 50:20

And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? BUT GOD clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he was revived.
Judges 15:20

And Saul sought him every day, BUT GOD delivered him not into his hand.
1 Samuel 23:14

BUT GOD will redeem my soul from the power of the grave:
for he shall receive me. Selah.
Psalms 49:15

My flesh and my heart faileth: BUT GOD is the strength of my heart,
and my portion for ever.
Psalms 73:26

Who can forgive sins BUT GOD alone?
Mark 2:7

And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt:
BUT GOD was with him.
Acts 7:10

BUT GOD raised him from the dead.
Acts 13:30

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth;
BUT GOD that giveth the increase.
1 Corinthians 3:7

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: BUT GOD is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: BUT GOD had mercy on him.
Philippians 2:27

Whatever your situation is today, there is a BUT GOD moment waiting for you.


Pizza Bites

This recipe was described to me in 3 words -
Incredibly. Easy. Amazing.

I added one more to the list - Sold.

I mean, who wouldn't want to spend 10 minutes in the kitchen, place a pan in the oven for a few minutes, and then emerge with an Incredibly Easy and Amazing order of hot, cheesy pizza bites? And if those 3 words are not enough to convince you to try this recipe, let me tell you that between my roommate and I we've made 3 batches in 2 days. And I'm already planning to make another one on Tuesday.

You'll need: 1 batch of pizza dough (I cheated and used Festival's pre-made stuff), about 40 slices of pepperoni, about 20 cubes of mozzarella cheese (again, cheated and used string cheese), 2tsp. italian seasoning, parmesan cheese and 2Tbls olive oil.

 Take a pinch of dough, flatten into a circle. Place 2-3 pepperoni slices and one cube of cheese onto the dough. Keep the size uniform for the sake of baking evenly, but there really is no right or wrong as to the size. Smaller sizes could be made for an appetizer, larger for a dinner.

Fold the edges upward and press together, forming a ball. Place seam side down in a greased pie plate.

Mix the olive oil and seasoning together; lightly brush over the dough. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on top.

Bake at 425F for about 15 minutes or until center of dough is cooked thoroughly. Dip in your favorite pizza sauce and be prepared to want to make this again tomorrow! :-)