"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm Waiting for my Crown of Life

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; Romans 5:3

I don't feel very blessed today.  This week has just been one trial after another.  My spirit feels very deflated right now.  I don't feel thankful and I don't really want to rejoice.  I think I have the right to be angry for a little while.  I'm angry and frustrated.  Sometimes I feel like whenever I start to feel good about myself or when I think good things are going to happen something bad happens.  It doesn't feel fair what happened.
I know that I can find another job and the next job could possibly be much better than the one I had.  I have no ill will towards Sears, my boss, or my co-workers.  They were all just doing their job and what they thought was right.  I unfortunately got blamed for something that I didn't do. 

I'm trying to hard to live by the verses above, but this life is hard.  I can't help always feel like something bad is waiting for me right around the corner.  I have struggled my whole life with that voice in my head telling me that I will never measure up.  That Little voice that tells me that I shouldn't bother even trying because I'm never going achieve what I want.  I know that I have to ignore the voices and rebuke them with scripture, but they get so loud sometimes.

So what do I do now?  I have to lift myself back up, ignore the voices in my head, try to remember all the things I have to be thankful for and move on with my life to, hopefully, bigger and better things.  It's not as easy as it sounds.  Life is a journey filled with stress, disapointments, joys, and laughter.  We have to live life one day at a time until we reach our final destination, our ultimate purpose.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day and my Valentine is sick today.  We both took a sick day today. I had a planned doctor's appointment and Steve is sick.  He had been sick all weekend and he finally went to the doctor today and the doctor thinks he has a virus.  So I have to clean the whole house really well, so we kill whatever virus might still be hanging around the house.  We turned on our air cleaner to a higher setting and put out both of humidifiers, so hopefully he will start to feel better soon.  I haven't got sick yet and hopefully I will not get it.  I am starting the get the sniffles, but no flu yet.
I figured since I'm cleaning everything really well and I'm home, this would be the perfect time to organize stuff for our garage sale this summer.  So I'm emptying all the cabinets in the kitchen and cleaning all the pots and pans and putting the ones we don't use very often in the garage sale pile.  I will probably do that with our linen closet too, once I am done with the kitchen.  We have a lot of towels, sheets and such in several different closets.  They need to be better organized. 
Steve is sleeping right now and he will probably be asleep for awhile. I hope he starts to feel better soon. 
Exodus 23:25: "So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm Evicting Mickey!

Mickey has decided that he wants to raise his family in our garage.  Actually, there are three empty houses on our street and Steve thinks Mickey's family lives in one of those houses.  Our neighbors all have dogs, so they like to come to our house for dinner.  I am so grossed out by this.  We have tried putting traps and poison in the garage to catch them, but that seems to only discourage them temporarily.  I would think the sight of their dead family members would discourage them from coming back.  I read online that mice do not like the smell of Ammonia, because it smells like the urine of their enemies, so I have been using Ammonia to clean the kitchen.  It does not smell very good at all and it only seems to work if I clean the kitchen every night and spray it around the doors.  I'm not sure how effective it's going to be long term though.  We haven't figured out yet how they are getting in.  I need a good way to make them leave forever.  I am officially giving Mickey and his family an eviction notice.  Please raise your family and find your food in a different house, preferably one very far away.  If anyone has any mouse evicting tips, I am willing to try just about anything at this point.

"You can teach what you know, but you will reproduce who you are."

This is a quote that a mentor of mine used to say often.  She had a lot of sayings like, "You can tell the students all about character and integrity and that God is real, but if the way you are living your life contradicts what you are saying, then you might as well stop talking because they aren't listening anymore."  Students can recognize a hypocrite a mile away.  Quotes like this make me nervous though, because I know that someday Steve and I will have kids or maybe I'll get involved in ministry again.  These little lives are going to be watching the way I live.  Am I living up to the high standard that I have set for myself?  Is my standard to high?  Is it high enough?  I try to keep in touch with as many of my former students as I can and it breaks my heart when I see one of them fall away from God.  I can't help but feel like I failed them as their leader.  What more could I have said?  What more could I have done?  Was I not modeling Christian behavior like I should have been?  Did I miss something in their lives?  I know that the students grow up and have other influences that may have lead them astray, but what could have I said to help them avoid those traps?  How can I love them better now that they messed up?  How can I show them that God still loves them despite anything they may have done?

If you have integrity, nothing else matters.  If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.  ~Alan Simpson
 The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right. ~William Safire

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Hate Taxes!

I'm sitting here working on our taxes.  This is not an enjoyable process for me at all.  We usually do them ourselves because we are too cheap to pay someone to do them for us.  We were hoping to use our refund to pay off some debt.  It looks like this year we are going to get a small refund from State and we are going to owe to Federal.   I guess we can just think of it as us doing our part to "spread the wealth around."  I think for next year we are going to change our W-4, so more gets withheld out of our checks.  Sears never seems to take our enough.  Apparently, we didn't take out enough extra in 2010.  It also didn't help that we apparently jumped into the next tax bracket.  I am looking forward to one day moving to Texas where there is no income tax.
But I guess I can be thankful that we pay taxes because that means we have a job.
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Recipe: Oreo Cookie Cake

This was my first attempt at making an Oreo Cookie Cake.  I made it for my friends for our Super Bowl party.  At one point, it looked like a really big Oreo cookie with Oreo cookies around the bottom and a few on top.  I drizzled some chocolate sauce on top too.  I forgot to take a picture of it before it started to get eaten.  The cake was a little crumbly so it was hard to frost on the top, but it tasted really good.

1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food chocolate cake mix
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
12 OREO Cookies, coarsely crushed

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
PREPARE cake batter and bake in 2 (9-inch) round pans as directed on package. Cool cakes in pans 10 min. Invert cakes onto wire racks; gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 min.

MEANWHILE, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gently stir in COOL WHIP and crushed cookies. Stack cake layers on plate, spreading cream cheese mixture between layers. Spread top with chocolate glaze; let stand until firm. Keep refrigerated.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Fun 2011

I'm the Child of a Cheese Head!
This was a good weekend.  I'm not really a big football fan, but I love being around great friends.  Steve and I hosted the Super Bowl Party again this year.  The weekend started out with both of us having to work Saturday, then cleaning when I got home.  Our vacuum cleaner did not survive the cleaning of the house, so we had to get a new one on Saturday.  Sunday, after church we finished cleaning the house and started making food for the party.
My sis wanted this year's theme to be cheese due to the Packers playing the game.  Normally, I don't really care who wins, but this year the Packers were in it.  One half of my family are Packers fans and the other half are Bears fans, so that makes for fun competition.  The Super Bowl is really about great food, great friends, and commercials, right?  Most years the game is just what happens between the commercials.  Some of the commericals were kinda lame this year, but some were really creative and fun.  I think this was my favorite, but it was hard to choose.
Since Steve and I hosted, we are in charge of the main dishes.  I made a Tuscan Beef Stew in the crock pot, some Honey BBQ and Spicy chicken wings, and an Oreo cake.  I thought they all turned out really well.  Our friends brought some great food too.  I seriously have the great friends every. I am so thankful that I have these people in my life.
Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers: 25 - Green Bay Packers: 31

Slow Cooker Tuscan Beef Stew - I added some red potatoes and did one can each of red and white kidney beans.
Chocolate-Covered OREO Cookie Cake - I just used store bought chocolate frosting for the top, instead of making my own frosting.  This was heavenly.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2011 Blizzard Update: Snow Day

So, Steve and I got a snow day from work today because of all the snow.  I didn't think it was that bad out when I was starting to up this morning, because they were actually plowing our street.  We live on a dead end road with mostly rentals, so our street doesn't get plowed very often.  Steve and I both got calls from our bosses this morning telling us that we didn't have to come in.  Steve thinks he might still have to go in to shovel the sidewalks around the YWCA for the clients, but South Bend has declared a "Snow Emergency" so I don't think he will have to shovel. I don't anticipate the clients wanting to go anywhere in this mess. My uncle that lives in the south east corner of Wisconsin said they have about 5 feet of snow in their yard, probably due to snow drifts  We don't have that much yet, but it is still snowing.  It is supposed to continue to snow all day.  It's crazy out there, but it does make me want to go ice skating or something.

On the bright side, the ground hog did not see his shadow this morning, so that means only 6 weeks until Spring. :o)