Aug 30, 2017

A Land Behind Us; A People Ever Before Us

This last week I was looking at pictures of our trip to Uganda from back in 2015 and came across this picture with the village of Jinja, Uganda and lake Victoria in the background and had the thought:

A land behind us; but a people ever before us.


The impact of the trip and the people we met continues today. Just last night I got a text saying one of the pastors we met, and that The Salesman had a heart for his orphanage, is coming to the US next month, and our friends wanted to know if we wanted to have them stay at our home...Yes!

Back when we were on the trip, I hash tagged everything as #UgandaChronicles.  Little did I know the series of events that would be birthed from this one trip.  

It was two years ago that a man that we met in Uganda, named Moses Odihambo, visited the United States and stayed with us in our home.  He was the first houseguest to stay in what had been my dad's room at our home.  My dad passed on August 6, 2015 and Moses visited in September 2015.  One morning Moses shared how he sensed that the LORD wanted him to name the children's library at his orphanage after my dad!  Oh my!!!  A beautiful legacy in Africa!!! We had not even visited the orphanage that Moses runs; but my dad now has a library there named after him! Talk about a hope and a future!  I am amazed.

I think of our daily view from where we were lodging in Jinja and how the home directly outside us had no windows or roof.  There was a family living there.  I only meant to share the first picture; but so many people we met there have made a lasting impact on our lives. 


So I share pictures of some of the people that we met in Uganda that are ever before us:

Chriss:





David:

 Moses:

The children:


Joe:





Benter:


Baby Victoria:

Thank you for sharing in the impact this trip has made, and continues to make.  How about you? Have you ever had an experience like this where one trip, or event, has made a life changing impact on you? If so, please share, I'd love to hear about it!



Aug 28, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama - Raspberry Frosted Special Agent Cake

Good morning!

I hope you had a relaxing weekend! My weekend was so enjoyable.  I tried out for a play, again!!! Went to Knoxville for errands and shopping, had dinner with friends, church, gym, helped The Salesman organize his office and took some time to rest and connect with family.

To start the week off, I am going to review the Trim Healthy Mama Raspberry Frosted Special Agent Cake.

Who does not like chocolate cake?!? This cake is made without flour and sugar; but it does have a special ingredient that may make your face contort... 

You all, this cake is made with black beans!!!

Seriously, black beans. 

And even if you don't like beans, I think you might like this cake. I liked the cake; but for some reason, I did not like the icing.  Next time, I think I will try a different recipe for the icing.  If you are a fan of a cream cheese based icing, you will probably like the icing recipe.  In my opinion, I'll make the Trimtastic Chocolate Zucchini Cake before making this one again. The Salesman thought it was ok and Victoria Leigh was home, and tried a piece, and gave the same comment as her dad.  I did not share the secret ingredient with them...

The recipe is on page 308 of the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook. I used 0% Greek yogurt and did not use the Stevia that was optional.  It is a pretty cake and I thought about garnishing it with fresh berries and chocolate shavings; but sliced it to sample first!





Enjoy!

Aug 25, 2017

For the Love of Lamp Lights Dining Room Edition

Happy Friday friends!  The process of getting a new light in the dining room has been an experience in trying my patience.  Numerous setback with the light itself, to painting and re-painting the ceiling, to having the light installed and then having to have the electrician come back for a total of three times for this one light; but, I am happy to report:

The chandelier is up and working and complete in the dining room!!! I took many pictures tonight...


The mirror still needs to be hung up... But that is ok... A friend is coming to help me hang it up...


And here is a picture of what it looked like before any crystals were hung on the crown...


 Lovely...


The design on the ceiling is delightful...


It is beautiful...And I love the reflection in the mirror...


A view from sitting at the table...


 Have a wonder filled weekend!

Look up!



Aug 23, 2017

A Treasure


Victoria is home today for a visit and I am so excited to spend time with her!  I searched my drafts and found this treasure to share.  May the word "Treasure" minister to you as it ministered to me when this was written in January 2015.  I was thinking of and praying for a particular friend when I wrote this piece.  The enemy is up to nothing new. And the Word brings life. Hallelujah!





"G - a -  r -  b -  a -  g -  e"

The word is carefully strung on the bow and the fingers of evil pull back the arrow and send it twirling toward its intended, specific target: the heart, the soul, the very core of her being, her belief system and rips the tattered barrier with such force as it again pierces the bulls eye.

There was a time, long ago now, that the word would have made her cry out in wails and shrieks; but, those days are gone.  The word can not deflate her beyond flat and lifeless.  The litter of her soul is like a battlefield of wounded waiting for a nurse. So fierce is the battle. So many are injured. Stretcher upon stretcher, wounded and weary.

Then another word came floating by. She'd grown numb at the sound of words. So much destruction had already been delivered. But this word had been kindly and truly and carefully knitted together by fingers of love and stitched with such intention that it reverberated:

"T r e a s u r e"

"T r e a s u r e"

Did you hear that? She turns her head immediately to the side, not even willing to believe that this word is intended for her.  The target of her being has been ripped wide open by the arrows of the evil one and, in a battle she no longer fights, she shields no attacks from her core. Can the mangled target even be made out to anyone now? She believes that she is the target and just as the opposition begins to start the victory party, she recalls the gentle word she heard:

"T r e a s u r e"

"If only you could see yourself from My perspective," and then the word so foreign to her ears, floats by again:

"Treasure"

The Nurse has arrived.  Help, healing, Truth. And like water to the weary soul, she drinks in the word to her being, to her now ripped open and exposed core:

"Treasure."


Lord,
You see me
For who YOU intended me to be,
Not the left-for-dead
In the enemy's stead.
Darkness, evil - it painted a target on me
Your loving Word and words set me free.
You heal -
It is Your will -
You heal.
Your Word speaks balm.
Your Spirit brings calm.
Your Son takes His hand in mine.
You, God, are divine.
You tend to the wounded on the battlefield
You are my hope, my life source, my shield.
You tend to the wounded on the battlefield.
Amen. And amen.


Aug 21, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama - Glosted Raspberry Muffins

Good morning, friends! And happy eclipse day!  Is everyone planning to safely view the eclipse today? Be sure to wear your glasses! We will have 98.5% totality here.  Here's to moon pies, sun chips, and starburst parties! I've heard of all sorts of clever snacks for eclipse parties.  I'm thinking almost everything will be shut down in our town due to the eclipse.

This week I wanted to share a review of the Trim Healthy Mama Glosted Raspberry Muffins.  The recipe is found on page 285 of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. It makes 12 medium muffins and I was glad that the recipe suggested using liners for ease in removing the muffins from the tins.  You may notice that my muffins have no glosting on them... I made the glosting; however, I did not add the ingredients in the order they suggested and mine was a bit clumpy. So, I've made a note in my cookbook to follow the specific direction next time. 

I would make these again and glad eat them again.  They are an S (satisfying) food.
  



This was what The Salesman returned to me after a few bites of the muffin top.  He thought they should have a sugary crumb topping in order to qualify as a breakfast muffin!



Another friend thought they were fantastic.  I may make them again this week!  Have a great week friends!

Aug 18, 2017

For the Love of Lamp Lights - Breakfast Room

Good morning friends!!! Happy Friday!!!

I was hoping to post the big reveal of the new dining room chandelier; but, it can't be revealed because: there was another problem when the electrician came...

Patience must be the trait I am to learn...

However, I am going to share another new lamp light from here at the house...from the breakfast room... One of my favorites...

Drum roll and ta-da:


What do I like about this lamp light, you might ask? So, for you inquiring minds, I will share what I like:

The elegant design
The gilded iron with wax
The life-like look of the candle sticks
There is no glass 
The size of the fixture
The shape of the lantern
It makes an architectural statement to me
It is stylish, fashionable and functional
The reflection of the lines and design on the ceiling and walls
The company that makes this light is called Visual Comfort - I think I would agree that this lamp light is a visual comfort.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Look up!





Aug 16, 2017

Unwrapped

So, you know I have this delight in lamp lights.  I truly enjoy seeing lamp lights and appreciating their beauty, style, light and reflections.  And a couple weeks ago, I ordered a favorite chandelier that I'd been eyeing for quite some time.  I even showed you a picture of the box here because I was so excited about it arriving.

And some of you may say: get a life lady.  Well, remember please, I am in the empty nest stage and The Salesman works all.the.time and some of my best friends do not like social media or even (gasp) have social media, so I don't share what we do - to honor them.  So there you have it. I am delighting in my everyday activities.

I believe the LORD must be teaching me patience though in regard to this new light...

The electricians came last week to install the chandelier and were not able to complete the installation because a repair to my ceiling needed to be done after taking the old chandelier down.  So today, now that the repair has been done, and the ceiling repainted,  the electricians will come and connect the wires and finish the installation.

Well, I started unwrapping all the crystals that go one the chandelier and it seemed to stir HOLY SPIRIT thoughts in me.  The crystals cannot be added to the chandelier until it is fully installed, so I unwrapped each one carefully and put them on towel lined trays until the chandelier is securely in place and I can safely attach the crystals. But, as I unwrapped each of the 554 crystals that were individually wrapped and taped, I had many thoughts.  I started thinking how I, how we, are individually made, package and prepared for a beautiful destiny and future.

But what if I never unwrapped the crystals and never hung them on the chandelier?  It would not be a reflection of any light without the crystals.  These single crystals are designed to be unwrapped and hung in unison with other crystals to reflect the light.


And it got me thinking:

What if we never unwrapped the gifts we've been given?
What if we weren't really living?

What if the darkness that wants to overwhelm
Became the captain of our helm?

What if we settled for not knowing "How Much More"
Our Abba GOD, has in HIS heavenly stores?

What if we were content to sit on the bench
And fill our nostrils with a lazy stench?

Never wanting to get in the Kingdom game
And go forth, with boldness In HIS NAME?

What if the "What If's" held us back
The enemy winning every attack?

Don't leave your gifts unwrapped
Seek HIM, Live fully, Don't go back.

We are intended to function in unity
Reflecting HIM together, you and me.

Together we can reflect HIS light
Give up the selfish battles to win the fight -
We all need to reflect HIS light.

I felt HE said to me:

Be a reflection of Light
As you hear and write,
Be a reflection of Light.

You have gifts tucked deep inside,
Do not fear, do not stay in the box - don't hide.

Amen. And hallelujah!

Aug 14, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama Trim Mac Salad

Good morning!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Do you ever have a hankering for fast food? Well, if you are a fan of the Golden Arches and want a healthy version of the Big Mac, I recommend the Trim Healthy Mama Trim Mac Salad.  It is an S (satisfying) meal and requires no special ingredients!  It's like having the burger without the bun, and it was yum! I would definitely make this one again!  The Trim Mac salad, including their version of the Special Sauce, is a healthy alternative to the Big Mac. You will find the recipe on page 181 of the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook.

I served my salad over a variety of greens and served The Salesman his over iceberg lettuce, because, that is what he likes.  It is a family serve recipe, so it makes 6-8 servings.  The Salesman did like it when I first served it; but decided not to eat the leftovers, which meant more for me!  A friend is bringing some tomatoes by today and they should be a delicious addition to the salad.

Happy Monday!




Aug 11, 2017

For the Love of Lamp Lights - Knoxville


There is such beauty all around us! Gas lamp lights are among my favorites and this one nestled among the greenery and flowers and on the stacked stone was picturesque to me.

I do hope you have a wonder filled weekend!


Aug 9, 2017

The Anniversary of A Day

Sunday was the anniversary of my father's death.  It had been two years... All the memories associated with the day seemed to resurface days before the actual anniversary.  I found myself missing my dad; but also replaying the events of the day: remembering everything we did that day and the details of minutia about him and what was said and done on August was 6th, 2015.

For two years before my dad went to live with JESUS, Dad lived in our home and we cared for him. Hospice had been serving him here at our home for about nine months.  When my father was 45, he had a severe stroke that left him weak on his left side. My mother cared for him until she passed; and he was able to gain a sense of independence thanks to her planning for him and the LORD's great grace.  However, as the years progressed, his balance became worse and the need for him to live with my brother (who lived in the same town as my dad) became evident. When my brother and his family could no longer care for him, The Salesman welcomed my dad into our home.  The timing seemed perfect.  Victoria had just entered college...  Dad was a great patient; but the care was demanding and I have a whole new respect for caregivers.  The years he was with us were full and busy and challenging.  However, his earthly journey ended and a new life began for him on August 6, 2015, not long after breakfast, while he was sipping his coffee.  It was as if he took one sip of coffee and then a sip of eternity.  GOD was so gracious.  My dad's body was tired.

It was my second experience with being the first to notice that someone dear to me had departed their earthly body.  I will not forget the experiences.

This year, the date fell on Sunday and while I was getting ready for church, I found myself in methodical memories and missing him much. The morning seemed a blur to me two years ago; but the details and the heartache seemed and seem so real.

While churning the thoughts and memories in my mind, I felt the LORD speak to me and grabbed my pen and journal and wrote this down while drying my hair:

There is A Power, A Source,
That steadies me on life's course.

As I navigate the good and bad,
The happy and oh, so sad.

I struggle with the memories attached to this day:
So many haunt me, in various ways.

Can I let go and have peace
And feel my Savior's sweet release?

Will I allow HIM to turn my mourning to dance,
Or will the sad, I relive and enhance?

Sorrow comes knocking at my door,
I will not answer any more.

I'm putting my dancing shoes on,
My ears attune to a new song.

Hallelujah!

I'm totally believing that GOD can bring me victoriously through this process of grieving and help me hold on to HIM and all the good memories I have of my dad.





Aug 7, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama - Butterfly Wings Cake


Good morning! Hope you had a lovely weekend! 

The Butterfly Wings Cake is the Trim Healthy Mama version of an angel food cake. And since angel food cake was my dad's favorite, and I've had him on my mind much this last week, I decided to share it today.  My sweet daddy has been in heaven now for two years, and I miss him. 

This cake has six ingredients and is easy to make. It is a fuel pull recipe; however, it is pictured here as an S dessert, because this is how The Salesman likes his!  The whipped cream makes is an S dessert, S for satisfying.  If you want to keep it in fuel pull mode, just top with fresh berries or an all fruit jelly.

I have served this one to friends and they have enjoyed it too!  I would definitely recommend this Trim Healthy Mama recipe.

Happy Monday!




Aug 4, 2017

For the Love of Lamp Lights - It's in the box - or maybe hidden under a bushel


Good morning, lovelies! I hope you have had a wonder filled week.  It's been a good week here. I have much to be thankful to our LORD for today.  Happy Friday!!!

So, this for the love of lamp lights, is a little bit different than most...I have decided to share a picture of a big box holding the new chandelier for our dining room! 

Ta-da!!!!

Seriously, I am so excited about this chandelier. The fact that I have wanted it for quite a while, the fact that when it went on sale and I got $490 off the price just made it like icing on the cake for me! It is so beautiful. However, you won't know that today, because it's proverbially hidden under a bushel. My chandelier light is out of the box now and separated into glass drop shapes and parts and chain and cords. There are 554 crystals... Oh my, for the love of lamp lights.  But until my electrician comes, it's hidden.  Wow.  That speaks to me and I immediately think of the song: This Little Light of Mine...

I hope dear friends, that your light shines this weekend.  In the good, the bad, the busy, the boring, shine!

Look up!


Aug 2, 2017

How do you handle disappointment?

This thought came to me in a quiet moment here at home:

How do you handle disappointment?

I don't know that I had an immediate answer when the question floated by my consciousness like a cloud in a blue sky being watched from a quilt in the yard.  You know, the question was there and as I directed my thoughts to consider an answer...the cloud had moved on and morphed into another shape in the clear sky.  But the question has lingered and I find myself at the keyboard not knowing where this is going; but trusting The One from whom I believe, asked the question.

There have been times and seasons in my life that I've felt that I could sing the line, "disappointment is my closest friend..." from the song Higher and Higher.

As a verb, handle means (according to my Google search):
to manage a situation or problem.

And the definition of disappointment was:
the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of ones hope's or expectations.

I feel that these are responses to how disappointment should be handled:

1. Accept or Deny - The reality of life is that problems come. When they do come, I can either accept or deny them. Sometimes, denying is easier.  I mean, hey, if you don't admit that you have a situation or problem, you don't have to do anything. But I believe that is not the way to handle disappointments. I believe acknowledging and accepting that I have a disappointment is the best way to navigate life.  Denial can lead to an increase in problems.  Acceptance does not mean the path will be easy; but, it does mean that the situation can be dealt with, released and processed.

2. Talk it out - Now, communication skills were not stressed when I was growing up, so I am learning much in this area.  When faced with these "nonfulfillment" in life, it is good to share and process with a friend, family member, mentor or counselor.  If you have none of these options, there is always One Person that will always listen.  Hallelujah!  Speak it out. Tell HIM all the details.  I remember getting into my vehicle one evening and talking out loud to The LORD about a problem from the time I got in, until I was almost home.  Oh, the relief that came from releasing every detail of the burden from my shoulders. It is ok to say how we feel.  It is ok to admit that we don't know what to do.  It is ok to ask for wisdom and knowledge and understanding and discernment.

3. Spend time listening - If you have spent time sharing your thoughts and asking The LORD for wisdom, I believe that it will come. I am learning the fact that if I am busy yakking, it is not as likely to be heard, because my nature would be to rehearse my disappointment.  But, I find that if I listen, I can many times hear, sometimes from the most unsuspecting sources, just the encouragement that I need.  Maybe it is a bank teller that shares something with you, maybe it is a person at the grocery store, or a friend or relative that will say a wise word that applies to your situation.  This evening, I really wanted to speak my mind and share a disappointment with a friend after I'd shared it with The LORD. Thank goodness, I heeded that still small voice that said to me: "Don't go there." Shew.  Hours later, I am so glad that I didn't. But I wanted to at the time.  I don't know if it's just me; but sometimes I feel like I should be so justified to just put out there my version of the truth to my situation or disappointment.  Well, tonight, I listened to a friend and just marveled at the goodness of GOD in keeping my mouth shut.  In reflection, my words would have caused more disappointment.  Hello, nobody has time for more of that. Not me.  Not you.

4. Focus on thanksgiving - In times of disappointment, there is a joy and peace that can come from rehearsing blessings.  Though the disappointment may be all I see at the moment, if I recount the blessings of life, I will see that they outweigh my current affliction.  Hallelujah!

5. Wait - on The LORD for specific instruction.

6. Be fervent in prayer.

7. Look up!