Thursday, April 24, 2008

My First Homemade Purse

Charlie went out of town today for a company trip. He'll only be gone overnight, but it gave me a little time to finish up a project I found over at The Happy Housewife. I still haven't mastered the sewing machine so most of it I sewed by hand.

The Placemat with Pink Ribbon attached
I attached the ribbon with heavy duty double stick hem tape. The kind you iron on.

After I sewed the sides togetherAfter I sewed the corners into triangles

The purse before I attached the handles

The Finished Product

Buffalo Chicken

I love all things Buffalo Chickeny! I know that really isn't a word! But I love Buffalo Chicken. Yesterday for lunch I had a buffalo chicken sandwich, and that got me to thinking about my favorite buffalo chicken recipes. I have included a few of my favorite recipes over on my cooking blog, K C's Cafe! Check it out!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Giving Up Control

Okay, I admit it...I am a control freak with a little bit of OCD sprinkled on top. I am a list maker. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can check something off my list as done! I think that I need a plan for everything in my life, and if things don't go as planned it makes me a little crazy! (My husband would say a lot crazy!)

This is one of those times in my life where things are not necessarily going as planned. I will be 35 this year, and in the map of my life there are certain places I thought I would be by this time. Up until 2 years ago I was well on my way in my career goals, and things seemed to be going pretty well. Then everything fell apart.

To give you a little history, I started working in telecommunications as a repair operator making $6.21 an hour in 1994. My daughter turned 1 year old, 2 weeks after I started. I married very young, and to make ends meet we've always been a 2 income family. When I started working I really didn't have a goal in mind. I just knew that I had to work so we could pay the bills. A little hard work goes a long way though! I've always been ambitious. I always wanted to be the best at anything that I tried to do. I dedicated a lot of time to my career and therefore I worked my way up the corporate ladder until I left the industry in 2003 making over $100,000 a year.

As I look back I realize I let my career goals overshadow the goals God had for me. In some ways I had allowed my career to become an idol. I rationalized being a workaholic by telling myself, the more money I bring to the family then the less time Charlie has to work, which will result in him having more time to devote to his youth ministry. I didn't realize at that time that by me taking control of our lives that I was trying to take over Charlie's role as head of our home. Of course, the more money I made the more influence I thought I should have over the financial decisions being made in our home. After a while my identity became entwined with my career. When I left the career that I had built for over 12 years I floundered like a fish out of water trying to find my identity.

Sometimes I feel like in the past 2 years I've went back through Kindergarten with God. He is teaching me (again) that he is in control of my life. When I lost my job, I thought I was being punished by God for something. I guess in a way I was. For several years, I had grown weary of my job, and God had been trying to tell me that I should leave the company I was with, but I just wasn't listening. I thought I knew best! God ruthlessly cut out the thing that had become idolatrous in my life. I remember learning as a child the commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me!" God, in His great love and mercy, is realigning my values with His.

For the last 2 years, God has been trying to teach me to "Let go, and let God". I still have to work outside the home. I have been blessed to be able to work in a business that my father owns, but from time to time I feel like I need more. I bring home about 1/4 of what I did when I worked in telecommunications, and sometimes I feel that is not good enough. I feel like I am not able to give my family the things that I'd like to give them. Which brings me back to the goals I thought I would have attained by now! Not just career goals, but financial goals. I guess in my mind those go hand in hand. Without making more money I am unable to payoff some of the things I would like to payoff. As the price of everything increases, I feel like I need to contribute more.

I have recently thought of trying to find another job. Something where I could make a little more money. We've barely been making ends meet over the last 2 years, and I also thought I would have more of a feeling of worth. I again rationalize this by telling myself "I'll be helping Charlie more!" I have discussed my feelings of ineptitude with Charlie, and he encouraged me to seek out other opportunities. Of course, being the control freak that I am I probably took this a little to far. Charlie was thinking I could sell things on Ebay or Craigslist or maybe do a little catering. I am thinking I need to have a "CAREER" again. To make a long story short, yesterday I went on an interview. As I sat there, answering all the questions, I began to think. "Who is in control? God or Me?"

I walked out of that interview thinking, "What am I doing? Why can't I just trust in God to take care of us?" I didn't get much sleep last night. I laid in bed thinking and praying. Today I remember, God has a purpose and a plan for my life. He knows who I truly am. Following him is about living out his plan for my life, instead of me trying to determine the direction I should take.

Have you ever wanted something so badly in your life, yet when you received it, you realized that it didn't make you happy? That house you wanted to move into so badly, that person you wanted to date, that achievement you thought would bring success, that child you longed to have—they all brought you momentary happiness, but they didn’t fulfill you as you had hoped, or bring you the significance you longed for. I was that way with my career.

I am learning slowly that whenever I find myself begging God for something, with some whining thrown in for good measure, I have to step back and ask myself the question: But will it make me happy? I know that whatever “it” is, it doesn’t have the power to bring me lasting happiness—that deep peace & joy that only God can bring. I may have a flash of happiness, only to lose it mere moments later. I am learning slowly to push aside these momentary longings and seek God instead. To tell Him, “Here’s what I think I want, but I trust You to do what’s best for me.”

As I grow in Grace, I am still learning about God's truth, love and mercy. I am so thankful that He doesn't get impatient with me.

My verse for the day is:

Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God...

My song for the day is:

Give up and let Jesus take over and he'll make a way for you!

Friday, April 18, 2008

What dog breed are you?

I found this over at Mari's blog. It is fun, and amazingly enough, sounds very much like me!

Wow, You're a Labrador Retriever!

The Caretaker

Your family is what makes you tick, and you never "flea" from an opportunity to hang out with the whole gang. A family picnic complete with hot dogs, deviled eggs and a refreshing swim in the lake is hard for you to stray from. Your sparky temperament and dogged intelligence mean you are not only a blast to hang out with, but great to work with as well. Your close pals appreciate your patience and forgiveness, knowing you'd rather let sleeping dogs lie than dwell on the mishaps of the past. Your dashing good looks may one day lead to a modelling career, if only you can tame the unfortunate clumsiness that sometimes causes you to go flailing from the catwalk.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Words Hastily Spoken

Everyday I take time to read the daily devotional on Proverbs 31. I find things there that often times teach me how to help others. However, yesterday the post helped me and something I have been going through. This time I was hurt by another's hasty words, but often times it is my hasty words that hurt others. I often "stick my foot in my mouth". By nature, I am a very blunt person. In my younger years I would just say whatever came to my mind. As I've gotten older I've learned (often the hardway) that sometimes my silence speaks volumes.

I've reflected on the questions that were in yesterday's post. Do I think before I speak? When do I usually speak in a negative manner? How can my words bring healing to others? and one of my own, Are my words a reflection of Christ in me?

I am going to try even harder to watch what I say and how I say it. I never want to be responsible for causing another to stumble. I am a minister's wife, and many times I am called to edify others, lift others up, and encourage others. I want to be an example of Christ.

The following verses were also listed on the Proverbs 31 website. They are so true that I just had to share them. These are from the King James Version Bible.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

What are your words saying to others?

Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Anyway, The Paradoxical Commandments

I love devotional and inspirational type books, and a few years ago someone I worked with gave me a book written by Kent M Keith called Anyway, Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World. In the book he goes about telling how and why he wrote The Paradoxical Commandments. When I am going through a trial I will take out that little book, and read it again. Today, I wanted to share with you The Paradoxical Commandments.

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

Monday, April 14, 2008

What is a Friend?

I've thought a lot about this question over the weekend. I'm not going to go into detail, but let's just say I have been extremely hurt. I'm not a crier, to be honest I don't really show my emotions very well, but I've cried many tears this weekend.

What is a true friend to you?

Most of us can name several people we call friends, and some would name quite a few. Others might count their friends on just a few fingers. We have a lot of acquaintances, but friends are fewer. A friend is someone we can hang out with, have fun with and depend on. The Bible has a lot to say about friendship, but it’s different from what we might expect. Our preoccupation is usually with having friends. The Bible's focus is on being a friend.

You can read about King David & Jonathan in the book of 1 Samuel 19 and 20. Jonathan's friendship with David is one of the most outstanding and moving stories in all of Scripture, perhaps in all of literature. . . . Few are the people blessed enough to know a committed friendship such as Jonathan’s. David calls Jonathan his brother, reminiscent of the verses from Proverbs. Jonathan was closer to David than a brother. He was closer than a wife. Such analogies speak deeply of commitment, for the fundamental bond between brother and brother, or husband and wife, is commitment. Commitment is the word that unlocks the real meaning of friendship.

“What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies.” — Aristotle

You can have a lot of acquaintances, but only a few people will become your best friends. These are kindred spirits, much like David and Jonathan in the bible, whose souls were “knit together.” Friendships like this will endure, even though the intensity of the friendship will ebb and flow over time.

One of the dangers in this kind of friendship is co-dependency. The sheer delight of having such a friend can also create weighty expectations in the relationship. A good question for friends to ask regularly is, “Are we truly seeking the other person’s highest good?”

“A true friend stabs you in the front.” — Oscar Wilde

Leave it to Oscar Wilde to lay out an important truth with such wry humor. A true friend is one who helps you see the truth, even if it hurts. This doesn’t mean we can go around stabbing our friends with hurtful words. Rather, it means being up front with friends about important issues, raising gentle questions with tact and love, never gossiping or putting them down to others behind their backs.

“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Real friendships don’t just happen, and they aren’t maintenance free. Ask yourself and your friend questions like these:

“How would you describe our friendship?”

“What is God doing in each of us, separately and together?”

“How can we help each other become all God wants us to be?”

Seeking another person’s highest good: that’s being a true friend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Colds

Don't you just love spring colds? Well, let me tell you, I don't! I am whiny, complaining, and just generally horrible to be around. I started getting an earache on Monday. Tuesday, my nose started tingling. Wednesday, I woke up and couldn't swallow, breath through my nose, or hear! I've had a low grade fever off and on too. I went ahead and went to work thinking that maybe it would just go away, but I started feeling worse. I work in a town about an hour away from Knoxville, so I just went to a walk-in clinic instead of my regular doctor. Well, the diagnosis is not good.

I have a severe ear infection in my right ear, and my left ear has an ear infection too just not as bad. I have congestion in my chest, but to beat it all I have strep throat again! That is the second time this year. It seems like once I have strep throat it just keeps coming back.

I hate being sick! The doctor gave me 4 different prescriptions. Can you believe that? Now, this morning I still feel horrible, and I still can't breath out of my nose.

Sniffling, sneezing, headache, muscle aches, aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh

oh well, enough complaining!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A New Baby

Congratulate us! Purchase baby paraphernalia in pink and blue! Order a cake with a stork on it! Buy a gift card to Babies-R-Us! Listen for the "pitter-patter" of little feet! Yes, we are adding another to the clan! I think this will be grandchild #17 for my Mother. WooHoo, A baby is coming!

No, I'm not going to be a mother again! It is much more exciting than that... I am going to be an "AUNT" again...! But, the anticipation for this niece or nephew has been building for years, so the excitement is almost uncontainable!

My sister is having a baby! Brendia is my baby sister. I am 8 years older, and sometimes that has felt like a lifetime. When I got married she was only 9. My husband to her is like an older brother. He used to read to her when we dated. Charlie & I would be sitting on the couch and she crawl in between us, look up at Charlie with those big blue eyes, and say "Will you please read this to me?" It was always some Dr. Seuss book that she had memorized anyway. She could already read herself. She just wanted his attention.

Brandon & Brendia have been married for 6 years in May. Unlike most children that are the youngest, she is very goal oriented. She had a plan, and for the most part she has adhered to that plan. She knew that she wanted to finish college, have most of her bills paid off, and buy a house before they had children. Well, college is done, she has an associate degree in business management. She owes very little, if nothing, except for their car. Their house is being built and will be done in about 2 months. Now the baby is due on October 23, 2008!

Brandon was called "Cookie" in highschool, so I am officially calling the baby "little cookie" until they decide on a name. We can no longer call the baby I.T. Cookston!

I cannot tell you how I have been planning for this child that is not mine. I cannot wait to buy completely purposeless gifts for him/her! My husband told me this weekend that I'd have to get a second job so I could pay for all the things that I want to buy for the "little cookie". I cannot wait to encourage "little cookie" to do all the things Brandon & Brendia do not want him/her to do! I cannot wait to tell embarrassing stories that begin with the words, "When your mother was a little girl..." I cannot wait to hear the words, "Let's go see Aunt Krista & Uncle Charlie! They let us eat ice cream, stay up past our bed-time, and jump on the bed. Their fun!" Because that is what my kids have always said about Brandon & Brendia.

Only another 28 weeks left! Ugh! I'm telling you, I CANNOT WAIT...

Friday, April 4, 2008

I woke up this morning feeling fine...

I woke up this morning feeling fine! I woke with Heaven on my mind! I woke up with Joy in my soul, because I knew my Lord had control.

That is the beginning words to a song that I love. I really did wake up this morning with Joy. I am so happy that it is Friday. I am looking forward to this weekend. We have a very special weekend planned at our local church in Claxton. Saturday night we are having a baptizing service, and then Sunday morning we will have a Communion service. I don't have adequate words to describe what this means to me...

I found on another website a Pastor saying "Communion is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and a reminder that this resurrection power is to animate our lives as we do the work of the kingdom." I am so thankful that the Lord gave his life for me. I am thankful that through his crucifixion & resurrection he provided me a way to Heaven. I am also thankful for Men of God that have preached the gospel to me so that I can understand it.

I feel so unworthy of what Jesus did for me. In a world where desire, lust, acceptance, and approval are often mistaken for love how do you explain a love that does not measure your worth? In a world were people cover up their mistakes and problems is it really possible that God still shows his compassion and his grace. Absolutely!

I can tell you God has always had time for me. I can tell you I am very thankful God did not see fit to give me all I desired or deserved and that He has not treated me according to the ways I have sometimes treated him or others. I can tell you what God has done in my life and the healing he has brought but then I know he has done much more than I can see, know, touch, feel or hear because He’s been everywhere at all times.

Isn't God good?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sewing Machine

I want a sewing machine and I don't even know where to start...

Can somebody give me some ideas on what I should buy? I don't have a lot of money so I need one that is cheap.

It doesn't have to be fancy or have all the bells and whistles because I wouldn't know what to do with it anyway. I don't have a clue how to use a sewing machine but I want to learn.

So, a beginner sewing machine, if there is such a thing, would be great! Any ideas?

Is it Thursday again?

Wow, is it Thursday again already?

It has been a very eventful week, and it isn't even over yet! I am so looking forward to Saturday. An entire day to myself, doing nothing.... Oh wait, just kidding!! I've already planned to do 3 things before our Saturday evening church service! I don't know how I'll fit everything in... Something will have to be postponed.

That is just like me. I always think I can do so many things, and then I don't get everything done. It frustrates me to no end... I am not very realistic about time. Yes, I mean time in general. Like, if I wake up at 9, why can't I cook breakfast, clean up the kitchen afterwards, wash a couple of loads of clothes, cook lunch and clean up afterwards, do my normal cleaning on the house, go the eye doctor for a new pair of glasses, go to the dry cleaners, get a haircut, all before 5pm. Is that too much in one day? Not really, but what I forget to factor in, is my husband's plans or lack thereof. Charlie never makes plans or maybe he does and he doesn't tell me. Oh well, that is what I look forward to doing this Saturday. I'll let you know on Monday how it worked out for me.

Well, back to my week... Saturday our entire family worked in the house, rearranging furniture, and setting up a bedroom for my brother. I turned my office into his bedroom. Then, Charlie preached at a youth revival on Saturday night at a church in Knoxville. This past Sunday was the Fifth Sunday so our church has a special Bring A Friend Day and dinner. So, you may ask what does that have to do with you? Well, my wonderful son volunteered me to make homemade barbecue pork for dinner. Yes, that is enough barbecue for over 100 people! Now I love to cook, but after my Saturday I was so tired that I almost forgot. Here I go at 11pm into the Kroger trying to find Boston Butt Pork Roast!!! I woke up at 6:30 the next morning with Charlie saying "Do you smell that?" I almost burst into tears because I thought I'd burnt the pork. But thank the Lord, it was just the Roaster doing it's thing. (The roaster makes a funny smell when you cook in it but the food tastes great!) Then, Our Pastor started a special revival on Sunday night that ran through last night. My days have been full. I leave for work around 8, get back home after work around 6, be at church by 7, and then get back home around 9 or 9:30....aaarrrrggghhhh

I am already going to predict that my Saturday will not go as planned because I am going to sleep all day!!!

I also found out last night that my sister is having a baby!!! I know this is just a teaser, but I think that this kind of news deserves it's own post!

I know maybe I can do that Saturday too...