Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yummy Vanilla & Caramel Iced Coffee

This was cheap, easy, and fun to make! It was slightly an experiment but it worked out well for me. Making and drinking coffee is such a delight to me! To the point that alot of my friends know to make a pot of coffee when Courtney is coming over. ; )

Making iced coffee consists of four ingredients.
1. Fresh brewed coffee (I like to use a dark roast coffee instead of a medium or light roast because the ice cubes water down the coffee to the point that I feel like I'm just drinking flavored milk water... Yuck!)
2. Half & Half (If you normally put a flavored creamer in your coffee, you will not want to use it for this recipe, because they are already sweetened creamer. So adding anymore sugar to it will be like sticking your tongue in a jar of sugar! Yuck!)
3. Flavored Syrup (Most any flavor will do! Pick your favorite, whether it be Peppermint, Vanilla, Pumpkin, Caramel, etc. You can make these at home or buy them from most grocery stores. I saw some at Target that are for $4.99.)
4. Lots of Ice

There is a basic recipe that you can used and really make almost any flavor of syrup you want. What's even cooler about this is you can use this syrup in your hot or cold coffee drinks, drizzle some on ice cream, add them to sweet recipes, or your favorite cocktail!
Your basic supplies you will need for this syrup recipe is sugar and water, then your favorite flavor. I used an organic raw sugar, because we are trying to impliment organics into our daily diet, but a regular white, gradulated sugar works fine too.   
The ratio between the sugar and water is 1 cup to 1 cup. Two cups of sugar means I need two cups of water.

Vanilla & Caramel Syrup
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup of caramel sauce
Sealable jar (found mine for $3.00 at Target) 
Stir the water and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Turn the heat to medium high and stir well.
When the mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and add vanilla and caramel sauce. Stir well and allow to fully cool. Pour into sealable jar, label, and enjoy.

Now to the enjoying part!!!
  A. Have a glass, any size is fine, and pack it with ice, especially since you are using hot, fresh coffee.
 B. Pour in 8 oz (1 cup) of coffee. For this cup, I had to use 1 cup and a half.
 C. Add about 1/4 cup half & half which will fill the cup the rest of the way, and add about 1 tablespoon of your syrup. If you like it sweeter, add more syrup.
 D. Stir well with a fun straw and ENJOY!!
Even this guy likes it!

In the end, one bottle of syrup costs me a grand total of $1.14. Which makes each tablespoon into my coffee is worth $0.03.

There are about 57 tablespoons of coffee in a 12 ounce bag. I use about 1 tablespoon per cup of coffee on my drip machine. So I can make 57  8 oz cups of coffee. Ladro's coffee beans sell for $11.50 per 12 oz which equals about $0.21 per cup. 

One half gallon of half & half, has 32 servings of 1/4 cups. At Thriftway half & half is $5.49 for 1/2 gal (expensive!!!) but that is still about $0.18 per 1/4 cup.

My total for a delicious cup of Vanilla Caramel Iced Coffee is $0.42!!!

So you enjoy that iced coffee, that only cost you much less then $.50 to make!! That's those corporate guy's refill price!!

Additional Flavor-Aid
For Vanilla Syrup: add 3 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract after the water boils.
For Caramel Syrup: add 1/2 cup caramel sauce after the water boils.
For Peppermint Syrup: add 18 peppermints to the water and sugar before it boils.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Way Back Wednesday - Sailing to Seattle - Week Five

*This is a pre-written blog post from April 8, 2013 to look back on why we left Texas to live in Seattle.*

My patience is wearing thin, and I am beginning to get fidgety. I watched, feeling helpless, as my husband battled with discerning what God has called him to do in life, what he needs to do first, and where he needs to do it.
I truly love my husband and am so grateful he prays!
He desires with his whole heart to live a life honoring and obedient to the Lord. As do I. I’m thankful that he is not a hasty man, because I tend to be a hasty woman. That means I tend to make poor decisions because they are quick, thoughtless, and fear-driven. And moving anywhere driven by emotions can tend to be a painful experience. And ain't nobody got time fa dat!
The controlling part of me wanted to know what was going to happen, where are we going, when is this happening, so I could make a plan for us to get there, because what if we miss a deadline, or miss an opportunity, or job, or home, or life..? Then what? One of my greatest fears is a wasted life. 

When I was nineteen, I thought I’d have babies, a home, and a ministry by now, and my palms sweat at the thought of waking up and being thirty and NOTHING’S CHANGED!!! 

This, my friends, is sin. Point blank, sin. I am not believing that God is the loving Father that he says he is, and if we are going to be honest, he shows me everyday whether I see it or not! I don't believe he is in control, that he is sovereign, and that he cares for that which concerns me. This sin, like all sin, will destroy me. 

One of our other places on our “map” was Seattle. Mars Hill was introduced me to back in 2008 while I was looking for a marriage series to study. I thought “if I knew all that I could know about marriage, God would have to give me a husband…” SMH. The series was called Peasant Princess, and the Lord really got a hold of me through it. First off, this guy, Mark Driscoll, was talking about stuff I had never heard or imagined would ever come over the pulpit, and to be honest, it intreged me. He talked about sex within marriage, he talked about intimacy with God and your spouse, and answered tons of random, but relevant, questions about real life. He would address the women tenderly but truthfully, encouraging repentance, honesty, and knowledge with wisdom which I hadn’t heard before. But the men, boy, he certainly roughed them up, which I really liked. There were some sermons he would yell the whole time at the men! But it wasn’t this angry man making fun of and criticizing other men’s characters that got me excited, it was he was presenting the character of a man that was biblical and desirable in a husband. He yelled about their laziness, their rejection of any type of responsibility, the fact that they were still depending on their parents for everything, they don’t have a job, they don’t pray, they don’t read their bible, they don’t lead, they don’t take responsibility for their children, they don’t love and serve their wife, but yet “want to be submitted to and called men of God”. Now this… This was unheard of.

Overtime, I kept track of what Mars Hill was up to, new sermons series, Q & A sessions on tough scriptures and tough questions, planting new church, etc. Very exciting stuff. God really used this ministry to show me a different side of Himself that I honestly didn’t like at first. I even found myself asking questions with tears running down my face, like, “Who are you? It’s like I don’t even know you.” Well it was because I really didn’t. I knew somethings about Him, but I didn’t know Him. I was raised to believe that God was one way, and that was it. But now, He was showing me that their were sides of Him that my little brain couldn’t understand, because if I were God (which I acted like often) I wouldn’t do things like He would, did, or does. He began to show me that HE is God and I am not. HE knows everything, and I do not. And honestly how dare I, His creation, tell Him, the Creator, how to do His work. He sees the bigger picture, and I cannot.
"Purify yourself in the process of worship, carrying the holy vessels of God."
Derek wasn’t very fond of Mars Hill or Pastor Mark. He did like the important things, but I could tell he didn’t like getting yelled at, or Calvinism. (I’ve asked him to do an entry soon about everything, so be expecting that.) But he did agree to do one of their sermon series together to help us with getting back to studying scripture together.

The plan was to start the Doctrine series, which would help us know if we were going in the same direction of Mars Hill or not, theologically. We would listen to one sermon every other day and we would come together that night and discuss it. We learned alot, repented even more, and were encouraged abundantly. But through one sermon in particular, the Lord spoke clearly. Worship. God began to revealto us all that we worshiped instead of Jesus. Man’s opinion, food, financial status, clothes, alcohol, jobs, beauty, children, spouses, family members, anything that we placed on God’s throne that was not him, including ourselves was the object of our worship. Yes, worship. These are not actions that we can just start or "stop doing." These are idols in our heart that we need to identify as idols and by faith ask the Holy Spirit to crush them through his grace. He really opened us up to the freedom from which comes from Him being on the throne and no one and nothing else.
WHAT FREEDOM! I’m no longer bound to being the prettiest, skinnest, woman because beauty is not my God. I can receive corrective critcizism and not be crushed because man’s opinion is not my God. I can have a drink with my husband and not be an alcoholic or a drunkard, because it is not my God. I no longer eat a slice of cake and not be satisfied until I eat the whole thing because food is not my God. I can go out with my friends, enjoy their company and not judge them but encourage them in truth because I and they are not God. I don’t have to have all of our moving plans figured out, I don’t have to get Derek to figure our whole lives out so we won’t miss anything, and I don’t have to have a step-by-step plan of what I’m going to do in the next 5-10 years because I am not God.
When we worship something, someone, a thought, a desire, or anything, we bow ourselves, our lives, and those that depend on us, down to it, submit our ways, and our standards to what this thing requires of us. What we worship brings meaning and purpose.
Women and men are bound by bulimia because they worship the thought of being skinny. Women have hundreds of surgeries on their body because their heart worships the lust of youthful beauty. People are alcoholics or drunkards because they worship the buzz, the escape, the appearance, the numbing, the acceptance. People are addicts to substance because they worship the high, release, or experience. That’s why babies go hungry because their parents have to live large and then they can’t afford to feed them, because they worship themselves, what they want, and their lives. I have no room to judge nor am I trying, but I have been a worshipper of many of things and this really happens.

I, along with everyone, have allow these gods/idols to divide, steal, and destroy our lives. But Jesus now gives me the freedom to enjoy life and not be bound to it. We worship in all that we do. We were not created to worship, but created worshipping. Oh, such freedom we have in worshipping Jesus. With Him on the throne of my heart, I can breathe. And whenever I replace Him with myself or anything else, He has given me the gift of repentance.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Way Back Wednesday - Sailing to Seattle - Week Four

*This is a pre-written blog post from April 8, 2013 to look back on why we left Texas to live in Seattle.*

During this time of waiting, we spent alot of time with Derek's family. It was good to have people who truly loved us and cared for us without grudge or motive.

Then about two or three weeks go by and we got a text from Derek’s mom, Kathy. Derek and I had been praying this whole time for big dreams that only God could do. We wanted His direction, more knowledge of who God is and His truth. We also desired a community of people who loved and feared God, that would surround us with love, discipleship, accountability, and wisdom, that we could give in return by His Spirit. I opened the message and read mom’s frantic text of “Read Isaiah 52:11-12 in the MSG.” I googled it quickly and began to read. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I called her. “Courtney, I believe the Lord is telling you and Derek this.”

Isaiah 52:11-12 MSG
Out of here! Out of here! Leave this place!
Don’t look back. Don’t contaminate yourselves with plunder.
Just leave, but leave clean. Purify yourselves
in the process of worship, carrying the holy vessels of God.
But you don’t have to be in a hurry.
You’re not running from anybody!
God is leading you out of here,
and the God of Israel is also your rear guard.
Now this was a lot to take in all at once, so I dried my tears and thanked mom for everything. Derek and I greatly trust and know the fruits of her relationship with the Lord, not to mention this completely confirmed to me all that was happening in both mine and Derek's hearts. We really wanted to hear from God and here it was. I wrote the scripture down and placed it on my desk and stared at it for most of the day. When I got home, Derek was waiting for me ready to pray and talk out this new discovery.

Two lines of the scripture jumped out to us right away.

1. “Out of here! Out of here! Leave this place a don’t look back.” Both of us knew that we had nothing left in Katy, and the doors were evidently closing. This showed us that looking outward from Katy was the Lord’s doing, and not us trying to “escape/run” from the past.

2. “God is leading you out of here, and the God of Israel is also your rear guard.” When I called Mom, she told me that she looked up the Hebrew word for “rear guard” which is אָסַף meaning to gather, bring together, and to assemble!

This is exactly what we were praying for.

Men on mission, who would lead and link up with Derek, ungrudging. Who help him discern the leading of the Spirit, to encourage him in loving his wife and children, and even practical mentoring in music and ministry.

Women, with wisdom, who would call me out on my sin. Who show me the joys of living life as a God fearing woman with biblical boundaries.

We both did not expect perfection from anyone, but as we read Acts together, we saw the Spirit of God dwelling in His children. They worked together, served each other, and functioned as a family. If they could do that then, why could we not find that here, in the body, outside of blood and marriage?

To be continued…

Are you too busy for anyone else outside of your personal bubble? Do you find yourself clocking in and out of church, not living life with those said to be your brothers and sisters? Keeping what is entitled to you, that you've worked so hard for?

I have found myself doing that. Putting on my "holy coat" and taking it off as I step back into my own world. I didn’t even realize I had been doing it, because I was more worried about where I was going to be eating after church than sharing life with those around me without any hidden agendas. Loving and serving others without recognition was a chore to me, and didn’t happen often. I now realize that this breaks the Father's heart. He intended his church to serve others as if serving the Lord himself (Eph. 6:7). He showed me, my sinful nature desired to take and keep what I thought I was entitled to, and the new nature he is cultivating in me is one of giving and sharing ALL that has been so graciously given to me by Him. 

Remember, your life is not your own. You have been bought with a heavy price and he loves you. You are His Treasure, His Child. This isn't an Aretha Franklin song. Yes, we are family but we don't just sing together. We live life together, grow, encourage, and challenge each other.

Are you doing that? This is not to condemn in passivity or condone in a multitude of religious acts. This is to remind us, our strength to give when we want it all to ourselves and our hope when we feel we have nothing left is only found in King Jesus.

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Sunday Drive - Egg Bake Recipe

My Grandparents are in town!!! 
Today was an early start! I grabbed a triple caramel macchiato from Starbucks and headed to practice with my love, Derek. It's so great he is on the production team because early mornings alone are hard. Plus, who's going to wipe any sleep out of your eye that you may have missed!
The sermon today was so good! Pastor Mark spoke on James 2:1-7. I encourage you to take some time and watch the video! Totally worth it!

We had lunch at Spud's on Alki then headed over to Husky's on California for some ice cream. I really enjoy my grandparent's company. I love hearing their stories and experiences. Growing up, I wasn't too interested, but they have been on this earth alot longer than I have and I've come to realize they know a thing or two. I want to be able to share their stories to my kids. 
I did get to make one of my favorite egg bakes for us to enjoy for breakfast!

Recipe for Plasch's Family Egg Bake:
2 lbs of breakfast sausage, browned, drained, and crumbled
9 slices of white bread, crusts removed & cut into squares
4 tablespoons of butter, cut into small cubes
3 cups of milk
5 scallions, chopped, including green tops
1/4 cup of chopped green bell peppers
12 eggs beaten
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper 

 Serves 12-14 folks.
1. Brown, crumble, and drain your 2 lbs of sausage. 
 2. Beat the 12 eggs well. Add milk.
3. Chop your green peppers and scallions and add to eggs.
 4. Cut the crust from your bread, and cut into thirds, then the thirds into squares. Add to egg mixture.
 5. Add cheese to the mixture.
 6. Add sausage. Stir well.
7. Butter the inside of the 9x13 inch casserole dish.
8. Pour the mixture in casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil.
9. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
 10. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 to 30 minutes.
Make sure the middle is cooked!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Guest Post: Tortilla Soup!

This week I am so very excited to feature my blogging pal and friend Erica. Erica runs her own wedding + event design house.  She shares recipes, DIY’s and beautiful photos of her events. Hop on over and check out her blog so you can enjoy her photos. Her blog is truly a treat!

Hi, I'm Erica from Paper Hearts + Co. (!

Thank you, Courtney, for inviting me to share one of my favorite recipes!

This has become one of our favorite winter soup recipes. It has a sweet potato base which is definitely not traditional in a tortilla soup. Years ago when I was in college one of my roommates and I made it for a dinner one sunday night. Since then I have modified the original recipe to customize it to our liking. It has a hearty chili like consistency. Even my non sweet potato liking friends love it. This recipe is gluten free and is easy to convert  for vegan or vegetarian folks as well. Cheers! - Erica 
1. Saute 3 gloves minced garlic and one large chopped red onion in a little olive oil.
2. In another pan brown 2-3 cubed chicken breasts.
3. Peel and dice 4 sweet potatoes.
5. Add 1box of Chicken broth and 2 cups water to the pot with garlic and onions.
6. Add cubed sweet potatoes and bring to a boil and cook until tender.
7. Take 2/3 of cooked sweet potato mixture and and puree it in your blender or food processor till smooth. Return to pot.

8. Add 1 bag of corn
 1 can chopped green chilies
1 large can of petite diced tomatoes
browned cubed chicken
1 bunch chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp Thyme
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Cumin
1 tsp. pepper
9. Let simmer for 20 minutes and serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Way Back Wednesday - Sailing to Seattle - Week Three

*This is a pre-written blog post from April 9, 2013 to look back on why we left Texas to live in Seattle.*
I would like to say, in no way do I mean to offend anyone by posting this. I am simply sharing our testimony to God’s glory, which will in fact reveal our sin, our struggles, our forgiveness, and the Lord’s hand in it all. We do not intend to single or call out any one ministry or persons. We love the Body and are in no place to judge or condemn, but we must make the best decisions for our family by the leading of the Holy Spirit and leadership of my husband. Thank you for your love and prayers.
Planning, we laid our “map” out on the table, considering all options according to what we believed the Lord was calling us to do. We have no kids, no mortgage, why be afraid of something "big"? We began to pray and knock on each door. One place seemed certainly promising, and we began doing a deep investigation on the church's doctrine, history of the staff, and vision. This particular ministry had a branch that extended to a recording label that lined up completely with what Derek felt called to do with his music. Meanwhile, we both knew the importance of not forsaking the assembling of the family of Jesus, so we knew we needed to find a place locally to sow into, serve, and love for the time being.
If you haven’t had the chance to “Church surf” in Houston, and you are looking for more than just great shows, goosebumps, and a rockin band, it can get kind of disheartening.

Derek and I personally talked about things that were important to us in our church home like,

“Do they believe that Jesus is God?”

“Do they talk about, know, and love Jesus?” “What’s the fruit of their labor?”
“What’s the heart/foundation of the ministry?”
“Do they encourage learning, and community?”
“Does the teaching challenge or convict?”
“Do they preach the gospel?”
“Do they pray?”
“Could the ministry run without the lead guy?”
“Do women run the show?”
“Does one man run everything, and have a pocket full of ‘Yes’ men?”

Having lights, camera, and action is great, but do they exalt themselves or the real, biblical, Jesus, God-man, Lord, Savior, and King?

Interestingly enough, a lot of people condemned us for having these “unreasonable standards” saying we were seeking perfection, which kind of blew us away. There are somethings that are copable but some of this is basic necessity in a home church, and should not be compromised.

With an enemy who’s full-time job is to deceive and mislead the children of God, why do you not take questions like these seriously?

It was hard to find people or a church that felt the same. We have come to the conclusion that, there are churches here in Houston that are lead by the Spirit of the Living God because God is omnipresent and loves his people everywhere, but He didn’t allow us to find them because we would have probably stayed. He told us,

"You are not running from anybody [including "church folk"]! God is leading you out of here, and the God of Israel is also your rear guard."

We weren’t drawn to leave the Katy/Houston area because of the ministries there, our past, or the people. This was all because of God's plan. He was up to something, and we certainly did not want to miss out or be disobedient. "He has sent out fish to swallow and take those whom he loves, who are rebelling, to where they were supposed to be in the first place…" Thank you Jonah. It was hard at first, not to be offended by what was going on in the walls of some of the buildings they were called the Lord’s house. What was happening grieved our hearts deeply.

But I am no ones Savior, I can only live and preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have to remember that God is as much their Father as He is mine, and He has a plan for them just as much as He has one for me, that glorifies Him!
Then we found Crossings Community Church. The leadership was incredible and accountable. They weren’t afraid of tough scripture or hard questions, and encouraged us to seek God and obey Him. What a refreshing group of folks.
The church that we were pursuing from our “map” was in Portland, OR. It had numerous positive check marks on our “That’s-where-we-are-supposed-to-be” check list. We were going all in on the pursuit. We added them on facebook, twitter, listened to sermons, went to their concerts, called them, and called them, and called them. We left messages, at least two on the church’s message machine, about us planning to move there and looking to get connected with leadership… nothing happened.
Nothing! No replies to emails, no call backs, no replies to tweets. Nothing! What started out as what seemed to be an opened door. Which we knocked on really hard, just wouldn't budge. We continued to pray, and didn’t recieve peace about the thought of moving to Portland. Especially with nothing opening up. We were still knocking on the other doors but we really thought this would be the one.
To be continued…

Just because it is good doesn’t mean it is what you are supposed to do. Just because bad things are happening doesn’t mean it’s not what you are supposed to go through and experience. But when you are two steps from Chuck-Norris-Roundhouse-Kicking a door down because it is what you want to do, something is obviously wrong. Especially when you have been praying for God to open the right doors, and keep the wrong ones closed.

Time to do some recalculating and allow God to be God. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Sunday Drive

 Saturday night, Derek and I got to hang out at the church and watch a movie, which I would recommend. This movie really plays out what a child goes through while processing the death of a parent. It grieved my heart to watch someone else struggle to find hope and meaning in a painful circumstance, but in the end, it had a sweet ending. So I'd say, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is a tear-jerking, heart-gripping, good movie. You should see it. 

After wiping away our tears, we went to head home and this is what we found.

Snow! Yeah, Snow in Seattle. We had to creep home, because the Texans are not used to this white, fluffy, slick stuff!
We had a early morning today, as The West Seattle Gospel Band was leading worship at our Rainer Valley campus. This campus is in a more diverse and poor part of Seattle, but these people love Jesus. It was so sweet to be able to experience the different culture of our brothers and sisters, but experience the same Jesus. 
We came home and had a glorious nap, one of those ones where you wake up you're not sure what time it is, where you are, or how you got there. It was much needed cause we were zonked. 
We made dinner plans with the Winston's and got to eat some tasty brisket and a broccoli salad that you couldn't resist a second helping. We missed them. When we first moved to Seattle, they were the family we moved in with. They are such a welcoming and kind family that love Jesus and everyone else too! We are so thankful for them. Plus, they play a mean game of Uno!
Overall, it was a pretty good Sunday Drive.

I will have a recipe post coming soon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Way Back Wednesday - Sailing to Seattle - Week Two

*This is a pre-written blog post from April 5, 2013 to look back on why we left Texas to live in Seattle.*

It was a Saturday, and we had just finished Pastor Mark’s sermon on planning. Me, being a “pusher,” took out a couple pens and pads and started to write down some questions. 

Questions like,

“What do you think you are supposed to do with your life?”

“What do you want to drive?”
“Where do you wanna be in 5 years?”
“How many kids do you want to have?”

Of course, these are all questions you ask while looking for your mate, since times had changed, opinions had changed, desires and vision had changed, it was time to get back on the same page.

Twenty minutes went by. We both finished scratching our thoughts, hearts, and vision down on our own yellow note pads. Time to share.

Here were some of our answers (Derek/Courtney):

“Where do you want to live?” California, Portland, Colorado. California, Portland, Seattle.

“What do you feel called to do?” Music & Minister. Music, Ministry, and Motherhood.

“How many kids do you want?” 1. 6.

WaitWhat? 1? 6?! That’s a big difference?!

My heart sank. I really wanted a big family. I’ve always wanted lots of babies to love, encourage, and teach. One…? Really Lord?

"Don’t you want to have a boy and a girl? I mean, who are they going to ride rollercoasters with? Creepers? Think about it, we’ll have an empty end at our dinner table…"
…my plea, as I process the fact that I’m probably not going to win this one. I immediately had to check my heart. What if Derek was really only willing to have one child? What if I was barren and couldn’t have any? What if I had to wait years and years for adoption, or worse, denied the ability to ever have the chance to raise children? Could I handle any of that in my “perfect world” paradigm?

As you can see some not so pleasant things were coming out of my heart and my mouth. Obviously some paranoia, a bit of selfish ambition, a little manipulation, and a whole lot of pride. All because I wasn’t about to get my made-to-order life the way I wanted it. Even at the cost of Derek’s.

Derek stopped and started to think about it, and mentioned what a joy it would really be to have a daughter and a son.

So he reconsidered and changed his answer, "1. 2." with a big smile. A sweet compromise. :) 

But my heart was still troubled!

Why did I want a big family if God was going to put me with a man that didn’t want one?

The week went by quickly and we didn’t talk much about our little pow-wow. Saturday we made a trip to our near-and-dear friends’ home, the Garcias! What a great bunch! We joined them for worship at their home church in Beaumont. We got there right in time for everything to start, so not much meet and greeting happened. During worship the Pastor (who has met Derek and I once a long time ago, and is said to be terrible with names) stopped the service and called out Derek and I requesting us to come up to the front for prayer. We had just left our second ministry which was a fresh wound. We were praying and seeking the Lord for our next step, and we were trying really hard to function as a team. We were excited and open for some corporate prayer. We just didn’t know it was going to happen like this.

The elders surrounded us.

I could hear the pastor begin to speak over and pray for Derek. Such kind, encouraging, and very relevant stuff.

A sweet lady came in front of me and began to pray. At first what she prayed was very general, and generic, which was much needed to calm and remind my heart of God’s unfailing love for me, but it was not what one would consider prophetic.

Until she began to speak to me directly in my face. “He sees you, He knows you. Be obedient when He tells you to not live in tomorrow…” (UM YEAH, the message He’s been teaching me for… all my life.) “Trust Him, He is your Father. And don’t worry about the babies, they will come.” (These people didn’t know me, and I’m kind of a big girl, how does she know I’m not pregnant now? I’m just saying, it wouldn’t be far fetched.) “Oh, my sweet girl, how many do you want, like six?!” WHAT!?!

Ugh! I just fell to the floor crying.

He heard me.

He really heard me, and He knows me!

That moment was so sweet to me. I didn’t care anymore whether or not God blessed us with six children or none. 

I didn’t receive this as “Oh, you are going to have six children, despite Derek.” No. I heard that as, “I love you, I hear you, and I know your desires, and I know what both of you can need.” What a great God we serve! I repented to Him, of all my expectations and standards I set that God had to fullfill. He was helping me see my idols. The ones I had made, and some unknowingly built shrines that I had been worshipping in my heart.

When I bow my life in submission to something or someone else other than Jesus, my face is away from Him, and my posture towards my idols forces my posture towards Him and His will. My back and my behind.
It would honestly be hard for me if I ever knew I would not have the chance to experience childbearing, but, I know that whatever the Lord allows me to go through, He has allowed. As hard as it may be to understand at the time, I have confidence that in any circumstance whether it be babies, bills, health, jobs, good, bad, or indifferent, He is in control. I certainly don’t mind that thought anymore! I forget it sometimes and get offended if I am worshipping another idol. Truly, I would much rather it be someone that knows everything, beginning to end. Not to mention the fact that He made everything which means He knows how it all works best. I would much rather He call the shots than me. I know what I can do in my own power, and it’s a honestly just a whole lot of hell and nothing that lasts.

Where are you?

Are you locked up in the expectations of your definition of a great life and success? Will your world crumble if you don’t work there, if you don’t marry him/her, if you don’t drive that, go to school there, become that size, have enough children or any at all?

This is idolitary, and we must repent.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will go strangely dim,
in the Light of His glory and grace." 


Monday, February 3, 2014

My Sunday Drive

Super Bowl Sunday 

Congratulations SEATTLE SEAHAWKS! What an extraordinary game! 

We got to meet up at our church after service and party with the whole community! We had a really good turn out and they came decked out! 

Personally, my favorite part had to be the soprano singing a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. WOO! She killed it. Well done, my friend.

My Sunday Drive starts out with actually being able to sleep in!! What?!
I woke up automatically at 7:00 am but refused to get up. Eventually, I ended up falling back asleep and slept for another 2 hours.  It was so nice and I really needed this. God certainly made the Sabbath on purpose. Our bodies need that rest and I'm grateful I got to get some today. 

When I got to church, most everyone was decked out in their Seahawks fan gear. 

It's crazy. I'm from Texas, where we bleed our college football teams, but Seattle. Seattle, you are a new breed. The fans here are fanatics. I mean, they create real earthquakes. 
Service this morning was really good. Pastor Mark was continuing the James series from Phoenix, one of our new church plants. We went through James 1:12-15, talking about temptations and about how Jesus dealt with temptations. Yes, Jesus was tempted. But he never once sinned. 

3 Truths about Temptations
Presented By Pastor Mark Driscoll
1. Life with Jesus is a war.
2. Temptation is not sin.
3. Satan will H.I.T. you (when you are Hungry, Isolated, and Tired)

Life with Jesus is not easy. It was sort of a side swipe for me, I mean, I thought I'd be perfect. No, instead it's a constant (but well worth it) battle. Sometimes the battle is harder, like when I am hungry, isolated, or tired, but other times it's just a consistent keeping my guard up. It's very easy for me to fall for things that will eventually lead me to death, whether physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. Although the temptation that creeps it's luscious head out is so desirable to the part of me that is lacking or weak, it is not a sin. It is when I take that bite. 

Now the longer I look at it, meditate on it, and allow my mind to wander into the lies, it's mirage of fulfillment, it is without a doubt eventually what I will run to and feast on. Don't be deceived. Temptations should be dealt with when stumbled upon. We are not supposed to control temptation, we are to kill it.
We stuck around and helped set up for the party. We had tons of food, and lots of people showed up.

And we got to hang out with some pretty cool kids. We really love these guys. I think they like us too!
So overall, it was a pretty good "Sunday Drive."

Information about James series, presented by Pastor Mark at Mars Hill Church and the 3 truths of temptation can be found at