Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Wouldn't Trade You for the World

I need to write something. I need to just start typing and see what comes out. I've sat down a few times this week and stared at this page. I've tried to conjure up some sort of recap of my week, craft post, something inspirational, anything! But nothing has come out. I'm near the middle of the semester, I have spring break in a week or so, midterms, papers, all of that good stuff. I'm also finishing up my General Psychology course (it was a half-semester course) and so I have a paper to write for that. I'm at that place where there is no "Creative Thinking" section of my brain left. Right now, I'm renting that area out to "Get 'er Done". So, today I come to you with not a whole lot.

Last night my friend and I were struggling through a bad mood and this morning I woke up happy, how that works, I don't know. Anyway, the first thing that came to mind this morning was a verse. Of course, I texted it to my friend and encouraged her for the day, told her I'll be praying for her. So I'm going to be a terd face and redirect you to another blog I wrote about this particular verse, and I'm going to encourage you to read it and let it sink in for the day. Yup... I just went there.

"That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you." - Isaiah 43:4 (MSG)

Go ahead, click on the picture... you know you want to.
~ Jessica

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's time to make the...........

SMOOTHIES!!!!!  It's time to make the Smoothies, not Donuts!!!  (How many of you said donuts?)

Back in, I think, January, my hubbs wanted to purchase a good blender so that he/we could start making fruit and vegetable smoothies.  We'd been watching all of these documentaries about eating and health, juicing, etc.  Close friends of ours had started doing this and he was amped up and ready to try it for himself.  So we purchased the Ninja Kitchen Mate, a few bags of frozen fruit and a few bags of greens, collard greens and spinach to be exact.

I wasn't really sure about the whole thing.....fruit and veggies???  If you know me, then you know that my history with either of these is kinda shady and it's only been in the past 10 years or so that I've really started to heal that shady relationship, but together, in a drink?  Ummmmmm, ew.  But I really, really wanted to love it!  It's sooooo good for you and I could stand to benefit from a few of those wonderful heath gems.  I tried his and it was, um, gross!  It took me a week before I jumped on board and tried it for myself!
I'll have you know, that I haven't gone all crazy wild with large varieties of fruits or veggies....I'm a comfort zone kind of girl. So I pretty much stick with what I know and that is - Strawberries and Bananas.  I knew that the collards were too tart so I tried the spinach, and ya know what????  YOU CAN'T TASTE IT!!!!!  BINGOOOOOOO!!!  I'm in!!!  I may never try anything different, but at least I'm in!!!!

You can't see the bananas in the shot above because they're swimming in the milk, but trust me, they are there!!  We typically have a bag of frozen strawberries and a bag of mixed fruit; strawberries, peaches, mangoes and I think pineapple.  I decided to go crazy and try the mixed fruit!!!  Gasp, I know!!  How crazy can a girl get??  Haha!!  I actually liked it, no loved it, I loved it!!!  It was light and fresh and tropical and it makes me even more ready for spring and summer!!!!
The smoothie replaces breakfast and it's starting to inch out coffee as well!!!  We don't make as much coffee anymore because we're really not drinking it.  I may have a small cup after my smoothie, but I don't typically finish it!  I am full until lunch time.  It's completely satisfying and oh so yummy!  Of course since four out of six of us are doing the smoothie thing, I thought it only fair and appropriate to have a smoothie station! 

It's nothing fancy, I just put away the hot cocoa station and replaced it with the Ninja, 6 of our Coca-Cola glasses, a container of bright, fun straws and the accessories for the Ninja!  It's helpful to have everything you need right there on the counter!!  I really, really look forward to my morning smoothie and against large parts of my mind, I am looking forward to branching out and trying different combinations!  There are soo many benefits to eating drinking fruits and veggies, that I'd be silly not to try it!!
This is a very, very sad sight.  I have to keep myself from making seconds!!! 
Bill also adds sunflower seeds to his.  I know that he'd like to get Chia seeds, we hear that they are very good for you as well.  There's no magic formula to this smoothie thing, I mean, I'm sure there are tons of wonderful recipes out there, but for us, for now, there's just this.....a handful of frozen or fresh fruit, a handful of greens, a few sunflowers and a dash of milk or water and blend away!  That's it!!  For me, there's the cute straw as well :)  It's gotta be cute or I ain't doin it!!!! lol
Seriously though, who wouldn't want to top it off with a fun swirly straw??  I found these on clearance at Target!!!  Thank You!!!  I may have to find some little umbrellas as spring approaches and turns into summer!  I could have a lot of fun with this!!!!
Other than the smoothies, life has been crazy as always!!  It's the best kind of crazy a girl could ask for though!!!
*My Joe (#3) turned 13 this month
*I picked up a few new shirts at Plato's Closet and thus can begin working on finding my style!!
*Disney Movie Night - Love themed; candle light dinner
*Student Leadership - Promoters, fun, loud, outgoing kids
*stealing moments with my baby girl; she's gonna be nine this summer!!!!!!!!
*lots of movie watching and down time; always cherishing the down time
*youth group; aka being right where God wants me
*leaning on God and trusting in His plan and His never ending love
*and so much more!!!!!
Until next time!!!! <3 God bless

Friday, February 22, 2013

February Disney Movie Night

I totally planned on posting Tuesday, but I never got around to it. I thought, "Hey, I'll just post Thursday" and then I was puking. And now I'm sitting here on Friday, wondering if I should even try. I have school work surrounding me, thoughts of quiet time plaguing my brain, and homeschooling to finish up. I'm almost done my psychology class and should probably start writing that research paper.

Anyway, this isn't going to be all about my school work... how boring would that be! Last Saturday a few most of my friends came over for our monthly Disney movie night! This month, since it was close to Valentine's day, we watched Lady & the Tramp and Enchanted. Well... some of us watched Lady & the Tramp, most of us slept through it... oops!

For dinner, we had an awkwardly lovely candle light dinner with spaghetti, garlic bread, and all of that fun stuff. Then, for dessert we had brownies & icecream. We were too stuffed to eat the goldfish and chips with onion dip!

Of course, Sunday we made sure to go to Plato's Closet and go get frozen yogurt (froyo, yogo, berry creamy, whatever you wish to call it). We also made sure to pack up our onion dip, chips, and goldfish and we ate them in the car! Oh, and by the way... I got a J.Crew sweater/hoodie for $14... say whaaaa??

Disney movie nights have been the thing to look forward to every month! I love hanging out with my friends and looking back at the memories from each month.
~ Jessica


Friday, February 15, 2013

So many cookies, so little time

Has it only been one week or two since I've been on here??  I don't even know, honest...it feels like a looong time friends!!!  Three weeks ago I played around with the idea of offering sugar cookies for sale.  We make them for our family at the holidays and have offered them for fundraising needs.  They are usually a big hit!!  I was asked to make them for an engagement party in December and so I guess I'm making a name for myself and my cookies!!! 

I no sooner got the thought out of my mind and off of my lips and there was a message requesting 3 dozen valentine's day cookies for the following week!!  So, I figured what the heck??!!  Well 24 dozen cookies later, I think I am comatose!!!  I've been sitting on a stool in the corner of my kitchen, nestled againts the counter and cabinets making delicate little heart shaped cookies for the past five days!!!  It pretty much took over my life!!!  It was crazy!  It was exhausting!  It was time consuming and it was so. much. FUN!!!!

I am glad that I decided to keep the ugly 1970's credenza in my kitchen!!  It has served me well in this monster baking endeavor!!!!  Thanks Jessica for the idea of clearing it off and lining them up!!  It was perfect!!

I was able to bring over a dozen at a time to the counter to decorate them.  I only had one decorator bag, so this took more time than it should have!  I had made 4 different colors to decorate with and had to either empty and clean the bag multiple times or have the forsight to know what I wanted to do on dozens of cookies so that I could use it up before starting over!
I am so thankful for Pinterest for all of the great ideas!!  Some I copied exactly and some I came up with on my own!  I definitely had a blast being creative, it felt like I was doodling, which I love to do!!

I could drown this post with pictures of cookies!!!  Different styles, stages, locations, packaging, etc.  I really want to, but I'll spare you!!! I need to look into packaging ideas that are cost effective.  I have typically used aluminum pans that can be thrown away.  The dollar store had these great tupperware-ish containers that I decided to use for the bulk of the orders.  They worked really well, but looked impractical!!

Here is the first batch of cookies, packaged and ready to go!!  This was my staging area for completed orders!!  See the containers on the left?  Those are the dollar store ones, they're great!!
Just when I thought I was finished and had cleaned up, I got a few more orders!!!  LOL, I joke about not wanting to go back into the kitchen, but I am truly am thankful for each and every order! 
I decided to use these cute paper punches to keep track of my orders!!  Hey, if it can be done in a cute way, I'm alllll about it!!!!!
After completing all of the orders (I have one dozen that needs to be delivered today), I had to go back to the kitchen and make a birthday cake for my lil Valentine!!!!  My Joe turned 13 yesterday!!!  It truly feels like yesterday that he came into this world!!  He's such a great kid, thoughtful, quiet, creative.....its been amazing watching him grow over the years and we're excited to see what the next few years bring for him!!!
I also threw together a little Valentine's Day fun for my love bugs!!!  I seriously mean "threw"!!!  I don't typically pull off Valentine's Day anything because of the birthday, but I've been feeling really inspired to take that day back and do "something" fun and special!! With the fact that I've literally been in the kitchen from morning til night for five days straight, I knew I couldn't do a whole lot and I didn't have any money to spend towards it, so I had to work with what I had.....not a whole lot!!
Luckily, you don't need a whole lot to be inspired and move forward!!!  So I gathered what ideas I came up with and just asked God to help me make it happen.  Typically when I get something in my head, I don't give up until I make it happen....I was sure that this was going to kick in for my surprise!!  A friend from church had given me a bag of wooden painted hearts, they've been in the garage for a few months.  I decided to have the kids paint them for me (heh heh heh) in chalkboard paint...they'd be the perfect little charger!!! 
Next, I knew I had some old Starbucks bottles on hand and thought it'd be cute to fill them with chocolate and strawberry milk.  I had just picked up some new red mugs from the dollar store and decided to make cake in a cup for them!!  I also had some small heart cookies left over, picked up the traditional "SweetHearts" for them and threw a few strawberry wafer cookies in the mix!!

I could have done so much more, and I'm not lying when I say that I am still fighting the urge to be discontent!  Some things die slowly.  The funny thing is, no one likes strawberry wafer cookies!!  The buttercream icing on the cakes was too sweet and gave them tummy aches, so they barely touched them.....they did drink their milk though!!!  That was a score.  I was highly disappointed in the response to this little shin dig.....the enemy knows my weak spots.  It's not pin worthy, it's barely blog worthy, but ya know what?  I don't care!!  I don't.  I could have done nothing at all, I could have used the excuse that I didn't have the time (I barely had the time) or that it wasn't important in the first place. 

But God gave me the desire, He gave me the means and He helped me make it happen.  I know that they enjoyed the treat, even if it didn't look like it.  I have to remember that what I do, I do for the Lord and not for man (or children) anyway.  I want to be obedient and pleasing to my Heavenly Father, and so I'm content.

I know that He delights in me, that I make Him smile when I am serving Him.  He is my sunshine and I am His <3  And that's all I need!!  I love the chalkboard hearts, I don't know where I'll use them after this, but I can't wait to see what we come up with!!! 

We moved on with our day, had french toast and bacon for dinner as per the birthday boys request!  He loved his little Creeper cake!!  He loved his gifts and he was surrounded with the people who love him the most!!  Isn't that what it's all about?  Knowing that you're loved, being surrounded with people who love you and falling into bed at the end of the day knowing you did a job well done!!

So I actually have to get back to the kitchen :/  I need to make some brownies.  Joe is have a friend or two over to hang out tonight and he's requested baked goods!!!  So back I go....to the one place that I typically spend very little time!!!!  If you need me you know where to find me!!!! 

Happy Friday friends!!  I pray you have a blessed weekend!!  Ours is packed with activity, as usual, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!!!!!

God Bless <3 Lorraine



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated Spring Semester Resolutions

The spring semester is about 1/4th of the way done, if I had to guess, and it's still goin'. It's been a little rough, I've struggled a little bit with the work load, but, nevertheless, I'm still goin' as well. So, I thought that I would give you guys an updated look at my Spring Semester Resolutions.

1. Finish Season 1 of Alias

Season one is completed, and now we're onto season two. In the past two days, I've watched 11 episodes of Alias. I'm not sure whether I should be proud, or ashamed, of this fact. This is what my everyday looks like...
See... I'm still getting my school stuff done!! ....right??

2. Order Pictures from Shutterfly.com and Smash!

I did it! I really did it!! I have to admit, I didn't think I would... but I took advantage of Shutterfly's 101 free prints and bought 87 prints for the price of $5 for shipping! Yay! So far I've only smashed 3 pages, but that's a victory for me... here's a little sneak peak!
The picture quality isn't the best... but you get the point!

3. Save Money

Eeeehhhh.... enough said.

4. Work on Conciously Managing Time Spent on School Work and Recreation 

I haven't done too bad... as you can see in the above picture I seem to be effectively watching Alias and reading history books... that's good! But, this is a work in progress... I can't cross this off until the end of the semester!

5. Blog Atleast 2x a Week

I would say that this one has been successful... wouldn't you?? You tell me... success, or not??
~ Jessica

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sick Day Playlist

I seem to have come down with a cold, and as a result of that... I'm quite sluggish. All I really want to do is lay down and watch a movie, but since that isn't quite possible right now, I've created a Sick Day Playlist. These are some of my favorite songs, despite being sick, but I especially love them when all I want to do is close my eyes. Unless, of course, you can't close your eyes.... then don't listen to this. :)


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Simple Grace - Week Four

Alright, so instead of a wordy post about my thoughts on extending Grace to others....I'm going to give you the chance to practice it!!!  I don't have a post today on extending Grace, I don't.  It's killing me, trust me when I say, I'm fighting feeling like a failure.  But I have to put this into perspective, while I'm assuming that there are people out there who enjoy reading my posts, I know that your world is not going to end because I didn't come through with a post on Grace today!  At least I hope that's true, please don't tell me if your world falls apart after this!!! lol

So anyway, I decided to advertise locally for the sale of sugar cookies for Valentine's Day!  I have several orders between this week and next, I'm still a newbie at this so I'm scrambling just a bit to fit these cookies in with everything else that I'm doing.  It takes a bit of finesse so bear with me!!!  I'd like to quickly say that I think extending Grace to others is being willing to let go of the expectations that we put on others when we see they aren't going to match up with what's actually happening.  It's a tough one, especially if we don't extend Grace to ourselves in those same moments.

I'm still working on that!  I guess, that since it is a process, it'll be a while, if ever, that I nail that down.  I hope not though, I think we all need to get to the position of extending Grace to ourselves and others, simply because Jesus so easily and readily offers it to us and if we are following His example, we have no reason not to get to that place!!

Valentine's Day is next Thursday, which is also my son; Joe's 13th Birthday!!!!!  I can't even believe that!!!  But anyway, I think February is a great month to really contemplate what Jesus' love looks like, feels like and how it can transform us!!!  Take some time to know Whose you are <3  Send a few Valentine's His way in your prayers this month and let Him tell you and show you how crazy He is for you <3

It'll change your life!!!! 

God Bless <3 Lorraine

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Technology is Stupid!

I was trying to think about what to blog today, and instead of me coming up with an idea... it was given to me! But first, a little back story. For my history class I need this book by, preferably, Thursday. However, I found the book super cheap but it wasn't supposed to be in until the 21st. Now, with USPS tracking, it's highly easy to find out exactly where your package is at that exact moment... and I love it! I love to be able to know everything.

I told God that I was going to trust Him with getting my book on time, however, I was faithfully checking the USPS tracking. In fact, I was probably being more faithful to the tracking information than I was to praying about it. So, in my panic stricken mood yesterday I thought through all of the options of how to get my book on time, or find another book to buy on time, etc. I prayed about the best way to go about acquiring my book, and then I said "Lord, I'm just going to have to trust you with this, in fact, in order to show how much I trust you, I'm not going to check the tracking service."

Of course, I immediately went into a frenzy, "Jessica, what are you saying? You have this technology at your fingertips, there is no reason you shouldn't check it." But how often do we say we trust God without actually giving up something or really taking a step of faith, as small as mine might have been? The answer is rarely ever. We say, "Lord, I trust you. In fact, I trust you so much because I just looked at where the package is and it already made it to Philly!" No, we need to trust God.

People now-a-days don't rely on God because technology can fix our problems. We don't trust God because we know all of the details ahead of time. Continuing with the story, I got home today and checked the mailbox... guess what was waiting for me! Mmmmhmmm....

I was banking on the "reliability" of technology, the same technology that told me the book would arrive on the 21st. After that, I relied on God, the God that told me my book would come on time if I just trusted Him. I want to encourage you to trust God and take a step of faith, step away from the "reliability" of technology and step towards the real reliability of Christ.


Monday, February 4, 2013

More to Be Mentoring Monday - Week 4

Hey gatherers!!!  How was your weekend??  I spent mine with about 80 people, the majority of whom were junior and senior high students!!  It was our yearly Winter Retreat and we headed up to the mountains for a time of deeper learning, crazy fun, sleepless nights and an awesome time making new friends and bonding with old ones!!  I am exhausted but it was so worth the time and effort! What a privilege and honor it is to work with the leaders that I work along side of and to hang out and pour into these students who truly want more of God in their lives!  What a beautiful environment for mentoring!!

So as I took a few minutes to look over last weeks homework, I was reminded that mentoring is like a relay race, where you pass the baton from one runner to the next.  We older, "wiser" women (and men) have a glorious responsibility to run our race well and pass on what we've gleaned to the next generation!  I'm thrilled that God has me in this place of youth ministry at this time in my life and I'm doubly glad that I have the opportunity to learn a bit more about biblical mentoring through this study and group with Elisa Pulliam!

It is crucial to make sure that we are explicity following Christ in our lives in order to be the mentors that He has called us to be!  I've always been an encourager and I thrive on moments that I get to do this but this study is beginning to change the way I look at mentoring.  It's giving me a bigger picture and its making me want to do a better job.  Some of what we covered last week has to do with the acrostic "M- E- N- T- O- R- I- N- G".

M- eeting:  This covers prayer, time, place, format, purpose, boundaries and permission; being prayerful about entering a mentoring relationship, praying before and after the times spent with your mentoree.  It's crucial to remember that this mentoring responsibility is not about us but God; when we prayerfully consider the role of a mentor, we must be mindful that it is not in our power that we are able to encourage and influence, but it's God's power through us that allows this to even be possible. 

E- ncouraging:  This tackles the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  It's important to understand how your mentoree recieves love and how you give it!  I personally love to give words of affirmation and also give gifts....this is key in how I will be able to relate to the person(s) that God puts in my life for mentoring purposes.  It also covers the need to encourage biblically.  Looking at Philippians 4:8-9 covers what we should be thinking on and talking about and 1 Cornthians 13 gives us the biblical floor plan of how to love those we mentor.

N- oticing:  Paying attention to more than the words that are spoken, digging deeper, beyond the surface to the heart of the matter and learning to read those God entrusts to us is all essential to being a good biblical mentor.  This can be a challenge in todays fast paced life...most of us don't have time to even notice if our clothes match let alone what someone's body language may be saying.  A challenge?  For sure!  Impossible?  Not a all!  Important?  Absolutely!!  Anniversaries, Birthdays, other important dates, their overall appearance, little things they say and much more can lead us to a spring full of information that once uncovered can lead to a beautiful story of healing and recovery.  Slow Down & Pay Attention!!

T- eaching:  This speaks for itself, although I can't just leave it here alone!!  We looked at Titus 2 3-5 for instruction on the best way to be a teacher!  I love The Message version of this verse....you can find it here!!!  Continue reading beyond verse 5!!  What a great and plain way to put it!!  In this catagory we also looked at what our skills may be and how we can effectively teach these skills to the people that we mentor.  I love how God is able to use every part of us for His glory!!  From the pain and brokenness to the skills and gifts that He's given us, we are a well spring of opportunity if we make ourselves available!!

This week we will cover the rest of the acronym as we dig deeper into what biblical mentoring looks like!!  I'm curious, have you ever been mentored or mentored others?  Let me know!!! 

God Bless <3 Lorraine

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy Love Month!!

It's February 1st and Valentine's Day is just around the corner!!  It's been a few weeks since thoughts of V Day started swirling around the interenet, don't believe me, just check out your wall on Pinterest!!!  Valentine's Day boards are bursting at the seams with adorable ideas to make the day even more special!!  While I love Valentine's Day just like the rest of you, or maybe a bit more (I have a son that was born on VDay) I want to propose that we look beyond Saint Valentine and even what that day stands for based on history, if you even know (I don't) and let's look back to the cross.

 We love each other because he loved us first.
1 John 4:19
We are even capable of loving others because of His gift on the cross.  We have the ability to truly love beyond the Hallmark Cards and boxes of Russell Stover's Chocolate (which are awesome), but there is a love that goes wayyyy beyond that my friends.  I want to challenge you to dig a bit deeper into your ability to love, this month is a great time to dedicate to really loving!!!
Simply love.  It's going to be my focus this month.  Taking my theme of Simple, I'm applying it to loving others, simply.  Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13 to get a better look at what it means to truly love yourself and others.  Here, I'll include it here, so you don't even have to go looking, cause I love you!!!
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
                       Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
It's a pretty tall order, I can't even say that it's always easy to do....to love like that!  But remember He loved us while we were still sinners, so we can't wait for people to clean up and get it right before we can love them like Jesus.  Truly giving others all of ourselves is what He requires....just like He gave all of Himself to and for us.  What I'm saying is, there are plenty of distractions out there that keep us focused on the great I am....nope, not that one, I'm talking about you!  Me!  We seem to be the true object of our affections and in order to be effective for the glory of the Lord, that has to change.  Take some time this month, maybe make 1 Corinthians 13 your devotional for the month.  Sit down with your husband, boyfriend, fiance or even your children, anyone really, and digest this passage and talk about creative ways to let This love shine!!
Have a blessed and loving weekend friends!!  I'm off to love on some youth group kids as we head to the mountains for our winter retreat!!!  A full weekend soaking in the word, playing ridiculous games, staying up late being chatty and strenghtening my bonds to these amazing people!!!  God is going to rain down His love on us as we seek Him!!!!  We'll see you back here next week!!!  I'll be here Monday and Wednesday with more talk of biblical mentoring and Grace!  Jess will tickle your ears on Tuesday and Thursday.   I don't know what she's got up her sleeve for next week, but I can assure you it will be good!!!
Be blessed <3 Lorraine