Friday, November 12, 2010

God and Cinnamon Rolls

There's something you should know.  I love to bake!  I mean I really...really...really love to bake!

There are few things I enjoy more (as my ever expanding waistline will attest).  And it doesn't really matter what recipe I'm putting together.  For me, the best thing about baking, other than sampling all of the goodies, is sharing what I make with my family and friends.  Just knowing that I might be able to make their day a little brighter with something sweet brings me joy.  I love how the smell of spices hangs in the air, especially around this time of year.  It is one of the things that makes my house feel like HOME.   


I also find that, for me, baking is therapeutic.  Whether working the dough for cinnamon rolls, or cooking the fudge icing for a sheet cake, the act of creating something pleasing gives me a sense of calm, clears my mind, and gives me a perfect opportunity to talk to my Father.  I love that I don't have to wait for a more "appropriate time" to have those conversations.  He loves me right where I am, no matter where that is.  I don't have to get all dressed up, or have it all together (which is great, because I definitely don't!)  He knows me better than anyone, and loves me still, even with all of my quirks (and believe me, there are quite a few of those).

I guess we are all a whole lot like these cinnamon rolls you see here.  The Lord takes all of the ingredients of our lives...our hopes, our dreams, our experiences, our gifts, our faults...everything that has made up our lives until this moment, and He mixes them all together.  He kneads the dough (you and me), stretching and pulling...forcefully when necessary.  Then He allows us to feel the heat, so that we can become more.  So that we can grow.  Don't get me wrong...I am certainly not claiming that we are perfect.  Or something finished.  Or something complete.  Not yet.  But the day that we see Him face to face, the timer will go off, and if we know Him, we will be in the sweetest place imaginable.

"How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!"  Psalm 119:103

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Life On Purpose

How do you go about your daily schedule of activities?  Do you go through your day taking everything as it comes, or do you begin your day with a plan and modify your plan as the day necessitates?  I was reminded recently, through an email from my Daddy (yes, grown women can still call their fathers "Daddy" :D), how important it is to live each day with purpose.  Now, this may seem like common knowledge to you, and usually it is to me, too, but for the last couple of days, I have felt a little disconnected from the usual order of things.

I'm not really sure why.  Maybe it is because I have been distracted wondering when my brother will finally begin his chemo.  (He was supposed to start it this week, but for some reason the medicine still hasn't arrived at the pharmacy.)  Maybe it is because I haven't been feeling up to par physically...but doesn't everybody get "the crud" this time of year?  Maybe it is because I found out that my mother-in-love had to put her dog down on Thursday.  Or maybe it's just because I need more chocolate.  Whatever it is, I have definitely been out of sorts, and sadly, I know that it has affected my attitude.

Thankfully, I got the email from my Daddy.  He has been sharing pages of a book he is reading that discusses having hope in the midst of dealing with cancer, in order to help us keep a good attitude so that we can help my brother stay optimistic.  (I know...ironic, right?)  After reading the selection he had shared, my focus seemed to sharpen quite a bit.  It made me think about how I live my life on a daily basis.  Do I get up ready to tackle the day, or do I wake up nursing a pitiful attitude because I have too much to do?  Do I go about my day with purpose, or do I just do what is needed to get by?  As you can see, it gave me a lot to think about.

It lead me to the Word, where I was reminded once again of the wonderful plan the Lord has for my life (and for yours).

I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were 
born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.
Jeremiah 1:5 

Isn't that amazing?!!  The One who spoke the entire universe into existence had a plan for your life before you were even conceived.  If the Lord loves us enough to have an amazing plan for us before we even exist, our lives must have an awesome purpose! 

I want my life to count, not for my own fame or recognition, but for the glory of God.  I want to use each moment that I have to serve Him.  I want to grow in my walk with Him, learning more about His character, and becoming more like Him with each passing day.  I want to live life on purpose, and not take one second for granted.  The time we have on this earth is a gift from our Heavenly Father, and I want to look upon this gift with all of the joy and wonder it deserves.

Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (NLT)

Funny how often the view changes along with our perspective.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Gift of Hope

Don't you just love this time of year?  I sure do!  Fall is simply my most favorite season.  There are so many things to love about it.  The trees are dressed in a glorious riot of color.  Families across the country are celebrating the Lord's abundant harvest and His faithful provision.  Homes are beautifully decorated with pumpkins, cornstalks, and enormous pots of chrysanthemums.  This time of year, my family gathers to snuggle into warm fleece blankets, drink hot coffee (and creamy hot chocolate :D), and watch our favorite movies.  It is finally time for the white bean chicken chili (thanks to a recipe from Paula Deen) to be simmering on the stove, and to have a warm, crackling fire glowing in the fireplace.

Isn't is amazing how the smell of something wonderful can change your whole perspective?  Just knowing that Prince Charming (my oh so sweet, and terribly handsome hubby), and our now all-grown-up children, will have something warm and filling to eat for dinner gives me such a sense of contentment.  It could be chili, stew, or good old vegetable soup, but whatever the meal, it just says "Home".  Add to that some cornbread and this girl is in heaven.

It is also around this time of year that I begin my yearly search through the holiday magazines to find some fresh inspiration for our home's Christmas decorations.  Sometimes I find an idea that will last for years to come.  Other times, I can't find anything new that seems like a good fit.  Either way, the fun is in the search...the possibility that I will find something beautiful.  Isn't it funny how life can also be that way?  Even when things aren't going the way you might want them to, there is always hope around the corner...a fresh perspective that can change the way you see your whole day. 

This is just one of the many incredible gifts from our Heavenly Father.  Hope.  Isn't is amazing how much power is contained in that little word?  So...that is my prayer for you (and me) today.  Lord, help us all to see your gift of hope...and the gift of the One that we will celebrate with such gusto in the next few weeks. 

So, today, I am grateful for hope. 

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Counting My Blessings

As the month of November is getting started, I have been thinking about all of the things this month represents.  Cooler temperatures...a fire in the fireplace...gorgeous fall colors on display in the trees outside my home.  And, of course, I imagine the wonderful sights and smells of Thanksgiving Day...turkey and dressing...sweet potato souffle...mounds of mashed potatoes with gravy.  You get the idea!  :)

This morning, during my quiet time, I came to the conclusion that I don't want to wait until the official holiday to begin "counting my blessings".  This is something that I should be doing every day.  So, I want to take some time each day to say what I am grateful for.  Today, I am grateful for the love of my Savior.  Today, I am grateful to have a family that loves me, and faithfully stands by me when life gets tough.  Today, I am grateful that my brother is alive, and is healthy enough to be able to begin chemotherapy this week.  Today, I am grateful to have friends that love me (in spite of all of my faults).  As the month goes on, I know that my list will continue to grow.  How about you?

What are you thankful for today?

Hope you are having a wonderful Monday! to do laundry (and to be thankful for the clothes...especially once they are clean, folded, and put away! :D)

Until next time, I'll be counting my blessings...and enjoying the view from here :)