For the last five days, I have been reading Remember God by Annie F. Downs. It is good. I believe that it is a combination of things that pulls the reader in: the style of writing, the rawness of emotions, and then the fact that it is written in story form. I can’t believe that I am already on page 130 after just a few days.
There are several things that resonated with me while reading this book. I am going to discuss two: I was deep into the story of her Job experience, where everything seemed to go wrong right before Thanksgiving. Why? Because that is exactly what happened to me this year. You can find that whole story here by listening to the podcast: Dancing in the Rain.
The second thing is when she talked about the sweet spot of her life at that time. I heard one particular message on the sweet spot about three years ago, and it still resonates now. Basically, our sweet spot is the spot where we push past our comfort zone into the pain and hard work, but right where God can use this pain and tension for his glory.
I made the recipe below for a Christmas Eve get-together that I had with some dear friends who are just like family to me. Have a blessed week!
Activity: Making Simple Stuffing
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 45 minutes
cumin – two tablespoons
basil – two tablespoons
onion powder – two tablespoons
garlic powder – two tablespoons
minced garlic – two tablespoons
one piece of a celery stalk
two boxes of cornbread stuffing
6 slices of honey wheat bread
2 cups of broth
Boil two cups of water with butter.
Saute the carrots, zucchini, and onions.
While the vegetables are sauteing, cut up six slices of bread into cubes.
Season with basil, and then place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Add the two boxes of cornbread stuffing mix and cubed bread cubes to the water.
Add the sauteed vegetables, celery, garlic, seasonings, and broth.
Throw it into a casserole pan at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
The last podcast that was recorded was Episode 10: Pick up your mat and walk! You can find that episode here. Today’s episode is called “Dancing in the Rain”. I know that there are quite a few of you who like to dance. Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of dancing that I am talking about. This dancing deals with the response to the storms of life. Click the play button and take a listen. God bless!
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.
13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.
The last poem that was written, “Stolen Identity”, can be found here. This poem, “Old Year, New Reflections” deals with the reality of what I’ve had to face this year, as well as the things that I have to look forward to in the new year. As you read through this poem, take the time to reflect on what this year meant to you, as well as what the promise of the New Year brings.
A New Year approaches.
New wisdom to greet.
New healing is mine.
A year filled with options, much pain, new gain.
A heart filled with wholeness and heaviness remains,
A year filled with trauma, and doubts, and reactions.
A heart filled with faith and then works put into action.
One of the worst things to happen is to be a victim of stolen identity. Sometimes it can take a couple of years to recover all the information that has been lost. When you are Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis, you also experience a sense of stolen identity. This poem has been written with the hopes that you can relate and find comfort in Our Creator, who gives the final stamp of approval.
From trauma’s pieces.
Like a little child.
Lost in the woods.
Look at all the roles.
And then all the should’s.
Where am I?
Who am I?
How do I get back?
Follow the cross.
Where it gives no slack.
You are in the court building.
Where the Judge sits on high.
Where his throne reaches ceiling.
And then out through the sky.
“You have been adopted.
You know who you are.
Memories were so blocked.
Had you traveling way too far.
Ground yourself in me.
Where you’ll find your name.
You’ve already been set free.
You will never be the same.”
Bible Verses to Meditate On:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
This morning was the Christmas party celebration for my Moms’ Ministry small group. We had a ton of food and a ton of fun. This year has definitely been an eye opener from God to me, in realizing that yes, gifts are nice. They are wonderful. However, the best gifts in life do not come wrapped with a pretty bow. Because of God’s love toward us, we are indeed able to share this gift of love.
There is something about friendship, fellowship, food, and laughs that makes you appreciate all the wonderful blessings that life has to offer. I think the craziest part of the morning was when we played charades, which featured words that centered around winter and Christmas time. The highlights of this game was when I tried acting out Christmas stockings, and did a goofy swirl with my body. Then, we had the other team recreating the nativity scene. What fun!
Last night, it dawned on me that I had signed up to bring cookies and a cold pasta dish to this celebration. What I decided to do was to make spaghetti to eat, and then this morning, my wheels started turning, and that spaghetti transformed into my “Simple Spaghetti Casserole”. You can find the last simple recipe that I made here. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.
Activity: Making Simple Spaghetti Casserole
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
3 tablespoons of chili powder
1 can of corn
1 can of French cut green beans
2 tablespoons of vegan butter
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 box of spaghetti
1 can of pasta sauce
5 tablespoons of parsley
1/2 cup of vegan or non-vegan cheese
2 tablespoons of onion powder
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
Boil one box of spaghetti in five cups of water.
Pour the olive oil into the water so that the spaghetti won’t stick.
Saute the corn and french green beans with butter and chili powder.
Rinse the spaghetti when done, then add the pasta sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add all of the rest of the seasonings except for the cheese and parsley.
Cook for 10 ten minutes, and then dump into a large casserole pan, at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, completely covering with the shredded cheese and the parsley on top.
Last week’s podcast was Episode 9: The Never-ending Shame Cycle. You can find that podcast episode here. This week’s podcast isEpisode 10: Pick up Your Mat and Walk. Are you sick and tired of not being healed? Do you feel like you have been laying down forever? Then this podcast is for you.
Outline of Podcast: Pick up your mat and walk!
Story of Man at the Pool of Bethesda
Deeper Meaning of Jesus’ Question
What Mat are You Carrying?
How To Get Up
Do You Want to Be Made Well?
Scripture Verses to Meditate On
John 5: 1-14
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda, and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
My last poem, Transformation, can be found here. This poem, Dance of Praise, deals with the story of David praising God after his victory, and his wife becoming jealous and spiteful because of how he praised God.
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lordwith shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
16 And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.
17 And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
18 And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.
19 And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.
20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!
21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord.
22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.
23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
Since Christmas time is approaching, churches, organizations, and families everywhere are squeezing in the last of the shopping, get-togethers, and worship preparations. On Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending the “Women’s Christmas Gathering” at another church. One of my favorite things to do during this season is to sing Christian Christmas carols to help me in reigning in my heart, mind, and soul into the reason for this season: reflecting on that precious baby who was brought into the world to bring hope in a weary land.
My second favorite thing to do is to watch Christmas movies on Lifetime, Hallmark, and Netflix. Because of the fact that my free time is mainly in the evenings, and it is usually when I am tired that I’m trying to watch these movies, I end up falling asleep about a third of the way. And of course, on the following day, I am trying to figure out where I left off. Even so, for some odd reason, just having these movies playing, as I am sitting on the couch with a throw in my comfy corner of the couch is enough for me.
The last recipe that I featured was “Simple Beans and Zucchini Soup. You can find that recipe here. Today, I have included a recipe for chili that I made a few days ago. It’s called “Simple Everything Chili”. Why the name? I literally dumped everything in it to make it work. Send me a line letting me know if you decide to make it.
Activity: Making “Simple Everything Chili”
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours
4 tablespoons of cumin
4 tablespoons of turmeric
4 tablespoons of onion powder
5 tablespoons of chili powder
3 tablespoons of garlic powder
5 tablespoons of parsley
2 cans of vegetable soup
2 cups of pinto beans
1 cup of lentils
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
2 cups of vegetable broth
Dump the pinto beans into a pot of water, boiling them for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the lentils to the pot, boiling it for an additional 40 minutes.
Add all the rest of the ingredients plus 2 cans of water, boiling for an additional 20 minutes.