Sweet Weekend

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The following post is one that was created a year ago on another website.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I wrote it.  At the same time, the realization that it was a year ago also helps me to think about the difference in what was happening then:  family members were still alive, freedom to go and do things without wearing a mask, less anxiety, fear, and collective trauma, and more predictability. Even with all of this, there is one thing that has remained the same.  And that one thing is a good, loving, merciful God.  Sometimes it is hard to accept this fact when things are not progressing in the timeline that we’d like.  And guess what?  He can handle that too.

Here is the post:

Sweet Weekend

This past weekend I got a chance to do some reading, relaxing, doing home projects, watching movies, and embracing some stillness.  One of the two movies that I watched was entitled, “Sweet Inspirations”.  This movie can be found on Pureflix.  I haven’t been asked to review this movie.  I found it enjoyable, relatable, and the fact that the movie had an emphasis placed on real-life issues.

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You got a chance to peek into the lives of several different movies.  There were so many themes highlighted in this movie.  I am going to name the ones that stood out to me:  relationships, domestic abuse, marital issues, art, our passions, family time, community, and women’s health.

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Dissection of Passions, Gifts, Talents

The theme that I will dissect is that of our passions/gifts/talents.  When it comes to our passions/gifts/talents, it is so important that we are regularly doing activities that pull them out.  If we are not creating/expressing ourselves, it can lead to feeling unfulfilled, purposeless, and depression.  God created each of us with unique passions/gifts/talents.  No two people have been created alike.  When we are creating according to our passions/gifts/talents, we are showing contentment, gratitude, appreciation, and good stewardship over what God has given us.

One of the women in the movie realized that she stopped living and doing what she was created for and passionate about in order to please her husband and participate in his business.  It is important to help others.  However, we also become the best version of ourselves when we do what we were created to do first.  Then, we can use this energy to help others to walk into their passions.

Food for thought:

What have you been created to be passionate about?  How easy is it to walk into it?  Or, is it more tempting to allow others to force you into their passions, or are we forcing ourselves into theirs?

A Little Bit of Normal During the Abnormal

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Right now, in our world, we are faced with a situation that we have never had to deal with before. We have a virus that is worldwide, and there are lockdowns with specific instructions that are given, and each set of instructions are different for each region.  No matter what these instructions are, we have been asked to stay home.  Unless we have essential jobs or errands to run, we are told to stay put for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and the extremely vulnerable.

During this season, we have all felt a little bit of some form of anxiety or fear.  Change brings anxiety.  Sicknesses/Diseases bring on fear and anxiety.  And lastly, but definitely not least, the unknown brings on anxiety.  One unknown is that we don’t know how long the worldwide lock downs will last.  We don’t know how long the shortages in the grocery stores or hoarding/panic buying will last.  We don’t know how long it will be till we feel a sense of normal again.  To be honest, when we think about it, will things ever really be “normal”?  Those of us who haven’t had to deal with trauma are now having to ride these waves.  Those of us who already have PTSD are dealing with compounded trauma.

Hope

There is one thing that we can focus on in all this madness.  And it is found in Hebrews 13:8:Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All hope is not lost. We can have what I call a little bit of normal during the abnormal.

One of the best things that we can do for ourselves during this time is to come up with a schedule that we can stick to in order to keep our bodies/minds/souls rested, renewed, and refreshed.

This is a good time for creativity.  There will be times that we’ll get stuck.  The important thing is us coming up with a schedule and sticking to it for the sake of our own, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health, as well as that of the other members of our household.  There will be times that we’ll have to just stop and have that cry or meltdown.  It releases the trauma hormones, stress, and anxiety from our bodies and will definitely help us to feel better.  This is an area that I have to remind myself of over and over again.  “Get the cry out.  Have self-compassion and empathy for all you have gone through.  Then move forward.”  Sometimes we might have to rinse and repeat several times a day. 

Blessings

So, what are some of the things that I have been enjoying during this time?  1) Getting to spend some time with my almost 22-year-old son.  2)  Listening to the birds in the morning and then again at 8 at night when they are rounding up for the day.  3) Baking banana bread, zucchini bread, and cookies.  4)  The creativity juices to write poetry as I sit on my bed among my pillows in the morning.  5)  Extra time to read.  6) Time to work on writing two books.

Here are snapshots of today’s baking process:

Photos by Katina Horton

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I pray blessings upon each and every one of you!

Until next time,

Katina 

Breakfast Quiche

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A little over a year ago, I was gifted with the task of having to bring food to one of my early morning small group meetings. Everything was planned out until it wasn’t. For some reason, the night before the meeting I forgot about the breakfast quiche.

It was such a blessing that my friend picked me up late. I quickly threw the ingredients together and everything was ready before I left out the door.  I even had time to cut out a section for my son to celebrate his 21st birthday, make guacamole, and pile it on top of the quiche just the way he liked it. God reminded me that he was in control and I didn’t have anything to worry about.

The quiche was good and simple, without crust, and it didn’t require a lot of ingredients.  I am posting the recipe below.

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Total Prepping and Cooking Time:

1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 can cut-leaf spinach
  • 1 can of fire-roasted salsa tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of curry, cumin, turmeric, parsley, chili powder, onion and garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1 cup of cheese

Directions:

  • Mix all of the above ingredients into a bowl.
  • Pour the mixture into a small to medium-sized casserole bowl and bake for 55 minutes.
  • Double the recipe for more servings.
  • Enjoy!

The Attack

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Have you ever noticed the pattern of attack that comes your way at certain times? Our enemy is not creative.  However, he is relentless.  His whole plan is to use people, things, and circumstances as tools to do his dirty work.  We must constantly remind ourselves that we are wrestling against spiritual forces.  They are the root of the problem.  It is not people and things.  

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Photo by Sarah Pflug

Think about it.  You have just finished up attending a conference at church, listening to a spirit-filled sermon or podcast, and in the mode of feeling really hopeful and joyous about your future.  Right after allowing the joy to come in, you begin to meditate on how different your reality is in comparison to the miracle that you are believing in. 

If the enemy can get us to feel depressed and down-trodden right after allowing the spirit of joy come in, then he knows that he has us.  We begin to think thoughts like, “Well, you know what happened last time.  So, don’t even feel happy about it.”  Satan knows that if he remains relentless in stealing our joy, then he knows we will choose to squash it when it comes up.  We decide to forego the feeling of having joy altogether.

When we are feeling under the weather, it also becomes the perfect time for the enemy to attack. 

The following is a story that I shared as a guest blogger on another site a little over a year ago:

A couple of weeks ago, the air pressure had changed.  I was having problems forming thoughts in my head.  My nose had started running, and I could feel pressure in my head and nose. 

I started to think to myself, ” My sinuses and allergies are in full swing.”  I didn’t manage my time well that morning, and thus, I ended up rushing out of the house while my daughter was waiting outside in the car.  As we were pulling off, I could hear a voice inside my head stating that it was my daughter’s fault that we were rushing.  Right away, I rebuked it.  I noticed that there was a spiritual force trying to blind me from seeing and speaking the truth. 

It took a few minutes.  However, I had narrowed it down to a spiritual attack involved the spirit of blame.  It left.  When I arrived at my writer’s group, I was fighting against it again.

Ephesians 6:10-18 King James Version (KJV)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

It was at this time, that I knew I needed an extra set of armor for the day.  I had to pray scripture over myself, and fight to keep myself grounded in the truth.  Praise God for his deliverance from this attack!  I also thank him for making me aware of what the real source of the problem was.  Satan always wants you to believe that you haven’t made any progress.  That you will always be the same.  We must fight his words with the words of truth that God tells us about ourselves.

Simple 15-Minute Guacamole

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Simple 15-Minute Guacamole 

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Ingredients 

(double or triple the recipe if making for a large crowd)

  1. 6 ripe medium-sized avocados
  2. 1/2 of a lime
  3. 1 teaspoons of each of the following:  onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, curry, turmeric, parsley, chili powder

Directions

  1. Cut open or peel the avocados with a knife or avocado peeler.
  2. Throw out the pits and scoop the rest into a bowl.
  3. Add the lime and the seasonings.
  4. Garnish the top with parsley.
  5. Place in the refrigerator so that it can chill.
  6. Enjoy!

Whole Faith

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What is whole faith?  Whole faith is the faith that you hold on to when you don’t have details of when, why, how, or where that the “what” you need to happen is going to happen.  When we having been praying for something so long, it is very tempting to throw in the towel.  It is easy to want to go according to what our feelings are telling us; that this thing that you want so badly is not going to happen.

Whole Faith says , “Lord, help my unbelief!” like the Father who cried out so very desperately for his son to be healed.  He had been demon possessed since childhood.  He didn’t know what else to do, nor what to say.  The disciples had proven his point of dealing with an impossible situation when they couldn’t cast it out.

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Whole Faith says, “Lord, here you go. You are in control.”  We release the situation to God.  We know that we have prayed enough, and we need to sit this thing at his precious feet.  And lastly, whole faith says as Jesus did as he hung on the cross, “Thy will be done.”

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What are some ways that you have had to exhibit whole faith in your life?

Who Can Separate Us?

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Separation causes a lot of things.  For babies, the peak time for separation anxiety is between 10 to 18 months.  Even as adults, separation can be very difficult.  Due to immigration issues or other circumstances beyond our control, separation happens.  Families end up being torn apart.  In marriages, separation occurs for the sake of hoping that broken pieces are glued back together again.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve had close friends that I was separated from for years due to my moving or their moving, and somehow losing contact information.

Photos by Sarah Pflug

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Unfortunately, when I was a teenager, through no fault of her own, my grandmother was separated from her brothers for years.  We didn’t have any of the contact information, and after so many years, she assumed that they all had died except for her.  As God would have it, when I was at my last place of residence a few years ago, I decided to do an ancestry search to see if I could find any information on my grandmother’s side of the family.  Lo and behold, I stumbled upon an obituary showing that there had been one brother left along with my grandmother.  He had died nine months after her. It made me sad to know that my grandmother hadn’t spoken to him in so long, how she must have felt, along with all the “what ifs” floating through my head.

Separation brings on two friends: sadness and loneliness.  These friends can only be mended by God himself, who is near to the brokenhearted.  Because we live in a fallen world, we are prone to separated from anyone and anything.  However, there is one thing that will always stand the test of time.  That is, the love of God.

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Romans 8:35-39 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Be blessed,

Katina

Egg White with Asparagus Breakfast Sandwich

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During the week, when I am working full-time, as part of my morning routine, I start off by drinking a cup of orange juice and eating two Brazil nuts.  Then, I usually eat a Cliff Bar within an hour of that.  Within an hour and a half after that, I refuel with a breakfast sandwich.

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The weekends are different.  I still start off with the orange juice and two Brazil nuts.  My need for orange juice in the morning as a wake-me-up is equivalent to other people’s necessity for coffee. My meals vary on the weekends.  Why?  Weekends are my times to loosen up from a super structure when it comes to eating.  I believe in eating healthy.  I just try to have a little bit more fun during this time.

One Saturday morning I made an Egg White with Asparagus Breakfast Sandwich.  Here’s the recipe:

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Ingredients

  • Egg White
  • Asparagus
  • Ground Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Bagel
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Directions

  • Cut the bagel in half and place in the oven to toast.
  • Place five to eight asparagus stalks on a cookie sheet with olive oil and black pepper on a cookie sheet to roast in the oven.
  • Put oil in a skillet and add the egg whites.  
  • Once everything is ready, place ingredients on the bagel, sprinkle the egg whites with parsley, and enjoy!
  • Optional:  Add cheese, mushrooms, or diced tomatoes to the egg whites.

Wanting It Our Way

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The following post is one that I shared a little over a year ago on another website.  I would still love to hear your stories of wanting things “your way” instead of God’s. 🙂

Have you ever wanted it your way?  I know you are probably wondering, what does that mean?  Wanting it our way is when we have a process of start to finish of how something should go.  However, when it doesn’t fall in line with our expectations, we become disillusioned into thinking that it didn’t happen, or couldn’t happen because we didn’t check off all the steps that we had for the process.

Photo by Verne Ho

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This past week, there wasn’t anything that went as planned.  My after work naps either didn’t happen, or were later than planned.  My during the week walks/and or visits to the beach didn’t go as planned.  And then phone calls that I needed to make to take care of business didn’t go as planned because I wasn’t able to reach people. 

However, God showed me that I wanted it my way.  He had a different set of plans for the week:  I got a chance to spend some time with my young adult son watching Little House on the Prairie.  This was totally unplanned.  Just so happened that he pulled in the driveway right after me.  I turned the TV on to a recording, expecting to fall asleep, but I didn’t. We watched an episode entitled, “The Three Bullies”.  Charles had to protect his wife from some obstinate town bullies.  The children showed the adults a lesson in how coming together in numbers gives strength rather than fighting alone.

My second God moment was riding home from the library midweek after bible study and catching a glimpse of God’s glorious sunset.  There were hues of medium pink streaking across the sky.  The air felt perfect.  And all was calm.  And guess what?  My way wasn’t the best way after all.

What simple, functional, grace-filled things replaced your “wanting it your way” this past week?  Would love to hear your stories!

God bless!

Katina

Embracing Our Uniqueness in Christ

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Have you ever wished that you could decorate your home like someone else?  This someone else seems to have just the right kind of decor in their home that is illuminated with just the right kind of lighting and furniture that gives it an airy feel.  It’s the kind of feel that makes you want to stay for a while.  The kind that makes you want to sit with a cup of coffee or tea, and snuggle up with their perfect-looking throw. 

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Photos by Matthew Henry

It’s so easy to get caught up wishing that we could have a home, a car, a job, or any other kind of material object that other people have.  The question is, have we stopped to think about how good and creative of a God that we have to give us the things that are unique to us and our families? 

Some of us are the cute cottage-style type, then we have tudors, farmhouse style, industrial, town-homes, traditional, duplexes, and the list can go on and on.  The truth is, if we could trade with these people, after a while, we’d see something else that we would feel is better.

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When it comes to our spiritual gifts and talents, we play the same game.  We say things like, “I wish that I could teach or preach like him or her.” Sometimes this person does a better job than we do.  However, that is not the point.  The point is, that because we have been uniquely designed by God, we will do what we have been created to do in the way that God created us to do them.

God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  In these wonderful creations of God, there are no two people who are exactly alike.  Even if we have 50 things that we have in common with someone else, we will still find 10 more that we don’t.

Embracing our uniqueness in Christ involves making peace with all that God created us to be.  It has taken me a while to realize this.  But as the old saying goes, better late than never.  We have to make peace with our physical appearance as well as our gifts/talents, personalities, and possessions.  Just recently, I was faced with an opportunity.  It took one accidental obstacle placed in my way to help me realize that the opportunity would not fit me as a person.

I am a talker.  A very detailed, dramatic talker at that.  Sometimes it takes a while to get through my stories.  My son says that it takes me longer to give the background information before I get to the point of what happened. It is so true.

Being placed in a role with a restriction on how the conversations would have to take place would have gone against my wiring.  I praise God that this one accident helped me to realize that among other things.  Take a moment and think about what things you have been doing that totally goes against your wiring.  

Let’s pray and thank God for all the things that he gave us that are perfect for us.  We can only be our true selves when we are who we were created to be.

Let’s have a party and join together in celebrating and embracing our uniqueness in Christ!

God bless and have a wonderful Sunday!!!