Saturday, February 11, 2012

Storing Our Treasures In Heaven

"I can't help it," said Ruby pitifully. "Even if what you say about heaven is true -- and you can't be sure -- it may be only that imagination of yours -- it won't be JUST the same. It CAN'T be. I want to go on living HERE. I'm so young, Anne. I haven't had my life. I've fought so hard to live -- and it isn't any use -- I have to die -- and leave EVERYTHING I care for." Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable. She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true. She WAS leaving everything she cared for. She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life -- the things that pass -- forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other -- from twilight to unclouded day. God would take care of her there -- Anne believed -- she would learn -- but now it was no wonder her soul clung, in blind helplessness, to the only things she knew and loved.
Anne of the Island - Chapter XIV "The Summon"

A few mornings ago, I woke up, shuffled to the kitchen to get my morning coffee, and sat down at the computer. One of the first things I do is check my email for a daily devotional that I receive from Internet Cafe Devotions. Next, like almost any other American, I check my Facebook. One of the leaders from my church back in Michigan had posted in their status the parable of the 5 talents in Matthew 25 ("Talents" refer to Greek money). If you don't know the story, it's about a master who entrusts 3 of his servants each with a certain amount of talents according to their abilities. The first servant, who was given 5 talents, went right away to invest the talents and returned with double the amount. The second servant did the same. However, the third servant buried his one talent and left it there until his master returned.

Their master returned and asked what each servant had done with the talents given to them. The first two came forward and in response the master praised them, saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things! Come and share your master's happiness!"

When the third servant explained what he did (or didn't do) with his talents, the master was furious. He thought that if anything, the servant should have placed the money in the bank so he could at least return it with interest, rather than hiding it out of sight and out of mind. He took the talents from the servant and gave it to the one with 10 talents, saying "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

From these two readings, I feel like God has been trying clarify a few things for me.

1. We need to keep our focus on storing our treasures in heaven. Who wants to be like little Ruby Gillis, afraid to die because everything she ever invested in or cared about was here? That isn't what we were created for, and I think one of Satan's strongest weapons is making us believe that we were created for this world. So we fight through this world, trying to make a name for ourselves, focusing on being successful and famous...for what reason? Money? Prestige?

But...it isn't about us. It never was about us.

2. Use the talents you're given. Do not hide them away to be "practical" or overly cautious. The master called his servant wicked and lazy for doing so! The servant's reasoning made sense. He knew that his master had harvested where he hadn't sown and gathered where he had not scattered seed. But he hid his talent because he was afraid


Have you been given a talent that you're not using? Perhaps you've buried it away because you were afraid. It didn't seem practical. But do you remember what it was like when you were using it? Perhaps it made you come alive. Perhaps that is when you felt closest to God.

There is a reason.

Now, I'm not saying to impulsively dive into things with nothing but feelings to back you up. For instance, I am about to be licensed in Cosmetology. I like cosmetology, I am good at cosmetology. But is it my passion? ...No, not really. But now I feel confident that I will always have a job to help support my family, and that is something I am very happy about. However, I have put my real talents in a little hole I dug and buried them hardly with an afterthought. I felt it was needed as a sacrifice...but now that I'm nearing graduation, I will have more time to dedicate to my true passions. By day I can work in a salon (which has its own perks for creativity and meeting new people), but in my free time I can turn back to my writing and music. If God wants more to come of it, then wonderful. I would love nothing more. It's no secret that making a living from anything that has involvement in the arts is a difficult thing.


Fear.

We need to remember to keep our treasures stored in heaven.

So with that realization I sat down to pray. It sounded a bit like this: "God, I know you have blessed me with many talents. Many talents that are my true passions. Many talents that seem to be the best way in which I've communicated with you and vise versa. More than anything, I want your will to be done in mine and my husband's lives. I have buried some of the talents you have given me and stored my treasures on Earth instead of Heaven. God, I just want to do the right thing in the first place. I don't want to make any movements unless I know for sure that it's what you want, and if you have to wave it in front of my face so that I may figure it out, then please do so!"


Would you believe, God has used my work in Cosmetology to connect me to people that have led me to avenues for the other passions in my life? As long as we are storing our treasures in Heaven, we cannot fail. Sometimes it may seem as though as we are failing, but that's all part of the adventure. Sometimes...things need to be broken down to create something bigger and better. It's in those times when God reminds us that we need Him, and everything does not end here.

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity pp. 136-7


I challenge you today to evaluate your talents. I'm not saying "hey, you probably chose the wrong path in life so you should drop all that right now and start all over again!" What I'm saying is that perhaps you have some talents and passions you were given that you haven't pursued in a long time. Maybe you could dedicate some time to that thing this weekend. Pray about it.

If we invest in our talents, they will multiply and we will have an abundance. So when we get to Heaven, God can say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come and share your master's happiness!"

Friday, February 10, 2012

Homemade Butterfingers and Cran-Apple Cocktail

So for Game Day I decided I really wanted to try some new recipes. I found this recipe for Homemade Butterfingers that only require 3 ingredients. Yes, I said that correctly. 3 ingredients! And they honestly taste JUST like Butterfingers! They aren't as crunchy and flakey, but they're extremely delicious! This is what they contain:

1 lb Candy Corn
16oz Jar Peter Pan Honey Roasted Peanut Butter
16oz Package Chocolate Candy Coating

First, empty the candy corn into a microwave-safe bowl. Melt it on high for 1 minute. Stir and continue heating in 15 minute increments. Stir every time.



Next, stir the peanut butter in until evenly distributed. Make sure you get all the candy corn in the bottom of the bowl mixed in, because it really likes to stick! After everything is mixed together, pour it into an 8x8 pan and let it cool COMPLETELY. I put ours in the refrigerator because it was taking a really long time to cool (and the delicious smell was too tempting!).


After the mix has completely cooled, cut it into squares or rectangles. Then melt the chocolate and dip the pieces in it. Unfortunately, I couldn't have the chocolate, so I pulled a pic off the internet for you to see how they look with chocolate coating. It's easier to keep the chocolate on the top and sides so the bottoms don't get too messy. Let cool, then enjoy!

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Cran-Apple Cocktail


This was a drink recipe that just sounded so delicious I had to try it! I changed some of it to taste. The original recipe only called for 1 cup Ginger Ale and 50mL of Vodka, but we added more Ginger Ale and replaced the Vodka with Silver Tequila. This is what I came up with:

1 Cup Cloudy Apple Juice or Apple Cider
1 Cup Cranberry Juice
1 1/2-2 Cup Ginger Ale (To Taste)
50mL Silver Tequila
Ice

Whisk apple juice, cranberry juice, and tequila in a blender until light pink and frothy. Top with Ginger Ale and ice. Pour and enjoy! Serves 4.



Beach Cookout

Lots of posts today! We've been so busy I haven't gotten a moment's time to work on any writing or reading or photo-editing. I'm very pleased, at least, that taxes and FAFSA are done and all that New Year nitty gritty is at rest.

As I've stated before, mom and Roger have flown south for the winter, so they're staying about an hour away from us. Actually, my mother just finally blogged about some of the renovations they've been doing to their vacation home. You can see it here.

Anyway, Derrick and I decided to collaborate our families and have a nice cookout on the beach. Derrick prepared kabobs, artichoke, veggies, a super special secret family marinade, and of course, I brought the S'mores! I was very shocked to find out that my mother-in-law had NEVER had S'mores! Must be a northern thing. ;) It was funny to see two worlds collide. My family are very country meat-and-potatoes cooks, but Derrick's family practically has culinary running through their veins, naturally. We had never eaten artichoke like that before, so I guess everyone got to experience something new. It was a lot of fun, we exchanged gifts (which is when we received our awesome CROCK POT) and gave everyone a tour of our cozy little apartment. Here are some photos from our day:





The squirrels come right up to you!!


The chef himself.

First S'mores!


DIY Heating Pad

So I got the idea from Pinterest on how to make a homemade heating pad. Actually, it doesn't just need to be used for heating, you may also stick it in the freezer to break fevers. I have some fabric that I can't seem to recall why I purchased it in the first place, so I thought I'd put it to use! I tried to take the best pictures possible, but it's times like this I dearly miss my DSLR!

First, I cut two 6"x18" strips of fabric.

Next, place them together so the fabric's backside is facing out. Pin the edges together and sew all except the end so you can fill it up:


Flip the fabric inside-out (which is actually the correct way so the pattern is on the outside). I filled ours with lentils, but you may also use rice or any other filler that can withstand temperature change. To add fragrance, I emptied a few tea bags into the pouch and added some lavender oil. Aveda's Active Composition is also a great choice, as it has healing qualities that are specifically geared toward relaxing muscles, not to mention a calming aroma!




Mix it all up and sew the end together. Put it in the microwave for 1:30-2 minutes and voila! You've got yourself a nice little heating pad for your relaxation needs!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Update

I apologize for not posting much lately, I've been extremely sick with what started as an allergic reaction and turned into the flu, but it seems we're on the upside now!

Well I officially have less than 3 months until I graduate. Hallelujah!

Had a lovely chat with my best friend, who was my roommate in college. It was so nice to catch up and encourage each other. Actually, it was David who first prophesied that her and her now-husband would get married. hahaha I remember the three of us sitting in the Joust freshman year, and he just blurted it out. Tristen and I just stared at him wide-eyed as if to say, "Where on earth did that come from?" Sure enough, Tristen and Brandon were wed the end of their Junior year. :)

Speaking of David, I'm proud to announce that the US Army has approved David's burial in Arlington National Cemetery. I got chills when I read that! Although the circumstances aren't quite what we would choose, I'm proud that he is being so highly honored as he should be.

To all of you who signed the petition to keep licensure for Cosmetologists/Barbers in the state of Indiana, THANK YOU! Our voices were heard and we did it! This is what was reported on the bill:

Rep. David Wolkins killed HB1006 Wednesday, January 25th. He cited the outcry against the bill by the cosmetology industry. For all who signed, wrote their representatives, attended the hearing and the rally: THANK YOU. We all had a hand in making this happen.

This also makes it less likely that any other state will attempt to pass such a bill. Thanks again for helping to make a difference! :)

So I've had many-a-request to supply a reading list of recommended books. I believe that will be my next post. In case you were unaware, next to writing, I LOVE reading. It's an addiction, really. If I have any dream room some day, it would look a little something like this:

Or this:

So to ensure I leave you with something, I have Slow Cooker recipes! My in-laws were so gracious to give us a Crock-pot (well, two, actually. It came with a little mini one!) for Christmas so I found some recipes for us to try out. Here are a few websites for all your Crock-pot needs!





Enjoy!