Monday, February 28, 2011

Celebrating 47 Years of Marriage

Happy Anniversary, Dad & Mom!

On the way back from a quick trip to my dad's hometown of Oklahoma City, we stopped for an ice cream break at Braum's, a regional and family favorite place for ice cream and burgers. This was taken the day before their anniversary, but it's safe to say that ice cream is a welcome anniversary celebration treat!
(I got to share in the celebration, too!)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dessert-of-the-Month Club: February

Last week, as part of my Valentine's Day treats, I made Russell his Dessert-of-the-Month for February. He had requested Strawberry Shortcake and since I had offered to babysit so Russell and Jeanette could have a date, I decided to make the dessert and let them come to my house for their date while I stayed with the girls at their house. It worked for everyone and they enjoyed the dessert at Cafe Ryan!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

God's perfect provision

Right before Christmas, I found out that my heat/air unit for my house was in need of major repair. Since it was over 12 years old and the cost to repair it was going to be sizable, the technician suggested that I consider replacing the unit altogether. When the "comfort advisor" (yes, that's his title, and the one who came to my house was the supervisor of the comfort advisors) got to my house, he agreed with the technician's diagnosis and also pointed out that I could get a tax credit if I made the purchase before the end of the year.

Needless to say, I was pretty overwhelmed with the enormity of the situation and with amount of money that it would take to replace the unit, even with the tax credit that I could get. But, I got some good counsel from people I trust and tried to seek the Lord and trust that He would provide for this need, even though with my limited human vision, I could not see how He would do it. I went ahead and had the unit installed and started the process of paying it off.

Now we're into 2011 and it's tax season and I submitted my paperwork to the person who prepares my tax return and waited for her to do the calculations. Well, today I got some big news and am so excited to tell you about it! Including the tax credit that I knew that I would receive from the purchase of the new and more efficient heat/air system, the total amount that I am due to receive as a tax refund is going to almost completely cover the cost of the new system. That's right, along with another sum of money that I received after the first of the year, the tax refund that I will be receiving is going to be exactly what I need!

I am so thankful to God for His perfect provision and am completely humbled by His mercy to me, even in my human inability to see how it would happen. But God knew and His ways are perfect!
  • He provided a "comfort advisor" who was not on commission to come to give me the options and help me to get the best system for my money. 
  • He provided me with people in my life who are knowledgeable about money and other practical things to help me make the decision. 
  • He gave me a sound mind and wisdom to ultimately make the decision and sign on the dotted line. 
  • He provided me a job that gives me income to pay for things like this, and to meet my other material needs. 
  • His timing was perfect in that I found out about this before the end of the year, so that I could take advantage of the tax credit.
  • He knew exactly what my refund would be for 2010 and that I would get this news today!

Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!
I am overwhelmed by His goodness and am overflowing with thankfulness!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011 Scripture Memory #4

For my fourth memory verse, I have decided to use a verse I mentioned in my Valentine's post:

"I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations."
Isaiah 42:6, New American Standard Version
This verse was an encouragement to me and I want to try to get it to stay in my head. Also, I need a constant reminder that God called me and makes me righteous and that He holds me by the hand and watches over me. These are not new concepts for me, but there are times when I forget these truths.
Feel free to comment if you are joining me in this lofty goal of memorizing 24 verses this year. I've had emails from friends who are doing this and it helps me to know that there are others out there.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to whomever is reading this post! I love this day, even though I am currently single and don't have a "special someone" in my life. It's really OK and I am really OK with it today. That is God's doing though, and I want to give Him the glory!

One of the things that I miss about being someone's special girl is holding hands. It was one of the things that sent tingles through me the first time my husband did it back when we started dating, and was a way that he could calm me down or just make me feel special when we were married.

But let me tell you how wonderful God's love for me is. This morning in the devotional book, Jesus Calling (that I can't seem to stop reading each day, even though this is my third year to go through it), one of the verses to read was Isaiah 41:13:

"For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand,
 Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'"

Then, when I looked in the notes for that verse, another verse was listed, Isaiah 42:6:

"I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations."

How sweet is that! On a day when I could easily let myself get caught up in the world's definition of what it means to be loved and fall into a huge pity party for myself, God reminded me that He holds me by the hand. He gave me the similar verse in Isaiah 41:10 on one of the darkest nights of my life, which says the same thing as verse 13. And He doesn't want me to forget it, almost seven years later!
Thank you, Lord!

And since I love Valentine's Day, I love to show love to my friends and family at this time of year. This weekend, I spent some time making some Valentine cards and was able to give some treats to friends and will treat my family this evening (Daniel got blueberry muffins and some treats this morning).

Here are a few of the ways I chose to show love to them this year:

These cake pops were made/sold by my friend, Lorie. She's thinking about doing some for Easter, so I'll spread the word if she does that!

This last card is for my parents, and was inspired by this post. Dad had collected these stamps over the years and gave them to me a couple of years ago, with the thought that I might be able to use them in my papercrafting. When I saw the post that inspired me, I found the stamps and created my own card. I can't wait to give it to them later today!

So, as I posted on my Facebook status today, go show someone some love today. And then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dessert-of-the-Month Club

You may remember that our family decided to give each other homemade (or otherwise creatively obtained) gifts for Christmas this past year. One of the gifts we gave to my brother-in-law, Russell, was Dessert-of-the-Month Club. I totally stole this idea from another blogger I know, but it was a big hit with Russell.

Of course, this means that I am going to have to deliver with a new dessert every month, which is where the "love" part comes in. If you know me well, you know that cooking is not one of my favorite pasttimes, at least not on an everyday, routine basis. I do enjoy baking, though, and am looking forward to "sacrificially" giving to Russell all year long (awww. . . how sweet!).

As we got closer to the end of January, Russell actually had to drop me a hint about how I hadn't made dessert yet, so we had a quick "consultation" and I got some ideas for what he'd like for me to make throughout the year. Instead of revealing it all in this post, I think I'll spread it out and let you be surprised each month.

For January, Russell chose what is probably one of his favorite desserts:  German Chocolate Cake.

I could have gone the really easy, cop-out route, and used a cake mix and store-bought icing, but I'm a better person than that. Ok, barely better, but even though I did decide to partner with Betty Crocker and use a box mix for the cake (why mess with a time-tested good thing?), I actually stirred ingredients for twelve minutes over medium heat and made the icing from scratch! And an even bigger sacrifice was that I had to use one of my most-hated ingredients, which is coconut (blech!).

I didn't get any complaints from the recipient or from his wife, with whom he shared the cake, so I guess the first installment was a success. Stay tuned for what is coming up soon for February . . .

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Scripture Memory #3

Happy February! I love this month for many reasons, but I'll save them for another post. For now, I need to stick to the task at hand, which is the third memory verse for 2011. I have to admit that I have been thinking about what verse to choose and have had a little trouble deciding. I have been writing down verses in my prayer journal lately, so I looked back at some of those today and have decided on Isaiah 26:4 from the Amplified Bible:

"So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]."

I love the parenthetical phrases that go along with "trust in the Lord" and also the reminder that God is not only the Rock, He is the Rock of Ages. Also, if you look at Isaiah 26:3 in the Amplified Bible (go to here if you like to look up verses in different versions/translations), you'll see that those same parenthetical phrases are used there, too. (I'll just go ahead and copy it here for you):

"You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."

So, there you have it: My memory verse for the first half of February (and hopefully it will stay in my mind for a lot longer that that!).