Tag Archive | Coffee

A Nickel’s Worth

DSC_0155 (1)I’ve been noticing a trend lately amongst my friends. They’re all looking for something. But not just any old something, something in particular. Every time they find what they are looking for they eagerly take a picture and share it across social media lines.

Just what is this thing they are looking for so almost frantically?

Hearts. A simple heart shape in the world around them. Some of them call the hearts they find glimpses of God’s love for them.

Now I’m a non-conformist to the core. If everyone else is doing something, that’s a good enough reason to me to not do it. I just don’t want to do or be like everyone else.

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I’m also if nothing else a study in contrast. You see I think it’s neat and great that these ladies are finding God smiles in their day. Neat. And if I were to speak the truth, which I am, I’m a bit jealous. I want something from God, something that He gives to just me as a reminder that He, as it says in Psalm 32:8, has His eye on me. That as He promises in Job 23:10 He knows the way I take.  So I want the same thing He is giving to these ladies, but I don’t want a heart shape.

So I’ve taken the past few weeks to as I think about it, pray for Him to give me something special, unique to let me know He’s watching, He knows, He cares and He loves me. I haven’t wanted a heart shaped anything because that would be too conformist for me. I want my own shape.

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A couple of weeks ago I was having an especially hard week when I glanced down in a parking lot and saw a nickel. I’ve always been one to pick up loose change I see lying around and this day was no different. I picked up that nickel and immediately I had the most godly thought ever. Yeah, or not as the case really was.

My first thought was exactly what zany thing I was going to post on social media about finding a nickel.

“If the saying goes, ‘Find a penny, pick it up, and all day you’ll have good luck’, what happens if you find a nickel.”

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I thought nothing more about that found nickel.

Until today.

This morning I walked to get coffee and to spend some time reading and talking with Jesus. I took Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, and read while I walked. I did stop on occasion to underline an especially meaningful part, or to just write down some thoughts Jesus was giving me.

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The wind was blowing  cold bitter air over my bare fingers but His words warmed my heart.  We talked of such things as where I was a year ago. How much has changed in this past year. 365 days of walking with Him. A year ago today I was in a hard place. Today I’m in a harder place, but the difference is while last year I knew intellectually He was with me, today in this hard-hard place I know experientially that He really is with me.

It was easy to stop and underline on the way to the coffee, but once I purchased my coffee and had headed for home it was a bit more difficult.

A few blocks from the shop I stopped to underline a sentence, I moved off the sidewalk, and squatted down on a small piece of concrete just off the beaten path. I set my coffee down, unzipped my pocket, reached in to grab my pen, and I froze.

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There in the grass was another nickel. Of course I picked it up.

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And I heard God laugh. Not a “haha, jokes on you” laugh. But a genuine chuckle. Like He knew something I didn’t, but He knew it would bless my socks off.

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And then He spoke.

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He spoke to me. He spoke to me clean through my frozen fingers as they caressed that found nickel. He spoke clean down the marrow my very soul.

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“That’s your gift. That’s your sign. That’s your shape. That is your way of knowing I’m watching you. I’ve got my eye on you. I see you. Even when you think I’m hiding. Even when everything in you is speaking lies that I don’t care. I’m watching you.”

 

 

Rantings of a crazy woman

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Last Saturday the 14-year old and I met up with family  to celebrate two November birthdays. The day was perfect for mid-November and we knew if we were going to celebrate these two we’d need to strike while the iron was hot. Or the sun was shining. Which it was.

As we left the house I made sure we had a Toby Mac cd. You see we’d taken a trip just the two of us earlier in the month and she failed to bring a cd. And I had a hankerin’ for some Toby Mac.

Yes. I like that kind of music.
Yes. I am old.
Yes, I like to listen to it loud.

As we listened to “This is Not a Test” a few of the songs really struck a chord with me. Two in particular. I’ve listened to each song on repeat a least a million times. Each time it speaks to me.

I’ve also been reading The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. I have a love/hate relationship with that book. It’s not an easy read for me. So much truth.

So much Painful truth.

But so much Life-giving Truth to be embraced, to allow to melt into the marrow of my bones and bring healing and Life to my soul.

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I’ve heard all the rhetoric about taking care of yourself first, because you can’t pour from an empty vessel. You can’t give what you don’t have.

Yada yada.

To some extent I agree. But only to a very small extent. I can’t give a million dollars if I don’t have a million dollars. So tangibly that part is true.

But the other part?

Yeah. I don’t think that is true.

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What if instead of waiting to be filled before we poured out into another, what if we just poured ourselves out into another?

What if, instead of waiting to know what love feels like, we just chose to love?

What if we just obeyed the command to Love One Another before we felt loved by them?

What if?

What if love feels like…loving?

What if the only way to feel loved was to love? What if the only way to be filled up is to pour ourselves out?

What if the only way to be filled was to be emptied?

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I know Someone, the epitome of Love, who stretched out His arms in Love and gave. He gave to me, a sinner who hated Him. Yet, He stretched out His arms, poured Himself out on my behalf. He didn’t sit around waiting for me to fill Him up and love Him.

Because guess what?

He’d still be waiting.

And so would I. And so would you. And so would a hurting world. A broken world won’t heal without the Love we have to share.

So let’s agree to stop waiting to feel loved and just BE loved. Not wait to feel loved, but just Love.

Let’s live, what Ann Voskamp calls, cruciform. Let’s live our lives in the shape of the cross. I’ve drawn a red cross on the inside of my left wrist to remind me, not that I am loved but that regardless of my feelings at any given moment in time, I am to love.

Maybe that is how the world will see Jesus in me. When despite my hardships I choose to pour myself out in love first to my Savior, then to my family, and then by extension to the world.

I don’t need to be filled. I AM filled. I’m filled to the full of all the fullness of God. I can not possibly be filled anymore than I am at this moment.

When I refuse to obey the command to love until I feel loved, I am choosing to focus on the wrong thing. I am focusing on myself rather than my Savior. When I look only at myself I will never feel full, I will always feel empty, void of any and all life and love. But when I look to Love Himself and stretch out myself to be poured out, I am living in obedience and He fills me.

Full to the brim and overflowing.

With His grace.

With His mercy.

With His love.

With His life.

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Oh Love, pour me out for You.

Chicken Marsala

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen. When I have time that is. Life has been at break neck speed.

I’ve also been cooking less and having my offspring cook more. They each take a day and plan the whole meal.

I’ve made a nameless chicken dish that was out of this world good, or as a friend says it’s an EO.

I’ve made Beouf a la mode, and Beouf Bourguignon.

I’ve heard about chicken marsala and I’ve been anxious to try it.

Enter yesterday.

Yesterday was the day. I found a recipe on the internet, and headed to the grocery store. I needed three things:

  • Chicken. (That should be a given.)
  • Cooking Sherry and
  • Marsala.
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions

I hit the salad dressing aisle first in search of cooking sherry and found none. I texted a friend, “Quick! What’s a substitute for cooking sherry?”

I headed to get the veggies and then the chicken.

I searched the entire liquor section for marsala. I text another friend when I can’t find it. I just grab a bottle of Merlot and head to the check out.

I decided to go to a different grocery store to see if I could find cooking sherry.

BINGO!!

They have it. And since I’d heard from my friend about Marsala I now knew it was a cooking wine and BINGO again. They had it.

Grab the cooking sherry and Marsala and a venti iced decaf Americano for me and the mental anguish I’ve been through.

I came home and turned into a cooking freak.

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All the Spiritual Blessings.

 

I’m kicking it old school today.  I’m going all the way back to the very basics. I’ve spent some time last night and this afternoon studying who I am in Christ. Scripture is full of verses that speak to that very issue.

Yet so many of us live defeated lives because we don’t take the time to study and then to believe that what the Word says God says is true of us.

I’ve had several eye-popping discoveries, or re-discoveries as the case is. I haven’t learned anything new, but with my mindset lately it is as if I’ve forgotten all I ever learned. So over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my discoveries with you. Who knows maybe someone else needs to know this.

Today I read Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (nasb)

This is such an encouraging verse!! We have been blessed, it is past tense. God already blessed us!!  It doesn’t say, “God will bless you in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” but that “God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing…”

I know I am a spiritual being with a physical body. I am not physical-ness. I am spiritual, and so are you. We are so much more than mere flesh and blood. In fact, our skin is just a covering for our true self,  it makes us visible to others.

Which really comes in handy when you’re sitting on the subway.

So we are spiritual beings. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

I also know that when I came to the cross, confessed my sin and accepted the free gift of Jesus sacrifice for my sin, I was crucified with Christ and yet I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Also in that very moment, I was sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of Promise. My life was hidden with Christ in God.

According to Colossians 3:1 I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ because I was raised with Him.

So I am a spiritual being. I am seated with Christ in heavenly places. And I’ve been gifted with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.

But I need them here where I live in the flesh. Where I’m fighting to learn truth, where I’m struggling to see His hand. Where the rubber meets the road. Where I’m trying to be optimistic, where I view the coffee cup as full even as I’m choking on the grinds in the bottom.

Here. Where I live by faith. In the Son of God who loved me and Gave Himself up for me.

That is where I need the blessings. All the spiritual blessings.

Monday Monday

I need a do-over for today and it’s only 8:30. Here is some wisdom from this Monday.

If you happen to be in the shower with soap covering every square inch of your flesh, when your eye itches, it’s best that you not reach up and rub it with soapy fingers.

Just sayin’.

I’m sure you’ll thank me for that bit of smartness for today.

Moving right along.

If you should happen to have gotten an email from amazon.com that you need to change your password because they might or might not have found a list online with people’s usernames and passwords posted and your name and password might or might not have been on it; so you follow the directions (for once in your life, for the love of Pete) and tell them “I forgot my password”.

Which I should just like to say, I did not. I remember it completely. So I lied. See following directions can lead to sin. And sin, people, is bad, very very bad. Much worse than not following directions. But I digress.

When you tell the nice people at amazon.com you forgot your password they want you to either give them your email address or phone number. I’m not even sure I gave amazon my phone number and they sure as anything did not send me a birthday greeting text for my birthday on Saturday so I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it to them.

I digress again. I put in my email address. My email address that I have had for lo these many, many years now, my email address that has my name in it. Now my name is something I’ve had far longer than any silly old email address.

Email addresses come, email addresses go but my name is stuck fast.

You have no idea how surprised I was to see, after giving them my email address, that they claimed to have no knowledge of our relationship. Just like that. I was forgotten. They suggested I double check my phone number or email address. I did and it looked great to me.

So what email address did I use? Hmmmm…probably one I no longer have access too. You see there was a time when I thought oh say, every other week I needed a new email address for whatever purpose. I’ve slowly killed those off…err gotten rid of them.

That’s when I looked closer and realized I had misspelled my own name.

People, I misspelled my own name.

Now I know I lost an hour of sleep and I know my birthday was last Saturday. I know. But I misspelled my own freaking name!  I had hoped to hold off any dementia until I was at least 50 and I know I’m close but honey, I’m not ready for this yet.

In honor of all things misspelling my own name, I probably put some caffeine in my coffee this morning. It’s only half-caff but still, I firmly believe that forewarned is forearmed. So arm yourselves like men.

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe

What would you ask if you could ask anything of God and He would visibly answer you immediately?  The people around San Antonio, Texas had that option.

It all started happening when Chelsea Chambers moved back home and reopened the coffee shop her grandmother and mother had owned. Former wife of former NFL player, Sawyer Chambers, she’s sure money is no object. She makes financial promises left and right, so when she receives a letter from the IRS stating she has 30 days to pay an $86,0000 tax bill, she takes it in stride.

It’s only when she calls Sawyer for the money to pay the bill does she realize how dire her straits really are. He has spent the money she thought they had together and it’s gone.  She sets up a payment plan with the IRS, but the monthly payments are still too much for her to make easily.

Until 2 men show up saying they were sent to set up a router free of charge. That is when things start happening. Now at the Higher Ground Cafe only one website is accessible. The God Blog. The patrons come from near and far to ask God their one question.

The only get one question, the answer is almost immediate and always tailored just for them. Chelsea and the Higher Ground Cafe show unprecedented business and those tax payments are being paid with ease.

But then someone steals the router. The God Blog disappears. What now? Will Chelsea be able to make the payments? How?

Chock full of behind the scenes activity this book dives into the angelic realm, but not in a scary Frank Peretti sort of way. This book, Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, by Max Lucado with Candace Lee and Eric Newman, is a good, light-hearted read.

I enjoyed this book, but like the last novel I reviewed, it fell short of my expectations. I have loved Max Lucado’s books for several years, I have learned from him and yes, even though this was a novel, I expected to learn, expected to grow.

To be honest, and I’ve said this before, I know there are things in this world like divorce and broken families. That is a reality for far too many people, some of them near and dear to my heart. When I read a novel, I read to escape. I want to escape to a fake world, a world where the people are real, with real struggles, but who persevere. I want to read a novel in which the people are real, but they aren’t sinning. And they aren’t going further into sin.  I don’t want to read about who slept with who, who had an affair, who is having an affair, and who is living, walking daily in unforgiveness because that is what sells books.  I want to read about people who struggle but still choose the good.

And yes, I expected a different story line from Max. I expected more. This story had all the great elements, good characters, a cute plot, but it could have been so much better if the infidelity and divorce was not rampant. Sawyer and Chelsea could have struggled with keeping the shop open together.

But those are just my opinions. You should read the book for yourself to find out if you agree with me or not.

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.