Archive for the ‘{Joy Dare}’ Category

My Mirror

Mirrors are false. They are not true reflections of who we are. My sweet husband, Freddo, reminds me of this truth constantly. I do need to hear it regularly…or perhaps I don’t need to hear it so often, as I need to believe it when he declares it to me. He even showed me one time by flexing the mirror one way or the other, how it has the ability to change my appearance. I was shocked. I saw it with my own eyes and yet to this day…I have trouble accepting that truth.

I know because I have tried. I know that the enemy of my soul doesn’t want me to find the truth. He wants me to be stuck in the world of “never good enough”. The pursuit of perfection has always left me wanting. I need to be a better mom, wife, Christian, house keeper, worker, driver, gardener, cook, decorator, hostess, church member, teacher, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, diabetic…the list goes on and on. I need to be thinner, prettier, blonder, more in style…perhaps you know the drill…

When I look in the mirror I don’t really see who I am…I see who I am not compared to “others” in my mind. The “others” I speak of may be people I know well, or it may even be another I have never even met. But you see, I allow Satan to keep me so busy pursuing who I think I ought to be, that I miss the opportunity to see myself as Christ does.

In the Bible God tells me that I am dearly loved. I am the apple of His eye. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And all those things are true and vitally important, but I still miss the point when I look to His Word just to find who I am. What I believe He desires me to find is who He is. When I do that my focus becomes correct for the first time, since it is on Him alone. He is light. He is truth. He is the lover of my soul. He is my hope. He is my peace. He is my constant. He is faithful. He is all knowing. He is NEVER going to leave me alone (no matter what). He chose me and I am truly loved and cared for by Him!

Oh, why is it so hard to stay focused on these truths? Why is the world so tempting? The Bible says that the Devil prowls around like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. Standing strong in Christ and leaning on the truths of His Word alone, THAT is going to keep me focused. Refocusing my gaze, each time I get distracted. This world is a lure, because I am human. I must remain alert to my tendency to be distracted and not allow myself to be pulled in.

Jesus, the Light of this world, is what keeps me from being ensnared by all of the lies I have believed. I have been playing this perfection game for 30 years or more. I don’t know where is started, and truly that doesn’t even matter. What I do know is that leaning on Christ alone is the way to stop it. Reading His Word and filling my mind with His truths, replacing the lies that I tell myself is part of the solution, but the majority of the answer lies in my focus. When I focus on Christ, and allow my gaze to linger on Him throughout the day, no matter what I am doing…then and only then will I begin to see more clearly who I am, because only then does everything else fall from my view and my image in the mirror become clear, as I allow Him to be my mirror.


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Waiting on God

My friend recently sent me an email that I had sent to her back in September of 2010. She had sent it to a friend that was struggling and she remembered that I might need to hear these words of encouragement. I find it crazy how God uses something in my life in one season and then in another season I reread it and realize it is a lesson that I am still not really applying. So I have made a choice to ask for forgiveness and allow God to work in my heart instead of beating myself up for not doing a better job in the last 3 years. So I share the lesson with you, as it is a good one.

I want to share what God showed me in my Bible study time this morning. I was reading in Daniel 10. This is where Daniel had a vision. The Bible states that Daniel knew the message was true, but the appointed time was long. It said in those days he was in mourning for 3 full weeks. In this time he ate no pleasant food or meat, etc., nor did he anoint himself with oil. Then on the 24th day an angel came to him, the Bible tells of how this vision affected him. But what really spoke to me was the verses that follow….

“Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you ” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.
Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.”

Here it shows us that God heard Daniel’s prayer on the first day that he prayed it. But the angel was delayed 21 days due to the prince of Persia (Satan/demons). While Daniel was waiting to hear back from God there was a spiritual battle going on that Daniel wasn’t aware of. But Daniel did not faint in his faith and trust, he continued persistently seeking God.

This brought me much encouragement as there are people that Bob and I are praying for to be saved, or to turn back to God, and it seems to be taking so long. This example in the Bible shows us that there is a spiritual battle going on that we can’t see, but we must press on, trusting God to do His will. We must continue to pray for their lives to be changed, and while we pray we too will be changed because through this we we learn more about the nature and character of God. I pray that this encourages you today in some way.

Growing in Him more every day,

I am so grateful for sweet friends that save things and have a heart to encourage! May God encourage your heart as you wait for Him to answer your heart’s cry!

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Well, it sure has been a while since I have written anything to “publish” on my blog. The last several months have been pretty dry for me spiritually. I have been struggling quite a bit with depression, anxiety and confusion regarding several things in life. To most people my depression would be confusing, because my life, from all outward appearances, is amazing!!  Freddo and I have a healthy marriage that has almost lasted 25 years, we have two healthy adult sons that are functioning well in life on their own, I have many caring friends and family, I have started some new “jobs” and am bringing in money to contribute to our family for the first time in quite a while, Freddo and I have been able to take some fun trips lately, (more on those in another post), and we have learned to laugh a lot, on and on the list goes…

But somewhere in all that, God and I had just lost touch. In all honesty that trouble has nothing to do with God and everything to do with me. I, like Peter out on the water, took my eyes off of Christ and began to sink into the deep waters of despair.

I became preoccupied with myself. I began to wonder who I really was now that I am no longer home schooling our boys,  helping my mom take care of my dad, and so many of my friends no longer attend our church (imagine that, church is not a social event for me anymore…what a concept), and a host of other things. It is hard to look back and see all the ways my life has changed in the last few years. Oh, and I have been frustrated because yet again, I had gained that same 25 pounds that comes and goes like a bad penny in my life. I have struggled all my life with feeling like I, Sheila, wasn’t good enough for anyone to love, especially God and my husband.

One thing I believe God would have me learn in this season is the Sheila that He created and loves has NOTHING to do with how I look, what size I am, what clothes I wear, what my house looks like, etc. Now this thought process is totally different from EVERYTHING the world tells me. So you can imagine the struggle that has been going on within my heart.

Also in this season a dear friend of mine passed away, which caused me to evaluate how I treated my friends…did I really treat them as though I loved them with my actions or was it just in my words.  It has been a time of deep reflection.

I say all of this to kind of give you glimpse of SOME of the things that I have allowed to run wild in my mind.

At times on this journey, God has given me a clear view of how He has never once left me alone. A day or two of reflecting on His faithfulness would really strengthen me, but I quickly fell back into being preoccupied with myself and all the ways I had failed or how life hadn’t turned out like I thought it should.

Over the last 3 to 4 weeks, God has been really ministering to me. He has really been drawing me close and I have realized that the first and foremost solution to move from depression to joy-filled living is found in reading His Word regularly. But as you may know, daily intake of God’s Word requires discipline and denying ourselves. Quite honestly, denying myself is not something I am very good at doing.

So many of you have been encouraged me by letting me know that you have missed the words I wrote each day last year on Facebook and the encouragement you received from my blog posts. When I decided to pull back from life a while back, I didn’t realize that I would possibly be affecting others…as I mentioned I have been pretty preoccupied with myself. I thank all of you for your encouragement!

Recently I read an email from (in)courage that asked what song is it that God has used to encourage you lately. And this brought to my mind a few songs that have really helped and encouraged me lately. So I decided to write about this also and ask you to share the song that God has used in your life.

One of them is “Need You Now” by Plum. (While whole song is great, the lyrics that really stuck out to me I “highlighted” with bold type.)

“Need You Now (How Many Times)”

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now “

I realized this past year that it is easier to lean on God when times are hard and life weighs heavy, because in those moments I am totally aware that on my own I cannot make it without God’s strength and help.

And yet when life is good, and most things seem to be going my way, somehow I become delusional and think that I have this all under control. How I laugh as I write this, because truthfully I know I don’t have even one bit of control, but when life hums along, it is easy to deceive myself into thinking that I do.

The song “Need You Now” reminds me that I do better when I am in desperate need of God, even depending on Him so deeply as for my next breath.

A few weeks ago we went to a Casting Crowns Acoustic Concert. It was a great time of worship and renewal for me.20130321_192725 I have never taken notes at a concert before, but I did this night. God really ministered to me through several songs, but the one that stood out the most was “Already There”. I tried to choose the line or two that really spoke to me, but it was just too hard, so I listed all the lyrics. You can read them and/or click on the song to hear it for yourself.

Already There by Casting Crowns  (While whole song is great, the lyrics that really stuck out to me I “highlighted” with bold type.)

From where I’m standing
Lord, it’s so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You’re leading me

I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are going to play out
In a world I can’t control

When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory

‘Cause You’re already there
You’re already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You’re already there
You’re already there

From where You’re standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life

And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece

Of Your picture perfect plan

When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory

One day I’ll stand before You
And look back on the life I’ve lived
I can’t wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit

One day I’ll stand before You
And look back on the life I’ve lived
‘Cause You’re already there
You’re already there

When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
‘Cause You’re already there
You’re already there

Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You’re already there
You’re already there”

You see, I have control issues, which is why I have such a hard time trusting God in all things.

Honestly, saying I have ‘control issues” is a nice way of saying “I’m so prideful that I think I know better than anyone how this should work out…including God”.   Of course I don’t use my words to say this, I would never say that out loud, but recently God has shown me over and over that my actions scream this when I try to control a situation, or fix things so they play out as I think they should.

It has been a very painful process, which, as I look back over my life, has been going on for an extremely, extremely long time! There are many things I have done and said that I wish I could change, but the reality is…I can’t.

So one thing I am working on these days is to take life one day at a time, often one moment at a time, and learn along the process that God alone is trustworthy and I am not. As this song so greatly states “all the chaos, comes together in His Hands, like a masterpiece, of His picture perfect plan”, but from my perspective I don’t know and and I can’t see how it is going to work out, but God, He’s got this!!  The words of this song bring me such a peace, as it reminds me that God is already where I am headed and I truly have NOTHING to fear!

So for this season, these are two songs point me back to Him EVERY TIME I hear them. They are ministering to my pain and sinfulness, right where I am. All that has happened in these last few months of my life have pointed me back to the words that I chose to be my goal for the year and have written in different ways throughout our home “Trust Him Alone”. Funny how God works, isn’t it?!



So what is your story? What song is God using to help you along in your journey? I would love you to share in the comments, so myself and others can learn from what God is doing in your life, because I know He is up to something! I would be so grateful and encouraged if you’d please take the time to share!

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Airplane trails can be seen all across the morning and evening sky, the sun brightly marking their paths.

I ask Freddo why I have never seen so many at one time before, as I have this past year.

When I look to count them, there are 12, 13, 14 and counting. There is this childlike grin on my face and anticipation growing within me as I count them all. I tell Freddo, “Truly, I have never seen this many in the sky at one time before this past year.”

He gently says, “That’s because you are slowing down to see. You know, taking time to count the gifts”.

There it is, a reminder of what Ann Voskamp testifies of, “counting gifts slows down time”.

Even my sweet husband notices that counting gifts slows me down, proving what Ann has told so many in her “One Thousand Gifts” book…that “counting gifts slows down time”, which brings about joy.

For years I have sought this slippery word, joy, never before had I been able to grasp how to have the “joy of the Lord”.

Then I read about it in Ann Vokamps’s book. Slowly, as I soak up the book and begin to count my own list of gifts, simple, everyday things, this joy that has always been such a mystery to me, begins to show itself. Joy, not happiness.

Joy, a state of mind, that comes even when life is hard, and yet it stays despite the sadness of the days, such as were my days last year when Dad was slowly dying and Blane’s high school years were slowly draining away.



Despite anything I tried, the days of those two lives that I desired very much to hold tight, continued to fade from my sight.HPIM1798

Any Daddy’s girl and mother of that last child at home would have felt the same, I believe…that sadness that comes when seasons are over. Gone. Never to return.


Even then, in the tear-filled days of those fading seasons, counting gifts brought joy into my life.

By God’s grace I had learned a way to stay fully awake in the moments and have joy even though I was sad. Great is my gratefulness for finding that direct link to constant joy, Eucharisteo: thanking God in all things, bringing about grace, gratitude and joy. The journey has been hard, but I am so glad that God’s plans allowed me to walk this path, despite the pain.

And just today I was reminded that this slowing down, finding gifts, it really isn’t even about the gifts, but about the God that gives the gifts. The entire purpose of this totaling of gifts with daily persistence is to point me back to Christ with each gift I list.One thousand gift shelf

Something I am learning is a life totally focused on and fully trusting in Him is always right on target! And who wouldn’t want that?


{Joy Dare} for Week #5 of 2013

1-21 a gift in sky, water, and memory:

#121 sky: two bald eagles taking in the scenery from two trees on our gravel road, so cool!

Eagle shot edited

Eagle in flight edited

#122 water: warm shower

#123 memory: recalling the times that we went to see the eagles with friends of ours, how small our boys were then…

#124 Hardwood floor warm from the woodstove’s fire

#125 My friend’s bathrobe, soft and cozy around me as I read my devotion

#126 Fan, noise I don’t like, forcing the warm air throughout our home

#127 Sunrise colors, hues cast all across the sky


1-22 a gift wrinkled, smoothed and unfolded:

#128 wrinkled: my face, showing that I have lived, laughed and loved


#129 smoothed: floors, removing all the wood and dirt

#130 unfolded: God’s continued blessings in my life



1-23 3 gifts found in Christ:

#131 acceptance

#132 wisdom

#133 gentleness

#134 bowl of Cheerios with a banana in it


1-24 3 gifts blue:

#135 brad nailer my hubby used to build a crate from scratch from materials we had in the shop (won’t be long until he will be able to make our crate coffee table, yippee)


#136 finding Red’s bed, it was out in the shop (we had forgotten it was out there)

#137 plastic tote that holds wood for the stove

#138 14 quarts of homemade V8 juice canned today

#139 hearing a sermon yesterday telling us all that we need to ask God for wisdom when we lack it, something I needed to pray for two times today, so grateful God gave me that reminder last night at church!


1-25 a grace borrowed, found, and inherited:

#140 borrowed: canning colander

#141 found: a Hannah Whitall Smith book in Mom’s closet

#142 inherited: wooden bowl that my dad made when he was in school


#143 cabin themed buttons to hot glue to a lamp shade

#144 opportunities to show love to others that don’t feel they deserve it


1-26 a gift before dawn, at noon and after dark:

#145 before dawn: sleep

#146 at noon: salsa made and jars in a hot water bath


#147-150 after dark: crispy and thin homemade pizza, ice cream sandwich dessert, laughing with friends and planning a trip out west

#151 cozy home with warm lighting, #iloveourhome




1-27 3 gifts in the kitchen:

#152 “new to us” microwave that some friends gave us


#153 indoor/outdoor thermometer

#154 wooden silverware holder



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Several years ago we purchased a wonderful picture for a couple’s wedding shower. As soon as I saw this picture, I longed to have it to hang in our bedroom. My mom surprised me for Christmas that year with the picture. From that moment until this past weekend, I had this idea in my mind that I just couldn’t figure out how to do economically and yet in a way that I really liked.

I researched using canvas, spray painting frames, using metal and wood. I looked all over the internet and pinterest. Finally, I decided to use the different ideas I saw and come up with my own ‘plan’.

Here is a picture of what the final product looks like:


I first chose several pictures, then opted to print them in sepia. We purchased a pine board that was 1×8 inches. We could have purchased a 1×6, but I just didn’t know what size I needed until we got it home and looked it over. This board  cost about $5. My husband, Freddo, cut the boards 4×6 for me. I sanded each piece. I desired to that the edges a bit rounded and smooth, so I used his Ryobi hand sander to do this. He cut as many pieces as one board would allow. It sure didn’t take very long to sand each one.  In this picture the board on the left has not been sanded, the one on the right, obviously has. 20130119_124806

I wiped each board down to get the sawdust off, then took them inside to paint them. I was looking for a deep wine color, but I only had brown, black, white and a cherry color acrlic paints. I know nothing about mixing colors, but by God’s grace, I created exactly the color I was looking for.


I didn’t paint the whole board, only did the sides and a part of the front that would show once I trimmed the pictures and put them on the board.

Using modge podge and a sponge brush, I covered the top of the board with a layer so that I could attach the picture. By the time I got the last picture attached to its board the first one was dry enough to put the first layer of top coat over the sides and top to preserve the picture. After the first layer dried, I did do another layer of modge podge to make it a bit shinier.

Next we cut ribbons and used a staple gun to attach them to each board so we could hang them.


There were so many pictures that it was a bit overwhelming when we went to hang them all. In hind sight, I would like to move the “Always Kiss Me Goodnight” picture down and place the pictures around the pictures. It would also have helped if we took more pictures vertically.


But all in all, it was fun talking to each other about the stories behind each picture before we turned the light of last night and kissed each other good night…always.



My week of {Joy Dare} gifts from God:

1-14 3 startling graces of God:

#85 a small job to bring in some money

#86 my thoughtful husband writing me a note and making us dinner

#87 the tape roller that went flying out of my hand unintentionally right at Freddo’s head, but missing…and the loud laughter that broke out immediately between the two of us

#88 kind encouragement from a friend

#89 time with him…priceless

1-15 a gift worn, given away and shared:

#90 worn: “College of Ozarks Mom: sweatshirt

#91 given away: chocolate peanut butter banana shake

#92 shared: prayer request

#93 hugs that ease stress

#94 finally finishing the count of my gifts found that helped me find joy and live in the moments of 2012 despite the good and bad that came…a total count of 3610 Gifts. 3610 Blessings. 3610 Joy. 3610 offerings of Grace.

1-16 3 witnessed blessings:

#95 lunch with Freddo’s dad

#96 3 different paychecks coming in one day

#97 spending about 3 hours visiting with a young lady that is a blessing, so full of desire to be a great wife, great way to spend an afternoon!!

1-17 a gift bringing laughter, prayer and quiet:

#98 bringing laughter: a video of some guy that obviously had too much to drink and some silly tv reporter recorded the interview anyway

#99 bringing prayer: the President of the United States issuing Executive Orders yesterday in regards to guns, reflecting today on the meaning of it all,

#100 bringing quiet: cooking one of Dad’s best meals (Beef Stroganoff) at my parent’s home this morning while Mom was getting ready for an appointment

#101 getting grocery list almost complete

1-18 3 gifts from God’s Word:

#102 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine…Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.” Isaiah 43:1, 4 ESV

#103 “…always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 5:20 NASB

#104  “…This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29 NASB

#105 groceries purchased

#106 Freddo getting glasses so he can clearly all the time

#107 a friend’s husband getting two job offers, God showing them which to choose, despite any confusion that came as it all played out

1-19 3 gifts that might never had been:

#108 having 18 friends at our home this evening, food and laughs galore, had God not helped me to be grateful for our home, no matter how small it is.

#109 pictures of Freddo and I hanging the wall in our bedroom, had I not been willing to begin a project I was completely unsure of.

#110 a great friendship with a sweet friend, had neither of us been unwilling to open ourselves up despite our past pain.

#111 a husband that helps and helps, just to make me smile

1-20  3 gifts only seen up close:

#112 that not everyone’s life is as perfect as it appears from afar

#113 the joy that comes to a heart when a small child snuggles up and falls asleep in your arms

#114 raw beauty when a group of people open up a bit, reveal hurts and become real with each other, taking off our masks within a community of believers, truly beautiful because this is where true healing is found

#115 wonderful lunch with friends

#116 realizing that I am a selfish person that desires to please people instead of God to change my heart

#117 hearing a sermon on overcoming anxiety, painfully convicting, especially when the pastor said, “You must recognize that anxiety is a faith battle”. I knew this, but it was eye widening when I heard him say it.

#118 that my husband is a police officer, a great one, and that I don’t have anything to fear when something strange lurks, I have confidence that he will do all he can to protect me.

#119 “love is always ready to endure whatever comes” quote from “Walk to Remember”.

#120 Discontentment begins with my unwillingness to be thankful to God for whatever He chooses to give. (A gift I learned this week)

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{Joy Dare} Week 2 of 2013

Well, here is a glimpse of last week and how God blessed my life. I should have written a blog post today, but I rested instead.

I have been working on Ann Voskamp’s DVD “One Thousand Gifts” study that I am going to teach soon. I have read the book, but this study has deepened my search from joy and awakened me yet again to God’s Hand in my life, pushing me to count them and in turn deepening my trust in the only One that we really can count on.

I would love to hear how God has blessed your life this week? Are you looking for ways He blesses. Post in my comments a few of  your gifts so I can be encouraged by God’s Hand in your days!

1-7  3 graces from people you love:

#40 a sweet tear-filled conversation with a wise man that I called to wish a happy birthday, so cool that he was 6 months older than my own father. I love the wisdom that he willing shares with me. I am always the one blessed when I take the moments to visit with him.

#41 Freddo letting me buy three books for my Kindle

#42 Freddo helping me get the Christmas stuff down and put away

#43 timer

#44 water to drink

#45 energy and motivation…even if they came later today than I would have liked, by God’s grace I accomplished quite a bit today!

1-8 dusky light, surprising reflection, lovely shadow

#45 dusky light: seeing the sunset coloring the clouds as they float past my dining room window

#46 surprising reflection: the sun shining off a lake beautiful bright this morning as I was driving to town.

#47 lovely shadow: seeing God’s shadow in my husband as he loves me unconditionally and continuously offers me grace

#48 last piece of spinach casserole

#49 finding out that Mom has a lump that is suspicious, trusting God with whatever may come. Living with an open hand to God is always that best way, but often the most painful.

#50  roast, potatoes and carrots at Momma’s house

#51 getting to use my $200 in free money to buy some Blessings Unlimited products

#52 gorgeous sunset coloring wonderfully clouds all across the sky, not just in the west

1-9  a gift held, passed by and sat with:

#53 held: my nephew as we cuddled together in the chair to read a book

#54 passed by: stones that were given to a family that lost a wife and a mother back at Thanksgiving. Beautiful reminders in their garage of other’s love for this family and of my friend’s desire to have a memorial garden before she died.

#55 sat with: Freddo’s dad as we shared a meal together, and as we watched a show or two together

1-10  a gift sweet, sour and just right:

#56 sweet: finding my dad’s Lionel train in the top of a closet, oh the sweet memories that ensued as I pulled each car, the caboose, the engine, the controller and the railroad sign

#57 sour: sorting through memories and things of Dad’s, making us miss him even more, but it was good to get some reorganization done

#58 just right: time spent with my mom today, much needed moments of laughter and reflection, bonding at its best

#59 Freddo’s Fridays coming on Thursday’s

#60 seeing our boys (young men, actually) growing up and taking on the world, praying for them as they live their lives

#61 motivation bringing about much needed changes

#62 a yummy recipe remembered from my growing up days that my mom used to make for us

1-11 3 yellow gifts of fresh mercy:

#63 grated bowl of Felz Naptha to put in the laundry soap later today

#64 squash

#65 tape measure that belonged to my friend that recently passed away

#66 getting my hours in

#67 having just the right amount, God always takes care

#68 unexpected Fed Ex truck in the driveway

#69 fun new things from Blessings Unlimited that arrived a few days before I expected, Yahoo!!!

#70 so many things made right today

1-12 a gift above, below and beside:

#71 above: ceiling fans that distribute heat from the woodstove

#72 below: Chinese Checker game that is stored below the couch, Freddo and I playing it, reminding me of times I played with Dad

#73 beside: Freddo being by my side helping today with whatever I needed

#74 cup of hot cocoa shared with my man tonight

#75 a few windows cleaned

#76 moments in the evening to number my gifts from last year, eagerly awaiting having a total count of my gifts from 2012

#77 encouragement only a friend can bring

#78 going to bed with every detail in our home absolutely in order, what a marvelous feeling

1-13 3 things about yourself you are grateful for:

#79 inability to stay mad very long

#80 that I am redeemed by the blood of my Savior

#81 resourcefulness

#82 a full day at home with nothing to do but rest and enjoy time with my husband

#83 waking from a nap to a delicious Rueben sandwich and fries Freddo made for us

#84 son working through tough things, knowing that despite what comes, he will get through it with God’s help

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Last weekend Freddo and I had the best roasted chicken.

My Aunt Julie made it for us during our visit to their home. She used a vertical roaster, to cook the chicken. We were both amazed at the moistness of the chicken, even the white meat. We were excited to buy ones just like hers when we got home.

Imagine my disappointment when we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and they only carried “The Beer Can Chicken Roaster”.

Seriously? We are good Southern Baptist people…we don’t drink!! What choice did I have? There were two chickens thawed and ready to be baked at home, so we chose to buy them. They were only $5.99 each, I didn’t think that was too bad!

After arriving at home I began researching the kind of vertical roaster we had just purchased. So the next day Freddo headed to the store to get two cans of…soda. From what I read I did not need to soak the chicken in brine water since I would be putting water in the cans, the water would infusive the chickens from the inside.


I rinsed them, patted them dry, then sprinkled the inside of the bird with lemon pepper.  I separated the skin from the breast and stuffed minced garlic in there. With the cans about half full of water, I placed the birds over the rack with the legs down, as shown in the picture.


The chicken cooked at 350 degrees for 1 & ½ hour. When the timer when off, I sat the chickens on the stovetop and set the timer for 20 minutes. One important detail I’ve learned recently is that after cooking meat, it is important to let the meat rest when it first comes out of the oven to help the meat maintain moisture.

Since I was cooking two chickens, I should have cooked it for another 30 minutes or so. They were done, but I would have liked them to be cooked a bit more.




Another thing I would have done was put more spices, salt and pepper on the chicken. It just didn’t have the wonderful flavor I was looking forward to. One thing I read about was to put Rosemary, Thyme and Lemon juice in the water that I put in the cans.

I must say that they were very moist, that part was not at all disappointing. I am so grateful that my aunt shared several cooking tips with me. We had such a fun time with them; it was so relaxing. God has given them the gift of hospitality.

On Saturday and Sunday of that weekend, we visited with some friends of ours that also live in Springfield.

We had a blast playing games and visiting. We laughed a lot. They may no longer be our friends after I post these pictures. It was so fun playing Head Bandz that I had to post these silly pictures. After the kids went to bed, the adults played Wits and Wagers. It is also a fun game.

headbandz pic

It was so fun and comforting being with my sweet friend, Traci that I hated leaving on Sunday. We were blessed to be able to worship with them at their church.


me and my sweet friend!

Traci, Sheila and Selah

It is such a wonderful thing to have family and friends that we don’t talk with regularly, but can spend a weekend with and it seems as though we have not been apart.

Freddo and I are so grateful for how God has blessed us.

I decided this year to try to post my Joy Dares once a week. Below you will find my list of gifts that God has blessed me with in the first week of 2013.

Joy Dare 2013

1-1  3 gifts heard:

#1 Mom telling me about doors God is opening for her

#2 Blane telling me his grades for his first semester of college (A, B-, B, C, C)

#3 my aunt calling to give me a recipe and the encouraging conversation that followed


#4 Freddo reminding me of his love

#5 college son’s voice in our house just before bed, he’s home again!

#6 fire crackling hot in the woodstove on a cold night

#7 a friend of Freddo’s helping us out with a situation that was totally the fault of one we love. God allowing him to take full responsibility with consequences to follow, but not anything that will harm his LE career.

1-2  a gift outside, inside and on a plate:

#8  outside: fire in the fire pit at Stephen’s Lake we warmed ourselves by while others were sledding

#9 inside: ebooks on my tablet, being able to do my Bible study on it each morning

#10 on a plate: pretzel snaps and peanut butter snack, makes me smile cause it reminds me of how Mom used to make these little sandwiches for Dad all the time

1-3  3 graces observed:

#11 our younger son deactivating his FB account to help himself be more accountable with his time

#12 Mom taking time to encourage a sweet family whose husband has suffered a stroke, it is wonderful to see her ministering to them

#13 Freddo watching the new Bible study DVD with me. Remarking that he would like to read the “One Thousand Gifts” book himself. Love this!


#14 blane’s help getting house clean

#15 the peace and easy breathing that comes when our home is clean

#16 daily planner that is going to help so much

#17 friends reaching out

#18 seeing a friend finding joy amidst a difficulty in her life


1-4  a gift old, new and blue:

#19 old: the love between Freddo and I, it is 25 years old, and yet it seems new. We both still get butterflies at times when we catch the sight of each other.

#20 new: low sugar, high fiber ice cream bars dipped in chocolate made with probiotics

#21 blue: my new One Thousand Gifts journal from a Christian bookstore in town. The front says “Joy for Today”, it seems very fitting.


#22 snow glittering shiny in the head lights this morning before dawn

#23 finding shampoo and gel for a friend’s son

#24 spending some time today with my man

#25 Rueben casserole, quick and easy fix for dinner and it’s delicious

#26 conversation with a new wife, so eager to be a blessing to her husband

#27 not having to spend much money on groceries this pay period


1-5 a gift you are reading, making, seeing:

#28 reading: “The ‘Do What You Can’ Plan” by Holley Gerth,  “Anoymous” by Alicia Britt Chole

#29 making: vertical roasted chicken

#30 seeing: snowflakes falling softly to the earth with no ill affects


#31 taking a shower this morning, getting clean pajamas on, fixing my hair and getting to stay home all day to play

#32 Freddo getting the berry pomegranate crystal light made


1-6 one gift in your bag, your fridge, your heart:

#33 bag: lip gloss

#34 fridge: cookies to make for church

#35 heart: renewed and vibrant love for my Lord that was once slipping from my grasp

#36 singing “Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
                           I’m running to Your arms
                           The riches of Your love
                           Will always be enough
                           Nothing compares to Your embrace
                           Light of the world forever reign”    with my arms high and heart abandoned this morning in worship

#37 having hands that are able to serve God

#38 upfront discussion with a friend that brought relief and tears

#39 being able to set a bit of money back

#40 planned Sunday School social at our house Saturday night, looking forward to having our home full of friends and laughter

#41 having a husband and two boys that love deeply and strong, and are able to shed tears when their hearts are hurting

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