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Thursday, December 30, 2010


43 years in and I am heading toward a new year. Each year seems sweeter than the next. Well, at least it can when you aren't in the middle of a crisis. I am in a bit of a crisis. Actually, I haven't decided if it is a crisis or a "mesis". A "mesis" is different. A crisis is a predicament you feel trapped in by circumstances that are beyond your control. A" mesis" is when you trap yourself in a circumstance and don't allow yourself to get beyond the situation. With 2011 fast approaching I am struggling to make goals that I may or may not succeed in but always have fun reaching for and it is all because of this cri/ me-sis I am in.

Don't get me wrong I want 2011 to be all that God will allow for my life and those I love. In fact, I pray that my main goal is to let God reign in all that He has for my life in 2011 and beyond. But you see, I have been struggling this week. Something I had hoped would happen didn't and it has raised doubts that effect who I am. More importantly it effected where I thought God was leading.Of course you know there is only one thing I can say in such a predicament... thank God for Okies. I'll explain.

It is true that I have lived in Texas for over half of my life, but make no mistake, I am a displaced Okie. I hail from the great state of Oklahoma. My husband and children (aka The Texans) put up with me. My extended family still live in Oklahoma and many great leaders,writers, actors, athletes and let us not forget singers come from (sing it with me) O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A! It was by chance (hmmm) that I felt led to walk into a store I had never visited. Obviously, still in a funk over my whatever-sis I went and  was touched by what I found. It was an embroidery shop filled with every cute whatnot a woman could want. On the walls were little plaques with sayings. One of the sayings was from an Okie named Will Rogers. On the plaque were nine little words. It said, "Don't let yesterday use up too much of today." I needed that quote to remind me of something I already knew.

It reminded me of Paul. He had a lifetime of achievements that may have been squashed if he had lived in his yesterdays. When we read Philippians 3 we see Paul is not looking back. His eyes are focused with ONLY what is ahead. Why? I think God shared something with me a few years ago in my quiet time. When I read those verses in my quiet time that day, I was reminded that people feared him when he was first saved. Now walking with fellow Christians, it is totally plausible that Paul ran into people he hurt or folks who had been effected by what he had done before receiving Christ. On the day I read this I felt the Holy Spirit say, "What would have happened if Paul would have looked back and not ran ahead with me ?" I wonder if Paul would have focused on his past how very different his future would have been? Living in regrets there might not have been a missionary journey ... ever. He might not have spoken with such authority in his letters or stood before the various courts to share Christ.

When I read Philippians 3:13-14 I see those verses differently now. I see that we have to be "all in" with Christ. We don't make life happen, we just run in abandon with the Savior who does. The prize hasn't happened yet. THE PRIZE lies ahead. Mess up or not Christ still chooses you and me. He isn't finished till we see him coming on that cloud. Till then, we run!

Guest what? My whatever-sis still hurts. Guess what else? I have to lay it down. I have have run. 2011 won't wait and I don't want to waste this year because I am only promised one day at a time as it is. I have decided... it is 100% a "mesis".  Because while it is a crisis, I am holding it and not giving it to God.

What do you need to lay down in order to run with God?

Philippians 3:13-14 "Brothers, I do not consider I have made it on my own. But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining to what lies ahead I press on toward the goal to win the  prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We are watching our four year old play with his favorite "present." It is a giant box that held his true gift. May you eat many cookies, laugh way too much, and celebrate God's love that came to mankind in the gift of His son.
God Bless,
Randy, Debbie, and children

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Who Has Time for Christmas?

I was a 12 year old waiting for Christmas Eve dinner at my grandparents. My favorite uncle had flown in from California. He'd flown into Oklahoma City that morning and my mom and I took him immediately to the mall for some last minute present buying. Uncle Joel was the quintessential "fun uncle." He always had a present, a smile, and would play games with you when no other grown up would. I didn't think he was ever upset until I watched the evening news that fateful Christmas Eve.

The kids and a few others were in the den watching the 6 o'clock evening news. Just as they were about to sign off they said, "some folks are a bit bah humbug this year." They then flashed to a segment in the mall. There they had earlier recorded my uncle who said something along the lines of he couldn't wait for all this to be over. He was tired and he just wanted to rest! He had said it so cross. There was silence in the room and then we all burst with  laughter! We knew his heart. He loved Christmas it was just that getting there that year was a little harder than usual. We all went to dinner where he was lovingly teased the rest of the evening.

I must confess that I am glad no one is interviewing me this year.  I don't know what I would say. This has been a rough December. There is a rumor going around that December started 19 days ago, but where it has gone, I have no idea! This weeks forecast isn't much better. It promises to be partly cloudy in my brain with a 100% chance of extra services. I think if I were interviewed I might say something like, "Who has time for Christmas? I'm busy!" Parties, life events, shopping has kept Christmas at bay!

To all you who may agree with me, I have a warning. Beware of a very real Grinch, who is always trying to steal Christmas. In fact, he is always trying to steal, kill and destroy anything that has to do with Christ. This year is busy. We went from zero to sixty as we as a body of Christ kept the church going. There have been school parties and youth parties at my home. We just decorated our tree Friday and we always have it done the first week of December. Financial choices have come into play this Christmas and we feel grateful for what God has enabled us to do this year.

Who has time for Christmas? You do, and if you are like me you might need to be intentional about making time this year.Spend sometime in your prayers today pondering the mighty act of God coming in the flesh. He was born in a stinky stable, wrapped in strips of cloth, and placed in a food trough for animals. Think about how God told Isaiah 500 years before Christ would come, where and who and how it would all happen. Imagine being on a hill on a dark peaceful night (just like you had 1000s of times before) when all of the sudden BAM! Angels appear and tell you a lowly shepherd  that a baby has been born and he is Christ the King! That story only reinforces my belief that God not only has a divine plan, but a sense of humor as well.

One of my favorite songs is "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns. Who am I that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name, and to come to save me? Merry Christmas to The King of Kings who gives the greatest gifts of all. First he came to earth, second he died for our sins and conquered death. I can't wait for his third surprise. I know his  return will be amazing and I look forward to celebrating the true meaning of Christmas for eternity.

Isaiah 9:6b "... and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the ever lasting Father the Prince of Peace."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pumkin Cheesecake, Weight Watcher's Style

A new friend of mine, Sharon Baijense, sent this recipe to me. It was amazing! I met her at the writer's conference. She had lost a lot of weight and has kept it off for quite a while. I wish her all the best as she shares her story with others.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 ½ cups low-fat honey graham cracker crumbs (12 whole cookies)
2 Tbs granulated sugar
2 Tbs light stick butter, melted
1 Tbs water
2 (8-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
1 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree/fresh pumpkin
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1.       To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Combine the cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, melted butter, and water in a small bowl, stirring until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Firmly press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and 2 inches up the sides. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Cool on rack.

2.       Reduce the oven temperature to 325*F. Put the fat-free cream cheese, light cream cheese, and yogurt in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process until just blended. Pour the filling onto the crust. Bake until the center of the cake is lightly set, 60-90 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven 1 hour. (Do not open the oven door.) Cool completely in the pan on a rack, about 30 minutes; refrigerate at least 3 hours before unmolding and slicing.

3.       Great Idea:  For a crunchy cheesecake topping, when preparing the crust in step 1, make an extra ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs. Spray a small nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the crumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool then sprinkle on top of the cheesecake just before serving.
 Per Serving (1/16th of cake):  211 Calories, 6g Fat, 3g saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 42mg Cholesterol, 319mg Sodium,32g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 9g Protein, 112mg Calcium. Points value: 4.
I found this recipe in WW Magazine Nov/Dec 2006 issue on page 141