God knows just what we need…

February 22, 2018

Go figure, right…God thankfully knows exactly what we need and we should trust in Him and trust that His plans are greater than ours.

This past weekend we had a fun weekend trip planned with our friends, one that we had looked forward to for months! In the stressful weeks leading up to it we (my friend and I) both vented how we couldn’t wait to have a fun and relaxing weekend with our families all together. The kids were all packing and talking about the adventures we were going to have.

I had been praying for over a month that we would all be healthy and nothing would stand in our way of going as planned (and because it was already paid for as well!). I still couldn’t help this feeling in the two weeks leading up to our weekend that someone was going to be sick or something, getting in the way of this perfect weekend from happening. Well I guess, unfortunately, my gut feeling was accurate; my daughter woke up Thursday morning with a fever. Sure enough, it was the dreaded influenza.

Side note: I was obviously very concerned about her first and foremost and was sooooo thankful for all the praying and concerned family and friends we have. Her case of the flu was much shorter than it could have been! So very thankful for that and for the power of prayer!!

Unfortunately, there was still quite a sting of disappointment in our house as we realized our weekend away was not going to happen. I have to admit I didn’t deal very well with this disappointment- I felt so badly I needed this break and looked forward to just relaxing and laughing with our friends for the weekend! I was not only looking forward to time with our friends but a fun time together as a family and time with my hubby; he’s been so busy with work and extra obligations lately. We were also supposed to take a weekend away together as our Christmas gift to each other, but after other expenses arose we decided this trip with friends was our only trip for now. So now, no trip. In turn I was a total grump for the weekend; not a very good example, I know. It’s no fun unpacking from a trip, let alone a trip you didn’t get to go on.

However, I know it could be so much worse, it could always be worse. Thankfully my daughter wasn’t worse and so far thankfully, no one else has caught it.

It took a couple days to snap out of this pity party, grump funk I was in. I started by turning to God and admitting I was being a jerk and continued to praise Him for the restored health of our daughter! Not something to take for granted, I know! But as I knew and was reminded of by my friend, it’s ok to tell God how you feel or what’s on your heart. He cares.

Yesterday I felt really blessed and felt like God was giving me a hug through the people around me. It was just little things, but they were all so appreciated.

Started my day with my running partner, which I may have taken for granted prior to this winter, because our runs together aren’t as often due to weather, and it makes me thankful for the days we do get to run together!

Next, my hubby surprised me with a card waiting for me in the car to start my day; it was super sweet and totally unexpected, and a great, much appreciated smile to start to my day. 😊

Then, this was definitely a God thing, my secret pal at work surprised me with a random gift…and not just any gift, but a devotional book and some of my favorite chocolate candy, with a sweet little note that read ‘what goes better with chocolate than God.’ How sweet and the timing was perfect. I don’t believe in coincidences. 😉

Then to top it off, this morning I was spending time reading my devotionals, including one we are doing with our church during this current season of Lent, ‘40 Days with the Holy Spirit’ by R.T. Kendall. Today was titled The Holy Spirit Overrules and talked about times when God might overrule in your life. You may have set plans, when God in turn says, ‘nope, sorry, I have something else in mind.’ Well thankfully God has got it going on, lol. He is good, He knows more than we do, and His plans are always better.

So, 1. He knew exactly what I needed – blessed me with some extra love and pick-me-ups when He knew I needed them, and 2. For whatever reason, we weren’t supposed to go this past weekend, it’s ok, I trust it was for a good reason and I accept that His plans for me are better. (I know this was just a little hiccup/small disappointment in life compared to so many other bigger issues, but I am glad I was able to learn something from it in the end.)

God is good and He cares; tell Him what’s on your heart and trust His plans for you.

Daily devotionals…

January 7, 2018

I know there are many great Bible apps out there or apps for daily devotions, but I enjoy visiting the Crosswalk website for their daily devotional.  I read the daily devotional that they offer, by a variety of different authors. My husband and I also started taking advantage of one of their devotionals for couples as well, since we finished the book we had been reading together before bed. This has been something new for us to do together in the last 6-8 months. There’s definitely something to the saying ‘Those that pray together, stay together.’  Spending time together with God, through devotions and prayer, has brought us closer than ever before; we both wish we would have tried harder to do this from the beginning of our marriage 12+ years ago. 

I wanted to share a blurb from our devotional last night: 

As the new year has just begun, and many are focusing on new beginnings and fresh starts, myself included, this is a good reminder: Our words are either building each other up or tearing each other down. There’s a lot of power in our words; they can stick with someone for a life time- good or bad. As I have set a goal or resolution to be love, I hope to keep this fresh in my mind and allow my words to lift others up. Like our grandmas and mothers have told us…’If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ Enough said, I guess. ❤

Christmas get together…

December 28, 2017

Our family has attended many Christmas get togethers so far this year, with two more to go actually.  In addition to making time for family over the holidays, we also make time for our friends as well. Tonight we had a Christmas dinner followed by a game night with our ‘life group’ or church family. We are so thankful for these people we ‘do life with.’ They are definitely God given friendships that have formed from meeting regularly, discussing God and the weekly sermons, the things going on in our day to day lives. It’s a great feeling to have the support of a group of friends who genuinely care and offer helping hands when needed, and are always there to pray for or with you. And of course we’ve all gotten really good at laughing and having fun together; tonight was an opportunity to do just that and enjoy a great meal together.

Our meal tonight was one that tops all others. One of the families in our life group makes a ‘Turducken;’ this was our second time enjoying this combination of a turkey, duck, and chicken. I can’t imagine the time and effort that goes into the days of preparation for this triple bird meal. Our friend has seemed to perfect this delicious meal, as we were able to eat the tender meat with nothing more than plastic forks; so moist and delicious! We appreciated the meal as well as the time with our friends. I think the thing that makes our life group work is that it’s a priority to all of us; we make time to meet and look forward to all getting together.

My contribution to the meal was- you guessed it- a dessert. I initially made a grasshopper cheesecake yesterday, then late last night I remembered our friend and the chef of the turducken, doesn’t like the chocolate mint combination. So this morning I began to look for a different recipe to make, and one that I had all the ingredients for as I was longing to finally have one day where I didn’t have to go anywhere; it’s also less than 5* out today! Anyway I chose to make a brownie bottom cheesecake with a cookie dough topping. Thankfully it seemed to turn out pretty well; I say this because I have had my fair share of flops in the past month. Oy.

brownie bottom cookie dough cheesecake

Anyway, the recipe was adapted from the chunky chef’s. I love brownies, and cheesecake, but could do without the cookie dough. My honest review was that it was too sickening sweet for my liking, but otherwise it turned out just fine and others seemed to enjoy it (thankfully).

brownie bottom cookie dough cheesecake3

Brownie Bottom Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Brownie layer:
1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour

Cheesecake Layer:
3 (8oz) pkg of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
1 Tbsp flour

Cookie Dough Layer:
1 stick margarine (softened/almost melted)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Chocolate topping:
1/3 cup MILK chocolate chips
1 tsp vegetable oil

Prepare a 9″ spring form pan by covering bottom with parchment paper and then spraying with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350*.
To make the brownie layer, in a saucepan melt the butter and chocolate until smooth, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to help speed up the process.
In a bowl combine chocolate mixture, milk, and eggs. Then add in flour until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-28 minutes. (Once brownie is removed from oven, reduce oven temp. to 325*.)
Begin the cheesecake layer with cream cheese and eggs that have been allowed to come to room temperature. Combine cream cheese and sugar and vanilla until smooth. Then add sour cream or greek yogurt (I would normally recommend using plain greek yogurt, but all I had this time was vanilla greek yogurt which worked fine!). Add each egg, one at a time. Remember to scrape down the sides of your bowl with a spatula. Lastly, gently mix in the 1 Tbsp of flour. Pour in pan over brownie crust, Bake for 50 minutes; or until the middle is still ‘jiggly’ but the rest/outer edge is set. (Take a knife and run around rim of cheesecake to help prevent cracking as it cools and pulls away from edge of pan.)
Cool gradually in oven for 30 min or so, less time if appears to begin cracking. Then cool on counter further before placing in refrigerator. I cooled for several (4?) hours before adding the cookie dough and chocolate topping.
To prepare cookie dough, simply combine all ingredients in the order listed. Then spread over top of chilled cheesecake. Melt the milk choc. Chips and vegetable oil in microwave safe bowl and drizzle over the top of the cookie dough layer. I placed melted chocolate in piping bag so that I had more control over where the chocolate went; but this would not be necessary.

brownie bottom cookie dough cheesecake2

Your story…

December 22, 2017

Word press says: Share your story here

It must always say that, in this space where I begin typing; but today was the first time I noticed it. It’s funny because it coincides with the title of one of the books I’m reading, a devotional by Matthew West (a well known Christian singer and song writer), The Story of Your Life.  

(Good song too… Story of your life.)

We all have a story and life experiences that have shaped and are currently continuing to shape our story.  I often pray that God would use me and its exciting when He does. You don’t always realize it at the time, but then you look back and have one of those ‘aha’ moments and you realize that God knew exactly what he was doing (duh) even if you had no clue. Sometimes your story involves some sort of struggle or adversity and we all find ourselves asking Why!? Well I like how Matthew West put it, instead of asking ‘Why, God?’ we should ask ‘What are you up to, God?’ So instead of focusing on the negative that we’re going through, we should shift our focus on Him and trust that He has a greater purpose for us and our lives and there is a reason for what we are experiencing. It may not be easy; it probably won’t be easy, but I trust that if God brought me to it, He will get me through it. Cling to Him. “The deepest need that you and I have in weakness and adversity is not quick relief, but the well-grounded confidence that what is happening to us is part of the greatest purpose in the universe.”  What He has planned is much bigger than us and much greater than what we are going through. And I have hope that by doing this, shifting my focus, He will bring forth the joy that He promises; like Paul who was filled with ‘unshakeable joy’ despite being in prison.

West goes on to quote C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks in our conscious, but shouts to us in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” 

My husband and I have our own story that began with us growing closer to God and resulted in a total transformation  of our marriage and a renewing of our vows this past summer. At first I thought it was just an awesome thing for us, but every so often (at least 6 times in the last 4 months) I’ve had people mention it to me or ask about it and I realized that this is Our Story to tell, to give God the glory; it’s exciting to see God working, in us and others. I’m thankful for Our Story, one that perhaps I’ll share more about another time, and how God continues to work in our lives and marriage. 

Do you have a story of how God is working in your life? You should share it with others! Are you currently experiencing a struggle or adversity? Ask God to show you more about it or ask Him how he wants to use you and trust that He will get you through it. ❤

The Power of Prayer!

December 12, 2017

I’m so ecstatic right now… God is so awesome!
Never underestimate the power of prayer! God wants to know the desires of your heart.
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
I like to ‘Go Big or Go Home;’ I pray hard for miraculous things to happen and for all the glory to go to God. It is hard, to say the least, when you pray really hard and whatever you were praying for doesn’t happen the way you wanted it to, especially when it’s a request for healing. I find comfort in Romans 8:28 (NIV): And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. It doesn’t mean that everything is going to be roses and sunshine, but it means that you can trust that even when the answer is No, or things don’t go as YOU planned, He has a greater plan and that there is a purpose for everything.
But today, there was an answer to prayer that was a YES! And that is why I am ecstatic and so full of joy that I have to share it with you! I have been praying for a couple weeks now, for healing for my friend’s mother, and someone who is also dear to me as well. I requested her permission to share this with you. She was having some issues, and then a lump was discovered in her neck area that needed a biopsy. The biopsy was scheduled for today; I told my friend from the time she told me of this lump, a couple weeks ago, that I was going to pray that it would be completely healed and gone and that there would be nothing there to biopsy when the time came. Well, I received a message this morning that read: “Nothing there to biopsy this morning!! God is good! Thank you for praying!!!!” I got chills and my eyes filled with tears of joy! I was and am still so excited for this answer to prayer! God IS so good!
So please, never under estimate the power of prayer! Talk to God! He wants to hear from you and know the desires of your heart! Not all the answers will be what you wanted or hoped for, but we can rest assured that He knows what is best! We are certainly praising Him today for this answer to prayer! Amen!


Hunting and Running…

December 8, 2017

It’s currently deer hunting season and so far I’ve seen way more deer running in town than my husband has sitting out in his tree stand for hours and hours. (He’s not too happy about this fact.)  On my early morning run today, I stumbled upon 5 deer (all doe I believe) right in town near our Elementary School; all within 15 yards of myself.  I’ve seen them there before; and in the winter when I’m out running before the snow  plows have come through, I have been able to follow their tracks often enough to know where they regularly come from and where they are normally headed. A few weeks ago, during archery deer season Whitney and I counted 11-13 deer in town one morning on our run!! In town! I love seeing wildlife on my runs…everything except skunks that is!

I honestly never used to understand why people liked to hunt so much – like eat, sleep, and breath hunting…in nearly every season.  I couldn’t imagine getting up before the crack of dawn, to sit in the woods, in the cold, wind, rain, snow, etc. and call it fun.  Then about two years ago it hit me, while I was out running during hunting season, in the very early morning, before the crack of dawn, in the cold, wet, somewhat icky weather…and loving every minute of it.  It was then that I realized how much some people must love to hunt because that is exactly how I feel about running.  Rain or shine, I’m out there because I just love to run. Hunt on, boys (and girls)… do what ya love, love what ya do, right?

Not my best stats this morning, I had some kinks, aches & pains but it was still better than not running at all! 🙂 (21* clear morning; didn’t feel as cold as it sounds.)

I have a sign in my office that says: Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.  For me that’s God and running!  What makes your heart race or gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you have a passion for?


I’m very thankful for my ability to run; I try to never take it for granted. I enjoy setting goals for myself and feel better when I have something ahead of me that I’m striving for. I’m not sure if that’s always a good thing but I guess as long as you don’t let it ‘become your god’ or your only focus, it’s OK.  Most of my goals are geared towards running, however I have had other goals related to education and parenting, etc. 

I was bummed I didn’t reach my goal of a second marathon for the year but I felt better knowing  that 1. I had completed the training for it, even if I was crazy running 20 miles for no reason, and 2. I was still striving to reach my milage goal for the year.  Last year I had set a goal to run 1000 miles in a year, for the first time.  It came down to a very snowy day in late December but I was able to reach the mark.  I felt I had to improve upon that number and was going to strive for 100 miles a month or 1200 miles for this year.

I honestly only set these goals for myself; not having a care in the world what anyone else thinks of them. I was thrilled with the 1000 last year but honestly didn’t feel like it was a big deal… people do it all the time, including my running partner who had well over that last year. It wasn’t a huge deal but I was thankful to have met my goal. 

I am thankful to have met the goal I set before myself again this year. I enjoyed a celebratory run with my partner in crime, Whitney, who has been by my side for many of those 1200 miles this year. Thankful to have met her on a random early morning run last fall! 

I run in the dark, the cold, the wind and rain and snow…not just to reach goals but just because I love to run that much! Do what you love, love what you do! 

Good food…for the most part…


December 4, 2017 

Well, sometimes you win some – like grand slam, out of the park – and sometimes you lose some…like big fat flop. In reference to food, we had some of both this weekend.  It had been a while since I had such a baking flop! I was so excited to make Carrot Cake Cheesecake for a special birthday this weekend, as I’ve made it in the past and its super yummy!  I put a teaser on Facebook and couldn’t wait to share a picture of the finished product with you all… but perhaps I was a little too proud of my baking abilities.  It definitely was NOT picture worthy…edible, but not picture worthy.  Honestly, it could have benefited from a few extra minutes in the over (as if 15 extra minutes wasn’t enough already).  Oh well, like I said, ya win some, ya lose some…live and learn.  Thankfully the celebration was with my family and they were all kind and said it was delicious; but I have tasted it when it was delicious and this did not measure up!  Hopefully it will be share-worthy next time I make it! 

On to the things that were share-worthy: 

Fresh sautéed pears over French toast for Sunday morning breakfast hit the spot after a quick 10 mile run.  It was a crisp, beautiful December morning at 30* and another beautiful sunrise.  They aren’t all brilliantly vibrant in color, but they are all beautiful.  The run was exactly what I needed as I felt God ‘fall fresh on me;’ needed to feel renewed and to destress.    

For the birthday celebration my hubby was firing up his new smoker that he built himself a couple months ago.  His tastiest creation so far has been this melt-in-your-mouth, super tender and moist, bursting with flavor, beer-can-chicken.  It is seriously so good- like the grand slam, out of this park good I mentioned earlier; by far the best chicken I’ve ever had.  Honestly, he doesn’t really ‘know his way around the kitchen,’ so for him to prepare two rubs and a marinate to inject into the chickens, all by himself – and have it taste this amazing, I am super impressed!  I’m going to have him share more details on his homemade smoker and beer-can-chicken recipe in the near future….stay tuned. In the meantime, this is for your viewing pleasure (and if there was only a way for you to smell the aroma that lingered around the outside of our house)… 


I also had the pleasure of helping my little chef, Lila, create her own pasta salad side dish to go with dinner…stay tuned for more on that later in the week.  And lastly, my sister-in-law brought the tastiest oven roasted, maple glazed mixture of vegetables; they were so good everyone, including the kiddos asked for seconds! I might be able to share that recipe in the near future as well!  Lots of yummies to be on the lookout for! 

 Finally, here is the recipe for the pears we enjoyed for breakfast.  The recipe was adapted from Annie’s Eats, which is one of my favorite food blogs (she now offers more than just recipes…).  In her recipe the pears are intended for a homemade granola, which I have made before and is very satisfying as well; I would recommend it!  They would also be a great topping for waffles or in a ‘stuffed French toast,’ perhaps on pancakes as well….or even ice cream (sweet after thought)!


Sautéed Pears 

2 Tbsp butter 

5 pears (I used bartlett)  

2-3 Tbsp honey 

1 tsp vanilla 

½ tsp cinnamon 

 Melt butter, add pears, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until pears start to soften, edges begin to appear translucent, and juices are released.  Then stir in the honey, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined. Continue to cook a few more minutes.  Enjoy. 


A big responsibility…

Every morning on my way to work I listen to the Family Life radio station and like clockwork the last 3-4 minutes of my commute always consists of the radio program ‘A Word With You’ by Ron Hutchcraft. I wanted to share today’s with you because it really hits home. The title is: Driving better when you’re being watched. Here’s the part that I think grabbed my attention most: 

You can be a reason they’re attracted to Jesus or a reason they reject Jesus-a major factor in whether they spend forever in heaven or hell. Did you know that most people who come to Jesus do it because of a Christian they know? Did you know that most people who reject Jesus do it because of a Christian they know?”  (You can listen to or read the whole program here.)


This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this. I think about it quite often, especially everytime I feel like I’ve screwed up. I don’t want people, especially those who don’t know Jesus yet, to look at me and think ‘if that’s what a Christian looks like, I don’t want any part of it.’ I’m not perfect, I’m a work in progress and always will be, and I have to try my best to remain close to God so I can live the way He wants me to. Life is hard and we’re all human and speaking for myself, I can think of many, many times in the past where I shouldn’t have ‘vented’  or over reacted, or should have bit my tongue or been more patient. At least I can learn from my mistakes and try to do better.  I’m a Christian, a work in progress, and one who wants to turn people TO Jesus, not away! 

On another note, it was a great morning for a run- I love my Friday morning runs…TGIF! 40* on December 1st, I’ll take it!

Baked goods and Jesus…


November 30, 2017

In my Run for God devotional, one of the questions this morning was: ‘What do you share with others that gives you the greatest joy?’

I have always loved sharing the food that I make, especially baked goods, with others.  At every job I’ve had, I’m always the coworker who brings in baked goods to share.  I run into people from my previous places of employment and they still comment on missing my ‘yummy baking.’  I’m thankful for my ability to bake and I do appreciate seeing people enjoy things that I’ve made.

In the past I have compared sharing Jesus to that of sharing baked goods… I don’t ever want to ‘bug’ people, but I do often invite people to church…it’s like when you have your favorite food – let’s say a luscious cheesecake – you want to share it with people, you want other people to try it too because you think they will like it!  That’s why I invite people to church, especially people close to me.  I LOVE our church, our church family, and the way God speaks through our Pastor. I love having a relationship with God and looking back and seeing how things have changed in my life for the better because of that relationship.  Why wouldn’t I want to share that with others? I want them to experience it and enjoy it as well.  It’s never about judging anyone or saying or even thinking, ‘Man, I think you really need to go to church’; not at all.  It’s always out of love and just a desire to share something so wonderful that many are missing out on.  So for my friends and family, neighbors, etc. reading this – don’t be offended when I invite you to church, just know that I love you enough to share my yummy delicious cheesecake… and my church with you.