Friday, September 30, 2011

Cheddar's...need I say more?

Some things never change.  My taste buds' delight in Cheddar's is one of them.  When I moved to Fort Wayne to attend Taylor University, I had no idea that a restaurant would become such a landmark for fun and good times...not to mention great food. 
As college days go, there weren't a lot of extra funds (can I say none) to go around, but once in a while, we would make a special trip to Cheddar's and it was always memorable.   I remember times my best friend and I would go and split everything just so we could go to Cheddar's and still afford it.  I'll even admit we went and only ordered our favorite menu item...the one and only Cookie Monster.  It was worth the drive across town! 
Cookie Monster to go...yum!
Some of my favorite times were with my wing's trip there with putt putt afterwards...a bridal shower of one of my close friends...a surprise birthday party my friends threw for me (that's a story in and of itself :) )...and every time I go back! 
I have found 5 other Cheddar's outside of Fort Wayne...and I've visited them all over the past 10 years.  Exciting times while traveling are when mealtime rolls around when in range of a Cheddar's! 
I can always work in a Cookie Monster for dessert, too...even if on the go.

The best warm, soft chocolate chip cookie EVER!
It may not be pretty , but it makes up for it in taste!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

blending in is not an option

But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.  Leviticus 20:24

Studying in 1 Samuel, I read the account where the leaders of Israel approached Samuel and asked for a king. Samuel's sons were next in line as Samuel was aging, but the elders said they (basically) didn't trust his sons' leadership.  They had a good argument, in that, verse 3 states that the sons of Samuel accepted bribes and tended to pervert justice. Who would want to be under that leadership?
It was impressed upon me through the commentary I was studying, that a major problem with their desire for a king was that they were looking around them at other nations and wanting to be like them.  Forgotten was the fact that God had set them apart from the other nations.  They were to be different.  God was the One to follow after, not the other nations.  They needed to be seeking after God's plan for them, not using the nations they'd been set apart from as their guide.  They had God Himself to guide them. 
What were they thinking?
Probably the same thing I think at times..."I hear you God, but..."
I know I'm supposed to be content, but "this" will make me happier.
I know my heart is supposed to be fully committed to You, but I don't want to do what You're asking me to do.
I know "this" isn't something pleasing to You, but it won't hurt anything to do "it" anyway.
I know my identity is to be in You, but my friends do this and have that...surely it will work for me, too.  
I was reminded of this lesson as I went about my week.  Anxiety levels were high. Focus was yesterday's memory.  Other people's lives and things were easy to look and and wish for.  Satan had darts flying from everywhere at me.
God reminded me as I was making the bed one day that the cares of this world will pass away.  I am His.  I am set apart.  He makes the sun rise, surely He can move into place His desires for my life.  His will is perfect.  His timing is divine. 
I admit it was (always is) hard to combat satan's schemes and have enough energy left to listen and obey the Truth.  I fail.  God extends grace. 
The key is looking at God first and remembering He has set me apart. 
Blending in is not an option. 
He deserves more from me.            

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello, Fall!

No longer can I deny that a new season is upon us.  The first day of fall has arrived on the calendar.  Summertime, which I have grown to enjoy with every ounce of my being, has officially come to an end for 2011.  Playing off of a Dr. Suess quote, my facebook status for yesterday read, "Not crying because summer is over, but smiling because it has been a great one!!!"     
As I spent last weekend in Indiana with my family, I saw hints of fall that will not be evident in Georgia for many more weeks.  I was reminded of the beauty of the fall season.  This must be the reason why my favorite time of the year used to be fall.  Hands down, it won above all the rest.  Fall in the midwest is simply beautiful. 
My heart softened toward fall's arrival with the reminder of its beauty.   
Clean, crisp air. 
Colorful leaves. 
Harvest time. 
Popcorn and apple cider. 
Jeans and hoodies.
Hayrides with friends. 
Pumpkin yumminess.
Warm memories, good times, remembered.
Hello, Fall!  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

my heart soars

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,
the dew drop on the flower,
speaks to me.
The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
and the life that never goes away,
They speak to me.
And my heart soars.
~Chief Dan George~

Thursday, September 8, 2011

a little fishy

Over Labor Day weekend, we went camping with some friends from our church.  High Falls State Park has a lake and water falls (usually) that create a nice river for fishing not too far from the campsites.  Due to how dry it's been this summer, there were no falls happening but there still were spots to go fishing.
There was an off and on drizzle occurring, so it made for great fishing weather.  A group of us went down together...all of us camping together had boys...8 boys 10 and under.  Thankfully we had several of adults along, too, because that's a lot of fishing poles to keep baited.  The fish were biting, too, so the activity level was pretty high in our little area on the rocks out in the riverbed.
I just happened to be standing between Alex and Tim when they both caught fish at the same time.  Their lines were even crossed and twisted together.  Alex had a small bass about the length of my hand from fingertips to wrist and Tim had a little crappie.  I untangled the lines and took off the fish for them.  Alex threw his back first, then I turned to take Tim's off for him.  As I handed Tim his fish, he grasped it in his little hand and lifted it up to his face and talked to it so cutely.  "Hi, little fishy!"  He would have taken it home with him, I do believe, if it were possible.  He said a goodbye to the cute little thing and released him back into his river home.
Being a mom of boys rocks!
And, I did catch a fish - a baby bass about the size of my left index finger.  Talk about cute!   
Now you know who Tim gets it from...   

Monday, September 5, 2011

L.E.N.S photo challenge: pattern

Debated on several photos for the "pattern" challenge this week. 
This one won out over them all because I simply love the whimsical moose pattern found on each plate at Moose's Tooth Pub & Pizzeria
It's a favorite when in pizza ever and fresh brewed cream soda (plus the moose patterned plates) makes for a great eating experience!

Other patterns in this week's challenge can be found over at Home Is Where You Start From.

It's here!

Thanks to friends, Kim and Al, my salmon fishing experience happened and is on video.  Seeing this took me right back to the moment.  I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to fish in Alaska and, now, to have the video is just icing on the cake!
My salmon never made it to the riverbank, but a few days earlier, Kim had caught one approximately the same size/weight as my one that got away.  So, what was on the other end of my line looked and most likely weighed very similar to hers in this photo...

Don't laugh at me, but about halfway through the video you may notice that I switch hands for reeling...I just may have dropped the pole if I hadn't given my hand some relief.  That would've even been more disappointing than the line snapping.  A gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do...even if it looks funny while doing it. :)
I love Alaska...and miss the people and the land everyday that I am not there.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

God Moment

Today I became overwhelmed. 
Anxiety knocked at my door...and entered my heart. 
Things seem impossible.  Dreams seem out of reach.
The unknown...agony or adventure? 
I cried over the meatloaf not getting done in time to eat before having to leave for church.  Yeah, I was a bit stressed.
Over and over, all afternoon, I kept repeating Philippians 4:6 to myself, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."  When I felt my heart racing the words, "Be anxious for nothing." were on my mind trying to make it to my heart.
Having to dig deep just to keep from just going to bed, I forced myself to get ready for church. In the back of my mind was the saying I heard awhile back in college. "The day you most want to skip out on church is probably the day you most likely need to be there." Whoever told me that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I knew what Pastor Brian was preaching on.  We're in Hebrews 11...the faith chapter (go figure)...ready to cover the verses on the faith of Moses.  In my heart, I kept holding onto the little something inside me telling me that there was something for me at church tonight.  Something specifically for me. 
The last verse that Pastor Brian shared with us was Isaiah 41:13 (HCSB)...
"For I, the LORD your God,
hold your right hand and say to you:
Do not fear, I will help you."
Oh, it gets better...
He goes right into closing prayer.  As I close my eyes, my Bible remains open to Hebrews 11, on my lap in the exact way and place it's been during the service.  As we are praying, I hear a page turn in my Bible.  It caught me off guard so much that I opened my eyes.  All through service my pages haven't been blowing back and forth.  There was no sudden draft that went across my row.  Why was my Bible flipping pages now?  What did I first see when I looked down at my Bible?  Hebrews 10:23.  Really.  It happened.
How that page turned isn't for me to speculate, but I know without a doubt it was by the direction of God that it did just so I would get the message intended just for me tonight at church.  I got my message...loud and clear.    
God is God and He is good.