Short & Sweet

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Perfectly Pear Salad

The unrelenting cold of winter can be so draining on your skin and your spirit.  But the good thing is few foods can be more refreshing than a salad.  Partner that salad with the smooth, warming effects of goat cheese and the sweet crunch of red bartlett pear and it's a perfect combination.



For the salad
1 box of fresh greens
1 cup of chopped walnuts
8 oz goat cheese crumbles
2 red Bartlett pears cut into slices

You can choose to toss all these elements together or to top your salad as you go.  One caution: the goat cheese is very creamy and as it temperature acclimates it will loose it consistency especially after you top this salad with it's dressing.






For the Dressing
3 tablespoons of honey
1 heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons oil*
   *I prefer the light taste of the grapeseed oil, but olive works just as well

Whisk all of the ingredients together very well and top off your salad with a deliciously tangy and sweet dressing.





Link Ups
9

/// Making Home Home - Choosing the Right Look for Your Home



It’s been a hard day at the office. No one appreciates the hard work you put in – they never have. Your innovative approach goes unnoticed, your thoughtful dress sense and thorough personal grooming are wasted on these bums. And worse, they smell. Your colleagues smell. You’re the best. And they’ll never know. It’s time to go home and relax. What you need now is a wide screen TV, a glass of diet coke, a few snacks and a big comfy sofa.

Sofa so good
Now the serious chilling out begins. Try switching off all lines of communication to the outside world. Mobile phone, social media, email – give it all a rest for the night. Crazy talk you say? True couch potatoes know that removing all distractions is a must. Now switch on the TV, navigate to a suitably engaging show and ease back my friend.

How’s the room looking? 
Too garish or messy and your chill might be disturbed. The most relaxing rooms are fresh, simple and stylish. You don’t have to have Sevres porcelain or handcrafted Mayan knickknacks on your mantelpiece to achieve such style. Make it classy with neutral toned ceramics and maybe a candle here and there. Go for fresh flowers to add a splash of color.

When it comes to sofas and armchairs it’s nice to have a bit of a mix and match approach with colors and patterns; there are many shapes and styles to choose. Don't go overboard with throws and avoid cushions that are 30cm square or less. Big cushions, big comfort. As a general rule be bold and simple when trying to achieve peak relaxation. 

Now you need to put the final touches to your living room/relaxation orb. Get some artwork up. Make it striking yet unobtrusive and you’ll be onto a winner. Consider how it will work in the space you have.

A word of warning 
Make sure to recline in a safe way during your well earned rest. In the midst of a good old sprawl on the sofa it is all too easy to forget about your posture and give yourself strains and aches. Next time you sink into a “relaxed” position, check in with your body. Are you truly relaxed, or is it just a familiar posture that you associate with relaxation? Then notice: how do you feel when you get up? These simple checks should help you avoid injury. Unfortunately there’s no avoiding your smelly colleagues – they’ll be in the office waiting for you tomorrow

Image by Stewf used under the Creative Commons license.
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/// short & sweet + a giveaway for a $25 Gift Card to Chili's

8

/// Stop Dreaming. Start Living. + a $25 Chili's Gift Card Giveaway


The following is taken from a talk at Bixby First Assembly of God for their Intentional Women's monthly meeting.  As you are reading you might find that this talk is somewhat conversational, and might be best understood if read aloud.  The gift card giveaway is at the end of the post.


I seem to find myself daydreaming a lot these days.  Dreaming of places and people…dreaming of colors and sights. Sounds. Tastes. A touch.  

Some of these dreams take me to places that I have been.  I’ve walked their streets—felt their hard ground beneath my feet.  But some of them I have yet to live.  

Both dreams call me back to them.  They won’t release me.  I’ve tried to free myself from their pull. I’ve flooded my mind with entertainment—the television, loud music, crowded restaurants--but they won’t let me go.  Somehow they keep me captive.

I’ve bought things to try to replace the desire to visit my dreams...to live my dreams.  But in buying more I just accumulate things that tie me here away from where I was create to live...away from who God create me to be.  And somehow, knowing that, I allow them hold me prisoner barring me from really living anywhere—too caught up in my dream world to live in the present and too much a realists to believe that my dreams could come true.

I know that my dreams are not of my own making because if I could, I’d change them.  I'd change myself.  I’d change my personality.  I’d change my wants.  I’d change my mistakes.  I’d probably even change my successes.  My insides so wants free of this body and all of her wickedness and all of her limitations.  My insides want free of the fear that limits my capabilities.  I want to stop dreaming and to start living.

I believe, in so many of our lives, God has been calling us to stop dreaming and to start living.  Stop dreaming of our lost family coming to know Christ and start passionately pursuing them with His love.  I hear God calling us to stop dreaming of His power showing up in our lives—of Him using us to see miracles--and to start acting on the truth of His Word.  I hear clearly God commanding us to stop dreaming of reconciliation with friends and family and to start reconciling.  Offer forgiveness where it hasn’t been asked.  Giving love even where it’s not wanted.

Just as easier I could say...
Stop dreaming of a world with no human trafficking…
Stop dreaming of a world with no hunger…
Stop dreaming of the life you’re called to…
Stop dreaming…

Start living.

Yes, there are somethings that we cannot change.  I wish we could, but alas, our fallen world controls and limits God’s will. 

Understand me.  Our world and our will does not limit God’s power.  God is infinite and incredibly able.  Sometimes God's power does move of His on accord, but God's will is to use men and women to impact the world. 

Living in God’s will—God’s perfect will—is a beautiful thing.  Living is a beautiful thing.  It is a beautiful gift.

But an even more beautiful gift, a gift we give back to God for all of the gifts He’s given us, is to live His dream.

You see, I think God gives us dreams—you know the ones you can’t shake free from—the ones you wake up to and the ones that follow you to sleep—the ones you try to run from—those dreams.  They’re from God.  I know we all have them.  We may lie to ourselves and say we don’t.  We may have filled our lives with clutter clouding our hearing.  We may think we’re too old or too young.  We may say we’ve all reached our dreams. 



No, no.

Stop.  

Just stop. 



There.  There it is again.  A flicker of light.  There it is.  A jump of the heart.  There.  Right there.  A jog in your memory.  There it is.  That’s the dream. 

And I would imagine it’s probably something you can’t do on our own, so how could you have imagined it.

I told you.  Dreams are from God.

And just as the dreams are from God, so is life.

Life brings so many challenges.  Challenges can limit us.  Maybe your challenges are age or wealth or weight or circumstance or timing or health.  They are challenges and they are real and they do limit us.  But I have to believe that because dreams are from God and because they are a part of this beautiful, complicated gift called life—I have to believe that these limitations will never stop us.

Why?

Because we have something that the world does not have.  We have the power of God on our side.  We have the promise of Scripture.  We have the presence of God in us.  Around us.  Anointing us.  Empowering us.  Destroying every limitation in our way.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul plainly states, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

The Psalmist writes in Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will vindicate me: Your love, Lord, endures forever.  Do not abandon the works of Your hand.”

Paul writes again in 1 Corinthians 1:8, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So, I pose to you this.  How do we make this all happen?  How do I go from living a life of unfulfilled dreams to a life walking perfectly in God’s will?  How do we see these God given dreams come true?

More than anything this life is a waiting game.  We wait on God’s timing.  We wait on His plan.  But in all the waiting, we don’t give up.  We do what we can do.  Not sitting still, but ever moving towards Him and towards His will.  It does take work. 

Moses had to leave His family behind and journey to a land He did not know.  Ester laid her life on the line and went before the king to ask for the lives of the Hebrew people.  The disciples didn’t wait for the lost to come to them, but after they were given the power of the Holy Spirit, they went into the whole world and preached the Gospel of Jesus.

We can’t just wait and expect to catch up to God in this race.  God’s moving forward and we have to chase Him.  We have to move towards Him.  I feel that part of moving towards Him is obviously seeking His face in private and public, but I think it’s also helping remove some of those limitations that keep us so bound up. 

This afternoon, I cannot say that I’ve chased my dreams or chose to live.  It’s not because I didn’t want to.  I want to live and live fully, but I think I am afraid.  I’m afraid of failing.  I’m afraid of starting.  I’m afraid I won’t make people happy.  I’m afraid they’ll reject me.  So instead, I suppose I live paralyzed in my fear, drinking in entertainment and shopping quite regularly.  It’s funny, but it’s sad.

And then you wake up one morning and a new lie squashes the dream that was chasing you to sleep the night before.  Too much time has past.  You’re too old.  You’re too in debt.  And you think, “This is how my life began and this is how it will end.”

But that is a lie.  That darkness is a lie.  Don’t listen to that or those lies.  Don’t give the liar presence in your life.

Instead. today, right now, this moment, choose joy.  Instead, today, not wasting a minute, choose hope.  Instead, today, choose to live.  Choose to live God’s dream for you, do what you can do, and watch God remove every limitations.

Stop dreaming.  Start living.





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21

/// be original



I want to be original.

I don't want to be some cheap imitation of who someone else is or present some mimicked idea that someone else thought up.  I'm good enough and what I have to offer has value and my opinion counts.  It matters.

And, so does yours.

I challenge you, next time you have the opportunity to do something original don't phone it in.  Go back to the drawing board.  Gain inspiration, yes, but use those gifts God has given you and do something no one's ever done.  It's much more fun.
9

/// Four Things to Try this Month

In the dead of winter, it's easy to get depressed and bored with the dreariness of it all.  The cold, the snow, and the dead ground, but Spring is coming.  That's the hope.  Spring is coming.

But...until it does, here's a few things to try on for size.  They'll brighten you right up.

#1  I've spent the last couple of days at the beach, but if that's not a possibility watch a youtube video.  It will do the trick. (image source)

#2  Those first blooms will soon be coming through the frozen ground, but until they do, force a few blooms in a vase.  Here's a tutorial for you.  (image source)

#3 Let's face it, few things make us feel better than a new look, so go ahead and cut it off.  Change the color.  Do something new.  If will grow back if you don't like it. (image source)

#4 A year or so ago, Oh Joy started a campaign to brighten people's day.  Why not do that on a the day of love?  I they enjoy it and so will you.  Oh, and here's the video that inspired it all.  (image source)

There you have it.  Four things to try this month.  They'll brighten your world right up...and probably someone else's too.



15

/// short & sweet

9

///missed opportunities


Memories are a funny thing. These little pictures into the past can bring so much pain or so much happiness. But one thing is certain, we can stay held captivated in these little masterpieces for hours, maybe even days, if we'd allow ourself.

I had one of those memories today.  It wasn't actually my own experience, but I still remember just as clearly as if it had been...

Oklahomans can be characterized in a few words--three to be exact--God, Country, and football.  So naturally one would think when my sister, Dalayna, came in from the bus announcing the arrival of a famous ball player to her class my parents would have rushed to Wal-Mart to purchase a football.  Instead, they rushed to Wal-Mart and purchased a baseball.

I can only imagine the questioning looks when Dalayna walked up to the Seattle's Seahawks Hall of Famer, Steve Largent and hands him a baseball of all things.   His response?  He snatches up the ball, rolls it in his hand, and signs it...right on the sweet spot.

Over ten years later, that ball is still around somewhere, collecting dust, a testament to a missed opportunity.  Out of curiosity I found myself searching for the price of Steve Largent signed memorabilia.  You know, if Dalayna had taken a football that day instead of a baseball there's a good chance she could have made some money off that thing.  People will pay the most ridiculous prices for things like signed footballs and autographed helmets and original jerseys.  But we don't have a signed football or helmet or jersey.  No, we have a signed baseball.




It's easy to get side tracked in our memories especially the memories of missed opportunities.  Haunted by these pictures discouragement seizes it's opportunity.  Because we're discouraged we lose hope.  And because we lose hope we fail to remember who God is and what he wants us to do and who He's called us to be.  Hopeless, lonely, doubtful...anger just tends to become who we are.

But I challenge us to look past the hopelessness and the loneliness and the self loathing to see the truth.

Psalm 46:10, 11 (AMP) says this, '"Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God..." The Lord of host is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.' (emphasis mine)

Reality is every missed opportunity is gone.  It's not coming back.
Reality is missing opportunities brings us disappointment.  But disappointment can only paralyze us if we let it.
Reality is there's no going back.  There is only moving forward.

But in moving forward I have the assurance that God is with me.  In moving forward I know I have a refuge.  Let it be.  The past is gone.  Let it be and then be still and know that God is fighting for you.  There's no one better to fight for us.  He's the one who works all things for good to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)




We don't have a signed football or helmet or jersey.  We have a signed baseball.

But I don't know anybody else who has a baseball signed by the Football Hall of Famer, Steve Largent.  Do you?

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