Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reuse . Refurbish . Recycle


There is just something about that word, so many meanings. It's clean, it's fresh and it's yours. But sometimes these new things that we want or need are not always easy to get. Expenses are the hurdle we need to jump and we are not always willing, nor is it worth it.

Well, in our sometimes seemingly repetitive daily lives, new things can be something refreshing. But, you don't have to get something brand new to have it be new.

An ongoing project I have for myself is redecorating my room. In the process I needed a new nightstand, but was not willing to pay prices for something simple. So I rummaged through my house for something I could find and planned to refurbish it. I found an old white nightstand with green handles that was a little nicked up and not the most attractive.

There was no way I was going to put that thing into my room. But despite it's jumbled look, it still had a good basic shape and the wood was in good condition. With a little love and just over a week's time, I sanded the white paint off with a hand and belt sander. That paint was layered on THICK. When finished sanding off the paint I filled the nicks and dings with wood putty to even it out, let it dry and lightly sanded those surfaces again. Then I began painting. I chose to paint the unfinished interior white and chose a sky blue exterior paint. Those green and pink striped handles were hideous so I went to my favorite store Anthropologie and chose some new handles. Before placing the new handles on I polyurethaned the whole thing to protect the nice paint and...


I love it so much. When you make something new out of something old, you feel proud, you have bragging rights and you save $$$. This baby cost me about $30 for paint, drawer pulls and sandpaper. Most of the materials I needed like the belt sander I already had at home.

What will you refurbish? Release your creativity by rummaging through your house or checking our this seasons garage sales or consignment shops. Please share with me your new things :) I love to hear.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Guilty Victim

You know the saying, "Innocent until proven guilty." Well, I think that I am no longer innocent.

Joining in the choir of pain with those around me, I have had my fair share of hurts, pains and let downs by others. I'm sure you can relate... We have all been hurt in our own way and all feel alone at times because of it due to this absence of relation of pain. Our feelings are legit. Our hurt is real, our pains sting for years and we can probably still feel the raised scar it has created on our hearts, souls and minds.

As I feel my scars, it's easy for me to think, "Oh poor me. Look what's been done to me." Although I have been hurt, I do not have the right to wallow in that pain and loneliness day in and day out because really, it's not all about me. When I make it about me, I may consciously or subconsciously use it to my advantage and in turn create scars on hearts that do not belong to me. *GASP* Knife to my heart with the truth... those hearts that I have created scars on do not belong to me, but to God.

Scripture that I often want to run far away from when I'm hurting is:
Philippians 2:3-7
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."
We are also told in 1 Corinthians 10:24 to seek the good will of others and not just ourselves.
And in 1 Peter 3:8-9 to live with brotherly love and with tender hearts. This is so important with our brothers and sisters of Christ.

Pain is not fun, but amidst that pain, it's still not all about us. This is one of the most challenging places I find myself to be in at times. The Guilty Victim. When I long for comfort and support in suffering, pain or hurt, there are others around me who too long for a similar if not the same sense of love from me. My pain is not the center of the universe, although it may feel like it at times, but we must be reminded that our God, the only One good and holy is the center. The One who has chosen to personally love us through this pain. In pain, in hurt, in suffering, let's be reminded that we are to encourage and lift one another up in each other's hurts, but let us seek the Lord for strength to do the same for others. I need to remember to pray daily that what I do is pleasing to the Lord, and in what I do, I am also thinking and placing my brothers and sisters before myself. The Lord is with me, so whom shall I fear by even placing others before myself? He has not forgotten me and will not abandon me.

A community of believers is vital. Honesty is of the essence and forgiveness is not an option. As our scars heal and as we continue to look to God for that strength, we must forgive those who have hurt us and caused scars. The scars I have should be used to glorify God not basking in unforgiveness; scars tell a story and we all have a story to tell. Scars also heal and strengthen not only us, but those around us. Our scars may seem insignificant and small, but to others they are evidence of a God who helps and heals; a God who will continue to walk with each of us through our pain and yet remind us gently that we are vessels to be used to glorify Him and help heal others.

So yes, I am the guilty victim. I have been hurt, but I am far from perfect. I have hurt others with cutting words, actions, reactions and who knows what else. Let me just say I am thankful that love does not keep a record of wrongdoings and I am thankful that God is love. May the Lord give us strength and season our words and actions with love and gentleness to our brothers and sisters. With Christ as our example of the most humble servant, who's offered us eternal life with Christ, may we love and learn selflessness each moment.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NYC... So Much to See

Yesterday was a splendid kind of day.

As each of us know, jobs and daily living can retard us from going places that we'd like to whenever we'd like to, but this Saturday was not one of those days.

Several friends and I took a trip to the famous East Coast City, NYC. 5 of us piled into my friend Tiffany's cute mazda and drove East on 80 to take us to the big apple, singing random songs and laughing hysterically almost all the way there. It was a much needed trip for all of us.

We had lunch at Heartland Brewery near the Empire State Building and tasted some beer samplers. That was enough to satisfy our appetite along with some good pasta dishes and burgers. After this, we walked around for quite some time and found ourselves moseying on over to good old Times Square. We window shopped and then moved on. We pondered if we should pay for a horse and buggy ride, but decided against it and settled for a short stroll and rest in Central Park instead.

We finished the day in Greenwich Village with a delicious belgian waffle and warmed ourselves in the local starbucks where people watching is a sport. The end the day a man came up to me singing E-I-E-I-O... I like your hat!

What a refreshing day with loved ones.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scrambled Hollondaise

I have not been up to date, yet again, on my food blogging. Yes, cooking is still something I love doing and find it relaxing. Most often I share with you my successes in cooking, but today I will share with you a failure.

This morning I was craving something slightly different than the normal egg, english muffin, bacon and fruit, so I thought a nice twist on things would be to create some hollondaise sauce and pour that on top of the egg and english muffin with some sauted spinach. Let's just say that nothing turned out as planned. The hollondaise sauce is supposed to be smooth, creamy and deliciously unhealthy for you, but mine turned out to be a more or less scrambled egg yolk in melted butter. I will not give up, though. I will try again, and I do hope to write about the success of the Hollondaise :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not My Steps

"The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
From the first time I have read this verse I nearly claimed it all to myself.

What am I doing here is a question I have all too often been asking and the answer is always the same, "Trust Me," says the Lord. And how am I to argue with that answer? From the creator of the world in all His majesty who has presented me faultless before God... He has silenced me.

There are days when it's difficult though. This is not the way I imagined my life of service to the Lord thus far. My selfishness thinks there may be a better way, and my jealousies cause me to compare my life to those around me. God deserved my undivided attention and I have given Him a staggered one; this is shameful, embarrassing, and sometimes I just wish I could hide from Him in shame like Adam and Eve in the garden.

On this path, there have been so many bumps and turns -- some turns sharper than others -- that keep leading me to God. It seems sometimes that there are not road signs for these sharp turns and bumps, but then I am reminded that God's word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Ps. 119:105). Throughout His word we are told to Trust, we can read stories of those who have and should have trusted and know that the outcome is right in His eyes.

- These are not my steps -

Friday, April 2, 2010

Almond Crusted Chicken & Kale

Well, recently I made some almond crusted chicken breast... really good and not too difficult. You can find an assortment of recipes online which all have different additives. I put bread crumbs, brown sugar and crushed almonds in mine. Before dipping the chicken in a beaten egg so that almonds etc. would stick to it, I seasoned the chicken with some salt and pepper to help enhance the flavor of the almonds and bring out the slight sweetness of brown sugar. While the chicken was roasting in the oven for about 45 minutes, I added a little bit of water and lime juice to the chicken to enhance the flavor even more and also keep it moist.

Though this chicken would not be complete all by it's lonesome. So Today -- after I received my first paycheck from the hotel --- I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some kale and lemons. After getting home, I cut and prepared the kale into bigger than bite-sized pieces. I placed a bunch full into a large saucepan and added oil to begin the saute process. Letting saute for about 30 seconds, constantly moving it so as to keep the process even, I then added some salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and freshly squeezed lemon to taste. I like my kale a little crunchy, but you can saute it as much as you like or as little as you'd like. It was a refreshing, inexpensive side dish to my almond crusted chicken :)