Monday, April 30, 2012

Being Blessed in the Storm

{Finally- fun news! Check in Wednesday for an amazing Mother's Day Giveaway. Don't miss it!}

 You are probably aware of the health issues Ryan has been facing.  The best word to describe our last month is a "storm".  Oh man we are being refined and stretched in ways we never knew possible!

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat...

Joshua 25:4

We're both learning a lot right now.  I am especially being shaped in humility to rely on others  (meals, prayers, serving us), a need for prayer running through my bones, the faithfulness of a Proverbs 31 wife, and living out a call on my life to be Ryan's Help meet.

It's honestly hard to really thank the Lord for this trial, but I know we won't come out of it unchanged.

We thought we saw progress in his health as this week but it didn't last--as of Sunday night Ryan says he is pretty much back to "square one". So while we're still in the midst of the storm I wanted to share how we've been SO blessed by people and I hope it might inspire you to love on those close to you learning about sickness, suffering, or new life seasons.
  • Food- the international language of showing love if you ask me!  We have been SO blessed by meals brought by. It is exhausting to even think about meal planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning up.  Phew!  Sweet friends and family bringing by meals has been our sanity-keeper!
  • Prayers- a simple text or phone call that let us know we were being lifted up really encourages us.  I think it reminds us that we're not facing this alone. The elders of our church surrounded and prayed for us this morning and that was just like water to our thirsty souls.  So incredible!
  • Help- our generous, incredible friends and our families have been by on the roughest days to clean up or help around the house.  Wow!  Who does that?!  Such a relief to get chores done.
We'll continue to keep you updated on Ryan, his health, and what we hope will be progress.  Share other ideas or action you've ever taken to serve someone in a tough season-I want to know for the future!
My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Psalm 119:50

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Friday, April 27, 2012


Ryan Update:  Yesterday we found ourselves in the ER-the second hospital trip in a week.  To spare you the gory details Ryan experienced very alarming symptoms Thursday morning and our doctor sent us to the hospital.  No one has answers beyond diagnosing a fissure and a possible inflammatory bowel disease.  Our next step is to visit a GI Specialist. We are trusting God to heal him soon and provide relief in such an exhausting season.  We are grateful for YOU praying and loving us.}

In the midst of Ryan being sick and discouraged at his health we are just clinging to the Lord.  What else can we do??  Literally just holding on for even a little hope and progress.  All the while honestly I'm just thinking, "Ummm hey Lord...did you want to show up sometime soon???"

But the truth is, as tired as I am, as frustrated as Ryan must be, we aren't super surprised at all this.  Jesus promised that we would have trouble on Earth (Matthew 10).  This season has definitely been filed under that category.  We've learned to trust God more, pray with often tired hearts, and rely on His strength  beyond than any other time.

One positive thing coming out of all this is that we get to see people much more often when they bring us dinners, groceries, walk Harpo, or some other sweet blessing!! Wow!  So hey, thanks God, for good support and sweet relationships.

The only verse that makes any sense right now is this one, it points us to His work in our lives and a very clear refining process in the midst of this fire.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
329.  This song that my husband is clinging to in chronic pain and sickness
Rise by Shawn McDonald on Grooveshark
330. Nutella
331. Vision Plans for my sweet Mines ladies
332. Health & Hygiene Training at HWI
333. Wrestling through major issues with the Lord
334. New blogs that I love and their sweet authors
335. Harpo cuddles early in the morning-that he thinks he is a lap dog
336. Yardwork blisters and smell of freshly cut grass
337.  Cloudy skys that might mean rain
338. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
339. Good friends to share life with
340. Uncertainty about decisions but leaning on Jesus
341.  Ceiling fans cooling down a room and how that reminds me of summer
I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Beholding Glory    

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Modesty: Saudi Arabian Style

Dressing and living as a woman of modesty has been a hot discussion point for us lately.  The value is so significant and it's fun to spark conversations about it!  Modesty is a spicy topic with lots of view points.  I enjoy knowing all of them-the Lord is so creative as to how He imprints this on our hearts.

Here are a few doable ideas to start dressing modestly today!

But what has been really significant in my processing about modesty is linked back to Saudi Arabia.

Background:  My Jesus-following, smarty-pants husband went to grad school in Saudi Arabia at a new university KAUST (King Abdullah's University of Science and Technology).  Basically the King knows that oil is not going to last forever in the desert so he instituted this new university to pave the way in environmental studies and renewable technologies!  We moved to the heart of Saudi just 8 weeks after we got married so Ryan could complete his Masters.  It was one of the greatest adventures we've ever been on!  And it has affected us positively every since.

I'm sure you can conjure up some stereotypical images of the Middle East.  Desert, hot, beige, and women veiled in black.  And it is from those women, who I am privileged to call friend, that I learned the most about modesty.  Let me explain...

My incredibly adventurous, and brave Father-in-law, Mother-in-law, and Sister-in-law visited us for Ryan's graduation.  Here we are out to lunch with our hosts at a local shopping mall.

Pictured above with us is my sweet friend, Noora*, my closest Saudi friend at KAUST.  She is a mother of some very little ones and pursuing her Masters!  Girl power!  I just love her.  We often talked openly about Middle Eastern customs, specifically how Islam directs virtually every way of life there.  Including how women dress.  I gained perspective from many women while we were there about modesty and the motives for it.

Let me clarify too, which pieces are which in the Saudi women traditional attire, thought not all pieces are worn by every woman:

Abaya = long black "robe"
Hijab = the head covering, something like a light scarf that covers the hair and head
Burqa (burka) = The small black veil or face covering that leaves only the eyes exposed

 Look at all those white people in the desert!  For respect for the culture, and our hosts, we wore the abaya and didn't mind it too much at all!  

 My mother-in-law chatting with Noora in front of the Red Sea

There are many reasons why the women of Saudi, and other Middle Eastern countries, dress the way they do but these reason were the ones I loved most.  These are the personal opinions of my friends:
  • An abaya allows them to decide who can enjoy her beauty.  Whoa!  Have you ever thought of it like that?  I am so in love with that idea.
  • The traditional attire empowers the women to choose that what is underneath her clothing is for only her husband's eyes!
  • Fashion is very popular in Saudi.  Does that surprise you?!  Underneath those abayas are some insanely high heels and cute fashions.  But for respect to God and to avoid unnecessary distractions they choose to express those fashions only in the privacy of their home or with close friends or family.
  • Finally, I learned that dressing in an abaya is a way to promote dignity and respect for themselves, from other men, and live in a way honoring to God.
What grabs my attention about Noora's and others motivation for modesty is that it is really a heart condition more than it is about what is on their body.  The way women of Saudi dress is significant but truly their hearts are gentle, honoring, and humble in all ways.

Noora, her husband, my Ryan, and myself at a KAUST dinner

Noora has brought so much refreshment to the ways I view modesty-clothing, attitude, or otherwise. She has motivated me to prepare my heart in a demeanor honoring and loving towards God and the rest follows naturally.

What do you think about this?  This certainly was a new way for me to understand a Muslim woman's perspective on such drastically different ways of dressing than here in America!

Does it surprise you that modesty can be empowering for women?

I am not naive enough to believe that every woman wearing an abaya does so by choice or for these reasons but through  knowing my friend's opinions in Saudi I believe the attitude and perspective presented here is not always the minority.

This is a unique and new view on modesty that I would love to hear your opinion about!  All I ask is that you do so with respect and gentleness.  Write on!

*Name change for privacy

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
321. Friends different from me but sharing common ground nonetheless
322. Our patio being finished!
323. Ginger tea to cure stomach aches
324. Freshly mopped floors
325. Slow Monday nights to let Ryan rest and heal
326. James 5:14 and a legit church to cover Ryan in prayer
327. Seeing God change us and sanctify our hearts
328. The gift of ibuprofen-it has cured many a problem around here for us lately!
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar and add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Home Office/Guest Room Re-Do

[My post about time with the Lord: Your Week Started Well, is featured here this morning. Exciting!]

With the help of my fantastic, helpful sister I finally got around to finishing up our second guest room and home office this weekend.  It's spick and span and ready for someone to come stay and enjoy!

In the midst of taking care of Ryan, being at doctor's appointments or just spending time with him, a clean house and organization has been (rightfully) put on the back burner.

It felt really good to come up with a vision for the space and then get to create it.  Plus hanging with my sis is time I look forward to!  I feel inspired and refreshed when I have the time and energy to accomplish things.  Don't you?

I really like the way this room turned out.  It just took a quick trip to Target for the brown blanket, pillow shams, and a lamp.  Other than that I "up-cycled" what I already owned to add accessories.

I want our guest rooms to be relaxing for guests-browns, whites, blues, and creams.  

We don't have headboards on any of our beds but I just pile up pillows to fake the look. 

I think the book wreath shouldn't stand alone-maybe a burlap banner that says "Sweet Dreams"

Hey free desk!  Added a clearance lamp, picture frame I already had,, and an orchid 

A nice, bright work space!

Before shot: SO disorganized and dusty

After shot: Love how it all came together

Enjoying our new space and continued organization of our home!

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
314. Slow, sometimes choppy progression for my husband's health
315. Laughing out loud
316. Teasing Ry and hearing his laugh
317. Planning an early birthday party for Ryan-pinatas and goodie bags
318.  Endless lattes at my house thanks to an amazing coffee machine
319. Lentil soup, fresh juice, and dark chocolate covered almonds
320. Harpo coming back from a week with his grandparents-we LOVE that guy!

Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
Psalm 96:6

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar and add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Unique & Refreshed

This weekend I attended a local Mini-Conference called Uniquely Made: Displaying the Glory of God.  Let me just tell you that it was a highlight of my spring so far!

The teaching, worship, and time with legit women was so what I needed.  I'm beyond blessed by all the work that obviously went into hosting this event.  Uniquely Made centered around showing off who God is and how we are built to display that glory. Don't you love that??

The breakout seminars were hosted by women from all various walks of life who are honoring God by how He built them.  The 3 seminars I attended were Displaying God's Glory in Social Media, Motherhood (not a mom yet...someday!), and in Missions.  You are so creatively and masterfully knit together with certain skills, relationships, passions, and more to point to the Lord.  Gosh, it's just astounding when you dig deep to find out how and where live it out!

I encourage you to head over to Beholding Glory to check out more from Laura and Stuff Angi Does by my friend Angi (the masterminds behind this conference) and discover all of the ways you can behold God.

Laura speaking and teaching-this woman can preach it!

The gorgeous table centerpieces and conversation starter, a picture survey Soularium 

All the speakers brought us back to scripture consistently-appreciate that rooting! 

Are those paper flowers adorable or what?!  The extra touches made everything feel so beautiful 

Look at all those women soaking up what God prepared for us this weekend

New and hilarious friends, Elizabeth and Tina 

Sweet college friends-Hannah & Angi 

Oh yes there were bags filled with goodies!  Bottles water, pens, lotion, chocolate, and more! 

A conference worth getting to next year if you can make it to Denver for 2 days!

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
303.  Ongoing conflict resolution skills with my husband
304. Mom who brought us lunch
305. Ali & Daniel who brought us dinner-we are so blessed!
306. Y-lo bringing us garage sale finds and canned goodies
307. 8 mile drive to get Winchell's donuts for a quick date
308. My husband's personality and heart
309. Mondays
310. Accomplishing things this weekend
311. Reading through 2 Kings and 1 Corinthians
312. Uniquely Made conference-time with friends, refreshed, and so God honoring
313. How creative and BIG our God is

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, people who belong to God.
You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God,
who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
2 Peter 2:9

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar and add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ryan Update

Ryan is totally knocked out asleep as I write this--thank goodness!!  That is a major change from him being up every hour and running a mega fever last night (his 3rd fever this week).  Our last 24 hours were pretty brutal honestly.

For those of you praying or following Ryan's health  we wanted to give you a quick update:

Yesterday afternoon we started at a regular doctor's appointment but the exam was incredibly painful for Ryan and set him on a super discouraged and sick trajectory for the rest of the night.  Since no answers were given our doctor sent us to Lutheran Hospital immediately for a CT scan-which thank the Lord-showed nothing!   Our doctor prepped us to hear things like abscess, tumor or cancer.  Yeah, that is beyond terrifying.

But we're so relieved and grateful that none of that is going on.  What started as a 2:30 pm doc visit turned into a looooong day with scans, hospitals, and feeling so confused.  What a brave man Ryan is!

When we arrived home our amazing friend Matt showed up with healthy dinner to bless our socks off!  It was so nice not to cook after that. (Yes ladies, Matt is a single man!).

This morning, we had a consultation with a surgical specialist and she gave us real answers--he has a fissure and some type of inflammatory bowel disease.   She gave us topical anesthetic, daily regimens to stick to, and really just hope.  That's a nice change!

This new doctor was SUCH a specific answer to prayer-we asked the Lord last night for a gentle, caring, wise person to care for Ryan.  Let me just say that when we come across a medical professional who is not numbed out by the toll of their career, we are beyond grateful.  She was compassionate, tuned in, and personable.

So all that to say, Ryan has been conked out this afternoon, and feeling a little better with some numbing cream, ibuprofen, and lots of rest.

Keep praying!  We are waiting for the Lord to show up and take care of all Ryan's health!
Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

Acts 4:30

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar and add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Healthy Eating & Juicing

[Check out Day2DayJoys-my Spring Cleaning link-up was featured as a Top 3 last week. Exciting!]

Healthy eating and living allows us to THRIVE.  It's an aspect of our life that Ryan and I are passionate about!  

We realize that we can make a choice every day to put something good and nutritious in our bodies or stuff it full of junk.  It takes the same amount of time to eat a a big greasy slice of pizza as it does a veggie loaded, whole grain sandwich.  

As we face Ryan's health issues right now it has become even more important that we maintain a healthy, organic eating plan.  No diets, no impossible foods-just real life, responsible living because that is what sets anyone up for long term success. 

One of the largest allocated sections of our monthly budget goes towards healthy food, supplements, teas, and other health additions.  We value it because taking care of our bodies is Biblical and lets us serve the Lord and others better.  Plus we just feel so dang good when we eat well!

Our fridge lately-stock up with good stuff and you'll be sure to EAT GOOD STUFF!

We run food and health purchases through these questions:

1. How natural is it?  Aka How many ingredient does it have?  Anything more than 6 ingredients usually starts to get sketchy.
2. Would I feed this to a kid?   If I wouldn't want my niece or any other little one eating it because I know it won't help them grow or function well-why would I let myself eat it?
3. Does this encourage or hinder my health?  Pork Rinds? Hinder. Kale? Encourage. Chips?  Hinder.  Salmon?  Encourage.   It's a simple way to measure your choices.

I would encourage you to think through one simple, attainable step towards healthier living this week.

Maybe it's leaving those cookies on the shelf and making our own healthy batch at home
Swap the chips for vegetables and hummus
Taking in more water instead of soda

What can you do?  Try these recipes for more ways to spice up your plans!

And in the spirit of our passion for wellness we've added a new addition to our morning to try and speed Ryan's recovery: freshly pressed juice.  It gives us TONS of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

(I'm not a health expert so not sure if it is wise long term to just drink juice for breakfast.  It seems like protein, healthy fats, and carbs would be important too to start your day.  Something to consider...)

In case you have a juicer or are thinking about getting one let me share the recipe we have been enjoying for the last 2 weeks and we feel super invigorated and energetic (despite Ryan's issues)!  This is a stupendous way to start the day!

Kick-Start Morning Juice
Serves 2

2 apples
3 stalks celery
3 carrots
2 small beets
1 bunch kale
1 cucumber
1" chunk of ginger (optional)

Add to your juicer as your machine directs.  Stir up well, pour, and enjoy.  Chill for an hour if you enjoy colder juice.

Other goodies to try in your juice:
Romaine Lettuce

 All the sliced goodies ready to be juiced!

The juicer model we bought-really loving the ease of fresh juices available to us!

Juice on!  And live this week with a decision to honor the Lord with your body-you have a temple to look after and you are worth it to Him to be well cared for. (1 Peter 5:7, Luke 12:28, 1 Cor 6:13 )

What are your healthy eating habits and why?
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar and add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

day2day joys

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Announcement...We're Moving!

 Where you might ask...*drum rollllll*

To Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic!

What a swanky place to call home for awhile!  It's gorgeous but the poverty is also astounding.  We don't necessarily expect a tropical vacation with this move...

Ryan's work, Healing Waters International, is sending us to the DR to create the space and time for him to best serve in his job for a few months.  He works for the most unique, adventurous company and I am honored to follow him overseas!  This is what we dreamed about doing together-traveling the world to follow our radical, unconventional God!  We leave May 14 and will be gone for 9 weeks.

We are thrilled!  A few thoughts and details you might wonder about, I know I did!

-The idea was suggested about 2 weeks ago--HWI gets things done!  We shared as soon as possible!

-We will be living in an apartment as well as have access to a car.

-Please pray for Ryan's speedy healing from the physical pain and complications internally the last few weeks.  We want him to be FULLY healed even before we leave.

-Harpo (our golden retriever) will stay with my parents.  My adorable sister keeps offering to take him although Harpo once jumped on her white skirt with muddy paws and got her car all hairy...they have a love-hate relationship I believe.

-No garden this summer.  However a garden pales in comparison to getting to move south with my husband for a summer adventure!  Maybe a fall garden?

-And what will I be doing while Ryan works you ask?  Well I  have fabulous directors with my work and they are allowing me to take assignments with me while we're gone.  They are so supportive and amazing!  There are also plans for me to be trained in HWI's Health & Hygiene curriculum.  I love teaching and I love health so I would be honored to contribute that way.

-Ryan is pretty much fluent in Spanish but I am definitely not.  I need to learn quick amigos.  His CEO gave us a Rosetta Stone disc set so I know how I am spending some down time.  I know a little French and my Arabic abilities are embarrassingly low but Spanish shouldn't be too much trouble, si?

-I will be blogging regularly to update on our adventures and share what we're experiencing. We want you to be  a part of this move!  As long as there is internet, we will be posting.

This is a look at the Ozama River in Dominican Republic.  It won't be uncommon to see trash dumps like this polluting the water and interrupting lives.  That's why HWI is there!

There you have it, The Deckers are moving to the Dominican Republic.  I am just astounded at the Lord's goodness to let us move and be his hands and feet overseas.  We're built to be overseas (much to our mother's dismay-they are excited though!). Now we are working on getting things in order to move in just  27 days!

Oh and come and visit us this summer --we would love to show off the Dominican to you :)

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

P.S. Check out this article from the Denver Post to learn more about Healing Waters International
P.P.S Did you secretly read out blog title for a second as "Announcement...We're Pregnant?!"  ha, I almost did and I wrote it!

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Your Week Started Well

Welcome the morning with a big mug coffee and maybe even a donut just because...this is a rarity in our house however!

The most energizing part of my day is from 6:00-7:00 am.  A little early for the word energizing maybe, but it's true!  I know I have posted about this before but I think it is the MOST important thing for your heart and life:

Relationship with Jesus.

Brew a pot of coffee this morning, pour yourself a hot cup, and curl up somewhere cozy with your Bible before anything else.  While your house is still and perhaps you're the only one awake, let the Lord meet you and fill you up for the day before you.  He genuinely wants relationships with YOU!

Here are a several ideas to try today or this week:

Write a letter to God.
Read through several Psalms.
Pick a book of the Bible, any book, to read 1 chapter a day.
Find the Proverbs that coordinates to the calendar date and allow the wisdom into your day.
Try this's my personal favorite
Journal prayer requests or favorite verses and what God brings to your mind as you read
Pick a phrase or word that speaks to you and meditate on it
Or walk through your time with the Lord in some other way!  God's Word is as dynamic as you

I hope this week is adventurous, life-giving, and joy-filled!

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
292. Mom bringing us dinner tomorrow
293. Hanging with Uncle Kev and the Deckers on Wednesday
294. Leader's Retreats and student leaders
295. Writing for a June blog devotional-more on that coming soon!
296. Stacey & Jason's wedding date set
297. Electric blankets for my sick husband
298. Being a bridesmaid for one of my best friend's wedding this fall!
299. How my husband loves cheesy, chick flick movies :)
300. Rain and the freshness it brings
301. Titus 2
302. Lots of rest on the weekends
303. Our juicer to make healthy drinks to start our day!

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Romans 5:11

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

WorkingKansasHomemaker Photobucket

Thursday, April 12, 2012

ALL Circumstances?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18


Are you sure Lord?  How about this circumstance...

How about where my husband has a crappy chronic intestinal disease that no one can figure out and that has sucked the life out of him the last 2 weeks?  How about THAT circumstance?

Oh, that is included in "all"?  Got it.

Ryan has been battling serious health issues for the last 2+ weeks.  A little background: he has had intestinal issues for years-bloating, bleeding, pain, sensitivities etc.  Doctors have suggested everything from a gluten intolerance to Crohn's disease.  But no definite conclusions.  But for the last several weeks something changed and he has been dealing with more intense symptoms.  He is so brave and persevering!

  The physical pain has left him just laying on the couch every night and under some very sever Dr. Wife remedies.  We think we have it narrowed down to what the problem is but to avoid TMI (too much information) we'll spare you the gory details.  Ha! 

So anyway, my sweet husband has been so persistent in his walk with the Lord despite this crappy physical pain that drains him in all ways.  I admire and respect this man so much-it's amazing to be able to watch him trust Jesus fully!  We're weary but not shaken.  And what has comforted Ryan most in his daily times with the Lord is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (see above).

We should be thankful in every condition, even in adversity as well as prosperity. It is never so bad with us but it might be worse. If we have ever so much occasion to make our humble complaints to God, we never can have any reason to complain of God, and have always much reason to praise and give thanks: 
-Matthew Henry's Commentary

I really appreciate Henry's view on this.  Praise should be given to God in the hard and the easy.  We have every reason to praise Him and every reason to bring this hard season before Him.  Yes, Ryan's physical condition is a big deal and it would not be authentic for us to say "Thanks so much for the pain Ryan is in. We LOVE this illness.  Thanks God."  No way! But I can find myself praying:

Thanks Lord for what this sickness has shown us about our own hearts, character traits, walks with you.  Thanks for being a God who walks through it with us.  Thanks for not leaving us.  Thanks for giving us the hope of 1 Thes. 5:18 and resetting our hearts on you.  Thanks for Jesus dying on the cross because our world is broken and for Him knowing exactly what Ryan is going through (Hebrews 4:15)

And even outside of me being tired and my husband being in pretty much constant pain.-we have SO much to praise God for.

Jesus being our Rock
Each other
Supportive family
Faithful friends
The Bible's promises to cling to
A home we love to rest in
Jobs for income
Other parts of our body that function healthfully
Wisdom to be healthy
Health care
Resources to make healthy decisions (grocery stores, Internet, doctors, money, time)
Getting approved for life insurance even in the midst of this!! Wow!
Jesus as our hope

So that is where we stand today.  Feeling discouraged at Ryan's physical condition but hopeful in Christ.  And totally aware of what Jesus asks of us.  Jesus promised us suffering so I don't want to be surprised when it comes along.  He also asks of us an honoring attitude and heart towards Him when things are hard.  I don't want to be a phoney baloney Christian who's just is in it when times are easy.  I know I am not reliable in my thoughts/feelings/perceptions because I'm a dang sinner but thankfully God is consistently reliable.  He is Who He says He is and that means strength and more than enough for what burdens we carry.

We're standing on Him in this.  

Updates to come-- please pray for Ryan and this situation in the meantime!

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
281. Encouragement of 1 Thes 5:18
282. Our new juicer to help with digestion issues
283.  Exciting news coming up with Ryan's work
284. Full Easter celebrations
285. Students sharing the gospel at Mines
286. Our internet being restored!
287. Spring continuing to usher in to Golden!
288.  A house with SO many  tulips in their front yard-gorgeous
289. Anna deciding that I'm a real blogger because of my modesty opposer, ha :)
290. Random Chipotle lunch with Ryan and his boss
291. Joy of reading in Philippians
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance...

Romans 5:3

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Obsession: $1 Bin @ Vitamin Cottage

How beautiful and springy is that picture?  Love it.

Is there a Vitamin Cottage where you live?

It is an AMAZING store and best of all?  They have a dang DOLLAR bin!

They take produce that is ready to be eaten that day or the next, bag it up in groups and mark if for one Georgie Washington.

Today I found 4 large heirloom tomatoes (gave 2 away to a friend)
Last month I got 2 green peppers and a head of lettuce.
Find the apple bag and you have endless supplies for applesauce or apple crisp!

The bomb diggity if you ask me.

So what would I do with those?  Make some fresh bruschetta.  Oh yum!

Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Basil Bruschetta

One loaf crusty bread
2 large heirloom tomatos, diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (give or take to your taste)
1 tsp olive oil
5 sweet basil leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Start with your bread.  Slice into thick pieces.  Warm a good amount of olive oil (a few tbsp) in a deep skillet until hot.  Place bread pieces in pan until browned evenly on both sides.  Golden, crispy goodness!

Combine all other ingredients in a bowl, mixing well.  It's even better if you can make this about 30 mins ahead of time, even before the brea, and let everything marinate together.  

Top bread with tomato mix and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you like!

It's one of our favorite meals in the summer, especially with Farmer's Markets available--Enjoy!
May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.

Genesis 28:3

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!


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