Renewed

RENEWED

It’s not enough to have a “word” or a theme for the year. In order for real changes to happen, goals need to be set. Measurable, practical areas of growth and transformation. I have identified five sections of life that can use some rejuvenation.

1.Faith

~My relationship and understanding of YHVH and what I do in response to this knowledge.

2.Marriage

~Being a better wife and growing a closer relationship with my husband.

3.Children

~Parenting, intentionally getting to know my kids better, homeschooling, discipling, etc.

4.Reach

~This will include my friends and neighbors, relationships with extended family and outreach into my community.

5.Self

~Personal health and wellness are important and often take a backseat to caring for others, but it is so  critical to be my best so I have the ability to give to the rest of my list.

 

I will be making small, attainable goals and posting about each individual area over the next week or two. I hope you will join me in making 2017 the year for real RENEWAL.

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Out with the old….

Sitting here reflecting on what I was doing this time last year versus what I am doing now.

Last year was typical: gathering things for our annual family NYE fondue and games party. Pork and sauerkraut in the fridge for New Year’s Day. Getting ready to take down all of the Christmas decorations, lights and tree.

Things are so different this year: No tree or other remnants of Christmas. No pork (all beef hot dogs and turkey kielbasa with the kraut this year!). Preparing NYE food and festivities a day early since the first part of our celebrating falls on Shabbat.

So many changes took place in 2016. In every area of life. Internal and external.

And there will be many more shifts in the year ahead. As YHVH continues to open His Word to us, we will adjust accordingly. We must. Why? Well, as someone I respect very much said to me, “Once He shows you something, you can’t UNsee it.”

His job is to reveal. Mine is to respond.

This response has brought my to my focus for the year 2017 and the verses that I will cling to throughout:

RENEWED

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

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Deeper

As the end of each year approaches, I start to get introspective about life.

What have I accomplished this year? What have I learned?  What have I taught? How have I changed? How have I become more Christ-like?

I also start to pray over the coming year.

What do I hope to achieve? What do I want to strive for? What does God want me to focus on? How can I grow?

Several times I have chosen a theme for the year. A word (and many times, a verse) to sum up a central idea to keep my eye on while pursuing the goals I lay out.

After hearing a sermon that included the idea of “are your relationships a mile wide and an inch deep?”, I knew that the Lord was calling me to some new depths. So, my word for 2016 was DEEPER.

Oh my, did YHVH deliver on that vision.

When I prayed over the year and the focus of depth (deeper relationships, deeper knowledge and understanding, deeper belief) I never imagined the plans He had for me. This year has held some of the most intense changes I have experienced in my adult life. All because He has unveiled my eyes, thawed my heart and renewed my understanding of Him.

It was my intention to blog through this process more so that I had a record of my journey. Life, obstacles and laziness got in the way of that. There are more changes coming in 2017 and hopefully it will afford me the time and focus to do a better job at this.

I have my word for 2017 and I’m praying through it and discerning a verse. I will share it here in the next couple of days. In the meantime, what about you? Do you do anything like this? Special goals, resolutions, etc each year? I would love to hear about it!

 

 

Unwavering beliefs

As I start this journey, I have an open mind.

I don’t want to build my faith on man made beliefs.

I want to be firmly planted on the pure and unchanging Word.

So I am trying to UNlearn things I have read, been taught or picked up in some other way over the years.

Making room for the Spirit to teach me straight from the Scriptures.

However there are some things that I want to make clear from the very onset.

Unwavering beliefs that I know will not change because they are clearly stated in Scripture.

Truths that are true regardless of what else comes to light.

Hopefully these are the things that I can use as common ground with friends, family and acquaintances who don’t agree with changes I may make down the road because of my studies.

I BELIEVE

Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah.

He is the second person in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

He came to earth (born of a virgin) and lived a perfect, sinless life.

We are all sinful and separated from God because of that.

Christ willingly gave His life on the cross to reconcile mankind to their Creator.

Our salvation and eternal life is found only through the blood of Jesus. We can not earn our way to heaven by good works, obedience or keeping the law. 

God’s grace and redemption are not something to be squandered by living our lives for ourselves (or our family, friends, church, etc) We are called to make changes in response to our belief in the sacrifice of Christ.

As new creations, we are called to continually grow in our relationship with God– through prayer, worship, study of His word, etc. And this would manifest itself in outward changes  (behavior, lifestyle, interactions, serving…) as well as inward changes (renewing of our minds, deeper understanding, being more sensitive to the Spirit….) and is an ongoing process until the day we die (continual sanctification).

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is unchanging. Since Jesus is God, the same holds true for Him and thus anything God has said, He agrees and vice versa.

The Holy Spirit is alive in believers, moving and guiding as God wills. Therefore, we can learn and understand His Word without interpretation from other people (although learning from others is not BAD, it should be supplemental.)

I think that is a pretty good outline. Basically I am saying that I still hold fast to the basics tenants of faith that most Christ-followers do. I am just digging deeper to see exactly how God wants us to live by studying what He has said in His Word and the way that Jesus lived while He was on earth.

I have a strong suspicion that things just aren’t as they should be and I’m on a mission to fix that in my own heart, mind and life.

 

Mrs. Criddle’s pumpkin cheese cake pie {Pinterest: Find, Attempt}

For my first “Pinterest: Find, Attempt” post, I made Mrs. Criddle’s PUMPKIN CHEESE CAKE PIE WITH CARAMEL PECAN SAUCE. Oh yes. I did.

The point behind this series of posts is to see if the things that look so pretty on pinterest really turn out that well in real life when everyday people make them. In order to try this yourself, you will have to visit Mrs. Criddle’s blog for the recipe.

Here is how my attempt played out:

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First I made the caramel sauce. I didn’t have any heavy cream so I used half and half (this is the REAL WORLD people! substitutions must happen sometimes!!)

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It turned out lovely.

I didn’t have any pecans in my house. NEVER FEAR! When I have used pecans and walnuts interchangeably many times before. So…. in go the walnuts.

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Next, I made the crust.

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Do you see the amount of counter space I have to work with there? This really is how much room there is in my kitchen. So rest assured, if you live in an apartment or a trailer or a dorm room…..if I can do it, so can you!

I forgot to take a picture of the crust. Weird. It looked just like any other crust though. Turned out just fine.

Then I mixed together all of the ingredients for the pumpkin cheesecake filling. Well….. Do you see the size of my pie plate up there? When I see the directions to put the crust in a pie plate, I think 8 or 9 inch pie plate. Unfortunately, (or fortunately!) this recipe makes enough so that I could have made it in a 9×13 casserole dish.

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Improvise is my middle name (actually, it’s Marie) and I would never waste something that looks and sounds so delicious so I made 6 mini cheese cakes with the leftovers.

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First off, this smelled DIVINE when it was cooking! Oh lordy! I started to wonder how on earth I was going to be able to wait an hour for them to cook and another hour for them to set up in the fridge. Self-control isn’t my strongest fruit of the Spirit. Then I realized that the cupcake ones would be done sooner! After about 40 minutes, I pulled these out:

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And I did this:

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And put them in the fridge.

Since the pie plate was so full, it took about 10 minutes longer than recommended in the recipe to look done to me.

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mmmmmmmmmmm

followed by:

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And about this time I was ready to try one of the little ones even though it had only been about 20 minutes.

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Oh yeah.

After the pie set for about an hour in the fridge, I cut it, and being the amazing friend I am, I took a couple samples to two of my closest THM friends.

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Look below in the comments or on the FACEBOOK page for their thoughts on the taste test.

My rating: 10 out of 10 for ease of making, taste and appearance. I will definitely make this again.

PINTEREST PASS!