Saturday, March 23, 2013

What's For Lunch Next Week?

I wasn't really hungry for supper tonight, but wanted to go ahead and fix something to take for my lunches next week so I would have that done. I had no idea what I was going to do... I grabbed some Broccoli Slaw that I had found on sale and put it in the freezer, so I put that and some water chesnuts and celery in a pan with some garlic, cayenne pepper and a little five spice powder and a little olive oil. While that was cooking, I cooked some whole wheat elbow pasta. I combined it all after it was done cooking - added some rice wine vinegar and a dash of hot oil. I entered it on my "Lose It" website and per serving (it made about 7 servings) it is just over 150 calories. It hardly took any time at all to cook and I had some tonight and it was really filling and light and delicious. I know some people have to have a recipe to cook, but me... I typically look to see what I have on hand and start throwing it together. I know what flavors I like and I just toss stuff together and see how it turns out. I've never ruined anything to the point of not eating it. I'm trying to keep better track of what I'm putting in so I can enter it as a recipe on my "Lose It" site and track my calories.  Because I cook this way I seldom have the same thing twice - I might create something similar - just depends what I have on hand. This one is definitely a winner! Yummy!

On an unrelated note - this is what my "kids" have been up to most of the day. I love how each of them seem to have an eye on the other one just to make sure no one is making a move. They actually laid like this for quite a while. Buddy eventually changed positions and had one paw covering his face and was snoring away. Some days I wish I was a cat - they have a pretty tough life as you can see. :-)

Joyfully yours,


Blue Mountain

I really wanted to have my picture taken alone with Mandisa but it was crazy and fast so I ended up having it taken with 3 wonderful young ladies from church, which was great, but I had to crop it to have just a picture of me and this lovely sister in Christ who God has used through her book and her music so amazingly in my life.

The full picture is here... I love these girls!

So - what does all this have to do with "Blue Mountain"? Well, Blue Mountain is the newest album from Brandon Heath... the handsome guy in the picture with us. He talked about the title of the album and how it had come to be. C.S. Lewis is one of his favorite authors and he talked about how he read in a C.S. Lewis book a quote about mountains and how they look the same in the distance - blue and hazy but when you get close they are all just brown and green like everyone else. He talked about how we are all really just the same - broken hurting people in the need of a Savior. This picture of the mountains is seen clearly in these two pictures from my Colorado trip last fall.

I found this quote from an article: Brandon says, “So I really wanted to create this place called Blue Mountain and all of the characters because I think that the best way to know a place is to know its people,” Heath says. “In a sense, I’m actually inviting you to come closer to the Blue Mountains so that it is not so much of a mystery anymore.” He played some songs from the album last night - really good stuff. One of my favorite songs was "Jesus in Disguise"  - you can listen to it here Another favorite was "The Harvester" which you can listen to here

These songs both made me think about my life - God reminded me that He is calling me to be His witness where I am TODAY. I see truck drivers come in and out of the warehouse every day and I admit - they look like blue mountains to me - just a haze - they all look the same. But, if I took the time to just take a moment to look closer I would see they are brown and green just like me - they are people that have stories - a life - they may have a family, they may be alone, they may be hurting, they may be broken... I don't, and won't, often know anything deeper in these people's lives - but they come into my life for a few moments and I would be remiss to not take the opportunity God gives me every day to show them His kindness, grace, and mercy.

Mandisa shared about how she views her life as a timeline with a dot where she was born and a dot somewhere down the line where she dies or when Jesus comes back. And then there are these dots along the way - one of them stands out among the rest.... that one is red - representing Christ's blood and when she received God's gift of salvation. She talked about how she watches a lot of Law and Order and she imagines someday when she gets to Heaven it being like a courtroom scene from Law and Order. God in the judges seat in His flowing robe, the enemy - satan, the at the prosecutor table and her on the defensive side. She said she imagined satan standing and reading her long list of sins and reasons she shouldn't get into Heaven, for after all the wages of sin IS death. Then, her lawyer, Jesus approaches the bench, maybe says "Hi Dad" and says, you are right, Mandisa deserves death, but I paid the price for her and if you read that whole verse you just took out of context, satan, you would see it says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) Jesus would tell satan yes, she deserves death, but I paid the penalty for her. Then God, the Father - from the judges stand would declare her "Not Guilty" - which is the name of one of her amazing songs: "Not Guilty"  This courtroom image was pretty powerful to hear her describe - and I am so grateful I know where that red dot on my timeline is - August 1, 1985. That dot is the most important dot on my timeline and THAT dot is what should define me and my life.

I loved that when Mandisa shared the gospel and gave people a chance to respond she didn't just leave it there - she talked about how becoming a Christian doesn't make your life easy, actually the opposite is true - there will be hard times, God's Word says that in this world you WILL have trouble, but we are not fighting FOR victory - Jesus won the Victory already - we are fighting FROM a place of Victory. 

This was so powerful for me and such an awesome reminder. I am so unbelievably thankful for the time of worship and praise last night. God reaffirmed so many things He has been doing in my heart and life - it was a time of continual healing along my journey, a time of hearing Truth from God's Word, praising the Lord, being challenged in my walk with Him, an amazing few hours of worship. It honestly felt like I had just tasted a small glimpse of what Heaven will be like.... except it won't just be a few hours... "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun." Oh, how I long for that day - how I am ready for that day... but in the meantime - I'm to walk the journey He has laid out for me.

Absolutely unbelievably blessed beyond measure,


Concert Pics

I have been awake since 4:30 yesterday morning - it is now 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. I am still wired from the concert... yeah, it wasn't a concert - it was a worship service. I feel like I just experienced a tiny bit of what heaven will be like.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so this will be my longest blog post ever.


I think I can safely say a good time was had by all. I did get a chance to meet Mandisa - they did a meet and greet and signed things. She was surprised to see the book (most everyone had CD's and pictures to sign - the book was written in 2007 so she probably doesn't see many anymore). I told her I felt like I knew her, and she said if I read the book then I did. I told her briefly why I felt so connected to her and she said, "We're like sisters from another mother!" She is so genuine and sweet and it was such a blessing to be able to worship with her and have the chance to meet her. I am glad we will have eternity together because those couple minutes didn't last long enough. I feel like I could have talked to her for hours. God has used her in some amazing ways in my life and to be able to talk with her was so cool! I have many other thoughts - Brandon Heath was awesome and I have some stuff to share about his new album and just the whole worshipful night. The Holy Spirit was moving in mighty ways and it was a very healing and just amazing time for me. I'm so thankful I got to share it with my wonderful friend Susan and that we also ran into some people from church and got to hang out with them as well. I will have a picture of me with Mandisa once "her people" post it on her site. For now, it is 1:30 a.m. and I have been up 21 hours.... I should probably go to sleep.

Unbelievably blessed and thankful,


Friday, March 22, 2013

Soooooo Excited!

I admit, I don't watch American Idol and had not heard of Mandisa until a friend mentioned her to me on Facebook. I quickly Googled her, listened to some of her music, and read her book. Her story and mine parallel in many ways (except I can NOT sing like her - not even close!) She is a huge inspiration to me.

As I read her book, there were several times I thought to myself, "I could have written that word for word." Or, "I feel EXACTLY the same way!"

A few quotes:

"Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail. Being perfect is not what makes me a Christian. Being in a relationship with the one holy God makes me a Christian."

"I'd tumbled into the pit of despair, reaching for pizza boxes an bags of munchies instead of the Word of God. Instead of calling on the Lord to lift me out, I kept dialing Papa John's in an effort to fill my needs."

"The world has enough singers. What the world lacks are people who are willing to be transparent in their walk with Jesus. I want everything from my music to this book to point to the Lord and reveal how I've come to understand that, even in difficult times, Jesus is there and He has a purpose for everything." 

"Through counseling and prayer I am going to confront the hurts of my past and lay them to rest. I am going to turn them over to Jesus, who knows what pain is. He knows how suffering hurts. He has tasted shame and humiliation; He watched His friends desert Him in His hour of need. No matter what you or I have been through, Jesus knows our pain. And He bore it, Scripture tells us, because of the joy He knew would be His afterward (see Hebrews 12:2) Struggling with your addiction, whatever it is, won't be easy - nothing worth doing ever is. But the victory that follows will be worth the struggle."

(** All above quotes are from "Idol Eyes" by Mandisa Copyright © 2007 by Mandisa Hundley)

There were many more quotes - but you really should read the book yourself. She also talks about "diets" and how the focus should not be on diets but on healthy eating - something I believe and have been working on figuring out how to do. Her book is available on Amazon and there is a Kindle edition. It is a great read! Mandisa went through her parent's divorcing, abuse, suffers from emotional eating issues/binging, she is in her 30's and is single with no kids. We share SO much. But even if you don't share those things - her book is for anyone who has ever been disappointed, anyone who has ever struggled with an addiction. I love what the back cover of the book says, "I AM NOT THE AMERICAN IDOL. I'm a plus sized, thirty-year old black woman whose heart belongs to Jesus. I'M JUST MANDISA, and this is my story." 

So, why am I writing about this now? TONIGHT - I get to see her in concert with one of my best friends!  Now, anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a crowd person but this is in a church so those concerts are always a little less crowded. And, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to hopefully meet this amazing woman of God. I even bought a hard copy of the book in hopes that I will meet her and have a chance to talk to her and have her sign it. (I'm not really "into" the celebrity thing - but this is just a down to earth Christian woman who has, through her opportunities been given a grander stage) It would just be so cool to talk to her! I have heard they do meet and greets at her concerts (she will be performing with Brandon Heath). I am hoping and praying I have the chance to meet her.... stay tuned for more after the concert.

Giddy with excitement,


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WHAT Have I Done?????

I don't know how many times I said, "I will never sign up to run Dam to Dam again." I ran it once and it was rainy and humid (the start is pictured here) Dam to Dam is always the Saturday after Memorial Day - you never know how hot it could be. However, because for some reason it takes a race to motivate me to get my butt moving - which I desperately need to do - I have officially registered for Dam to Dam on June 1, 2013.

I deferred my registration for the IMT Des Moines Marathon I registered for last year so I am already signed up for it in October and I have NOT been good about getting back to exercising. Half marathon training plans are 12 weeks long and this is only 10 1/2 weeks away.... UGH

Well - this is it - time to get serious. Come June 1st Sherri will be running - or most likely running/jogging/walking a 20K. I can't believe I'm doing this again. My reward will be this:

Another finisher medal. But really my reward will be much greater - I will be healthier in every aspect. Getting out and running is so good for me physically, but it also helps my mental and spiritual state in so many ways. It is an awesome time to spend time in God's creation, listening to praise music, listening to the birds sing, praying... Ahhhh.... even though it is frigid out now (someone needs to tell Mother Nature TODAY is the first day of SPRING!!!) it will warm up and maybe since it is staying cold longer it won't be too hot on June 1st.... I can only hope! I'm all registered so now I just need to start putting one foot in front of the other and get moving!!!

Running the race to the finish,


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Three years ago tomorrow is the day David and I talked about getting married. He had paid for the repair and sizing of my Grandma's engagement ring and wedding band and I had purchased his wedding band (a tungsten carbide ring for its toughness - only problem is they can never be re-sized) So, when things went south I was stuck with his ring. A friend had been holding onto it for me as I couldn't stand to have it in my possession. I got it back from them yesterday and went and sold it. I didn't get very much for it, not nearly what I paid for it, but because they can't be re-sized they are harder to resell. I try to console myself that I would have paid the money to fix my Grandma's rings eventually so I wasn't really out any money (although truthfully, if I had waited and not bought his ring, I would have been ahead) But, there is no redoing what has been done. I decided to take a little bit of the money and get myself another ring to symbolize the hope that I have found over the past few months that has been missing for over 2 years.

I found this ring on e-bay today for under $15 and bought it. It should arrive on Saturday.

I did some research about emeralds and found out some interesting things that make me love this choice even more:

  • Green, by nature is the most calming of all the colors on the color wheel and encourages growth, reflection, peace, balance, and healing.
  • Emerald green also suggests the concept of eternity as the color green constantly renews itself in nature.
  • The emerald is also a symbol of faith and hope.
  • Because of its green color they are also associated with rebirth and spring and open the door to new possibilities.
The ring also has the Celtic Trinity symbol on each side and while this symbol has many meanings, one of them is that of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

After doing this research I am more convinced than ever that this is the perfect ring to give to myself using some of the money I got from the ring I sold. 

After I sold the ring yesterday I felt such a freedom - the very last physical link to David I had in my life is gone. As I e-mailed a friend "Free at last! Free at last!" 

I will wear this ring as an encouragement for growth, reflection and peace as I continue to seek after balance and healing in my heart and life. I will wear this new ring as a reminder of the faith and hope that I have in Christ, my reliance on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  I will wear this ring as a commitment to God to not settle for anything less than His best for me - even if it means being single until I die. 

Hopeful, oh so very hopeful,


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Discipline - Rather, Lack Thereof

Suck at discipline, I do. At discipline, I just suck. 

(For those who are not Star Wars fans - trying to insert a little Yoda humor in a somewhat serious post) 

* Side note - for those who receive my blogs via e-mail, I apologize - posting twice a day 2 days in a row is not the norm for me. I hope you don't feel obliged to read - if it's ever too many e-mails I won't be offended if you don't read and just delete - I know sometimes I do that with blogs I subscribe to - sometimes I just don't have time.

"He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray."

(Proverbs 5:23 ESV)

"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid."

(Proverbs 12:1 ESV)

These verses hit me right in the heart like a knife. 

  • I was supposed to stay off Facebook and Twitter for Lent, except to post FROM my blog.
  • There was to be no getting on Facebook and perusing and wasting time, yet I have.
  • I got rid of my digital converter box so I wouldn't waste time watching TV but have spent way too much time watching movies and TV shows online.
  • No matter what external things I try to get rid of - it is a heart issue.
“Lord, I don’t want to be led astray, I don’t want to be stupid. Help me to not suck so bad at discipline.”

Longing to do better,

Alone Yet Not Alone

I've talked a lot about the series we've been doing since the first of the year at my home church here in Huxley. The series has been on the Names of God and it has been an awesome experience of getting to know God better. Today's service was no exception, yet I find myself at a loss for words. Here's the link to our church website where you can listen to the sermons online for yourself if you would like: just click here.

This morning two of our youth shared a song called "You Were On The Cross" by Matt Maher. This song spoke very deeply to my heart - these past few years I felt like I had lost everything - like all I'd loved was gone - my heart definitely grew cold and became very hard. Thankfully it's been warming up and thawing out - and I'm realizing, as Hebrews 4:15 says: 

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."

You can listen to the song here: Matt Maher "You Were On The Cross"

Lost, everything is lost

And everything I've loved before is gone

Alone like the coming of the frost
And a cold winter's chill in my stony heart

And where were You when all that I've hoped for,
Where were You when all that I've dreamed,
Came crashing down in shambles around me?
You were on the cross

Pain, could you take away the pain?
If I find someone to blame, would it make my life seem easier?
Alone, all my friends are asleep
And I can't find anyone to stay awake with me

Where were You when sin stole my innocence?
Where were You when I was ashamed?
Hiding in a life, I wish, I never made

You were on the cross, my God, my God, all along, all along
You were on the cross, You died for us, all along, all along
You were on the cross, victorious, all along, all along

You were there in all of my suffering
And You were there in doubt and in fear
I'm waiting on the dawn to reappear

With overflowing gratitude for the One Who never leaves me alone,