Draw from Him

“God, even our own God.” {Psalm 67:6}

It is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings which God gives us, but it is stranger still how little use we make of God Himself. Though He is “our own God,” we apply ourselves but little to Him, and ask but little of Him. How seldom do we ask counsel at the hands of the Lord! How often do we go about our business, without seeking His guidance! In our troubles how constantly do we strive to bear our burdens ourselves, instead of casting them upon the Lord, that He may sustain us! This is not because we may not, for the Lord seems to say, “I am thine, soul, come and make use of Me as thou wilt; thou mayst freely come to My store, and the oftener the more welcome.” 

It is our own fault if we make not free with the riches of our God. Then, since thou hast such a friend, and He invites thee, draw from Him daily. Never want whilst thou hast a God to go to; never fear or faint whilst thou hast God to help thee; go to thy treasure and take whatever thou needest—there is all that thou canst want. Learn the divine skill of making God all things to thee. He can supply thee with all, or, better still, he can be to thee instead of all. 

Let me urge thee, then, to make use of thy God. Make use of Him in prayer. Go to Him often, because he is thy God. O, wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege? Fly to Him, tell Him all thy wants. Use Him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded thee, use thy God as a “sun;” if some strong enemy has beset thee, find in Jehovah a “shield,” for He is a sun and shield to his people. If thou hast lost thy way in the mazes of life, use Him as a “guide,” for He will direct thee. 

Whatever thou art, and wherever thou art, remember God is just what thou wantest, and just where thou wantest, and that He can do all thou wantest.

-Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening // April 27 (Morning)

This was absolutely, positively the best thing I could’ve ever woken up to this morning! Draw from His strength!

What I Learned from a Tiny Little Band-Aid

I’ve hesitated writing about this and posting it because so many of you are dealing with much bigger things and you are so, SO very brave. I write not to draw attention to myself and my circumstances, but to point to God, how I’ve seen Him work and what He’s been teaching me.

I want to tell you about a few lessons I’ve learned from wearing a band-aid on my head. I know it sounds weird, but you should try it sometime. Seriously.

You see, I’m an introvert at heart (with some extrovert qualities here and there) and “The Sweet Life” (aka: Type I Diabetes) has been a pretty good disease for me. It has been a fairly hidden disease, especially since I wear an insulin pump. Sure, I get strange questions when I wear the pump in a visible spot, but for the most part, lots of people are surprised when they finally learn I have diabetes and, in a strange way, that is a blessing.

So for introverts like me who are used to a hidden disease, when your dermatologist does a biopsy on a weird spot onTeddy Bear Bandaid your forehead, it’s a little overwhelming to walk out of the office with a band-aid on your face for everyone to see. It was a tiny band-aid, but still. It drew attention. People stared. And it started perhaps one of the most interesting learning experiences of my life.

The way people reacted to a band-aid on my head was absolutely fascinating to me. I lived my life normally…I kept going to work, went out to eat several times, to church, and to a basketball game, so I encountered lots of people of all ages and their reactions were extremely (and surprisingly) varied.

  • Some people didn’t say anything at all.
  • Most people would look at the spot once and then try to talk to me like they hadn’t seen it.
  • I was especially impressed with and touched by one high school student I had one-on-one that weekend who just glanced at it at the beginning of our time together and made the most connected eye-contact with me the rest of the hour.
  • The first person who actually asked me what was wrong with my head was a five-year old a-dor-ab-le little girl who wouldn’t accept my answer of “I decided to put a polka-dot on my head”. She was legitimately concerned about why it was there.
  • Another little girl just stared at the band-aid the whole entire time she was talking to me.
  • Only about three adults flat-out asked me what happened to my head.
  • One lady didn’t ask me anything about why it was there, but did try to adjust my bandage.
  • Some people said really awkward things. (ie: “There’s a spot on your head.”)
  • Perhaps my favorite?
    Shortly after the doctor called with my biopsy results (it was basal cell carcinoma, aka: the most common type of skin cancer), I ran by Starbucks. The barista was especially inquisitive about my band-aid, but there were only so many questions he could ask before I could no longer hide that it was skin cancer. *cue the awkward* He did end our conversation by letting me know I was rocking my band-aid.😀 Bless his heart. (And then this song played on the radio on my way home…I was basically a puddle.)

Every one of those experiences taught me so much about how I want to relate and react to others and reminded me where my worth is found. I learned a lot through that tiny little band-aid and now I get to learn even more.

I had MOHS surgery this past Wednesday to remove the cancerous spot (I’ll just go ahead and give you a link to the Google for that because if you’re anything like me, that’s what you’re going to do next. You’re welcome.) God is so gracious and kind. I had prayed it would be contained and not too deep and He answered that prayer beautifully. They got it all the first time. Now I get to learn even more lessons with a bigger bandage and stitches that I’m quite certain make me look like Sally Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Those are to be revealed tomorrow, so we shall see.) 

Through it all, God has drawn me closer to Himself, He has still proven to be faithful, and He has shown me more of His unwavering character. 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
{2 Corinthians 4:16-18}

I have no idea how people who do not have Christ in their life deal with anything. If I didn’t know my worth in Christ, I would undoubtedly be a miserable sad-sack. My confidence must be found in Him. If only more people looked at others like God looks at us. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” {1 Samuel 16:7}

So I just have to ask. What does the Lord see when He looks at you? Does He see your sinful, rotten, dirty, rebellious heart? That’s a sad state to be in. My heart was that way, but He changed it! My life is hidden in Christ now.

Is your heart hidden in ChristIf it is, God sees Christ’s perfect, spotless righteousness when He looks at you. And isn’t that a beautiful thought?!

P.S.–To all of you who have prayed, called, texted, hugged, or even not known what to say…thank you. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved. 

Happy SAD!

1521319_10101742593735110_1734426431_nI’m pressed for time this evening, but did have some links I want to share in light of the coming weekend. For some of you, the weekend is looming. Others of you are anticipating the weekend. ALL of you are loved this weekend.

It is no secret that I love Valentine’s Day. The pink, the red, the cards,and the sweet spirit of showing one another affection and honor are some of my favorite things. Most of all, it’s always an opportune time to reflect on God’s love for us and ways that should move us to love others.

So—here’s some link love for your weekend! <3

Valentine’s Day Hopes ~ This post helped the focus of my heart shift upward. It can get tilted so easily.
“Hopes deferred aren’t a dead end, but a gracious redirect. They are a pointer to the “living hope:” our Savior, Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:3)….If Valentine’s Day magnifies our misplaced hopes, we must put our hope in God (1 Pet. 3:5). We do this by focusing on all that God promises to be for us in Jesus Christ.” 

Remembering the Unquantifiable Love of God ~ Just in case you forgot how much God loves you and WHY He loves you.
“God’s love for us goes farther than even time itself, into the deep recesses of eternity past. It stretched all the way from forever, forward to the cross, and will continue into eternity future.”

23 Things That Love Is ~ Because knowing we’re loved unquantifiably by the King of the Universe moves us to demonstrate that love to others.

The Real Truth About Boring Men ~ This is one I’ve tucked away and read over and pray over often, especially since the world throws so much cheap garbage in front of our faces and calls it romance.
“How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.”

And a Shane & Shane song keeps coming to mind, mostly because of the lyrics. Take a listen?

I am loved
Regardless of the things I’ve said and done
No mistake can change your mind
I’m your design, God
Your love is mine right now

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“We love because He first loved us.” {1 John 4:19}

Sending you BIG hugs and wishing you a happy one!❤

You. Are. Loved.

Because You Say So

bcYousaysoHave you ever been slow to obey? I sure have. It’s easy to drift into disobedience by over-analyzing situations, weighing pros and cons, and questioning why you would be asked to do something. But delayed obedience is disobedience.

Certain blessings God is waiting to pour out on you may have an expiration date. For example, one day last week I was prompted five times throughout the day (FIVE!) to ask someone if they needed dinner. The first time it was early morning (but who asks someone if they need dinner during the morning hours?! …apparently people who are obedient). Around noon, I had the same thought, but brushed it off again (because, you know, they were probably eating lunch). Then around 3:00…still brushing it off (they were probably busy with their job and wouldn’t respond anyway). Again at 4:00 (but by this time, I had made dinner plans with my parents…let’s not mention the coupon I had with me for another extra free meal). The last time I was prompted is the kicker and just shows what a stubborn, stiff-necked person I can be. This time, it was a little after 6:00, I was way early for an event we were both at, and they even mentioned that they hadn’t had dinner. What kind of hard-hearted jerk still ignores the still small voice telling her to offer to run across the street to grab some dinner?! This girl. I missed an opportunity to be a blessing…actually five opportunities. I could’ve been the vessel God used to remind someone He is faithful, to confirm that He’s looking out for them, and to reinforce His promise that He will provide, but that opportunity expired because I didn’t hasten to the Spirit’s prompting.

Granted, this may seem like a trivial example to some, but if I can’t obey God in the “little” things He’s guiding me to do, how can I ever expect to obey Him in the “big” things?

Is there a heart that will not bend
To Thy divine control?
Descend, O sovereign love, descend,
And melt that stubborn soul!
[from Songs for the Sanctuary, 1874]

“I will hasten and not delay to obey Your commands.” -Psalm 119:60

When He tells you to do something, DO IT. Right then. It may seem odd. It may put you in a humbling position. Do it. There’s a reason He wants you to. But what if what He has laid on my heart sounds crazy? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time God had asked someone to do something that sounds strange to our finite minds, would it?

Take the Israelites for example. They’d been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and all that stood between them and their new home was Jericho. How in the world would they be able to destroy this great city? God gave them explicit instructions and the Israelites showed exemplary faith and obeyed, even though the instructions sound a little unusual.

Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.” [Joshua 6:1-5]

Can you imagine? God promises you He’s going to give a city into your hands, all you have to do is march around it once a day for 6 days and then 7 times on the 7th day with priests blowing horns. Then the priests are to give one long blast on the horns and all the people will shout as loud as they can…then the walls will fall. Ooookay, really?!

But the Israelites had FAITH that God would keep His Word. “It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” [Hebrews 11:30] They trusted that He would follow through on His promise. And God definitely gets the glory here because, let’s face it, a marching band and thousands of others just walking around a city and then yelling most likely wouldn’t make it fall down. As David Platt said, “When the people of Israel take the city of Jericho in Joshua 6, what you don’t see is all the Israelites going up to the trumpet players and telling them what an incredible job they did. ‘Ralph, I never heard you play that well. Harry, you hit the high C and it was awesome.’ No, you see people on their faces saying ‘Only God could’ve done this.’” (from NOBTSThe Israelites got it. They had faith to obey God no matter how odd His instructions sounded.

Mary got it also. When the wine ran out at the wedding in Cana, she told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” [John 2:5]

Simon got it, too. He and his friends had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught a thing. Jesus was at the same lake and a crowd had gathered, so He hopped in Simon’s boat to teach them. When He had finished teaching, Jesus told them to let down their nets for a catch (why in the world should they expect to catch anything now?!). But, Simon took Jesus at His Word and let down the nets. “Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.'” [Luke 5:5]

They caught so many fish their nets were breaking. Oh if we would just take Him at His Word and obey. When you obey and people see God at work through you, they will be astonished. They will be amazed by the hand of God. “For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken…” [Luke 5:9

Isn’t His Word good enough? Because You say so, I’ll do it. He’s always working for my good. He’s always working for His glory. If only I’d trust that and truly believe that and obey without delay what He tells me to do.

As Spurgeon said, “We accept the Lord Jesus by faith, and He teaches us obedience, and creates it in us. The more of faith in Him you have, the more of obedience to Him will you manifest.” To increase my faith, I must trust Him more. To trust Him more, I must know Him more. The more I know Him, the more I trust Him, and the more I trust Him, the more apt I will be to obey right away.

But for all the times I fail, for all the times I disobey, for all the times I stubbornly do what I think is best, I thank God for sending His Son who lived a life of perfect obedience and humbly obeyed to the end, becoming the sacrifice for my sins and giving me His righteousness. “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” [Romans 5:19]

Oh that we would do what He says without hesitation or question. May He shine brightly through our lives as we empty ourselves in humble obedience, following His lead no matter how absurd His instructions may seem. Because You say so, I’ll do it.

And may I encourage you to read a Spurgeon sermon on “The Obedience of Faith” that was preached on an August Thursday at The Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1890? It’s great. Read here.

Of Foley Forks & Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars {Recipe}

Once upon a time, there was an odd looking vintage kitchen utensil in our top kitchen drawer. It had a weathered wooden handle and short, bent, scoop-shaped tines. This apparatus had been in this drawer as long as I could remember and always looked like it was about time for it to go; however, in an interesting twist of fate, this antique gadget outlived two 21st century KitchenAid whisks.

Towards the end of September, after one or two band competitions have taken place and pumpkins have marched into my office, I feel strongly compelled to begin making all my pumpkin recipes. This year I’ve added a new one to my repertoire thanks to…drumroll, please…Pinterest. (I know you’re shocked.)

So I got my can of pumpkin out and all my favorite fall spices, the bowl, the measuring cups…you know the whole nine yards (equivalent to 14.4 8-to-5 steps in case you were wondering), and was incredibly disappointed when my mom informed me that our whisk had moved on to glory. My initial Plan B was to stir the flour/sugar mixture for my Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars with a fork, but then my mom pulled the odd looking vintage kitchen utensil from our top kitchen drawer and said, “We have this thing if you want to use it instead.”

With a look of “really? but what do I have to lose?“, I grabbed the odd looking vintage kitchen utensil and started to stir. It was amazing how well this little gadget helped integrate the sugars so quickly (just like a good colorguard pass-through in a closer). I was hooked! And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it also allowed me to both scoop up the crumbly crust and press it into the bottom of the baking dish without getting my hands all messy.

I had to know more about this gadget. All I knew was it was my grandmother’s (or maybe even great-grandmother’s?!)and it had been around forever, but a closer look as I was stirring revealed that it was a FOLEY FORK MPLS, which was introduced by Foley Manufacturing in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the Great Depression. Apparently original Foley Forks are highly collectible items and after tonight, I could certainly see why.

I’m sorry to report that Foley Manufacturing no longer exists and it seems that no one has been able to reproduce the coveted Foley Fork to the caliber of the original. There are Granny Forks and replicas and even Fantastic Food Forks, but for now, I’m going to keep my eyes peeled at yard sales and antique stores for true Foley Forks to use as gifts and a backup.

Heaven help if our Foley Fork ever joins our whisks in glory. IMG_2216

P.S.–Those Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars? Delish. And I’ll also let you know that they leave the PERFECT amount of pumpkin to make a couple of my favorite pumpkin coffee drinks! {PSL + PS frapp}


A Taste of Summer, Wainright Style

Taste of SummerThe last time I technically wrote on here, it was sub-zero temperatures and my toes were frozen. I had just ordered a new parka so my nose would hopefully no longer have icicles forming on the inside (seriously).

But now–oh now. It’s summer!

There is beauty in every season, but there is something extra special about the flavors that can be found in summer, yes? Peach juice running down your arm, corn silks stuck in your teeth, watermelon seeds flying out of your mouth, and that oh-so-perfect texture of the inner seeds of fresh green beans popping inside of your mouth.

So I’d like to share with you a few new favorites that I’ve discovered in this most wonderful season for food.

First things first–this quesadilla is pretty much life-changing. (It was inspired by leftovers from this amazing new loaded baked potato salad that gets an honorable mention.) Full confession: this past week, I had one for lunch four out of five days because they are easy to prep, quick to make, and do a great job of filling you up!

Taste of Summer Bacon Chive and Cheddar Quesadilla

Bacon, Chive, & Cheddar Quesadilla
You’ll need the following. Just eyeball it all. 
Wheat flour tortillas
Center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
Chives, diced
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

I prepare the bacon and chives in advance and keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to make my quesadilla. Then I throw all the ingredients in between two flour tortillas and pop it in the microwave for about 1:30. Fancy, I know. But trust me–it’s delish.😉

P.S.–If you’ve never made bacon in the oven, you should really do yourself a favor and try it at least once. Just preheat the oven to 400° and lay the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake on a lower rack for 15-ish minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon, and use tongs to transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate. Voila–throw the foil away.

Taste of Summer Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa
Originally from a Kroger advertisement

2 C. seedless watermelon, diced (be kind to yourself and get this already partially cut up)
1 C. cucumber, diced and seeded
2 TBSP. sweet red onion, finely minced
1 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped
1 TBSP. fresh spearmint, finely chopped
1 TBSP. lime juice
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (our preference = Tabasco)
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients, mixing gently to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Chill covered for 1 hour.

Makes 3 cups.

Throw that on top of your bacon, chive, & cheddar quesadilla and thank me later. Careful–your tastebuds might explode with happiness. It’s really good with just chips, too.

Taste of Summer Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie
originally found on cincyshopper.com

24 Oreo cookies turned into crumbs via a food processor
4 TBSP butter, melted
1 C. peanut butter (creamy)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed (+ another tub just to eat or add on top)

Preheat oven to 350°. Place cookies in food processor and pulse until ground into small, fine crumbs. Add melted butter and stir with a fork to combine. Press into a pie pan and bake 7 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely.

Combine peanut butter and cream cheese and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in whipped topping and blend until completely incorporated. Pour into cooled crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Chill before serving.

Serves…8? If they all want just a bite.


So, in between your drum corps shows, VBS’s, pool parties, and late muggy nights with friends this summer, I hope you’ll find time to get your hands a little juicy and make your tastebuds smile.


The band marches on

“But kids out of uniform is what I remember most. Lots of sweat and odd tans.” -Walter Pickering

I love this! The majority of my memories from marching band are not in uniform, they are from dusty practice fields and trips and buses and dressing rooms. Pickering brilliantly captures some behind-the-scenes moments of the oddity that is marching band. (That flute handshake–yeah, that’s totally me in high school.)

CNN Photos

The flash of metal, the twirl of color, the synchronization of bodies in rhythm to music.

As a tuba player from junior high through college, photographer Walker Pickering was in step with his marching band and a part of the camaraderie the group developed. As a photographer for the last 10 years, he has trained his camera on high school and college marching bands and traveling drum corps to capture that feeling of togetherness.

Pickering, 33, from Austin, Texas, didn’t take photos of the grand designs the bands would form on the field. Instead, he wanted to show band members in and out of uniform, to look beyond the flourish.

“Contemporary marching units tend to wear highly geometric designs. When I marched in high school, we wore what I lovingly refer to as the Sgt. Pepper-style uniform,” he said. “But kids out of uniform is what I remember most. Lots…

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