Friday, January 29, 2010


A smart dog knows where to catch the rays even in the middle of winter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because you asked (Jennifer, this is for you my friend!) here is the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookies I talked about in my Random Thoughts post yesterday. My only advice with these cookies is that you forego any diet that you may be on because they are SO GOOD and speaking from personal experience, you will not be able to only eat one. But maybe that's just me because I have no self-control when it comes to chocolate.

This recipe calls for 4 dozen cookies which is another thing I need to keep in mind in attempts to resist sugary, chocolatey sweetness when trying to lose some extra pounds. Not getting into the cookie jar every time I go into the kitchen isn't easy you know.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or you can add an extra 1/2 cup like I did)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, oil, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; stir (with a wooden spoon) into the creamed mixture. Mix in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until light brown. I baked them for 13 minutes because I like them soft. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a coule of minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. The boys left for school awhile ago and Ben looks so stinkin' cute in his new glasses.  He tells me that I need to stop calling him cute because that's not what a 12-year old wants to hear.

2. I really, really need some warm weather and sunshine.

3. I have been re-evaluating how I plan our dinners and the amount of money we are spending. My goal is to start saving $100+ a month. I love cooking so I still want to be able to fix creative and tasty dinners. I normally plan two weeks of dinners but I 'm wondering if I should start just doing it a week at a time.

4. Last night, our daughter, Jessica wanted some chocolate chip cookies. I love that she still asks me to bake cookies for her. Anyway, I tried a new recipe which is always hard for me because I have this sense of obligation to never stray from the Nestle recipe for chocolate chip cookies. The cookies come out all soft and thick which is exactly how I like them. Secret ingredients... vegetable oil and cream of tartar. Go figure. The bad part about the cookies is that I am currently trying to lose some weight and I totally caved last night and ate three. Darn it.

5. I like the show "24". This is the first season I've watched and I am still trying to figure out the whole time-line thing and how all this stuff that is happening to Jack actually takes place in a 24 hour period. Or something like that. I also like the fact that I sit next to my husband and we watch the show together.

6. With having two sons, ages 12 and 13, I pulled out all the "teen" books we read when our daughter (who will be 19 next week... just not possible!) was this age. Teenagers. They are sweet and vulnerable and so much smarter than what I realize at times.

Monday, January 25, 2010

These Things I Do Know About Photography

Because of some questions and comments I have had recently about my photographs, I wanted to share some things that have helped me when it comes to photography.

Let me preface by telling you that I am simply a mom who years ago fell in love with capturing my children on camera. My knowledge of the technical side of photography is very limited and every picture is a work in progress.

I am 13 days into the challenge I placed upon myself to take a picture every day for the next 365 days. As each day goes by, I am more and more surprised at what I am learning. Trust me, there is a whole lot of trial and error going on, but I am really enjoying the challenge so far.

So, here are just some little bits of advice from me to you...

1.) Before buying a camera... do your RESEARCH! If you admire a friend or family member's photographs, talk to them and find out what kind of camera they are using and what they like and dislike about it. Find a camera store that is going to guide you in making the right decision based on what you are looking for in a camera. You need to know what you want to do with your camera so you can be prepared in making a decision that in the end, you will be very pleased with. For those of you who asked, I have a Nikon D60. I also use a 35 mm lens which allows me to open up the aperture to 1.8. This allows a whole lot of light to come through the lens and it also creates the blurry background (bokah) that I LOVE!

2.) Read your manual. Read it over and over again, because I promise the more you familiarize yourself with your camera, the better your pictures will be. I have also found Pioneer Woman's photography site to be very helpful as well as The Digital Photography School. The DPS has some basic and easy to understand tutorials about aperture, shutter speed, ISO settings, and exposure.  I have them printed off so that I have something on hand to refer to. So, READ, READ, READ!

3.) PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! The more you have your hands on your camera and your eye behind the lens, the more comfortable you are going to be in taking pictures. I can't believe how much more comfortable I am after 13 days of taking pictures. While I took pictures all the time before, there is something to be said for taking pictures on a daily basis. I said it before, and I will say it again, take pictures of anything! Over the last week, I have taken pictures of shoes laying by our front door, chopped up celery and green onions, the dishes in our cupboards, my son looking in the refrigerator, a box of cereal, and well, you can see the rest here. My point is... Take pictures!

4.) Stop using the "auto-focus" mode. Sounds intimidating perhaps,  but I guarantee once you get the hang of using your other settings, you won't go back. Your pictures are going to look so much different and better. The only time I am using the "auto-focus" setting these days are when I don't have time to take several pictures or because I want to be absolutely positive that I am getting a picture that is going to be focused and capturing the moment or event - like Christmas morning when the kids were opening their gifts.  Refer back to your manual or other resources so that you have a real understanding of your other settings and how they work. Each setting is going to give you a different result so, when you are taking a picture, ask yourself what you are wanting to capture or create? Play around with the settings and familiarize yourself with how they work. Practice taking a picture of an object on each setting so you can begin to understand what the results will be in the end. Most of the time I  have my camera set on aperture priority mode ("A" setting on a Nikon). The majority of the pictures I take are of my children, so I want to be able to control the area that is going to be in focus and the amount of light that enters through the lens. If I were taking pictures of my kids at a sporting event or another moving object, I would use the shutter priority mode ("S").

5.) I am learning more and more that great light makes great photographs. Pay attention to the sun, lighting in your home, or wherever you are taking pictures because it has a huge impact on how your picture will turn out. I don't ever use my flash (except if it's on an automatic setting) so I have to really pay attention to what the lighting conditions are. I know that most likely, I am not going to get a decent picture inside once the sun goes down so honestly, I don't even try or I use an automatic setting. Read your manual or other resources to know how to work the white balance and metering on your camera so that you get pictures that are exposed correctly.

6.) Be patient. While learning how to use your camera can be overwhelming and frustrating, don't give up. Remember what I said about trial and error? As I am taking pictures everyday, behind every one good picture, there are several that end up with me hitting the little trash can button.

7.) Don't think you have to use PhotoShop to have great pictures. One day, I will conquer the feat of PhotoShop but for now, I am perfectly content with my straight out of the camera shots.

And finally, remember why you are taking pictures. Every picture has a story and with that picture you have a tangible way of remembering the moment. What's important is that you and your family love your pictures!

Now, go take some pictures!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010


There was only one reason why I bought this cereal. It wasn't because I saw words like...

"Whole Grain Guaranteed" or "May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease", or even the fact that one serving size is only 140 calories.

It's because of one little word that gets me every single time.


Move over Multi-Grain Cheerios because these Chocolate Cheerios have found a place in my pantry.
These little bundles of goodness even turn the milk all chocolatey and yummy.
Need I say more?

Monday, January 18, 2010

How To Create A Header For Your Blog

I am going to try my best and walk you through step by step on how I created the header for my blog. Let me first begin by telling you that if I can do this, you CAN too! It took a little playing around for awhile, but once I got the hang of what I was doing, I had a whole lot of fun!

Are you ready? Let's begin...

Start by downloading Picasa (you can do this for free). Once you have the program downloaded, you can start uploading your pictures. I know when I downloaded the program, all of my pictures from my iphoto instantly were uploaded.

Now, you will want to choose the pictures you want for your header to create a collage. Do this by clicking on the pictures from the library and then clicking on the "COLLAGE" icon at the bottom of the screen. I put all my pictures in the "PICTURE PILE" so that I could place them where I wanted them to be.

I made sure my pictures were lined up at the top of the workspace. You will notice a lot of white space under the photos, but you are going to crop this later.

Once you have all your pictures, click on the "CREATE COLLAGE". At this point, you can then double click on your picture to enlarge it and move it around.

Once you have created the collage, you can now add "TEXT". You can place the text anywhere you like and choose from plenty of fonts, sizes and colors. This is the part where you play around and have FUN!

Once you have your design, it's time to crop your image. Go to the "CROP" icon and then take your cursor across your image and crop the white from underneath your image. Once your picture is cropped, click "APPLY."

Now, it's time to  upload your image. If you have the STRETCH MINIMA TEMPLATE (like mine), the size of your image needs to be 1024 pixels. If you have the MINIMA TEMPLATE, the size needs to be 640 pixels.  Once you have that finished, go to your "LAYOUT" on Blogger.

You will need to remove the image you previously had and replace it with the new image. Make sure to click on "INSTEAD OF TITLE AND DESCRIPTION" and you DON'T want it shrunk to size.

The only thing left to do now is remove the border around your header. Go to your "SETTINGS" page and click on "EDIT HTML".

You will see all kinds of letters and numbers here. What you are looking for is this...

#header-wrapper {
margin:0 2% 10px;
border:2px solid $bordercolor;
#header { margin: 5px; border: 2px solid $bordercolor; text-align: center; color:$pagetitlecolor;

Change the number I have highlighted in RED to 0. It is really, really important to only change the number because your blog needs all the other stuff to stay the way it is. 

Now, "SAVE TEMPLATE" and go check out your new look!

If you have any questions, leave them on my comments page and I will answer them (on my comments page) the best I can. 

Another Way To Make Your Pictures Larger and Some Other Fun Features

In this post, I shared how you can have your pictures go from my ADORABLE niece, Anna Claire, showing you what a big girl she is...

To showing you that she is a very BIG girl!

This is really easy and I promise you are going to LOVE this!

Go to your SETTINGS...

Now, scroll down until you come to GLOBAL SETTINGS...

You want to change it from OLD EDITOR to UPDATED EDITOR. Now, SAVE SETTINGS.

When you are creating new posts now, you have a fancy, updated setting!

Are you ready for the FUN features you can do here? It's this kind of stuff that makes me do a happy dance!

When uploading pictures, place your cursor where you want the image to go. Click the "photo" icon and  you will be able to add an image(s) exactly where you want it to be. No more dragging and moving your pictures around.

To ENLARGE your picture, put your cursor on the image and you will be able to choose the size. Remember, you can only use EXTRA LARGE if you have the Stretch Minima Template (like what I have).

And here is one more fun thing... look up in your toolbar. You now have a "strikethrough" icon (ABC).
How fun, exciting, thrilling is that!

Now go and do your own little happy dance!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Spoon

So, here's the story...

When our son, Sam, was in 2nd grade, he had a teacher that hoped for snow days more than the students. When snow was in the forecast, the teacher would send them home reminding them to wear their pajamas inside out, open the freezer door and dance. The most important thing to do though was to put a spoon under their pillows.

This little ritual has been going on now for several years (my boys are now in the 6th and 7th grade) anytime there is a possibility for snow.

Last week, our first snowstorm of the season was well on its way. It's always especially exciting when the snow is predicted to come during the night because most certainly school will be cancelled if a significant amount falls. My boys were going to do their part, however, in contributing to school being cancelled. Their jammies were turned inside out, plenty of dancing took place in front of the freezer and spoons were laid under the pillows.

After about 6 inches of snow, we had our first official snow day of the season.

As I was making Ben's bed this morning (now over a week later), I pulled back his sheets and set his pillows aside. There, under his pillow, I found this...

Even though we haven't had snow for over a week and certainly no expected snowstorms in the extended forecast, I can't blame him for trying.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Picture A Day

It's no secret that I love photography. My love for capturing everything on camera began over ten years ago when I had a simple point and shoot camera. When my husband and I purchased our first SLR camera, the photography bug really grew. While most of the time I kept the camera on all the automatic settings, I was slowly beginning to learn how to manually take photographs. There were literally hundreds and hundreds rolls of film that I took while using that camera. Keeping up with getting film developed became quite a task. In fact, I still have rolls of film that need to be developed. Last Spring, we gave into technology (my husband will say he gave into my begging and pleading for a new camera) with the purchase of a Nikon D60. I am finding that digital photography is a whole new ball game, and I have a whole lot to learn.

So, I am reading my manual and learning everything I can about my camera. Fortunately, I have a couple friends that are excellent photographers who are very patient with me and willing to teach and offer advice that I really appreciate. And finally, it comes down to only one thing... PRACTICE. There really is no other way to get better, so I am taking a lot of pictures. Like millions of them. I take pictures of my kids, my feet and random stationary objects. There are times when we are watching TV and I pull out my camera and just start taking pictures.

When I heard of Project 365, I thought it would be a very creative, fun and enjoyable way to practice taking pictures.

Here is why I want to do this:

1.) I would like to gain a better understanding of the technical side of photography.
2.) To be more confident when I am taking pictures. My lack of knowledge often leads to a whole lot of frustration.
3.) To capture memories and document our family's life for a year.
4.) Develop my eye for seeing things in a new way.
5.) It gives me a really good excuse to take my camera with me everywhere I go.

So, today marks Day 1 with the picture of me relaxing on the sofa with my cozy slippers and my ever faithful manual book.

I also have another blog up and running now as a way for me to document the pictures I take. You can click here or link to it from over on my sidebar.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

31 Degrees

After a couple weeks of below FREEZING temperatures, gray and dreary days, the sun is finally shining. And, the thermometer may just reach 32 degrees today. Only one more degree to go. But who's counting?

At this point, I really am longing for Spring. And my flip-flops.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Enlarging Pictures On Your Blog

Would you like to know how to make your pictures larger on your blog? Well, I had always wondered the same thing too, until I found a very easy to understand tutorial walking me step by step through the process.

Since I am one that believes that a good thing needs to be shared, I am going to show you how you can make all those great pictures you have even greater!

I can hardly stand how excited I am, so let's get started...

Begin by uploading your picture just like you normally do. I always use LARGE as the image size.

Once you have your picture uploaded, you are then going to click on "EDIT HTML". It's up there in the top right hand corner and before it was set on "COMPOSE".

Now, here comes the most important part of the step. You are going to see a whole bunch of letters and mumbo jumbo. Don't let it intimidate you because you are a photo uploader, big picture maker GENIUS!

What you are looking for is (each picture will have it's own paragraph) is something that looks like this:

WIDTH: 247px
HEIGHT: 400 px
(the numbers might be different for you but just find the WIDTH and HEIGHT)

Now, are you ready for this... DELETE them both the numbers as well as the ;. Don't panic, I promise it will work.

Now, you need to carefully look through all the letters and find something that looks like this:

This might be a different number too but look for the /S.../

This special little number is what determines the size of your picture. /S400/ is the size that it was uploaded as LARGE. Guess what you get to do now... DELETE that number too. At this point you are well on your way to great big pictures.

Here are the choices that will work to make your pictures larger:

Let's start at the beginning without changing a thing...


576 makes it a little bigger

640 makes it even bigger

and 800 makes it GINORMOUS!!!

(I can't enlarge to this size because I am currently using the Minima template for my blog. However, if you are using the Minima Stretch Layout for your blog, I have three words for you... GO FOR IT!!!)

It's really important though that you only CHANGE THE NUMBER. All that other mumbo jumbo is important.

Once you have made these changes, you can click back on COMPOSE to finish your post and you should see that your picture is larger.

That's it... you did it and now your pictures will never be the same!

Monday, January 11, 2010

"These are the best days

of your life" are the words my Dad has told me over and over again as I have journeyed through motherhood.

Yes Dad, they are. And I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What I am learning

from being in the desert is that it does come to an end, and there are streams of living water on the other side.

I know that I have made a spiritual breakthrough, but there are now some areas in my life that God is shining His bright light on. As I was praying reading Scripture, and journaling last night I believe that God was showing me how I got to where I was.

I often struggle with how much I say here on this blog knowing that the main purpose for me doing this in the beginning was to keep a recording of family events, memories, and my journey with Jesus. I have purposefully been careful with how much I do share because while this is a public blog, I still have things that are very personal and don't need to be shared in this arena. At the same time, I know firsthand the care, support, encouragement and friendships that are made here in the blogging community. If in the simple and heartfelt words I write someone else is touched and ministered to, then I want God to receive ALL the glory for that.

Two years ago, my husband and I were called into full-time ministry. To this day, the year leading up to that time was one of the most significant, challenging, and close times with the Lord I have ever had on my spiritual journey. I was part of an AMAZING Bible study ("Believing God" by Beth Moore), Steve and I were having prayers answered in huge ways. God was leading us step by step and giving us an incredible amount of guidance and wisdom. We were seeing firsthand His provision and leading in our lives. I really can't even put into words the way we were feeling His presence. It was such an exciting time, and we were without a doubt in the center of God's will.

We settled into a new home, new responsibilities, and began living this new life as a family in ministry. My involvement at the church continued with leading a Mom's group, being part of a Bible study, and my husband and I continued leading our community group that we deeply loved.

Much was learned that first year - personally and as a couple. Looking back, I see how God just showered us with so much grace and made the transition smooth and easy.

The beginning of 2009 was when things began to change for me spiritually. I began to have the feeling that God was moving away. "What have I done Lord?", "Is there sin in my life that I am not recognizing and confessing to you?", " Why don't I know you are near?", " What do I need to do?" and "Where are You?" were questions I asked and cried over. I was doing a really good job of not only beating myself up, but I was allowing the enemy to fill my mind and heart with lies. There were times that I recognized this and would get my mind grasped on truth, but there were always times I didn't.

While I had times of closeness with the Lord, they were sporadic and few. I was encouraged by my husband to keep seeking God and that often in times like this, it's because God is desiring us to go deeper. I took his words to heart, and I pursued and pursued and pursued.

In my attempts to be close to God knowing and feeling His presence once again, I wasn't getting anywhere. God remained silent and ever so distant. The days turned into months, and I was now spiritually exhausted, disappointed, and angry. Why wasn't I hearing from Him, seeing Him throughout my day, or knowing His love and peace anymore. He was so far, far away, and it became more and more difficult for me to continue to trust and believe the One who promised that He would never leave or abandon me.

There was such a deep emptiness in my soul. All I wanted was to understand why this was happening because I could no longer wholeheartedly believe He was still there - even in the quiet.

I felt like there was no one who really understood how I felt or what I was going through. While their words of understanding were intended to give me hope and encouragement, I still felt like they didn't understand. In all honesty, when someone described being in the desert to me up until now, my response has been the same. "This will only last a season." And, "There is a reason why God has brought you here."

I also have to admit that I probably didn't reach out to the ones that care about me the most during this time. While I did share with my husband and a couple close friends what was going on, I wasn't letting them know the extent of how I was feeling - how lonely it was in this dark place. It was easy for me to play the part of the happy pastor's wife, a content and joyful woman of God, and everything else I thought I had to live up to. Along the way, I began guarding my emotions with God and everyone around me.

I know that I have so much farther to go. Don't we all? That is why our walk of faith is a process and a journey. Last night as I sat in my bed before going to sleep, I was reading Scripture and allowing God to comfort me in the tears. I know He was there.

There are things that I am still struggling with. There are still doubts that I have and in a way, I am learning to trust God again. Yesterday afternoon I began feeling like He had left me again, and I was afraid. I sat with my Bible and turned page after page wanting a verse to hold onto. I really needed something to give me comfort and reassurance, but it wasn't happening. These last few days I have intentionally kept the TV off, worship and praise music on, and not worrying about what I have to get done just so that I am in a place of keeping my thoughts and attentions on God. It has been such a long, long time since I have prayed, read Scripture, and just been in a place of peace.

As I was turning the pages of my Bible again, one of my favorite books to read is the book of Psalms. I came across Psalm 84. There are have been times before when this particular psalm has been significant and meaningful to me. I have verses underlined and can remember why they meant so much to me. This time, the words were fresh and new. I really felt the Lord impress it upon me to be committed to read and mediate on these verses.

While sitting in bed, I was writing in my journal, praying, and doing a lot of crying. They were tears of knowing He had brought me to the other side but still needing desperately to know that He loves me and that He will never leave me.

I began looking for Scripture that I could recite over and over again as I went to sleep. What I found was Psalm 103:8...

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

And Psalm 116:5-7...

The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.

Yes, He has.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Good-bye 2009 and Hello 2010...

I have pulled out my new 2010 calendar for this upcoming year and in doing so, I am filled with a lot of anticipation and excitement. I love new beginnings and fresh starts.

After reflecting on this past year, I know that all of my "resolutions" weren't kept the way I was hoping or planning they would be. I didn't quite stay as disciplined in areas of my life as I was intending to be. How thankful I am for God's grace and patience with me in this area though. If there is one thing I learned through my lack of follow through, it is that I am still dearly and deeply loved. All that He requires of me is to come to Him with a pure and honest heart. Over and over again, Jesus meets me where I am.

This last year brought new experiences and opportunities that challenged me greatly. One that stands out most in my mind is the day my husband and I stood at the airport as we said good-bye to our oldest daughter and sent her off to Maui to attend YWAM. I realized that as prepared as I thought I was to let her go, I wasn't anywhere close. During this time I had really been struggling spiritually and feeling like God was so distant. Releasing Jessica that day brought me back to having sweet fellowship with my Savior. My days were spent reading Scripture and praying and once again, Jesus met me where I was.

Other challenges were put before me this year too, but I know that they truly are an opportunity for growth when I am relying on the Lord and surrendering it all to Him. As many challenges there were this last year, there were many, many joyous times too. My favorite times were the ones where they were spent with family. Whether it was vacation or sitting around the dinner table, this mother's heart is most happy when I have everyone together.

This last year we saw our children set goals, strive to meet them and in the end accomplish them. There were also disappointments along the way, but we reminded them that they have a God who is always on their side. We saw them grow spiritually through their personal victories as well as in their struggles.

Looking on the past year, I also reflect on where I was spiritually. To be honest, 2009 was a very difficult year for me. I was in that place that I had heard other believers speak of - the "desert". Certainly over the last 19 years of being a Christian, I have faced times of feeling like God wasn't near. This time was different though. I wasn't feeling His presence. I would seek but wouldn't find. I would call but there was no answer. I loved and desired Him but wasn't experiencing personally the steadfast love He offers. The pursuit of knowing Him deeply became hard, frustrating, and disappointing. Circumstances around me then began to compound the issue and I now see how that was leading me to feeling bitter and resentful.

Yesterday was a definite turning point for me spiritually though.

As I sat with a group of women beginning the bible study "Esther" by Beth Moore, I felt His presence once again. I have completed several studies by Beth Moore and have learned and grown so much because of her teaching and the discipline it requires to do the work. Most often though, it's when the study is almost completed that I am able to tie it all together and really apply or implement the truths into my life. As the video began yesterday, she said something towards the end that I desperately needed to hear.

She too, had gone through a time of spiritual dryness and darkness. Beth Moore described how she would cry out to God asking what she had done wrong now because there wasn't anything new she was doing in her life that would cause her to have the separation from God she was having. There were just the same old strongholds that she always had and she knew at this stage in her faith how do deal with them. As far as I was concerned, it might as well have been me saying those words.

Then she said something that I have repeated over and over again since leaving church yesterday. "What I am feeling is not true."

Basing my faith on my feelings is something that I struggle with frequently. I have learned ways to stand against this when this happens such as getting into the Word of God, listening to worship music, praying, or to repeat truth over and over again.

God opened my eyes yesterday though to how this was really playing out in my life. I have to confess that there has been a part of me that has allowed myself to stay stuck and let the enemy continue to remind me that this time of not feeling His presence won't come to an end, that I have done something wrong to be where I am, and that I have been guilty of making my pursuit of Him about me, not Him.

One day, God ambushed Beth Moore with His presence. In her words, it was a personal revival and if the dark and lonely place she had been in was to get her to this, it was worth it.

While I have had moments of knowing that what He was really calling me to was that deeper place with Him, it was too hard for me.

As this new year begins, I have hope. A new kind of hope and perhaps a renewed faith. I am choosing to believe, surrender, and seek Jesus above anything else. While I know that there will be difficult days ahead and this is all still part of my spiritual journey, I know what He is showing me.

Isaiah 43:18-19 kept showing up around me these last few days as well and I know that was God speaking to me. It is now my promise for the year 2010...

"Forget the former things;
do not dwell in the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."