Friday, July 19, 2013

God You Want Me to Do What?

Years ago, (not ages, but a few years times two, at least) if I was asked to pray out loud my heart would begin pounding and my mind would go blank. I literally detested going to Wednesday night prayer meeting, because we always took half of the evening to pray. I was scared stiff when it came my time to pray and I always felt my prayers were so mechanical. I knew I was missing the whole point, but I didn’t know exactly what I was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on the emptiness there, and I didn’t know how to bring about change.
Fast forward to the present and multiple years spent under the teaching of some very Godly people. The past few years have been life changing as I have learned to say, “YES!” to God. My life has been transformed and still transforming as I follow God’s leading, lean on His strength and power, let go of my fears, loosen my grip on the control in my life, and listen to His voice.

On Friday last week I had a crazy opportunity to say Yes! to God.
I had to make run to Wal-mart to pick up a few items. No big deal, rather routine and just a regular day type activity.... or so I thought!
In Wal-mart there were two ladies who got into a fight in the meat aisle. Not pretty. The language was intense and so was the noise level. In my head, I was thinking, "This is why I hate coming to this store and why I avoid it if at all possible."
Little did I know that God had plans for me at Wal-mart.
As my daughter and I made our way out of the store there was a young man (late teens/early twenties) standing by a table that had a donation box on it. I was getting ready to pick up my pace and speed right by him when I caught the words "teen challenge". I pulled back on the cart and backed up a few paces, just as he began speaking to me. The young man told me what Teen challenge did and I mentioned that I knew a bit about the program. I dug through my wallet and found a handful of change, it was all I had.
As I turned to go I said, "God Bless you."
He replied, "Thank you and have a blessed day."
And that was that, until I reached the car.
As I was putting away the groceries, God kept laying on my heart to go pray with that young man and I tried to avoid it by making excuses about the heat and not knowing what to say. The whole time that I was putting my groceries in my car, I felt like time was playing out in slow motion.

I climbed in the car, backed up and headed up the aisle toward the front of the store where the Teen Challenge table was sitting. I was just going to keep going, but the urging was so strong to pray. I remember thinking, "God if no one is talking to him I'll pray with him." Silly girl with the ultimatums!
You guessed it! No one was talking with him.

So, I turned right, headed down the next aisle and said to Lauren, "Honey, God is telling mommy to pray for that boy we just talked to."

She so sweetly said, "Okay." Like it was something I did everyday. It was no big deal to her!

I re-parked the car.
With my heart pounding in my ears, another handful of change I had found stashed in the ash tray in one hand, and Lauren holding onto my other we headed back up to the table. I said something to him about being back and as I slide the change into the box I mentioned that God had asked me to pray for him. Just as I was saying that another young man walked out of Wal-mart and stood next to us. It was another young person working the table for Teen Challenge.
The one I had talked to mentioned that I wanted to pray with them and the new guy said, “That's great, or awesome, or terrific,” something in that vein. I was too busy with my heart and mind which were racing at top speeds! He immediately put his hand on my shoulder (no hesitation there, thank you Lord!) and his friends. I grabbed Lauren's hand and right there we bowed our heads and prayed!
My heart was pounding so loud in my head and I was so out of breath that I'm not sure if my words came out right, but I did it!
I listened to God’s prompting and obeyed. I know He can use what I said to bring glory to Himself and power to that ministry, even if it seemed garbled in my mind. Because I know its not about me or the perfect prayer. It’s all about Him!
To God goes all the glory and praise!!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Berries, Berries and Cherries


Abundant blessings of provision!


We have been picking strawberries for about a month now from our small patch in our backyard.  Not enough to make jam or freeze, but enough to enjoy for lunches and an occasional snack.  In recent years I haven’t been a huge strawberry fan.  The strawberry varieties that I have picked have had a wonderful strawberry smell, but lacked in flavor.  If I’m going to eat strawberries I want them to taste like they smell.  So, I have been super happy with the little jewels coming from our patch.  They aren’t big in size, but these berries definitely make up for it in flavor.  They make me want to eat them and when I do, I truly enjoy them.


SycamoreLane Photography- strawberries


This past week and a half has kept us busy in the field beside our house.  This year it is LOADED with black raspberries.  Last year with the drought picking was minimal, I barely got enough for jam.  This year is a bumper crop year and I am so thankful that the Lord is providing over and beyond.  We have picked several times already and yesterday my middle son took the 3-wheeler back to pick.  He came up to the house after an hour with a 4 qt bowl full of berries and asked for another dish.  I gave him an ice cream pail and he filled that 3/4 of the way full.  Needless to say black raspberry jam is done for the year and I have 16 cups of frozen berries in the freezer.  Tomorrow we pick again!


Black Raspberries-1



I haven’t picked cherries since I was about 11 years old.  Every June I say I am going to pick cherries, but I never quite make it.  There aren’t any cherry orchards near where I live and so it is about a 1 1/2 hour drive to the nearest orchard.  This year, however, I was able to pick at an orchard over by Lake Michigan while I was visiting my brother’s family.  In half an hour my two youngest and I had around 13-14 pounds of cherries.  It was as much fun as I remembered and they tasted even better!


cherries-sycamoreLane Photography





With all the berries in our house I decided to make a fun, fruity drink for our most recent family gathering.  Joel, turned his nose up at it when I told him what it was, since we tend not to be sweet tea drinkers I didn’t blame him.  But, a couple of days later when I had the last glass of it sitting on the counter enjoying it after almost sweating to death out in the garden, he admitted to me that he had tasted it and it really wasn’t all that bad.  HMMMM!


Peach Tea Sangria-SycamoreLane Photography



Peach Iced Tea Sangria (Non-Alcoholic)


4 cups boiling water

4 peach tea bags or any fruity tea ( I like red raspberry for this, too)

4 black tea bags


Steep tea bags in water for 20 minutes.  Remove bags and place  1  1/2 gallon glass pitcher or drink dispenser. (A 1 gallon would work also just cut back on the Lemonade and possible the simple syrup, too.  Just keep sipping at it until it tastes the way you want it to!)


Add following:

Country Time powdered Lemonade mix enough to  make 1  1/2 quarts

1-2 sliced peaches

1 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blackberries

1/2 cup fresh or frozen sweet black cherries, pitted


Make a simple syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Place in small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cool and add to the tea.


Fill your container the rest of the way with ice.  Chill your tea and let sit in fridge for at least 4-6 hours, then enjoy!

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