Sunday Psalms

It’s been forever since I’ve written anything on my blog and so much has been happening. I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant and expecting little baby Wagner any day (well, I would like the baby to keep cookin; for just a little while longer).

I’ve been working on my birth plan and decided I wanted to have some Bible verses and affirmations on little cards for my husband or my doula to read to me during labor.  I decided for this WAY delayed Sunday Psalms I would share some of those with you.

Some of the verses I’ve chosen are:

Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

John 16:21 “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Some of the affirmations I’ve chosen are:

“God designed my body to birth naturally.  I trust Him to guide my baby through birth.”

“Peace, be still.  Breathe slowly and breathe deeply.”

“God is with me.  He is my strength and my hope.”

Paul and I are absolutely delighted to meet our little one (we’re not sharing whether it’s a boy or girl until the baby is here), and we are working to prepare our home for his or her arrival.  The nursery is almost done.  We have a woodland theme – little foxes, deer and bear cubs.

Blessings, friends!

So long 2015…

 


I realize that it’s been WAY too long since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  I think one of my goals this year should be to try to post more on this blog, especially when there is NEWS to share!!

Paul and I eloped on November 29th!!  It was a crazy thing, but something that we had been talking about and praying about for a long time.  We plan to have a church wedding and reception in March, but it’s so exciting to be a new wife and start our thru-hike adventure of marriage.

We got our marriage license about halfway through November, with the intention of eloping sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It happened exactly two years to the day of when he proposed to me.   It was exactly how God planned for it to happen, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better than to ring in the new year with a new husband.

So, friends, here’s to 2016 – read my post on perspective – and many new MARITAL adventures (as I had previous posted on my pre-marital adventures).  Wishing you a very happy new year, even though it’s already several days into the new year 🙂

 

A new year, a new perspective

Every year the Lord has given me a word or phrase on my heart for the year ahead.  Last year it was to “Walk in FAITH,” and I felt the Lord challenged me with that this past year.  I plan to continue walking in faith as the Lord is faithful and His promises endure, even if they manifest in unexpected ways.

I’m not sure what He is telling me for this year, 2016, but the word “perspective” keeps coming up.  It has been something Paul and I have been talking about a lot lately, something my mom and I have been talking about, and something I feel the Lord is trying to challenge me with – to change my perspective on things or to attempt to view things through someone else’s lenses, and ultimately to see and approach matters as Christ would.

Pastor Rick Warren wrote a great devotional on developing God’s perspective a few years ago.  He speaks of perspective as being an aspect of spiritual growth that is directly correlated to “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “discernment.”  I don’t know about you, but who doesn’t need a little more wisdom and discernment in their lives?  Read more at:  http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/develop-god’s-perspective-on-life  (apparently, there is a problem with the link.  You can search for Rick Warren Develop God’s Perspective on Life).

 

I have a great sister-friend who once told me that she had a vision that she was struggling to carry several heavy, burdensome items on her shoulders.  It was painful and difficult to keep moving forward, and in this vision she didn’t know how to carry on or what she should do.  Then she said that suddenly the picture panned out and she could see herself in palm of God’s hand and that he was carrying her along with all of that baggage.  She told me that what this vision spoke to her is that God already carries all of our burdens, pains, trials and sorrows; and that sometimes we lose sight of how powerful and strong He is.  When we try to carry those things for ourselves, we struggle, but He has already won the battle.

Have you felt stuck in this season of your life?  Have you been faced with something that seems like it keeps happening to you, but you can’t seem to move forward?  Perhaps there is something you need to change your perspective on.  I encourage you to seek the Lord’s guidance in this.  Some verses to help guide or encourage you:

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:18

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial; because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”  1 Peter 5:10

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.”  Isaiah 55:8

Blessings for this new year, and perhaps a new perspective for us all to continue to love and grow in Christ.

Sunday Psalms – Palmdale edition 

Paul and I drove to Palmdale for the long weekend to clean up, check out the work that had been done, and finish packing up his house here since he’s getting ready to put it on the market.

Thankfully it’s not the typical Indian summer desert temperature out here and there’s a pleasant breeze blowing most of the time we’ve spent outside.

Looking forward to having this house off our hands and seeing what the Lord has in store for us.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Mackinac

Happy Pauletaversary!  Paul and I have been together for (just a little over) two years and had the chance to celebrate together on Mackinac Island.  

We crossed over the bridge into St. Ignace to take the ferry over to the island.
I kind of missed the sign…. or at least missed the chance to get a picture in focus.  

While we were waiting to board the ferry, these horses and their riders decided to join us.  How fun!

The weather was amazing and the water was gorgeous!

Hi Paulie!  Welcome to the Mackinac Ferry.

Our friendly (and stinky) companions… They were very well behaved.

Being out on the water made me miss going out on Lake Michigan.
  

Paul had to dodge a sneak attack…

Mackinac, here we come!!

My first view of the street downtown… So quaint.  You might see a LOT of bicycles as they don’t have cars on the island.  It was pretty awesome, actually.

We didn’t go eat here, but I liked the sign.  

Horse-drawn carriages… romantic!  We didn’t ride in one as we got a tandem bike for the day.


I took several pics of the water as we were riding around.  Since I was on the back of the tandem bike, all I had to do was pedal, so I could use my hands to take pictures for most of our journey around the island.  

Have you seen my friend, cairn?  Sarah, that’s for you!

  

Selfie time!

They have signs like this all over the island, and it was nice to get some history (and to share it with you).  
  
  

Cute houses right outside of the downtown area.

  

And the historic Island House

Another view of downtown as we were going to get lunch. 

There were about 12 different fudge shops along the strip.  I decided to buy from Joanne’s because it was the softest, most delicious fudge… and trust me, I tried them ALL!!!

Paul and I stopped by the Mackinac Public Library.  They had several rows of books and some fun little nooks to sit in.

I’d like this view from MY library!!!  Wow!

I almost wish this shirt came in my size… haha!

Paul and I rode around the whole island and really enjoyed taking in all of the views.
  
  

Look ma, no hands!  Haha…

The arch…
  
  

  

Another view from behind.  Paul was a GREAT driver.

Skull cave… wish we could have gone inside.

The Mackinac airport.  We saw a plane takeoff from the trees, but I didn’t get a shot of one on the tarmac.  

Hopped off the bike for a little hike to find the crack-in-the-island…

  

And we found the crack… thankfully not a LOST kinda island.

We stopped by the golf course (one of three, actually) for a photo op.  I almost got attacked by a horse trying to get this shot.
  

And, the Grand Hotel.  It was sooooo big!  We weren’t supposed to park our bike there, so Paul and I took turns running inside the building to check it out.

I’d love to go back and have high tea at the hotel.  It looked like an amazing spread.

I love the little phone booth.  

The view toward the lake.

And, my chariot awaits…. (see the tandem bike at the bottom right… )

Riding away…
  

I stopped for some wine tasting at the end of the afternoon.  Had a great tasting on Mackinac and got a free wine glass to take home!  yay!

Had to get a view of the boats.  

At the end of the day, Paul wanted to run around the island to see how long it would take him.  I decided to ride the tandem bike solo to go along with him.  Great job, babe!!  Great form!

Loved the late afternoon waves on Lake Huron.  Was my first time touching the lake.

Lookin’ good, babe!  Keep it up!

While Paul was running, I decided to go for a short stair climb… plus, I just had to see where it lead to… 

Up I go…

Found these people at the top.  They were wandering down and asked if I ran the whole way up.  yes, I did 🙂

And I found this view at the top.  Gorgeous!  And definitely worth the climb!

Going down…

I had to find Paul in town so we could take our ferry back to Michigan.  So long, Mackinac!  Until next time.

Winthrop, Warshington 

After our National Park adventures in Washington, Paul and I were driving east into the sunset (well, technically away from the sunset, but humor me…).  We found this cute, little town called Winthrop.  We were getting hungry, so stopped at this restaurant/hotel that actually stayed open for us as they were closing up shop.  THANK YOU, Duck Brand Inn!!  

They have a really nice patio, and since the weather was so nice and there weren’t any mosquitos we decided to sit outside for dinner.  
  

Here’s the view of the street from the restaurant.
  

After dinner Paul and I decided to walk around a bit and found that this really was a super cute, little town.

Some town history…

The stagecoach shop…

And then we found the saddles… haha!

And had our picture taken by some other diners on the strip.

See ya later, Winthrop!  Thanks for a great dining experience.

Washington trip – pt IV North Cascades national park 

As our time in Washington was coming to a close, Paul and I were on our way to North Cascade National Park when we ran across yet another bigfoot!!  

We stopped to get some really delicious (and ridiculously expensive for road stand) Rainier cherries.  We ate the whole bag in a matter of minutes.  It made me think of the time when my dad and I were driving a Budget Trunk, aka “The Budge,” from California to Colorado when I was moving and we stopped and got some road stand produce.  Cherries are delicious road trip snacks!!

I also wanted to do some wine tasting since we had seen several wineries on our drive thus far, but didn’t have the time to stop and take a sip… or two.  We found this tasting room…

And I was very excited to try some Washington wines…

But alas, they were closed!  Bummer!

We drove through Concrete.  The town, not actual concrete.   Paul and I joked about being “born in Concrete,” “going to college in Concrete,” and “dying in Concrete.”  Sigh… it’s probably not funny to the people who actually live there, but we shared a few chuckles.
  

Then we found our way to another winery.  YAY!  I was SOOOO excited that we saw another one because I was worried we would miss out.

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They had a nice setup for us, but as you can see the vintner was moving fast and I barely had time to snap a shot of our lineup for the afternoon.  

Paul doesn’t really enjoy wine tasting, but he partook in this one.  I kind of wish he didn’t… the wine was terrible… ALL of it… and I want him to come to enjoy wine tasting.  Oh well.  maybe next time…

Maybe it was the bit of smoke we had been breathing over the past few days from the different fires around the area, but I did not enjoy one single sip at this establishment… sadly…

Hey, at least they had cute decorations inside…



Oh well, I’ll just have to make a point of researching some good wineries in Washington for my next trip out there.  I know of a few GREAT ones in Oregon… and definitely in California!!

Onto North Cascades.

Found this cute painting in the Visitor Center.  

Paul and I enjoyed a few small walks while in the park as we didn’t have time to go on a full day hike, but enjoyed some beautiful scenery with some smaller hikes.  




Paul and I did take a longer hike up to this bluff, at Thunder Knob.  It was gorgeous and so peaceful up there.  I wished we could have camped right in this spot.  We stayed there for quite some time, taking in the view and just enjoying each other’s company.



And then we drove up to where the PCT crosses.  We ran across two thru hikers that had come from Canada.  They seemed fresh and clean for being on the trail for 3 days, but they weren’t the most friendly hikers I’ve met.  They didn’t have trail names (yet) and they also refused our trail magic… they have NO idea what they missed out on, but all they wanted was beer and alas, we had none.

Here’s a shot of Paulie reminiscing about his past adventure here…. and off he goes.

I enjoyed the scenery, especially the little wildflowers along the path.

Paul has a special talent for climbing uphill… Wag Daddy uphill mode (even in flip flops).  He’s always several steps (or a hundred yards or so) ahead of me when we hike uphill.

We hiked until we got to this waterfall.  Paul had remembered it and wanted to see it again, so even though we were wearing flip flops (he didn’t think it was as far in as it was), we enjoyed our little walk in the woods.

We stopped at one last place to enjoy some more views at the Washington Pass overlook.


BodyRock 21 Day Challenge

So….. I recently finished the BodyRock 21 day challenge.  I never really thought I’d be doing videos at home with such intensity that I would even make my own equipment (see the dip bars below)t!!  I even did 3 days of the challenge when I was on the road in Chicago (I took a few days off when I was in Grand Rapids, but I made up for some of that time off by riding around Mackinac Island on a tandem bike twice).

I have to say that I LOVE Lisa’s encouragement, coaching and challenges (Sean wasn’t my favorite to follow, but I kept on through his sessions – he wasn’t encouraging or coaching much at all).  While Lisa has some physical “enhancements,” I enhanced my workouts and recovery with Advocare products  (ThermoPlus, Catalyst, Rehydrate, Nighttime Recovery, andSpark! – get yours here: https://www.advocare.com/09035808/Store/

Got some compliments this week on my shoulder muscles.. ooh yeah!!

For those of you interested in starting your own 21-day challenge, start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7g7-pcElAA

Here’s the breakdown of Day 1 :http://www.bodyrock.tv/workouts/bodyrock/bodyrock-bootcamp-day-1/  The guide and equipment can be purchased from the bodyrock.tv website, but I chose to make some of my own things in addition to the few weights I already had in my home collection (yep, that’s my camelbak – aka new weighted vest).

Yee Haw!!

Meatless Monday

I am super post-happy lately.  I’m also trying to be more intentional about posting.  We’ll see if I can keep it up 🙂

I made this black bean and pumpkin chili last night, and am enjoying it with roasted zucchini on dishes that my brother and his wife gave me a few years ago for my birthday (Thanks, Rich and Kristina!!).

I’ve included the recipe for the chili below.  It was from a Delicious Living magazine in 2012 that I held onto, and then found again as I was going through some stuff in my craft room/storage room (/room where things go to die… haha).

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili with Toasted Pepitas

Sunday Psalms

On Friday night I had an opportunity to meet with a few of these lovely ladies for night of worship and prayer.  It was a powerful night lifting friends up in the Spirit, allowing His mercy and grace to flow freely over our hearts and minds.  It has been a long time since I’ve led a small group in worship, and it was so refreshing to my spirit to play and sing out to my Abba.

IMG_7318

One of my favorite newer worship songs is sung by Jenn Johnson with Bethel music, “Come to Me” is a beautiful love song from God to us.  Listen to the song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY0Vz8fvIhE) and let these words wash over you.

I am the Lord your God, I go before you now
I stand beside you, I’m all around you
Though you feel I’m far away, I’m closer than your breath
I am with you, more than you know

I am the Lord your peace, no evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind, come into My rest
Oh, let your faith arise, lift up your weary head
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you, I’m your faithful strength
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m your everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left but keep your eyes on Me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved ooh
I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Just come to Me, come to Me, cause I’m all that you need

Amen.

Thank you to my sweet friends for spending your time, love, words, and friendship.  You are priceless!

In our small group on Sunday night, we talked more about our spiritual gifts and abilities.  One of my abilities is cooking.  I had the opportunity to cook for a coworker who had surgery two weeks ago.  She has four boys (healthy eaters), so I made large portions of BBQ pulled chicken and a broccoli chicken, and rice casserole with cornflakes on top.  I know my friend and her boys enjoyed the gift of having home cooked meals as my friend is recuperating.

Recipes for both meals are below for your enjoyment.

BBQ pulled chicken (serves approx. 8-10)

Place 8-10 large frozen chicken breasts in a large slow cooker.  Add 1/4 chicken broth and 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce (your favorite kind).

Allow to cook on high for 6-7 hours (or until chicken is cooked through and easily pulled apart).  Remove chicken breasts from crockpot and shred.  Mix in remaining BBQ sauce and at least 1/2 of another bottle (mine were smaller bottles).  I also added 1 T of Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 T brown sugar, and herbs (Italian spice herbs, just a sprinkling).

Top over buns, rice, salad, or eat on its own.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole (serves approx. 8-10)

Cook 8 frozen chicken tenderloins with 1 C of chicken broth in medium slow cooker.  Top with italian herbs. (I used Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute – http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/1723)

Cook for 4-6 hours on low, check chicken for doneness and rotate chicken to let top chicken soak in the herb broth.  Chop chicken when cooked through.

In a greased 9×12 pan layer 2-3 C chopped broccoli, 5 C brown rice, and cover with 1 1/2 C shredded cheese.  Mix together and then top with 2 can cream of chicken (I also made a second personal sized batch with a homemade gluten free chicken broth mixture.  Let me know if you want that recipe).  Cover with cornflakes.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.   Add more cornflakes after heating. Paul likes it when I top it with Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning -http://www.tonychachere.com (and I added some to the dishes but didn’t list it as I usually add it to each serving).

YUM!!