Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Did you know it’s national PB&J day. I mean really, who knew there was such a thing! Who doesn’t love a good PB&J sandwich? Have you ever thought how many ways there are to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? There is a decision at every turn.

Step #1 the bread .. white or wheat? Does the bread matter to you? Do you prefer white squishy bread, crust-less or with crust? Step #2. What kind of peanut butter. There are a great many out there. The brands are endless. Not only do you have to decide on brand but once you have that figured out you also must decide if you want whipped, creamy, crunchy, natural? I personally prefer creamy Peter Pan. #peterpanpeanutbutter

Step#3 “buttering your bread. Do you “butter” 1 piece of bread or both. Do you use a spoon, meaning you really like that peanut butter thick or do you spread it thin with a knife? Do you go all the way to the edges for cut it a little short hoping to keep it neat and clean.

Step #4 OHHHH you then must decide, Jelly, Jam or honey? If you use jam or jelly, you have to determine the flavor you are in the mood for? I am a grape jelly girl all the way. Do you apply your jelly the same way you do your peanut butter. Thick or thin, 1 side or 2?

LET’S NOT LEAVE OUT THE FOLKS WHO MIX THEIR PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY IN A BOWL BEFORE THEY SPREAD IT …. WEIRD, BUT I’VE HEARD OF IT.

Step #5 To cut or eat whole. If you decide to cut, how many pieces, do you cut it diagonal or vertical?

My perfect PB and J? Fresher than fresh white, squishy, bunny bread, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, creamy … “butter” both sides of the bread using a spoon and making sure it is thick, creating little divots for the jelly to sit in. Then and only then do I use a spoon to apply the jelly, cut it diagonal in 2 pieces and enjoy. Now who wants to talk about the multiple ways to eat a pbandj? Yeah … me either.

Side note … I made this PB&J for my little brother who is a PB&J expert … if you know me you know I don’t do Strawberry … ANYTHING … BLECH

So let’s hear it … how do you make your favorite peanut butter and jelly?

The funniest April Fools joke I ever did play.

There is not much I love more than a good prank. I’m not super great at pulling them off because I cannot lie myself out of a paper bag so any practical joke I play has to be quick and spontaneous not in any way involving conversation with the one being pranked. It also helps if they do not have to look at my face. I cannot for the life of me pretend like nothing is happening. SO, trying to convince someone I made it on American Idle, or something of the like is just OUT OF THE QUESTION.

However, there was this one year… The kids were all still at home and I’d been thinking for days about what I could do. You have to know that my Ethan is also a prankster.  He is often the one playing the jokes though. He loved nothing more than hiding behind a door, in a closet, under a blanket, behind a curtain with the full intention of jumping out at you when you least expect it. He started this very young and is full of ideas and unlike his mom he’s pretty good at pulling them off.

This particular April Fools though, the girls and I got him good! He never could have expected what we would do and while is sounds so simple, it was oh such sweet payback for the many years full of times he made my heart race. .  We completed the prank almost at the same time I thought of it. It was more than spontaneous. I did not think of if ahead of time, there was no planning, I simply said heres what here doing and we just went to it. Just like any other night, Ethan got in the shower and that’s when it came to me. I gathered the girls and explained what we would do They were game and we were all a bit giggle. After he’d been in there a bit, the girls and I banged on the door and yelled fire. This could have really backfired as I would be the one paying the doctors bill had he been injured. I heard it all happen in slow motion and while I was a little worried on the other side of the door imagining what could be happening in there I was belly laughing while the tears rolled down my face. I heard the frantic pull of the shower curtain as he stumbled out of the tub, slipping on the tile floor only to have his fist force a hole in the bathroom door. Yes that is right folks, in the spirit of playing a good joke I put my boy in danger and I have never laughed so hard in my life! When he opened the door , there we were the three of us standing  there with huge smiles on our faces, Ok who am I kidding …. We were all laughing hysterically. Not to mention the satisfaction of having finally gotten one over on him.


Faith Shaming vs. Love

Soooo, recently I was reading the IG of a beautiful woman who is LDS. I love her IG. PAUSE HERE FOR A SHOUTOUT TO @Whiteshantyathome – ya’ll go check her out. She is stylish and has the ability to make any room look homey and comfortable and lived in in the most beautiful way. She is very family oriented and her daughter had just made the decision to follow Jesus and mom was expressing how very happy this made her. I was glancing through the comments when I noticed a woman who had “catholic” in her username commented among other things “Praying you find truth”

I am neither LDS or Catholic. I do have friends from both faiths. We are able to discuss our beliefs, our love for God and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are able to glean wisdom from one another and respect the fact that while we all may have a different interpretation of the Bible the one thing that is a common thread and draws us together is the fact that we love Jesus and have a deep desire to please God through our everyday actions with people we meet and our families.

You should know I lived many miserable years in legalism. If you were Mormon I didn’t read your blog, If you were Catholic I didn’t listen to your advice. If you had just 1 view point I didn’t agree with I discounted everything you had to say. Notice I said MISERABLE years! I was right and that was it. My church and church leaders were the authority and that was it. There was no other possibility. A devastating life event occurred and someone I love deeply left this earth. He was a teenager and suffered a great deal before going to live with Jesus. That event caused me to question EVERYTHING I believed and what God revealed to me is that I am called to Love. Plain and simple I am here to love you. No matter what religion you are, no matter whom you choose to love, no matter what sin you committed 10 minutes ago, no matter how you parent, no matter how you feed your kids, NO MATTER –  when the Lord brings us together in a common place, I am called to love you. Plain and simple. When Christ himself was asked by an expert of the law “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” he answered “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27

So I say … stop faith shaming! You my friend have nothing to fear. You will not be judged on your neighbors beliefs, or practices. However, I have a feeling God himself is watching to see just how much love, true heart felt, from the gut love we express to one another, different doctrines and all!

Show me …

God has made us all who we are. It is him who has planted dreams in our heart, given us vision and developed our abilities and talents. Doesn’t it make sense that we should ask him how to best use it all?

When we consult him how to best use HIS creation for HIS glory to serve others He will be faithful to lead us!

And for those of you believing you weren’t created for anything. Wondering if you have anything to bring to the world. Know that you know that you know He made you for something great! Let Him use you and be amazed!

Find your inner warrior!

By Susan James

Have you ever heard the saying, “ New year, new me?” Of course you have because as soon as that clock strikes midnight, that is the statement everyone wants to live by. Then a few months go by and the weight isn’t coming off fast enough or your new career path isn’t going how you thought it would. Life is funny that way you know? We tend to just give up if we aren’t getting the results we want right away. This is exactly what I experienced in 2018.

The beginning of the year started off great. We had just welcomed our second child into the world, we both had jobs that we enjoyed for the most part, money was steady, and it just seemed like the year was gonna be a good one. Then in May, it seemed like everything seemed to take a turn. My marriage was taking a hard hit, my husband was dealing with demons that I couldn’t quite help him with. Not long after that I made the decision to leave my job and then the depression started to set in.

You know that feeling when you get in the pit of your stomach, the one when you start trying to figure out how you got to such a low point. You find yourself sitting on the floor while your babies are napping, looking at them and thinking, “ I failed you.” Well I’m here to tell you, there is hope. There is hope for the girl out there who has given it her all, whether it was a relationship or a job and feels like she failed. You have it in you to pick yourself up and say “not today Satan.” It’s easier said than done, I know but God has done big things in my life before and I am going to keep trusting that big things are coming! So get up, kick off that hurt that is knocking you down right now and shower yourself in some hope.

You got this, there is a warrior inside all of us!

How do you use your shield?

If you are familiar with the armor of God written about in Ephesians 6 you will recognize our faith being likened to a shield. I had not given this much thought until recently. During my morning reading the Lord caused it to stick out.  I wanted to know WHY a shield?

A shield is often a heavy piece of metal used by members of the infantry to guard themselves from the weapons of the enemy. The soldier can use it to hold in front of him or her for the purpose of deflecting the weapons the enemy attacks us with in hopes of putting us out of commission.

The ancient Roman army utilized shields in this way. First, their shields were huge as you can see in the image. Almost as tall as them

When marching into battle the soldiers marched in lines. The front line held their shield in front of them while every line behind them held their shield over head. Take a look at the picture. As you can see the weapon, most likely darts/arrows had very few available points of entry and even those points could be quickly guarded.

There were also shield bearers whose job it was to hold the shield in front of a person while he lodged weapons against the enemy in battle.

Are you now asking how this monstrous piece of metal might in someway compare to our faith? Follow me if you will. Like ancient warriors carried the shield individually, we can do the same with our faith. We can hold it in front and on occasion move depending on which way the enemy is moving. We can deflect the arrows as long as we are quick enough and have the ability to see around us and where the darts are coming from. As you can imagine, it is difficult to guard all angles with just 1 shield just as it is difficult to guard all angles with just our own faith.

There are times we are called to fight and all we can do with ourselves is to fight. We are exhausted and in desperate need of a shield bearer or someone to hold the shield for us while we shoot the arrows. Likewise there are times the intensity of our battle cannot be fought alone and we sometimes drop our shield in the necessity of drawing our bow or just out of exhaustion from fighting so hard. Those are the times we need our brothers and sister’s in Christ to be our shield bearer.

Then there are times when the battle is just too big and the enemy is coming from every side so quickly we don’t even have the ability to keep up and it’s in those times we need shield from every member of the army to protect us on every single side. As you read that replace the word shield with faith. Sometimes the battle is merely that the enemy wants to distract us. Our faith is most often strong enough to deflect his pokes and prods. Then there are days when I am called to fight and I need the faith of someone close. Someone who is willing to pay attention with us and watch for the arrows and then moves and responds as necessary while we do battle. Then there are those times when our battle is huge, we may be utterly exhausted from fighting for a while and we need the protecting faith of others to shield us while we regain our strength or decide the next move. Whatever it is the Shield of faith works best when interacting with others who have also picked up their shield of faith.

The warriors in ancient armies banded together recognizing that their greatest strength was in shielding one another during battle.

Do not loose faith my sister’s. Neither should you attempt to fight your battles alone. Call on your sisters in Christ to rally around you in their faith like a shield. Two or more are always better than one!

Change ….

Change is inevitable. The world and life in it are constantly moving, reshaping, refocusing … changing. So many of us view change as bad. We don’t like it and we sometimes fight against it with everything we’ve got. We neglect to remember there are just as many positive changes as negative and often positive outcomes develop as a result of what we view as the negative change.

For instance, as it was clear my marriage was failing I grew. I grew in the understanding of myself, I grew in faith, I grew in confidence. I grew! I have gained new friendships and even enjoyed some fun times I never would have had if I not been separated. I have even found my inner artist. The ending of the marriage was devastating. More because it feels not only like rejection but also failure and I hate to fail at anything, but none the less it was over. I could have buried myself in deep. I could have taken months even years to get over it. I could have spent the rest of my lifetime devastated. Instead, I spent countless hours asking God to show me what positive outcome would come out of a situation I could see nothing good in and He did just that. He unfolded and revealed things in me I had no idea were there. In addition He also developed a brave warrior spirit that is willing and ready now to fight for all He he has for me. He showed me a new boldness and where I would have layed down and let people walk on me in the past, I am no longer willing to take anyone’s S@*t! A brave new woman who is no longer willing to play the nice girl and allow others to inflict their own plan on her life. He took everything I thought would crush me and used it to build an alter that I would never ever ever forget the things He has done for me, through me and in me.

I’d be interested to hear, what experience have you had that at the time felt terrible and in the end turned out to be positive?