July 23, 2010

New Ministry, New Website, New Blog!!!!!

Hi Girls -
With much excitement, I must tell you this blog has come to an end.  Oh my vision was so short sided!!!  Please jump over to

That's where I will be, hope you will to!

Love you lots - my originally bloggy friends!

May 31, 2010

Quick Hi!

Hey you sweet girls!  I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend.  I know I promised to get caught up on my blog, post pictures of the infamous kitchen remodel and start blogging regularly this summer.  I promise I will.  And since today is the first unofficial day of summer, I wanted to stop by and say hey!

I need to talk fast because the kids are in the garage with Chris and power tools are being used.  Need I say more?  He is finishing up the last project of the kitchen and then the only thing left to do is paint the trim (which I hate doing BTW).  I am spending most of the day outside weeding - lots and lots of weeding - and doing some yard work that should have been done earlier this spring. 

Well, just wanted to stop and say Hi and let you know I was thinking about you all!

Happy Memorial Day and Thank You Lord for the many men and women who have served our country so selflessly!  Thank You for our freedom and Your protection.  Guide and protect our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in uniform. 

Love you guys!

March 30, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... it is dark but there is a hope of warm weather this week.  I just heard on the 11 o'clock news that we may see some record breaking temps this week!  And my daffodils are smiling!  Usually as soon as the first ones open I am running outside to cut them for the dining room and the kitchen but since I have no kitchen and the dining room has a 6 inch path to walk through, the daffodils must smile outside.  Maybe I can get our room put back together tomorrow and put some on my nightstand.  That would make me smile!  It is amazing what construction will do to your house!

I am thinking... how wonderful it will be to have a kitchen again.  And a kitchen that I will truly love!  Oh, and a working washer...my brand new front loader (purchased on Jan 9th) stopped working on Feb 25th.  Control panel blew out.  Still not fixed - Frigidaire and I are having words.  Hopefully I find out tomorrow if they are going to just replace it with a new washer.  A frustration that came at a not so great time - but God knew and God knows and God continues to be faithful!

I am thankful for...knowing God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do!

From the kitchen...what kitchen?  The microwave sitting on the bar in the family room is my kitchen.  Hopefully the nicer weather will allow for some yummy grilled meats and big salads.  I miss cooking and I miss fresh food!  We are all paying for it - our bodies don't like processed food!

I am wearing... sweats and a yoga shirt.  Earlier today (before Katie got sick...enough said) I had on a very cute Ann Taylor long sleeve tee shirt that I got for $1 at a consignment store that is going out of business!  I totally scored!  Had to dig and dig and dig but came away with about 40 super cute things that actually fit - all for only $1 each!!!  Including a very awesome, very pretty navy blue suit (skirt and jacket) that I will wear Sunday. Both pieces - $1 each!  Can you tell I am exciting about this?

I am creating... blog posts in my head.  I have missed you all!  I keep thinking of cool stuff to do thru Passion Week and hopefully will have time this week to do a couple of posts.  Sorry it has been over a month since my last post.  I promise to get better. People who blog regularly totally amaze me. 

I am going... nowhere this week except church.  Benjamin is on spring break and Katie came down with a stomach bug today that has her literally in bed.  We are staying home, playing outside and hopefully I can get rid of some nasty drywall dust that has everything in my house hidden under an inch of white stuff. 

I am reading... 1 Samuel right now and am loving it!  Seeing it with new eyes!  Beth Moore's newest book, So Long Insecurity, you've been a bad friend to us.  Should finish this one up this week.  Great read - God's all up in my business right now!  I have also been working thru a 40 day Lenten devotional entitled Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  Wowsers!  This one has messed me up!  I pray I never recover from it!

I am hoping... to return to some sort of normal, get the kitchen finished in the next two weeks and then enjoy a clean house before we go at it again with the master bath.  Chris wants to be fishing during the month of May so my house may not get clean before then but I can hope!  At least with the kitchen done, I can be cooking again and eating healthy again.  It's been hard!  I got on the scale today and even though I am only up 3 pounds from my lowest weight a few weeks ago, I can feel the effects of too many meals out and too many quick microwave meals.  Did I tell you we don't do much processed food?  I guess we are food snobs....

I am hearing... DIY Network and Chris snoring.  Normal life in our house at 12:30am.

Around the house... don't ask and don't come visit.  I will let you know when we are back up to health codes!  It's bad guys, really bad...but there is a light at the end of this very long tunnel!  Now, if I could just wash clothes in my house.....

One of my favorite things... knowing Jesus.  Knowing that His ways are better than mine.  Knowing that His plans and thoughts towards me are beyond my wildest dreams.  Knowing that He is in the littlest of details like $1 cute clothes when I need an entirely new wardrobe!  Knowing my children and husband love Him.  Knowing that He became sin and experienced hell so I can live! 

February 21, 2010

A View into My Life

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... rainy and dreary.  But it did get above freezing! 

I am thinking...of the Passion of Jesus.  I experienced an overwhelming feeling of being scandalously loved and forgiven during communion and then through the entire service.  It really messed me up for the better.  I haven't been able to shake that overwhelming grip today - hope I never do...

I am thankful for...my life.  Simple? Yes.  Boring?  Never!

From the kitchen... Tomorrow I am hoping to bake some banana muffins and apple muffins.  If I can, I will post the recipes tomorrow.  Will start marinating the roast for Sauerbraten for Small Group dinner Wednesday.

I am wearing... what I wore to church this morning - black cords, white tank top and black and white fleck sweater.

I am creating... a message God is burning in my heart.

I am going... to finish the laundry tomorrow.  Also, I need to go through my closet again.  I'm running out of clothes and I hate to shop.

I am reading... a new Lenten devotional - Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  and the norm - The One Year NLT Chronological Bible, Beth Moore's newest, So Long Insecurity (You've Been a Bad Friend to Us), and several books to prepare a message God has laid on my heart for a ladies retreat/conference. 

Pondering these words... "Jesus has many who love His Kingdom in Heaven but few who bear His Cross.  Many follow Jesus to the Breaking of the Bread, but few to the drinking of the Cup of His Passion.  They who love Jesus for His own sake, and not for the sake of comfort for themselves, bless Him in every trial and anguish of heart, no less than in the greatest joy."  Thomas a` Kempis The Imitation of Christ

I am hoping...that spring comes soon.  The kids have cabin fever and need fresh air.  We need sunshine desperately!  It's been a long winter and it doesn't seem to want to end.

I am hearing... ice dancing on TV, dog snoring on the floor, Chris snoring on the other couch. A content woman's Sunday evening.

Around the house... cleaning, laundry, cooking...life as normal

One of my favorite things...hearing my kids pray to Jesus. 

A few plans for the rest of the week... another dentist appt, Bible study Monday night, finalizing the tile order for kitchen and bath, preschool, ChristCare (small group) Wed night.

February 16, 2010

The Story of Love Within the Pages of the Story of Death

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me"." Matthew 16:24 NLT
Next time you are sitting in a coffee shop, look around and see if you can find one. It won't take long to spot, I can assure you. It could be gold or silver, jeweled and delicate or metallic and rugged.

It musters up different emotions. For some, it is a piece of jewelry that is worn without a thought. After all, it was bought just for that outfit. The perfect accessory to finish off the look just right.

For others, it is something to be shied away from. They remember the picture of the man hanging on it. They shiver thinking that someone died on one. Why would anyone want to focus on something that speaks of pain and torture?

But for some, it is the symbol of all that is. It symbolizes all they were, all they are and all they will be. It tells the greatest story ever told. The story of Love within the pages of the story of death.

His death so I may live.

My death so He may live.

How odd. The logical sequence is life then death, not death then life.

But that is exactly how it is.

In order to live, there must be death.

We celebrate life with "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" and then we wait for the sound that, since the beginning of time, a mother holds her breath to hear. The cry of life. 

But death.

His death.

His death not warranted nor deserved. His death so life could be born. His death so victory could be won. His death so a Creator could be reunited with His creation. His death so a Father could be reunited with His child.

Another death.

My death.

My death is the only way I know how to even start to say thank you. My death so the Spirit can fully have His way. My death so that same stubborn sin finally dies. My death so the gripping temptations lose their hold.

His death began with surrender. “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42 NLT 

Mine begins in much the same way.

Starting with the bending of my knee and the bowing of my heart to the King of kings.  Praying "Your will, not mine. Your desires, not mine. Your control, not mine.  All to you and for you Jesus, I surrender."

Today starts a forty day journey to the Cross which will end at an open and empty tomb. A journey from death to life, from defeat to victory. Let’s not journey through this Lenten season unchanged. Let’s die to ourselves so that we may live and experience abundant life. Let’s let the Light of Jesus shine on what needs to die. Let’s let the Word penetrate into our hearts so we can be transformed and our minds be renewed. Let’s take up our cross and follow him.

Each of us is shaped to serve the living God. We come together for one common goal, total health. Some of us are on a journey to weight loss. Some of us are on a journey to wholeness and healing. Some of us are on a journey to living life above the rubble. Whatever your journey, our destination is the same - a life of fullness of health through Jesus.

I want to hear from you. Where do you want to be forty days from now? Are you willing to walk the path to the Cross with us? To let God have his way to transform us - ordinary women with ordinary challenges as we seek to serve our extraordinary God.

February 14, 2010

A Glimpse of the Simple Yet Crazy Life

This Week's Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... it is now dark but there is still snow on the ground and hearing we are supposed to get more tomorrow and Tuesday.

I am thinking... about all that needs to be done.  House needs to get a thorough cleaning so construction can begin.  Katie needs to be moved back into her room.  Kids clothes need to be donated.  Bible study notes need to be prepared. 

I am thankful for... the great conversation Chris and I had today about John 16:33.  To be married to a man who loves Jesus.  To have kids whose hearts are tender to Jesus.  It gives me goosebumps to know that they really believe Jesus can do anything and everything. 

From the kitchen... homemade chicken noodle soup (my version of a Paula Deen recipe) and biscuits.  (Recipe follows - low cal and low fat and simply delicious!)

I am wearing... my favorite Coldwater Creek jeans and my Yellowstone sweatshirt with a white turtleneck.  My sweatshirts makes me long for WY - my favorite place in the world!  My favorite jeans need to go to Goodwill - they are just too big.  It will be like saying goodbye to a good friend.  Bittersweet!

I am creating... a message to be delivered in April on John 16:33.  Once the date and venue is confirmed I will tell you when and where!  Very exciting!

I am going... to clean the house tomorrow top to bottom.  Too much stuff and clutter stresses me out!

I am reading... The One Year NLT Chronological Bible (I am behind - again), Beth Moore's newest, So Long Insecurity (You've Been a Bad Friend to Us), and several books to prepare a message God has laid on my heart for a ladies retreat/conference.

Pondering these words... "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" John 16:33.  Do we believe that Jesus has overcome?  What has He overcome?  Are we trusting Him and believing Him for more than just our eternal home?

I am hoping... To get the house orgnaized so it is easier to function when construction begins.

I am hearing... couples figure skating on TV, dog snoring on the floor, Chris snoring on the other couch.  A married and content woman's Valentine's Day.  We are home, happy and content.

Around the house... have I mentioned my goals of cleaning tomorrow?  Need to work on our menu for the week (maybe tomorrow night), kitchen and bath "stuff" is accumulating in the dining room.  New fridge, new range, new wine cooler, new trash compactor, new dishwasher, new jacuzzi tub, 2 toilets, 7 new doors, new wall oven, new microwave.  I could open up my own Lowes!  Where oh where will the cabinets and tile go when it gets delievered? 

One of my favorite things...homemade chicken noodle soup.

A few plans for the rest of the week... dentist appts, Bible Study, finalizing the tile order for kitchen and bath, preschool, (Hopefully - with all the snow days and the stomach bug I think Benjamin has only been 2 or 3 times since Christmas!)
My [Healthy] Version of Paula Deen's Chicken Noodle Soup
Note: This makes a large recipe but freezes very well. If you need a smaller amount, just halve all the ingredients.

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
5 quarts water
2 onions peeled and left whole
4 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 bay leaves
5 chicken bouillion cubes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to stock pot.  Bring to a boil and cook until chicken is tender, aout 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove chicken from pot and shred and set aside.  Remove and discard onion and bay leaves. 
3-4 cups sliced carrots
3-4 cups sliced celery
3-1/2 to 4 cups whole wheat egg noodles, uncooked (look for whole wheat, no yolk, low fat noodles)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Bring stock back to boil.  Add carrots and cook for 3 minutes.  Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add noodles and cook according to directions on package.  When noodles are done, add shredded chicken breast and parsley.  Cook for another 2 minutes.  Adjust seasoning if needed.
Low Cal/Low Fat, Delicious Old Fashioned Drop Biscuits
1-1/2 cups Bisquick Heart Health
1/2 cup skim milk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together until soft dough forms.  Drop by tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10 mins or until slightly golden brown.
Have a Soup-er Day of Warm Blessings!
~ O'Nealya

February 11, 2010

Foolish and Weak

***To my first four friends to follow Shaped to Serve - you all win!  April and Angel - email me your home addresses here and I will mail them ASAP.  I have your address, Joy and Christy, I will bring your coupon to church on Sunday!  (I know I said 3 but I just couldn't leave one of you out!) 

Today was Benjamin's preschool Valentine's Day party.  This was a first for this mom - seeing just how much sugar one child can consume between the hours of 9 am and noon!  Cupcakes, cookies, ice cream AND candy!  His teachers USED TO BE two of my favorite ladies in the whole world! 

When I saw the remnants of the party in the classroom, and the smell of all things sweet turned my stomach, it reminded me that I am no longer bound to food.  And that, girlfriends is a good thing! 

I have to share with you something that only God could have orchastrated. 

If you were to go through my prayer journals you would see that the same prayer pops up over and over.  "Lord teach me to be the mom you desire me to be!" 

I long to be organized - but find days when the kids and I never get out of our PJs. 

I long for a structured day - but find my kids finally falling asleep for their afternoon nap at 3:30 instead of at 2:00 when I laid them down. 

I long to make fun memories with my kids - but find that Play Doh stresses me out. 

I long to be an example to my kids of the love and grace of Jesus - but find myself in a battle of between being too hard on the kids (and expecting more out of them than an almost two year old and a three and a half year old is capable of doing) and being too leaniant on them (and having them think they can overrun mom and dad). 

Enter God....

Chris and I are new to our church.  Exactly one year ago this month we started attending and just became members in November.  At our previous church we were the epitome of active.  I taught multiple bible studies, spoke at women's retreats and conferences, created the children's church program, directed VBS and did anything and everything in between.  (I had a very hard time learning the word 'no').  Chris served on council and did anything and everything his schedule allowed and still holds the prize for being the most patient and understanding husband as his wife ran in a million different directions. 

That life came to a screaching halt when we were directed by God to leave our church.  We came to Messiah and God had us sit and listen and be fed.  A great time of refreshment that was so needed in both our lives.

This fall I became antsy looking for a ministry to get involved in.  My passion is women.  The thing that makes my heart sing is to see women break free from the chains that their past, their 'religion', their family dysfunction and ultimately the enemy has them bound to.  God has called me to minister to women and I sat for many months waiting for God to lead.

About a month ago our pastor stopped me in the hall at church during preschool pick-up and asked me to set up a time to meet with him.  He had a ministry idea he wanted to talk to me about.  I bit my tongue and stopped myself from just yelling "yes, I'll do whatever you want.  Just give me something to do."  (I have grown a lot this last year!)

As I sat in his office a week or so later he asked me if I would coordinate the outreach to our preschool families.  Starting with a newsletter addressing parenting topics (How to get dressed before 4pm?), resources (James Dobson's The Strong Willed Child...Otherwise Known as Katherine Gronstal?), and activities (How to embrace Play Doh as your friend?).  And do this with the ultimate goal of ministering to those who are not churched. 

While the idea and ministry opportunity intrigued me I have to admit, I felt completely unqualified.  Me help people raise their kids and not lose their minds?  I had already lost mine so there wasn't much I could offer.

But God. 
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." I Corinthians 1:27 NIV
Foolish?  Um, I pay to be blonde and get my money's worth all the time!

Weak?  I had to get married so I could open pickle jars!

Ok, Paul thinks I am qualified...

The more I pondered and prayed about the opportunity, the more the Holy Spirit kept bringing ideas to mind.

Ideas like:

How can a mom, who can't get her kids dressed during the day, still tuck them in at night with tears of joy for these unbelievable, totally undeserved miracles from God?

Who do you talk to when you think you have completely failed as a parent and your kids will end up as permanent fixtures in a counselor's office? 

Where can a parent find a safe place other than Facebook to share their struggles and joys and find someone, anyone who has walked a mile in their shoes?

It was ideas like those that convinced me this is something God has called me to.  By reaching out to others and helping them navigate the sometimes rough, somethings calm, and sometimes downright hilarious waters of this crazy thing called parenthood, my prayer of "Lord, teach me to be the mom you desire me to be!" would be answered.

Isn't that so God?  By putting our focus on being a blessing to others and pointing people to a Savior who can turn their biggest mess into something beautiful, we in turn are the ones who are truly blessed.  We don't have to have all the answers - in fact we shouldn't have all the answers - for this broken, lost world.  We just need to offer ourselves as a living, breathing, available vessel to the One who holds it all together and let Him do the work.

Here I am.  Lord, send me....