Blog

Dig a Little Deeper in the Well

My husband and sons tend to remember big moments in life based on football games…”Oh that was the year the Cowboys beat the Chiefs”, etc. Moments of my life tend to be marked with music….I remember things and events of the past and I can tell you what music was playing, sort of like a soundtrack to my life, you might say? I can remember riding in the car as a kid listening to 8 track tapes on the stereo. One tape my parents used to play was one by the Oak Ridge Boys. My brother and I used to giggle singing along to “Elvira” and the like. One song on the tape they used to play went a little something like this (you have to imagine the Oak Ridge Boys singing here) “Dig, Dig (high pitched voice), Dig (deep bass voice) a little deeper in the well son, dig a little deeper in the well…if you want a good, cold drink of water, you’ve got to dig a little deeper in the well.”

A recent bible study I have been doing (“Steadfast Love” by Lauren Chandler) talks in one section about cisterns and how they were used in biblical times. Cisterns were man-made wells that were cut deeply into rock for holding water. Once these cisterns were no longer useful for holding water, they were converted into tombs, torture chambers and prisons. Jeremiah 2:13 says this, “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

I have done this so often in my own life – looked to things and people for fulfillment, love, security, sustenance when Jesus Christ is the only one that can fill our empty places with living water that truly satisfies. When we continue to seek what only He can give in any other place or thing besides Jesus, these broken wells will eventually become prisons for us. Even when we are longing for the Lord to rescue us and it feels like we are in a desert, we can know that God uses our desert seasons to reveal our broken cisterns to us so that He can bring us to a place where we can find satisfaction in nothing else but Him – our well of living water.

When we read about the woman at the well in the Bible, we learn that she went to draw water during the hottest part of the day. Water was usually drawn in the evenings or early mornings, but this woman timed her trip to the well carefully in order to avoid having to interact with others who would shame her for her lifestyle and for who she was. During the hottest (desert) part of the day, this woman met Jesus. He told her everything she ever did and then offered her the one thing that could set her free: living water. She accepted his gift and it changed her life.

These desert seasons can be painful because the Lord reveals to us things about ourselves and our sin that are difficult to face and own up to. If we cling to Him and keep moving forward with Him, we can know that He never exposes those things in our lives to shame or condemn us, but in order that He can cover us with even MORE of His grace and love, putting HIS robe of righteousness on us as he begins his healing work on the wounds that sin has inflicted on our lives.

Lord help us to acknowledge our broken cisterns and set us free from our self erected prisons. Lead us to draw deeper from your continuous supply of living water offered freely to whomever will receive it.

When you’re feeling thirsty or your spirits are dry, let that be your reminder to “Dig, dig, DIG a little deeper in the well….”

Again – these thoughts are based on a bible study I am currently working on, but I thought they were so relevant I wanted to share and it has been awhile since I’ve posted here. ūüôā

I hope you will allow Jesus to begin to set you free today, then it truly will be INDEPENDENCE DAY! xoxo

Trusting God’s Timing

 

20160103-SundayScripture-Joshua212

Have you ever prayed for something that you KNEW was within the will of God and the answer or resolution never seemed to come? Something so tender and precious to your heart that it literally moves you to tears when you think about it? During these times in my life, there have been days where my faith was strong and I boldly stood on scripture that confirmed I was praying in the right direction over a matter, and then there are those other days……days when it seems I have been praying so long, I wondered if the answer was no.  Or if God heard me.  Or if there might be something in my life I needed to confess to the Lord, something that was hindering my prayers, because it didn’t feel or seem like He heard or saw my need or my pain over a matter. I’ve been there, and quite frankly, I’m there now.

Maybe your prayer is for your marriage to be saved,

your wayward child to turn to the Lord,

for a loved one to be healed from an illness,

for provision of a need,

for God to intervene in your situation in a mighty way,

It is so easy to become discouraged in our situations when God doesn’t seem to be operating on our time-table.  Sometimes the more we pray over a matter, the worse things seem to get in the situation.  It is so hard to understand.  In our human mindsets and “microwave” mentalities, we tend to want things “now”….no, make that yesterday.   It is hard for us to make sense of it – so many times I have prayed, “Lord, I know that this is your will, why won’t you just act? I know you have the power.  I know you can.”

If we focus on a perceived lack of movement on God’s part in a situation, we can begin to lose faith.  I have been participating in a read the Bible through program this year.  My old testament reading has me in the book of Joshua right now.  Sometimes Joshua is tedious.  The past few days, I have been a little discouraged concerning something I have been praying about for what seems like an eternity.  I have to be honest, I haven’t seen a lot of movement for the better in the situation, and every time I think I am seeing some progress or a ray of hope, it feels like it turns into an episode of “Punked”…..joke is on me, because that ray of hope just turned into 10 steps back.  It’s frustrating.  It’s discouraging.  I’d even go so far as to say heartbreaking at times.  But then there it was in Joshua….in the middle of dividing up land between tribes and a list of defeated kings, it grabbed my attention and I knew God was speaking to me.

“Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed:  every one was fulfilled.” Joshua 21:45

Isn’t God good? His word is good.  Not one of His promises to us have or will fail.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25

He may not be operating on my timetable, but 2 Samuel 22:31 reminds me that “Your way is perfect.” and 2 Peter 3:9 tells me, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells me that “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘YES’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘AMEN’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

So because my faith was encouraged this morning, I just wanted to share so that maybe yours will be encouraged also.  Let us continue to pray for wisdom and discernment in our areas of concern and for the perseverance of faith and persistence of the widow in Luke 18:1 – 6.  Let us always pray and never give up.  Praise God that he is not like the unjust judge in this passage – we will never wear him out with our coming to him.

Aren’t you thankful for God’s word that encourages us in our weakness and reminds us of what we know, but sometimes forget. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking, friends.  God will work his perfect will in his perfect time, and your faith will grow in the process.  He is good.

Knock You Naked Bars

knock you naked bars

 

These bars are SO delicious. ¬†REALLY! Every time I make them, they don’t stick around long. ¬†They are one of the most requested sweets at our house. ¬†They’re called “Knock You Naked Bars”. ¬†If you’re Baptist like me and that title makes you blush, you can settle for letting them knock your socks off. *giggle* Regardless of what you call them, they will change your life!! I found the picture online because my photography skills aren’t the greatest where this blog is concerned (for now)…my little photo is courtesy of bigoven.com

 

Now for the good stuff……

Knock You Naked Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Base:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12 oz pkg) semi-sweet or milk chocolate morsels.  (I like milk chocolate)

Caramel Peanut Butter:

1/2 cup evaporated milk

60 whole caramels, unwrapped

1/2 cup peanut butter, melted

1/3 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate morsels

Directions:

  1.  To make the cookie base, preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease 9 x 13 pan.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate morsels.
  2. Spread half of cookie dough into prepared pan and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and set aside.  Begin caramel.
  3. To make the caramel, in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with 1/2 cup of evaporated milk.  When melted and combined, add 1/2 cup melted peanut butter and pour over the cookie base.  Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
  4. Drop remaining cookie dough by spoonfuls on top of the caramel mixture.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and edges are set.  Cool in the pan on wire rack.

Makes 2 dozen bars.

 

 

Carrot Poke Cake

For some reason, when I think of Easter desserts, I always think of carrot cake. ¬†I love carrot cake. ¬†Rich, delicious….and cream cheese icing? Stop it. This is definitely a lick the beater occasion!! This year, my assignment was to bring desserts to mom’s, so I am making a new version (to me) of an old classic. ¬†Carrot Poke Cake – I saw that caramel Eagle Brand (y’all…..so good…just give me a spoon) and caramel ice cream topping in the ingredients list, I had to give it a try! And, naturally, I wanted to share with all of you!

 

Fun Fact: ¬†What makes a poke cake a “poke” cake has nothing to do with anything related to the television mini series “Lonesome Dove” *giggle*, it’s the holes that you “poke” in the cake and then infuse with delicious filling! Now ya know……so, as my Mama would say, “Get your mind out of the gutter!” ūüėČ

 

FullSizeRender (13)

Ingredients:

One Carrot Cake recipe of your choice, baked and cooled.  I used Duncan Hines Decadent box mix Рeasy, peasy and it has real carrots and raisins in it! I love all of the decadent box mixes!

14 oz sweetened condensed milk:  I used Eagle Brand Caramel, for an extra punch of rich deliciousness!

8 oz Cool Whip

10.6 oz of Cool Whip Cream Cheese Frosting, if your local grocer carries it.  I was unable to find it, so I just grabbed a regular container of Duncan Hines Cream Cheese frosting.

6 oz (half a tub) of whipped cream cheese (must be whipped)

Approximately 1/2 cup caramel sundae sauce (or, if you’re like me, you do what you want and pour on a bunch!) I used Ghirardelli Premium Caramel Sauce. ¬†YUMMO. ¬†That is all.

Approximately 1 cup chopped pecans (sprinkle on as ¬†much or as little as you like…..one more place for rebellion in this recipe!)

Directions:

Leave the cake in the dish you baked it in.  This is not a free-standing cake.

IMG_0336

 

Poke approximately 20-25 holes, spread out evenly, over the top of the cake once it has cooled.  You can use the bottom of a wooden spoon to do this.  Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top, making sure the holes are full as much as possible.

IMG_0337IMG_0339

In a large bowl, mix together the cool whip, frosting, and cream cheese until smooth.  Spread over the top of the cake.

IMG_0340

Pour the caramel sauce over the top of the cake and sprinkle with pecans.

IMG_0341

Refrigerate at least 4 hours, I prefer overnight.

Cut into squares to serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

Add a little ZING to your Spring!

It’s finally SPRING (as far as the calendar tells us in Arkansas, sometimes the weather begs to differ)! The days are longer, birds wake us and keep us company with their happy chirping throughout the day, flowers are in bloom and cute sandals are out in the stores! O Happy Day!!

I thought I’d put together a quick list of a few easy and fun things you can do at home to welcome Spring! I’m also adding some Easter dessert recipes to the Delicious Temptations section of the blog this afternoon. ¬†Forgive me for not posting in so long, but my Huzz was off work with me for Spring Break this week and we have just spent our time enjoying each other’s company and taking it easy – a little fishing, a little grilling, some fun time with the kiddos, a little shopping and some road tripping. ¬†It has been a really fun week and I am sad to see it end.

 

OK….back to our list! (Forgive my less than professional photography…..maybe I can work on honing those skills this summer!)

Ways to Add Some Zing to Your Spring!

1. ¬†Set a Spring table:¬†I love to keep my table set with place mats and pretty plates. ¬†It just brightens up the kitchen and makes it seem more welcoming. ¬†Fiesta Ware dishes are some of my favorites! You can mix and match lots of bright colors with place mats and cloth napkins, a pretty centerpiece or some fun flowers and VOILA! your kitchen is a more warm and friendly place to be! Keep it simple! You can find Fiesta Ware at most kitchen stores or retail establishments that carry dishes and for place mats and napkins, one of my favorites is Pier 1. ¬†Although IMHO, Pier 1 can be a little pricey…..you can find great deals just about anywhere, just keep your eyes peeled. ¬†Another local favorite of mine is The Kitchen Store in Conway. ¬†My friend Tricia has a BEAUTIFUL business with an excellent inventory and super friendly staff. ¬†Another store to watch for in the Northwest Arkansas area that is coming soon from my friend Melissa Turpin is in Rogers and is called Honeycomb Kitchen Shop. ¬†If it is half as adorable as she is, you will DEFINITELY want to check it out! You can find them on Facebook at Honeycomb Kitchen Shop, and The Kitchen Store and More and conwaykitchen.com

FullSizeRender (10)

2. ¬†Plant some pretty Spring flowers: ¬†Whether you have a green thumb or not, a pretty spring planter can add an easy pop of color and pizzazz to your patio or front porch! By doing a little research, you can find low maintenance flowers and plants that are easy to mix and match for sun or shade and beautify your outdoor space, or any space! Getting my patio planters full of beautiful flowers is one of my very favorite things to do in the Spring. ¬†It really isn’t hard to do, and you can find all sorts of online tutorials on Pinterest, or just by picking up a recent copy of Southern Living Magazine.

IMG_0329 (1)  C93CDE35-200F-424C-89D4-0FD565CCD2FD

3. ¬†Get outdoors: ¬†What better time to focus on your fitness, or maybe just your sanity, than when the weather is so incredible! Get outside and do something you love! Whether it be riding bikes, taking a walk or a jog, or even something more adventurous! They don’t call Arkansas ¬†“The Natural State” for nothing! We are blessed with some of the most beautiful outdoor scenery and hiking trails around! Check out the scene at Petit Jean Mountain, Mt. Magazine State Park, The Big Dam Bridge and Pinnacle Mountain, just to name a few! If you’re not into that much activity, try Garvan Gardens and enjoy the Tulip Festival. ¬†It truly is one of the most magnificent, beautiful places! The daffodils at Wye Mountain are also incredible. ¬†Or……get yourself an ENO and find some trees! Take your favorite book and read in your hammock for awhile….or maybe just take a nap. ¬†This is a favorite pastime of my kiddos!

FullSizeRender (11)

4.  New Patio Cushions:  If you love spending time grilling and enjoying your patio area, new patio cushions are a fun way to add a fresh touch of color to your favorite outdoor space.  Again, Pier 1 is an easy go to for me.  Their spring patio cushions are always fun and fashion forward! Some other places you might check out are Lowes, Home Depot, Wayfair, and Pottery Barn.  Even our dog Lilly likes getting in on the Patio cushion action!

FullSizeRender (12)

5. ¬†SHOOZ: ¬†Need I say more? If this seems like too much work, or maybe you’re just not the outdoorsy type, there isn’t a thing that can’t be solved with a new pair of spring shoes! Some of my favorite Spring sandal retailers include Wilkinson’s Mall in Conway, DSW, Dillard’s, and Belk. ¬†But before you sport those adorable spring sandals, make sure you have adorable spring toes to match! Treat yourself to a spa pedicure to rid yourself of those dry, winter piggies! A Nail Spa and Salon in Conway is my favorite place to¬†indulge. ¬†They have excellent customer service, they call you by name when you walk in and they do a fantastic job! Check them out!

I hope these little suggestions help you Spring forward in a fun and fashionable way! Enjoy!