Why Wait?

In even these days alone,

where handshakes and hugs are all pushed aside

forbidden protection behind locked doors

there is a God who provides.

There is something greater,

We can all embrace.

for we all have gifts,

no matter what we face.

We are all made for a purpose,

no matter what giants come our way.

We all have the ability to make a difference,

no matter where we must stay.

For we are all made for more

so we must silence the questions

and doubts that ask, “What for?”

We all have the chance to use this

to make someone’s day or even our own,

for in the quiet times of chaos,

if we rest with Jesus,

out of discomfort,

strength is grown.

 

So while we may be at a pause,

and while the unknown tries to spin us round,

why wait for tomorrow

when today is where life is found.

 

Therefore, think about it.  What have you been gifted? No matter what you do not have right now; you have even more.  No matter how unsettling it may feel; use this time to find peace in God. Use this time to draw nearer to Him and ask that He shows you how to use your incredible gifts.  He has always called us to rest in Him and now is the perfect time.

The time is not perfect.  Our situations are not perfect. But, it doesn’t need to be perfect.  It cannot be perfect. Nothing in life is perfect.  In fact, our imperfections are what make us beautiful.  They are what make us real. They are what make us capable.

So think outside of the box and use your gifts right here, and right now.  Use them to create and spread love at a time when the world needs every shade of hope,

every avenue of love,

every color of the rainbow.

Why wait?

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#bettertogether #thinkoutsidethebox #itsnotperfect #usingwhatwehave #alwayswantedpinkrainbows #spreadlove #godisgreater #pray #everythingwillbeokay #spreadtheword #makearainbow #righthererightnow

 

Equipped with Gifts
Luke 9-10:42, ‭Psalms‬ ‭37:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬, ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
but they do not come from the world,
still in the craziness of life
the true essence of our lives can become lost,
for though few are needed,
God’s will has a plan for us all
it is free, ready and prepared
but when we waste our skills, time and focus on selfish ways
there is a cost.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
for we are each God’s handiwork
we are each created in Christ to do such work
that is beautiful, selfless and good
God’s will has a plan for each of us
it is free, ready and beautiful
this work He prepared in advance
for us to do
that is the principle
that now must be understood.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
we must trust in the Lord and do good
dwell in the land where He has called
and enjoy safe pasture each day
for God’s will has a plan for each of us
it is free, ready and laid out
so we must go to Him to lead us
He is the truth
He is the light
He is the way.

Ready are our gifts
prepared are our calls
for humble our hearts
and silence our ways
to see and hear like Jesus all of our days.
So let’s discover and uncover our gifts
let’s grow and flourish them in His word
let’s not try to be who we are not
instead let’s be who God calls us to be
let’s use those incredible gifts to do our part,
and to see and act on what He needs us to see.

And even if it is not how we expected
even if it is not how we planned
in love and truth we must live
using our gifts to serve
giving all we have to give.
For every moment can be a new start
where we first
take delight in the Lord
for that is where He will give you
the desires of your heart.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
let’s use them to be who God wants us to be
let’s use them do what God wants us to do
He honors obedience
and so use those gifts and do not wait
for fully equipped are each one of you.

 

 

Use What You Have (Luke 9)

In the chaos the day, in the haunting of the night

what is being lost

God needs you now

so use what you have,

it is free of any cost.

 

Bring what you have, bring the gifts,

bring them all

for He will multiply

do not question

just listen to the heart

for that is where He speaks truth

louder than any lie.

 

What can we do, what can we say

it is a troubled time

each night, and each day

and yet He tells us all,

“You give them something to eat.”

with only what we have

God uses our little to do

great thing after great thing

so be the one who listens

and let it be your gifts that you bring.

 

In the chaos the day, in the haunting of the night

we cannot risk what can be lost

God needs us now

to use what we have,

for if we don’t,

life, lives and love all can be the cost.

So shine the truth, shine your light

through your gifts

no matter where you are at

shine, shine, shine

use it all

so that through the darkness

the great news of Jesus shines bright.

 

 

Anniversaries

We must celebrate relationships in our lives and anniversaries are a perfect time to do that. Even though it is just one day of the year, it is often difficult to find time for even the people who mean the most to us. My husband is my rock and while it has been 14 years since we met and 10 years of marriage, he continues to be the best decision I ever made.

I was 27 years of age when we got married and still really relied on the opinions of others at the time. The beach wedding I wanted was frowned upon and even the fitted dress I wanted received those frowns too. Therefore, to steer clear of any more added drama on our special day, I made decisions based on others not completely on what my heart was telling me. Still, we had a perfect day, truly one of the best days of my life.

A few years after our wedding, I told my husband that if we ever remarried (of course to each other), I would do things the way we felt was right for us, not what was right for others. I then forgave those people and even myself for that time, acknowledging how much I had grown. It was then we also came up with a great idea: we would renew our vows at 10 years on the beach in the town where we met!

So two days ago we did just that! We renewed our love with personally written vows to each other’s and engraved wedding bands. We brought our children, parents and aunt to come to the beach where it all started 14 plus years ago. (I even got to wear a fitted white dress.) It was beyond special and perfect! God even held the rain until right afterwards.

Life is about these moments. In life, it is often easy to celebrate the big ones like weddings. However, we must make the time for the smaller moments too. They deserve to be celebrated too!

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

https://www.bible.com/111/ecc.4.12.niv

Though my husband and I are there to support and defend each other, it really helps having God as the first strand in our cord of three. “A triple braided cord is not easily broken.” Life is filled with highs and lows, mountains and valleys. However, it is with that added support of faith that we can better climb together tied to the strongest rope possible for when we fall. I know it is hard to take a single hair band out of my daughter’s curly hair as it can easily get tangled. We are like that single band when we stand alone. God must come first. And even though I fought that for so long, His undeserving grace led my husband and I together over fourteen years ago.

My blue eyed dream come true.

My answered prayer.

“You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don’t worry ’cause
Everything’s going to be alright ” – “No one” by Alicia Keyes

But remember anniversaries only come once a year, we must try to make the time to celebrate the important people and relationships we have throughout the year too.

Love always finds a way… if we let it.

Love is always the answer.

So I’m striving to continue to make sure my priorities are in order and to value my friendships and relationships even more.

My goal is to celebrate my marriage by making the time for it each day … even if that means that some nights the kitchen counter id let an unorganized mess.

Peach Cobbler Cookies (Dairy free, egg free, peanut free)

 Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Cookies are one of my favorite types of desserts to eat and also experiment with. This summer when I was looking for something new to bring to barbecues, I stumbled across some recipes for peach cobblers. Since my son has dairy, egg and peanut allergies, he cannot eat dessert unless it is made by us or purchased from one of our reliable companies. Therefore, I tend to like to bring desserts to events so that he can be included too. Everyone deserves to be included!

The following recipe is a play on peach cobbler. It is dairy, egg and peanut free as well! Add some ice cream to the top or sandwich it in between two cookies! You will want to put those summer diets aside for this one.

However you decide to eat them, they are promised to be delicious and totally worth the mess on the counter.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Vegan butter

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

1.5 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

2 Tablespoons dairy-free milk (We used almond, cashew, pea called Protein Milk by Silk because of its thickness and richness)

3 cups flour (We used organic, whole wheat but it can be substituted for a gluten free one)

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup chopped peaches (skinned and cut into tiny pieces)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Skin and cut the peaches into tiny pieces.
  3. Mix melted butter and sugars in a bowl.
  4. Add the extract, milk and applesauce.
  5. Add flour and the rest of the ingredients into another bowl.
  6. Mix both bowls together.
  7. Stir and fold in peaches.
  8. Grease trays with non-dairy butter.  Press cookie circles down with a fork. We made them about 2 inches in diameter.
  9. Bake for 16 minutes.
  10. Enjoy by themselves or with some dairy-free ice cream.  Our favorite to eat it with is vanilla cashew ice cream by So Delicious.

No Fingers Left to Point

I started this poem during a time when I was still using excuses as my crutch.  I was still relying on the good ole’ “I am this way because…” phrase.   The truth is that it is often easier to blame others than to accept and take on the challenge of change. It is easier to point fingers when you fail than to accept it a pathway to change.  In life, we must be careful though because soon we can be left with no more fingers to point.

 

No Fingers Left to Point

Finger points, gun ready aim,
fire
the broken glass is first,
because even shattered windshields require
blame.

First finger points
to their childish quarrels
as words expel more
an eye for an eye,
can they even remember
what that stands for?

Second finger points
he makes me do it
the choice is never my own
a squirrel cannot survive the streets
on such an indecisive throne.

Third finger points and cries
the ability to shoot back
depends on what her lonely heart lends
to her cheating hand
anything for a friend.

Fourth finger points
their words make her starve
to hunger differently
it is not her own
nor that of the skeleton they not see.

Fifth finger points
they fill her cup
like everyone does to fit in
as she still keeps track,
what even matters?
what even counts?
in drunkenness, she thirsts
a new way to silence, the crying within.

Sixth finger points
plaid skirts to her knees
try it the right way,
until rolls it to the waist
her morals to the curb
caves for someone to love
no one to save me
as if, no one watches above.

Seventh finger points
to her white dress
how can she still cry
how can she still yearn for more,
as he promises to stay
and plays the violin
over her broken seams
no longer knows herself
no longer the recipient
of her own dreams.

Eighth finger points
they judge her before
a mother they can see
babies she wraps in love
nurturing this new version

Of me.

Ninth finger points
these shoes teach me to be, just that
as they tiptoe into the dance
my feeble legs fake that seductive strength
of who they cannot understand
still broken in form,
but somehow, I still stand.

Tenth finger fires
and no more remain
leaves me as a fingerless pawn,
in this fruitless game.
For all these fingers, they point back too,
aimless, blameless, responsible,
and for the first time,
I face imperfection’s true attack:
no one to blame,
no where to point,
no where to run,
to face the truth, fingerless,
exposed accusations leaves me alone,
to do just that –
finally sells me back the truth
that accepts and forgives them all,
as I hold myself
in the unclenching of a fist,
for ten fingers I now lack.

Finally I accept it all to breathe free
responsible solely for me
with no fingers left to point,
I finally face
that I wish I had all ten of them back.


© Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House (theartofamessyhouse.com), 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Freedom comes when we stop pointing fingers. It is then we can unfold our fists and soften our hearts to the life we deserve. Excuses are just that, excuses. They will never bring us to the more our lives are made for. Those excuses are crutches that steal so much more from us than they do from those we direct our anger, our sadness, our fingers to.

Freedom comes with patience and prayer.

Freedom comes from time used wisely instead of being wasted in the distractions, in the excuses.

Freedom comes from forgiveness.

It comes from letting go of the clenched fist and allowing the heart to beat freely again. Freedom comes from leaving all the excuses on the beach and getting into the living, healing waters, instead of waiting for someone else to save us.

That was a difficult message for me to hear because I didn’t want to hear it. It was easier to blame others for my battles and hardships than take the matters into my own hands. For the longest time I thought that it meant I needed to take on and carry all of that weight myself.

But that is never the case.

We are never meant to carry the burdens ourselves.

The resentment and excuses will never allow us to truly be free of anxiety, depression and pain.

But learning to let it go will.

So, please forgive me now for the mess. I’d rather walk proudly with the scars and with my fingers and arms ready to hug my loves, even if it means I may have to skip, jump or even limp over the clutter at times. But at least I have no more crutches laying around to trip me up too.


“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.””

‭‭John‬ ‭5:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/jhn.5.6-8.niv


Get your mat and walk! Lay down the excuses no matter how long they have been stirring there, no matter how long you have been waiting. It’s your time to let go and live.

 

Puppy Love

We were married for over five years before we had kids. Honestly, I’m not sure why it was that way other than it took me awhile to be ready. We traveled a lot and worked a lot. And the truth was… kids terrified me.

So of course to test our responsibility waters a bit before jumping to the chase, we did the only responsible thing a couple do … We got a puppy!

Now, Bailey was the cutest puppy ever. I know we were biased of course. But he really was. We did everything for and with him… he slept with us… he traveled with us … he had puppy play dates … daily walks… we played… we swore nothing would change!

Until kids came…

Recently, when I was reflecting back to those days, I started to get a bit sad about it all. He is still the first one to greet you beyond enthusiastically when you come home, even if it involves a bit of an aggressive butt sniff. He is still the one who comes over when you are upset to comfort you and he is the first one to greet you in the morning. I am not sure if that’s a positive thing being that he wakes at 4 am every day of the week looking for breakfast.

However, he was our first and although I must admit that when I’m unloading the groceries or when I’m unpacking and repacking backpacks while cooking dinner and I trip over Bailey rummaging for food, I do find myself getting annoyed. When the kids are screaming and insurance has you on hold again for the tenth time, it’s so easy to take out our frustration on the person or furry companion that we know will not judge us. It’s the truth and it’s why I promise myself I would put an end to it starting this week.

Sure, Bailey is a bit inappropriate with the butt sniff he greets everyone with. He barks up a storm for anyone who parks or walks near our street especially if they have a dog. He is constantly looking for food scraps and sure gets enough of them now that my kids have learned that. He may snore like it is his job. But he is a good dude… the perfect companion who will never judge us … and that is pure love!

Therefore, we’ve added in a few ways to show him our appreciation.

like always, we never leave without hugging and kissing him goodbye. And we never come home without doing the same. After the kids go to sleep, I spend some time just patting him and loving him up. When we make our stop at Petco every other week to look at the kittens, fish and other pets, we also pick up a special treat for Bailey, even if the chance of him destroying it within ten minutes is high.

I want to teach my kids the love of a pet so that they can carry that over into their grownup lives. So Bailey I do apologize if babies got my brain for a few years, but I promise you your time and that you will always get fed as soon as we get home from school/work even if it means the bags and lunches remain unpacked a little longer.

Legos For Days

It’s so incredible to watch the personality, gifts and talents of a child unfold. All are so distinct and special from each other, a great reminder of how each of us is our own unique person, even at a young age. A great reminder that all of us have our own God-given gifts and purpose.

As a special education teacher, it is my job to discover and teach to each individual student’s own talents and strengths. It is both my privilege and obligation to empower them against any challenges they may have or face. It’s part of my nature now to do this in the classroom. However, in the home, it is a bit more complicated at times.

Both my husband and I played sports for most of our lives and assumed that our children would want to too. And even though they are both so young yet at the ages of 2 and 5, their little but LARGE personalities and interests are already shining through …

I first saw this with my son. He may not be asking to go throw a football right now; but he is following in my husband’s footsteps of loving Legos. Since the age of 2.5, TJ has loved puzzles, activity sticker books, creating, building and taking objects apart. Literally, he could spend hours, and even days partaking in these activities. Proud Mama over here when he turned four and started to tackle legos made for as high up as 10 years old and older.

It’s all fun and games until you have 10 boxes of Legos and pieces all over the place.

That is when we created TJ’s LEGO room. While it now holds 40 sets and counting, it is much more organized these days, even if TJ takes it apart five times a day.

So while I can’t help but to be a little sad as we transform his room from baby giraffes and elephants to Legos for days, I also can’t help but to be proud of the amazing person he is and continues to become. A nice organization system amongst the mess helps the transition as well…

Madi wanted in on the fun too…

Slow Cooker Sweet and Tangy Chicken

I have always loved to cook and bake for parties.  I have always loved to host parties.  After food allergies came into our lives, I became a bit apprehensive in this area.  However, with time and healing from the post traumatic stress of TJ’s first anaphylactic reaction, I embrace them again.  I also embrace a tasty new allergy-safe recipe that could be used for the parties we now host again.   One example of this was a chicken recipe that we made for his third birthday party, sweet and tangy chicken.

 

untitled design (24)

So here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 bottles of sesame teriyaki sauce or a sauce of your choice(We used Organicville brand) Sauce Website
  • 1-2 cans of organic pineapple chunks with juice or a fresh pineapple (chopped up 3/4 of the pineapple and put the other 1/4 of it in the Vitamix or blender of choice to make your juice
  • 1 green or red pepper chopped
  • 1-2 onion chopped (I like onions and usually had some extra
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts

Directions:

  1. Mix teriyaki sauce with pineapple chunks, juice, pepper, onion and garlic.
  2. Place 4 pieces of chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker
  3. Pour half of the sauce over it.
  4. Place the other four chicken breasts on top.
  5. Pour the rest of the sauce.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours.
  • Start with one bottle of the sauce when cooking.  Then, add the second bottle to taste.
  • Note: This sauce has sesame.  Sesame is the 9th most common food allergy in our country and now an allergy in our house too.  Substitute with a sauce that will work with your family and their needs. We know we will be doing just that the next time we make this so that Madi can enjoy too.
  • Note 2: Always make sure to check and double check every ingredient to make sure it is safe for you and your own family. Remember to label read even if you have already used the product before. Companies do change the make up of their products sometimes so it is in the best interest of everyone to always check.

What a simple, but tasty recipe that all guests will devour. It may even give you some extra time out of the messy kitchen, to mingle and enjoy too. This is an area I’m still working on…