I just love that God wants to us have life altering experiences that just simply – wreck us for Him.

For the past two weeks (or so), I have been reading all over the blog-o-sphere about the “Compassion Bloggers Trip to India.” Then, I subscribed (via Twitter) to get updates as they venture into India.  It’s wrecked me.  I can’t read any of their blogs without weeping.
And you know what?  That puts a smile on my face.  You know why?  Because God’s working.  God paved the way for these (10?) bloggers to represent Compassion in the desolate places of India and to use technology to bring the reality and up-to-the-second updates on the experience.  Via the internet – which God is using – we get to experience (minus the senses) the poverty, joy, brokenness, abandonment, and desolation, etc.
I’m compelled.  I want more.  I sit here in this leather recliner, on my wi-fi, drinking my designer coffee, watching cable, listening to country music on my ipod touch, a refrigerator full of food, clean water.  My cup runneth over.
Wow, could I talk about the things I don’t have and will not ever have.  A few dreams that I will never see to fruition, but if I’m not thankful for what God has done and is doing in my life – who am I?!  Like I said – I have an overabundance of what Americans consider – necessities or “the basics,” but have I not love – I am nothing.  I am nothing without love.
Love is what cares for the orphans and give them a name.  Love is what feeds the hungry.  Love is what clothes the tattered and torn.  Love is what carries the broken.  Love is what purifies the water.  Love is what educates the children.  Love is what gives hope.  Is it any wonder that Jesus is Love.  Jesus is Love.
Update:  I just read the latest blog entry by Melissa at The LPM blog – take 5 minutes to go read it: “How do you like my house?” It’ll ruin you.

Geoffrey's Enchiladas

Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if I had photos to show step-by-step how to make these darn things?! That would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Well, better luck next time!

2 pounds ground beef (turkey or chicken)
1 onion, chopped
12 tortillas (corn or flour)
6 T canola oil
3 cans of enchilada sauce (or one large can), mild
1 can of refried beans (I prefer black)
3 cups of cheddar cheese (the more the merrier), shredded
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 tsps red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
Brown ground beef and onion, salt and pepper.  Next add 1 can of enchilada sauce, yogurt, red pepper flakes and refried beans to ground beef.  Warm through.  Next, in a clean skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil, brown tortilla.  Continue with oil and tortillas until all 12 are browned.  Next take one tortilla and sprinkle cheese and a spoonful of meat mixture.  Roll up tortilla and place in 9×13 casserole dish.  Continue with all 12. Next add other cans of sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese (1 1/2 cups or so) over top.  Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.
So yummy!  The crispy tortillas make ALL the difference.
cilantro, chopped
sour cream

The Beauty of Confrontation

Actually, confrontation is rarely beautiful – in itself. But the results can be beautiful. Someone changes bad behavior or habits, etc.

Confrontation can be a honing tool to become more of the people that God created us to be. It hurts and it’s certainly not fun. Growth rarely is pain-free. “Jesus didn’t just tell people what they wanted to hear. He told them what they needed to hear. Sometimes that made them mad.” Sometimes that makes me mad. (quote taken from Connecting in Christ Together) Our Monday night Bible study this week rocked my socks (do I say that a lot?). I am not sure that I have ever heard a lesson, sermon or study on confrontation. The study asked:
Which of the following best describes you?
• If I see someone doing something wrong, it’s important to me to be truthful, even if it means not always being tactful.
• If I see someone doing something wrong, it’s important to me to deal with the situation tactfully, even if I need to compromise the whole truth.
My answer is a little bit of both options depending on the situation. The scripture that lined up with this study is: Matthew 16:13-28 when Jesus both praises and rebukes Simon Peter. Last week we talked about the scripture in which Jesus tenderly dealt with the adulteress and more boldly with her accusers. (let he without sin cast the first stone). It’s a pretty amazing chunk of scripture – it’s just like Jesus to use every detail of that story to be a lesson and guide (John 8:1-11).
Jesus disciplines and guides each of his in our own personal way. He knew Peter would later deny him three times, therefore He saw fit to correct/confront Peter with more authority and boldness, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (vs. 23). Jesus wasn’t calling Peter Satan, but He was calling Peter out on being a stumbling block.
In the video with this week’s study the speaker mentioned four steps for guidance in a confrontation scenario:
1. Know your motives.
2. Deal with your (own) anger issues.
3. Have a clear plan. (set time for “the talk,” write it out)
4. Offer an alternative.
It makes me wonder what in my life deserves some confronting. Like most people – I’m not a fan of being confronted with my faults and shortcomings. This week I’m really tackling some hard stuff in my life that I’ve let get out of hand. Time management is my biggest issue right now. TV has also bulldozed my daily routine. I’ve really cut back. In the past three days – I have watched a total of 3-4 hours of television. It is so easy during the winter for inside activities (like tv and internet) to consume every waking moment and let more important things like time with the Lord to fall by the wayside. My work has also really piled up lately. It’s awesome to have work, but I have gotten overwhelmed and just not dealt with stuff. That’s my biggest unseen character trait – ignore life when it gets too big for me.
So, today I’m asking the Lord, “what in my life needs confronting?” I’d rather take a correction from the Lord – just me and Him! 🙂
What in your life needs attention?

From the wisdom of an . . .

Aidan. The same day he was busy at work on the fence he also informed me that my pants are too baggy. He also wasn’t a fan of the way I wore my bangs today. Then as I was making my daily smoothie (fresh strawberries, ice, organic Brown Cow plain yogurt with Cream top, Xango and a dash of sugar) Aidan was talking about how his mom makes smoothies. “Jo-fro, you’re doin in all wrong. My mom does not add sugar and you are adding too many berries.” At first he wasn’t even going to try it, but then I made him. In no time his was all gone – as was the strawberry garnish. I guess it wasn’t so bad after all. Kids say the darnest things, don’t they?!

I also got to talk to H on the phone today – he said “HI!” and “uh-oh!” So sweet. He looks just like his mama.
What have the kids in your life said that gave your heart a smile?

{joeybelle designs} Logo: The Vintage Sparrow

>My good friend Cindy is opening her own shop at The Shops at Station 8. I am very excited for her and know she’ll do great. I was honored to work on her logo. It was definitely a collaboration of ideas. Cindy was fun to work with because she knows what she was looking for, but also trusted me to take her ideas and run with them. We are just getting The Vintage Sparrow blog up and running, but stop back often to check it out. Cindy is full of amazing style and fantastic design.





When you’re building a fence it’s helpful to have a 3 (almost 4) year old assistant.  As a matter-of-fact, it is essential.  Although I have noticed that they tend to take lots of breaks, play while on duty and take an occasional siesta under the picnic table.  Actually, I am not sure how seriously this particular 3 year old is taking his task as assistant.
Things we do know:
-he fits into the fence post hole nicely and comes out with pockets FULL of dirt!
-he enjoys lemonade and a snack on his break (preferably candy)
-his new ball also fits nicely into the fence post holes – especially when a certain boy pushes it in the hole.
-his new ball also looks awesome when it’s flying through the air and lands in the neighbors yard.  (it’s still there).
-his sisters new ball also lands itself over in the neighbors yard.
-the 3 year old is now watching Noggin on the couch.  Breaks over?
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Lots ‘O Stuff

Due to the half a cup of loaded coffee I drank tonight at Bible study, I am writing a blog.  It has been awhile and it is time.  This entry will probably be filled to the brim with randomness, but hopefully some sort of sense will be made.  (Highly doubtful, however.)

Tonight one of the questions in our study was, “On a scale of one to ten, how has your week been? Take one sentence or less to explain why.” (Heaven = 10, Earth = 5, Lower than low = 0) Given the three options – I would have rated last week was a 7 overall, but I circled the 5 (earth).  It was a busy week – life and work wise.  Even though I’m not even sure what I actually finished.  I love love love not just being busy, but having things to actually do and goals to accomplish.  It’s just a nice feeling, ya know?  Anyway, because my mind can even begin to wrap around the awesomeness that heaven will be one day – I rated my overall week as a 7, but given that I was laid-up with a inflamed spine, I knocked it down to a 5.  The scripture for this weeks lesson was John 8:1-11.  I have to say that I have always loved this scripture and have heard several sermons about it, but I have never studied it in depth like we did tonight.  I am in awe of God’s goodness and detail in His words and actions.  Very cool stuff.
So, I realized the other day that I still had a few tans paid for at a local tannery (not to be mistaken for the place where animal hides are tanned).  So, last week I thought I could use a little color – especially considering I have been in a bathing suit for the past FOUR months whiter than white!!!  In public no less!  What was I thinking?!  I am as itchy as ever, but loving that I am two shades darker than I was four days ago.  Soooo, noticeable!  (um, sure, okay)
Finley’s constantly saying, “I not like it.:
Aidan and I went on a date last week.  I picked him up in the afternoon and he ran errands with me.  Everywhere we went, we held hands.  He was the best boy.  Gosh, I just love him.

We had to make a run to pick up some invites that I designed for a friend in ND.  And when Aidan saw the picture of Macie, he had a lot to say.  I posted this story on Sarah’s FB page: “I have the cutest story for you. I took Aidan to run errands with me the other day and we picked up Macie’s invites and he studied it and said, “what’s this little girls name?” So, I told him. And he said, “she’s such a cute little Missy.” He couldn’t quite say Macie. And he asked me, “jo-fro*, do you think she has a bunch of toys at her house?” I said I bet she does, but I bet most of them are pink and purple and lots of princesses. And he said, “that’s okay – I can play with princesses.” A little while later, “jo, can we go to her house so i can play with that Little Missy ’cause she is such a cute Little Missy.” I told him well, no ’cause she lives all the way in ND. And he said, “well, maybe tomorrow then ’cause Jo, I really think I like that Little Cutie.”

*he thinks he’s so funny to call me “jo-fro.” It’s a new nickname, that’s for sure!
I am starting the application process to get a service dog.  I have thought about it many times in the past, but didn’t know enough about it to pursue the idea.  Yesterday on the way to Wal-mart I told my mom about the research I had done earlier and she thought I should continue to look in to it.  On the way home from Wal-mart she told me to apply, to go for it.  I was kind of surprised because she has never been overly eager to have a dog on her property, let alone in her home.  When we got home, I started the application process.  (It’s quite extensive!)  The first application (to start the official application process) has to be approved to even continue on to the next steps and it can take months to get the first app approved.  Regardless, I got an email FIRST THING THIS MORNING that I was approved to continue on with the next application.  The whole process can take up to two years!  The trained service/skilled dog is FREE.  The only cost to me (besides obvious maintenance of dog with ownership) is a two week training with dog in California (transportation, food, lodging, etc).  I am excited.  I think this is one-step closer to independence and we all know that is my LIFE GOAL.  😉  I’m sure I’ll be posting more about this in the future – so stay tuned!
Okay, so we’ve been in this house for ONE YEAR!  Awesome.  Love the house and love God’s faithfulness.  So, as we celebrated one year in the house – in someways the house also looked like we hadn’t fully moved in.  In the main living area that includes the kitchen, dining area and living room, most walls were still bare and we had no window coverings (aside from the fabric blinds that came with the house).  Lucky for us the whole house was painted a neutral beige/taupe with white bass boards and doors and classy fixtures (not just standard).  All of that business to say that after 3000 hours shopping, researching, and surfing for something to cover our windows – we finally found something that not only works, but is beautiful. I love the way it’s all come together – and better yet I enjoy the fact that my mom loves her home.  (She did a wonderful job picking everything out.)  Someday I promise to take photos and post them since this is a major milestone in the home ownership adventure.
This past Saturday marked the first Farmers Market of the season.  We went out for breakfast to celebrate Cindy’s birthday and missed the first one, but it’s usually only a handful of booths the first month anyway.  I love this time of year!  Better yet. . . . .
I love that trips to the nurseries all over the valley to buy carloads of FLOWERS & HERBS are just around the corner!  I have basil and oregano seeds started in my bathroom window (lots of light).  I’d love to start more from seed, but I just don’t have the space (or time) this year. And frankly, I enjoy going to the nursery and finding (and smelling) all the different types of herbs.  Last year I had such a fun variety – even chocolate mint and pineapple sage!

My mom and I have spent countless hours together buying that years supply of perennials and annuals – can’t wait for another year!  Love that time together and seeing all the new colors and varieties.  My favorites are peonies.  We planted three last year and I can’t wait to see them bloom this summer.  We also planted hollyhocks (an old favorite from back in the day in ND) that have already started coming up.  My mom has big plans for her flower beds this year – can’t wait to see them to fruition!  She’s certainly not a newbie to gardening – it’s so fun to see how her flower beds and pots turn out each year.

My brother-in-law in building a fence for my mom’s house.  Ahhh, another project that I need to photograph!
I think that’s enough randomness for one night.  I’m hungry and still awake!