Sunday, September 20, 2009

Barkeepers Friend Cleaner-Review

So I have a glass cook-top stove. It's really quite frustrating sometimes, but because I wanted a convection oven I had no choice but to take the glass cook-top along with it. You can't put ANY ceramic on it because it will scratch, you have to be careful what kind of cleaner you use, and stuff burns onto it- CONSTANTLY!

We've only had our stove since we moved in Feb/March of this year, but it has been used an INSANE amount of time due to my "Betty Crocker meets Martha Stewart meets Grandma's cooking" syndrome I've developed. My cook-top has been used more in the past 7 months more than I used my range stove in the 1 1/2 years we lived in the apartment! This thing was GROSS! It had burn marks all over the place that I couldn't get off with any amount of cleaner or elbow grease. I had resolved myself to the idea that my stove was just going to always look gross- it was really embarrassing actually.

That was before today... before Barkeepers Friend (which has become my new best friend!!!!) My Mom brought me some the other day at work and said she had used it for years to clean stuff and thought I might like to use it on my sink (which I've also had problems with.) Well let me tell you that my Mom is a GENIUS. With little effort this stuff took off every single burn mark that I thought would never come off my stove. I couldn't believe it, I kept yelling "Dave, this is incredible! The marks are gone!!!!" He thought I was nuts of course.

Anyway this is a fairly cheap cleaner that isn't abrasive but cleans like one. I used the basic cleaner, but from the looks of their site they have all kinds of cleaners. Hopefully I can find and try out a few others but for now I am ecstatic with my basic Friend. If you need a tough cleaner, I highly recommend this. It will clean metal/steel sinks to a beautiful shine, obviously is safe on glass top stoves, corian (my countertop material) and doesn't leave an icky film.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Too cute!

So I found a new blog- Sweet Jane and she is just too cute! I don't have a baby girl yet, (unless you count my puppy Leah- KIDDING!!!) but I know so many people that do and my cousin's fiance is having a baby girl Laney and some of this stuff would be SO adorable! Her shower is in a few weeks so I may just need to do some quick shopping!

Head over to Sweet Jane and see all the cutesie little things she has to offer!

Passionate Homemaking Giveaway!

One of my new favorite blogs is hosting a giveaway for 2 baskets of natural beauty products. They look FANTASMIC!!! If I win I'm hoping to get the Deep Penetrating Foot Creme, Radiance Facial Creme, Revitalizing Toner Mist, Natural Skin Repair Creme, Exfoliating Walnut Face Scrub, and the Intensive Cleansing Masque.

Head over to Passionate Homemaking and get the details about the giveaway. You won't be disappointed if you do!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chocolate Molasses Cookies

I made these quite a while ago, but they were so delicious that I had to make a 2nd batch- mostly for my parents! Since they have fairly small amounts of sugar in them they are a great treat for my Dad. He has been dealing with cancer of the blood and since sugar feeds cancer he's been staying away as much as possible.

ANYWAY- I get daily e-mails from Martha Stewart's website with the "Cookie of the Day" and it's fantastic! You have to sign up for some of her daily e-mails cause they are gold.

Chocolate Molasses Cookies
4 oz semisweet choc OR 3/4 Cup semisweet chips
1 stick of butter
1 1/4 Cup flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 Cup light brown sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
2 Tbsp dark unsulfured molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract

*Preheat your oven to 350
*In a large bowl melt choc and butter in the microwave- stir every 30 seconds
*In a separate bowl whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt
*Add brown sugar, egg, molasses, and vanilla to the choc/butter and mix well
*Add the flour mixture to that ^ and stir to combine

*Scoop by the tablespoon into your hand and quickly roll into a ball- about 9 per sheet

*Bake about 12-13 minutes until the tops are crackly but cookies are soft to the touch. (They will harden as they cool)

*Let cool 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar

*Devour these tasty treats that can even be considered 'good' for you. Molasses has been proven to be great for 'women problems' so eat up girls! :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I make children cry

Last night was my first night in my new ministry outlet- JUST Kids. It's our Wednesday night kids program and we bus in close to 100 kids to feed them and then teach them the word of God. I'm on the GREEN team- 1st and 2nd graders and it's really quite fun.

During our lesson one of the little girls was playing with a bead necklace so I quietly whispered to her that she needed to put it on her neck and keep it there or put it in her pocket. Less than 10 seconds later it was again off her neck and being played with, so being the disciplinarion that I am I told her she needed to give me the necklace since she couldn't obey. She stated she would NOT be giving it to me and I told her she had to choice because she had disobeyed. Begrudgingly she handed over the necklace and promptly pulled her knees to her chest, flung her arms over her knees and cried. Yep- first night and I make a little girl cry. I'm going to be SUCH a good mother some day! ;)

After the lesson was over she was still crying so she and I went into the hall and were able to figure out our differences. Apparently it wasn't just me she was upset with- she also felt sick and wanted to stay home but her Mom made her come. She just needed a good cry and decided to unload on me. Like all children- once we finished she was my buddy the rest of the night!

Kids are so funny- they get frustrated with you so easily and then they forget about it just as quickly. I'm really excited about this new venture on Wednesdays. It gives Dave time at home alone to study for school and I still get to be involved with ministry. It's still hard not being in Youth but I know that this is what God has for now. Hopefully next week no one will cry on me!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lessons in Worship

Sorry this isn't a follow up with pictures and recipes as I promised- but those are at home and I am at work! Instead I felt that I would share something that God has been showing me OVER and OVER and OVER the past week or two. It's really quite strange how many different avenues God has shared this through without me even seeking it out! That's when you KNOW God is trying to show you something.

I'm considered a worship leader in our church- 3 other ladies and I each take turns leading the music on Sundays and spend the other weeks rotating as back up singers. I've known for several years now that God had a call on my life for this type of ministry but I've always struggled with areas of the ministry: am I being prideful in my talent? am I really listening to the Holy Spirit? am I choosing songs that God is leading me to or that I just want to sing? should I just sing the song and shut up (as I've been told to do by some in the church) or do what I feel GOD called me to do which is to LEAD people to worship through encouragement in between songs and even chastisement in some cases?

All these questions and struggles have just amplified lately because of some stuff at church. It's amazing how church's can get so bent out of shape about the music and how much it can effect our walk with the Lord! Now let me just say that I understand how someone that is new in their relationship with Christ can be swayed by the song service at church, but for a "MATURE" follower to get caught up in that?!?!?! What is wrong with us?????

The purpose for church services isn't to escape the world, but for us to come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ to CONTINUE what we already are doing in our personal lives- WORSHIPING GOD!
Worship isn't music, a service, a message, or any of the things we have made it into, it is the lifestyle we live.
Whether we are worshipping God, our family, our finances, our job, or any other of the millions of distractions out there we ARE worshipping something every moment of every day. The purpose of corporate singing before the Word of God is preached is not for some mystical or emotional experience but for us to focus our minds and hearts on Christ and to CONTINUE in our worship of Him.

If the purpose of a 'worship service' is truly to worship Christ, then who cares what the music sounds like, if the leader is tone-deaf, if it's too loud or too soft, if there are lights, if a guitar is leading the music or if an organ is, if we sing a hymn or a newer song, if the music is fast or slow?! NONE of that matters, what matters is our heart and where it is focused, what we are worshipping- WHO we are worshipping. Songs are great, music is great- it does have the capability to swell our emotions and grip our hearts, but what about the words? Are the words of the song about me and what I want from God or are they about glorifying the One who saved us? Does it help me reflect on Christ's teachings or remember to share His Word with others? Remember that Satan was the minister of music before his fall. He ALSO had beautiful music and probably with some beautiful words- but where was his WORSHIP really directed?

A service should not be about us and what we want or need, it should be about God and how He has made sanctification available to us. It's not wrong for us to ask things of God- He wants us to do that, but my question is what is the primary focus of our worship services? If we are always asking for a deeper relationship but don't take time to glorify God or just to sit and listen in His presence, will that ever really happen?

Now I know this is a crazy long post and I apologize, I won't know if you stop reading at this point! :) I just want to share what's on my heart and hopefully someone will glean something from it.

I want to say this- as a worship leader my purpose is to be a true LEADER of worship. That means that when I get up on a Sunday morning to lead music my words, actions, facial expressions, body language, heart, and mind need be in continuation of what I have been doing the rest of the week. It puts a heavy burden on me to make sure that my life outside the church is really worshipping God and not one of those millions of distractions! I cannot expect the congregation I am leading to truly worship in spirit and in truth if I am not. I cannot berate them and shout at them to 'lift your hands! sing with your whole heart! sing like you mean it!' if their lives are not already in worship to God.

The last thing that has weighed on my heart, because I've HEARD this with my own ears is this: Telling someone that the presence of God is not felt because they did not 'enter into worship' is crap! The presence of God is always around us and whether or not we FEEL it or not has no bearing on how 'good' a service was. Our feelings don't matter for one thing and the other thing is that each person worships in their own way and at their own level of devotion. GOD through the Holy Spirit is the one that needs to deal with them on how intensely they are worshipping Him- not the Pastor, Worship Leader, Associate Pastor, Youth Leader, parent, or friend.
**If you are one of the Pastors, worship leader, assoc pastors, youth leaders, parents or friends trying to coax someone into worship- STOP! You are trying to do what ONLY the Holy Spirit can do and you will fail miserably!**

I pray that maybe this has helped someone the way it has helped me. This is only a SMALL snippet of what God has taught me, there is no way for me to express the full depth of His teaching in this area- I just have to actually live it out. May we all be worship leaders regardless of music, talent, or platform but just by living a life in worship of Christ.