Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My homemade sauce!

I’m not a canner like some people.  My friend Cathy cans like crazy and I have lots of other friends who do too, however, there are somethings that I love about canning, but it’s a lot of work.  I am making homemade sauce for a soup kitchen I am serving at on Tuesday.  I am pretty excited and pretty nervous.

Now I am pretty sure you are supposed to drink wine while making sauce (I think I heard that once) so I opened my favorite bottle of red wine…  Sterling Meritage.  Now, I don’t know if this is necessary but it’s a Sunday afternoon and I’m over 21 and not getting drunk…  but it certainly sounds like a nice idea now doesn’t it? (and if you don’t agree, write your own blog about it).

So it’s a lot of work to make all this sauce…  especially if I decide to do it from raw tomatoes…
So Nikki….  This is how I did it…

I rinsed all the tomatoes (I bought a ginormous box from Blocks).  Then I blanched them (poke them and then drop them in boiling water (be careful if you get the hot water on you it burns!) for like 5-10 minutes, you’ll know it’s time because the skin starts peeling.  Then take them out and when they are cool enough to handle, and peel them and cut the stem part out.  

I put half of them in the blender on the liquefy setting so they were really smooth and the other half on the “grind” setting so they were a little chunkier.  

That’s the tomato part of my sauce.

To make spaghetti sauce…  

I chopped two really big Spanish onions (remember how crazy oniony it was in my house that one day when no one could breathe?  Yeap, that happened again).

I ran about 15 garlic cloves through the garlic press and sauted all that.  Added dried basil, dried oregano, a bunch (literally a bunch of fresh) parsley, salt, and pepper and then added all the tomatoes.  

It’s going to cook for at least 6 hours…  Hopefully it’s yummy!!

Good things come to those who wait!!


This morning I was walking downstairs to do laundry... And as I listened quietly the dishwasher was humming along cleaning the newly acquired (free!!!) canning jars. 

I couldn't help but smile. God is so good to me.

Last night I blanched one ginormous box of tomatoes last night and today I will make sauce with those glorious beauties for my friends at My Brothers Keeper this week. A simple meal. God is also funny!

I was thinking how my Sundays used to be so very different. It was like a project on a Microsoft timeline. Be up by 6am and it didn't stop from there. I multi-tasked until I was at capacity and I could barely hold a conversation because my brain was spinning 100mph mostly in circles. 

Now I spend my day getting my house in order for the week, getting ready for church. It might just feel perfect. Making food, praying for people, looking around grasping the millions of ways God has provided. 

My heart seems at peace, my life full of gratitude. My heart holds even more love than I thought possible. 

I am thankful this Sunday morning for more reasons than I can count. 

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. But you, Lord, are forever exalted. (Psalm 92:1-8 NIV)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Confessions of a do-gooder

Ok so would you like some insight into my crazy mind and heart?

Sometimes I am so scared of being held accountable to God for the things I didn’t do that I should have, it scares me so much that I could possibly put myself into a dangerous situation.

Like that one time (and I’ve told this story a million times) I had a friend who relapsed that I went to Cass Corridor to go looking for him.  By.myself.  I was asked later “what were you going to do if you found him?”  My answer was simple (and DUMB) “I don’t know I didn’t think that far ahead”. 
Oh rescue syndrome.  You cause me to do some really stupid things.

I actually got yelled at by a Pastor. I mean yelled at.  I will tell you, I will never do such a dumb thing again… I’ll have a plan, and I will take someone with me… 

So yesterday, I am driving in SW Detroit because I was avoiding a huge traffic back up and saw a guy lying on the ground who looked… well… dead.

And so my thoughts start to go crazy….
But what if he wasn’t.
Is that blood on the sidewalk?
Oh gosh, should I call the police?
Maybe I should go help him?
Oh jeez, what if he’s faking and kills me?
What if he’s not, and needs help?
What if Jesus is watching?
How will I answer to God about this man, who surely God loves?

Yes, those were my thoughts.

Ok.  Stop for a minute, or at least think this through (as I am driving through a neighborhood to turn around – AND WITNESSED A DRUG DEAL – oh this is my life. Can’t even make this stuff up.
Ok. There’s a barber shop. There’s men in there (I bet they are cute – oh wait get back on track) maybe they can help him.  Park far from the guy (that way he can’t steal your keys and take your car).  Stay on the phone with your friend in case something happens (his suggestion). 

I went into the barbershop and asked if they knew that guy was lying out there. 

 “what guy?”

“There’s a guy out there, he looks… dead.  Can you check on him? “

So they go check on him, and I leave.  I have no idea what happened, but hopefully the situation was addressed.  Whatever it was.  I just know I did my best while being careful (maybe I should be more dangerous, but I do have a daughter who loves me and would be really sad if I got stabbed by a crazy guy). 

I will pray for him now, I don’t know his name, but God knows him.  I don’t always know if I handled it correctly, but I do know that I tried to help that man to the best of my abilities.  So maybe I will get a “good job my good and faithful servant” or maybe I’ll get a “you could have done better” but either way, I can only hope that everyday, I move to be more like Him.  

And maybe next time I will stick around to find out his name.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Love in Granola Bars

When I was a young I would visit my gram quite a bit. We’d drive over there after my dad got off dinner or if I was sick at school, my gram would come get me and give me a little “TLC” as she’d call it.  When we would leave, she would make me a goodie bag, I may have told you about them before.  It was a brown paper sack (almost always recycled – reused because she didn’t waste) and it would contain a snack size bag of fritos (they were my Aunt Janie’s favorite so there was always plenty on hand), a banana, some fun size candy bars (because my grampa always had them in a brown bowl on the bottom shelf in the fridge), and a granola bar.  In the old days my gram always had the oats and honey, however, soon came the chewy granola bars, to which the flavor was ALWAYS chocolate chip.  

Today I was in Kroger going to buy Little Caesar’s gift cards and I thought I’d check to see if the granola bars are still on sale.  They were.  And in that moment while shopping, I thought about my gram and how much she loved me.  Nowadays gifts seem to be extravagant and bananas and granola bars might be considered lame.  LOL
I often wonder why I am so drawn to the Cody Rouge district.  I mean, of course I love Detroit, I mean a lot of people love Detroit. We love the restaurants, they love the river front, we love the sports, me I feel odd that I love driving in neighborhoods praying for houses, looking at abandoned schools, dreaming and listening to God’s strong still voice.  (And there is nothing wrong with loving all the cool things in Detroit – there are SOOOOO many great things to love!).  

When I really think about why I love the Cody Rouge area, it’s simple; I drove down that area a lot of my life.  I went to church in that area, I drove down that area so many times.  I love that area.  And most importantly, I see HOPE.

I have been praying about what to do with the school… how to love them.  Part of the issue is that I can’t really commit to being a tutor or mentor 4 times a month due to logistics.  However, I was instantly drawn to the engineering room.  They talked about how the kids work so hard… and all I could think of was “I wonder what they snack on”.  I am such a nerd (and a mom).  So I made a snack box for them, and my plan is to replenish it once a month, maybe through in some Little Caesar’s gift cards (Aren’t Hot N Ready’s the BOMB.COM when you’re in a hurry or broke and need to get something to eat?).  Included in that box are granola bars, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, rice krispie treats, and the gift cards.

My hope is that the students will know that someone loves them, and that the teachers (who have taken on some of this burden) will know they are supported.

I am so thankful to be able to support the students and the teachers!  And I am so thankful to my gram who taught me to love in such small ways!!

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Ramblings!

Well Good Morning!

Wondering what’s going on in my crazy life?  Not much, but here’s some ramblings from my brain and heart…

There hasn’t been much actually going on in my life lately.  I’ve been intentionally keeping quiet.  Well and kind of unintentionally.

I had come to a great conclusion that I needed to slow down.  So I have.  For the months of September and October I am taking it easy.  And to be honest, I don’t have much of a choice, I haven’t been feeling all that great since I’ve been back from Haiti.  Super weak.  It sucks. I will get back to normal, trying to make simple changes, like getting back to drinking 30 oz of water before I drink anything else. I think I may not be getting enough water.

I started the Living Beyond Yourself bible study by Beth Moore. I  have been wanting to do this study for a long time, but just never did it.  Also I knew that it would be best if I bought the teaching that goes with it but when I first looked into it, the DVDs were really expensive! And I couldn’t really justify the money.  So I was so excited when I saw the CDs, which meant an investment of $39.95 plus the cost of the book but because of the cost, it meant I really committed to the study, besides, I can easily spend that kind of money on things that do not help me improve myself.  I mean, I go out to eat way too much, and now, I will have it, and if someone wants to borrow them, they can.  It’s kind of exciting.  I’ve really enjoyed the study so far!  It’s been really great, and I love the historical part of the teaching so far.    I’m worth investing in.
I have some fun things planned for the next couple months, a Mexican fiesta with my friends in Buckley, and a retreat with the buckets, and a trip to Colorado, looking forward to those, but also enjoying everyday as it comes! 

Excited to go to Cody High School today to check out the Open House and deliver some snacks to the engineering robotics team.

I had purchased some sloppy joe mix to make for a friend, but then when the power went out, I couldn’t make it, I was so bummed but instead, I was able to provide food for our church workers at the new building. I have to tell you, I tried it, I am not at all impressed with sloppy joe mix from a can.  I normally make it homemade, and I remember why now. I did my best to doctor it up, added onions, green peppers, some spices… it will be the last time I buy it in a can.  WOW!  I mean, I know homemade is best made… but for sure it is… and I remember why!

OH!  And the dates for my Haiti trip in March/April 2015 have been set!  WAHOO!!!!
I am making homemade spaghetti sauce this weekend for My Brother’s Keeper Serving  Opportunity, this ought to be interesting, I’ve never made homemade straight from fresh tomatoes marinara sauce before…  I hope it’s good LOL  It’s going to be a simple meal of mostocolli, rolls, green beans, and dessert.  God is speaking so sweetly to me…  SIMPLE!  KISS!!! Keep It Simple Sweetie!  Not everything needs to be a three ring circus!  (and really, even a simple meal for 100 is a lot!)  Hopefully I will love homemade spaghetti sauce as much as I love homemade sloppy joe mix and never want to go back!  I love homemade!!

Not much else going on, looking forward to the next couple months of feeling better and resting, and it might just last until the new year!

Hope all is well with you! 

Sending Love!!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Church visitation and waiting!

Today I went and visited New Providence BaptistChurch in Detroit.  I’ve driven by it FOR YEARS and have always wanted to visit.  The buckets were going to go, but we got redirected and helped with Life Remodeled and we ended up exactly where God needed us to be that day.  I’ve been wanting to go, however, the timing hasn’t been right (I was in HAITI!!) so I was able to go today!
I was totally nervous.  I will say that the stereotype of churches in Detroit, big Baptist ones, is that they go DRESSED for church, they typically don’t tend to be “come as you are”. I did check their website and it said I could wear anything I wanted. I changed my outfit 3 times.  First I had a dress, but I wasn’t comfortable and I thought going somewhere for the first time, I wanted to be in something I felt comfortable in…  finally settling on my favorite pair of pants, really awesome shoes, and a black sweater.  

Ok, now that we have my outfit all squared away…  

I pulled up and it seemed HUGE!  It used to be a Kmart, what is it with me and old store buildings??  Anyway, three doors… I felt like it was “let’s make a deal” thankfully I picked the right one that lead me into a beautiful building, but being in a new place, I wasn’t going to go exploring, just finding the sanctuary and finding a seat, I was kind of early on purpose because I wanted to be able to pick my seat.  If you know me, you know that I hate sitting in the middle, so I picked an end seat, towards the middle, so I could follow whatever I needed to do…  Always planning.  That’s me…

So…  then the service started, and before I get to all that, let me tell you, the Holy Spirit felt THICK.  Once I stepped in the place, I was overwhelmed with joy.  It felt so good to be there, it was a crazy God confidence, like God was holding my hand.  

Ok so the service started, not with music but LOUD EXHALTATIONS to praise God.  It was awesome!  I loved that there was so much joy in all that God has done!  Then they started singing, and it was awesome!!  The choir was so great!!  Couldn’t help but clap and sing, and sing praise to the King, and so excited when they sang “You are good”!!!  

They also read the worship scripture 

Isaiah 12:1-6

12 In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, Lord.
    Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
    and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
    let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

I was loving every moment of the service.

Then it happened…

You’ve got to wait


Now, are you kidding me!!  I actually laughed out loud.

It’s a season of quiet, at least for a little while.  And I am someone who has achieved by the grace of God and working hard.  Want something… go get it…  and now I have to wait… 

Psalm 40:1-3 (KJV)

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

I’d like you to please note the beating in the KJV translation.  I will tell  you that I don’t normally read that version, but today, it seemed a little more beautiful than any other time I read it.

He broke down the scripture by verse. 

V1.  Resolve – I will wait

V2.  Reward/Rescue

V3.  Reaction/Reverence of God

It’s funny because in my bible I had written ‘Rescue’ in the margins by these verses. 

Psalm 40:1  I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

Waiting is trusting God. It’s growing my faith.  We shouldn’t be bitter or sassy or try to get ahead of 
God, we must wait.  While I am waiting  I need to

In Prayer

During this time of waiting, we might need to get right with God!  His arm is not too short to rescue us!  Things might not be happening because we need to get right with God. 
This was so encouraging to me.  It reminded me to be patient, and snuggle up under His wings.  Waiting and staying close.  Speak with Him, and LISTENING!!

Psalm 40:2 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

As He does the work in this time (in us) there is liberation (freedom/deliverance) out of a dark place.   
The pastor asked “why do you want to go back after He sets you free?”

What a thought provoking question!  It’s true!  Why would I want to go back after God has brought me so far!  I think that question my stick with me the rest of my life!!!


In His rescue, in addition to liberation(John 8:36), there is elevation (Matt 23:12), and invigoration.   

He elevates us above sorrow, heart-brokeness, slim, and nastiness.

We (I) should be excited about what God is doing in our lives (even in the waiting time).

Psalm 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

After he changes our lives, we need to sing a new song!  Others need to hear about what a glorious God He is, what He has rescued us from!  They will see that we have a changed life, because of Him, and want that too!  Our testimony will show others how great He is and bring them closer to Him.

It was such a great message and these were just my notes, and I hope that if you are waiting for something that they speak to your heart, it has changed my view on waiting! 

I will wait joyfully.

I am so thankful that I was able to go and hear God! The whole sermon was FULL of scripture, I loved it!!  I am so thankful to be one of God’s chosen!  To be loved and for Him to love me so much to always rescue me out of the pits I get myself into, and also to continue to work in my life to change me!