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)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Meal Planning for two weeks of September

This weekend I will prepare lots of things to get ready for the winter! I will can black beans, chic peas, and will freeze broccoli, green beans and tomatoes.

Grocery Shopping stock up will include a trip to purchase organic noodles, organic rice, organic dried beans, and organic potatoes and organic meat.

Saturday, Aug 31 – Suppino’s with Sam

Sunday, Sept 1 – Ethopian Sloppy Joes (Freezing leftovers)

Monday, Sept 2 -Labor Day:

Lunch with Team 3: Make your own Panini, Italian Pasta salad, BLT Pasta salad, Fruit Salad (Rachel), homemade hummus and veggies

Dessert: Brown sugar cookies & thumbprint cookies

Tuesday, Sept 3 – Leftovers

Wednesday, Sept 4 – Dinner at Leadership meeting

Thursday, Sept 5 – Tacos, homemade refried beans

Friday, Sept 6 - leftovers

Saturday, Sept 7 – Fresh Summer Spaghettini Family Feasts pg 170

Sunday, Sept 8 (Alive Kick off) – Tailgate party

Monday, Sept 9 – Grandma’s mushroom chicken

Tuesday, Sept 10 - Leftovers

Wednesday, Sept 11 – EB Family Dinner

Thursday, Sept 12 – Curried Chicken and Rice (freeze leftovers)

Friday, Sept 13 –Dinner with Nikki

Saturday, Sept 14 – leftovers

Sunday, Sept 15- quick beef stroganoff

Monday, Sept 16 – Team 2 Dinner Chicken Enchiladas & Chicken Broccoli Enchiladas, beans, chips & salsa, and rice

Grandma's Mushroom Chicken

One of my favorite recipes from Family Feasts is this one…

1 med fryer, cut into 8 pieces or 2 to 3 pounds bone in thighs

¼ c butter

1 med onion

¼ c all purpose flour

2 c chicken broth

1 t curry powder

2 c fresh mushrooms

1 c chedder cheese

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease 9X13 casserole dish

Remove skin from chicken pieces. Please chicken in prepared dish so that all pieces fit in a single layer.

Melt butter in med skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until it begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour and stir. Add broth and curry powder, simmer until mixture begins to thicken. Add mushrooms and cheese, stirring until cheese blends in. Pour sauce evenly over chicken. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.

Friday, August 30, 2013


I’m planning menus for the next two weeks. I have been bad at this. For a number of reasons, I am not sure if they are good reasons… but they are reasons…

When meals are unplanned they are typically not the healthiest, and often I am tired and eat out, spending too much money and eating too many calories. My beautiful Phyllis likes it when I cook too! I’m glad she’s a good eater and likes lots of different things!!

I’m busy. Planning is key to stay balanced. When things like this get away from me, the world wide web just does not do it for me. It makes me crazy and distracted. Instead, I go to the my bookshelf in my dining room, and a pull out a cookbook. The one I chose last night was one of my very favorites. What can I say... I’m simple.

Family Feasts for Under $75 a week. Everyone should have this cookbook. It’s A-MAZING! I used to buy it for every new bride. It has my favorite taco seasoning recipe, ranch dressing, homemade hummus, great casseroles, and even different ethnic foods (their family has adopted from all over the world!!) its really a great cookbook and I’m going to watch for it to be on sale (it used to go on sale for ~$6 every so often!) and that might be my answer to great Christmas presents for cheap!

The next couple weeks will be recipes from the book. I have a lot of cookbooks that I can choose recipes from but I love this one because she cooks with the basics.

I have to do some major stocking up to do in the pantry, and so it will be a pretty expensive trip to the grocery store this weekend. I will get some basics and start watching for things that I keep stocked on sale.

I am going to use what I have in my freezers too!

Here is one recipe I am going to make in the next couple weeks!

I am going to make some freezer meals for some friends too! I like this recipe because it’s A) easy B) yummy!

And I am having a gathering at my house on Labor Day and making these gems for dessert

along with these from Pioneer Woman

That’s my sneak peek to menu planning…

I'm remembering who God created me to be!

Proverbs 31:10-31
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
 22 She makes coverings for her bed;
 she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
 and supplies the merchants with sashes.
 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
 26 She speaks with wisdom,
 and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
 27 She watches over the affairs of her household
 and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
 29 “Many women do noble things,
 but you surpass them all.”
 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Finding it difficult

I was talking to my dear friend today via fb and I was talking about the 5 love languages. 

One of the hardest things for me is that one of my love languages is physical touch.  And I'm what seems to be a gazillion miles away from Haiti so i feel I like I'm going against something, maybe the way I express love and it's hard. Natural instincts are... Well natural.

It's weird but there was almost a sense of relief when I realized that is probably why I feel like there was a weird battle inside me. I'm fighting the way God created me to love.

So as I go to bed praying tonight, I'm praying that God be with the muffins, praying for the leaders of the orphanage, the translators, and my team back home! Praying for new ways to express my love for them!

Sending love!

Making good choices

One thing I need to get better about is using what I have when an event comes up. 

Of course there are some things I make that people always ask for...
Ham rolls
Baked potato salad

I've had people over for dinner to save money and have spent twice as much on dinner that I would have spent if i went out because I didnt plan well. My pantry and freezer weren't stocked up.

Currently my pantry is pretty empty. Every so often we go through and clean out/eat up the pantry. It's time for restocking and watching for sale items (& organics)

I found a recipe today by the pioneer woman for brown sugar oat cookies! They looked deelish! I was wishing I had Haitian vanilla... Oh but let's face it, I wish I had all things Haitian lately... The great thing about this recipe is I almost always have all the items required to make the cookies!

I am dreaming about going to Haiti 3 times next year. It means I have to make better financial choices. It means making choices about what's in the pantry, or better yet something  from the garden that I prepared for the winter.

Even though I like to shop and I love to serve others by cooking them fabulous meals. Well, I think it's more fabulous to make things that are in my budget and then I can serve two things, the people I love here, and the people I love in Haiti.

Life is about choices. Maybe not every choice seems like it has eternity in mind but maybe it does...

Today I'm making some side dishes for our eb family dinner...

Things from the pantry...

Salsa (home grown tomatoes & jalapeños)
Refried beans (I canned them, and I'll "refry" them myself)
Spanish rice (from a stocked pantry)
Shredded Cheese (purchased on sale)

It's silly. I know.

Living with eternity in mind.

Sending love!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday ramblings

So I decided some things...

1. I need to move my office to the basement and our spare room... Will be a spare room. I'll move a little at a time, it will get moved. Today I moved all the kitchen stuff (bread maker, pressure cooker) off the shelves. I am actually going to buy a new shelving unit for the basement and move the stuff down. We have lots of stuff in the basement to go through.

2. I need to start giving out cards again. I used to do it all the time... And then I got too busy and only give them out sometimes.  But I also don't want to spend a lot of money so I am going to start making them. I don't know how good they will be but I'll give a go at it.

3. My heart aches for Haiti. Ok, I know it's been a little over a week but I miss it. I miss the beauty, I miss the kids, I miss the translators, i miss the food. I miss serving God 24/7. Even though I can serve all the time here too, it seems harder with responsibilities. I am going to spend time snuggled up with Jesus tonight before I go to bed.

4. I'm working on my goals for next year (we do it before the school year in youth ministry) this weekend. Gonna go sit by the water and just sit and write them out. I'm excited to do this. Last year I had a goal that I'd pray each week for one leader a week, youth ministry is rough, i think I will pray each youth staff by name each week as one of my goals.

5. I think I'm going to do a modified 7 at some point. I'm praying about what it's gonna look like :) I'm scared. Ha!!

6. In all my cleaning out... I threw away a bunch of stuff and was motivated to delete some old pictures and videos on my phone. It's good to let go... Opens my  hearts for what God has planned for me!

So that's what is rattling around in my head and heart. 

Making amazing changes!!

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here 2 Cor 5:17

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Singing freedom

My voice sounded no different in Haiti than it does anywhere else. 

My friend Katie said to me once "I've never heard you sing before" well, lets face it, my frien Katie is amazing, intimidating amazing. And the woman can SING! I'd never sing in front of her, my voice is horrible. For a long time, ill be honest, i wish that was my gift until i fell in love with my own gifts.  I have heard it said by the most amazing  music teacher "if you can talk you can sing". I beg to differ.

When I was in Haiti I never really cared about what I sounded like, it was only what would make a child laugh or smile. It was about loving.

I even sang in front of other adults, once I even sang OUTLOUD in a car with only one other person... And half way through the song I realized what I did. GASP! Ok seriously, I was a little freaked out. But... I kept singing! I kept praising Him, not ever giving another thought to it.

God is bigger than my terrible voice.

This might seem like such a small thing. But who wants to be embarrassed by terrible singing? Ever seen American idol outtakes?

This might seem dumb, but God is bringing freedom to lots of areas to my life :) and ill sing about it all my days, no matter who is around!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NIV)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I miss Haiti

Man, can I just say it?

Well of course I can, it's my blog.

I miss Haiti.

A lot.

Yes I know it's been a week.

Yes I know I have amazing friends and family here. 

But my heart aches to be in Haiti. 

There are obvious reasons. 
I didnt have to cook or clean in Haiti. No drama except someone yelling all the time... But that was easy to get over. 
I lived love.
It was beautiful.
We were meant to live love, well at least I was. 

I miss it but I have Gods work to do here first.

It's hard.

Please pray.

Jalapeño popper dip

1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 t. salt
1 small garlic clove, minced 
1/4 t. black pepper
3 – 5 jalapeno peppers*, diced

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Serve with Tortilla chips, potato chips or corn chips
1. Stir together cream cheese with salt, cheese, garlic, and pepper. Mix in diced peppers.  Spread into a pie plate or cake pan.
2.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve with chips.

You can also had 1/2 lb cooked/chopper bacon if you wanted. The original recipe called for that but I knew we had a vegetarian in our presence so I didn't add it

Friday, August 23, 2013

New journals

This time last year I wrote out my goals for the year. We did them for youth ministry so that's why I did them in August time frame. 

It was pretty great to see how many things I prayed about and set for myself came to be. Not because of me, but because of God and His faithfulness. 

It's time to buy a new journal. I had an idea of what I wanted... But I the selection was pretty scarce at the non-Christian Christian store ;) so I picked up this one and saw a lighthouse and I almost put it back... Until I saw the scripture:

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105 NIV)

It's so been the scripture of my walk lately. So I had to get it.

So now I have my gratitude journal from my cousin Karen, this new one, and my blog :)

The first entry will be my goals for the year. Excited to see what God does! excited to see growth in my love for Him. 

What are your God goals?

Random thoughts

I dream of a day when Phyllis meets Maxtelina. I look at this picture and I don't think of how fat I am or that my hair isn't done, I think about how perfectly her hand fit into mine. 

I really really love all the children, but this little sassy girl, she was certainly favorite.

I'd love to be in Haiti right now, but I know that God has plans for me here now. 

During my trip someone posted on fb that people on mission trips post pictures of what could be perceived as "paradise".  I'd like to just say, yes i took a lot of pictures of Haiti. I didnt take as many of the kids (the reason I was there) because i was busy with them. And their faces and voices are burned into my heart. I also wanted to show that Haiti was not all what people see on the news. I was encouraged to see Haiti being rebuilt. Haiti is beautiful but the people of Haiti are the most beautifullist

Sending love

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sweet voices

I was folding my skirts from Haiti to pack them away. I only wear them in Haiti. I'm a little sad. 

Not sure when I'll return. 

I can't explain how my heart aches but is at the same time thankful for my time there and so very thankful for my life here that allows me to continue to serve there while I am home.

Im reminded by the sweet voice of Jesus that my life is a mission, i am a missionary bringing love. Home and away. To all the earth.

Thank You Jesus for speaking to me in the sweetest of voices, reminding me I'm loved, chosen. Thank You for reminding me of the vision You have for my life. Lord, I love You. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

feelings oh oh oh feelings... they drive passion

A lot of people think it must be so good to be home after being on 3 mission trips in a month’s time.

I don’t know if I am “Happy” to be back. I am thankful to see my friends, I am thankful to see my daughter and the crazy thing of being thankful for ice. I normally drink my water without ice. But since I’ve been back, even just one ice cube seems to make me so happy!

I miss being in Haiti. I mean come on, who wouldn’t miss because tickled and tickling and hearing the laughter of little muffins. As much as I love to cook, it was great being cooked for 2.5 weeks, especially after cooking for 120 people every day.

I loved Haiti. It was hot and I was sick of wearing a ponytail everyday, but after being home for 4 days, and I long for the simplicity of a ponytail. I miss feeling beautiful , I miss hearing God speak and spending uninterrupted time with Him. I miss not wondering what is next. Not very many times in my life do I “just be” but in Haiti, I do just that. I know that I am called by God to do great things. I know that to whom much is given, much is required!

As much as I miss Haiti I am excited about what God is leading me to do while I am home. His direction was very clear of what He wanted me to do when I was in Haiti. He even exposed the lies that people were telling, and shed light on the truth! He spoke so sweetly to my heart. I am so excited about working on the sponsorship for the kids and what is ahead! I have seen God already work so much already!

I really have to work at staying close to Jesus once I am home. Just like in Haiti, I have to carve out time to spend with Jesus. I tell so many people that they need to spend time with Jesus and in the word when they get home. I am serious about it and I need to do the same thing. I take my time with Jesus very seriously!

I am excited about how God grew my fruit before I left, and how He equipped me with so many tools. And while I was in Haiti, He ripped my fruit to give it to others, and set me up for success with those tools that He gave me.

I’m so very thankful! I am feeling a lot of feelings. I am allowing myself to feel, to live, and to take those feelings, and let them fuel the passion for the things He has called me to do, both in Detroit and in Haiti.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Stupid book ;)

So... I was afraid to read the book "seven" by Jen Hatmaker. Lets face it, I don't want to "simplify" my life because its just going to get harder.

Let me explain...

Less excess means I need to cook more, grow more veggies, I can't buy a bunch of stuff I don't need.

Well, I like eating out. I like having door to door organics deliver fresh fruits and veggies to my door (carbon footprint shmootprint) and I like to shop (can you say "Target").

I like to have my car washed (I haven't washed my own vehicle in years - maybe almost a decade - gasp!

It was going to be hard to read this book and not be affected by it. I often say "stupid seven book".

So when do I decide to read a book that was going to challenge me about excess? 

In Haiti 

What am I a nut job?

Spend less so I can give more?!

The very thought of it sounds delightful until I actually have to put it into practice.

Stupid seven book. (Said with a wink and a smile)

But here's the thing... 

There is a song by Jesus culture that says "won't relent until You have it all, my heart is Yours".

So many times on the mission trip God said "give more, generously". Maybe by the standard of others I give, well, generously. But if I'm not giving my all, then it's not generously enough. 

Oh boy. 

This is gonna be painful. 

Hopefully it will only hurt for a minute.

Stupid seven book ;)

I haven't decided to what degree I'm going to implement this in my life... But something is about to happen. 

Stupid friends who told me about this stupid book ;) 

Thank you, for real. It made me laugh and cry and changed my way of thinking .

If you haven't read it, read it.

Stepping closer to Him

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

It's only $3.99 today (August 20)

Getting back...

I woke up this morning at 5:15, I was supposed to get up at 4:30. I went to bed at 9pm because I just could not keep my eyes open. I think not sleeping super great for over a month because of mission trips is now catching up to me.

I am so thankful for my daughter who keeps house pretty good, the issue with my crazy house is that I was on a mission trip to Detroit, came home and then basically left for Haiti. There is stuff everywhere. I just tackle one room at a time. If you come over, please don’t look in the basement or the office because they seem to be the catch all. I will tackle those next week.

I have spent quite a bit of time in my garden. It is NUTS! Crazy amounts of tomatoes (I will be freezing a little every night), cukes, zucchini (going to shred or cut in chunks and freeze), and jalapenos (I’m thinking about trying a stuffed jalapeno recipe)! I had to really get in the garden the last couple days and pick the produce, clean out weeds, and clean out vegetation that has got infested by bugs and the moisture has rotted some of it too.

I love spending time in the garden. It brings me peace and joy. I am reminded of God’s provision when I am in the garden. And let’s face it, there aren’t too many things that taste better than home grown produce. I was thankful that my friend Lindsay got a start on collecting produce because it would have been crazier for me!

Being in the garden brings me peace. When my life gets a little crazy that’s where my dad usually tells me to go. “Go spend time in the dirt, Marg” he says.

I don’t know how I feel after being back for a few days but tired.

I’ve had lunch with some of my new sisters, and tomorrow some are coming over for coffee and dessert.

I’m working on a great project for the kids (Uniforms for school) and getting the sponsorship program at the orphanage going again. I’m super excited about this, and hoping all the kids get sponsored and then I’d love to work on getting sponsorships art and English teaching back into the kids regular routine besides school. I know that I can’t do any of this on my own, but God! He can! I am excited to see what He does!

I’m doing well, just feeling a little at a time, using my feelings to drive my passion to love.

I walk around more thankful than I’ve ever been, and I feel like I am swimming in an ocean of peace.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A lesson in loving

I'm on my way, the last leg of my flight. I don't really know what I feel.

I'm excited to come home. I'm excited to Hug my girl. To sleep in my bed instead of a flat mattress. 

After spending time in Haiti, not beinginsanely  busy I wonder if for so long I have gotten it wrong.  

Years and years of being busy, sometimes to avoid feeling hurt. Years if picking task over relationship. 

I enjoy loving but loving is dangerous and there isn't always a measurement of when I've  gotten it right or a place to check a box to say ok, done. 

Love is messy and its hard, and heartbreak is usually involved because we haven't always figured out how not to hurt each other (Shane Claiborne said that). Even when I do my best, I find a way to
mess it up. Sometimes the kind of love we give us not returned and that hurts. People leave when we've given them our all.

Love is not easy.

But it is essential.

After being in a place when is walk passed a muffin and just smooch their face or I'd look across at a team mate and smile, or fill someone's water bottle or share cookies, ill be honest, it's hard not to want that every minute of every day. 

Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV)

It's hard to figure out how I'm gonna do that in my life back home. To carry a love with me, to give it away.

So many times God has told me this trip to live generously, I think it's just not about the money, it's about my heart. Money is easy, heart issues and love and hard. To not think that I might be hurt, how that's dangerous. But great reward requires great risk.

I say that I'll go wherever He calls and ill do whatever He asks.

My life is His. All of it.

I'm giving it all away. 

To gain a love I've never experienced.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV)

Going home

So today I leave for home.

There are a lot of things I'm excited to be home about...

I can do my hair (in something other than a ponytail)
Brushing my teeth using sink water
Flushing my toilet paper
Trenta black tea light water no sweetener 

But mostly I'm excited to get home and see my girl.  I'm excited to get home to see my family.

I don't really have the words to say how I feel, but my heart really hurts. How can I feel like I belong in two completely different worlds? And one is nothing like me.

I don't like being inconvenienced by camping, yet I love sleeping on a flat air mattress (mine got a hole in it), no make up, can't hop in my car anytime I want. I never sing out loud in front of a lot of people yet here, my off tune voice seemed to always be singing. "Hide it under a bush oh no! I'm gonna let it shine!". And I hate being sweaty and dirty... I'm fancy(ha!)

This is not a place that anyone who knows me would think that I'd settle into, but I do. I love it here. I'm not looking forward to the chilly weather Michigan is having even though once I get there, I will settle in.

I almost feel like this is like my earth and heavenly home. Two places that call my heart, and I'll go whenever God calls.

So today, I'm on my way home, but Haiti, I will see you soon. I loveyou and your people. Forever my life is changed by you.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The view

As I looked out the bathroom hotel window, I saw these beautiful flowers. I smiled as I thanked God for such a beautiful picture out my window after a very emotional day (2.5 weeks).

Then i looked up and saw a tent city. As if God smiled and said yes, that flower and so much of Haiti is beautiful but don't ever forget. 

Don't forget the beautiful people
Don't forget the hope
The perserverence
The love
The community
The muffins

Don't forget what I have called you to do. 

I loveYou Yahweh. 

I'll never forget 

I'll do whatever You ask
I'll go wherever You say to go
For Your glory

I'll loveYou for always