Cheer up, Buttercup…

Do you ever have one of those nights where your day hasn’t gone exactly as you hoped and you just want to have a good sob, head to bed and wake up to a better life? Well…I was having one of those nights until I realized that my life wasn’t the problem, my attitude was. Yeah, life is stressful and disappointing sometimes (not to burst your bubble, but it’s always going to be this way and it always has been :P). What matters is our outlook on life. First off, we aren’t meant for this life. Like it says in John 18:36-“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Secondly, We have to learn to be grateful for what we have in life and stop hoping for something else, if God chooses to change things for us than great, if not than we have to realize that God knows best and we have to be content with that! “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”-Phil. 4:11 (12, 13 are great too)

So, although I just wanted to end my day early and start fresh, I realized that I needed to notice all the beautiful things God has placed in this day that will be great memories later and that I shouldn’t be so anxious to end it.

Goodnight guys, sweet dreams ❤

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Depressed? There is Hope!

Abby-Depression

I wasn’t going to get into this whole Robin Williams suicide debate, but after some of the things I’ve heard and read on here I feel like I have to so that hopefully and prayerfully I might be able to help.

*Now, I would like to say right up front that I do believe that there are those who are clinically depressed for medical reasons. I do understand, first hand, as you will read later, that disease, chemical imbalances as well as medicines that are prescribed poorly or not at all by doctors can seriously affect the mind. I do not wish in any way to hurt those who are dealing with clinical depression. However, I do want to share some concerns I am having about how society changes to go from one extreme to another and how dangerous that can be for those who are not thinking straight to begin with; most especially the youth in our society.

I’m going to tell you all something about myself that I’ve never let anyone else know (besides my family) because I’ve been embarrassed and didn’t want others to treat me differently. But I think I need to because God has done an amazing thing in my life and I suppose it’s kinda selfish to keep it secret! I went from being happy and carefree and within a two week period I became scared of the world, anxious, and completely hopeless. There were moments when I didn’t have an urge to live anymore and didn’t see any hope of that ever changing. I wanted so badly to just die and be at peace. But I wouldn’t have ever committed suicide because I knew that I would end up in the exact opposite place than I wanted to be. So I started fantasizing about ways that I wished I would just die. For me, the main thing that kept me alive was the hope I had in Christ and my reward. I was terrified of having to wait, though.

I’ve read an article that people (Christians) have been posting that reads, “Suicide is not a weak decision. It is a decision that takes an incredible amount of strength to make”. There are probably people out there right now considering suicide and I’m scared at the kind of message we are giving them. Suicide is NOT the strong way out of depression. It takes a ton of strength to realize that you need help, that your family will be crushed, to see that God gave us this life for a reason and it’s not our place to get rid it. It takes courage to just take a deep breath and put your trust in God. That is where true strength lies; when you realize that you may be taking an important player out of God’s team. Right now we need to be showing everyone that they need to put their hope in God when they don’t have any. Because they are so very, very hopeless!! I understand that and do not blame them at all for that! What they need is hope! They need a reason to live. Not a reason to be encouraged that the stronger choice is suicide. Jesus is the only One that can get people through depression. He’s the One that we need to lean on and rely on.

Again, please understand, I am not speaking to the people who need for us to think for them. But anyone out there who is reading this and contemplating suicide, you need to know that you are loved! When you are so depressed, you cannot see that. I am here to remind you! Jesus loves you and your eternal reward with Him is worth calling out for help. Because I finally found the guts to admit that I needed help and talked to my parents, I was treated properly and I am doing completely better! We learned that I had a bacterial disease that had attacked my brain and now I had some very serious emotional trauma from it that needed medical intervention. Get the help you need! That is the strong thing to do!!

*I didn’t write this because I am mad at anyone, I wrote it because I am so scared that we are putting troubled people in danger and putting dangerous thoughts in their head. This is completely out of love, just wanted to make sure everyone knew that! Additionally, I want to extend my sympathies to the Williams family and this in not intended to hurt or shame his family. I have no idea what his mental state was and this is not about him or his situation. This is meant only to give hope to people that need it right now.

Loving Your Enemies

When we as humans are badly treated it’s our tendency to strike back. We may think “Well, they hurt my feelings. They are getting what they deserve”. Even though we think it’s our job to repay them for the wrong they have done us, how does the Bible say to deal with it?  “14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them; 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”-Romans 12:14,17 Also, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”-Matthew 5:44
So, not only do we have to just brush it off and forget that they were just rude to us, but we also have to go a step further and bless them and pray for them. Then we may say “But Lord, this isn’t fair, he was just mean to me. They don’t deserve kindness”. But, let’s look at Jesus’ example. He was perfect, lovely and sinless but, He was beaten and killed for our sins. Let us see how He repaid those that cruelly treated Him: He prayed for them as it says in Luke 23:34 “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’“ He also repaid us by blessing us with eternal life as is says in John 3:16 “‘For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’”

When we do things as God has commanded us to do then we will be rewarded in Heaven.
“’Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’’-Matthew 5:11-12
Jesus is always giving us the answers in His Word. All we have to do is just pick it up!

Follow In His Steps

*First posted in Come Fill Your Cup

“Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read.” –William J. Toms

This quote reminds me of one of my favorite verses in the Bible which is 1 Peter 4:11: “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

arguments over silly things, you don’t gossip, and you speak kindly to everyone, people are going to start catching onto that and wonder why you are different from First of all, we must speak the utterances of God. We as Christians all know that cussing and using dirty words is wrong, but we sometimes seem to not mind hearing people fight or use words that would be hurtful to someone. 1 Peter 3:1-2 says, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” Although this is talking to wives, everyone can take something out of it. For instance, if you don’t get into others.

Secondly, we can serve by the strength which God supplies. Service is really what our Christianity is based on because we are serving God by being baptized and doing what He asks of us. Like it says at the end of Galatians 5:13-14, “But through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” We are supposed to serve one another, but also let us not act like we have to do this but show that we want to do this. Some examples of ways to serve would be raking an elderly couples’ yard, babysitting someone’s kids, or helping out with some church activity. Being cheerful about serving others can help everyone around you appreciate Christ’s light within you. Serving with a bad attitude will make it miserable for yourself. Staying cheerful will help you and others. Serving isn’t just about the physical labor you do for other people, it’s also about being there for others when they need to talk or being there to welcome the visitors at church to make them feel comfortable. Serving can be anything godly that makes others feel loved and special.

Jesus should be our number one role model because He was perfect and He gave us all a great example of how we should serve, love, speak and act altogether. We should all be striving to work at these acts described in this verse. When you are dealing with a struggle in your Christian walk and you don’t know what to do about it, open up your Bible and see what Jesus did. He has gone through everything we have, but without sinning. Remember, people are watching us. We never know when someone around us might be looking to us for guidance and we should be the ones shining Jesus’ light.

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

He Gives Us Reasons to Celebrate

 *Published in the Faithful Womens Newsletter

“For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matt 5:45b.  Everyone, no matter if they live a righteous, or an evil life, has good and bad days. We all have days when we feel on top of the world and want to celebrate, and we have those days when we feel hopeless.

God’s Word teaches us that as Christians, we have reason to Celebrate in time of Heartache, to Celebrate the Hope we have in Jesus Christ and to Celebrate our future inheritance waiting for us in Heaven. “Who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelations of Jesus Christ.”-1 Peter 1:5-7

            As a Christian, I can learn to Celebrate Heartaches.  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”-Psalm 23:4 In this world there are heartaches, frustrations, disappointments and pain. My family has dealt with many sicknesses. I’m sure that every family has dealt with things like my family has. Even though it may not have been health problems, we all have troubles and they are always very difficult. But what I have learned is everything He does is for some reason that maybe we do not always see right away. Sometimes why we go through pain and problems is because God wants us to be closer to Him and He wants us to be stronger in our Christianity.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  Even when we are going through struggles we have something to celebrate about because we have a wonderful Savior Who is going to bring us to the amazing and perfect heaven where there will be no pain and sorrows. So it does not matter what happens in this life because even if we go through rough times we can try to see it as a time to get closer to God and to just trust in Him because He knows everything that is ever going to happen to us.

As a Christian I must learn to Celebrate and share our Hope. “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”-1 Peter 3:15 Why do we as Christians read these scriptures and not share the hope we have in Jesus with everyone we know? That is something I find myself often dealing with. Everyone deserves a chance at a wonderful inheritance just like we are getting. Like it says in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” He died for everyone who believes in Him & will obey His commandments.

Have you ever noticed how excited a newborn babe is after they have put on Christ? They want to celebrate their new birth, praise God and share their joy with everyone! Recently, my sister, Anna, was baptized into Christ at 1 am and then afterwards we stayed up with her and just sang praises to our God together. It was a joyous occasion. We celebrated our hope that we have in Jesus. Isn’t it wonderful being in the Lord’s family?! Shouldn’t we always want to share and celebrate this?

As a Christian I have the privilege of Celebrating my future inheritance waiting for me in Heaven. Really, could there be a better reason to celebrate than Heaven? And the Great Day that the Lord comes back for us will be the most wonderful celebration we will ever know. Not only that, this Celebration will never end! “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:16-17

One of the most exciting songs celebrating Heaven says, “Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing His mercy and His grace. In the mansions bright and blessed, He’ll prepare for us a place. When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!” When We All Get to Heaven

“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Cor 15:51-52

Life for the Christian is a joyous Celebration. Heartaches turn to Hope, and our Hope will one day be realized forever in Heaven.   1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you”

Keep Your Tongues From Evil

“Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,
Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more”

You might recognize this if you have seen the musical, “Music Man”.  This song is supposed to be a funny picture of several women looked at through the eyes of a man while they are gossiping. They are being compared to a bunch of hens and they should definitely be embarrassed by what we see.

We may laugh at these silly women, but have any of us been guilty of gossip?  If so, then we have looked just as silly as these women picking on others, talking a little, or even a little more.  What is worse is this isn’t funny at all. Women are often known to be gossips and I think that is true for almost every girl; I for one have been guilty of that at times, myself. My guess is that we are genuinely interested in what is going on in other people’s lives. But the problem is, that sometimes our concern can go too far and turn into gossip. Sadly, sometimes it is worse than that: the gossiper dislikes someone and wants to be mean.

1Timothy 3:11 says, “Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.”  Probably all of us already know that it is not the right thing to get involved with, but we think that it is such a small sin, God will forgive me. But it is not a small sin. Think about how you used to play the game telephone and how it starts off with a phrase or whatever that person can think of, and when it gets to the last person, they say what they hear. It ends up completely different than what it started out as. Well, gossip is the same as that game.  It starts one way, and comes out another way. But then we may think that it is just too much fun to give up.

James 3:8-12 says “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs Neither can salt water produce fresh.”

This verse shows how terrible it is to pretend to love God while we make fun of His children that He loves!  How can we think it is just a normal, silly thing that human beings do? Think about it, do we really want to give up our chance of getting to heaven over a hurtful thing like getting into other people’s business and talking bad about someone? It is pretty sad when you think of it that way.

One sure way to tell that someone is about to gossip was joked about again in the song I opened with.  In the middle of the song the ladies say, “And the worst thing, of course, I shouldn’t tell you this but…” How many of us had heard that before, but have still listened?  To tell the truth, we often want to hear the rest. We need to learn to resist this temptation.

I know a lady that when someone comes up to her and starts gossiping she immediately says something nice about that person. I have also heard of someone who walks away when they hear someone gossiping. So, I was thinking about these two wonderful examples and thought that when I hear someone gossiping about someone, I will try to switch the subject and say something nice about that person. Then if they keep on gossiping, then I will find a way to excuse myself.

But really, the even braver thing to do, if you are close enough to the person that is gossiping would be to try to explain to them that you are trying not to gossip and they will hopefully help you out, and they might even try to do the same thing.

The best thing that has helped me is to try to think about the person you are talking about. How would you feel if they came in and heard you talking?  Put yourself in their shoes. God loves all of us!  We should all try to think of others before we start talking about them.Psalms 34:13 says “Keep your tongues from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”   If we do our best to say things that will lift people up instead of hurting them, we will never look to others like those silly hens again.  And more importantly, we will bless our Lord and Father, as well as our brothers and sisters.

Food, Glorious Food!

 I don’t know why this turned out so funky looking! Sorry! :/

I am feeling very Thanksgivingy today, so I thought I would share some of our favorite fall recipes with everyone! So here it goes…

Pumpkin Custard~ 
1 15 oz. pumpkin (we use caned pumpkin but you can use pureed)
1 12 oz. evaporated milk
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. biscuit baking mix
2 eggs beaten
2 T. butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. allspice, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg)
2 T. vanilla

Mix and put in crock-pot on 160* or on the low setting. It takes 8 hours on low or until it is firm all the way through like a custard, it will look kinda like a pumpkin pie on the top. Then you can put some whipped cream on the top if you would like!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars~
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp gr. cinnamon
1 tsp gr. allspice
                                                                      1/3 cup packed brown sugar                                                                      5 T cold butter

1. In a bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans; set aside 3/4 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into a greased 9 x 13″ pan. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. 2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese & sugar. Beat in remaining ingredients, (NOT reserved crumb mixture). Pur over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars and store in refrigerator. We have only tried this once but it was Aaamazing! 

Russian Tea~
3 cups sugar
2 cups orange flavored bfast drink (Tang)
1 cup unsweetened instant tea mix
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 envelope unsweetened lemonade

Combine all ingredients. Store in airtight container. Put 2 Tbsp in each cup with boiling water.

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad~
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp white sugar

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and 3 Tbsp sugar; mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Set aside to cool.
4. In a large mixing bowl cream together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture onto cooled crust.
5. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in still frozen strawberries and allow to set briefly. When mixture is about the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.                                                                                                                                                     We make this recipe for every Thanksgiving and it is one of our all time favorites!!

I don’t know where my Mom got all these recipes but they are all amazing! Enjoy!