I Sing Because I'm Free

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Amazing Grace (House of the Rising Son)

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
When we’ve been there, ten thousand years
bright shining as the son 
we’ve no less days, to sing God’s praise
than when we first begun 
Several years ago, one of my friends from church mentioned that we should try singing the words of Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Son.  I sat down at the piano the other evening and that conversation from years ago came to mind…I finally tried it 🙂
I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings
I will sing praises to You
–  Psalm 144:9
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He holds the sky

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He formed the clouds within His hand 

He holds the sky

and sea 

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The very hand that holds the world-

it cradles

you and me 

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And when the distant storm clouds bring 

the threat of thunder

and rain

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In the shelter of His mighty wings

we can find peace 

once again 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty-

Psalm 91:1

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I have always loved a good storm!  I watch the sky in absolute amazement… the clouds swirling, the wind howling…it is truly a marvelous site.  Weather patterns can be so unpredictable, and yet even when a storm comes- our daily routines still goes on.

He reminded me this morning that sometimes life is like that, too.  Many times we experience circumstances and storms that seem completely out of our control.  And yet, He is Lord of ALL creation, and He will be faithful to lead us through.

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.  Job 12:10 

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He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.  Psalm 107:29

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Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.        Deuteronomy 31:6

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The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7

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walk by faith

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perched up high 

backdrop of sky 

a victory song is sung 

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joyful singing 

praises ringing 

the battle has been won 

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after days and days 

and days of rain 

we bask in the sunlight  

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my little friend sings 

he spreads his wings 

preparing to take flight 

It has rained for days on end here.  I LOVE the rain, but one of the downfalls of the rain is that the grass grows insanely quickly!

By the time I got home from church, the sun was shining and it was the perfect time to mow the yard.  Still squishy from all the rain, I managed to slosh through the yard to get the lawn mower out of the garage.  I heard a bird chirping, and happened to look up and see this little blackbird perched onto of my house, singing away…

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That little guy was there the entire time I mowed the front yard! It was a beautiful day, and I was so happy the sun was out, I didn’t even mind cutting the grass!  I didn’t realize how much I missed the sun over the rainy days!

Even when we can’t see the sun-

we know it’s still there.

 

For we walk by faith, not by sight-  

2 Corinthians 5:7

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For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs – Zephaniah 3:17 

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Starbucks ain’t got nothin’ on me

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Ok, I admit that I have been rolling through that Starbucks drive-thru a little too frequently.  They just so happen to offer something fabulous for those of us who follow the Trim Healthy Mama approach to food- bacon and gouda sous vide egg bites!  They are so so good that I literally crave them.  And you can’t go to SB without getting coffee, too…. so I had to act fast and do something to protect my financial well being!  I decided to find a copy-cat recipe for these miraculous egg concoctions… and this one is a WINNER!!!!

All you need to make these little bites of heaven are an

-instant pot (have I told you how much I love love love my instant pot!?!)

-a silicone insert that I bought on amazon pretty cheap

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*I did make a couple of changes to the above recipe- I didn’t have sun-dried tomatoes, so I left them out; and I also added shredded gouda cheese instead of cheddar cheese… and BACON!!  I cooked a few slices of bacon and crumbled up 1/4 a slice and put in the bottom of the silicone mold before I poured the egg mixture on top of it… it was perfection!

These egg bites are magical.  They are silky smooth, jiggly, and almost have a cheesecake- like texture.  And the most amazing part is that you can keep them in the fridge for several days, reheat them, and they are JUST AS GOOD as they are the moment you take them out of the instant pot!  These are so good that my whole family battles over who gets the last one!

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my very first batch… a SUCCESS!! 

And to finish my at-home Starbucks experience, my wonderful hubby got me a milk frother.  This thing has turned my morning cup of joe into HEAVEN!

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My favorite Starbucks drink is a breve flat-white.  This is espresso topped with steamed half and half.  It is so so good.  I made a strong cup of coffee and then poured my half and half into a tall glass.  I used the little hand frother and within seconds, the half and half began to thicken up. I poured it into my cup of coffee, added a little monk fruit, some cinnamon… and VOILA-

Starbucks ain’t got nothin’ on me!

Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing;

You hold my future-  Psalm 16:6

 

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get thee behind me

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“get thee behind me” 

everywhere I look

temptations lurk

seeking to derail

hoping I fail

and fall

into sin’s trap

sticky like sap

it clings to me

images of

the enemy

and what he

wants me to be

Get thee

behind me!

By the grace of He

and His mercy

I am now free

So to the enemy

I say-

make like a tree

Since He himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.  Hebrews 2:18

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want a treat?

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Like every other morning, I heard the whimper of a lonely dog at my bedroom door.  One dog sleeps in my younger daughter’s room (Jack thinks it’s actually HIS bedroom!) and the other sleeps in the hallway- on guard, protecting his sleeping family.  But around 5:30am, Remy will put his nose right up to the crack at the bottom of our bedroom door and whine- just loud enough to wake me up.

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I got out of bed and immediately made a cup of coffee.  I sat on the couch as I sipped my steaming cup of love, but that wasn’t exactly what Remy had in mind… then comes the tail wagging and the barking at my feet.  I got Jack out of his room and then the two dogs romp around in the foyer.  Honestly, I wanted to finish that one cup of coffee… but it wasn’t going to happen until I took care of business.

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And then I caught the sunrise out of the corner of my eye- something I have missed lately! I leashed up both of my boys and took my phone outside with me.  It was a nothing short of a miracle- I held both leashes in one hand and even took a picture with the other!  I came inside and asked the boys the usual question as they wagged their tails and barked with excitement- “Want a treat? Want a treat?” 

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a beautiful sunrise.

But you know something? I wouldn’t appreciate it nearly as much if I got to see it everyday.

As my dogs ate their treat, I realized He gave me one this morning,  too!

All eyes have turned toward You, waiting in expectation;
    when they are hungry, You feed them right on time. 

Psalm 145:15

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He Leads

The sky was cerulean blue, and the pear trees blossoms were in full bloom.  It was one of those days where all of nature seems to be in technicolor.

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There are some days that I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude- for everything-

Thankful that I have a car, and that I can drive anywhere I want!

Thankful for sunshine and all the things that come alive in spring. 

Thankful to be alive and breathing– even if it is pollen-laden spring air!

I spent the afternoon running a few errands,  and then decided to get coffee.  I found myself driving to an out of the way Starbucks- one that I don’t go to often.

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I walked in and there was an elderly man coming out of the restroom.  I couldn’t tell if he was trying to get around me to go to his seat, or if he was actually getting in line to order coffee, but he looked a little flustered.

“You go ahead of me,” he said, motioning for me to step in front of him.  I smiled, and got in line.

Then the oddest thing happened- he started talking to me as if he’d known me for years…

“You know, that movie Paul the Apostle of Christ– that was something else, wasn’t it?” Out of the blue, he started to tell me about this movie, which I wanted to see but haven’t yet-  “It was the most amazing movie.  You know how Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh?  They did such a beautiful job with that.  We’ve all got a thorn in the flesh, don’t we?”   He continued on to talk about the movie I Can Only Imagine… “And the whole symbolism between his earthly father and his Heavenly Father was just amazing…”

Wow.  A random stranger was talking to me- in the middle of the Starbucks line- about God.  I told him that I hadn’t seen either movie yet, but that they were on my to-do list.  I placed my coffee order and then went to the other side of the counter to wait.

Sure enough, he stepped beside me again as we waited for our cup of heaven.  I knew the Lord wanted me to ask him if he went to church.

“So, do you go to church anywhere?”  I asked him.

“I do, but I’m looking for another one.  This one’s so big, I can’t seem to form relationships with anyone. How about you?  Where do you go?”

I briefly told him where I went to church, and that I also lead the music there.

“Well, isn’t that something?” he says, “it’s a divine appointment!  Me meeting you here at this Starbucks!”  We chatted for a few minutes longer, and then I went on about my day.

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I’ve thought about the gentleman at Starbucks a lot over the last few days… and while he thanked me for encouraging him, he was actually an encouragement to me- reminding me that He marks every step of our path during the day.

A “divine appointment”

How many “divine appointments” do we miss out on every day because we aren’t looking for them?

I don’t want to miss a single one.

Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth you have for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unlock and set me free.
Silently now, on bended knee,
ready I wait your will to see;
open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth you send so clear;
and while the message sounds in my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now, on bended knee,
ready I wait your will to see;
open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my mouth, and let me bear
gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart, and let me prepare
love with your children thus to share.
Silently now, on bended knee,
ready I wait your will to see;
open my heart, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it- Hebrews 3:2 

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You’re Sew Vain

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My Sewing/Vanity Table 

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted an antique vanity- with a big fancy mirror, and those little drawers to put all your make up and pretty things in.  Unfortunately we don’t have a good place for me to put one, so I have re-purposed an old sewing table as a vanity.

Several years ago, my Granny was getting rid of things and my mom asked if I wanted Granny’s old sewing table.  I thought it would be neat to have, so I  brought it home one day.  It sat in our guest room downstairs for a while, and then I decided to bring it upstairs and put it in my room.   Now it has become my make-shift vanity.

I keep my make-up bag on top, and I have a stand up mirror that I keep on top of the desk.   And there are all sorts of little treasures in the side drawers…

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I find something new every time I look in these drawers! 

 I wonder how many times my Granny sat at this same table to sew on a button, or fix a hem?  Even though Granny has been gone for almost 2 years now, I think about her every day.  And every time one of my girls needs something hemmed- or a button repaired-  I go straight to this sewing table! I think to myself- “Granny to the rescue”!

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My white Easter dress 

This past Good Friday would have been Granny’s 89th birthday.  It’s hard to believe she’s been gone that long!  I had a white dress to hem for Easter, so naturally I went to Granny’s old sewing table for some help. Yep- Granny to the rescue, again!  

Sure enough, there was a sturdy pair of sewing scissors in the middle drawer… and snow white thread with a spool that must have been 50 years old! And plenty of different sized sewing needles- good for every type of fabric.

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What a blessing it was for me to sit at this old table of Granny’s on her birthday, and to spend some of the day remembering her- making use of all the little treasures that are in this sewing table.  One of the things I loved most about Granny was that she was a good listener.  Sometimes when I sit there to sew, or to put on my make-up- I imagine that I’m talking to her…telling her all kinds of tales about raising my girls…and I imagine her listening intently, smiling back at me.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens…

    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak-  Ecclesiastes 3 

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nailed it

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My girls introduced me to a fab new Netflix show called “Nailed It”, in which ordinary folks try their best to reproduce a gloriously decorated cupcake or cake.  This show is deliciously hilarious and fun to watch!

Until one of my daughters said I needed to be on it.

Ouch. 

What are you tryna say about my baking skills?!  I was immediately on the offense.

Well, you’re always subbing this for that, you use coconut flour instead of regular flour…you don’t have eggs and so you’ll put something else in it…

Okay, okay, I see…. I couldn’t deny her logic.  I am guilty of all that and way more in the kitchen…

And I realized in that moment how deeply rooted my desire for perfection is. So much so, that I almost missed what my daughter was actually saying to me-

Even though you are not a “baker”- you will attempt to bake ANYTHING.  And you don’t let it stop you if you don’t have the exact ingredients- you find a way to make it work!

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You know what is awesome about this realization?  That I recognized my tendency to take a comment and twist it around in my head…and that I can CHOOSE to put the brakes on those thoughts more quickly!

So this morning, I attempted to make a copycat Starbucks Lemon poundcake (low carb and sugar free, of course)  and I didn’t have the sweetener it called for, so I had to look up some conversion charts for the Sweet Leaf brand stevia I had… and then I used coconut flour instead of the baking blend it called for…. and coconut is a “thirsty” flour, so I only used 1/2 of what it called for and upped the amount of coconut milk I used…

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And I literally LOL’ed as I remembered my daughter’s comments about my baking tendencies…

I had to bake it for 10 minutes longer for it to set…. but I totally nailed it! 

He continually reminds me to stop my pursuit of perfection, and to keep pursuing Him! Oh yeah, and it’s okay to laugh at ourselves from time to time, too!

 

I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.  Philippians 3:12 

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my deeelightful breakfast!!! 

p.s.

Here’s the lemon poundcake recipe that I “loosely” followed 🙂

https://www.nanaslittlekitchen.com/sugar-free-copycat-starbucks-lemon-loaf/

 

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Jesus Our Lord is Crucified

Jesus Our Lord is Crucified

O come and mourn with me awhile, 
O come ye to the Savior’s side 
O come, together let us mourn, 
Jesus our Lord is crucified.

Seven times He spoke seven words of love; 
And all three hours His silence cried 
For mercy on the souls of men; 
Jesus our Lord is crucified.

O love of God! O sin of man! 
In this dread act Your strength is tried; 
And victory remains with love; 
Jesus our Lord is crucified!

A broken heart, a fount of tears, 
Ask, and they will not be denied; 
A broken heart love’s cradle is: 
Jesus our Lord is crucified.

lyrics written by Frederick Faber – 1849

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Moved by these beautiful words, I took the lyrics of this old hymn and set it to a new melody and piano accompaniment.  I would be happy to share the chord chart with anyone who would like to have it.  Be blessed!

Jesus Our Lord is Crucified

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