Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Desert.

We've all been there. And probably hated every minute of it. We most likely begged God to bring us out of that place. To give us comfort, relief. And whether or not He brought you (me) out of that place, you (I) will probably, at some point, return.

The desert.

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines desert as: 1) arid land with usually sparse vegetation; an area of water apparently devoid of life 2) a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract 3) a desolate or forbidding area

It doesn't sound very appealing, does it? And yet, I bet you can relate. I know I can. I have had times in my life where I felt like I was living in a desert, spiritually. My prayer life has been dry. I have been devoid of life. It has been desolate and uninhabited, my world.

I get these emails every day, from a website called www.incourage.com .. Maybe you've heard of it? And they are up-lifting, encouraging, and most days I look forward to that email hitting my inbox. Last week (or sometime) one of these devotionals was about the desert, and she changed my complete perspective. Let me tell you about it.

"If you search for scriptures throughout the book of Exodus you notice that God called His people to: worship me in the desert (Exodus 7:16), journey into the desert (Exodus 3:18), hold a festival to me in the desert (Exodus 5:1). They looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud(Exodus 16:10)."

Rock my world, dear friends at incouragement. I have never put this together. The desert doesn't have to be a dry, desolate place. The Lord LOVES to take situations that seem hopeless, and make them hopeful. He loves to take places that are desolate, and make them fruitful.

"I believe during the “dry times” we learn to seek God daily, ask Him questions, get to know Him more intimately, and remember not to take Him for granted. He stretches our faith muscles, convicts our hearts, challenges our trust and just like every good workout leaves us a little sore. But in the long run, we are fit for the next challenge. We are stronger than when we started. We realize even more how much we need Him in our daily lives, how much He has to offer and how much we count on Him."

And so.. this affected me more than I can tell you. I feel like I am in a desert place right now. (And this is hard for me to admit). And sometimes, I am really sad.

Which is dumb, to be honest. I have been blessed beyond measure, and I know that. My husband is absolutely amazing, supportive, loving, encouraging, etc. I have a beautiful son, and I can't even explain the love I have for him. My husband has a great job as a Captain in the United States Army, which allows me to stay home with our son. We live in a beautiful home, in a beautiful state, with great friends.

And yet, here I am. My whole family lives in the Midwest, a good 20 hour drive from me. Seriously - every aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, niece, nephew, etc., all within 2 bordering states. Growing up where I did - with all my relatives all around all the time - was amazing. I loved every minute of it and had big dreams of doing the same for my kids. We ate dinner at my Grandparents every Sunday evening, and I can't tell you what that meant to me. To be surrounded by loving, encouraging people. I wanted the same thing for my future children. I just knew it was to happen.

But God had different plans for me. Plans that are bigger than me. Plans that are to stretch me in ways I never knew I could be. And these plans did not (at least so far, and for what I can tell about the future) include me being comfortable in the midwest. And so this KS homebody, fell in love with a soldier, embraced the army lifestyle, and is on her 3rd state with him in our 3 years of marriage. And I do love every minute of it. I wouldn't trade any of it. And oh boy is that man worth it.

But occasionally - I am reminded that Colton will not be as close to his cousins as I was. He will not know his extended family in the same way that I did - will not feel like his grandparents house was his second home. And lately, this has all hit me pretty hard.

Thankfully, I got that email at the right time. And my whole perspective has changed. I do not have to view the desert as a bad place, fight tooth and nail to get out of it and move into my "oasis." (note: I do not mean this to say I have been fighting to move back to KS, only to say I have been fighting the Lord to bring me out of this place) I can embrace it. I can worship the Lord with all my soul, with all my might, bring glory to His name, while walking through the desert. I can even dance in the desert.

And I will. I will use this time, where I feel distant and weary, to worship Him. To seek His will. To know that being where He wants me to be, will bring more glory to His name, and have a greater Kingdom impact, than being where I want me to be. Or where I feel like being.

I don't know how easy this will be, but I am trying.

Dear friends, are you in the same place? I would love to pray for you. Shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment.


brad.jessica2009 at gmail dot com

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Colton at the Beach

Just a few pics of our beach baby!!

This was the spot we staked. Notice Colton in his cute baby wet suit :)
Baby Toesies in the sand!

It was so fun spending time with Daddy!

Just walkin' along the beach!!!

Needless to say, we loved the beach. And we can't wait to go back in July! Colton kept trying to eat the sand, or taste it, or just put it in his mouth. Silly baby did not realize that it was yucky! So we kept having to pull it out, and stick his hand in the water to rinse it clean. But he really enjoyed "walking" with Daddy down the coast, splashing in the waves, watching the all the people run by, play frisbee, and seeing the wedding that was happening right next door on the beach.

Best part of North Carolina. Right here. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Its Grilling Season

Hello, dear bloggie friends!

As you know, Spring means grilling. At least in my house! I love how easy it is, and how healthy it is, to grill up some meat and veggies. MMM, mmm.

But I am afraid I am in somewhat of a grilling rut. I always grill the same things (and they are delicious!) But I am anxious to break out of my grilling shell.

So I have a favor. What are your favorite things to grill, and how do you prepare them? Do you marinate them? Add any extra flavor? Or are they best on their own?

Leave me a comment, shoot me an e-mail, write it in a blog post (don't forget to comment so I know to look!) And please, please, please let me know!!

Thank you, thank you! :)

brad.jessica at gmail dot com

Saturday, June 4, 2011

delicious pork chop marinade!

Okay y'all.. I'm not a big pork chop fan, usually. My mom makes these chops that have noodles and a marinara sauce, and she bakes it... I don't know all the details of it but its the only pork chops I have liked. Until now.
I bought some at the commissary and thought "well.. I probably wont like them.. but I know Brad loves pork chops so we will grill 'em" but then I found this marinade recipe, and tweaked it a bit to fit our tastes.. and its so good I just had to put the recipe on the blog. So now - this could be what's for dinner tonight (as RachaelRay would say)

(Why do pictures of meat never look appetizing. This picture does not do it justice.)

The Last Pork Chop Marinade You'll Ever Want to Eat:
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 & 1/2 Tbsp Soy sauce
-1 Tbsp Steak Seasoning (Recipe to follow)

Steak Seasoning:
-2Tbsp Paprika
-2Tbsp pepper
-1Tbsp salt
-1 Tbsp garlic powder
-1 Tbsp onion powder
-1 Tbsp coriander
-1/2 Tbsp red pepper

Directions: Mix Olive oil, sauce, and 1T seasoning in a large freezer baggie. Marinate chops for 3-7 hours. Grill. (I dont know the grilling details, that is my hubbies job. But these chops turn out to be the juiciest, most flavorful I have ever tasted. Honestly.)

Let me know if you try it!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

ETC June 2

Link on up, Friends! You know you want to embrace the camera! :)

We had friends from Fort Benning, GA come up to visit us over Memorial Day weekend, and it was so much fun. Their little boy is 11 months, he's got exactly 3 months (to the day) on Colton, and already they were having so much fun interacting. Jaxson was a quite a bit more mobile than Colton, but it was a fun peek into our lives when Colton starts cruising.

I convinced Amber to take a photo of the 3 of us before Church on Sunday - I feel like it is so hard to get all three of us in a photo together, so I grab the opportunity when I can!

I hope you're all well! :)