Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Time Escapes Me

I am good at making to-do lists, and I love crossing things off, but at times, I look at the clock, and the time I've allotted for "work" has slipped by, but I've checked nothing off my list! I think I've been diligent, so what is my problem?

It happened today, so let's analyze the steps.

It started when I sat down and noticed a friend's new blog about reducing clutter in the inbox by unsubscribing to emails and distribution lists. Though not on my list, I think this is a great suggestion! So I begin. I'm an unsubscribing fool!

While in Gmail land, I find an email from Living Social telling me that a deal is about to expire tomorrow! Oh no! I can't let my $50 of Vista Print business materials expire. So off to Vista Print I go to order those business cards, as planned.

I design the business cards.

Did you know that business cards are fairly inexpensive? There's no way I can order $50 of them. So I have to do some shopping.

Add a few personalized pens and tote bags, all that need to be designed, of course, in Photoshop, and then play around with some other fun things. Of course, I get free shipping if I spend $25 above my $50 free, and since shipping is $15, it seems like a no-brainer. More shopping and designing.

Hours later, I've place my order! At the end of the day, I got $125 worth of supplies for only $30!

And now my time's up, and I've checked nothing off my to-do list.

And that, my friends, is how it is done.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Breakfast: Update

Last weekend I posted our Easter Morning Breakfast plan. Here's how it turned out!

When I opened the crescent rolls, they smelled funny. My darling husband accidentally bought garlic butter rolls. Oops! I didn't think they'd taste good with cinnamon and marshmallows! So we used some jumbo biscuits that I had in the fridge.

We rolled them out, buttered and seasoned the marshmallows, and wrapped them up. We sealed the tomb with tape and set a stuffed-animal to guard it.

But, when they were done, the "bodies" didn't disapear. They fluffed up and were huge! The kids and I started laughing. My 7-YO had the idea that they were the bodies that busted out of their tombs after Jesus died. We thought that was a good idea!

So the general idea was a failure, but the taste was amazing. It's definately a recipe we'll use again just for fun! We had the leftovers this morning, and they were just as good the second day.

Next year, we'll try it again with crescent rolls. I guess it's a good reminder that every illustration--no matter how clever-- falls short to the reality of what Jesus did for us Easter weekend.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Morning Breakfast

In the past I've made resurrection cookies for Easter morning, but this year I'm going to make an idea I got from my friend Michelle's Blog. It looks much tastier!

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
8 large marshmallows
Melted butter
Cinnamon and Sugar mixed together

  1. Give each child one  rectangle section of dough. This will represent the cloth wrapped around Jesus' body.
  2. Give each child one large marshmallow. This represents Christ's body.
  3. Let each child roll their marshmallow in the melted butter.  Then, dip the marshmallow into the cinnamon sugar mixture.  This represents the oils and spices that prepared Christ's body for burial.
  4. Have each child place the marshmallow on their section of dough and carefully wrap it.
    Make sure all edges are pinched tight!
  5. Place the rolls in the oven. Tape the door shut and place a guard - stuffed animal or child. The oven represents the tomb.
  6. Bake the rolls, following the directions on the package.
  7. Open the tomb/oven.  Only the cloths remain! Christ's body is no longer there! 
Read accompanying passages from Scripture, 
such as John 19: 38-42 and John 20.

Here's a picture from Michelle's Blog:

Friday, April 22, 2011

The stuff that drives me crazy

(If you're hoping for a post about Good Friday, you can read this one: What's Good About Good Friday)

It is mathematically impossible for me to get in my car once and drive away. I'm always running back into the house for something. My neighbors laugh as I pull back in after I've already left. It's just the way it is.

And on Facebook, I've been known to post, "Will someone please call me so I can find my cell phone?"

So when I was in the car and heard Francesca Battistelli's song, "This is the Stuff," my kids and I learned it quickly and sang it at the top of our lungs.  Abby laughed, "Mom, it's you!"

However, since I've never had a ticket, or been pulled over, the second verse doesn't really fit. Today I started making up my own lyrics of stuff that really drives me crazy.  Here are a few:

A glass of milk,
That they tried to pour,
Just after I’ve mopped,
Spilled over the floor.
Can’t find their shoes;
Someone lost her coat;
Just waiting on them,
When we need to go
Another book;
An ache hurts his leg;
Wanting a drink;
When it’s time for bed.

So let's get creative! Write your own verse! What are the things that drive you crazy?

Here are the rest of the lyrics to the real song:

I lost my keys in the great unknown
And call me please 'Cuz I can't find my phone

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use


45 in a 35
Sirens and fines while I'm running behind

So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation
It's not the end of the world

This is the stuff You use

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Samson and Jesus - a quick look at both

What if Jesus had been just a man, come to save the Israelites from the Roman oppressors? A powerful man, perhaps. A wise man. Someone people looked up to.

We have an example of what that would have been like in Judges. Let's compare Jesus & Samson.

BOTH:  Births were announced to parents by angels.
BOTH:  Were filled with the power of the Lord.
BOTH:  Caused quite a stir by their activites.
BOTH:  Willingly chose to die in the hands of their enemies.
BOTH:  Were buried in a tomb by family and friends.

But, that's where the similarities end.

Samson was a sinful human being, full of weaknesses and pride.
Jesus was almighty God, perfect in every way, and the picture of humility.

Samson thought only of his own desires, how to please himself. Bound in chains, as the Philistines were praising their god Dagon for delivering him into their hands, he only thought of vengence for himself, not for the name of God.  "...O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." (Judges 16:28).

Jesus came to do the will of the Father, as in the garden He prayed, "Not my will, but Yours be done."

Samson, in his death, defeated the Philistines by killing 3000 lords that were there. This is where his story ends. "Thus he judged Israel 20 years." The End.
Jesus, in his death, defeated sin, taking the penalty for it onto himself. And His story doesn't end there. Three days later he came back to life! He is also returning again, and his followers will be raised, just as He was raised, to live with Him forever.

At this time in the narrative leading up to Easter, the Jewish people are still seeking a ruler to give them political relief.  Like them, you might want Jesus to create for you a peaceful home, comfortable life, or success at work. But these "issues" pale in comparison to our biggest need.

Only Jesus, God's Divine Son, can take care of our greatest issue: The separation we have between ourselves and God because of our sin.

That if you confess with your mouth, 
"Jesus is Lord," 
and believe in your heart that God
raised him from the dead, 
you will be saved. 

Romans 10:9

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where to buy my books

Actual comments this week:

Friend #1: I can't find your book anywhere to buy it.
Friend #2: I tried to buy both of your books but it wouldn't let me.
Friend #3: You wrote a book?

I also read an article recently that says people fly on the internet at a lightning pace, so unless you make it obvious, they won't see it.

So, here's the easy way to buy both the e-books and paperbacks of both of my books:

(Enter APRILMAIL305 at check-out to get Free-Shipping!)

The reason they are not available at the same location is that they're from different publishers. It takes a few months to be available at typical places like bookstores and online websites -- so very soon you'll be able to go to Amazon and buy both at the same time.

If you're in Indy, I always carry books with me. I'm a walking bookstore. Just ask!

You can also always access all of this information and more at my website:  It also lists events for book signings and other events. Check it out... at a lightening fast pace. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's on your bookshelf?

Jon Acuff just wrote a blog about the books on his bookshelf, so I thought I'd steal his idea. (One of his books is on my shelf, so I figured it would be okay!) I will confess that my books are not always this tidy--I took a moment to straighten them for the picture. This is the shelf where the books I'm reading or hope to read go. 

- A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers.  Best book I've read all year! This is the account of five women in the line of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Bathsheeba, Ruth, and Mary. I finished it this weekend. Every page was a delightful inspiration! It takes the Bible stories you've heard before and brings them to life. The characters jump off the page, while I believe staying true to the intent of the Bible. I was inspired about God's love and grace to sinners like us. His grace covers ALL our sins! This was especially fascinating to read leading up to Easter. Five stars!

- Duncan's Journey: A Little Lamb's Adventure Through the Twenty-Third Psalm by me, Becky Emerick. Honestly, this was on my shelf.  (It's actually all over the house!) This is a devotional read-aloud for younger children, or an independent reader for school-aged kids, that teaches the Psalm verse by verse through the life of a lamb named Duncan. It would make a great Easter present!

- The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. I started reading a little of this each week, and every chapter is a gem. I haven't finished it, but I plan to. 

- Journal. It's not surprising that a journal is on my shelf. I have journals on every shelf. I've blogged about it before.  How to spot a writer.  Fellow writers - do you have little bits of things written all over your house?

- Scandalous by DA Carson. I haven't read it yet, but it was the key book at Think|11, a theological conference at our church where DA Carson was the key speaker. It was an excellent conference! You can listen to it here.

- Radical by David Platt. I've read eight of the nine chapters. I think I'll finish it this afternoon. Our church recommended it last fall. It looks at the way we normally think about life and shakes it up.

- Gazelles, Baby Steps, and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt by Jon Acuff. I bought this because I'm such a huge Stuff Christians Like fan. I've read bits and pieces. It's more of a coffee table book or a Reader's Digest that you pick up and read when you want a chuckle. (Dare I say a bathroom book?) My favorite chapter so far: "Bridesmaid Dresses: The Cruelest Thing Women Do to Each Other." For the record, my Bridesmaid Dresses weren't all that hot, though I thought they would be. Sorry about that!

- 40 Fascinating Conversion Stories by Samuel Fisk. I picked this up out of a box marked "FREE." I thought it would be interesting, but I haven't read a page. I'll let you know when I do.

- Surrender by me again. Have you read it yet? Everyonce in a while I pick it up and read a different chapter. I really miss the characters! They became a huge part of my life last summer. It's sort of how I still wonder how Sidney Bristow and Michael Vahn are faring in their retired spy life.

You can get it as an e-book or as a real-live book, which I prefer. This is the story of a young girl growing up in the early 1800s who learns that to truly find freedom, she must surrender her life to the One who will never leave her or forsake her. Read what others are saying about Surrender!

My funniest comment so far from someone at church:

"I read your book. I didn't expect to like it, 
since I know you and everything,
but I really did. I was surprised. 
I couldn't put it down. It was really good!"  

Honestly, I didn't know how to respond. How would you have responded? I said a weak thank you and changed the subject.


So, that's what's on my personal shelf! Of course it doesn't include any books up on my headboard or the books I'm reading the kids or the books I'm reading for counseling. Not enough hours in the day to read!

So, what's on your book shelf?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Boiled & Slimy Vegetables

"Do your kids really eat that?"

This is the question I was asked while checking out at the grocery store. The cashier was commenting on the brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and asparagus in my bag.

"Absolutely!" I replied. Then I explained how I cook these and other vegetables to make them delicious.

Toss with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic, and then roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir one or two times.

They are seriously delicious!

Here are some tips for individual vegetables:

Cauliflower: Cut into bite sized pieces. Roast until slightly browned.
Brussels Sprouts: Trim off stem and remove outer leaves. You can cut in half, but I usually don't.
Asparagus: Snap off asparagus where it's weak.
Potatoes: Cut into thin wedges.


(PS - I had no idea before writing this that brussels sprouts had the "s" at the end of brussel. Who knew?)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What blogs do you read?

We have so much to read. Online news websites, blogs on every topic, magazines, newspapers, books, and educational material are just some of our options.

Online, you could spend all day reading and reading and reading.

When it comes to blogs, what keeps you coming back to a particular site? Do you use a reader, or just bookmarks? Is there a length of blog that interests you?

For me, there are a handful of blogs I read all the time. I like blogs that make me laugh. I have enough "information" coming at me all day long, and if I need info on a particular topic, I just Google it. When I want some online fun-reading time, I look for humor.

What about you?