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Dec 31, 2008

Ski Tips for Living, A Video & A Challenge

Ski Tips for Living!

As I was skiing this week, it occurred to me how much the basics of skiing correlate to life principles. So I asked One Fine Man to be my official videographer so I could share with you my Ski Tips For Living! You'll notice that about half-way through, a skier passes behind me laughing uproariously. I'm not sure if he was laughing at me or with me or neither! But I figure, if you don't have a "heckler" you're playing it too safe!

As we go into the New Year, I've decided "no more playing it safe." I'm going to challenge myself to break out even further from my circle of ease. I've come to realize that God has given each of us gifts ~ well, that part I've known for a while! But it is my responsibility to develop the gifts He has entrusted to me. It is up to me to be a good steward of all that He has placed in my hands. It is not left up to anyone but ME!

I've had seasons in which I felt there was no opportunity to use certain gifts. When you're in a time like that, it's easy to get lazy and frustrated. But I've found that even in what I percieve to be the dry seasons, God expects me to continue to develop my gifts, talents and abilities. Why? Because when you can glorify Him with your good stewardship in what seems to be a desert, then He can trust you to keep the focus on Him in the abundant, overflowing seasons.

Here's where I am breaking out of my circle of ease and saying, "no more playing it safe." Recently a very creative friend of mine who works for a Christian TV station, taped me doing some 90 second teaching spots. This is a project we are working on together! I'll keep you posted on just how this new ministry project progesses.

What about you? Do you have an area in your life in which you've played it safe for far too long? Or perhaps you sense your entering a season in which it's time to get seriously creative in the gifts God has placed in YOUR hands! Are you excited yet? I am!

So, if you're up for the challenge of "no more playing it safe," I'd love to hear about it! I'm all for offering insight, encouragment or just a cyber "thumbs up" as you break out of your own circle of ease! If you choose to share how you want to break out in 2009, I'll take note and check back with you periodically. Do Tell!

Ski Tips For Living

Ski Tip #1 Where you point your skis, is where you'll go.

Life principle ~ Direction determines destination.

Ski Tip #2 Keep your focus to avoid falls.

Life principle ~ Too many distractions results in a loss of passion for your purpose.

Ski Tip #3 Stay on the course that suits your abilities but keep learning.

Life principle ~ When you are faithful to develop your gifts, opportunities will arise.

* And sometimes you need to show your "hat hair" just to keep it real!

Dec 30, 2008

Now We're Skiing!!! & A Video

Skate~boy took this pic outside our window in Keystone, CO!

Two days after Christmas we left for skiing in Colorado. This is our winter trip that One Fine Man dreams about all year long! About 6 years ago he planned our first ski trip. That first year we had a family ski lesson and here we are again on our winter vacation. This is the first year that Guitar Girl hasn't been with us. We miss her! I think next year if we can get The Beau to come with us, she will be a sure bet, too! (Start your ski fund now, Beau Man!)

It is quite a change of environment from coastal Florida. We left "shorts" weather and upon arriving in Denver began the bundling up. At least I did. For some reason, known only to those posessing the male DNA, my boys feel the need to pretend they aren't cold and resist my efforts to wrap them up!

My men...first day out

Bella~Mella & One Fine Man
On the ski lift to SchoolMarm (a green slope)

(TechSon kindly assisted me in uploading this video. I'll try not to embarass you, son, when I video you snowboarding, but I'm not promising anything b/c you know I'm a mother.)

Bella~Mella skiing SchoolMarm

I made the boys promise me they'll stay with me long enough tomorrow so I can get some video of them snowboarding. I have skiied 2 days but am taking today off to let my calves recover! And Skate~boy just came back from snowboarding with a terrible looking scrape on his chin. He assures me he's fine. Prayer is a good thing! A very good thing!
I'm posting this picture for my men...not that it'll do them any good. See the sign?
Hey boys...have fun but be careful! Is that an oxymoron?
Sure, Mom, I'll be careful...aren't I always?!

Dec 29, 2008

More Pics from Christmas Week & A Shout Out to Busch Gardens!

Praline cheesecake I made for One Fine Man's Christmas Eve birthday
It won't win any Food Network contests for looks, but Guitar Girl mentioned something about how it should be on the Cheesecake Factory menu. Hey...I'll take that endorsement any day! The crust is graham cracker crumbs and toasted chopped pecans. The glaze is butter and brown sugar. I got mine a little too thick for it to drip over the sides. You can crown it with candied pecans but I chose to stop with the glaze.
Did anyone else happen to see the Food Network's Food Stylist Competition last night (12/28)? Cool tricks on that one & a $10K prize!

The family at Busch Gardens Skate~boy, Guitar Girl & The Beau

Bella~Mella & Guitar Girl posin' w/the poinsettias Before we left Busch Gardens, we went to a musical called "The Heart of Christmas." The show began with a Christmas carol. Sitting there, I thought they probably threw that one in to get it started and would then segue into the secular "Frosty the Snowman" and other holiday songs.

However, we were delighted and Blessed to hear one song after another about the real meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus!

They sang Silent Night, Mary, Did You Know?, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and Jesus, What A Wonderful Child! Another song I had never heard was a country styled song that I think was entitled Look Who Checked In Tonight. The six of us sat there in amazement! We sang along and enjoyed a wholesome concert that lifted up the name of Jesus...at Busch Gardens. There were no skanty costumes, no risque choreography and the audience cheered and clapped.
So, thanks Busch Gardens for keepin' it real...for keepin' it really about Him!

Dec 28, 2008

Happy Birthday One Fine Man & A Follow-up to the Comments from Monday Magnificat

Thank you to each one who left a comment on Calling Forth the Gift. I will be doing a kind of Part 2 post on that as I feel that I may be able to offer some insight to someone who is going through a similar experience ~ one in which I learned invaluable lessons. Not today though. Today I'm sharing a few pictures from this past week.

We celebrated One Fine Man's birthday on Christmas Eve. Just the five of us went out to eat seafood in Tampa. Dessert was waiting back at the house ~ a praline cheesecake I made for One Fine Man.

Celebrating One Fine Man's birthday on Christmas Eve

Skate~Boy front and center "smiling?"
TechSon (pictured w/head ducked below) wore his new hat - a Christmas Eve gift from Skate~Boy.

When he and One Fine Man went to the restroom, his last words were, "Don't touch my hat." This, of course, was directed to Skate~Boy who had been trying to snatch it. And if you have boys, you will recognize that scenario. So, a certain someone (who writes a blog) suggested the three of us left at the table take turns wearing the hat and take pictures, too, of course! Thus the mini story of The Traveling Hat ensued...

The traveling hat...on Skate~boy
On Guitar Girl

On Bella~Mella (the instigator)

Dec 22, 2008

Monday Magnificat ~ Calling Forth the Gift

Several years ago, I found myself in an unfamiliar place. I had received a Gift from God and had happily used the gift for many years. From girlhood to young adulthood, I was happy and fulfilled to use the Gift. Then one day the Gift was no longer appreciated. There was no opportunity to offer the Gift. I was confused. I was sad. Some noticed and questioned, “Where is the Gift?” I had no explanation. I didn’t know why the Gift was relegated to a distant corner. I grieved as though there were a death. Crying out to the Gift Giver, I asked for answers. There was silence. I wondered who I was without the Gift.
In the silence, I read about a man whose sickness led to death. His family was distraught. The Gift of his life supported and sustained his unmarried sisters. They were confused. They were sad. To the Gift Giver, they said, “If You had been here, our Gift would not have died.” The response? “I am the resurrection and the life.”

And the response of the two whose Gift lay behind a cold, hard stone? One made a confession of Christ. Confessed her belief in His magnitude and mission. The other fell at His feet and, though weeping, worshipped nevertheless.

My tears dried. My heart hoped! I retrieved the Gift from the corner, and lovingly wiped away the dust. “Dear Giver,” I prayed. “You gave the Gift. Now I give it back. Do with it what You will. I offer it as a sacrifice to You who first placed it in my hands. I believe in Your greatness and in Your plan for the Gift. Though once I wept, now I worship!”

As I worshipped the Giver, I noticed another Gift in my hands. “What is this?” I wondered. It seemed smaller, though just as beautiful as the other one. Trusting the Giver with the Gift I gave back, I began to use the smaller Gift. And as I used it more and more, it grew. He showed me how to use it to glorify Him. I was happy. I was fulfilled.

And then one day, a resurrection took place. The Giver who had lovingly held my Gift placed it back in my hands. There was a message attached. It read, “You trusted Me to hold Your Gift, not knowing if I would return it. Now I call it forth! You worshipped Me without it. Now return to worshipping Me with it.”

Do you have a Gift but feel that it has been relegated to a dusty corner? Sometimes we lay our Gift aside. Sometimes we have no opportunity to use our Gift and it lies dormant as though sealed behind a heavy stone. Offer it to God as a sacrifice of worship. Trust Him to call it forth in His time. Worship Him with it or without it. Remember you are not your gift! You are a worshipper.

My Monday Magnificat? I glorify God with the gifts but I worship the Giver! For this I utter my praise.

Magnificat ~ an utterance of praise from the Latin magnifcare ~ to magnify. (photography by Linda Charlene)

Dec 19, 2008

Friday Fave 5!

Five of my favorite things from this week! To join in, click on the Friday Fave 5 button. Come on! It's fun!

I feature here a perk of teaching. It's a perfectly delicious pumpkin roll. A family from the school where I teach gave me this homemade happiness. This morning I sliced it and put it in my toaster oven. Oh. My. Gravy. Was it good! A sweet start to my morning...thanks sweet family for thinking of me at Christmas!

Along with the slice of pumpkin roll, I enjoyed another cup of my new favorite coffee - Gloria Jean's Ginger Snap! Oh Snap...I hope it's not offered only during the Christmas season. See the cute ornaments on the label?

We use a Keurig coffee maker. If you need a new coffee maker, you really should consider a Keurig! Oh Keurig Coffee People...I need to be your spokesperson. Seriously. If you're reading this...holl~ah!

These are just sooooo cute! I picked these up from Gap Kids for my nieces. They're striped on one side, polka-dot on the other and have fringed ends. I added these to a couple of mini bags from Vera Bradley and voila! Cute City for Christmas! (No peeking, H, W & K! Get off my blog!)

Earlier this week while driving TechSon home from school, we stopped at Frida's Cafe & Bakery. I picked out a few goodies. These were all European baked goods which, turns out, TechSon and Skate~Boy don't much care for. There was nary a chocolate chip nor sugar cookie in the bunch! So they were MINE, all MINE...(insert creepy laugh here). One Fine Man & Guitar Girl had a few nibbles, too. When they could find where I hid the box...

Check out the cookies on the top right. They are called Mediterranean Maccaroons. 'Never had them before but I will no longer be a stranger to the call of their crunchy, chewy, coconuttiness. Enough said.

Hello Scrabble game that Skate~Boy and I have been trying to finish lo these past 4 days! We take lots of breaks. 'Still fun though. Look how bad we are with our 3 and 4 letter words! As there are only 3 tiles left in the bag, we can probably knock this out in an hour. Or two. Or three.

Dec 18, 2008

Thumbs Up 2 Green Chicken Enchiladas

It's Thumbs Up 2 Thursday! In a prior post I shared my love of quick food. Quick food, as opposed to fast food, is made at home from ingredients on hand when you're short on time. Often my go-to quick food is Tex~Mex. I usually have sour cream, my favorite fresh salsa from the deli (Jack's Special by Garden Fresh Gourmet - medium hot), grated cheese, enchilada sauce and ground beef or chicken breast in the freezer.
Pollo Verde Enchiladas out of the oven...
Some boiled, shredded chicken breast, some sour cream, some grated cheddar cheese, chopped green chiles, 1/3 can of green enchilada sauce, s & p...
My secret step...dip each tortilla in the broth from the chicken...
(At least, I think it's my secret...maybe you do it, too! Let me know if you do.)
Add the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll tightly and place seam side down in a greased 9 x 13 . Pour the remaining green sauce over the enchiladas and top w/cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 25 minutes...more or less...(Hey, I didn't measure...do you think I timed it?)
La Cena en mi casa (Dinner at my house)

Serve with salad, chips, and sour cream & salsa...Muy delicioso!
What is your go-to quick food? I'd love to know. Do Tell!

Dec 17, 2008

Update on Guitar Girl and GiG at BayCoast Coffee Market

Audra's gig at BayCoast Coffee Market last Friday night went great! She did 10 original songs, It's Christmas Time, and a couple of "covers" with a friend who accompanied on guitar. There was a good turn out of friends and, of course, the 5 of us and BayCoast customers. She performed from 7:30 - 9:30 w/2 short breaks. The manager was happy with the performance and feedback from customers. He wants her to perform once a month!(Click on pics to enlarge.)

Playing the peppermill while her friend played guitar

Singing her songs...

Audra & Andrew singing "Crazy Good."

How much fun it is for her to have a boyfriend who can sing and play guitar also! They have a lot of fun together and entertain our family, too!
The best thing is he loves the Lord and puts Him first, as it should be.

Audra & her manager, Josh
I think Josh has discovered a real talent as a music manager! He did a great job organizing everything for her - from arranging a photo shoot to working the crowd at BayCoast. We appreciate his time, talent and support of our Guitar Girl.
A proud Mother and her Girl
If you are interested in hearing Audra's original music, click on the picture of her in my sidebar.

Andrew B. and MY Andrew aka Skate~Boy
TechSon, Skate~Boy, One Fine Man and (r) our Music and Fine Arts Pastor (Thanks for supporting our girl, Pastor Wes!)

Coming soon... a musical Christmas card from me to all of you! This is a project Audra and I are working on for the Bella~Mella blog.

Dec 15, 2008

Monday Magnificat - A New Day ~ A New Door

Do you sense a new day dawning? Do you wonder what lies on the other side of the door you have yet to open? I don’t know what opportunities may be on the other side for you. I don't know what your potential or your passion is. I don’t know what God has been speaking to your heart lately.
But I do know that God has a plan for each of us and that He formed us each for a purpose. Your purpose is what you were born to accomplish. God places within our hearts His desires. He may put several things in your mind or heart that He wants you to do, each one for a different season of your life.

Do you have an interest or a vision? A "vision" without passion is just an interest.

  • Interests come and go.
When my daughter was little I had an interest in making hair bows and trimming out her socks to match! Yes...I have pictures. No...I'm not posting those! That interest lasted long enough to make and trim 5 sets.

I also had an interest in stenciling walls. That interest lasted until the pain in my neck and shoulders became unbearable as did my resemblance to Quasimoto.
The stenciled wall project? Never finished. And no pictures. Thank goodness!
I was interested in those things and many others for a short while. Somehow my interest waned or haulted completely.

Vision is long-term.

  • Vision stays with you.
The vision of my heart was present when I was a young child. Looking back I can remember snapshots in time in which I play-acted my vision. Since that time I have had pictures in my mind's eye in which I play out my vision or destiny. Sure, I have had some opportunities that have trained me and helped develop gifts. I'm thankful for those. But there is more. I know it. I can feel it. I can see it.
I hope you are aware of the purpose for which God created you. I hope you have clear vision. Perhaps your season in life has changed and your spiritual eyes have caught a glimpse of a new day, a new door. Do you see the Lord beckoning you to enter through another door? If He is calling you, you must rise up and go toward that calling. One thing is for sure, stepping through that new door requires faith and action on your part. It may, at first, be uncomfortable and perhaps disconcerting.

But realize that as you step through the door, there is One who walks with you. And your obedience to go through the door opens wide the door of faith for others to stream through to a relationship with Him. That's the way vision works. On arrival, they got the church together and reported on their trip, telling in detail how God had used them to throw the door of faith wide open so people of all nations could come streaming in" Acts 14:27, MSG.

God designs you with a purpose and places a vision in your heart to live out that purpose. It is a blessing to you but it is not just for you!

Stepping through the doors God opens for you opens doors for many more!
Is there a new door in your future? I'd love to hear about it. Do Tell!

My Monday Magnificat? Jesus opens the door. He walks me through the door. He IS the door. For this, I utter my praise!

Magnificat - an utterance of praise from the Latin magnificare - to magnify (photo by Linda Charlene)

Dec 12, 2008

Winner of the Christmas Apron! & Friday Fave 5

I just drew a name out of the Christmas stocking for the winner of my Christmas apron give-a-way! The winner is....

Angela @ CrumbsInMyButter!!!

And...the winner is the giver today because Angela is hosting her own Christmas give-a-way right now. Why are you waiting another minute? Go there. Hey...but before you go, check out my Friday Fave 5 below.
Angela, I'll be emailing you for your address, then sending your Christmas apron tout de suite!
Congratulations and Happy Baking with your little cuties!

My Son Avery in dress clothes (my favorite outfit he wears) avoiding the camera...And I am fully aware that the word outfit should not be used in his hearing! I used to dress him in Feltman Brothers! He was too young to care!

My son Andrew with his pup...always a favorite combination...
Note the camo robe!

These reindeer my fabulous friend, Alisa, gave me!

And these beautiful angels. Alisa gave these to me, too. You really should check out her CHRISTmas blog here. She is a wonderful friend and an amazing decorator!

And this is one of my favorite snacky foods. I stopped eating it for a while because I was in hummus overload. But this week I bought it again and for two days I have been snacking on it...dipping baked tostitos in my little Hummus Heaven on Earth. Halelujah, halelujah...I can almost hear those angels on the buffet table singing now!

Dec 10, 2008

Now Appearing at a Coffee Shop Near You!

Audra Dorsey
now appearing...

I'll admit it right now. This is a seriously shameless promotion! My lovely daughter, Guitar Girl, whose real-life name is Audra Dorsey has her first gig this Friday night at BayCoast Coffee Market in Clearwater, Fl. She plays guitar and sings. Most of her set will be her own original music. A couple of the songs will feature another singer/musician. I sat in on part of a rehearsal and while the other musician played guitar, she accompanied him on a pepper mill! Yes. I said a pepper mill. Mine. From my kitchen. The one with the peppercorns in it.

Moooove over CowBell! There's a new sound in town - the Pepper Mill.

One Fine Man, Bella~Mella and the fam will be at BayCoast Coffee Market in Clearwater, FL, smiling real big this Friday night. Of course, I'll have the blogcam, too. :)

While Audra is a poetic songwriter, she is also known by her friends as a pretty cool freestyler. Friends, and strangers alike, will offer a topic and she will, on the spot, write a song about that very thing! Pretty cool, huh? Hey...I warned you up front that this was a shameless promotion.

Audra has offered to write a song for 5 people (of her choosing) who leave a comment on this post. If you want to comment, but don't want a song, simply indicate that.

So, maybe you want an original song about your kids, or your spouse, your life, your job...you get the picture! Just leave a comment here telling who or what you want your song to be about. Then, for privacy sake, pertinent information about the subject of your desired song can be exchanged through email with Guitar Girl. So in order to get your song "just right," make sure she can reach you via email. Then, she'll write it and sing it and send it to you! And it's free!

You can check out her blog here and her myspace here. She has 3 original songs on her myspace. Crazy Good features her fabulous beau, Andrew Boggs, singing with her.

Guitar Girl

There is still time to get in on my Give-a-Way posted below. I'll draw a winner from the hat Friday afternoon!