One of the things that I really enjoy about Pinterest is that there are SO many D.I.Y. pins! From creating to cooking to modifying to cleaning, doing it yourself has become much easier. Some months back, I pinned information on cleaning your Keurig coffee maker. Ours started behaving strangely only a few months after we got it last year so we went back to the good old-fashioned coffee pot! Since I am normally off work on Wednesdays and Thursdays, I like to use my time to get cleaning done. I decided that last Wednesday would be the day that I cleaned the Keurig and hopefully get it working like new again. I grabbed the pin from my “Keeping it Clean” board and gathered everything that I needed to get started.
In the post, she says to use pure white vinegar. I had distilled so that is what I used! Also, her Keurig is totally different from ours (her reservoir detaches; ours does not) so I had to adapt it our model. It was a very easy process to follow.
The most time-consuming part of it all was brewing cup after cup (after cup… after cup… lol) of water to make sure that the vinegar was completely rinsed out. I think I ‘brewed’ at least 10 cups! And you know what? It works now!
With the holidays upon us, that means lots of company along with coffee, great conversation, (and sweets!) Now, we can use our Keurig again & they can brew their own beverage of choice! I am looking forward to grabbing some K Cups during my next grocery trip so that we can put our Keurig back to good use.
Whenever I go grocery shopping (which is every other week), I start by meal planning. I plan out my meals for the next two weeks and base my grocery list on that, trying not to deviate too much when I actually go to the store! Wanting to try some new recipes, I reviewed my Pinterest page as well as one of my favorite recipe sites, Brown Eyed Baker. I was so excited to find some new recipes that did not require me to buy TOO many ingredients! One of those was beef & broccoli. Now, my beloved and I enjoy Chinese food occasionally so I thought this would be a great addition to our meal rotation. I hit the store, grabbed some oyster sauce along with some rice vinegar, flank steak, sesame oil, and a few other necessities for the meal, and I was set! So yesterday, after Sunday evening service, I got ready to prepare it, excited about trying something new!
I’d never done a recipe with sesame oil or oyster sauce so I got small quantities of each item. I really enjoy shopping on the ethnic / international aisle at our local HEB. I always see so many things that I am unfamiliar with and it always reminds me that there is a whole world of cooking that I am just not familiar with!
I got all my ingredients together (dark brown sugar, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, corn starch, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, broccoli florets, and flank steak) and started by cutting up my flank steak.
Making the marinade was super quick and easy!
I placed the steak in a bag to marinate, got my florets steamed, & made my sauce. As I opened the oyster sauce, I noticed it had MSG (monosodium glutamate). I thought, It will be okay. How often do I have MSG anyway? Not often! I checked with my husband and he let me know he had no sensitivity to it so I proceeded! I cooked my beef, adding in the fresh garlic and ginger, removed it, then added my sauce to the pan so that it could thicken. Our home smelled like an Asian cuisine restaurant! I added the beef and broccoli to my thickened sauce, stirred it, and served it up over white rice.
The taste was magnificent! It tasted authentic! We loved it! And then an hour later came…
Yes, I got an MSG headache! I couldn’t believe it! I went to bed with a headache and woke up with one. My husband was affected as well. Needless to say, the MSG laden oyster sauce went into the trash and so did the leftovers. As delicious as it was, as great of a recipe as it was, it wasn’t worth the side effects.
This dish is definitely a winner, but next time, an MSG free oyster sauce will be used! I look forward to making this and serving it to friends! It was quick, it was delicious, and it tasted authentic! Win!
In my quest to continue to grow in my sewing skills & knowledge, I decided to attempt this messenger bag tutorial by Amber at Crazy Little Projects. My husband graciously accompanied me to Joann’s on Saturday and helped me pick out my fabric. After I picked the main fabric, I was a little stuck while looking for a good coordinating fabric. David was so helpful that I proclaimed him as my “fabric advisor” and vowed to ask him to come with me every time I need to pick out fabrics!
This was my first time working with fusible fleece, and my first time attempting a project of this magnitude. I am so glad I did! There is nothing like wearing or using something that you made yourself!
I cut my pieces on Monday and finished assembling my bag this morning. I got stuck on a few parts here and there while I was working on it, but Amber was quick to respond to my questions. After I’d stepped away and come back to it, the things that had me stuck ended up making perfect sense! This morning, when I finished my bag, I was so excited! I danced, jumped up & down, & squealed with joy! I couldn’t wait to show my husband!
For those that are interested in the cost for this project, here is the breakdown:
1 yard of fusible fleece – $5.09 (normally $8.49, but it was 40% off)
1 yard of flourish flower print – $6.99 (normally $9.99, but it was 30% off)
1 yard of baroque damask plum print – $5.59 (normally $7.99, but it was 30% off)
Total = $17.67
Coupons and sales definitely help to keep costs down! Having these amounts in my mind will definitely prepare me for future bags that I may want to make (and I do plan to make many more!) I do plan to make other messenger bags, but I will make them smaller! This bag is a little large compared to what I normally prefer, but I still am absolutely fond of it! It is super versatile and can be used as a book bag, diaper bag, a fancy gym bag, & so much more!
Alas! On to the pictures!
This morning, while reading Matthew, I came across the following and my heart was struck in such a way to share. I have read this passage of Scripture many times, but as I thought through the great debt that we have been forgiven, I also thought about our tendency at times to hold grudges & to hold others to what we think they should be held to.
[The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant]
 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.  When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.  So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’  And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.  But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’  So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’  He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.  When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.  Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Matthew 18:21-35 ESV
A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer (10,000 talents were owed), & a denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer (100 denarii were owed).
So, looking at the difference between the 2 wages, it is very clear that one is a much greater debt. It almost seems impossible to pay it back. It is an absolutely impossible debt to repay. The smaller amount was much more feasible, and compared to the larger, it is barely a drop in the bucket.
We are born with that same type of debt – one that is absolutely impossible to make amends for. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. We are born sinful and death is the only thing we earn and deserve because God is Holy, perfect, & just. However, just like the servant in the passage above, God has shown mercy and has provided a way for our debt to be absolved and cancelled – His Son: Jesus Christ. When we place our faith and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, we receive His righteousness. Our sin is taken out of our accounts and is replaced with righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Those that are in Christ are forgiven much, and because of this great truth, our lives should be marked by forgiveness.
The servant in the above story seems to have quickly forgotten how great of a debt he was forgiven. I think, as Christians, we do too. When someone ‘crosses’ us, offends us, or does us wrong, we are so quick to write them off and make them pay in our hearts & minds. Praise God that He has not done this to us! He showed great grace and mercy to us and we should do the same. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God has given us new hearts in Christ Jesus, hearts that are able to forgive with the same forgiveness we have received. May we always remember, and be grateful for, the forgiveness of our infinite debt from a Holy God and seek to honor and glorify Him in our forgiveness, mercy, and grace toward others.
“Valley of Vision” is a collection of Puritan prayers. I read it often, using many of its prayers to ‘jumpstart’ my own. This is one of my favorite ones from the book. I especially like the sentence that says, I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace, that, although the lest sin deserves infinite punishment because done against an infinite God, yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible, there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep. That is so beautiful to me and a great reminder of Truth – As a believer in Christ, I can not ‘out-sin’ God’s grace (however I should never try to either!). I am just so grateful for God’s mercy and grace shown to me through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Great God, in public and private, in sanctuary and home, may my life be steeped in prayer, filled with the spirit of grace and supplication, each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise. Urged by my need, invited by Thy promises, called by Thy Spirit, I enter Thy presence, worshipping Thee with godly fear, awed by Thy majesty, greatness, glory, but encouraged by Thy love.
I am all poverty as well as all guilt, having nothing of my own with which to repay Thee, but I bring Jesus to Thee in the arms of faith, pleading His righteousness to offset my iniquities, rejoicing that He will weigh down the scales for me, and satisfy thy justice. I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace, that, although the lest sin deserves infinite punishment because done against an infinite God, yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible, there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep. Bless me by revealing to me more of His saving merits, by causing Thy goodness to pass before me, by speaking peace to my contrite heart; strengthen me to give Thee no rest untiI Christ shall reign supreme within me in every thought, word, and deed, in a faith that purifies the heart, overcomes the world, works by love, fastens me to Thee, and ever clings to the cross.
- Published by Banner of Truth
When David and I first started dating, I visited Austin in December of 2010 to spend time with him. It was during that time that I met his friends, Josh & Christina. They had been in Austin for a few months at that point, having moved here due to Josh being brought on staff at the church as an Assistant Pastor. I was still living in Dallas at that time, so arrangements were made for me to stay with Josh & Christina during my visit. When I met her, Christina & we immediately hit it off and she fast became my closest sister over the next few months. She has been, and is, a sweet & dear friend to me. She & Josh have three beautiful children – 2 boys (3 year old & 5 months old) and 1 girl (2 years old). They refer to my husband as “Uncle Dae-Dae” and to me as “Aunt Jenn”! We love our nephews and niece!
A few weeks ago, while on Pinterest, I found a sewing tutorial for a sweet skirt with lace trim and immediately thought of my niece. I’d received several boxes of fabric (more on the gifts of the fabric AND my sewing machine in an upcoming post!) which included a fabric reminiscent of Minnie Mouse! My sweet niece absolutely loves Minnie so I thought, what a great fabric to use to make a gift for her! I purchased some spools of lace from Joann’s along with some red thread and decided to tackle this project yesterday!
For a little bit of flair, I mainly used white thread for the project but used red thread on the bobbin. At a few times during sewing, I switched the thread and bobbin colors.
As far as my niece? She LOVED the skirt! She was so excited to see it when I walked in the door. She kept saying “my skirt!” after I put it on her. What a sweet girl, and now she has a sweet skirt! I’m so glad she liked it and I am looking forward to doing some more in the future for other sweet little girls!
I remember every summer, my brothers and I, when we were younger, had reading lists full of books to complete. We were always excited to tackle those books, enjoying the new worlds we’d enter as we read. I was reminded of those times last week when I signed up for a library card at my local branch. What great times those were! My little brain could fly through those books at light speed! I can’t say that’s the case now. Now, I struggle to finish books. It’s not that I don’t desire to; my mind gets flooded with all of my other responsibilities – ones I didn’t have when I was a grade schooler.
In this current stage of my life, I am a homemaker. My days are spent taking care of our home, doing some reading, cooking, and running various errands while trying to learn, or improve upon, skill sets. While I have great and grandiose visions of voraciously reading books like I did when I was younger, it’s just not the reality. I have so many books that I dream of completing, and have even made my own reading list, but it’s a struggle.
I admire those pastors that find the time to read book after book, lovingly and faithfully pastor a flock, care for their families well, and even write a blog entry! This lets me know that it can be done.
Oh, Lord, help my mind. Make it able and agile. Grant me a hunger to read those books that would help me in my life as a Christian, as a wife, a woman, a homemaker, and some day (prayerfully) mother. Grant me the ability to retain and help me grow from what I read. May it pour over into all areas of my life, causing me to love and serve more, to desire greater things, and ultimately to love You and understand more of You. Although Your Word is more than sufficient, You have granted and blessed us with authors that have particular wisdom and insight. May I take advantage of all the resources You have placed in front of us. In Jesus’ name, amen.