Attempt, not success but not failure!

I am not sure why I named this what I did. Interestingly, I had a Bible verse come to mind as I typed the title: Proverbs 24:16 “For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again; But the wicked are overthrown by calamity.”

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to MyCupCakeAddiction. (Hi Elise, just in case you happen to stop by!) It is so much fun to watch all the videos Elise Strachan puts up on YouTube. She is so creative and just fun to listen to as well as to watch. Even Bebe the cat has started watching the videos with me.  The hard part, is that I am trying very hard to get off of processed sugar and of course, on the videos, everything is loaded with sugar.

However, last night I was watching some older videos and I saw Elise making homemade fondant. I wondered if I could make a processed sugar-free version so I started looking on-line (of course I have no clue what I need fondant for since I haven’t made any cakes in a while!) Looking for a sugar-free fondant recipe caused me to look for sugar-free marshmallows, which ended up causing me to look for a sugar-free marshmallow recipe because sugar-free marshmallows are expensive!

Well, I made my first batch of homemade sugar-free marshmallows. They look like they were a success from the top, but they weren’t. I knew they were iffy when I was making them because it never fully combined and only started to whip and thicken when I added some tapioca powder. It never doubled in size or began to peak. Well, I will blame the age of the gelatin because otherwise it tasted quite yummy!

I was going to save the attempted marshmallows, but decided that it has been way too long since I had rice krispie treats, so I attempted to make some out of the attempted sugar-free marshmallows. img_20160914_190537749

Again, the picture makes it look like I had success. They did set and they were sooooo yummy! But they had too much moisture in them. Attempt, not success but not failure!

How many times do we do something and it doesn’t work out, so we don’t try again?

I can think of many times that I have felt like I failed at something so I didn’t try again. This time however, I really don’t feel like this is a failure but rather a trial. Those who succeed are the ones who try and try again until they make it. Abraham Lincoln is a great example.

Even in the Bible verse above, the Righteous man doesn’t fall and stay down. He falls, repents and rises again.

So what things have you down??? Have you tried, failed and refused to get up again? Maybe you’ve made a recipe that just didn’t work out?

Encouragement for the day: I encourage you to get up and try again in an area where you feel like you have failed. And if you fail or it doesn’t turn out as you thought it would, try again….even if it takes seven times, I encourage you to try again.  And please share your stories with me!

 

 

Making Kingdom use of the time

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Today I was reminded of something I prayed the other day. I am so tired of wasting my time on Facebook, playing games, looking at the guys on Christian Mingle, reading the funny pages…etc! I want to be using my time for Kingdom purposes! Today as I was studying Ecclesiastes with a friend, she mentioned Psalm 90:12. We talked about the difference between worldly wisdom and the wisdom of God. We are to ask God for His wisdom.

After my friend left, I was reminded of the prayer I prayed that I might use the time I have here on earth for Kingdom purposes. YES! This is what I want. I want to number my days and use them wisely.

So I thought it odd when I felt like I was supposed to walk to the Post Office taking a route that led me past Target. I found myself questioning the LORD. I have too many things. Why do I need to go to Target?img_20160831_160559 “Cookie Cutter”. Ok, I am supposed to look for a cookie cutter – which kind of makes sense since the package I was taking to the Post Office was cow gingerbread cookies for my Step Mom Belva Kay (well and for my Dad too! But Kay is the cow person.)

I like to surprise people and God will occasionally show me who to surprise and how to surprise them. (I ought to ask more Him more often!)

I thought about my timing. It was already 1:11pm and we have been going through a warm spell the last couple of days. I would be going in the heat of the day, but knowing God is my shelter, I ventured out.

It was very warm, but there was a nice cool breeze, so it wasn’t too bad! I got the package sent and then headed to Target. I looked and looked for a cookie cutter. Finally I found a set of 3 but I really did not feel like that is what I was to buy. So, I questioned if I was hearing the LORD correctly. Then as I was about to give up, I decided to look into the Halloween section. As I passed the first aisle of Halloween, I noticed a very nicely dressed middle aged woman. She was beautiful, but I thought she might think I was strange if I walked up and told her that. So I went to the baking section. I was intently looking at the cookie cutters when the woman stopped right next to me.  I told her, “you are beautiful!” She blushed and thanked me then told me that I am beautiful too. Then she moved her hand and I saw a very fancy cross on her necklace. Then I said, “oh that makes sense – the light and joy of the LORD are on you.” She again blushed and told me that she tries to walk in that. “Oh I know how that is,” I said, “I have to say, ‘Less of me and more of You LORD!'” She agreed and then told me that her children and grandchildren all lived out of state. She was thinking about sending them something for Halloween but wondered if she should bother. I told her I was looking at the cookie cutters but that I no longer celebrate Halloween, instead I celebrate the harvest. She liked that very much. She told me that she had many pumpkin things at home that she could use but couldn’t find anything she liked at the store. I decided on the 4 different sized pumpkin cookie cutters instead of the fancy pumpkin cookie cutter with a bat. The lady then told me to have a good harvest. I said, “God bless you!”

As we parted, I almost cried. I used to ask God for Kingdom appointments but have not asked Him in a long time!  All I could do was praise God for allowing me some Kingdom work.

As I walked toward the cash register, I thought I would check the price of cereal. One that I used to buy was a decent price. I checked the sugar content because I am trying real hard to get off processed sugar. “Wow, 8 grams of sugar!”, I thought. As I put the box back on the shelf a woman was reaching for it. I said, “I didn’t think it had sugar in it, but it does!” The woman said, “I don’t think so,” as she looked for herself. “Wow! That’s crazy that this company gave into the sugar fad. This is supposed to be a healthy cereal!” I told her that one of the cereals that I eat which is sugar-free is “Uncle Sam”. After we talked about it, she told me that she was glad to have bumped into me so that she would know the new info.

After she thanked me, I went on my way. “Thank You LORD for another appointment.” I really want my life to matter. I want to encourage people, to surprise people and to see people walking in their God given gifts. I want to make the most of the time I have. Yes LORD, Yes LORD, Yes, Yes LORD, AMEN!

Today’s encouragement: I encourage you to ask the LORD to help you to make the best use of the time you have been given. Ask God to help you use your time for Kingdom purposes. Then please share what God has you do with your time.

Psalm 90:17May the favora of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.

War Room Viewing Party

I am so INSPIRITED that I got to have a War Room viewing Party!

I decided that I use the word “excited” way too often, so I came up with a new phrase, “I am so Inspirited…!” Maybe it will become the new craze. Then I can say that I was ahead of the curve on one.

I shared in my last blog, War Room Party Plans – Shhhh! Confidential, that I love to surprimg_20160907_093230075ise people. Well the ladies in my Bible Study group and a few others were very surprised!  Before they even got in the door, the surprises started. I had covered the doorbell with a special note: “God wants YOU for His Army” says Uncle Sam. “Enlist now! Recruitment office here! Take dog tag and enter to enlist.”  At the bottom of the page, I taped a bag of store bought dog tag party favors. And then I unlocked the door so my guests would be able to come on in while I got some other surprises ready.

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I found several ideas on-line from others who have had War Room Viewing parties, but I wanted a little bit more than they did. So I made some little army man Bible verse cards as a little reminder for each woman to take with them. I arranged them on the table with a Jesus Army sheet that I also found on-line which I printed and colored. Funny thing is that I had no idea it had a puzzle back ground when I printed it. When I started to color it, I noticed the lines which really cemented to me that it was supposed to be used since quite a few of us enjoy putting puzzles together. It helped my to remind the ladies that we are all pieces of the puzzle and we are all nimg_20160907_212026eeded to make up His Army.

I had also added some paint color swatches with a sign that read, “Praying in color” for our prayer time. Each lady was encouraged to take a swatch and write down the prayer needs of the other ladies in the room. It was a sweet time after the movie was over.

In the kitchen, I had Camouflage plates and napkins. Plus I made each lady a camo color gingerbread “War Room” (I was encouraged not to call them “mini war houses” because I drawl out the “war” too much. I told the ladies the dilemma and they got a good laugh.)

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Before the party started, I looked at the dog tags which say, “Name _________” and “Rank _________”. It wasn’t until the movie was over, that I really got the impression from God that I needed to encourage each lady to add their name and then ask God what is their “rank” in His Army. We all have a part and each “Rank” plays a different role. We are all called to be part of the battle.

Today I want to encourage anyone who has not taken up their place in the Lord’s Army to take that step today. Watch the War Room (or host a War Room viewing 12388516width178height178party) for further encouragement. And then, ask God what your rank is in His Army and what role He has for you to play. Please share with me how you were encouraged.

“You’ve done it again, Lord. You’ve done it again.
You are good, and You are mighty, and You are merciful! And You keep taking care of me when I don’t deserve it.
Praise You, Jesus! You are Lord….

Raise up more that will call upon Your name.
Raise up those that love You, and seek You, and trust You.
Raise ‘em up, Lord!
Raise ’em up!

Lord, we need a generation of believers who are not ashamed of the gospel!
We need an army of believers, Lord, that hate to be lukewarm, and will stand on Your Word above all else!
Raise ’em up, Lord!
Raise ’em up!

I pray for unity among those that love You.
I pray that You open their eyes so that they can see Your truth, Lord.
I pray for Your hand of protection and guidance.
Raise up a generation, Lord, that will take light into this world; that will not compromise when under pressure; that will not cower, Lord, when others fall away!

Raise ’em up, Lord, that they will proclaim that there is salvation in the name of Jesus Christ!
Raise up warriors, Lord, who will fight on their knees, who will worship you with their whole hearts, Lord!
Lord, call us to battle, that we may proclaim King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

I pray these things with all my heart.
Raise ’em up, Lord!
Raise ’em up!

“Raise ‘Em Up”, from the movie “The War Room”

 

War Room party plans – shhhh! Confidential

I am so excited that I get to host a War Room viewing party for the ladies in my Bible study group this week.

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Wow, I use “excited” a lot! Is it proper to say, “I am inspirited to host a War Room Viewing party”??? Please leave me a comment below.

I have wanted to have a War Room viewing party for awhile, I love to surprise people, and I have some special things planned which just build up my excitement all the more!

Can you keep a secret? If so, I will let you in on some things I am making (& others that I am attempting to make) for the ladies.  Shhhhh!

I made mini camauflage war houses….I was told just to call them war rooms because I drawl out the “war” a little and it sounds like soimg_20160901_190637381IMG_20160904_171205010mething you might find in Nevada. SO, mini war rooms so that each lady has their own “war room”. I attempted to make those out of foam pieces but it didn’t work like I was hoping. I might let the ladies make their own if they want because I have a lot of pieces cut out. Ohhhh, and my littletemp army men battle reminders are fun.  Here are pictures:

 

 

I also have some other surprises….but I think I will keep some IMG_20160904_150229744secret, just in case you are not able to keep classified information a secret!

Encouragement: Ask God who you can surprise today and also how He would like you to surprise them. Ask Him to help you pull it off without the person or people finding out before hand. Then please share with me what He emboldened you to do. Please share pictures too if you are able to get some! Were they surprised???

Easy Butternut squash ravioli

I am so excited! I made butternut squash ravioli yesterday…and they actually look like ravioli. I have not tasted them yet…so maybe I should not be so excited.

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Look! It’s my first ever butternut squash ravioli! And it was SO easy!

I found the idea for the recipe online. I like to tweak recipes most of the time and sometimes it works. The original called for Mascapone cheese, which is super rich. I wanted something I can eat for dinner, not just an appetizer. So I decided to add honey goat cheese to the roasted butternut squash. (I cut it up and roasted it a few days ago with a little olive oil. I think 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.) Most of the recipes I looked had had sage in them but I am allergic to sage, so went a different route. I decided to add nutmeg, a wee bit of cinnamon, kosher salt and just a pinch of pepper. Then, however, the filling was so yummy I kept eating it….you know someone has to be the “cup bearer” to make sure it’s not poisoned.

The original recipe called for an egg to be put into the filling but I somehow forgot…but then I was able to just keep IMG_20160905_163024tasting it!) Did I mention to mash the roasted butternut squash? Hmmmm no, ok, smash it along with the cheese and spices and there you have it.
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The next part is easy. Use won ton wrappers as your “pasta”. Add about a teaspoon full of filling, dip your fingertip in a little bit of water then go around the edges of the dough, fold it in half and press the edges together. I tried different amounts of the filling to see what works best. I also found that air can get trapped, so I would press the middle just enough to spread out the filling and let the air out.

It took me just about an hour to make 34. There would have been more but you know, I ate some of the filling! Also, it would not have taken so long, but I checked on Bebe and this & that.  I hope to cook some tonight. Until I use them, I put them in a plastic bag so they won’t dry out.

Encouragement today: Ask God to show you something you have been putting off because you think it will be too hard and also ask Him for the wisdom and guidance to do it in an easier way than what you might think on your own. Please let me know what He shows you and add photos of your project! God bless you. May He do exceedingly abundantly more than all you can imagine.

And PS…it is not cheating to google your project to see if someone already has ideas to make it (0: )

Is there a blockade trying to stop me – trying to take steps toward a sacrifice

It’s so weird what goes through my head sometimes. Is it just me or does God use the things we’ve had around us in our life times to speak to us? I would feel like it were more from Him if it were something from the Bible. But then, Satan knows God’s Word and can use it against us too.

For the last couple weeks, I have felt like there is a blockade in my life. It’s blocking my drive to get to work, it’s blocking any progress to find a place to move, it’s blocking fund raising, it’s blocking my health, it’s blocking my faith. So, I prayed about it this morning only to get a song from a Christmas movie playing in my head. “You put one foot in front of the other.”

On Easter Day, my Primary Care Physician acknowledged that I have prayed and encouraged me to move forward in the process of possibly donating part of my liver to my friend Lupe.

In order to move forward in anything, we have to first stand up and then take a step. We need to take a first step. I have done that. In fact, this whole series of blogs has been about taking steps of faith.

So, what do you do when there seems to be a blockade? Well, it seems that God is telling me to keep stepping in faith. Keep taking the next step. Keep walking it out.

In a devotional entitled “Faith Is More Than Believing: Take The Next Step,” Rick Warren writes, “I don’t know what your next step is, but I do know this: You have one. God will never be finished taking you deeper in faith. There is always a next step.”

So what is my next step??? Today, October 2, 2015 is going to be a special day of stepping in faith! Lupe and I go to UCSF today to meet our surgeons and I will also meet with my anesthesiologist. It’s exciting for me. I have looked forward to this for months and now it’s here.

More than anything, I think I am learning that it’s a process – it’s a journey, not a destination. The day has come and it will pass. Where there have been blockades, they will be moved – I’ll get to work, I’ll find a place to move and get moved, funds will come in, I’ll get over the cold, and the surgery will happen. Then recovery will happen, and I’ll get back to work…each day taking a step of faith to allow God to lead me.

What’s your next step of faith?

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http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/faith-is-more-than-believing-take-the-next-step

Live Liver Donor Assistance fund for Michelle Wilson

Counting the cost – more steps of faith to a sacrifice

Have you ever been asked to weigh the costs of a decision? Maybe you have tried to weigh or count the cost of getting married, or having a child, or buying a home, or becoming a follower of Christ?

I haven’t posted since April 9, 2015 because I have been in wait mode as far as donating part of my liver to Lupe. Then in July, I was finally contacted by University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF). After a week of playing phone tag, I was scheduled on August 18 and 19 to test.

Wait mode was over and it was time for action! On August 5, I received information that I would need tests from my Primary Care Physician (PCP) and I understood these were due before I could test at UCSF. I contacted my PCP immediately and to my amazement, I was scheduled within 2 days to get a pap/physical, plus orders were placed for me to get a mammogram and a PPD (blood TB test) to be done with results to be expedited. By Aug 11, I was finished testing with my PCP. On Aug 14, I found out that I would need another mammogram and possibly an ultrasound on my right breast because a possible 6mm “something” was showing. Ugh!

UCSF was not phased by my mammogram results and asked me to continue to move forward in the process. Aug 18, my friend Lisa picked me up early so that we could get to San Francisco by 7:30am. I had to sign a waiver saying I understood that I was taking a risk. Before signing, Ana Maria, a Nurse Practitioner, informed me of many things that could possibly happen as well as tell me the odds of them happening, praise God I had read the seven pages of information prior to going. She then described the surgery, the recovery at the hospital and expectations post surgery.

After signing, I had 16 vials of blood drawn as well as a urinalysis followed by a CT and then 1 more vial of blood taken. Meet with Sandy, a Social Worker; get a chest x-ray; blow in a tube, it’s called a pulmonary function test; Electrocardiogram, my favorite of all; and an MRI. The next day was a much lighter day, an abdominal ultrasound and a treadmill stress test with electrocardiogram then breakfast before meeting with Ana Maria again for a physical and medical history. The next Tuesday I would be meeting with Dr. Lau, a Psychologist. And Wednesday I had another mammogram to find that there was nothing there.

Weighing the cost to donate:
I was asked the following questions by Ana Maria, Sandy and Dr. Lau: What if you die from this surgery? What if Lupe dies? What if something goes wrong and I need to be placed on a liver donor list for my own transplant? What if Lupe’s graft doesn’t take? What if Lupe’s graft does take but he abuses his new liver? What if my future husband or child needs a liver transplant – I would not be able to donate to them because liver donation is a one time thing? What if I have bad reaction to pain medications or anesthesia? What if my back injury flares up? What if I go into depression again or have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? What if my work will not take me back or help to file with assistance? What if those who said they would donate decide not to and what if no one else helps, how will I pay my bills?

I understand they were doing their job. They weren’t trying to scare me, they were trying to make sure that I understood it wasn’t an easy decision and there is more of a cost to me than just giving part of my liver and taking a couple of months off to recover. I had to have an answer for every question. And I realized that the biggest thing that needed to happen is that I would need to give my liver as Christ gave His life – no strings attached and trusting God.

The same week, I started getting similar questions from friends and family: What if I have inconvenienced people (especially my roommates and church friends)? Who will care for my cats? Who will care for me? Where will I stay post surgery? Who will bring meals/food? What if no one is available to help? What if I am isolated?

I have to admit, I don’t know all the answers. I pray that I am not inconveniencing anyone and that I do not have wrong expectations of anyone or the wrong motives. I have been told by many people that they would like to help, but that doesn’t mean that they will or that I expect them to just because they have said so.

Can I pay the price that I will ultimately pay? Not in my own strength I can’t. It reminds me much of Luke 14:28. We are to count the cost to following Christ. But in the end, we will find that it is He who paid the price so that we might follow Him.

This past Sunday, my Pastor, Joel King preached about “Our Faith and Making a Difference”. We are in a series called, “Extra, Extra” and the sermons are based on headlines from each week. This week, 4 men saved the day on a train in France when a man with a gun came out of the bathroom. The men were credited as being heroes and received the Legion of Honour award – Frances highest honor.

One of the men counted the cost for getting up. He could “either stay where he was and probably die or he could get up and do something and probably die”.

The men didn’t think they were heroes, they were just doing what seemed like the right and good thing to do. They risked their lives to disarm and detain a gunman before he was able to shoot people on the train.

Pastor Joel asked, “Is the cry of your heart, ‘I want my life to matter'”? If so, it takes courage and faith. And faith is action.

I do not consider myself a hero, but while I was getting tested on August 18 and 19, I was told by many that I am. I know to Lupe, Hilda, and their family and friends, I am. I’m not doing it to be a hero. I stepped up because there was a need that no one else seemed to be able to fill. Or maybe that no one else was willing to fill. I am stepping in faith and courage, one step at a time to see what God will do. I have offered to Him that I am willing to donate part of my liver but surrendering the cost to Him.

UPDATE:

September 1, I got a call from Ana Maria at UCSF. I have officially qualified to donate part of my liver to Lupe. I am extremely excited that God is allowing me this opportunity, this privilege. We have to meet our surgical teams and then a date for surgery will be set!

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***** 2 Samuel 24:24, Is 55:1, Luke 14:28, Hebrews 11-12:3, Matthew 5:16
****I was asked to make sure that I am not doing this with wrong motives but to make sure that God is in it.
****Lord, we can never fully grasp the cost of stepping in faith. I can not, in my own strength, pay the cost, but I believe You have gone before me and it is paid in full. I pray the benefits will far outweigh the sacrifice for all involved.

Waiting for an answer – steps of faith to a sacrifice.

For awhile now I’ve been getting email updates from my friend Hilda asking me to pray for her husband Lupe’s health. He’s had some liver issues so has had to get regular testing. Now he has liver cancer and had hoped to get on a list for a liver to be donated. Unfortunately, there are far more people who need livers than there are people who are dying who have signed up to donate their organ, so Lupe’s chances for getting a healthy liver donated by a dead donor are slim.

Hilda’s last email update described a growing sense of urgency but with a new request. You see, Hilda and Lupe have a beautiful little girl who is kindergarten age. If Lupe doesn’t get a new liver, he may not get to see his little girl grow up. So Hilda’s request was not just for prayer for Lupe to be healed, but also for God to provide a living donor.

I am a single woman who lives in an area where the economy is insanely crazy. It’s near impossible to make it financially for a lot of people. I am a senior caregiver working part-time, so in order to make it financially, I rent a room from a friend, who praise God is charging me below market value. The thought of being a live liver donor for Lupe crossed my mind but my thoughts were, “there is no way I could ever be able to do that financially!”

After praying a little, I asked one friend from church to pray and then did some research. The answers started coming. I could receive short-term SDI and another friend suggest we set up a go-fund-me account to help cover some of my lost wages plus Lupe’s insurance would cover all medical.

I asked more friends to pray I would have clarity on what to do. The more I prayed, the more peace, joy and excitement I was having. I also started believing that if God wanted me to be a liver donor for Lupe, then everything I need would be provided….everything.

Easter Sunday, I let Hilda and Lupe know I wanted to know what the next step was to get the process started. Because I had already researched I knew I would need my primary care physicians (PCP) approval and then I would have to do a medical questionnaire on-line. Let me tell you, Easter takes on a whole new meaning to a person who is considering to sacrifice part of their liver.

I read about the scar – either called a Mercedes or Lexus scar. The first goes from above sternum and goes out to the sides, like a Mercedes symbol. The second starts at sternum and goes to mid-belly then goes to the right side, like a reverse “L”. I immediately thought about being single. What would my future husband or my possible children say? Later, while reading John 20 in the Bible, I read Jesus saying, “Look at my hands and my side.” He was talking to me, “Michelle, look at MY Scars!” It was all I needed to stop worrying about what people might think. I also better understood Jesus’ sacrifice.

So, I sent my PCP an email believing I wouldn’t hear back until Monday or Tuesday. I was very surprised to find an email just a few hours later from her acknowledging that I have prayed and encouraging me to move forward in the process.

I then thought I would have to wait until Wednesday to fill out the questionnaire but my client’s daughter cancelled me for the day giving me time to contact Kaiser for my first interview. Adele informed me of the process but also listened to my story of faith, answer to prayer for clarity and doctor’s approval. She said I was “lucky” and that her “fingers were crossed” that I would pass the questionnaire and move forward to become Lupe’s liver donor.

Since I still had time before my PM shift, I was able to fill out the questionnaire without it “kicking me out” which means I would be able to move forward! Wow! Excitement completely filled me.

Before I went to bed Tuesday night, I had already had an email from UCSF Living Liver Donor Program. I’ve been accepted so far but have to wait for Lupe’s medical insurance to approve me for blood tests, physical and other tests. It’s been six days since I started praying for direction in regards to donating part of my liver to Lupe and now I am waiting to approved by his insurance to move forward. I feel like a little girl waiting for Christmas morning.