A Place At The Table

A Place at the Table

Food has always had a special place in my life, and in the traditions of my family. Ever since I can remember we have been known for food we have made and brought to social events. People always rave about our homemade ice cream, or my fresh bread, or brownies, and I can't ever seem to make enough cookies to suffice the demand for them.

During my childhood I remember our Tuesday baking days. We could make anything we wanted to from any recipe we wanted to try. Each week we would make breads, cookies, granola, pies, cake, muffins, snack bars, and all sorts of baked goods and deserts. Sometimes I would work together with my siblings, and make things, and other times I would try something on my own. I remember the countless times I put too much baking soda in, or added too much salt, or over baked the cookies. My siblings and I learned how to put out oven fires quite well, and to not get too upset when the special bread we made got cooked for 30 minutes too long.
While cooking together we learned to love each other and forgive each other for our mistakes. We learned to be encouraging of each other's successes, and most memorably we learned to love food and the process of making it together. Mom was always so gracious and forgiving and found many ways to use our mistakes to teach us valuable character lessons, like asking forgiveness of each other, and cleaning up after ourselves.
Baking day Tuesdays have long been absorbed in the pages of our family history, and even though we don't always find the time to bake together anymore, we still enjoy food, and the way it brings us together. I am so grateful for all the lessons I learned from baking day Tuesday's, and how they helped me to be a better cook today.

Mom frequently reminds me of when I was just 4 years old, and would ask if I could set the table all by myself. She says I took great pride in being able to put the fork and knife and spoon in the right place. Sharing family meals was always a special treat when I was younger, and it still has a special place in my heart today. There's something magical about coming to a beautifully set table, and smelling all the scents of fresh homemade food wafting from the kitchen, and seeing the smiles on your family's faces, as they look at the beautifully set table and sit down to enjoy food and make history together.

To this day, I still enjoy setting the table beautifully, and making special food to surprise my family, and create an atmosphere of love to share together. I hope that someday I may be able to recreate baking day Tuesday's with my own future family, and pass on the tradition of love for food, and the joy of sharing it together. But for now, I enjoy making breads, cookies, cakes, and pastries. I can't get enough of making stir Fry's, and pastas, soups, and especially Caesar salad. Something inside of me is happy, and remembers all those special times we shared in the kitchen as a family when I see people enjoying food I made. It's like I'm able to invite them to that place at the table that is all prepared and just for them, and with one bite, they are sent back in time to find their own place at the table.

Making food will always have a special place in my heart, and it will always make me look forward to the Table that is set for me in heaven. I always know that whoever I become in my life, and wherever I go, there will always be a place for me at that table. God has lovingly prepared the food, and the scents of it's richness are waft into my heart each day as I am filled with the fullness of God's love for me, and I know that everything will be ok, because through the mercy of Christ, there is always a place at the table for me!

Before I Die

A distant friend was recently lost in a drowning accident beneath a large waterfall. It was shocking and devastating for everyone involved. At just 23 years of age, handsome, and ready for living a long life, Isaac’s life was taken from him. At first I questioned God, like I questioned Him last year, when another friend’s father died completely unexpectedly just 2 weeks before her wedding. In times like this we all ask God why, and seek for answers, but the only real answer I’ve found is that God knows what’s best and we don’t. I have no idea if I’m guaranteed tomorrow, but I know that I want to live my life today as if I’m not going to live tomorrow. 

Thinking about death gives me a bigger passion and urgency to live life to the fullest for God’s glory. To share the gospel with that stranger, and not worry about how I’ll be viewed. To do what’s on my todo list, and not get distracted by things that won’t make a difference when I’m gone. To love my family unconditionally, and not let little things get in the way of our relationships. To give more for the glory of God each day, and to really think only about what He thinks of me. And to be willing to sacrifice and take some risks for the sake of life, and for the sake of love. To show others how much I love them, and not to hold back until I feel their love First. 

These are the things I hope to do before I die. It’s not as much a list of places I want to see, or things I want to do, but more so the person I want to live out each day, so that I could die at anytime with no regrets, and leaving no one wondering if I loved them. My mindset needs to change so that I can focus on who I am in Christ and what He has done for me, and live each moment from that perspective. I want to be able to be completely guided by the Holy Spirit, and to do whatever God calls me to do without hesitation. 

Along with realizing what’s really important before death, I’ve also realized what’s not as important. I don’t have to be super wealthy, educated, or famous before I die. I don’t have to live my life devoted to someone else’s dreams for me. And I don’t have to live with bondage of sin or my own selfish desires. It’s not important to have the best looking body, or the most money in the bank. These things aren’t entirely bad, but they simply aren’t what qualifys a life well lived. 

No! Relationships.... first with Jesus my one true lover, and then my family, close friends, and anyone else God brings into my life. These are the important things. Living the way I would want to be remembered each moment, and thinking of giving more than I take. Being willing to sacrifice for others, and to find joy in the trials of life. These are the things worth living for, and these are the things I want to do before I die. 

“I have set the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth. My flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:8-11

I Need Your Imput:)

My goal in life has always been to help other people, and make the most impact in the world. And so the other day I had this idea that I want to run past everyone on here:) I always love giving gifts to people for birthday's and special occasions, but I always have a hard time finding unique gifts and matching the personalities of the people I'm giving gifts to. 

So, my idea is for a subscribtion based gift service, where I would provide customized gifts handmade by other women, already wrapped, and send them annually to freinds of your choice. Gifts could be chosen based on what you know of the person, or I could use a Statistical method based off FB profiles and what people post on FB. Gift subscriptions could be purchased for the year, and all your friends and family could be covered for their special days, taking the worry of what to give them out our of your hands. So what are your thoughts? Obviously I'm still in the very beginning stages of this idea, but I just want to get imput and thoughts on it:) Looking forward to your comments!!

Life is a Missionfield!

The harm in the statement "Everyone did what was right in their own eyes" is that the people overlooked God's commands to them. They choose their own path, and followed what they believed to be right, instead of what was right. I see many similarities in the world today. We have overlooked God's Word, and His commands to us, and we have departed from what is right, and decided to do what we believe to be right. God has reason to judge the world and all it's inhabitants for this wicked act of departing from the truth. There is nothing that is right in our own eyes, because in our natural state, we all desire and do evil. So the only way we can return to the truth, is by doing what is naturally undesirable in our own eyes. What is right, and wholesome, and true and just, and pure, and holy. Philippians 4:6-8

Five of my favorite characteristics about Paul are….
1.His willingness to pray for others without ceasing. Colossians 1:9-14
2.  willingness to obey God and do whatever He called him to do at all costs. Romans 8:38-39
3. His humility when he had reason to boast in his accomplishments. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
4. His determination to do everything in His power to share the gospel without ceasing. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
5. His willingness to suffer for Christ without regard to personal pleasure. Romans 8:18-23
I would like to be more like Paul in my prayers for other people. I usually ask people how I can pray for them, but sometimes fail to actually pray for them. I wonder if Jesus was on the earth in human form today, how many of us would truly live for and with Him like the disciples did? How much time would we spend with Him? How much desire would we have to be with Him? The Bible says Jesus is our friend and brother, yet, I spend less time with him then I do with my best friends. I don't see the great privilege I have to be able to come into His presence without ceasing. Oh for a little more of Paul's reverence and love for the Savior. For a little more of his willingness to go to prison and to death, for the sake of one who gave His life for us! 
Who is your favorite Bible character? What would you like to learn more about from them? 
Comment Below…………

Health, Life Lessons, and My Personal Journey Update!

It has been so long since I updated this blog with a legitimate post of how my life has been going and where God has been leading me recently. I do apologize for all the many months I have been silent, and not kept you up to date on my life. It seems hard to think about picking up where I left off, because there's so much I haven't shared. So instead of trying to fill in where I was when I stopped writing, I think I'm just going to start where I am now, and move ahead, and hope that the future posts will have more details about the past, and what I've missed sharing with you all.

Recently I've been busy doing a lot of dog sitting for private clients through Rover.com. It has been a journey of a thousand lessons, teaching me more every time I watch a new dog. I've learned so much, and have had some wonderful experiences with dogs. God has used dogs, and the challenges, and joys I've had with them to help me to see more of His love, and more of my need for Him. I hope to share with you many stories of the pups I've been able to watch, and the lessons God has been teaching me through them. But for now, I just wanted to share that I've been doing dog sitting, and finding it to keep me very busy, and always learning. Here's a few pictures of some dogs I've watched recently, and click here for a link to my Rover profile to see more about the dogs I've watched. (please note I use my middle name Ruth on my profile for safety purposes)

Another thing I've been learning a lot about lately has been health, and finances. We just finished the Financial Peace University class with Dave Ramsey at our church. My Mom and Dad did an amazing job leading the class and we learned SO much about finances, and the biblical perspective on how to use our money for God's glory. One of the biggest things I learned through the class was the purpose of making wise choices now so that we can have more resources to give and invest in the lives of others in the future. God really convicted me about my need to reach out to our local community more, and find ways to serve and meet needs around me more. I highly recommend you attend a Financial Peace University class if you haven't already!  There have been so many opportunities to share the gospel, or a word of encouragement with a hurting soul, and so many times I have passed them up. I don't want to do that anymore. I'm asking God to provide areas of growth for me to be able to reach out more to my community and encourage the people around me. One way I'm excited to see God grow me in this area is through Next-door.com It is an amazing way to reach out to neighbors and get to know your community on a close basis. I've already had many opportunities to meet needs, attend community events, pray for others, meet neighbors, and even got a few dog sitting clients through the next-door community. Here's a link to check out Next-door. I encourage you to join the website and connect with your neighbors more!

And lastly, a new adventure I've been starting recently has been learning more about health and how to use my health for God's glory. Our bodies are the temples of God, and as such we must use them in the way they were created to serve others, and be ready to do all that we are capable of doing. I have been realizing that I need to be more active and focused on my health so that I am aware  of things I need to change, and able to serve God more fully with my life.  In light of this I'm excited to be learning more about vaccines and the major role they play in diminishing and destroying our health and vitality. I'm looking forward to a webinar series on the Truth about Vaccines, starting next week. Be sure to go to this link for more information and to join me on the webinar. Life is too short to live it in poor health because of bad choices we've made. Let's take the chance we have now and make a difference for the future. 

I'll leave you with a verse of Scripture that has been encouraging me a lot recently. 
"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry." Jeremiah 31: 3-4 

God is not finished with you yet! Take time today to rejoice in the finished work of Christ on your behalf. 

What has God been teaching you recently? ..… Leave a comment and let me know!

What’s most important to you?

It seems like the majority of families that I encounter say that after faith, family is the most important thing in their lives. If that’s the case, then it makes sense that we would want to do everything in our power to intentionally develop our families into being, doing, and having our very best.

Although a lot of us are “doing ok” as a family —some better than others— I think if we’re honest, we all know deep down that we could do better, but it’s hard to know where to focus our attention to start.
Look around the restaurant next time you’re out to eat, and see how many people actually have their smartphones either in their hand or on the table – face up. Or how many teens are at dinner with their family but are nose-down into their social media accounts. It’s kind of depressing.
Or how many teens are at dinner with their family but are nose-down into their social media accounts. It’s kind of depressing.
Is this the way it’s destined to be from now on? It doesn’t have to be.

There is another way of life for us and our families. We must raise the bar to a higher standard, and put our families first. That's why I'm taking the 7 Day Family Challenge to return to the right focus of what family really means.

The 7 Day Challenge includes a daily encouragement from Christian leaders pointing us back to the Word of God, and the true meaning of family.
You'll hear from these encouraging speakers each day for the next 7 days. 
  • Dr. Gary Chapman (relationships)
  • Michael & Gail Hyatt (communication)
  • Dr. Josh Axe (physical health)
  • Tony Dungy (work/life balance)

  • Brian Buffini (community)
  • Dave Ramsey (finances)
  • and Zig Ziglar’s own children – Cindy, Julie, and Tom (spirituality/faith).
I'm excited to share this challenge with you, and I hope you'll join me as we seek to put your family first. Click here to join the challenge 

"God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land." Psalm 68:6

So let's answer this question. What does family mean to you? 
Leave me a comment if you join the challenge. 

8 Strategies Super-Successful High Achievers Use to Prepare for the New Year

I'm curious...

What is the most important thing you do at the
beginning of each year to set yourself up for your
best year ever? Leave a comment with your answer. I'll be writing a post in the next couple weeks with my answer.

That was the question Michael Hyatt asked of over 30+ high
achievers. The replies have been pouring in.

All the answers have been compiled into a single,
handy PDF, and you can get it for free here:

Some of the contributors include Tony Robbins, John
Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Andy Andrews, Jeff Walker,
Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, Lysa TerKeurst,
Andy Stanley, Chalene Johnson, Lewis Howes, (and
many others).

I know you will be encouraged and motivated by this ebook.

You can download it here.


Be sure to leave me a comment, and let me know what you think of the ebook:)

Month Long Trip Part 4- Disneyworld!

Who's missing summer? I know I am:) I love the warm sunshine, flip flops, the outside activities, and gardens, fresh fruit, and days filled with friends and activities. But fall is such a beautiful season, and I'm really enjoying the relaxation and sense of calm and reflection it brings with it.

 I have some photos from our trip to Disneyworld 2 years ago to share with you. Perhaps you remember these posts about our Month Long Trip that I did of our time back east in 2014. If so then you might remember I said it was going to be a 4 part series, and well, I just never got around to the fourth post until today. So enjoy this look back to fall two years ago in Florida that felt like summer.

Before you begin reading this post, go to this link and play this music to go along with this post. It will make it a lot better I promise:) It's the music from the Epcot Firework show at Disneyworld. 
( I like to skip past the first few seconds of the song just so you know;)

We spent 5 days in Disneyworld, and enjoyed it a lot. it was super fun to spend several of the days in the Park with friends from Bible Bee. I had my doubts about going to Disneyworld, and I especially didn't want to be bombarded with a worldly perspective on life. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the family friendly atmosphere, and level of character and excellence that I saw. Even the emplyoees had a sense of dignity, and a a standard of excellence that I haven't seen before. Not to say that there weren't rides we skipped, and parts of the parks we bypassed, but overall Disneyworld exceeded my expectations. 

One of my favorite rides was It's a Small World. I still have the song stuck in my head.

Evan & I couldn't resist trying on the Spanish hats.

We took lots of boat rides, and enjoyed being able to spend some of them with the S. family. 

Fun times:)

I really enjoyed seeing this beautiful butterfly. 

The Hall of the Presidents was probably the most amazing replication of history I have seen in real life. 

I loved being able to see the 4 amazing firework shows while we were there. 

A big highlight of the trip was going to the waterpark.

Originally I was a bit skeptical about the waterpark and what might be there, but it turned out to be an amazing experience, and we all enjoyed it a lot. 

This is the big  Summit Plummet slide that we all were excited about before the trip. It turned out to be quite exhilarating and a lot of fun. 120 feet straight down. 

 Disney world was full of beautiful architecture and attention to detail.

The Epcot fireworks show was my very favorite. SO beautiful and wonderfully engaging. 

Starting out on one of the rides. 

Cinderella's Castle 

Gondolas in the water park. 

Who says real life can't be magical? 

Part of the Magic Kingdom firework show. 

We had a fun time meeting up with the Strangs for part for our time. 

Getting ready to ride the flying dinosaurs. 

It's a bugs life. 

After our time at Disney world, we went to Destin beach on the other side of Florida to spend a few nights on the beach before heading back home. Here's some pictures of that time. 

The beautiful white sand beach 

Taking the inner tube out. The water was SO warm, even though it was November. 

I could get used to this life. 

Mom enjoying the beach

It was amazing how calm it was that day. 

The Sandheart castle we made. 

Exploring a wrecked sailboat. 

A small crab. 

Overall we had a wonderful time in Florida at Disneyworld, and I will always remember how special it was to spend that time together as a family. If you ever get a chance to go to Disneyworld I highly recommend it. You will not regret it, and you will make memories to last a lifetime. 

That's all for now. It's never too late to post pictures I guess:) 
I hope you all are doing well, and enjoying this season of life that God has blessed us with. 

Comment if you'd like to see more posts with pictures of what I've been up to lately. 

I Will Wait

Here is something I read today that was a blessed reminder of waiting on the Lord,  and why it is so important. I edited and revised it to be more applicable to our lives as Christian young women.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Leave a comment if it encourages you today!

It seemed cool, for everyone to be in a relationship without me. So I took matters into my own hands and… ended up with him. Him, who secretly displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, and a thief. So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart? I called 911, but I was cardiac-arrested for aiding and abetting, ’cause I let him in, claiming we were “just friends.”

I had decided that even if he wasn’t, I was gonna make him “the One.” I was tired of being alone, and I made up in my mind, that it was about that time, 'cause I was always the bridesmaid and never the bride. A virgin physically, but mentally just a woman, who was tired of the wait. He had a… form of Godliness, but I was sure I could change that, because he was so close.

Ready to sell my worth for a quarter, not knowing the value it used to be. My heart so clogged with my will, it blocked His will from flowing through me. So, I thank Christ that His blood pressure gave this heart an attack that flatlined my obscured vision, and put me on my knees. Through my ignorance, He saw fit to transplant Psalms 51:10, a new heart & a renewed spirit within me. So now, I fully understand, how much I need to wait for You.

Even possibly never having met me, let me assure you, I will wait for you. I will not date, socialize, or communicate with carbon copies of you to appease my boredom, and quench my thirsty desire for attention. I won’t settle for false companionship or feel the embrace of his arms, attempting to find some closeness. No more ‘just being friends’, passing smiles, & sharing drinks. I don't want to 'flirt' with the ideology of, “Can you just tell me how much I can get away with & still be pure?”

But with you, I know I can't even come close, we can't even touch. 'Cause I have thoughts that I’ve saved in a 'file' that God has only equipped you to open at the right time. I will no longer get weighted down, concerned for time, when I serve the Author of Time. He is not subject to time, but I am subject to Him, and He has the ability to stop, fast-forward, pause, or rewind whenever he sees fit.

I await your revelation, but once again, I will wait for you. And I will know you because when you speak, I will be reminded of Solomon’s wisdom, your ability to lead will remind me of Moses, your faith... of Abraham, your confidence in God’s Word....of Daniel, your inspiration.... of Paul, your heart for God... of David, your attention to detail..... of Noah, your integrity....of Joseph, and your ability to abandon your own will.... of the disciples. But most importantly, your ability to love selflessly & unconditionally will remind me of Christ.

And you will know me, because you will find me, where the boldness of Esther, meets the warm closeness of Ruth, where the hospitality of Lydia, is aligned with the submission of Mary, which is engulfed in the tears of a praying Hannah. And I will be the one, drenched in the water of the Word, waiting for you. But not just waiting, I will be preparing by living a full life of service to Christ.

But all of this only you O Lord should see fit. I desire Your will above mine. So in this time of singleness, help my heart be content. I know You are the greatest love I've ever known. You are forever my king & I’m forever Your princess. Let me always be found on a mission about your business. I will always be Yours, and I will always wait for You. More than the watchmen wait for the morning, help me to say 'I will wait'!

~Janette IKZ edited by Elanee

Would You Like to Join Me?

I'm starting out on an adventure and I need some fellow travelers to join me. You must be willing to take on a challenge. You must want to help others improve their health. You must be willing to make some new habits. And lastly you must be excited about earning $500 or more a month. If this sounds like you, send me an email, or comment under this post
for more information!!! I can't wait to see who's excited to join me:)