Was that a knock at the door?

Was that a knock at the door?

The bible verse about Jesus knocking at the door is one that I’ve been familiar with all my life. Revelations 3:20

I had spent all week prepping for my son to be home. I love decorating the house and making it all Christmas cozy. I cook a ton while he’s home and try to go the extra mile to show him how much he’s loved. Presents are great but spending time together is priceless.

My habit is that my alarm is M-F only and I wake up naturally around 7:30-8am on the weekend. Sometimes earlier when my rat terrier gets her days confused. Really she must be confused, why else would she be disturbing the dead on its days off. Except this particular Saturday I was driving to pickup my son and it’s a 4 hour drive….I hadn’t set the alarm! AND the rat didn’t wake me up.

I’m sleeping so good all snug in my bed when I hear knocking.

I ignore it.

More knocking and it’s like it’s on a window pane. Geez that really needs to stop.

The knocking continues and I walk to the door. I kind of see a man and he says ‘hey.’

My eyes pop open and I’m laying there thinking is someone knocking. Ginger isn’t putting up a fuss so I’m not sure. Of course my dog is not the best guard on occasion. I don’t want to move yet but I’m awake and I’m straining to hear ANYTHING. Finally I look over at my phone laying on the nightstand and I see the time.

I knew right then God was helping me out. I said a quick prayer of thankfulness for waking me up. I could get up and look out every window and check every door knowing there wasn’t anyone. The Lord knew I had somewhere to be and gave me a mental knock.

Sure enough in less than an hour my son tells me they are already on the road, which means I’ll be arriving after them at our designated meet spot. I jump in the car, and I’m zooming down the road trying to cut down the time difference.

All of this made me think about the times I heard a spiritual knock. It may have been a hesitant knock that someone makes when they aren’t sure their welcome. Have you ever been unwelcoming to the direction that the Lord wants to point you. I know I have and sometimes I’m so stubborn it may go from a hesitant knock to a gong.

Despite having a strong christain walk it can still be tough for me to let go of my plan and say ‘ok God I see what you’re putting down.’ It’s not my will but Gods that I should be following. How freaking hard is that sometimes?! A lot of times. Just going to call it like I see it.

We have this ideal view of ourselves as we start out in life and it takes so many lefts, rights, ups, downs and sometimes even reverse before we hit the path that God intended for us in the beginning. Sure we have free will and we (I) use it A LOT, but that doesn’t mean I’m staying in Gods will when I make those choices. Many have resulted in some harsh realities but along the way you learn some things as well. Hopefully you learn how to lean into God and rely on him.

So tough as an independent woman.

It’s hard giving over that control because it’s also resting on faith. Faith is not tangible and it might not be something you can really see other than by my actions or someone else’s. Faith exists in my belief that Jesus died for me and I’m saved by his Grace. For some that is easy to accept and for others it’s not, but either way it’s still true. Hebrews 11:1; Titus 3:5-7

The knock on the window of my mind is a reminder to keep myself open to the Holy Spirit that I might discern what God is trying to tell me. It’s hard to get through that thick noggin of mine sometimes. I would imagine I’m not the only person that has this struggle.

I am thankful for these knocks because they lead to little snippets. It’s like getting a sneak peak of the big picture. How awesome is that? To be let in on the secret even if it’s a tiny bit.

So the next time you hear that spiritual knocking check and see if it’s Jesus. He’s got something you need to know about, so be curious and listen. Listen with an open heart, your skeptical mind, and your soul.

In this instance he was my wake up call and was I ever appreciative!


(Image via Pinterest)


How to make Lazy Chili Rellenos – Hatch Pepper Style

How to make Lazy Chili Rellenos – Hatch Pepper Style

I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them. — Oscar Wilde

I’m super serious about food like it just needs to taste good and fit my carb count these days. As a reforming foodie I can’t just go off and eat everything I want. I can’t be a snob of certain food groups. Fortunately I can still eat cheese and eggs without the carb count skyrocketing, and they taste good when cooked correctly. Add in hatch peppers and now we’re talking.

This is a total riff on Ree Drummonds recipe Lazy Chili Rellenos. For one thing she’s cooking for a house full and they look like they could eat everything in sight. It’s just me and I get sick of leftovers, so I’ve cut this recipe down some. I only need one or two extra meals and I’m done.

Another change – she used poblano peppers and I already had roasted hatch peppers in the freezer directly from New Mexico. Go with what you’ve got! My Hatch said medium on the bag, but I’m going to have to report that was a miss labeling. Try mild…very mild. I added some ground cayenne, but it could’ve been a touch hotter for me. Of course my Mom says if it’s hot to me it’s too hot for her. Geez no pleasing folks – in this case I’m cooking for myself, so light it up!

I started with cleaning the peppers and then putting down a layer in my pan. Cover that with cheese. I used a mix of Colby-Jack and Pepper Jack. I know more hot stuff. Then clean some more peppers and add another layer on top of the cheese. Top with cheese mixture again. The pile of seeds, outer skin and tops trash!👇

I was using an 8×8 glass dish, since I was doing the single girl version of this recipe.

Crack 3 eggs and put into a bowl. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. I’m just going to say I don’t measure but if you need exact measurements: a couple cranks on the salt and pepper mill. 1/4 paprika and 1/8-1/4 cayenne. The cayenne depends on how hot you like it. Whisk it all together and then pour over the peppers and cheese. Pop the dish into a preheated 350° oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown on top. Pull out the oven and serve.

Easy to put together, short cook time, tastes good AND I have leftovers to spare for lunch the next day.

If you want a supply of all things New Mexico, including recipes with Hatch peppers check out this site that can be found on Facebook.


Happy Holidays: Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Happy Holidays: Eat, Drink & Be Merry

A long weekend in south Arkansas might not be the first destination that comes to mind. So indulge me as we tour through my recent weekend trip.

Gillett is a farming community located in the delta area of Arkansas. Rice fields always come to mind, but they produce soybeans and other row crops. My uncle can give me a detailed list I’m sure. Or there’s Google.

When we would come down in the summer there seemed to be a crop duster flying around at some point during our stay. They are surely daredevils with some of their acrobatics, but they are doing an important job of putting down chemicals. It needs to be done correctly, so that the farmer isn’t wasting money on chemicals being dispersed on just any old plant or the wrong field. I’m no expert, but it must take some percison to do all that.

Still trying to head south!

I worked through lunch and came in early, so I could get on the road as soon as possible. I literally finished my last task at the time I wanted to leave the office.

A rare occurance I tell you.

Rush to the house and throw some things in a bag, make sure Ginger is set for her pickup, and then I was hitting the road south. Imagine the pitiful looks I got from my rat terrier.

Road work was in full swing, and my road rage about got the best of me. The guy in the lead truck would stop to adjust the cones…the cones for goodness sakes! I’m sure there is some reasoning but from where I was sitting it appeared to be a delaying tactic from hell. Flames had to be shooting out the top of my head when I finally cleared the last cone.

Finally made it to Little Rock and I’m zooming through traffic when I about get sideswipped out of nowhere. Quick reflexes saved me. I was like a ninja in a Chrysler! Wish I’d had those same reflexes on the way home when a rock came flying up and put a big chip in the windshield. Fortunately it was all covered by insurance and already fixed.

Not far from where I was heading you have to drive over the Arkansas River. At night it looked beautiful with the lights from the grain elevator reflecting on the water and over on the opposite side it looks like a mini lighthouse is warning boats away from the shore. The light would swing back and forth across the water. I didn’t see any boats, but it was cool to see it in action.

I was reminded as I drove across the levee that down south would be a great place to add some more birds to my life list. Plus I’d like to level up on my bird list with the Arkansas Game and Fish. There are six levels and I’m at two…Wood Duck. I’m as competitive at birding as my son is at gaming on his Xbox.

Driving into town reminded me of the summers I spent visiting and all the other times we’d been there. The streets are familiar and it makes you feel welcomed after a long absence.

When I arrived it was to my Uncle making bread.

He makes the best bread ever!

The bread is just a little sweet and excellent with butter and honey. He sent some home with me and I used it to make a grilled cheese. Deliciousness I tell you!

My Aunt and cousin were right behind me by minutes, so it was a flurry of hugs and time to sit down and eat a bite while we caught up on life.

It’s so nice to unwind, relax and have conversation. Living alone you forget what it’s like to sit and just talk about stuff over a meal. My dog doesn’t have the conversation skills needed and it’s more of a ‘give me food’ experience. My food to be specific. She has no shame in her begging.

Conversation is a lost art. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat a table and everyone had their phone out. I’m just as guilty, so I’m trying to make an effort to change my tech addiction ways.

On Saturday, we took a drive down to Lake Village to visit Paul Michael Company. This store is a home decor wonder. It has everything imaginable from the perfect kitchen to amazing Christmas decorations. I saw people with magazines out trying to copy the design. And it was possible. You could whip together one amazing room after another with the furniture, wall hangings and accessories that can be found from one end of the store to the other.

I consider myself a decisive person, but this store overwhelmed me with options. Too much stuff to look at! I could’ve circled around all day and seen something new each time and of course I loved everything I saw just about! See the dilemma.

Later my Aunt told me she was worried I didn’t like it. I was like what!? Umm I liked it too much. She said I went to not talking or limited verbal ques. Not normal. Once we finally dragged ourselves out we made a mad dash back for the Christmas parade. None of my pics turned out but my Aunt got an awesome one of Santa on a Harley.

Nothing beats a small community that joins together in support and pride. Afterwards we went to the firehouse for smoked chicken dinners that were scrumptious. I was in a food coma later it was so good. Or it could’ve been those glasses of red wine that made me so relaxed I conked out on the couch. Good food, family and friends – And wine. Hard to beat!

Sunday morning was sunny and bright. I attended services at the Methodist church. The sun beaming through all the stained glass was gorgeous. It was decorated so beautifully for Christmas, and I enjoyed sitting with my family and soaking in a wonderful sermon. Back home for some lunch and then it was time to head north to get ready for another week. I was loaded down with gifts for the rest of the family, delicious bread, and I made excellent time driving home.

As we approach the Christmas holiday take time for family and friends. Remember it’s not about the gifts, but about time spent together.

Hope – Peace – Joy – Love


10 must read books for a variety of ages

10 must read books for a variety of ages

It should say 100 but I was afraid of deterring some folks. I mean I have my own library. Custom bookshelves that are built-in. Reading is serious business in my house. I have books on about any open surface because I read multiple books at one time. In this blog I’ve tried to list books that have been meaningful to me over the years and explain why they stood out to me. All of them are excellent stories that are well written and sometimes they make you laugh, cry, or go hmm. There is a combination of fiction and non-fiction that should perk up the avid readers interest and maybe the not so avid. So let’s dig in and see what amazing works I’ve thrown out for your enjoyment!

Footfalls – Elizabeth Harlan When I was in Jr. high school I bought this book at a book fair. I read it over and over I loved it so much. It’s about a young girl that runs and how she has this twisted family relationship. I could relate in my own way coming from a divorced family and all the hardships and challenges associated with parents that are pissed at each other and being a kid in the middle. I ran track so running was my escape many times to clear my head. I hated running long distance but for alone time I would do it. What really got me was her dream and hearing her footfalls over and over as she ran. Back in my day there weren’t ear buds so running with music wasn’t something I did. I did hear the pounding of my feet hitting the ground one step at a time just like her dream.

Peak – Roland Smith This book is special to me. My son brought this book home several times and we read it together more than once. I finally bought a copy for my personal library. It’s a book about a rebellious young man who gets shipped off to his dad in the Himalayas and he wants to be the youngest climber ever on Everest. He too comes from a broken home and how the parents deal with his behavior. One of the times my son read this book he had to do a book report and the rubric called for some creative work. Team effort on creating a prayer flag that could be found at the top of Everest. I still have the flag and the book because the memory reminds me of all the times we read the book together and when he finally read it on his own.

The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman I can’t talk about this book enough. It helped me be more aware of not just the person I have a relationship with but those around me that I share a close connection. Once you know what to look for and if you pay attention you can guess pretty quick at least one love language the person has and might get lucky and figure out a second. Just depends on how open or observant you are of that person. There are several versions of this book, but it gave me an opportunity to ask my son what’s important to him. It really helps to know your teenagers love language because they tend to be closed mouthed or belligerent. If you’re in a relationship and want the relationship to be better read this book. If you aren’t religious don’t be put off thinking this is only for religious people…it’s for everyone!

A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson This book made me laugh so hard. I haven’t seen the movie, but the book is fantastic. I love day hiking so reading about an adventure of two friends on the Appalachian Trail was not to be passed up! I had been in California for almost two weeks traveling for work and on one of my adventures I found a fantastic bookstore where I purchased this gem. Once I got on the plane crammed up against the window, because my seat mates were big brawny men, I pulled this book out. For sure I was sharing a portion of my allotted seat space with the guy next to me. I felt kind of bad for him once I got to reading this book I was shaking so hard with contained laughter that he was shaking too. He slept through all the shaking. He probably thought it was turbulence. This book made a tough trip enjoyable. If you’d rather read a chick book along the same lines, then I highly recommend Wild – Cheryl Strayed. Be prepared for some tears and heart tugging because it will do it!

Altar of Eden – James Rollins I have read all of his Sigma Force books and a few of the Tracker series he writes with Grant Blackwood. I love how Rollins gives the basis for his books in the afterwards. It’s like a treat I look forward to…a bibliophile sickness. Everything is based on scientific information or technology then he adds his own twist. I’m a science nerd and this book digs into the topic of fractals. When I think about my relationship and interactions with my dog Ginger, it makes me go hmm there may be something to this fractal business. I know that some people get bent about anthropomorphism and pets. I’m guilty for sure and if you’re wondering what that word means here’s the definition.

n. Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena

The science behind fractals is fascinating and if you’re not up for reading you can always youtube. I think there is so much we are learning as a whole, but there is still more to be explored and discovered. A fascinating read for sure. Ultimately have to thank my middle sister for introducing me to Rollins.

Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Headaches? – Mike O’Connor Birding is what brought this book and author into my life. He wrote a column in the local paper about birds and all things bird related. This book is the copulation of some curious, funny, and down right interesting contributions and his responses to people who sent in the questions to his syndicated column. He kept me laughing and you had to wonder at some of the folks that asked the questions. You’ll learn some things about birds that you probably had no idea about and you’ll laugh at his witty humor.

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – Ree Drummond My youngest sister came down for a visit and brought this book it finally made it through my mom and middle sister to me. Loved it! It’s a sweet story about Ree and her husband’s romance. I hadn’t really watched The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network channel, so I was catching up on what a big deal she was in the blogging world and on a cooking show. I must’ve been living under a rock to not know. I read this book in hours not days it was so good. I like her food, I like the show, but I love to see Marlboro Man aka her husband whenever he pops up on her show.

Stiff:The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach This sounds morbid I know but this book is an interesting read. It made me rethink what I wanted done with my body once I died. It enlightened me about how doctors practice a new procedure to what it really means when you donate your body to science. I made an assumption that meant you would be the cadaver for a medical student to dissect….nope. Read the book to get the lowdown. When I was teaching Anatomy & Physiology I had my students read this book….they probably still hate me for it. She has other non-fiction stories but I haven’t gotten to those yet. This book can be graphic and detailed so it’s not for the faint of heart.

The Eye of the World (WoT) – Robert Jordan Awe this book started me on the path to fantasy fiction. I’ve read this book 3 or 5 times. I know I checked it out of the library twice and then I finally bought my own copy and it’s had some tough love from use. This series has several books so it will keep you occupied for a while. If you don’t like that idea at least read the first book. He has some great characters and my understanding is this book may finally make its way into a tv series. You can get a head start before it hits the screen. If I’d never read this book I would’ve never found the joy of A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin. With every book you have to be on your toes paying attention or you’ll miss all the clues. I still go back and double-check storylines to see if my theory is right or to go ‘oh I see it’. He’s a master at storytelling and he kills people all the freaking time in his books. So murder, incest, sex, drinking, fighting, plotting and intrigue – if you like all that read this series. Most everyone hates Feast of Crows, but it was one of my favorite books to read of the A Song of Fire and Ice series. Venture into fantasy and it will open up a new world for you.

Broadcasting Happiness – Michelle Gielan This book changed how I want people to be impacted by my attitude each day. I have the power to positively increase my own productivity and those around me. I’m empowered through my positivity which increases my chances for advancement. I have a choice in how I show up in life daily. This book developed into education I provided to adults where I work, and it all started with a webinar I attended for self education. It’s powerful because the author was a news reporter and had a realization about the power of positivity while she was reporting. She also gives you tools for how to deal with negative folks that you come in contact on a daily basis or on occasion. This book is written for the business professional but can be used by anyone that wants to be more positive.

Obviously, I’m really eclectic in my choices and this doesn’t represent the full scope of my reading interest. If you choose to read one of these I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and if you’ve already read some on this list fantastic! I’m sure someone noticed I snuck two extra books into this list.

In the comments, please tell me some of your faves, so I can add them to my reading list. Or find me on Twitter @MusingsbyG! I appreciate finding new authors or series to read on a plane or huddled up in my favorite reading spot.

Read on – G.

Celebrating the Advent season with a child a state away – it can be done 

Celebrating the Advent season with a child a state away – it can be done 

Advent season is approaching like a freight train. How quickly this year has zoomed by and we are entering into December. I feel like I was run over a few times on the way to this month, but we’ve arrived. Advent is a season that I’d never really participated in until I joined the Christian Church, but it has become part of our Christmas traditions. To me it puts Christ at the forefront because each week of advent we are celebrating the promise of Christ’s birth. In our house we follow the pattern of the church with candle lighting, scripture reading and a prayer maybe not in that order though.

Since my son went to live with his dad three years ago this makes advent a bit more challenging for us as a family. This blog is about how we do advent long distance. It’s meaningful and it’s still Christ centered.

What guide do I follow? My favorite and the one I keep stored in my bible all year long is an insert that was sent to parents called teachable moments. It gives each week, what it means, what candle color and a scripture to read. Makes it easy for me.

Teachable moments

In other years I’ve used different material but this year I decided to go back to my favorite. I let my son know on Friday that he would need to set aside a little time for me. Teenagers are busy creatures! I shopped for my last candle on Saturday, so I was ready to go for our Sunday afternoon time via the phone. I assigned him the verse to read, and I read the week one info as given on the sheet. Once I got to the scripture I had him read it. Then we finished off with ways that we are filled with hope because we know Jesus. That kid brought tears to my eyes with what he said. He knows even during the hard times that Jesus will be his hope and strength. Since the candles are here I light the first purple one. At the end I offered up a prayer for our time together in celebration of advent and how Christ represents hope to each of us.

Some other ideas that I’ve used can be found on Pinterest, and I’m including the links here➡ Advent Wreatha fresh Advent wreath, and new verse ideas. I’m sharing this example because finding purple candles that aren’t tapers is hard as heck! I don’t have a taper holder, so I use purple tea lights. I have enough for one more year. This is my plan once I finish them off.

My twist on an advent wreath – eclectic

How does long distance work? You have two options phone call where you put them on speaker so you can manage the tasks. I will normally ask my son to read the bible verse, since I’ll be lighting the candle and normally he’ll want me to pray. Divide up those tasks so they are being in the moment and not doing something else. The other option is facetime. This is awesome because you can see each other, they can see the candle lighting and it makes the family time feel more like you’re together. Sometimes the connection isn’t so good, so then we fall back on a phone call. Again even with facetime divide up the duties.

Today he actually had a friend over, but he took time out to spend it participating in our family tradition. I could hear his buddy about the time we were coming to a close. He was shouting tell your mom ”hi”, so I was returning the the greeting. Not our first exchange. Hopefully I’ll finally get to meet him when my son graduates.

I think it’s important for a child or children to understand the who, what, how, and when of certain celebrations. He’s experienced prepping communion during my first year as deacon, we’ve practiced Lent together, and both of us had challenging tasks. I felt for a long time that I was failing him with his christian walk. As he becomes an adult I want him to know the religious celebrations, as well as, having that relationship with Christ. I’m trying to make sure he has all the tools and support I can give him to grow into a strong christian man. He took care of finding Christ all on his own bless him.

As we go into the following weeks remember that distance doesn’t have to be a barrier to traditions or family. It’s taking the time and being purposeful that you can share in them together. Photos, calls, facetime, and even texting can all be ways to bring you closer to the ones you love that are far away.

Week 1 of Advent

Many blessings – G.