change

Change and Chocolate Mousse (Repost)

I’ve always heard that change is inevitable… except from a vending machine. Ain’t that the truth? (Yes, I said ain’t. I’m being grammatically lazy today.)

Change IS going to happen in all parts of life: family, weather, jobs, circumstances, finances, our age… everything. If it is such a common occurrence, why do we fear it so much?

I know people personally that will go out of their way avoiding change, even tiny changes that involve finagling schedules or trying a new restaurant. That must be exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong. I love stability and consistency. I sometimes struggle with the ever-changing “plans” of the army, our future, our life. But I love the adventure of experiencing something new!

The other day, a friend here at Fort Benning emailed me a new recipe… It sounded extremely bizarre, and even my adventurous “I will taste anything once” self was a bit skeptical.

The recipe was for avocado chocolate mousse.

Say what??

That’s right. Avocado chocolate mousse. I like avocados. I LOVE chocolate. But together?  As a a female, I thrive on opportunities to eat seemingly fancy foods that are easy to prepare and relatively healthy.

So I decided to try it. I was going over to a friend’s house for Valentine’s Day since my husband is away doing army stuff and her hubby was working. Instead of eating an entire bag of Dove Chocolate to satisfy my V-Day semi-solo self, I thought I would give this avocado chocolate mousse a try.

It took a whopping 4 minutes to prepare. I made a “half batch” of the following recipe.

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup agave nectar (I used honey) 
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cup open avocados and scoop out the insides. Combine with other ingredients and blend until smooth.

And guess what? Even though I was apprehensive, it was AWESOME. For real. It is super rich, so the half batch essentially made four generous servings. We paired it with strawberries and blueberries. You would have thought we were eating a $30 dessert on some fancy island somewhere.

Strawberries, blueberries and yes, AVOCADO chocolate mousse. Best. Dessert. Ever.

Here’s the kicker… I wouldn’t have known what I was missing if I didn’t take that chance to change things up a bit. What was the worst that could happen? So it could have tasted like poo and I would have thrown it out… Big whoop. (Not that I am a proponent of wasting food. I try to be a good steward.)

As I was indulging in this decadent and healthy dessert, I couldn’t help but thing about all the changes that God puts into our lives for a reason. Like the mousse, the “idea” might make us wrinkle are noses and immediately take on an attitude of skepticism. God, you want me to do WHAT? Why? When? NOW?!? 

Is God calling you to change something in your life today? Perhaps change a habit? Turn away from sin? Be more courageous in sharing your faith? Start small. Submit to Him and embrace the change. Make your own version of avocado chocolate mousse, even if the ingredients He gives you don’t really seem to fit perfectly together. Trust our Master Chef. Be  obedient and take a step of faith to answer His call of change… If you do, He might just reward us with an experience that is smoother, richer and more incredible than that avocado chocolate mousse.

Satisfied by His Recipe for my life,

SGK

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” –Romans 12:2 (MSG) 

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Redefining Balance

Balance. It can be such a “heavy” word. (Pun intended.)

2013 is looking like it could be a shake-up year– not in a bad way, but with a new (aka our first) baby on the way and 2,800 mile move per duty station change looming quickly there after, things could get interesting.

Perhaps you are facing a similar year. (Or had one of those last year.) We aren’t facing our future with fear– which we are thrilled about– but rather just awareness that this might not be easy.

However. It will be worth it. Of THAT we are confident!

As I was pondering the glory of God in the future (so excited!) the idea of “balance” kept resurfacing. This subconscious thought/concern with maintaining balance in our lives was brought to my attention as I was being coached for my spiritual leadership coaching certification by my dear friend Susan.

Between her and Jesus, I learned some pretty profound truths. And maybe, just maybe, they apply to you.

See, we are all faced with the world’s ideal of what “balance” truly is… Keeping everything in order, all things being equal. Minimizing changes, giving the same amount of time, dedication and heart to all things in our life. And usually we think of that in “small picture language” aka, what happens in a day’s time frame.

My heart concern was figuring out how to “balance” having a baby, moving across the country, all while still doing ministry, being a strong wife, a solid follower in Christ, getting back into shape etc, etc… However, Susan challenged me to redefine what “balance” really meant from a heavenly perspective.

And here’s what I came up with– or rather what Jesus revealed to me.

He gave me a couple of visual images… The first one I scribbled in my journal… then recreated on my iPad, freehand for purposes of this post. (Don’t judge my lack of artistic abilities. My forte is ministry and writing. Not DoodlePad drawing. 🙂 )

DoodleBuddyiPad Balance

Now, before you completely check out per my terrible freehand skills, let me explain this image. It is a scale-balance thingymajig. On either side of the scale are the “things” and influencing factors in life… Specifics could be changing seasons, good (or not so good) circumstances, feelings, people, emotions– you get the picture. From a worldly perspective, we sometimes end up standing on either side, our hearts being driven by the circumstances or emotions. THAT is when we end up unbalanced.

But the image that God gave me was this: Those “sides” are always going to be bouncing up and down, moving all over the place. HOWEVER… That middle point of this scale (called the fulcrum, for all you physics/sciencey folks) is ALWAYS stable no matter what is going on at either end. God is to be my fulcrum. My word for 2013 is STAND… So if I stand on the fulcrum, I keep my balance. No. Matter. What. God is the foundation– and the SOURCE of true balance.

Pretty cool huh??

The other image He gave me was even simpler, yet just as profound. (Sorry, no freehand scribble for this one.) I saw a balance beam, like used in gymnastics. And in order to keep my balance, all I had to do was keep ahold of His hand. (He was my spotter.)

Talk about a redefinition of balance! Balance isn’t when all things are equal or treated the same or constant. Instead, it is when we are STANDING on a solid surface– like God as our fulcrum in the scales… Or holding His hand as we walk along the balance beam path He has laid out for us.

What is your definition of balance? Do you struggle with it in life? In what areas? How does this “new” definition of balance change your perspective? Be bold and let me know in the comment section below.

Here’s to keeping our balance with Him,
SGK

“Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making.” ~Proverbs 16:11

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One is Enough: A Personal Reminder

You never know… your ONE act of love might be more than ENOUGH to change someone’s life.

Ministry is HARD. Heck, who I am I kidding– LIFE is hard!! And exhausting. And confusing. Yet depending on how we live our lives– it can be incredibly rewarding.

As I was driving to work yesterday, my heart was heavy… My Facebook ministry page was ticking me off, because FB decided to start filtering who sees what posts. Which means sometimes only 10% of followers will see these posts unless I literally PAY to promote it.

But I digress. SIGH.

I was thinking… “Lord, does this really matter? What am I working for? Is it worth it?”

Suddenly, God reminded me of a post I wrote last May with a flash of this statement…

“SHARITA… ONE. IS. ENOUGH.”

So today, I wanted to remind myself (and you, if you happen to be in a similar place!) that when it comes to following Christ and loving others… ONE IS ENOUGH. Here is our lil reminder… Enjoy!

***********

Husbands can be pretty useful creatures. They are great jar-openers, heavy lifters, huggers, patience-builders, grillers, laugh-inducers, Jesus-leaders, eye-roll-causers… You can probably add a few of your own to this list.

Mine, in particular, is a great perspective-keeper.

My beloved helps me to keep things in perspective. He is a great big-picture thinker. (A skill that I sometimes lack.) My type-A firstborn personality lends to me wanting to do BIG things… but He always keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep a clear focus.

Let me give you an example. Several weeks ago when we were first contacted by the Fort Benning Bayonet to do a story on our Factor of 7 Latte Love,  I was super-duper excited. Wow!! The Fort Benning Bayonet wants to do a story on the 7 Days Time ministry?!!? SUH-WEET!

I obviously told them YES. But before you could say “Make it a Grande,” either my fleshy-firstborn self or The Enemy (or a combo of both) snuck into my head. I blurted out my thought to Brandon. “I don’t want to get too excited. I mean, will it REALLY make a difference?”

That sweet man of mine raised an eyebrow, lovingly put his hand on my arm and said, “Sharita… if only one person reads that article and is moved by it… Then one is enough.”

Touché, husband. Touché.  Talk about keeping perspective.

ONE IS ENOUGH. That is powerful. So we went ahead with the story, pressing forward for Jesus. And in typical God-fashion, the Lord went above and beyond.

I know for a fact that AT LEAST one person was impacted by that article. I won’t get into details, but we received an incredible heart-wrenching prayer-request email from a soldier due to that article. I did some research and as far as I can tell, The Bayonet prints somewhere (ish?) between 22,000 to 26,000 copies on a weekly basis. Granted not all of them are read… but does it really matter?  ONE IS ENOUGH.

7 Days Time Ministry has been up and running for 88 days. That is about 7,603,200 seconds. With each article, prayer, blog post and comment… God is at work. If a single person has been positively impacted by this ministry, then it has been a success. One is enough.

But great news… We worship a God of abundance– and He is blessing this ministry abundantly. PRAISE JESUS!  The Latte Love Factor of 7 post inspired a ministry follower to do the same thing in her home town in Minnesota… She took $107 and bought/coffee lunch for the patrons who came through the line, even when here family finances weren’t exceptionally abundant  at the time. Mandy’s mission of Helping Hands & Burgers for Babies reached her goal of over $2500 to purchase a table for the preemie benefit in Fort Worth. That soldier who emailed us to share his story and now my husband and I continue to pray for him.

One is enough, folks. You CAN make a difference right where you are. Starting NOW. Pray for God to reveal to you how He has called you to share His love. We don’t have to change the world by spending a bajillion dollars or quitting our jobs to enter ministry full time. We just need to be obedient– and Jesus will do the changing.

I don’t know where this ministry is headed tomorrow, next week or 5 years from now. But if this ministry has impacted just a single person, then I shall leave you with the words of my beloved husband: “One is Enough.” YOU can do the same!!

Praising The ONE who IS Enough,
SGK

“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” –1 John 3:18 (GNT)

PS: How is Christ working in your life? Is He calling you to share His love? We would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.

PSS: Have you been moved by this ministry? If so, subscribe via email at the top of the right sidebar to receive daily posts to your inbox. To learn more about how to make a difference in small (or big) ways in the name of Jesus, check out the updated Factor of 7 tab at the top of this page. Oh, and don’t be shy about commenting and/or sharing this ministry with your friends via Facebook, Twitter etc. Remember… ONE IS ENOUGH! May God bless you abundantly 🙂

*******

Addendum for today… Turns out the article in the Bayonet about this ministry DID make a difference… We were able to minister to several folks in ways that we couldn’t have possibly imagined or sought out in our own strength. Wow. Thanks, Jesus. YOU ROCK.

Categories: blessings, challenge, change, Christ, Factor of 7, giving, humility, husband, Lesson, little things, ministry, obedience, servant evangelism, serving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Embracing Change: Take it to the Bank (Guest Post)

My feet gently hit the pavement, in rhythm with the tiny “click, clack” of puppy paws. Although my mind wonders, my eyes are focused. They scan the horizon and then dart back to the ground. Just as we round the last block, a bright glint catches in my eye… there it is…

***

Today I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to guest post for one of my dear online (AND in real life!) friends, Tracy Steel. Here’s a few things to know about Tracy:

  1. She loves Jesus
  2. She is awesome
  3. Her ministry, One Degree Ministries, is incredible
  4. She is hilarious
  5. She is also a military wife
  6. She is a Kansas native
  7. AND… She is a K-State alumni.

As you can see per the list above, we were automatically kindred spirits when we first “met” online… and things just exploded (in a good way) when we got to meet IRL (in real life) this past summer. I love this gal and am so thankful to guest post over at her place today. Check out the rest of the post all about embracing change by clicking here.

Oh, and you know the drill. Don’t be shy about leaving comments here and there. We love feedback!

Here’s to embracing change (and awesome friends. And you can take THAT to the bank!

Changing in the name of Jesus,

SGK

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~James 1:17

Categories: change, guest post | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

One is Enough

You never know… your ONE act of love might be more than ENOUGH to change someone’s life.

Husbands can be pretty useful creatures. They are great jar-openers, heavy lifters, huggers, patience-builders, grillers, laugh-inducers, Jesus-leaders, eye-roll-causers… You can probably add a few of your own to this list.

Mine, in particular, is a great perspective-keeper.

My beloved helps me to keep things in perspective. He is a great big-picture thinker. (A skill that I sometimes lack.) My type-A firstborn personality lends to me wanting to do BIG things… but He always keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep a clear focus.

Let me give you an example. Several weeks ago when we were first contacted by the Fort Benning Bayonet to do a story on our Factor of 7 Latte Love,  I was super-duper excited. Wow!! The Fort Benning Bayonet wants to do a story on the 7 Days Time ministry?!!? SUH-WEET!

I obviously told them YES. But before you could say “Make it a Grande,” either my fleshy-firstborn self or The Enemy (or a combo of both) snuck into my head. I blurted out my thought to Brandon. “I don’t want to get too excited. I mean, will it REALLY make a difference?”

That sweet man of mine raised an eyebrow, lovingly put his hand on my arm and said, “Sharita… if only one person reads that article and is moved by it… Then one is enough.”

Touché, husband. Touché.  Talk about keeping perspective.

ONE IS ENOUGH. That is powerful. So we went ahead with the story, pressing forward for Jesus. And in typical God-fashion, the Lord went above and beyond.

I know for a fact that AT LEAST one person was impacted by that article. I won’t get into details, but we received an incredible heart-wrenching prayer-request email from a soldier due to that article. I did some research and as far as I can tell, The Bayonet prints somewhere (ish?) between 22,000 to 26,000 copies on a weekly basis. Granted not all of them are read… but does it really matter?  ONE IS ENOUGH.

7 Days Time Ministry has been up and running for 88 days. That is about 7,603,200 seconds. With each article, prayer, blog post and comment… God is at work. If a single person has been positively impacted by this ministry, then it has been an success. One is enough.

But great news… We worship a God of abundance– and He is blessing this ministry abundantly. PRAISE JESUS!  The Latte Love Factor of 7 post inspired a ministry follower to do the same thing in her home town in Minnesota… She took $107 and bought/coffee lunch for the patrons who came through the line, even when here family finances weren’t exceptionally abundant  at the time. Mandy’s mission of Helping Hands & Burgers for Babies reached her goal of over $2500 to purchase a table for the preemie benefit in Fort Worth. That soldier who emailed us to share his story and now my husband and I continue to pray for him.

One is enough, folks. You CAN make a difference right where you are. Starting NOW. Pray for God to reveal to you how He has called you to share His love. We don’t have to change the world by spending a bajillion dollars or quitting our jobs to enter ministry full time. We just need to be obedient– and Jesus will do the changing.

I don’t know where this ministry is headed tomorrow, next week or 5 years from now. But if this ministry has impacted just a single person, then I shall leave you with the words of my beloved husband: “One is Enough.” YOU can do the same!!

Praising The ONE who IS Enough,
SGK

“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” –1 John 3:18 (GNT)

PS: How is Christ working in your life? Is He calling you to share His love? We would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment here!

PSS: Have you been moved by this ministry? If so, subscribe via email at the top of the right sidebar to receive daily posts to your inbox. To learn more about how to make a difference in small (or big) ways in the name of Jesus, check out the updated Factor of 7 Page. Oh, and don’t be shy about commenting and/or sharing this ministry with your friends via Facebook, Twitter etc. Remember… ONE IS ENOUGH! May God bless you abundantly 🙂

Categories: blessings, challenge, change, Christ, Factor of 7, faith, humility, husband, Lesson, little things, ministry, obedience, servant evangelism, serving | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Change and Chocolate Mousse

I’ve always heard that change is inevitable… except from a vending machine. Ain’t that the truth? (Yes, I said ain’t. I’m being grammatically lazy today.)

Change IS going to happen in all parts of life: family, weather, jobs, circumstances, finances, our age… everything. If it is such a common occurence, why do we fear it so much?

I know people personally that will go out of their way avoiding change, even tiny changes that involve finagling schedules or trying a new restaurant. That must be exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong. I love stability and consistency. I sometimes struggle with the ever-changing “plans” of the army, our future, our life. But I love the adventure of experiencing something new!

The other day, a friend here at Fort Benning emailed me a new recipe… It sounded extremely bizarre, and even my adventurous “I will taste anything once” self was a bit skeptical.

The recipe was for avocado chocolate mousse.

Say what??

That’s right. Avocado chocolate mousse. I like avocados. I LOVE chocolate. But together?  As a a female, I thrive on opportunities to eat seemingly fancy foods that are easy to prepare and relatively healthy.

So I decided to try it. I was going over to a friend’s house for Valentine’s Day since my husband is away doing army stuff and her hubby was working. Instead of eating an entire bag of Dove Chocolate to satisfy my V-Day semi-solo self, I thought I would give this avocado chocolate mousse a try.

It took a whopping 4 minutes to prepare. I made a “half batch” of the following recipe.

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup agave nectar (I used honey) 
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cup open avocados and scoop out the insides. Combine with other ingredients and blend until smooth.

And guess what? Even though I was apprehensive, it was AWESOME. For real. It is super rich, so the half batch essentially made four generous servings. We paired it with strawberries and blueberries. You would have thought we were eating a $30 dessert on some fancy island somewhere.

Strawberries, blueberries and yes, AVOCADO chocolate mousse. Best. Dessert. Ever.

Here’s the kicker… I wouldn’t have known what I was missing if I didn’t take that chance to change things up a bit. What was the worst that could happen? So it could have tasted like poo and I would have thrown it out… Big whoop. (Not that I am a proponent of wasting food. I try to be a good steward.)

As I was indulging in this decadent and healthy dessert, I couldn’t help but thing about all the changes that God puts into our lives for a reason. Like the mousse, the “idea” might make us wrinkle are noses and immediately take on an attitude of skepticism. God, you want me to do WHAT? Why? When? NOW?!? 

Is God calling you to change something in your life today? Perhaps change a habit? Turn away from sin? Be more courageous in sharing your faith? Start small. Submit to Him and embrace the change. Make your own version of avocado chocolate mousse, even if the ingredients He gives you don’t really seem to fit perfectly together. Trust our Master Chef. Be  obedient and take a step of faith to answer His call of change… If you do, He might just reward us with an experience that is smoother, richer and more incredible than that avocado chocolate mousse.

Satisfied by His Recipe for my life,

SGK

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” –Romans 12:2 (MSG) 

Categories: change, changes, chocolates, food, God | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Army of God: "Frago"

“Yeah that sounds great… Do you still want to meet at the mall? <ssrrrrtttpppp> Wait are you there? <psssrrrrrrrrkkkkktttt> Can you hear me? <ttttsssssssffffff> Hello? Hello? HELLO? <beep beep… call dropped.>

Sigh. Just typing that one-sided conversation above raises my blood pressure a bit. But we’ve all be there– we have plans, think we know what is going on, then beep, beep, call dropped. Were our plans staying the same or was our compadre on the other end about to share a new idea with us? OR someone calls very last minute and either cancels or completely changes the game plan. Frustrating, huh?

So today’s dropped cell phone conversation and change of plans is brought to you by the word “Frago.” It means “Fragmentation order” which essentially deals with a last minute change of plans (aka breaking original orders)  especially when carrying out an operation or previously determined path. (If you get nothing else from today’s post, you at least have a cool word to say… seriously, pronounce it outloud… FRAGO. Funny.

As a drill sergeant’s wife, we have a lot of “frago” in our house sometimes. In the army… and with God.

Frago follows right along with the other discussions we have been having this week about obedience and trust. Now we add change into the mix. If you would have asked me about my original plans five years ago, I can guarantee it wouldn’t have sounded like this:

“In five years, I will be married to a soldier and working in ministry. We will live in Georgia and have a puppy. Oh, and I will have gotten my masters and my husband will be an Iowa boy who currently serves as a drill sergeant and plans to make a career out of the military.”

Uh, yeah, no.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful for the path God has put me on to get me here. As much as a joke about the military, I really do love our life. We are blessed. But honestly,  I feel like our lives are one big “Frago.”

Is your life a little frago too? I am going to guess the answer is probably yes. You had ideas of where you wanted to go and how you wanted to get there, then our Upstairs Commander put the whoa on that and took you in a completely different direction. Change of plans. See? Frago!

Maybe you are in the middle of a big Frago or your life (like mine) is a bunch of little fragos all jumbled together… you might be wondering what in the name of chocolate cake God is going to do with you. Maybe your communication with Him is a little fuzzy and you can’t quite make that “cell phone” connection clear.

Don’t fret, dear reader. Every change you experience in life is all part of “THE PLAN.” No, we don’t have the notes or the completely order of operations in front of us. But we do have an awesome God that we can trust with all our heart.

So don’t fear frago… feed off it!

Changed by God,

SGK

“He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”– Daniel 2:21

Categories: challenge, change, listen, obedience, trust | Leave a comment

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