Faith, Family, Uncategorized

21

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Twenty-one years ago this sweet baby made me a mom. April 19th, 1999 changed my life forever. I had the privilege of giving birth to this amazing human. Dylan Joseph came into our world and made it full. He was the person we’d been waiting to meet, we just didn’t know it.

We had a few years of just being a couple before the exciting news of a pregnancy changed everything. With great anticipation we decorated the nursery, and took those birthing classes, and did all the usual things new parents-to-be do.

Nothing really prepares you for being a mom though. Sure, I asked my mom questions and talked with other new moms. I read a few books. It was all this very wonderful dream come true.

When the day arrived for Dylan’s birth I was nervous and excited. Once I laid eyes on him that was it for me. It was a done deal. This precious one had my heart and he still does. He’ll always be my baby, even if he is 6′ 5″. Doesn’t matter. Both my boys will always have my heart.

So my perfect baby is now a full grown man. How did that happen? Where did the time go?

When I was pregnant with Dylan other moms would say, “Treasure each moment. It goes by so fast”. I didn’t think very much of their words at the time. I was just happy to be a mom and hold my little baby. Twenty-one years later, those women were right. It’s gone. All of it.

No more baby. No more toddler. No more little boy. No more teenager. He’s a man.

Dylan is a wonderful person. I’m not just saying that. He’s the kind of person you want to hang out with. He is fun loving, kind, thoughtful, hardworking, driven, creative, smart, easy going, and just an incredible human being.

And yes he’s handsome, but it’s who he is that makes him so attractive. Dylan’s heart is big for the hurting.

A couple of years ago he was working in Houston at a computer repair shop. He had a short commute that involved seeing some of our city’s homeless people. I found out later that Dylan would hand out his lunch to the homeless on the way to work each day.

I wish my husband and I could take full credit for his character. We have influenced him, and we pray he takes the good stuff from us, and ditches the bad. But it wasn’t all from us. It took three of us to raise him, mom, dad and Jesus.

Dylan loves Jesus and that makes this mama happy!

I had the joy of leading Dylan to the Lord when he was five. He’s never looked back. It’s his relationship with Christ, not mine. He inspires me with his faith.

“To live like Jesus. To serve others and to put others first.” ~Dylan

Those words are not just a nice saying to Dylan. That’s his view of his faith and what it means to be a Christian.

I am grateful to know such a special person. I love spending time with him. I love talking with him and getting his view on anything. He is hilarious and can do the best impersonations. He brings so much joy to our family and we are blessed to call him son.

Happy 21st birthday Dylan! You are a great treasure to us. Our lives are rich having you in them.

“Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
children, a reward.” (Psalm 127:3, HCSB)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Holy Spirit, Jesus, Uncategorized

From Glory to Glory

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This caterpillar has been hanging out on my parsley for several days. They are sometimes called parsley caterpillars. Soon, it will form it’s cocoon, and emerge as an eastern black swallowtail butterfly. It’s going to be fun to watch the transformation. I’m eagerly awaiting the beautiful butterfly that will appear.

Yes, this caterpillar is eating my parsley right now. It’s not going to make a dent though. My parsley is the size of a shrub, so there’s plenty to spare. It will be worth it to have a butterfly that is both gorgeous, and useful to help with pollinating. I wonder if this little creature knows what’s coming.

If he knew he was about to get some amazing wings, maybe he would hurry into his cocoon.

I feel like this caterpillar at times. Completely content with where I’m at. Just hanging out and thinking everything is just fine. I don’t want God to shake things up by putting me in a cocoon. That sounds terrible. Can’t I just hang out and eat parsley all day with sunshine on my back?

God won’t allow me to stay where I’m at. He sees things I cannot. God knows everything, and knows what going into the cocoon will do for me. God wants me to get those beautiful wings and fly.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior, that’s just the beginning. God wants us to be like Jesus. Live like Him. Love like Him. Forgive like Him. Follow the Father like Him.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NIV) 

 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2, NIV)

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6, NIV)

Yes I want to be more like Jesus, but that’s a tall order. On my own, that’s impossible.

This transformation happens through the power of the Holy Spirit in each believer. I have zero ability to become like Jesus in my own strength. It would be phony. A fully surrendered life to Jesus brings that transforming power.

We get saved by grace through faith in Jesus, and then He begins to work on us. Clean us up. Heal us. Set us free. It’s not easy work though. It can be quite painful. There are times when we have to go into the cocoon and wait, and be transformed.

We get impatient. Restless. It’s too hard. We try to break out of the cocoon too early.

When we trust God and His transforming work in us, we get the most lovely wings. We end up a little more like Jesus each time. There will be lots of cocoons in our lifetimes before we end up in the ultimate glorious place, heaven.

He’s changing us. So hold on to Him. Be patient and trust the tramsformative work He is doing.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB)

Love you all,
Meghan

 

Faith, Trials, Uncategorized

Every Act of Kindness Is Big

Last week I was shopping at my local Aldi. I got there when they opened in search of water and maybe some toilet paper. My expectations were low. There was no water or toilet paper to be found. I asked the manager when the next shipment was arriving.

“Later that morning”, he said. “I have two packages of toilet paper in the back. Do you want them?”

Absolutely!

Once he loaded the t.p. in my cart, I made sure to ask the two women near me if they needed any.  They both were O.K., and on the hunt for paper towels.

The manager then said to me, “Give me your cell number. I will hold water for you once the shipment arrives and I’ll text you when it’s ready.”

Say what? Kindess? You mean I don’t have to wrestle someone for water?

A few hours later I recieved a text from the store manager that my water was ready. It was a good thing he saved it for me. As soon as the water was put out, it was gone within minutes.

This act may seem small. In the grand scheme of things it is. In that moment, it was a big deal for me. God bless that kind manager. He didn’t have to do that. But, he did.

In God’s economy kindess matters. We are given opportunities every single day to make a difference. Sometimes they seem small, almost insignificant. God knows the big picture. One act of kindness can change someones day, even their entire outlook on life.

In the book of Acts we can see one very small verse, with one very simple act of kindness. Paul is being transported on a ship to Rome to appeal to Caeser. Read Acts to get the entire incredible story. Anyway, there’s a massive storm and ultimately they run the ship aground. Everyone bails out and gets to shore on the island of Malta.

“The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.” (Acts 28:2, NIV)

276 men had been at sea in a terrifying storm for two weeks. When they arrive on the shore of an unknown island they were met by kind islanders who had built a fire to warm them in the cold and rain. Sounds like no big deal. It’s one verse, and most of us are focused on every other part of this amazing story, that we miss the kindness of the islanders.

God used the islanders to bless these men, including Paul, after surviving a horrific storm.

God wants to use you today. It may seem small, but it’s not. We are looking for some big, grand gesture. And sometimes we get those chances to participate in the larger, flashier blessings. Those are very important too. I’m talking about the seemingly small daily things. The little things that can have a massive ripple effect for something larger.

Thanking the grocery store workers who are working tirelessly right now.

Giving another customer your package of toilet paper from your cart.

Checking on elderly friends and neighbors.

Praying for those infected with the virus and their families.

Praying for the doctors, nurses and all hospital staff who are putting themselves in harms way to save lives.

Thank your pastor who feels all the responsibility and stress to care for their hurting flock. Pray for them too!

The list is infinite.

God has opportunites set up just for you so He can use you. We get to be a part of what God is doing. He wants to use regular people like you and me to bless others. No act of kindness is too small or too big. If there is an oportunity to bless another human being, take it. Ask God to open your eyes and soften your heart to those who might need some help or a kind word. We can make a difference.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31, NIV)

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

 

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

 

 

Faith, Food, Uncategorized

Sheet Pan Italian Chicken

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It’s easier to find some chicken at the stores right now than toilet paper. Though I hope you have plenty of both. I also hope and pray that you and your family are healthy and well. These are uncertain times, but God is bigger than coronavirus. He will get us through this. 

And yes, people are going a wee bit crazy. Panic buying. We’ve all seen the empty toilet paper shelves, among other essentials. Let’s all take a collective deep breath together. That’s better. We are going to make it, by the grace of God. Yes, it’s tough right now with so many unknowns, but God knows. We can trust God completely. So, keep your head up, your hope fixed on Jesus, and know this will end. 

You may be cooking more than usual lately, and I want to help you out. This super simple chicken dinner is fantastic. Veggies and meat are cooked together in one pan. Easy and nutritious.  Your kids will love it. Your spouse will love it. Your family will praise you for making such yummy food. 

If you’ve already got some chicken in the freezer then all you will need is some fresh green beans and Roma tomatoes. Or, you can swap out the vegetables for ones you’ve got on hand. I’ve been able to get fresh produce at my local grocery store, and I hope you can as well. The fresh veggies make this dish so appetizing. 

Get your kids involved by having them trim the ends of the green beans, or help measure the ingredients for the marinade. My youngest son, who’s fourteen, usually cuts the green beans for me. Add a salad, some potatoes, or rice, and your meal is complete. Have fun with this one.

Happy Eating!

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

    of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

 

 

Sheet Pan Italian Chicken

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 Roma tomatoes

1 lb. fresh green beans

 

Marinade

1 cup olive oil

⅓ cup balsamic vinegar

6 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. Basil

1 tsp. salt   

½ tsp. black pepper

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and spray a large sheet pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together the ingredients for the marinade. Set aside.
  3. Trim the ends off the green beans and slice the tomatoes lengthwise into 4 to 6 pieces each. Place the vegetables in a large freezer bag.
  4. Place the chicken in a large freezer bag. Pour half the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and move the chicken around to give it an even coat. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours. 
  5. Pour the remaining marinade over the vegetables and let that sit on the counter. (Place the vegetables in the refrigerator if you plan to cook several hours later).
  6. Set your chicken on the counter for about 20 minutes before you put it in the oven.
  7. Place chicken on the sheet pan first, then fit the veggies around the chicken. Throw out the excess marinade. Sprinkle salt and pepper on everything before it goes in the oven. 
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.

 

Notes

  • Use cherry tomatoes instead of Romas.
  • Experiment with different vegetables.
  • Add fresh parsley when it comes out of the oven.

 

 

Get this delicous recipe and all of my recipes at Mustard Seed Sentinel. Go to the “More” tab and scroll down to “Meghan’s Corner”.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-sheet-pan-italian-chicken

Faith, Trials, Uncategorized

This Too Shall Pass

This is the verse from Proverbs. No, it must be from Psalms. That’s not it either. This too shall pass is not in the Bible. Many of us assume it’s found in the Bible because it sounds like something right out of the Old Testament. My mom said it often. Maybe your mom said it too. My mom said it because she had to deal with really difficult circumstances throughout her life. She learned that she would get through, by the grace of God. You are going to make it too!

In such a stressful time full of so many unknowns I see so much good. Families are spending more time together. No practice. No running out the door to go to school, or anywhere. Many are now either working from home or have been laid off. I’m not saying being laid off is good, but the free time is. A giant pause button was hit on our lives around the world.  

We have some extra time to just be. We are so busy doing that we have forgotten the importance of just being. The love God has for each of us is not based on what we can accomplish in a day. God’s love for us has no strings attached. God loves us right where we are at, just as we are. We can’t earn His love. God offers His love freely to us. 

If your life has been radically interrupted like most of us around the globe, use this time to spend with the Lord. Just be with Him. Ask Him the hard questions, He’s got answers if we’re ready to listen. Do you know Him? He already knows everything about you. Do you know Jesus as your savior? 

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”( John 14:6, NIV)

This time of crisis will end. Let’s make the most of being stuck at home. Have fun with your kids or grandkids. Stay in your p.j’s because you can. Turn off the news now and then and watch something funny. Laughter is a fantastic stress reliever. Take a social media break. Maybe choose one day where you don’t go online. Read a book. Take a walk. Pray often. Read your Bible. Check on elderly friends and neighbors. 

Our lives seem to go from one responsibility to the next, and sometimes with little or no break between. When was the last time you had nowhere to go? When was the last time you sat for more than five minutes? I’m talking to all of us that are always doing and have forgotten to just be. 

We’ll have plenty to do soon enough. Take it each day. That’s all we can do. Trust God who is completely worthy of trust. If you start to worry, stop and pray. Give those worries to the Father. He can handle it. 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

This too shall pass. This crisis will end. I know the restrictions are getting tighter in some places but let’s do our part. Follow the guidelines the best you can. Be patient. It will end. God will carry you through. Trust Him. Lean on Him. Cry out to Him. He’s got you!

We’re all in this together. Rich, poor, famous, and regular folks like me have to follow the same restrictions to help combat the coronavirus. We can do this! We will make it!

Be wise. Be discerning. Trust God.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”(1 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

Love you all,

Meghan 

 

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you that you are faithful and trustworthy. We can fully rely on you to carry us through hard times. Give us your peace when we start to worry. Give us your presence when we feel alone. Give us your protection when we feel afraid. Help us to make the best use of our time and learn what we need to out of this crisis. Help us to come out of this better, stronger, and with bigger faith. We thank you and praise you!

Amen

 

If you need prayer please email me!

Faith, Trials, Uncategorized

Keep Calm and Carry On

This iconic message, recognized globally, was originally designed by the British Ministry of Information in 1939. Before England had entered the war they were prepping for the worst. The British government was expecting a massive aerial attack from the German’s at the onset of war. The blitz didn’t start until about a year later. Keep Calm and Carry On was stored away to be used when things got really bad for England. The poster never came out of storage and was forgotten. About 60 years after the end of WWII an original poster was discovered in the bottom of a box from a book auction. 

The book shop owner displayed the poster and started reproducing and selling copies. Keep Calm and Carry On just took off after that first copy was found. The copyright is expired so that’s why we see so many variations of Keep Calm and Carry On.

The intent of the message was to reassure people during WWII. To create a mindset. To persevere. To be resolute. Determined. The first German air raid on London lasted for 57 consecutive nights. Bombings, night after night. 

Though this poster was never used during the war, I can only imagine what people in London experienced. Keep Calm and Carry On sends a message to the enemy and to yourself. We refuse to give in to fear. We’re going to make it, no matter how bad things get.

This poster immediately came to my mind as panic sets in around the world with the threat of coronavirus. Here in America store shelves are being emptied of water and of all things, toilet paper. The only other time I’ve seen it worse at the stores is when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Everything was empited at the stores, everything. 


All things may appear to be completely out of control. Please be assured God is still in control.

God is always on the throne.

God is not surprised by the virus.

God is not fearful or overwhelmed.

God is faithful.

God is completely trustworthy.

God loves you.

Most of us know the story of Job in the Bible. Job was a Godly man.

“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” (Job 1:1, ESV)

Job had seven sons and three daughters. He had servants, and tons of animals. Job was blessed and respected. 

 “so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” (Job 1:3b, ESV)

God allowed Satan to test Job. He ends up losing his children, his animals, his servants and everything in between. Yet Job never cursed God. (Spoiler alert: Job gets back twice as much as he had before.)

The Lord speaks to Job.

 

Where were you when I established the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
What supports its foundations?
Or who laid its cornerstone
while the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Who enclosed the sea behind doors
when it burst from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and thick darkness its blanket,
10 when I determined its boundaries
and put its bars and doors in place,
11 when I declared: “You may come this far, but no farther;
your proud waves stop here”?

12 Have you ever in your life commanded the morning
or assigned the dawn its place, 

(Job 38:4-12, HCSB)

I have never made a planet, or a star, or the moon. I don’t even have the capabilities to create anything even close to that. I am not God. There is one God and He made everything and He holds it all together. Nothing surprises Him. 

We are all going to make it through the coronavirus. Let me give it the scientific name, COVID-19. Now I feel really smart. 

As Christians we can shine our light by keeping calm and carrying on. Let’s not panic. Keep trusting the One who holds it all together. And if you’re feeling afraid, cry out to Him. God loves you so much, and wants to comfort you, and give you His perfect peace.

Keep calm and carry on!

 

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:10, NIV)

 

Love you all,

Meghan 

 

 

 

Dear Lord,

You are the perfect Father. Your love and care for us is overwhelming. Please give peace to your children right now. For those who have the virus, please heal them. Stop it’s spread. Please end this quickly Lord. For those who don’t know you as Savior, draw them to you. Save them. Help us all to do our part to be wise and discerning. To follow your leading, and to keep trusting you. Provide basic needs, proper healthcare, and finances wherever it’s needed. You promise to provide all of our needs and you always do. Give wisdom to local, national, and international leaders. Thank you Lord. We trust you.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Please email me if you need prayer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

The Opposite of Fear

mountain beside body of water with aurora borealis

I remember the nightlight in the bedroom that my little sister and I shared. With five kids, it was helpful that the two youngest could share a room. I loved that blue bedroom. The carpet was dark blue, so my mom made the best of it and sewed matching blue bedspreads and curtains. Underneath my little vanity table was a nightlight. We could not sleep without it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the nightlight, but my sister was afraid of the dark, so I tolerated the light.

It’s funny how during the day our room was so cheery, with our stuffed animals and toys. It was a happy spot where we played and created make believe worlds. At night, the room could appear scary. The exact same room that we were in just hours before, happily playing, became a fearful place in the dark. As soon as we switched our nightlight on, everything was OK.

That tiny little light illuminated all the shadows and possible monsters. Suddenly, we saw our stuffed animals smiling back at us. We could sleep in peace. The exact same space in the dark and the light, appeared completely different at night in our little kid brains. That’s where imagination takes off. Those creative ideas we had during the day for play, became the stuff of potential nightmares at night.

We live in a time of great fear. With so much knowledge at our fingertips, maybe too much, fear can take hold. Some of those fears are legimate and some are not. I like to call it the “What if?” scenario.

What if I lose my job?

What if I lose my spouse?

What if I get hurt?

What if I get into an accident?

What if I get cancer?

What if … (fill in the blank)

What if. What if. What if.

All of those unknowns are in the dark. We can’t see the possible danger, but we can create potential negative outcomes in our head. Jesus is the light. We must follow Him and go where He leads as He lights our path. We don’t have to know everything, but we can fully trust the One who does.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, ESV)

How much do we actually have control over? Not much. I can control me and my repsonse to situations, circumstances, and people. As Christians we can fully rely on our savior, Jesus. He is my constant in the fear. He is the solid Rock. My foundation is sure in Christ. No matter the fear. No matter the “What if”. No matter the pain. No matter the trouble. No matter the trial.

Jesus is my protector.

Jesus is my provider.

Jesus is my comforter.

Jesus is my savior.

Jesus is my peace.

The opposite of fear is peace. I can have peace in storms, trials, and heartaches.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV)

Jesus gives us peace. He does not give us worry. He does not give us fear. He does not give us fret. The peace Jesus gives is not based on circumstances. Jesus’ peace is based on Him. 

Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV) 

You may be struggling with fear. It’s gripped you and there seems no way out. There is good news for you! There is a way out. Jesus is reaching out to you. He will carry you until you are strong enough to walk on your own. He can set you free from the fear. Give it all to Him, The Prince of Peace.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

We come boldly to your throne of grace. We need your peace in this crazy, broken world. Keep our eyes and hearts fixed on you. For all of those gripped with fear, may your perfect peace bring comfort and hope. Help us to follow your light, Jesus, where there is no darkness. We thank you and praise you!

Amen

 

Please send me an email if you need prayer!

 

 

 

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