Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy

60 million people have been effected by this storm. It is massive. I am so grateful to God that our family has been safe. I woke up this morning and looked out the window to see that my neighbors tree toppled over into their driveway, good thing no cars were hit. And looking into our backyard, a lot of work is to be done picking up debris and branches!

  I was only able to pick up some branches, I gave up because there was too much!

These neighbors took extra precautions to keep their trampoline from flying away.

Interestingly enough just a few days ago we were singing this with the Sunday School kiddos, unaware of what was to come:

The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came tumbling down

Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the wise man's house stood firm.

I realized how prophetic this song was as I read from Matthew 7 last night during the peak of the storm, Jesus said: 
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."

Do not get me wrong, I am not reffering that those who suffered damage to their homes are guilty of having the wrong foundation in life, because that I do not know. I just thought that it was ironic of God to have me read that exact passage last night as the wind was beating down on our house. Let us all take a moment to thank God for securing those who are safe and ask Him to provide for those who are suffering on account of this storm.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Coconut Macaroons


2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
14oz package shredded coconut (I used the whole pack)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the egg whites until peaks begin to form.
Gradually begin to add sugar.
Add vanilla and salt.
Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Stir in the coconut.
Drop the coconut onto a cookie sheet using a tablespoon.
Bake 18-20 minutes.
Garnish anyway you desire. I like putting them into colorful cupcake cups and drizzling with milk chocolate.  

*This is Lesya's recipe*

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Cross

"The cross of Jesus Christ is the signature symbol of the central event in the history of civilization. Yet today we depict the cross as common. Jewelers pound it into all sorts of finery so we can staple crosses to our ears and wear them around our necks. Merchandisers manufacture this symbol of unlimited atonement into fuzzy things for our rearview mirrors or decorations for our gardens. From tea
cups to t-shirts, people have used the cross to corner the market on crassness. Department stores hawk chocolate-covered crosses for Holy Week. Baseball players and businessmen cross themselves before a big moment. The cross itself has become big business, but it was never intended to be some lucky trinket. Making the cross common or cheap is profanity in the truest sense. Is it any surprise we have lost the wonder of what happened on Calvary?
 The resurrection of Christ was the event that accomplished salvation and verified Christ's victory over death, but it was the cross of Jesus Christ that showed us the grace of God. Everything that God wants us to know about Himself comes together in those crossbeams.

Our entire purpose in life is to elevate the Cross. Think on Jesus Christ nailed to the wood. In your mind's eye, picture Him stretched out against the sky. What's He doing up there? Answer: He's subbing for you and me. He's taking God's wrath for your sin. He's satisfying the just demands of a holy God. He's paying the price that God's holiness requires so that you and I can be forgiven. In the place where our blood should have stained the ground, Jesus hung as our substitute.

You can't understand the Gospel until you understand this idea of substitution. Jesus’ death was in the place of every person who has ever lived. I am in that line. You are too. Each of us deserves to die in punishment for our own sin, but Jesus stepped in and took that penalty for each of us."
Thanks Vitaliy B for sharing this!  
Photo Credit:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

To Those In the Valley

Why are you in this place? You do not understand.
  Waking up has become a chore. You feel like you are being crushed by a load.
Each day gets heavier and harder. Frankly, you do not know why.
  You cannot explain this simple state of drudgery. The valley is dark and lonely.
Your thoughts are constantly swirling round and round, you are lost in them.
 Peace does not exist. You turn off the music, but then the silence proves to be even louder.
  You think: Where do I stand? Where is my Savior?


My Child. That is who you are. My child. Formed by My hands. The breath of My life is in you. Remember the mountaintop where I showed you My glory? We grew as one, our hearts beat in unison. You saw My power. That is why you are now in the valley. I have lovingly placed you here. I desire to explain the vision to you, and I can only do this here. This is where your faithfulness is revealed. This is where I show you your true worth as My child.

Love, your Father.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 pinch ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

I did not think of this recipe! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Double-Layer-Pumpkin-Cheesecake-2/Detail.aspx

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pour Out

"She was desperate to see Jesus again, and she overheard someone saying that he was having dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee- a dinner she would never be invited to, not in a thousand years. Of course, she normally would have no interest in attending. But she had to see Jesus. It's hard to imagine what it would take for her to walk into that courtyard. But she was so focused on Jesus that she forgets about herself. She is desperate to express the love and affection she feels for Him. What she does next is reckless, it's impulsive, it's inappropriate, and it's exactly the kind of follower Jesus wants."

"Picture the scene. Jesus is reclining at the table.This woman approaches and stand at the filthy feet of Jesus. The table grows silent. Everybody is watching. Everybody knows who she is. What is she doing? She looks around at the guests. She feels from some that familiar glare of condemnation. Others keep their eyes down, embarrassed by her presence and the awkwardness of the moment. But when she looks at Jesus, He seems to know what has happened in her heart. He gives her a warm smile. He seems delighted that she has come, and He looks at her with the eyes of a loving father watching His beautiful daughter as she enters the room. She has never had a man look at her that way before. She is so undone by that that the tears come, just a few at first, and then more. She falls to the ground and begins to kiss His feet. Soon, the tears are just pouring down her face. They begin to drip onto the dirty feet of Jesus. As she looks at the muddy streaks she suddenly realizes that His feet haven't been washed. She can't ask for a towel, so she lets down her hair. In those days women always wore their hair up in public. For her woman to wear her hair down in front of a man that was not her husband was considered to be such an intimate expression that it was literally grounds for divorce. When she did this there was likely an audible gasp. She begins washing the feet of Jesus with her tears and drying them with her hair."

"Then Luke says she had an alabaster jar of ointment. Most likely this refers to a flask that was often worn around the neck as a kind of perfume for women. As you might guess, because of her profession, this flask was quite important. She had used it a drop at a time many, many times, for many men. But now she empties it. She just empties the whole thing out. She will not need it anymore. She pours this flask, her life, on His feet, and kisses them over and over."

-Not a Fan: Teen Edition: What it really means to be a follower by Kyle Idleman 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Those Stars are like a Rainbow

It is a simple group of seven stars. I remember the first time I found them. It was the night after that elementary school lesson about the "great, wide and unsearchable universe". Accomplishment. Joy. Pride. That's what I felt as I gazed up at the night sky. I felt like a grown up.

In high school I would learn more about this constellation. Throughout those years whenever I came home from coffee with the youth, or a late church service, I would stop and look. In my skirt, by my still closed garage, I would stand there in the darkness. Sometimes alone, sometimes with my sister. Just looking.

This summer I found myself halfway around the world, in Buryatia, Russia. Before crawling into the tent, or during a camp fire, I would look up. Finding that group of stars became something incredible. Sometimes all I needed was a glance, "this is the same big dipper in Rochester..." I would think.

The same stars can be located no matter the season, year or location.
 They remind me of God. Through them He gently says:
"Diana, I am the same forever and always."     
"I watch over those beautiful children in Russia."
"I am like that ladle, constantly pouring out my love for humankind."

So as I drove home last night, I saw the big dipper again.
I'm like Moses and the stars are like a rainbow.
God's voice proclaims His promise:
"I will not leave you, I love you abundantly, I am never ending, I am the great I AM."

The Big Dipper.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Torture, oh Torture!

Torture, oh torture!
Inside and out
My blood has been spilled
On the ground all about
No pain can compare
To the ache that I feel
My wounds are too deep,
They won't ever heal.

Torture, oh torture!
I gave you My heart
You threw it away
You tore it apart
Pretending that I
Was worth nothing to you
You treasured the old
And cast out the new.

Torture, oh torture!
I wanted to heal
You fled from My care
You wanted to steal
I mourned for My loss
I cried out your name
You left Me alone
With nothing but shame.

Torture, oh torture!
I offered you grace
You laughed at my tears
You spit in My face
They shouted and cheered
You joined in the throng
They wanted Me dead
You joined in the wrong.

And still My heart cried out to you.

Torture, oh torture!
My vision goes black
These nails bite My wrists
This cross burns My back
If only you knew
The truth of it then
If only for you I'd go through it again.

Thank you Myron Vasilik, for allowing me to share this poem.