I Am Baker

criticism and community

I was lolly gaging along on Pinterest and this popped up on my screen.

criticism kills community

see more from Ann Voskamp

Talk about convicting.

I am so guilty of jumping to criticism.  So guilty of letting a small hurt or an unintentional rejection lead me to a path of character destruction.

And when I say lead me, I fully mean that I lead myself, allow myself, to go to a place of criticism of others just to pacify my hurt feelings.

Most recently the discomfort stemmed from social events that I was not included in.

I can’t help but think:

I thought we were friends?  Is it my hair?  The car I drive?  My inability to keep silent for longer than 7 seconds?  My faith?

Do you know what I am doing? Rationalizing my perceived ‘rejection’.

It has to be “something wrong with me”.

judging others

When people are getting together they are not ‘rejecting’ me, they are simply living their lives in the best way they know how.  Quite frankly, it just has nothing to do with me.  (And honestly, if my exclusion is intentional, then isn’t it for the best that I am not there?)

I am just not comfortable judging others motives right now.  It’s far too easy to look at someone and think they they have it all, that they have everything I want in my life, that the grass is greener where they are.

I am only seeing their highlight reel.

Everyone has a story...

I think it’s safe to say that coffee dates and parties exist to strengthen the existing relationships these folks have, and if so, I am ALL about that!  We should be doing all we can to strengthen the bonds that already exist.

The idea of girlfriends (new and old) creating time to get together to discuss commonalities and support each other and to have fellowship is exactly the type of behavior we need more of.  That is what community is.

Here is where I have had enlightenment of late: While these things are the exact definition of exclusive, that is what they should be.

Where do I grow the most?  In a crowded room of 1000 acquaintances or in a small setting where individual voices are heard?  In the smaller group of course. (There is a time and place for large groups, it just depends on what you are seeking to learn.)

We all have friends and bonds that create a feel of exclusivity among others.  Just because a group of friends gets together does not mean it is at the expense of others, no matter how it feels.<— I need to remember that!

When I LOOK for ways to feel bad about others choices, I find them.

When I LOOK for ways to see contentment in others choices, well, I will find it.

Shine and Let Shine!

When I am thankful and grateful for the life I am living (not stuck in a place of jealously and envy) that is when I find myself understanding why people do what they do. Accepting. Understanding. Feeling content.

Feeling true contentment in my life has awakened a new love in me.  I am finding it easier (every single day as I am always trying to grow!) to accept people for who they are right where they are.

When I am focusing on loving the life I have, THAT is when opportunities find a way of presenting themselves. The RIGHT opportunities.  Some of these social get togethers are not right for me right now. God knows exactly where I need to be and where my focus needs to be.  (On HIS will, not my own!)

Grateful Joy

I choose to feel grateful that I have a family that needs me and allows me to grow with love.

I choose to feel joy for others when they get to experience relationships in a new and more cherished way.

I choose to be kind to others not because I want something in return, but because that is what enriches my soul.


Next time a situation comes up that I start to feel that twinge of jealousy or resentment over what others are doing I hope I am still in a place of acceptance.

Next time I irrationally jump to critical conclusions about others choices I hope one of my friends smacks me upside the head and reminds me to take note of my blessings.

But just in case I fall prey to the gossip and criticism that so quickly invade my brain, here is a great list of things that happy people do.

12 Important Things Happy People Do Differently

Tribute to Stephen Covey

Because I believe that living a good life is a choice and not a reflection of our circumstances, I know that I need to be intentional with my thoughts and actions.  This is my daily prayer… for me and you!

Gods Perfect Love

Please let me know how I can more specifically be in prayer for you.

I Am Baker

october things, and joy

I have a thing for sunrises.  There is something entirely magical and majestic about a kaleidoscope sky growing in intensity and whose light is ablaze against the dark tree skyline.

October Sunrise

With the water being balmy compared to the air in these cooler fall days, there is an etherial fog that lingers until the sun starts warming.

October Sunrise

Sunrises.  Pink streaked skies. Enveloping morning mists.

There is something to be said about nature and my relationship to God.  It is humbling to see the stunning beauty that is (seemingly) effortlessly created day after day, all to the delight and enchantment of this grateful servant.

October Pond

As the day progresses and the demand of little people and tasks forces my focus away from Him, I am so thankful for the reminders.

The afternoon sky glowing bright with cyan hues reflecting perfectly against the leafy pond.

October Fields

Autumn.  One of the things that keeps my heart endeared here, in Minnesota.  I get lost in the colors, the Grand Design.

October Ponds

Indebted to a hard working husband and a generous Savior, I have never known peace and contentment like I do here, on our land and home.

So many things have changed for me in the last 30 days, and all of them being significant life changes.  Those changes that shift a perspective or a alter a view of the way I am.

I have never felt such joy and peace in growth. Life is beautiful, even if it isn’t.

Some of it comes from a desire to change, but most of it comes from a God eager to help me follow His will.

October Puppy

The little things, the small business that keeps a day flowing, they bring contentment.  My puppy Dodger (an actual puppy no more, but his small size allows the description to fly) enjoying the sun in the middle of a dying forest.  He feels it too, I know.  The joy.

October Sunset

With dinner done and kids starting their nighttime routine, the sun makes her way below the tree tops.

That last few minutes of her descent, where every last ray is reaching into the shadows, that is my favorite.

It’s a forgiveness for every falter.  It’s a reminder to seek her out in the morning.

I just have to say, thank you.  Thank you for new friends.  Thank you for one of the most beautiful autumn transitions I can remember in years.  Thank you for loving teachers and mailmen and pastors.  Thank you for family who didn’t choose me, but makes the best of it.  Thank you to my patient and accepting and exceptional  husband.

Thank you for the grace of a Heavenly Father.

Praying (it is my greatest wish) that you too feel the love and joy and peace that only He can give.

I Am Baker

your name

whispering your name Jesus


“My Name is constantly abused in this world.  Some people use it carelessly, without even realizing they are talking about the Lord of Lords.  Other people use it as a curse word, which is an attack on who I am.  Every time my name is used, it is recorded in Heaven.  So when you say My Name in prayer, when you call out My Name is praise, when you whisper My Name in trust, My aching heart is soothed.  All the curses in the world are drowned out by a loving whisper… Jesus.  When you speak My Name in these ways, both you and I are blessed.”

I read this in Jesus Calling, 365 Devotionals for Kids by Sarah Young.

And I was simultaneously ashamed and convicted.

I don’t know about you, but today I am going to whisper His praises and name.  I want the King of Kings to be blessed by my words and to hear my appreciation with every loving thought.


From the Worship Project, 365 days of visual art combined with worship songs from across the earth

“God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9, 10)

I Am Baker


Today’s guest post by Gianna Kordatzky from Traveling Thought and Family Fun Twin Cities.  So honored to have Gianna back and thankful for her willingness to share her faith with us!



For once, we didn’t have anything planned. No festivals, no time-consuming projects, no errands. Nothing. The weekend was a blank page.

It was splendid.

Then, the weekend started. With no structure, the kids were really crabby with each other. They cried. They whined. They fought. They stopped listening to directions thinking they were suggestions, not commands.

Consequences ensued and everyone was unhappy, including Mama and Dad.

We suffered for hours together clenching our teeth and pulling our hair out. Chris and I had had it. One more minute like this and so help me…

Suddenly, there was quiet. Peace.


They were playing together.

After supper there was happiness, kids running in and out of the play house, digging in the sandbox. Conversations. Giggles. The kids were transformed.

I looked at Chris and said, “I know this sounds crazy, but they need more unstructured play time. They don’t know what to do with themselves when nothing is scheduled. And the only way to learn is go through it and figure it out.”

Sometimes that’s how it seems that God works in our lives. It seems He lets us struggle through trials and even our emotions like He’s had enough of us and just wants us to figure it out on our own.

But God isn’t like that. Of course, there are times we have to go through a seemingly never ending struggle, but our struggles are not afterthoughts. God doesn’t see us in the middle of something and think, “Oh, they need more of that.” God has ordained each moment. He may not seem close, but He always is. He is always by our side even though He doesn’t always step into our circumstances. He gives us wisdom when we ask, and He is our strength. So we can walk through whatever test we are put through victoriously.

Romans 5:3

image from biblepic.com

I Am Baker

calming my anxious spirit

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Gina Horkey.   Gina is a freelance writer, with a background in finance. She’s passionate about Jesus and designing a flexible lifestyle suited to meet the needs of her young family…while honoring God of course! She hopes to inspire others to do the same and shares her story via her blog. Next year at this time she hopes to be writing and traveling around the U.S. in an R.V. Please stop by her Facebook page and say hello!


“For I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” ~Philippians 4:11


Do you struggle with an anxious spirit? If you’re nodding your head yes, you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the whole wide world that can’t get out of your own head or that can’t shut off your brain, but it’s not true. Tons of people struggle with anxiety, me included.


This weekend’s church sermon was one that I felt was spoken directly to me. I’ve felt this way before, but never quite so directly. Our church is ending a message series on being “More Than Happy.” The context is that like Paul in the book of Philippians, we as Christ-followers should find joy in all circumstances, rather than being focused on finding temporary happiness.


The final message was for those of us specifically battling anxiety. Personally, I been having my most intense battle this past year with this very thing. My ears perked up and I found a pen to take some notes. I wanted to share in case there were others like me that could benefit from hearing this message.

"Prayer is the Language" by Leland Francisco

“Prayer is the Language” by Leland Francisco


“I want you to know that what’s happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” ~Philippians 1:12


The teaching pastor offered us three ways to overcome anxiety:

1.Don’t bury it! The worst thing you can do is to keep your feelings of anxiety and worry all to yourself. That’s what the devil would prefer of course, but that’s not what God wants for you. God wants for you to share your burden with others and especially with Him. The pastor went on to say that we as a church sometimes project perfection, but the truth is that we are all broken. “It’s okay to not be okay.” Ask someone to fight alongside you. Tell others. Be vulnerable with God and with your Christian friends who will lift you up.


“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all that He has done.” Philippians 4:6

2. Work on it! It’s best to do this BEFORE anxiety inducing events arise, as the last thing you want to do when in these situations is oftentimes what will help you the most. Pray without ceasing. Get in the habit of praying more often. Pray when things go right, as well as when things don’t. Pray when things are status quo. It’s easy to see what we’re lacking; instead let’s work on seeing what we’ve been blessed with and thank God for it instead.


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

3. Defeat it! With God’s power you can defeat anxiety, instead of letting anxiety defeat you. You can’t change anything by worrying about it, but if you give it over to Him, God can! You are not helpless; you are powerful and in control not due to your own actions, but because of Jesus. He has employed the ultimate strategy of defeat on our behalf already. Accept it and own it!


“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” ~Philippians 1:21


I’m sure that for me anxiety could easily be a lifelong battle if I let it. As a young woman dealing with the stresses of raising kids and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, there’s no shortage of things to worry about. Showing up and letting others see me warts and all, is the real challenge. Maybe by me sharing a little of my story I might be able to help someone else.


Have you dealt with anxiety? How has it affected your faith?

I Am Baker

Let Earth Receive Her King!

I absolutely love our new home.  I love that we have a space we can grow into and that we can truly make our own.

Trying to figure out how I want to design things hasn’t been an easy task because I am not a good interior designer!  But I really enjoy the process.

And one of the newest challenges of late has been designing a fireplace mantle!

Christmas Mantle

I have got SO much respect for people who can put together a beautiful mantle.  I am not one of them!  Its hard working with scale and color and, well, design stuff.

So I opted for homey.  Personal.

Christmas Mantle


Fresh flowers in a red mason jar nestled in an inexpensive fake garland with multi-colored lights.

Christmas Mantle

A red and green “love” garland.  The kids and I made it last year.  We named every single person we could think of and said a prayer for them.  Then we put simple quotes like, “Jesus loves you!” and “God is Love!”.

If you look close you can see ‘Grandpa Dennis’ in there.  We still miss him so much!  I try so hard to help him stay fresh in the kids’ memories.

Christmas Mantle


Now don’t you dare laugh at my awesome chalk board skills!  As you can see we have a pretty tall space above the mantle and I had NO IDEA how to fill it.  I just happen to have these 4 foot high chalkboards so I decided to write something on it… something significant to us.  And celebrating the birth of our King is as significant as its gets!

Its going to be fun figuring out how to use this space in the future.  I have a feeling there will be a “mantle” pinterest board in my future… :)


I Am Baker I Am Baker

Family Holiday Gatherings: A Biblical Perspective

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Having hubby home, the spirit behind the seasons, the amazing food… its all enough to make me dream about these holidays for weeks before hand.

But there is another side to gatherings, one that can be sometimes stressful.

The truth is sometimes we just dont get along.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I deal with family.  Sometimes I look for the negative and not the positive in the people I love.  Sometimes I react to them in defensiveness based on my own issues, not on what they have actually said.  Sadly, its been easier for me to be in a pattern of critical thinking during those long holiday gatherings.

I forget how impactful the words I say are, and how lasting their impression is.  Even if what I am saying is not a true reflection of my heart, but simply an indication of a sour emotions or a bad attitude.

I came across these verses and I believe they have a direct correlation to how I can choose to think about extended time with family.

1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT

For the Scriptures say,  “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it…”

I love that part, “search for peace”.  What if I looked for good in others?  On purpose?

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 NLT

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

This is Paul talking to the Corinthians.  One interpretation I heard of this message was that he was saying to them, “I am not here to listen to the gossip or the quarrels.  I am not focusing on this things of this world, I only want to focus on Jesus.”

I can only imagine the changes that others would see in me if my focus was truly on Him!  If I did not get caught up in strife, yet set my focus to the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11 ESV

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

One observation that I have noticed is that the deeper you love someone, the more vulnerable we are to feeling hurt.  I dont know about you, but I have heard words from family or close friends that cut like a knife.  Coming from a stranger would not have nearly the impact.

I know that those people love me,  and want the best for me, but I cant help but be torn up at how painful their sharp words are.  The above verse speaks to that so acutely for me.  I know I would want my family to forgive me when I say things I shouldnt, and here God is telling us that it is wise to do this right away!  Dont let things fester and turn into bitterness.  Forgive and let go.

Here are a few more versus that can help a troubled heart:

1 John 4:19-21 ESV

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Romans 12:18 ESV

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

John 13:34 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

From the OpenBible.info.

 Heavenly Father,

I pray that your holy words will be permanently cemented into my heart.  That I will look for the good in others always.  That I will seek positive and loving words when speaking.  That I will honor you with my thoughts and actions.

Lord, please bless my family and our time together.  Help me to overlook things that may hurt, and to forgive as readily as You forgive me.  Help me to be an example of Your peace and love.  Help me to love others as You love them.

Thank you for this wonderful time we have together, where we can celebrate the birth and life of your Son.

In Your precious name I pray!



I Am Baker

Rainbow Cupcakes and Gay Pride?

I dont often weigh in on political issues.  I try not to overwhelm folks with my opinions and views.

I try.

But every now and then an issue comes along that I feel like I want to speak out on.  I had thought it was Katy Perry on Sesame Street.  But no, I will spare you from that emotional tirade.

Its Rainbow Foods.

We all know I have made my fair share of rainbow foods.



And Pancakes


And cookies of course


I tend to embrace rainbow items because of what it represents to me.

As a Christian the rainbow is extremely significant.  

It appears essentially twice in the Bible, once in Genesis 9:13-14 and in Revelations 4:3, 10:1. In Genesis, the rainbow came after the great flood brought by God in order to remove sinful and evil minded men from the earth.

The rainbow symbolized the covenant God made with Noah (who represented mankind) that He would not destroy the world in such a way again.

I love that God allowed us a tangible representation of His promise, and every time I gaze upon the glorious beauty and awe of a rainbow I can feel security in Gods faithful covenant to us.

Now, I dont know if you have heard, but there is a bakery in Indianapolis called Just Cookies that was asked to make an order of rainbow cupcakes for National Coming Out Day.

They declined.  

They first stated they dont make cupcakes. (which is true) The husband and co-owner then came forward and stated that, "I explained we're a family-run business, we have two young, impressionable daughters, and we thought maybe it was best not to do that."

They are now being ripped apart in the media and being called horrible names.  People are boycotting their business and going on to business rating websites and claiming that in addition to being biggots, the baked items they sell taste horrible and are inedible.

The very people who say they are striving for peace and tolerance are now making it their mission to destroy people who have a different view.

I guess that doesnt sit right with me.

When I received an abundance of negative feedback for my rainbow pancakes I was also fortunate enough to receive some kind and supportive feedback.  Occasionally, it was from a homosexual individual applauding me for promoting gay pride in my home or for teaching my kids not to be homophobic.

I questioned myself how to best reply to those kind of comments. When I teach my kids about the rainbow, its is always accompanied by a message of hope and grace, and that they can serve a God who always keeps his promises.

What it all boils down to is that a rainbow can mean very different things to people.

Is it fair to criminalize and demonize a business because to them, a rainbow represents something that directly counteracts their belief system? 

And in all fairness, they never declined to serve gay customers, but instead chose to not promote a specific event. 

You know I am totally curious about your opinion.  Would you boycott them?  Should the city be allowed to force them into making those cupcakes?  Where do you stand?

*Please keep your comments respectful and do not attack other commentors.


As of March 6th, 2011, the comments on this post are closed.  Some people who adamantly disagree with my views and the views of some of my readers have chosen so leave harassing, demeaning, derogatory, hurtful, negative and just plain mean comments. 

There is no room for disrespect here, no matter what your belief system is. 

You are free to debate this elsewhere.

I Am Baker

KDWB Claims “Praying is Ignorant”

This messenger is weak (me), but His word is strong!

I received an email from a friend who had an awful experience with KDWB Thursday morning (it was on between 6:50 and 7:30am, and is all transcribed below). 

I just want to ask that you take a moment to pray for this DJ (Dave Ryan).  Then, if you would be so willing, to pray for every impressionable child and adult that heard his "anti-God, pro-self" rant this morning.

Even if you are not Christian, chances are you have uttered a prayer in your life.  Chances are you are familiar with a Higher Power, and chances are you have turned to God in a desperate, lonely, joyful, or glorious time.

What do you think about Dave Ryan and his whole morning crew claiming that "praying for change is ignorance"?  

How do you feel about these DJ's spreading this type of information to kids, to impressionable youth who may not have thought twice about it before, but will now dismiss God as an option when in need?


If you are one of the few… one of the few who feels compelled to take it a step further and stand up for Truth, there are a couple options.


If you text you can send a message to 53921.  (I dont, so I dont even know how that works)

You can call this number 


I called and spoke to the program director who claimed that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that as long as the DJ did not break any FCC rules they would stand behind the statement.

He then went on to say that I was the only person to call and protest at this point (as of last evening around 6:30pm) so my opinion didnt carry much weight.  However, if enough people disagreed with this statement then maybe they would address the issue.

Now… all I am really asking for is a prayer.  If you feel compelled to call or text them feel free.  But as we all know, its the prayer that will change things.


(email I received)

I wanted you to help me protest KDWB (a very popular younger radio station in MN) after what I heard on the radio this morning and the way they responded to me.

Conversation on the radio:

“And now a story in the press about Lady gaga.  Apparently, lady gaga took 45 minutes before she would come on stage because she was praying and waiting for God to tell her it was the right time.  What a crackhead…do you honestly think praying is going to help the situation?  And what is God going to do about it….I’m so sick of people saying that they prayed and it came true.  I was at a wedding last weekend that was outdoors and the bride got up on stage and said “I just want to thank god for this day, I woke up this morning and prayed that god would let the weather be great for this day – and here it is.  It’s just proof that God does answer prayers”.   He went on to say how ignorant people are who pray and to not doing anything because “God is going to answer prayers”. 




SOOO….at this point I’m livid.  They then advertised that you can text the show.  So I picked up my phone and sent a text message that went like this. 


Do you realize the age of your listeners generally?  Do you realize how susceptible their minds are, and you are filling their heads with this garbage.  Please don’t preach religion if you have no idea what religion is about.  If I want to hear religion that is truthful I will turn on a station with someone who knows something about Jesus and the powers that he does have and the significance of prayer in people’s lives. 


They RESPONDED to say: 


We’re not preaching at all.  Just stating facts.  Relying on prayer to make anything happen is ignorant.  Results require action, not prayer.



Not sure it’s the best way to keep an audience by calling them ignorant. 


They responded with

I don’t think you’re ignorant at all.  But people praying for things but no taking action themselves is ignorant.  I know this from experience.



It’s very clear to me that you don’t know this from experience.  Yes, results require action, but the word of God is what drives the right action.  If you’re not listening to him, then you’re going in the wrong direction.  Clearly you are showing this by today’s program. 


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No response.

Updated:  I revived an email from my friend about this mornings show:

This morning, I thought…I’m going to turn on the station to hear if they bring this up again.  The first thing I heard was….No Joke:  Steven Hawking announces today that he does not believe that God created the universe.  They went on to say how 

he now believes in the big bang theory.  It carried on a little bit talking about the laws of gravity and how it makes perfect sense that matter could be created through spontaneous combustion and that God had nothing to do with it. 


To Which Dave Ryan responds with:  You want to know why I believe in God?  Because he made dogs…and dogs are so nice.  They’re man’s best friend. 


Clearly this is all a joke to them… but is it to you? 

If this has touched you in any way, and you feel compelled to do something, please know that you do NOT need to link back here or mention me in any way.  My ultimate goal in this would be to glorify God, and if you felt spurred into action, I am sure that is your goal as well!  So check out the facts, blog about it, tweet about it, get the word out to as many prayer warriors as you know… do or say whatever you need to and please, feel comfortable doing it all from your perspective!