I Am Baker

your name

whispering your name Jesus

worshipgifs.org

“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.

Jesus!

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

Top Ten Things About Sending Your Daughter to College

Today’s special guest is Karen Hossink from the blog Surviving Motherhood.  I have known Karen for many years and find her heart and dedication to Jesus truly inspirational.  She is a talented writer, author, singer and mentor.  Karen’s blog, Surviving Motherhood, is a sacred, happy place full of encouragement and support.

 

I saw a post with a title like this last year and decided to save it for my own encouragement – knowing “my day” was coming. And, since Elizabeth is leaving for college today, I decided to re-read the list – and write one of my own.

So, here it is:

*cricket*

*cricket*

That is, I got nothin’.

I can’t think of a single “Top” thing about sending my daughter to college.

*I’m going to miss her.

*I’ll be the only girl in the family now.

* Dinner table conversation is going to be AWKWARD.

*We’re losing our dish-washer, and our towel-washer/folder.

*That sweet smile won’t be dancing around the house anymore.

*And the random outbursts of silliness. I’m going to miss those!

*Have I mentioned the benefits of having a daughter with a sweet-tooth? She makes delicious chocolate-y goodness whenever her heart desires. But how can I taste it when she isn’t here anymore to make it?

*No one is going to ask me to braid their hair.

*M, and L, and M, and K, and H won’t be coming over for dinner and sleep-overs.

*And “Head of the Herd” just won’t be the same without Elizabeth.

 

Well now, that wasn’t a very up-lifting list, was it?

Honestly, it was a little painful to write…

 

hebrews 13:8

Image Credit

However, in my attempt to construct a list of the Top Ten Things About Sending Your Daughter to College, I have come up with ONE good thing: GOD is faithful. And HE always will be.

And that ONE good thing has led me to this list:

*I know that God is going before Elizabeth and preparing her path.

*HE already knows the challenges she’ll be facing.

*And HE knows how to lead her through them.

*God knows exactly what Elizabeth’s future holds.

*God has been preparing my daughter for Wheaton for the past 18 years.

*And HE will continue to shape and make her.

*God has done beautiful things in and through Elizabeth during her years at Okemos High School, and I trust He has just begun.

*Having Elizabeth at home has only given me the illusion of control. In reality, God has always been in control.

*And that isn’t going to change!

*Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

No matter where my daughter is living.

 

Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness. Thank You for holding my daughter for the past 18 years, and for Your promise to never let her go. As she begins this new chapter in life, please continue to draw her close to Your heart – and remind her every day how precious she is to You. And to me!

 

Your turn: Is there something in your life right now for which you need this encouragement to trust God?

I Am Baker

thou shall not steal

In the crazy world of online life, one theme is (sadly) forever rampant.  Stealing.

In my specific little online world, there is recipe stealing, picture stealing, and idea stealing.

That last one is a bone of contention for many, as they do not think “ideas” can be stolen.

I feel differently.

ten commandments from The Standard Canvas Etsy ShopThis print can be purchased from The Standard Canvas Etsy Shop

“Stealing can be as blatant as taking from another.  Or it can be subtle: stealing includes cheating another, not dealing fairly with others and stealing credit for another’s work.  Treat others as you wish to be treated.”

-life:beautiful magazine, summer issue 2014

When I read that in this months life:beautiful, I was taken aback.  I had not heard it phrased in quite such a simplistic way before and it struck a heavy chord in my heart.

Pink Rose Cake ~ #rosecake #original #rosettecake #iambaker

I have spent years tracking down people who stole my idea for the buttercream rose cake piped with a closed star tip.  I asked nicely, I asked not-so nicely, and I demanded.  We all knew the truth, they had seen the idea somewhere and copied it.  But they lied,  they were defensive, they attacked.

And it hurt.  I could not get my head around the concept of someone stealing my idea and when confronted, to lie to my face.

Due to a recent (heated) interaction, God put it on my heart to give up that battle.  Like, seriously give up the fight.

Let Go Let God

image credit

I knew that I should never again email someone about it, that I should never leave another passive aggressive comment, that I never needed to say another word about it.  I was not ‘fighting a good fight’.  I was wrong.

I was not honoring God in demanding credit from others.  I was trying to further my own Kingdom, totally consumed and wrapped up in my unhealthy pursuit of being credited.

I was being a very poor example of a Christian.  I had forgotten my role and my place on this earth.  And it was time to let it go.

I have for the most part, and God has honored me with a peace that I had not known concerning the subject.  The stealing is still rampant, but the acceptance of it is new.

Eight commandment, thou shalt not stealimage credit

Today I was researching a recipe and came across someone else stealing an idea.  It wasn’t my idea, but that anger and bitterness immediately rose to the surface and I got feisty.  The thief was being praised and awarded and actually financially profiting from the idea they stole.  It was wrong!  And I felt the need to say something.

But those simple words written above came to mind.

And while those words apply to every Christian, but it is not up to me to police them.

Those words need to first apply to me.

I need to make sure that I am always giving credit where it is due.  That I am going out of my way to offer credit for the idea, for the recipe, for anything that was “gifted” to me by an outside source.  The only person that I need to police on the subject is myself.

Again, the realization has brought me peace, but I wrote this little prayer in the hopes that if the feistiness ever returns, I can call on these words to calm my anxious heart.

Dear Jesus,

You know my heart and my desire to see good.  You know how injustice triggers a “fight”mode in my mind and how I get completely focused (obsessed even) on seeing justice through.  But Lord, You also have taught me Your word and that I need to focus on the plank in my own eye.  Lord, help me to place less judgement on others and focus more on improving my own actions.  Help me to understand Your commandments better!  To see that You have given me the tools to be kind, to be honest, and to be faithful.  I want my actions, personally and professionally, to be pleasing to you oh Lord.  Thank you for caring so much that You are willing to remind me over and over again.  Thank You for loving me.

Amen.

I Am Baker

struggles

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.

gianna-iamservant

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

What am i saying?

Today’s special guest is Karen Hossink from the blog Surviving Motherhood.  I have known Karen for many years and find her heart and dedication to Jesus truly inspirational.  She is a talented writer, author, singer and mentor.  Karen’s blog, Surviving Motherhood, is a sacred, happy place full of encouragement and support.

 

Last week the sermon at church was all about our words.

A few days ago someone asked me, The peace that comes over you hearing a graceful melody – is that how you are heard?

And every day since the beginning of the month, I have been reading a chapter of Proverbs.

Words – what I say, how I say it, and the way in which it’s heard – have been heavy on my mind. Because I am becoming more and more aware just how powerful our words are. To build up, or to tear down.

I am a woman, so – by nature – a lot of words come out of my mouth. My husband hears them. My kids hear them. The folks where I work hear them. My friends hear them. And when I am particularly excited or angry, my neighbors hear them, too.Words, words, words!

But what are they accomplishing?

Proverbs 10: 11a says, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” Verse 21 of the same chapter says, “The lips of the righteous nourish many.” And I find myself drawn to that image – a fountain of life, nourishing many. Yes! That is what I want my words to accomplish.

So, I’ve started doing something.

Proverbs 10:21

Besides being more intentional about speaking my love to others, and handing out compliments and encouraging words on a regular basis, I have started copying a few biblical authors. I noticed at the beginning and ending of just about every letter written in the New Testament, the author uses words like, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1 Peter 1:2) “Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” (Titus 1:4) “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” (2 Timothy 4:22)

Titus 1:4

Photo by Marina Bromley on Meet Me in the Meadow

And I thought, Wow. How great would it be to receive a greeting like that on any given day? But – who talks like that???

I mean, really. Nobody talks that way anymore, do they?

Well, I decided I’m going to start. I am using greetings like those when I end an email or a text message. I am working on practicing those greetings verbally, too. I realize I might sound strange to most people, but I want my words to be a fountain of life which nourish many people. And if that makes me sound strange? So be it!

 Will you join me in this quest to speak life?

I Am Baker

What is the Fragrance?

guest post by Gianna Kordatzky from Traveling Thought and Family Fun Twin Cities

Sitting at my booth at the farmer’s market, I fed my kids a picnic supper (I must say it didn’t last them three hours—I guess that’s what happens when you eat supper at 4:30). We had spread out a blanket, and a gentle breeze was blowing.

It was a picture perfect summer evening. The kids dug out their sandwiches, their graham crackers and their juice boxes. After supper was gobbled up, my rascals scampered off to meet the other vendors at the market (it was a very small farmer’s market—including my booth, six were set up). When they got to know everyone, they came back hoping to find some entertainment.

Once again they dug into the picnic basket hoping to find something delicious. Fortunately for them, success was at hand, and they pulled out a very large container packed with fresh strawberries. Everyone gathered around, and except for my warning to share, no one stopped to breathe. Before I knew it, the strawberries were consumed, and my little ones were off again making their rounds, strawberry juice dripping from their mouths.

iamservant-gianna

Needing a cuddle Jack came back to me and climbed up on my lap. I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed. As I did, an aromatic fragrance filled my nose.

What was that?

Cotton candy? At a farmer’s market?

Where was the cotton candy?

I did a quick scan of the 6 vendors. Nothing. Why was the aroma of cotton candy so strong?

Not long after Jack climbed off my lap, Dash scurried over claiming dominion of Mama’s lap. Again I could not ignore the whiff of cotton candy.

That’s when I realized that it wasn’t cotton candy I was enjoying. It was fresh strawberries. Strawberries that stained Dash’s lips, that made his fingers sticky and that dripped down his chin.

That revelation got me thinking Do I love Jesus as much as my kiddos love strawberries?

Do I inhale Jesus like my children inhaled those strawberries? Am I devouring God’s word and learning about Jesus like my little ones were consuming strawberries? Is the aroma of Jesus surrounding me so much that people can’t ignore it? Does it make them look for the source of the fragrance?

matthew 28 19

image can be purchased on Etsy

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus was speaking to his disciples, people who had immersed themselves in Jesus for years.  They knew Jesus.  His aroma surrounded their lives, their souls.  What is amazing is that I can know Jesus like they did. I can spend lots of time with Jesus and be his disciple. He promised to be with me always, and I can be full of Him.

When Dash and Jack were so full of strawberries, they didn’t smell like Dash and Jack.  They smelled like strawberries.

I want to be so full of Jesus I smell like Jesus.

 

*****

 

Thank you so much Gianna!  Love your beautiful words and faith!

I Am Baker

inspiring faith

Sometimes when I need a bit of a spiritual kick in the rear, I head to pinterest and read my Loving Him board.  It’s almost like a spiritual truth jam session… packing my brain full of encouragement, hope, (truth), and love.

Here are a few of my favorites!

Let the words...from etsy shop MsDsSigns

godsapproval

Unconditional Love

Chrystal Evans Hurst

forgiveness

You are Good!

just as i am

boom.

todays letters

Hope one of these spoke to you today!

I Am Baker

i have this dream…

Dreams.

I would definitely consider myself a dreamer.  I like to think about things. I like to dream about things that will probably never happen.  I like to just sit in the fantasy of “what if”.

We have a small stream on our property that empties into a little pond.  The pond is only 8 feet deep, but it’s waters are dark and murky and still.  As I would sit in my living room and look over at the pond on a cool fall day, I would see something different.

Lazy River poolsFBimage from Kuykendall – Lazy Rivers

 A lazy river. You know, the kind that are in fancy waterparks?  With people on big inner-tubes just relaxing and going round and round, moved lazily along by the jets in the water.  The river would be small, but it would empty into a perfectly round pool (that was the former pond), similar to the image above.

I know in my heart of hearts that we will never be putting a lazy river on our property.  We live in Minnesota.  We are not millionaires.  And lazy rivers are pretty darn impractical for many reasons.

It’s safe to say that I have no hope of that BIG HUGE CRAZY idea becoming a reality.

But I still love to dream about it.

audrey-backyard

 

I am reminded of how much God wants to give me the desires of my heart, but so thankful that He already knows what I need.

Maybe He already knows that many memories will be made on the long winding trails by adventurous little kids with endless imaginations and courage. That clubs will be formed and pacts made and discoveries of nests and bugs and new flowers will create far more lasting reflections than concrete and chlorine.

I love that He can see beyond worldly (and sometimes selfish) desires.  That He doesn’t provide something simply because I ask.  That all things, good and bad, will be used to strengthen our relationship and bond.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

He created me.  He knows me better than I know myself.  And He knows exactly what will truly fulfill me.

I have another dream.  And that is that someday the desires of my heart will be in line with God’s will.

Now that is a worthy dream.

 

I Am Baker