Join us for Dinner

Last week we four girls were so happy to be able to spend two days together. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute! For supper, we had fun decorating the table and making a special meal. We would like to share it with you!

MENU

Mango Cranberry Punch

Basil Chicken and Pasta

Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

Turtle Cheesecake

Some of the recipes I used were from Pinterest, so I will link them below. I got the chicken recipe from a favorite cookbook of mine, and the punch is my own creation!

Mango Cranberry Punch
1- 2 liter of sprite
1- 1/2 gallon of white grape juice
1- 1/2 gallon of cranberry mango juice
1- lemonade concentrate

Mix everything together, add the sprite right before serving.

Basil Chicken and Pasta
2 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. butter
1.5 T finely chopped fresh basil
Sauce:
2 T. butter
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 T. fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
3 t. flour
Angel hair pasta

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place in an 8″x8″ glass baking dish. Combine butter and basil, spread on top of the chicken. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 400, flipping it when it’s half done.
Sauce: Melt the butter. Add cream and basil. Add flour and cook until thickened. Spoon over chicken. Serve over hot pasta.

Strawberry Poppy seed Salad

Turtle Cheesecake

From our hearts to yours, love from us girls at Pursuing Our Purpose.

BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos

This a favorite Sunday night supper for our family!

We mostly use shredded chicken instead of the pork because we have that on hand often.

They are quick and easy to make and so yummy!

  • INGREDIENTS
  • Tortilla chips
  • Pulled pork
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Jalapenos
  • BBQ sauce
  • Ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 400F. On cookie sheet or cast iron skillet, place a layer of tortilla chips. Mix a little BBQ sauce with shredded meat and sprinkle over chips. Then layer cheeses and jalapenos on top of that. Drizzle with BBQ and ranch. Place in oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Dig in!

Recipe: Daisy

Daisy has been gifted with the creative touch in the kitchen. Her food is so beautiful and taste so amazing! Daisy uses her gift so well; and I’m blessed to call her my sister. – Damarus

A Spirit of Forgiveness

A Spirit of Forgiveness:

Imitating the Way of Jesus

            As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with having an unforgiving spirit. It easy for me to hold grudges and to gossip about someone who had hurt me. Instead of being “quick to listen; slow to speak” I lived quick to speak; slow to listen.

            I hated it. I hated the way I felt. I wanted to be like my friends who were kind and gracious and weighed their words. I would read Proverbs and the verses that referred to holding grudges would jump out at me. I prayed, oh how I prayed that God would change my heart. I would try hard to change and I would be successful for a few days. But then something would happen and I would become angry and I would harbor a grudge. The term I gave this character quality is “an unforgiving spirit.”

            For many years I thought I struggled alone, but now I know I didn’t. Maybe you can identify with me and maybe you’re wishing for some advice on how to have a forgiving spirit toward friends or family members. I’d like to share with you some things that have helped me to live victoriously in this area. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not struggle-free, but I now have the tools needed to help me wade the waters of unforgiveness.

How to know if I have an unforgiving spirit:

            In her book Choosing Forgiveness, Nancy Leigh DeMoss gives a checklist to check for an unforgiving spirit in our lives:

  • I often replay in my mind the incident(s) that hurt me
  • When I think of a particular person or situation, I still feel angry
  • I try hard not to think about the person, event, or circumstance that caused me so much pain
  • I have a subtle, secret desire to see this person pay for what he or she did to me
  • Deep in my heart, I would not mind if something bad happened to the person(s) who hurt me
  • I often find myself telling others how this person hurt me
  • A lot of my conversations revolve around this situation
  • Whenever his or her name comes up, I am more likely to say something negative than something positive about him or her

            Did any of these sound familiar to you? If you’re not sure, it might be wise to find a trusted friend or family member and ask him or her if he or she sees signs of these in your life.

What to do?

1. Admit your spirit of unforgiveness

            So, you see signs of an unforgiving spirit in your life. Where do you go from here? The first step is to acknowledge your problem. Admitting your struggle is a powerful thing. You are not harboring your struggle but you are making it known. There are times as I’m driving that I will speak the words out loud, that I am upset and hurt over something done. Satan wants you to keep your grudges/anger a secret. Truth cannot live in secrecy and acknowledgment brings light.

Here is a prayer you can write in your journal or pray aloud:

            Jesus, I feel hurt because _____did ____. This hurt me because ____. I repent of my feeling of _____ towards ______. My feelings were wrong and it was not an attitude of forgiveness.            Because you have forgiven me, I choose to forgive _____. I take the offense to the foot of the       cross and I leave it there. I release him/her of the offense and they owe me nothing. This hurt         is now yours to deal with. I accept the peace and freedom that you offer me in exchange for   my feelings of hurt.

            Please note that I am not saying that the infraction done was okay. It may very well be something completely wrong and maybe it even needs to be dealt with. However, revenge is not yours to pay. When you forgive, you are setting yourse;f free from the chains of bitterness.

2. Pray blessing on the one who hurt you.

            When you pray blessing over the one who has hurt you, you are acknowledging that retaliation is for God alone. You are breaking yourself free from the chains that produce bitterness and anger. There are many ways to pray blessing over someone. I like to use Scripture.

Colossians 1:9-12

9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Here is a prayer to pray using these verses: (I am using the name “Ann” as an example.)

Lord, I thank you for Ann. I pray that Ann would be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and understand. I pray that Ann might walk worthy of You in all she does, that she might be fruitful and increase in her knowledge of You. I pray that Ann would be strengthened with all might according to Your glorious power, that You would grant her patience and long-suffering to face the obstacles that come her way. I give You thanks for her and for her presence in my life and I pray that together we would be partakers of the inheritance You offer us as saints.

Ephesians 1:17-19

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength

 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 

Here is a prayer to pray:

            Jesus, today would you give Ann the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that she may know You better. Make her eyes to be enlightened so that she may know the hope that You have called her and that she may experience the riches of Your glorious inheritance. May Ann experience Your incomparably great power, the same power that You exerted when You were raised from the dead and seated at the Father’s right hand.

            Jesus prayed blessing over those that hurt Him. As His followers, we imitate His life and His way. He showed us how to forgive.

            The next several points come from the book The 30 Day Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldhan.

2. Do not speak anything negative to that person or to someone else about that person

            Not speaking negatively to someone is fairly easy. It’s the not speaking negatively about that person that is difficult. Even if you choose just one person to tell of your hurt or anger, every time you speak of it, the hurt or anger is being solidified in your mind. I recognize that there are times you need to talk to someone about your struggle in order to process or to gain clarity on what is happening. Be sure to confide in someone who will help you and not add their own harsh words to deepen your feelings of anger or bitterness.

3. Speak a life-giving word to that person once a week/month

            Ask God to show you what life-giving words you can give to this person. It doesn’t have to be  loud or over-the-top; a simple word of encouragement goes a long way. Feldhan suggests speaking a daily life-giving word. If that seems excessive to you, then look for a way to speak goodness into his or her life once a month. The key here is not to keep track of how many times you have spoken life to the person you’re dealing with, but rather to keep the action at the forefront of your mind as a way of acting out forgiveness.

4. Do an act of service for that person once a week/month

            Again, ask God to show you how you can do a deed of kindness for the person you’re struggling to get along with. Guard against manipulation. This is not about getting him or her on your side or to like you; this is about acting out the spirit of forgiveness. Jesus said to do good to those who [we have a hard time getting along with]. Ask Him for ways to offer acts of kindness.

5. Say something nice about that person to others

            When his or her name comes up in conversation, find a positive thing to say this person. If you’re struggling to get along with a family member, offer a compliment or appreciation for something done or accomplished. Ask God for the right words to say. He knows your heart and your desire to exercise a forgiving spirit. He will help you.

            Out of all the books I’ve read, UNConditional:The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness by Brian Zahnd has made the most impact on my life. In this book, Zahnd argues that forgiveness is not “forgetting.” A Holocaust survivor or an African slave will never forget the trauma they endured. Forgiveness is not “not talking about the wrong done.” A survivor needs to talk about their experiences to find healing. Instead, Zahnd looks at the life of Jesus and how He responded to those those mistreated Him. “Forgiveness,” Zahnd says, “is not getting even.” When you look at Jesus’ life, He did not retaliate against those who hurt Him.

            He prayed blessing over them.

            He spoke life-giving words to and about them.

            He performed acts of service for them.

            He forgave them.

            As we strive to imitate Jesus’ life, we too do good to those who hurt us. We will look for ways to bless, to speak life, to serve. We will not get even.

            These steps have made a huge impact in my life. I’m telling you, they work! Would you like to know a secret? The ones I held a grudge against or struggled to forgive, they went on with their lives. It was me that changed. Because I was willing to forgive, the chains of bitterness holding grudges were broken and I was set free. You can be set free as well.

Words: Miss Carolyn has been a dear friend of our mom for many years. She lives a beautiful life of joy and fullness in Jesus and other relationships! Carolyn, thank you so much for being willing to write for us. You did an excellent job!

BALTIMORE

There’s so, so much to say about Baltimore, but before I just jump right in, I will try to give you a background here.

So, you may have noticed that I have been absent from this blog for a few months. Props to my amazing friends for stepping up to the plate and allowing me to have a break while I was serving in Baltimore! I have missed writing here, tho, so now I am back for the foreseeable future, although, the older I get, I realize that life doesn’t always go exactly to our plans, and sometimes God will surprise us with something much better! Now that I am back from Baltimore I am anxious to see what God has next for me.

I lived in Baltimore and worked at Hampden Christian School as the elementary assistant for 3 months. Their elementary assistant had gone to Bible School for 3 months, so I was basically a substitute, although 3 months is certainly long enough to get into the rhythm of things and make it feel like home!

Hampden Christian Shcool is a mission school in Baltimore. It is a Mennonite-run school, but most of the students are non-Mennonite. The school has a daycare that offers care for infants-pre K and a school that educates K-8 children. It is a beautiful mission. The children get a 100% Christian education and are loved and cared for each day.

In an average day I would get up at 4:30 to do my own school (I am currently working online to get my bachelor’s degree in elementary education) before walking to school to teach several 2nd and several 3rd grade classes, spend some time taking care of the kindergarteners, help with all 3 recesses, and do aftercare, which lasted from 3:15-5:30. In the evenings I would either work on more of my assignments or hang out with other staff girls.

It was not exactly easy to move to Baltimore. In some ways I felt that I didn’t fit in. Some days I felt so lonely. I could not have lived with out my friends and family at home who supported me every day. I felt that support through calls, texts, cards and packages in the mail, and even a few visits from very special people! There are also many amazing people in Baltimore who really welcomed me and helped me so much during my time there.

Another teacher and I were teaching the K-2nd graders how to jump rope. Very few of them had ever jumped rope before, so it was a real learning experience. We were also trying to instill in them how to be good sports, gracious winners and losers, and how to encourage their friends. One day after we had been working on jump rope for some time already, we were jumping rope and one of the 2nd-grade boys did 282 jumps! When he finished all the children clapped and cheered; they were so happy for him! Right after him, one of the kindergarten boys got up to jump. This was a boy who has coordination problems and getting even one jump was difficult for him to do. However, he got up and did 8 jumps. When he sat down all the children again went wild clapping and cheering. It was a beautiful scene. To the children, the number of jumps really didn’t matter, all they cared about was that their friends were breaking their own records, and improving their skills. That makes me think, how many times do I rush to judge others and compare the people around me to each other and myself when in reality, it doesn’t matter where each of us is, what really matters is what direction we’re going!

Baltimore has somewhat of a bad reputation, but it also has beautiful places to visit and many amazing people!

I also can’t forget to mention all the amazing food that Baltimore has to offer!

I can clearly see God’s leading hand in directing me to Baltimore, and even though sometimes I just wanted to scream and cry, I really loved it and I’m so happy to say that I am going back in August! Those three months changed me. It’s an experience that I’ll always think of with fond memories. Mostly thanks to all the incredible people down there! Please pray for me as I seek God’s will for my life. -Kinza

It Took the Cross

What does Easter mean to you?

The birth of Jesus is a wonderful story; the fact that God became a man and lived on this earth is incredible. We read so many stories about the life of Jesus in the Bible, and we’re amazed. But, if we only knew of Jesus birth and life as a man on earth we wouldn’t know salvation. For us to have the possibility of a renewed relationship with God, we needed more than Him to send His Son to live on earth, we needed the sacrifice that He made on Calvary. It took the cross to unite us with God. The one and only way we can be right with God is through believing in God and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. My prayer for you this Easter is that you can comprehend the meaning of Jesus death for you. He died to bring you life, but His death wasn’t the end. He arose and conquered death and sin and the grave. Hallelujah!