I’m Running With the Oreo Truffles Friendship Relay!

I wanted to celebrate friendship in this weeks’s Coffee for Your Heart by designing this dessert plate image and sharing a friendship cake starter recipe to seal the sweet deal.

Friendship blooms in our heats plate

Then it occurred me the recipe that has surely circled the globe may be copyrighted. And oh my, I couldn’t break the law or violate someone’s originality! Too bad.

Later that day I remembered Holley Gerth’s “Ugly Truffles” post (which originally appeared in (in)courage) included a simple Oreo cookie truffle recipe. And I got to thinking…wouldn’t it be cool if  we all sent a copy of the recipe to at least 3 friends with a note about how much their sweet friendship means to us?  Maybe sprinkle a few sweet words about who they are.  Thank them for making our lives sweeter. Or sweeten their day with an intentional “I love you!“. Then invite each one to do the same for at least 3 more friends. Before you know it we would have a whole world of sweetness floating about.  Just think of the impact – especially when we consider that some of those friends are part of our family!

Okay, maybe it won’t go as far as the whole world. But it can start with you and me. As Holley asks in that post “But what if someone would be blessed by what I have to share and they miss out because I hide it?”  You may not think you have what it takes to create a beautiful recipe card or craft the “perfect” words to do a great job of it. But I can tell you this. To be sure, it will be a sweet treasure perfectly cherished because it comes from you. That makes it more than good enough, and no doubt, someone’s precious keepsake.

What do you say? Are you in?

Truffle recipe:  (shared by Holley’s friend Jennifer)

SIMPLE OREO TRUFFLES

16 oz package of Oreos

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

16 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Directions

Completely crush Oreos and place in a bowl. Add cream cheese. Mix until blended. Roll cookie mixture into 1-inch balls. Dip in chocolate and place on wax paper to cool. Decorate truffles as desired.

Refrigerate until firm, about one hour. Eat them all. Or refrigerate again.

Sample Recipe Card  for You to Share

Oreo Truffle Recipe Card

 

There’s another treat set out for you today. Head on over to this week’s link- up where  Holley Gerth and the Coffee for Your Heart Community have a sweet cup of encouragement waiting for you .

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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Music to God’s Ears

Sometimes I think the good Lord must get amused to bits by the silliness of His children. Like the time I headed out to the park all decked out in heels, singing through invisible rain, accompanied by my Shower Songbook!

I got quite the chuckle out of these pictures when I came across them a while back. Tickled me right down to my toes remembering all the fun that day with photographer-friend Ann Stigter! Then I put the photos away and forgot all about them. Till the other day when the one with the clown nose popped into my head along with the  “Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!” verse.

If you’ve ever heard me sing, you will totally get how funny this connection is. There ain’t nothing pretty about what comes out of my mouth when I attempt to carry a tune. I’m what people call “certifiably musically declined”.  But oh, how I love to sing! Anything and anywhere. Fast or slow. Loud or soft. Alone or with company. In good times. In tough times. I love to sing.

Funny thing is, the sound of my voice lifted in praise is music to God’s ears.  He hears gratitude, love, and joy in every word and note in harmony with the rhythm of His heart. Imagine that! The excruciating strain that wilts flowers and makes dogs howl reaches the ears of The Almighty as a beautiful, symphonic melody. And it pleases Him.

No wonder the bible is full of passages about singing.  The perfect expression of that love, joy and gratitude to our awesome God who denies us no good thing.  Words like these spoken long ago and still resonate today.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.    ~ Psalm 100:2

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” ~ Psalm 126:2 

Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing. ~ Psalm 107:22 

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth; burst into songs and make music. ~ Psalm 98:4 

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. ~ Psalm 104:33 

Sing for joy to God, our strength; shout out loud to the God of Jacob. ~Psalms 81:1 

I hope this silly post put a smile on your face and got you all riled up about all the things that make you sing for joy with love and gratitude. Things like the scandalous secret Holley Gerth reveals in this week’s link-up.  So why not hop over to her blog today for cupfuls of encouragement and inspiration poured by her and the Coffee for Your Heart  Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

 

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Sharing The Riches of His Love

The Riches of His Love Button

Some things take you by storm. Like discovering the treasure chest filled with the riches of God’s love captured by my friend Kristin Smith. Her blog post When You are Attacked by Stormy Seas  hoisted me on board with a woman who has known hard times, rocked to the core, tossed mercilessly through the darkest raging storms. Crashing waves of financial crisis, broken dreams, miscarriage, depression, feeling deserted by God threatening to capsize the vessel that held her faith together.

Yet, there’s a thread of joy that runs through the words she crafts. Because of the riches of God’s love.  Extravagant riches from the God who held her afloat. The faithful God of redemption. The God who transforms. The God who steers in the right direction even when you’re lost and it’s dark out there.

God provided immeasurably more than I could have ever imaginedI couldn’t see it then, in the thick of what seemed like hopelessness. But today my eyes have been opened to the many ways that God was at work all along.  I can only fall on my knees in thankfulness and praise Him for all He has done. – Kristin Smith

What always stands out about Kristin is her authentic transparency clothed in humility. She has the courage to admit her imperfection and the gift of mining gems and biblical truths from everyday life. The Lord has given her words to paint life lessons and reflections of Him at work that have come from clogged toilets, airplane views, birch trees and a herd of buffaloes.

Words filled with hope and light.

Words that reveal the heart of God through hers.

Words that made me cry deep down and laugh out loud.

I picked up my fair share of encouragement and wisdom from Kristin’s writing and learned a thing or two. Like Voxer, Boxer, and bibles that talk. That God-sized dreams do come true even when they appear from the flipside of failure. Even when it means saying “yes” to icky things with a grateful heart. But mostly I gathered an armload of what it means to be a friend and appreciate progress in baby steps and giant leaps; to grasp the hand of hope, choose joy, and trust God in everything. Even in the darkest, wildest, stormy nights.

Kristin is a wife and mama to four children and a brand new puppy. She is in business with her husband, sings with the worship team and writes for people like you and me.

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Why am I telling you all this? Just couldn’t keep it to myself! I love sharing and bringing people together so am absolutely delighted to hook y’all up. Now that you’ve met Kristin, you can be blessed too!

Kristin writes at The Riches of His Love, God-sized Dreams, Five Minute Friday & (in)incourage . You can also catch her on Twitter, FacebookPinterest, Instagram & bloglovin’.

The gift of getting to know Kristin all started as a link-up with Holley Gerth. That’s one of the reasons it gives me such joy to invite you every week to do the same. So hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

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Treasures that Make Us Shout and Sing for Joy!

I could not contain my delight when my beautiful friend Amanda Wood said “yes!” to sharing this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime rainbow photo she took in Jasper. Wanted so badly to show the whole world the most breath-taking vision of God’s creation I have have ever laid eyes on.

Genesis 9:12-13

The beautiful rainbow.  Glorious mountains. Tranquil water. Trees and plants dancing with the breeze. Skies outstretched from end to end. All too marvelous for words. Every inch speaks of God’s love and handiwork and echoes His presence in every corner of my heart and soul.  I was totally awestruck with an overwhelming desire to fall on my knees and praise the maker of the universe for this, His extravagant gift! I couldn’t stop gazing at the picture and thanking Him. For what my eyes are beholding and for the wonderful woman who captured the moment and shared it.  Treasures God created. Treasures I cherish. Treasures that make us shout and sing for joy… like this:

Psalm 65:5-13 – By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might. You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy. You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

Another one of God’s awesome creations is precious, beautiful, wonderful YOU! “Because,” as Holley Gerth reminds us in her You’re Celebrated Today – Just Because message “you were created by a God who is a master of design!”  For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

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Yes, You Can Do Hard Things

I originally published this post about doing hard things in November 2012.  It continues to be viewed on a regular basis and every once in a while I wondered if this might be just the encouragement for the weekly Coffee for Your Heart link-up. I hesitated thinking it may not be spiritual enough. But when I felt the nudge today to go ahead, I decided to share this with you again. Because I believe you sure can do those hard things, with God’s help. He is known to specialize in the impossible and He can do mighty things through you.

With God all things are possible ~ Mathew 19:26

I always love seeing this plaque at MaRS Commons. The scantily layered brick wall looks like it could barely hold itself together, never mind the weight that’s hanging on it. The wood the quote is written on leaves the impression it’s been been through a battle or two with its ragged edges, scars, and scrapes. But the message is powerful and daily inspires the crazy entrepreneurs who are engaged in risk-y business, married to the scary place where they go out on a limb with a dream dangling in their pocket, hoping their idea to make life better will take flight. Perched on the edge, pouring out everything they’ve got into a lofty trek through uncharted territory is hard and terrifying. But worth it! At the end of the day, those hard things are what they climb upon to the next level whether it’s a lesson learned, a pivot in the right direction or success beyond the wildest imagination.

What rocks about doing hard things is that it automatically triggers a win-win situation. No matter how things turn out, we score at least two victories. First, we conquer the pesky dragon of the unknown breathing fire down our neck. Second, we wrestle fear to the ground and come out on top as the ultimate heavyweight champion in the “you can do hard things” rumble.

Most of the time, there’s joy and success tied to the hard things we do. Sometimes the dream evaporates, our hearts get broken, we take a beating. Either way, the person who looks back at us in the mirror can smile at the reflection of someone with courage and strength. Someone who does what’s right in the face of incredible cost, who will give someone who has hurt or disappointed you another chance, who steps out in faith and not give up when the dust of failure has settled all over your efforts in the past. Looking right back at you is someone who dares to learn something new and stretch beyond what’s comfortable and easy, someone willing to risk looking foolish when the voice in your heart wins over the roar of the crowd, someone who will make the sacrifice and give whatever it takes. And what’s more, what you may not realize, is that people were watching when you made that gutsy move and because you did something hard they were inspired to do hard things too.

The writing is on the wall.  You can do hard things. And that makes you a hero!

As you do those hard things you can also let go and give it to God who cares for you and will help you carry every inch of the hard stuff as Holley Gerth shares in her You Don’t Have to Carry So Much message. For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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I Will Give You Rest

Doesn’t this picture of a group of pelicans so at home and comfortable in a boat that is clearly not theirs make you want to smile out loud? I can just imagine them hanging out together and resting a spell after a long day of fishing, eating and flying. Or maybe they’re just milling around waiting for the captain of the ship to arrive so the party can really begin. Them humans they do the most outrageous things… like tearing through water at blazing speeds and feeding wild birds who come to visit.

I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28

Photo of Key West, Florida by the talented Mary Morganelli

This scene also brought to mind Jesus’s invitation to us. I pictured hearing Him from the middle of the boat. “Come to me” he says “and I will give you rest.”  Are you weary, tired, heart-broken, discouraged, frightened? Carrying burdens that are weighing you down? Me too sometimes. And you know what? I always feel refreshed when I talk to God and leave whatever is on my mind or troubling me at the foot of the cross. And in His hands.

We give Him our burdens. He gives us His rest.

Rest from worrying about being good enough, doing enough, having enough. Rest from trying to hold it all together while everything keeps unraveling. Rest from the guilt of mistakes made. Rest from picking at the wounds inflicted by others. Rest from doubts and fears. Rest from anger and tears. Rest that brings back joy and strength to carry on, fly above raging waters, and make others laugh and smile at our outrageous humanness.

Know what else is cool about pelicans? They fly in V-formation, where the updraft created by the upstroke of the bird in front buoys the flight of the one who follows. We do the same don’t we when we encourage and lift each other up.  Just like you’ll find in Holley Gerth’s Let Your Heart Rest: You are Enough post today. For more on that message hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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We have an everlasting rock

Every time I look at this image it takes my breath away.  I’m left speechless, in awe of God’s majestic splendor. I had planned on writing about how we can trust God as our solid rock, lean on Him to hold us up when we’re shaken, protect us against stormy assault… and more. Much more. Lots of encouraging words I assure you. None compare to the power and beauty you see in God’s word and His creation below. So I’m letting this picture speak for itself and echo inside your heart.

Everlasting Rock Isaiah 26:4

Isn’t is something that the God who is behind forming that giant rock is the one who helps those trees grow… in the same space. That same creator of the universe is our firm foundation and cultivator of our growth.  As Holley Gerth shares in her post when we belong to Jesus we never stop growing. Inch by inch, day by day we become more like Him…and that’s beautiful. Very beautiful. For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s  where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

Photo Credit - The beautiful picture of Colorado is a gift from a friend who doesn’t seek public credit. But I sure can express my gratitude. Thank you with all my heart! 

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