Monday, March 29, 2010

Yard Plans

Im SOOOOOO excited about my yard!  I feel like a kid waiting on Christmas to get here!  Nathans parents and Granny came over Saturday for an early dinner and we went outside and planned out my landscaping.  Not this weekend but the next we are going to get it started!  So to continue our excitement after Nates family left, we went window shopping at Home Depot to see what kind of flowers, shrubs, etc we liked!  There were Japanese Maples near the front for 100.00 a peice, these are expensive trees, Im not really sure why, but they are.  I LOVE them too, they have beautiful red leaves!  So we were looking back in the back and I saw some small baby trees with no leaves on them and it looked like Japanese Maples and sure enough it was!  FOR 20.00!!!!  I made sure and ask if it was just because they were baby trees and not very mature yet and they said that was the reason for the low price, so we bought two!!! 

Here are my plans:

Front yard:  cut down the dead dogwood tree, thank God only 1 is dead, the other two are about to bloom!  Rip up the enormous bushes in the front yard. Plant a Japanese Maple somewhere in the front beds and some more bushes and flowers.  Not sure exactly on the rest yet.

Side of the house:  There are some mums there now, we may move them elsewhere, because this will be my herb/ veggie garden.  Im planning on planting rosemary, basil, oregano, dill, maybe some other spices and maybe tomato, jalapeno, squash, and zuchini.  Like I said, nothing is in stone yet, but this is what the plans are.  Im going to plant these there because its right off from the kitchen, so it will be easily accessed when Im cooking and in need of fresh herbs and veggies!

Patio Planning:  Patio pavers are really expensive so I have that project lined up for NEXT spring, but for now, Im going to go ahead and plant a screen around where the patio will be so next year there will be mature trees and shrubs there to provide more coverage.  Nates mom gave me some curly willow tree cuttings that I am rooting inside right now, they will probably go in this area along with bushes and ornamental tall grass and flowers.  I want to include some hydrangias throughout this also as well as in the back!  This week Im going to kill the grass there...this is one of my favorite things to do!  haha, dont ask me why, but Its just fun carrying around the pump and spraying every weed in sight! 

Back Corner and tree line:  I have snow drops, Iris, mums and some other things growing in the back corner of our lot, so in addition I will plant a couple hydrangia bushes back there  to be viewed from the patio!  Also along the tree line there will be azalea bushes.  Im buying the small bushes because they are cheaper, they wont look quite like I want them to this year because they are babies, but in a couple years they will be a beautiful boarder of color!

Okay these are the plans so far, when its all complete, Ill post pics of the after! btw...these pics were taken when we moved in  in the fall...those leaves are long gone, Nate would have a cow about that. He does so good with the yard, He's very excited about putting the fertilizer on it and getting it nice and green.  In the fall were planning on areating and also planting more grass seed!  One step at a time though....   :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

I always love sharing good recipes!  This meal is FAST, EASY, and best of all....CHEAP!  I got the Tilapia from Aldi in a bag for 5.00 and still have enough to make this many more times, plus they come individually wrapped so you only have to dethaw what you need.

4 Tilapia Fillets
1 egg beaten
butter crackers (ritz, etc.)
grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
lemon slices

In three shallow bowls put your flour in one, egg in another, and mix the crushed crackers, cheese, and salt in another.  ( I didnt put measurments because it doesnt take a lot to coat these, so just use what you feel like you need, and to your taste)  Coat the Tilapia in order:  Flour, egg, and lastly cracker mixture.

In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tbs olive oil.  Cook Tilapia in the pan about 4-5 min. per side.  Serve with lemon slices.

If you try it, let me know how it worked out! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Relationship is better than Religion Part 2

Yesterday someone replied to my statement "relationship is better than religion."  Their reply was: 

"We have to be careful not to confuse being 'saved from religion' with 'freedom to please ourselves' above pleasing God. God's people need more time in His house, not less time."

I couldnt agree more with this statement!  The bible clearly says that we cannot let Gods grace and mercy be a free ticket to do what we want. Romans 6:15 We can never get to the point where we cause ourselves harm, or cause ourselves to be weakened by sin and the world.  The bible says we are in the world, but not OF the world. John 17:14-19  But the fact that we are here means that there will always be something attacking us, and or something tempting us to do wrong, to please ourselves.  Being a christian = denying ourselves things that are not good for us.

With that being said, what is not good for you might be okay for me, and what is okay for me might be no good for you.  This is where RELIGION ties in.  THIS is where it begins to come in and choke out the creativeness and freedom that Gods grace, mercy, and salvation gives.  Why would God save you from the world, just to bind you up and tie you down to rules and regulations that make you feel inadequate and unworthy?  YES, we ARE unworthy of his grace and mercy, but God doesnt want us to live with that mindset.  This idea of "well if this is sin for me then it must be for you too"  is religion at its purest.  Forcing convictions of your own onto other people is spiritual death for them!  When this happens they try to be someone they are not, living with convictions that are not their own.  When you, churches, denominations, organizations do that, its asking the person to carry a weight that they were never meant to carry.  God says that HE would never place anything on us more than we could bear. 1 Corinthians 10:13  He never told us to do it, because when WE place weights on ourselves, then they burden us down and discourage.

Christianity was never ment to be HARD, or discouraging.  It was never ment to be a constant battle.  Its really quite simple.  WE make it hard, we get discouraged, we pick battles to fight that were never ment to even be out on the battlefield.  Yes, the word says that the way to heaven is narrow and few be the ones who find it, but the word also says my yoke is easy and my burden is light! Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 11:30

God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Faith, Miracles were never ment to be hoarded up and kept inside the church walls.  WE are the church!  John Mark McMillan has a song that says I am a Temple:

Deep inside me
There's this burning
That just won't let me go
You are my fire
You are my righteousness
You are my rock in roll

I wish I could fit you
Down inside my chest God
I wish I could swallow you whole
I'd wrap you up
In a blanket of my skin
And you could call my body home

I am a temple
My body is a temple
I am a temple

So what if I'm not worthy
You make me clean

I can't get over how quickly you recover
The pieces of my heart as they shatter
Cause in your hands I am
More than just a brand new man
And all my falling down now
Its just don't matter

I am a temple
My body is a temple
I am a temple

So what if I'm not worthy
You make me clean

WE are the church, we are a living, breathing, moving, LIVING testimony for Jesus Christ.  People see you everyday and when they see you, they are seeing a small sample of the church, of Jesus, of God.  They see how he restores you!  They see how he lives and breaths in you.  Religion KILLS this!  When people look into a religious life, all they see are rules!  You cant do this, you cant do that, you cant say this, you cant wear that, you cant go here, you cant be seen with them.

These people with Religious mindsets are the same people who wanted JESUS dead!  Because he came and did things that were against the grain.  He proved them wrong, he said no its doenst have to be done like that, watch me do it like THIS!  Luke 15:2, Matthew 12:14

GOD IS A CREATIVE GOD!  Dont hinder his creativity in you by thinking you have to follow at set of MAN MADE RULES!  Follow his WORD, THE BIBLE.  What it says, do it!  Its that simple!

Following the word/Jesus is relationship, following man is religion.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Relationship is better than Religion Part 1

Last night, I was reading through status updates on facebook and came across one that said something to the sort of this:  "One of our preachers said that the rock band Stryper shaped his faith, well no rock band shaped my faith only Jesus Christ."  My response back was:  "This may not have ministered to you, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't minister to other people.  God is a creative being, dont put him in a box"  These are not the exact words of the post, only what I can remember.  I was on my ipod at the time, had I been on my laptop I would have copied and pasted the entire conversation for everyone to read and decide for themselves, but the poster of this status promptly deleted the entire debate from his facebook page after all was said and done. 

My response was promptly met by a total of 27 posts in about an hour on the subject of "HOLY LIVING" and how rock music was degrading.  One woman even went as far to say that "satan worshipers worship satan while listening to christian rock, they don't have to listen to the words because the music is enough."  Um, the bible says at the name of Jesus Hell trembles, so apparently this is not a fact.... This same woman also stated "would Jesus listen to that kind of music?  I THINK NOT!"  My reply to that comment was, oh, its good to know that you are so close to God that you would know what kind of music HE would listen to.

I have so much to say on this subject that this blog would be to long, so I think Im going to break it up into a couple.  So here goes part 1

First of all, I don't even like Stryper.  I think their song "To Hell with the Devil" is hilarious, and pretty corny, but the fact is that they were trying to be a light in a dark world.  These people who attacked me on the post last night said things like "you have to find their music in the ROCK section!"  My response to that is THANK GOD ITS IN THE ROCK SECTION.  Why do people not get that?  Can they not take a minute to stop and think, okay, sinners listen to rock.  This band talks about God, they have a scripture on the front of their album.  A sinner buys the album, because its in the rock section, sinner takes album home, sinner listens to album, sinner hears about a man named Jesus, sinner wonders who this Jesus is, sinner see's a verse on the cover, sinner gets out a bible to read what the verse is.  HOLY COW.  Just from a stryper album being in the rock section at a music store, someone who may have never otherwise even known about Jesus or the bible has now been introduced to Christianity, the seed has been planted.  Im not saying this happens with every person who listens to stryper, but this is just and example of how GOD can use ANYTHING.

These people last night went on and on about being holy and how this was unacceptable, I cant even remember all the things that were said, but I dont understand how someone can be SO close minded.  God doesn't need us to make him holy or unholy.  HE IS HOLY.  We may do things that doesn't honor his holiness, but we can never make him any less holy by the actions we do.  God can use ANYTHING to minister to people.  Why is that so hard to understand, he is GOD!!!  He IS holy, so why are you putting limits on him?  Why do you put him in a box?  Why do you say that only Southern Gospel music is the "right music?"  Southern Gospel is good, and it ministers to certian people, but so does other things.  

Let me tell you something, southern gospel music has more hypocrites than we care to know about.  They are human just like us.  If God can use Kirk Talley, a man who wrote anointed songs in the middle of a struggle with homosexuality, then why do we rebuke a rock band who is trying to reach the lost?  You have sang his songs in your church Im sure and didnt think a thing about it yet you condemn young people to hell when they worship in their own way.  The thing is you say this music is the devils music, but yet there are similarities in secular music and "church" music....

Here are some examples to prove my point:  The following clip is a sample of Old western saloon piano music:

Now, the following is a clip of a hymn of the you hear any similarities?

Can I scream a little bit?  WHAT     IS     THE    DIFFERENCE??????  Between THAT and having CHRISTIAN ROCK AND SECULAR ROCK?  What is the difference?  I'll tell you the difference.... THERE IS NONE!!!!  The difference between any genre of christian music and secular music has and always will be THE MESSAGE... and the message, JESUS, is what destroys the yolks, JESUS is what sets people free!

I said all this to say... people with this mindset have pure RELIGION.... RELIGION tells you that God cannot minister to other people through secular media, RELATIONSHIP with God tells you that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH HIM AND HE IS POWERFUL AND HOLY AND HE CAN DO ALL THINGS!!!!!  THROUGH ANYONE HE WANTS TO!  HE USES SINNERS TO COMPLETE HIS PLANS!  Look at his disciples!  Look at them, they were a mess, they were sinners!

Nathan sent me this scripture today that goes perfectly with this subject, and I will end on this note...

(and I've put several versions for the ones who dont believe in more relevant and easier to understand versions of the bible)

Matthew 9:11-12 (King James Version)

 11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
 12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

Matthew 9:11-12 (New International Version)

11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
 12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

Matthew 9:11-12 (The Message)

 10-11Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?"
 12-13Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring = Flowers

Nathan and I bought our house in November, and from the moment we saw the house we loved it!  I remember coming back to our apartment after seeing this house for the first time and us both jumping around and doing the "happy dance".  (In case you dont know what the "happy dance" is, you pretty much just move your body any ridiculous way you can think of to show your enthusiasm and happiness about the situation at hand.)  I remember Nathan saying, "baby, this is the house God has for us."  When he said those words, I knew it was the one too, and as God would have it, it IS the house God had for us.  I could go on and on about our house searching and the things we learned, which were a LOT, and the things we hated, and loved, but this blog would be a book.  The house is perfect for us in many ways, and like all houses, there are things we immediatly changed, things we are changing, and then there is my LIST.  On the very top of my list is the yard.  Of course we have to wait until spring is fully sprung to start doing a lot of my honey dos, but this 70 degree weekend is making me itch to rip up some bushes!

These bushes have been #1 on my list since I laid eyes on them, and I cant tell you how bad I want to hook a chain up to them and just rip them up out of the ground, and if I have my way in it at all...I will be driving the truck when they come up!  I am falling in love with gardening, flowers, and landscaping.  Right now I know next to NOTHING about the subject, but I love learning new things about it so I think this is slowly becoming my new hobby.  The tree's in this picture are dogwoods, they might be dead, we should know in a couple more weeks when everything is in full bloom.  I really hope they are alive they will be so beautiful if they are Im sure.  This year I want to plant hydrangias, I think they are so beautiful,  and  yellow bell bushes.  I already have a camelia bush as you can see. It has made a baby right below it, so I will probably move the baby to another part of the house!  This bush is gorgeous, its been blooming all winter.  It will bloom and then it snowed, the flowers would die, but the next warm day there would be new buds sprouting out everywhere!  Im also planning on planting a curly willow, Nates mom has a beautiful tree at her house and we rooted and planted one in china grove that had started to grow nicley when we sold the house.

Also on my list is build a patio!  This can get rather expensive, so this year we are going to focus on the flowers beds and landscaping, and next year Im planning on tackling the patio, BUT, I want it to be surrounded by trees, flowers and shrubs, so I think I will plant some things near where I want the patio to be so there will already be some larger things around it! 

Since Im new at this whole gardeing/flower stuff, do you have any plants, trees, or shrubs you would like to suggest for me to try?!  

Monday, March 15, 2010

A GOOD Monday :)

My last blog I was complaining about my Mondays and at the end I said NO MORE!  No more crazyness, it must stop!  Thank God this is such a better start to the week! 

I had such an awesome weekend.  Im so blessed to have family and friends and my wonderfully hubby.  You know we dont thank God enough in the good times, we tend to just pray for him to get us out of the bad times.  And I just want to say Thank you Lord, because I am so blessed! 

Saturday I finally got Nates man room pretty much picked up.  It had morphed into our "junk" room for over a month and it was beginning to make me crazy!  I got a lot of things put up in our attic.  You know I wish I was one of those people who could just throw stuff away, but I just cant.  I mean obveously we havent needed it in a while since its been sitting there and got sent to the attic, but its just one of those things that I will eventually throw away the next time I move and dont want to drag it to my next house to clutter up, but for now we will keep it.  I have still have some stuff over at my moms that I have to get too, which makes me depressed, but thats okay Ill find a corner of the attic to stack it in and we will be good to go again.  Anyway, I cleaned taht mess up and got my house straightened up and then met my sissy and mom at Kirklands for their little weekend sale.  I found a beautiful picture to hang in my living room, I'll update you with a pic once Nate and I get it hung...straight... which will probably be a whole other blog in itself!  Then we went to the mall and looked around.  I was so greatful to get to get out of the house because the ACC tournametn was on.  When Nate and I got married, I told him he could watch as much of any sport he wanted and I would watch it with him except for racing and golf.  Luckily he is not into either of those much, so i get overdosed with football and Duke basketball.  I have really grown to love both of them, but I am not as hard core bout Duke as Nate is.  I will cheer them on and be sad when they loose, but its just not something I want to do on Saturdays.  So while I was out shopping, Nate was watching the game!  It worked out really well because he gets in heated screaming matches with the TV when they are doing bad and of course I try to be realistic and calm him down which only makes things worse because then he holds it in and wont talk till the game is over.  So I think we have finally found the best solution!  Me+leave him alone during the game = happy Nate lol

After shopping Nate took me out on a date!  We do things all the time, but most of the time its with other people, or we are singing somewhere.  So we went bowling, and out to eat for pizza and let me tell you I just had the time of my life!  I dont think I have laughed so hard in years.  Nathan is a funny funny guy, and I would tell you what was so funny, but it was one of those you just had to be there moments.  And of course we ended our romantic date with Krispy Kreme!  Chocolate covered cream filled is my FAV and I gained 1lb over the weekend too... BOOO

Sunday was a wonderful day too, we got a band together and lead worship at a new church in Gastonia called My Fathers House.  Its located at the Y off Union Road, go check it out if your in the area! 

My neice Tori is in Cheer Xplosion, a cheer competition team, and she competed at UNCC, so all the girls went to watch her and then eat for Kimmies birthday.  Which leads me to my next rant....

HOW COULD ANYONE NOT LIKE THE OFFICE?!!!!  My sisters think its the stupidest show ever and its annoying, but I think its the funniest show ever!  I told them a joke from it and they burst out in mocking laughter at the cheesecake factory last night!  Okay, please make a comment on this if you like or dislike the office I want to know! 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another CRAPPY day..

literally!  Now all of you positive thinkers out there, dont jump down my negative speaking throat just yet because when I say I've had a crappy day.  Im speaking quite literally.  You see this morning Nathan and I woke up to go to the gym, which we havent done in a while because of my knee, the weather, belly aches, you know all the normal we just dont feel like going to the gym excuses, and everything was great.  Even though my knee still hurts ( I fell one Saturday morning on the icy deck trying to take CoCo out to pee so she didnt do it in the house) I still made myself run 1/2 a mile before it started to hurt, so I was pretty happy with my workout.  We came home, by now its about 6:30am and I made myself a nice bowl of oatmeal and Nate a bowl of frosted flakes with a banana sliced in it.  I had JUST sat down to start on my oatmeal with Nate yelled across the house for me to "come here"  I could tell by his tone he wasnt happy about the reason I had to "come here".... so.... I went.  And this is where the crappy part comes in!  Water, yes WATER, the same topic of my last blog, was pouring out of the bottom of the toilet, the tub was full of water, the guest bathroom toilet was gushing water, and the tub in the guest bathroom was barfing up...shower leftovers.... UCK... We grabbed every "old" towel we could find, shut off the water, and called my bro n law Chris, who is a plumber.  He told us its probably our septic tank.  So we are lucky that there wasnt crapp spewing everywhere instead of water!  Thank you Lord!  :)  The pots finally stopped leaking and Nate stayed home today to get someone out there to pump the tank.  Someone came about 1:30, and Nate said that was the nastiest thing he had ever seen!  The guy took his shovel and tapped the top of the "sludge" and it was HARD... EEWWW!!!!  He said he doubted if the tank had ever been pumped and the house is 20 years old!  Can you imagine, 20 years of CRAP!  OMG!!!  Thats pretty hard core right there, I dont know what I would have done if 20 years of crap would have started oozing out my toilets and tubs and sinks instead of just plain ol water.  So, that is done, BUT the stuff is still clogged up.  How exciting is that?!  I hope this isnt the beginning of a vicious trend of horrible Mondays.  You know how sometimes the weather gets on a cycle of snowing every Wed. or raining every Saturday.  This will not be good if it is going to be a habit, and I can just tell you right now that it will NOT be because I just wont allow it.  From today on, "I do declare" - michael scott, the office, that there will be NO MORE CRAPPY MONDAYS!!!!  :)

Looks like a job for THIS guy....  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What A Week.....

I've postponed writing this blog until I could sit down and relax a bit.  This week was INSAAAAAIIINNNNEEEE!!!!  I got ready for my trip to Raleigh for loan training on Monday and left at lunch, safe trip down there and had a great time.  But Nathan txted me Monday night saying that he came home to a bathroom full of water, and coco sitting up on the sink shaking like a leaf!  She bit a hole through the water line that goes to the toilet in the guest bathroom where we had been keeping her.  It soaked beneath the tile and into the guest bedroom.  Thank God I was not here, or she may have not been a Taylor any longer!  lol j/k, I know I know, she's just a puppy.  But anyway, Nate called the insurance co and they sent people out with big heated industrial fans to get the water out of our floors.  These fans had to run non stop for three days.  I am scared to see our power and water bill after this one!  One day the fan guys came and said that our bathroom was 99 degrees!  So, I came home to a hot, wet, loud house!  We finally got it all cleared up and they had to spray an antimicrobial agent into the floors to make sure that we dont get mold and mildew.  They finally came and got the fans, and put our carpet back down, and everything was back to normal by Friday night.  So Saturday I spent cleaning cleaning cleaning and then we went to eat at my new fav little restraunt in Belmont (thanks to Becky)  called Sammys!  They have AWESOME sandwhiches, you should try it if your in the area, then some friends came over and we watched Duke STOMP some Carolina!  Well, I actually only watched half of  it because I fell asleep halfway through.  Nate and Miranda was really happy, Jed was mad, and I really didnt care either way except that I know how much Nate loves Duke, so I am a Duke fan for his sake!  So then today, we went to Freedom Biker Church in Hickory, NC and led worship with them.  We always love being with them, it makes me want to get a tat and ride a bike haha, neither of which I will probably ever do because Im too big of a chicken.  Then to Wild Wok for lunch.  Wonderful chinese food, if you get a chance go there too!  Then to Aldi for some grocery shopping, which can I say that Aldi is pretty much the best store EVER!!!!  Their veggies are fresher than most of the big chain stores and the prices on everything are so much cheaper.  I did a little research and found out that Aldi is actually owned by the same family who owns and manages Trader Joes.  So that would be why their stuff is so good maybe?  Then mom, dad, and mommaw came over to meet little Coco!  Im tired just from writing this... good night!