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Rainy Autumn Mondays Unto the Lord

We were thankful for the rain Monday morning. The dry ground was thirsty! I was glad the girls got their pumpkins carved the evening before, just in time. We don’t celebrate Halloween as its roots are not even close to God-honoring, and in my conviction, I cannot celebrate it, but I did wait for the pumpkins to go on sale for the girls to do their own little decor since God himself made pumpkins.

I started the day off early by cooking my husband a power bowl style breakfast with turkey bacon and blueberries. Tossed some black beans in the eggs for extra energy.

My youngest got off to school, and of course not too far into the morning once the sun came up all the way, the dogs were ready to go back out.

Back to the couch for some study in the Word. My friend loves to nestle up to me. He has these bouts a few times a day. It’s not all calm, trust me. This is round one, haha.

Since finding out I have gallbladder issues, I am only supposed to eat turkey, fish or chicken. I bought some ground turkey, cooked it thoroughly, boiled my green beans in a couple teaspoons of chicken broth, then combined the two and set on a low simmer. Once the pasta was finished, I combined all three. It doesn’t look the most appealing, but it tasted amazing. *Edited to add, this dish is actually from Tuesday evening I believe. I’ve been cooking so much I lost track.*

About midday while the littles I watch were napping, I went out to snap more photos because the beauty of fall is a gift to me, and since my birthday happens to be on its first day, I felt the Lord who created me, couldn’t have chosen a better time.

The evening came and I wanted to catch the coziness of our quaint space which I thank God for. We are merely travelers passing through this world, but I am thankful He allowed us to move here into this little pocket in the woods which reminds me much of our Kentucky house but with the four rooms we had always desired. This is the first time the kids have ever had their own bedroom.

Bye sun.

When I think of the beauty of autumn it only gives me one more reason to add to the countless others to be thankful to Jesus. He thought to make such things which blows my mind; I was glad to capture. The detail of creation is just another reason I can’t see how people might think there is no God.

He is obviously an on-purpose Creator…an on-purpose all mighty God!

“Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant,
And Israel whom I have chosen.
2 Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring;
4 They will spring up among the grass
Like willows by the watercourses.’
5 One will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’;
Another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
Another will write with his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
And name himself by the name of Israel.

There Is No Other God

6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
7 And who can proclaim as I do?
Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
Since I appointed the ancient people.
And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show these to them.
8 Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
You are My witnesses.
Is there a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock;
I know not one.’ ”

Isaiah 44:1-8 NKJV

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Sunday Afternoon Stir Fry and Baking

One recent Sunday afternoon after church service, the kids and I baked cookies so they could cool in time for them to eat after lunch. For my what-I-hoped-to-be-gallbladder-friendly fixins, I used a frozen bag of stir-fry veggies. I threw in some leftover chicken breast and that was it.

After the cooking, hubs and I headed out onto the deck for a little time together before going into town. I think it was the first time we just sat out there together. Time to slow down apparently!

And I can’t post this without adding our most recent Sunday shot. It took way too many takes than it should have but that is okay.

What’s your favorite Sunday dish and dessert?

Finding Peace in Weakness

The sunlight either said hello sooner than I expected or I lost track of time since getting up so early which allowed a few things to be accomplished before all the kids got out the door for school.

Not that my two olders need me anymore–and I wasn’t sure how long it’d be before I could say such words, but now I can praise the Lord; they’ve been getting up earlier than even their mama prefers, fixing their hygiene, lunches and the like.

This more-than-a-mere-morning, my Bible sat waiting for me, as did other to-do’s not too far off, though I made them sit still for while longer before gathering all my items and heading to the deck to enjoy the autumn weather before the heat of the day–because it’s those in betweens where the sun will cook you while the cool evenings will keep your cardigan’s hook, your best friend.

I have pitter-patted into this post, possibly from being so away, as I’ve found writing when prompted to be more my style than a daily task regardless–which could change, but tis the season.

Weakness.

I wanted to talk about it because, well, it’s been at my bedpost lately. I’ve been pondering on what feels like I swallowed a dose of helplessness and how when we feel this way, God still hasn’t changed. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

I’ve been mostly healthy all my life–I just turned 37–and out of nowhere I began having gallbladder attacks, I guess they call them, from being inflamed, or “horribly mad at you,” in the doctor’s words.

So, needless to say, I have been watching what I eat instead of being able to fly by the seat of my pants. If that method got me here–don’t follow in those footsteps, oops.

Not that I over-ate or went crazy. Honestly, portion control and plain common sense have pretty much been how I live, but either way, two trips to ER in a week happened and would have more had I not gritted and bared the agonizing pain while praising and trying to think happy thoughts amidst it all.

Through this process of learning what I can eat, might be able to eat, and definitely CAN NOT EAT right now, it’s been fun to get back in the kitchen after another but unexpected move ) our cute townhome had mold we discovered).

Though this photo looks yummy, my gut wound up saying no to beef roast. Below, I used leftover homemade chicken noodle as an excuse to make “sort of Zuppa Tuscana” soup. It had chicken rather than sausage (which I cannot eat) and I added in cooked potatoes after the fact, so the only thing I found off enough to write about was the noodles.

This meant it had more a chicken gnocchi texture instead, but it was still good. Since eating this I have been cutting back on milk-based products too. The pain from the gallbladder attacks were coming every other night, so I was desperate to cut out whatever might be a trigger.

I hope it doesn’t seem I am all over the place today. I haven’t been very good lately at writing authentically raw, and I think that’s because for the first time I am writing not from pained places but I have been able to wait upon the Lord in some things as He works in me during trials, and write after, or not at all (yet?)

This is not to say those who write in their pain are less strong. I actually long to write this way again, but for whatever reason the Lord has made this past year different for me. Maybe it was a place in my life I needed to grow in. Maybe I leaned heavily into the writing process itself, instead of prayer first, though I will say I feel I have not let prayer go ever, entirely. Even on pained days, even on good days, I “feel” prayer has always been a love, and natural to me. I wish it were this way for everyone.

Weakness. About that.

Though I mean physically, weakness comes in all shapes and sizes. When I am laying on the bed in hours of what seems like unending pain, I cry to Jesus. I rock back and forth to Jesus. I squeeze my husband’s hand–to Jesus be the glory that I have a hand to hold; not everyone does.

Things I might have ever taken for granted; I hope I no longer do. Even when it came to two different types of medication–one at the ER and one at home–my mercy and understanding for how it can be that a person might get hooked on a painkiller, has grown.

Because of this, I am severely watching my diet so I can hopefully avoid the gut twinge that cues me in on, “This is going to be a long night.”

I greatly appreciated The Transformed Wife’s post for other proven methods of helping maintain health, other than pain medication. She suffered through years of gut issues, so her recommendations are substantial.

Regardless of anything, I know my life is in God’s hands, but I also know taking care of the temple He’s given is my responsibility to an extent.

“My flesh and my heart fail;

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

PSALM 73:26 nkjv

It doesn’t matter how weak I feel in my bones. My spirit man is strong, but I can and will give honor to my Father for this too–because without His help, even this would not be so. I have had days when my spirit man felt nothing but a gasp.

If this is you too, take heart. He is never changing, despite our changing days.

The recipe above was recommended by a friend.

Since I just made this today, I can’t say my body’s reaction yet but I assuming it will be a good one since there was zero grease involved.

I will probably be adding more meals to the blog over time.

If you have a gut-friendly, gallbladder-friendly recommendation comment below (you have to create an account & log in)…

…or email hello@peaceandcoffee.blog and I may put together a curated list and link back to you.

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How Opposition Works in Our Favor

There may be what seems like a wall of pressure coming at you right now. Everything seems to be caving in and you’re looking around going, “What did I do?” knowing full well you have been only trying your utmost best to live a life pleasing to God.

If this sounds like you know you are not alone. In 1 Peter 4:12 even though the people he was writing to might have been suffering from other circumstances, we can read the words and be comforted knowing it is applicable to all true believers of Christ everywhere.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you….”

In summary, his encouragement was not to be taken aback by hardships (insert your sort). It is good to be encouraged in times such as these because when we feel weak or worn out is when we are most vulnerable (to spiritual attacks). But we can become strong over time, having gone through trial and after trial–our spiritual armor giving us resilience.

In 1 Thessalonians Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers after his visit there to encourage them that their faith was loud and clear to the world, because it was reaching his own ears even though they were miles apart.

People were speaking of the strong faith of these Thessalonians, but did they know the fight it took and was taking to keep that faith? Maybe, or maybe not. We do know that it had not come easy, nor had it been a cake walk for Paul to go and minister to them to begin with.

“You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure. You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition. (1 Thess. 2:1-2 NLT)

As I was reading this morning, I couldn’t help but be encouraged that the trials serve us, to make us stronger and move us along in God’s will. If everything seems as if it’s hitting a wall, crashing down, or broken down–keep looking to Jesus. He has a plan in it all.

He will provide, sustain, and guide you through the trails and trials of life. He knows what is best and nothing happens without Him knowing. You are safe in His hands. None of this in vain, and nothing takes Him by surprise.

Just this week our pastor spoke of the eye of the storm and how in the very middle, it is calmest. Don’t let up on your praise and worship of the King and watch how He will lift you up. When your eyes are on Him and not the storm, you will have peace.

Just say, “I don’t know, but You, oh God…do.”

Don’t let opposition scare you. It only means you’re on the right path and meant for more. Just smile and keep on.

-Meg

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When in Bloom

Today as I sit on my porch listening to the vehicles go by on the highway and bat away the flies trying to lay claim to my coffee, I can’t get away from Philippians 3. What I am coming to learn at 36 is that life will always have its challenges, and if it doesn’t it’s a sure sign you’re stuck, stagnant, or dying.

In many cases I have experienced tremendous growth, and in a couple areas, namely one–I have been beating around the bush instead of just going straight to the Father with, “With this one thing, why are we still here?”

Have you ever had those areas of life that felt unchanging while everything else flourished, and in your human mind if it would just transform already, it could become this beautiful thing and possibly blend in better with the bigger picture?

But I’ve had to surrender those trifling areas, along with the picture in my mind, of what it is all supposed to look like. The glorious unfolding can quickly become an idol if I am not careful.

“You mean I have to surrender every step?”

And of course, Father is quiet in His response because He knows I know the answer.

If you have no need of admitting to a hard area in your life, I commend you, but I don’t think I have yet met one person who is living flawlessly.

At the same time since I let go of the old life and stepped into the new, I have seen a vast array of possibilities I only dreamed of seeing before when everything was filtered through a lens of “waiting for the perfect weather before I plant” (see Ecclesiastes 11:4).

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. Though none go with me, I sure will follow. Though none go with m, I sure will follow…

You know the song? Look it up.

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.

But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.

For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction.

Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only of this life here on earth. But we are citizens of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior.”

Philippians 3:12-20 New Living Translation

Don’t give up. Yes, it was tiring pushing through the dark soil to reach the sky, your blooms coming into position ready to burst forth with new promise.

Yes, growth is painful. You wind around hard things and through things, not knowing exactly what it will all look like in the end. When in bloom: trust, rest, trust.

Rest in God’s presence. He will refuel you for the journey.

You will get the strength you need to keep fighting forward. Don’t give up, just take a break.

Release all the heavy burdens into the Father’s hands. Because what the enemy wouldn’t want us to see is that the result of giving up hurts worse than the pain of holding onto God in the fight.

Don’t give up. Only rest.

-Meg

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Coffee Tasting at Drachenfutter

Recently, my sister and I stopped in at a local coffee shop tucked between local businesses. What a gem with a German name, Drachenfutter, they serve coffees, teas, gourmet deli-style eats and desserts. This is what it’s all about when it comes to cozy spaces. They even have a community printer, c’mon.

Bring the kids along for some boardgame time. Yes, they have a paper menu and kid meals too.

The moment my mouth hit the foam I knew I had found a favorite hangout spot with a rich drink to get me going. The prices are comparable to anywhere else but fresh with a small-town atmosphere you can’t get at a fast food or fast coffee joint.

I gave Drachenfutter a five-star review on Google. If you are in the Fort Leonard Wood area, definitely stop in sometime.

A Spontaneous Trip to the Lake with Church Family

A few weeks ago, some people from our church packed up and headed an hour away to a water hole where we enjoyed throwing a line out. Strike that–they threw their lines out and I of course grabbed my camera.

I found a place where it was less jagged rock and more pebbly-beachy. The need to stick my toes in the water was a must. We had not reserved a boat, so this was closest I was getting at such short notice. Yes, our church is pretty spontaneous. We love it.

All was quiet unless a random speed boat came around the bend, The trickle of the water and the smashing against the stones after boat ripples found us at the edge was priceless.

Even my husband decided to set his pole aside to gaze. That is rare!

I found a few treasures I am going to turn into crafts to hold memories from each trip. Some other women from the church joined me after I called them over to check out the hidden beach spot. It’s the small things!

We were thankful to get out that day, and if I am to be honest, which I will because as writer there is no other way to live–it was actually a difficult morning emotionally because someone I used to be close to contacted me at near arrival. The timing threw me off for a while, but I finally settled in my spirit midway through the trip I could not let negative thoughts fester, or they would ruin my whole day, and it would be no one’s fault but my own. Needless to say, the day wound up being great, but the lesson was for me not to wait so long to lay it at Jesus feet. I know this but knowing and doing are not the same of course! We have to live by the words He said, not just admire them, and this is what I pray to become more and more.

– Meg