We often encourage one another when beginning and/or continuing projects to take things “a step at a time.” What we mean, of course, is that some tasks are simply to big for us to (humanly, anyway) tackle in a short amount of time and will therefore require several segments of dedicated time over many days, weeks, months, and sometimes years.
Another aspect is the encouragement found in Psalm 119:105 – God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light to our path, and also that our Lord will provide sufficient grace for today. (Matthew 6:34, 2 Corinthians 12:9) From these passages, we can gather the truth that, as we meditate on and delight in the inspired and inerrant Word of God, we will be directed by the Holy Spirit to take the “next step” of our lives, and that His grace will be with us in every dark time through which we must pass.
But how big is a “step?”
I know that when I have a daunting task, it only makes logical sense to work toward the goal in small increments of improvement or accomplishment. If I have a hundred miles to walk, I can’t cross the finish line in a day, or a week, or in two weeks, unless I drop all else and make walking my #1 priority. But what goes into walking a hundred miles, anyway (we’ve already considered the time factor). It’s kind of obvious, really, but at the same time, it isn’t. It’s a case of not being able to see the forest through the trees, if you will. The answer? Steps. Lots of steps. Lots of little, tiny, probably-less-than-two-and-a-half-feet-long steps. Now for a math lesson.
There are 5280 feet in a mile. Multiply by 100 miles. That’s 528,000 feet. Don’t panic yet; that’s not our final answer. And just in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s more than half a million feet. Exhausting. Now let’s divide that by 2.5, since we are assuming that a “step” is 2.5 feet in length. Relief! Only 211,200 steps to take. This should be easy; not even a quarter of a million steps. No problem.
Step 1. Step 2. Step 3. Step 4. Step 5. Step 6. Step 7. This could get old fast if you dwell on the written form for too long. Even if I only wrote until Step 22 you’d probably stop reading and turn off your computer. But this is a reality. A step is not a quarter of a mile. A step isn’t even tenth of a mile, or a twentieth. It’s just a step. That’s all.
I’ve had quite the time of it, the past two and a half years. A massive road to walk that would require head-aching, skull-stretching, mind-boggling study, experimentation, and work. To me, it was like trying to walk 1000 miles. And to make things worse, the tools I needed to have in proper working order kept malfunctioning. (Imagine if you broke both of your legs on Step 2.)
The grace of the Lord has been so evident in the past week or so. I decided, after a long time of broken-leg-healing, if you will, to try it again. To get back in the saddle. To take my walking sticks in hand and start walking. Just one step, I told myself. I prayed for grace and re-surrendered my life, time, and talents. I determined to stay at it for one hour that first day. That should be almost long enough, if not quite, for 1 or 2 baby steps, I reasoned. I next determined to set boundaries on my stopping time. I couldn’t wimp out and give it a half-hearted effort, but nor could I reinjure my “legs.” They’re still healing, don’t forget.
God’s grace has been amazing to experience. I’ve “walked” 11 Steps! Oh, to be sure, that’s only 27.5 feet – a far cry from even a quarter of a mile (which is, by the way, 1320 feet). But 11 Steps. It’s progress. It resembles the tiny, invisible growth of a seedling. It’s the beginning of the change wrought in the landscape with the passing of seasons. It’s almost imperceptible. But it’s there. It may feel like the step from a fishing boat onto a stormy sea. But there’s a Master waiting to walk with you in your Step of Faith. And that makes all the difference.
Do you ever get the urge to de-junk? I mean, really clean out?
Maybe it’s the arrival of spring that made the urge start to hit me. Or maybe it was the fact that my sisters were cleaning out their homes and sending me pictures. Or maybe it is that book I’m reading about procrastination. Or maybe it was… who know what else. But whatever it was that made the urge start to dawn in my mind, it was a gift from God.
I thrive in a tidy environment. That’s not to say that I’m always a tidy person, though. I’m working on that part. But since I’m able to work at my peak performance when I have less clutter and mess around me, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to spend time getting my personal areas in ship-shape?
So, thus it began. I went to pack clothes for a recent trip, and realized that I didn’t need to have all my winter clothes hanging in my closet through the summer. (More physical space creates more brain space for me. Margin is vital.) I pulled out a stack of items, and went to put them in their respective bins. Upon opening the bins, I found them to be almost full of winter clothes that I didn’t wear at all last year. Why keep them? I can’t. I don’t need to.
A common quote that’s been floating around our house and has even been passed through text messages to long distance family rings in my mind. “I can’t keep everything, you know.” Oh how horrifying it would be if I did!
So thus began my challenge. Can I fill a box of items to get rid of (or maybe even 2!?)?
Would you like to join me on this challenge?
With honor and gratitude to those who have given their all, and to their families who have also known great sacrifice, we wish you a Happy Memorial Day!
Though I was bound in chains of sin,
I now am free; Christ reigns within.
His love and mercy I now trust,
For Satan’s rule my Saviour crushed.
My Master is the King of Kings;
His glorious praise, fore’er I’ll sing.
Someday on heaven’s blissful shore,
I’ll praise His name forever more.
‘Till all my life on earth is done,
In me may others see God’s Son.
I’m sure your family has certain holiday foods that you look forward to enjoying each year. Not only to taste, but to anticipate, prepare, smell…. oh, the season of cozy warmth, deep spices, and quality family time! For us, it would be hard to imagine a holiday spread without our Sweet Potato Souffle from our family cookbook, Tasty Traditions. In fact, we almost crossed it off the menu this year for various reasons, but nooooo. It is now in the freezer just waiting to jump into the oven on the Big Day of Gratitude (it is also anticipating being gobbled up with delight, just like the turkey).
We hope you are all enjoying the days that are passing so quickly and savoring every delicious moment to the fullest. There truly is much for which to be thankful!
These fun and adorable treats are perfect for building relationships with the small people in your life. Watch smiles form and grow as you build your turkeys with your children, siblings, nieces & nephews, or little friends. And besides, who doesn’t like to have miniature turkeys around for the week of Thanksgiving?
You will need:
Oreo cookies – 1 per turkey
Large marshmallows – 1/2 per turkey
Candy Corn – five per turkey, plus a few extra
Small amount of frosting
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
Mix all ingredients to make frosting.
Assemble your birds:
Spread a little frosting onto a cookie.
Press half of a marshmallow (cut around the middle “east/west” fashion) onto the cookie, NOT centered.
Place 5 candy corn evenly spaced above the marshmallow. These are the feathers that make your gobbler’s fan.
Break a tiny piece from one of the extra candy corn, and stick it to the marshmallow with a teeny bit of frosting. This is the gobbler’s beard.
Your bird is complete!
A few weeks ago our family started a diet. This diet didn’t allow for any sugar. Well, this doesn’t work very well with our tradition of getting Blizzards from Dairy Queen when we go to work with Daddy. On the second week of this diet my brother and I got to go with Daddy on his overnight business trip. Were we going to “fall off the wagon” by yielding to the strong temptation of getting the Blizzards that we REALLY wanted, or were we going to choose the right option, and refrain? When we got home someone would ask us what we had eaten, and whether or not we had been “good.” What would we say: that we had not given in, or that we had?
Although we didn’t yield and get the Blizzards that time, it taught me a lesson. It is the same in our spiritual lives. We are frequently tempted by various things in life, but we must remember that we will one day stand before God and give an account of the temptations that we gave in to. How inadequate our earthly excuse will be in comparison to His righteous law.
P.S. We still get them when we aren’t on a diet.
It’s the time of year for spicy, pumpkin sensations, and the girls and I had fun putting these little pies together for a ladies event at our home. The recipe measurements should be done a little ad lib (the pie filling is adapted from our family favorite Paradise Pumpkin Pie from Tasty Traditions, available at NeelyMarketplace.com), but that makes it all the more fun. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit. Line 3, 1 dozen, muffin tins with papers.
Prepare the crusts:
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 c. butter
Combine all three in a food processer and process until well combined, then press about 2 Tbsp. of mixture into each muffin cup. Set aside.
Make the filling:
1 large (29 oz.) can of pumpkin
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 c. evaporated milk
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined.
Assemble the pies:
Using a large muffin scoop, drop one scoop of pie filling into each crust.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until the tops are golden and starting to crack slightly.