Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Grand Affair

II Corinthians 2:14-17 - But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not like so many peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.
It is so wonderful and merciful of of the Lord to spread His fragrance and the knowledge of Him through me.  He doesn't need my help, but it's so fun to get to help in spreading His fame.  Yes, even as much fun and as joyful as a triumphal procession.  I can't help but think of marching through the streets of River City on the Music Man, or processing down the church's aisle with wedding bells ringing on the Sound of Music, or walking stately through the Throne Room at the end of Star Wars hearing Coronation March in the background...  It is so much more wonderful to follow the Lord's triumphal procession in spreading His fame and fragrance.  

There are many people who are in the process of being saved, many more who are perishing.  How nice to know that I don't need to peddle Christ, sell Him or convince others to buy into salvation.  I can march and process and walk joyfully and confidently through this life, being sincere and authentic and real and loving, fixing my eyes on Him, my perfect Leader...and the parade and processional will be so wonderful and awe-inspiring and delightful, that others will want to join in.

Thanks be to God for initiating this grand affair, and for commissioning me to follow well.  
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Friday, January 20, 2012

My Purse: The Garbage Bag

I happen to like big purses.  I mean, who KNOWS what I'll want to throw into it.  It needs to be ready for anything.  Anything.  

I was at a wedding this fall.  I was sitting, minding my own business in the nice little church pew, when the lady next to me (who I didn't know) looked down at my bag and said, "Is that a purse or a suitcase?"  Although my sinful nature wanted to say something not-so-nice back to her, I smiled politely and said, "Both."

A couple of weeks ago, though, I realized that I sort of lied to the lady.  My purse isn't really a purse OR a suitcase.  It looks more like a garbage bag.  Obviously, I have not been keeping track of what has been inside.  I keep dumping and dumping stuff in.  Whoops.  This is what I found inside my Mary Poppins bag:


BEFORE:  1 wallet/coupon organizer, 1 pair of sunglasses, 4 stretchy headbands, 1 regular headband, $3.47 in change, two jump drives, 1 iPod, 1 camera, 5 tupperwares of vitamins, 1 bottle of ibuprofen, 1 bottle of nail polish, 2 bottles of lotion, 6 chapsticks, 1 pair of gloves, 1 scarf, 1 pad of sticky notes, 1 comb, 5 pairs of earrings, 5 paper clips, 1 straw, 1 spoon, 1 makeup bag, 1 christmas card, 1 brochure, 1 string of beads, 1 bottle of dry shampoo, 1 bottle of curly spray, 1 compact of powder, 1 huge pile of garbage, 15 random receipts, 4 pens, 1 pair of tanning goggles.


AFTER: 1 pair of sunglasses, 2 jump drives, 2 chapticks, 1 pen, 1 pack of gum, 1 hard drive, 1 iPod, 1 wallet/coupon organizer, 1 pair of tanning goggles.

The "after" photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, and I ashamed to admit that my purse is starting to seem more and more like a garbage dump all over again.  I think I will clean it out before Mark and I head to Florida.  I do not want the TSA airport security people to think I am a weirdo or turn me into that hoarding show on TLC.  Yikes.

Let it be known that if you ever need an extra headband or chaptick or spoon or tupperware of vitamins, I will save the day for you.  Free of charge.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

CROCK POT: The Best & Easiest Salsa Chicken You Will Ever Make


Turn your crock pot to HIGH, dump in 6 frozen chicken breasts, 2 cups of salsa, 1 packet of taco seasoning, 1 1/2 cans of cream of mushroom soup.


Yes, cream of mushroom soup.  It is the secret ingredient.  It makes ALL the difference.

Cook for 4ish+ hours...long enough to shred the chicken with a fork.  Serve with lettuce, sour cream, cheese and whatever else!

It is AWESOME.  Like crack.

Not that I've ever had crack...

But I hear crack is addictive.  And so is this stuff.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

(adapted from THIS recipe)
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Prickly, White Piles


One morning, I woke up and groggily walked out into our living room.  Sat down on the couch.  Noticed a white something out of the corner of my eye.  It took me a second to figure out what it was.  A pile of something prickly...

A pile of TOENAILS.

Sitting there in a nice little pile on our couch.  How nice.

Dear Mark,

You are so neat and tidy.  Thank you for leaving your toenails in such an orderly little pile on the couch.  I imagine other husbands out there (who are not nearly as awesome as you are) leave their toenails scattered all all around and messy-like.

Thank goodness you are not like THOSE guys.  Phew.

Hugs and Kisses,
Liza Jane DeYounge
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WORLDWIDE


Well, it finally happened, folks.  ELLE JAY's Choose One: Card has gone worldwide...to South Korea, more specifically.  Do you see it in the background?  My sister sent a package, her friend took a picture of it's safe arrival.

Leave it to my sister Micah, to go crazy.  Instead of choosing just "one", she chose several.  Evidently, she wanted her friend to know that she 1) is praying for her, 2) is thinking of her, 3) is proud of her, 4) loves her, 5) would like to get together, 6) wanted to say hello, 7) and that is missing her.  Yikes.  That is seven cards in ONE.  What a deal.  ;)

Get yours here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/89187294/honeybush-choose-one-cards-six-cards-all?ref=v1_other_1
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crock Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup



This soup might change your life.  It is delicious and nutritious worth the calories and EASY.  Here my recipe, which is adapted from a similar recipe on food.com.

Put this stuff in your crock pot:

  • Peel and dice at least 6 russet potatoes.  6 if they're large, more if they're not.
  • Chop 1 big yellow onion.  5 bucks if you don't shed a tear!
  • 1 quart chicken broth - I like Rachael Ray's chicken stock.
  • Mince some garlic cloves - depending on how much you like!  I used...5.  (insert sheepish grin)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into chunks.
  • A handful of bacon crumbles
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
Turn your crock pot to HIGH and cook for about 4 hours, or LOW for about 8 hours.

When time's up, the potatoes should be tender.  If you are daring, use a hand mixer to "mash" the potato mixture in the crock pot.  If you are not daring, like me, ladle the cooked potato mixture into a blender and blend until it is less chunky and more soupy.

Let the soup cool a bit, so the following ingredients don't curdle up.  Then, add:
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • (optional) 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Mix it all together, and serve out of your crock pot.  I set mine to WARM.

Top with sour cream and crumbled bacon!
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Ron Paul and Star Wars

I figured out why I was so glad that Ron Paul didn't win the Iowa primary.  At first, I thought I didn't like him just because I don't agree with his stance regarding Iran and Israel.  But, today I was listening to NPR and heard that his campaign "theme song" is the Imperial March from Star Wars.  What?!

Star Wars = Fantastic.

John Williams = Double fantastic.

But, for my poor friends who do not know much about Star Wars...

Imperial March = THE theme music for all the BAD GUYS in Star Wars on the DARK SIDE of the Force.

I KNEW I had a bad feeling about him.  Anger?  Fear?  Aggression?  I wouldn't be surprised.  Nothing good comes when that song starts playing...

Dear Presidential Candidates,

If you adopt Coronation March as your theme song for your campaign, I will very likely be swayed to vote for you.

May the Force Be With You,
Liza Jane DeYounge


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Friday, January 13, 2012

DeYoungeLife Retreat


Last weekend, Mark and I went to The Royal Straight cabin near Terry Peak with 27 of our Young Life leaders.  It was a team-building, vision-casting, relationship-investing, spending-time-with-the-Lord sort of retreat.  And, it was delightful.


A few of the girls and I before they went on a neature walk, because, after all, nature is very neat.


There was some snowboarding...


And lots of coffee.  (Yes, I am actually using creamer these days.  Weird.)


Great books.  PS - Mom, I am not reading Harry Potter.  Don't worry.


More great books.  



Time with the Lord and some beautiful views...


AND, get this...  There was an official "Star Wars T-Shirt Day" and no one invited ME.  I am mad at these three people right now.


 More time with the Lord and neature.


Take THAT, Holly.  This picture didn't turn out half bad!  


The boys were scoping out the snowboarding jump they made.  They are trying to look tough and fearless.  Oh wait, they ARE tough and fearless.  Silly me.


Great food.  Watch out McDonald's!  Ben makes a killer triple pounder.


Games of all sorts.  I lost in Bananagrams 17 times.



The gross boys made a pact to go #2 ONLY in the girls' bathrooms.  We made Micah plunge away his mess.  From now on, we will lovingly call him "Skids" for reasons that shall not be mentioned.  


Most of the gang.

We are blessed to be on mission with these friends!  

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crafting for a Cause - Support Young Life Camp!

   Zoey Bloom: Hair Clip, Headband Rosette, Brooch, Scarf Pin    Bella Bloom: Hair Clip, Headband Rosette, Brooch, Scarf Pin    Leila Bloom: Hair Clip, Headband Rosette, Brooch, Scarf Pin

Friends!  I have been doing a little crafting lately - and for a good cause!  In the next months, I'm planning on offering a handful of "pretties" that will be available for purchase.  AND, the BEST part is that ALL (that's right, folks - 100%) of the profit will go to the Young Life of Sioux Falls campership fund.

(Did you imagine me saying that last line with an annoying salesman's voice?  Similar to "the voice" on the Price is Right?  "Come on down!  YOU can help support Young Life!"  Applause, applause...)

But I digress...

Every dollar you spend will go straight towards helping my high school friends in Sioux Falls attend Timberwolf Camp this summer.  Timberwolf is near Lake City, Michigan, and you can visit their website here:  http://sites.younglife.org/camps/TimberWolf/default.aspx  Most of our high school friends that have attended a camp before say that Young Life camp was the best week of their life - high adventure, lots of fun, great food, and excellent speakers.  Kids get away from the pressures of everyday life, have fun with their friends and their Young Life leaders, and BEST of all, they hear the message of God's love in terms they can understand.

Last summer was my first experience with Young Life camping, and let me say, it was fantastic.  There's really nothing like it.  So many high school friends gave and/or recommitted their lives to Christ, and so many positive relationships were built among the kids and leaders.  The Lord was really doing a lot of transformation - things that we are still seeing unfold months later!

If you feel called to help support the Lord's work in this way, you can visit my Etsy shop here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/byellejay  Click the shop section that says "Support Young Life Camp" to see what items are available.  And, if you don't see anything you like right away, know that more things will be added this next semester!

Some of our Young Life Students!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Tan World,

To the business formerly known as Tan World:

I am somewhat ashamed that I use your services from time to time.  How did you know I'd be a sucker for small, cozy, warm places?

I would like to thank the Sun Tan City business for replacing you, since they have taken down all of your suggestive, half-dressed lady pictures.

I would also like to let you know that I will take your new tag line to heart, and yes, I will shine.  But, it will not be because of you, or my ever-so-slightly tanned warmed skin.  It will be because the Holy Spirit lives in me.  He is better at shining.

Sincerely,
Liza Jane DeYounge

PS - I've noticed that your competitor, Year Round Brown, has yummy mints IN every tanning booth.  That's tempting.  Think about it.
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Why I Think New Year's Resolutions Stink

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I hate New Year's resolutions.  In the past, this "if-then" statement has been true of my life...

IF Liza makes a New Year's resolution, THEN she will do everything BUT that resolution in the next year.

Epic fail.

I feel like I've failed on the resolution thing for a few reasons...

  1. Resolutions make me feel pressured, obligated, guilty, and tied up.  I am squirming on the inside just thinking about it.
  2. I am stubborn...so when I feel pressured, obligated, guilty, and tied up, I usually revolt and dig my heels in even more.  
  3. Left to my sinful self, I am just awful.  Really.  I am the worst.  The only way I have ever accomplished anything of significance ANYTHING is through the Lord's power at work within me.  I don't believe I ever would have even come to know God and have a relationship with Him without His help in opening up my heart.  There are so many times that I ask Him for some of the most seemingly simple things.  "God, HELP me love You more.  I can't conjure it up on my own!"  "HELP me have patience today.  I feel really grumpy and irritable.  This could get bad without You."
So, this year, I am not resolving or determining anything on my own.  I can't do it.  I am too nasty.  Phew.  That feels better.

...

Okay, so before you start to think I'm a lazy butt that never wants to grow, let me assure you that I have talked to the Lord about some things.  I've asked Him what He wants to work on in my life.  What does He want to change in my heart?  How is He asking me to grow?  We've (as opposed to just me) come up with three things...

  1. Peace.  Since I am an introvert, I have been inclined to think that "peace" meant no chaos, no busyness, dimmed lights, warm blankets, a hot cup of tea, a great book, no talking, being alone.  Lately, though, the Lord has dealt with my heart in reminding me that peace is not the absence of chaos, etc.  It is/should be in the midst of these things.  I have been waiting around for dimmed lights, warm blankets, cups of tea and time alone for peace to happen.  And it continues to elude me.  I am thinking God wants to help me find peace in the middle of my crap and in the middle of my busyness.  So, I'm asking Him to help me figure out what that looks like in everyday life...what that feels like.  We are going to work together.
  2. Discipline.  I said discipline...not legalism, folks.  Motivated by a heart of love for the Lord...  I am such a right-brained person.  I hate routine, I hate schedule, I am more of a free spirit.  Things get done when I am good and ready to get them done.  Although I do think God purposefully made me inclined towards more free spirit things for a reason, He has also reminded me that I am missing out on some things He has for me...  I've been too led by my emotions, been too lazy and just not very purposeful.  This next year, I am asking the Lord for help in being more disciplined.  And, here's the kicker - more disciplined unto deeper and greater things in Him.  That unto is what I hope will give me the right perspective in all of the striving.
  3. Healing.  The migraines are back, friends.  Rats, huh?  This year, I will be continuing to ask the Lord more about the migraines and more about His perspective on healing.  For some reason, I feel like this won't be an instantaneous sort of healing.  I feel like He has me on a journey of seeking and asking in the midst of these migraines.  He's not saying "no".  He's just been saying "not quite yet."  We will see what unfolds in the next year!
These are my three prayers.  If you really insist, I suppose we could call them "resolutions", too.  Just be very aware that these are not Liza's resolutions.  They are things that I am resolving to work on and journey through with the Lord leading the way.  

If you are my friend, feel free to ask me about these things and hold me accountable.  The Body of Christ is a good, good thing.

Happy 2012, friends!  

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Card, All Occasions!

I have been dying to design these cards for years.  My mom drew her own design and made photo copies back in the 90's.  Now, the idea has been passed on a generation.  Watch out 2012!  These are new and improved!



Check One: Cards are like an entire greeting card aisle in a department store, wrapped up in one classy, multi-functional, all-purpose card.  

Need a birthday card?  Check the "Happy Birthday" text!  Need to let your friend know you're thinking of them?  Mark the "Thinking of You" text!  Use a check mark, an X, or even a little heart to mark your greeting!



Check One: Cards include:
I'M PRAYING FOR YOU | THINKING OF YOU | XOXOXOXO | PROUD OF YOU | I LOVE YOU | LET'S GET TOGETHER | THANK YOU | GET WELL SOON | MISSING YOU | CONGRATULATIONS | HAPPY ANNIVERSARY | HAPPY BIRTHDAY | I'M SORRY

Check one, two or more, depending on your needs.  Include your own sentiments inside the card to make it a little more personal!

Cards are two sided - the backs are just as beautiful as the fronts!  And, they come with their own envelopes.


Visit my Etsy store (link is on the right sidebar) to view pictures and order!  You can also get in touch with me at ldeyounge@gmail.com for custom orders, or to bypass shipping costs if we live near each other!
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Treasure Hunters


Oh my word.  I think I have the cutest nephews.  AND they are so much fun!  We went on a Treasure Hunt over Christmas.  I needed to think of a gift that could 1) cover BOTH of them, 2) be inexpensive, and 3) because I am the kind of auntie that values creativity and imagination, I was partial to something that included the right side of the brain.  Yes, I have an agenda.  Big deal.  :)


You can buy inexpensive treasure chests like this at Hobby Lobby (especially if you use their weekly 40% off coupon), and Party America (or any other party store for that matter) had tons of pirate-themed trinkets. I bought cheap gold coins, eye patches and other treasures.  Bandanas are $1 at Wal-Mart, and treasure maps are free if you get a paper sack from the grocery store!  Just be careful...I had the "great" idea of burning the map's edges to make it look more weathered and almost burnt my apartment to a crisp.  Yikes.

From there, "steal" all the treasure, dress up like a pirate, practice your "Args" and "Mateys" (Mark offers very informative lessons), hide the treasure around the house in nooks and crannies, and prepare yourself for an hour of treasure hunting fun.

I promise it will be delightful.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gingerbread Party


Not to worry...  We DID have ONE good party over Christmas with my family!  Here are some snapshots from mom's gingerbread party!  


Our poor little gingerbread men were blind and naked, so we came to the rescue.  Wasn't that nice of us?


Mark's made "party pants" for his ginger man.  I think he looks like a half-dressed African American Santa Claus.  


Who wins?  Me or Mark?  Pick me, pick me!  



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