Making time for what matters ~ Quiet times

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This past week was the final week for women’s Bible study group at our church. We were strongly encouraged to devote ourselves to a daily Bible reading plan. After getting a few friends committed to journey through the Bible with me, my husband presented several reading plans for me to consider. I chose the M’Cheyne reading plan because it is 4 chapters a day in 4 different Bible books. I like it this way because when we go through some of the more challenging books, we will only need to read a chapter in them each day and still have 3 other books to read too.  Most likely, in a least one of the books you will have something to really look forward to reading and that encourages consistency. I also like this plan because my friends and I can get it on our phones and tablets through the youversion app.

Today was the second day of our plan. We are reading in Genesis, Matthew, Ezra, and Acts. Several of the other ladies in our church are even doing a 90 day plan (rather than the year plan I am doing), which is some serious reading. I know that some of us would LOVE to do that but may lack the time. That is understandable. However, as a christian we must MAKE the time to spend with our Lord. Each day we should be in the Word to some capacity and spending some time in prayer. Today I timed how long it took for me to do the reading [the 2nd chapters of the previously named books] and it was a total of 8 minutes and 30 seconds. I am not a super fast reader, it really doesn’t take that long. Sure, you will have some longer chapters sometimes but it will probably be 10-15 minutes of reading tops.

Please, be encouraged. I have been feeling so convicted about this lately. I spend more time doing my hair and makeup each day than time in the Word. And you know what else? I would be very uncomfortable leaving my home for the day without giving any time to my hair or makeup. But why doesn’t it phase me at all to leave my home for the day without spending any time with Christ to help me prepare for the day? But in eternity, when I am with the Lord Jesus… what is going to be of more worth: how my hair and makeup looked on this one day of my life… or if I spent time with the Lord to become closer to Him and become more godly? Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that it is wrong to spend time doing your hair, makeup, or anything else for that matter. On the other hand, life is busy and only gets busier. At some point, somethings gotta give. Something may have to be sacrificed to make the time for what is important [prioritizing!].

The best example of a daily walk with God is provided by our Savior Himself. Jesus OFTEN withdrew Himself to pray.

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” Mark 1:35-37

Don’t discourage yourself or cut yourself short. Don’t talk yourself out of such a wonderful blessing: truly walking with the Lord. Find some friends that will hold you accountable and rise to the challenge, you can do it.

I know it has been a while since I have updated on here… I’m sorry and I will try to stay on top of this thing a little better 😉 I just wanted to share what was on my heart today. Make it a great day!

God is so good! Praise Him!

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I can’t help but marvel at the ways of the Lord. It’s crazy how doubt manages to creep in despite the overwhelming evidences of Gods work in my life. The funny thing is, He doesn’t need to reveal His works to me, but He does anyway to increase my faith.

So, I finally got a job 🙂 God worked in amazing ways to provide exactly what we needed. I start on Monday!! Though it will be hard work (nannying for two little ones), I know that this new endeavor will be blessed by the Lord.

Some more good news from the Ezzells:

Due to the nature of Jamie’s previous job, I have been unable to see my family for ANY holidays since we’ve been married. My heart has been so troubled about three Christmas’ away from my family. Since Jamie is now in the ministry, we will be able to see my family this year! So we are in the process of planning our Florida Christmas trip 🙂 God is so good!

And… some MORE amazing news:

A few days ago I never would have thought I’d be saying this but… it is a good possibility that Jamie and I will be going to AFRICA. The trip is probably going to be late December of 2013… yep folks… THIS YEAR! Our fantastic church [Grace Harvest Baptist Church of Amelia, VA] will be meeting up with a missionary that we support in Uganda. Though we are still praying about it all [this is a very premature announcement].

It is so astounding… how much God is moving here. He is so faithful and generous to us. I love seeing Jamie as he making an impact for Christ. 2013 has already been a big year for us! We are so excited about… well… everything! We have been settling in to our new home and adjusting to our new schedules. I wont deny that their has been bumps in the road, but we are taking things in strides and depending on Christ.

The fruits of fellowship


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The crazy adventures continue for the Ezzell family! So, we survived the move 😉 Last Saturday morning Jamie and his dad went back to NC for his final week of work so I am on my own (with the pups that is).

Since this is the first time Jamie and I have been a part, it has been somewhat lonely for me. On the one hand, we are so excited about being here and being surrounded by such wonderful and godly people. On the other, my heart is overwhelmed. From finding out about our “mouse problem” to all the little errands and tasks, I find myself feeling some heavy burdens.

Tonight our church was having a ladies event called “Pinterest Party”. The idea being to have some recipes (taco seasoning, coffee creamer, laundry detergent, and fabric refresher) and some stations set up for us to make them. Although I had been really looking forward to it, I almost didn’t go because I was feeling so stressed and overwhelmed. I felt like I needed to be the “peppy and excited” youth pastors wife… and after a day like today I was far from that.

I decided to go anyway. When I walked in and saw everybody chatting together I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to go and jump in to other peoples conversations, I felt like the outsider. A moment later, a new friend saw me and came over to talk, and that was just the beginning.

Most of the ladies there tonight didn’t know how I was feeling today. They were loving and encouraging toward me regardless. These women may not “know me” but that doesn’t matter: they are my sisters in Christ and they have been through trails and triumphs of their own. Though I was intimidated at first, the fellowship I experienced tonight was exactly what my soul needed. The women of Grace Harvest Baptist Church are amazing. They have so much love that they are ready to give.

Friends, please hear me. Christ knows your need and he is faithful to provide, but you have to put yourself out there sometimes. I encourage all of you to find a church with an amazing support system. Fellowship is so important, it is nourishing for us and as a believer you will need it. When you become involved with a godly and thriving church you receive accountability, discipleship, friendship, and worship.

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

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Jamie and I were pretty comfortable in our lives before the move. God has called us toward something bigger and better. Along with that comes stress, uncertainty, and hardships. However, I know I serve a big God. I know I have Christ to calm my heart. I know I have a wonderful husband to lean on. Finally, I know I have some godly women by my side. This is just the beginning. Bring it 😉

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I

Psalm 61:1-2

 

The Big Move – 1 Week Left!

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I can’t believe the time has flown by! The holidays has been a whirlwind and now we are left with 7 days before the big move and nothing packed! Things are about to get cray in the Ezzell home! Needless to say, stress has settled in amongst a bittersweet mixture of excitement and nostalgia. 

Now I know that a Christian is called to faith. Stress is the opposite of faith: to stress is to doubt in God’s sovereignty. I find myself anxious about finding a job (I have not yet) and about all the packing, moving, and unpacking. On the other hand, I remind myself of God’s love and faithfulness toward Jamie and me. I know He has a plan for us, and that He will work out all of the little details. Although, we are still called to be faithful and obedient! 

24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?

Luke 12:24-26

God has been so wonderful to us. We deserve condemnation for our sin, yet He showers us with love and grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jamie and I have been so blessed to be showered with so much love and support from our family and friends. We are in good health (including Molly who has made a full recovery from last months trials) and we are ready to embark on an amazing adventure.

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I am so excited about becoming a youth pastors wife! I know God is going to use Jamie in mighty ways and I feel so blessed to be a part of that. We always have room for more love, encouragement, and advice in our lives 😉 and we definitely would be honored if you remember us when you are talking with God! I will let you all know how the big move goes and I will definitely let you know when I get a job (hopefully that will be sooner rather than later). How can we be praying for you?

Love you all, xo

Jessie

Ruff times for Molly

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When Lucy was spayed the first day was awful… she shrieked every 15-25 minutes in pain. With Molly, she didn’t do that at all. She whimpered a couple of times that day but that was all. We were relieved that she would have a smooth recovery. Or so we thought.

Like usual for pups after surgery, Molly rested a lot for a couple of days. We kept an eye on the incision which looked a little rough. We couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t healing up as quickly as Lucy’s did. Then there was the “scuttling”. Molly wouldn’t walk like normal anymore… she would walk as quickly as possible with her head lowered and tail down and plop her butt down into a sit… and then walk quickly and plop…etc. She wouldn’t walk at a normal pace and would not stand at all. It was very strange looking. She had never done this before and Lucy hasn’t either but we assumed that she was just coping with the strange feeling in her own way.

But it didn’t stop and about 5 days later I couldn’t help but worry. Not only was the “scuttling around” not getting better but the incision looked half-scabbed but half-gooey. Also, we had to have the cone on 24/7 because the moment we took it off, she would go right for the stitches. So yesterday afternoon we had no choice but to take her to a nearby vet (that we hadn’t been to before… her vet was too far and would be closed & her usual vet is on vacay for the week).

Our assumptions were correct. The behavior coupled with the persistent irritation of the wound was not normal for day 5. After inspecting Molly, the vet told Jamie that Molly was allergic to a material in her internal stitches. He said if her incision was not infected already it will be by tomorrow. He said that the painkiller she had been on until yesterday did keep some swelling down and that the incision would probably have pulled a part completely had she not been on it. So he gave us an antibiotic for her to take twice daily, medicated cotton balls to wipe the incision twice a day, and a higher dose of painkiller (essentially ibuprofen for dogs) once a day. If she doesn’t get better in 5 days we will need to bring her back (he recommended we do a follow-up examination regardless) and worse-case scenario: they will have to remove her stitches and replace them with an alternative.

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Praise the Lord Jamie and I followed our “gut instinct” that something was amiss. The vet told Jamie it was a good thing we brought her in when we did, because in such a small pup it doesn’t take long for something like this to become life-threatening. She isn’t out of the woods yet but she is being extra pampered. I know she is very frustrated… especially since she is confined to our arms/lap or the crate. She wants to play so bad but it is too dangerous for her right now.

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(Molly’s “play”… confined to sitting on my lap with a small tennis ball in her cone)

I can’t help but feel bad though. I was so annoyed with her. I kept wondering why she was being such a handful… why she wouldn’t be as relaxed and restful as Lucy was for her recovery. I didn’t realize it was because she felt miserable. That is why she was so restless. That is why she HAD to wear the cone 24/7 unlike Lucy. The vet said the “scuttle” was definitely not normal, and he said it was a clear indication to him that she was in pain and uncomfortable. If you have pets, please take it from us: if they aren’t recovering at a steady pace by day 5, you may want them to get checked out. Especially if they have any change in behavior!

Molly isn’t having any problems with the meds – thankfully! The medicated cotton balls do seem to sting her and she doesn’t like that but I’m hoping that will get better (she has only had two treatments). So, though she is restless and frustrated, she is being very well loved and babied. She is enjoying the extra attention. Lucy is handling things okay. She is definitely annoyed to have her playmate taken from her and she doesn’t really understand why Molly can’t play.

We are really looking forward to things returning to normal. It breaks our hearts to see these little pups this way. Throughout this, I was reminded of the importance of being patient and understanding. Hand out grace willingly. When someone cuts you off and speeds away, give them the benefit of the doubt… maybe his wife is in labor? Maybe her child is hurt? You never know. Somebody was snippy to you? Maybe they lost their job, or a loved one, or their home. You never know. Your little pomeranian being troublesome? You never know, she may be in pain/uncomfortable. Love without conditions. Extend grace freely. It wont be long before you will need it.

The BIG news!!!

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First let me just say thank you guys for being great friends! It is uplifting that so many of our friends have been so encouraging and supportive to us! God has been working in some major ways!

As many of you know, Jamie and I have settled into a nice routine. He is working as a manager and I am a nanny for a great family that I have been with for over 2 years. He goes to school and has at least 2 years left to complete his Masters of Divinity. Since we had no idea where we would end up, we have been living in a nice apartment complex in the Raleigh area. Well, as many of my Christian brothers and sister know, when you get “comfortable” in life… sometimes God will shake things up a little 😉

Alright alright, here goes. Out of the blue we get a call. Jamie was recommended for a youth/childrens pastor position. Jamie spoke with the pastor and they hit it off. He wanted us to come visit and so, we did. Jamie and I both felt such a connection to the wonderful church leadership & their wives (for me anyway). I don’t think we have ever felt so “at home” in a completely new place before. The feeling was mutual with the church leadership. After much fasting and prayer, we made a decision.

This January, Jamie and I will be moving to Amelia, Virginia. He will be ordained and he will settle into his first paid ministry position. We feel God all over this thing, he has confirmed that this is His will for us over and over.

This is a big step for us. Like I said, we weren’t looking for this. Jamie has not been applying for jobs or anything – the Almighty just plopped it into our path. But with this blessing, we are taking a step of faith. I am praying that I will find another great family to work for and we are trying to save up for a down payment for our first house. Since we plan on staying for awhile, we are looking at buying our first home in (hopefully) a year and we have a better idea of when we plan to expand our little family 😉

We are not worrying about the details, the Lord brought us to this point and he will work out the little things too. We are tackling each issue at it arises and I know that we will have support from our new church family too.

We are going to miss our friends and family here. We will also miss our church family here – especially the youth group. However, we are so excited to see what the Lord has in store. I know He is going to use my husband in mighty ways. God is so good to us, His mercy is everlasting!

I will keep you all in the loop when more things fall into place. Thanks again for the love and support.

Baked Tacos Recipe

After the post/pic of our delicious baked tacos got so much attention on Facebook, I decided to share the recipe. It is just so simple and delicious, sharing this delight is the Christian thing to do right? 🙂

Okay, lets start off with the taco shells! After making them this way, I don’t think we will ever go back to purchasing taco shells. I couldn’t believe how simple this was! All you need is some tortillas and cooking spray. We used some small, soft “taco” tortillas. We used the flour kind but corn is fine too.

First you want to steam them… Wet some paper towels and wring them out well. Layer the tortillas with the wet paper towels on a plate and then microwave (we did 6 at a time). Keep an eye on them, it should be about 30 seconds until they are steamed. Then lightly spray each side with cooking spray and drape each tortilla over two bars of the oven rack. It is wise to put a baking sheet below them to catch any oil from the cooking spray. Bake at 350-375 degrees for 7-10 minutes. You will be able to tell that they are browning & getting crispy. Take them out and set them aside!

Okay, now for the filling 🙂 All you need is ground been (2 pounds), 1 can of refried beans, 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 packet of taco seasoning, shredded cheese, & your favorite taco toppings.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. COMPLETELY drain all grease and return to skillet. Over low heat, add refried beans, taco seasoning, and about half to two-thirds of the tomato sauce (you can eye this to see whats best, you don’t want the filling to be too runny or your tacos will be soggy on the bottoms). Blend well and scoop into the tacos (which should be “standing” in a lightly greased casserole type dish). Then just sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake. I think I did my at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. SO EASY! Top with whatever you’d like 🙂 DELISH!!!!

My husband LOVED these and I definitely see them popping up in our home regularly. I think they are also perfect for having company because tacos tend to be a crowd pleaser – even with picky eaters! Let me know how they came out for you or how to tweaked the recipe! Also, if you have any questions feel free to ask! Love you all!

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:17