Midnight Thoughts

We have all been through trials and tribulations. We have faced dark nights and scary times. However, there are those of us who have been to the gates of hell and back again, and for those women, those people, I have something to tell you.

You are precious to God. There has not been one minute in your life where He hasn’t been right there with you. When you were being abused, neglected, raped, beaten, tormented in your mind…… He was there with you. He felt your pain. He knew your heartache. He has seen everything you have gone through. He has wept with you, and been with you through all of those struggles. You have not been alone for one second.

You may feel damaged, but you are not broken. You are precious in the eyes of God just the way you are. He can take those experiences, the things the enemy wanted to use to destroy you, and turn them into a powerful testimony. He can use you to reach people nobody else can touch. He has a purpose for your life, even if you can’t see it. He sees you whole and complete, and His desire is for your healing. He never intended for us to walk through our lives burdened by the past. I’m not saying that you will wake up one morning and not remember anything you’ve been through, but he can use those experiences to make you stronger, more dedicated, and more able to minister to people in need.

All you need to do is get lost in Jesus. When you get lost in him, when you spend time saturated by his presence, thinking about nothing else on Earth, He can reach in and begin to peel that pain away and replace it with the knowledge that you are His infinitely precious creation. You are a pearl. Many of us learned in school how pearls were made. At the center of each pearl is a grain of sand. It causes such irritation inside the oyster that the creature coats it with layer upon layer upon layer of iridescent, luminous, gorgeously shiny material in order to ease that irritation and pain it feels. Each of us who has experienced abuse, abandonment, or violence has that grain of sand in our hearts. God, if we will allow it, can coat that pain and that agony with something that is beautiful and valuable and precious. He can take the ugliest situation and make it shine for His glory. He can indeed take what was meant for evil and turn it to His good if we will just allow him to do so. If you will trust Jesus, if you will yield your pain to His hands, and if you will allow Him to work in your heart, He can and will do for you what no man can do. He can show you what you mean to Him, give you a sense of purpose, and make what was broken whole.

Need or Greed?

Jesse Duplantis says if Jesus lived today, He wouldn’t be riding a (borrowed) donkey. I agree. He’d walk, take the Metro or subway, ride a Greyhound bus, or fly coach. You NEVER see Jesus hanging out with the elite in the Word, except when He was comparing them to snakes, vipers, and whitewashed tombs. He hung out with commoners…..hookers, tax collectors, lepers, the undesirables of the day. He most certainly would not be found luxuriating in a $56,000,000 private jet.

The line between need and greed is clear to anyone not blinded by the lies of the “prosperity gospel.” The Bible exhorts us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give shelter to the homeless, bless the widows and orphans; it never mentions holding yourself up as being higher or better than others. We are to walk in humility and integrity, not selfishness and materialism. Jesus sent His disciples out to preach the good news, admonishing them to not even take an extra shirt (Luke 9:3)……what makes modern day prosperity gospel advocates think He changed His mind between then and now, to the point of endorsing accumulating wealth at the expense of others, including those in need?? A private plane isn’t a necessity. It’s a luxury, and a wasteful one.

Multi-million-dollar mansions, Bentleys, private planes, designer suits, Rolex watches……no wonder unbelievers see modern-day Christians as greedy and unfeeling. How many of us stop and give a couple dollars to the homeless man on the corner or stop at a fast food joint to buy him a meal instead of ignoring his plight? Which speaks louder — meeting a person’s need or letting them watch you pull up in your luxury car to your fancy house in a gated community while they can’t even find a full time job that pays enough to survive? Talk about a wealth gap — it’s as bad in many of today’s churches as it is in any city on the planet. God gives us blessings not so we can hoard them, but so we can share them with others.

You cannot effectively pastor large numbers of parishoners. The Word mentions the good shepherd, who knows his sheep so well he leaves 99 of them to go search for one lost lamb. If you “pastor” a church with 2000 attendees, you can’t even know all their names, much less what their financial or home situation is like. People at these churches who don’t qualify to belong to the inner sanctum (rich, exclusive, deemed good enough to fraternize with the leadership) come and go like raindrops, and when they leave nobody even notices. The leaders heading up these “congregations” are no more pastors than I am. Not only don’t they know who comes and goes…..they don’t care as long as the money keeps coming in. If you are struggling financially, you’re told it’s because you’re not giving enough. If you’re sick, it’s because you need to make a special faith offering so you can be healed. It goes on and on….all to the benefit of those in receipt of the tithes and offerings of people who have been deceived into thinking God wants us all to be rich.

“Forgive us our trespasses”…..our greed, lack of compassion, judgemental attitude, and feeling like we deserve any more than anyone else…..Remind us, Lord, we ALL live in daily need of Your forgiveness and mercy. Without You, our accomplishments, possessions, and everything we build our image on is nothing. We are just as lost as a drunk sleeping on a bus stop bench without the redeeming blood of Jesus. Help us remember that and look on the less fortunate with His eyes……eyes that see every human being as valuable, precious, and worth dying for.

 

You Are Enough.

Those of us who experienced abuse in childhood or marriage – whether verbal, physical, sexual, psychological, or any combination thereof – often struggle with feelings of inadequacy, self-criticism, self-hatred, doubt, fear, and even self-condemnation. We need to remember that Jesus bled and died for us, too. He was with us through those times, holding us up with His hand, because He loves us. He knows how we struggle to reconcile the concept of a loving, caring Father with the examples we were exposed to. He is aware of how it skewed our thinking and caused us to struggle more than others with seeing Him as One who accepts us as we are, not the way someone else thinks we should be. He hears our cries in the darkness, is fully cognizant of our tormented minds, and stands with us as we battle the forces that would cause us to get so mired down by the treatment we endured that we would even give up on our hopes and dreams. His will for us is victory, confidence, and the assurance we are His chosen children – not in spite of, but sometimes even because of our scars. We are fighters. We survived sometimes hellish circumstances, things we never told anyone else, and we came out on the other side with a tenacity and a strength known only by those who endure this kind of hardship.

What you have been through has made you especially capable and competent at ministering to others in pain. You know what it’s like to be afraid to speak loudly, to draw attention to yourself, to be an individual, and you can see it in others. The compassion engendered by your experiences was given to you for a reason. It’s not just there for you to acknowledge, but it’s been given to you so that you can minister to others who are going through or have been through similar circumstances. Someone who has never been abused can feel sorry for what a survivor is struggling with, but they just don’t know how it feels. You know because you’ve been there. You recognize the downturned gaze, the self-deprecation, the avoidance of personal talk, the attempts to be invisible; they are as familiar to you as your own skin. I can recognize an abused woman or child a mile away. It shouts the story in how they walk, carry themselves, talk, and even dress. The scramble to pacify, the constant need for reassurance that they’re good enough, the reluctance to speak about what they’re enduring is like red graffiti on a white wall. Because you’ve been there, you see what others don’t. You get them. This gives you an unique opportunity to minister to them from experience, not just what you’ve been taught in a class, read in a book, or heard second-hand.

We often look at the struggles in our lives and ask God, “Why is this happening to me?” The question itself isn’t as important as the reason behind asking it. We can have one of two attitudes when posing this query:

  • Why me? What did I do to deserve this? How can a loving God allow anyone to endure such trauma?
  • How is this trial preparing me for my calling? What can I learn from it? How can I apply the strength I gained coming through this experience to benefit the kingdom of God?

How we look at living as a human being in a world full of sin affects our response to the circumstances we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, being finite often leaves us seeing only our immediate situation; it’s like viewing a quilt from the point of view of a single piece of fabric or listening to a symphony from the third violist’s chair. We can’t see our lives like God sees them. We simply aren’t created with that capability. This is where faith comes in. We have to choose to trust Him to lead us through what will shape us into the person He intended us to be. Sometimes this means walking in darkness, trusting Him to guide us. It may require us to lay down things we want to do or be in order to receive His best for us, even if we don’t understand it at the time. For abuse survivors, this kind of trust can be really difficult. Victimization can lead to a whole mess of thought processes capable of interfering with letting go of what we think is good and right. We may fear more than just the loss of control, and justifiably so; vulnerability has betrayed us in the past, and we are leery of yielding that kind of power to anyone else, even God. In fact, it may take us much longer to learn to put our confidence in His desire for our good. This explains, in a way, why the faith of those who have suffered abuse may be much stronger; for us to get to the point where we can yield our will and desire for self-protection to someone else requires a decision not reached without much internal conflict, and one that will not be easily challenged or abandoned. I may at times doubt my ability to do what God has called me to do, but I am never dubious about His love for me. In fact, it has been the only thing I had to hold on to more than once. In the middle of everything I’ve been through, He has been the constant I could rely on – even when I was so mired in misery I wondered if I should just give in. This knowledge has been my anchor, my rock, my confidence when everything else was falling to pieces around me. I am sure of this: no matter what I’m going through, I am never alone. I may not be happy, healthy, wealthy, or successful in the eyes of the world, but God has a plan for me that will bring Him glory no matter how weak or frail I am, or how many times I fall.

No matter what anybody else tells you, what and who you are is exactly what and who you were created to be. You may have made mistakes, or fallen, or rebelled….but God knew all that when He created you, and He loves you anyway. Don’t let those lies imprison you. Remember, He knew you before He laid the foundations of the world, and He would not have you be anyone but who you are. Never forget that.

©2018

Microdosing Cannabis: An Introduction

Whether you are new to cannabis as a medical patient or you’ve been using it for a long time, the amount you use and how it affects you is an important part of your decision-making. Micro-dosing is one aspect of cannabis usage everyone can benefit from if it’s utilized correctly.

    Why Microdose?

In order to help you understand the concept of micro-dosing, I’d like to take a minute and introduce you to something one of my pain doctors used to call the psychology of short acting pain medication. When you take short acting opiates, such as Vicodin or MSIR, there is a process that goes on in your body. It takes this type of medication 60-90 minutes to kick in. Relief is optimized for two to 2 1/2 hours, and then the benefits start to taper off. This results in something rather like a roller coaster ride. You feel better, then you start feeling worse. It goes up and down because there is not a consistent dosage of the medication in your system. What you end up doing is watching the clock. I know when they first started me on Vicodin back in 2005, I lived by that clock. I knew exactly when my doses were due, and I grouped my activities around those doses. It consumed my life. On the days when the pain was bad, that six-hour gap was almost unbearable. I had entire days where I could barely get off the couch. I stayed curled up in a fetal position, and told God more than once that if I had to keep living like this, it wasn’t worth the bother.

After several months of being on Vicodin, my pain doc decided to let me try methadone. Because I have a history of abdominal surgery, I cannot take long acting pain medication. However, methadone has up to a 72-hour half-life, so it works effectively like a timed-release dose. It took several months for me to build up to the point where I didn’t have to take Vicodin for breakthrough pain, but once I was on the optimum dose of methadone, the amount of medication in my bloodstream was maintained at a consistent level, and I was more able to function on a daily basis. I didn’t have the sporadic relief that Vicodin had provided. I could be an hour or two late with the dose, and I wasn’t in such pain that I couldn’t tolerate life.

We can apply the same concepts to cannabis dosing. If you dose by using a vape pen, the relief you obtain is going to be almost immediate. However, it doesn’t last very long. Within two hours, you’re going to need to hit that pen again. While it is good for short term management of pain or symptoms, it does not give the consistency of relief that a lot of people need. In order to obtain a steady level in your blood stream, there are several options available. You can use capsules, suppositories, or edibles. Ingesting your cannabis orally, in or on food, will give you a more long-lasting effect. Maintaining a constant level in your blood stream can help you with symptoms that short-term relief may not touch. It can lessen or even eliminate symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, PTSD flashbacks, and seizure disorder. Where you might need a higher level of cannabis to obtain relief if you vape or smoke it, smaller doses taken routinely can have a greater effect than smoking. In fact, you may discover you need far less cannabis if you include micro-dosing in your daily routine.

Staying ahead of your pain is an important concept. If you’ve ever suffered from acute pain, you may have learned that waiting until you’re hurting badly causes your pain medication to not be as effective. Part of this is because physiologically your body responds differently when you’re in more pain. It takes longer to attack that pain because of the muscle tension, stress, and extra neurons firing; those are all actually advanced signs that you have waited too long to medicate. Taking a pain pill when you first start feeling pain will help that pill work better. It’s the same with cannabis. If you put it off until you are really in need of the medication, it will not be as effective as if you utilize a proactive method like micro-dosing.

One of the reasons for the advent of the PCA machine for postop patients was the discovery that if a patient can control the level of medication in their bloodstream, they often recover more quickly. Because of the nature of hospital care, nurses cannot always get to a patient right away with pain medication. Sometimes, it may be half an hour between the initial request for pain medication and the patient actually getting it. Having access to the PCA, with the ability to push the button and deliver a prescribed dosage, enables the patient to help take control of their own healing process. They actually found that these patients do not require as much medication as those who were taking pills, they are moving around easier and faster, and their recovery time is shortened. One of the reasons is that the patient with the PCA machine routinely maintains a more consistent drug level in their bloodstream. It’s the same with cannabis. Lower dosing on a regular basis can be far more effective than larger doses taken sporadically or at larger time intervals.

    Dosing Specifics

What exactly is a micro-dose?

Micro-dosing is patient specific. Some literature says it only includes amounts between 1-3 mg; if you happen to be someone with a history of routine cannabis use or you’re experiencing a lot of chronic pain/symptoms, you may need to use a higher dose. The sweet spot with micro-dosing is the smallest amount you can take to achieve the relief you need. You’re not aiming for the complete absence of pain or symptoms, but increased functionality and the ability to what you need to do in as much comfort as possible. It’s good for people who need cannabis for pain or anxiety, but who also need to work, drive or parent without being impaired. Another thing to remember is that micro-dosing is not the same as taking your normal daily dose and dividing it into five or six smaller doses. Someone who routinely takes 250 mg of cannabis daily for pain may find that if they micro-dose correctly, they can get away with taking far less while still achieving relief and the ability to function throughout the day.

For newbies or cannabis novices, a good starting point is 1-2 mg. You can add it to coffee, put it on a cookie, stir it into your yogurt, or whatever you prefer. Take the dose, wait 60 to 90 minutes, and see what kind of effect it has. Pay close attention to any changes in the symptoms you normally deal with. You may notice even with this minimal amount of cannabis they begin to lessen. If not, take another dose. Remember, you’re not looking to fly. The goal is symptom relief.

When using edibles, it’s best to eat within 20 minutes of taking the dose. This will help with digestion as well as transporting the medication to your body. Because THC is processed through the stomach with the help of the liver and gallbladder, eating something with fat (cheese, butter, milk, beans, nuts, steak, ribs, a chocolate bar, etc.) will enhance the properties of the medication. As the food is digested, and the nutrients are transported through your body, the THC will hitch a ride. Not only will the effect be more intense, but because it is going into your bloodstream and not just your brain, it will last longer. This is why cookies, cakes, brownies, and other edibles made with oil or fat tend to affect you longer than a lollipop or hard candy. Another thing to remember is that some foods boost the effect of THC due to the natural terpenes or found in them. Mango, chocolate, peppermint, coconut oil, black or green tea, and broccoli all contribute to an enhanced sensation when used in conjunction with cannabis intake. You may find other foods that work well for you in addition to the ones I just listed. Keep track of those, and keep a couple on hand to help you optimize your experience.

Dosing is going to be different for each individual. Some of us can function with more pain than others, or make it through the day with an anxiety level that another person might find crippling. This is why there is no one-size-fits-all guideline for micro-dosing cannabis. As with any other medication, it needs to be individualized to the patient. For example, I function quite well with 2-3 mg every six hours on a normal day. It depends on what I need to accomplish, where my pain is, and how I slept the night before as well as other factors. At least I know what my starting point is, and I can adjust my medication from there. If I have a busy day, or I’m doing a lot of driving, I may not even take the 2-3 mg dose. When driving, if I haven’t taken my usual micro-dose, I do carry a vape pen so I can use it if needed. It can help me control my anxiety level if I hit bad traffic, or get stuck behind a stupid driver.

Other Considerations

As with any other method of cannabis use, micro-dosing is dependent on many variables. The efficacy of the medication can be affected by diet, recent food intake, stressors, environment, timing, and other things I probably forgot about. Strain properties as well as THC and/or CBD content also play an important role.

For example, if you are under stress, hypervigilant, or worrying about whether or not your medication is going to work, that is going to affect the amount of time it takes to kick in as well as the intensity of the effect. I can take a dose of medication, sit back and watch a TV show, and I can tell when the cannabis starts to affect me. However, if I take the same amount and work on a puzzle, or clean the house, or go for a walk, I may not get that same sensation telling me that the medication is doing its job. I may think it’s not working because I didn’t feel it. That’s not always accurate. Sometimes we get so tied up in a certain indicator that we focus on it to the point of excluding other signs that we are getting what we need. When you’re trying a new method or strain, you should attempt to be as relaxed as possible. Make a genuine effort to optimize your environment and mental condition so that your medication has the best opportunity to affect you in a positive way.

If you have taken a break from cannabis in order to reset your tolerance level, micro-dosing can be an excellent way to reintroduce it to your body. Using the “Start Low, Go Slow” concept, you may be able to achieve alleviation of your symptoms with a much lower dose than you thought possible. Once again, it’s important to pay attention to your body. It’s not an inherent behavior, but it is something we can learn to do. Some people even keep a notebook or journal so that they can monitor how different doses affects them at different times of the day or under various stressors or circumstances.

Bigger is not always better. A higher dose is not always more effective. While achieving couchlock now and again isn’t a bad thing, we can’t live like that. It’s kind of like eating Godiva chocolates combined with the economic concept of the law of diminishing returns. The first chocolate is really good. The second one may be really good, too. By the time you hit that fourth or fifth piece of candy though, you’re not getting the same enjoyment you got with the first bite. In fact, you may be starting to get a stomachache. Your body is telling you you’ve had enough. It’s the same way with cannabis. It is quite possible to think that you need a lot more than you really do. Micro-dosing is one way to find the optimal dose for your situation, and can prove highly effective if used correctly. It can also be an excellent adjunct to relaxing with a higher dose after work, on the weekend, or whenever you can just let down and enjoy yourself. Finding the micro-dose that works for you can help you have a better quality of life and maybe even enjoy the journey a bit more.

©2018

Cooking With Cannabis #1

Medical cannabis in Florida is in its infancy. Current legal limitations prevent us from buying marijuana plants, buds, flowers, or edibles. It does not, however, make it illegal to use the products we are permitted to buy in our own recipes.
Working from plant matter, the process for making an extract or concentrate can be quite complicated. Fortunately, we have access through Trulieve to a product called TruClear concentrate. It’s highly concentrated; you get approximately 875 mg per .8 mL of product. This makes it incredibly easy to cook with. It’s as easy as adding the desired amount of product to your recipe at the appropriate time; you don’t need to adjust the liquids or dry ingredients to compensate for the volume of the cannabis extract. For a novice, this is perfect.
It only took a minute in my mind to decide that I was going to try making some edibles of my own with the TruClear concentrate. I have had edibles before, but they were really strong-tasting and I didn’t enjoy them. The ratio of cannabis oil to volume in the TruClear makes it easier to for those of us who aren’t necessarily looking for the distinctive cannabis flavor in our edibles. The recipe that follows is pretty simple; as long as you have patience and some hot soapy water in your sink you can probably pull this off.

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Easy Lollipops

Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp extract of your choice (less if concentrated)
1/2 teaspoon citric or tartaric acid (optional: helps with flavor)
Food coloring (optional)
Lollipop molds and sticks
TruClear concentrate (a high-THC distillate from Trulieve, a Florida MMJ dispensary)

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Supplies:

Medium pot
Spoon, preferably silicone since things don’t stick to it
Candy thermometer (A meat thermometer will work with chocolates. It does not go high enough to use with this recipe.)
Measuring cup
Basting or pastry brush
Apron (Trust me. Seriously.)
Parchment paper, wax paper, or specially designated lollipop wrappers. Cellophane wrap does not work well with these candies. It likes to stick. Ask me how I know.

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I bought a funnel from Wilton that has a manual controller on it to allow me to pour the liquid into the lollipop molds. It was probably one of the best investments I’ve ever made…or it will be, once I figure out how to use it without making a big fat mess. The nicest thing about it is that once the candy mixture cools, you can peel it right off the sides with a knife. It also soaks clean very easily in hot soapy water. You’re either going to need one of these or something else to transfer your liquid lollipops into the molds. It has to be done fast in order to keep you from ending up with a solid lollipop in your pot. I have experience with this.

Preparations:

It will be a lot easier if you pre-measure the sugar, water, citric acid if you’re using it, and corn syrup before you get started. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind about the flavor or the color of your lollipops right up until the time you pour them into the molds.
If you are using silicone molds, all you need to do is put the lollipop stick where it goes. Other kinds of molds will require the use of grease, butter, or nonstick cooking spray to keep the candy from becoming permanently attached. If you are not using a silicone mold, PLEASE make sure the mold is rated to hold candy. The plastic molds you get for chocolates are often not made to hold up to the high temperatures required for hard candy. You don’t want to be spending the next four days cleaning lollipop goo off your counters.
It’s a smart idea to put the molds on something other than just your counter. This way, if you’re anything like me, anything you spill will go on whatever you have laying under the molds. I like using wax paper. Once the candy hardens, it’s easy to get it off.

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If your molds require greasing, nonstick spray is the easiest way to go. Spray the molds lightly, and then, using a paper towel, blot up all but a very thin layer of the oil. Put the sticks in the molds. (Side note: if you buy your molds online, those cheap plastic sticks are awful for making these lollipops with. Regular paper lollipop sticks fit the molds better, and they don’t flop out when you’re pouring hot liquid into the mold. I threw my plastic sticks away. They’re worthless.

Put your apron on. This is important unless you want to walk around with little pieces of candy all over yourself. If you don’t have an apron, please don’t wear something that’s important to you. If you use good quality food coloring, that is permanent. It will not wash out. Ask me how I know. It’s really worth taking the effort to put on an old shirt instead of wearing your favorite tee and ending up with a bright red blotch on the front of it.

Making Your Lollipops

1. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir this until the sugar dissolves. Get the pastry brush wet with water and brush down the sides of the pot to the level of the liquid. This will help prevent the formation of rock candy on the sides of your pot when the sugars are boiling. I usually go over the sides of my pot twice to make sure they’re nice and wet.

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2. Once the liquid is boiling, insert a candy thermometer into the pot. Allow the liquid to boil without stirring it until the candy thermometer reads 295°F or 146°C. You will notice the mixture thickening as it boils. This is normal. Be patient. You will want to stir the liquid. Don’t. It interferes with the chemical process that makes this wonderful combination into lollipops.

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2a. At this point it’s a good idea to get the TruClear heated up so it flows more easily since it is very thick. I put the syringe in a snack size zipper bag, seal the bag, and immerse it in a cup of hot water. If you’re not sure how long it will take, you can leave the water running to keep it hot. I’d wait till that thermometer reads about 250 before heating up the TruClear – this boiling candy stuff can take a while.

3. Once the thermometer reads 295°F, remove the pot from the heat. Allow it to sit until it completely stops boiling. Do not stir until it is done boiling.

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4. Add TruClear, citric acid, flavoring, and coloring if desired. The solution will foam at this point; it’s just another chemical reaction. Stir gently until well blended. If you stir too hard, your lollipops will be full of air bubbles.

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5. This is the fun part. It’s now time to see if you can get the candy into the molds before it solidifies. Honestly, this works best if you have two people. However, it can be done by one person. It works best if you have something other than a spoon to fill the molds with. That being said, if the solution starts getting thick and sludgy, you can heat it up a little bit in the pot to re-liquefy it. You don’t want to do it too often, but once or even maybe twice should be okay.
Make sure your lollipop sticks are covered by the candy. This is another reason I prefer the paper lollipop sticks: the candy adheres to it better and the sticks don’t come out while you’re trying to unmold your lollipops.

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Don’t worry if you make a mess. It will clean up, and part of the fun of making your own cannabis candy is that you get to eat whatever you spill. I think I enjoy that part of the process more than any other one!

Make sure your molds are flat while your candy cools. If you need to move them for whatever reason, please do so slowly and use both hands. Cookie sheets are a good place to let them cool. It will take up to several hours for the candy to set. Don’t be in a rush. Make sure the molds are totally cool before removing the lollipops.
When I remove my lollipops from the molds, I usually put a piece of waxed paper on the counter and then invert the molds to loosen the candy onto the paper. This has two benefits: first of all, the lollipops don’t stick to the waxed paper whereas they would stick to my counter; secondly, it’s easier to clean any broken pieces off waxed paper then it is to get it off of said counter. I use a small knife or my hands to remove any extra candy hanging off the back of the lollipops from the mess I made when I put the stuff in the molds. I put it in a bag with what I scraped out of the funnel after pouring the candy and I have a little baggie full of leftovers to munch on. Things could definitely be worse.

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©2017

Part of Me

Long ago,
when I formed you
in your mother’s womb,
I placed
a piece of Myself
inside you.

I have been with you
since your conception.
I was there
as your organs formed,
as your fingers and toes
took shape.
I determined
the color of your eyes
and
the sound of your voice.
I was the one
Who decided
what you would
look like today.

Nothing
that has happened to you
has been hidden from Me.
I have seen
what was done in the open
as well as
in the hidden places,
the places
others thought
nobody would ever find.
I have shared with you
every moment
of every day
of your life.
None of it has been
hidden from
My watchful eye.
Nothing you have endured
has come as a surprise
to Me.

When necessary,
I have intervened –
Informed the enemy,
“Enough. This far
and no further
will you go.
This child is Mine.
The mark is there,
clear to see.
Take your hands off.”

I have watched
as your character formed,
as the pressures of living
forged in you
a strength
that an easy life
would have left you
deprived of.
And,
though the furnace
was hot,
the heat was
always controlled
by my hand.
Never too much,
never too little;
always just enough
to shape you
into the person
I knew you could be.
Strong, reliable,
trustworthy –
yet still dependent on Me.

And now,
today,
I hold in My hand
the desire of your heart.
It is there,
but you must
reach out and take it.
Do you really want it?
It will cost you –
some will not understand,
others will be jealous;
you may not even
comprehend for yourself why –
it is because
I have placed it within you.

Look and see
what I have for you.
It is a blessing,
meant for you
and no one else.

Do you trust Me?
What I have for you
is a good thing,
I will say it again –
it is a good thing.

Take hold of the blessing.
It is there for you,
And it is a good thing.

©1998

Your Heart

I am doing a work
in your heart.
There are
scarred areas,
wounds from
deep-seated
hurts and fears…..
I am healing them.

I am ever so gently
removing the dead tissue
and replacing it
with flesh that is
alive,
feeling,
breathing.

I am taking away
the dead parts
that have
withered and
shriveled up from
lack of use,
lack of feeling,
and putting My love
in their place.

I am dealing with
and healing hurts,
fears,
insecurities,
and wrong ways
of thinking
that were put there
by those who hurt you
and replacing them
with thoughts of
righteousness,
purity,
holiness and
wholeness.

It is time to
say goodbye
to the past
and to set
your eyes forward –
toward what I have
for your future.

Don’t limit Me
with your mind,
with your thinking.
Keep your eyes open,
watching for the blessings
that are coming
your way.

Raise your
expectations.
Don’t hesitate to
reach for the stars.
I have put them
within your grasp.

Hold on tight
to the promises
I have given you;
yet –
don’t limit Me
only to those promises.
I have
much more for you
if you will only
prepare to receive it.

Trust Me with your heart.

©1998

Blessings

Blessings
upon blessings
upon blessings
upon blessings
upon blessings.

I am going
to bless you
more deeply,
more thoroughly,
more intensely
than you ever
thought possible.

Open your hands.
I am going to fill them
over
and over
and over again
until there is
no more room.
No more room.
Not anywhere.
No more room.

Open your heart.
I am going to fill it
with more love
than you thought
you would,
could,
should ever have.
You will have to share it.
You won’t be
able to contain it.
It will overtake you.
It will surprise you.
It will astound you.
And it will lead you
to do things you
never thought you would do.

Open your mind.
I am going to renew it.
I will put
creative ideas,
anointed thoughts,
purposes and plans
straight from the Throne Room
into your being.
You will see
as you’ve never seen before.
You will understand
like you’ve never understood before.
My ideas
will become yours.
My plans and thoughts
will become yours.
And you will become Mine.

Make yourself ready.
The doors of heaven
are fixing to open
and shower
blessing
upon blessing
upon blessing
upon blessing
upon blessing
all over you.

It’s beginning
even now.
Are you ready?
Are you believing?
Are you expecting?

©1998

Let Me

Let Me love you.
Let go of the past
and all it means to you,
the good and the bad.
There is nothing
you can do
to change what was.
It happened.
It’s over.
It is part
of who you are now,
but it does not
have to affect
who you will be.
Give it
into My hands;
let Me heal
the hurts and scars,
and remove the pain.

Let Me love you.
Let go of the future
and all it may hold for you.
Plan to live
daily.
Leave room for Me
to move in your live
and to direct your steps.
Don’t be afraid;
what I have for you
is good.
There is
no room for fear
in My love.

Let me love you.
Let go of the now.
Let Me touch your heart
in ways and places
you’ve never
let Me touch you before.
Let Me open
your eyes
to the wonder
of My love for you.

Let me love others
through you.
Rest in me.
Take joy in
My presence in your life.
Let My love
surround you,
unfold you,
sweep you away.
Stay sensitive
to My voice.
Reach out for
My hand, and
let Me lead you
into My glory.
Don’t try to
reason it out –
it is too big
for your reason.
Just listen.
Yield.
Obey.
Love Me.

And……

Let Me love you.

©1998

How Much?

How much do
you love Me?
Enough to
abandon yourself
wholeheartedly to
My will for
your life?
Enough to
walk in
My love
every minute,
every day?
Enough to show
My love to
each person
I bring
across your
path in life?
Enough to
look past
the outside
of those people
to what I have placed
on the inside of them?
How much do you love Me?

All I ask of you
is all.
All you have,
all you are,
all you hope,
all you dream;
your plans,
goals,
ambitions,
desires,
expectations,
and even
your fears.
Give them
all
to Me.
Lay them
on the altar
of My love
for you –
and see
what I
will do
with them
and do
for you.

How much
do you trust Me?
Enough to
step out in
uncharted territory,
places you said –
or thought —
you’d never go?
Enough to
reach out and
take hold of
that which
scares you
in the
natural
if I would
ask you to?
Enough to
abandon your
fears based on
what happened
before
to you or to
others you know?
How much do you trust Me?

With what will
you trust Me?
Will you give Me
your hopes for
ministry?
Will you let Me
shape
the direction
of your life?
Will you
surrender
your dreams
and your ambitions
to My will?
Will you
believe
that I know
what is best
for your life
and accept
what I place
in your path
as a good thing
and a blessing?
With what will you trust Me?

It’s simple, really;
yet it is
the hardest thing
you will
ever do.
It will take
more effort
than anything
you’ve ever done.
It will take
your pride,
and replace it
with humility.
It will take
your fears,
and replace them
with
lasting peace.
So, I ask again;
How much do
you trust Me?
With what will
you trust Me?
How much do
you love Me?
It’s up to you……

©1998