Monday, September 30, 2013

Gameday dresses

So, in all my spare time (cough, cough), I keep a shop over Etsy.

K Cutie Designs - is a lifelong dream.  I mean who would have thought the girl who hates numbers and ran from classes in the business school, runs a small, electronic storefront business.  Not me! Its even registered with the state of AR and because I didn't want to get in trouble with Uncle Sam I pay taxes and everything (yes, I'm one of those citizens)!

But, a couple years ago I launched this dream back when I had way more time on my hands and the opportunity to think more creatively.  But, none-the-less I brought the business with me to NWA and have maintained my little corner of the market.

This weekend I had nothing on the books so I used the time to do a little cooking and even more sewing.  After prepping for the Marketplace at the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference recently (read about my amazing weekend here), I had a great set of perfect little game day dresses.

 
 
This weekend I found some time to do "electronic catch up" and loaded the dresses to my store.  If you are interested, I currently have sizes 2T-4T and one child's small.  If those don't suit your fancy and you have a custom dress you want made please reach out to me (most likely you will have to provide your own shirt...because despite popular belief I do not have a printing press in my garage).  I don't have a custom listing because my time is super limited, but if you catch yourself right and ask in a "nice tone", we might be able to work a deal!
 
And, if you need to see these on a body, Bramell, Party of Five makes for a great set of models!
 

 
 
K CUTIE DESIGNS - Game day dresses and more!


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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Officially fall

Tuesday brings the first day of October. While technically September brings the beginning of fall. School has started, football season has kicked off and apples are in full celebration. But for me, October truly brings fall. The crisp weather truly greets us every morning. The foliage begins showing sign of is rigorous summer season. Farmers markets begin their nod towards the gourd family and we celebrate all things pumpkin. This truly is my favorite time of year. 


Mums and pumpkins have shown up on my little "porch" this weekend. Which for me starts the beginning for fall. 

What about you. What's your first inclination that it's fall? Is it the pumpkin spice latte showing up on the menu at Starbucks? Apple cider candles? Saturdays at the corn maze and pumpkin patch? A trip to the local county fair? Cool, crisp mornings? A drive down highway 412 to see the changing colors on the banks if the Buffalo River?

When does fall officially begin in your world?


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Green Chile Chicken Chili - experiential cooking

So, last weekend I was really craving White Chicken Chili.  I knew I would be gone most of the week so making a crockpot full of goodness was not the best idea for a single gal...I have to eat that mess all week.  But, last night I had enough.  On my way home from a Relay meeting, I stopped at my local Neighborhood Market and just started putting things in my cart.
 
I'll go ahead and admit I didn't have an official recipe.  I even went rogue and didn't pull up my AllRecipes app.  I was hoping the back of the chili mix would give me some more insight, but it didn't.  So, yes, this whole thing is made up...
 
Saturday Morning Crockpot Green Chile Chicken Chili
 
Frozen seasoning blend (onions, etc) or 1/2 onion, sautéed
1 Pablano pepper, de-seed, grilled and diced (bell pepper instead to eliminate spice)
1 pkg White Chicken Chili seasoning mix
1 can Great Northern Beans or Navy Beans
1 Can Canelloni Beans (white kidney beans)
1 sm can Green Chilies
1 box Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 bag frozen Chicken Fajita Strips (go with Tyson so you have a good brand of meat)
1/2 C verde or tomatillo salsa - can be eliminated to reduce the spice
fresh cilantro, cheese, chips or cornbread
 
Instructions: put everything together in the crockpot and simmer all afternoon
 
Specific instructions - because @bigpittstop always has too much to say!: see below 
 
Last night when I got home, I pan sautéed/browned about 1/2 C of the seasoning blend. Honestly it wasn't measured its what was left over and in a Ziploc bag in my freezer.  Once cooked, it cooked down to about 1/2 cup.  If you like onions and are good with that in your base of soup, I would have probably suggested 1/2 an onion.  Browning them last night while I still had some energy and just putting them in the fridge made prep this morning much easier!

I also cut up 1 Pablano pepper and roasted it in the oven on a cookie sheet.  Again my adjustment would be to put that thing on a grill whole and then cut it up afterwards.  I cut it into tiny pieces and they just didn't hold up in the oven.  I wanted the "roasted" flavor so for sure I should have chargrilled it on the burner or grill pan.  I love the pablano flavor, but it probably added some heat that many would not want.  I added it to the onions and put I the fridge to just dump in the crock pot this morning. 

Today it was all about just dumping everything in.

I put the onions and peppers from last night in the cock pot first.  Opened the beans and fully rinsed them - I think there's an official reason why, but I just don't like all that milky stuff (brine) that beans sit in in their can!  Add the green chilies and 1/2 C verde salsa.  (if you want to eliminate the spice/heat, leave this out and serve on the side to be added when you eat it).  Sprinkle 1 package of white chicken chili seasoning mix.  In true Sandra Lee style it would cost a bundle to get all these good flavors.  McCormick has given you the gift of putting them all together - just go with it!

Normally, I would go with raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts or strips and cut into cubes or pan fry it and add to the crockpot, but I was being lazy and I wanted the smoky flavor that comes from fajita chicken strips.  What I didn't think about was the lack of control of the quality of chicken.  I listed in the ingredients to go with the Tyson Southwest Flavor strips.  I know they do a better control on their chicken products so it should be better.  Also, the strips are in the freezer section.  And since I didn't use the whole bag, I was putting it back in the freezer.  I put the strips in the crock pot frozen and then had to dig them out and cut them while they were piping hot. So, I would suggest warming the strips and cutting into diced pieces before you add them to the soup. 
Pour the box of chicken stock over all ingrediens (of course homemade would be much better...or I just thought..my mom always saves the juice she uses to cook the meat off the turkey bones at thanksgiving...this would be a yummy way to use that and turkey leftovers....calling her now!)

LOOK at that goodness.  I let mine sit in the crockpot all afternoon, but you could just put it all in a big stock pot and simmer for an hour.  Its a rainy day here and with football on the agenda for tonight...this will be perfect.

 
Variations: for those who have issues with any of these ingredients you could use shoepeg corn, mexi corn, black beans, hominy, garbanzo beans, or zucchini (add right before you serve).  If I were to pan fry the chicken before I put it in the crockpot, I would probably add some seasoning and not add it to the crockpot until I was ready to eat.

I will serve with fresh cilantro, fiesta blend cheese, and chips on the side.  Yummy little cheese quesadillas would be good alternative to cornbread (below).

I have Mexican cornbread ready to make and serve with it.  Mom always uses this brand for her cornbread dressing so I thought I would try it...I'm usually a jiffy girl when it comes to cornbread but they don't make a Mexican version.  Guess I could have just made it Mexican...oh well!  I'll add a can of green chilies and cheese...surely it will be perfect!!

Let me know what variations you add....





Thursday, September 26, 2013

Because sometimes it's ok to dine alone

So I found myself killing some Tim in Fayetteville today around 11:30 and new I had to go see what all the fuss was about. 

Now, I'll admit it's always intimidating trying to go somewhere by yourself to eat " lunch in the city".  I mean who wants to be the chick sitting alone at a table? This fear stems back to my earliest days of traveling by myself. Usually I snag something at a place where I can find a quiet corner on a patio and put on my shades and pull out my phone or some work. Today I put on my big girl panties and got brave. I mean if you sneak in around 11:30, you beat the lunch crowd and thee are less people to see you! 


Since I moved up here a year ago, I began hearing about and seeing this beautiful green building (building us so, so, the green is beautiful) in the curve anytime I turn on School Street to head to downtown. Which lately has been quite often so today was the day. 

Greenhouse Grille


It was everything you expect from a place that has "green" in the name and grille wit the "e", well except for the free wifi. But that was just my reason to stay off the email and such. 

I was completely torn when I opened the menu. Black bean and spinach quesadillas had me at hello. And then I began reading about their burger options which included things like goat cheese, avocado mayo and roasted garlic aioli. Now you see the dilemma!

I can kinda been thinking soup all morning so something lighter really was on my mind. 

Phillip the waiter was lickety split after casually setting up the remaining tables in the dining room. I gave him my drink order-water. Had I taken the time to read the drink menu first, I would have ordered something that included one of their homemade flavored syrups (next time!). But my water was served with the cutest little petite slice of orange which is better than a lemon any day!

So my mind was almost made on my selection until Phillip, super chill and cad, came over with the specials. A variation on their Bahnmi sandwich, Bahnmi taco with tofu. I almost caved, but tofu encrusted in almonds was not the texture I was going for. But then he mentioned the other special and my heart began to sing!




Harvest Stew-(I know, right!)-Tomatoes, corn, kale, butternut squash and a timy sweet potato purée. My mind was made. I would indeed keep it healthy today. It was perfection. Gluten free and vegan, it had the welcoming base if my grandmothers Thanksgiving stew but took it one step closer to the earth by adding walnuts. Imagine this bite- perfectly stewed tomatoes floating in rosemary infused soup base accompanied by a cube of al dente butternut squash rounded out by and earthy walnut. Now pause, close your eyes and simmer on that thought. 


To compliment I chose the Greenhouse Garden salad, substituting the citrus cilantro dressing. Perfect compliment. (I was grateful that Phillip suggested going with the half. It was just the right amount) I'm always a sucker for anything cilantro and with the fresh green apple tower, dried cranberries and toasted almonds on mixed greens was the exact sweetness to mix with the earthy du jour. 

I did start the experience with a side entree of hot pita bread and house made hummus. It was a great way to get things started for this great experience. 


As my dining experience was winding down a young lady took the stage and we had a little live music for dessert. The sweet melodies were the perfect way to end a most enjoyable lunch.  

Signed-the girl on her phone in the corner

Monday, September 16, 2013

Words to live by


So, I've decided to surround myself with words to live by. 

Filth in, filth out. 

Not necessarily does the opposite always work, but I realized something last Monday as I started my day in full worship-what I think surrounds the rest of my day. The words I read, see and hear really do affect how my mind works. 

A couple weeks ago I got this awesome magnetic angel from a friend of my mom. (Don't you love friends who bring cool presents when they come to visit?!?!) I love that this angel can sit or hang. I spend a lot of time consistently in front of my mirror. Every morning and every evening I find myself looking at the same spot. So I decided to hang my angel here. 

The angel came with a packet of words, graphics, etc. and of course the magnet strips come as a themed packet. This one, Your story matters. 

So, here are the words I've currently chosen to read every morning. 

"Listen to Grace"
"What sets your heart free?"
"Surrender your fear"
"Hello courage"
"Anything is possible" 
"Soar"
"Love wide"

From time to time I will change out the words and find new inspiration. 

In the midst if this I'm also trying to decide what words to write on the top of my mirror; quote or verse, I can't decide. 

Any thoughts? Any daily mantras you use? Any words you surround yourself with?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gratitude

So, I'm going to be more intentional about this. 

This weekend there was an offer to get signed up for a gratitude buddy with other conference attendees. I wanted to do it. But the thought of one more thing "I had to do" just made my heart start beating fast. And even more so was the thought of letting someone down by not fully being able to commit to my daily gratitude relationship. So I decided to focus on gratitude in my heart. To find daily and hourly moments to be grateful. 

Today I'm starting Freedom Friday. I was inspired by a friend on Facebook this morning who talked about removing the chains in our life that are holding us back and for me PERSPECTIVE is big! I'm always a glass full kind if girl, but am I intentional about it?

So on this, my first Freedom Friday, I'm grateful for:
-a chiropractor who is making my neck better which makes me less tense
-that someone turned in my wallet that I left at McDonald's and it appears that only $30 that I made with KCutie at the AWBU marketplace and an empty Walmart gift card are missing
-lifelock=peace of mind (see previous)
-I'm grateful for the gift of CPS3 that has allowed me to make professional connections that I needed so badly
-for co-workers who work hard and are fully committed to the mission of making a difference in people's lives. 
-and just because its not spiritual, I'm grateful for coffee. Not because it wakes me up but coffee was always tied to an experience before I drank it everyday. So the taste and smell of coffee always draws towards nostalgia and who doesn't like a drop of nostalgia in their morning!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What a weekend - AWBU

{I say post 1 because I have a feeling I'll be digesting for a while to come and bring back some things I learned this past weekend. (and, I should have apologized to my twitter followers before my weekend bc I'm pretty sure I annoyed you...my bad...that was one of the games of the weekend :)}

That being said...I had THE BEST weekend this past weekend at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference at Ferncliff Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center - you know like camp for grow up nerdy ladies who need to get away because they are their own little culture of really super amazing world influencers through the written word (sound about right, ladies?).  - I know I left out a bunch of punctuation there...but its my blog and I'm protecting my word count!

So, what happen this past weekend @ARWomenBloggers Conf?

1.  I got away and my work email on my phone went away so I was fully, completely, totally able to truly get away
2.  I spent an awesome weekend with my friend Rhonda and even though we both had to learn some new thing about taking care of a minivan, we totally made some memories we will not soon forget - yes dad I put transmission fluid in her car...Jack the old fart at Wal-Mart didn't know how - apparently I make a great husband
3.  I met tons of new friends...hoping I can find ways to link up - or better yet, just go check out their version of our weekend (amazing how we all sat a the same sessions, meals and activities and can see it all so differently!)
4.  I was reminded that I need to be writing more
5.  I was restored - my spirit was restored - and that's what I'll devote the rest of my super-long and doubly-wordy post to!

(We had some really amazing companies sponsor our weekend and I would really just like to come back to them in a later post because I'm a brand ambassador when I find good things...and I found some good things!)

A couple themes of the weekend that I walked away with
  • A#1 - WHO I AM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT I DO (don't get your "w" words mixed up on this, it creates a totally different meaning)
  • A#2 - write your story and STOP COMPARING
  • Be authentic
  • Share YOUR truth - no one else's - but wildly share your truth
  • Boundaries ARE NOT the opposite of authenticity
  • Be Honest. Be Authentic. Be Compassionate. Be Thoughtful
  • #bethecomment
  • Knowledge brings value
  • Be authentically who you are - don't doubt or wonder
  • You are a Masterpiece - thank you BooMama (again - another post all together!)
  • We need each other for community, not competition- I was amazed by this group of women, first time in a long time that I've been part of a group of supportive women who were out to make each other better, share their secrets and just dream together
  • You are who you are for a reason - just settle in to that!!!
  • Only you can do what God has called you to and the reason He put you are here to be
  • Put value on your voice and the gifts you bring - don't discount your knowledge, influence or value
  • Its hard to be human - extend some kindness to yourself - fill yourself with things that lift you up
  • BE RELENTLESSLY AUTHENTIC
I talked a little more about this on Monday and find it super ironic coincidental a gift that I was needing to prepare a message to share with the DaySpring team on Monday and God totally walked me through a weekend of learning the lesson I needed to share.  I MUST STOP COMPARING myself to everyone around me.  It's exhausting to keep up with the bloggy word savants.  Its exhausting to wonder if I would make some money with this thing if I had the time to write more.  Its exhausting to wonder if I could create the life that I read about other people having.  Its exhausting to want to be a wife and mom and read about all the funny things other people's kids are saying at the dinner table.  It's exhausting to want to create beautiful meals everyday that I can post pictures of and then write the amazing behind the scenes story of.  Its exhausting to decide if I need to write posts on Sunday for the whole week or create them as they come to my mind.  Its exhausting to watch the stats on my blog and try and figure out what effects the readership more - the time of day I post or if I link it up some way.  Do you get my point? 

I'm sure its exhausting to watch my Facebook feed and see all the crazy things I have going on.  I'm sure its exhausting to watch me learn these really hard lessons that my heart needs to experience.  I'm sure its annoying to read the excessive amounts of details that I put into my overly worded posts. I'm sure its annoying.... 

But I don't write for all those things.  I write for me.  I write because I need to get these words out of my head.  I write because I want to look back at the emotional evolution that life brings.  I write because I can.  I write because I know that my college roommates actually read this thing.  (thanks to the rest of you who have ever been here before and actually came back today!)

I'm obsessive.  And, I'm afraid I may miss out on something in life.  Any day of the week I have over 1000 emails in my work email box and probably 2000 unread messages in my blog feed.  Its exhausting to think that those things always "linger" over my head as open ended.  But, you know what, I've got to quit letting them be a tape measure to "life success". 

What makes me feel enough?  My measuring stick...not the sacred art: COMPARISON.


{and just to leave you on a note that you will not believe...we did a 5K on the last morning.  Surely we win for "most beautiful finish line moment".  Wonder if we can get some New Balance "stinky shoe neutralizer" for that!}

Please return at a later date when my words come back to me and I can share about some of the amazing companies we encountered this weekend. 

In the mean time remember, you are enough.  Just as you are...STOP COMPARING your insides to other people's outsides (BooMama is one quotable chick!)

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Monday, September 9, 2013

my day spring

I find irony in a lot of things...for my Monday it came in the form of "the words I shared as a challenge, that I preached to someone else, became my own challenge for the day".  Isn't that how it always works?

A few weeks ago I was offered an incredible opportunity; to share my story with the DaySpring family. DaySpring is an incredible company committed to being good stewards of God's blessings and resources and since 1979 have been in Siloam Springs, AR.

Today was the day!

I kinda knew all along that most of my "chat" would be my testimony.  While I was there representing the American Cancer Society, I was stoked more about representing Jesus and having some time to just encourage their team.

If you are not familiar with DaySpring - you should be! (http://www.dayspring.com/)

I'll share below some of what I shared with them today, but here's the irony.  As my day unfolded I became the recipient of the challenge I bestowed in their direction.  The words I went to bed pondering last night became the challenge I found myself the recipient of. The words I shared this morning I spent this evening rummaging through and pulled them in over my head like putting on a cozy, winter sweater.  So, tonight I will lay back in the branches of this willow and let them envelop me in their welcomed offering.

I am a Martha.  (I think I've confessed that here before).  I totally own it.  I'm a busy body.  I don't sit still.  I like to do dishes in other people's kitchens.  I have a full time job, I volunteer, I'm a blogger, I have a sewing business on the side that is registered in 3 counties in AR, I serve on community boards, I have published a cookbook of family recipes...the list goes on and I'm not ever satisfied and I don't ever feel "enough".

I'm a product of my mother and she is a product of her mother and that's as far back as people that I know, but I have a feeling that the cycle stems from the Garden of Eden.  Its not a new thing we women face.

It's a curse that most women face.  And that is the SACRED ART OF COMPARISON.  (I didn't let the guys off here because I think its really something that stems from the human spirit - they have it too, their case is just not as bad as ours!)

My problem, my stigma, my curse - I COVET EVERYONE ELSE'S LIFE

I want the picture that I see on the outside.  I don't know the inside so the outside life looks good and that's what I crave.

I grew up in a Christian home.  I have great parents who raised us with deep roots and I get the blessing that is.  I know and understand that they cultivated in us a spirit that God was able to springboard off of.  I am so lucky.

I even did what good Southern Baptist girls are supposed to do and I went to a great Christian, bible believing and truth teaching college.  While I was there, God used that great environment to teach me that I didn't have to be in a Christian profession to be a successful "believer", I could be a professional that was a Christian and still live out His story.  But somewhere along the way in the Spring of my sophomore year of college at something we called Christian Focus Week, we had a speaker that shared something that stuck with me. 

You know we often find ourselves in these heightened religious situations where we choose to make a commitment to do something and we base our decision to act on the emotion of the moment.  And I specifically remember holding myself back at first as the speaker for the week called on us.  Because he warned us in the seriousness of the commitment that to take the stand and to make the statement meant that God was going to hold us accountable to surrendering to this call.  So, I waited and I pondered and before I stood to publicly say it was what I was committing to I knew that I had to be "all in".

So I did it, I stood.  And, in my standing I committed this -

"where ever you want me to go, whatever you want me to do, I will follow" (read in repeat until it sinks in!)

I think that night as I stood in the center orchestra section about halfway back (you know perfect seats for Tiger Tunes) I thought and was worried about a call to an African Village.  After all that's what "surrendered" means.  It always involves "the uttermost parts" first...right?

Never once did it cross my mind that living in OBEDIENCE and SURRENDER might in fact mean what God was instead calling me to.  That I might simply be able to follow this calling at this place in life simply by living out His direction. 

Then, in 2008 when I went through my cancer journey that became part of my story.  Now I live in light of that commitment and that experience.  And, here's my truth -

IF I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS, THEN I MUST BELIEVE THAT HE WILL DO WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO (again, do yourself a favor and hit repeat and read that again.)

A year ago I made a move. In courageous moment I picked up my life in Arkadelphia and moved to Northwest Arkansas.  400 more miles way from my family.  Away from most of my life friends to follow a path I felt God calling me on; a journey that He has since used to draw me to Himself. 

Now get this.  I'm not saying that I was "away" from God.  I wasn't.  And, if I was, I really don't think I would have been able to sense and decipher what only He could call me to do.  But instead, He has used the last 12 months to reveal Himself to me in ways that I would not have been able to understand any other way.  He has grown me.  Shaped me.  Changed me into what I'm hoping is a reflection of Him.  And, it has been hard.  EVERY SINGLE DAY I talk myself through rolling over and pulling the sheets over my head.  Some days I really have to search for the extra quote, reflection, or picture posted on someone's Facebook wall before I can charge forth with the day ahead of me.

But, if I BELIEVE He is who He says He is, then I MUST believe that He WILL do what He says He will do. 

Only I can live the road that's in front of me.

Only YOU can live the road that's in front of you.

That's our gift.  Life is our gift.

Our duty.  Our Response.  Our Responsibility is to live in light of what God has done for us. 

My inner Martha struggles with that.  She wants a plan, a road map, to control and look ahead.  But, Oh the joy of the surrendered journey.  Oh the joy of obedience in the moment.

I end with this challenge (the challenge that I personally encountered this evening and had to remind myself that while I pushed it out and shared it with the room of DaySpring employees...its not something I've stopped learning)

1.  Covet the journey God's given you - only you can live this life.  Only you can find the joy in what surrender and obedience looks like to you.  Covet that; desire that.

2.  Let Him use you for His FAME

3.  Live in light of the same promises that He made to Abraham, to Jacob, to Joshua, to Paul

In Genesis 28, we find Jacob in the middle of a little camping trip.  He has pulled up a rock and laid down to rest for the evening and as all good Old Testament characters do, he falls into a dream and has his "stairway to heaven" moment.  In that moment he sees the LORD and hears these words of promise beginning in verse 13 - and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, an you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.  All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.  I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." 

He wants to give us what He has promised us. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When is the last time you did something important?

So excited today to welcome by friend Rhonda to the pitt stop!  Rhonda was my first friend in the NWA.  It didn't hurt that we worked together, but she loves to write, to laugh, to cook and has the cutest little stinkers at her house...how were we not to be friends! 

She too shares a passion for "creating more birthdays" and with 3 really good reasons, I've asked her to share about a cool opportunity coming up in Northwest Arkansas. 

Make sure you stop by and pay her a visit over at Bramell, Party of Five and wish her luck since we are going to be roomies at the Arkansas Women Bloggers University this weekend! #nerdalert

http://bramell.blogspot.com/

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Friends, I want to take a minute to let you know about this amazing opportunity we have coming up in Northwest Arkansas to do something BIG. I mean, something really important. Actually, something that could have historical impact. Interested yet?

First, a little self-disclosure. As you may know, I worked for the American Cancer Society for eight years, and just recently left there. For the past three years one of my main projects was working on the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). I headed two enrollments in Fort Smith and started this one for Northwest Arkansas before I left. I'm happy to say, in Fort Smith, we successfully enrolled over 370 people into CPS-3.

Now, from September 17-20, there will be one last chance to enroll in Northwest Arkansas. The CPS-3 is a long-term national cancer study that will last about 20-30 years. To qualify to enroll a person must:

--Be between the age of 30 and 65.

--Never have been diagnosed with cancer (some types of skin cancer are OK)

--Willing to commit to the long-term study

THAT'S IT! We want to enroll 500 people in Northwest AR, but there are plans to have 300,000 nationwide. This is a study that will be conducted by the American Cancer Society's national research department. You can be part of real, live research that will impact generations to come! It's a BIG DEAL.

The first study done like this found the link between smoking and cancer. The second study found the link between obesity and higher death rates from cancer. We are anxious to see what this, the third study, will find. It's FREE to participate. I am enrolled, won't you do it too?

What is involved? It's very quick and easy. You go to www.cps3nwark.org to choose your enrollment location and a time. This will ensure that you get a spot and eliminate time waiting in line. This will also allow you to complete the bulk of the questionnaire online at your convenience. On the day you choose, you come to the designated location to complete some additional paperwork, have your waist measurement taken by volunteers and then give a small blood sample which will be frozen. Everything is anonymous and no information will be shared. After that, you will receive questionnaires to update your medical information about every other year. These must be completed to remain in the study.

Rather than make this a huge post, I'm attaching a photo of the informational flyer. You can click the photo to see a larger version. It has all the options for locations to enroll in NW Arkansas; in Fayetteville, Springdale and two locations in Rogers.

I hope you will decide to enroll in CPS-3. It's free, it's easy and it might lead to finding out something new about cancer. Wouldn't you like to do something important today? Please sign up now to make sure you get a spot. And please share this information with your friends and loved ones.

These are answers to some of the most FAQ's that I get:

--Doesn't matter if you are pregnant; you can still enroll.

--Doesn't matter if you smoke; you can still enroll. No one is going to try to make you quit or judge you.

--Doesn't matter if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol or blood sugar, etc. Non-diagnosis of cancer is what matters here.

--The blood sample is not for diagnostic purposes; no one will tell you if you have the above mentioned conditions or anything else.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

You are faithful

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
—Hebrews 10:23

Man this verse hit me this morning. 

Faithful is always my favorite word for God. I have seen it and experienced it more times than I can count. Thankfully part of faithfulness is that you can keep gong back to the same well and washing in the same virtue.  

But, this morning the word that really caught me in that verse  was "unswervingly". 

Now that, is a new experience I've had. To me a "swerve" had always been a sheer avoidance. You know just a little dodge of the tire remnant in your lane or switching sides of the grocery aisle to miss the wandering kid. Sometimes it might even look like the intentional miss you experience in bumper cars. 

But after the events of last week I understand "swerving" to be something completely different. For me swerving included more than avoidance. I didn't know what was going on around me so I didn't know what kind of space I had. I probably over reacted a little and in that process my car locked up and did things cars are not really intended to do (ie come off the ground, spin in the middle of the highway and drive in ditches). 

I'm not saying hitting the flying object head on was going to fare any better for me or my car (given the fact that I walked away with only a few scratches on my arm and a new car payment). But, what I did grasp is that "unswervingly" involves holding on tight to that which comes our way. 

Not trying to avoid. Not trying to fix. Not trying to resolve. But, yielding. Being vulnerable. Trusting faithfulness to be the airbag. 

Over recent months one of my "go to" albums for music is Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons. Love so many songs on it, but Never Once is the go to. But this morning reading the reason behind the song, I'm sold even more. I challenge you to listen (Bonus: he has a really cool English accent) http://youtu.be/de6M5iu3Ez8

May the threads of Gods faithfulness in the past remind us that grace is not something we get because we deserve it. Faithfulness comes from Love. 

You can go ahead and put this one on repeat-close your eyes, breathe deeply and hang on every word. 

http://youtu.be/hxFyX29pZnI