I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Wrestling In Prayer"

PRAYER by O Hallesby was written in 1931, pre-computer, pre-lots of things...
but the truth packed into this little book is timeless.
As I set out to re-read the 176 pages of the book, I have found myself feeling an indebtedness to this man..
O Hallesby.
He has made it simple for my simple mind. With his words, he has guided me
to Scripture and with that, to an understanding as to what has made my prayer
life so exhausting and unfulfilling all this time.
"Well, what was the problem?" you ask. Give me just a minute to explain. The problem was NOT God. It was NOT that I didn't receive answers to my requests. It WAS, however, my whole approach to prayer. I felt that in order to present my petitions to the Lord that I had to " have my ducks in a row". I had to use a formula, if you will...I needed to repent...I needed to make sure I presented my request clearly...I needed to...well...tell God exactly HOW I wanted Him to handle the situation...and oh, yes...to answer QUICKLY because I was in a hurry...somebody (sometimes me) needed this situation fixed and fixed fast.

I won't bore you with the sob stories I presented. The buckets of tears I shed or the disappointments I suffered by my own refusal to understand what prayer really is. I am embarrassed to say that for a while I even gave up on the whole thing, because I felt it was too painful, too much of a ritualistic endeavor and some situations seemed just hopeless.

Oh, my friends...hopelessness is so NOT true. The problem was and always has been ME...my feeble faith and my refusal to shut my mouth and LISTEN to what the Holy Spirit was saying. But there is so much more. Listen to the Preface to Hallesby's book:

"I have had more of a desire to write this book than possibly any other that I have written. And yet I have been more afraid of this one than of any other. It seems to me that it is very difficult to speak or write about prayer.

This book does not presume to be anything more than a presentation of a few simple rules for the benefit of souls who are fainting in prayer. It does not aim to give an exhaustive treatment of the great theme.

My one desire and prayer has been to preach the Gospel of prayer without setting aside any of the laws governing the prayer life."

How can you not be intrigued? How can you not wonder about the Wonder of Prayer? How can you not desire the fulfillment of laying the requests of your heart at the feet of the ONLY ONE WHO can actually answer your needs and rise and face the day knowing that He will permit not just good but great and wonderful things to be accomplished. Those things will be far and above anything we ever imagined.

Here are a few quotes that I particularly loved:

"..the answer to prayer is not dependent upon our emotions or out thoughts before, during or after prayer."

"...the essence of living faith: it went to Jesus. "

"To pray is to open our hearts to Jesus."

"The least gifted, the uneducated and the poor can cultivate the holy art of prayer."

One more and it is 4 paragraphs...but they are packed with riches...hear him out

"We think that we understand better than He does when and how our prayers should be answered. Without intending to do so, our prayers become a struggle with God. We make use of prayer to convince God that we see the matter in the right light, that the answer should be given immediately, and should be as we have planned it. Unconsciously we make use of prayer to try to convince God that in this respect we are in the right.
It is this struggle with God which makes us so restless and anxious when we pray. We are afraid that God will not permit Himself to be convinced by our prayers, but will do as He wills regardless of our supplications. I know of nothing that makes our prayer so burdensome and trying as this does.

When, therefore, the Spirit has taught us that God is unyielding on this point and that He Himself decides when and how our prayers are to be answered, then we will experience rest and peace when we pray. And if the Spirit can teach us also that there is no danger in leaving with Him the time and the means of answering our prayer, our seasons of prayer will become in truth seasons of rest.

We will begin to see that it is God's will not only to hear our prayer, but to give us the best and the richest answer which He, the almightly and omniscient God, can devise. He will send us the answer when it will benefit us and His cause the most. And He will send it to us in that way which will give us the best and most abiding results."

I don't mean to place an undue burden on Mr. Hallesby...the book is clear, concise and Biblical. He connects his statements to appropriate Scripture, in context. The Scripture has been the most invaluable part of the book.

I close with this thought...in today's world, we know news immediately...sometimes as it is taking place. Our hearts are burdened now more than ever. Sin and sinfulness abounds...as it always has. There is a quiet place of refreshment at the Savior's feet. We, as sinful men and women, can present our praise, our needs, our hopes and dreams to an understanding God. We CAN rest knowing that He will give us not good but GREAT things. With the aid of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus, we can make our requests known to our Father and then face life with a quiet assurance that in His hands, all will be well.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen."  Romans 11: 33-36

   Blessings to you,

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Elephants and Skeletons

I know you like funny stories and design tips. I can't deliver that today. I have been awake since 4 a.m. The more the sun rose, the worse I felt. I had high hopes for today, but I am sick...not just physically.

I have a feeling if we tiptoed into your home and quietly opened your front door we might see an elephant or two sitting in your living room. Mine? Oh, I have several on any given day taking up lots of space...especially in my heart.

What's that rattling noise in my closet?  Do you hear it? Do you have that noise, too? It's those pesky skeletons again. Somebody must be trying to see what all is in there again or maybe they are making room for another one. People love those...in SOMEBODY ELSE'S closet. Have you noticed? They love to feast on other's famine. We are all guilty of joining that feast at one time or another.

This summer the ladies in our church are embarking on a study of biblical womanhood.
I am trying to attend with a totally open heart...like I have never heard of this concept. That's hard to do...but I need this study. I need guidance in how to handle all these "elephant" situations. My heart is full and empty simultaneously.

Does that make any sense? How can you be overwhelmed with grief and joy at the same time?
I know I sound like a loon...but that's where I am.

If you are down in this dark hole with me, please, know you are not alone. If you hear somebody blowing her nose..it's me. I am right there..but better yet..we have a Friend there too and He's there with us for the long haul. With His help we can hold our heads up and climb out. My prayer is that you and I may come to truly realize that. Hold on..not to me..but to the One's hand that can steady and strengthen us.

God bless you,

Thursday, April 30, 2015

From Salad to Mushrooms and Back Again!!

My mother in law's old green wheel barrow was taking up too much real estate in the garage. Plus, its flat tire made it a behemoth to move around....so when I saw these wooden salad bowls at the thrift store...I had a vision...of a little herb garden. It would be tended by gnomes, with a little help from me. I could have all kinds of herbs for our summer salads!  Here go the steps:

Kilz the bowls and spray both inside and out with
gloss paint.
I used Rustoleum 2X coverage...in RED.

Handy Hubby cut some oak branches and screwed the
mushroom tops into the branches. I only have
$3 invested in the salad bowls, so if they don't
last for years and years...that's quite ok.

Up close....now play around with the placement.
(I painted the barrow, Lagoon, also Rustoleum,
and drilled holes in the bottom of the barrow
for drainage. I covered the holes with pottery
shards to help with drainage.)
Dirt and potting soil were then added.

Make sure you really firm up the dirt around
your mushrooms.
Plantings were mostly Italian type herbs.
I added some flowers and lavender and
an assorted gnomes and a little bird.

Promptly at 6:30 the next a.m., I, in my pj's
and robe, attached vinyl dots.

All that's left is to add mulch and a few
pots of flowers around the bottom to
hide that flat tire!

While on a mushroom roll, I decided to take
a broken planter and an unused birdbath bottom
 to make a larger mushroom...someone said
"a fire hydrant!"...haha

This morning promptly at 7:00 a.m. I filled my
coffee cup and went out to survey. The mulch
really looks nice. I would show you how nice
but I am having trouble adding new pictures..
so just take my word for it, it's cute!

Hope you are having a productive, peaceful day!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Over the River and Through the Woods....

Thanksgiving's on its way!! I have always had the most difficult time making dressing (southern for "stuffing".) Once we threw it out to the birds and they flew away...so when I found this recipe for Crock Pot Chicken and Dressing, I thought, "Why not?" I am SO glad I tried it...it's not the usual throw everything into the slow cooker and walk away. The prep time is longer, but it's worth it...this is THE BEST DRESSING ever! I found this recipe here:  http://www.mommyskitchen.net/2012/10/crock-pot-chicken-dressing-happy.html
I must say, her blog on this was much prettier than mine! I am still getting used to Windows 8 and a new laptop. Either way, you will enjoy this recipe. I promise.

Read recipe all the way through before attempting. Here are the ingredients and instructions.

                             Bake 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts for about  40-45 minutes
                                                                     @ 375 degrees.
                                     (The recipe called for 5 but my family doesn't like that
                                                                     much chicken.)
                                                     Reserve broth from baked chicken.

Chop 2 stalks celery and 1 small onion
 (This is to be added to cornbread mixture below)

1-2 t. sage, 1 t. salt, 1-2 t. poultry seasoning,
and 1 t. pepper.
Add to cornbread mixture below.

Make two cornbreads from 2 packages of mix or use your own recipe.
 I used corn BREAD mix...NOT muffin mix!
(Muffin mix is sweet.)
Toast a hamburger bun or two pieces of bread.

Crumble and combine cornbread and 1 toasted hamburger bun
or 2 pieces of toasted bread.
Add spices.

Boil two eggs, peel and chop. Add to cornbread mix.

At this point, add one can of Cream of Chicken soup,
two cans of chicken broth and any chicken broth from the cooked
chicken breasts to the cornbread/bread mixture.
I used my Kitchenaid mixer to gently combine the mixture.

Melt one stick of butter.

Shred chicken breasts and get ready to add to cornbread mixture.
Add shredded chicken and melted butter to cornbread mixture.

Tip: I shred my chicken while it's warm with the mixer.
Add shredded chicken (after the butter) to the cornbread

Tip: Melt butter in small bowl in microwave.

Tip: I have discovered Reynolds Slow Cooker liners!!
Greatest invention EVER! Add liner to Crock Pot.

Set on high for 4 hours.
Add 1/2 can of second can of Cream of Mushroom soup to bottom of liner.
Spread around the bottom.
Add all mixed ingredients to Crock Pot
 and  add the other 1/2 of the soup to the top.
The original recipe called for layering.
I did NOT do this, but feel free to.
I like the chicken throughout the dressing.

Tip: I keep a colander in the sink and put all egg shells,
cans, paper, etc. in it. At the end of the process,
I just toss everything into the trash can.

At the end of three and a half hours, check the dressing.
Mine began to cook too much around the edges.
After all, the ingredients were all cooked before they
went into the pot.

The dressing was moist, the chicken was tender and it was seasoned
just right!! My only question is, could we leave out the chicken
and just have plain dressing? I think so!!
PLUS: My husband LOVED it!!
After 36 years of trying, I did it!!

Let me know what you think!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hello and happy summer (almost)!
So much has been going on here.
My husband has retired after 42 years of work
and we are adjusting to that.
So many tasks to do that have been set aside until
"One Day"...
One day has finally arrived!

My June 2014 Better Homes and Gardens
magazine arrived last week.
I was so busy that I tossed it into the
"One Day" pile and forgot about it
until today.
On a quick drive out of town to see #1 Little Sister
and family today, I grabbed the mag to read.
May I say that it was the best issue I have read in a great while.
So many beautiful pages...
filled with all sorts of sensible, affordable information.
I have changed my opinion...I used to think of
BH G's as a "granny" magazine...
not any more!

This month was the announcement of the BHG Blogger Award Winners!
They awarded two awards for each category...one was for Readers' Choice
and the other was for Editors' Choice.
I couldn't wait to go through and visit the sites.
Here were a few of my favorites.
(I am a very, very minor league blogger...these gals are Major Leaguers!)
Visit them when you can...you won't be disappointed.
 I really loved some of the colors and furniture choices in this blog.
Good before and after shots.
 This blog's author is funny and while some of her DIY projects are
a little more modern than my traditional tastes, many of you
will love them.
 Anything with the word Nest in it catches my eye.
Great eclectic projects. You will want to browse all night.
Wish I had seen this blog a long while ago. If you like to entertain,
this one is for you!
Try these out and let me know what you think.
Get a copy of the June BH&G!