Sherri

Sherri has been married for 24 years and has a 21 year old daughter and a 18 year old son. She loves to read, write, spend time with family and friends, play in the ocean and ride roller coasters. She loves roasting marshmallows, eating chocolate, and indulging in a banana split every now and then.

No Yeast in the Bread

 Posted by on October 3, 2013  No Responses »
Oct 032013
 

517002_38589172Communion bread unlike most breads has no yeast in it. In the Bible, yeast/leaven in bread symbolized how sin spreads in a person’s life or in a church or even in a whole nation. After the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were commanded to eat unleavened bread during Passover week to symbolize their commitment to leave sin behind. Today when we make most breads for any other purpose other than communion, yeast is very helpful. Yeast makes our dough rise. It makes our bread fluffy.

Recently, I had to make a breakfast item for my Bible study group. Ironically, I was not leaving out the yeast. I decided to make my cinnamon bread. I prepared my dough in my bread machine, set it for an hour and a half, and took the dough out to let it rise for the proper amount of time. At that time, my daughter was home visiting and I was busy talking with her. As I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, when it got time to put the cinnamon bread into the oven, I noticed it wasn’t very tall. I thought maybe it would rise some more while it was in the oven. So I put it in to bake as I was chatting with my daughter and when the timer went off, I took the bread out of the oven. Guess what? It was flat. Almost as flat as a pancake. I cut into it and it was dense and thick. file3691237032177 It kind of looked like the picture to the left although this is not my actual bread. If this had been another kind of bread that didn’t require yeast it probably would have been a good result. But this particular recipe required yeast. I realized I had failed to put the yeast in the recipe. So in order to have a coffee cake for the next morning for Bible study, I had to get up at 5:00 a.m. and put the dough in my bread machine and get back up an hour and a half later to set it out to rise and then bake it. The second time around the recipe turned out as it should have because I put the yeast in the dough.

For a couple of days I kept thinking about this fiasco that happened in the kitchen. And I wondered what kind of life lesson I could learn from this.

  • How many times in our lives do we try to make something but we get in too much of a hurry and we leave out a vital ingredient?
  • How many times in our homeschooling do we take shortcuts with our kids and think it’s going to turn out okay in the end?
  • How many times in our parenting do we think we can slack off in an area of discipline and there won’t be any repercussions for it?
  • And what about our marriages? How often do we neglect to put everything we have into that relationship and then wake up one morning surprised that things are not as we would want them to be?
  • How many times are we self-sufficient and choose not to lean on God and His principles in life and the instructions that He has given us in His Word, and we expect our “bread” to turn out right?
  • How often do we have to “start another batch” and do it all over again because we took control of these areas of our lives?

1344688_24645647 The Christian life is full of trials and tribulations. The path we walk is full of rocks and thorns and roadblocks and signs that point us in the wrong direction. Just like you wouldn’t start out on a trip without a map and without gas in your car, and you wouldn’t bake bread without all the ingredients, you wouldn’t want to start out on your spiritual journey, your parenting journey, your marital journey without the proper ingredients. I encourage you to pay attention to each step along the way. Make sure you seek God everyday for His guidance in all areas of your life, making sure not to leave out something that He wants you to have in your life.

And also you want to seek the Lord to make sure you do leave out the things that He doesn’t want in your life. Just like the Israelites were commanded to leave out the leavening for seven days during their Passover time to signify the leaving out of sin, we want to leave out the things in our lives that encumber us and keep us from moving forward on this journey.

Psalm 103:17-18: But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

Photos: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/517002http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/548689http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1344688

~ by Author Sherri Wilson Johnson

Sep 052013
 

SONY DSCMy nest isn’t completely empty yet, but one chick has flown the coop and the other stays out on long flights most of the time only coming home at night to roost. So I do experience on a regular basis the empty nest.

When I homeschooled, I planned ahead to the days when I would be finished and what I would do to fill those hours previously spent nurturing and instructing my children. My dreams were to write full time and to develop my writing career. For the last few years, having reached my goal of being a published author and realizing that life is about so much more, I’ve been thinking a lot about the next phase in life—when everyone is out—and what I will do with myself then. I work two regular part time jobs, blog, review books, I’m a freelance editor, work with the women’s ministry at my church, and continue to write Christian Romance. So wondering what I’m going to do with my time now that the kids don’t need me on a daily basis isn’t an issue for me.

But it’s not all about me. There’s so much more to life than what I want. And there’s more to it than just the passing of time.

I’m a married woman. That means that I now have the opportunity to go back in time to the days before children. It also means that I must examine my heart to see if I actually want to go back to those “good old days”. Do I want to stoke the fire that I had twenty-five years ago or do I want to move forward in life just being a partner with my husband and making my days be all about me?

I decided that I want to feel like a teenager again. I want to not only love my husband but I want to like him too. I now have time to spend with him uninterrupted, thinking about him when he’s not with me like I used to do before life got so crazy busy, and being his sweetheart. This doesn’t happen without being purposeful though. Why? Because I’m human. I have a selfish human nature. I naturally will fill my time with things that revolve around me and my personal pursuits if I’m not intentional.

064Recently, we took our second ever trip without the children. This trip was for our 25th anniversary. We went back to Gulf Shores, Alabama, where we went on our honeymoon. I decided before we left that I would not spend my time on the computer working on my most recent novel nor would I spend any more time than I had to checking in with work. Although I brought a book or two to read, I didn’t want to hide between the front and back covers of those books and miss out on this time with my husband. 040So what did I do? I spent time with him. And I got him to “re-teach” me how to fish. We spent every evening together fishing into the wee hours of the night. We laughed. We talked. We ate way too many calories. And guess what he did for me. He sat with me for hours at a time on the shoreline, basking in the beauty of the surf. We spent time together without the kids. Do you know what we re-discovered? We like each other. And we still love each other.

So how do women with empty nests (or nearly empty nests) find balance between “me” and “us” when the world is against our Holy unions?

  1. Spend time with the Lord (separately and together). This is most important of all. When you are walking with the Lord and encouraging (not nagging) him to do the same, you will naturally grow closer to one another. This will help you not to drift apart as the years go by.
  2. Make it important to spend time together. Watch television with your husband even if you aren’t interested in the show he’s watching. Chat about something other than the bills or the children. Play games and read a book together. You know what the two of you have in common so start there. What one couple will find fun, another will not. Use your imagination.
  3. Learn how to speak your spouse’s love language. The five love languages are: Words of affirmation, physical touch, time spent together, acts of service, and gifts. What is your husband’s love language? Spend a little bit of time figuring that out and then minister to him that way. Remember that we often love others according to our own love language and then get our feelings hurt when they don’t respond with the enthusiasm we would. If you learn his language and help him learn yours, your spark will be rekindled.
  4. Going back to how I started this post, spend time alone exploring your hobby so you don’t resent his. There is nothing wrong with having a hobby—something that you can call your own. As long as it isn’t contrary to your marriage, that is. But wives can easily become jealous of their husbands and their hobbies if they don’t have some little something they like to do themselves.

004There are many things women can do to make sure that they don’t fly the nest when their children do and that they don’t fill the empty space with things that aren’t God-honoring. This can be a lonely time in a woman’s life or it can be a time that she reaches way down deep into her heart and digs out her “old self” and rejuvenates her marriage, her life, and the lives of everyone around her.

Beach pictures and picture of me (with terrible beach hair) were taken on our anniversary trip.

Bird’s nest: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1209474

 

 

 

 

~written by Sherri

Why Do We Hate The Ants So Much?

 Posted by on August 13, 2013  8 Responses »
Aug 132013
 

136602_3509The month of July has been ant month around our house. We’ve had so much rain that ants decided to move indoors with us. They find our kitchen to be particularly delightful, especially around my sink and on my kitchen counters. Nothing seems to deter them either. Yes, I can kill them, but within minutes, there are more to replace them. The tiny members of the ant army come and go, happily collecting any little morsel they can find. No matter how clean I keep my kitchen, these ants are everywhere. They only come when we have heavy rains and they are gone a few days after the rains stop. But before they gather their last minuscule bits of treasure, I just want to throw a stick of dynamite in my kitchen and run—blast them all to smithereens.

While I may feel like hating the little boogers, there is something to be admired about their perseverance, diligence, tenacity, and audacity. Yes, these wee insects are praiseworthy. They have so much to teach us. They are great influencers, if we let them be.

What can we learn from the ants?

  1. They somehow seem to know that there will be days ahead when they might not be able to find enough food. So in preparation for that, they store up. Proverbs 30:25 says: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.
  2. They do not give up. No matter what trap you set or spray you spray, they keep coming. They are goal-oriented and will press on as if their lives depend upon it. Actually, they do!
  3. They look for the greater good. They take back to the nest anything they find that they deem worthy for the queen. No matter how tired they may get from going back and forth and back and forth, they keep going.
  4. They are quiet workers, never complaining. They are selfless.
  5. They don’t argue with each other. In fact, they work quite well as a team. They politely step around each other and don’t block each other’s way or prevent a teammate from reaching his goal.

885548_17974779Proverbs 6:6-8 says: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

So why do we hate them so much? Yes, they do make our skin crawl and they can make a mess of our picnics. But they are very useful in nature. They clean up messes that otherwise would sit around and pollute our world. Ants teach us a lot about working together as a team, getting along with each other, working for the greater good, and not complaining about things that have no eternal value. Ants show us how to put our own desires aside for the desires of a greater being—God. They teach us to work honorably and to never stop until we’re prepared for what may come. If ants were readers, I bet they’d have the whole Bible memorized in no time. Ants are great role models.

To start your new school year off right, watch the ants. Consider getting an ant farm and making it a family project to learn from them. Let them teach you about preparation, teamwork, and perseverance.

Single ant: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/136602

Ant friends: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/885548

~written by Sherri

Jul 092013
 

Have you ever tried to make a cake and you don’t have all the ingredients necessary? You start to improvise and what results usually isn’t something desirable. It may be tasty, but it’s not what you intended.

Recently, I tried to make a cinnamon crumb cake. Instead of using butter, I decided to go lower fat and use margarine. We’ve been trying to use butter around here for health reasons, but this one time I thought it would be fine to substitute.

Well, what happened to the cake I made was that instead of a crumbly cinnamony filling inside of it, I got a cinnamon swirl because of the oil content of the margarine. A few days later I made the cake with butter instead. The difference was not in the taste so much but definitely in how it looked and felt in your mouth. A crumbly crunchy treasure instead of a creamy swirl. 1051029_93881906

If you take all the ingredients that you’d use to make a cake and look at them individually, very few of them are tasty by themselves. No one wants to eat shortening or drink vegetable oil. “Yuck” is what you would say if you put a spoonful of flour into your mouth. The same goes for vanilla extract or any other kind of extract or raw eggs. They are simply gross by themselves. Sugar and salt are flavorful but you surely wouldn’t sit and eat them by themselves in large quantities. And cinnamon doesn’t have near the flavor it does alone as it does when it’s mixed with sugar.

If you don’t follow the instructions for a recipe, sometimes ingredients get mixed in too soon and certain things don’t mesh and the recipe can fail. Here’s a Pinterest example.

So what does this have to do with life?

Well, recently at our church we had message about the ingredients that make up our lives. Certain ingredients are not particularly tasteful or easy to swallow. Some are ones we’d prefer to leave out all together. Sometimes we rush things and put ingredients into our lives before it’s time to do so. Sometimes we avoid adding them at all. What results is not what was intended by the Master Chef in our lives.

Would I have wanted to experience several job losses over the years? The losses of loved ones we’ve had? The medical bills and car repairs that have left us flat broke? The multiple rejections I’ve received from publishers and the wait I still must go through? No! By nature, since I’m human, I’d really only want to experience the good things in life. I’d want a beautiful cake without having to put in the ingredients that aren’t so tasty by themselves.

But the truth is: these things in life are what make us who we are. They are what prepare us for the ministry opportunities God has for us. We are all individuals and even though many things in our lives may parallel with others, we’re unique and created for a unique purpose. So the experiences I’ve been through have given me material to write about and speak about and they have given me what I need to be able to help others through similar situations.

The pastor who preached this message left us with a question: Will you be a victim or a vessel?

file000948151574 Like it says in Proverbs 25:4, “Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel.” When these undesirable ingredients (not so good by themselves) get mixed into our lives and we allow God to teach us the lesson he has for us and to burn away the things that don’t need to stay there, we allow Him to do great things with us. To make us into beautiful masterpieces. We become vessels of testimony instead of victims of our circumstances.

We become beautiful Bride’s cakes for the biggest Wedding of all!

So what kind of cake do you want to bake today?

Cake: morguefile.com

Ingredients: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1051029

~written by Sherri

Making It All Count

 Posted by on June 20, 2013  2 Responses »
Jun 202013
 

In October, premature twin boys were born to some of our friends. These babies were not expected to live but after surgeries and a lot of intervention, they have now turned seven-months-old and are doing wonderfully! 661479_87264747 In the past month and a half, I have been to one 80th birthday celebration and to two funerals (one of a thought-to-be-healthy seven-week-old infant and one of a 19-year-old girl). In a few weeks, my grandmother will turn 101 years old.

My church just moved into its first official building after spending several years of moving around from schools to movie theaters. We kicked off the move-in with our first women’s event. We called it Laughter & Lattes. A night of worship and games and laughter was enjoyed by all who came. Many made the commitment to work together and live in community with one another. Soon after the event, a lady in our church lost her brother to his year-long battle with cancer. We came together as a church body and loved on them with food, phone calls, cards, and time spent with them encouraging them.

One thing is for certain: we are never guaranteed another day on this earth.

Another thing is for certain: sometimes we live longer than we can ever imagine possible.

Aunt Dot's Birthday 084 When someone can live to be 80 or even 101 years old and yet an infant dies and a young girl with her whole life ahead of her passes suddenly from an asthma attack, yet an older gentleman wastes away for a year with cancer, your mind ponders a lot of things. It begins to ask what the purpose is of life. What can I do to make the most of mine while I am here on this earth—whether it is seven weeks or 101 years? Why have I waited so long to begin this quest?

A third thing is now clear to me: Death and life do not make sense without God.

When I came home from the funeral of the 19-year-old, (who was my son’s friend and the daughter of my husband’s fishing buddy) I hugged my son. I told him how much I love him. This is kind of big around our house because he’s not a touchy-feely kind of person. To my satisfaction, I discovered he didn’t seem to mind this expression of my love for him. You see, this past year, on top of the death of his friend, one of his best friends lost his mother suddenly, and his worship pastor, whom he worked directly under at church, was killed tragically. My son has learned something at a young age: Life is too short not to take advantage of every opportunity you have to let others know how much you love them.

786704_76075416I have never been very good at this. And I’ve especially never been very good at showing my thankfulness to others for things they have done for me or my sympathy for their current situation by sending cards, tokens, letters, hugs, smiles, and meals their way. But I am getting better at it because I realize how quickly life passes before our eyes and how we are never guaranteed to have another day with someone we love. In August, it will be twenty years since my mother passed away suddenly. It has been four years since we almost lost our daughter in a car accident. Since the first of the year, my husband has been very ill and we have just recently gotten the diagnosis—sleep apnea. Praise the Lord it did not end his life as it ended my mother’s and the mother of my son’s friend.

God has ordained our days (Psalm 139:16). He knows us from the womb (Psalm 139:13). He created all life (Genesis 1). He has a purpose for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He desires for us to love one another and to lead others closer to Him (Romans 12:10). That is the purpose of life. 708892_47743402 Regardless of what your individual purpose is—to be a wife and mother, writer, musician, artist, accountant, deacon, preacher, gardener or TV anchorperson—the main purpose is to love God and love His people. To bring everyone together in community and to Him.

Our days are drawing to an end on this earth. Eventually we all will pass on or at least we’ll expire when Jesus returns. Make it a habit to let everyone know how special they are to you.

Baby: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/661479

My grandmother: http://www.kaylajohnsonphotography.com/

Friend: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/786704

Sky with heart: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/708892

~Written by Sherri