There are some things I think about daily, like laundry and if the diapers are washed — and dry.
There are some books that never get dusty and are habitually left out, because I am nothing without knowing what my Jesus has to say to me in the morning.
There are some people I pray for regularly. Like my husband and kiddos. Or serving overseas as a missionary.
There are some foods I make without asking if anyone wants to eat it, because it is already a hit. Hello smoothies!
There are some practices that are second nature when my children are hurt or sick, after prayer I anoint my kiddos with healing Biblical essential oils. I don’t think of calling the doctor.
And there are some people I smile about when I remember them.
I thank the Lord for them — for how they have impacted my life. And that person is who brought me here today. Amy.
How I Met Amy Bayliss
I met Amy over two years ago at a blogging conference. I had secretly lurked on her blog for quite some time. I sat behind her in a class, and bashfully met her promptly after it ended.
We hugged and that sealed our friendship. The only problem? We live states apart. Otherwise, I would be over at her house every single day. Instead, I find her in my house several times a day . . . in the form of laundry detergent and her sweet, gentle southern voice echoing through my mind as I get a grip on my bathroom issues.
Amy and I wash the clothes, diapers, and cloth napkins probably three times a day. As a result, you better believe she is prayed for. And now my eldest son has learned to do the laundry. He even knows Amy.
Homemade laundry detergent is just one of many ways I remember Amy throughout the day. Her series, 17 Days of Natural Cleaning, rocked my ever-loving household.
Essential Oils Remind Me of God
But truthfully, I want to think about more than Amy — don’t get me wrong, she’s great. I REALLY want to to have the mind of Christ. to contemplate His thoughts daily — know what God would have me do next.
I”m so human, though.
Like Amy’s cleaning products. I use therapeutic grade essential oils to remind me of God, His fragrance in my life.
Quick Facts About Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils
While I know all the facts about Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils — like that they:
What is more important to me is that essential oils are scriptural. And when I use them their aroma compells me to contemplate my Savior, speak to Him, praise Him, but more importantly remember Him.
Because we remember things in a profound way when they are sealed with an aroma.
Like the cologne my husband used wear back in high school. We we go to the mall and I walk by a certain store, I am instantly reminded of the night I opened the front door and saw him standing there with a red rose for our blind date. (These days he wears an essential oil that evokes equally fond memories. Ahem.)
Essential oils are an important part of my life (and Amy’s). They don’t replace God or the necessity of His Holy Spirit working in our lives. But therapeutic grade essential oils are natural and safe for not only our bodies, but our husbands, children, and friends. Amy and I could tell you some pretty amazing stories of how God used essential oils in our lives in a big way.
However, we would like for you to create your own memories and stories using therapeutic grade essential oils.
One winner will receive the Everyday Oils, featuring 9 therapeutic grade essential oils from Young Living. The perfect kit to be reminded that God left us a medicine kit in the first garden.
Because Amy probably won’t tell you, I will. She is a Young Living distributor. She uses Young Living Oils but purchases them at wholesale. And many of her natural recipes feature Young Living Oils . . . and those are the oils I use when I make Amy’s cleaning products. Anyone who signs up as a distributor under Amy with the Everyday Oils kit (during this giveaway)will also receive a Higley Quick Reference Guide to Essential Oils from me!
Curious about being a distributor? I have you covered. You can learn about being a Young Living distributor on my essential oils blog, Naturally His.
Other Helpful Links
Enter to Win
Leave a comment below sharing a memory you have that is evoked by a smell.
For a second entry, tell why you would like to win the Everyday Oils kit?
The post Long Distance Friends (Dear to My Heart) and A GIVEAWAY! appeared first on Amy Bayliss.
When I was growing up I didn’t have a purity ring. I didn’t have anyone to teach me the right way to handle situations. I did what I thought was normal even though instinctively I knew it was wrong. As a result I was pregnant for my late, former spouse before we were married and he was not the only man I’d ever shared myself with. I didn’t know why it was wrong until I gave my life to Christ at the age of 21, just a few weeks after I married my first husband.
It became even more obvious to me when I stepped out into youth ministry and began searching for themes for summer camps and youth conferences. Purity was a hot topic. Though the scriptural foundation of abstinence and purity was on target the method of the message was lacking. As I read about and pondered all the ways to illustrate why we should stay sexually pure I became a bit disgusted. The illustrations included having everyone spit into a cup and asking if anyone was willing to drink it. The point being that is what a person who has had multiple sexual partners is equal to: disgusting spit. Really, I could have cared less that this equated me with spit. What I cared about was the message, or lack thereof.
It bothered me immensely because it took the focus off of God and away from the atoning sacrifice of His precious son, Jesus Christ. It put the focus on a night of supposed honeymoon bliss between two sexually pure people. It put the focus on the pride of saying you saved yourself for marriage. It put the focus on self. Self earned accolades. I struggled to find Jesus in this message.
As I grew in my faith I began to see another dark side to the purity issue. The other extreme that says that there is freedom in exploring one’s sexual desires outside of the covenant of marriage and despite what the Bible commands. An extreme where the very essence of who God is, LOVE, is exploited in order to fulfill the lusts of ones flesh. God clearly defines love for us in 1 Corinthians 13 and it has nothing to do with feelings or desires. Both messages failed to point people to Christ but this other extreme was much too permissive about something that Jesus, the Word of God, strictly prohibits:
I could go on and on with the scriptures that command that we abstain from sexual immorality (fornication, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, and orgies) but I think those are sufficient. It is a commandment from Leviticus 17-18. This is basic stuff. The problem is that over and over Christians have strayed from the Torah, the commands of God. We rewrite and rework them based on culture, time, preference, psychology, philosophy, desires and emotions. Then we blame God and say, “You made me this way.” Sound like a replay from the garden of Eden? Satan is consistent in his deception.
God created us with the ability to choose: good or bad. For each good decision we are blessed or rewarded. For each bad decision we receive just discipline or punishment. For each repentance we receive unmerited grace. That is the mighty LOVE of Jesus Christ at work. For those like me who did sin, who fell short, and who made the wrong decision – there is HOPE. There is Jesus. And as we seek Him and walk in His ways we are washed white as snow. We become pure not because of ourselves but because of Him. I honor my own body because I honor Him.
My body is a living sacrifice.
How powerful is that?
After my first marriage ended I didn’t feel like used goods. I felt like a “new creation in Christ” (Ephesians 2) just as He describes me to be. I shared myself with no other man until the night I married my forever husband. I chose to glorify the one I will spend eternity with: Jesus Christ. I chose to abstain from sex for no other reason but to honor Him. This has very little to do with me or sex and everything to do with my relationship with my Lord and Savior. I chose to be obedient to His Word and He enabled me. The rewards, though not all were as I expected, were plentiful and more than I could have hoped for.
There is always hope, always a second chance, for those who repent and are obedient to His Word.
The post Pure Hope: Adding Hope and Biblical Truth to the Conversation on Purity appeared first on Amy Bayliss.
One of the most asked questions I get on my blog is about Cajun cooking. People want to know how to make a roux. They want recipes for gravy, Cajun style. I’m sharing how I make my basic roux, traditional black roux, and dry roux.
First, watch this video to see how to make a traditional black roux. I would have made a video but why bother when this is the perfect example of how we do it. Notice that he uses a wood spoon and constantly stirs. Also, pay attention as he describes the smells. These are the signals we look for when cooking a roux.
A black roux is mostly used for gumbos. It is more flavorful but it looses its ability to thicken the darker it gets.
For a basic roux which is used for stews, brown gravies, étouffées, and sauces you need flour (60%) and fat (40%). The difference with the basic roux is that we brown our meat first and use the fat rendered to make the roux. First, you season the meat well. Brown the meat in the pan ( I recommend cast iron, enameled cast iron, or stainless). Once the meat is browned remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon.
Add a small bit of additional fat if you need to in order to get to that 60/40 ratio. For one pot of stew I typically use 1 1/4 cups flour and 1 cup fat. That makes about 8-10 servings.
Add the flour and begin to stir and be attentive just like the video shows.
Once your roux is the color you want, add your water, broth, or stock. Beware of the intense heat that will bellow up. Stir to combine then add the meat back in and any other ingredients you want to add to your stew.
Congratulations! You just made a roux!
It is HOT here in Louisiana. During the summer I don’t want to stand in front of a hot stove stirring a roux so we tend to make lots of dry roux. The best part about a dry roux is that it requires much less fat than a traditional or basic roux.
Ingredients: 3-4 cups of flour
Evenly distribute the flour in the bottom of a cast iron skillet or other dutch oven. Stainless or enameled cast iron work as well. Place the dutch oven in a 400° F oven for an hour to an hour and a half depending on how dark you like your roux. You must stir every 15 minutes so set a timer. Be careful to stir it because you don’t want it to burn. Once it reaches a dark peanut butter color remove it from the oven.
To store it: Place in a canning jar or other container in the freezer. It will keep for up to a year.
To use it: Use the same amount of dry roux as a recipe calls for basic roux. If it says 1 cup then you need 1 cup of dry roux mixed with about 1/2 cup water. Or, you can just put the dry roux in the pot with you meat and seasonings.
The post Recipes for Gravy – Make a Roux: Cajun Style, 3 Ways appeared first on Amy Bayliss.
I finally get to share with you something I’ve been working on. It involves bible study, MP3s, video lessons, downloads and more. So what is it? I am so excited to start our first Bible Book Club at A Woman Inspired. This is our Spring session and we are studying the book of Ephesians. We hope that these studies will challenge you to dig deeper, study harder, and pray more fervently in an effort to get to know the Word like never before.
Though the complete lesson for each chapter will all be in one post, these chapter studies will take place in 5 parts. You can do them day by day or do the entire chapter’s lesson in one day. It’s up to you. However, the next lesson will not release until the following week.
Small Bites – On the first day of each week of this study you will be given an overall introduction to the chapter. This is the time to begin praying for God to open your eyes and soften your heart to receive His Word.
Get Hungry – On the second day of each week of this study you will read the chapter. An audio podcast of the chapter being read aloud is provided. We recommend reading more than once, taking notes, writing down any questions and begin meditating on the scriptures.
The Meal – On the third day of each week of the study you will get to watch a video lesson and download a handout to go with the chapter. This is to provide you with additional study materials and a record of the discoveries you make while reading through the chapter.
The Recipe – On the fourth day of each week of the study you will get a recap of the lesson, be given additional links to posts, MP3s, audios, and other resources to further your study on this chapter as well as a link to discuss the lesson on our Facebook page.
The Quiz – On the last day you will be quizzed to see how much you’ve gleaned from our study.
This week’s lesson is on Ephesians chapter one and it is being led by me. You can access lesson one here: Ephesians One Bible Study
The post A More In-Depth Bible Study on Ephesians – Free Course Online appeared first on Amy Bayliss.
I am almost ashamed to admit this but… there was a time when I did not want to be a woman. Let me clarify this, I didn’t want to be a man or anything. I still wanted to be a female, I just didn’t want to act like a woman. You see, in the house where I grew up, my feminine role model was a bit out of sorts. Maybe you can relate?
My perception as a teenager was that my mother was a childlike, Rx addicted, bipolar mess. She would spend all of our money, blame it on PMS, then throw a pity party and invite us all. I watched her manipulate us with her emotions so many times and hurt us so deeply that I swore I would never be anything like her. For me, that meant no crying, no vulnerability, no emotional attachment. I especially strayed from relationships with women. It seemed as though all of my best girl friends always betrayed me or reminded me of my mother in some way.
I didn’t let men open doors for me. That showed weakness. I told you I was a bit warped. In fact, I used to have a saying that I would use anytime I caught myself being emotional or feminine, I would say, “Ugh, I’m such a girl”. I despised it. It took years of praying and heartfelt repentance to bring me to a new place. But still, it wasn’t easy.
God answered my prayers though. He put two gentlemen in my life who saw what a mess I was and I honestly believe God used them to retrain me. When we were out and about they refused to let me open a door, pump gas, carry heavy things, and all of that other stuff. One of them, in one of the weakest moments of my life when I did cry said to me, “Don’t hide your face when you cry. It’s OK.” He was right. It was OK. The other reminded me constantly that I was indeed a girl and it was more than okay to act like one.
Had these two friends not been in my life I don’t think I ever would have accepted my husband when I met him. He was too much of a gentleman. He does so much for me, carrying in groceries, opening doors, cleans up, makes me ice cream, carries my books, and so much more and I love it! He makes me feel like a woman! This truly is what God meant for our lives as women. We are the soft, gentle, sometimes emotional ones. I embrace that now. I find joy in feminine things.
And my mom, the woman I resisted for so long, is now mom again. A few years God intervened in our life in a mighty way. She developed some health problems that caused her kidneys to almost completely shut down. We thought we were going to lose her. God healed her body and our hearts. Things haven’t been the same since. My self righteous attitude towards her is gone now. I began to see her as a person and not as a reason and excuse for my behavior. She is a wonderful woman with so much to offer. We still have a ways to go in our relationship but it is improving even daily.
I’m also letting other women in. I’ve embraced friendships and accepted the fact that sometimes, we fail but love doesn’t. If I love my friends and they love me then we will make it. I won’t say it’s easy. My protective stance still wants to jump in and push people away but I have found speaking God’s Word, His truth, over our relationships has helped tremendously. I invest in them and they invest in me.
I’ve come a long way. I’m embracing and striving for femininity more and more every day and my friends and I? We’re running this race together. My life is so fulfilled now that I don’t let my fears hinder me.
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