FOCUS Inspirational Quote & Photo

focusAre you focused?

Every successful person knows that distraction is the enemy of fulfilled goals and dreams.

Are you using time to your advantage?

What captivates your heart?

So much competes for our attention and affections. Choose well.

FOCUS.

Christmas Secret…

The tree dressed in lights, the gifts now waiting beneath it…speaks to my heart.

I’m patiently waiting for my children’s arrival. While I wait, I’ll let you in on something…

The decorating and the pre celebration work has been done with them in mind. It is for them that we hung the stockings, wrapped their gifts with special touches, even the decorations were chosen and placed with them in mind.

As I got ready for the moment when we’d enjoy supper together and open gifts, I was nearly giddy with the knowledge of how loved they would feel. Our grown kids already know that their Father and I love them, but isn’t it wonderful to express love in extraordinary ways? That’s what we’re doing today.

But here’s the scoop that I have for you. All the hard work leading into this glorious day is also for my husband and me, because our children’s joy completes our own.

Our Heavenly Father has also prepared for our home coming. Can you imagine His joy when He thinks of you someday being with Him forever?

He’s made the way. He paid the price. He gave the most expensive gift that has ever been given with you and me in mind.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but shall have everlasting life”–John 3:16

Talk about spectacular, extravagant giving… such love! That love, that exquisite, grand love is as much for you as it is or has been for anyone.

God loves you.
Merry Christmas.

Pamela Koefoed

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Christmas Cookie Tradition

P1050371What’s better than baking Pecan shortbread cookies? Baking them with a friend.

Jenna is someone special in my life. I wanted to give her a gift that she’d really enjoy. Since her love language isn’t opening gifts, but is spending time together, I invited her to my home for a cookie baking marathon.

In a little under four hours, we baked three kinds of cookies, totaling 6 dozen of our all time favorites.

Before she arrived, I anticipated how much fun we’d have. I wanted our afternoon to have the kind of touches that minister to the heart. A fire crackled in the kitchen wood stove. Christmas music played from a little stereo. To complete the ambience, I plugged in the twinkling clear lights that drape over the turquoise buffet. It’s gorgeous, retro and is a focal point in my home.

P1050378When Jenna arrived, I immediately learned that Christmas music wasn’t eliciting fond memories of holidays past. Her crinkled nose and frown, a look of disgust and boredom, clued me into what she didn’t want to hear.

She let me in on her experience. I discovered that she usually loves the time tested songs that remind us of Christ’s brith, but she had listened to Christmas music at work ad nauseam where her boss has had it going all day, every day, since October. Okay, scrap the holiday tunes.

We put on some of her favorite Christian hits, and we sang, chatted up a storm, measured ingredients, creamed butter, blended, mixed, and scooped dough onto cookie trays–trays that are patinated from decades of use.

Many dozens of  happy cookie marathons were orchestrated on these trays with my children. All are now grown and married. The trays, darkened by years of use, remind me of the hours we spent making cookies during a lot of Christmases. Now counting thirty. That’s a lot of love and that’s a lot of butter.

What did Jenna and I bake?

Jenna’s favorite…snickerdoodles.

My family’s favorite…chocolate chip, coconut, walnut cookies.

And soon to be a new favorite…Amazing Pecan Shortbread cookies.

P1050375I’ve included the recipe for you and I hope you’ll give it a whirl. Maybe you’ll even use it in your own cookie baking marathon.

How’d I come up with this recipe? I transformed the traditional pecan cookie by adding almond extract and updating it with healthy ingredient choices. This new version is delicious.

These are five thumbs up, high fives, five stars all the way. I can hardly wait to serve them to my kids Christmas morning. They’re going to love them.

Amazing Pecan Shortbread Cookies 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped 
  • 2 1/2 cups Kamut flour (I  like baking with Kamut flour, which is an ancient and more wholesome flour. It’s lighter than whole wheat, is loaded with nutrients, including selenium. If you prefer the whiter variety, substitute for 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour.)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature. (Salted butter means that I didn’t need to add salt. But if you like measuring salt and sprinkling it into your mix, use saltless butter and add 1/2 tsp salt.)
  • 3/4 cup honey (Or 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Turning these ingredients into amazing Pecan Shortbread cookies is quick and easy.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake at 10-12 minutes. I live at an altitude of almost 5,000 feet and baked them in my old GE double oven for 12 minutes. They were very slightly browned on the bottoms and soft in the middle. Cool before transferring them from your trays to containers. For baking ahead, they do great served from the freezer.

  1. In a large bowl, pulverize butter using an electric mixer for 1 minute or until thoroughly creamed. Add sweetener (honey OR sugar), eggs and almond extract. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
  2. In another bowl, mix thoroughly together the flour and baking soda.
  3. Pour in flour mixture, and add the chopped pecans to the buttery mixture. Beat on medium speed just until combined.
  4. Cover dough and refrigerate for 3 hours or more. You can store dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. I usually oil my pans. But you can use parchment paper or silicon baking mats. I find that oiling them takes all of 2 minutes and clean up is easy.
  7. When the dough’s well chilled, scoop out dough with a spoon (about 1 tablespoon) and roll into balls. Using the back of a spoon, press an indentation into the tops and press a pecan half into the indention. (TIP: If you don’t have time to chill the dough, it won’t form into balls. Follow the same instructions, forming the dough into your spoon and plopping them onto your trays. This is what Jenna and I did. And they turned out great!)
  8. Bake on the center racks of your preheated oven, 10-12 minutes. Cool them completely before removing. Store in a sealed container or freeze. 

Merry Christmas!

Pamela Koefoed

To Follow me: http://www.pamelakoefeod.com, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Darling Blind Pug, a Therapy Dog, Featured in New Children’s Book

In childhood, I spent hours drawing. I drew while glued to a wooden bench, waiting for my mother to finish her last cigarette, her last beer, her last conversation with the people straddled on the tall stools beside her. Sometimes I waited all day and late into the night.

Those all day beer marathons gave me the opportunity to create trees and animals with a pencil and whatever blank paper I could find.

God gave me the ability to draw and the grace to totally forgive my mother and to demonstrate His unconditional, steadfast love to her. She’s no longer here and I sincerely miss her.

Now more than 30 years later, I’ve picked up my pencils again to create a book that I believe can help young children. Here’s one of the first sketches for Xander the Wonder Pug, a children’s book featuring Xander, a therapy dog who lives and works in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

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Next steps…begin painting with Prismacolors.

Prismacolors! Yikes.

My number one challenge so far is learning how to use Prismacolors. Prismacolors are wax based pencils with a high color saturation, meaning they are blendable and the colors are rich.

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The video tutorials that I’ve watched make it look easy peasy. So far, I’ve watched several of the pros whip out realistic paintings like it’s a walk in the park. Per their instructions, I’ve followed along and quickly learned that painting with pencils is not without challenges. Trust me, my practice color pencil drawings (also called paintings) barely resemble the ones in the “How to” videos.

Failure is a part of learning. I’m discovering what works for me and what doesn’t work for Prismacolors. They chip, I learned. And smear. And they have no idea of the concept of grace. There’s no forgiveness. One wrongly applied color can ruin twenty hours of work.

Speaking from experience, failures have been a big part of making progress with my drawings and paintings. I’ll share a failure along with the painting that I completely redid as an example in my next post.

Why don’t you follow along? I’ll share the project in various stages and maybe my process will inspire you to launch into your own creativity.

Drawing

Sketch #1 of Xander and a little girl he visited in the hospital who is now well.

How I Overcame being Disappointed

ButterflyYellowThere’s just no time or need to stay disappointed. This is what I’m telling myself as I navigate through news that has me feeling emotionally fragile.

Today, someone dear to me broke a promise, which means that I’m back to square one, asking the Lord to fill the cavernous space that appeared overnight when my ministry partner and best friend moved to another state, leaving a hole in my heart, chunk out of my life, and empty space beside me.

I’m sad. I just am. But I’ve decided that I won’t stay sad. This is not the end of the world, I tell myself.

Sometimes, we need to change attitudes, get tough with ourselves, talk to ourselves. Who’s your Lord? I ask myself. That always gets me in a better place–fast. Or I ask my sad self, Where have your eyes been? On man or on God? That’s also an effective perspective switcher for me. Works every time.

Most of the negative emotions that we harbor are a waste of time, of focus, and can distract us from our purpose. Sure, a devastating loss will send us on a ride that we had hoped to never take. Riding grief waves is something we all hope to avoid.

There’s just nothing that can be said to make grief go away. I wish there were words to eliminate that kind of pain. When you’re grieving, it’s tough! Disappointment is normal in such instances. For those of you who are traveling on the ocean of loss, the Lord will bring you through. He really will.

Aside from the passing of someone, the end of a love relationship, or the total loss of a dream, most of the things that disappoint us are not as devastating as our emotional responses say that they are.

What do I mean? A broken promise like I had today could send people into days of sadness. It’s a real bummer. I mean, I’m back to square one regarding something of tremendous importance to me personally and to the ministry. But it’s not equal to crying all day, or to being sad for longer than an hour or three. It’s not equal to going into a depression, or to becoming indifferent, or to throwing a fit.

Many people overreact to disappointing situations. They’ll be in self pity for days, infecting everyone around them. Some just go numb. Or they become cynical, roll their eyes, and say things like, “What did I expect?!” Or “This is how things always turn out.” Or, “It’s always something.”

When you’re disappointed, are you going to react or will you respond?

Your emotional reaction can be one like I mentioned earlier or you can be in dominion over yourself and respond with wisdom. What you do in the first few minutes of being disappointed matters, because negative emotions can drain the life out of a dream, can consume your focus, can detour your path.

How I worked through today’s disappointing news is that I chose to remember my Lord, His purpose for my life, and His ability to bring something amazing out of what feels like a loss.

Acknowledging God’s power, the magnitude of His greatness, and the limitlessness of His ability positions us to receive or accomplish something far greater than we have ever dreamed.

Listen up. If you’re going through or have been through something that has left you feeling disappointed, I encourage you to take to heart a powerful truth from Scripture.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen–” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

When your trust is in the Lord, disappointments become launching pads for something better than you have imagined. Beloved, if someone has disappointed you, let you down, failed to follow through, broke a promise, changed their mind and is no longer working with you, or has ended a relationship–God is able! He is able! He is able! He is able!

Jesus turned water into wine. The Lord parted the Red Sea so that a huge multitude could cross to the other side. He provided a widow and her son with enough oil and flour to feed them during a devastating famine. He works miracles and brings forth something out of nothing.

Therefore, He can certainly do something out of your nothing, multiply your little, and provide a way for you to arrive at the center of His purpose for your life.

Take heart, receive encouragement and keep walking with the Lord, because He is working something beautiful in your life.

Talk to yourself! It works.

You are dearly loved,

Pamela Koefoed

How to Live without the Fear of Disappointment

dscn19701.jpgDisappointments can turn a great day into a woes me day. They can transform a celebration into a wake, as we mourn a loss and disappointments can really mess up our plans.

Take a meaningful relationship, for example. I’ll always remember the day, the very hour, the very moment when one of my dearest friends cut off all of her friends from her life.

We were sisters in Christ. We had traveled in ministry together. We encouraged each other to a closer walk with God. We prayed for one another’s children. I could share my heart with her and she’d pray. She could tell me anything, because she knew that I would pray. We had planned a future in ministry together.

When she shut everyone out of her life, I assumed she didn’t mean me. What a shock to learn that everyone even meant me. I lived for a while in unbelief but, as the days passed, reality hit my heart and I wept as though my friend had died. This is why I say that disappointment can change a celebration into a wake.

How to Live without the Fear of Disappointment with Pamela Koefoed

On today’s video, you can learn how to move from disappointment into the joy that the Lord has set before you, and you will obtain keys for a hope-filled life.

Those of you who have been hurt by disappointments in relationships, you can either build a wall of protection around your heart or you can leverage the disappointment to move forward.

Those of you who’ve been frustrated by disappointing work or ministry experiences, you can either live without anticipating a fulfilling work or ministry experience or you can leverage the disappointments to propel you forward.

Those of you who’ve had more than your share of disappointments, you can play it safe by keeping your distance from what potentially could end up in another disappointment… if you choose.

But are you really safe?

I mean, think about it, if you’re staying in your “comfort zone” because of something you fear then you’re most likely not fulfilling your God created purpose, which means you’re not experiencing the abundant joy of a deeply satisfying life.

On today’s video, you can learn how to move from disappointment into the joy that the Lord has set before you, and you will obtain keys for a hope-filled life.

God wants your soul to be anchored in hope. Restore hope. Restore trust. Live the life that God designed for you. Live in abundant joy.

You are dearly loved,

Pamela Koefoed