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Thursday, July 31, 2014

When You Feel Like Saying "When" - Jesus Take The Wheel

I've been struggling to write my little blog post. Not that I can't write. I have millions of ideas running around in my head. Mostly at one in the morning! As my Dad refers to it, it's my "head squeezing time". I have always found the early morning hours are the best ones for remembering that I didn't sign a permission slip. Or wondering if I locked all the doors after my late night swim. Do my cats have water? So these past few days, my head squeezing time has been about a time that I have said "when" and God has brought me through. Honestly, there are so many I can't even begin to pin point one specific incident. By nature I'm not a worrier. I am fortunate that not much really drops me into the depths. Yes, I have been through heartache and traumatic events. I have lost people I have loved. But through it all God has remained at my side, steadying me like a mother steady's a toddling baby.

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me; You will stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand will save me" Psalm 138:7

So, I chose one of the latest things God has brought me through. My husband and kids and I have lived in our apartment for 20 years. A few months after we moved in I quit my job. The owner of the building came to me and asked me if I had ever thought about managing an apartment building, to which I replied "no!". She suggested I try it and long story very short, I had been doing it ever since. Fast forward to April of last year. The owner informed me she was thinking of selling the building. So many things ran through my head, mostly at one in the morning! Would I continue on as the manager? What would these new people be like to work for? Oh my gosh, what if they didn't keep me on? Would they allow us to rent our apartment? How much rent would they charge us? Where would I work? How would I be able to have a job and still take my 13 year old to school and pick him up? How much would child care be if I had to use it?

My head squeezing time was pretty bad at this point. 

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me; You will stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand will save me" Psalm 138:7 

After a few days of fervent prayer and freaking out a bit, I'm so glad my Jesus loves me and is patient with me.

 "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and he knows those who trust him" Nahum 1:7

Finally I had a sense of peace. Not complete peace mind you, I am human. However I knew it would be okay and that it would have NOTHING to do with my meager attempts at making everything right!! As it turned out, the building sold and the new owner brought in his management company, who in turn brought in their own managers. We were allowed to stay and pay rent. That was a whole new freak out moment! I hadn't paid rent in 20 years!

My Dad had been asking me if I would come and work a few days a week in his office and I had hemmed and hawed. Now he offered me full time work and the ability to take care of my 13 year old at the same time. He owns his own tax firm and is an Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Those of you that know me, know that for me this would seem crazy! I have never been a math gal. I majored in English in college, minored in music. I am creative!! I sing, I write, I paint, I am mom to all in my home as well as the neighborhood! I am a free one can tie me down.

Jesus said, "you will go work with your Dad". So I with GREAT trepidation on my own part, and yet trying so hard to trust God, I was pretty sure that he had made a huge mistake.....I mean I'm seriously like a monkey working a math problem!!!

The first few weeks were mentally exhausting. I had never seen ANY of these programs, these forms. I was doing simple clerical work and I felt like a pokey Joe. I told my Dad that my eye was pretty much on permanent twitch mode! Slowly I became familiar with the routine. I found out that I LOVE answering the phone, setting up appointments, making up tax folders, payroll....I actually enjoyed finding out where those little number puzzles led me!

I have been here over a year, and I just love it! I love that I get to see my Dad everyday, that I am part of something that is rewarding mentally for me. That I can take care of my youngest son who still needs me!

I am so very grateful for God's leading and working through my Dad and my dear friends who encouraged me to try something different!


"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me; You will stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand will save me" Psalm 138:7

My go to verse during this time..... 

Jesus pulled the hands away from the side of my more head squeezing! His word assured me that he was in control, that he knew what was best for me. I am so Thankful that he brought me through this and I know that he will continue to steer me through the rest of my life. I am reminded of the song "Jesus take the wheel" By Carrie Underwood
 "Jesus take the wheelTake it from my handsCause I can't do this on my ownI'm letting goSo give me one more chanceSave me from this road I'm onOh, Jesus take the wheel"

I pray I allow Jesus to continue to steer my life. Funny how things go so much smoother when HE who made Heaven and Earth is in control!

 Cherie Mancaruso lives in Torrance California with her husband of 26 years Glen and their two boys Joey 25, and Daniel 14. And is also Mom to many more!!!!

Post 2 He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

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Monday, July 28, 2014

A Cottage Surprise Party

Last week we decided to throw my best friends Aubrey and Anna and their little sister Ella a surprise party before they go back to Africa. They haven't had a birthday party since they moved there two years ago. Ok, so I'm really bad about doing things last minute (I got it from my dad :) ) well this might have been one of those things. I decided to do it sitting in traffic with Mrs. Cottage. So the next morning Mrs. Cottage and I with Baby Cottage tagging along ran to town to pick up some party supplies and a cake as well as gifts.

What I used:
 4 rolls of streamers (2 white 2 Purple)
4 star balloons 
1 package white balloons

To make the balloon tower you need a long piece of string and balloons. Blow up your balloons then knot the rope around the end of your balloons spacing them about two hand breadths apart. Use a tack to hook it to the ceiling and if you want use tape to hold the other end down.

Present time!!!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

When You Feel Like Saying "When" - He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

I didn't know it, but it was the beginning of labor pains.


                           ...and spiritually.

It was my husband's 27th birthday, and we'd made plans to celebrate as a family. We didn't get to. I hadn't been feeling well that day. Well into my first trimester with our third baby, I began to ache and cramp. and bleed. A call to the doctor confirmed our suspicion - the baby was probably gone. The next morning, before I could make it to the hospital, my body passed my sweet baby and we said goodbye to our very tiny (but perfectly formed, fearfully & wonderfully made!) little one.

I'd been following Jesus for seven years at that time, but my faith had not yet been tested by something so raw and heart wrenching. Up to that point, my faith was based not on God's goodness in all circumstances, but on all the blessings He'd afforded me.

For the next few weeks, hours were spent on my knees, closed away in our bedroom. Desperately crying out to the Lord. Searching the Psalms and trying to make sense of what happened. This became the Psalm I read out loud and praying through often:

{Psalm 13}
How long, O Lord?Will You forget me forever?How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;enlighten my eyes,lest I sleep the sleep of death;lest my enemy say,“I have prevailed against him”;lest those who trouble merejoice when I am moved...

I could not have known it at the time, but the loss of our little one was only the beginning of travail and trial - the labor pains of Christ being formed in me through suffering. It has been five years since the miscarriage, and circumstances have remained difficult while God has remained steadfast and sovereign.

My husband's business closed. We watched as his dream job that he worked and prayed so hard for just disintegrated. 
My oldest daughter needed major surgery, and has not healed as the doctors hope she would. and at this juncture, they're not confident that she will.
Our marriage of almost ten years is brittle. A while ago, we needed a break and Will went to stay with family in another state. Since he's been back, we have been trying to make it work, but it takes time and supernatural grace to undo almost a decade of mistakes, sinful attitudes, and bitter hurt, on both parts.
Our finances have been in shambles at best, non-existent at worst.

I absolutely believe that if we'd not gone through the agony of losing our baby, my heart would not have been prepared for the years and hurts that have come since. The Lord knew that my heart needed to see that He is the God who goes before, with, beside, and after me in suffering as He shows me how to be more like Jesus.

The pain of saying good-bye to our baby was more than my heart could handle. Yes! I will say that again:

God gives me more than I can handle. All of the time.

...because then and only then do I realize that my strength cannot come from within, only from the bottomless well of His grace and tenderest mercy. 

In those aching, at-the-end-of-myself moments, I had a sweet communion with God that I'd not had before. I'd never know the depths of His love like I did in the weeks and months afterward - displayed through His Word, through Will, through the girls, through our families, friends, and church community just showering us with prayer and kindness.'s the same depth of love that I plumbed when I heard

"She's not healing the way we thought she would. We're sorry, Mrs. Hunter."
"The worst case scenario in our marriage is not that I leave. The worst case is that I stay and we are miserable."
"Your bills have gone to collection because you have failed to pay."
"Mommy, what are we having for lunch? There's nothing in the cupboard to eat."
...and so many other times in between when the load was too heavy to bear.

But, hope of hopes!, Christ comes alongside and in compassion picks up all of my burdens, heaves them onto His own able shoulders, and bids me to just walk with Him. He reassures me that no matter what happens in my life, He will use it all to make much of Him as He grows me in His grace & knowledge.

That even if I fail and make a mess of it all a million times, He is faithful.

That He can take all of the hurts and create something eternally beautiful.

That He owes me nothing, but that He is always faithful to His promises and that everything He does, He does in a way that 'deals bountifully' with me.

I tend to forget often just how good and gracious the Lord is toward me - even when I perceive that everything about my life is just coming unhinged. When I read His Word, I am reminded that everything that happens to me is not by chance; it is orchestrated by a merciful and compassionate Father who is drawing others to Himself through my testimony and He is conforming me to the image of Jesus. And that means whatever happens, even when it seems too painful, is God dealing with me not just kindly, but bountifully. 

The last verses of Psalm 13 have become the refrain of my heart these last few years. When I began to feel pity or bitterness rise up in my heart, I sing this to remind myself:

Whatever you have been through or are going through, you can choose to take deep comfort in the truth that no hurt is wasted in God's economy. He can and will take all of the circumstances that are too much for your heart and use them for good - and trust Him that He is, even when you can't see it.

"Joseph said to [his brothers], “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." {Genesis 50:19-20}

Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things!

And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and amen. {Psalm 72:18-19}

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

{Romans 8:28-29}

He has dealt bountifully with me,
for His glory!

Lisha has been married to Will for almost 10 years and has been a mom for almost 8 years to four children: three precious daughters here and a little one in Heaven! She blogs over at the 'Blish, hoping to lift high the name and grace of Jesus while encouraging others as she embraces her roles as wife, mom, homemaker, homeschooler, & redeemed and beloved daughter of the King. 

She'd love to connect with you! Find her at:

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Monday, July 21, 2014

When You Feel Like Saying "When"

Do you trust me? Look at all I have done in the past, trust me. You say that the trials keep coming like waves of the sea, you say that the heat keeps increasing like a furnace. What have I already done? Was I not already in the furnace with those Hebrew boys? Did they burn? Did they even smell like smoke? Were they singed? Trust me.

Moses was an example. Even though the desert looked bad. Even though it is hot there and everything looks hopeless and you are wondering Where is the food?, Where’s the water?  God is saying I got this –I've already walked through that desert.  I have already been there.  I know every rock and every piece of sand. I know where the water is hidden beneath the surface and I know the way out. Trust me.

These trials are a sacrifice. Like Abraham on the mountain. He has the boy –and the boy, he asks," Where’s the sacrifice father?" His father answered “The Lord will provide” even though Abraham's heart is crying “But it is you, my son”. By faith, Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice, his promised son. His laughter. His joy. And God stayed his hand and said,"Not so fast - Look there!", and he turns around to find a ram caught in the bushes. A perfect replacement.  

Called to sacrifice? Trust him. He has been there already. There is no desert he has not traversed, no wave he has not experienced. He has walked through it and won't let you walk it alone. He is saying, "Look, look at what I have already done! Remember. I've got this. Just trust me. We have a history. Look what I have already brought you through. Don't look at all of this around you, look at me and see what I have already done, and what I will do again if you trust me. If I was there for Abraham, I will be there for you. If I was there for Moses, I will be there for you. If I was there for those boys in the furnace when the fire was turned way up… there is no fire so hot, no desert so unbearable, no sacrifice so hard, that I won’t walk through it for you- Trust me- I've got this. Keep your eyes off the waves of what is going on around you. Look back and see what I've already done. I will never let you go.  Even when you feel like you’re all alone, don't believe it - - I am there. Keep your eyes on me.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31: 8

Over the next few weeks, I have asked several guest writers share there stories with us of when they felt like saying "when" and how God brought them through and some of the things they have learned along the way. It's my prayer that these stories will encourage and bless you.

Post 1 He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bold Enough Challenge Rodeo

Presenting The Flag.
Last night Mr.Cottage took us to a rodeo that was performing near us. I've not been to a lot of rodeos (actually this is my second, the first time was at church) but we had a great time and really enjoyed it. They started with the National anthem, a salute to all branches of the military, and a prayer before the rodeo started. It was so neat to see them honor all the vets there and God. The weather was absolutely beautiful especially for July in Tennessee, which only made the night even better. All in all it was a wonderful night right down to the hot dogs. My only regret is that is got too dark to photograph the barrel racing, team roping or bull riding and that Mrs. Cottage and Grandma Cottage couldn't make it. I can't wait until next year!

Salute to the United States Army & Marines 
Salute to the United States Navy and Air force 
Bronco Riding 

Bronco Riding 
Marshal The Rodeo Clown
How can you have a rodeo with out a clown? 

It was so cute to watch all the little kids sit around the edge of the arena to watch the Cowboys and Cowgirls and cheering on there favorites.

Sunset Last Night
Sunset Last Night

I got tons of photos last night but these were some of my favorites. Hope you like them. This is the super moon last night.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pork Chops


Organic Pork Chops
Oil (Coconut or bacon drippings work well)
Steak Seasoning 
Steak and Chops Seasonings 
Garlic Powder


Lightly fill the bottom of a large frying pan to heat. Place pork chops in the oil. Season well with salt, steak seasoning, garlic and steak and chops seasoning. Cook for 4 minutes, flip and season the other side well. Cook 4 minutes on that side. Cover and pull off the heat and set for 5 minutes. We like to serve ours with peas or my sister's delicious rice and apple sauce.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

A Cottage Independence Day

This has been a stressful summer. There is so much that we have on our hearts so we have decided to spend this 4th of July at the lake. We took blankets and towels and headed down in the summer sun to sit among other families. We live walking distance to this beach at the lake so it was close to home and not stressful. 

We took time to play and enjoy one another, even Mrs. Cottage, baby Cottage and Grandma Cottage came.  It was little bit's first time at the lake and we took him to get his feet wet in the water.

Grandma who has been in and out of the hospital and has not been well sat on her walker and watched us play with the baby. We have all been walking on egg shells and holding our breath. It was good to play.

Although we were all reserved, understanding although not wanting to admit it to ourselves what was coming around the corner.

But to be washed in the cool water brought comfort.  To hear the laughter brought healing and hope that tomorrow may be bad, but somewhere in the future, there will be joy again.

We just don't know who will be in it.

Wishing you all a Happy Independence Day.

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