Thursday, February 19, 2015

Baby I was born this way!




About a month ago a sweet sister in the faith, who has walked with Jesus as long as I have been alive, blurted out these words I didn't expect to ever here from her. “I was born this way ok? Stop trying to make me like you!” While the intensity of her confession caught me off guard, the truth is that I can actually relate. I was born this way too! Since my earliest memory, doing the right thing has not been my natural instinct. Putting others first? Ignoring my wants? This definitely does not come natural to me. MINE! NO! Those are words that you don't have to teach to your children.
You know what comes natural to me? Feeding my flesh. Literally and figuratively. Let me explain.
When I see someone running down the road, arms pumping, just looking fit, I think, I am going running when I get home. But as I walk through the door and see a tin of brownies, I think, maybe I'll run tomorrow.
When I hear someone speaking in Spanish, I remember, “Oh, I should really finish that course I started.” Yet when the house is quiet, and those CD's are staring at me, sitting in front of the TV to “veg out” seems like the more viable option.
When I see a romantic movie, I think of how much I love my husband, but when he doesn't meet my expectations, my reaction is not naturally love.
If you look at my life, my personality, my temperament, a lot of what you see now, has always been this way. I love to talk. (didn't work out so well in school.) I struggle keeping things in order (ask my mom) I am careless with important papers (I still have nightmares about Mrs. Olson interrogating me in 3rd grade about getting that test signed) and on and on.
I struggle. But my struggles are not the same as other peoples struggles, namely this friend. In fact, that was her point. She was indignant at my suggestion that maybe perfectionism wasn't always her best option. You see, I am the laid back one, and she can be...a little....uptight. No, she argued. My suggestion that she could relax a little once and a while was unrealistic. This is who she is, and I just need to accept it. The problem is, however, that I can't find that concept anywhere in scripture. When Paul struggled with his flesh, at no point did he concede, “I was born this way. Oh well.”

The reality is that we are at war. Spirit vs. Flesh. God has given us certain gifts, certain propensities that if used according to His guidelines become a beautiful part of who we are. The predicament is that we have also inherited a sin nature which includes inclinations that go against his perfect plan. I have my dad's Irish temper. So what do I do with that? Throw my hands up and say, Baby I was born this way? What about my critical nature? What about my pride?
Sadly I could go on and on with the list of sins that come natural to me. But at no point is that an excuse. The Bible tells a different story then one of concession. It is not a life filled with ease but one of struggling against principalities and powers, running a race, looking ahead for the joy that waits, picking up our cross, denying our flesh. This is our destiny. Jesus wants to redeem every part of our life. Every facet of our personality. Every inclination in our soul. Everything.

But how? How do we determine what stays and what goes? The answer is simple but becoming more and more controversial.
Bottom line: The Bible is our final authority.
The idea that we are equipped to simply determine right and wrong on our own is just, well, not that simple.
Take a look around for proof if you need it.
“Do what makes you happy,” is how the world determines what is right for our post modern society. "As long as you don't hurt anyone," they add. Such nonsense, and nobody follows it. Because it's nearly impossible.
Example: My friend cheated on and left his wife. He is "happy." Right or wrong? 
How many people can you devastate and still be considered right, as long as you are happy? 
Do what feels right. Except we live in a sick society. Our hearts are wicked, not good. Doing what feels right is dangerous. So how do we choose what stays and what goes? It has to be God's Word. In it are the words of life. This is not a 2000 year old book of letters. It is living and active. It is tried and tested. It has been surveyed and scrutinized. Don't take my word for it. Study for yourselves.

Here's why.  I am glad, so glad, that I am not entirely who I once was when I was born. I am grateful for the patience of friends and loved ones that forgive me over and over and struggle with me as we work out our own salvation. And it's cliché, but it's true- I am most thankful for a God that loves me just as I am, but also loves me too much to let me stay that way, even if that's how I was born.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The best Valentine you can give anyone and how it will change you both! Psalms 130



Last weekend our church held a marriage event. Some pastors and their wives shared stories from the pulpit, encouraged us with scripture, and answered questions. We went because marriage is important to us. And there is always room for improvement. But what happened there truly surprised me. You see.  I was really convicted. My heart was pierced. During the worship, with tears streaming down my face, I felt so repentant. I felt so sure. I needed to confess. Yet when the music faded, and they gave us a moment to look our loved one in the eyes and honestly admit sin, a strange thing happened. Nothing. Not one sound would come out of my mouth. It was awkward. I wanted to say something. Anything. But I couldn't. And just like that the moment was over. I couldn't believe how powerless I felt. The service continued. More stories were shared. More inspiring verses. More songs. More conviction. Lord, I prayed. Please. Help me say something because I don't think I can. And sure enough- I couldn't. As the service closed we walked to the front to pray for others, all the while wishing someone would pray for me. I know they would have. Gladly. But I couldn't ask.
Days passed by and I wondered if I had missed the moment. Maybe I was over-reacting. I could just ignore my sin. My heart is in the right place, right? I'm a pretty good wife.
Until I did it again. Lost my temper. This time at my daughter for something she didn't even do. And her face. It nearly broke my heart. I have to change. But I don't know how. No time to think about it. Besides, everyone loses their cool. It's just life. On to the next event.

But the next event was me sobbing in the kitchen. Crying over pictures of smiling Facebook faces, because their smiles- meant someone else's heartache. A new romance budding while the ex is left reeling. God please. Make them see. Open their eyes. That.is.not.love. That.is.not.romance. Not in the slightest. Children left wondering, will their prayers be answered? Or will their dream of living with mommy and daddy die with a new wedding. 
I pull myself together. I pray for healing in broken families. All day.  Until it's night. And I can't go on one more second. 
"I have to tell you something." I blurt out closing our bedroom door.
"I have something to confess." These words seem dramatic. In fact, I would die a little inside if he said those words to me...again. Because they are terrifying words to hear.  Mostly because we don't say them enough.
I assure him it's nothing horrible, all the while knowing that it really is. Because sin is horrible. Every single one.
 With no more hesitation I laid my heart bear exposing my weakness, my sin, my failings, my bad choices, and he listened. 
There were no surprises. 
Maybe that's what made it so hard.
He knows my sins. He is well acquainted with them. I pretend they don't exist while he can't escape them. My plank-eyed vision is skewed, staring always at the spec in his eye, as if I am his sanctification. I am not. 
No more excuses. No more finger pointing. It was time to own it. 
Even if he uses it against me in the future. 
Even if I am going to mess up again.
Even if he doesn't believe me when I say I want to change. Because I don't blame him. I kind of don't believe me either. Yet I know that it has to be said. Confession must be made.  I know this because the Bible tells me so. Confess your sins so that you might be healed. And I want that with every fiber of my being. Healing. So it's worth the risk of seeming insincere. 
And I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. 
"I thought I would stop sinning when I got saved. I just kept asking Jesus in my heart, thinking I  must not be saved because I can't stop sinning" my daughter cries to me after messing up...again. And I get it. You almost don't want to apologize one more time because it feels so fake. You know you are going to do it again. You're almost sure of it. So why apologize? Why confess? Maybe just pretend it didn't happen. But Then I open to my scheduled reading which takes me to Psalms 130. And I read this. 
Hope.
 
Psalm 130

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord
A Song of Ascents.
130 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.

My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.

And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

Confession. This is a gift. And I can't think of one close relationship I have that wouldn't benefit from it. A little raw, loving confession will abundantly bless any relationship you have, whether it is a friend, family member, spouse, child. Anyone. This one gift of love will heal relationships that don't even seem inherently sick.
Open your heart. Wait for the Lord. Hope in Him, because with Him is abundant redemption.  Pray for strength to take that step. Confess your sins one to another and be healed!  I am healed. I know this. I saw it today. Time stood still today while my perfectionism, my controlling inclinations, my instinct to nag taunted me in the realest of moments. But I said nothing. I smiled and kissed my man on the lips. And kept walking. Just like that. 
Hope. And Redemption. Starting with confession. 
So I wait. I wait for the Lord, and in His word I do hope! 
I dare you to share this gift with someone and tell us how it goes in the comments- remembering that true confession doesn't blame and expects nothing in return. You can do it!!







Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to do everything better with less effort than you have ever exerted in your whole life!!


Whatever you struggle with, there is a blog post for you that will promise you progress and guarantee your growth with – get this- less work than you are already exerting and almost instantly!

How to have a cleaner house while doing less work.

How to get your children to obey with less effort.

How to eat healthier without spending more time or money.

And my favorite,

How to lose weight while eating more!

Lies!! They are sitting on a throne of lies!!

While there is truth to the old addage, "Work smarter- not harder" and there are definitely tips out there that can streamline your life and keep you moving forward, just about anything you want to do to improve your life, marriage, relationships, schedule, business, etc, is going to involve more work. That is just reality.

I have clicked on that "How to have your house cleaner with less work" blog post a thousand times from a thousand different bloggers thinking "This time, this will be the one with that special tip that will keep my house clean!" But they are all the same. Great tips. Nice information. More work.


Because it boils down to this.

Most things in life worth anything involve hard work.

Want a successful business? It's going to be hard work.

Want to have a stronger marraige? It's going to be hard work.

Want to keep a clean home? It is going to be hard work.

Want to eat healthier? It is going to be hard work.

Because all of the above involve sacrifices.

All of the above involve making difficult decisions.

All of the above involve dying to your own desires. And that. is. Hard.

But, fear not! I will deliver on my promise to make everything easier with less effort. I am different than those other bloggers! Are you ready?

Expect the struggle.

That's it. That one truth is what will really make everything easier for you in the long run.
Let me explain.
So many people come to me feeling defeated about homeschooling or parenting or relationships thinking they must be doing something wrong because it is SO HARD!! And my response is generally the same.

Most things worth doing are going to be hard.

However, ya know what makes those things even harder? Feeling like a failure because you are struggling!

Jesus never promised easy. In fact He warned us that in this life you will have many.....struggles.....

But, take heart, for He has overcome the world!

If you want something, and the Lord has called you to it, He will enable you to do it. But that doesn't mean it will be easy or instanenous. Pray for perservence. Don't be surprised by the struggle. Trust in the Lord's plan and He will make your paths straight! Rest in Him because His presence there is fullness of joy. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!





Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You Must See This Great News for the Prolife Movement! (Not so great for pro-abortion)

I have the best news!! However, I found it in a round about way. To stay as informed as I can, I like to read both sides, or more, of an issue. In so doing, I found an article by a panicked pro-abortion advocate, Haley Fox, citing statistics, and showing maps, to terrify a nation. But the maps had the exact opposite effect on me! They filled me with hope, and renewed motivation! I hope they will do the same for you. We are winning. And they are terrified! (NOTE: all the red cross outs are my additions to the maps.....They are my perspective, not the Illustrator: Lauren Wade)

You see, in the last two years, Texans have seen closures of half the abortion clinics in their state!  And with more court decisions on the horizon, it's a real possibility that the state will lose half of what's left! Hooray!! This would drop the number of clinics to 10! In the whole state of Texas!! (Still 10 too many, but that is progress people!!)

But here is the twisted part.  In places like Texas, the poor minorities and uninformed are actually targeted by “nonprofits” like Fund Texas Choice who offer to pay bus fare to encourage lower income moms to abort their babies. But anyone that knows anything about Planned Parenthood knows that this falls right in line with Margaret Sanger's dream that all of the poor, especially minorities, would abort their babies! (Not exactly the dream Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about.)





This story of hope for the unborn isn't limited to the Lone Star State. In the last four years, states all over the country have enacted a total of 231 abortion restrictions, the largest number enacted in any four-year period since the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, according to Elizabeth Nash, of the  Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion “think tank” with massaged statistics and a clear anti-life agenda
"It’s significant that we are seeing so many restrictions becoming law across the country, this isn't just Texas,” said Nash. Let's be clear. Nash is scared.... I am hopeful! Thank God!!
The good news is that more than half of the country is “supportive” or “extremely supportive” (my words) to the rights of the unborn.
Some of the victories include banning private insurance companies from covering the abortions, and restricting minors’ access to abortion without parental permission. Because, Duh!



In 2000, only 31 percent of women in the country lived in states that are trying to protect the unborn. By 2014, that number reached 57 percent! That is huge!! Check out the progress in the middle of the country! Way to go Middle America!!




According to the report, the ENTIRE SOUTH is “supportive” (my words) to the unborn.



There is some bad news though: In 2014, there were only 26 abortion restrictions enacted across the country in comparison to the 70 that passed into law the year before, the report states. Pro-abortion advocates even scored a few wins with four states adopting laws to promote abortion rights and access. Long story short: the pro-life movement has made immense progress, no thanks to this guy. (Obama tells Planned Parenthood “let's go on the offensive”) but there is still a lot of work to be done!



Things are looking even better for 2015!! After Midterm elections, (thank you pro-life voters) there are 30 states where Republicans now control both legislative chambers. AND in 23 of those states, the governor will be Republican as well! All 50 states will be in session in 2015 as well, said Nash, and Congress is looking to revisit the “20-week ban,” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks since it is scientifically proven that they are caused excruciating pain. (Side note: anyone that votes no to this ban should never be allowed painkillers, or anesthesia again, because if a baby has to endure the pain of having it's limbs torn off, well, I think you can suffer through that root canal.)

So, in other words, what Nash is saying, in no uncertain terms, is that the future of unborn babies lives is up to voters. Amen to that!

"Ultimately state legislators pay attention to their constituents, so it's key for those who support abortion rights to make their views known to their legislators,” she said. “It really makes a difference."

Those are their words!!! They know that it matters who you vote for! Everyone knows this! (well, everyone except a handful of really out-spoken trendy Christians bloggers, but don't get me started.) If you don't believe me still, here's what one president did in 8 years. Bush.

The truth is we don't get a lot of positive news on FOX or CNN. But this, this is powerful information! This is good news! We did this! Your vote matters. And they are scared. Election season is around the corner. And the anniversary of Roe V. Wade is now. (side note: ever wonder the real story behind that case?? Click Here) Don't let this week pass you by without praying, fasting, and seeking how YOU can make a difference! Yes, you can and should do more than just vote pro-life. But don't let anyone tell you that voting isn't a big deal. Thanks Haley Fox, a contributor to a newsy type website, for sharing all the info! It was the best news I got all day!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Trust me. A prayer for relief....Psalm 123-125



It's January again. Which statistically speaking is like a month of Mondays. This is not me being negative. It's science people. Many just get sad in January. For some it is sickness, for some it is bills, and for some it is just the everyday ups and downs of life. I am not immune from this affliction. And from the conversations I have been having with friends, you aren't either.

My life line over the past few days, this piece of scripture that has been trying to infuse my soul is Psalms 123-125.

Psalm 123 Unto You I lift up my eyes,
O You who dwell in the heavens.
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He has mercy on us.

3 Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!
For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
4 Our soul is exceedingly filled
With the scorn of those who are at ease,
With the contempt of the proud.




I lift my eyes to You! Until you have mercy on me. I wait.
Lord. Have mercy.
I am filled with contempt.

I want to be filled with you.

I will look to you. Until you have mercy. I will look to you. I will not stop. Relentless.
Because.......

The Lord the Defense of His People

124 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—
2 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
3 Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
5 Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul.”

6 Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;[a]
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help
is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.




If it had not have been for the Lord....Let Israel now say! If it had not been for the Lord who is ON OUR SIDE!!! Say it with me people, He is on our side!!
IF it had not been for Him, they would have swallowed us alive.

What is swallowing you alive right now?
Your job? Your health? Your relationships? Your commitments? Your schedule? Your failures?
If not for the Lord.
This tells us that the waters will NOT overwhelm us, the streams will NOT go over our soul. Because of the Lord.
Our snare is broken! We are FREE!
But sometimes it doesn't feel like freedom. Sometimes it feels like frustration. Because we need chapter 125.

The Lord the Strength of His People

A Song of Ascents.

125 Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.




Trust. Those who TRUST in the Lord. They cannot be moved. They cannot be shaken. Trust. When you are truly trusting, frustration fades.
Because frustration comes from fear. Fear of pain, disappointment, misery, loneliness, ridicule, rejection, sickness, failure.
Fear.
What are you afraid of?
God is bigger than your fear. He promises that if we trust, we will not be shaken.
I have felt shaken today. And yesterday. Yet the Lord keeps reminding me, since I first laid eyes on this passage and have been chewing on it,
Trust Me. Trust Me.
Trust me with your time. Trust me with your responsibilities. Trust me with your schedule. Trust me with your planning. Trust me with your relationships. Trust me with your family. Trust me. With every piece of your day that didn't go like you hoped it would go. Trust me and feel the freedom I have given you.
Walk in Faith. Not frustration.
I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.
Read over those three psalms again. Print them out. Pray them. Hear the Spirit say...
Trust me.
Trust. Me.
And you will not be shaken. You will be Free. You will not be overwhelmed.
And then 10 minutes later. Hear Him again. All day long. He wants us to trust Him. When you feel that frustration rising up in you, reflect. Hear Him again.
Close your eyes and hear Him say:
Trust Me. And remember that Lord surrounds His people. From this time forth and forever more.
Amen.









Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When you feel like you are losing your footing. Psalm 121

Psalm 121-A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.


Plodding along on this chronological Bible reading path, the next reading is one of my favorites, and probably one of yours too. There are countless songs and embroidered pillows that display these verses. They are that good. And today, for me, they are that relevant. You see we just got back from the mountains. And I can attest, that they are beautiful. And they are also terrifying. As my dear husband was taking those curves around Grandfather mountain, you better believe I could relate to David when he said “Where does my help come from?” Just kidding Babe, your driving was perfect :) If he could chime in here, he would be quick to remind me that he has never driven into a mountain. And I, in all honesty, cannot say the same. But that is a topic for a different day. Where was I?

Mountains are terrifying. And breathtaking. All in one. We took a lovely (read: death defying)hike to see Linville Falls. The first stop is not high. It is dangerous, sure, but there are no 10 story drops.




 At the second stop, however, you could see the first stop, way down below. Now we were adding some height to our journey and those retainer walls? Were they building retainer walls for ants?? ;) With 5 children 12 and under I couldn't get off of that overlook fast enough. Take some pictures, GET AWAY FROM THE EDGE!! And let's go!!



Of course we couldn't stop there. We continued up the mountain. Then from the 3rd view you could see the other two views and now, well- those heights were nothing! Quickest picture ever. Please for the love of all that is good and right don't go near that 1 foot tall retainer wall that is BEGGING you to bend over it and look down. Lord have mercy, that was terrifying! But breathtaking! Did I mention that?
Thinking on this passage, and remembering our hike, brought to mind that famous quote from C.S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when they were discussing Aslan, a type of Jesus.

Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

There is a common misconception floating around that we in the church likely had a hand in perpetuating, and it is this. If you follow God your life will get easier. Blessings will abound, prosperity will flow like the salmon of Capistrano, and life will be yours for the taking. Don't get me wrong. There is truth in that premise. The problem comes in when we define blessings. When we look at the accounts in the Bible of those that followed God, most, like David, cried out for help at some point, if not most points. Their lives were not a walk in the park, and many had terrifying plot lines. Being fed to Lions, having your life and the lives of your people threatened, losing children, losing heads, being barren for 90 years, being swallowed by a great fish! No, following God is not safe. But it is good. He promises that He will never leave us. He will not slumber. He will not sleep. He watches us. He is watching our coming and going both now and forever more.

Lift your eyes to the hills.
What hill? Some say that David was talking about the hill of Zion. The mighty hill. Set your eyes on the things above. Let us throw off everything that hinders, run with perseverance, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. He is perfecting our faith. Through every mountain. Through every terrifying cliff. And He knows what it is like. Because for the joy set before him, He endured. He endured the cross, despising the shame. And now. Now He sits at the right hand of the Father where He is interceding for you and for me!

Back to my mountains.....
Being a passenger in a large SUV around those curves- it really was a challenge. I kept telling myself, Paul is a good driver. He has driven these mountains countless times. If I just close my eyes, I won't be scared. And that would actually work. For a moment, until I started worrying, and needing to wrestle back some fake semblance of control. I need to watch, I thought, so I can tell him to slow down, or watch if he is getting to close to the edge. I need to control. Lord help me. Lord help us. Mountains can be terrifying or beautiful. Knowing what I know now---spoiler alert- we survived!! I wish I could go back and just enjoy the scenery more, release my white knuckled grasp of the door handle and stop nagging my poor husband. Because there is so much we cannot control. So much we cannot see. Like ANY of the future. I pray that we would release our grasp, our need to control. And trust. Trust that the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore! And truly it's the forevermore that matters most! What do you need to release your grasp on?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Fire-less S'mores


There is nothing like getting away to the mountains. Cold temperatures, warm feelings, and s'mores. It's all so picture perfect...
Unless it's raining. And your fire is a flop.

Luckily, I am a s'more connoisseur, and don't need a fire to make some toasty s'mores. I have told people this method before, and they didn't know it! I cannot have that. People need s'mores whenever they want. I know this, and therefore have to share this foolproof happiness-guaranteed method. And no, do not even think about using a microwave. Just no.

All you need is an oven, two cookie sheets, and all the goodness of traditional s'mores ingredients.
Directions are as follows: Put the oven on broil. And go.
 Here is the trick. The marshmallows (why do we all pronounce this word marshmellows?)
must go on top. Then they get brown, and keep the chocolate from getting too much heat, and getting too melty. This is science people.

                                                                  Wait literally 30 seconds.

                                                                         Then this!


Now comes the important part! Pick up the marshmallow ......


             Next.... flop the marshmallow (I really do not approve of that spelling.) onto the chocolate.....not the other way around. I am not responsible for the sadness that occurs if you try to flop the chocolate onto the marshmallow. It will be chocolate wasted, and NOBODY wants that!

 Then....happiness.


I don't know why my children look like they are in pain when they are in heaven. Trust me. They were loving it.
Another option is to use a toaster oven. We do that when it's just me and the hubs and a few dozen episodes of "Psych." BUT-you have to watch it, and only put the chocolate in for a fraction of the time. As a master s'more maker, the chocolate makes or breaks the deal. Too melty and you barely taste it, too hard, and well, just forget it. Its like your eating a chocolate bar inside of a graham cracker. And while I will take chocolate in any form, I need my s'mores to be perfect. I just do.   So the toaster oven technique is more trial and error. But it is a trial worth enduring if it's all you've got.

So there you have it. My New Years Resolution is officially to eat more s'mores!! Happy New Year!!