Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Living with a New Year's Mentality - Reaching Forward to What Lies Ahead

How is your New Year so far? Is it going how you expected and planned?

When the New Year is about to arrive, we gather 'round, contemplate and celebrate, creating new resolutions. We are excited about the year ahead and are hopeful for what is to come.

As the days move on, that vision seems to wane, and we get stuck in the middle of daily life reality.

We need a New Year's mentality
to fuel us throughout the year. 

Paul wrote about his pursuit towards hope, towards the future, towards all that the Lord has for him:

"but one thing I do, FORGETTING those things which are behind
and REACHING FORWARD to those which are ahead."
Phil. 3:13

There is a lot of junk on this earth: disease, conflict, hatred, rebellion, disorder, death... Creation is bound in imperfection until that glorious day when Jesus returns!

And until then, we must work with all of our might and all of our mind to stay focused on good things, let go of all that hinders, and REACH forward with faith and hope!

I love this familiar verse...

Phil. 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever things are TRUE, whatever things are NOBLE, whatever things are JUST, whatever things are PURE, whatever things are LOVELY, whatever things are OF GOOD REPORT, if there is any VIRTUE and if there is anything PRAISEWORTHY - MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS.

And that's my goal...

To keep pushing towards good and nobility.
To strive to be constantly thankful for my life.
To love the people around me.
To reach out to the needy.
To focus on the tasks God has given ME.

To make a way out of the miry clay of earthly dealings and the dramatic events of the world wide web and live the good and great reality God wants me to live!

Are you stuck in things about which you should forget?
Are you REACHING FORWARD to what lies ahead?


Let's live lives of hope, fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and finisher of our faith and of this Earth!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Top Posts from 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

It's fun to look back over the past year and see which posts were at the top.

If you haven't gotten a chance to read these, check them out! And I plan to be on the blog soon with an encouraging word for the New Year!

Last month I did a giveaway for Andy Traub's Early to Rise Experience for Moms. If you haven't gotten the book yet, check it out! It could be a key to helping you rise earlier in the morning, and starting the new year on a better foot.

One of the highlights of my year was when my husband and I did the Whole30. I did a few posts with meal plans and also one that summed up our experience, as a whole.

A few well-hit recipes were:
A Great Big Tray of Delicious Nachos
Cauliflower Breadsticks
The Pioneer Woman's Brother's Tacos

At the beginning of the year last year, I did some posts about making time for important things. One of those things is to make time to take care of yourself! Even as this new year begins, I remember the importance of that!

A couple posts to encourage you to remember the goodness of God and treasure each moment:
As Life Unravels, Remember: God Gives Good Gifts
Motherhood: Why I Am Treasuring Every Moment

God bless you, and I look forward
to sharing 2017 with you!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Let's Talk Christmas Food

What are you serving for Christmas?

That's actually what I am starting to ask myself.

I have to plan for a caroling night with friends, my own nuclear family's celebration, and my first year hosting Christmas for my family. I am still deciding on foods, and of course, there are plenty of options!

Here are some of my favorites and prospects:

Poptarts and/or Slim Jims in stockings
Cinnamon Rolls
Granola, Yogurt, and Fruit Parfaits

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Chicken Piccata
Chicken with Cream
Personal Pizzas
Crescent Roll Pizza Ring
Potato Casserole (I may try PW's funeral potatoes this year)
Roasted Veggies
Beef Stew - sounds cozy and warm

7 Layer Salad
Cranberry Salsa
Cheese Fondue - with bread, broccoli, baby carrots, tortilla chips...
Mexican Layered Dip
Baked Brie and Puff Pastry - this would be a first for me

Strawberry Pretzel Jello
Red Velvet Cake
Christmas Cookies: Snowball cookies and Chocolate crinkles are some of our faves!

I'd love to hear what's on your Christmas menu!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Giveaway - Early to Rise Experience for Moms by Andy Traub

UPDATE: Since I had posted this, Andy Traub communicated with me so we are giving away FIVE copies of his book. One from me, and four from him! What a blessing! 

Well, it's Christmas time,
and what better time is there to do a Giveaway?!

AND I have a neat story to go with the product.

A few years ago I submitted some work to Andy Traub as a potential addition to his book. He was writing this book for Moms, based on his prior book, Early to Rise, and this time around he wanted moms to contribute their thoughts. 

I had done his Early to Rise challenge in March of 2013 and I was excited about the prospect of reaching out to other moms with this beneficial information.

I submitted my work, signed the release form, and waited for the book to release. I don't remember receiving an email, and I checked back for a while and never saw the book come out, so I just assumed it hadn't. 

This week I had seen that he was promoting his upcoming book for dads, and I wondered why the book for moms never came to fruition.

Well, lo and behold, it did!
A couple years ago, eh hem...
AND sure enough, I am in there.
p. 134 to be exact ~smile~

The one unfortunate part is that my last name is spelled wrong, but it is a small thing to suffer for the opportunity to be published in someone's book. It is an honor and a privilege!

With that said, let's get to the Giveaway.

This book isn't just about getting up EARLY. It's about getting up EARLIER, but more than that!
It's about time management, self-care, vision-building, and lots more -- filled with many days of short reads to fill your heart daily.

A winner will be randomly chosen next Sunday, December 18. Then, I will send the book via Amazon Prime, and you should have it within a couple days. Best wishes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, November 7, 2016

A Great Big Tray of Delicious Nachos

I started making these nachos over the summer. I am trying to make some simpler meals that I can pretty much make from memory, and this one fits the bill.

A layer of tortilla chips, seasoned ground beef and refried beans, cheese sauce, and cheese broiled to perfection and then topped with some tomatoes and cilantro! YUM!

Easy peasy. Fairly quick. And delicious.

These are perfect for a family dinner or for an appetizer to share with company. I like to make them on the weekend especially.

Alter the ingredients and toppings to your delight, and you have something your family will enjoy!

A Great Big Tray of Delicious Nachos
Printable Version
1 bag of tortilla chips
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Taco Seasoning (1 t of each: paprika, chili powder, cumin, and salt. 1/4 t of cayenne pepper)
1 can of refried beans
1 jar/can of cheese sauce (I like to use Taco Bell's Salsa Con Queso)
1-2 cups of shredded cheese, your choice
diced tomatoes, optional
chopped cilantro, optional
sour cream, optional

Preheat oven to broil.

Spray a half sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Fill the sheet pan with tortilla chips.

Prepare ground beef:
Sauté beef in a skillet with onion, garlic, and taco seasoning until beef is browned. Drain.

Put ground beef back in the skillet and add the can of refried beans. Cook until it is warmed.

Spread the beef and bean mixture over the tortilla chips on the sheet pan.

Place cheese sauce in the warm skillet and warm through. After it is heated, pour the cheese sauce on top of the beef and bean layer.

Put shredded cheese on top of the other layers and stick in the oven to broil for just a minute or two, until the cheese is melted. This will cook fast so keep your eye on it!

Dress with your choice of toppings. I like tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Motherhood: Why I Am Treasuring Every Moment

The days are long, but the years are short.

I have heard this.
I have said this.
And these days I am feeling it.

The years are short.
Time is flying.
And these days I feel not only that the years are short, but the days are too!

Life is cruising at maximum speed.
Most everyone I talk to feels the same way.

Schedules are packed.
Activities are endless.
Choices and decisions abound!

Time is happening at warp speed.

This summer my oldest son spent half of his time away from home. He went to a Christian camp for a week, and to the Philippines for a mission trip for three weeks. These experiences, combined with the fact that he is now in his junior year of high school, keep reminding me that my days with him are to be treasured. I missed him tremendously when he was gone this summer, and in two short years, I will be sending him to college, most likely locally, yet I will see him less and less and soon enough, he will move out of my home.

Life happens. It continually happens. It doesn’t slow down and wait for us. It keeps going, keeps moving, and keeps presenting a challenge to us.

Will we treasure the moments we are given?
Will we savor the time with our loved ones?
Will we saturate our lives with thankfulness?

My kids are growing up, rapidly. I don’t want to miss out on the people they are now. I want to appreciate these days, and I am trying to do that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

As Life Unravels, Remember: God Gives Good Gifts

Recently a decision was made for my family, a decision that brought a lot of confusion, frustration, and disappointment to be frank. It was a decision that was made for one of my children, yet, in the end involves the entire family.

As I analyzed and dissected the decision, it just didn’t make sense. And it hurt.This decision started a myriad of emotions and conversations in my heart that I had to settle and choose to walk away from.

Be still and know that He is God.
Psalm 46:10

In the midst of the confusion and the chaos, I had to step away from the entangled ball of yarn and see beyond it. I had to stop looking at the negative and see what good could come from this decision.

I had to ask myself:
How could this benefit my child?
How could this benefit my family?
How could this benefit the community of which we are a part?
How could God use this in our lives?
And I began to see good things.

I began to see how God could give us greater rest and simplicity through the decision.
I began to see how God could use this situation to bring growth in my child’s life.
I began to see how God sees the whole picture, and we only see a sliver.

In the middle of the entangled mess,
God and His goodness are there.

I admit… Right now, while the decision is fresh, I struggle. My disappointment is real.

YET, I confront that struggle with the reality that God is good and He gives good gifts to His children.

What are you facing right now?
Are you disappointed?
Are you heartbroken or frustrated or confused?

In the midst of your heartache, step away from it,
and ask God to help you see His goodness.

Ask God to help you remember that He loves you and has a plan for your life.

Ask God to help you remember that He does give good gifts,
and He will use your situation for good in your life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and comes down from the Father of lights.
James 1:17