Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus? Some of us have grown up hearing about God's Son. We know He is one part of the Trinity. We know He was Mary's son. We know He gave His life on a cross in order that we could have forgiveness and salvation.  We know alot about Him, but do we know Him? Who is Jesus to you personally? Can you trust Him with every detail of of your life?  Is He your strength when you are weak? Is He your peace and security? In Matthew 16, Jesus asked His disciples who people were saying He was.  However, He went on to ask, " But who do YOU say I am?".  What a question!
 
During this Christmas week, let's ask ourselves that same question.  Who is Jesus to me? Is He just someone that I've grown up hearing about? Is He someone that I keep at  a distance and call on when I'm in need?  Is He on the throne of my heart?  Is He my personal Savior?  For me, Jesus is my Personal Counselor, my Savior, my Hope, my Healing, my Friend, my Strength, my Peace, my Joy, and much more.  I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for 23 years now.   He IS the greatest gift I've ever been given.  He IS the greatest gift this world has ever been given.  I encourage you to ponder these questions and ask yourself this question: Who is Jesus?

One last scripture:
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him.  I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  I want to KNOW CHRIST and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.  I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!    Philippians 3:7-11 

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Press On Wednesday: 21 Days Left

I can't believe that we only have 21 days left of 2014.  This year has went by so quickly!  Today, I want to encourage you, as you are pressing on towards a healthy lifestyle, to give these last 21 days your whole heart.   Most likely, these last 3 weeks will be some of the hardest because you could be having work parties, cookie exchanges, family gatherings, and much more!  The Bible tells us, in Matthew 19:26, that "with God all things are possible".  I personally will need Supernatural strength to say no to second and third helpings, as well as no to overdoing it on Christmas sweets.  How can we make sure that our appetites won't lead us out of control?

 First, let's talk about our physical appetites.  During the holiday season, sometimes we are in such a rush that we forget to drink enough water.  Water is so important for our health, as well as helps our weight loss. (Read here for more: Benefits of Drinking Water ) In addition to staying hydrated, we also need adequate amounts of rest during this busy season.  Often we are up extra early preparing for work, followed by an evening Christmas party, and then we end up staying up later than normal wrapping gifts.  Most of us need between 6-8 hours of good sleep each night. (Read here for more: How much sleep do we need?)  Staying rested and hydrated can help us fight off  holiday cravings and binges.

Secondly, let's talk about our spiritual appetites.  Often during this season, our quiet times become shorter and shorter and finally disappear.  However, spending time praying and listening to God is vital in overcoming the stress and depression that sometimes come with the season. Feeding our spirit with healthy things is just as important as feeding our physical self, if not more. Keep uplifting and encouraging programs on your T.V.   Turn on praise music while you are baking Christmas cookies.  As you wrap your gifts, spend time praying for the person the gift is for.

Three more week of 2014!  How are we going to spend these last three weeks?  Are we going to be frazzled, cranky, tired, and moody?  Or, are we going to slow down and take care of ourselves physically and spiritually?  Let's aim for health in every area! Press on!

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and HE will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
Press On Wednesday:  In Memory of my Dad, Troy


Monday, December 8, 2014

Be Still

Most of us have heard of the scripture in Psalms 46 that says to be still and know that He is God.  However, what does it mean to you personally? 
 
I can remember a certain time in my life in which I made a wrong choice .  Although I received God's forgiveness, I knew that there would still be consequences.  I could of walked in  many different directions, but by the grace of God, I kept my eyes on God and his forgiveness and grace. He was faithful and placed Godly people in my life to encourage me to press on.  Nonetheless, I walked through some very dark days. I would often battle anxiety and worry. However, that is when I first learned how to "be still and know that (He) is God."  Some days I felt that it was hopeless and wouldn't ever get better...BUT God.  See, God knows all things...my wrong choice was no surprise to Him. His love for me did not change.  I'm sure, as most parents would be, He was sad watching me walk that path.  Finally, I decided to surrender everything to Him: my failures, my fears, my sadness, my enemies, etc.  All I could do was to depend on Him to guide me day by day.  What a great place to be!  It is when we realize our total dependence on God and trust Him, that we can "be still" and know He is God.  He can make a way where there is not a way. He can make beauty out of ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)
 
I don't know where you are in your life today.  You may be on a mountain top, or you may be in the deepest valley you have ever been in.  You may be full of joy, however, you may be so overwhelmed with sadness that you don't feel like getting up.  Regardless of where you are, God loves you and has a plan for you.  As you talk to Him and surrender to Him all the pain or even all the joy; you then, can rest assured that He is working things out in your life. (Romans 8:28)  He can forgive you and help you walk through the consequences of any mistakes you might have made. (1 John 1:9, Psalms 23) Nothing or no one can separate you from His love for you! (Romans 8:29-37)
 
Even in a world where each hour brings more disturbing and disheartening news, we can "be still" and know He is our God and He is in control. Let Him be your strength today!
 

"Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world."   Psalms 46:10 NLT

 

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Press On Wednesday : Too Busy

We all have such busy lives; busy with work, home, chores, church, ministry, school, family and unexpected interruptions. So, how do we find time to invest in our health?
 
One thing I've learned in life, is that we somehow make time for what is important to us. If our health is a priority, we will make time to prepare for healthy meals, exercise, rest, and take care of ourselves.  The Bible tells us that if we are a Child of God, then our body is the Temple of Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).  I want to encourage you to make your health a priority in your life.  I am not saying to make it top priority, because I believe our relationship with God should have that spot.  However, when we put God first, He can help us put our other priorities in order. 
 
Following are just a few tips to help make your health a priority:
 
1.  Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you do now.
2.  Only eat sugar on special occasions or only one day a week.
3.  No caffeine after 4 pm.
4.  Walk 1-2 miles at least 3 times a week.
5.  Have an accountability partner for a healthy lifestyle.
6.  Follow God's plan and obey His will for your life.  (Proverbs 3:7-8)
So, let's all press on and keep making those healthy choices! 
Press On Wednesdays in memory of my Dad, Troy
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sour Cream & Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas (Open-faced)


 
This time of year most of us have left-over turkey in our fridge.  There are many things to make with this Thanksgiving fare, however, enchiladas are among my favorite.  Usually, by the time Thanksgiving celebrations are over, we are wanting something a little different to munch on.
This past Saturday I made some great enchiladas out of our left over turkey.  They turned out very yummy and I want to share the recipe with you.

First, you will need:
1-2 pounds of cooked turkey breast
1-28 ounce can of Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (reserve 2/3 cup for Topping)
12- corn tortillas
1- small onion, diced
1- Tablespoon of diced garlic
2-cups of shredded Colby Jack Cheese
1 tsp. Salt
1- tsp. Tony Chachere's Seasoning
1-2 tsp Cumin (I like Cumin, so I used 2)
Topping
1- cup of Sour Cream
 2/3 cup of Enchilada Sauce (reserved)
2/3 cup of Milk

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cover bottom of a 13 x 9 pan with the enchilada sauce.
  Next layer 6 tortillas on sauce.
 Let stand while you go to next step.
 

 Next, chop the turkey into bite-sized pieces and set aside

 
In large pan, sauté the onion and garlic in about 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil until onions are tender.
Then, add chopped turkey, salt, and Tony Chacheres seasoning;
cook well until turkey and seasonings are well blended.
Next, put half of turkey mixture on tortillas;
 then, cover with 1/2 cup of cheese.
Then, cover with half can of enchilada sauce.
 Then repeat process one more time; tortillas,
 remaining turkey mixture and cheese. Make sure the tortillas
are well- saturated with the sauces.
For the sauce, in a skillet stir the reserved
2/3 cup sauce, sour cream and milk well. 
Cook on low heat until well-blended and warm and pour on top of casserole.
Then top with remaining shredded cheese and put in warm oven.
 Cook until cheese is well melted.   (For me the cooking time was about 25 minutes)

Enjoy these easy enchiladas with a crisp green salad and tortilla chips!

























 
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Preparing for "Black Friday"

Many of us know the day after Thanksgiving Day as "Black Friday".  Although "Black Friday" can have many meanings, (Read about it here) most of us know it to be a day of much shopping and great sales.  Most of the time I choose to do my shopping online, however, in years past I have joined the masses in waiting in long lines looking for that special deal. 

Today, I just want to share my heart on Black Friday.  Those of you that know me well, know I am the first one that likes a bargain!  I shop on clearance racks, at Goodwill, and garage sales 95% of the time.  However, often these special holiday sales can spur on impulse buying.  You walk into a store, hear the Christmas music blaring over the speakers, see the crowds loading their baskets, and next thing you know, you are caught up in the frenzy.  However, later, as you are unloading bags from your car, you get a sinking feeling.  Maybe you overspent your budget or maybe you bought things that now you are thinking you could of done without.  I have experienced that feeling and it's like a dark cloud that covers any fun you might of had shopping.  I want to give you some advice that I have learned over the years. 

First, I want to encourage us all to prepare mentally, emotionally , physically and spiritually before this big shopping day.  To prepare mentally, spend some time actually making a list of what you need to purchase.  Then, balance your checkbook and decide on a spending budget.  If you decide your budget is $100, then I recommend taking that in cash.  When the cash is gone, it's time to go home.  Our credit/debit cards are very convenient, however, most of the time they are TOO convenient, and later when we balance our money we have a big headache.  To prepare emotionally and physically, make sure you are very well rested before you go shopping.  Many of us lose a lot of sleep as we prepare the days before and during Thanksgiving.  Being tired can leave us vulnerable and subject to letting our "feelings" dictate us as we shop.  We might know we shouldn't spend an extra $50, however, the mood created by these big sales sweeps over us and we feel we can't let that deal pass us by.  So, take that nap on Thanksgiving Day or plan ahead to go to bed early.  Another note on the physical/emotional aspect, make sure to pack water and some kind of healthy snack in your purse or car.  There is nothing like being tired and hungry and standing in a long line of grumpy shoppers!  And last, but certainly not least, prepare spiritually!  Spend quiet time with God before you tackle these sales.  That idea might sound silly to some of you,  however, I have found that if I have peace in my heart my day goes so much better.  As I spend time with the Lord seeking HIS will for my day,  I have a better frame of mind and attitude.   I often come to him nervous, scattered-brained, and anxious.  However, as I began thanking Him for all my blessings, asking His direction and guidance regarding my spending, and seeking His overall will for my life, His peace rushes in.  Often, HE will lead me to my very best bargains.  He keeps my mind on the most important thing; loving Him and loving others.  When I seek Him first, then someone can cut in line ahead of me and take the last crème brulee candle and I will still be peaceful.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable day shopping; just let keep your eyes on what's really important.  Isaiah 26:3 says: You will keep in PERFECT peace all who TRUST in You, and all whose thoughts are FIXED on you!    Blessings!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Press On Wednesday: Game Plan

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day; a day to give God thanks and spend time with family and loved ones.  We also know that tomorrow is a day we eat lots of special casseroles and yummy sweets.  I want to encourage us all to have a "Game Plan" for tomorrow.  What I mean by that is, I think we need to plan ahead of time where, if any, our splurge will be.  For example, if you love bread, you may want to eat 2 rolls and skip the desserts.  If you love sweets, you may decide to skip the breads and have dessert.  But, what if you love it all?  If you decide that you are going to let yourself have some of everything, don't forget portion control!!  Remember, one tiny slice of pecan pie tastes just as good as that giant piece of pie.  Another thing to remember, if you are planning on eating your calories, then don't drink your calories too.  For example, if you are going to indulge food-wise, drink only sugar-free drinks.  Another thing, a lot of times we think it would be best to skip breakfast on a holiday to make more room for the other food.  However, I disagree.  Even if it is a small granola bar and yogurt, I highly recommend eating breakfast tomorrow.  If you have a little something on your stomach, you may be less likely to fall into a trap of over-eating.  So, I want to encourage us all to make a plan ahead of time and ask God for the strength to carry it out.  Tomorrow night, when we head to bed, it will feel good to know that we stayed on track and still enjoyed our special day!  Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD,

 FOR HE IS GOOD! HIS FAITHFUL LOVE ENDURES FOREVER. 

PSALMS 118:1 (NLT)

Press On Wednesdays: In Memory of My Dad, Troy
 

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Giving thanks vs. Complaining

Wednesday night at church, one of our elders talked about bad attitudes and how contagious they are. A bad attitude IS truly contagious and seems to affect everyone around.  He  reminded us that it is hard to be truly thankful and complaining at the same time.  How true that is!  Have you ever been around someone that always saw the bad in everything?  How did you feel after being around that person?  On the other hand, have you ever been around someone that was full of joy and left you feeling a little more lighter too?

The bible tells us in Philippians 4:4-8(NIV): Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,  with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

In the world today, we can only truly rejoice by God's Spirit working in us.  Colossians 1:27 says it is Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.  Anyone can be grumpy and negative; in order to be filled with joy and peace takes being filled with God's Spirit.  As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I want to encourage us all to let God fill us up with His Spirit.  Let Him have control of your life fully and trust Him to work all things out. (Romans 8:28) Let's start this weekend with a thankful heart and a mind focused on God's will for our lives.  Psalms 118 says "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His faithful love endures forever!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Press On Wednesday: Spicy Chicken Salad

One of my favorite things to eat for lunch is Chicken Salad.  There are many variations of chicken salad and it is very easy and quick to make. I start with a 12 ounce can of chopped white meat chicken. (or two small chicken breasts, chopped)  I drain the chicken well and mix with diced apple, chopped onion, 2 Tablespoons of Hot Chow-Chow, 2 Tablespoons Mayo and Creole Seasoning and Pepper to taste.  I like this mixture because it has a spicy flavor.  However, there are many healthy variations on this salad.  Instead of the Hot Chow-Chow, you can add Dill Relish.  In place of diced apple, you can add either red grape halves or mandarin orange segments. I also occasionally add chopped pecans.   Instead of the mayo, you could use 1 Tablespoon Light Cream Cheese and 1 Tablespoon Light Sour Cream.  I have some friends that replace the mayo with plain Greek Yogurt.  Sometimes, I like to add a tablespoon of spicy mustard for a kick. The possibilities are endless. However, in order to keep this salad healthy, stay away from processed sugars, sweet relish, dried fruit that has added sugars, and other high calorie ingredients.  Don't forget to experiment with spices as well.  I love adding curry when using Mandarin Oranges and pecans.  For my lunch, I usually eat 1 cup of this salad with about 7 pretzels.  I occasionally put it on a bed of lettuce also.  For me, keeping a variety of flavors in my chicken salad satisfies me much more than the same old thing daily.  Try it out and let me know what you come up with!  Press on with healthy eating!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To what do you cling?

Webster defines cling as "to hold onto something or someone very tightly; to stay very close to someone for emotional support and protection". A person could cling to their job or successes to define who they are.  Some of us cling to our family and friends to validate us.  Still others cling to their degrees, successes, wealth, physical attributes, popularity, ministry positions, titles, etc.  We all cling to something or someone.  Who do you cling to?  Out of all the things we could cling to, which things are stable enough to truly rely and count on?  Psalms 63:7-8 says: Because You are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings, I cling to You, your strong right hand holds me securely.  The Lord is truly the only steadfast and perfectly faithful one that we can cling to.  If our security is based on anything else other than our Heavenly Father, we are sure to be disappointed.  I know this truth in my mind, however sometimes I get off track.  I find myself basing my security on temporary things, instead of eternal things.   I sometimes feel unpeaceful because I am focusing on what I can accomplish instead of focusing on my dependence on Jesus.  Isaiah 26:3 says: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You.  
 
Lately, I have been reminded that the only thing I need to cling to is the Lord.  As humans, we can let each other down.  However, God is faithful and is the same yesterday, today and forever.  If you find yourself "clinging" to anything else more than you are to God, I want to encourage you to ask Him to search your heart and reveal any false beliefs.  Maybe deep down, you doubt that God will come through and feel you must take care of yourself.  Maybe because we have been hurt by others, we assume God will hurt us too.  On the other hand, maybe something has happened that has caused you to doubt God's love for you.  Sometimes life is hard and we just don't have all the answers.  It's okay if you are struggling; it's no surprise to God.  I believe God loves us so much that He truly wants us to be honest with Him.  He knows our hearts and He longs for us to surrender our hurts and pain so He can make beauty out of ashes.  Today I want to let go of all I've been clinging to and instead just cling to Jesus; there I can find true peace, love, security, validation, purpose and more.  Then, and only then, I can give it out to others.
 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Memories

I really can't believe that it is almost Thanksgiving already!  The weather here has really changed this past week.  It's funny as the air turns cold and I smell the smoke from chimneys, the memories rush in. I can remember my Dad making fires in our fireplace.
I can remember cooking hotdogs on a bonfire at Chad's parent's farm.  I remember toasting marshmallows with my boys when we camped out as a family many years ago.  What memories do you have during this time of year? 
Do you have any special memories that warm your heart?  There is no doubt that there is someone reading this that may be having a hard time thinking of good memories.  I, too, have had some not so good memories of this time of year.  What do we do with those bad memories that pop up?  I talk to God about them.  I ask Him to help me work through them.  Do I have any unforgiveness that I need to deal with? Do I need to ask forgiveness to God or someone else?  Do I need to let God bring my soul healing from a deep hurt or disappointment?  As I bring my bad memories to God, forgive and release, an amazing thing happens; He heals my heart.

No matter what past memories you have of this time of year, you can start making new ones today.  Gather your family, have a camp out and make smores.  Maybe you would rather have a movie night while you shared popcorn and sipped Apple Cider with red-hots.  Maybe you would like to take a short road trip and see the beautiful trees changing colors.  Whatever you do, spend quality time with those you love the most and make special memories that will last a lifetime.


 
Chad's parents, Mema & Grandaddy,
 at last year's  family camp out.
 They will celebrate 51 years of marriage this coming Sunday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Press On Wednesday: Perseverance

Today's health tip is actually just encouragement to keep aiming towards a healthy lifestyle.  You may get off track occasionally, however the key is to get right back on track as soon as possible.  You won't make perfect health choices everyday,  but if you consistently strive to make health a priority, you won't get too far off.  Galatians 6:9 reminds us to not get weary in doing good because in due time we will reap the reward.
So, if you give in and eat  a cookie when your goal was to eat no sugar, don't despair.  However, don't throw up your hands and eat a whole bag of cookies either; stop immediately and get back on track.  Self-control is not something we are good at naturally.  Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in us. (Colossians 1:27)  Keep pressing in to Jesus and pressing on towards your goal!
Press On Wednesday in Memory of my Dad, Troy
This is a pic of Dad and I  twenty-eight years ago!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Marvelous Monday: Counting Blessings

I hope you all had a great weekend!  We had beautiful weather and enjoyed being outside.  On Saturday, we celebrated my Mema's 91st Birthday together. Since she is my last grandparent here on earth, it was an extra special day.  We celebrated with gifts and 2 Strawberry cakes!

During her party, I was thinking about how it might feel to be 91. She is double my age plus one!   She definitely has seen and experienced a lot of life!  Can you imagine  how much the world has changed since her birth?  Can you imagine how much she has changed through the years?  My mind comes back again to how fast this life is. (I wrote about this on last Thursday's post)  My mind also came back to how blessed I am to still have my Mema in my life.

As I reflect back over my life so far, there has been good times and bad times.  There has been pain and joy.  There has been blessings and trials. I have a choice today; count my blessings or dwell on the negative things of my life.  I choose to count my blessings.  In 17 days we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  I want to get a head start and want to take this time today to thank God for my many blessings!  My salvation, forgiveness, husband, 3 sons, health, family are just a few.  What are you thankful for?  I want to encourage you to get a blank sheet of paper and start writing down all your blessings in this life.  Each day add a few more blessings.  On Thanksgiving day, read your blessing list to your family or friends and be sure to give thanks to the Lord for all that he has done.  Feel free to note something you are thankful to God for in the comment box below.  Have a Marvelous Monday and count your many blessings!


Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

My Mema, Grace
91 years old

Friday, November 7, 2014

Christmas Shopping on a Budget

As we get ready for the weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some of my recent garage sale finds.  In a previous post, I had shared how I enjoyed going to garage sales and some tips to get great deals. ( Click here to read post: September 19th Post)  We are getting close to Christmas and yard sales can be a fun and inexpensive way to shop for your friends and family.  Now, I know what you might be thinking: How could you find something nice enough for Christmas at a Garage/Yard Sale?  Well, it's not really that hard.  Below are four of my favorite things I have bought at sales this Fall. I personally would be tickled to get any one of these for Christmas! 
 
So, I want to encourage you to get out in this beautiful weather this weekend and enjoy some garage sales. Imagine how nice it will be to Christmas shop in the peaceful outdoors!  Remember, the early bird often gets the worm, however,  the late-comers often get the best bargains.  Have a blessed weekend.
 
 

Tri-Dip Tree-$2
Rooster Juice Pitcher-$3
Retro-Syrup/Honey Dispenser-$1
 

Black Dry-Erase Board-$1
  
                                                        





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Life is like the Morning Fog

Depending upon your age, you have probably heard many times how fast this life flies by. Each year, I am reminded that our life on earth is indeed short.   James 4:14 (NLT) says: How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog-it's here a little while, then it's gone.  So, it's not just in our heads; life does pass by quickly!  Each day is a gift from the Lord.  My wreck in August reminded me of this truth.

As I reflect upon this fact, a question is on my heart.  What memory and legacy will I leave behind when it is my time to graduate to Heaven? Will my loved ones remember me as a nervous and insecure worry wart?  What will be the main impression I will leave behind?  Deep questions!  Have I let God do all He wants to do in me and through me?  Am I holding back a part of my heart and life that needs to be surrendered?  We are not promised tomorrow.  This could be our last day to live, or we could have 50 more years. We can't change any of our past, however, we can still do something about our remaining time here on earth.

I want to encourage us all to do some reflecting and examining. God knows all about our past, present and future.  Talk with Jesus and ask Him to show you if you are holding anything back from Him. My heart's desire is to be completely and unswervingly surrendered to Christ and His Holy Spirit's work in my life.    Time is short and every moment counts!

 Psalms 25:1-12 can be our heart's prayer:
O Lord, I give my life to you.
    I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
    or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
    but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
Show me the right path, O Lord;
    point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
    which you have shown from long ages past.
Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
    Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.
The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
He leads the humble in doing right,
    teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
11 For the honor of your name, O Lord,
    forgive my many, many sins.
12 Who are those who fear the Lord?
    He will show them the path they should choose.
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Loneliness

Have you ever been in a place where you were surrounded by people and still felt lonely?  Maybe you are in a marriage in which you feel lonely.  Maybe you are a mother of several children, yet still feel lonely.  Maybe you are a teenager surrounded with a lot of friends, yet still feel lonely.  Maybe you are surrounded by people at work, but still inside you feel alone. As God's child, I can stand on the many promises in His Word.  I am so glad that my Jesus promises to never leave us nor forsake us and that nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8)  Sometimes even though I have Jesus, I still feel lonely.  Why? Well, for me, I can get my eyes off of God and on people.   I expect people to fill a hole that only my Heavenly Father can fill.  However, when I get my eyes back fully on God, I then remember what His Word promises and that He is with me.

When I was young, I didn't realize that being a Christian was about a relationship with God.  I often confused being a Christian with a label, a ticket to Heaven, and a high standard of morals.  However, being a Christian is so much more.  Jesus died and rose again in order for me to have life and have it abundantly. (John 10)  He is my everything!  He is my counselor, my comforter, my best friend, my strength, my Healer, my Father, my Peace, my Hope and more.  I am a new creation.  I have a new heart and a desire to serve Him.  I still sin, but I no longer have a drive for sin.  He offers me life and redemption.  I don't have to wait until I am in Heaven to experience His peace and healing. I am an Overcomer because of Him. (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Rev. 12:11, Philippians 4) God is with me every second of the day.  He is healing me of past wounds.  He is setting me free from bondage.    He is all I need.  Do you know this Jesus I am talking about?  Do you know Him or only know about Him? Have you experienced His love personally or have only heard of His love?  He is real and alive! I want to encourage you if you are a Christian, to just take a moment and reflect on who He is to you.  For those of you that don't feel you know Jesus, talk to Him.  Ask Him to make Himself real to you.

We don't have to suffer in loneliness; we have a God that loves us and cares! (1 Peter 5:7)  Furthermore, as children of God, we are called not only to love God, but to love others as well.(Luke 10:27)   I want to encourage you today to look around and see who God has placed in your path. Sometimes, on the outside someone can look great; however, on the inside they are lonely and hurting.  Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading.  Receive God's love today and then, pass it on to others!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't Worry, Be Thankful!

Each day we are given a choice: live by God's Word or let emotions, the world, and people dictate how you live.  However, God's way of living leads to true peace.  Through out God's word we are given instructions for victory in Christ. The steps to walk in God's peace are right in His Word.   Philippians 4:6-9 says:  Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ. Jesus.  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me- everything you heard from me and saw me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you!  In these scriptures, God's word clearly tells us not to worry but to pray, tell Him your needs, and to be thankful for all He has done and will do!  I know in my personal life, it is really hard to be discouraged and to have a thankful heart at the same time.  Yes, there are negative things all around us.  Yes, there is bad news every where we turn!  Yes, things are not always how we want them to be! Does that change God and Who He is?  No!  He is faithful; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!  (Hebrews 13:8)
 
I know it is hard to put aside our emotions and stand solely on God's word.  However, if we want true freedom, God's word MUST be our truth and foundation.  I want to encourage you today to put Philippians 4:6-9 in action; stop worrying, start praying, and count your blessings, and think on good things!  Have a marvelous Monday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins!

Tis the season for Pumpkin! Pumpkin is not only healthy for you, but it can be very tasty too.  Recently, I went to the grocery store and this orange beauty was featured in one product after another.    However, some products contain more sugar than healthy pumpkin.  So, when you are trying the seasonal delights, be sure to read your labels!
 
Today, I want to share with you two of our pumpkin favorites: Chobani Pumpkin Spice blended Greek Yogurt and Braums Pumpkin Ice Cream.  The most healthy of the two is the yummy low-fat greek yogurt made with all natural ingredients, no hormones, 12 grams of protein and only 130 calories.  I like to eat a granola bar with this special treat.  However, as tasty as this yogurt is, my guys prefer the Braum's Pumpkin Ice Cream with only 130 calories for half cup serving. A dish of this special ice cream is great with a dollop of whip cream.  Although these products are plentiful right now, they are for a limited time only; so dont delay if you want to try them out!  Below is a place for your comment.  Please tell me about YOUR favorite pumpkin product of the season.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Running on Empty?

As I was having my quiet time this morning, I am reminded again how important it is to spend time with God.  I can get so busy "doing things for God", that I miss the most important part; sitting at His feet.  Often, we busily go through our day giving, serving, and pouring out to others.  However, we forget something very important; we can not give what we don't have.  When we are not filled up with His Spirit, totally yielded to Him, we can't give what people truly need.   As we move into this weekend, I want to encourage you to be filled up with God before you attempt to pour out to others.  Spend time sharing your heart with God and listening for His voice and direction.  We often deceive ourselves into thinking that we can give without being filled up first.  My question would be; just what are we giving? I want to end with some verses for us to ponder:
 
Isaiah 30:15
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it
 
1 Corinthians 3:11-15
11 And no one can ever lay any other real foundation than that one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 But there are various kinds of materials that can be used to build on that foundation. Some use gold and silver and jewels; and some build with sticks and hay or even straw! 13 There is going to come a time of testing at Christ’s Judgment Day to see what kind of material each builder has used. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire so that all can see whether or not it keeps its value, and what was really accomplished. 14 Then every workman who has built on the foundation with the right materials, and whose work still stands, will get his pay. 15 But if the house he has built burns up, he will have a great loss. He himself will be saved, but like a man escaping through a wall of flames
 
Ephesians 5:15-20
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
 
Have a great weekend and don't forget to let God fill you up!
 
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Have Hope.....but in what?

I often hear people say "have hope" and although it's an encouraging thought, it can be misleading.  I agree that we need hope in this world, but hope in what?  If you put your hope in people, you will be disappointed.  If you put your hope in a job or a position, that job could suddenly end and your hope end with it.  The truth is, we can not work up hope; it is a gift we must receive.  Christ IS our hope.  He is all we need.  He can give us hope, peace, joy, love and much more.  However, we often miss the hope and peace that could be ours, simply because we want to handle things without God's help. As children of God, we can depend on and have trust in Him and His provision.  As Colossians 1:27 says, it is Christ IN us, the Hope of Glory!
 
I want to encourage you to cling to God and recognize that He indeed is your Hope. Like the song says, "our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus's blood and His righteousness." So, spread Hope where ever you go today and let Jesus shine through you!
 
 Listen to this song as you ponder our True Hope: In Christ Alone
 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Press On Wednesday: Tips from Friends

Yesterday I spent the day with some dear friends of mine.  We had a great time eating, shopping, laughing and visiting!  As we were visiting,  I asked each of my friends to share a simple health tip for this week's "Press On Wednesday".  I hope these tips inspire you as they do me!  Remember, a journey begins with a single step. 
 
Following are the health tips my dear friends shared with me:
 
Charity- Walk at least 20 minutes daily and simply eat less.
Delanie- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day; Add lemon for a gentle daily detox.
Kelly- Whenever you go shopping or running errands, always park as far as you can away from the store for extra exercise.

Nancy-Eat clean; lots of fresh fruits and veggies and no high-processed foods

 So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God! 1 Cor.10:31
 
Please feel free to leave your health tip in the comment section today,
I would LOVE to hear it!
 
 
Delaine, Nancy, Me, Charity, & Kelly

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Smile and a Prayer

The importance of encouragement is what is on my heart these days.  We have been in the ministry, part and full-time,  for over 21 years. During these years, we have seen over and over again the havoc discouragement can bring to any age of person.  Today's blog is simple and to the point: I want to challenge you, no matter how down you feel, to seek to encourage at least one person today.  God brings all kinds of people in our lives;  all for a reason.  Encouragement can be done in many different ways: a simple smile, a quick text, a homemade pie, a babysitting offer, a hug, a cup of coffee, a gift of money, a cooked meal, etc.  I understand about being tight on time and money, but smiles are free and do not take alot of time!  Doesn't it encourage you for someone to flash a smile your way? Why don't we purpose to smile at the people God places in our path today? (starting with the ones we live with!) After you smile at a person, say a quiet prayer for them as well.  The times are hard and we all need encouragement.   Let's start an epidemic of encouragement; share a smile and a prayer today!
 
 "ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER DAILY, AS LONG AS IT IS CALLED TODAY, SO THAT NONE OF YOU MAY BE HARDENED BY SIN'S DECEITFULNESS"  Hebrews 3:13

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sugar Splurge

I have shared many times that I am seeking to live a healthy lifestyle.  At the onset of my healthier lifestyle journey,  my goal was to lose 30 pounds. However, now that I have reached my goal, I want to maintain this weight.  Therefore, I now try to follow the 90/10 rule.  The 90/10 rule means 90 percent of the time I eat clean (healthy), and 10 percent of the time I splurge and have some sugar. When I do have sugar, I want to make it count!  I don't want to waste my 10% time on something tasteless!
 
Today, I want to share with you a special place I go when I am ready to eat that 10%.  My sister, Michele, my Mom, Mavis, and I often meet in Corsicana, Texas, for a visit.  On one of those visits, we happened into the "Bittersweet Cupcake Boutique" located in downtown Corsicana.  Bittersweet is owned and operated by Angel Schiffer.  We LOVE her jumbo cupcakes that are all homemade with fresh ingredients and decorated beautifully. (Only 3$ each)  Each time we visit, Angel has many scrumptious flavors to choose from.  Some of the flavors are:  Creme Brulee, Raspberry Jam, Chocolate Fudge, Mango, and Mocha Fudge.  The Bittersweet Boutique also has soup, sandwiches, coffees, and sodas. (You can see more on facebook page: Bittersweet Cupcake Boutique)
 
Yesterday was one of those special days we met in Corsicana.  I had not eaten sugar in 5 days so needless to say, I was excited!  As usual, there were several yummy flavors to choose from; however, I chose the Peanut Butter Blitz.  The Peanut Butter Blitz was a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter fudge filling, topped with creamy buttercream icing, peanut butter glaze and a small peanut butter cup candy.  Words can't express how yummy this cupcake was!  So, if you are ever in Corsicana, Texas, look up the Bittersweet Boutique at 112 North Beaton Street.
 
Hope you have a restful and relaxing weekend.  Don't forget to seize the day and be sure to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you!  God bless!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What's Your Motivation?

Each day we have many things we do.  We are busy people. However,  I want to ask a question;  What is our motives behind the things we do?
 
Of course, there is the obvious; like why we eat, work or rest.  However, Im talking about the "driving force" behind all we do. Chad and I have a dear friend, Bro. Ray, that says no matter what you do, you can always trace it back to one of two motives: love of self or love of God. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, "You must love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." Some of us are too busy to really love others.  What IS the love Jesus is talking about?  1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is; Love is patient, kind, not jealous, nor boastful or proud, or rude, does not demand its own way, it's not irritable, keeps no record of being wronged, does not rejoice with injustice but rejoices when truth wins out, never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  Wow, that is love?! Where can we find this type of love? The answer is in Jesus.   We can't truly love until we first realize and receive God's love for us!
 
I want to encourage you today to look into your heart and allow God to look too.  Ask Him to reveal your heart's true motive.  In the first part of 1 Corinthians 13, we are told that everything done without love amounts to nothing.  This scripture even compares doing things without love to a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.  It sounds like God wants us to be motivated by His love and His Spirit.  What's your motivation today?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Press on Wednesday: One plate rule

Press On Wednesday is to encourage us to "press on" towards a healthy lifestyle.  Remember, every great journey begins with a single step.  Today I want to talk about the "one plate rule".  The one plate rule is simply deciding that you will eat only one serving at a meal; 2nd and 3rd plates work against a healthy lifestyle.  Now, am I saying you can never have seconds?  No, we are free to eat how we choose; however, I encourage you to go by the one plate rule on most days.  If on a regular day you make it a habit to only eat one serving of each food, then on special days you can afford to eat extra.  On the flip side, if we let ourselves eat what we "feel" like eating everyday, then we have no wiggle room to have a special dish on occasion. 

When I began my healthy lifestyle journey I had NO idea how much extra food I had been eating.  If we had hamburgers and fries, I would eat every bit of my burger, all of my fries, and have ice cream too.  If we had tacos, I would have 3 or 4.  I would eat until I felt stuffed. It was not long before I realized I was consuming much more food than I needed for health.  Needless to say, the first few days of my new healthy lifestyle, my body and emotions were in shock.  I went from eating out of emotion and stopping when I felt better; to eating 1 small cup of chicken salad on a bed of lettuce at the designated meal time.  After about a week of down-sizing portions, I had lost about 5 pounds.

What is a healthy serving size?  I have included 2 helpful links below:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/weight-management/better-choices/decrease-portions.html

http://heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/Replenish/WhatisaServing/What-is-a-Serving_UCM_301838_Article.jsp

We have a friend that says his secret to healthy eating is this: Always eat to live; not live to eat

It is no secret that I personally have to have God's strength to make healthy choices.  Here is a scripture that encourages me:

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:31

Press On Wednesday:
 in memory of my Dad, Troy



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Working Moms & Homemaking

Currently, I am a full-time homemaker.  However, in the past I have worked full-time outside the home.  One thing I know for sure regardless whether you have an outside job or not, you are a homemaker.  Some of us are full-time homemakers, and some of us are part-time homemakers with a full-time outside job.  Either way, you are a homemaker if you have a home.  Being a homemaker is a blessing and a huge responsibility. 
 
Today, I want to share with you some homemaking tips I used when I worked full-time outside the home.  (Another day I will share my tips for being a full-time homemaker and home-school mom). Depending upon your work schedule, I think its very important to schedule some time to pray and plan for the upcoming week; I usually took some time on Saturday morning. During that time, I would think of my dinner menu for the next week.  I usually would plan at least 2 crock-pot meals; crock-pot meals were my favorite because when you came home in the evening  you would be greeted by the yummy aroma of dinner! Other than using the crock-pot, I would plan easy dishes that could be prepared in 30 minutes or less.  In addition to that, occasionally I would make a double batch of Chicken Spaghetti or Chicken Pot Pie on Saturday evening or Sunday so I could freeze one to serve during the busy week.  After I had planned it all out, I would type up the menu for the next week's dinners and put it on the fridge door; having the menu already decided was a great help for me on those tired evenings.  Once my menu was planned, I would make my grocery list and run to the store.  As I bought groceries, I would also pick up a frozen pizza or something easy to cook for Saturday's lunch.  So, If all went as planned, I usually had the shopping done and groceries put up by 1pm on Saturday.
 
Another thing that I did was to make a chore schedule for our family.  Here is a sample:
 
 
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Mom
Cook Dinner
 
Cook Dinner
Cook Dinner
Cook Dinner
Do Mom & Dad’s laundry
Dinner Clean up
Shopping
 
 
Jordan
Dinner clean up
Trash out/
Feed Dog
Dinner clean up
Feed Dog/
Set Dinner Table
Unload Dishwasher
Do personal laundry
 
Caleb
Dinner clean up
Unload dishwasher
Dinner clean up
Unload dishwasher
 
Trash out/Feed
Dog
Do personal laundry
 
Zach
Set Dinner Table
Feed Dog
Dinner clean up
Feed Dog/ Set Dinner Table
Dinner clean up
Dinner clean up
Do
Personal
laundry
 
Dad
 
Unload dishwasher
 
Dinner clean up
Unload dishwasher
Dinner
Clean up
Take care of Dinner
Feed Dog
Feed Dog
Of course you would want to personalize your chore list and adapt it to fit your needs and family.  This simple schedule solved a lot of arguments amongst the boys regarding chores, etc.  This is just a couple of things that I did that seemed to make the crazy work week more peaceful. Other things we did were:
*Have everyone lay out their clothes the night before
*The boys would pack their backpack and things for school the night before and put by door
*Have quiet time 30 minutes before official bed time (they could read their bible or a book, color, or anything quiet in their room....when our boys were real young, Chad would read the Bible to them in their room.)
*Pack lunches or snacks before bed time
 
I hope some of these ideas will help you!  Remember, God does not call us to do something and then expect us to do it without His strength.  It can be tough taking care of home and working out all day long.  I want to encourage you to always put God and time with Him first.   When God is first priority you will be surprised how much more smoother your day will go!