Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year...New You...More or Less

Are you a goal setter? I like to refer to myself as a list maker...and on any given day, some of the stuff on that list gets done and other things, well...don't. On the large scale of New Year's Resolutions, I have failed so miserably over the years, that I don't even like to think about making lofty goals...and yet, every year I find myself trying to figure out how I am going to achieve the ideas and dreams that are floating around in my head.

So this year I've jumped on the bandwagon and chosen one word to describe what I'd like to achieve this year. I thought long and hard ( was really only 30 minutes) to think of a word that would encompass what my heart and mind truly desired. Over the last months I have had some time to think about what my heart was desiring, even needing at this stage in my life...and easily I knew that word that encapsulated my thoughts was "less".

And I have to say with the word "less" there is a bit of guilt...guilt because the world needs so much more...more Jesus, more love, more understanding, more truth, more kindness..and here I am saying "less in '16"....but honestly....for me...this is a year of cutting back on the things that don't matter so that I can give more. I've felt almost suffocated by stuff and pride and waste and conflict that I don't think I can do another 2015. 

So this is the year of intentionally living a less of me lifestyle...and all that entails...spending, calories, stuff, shopping, waste, worry, striving to please others, conflict...and anything else that robs, destroys or kills the "more" abundant life that Jesus wants me to be living. 

How about you? What's God prompting you to do in 2016? Do you make resolutions? Goals? Share in the comments section...and let's cheer each other on this do more of what really matters!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I'm not sure if you're hearing Adele or Lionel when you hear me say "hello", but it really doesn't matter because I'm just about over the moon to be back in the blogosphere. The last 9 months have been full.. Full of a lot of things that to be honest, have been hard. I hope I've come out on the other side of things a better reflection of Christ. To be honest... I don't know why he bothers with me sometimes... An opinionated, strong willed, reflective, quick-witted daughter of His... Who hardly has things figure out at 43 years of age... But these last months have truly showed me a glimpse of the magnitude of His love for me. I hope to put into words how good He has been and how He's working things out for my good. I also hope to return to sharing motherhood stories, frantic menu planning, good reads, comedy from the parsonage and provide a good place for you to land to recharge and be reminded of how precious you are in the eyes of your creator..and of course with my transparency I'm hoping you feel better about the laundry, dishes and sock basket waiting on you!

See you soon! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Finding Balance in the Everyday

I am the last person who should be blogging about balance.

But God's been teaching me some important lessons these last weeks and I've got to record them...even if it's just for me...but most times...I know others who are a little off balance (LOL) and maybe these God lessons can help you too.

I realized I was off balance years ago. It's when I fell head first in love with crocheting....and I decided in a 48 hour period of time I would crochet 20 cotton dishrags so I could give one to every lady in our tiny church in Beaumont. Which meant I would spent 20 of the next 48 hours crocheting. And in the remainder hours I would tend to my household responsibilities, make the food for the ladies meeting and decorate for the meeting....and maybe...just maybe sleep a few hours. So I crocheted and crocheted and crocheted...until my arms were about to fall off my body. And then I cooked and decorated and hosted the ladies gathering and then I slept(after it was over)...I was a mess by the time the event started....sleep deprived, sore "no please don't hug me" arms, and giddy with exhaustion. Not the good giddy...the kind where everything is funny....hysterically funny....I knew I had bit off more than I could chew.

But yet, I've done it again....countless times actually. But now it's different. There are other people who are watching me juggle, hear me complain when I am tired and most of all are taking in my attitudes towards serving them and others. Now...the stakes are higher. So I've got to get this in check.

God's been teaching me something about this balance. About being called into service of my family first, then any other ministries He sets before me. As a wife, my first duties are to Bruce. And then the kids....yes....then the kids...after Bruce. Not a popular stand at all to take in our kid-first society but I'm gonna tell you something....If he's not first (after God) then you're doing it wrong. Savannah and Tucker see the way we treat each other, how we speak about each other and how we serve each other. Statistics show they will choose spouses largely on what they see from their own parents....Scary, huh? I'm blessed with a husband who treats me like a queen. I'm a very fortunate wife.

The second thing in the balancing of everyday is that my kids don't need everything right now. They might think they do, but if I can teach them that life isn't an emergency and that patience in living and getting and giving is the way to go then I will have added balance to their lives and mine. The urgency they might feel to acquire something can be great insights into what they value and even to some degree what they idolize. There are great spiritual truths to be talked through and taught through if we take the time.

Lastly, I'm finding balance in my service to others. There are many groups of people in the Bible that we are told to serve. The widows, orphans, hungry, outcast, the grieving, the heartbroken.... to name a few. I have no choice but to find something to do to serve these ...I've been commanded's not a choice...In's a sign that I have in some form true religion....true relationship with the Lord. How I serve them can be done in a variety of ways....but there's one thing for sure....I can't accomplish that if my life is so full of other stuff that I can't do or think or pray or meet with them.

I'm thankful for the lessons God's taught me in the midst of my unbalance....I'm thankful He can see this mixed up heart and know the motives of a woman who takes on too much, juggles more than she should and takes her eyes of the one who walks on water because she sees a cruise ship off in the distance. He rescues me in spite of my spiritual ADDness and give me great hope that He who has begun a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. Thank you Jesus.

What about you....what gets you sidetracked? What leaves you feeling off kilter? How do you stay balanced?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Helping Our Kids Overcome Rejection

I was twelve the first time I remember being rejected or treated unkindly by people I trusted. I had fallen into a group of mean girls without really knowing it. Until I became their prey. I remember how I felt when I finally realized I was the butt of all their jokes. I remember that awful sinking feeling. I remember wondering if everyone else had seen it coming...or better yet, were they all laughing too. It was horrible...and not in the mom can take me to get ice cream and it will be all better then sense. The feelings were long lasting...and eventually influenced the way I made friends in the future.

So here I am 30 ....30 long years later. And I am beginning to face these same issues with my own kids. And it hurts almost as bad worse than it did back in 1984. And it isn't gender specific. In fact Tucker was hurt before Savannah was....which seemed a little weird to me. But it happened.

The thing is, I can't change the fact that the world is full of mean, unkind, careless and thoughtless people who do not filter their words. In fact, sadly, if I am honest, I've even contributed to that audience before. But what I can do is train/discipline my kids to respond correctly and Biblically when treated in a less than desirable way.

Here's a few things I am working on....maybe they will help you with your kids too:

1. Consider immediate forgiveness. If it's something that is trivial could I forgive them quickly and minimize damage to the relationship? Sometimes this can happen if it's a first time offense or if kids were just joking and took it a little too far. Sometimes we don't have to make it a big deal.

2. Consider the source. Is this someone who lacks self-control with their words? Were they showing off, trying to one up someone else? Don't feel like you have to correct a fool. They don't take it well.

3. Is there truth to what's been said? Even if said with hurtful intentions, sometimes we can grow if we can sift the truth from what's been said.

4. Is it habitual? Is the meanness a pattern that is present consistently in the person's life? Is that the type of person you want to be known with?

5. Process the words said to/about you. Is that what God thinks about you? What does His word say about you? His words are the most important the only ones that matter.

6. How can you communicate with the offender that He/She has hurt you? What if they don't care? What if they just continue? Sometimes they might not even know they hurt you. Sometimes they might not have been paying attention.

7. No matter how hurt you are, you can always be kind. Sometimes kindness is quiet and sometimes the kindest thing you can do is confront. But whatever you do, react is such a Christ-like manner that it is obvious you are coming out of great love for them. Sometimes your gentle spirit might be just the thing God uses to soften their hearts.

So many time I hear parents say, "Find new friends", or "We'll show them", or "Sticks and stones...", but the facts are that if we don't teach our kids how to process the world's actions on their lives, we will raise our own generation of "mean" kids....because they do not know who they are in Christ. They will retaliate with the same meanness and hatred and pride that mean kids do will look no different and the cycle will continue.

Let's take the time to invest in our kids the Biblical way God designed for us to handle our differences. His word is full of instruction on that. He has not left us in the dark.

I'd love to hear how you help your kids cope with rejection, mean kids, hurtful words....leave a comment if you've got a tip.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Allergies, Paralysis and Snow

About three weeks ago I came down with a severe case of "allergies".

About 2 weeks ago I became paralyzed by exhaustion from the "allergies" (AKA coughing)

Then it snowed. Like three times in two weeks. In Texas.

So that's where I've been.

But I'm back now.

Because the snow is melting.

And the meds are working.

And I'm gaining energy every day.

I've even considered spring cleaning. Now don't get all excited....I'm not going all Martha Stewart spring cleaning....I'm just talking about maybe taking the cushions off the couch and giving them a good vacuuming or wiping down the walls around the light switches or maybe....maybe cleaning the stove. But don't hold me to any of that because....

What I really want to do is get out and plant some flowers and some veggies in my yard. I'm ready to start getting the pool cleaned up and the concrete bleached and the weeds pulled. It's time....hurry up spring.

I'm motivated at every change of season....and I really love fall and winter...but this year more than others I need to see new life, I need to see God's creation blooming, I need to see how He raises the dead to life and how the wilted and brittle landscaped are revived by His calendar. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that winter doesn't last forever. That new and beautiful life is just around the corner.

So if the winter blues....full of colds and flu and allergies and below freezing temperatures have you down....hold on...remember He makes all things new.....hope is on the way.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What My True Love Looks Like

I hardly ever talk about my marriage relationship. Pretty sure I don't want to gag anyone with my bragging on how great Bruce is....but, whatever, it's Valentines Day and it seems like maybe you could cut me a little slack or take an Imodium if you feel here goes!

True love...

1. True love realizes that I am not perfect and so instead of pointing out and keeping track of my mistakes...he manages to help me laugh at myself and find humor in the everyday.

2. True love realizes that I know nothing about cars and so instead of even asking me to register it, change the oil in it, change the wiper fluid in it, or even clean it out....He takes care of it. About all I do is gas it up....and most of the time I don't do that...he does.

3. True love helps with house work because I help with church work. We both feel equally called to home and church. I LOVE that about Him.

4. True love is invested in our kids. He spends time with them having fun, learning and working. I am not training them alone.

5. True love establishes boundaries. He says "no" when He needs to and "yes" when he can.

6. True love sets a good example. I learn from him daily. He's forgiving and energizing and loving....all things that sometimes don't come easy for an insecure skeptic.

7. True love doesn't always have to be right. Even when He is. He can back off, down or turn around in matters of trivial pursuit.

8. True love irons his own clothes...and everyone else's in the family-- after I match them all up.

9. True love doesn't buy me flowers....because he knows I'd rather have his time....building raised beds outside for fresh flowers and veggies.

10. True love loves God more than me. And I'm good with that...because by loving His father more he can love me more.

Sometimes when we are young we forget to look for all the lovely ways our beloved loves us. For me...I spent many Valentines Days disappointed that I didn't get what someone else got, or I didn't get to go to a fancy smancy restaurant or on a trip. And then I started keeping track of my gifts and then I realized....Bruce loves me in our own way....Our lives are busy and when he lessens my load....He's taking care of me...When he is training our kids....He's taking care of our earthly investment that God gave us....When He backs off in an argument....He's saying...he loves me enough to humble himself....When He laughs with me....He reminds me that life is about enjoying all these moments...not just the perfect ones.

And since our love is messy....I'm thankful for every imperfect moment that we share.

So today or tomorrow or whenever you celebrate....remember it's about all the moments....not just the ones that happen on February 14.

For us....we are headed to the funeral home....with our kids to say goodbye to a man I've never met...but love because of what his investment with his family has given the world....A man who raised and invested in a son, who raised and invested in his two sons, that are investing their lives in the ministries of our church here and in a third world country. That's some true love worth celebrating!

See...true love never really dies.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Baby Jesus is Still Here

Why is there such an excitement to decorate and get things ready at Christmastime? I find myself looking towards Christmas as soon as all the stores start putting out the merchandise....which of course is earlier and earlier every year. I start looking at recipes, using Pinterest to organize my craft projects and flipping through magazines for the latest fads in achieving the best look for our home. I really love the holidays....until they are over.

Then there's the dreaded untrimming of the tree, the sprigs of evergreen that are forEVER embedded in your carpet. The hauling away of the dead tree or the packing up of the artificial tree. The The dust that seems to be covering everything and the lights.....don't even get me started on the lights. And while the end result is that everything is tidied up and back in is A LOT of work. ...maybe that's when they should serve the eggnog.....Ok...only joking!!!!

This year I thought I had just about remembered to get everything back up to the attic and out to storage shed in one day. Bruce had helped and the kids had "participated" in helping. We had it knocked out in a couple of hours. Until later that day I went outside and realized I had forgotten the nativity set off the front porch. No biggie....I just brought them into the foyer and figured we get them upstairs soon.

Until "soon" still hasn't happened. Baby Jesus is still here. In the foyer. By the front door. His little naked body swaddled up greeting everyone as they come and go. My piano students find it comical. I find it ... comical and a little reassuring. Jesus is still here.

Jesus doesn't leave because we wrap and pack Him up. He's with our coming and goings. He's profusely aware of us....and sometimes..just like on the porch at Christmas, I forget He's even here at all. No...He's not in baby form anymore.....but His spirit is in my heart....always. His presence filling each space.

So maybe you've forgotten about Jesus after Christmas...He's packed away safe and secure until next Christmas season. It isn't too late to remember...For our family that means we have a small nativity out all year long in our dining room. Sure...people ask about it but that's even better...we get to share the story. Maybe you can find someway to remind yourself that Jesus is still here....that He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Am Afraid

I've lived a lot of my life being careful...

careful not to offend...
to be nice...
to act right...
to take the high road...
to keep my nose clean...

But I've done these things mostly because I've been afraid..

Afraid I would offend you
Afraid I wouldn't be accepted
Afraid I would be misunderstood
Afraid I wouldn't be liked
Afraid I would turn you away from Jesus
Afraid I'd get in trouble

But I'm kind of over it.

It has gotten me no where.

And as I've been studying God's word about really isn't biblical.

Kindness is God's way....but so is honesty.
And sometimes kindness isn't niceness.

Truth is God's way....and sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow.
But it doesn't change the fact that lies and half-truths and anti-biblical opinions are poison.

Acceptance with man is a far cry from acceptance with God.
And He accepts me....a freckly faced southern girl that is insecure and unsure.
Who never knows quite the right thing to do, say or wear..  so she plays it safe. Nice.

But lately my fears are changing....

I'm afraid if I don't walk in love and truth and boldness that my daughter might not either.

I'm afraid if I don't learn to speak with that balance of truth and love that HIS voice might not be the one heard after I'm gone.

I'm afraid if church is just someplace I go because as the pastor's wife it's the right thing (yes, even me)...that I will have led a life full of Sunday's and Wednesdays that are nothing but hypocrisy.

I'm afraid if all I contribute to this world is niceness...then my influence will disappear like a I NEVER really lived.

I'm afraid if all my son sees is a mother who allows herself to be ruled by her emotions then he will not be equipped when choosing a spouse for himself one day.

I'm afraid that God will find every work I've done on this earth just smoldering pathetic pile of ashes because I was so worried if you would like me or not.'s been like a wake-up call. And not a fun one. But these are fears that need to overtake me...not the ones that are full of self absorbed "I's".

So's time ....time to be afraid for the right reasons.

What about you? Do you struggle with people-pleasing? With thinking being nice is always the right way?  Do you allow mistruths to define you because you are too afraid of the cost of confrontation? Do you worry about your kids seeing your insecurities?

Let's make a pact..let's pray for each other...let's seriously consider the damage we are doing in our homes and in our communities.....and let's turn it around. Let's be willing to talk about the tough stuff but instead of worrying about our feelings ....worry about what God says. Let's quit being offended and be Biblical. Let's worry about teaching our kids to weigh it all by the scale of God's Word...not emotions, or political correctness or niceness.

Let's quit being afraid about the wrong things.

I'm in....what about you?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

50 Shades of Dishonor

I like what Andy Stanley says, "If you miscalculate in your checkbook ledger, that's a mistake. If you have an affair, that's sin." Sometimes we confuse "mistakes" with "sin"...there's a difference.

I NEVER...or almost never jump on the bandwagon and point out particulars in our culture that I disagree with. Mainly because I am sickened by the pompous "Christian" culture that so many of these issues are laced with. But today, I'm throwing caution to the wind and begging you not to support the 50 Shades...of dishonor movie.

There are many reasons that I won't see it.  There's the sultry commercials that indicate it is full of unmarried sex which Biblical and cultural statistics say is unhealthy for long-lasting marriage. There's the basis of abuse which should make every woman rise up in bold and angry disdain. There's the fact that this man would view intimacy as a game of manipulation. And so many....many many more reasons...

But as a Christian...who does go to the movies...I cannot see this movie because of this....

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

You see....these images will be ingrained in your mind FOREVER. Much like the scene from a popular horror film (Children of the Corn)  I saw as a child and will never ever be able to forget....the images in 50 Shades...images of sensuality that were originally meant to be a lovely, God-honoring act, will be left as cheap, erotic images in your mind. 

And it won't be a will be sin. It's not like our whole nation doesn't know what's coming. We know. Every morning talk show is covering it. The news is antsy with anticipation. Magazines at the checkout are full of backstories and tips on spicing up your marriage. It was on the New York Best Seller list for 20 weeks...And society is sadly...excited. But as a Christian do we care about what God says about these things??....are these things true...according to scripture? are they honorable...according to scripture? are they just...according to scripture? are they pure...according to scripture? are they lovely....according to scripture? are they commendable....according to scripture? are they excellent...according to scripture? are they worthy of our praise...according to scripture?

I hope I'm hearing a resounding NO. Then why would I spend a couple of hours of my time, fully engrossed in capturing images into my mind....when they have no reason to be there. Why glorify sin? Why cheapen my marriage? Why discolor the beauty of sex in marriage by making something less that holy the standard for fulfillment? Why dishonor my husband by thinking of another man in a way that is full of lust and desire? Why allow for feelings of discontent to flood into our marriages? 

Listen....I'm not preaching to the unsaved....I'm talking to those who know better....those who for reasons of entertainment, or girls night out, or ladies night will go see this movie...and the next day or week be sitting in our churches and in our homes wondering why we feel so disconnected to our husbands. Wondering why we feel dirty. Wondering why I feel ashamed. Wondering why my heart and soul found the need to engage willfully in the pleasure of sin for a season. Don't do it. Don't allow ungodliness to be your standard. Don't allow for the devil to pervert God's gift of sex in marriage. Don't allow erotica and dishonor and abuse and impurity to cloud the beauty of what God has given you with your own husband. 

And for single girls....PLEASE....don't lose your purity over this movie...because purity is lost in way more ways than the sexual act. Save yourself...every part of you....your eyes....your ears...your body...for the one God is preparing for you. God has something pure and holy ready for you within His plan. He loves you enough to have established a standard that would both protect you, bring you great joy and satisfied your God given desire to love another person completely. He has someone waiting for you! Don't spoil yourself. Don't bring 50 Shades actors into your future marriage. 

The mind is powerful. Images stay with us forever. God knew that...and that's why He said to be careful of what we spend out time thinking about. It's for our protection and ultimately His glory. Glorify God in your marriage and your mind. Don't go see 50 Shades. Don't cheapen what God created to be beautiful.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Bribe

My son...

"Mom....I'll treat you to a large diet coke with my Sonic gift card if you don't make me do math today."

I say, "No, Tucker"

He replies, "What if I wrap 8 crispy dollar bills around that Sonic gift card?"

"No, Tucker"

He asks.... "For realz.....How can you resist me??"

"I don't know son...I don't know. Because after homeschooling you today....I could sure use a diet coke!"

The bribe always looks good. And touches a spot in our lives that makes it very enticing. In my's diet coke. Trivial yes, but in a weird way, that drink had become an idol. I didn't think I could make it through a day without 1 or 5. And Tucker knows this has been a source of extreme discipline in our home over the last month. On January 1, I declared our home a diet coke free zone. "Don't bring it in the house", I declared. And so I've managed to control my cravings by the sheer absence of the drink....and an economy size bottle of aspirin for my detox headaches.

Temptation comes in many forms....not just bottled up in my 9 year old son. He's hilarious...but uses the same tactics as the enemy...who doesn't happen to be so hilarious or cute. I just happened to be very aware of Tucker's tactics....and not always so aware of the enemy's tactics. Why???....because I watch Tucker like a hawk. He's nine. He's a have to. Unfortunately I don't have that same awareness with the enemy. And yet...he's out to devour a kill, steal and destroy me and my family....and I'm not even paying attention to all the traps He sets for me.

The trap of laziness
The trap of going through the motions
The trap of parenting from the couch
The trap of anger
The trap of negative thinking
The trap of worry

And so many more that the devil wants us to fall into.

So how do we avoid the traps?? Here's a couple of things I know work...and I'm sure there are more...

1. Get in God's Word....because light reveals darkness.

2. Pause....Andy Stanley has a great series that we are studying in small group...He believes...and I do too, that many temptations could be successfully overcome by pausing and thinking about the cost to your future, your family and your faith. I agree.

3. Look for the way of escape. In other words....WAKE UP. Look around...what are your other options?

So next time you're tempted to take the bribe...drink the diet coke, cave in the the craving, spout off in anger or worry over something you have no control over....think about a Savior...who has already come to your rescue...paid for those things your tempted with...and look for the way out...the way He has already prepared....and kick the enemy to the curb.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Artificial Intelligence

I am not into science...or anything related to it. I don't even really know how I made it out of high school without a better knowledge....oh wait...yes I do. Artificial intelligence. It's the same way I've gotten through many predicaments in my life. Knowing just enough to get by. (Computers, math, crafting, gardening....the list could go on....I bring the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" to a whole new level.)

But it seems like God has a sense of humor and since I homeschool a seventh grader and third grader, I'm having to study science again....and artificial intelligence is not getting me through this. It's getting real...the struggle, the disinterest, the boredom of science. I'm sorry I've tried. It's hard to understand and frankly I don't wanna...I want to go read a good book or pluck my eyes out or pull weeds.....anything...but science.

I recently found myself having those similar words with God over an issue in His Word. You know the ones we like to skim over. For me, it's the ones that I struggle with the most....the ones that talk about my sin, my hurts, my failures, my disasters...I like to just read over those verses in righteous artificial intelligence and go on to the ones that talk about someone else's sin or just make me feel better. I want to hear all about God's grace and love and His care for me....but I don't want to dwell too long when He's talking about a sin I struggle with or He strikes a nerve. I don't want to understand my sin or what His word says about it any more than I do science...really.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe we should walk freely...out of bondage and embracing the things of God that make us live differently. I believe we should be changed by what we've experienced so that we don't walk with our heads hung in guilt and shame. But in that same gasping breath I want to also say that I believe we don't like to think too long on what we've been rescued from and every now and then, it's good to park it for a little bit and remember the goodness and faithfulness of Jesus. To pause over those hard verses. To reflect.

When I read over a verse in the Bible that hurts me a's a reminder that He is still working on me..that I am a grand design...that I have more to learn. It reminds me of where He's brought me from. It's humbling. And instead of skimming or skipping over it because it is hard, uncomfortable, uninteresting, boring or (cough, cough) convicting, I'm trying to stay there for a moment....trying to figure the scripture out...trying to be uncomfortable in His presence....IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE sometimes....and while He is my greatest friend....He is also my Holy Lord...and I am so not...holy sometimes. And that makes it uncomfortable.

At the the last breath....I don't want an artificial intelligence. I don't want to be the faker...who knows all the good verses and can get to Hezekiah the fastest (don't's not there) ...the one who can spit out scripture but has no real personal understanding of the work of God in their own life because they've skimmed and skipped over verses that were hard or challenging or convicting. I want wisdom and knowledge and discretion. And I will only get that by becoming a student of Jesus and His Words....not by pulling a science stunt...and just getting by with the help of a few notecards and a friend who takes good notes. I've got to dig in myself...stick it out in the awkward and hard and uncomfortable places and THEN....those verses about grace and love and peace and comfort mean infinitely more to me because I see where He's brought me from.

And I don't know about you....but there's nothing artificial about that.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Menu Monday

Hope your week is off to a great start....Here's what's cooking at our house this week:

Monday- White Chicken Enchilada Bake

Tuesday- Baked Ziti

Wednesday- Chicken Alfredo Bake

Thursday- Cilantro Lime Chicken

Friday- Slow Cooker Chicken

I used the recipes from A Passion for Savings. She has the grocery list already made for you, the recipes and the directions if you want to make ahead and freeze. Super resource!

By the way, I made the Teriyaki Beef and Broccoli over the weekend....and it was fantastic...served it over rice. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

You Can Only Wash Your Face with Antibacterial Soap for So Long...

Romans 12:2- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I stated in an earlier post in January that I got some pretty good facial wash for Christmas from my sister. It's supposed to be renewing my skin....taking off the dead scaly skin and rejuvenating my skin to look like I'm 16 again...or hey...I'll take 26 or even 36!!! You can only use that hand soap on the bathroom counter so many years before it starts taking a toll on your skin. And after more than 20 years of just using whatever I had, I noticed my skin wasn't handling it as good as it did in my first 2 decades....the last two have not been as kind! LOL. My skin was dry, scaly, blemished, the wrinkles were more defined and there were even uneven skin tones (GASP).

So after a month of using the miracle facial wash, guess what?

They are all still there.


Yes, you heard right.....because it's going to take more than a month to heal the damage I've done to my skin all these years. In fact, it might never heal completely. There will be remnants that only I know about...maybe a scar or a dry patch or even something I cover up with concealer (which I just bought my first tube of EVER this past weekend....because I finally replaced the lightbulb over the mirror in the bathroom and I was like WOAH Girl! You need some gotta cover those dark circles up pronto). It's going to be a long ongoing process.

And that's how it is spiritually speaking...The "ing" in renewing in Romans 12:2,  makes this word unending. It's a continual process of renewing our minds...cleansing and rejuvenating. It's a habitual practice of hydrating our lives with the Living Water. No book, or commentary or well known teacher or even your preacher can renew your mind (I know this because I'm married to my preacher and he's been trying to change my mind about football for about 22 years now...and it's not worked yet!)-- It's just not possible for someone else to renew my mind....It's a process I have to be in the habit of making happen. Just like cleansing my skin everyday....The process of renewing my mind only happens when I am consistently obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the commands found in His Word,  to clean up the dirty, dry, scaly places in my life.

So maybe you, like me, sometimes find yourself feeling old, dried up, scaly or dirty....remember renewing your a process that is ongoing. It's not a one time face lift that happened at salvation. It is part of our sanctification process. We have not arrived. We are a work in progress....and one day we will be perfectly complete (Praise the LORD!)...but until then, we've got to get into the daily routine of taking care of our minds....focusing on the things of God and allowing His Spirit to heal the broken places and renew us.

Just like there are benefits to taking good care of your face....there are good benefits to renewing our says "That ye may be able to know the good and perfect and pleasing will of God". That's a benefit none of us can really afford to miss.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against antibacterial soap....when used serves a great purpose...just like books and speakers and preachers and your mom's advice. It's when we place our trust in those things and depend on them to renew us that we buy into the lie that something other  than Jesus can do that job. And that isn't happening. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When You Missed Menu Monday...and it's Tuesday Afternoon's this for you...I didn't menu plan for this week. I usually do that on Saturday when I have a little time to peruse Pinterest or at least flip through my Taste of Home magazine stash...or call my mom for a recipe. But Saturday I spent the morning at Costco....which might have you thinking....why didn't you pick up groceries then? Well....because I am a failure....I was overwhelmed and it was crowded...and I didn't have a list and I wasn't sure what was a good buy and what wasn't... wait....I'm remembering now...I did pick up 4 pounds of bacon. I mean...every family has its priorities right? we are sitting at Tuesday afternoon. I am eating a cookie that has Christmas decorations on it....yes....gross. Tucker just ate a second bowl of cereal and I'm pretty sure Savannah just drank the pickle juice out of the jar. EPIC Fail.

Bruce is picking up Dairy Queen on the way home.

So what do you do when you think you're a failure?

I've tried nearly everything to recover from failure before...

Eat my way out.
Cry my eyes out.
Hide out.
Shout out.

But honestly, I know that although all those things feel good for a little bit. That ultimately they don't fix anything. Someone a long time ago told me this...or a version of this (my mind is reeling from the enormous amount of sugar I just had from the Christmas cookie...)

------Sift the truth from the failure....Could you have planned better, acted better, done better?
------Throw away the lies.....What didn't you have control over? What was out of your hands? What is the enemy feeding you that isn't true?
------Use the truth to build for a better decision next time. What does God's Word say about it?
------Forgive yourself and forgive others

And while menu planning isn't going to make the world stop turning...there have been things in my life I have failed miserably at and I've needed to take a serious look at so they didn't happen again. I've had to forgive myself when it was easier to beat myself up. I've had to examine the feelings of failure and reject the lies of "You're not a good enough "menu planner", mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend..." And use the truth to walk uprightly and with confidence that better days are ahead...No, we aren't starting a steady diet of pickle juice and stale Christmas cookies....meat and veggies is in the near future. I am not the worst mom in the world.

And while I jest about much of this...isn't this true for the times of real defeat? There's nothing better that the devil wants than for us to be down for the count because we failed. Newsflash....I'm going to fail. So are you. So is your kid, your boss, your husband, your parents.  So just know that God has a purpose in the failure. What is it?  Growth is a pretty sure answer. There's always room to grow. There's always room to improve. There's always room to get closer to the one with all the answers.

And meanwhile...Dairy Queen for dinner is not the worst thing that can happen....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

To Encourage

Maybe you need a world that is messy and torn and broken...

Friday, January 23, 2015

How Prayer Changes Me

Trying to understand prayer is one of the great challenges of being a Christian. Sometimes I think of prayer as a Star Trek of a prayer beamed to Jesus who then beams it up to God on my behalf. Sometimes I think I just talk to the Lord and leave it there like a grocery list that He can choose to fill or not. And other times I feel like a big mess blubbering my heart out to God and it's more like a counseling session where I'm laying on the couch and He's quietly taking notes in the chair.

So you see, I don't really have the whole process of prayer figured out. But what I do know is this:

1. I feel better after I pray. There is a peace that passes understanding when you leave your life in the hands of God.

2. I forgive easier after I pray. When I realize the great patience and grace and long-suffering it must take God to manage my own life, I find it easier to give those things to others. I want to be forgiven easily so why would I withhold forgiveness to those who want it from me. I want God to give me grace when I've had a bad day or when I've slipped up or when I've been grumpy (AKA..sinned) why would I withhold that same grace towards others in my life.

3. I sin differently after I pray. I still sin, but it's different. I am more aware, hopefully more careful of the way I walk and talk and live. I still sin but it's usually less intentionally. I am more aware of God's presence when I am consistently in prayer with Him. His nearness helps me make wiser decisions, better and clearer choices. Am I perfect....obviously no...just more aware...walking in closer communion.

4. I worship differently after I pray. When I am drawn into God's presence in prayer there is no way that I can be the same. When I acknowledge His greatness, His majesty and His sovereignty, humility and awe easily take over and my worship of Him is changed from what He can do for who HE  is.

5. I am more thankful after I pray. How can I not be? I have a Savior who intercedes on my behalf. Unconditional love oozing from a Heavenly Father. A God who cares for me enough to correct me and guide me. A never sleeping always available ear to hear my heartaches and my requests and my petition for others....I mean can I not be more thankful each time I pray!

While this is not an exhaustive list of the process of is surely a starting place to recognize the pleasure and the privilege of a prayer relationship with our Lord. I'm thankful that He designed this process and desires to hear my voice in worship and confession and prayers and petition.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Home or Away

I am a stay at home wife/mom.

It sounds small doesn't it??? most of the time....I add, but my husband's a pastor and I teach piano lessons and I'm a small group leader and I homeschool my all that is going to get me more street cred with the working moms or other SAHM.

And that's just LAME.

Some women want to work outside the home. I have loved teaching and secretarial work that I did during the first 19 years of marriage. I have found satisfaction and have enjoyed the extra income and the adult interaction. I also know the struggle to balance the schedules and take care of my family and ladies that work outside the home are heroes of your own right. I know much of it is out of necessity and I applaud you for the personal sacrifices that you make for your family. I am also aware that some of you LOVE your work....and what could be better ...getting paid for what you love to do?

But a couple of years ago, God opened the door for me to stay at home. And I was ready to walk through it. Although I loved my job, I felt, for me, my place was at home. This doesn't make me better or worse of anything.....I just am telling you my story.

So, while I am a relatively new SAHM....with just two years under my are a few things I have learned....maybe they can help someone else out there that feels like they need to add an addendum to their SAHM title.

1. I am smart. Just because I stay at home all day, doesn't make me stupid. Now before you go thinking that someone has told me I am one has....except maybe me. I see women who have climbed to the top of their employment ladders and I'll be honest, sometimes I feel small and simple because I don't know the ins and outs of business or nursing or law or teaching. But no other woman has ever called me stupid....except that other woman in the mirror. And that woman is not telling the truth. She's underestimating my ability to balance our bank accounts and plant a garden and get a stain out of any article of clothing. She forgets that I read and watch the news and follow Fox News on Facebook.

2. I am creative. I may not be designing the next best website or the interior of some gorgeous hotel, but I was made in the image of a creative God and that makes me a creative being. In the past I have felt guilty for wanting to be creative...for spending money on being creative and even taking the time to do something beautiful. These are all thoughts that the enemy (devil) wants to encompass us with so that we will not glorify God with our creativity.

3. I am tired...sometimes. Not all the time...but there are days that after I've finished school and made lunch and picked up the house that my body is tired. And ...sometimes I lay my head back and take a 15 minute charge nap. And everybody thanks me. Believe me.  It's better this way.

4. I occasionally leave the house. LOL...There's myths on both sides of this coin. Some believe that SAHM are never really home..they are out lunching and shopping. And then there's the other side...the side of homebound, shriveled up, housecoat wearing SAHM. I joke but it's funny that some people believe it can only be these two ways. I find that when I need to get out I do...and when I don't I am more than content to stay home.

5. I am not necessarily a good cook just because I stay home. This is an area that June Cleaver didn't help us in....all dressed up when Ward came home every night, dinner and the paper waiting on his attention.....LOL. My poor man. I am an average cook. Am in constant search for better recipes and would never claim to know my way around the kitchen too well. Just because I am a SAHM does't mean the magic ladle fell down and ordained me a good cook. Although a girl can wish and better herself.

And my list could go on and on.

I wrote this because sometimes as women we can presume to know why someone stays home or why someone works out in the workforce...but the truth is....we need to stop. Stop worrying about how others are inclined, stop worrying that some women might not have a home cooked meal on the table for Taco Tuesday, stop wondering how they afford to do this or that. And we need to just encourage each other. Lend a hand if we can and rejoice when someone gets a promotion at work or when someone's cake doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Go get 'em ladies! Do your thing...whatever it is that God has called you to....home or away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The January blues, the thick of raising kids, responsibilities, service, church, education, work, food....

All areas of my life that I have a habit of feeling underwhelmed in. Ever been there...You start out...excited...anticipating and then something happens. I remember my first day of excited. I had new clothes, new books, I was out on my own living in a dorm, I had $1000 in the bank that I had saved and the world was my canvas. I remember our first ever church job. The excitement of planning youth activities and getting to know the members. I remember household remodels that started out soooo paint, new moldings, new looks.

And then the mundane ordinary regular old days set in. The tests come, the youth work gets hard, the remodel costs more than expected. And instead of feeling excited and happy and energized. You feel tired and underwhelmed by the project or circumstance. It lacks the sparkle, the shine, the magazine look.

But let me tell you something. Life happens on the ordinary days. Beautiful life happens in the thick of the remodel. Projects come to life with hard work and determination. Babies become children and then become adults smack dab in the middle of dirty diapers and crazy schedules and messy buns and driver's ed. Life isn't all mountain top experiences. If we lose the days spent in the valleys or on the climb we've lost much. I've got to pay attention to God's hand everyday..not just the days that are wonderful, overwhelming beautiful and perfectly put together. I need to watch Him work on test days, and bad weather days and construction days and diaper days.

He's up to something. He's looking down on the landscaping of our lives. He sees the bigger picture. He knows where the next mountain is. And in the underwhelmed and ordinary steps of life, we can trust His skills. His navigation is perfection. I don't need to give up or give in.

Psalm 139:7-10 says,
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

If you're a child of God...pretty much this means you cannot get rid of Him. His spirit is with us in every situation, good or bad. In the overwhelmed and the underwhelmed and every tiny place in-between. It's too much to even take in..kind of overwhelming, huh?

Maybe you've heard this song... It's become one of my favorites lately.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Menu monday

The big hit last week was the new roast recipe we tried. I added potatoes and carrots and an onion and it was pretty yummy.

This week on menu is...

Monday- sausage, green beans, pasta salad

Tuesday- chicken spaghetti

Wednesday- potato soup

Thursday- chicken pot pie

Friday- breakfast for dinner (brinner)

Happy eating!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Funnies...

Heard at my house this week....

"Savannah, I'll give you three dollars if you will do my chores until the rapture". - Tucker.

Good gravy. Apparently there have been a few weeks in Sunday School that the class has covered end times. I'm not sure if Tucker believes Jesus is coming soon...and that's why he low balled his sister...or if Savannah doesn't think He's coming soon and that's why she declined the offer. But either way...I'm going with the fact that at least they both believe HE IS COMING BACK!

And He is...and that's not really a subject for Friday Funnies....maybe more appropriate for a Terrific Tuesday!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stained Carpets and Clogged Toilet Hospitality

Hospitality is...(according to the yahoo online dictionary)
n. noun
1. Cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests.
2. An instance of cordial and generous treatment of guests.

I've thought a lot about this recently. Over the holidays we welcomed over 60 people into our home between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day...and it was wonderful and exhausting and refreshing and relaxing all in the same. Weird, huh?

Let me tell you though...hospitality has risks...spilled drinks, broken toys, messes to clean up, clogged toilets.....oh wait...speaking of.....

Right before our staff dinner in November (which is about 30 of us with all the kids)...I was freshening up in the master bath...when I flushed the toilet I turned around quickly to retrieve something out of the cabinet that hangs right above the toilet....and when I opened the door....out dropped my deodorant....flying through the air at just the right speed and angle to hit the toilet just as it was flushing and swooped it down the pipe. Are you kidding me???? NO! With ten minutes to spare...Bruce tried everything he knew...hand down the toilet (good thing I had just cleaned it), hanger.....nothing helped.

Now normally this might not be a problem...just wait til the guests leave and call a plumber...but when you live in a 115 year old's a problem. So after a few calls and an estimated 3 trillion dollars or $199 just to look at it...we called a friend...who rescued us....and just 30 minutes later had disconnected our toilet...retrieved the deo....and resealed the toilet to the ground. (I threw away the deodorant just in case you're wondering...and I know you were.) anyway...hospitality can be tricky. But according to the definition's not about how beautifully decorated your home is, or how nice your stuff is, or how good your grub is or even how well behaved your kids are. It has to do with how you treat the people who enter your home. That's hospitality. Now does help if your toilet's working....LOL.

Hospitality doesn't have to be regulated to your home. What about how people generally feel when in your they feel welcomed? special? What about at church? Am I welcoming and gracious and cordial? Or do I stay put...snug in "my" seat? I know these are hard questions but they need to be asked.

I've found myself in a rut before of making excuses for why I couldn't welcome people into my carpets are stained, I don't cook good enough, my windows need to be cleaned, my yard isn't landscaped.....blah blah blah.....There's a reason the Lord instructs us to meet together in our homes and to be hospitable. We need the fellowship and the encouragement of belonging....of being welcomed...of extending and receiving grace. (I Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2, Romans 12:13, Titus 1:8..and over 80 more verses....Look HERE.

Some of the best hospitality I've ever been exposed to has been impromptu, frozen pizza, single wide trailer, mix matched dishes, red beans and rice nothing too fancy....nothing intimidating....just good friendship and fellowship. And frankly I don't remember if the yard was landscaped or if the carpets were cleaned.

I always always always feel good after we've opened our home....always tired....but always good. It's a pleasure to make the meal...or order the pizza or do doesn't really have to be fancy or  time consuming. It's how the people feel when they leave. It's how I've treated them. It's how they've been encouraged. It's how they were given feel at home, to be served, to enjoy fellowship.

Can you think of someone that might need to feel those things? I know I can.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pinterest Project - Valentines

I saw a similar Valentine's wreath on Pinterest last weekend and thought I'd try my hand at making something cute for our front door.

What you'll need:

1 skein of yarn in color of your choice (I chose a wheat color)
3 sheets of felt...the kind precut in the craft department. I chose 1 each of red, white and pink
3 feet of string or yarn
Straight pins...I chose the kind with the pearl on the end, but they have them in white and an assortment pack...just pick something that matches your colors
1 straw wreath

So...wrap the yard around the wreath 1,000,000,000 times. My advice is to skip your morning workout because although it will be worth it in the end....your arm is going to hurt after this step. There's no shortcut...just do it.

Cut out hearts (about 2 inches tall by 3 inches wide) in various colors of felt. Create a pattern of your choosing

Secure the hearts with pins.

Take remaining string or yarn and criss cross it over the hearts in a pattern. Secure string with pins on the back side of wreath.

Use remaining pins as decorative dots around the wreath.

Super Easy! Let me know if you try it...I'd love to see pictures!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When God's Not Moving Fast Enough

Many Sunday mornings I am rushing my family out the door. Because of our commitments at church, the four of us are out the door by 7:45am every Sunday morning. Dressed, hair fixed, clothes ironed, teeth brushed....and ready to serve the Lord with gladness. Ha....I wish that were the case all the time.

Instead it goes something like this....

"Get UP! Get dressed! No! You're not wearing that! Hurry Up! Have you brushed your teeth? Put your shoes on....Yes, you have to wear socks. Comb your hair. Did you brush your teeth? Eat something! Who left the toilet seat up???!!! Did you turn the curling iron off? Everybody have your Bible? No, you can't have beef jerky for breakfast. Get to the car. Hurry Up. Lock the Door. Did you turn the iron off? Did you lock the back door? Did everybody eat....????"

No one sees this day with the urgency that I feel about it every single week. I prepare....but one moves quite fast enough for me. Everyone's just moseying around like they have all the time in the world. Everyone but me. I'm the one barking orders, stressing out, feeling anxious to get everyone out the door in time to recover from the hectic morning in the three minutes it takes us to drive into the church parking lot. Anybody with me??? Please tell me I am not alone!

The same thing's true with waiting on the Lord. I start out good. I plan...I plan to pray and read my Bible and I bookmark articles to read on waiting on God and I listen to all the latest and greatest Bible scholars talk about waiting on the Lord. And I stay focused and my patience stays intact. Until the Sunday Mornings of the waiting room. The days where there's more going on and I don't stay focused, and I don't pray and I don't plan for the anxiousness that is pounding in my heart....and then I start barking orders at God.

"I don't like this, God. I don't want to wait. I want this fixed now! Fix it God! Hurry Up! This doesn't feel good. I hate this! I don't want to pray....I don't want to read...I don't like your timing...I don't want to learn from the waiting. How could you care about me and leave me so lonely? Speed up Lord! Make something happen! I don't want to wait anymore. I'm tired. Worn out. Sad. Angry. Discouraged."

Every felt that way? I have. And I'm so thankful that God can handle my words...and my feelings. He understands our heartache.  And just like that three minute ride to church each week helps calm me down from a stress filled morning, after I have a moment to think about waiting on the Lord, my heart knows, that is really the only place I want to be. And I calm down, knowing He is in control. He's not lost track of time. He's not overdue. He's not left me lonely or forgotten.

These verses have comforted me in times that I've felt God wasn't working fast enough. May they encourage you also.

Psalm 27:13 – 14, NIV I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 37:7, NLT Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 27:14, NLT Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Philippians 4:6-7, ESV do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 33:20-22, ESV Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Menu Monday

I'm back at it...after week one of successfully eating at home and trying a few new recipes...the verdict is in....they liked everything I cooked and I've got a few new recipes that I'll be cooking again.

This is what I'll be cooking this week...

Monday- Baked Ziti, Salad, roasted carrots and zucchini

Tuesday- Roast, potatoes, carrots and onions

Wednesday- Pizza

Thursday- Chili, Rice

Friday- Chili Dogs and Potato Salad

Weekends are for leftovers, sandwiches and at least one (more like 2) meals out. Someone asked me about breakfast and I'll just be honest....the kids eat cereal and I eat a whole grain cinnamon raisin English muffin every.single.morning. Yes, we're boring. Lunch usually consists of leftovers or soup or sandwiches.

Last week I made this yummy fruit dip for our small group and was surprised when none of the ladies had ever made I am sharing it with you just in case you haven't realized the awesomeness of cream cheese and marshmallow whip. There it is...that's the recipe. I use my mixer and mix a jar of marshmallow whip and a soften block of cream cheese. Mix until it is cream. Chill until you're ready to dunk your fruit in it....or eat it with a spoon. Yummy....I have found strawberries, grapes and pineapple are my favorite fruits to use with this dip.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Whatcha Reading?

One of my goals for the new year was to read for enjoyment. I read....but usually it's in preparation for something....homeschooling, Bible study, teaching, small group, gardening. And although I am a little nerdy and do enjoy that....sometimes I remember how nice it is to get lost in a book for just a little bit...and I like that memory. So....I got a few books for Christmas....

Ok...I know...this might not sound enjoyable to just anyone...but for me...and Bruce this equals time together. We are looking forward to starting this book this week. Anyone read this already? 

Years ago I read everything I could get my hands on by Karen Kingsbury. Her early books and series were some of my favorites, so when I was thinking about reading for pleasure my mind immediately went back to Karen Kingsbury. Have you read anything by her? What's your favorite?

And my all time favorite fictional author is Francine Rivers....but again I haven't read anything since The Shofar Blew ...which was 2003... which basically means I quit reading for pleasure on a regular basis when I started having kids....which I think is pretty common....but I now need to gain some brain cells back...and I figure if I have time to read Facebook...well I have time to read.

Along with those three books, we are using Josh McDowell's family devotion book and Duck Dynasty's devotional with the kids each night at dinner. We're having some very lo-key discussions that are proving to be really great for our family.

So...what are you reading? Anything good out there that's a must read for 2015?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Favorite Things to Give- Christmas Edition 2014

Last week I wrote about a few of my favorite things that I received as gifts for Christmas. And as are a few gifts I gave that I absolutely loved!

This necklace stole my heart....mainly because my good friend Jaime is a missionary to Papua New Guinea and it reminded me of what she and her family are spending their lives doing.

I ordered these coasters for the #1 Georgia Tech fan in Alabama. My brother in law had to have these!

Vera Bradley has a line of slippers that I'd like to adopt as church appropriate footware. Bruce sister was the lucky recipient this year. Note to self--- put these on my list for next year. shutterfly is a photobook creator. For the last two years, I've given my brother's wife a photo album of our entire family She doesn't take very many pictures but between what I get while I visit Georgia and what my mom snaps...and what I can steal borrow off Facebook from other family members I've been able to put together something that looks pretty good. It's pretty much fool proof. You can't mess it up. They usually have a big coupon too.

And laugh...but not least (see what I did there?)....I got Bruce compression camo....I'll spare you the pictures...but suffice it to say, he says they are wonderful. He has worn them hunting and says they beat the waffle type long johns. I picked his up at Walmart on a I'm not sure how long they will last but I'm sure you can find them at all price points.

What's your favorite gift to give at the holidays?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Menu Monday

This week begins the new challenge of eating healthier at Casa Stinson...or at least not eating fast food 5 times a week. So here's what's cooking at our house...

Monday- Spaghetti (using Barilla's white fiber pasta) and salad (lite dressing)

Tuesday- Turkey Sausage, broccoli, pasta salad

Wednesday- Chicken Tortilla Soup

Thursday- Beef Stew

Friday- Staff Dinner (chicken and sides....forget eating healthy this meal...not happening)

Saturday- Smoked Turkey Breast, Corn, Green beans, Rice

Sunday- Leftovers

I'm linking up with other menu planners on ...check them out to take the boredom out of your dinners!

Happy Eating!

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Few Favorite Things from the Holidays

Every holiday season I enjoy finding new foods and other items that are unique, seasonal or new to me. Here's a list of my top 4 new found favorite no specific order....drumroll please....

Run to your local grocery store and get you some of this mix. In 15 the time it takes your oven to heat up, you can be giving your taste buds a little party. These taste exactly like the restaurant ones. Unbelievable. And I followed the box directions precisely and got, not 10 but 12 dozen...of these babies. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.

Since we're on the subject of food....after you finish your biscuit....finish up the party in your mouth by tasting one of these little darlings...

Somewhere between soft and crispy you'll find this chocolate snowball cookie. It's almost like a devils food cake with powdered sugar....and they are super cute too. My sister in law brought these over Christmas Eve night and I think I ate 1/2 of them. Oh...wait...this isn't a confessional.

After you fill your belly with all that deliciousness you're likely to need a good cleansing....wait...not that kind....I'm talking about a facial. Sugar, chocolate, greasy foods of the season...all lend themselves to facial breakouts no matter what the age...My sister got me this cleanser for Christmas....

Praise the Lord...I'm not using the antibacterial hand soap on my face anymore....and no...I'm not kidding. And do you know how embarrassing it is when people are like, "wow, your skin is so pretty...what do you use?" and I have to reply, "great value, antibacterial hand soap". My skin thanks you and the world thanks you, my dear sister, Amy.

Another gift I received for Christmas was this lovely Erin Condren planner. Now...before you go a googling it...I'm just reminding you it was a gift...because even though I LOVE it....I'm not sure I could throw down the cash money for it on my own...because I am cheap frugal. But now that I have one of my dreamy planners....I am going to be the most organized frugal woman in Texas...or at least my county. This planner not only has month by month, but day by day calendaring and lots of extra room for notes. It also has a pouch and several envelope type folders attached. It's spiral bound with a ruler and it is extremely well made. 

In addition to these personal favorite things I'll also tell you my favorite gifts that I gave this year...
next week. I hope you'll come back to see!

Meanwhile, if you discovered something new and wonderful this season....share it with us all in the comments below.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Whatcha Gonna Do?

Every new year there's hype about resolution and goals and blah, blah, blah. I cringe. I think I feel my skin crawl with the force of self discipline, determination and perseverance. Scales are dusted off, water bottles filled, finances evaluated, self help books bought....and yet, statistics show us that most of us won't get through the month of January with our determination in tact.

I've been a casualty of new year goals. Most years I fail miserably. In fact....if I had kept all my goals over the years...I'd be 110 pounds, read thousands of books, drank the equivalent of the water held in Hoover Dam and become the exact woman spoken of in Proverbs 31. I'm a failure at keeping new year goals. But why?

I look back on last year and the only goal I achieved was my goal to be more intentional about giving thanks. Easy you say? Well maybe for you, but if you have a bad day, week or year, it's not quiet that easy. How did I keep it? And could these be keys to keeping other goals? Let's see:

1. Posted my thanks before I got out of bed in the morning.

2. Decided to give thanks even when it was hard.

3. Decided to be more lighthearted about looking at my life, instead of so serious.

4. Looked beyond circumstances.

5. Was encouraged and thankful for what God had done.

Oh wow....there it is....that might just be the key...5 simple steps...

1. Do something before you get out of bed...decide, pray, post...whatever...but think about your goals before your feet hit the ground.

2. Do something towards your goal even when it's hard.

3. Look at your goal through the eyes of humor and joy...sometimes we get too serious or too focused and sometimes we just need to laugh through the tough times.

4. Look beyond today.

5. See what God is doing. He's transforming you...He's helping encouraged and give thanks!

Here's a few goals I'm setting for the new year....

* drink more water (get my water bottle in the fridge at night so I have it first thing in the morning!
* read more....for fun and for learning.
* write more thank you notes
* encourage more
* notice the good
* blog consistently

So whatcha gonna do this new year? Something big or small....doesn't really matter...just do something!