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!