Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Mud Run Experience





Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not the athletic type.  I so wish I was, but truth be told, I’m just not very good at athletic things.  I’m content to sit on the side lines and cheer for people, but I don’t like to be the one playing, mostly because I don’t particularly enjoy being laughed at.  I do enjoy being outside and going hiking and I’ll even camp out for a few nights, but that’s about as athletic and outdoorsy as I get.  Now, my husband knew this about me when he married me. So, last year when he decided to participate in a mud run, he knew not to even ask if I’d like to run in it with him. I mean, it’s exactly like it sounds: a run in the nasty, dirty mud.  Yes, I went to watch him and laugh at how nasty he looked and make jokes about how crazy it is that people pay to get muddy. He had a great time participating, and I enjoyed making fun of him on the sidelines.  It was fun for everyone.  So, when he decided to sign up again this year, I wasn’t surprised.  I wasn’t entirely thrilled about the fact that a chunk of our money was wasted, but at least it was going towards a good cause and he was having fun.  But, here was the catch: he decided to sign both of us up this year.  Haha….yeah, right; there was no way I was participating.  Why would I want to participate in an event where you have to run and get muddy and dirty?  And, I’m not getting paid to do it? I pictured falling on my face and mud getting all in my mouth (both of which happened). 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oven-baked Granola



Here's a healthy, yummy, and easy recipe...just in time for the holidays!  I love making granola because you can always change up the recipe to make it just the way you like it. Enjoy!

3 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 Cups Rice Cereal (I used Rice Krispy Cereal)
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (melted)
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Almonds or Other Nut (I crushed ours)
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds or Other Nut or Seed
2 TBSP Chia Seeds (optional)
1 TBSP Vanilla
2 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Dried Fruit to be added after baking (I used cranberries and raisins)
1/4-1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips to be added after baking

Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper
In a large mixing bowl, combine all above ingredients EXCEPT the dried fruit and chocolate
Spread on parchment paper and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes
When finished baking, add dried fruit and chocolate





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Cheerful Heart


I am taking on a new challenge as I spend time with God each week.  Each week, I am asking Him to show me something specific in my life that I need to work on and I am looking up Bible verses to help me overcome these areas with His strength.  As Christians, we should all be doing this, but sometimes it’s easier to work on broad areas such as: I hope to be a better friend, or to have a better quiet time, etc.  I am finding it a bit challenging to really pin point certain areas that need work and even more challenging to try and give God complete reign over these areas. It has also been shocking and humbling to discover how much I truly struggle in certain areas.  This reminds me more and more how much I need to rely on Christ’s strength and not my own. 

This week, I am working on replacing a complaining spirit with a cheerful heart. 

Why does it seem to be so much easier to complain than to have a cheerful heart?  Have you ever taken the time to count how many complaints come out of your mouth in a day?  As I have been working on this, I have made myself more aware of the words that are coming out of my mouth.  I have to admit: I’m a little ashamed at the number of negative comments that come flying from my mouth, especially since I’m consciously trying to work on it! 

I think it’s easier to complain because we are always unsatisfied.  We have a sinful nature that always wants more.  If we do not take this wrong attitude to Christ and ask Him to help us change, this sinful attitude can lead us down a road of misery.  The misery not only affects us, however, but it affects those who are around us as well. 

What are some of the bad habits that you display when you have a complaining heart?  One of my bad habits is to sigh.  I never really thought of it being a “bad thing” necessarily until I started seeing my four year old son emulate this same behavior.  Just hearing him sigh shows me that he is having a complaining spirit instead of a cheerful, joyful spirit.  But, from whom did he learn this?  From his mother! 

Now, let’s contrast this with a person who is always cheerful, not just because life is going perfectly but because their joy is in the Lord and His Spirit is flowing from them.  What a difference!  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a person who is cheerful simply because my trust is in the Lord and because He wants us to find our joy in Him alone. 

Having a complaining spirit is one of those “sins” that we seem to disregard.  It doesn’t seem as “high on the list” as other sins, so we tend to skip right past it.  If we look into Scripture, however, we see that it is a sin and that all sin separates us from God.  We don’t need to fool ourselves into thinking that “little sins” will not affect our relationship with God and others.  It may not be fun to look at our faults and ask God to search our hearts, but when we do this, God truly transforms us by opening up our eyes to our need for Him and by helping us replace our sinful habits with His Spirit. 

It is also very easy to make excuses for why it's "okay" for us to complain.  I am 36 weeks pregnant right now, so there have been times where I have used the "pregnancy card" to make an excuse as to why I am complaining.  But, this is wrong.  Just because we may not be comfortable or our circumstances may not be favorable does not give us the right to disregard this sinful practice.  We all have a choice to make: will we choose to cave and let words flow from our mouth that neither give life or peace, or will we choose to look beyond our circumstances and choose words display a cheerful heart?  What kind of impact will it make on others and what kind of person will you become because of the attitude you chose?  

May we all take the time to see where a complaining spirit has crept into our lives and may we let the truth of Scripture keep us in check.

Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”

Colossians 3 16-17 “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Proverbs 17:22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Garlic Orange Chicken Stir Fry


Ingredients
For the Chicken:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. orange juice

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking pan with cooking spray and place chicken in pan. In a small skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for a minute.  Then, add the brown sugar and the orange juice.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Bake, uncovered, in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done.  Set chicken aside.

For the Stir Fry:

  • 2 cups of vegetables (we used fresh asparagus, broccoli, and a frozen veggie blend with carrots, peas, corn, and green beans.  You could use any vegetables you have on hand).  
  • 2 cups of prepared rice of choice ( I used jasmine rice)
  • Soy Sauce (to taste)
  • Garlic and Onion Powder (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of Orange Juice

Saute veggies in pan with a little water and soy sauce.  Cover the skillet loosely with foil and let it cook on medium heat until vegetables are tender (about 8 minutes)
Add cooked rice and cooked chicken to skillet.
Add orange juice and any extra soy sauce, garlic and onion powder, etc.
Loosely cover and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes on medium.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Marriage Assessment



When Scott and I had been married for a little over a year, we went to Richmond, VA for 8 weeks of training with the International Mission Board. After our 8 weeks of training were over, we would move overseas to serve as part-time missionaries for a year. 

While we were in training, a couple came and spoke to us about the importance of a strong marriage.  They shared with us that it is vital to take time away each year to assess your marriage, to talk about ways in which to improve your marriage and to take time to get away from everyday life.  They gave us a list of 20 questions: 10 questions were for the husband to complete and 10 questions were for the wife to complete.  Each year, you would make it your goal to take a trip together and spend time going over these questions. 

It sounded like a good idea at the time, so we filed the questions away.  Well, a year later, we pulled them out and went over them with each other.  It truly was an eye-opening experience.  As we went through the questions, we realized that we both had some unmet expectations and that we both had areas where we needed improvement.  The weekend was much-needed: we needed time to get away from the busyness of life and time to focus on our marriage and how we can be a better spouse.  We came home feeling re-energized and refreshed. 

I wish I could say that we have done this every single year, but that hasn't happened.  Life can get busy all too quickly and having small children at home makes it hard to find time to get away.  But, we want to make it our goal to take time away each year and answer the questions and spend some time away.  We are planning our weekend away right now, and I’m excited to have a little time away from everyday life. 

We have come up with our own set of questions that work best for us.  Feel free to use our questions, or come up with a set all on your own!  I hope and pray that God uses these questions to help draw you closer to your spouse and to our Heavenly Father.  

“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage…”
Hebrews 13:4

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Feta Cheese Turkey Meat Loaf


I adapted this recipe from Food Network, Giada's recipe.

1 pound of ground turkey
1/2 cup bread crumbs (if making this gluten free, use 1/2 cup crushed gf rice crispies cereal)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup parmesean cheese
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. ranch dressing seasoning packet
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix all ingredients, except turkey.
After everything is mixed, gently add the turkey.
Coat the bottom of a loaf pan with olive oil.
Bake turkey for 45 minutes.

Note: A great place to buy ranch dressing seasoning packets without all the bad stuff is from penzey's spices.  See here. 

Potato Broccoli Egg Casserole



I wanted a casserole tonight and started pulling stuff out of my pantry to see what I could make.  This turned out pretty good.  It would be a good breakfast as well.

Ingredients:
6 potatoes, peeled cut into thin slices
1/2 cup water
1 cup of fresh broccoli, cut into small pieces
7 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain or greek yogurt
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. paprika

Directions:
Put the potatoes slices and 1/2 cup water in a microwaveable-safe bowl and cover.  Microwave for 9-10 minutes, or until tender.

Coat the bottom of a large dish with olive oil.  Put potatoes in bottom of dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange broccoli on top of the potatoes.  Mix the eggs, milk, yogurt, cheeses, and spices together in a bowl and pour on top.  Bake, uncovered for 40 minutes.

Serves: 8

Serve with fresh fruit and bread. Yummy!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Reality of the Holidays



 When I was a child, I remember thinking that there was nothing better than Christmastime!  It’s time for presents and music and sweet treats and church activities.  It’s time to celebrate the birth of Christ as we sing “Away in a Manger.” Nothing could possibly be wrong with the world! 

As I’ve gotten older, however, I have realized more and more that the holidays are not always filled with happiness.  I have watched two families from my former church lose their teenage sons and have a funeral right around Christmastime.  I know people are battling cancer and miscarriages and unknown diagnoses.  Christmastime may be filled with happiness for some people, but a lot of people are also hurting too. 

What can we do as Christians to lift up others who are suffering?  Or, what can we do when we are the ones going through a painful time?