Recipes

C is for Cookie

Two of our favorite cookies right now.

Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/inside-out-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Even if you don’t eat a Gluten Free diet you need these in your life!! The Softest Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies : https://blessedbeyondcrazy.com/the-softest-gluten-free-snickerdoodle-cookies/#more-27566

Christian Walk

Life Long Lessons

Ironically, after I wrote my last blog post “Surrendering a Dream” I realized the fiction piece at the end sounded REALLY familiar. I took a moment to pull up my old blog and realized I had previously written something very similar. I will share it below. Obviously this image is one that still resonates with me even 7 years later.

A small preface: When I was 25 years old I was not where I expected to be. My dreams were to be married by that age, but I had never even dated anyone. At times I was worried that the desires I had for my life were not going to be fulfilled.

Taken from “The Musings of a girl on the eve of her 25th birthday…” November 2013

So once again, as I always do when I find myself low and dissatisfied, I look to the heavens and lift my life to the sky. It is heavy and I struggle under its weight. I hold my breath as He takes my offering and cradles it in the palm of His hand. I think I see Him smile or at least I hope I do.

Before He pulls His hand away I realize I am still holding my breath and everything in me screams “No, take it back! He might drop it!” But I stand still, mesmerized as He closes His fingers around this, my greatest gift.

Now I must wait. I let out a small sigh at the thought of that word. Wait. The word seems to float on the breeze. How many times must I hear it? Wait.

“But waiting is so hard,” I whisper, looking at the cold ground. I feel the rays of the sun warm my shoulders in what feels like an embrace. 

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done. Autumn leaves swirl around me, carried by the cool breeze. Be still and know that I am God. The wind picks up swirling around me, whispering in my ear.

“I wait for you, Father,” I say to the skies. “I know you will answer me.” The wind whips around my legs, my shirt, my hair. I lift my arms to let it surround me.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. These words seem to be spoken directly into my very soul.

I smile and let the sun’s rays warm my face. I breathe deeply of God’s presence and rest in the knowledge that what He has for me is good and greater than I could ever plan out myself.

“Thank you.” I whisper as I walk through the crackling leaves. In awe of God’s love and filled with hope for tomorrow.

Christian Walk

Surrendering A Dream

I told you that “surrender” is my word for the year, well I have a feeling you are going to see it frequently in my posts because God is definitely giving me opportunities to practice.

Recently, I talked about surrendering the things that weigh us down. In that context there was more of a negative connotation. Today I am reminded that we also have to surrender the good things.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

In many seasons of my life I have clung to this verse. When I wanted to fall in love, but there was no young man in sight. When I wanted to have a baby, but it wasn’t happening in our time frame. Even when my sister was living far away for work and I just wanted her back home.

I can clearly remember the emotions that were tied to the waiting. I remember the countless prayers asking for those desires to be fulfilled. The waiting was hard. The days sometimes felt darker than usual. Sometimes I wondered if God was really going to give me those desires.

I also held on to the lyrics of “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller:

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I wasn’t always bold and confident. But I held on to the idea that I was supposed to continue to serve God while I was waiting on Him. I think that is what the Psalmist means when he says, “take delight in the Lord.” Even through the waiting pursue God, get closer to Him, follow where He leads. Keep serving, keeping worshiping, keep running the race. Being in a season of waiting doesn’t put your life on hold. If we did that we would never grow…we would have stagnant lives.

If I wouldn’t have allowed God to mold me and grow me while I was waiting then I wouldn’t have been ready for what He had in store.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

God’s plan for us isn’t the same as our plan for ourselves.

As we delight in the Lord, our desires should begin to change into something that pleases Him. (At least that is what I have learned through my seasons of waiting.) Looking back on the dreams He has fulfilled I am blown away by the “immeasurably more” that He has allowed.

So here I am again with a new desire, one that was planted in my head last night. I hope and pray it is one that God will fulfill.

If a dream or desire was a tangible thing I can imagine myself holding this one out in front of me to show my Heavenly Father….

“Please, please, please?” I beg. “Can I have this one?” Looking up at him, I hold my breath in anticipation.

Smiling, he kneels in front of me to take a good look, “This is a beautiful dream. I can see why you like it.”

My heart begins to beat faster as I wait for him to say I can have it.

He cups my chin in his strong yet gentle hand, “Remember I have a wonderful plan for you, my daughter. Something far more than you can imagine. Even more than this,” He reassures me, pointing to my dream.

Blinking back tears, I try to hide my disappointment.

I look down and sigh. I stroke my dream and toy with the idea of holding on to it as tight as I can, but then I remember I have experienced this before. With some hesitation, I loosen my grip and hold out my dream palms up. “Take it,” I whisper. “I trust you.”

As he lifts my dream from my hands a great peace settles over me as though the softest blanket has been placed around my shoulders. “I trust you,” I say again. This time with more confidence.

Written February 17, 2020

Christian Walk · Recipes

An Opportunity to Serve

As a stay at home mom it can sometimes feel like all you do is cook and clean. When you’ve finally cleaned the kitchen it is suddenly dinner time and the sink is full again.

I know that keeping our house and taking care of my husband and daughter is my ministry. A way that I can serve God and them every day. I watch others go on mission trips, start small business, write books, etc, and I wonder if this is all I am called to do. If the ordinary, every day chores are enough. I then wonder if I am even capable to do more if given the chance…which I know is a lie!

Thankfully God has given me the opportunity lately to serve others in our church by doing something I do every day…cooking. It has made the week busy, but I’ve been able to cook for two families (a third family tomorrow) and serve my Sunday School friends in a Galentine’s party. There were some late nights and sore feet from all the standing and I think I washed a bazillion dishes (thank the Lord for a dishwasher!), but I really enjoyed cooking for others.

I wanted to share this because I know many of you feel like you are in a place where you can’t serve in a big way. It doesn’t matter how “big” the service is, or seems, what matters is that you are letting God lead you and that you are putting others first.

Below are some of the recipes that I used this week. Maybe you can use them to bless your family and friends…

Salisbury Meatballs: https://mayakitchenette.com/salisbury-meatballs-and-mashed-potatoes/ I used the sauce recipe from Maya Kitchenette and the meatball recipe from Rachael Ray https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/spaghetti-and-meatballs-recipe-1942620 These meatballs are amazing and so easy. I often make them ahead and freeze them.

Roasted Carrots: Peel and cut carrots evenly. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a foiled pan and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally during roasting.

Amish Cinnamon Bread: This has been a favorite of the families I have sent it to. I have yet to try a taste! https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/bread/bread-sweet-bread/amish-cinnamon-bread.html?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share

Chocolate Fondue: my mom gave me this recipe which she got off of Food Network years ago. I can’t find it online anymore. Here are the instructions-

1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 stick unsalted butter, 1 (12 oz) bag of semisweet chocolate chips, 1 (12 oz) bag of milk chocolate chips. I prefer heating all of this in a double boiler. If it seems like the chocolate is not coming together and all the ingredients have melted really stir the chocolate vigorously.

I served the fondue with bananas, strawberries, grapes, apple slices, pound cake, cookies, pretzels, and mini marshmallows.

Gluten Free Pound Cake https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/classic-gluten-free-pound-cake/ I used this cake for dipping in chocolate fondue, but it would be delicious with fruit and whipped cream.

Uncategorized

Surrender

Last night I was asked the question, “What are you struggling with?” The question caught me off guard because I didn’t think I was struggling. Nothing came to my mind in the few moments of silence. As I prayerfully considered it these things came up:

*Easily frustrated–with myself, others, circumstances

*Constantly indecisive–about big and little decisions. Cannot make a decision without asking someone else.

*I worry about what others think about what I say.

Though I had voiced these issues I wasn’t sure what the real “heart issue” was. I knew these things were just symptoms…there had to be a reason why they were manifesting themselves in me.

To make a long story short (it was a long night of conversation, prayer, and listening to the Holy Spirit) I realized my heart issue was the fear of not being enough and the fear of being rejected.

This is what I’ve learned: my indecisiveness comes from the fear of failing. If I make the wrong decision I would disappoint myself or someone else which would make me a failure. The situation may even end with that person rejecting me all together.

You may be thinking how irrational all of that sounds (or you may identify with it). Some background information might help.

I know that I always try to think of someone else’s feelings in any situation. Do I always do a good job at this? Definitely not, but I try to make it a priority. Coupled with this is my Enneagram 6 tendency, to think through each situation with a pro/con list while thinking of every possible scenario that could take place. Some people may find that last statement exhausting….it can be, but it isn’t a long drawn out process like you may imagine…at least for me. These pro/con lists and worst-case scenario thoughts often happen instantaneously. They also happen constantly.

So when I am making a decision I’ve already finished the pro/con list in my head and thought of all the worst case scenarios and then I freeze doubting my analysis…looking for someone else to give me their opinion. If I don’t make the right choice that means all my skills of thinking through every possible outcome are worthless. That means I don’t measure up and if I don’t measure up you might reject me.

The same fear affects how I speak to others. I know I am to speak truth, but I second guess what I’m going to say and go through all the worst case scenarios of how the other person will receive what I’ve said.

The fear of not being enough and being rejected stems from friendships that have ended with no explanation…leaving me to assume something was wrong with me. That I wasn’t enough for that person to stick around. It also stems from the negative response I have received from others about decisions I have made or ideas I have shared.

Making a decision and sharing ideas make you vulnerable and for someone to dismiss them or become offended it is hard not to feel personally rejected.

In the end, I realized Satan was taking good things about my personality and twisting them. For example, my strength, in considering other’s feelings and points of view, has become something that paralyzes me from acting. Satan fed me the lie that I am not enough. He told me that it was my job to somehow control the response and behavior of others. He filled me with anxiety and timidity. He made me feel that the approval of man was higher than that of God.

I took time to repent of the pride of wanting to look good in front of others (not fail), I repented of listening and believing the lies of Satan, I repented of believing I was not enough.

Because the truth is…

*Christ made me enough because of His death and resurrection.

*No matter if all my family and friends reject me “God will never leave me or forsake me.” (Hebrews 13:5)

*I cannot let past hurts affect future relationships/situations.

*I can only control my response and behavior.

*No matter how much I prepare and think through a situation only God is the one who had control over it.

*The response of man is nothing compared to how God views me.

My word for this year is Surrender. The image that comes to mind is one of two hands palms up letting go of anything and everything that is out of their control. How fitting for what I learned last night.

I am so thankful for a God who doesn’t leave us where we are. He continues to speak to us, reveal Himself to us, and mold us into something that looks a little more like Christ.

What are you struggling with? Will you ask God to hep you get down to the heart issue today? Will you ask Him to reveal to you the lies you are believing and replace them with His truth?

I pray you do.

Let us surrender the things that are weighing us down so that we can find true freedom in Christ.

Uncategorized

Beholding and Becoming

I purchased Ruth Chou Simon’s book “Beholding and Becoming” several months ago. In three months I read the first chapter twice. Not because it isn’t good, but because I have become a lazy reader.

I remember the days when I could read a book anywhere including long car rides and stolen moments in the bathroom. I was a voracious reader. I checked out stacks of books from the library and anytime we went to a bookstore I managed to leave with at least one book. In college I read classic literature for my assignments and novels of a more fluffy nature for fun. When I became a teacher I began reading what my students were reading and we bonded over books.

I have always classified myself as reader. A lover of books. Reading defined who I was. I was an English major and then a Reading teacher. I hungered for descriptive words, captivating characters, plot twists, and realistic settings.

I used to anyway.

The year I began to date my husband (2014) I found myself reading less. I didn’t need to experience a fictional love story–I was living one out. When we got married I did not find myself connecting with books as easily. My personal time was spent with my husband. We were building a life together and after a long day of work I didn’t long to finish a novel.

The year I became pregnant with my daughter (2016) the only books I read were with my students during our class reading times.

The year my daughter was born (2017) TV shows replaced my books completely. It was easier to binge watch Netflix and Hulu while holding/feeding a newborn. I wasn’t one for listening to books so I didn’t even think of it as an option.

Last year (2019) I may have read 3 whole books. I can’t even remember their titles.

I miss being reader. I miss that part of my old self.

This year my goal is to read 6 books, one every couple of months. My hope is that in getting into the habit I will soon want to read more. I hope the desire to read will take over the desire to catch up on my favorite show. To kick start this goal I have been reading “Beholding and Becoming.” On Instagram, Simons’ introduced her book as a book study that you could join with the #bb32days. So far I have only been behind 3 days at the most, but have easily caught up. I am about halfway finished with the book and already can say I would recommend it to every woman I know. Not only is this book BEAUTIFUL it is MEANINGFUL. I have been able to relate to every chapter. It is definitely a book that I could read again and again so that I could be able to chew on the truth within and really digest it. As I learn how to behold God so that I can become what He has purposed me to be I also desire to become a reader again.

If you have any must reads share their titles and maybe a little description in the comments below. Pray that I have the self-discipline to read this year. I will pray the same for you!

Recipes

Protein

Since the new year began I have been trying to do better with my eating habits. I’m logging my meals and watching my macros. I realized that I have probably never consumed enough protein so I am trying to figure out how to do that. It isn’t easy especially since I don’t consume a lot of meat. Whey protein powder has become my friend. If you are looking to increase your protein consumption here are two smoothie recipes and a protein pancake recipe that I have enjoyed so far.

The Best Protein Pancakes https://pinchofyum.com/protein-pancakes?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_smartloop&utm_content=smartloop&utm_term=12503312

Chocolate Raspberry Chia Seed Smoothie https://www.thefrugalfoodiemama.com/2015/08/chocolate-raspberry-chia-seed-smoothie.html

Dark Chocolate & Banana Smoothie

1 cup spinach, 1 banana (frozen), 1/2 tsp vanilla, 2 tablespoons cocoa (dark chocolate is yummy), 1 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 1 serving protein powder. To brighten up the smoothie I add 1/3 cup frozen raspberries.