Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Words

Lately God has been working on my heart with relationships in my life. I've been trying to pay more attention to the way I act when difficult circumstances arise, the words I speak AND how I speak them over those closest to me, the length (or lack thereof) of my fuse when I'm stressed or exhausted. It's a difficult situation. These are the people in my "corner", who know my the best and accept me at my worst. I have a husband who is a Godly man, who loves me well and treats me with such honor and kindness.
I have a mother who I have an uncommon bond with. She is a mix between my best friend and hero and the hours (that probably added up to years) that she has spent on her knees over my life have shaped me into the woman I am today. Forever grateful.
I have a group of best girl friends that I have done life with since we were 12 years old. They have stood beside me through the darkest days of my life, and they each took their place beside me on my wedding day as the best bridesmaids a girl could have. I know what a gift that is, to have friendships that contain memories that range from sleepovers where we laughed and prank called the boys we had crushes on, to going through teenage heartbreak, thinking we were going to just die when we all went off to college, and now getting to still doing life together living just few miles apart.

While these people are some of the greatest blessings in my life I worry that because they allow me to be so "myself" all the time, I let my guard down too much. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting a life of "fake-ness", but we also have to remember that our initial responses can often be of our fleshly desires and feelings. When I've had a bad day I know that I can be real with these people and gripe and complain and even sometimes treat them badly or snap at them unintentionally.
But I just really don't want to.

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. -Proverbs 17:9

A few mornings ago I read that verse on the back porch and it stopped me in my tracks. Instantly God reminded me of this area that He has been working with me on.

The word foster means to: "encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good)".
Let me tell you-in a world of hate, of confusion, of evil, of brokenness, of strife and abuse if there's anything I want to "encourage or promote" it's love. Even if it means letting something go that really bothered or hurt me.

This is something that is easier with people you don't know as well, or just aren't as close with. But it's the people in your corner, where it becomes really difficult with, because we're more transparent with them. Praying we rise up and let God work through us and in us to foster the love He put there in us to begin with.

Linking up with: Retha

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-King Ranch Chicken

Let's talk casseroles.
I have a thing for them. I know a lot of people don't, and I get that.
But for me? It's like an entire meal in a dish. And that's just delicious. Especially if it's got melted cheese on top.

So today's recipe is one of mine and the Mr.'s favorite casserole recipes. Every now and then on the weekends I like to bake a couple of whole chickens then just cut them up and have a lot of cooked chicken ready to go for the week in anything from casseroles for dinners, or in pasta dishes or even as chicken salad for quick and yummy lunches. Whenever I do that this is always, guaranteed one of the dishes that come from that week.

Here's what you'll need!

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
Flour tortillas (I'm sure corn would work as well I've just never tried them)
1 cream of chicken soup
1 cream of mushroom soup
1 can ro-tel (I'm a whimp, so I go for mild)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Shredded cheddar cheese

Begin by melting half a stick of butter in a skillet over medium high heat, then add the chopped onion and green pepper.

Let the peppers and onions cook until soft and primarily translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Then add both soups and ro-tel.

Mix these together and add the 2 cups of cooked chicken. Then mix well again.

After everything is mixed together it's time to start layering! In an ungreased 9x13 begin by layering a single layer of tortillas, then the soup/chicken mixture, then shredded cheese. Repeat once more.

Simply bake covered at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bubbly. The last 10 minutes remove the foil so that the top layer of cheese gets nice and golden. So delicious! Hope you love it!

Printable version found here!

Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Chef in Training, Darlene, and Good Tastes Tuesday Recipe Party.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Crave" Week 7

Hi guys! I missed being here so much last week, but I know it was just the thing I needed. Emotionally and spiritually I'm feeling so renewed and refreshed, like I spent some time actually spending time on what I needed to spend time on. There's a dream I'm chasing these days, that has been on my heart for so many years that I don't really remember life before it. Anyone else know what I'm talking about there? Nonetheless, the past few weeks I've felt God's leading to really start pursuing it. Like for reals. So I've been doing my best to do just that. And friends let me tell you-I don't remember the last time I've felt so excited/scared-out-of-my-ever-lovin-mind about something. Isn't life with Jesus the biggest blast? Soon I will fill you in on all the details, for now let's get along with "Crave"!!!

Welcome to Week 7!! Make sure to visit Crystal & Rebecca's pages, as well as link up at the bottom to join up.

Chapter 11: "Stinkin', Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day"

I've probably said this before (or numerous times before) but this chapter shook up some things in my heart and in my thinking that were desperate to be shaken up. Anyone else? Just as we "eat to celebrate" we eat when times are difficult too-I am so, so guilty on this one. I am so ashamed to say that there are times I know that when something bad happens, no matter how big or small, I reach for food before God. I shudder to think. Don't get me wrong I do turn to God, but more often than not I turn to food first. Just like the story that Lysa opens with in this chapter though, the comfort isn't real, it's temporal at best and leaves us in more guilt and more of a mess than what led us to that bad eating decision in the first place!

This is the cycle that I have been in hundreds of times and just like she says in the book, the only way we have a chance of stopping it is a plan. A part of that plan is realizing that the reason we are reaching for food is to satisfy us-to meet a need that only God can meet. I loved how she shared how she made a plan to combat those times of intense temptations by writing out the Old Lie, the New Truth, and the Favorite Verse.

Chapter 12: "The Curse of the Skinny Jeans"

This chapter was so transparent of Lysa and I really loved and appreciated that. As she begins talking about how good it felt to finally be able to fit into her skinny jeans but how that excitement was short lived, it served to remind us that our happiness really isn't tied to our weight. We will still deal with struggles on both sides of the battle.

"We are taught to remain in God's love so that we won't tie our happy to anything but God. So that our joy will be complete. Complete. As in not lacking anything. Complete. As in filled up to the brink with joy no matter if we are wearing our skinny jeans or not. Complete. As in satisfied with a fullness we can't get any other way. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be to live as a complete person?" (123)

This really got me thinking. How many days of my life have I spent living as an incomplete person. I hate that thought. What I hate even more is to remember that I didn't have to! I had another choice. The same is true today. If I will stop running to other things or people to fill me up and satisfy me I really know that I don't have to spend another day going through life not whole, incomplete.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Monday, August 19, 2013


Hi friends!! I'm taking a step back from the blog this week to re-group and refocus. God has been putting lots of ideas and dreams in my heart that I'm feeling the need to put some extra attention on. I'll be back next week with "Crave" week 7! Praying for a great week in the Lord for you all as well!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday Turkey Taco's

I love cooking with ground turkey breast when I can. It really is a lot healthier and not much different than the typical ground beef we generally reach for. So last week when it was on sale at the grocery store I loaded up and started experimenting. This was by FAR the best ground turkey recipe I've made up haphazardly ever! Mr. was so excited and requested it for leftovers a few times and has already asked for me to make it again. This is not only one of the most delicious dishes we've had in awhile, but it's also one of the most versatile! We had this yummy mixture wrapped up in tortillas for tacos, on top of chips for nachos, and on a bed of lettuce for taco salad! And it was delicious every way we spun it. Next time I'd love to try it on baked potatoes and pair it with a tortilla soup!

Here's what you need!

Ground turkey breast (Or ground beef)
1 medium size onion
Taco seasoning
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can of black beans
1 can of whole kernel corn
Garlic powder
1 small tomato sauce

(Please disregard the red pepper in the picture-I was just grabbing things that I wanted to try to mix in there and once I cut into the pepper it was bad! But I actually liked it better without it!!)

Start by chopping up the onion and sautéing them in a little olive oil for about 5-10 mins.

Once they start to get translucent add the turkey.

After it's thoroughly cooked and there's no more pink add the taco seasoning (I added about half the packet), some garlic powder to season, and the tomato sauce.

Let this simmer for a few minutes and then add your drained corn and beans.

Let this go on the stove for a little bit until everything is nice and heated up!

Then serve it up!

Oh I almost forgot! I also heated this up for lunch and used the leftovers in lettuce wraps. So so delicious!

Enjoy friends!!
Printable version found here!

Linking up with Emily, Mandy, Chef in Training, and Darlene.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Crave" Week 6

Welcome to Week 6 friends!! Make sure to visit Crystal & Rebecca's pages, as well as link up at the bottom to join up.

Chapter 9: "But Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry"

Lysa opens up this chapter explaining her disdain for exercise-she even admits to praying for a husband who would motivate her to enjoy it more! She finally began running and the way she got through it was making it more of a spiritual journey than a physical one. Things like praying and quoting scriptures were getting her through the physically demanding and sometimes seemingly impossible runs. It was taking her from running out of her strength, which was very small and beginning to do it out of His strength.
I feel like with whatever struggle we might be facing, whether it be eating, exercise, alcohol, relationships, or anything else, we take it to a whole new level when we realize our need, our desperate need, to exchange our strength for God's. Because obviously we can't do it on our own right? Or we would have already and we wouldn't be struggling with it! However, I can't tell you how many times I will begin a week or even a new day with all the desire and all the ambition to do better today.
Eat better.
Exercise more.
Love my husband more.
Clean my house more.
Be more. Do more. More.
But I can guarantee you if I haven't begun any agenda by first asking God for His strength instead of my own, I'll be tired by noon and crying by 6 because I'm such a failure. Again.
It's true for any struggle. It's true for any day.

Chapter 10: "This Isn't Fair"

I have to confess something: at the beginning of this chapter when Lysa is explaining the struggle she faced on the cruise with her husband and whether or not to have dessert I was's ok to splurge a little right? You are on vacation?
Well friends I felt like as I turned the first page of the chapter conviction was right around the corner ready to slap me in the face in the most lovingly way possible.
Anyone else?
"Our flesh buys right into Satan's lie that it's not fair for things to be withheld from us." (101)
Instead of giving into the temptation for that dessert, she reached for God's strength. Now I'm not suggesting that dessert wasn't delicious, but it got me thinking, wasn't that strength and comfort she received from the Lord better?
"Weakness is hard, but it doesn't have to mean defeat. It is my opportunity to experience God's power firsthand." (103)
Which makes you see the weakness differently right? Instead of this hardship we're enduring and trying to fight through we could see it as a blessing as a means to draw nearer to our God.
I'll take that over dessert any day.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fab Friday

Hello friends and Friday!! This weekend is one that I have particularly looked forward to for some personal reasons. We've been on a journey for awhile with a group of fellow believers and this weekend we will finally see it in it's completion. To say I'm filled with joy and excitement is an understatement! So happy, happy weekend friends-I hope it's as wonderful as you all.

1.) Speaking of the journey we've been on, we had the blessing of one of my favorite way's God works. That's not to say that I don't love the hundreds of other ways, but this particular one just always leaves me with chill bumps and breathless with my love for Him and the overwhelming magnitude of the reminder that He is always working. Always. Even when we don't see it or feel it in the exact moment, we're often given glimpses looking back at the ways He carried us, was preparing us, providing for us all the way. The instance this week was the fact this journey has been over a year coming. There were times we were all filled with faith and trust, but there were also times where we wondered if God would ever move in this area, ever show us clearly His will. One night this week I received an email that was concerning the very beginning of this process-the first month actually-and a huge way that God had begun a work. A work that we wouldn't see with our human eyes for over a year later. But rest assured-He had done it. Those moments you find yourself just blinking numbly at the screen, tears streaming down with so much praise and awe in your heart that you feel you might just explode with gratitude right there. (I'm tearing up just telling you.)

2.) Hot days and rainy nights. It's like beautiful sunny days to finish up this summer, and perfect rainy nights designed just for sleeping. It's the little things friends.

3.) About that rain, I woke up in kind of a bummer yesterday. It was officially the last day of summer vacation for the Mr. before he heads back to school, and I wanted to do nothing but spend it all with him. Unfortunately it was a very busy day, hectic with non-stop plans and the most we would be seeing each other would be in passing at best. Once I finally convinced myself to get out of bed and begin the day I glanced out the window and noticed it was still pouring down rain which meant one wonderful thing-morning plans (outdoor) would obviously be forced to be cancelled. Tears filled my eyes as I whispered, thank You Lord...what a precious gift. The Mr. and I had a glorious quiet morning at home, with Bible study, good talks, pancakes and coffee. The rest of the day still went as busy as we had planned. But I didn't mind as much, I had just gotten an entire unexpected morning with him. So needed and such a blessing.

4.) Since Mr. is going back to school I suppose it's time to get myself back into a better routine as well. You know, like doing laundry more than once every couple weeks. Remember this? Shameful.

5.) Earlier this week I did something funny to my back, slept wrong or something. I've never really had back pain or something "continuous" like that. While I couldn't do much physically this week, it did a lot to me emotionally. It definitely put a lot into perspective, what's important, what a true gift good health is. That I can bend down and tie my own shoes or pick up a spoon I drop in the kitchen. It's those little things that so often get unintentionally taken for granted.

Linking up with: Anne

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tasty Tuesday- M & M Cookie Bars

Let's talk about my current dessert obsession. Cookie bars.
For some reason they remind me of my childhood, which makes no sense really because I can probably count on one hand the number of times my mother made us cookie bars? She baked all the time, but when I was growing up cookie bars were made out of a box mix from the store. Which had basically the same effect as the time I told my mother I really, really knew I was adopted.
And we're not going to go there ever again ya'll.
So I can't really explain why I've been searching high and low for the "best cookie bar" recipe and testing lots of recipes. The Mr. hasn't seemed to mind. So on my quest I stumbled upon this little gem on Pinterest and decided to give it a whirl.

2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 oz. bag of M & M's (Give or take however many I ate before I began baking. Do me a favor and pretend you didn't notice the bag was totally open in that picture. Just keepin it real.)

So begin by preheating the oven to 325 and greasing a 9x13 baking dish. Then combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.

In another bowl combine the softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar. I used a hand mixer. While the recipe says to mix until light and fluffy, mine just never got there. Not gonna lie, kind of resembled sand. (You're dying to try this recipe asap now, right??)

But I just kept on going with and hoping for the best. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix that well also. This time it started coming together quite nicely!!

Now add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined, but don't over mix.

Add in 1 cup of M & M's.

Press these into your prepared dish and try to make it as even as possible. Then sprinkle the rest of the M & M's on top and press down into the top of the dough.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. I like mine super chewy borderline gooey so I took mine out a tad early.

Printable version found here!

Linking up with Jessica, Sarah, Emily, Mandy, Chef in Training, Darlene, and Jacinda.

Monday, August 5, 2013

"Crave" Week 5

Hello first Monday of August AND 5th week of "Crave". It's truly flying by for me. Here's to another week, praying for God to move deeper and work in our lives even more than last week. Make sure to check out Crystal & Rebecca's pages, as well as link up at the bottom to join up. It's a pleasure to have you as always.

Chapter 7: "I'm not Defined by the Numbers"

I feel like this chapter is so crucial for any believer, struggling with an addiction or not. While the title of the chapter led me to believe that it would be about the importance of knowing who we are in Christ and finding our worth and value in Him instead of the number on the scale or on the tag of our clothes, but oh girls, it was so much more than that.

She focused on Isaiah 45:2-3, some well loved verses for me personally. However she added her own words of kind of "filling in the blanks" and I found it huge for me personally. I really do urge you to do the same in your own life this week. Find some time where you can get away with just you and God and let Him reveal these places in your heart that you're needing to surrender. How could you fill in these blanks like Lysa did? Here's what she change the italicized parts to be your own.

"I will go before you...I (God) knew this comment would be made in exercise class this morning.
...and will level the mountains...and that's why the Holy Spirit prompted you to remember these exact verses, even if only faintly, to protect you from what could have been a huge hurt to your heart.
I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron...I will break through the lies that could have imprisoned you and made your doubt your true worth.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places...In the most unlikely places I will bless your efforts and reward your perserverance with small indications of your victory. that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name"...I love you, Lysa. I loved you when you weighted almost 200 pounds. I loved you at 167. I love you at 150. I love you and no number on the scale will ever change that. I'm not taking you on this journey because I need you to weigh less. I am taking you on this journey because I desire for you to be healthy in every sense of the word. I know your name, Lysa. Now, rest in the security of My Name and all that it means to your identity. (Isaiah 45:2-3) (71)

Chapter 8: "Making Peace with the Realities of My Body"

Ok anyone else totally cringing as Lysa describes the situation in high school when the boy she had a crush on made note of her "tankles". Ahhh I was totally wanting to crawl under the couch for her! But we've all been there in one way or another right? Kids are so mean. Adults are too sometimes, but middle school/junior high is specifically so difficult during such a tender, heart-shaping, period in our lives and sometimes we never forget those words. We all have those moments right? For me it was middle school, smack dab in the middle of the awkward years (somedays I'm fairly sure I never outgrew it though). I still vividly remember the outfit. I had wanted overalls for years guys. Years. For one reason or another I hadn't gotten them. Then finally I landed on the perfect pair, they were short overalls (not too short though, just perfect) and they were covered in a brightly colored print of tropical fruit all over them. Looking back today, I kind of giggle at that image. It was just as hideous as I'm sure you're picturing it to be-don't apologize for the laughter. However, I loved that pair of overalls. Maybe it was because I waited years for that pair of overalls, maybe I was just real into tropical fruit that year? Who even knows. But I felt good in those overalls. Real good. So when I hit the playground that day after lunch I was felt punched in the stomach when a random girl that I hardly even knew said to me something along the lines of a bowl of Fruit Loops throwing up on me.
I'm laughing today. But I was devastated that day. I looked for the nearest hole to crawl in until atleast high school graduation. I figured I'd reconsider for the college years depending on how far of a school I could find.

Maybe you never had a boy call your ankles "tankles".
Maybe you never owned a pair of "Fruit Loops vomit overalls".
But there's probably been something. Right?

And while the thought of it all, and the thought of all the heartache that is in our young people daily, and the thought that maybe today a girl wore a hideous outfit like mine and got made fun of for it and is crying looking for that hole too-well, it makes me want to head to our local middle school and set up a "hug booth" and just sit there 24/7. Hugging broken hearts, consoling bad hair days that feels like nothing else matters, loving on the girls who got told they were too big for the cheerleading uniform. I just want to sit down and cry with all of them and promise them...sweet girl it will get better...there is more than this, I promise. I can't do any of that though. But I find hope in knowing that maybe-just maybe-God is allowing these hurtful situations to bring us something better. Something bigger than overall's and "tankles". A reminder that to Him, we are perfectly and wonderfully made.

"The body God has given me is good. It's not perfect nor will it ever be. But it is a gift for which I am thankful." (82)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Scripture Sunday