Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Long 2013.....

Photo Credit

As we come to a close of yet another year, for many, myself included, it is a time of reflection.  As I sit and think back to all that 2013 entailed, I can’t help but be thankful that God spared me another year and allowed me to experience life again this year.

2013 was a year full of blessings, grace, love, laughs and… heartache. 

I can’t help but rejoice at the start of a NEW YEAR!!  For the past 6 months, I have been in a stormy fire;  being molded and shaped into something new in Christ.  I have experienced some things that I never thought I’d face and through those storms, I realized that there were things deep within me that God needed to change.  The changes have been painful but as I sit here and reflect, they have been WORTH it!! 

I am entering in the new year with expectancy….with a heart overflowing, pressing on to the things God has before me.  

May God pour out His blessings over YOU in 2014!!

A little look back through 2013 – 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Walking Free From Fear

Recently, I attended a ladies meeting at a friend’s house where she was speaking on fear.  I had been walking through a storm for several weeks before this meeting and kept crying out to God for help.  During those weeks, He would speak to me ever so quietly and I knew He was there with me as I faced this testing time in my life but what was an already dark place just seemed to be getting darker.  Before I went to the meeting God spoke to me and said “when things are out of control all around you – LET GO and let ME!“

Honestly, I don’t think I have ever realized how much I have struggled with fear until that night.  Now, I am totally aware that fear affects people in different ways and that we all experience different variances of fear – it could be fear of something HUGE or fear of something small (like me, I am terrified of spiders).  As my friend spoke, her words intertwined with what the Lord had been speaking to my heart over the past 3 weeks. 

Fear of rejection……Parenting out of fear……Allowing fear to suffocate areas in my marriage….. how many lost opportunities or clouded decisions had I made in my life because I was consumed in fear?!?  

But, not anymore…..nope!  I am DONE letting fear control me and my decisions…..did you hear me?  D-O-N-E!!!  I was able to stand up from that time with my Sisters in Christ and feel FREE-er than I have felt in years.  I know that trials will come (and honestly I’m still walking through the one I was before the meeting) but I am confident that God will lead me down the path HE has for me for He has not given me a spirit of fear but of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND!!  

Will you join me?  Ask God to examine your heart and reveal to you areas in your own life that fear consumes you.  Write them down.  Pray over it and if led, RIP IT TO SHREDS (this is what I did that night)…..stand up and walk down the path of FREEDOM God has for you, too!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Are You Thinking?!?

Do you realize that every thought that enters your mind doesn't have to be "thought" upon?  Not all thoughts come from God or even ourselves.  The 'father of lies' (aka: Satan) likes to whisper things in our ears.

Do you also realize that Y-O-U control which thoughts you think on?  The Bible says to think on things that are true, noble, right,  pure, lovely, admirable,  excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)

I had to remind myself of these truths this morning as I was working out.  See, for the past few months I have been getting up earlier than "necessary" in order to spend time in the Word.  (I've only been able to do this with God's help - cause by nature, I am NOT a morning person)  I've been trying to incorporate working out back into my daily routines but with our new schedule, I haven't been able to figure out how to work it in during the evenings.  After some prayer and consideration [and inspiration from a FB friend], I decided I would aim to get up early and workout in the mornings.

So, my morning schedule is like this.....get up, workout, shower, eat, study the Word then everything else.  This morning while I was jogging away on the treadmill at 5:45am ~ I felt condemnation that I wasn't studying the Word first.  I know that God should get our "first fruits" and I truly enjoy my time with Him in the mornings but because I know in my heart that if I get up at 5:30 am and head downstairs to read the Word, I will quickly end up in Dreamworld 101.

I had some internal back and forth before I simply said aloud, "Just because I choose to study the Word AFTER I work out and shower, does NOT mean I am not putting God first.  I will honor Him in song while I run on this treadmill."  I was letting the Father of LIES know that I was NOT going to be condemned for working out......I was NOT going to think on that thought.

Although, what time I work out isn't a life altering situation or very serious in matter; the same thing happens in the most serious of situations.  Don't fall for the lies of the enemy!!  Feeling unworthy?  Unloved?  Overwhelmed?  Take those whispered thoughts in your mind and examine them with the Word, dear friend, and I promise you will find the Truth.  You are a wonderful creation made in HIS image ~ God's, that is!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thankful for Open Doors

I am so thankful today for open doors!  You know those divine connections that God allows us to make with other people or those opportunities that come across when we know there was no other way than God just connecting them together....THOSE open doors!  I am ever so thankful that God cares enough about lil ol me that He would knit my life together in such an awesome way and provide those connections for me in every aspect of my life.  Whether it be in my home life, my working environment, friendships, blogging, or just an awesome opportunity.....God is just simply awesome and I'm so thankful for those doors that He opens [and honestly for the doors that He shuts...because of what He is saving me from]! 

I know thy works: behold I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it;…. Rev. 3:8 

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homemade Shower Cleaner


I wanted to share this awesome recipe for shower cleaner again. I had someone ask me for it recently so I thought I would pull it back up and share again.  I still use it and LOVE it.  It is seriously one of the best things I've ever used and costs pennies to make.  My updates are in pink! :0)

Original post:
I have been cleaning a few houses here and there to earn some extra cash and have been in search of something to help clean the glass shower doors.  I have tried numerous products and combinations of chemicals (which probably weren't all very healthy).  When I found this recipe on Pinterest - I was leery but wanted to give it a shot since I had all of the ingredients at home.  

Let me tell you - this is the most AWESOMELY amazing concoction EVER!!!  I highly recommend it but will go ahead and tell you that it works best when the vinegar is still warm and I have found it isn't the kind of thing you can mix up and store -you have to mix what you need and use it right then - but even with that it is still awesome.

Here's the recipe -

Heat up some vinegar (I used a cup of vinegar and nuked it for 2 minutes). Then pour it in your spray bottle, add an equal amount of blue Dawn (the website comments were pretty specific about getting the blue kind Update:  use the non-concentrated kind), shake gently, and voila! Spray on your shower door, shower & bath tub and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, wipe with a clean, dry rag then rinse with water.  Once dried, I like to finish up with Windex. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Grandma's Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili

Although it isn't my grandma's recipe, this was definitely yummy enough to call hers.  We had this for dinner last night and it will definitely be added to the list of the family favorites AND it is super easy! 


  • 1 (19 ounce) can black bean soup
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian baked beans
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes in puree
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (I left out the corn due to an allergy)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste (I only used 1/2 teaspoon because my family isn't 'in' to super spicy foods)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley (I substituted a teaspoon of 'Italian Seasoning' in for this and the next 2 ingredients)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil


  1. In a slow cooker, combine black bean soup, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, baked beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper and celery. Season with garlic, chili powder, parsley, oregano and basil. Cook for at least two hours on High.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Stepping Outside Your Box in Faith

Stepping Out in Faith

I'm thankful for what I've learned while 'outside of my box' over the years and wanted to share a few examples of what God has shown me 'outside of my box' with you...

1.  When you step outside of your box, God is ALWAYS there to meet you.  I think so many times we stay in our boxes out of fear.  Fear of this and that and everything in between but also fear that God may not be there but I'm here to tell you He is ALWAYS there.  Yes, He is there with you inside that box BUT He is there in an indescribable more powerful way outside of your box  Think about Peter when he stepped out of the boat - Hello, he WALKED on water with Jesus!!  {Matthew 14:22-33}

2.  It doesn't matter what people think.  This goes back to the fear issue of staying in your box...caring what people think.  If God is nudging you out of that box, then by all means ~ break free!  He has something better waiting for you outside the box than He ever did inside of it.

3.  Don't go back IN the box.  This is a personal struggle of mine.  Several times I have broken free from my box and had AWESOMELY AMAZING experiences with the Lord but then when things calm down...I head right back in the box.  How awesome would it be for me (or you) to be able to stay out of the box every day?

That is my goal....to try to stay out of my box.  To sometimes be uncomfortable but to be pressing on to the things that God has for me and to submit each of my days to Him.

What about you?  Have you stepped outside your box lately??

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lunchbox Freezer Cooking

One of the easiest ways to prepare lunch for the kiddies is by doing all the work BEFORE the wee hours of the morning.  I've been preparing large batches of their favorite meal (recipe here), then divvying it up into smaller portions and freezing it.

When morning comes and the sun is rising, I just pop the container of yummy goodness in the microwave to heat, throw it in their Thermos (which I have found there IS no substitute for the real Thermos brand thermos) and off they go to school with a hot, yummy lunch they will actually eat.  

I have also used this method with Crock Pot Mac & Cheese and hope to try it with several other recipes as well.

What do you do to make your mornings and lunch preparation run smoothly?? 

This post was shared with: 

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A New Creation

Have you noticed all the butterflies this summer?!?  They have been fluttering around everywhere ~ I love it! 

Most everyone is aware that a butterfly starts out their life crawling as a caterpillar then spinning their cocoon and finally breaking free as a beautiful, colorful flying insect.  

It occurred to me one day while watching a couple of butterflies flutter around, how sad it would be to see a butterfly  walking around on the ground when it has been given the ability to F-L-Y!  You see, although it started out it's life walking/crawling around, when that transformation occurred and it broke out of that shell into a butterfly - it left the past in the past and flew into the destiny it was created for.  

How many of us are holding onto the past and not living the life we were destined for?  

How many of us were created to fly but are still crawling around??  

Think about it.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Child Like Faith

On my way to work this morning, I noticed the sun shining through the clouds and it brought a smile to my face as I thought back to when "The Boy" was just a toddler.  Any time we were driving down the road and he'd see the rays of sun shining through the clouds, he'd say, "Look, mommy, it's God's power.".

Even typing this causes me to smile because I can hear his sweet little voice so full of faith that God's power was shining down on us that day.

Then, there was the time, again we were riding down the road and he said, "MOM, look!  It's Jesus!"  He kept insisting that he saw Jesus' face in our window that day.  He believed it without a shadow of a doubt - it didn't make sense that Jesus' face would be on our window but he still believed (and so did I).

Those are sweet memories of my son and his faith as a toddler but more than just memories that warm my heart, they are an inspiration to me today as I think back to those moments.  

It inspires me to remember that even though I don't always understand, I can still choose to believe that I can see the face of Jesus ~ even on my car window.  And that no matter what is going on around me, even when the clouds are surrounding - that God's power DOES shine down on my every day!  

If only we could all have child like faith!

"Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:17

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Open Letter to Saturday's Waitress

Dear Saturday Night Waitress,

It isn't often that my husband and I get to enjoy time out alone together.  Saturday was a breath of fresh air as we got to enjoy each others company without interruptions, well, that was until we sat down to dinner.

We immediately felt the judgment from you as we ordered water and one entree to split, so much that we joked about it as you left the table; that is the kind of family we are, we try to make light of every situation.  Unfortunately, after being rushed to finish our meal, offered dessert before we ever took the 1st bite of our entree and then brought our check shortly thereafter, the situation was a little harder to ignore.  Then, you trying to charge us for something "extra" on our bill was the icing on the cake.  Although, we smiled and tried to make small talk with you, we felt as though we were a thorn in your side and that you wanted us OUT as soon as possible. 

But, there's something that I want you to know about us, we order water because it is GOOD for us ~ much better than teas and sodas.  Yes, it is free in most restaurants but if you were a guest in our home, you'd be served water or milk, because that is what we drink.  And we split an entree because portions are HUGE these days, and well, you even mentioned it yourself - I have a hard time even eating my half of a split entree.  So, see, we don't split a meal to be "cheap" or not to give you the tip you deserve - it is because that is what works best for our family.

I realize that waitressing is hard and many times you don't receive the tip you deserve.  We could tell that you were concerned about your tip from the very beginning .... and we realize that 20% of 1 entree is much different than 20% of 2 entrees ~ which is why we ALWAYS go over and beyond on our tips because we don't want our waitresses to be short changed.

I'll be honest, we did have the discussion on whether or not to even leave you a tip ~ that was definitely the flesh talking in us, but it is true.  The enjoyment of a meal out together was lessened because of the badgering we experienced to "finish" and get out of there.

But, here is something else you don't know about us ~ we forgive you and we are praying for you.  We realize that we all at times in our lives judge a book by its cover ~ no one is throwing stones at you.  We are praying that you experience such an increase in your tips that you are blown away by the goodness of God.  We pray that God showers you with His love so much that it overflows into the people you serve.  We pray that you are used as a LIGHT into this world and that you are used to increase the joy people experience as they have a meal together. 

With love in Christ,
~Our Family~

PS ~ You work in our favorite restaurant - so it is certain we will see you again ~ and you never know - we might just request your section!  :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pinterest in Real Life: Our Family Bank and Chore System

Morning, chores and homework have been a hassle in our house in the past.  I have tried several different reward/chore systems and so far they have all flopped - yes, even on the FIRST day!  It either works really well for one of my kids and not the other or they both just could care less so it turns into more of a daily burden than a help.  

I love Pinterest  and go there a lot for inspiration.  Recently, I saw THIS pin on a family banking system and thought it was an awesome idea.  I was excited to give it a try because I know it is important for my kids to have responsibilities and to learn to manage money and this family had excellent ideas.  Here's how it works...

Every week lay the chores out on a table face down and they choose 5 each.  An example of the chores they draw from are emptying the dishwasher, feeding the pets, vacuuming, laundry, Mom's choice and even a free day.  They are only allowed one free day per week.

Each day they check off the items with a dry erase marker as they are complete.  (Remember how much I told you I like lists?

Sundays are "pay day".  They are both required to put 10% of their earnings into tithe and 20% into savings; then they are free to do whatever they choose with the remaining 70%. 

This system works wonderfully for our family.  No more complaining about chores and homework because if they choose not to do it, well they don't get paid. 

Do you have a reward/chore system in your home?!?  What works for you? 

Post shared with:
  Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Working Mom's Cleaning Schedule

I love lists.  It is probably my personality but I get great satisfaction when I can check off an item on a list ~ at work, at home and even in my personal calendar....I have lists for EVERYthing!

I also love to simplify.  For the longest time, I have scanned over Pinterest for an idea of how to simplify my cleaning duties at home.  I found list after list of daily duties but just couldn't seem to fit them into my schedule.  I tried scheduling a certain chore on a certain day but it didn't work for me.

Working part time and having 2 kids in sports, my days/evenings/weekends can be sort of hectic.  Honestly, I don't want to spend 98% of my free time cleaning so I decided I needed to come up with a plan.  Here's what I did....

I picked the items that I know I have to do daily..... dishes, laundry, dinner

Then I thought about the items that need to be done on a regular basis.  I gave myself 2 weeks to complete these items.  Some days I have more time than others, so I might be able to squeeze in 2 chores that day to make up for the days that I miss for sports or other activities.  I also included 2 "swing" items....

which are larger chores I can knock out over the span of a month or so.

This system has worked really well for our family.  What works best for your family??

Post shared with:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Walking Through the Storms

Photo Credit
A few of my very close friends are walking through some storms in their lives so in honor of them, I am sharing this 'old' post I wrote back around Easter of this year.  My God's peace surround you as you walk through the darkness of this storm ~ God's light will lead you through!!

Over the years, many of us have read the Bible or heard stories from the Bible and I find many of them inspiring.  But the thing is, when we read the story, we know the ending .....if it is a knew story - we may not know the ending when the chapter starts but we quickly find out how the story ends several lines down.  So many times, stories of the Bible become just that - stories.  But do you realize that these were REAL people having REAL experiences and REAL emotions?!?

Think about it - Noah built an ark ~ we know the world ended up being flooded - but Noah didn't while he was working daily on a boat God told him to build when no one had eve seen rain.

Moses's mom didn't know when she left him in that basket by the river that she would eventually be reunited with him in the near future and become his caregiver.

And speaking of Moses - he didn't know the sea would literally split in half when he was stuck between a huge body of water and a raging army of men.

We all walk through storms in our lives, God never said it was going to be easy.  I guess what God is showing me is that through the storms, we have to TRUST Him ~ He knows the ending and will lead us through. 

I encourage you to re-read those well known Bible stories and pay close attention to the 'storm walker's' reactions ~ did they cry, yell, wallow in their sorrows or did they stand strong in faith and proclaim the Word of God?  Did they stand in faith that although they didn't understand, they chose to trust God with the outcome? 

My prayer is that I learn by their examples when I walk through the storms of life....

"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’"
Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Snickers Cake Recipe

This past Monday was the Hubster's birthday.  He is a HUGE fan of Snickers ~ Regular Snickers, Almond Snickers, Peanut Butter Snickers, Ice Cream Bar Snickers .... it doesn't matter as long as it's Snickers.

For his birthday, I thought a Snickers cake would be awesome so I headed over to Pinterest and did a quick search and found this recipe.  I tweaked it just a bit and the outcome was amazing!!!  So amazing in fact that I neglected to take a good picture of the finished product ~ every time I got near it, I had to eat a piece. 

Consumer beware ~ this is a super RICH cake so have a glass of milk handy!! 

16.5 oz box of  Devil’s Food cake mix
1 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz jar Caramel ice cream topping sauce
1 c chocolate chips
1 pt heavy whipping cream
1/2 c powdered sugar
3 Snickers candy bars, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs at medium speed for 2 1/2 minutes.
  • Pour the cake batter into a greased 9” x 13” pan
  • Bake the cake for 25–30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  • While the cake is baking mix together the condensed milk and jar of caramel sauce until thoroughly blended.
  • When the cake is done cooking, but still hot, poke 20–30 holes in the cake using a straw.
  • Pour the caramel sauce over the entire cake.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake while hot then spread around once melted.
  • Allow the cake to finish cooling completely (I stuck mine in the fridge to speed this up)
  • In a medium mixing bowl beat together the whipping cream and powdered sugar at high speed until it is nice and thick, about 3–5 minutes.
  • Fold the chopped Snickers into the whipped topping.
  • Spread the whipped topping over the top of the cake.
  • Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Enjoy!