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Friday, October 30, 2009

Scribble It... Love It

I ran across this web site ScribbleItOnline.com a couple weeks ago and fell in love with it. Here is just one of their fab designs you can purchase and customize for your walls.

Here is another great idea.

I have this hallway full of family photos that I can't wait to "scribble" something onto.

So, now you can do what you always wanted to do as a child and "write" on your walls too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One Weighty Dilemma

October is already coming to a close? Amazing.

One thing I am purposing this year is to not let the Holiday's go by with out soaking up every moment I can. This definitely is the most wonderful time of the year.

Therefore, in order to keep my sanity, which makes my family really happy, I WILL not over commit, over volunteer, over fill my calendar, or.. over eat. Yep I'm still going there.

I never realized how we as Americans associate every holiday, every birthday, every graduation, every wedding, every shower, every anniversary around food the way that we do. It is the means by which we use to celebrate all the occasions in our lives.

So, in order to not "over do it" this season, I am wondering, do you have any suggestions for ways to celebrate without it being all about the food? Or do you have a really easy healthy alternative to our seasonal indulgences?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some Pretty Good Advice

Ok. So that you don't misunderstand yesterday's post (below), I'm diving a little deeper today.

My issue is not necessarily about how much I weigh or what size I wear. It's so much deeper than that.

For me it's about what I crave.

And if we crave anything more than we do Jesus, that is not a good thing. Or when our minds are constantly consumed with thoughts other than what is true, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, then that too is not a good thing.

I opened my email yesterday morning to find an email from Weight Watchers (Because I used to be an online member. Probably should have stuck with that one.) And I laughed because it's headline was, "Your Halloween Survival Guide."

Survival. Fitting word. Why, because when you feel like you are drowning, you need some encouraging words to help lift you out of the sinking sand of self centered cravings. (A little wordy, but that's where I'm living.)

I really gained a lot of insight from one of their tips. Most of them I already knew like, Everything in Moderation. "Eat just one snack-size candy bar... It makes a sensible treat." (But I like king-sized best. Oh well.)

Another tip I already know and try to do is Enlist the Help of Others. Someone to partner with you in your journey makes it so much easier to stay on track. Accountability is great.

But this is the one that made complete sense to me. Not because I did not already know it. But because of the analogy they used to describe it. Don't Throw in the Towel.

It is so easy to start the day with your egg-white omelet. Have your salad for lunch with low cal dressing. But come 3 o'clock you're starving to death and your coworker walks in with the most delish sugary treat and... you cave. Next you find yourself sitting at Taco Bell eating a Nachos Bell Grande with extra sour cream and a super sized Pepsi. Oh, and don't forget the cinnamon twists too.

But not so fast senorita. It does not have to be an all or nothing mentality that says, "You've already messed up. Why not go ahead and eat what you want the rest of the day."

And here is where the great advice came in. If you buy a dozen eggs, break one, do you throw out the other eleven perfectly fine eggs. No. You clean up the one and put the others in the fridge and go on with your day.

I love that.

Just because you may eat something you know you shouldn't does not mean you have to sacrifice the rest of your day.

Clean up your mess and move on. Simple.

So today, if I slip, I will wipe up the spill, refocus my thoughts and cravings, and move on.

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.
1 Peter 2:2

No crying over spilled milk today.

By the way, this post is a HUGE milestone. This is my 100th post. That is one, zero, zero ya'll!

I think that deserves a piece of cake, don't you? Just kidding. Maybe.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Monday Morning Mantra

Someone puh-leeze tell me that I am not the only one who woke up this morning and said, "Ok. This is it. Today is really gonna be the day. I will do better this week."

It seems to be my Monday Morning Mantra.

To be honest, if I may, I looooove food. Love it. I love cooking and I really love eating. Partaking of great food for me is like an alcoholic enjoying their beverage of choice. It satisfies. It fulfills. It just makes me feel all warm and cozy on the inside.

So, again, I woke up this morning. Said those same too familiar words. And in the back of my mind wondered, "Can I really do this? Will I really do this?"

Is anyone feelin' me?

This battle for me is nothing new. I actually conquered it in 2000 when I lost 60 pounds. But, BUT it has not been a battle I have fought... won... and never had to fight again. It's my stronghold.

A stronghold is anything that has a 'strong hold' on your life. For you it may be something different. But whatever it is, it is holding us back from concentrating on other, more fruitful things in our Christian life.

I read this scripture recently and in light of my daily battle it so struck me. It is found in John 4. This is where we find Jesus and His disciples leaving Judea and returning to Galilee. On the way Jesus stops at a well and has an encounter with a women from Samaria, better known as The Woman at the Well.

While Jesus is ending His conversation with her the disciples return from buying food in the nearby town and this is the dialog they have with Jesus:

Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, "Rabbi, eat something." But Jesus replied, "I have a kind of food you know nothing about."

"Did someone bring him food while we were gone?" the disciples asked each other. Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work." John 4:31-34

What satisfied Him, fulfilled Him and made Him feel all warm and cozy on the inside was doing the will of His father and completing His work. It was His stronghold.

Wow, and mine is food?

So today, my prayer is this...


Let my satisfaction come only from doing all you have called me to do. Let my thoughts be on your will for me, not the next meal for me. I pray that you would fulfill me like no parcel of food ever could. Your are the bread of life. So let my hunger pangs be only for you today.

I am so thankful for all the responses to Friday's post. I loved all your favorite things. Some were very close to my heart too.

And the winner of the $20 Olive Garden Gift Card is Penny!!!

Penny and her husband Steve are heading overseas to be missionaries to Hungray. Funny. Seeing as my post was about food. Oh, and their website? "RUHungray.com" I'm laughing right now because the coincidences are just so uncanny. Anyway, I would love for you to check out their ministry. Click here to learn all about them and the amazing burden God has placed in their heart for this country.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Fav Friday, Dressing

Beginning today, every Friday I will list one of my favorite things that I hope becomes one of your favorite things too!

Today's fav thing is something many people love and few know you can purchase it.

Who doesn't just love Olive Garden's salad? I know my family does fo sho. So every time we eat there I grab this little ah-mazing bottle of goodness.

Yep. For $4.75 it can be yours too. Not to mention, ladies, it's only 80 calories per serving! But who's counting, right?

This also makes a great gift! Just fix up a basket with dressing, a jar of pasta sauce, some dry noodles and some Italian themed kitchen supplies and you got one superb gift.

And you don't always have to have an Italian meal to enjoy this dressing. Tonight I made Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions, Green Beans, Salad with Olive Garden Italian Dressing and Bread.

To make Pork Chops just take 4 boneless center-cut pork loin chops and salt and pepper each side. Pan fry in 1 tablespoon Olive Oil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add one medium onion, halved and thinly sliced, to pan and cover for 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and cook 30 seconds. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar and cook 1 minute. Spoon over pork chops and serve.

De-lish. And dinner was on the table in 20 minutes.

If you would love to share one of your fav things, then I sure would love to put your name in the pot for a drawing of a $20 Olive Garden gift card. Just click comments below and type away. Winner will be announced Monday.

Buon Appetite. And good luck.


On a serious note, after yesterday's post (below) a prayer request was made on one of the comments. Please remember a young man named Andrew. He is 12 and has an inoperable brain tumor. He has been in Shands for a month. God IS the healer and let's agree together for Andrew's healing today. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Certainty in Uncertain Storms, Trois

The Date: October 5, 2000

The Words: "Mr. and Mrs. Johns, Tyler could have one of two viruses. The worst of the two is Guillain-Barre Syndrome. We will have to send him to Shands in Gainesville and admit him for further testing. Let's hope that he has the "better" of the two viruses."

Not words a mother and father of a seemingly, up to this point, healthy 9 year old wants to hear. The road ahead was uncertain. We had no idea what the next few hours, days, weeks, months or years held for our family.

Our great Storm of 2000 was confirmed the next evening when the doctors at Shands gathered and told us our son in fact does have Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a paralyzing disorder with no cure.

Our family's emotions were already high that week due to a tragic death of a very close family member. And now this. It was almost to much to take in. To be honest, I'm not really sure I did take it all in. Had I, I would not have been able to handle the next week of living in a hospital watching my son in pain that was equal to a person who had been burned from head to toe.

On one of my trips home to shower and change, Tyler's neurologist took my husband aside and told him that the test results are the worst he had ever seen. He could not give 100% assurance that all would be OK and that he may want to prepare me for the worst. Just in case.

We were fortunate that the treatment he had each night was allowing Tyler's body to heal itself but we were advised to admit him into a rehab hospital upon our discharge. It was going to take months for him to learn how to walk again and get his mobility and strength back, maybe years.

So the doctors said.

But God.

Five weeks after his brush with this paralyzing syndrome Mark came home from the office to find Tyler rounding the corner on his little Honda 50 motorcycle.

Our storm had cleared. Miraculously.

On the four week check-up the doctor (who was not Christian) said, "Your prayers have been answered." Even the world can see the hand of God, even when they don't believe in Him.

So if your storm is a like our Storm of 2000, know this, God IS the healer. But we have to believe, trust, and have faith that He is clearing our dark, depressing, scary, blinding storm.

Of that you can be certain.

OK. If you are like me you want to know the rest of the story. Here it is. Tyler is doing great. He is 6' 4", in his senior year of High School and celebrated his 18th birthday this summer. Oh my.

This picture was taken two nights ago.

Stay tuned for the new series My Fav Fridays where I will share some of my favorite things which I hope will become some of yours as well. Smiles.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Certainty in Uncertain Storms, Deux

Max Lucado shares a story in his book In the Eye of the Storm about two battleships assigned to train at sea. While there the weather grew increasingly worse over the course of several days. Visibility was poor. Fog settled all around them and the captain remained on the bridge keeping a watchful eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark one evening the wing reported, "Light bearing on the starboard bow."

"Is it steady or moving astern?", the captain called out.

The lookout replied, "Steady, Captain," which meant they were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.

The captain then called to the signalman, "Signal to the ship: 'We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.'"

Back came the signal, "Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees."

The captain said, "Send: 'I'm a captain, change course twenty degrees.'"

"I'm a seaman second-class," came the reply, "and you had better change your course twenty degrees."

By this time the captain is furious and spat out, "Send: 'I'm a battleship! Change course twenty degrees!'"

Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse."

In order for the captain to survive and escape extreme danger in the midst of the storm, he had to change.

For us to survive our storms in life, we too will have to change. That change may be a direction, a habit, a relationship, a job, a decision, a belief system or a prayer life.

I promise, nothing brings you closer to God than prayer and nothing makes you pray more than dark, depressing, blinding, scary storms.

You may be on a collosion course for destruction and the storm could just be what God is using to bring you safely into harbor.

Here is a great scripture for you to pray if you are finding yourself in the midst of a storm:

Lead me in the right path, oh Lord, or my enemies will conqure me. Make your way plain for me to follow. Psalm 5:8

Tomorrow I will be sharing a little about my storm that hit 9 years ago this week.

Until then, I am praying for peace that passes all understanding to cover you, go before you and keep you if you are traveling through your own stormy weather this week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Certainty in Uncertain Storms

You are either in a storm, coming out of a storm or waiting for your storm to hit.

Words I have heard for many many years. True words.

When I was a child I remember a storm coming through our neck of the woods. A bad one.

Being a little girl at the time I was soooo scared. I remember looking out the windows and seeing the huge oak trees across the street swaying and bending, the way big oaks should not be swaying and bending.

For some reason my father was not home at the time. And as any little child would, I wanted my daddy.

My mother was there but there is just something about having your father there to protect you. You just feel safe and secure in uncertain situations when daddy's around.

Well, the storm passed. We survived. More storms have come through the years and went. Some even caused damage. But damaged objects can be repaired or replaced usually with ease.

But the storms of life? That's a horse of a different color.

Oh they can be scarier than the real ones. They too can cause damage and change and great difficulty.

But I think the greatest issue they cause is that of uncertainty.

The storms of life are not mapped out on the Doppler allowing you to see its severity, travel pattern or time line. You blindly move through them.

Oh that's so hard isn't it?

We were all glued to The Weather Channel a few years ago as we were perpetually feeling the effects of the hurricane season. Everyone was watching to get information in order to make decisions on how we would proceed over the next few days.

It's nice to be able to make a plan. Makes you feel safe, knowledgeable, and prepared.

Unfortunately though, there's not a Doppler for the storm of sickness, job loss, marital problems, financial difficulties and the like. Which makes it very difficult to make your plans, especially when you don't know your future, but we do know the One who does and that's all we really need to know. Really.

Here are just a few things He wants you to know if you are battling a storm today.

Your future is good. Jeremiah 29:11

He is directing your path. Proverbs 3:6

He is always watching you. Psalm 121:4

You are not alone. Hebrews 13:5

Storms of life are so dark. Depressing. Scary. Loud. Difficult. Confusing. And will leave you hopeless if you allow them to.

But don't let the storm clouds blind you to the fact that Daddy is here. And everything is gonna be alright. He's not going to allow you to stumble or fall, Psalm 121:3.

Remember, storms in life are so much like storms in nature. They come... and thankfully, they go.

They are not always certain...

but God is.

So make your decision today to trust in Him, and not in your own understanding. Seek God's will in ALL that you do and He promises He WILL direct your path. Even in the midst of your dark, despressing, scary, loud, difficult and confusing storm. Proverbs 3:5-6

I would love for you to tell us how you navigate your storms in life. Just click comments below and type away.

Braving the storm,

p.s. For those of you who posted comments on my Facebook regarding the Pumpkin Bread, I am so glad you loved it too!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One Sweet Treat

The Fall weather is coming our way this weekend here in North Florida and I am SOOO stoked!!

With this wonder-fall season comes the beginning of three months of great Holiday Baking.

In the month of December my home is filled with the aroma of Fruit Cake Cookies. But for now it's the scent of Pumpkin Bread filling the air.

To date I have made about... ummm... a gazillion loaves of this most ah-mazing taste of Autumn.

Couple it with homemade Honey Cinnamon Butter and it's a winner and everyone is requesting the recipe. Which, by the way, I got a few years ago from one of my favorite cookbooks... the internet; you crave it, it's got a recipe for it!!

So with that said, I am passing it on to you!! I promise, your guests will be asking you for the recipe too after they taste it. (I won't tell them where you got it... it'll be our lil secret)

Pumpkin Bread

16oz Canned Pumpkin (You could use fresh, but why)
3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
3 cups Sugar or Splenda (I have never tried the Splenda)
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Oil
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice
2/3 cup Water
1 cup Nuts, chopped

In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and sugar.

Add eggs, water, oil and pumpkin. Mix until blended. Add nuts and stir until incorporated.

Pour into two lightly greased and floured 9" x 5" loaf pans and bake one hour.

Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pans. It tastes better if you wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until next day. Keeps well in fridge and can be frozen.

Oh, and to top it off, mix together some room temperature butter, honey and a couple dashes of cinnamon. Best topping ev-ah!

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pass the Ball!!

Yep. Tebow is back in the saddle again!

I know most women do not naturally gravitate to the TV on the weekends as our male counterparts so gracefully do. For the most part we have the sentiment I'd rather be curling my eyelashes than watchin' grown men throw a pigskin ball around and slap each other on the derriere.

But, in all fairness to our men, football is a very dangerous game. Tebow's hit two weeks ago confirmed that.

It is also a game filled with tremendous pressure all of which resides on the shoulders of every quarter back. That is, until he cast that pressure, which is in the form of a football, to another teammate.

In that one moment, he goes from carrying the heaviest burden... to complete rest.

One of my favorite verses in all the Bible is 1 Peter 5:7. It gives very simple instructions regarding what to do with our pressures of life. It instructs us to cast our care on Jesus because he cares for us.

IF you desire rest...

all you have to do is pass your burdens and pressures to Jesus.

In Matthew 11:29 He said Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Originally, the pressure is aimed at the quarterback because he has the ball. But at the moment he decides to hand it off, now he is at rest and the defense is going after the new person with the ball.

In the same manner, when we hand God our ball (everything that is putting pressure on our lives) the enemy has to now chase Him... and we are at rest.

That doesn't mean that there is no longer a battle on the field. It just means we can be in a calm position, even in a tackling situation.

So if you are tired of fighting your way through life today, doing the best you can, cast your burdens to Jesus and...


Go Gators!!