Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

I have to say I am a little late in using the pumpkin this year considering I am a pumpkin junkie...but its a great way to get some extra nutrition and nourishment with all of its fiber and vitamin A! Plus, my terribly picky eater of a husband loved it and so did my 3 year old! You can do whatever you want to this recipe, I wont tell! Chili is just a great way to dump in whatever you have on hand and just feel so nourished. Just remember the pumpkin! 




Serves 6
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can PUMPKIN!
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder or more to taste!
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained



Heat oil in pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapenos and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey, and cook until browned.Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. ENJOY!
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Priorities





There has been a life long battle within my heart and it goes something like this..." I am not a good Christian because I don't do enough for people in need and I don't try to save the world every moment I have." WHEW! What a heavy burden that is to carry.

Guilt. Frustration.Worry. None of it comes from Christ. It comes from Satan.

 Most of my guilt comes from the fact that I don't think I do enough. I am not one of those mothers who fills a schedule full or goes on play dates several times a week or even goes to the gym! Sometimes I go to bed angry with myself that I didn't do what most of the other moms or wives are doing and because of that, I am a horrible wife and mother. I didn't go on a mission trip this year, I didn't write a book, I didn't lose 20 pounds the list goes on... No, I stayed in my pajamas, did some laundry, pumped some breast milk, played with my children, made dinner and picked up the house and went to bed.

It wasn't until I started really searching the word of God and asking for a revelation that this guilt was removed.

God started to show me how doing that laundry served my family. And pumping that breast milk was honoring a commitment and nourishing my baby. And playing with my children was serving God by teaching them how to speak and act with love and humility. And making dinner and picking up the house was serving my husband and family, just as God called me to do.I had the thought in my head that if I wasn't out and about I wasn't doing anything productive until God reminded me that my mission was in my home...for now, in this season of my life. And I wasn't going to enjoy any of it until I realized that if it was good enough for God, then it should be good enough for me.

The season of motherhood is somewhat blurry. There seems to be many nights kept up with crying babies followed by many days of laundry and dishes and picking up toys that seemed to have just been picked up. It takes a strong woman who is confident in her position with the Lord to really grasp that she is just as important as a wall street executive. It takes a woman with a deep love and understanding of the Lord to find joy in these tasks. And the only way to become that strong woman is to see yourself through the eyes of the Lord.

There will be more seasons to my life. It is inevitable that my children will grow up and leave our home. And I know for sure that there will come a time that I will greatly miss having my small babies around crying and begging for my attention. My heart just aches when I think of my Grace going off to school for the first time. I feel very sad thinking about no longer needing to breastfeed my babies. But there will come a time when God calls me to some other task. But until then, my job is here and now.

Right now it is my job to raise children who are kind and loving and have a heart of service. Right now it is my job to make sure my husband has all of his needs met so he can fulfill his calling in his life. Right now is the moment I believe we should all live in more. What God has called on our lives, right now. Taking in all the lessons and growing from them because it is preparing us for the next season!

So today I didn't get up and put on fancy clothes and save the world. Actually I never left the house...but Grace and I did learn about "over and under" and which object doesn't belong! And Lucy practiced standing again!

What a blessed day.



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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sometimes plans change.





I'm going to be very honest in this post, because this blog is for you, and not me. I so deeply desire for you to receive the messages and lessons I have learned so they can change your  life, just as they have mine. If I am speaking to you right now, believe that I have prayed for you and will keep praying that you find your way!

I never was that kid who knew what they wanted to be. I never had a desire to go to college or study anything in particular. I never said I wanted to be a ballerina or a teacher...or even a mother. But the one thing I always knew I would be is a wife. I knew that my life was going to be used to help someone else. I never wanted any sort of achievement for myself except to help my husband reach the top. I knew I would be good at that. Now don't get me wrong, I have had many passions in my life. Art, music, Broadway, singing, performing, creating, nutrition and health...and many more. But nothing has ever stood out so much that I have pursued it with all my strength.

All of my adult working life I chose to work in places that would serve ME. I so deeply needed validation in my life so I only worked in places where that would happen. I was a nutrition counselor and personal trainer at a gym and would receive lots of attention there. I also used to be a person who needed attention from men so I would work in bars and restaurants and places where I knew that I would be around them. I was a nutrition counselor at Jenny Craig for many years and found it difficult to work there some times because it was all women. This carried on until I finally quit my last job at a gym while my husband was on his first deployment to Iraq. Soon after he came home we decided to try for our first baby.

When I had Grace, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a very difficult childhood myself where I was forced to grow up very quickly. So when I had Grace I was a very good mother to her as a baby. I am a very nurturing, loving soul who pours all that I am into those I love. But then she started to grow up and she wanted to be a kid. And I don't know how to do that with her. I remember playing as a child but its not the most forward memory I have. I am good at being a wife, and all that goes along with that. I actually enjoy laundry and cooking...and making sure the house is clean for my husband when he gets home. I enjoy watching my husband succeed. I take pride in the fact that the nourishing food I make him allows him to have energy to get through his day and be successful. I enjoy being a wife.

Up until this point in our 10 years together, I have had many business ventures which I decided on my own to pursue. I am a gal who is full of ideas and lacks in follow through. I get very discouraged when an idea doesn't pan out or I fail quickly. And I am starting to feel like it is because it was all for the wrong reasons and I never consulted God first. He IS the author of all the plans ya know! So when we arrived in Texas and we were looking for a house, I decided to let God in on the decision. I didn't want us to end up somewhere we weren't supposed to be or in a house we couldn't afford. I didn't want anything that He didn't want. But I wanted to be able to stay at home and be a mother and wife but still help to fill some financial holes.I didnt want anything that would get in the way of serving my husband and his needs and also my babies needs.

I have been praying for God to change me from a woman who desired to be seen into a woman who desired to serve.

So the morning we went house hunting, we prayed. Lord lead us to where you want us to go. Give us peace when we arrive at the house you desire for us. Give us a sign of assurance and confidence that only you can give. Lead us to a house Lord where you will prosper us. And this is what we saw in the first house we went to.

My husband and I looked at each other and just giggled. Nobody but us and God would understand how awesome this was for us. And it was a very personal message for me. One, it was an obvious sign. We saw 4 houses after this but we didn't have the calm feeling we needed at them. They just didn't work. Two, it meant that I was being lead in a direction that involved children. Something I had never even thought about before. I never had a desire to watch children. But then again I never grew up having a desire to HAVE children and now we have two! Third, it meant for me that I was to build an atmosphere. I heard very clearly that day that I was to build a home that was a safe haven for people we would meet here. I was to build a place where children could come and be safe and also learn about our creator. I received a lot of love and encouragement from my friends in North Carolina. Many homes have been opened up to me and my children and I so desperately want to be that for someone here.And fourth, I felt a strong desire to return to my art. That is also something I am very excited about! My mom will be visiting soon and we are going to make an art studio in the garage and who knows what will come out of it!


So here I am. In ten years, God has completely changed my heart. And He has given me His ideas of what He wants me to be. He has changed my plans. 

You have to be willing to move when God says move. You have to understand how He works. Sometimes He will lead you to a mural. And other times He will speak very softly to you over many years in order to create the person He wants you to be. He will give you tasks here and there in order to get you somewhere. He will give you a passion for art and music so you can use that to nurture the lives of others. He will give you a passion for nutrition so that you can cook and serve meals that will nourish little bodies! And big husband ones too :) It is all right there happening right now in you. You are being lead to a place where you will prosper and grow spiritually and financially. You don't need to be stuck  where you are in a place where you feel lost. The only thing you need to do is consult the author of your life. Just ask. He might change your plans!
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear Grace






 Dear Grace,

 When we first met, I had no idea what I was doing. I remember sobbing in our hospital room because I didn't want to leave the safe place we were in. I cried when I took you out of the hospital for the first time and the sun hit your face. I was worried it would hurt your eyes. And then we brought you home after 5 days and your daddy and I set you down on the floor and thought what now? What do we do?

You cried for about 4 months all day long and we had no idea what was wrong with you. Most called it colic. I held you in my arms for 17 hours a day most days. I sat with you in the bathroom with the shower on to help calm you down and we even bought you tons of baby wraps so you never had to leave my arms when we finally got you to sleep.

All the baby books and doctors and websites never could have prepared me for how things were for us. You and me kid. But you were the one thing I never gave up on in my life. We made it through the very tough first year and I don't think I could ever tell you thank you enough for what you have brought to my life. You have taught me not to worry. You have taught me to be still and trust God. And you have also taught me that what I think things should be, arent always the way they should be.
You are going to be 4 years old this year. I don't know where the time goes Grace. You have become the most caring, generous, loving, thoughtful little girl. You make me laugh everyday. Your giggles and your qwerks...the way you treat others, it all makes me so proud to be your mom. You have changed my life Grace. You have brought meaning to my life and a deep understanding of why God calls children blessings.

I never grew up knowing that I wanted to have babies or even thought I would. In fact, I thought I would be on Broadway. I always wanted to be a singer. But being your mom and staying home with you all day, loving you and teaching you and leading you has been way better than any Broadway stage. When you say please or thank you, or ask a stranger how their day is, you make me so proud. I want you to know that whatever dreams God places in your heart, I am here to help you follow. I will do anything I can to help you get to where God wants to take you.

I pray every night Grace, that God makes me a better mom for you. I pray that He gives me so much more knowledge into how to lead you. I want you to know that my whole heart belongs to you and your daddy, and now Lucy too. There is nothing on this earth that could ever take me or my love away from you. You will always be my first baby girl...my love. Each and everyday we spend together is truly a blessing. Waking up to your silly morning hair and your precious smile...playing all of our silly games and laughing together all day, and then your sweet little hugs and cuddles while we read stories at night are what makes my heart full.

I want you to know how much God loves you too. I want you to know that He will never leave you. And even when you make mistakes, He still loves you. Just like your daddy and I do. All you have to do is ask Him for help when you need it, and ask for forgiveness even when you feel you don't deserve it. Your going to grow up and make lots of mistakes, hopefully far less than I have. But you need to never forget how much you are loved and how beautiful you are. In my eyes and in Gods.

I cant wait to spend the rest of my lifetime getting to know you and helping you along in this journey. I wont ever be your friend before I am your mommy. And one day you will understand how that is the greatest gift I could give you. And if God leads you to be a wife and mommy yourself one day, just remember how much joy it will bring! When things seem tough and your tired, just ask Jesus for rest. Always remember to help other people when you can. Try not to be too consumed with laundry and how perfect your house is that you miss out on special moments. I have made that mistake and don't want you to make the same. Love always comes first! And one more thing, before you do anything in your life, don't forget to talk to God first. He always knows the answers. And when you pray, don't forget to thank Him first. There are going to be a lot of challenges in your life my sweet Grace, but there are all going to lead you to the most amazing place. God never will forget about you in your challenges. And just because you have some hard times, doesn't mean He doesn't love you. There are for your good and they will only make you better.

Love,
Mommy ;)


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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

God cares about the smaller things too...

I know what its like to hear scripture and just not know what to do with it. Sometimes I cant even fathom how it could apply to my own life. I have read the bible, gone to church, done bible studies and still scripture has never really made sense to me until I actually LIVED it.

This move was a huge challenge for me. It was the first time I decided to not even for one second let Satan in my head or allow myself to speak anything but Gods promises over every single thing that happened. I have been known in the past to be somewhat of hot mess. Crazy over money, where it is and how to get more...bills and how to pay them. New houses and where to find them....how to eat allergy free on the road...how to keep my breast milk supply up while driving a car 1,200 miles with two children in the back. The list goes on and on and I know you can relate!

We found our house. We lived in our house for about a week before our things arrived so I had no cooking to do or laundry etc...I guess we didn't realize there was a hot water problem. But slowly as our stuff started to make way back in our lives I noticed the water wasn't getting hot enough or lasting long enough. And by the last day before I called our property manager, we had no hot water. I couldn't do dishes or take a full shower and it was very frustrating. I have TMJ dysfunction and my first go to for pain relief is a HOT shower full of prayer. Hot water is really my only request when it comes to a house and this one didn't have it. I began to pray and at night and the first thing that came to me was Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Jesus Christ.

Now this is where I decided to take a different approach to prayer and get my mind right. See God doesn't promise us things and then put a * under it or a footnote.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Jesus Christ. * only if it seems important to me and its big enough and not too much of a hassle love, God.

So with that being said I accepted what the bible says and my prayers turned into gratitude! God THANK YOU for promising that you will meet ALL my needs today! I know that you know that I am hurting and need some relief and honestly I know that you know that I love my hot water! Thank you for fixing this small problem for me this week so I can bathe my babies and we can enjoy our baths and showers again!

The plumber came the next day and fixed a heating element. Upon looking in the heater he noticed that the 90 gallon heater was half full of sediment. Literally a huge block of sediment that was turning our huge tank into a 40 gallon tank. But he assured us that the new heating element would work and we would be back in business. But he did say that this water heater was on its last few years and would need to be replaced sooner than later.

That night I went to shower and bathe my babies and we only had enough water for 8 minutes. And it didn't even get hot. I came downstairs feeling very defeated. How in the world was this ever going to get fixed? We all know how long it takes to get someone on it from a property management company! This could take another week. My head was hurting and I was done with cold showers. I didn't even know how to get ahold of the plumber!

I repeated to myself, God will meet all my needs. ALL. All doesn't mean some or just the important ones. I believe in His promise and I know He will take care of this for me!

Well wouldn't you know, my phone rang. 8:30 at night. It was the plumber. Really? Who calls at 8:30 first of all and second, the timing was just weird in an awesome God kinda way. He was just calling to see how it was going and if everything was working. He said he was just writing up his report and going to turn it in but since the water still wasnt hot he would go ahead and tell them we needed a brand new one! Music to my ears. He called right in time.

The water heater got replaced and we had another moment where we STILL didn't get hot water. Turns out the temperature just needed to be adjusted but that gave me yet another opportunity to wait in awe of God. One of the moments I had been practicing for.I was learning how to remain calm when things seemed off or just a mess. Waiting for God to work things for me and meet my needs. My small little need of hot water in a world where people don't have water at all. In a world where people suffer and most days I feel horribly guilty for even asking God for something as small as hot water. Or a full gas tank or something healthy on the table. Just like He is meeting peoples needs in big ways, He meets them in small ways. There is nothing ever too small to bring to God.

He wants to talk to you today about what you need. He wants to know that you understand that His Will might end up different than what you imagined your life to be but He has a HUGE plan to give you more and more and bigger and better, just go to Him. Find your peace in Him today that He is working not only the big things, but the small things too. The most important lesson that I learned here during this move is that God already knew all the challenges in front of me, an entire life full of them. He knew that water heater was not going to work. And He knew that I needed a set of challenges to learn this lesson. What God wants from you is an attitude of praise and worship even when things are difficult. See, God is so big that He has the last word on everything. He can take a huge obstacle from right underneath you, He just wants to know that YOU know that. YOU believe that. YOU claim that in your life.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
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