Well, would you believe I'm creating my menu as I type this. This weekend was a bit crazy so this is the first time I've had to sit down and figure the week out. This is our pantry week, money is tight, so I'll be making as much as I can with what we've got in our pantry and freezer. Thankfully, we've got a ton of stocked up meat! We really have almost nothing going this week, so meals should be easy to get prepared.
Monday- Chick fil A. Tonight our church is getting together for a fundraiser at our local Chick fil A. Yay for good food, church family, and not having to cook!
Tuesday- Ranch Pork with mashed potatoes.
Wednesday- Cowboy Meatloaf
Friday- Date Night! Aaron and I will be eating out to celebrate my birthday a little late and the girls will probably have pizza with the babysitter.
Verse of the Week
I've said it before and I'll say it again- "Follow Your Heart" is the worst advice you can give anyone.
And unfortunately, I'm one of those people who loses sight of that very easily. I've come to understand that because I'm a sinful fallen person, I believe the "thorn in my side" is that my emotional being will always struggle to submit to my spiritual being. I'll forever have an internal war. I tend to lead with what I feel instead of what I know God's truth is. And that has always and will always lead me into the wrong things as long as I allow it to. I saw something yesterday and seriously, it was like a snap back into reality. I saw a facebook status that said- " Just because you feel it doesn't mean it's real". HELLO! That snapped me right out of the emotionally lead path I was walking down. So, I chose this as the verse of the week as a reminder to myself!
Don't let your heart lead you this week! Lead with God's truth and your heart will follow!
Our Women's Bible Study at church
is going through the book Stronger
by Angela Thomas
. Again, it's right what I needed when I needed it. God is good like that. Anyways, today, I wanted to share with you a few key things out of the book that really struck me. The specific week theme is God is stronger than my overwhelming life. The day subject is Unrealistic Expectations- Mine and Theirs.
She starts out by describing her perfect picture of life then asks "Do you have a magazine dream?" I almost laughed at that question. It took me about .5 seconds to answer it and describe in detail my answer. Then, she asks "Does any of this resemble dreams you have or still hold onto?" Of course, my answer was yes. Here's her response...
If we take all our dreamy, unrealistic expectations and add the unrealistic expectations from the people we love, we create a dangerous concoction: a recipe for an overwhelming, disappointing life. After all, burnout comes not from work, but from not achieving expectations. (pg 102)
Have you expected someone or something other than God to live up to your expectations? To fill you up? To make you whole? To always keep his/her promise? To respond to your parenting with kind obedience? To be your Savior? (pg 102)
Ouch. Double Ouch. And basically the last year of my life in 2 sentences. Aaron and I are about to enter our 6th year of marriage. I can honestly say that I spent year 1-5.2 expecting my magazine life. I held (and still do) hold Aaron to an expectation of creating my happiness. Because of that, I let bitterness and discouragement destroy my marriage. I have set a standard for my kids that's unrealistic and because of that, I have been a hard and angry mother.
Angela goes onto to say...
Have you expected too much of yourself- to be the best mom, best daughter, best wife, best student, best friend, best employee, best follower of Christ?
From the first breathe you drew, you have need a Savior. You are imperfect and flawed.
Jesus took you off the hook when He died on the cross. He bore our sin and imperfection. You do not have to be what you can never be.
Amen to that! Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We have to renew our expectations and our standards with the fact that- Only God is perfect. No other person or myself can be or do what we need God to do in our life. And the truth of this is... God has already done what we need. When he died on the cross, he offered us salvation. Grace that covered our shortcomings, our faults, our unrealistic expectations.
If we allow that truth to renew our mind, we will be set free of living a life measured by our expectations.
Angela challenges us with this...
Who needs to be let off the hook today? Your husband? A wayward child? You and your high expectations? Make a list of the names. Now make this declaration for each name you have written:
__________________________________________, you are off the hook. I kneel at the cross and lay down my unrealistic expectations about you. You are a human being who needs a Savior. Only God is perfect. I hereby release you from ever having to be my Savior, my fulfillment, and my joy. All that I need is Him. Jesus Christ is my Savior. I am humbled and I am greatful. (pg 104)
Man, making that list for me was mentally and emotionally exhausting. Not because I had to come up with names for the list, but because my list ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be. Once I started thinking, I came up with quite a few people that I've held to a higher standard that I should have been. And the truth is, it's easy to recite that declaration. It's easy to say those words- It's the action behind those words that is hard.
For me, that's a declaration I will have to make a few times a day, every day, until my mind is renewed in the truth that only God is perfect and no other person on this planet, including myself, will live up to my perfect expectation. And what does that mean for my life?
It means this...
When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.- Luke 12:48b
We are given grace freely, which means that we need to extend grace in return. Obviously, God does not need our grace, but others do. If you've followed my blog for a time, you know that over the last 10 months, God has revealed more to me about His grace than ever before. And the more I realize how God's grace applies to my life, I realize that if I'm going to live Christlike, I have to live out grace to others.
Today, let's make a point to let others off the hook. Let's let ourselves off the hook. And let's let our minds be transformed. Only God is perfect. And because He's extended undeserved grace to us, we need to live a life of extended grace to others!
Well, I figured it was time resurrect Weigh In Wednesday. The last time I did a WIW post was on May 15th. At the time I was doing a boot camp class and working out 4 or 5 days a week at the YMCA. Once Emmy got out of school later on that month, I pretty much stopped doing everything. 5 months later and I'd gained 11 lbs and just felt really bad overall. I felt sluggish and my body just felt blah. So, I decided it was time to start calorie counting again. For financial reason we had to cancel our membership at the Y, which makes me sad because I loved it there. But, I'm not going to let that stop me. I've successfully lost weight not having a gym membership and I can do it again!
When I decided it was time to start counting calories again I felt like I was really missing something. It took me a week or two of really struggling to realize that what I was missing was support. Last fall, when I was losing weight successfully, I was part of the online weight loss community, SparkPeople. I was part of a group of about 30 people that were in regular daily contact encouraging each other and supporting each other. I loved that. It was like there were finally people who understood what it felt like to want to eat a pan of brownies or knew exactly what to say to motivate me to run. But, there were circumstances that resulted in me leaving SparkPeople and, unfortunately, I won't be going back to it.
But, I did decide that I wanted to create a page on Facebook where people could join and we could support each other. It's been pretty cool to have this resource available and the support is invaluable. I'd love it if you'd join our group if you need support. We're from all locations and walks of life. We just want to lift each other up and help each other meet our health and wellness goals. There are some who are part of the group who aren't looking to lose weight, just maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are some in the group who have lots of weight to lose and want that support also.
The name of the group is At A Loss Weight Loss and Wellness Support Group. We'd love it if you joined! Here's the link- https://www.facebook.com/groups/300914140050499/
Just click on that link and join us on our journey. I've said it a hundred times- I don't think God intended for us to walk the road of life alone. He designed us to be community oriented people, and this is no exception! Support and accountability can be powerful in helping us reach our goals.
Speaking of goals, here are a few of my October weight loss goals-
1. I want to eliminate the weight I've gained this summer and get back to my "ending" weight. That's about 6 pounds. If I can lose more, that would be great, but I'm aiming to take off the weight I've gained back.
2. Water, Water, Water. I feel like this is always a goal as I NEVER drink enough water.
3. More scripture memory. I want to make sure I've got Bible verses so ingrained in my head that I can use them to fight the temptation that comes with choosing a healthy lifestyle.
4. Plan and plan again. I would be so much more successful if I had ALL my meals planned in advance, not just our dinners. It takes the guess work out of calorie counting.
Are you wanting to make a change for a healthier lifestyle? Do you know it's time to surrender the part of you that you've been holding back- your food life? I am! If you want support, head on over to the group and give us a shout!
So, perhaps I slacked off a little this summer, and my summer mantle stayed up until last week. It was patriotic themed and I figured... why not? I started thinking about my fall mantle a month or so ago and it took lots of thought, scouring other blogs and magazines for ideas, and eventually, LOTS AND LOTS of editing and styling. In fact, I took 3 sets of pictures for this post. I'd style the mantle the way I wanted, take pictures and edit them. Then later that day or night I'd be sitting there and think... no, I don't really like that there. Then I'd spend another day or two moving things around. Repeat that process 3 times. THEN, I came across the perfect pumpkin this last weekend and I just knew this was the finishing touch. Finally, I'm content with the outcome. So much work for it only being up there for a little bit. This mantle will stay until December, but I will take the jack-o-lantern tin down and find something more "Thanksgiving" to put up. Also, let me apologize in advance for these pictures. I couldn't get a clear picture to save my life. A nice camera is at the top of my Christmas list! Anyways, let's get to it...
I wanted to try my hand at mixing textures. I love the way the Indian corn pops with a little color. The bundle of twigs wasn't originally an idea I had, but when I saw them I liked the look of them and worked it in. I got them at Joann's. The silver bark candle holder is from target, and the glass pumpkin is from Big Lots. I searched high and low for the indian corn and finally found it at a local grocery store.
I knew I wanted to keep the frame on the mantle, but honestly I couldn't find any subway art I liked. And I didn't have time to make one. So, I decided to use a traditional Thanksgiving hymn. This is "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come". I made the print then added the leaves and "Give Thanks" and then had it printed at Sam's Club. The lantern I snagged at Ikea last month.
That little owl started my whole vision for this mantle. I just thought he was so cute! I knew I wanted to include some fall leaves on the mantle, and originally I wasn't picturing this kind, but as soon as I saw these I was struck by the beautiful deep red color. It worked out well as it accents the color of one of the indian corn cobs. The little jack-o-lantern tin is from ages ago. I got it from my mom years ago and I love the old look of it. Plus, it adds a touch of halloween to and otherwise traditional harvest mantle. After Halloween I'll have to find something to replace it.
Well, there ya have it! I really like it. Finally. This was definitely a labor of love for me, but my persistence paid off! Happy Fall! Check back in tomorrow as I'm resurrecting Weigh In Wednesday! I'll be adding a link to a Health and Wellness support group I started on Facebook as well as listing some of my October goals!
The first week of October. Fall. My favorite season. I love it. Also, my first week back to calorie counting. So, because of that, most of these recipes are "skinny" or low cal. Most everything on this menu is not new to us, but not recent. Or a healthified version of something I already make. Also, towards the beginning of the week, I'm fixing things that Emmy can eat. She had her tonsils and adenoids removed last week, plus some infection at the back of her throat cleared out. So, I'm sticking with things that are softer and not like crunchy shelled tacos or something. Ok, let's go!
Tuesday- Thin Crust Biscuit Pizza.
Wednesday- Chicken Caesar Sandwiches.
Thursday- Chicken Fried Rice. I've never made it. I'm kind of nervous.
Friday- Cheeseburger Wraps.
Saturday- Skinny Chicken Parm.
Sunday- Green Beans, Sausage, and Potatoes.
I've made all of these with exception of the Fried Rice. I'm excited to eat this week! HA!
Verse of the Week
This verse has been my theme the last month or so. Knowing God's truth doesn't help you if you don't let it transform your mind. I'll be talking more about that on the blog this coming month, but today, let's starting thinking about how we can allow God to transform our mind in the small ways this week.
Hey All! I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm still here! I decided to take this month off and regroup. My oldest ended up having to have surgery for an infection we couldn't kick. School started. Life got a little overwhelming for a bit, and I knew my focus needed to be on my family.
Starting next Monday, I'll be back, ready to go! I'll have Menu Monday's, October Goals, a few DIY's, a few recipes, and I'll be starting my Zonderkids material reviews! And those are just a few of the highlights. I'm going to try and sneak in a few guest bloggers as well! Oh! And my fall mantle.
I hope you'll join me again on Monday to dive into this fall season head on! Bring on the changing leaves and sweaters! And of course, a whole lot more Jesus.
Well, this is one of those weeks where the menu is going to be pretty boring. We're headed to my parents for the holiday weekend starting on Thursday, so I only had to plan 3 meals for this week. We have Emmy's Pre-K orientation on Wednesday night, so that will be a fast dinner. Plus, I didn't do a whole lot of grocery shopping, so I planned our meals with what we had here. Lots of breakfast for dinner.
Monday- Breakfast. Sausage, Eggs, Hashbrowns.
Wednesday- Grilled Cheese and French Fries.
Well, there ya have it. Super simple.
Verse of the Week
I'm tired y'all. Like, my body and my soul. Weary. I'm ready for school to start again so that we can get on some type of schedule. But, the truth is that I've run myself ragged. The day to day here is pretty mundane. But day after day of my own thing has drained me. I'm purposing to commit my day to God, every hour if I need to. My strength hasn't been enough. Thankfully, we can't drain God of his strength! So, this week's verse is a reminder for me that God is already in the next hour, the next day. He knows the struggles, he knows the energy drainers. And He will me rest.
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”- Exodus 33:14
Are you tired today? Is your heart weary? Know that God goes before you, His presence is with you, and He will give you rest today! All we have to do is ask for it!
If you asked me 10 years ago to scale from 1 to 10 the amount of fear in my life, the number probably would have been close to 3. If you were to sit me down today and ask the same question, I'd say the number would probably be 8.
I got married. I had kids. There are parts of myself walking around outside my body. I'm (for the most part) out of control of them and can't protect them all the time. That creates fear. I've grown up a little. The edge of recklessness has worn off. I give much more consideration to driving 85 mph on the interstate. In fact, it's been years since I have. 10 years ago that was pretty normal for me. And I didn't blink.
Life has happened.
I realized yesterday how much fear tints my everyday life. And not fear of death or loss. But fear that stirs deep in me because I feel so out of control of what's happening in my life. Over the last months, Aaron and I have been stripped down to nothing. I'd like to think (and hope) that this is the bottom. And that is like a constant perfume to my waking moments. I open my eyes and am greeted with it. It's one of the last things I think about at night. I think about it when I'm blogging, cleaning, resting. I think about it when I'm hanging out with my girls.
It's grown into anxiety. Fear. A constant companion to my right and to my left.
I was sweeping my kitchen floor yesterday thinking about all of this, and suddenly this verse from Proverbs 31 came to mind. Proverbs 31 isn't a passage of scripture I sit in. It's one of those portions of the Bible I haven't made peace with yet (insert your shocked gasp here). It still makes me feel inadequate. But yesterday was one of those times when God breathed life into verse 25. Mainly, the second part of the verse, or part B if you will...
She laughs without fear of the future.
The verse jumped instantly into my head and a literal realization came to me- when was the last time I was able to laugh, really laugh, from deep in my soul, and it wasn't muted with my fear or uncertainty? I had no answer. I can't remember a specific time recently.
And I don't want that to be me.
God, help me trust you. In those moments, hours, days when I'm consumed with fear of the future, please give me strength. Give me trust. Help me to laugh. Speak truth straight into my heart and give me peace. And help me to remember that you love me anyways. Your love for me isn't based on my level of fear or trust. I give you this day.
Can you laugh without fear of the future? Does your worry color the way you live you day to day? Let's work on trusting God together today.
It's the start of a new week! I think this year has been the fastest of my life. And I'm totally serious when I say that. But, I'm so thankful for all the great memories we've had the chance to make and I'm glad we've still got a few more months to make more! Here in Indy we've already got a few trees that are starting to turn. I can't say I'm upset about that, fall is my favorite season! This is our last full week at home before Emmy starts school so I'm determined to get my "fall cleaning" done and be ready for school to start in 2 weeks!
I'm doing another week of all meals at home. We'll be on the run at least 2 nights this week, so some of our meals are pretty simple, but it gets the job done.
Tuesday- Cowboy Meatloaf
Wednesday- Grilled Cheese
Thursday- BBQ Country Ribs
Friday- Chicken Pot Pie
Nothing really complicated this week! A few family favorites!
So, I set another goal for myself for this week. I'm going to start a gratitude journal today. I'm going to write down at least 20 things a day that I'm thankful for. The theme for this week is going to be thankfulness. So, the verse of the week mirror's that.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.- Psalm 13-5-6
This has always been a few of my favorite verses. In fact, if you've ever received and email from you, then you've seen this verse in my signature. This week I'm using it as a reminder of all the things I've got to be thankful for.
Why don't you join me in keeping/starting a gratitude journal this week! Happy Monday!
For years upon years, my mom always gave me the same piece of advice over and over again. I knew what she meant, but I didn't know how important it was until much later (over the last few years). It's not the typical wear clean underwear or wash behind your ears type of advice. It was more important. It was my mom looking out for my spiritual welfare. There are still so many times now that I hear her voice saying it to me....
Jessica, don't give Satan a foothold.
Say what? A foothold. Dictionary.Com defines a foot hold as this-
"a secure position, especially a firm basis for further progress or development"
Hm. Further progress or development. If there's anything I've learned about sin over the last year is that it consumes. Have you ever heard the phrase- "give him an inch and he'll take a mile"? That is giving Satan a foothold. It's like trying to contain a wildfire. It's nearly impossible. Once you open the door to him a little, you've given him a foothold. Once he's got that foothold, he'll keep knocking, keep pushing, keep persuading until he's through the door. Unfortunately, in my life, I've not always heeded this advice and I've given him many footholds. There are times when I didn't just give him a foothold, but I've swung the door wide open and practically invited him in.
There are so many typical examples of this I could give- Someone who's prone to addiction or a recovering addict exposing him or herself to the object of addiction (ie- a recovering alcoholic going into a bar for a Coke). Pushing sexual boundaries farther and farther (when you're not married). Experimenting with drugs, alcohol, dangerous activities, etc. The list could be endless. What is a foothold in my life may not be in yours and vise versa.
I'll give you a personal example.... country music. Because of some of the choices I've made in my life, there are many memories and emotions that I connect with country music. When I listen to country music, those memories and emotions start flooding back in. If I allow myself to sit and feel those emotions, to relive those memories, I'm opening that door. A very dangerous door for me. Do I like country music? Yes, I do. Is it a wise choice for me to listen to country music? No, it's not. Every time I made the choice to flip that station on, I'm giving Satan a foothold.
I don't want to beat a dead horse here. But I do want to share this advice with you, just as my mom has shared it with me. (And you better believe I'll share it with my kids, too!) Stay as far away from the door as possible. Don't even walk the line. The closer you walk to the line, the closer you get to giving Satan an opportunity to introduce and "further progress or development" of sin in your life! Don't give Satan a foothold today!