Sunday, April 24, 2011

Try It Challenge 4:

Try It Challenge: Week 4

The Try-It food this week is: Avocados!
I still have Wholly Guacamole in my freezer from the $4/1 coupons a few months ago. I took some of this out and added it on our super-burgers this week (we like to add strange and wild amount of toppings to our burgers!) I made Prime Veggie Burgers with cheese, turkey bacon, spinach, onion, and guac (in place of mayo or sour cream). Delicious!!!

I also plan on trying Clare's black bean dip later this week if I can get this avocade from Aldi to ripen already!

Spiritual Challenge: Pray Scripture
In the youth group I attended at home, we always began prayer with scripture.
We used Psalm 62:1
"Only in God is my soul at rest, in him comes my salvation"

Honestly, sometimes this alone was my prayer. In times of despair or trouble, this has calmed many tears and cast off many worries of this world.

Really any of the Psalm (many of which you will find hymns or songs of including a song I love using psalms 52 and 61) makes a great prayer.


Don't forget to check out Clare's blog where the challenge started!!

Are you joining the challenge? Don't forget to link up below!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Preparing for Easter

I know it is a heated debate over what things are appropriate for Easter (eggs, bunnies, baskets, etc). I'm not going to tackle that! I'm going to share some ways to prepare and some fun activities from myself and from some other wonderful ladies whose blogs I love to read. We just need to remember that Jesus is the center of every day including Easter, not things of this world.

Jesus in the Passover
I don't know about you, but I will be honest and admit that until I really got serious about my walk, I dreaded reading the old testament. It seemed boring and repetitive, both of which I know now to not be true.

I'm currently reading through the entire Bible (I admit, ashamedly, it's the first time I've met success with attempting this, though not the first time I've tried). And the most amazing thing I've found is that the Savior who I love, Jesus, is in there! He really is! Jesus is in the Passover, so that's what I'll focus on today, because I just love the foreshadowing and symbolism and Passover was celebrated by Jews yesterday.

The Passover Lamb
The story of Passover centers around the Passover lamb, when Moses instructed God's people to kill a male lamb without defect and wipe the blood over their doors so that in the night when all the 1st born sons in Egypt were killed, God's people would be "Passed Over."

"The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats." Exodus 12:5 NIV

"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. Exodus 12:12-13 NIV

Jesus is called the sacrificial lamb. He was without defect, or sin. He was killed for us all so that if we accept Him, we have eternal life, and we are "passed over" from death.
"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29
"Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." 1 Corin. 5:7 NIV
"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

When God instructed His people to celebrate Passover, the lamb was not to have any of its bones
“It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it." Exodus 12:46

"He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken." Ps. 34:20 NIV

And although they usually broke the legs of those being crucified, they did not break Jesus's bones. The break the legs to kill the person faster because without their legs they cannot push up to breathe.
"The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs;... For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of Him shall be broken."" John 19:32-33, 36 NIV

Other Traditions inlaid in the Passover:
  • The passover lamb was chosen 5 days before the passover was celebrated. Jesus entered Jerusalem 5 days before Passover and on lamb selection day according to the calendar that the religious authorities would have used.
  • On Good Friday (Passover) when the lamb was sacrificed (3pm) the ram's horn was blown, this is also the time that Jesus died. Everyone would observe a moment of silence to contemplate the sacrifice for sins.
For more information see this source

Other Easter Activities

Resurrection Rolls - I love this idea, it tells the story of Jesus burial and resurrection

Resurrection Eggs -I like the instructions on how to make your own set, to save the cost of purchasing

Preparing for Easter - DWYM has done a series on preparing ourselves, our hearts, and our children for Easter

May you have a blessed Easter, praise God for Christ his son, given for us so that we may die to our sins and be born again in Him.


Posting about Easter this month? Link up here!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Try It Challenge 3:

Try It Challenge: Week 3

This weeks challenge is: Green Tea!

It's funny that Clare picked this. When I was student teaching I tried to cut out coffee (mostly because of how easily my teeth stain because of it) and had read that green tea can help you lose weight so I brought two cups with me in my coffee thermos and drank it in place of coffee.

I like my green tea with just a bit of honey (we love honey at our house!)

My favorite type of green tea?
Honestly, the type they have a Chinese restaurants, some of my favorite restaurants have small packages you can buy inexpensively at their front counter.

The spiritual challenge this week: Prayer Plank

Sneaky Clare mixing nutrition, fitness, and prayer into one challenge!

I don't know that I'll be able to try this this week as I'm hardly fitting in my 10k training routines but I definitely will keep this in mind for cool summer mornings out in the backyard!


Don't forget to check out Clare's blog where the challenge started!!

Are you joining the challenge? Don't forget to link up below!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Great Provision

I worry about money. I think if we're honest, at some point we all worry about money, having enough, getting more, losing a source of it.

We know that we shouldn't worry though, because God provides. God is the Great Provider. As I read through Luke in my quiet time, I couldn't help but notice how the 12 didn't trust God to provide. In Luke 9, Jesus sends the 12 out to the towns to proclaim the good news and to heal.
He equipped them with the skills they needed. He told them not to take anything with them, no extra clothes, no food, nothing.
They needed to trust he would provide for their needs. The people of the towns were the hands and feet that gave them the food, but God provided the food.

Just a few verses later, after returning from spreading the news (none, by the way, went hungry and didn't return) a crowd of 5,000 gathers and the 12 look at Jesus and ask him to send the people into town for food. Jesus tells the 12 to feed the crowd. The 12 are seriously confused wondering where they will get enough food.

"He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd." Luke 9:13 NIV

They forgot that just prior to that, they had left with no food and food was provided. They so suddenly forgot to trust that their needs would be provided for.

But we often forget just as quickly, if not more that God will provide for us. Since we got married, my husband had been working about 50 hours a week about 35 minutes from our home. It was stressful and we knew that he couldn't stay there much longer. We prayed and prayed for something else.

We agreed if he didn't find something by January, he'd quit. Finally something else came up, a manager position in the same store with a better schedule. He turned in his notice the first week in January and made sure everything was set for the new position. After his last day of work at the old position, he had the weekend off.

That Sunday night the new company called to tell him the position they said they were hiring him for, was actually not going to be filled and he wouldn't have a job. Quickly I began to worry about how we would make, we were just barely paying all our student loans as it was. My husband reminded me that God had never not provided before. We reworked the budget and trusted and prayed.

And do you know what?

We had enough. Somehow we had enough. God took our 5 loaves and 2 fish and multiplied it. He stretched it, he showed us how to live on only one income, when we thought it was impossible before.

Then in late February we did our taxes, and we were blessed beyond measure with a return we'd never be close to receiving before!

He's still without a job and is now finishing his bachelor's degree full as a full time online student and it seems like each month another expense is added, and still there is enough money.

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:28-34 NIV


What are you learning in your walk? Link up with your blog.

I'm linked up at:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Try It Challenge 2: Quinoa and Podcasts

Try It Challenge: Week 2
This week's challenge from Clare is to try Quinoa and to listen to a Christian podcast

Now since I took culinary classes in college and teach culinary now, I know that it's a grain.
The 2nd edition of On Cooking hardly mentions it at all except as a recipe under the "other starch recipes" category with a side note that it is an ancient grain that is delicate and almost bland.
The 3rd edition (2003), however, recognizes the upcoming popularity of Quinoa.
It lists it as a grain, describing that it was used by the Incans and that it is technically not a cereal grain, but rather a seed, but just like a tomato is treated as a vegetable, Quinoa is treated as a grain. I'm thinking it must technically be a legume (a plant that aborbs nitrogen out of the air, thus making it possible to have all 9 essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) in it. Nontheless the seeds are flattened and used as a grain, and as Clare said very nutritious.

On Cooking describes them as having a "natural, bitter-tasting coating which protects (it) from birds and insects." Consequently, it should be rinsed well with cold water in a strainer prior to use. It is cooked like rice (2 parts water, 1 part Quinoa). They also suggest toasting them in a hot dry pan for 5 minutes to bring out the nutty flavor (similarly to how peanuts, another legume cousin, is tasty toasted).
So now that I've had a Quinoa lesson, I need to try some! I've actually never had it! But I'm excited to try it. These are recipes I found which sound good:
Quinoa Chocolate Treats
Herbed Eggplant Medley
Whole Wheat Quinoa (flour) Pancakes (pictured above)

The pancakes are intriguing using the flour as I'm not sure I've heard of any other legumes that are made into flour? Complete protein pancakes? breakfast of champions? I think so!

Spiritual Challenge:
Try a podcast. Clare mentioned she likes to excercise to them. We also do that, but we like to have them on the Ipod to listen to in the car on trips and on errands (we're about 35 minutes from decent grocery stores). The ones I like are:

Matt Chandler @ TheVillageChurch
This is an amazing pastor out of Dallas, Texas- these are my favorite sermons to listen to
Mosaic Church

There are many other great podcasts on Itunes and audiobooks are another really great resource.

Don't forget to check out Clare's blog where the challenge started!!

Are you joining the challenge? Don't forget to link up below!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sprouting All Over

This week I have quite a lot of new additions. The swiss chard, and carrots have begun to sprout. The romaine took a beating from some hail and I forgot to take pictures as last week was a little crazy! I will have more pictures next week but I think it's safe to say that we have defeated the last frost!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Running the Race

I decided this week to Run a 10k.

We have an apple blossom festival coming up at the end of the month near us. I've debated about doing it and then the other day, seeing how fit I was in our honeymoon pictures, decided I need to set a goal.

Better late than never, but I started training yesterday. Usually you should take about 8 weeks to train but I've decided to condense to 4 weeks training because that's what I have.

I remembered a lot of things as I got up yesterday after my first training day (3 miles).
-I'm a lot more motivated when I have a goal to reach for, something to look to. It keeps you focused.
-It gets you through the tough times.
-It reminds you that daily discipline is necessary.
-It reminds you the pain of not stretching daily.
-It reminds us that extra weight makes exercise tough.
-It also reminds you that you need days of rest. All training programs involve days of rest.

Then I began to think about my walk with the King. And I thought about 1 Corinthians 9:24
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it." ESV

And I thought about Hebrews 12:1-2
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." ESV

Our walk with God is a lot like a race, just like Paul says.
-We're more motivated to live out our faith when we have a goal, when we place our gaze on Christ it is easier to persevere.
-It's when we stop to think about how much something hurts or to look around at how everyone else is doing that we stumble.
-We need daily discipline in our faith, we need to take quiet time with the Lord, we need to seek counsel, we need to spend time meditating on the word, we need to spend time in prayer and fasting.
-When we let ourselves drift from these things, we feel extra pain. When we chase meaningless things, and God is passive in his wrath by letting us chase those things, money things bad relationships, anything, we feel pain. We get hurt. We hurt others.
-Extra weight of sin is a burden to us in our walks, in our race towards the prize that is Christ the King. The author of Hebrews reminds us to cast aside our sin, which "clings so closely" isn't that the truth? Old habits that seems to drift so easily back in? The author tells us when we put off this weight, we can run with endurance, and that is every runners' goal, to start and finish strong. That's our goal in our walks as well, to stand firm until the end. Hebrews and Matthew tell us that a sign of a true believer is that they stand firm until the end. They persevere.

"If we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm to the end" Hebrews 3:14 ESV

"All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:22 NIV

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:12-13 NIV

-And lastly, we must rest. We will run ourselves ragged if we don't take a day to rest, recuperate, and rebuild our strength. Even God took a day to rest from creation. So too should we.


What are you learning in your walk (or sprint)? Link up with your blog.

I'm linked up at:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Try It Challenge 1: Greek Yogurt and Pastors

Try It Challenge: Week 1

Food Challenge: Greek Yogurt
This week's food challenge is to incorporate Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt was once hard to find but is now popping up left and right (even at our tiny walmart!) You can also make it yourself. Here is a video i show my students on how to make your own. This recipe in the video makes a greek yogurt ranch dip but you can customize to make any flavor you like.

Other Greek Yogurt Ideas:
-Fruit Dip (you can swirl in cinnamon if you like)
-Sauce for chicken or lamb (again spice as you wish, or turn into a sort of alfredo)
-Make salad dressing with GY instead of mayonnaise for a healthier, creamy alternative
-Stir in french onion mix and dip Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato tortilla chips in it (a personal favorite!)

Here are some links to coupons for different brands of Greek Yogurt:
Yoplait Greek or Here
Voskos Greek Yogurt (bricks coupon so get your printer ready!) or Here (
(If you have Kroger, there is a Kroger ecoupon here as well)
Marzetti Otria (smartsource so no back buttons, click the link two separate times to duplicate)

Coupons are also available regularly in the Sunday SmartSource inserts for Yoplait Greek and for Marzettis Otria

Spiritual Challenge: Pastors
This week make an extra effort to pray for pastors in your church.

This week I will pray for our pastors, elders, and deacons. We are just getting to know all the names and faces as we attend a pretty large church and just began attending there at the end of last year.


Don't forget to check out Clare's blog where the challenge started!!

Are you joining the challenge? Don't forget to link up below!