Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our plans or God's plans?

Meet Cassidy Aaron

She is 18-
Just graduated high school after homeschooling most of her life -
Is pursuing Jesus -
Loves her family and others - 
Has a very big heart - 

Enjoy as she shares a bit of what God has been doing in her life....
Finally! Done with school! 
So excited to see what God's plan is for me and at the same time wish 
I was a seven year old girl again:)

Senior year is the year you are constantly asked.. What are you doing next?

 What college are you going to? Eek! Can be a scary thought, huh?! 

A year ago I would have told you... Oh MY plan is to take Criminal Justice and paramedic classes as soon as possible in the fall. 

God did a real work on my heart though!

 My life is God's. Not mine!

 I knew God was just yelling this at me and I knew in my heart that I wanted to give a year of my life at a Bible college to see if becoming a cop is God's plan or if there is something else God is wanting for me.

So many times we all pray for God's will,
 but yet we don't want to take that step of faith and just be a little crazy and trust in Him.

 Well I have decided I want to take that leap and obey Him!

 My mom and I instantly started looking into one year christian Bible colleges
 (ministry and missions focused programs) and I know this was the right decision.
 Because God has given me such a peace about this upcoming year. 
I know He will be doing so many incredible things with this girl:) 

Much bigger and better things than what I had planned for this Fall.

 I know that some people will not understand this choice and think it's a waste,
 but to me giving one year of my life to see what God's purpose for my life is for an entire lifetime is NO waste to me.

 I know God will close and open all the doors to get me where He wants me
 and one of my main goals in life is to be used by Him and find what His plan is and if that be a cop I WILL be taking my criminal justice and paramedic classes the following year.
 That's where I also need to remember that there are always
 seasons in life and we can never rush God!

 If we do we will miss out on so many other opportunities and adventures He has for us!

As I would say... I am so pumped for this amazing year 

and I know I can do all things through Christ which

strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

Monday, June 18, 2012

Who's the cook?!

The weirdest phenomenon is happening in our home.....

My husband has been cooking!

We've been married 13 years and up until a year ago, he had only cooked a handful of times. And it was out of necessity not joy.

Well, about a year ago he decided to make HOMEMADE lasagna. I'm taking about from scratch....sauce and all! It was delicious. He has made it several more times and it keeps getting better. I couldn't believe he made it and did such a great job. Simply because I didn't think he had any desire to cook.

Then one day he said that he was going to cook dinner again. What? Really?! I'm totally cool with that. :-) He wouldn't tell me what he was making.
It turned out that he'd been "flipping through" a Better Homes and Garden magazine that I had laying around and thought that the recipe for Bacon Mac & Cheese looked delicious. Ummmhhhh. It was! (You can find the recipe online at

That began another string of perfecting the Bacon Mac & Cheese.

Now, I'm gonna be honest here. (I'm guessing he'll never read this, but if he does he totally knows me with money; so it's ok.) :-) I was a bit stressed about the cost of the items that he was making. I don't enjoy cooking very much and I'm not a big "foody" so I tend to go the cheapest possible route for most meals. Not a whole lot of love goes into most of my food. It's just how it is. I cook. I love to provide food for my family. I go through fazes, but trying new recipes is expensive. The exception to this is the Crock Pot. I really enjoy using it and I seem to like most everything that I make in it. I got on a kick last year and burnt Josh out on it a bit so I've laid off the Crock Pot a bit this year. I just really enjoy the smell it creates in the house. I love soup, stew, chili type things. Plus, you can put just about anything you have on hand in their and it turns it into something edible! :-)

Anyways, I was going to make Father's Day lunch. Steak and baked potatoes.
However, I like my steak charred and very well done. He likes his still mooing.
I've always had a hard time getting a piece of meat just how he likes it because it seems so "yucky" to me.
So he offered to make the steaks AND his Mac and Cheese. Ummmhhhh, that was the meal. But he seems to really enjoy this new found gift that he has discovered. He's really good at it. Why? I'm not sure where the  culinary desire is coming from but I believe that he enjoys blessing us with food that he makes and it tastes better than mine because he puts a lot of time and love into.

The reality is that I will still cook most of the meals, but it's nice to have a break every once in a while. It's also nice to eat food that has been prepared by someone else! :-) Perhaps it's just a season, but I'm hoping it sticks around!

I did manage to spend Saturday night making a pretty yummy replica of the Cheesecake Factory's Red Velvet Cheesecake however. The assembly went a little haywire, but the taste was delicious! yay

Does your husband ever cook?
Does he cook better than you? I'm discovering that mine does! AND I'm totally cool with that! :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Feast = Abundance
Feasting = Enjoying the abundance

Those are my definitions. No credit will be taken by Noah Webster. :-)

I'm not speaking of "glutony". I'm speaking of "feasting" on good food and good friendship. 

There is a group of people in Italy that began a movement they call "the convivium" 
which means "the feast". 
They are a group of people trying to promote the idea of a "slow-food" movement instead contribute to another generation of "fast-food" families. 

Do you need to SLOW DOWN and enjoy the family 
dinner table more? 
I know that we do. 
Let's take the "slow-food" movement challenge together. 

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; 
blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him." 
Psalm 34:8

There is a fabulous post by Ann Voskamp at
on eating spiritual food after each meal. 
Check it out!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dinner Time Stuff

Food Preparation  
What do you do? 

As most people probably, I have changed my system over and over throughout the years. Sometimes I get on CrockPot kicks. Othertimes we have an abundance of fish that needs to be eaten and enjoyed. Sometimes it's more about getting "something" on the plate. Othe rtimes, more thought and prep time is spent. One thing that I do try to always do is make a monthly meal plan on a calendar that is on my fridge. It doesn't mean that I always stick to it but it's there as a guide. At the beginning of the month I go through my cabinets and freezer and write things down based on what I have. Some have Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc. but that has never worked out for us. It's a bit more random for me, but it helps to see what I have in the cabinet and what I need to shop for that month. Plus, cooking doesn't bring me joy like it does some people so this helps keep it simple and pre-planned.

Setting the table 
Do you set the table every night? A few nights a week?
Fancy? Informal? 

We do NOT eat dinner at the table every night. Gasp! :-)
We try to make Monday, Thursday, and Satruday special meal days here.
Tuesday I work and then we have wrestling so it's left overs, Wednesday is church and the kids and I have something simple like mac and cheese or sandwiches (my husband is the Youth Pastor so stays all day at church), Friday is Pizza Night, Sunday is fast food after church and then munching in the evening as we get ready for and have Home Groups at our house.

I don't set the table super fancy, but we set it nicely. Now that my little girl is older, she LOVES to make the table pretty. I mean very pretty. Way more than I would normally do, but it's her gift to make things pretty and she LOVES food and making food so that's part of it for her.

Praying for the food 
Do you always pray? Do you have a more formal time of prayer? Do you keep it short and sweet? Does your husband always say the prayer or do you take turns as a family? Do you hold hands? 

Alda Ellis, in her book, A Table of Grace, writes this:
"The family dinner is indeed a legancy to be passed on from one generation to the next. I believe that it is more important for our children to know who the head of the family is than who the head of the country is. So many positive things begin while seated at the dinner table - respect, good communication skills, proper table manner, the humble thanksing of God for our blessings."

Picky Eaters 
Are all your dinners pleasant?

 Ours aren't! :-) Having young children who have differing food tastes has been a challenge throughout the years. I have a son that HATES meat. I have a DAUGHTER who detests vegetables. This has lead to many battles at the table. I won't even go into all the dreary details. But we are at a place where everyone knows that they MUST try everything. I give my daughter more meat than veggies and my son more veggies than meat. At 7 and 9 we are getting at a happier dinner time food place. It's been a journey though. They both were super easy to potty train. Maybe this is payment for that? :-)

More on the gift of CONVERSATION next time...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blessing through food - part 2 - family dinners

I grew up with two grandmothers who cooked! 

One is from Arkansas (Momo) and the other Texas (Granny). 

There food is very similar...and very good.
I also grew up eating (almost) every dinner at one of those grandparents homes. 
My mom worked and my Momo and Popo took care of me during the day and then
had dinner ready for my Popo (grandpa), Mother, and myself when she arrived home. 
Not some days, not if she felt like it....
every day. 
I remember eating dinner together with my grandparents and mom every day of my life. 
Well, except most Saturdays we were on our own. :-) 
I'm not really sure what we ate on those days????
Oreos and chips come to mind. :-) 
Monday through Friday was usually meat, potatoes, salad, vegetables, AND dessert. 
Sunday was usually potato salad and sandwiches or leftovers from the week
with chips and homemade cheese dip to snack on. 
 This is the table. 
This is the one that I've shared food and family with over the past 33 years. 
My Popo was a gentle man that loved his famlily. 
I sat on his lap for many meals as a toddler.
 When I got home from school each day my Momo was in the kitchen cooking. 
Not because she had to. I'm sure there were days she wished she could  take a day off. 
But rather, because she loved us so much and knew that blessing us with food mattered
She has stood in front of her cutting board more than any other place in her home. 
Hands down. I'd put my last dollar on that fact. 
It wasn't just about the food. 
It was about the people around the table. 
The food was just the vehicle to get us all there. 
Then the daily magic happened. 

My mom would always talk about her day. 
My Popo would tell stories and just chat. 
Momo listened and served us all.
I sat there taking it all in. 
It was never rushed. 
Never hurried. 
We had nothing to do until 7 PM when Wheel of Fortune came on 
and then the Pepsi and popcorn got brought out. 
Now, I could tell a few stories about how I was a chubby kid that loved food, 
but I'll leave that for another post. 
Right now, we're talking about the blessing that food was. ;-)
(She passed down a marble rolling pin to me in hopes that I would make her pie crusts someday!)
 My Popo passed away when I was 11. 
I vividly remember that dinner was never the same again.
It was the hardest time. 
For me at least. 
It seemed so empty at the table. 
Like the life was gone. 
Someone very special was missing. 
My Momo wasn't the same. 
Food wasn't as important any more. 
Popo wasn't there to eat it, enjoy it, love it, 
compliment her on it, share it. 
When Popo went to be with Jesus, 
the family tradition of eating together carried on nightly....
but there was a sadness. 
The stories where about how much he was missed. 
How it seemed so weird to not have him there. 
How he should be walking in the door at any moment from fishing. 

The year after Popo's death, my mom got remarried and we moved an hour away from my grandparents. 
Meals weren't necessarily her gift. :-)
She tried.
Life got busy. 
We ate when we could. In between the busyness of city life and night shifts and baby girls needing attention. 
It wasn't bad. God has a plan in all that he does. 
We have a few family dinner stories that live on from our table in Reno. ;-)

But I will ALWAYS and FOREVER 
remember the times spent around Momo and Popos kitchen table. 
As a family. 
Eating food and loving each other! 

that's what I call blessing your family through food!
And Momo, who is not 84 
continues to bless us through her gift every Christmas and summer when we go to visit
along with countless other friends, pastors, missionaries, and neighbors!
Thank you Momo. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Real Simplicity

Chapter 1 of Real Simplicity

You know when you get a book from the library thinking it's going to be one thing...
and it turns out to be something totally different???

That happened to me with this book. I'm not exactly sure what I expected, but it wasn't really what this book turned out to be. BUT I'm really enjoying it!

It's about how BUSY we've made out lives with running here and there.

I especially loved the chapter that talked about the theory of the Hebrew pattern for a day.

"For the ancient Hebrew, there is a divine plumb line that governs the patterns of the day; 6 am (dawn) to 6 pm (dusk). Oddly enough, the day begins for a Hebrew person the "day before," or at 6 pm. This is consisitent with the way God referred to each day in Genesis chapter 1.

There are essentially three major activities in each day that should be governed by night and day: productivity, relationship, and sleep. Because the work of the Hebrew was agrarian, productivity was accomplished during the hours of sunlight - 6am to 6 pm. From that point on, the time would be devoted to relationships - time with family, extended family, and friends; sharing a meal; and a time of storytelling. There would be no rush, because there was no place to go and no distractions (TV/Internet). Between 9-10 pm everyone would settle down to get a good night's sleep. The basic structure of a normal day for the Hebrews went like this: 12 hours of productivity and work 6 am - 6 pm; 4 hours available for relationships (6pm-10pm); and 8 hours designated for sleep (10 pm - 6 am). Each member of the Hebrew family would operate within these guidelines each day for six days. Then they rested on the Sabbath." Randy Frazee

I've been chewing on this day cycle.....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blessing your family through food...part 1

Ok ladies, food is not my gift.
It's not that I don't like to EAT food. I simply don't have a passion to MAKE food. :-)
However, I have gone through different seasons of life where I've gotten on healthy kicks
and other times where I've slipped and eaten way too much fast food.

You can ask my extended family though....
I rarely allow JUNK food into my home. (Everyones definition of JUNK food is different! Mine are chips, cookies, cupcakes, sweets, candybars, anything but 100% fruit juice, white bread, and soda. I know that's just the tip of the iceburg, but it's a start.) I figure if it's there, we'll eat it. So why buy it???

I could go a long time on this topic, but won't because I don't have a "long time". :-)
I am not a health food queen by any stretch of the imagination, but I try to buy whole wheat instead of white.
No soda or chips at home. We do splurge if we are out somewhere and it's available like at a church workday etc.

My two main lifestyle food tips are:

  1. Don't drink my calories.
  2. Don't eat deep fried food.
I try to use those two models to guide me. 

My daughter and I just went to the farmers market and picked up a few green items and my son and I went to Trader Joes and found a beautiful selection for inexpensive. He said that it's his new favorite store. One of the most difficult things for me (as well as many of you probably) is that I do not have a large food budget. It's actually quite small. The realtity is that highly processed, junk food is often much cheaper than fresh, healthy food. But I've really been trying to take some extra time going to a few different stores and finding things that I can afford and that are good for us. 

None of my family are big vegetable eaters. I blame myself for that! Remember, what you cook regularly is what they get used to. :-/ Well, my son likes veggies far better than meat, but trying new things isn't on his priority list. 

Here's a great link up to Good Morning Girls about blessing our family through food. Check it out!

Check out this website:
Good Morning Girls Link

Check out these great YouTube videoblog posts from
Proverbs 31:12-14 Work with eagar hands to provide clothing and food for your family!

Proverbs 31:15-16

I'll be back with some more thoughts on food.....
Feel free to post any thoughts or what you "food motto" you live by at your home. :-)