September 1, 2015
September 1, 1995…20 years ago today, my hubs and I went out to eat together for the first time. He showed up in church pants and loafers. He downed a salad, garlic bread, chicken parmesan, spaghetti, and then went for the basket of crackers. Wow.
September 1, 2015…the first payment for our son’s braces will be drafted.
So apparently, important things seem to happen on September 1, some more life-changing than others. What better day to launch my new blog?
Twenty years ago, as Chris gobbled and I nibbled, little did we see the road ahead for us. We certainly weren’t thinking about funding orthodontist bills or any other milestones that were ahead.
We weren’t considering how many meals we’d share, how many tears would roll down our cheeks, how many diapers we’d change, how many Legos we’d possess, how many giggles would fill our home, how many miles we’d drive, or just how many times the lid would be left up.
Or even how God would stretch us and grow us and teach us.
We just do life. While there have been some outstanding markers along the way, the bulk of it all comes in the day to day moments. And it’s in the routine, the lessons are found.
Beauty rests in the lessons learned along the way. The lessons learned in the everyday.
The hubs and I have learned a ton in our years together. Wins and losses. Click here to read what winning looks like to us these days.
September 1, 2015
Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t use Vanilla Wafers in my banana pudding. If you are a Southerner, take a few deep breaths…I promise it’ll be okay. I add an unexpected ingredient also. We’ll get to that soon…after you recover from the cookie revelation. My swap out from the traditional favorite came from necessity. After becoming a stay at home mommy, I became a deal seeker in an effort to keep my new gig. I also had more time to fuel my love of cooking. So when I discovered my husband’s aunt’s banana pudding recipe in her church cook book, I knew I wanted to give it a try.
It’s a staple dessert found each year at the Fourth of July cookout. So I made my list, clipped my coupons, loaded up my munchkin and headed off to the grocery store. I picked out a bunch of bananas, cool whip, sour cream (yep, sour cream) and rounded the corner to the cookie aisle. Much to my dismay the “Nilla Wafers” were nearly four bucks a box! I scanned the row for a sale price, something to rescue me and my banana pudding. That’s when this frugal momma made a dessert-altering decision. I found the Sunday School cookies. You know, the little round butter cookies that you can put on the end of your finger. I tossed the package in the cart with optimism and haven’t looked back since.
Butter Cookie Banana Pudding
1 large package vanilla instant pudding
2 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces Cool Whip
1 package of butter or shortbread cookies
Whisk pudding mix, milk, and vanilla extract for about two minutes until thickened. Stir in sour cream and then gently fold in Cool Whip. In a large bowl, layer cookies, bananas, and pudding mixture. Top with crumbled cookies.
September 1, 2015
"Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths." Psalm 25:4
In a house filled with my hubby, three young boys, goldfish, and me, whether it’s the volume, stacks of papers, tempers, or quite frankly, the potty lid, something is generally up. While we are up and going, life somehow quickly passes by and before we know it, we’re turning the calendar up another month.
I don’t know about you, but it often feels like plenty of my days are just ordinary ones--filled with routines and ruts. Rolling out of bed, finding the coffee, laundry, mealtimes, dishes, homework, laundry, night-time tuck-ins. Did I mention laundry? But it’s there, in those everydays, that I seem to learn the most. The unplanned, run of the mill moments when life offers up a lesson needing to be learned. I know God still does miracles and makes rainbows but more often in my life, I see His hand moving and His voice whispering while I’m busy doing the things that make up my everydays.
It’s the times when I’m kissing a boo boo that He soothes, “I’ll heal your heart.” It’s in the piles of laundry that He reminds me, “I can move mountains.” It’s during the excitement of a basket scored that He exclaims, “My joy is your strength.” It’s when the budget doesn’t balance that He declares, “I am your portion.” It’s the times when I repeat over and over, “Don’t hit your brother! Brush your teeth. Do your homework. Put the lid down! Remember I love you!” that I hear Him calling, “Be kind. Keep your way pure. Read my Word. I forgive you.” And oh, “Remember, I love you!”
February 10, 2017
Julie Manning’s journey into the medical field led her to a career in nursing and caring for others. Eventually though, she found herself on the other side of the stethoscope when she became the patient diagnosed with a heart condition. Manning shares her diagnosis, surgeries, and heartache, both physical and emotional, in her first book, “My Heart.”
“My Heart” gives a play-by-play recount of Manning’s experience with heart failure. Her autobiographical take is not only told from a nurse’s perspective, but also from that of a Christian, wife, and young mother. All of these roles help to mold and shape her as she deals with near death experiences and subsequently, living with an on-going medical condition.
Manning’s love for her children and her desire to teach them through her experiences is solidified with an open letter to them at the end of each chapter. This teaching doesn’t end with her children, but is eventually extended to readers. By the book’s end, Manning offers an invitation to readers to be brave enough to tell their own stories. Much of her story involves learning through suffering.
While Manning did not have a choice in the physical condition she deals with, she does emphasize the choices she has in living each day to the fullest. “We have a choice. We have a decision to make. Remain or hope,” she writes. And her hope in Jesus is infectious. Readers will likely discover a renewed gratefulness in their own lives and a hopeful lens with which to view through struggles.
“For God who said, “’Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
February 10, 2017
Ah, mid-February. The time of year when New Year’s resolutions often fall to the wayside. Goals are dumped and expectations are lowered. No matter the time of year, we can keep on keeping on, especially if we have a plan in place and some well-placed encouragement in our lives.
In her book, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit,” Nicki Koziarz provides the motivation to spur readers on to fulfilling their obligations and staying faithful to tasks and roles. Koziarz takes readers on a journey with the Biblical character Ruth who perseveres through difficult times in life. In the book, Ruth’s journey parallels with Koziarz’s own trek of buying and running a fixer-upper farm.
Koziarz’s honesty and humility concerning her own struggles with quitting (everything from diet plans to Room Mom responsibilities) ensure that she is writing from a real-life perspective. Her transparency provides humor and practical ideas for overcoming a desire to quit.
“5 Habits” is an easy read with plenty of features to keep readers engaged and on track. Many pages include a box with a sentence or two highlighting main ideas. Each chapter ends with two sections. First, a “Make it Stick” section reiterating the chapter’s theme. Secondly, a “To Be Honest” area which offer questions and/or motivators that urge readers to challenge themselves.
Anchoring the book’s concepts are Biblical truths of faithfulness and perseverance. The habits are reinforced with Scriptures and a go-to verse guide is included at the book’s end. Readers are left with the reminder that as God is faithful, we are to strive to be. Koziarz reminds that “Momentary feelings will always try to convince us to forfeit our faithfulness.” Her habits, which include accepting assignments and following through, call for us to remain faithful when all we want to do is quit.
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