Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A million little ways

My oldest daughter is well on her way to reading 100 books this year. She's on book number 16 , and it's only February. Me? My goal this year was 12. And I'm still on book number one. Okay, and book number two. I tend to start more than one at a time....ahem. She flies through them like I used to, like a thirsty dog on a summer day lapping up as much water at a time as it can. Okay, bad analogy. Let's just say she reads a lot of books, really fast! 

My reading time these days is more in snatches.....a page or two here, a page or two there. I grab my kindle during a quiet moment and read a few more pages......

She comes downstairs and marks her next book on the chart. "That's 15 for me, mom? How far are you?" *Gulp* Um....still on book number one.

But what a book it is! I read it in snatches and then spend hours trying to process the ideas I just read. A friend on Facebook suggested it. I have several more on my reading list for this year, this just happened to be the first one I dove into. 

A million little ways, by Emily P. Freeman. Uncover the art you were made to live. The art of your life....living it for your Creator. Every little thing you do.....making it beautiful. Making everything matter. Are you a business man? Do your work for the glory of God. Are you a musician? Play your music for the praise of your Savior. Are you a nurse or a doctor? Love those patients and let them see the beauty of Christ shining through. 

Maybe, you're *just* a stay at home mom. 

You stay up late making lesson plans and gathering art supplies. But your kids finished work is beautiful, and you realize that even the mundane lesson planning can end in beauty.....

Know that birthday cake that you took time out of your day to make? Look at the smiles on your children's faces as they eat it, and the fun of being together as a family to celebrate another year together with a loved one. Many people are missing a loved one this year, and there is beauty in just being together.......

Took your kids shopping for a present for Daddy? Oh the beauty of seeing them learn the joy of giving.

The drip, drip, drip in your ceiling, brought about by a mischievious toddler and an over-flowing bathroom sink. You place buckets and mop floors, wondering where the 'art' can possibly be in this. Did you handle it with dignity? Did you show patience? Did you do your work with a cheerful spirit? Your kids will see the beauty of art even in this. The art of your life, lived to glorify Jesus, even in the mopping of floors.

Did you tuck a child in, singing songs and saying prayers, even though you  felt like you needed some tucking in yourself? Did you smooth their hairs back from their sweet face and kiss their soft little cheeks? The art of mothering.....

Is your kitchen full of five year old and three year old art work? Do you praise them and tell them what an awesome job they did? Do you help them discover the artist in themselves, even as you are still discovering the art that God wants YOU to do?

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say

And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You
         ~Casting Crowns

I come to the close of another day and read just a few more pages. The art of my life. How was it lived today? Did I see the beauty in the mundane, dirty and smelly things today? Did even just one little person look at their Mama and catch a glimpse of Jesus? And when I fail....as we all do, every day......do they see me falling on my knees before Him, asking HIM to make beauty in the art of my life? I can only pray that they do. 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

More meal ideas

I want to blog about more than recipes and food. I really do. I miss the days of several years ago where I could do a blog post...or two or three each week. I know everybody is busy, so I won't bore you with my 'list of things to do each day'---suffice it to say that, I think I had more time when I only had one baby than now when I have five kids. Imagine that, haha!! ;)

In the mean time, here's another meal plan for the week. At least I get THIS on here :)

1. Crock pot vegetable beef soup, Bread

2. Pizza rolls, green beans, apple sauce. You could be healthy and make your own whole wheat pizza dough for this----I'm planning on saving some time and using the store bought stuff :)

3. Black beans over rice. I don't have a link, so here's what I do: I put several cans of black beans, mostly drained but not quite, in a greased skillet, and add some garlic, cumin, parsley and sea salt. Simmer until warm and it smells nice :) Next, thinly slice some zucchini and onion, sprinkle with seasoned salt and broil until soft. Serve the black beans over rice with the zucchini and onion on top. You can also add tomatoes, salsa, sour cream and cheese. One of our favorite quick meals!

4. Tuscan Pasta, roasted broccoli, homemade bread sticks.

5. Sandwich Bar. Just what it sounds like. I'm gonna sit out bread, mayo, green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, meat and deli pickles and let everybody make their own sandwich. Should be fun AND messy ;)  I'll probably also serve some fruit with these.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Menu Plan

Just got back from the grocery store and put away my food, so I figured it was time to share the menu plan for this week.

By the way----before I proceed with that----a little healthy eating challenge for you :) I LOVE to feed my family good, whole, REAL food----and I love taking little baby steps toward making our eating healthier. Lately, I've been working on cutting down on some of our sugar intake. Now, we don't let the kids consume a LOT of sugar anyway, but I've realized that there are even more ways we could cut back a little. For instance----take your favorite brownie recipe. How much sugar does it call for? A cup? Chances are, they'll turn out fine and you'll like them just as well with 3/4 cup, or even less! Same with cakes, cookies, quick breads, etc. Does your family eat a lot of cereal? Try to find a kind with 6 grams of sugar or less (the less the better!) How about coffee or tea? Can you get by with 1/2 t of sugar instead of a whole teaspoon? How about yogurt? Can you buy plain instead of flavored and top it with fruit and a drizzle of honey? You'll save a LOT of sugar that way! There are ooodles of ways to cut back on sugar intake once you start looking. Our culture is used to eating highly sweetened foods, and if we train ourselves to enjoy desserts and treats with much less sugar, you'll be surprised at how quickly you get used to it, and your body will say thank you! So that's your healthy eating challenge for the week. Leave me a comment and let me know how it goes!

Now, onto the menu plan:

1. Easy baked chicken and veggies, cranberry sauce (Yes, the cranberry sauce AGAIN! I love the stuff! ;)

2. Hummus melts, garden salad, cottage cheese and grapes. Ohhhh...these things are SO good! They're one of our favorites! If you try ONE thing on my list this week, try these!!

3. Meatball sub casserole, Roasted veggies. I chop up whatever veggies I want (this week we're using broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots and zucchini), drizzle on some olive oil, a shake of sea salt and pepper, and sometimes a little garlic powder. Roast them at 375 till tender. They're also good topped with feta cheese.

4. Chicken Gyros and Rainbow veggies salad. Both new recipes for us, so I'm not sure what we think of them yet ;)

5. Fried eggs on toast, crock pot green beans, fruit.


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