A Frozen Treat: Frozen Strawberry Lemonade or OJ

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Frozen Strawberry Lemonade or OJ

Recently I went to a waffle place in Grand Rapids that served strawberry OJ. It was delicious! I had frozen strawberries in the freezer so threw some into my morning OJ and though it wasn’t the same as what we had at the waffle place, it was delicious and put a new spin on my OJ for the upcoming warm weather.  Today we tried it with Lemonade (pictured left) YUM!!  Give it a try!

We bought our strawberries when they were on sale at Meijer for $1.00 a container.  We wash & core them and place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Then we freeze them before putting them in a bag that way they don’t clump. This also works great for blueberries!

Take a cup of lemonade or OJ, 4-6 large frozen strawberries and blend.  That’s it. This also adds a serving of fruit to your day. Low in calories, no extra WW points plus values.  Enjoy!

Giving and Recieving

ImageWhen someone gives you a gift do you automatically feel like you must do something to reciprocate?  This is something I struggle with.

The other day I was working in the yard and a young man stopped by to ask if I needed help.  I wanted to receive the help but I also had an inner struggle because this is not his responsibility, also I went to the questions about whether I should pay him for helping me or not. If I didn’t would I look cheap or unappreciative? If I did, would he be offended because he was just trying to help out.

It seems that everyone is looking to get these days.  You see tip jars just about wherever you go. “Nothing is free” seems to be the prominent message of our society.  So when someone offers to give, we automatically start thinking about how we can return the favor.

God commands that we give (see Bible references below) and in giving He will bless us.  HE will bless us, not the person we gave to.  We shouldn’t always expect to receive blessings back from the ones we bless.  Rather, we can expect blessings from God.  When we give we can expect to be blessed, but we won’t know where the blessing will come from. Often it’s from a very unexpected source.

What about receiving? Not receiving a gift with gratitude but instead pushing the gift way literally or figuratively (by your words of “you shouldn’t have.”)  is actually pretty selfish when you think of it.  You’re dismissing the thoughts and effort that they put into the gift.  And putting the focus on yourself, how you feel, what you need to do in response. Can you allow it to be about them and not you?

Feeling obligated to return the favor can make you feel bitter towards the person who gave you a gift.  If someone gives you a gift and their motive is to get something in return, then they have a lesson to learn.  Their motive is to manipulate you on some level into deeper relationship or to get something in return. It’s not your responsibility to respond in the way that they expect. Can you respond from your heart?

So bottom line, I guess I’ll take my mother’s advice to “let my conscience be my guide.”  Originally when she said this I replied “my conscience won’t let me receive anything for free.”  It was a quick statement meant as a joke but I do believe there’s some depth to that remark. Why can’t I receive good things without feeling obligated? Do I not feel worthy of someone’s thoughts, time, effort and resources?  Do I have a need to prove myself to others through doing and giving?

I want to think more on these questions and figure out the why’s behind them.  I want to feel comfortable receiving help. And focusing on thanking and appreciating the other person rather than thinking of how it’s going to make me look if I don’t return the favor.  I know that when I give from my heart there’s a joy there because I want to bless the other person.  I want them to be happy, to know that I love them.  I’m not looking for something in return.

My pastor, Joel Brooks, Jr. puts it like this, lets say I gave you the object you desire most, say a top-of-the line vehicle and you felt overwhelmed by the gift. So in order to be able to receive the gift you give me $500.00 for the car, which cost me thousands of dollars.  It would actually be an insult to me.  Because now you didn’t receive a gift, you got a good deal on a really expensive car. You disgraced (took away the grace) of receiving a beautiful gift that you would never have been able to pay for.

If we can’t receive earthly gifts, how then, will we be able to receive God’s greatest gift to us, His Son?  We can never buy God’s love, we can only receive it.  The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. We can never do or give enough to earn Gods love or Jesus’ life, we have to receive it through grace and by faith.

I’m going to try to rest in my friends and in the gifts and blessings they provide me. I’m going to receive the help from others as blessings from God.  If I can return the favor with a cheerful heart and I have the means to, I will.  If I can’t I will show my gratitude to them through words and actions and I will pray their blessings will come to them from God himself.

Do you struggle with either giving or receiving gifts? Please share.

Here’s what the Bible says about giving:

2 Corinthians 9:7
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:6
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Mathew 6:2-4
Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Hebrews 13:16
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Galatians 6:2
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

What’s For Dinner?!?#$@!?

Image“What’s for dinner!?”  Ever hear that question and want to look behind you to see who’s standing there?  Or maybe answer “how the heck should I know!?”  Meals come faster than I can plan most days.  With four little kids I feel like I’m just throwing food at them some days to keep them from starving.

I enjoy baking, trying new recipes and especially eating. But when it’s my “duty” to feed the fam I find it quite overwhelming.  The “Joy of Cooking” offers anything but joy.  It should be simple but it’s not.  You have to budget, plan, shop, prep, cook and clean up and then start the process all again. Not to mention the guilt that comes from feeding either yourself or your family processed foods & chemicals the likes of which your body was never meant to endure.

What’s a cook to do?  Breath.  Take it one meal or snack at a time.  One small step that helps me is to break the day down into meals and snacks.  My husband helped me out with the snack schedule. He read somewhere that it’s healthy to arrange snacks at 10am & 3pm. The days when I follow that schedule my kids aren’t hounding me about being hungry and I don’t get that low, hungry feeling either which makes me irritable and ready to eat anything in sight.

So, if you’r the designated cook in your family, what works for you to keep the joy in cooking?  Please share!

See what others are saying through the Hearts at Home Third Thursday Blog Hop: http://www.jillsavage.org/?p=5417&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JillSavage+%28Jill+Savage%27s+Latest+Blog+Entry%29

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Time Flies! (Not Just When You’re Having Fun.)

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I was putting some Easter decorations away and thought about the process of putting up one holiday, putting it way, putting up the next, and so on.  And I thought, “it’s good we have all these holidays to keep us busy through the long winter.”  In the next moment it was like I looked up and realized it was spring!  After wishing and hoping for the snow to go away and for spring to come, it was here in an instant and I was asking myself, “wasn’t I just putting up Christmas decorations like yesterday?!”  And that’s when it sank in for me what people have been telling me all along when referring to my kids, “enjoy it, it goes so fast!”

When people would tell me that on a “bad” day, I would think, “Yeah right! Come spend a day that feels like eternity in my house, with my kids and then tell me it’s going to be gone in an instant.”  But just like the long winter filled with holidays, winter sports, hot chocolate, warm fires, snow storms, death, fender benders, cancellations, etc. Life with kids is filled with events as well; Doctor’s appointments, growth charts, school, time-outs, sickness, new teeth, lost teeth, lessons learned, spills, rivalries, birthdays, slumber parties, forts, games, parks, friends etc.  And as all of this is going on time is passing and it will be spring before you know it!

“God, please help me cherish what I have.  Help me to appreciate my youth, health, kids, home, provision, friends, church and so much more. Help me to to appreciate each day as it comes and enjoy it for what it has to offer. Help me to understand that these days won’t last forever, good and bad alike. I don’t want to wake up one day and realized that I missed it all, that I wished it all away. Thank you for giving us the seasons to help us remember that nothing on this earth last forever, but that each season has beauty to offer and to enjoy. Amen.”

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When a Good Thing Goes Bad.

I’m an organized person. I even have organizing business.  I’m an energetic and passionate person.  When I find something I like to do or that works for me, I dive right in. But there’s a reason why I have to be cautious with things like Pinterest and Couponing for example.  Tonight I opened an email from Pinterest and found a great idea for organizing games using Baby Wipe containers:
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Great idea!  So off I go to the game closet. The game that I want to organize is missing pieces so I must sort through the closet to find the pieces. Since I’m doing that I might as well organize the games:

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And while I’m sorting and organizing a few shelves I might as well organize them all!

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And since it looks so nice I should get my camera and take a picture of it.  But as I’m taking a picture I realize I’ve done “it” again and so I should probably blog about it!  Does this sound like a famous children’s book series you might have read?  If you give a Moose a Muffin perhaps?

For a season I set out on a path to become an Extreme Couponer.  I spent hours organizing the sales and the coupons.  I spent hours in the store shopping the deals and more time on top of that organizing the items at home.  At one point I felt a little tug on my heart telling me that this was not the way for me.  I ignored the voice and pressed forward. I started to get exhausted with the whole process but the thrill of the bargains when I found them kept me going.  But each time I sat down at the computer I felt that sinking feeling again, “this is not for you.” I recognized it as God speaking to me. “Why God!? This is a GOOD thing. This is saving my family money!”  I knew that it was robbing my family of my time and adding frustration in my family when I was on edge at the store or when I was clipping my coupons and the kids would run in and want to “help.”

I finally decided to listen to the voice and give it up. At first it was really hard to do. I felt like I was missing out.  But then I felt relieved at not having to do the whole couponing process.  I’m not saying coupons aren’t good, of course they can be.  But I take things to the extreme. It’s hard for me to do anything just a little.

1 Cor. 10:23 says “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” What may be good for one is not good for another.   Sometimes God says no for good and sometimes it’s just for a season. God cares for me and wants what’s best for me. I have to keep that in mind when I hear a “no” from my Dad.

A good thing can be the enemy of a Good thing.  It’s vital to pray for the discernment to know which is which.

 

The Long and Winding Road

ImageWhat’s your approach to life? Is it a race, a journey or something in between?  Do you get stuck in the past? Do you forget the past and look only to the future? Either extreme can be harmful.

If you get stuck in the past you can become a victim of all the disappointments, failures and abuses that you experienced. You could also long for the past when things were easier, when you were younger, when you were excited about life’s adventures.  This could paralyze you from moving on in life.

If you only look to the future, and see looking back as a negative you can miss out on the memories. You can neglect to see how far you’ve come. You may not appreciate the people that helped you become who you are today and you may be moving forward wounded not having dealt with the harm you may have experienced.

I see life as a journey where living in the tension of the past and the future is necessary.  If we don’t deal with the past and heal from our wounds we’re not living out of a healthy place. We deserve to take spaces in our lives to name and deal with issues that are affecting our present lives.  Some may call that “living in the past.” Or say that “that stops us from moving forward.” But what use is moving forward if you’re moving forward in pain and hurting others in the process?

The road of life is a long and winding one.  It has pit stops, exits, round-a-bouts, traffic jams, crashes.  No one walks an easy, straight path and arrives at their destination without experiencing difficulties.  To get into an accident and then just stay there, broken down on the side of the road doesn’t help either.  You have to call in for help. You have to repair the damage, then you can move on down the road.

An all or nothing, move forward & don’t look back approach isn’t the way to a604128_10200288312162394_1252315563_n full and true life.  We deserve better than that.  We’re not competing with others on this journey. We’re not trying to get there first, are we?  If so, who are we competing with and where are we trying to get to first? We’re all ultimately headed in the same direction, we’ll all reach the end of this life and pass away.  The goal should not be to arrive first, but to reach our destinations whole, transformed & full of life.  Living a life we can be proud of and others can too.

I know the Bible says we should run a good race, in 2 Tim 4:7-8 Paul says; “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.”  But in that race it’s not the first one to finish that wins, we all get to win.  I like how it says “I finished MY course.”  Which tells me that he was racing the race God set before him, which was a different race than what he set before others. He ran HIS race. We can all run a good race and win. But I can assure you that no one wins the race with a broken leg.  It’s okay to stop and heal and then get back in there and finish strong.

Check our this article which outlines in detail the metaphor in the Bible of enduring to win the race. I thought it was a really good one. http://www.dianedew.com/runrace.htm