I like to go to the beach to feel refreshed. I love watching the ripple of the water hitting the rocks, feeling the breeze, and placing my feet just so in the sand, and reflecting on God’s creation, along with taking a few minutes to just breathe.
When we are sitting in “The Son”,
Getting our warmth from “The One”.
Whose burdens are light,
When we surrender our fight.
He’ll fill that empty void.
With his power, sin destroyed.
Running our cups on overflow,
His name is Jesus, don’t you know?
There is nobody like our Wonderful Saviour Jesus! We can rest in him when we feel the temptation to get filled up by all the other things in this life that will leave us feeling more empty and void of joy!
What are some of the things that you do in order to feel refreshed during the day? Feel free to comment below. Be blessed!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
It can be rough when we have to wait on God for his promises to come to pass. I know myself, there have been times when I went ahead, and did my plan B, instead of waiting for God’s plan A, and then had to suffer terrible consequences. God later helped o remedy my situation. Oh, but the painful consequences in not trusting in God’s word, and knowing that it is enough. God can still bless us when we circumvent his order of things. However, his way is always the best way to go. It saves us a lot of extra heartache, pain, and disappointment. Plus, we are able to enjoy his blessings even more!
We are waiting, we are waiting, for our son don’t you see,
Name is Isaac, it means laughter, waiting for the fam of three.
We are waiting, we are waiting for a boy to arrive.
We’ve been waiting, way too long, will we still be alive?
What you think, my dear Abe, should we wait any longer?
Getting wrinkled, getting old, can’t ignore this baby hunger.
Take my handmaid, my dear Hagar, she will make our dreams come true.
Oh the opposite, with her Ishmael, she will make your heart so blue.
Oh, but God, kept his word, even in all this mess,
Here’s dear Isaac, here’s your son, you are now extremely blessed.
Hagar’s mean, I can’t stand her, just can’t take it any longer.
I despise her, will deny her, kick them out and make them hunger.
Oh dear Abe put them out, sent them packing in the desert.
Oh but God, he provided, brought them springs in this mess o’ hurt.
Just in case you get tired from God’s promise when you wait,
Think of Abe, little Isaac, and then Sarah, his dear mate.
Feel free to share in the comments below of a time that you wished that you had waited on God, and you took matters into your own hands.
Have a blessed weekend!
Isaiah 40:31King James Version (KJV)
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
A week ago, I purchased two tin foil lasagna pans to make vegetarian and vegan lasagna. Well, I have a couple of funny stories to tell about the vegetarian lasagna. The first story is that I never made lasagna before. Instead of looking up a recipe, I bought three jars of pasta sauce, vegetables, two boxes of no-boil noodles, and cheese, and then decided that I would look up on the internet as to how to layer it. A little bit backwards, I know.
The second funny thing is that it originally started out as being a non-vegetarian lasagna, loaded with ground turkey meat. However, after making all of the layers, I realized that the cooked ground turkey meat was still sitting in the skillet on the bar stool. So much for that! I decided that I would use this meat to make my own version of nachos with cheese, piled with toppings for lunch for three days.
Activity: Making Vegan and Vegetarian Lasagna
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 1 and 1/2 hours
3 jars of pasta sauce
2 cans of spinach
2 cans of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
2 boxes of NO BOIL lasagna noodles
2 tin foil pans, 1 for vegan lasagna, 1 for vegetarian lasagna, or 9×13 casserole bowls if you have them
Today, I am going to feature something that is both simple and functional. I was blessed to have received it almost two months ago: The Pampered Chef Ceramic Egg Cooker. These days I have been quite busy, and so anything that is low maintenance and gives you fast results in food preparation, gets a high five. It has been a life changer for me when it comes to getting something ready within 20 minutes or less for breakfast for two college kids, who are always rushing out the door in the mornings. I am not getting paid to share this item with you. I would just like to share the blessing of having this simple, functional, Ceramic Egg Cooker from Pampered Chef.
This egg cooker can make microwave omelets, oatmeal, french toast, muffins, etc. The two things that I have tried is the omelette and the muffins. The omelette takes literally five minutes. There are two and a half minutes of prep time, and then another two and a half minutes of cook time in the microwave. The best thing to do if you want to use frozen vegetables or quinoa, is to cook them at night so that they will be ready in the morning. Otherwise, you can use fresh veggies, and it will only require the two and a half minutes. Because of the fact that my son loves eggs, I have tried several varities of the omelette: omelette with cheese, omelette with cheese and lunch meat, and an everything omelette, which is the one that I will be discussing.
Activity: Making a Quinoa Turkey Omelette
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: five minutes, unless you have frozen vegetables and quinoa to prepare the night before, then 20 minutes
(1 1/2) tablespoons of milk
(1) slice of turkey lunchmeat
(1) teaspoon of parsley
(1) tablespoon of quinoa
(1) tablespoon of cheese
Place two eggs, milk, and parsley into the egg cooker.
Put on the top to the egg cooker and cover the hole with your pointy finger.
Shake the egg cooker ten times, holder the top in place.
Fold the lunchmeat in half, cutting it into square pieces.
Add the quinoa, lunch meat, and cheese, and stir.
Place in the microwave for 2 and 1/2 minutes with the lid.
Take the top of using a silicone trivet or oven mitt.
Take a butter knife, outlining the omelette in a complete circle.
Invert the omelette into a plate.
Activity: Making a Quinoa Oatmeal Blueberry Muffin
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: ten minutes, unless you have frozen vegetables and quinoa to prepare the night before, then 25 minutes
(2) tablespoons of flaxseed meal
(3) tablespoons of water
(1 1/2) tablespoons of milk
(3) tablespoons of flour
(1) tablespoon of sugar
(1/4) teaspoon of sunflower seeds
(1) teaspoon of blueberries
(1/4) teaspoon of baking powder
(1/4) teaspoon of vanilla extract
(1/4) teaspoon of coconut flakes
(1/4) teaspoon of chia seeds
(1/4) teaspoon of raisins
(1/4) teaspoon of oatmeal
(1/4) teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil
Place olive oil, flaxseed meal, milk, and vanilla extract into the egg cooker and stir.
Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir.
Cook for two minutes and 20 seconds without the lid.
Place in the microwave for 2 and 1/2 minutes.
Take the top of with a silicone trivet or oven mitt.
Take a butter knife, outlining the muffin in a complete circle.
Invert the muffin into a plate.
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A few days ago, I decided that I would make chicken tacos for my son and I, and then vegan crumble tacos for my daughter. Well, that would have been possible if I had tortilla shells at home. I had everything but tortilla shells and chips. Go figure! Since it was later in the day, I adlibbed on a meal for my daughter, and then my creative juices were flowing as far as trying to figure out what I would come up with for my son and I.
I decided to make what I call Garlic Butter Chicken Sandwiches. They were mouth watering good. I hope that you enjoy them and have a blessed rest of your week.
Activity: Making Garlic Butter Chicken Sandwiches for Lunch and Dinner
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
(2) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(1) container of sour cream
(1) container of mild salsa
(1) teaspoon of onion powder
(1) teaspoon of oregano
(4) tablespoons of vegan butter
(1) teaspoon of garlic powder
(1) jar of minced garlic
(1) teaspoon of parsley
(1) pack of Artisan hamburger buns
(Optional): Shredded carrots
Cut up the two chicken breasts into small chunks.
Pour the butter into a skillet, along with the minced garlic.
Dump the chicken into the skillet, along with all of the seasonings, and saute the chicken for about twenty to twenty-five minutes.
While the chicken is sauteing, place the buns in the oven to toast for about ten minutes.
Place the chunks of chicken on each bun, pouring extra butter as to moisten the bread.
Add sour cream, and then salsa on top, with shredded carrots being optional for the last topping.
Enjoy and have a blessed evening!
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:
2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,
3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.
4 For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.
5 O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.
The story of Leah and Rachel is one that we can all relate to in life: the comparison trap. Their trap probably started at a young age, and unfortunately went into adulthood. Sometimes as parents we have to be extra careful not to be the catalyst for this type of thing happening. The sad reality of their family dysfunction showed that they were filled with constant thoughts of “let me see how I can one up you.” Round one began with “I’ll take your man”. Round two began with, ” I can have more kids than you”. This trap affects both men and women alike, and it ruins families, friendships, and work relationships. The comparison trap has several things that lie at the root. The three that God has spoken to me about are rejection, self-worth, and contentment.
When we read the story of Leah and Rachel, there are several things that we can directly and indirectly perceive. The first thing perceived is that beauty and popularity won hearts. People often shy away from us when we don’t fit into their standard for beauty, dress, hairstyle, etc. If this is our area of brokenness, not fitting into someone else’s standards could lead to insecurity and internalization as rejection. There are two sections of verses that tell us that one of Leah’s issues was rejection. Here is the first:
Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Genesis 29:16-17, NIV
The second section of scripture tells us about why Leah became fruitful right away:
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. Genesis 29:30-31, NIV
We see that self-worth comes into play because Leah mentions on more than one occasion that her husband would love her now that God had opened her womb. We see how the phrase, “Oh, but he will love me since I’m pregnant with his child” worked out even then. She said nothing about God loving her, and his love for her being enough.
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
Genesis 29: 32, 34, KJV
In verse 35 of Genesis, it seems as though Leah has finally resolved to be content in the state that she was in:
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing. Genesis 29: 35, KJV
So we thought. Unfortunately this was Leah’s and Rachel’s stronghold. Right after Leah’s place of contentment, her sister Rachel can’t stand the fact that insists that Jacob sleeps with her handmaid so that she could have children, and since Leah had left child bearing, she followed suit in doing the same:
8 Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won!” So she named him Naphtali [My Struggle].
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as his wife.
Genesis 30: 8-9, GW
The vicious cycle of rejection, no self-worth, and discontentment started up again:
13 Leah said, “I’ve been blessed! Women will call me blessed.” So she named him Asher [Blessing]. Genesis 30:13, KJV
20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. Genesis 30:20, KJV
Strongholds are hard to get rid of. Like Leah, I was born with a weak eye. I had to wear a patch over my other eye in order for my brain to train my weak eye to use itself, and prevent blindness. I remember the whole process as being quite traumatic: siting in doctor’s offices for 5 to 6 hours, eye exams, a patch, more eye exams, and then eye dilation, and leaving the doctor’s office. I felt helpless as I was walking across the street with my mom, while holding her hand to wait for the bus.
Fast forward some years later, like Leah, I dealt with the feelings of rejection due to abandonment by my father, and then feelings of rejection due to the comment that another teenage girl made in response to my physical appearance. I internalized this comment, and it was used as a tool to produce no self-worth, leading to seeking approval through high achievement in school, through others, and my ex-husband. It also led to years of being in an emotionally abusive marriage, where I sought him for a good portion of my self-worth.
Getting caught up in shopping and other things in order to improve my appearance, and feel like I could qualify to compete, only kept the cycle going. There will always be someone who’s prettier, smarter, and dresses better. We have to be safe and secure in who we are in Christ, knowing that this brings true contentment and self-worth, no matter what other people are saying or thinking. We are all broken individuals in need of a Savior, and God loves us much more than anyone else ever could.
We thank you in advance for rescuing us from the comparison trap. We also thank you that only in you, are we enough. Otherwise, we might become filled with self-pride, criticism, and judgment. Please help us to break free of this stronghold.
Good evening everyone! Just about a week ago, I posted a grits with quinoa casserole brunch dish. And of course, this week I made it again, with a little twist. Thought I would let you know, just in case you thought you were losing it. I hope that you are feeling brave about trying it out. What I love about this version, is the crunch on top, along with the smell of the cheese, sunflower seed, and coconut mix in the oven. Enjoy and be blessed!
Activity: Making Coconut Grits with Quinoa Casserole for Breakfast and/or Brunch
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 40 minutes
(2) cups of grits
(1/2) cup of quinoa
(1) teaspoon of onion powder
(1) teaspoon of garlic powder
(1/2) cup of cheddar cheese or vegan cheese
(1/4) cup of grapeseed, butter, or whatever oil you have
(1/2) cup of soymilk or almond milk
(1) tablespoon of parsley
(1/4) cup of rice
(1/4) cup of sunflower seeds
(1/4) cup of cheddar cheese or vegan cheese for the top
(1/4) cup of coconut flakes
Bring three cups of water to a boil.
Bring one-fourth cup of rice to a boil.
Boil the quinoa for twenty minutes.
Add two cups of grits to the boiling water.
Stir the grits ever so often with a whisk.
Add the milk, butter, cheese, quinoa, seasoning, and parsley to the pot and whisk together.
Sprinkle the rice, then sunflowers seeds and coconut flakes on top.
Add an extra layer of cheese and parsley to the top.
Bake at 365 degrees for 22 minutes in a casserole dish.
Cut into squares after ten minutes.
Makes 7 servings.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
I love the story of Joseph, and I love how God’s favor was all over his life. When I think about Joseph’s coat, it makes me think about my favorite coat as a kid. It was coral blue with a red heart just below each shoulder. I called it my “Heart to Heart” coat. It is good to know that even when we are in our worst of times, God’s favor can still rise above the situation. God can still put us in situations where people are doing things for us, and they don’t even know why they are doing them. Praise God for his favor!
Coat of Favor
It was Joseph, it was Joseph, he had favor don’t you see,
It was favor from our God from the Lord Almighty.
Coat of favor, coat of favor, filled with stripes, awe, and wonder.
Filled with power from his dreams that the brothers would bow under.
Feeling lost, hurt, rejected from our daddy don’t you know?
He can’t stay here …let’s just kill him, he can’t stay here… he must go!
Sold in slavery, faked his death to our father, and he grieved.
Oh thank goodness… he is gone, and we are granted our reprieve.
God of Joseph, Slave of Pharaoh, gave him elevated power.
Wife of Pharaoh, full of needy, stripped it all within the hour.
Put in prison, with the baker and cupbearer of the king.
Placed in charge by the warden, God’s good favor it would bring.
These two prisoners, had their dreams told, to them then, right by Joseph.
Don’t forget me, with the king, need release from this low self.
They forgot him, yes they did, till the king had his dream.
Couldn’t sleep, someone help, can you tell me what it means?
Oh yes, Joseph, he can help you…he can tell you what it means.
Oh no, God, he’s the Father and interpreter of dreams.
Oh then, Joseph, oh yes Joseph, told the king what would happen
You’re released, you’re promoted, get this plan right and mapping.
And he did, with God’s help, he saved Egypt from the famine
Saved his brothers, Growth in character, and his faith, as you imagine.
2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.
How many of you have had times like myself, where you’ve carried around a heavy load, done all that you can do in a certain situation, prayed several times over the situation, and yet you still feel like you’re not sure of how to proceed. You end up being stuck in between a rock and a hard place. We know that the bottom line is that God is in control. Even with that, sometimes our hearts still remain heavy.
This was pretty much what Hannah had to go through. Hannah was barren, and every year when she went to give worship and sacrifice to the Lord, her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, would taunt her to the point of fear because of the fact that God had shut up her womb. We all know that fear is from Satan himself.
And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.
I Samuel 1: 6-7, ESV
Hannah’s heart was so heavy, that she went before God’s throne of grace, pleading to God to open her womb:
11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.
I Samuel 1: 11-12, ESV
Hannah was so intentional with her prayers, that her mouth moved, but her prayers were submitted to God through her heart and her spirit. She was on a mission. Eli the priest thought that she was drunk:
13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
I Samuel 1: 13-16, ESV
It was at this point that God gave Hannah a sign through Eli that he had heard her cry, and her prayers would be answered:
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
I Samuel 1: 17, ESV
God came through as he had promised, and Hannah followed through with her promise that she had made to the Lord:
24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young.25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord.27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”
And he worshiped the Lord there.
I Samuel 1: 24-28, ESV
About six years ago, when I was at the peak of my valley, everything in my home was in an uproar. I had done everything that I could possibly do, been taken advantage of, and with a heavy heart, I went to the Lord for help in a prostrate position. I felt led to write out the prayer that King Jehoshaphat prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:
12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
God laid it upon my heart to pray this prayer for the next forty days. As the days went on, spiritual warfare hit from every corner. I was on a mission, and I continued to pray. My friend and I decided to get together to pray on one accord with this same prayer New Year’s Eve night. Our kids were upstairs hanging out, and we were downstairs praying. The kids came downstairs a few times to grab food, and were looking at us as if we were crazy. But just like Hannah, we kept praying. We prayed this prayer so hard and so long till our mouths dried out, and we could no longer talk. Like Hannah, we needed an answer. We joked around about whose prayer God would answer first. And as in Hannah’s situation, God answered our requests. My prayer was answered thirteen days later. I don’t remember how quickly God answered hers. God split the Red Sea so that I could leave Egypt. Praise God for his word and his promises!
Thank you for your word and your promises. Thank you that when our hearts are heavy with grief, you are still there. You never change. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Please comfort our hearts when we just don’t know what to do, knowing that you are in control, and will give us instructions when the time is right.
Everybody has a name that is special to them when they think of their grandmother. For me and my family, my grandmother was always referred to as Mudear. Yesterday was her birthday, and if she were alive, we would have been celebrating. Her death occurred a little over five years, right when I was at the height of a series of traumatic events going on. Due to trauma, sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday that she died, and other times it seems like it has been longer.
Mudear was the pillar of the family. She taught us how to enjoy life by doing the simple things. She didn’t wear fancy clothes or buy fancy things. She wasn’t afforded this luxury, and even if she was, it wouldn’t have been her. She liked wearing her “house dresses”, as she called them, scarves tied on her head, getting her long fingernails polished, and watching her favorite television shows.
We were graced by a woman who showed us what it meant to have community. On any given day, she would stretch six dollars to feed us for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with there being the job of several trips back and forth to the local meat market by my cousin and I. She welcomed people from all walks of life into her home, and even with all the drama that went on, we knew that there was nothing that dancing, singing, and good old laughs couldn’t cure. She loved her children, and having all of her grandkids around her. There was joy in simplicity at its finest.
Mudear wasn’t one who had to raise her voice in order to get her point across. She just used her old sayings from the South. If you looked nice, she’d say, ” You look sharper than Dick was when Hattie died.” If you sat inappropriately as a young lady, she’d say, “You are sitting mighty high”. If you didn’t clean up behind yourself, she’d say, ” Oh, you must have thought today was your birthday.”
The holidays at Mudear’s house were filled with music, dressing, turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, and let’s not forget her homemade four layer chocolate banana cakes, coconut pineapple cakes, and caramel with pecan cakes. Although we all miss you, we know that the love you shared will never be forgotten. Thank you God for gracing us with Mudear.