Really?

A blogger? Me? No, not really. At least not in the way we think of bloggers most often. It’s been forever since my last post. But, I’m gearing up to see how I can do this blogging thing best. So if you’ve ever followed me here or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, hang in there with me. One way or another I will keep sharing what matters to me most, what is helpful to me, and what I’ve found!

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I’m Free and Giving Away a Book

I’m Candida Free! Well, actually I’ve always been as far as I know. I’ve never suffered from Candida and until the beginning of this year I’d never heard of it. So why am I on a launch team for a book about Living Candida Free?

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Let me explain. And I’ll try (stress the word try) to do so in a not to round about way.

I had been following the Author Ricki Heller’s blog for a while and received her newsletter. One day when scanning through the subject lines in my inbox my eye was quickly caught by the word “launch”. I love helping launch books that I think have a really good message, or can help myself and others I know. I don’t sign up for just any launch team that’s out there. But as I checked this email out I was intrigued by what looked like healthy recipes, definitely appealing to me. I signed up and was accepted.

As I read the book I found out more about how our bodies work without feeling like I was lost in medical jargon. It made sense. I could understand this.

Now. I didn’t read this book and think, “Oh, that’s what I have, that’s my problem.” But I do have my own set of trouble with my body seeming to sometimes work against me and especially lately I’ve really been wanting to learn more and more about how nutrition plays a role in the workings of our bodies. And as I continued to read the book, and share about it on social media, all of a sudden the word Candida started popping up more. I found out I actually new some friends who had it or had family that did. I had information to share now that could hopefully help others (if you haven’t caught on yet, I love to share what I’ve found if it’ll help someone else).

There were other aspects of the book that really appealed to me. Well, the recipes, of course. But, the author really brought out some good advice for anyone facing challenges to changes in their diet. She offered some insights that helped me think about how I can do this (even though me “this” is different) without setting myself up for failure.

Unfortunately time has been all too short lately and I’ve not been able to try many of the recipes. One I did however was the Eggplant Parmesan. As I am not needing to hold to the Candida diet, I did change some things to suit our family; for instance we’re meat eaters and that won’t change. I was really pleased with it.

So to end this post I offer a give-away. Who doesn’t love one of those?

To be entered for a chance to win a copy of Living Candida Free by Ricki Heller, share this post on Facebook and tag me in it or leave a comment.

Sharing Hope

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I am excited to be part of the Hope for the Weary Mom Blog Tour with Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker. You can find out more and join the tour by clicking here.

I  was approved to read this book through NetGalley and then soon after signed up to be on the launch team as well. Even though it is one of 5 teams I’m currently working on (see previous post), I am convinced it was worth my time. I really believe in the message of this book and I love the writing style and the hearts of the authors.

If you’ve followed my blog in the past I wouldn’t doubt that you’ve heard my opinion on advice from mom’s who “have it all together.” If not, let me enlighten you 🙂 I’ve had some women who have told me “Well I just did this and this and it worked and they were so well behaved”… la, la, la, la, la. I’m sorry, forgive me if I sound cynical. I’m glad that worked for them and we can certainly learn from what works sometimes. But, I need to know I’m not alone. I need to be reminded that other moms are struggling, that I’m not the only one who wants to pull her hair out sometimes. Thank you, thank you, thank you Brooke and Stacey for showing that transparency in this book!

There are so many things we can learn from each other. Just today I read two great blogs about mothering, one by a friend (Beth’s Blog) and the other (Featured on Time Warp Wife) was actually by one of the authors of Hope for the Weary Mom, Brooke. Both had so much to say, so much that encouraged me as a mother and reminded me of things I thought I knew. But, isn’t that where some of the weariness comes from. We get so emerged in the day’s happenings… taking my daughter to go potty, again, 10 minutes after she just said she was done, for what feels like the umpteenth time today… the screaming over who did what, or, “she took my toy,” or “she hit me”… then add regular daily tasks like dishes, laundry, everyday clutter… add appointments, for us homeschooling, my extra commitments… and it can feel so overwhelming. And we forget. We forget that there are words of inspiration out there, we forget that God has a purpose in this season of life and in the next. We forget that we’re not alone. This book reminded me of that.

Please, moms, read this book. Even if you don’t feel like the weary mom. Maybe you think you’ve got it all together or maybe you do well to remember all the truths that I too easily forget sometimes. But, I can almost guarantee that you know a mom who is weary. She might not show it, but she needs your compassion and your friendship. And please, share some mistakes (we all have some of them, even if you don’t have as many as me 🙂 ), and let her know she’s not alone.

Hope for the Weary Mom is a book about letting God meet you in the messy places of motherhood and finding true hope. You can find out more information here!

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About Stacey and Brooke:

Stacey_2673_sRGB_to-sizeStacey Thacker is a wife and the mother of four vibrant girls. She is a writer and speaker who loves God’s Word. Her passion is to connect with women and encourage them in their walks with God. You can find her blogging at staceythacker.com and hanging out on Twitter  or Instagram @staceythacker.

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Brooke McGlothlin is cofounder of Raising Boys Ministries, where moms and dads come to discover delight in the chaos of raising boys. You can find her writing about fighting for the hearts of her sons at the Mothers of Boys Society blog or living a life in pursuit of messy grace at her personal blog, www.brookemcglothlin.com. A normal day finds Brooke homeschooling her two boys and falling more and more in love with the man she’s had a crush on since the third grade (who just happens to be her husband).

Launching in to the Crazy!

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Yes, that’s me. And I’m walking. At my kitchen counter. With my laptop. Why? Because that’s what I’ve found works, especially since the start of this crazy new year. So far I’ve reached my goal for January (my goal is a million steps a month this year), in fact as of starting to write this at 3:35 pm I am at 1,434,784 steps for the month.

Am I always looking presentable with hair, makeup, and Noon Day earrings (which, by the way, I love; check out my friend Dawn’s Website)? Oh, goodness no. I’m still a mom of two young children and as I’m about to explain, my life has felt crazy busy lately. No. Most days it’s black yoga pants and a t-shirt. But, can you blame me for having my hubby snap the picture when I felt more presentable.

Getting Back to the Point

I’m going to try and tie in together a few different things I have to share in this post and hopefully you’ll see how they all weave in together. I guess you could say this is my intro in to what I’ll be sharing over the next months. I’ve tried the catchy “Tuesday Tidbits” to motivate myself to write more often. Sorry, didn’t work. I’m here to share what I’m learning, what I’ve found helpful, and what I’m just dying to tell you but I’m not a writer really and so my blog will probably continue to be as varied as my personality, at least as far as when I’m posting.

Let me also say that, as I introduce a few topics, some of them will eventually be linked to their own blog posts with more that I have to say on that particular.

OK, OK. I know you really want to know how I got over a million steps this month (100,000 of those were in one day -my very most personal best). Or maybe you don’t. But I get asked that, and, even more often, I get asked why I’m walking in place (and FYI it is not okay to ask a complete stranger if they’re doing the potty dance). I don’t walk in place absolutely everywhere, but, rather than just standing when I’m waiting for things, especially if it’s a day where I know I’m going to do a lot of sitting, why not? I get my steps in where I can. And let me tell you, they add up. I have a Fitbit Tracker and just walking in place can get you a lot farther than you thought (that personal best 100,000 of mine was about 50 miles).

I also walk in place while I’m cooking, doing the dishes, brushing my teeth, putting on makeup (mascara, mmmm… not so much). It’s taken a little practice and I started out slow. But here’s the thing (or two). I’m chicken when it comes to the cold and I live in Northern Colorado, almost enough said there. Another thing is, I have two adorable, but busy, young children and a wonderful husband who works very odd hours. We don’t have a gym membership and lately I don’t have the time. At least not to reach the goals I’m enjoying.

Why am I busy? Aside from the already mentioned life of a stay-at-home-mom (and I hear all of the rest of you say Amen), who has a business from home, I am currently involved in 5 launch teams, 1 book team, and off and on I review books from NetGalley.WellnessBadge

That’s why you’ll find my laptop most often on my kitchen counter. It allows me the perfect height to walk while I’m posting to social media about these awesome books I’m reading. I’m walking right now while I’m blogging. So incidentally you can expect my upcoming blog posts to share more about Hope for the Weary Mom, Happy Habits for Every Couple, Clutter Free, Living Candida Free, Pulling Back the Shades, and a Hot Mama Challenge series. Can you handle it 🙂 ?

Before I get us all lost, we’ll stop there for now. I really hope you know that it is not my intention to look at me. I just hope that by sharing what has worked for me it will help someone else find what works for them–even if that looks completely different. Always feel free to leave a comment if you want to know more or if you’re just curious. I’m pretty open as long as the comment’s pretty respectful. There’s so much more I have to share.

Sharing Hospitality with Your Glueten Free, Dairy Free Friends this Holiday

It’s the Christmas season. Gift giving, cookie making, holiday parties. But, more and more, there are individuals in our lives, both new, and old, who have challenging dietary needs. Maybe they just have one particular food allergy, or maybe they’re completely gluten free or dairy free or both. If you’ve never had to deal with this before it may seem challenging.

Recently my daughter’s home-school coop had a signup for making cookies as a thank you to the staff of the church where we held “school”. They wanted three dozen for each of the staff members and one of them was gluten and dairy free. I signed up for the special need. Am I gluten or dairy free? No, at least not yet.

In my journey to making healthier decisions I have found that some of the options offered by such g/d free diets fit in well with what I needed. Healthy, good for me, and still tasting good. Yes, this may be a shock to you if you’re new to the concept of g/d free food, but it can still taste good.

So if you’re seeking those g/d free options, either for yourself, or for a gift of goodies for a friend, co-worker, or neighbor, what do you do? Do you find the g/d free products on the shelf at the store to whip up quick and cheap? Well, if that’s your only option, it is an option, but certainly not the best. Most of those offered really are more like junk food and offer little in the way of nutrition, which, considering cookies passed out as Christmas are rarely that healthy, may be okay. But if you really want to stretch your gift, and your hospitality, you may want to consider some other options.

I’m listing a few sources that I have found so helpful. Check them out. Maybe you’ll find a helpful recipe or two to use this Christmas. Or, maybe like me, you’ll find that there’s more to this gluten free, dairy free thing than you thought. It might change some of the way’s you view food and what’s in your kitchen.

http://www.intoxicatedonlife.com/

http://mywholefoodlife.com/

http://www.texanerin.com/2012/04/grain-free-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-bites.html

The third resource I listed takes you to a specific recipe. These are so good. I’ve tweaked them just a bit and here is my version:

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Feel free to leave me a comment or question. I’d be happy to share more!

http://raisinghomemakers.com/2014/homemaking-link-up-201/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RaisingHomemakers+%28Raising+Homemakers%29#sthash.iz1eQ1rj.dpbs

“For the Love of God”

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And I’m so excited about it.

If you haven’t caught on from previous posts, let me share that this is not my first launch team. I discovered sometime about a year ago that I really love being a part of getting the word out about new books and sharing the excitement about an author whose message I think others need to know about. I’ve been able to this almost continuously ever since.

So I was definitely on board when I saw the opportunity to join Jenny’s team.

Now, to be honest. I haven’t finished the book yet. I could go into details. Instead let’s just say life has been a little difficult lately. I’ve read enough to be fully assured that standing behind this author was the right thing to do. Not only do I stand behind promoting her book, but also the Gods Girl Movement. Once I finish the book I’ll have more to share but for now I hope that reading a little about the book, about the movement, and hearing directly some of Jenny’s heart will encourage you to check it out whether it’s a message you may need to hear or a message that you will readily find worth sharing, just as I have.

ABOUT THE BOOK

For the Love of God: A Woman's Guide to Finding Faith and Getting Grace

“Being new is never easy especially when it comes to finding your faith. But you don’t need a big neon sign to point the way to God. Instead, you need a friend to tell it to you straight, equip you with information, and provide some much-needed encouragement along the way. Indeed, you need guidance from a woman who has already walked a mile in your shoes.

Jenny Lee Sulpizio invites you to silence those doubts, experience God’s grace, and breathe in the unconditional love you were always meant to know. It’s a guide for women unsure of their Creator, in search of answers, and interested in pursuing a genuine relationship with the Lord. Because this walk with God — this journey with Jesus? It’s about to change everything.

For the Love of God: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Faith and Getting Grace…

  • Provides an inviting look into the nuts and bolts of faith and what it means to call one’s self a Christian.
  • Encourages readers to come closer to God by offering spiritual insights and testimonies.
  • Dispels the myths and negativity surrounding Christianity in our culture today.
  • Equips readers with spiritual truths to some of the most pressing questions regarding one’s faith.
  • Unwraps the elements of faith and offers growth-provoking questions in eleven well-resourced chapters.

ABOUT THE #GODSGIRL MOVEMENT

“Each one of us knows someone who is in desperate need of the grace and freedom found in a real, growing relationship with Jesus. Someone who needs her fears recognized, her questions answered, and her disbelief turned on it’s head in light of the Truth. Is God bringing someone to mind right now? What about your neighbor from across the street, or that other tired mama in your yoga class? Could it be your tender-hearted daughter, or your crazy-fun-but-oh-so-broken mother? Maybe it’s the under-tipped barista you see every morning on your way to work, or the hairdresser who is in the middle of some dark circumstances.

…they are in need of the message found in this book…they are in need of a relationship with God.

Can I ask you to join me in this movement? Are you willing to stand in the gap and minister to those who have yet to truly discover God, or experience His grace? His forgiveness? His love? Together, we can impact this world for Him.”

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

What inspired you to write this book? Why did you want to reach out to new believers and/or those struggling in their walk with God?

“Plain and simple: I’ve been there.  In fact, I resisted a relationship with the Lord for so, so long. Despite His best efforts to get my attention. Despite the emptiness I felt and the longing I had. I understand those feelings of fear when it comes to walking with the Lord, the uncertainty one has when it comes to seeking their Creator, and I wanted to provide these women the encouragement they need as they seek God and what it means to be His daughter.”

This guide you’ve written for women is basically divided into two parts: introducing the key elements of faith, as well as what the Christian walk typically looks like. Can you discuss this a little bit more and what your intention was in structuring it this way?

“When I decided to head back to church, I didn’t have a clue about anything to do with having a relationship with Jesus. I wasn’t aware of the nuts and bolts of faith. I didn’t know which direction to take after walking through those church doors. I desperately needed someone or something to walk with me on this journey, to calm my fears, to see me through my struggles, and to answer some of the questions I was too scared to ask. This was the book I needed. These are the words I needed to hear…the reassurance I desired.”

Why do you think so many people struggle when it comes to the issue of discipling? Why is it so hard to talk about Jesus?

“Honestly, I struggle with this at at times and I’m not sure of all the reasons why. But here’s what I do know…we are called to disciple and make His Name known. We are absolutely commissioned by God to defend Christ, to share His gift of salvation, and to disciple to others in the faith. That is why we are here. In fact, this is our entire purpose on Earth…not to shine the light on ourselves or live this life for our desires and plans, but to live solely for Christ and to share the Gospel with those He places in our circles of influence.”

Wednesday Recipe: “Of Course, Best Cook Ever”

I missed out on sharing my “Tuesday tidbits”. Oops, what can I say life has been crazy busy. But, before I head down that rabbit trail, let’s just head in to this week’s substitution a “Wednesday Recipe”.

I actually have a few recipe’s to share with some quick helpful ideas I found, which brings us to the second part of the title. Do I think I’m the best cook ever? Hardly, but this was the reply from my daughter (age 4) a couple nights ago when she tried my newest soup/stew creation.

A couple of things to mention about my cooking are that I tend to tweak recipe’s a lot to work for our families needs, and, very often, I’ll just find creative ways to take whatever ingredients we have on hand and out comes “Sarah Surprise #….” Most of the time this turns out pretty well and at the very least I usually come out with a lesson learned.

We’ve been through a few of the usual bumps here and there getting our girls to eat what’s put in front of them. Most parents know that this isn’t always easy. But, mostly they’re pretty open to it now. In our house “Mac and Cheese” is “Veggie Mac and Cheese”, just to give it a name. There are never any actual noodles in it. That’s another thing about my cooking though, there’s almost always a lot of veggies involved whether it’s very obvious or sometimes a little more hidden.

So, Monday night I really wanted something simple but also needed to use up what was on hand in our fridge and a butternut squash that needed to be cooked up and used. And so was birthed “Sarah’s Sweet Barbecue Burger Soup”.

(Sorry this is a little bit of an nontraditional format and I forgot to snap a pic.)

In a good size soup pot, I browned 1 lb turkey burger. I had 93/7 on hand in the freezer (organic even) that I had bought when it was on sale. If you haven’t hear this tip before, or even if you have, let me share with you that buying up meat when it’s about a day before it’s sell by date, and usually a really good buy, and then freezing it for later, is a great way to save some money with your grocery bill.

While the meat was browning I added a good amount of garlic. Because it was 93/7 it wasn’t really necessary to drain it. So I continued to add various seasonings that you would use for a sweet barbecue sauce, except I only put in a 1/4 cup of brown sugar because the rest of the sweetness (and also the big thickening agent) came when I scooped out the baked butternut squash into the mix. I also threw in a few chopped tomatoes, about a cup of garbanzo beans, half a quart sized bag of corn, some Tastefully Simple Onion Onion, and one of my new favorite ingredients to sneak in- yeast flakes (for now you’re just gonna have to trust me, but I encourage you to Google it).

After about an hour simmering on low, served up in a bowl with a slice of American cheese, I had a healthy, easy meal with rave reviews.

Some recipe’s that I’ve tweaked recently:

I changed the process by decreasing the salt by about 2 Tbsp. and adding 2 Tbsp. Stevia during the boiling process. Then after draining I didn’t pat them dry. Instead, I went ahead and added my pumpkin pie spice and a little extra Stevia and mixed well. I didn’t drizzle with oil, but sprayed my cookie sheet with coconut oil spray, spread out the seeds and sprayed the layer with a little more coconut oil on top. After about 25 min in the oven I moved them to a brown paper bag, folded up the top, and put them back in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 min. This helped the crunchy factor so much more.

I’ve also tried this process using Kernel Season’s Milk Chocolate Caramel Seasoning instead of pumpkin pie spice (and no extra Stevia needed). They were so good and the research I’ve seen on pumpkin seeds is really favorable. But, like anything moderation is a really good word.

My variation this morning was I started with 4 bananas, 4 eggs, vanilla, cinnamon all in blender on high. I moved the mixture to my large Pampered Chef Batter Bowl (one of my favorites) and added a pint-sized bag of pureed zucchini, about 2 cups. Then I added 2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick and mixed it all real well. About 5 minutes per side in the skillet and they were done and awesome!

Tuesday Tidbits and Why Pumpkins are My Most Used Fruit

This the first of my new series that will post every (well occasionally every-other) Tuesday. Normally they will be pretty quick and to the point. A little tidbit to share. But I’m adding just a few extra words for this particular post in introduction of the series.

I do not claim to be an expert and I am by no means a professional blogger. This series will be just me sharing some quick words letting you in on what works for me. Sometimes there will be pictures or not and I may point you to another source because if that’s what really helped me, I want to share it.

So, we begin with one of my favorite subjects at this time of year. Pumpkins! Technically… they are a fruit. But whether or not you want to debate that point and whether or not you’ve ever thought anything about a pumpkin as anything other than a jack-o-lantern or a type of pie… you might find this interesting.

Over the last few autumns I have become a pumpkin hoarder. Last year we bought seven and oh, that definitely was not enough. Okay, wait, short and sweet post…. so where am I going with all this. Why did I not have enough pumpkins? Why am I buying more this year? Because I use pumpkin in almost everything. And I’ve learned a few things along the way.

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I don’t remember exactly how I realized adding pumpkin would be a great way to add nutrition to my food but once I grasped the concept I was hooked.

Here’s some of the basics: I buy up a bunch of them and get to work. I cook about one every day or two by taking off the top with the stem, cutting it in half lengthwise, cleaning out the seeds and facing them flat side down on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for an hour or more. The size of the pumpkin depends on whether or not you can do two halves or one and how long you leave it in the oven.

I’ve found that the smaller pie pumpkins have less liquid in them allowing me to just scoop out the flesh directly into a food processor and the much larger pumpkins I have to squeeze out handfuls at a time first. I use my processor but if you don’t have one you can get a nice workout with a masher.

I had originally stored my pumpkin in the freezer in Ziplock bags but found that, when I only wanted to use a little a time later, this was problematic. Then I came across the idea of ice trays. I fill the trays, and after they are frozen, I move the cubes to a bag. This is perfect for having a small or large amount available. Starting this year, I will be experimenting with dehydrating it like fruit leather due to my freezer starting to get a little bit full.

Now, I know you’re just dying to find out what using this awesome fruit in everything means. Pretty much… a lot, if not actually in every thing. Pumpkin does have a bit of a “squashy” (sorry, not sure that’s an actual word) flavor, more so depending on which type you use. But it really doesn’t have to be for just your traditional pumpkin pie or bread.

Pumpkin will take on the flavor of whatever seasoning you use. Besides adding extra nutrition and helping fill up your dish a little more, it’s great for thickening (think really low-cal mock-Alfredo sauce) or in place of eggs and oil (some of this has been trial and error but it’s a lot like the concept of using applesauce as a substitute). So yes, my pancakes and waffles are usually just pumpkin and Bisquick mostly, but here’s another example of a meal I made last night. My goal was a very calorie friendly Stroganoff with a dessert for my goober twins that would be light compared to the eating out treat they’d had earlier in the day.

My Stoganoff consisted of organic turkey burger (hey it was actually the cheapest on sale at the store), seasonings (love my Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic and Onion Onion – https://www.facebook.com/ts.pkoester/timeline), Worcestershire sauce, a little plain non-fat Greek yogurt, and of course a few good scoops of pumpkin, all served up on yellow squash Veghetti. Okay, so it wasn’t quite the taste of traditional Stroganoff but I think I was a little off in the exact mix of different seasonings I used. But it still tasted really good, my family liked it, and unless being told, you wouldn’t know there was pumpkin in it.

Dessert was about a cup and a half to two cups pumpkin, maybe a teaspoon or two pumpkin spice, approximately two tablespoons dry vanilla pudding mix and about the same graham cracker crumbs, and a splash of almond milk. Mixed it all really good and refrigerated until supper was over. The girls loved it. I know these aren’t exact recipe’s but I was playing around some last night just experimenting.

My husband and I finished our evening off with a few pumpkin pie seeds that I really liked but I still have some ideas on how I might want to tweak the process. For starters I followed this blog post http://www.superhealthykids.com/super-crunchy-pumpkin-spice-seeds/

Not quite so short of a post to start off a series on tidbits, but did I mention this is one of my favorite subjects when it comes to cooking and actually by comparison to what all I could have kept on about… Feel free to ask any questions in the comments if you’d like to further explore this topic with me and make the most of this awesome time of year!

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A Messy Review and Give Away

matureloveMature love. Do I have that? I mean, I love my husband. Absolutely I do. And after what is soon to be six years just around the corner, I love him more today than the day I married him. Goodness sakes, I know that probably seems like a very short time to some.

I’m happy to say I have witnessed many marriages that have outlived the 50-year mark, including my grandparents from both sides of my family. So, some may even think it would be foolish to think I could have really, truly mature love at this point. And I get that. I know we will grow so much more over the years. But, I want to do all that I can to be the wife that God created for my husband. And sometimes, I definitely miss the mark.

In arguments I may pout, make snappy comebacks, do things I know will convey that I’m not happy or I think he is wrong. How many times do I listen intently, pray, and trust God to change my husband’s heart or, even more, trust Him to change MY heart? Do I think often enough about how I can be lifting him up?

I think as a culture we’ve bought in to the lies that if we’ve not done anything really wrong, then we’re okay and we can just skimp on by. My last blog post introduced a book by Darlene Schacht, a woman who has been transparent enough with “painful honesty” to share her sin, and remind me that there is so much more to daily honoring my husband in ways that the world may see as little but God sees as obedient and sacrificial.

Part of me wishes I could list quote after quote until I’d probably have shared most of the book (though keep reading to find out how I might just do that for you). I’ll try and stick to just a few and maybe you’ll get a glimpse of how really, really good and relevant this book is.

When marriage functions as God intended it, both a husband and a wife bring glory to God. My mission is to remind women of this truth so that we might live out our purpose, which is to love our husbands, raise our children with intent, and manage our homes well. In doing so, we strengthen the bond of marriage and glorify God.

Love is deliberate, it’s intentional, it’s purposeful, and in the end it’s worth every minute that you give of yourself to another.

Marriage is a thousand little things. It’s giving up your right to be right in the heat of an argument. It’s forgiving another when he lets you down. It’s loving someone enough to step down so he can shine.

Is this book perfect? Maybe not. But a perfect book would just bring us to shame. I think instead the author is asking us to come to our knees and seek the One who sees the best in us, in our spouse, and in a marriage He wants to be a picture to the world of Christ’s love for the Church.

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Now, you’re wondering how I’m going to share this whole book with you, aren’t you? Did you see the words “Give Away” in the title of this post? I love that I have been able to share this book with you as part of a launch team. And am I sharing it just because I’m on the launch team? No. I think this book can be a game changer for so many. In fact, before I had signed up for the launch, I had already pre-ordered my copy of the book. It is my privilege though to be allowed to give away a copy of this book- a definite exciting perk. So here’s how it will work: leave a comment before Tues night (9/232) at midnight MST and I will at random choose the winner and make an announcement in the comment section on Monday of who it is. You can tell me why you want the book, ask me any curious question you have or just say hi.

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Cucumbers and a Messy Beautiful Love

I have been so grateful for friends this summer who have graciously shared an abundance of their harvest with me. I don’t have room for my own garden and only have just a couple of potted tomato plants. But, I love to use vegetables for all sorts of substitutions in my cooking. We don’t use pasta anymore. Instead, we have veghetti and my girls, both too young to remember the days of Easy Mac, have veggie “Mac and cheese” and may wonder some day at a friend’s house why their friends macaroni and cheese is so different.

A big portion of these gifted vegetables has been, you guessed it, cucumbers. The girls and I love them and my husband hates them. So, I have been finding all kinds of creative ways to use them (I’ll share more in a later post). Now what in the world does this all have to do with a Messy Beautiful Love? I promise I’ll try and get there a little quicker (if you’ve been following me at all, you’ve discovered I have a quirky mind). One day as I was washing and cutting my cucumbers it struck me how getting the bitterness out of a cucumber can be a picture of how God uses our marriages. I learned a little trick long ago. If you cut off the ends of the cucumber and rub them against the cut side, the bitterness draws out and then you wash it off. The parallel- as the days, months, and years have gone by, there have definitely been times where my husband’s and my personalities and differences have definitely “rubbed” against one another. I can choose to remain hurt or angry, or I can choose to let God draw the bitterness out of my heart and see my husband through His eyes.

Enter a “Messy Beautiful Love” the book I am currently reading by Darlene Schacht. My parallel may only make sense to me, but this book is full of truths about our marriages, and how God can work in them, that are fully applicable. Whether you feel like your marriage is wonderful, or worthless, there is something here for you. Because, let’s face it, we’re human. “None of us can say that we have it all together when it comes to loving each other. As much as we might desire to love well, we all struggle against the flesh” (p. 56).

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come that threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideas for His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.

http://messybeautifullove.com/

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