Thursday, March 29, 2012

Apply Pressure

My kids:  Running joyfully and loudly through my house
Me: "Stop running or someone is going to get hurt."
My kids: They stop for a second, look at each other and start running again
Me:  "Didn't I say to stop running in the house." (louder tone)
My kids: "Okay mom, you don't have to yell."
Me:  "If you would just listen I wouldn't yell."
My kids:  Within ten minutes they were running again, but this time my youngest son hits the corner of the wall.  He is holding his hand to his head and all I see is blood.

Have you ever had this scenario play out in your house?  My first reaction, after screaming at my kids, "I told you to stop running!"  I gazed at the wound and applied pressure.  The blood soon stopped after applying pressure and an ice pack.  Thankfully, there was no harm to my son except for a big bump on his head.

Life can get crazy in the blink of an eye.  What should you do?  Apply pressure!  

Press into hear what God is saying in that moment.  Listen for him to whisper, "This is the way; turn around and walk here." (Isaiah 30:21 NLT)

The weekend is almost here. Most of us have many plans and activities.  Steal some time away to press into God.  When you apply pressure to that "bleeding" situation it might cease to exist or you could respond to it in a different way.  Don't fear if you have a few bumps and bruises along the way.  Because through these experiences you will learn valuable lessons, just like my boys.

"...but I focus on this one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God is calling us." Philippians 4:14 (NLT) Posted by Roslyn

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Madness

How many NCAA basketball games can one person watch?  My husband is glued to the tv during this time of year.  He is a huge basketball fan.  March brings an avid basketball enthusiast great joy having so many options of games to watch.

I find the entire process complicated to follow.  If you are following it closely you find it a challenge to keep up with the scores and highlights of every game.  The games, brackets, and schedules can all be confusing as 68 teams compete in a single elimination game.  Talk about pressure, one game to play, win and advance to the next round.  These college teams and fans feel the frenzy, exhilaration and a myriad of emotions during the month of March.

So who will win it all-Louisville or Kentucky?  

The Elite 8 narrow down to the Final Four and finally a National Champion rises to the top.

During the games you can see mothers, coaches, family and fans with so many different feelings.  Some are crying and others are roaring in thunderous applause as their team makes the winning shot as the buzzer goes off.  The highs and lows, ups and downs, victory and defeat are all reasons for a college ball enthusiast to fall in love with the madness of March tournaments.

As I was watching (I love cheering for my Florida Gators), I realized how many emotions we go through in life, sometimes in one day.  We can be anxious, calm, frustrated, upset, happy, depressed, joyful, and hopeless.  How can we handle so many different emotions?  The different seasons of our life will also bring about changes in how we feel.  Here's what I've learned:


  • Don't be live life ruled by your emotions
Emotions are not trustworthy.  Just because you feel "unloved" doesn't mean that no one loves you.  YOU can't handle all your different emotions but GOD can!
"God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him." ~Psalm 46:1(MSG)
  • Know your triggers
Is it a situation or person that constantly "sets" you off?  If the answer if yes, realize that you need to find a way to distance yourself (physically or emotionally) from your "triggers".  Certain situations are out of our control, but we can allow God to manage our emotions through prayer.  Take time to walk away, breath and stay calm.  Once harmful words come out you can't take them back and the damage is done.  Think before you speak!
  • Shift your focus
Stop dwelling on the negative aspects of life.  What you focus on will expand in value.  The more you focus on a problem the bigger it will become.  Choose to think differently.   
"...Set your sights on the realities of Heaven.."  ~Colossians 3:1(NLT)

Let's see who will win in New Orleans, the Madness continues...(Posted by Roslyn)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Strawberry Monkey Bread Recipe

Hopefully you didn't miss Monday's post about my recent experience picking strawberries.  Here's the link if you missed it. 

One of the benefits of our strawberry harvest, was trying out delicious recipes. In today's post I will share the recipe and photographs for Strawberry Monkey Bread.  It was easy and fun to make with the kids.  It's also a winning recipe from the first Florida Strawberry Recipe contest.



Yummy goodness!
 
Ingredients:

1/2              cup toasted sliced almonds or pecans
1                 (16 ounce) container fresh strawberries, cut into slices (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2           cups sugar, divided
1                 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3                (12 ounce) cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, cut into fourths
1/2             cup butter (1 stick)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 15-cup fluted pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Sprinkle toasted nuts evenly into bottom of prepared pan.  Top with 1 cup sliced strawberries.



Layers of nuts and strawberries 
In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.  Dredge biscuit quarters in sugar mixture.  Layer half of biscuit quarters over strawberries in prepared pan.  Top evenly with 1 cup sliced strawberries.  Layer remaining biscuit quarters over strawberries.  Set aside.



Tip: use a plastic storage bag to shake the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly on the biscuit quarters.
In a small saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup strawberries, remaining 1 cup sugar, and butter.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.


sugar, butter and strawberries
 Pour over biscuit quarters in pan.



Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, covering pan with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning if necessary.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Invert pan onto a serving dish.  Serve immediately.


Fresh Strawberry Monkey Bread
Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Harvest Time!

Spring is in the air!  Can you feel it?  Longer days, shorter nights and warmer weather are just some of nature's beauty this time of year.  I decided to take in some of the great weather this weekend by taking the kids to pick strawberries.  I've only picked strawberries one time, during the 3rd trimester with my son.  Needless to say, it wasn't the greatest experience by any means. 

This time, it was completely different.  For starters, we could smell the aroma of the berries permeating into my truck as we drove along the highway.  The crops were plentiful!  Everywhere you looked there were rows and rows of strawberries. 

Never did I imagine, this experience would become a spiritual lesson.  From my understanding, the winter strawberry season begins in the summer.  The farmers prepare the soil to receive the strawberry plant that will require watering, near perfect weather conditions, and fertilizer.  Extra attention is given during the brief periods of frigid temperatures that can harm the crops. 

The highlight of  my day wasn't so much the harvesting component, but knowing that I could reap a bounty with very little effort on my part.  We didn't have to till the land, water the soil, or apply the fertilizer.  We just had to gently bend over, give a little tug, and reap a bounty of goodness.  


Seasons of generous harvest normally follow extremely difficult periods in our lives.  Listen to what is shared in Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (MSG):

~When God, your God, ushers you into the land he promised through your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you, you're going to walk into large, bustling cities you didn't build, well-furnished houses you didn't buy, come upon wells you didn't dig, vineyards and olive orchards you didn't plant. When you take it all in and settle down, pleased and content, make sure you don't forget how you got there—God brought you out of slavery in Egypt. ~

This was the promise given to the Israelites after 400 strenuous years of slavery.  Moses declared the season of harvest that was available because they were chosen and God desired to bestow blessings upon them.

Hold fast to your faith.  A season of harvest will occur in your life.  No matter what you are going through, it will come to an end, and there will be victory on the other side of the journey.  Maintain your confidence in God's ability to transform your situation.  Similar to your own life, despite varying weather conditions, the strawberry plant blossomed into a sensational creation of nature! (Posted by Renee)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stop Your Kid Prayer

What do you desire for your children?  What request do you make of God for their future? 

Successful adulthood.  Loving spouse.  Homeownership.  Flourishing business.  Grandkids.

I'm sure we've all prayed along those lines when imagining their future and where God may take them once they leave the nest.  I've prayed this prayer even before my kids were conceived.  Envisioning and praying for success by today's world standards became effortless and simple. 

Last Friday changed my mindset.  The words that leaped off the page while reading, "Parenting Beyond Your Capacity" were profound and life changing.  The authors, Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof, suggest there are simply three prayers we should declare over our children.

  1. You want your children to become people who pursue a relationship with God.
  2. You want your children to become people who love others the way God does.
  3. You want your children to become people who see themselves the way God sees them.
Just imagine the magnitude of success established through these simple words.  Visualize the transformation in your child's self-image if they could see themselves as God sees them.  They would be able to know that they are precious in His sight despite their mistakes and shortcomings.  Even if you move beyond the parent-child relationship, it's just as impactful for the husband-wife relationship. 

Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG)

We are to seek the kingdom of God first.  Everything else we desire will be added if we would just align our will with His will.  Pray in a different way and expect a radical change! (Posted by Renee)

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Take A Lesson From Ants

I walked into my house and a portion of my floor was covered with little, black ants.  I instantly knew the kids had dropped some sticky substance on the tile floor. That mess attracted what looked like an entire nest of these little, pesky insects.  They were all moving around in unison enjoying what was probably going to be their lunch or dinner.

Ironically on Sunday, a dear friend gave me a wonderful scripture about the lesson we can learn from ants.  Really, I thought, how can I possibly learn anything from something that annoys me so much.  I guess you know where I'm going with this.  There is a lesson to learn from ants about efficiency and productivity.  

The ants didn't waste any time moving into action to retrieve whatever mess my boys left on the floor.  Not only that, they called all of their "ant" friends to help them in this insurmountable task.

Are you a slacker?  Do you like to procrastinate?  Do you constantly have the attitude, "I'll just wait until tomorrow?"

Surprisingly, the life span of an ant is only 90 days.  Those little, pesky insects only have 3 months to live.  I guess that's why they spend their time wisely.  

Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.  Learn from their ways and be wise! Even though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work they labor hard all summer gathering food for the winter.  Proverbs 6:6-7 (NLT)

So this weekend don't be a lazybone.  Consider Spring cleaning, completing your taxes or finishing that project for school that is due in a few weeks.  You never know how long you have.  Manage your time wisely and learn a valuable lesson from the ant. (Posted by Roslyn)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Couponing Secrets!

Last week I had an opportunity to guest blog for A Beautiful Blog.  It was the final week in their Love & Money series.  I was excited to share some of my couponing secrets.  Here are some highlights from the blog post.

My pantry!
There is nothing better than saving more on your grocery bill than you actually spend.  It is a tremendous way to avoid paying more on groceries than you need to.  For the record, I am NOT one of the ladies you see on the popular reality show, “Extreme Couponing.”  I don’t have a separate room in my house or a custom built garage shelving system that holds hundreds of boxes of cereal and toiletry items.  I’m just a gal who loves to save!


I save on average 50%-60% on my grocery bill.  We are a family of four who used to consistently spend $550-$600 a month on groceries.  We now pay about $300 a month (including pull ups for the 3 year old).  A recent shopping trip at Publix cost me $26 for nearly $100 in groceries. 


Paid $26 for over $100 in groceries!
The whole basis behind couponing is to purchase (stock-pile) items your family uses while it is discounted at its lowest price.  You then combine your coupons with low prices or Buy One Get One (BOGO) free deals to save, save, save!  

Here are a few steps that I follow every week for couponing success:
My coupon file!

  • Purchase 4 papers weekly  (Always purchase an even number of papers depending on the size of your family)
  • File the coupon inserts in a filing box (shown in picture)
  • Review couponing website for coupon match ups at local grocery store (Publix BOGO’s are normally the best deals)
  • Pick up free coupons all over the grocery store (most people don’t realize that coupons are normally near the front door, placed around end caps, or down the aisles )
  • Stock pile items at their lowest price (this does not suggest you hoard items)
If you are interested in couponing, I would highly suggest attending a free class that provides the basics of the program.  I personally recommend Truecouponing.com.  There are several offerings in the area but I love Truecouponing because it is faith based and FREE.  New to couponing?  Click this link.

The greatest gift that couponing affords me is the opportunity to share my abundance.  Whether it’s giving a care bag to the homeless, cooking dinner for a friend or donating toiletry items to the elderly, I am able to fulfill God’s desire of sharing with others.  Couponing requires time, patience, and organization but it is well worth the 2-3 hours of my time each week.  In my eyes, it’s a 2nd job that allows me to work from home.

~1 Timothy 6:18~
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

If you are a couponer, we would love to hear about your testimony of savings.  Leave us a comment below. (Posted by Renee)