Friday, May 29, 2009

Five freebies Friday

Friday is here again. I really don't know where this past week has slipped away to! Monday we spent the day together as a family and were fortunate enough to spend part of the day doing nothing but spend time with each other. That was wonderful! Tuesday K had her big performance with choir. Remember the green paisley 60's dress I had to make? I finished it on Monday so she could wear it Tuesday. She seemed to really like it but boy does she look grown up in it. And from the audience you couldn't even tell it was paisley! Wednesday I was able to sit down and work on the church website that was just turned over to me. You can check it out at www.word-of-light.com I think that the gentleman who created it did a great job on the design so I kept that the same and just did some updating. Then there was a wonderful Wednesday night prayer and praise session. I think my pastor has coined a new phrase for his mini lessons on Wednesday: pipe tobacco sermons. Wait! Let me explain!! They are short. They are sweet, and you can put them in you pipe and smoke 'em! I thought that was too funny! Thursday was catch up laundry day since I haven't done a load all week! Today is J's 5th grade graduation ceremony. On top of that, there is only 1 week of school left for the kids. I have no idea how I am going to keep them entertained this summer!

While it has been a busy week, it has definately felt like a blessed one. I loved being able to fellowship with other church members, it was great to get the church site updated and relevant to what we are doing now, and it was wonderful watching K on stage having a great time singing and dancing. Hope your week has been blessed as well!

On to the freebies:

If you get to this one early enough you get a free Burt's Bees lip balm. It is supposed to be phenomenal lip balm. I haven't been able to bring myself to buy it due to its price. I'll take the 99 cents stuff thank you. But for free, I might give it a go. They are only giving away 1,000 per day between 9 am and noon EDT

This one is being advertised as a "leatherneck" tool kit from Marine Corp Association. It looks like a keychain screwdriver with different heads stored inside.

This one would have been nice this past winter when my windshield stayed dirty due to weather. Still, free is free. NAPA is giving away a free gallon of windshield wiper fluid. Just fill in the info and print your coupon.

Next is an offer for a free Bobblehead doll. You get to choose one of many, but there aren't any pics when you are choosing so you may want to look around the site first. They offer a mini Jesus, Pope, Snoopy or magnetic cat, parrot, shark, or lizard and of course a surfer dude bobble.

And our last freebie this Friday is my attempt to find something new for the kids to listen to on the ever present MP3 players. Free kids music downloads Now I have to admit, they seem to be more for toddlers/preschoolers and my older children probably won't think the songs are cool. But I can't wait to be singing duets with Baby A with songs like: 5 Little Monkeys and The Wheels on the Bus. Maybe this site will give us some new material!

That's it for this weeks five freebies Friday. I know I didn't get to a Wecipe Wednesday this week, but to be honest, I haven't had to cook but two meals in the last two weeks so I wasn't feeling much inspired, although it has been great not cooking. Boy will it be strange to get in the kitchen next week! Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Musings

I hope that everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. While many of you are simply enjoying an extra day off work, a mini-vacation, or just hanging out with your family, are you thinking about WHY you have this extra time? This is one of those holidays that come due to great sacrifice.
We celebrate Memorial Day as a remembrace of our military members that literally gave their lives for this country. It requires death. The holiday began after the Civil War as a way to remember the Union soldiers that gave their life. After World War I it was expanded to remember and recognize ANY American military member who paid the ultimate price during a war. I can't imagine being willing to give your life as a sacrifice for so many that you don't know, many of whom do not care or appreciate the gift that they have given us.
In some ways, they are Christ like. Christ also gave his life as a sacrifice. Many still do not care or appreciate the ultimate gift that he gave for us. Like our military, he died to protect us, to keep us safe from harm, to provide us with the opportunity for freedom.
So today, while you are cooking out, take a moment to thank God for the men and women who cared enough to sacrifice themselves for you. Also, remember who made the ultimate sacrifice, the person who loved you enough to want to spend eternity with you. He made today, rejoice and be glad that He loves you and wants to spend forever with you!
Image courtesy www.freefoto.com
As always you may click on the card and download a better resolution image to print


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I pray you enough...

I read this on a craft bulletin board that I am a member of and wanted to share it with you.

I pray you enough ... sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I pray you enough ... rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I pray you enough ... happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I pray you enough ... pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I pray you enough ... gain to satisfy your wanting.
I pray you enough ... loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I pray you enough ... hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

Everything that comes into our life does so for a reason. It may not be something God wanted for us, it may be entering your life because you chose not to follow God's lead, or because you are being tested, or to prepare you for something else. Not everything that enters your life is going to feel good, sometimes it is going to hurt. The above prayer reminds us that sometimes the bad things enter to make the good things better. If you never experience any loss, any tragedy, any pain, what reference do you have to see just how good the good things are? God tells us that

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

I pray that you turn to God during the rough times and praise Him, giving Him thanks, during the good. And I pray you enough...

Wecipe Wednesday

This one is one of my own that I adapted from a cook book to suit our tastes. We use a sugar free syrup with it and typically have to make a double batch. I have also been known to make a huge batch and then freeze them. They are just the right size to pop into the toaster for a quick fix homemade breakfast. Hope that you like them!

Oatmeal cinnamon Pancakes
Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 cup uncooked old-fashion oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1.5 cups 1% milk
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
6 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Directions
place oatmeal into a blender and pulse until it has the consistency of flour. In a bowl beat eggs until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat or to 375 degrees. If necessary spray with a non-stick spray.

Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle. Cook until pancakes have puffed and are dry around the edges. Flip and cook other side until golden brown.
Makes 18 4 inch pancakes.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 241.7
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Cholesterol: 73.7 mg
Sodium: 729.7 mg
Total Carbs: 35.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 8.0 g


Now that the recipe is out of the way, an update. I got to sleep!!! Those of you with little ones or that can remember having little ones will understand just how monumental that is. My wonderful husband came home last night and I told him that I absolutely had to get some sleep. After dinner I went and laid down. I read a book for about 30 minutes and then turned all of the lights out. Our bedroom is DARK. Our windows are covered to prevent light from coming in and if you shut the door it is very dark. Within 10 minutes I was asleep. My wonderful husband handled getting all 4 kids in bed, gave baby A a bottle rather than wake me up and I got to sleep an uninterrupted 9 hours! Then an additional 2 hours. I feel like a new woman! I may have to start adding an evening or afternoon nap to my schedule more often since baby A shows no signs of sleeping for 8 uninterrupted hours on her own any time soon. Sleep - I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Sunflowers?

A few people lately have looked at me oddly when I tell them that I titled my blog Sunflowers at Home. Looking at it objectively, it is an odd name isn't it? I decided today to give a bit of an explanation.

I have always liked sunflowers for as long as I can remember. When I was little I loved seeing them along fence lines or in fields. They always looked cheerful and sunny and seemed to be an indicator of summer days full of play, relaxation and fun. Sunflowers represent happiness for me. As I grew older I appreciated their sturdiness.

Sunflowers were used by the Indians as a stake to grow vining vegetables on because they were strong and tall. Sunflowers were able to support their own weight and provide a food source for the Indians. In addition, they were able to assist other plants growth and production.

Then I started to grow them myself and was amazed at their growth. They start out as a small seed. Some varieties have seeds that are just a few millimeters long. From this small, seemingly insignificant seed grows one of the tallest and strongest annual flowers I have ever seen. The flower itself is usually as large as if not larger than a dinner plate.

When I became a Christian, I adopted the sunflower as a kind of reminder. In John 21:22 Jesus is talking to Peter, whom He had just instructed to feed His sheep. Peter becomes concerned with something totally unrelated, jealous almost, and questioned Jesus about it. "Jesus answered, '...what is that to you? You must follow me.'" Have you ever watched a sunflower throughout the day? The flower follows the sun relentlessly. It does not turn from the sun, always towards it, always following it. We should also follow the Son, never turning from Him.

God created us, just as He created the sunflower. We both grow from a small, seemingly insignificant seed. We both have the potential to become something beautiful and fruitful ourselves. We both have the ability to support others in their growth as well. Unfortunately, we also have the potential to become stunted, ugly creations. God does not intend for us to become so. When we are away from the sun/Son we do not get the nourishment that we need to become beautiful. We can not mature, we can not become fruitful, we can not help others to grow, we can not stand tall for all to see.

So why Sunflowers At Home? I want to stand tall, to follow the Sun, to help my children to grow spiritually, to be a beautiful creation of God. I want sunflowers in my home.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Five Freebies Friday

It's Friday again, and I am really behind on just about everything. The girls and I have a Girl Scout bridging and Adult Recognition ceremony to attend this evening. Both of the girls ar moving up a level and I have to present two awards to some very deserving leaders within the county. Busy, busy, busy.

Still, I didn't want to leave out those of you who are following the site. That and I LOVE getting mail, especially when I send off for freebies. Going to the mailbox becomes an adventure. I feel like it is Christmas or my birthday everytime I get a package because I tend to forget what I had ordered. So I had to search for some new goodies, and I had to share them with you too. Admit it, you like opening the mailbox and finding those little packages there also. Hope you enjoy finding these when they arrive in your mailbox also!

Free Mars candy bar if you get there on time cuz this one is going to go fast! This one is only available to a limited number of people, so if you want your free chocolate you had better get there quick!

This one is good for a free All-Bran Promise Pack that includes a strawberry medley cereal sample, a strawberry fiber bar, and a rasberry fiber drink mix.

Next is Healthifeet foot cream. The site claims it warms cold feet, moisturizes, and soothes. The free sample includes a $2 off coupon.

If you are like me, you can't get moving in the morning without that cup of coffee. Taster's Choice wants that cup of coffee to be one of theirs. They will send you a stick sample packet of 6 flavors for filling out their form. Just be sure to click the Try It Now to sign up on their site.

This weeks final freebie is.... free stuff for the kids for grades. My little darlings recently brought mid-terms home. That sent me on a search to see what I could get them for free. Chuck E. Cheese will give free tokens, Pizza Hut is reported to give a free personal pan pizza and drink to students with 3 A's on their report card (I would call ahead and check before taking my child though), Krispy Kreme doughnuts will give one free doughnut for every A on the report card, and a free movie at Blockbuster from the kids or family section for an A. So you can get your kid a bite to eat at Pizza Hut, take them to Krispy Kreme for dessert, go to Chuck E. Cheese for a game or two while mom and dad relax with a drink (have to make a purchase to get the tokens) and then go home and watch a movie. Seems like a pretty good reward for their hard work.

Have a great weekend and I talk to you Monday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The only thing that counts

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love
Galatians 5:6b

I was studying my bible yesterday while sitting in the van waiting for my children to get out of school and this verse jumped out at me. In context, Paul is writing to the church in Galatia because they are falling back into trying to live according to the law because some in the community are teaching them that they must. This verse specifically deals with circumcision and Paul is informing the readers that as far as Christ is concerned, circumcision has no value, that all that does matter is faith. This really struck home with me.

I did not make the decision to follow Christ when I was a child, I waited until I was in my late 20's. At the time I felt like there were just to many rules to follow and I wanted to live my life. I can see these same thoughts rolling around in the head of one of my children as well. When I became a Christian I still felt that I was supposed to be following a set of rules. No one told me what they were and I couldn't find a list in the Bible either so I started to make my own based upon what I read. It became a long list of Do Not... That became very discouraging. Like the Israelites in the Old Testament I couldn't live under the law. I failed often. Sometimes it was something little and others it was something big. I was living my Christian life feeling like a failure and missing out on the best part of being a child of God. I felt like I was constantly disappoint God by failing. If I was the disappointment I thought I was, how could He possibly love me?

The pastor at the church I attend now has been preaching that God knows we can't follow the rules, and He loves us anyway. That our salvation is a free gift, and our actions after we take the gift won't cause Him to take it back. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. All He wants from us is love. We show this by spending time with Him. By trying to make Him happy. My list of don'ts were not a pass/fail test in which God says if you don't do it right I'm outta here. Rather, God says, "If you do these things they are going to cause you pain and I want to protect you from that." We do the same as parents with our children.

Our rules are not created to make their life harder. We don't stop loving them when they make a mistake, make bad choices, or rebel against us. We stll love them, we are still their parent. We may tell them that we don't accept what they are doing and that it is not allowed with us, but we will still be there when they turn away from it...waiting with open arms. If we as people are capable of that, how much more is our Heavenly Father capable? His pain seeing us make wrong choices must be greater than our own. By the same reasoning His love must be stronger than our own also! What a comforting thought.

So I have given up my list of rules. Now I only have one rule to live by - act as if I am doing everything for someone I love. The truth of the matter is that if I do this, every other rule I had is taken care of.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wecipe Wednesday

It's Wednesday again. I really don't know where the week goes so quickly! I seem to be so far behind this week and can't seem to catch up. I am behind on laundry, vacuuming, dusting, etc. Baby A is teething again and is in "hold me" mode which makes getting housework completed that much more difficult. In addition, my ants are starting to move back into the house again. As a result we have emptied all of my cabinets so that we can spray them to keep the ants out of my kitchen. So as I sit here contemplating our evening meal, all of my food is on the dining room table. Every time I go to make something (the morning coffee or baby A's breakfast) I walk into the kitchen only to realize that I have to go into the dining room to get the food items! It can be quite frustrating.

I realize that the above paragraph may sound like I am complaining, but truly I am not. These things, while overwhelming and aggravating at times, are reminders of just how much God has blessed me. I am fortunate enough that I can help my sister, who is struggling with being on her own for the first time in her life after a divorce, by washing her laundry every week. It doesn't sound like much, but it saves her money she would have otherwise spent at a laundromat, and it allows her to spend that time with her children instead. I picked up her laundry late this week and as a result it has put me behind on my own, but what a blessing to be behind.

In addition, I wouldn't give up the sleepless nights or the time that I have to spend holding baby A for a clean house in a million years. God's word tells us that children are a REWARD (even when it doesn't feel like it some times) in Psalm 127:3. Baby A is my reward and I treasure her far more than a clean house or a few extra hours of sleep right now. She is another blessing to me.

Finally, the table full of food. While it is frustrating to have to keep going into the dining room to gather items to cook with, it is a wonderful visual. Not only can you not see the top of my table, but in many places the food is stacked two and three items high. God has blessed us not only with enough food to eat, but an abundance and a variety of food as well. God truly has provided for my family and there is no denying that fact every time I walk into the dining room.

So you see, while it would be easy to look around and become discouraged with the dust and the mess and lack of sleep, and laundry piling up, if you break it down it really is a good thing. What is going on in your life right now? Do you feel overwhelmed? Maybe it is time for you to step back and look at it through new eyes. Perhaps God is blessing you as well if you will take a moment to remove yourself and see it!

That being said, this weeks recipe is also from Sparkpeople. I tried it last week and LOVED it! We call it creamy chicken and it was submitted by OrangeCowCat (what a screen name!)

Creamy Chicken
Ingredients:
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or chicken of choice)
1/4 cup low fat Italian dressing
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 bag wheat wide egg noodles or prepared rice

Directions:
Place chicken and dressing in a slow cooker on low for approximately 6 hours. Remove chicken and add soup and cream cheese to the liquid in the pot. Mix well. Shred chicken (if it didn't already fall apart coming out of the pot) and return it to the pot. Stir well. Allow this to warm. While warming prepare egg noodles according to package directions.
To serve place 3/4 cup noodles on plate (or 1/2 cup prepared rice) and spoon 2/3 cup creamy chicken over the noodles. Enjoy!

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 327.2
Total Fat: 9.9 g
Cholesterol: 93.6 mg
Sodium: 712.8 mg
Total Carbs: 24.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 32.9 g


This recipe can also be found in it's original form on www.sparkrecipe.com listed as Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Musings

I hope that every one of you had a wonderful Mother's Day. My dear husband spoiled me greatly and to be honest I enjoyed every minute of it. It wasn't anything big or extravagant. I simply got to watch a movie with my family, he cooked dinner, and I got to eat Death by Chocolate ice cream! I loved every minute of it.

I also survived singing in front of the church yesterday. Now that it is over, I am glad that I did it. Lately I have been struggling with the "trust and obey" portion of being a Christian. For me, listening and obeying on this was a step closer to God. Did my singing have any other purpose? I don't know and may never know. Perhaps it was just a test for me. Either way, it was a good thing.

On to today's scripture card. I took the weekend off and didn't work on this until this morning. I was writing a devotion for my Christian Stay at Home Mom board at Sparkpeople and began the devotion with a verse that was used during the service yesterday from 1 Peter. It was dealing with a woman's beauty coming from inside rather than outside. (You can read the devotion below) While writing it triggered a song that I had used to teach a lesson in Sunday School once based upon a different Bible verse. This week I decided to use it as the Scripture Card. Hope that you like it!

As always you can click on the picture to download a better resolution image to print and use yourself to aide in memorization or as an encouragement card. Please do not post the image on your own site without consulting me first. However, feel free to post a link to my blog if you would like! Have a great day!

Beauty

I Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

I was standing in the check out line yesterday and glanced at the rack of magazines. On one of them was a HUGE picture of a former actress that had recently been a spokesperson for a weightloss program. They type beside the picture indicated that she had gained 83 lbs. It was portrayed very negatively. Beside it was a magazine promising a loss of 20 lbs if you used their walking program. And beside that one was one promising the right hairstyle to make you look great. It seems like everywhere I looked it was all about appearance, beauty. America has become obsessed with how we look.

You only have to look at the magazine aisle, or watch a few commercials to see it. It is easy to fall into the belief that we have to look a certain way to be beautiful. The reality is that God isn't looking at our bodies for beauty. God specifically tells us that beauty isn't something we can put on and take off. I believe the God also isn't looking at the numbers on the scale or counting your scars, or looking at your acne and counting that against you on His beauty scale. God is looking within us, He is looking at how we treat others, how we behave, our actions, in search of our true beauty.

It is important, especially as a Christian mother, to teach our children this. With 8 million Americans suffering from eating disorders in an attempt to be beautiful, and 95% of them under the age of 25, we as Christian mothers need to be sure that our children know what REAL beauty is and teach them to look for it not only in themselves, but also in others. This is even more true for those of us that are losing weight ourselves.

If our children only see us struggling to beautify our physical body, and don't see us beautifying our spiritual body they will get the wrong impression. I know that it is hard finding time to fit everything into our lives. However, you need to remember your priorities, I wanted to remind you that first and foremost you are a CHRISTIAN mother. Please take time to show your child that spiritual beauty is more important than physical. Let them see you studying God's word, or study with your child. Demonstrate a gently and quiet spirit. Treat others kindly. Don't neglect the true beauty that God is looking for in pursuit of a thinner you. Don't get so wrapped up in what the world sees that your forget what God sees - the beauty in your heart, you ARE beautiful.

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart ~ I Samuel 16:7b

Friday, May 8, 2009

Five Friday Freebie

Hello again! I hope that you had a wonderful week! Here it has been rainy all week long. As I write this I am looking out the window to a downpour, and on the t.v. are flood warnings. But if you look through the rain and across the street the woods are greening up with the most beautiful shades of green and the tree in my front yard is a gorgeous deep purple color. I love spring. After months of everything appearing dead, the new life seems to revitalize me. I have spent the last several weeks planting. Violets, begonias, sunflowers, bleeding hearts, wildflowers, cucumber, sweet pea, brocolli, brussel sprouts, strawberries. I do so good this time of year with tending to all of it. I weed, and fertilize and water when needed. It's when it gets hot and they really need the care that I tend to forget about them and my husband takes over for me. Isn't it wonderful how God seems to pair people up to balance their shortcomings? It's such a minor thing, but without it all of my spring work would wither away and die in the heat of summer.

This is day 5 of my new, healthier life and I haven't fallen off the wagon yet. I found a group on Sparkpeople, the Christian Stay at Home Mom (CSAHM) group, and I have been posting devotions on their site every day. They seem to be a great group of women and I enjoy spending time there. I don't know about weight loss yet as I try to weigh once a week only, so that I don't get obsessed about it. I know I have found muscles I forgot that I had! Boy are they protesting right now, but it will be worth it.

Okay, enough about me, let's get on to the goodies. Here are this weeks 5 freebies!
First off, a sample of John Freida Illuminating Brunette shampoo and conditioner. Takes 6-8 weeks to get to you, but hopefully it's worth it for us brunettes! Sorry blondes, sometimes the brunettes have more fun.

This next one is being offered by the Associated Bible Students of Central Ohio, a book entitled "How to Study the Bible". There are also several videos available on this site for free download that have to do with the Bible, can't say I have seen any of them so I can't comment on them, but if you watch one, please leave a comment and tell the rest of us about it.

Thinking ahead . . . WAY ahead - you can order your 2009 Christmas Seals today by clicking here and then scrolling down the page to "request your 2009 Christmas Seals"

Have pets? Rileycare.com is offering a free "Pets inside" sticker for signing up for the Riley's Tips quarterly newsletter. What a great way to alert emergency workers to be on the lookout for your four legged friends!

Last but not least, one for mom. Are you taking mom out for dinner on Mother's Day? (You DID remember that Mother's Day is THIS Sunday didn't you?) If you are taking her to T.G.I.Friday's then here is a freebie for you. If you buy an entree on Mother's Day, mom gets a free dessert, either a spiced up cupcake or a brownie obsession. In addition, if you sign up for their Give me More Stripes card that day you will get a coupon for a buy one get one free entree meal. Take mom out AND get free stuff for her and yourself. Gotta love that. If you use this one, I suggest you go early as I am sure the place will be crowded!

So that is it for this edition of Five Freebie Friday. I gotta go practice. My daughter K has volunteered to sing a song in church this Sunday. It's one we sang together a few years ago for Mother's Day called "Never Alone" by Jim Brickman. She wants me to sing it with her again! Haven't decided what I am going to do about that, but better practice just in case! Have a great weekend and don't forget to wish your mom a Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Never Alone

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Mother's Day is this weekend. My daughter decided last night that she would like to sing in church on Mother's Day. This isn't unusual for her, singing or deciding at the last minute. She has been blessed with a beautiful voice and very much enjoys singing praises to God. However, she decided to sing a song that we had sung as a duet several years ago at our previous church - and she volunteered me to sing it with her!

Don't get me wrong, my voice isn't horrible. I sang in show choir in high school and I can carry a tune. I just don't like singing in front of people anymore, probably due to the fact that I feel like everyone is staring at me (imagine that!) and I don't like the image that I picture them seeing anymore. That is one of the downfalls about being overweight and VERY conscious of the fact. I picture negativity when I think of people looking at me. While I realize that the congregation would not in a million years be looking at me that way, that is what I see, my own personal hang up. It makes it difficult to focus on the singing. So when she told me she wanted me to sing with her, (after she had volunteered me to do so) my immediate response was NO WAY! But I decided to consult someone else about it, and I prayed. Then I listened to the song again.

The song is "Never Alone" by Jim Brickman and Lady Antebellum. The first time we sang it together I pictured it as a song of love where a mother promises her daughter to always be there for her and gives advice and a daughter promises her mother to stand with her through the years. A wonderful message to be sure. So I pulled out the CD and looked up the words again and sang it a few times. Then I realized...

This song is also a promise from God. Take a look at the lyrics of the chorus alone:

Never alone
I'll be in every beat of your heart
When you face the unknown
Wherever you fly
This isn't goodbye
My love will follow you, stay with you
Baby you're never alone

God will be with us always. What a powerful message. We are truly never alone. Scripture promises over and over that when we accept the gift that was freely given to us, He will be with us, He will help us, He will strengthen us. When you finally realize that God is on your side, how can you not face the things in your life that once appeared to big, to scary, to hard. What can't He overcome?

I don't know about you, but that makes me feel a lot better! I can lose the weight again, with the help of God, even when those cream cheese danishes call to me from the discount rack at Wal-mart! I can quit focusing on my own hang ups and start focusing on the more important things in life. And guess what. I can stand up in front of the church and sing this song with my daughter this Sunday. Looks like I better start practicing again!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

freebie Friday on Wednesday

I know, it's not Friday, but you can only get this one TODAY before midnight. What is it? A free coupon for dinner (or lunch if you prefer) at KFC! For going by and taking the time to click and print you get 2 pieces of grilled chicken, two sides and a biscuit. AND you can print the coupon up to 4 times! So that is 4 free meals. Gotta use them before the 19th and can't use them on Mother's Day. So just click here to grab your coupon. Happy hump day!

Wecipe Wednesday

So this is day 3 on the path to the new, smaller me. So far so good in that I have watched what I eat (No, not watched everything enter my mouth! Kept my calorie count low! LOL) and have done all of my exercising. I am definitely paying for it now. My back and shoulders are killing me after yesterdays upper body workout. It will be worth it in the long run.
Given that I am trying to create a new, smaller me, this weeks recipe tastes great, but is low calorie and good for you. It is one I tried off of http://www.sparkrecipe.com/ and was submitted by Jojomke. Hope that you like it as much as I do. I am gonna include the nutrition breakdown for recipes as well for those of you that are concerned about that type of stuff. Here is the direct link for those of you Sparking with me so you can add it to your meal plan.

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
raisins or nuts (optional)

Directions:
Soak the oats in milk for about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add nuts or raisins if desired.
Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with some of the mixture.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
Remove from pan, cool and enjoy.
These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Number of Servings: 12

Nutrition Info

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 93.5
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
Sodium: 196.2 mg
Total Carbs: 20.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 2.9 g

Hope you like them. I think they taste really yummy and I made them even when I wasn't sparking. My only advise is do NOT use muffin liners with these. For some reason (probably the egg whites) they don't like to release from the liners very well and you may end up eating some paper with your muffin. Hey, what is a little extra fiber gonna hurt? Hope you have a great Wednesday. I am a little excited this Wednesday as my little church is starting a Wednesday prayer and praise service TONIGHT. I have really felt like I needed a midweek pick me up for awhile now, and here it is. Can't wait!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 1

Ezra 10:4 "Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it!"

Ezra was a priest at a time when the Israelites were marrying women they were told by God not to. Ezra was very upset by this and was praying, obviously upset. One of the men approached Ezra and basically said, "yeah, we have messed up pretty good and we know it. We should put away the pagan women and the children we had with them. You're the priest, the one who speaks for God, you know what we are supposed to do. Stand up and do what you are supposed to do, tell us what to do!" Ezra did. Ezra had to stand before all of Israel and tell them they had done wrong, that they needed to turn away from it completely to make it right. I bet that was hard for him. Probably a lot harder than it is for me to turn away from the cheese danishes sitting on my kitchen counter right now.
Can you tell that this one is about being overweight? I wasn't always. Once I was thin and full of energy. Then my parents got divorced. I gained weight. Then I lost weight. Then I gained weight, had a baby, gained weight, had another baby, gained more weight. Do you see the picture developing here. There always seemed to be something that triggered weight gain, but my weight is MY responsibility. I gain weight because I choose to allow it. I am an emotional eater. I get upset and reach for food to comfort me. That is not what I should be doing. Jesus is the ultimate comforter. I should be turning to Him with my problems and talking to Him about them rather than ranting and raving and eating. So today is Day 1, again. I need to rise up to the challenge and just do it, again. So I am back on www.sparkpeople.com This isn't my first time on Spark, it's my 4th. The first time I wasn't very serious or into the program. I was trying to do it on my own, not using the support system there. I failed. The second I was a little more serious, but still didn't use the support system. I failed again. The third time I jumped in whole heartedly, I made friends on there that not only encouraged me but I took time to know and encourage them also. I lost 40 lbs before I became pregnant and had to stop dieting for obvious reasons. Why did it work? I believe it was because I connected with others, and I started turning to God for comfort. The "we are with you" helps strengthen our courage, knowing we aren't alone. We aren't the only ones who feel the way we feel right now. It never ceases to amaze me how God finds a way to reach me no matter how I feel or what is going on in my life. He sent His Son here so that He could experience all of it. He knows what it is like to be rejected, to feel alone, to feel different. That is why He is such an awesome comforter. This verse came to me when I needed inspiration and encouragement, and on my first day back at spark, weighing 10 lbs more than I did last time I started, I really needed it. I share it hoping it will inspire someone else to arise and take responsibility knowing that WE are with you. You CAN do it! If you want to follow me on Spark I am Sunflowers4Me. If you want to begin your own weight loss journey, please scan the bar on the right hand side of the screen and click the link to sparkpeople. It is totally free and I get absolutely nothing for telling you about it, but it does work!

Monday Musings

(please click the picture to download a better resolution of the card to your computer)

This weeks scripture card is a little different than in the past. A few weeks ago I asked for readers to share their favorite scripture, or one that had a special meaning to them, for me to use to make a card from. One reader emailed her response to me and it touched my heart. Doreen has graciously allowed me to share her story about why Matthew 6:26 is a special verse for her.
“When our first-born son was born prematurely, I had been hospitalized for 3 days before the birth as my waters had broke and my husband and I had been reading the Bible and found this quote to be so comforting. Our son, Matthew lived for 3 weeks, he was born healthy but complications arose and he had to have surgery in his stomach and then Our Father called him Home. We had shared our experience with the Gideons (who distribute copies of the Bible in hotel rooms, airports, prisons, etc.) and we recounted our experience and asked if we could have a few copes to distribute to our family and friends in Matthew's name. They wrote back saying they were so touched by our letter that although they did not usually do this, they were sending us a boxful of pocketsize Bibles. We were so happy that we could do this as we felt that through Matthew more people would be reading the Bible.”
I have to say that losing a child is a terrible experience, and it can make you closer to God, or for some it can push them away. God can use anything that we experience for good. Doreen was able to see how her precious son, only a few weeks old before he left this earth, could bring the word of God to others. While many of us may have shaken our fists at God and asked why, Doreen was able to see the blessing that little Matthew was, even if for a very short time.
I have to admit that when my husband and I went through a miscarriage very early in our marriage, I was one of the fist shakers. I didn’t understand why He would bless us with a child only to take the baby away before we got a chance to see him or her. Looking back I realize that the experience helped to bring my husband and I closer together. I don’t know what God’s purpose was in calling our baby home before birth, or calling little Matthew home after a few short weeks, but I do know that God has a plan:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I just need to trust in His plan and His purpose for my life. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
Thank you Doreen for sharing your story and reminding us that while we may not always understand what is happening in our lives, God does provide for us and He has a plan for each of us that will prevail!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Five Freebies Friday

I want to begin by apologizing for neglecting the blog yet again. Last Friday my husbands great uncle, who we were both very close to, passed away after a courageous fight with throat cancer followed by a stroke. He was 78 years old. I am happy to say that he decided to accept Christ as his Saviour a few months ago so I know that I will see him again and that he is now in a much better place. However, his funeral was Monday and as a result I did not create the scripture card and to be honest, I didn't feel like posting a recipe on Wednesday either. But life does go on for those of us still on planet earth. So that being said, here is this weeks list of five freebies.

First is a new site that I found that is offering four freebies: light mayo, caress body wash, a sample of Pond's creme, and new body sprays by degree.
www.vivemejor.com/justforyou.aspx?NavID=22&culturecode=en-us

Free Hallmark Mother's Day card! They will even mail it for you for free and promise it will arrive before Mother's Day if you order it today! The catch, you have to create an account with them to use the promo code. Once you do, create your 5X7 folded card and when you check out enter CARD4MOM in the promo code section. If you have more than 1 junk email account use each account to create a new Hallmark account and use the promo code more than once to mail a card to your mom and your MIL!
www.hallmark.com

Free on the go cleaner from BabyGanics, just scroll down to the "click for more details" and then click for more details (duhh) and enter your info, remember fake phone # please!

This one is neat, and kind of a mystery freebie. Foma Publishing is offering samples of their free plantable cards. Basically recycled paper infused with seeds. They say that the paper may contain anything from wildflowers to vegetables. You will need to do a little extra work for this one. You have to input your mailing address, and then confirm your interest by clicking a link in an email they send you. Is it worth it? Dunno, will have to wait until I get mine. If this sounds neat to you, let me know by leaving a comment and I will do a tutorial on how to create your own plantable paper. A friend and I made up several batches as wedding favors.

And finally, Friday's fifth freebie: a coffee mug courtesy of a new horror film, Tom's Friend . The mug isn't all scary or horrory (is that a word?). Its just a plain jane mug with the words Tom's Friend on it. Could be a neat gift if your name is Tom! I'm not signing up for this once since my house tends to bred coffee mugs. I like my two travel cups and my big green coffee mug.

That's it for this Friday. I came across several older books on beading and such. I am considering using them as a giveaway, but I really don't think that I have the following for that yet. If you want a giveaway, show me that you are out there and leave a comment or two. Talk to you Monday!
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