Monday, May 22, 2017

You're Going To Win A Trophy For This

With Mother's Day in the rearview mirror, it is easy to peruse the posts on Facebook or Instagram from that day and feel less than.  With Pinterest perfection glaring all of us moms in the face, it is easy to beat ourselves up by feeling that we could do better and are not good enough. 

Is it true?  Could I do better?  Yes, sometimes it is.  I could do better.  Sometimes, I don't feel like going anywhere or doing anything, but my daughter wants to go swimming at the gym.  I say no, but I really could take her if I would put my own wishes aside. 

Those are the things I beat myself up over.  Being selfish.  Not discipling enough or discipling too hard.  Having too much grace or not having any grace at all.  Have I asked too much of them or not asked enough.  Those are the things which I beat myself up over in my heart and mind.  


The truth is that no mother is perfect.  I am not the best mom ever, but I am a good mom.  

I remember when Lauren was about 3 or 4 years old, she had gotten up in the middle of the night and was sick.  I can't really remember the circumstances of why she was ill, but I remember being up with her for quite a while.

I remember rubbing her brow with a cool, damp washcloth.  The only light shining in the darkness of the house come from a nightlight plugged into the wall.  I will never forget how she reached up and stroked my cheek with her little hand, and said, "Mommy, you're going to win a trophy for this."

There have been times in my life (and probably in yours too) when someone says something to you whether it be a friend, a family member, or a pastor, and you know beyond a shadow of doubt that God has just used them as a vessel to give you a message.  God had just spoken through them.

In that moment, my heart was caught up in my chest, and tears welled up in my eyes.  The truth was I was tired, and I selfishly wanted to get back into my bed.  My snoozing husband would have no idea the amount of time I had been up that night with our daughter.  My other two children would not know.  There would be no pics on Facebook or Instagram, but God knew.  God saw my sacrifice.

The unseen and unsung moments are what make great moms.

These are the unseen and unsung moments that makes great moms.  Those hours in the middle of the night where we are changing soiled sheets, taking children to the doctors, making homemade birthday cakes, snuggling while watching a movie, spending two hours in the kitchen to make dinner, or giving a child some discipline they desperately deserve. 

God knows and He sees all of the unseen and the unsung moments.  I don't know if I will receive a trophy for being a mom, but I do know that God knows and sees the sacrifices I make.  My trophy would be to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Now, that would be perfect!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 
1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

About a month ago, Madison was out with her beau, and I texted her to let her know they could come have some Chicken Pot Pie for dinner.  She thought I meant a frozen Banquet Chicken Pot Pie so they treated themselves to some fast food instead.  When they came in the door, they were disappointed to learn that what I had been talking about my homemade version.

This is definitely a family favorite in our house and is usually gone within a 24 hour period.  Get ready for some yum!
Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Filling
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups milk
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed

Topping
2 cups Bisquick
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
1 stick butter

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender.  Add the flour, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and basil.  Stir in the milk.  Bring to a boil.  Stir for 1-2 minutes until mixture begins to thicken.  Add chicken, peas and carrots.  Spoon into large greased baking dish.  Mix Bisquick, milk and butter together in a medium bowl for the topping until smooth.  Pour evenly over the chicken filling.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling around the edges.



Enjoy, Andrea

Monday, May 1, 2017

Prayer Pyramid

What is your prayer life like?  Maybe your prayer life is on fire like Clara Williams from the War Room movie.  Maybe you don't ever nod off to sleep when you close your eyes to pray.  Maybe you never drift off in your thoughts onto what your grocery list should be when you pray.  Maybe you never sit and wonder what to pray for next.

Maybe your prayer life is great, and if so, I am so glad for you.  However, I am one of the ones who might nod off occasionally or get sidetracked into thinking about so many other things which have no place in my prayer time.  If you are like me, I might have something to help you.  I know, because it sure helps me.

Two years ago, I was able to get a Prayer Framework sheet which was created by a wonderful mentor of mine named KJ.  He gave me the Prayer Framework which has helped me to keep track of what I need to be praying about, intercessory prayers, reminders to pray for our nation, our military, etc.  I have used this tool so many times that by the end of the year my copies are ripped and tattered.  

The goal of the prayer framework is to pray for yourself first so that you can be filled up enough to pray and intercede for someone else. 

"I pray for my own soul first. Not because I am more deserving than others, but because if God doesn't awaken and strengthen and humble and fill my own soul, then I can't pray for anybody else's. So I plead with the Lord every morning for my own soul's perseverance and purification and power." 
John Piper 


I have reconfigured the framework into a Prayer Pyramid.  I write specific prayers on the side, if needed.  I write the names of friends and family who need prayer in the Friends/Family box, I write the names of all of the staff members of my church in the Church box or church members who need prayer.  I write the name of our president in the Nation box to pray for him.  I write things I am struggling with in the Self box.  

I print it out, fold it up and put it my Bible.  I write names on it as the year goes on for new prayer requests and start a new one at the beginning of the year.  It is neat to look back and see all of the answered prayers, and it is a good reminder to look back and be reminded of the prayers which will never drop off of your list.

Click below for your downloadable copy of the Prayer Pyramid!

I hope you enjoy the Prayer Pyramid as much as I do, and it proves to be a useful tool for you.  When you find something good that works for you, it is natural to want to share it.  I am thankful to KJ for sharing it with me, and now I am thrilled to be sharing it with you.  I hope it is a blessing to you.

Blessings, Andrea

"Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Romans 8:34b, NIV

Monday, April 24, 2017

Faith Over Fear

My legs dangled over the edge of the deck of the tower.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  The trees stretched out in front of me as far as I could see.  The ground seemed to be a million miles away even though in reality it was only 4-5 stories down.

I sat on the edge of that decking strapped into a harness.  The harness was attached up above me to a zip line that stretched out in front of me until it disappeared in the tree canopy in the distance.  I looked back at the man who had helped me to secure my zip line rigging.  I thought to myself, What if he forgot to hook something up?  He does this all the time.  Surely at some point he would forget or overlook a latch or a strap.


The bold excitement which poured through my veins as I had climbed all those flights of stairs up to the tower deck had faded into just plain fear.  As I double checked that all of the straps were tightened and the strap was secured above me, I couldn't help but think of my family.  What would my kids do if I died jumping off of this ledge?  Would it really be worth it?  What would my husband do?  I am not afraid of heights, but everything in my being was telling me that this was not a safe situation.

Then a thought dawned on me.  Jesus was afraid of what he knew was coming when he was heading toward the cross.  He knew how He would suffer.  He was afraid too, but He took the leap of faith.  He obeyed the Father and stepped off anyway.  I know that God had not "told me" to do the zip line, but in that moment I knew the lesson I needed to learn was that it was OK to be afraid but to jump off anyway in spite of my fear.  It was about faith.

After checking my rigging thoroughly, I scooted my bottom off of that ledge and zipped my way through the canopy of the trees.  The wind whooshed.  The sunlight flickered in and out between the trees.  It was a beautiful view, and I found myself in full abandon as I even flattened my body out in order to get more speed for my ride.  It was hard for me to remember the fear I had felt on that ledge in the thrill of the ride.

Even though this happened many years ago, I will never forget it.  I have thought about it over and over again whenever I get to a place where I am fearful of the next step especially when it comes to my obedience to Christ.

I thought about it this week when two of my friends stepped out in total fear but also in total faith.  The end result is that God totally blessed them both for it.  I have been praying for God to enlarge my territory.  He certainly has been, but with that the fear has also reared its ugly head too.  


In the end, we just have to jump off the ledge even though we are scared and have faith that God has got us  He will lead us through anything He has lead us to.  We just need to be obedient and have faith.

I have seen some cute shirts lately that say "Faith over Fear" written on them.  All too often, we are so wrapped up in our fear, we don't seem to be able to jump off in faith and let God take care of any of it.  If we will jump, we just might have a beautiful ride which stretches out in front of us.  The ride might be better and more beautiful than we could ever have imagined.  Instead of being afraid, we might wonder why we did not jump off and obey sooner.


"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." Psalms 56:3, ESV

Monday, April 17, 2017

Roasted Sausage & Shrimp With Vegetables

As much as I love a recipe which has two sticks of butter in it, there are times when a more health option is the way to go.  I came up with this recipe, and it was a huge hit.  This recipe is also gluten-free!


Roasted Sausage & Shrimp With Vegetables

1 16oz pkg Polish Sausage, cut into coin slices
1 12 oz bag frozen medium shrimp, peeled & deveined with tail-on
2 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1.5 lb bag of baby potatoes (I used The Little Potato Company.)
Olive oil
1 1.0 oz pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dry seasoning mix
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, put in the sausage slices, frozen shrimp, broccoli florets, red pepper pieces, and the potatoes.  Stir together to evenly distribute meat and vegetables together.


Pour some olive oil over the meat and vegetables.  Stir gently together with a large wooden spoon to coat all of the ingredients.  If the ingredients still seem too dry, add a little bit more oil and stir again to evenly coat.  Sprinkle half of the dry ranch mix over the meat and vegetables with some freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Gently mix together.  Sprinkle the rest of the ranch seasoning with any additional black pepper and mix again.


Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour meat and veggies onto the baking sheet and evenly distribute in the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Raise the temperature of the oven to 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, and the meat is sizzling.  

This can be served with some seasonal fruit, a side salad and/or bread.  You will not be disappointed!


Tips/Variations

  • Feel free to use turkey sausage instead of the polish sausage.
  • You can use other vegetables you might like or have on hand such as carrots or green beans. 
  • The reason for keeping the shrimp frozen is that shrimp cooks very fast.  With the amount of time the other ingredients need to cook, the shrimp need to be frozen when they go in so they will not become too overcooked.



Enjoy, Andrea