Healthy? Who Me?

Why does getting and staying healthy seem like an impossible dream for some of us? Why do we associate the term “healthy” with a size 6, organic loving, gym fanatic? In case you’re wondering….that’s not me! lol!

I’m just a woman, who could lose a few pounds, with a desire to just feel good. I want to play with my grandson and not get out of breath! I want to eat a meal and not be tortured with heart burn or acid reflux. Most of all, I want to look in the mirror while trying on clothes and smile at who I see. Anybody else?

I decided last summer that I would be that girl! I joined Weight Watchers and lost 20 pounds. It took me about 4 months and let me tell you…it was worth it! I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to spend the money but I’m glad that I did. I’m worth the investment. The program taught me how to make better choices and to watch my portion sizes. It works! I feel great!

Now… for the next phase of my journey. Even though I had lost weight and no longer had to crawl to get out of the floor, I still suffered with some digestive issues. I was eating foods that were on plan but still suffered from heart burn, acid reflux or just basic stomach pains. What to do? I took a good look at WHAT I was choosing to eat. Did you know that just because is says “low fat” or “fat free”, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice? It can still contain processed sugar or high sodium. I was faced with making some choices….healthier choices.

I started reading… labels, articles, books and I did my own research. I have drastically reduced the processed foods in my life. Does anyone have an air fryer? yes… no? Well, I bought an air fryer and have given the fried foods in my life a new look. I try to stay away from white flour and other “whites”. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not gluten free…just keeping an eye on the intake. I do a lot more cooking at home rather than visiting restaurants. I know for some that may be easier said than done, but stay with me on this…you’ll feel better and save money in the process. It’s a lot healthier to bake a chicken breast and pair it with a baked sweet potato and green beans than to run through the drive thru at Zaxby’s! And….if you plan just right, the left overs can be eaten the next day for lunch or supper! Two meals at one time! Bam!

I say all of this to say this…we’re worth the effort to feel good…to feel pretty. God sees us as worthy and it’s time we see ourselves the way He does.

The first tip I want to share is my substitute for white flour. It’s a blend of gluten free nut flours that is super healthy and great tasting. I use it for pancakes, waffles, homemade muffins and so much more. Check out the link below.

I’ll be posting from time to time different recipes, ideas and encouraging words to keep us on our “healthy” journey. Keep checking back!

Baking Blend

Confidence: Truth or Myth

For some of us, confidence may be more myth than truth. Some are born with it and some are, well, not born with it.  If you’re like me and fall in to the latter category, what do we do about it? How do we grow our confidence? Sometimes I just want to be a daredevil!  And by “daredevil” I mean, I would like to be able to speak in front of a crowd without breaking out in a cold sweat or post something on social media without worrying if people will think it’s silly.

So again, how do we gain confidence?  I’ve done a little research, listened to a couple of podcasts, and dove into God’s Word.  The following are three things I’ve put together that may help build confidence.

  1. Faith.   Confidence comes from your faith. Our faith changes everything.  When you know who you are and Whose you are, the more confident you will be. The more we know God, the more we know ourselves. What does the Bible say about God’s love for me? Check out the scriptures listed below.
    • Psalms 36:7
    • John 3:16
    • John 13:1
    • Romans 5:8
    • 1 John 4:9-11
    • 1 John 3:1
  2. Courage. Courage is fear untested.  You’ve heard the saying, “Fake it until you make it.”  Pretend being confident until you really are.  Have the courage to step out in spite of your fear. Don’t wait until you’re not scared to do the thing.  If you’re waiting for the confidence bomb to fall on you, you’ll be waiting a long time. Just like that proverbial 10 pounds you want to lose, if you don’t take action, you’ll never lose it.  
  3. Practice being confident. Just like going to the gym, you need to exercise your confidence muscle. We probably should start with a moderate walk on the tread mill before signing up for a 5k/10k run. The more we practice, the better we get. 

Strong, outgoing confidence may not be something you were born with but before you know it, you’ll look back and wonder why you were ever afraid to speak up or speak out. You’ll be leading the pack!  I have confidence in you, my sweet friend!

Looking Through the Lens of Victory

I don’t know about you but sometimes I find myself surrounded by negativity.  When I look around, sometimes I’m amazed by all of the negativity and despair that is spread through society today.  And the really sad part is that it’s contagious!  How many times have you gone in to work with the mindset that it’s going to be a great day and before you set your purse down, you’ve already jumped on the negative train.  You hear someone complaining and you can’t resist your opportunity to throw in your opinion.  I know this because I have done it more times than I care to admit!

Thankfully, God will not leave us hanging!  His word is full of stories….all true…of what to do and what not to do.  All we have to do is spend time in fellowship with Him.

To see a perfect example, go with me to Numbers 14. In a nutshell, Moses has sent 12 representatives, one man from each of the 12 tribes, to scope out the Promised Land.  They were to go check out the area and report their findings.  Out of the 12, Caleb and Joshua were the only 2 who had anything positive to say.  The other 10 came back with negative reports. As a matter of fact, their reports were so negative that they stirred great dissension and fear among the Israelites.  The Israelites were now afraid to go to the Promised Land and nothing Moses could say or do would change their minds. The entire nation was bailing on Moses, but in reality, bailing on God! As a result, God got swore an oath that none of them, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, would enter the Promised Land. Why only Caleb and Joshua?  Numbers 14:24 says, “…because my servant Caleb has a different spirit…”.   Caleb’s attitude was what saved him!

So, we have 12 men, all on the same journey and experiencing the same thing but at the same time, not experiencing the same thing. How is that possible?  Why did they report fear when Caleb and Joshua reported victory?  It’s simple. Caleb and Joshua chose to stand on God’s promises. They did not give in to the doubt and fear planted by the enemy. They chose to look through the lens of victory. Caleb and Joshua did not doubt God’s faithfulness!

Just as Caleb and Joshua, we have a choice to make.  Are we looking through the lens of victory? Or the lens of defeat? The way we view situations is really up to us.  We get to choose how we view the world.  How do we change our habit of fear?  How do we flip our script? It’s really not that hard…but it will take practice.  My suggestion is this:  Start with being thankful…and I mean thankful for everything.  When you wake up every morning, before you get out of bed, say the things you are thankful for.  Just say them out loud or if you don’t want to wake anyone, whisper them.  God will hear you no matter how you say them. Before you realize it, this routine will turn in to a full conversation with God and your whole view for the day will be turned in to victory. You’ll crave the presence of God.  He will be in your every thought!

So, it’s basically up to you.  Are you going to choose victory or defeat?  Joy or sadness? I don’t know about you, my sweet friend, but I’m jumping on the Joy Train!

Consider Jesus

“Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was in all God’s household.

                                                                                    — Hebrews 3: 1-2

Consider Jesus. It’s only two words but they can change everything about who you are, what you do and how you do it. 

As we look at this scripture, we need to know a little about the author and who he is writing to.  The author of Hebrews was writing to a population that was in danger of falling to their unbelief.  They were close to renouncing Christ as Lord and going back to their old ways.  They were probably newish Christians living in Rome, a city full of false gods and an “anything goes” attitude.  “If it feels good, do it!” They were trying to hold on to the old ways, not moving forward with Christ.  Sound familiar?  Our Society is still struggling with a loose moral system.

The author of Hebrews is telling his congregation to consider Jesus in everything, not just a couple of things but everything. Consider means to fix attention on something in such a way that its inner meaning, the lesson it is designed to teach, may be learned. When we fix our focus on Jesus Christ, it allows us to take on his personality, His ways, His thoughts and His actions.  We become more like Him and leave our sin nature lying in the dust.  We become a society filled with love and compassion for our fellow man….something that I think you’ll agree…we all need a little more of. 

How many times do you consider Jesus before you make decisions of any type? My prayer for you, my sweet friend, is that you will make a more conscious effort to consider or remember Jesus through out your day in all of your decisions. It doesn’t matter the size of the task, just think about Jesus.  As the scripture states in verse 2, Jesus is faithful.   He is faithful to the Father and he is faithful to us.  

One last thing, when everything around you feels like it is falling apart or maybe just at a stalemate, remember Jesus! You just might be surprised at the outcome!

Don’t forget…Be a pineapple!  Stay sweet and Stand tall!

The Wonder of it All!

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
   Psalm 8:3-4 (NIV)

The verses that David penned so long ago are a testament of his awe at the overall majesty of God.  God set the heavens with the span of His hand.  Let’s think about that for a minute.  Look at the span of your hand. Spread your fingers wide.  The span is the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pinky finger.  With that in mind, breath in the fact that God set the heavens with the span of his hand, meaning, the Universe fits in the palm of his hand! Combine that thought with a few scientific facts: 

  1. With the naked eye, one can see 5,000 stars…on a clear night,
  2. With a 4-inch telescope, one can see about 2 million stars, and
  3. With a 200-inch mirror of a great observatory, one can see a billion stars. 
  4. The universe is so big that if one traveled at the speed of light, it would take 40 billion years to make the journey.  


Now consider the next verse.  This is where David’s true awe and wander take shape, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them…”   David didn’t question or doubt God’s love for him, he only wandered why a great big God would be mindful of him…of such a small human being.

Let’s look at the definition of mindful.  It means to be conscious or aware of something.  A better explanation:  to be mindful means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment.  For one to be mindful, one must be intentional.

Like David, we should rest in the assurance that God knows us, sees us and hears us. He is always thinking of us. Because of this, I can I look around at all that is happening in the world today, and know that nothing is taking him by surprise.  All of society’s events are pieces of a greater puzzle… a puzzle whose picture only God can see.  It’s ok if only He can see it because we know He is mindful of us… He’s got this! 

My prayer for you today, my friend, is that you never lose the awe and wonder of God that David writes about.  If you don’t have it, never had it, or have lost it because of a personal situation, I pray that you will open your heart and mind to the love of God.  He can bring you a peace and strength that passes all understanding.

You will truly be standing in awe and wonder!

One last thing, during your journey of today, go back and read the full chapter of Psalms 8.  Pray the words.  Take a moment and journal your thoughts.

Ringing in the New Year!

How many times have you heard someone say in the past few days or weeks, “I’ll be glad when 2020 is over!”?

I’ll be the first to admit that 2020 is definitely one for the books. I can remember in January sitting in church or listening to a podcast and everyone had picked up on the theme 2020 Vision. A New Year for a New Vision….or something similar. It was going to be a year of hope. We totally were not prepared for what we got. A pandemic, a failing economy, a ridiculous election year…just to name a few things. (Sidebar: I hate election year, mainly because of all the nasty ads and name calling.)

Many people around me decided to give up early in the game. They decided early on that 2020 was to blame for every hardship, every inconvenience….basically, anything that was going wrong. I saw a lot of people put their lives on hold in expectation of a better day.

As I look back, I have realized, 2020 was a very good year. It turned out to be my year for unwavering hope. It was my year for new adventures. It was my year for greater expectations. It has been the year that has pushed me out of my comfort zone and put me on a greater path.

Let me try to explain where I’m coming from. This past year, I have witnessed my dad’s health decline. We have made 4 trips to Vanderbilt Medical Center…just the two of us. As we made our journey to Nashville, (2 1/2 hours one way), he and I got into some great conversation. We got serious but we also laughed… a lot. He told me stories from his youth, things he has learned and things he’s still learning (he’s 84 years old!). I received confirmation in one conversation of his salvation! I say all of this for a reason: I could get bogged down in the mire of the situation regarding his failing health, or I can celebrate the renewal of our relationship. I have gotten to know a side of my dad that I never knew. In this respect, 2020 has given me something that no other year has been capable of.

Also in 2020, I left my comfort zone at work and transferred to a totally different department. Eleven years with a company and I have been able to learn a completely different skill set…more money and less stress! I stepped out of my comfort zone and started a blog, website and Etsy store…and in the process, inspired my adult daughter to jump out of her comfort zone and do the same!

I know may of us have experienced loss in 2020 but my hope for you, my sweet friend, is that you can look back and see the gain. What hopes and dreams came true? How have you grown?

I don’t know about you, but I have already made my list of goals and dreams for 2021! There’s no where to go but up!

2020 was a great year and I’m looking forward to a great 2021!

Easy Peasy Baby Blanket

This Blanket is so easy to make…really… probably the easiest blanket I’ve ever put together. 

Supplies:   Fabric, 2 layers, your choice.   In the pictures below, I uses 100% cotton flannel and velvet fleece. You will also need coordinating thread, pins, scissors, sewing machine.

Size:   Is all up to you. I cut my fabric 35.5 inches x 42.5 inches.  This size is great for the car seat or stroller.  It’s also a great size to fold and put in the diaper bag. 

Here’s what you do:

  1. Place fabric right sides together and pin
  2. Sew at least ½ inch seam all the way around leaving a 5-6 inch opening.  The opening needs to be big enough to turn the blanket inside out.
  3. Trim the corners w/o cutting the seams.  This will reduce bulk when you turn the blanket inside out. 
  4. Turn fabric inside out.   Make sure you pull out all 4 corners. 
  5. Ensure the seams are flat and lined up all around the edges of the blanket
  6. At the opening, fold the seams inward to match the rest of the blanket and pin.
  7. Do a top stitch all around the blanket on all 4 sides. 
  8. You’re done!

In the pictures below, I got a little fancy and sewed a patchwork top for the blanket that I made.  You can go as fancy or go as simple as you prefer.  It’s all up to you!

Turning the Old into the New

So…I  have been working on purging my closet. I have two closets that are packed full of clothes… clothes that I noticed I hardly ever wear. Some are too big, some are too small and some I have no idea what I was thinking! Lol! Anyway, I came across two pair of old jeans.  As I was folding them to put in the give away stack, I had an epiphany! I should repurpose them!  I mean, has anyone priced denim fabric?! OMG!  It’s a little pricey!

I have a couple of quilts patterns that I would like to try and the only reason I haven’t tackled them is because I want to use denim in some of the pattern. I mean, I don’t know about you but I have to sew on a budget. (Sometimes I think I have a fabric addiction but that’s a whole other story!)

After assessing the situation, I grabbed my fabric scissors and started dismantling the jeans. I cut out the back pockets leaving about ½ inch fabric allowance around the pocket….you never know what the next project might need. I simply cut along the seams on the legs, getting as much denim real estate as I could. I even trimmed the hem and the little front coin pockets. 

I’m leaving the denim in the full size “leg panels” for now. I thought about cutting them into charm squares but again… you never know where the next project will take you. The possibilities are endless!

So, the next time you’re purging and cleaning, think outside the box and ask yourself, “Is this pair of jeans my next project?”  “What can I create with….(fill in the blank)”   You may be surprised at where you will find inspiration.

Check out the pictures below.   I repurposed one of the denim pockets on this cute little prayer pillow.

The Love Challenge

 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13

Recently a group of friends and I studied our way through Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods” bible study.  We laughed, we cried and we learned a lot about ourselves and each other.  In the end, we made a promise to each other to call each other’s name out in prayer every day. We have made a commitment to pray for each other asking the Lord to anoint each one of us with a Holy Spirit confidence. Our desire as a group and individually is to have enough confidence in ourselves that we can leave our safe little comfort zone and go out and really love people. 

One thing that we touched on in our Bible study that I would like to spotlight today is what we do when we have identified our false gods and sent them packing.  What do we do with the available time and space? What is the next step?  

The next step for us is to love and serve by the example that Jesus has given to us. Jesus’ entire ministry was showing (by example) how to love and serve. I mean really love and really serve people… all people… right where they are. He wasn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty. He wasn’t worried about his reputation.  He was able to run with the sinners but he never conformed to their way of life or their way of thinking and was able to save lives… lots of lives. 

To truly love the way Jesus commands in John 15:13, we have to be willing to make sacrifices. In the past, when I have read this verse, I thought it meant that I would need to take a bullet for someone to prove that I could love like Jesus. (Which it does say that we should love enough to die for someone). Another interpretation of this verse is: we should love people enough to turn off the TV and leave our nice warm living room.  Or maybe we need to park the car and walk down the street to the homeless shelter and have a conversation with someone in need. You might be the only “Jesus”  that someone meets. 

So the challenge during this holiday season:  Can we set aside our differences, our fears, or our comfort zone and put ourselves “out there” to make a difference?

Forgiveness equals Freedom

Mathew 18: 21-35

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” states:   

Forgive:   1.  stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake

                  2.  Cancel (a debt)

Looking at the scripture in Mathew, we see a servant with a very large debt, one that he can not repay.  His situation is hopeless.  The king, however, decides to have mercy on him and cancel the debt.   The debt is totally wiped clean!  The servant and the king are now able to have a fresh beginning.  Both have the opportunity to walk in the freedom of a new spirit.  Forgiveness is healing, both for the victim and the offender.  However, if you continue reading, the “victim” or servant, when put in the same role as the king, did not offer the same grace to his offender.  When the king becomes aware that the servant did not show the same mercy to his offender, the king is furious!  The king revoked the forgiven debt and demanded the servant be tortured.

The Bible shows us that the measure to which we forgive is the measure that will be used to forgive us.  In the parable, the king represents our Heavenly Father and we are the servant.   Those that have offended us are our fellow servants.  When we don’t forgive, we imprison others in the depths of guilt and condemnation.  As the victim, the enemy of our soul continuously torments us with resentment and vengeance, demanding that the offender repay a debt that we know, ourselves, we can never repay.  It’s a vicious cycle.  We have met people, ourselves included, that are tormented by the very things they refuse not to forgive in others.   We’re making the enemy’s job very easy for him.  So, in essence, our battle is not with the one who wronged us but with the eternal enemy of our soul. 

I know for some, forgiveness seems impossible.   The offense may have been horrific.  Forgiveness is not condoning what was done to us or accepting someone’s bad behavior. Forgiveness is an intentional choice and our first step to freedom. It is not something that comes naturally. We have to practice…sometimes over and over again.  It is also the most important step to achieve healing. It frees us from bitterness, resentment and releases us from guilt, as well as, gives pardon to those who have offended us. Forgiveness is not a feeling of immediate satisfaction.  As a matter of fact, I have woken up on more than one occasion and have had to remind myself that I have forgiven my offender.

The really difficult thing to swallow is when your offender doesn’t even know that he/she has done anything to offend you.  It’s totally lost on them!   That’s when you may have to forgive by proxy. Forgive by proxy?  What does that mean? It means that you have to forgive that particular person and accept that they may never realize how they have hurt you.   The way I have forgiven by proxy is this:  

  1. Set up 2 chairs facing each other with you in one of the chairs. 
  2. In the empty chair, place a piece of paper on the chair with the person’s name. 
  3. Talk to the chair as if the person was sitting in front of you.  
  4. Walk out the forgiveness that you gave to that person as if they heard every word. 

Sound crazy?  Maybe.  Does it work?  Yes! 

The most valuable and beautiful gift we can give ourselves is to forgive that person that has hurt or offended us.  True healing begins with the words, “I forgive you.”