Monday, August 31, 2015


In talking about some of my favorite recipes with some friends a few weeks ago, a couple of them asked me to share some of my favorites with them.  I forgot about that conversation until tonight.

So, this post is for them.  Or you, if you need a little dinner inspiration.

I made oven fried chicken tonight (baked in the oven with a panko bread crust on the outside, with some spices added in for more flavor), and these were my sides.

Green beans are my favorite veggie.  These are out of a can, with a little butter and salt added.  The thing that makes these so delicious is the fact that I cook them on medium high heat for almost an hour.  They're super tender and flavorful by the time they're done.  If you have a chicken boullion cube, they're really good with one of those thrown in.

My other favorite veggie that everyone loves are these oven roasted potatoes.

I dice potatoes and in a large bowl, I toss them with olive oil and any spice I happen to be in the mood for.  Tonight's spices were salt and Cavender's Greek spice mix.  After they're evenly coated, I bake them at four hundred degrees for at least one hour.  Sometimes, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes or so.  I think it depends on the pan I use.  You want them all sizzly and shrunken up like this, because that makes them crispy.

Another couple of things I love to make for my family are Italian roast beef and beer cheddar joes.  For the roast, I use my crock pot.  I put the roast in and cover it in beer.  I add a packet or two of Italian dressing spice mix and two jars of pepperoncini peppers with the juice.  I let it cook all day long, then serve it with bread and the above potatoes.  It would be amazing on a hoagie roll, too.

For beer cheddar joes, you brown a couple of pounds of ground beef.  When it's brown, stir in a couple tablespoons of flour and stir for two minutes to get the flour taste out.  Add a bottle of beer and a couple of huge handfuls of shredded cheese, and a few shakes of salt.  We eat it as an open faced sandwich, with no other sides.  It's that good.  I got the recipe from Mix and Match Mama.  Google her and then be further amazed and inspired.

(And if you ever come over and find beer in my fridge and are concerned, don't be.  I use the beer to cook.  Jonah's little friend was worried that we were closet drinkers.)

Happy cooking to you!  Love to all.

the weekend

This weekend flew by.  On Friday night, my mom, stepdad, sister and I went to dinner and then to see War Room.  If you haven't seen it yet, go see it while it's in the theater!  It was really, really good.  By the end of it, I was doing the ugly cry, but it doesn't take much to make me blubber.  I managed to snap a picture of Mom and Bill, while at dinner. 

While Todd worked on his truck Saturday, I went out with my mom.  We had lunch and did a bit of shopping and running around, and we had fun, like always.  When we were heading back home, my mom noticed this little church, and asked me to take a picture.  I have driven by this building no less than a few hundred times, and I have never noticed it before.

It turns out that it's the original Germantown Baptist Church, and the Methodist Hospital is in the process of renovating the historical building.  I love old churches.  My mom has plans for this picture, but I'll share about that later.  

For dinner we went to their house for the first time in a few weeks.  We had catfish.  Yum.  

Yesterday was church as usual, lunch afterward with friends and community groups and C.A.M.O. last night.  It was a great weekend, and so far, we've gotten our week off to a good start.  

Love to all.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  It's my favorite weekday.  I'm linking up with Momfessionals for this blog post.

This week has been great, and it has gone by really fast.  I've had some favorite moments sprinkled throughout the week that I thought I would share.

First is that for Drew's grade and ninth grade, we are now having community group at my house every Sunday night.  Because of that, last Sunday, my boys cleaned off the back deck.  Thanks be to God for the gloriously cooler weather this week, and because of that and the clean deck, we have enjoyed some moments outside.

On Monday night, we enjoyed dinner outside, thanks to Jonah.  (It was all his idea.)  I have enjoyed quiet time out there a few mornings this week, and on one of those days, Jonah and Noah did their math work out there.  The cooler weather is short lived, because it's supposed to get hotter again starting today.

Insert my sad face here.  I am so ready for fall!

I picked a fall color out of my giant box of nail polish and gave myself a manicure and pedicure this week.

This color is Skating on Thin Ice-Land.  My sister Trish bought me this back at the beginning of the year because I loved the color and because I've been to Iceland.  :)  Definitely one of my most favorite colors.

Today is my mom's birthday!  She sent me this picture in a text on Tuesday night.  Her friend had flowers sent to her while she was at work that day, and I thought this was the best picture.

I always tell her she's my favorite.  :)  Tonight, I am going to dinner and a movie with her and my sister.  I'm excited about both!

I hope you've had a great week.  Love to all.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Well, the theme around my house this week has been routine.  Last week I botched our attempt at getting back into a routine, so this week I started over.  (I accept defeat pretty well when I recognize it.)  I've been waking up earlier, and I've been waking the kids a little earlier as well.  My quiet time has been lacking lately, so I've been more intentional with it this week.

When I woke up today and let Crash out in the backyard while I got his food ready, I noticed how wonderful it felt outside.  So I poured my first cup of coffee, grabbed my Bible, journal and pen and headed to my back porch.  (The boys cleaned it on Sunday.)

I love being outdoors when the weather is cool.  In a short six days, September one will be here, and with that month comes from my favorite season of all.  I could hear the birds chirping around me this morning, and I could hear a squirrel rustling in the tree above me.  I spent some time in prayer and I read John 14 through 16.

One of my favorite verses is in the portion I read this morning, one that I need to reminded of sometimes.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27

I just happened to turn to this part of the Bible this morning.  I don't have a formal reading plan right now when it comes to reading my Bible, but I always feel like God leads me where He wants me.  And the past few days, He has had me read about trust, or not being afraid.  I think that is something I have needed to hear.

I struggle with anxiety from time to time, and sometimes out of nowhere it seems, it will rear its ugly little head.  I try to pray through those times when it hits, but sometimes I feel like I just need to hear from God.  So when I need to hear Him, I read His word.

I am thankful that He cares for me to know where I need to read.  Sometimes He will recall a Scripture to my mind, and then I'll re-read the chapter or verse in context.  Other times, I will just turn somewhere in my Bible, and read right where I open.

He is so good to me, and He is faithful.   I often ask Him to guide my steps, to give me wisdom, and He always does.

The back porch has also been a theme at home this week.  On Monday when Todd got home from work, we took our dinner outside.  Jonah often wants to eat outside, or he will get the porch all ready for us and convince us to go along with his idea.  That is what happened on Monday night.

We had a yummy dinner (beer cheddar joes) and enjoyed the fellowship around our patio table.  The flies were a bit much for me, but I dealt with them and stayed put.  Sometimes a little of being uncomfortable goes a long way when it makes your kids happy.

And that's about what we've been up to so far this week.  I hope your week is going well!  Today is a great day~it's church day!  I love going to church, and I am already looking forward to tonight, when youth starts back after a couple of weeks off and then choir practice for me.  Love to all!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

when God fights for you

This morning I was reading in Exodus, chapter fourteen.  I was reminded of a passage in Scripture as I was praying this morning, and what was written on the tissue like pages of my Bible jumped out at me.  I wondered if it might jump out at someone else, so I decided to share it on this blog.

Before I begin, for context purposes, let me explain what was going on at this time.

At the time when this passage was written, Pharoah had finally let the Israelites go.  They had been slaves in Egypt for a sweet forever, and after all the plagues that God used to get the attention of Pharoah, the final plague worked-the plague of the death of all the firstborn males.  (That's a whole other blog post.)  Pharoah let them go, and as they were leaving Egypt, God hardened Pharoah's heart again and changed his mind.  God knew that Pharoah and his army would pursue the Israelites, so He directed them out of Egypt toward the Red Sea.

As the army was closing in on their heels, I can imagine Moses crying out to God.  Moses tells the people not to be afraid, to stand firm and they would see the deliverance the LORD would bring them that day.  And in verse fourteen, these words are written: "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."  In verse fifteen, God asks Moses why he's crying out to Him.  He tells Moses to tell the Israelites to move on, and He gave Moses instructions to stretch out his hand over the sea to divide the water so they could cross.

All of that happened.  God sent a strong wind to divide the water in the sea, and the Israelites crossed over on dry ground (verse sixteen).  God was with the Israelites when all of this happened.  He was with them as a pillar of cloud by day, and by night He was a pillar of fire.  When Moses and the Israelites crossed the sea, in verse nineteen, we are told that the angel of God who had been traveling in front of Israel's army and the pillar of cloud which had also been in front of the army, withdrew and went behind them in the sea.  This divided the two armies, and while they were crossing throughout the night, to one side the pillar of cloud brought darkness (for the Egyptian army) and to the other side it brought light (for Israel's army).

And He brought deliverance to His people.

How many of us try to handle all of life's problems on our own?  I am not suggesting that all of our problems have the same magnitude as what the Israelites faced that day, but we all have our stuff.  Whether it's fretting or worrying, whether it's a sickness we are facing or if one of our loved one's is suffering, whatever it is, God is in control.

He is fighting for us, and He hems us in.  In Psalm 139, those words are written: "He hems me in."  When we surrender to Him and place our trust in Him, we can rest assured that He is fighting our battles, and He is always with us.  I know that not everything will turn out the way we think it will, but we can trust that He will work out His will for our lives.  I don't know what His will looks like, but I know that it's far better than anything I could ever imagine.  He will do what is best for us, and He will get the glory for doing just that.

I pray this encourages someone today.  Love to all.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

when the parenting is hard

I love my kids so much, and I love being their mom.  But sometimes, parenting is hard.  When you see them hurting, it might as well be you hurting.  In fact, I would much rather it be me than any one of them.  This weekend has been one such time.  

I won't go into the how and why of it all, but wouldn't you know that God would use this situation to show ME something?
I love how He does that.  

It's hard to focus on doing what is right in God's eyes when your mama bear instincts jump out all over the place, but that is something God showed me tonight, and I had a talk with my boys about what we are supposed to do when someone wrongs us.  Instead of being easily offended, or overly sensitive, I encouraged them to just take it all to God.  He wants us to give Him all of our burdens and to cast our cares upon Him anyway, and since He knows our hearts, why not just lay it all out for Him?  

The cool thing is, is that when we do that, He immediately lightens our load.  I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from me tonight as I talked with my boys, and then later as we prayed.  

The take away from this blog post is this: God knows.  Even though He knows, I believe that His desire is that we just confess it all to Him.  In our good times, we should pray.  In our bad times, we should pray.  And when people offend us or hurt our feelings, we should pray for them.  

I love it when God shows me things.  In being a parent during the hard times and in the good times, He provides for us exactly what we need and just when we need it.  

Love to all.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I have to admit that I am happy this day is here.  I will not pretend that my week has been anywhere near perfect.  Because, honestly, it's been rough.  Part of my struggle has been me and a grumpy attitude (keepin' it real) and part of it has been differing personalities between my kids and me.  I have struggled with having a good quiet time with God each morning, and I have struggled in praying.  I spent the first day of the week feeling totally overwhelmed by all that I had going on, and I couldn't seem to make good use of my time.


It got a little better each day, thanks to God and friends and to good fellowship with like-minded people yesterday.

We started school this week.  Even though I struggled throughout the week, they did not.  I felt like they made a really good transition back into the swing of things.  We did have a few talks about electronics, though, and how I didn't want them to be on them all the livelong day.  One of the ways they fill that time is by playing games.  On Monday we played Phase 10 together, and throughout the week they have played more card games and Monopoly.  I love hearing them play games together, it's one of my favorite sounds.

On Tuesday, a favorite moment was seeing Graham as he was about to leave for a meeting.

He was selected to be on the Shelby County Youth Mayor Council.  He found out that he could apply to be on this council, and when he applied, he was turned down because all the slots filled up really fast.  Then, a few weeks ago, he got an email asking him if he was still interesting in joining the council.  There were some openings, and he was one they contacted.  To be on this, you have to make a year long commitment and you have to have a GPA of 3.0 or above.  They do things once or twice a month, and the meetings and such take place downtown.  On Tuesday, they had a meeting with the Mayor.  Last month, they had a "get to know you" event take place at a rock climbing place downtown.

He looks so handsome!  He is really growing up.  Sometimes when I look at him, I still see him as a toddler, or as an eight year old.  Time flies.

On Wednesday, I went to the funeral of my friend's dad.  He had been suffering through Alzheimer's and we had been praying for him for quite some time.  I went and picked up this sweet girl (one of my favorites), because it was her best friend's granddad.

The funeral was a beautiful memorial to my friend's dad.  And there were so many people there!  I think all the seats were taken, and that says something about him.

After the funeral, I took Emma home to change and we picked up her brother, and they hung out with us all afternoon.  And then Drew drove us to church.

While wearing my sunglasses.  This kid.  His antics that keep are always a favorite of mine.

He surely keeps us laughing.

On Thursday night, after a long day, and after we got home from my in-love's house, I settled into my chair and started working on this study we are doing with our senior girls in community group.

And because it was good, I kept on working on it while the boys watched tv.  In this book, she is telling how all the stories in the bible are one seamless thread.

Well, now that it's Saturday, I am going to be done with this post.  Yesterday got away from me, and I totally forgot about finishing this post.  Love to all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

the weekend and a few other things

There is a theme to this post.  See if you can catch on.

This was a great weekend, and though Thursday is technically not the weekend yet, it starts then.  We had family in town (Todd's side) from Chicago the whole weekend.  We haven't seen them in a few years, so I was glad they were here.  Todd's cousin Denise has three kids, but two of them came with her.  The boys and Katie are really close, thanks to social media, and by the time Sunday rolled around, they were every bit as close to Joe.

We had dinner at Todd's parents' house that night and then we did this.

This was a game called Shanghai.  It's similar to Phase 10, but way more difficult and more fun.  We laughed so hard during this game.  I love times like that.

On Friday, Jonah and I met them at the zoo.  The other boys spent Thursday night with Mimi and Papa and their cousins.  Friday was beautiful!

I think my favorite part of the day was watching everyone feed the giraffes.  I got really close to them and enjoyed watching the kids reaction to them.  And my mom in love.  She loves giraffes the most and had me take pictures of her being really close to them.

I went to dinner with a couple of friends Friday night to talk about our Sunday school class and then I met my family back at my in love's house.  Jonah and Noah spent the night at a friend's house and Graham and Drew stayed where they were again.

On Saturday, I went to breakfast with one of my community group girls, and when I got home, Graham and Drew were back.  We stayed close by the rest of the day and that afternoon, Denise, Katie and Joe came to our house.  Joe made hot wings as part of our dinner and then we played cards.

That picture of me is horrible, but we were cracking up.  It makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Sunday we were at church and that afternoon I had choir practice.

I enjoyed sitting next to some sweet girls that I love.  Even when it included me laughing during one part.  Yesterday was our first official day of school.  It was an okay day.  It was great for the boys, so so for me.  I don't know what was up with me, but I am thankful that today is a new day and for God's mercies that are new every morning.  I was at church again last night for a womens' event, and was blown away by our youth as they shared what all they did over the summer, as service to God.  It was a great night.

Well, I need to get started on this day.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.