Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Keeping it Real....

Today's post is going to be more real than usual....meaning stuff I don't really say out loud usually...Here is the thing, I have grown so much over the years, particularly in the last 5 years.  I am happy.  I have a great life.  I have wonderful friends and amazing kids.  I am able to help lots of people.  I am so thankful for all of that.  I typically project this image that I have it mostly together...and for the most part, I do.  I just sometimes have these moments (and they really mostly are just moments) where I wonder if I am still broken inside.  I guess maybe we are all broken inside to some extent....I feel like I have lots of friends, am well liked, and worthy of being loved....I really do believe that.  But, I also have this part of me that always wonders when the other shoe is going to drop.  I have this nagging feeling that everyone could leave / turn on me at some point--like if I mess up and do that ONE thing they will leave and I will be all alone.  I sometimes even FEEL that way with God.  I KNOW that is not true in my head.  And he has shown me over and over that it is not true...But, it is still in there....I don't want it to be, but it is.  I hate that part of me.  I want that Chelle to go away never to return, but somehow all it takes is one betrayal, one person's rejection, or one wrong word.  It is so frustrating to go backwards.  I get to a point where I feel like things are going well...I am strong, etc.  but then one wrong word, one rejection, and I am right back to the beginning.  So, where is this coming from?  The truth is that I found a guy that I liked.  I started off good and slow and then opened my heart and dropped my guard.  I did not use my best judgement and I got disappointed.  I have said that someone can only hurt you if you let them...and it is true....But, I let him.  It is crazy how one small hurt happens, but instead of feeling just that one hurt, you feel all of the previous hurts over again.  Anyway, tomorrow is a new day.  I will focus on the one who will never let me down and that will be sufficient.

Jason Gray--Remind Me

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

12Brothers and sisters, we ask you to have respect for the godly leaders who work hard among you. They have authority over you. They correct you. 13Have a lot of respect for them. Love them because of what they do. Live in peace with each other.
14Brothers and sisters, we are asking you to warn those who don't want to work. Cheer up those who are shy. Help those who are weak. Put up with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back one wrong act with another. Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
16Always be joyful. 17Never stop praying. 18Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.
19Don't put out the Holy Spirit's fire. 20Don't treat prophecies as if they amount to nothing. 21Put everything to the test. Hold on to what is good. 22Stay away from every kind of evil.
What does it mean to you to pray without ceasing?  I have read that verse many times before and it always made me feel bad....that I was not praying enough...not carving out enough special prayer time.  But I think my view has changed on this...I now believe that it is more of a constant connection with God.  Not necessarily out loud formal prayers, but maybe more of a thought.  Somewhere along the line I have become tuned into God.  He is always right there with me and I can feel him...I know he is there.  From the time I wake to the time I sleep I feel like I am connected.  I may just see something and say a quick "God help them".  Or it may be a sense of fear that grips me and I say "God help me or give me peace".  I do not often have long drawn out prayers, but I have small sentences, phrases, thoughts throughout the day most of the time.  I think that is what Paul meant.  It could be different for other people....but for me that is what I think.   I would love to hear your thoughts on this...
Paul is not referring to non-stop talking, but rather an attitude of God-consciousness and God-surrender that we carry with us all the time. Every waking moment is to be lived in an awareness that God is with us and that He is actively involved and engaged in our thoughts and actions.

Read more:
For Christians, prayer should be like breathing. You do not have to think to breathe because the atmosphere exerts pressure on your lungs and essentially forces you to breathe. That is why it is more difficult to hold your breath than it is to breathe. Similarly, when we are born into the family of God, we enter into a spiritual atmosphere where God's presence and grace exert pressure, or influence, on our lives. Prayer is the normal response to that pressure. As believers, we have all entered the divine atmosphere to breathe the air of prayer.

Unfortunately, many believers hold their “spiritual breath” for long periods, thinking brief moments with God are sufficient to allow them to survive. But such restricting of their spiritual intake is caused by sinful desires. The fact is that every believer must be continually in the presence of God, constantly breathing in His truths, to be fully functional.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chelle's Diet

So, over the past twenty(ish) years I somehow managed to gain over 100 pounds....Not really something I am proud of.  There are many reasons....two kids, my thyroid got sluggish, depression, several bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia which caused me to need steroids, etc.  So I tipped 200 in January of 2012 reaching a high of 210!  I never dreamed that I would get that big and it really made me sick.  I felt powerless and like there was no way I would ever take it off.  I kind of settled into it I guess...Well, in June of 2012, I went to Brazil on a mission trip.  I have talked about it changing my life in many ways, but my weight is the most recent result of that trip.  I remember when I was on the trip, I complained about my weight all the time and was just disgusted with myself. 

Katie, another girl on the trip, said "well, do something about it."  We actually talked about it quite a bit and she shared the story of how much weight she had lost and how she did it.  When I came home from Brazil, I had lost seven pounds.  I decided to try some of the stuff from that trip and it has really worked.  I have tried many diets and failed.  This doesn't feel like a here goes.

When we were in Brazil, we ate three meals a day and a snack.  We ate cake (yep cake), cheese, meat, and fruit for breakfast with some sort of juice.  We had noodles, rice, meat, veggies, and fruit for lunch.  We drank pop with it.  For dinner, again noodles, rice, meat, veggies, fruit, and pop.  We also had dessert like cake or flan with dinner each night.  Then usually in the later evening we had a snack.  It might be a cake or flan or a smoothie.  Throughout the rest of the day we drank water and lots of it.  There was no food out in between meals and we were busy, so I didn't just snack all day.  I think that one thing that happened was that my stomach shrank back to a normal size.  Our stomachs should be about the size of our fist.  I think when you eat and snack all the time, you stretch it out over time.  Also, all of the food on the trip was cooked from scratch.  It was fresh stuff.  So, what I do now.....
1.  I eat what I want when I want--if I want a cupcake, I eat a cupcake.   But, it is ONE cupcake and it isn't like every day.  I never feel cheated or like I am missing out, so I don't feel the need to sneak food.
2.  I eat until I am full.  Sometimes that is five bites and sometimes it is a full plate, but the second I start to feel full, I am satisfied and I stop. 
3.  I try to eat mostly foods that are cooked fresh--from scratch.  I try not to eat out alot.  Since I have been doing this, fast food tastes gross to me.  I mean so gross that I take a bite or two and throw it away.  And, real food has so much flavor!  Veggies and fruits are full of flavor.  I think when you eat junk, you kind of coat or dull your taste buds which makes junk taste good.  But, when you detox from the junk you really start to taste things. 
4.  I gave up pop in the last month or so.  Again, every once in awhile I have one.  The first four days were aweful.  I had gotten into a habit of drinking lots of Mt. Dew.  So the first four days without it, I just wanted one so bad!  Well, on the fourth day I caved and bought one.  I drank it and guess didn't even taste that good.  I didn't even finish it.  I have found that when I have pop, one pop might last me several hours and that may be all I drink all day.  When I am drinking water, I drink alot more.  Like 6-7 or more bottles a day.  That makes me go to the restroom more which I think flushes all the garbage out.  Again, now that I am in the habit, water tastes really good to me.
5.  I just started adding a little bit of exercise.  I am just doing about 15 minutes a day on the wii fit.  I tripled the amount of weight lost in a week just by adding this bit. 
6.  I try to weigh myself every day.  I use the wii fit and I can see the last year on the graph on it.  I also post about the losses on facebook.  It gives me a bit more incentive to keep going and makes me feel accountable.

Again, the bottom line is that I don't feel like I am dieting and this is not hard.  It was a little hard at first, but being on the mission trip was a good way to start.  I have made lifestyle changes that I feel like I will be able to maintain for life. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Once A Month Cooking March 2013


Chicken and Dumplings:  We ended up not making this one. I messed up when making baggies of food.  I made two batches of the italian chicken for each person.  It looks really good though.

Lasagna:  Each pan of lasagna takes about 9 noodles (I do not precook the noodles).  I take about a pound of ground beef and brown it with onions and garlic.  Drain off the fat and then mix in one or two jars of spaghetti sauce and one to two jars of water.   (I use equal parts water and spaghetti sauce)  In another bowl, mix one container of either ricotta or cottage cheese (we used cottage cheese this time), one large bag of mozzerella, one can of parmesan cheese, some garlic salt, basil, oregeno, and a couple of eggs.  Put a layer of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan, add three noodles (cover the pan), add some cheese mix, more spaghetti sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce....keep going til you get three layers of noodles.  Top that layer with a good amount of sauce and then cover with more mozzerella cheese.  Cover with foil and freeze.  When you are ready to cook, you can put it directly from the freezer to the oven, or you can thaw first and then bake.  If you thaw first bake around 350 for about an hour.  (Til noodles are soft)  If you cook from frozen you can up the temp to 400 and it will likely take around 2 hours. 
If you are making this in bulk, just multiply ingredients by the number of families or lasagnas that you want to make.


Manicotti--About 7-8 manicotti tubes will fit in one pan.  Mix one-two jars of spaghetti sauce with one to two jars of water (the water helps the noodles get soft).  In another bowl, mix one container of ricotta, one bag mozzerella, on jar parmesan cheese,  garlic salt, basil, oregano, and parsley flakes.  Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of your pan.  Stuff each tube with the cheese mixture and lay it on top of the sauce.  Pour the sauce over the top of the should cover them.  Top with a bag of mozzerella cheese.  Cover with foil and freeze. When you are ready to cook, you can put it directly from the freezer to the oven, or you can thaw first and then bake. If you thaw first bake around 350 for about an hour. (Til noodles are soft) If you cook from frozen you can up the temp to 400 and it will likely take around 2 hours. 
If you are making this in bulk, just multiply ingredients by the number of families or manicotti that you want to make.


Beef with mushrooms--You can just dump this one into the crock pot when you are ready to cook...I will serve this with noodles or rice.

applesauce--you can freeze or just put in the fridge and eat.....Ours never makes it to the freezer.  We did about 40 apples this time.  We added a whole bottle of honey and only used about 3/4 cup sugar.  We also added cinnamon.   Once the apples are cooked and soft, just dump some of the apples and the liquid from the pan into a blender and mix it up....Adjust the consistency by controlling how much of the liquid you mix up with the apples.

Italian Chicken--We just take a ziploc gallon freezer bag and put 2-3 chicken breasts in it with one pack of italian dressing mix, a can of cream of chicken soup, a block of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup water or chicken broth.  You may have to add a little bit of water or broth on cooking day, but it should be pretty thick.  On cooking day, just dump in crock pot for 4-6 hours.  Shred the chicken into the sauce--it will be very tender.  Serve with rice or noodles.


Taco soup

                In each bag put some ground beef (we cooked ours with onions and garlic) , 1-2 can tomatoes, I can black beans, I can kidney beans, I can corn, taco season, dry ranch dip, onion.  Dump in crock pot and cook all day.  Top with sour cream and tortilla chips.


Chicken and Rice soup

BBQ--We bought 3 huge pork roasts.  They were on sale $1.99 a pound.  We cooked them in a slow cooker for about 8 hours with some chicken broth.  Meat was very tender.  We shredded it without the broth....and then added bbq sauce.  Bag it and freeze.  You can reheat in slow cooker or microwave.


Roast with veggies--We took beef roast and cut in chunks.  Added potatoes in fourths, onions in fourths, baby carrots, a pack of onion soup mix, and some water (about a cup).  Just put all of it raw in gallon freezer bags.  On cooking day, dump in crock pot and cook 6-8 hours. 


Pancakes--we cook these and then freeze on cookie sheets individually.  Once they are frozen you can bag them in gallon freezer bags...You can just thaw and eat or microwave.  We added frozen blueberries to them this time.  (If you dust the blueberries with flour while they are frozen and put them in the pancakes that way, they don't make it all blue.)

apple bread--we add brown sugar and cinnamon to the top of this....

banana bread--we ended up saving the bananas for next time.  We peeled them and put them in a bag in the freezer.

pineapple bread--we added brown sugar to the top.

We bake all of the breads and let them cool.  Then we wrap them in foil.

You should make labels with name of food, date, and cooking directions and put them on the ziploc bags before you fill them if you want the labels to stay on. 

We had a lot of extra eggs.  We cracked them and put 12 in a bag and froze them.
We also froze extra sour cream, ricotta, cheese, and butter.  As long as they are just used in recipes, they will be fine, but the sour cream and ricotta will change in texture from freezing.

We had four people cook this time, but we made two extras of everything for two families that need some stuff.  Our budget was $150 per family.  I went over a little, but we had quite a bit left over for next time.  We also made two full extra sets of food. 

How Often Do We Grieve Things That Are Not Ours?

I have been thinking about this....How often do we grieve something that is not even ours in the first place?  It could be a job, a relationship, or something else.....I don't know if this is a girl thing, or a guy thing, or maybe an everyone thing...Maybe it's even just a Chelle thing!  I know that I personally get something in my head...It could be a job that I want or a guy that I think I want to move foreward in a relationship with or so many other things....I find myself upset and the bottom line is that those things were never mine.  How do you grieve something you never had?  Putting it in this perspective has really helped me.  When I get it in my head that those things were never mine in the first place, somehow it makes it easier to just let go.  Why do we hold onto all of these desires?  Do we not trust that God will give us what we need when we need it?  Do we always need to get our way or be in control...I like to think that I am in control...I like to plan out my life and get really disappointed and upset when things do not go the way I think they should...but then I remember that I am just like the small child who maybe wants candy or some other thing that is not good for them....Sometimes it is ok to be told no.  Sometimes that is really the best possible outcome for a situation.  Sometimes there is something better just around the corner...oh to just be patient and trust and wait.  That sounds so easy, but it is not EVER....I am working on it.  I suppose that all you can do is try each day to understand better and to try to be better than the day before.