Sunday, November 13, 2011


We are now home from vacation and we're ready to embark on a new journey! Without too much being said, we are entering a time of life in which we need to start minding our financial "Ps and Qs" even more.

I am quickly finding just how much growing boys can eat. With a husband, three growing boys and God-willing more in the future, I really need to learn how to stretch our food budget all the while trying to obtain good nourishment!

This week I am going to issue a challenge for myself. I have a family pack of split chicken breasts that has been in the freezer for a while. I am going to challenge myself to make as many nutritious meals out of that chicken as possible.

Now I know that some would say, "Cook it and refreeze it so you won't get burnt out on chicken." but I'm not one of those types. If it goes in the deep freeze, it stays until we clean it out. As hard as I try, I just cannot keep up with what I have in that big ol' thing.


Operation 5 1/4 lbs. Chicken Breast Challenge

I used to just bake the chicken with some seasonings and call it dinner, however I need to learn how to stretch it further and bring more vegetables onto our plates.

I will begin the challenge Sunday night. I will be putting chicken into a slow cooker with vegetables and allow the chicken to slow cook - I will be saving the vegetables to make bone broth.

Monday: 2 cups chopped chicken - no broth
Chicken Enchiladas  - with re fried beans and salsa

Tuesday: 4 cups chopped chicken - 4 cups of broth or broth from cooking chicken
White Chicken Chili - with salad and bread (This while make enough for several lunches and LOs)

Wednesday: 1/2 cup chopped chicken - no broth
Chicken Alfredo - with salad

*I will be making the chicken stock out of the bones and vegetables for other meals*

Thursday: 2 cups chopped chicken - 4 cups of chicken stock
Chicken Gnocchi sou- with garlic bread and salad

Friday: 1 cup of chopped chicken - no stock
BBQ Chicken Pizza - fruit and veggie tray

Saturday: 1 cup of chopped chicken - no stock
Chicken Quesadillas - with Spanish rice and chips and salsa

Sunday: 2 quarts chicken stock
CP Baked Potato Soup - with sandwiches

Monday: 1 cup shredded chicken and remaining chicken stock
Chicken and Noodles  - with green beans and mashed potatoes

Tuesday: 1 cup of shredded chicken
Buffalo Chicken Dip - with tortillas, chips and salsa

As I look through these meals, it's really going to be a stretch to get all these meals out of 5.36 lbs of chicken but we're going to give it a whirl! :) If I get all of these meals out of that chicken, I will be stretching one chicken into NINE meals!

Wanna take the challenge with me? Go ahead, try it! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making Memories

We are/have been on vacation. We came down for my best friend's wedding and decided to rent a house with my parents for the remainder of the week.

We really didn't have an agenda or anything that we wanted to do after the wedding but take it easy and embrace life at a slower pace. Andy has been working a lot and the boys (and I as well! <3) have been yearning for his undivided attention.

The trip started out with a good but hectic trip through three airports with three little people. The airplane ride was nice compared to driving but keeping the boys entertained and quiet was quite a job. They were really well behaved, it was just trying. I was trying to keep the baby (who has taken up screaming - shrill at the top of his lungs) quiet and Andy would try and keep one of the other boys entertained.

We then came into a major city and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We then went right into the rehearsal - Dylan the ring bearer and I a bridesmaid - and were constantly busy with wedding activities. Poor Andy was stuck in the hotel room with the other two. If I were him I would have been crying and pulling my hair out.

The morning of the rehearsal, we woke up to Dylan having pink eye. I tried to get into contact with my friend to find a pharmacy and we got the doctor to call in a prescription, not knowing the pharmacy was closed. By the time we figured out the pharmacy was closed, the doctor's office was closed as well. Fortunately, eye drops seemed to do the trick.

As the week goes on, we've had many issues arise. Yesterday, the baby barfed all day and we were constantly cleaning up the mess.

Today we were determined to make memories. We decided to set up to Big Lou's Pizza. A pizza house that was featured on one of our favorite shows, Man v. Food. As we were pulling in, we saw a bus of school kids unloading. I took the baby and ran, all the way praying that this would be a good experience, to the front door.

As we sat down and began ordering, I hear "MOMMY!". As I looked over I saw that Dylan had poked a whole through his ginormous drink of red Hawaiian Punch. It was spilling out everywhere. I was tempted to get upset and make a huge deal but when I looked at the look of embarrassment in my son's eyes, I just cleaned up and joked with him. He was still embarrassed and very wet and sticky but we eventually moved on and made it a memory. We had a great time at that pizza house!

This vacation has and I'm sure will have more stressful and embarrassing moments but we have made great memories as a family that I'm sure we will never forget. So next time something happens, choose to laugh at it and make a memory instead of a time of tears and frustration. Some day, I'm sure you'll look back at it and smile.

"Don 't hurry. Don't worry. You're only here for a short visit. So don't forget to stop and smell the roses. " - Walter Hagen


Despair - the utter loss of hope; a cause of hopelessness; to lose all hope or confidence -

Everyone, whether if be spiritual, personal, financial, marital or any other crisis, has felt some sense of despair at least once.

Even the Son of God felt despair.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus felt despair and anguish. After a wonderful Passover feast, Jesus took a few of his friends to the garden and asked them to pray with him and watch him. There he began praying so intently and fervently that he began sweating blood.  Instead of praying with him, they - Peter, James, and John -  fell asleep. Jesus tried waking them a few times but they would only stir.

I'm sure Jesus  felt so lonely and hopeless. He knew that what would happen next. He knew that he was called, the very next day, to give his life for these friends who could not even wake to spend time in prayer. I'm sure he agonized and despaired over the next few hours and days. He knew his friends would betray him. They would deny him. They would doubt him. At that moment, I'm sure he felt complete and total despair.

Next, Judas walked right up to Jesus and kissed him on the cheek. The soldiers arrested him. The plan to cleanse our sins was in full motion. 

Jesus went before Pilot and watched as those who had welcomed him just earlier called for him to be crucified - to die on a cross. To die next to true criminals. 

He walked up a mountain, carrying a cross with a crown of thorns on his head being whipped continually. 

He was nailed to the cross and as he stood nailed to the cross, He felt abandoned by his Heavenly father. He, I'm sure, felt the ultimate despair and hopelessness. 

In Matthew 27:45-46, it says, "Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

I have felt despair. I have felt hopelessness many times. But I can assure you that I have never felt as agonizing - lonely- despair as I'm sure that Jesus felt in the garden or on the cross. Yet Jesus prevailed and rose just a few days later. Death had no handle on my Lord. My friends, despair has no handle on us. Though we may feel despairing, the sun will rise in the morning. 

The Bible has so many good verses about despair and God's promises. If you are in the darkness of despair please know that light is found in the true Light, Jesus Christ. 

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 - We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.


Philippians 4:19  -And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.


Revelation 21:4 - He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. 


2 Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 


Psalm 91:1-16 - He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day....


Romans 15:13 -May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 


My prayer is that you find hope and peace in your time of despair. Hold tight to His love, protection and promises... 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Voice

"If you say a thing, I will kill you and your family...."

I remember those words like yesterday. I remember the look in his eyes. The raspy sound of his voice. The warning and edge that came out with those words.

I was terrified. I said nothing.

"Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 60% still being left unreported."  Source 

Even now, talking about it is extremely scary. It's an irrational fear but still a fear. I fear what people will think of me. I fear what people will say. I fear that some won't believe me. I fear...

Seven years and I just now have turned my heart and fears to the Lord in order to use this as my witness.

I have often said that I don't talk about it because I don't think it should matter. Rape or premarital sex, the Lord has died for my sins. I don't have to answer to anyone. I have been on my knees before the Lord.

However, as I am trying to become translucent, I am able to say that it was indeed a "cop out". The plain and simple truth is fear. Even times when I confide in my friends or husband, I still hear... "Say a word and I'll kill them" or "You deserve this. You were asking for it."

When being honest with myself, I see now that he was trying to steal my voice. My voice in which to bring hope and witness to others who are journeying through this time. Others who need to know there is light on the other side. Others who need love and reassurance. Reassurance that He, the Creator who was in me in the dark alley - hearing my cries, screams and prayers and feeling those emotions with me, is right there... He is longing to hold you.

That dark night in the alley and many months  - even years after-  my voice was taken. My voice to stand and I say with the help of the Lord, I am a survivor. I am a testament to His amazing grace and love. A voice to share His overwhelming love and protection to others. A voice to bring hope and peace. A voice...

It will be a hard road but with the help of the Lord and prayers from others, my silence will be replaced with a voice.

"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken."

 - Psalm 34:17-20

Please don't allow sexual violence to steal your voice. Tell someone, anyone. Please seek the help you deserve. Please email me or a friend or someone to being a sounding board. Please find your voice...

Check out Fear Will Consume Me No Longer!
This weekend was a HUGE step for me. I was in my best friends wedding in San Antonio. I have talked about it and many of you know that I am extremely fearful of men being near me that I don't know. I usually hyper ventilate and totally freak out. When I would think about walking down the isle with a guy that I didn't know, I would feel overwhelmed and start crying. Saturday was the practice run and I did alright with a lot of prayer but I was extremely nervous Sunday. I think the thought of others watching me, being in heels and walking with my arm linked to this stranger was more than I could handle. The whole ceremony, I stared at my husband and silently prayed for the Lord's power to take over my fears and get me back to the room without fainting or flipping out. I made it! Small steps, I tell you! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Am I Stubborn or Slow?

While I have been writing about loving yourself and the love of the Lord, I have been skirting around the topic in which the Lord has told me that I am really to write. I'm not sure if I was being stubborn and not listening or if it just didn't click.

This morning, the Lord didn't ask me if I wanted to write about this topic. He knew I'd say, "Heck NO!". He just told me it was time.

This topic is hard....

This topic brings judgement and controversy....

This topic makes me vulnerable....

This topic is my journey and my story....

I pray this topic brings hope and reassurance of God's love to someone.

I know there is a reason that the Lord has told me to write it NOW. I pray that it reaches someone. I pray that I find the right words. Words that bring glory to Him, not me. Words that show how loving and merciful He is, not how strong I was... Words that will bring healing to my heart and hopefully someone else's. Words...

Please join me as I share my journey back from sexual violence- the blessings I received, the challenges I faced, the pain I still struggle with.... but most of all the grace of a Loving Father.

You might want to check out this post as well...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


As I started writing my list of things in which I liked about myself, one revolving thought became clear to me...

To truly love yourself, you have to learn about God's love.

Not only do you need to learn God's love in order to love yourself, you have to learn of His love in order to truly love others.

I think instead of taking off on a list about being comfortable in your own skin, we should visit the idea of God's love. 

The Bible is FULL of verses on love. 

God's love is something I really struggle with... The thought of someone loving me so much in spite of my flaws and shortcomings is intense and scary. Someone knowing every hair on my head and every misdeed I've done is terrifying. But yet! He still loves us. He still yearns for our love and praise.

My absolute favorite people verse about love is found in Romans - 

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."-Romans 8:37-39 

This verse is so overwhelming to me. God loved me when I was born. He will love me when I die. He will love me if I meet Billy Graham or if Obama stays in office. He will love me in whatever circumstance I find myself in - good or bad. He is with me and loves me as I face the future or look back on my past. 

NOTHING... Do YOU hear me?! Nothing that you and I do will ever separate God's love for us. 

I went through a time that I despised myself. I felt useless, hopeless, dirty and many other things. I felt unworthy. I felt like I was unlovable. I turned away. It was a sad time in my life. BUT you know what? When I returned to His loving arms, He was right there waiting patiently. 

I often feel like my only "meter" for measuring how much the Lord loves us is my intense love for my children. Do you have a "measuring stick" in which you try to fathom God's love for us? If so, what is it?