Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I walked away Wednesday!

Yesterday was no ordinary Tuesday. Sure it was a hot summer day and yes the twins and I went to the wave pool. Both of which are some of our current "normal" conditions. However.... well let me share what I shared on Facebook and then I can explain a bit later.

Indeed I did start this summer just needing to be refreshed and renewed. I knew I needed to be changed from the inside out. To be completely open and honest I have been struggling since Christmas. I have gained weight since then and I couldn't understand why. I was given some clarity. The biggest reason is because I had tons of chaos in my mind, in my heart and I couldn't focus very long one thing. Sadly, for most of the summer that has been the case as well. UNTIL..... gosh I don't know yesterday. Well the process has been going and I know that God's hands have been in this the whole time but I realize now that He has given me so much and has been so patient.
Photo credit Unknown

I thought this summer's mission would solely be "weight' related. Wrong. In fact that is why I shared that I have gained weight. I have struggled with facing the fact that there are some things that I really truly need to let go of. One of them is a false sense of who God is and what He wants of me. He doesn't want a legalistic walk. He doesn't want me to be entrapped in any ministry that says I MUST follow their rules and their rules only. He doesn't want me to think that my life has no value. In fact, by feeling that way or even falsely humbling myself I not only devalue my life in my own eyes, or the eyes of those around me, but in a way I am telling God my life is not what He calls it it to be ` special, unique and amazing. Do you get that?! God thinks I am amazing and He created me to live an undefeated amazing life. Not because of anything I can do on my own, but because of what He is doing within me. Not my pastor, not a deacon, not even my own mother ` but in ME!

At the beginning of the summer I started to find little snippets of a few people I have come to love. People that God prepared ahead of time not to become useless and of no value but to become GREATER than I could ever imagine. I have come out of FOUR years of listening to how horrible I am, how i can't make good decisions, and how I have to become NOTHING yet ... being told at the same time that leadership was wonderful, pure, and something I should try to become. I was told that I shouldn't listen to anyone on the outside because they would not tell me of anything of value that I had to only listen to one voice, one leadership yet ... God made us all. HE made us all so unique and so divine.

Yesterday at the wave-pool I was humbled. Not in a way that I was nothing but instead in a way of God telling me and showing me just how GREAT HE wants me to be ~ t hat He created me to be. Yesterday I took a stand. Walked away. And began go allow God to HEAL areas in me that others wanted to die. The areas that made me ME. Sheila. HIS chosen one to be the author of One pretty little box. The one whom he is doing great things in every single moment of the day. And because I am GREAT.... HE is GREATER! Because I am whole ~ HE can shine through me!

Photo Credit : Unknown

I have BIG dreams and BIG goals! HUGE! Ones that will make you think "What the heck is she thinking" yet finally for once ... I can see them as real! Why? Because I let go of this thinking that I am NOTHING in God's eyes and seeing just how excited God is when we follow HIS lead! Can you imagine how excited God gets when we actually accomplish something He set forth for us? I know how excited I get when I finally do something that I have always wanted to do. Now I understand why. Because HE put it there!


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Use those Leftovers!!

This was dinner last week. 2 pounds of chicken fried deer steak, loaded mashed potatoes, corn, peas, and salad (not pictured). I posted it on Facebook and had a few comments that implied that I was feeding an army. Well in a sense I am. Especially in the summer ~ with two preteen boys, a teenage girl, a husband and myself. I knew it would take time to cook all that meat and it would look like a mountain but it led to a tasty lunch for the boys and the husband the next day. That was the plan. Besides left over meat I had a good portion of those mashed potatoes left too. So, I used them the next night to make some "Potato pancakes". For me this recipe is still in the *works*, and taking some tweaking but what a fun experiment! Please know you can do so many things with these because you have a ton of add ins. 

About 2 to 3 leftover mashed potatoes *(see note below)
1 egg
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup flour 
2/3 additional flour seasoned with salt and pepper
3 TBS butter for frying
3 TBS oil for frying. 

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except oil, butter, and the 2/3 cup of flour. Test the ability for it to hold together. If it feels too wet/soft I listed a couple of different alternatives to try to help get that texture right. Form patties and then coat in the additional seasoned flour. Heat up oil and butter on medium to medium high heat. Fry each patty for until golden brown and then flip and cook long enough for other side to brown up. It will only take a few minutes on each side. Drain on a cooling rack that is placed over paper towels to ensure that the oil is drained off but the patties remain as crisp as possible. Really ~ trial and error are going to be your friend and don't be afraid to make a mistake. The options are ENDLESS!

*Left over mashed potatoes*
Please make sure your left over mashed potatoes are NOT runny! In fact you need them to be pretty stiff to be able to hold up to re-purposing them into this yummy deliciousness!

Alternatives to help stiffen mixture
1/2 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
1/2 cup Seasoned bread crumbs
1 potato boiled and mashed into the mixture

I used "loaded" mashed potatoes that had bacon, cheese and sour cream. They made them pretty tasty. I also liked mine topped with a dollop of sour cream on top. Hubby preferred them just as they are. One of the twins liked ketchup. To each his own! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivation for your Monday: Create the right atmosphere

Are you loving Monday's yet?! I do pray this past series of "Motivation for your Monday" has at least brought a little sunshine to your week. I pray that God uses these posts on Monday to give you energy, motivation, and encouragement to get your week started off right.

Today I want to encourage you to spend a little bit of time creating the right atmosphere to set your week off to the right start. Why? The start of something GREAT always starts with the right atmosphere. Sure, you can drag along and by the time you hit Thursday you MIGHT be at least catching up and if your lucky you've caught your mojo by Friday night or Saturday morning.

Photo Credit: Unknown

I revisited my post for top 5 things to do before 8 am (personally for me it is a goal to have those done by 6am) and I realize how GREAT of a start to my day goes when I follow that plan. So.... :) Why not create a top 5 list of setting your WEEK off to a successful start?! Sounds great yes?! Here we go! (Now mind you, this is my list and by having these things in place I do indeed have a successful week where by the time I get to the weekend I am not struggling to get tons of stuff done on days off that I actually have to spend with the family.

1. Menu Plan: This is always a lifesaver for me especially during busy times. Do you know why? Because it is one less thing I have to figure out. By planning out breakfast and dinner for the week it helps so much! I also try to plan in snacks for the kids and dessert as well. I used to plan for seven days at a time but we do a lot of different spur of the moment things on the weekends so it is a bit more difficult to plan unless I know something is coming  up. Football is back in a couple of weeks and I always like to make something for the guys no matter where they are watching the game. Many people menu plan different ways. Some plan before the trip for groceries some plan after. Do what makes it easier for you, but at least give it a try!

2. Project List: I know some of you are going to want to throw a shoe at the computer once you read this but hear me out first and then at least yell "DUCK" so I won't get hit too hard okay?! ~smile~ Autumn is coming! With that comes lots of gatherings in or around your home, weather that you want to prepare for, and so much more. Christmas is not too far off out there either. So, sit down and make you a "project list" of all the things you would like to have done by that time. Put a "projected completed date" and then rearrange your list to show the things you want completed first to last. Each week, start banging out this project list one project at a time. DO NOT put it off! Pick at least one!

3. Family Schedule: With each season, schedules change. These seasons could be actual calendar seasons or just seasons in life. Being a mom to two preteens and a teenager who are involved in sports I can tell you our school year is busy. I know this. I know this ahead of time! Because I know this I can't blame being busy for not getting things done. Make sense? I can't let a "practice" slip up and sneak by me if I know about it ahead of time. I also can't let laundry get behind because I spent the afternoon at the football field to watch the twins play. By having a "family calendar" posted I can arrange what needs to be done around that schedule. I haven't actually had to utilize one of these but we are coming up to a school year that not only do I work full time again, but kids have to be here and there, and I never NOT go to a game. (The only events I usually miss are track and field but that was when the twins were younger and needed a bit more of mom at home and the girl was on it and LOVED traveling with her teammates on the bus.) Again one of my goals is to not simply use the weekends to catch up on what didn't get done during the week. This includes grocery shopping this year as well. That is something that I tend to put off until Saturday ` but is one of my new goals to do while I am already in town.

4. To do or TADA list: A great thing to do for each day to help stay on track for the week is a to do list. This can be daily or weekly but can be a tool for you to make sure you get stuff done. Your to do list can be as elaborate or simple as you want and remember it is YOUR list! Perhaps you need to put on your list things that need to be cleaned, picked up, mailed out, whatever. The purpose behind any "to do" list is simply just to keep you on track. For me, I will have to create a new format because on my list I want to specifically transfer over the menu of the day, where everyone has to be at that time (practice/games etc), as well as a positive encouraging quote for the day and a scripture to meditate on for the day. I also like to have a spot that has room to write down AT least five things that I am thankful for, three great things that happened for the day, and two things I would change if I have the opportunity. A tada list is simply just a list of things that did get accomplished. For some this is a GREAT starting tool because sometimes when we look back at what we did at the end of the day is encouragement for accomplishing more the next. It also will address the days that seem like less gets done and that's okay too.

5. Baby Step Goals: Do you have a big goal ahead of you? If not you should! Please do not tell me that you are living this life without goals that your working toward! When you are indeed working towards your goals if you do not break down your goals into mini goals it could seem very daunting. So each week add to that list of mini goals that is going to get you where you want to be. If your wanting to quit sodas but don't want to do it cold turkey, begin saying you will only have 1 soda at lunch, and 1 at dinner. The next week only 1 at lunch. The third week, only 1 every other day. Then by the fourth week none. Want to read more scriptures? Commit to doing a bible flop once a day. Then twice a day. Then reading a specific set of scriptures leading to eventually a whole book.

**Now let me let you in on a little secret. There are days that you really need to listen to your body. There are days that you can't be so rigid on your schedule that everyone around you is miserable! This morning was a perfect one for me. I did NOT do my "five by eight" at all. Do you know why? This morning I was still very tired and after hubby left for work I went back to bed. Guess what!? That is not normal. That is not everyday. So I won't fret but if I was only working off my schedule I would be not happy with myself. I am not worried because I am now very energized and ready for the week ahead. **


Would you like to learn how to create an atmosphere to hear from God? Check out THIS podcast from Terri Savelle Foy!
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sweet Word Sunday: Repentance and Staying Connected

Sweet Word Sunday: Repentance & Staying Connected      July 20, 2014

I understand that the word repentance doesn't sound like much of a sweet word. And really I never used to think of it is as something to be enjoyed. And yes I understand it may feel painful but there is a process we tend to gravitate toward before we even THINK about repentance.

Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (Message)

That explains how I am feeling today perfectly! Repentance when looked at upon that way does bring pleasure, relief, and a deeper understanding of how important a connection to God really is. I don't always read out of the message version but wow. Let's see that same verse in the NIV version that I usually read out of.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)


It seems when we get lost in our own way, our own will be grow further and further apart and away from God. We lose the connection and proof that repentance can't be expected to be a one time thing. Yes we strive to live pure lives and lay more and more sin down as we go but we can't expect a one time experience of repentance to be enough to save us. If we severe that connection between God Almighty and ourselves we cannot expect that relationship to stay like it was before the connection was broken. Compare it to a phone call. Your talking away on the phone and all of a sudden you lose connection. The call doesn't just pick up where you left off does it? No. You have to make the effort to make the connection again and sometimes have to back track in the conversation to get it back like it was.

This past week for me has been hard, but I have brought it on myself. I was losing the connection yet the whole time I thought it would be okay because I was feeding my spirit with what felt like good things. I am not saying that good things are bad for you ~ God created everything for His glory. Yes I was getting God's word, yes I was listening to good music. But can I tell you those things no matter how good they are fed what I really needed. I needed holy conviction, pure perspective, and a guiding light. I have been shown by God's loving hand that it truly DOES matter what you listen to, read, and how you spend your time. It matters. As hard as those things were to go through with, to feel .... I am so ever thankful!

If you put off repentance because you don't like the feeling, your being foolish. The pain and hurt that I feel before I finally come to repentance is horrid. Afterward, I feel so light and free and connected.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

When beauty enhances beauty!

Yesterday I took our twins in for the yearly wellness check up and to get their spots physicals done for the school year. I can honestly say it was probably the first time I had spent any time doing my makeup and hair in a good month. I really enjoyed walking away from that mirror seeing that I spent a bit of time to look presentable. Most days I pull my hair up in clip and maybe throw on lip gloss and call it a day. I don't leave the house but if I do it is to the grocery store or to the wave pool. I gave my hair a trim before I fixed it and was amazed at how good it felt, and how much better it looked. I was taken back when I realized I had become that "frumpy housewife". When I say frumpy ~ I honestly mean one who does not take care in their appearance. Now before I go further I want to explain something. My husband has said many times he could care less if I fixed my hair or makeup. Even one of my boys who is 12 asked me "Mom why do you have to do that? Your pretty without it!" I am a blessed one I know. But I love wearing makeup. I feel pretty. I feel like it enhances the beauty that is on the inside.

I found some encouraging scriptures this morning!

 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.
4-6 Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated. 1 Peter 3:1-6 (Message)

It is always my hearts desire to be a good wife. I long to be a precious sight in God's eyes. Those will not ever change. I wear makeup because I feel more confident in front of people. Is there anything wrong with that? No. Do you know why? Because when I am talking with someone or spending time with them I am not focused on what I "haven't " done. Kind of like when I have guests over. If my house is always "company" ready I am not standing around fretting that they will think my house is a pigsty! Instead I can enjoy the company and they can too because I am not making them uncomfortable with my awkwardness. Yesterday, I was out of my "self" because I wasn't feeling like I "should have" and instead I did so I could remain in the moment. Big lesson there, even if it is just a lesson for me.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Fantastic Friday: Thirty days to live

Yesterday on Facebook I asked this question:

"You have thirty days left to live. What will you do in the time you have left? GO!!!!"

Now I got a few answers but not as many replies as I had personally hoped for, yet I get why. Who wants to think about only 30 days left to live?! But at one point we have to stop going through life like we have all the time in the world. If we are spending every single day of our life simply surviving we are not living! Who wants to go through life just living the motions?! Even the most boring person I can think of surely there is something deep within them that they would want to accomplish.  
Photo courtesy: Unknown

Thirty days is not a long time. Let's break it down. 

30 days ..or
720 hours .. or
43,200 minutes

If you sleep say 8 hours a night that will leave you with ONLY 480 hours. If you spend say 20 minutes eating three times a day that will leave you with ONLY 450 hours. That is not very long. In fact it is equivalent to only 18 days and 18 hours. Whoa!

Photo courtesy: Unknown

So... let's ask this question again but putting in that new equation." You have 18 days and 18 hours to live. What will you do with the time left?"

I get that some of the first instincts we have is to share the gospel. But ... if we share the gospel out of fear rather than love it is learned in fear and will always be associated with fear. If we share it in love and a heart for God, it is learned in love and will always be associated with love. If we are confident in our faith, and our salvation then we should be able to share God's goodness with love and in action not just words. But ... our lives should already be showing this now ~ even if we have more than those 18 days and 18 hours. Living the gospel is more than just speaking the gospel. Sometimes living a life of the gospel is speaks more than any word can say. Yes, Romans 10:17 says "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." but I don't think that deaf people are not going to have faith because they can't listen. Do you know why? Sometimes that "listening" is more of an experience than the actual act of hearing/listening.

So, let me challenge you deeper. What ELSE would you  do?

I would want to spend time with family that I may be distant from. Why? Because I would LOVE to leave them with words that will impact them for the rest of their lives, as well as my own.

I would spend a day with those friends from high school that we always say "we need to get together" yet life gets in the way. Why? Because they still have a piece of my heart and I want them to know they can keep it and how much they have impacted me even in my adult life. How much the time we spent together helped me to nurture my own children in their friendships. 

I would go hiking in the mountains. Why? Because God's nature and beautiful creation has always inspired me and brought me closer to Him. Yes we are supposed to help lead others in their salvation but above all we cannot leave our own relationship with Him out. Even Jesus pulled away, often in nature to get close to him. 

I would sell my Explorer and buy my husband the boat he desires. Why? I wont need that vehicle and hubby loves to fish. It gets him in nature, and that is where he feels close to God. Why wouldn't I nurture that?!

I would go on a Mommy and me date with each of my children individually. Why? I would tell them how much they have taught me, and how much I love them. I would let them ask me whatever questions they would want to and I would answer them honestly. 

I would take my entire closet to an area in Houston and give them to the homeless community. Why? In those thirty days I won't need much clothing. 

I would spend a whole day at a food bank. Why? I would give them all of my energy and time because if I ever missed a meal ~ it was by choice. 

I would sit up and pound out one last book ~ an  open love letter to my husband retelling of all the wonderful memories we have had. Why? Because I know him. He would sit and wonder and I would not want him to have any doubt of my love and devotion. 

These are just a few on my list. Yes they are very personal but I did ask a personal question! There is a difference from being told you have 30 days to live and be perfectly healthy and being told the same fate and being critically ill. Why wait?! Why not start doing some of those things now! 

Psalms 63:5-7 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Let  me challenge you again.... what will you do with the last 30 days of your life?

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Taco Rice

 Taco Rice! This was an easy meal that I kind of threw together and it was indeed a hit! It will be something that will go in our regular menu because it was quick, easy and one of those kind of meals that would be good for those busy school nights between football practice, drill team practice, cleaning house, and trying to feed everyone.
Yes. This was my serving in a latte cup. Pure deliciousness! 

1 10 bag of Mahatma yellow rice
1 2/3 cup of water
2 TBS butter or margarine
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 package of Taco Seasoning
1 pound of ground turkey
Cheese, sour cream, jalapenos for toppings

In a pot brown your turkey. Add in rotel tomatoes, taco seasoning, and rice mix. Mix together well then add water and butter. Bring to a boil and stir well, reduce temp and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes. Uncover and stir. If it is still too wet, allow it to simmer with the lid off for about five minutes. Take note: Even if it is just a tiny bit wet looking it will dry out some as it sits without any added heat.  Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and Jalapenos with tortilla chips or Fritos on the side.

**This would ALSO be amazing the next day added to a tortilla with a little bit of scrambled eggs added.**

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