Sunday, February 26, 2012

Being Real 2/26

    So I just read an interesting article that spoke to me in a way I was surprised at. I must admit "What I Learned from my 46 day beer fast" sounds more like a college frat movie than an introspection on seeking help from God, but it was.  And it made me think on my own journey.  I have two goals/fasts this Lenten Journey: no alcohol and a daily devotion.  So far I'm batting .500.

    The first day (Ash Wednesday) was no problem, even when Andy opened a bottle of wine with dinner.  It smelled good.  It would have tasted good with the meal, but I had no problem declining, or having it on the table in front of me.  (Hopefully this should help ease the minds of those concerned that I might need to find a local A.A.)   But I have to say, every day since then I have wanted something.  Anything.  Now I swear this isn't a disease talking, I'm certain this is human nature (the devil maybe?) talking.  I was told (by myself) that I couldn't have something, and now I want it.  The habits I see in my kids, and their cousins/friends/other little kids continues on into adulthood.  You told me I can't have it.  And even though I didn't want it before, now I do.  Just because.

     But the cool thing that I've discovered (again) is that a quick little prayer helps.  Almost immediately, amazingly enough.  And as I read the article, I see a little more clearly why my fast is good for my relationship with God.   "In order to refocus on God, [monks] engaged this annual practice not only to endure sacrifice, but to stress and rediscover their own shortcomings in an effort to continually refine themselves." 

     (Here's my light bulb for today).  I am weak without God.  But with Him, all things are possible.  This fast is not meant to deprive myself, but to remind me how much easier things are with Him.  This excites me.  It comforts me.  My Father is there to help me and take care of me.  He loves me and only wants the best for me, just as I only want the best for my children (this is very relatable to me).  He wants me to ask for help.  He wants me to come to Him with everything.

    Now I see I need to ask His help in my daily devotion.  I managed to get last Wednesday in, but haven't been back since.  I could give you a list of reasons why, some more valid than others, but mostly I will say, quite frankly, I am weak.  I need His help.  I see even more clearly now.

Dear God, HELP, love me.

I will leave you with this song Prince of Darkness by the popped into my head when I was writing this.  I love it, and it seems VERY appropriate at the moment.  (The video's not great - here are the lyrics jic)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meat Loaf Recipe (compliments of MIL)

Yeah, I'm sure everyone has their own recipe, but this one deserves a try - it's so tasty!  I got it from my MIL - it is my go to recipe for meatloaf!

1  Egg

1 tsp.  Poultry Seasoning (*this is what MAKES the recipe)

1/4 Cup  Minced Onion

2-3 Lbs  Hamburger

1 Cup  Milk

dash  Pepper

4 Cups  Rice Krispies - Crushed

1 - 8 oz  Mozzarella Cheese Shredded and/or Mozzarella sticks ripped into half put down the center in middle of meat)


(*Original recipe called for 2 tsp. Salt - I omit - I feel the Poultry Seasoning and cheese have plenty of salt)

Mix together except for cereal and cheese

Add cereal and cheese - mix by hand.  If you are just using the mozzarella sticks - put half (or a quarter if you're doing two loaves) mix in the pan, put the mozz sticks in, then cover with the rest of the mix.  Another cool idea, put in muffin tin pans.  Then you have individual servings that can be frozen and reheated as necessary.

Bake 350 degrees.  One big loaf for 1-1/2 to 2 hours Uncovered, or split into two loaves for 1 hour each (I freeze the second one usually - or cook both both this way if I'm pressed for time which is almost always...)  If you are using muffin tins, bake for about 45 mins.  All meat should be cooked to appropriate temps - remember carry over times (but that's another page;))
Baste ketchup on top after baked, and broil till it just starts to brown.
Not my own pic (coming the next time I make one I'll switch it) - thx Food is a Blessing!

Homecooked meals when I don't feel like cooking.

This is what you make for dinner when you really don't feel like cooking (or have the time, anything planned, whatever) - build an arsenol of food in your freezer  (without a lot of extra work).

To easily build a freezer full of meals with minimal extra work, follow this easy simply tip I read in a blog somewhere.  
Couldn't get the picture to turn :(
  1. When you make a recipe that goes in a pan to double it (or triple). 
  2. In your extra pan(s) put a layer of tinfoil down first (with extra to wrap over top).  Construct the dish as normal (with out fresh veggies/crunchies etc.). 
  3. Wrap extra tinfoil over the top.  Freeze till solid in the baking dish. 
  4. Take out of dish, put in ziptop bag (using a straw to suck out extra air).  LABEL the dish with date and what it is and put back in freezer. 
  5. When you're ready to make it, put the casserole back in the original dish, rip off the extra tinfoil (but save in case you need to cover to stop browning) and cook for 1.5 the normal time it would take unfrozen (if it normally takes 1 hour, cook for 1.5 hours).  I do keep an eye on it so it doesn't get too brown on top.
  6. Add any fresh veggies/crunchies you would normally add. 
  7. The best part - if you're careful with the tinfoil when you dish up, no/little cleaning! :D
If I'm doing this with meatloaf, I let it sit on the counter for maybe 10 minutes so I can peel it out of the tinfoil and still use my meatloaf pan.  This method allows you to have bunch of home cooked meals in your freezer that don't take up much space.  You get your dishes back same day (really within a few hours).

Yeah, this one either :(

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not designed by a parent

Today as Thing 1&2 and I were leaving our MOPS (Mother's Of Preschoolers) group, we had a bit more excitement than normal.  As usual it's always a tad of a struggle keeping Thing 1 with me as he wants to stay and play (and run around crazy) with his friends, while holding Thing 2 because, though she can walk, it's much faster if I carry her.  I kept the train going by telling Thing 1 he could push the elevator buttons if he got there before I did (he loves pushing buttons including mine :o as most boys his age do).  The three of us made it inside the elevator and I set Thing 2 down as it was starting to feel like I was carrying, well a 25 pound squirming child.  Thing 1 pushes the buttons like he should and of course Thing 2 wants to "help" too.  And what button does she push?  The button that was the most accessible to her small little hand.  The button that was in bright YELLOW.  The "Call for Help" button. (Did I mention the RED "Alarm" button was right above it?) 

Why, would the designer of this panel of buttons decide to put the most fun buttons which a child would be drawn to push where they are most accessible?

It's not like I didn't try to stop her.  But realistically, she was closer the buttons, and when a small child wants something, it is amazing how fast they can move. 

Now nothing bad happened.  I went to the office and told them what had happened so they could call the alarm company.  Not a huge deal.  I was told by another parent who I was regaling the story to, that it happens nearly every time we meet.

Clearly this panel was NOT designed by a parent!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Study on

Our church is focusing on the Habit of Study of God's Word. Starting tomorrow, there will be a few bible verses each day to read, then think on and journal on. If you are/were like me, when I started going back to church and wanted to get a Bible (other than the gold one I got when I was in parochial school - which would totally work, btw) I did go buy one, but now I use one on my phone.  On YouVersion you download an app to your phone (and/or follow it online) and get like almost every version of the bible out there (New King James, The Message Contemporary Living Version, etc). I like being able to easily flip between different version when a verse has me stumped. You can download reading plans (there are other Lent plans on You Version as well), you can listen to it on your phone (which I love for the gym). It's awesome.
Anyway, here's the reading plan for Lent from my church.  Study on :)

Here are perhaps three things you could journal when you read the verses: My observations, My response, and My questions.
Ash Wednesday (with downloadable journal pages)
Feb 22 Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Feb 23 Psalm 51
Feb 24 2nd Corinthians 5:20 - 6:10
Feb 25 Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21

First Week of Lent (with downloadable pages)
Feb 26 Genesis 9:8-17
Feb 27 Genesis 5:28-6:18
Feb 28 Genesis 6:11-22
Feb 29 Genesis 7: 1-24
March 1 Genesis 8: 1-12
March 2 Genesis 9:1-7
March 3 1 Peter 3:13-22

Second Week of Lent
March 4 Genesis 17: 1-7, 15
March 5 Genesis 12: 1-9
March 6 Genesis 13: 2-18
March 7 Genesis 15: 1-21
March 8 Genesis 16: 1-16
March 9 Genesis 18: 1 -15
March 10 Genesis 21: 1-7, 22: 1-19

Third Week of Lent
March 11 Exodus 20: 1-17
March 12 Exodus 2: 1-24
March 13 Exodus 6: 1-9
March 14 Exodus 16: 1-35
March 15 Exodus 19: 1-5
March 16 Exodus 23: 20 -33
March 17 Exodus 24: 1- 18

Fourth Week of Lent
March 18 Numbers 21: 4-9
March 19 Numbers 20: 1-13
March 20 Exodus 32: 1-34
March 21 Exodus 34: 1-10
March 22 Numbers 13: 1-3, 17- 32, 14: 1-12, 19-24
March 23 Deuteronomy 4: 5-20
March 24 Deuteronomy 4: 32-40

Fifth Week of Lent
March 25 Jeremiah 31: 31 -34
March 26 Ezekiel 36: 22-32
March 27 Ezekiel 37: 1-14
March 28 Luke 22: 14 - 23
March 29 Romans 2: 1-16
March 30 Hebrews 8 1-13
March 31 Hebrews 10: 11-25

Holy Week/Palm Sunday
April 1 Mark 11: 1-11
April 2 Mark 11: 12 -19
April 3 Mark 11: 20-12:27
April 4 Mark 12: 28 - 44

Maundy Thursday
April 5 Mark 14: 12-42

Good Friday
April 6 Mark 14: 43 - 15: 39
April 7 Mark 14: 42 - 47

April 8 Mark 16: 1 - 20

Sunday, February 19, 2012

40 days and 40 nights

After reading, Backtrack and Back on Track on another friend's blog, The Mother Load, it makes me contemplate a journey I have decided to embark on myself.  A 40 day cleanse of mind and body which will be happening during Lent (which is the 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday -  The six Sundays in Lent are not counted among the forty days of lent because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter", a celebration of Jesus' victory over sin and death. Source  Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting before he began his public ministrySource ). 

I grew up Catholic,went (forcefully) to church every week and every holiday, went to a Catholic elementary school, went to CCD (or catechism, religion classes as some call it - I actually didn't know what CCD stood for till just now.), got confirmed.  You know all the good stuff.  When I was younger I would give up things for Lent because, well that's what I was told to do. 

When I was older, even as young as high school (maybe even younger???), I think is when I stopped giving stuff up for Lent, probably mostly because I don't like being told what to do for no good reason.  I never felt a good enough reason for WHY I was doing it.  So sassy little me didn't give up a single thing till last year. (The year before last I was pregnant, and figured I was giving up enough! :0)  But last year I felt very convicted to want to give something up for Lent.  I gave up wine.  For me, it was the one thing I really didn't want to give up.  So it seemed the logical choice to give up.  (It was the one thing I really missed each time I was pregnant.)  When asked by some of my friends who didn't fully, or at all, understand my decision, I explained it like this.  Jesus gave up His life, in a terrible awful way, for ME, to give ME, eternal life.  When you look at it that way, 40 (or 46 days) doesn't seem like that much in return.  And (this part I didn't say, because their eyes were already glazing over), the best part of about God, I didn't need to do this to get my Golden ticket, but it's a darn good reminder of what was sacrificed for little ol' me.  What an amazing gift Grace is. :)

These glasses make me chuckle.
So on to this year.  I have decided to give up alcohol in general. (Some of you may be gasping).  I fully admit, I'm full up on antioxidants from drinking red wine, and the Captain and I are on very good speaking terms.  I have only told one person about this yet - my little sister - only because it seemed a natural part of the conversation (did I mention we were enjoying wine at the time ;).  I don't feel it's necessary to tell every person I know I'm giving up the goods, as I don't want to appear like a Pharisee (yes I realize this blog could reach 10's of people, but isn't that what blogs are for? to get the swirl of thoughts in your brain OUT of your brain?).  I have a family gathering in March and I know people will automatically assume I am pregnant when I don't drink.  And I suppose I should tell Andy so he doesn't bring home a yummy bottle expecting me to enjoy it with him.  But whatever.  I have to admit when I was first contemplating this, I wondered if I was doing it for the right reasons.  On top of the giving up part, I am really looking forward to the health benefits of not consuming all those empty calories...and maybe I'll actually start realizing the fitness goals I have.  Sometimes it makes me wonder am I being selfish in my giving up alcohol?  Am I giving it up for the right reasons?   But as Wednesday draws near, I'm starting to think about not enjoying a glass of wine with dinner,  and it doesn't make me jump for joy.  So I think I'm in the clear???  So this is the cleansing of the body.

I also plan to participate in a "Lenten Journey" at my church.  It's a 40 day study.  I have started, then stopped, studying the Bible more times than I'd care to admit.  Will I continue to study EVERY day after Lent is over?  I don't know.  Let's see how committing to study every day for 40 days works out first.  I really do enjoy learning and growing when I stick to it.  Then life always seems to get in the way.  Or I let life get in the way.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day to work with.  I admit, some days, I could be more productive with mine.  So 40 (46) days of study.  The cleansing of the mind.

This should be an interesting 40 days and 40 nights.

PS.  As I just got done disciplining Thing One, for the same issue we have talked about over, and over, and over..... this could be a very long 40 days and 40 nights............Cheers!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The way to a man's heart...

The way to a man's heart....
So very talented friend of mine made this for her "huspin" this year for Valentine's day. 

*A Dozen Bacon Roses, nestled in pistachios (I'm guessing this is his favorite, any favorite nut or candy could be substituted - I'd probably use peanut M&M's) with hard boiled egg "flowers" with an ice cold Guinness.

I'm just so impressed by her creativity, I had to share. (As my Google search shows, the roses were not an original idea, but the presentation is first class!)

For anyone who'd like to try this on their own, I found a link to a site for directions.  You do need to sacrifice a cheap mini muffin pan, but this could make some guys day!