January 26, 2012

Cleaner Eating

Lately I have been trying to eat "cleaner."  I was invited to a Wild Tree party where the sales lady talked about all of the junk in our food.  I have been hearing more and more about it and it is really getting my attention now.  I mean we all know that we don't eat the best food, but the problem is that we don't even know what we are putting into our bodies some of the time.  The list of ingredients is scary!  One thing the lady said that really stuck with me is the "anti-caking" agent that is put into a lot of powders and baking mixes.  It's the same chemical that is in the silica packets in new shoes that say toxic, do not ingest.   Now, I know it has to be a safe level according to the fda, but how safe is even a little?

So anyway, I've been trying to make more things from scratch.  Simple things like taco seasoning, pancake and waffle mixes, and snacks.  There is something really special about your kids eating something that you took time to make and know exactly what you put into them.  Now, I'm not perfect on this yet, I still do buy some snacks but every little bit helps.  I would really like to learn how to make graham crackers...those seem to be a staple here. But we did make brownies from scratch today, and they are amazing!  I am trying very hard to control myself around them, since they are 5 pts. a piece!
Here's one of my favorite cookbooks when it comes to making snacks for the kids.

And one of our new favorite recipes is the Chocolate Chip Cookies with chickpeas.  Yes you read right, chickpeas!  Here's how they look...

And here's Aaron enjoying them!  Even Brian liked them!  

January 22, 2012

The living word

While reading devotions with Brian tonight, we came across this quote, "Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years." ~ CH Spurgeon.
What a great quote!  It made us think about how every single time we read a portion of the Bible, something new jumps out.  It's just amazing to me.  Never have I read another book that does that. The Bible is truly alive. It is beautiful and so full, I get excited just thinking about it.  One example for me of a Scripture having new life is from Psalm 46:10.  Most are familiar with the first part of the verse, "Be still and know that I am God."  I even have this on a plaque over our entry door.  I love this Scripture, and for a long time I used it to remind me to take time and be still with God.  That is part of the verse but did you know there's more to the verse?  So often we only learn pieces of Scripture, and in turn miss out on even more.  The second part of the verse says, "I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  So God is not just telling us to be still and spend time with Him, but He is saying in this time of uncertainty, that He is in control.  It's a lot easier to be still and know he is God when we know that in the end He will be exalted in the earth.

So my point of this post is~ next time you read or hear a familiar verse, dig deeper into it.  Look at the text around it and find out the content.  You may discover something new!  
Just had another quick thought connected to this...have you heard  Mandisa's song  "God Speaking"?  I love this song and it talks about the beautiful ways that God uses to talk to us.  Check it out!

January 20, 2012

Remember this?

I was surfing around on my WW profile today and saw this picture as my profile picture...
This photo was taken in the spring of 2010.  What a difference 50+ pounds makes!  

January 17, 2012

What do your cravings look like?

Reading through "Made To Crave" again is proving to be exactly what I needed to keep me focused and refocus  my cravings.  Cravings are funny little things...they can start as an itch and slowly or not so slowly creep up and take over your thoughts.  MTC talks about the ad campaign WW had a few years ago with the little red monster.  Remember him?  
One of the questions for discussion today was what do your cravings look like.  Mine are much different than this scary (okay really cute) monster.  Mine look more like an old friend.

Someone who when they come around, you want to sit and catch up.  You don't want to be rude and ignore them because you don't see them everyday.  And before you know it you have spent all afternoon with them, or in my case, the whole bag of chips.  When I get a craving for food, the devil makes me feel that it's okay because I haven't indulged in such a long time.  That's almost always never true because I certainly do not deprive myself, but the devil is sly and knows how often I can be fooled by that lie.

Did you know that cravings aren't bad?  In fact, God made us to crave?  "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul LONGS (craves), even faints for you. My heart and flesh cry out for You." Psalm 84:1-2.  It's all about taking those cravings whatever they may be for-food, shopping, relationships, money, etc. and searching for what you are really craving.  When I stop myself and ask what I am really craving, it's almost never food.  In those moments, I am learning to pray and ask God to fill me with what I need at that moment.  It's not easy, but life is a journey and I refuse to be controlled any longer by food!

January 12, 2012

10 lbs to go

I have been on this weight loss journey for almost two years and I can finally say that I have only 10 lbs to go.  Whew, that sounds great to say.  I have a deadline for those 10 lbs but only a few people know that and I am trusting on them to keep me accountable.  This month has been rough with Christmas in it so the weight loss has been slower than I would like.  I did start taking measurements though and have lost over 6 inches in just a month.

I'm so close...I have to keep persevering!  I can't wait to start the online Bible Study of "Made to Crave" and get that additional pumping up that I know will get me to the end.  The end...I mean the beginning, of a new stage called maintenance.  That will be a challenge!

January 11, 2012

Everyday miracles

I have been thinking about this post for a while, knowing that I will not have the adequate words to describe how I am feeling but here it goes...
How dependent are you on God?  Do you only ask God to give you the basics?  To heal the sick?  To cure diseases?  To bring the lost back?  These are amazing petitions, and I am not suggesting by any means that you stop asking God for these things.  But how often have you asked him to just get you through the next day, or the next few minutes?  I have seen so often how God has used my little prayers in big ways.  I want to share just a few examples with you. 
A few years ago, 3 months after Aaron was born, I was home alone one night with the boys snug in bed and Brian out playing soccer in a rec league.  I had just received an email from our tax accountant that we were going to receive more money back from the government than we had expected.  Now this wasn't just a few hundred dollars...it was $8000 more than we had originally been told.  I'm not saying that number to brag, well maybe to brag on God, but at the time that seemed like an unreal amount of money.  I distinctly remember finishing up on the computer, going upstairs, standing in the kitchen and praying to God, "Lord, you are giving us an amazing gift with this extra money.  Please don't let us blow this money and help us to spend it wisely."  Ten minutes later, I received a call that Brian had gotten hurt on the soccer field.  Long story short, Brian was off of work for 2 months, without insurance to help pay anything.  I think God answered my prayer that night!  We made it through a huge disaster just barely hanging on, so grateful for God's providence and the miracle that he performed that night.  If not for that money, we would have had to take out some major loans, or who knows what would have happened.  We are currently paying off the last bill from that event and will be free of that (minus the two large scars on Brian's leg) in a few months.

A much smaller answer to prayer came two nights ago.  My sweet little boys woke up puking in the middle of the night.  Yes I said both of them were puking...at the same time...coming out the other end too.  After getting them cleaned up for the 3rd or 4th time, I laid in bed praying to God, "Please Lord, don't let me get sick right now too!"  I was not feeling great, actually I felt as if I were going to puke any minute, but I knew that I couldn't get sick that night.  I kept repeating that prayer as the waves of nausea passed through me.  God answered my prayer.  I did not end up puking, and was able to help the boys return to their normal healthy selves again.  

Small requests, big answers.  I have been thinking a lot about miracles lately and am a full believer that God is still doing them today.  Here are two examples of mine.  I know there are a million others out there.  What's your miracle?  And more importantly, what are you NOT asking God for, for whatever reason?  

Why not give it a try?  Here's the kicker...you have to have faith that he will see it to fruition.  It might not be what you specifically asked for, but believe in him...

One last example-during my last Bible study at church we prayed intensely for a fellow member who was struggling with infertility.  She is now due to have their baby in the end of July!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

PS. I would love you to share your everyday miracles with me.  God uses our stories to help others!

John 14:13
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

January 7, 2012

Family game night

Do you have a family game night?  A night where you "unplug" from everything and just spend some time together?  We try to do this one night a week.  Now you may ask, "How do you have family game night with a two year old and a four year old?"  The answer is simple games and lots of patience!  Here is a shot of some of our games
Some of our favorites not pictured are Elefun, Hungry, hungry hippos and Uno Attack.  Why do I insist on doing this once a week?  The pictures tell it all!

Memories like this are priceless!

January 4, 2012

Made To Crave...God Not Food!

I know I have talked about this before, but it's time for me to reconnect with this study.  Last winter I co-led a Bible Study based on this book and starting January 15, I will be starting the study again, following an online Bible study, as my life if quite busy this winter and this is the most convenient way for me to participate in a Bible Study and still stay accountable.  I would love to have you join me in this 6-week study.  You can find out more about it on this website.  Made to Crave is an amazing book that helps us see how God understands our struggle with food, and wants to meet us in our struggle and free us from it.  Remember Eve?  The first recorded sin involves food!  Your struggle is not something new for God.  Another great resource is Lysa TerKeurst's website.  She is the author of the book.

Maybe reading it through a second time will make it stick a little more.  I may have to read it through 20 times to fully "get" it through my thick sinful head.  I do agree with Lysa TerKeurst that my struggle with food is really a struggle with trusting God and not letting the devil have control over my life.  You may not see your struggle in that way, and I have all respect for that.  But as for me, this way of looking at my struggle with food is so helpful.  Let me know if you want to join me, I would love to have local support on this journey as well as the support of the online community.

January 2, 2012

Garden Vegetable Soup

As many of you know, I have been a part of Weight Watchers for a while now.  I'm very close to my goal, and plan to get there soon with some extra motivation from the new year.  Also, I have had this blog for a long time and not been very faithful with writing on it while I am full of ideas for things to share.  I am inspired by my cousin's wife, Michelle, and her beautifully written, very vulnerable blog.  You can check it out here...http://gettinghealthyonestepatatime.blogspot.com/
So I am attempting to get back at blogging in hopes that it will help me stay motivated and maybe inspire others to get motivated too!

So here's the scoop on one of my favorite recipes that Weight Watchers has.  It is my fall back meal when I know I am going to have a high point supper and need to have a filling meal with low points.  I have to admit that I have seen this recipe the two other times that I have done Weight Watchers and have turned a nose up to it.  It's Garden Vegetable Soup.  It's okay to admit that it sounds horrible, especially when others in the WW community call it Cabbage soup.  It grossed me out for the longest time.  Finally last year I decided to give it a try and I LOVE IT!  It's super fun to make and tastes really great.  It also, amazingly to me, fills me up!  There are so many yummy vegetables in it and it's easy to freeze and pop in the microwave when you are ready to eat it.
Here's a pic of it cooking on the stove (it also makes your house smell wonderful with the spices and garlic!)
Here's the recipe from http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeid=93151
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup diced onions
2 minced garlic cloves
3 cups fat-free broth of your choice
1 cup diced green cabbage
1 cup chopped spinach
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup diced zucchini

Spray a large saucepan with nonstick cooking spay, heat.  Saute the carrot, onion, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, cabbage, spinach, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes covered.  Stir in zucchini and cook 3-4 minutes more.  Serve hot.  Makes 6 1 cup servings.  PP per serving-0!!!

I almost always double the recipe so that I have lots to eat and freeze.  Here is what a double batch makes for me. The smaller containers have one serving and the larger containers have two.

And here's my favorite way to eat it.  These crackers are my favorite and are 2PP for 5 crackers. Yes, I do only eat 5 crackers at a time!  Not to say I couldn't eat the whole box at once if I wanted to but it's all about control.
On another note, it's been great to see the impact my healthy eating and exercising has had on the people around me.  My beautiful friend Whitney has recently hit her goal weight at WW, and I am so proud of her!  And the impact it has on my family is priceless.  It's so great to see my boys choosing healthier options once and a while.