Friday, August 26, 2011

I am living a RICH life!!

I CHOOSE to live RICH! "Poor" is a mindset. There is a HUGE difference between 'poor' and 'broke'. There is a HUGE difference between 'wealthy' and 'rich'. We are living RICH, we are living life with a heart of gratitude, focusing on the blessings in life. Wealthy is a matter of money, RICH is a matter of the heart.

We are living RICH by living life to the fullest enjoying all the wonderful blessings God gives. Life is 'rich' when you choose to open your heart to all of the little things that make life so sweet. Cherishing simple things like breathing in fresh air, receiving flowers from a child, relaxing in a warm bath, sinking in to a freshly fluffed pillow, driving a paid for vehicle, soaking up a beautiful sun set, eating a meal fresh from the garden.... Experiencing and reflecting on special times spent with family and friends. Mary, the mother of Jesus, 'stored up these things in her heart' (she stored the experiences of Chirst's early life in her heart to reflect on later). Life's greatest treasures are not things purchased at the mall (or even at Target... gasp....), the greatest treasures are the every day blessings of life.

Choosing to be RICH means slowing down, FOCUSING on the positives, SPEAKING gratitude and slaying the "gimmies" (children are not the only ones that get these). Choosing to be rich requires a heart of contentment. Thankful for all we have, not restless for things we want, realizing that having more will never satisfy the deep longings of the heart. The heart longs for things that really matter, trying to fulfill these longings with stuff only deepens the need.

I AM rich! I CHOOSE to focus on the little blessings in life that add up filling my life to the brim with true treasures!!!! Count your blessings and name them one by one!

 Think about the longings of your heart. Can they really be filled by that next purchase?? You are not poor because your budget does not allow you to spend freely on all you want. CHOOSE to be rich by living a RICH life... a life lived enjoying the simple things! Challenge yourself to LOOK for the many wonderful simple things that make your life RICH!! Dwell on these, not on any lack.

(I originally wrote this back in march of 2009, however this has been on my mind quite a bit lately so I thought I would post it again.  Hope ya don't mind!)

Have a BLESSED day,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Being vulnerable.... being real....being loved

 Support, listening ears, big hearts, hugs, tears and prayers.  FRIENDSHIP!   Unconditional love.

I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of a weekly Bible study with some amazing women.  One of us is going through some extra hard stuff right now and the tears were flowing and the prayers were rising and our time in praise was a time of standing in faith on God's promises!!

If you don't have a tight circle of Godly friends I encourage you to REACH out and make one.  We live in a CRAZY busy world but we NEED friendship!  God Gave us that need!!!!  I have written about my strong convictions about our need for REAL life friendship before...... 

I am grateful for the internet and the online friendships I have developed!  You are a blessing to me.  However, I NEED my real life friends and they NEED me!!  Today was such an incredible reminder why God created the church body, he CREATED us to need each other!!  I just wanted to encourage you to reach out and cherish the real life, in person, friendships that God has given you or challenge you to reach out to create some.  It means being vulnerable, that can be scary, but so worth it.

Have a BLESSED day,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chocolate Fudge Sheet Cake with your choice of frosting: Chocolate or Peanutbutter

 This amazing  Chocolate Fudge Cake has become my standby recipe when baking for a large crowd.  It is easy and extremely yummy and I love the *surprise* ingredient..... cola!!  I first came across this recipe last year at Many Little Blessings.  I have since modified it to make it simpler to throw together, but the results are just as divine!

I whipped this up this evening to take with us for lunch at church tomorrow.  We are having dinner after church with the pastor's family  and a few others.  Tomorrow is a special day for our family.... we are pledging our membership at church!  This is a first for my husband and me..... we have never been members of a church before.  We are so blessed to be a part of this wonderful congregation..... a true family in Christ!

This cake will easily serve 30 people.  I made it with the chocolate frosting tonight, but the peanut butter frosting option is absolutely delish!  

 Chocolate Fudge Sheet Cake
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups white sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1 TBL white vinegar (don't worry you won't taste it.... it reacts with the baking soda to make it rise)
1 cup oil
1 cup cola flavored soda (or any dark soda.... I have even used root beer and dr pepper)
2 eggs

1)  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a sheet cake/cookie sheet pan.
2)  In a large mixing bowl combine the first 5 ingredients (the dry ones).
3)  In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining 5 ingredients (the wet ones)
4)  Pour the liquid mixture together with the dry ingredients and stir until completely mixed.  Pour into prepared sheet pan.
5)  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Frost with either the chocolate frosting or peanut butter below.  You can frost it while it is still hot or you can wait till it cools.... I love the flexibility of this cake!

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup buter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup cream or milk
3 1/2 -4 cups powdered sugar

1) in a saucepan combine butter, milk and cocoa powder.  stir and cook till butter is melted.
2)Beat in powdered sugar

Peanut Butter frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
2 TBL milk
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1)Melt together butter, peanut butter and milk
2) Beat in powdered sugar

Enjoy and I will admire your will power if you can just eat ONE piece of this cake!! 

Have a BLESSED day,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Choosing Simplicity in the school morning rush!

Back to school  time is here.  My kiddos went back to school yesterday.  Lazy summer mornings are now a thing of the past and the school morning rush has returned.  Whether you home school (I was raised as a home school kid) or whether your kids head out the door to school we share in the fact that school mornings are different from summer. 

5 ways to Choose Simplicity 
on school mornings:

1)  Alarm Clocks
As a mom I set mine so that I am up 30 minutes before my children.  Flylady teaches this principle, too.  This gives me time to get dressed, make a pot of coffee and spend a few much needed moments in the word of God before I face the morning with my family.  When I miss this time we all feel it!  It gives me time to ease into the new day with joy in my heart rather than hit the floor running.

My children set their alarms and they are responsible to get up at the established time.  If I have to go upstairs to wake them up they face consequences.  Harsh?  No.  Self Responsibility.  I am raising future adults, not future children.  Kindergarteners are capable of using an alarm clock  and it will free you from years of being the bad guy that has to wake up a sweet sleeping child!  I want to see their smiling face as they make their way down the stairs, not them grumbling at me for waking them up.  Let the alarm clock be the bad guy, let me be the one they greet with good morning hugs!

2)  Clothes

Have the outfits ready.  For my young children I create outfits as I fold clothes so all they have to do is open up the dresser drawer and grab one.  This has been especially helpful for my boys!  The older children can make outfits as they put their clean laundry away.  Planning ahead makes the mornings so much less stressful.  For example, tomorrow my 7th and 8th grader have spirit day at school (first football game is tomorrow night) and they have to wear neon colors.  They came home from school yesterday and got those outfits ready.... tomorrow morning their will be no scrambling!

3)  Back Packs Ready

The night before we get the back packs ready to go out the door.  Homework, papers that needed signed, library books, etc go in the back packs and the packs get hung on their designated hooks by the back door.   In the morning we simply grab and  go!

4)  Lunches

I will admit that getting the school lunch is the easiest way to go on this one.  However, they do cost more and are generally less nutritious than what we can pack from home.  To make lunch prep simpler in the mornings I pre-package as much as possible ahead of time.    I make individual baggies of things like pretzels, crackers, chex mix, carrot sticks, peanut butter balls, brownies, cookies, etc. (I will often make up a big batch of muffins and freeze them in individual baggies)   My children are responsible for assembling their lunch boxes.  Lunch paking if fairly quick.... make a sandwich or grab a container of left over supper, a piece of fruit and pre- prepared baggies.  They can either pack a reusable bottle with water or juice or buy milk at school.

5) Breakfast

I am a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day..... especially for school age children.  Their bodies and brains NEED a healthy breakfast to help them learn.  They need the energy and brain power that a quality breakfast provides.  They need good protein, complex carbs for energy and fiber to help keep away the hunger pangs till lunch time.

Things we eat for breakfast:
  • whole wheat toast with Peanut Butter (or just a whole wheat PB&J sandwich)
  • whole grain pancakes or waffles (warmed up from the freezer.... I don't cook in the morning)
  • whole grain cereal with milk
  • smoothies (we have several different recipes.... just use what we have on hand)
  • supper left overs (my husband thinks this is weird, but hey if left over spaghetti sounds good to them, why not?)

Our mornings are not *perfect* (nothing ever is)!  However, these 5 things make our mornings much, much, much smoother!  So cheers to school mornings and CHOOSE SIMPLICITY!!!!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING! Heather