Vitamin C Power Smoothie

I love making up smoothie recipes.  I often make them up with whatever happens to be on hand in my house.  I woke up with a little bit of a sore throat this morning, so it is time to come up with something to fight off sickness.

Here is what I came up with this morning.  It is loaded with Vitamin C and even better, it is really delicious!

1/2 cup kale

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

4 strawberries

1 banana

1 orange

1/4 cup of vanilla flavored greek yogurt

1/2 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon of ground flax seed

a few ice cubes

Blend well and enjoy.

Are You In Need of Wisdom?

Are you in need of Wisdom?  It doesn’t matter what area of your life that you are in need of wisdom…it could be really in any area of your life.  For me, I have really needed wisdom in regards to how to help my son in one area in his life.  He has really struggled substantially with feeling mad about everything that didn’t go his way.  I’m not sharing this to get judged on my parenting skills.  Let me tell you, I am the first to admit that I am not the perfect parent.  This area of his life has been troubling to me.  I have so wanted to help him.  Telling a four year old that he shouldn’t be mad so much does absolutely no good (in fact when I have heard myself say that or something like that I usually feel like an idiot but out of desperation I say something along that line anyway).  I’ve really started praying and asking the Lord for wisdom as to how to help him.

The Bible says that whenever you need wisdom to ask God.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6 NLT

According to the Bible, if you need wisdom and do not waver in your faith in God, He will give you wisdom generously!  It does not say he just gives you a tiny drop.  How awesome is it to know that God gives you wisdom generously.

Tonight as I was sitting in church, God really answered my prayer.  My heart cry has been God how do I help my son be happy and not upset all the time (when I say all the time, I really mean it).  I felt like God pinpointed an issue for me to help teach my son.  I felt like the Lord showed me that I need to teach my son to cultivate a thankful heart even when things aren’t going his way.  There is a lot of truth in this.  The start of having joy in your heart is being thankful.  Sometimes, when you really aren’t thankful you have to go back to the most basic things you can think of to be thankful for and work from there.

Let me tell you, it did not take long for me to put this new gem of wisdom into practice for my little guy.  We got in to the car and within a few seconds my son was mad at my daughter because she made a noise or something.  Really she doesn’t have to do much to make him mad.

Here it is, my open door…I asked my kids this question, “Hey guys what do you think the Bible says about how to have a happy heart even when you are maybe having a bad day?”

My son said, “I AM NEVER HAVING A HAPPY HEART AGAIN!”  At the moment, everything for him is going to last forever.

I said, “Boy buddy, that is a bummer. I don’t think that is what Jesus wants for you.”

My daughter said, “I think the Bible says to spend time with God to have a happy heart.”

I told her that she was right and it also says that Jesus wants us to be thankful.  I asked my son if he could think of one thing he was thankful for and he of course said, “I’m never going to be thankful again!”  Back to everything being forever…

I asked my daughter, “What is one thing you can think of that you are thankful for?”

She said, “I’m thankful for my new mermaid doll.”

I told her that is a great thing to be thankful for and told the kids that I am thankful for being their mommy because I think they are great.

We continued this activity for the rest of the car ride.  We started out taking turns naming something we were thankful.  Eventually my daughter was upset because my son wouldn’t stop naming all the things he had to be thankful for.  I reminded her that it is a good thing that he is so thankful and then helped her squeeze in why she was thankful.  When we got home, I asked him “How is your heart feeling son?”

He said, “Mommy I have a happy heart!”

Tonight, I am very thankful that God gave me wisdom as to how to help my son find reasons to have a happy heart.  Please know that I get that anger is a valid emotion but there is a point when it is ruling things and making you just flat out unhappy.  Unfortunately, that has been where my son has been and thus the reason for my concern for him.

I asked God and He gave me the wisdom to help my son.  I truly believe that although this will take time, with consistency he can learn to be thankful.  With thanksgiving, comes joy.

Whatever you need wisdom for today, remember to stop and ask God.  He’ll give it to you!

Strawberry Pumpkin Smoothie

I absolutely love drinking green smoothies for breakfast!  I have been drinking green smoothies for breakfast regularly for almost a year and it has really helped me with my energy level.  I think the biggest difference I have noticed is that as long as I drink a smoothie, I don’t crave foods that are super high in sugar and caffeine.  I don’t feel as tired and I find that I am able to think clearer.  If you are new to drinking green smoothies one thing that is important to remember is that what you put into the smoothie is very important.  You should try and avoid adding extra sugar if at all possible.  The fruit provides natural sugar.  The quality of the ingredients has a major impact on how much better you will feel.

I don’t know about you but I am all about experimenting with what I put in my smoothies.  Around my house, this time of year we have lots of pumpkin puree around the house after roasting the pumpkins we carved for Halloween.  I have personally never put pumpkin in my smoothies before but today I thought why not give it a shot.

Strawberry Pumpkin Smoothie

1 cup of Kale

1/2 apple

1/4 cup of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

4 strawberries (if your strawberries are frozen you won’t need ice, if they are fresh you will need some ice)

1 cup almond milk (you could use any milk you prefer)

1/2 cup of lowfat greek yogurt

1 tspn of ground flax seed

1 tspn of ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in your favorite blender and blend until smooth.

This smoothie is packed full of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.  Since it has so much vitamin C and Vitamin A this is a good smoothie to drink to help build up your immune system.  This smoothie is also good for your vision.  Pumpkin has nearly twice the amount of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A.  Vitamin A  is found to have health benefits for your eyes, skin and teeth.  The yogurt and milk have protein to help you feel full and also has calcium.  After drinking this smoothie, I felt an amazing burst of energy that lasted long after any caffeine would wear off.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Do You Want to Hear the Coolest Thing?

We go to church every Wednesday night.  It’s my favorite night of the week.  I absolutely love being in the house of the Lord but there was one Wednesday night in particular that was most special to me.  I took my two children to church on Wednesday as usual.

After church, my children absolutely love hanging out for a little while and playing on the play ground.  This Wednesday was no different.  My son was playing on the slide and I was shooting baskets with my daughter.  My son called me over to him and said, “Mommy, I need you to come here.”  In my mind, I was wondering if he was a bit jealous of me shooting hoops with my daughter, but I didn’t say it out loud.  I just went over to him and asked him what he needed (it is all of ten feet away, from the basketball hoop, in case you were thinking this was some long distance).

My son, just so you know just turned four years old.  He is sweet, smart and can be a bit of a pistol.

Anyway, he gleefully asked me, “Mommy, do you want to hear the coolest thing about Jesus?”

I was a little surprised by his question, but of course I said, “Yes, tell me son, what is the coolest thing about Jesus?”

He said, “Did you know that Jesus died just for me Mommy and if I pray and tell him I am sorry for the bad stuff I did, He will forgive me and he wants me to give him my whole life and if I do He will live in my heart and won’t remember the bad stuff I do sometimes.”

I fought back tears of joy as he was saying this to me, and calmly said, “You are right son, that is the coolest thing.”

He said, “Yay mommy it is the coolest thing ever.”

I asked him, “Are you thinking of giving your life to Jesus?”

He said, “Yep and I am going to do it right now, but I need your help Mommy.  I don’t know how.”

That night, sitting on the slide of my church, “I led my precious little boy in prayer to give his heart to Jesus.”  When we got home from church, he excitedly ran up to his daddy and told him. “Guess what Daddy?  I belong to Jesus now and He lives in my heart and He loves me sooo much!”

Jesus loves you too.  The coolest thing about Jesus is while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  The Bible says that when we surrender our lives to him, He forgives our sins and He adopts us as His sons or daughters.

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In Times of Trouble

When hard times in life hit you, how do you respond?  You lose a job, what do you do?  You get sick, what do you do?  I can tell you my tendencies.  My first response is usually to freak out and then I get busy.  The worse the problem, the busier I get!  I appoint myself to fix the problem!  I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to find a way, anyway really, to improve on my current situation. The bad thing is I don’t usually know what direction to go, so I spend tons of energy working as hard as I can in the wrong direction or in thirteen different directions.  My hope is if I throw out enough arrows, maybe one will hit a target.  I don’t stop to consider if it is the right target. Ultimately, I don’t get anywhere, I am tired, stressed out and things haven’t gotten better at all.  I don’t think this response is rare, I have a feeling I am not the only one that responds to life’s challenges this way.

Interestingly, my natural response is opposite of what the Bible says to do.  I guess that is not surprising, I have found most of the things the Bible says to do are not my first response.  I am by nature, sinful after all.

The Bible says, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am god: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

As I read this this morning, I started to think, that is all great but what does it mean to be still.  In my mind, I thought of it as being quiet.  I am sure that it does help to quiet your mind to hear God, but that isn’t what this verse is referencing.  The word ‘still’ is a translation of the Hebrew word rapa, meaning “to slacken, let down or cease.”  In times of war, it denotes putting down your weapons.  This phrase actually means to stop the crazy stuff you are doing and just stop and be still.

The word “know”  in this case means to “acknowledge or be aware” in Hebrew.  The Bible tells us to stop the crazy activity that we are doing to fix the situation, and acknowledge that He is God!  God is all knowing, He is present everywhere, He is all powerful, holy, sovereign, faithful, and good.  He knows what you are going through and He cares about all the details of your life.  He also already knows how to fix it and He knows how to bring you through it.

Why is it the more messed up my life is, the faster I move….do I want to just get to the wrong place quicker?  Really, what is the point?  My natural response is actually not very logical when I remember who God is and how much He loves me.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an everpresent help in trouble.” NIV

I don’t need to go into crazy busy mode when there is a problem.  The reality is, it won’t be me to fix it.  It will be God.  He is my everpresent help in trouble!  My first reaction should be to stop, go before the Lord and let God direct my steps.  How nice it is to know that He will give direction and be my help in time of trouble!

Thankful For the Opportunity to Get Annoyed….

Yep you read the title right…. I haven’t written in the last two months because I accepted a part time position doing adoption work.  For the last two months, my five hour a week position has been more like thirty hours.  I have had the opportunity to work closely with a birth mom.  My job was to help her through the adoption process, as she chose to pursue an adoption plan and to help her hopefully get back on her feet.  I obviously can’t say much about her case but what I can say is this.  She has more than one child and she doesn’t get to see them.  I would like to believe that I have had a lasting impact on her life (of that I can’t be sure).  What I do know for certain is that she has unknowingly had a lasting impact on mine.

I have been a Stay at Home Mom now for the last six years.  I will confess to the whole world that I have not always been thankful for it.  I get bored first of all.  Second of all, I am a self-declared not so good house keeper.  I think I had this picture of being a Stay at Home Mom in my brain that looked something like June Cleaver in Leave It To Beaver.  My house would be perfectly clean, my hair would be in just the right place, a lovely gourmet dinner would be on the table every night and the house would be perfectly decorated.  At the end of every day there would be some perfectly lovely lesson learned with my perfect little children going off to bed.  The reality of staying at home looks something like me being in my favorite shorts and t-shirt, my hair being frazzled, I’m doing awesome to get my make up on, my house is some how always messy, even seconds after I clean it.  I think the Tazmanian Devil is hiding in my house some where and comes out to mess things up as soon as I go to the bathroom.  As far as dinner goes, I have become a pretty decent cook, but June’s food always looks much better than mine.

The third thing I always had messed up in my brain was this idea that my little darling children would always behave perfectly….now that one is pretty funny.  Obviously, I was not seeing this in the Biblical truth that we are all born with a sinful nature.  For my confession, sometimes my children really, really annoy me.  I try not to show it, but sometimes it just comes pouring out all over their cuteness.

With that being said, the other day I was spending time with this lady on my case load.  She is down on her luck for sure.  Honestly, I don’t remember what brought it up.  Something (probably stupid and insignificant because I can’t even remember what it was) had happened and I was feeling annoyed with my children when I saw her.  I briefly mentioned that my little angels were driving me crazy and her reaction was something I will not soon forget.  She said, “I wish I could be around my children long enough for them to annoy me.”  She said, “Do you know I actually miss hearing them fight?”

I have not been able to get that statement out of my head.  I have not seen my children’s fights and other things they do in the same way since I heard that statement.  What must it be like to not be able to have the opportunity to become irritated with your children, because you simply don’t see them?

I used to think that I wasn’t all that blessed because we don’t have much money.  I am realizing that God’s blessings come in all different shapes and sizes.  Sure having money would be nice, but is that really what is important.  I believe that one of the biggest blessings God has given me in my life is the opportunity to get annoyed.  That’s right, I get to spend so much time with my beautiful children that they sometimes drive me nuts!  The question I have been asking myself lately is would I trade my special opportunity to be annoyed for all the money in the world.  The answer to that is clear to me.  No I would not!  I get the amazing blessing of really knowing these two sweet little people who God blessed me with.  I get to hear them laugh and cry.  I get to see them at their best and yes at their worst.  I get to see them be silly and just be kids.  I get to hear them fight with each other and love each other.

I wouldn’t give up the opportunity to get annoyed with my sweet kids for all the money in the world because every single moment I have with them are blessings.  It’s just that sometimes the blessing is a little bit hard to recognize.

Mother’s Day Encouragement

Today is Mother’s Day.  I have been thinking a lot about it.  I called my mom and chatted with her.  I wished I could see her, but alas I have a sick kid in my house.  I adore my mom.  Our relationship is not perfect but who has the perfect relationship anyway?  She worked hard and sacrificed a lot for me. She has always loved me with her whole heart.  She like every other mom, was not perfect but she was the perfect mom for me.

I also thought of my mother in law.  She is an amazing person and extremely supportive.  She wasn’t perfect either.  She loved my husband with her whole heart and still does.  I know she was the perfect mom for my husband.  Did she make mistakes?  Definitely, but God knew what he was doing when He gave my husband his mom.

I also thought of me.  I worry all the time that I am messing up my kids.  I struggle with mom guilt and self doubt.  I wonder if my mom felt that way.  Did she wonder all the time if she was messing me up?  I suspect she did.  I bet my mother in law thought that too.  The reality is if I didn’t love my kids so very much, I doubt I would worry about messing them up.  I doubt I would obsess about each decision I make for them or feel horrible every time I lose my temper.

I was praying about all of these jumbled up thoughts this morning and as I prayed I realized something.  I may not be the perfect mom.  I will inevitably mess up.  That being said God chose me to be my children’s mother.  I may not be a perfect mom, but I am the right mom for my kids.  I am so thankful that God is there to cover my mistakes. 

Remember moms, you aren’t perfect but God chose you to be your kids mom.  There isn’t any one better qualified.