No Ministry? No Problem

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“I need a bigger table before I can host a girl’s brunch.” As I look at my small table with four chairs, I realize I can’t fit a lot of friends around this thing. I need one of those long farmhouse tables. It must be perfect and have lots of room.

I’ve been saying this to myself for a few years now. Waiting until I have the perfect place to invite groups of people over. But one day I saw a quote that allowed me to see I already had a place.

“You don’t have to lead a ministry to be a ministry.”

Christy Wright, Business Boutique.

I realized that I don’t have to wait for the perfect size table. I already have a table and chairs. I have the tools to host people in my home. To invite others to enjoy a home cooked meal and some great conversation around the dinner table. I do not need a large table to turn my home into a ministry to the outside world.

My husband and I decided to invite several co-workers and friends over to our house for a dinner and game night. Since our dining room table is small we decided to pull out our 8-foot plastic folding table. I added a table cloth that transformed our generic table into an inviting place to sit.  When I friends came over we played games, ate dinner and had a lot of laughs. Never once did the type of table I had come up in conversation.

I am happy to say that in a few weeks I am finally going to host the lady’s brunch. I still don’t have a nice big table but I will make do with what I have. I’ve met so many women lately who just want to connect with others. That’s what I hope my plastic table can help do. I really want my home to be a place where people come to relax and feel loved. I even had my friend Heather make me a sign for my dining room. It’s from a David Crowder song. When I heard the lyrics I knew that’s what I wanted in my dining room.

“Come sit at the table, come taste the grace.”

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I think it’s easy for us to assume we don’t have the right materials to impact others. But God never said we needed things like a perfect dining room table to bring people together in his name. All we need is to offer what we have to those around us. Whether that’s serving meals to our guest on fine China or on paper plates. Use what you have. If you remember you remember when Jesus was dining at Simon’s home when a woman broke open expensive perfume for him. She used what she had to show Jesus her appreciation.

“She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” -Mark 14:8-9

What do you have that can be used to help others? Are you waiting for the perfect time or place to host a small group? I say don’t wait. There are people in this world who need to see and hear how much God loves them. It’s amazing what a warm meal and good conversation can do to help show that to others.

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Paleo Skillet Blueberry Cobbler

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Cobblers are one of the staples in Southern cooking. I can remember countless of times my grandma and mother would quickly prepare a fruit cobbler for an after-dinner dessert. But when you’re trying to eat better, you can’t use 3 sticks of butter to make a cobbler. Yes, butter is amazing but there is a way to make it healthier.

What you need:

1 1/2 Cup of Almond Flour

1/4 Cup of melted Coconut Oil

1/4 Agave Nectar

3-4 Cups of frozen Blueberries (DO NOT UNTHAW)

2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon

Before you start mixing the ingredients make sure to preheat the oven to 350. Next, grab a skillet and grease it with coconut oil. Then pour the frozen blueberries into the skillet. If you use a large skillet then fill it up with blueberries at half the depth of the skillet. (You may want to double the topping recipe for larger skillets that feed more people.) Set the skillet aside.

*Side note* You can use any fruit including: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches or apples. 

* Apples will need to be in the oven for about 45 minutes to soften.

Next, pour the almond flour, cinnamon, melted coconut oil and agave nectar into a bowl. Make sure to mix well. It will turn into a paste like consistency. Then pour over the blueberries in the skillet. Spread across the top like a crust/topping.

Place in the oven for 30 minutes on 350.

Once the time is up, let it cool for about 5 minutes before serving. It also goes great with Halo Top Ice Cream. This dessert is very filling so you won’t need a big portion to satisfy your sweet hunger.

Leave me your pictures of this recipe below. Let me know what you think.

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How Tea Time Helps Me Stay Connected

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It was more than 2 years ago my husband and I moved to the Midwest. We were excited to head to a new place but leaving family was hard. Now, they live about 12 hours away. With our busy schedules it’s hard to stay in touch with family on a regular basis. As 2018 is about to start I decided I wanted to spend more time with my family. Even if it is over the phone.

Yesterday, I text my sister and scheduled an afternoon phone call with “tea time”. We both asked our husbands to watch the kids while we went into a quiet room to talk on the phone. My sister enjoyed a hot cup of Chai tea while I grabbed an afternoon cup of coffee. We talked on the phone for almost 3 hours. (We did not expect it to go that long). It was great. I loved just talking to her about what’s been going on.

My sister and I always enjoyed drinking coffee and talking ever since I can remember. When we lived in the same city I would go over to her house and talk all day. We even liked going out for Starbucks and making a girls day out of it. Sadly, those moments are far and few between these days. Again, the distance and the fact we’re raising kids of our own can make it difficult to spend time together.

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As I get older, I find myself seeing the real importance of life. People. I would trade everything to have more time with my family and friends. I also know we are not promised tomorrow. I want to make the best of each day. Last year, I struggled a lot with depression and anxiety. I had very few people who knew. Even fewer who reached out to  see how I was doing. Now that I am doing better I want to make sure the people that I love don’t go unnoticed. It’s so important for us to take the time to see others. To ask how they are doing. To stop and schedule some time to talk with a friend or family member.

That’s why in 2018 I hope to spend more quality time with family and friends. Even if it’s over the phone. By scheduling an hour to sit and talk is important to me. I’m hoping to add more of my friends and family to this new tradition. As my husband and I journey into becoming foster/adoptive parents I know we will need support. We will need to have strong relationships around us. No matter the distance.

What are some ways you stay in touch with family and friends? Is there someone you need to reach out to?

Leave your comments below. I want to hear from you.

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Day 11 Giveaway: Pampered Chef

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The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway is almost over. But I still have a few more items for you guys. Today, you get a chance to win a 3 cutting boards from Pampered Chef’s Collection. This is a $17 value.

Stacy is the lady behind this gift. She donated this item for the giveaway. Here’s how Stacey decided to partner with Pampered Chef.

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“I’m a stay-at-home mom to 4 great kids whom I homeschool.  I was trying to find a way to help with the little extras at home but have fun while doing it.  One night, I hosted a Pampered Chef show in my home. My husband commented, “Hey you could do that and have fun too.”  Pampered Chef has great products that range in price. So yes some can be spendy but others aren’t.  The host and consultant benefits are great as well as the support system. ” – Stacey
You can follow Stacey on Facebook or checkout her Pampered Chef’s website.
Here’s how you can enter a chance to win.
Click here to view this promotion.

Day 7 Giveaway: Nutty’s Peanut Butter

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Day 7’s Christmas Giveaway is a treat. Literally. The holidays are full of sweet treats and what better way to add to your cookie baking this year than flavored peanut butter. Nutty’s is fresh milled peanut butter in fun, delicious flavors. Owner and creator Carrie says, “We love making it because peanut butter just makes people happy! Combining it with flavors like White Chocolate, Chocolate and Butterscotch make it even more fun! We love to see people’s reactions to the different flavors.”

Carrie was kind enough to send me some and I can’t express enough how amazing this stuff is. Here how Carrie’s love for peanut butter sparked her interest to start her own business.

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“Growing up I always loved peanut butter. I even imagined one day I would open up my own peanut butter store! God blessed me with a super encouraging husband, who one day said “Why don’t we just go for it?” When we realized we could make it more fun with different flavors, our kitchen turned into a taste test kitchen. There was a lot of tasting going on for sure! Over the years we’ve really enjoyed working together and getting to know our customers.” – Carrie
You can see what new flavors they’re working on by following Carrie on Facebook and Instagram.
Don’t forget to head on over to Nutty’s website. You may want to order some peanut butter for a Christmas present for the peanut butter lover in your life.
Here’s how you can enter a chance to win this tasty giveaway.
Click here to view this promotion.

Day 4 Giveaway: Mississippi Coffee Lady

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Today’s giveaway is one of my favorite things in the whole world. Coffee. I am a serious coffee drinker. So I decided to share my love with you. Today you can win a bag of coffee from Mississippi Coffee. It’s an $8 value for 1/2 lb of coffee.

Joy is the lady behind this aroma gift. Like me, she too has a passion for coffee. Here’s how she got started.

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“I grew up on a farm in small town Mississippi with a large family, horses, lots of hard work, and strong coffee!! My parent’s home was a constant hub of activity as they ministered to others from around the world growing up, and I was dubbed “the coffee lady” by hundreds that came through our home. I’ve always loved coffee and loved serving it to others! I wanted to do something with it, but it wasn’t until my father passed away that I began honing my skills as a roaster. I started my own business from home to help pay the bills. When I married my husband a year ago, I brought Mississippi Coffee Lady with me and I’m living my dream as a wife now at home as I roast gourmet coffee from our farm in GA!” – Joy
If you’re a big coffee lover then make sure to check out Mississippi Coffee Lady’s website.
You can also follow Joy on Facebook and Instagram.
Here’s how you can win a free bag of coffee today.
Click here to view this promotion.

A Budget Friendly Way to Eat Healthy on the Road

It’s time for a pit stop. You’re half way through your road trip but you need something to eat. So you stop at the first fast food restaurant. You wish there was a healthier option but you get your second burger and fries of the trip. After you eat the meal you feel yucky. Heavy. And you’re still not at your destination. Here are some ways my family and I️ save money and eat healthy on the road.

Preparing meals for the road trip and meals while on vacation cost us $50 for 3 people. We also bought enough to feed 4 other adults and two more kids. Yes, we shop at Aldi. (If you don’t you should.)

1. Planning ahead. This is the most important step of the process. It’s easy to throw random food in your cooler but having a plan is key. One thing I️ do is prep our meals. For example, if you know you’ll need dinner then plan a dinner that is easy to eat and carry on the road. Here’s what I️ did. I️ made a can of soup and put it in a big thermos. Then I️ made a few PB&Js for me and my husband. It’s simple but not as heavy as fast food.

2. Prepare Your child’s meal. My daughter gets hungry on road trips. Food is about the only thing that keeps her mostly happy. So when it’s dinner time I️ don’t want to stop and make a sandwich in a random parking lot. I️ want to pull it out and hand it to her. For my daughter I️ put Chicken, crackers, strawberries, bell peppers and a cheese stick in a plastic container with a lid. I also added a fork. It’s easy to feed the little ones. Especially in cars. It cuts down on the mess.

3. Lots of Snacks. Snacks can help you stay focused on the road. But filling up on greasy potato chips or candy is not the healthiest or the cheapest. For our trip I️ packed some bell peppers with guacamole. I️ like the individual Guacamole packs because it’s great for portion control and travels well. Another snack is carrots and hummus. I️ use these tiny containers I️ used to store my daughters baby food in. Now, they make containers for hummus or peanut butter.

4. Hassle- Free Transporting. There is food that needs to stay cold and there are the snacks and dry food. A great way to transport dry food without a ton of grocery bags is putting it in one large plastic tub with a lid. When you start to unload, it will be easier to move and get to.

My husband and I️ were in need of a cooler. We planned on buying one from Amazon for $25 but we didn’t have time. My husband dropped off some donations before we left. While he was there he found a cooler. For $8. It was the perfect size to put the turkey and other cold items in. Plus I️ hate styrofoam coolers because they squeak the whole road trip.

5. Milk for little ones. We always bring a full carton of almond milk for our daughter. But we don’t need all of it while driving. So I️ put enough for two cup refills in a mason jar. It stays tightly sealed and is easy to find. I️ just stick it in our cooler picnic basket.

6. Easy access. When you want snacks, the last thing you want to do is search for them. Instead, you can place them in a plastic container where they can be reached by everyone. It’s quick and easy. Not to mention safer when it comes to distracted driving.

What are some ways you eat healthyon the road?

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How To Drink Coffee From Around the World for Free

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I LOVE coffee. It is one of my favorite drinks in the world. So when there is a chance to try different coffee for free I am all over it. How? It’s an event called cupping.

Cupping is where you come together as a group to taste different coffees from around the world. That’s what my family and I did today. Here’s what you can expect.

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Theta Ridge Coffee is a local coffee distributer where they sell different types of coffee from places like Brazil, Indonesia and Africa. This particular coffee distributer travels to personally pick out coffee from these countries. They spend time with the farmers and really get to know them and their product.

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If you’re a coffee drinker that has to have cream and sugar then just be aware that you will not find that on the cupping table. I am one of those people. However, this experience wasn’t as bad as I feared.

Kevin, the owner and our coffee guide, sat out 5 different types of coffee. The grounds were in tiny glasses. Our group traveled around the table to smell the fresh grounds, trying to figure out what the flavors are. Next, Kevin poured hot water over the grains. A grain crust built along the top. We then went around with a spoon slowly moving the crust that released the aromas of the coffee. It was amazing how different some smelled once they were in hot water.

Next came the tasting. Kevin removed the grains off of the top. Then we each took our spoon and dipped it in the coffee. Then slurped. You can either spit out the coffee or swallow it.

The cool part about the cupping experience is getting a chance to taste coffee that you may not be able to normally afford. Today we were able to taste a Brazilian coffee called Jaci, a coffee that sold at auction last year for $58 a pound. I’ve never tasted coffee quite like this. Starbucks watch out!

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The experience lasted about an hour. We even brought our 19-month old along with us. No, she didn’t drink coffee, but she did work on her slurping noises. It was a great way to meet others while doing what I love. Drinking coffee. Once again this was a free experience. Many cities do have this option available. New York City actually has a big cupping experience. Professionals taste about 250 different coffees a day. I’m not sure anyone can just join in on the fun, but it’s worth looking into.

So if you’re a coffee lover and are looking to learn more about your favorite drink then I recommend you try cupping.

Have you tried this? What did you think? Would you try it now?

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8 Ways To Not Overeat Thanksgiving Dinner

IMG_0275Thanksgiving is next week and I bet you’re already thinking about the yummy food. All while worried you may throw your “new eating lifestyle” out the window. Instead of worrying about overeating, here are some tips to take with you to Thanksgiving Dinner.

  1. Eat before: If you’re having a mid-day lunch or dinner, make sure you eat before. Don’t skip breakfast in hopes to have more room for food. It will cause you to gorge yourself later. Eat a healthy breakfast. Also a snack and maybe lunch depending on what time the meal is. That way you’re not regretting the amount of food you consume.
  2. Eat smaller portions: I use this tip in my every day life. Instead of grabbing the big dinner plate. Grab the small to medium plate. This will allow you to keep your portions small. Especially, if you want to taste everything available. So when your eyes are bigger than your stomach you can actually enjoy the meal. I would say do the same with desserts. You can still taste all of the pies but make sure to keep them at a small portion. Remember, a little goes a long way.
  3. Don’t stand near the food: A lot of times we all gather around the buffet of food and have conversations with our friends and family. So when someone else is talking you start snacking in between. Instead, take the conversation to the living room. Relax and enjoy time with your family.
  4. Go for a walk: A great way to burn off your Thanksgiving meal before getting dessert is going for a walk around the block. This could be great time to talk more with family you haven’t seen in a while. And get away from those driving you crazy. Include the kids as well. Maybe ride bikes together. Anything to get you moving while growing closer with your loved ones.
  5. Workout before the Thanksgiving meal: If the meal is later in the day then it’s a perfect time to grab a quick workout before you leave. It doesn’t even have to be long. A 30 minute HIIT workout would be great. Especially for all of those cooking Thanksgiving this year.
  6. Drink water: A good rule of thumb I follow is drinking water with my meal. Sometimes I’ll even drink a big glass before. That causes me to fill up quickly while maintaining my portions. You can always grab that glass of wine later. But for dinner stick with water. You will eat less and stay hydrated.
  7. Bring a healthy dish or dessert: This is a perfect way to make sure there is something remotely healthy at your Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it’s the time where you eat all things unhealthy. But you can incorporate healthy foods that taste just as good. Maybe even bring a healthier dessert than Pecan Pie. That way you can share a new recipe with family and make sure something healthy gets on your plate.
  8. Enjoy your meal: Thanksgiving is about coming together with the ones you love. So don’t stress too much about the food. You can eat that slice of pie, but just be smart about it. Life is short. Enjoy the amazing foods that come with this holiday. As long as you use these tricks then you’ll find yourself happy about the choices you made. Not regretting every calorie you ate.

What are some things you do to make sure you don’t overeat on Thanksgiving?

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