Monday, April 22, 2013

Devotion: Storing God's Word on Your Internal Hard Drive

It's an early Tuesday morning, and I'm trying up upload my grocery list onto my phone. As I'm typing in "milk", my phone freezes. Now, this is not unusual. When I'm trying to run too many apps at one time on my personal pocket computer, it tends to freeze, shut down all apps, and lets me try again. It's a little frustrating, but I know it's my fault for trying to do too many things at once. 

So when my phone shut down that Tuesday morning, I thought nothing of it. Until I tried unlocking my phone again. Nothing happened. The screen wouldn't let me swipe my code, answer a call, or send a text. Luckily for me, it was time for my phone upgrade, but today just wasn't the day for it. I had a party I was supposed to be taking my daughter to; I had an appointment to meet someone; I had groceries to pick up; and what was on my calendar for that evening?! Why can't I remember?! I can't access all my information on my phone! Panic was beginning to settle in. When I suddenly had a need for all the information on my phone, I couldn't access it, and gone were the days of memorizing everyone's number. I quickly ordered a new phone, but I couldn't pick it up until the end of the day. I was going to have to use my husband's phone; his old, not-so-smart phone. 

When I got my new, and even better phone, I was hit with yet another "horror." None of contacts were saved online to transfer to my new phone, and my new phone didn't have a SD card, so all of my pictures were also stuck on the old phone. I essentially lost everything and had to start from scratch. I sent out an "all call" on Facebook asking for people to text me their contact information. I had to search through the new apps to decide which ones I used on a regular basis, which ones I really didn't need anymore, and which ones my new phone has that my old phone didn't. I had to reevaluate my dependency of my phone. I had to save all my information in 5 different places so I wouldn't lose all my information, calendars, and contacts again. 

As I was constantly updating my contact list, I starting thinking about the days when we memorized our friends' numbers. If I needed to call a friend, that information was neatly tucked in my brain, and I could access it anytime. Even today I can recite a long list of phone numbers from my friends 20 years ago. This all reminded me about memorizing scripture. Proverbs 6: 21-22 says, "Keep their words in mind forever as though you had tied them around your neck. They will guide you when you walk. They will guard you when you sleep. They will speak to you when you are awake." I am so lucky to live in a culture when I can have the Word of God at my fingertips at a moment's notice. I have my Bible, well-worn, and filled with notes. I have my computer where I can access specific scripture or various translation of my beloved book. I have my smart phone {well, most of the time} where I have devotions sent to me so I can read while sitting in car line or in stand-still traffic. But in so many countries, having any scripture at all can be dangerous. Those people must rely on memorizing verses so they may recall them in times of danger, when they need to be comforted, or when they need to just be reminded how much God loves them. The Bible speaks over and over again about the importance of memorizing scripture. Our minds are designed to recall things that we took the time to memorize; very much like a filing system inside our heads. In danger? Boom! Psalm 91. Need peace and rest? Remember Matthew 11:25-30. Need Christian assurance? Think about Romans 8:1-30. Seeking happiness? Think about what Paul said in Colossians 3:12-17

Although it was not cool at all that I lost all of my contacts and "vital" information on my phone, it sure did serve to remind me how important it is to store God's Word on my internal hard drive. He gave us such strong brains, where we can memorize long passages and recall in times of need. If I'm ever in a situation where I need to remember scripture, or to use certain verses to encourage others around me, the first source I should go to is scripture I take the time to memorize. Luke 13:8 reminds us to "fertilize" our hearts and minds. Doing so will help us produce FRUIT. One of the best fertilizers God gives us is the opportunity to memorizing scripture. 

Join me in making a point to memorizing at least one scripture a week. You may never know when you need to access it. 

Need additional verses about memorizing scripture? Go HERE

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Recipe REVIEW: Paleo Pizza

As I continue to work on changing my eating habits to include less carbs and more protein, one of my favorite Facebook Pages to follow is "Just Eat Real Food". This page posts two-three recipes for each meal each day, and this is where I found a link to Humble Foodie's No Scrubs: Paleo Pizza. The picture that was posted with the recipe was so beautiful, full of bright colors and yummy, yummy veggies. I instantly put it in my meal planner on Ziplist.com for Monday night.

Below I will be posting the recipe as I did it as I had to triple the recipe to feed my family of 5, and then check the bottom of my "Official Review". Please go HERE for the original recipe.

Paleo Pizza
* 1 1/2 cup almond meal {You can make your own by grinding raw, unsalted almonds into a powder...but don't grind too much; You'll get almond butter.}
* 3/4 tsp salt
* 1 1/2 tsp EACH of dried basil and oregano
* 3/4 tsp dried thyme
* 3 tsp olive oil + extra for oiling pan or stone
* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup tomato sauce
* pizza toppings {See note below for my preference}
* Optional: parmesean cheese

Note: My pizza toppings included: 
* 1 cup fresh baby spinach
* 1 green and 1 red bell pepper
* 1/2 cup mushrooms
* garlic powder
* pepperoni slices
* 1/4 cup feta cheese 


  1. Preheat oven to 325. Oil parchment paper or a baking stone {my preference}
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine almond meal, salt, seasoning, olive oil, and eggs. 
  3. Spread the dough onto the parchment paper or on the stone until it is very thin. 
  4. Bake for 10 minutes
  5. While baking, saute any toppings you desire. I sauteed half of the peppers and all of the mushrooms in  1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp of rosemary, garlic powder, and thyme. 
  6. Remove crust from oven, add sauce and then toppings. Bake for 15 minutes or until pizza is crisp. 
Note: Here is how I layered my pizza after crust was precooked: 
* 1/4 tsp garlic powder
* sprinkle with parmesean cheese and feta cheese
* tomato sauce
* 1/2 tsp oregano and rosemary 
* baby spinach
* sauteed veggies 
* pepperoni
* rest of raw veggies 
* sprinkle with parmesean and feta cheese, oregano, and rosemary 

Because I LOADED up my pizza, the cooking time was 20 minutes. 

My "Official" Review

Was it Easy to Make? Yes. It was very easy to make. I would almost dare to say it was easier to make than regular pizza dough. I started making it at 5pm and we were ready to eat by 545. I'm sure that time would be shorter if I hadn't piled on 10 layers on my pizza. 

How Did It Taste? Very, very good. I warned my husband ahead of time that it wasn't the normal pizza I make. When I do that, he normally politely eats a small amount and then about 30 minutes after dinner gets himself a bowl of cereal or something. Not only did he eat his share, but he got seconds. All but one of my children got seconds. I also got seconds, but I put my seconds on top of about 1/2 cup of fresh spinach. The only reason I did this was so I could save some pizza for the rest of the family. When I came back to see how much I needed to put away, it was all gone. So, yeah, this went over well with my family. 

Did it make me feel full? Yes, but not the "pop the top button of my shorts" full. It was sufficient. I could have added a salad with it, and I sort of did with my seconds, but it wasn't necessary. 

If you are looking for a good pizza recipe that is not going blow your carbs out of the water, I would suggest this recipe. Very good and very easy to make. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits

Yummy Ready-To-Go Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits for those busy mornings. 
 There are just some mornings when getting up before the rest of the family to cook a well-balanced meal isn't exactly going to happen. And on Sunday mornings, when my family has to be leaving the house at 8am for church, many times I found myself tossing a granola bar to my kids as we sprint out the door. I made a "Spring-Time Resolution" not too long ago that I was going to be more proactive about having breakfast ready for the family that didn't involve them rummaging through the snack box for something to hold them over.

So when I saw a post on Pinterest about a great idea for egg biscuits, I smacked my forehead and realized I could make a delicious meal for my family ahead of time that would be easy to grab and go on those mornings I just can't be a perfect mom. {Quick note here, before writing this post, I tried to go back to the website I found to give credit for the idea. I couldn't find it. I then looked at Pinterest and found similar websites, but not the one that sparked the idea. So, just letting you know, this was not my brain child}.

The biggest problem I have had in the past with making egg biscuits is that the eggs are normally too big for the biscuits, and making scrambled eggs is really just out of the question. I have 3 kids. I'm not going to attempt that. The key to this entire recipe is to use mason jar lids. That's right, the lids. Once upon a time, I tried a biscuit cutter, but it just didn't work out. When I saw that lids might actually work, I was beyond excited. I have an entire shelf of mason jar lids, so I could really do an entire batch of biscuits all at once. So. Stinkin'. Excited. And it worked like a charm.

Here is what I did:
Step 1: I made some biscuits. I used my recipe for Homemade Biscuits Like Grandma Made. Instead of rolling them out 1/2 inch thick, I did 1/4 inch so I would have enough to have a top and bottom for each biscuit. 

Step 2: I sprayed the inside of each lid with cooking spray {important} and placed it on a griddle on medium heat. Gently crack an egg into each lid. The lids where the egg is running out from underneath are the ones where I just cracked and dumped. After the eggs are in, add a small bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Let cook until the egg is almost completely settled. 

Step 3: When the egg has almost completely set, it's time to flip them. Very carefully, and with mittens on, if you don't have cumbersome ones like I do, remove the lids from the eggs, and gently flip. Now, if the lid does not remove easily, then you have some egg that has cooked to the bottom of the lid. There are TWO ways to solve this problem. 1. Take the back side of a spoon and gently try to push the edges of the egg off the lid. If that doesn't work, then 2. Flip the egg and lid over. Gently scrape the egg off the lid. Flip the egg and lid back over and remove lid. Then flip the egg so the other side can cook. All three methods were used on the eggs above.
Step 4: Once the eggs are cooked all the way through, remove from griddle and begin cooking your sausage. Try to make your sausage as round as possible, unless you are using those little sausages that are already formed into patties. Also, remember that the patties will shrink a little once cooked. Try to make your patties a little larger than the biscuit so when it's fully cooked, it will fit just right. 

Step 5: Assemble your biscuit. I used those little snack cheeses as our cheese, but you could most certainly use a slice of cheese here as well. If you use a slice, you may be able to split the slice in half and layer differently or use one slice of cheese for two biscuits. This is actually how I am leaving the biscuit until the morning. When we are ready for breakfast, I will heat up the biscuit, and the cheese will melt slightly at that time. 
Step 6: [Optional] If you made these ahead of time, wrap them in foil and place in a freezer zip bag. You can freeze these and pull out what you need when you need it. Or you can wrap them and put them in the fridge for the morning. When you reheat these {and melt the cheese in the process}, leave the foil ON and place in a toaster oven. 

These sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits are not only delicious but also incredibly easy to make. I set aside an entire evening to make these, and really, it didn't take long at all. These would also make a great gifts to give to someone who just had a baby, who experienced a death in the family, or even for someone who has family in the hospital. Make a dozen, wrap and put in a freezer bag, and pass on to those you are trying to serve. Either way, families are going to be blessed and good food will be had by all. 

Happy eating, everyone.        

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Devotion: Just Chill Out! I've Got This!

In Christ we were chosen to be God's people, because from the very beginning God had decided this in keeping with His plan. And He is the One who makes everything agree with what He decides and wants. We are the first people who hoped in Christ, and we were chosen so that we would bring praise to God's glory." Ephesians 1:11-12 

Photo Credit 

Blue lights flashed behind me. "What in the world did I do?" I was practically frantic. I was going under the speed limit; I turned my blinker on; I did everything I was supposed to do. So when the officer came to my window making me aware of a busted tail light, relief flooded through me. That is until I reached for my proof of insurance. It wasn't there! My heart rate immediately went sky high. Instead of a basic warning, I was actually going to get a ticket. So for three weeks my stomach ached at the thought of going to traffic court. All I had to do was show proof of insurance, and I was going to be let go. But all that kept floating in my head was that the last time I got a ticket, 15 years ago, the officer said the same thing, but then basically called me a liar in court, in front of a judge, in a room full of people. I had to pay the ticket anyway. I was just terrified that was all going to happen again. 

The morning of my court date I was a mess! I couldn't eat. I couldn't drink. My hands couldn't stop shaking. I know this sounds crazy, but I never get in trouble. I work real hard to do what is right because getting in trouble literally makes me sick. My husband, who takes everything in stride, was trying to calm me down. I begged him to come with me. "Why?" He said, "They aren't going to talk to me." I needed his presence, someone with me to give me a bit of confidence. I was on the brink of a panic attack when I shakingly told him, "I just need you there! I don't know where to go! I don't know what to wear! I don't know what to say that won't get me in more trouble!" I nervously alternated drinking my cold coffee and biting my nails. "I'm freaking out because I feel like everything is out of my control, and I can't get a solid hold on anything!" As those words came out of my mouth, realization dawned on me. Those words were so true! Everything was out of my control. I received a gentle nudge from God at that moment. He was in control. Whether I was going to be released of my ticket or not, He was in control of the entire situation. I needed to get my confidence from Him, and not myself. There are going to be circumstances in my life where there is absolutely nothing I can do anything about. I have to have faith that God knows what he's doing. When we pulled up to the court house, my husband and daughter prayed with me. Peace washed over me. I took a breath that for the past few hours I could not take. The Lord was going to take care of every little aspect of my life. 

We all go through circumstances in our life where we feel out of control. Some may be minor incidents like mine. You may get a ticket; your dinner party isn't coming together like you wanted; everyone cuts you off on the way to work on a morning you are already late. Or the circumstances may be major. Your daughter is sick and in the hospital; your finances are a mess and the debt collectors have your number on speed dial; you lost your job. The important thing to remember is God is in control. Of EVERY circumstance. His plan is greater than ours. One thing my pastor said the other night at church is this: "God does not cause bad things to happen. But he does allow things to happen in order for a purpose." He quoted scripture from Exodus. Joseph as sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of a crime, and was moved all over the place, away from his family. God's purpose was to have Joseph be the 2nd in command in Egypt when the time was right. The Israelites needed him to be there when the drought raged through Egypt. 

Maybe God's sole purpose for my ticket and anxiety was for me to be reminded how much I needed to rely on Him. I needed to remember that I'm not in control. Letting anxiety overcome me was a stumbling block for me, and I needed to get back on track with my Lord. If anything, I can do what the key scripture says and "bring praise to God's glory." 

My you find peace in the Lord today, trusting in His plan for your life.