One Year to Live

Photo by cerasaragirl
“On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day, we don’t consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor.”
- Francis Chan (Crazy Love)

Think for a moment with me... What if you were given the knowledge that in 2012 your life would somehow end. How different would your life look like from what you were doing last week or from a few months ago? What would your new passions, priorities and goals be with this new-found knowledge? What would people remember you for in ten, twenty or hundred years from now? Would your love for people and God be a consistent theme in your life?

After our Christmas Eve service this year, our family drove a mile up the road to visit my mother-in-law's grave site. As we huddled together in the dark and cold of that night, amidst the tears and laughter, one thing resonated with us all... she was a precious soul. She loved her family beyond words. She was meek and so humble. She never complained even through years of battling cancer. Her overwhelming virtuous character and obvious love for the Lord were truly the things we remember most about her. What would people say about you if they huddling by your grave a year from now?

David reminds us in Psalms 39,
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Our lives are incredibly brief. One day you will be gone. The Bible describes our lives as a mist, vanishing, a moment, a breath, the width of our hand. If your life ended in 2012 would God be honored with the life you lived?
How many times this past year have you had regrets? Regrets over not doing something you knew you needed to do or say. Regrets over harsh words that came out of your mouth. Regrets for not giving more. Regrets for not slowing down to spend time with those most important to you. I can tell you... I know I've had too many.
But that's where Christ enters the scene. We all have regrets and ways we wish we could change. Why not make 2012 your year to be who Christ truly wants you to be. Don't rely on New Year's resolutions to make yourself better... anything conjured up by guilt and shame will definitely fall by the wayside at some point. Find every possible way to simply enjoy Christ. Find your treasure and joy in Him. Only through Him will you experience the grace and love you need to help you iron out those parts of your life that need a little repairing... we all have them.
I pray all those who read this post will strive to truly live more like Christ in 2012 and beyond if God allows. May our actions, words and thoughts be a reflection of the grace we find in Jesus. Let this grace filter down to our relationships and anyone we encounter.
Would you be thrilled if your life ended in 2012 because you had the reassurance you passionately pursued the things of God and found your joy in Him alone and in turn, had a successful ending to your journey on earth? May this be our prayer as long as we breathe.
The clock is ticking... go do your thing!


I See this Baby...

"Let’s not allow the traditions of the worldly celebration of Christmas to distract us from Advent, but spend time preparing our hearts to cry out with joy."

Lately I am overcome with the selfishness of my heart in regards to Christmas. The obsessions of this season really get in the way of what this baby was bringing that night. Sometimes I want to find the "escape" button.

But then I realize the side of finding joy in the things God has given us, and yet keeping my focus... a perfect balance...
and then I start to see this baby.

I never want to lose sight of the incredible wonder and miracle of this baby. A sweet, innocent baby coming into this fallen and broken world. A world that hasn't changed from 2,000 years ago. We might have the internet and modern conveniences, but nothing really has changed. Selfishness is still looming over all our hearts. Getting ahead. Putting on airs. Having our way. What is making me happy?

I have to stop. Completely put on earthly brakes and alter my focus.

Knowing that this baby is really it
He is our joy.
He is truly bringing heaven to us.

Are we seeing it? The light from the smelly manager... it is illuminating with the sounds of hallelujahs from heaven. Can we slow down enough to hear it?

I'm so thankful for this baby. So incredibly in awe of that holy night. As the church, I pray we let this joy stir in us in amazing ways all year long. Envision the manager. Keep your focus on this baby.

Do you see his sweet face? Look at his precious hands, how small and without scars... for now. I don't ever want to escape the knowledge in knowing his little round head would someday be pierced with thorns... all for me. Graciously remember that this baby Jesus, is our salvation.

Let's hold on to this thrill of hope in knowing that Christ has come!


My Favorite Things ... Part 2

If you didn't catch Part 1, go here.

It's really unbelievable that Christmas is only 10 days away. If you are trying to finish your last bits of shopping, I hope this list can help. If you're done, congrats, but you still can check these things out for future gifts or treats for yourself... either way, enjoy!


The Help - I love this book so much so, this is my second time blogging about it. As one description says, it is "... full of heart and history". Available at discounted prices on Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. Price $10 (paperback).

Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine - "Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine is every busy home cook's go-to-guide for great food; good fun; and inspiring ways to relax, laugh and enjoy life. Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine features 30-minute meals and menu planners, Rach's faves for fun, beauty, style, entertaining tips and much more." Price $12 for 1-year subscription.

Horton Hears a Who - On Thanksgiving night this movie was on I seriously can't get this heart-warming movie out of my head... "a person's a person no matter how small". I love Horton. For me, Dr. Seuss outdid himself with this one. Please buy someone or yourself this movie or book.
Price $7-10.

Soul Surfer - This true-life story is yet another movie that everyone should experience. It's a story of courage, extreme determination and faith. Rated PG but I would say it's mostly appropriate for ages 7 and up due to the graphic shark attack scene. Price $10.

.... My husband's two-cent's on book recommendations...
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, (ironically) The Tiger's Wife by
Téa Obreht and lastly, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Kids/Toys & Games:

oes - A fresh twist on a classic game... connect fruit instead of dots. This game is great for any age. It's a great way to get little ones to make color associations, teach counting and cause and effect. Price $13.

Paul Frank - What is it about this monkey? From bedding to key chains to sock and pajamas, the products from this stylish primate have made their way from the west coast largely in part to Target. I am especially in love with this toddler puffer vest. Prices vary.

ut Balance Bike - "The Skuut is a wooden bike for children ages 2 - 5. It has no pedals and no training wheels. Children kick off the ground as if running, thus pushing or "skuut-ing" themselves and the bike forward. The Skuut is perfect for learning balance, steering, coordination and independence." Price around $70.

The Game of Things - It doesn't matter if you're a kid or adult... this game is simply hilarious. Similar to Balderdash in that it is a bluffing game and you make up your own answer then try to guess who said what. Price $31.

Gifts for Women
: (my favorite!)

Bead For Life jewelry - This company sells items made from impoverished women living in Uganda. These hardworking women make beautiful handcrafted paper beads from recycled paper and turn them into necklaces, bracelets and earrings. What a beautiful gift for any girl. Prices $5 and up.

Gratitude Journal - Life is so much more bright when you choose to focus on the good things. This little journal will help you keep records of insightful prompts and inspiring quotes as you jot down all your blessings. Price $10.

Merona Kamischel Suede Boots - These are super stylish for a casual boot. A comfy cushioned insole give these boots even a higher score in my book. They can be worn with jeans or dressed up with a skirt.
Price $45.

H&M Messenger Handbag - I am into practicality and being a mom to four boys, I need a purse that can handle all my things plus a diaper or two. This bag is made of imitation leather, but with all the kids and mess I have most days that's probably better. Anyway, it's fun and cute and CHEAP! Price $25.

Satin Wonders Pillowcase - Cotton pillowcases (and terrycloth when drying your hair) actually grip and damage the hair causing it to break. Terrycloth tends to make the hair frizzier. So satin is the answer... for sleeping on and also to use for drying your hair after a shower. Genius! Prices start at $20.

Gifts are great and I love giving them, but in closing this two part post, I hope you truly know that Christ is the best gift ever! This year has been one of many ups and downs for my family and I really can't picture my life without Christ being my Savior and friend through everything. I pray you experience Him this Christmas and in every
day of your life.

Merry, Merry Christmas!!


WB Meal Plan

Do you plan your meals or are you more spur-of-the-moment meal planner? Some weeks I'm super planned and other weeks... I'm scrounging in the pantry at five-ish. This week I needed a kind push to get myself ready for this week. You know when you have lots on your mind, planning food plus going grocery shopping just isn't your favorite thing to do. That was me today (Sunday).

So after a whole day of delaying, avoiding and doing everything else but plan my family's meals... here they are. Oh, and now that it is done, I am actually really excited about them!


Turkey Burgers
Sweet potato fries
Caesar Salad


Salmon & Noodle Bowl (I'm using whole grain cappellini noodles instead of fettuccine.)
Whole grain baguettes
Orange slices


Black bean quesadillas
Spanish Rice - I'm going to use brown rice instead of white.
Sliced peaches


Greek-style chicken with pickled onions, tomatoes and tzatziki
Zucchini oat bread - I'm going to use whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar and coconut oil instead of the white flour and sugar and butter.


Homemade pizza

Have a great week!!


My Favorite Things (2011 Gift Ideas - Part 1)

All through the year I have mentally and physically kept track of my all-time favorite things. Whether they are for the kitchen, kids or for him or her, it's here. So if you're in a bind and need to purchase those last minute gifts, I personally think the following will please almost anyone!

For the Home::

Cuisinart Immersion Blender - Puree soups, emulsify homemade salad dressings, blend drinks and mix pancake or crepe batters in a zip with this immersion blender. Comes in stainless steal and other fun colors. Price $30.

Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler - I can't tell you how long I've had my eye on this. It works as a full grill, panini press, and griddle. It has a drip tray for healthier eating and all the cooking plates can be removed and are dishwasher safe. Who can resist this thing of beauty? Price $80.

Reisenthel Market Basket - This innovative and collapsible bag is used all over Europe and is known as the essential basket. Can be used in place of the cart at the grocery store to cut down on germ exposure or to throw last-minute items in before heading out for errands. Great eco-friendly alternative to paper or plastic shopping bags. Throw in some favorite food items from Trader Joe's and you have a perfect gift in a gift! Price $40.

Yonana's Maker - I'm really not into a lot of convenience-type appliances, but this one may have to be an exception. It seems like an amazing invention if you ask me. You freeze the bananas or other fruits and voila', out comes frozen fruit yogurt. Great way to pack in vitamins and minerals in a little bowl of frozen fruit! Price $60.

Produce Calendar - This unique gift would make a great stocking stuffer for the health conscious person looking to see what produce to plant, harvest and eat according to each season. Features beautiful illustrations and is tailored to your particular region. Price $26.

For the Man in Your Life

Black Walnut Cologne from Banana Republic - I love to smell my man. Nothing overpowering, but just enough to grab my attention. This scent has nice, subtle notes of cognac, tobacco leaves and cedarwood. Yum! Price $55.

Timex Weekender Watch - I know everyone has phones today to help with telling time, but there's something manly about a watch. This watch has a striped, nylon strap and is fashionable and affordable. These are available at Target, JCPenney, Walmart and REI. Just go buy one. Price $35.

ething Leather... Colsen Keane - The husband of a college friend of mine makes a variety of handmade leather goods... from ipad and kindle covers to belts and wallets. These items would make such a classic and timeless gift for any man. Prices $45 and up.

Bulldog Original Moisturizer - Even men need a good moisturizer. This all natural one is packed with 8 essential oils, green tea, green algae, konjac mannan and vitamin E to help rehydrate the skin. Does not contain harmful parabens, artificial ingredients or laureth sulfate. My hubby's gonna find this one in his stocking... shh! Price $14.

For the Fitness-Minded

Bob Harper: Yoga for the Warrior - We actually just rented this from our local library and let me say, it is extreme. As the video states, "Temperatures and heart rates will soar as you push your body to the limit, triggering both physical and metabolic responses that work to deliver your most streamlined physique possible". A must-have to get you geared up for those New Year's resolutions! Price $10.

Hula Hoop - Believe it or not, the hula hoop is now one of the hottest fitness crazes. It's an exercise that provides low impact movement on your joints while burning 400-600 calories an hour. These weighted hoops you will strengthen your abs, shape your waist, burn fat and speed weight loss while building core strength. Price $35.

Bobble Water Bottles - Enjoy filtered water on the go with these sleek water bottles. When water passes through the carbon filter it removes chlorine and other contaminants. This is a stylish alternative to plastic bottles plus each filter equates to 300 single-serve bottles. Bobble is free of BPA, phthalates and PVC. Prices $9 and up.

There you have it, part one of my favorite things this year. Stay tuned for the remaining list of gifts for women, kids, food gifts and books/dvd's.

What favorite thing are you gifting this Christmas?


You Are Fine With Me

For those of you who follow my blog, I apologize for the lack of posts lately. My husband and I just returned from a little trip, well, guess you could say, BIG trip from Colorado. I spent many days getting ready for my parents to come watch our boys. Then the actual days we were gone... phew! I'm tired and ready to be a stay-at-home mama again... oh, and blogger!

Awhile ago, I blogged about a fear of mine. Well, I faced that fear this week... the dreaded airplane. {{don't laugh}} All of our flights were fine... and if you're wondering, I did... "ok" (notice, I didn't say, "great" or "awesome"). I struggled, I admit. It's just a fear that the Lord and I will have to work through. Read this quote recently and boy, did it hit home with me...

"Anxiety believes the lie that there is no more grace left in your situation." - Lacrae

My fear is coupled with much anxiety. Anxiety over the unknown. Anxiety over being out of control of my situation. Anxiety over a TON of "what if's...".

But obviously I am here now. Any anxiety and fear I once had is now gone.

So just wanted to leave you with a short quote which is really hitting me tonight. But first let me give a quick intro to it. I am reading The Help. This particular chapter is narrated from a well-to-do girl, Skeeter, who becomes quite close to their hired help taken place in the 60's in the South. Skeeter is constantly hammered with reprimands from her ostentatious mother. Her hair is too frizzy. She needs to find a husband. She's too tall and lanky and so on. But when she finds true friendship and love with the family "help", Constantine, her outlook on life changes...

Skeeter describes Constantine as.. "someone whose eyes simply said, without words,

With Me."

How can I not think of God and how he sees me when I read this quote? Regardless of how I mess up. How little faith I have some days. The words, "You are fine with me" should be what echoes back in my heart. The world will hate me (Jn 15:18) and see me for my mistakes and shortcomings, but God loves me just how I am.

Are you feeling hammered down by the world? Are you tired of trying to prove yourself time and time again? Well, I can tell you that there is great peace in knowing God.

So go in peace tonight. And remember, you are just fine with Him.