Grace for Today

It’s a rainy day here and all the kids are down for naps. Time to write! So many thoughts have been swirling through my mind over the last few weeks and sometimes it can be hard to know how to put them into actual words. I’m sure many of you can relate as you continue to face your own trials in one form or another. 

However, one thing I’ve been realizing as I look back over the last 6-8 weeks of quarantine is that God has carried me one-day-at-a-time. There have been moments of meltdowns/tears (and not just from the children! 😉 ) and there have also been surprising joys and blessings. There have been moments of anger and there have also been moments of forgiveness. There have been moments of loneliness and there have also been moments of complete satisfaction in my God. And through all these differing moments God has been here. He has confronted my sin and He has also comforted my soul…over and over. 

Trials are a normal part of life. God knows this. He doesn’t ask us to act like they don’t exist and He certainly doesn’t ask us to try and handle them on our own. Instead, He asks us to run to Him when our hearts feel overwhelmed. He asks us to trust Him. 

We are going to have moments of weariness, frustration, sadness and grief, but He invites us to come to Him with those feelings. He is the only one wise enough to truly carry our burdens, changing us as we ask Him to make us more like Him. 

On my own, I’m not strong enough to patiently care for my children for weeks on end without a break. 

I’m not strong enough to serve my husband with joy when I feel tired. 

I’m not strong enough to make one more meal, wash one more dish or pick up one more toy. 

I’m not strong enough to face potential financial loss. 

I’m not strong enough to face a shortage of food. 

I’m not strong enough to experience loss of freedom. 

I’m not strong enough! 

Period.

I’m not strong. 

And neither are you. 

But God is! And depending on God is the strongest thing we can possibly do. 

So, what does this look like? 

The next time my children are getting on my nerves, I admit to God that I am weary and I ask Him to give me strength for this task. I ask Him for a creativity and love that I currently don’t possess. 

When I’m tired of the meal-making, the scattered toys and the dirty dishes, I ask Him to help me to be faithful and that I would just do the next right thing. 

When I’m worried about finances, I ask Him to give me wisdom in how we spend our money; that I would care about the things He cares about and not my own selfish ambitions. 

When I’m afraid of being stuck at home for even more weeks ahead, I ask God to help me face today and to remember that He will be at my side in whatever He calls me to face. 

When I feel overwhelmed and tired, I run to God, asking Him to exchange my weakness with His wisdom and strength. 

When I sense my dedication to Him waning I ask Him to renew a steadfast spirit within me. I ask Him to give me a hunger and thirst for His Word where currently it is lacking.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Cor. 12:9-10

This passage used to confuse me. How can true strength be found in weakness? Humanly speaking, life doesn’t work that way. Yet, the more years I spend walking with God, the more I’m beginning to understand how this paradox works. Self dependence and strength (or even dependence on others) is not really strength at all. It can be taken away in an instant. Physical health, stamina and resolve can all be removed. In contrast, dependence on a God who never changes is strength. He never removes us from His grasp no matter what we may face. In fact, the more needy we become the more heavily we can find ourselves leaning in to Him. 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed looking ahead to all the unknowns of the future and worrying about all the what-ifs and many probabilities, but God hasn’t called me to take care of those moments yet. In fact, as far as I am to be concerned, He has only called me here for this very moment in time. So, I have a choice: am I going to run to Him right now or will I try to do life on my own? 

The same choice will be mine when those future hard days do come. He’s promised that His grace will be enough for me in those moments, if I choose dependence. And when I do, He’ll be there to sustain me, just as He’s been doing all along…one. day. at. a. time. 

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Ways to Use the Meat You Have on Hand, Part 2: Pork Roast, Ham, Sausage and Kielbasa

Today we’re continuing with “Ways to use the meat you have on hand, part 2.” If you’ve scrounged in your fridge recently only to realize you’re going to be eating the same leftover meat for the next four days, check out our ideas below. You just might find yourself inspired to whip those leftovers up into a completely new dish!

PORK (roast, loin, chops, etc)

Fajitas/tacos

Enchiladas

Carnitas 

Stir-fry

Pork, potatoes, and onions skillet (think “Steak and potatoes”)

Pulled Pork sandwiches

HAM

Ham and potato soup

Egg scrambler

Monte Cristo sandwiches

Quiche

Ham and pineapple pizza

Stir fried rice

Frittatas

Chef Salad 

Biscuits and Ham Gravy 

Lentil/Split Pea Soup

White Bean and Ham Soup

Sliders

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham Casserole

Loaded potatoes

Breakfast casserole

Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll Ups

Ham Salad

SAUSAGE

Scrambled Eggs

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Pizza 

Pizza 

Biscuits and Gravy 

Egg Frittata

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Sausage sandwiches

KIELBASA

Hobo dinners 

Jumbalaya 

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Ways to Use the Meat You Have on Hand, Part 1: Chicken and Beef

As women, we are constantly thinking about what to make for the next meal. Sometimes my husband asks me how I just “whip up” something for a meal, with seemingly very little effort put into it. I usually respond that I have only been agonizing for several hours about what to make! Ahh, sometimes the coming up with an idea is the hardest part! (And yes, this happens even when I meal plan, because some days I just don’t feel like making the particular meal that is scheduled for that day!)

Another challenge that we often face is how to be frugal and use up what we already have on hand, say a whole bunch of taco meat or that ham that was leftover from Easter. Or what about the eight-pound pork butt that we cooked up? How can we change how serve it so that it doesn’t feel like we’re eating the same thing over and over again?

I’m sure many of you can identify with these struggles. For this reason, we have put together a list of some of our favorite ways to use up specific meats that we already have on hand.

This post will cover chicken and beef. Our next post will cover pork and other meats such as ham and sausage.

CHICKEN

Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Pizza (BBQ Chicken, Chicken Alfredo, Fajita)
Chicken Alfredo
Salad Topping
Chicken Pot Pie
Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Quiche
Fajitas
Enchiladas
Chicken and rice soup
White Chicken Chili

BEEF

Shepherd’s Pie
Spaghetti/Baked Spaghetti
Traditional Sloppy Joes/Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes Goulash
Frittata
Quiche
Stroganoff
Korean Beef Bibimbap
Spanish Rice
Tator Tot casserole
Taco Casserole
Taco Pizza
Mexican Loaded Potatoes
Taco Dip
Beef and Bean Burritos/Smothered Burritos
Tacos/Taco Salad
Quesadillas
Vegetable Beef Soup
Cheeseburger Soup
Chili (Leftover chili can also be used for loaded potatoes, quick taco salad, chili dogs)

What are some of your favorite ways to use leftover meat? We would love to hear about them!

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5 positives during covid-19 

It’s good for the soul to be able to look back at hard times and see how God has changed you and used it for good in your life! God has used Covid-19 for a lot of spiritual growth in my life but today I want to share some of the lighter hearted things He has taught me through this time!

1. I used to view my life as pretty low key, almost mundane…but now I see that I was living high with trips to the grocery store and a library outing at least once a week for new books and movies! Laugh you may, but my perspective has definitely changed in a positive way and I will be a lot more thankful for my “mundane” life if I ever get it back! 

2. I’ve learned to be creative in the kitchen. Now the kitchen is my happy place (especially if it’s clean)  and I would have said I was creative in the kitchen before all this. However, it has taken on a whole new dynamic in the past months. I used to make a meal plan and shop accordingly. Now I shop and make a meal plan out of what I was able to find at the grocery store. It has opened up a whole new world of cooking experiments. 

3. We have gotten better about getting outside for walks! Sometimes we take a quarter and flip it at each intersection to see which way to go. Other times we take a slower walk and try to spot cool things along the way. We have discovered an old Bronco (parked amongst other run-down stuff in someone’s  yard) and unique houses set back from the road.

4. I’m learning to be more structured about our life at home. It’s easy to get a bit bored when you’re at home day in and day out making a plan/daily routine has brought some direction to my day!

5. Prioritizing activities with my girls is almost becoming a habit! Reading books, toilet paper roll crafts 😉, cooking together, building pillow forts, “school” work, including them in household chores, etc. Yeah, I could do a better/faster job but why not redeem the time to train them up in these areas? They have to learn sometime and this is a perfect opportunity! I love watching them bloom into little ladies! 

God has been so good to us during this crazy time! What wonderful little things has He taught you?

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Overwhelmed? Run to Christ!

Normal 

Something we long for these days.

Our lives have been flipped upside-down.

Emotions are in a vortex.

Frustration

Fear

Discouragement

Anger

Helplessness 

We want things to stop changing.

How do we cope? 

In Christ, our hope!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13

In the midst of the storm, let’s calm our overwhelmed hearts in the unchanging One! 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever” – Hebrews 13:8

In the time of restlessness, let’s claim the rest Jesus offers!

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:29-30

When uncertain days make us weary, let’s find our strength in God!

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

When we are lonely because we are distanced from our friends and family, let’s find comfort in our God! 

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” – John 14:16-18|KJV

When we are afraid, let us run to Christ and find peace!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

While it is natural for us to want comfort, security and normality in our circumstances, let us anchor our hearts and minds in the solid truths of Christ!

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when striving cease

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand

(In Christ Alone by Stuart Townsend)

*All verse taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise marked

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