Thursday, May 12, 2016

Melissa's Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

*Gluten Free* *Dairy Free* *Healthy sugar alternatives*

Hannah shaking a batch of Chia Pudding!
I've been trying to find a good recipe for Chia Pudding for about a year. They all seem to have too much liquid and not enough sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth. I created my own recipe that I love! Just remember the word "pudding" is used loosely. The texture of chia seeds when soaked in liquid becomes slightly gel-like. They thicken whatever liquid they're put into and they are a virtual powerhouse of nutrients.

And now, you can get bags of them anywhere. I buy mine at Aldi. I throw chia seeds into smoothies, homemade granola/bars...anything. No one notices and they nutrient benefits are awesome.

Chia seeds are high in fiber and protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and antioxidants. As far as tossing them into recipes, it's a no-brainer. I haven't tried to thicken soups or stews with them...I would be wary of the texture it creates, but a lot of people do it. As far as baking with them, I do it all the time and no one notices.

That said, I've tried recipes for Chia Pudding and I'm going to stick with the one I created that I'll share with you today.

One 1/2 cup serving is 175 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, basically no refined sugar and it'll fix that sweet craving.

Melissa's Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

1/2 cup 30 calorie almond milk
1.5 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp trivia baking blend (you can use more honey or another sweetener to your liking but it will change the calorie numbers)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
dash cinnamon
dash vanilla

Feel free to add in fruit, nuts, yogurt etc.

Mix all ingredients in a container and stir/cover and shake well. Place in the refrigerator for an hour or two so pudding has time to thicken...Enjoy.

Friday, May 6, 2016

When life feels uncertain...

Lately it seems as though I have felt every emotion possible, with great intensity. Life has been a roller coaster for months, and sometimes I want to jump off for a few minutes to catch my breath. It's nothing really earth shattering, just a constant state of intensity. I am weary.

I'm a "feeling" person. I'm driven by emotions, good or bad. Sometimes, during those days where I just don't feel much, I'm secretly waiting to embrace my normal self again because that's just how God made me. I feel things. 

This week, the normal intensity of life has been turned up. It's been uncomfortable. During these times, I ask myself what God is trying to teach me. What lesson am I to learn? I was quickly given my answer. 

I'm clearly being stretched. I like to be in control. As a person who has learned to manage anxiety quite well after spending much of my life suffering because of it, a need for control is most definitely my problem. I've fought this as far back as I can remember, this refusal to believe that I really do control nothing in life. 

Tonight, I embrace the beauty of learning to accept uncertainty. My God is big. My whole life has been as uncertain to me as yours has been for you, but it is not uncertain to the One who made me. The One who made you. The One who created the Heavens and the Earth, the One who is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and ever-present. The One who already has your tomorrow in His hand.

My children do not need to know what tomorrow will hold because they trust that I will care for them. How much more does God love us? How much more capable is He to fulfill His promise to care for and protect us?


Today I sat delighted as I watched my little Emma Grace sing Mother's Day songs and bless her mama with a beautiful beaded necklace those little fingers strung on their own. I watched my growing Hannah dress up like at 90-something Stan Lee and recite facts about his life with comical poise (Is that a thing?). Today I prepared simple Mother's Day gifts for the beautiful mothers in my life. And finally, tonight with such joy and excitement, I watched my girl, her cousin, and 70 other fifth and sixth graders fill an auditorium with the beautiful sound of their voices in harmony. I felt so much. Such joy. Feelings I love to feel.

A reminder. 

He gives them as often as you look for them.

My God walks me though. My God carries me. My God has never failed me. And He covers pain, fear, uncertainty and weariness with His presence, His unspeakable joy, His love. He does this for you too.

He is our Certainty.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I do know WHO holds my tomorrow...and He has always come through.

Uncertainty is inevitable, but His certainty is promised. So, you and I can take our next step with confidence and without fear. Immanuel, God, is with us.

He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:19

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 
John 14:27

So tonight you and I can go to sleep in peace [because] you alone, O Lord, keep me perfectly safe. Psalm 4:8

Sleep well.

Monday, April 18, 2016

When you feel like you just can't get it right...

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.  Romans 7:21-25

I want to be a perfect mom.

No, really. Some days I'm content with progress. I'm content with progress until I make a mistake.

The past couple of days, it's felt like I'm making mistake after mistake. I'll do so well and then screw something up. And then, all I can see is the negative.

I'm a perfectionist and if there's one job I want to perfect, it's not screwing up my kids.

I know in my heart that perfection is impossible.

I know in my heart that I'm human.

I know in my heart that I pour out so much of myself to serve my family every day.

I know in my heart that most days, I'm doing just fine.

I know in my heart that relying on the grace that God gives has helped me to grow in so many areas of my life.

I know in my heart that I can't take all the blame or all the credit when it comes to raising my kids.

But there are those little whispers in my ear that are so hard to quiet. They get louder the more I listen to them. The voice that says I'm not good enough. The voice that says I'm a failure. The voice that says I'm causing irreparable damage when I lose my cool. (Not that I ever had any cool to begin with.)

Why do I write this today? I don't need encouragement. I don't need a pat on the back. I don't need anyone to tell me I'm a good mom. I know Truth. I know the lies that I let seep into my soul. I know that I make some pretty crappy parenting mistakes. I know that I'm pretty awesome at showing my kids love. I know that they know they are loved and blessed.

I write this because I want to know I'm not alone. I write this because I want you to know that you're not alone. Whether it's parenting or any relationship that requires hard work, we all fall short, and thats okay.

To be honest, these words are hard to publish. Even as I type them, I want to delete them all. However, we all have bad days. Most of us don't want to blast social media with them, but our not-so-shining moments are daily thorns for all of us. The thought of people seeing us as we really are is mortifying...So, here I am, imperfect, flawed, damaged...just like you. I will press on toward the goal and I hope you will join me.

Let us do the next right thing together.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us… Hebrews 12:1

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