Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Unglued - Book Recommendation

I recently wrote a blog that included the statement, "I feel things..." I went on to reflect on the fact that I'm intensely emotional...which I consider a GOOD thing...with bad side effects. Do you ever feel out of control when you're upset? Kids push you over the edge? Someone makes you so angry you just quit talking to her? Maybe, you think someone is feeling badly toward you...or honestly, maybe someone just attacked you and you're a ball of nerves inside. Are you like me, and feel guilty the second you snap at your kids or spouse, when you know it's only because YOU are stressed and lacking rest? Honestly, I felt like this book was written for me. Every. Single. Page. It's so encouraging to have steps to take to free myself from some of the labels I put on myself...and to have clear ways to rid myself of negative thoughts and emotions that send me into a tailspin, internally and externally.

Normally, I'm an electronic library girl (and that's how I read this book), but after reading it, I want to own it for future reference. Lisa TerKeurst is one of my favorite, authors/bloggers and you can find her at Proverbs 31 Ministries, or on her website. You can buy the book on Amazon here. (I don't use affiliate links, I just really love this book and think it will help SO MANY women who don't realize we all feel essentially the same way!)

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions reminds us that, no matter how we process emotions, we're aren't alone. But it doesn't end there, TerKeurst gives practical steps on how to respond well, even when you normally spew out negativity before you remember to reign it in. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I can already see myself handling things better.

She talks about the four types of responders:

Exploders who shame themselves
Exploders who blame others 
Stuffers who build barriers
Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks

You may see yourself in one of them, but once you read on, you realize, you can see yourself in all of them.

Some of my favorite quotes from TerKeurst in the book:

"I can face things out of my control without acting out of control."

"My job is to be obedient to God in the midst of my own set of issues." 

(See Scripture recommendations: Galatians 5:23, 1 Peter 5:8)

"Feelings are indicators, not dictators."

"I may not be gentle by nature, but I can be gentle by obedience." 

(See Scripture recommendations King Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20)

"I'm not an unglued woman who is a slave to her circumstances, her hormones, or to other people's attitudes. Those things might affect me, but they don't rule me."

"Lies flee in the presence of truth. But just as we have to flip on a light to erase the darkness, we have to activate truth to erase the lies. We have to capture our thoughts, hold them up to the truth, and make them line up with Scripture before we entertain those thoughts."

"...anytime I start hearing lies speaking louder than truth, it's an indication my soul is starving for God's Word."

(See Scripture recommendations 2 Timothy 2:21, Isaiah 35:8, Luke 21:13-15)

I could go on all day, but then I'd just be rewriting the book. Go read it.

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.

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