When Distracted, Try to–Ice Cream!

stop

I am distracted.

Severely distracted.  When I sit down to study, I have my laptop, phone, iPad, books, study guides–I don’t focus on any one of them for more than thirty seconds.

My WordPress dashboard is filled with unpublished recipes.  I am in the middle of reading at least five books right now.  There are three Word documents, two PowerPoint presentations, and an Excel spreadsheet cluttering my taskbar.  Rather than reviewing for tomorrow’s exam, I am typing a post that I know I will not publish today (just to prove it: Today’s date is October 6, 2014).

The same is true in my Christian walk. There are a million distractions trying to steal my attention from the Savior.  I wake up in the morning determined pray without ceasing and focus on Christ, but within five minutes, my radar is spotted with other pursuits.

Are these distractions necessarily bad things? No!

I am distracted by school assignments.  I am distracted by my friends.  I am distracted by food.  I am distracted by work.  I am even distracted by church and ministry.

Martha is a perfect picture of being distracted.  She was working hard preparing the meal and cleaning the kitchen; she wanted everything to be perfect for Jesus.  Meanwhile, her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.  Martha was appalled that her sister was not serving the Savior, but Martha was “cumbered about much serving” (Luke 10:40).  It is likely that Mary and Martha had equal zeal for God.  However, Martha became so engrossed in doing things for Jesus that she failed to be with Jesus.

It is easy to become burdened with God’s work.  We want to make sure that our churches are beautiful and we have good programs for children.  We plan women’s conferences, and the men host work days.  Let us not become so distracted by serving our Savior that we forget to worship Him.

 

Midnight Munchies: Lemonade Cookies

lemonadecookie1

 

I have a confession:  I am a midnight snacker.  I have been known to feast on turkey sandwiches, cookies, cereal, milk, and various other snacks late at night.  Come on, admit it!  I know that you do this too!

To protect against famishing in my sleep, I try to keep some one-bite power snacks in my mini-fridge at school.  One late night as I was eating some homemade Larabar bites, I came up with this recipe for lemonade cookies; I baked them the very next morning. They are a little tangy, but the banana gives a nice sweetness as well.

I didn’t have any measuring spoons, so I am not sure of the exact amount of Kool-Aid that I used.  I do know that it was a negligible amount–straight Kool-Aid mix is potent!  I suggest starting with very little, tasting your batter and adding more based on how lemon-y you want your cookies.  If you don’t know what to do with the leftover mix, try sprinkling some into vanilla yogurt or your next bowl of overnight oatmeal (or just make more cookies).

 

Lemonade Midnight Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemonade flavored drink mix

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mash banana
  • Stir in oatmeal
  • Sprinkle in drink mix and stir well
  • Place by spoonful onto lightly greased cooking sheet
  • Bake for 8 minutes (they are done when you can gently press the center and they spring back)
  • Let cool, eat, and enjoy!

What are your favorite late-night snacks?

Top Ten Tuesday: Autumn Essentials

fallclothes

As the days grow shorter and the air chills, my wardrobe changes drastically.  While I would prefer to wear sleeveless tops and sandals year-round, goose bumps and frozen toes force me to stow away the shorts and extricate the sweaters.  Below are the ten items most used items in my fall ensembles.

 

Ten Fall Wardrobe Staples

1. Long-sleeved oxfords

Although oxfords were traditionally worn by only men, they have become a staple in most women’s wardrobes.  I find them very versatile–they can be worn with jeans, dress pants, skirts, and even dresses.  You can roll up the sleeves or leave them down.

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Pictured: Ralph Lauren, J Crew, American Eagle

2. Boots

Keep those legs warm and dry!

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Pictured: Bamboo

3. Knee-length skirts

If its warm, knee-length skirts can be warn with simple flats.  When the weather grows colder, add tights and boots to the ensemble.

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Pictured: Merona, Gap, Banana Republic, Belk

4. Jeans

Nothing shouts “FALL” louder than jeans and sweaters.

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Pictured: Old Navy, American Eagle, Banana Republic

5. Hoodies

Admit it.  There are days when you just feel like wearing a hoodie and leaving your hair in a ponytail.  Hoodies are also great to carry with you to a bonfire–warm evenings quickly chill when the sun sets!

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Pictured: High school and college team hoodies

6. Cardigans

Outside temperature: 50

Inside Temperature: 72

Solution: a cardigan

Pictured: J Crew (yes, all of them!)

Pictured: J Crew (yes, all of them!)

7. Dress pants

Invest in a classic pair of dress pants for looking professional when it’s cold out. I snagged these at a consignment shop for $3.

pictured: Bass

pictured: Bass

8. Ballet flats

Just like the oxford, flats can be worn with jeans, skirts, dresses, and dress pants.

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Pictured: Refashioned, Unknown, Papaya, No Call, No Call

 

9. Long-sleeved dresses

Pair with tights and boots for chilly Sunday mornings.

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Pictured: LOFT

10. Boat shoes

Boat shoes pair well with jeans and hoodies when you are heading out to a bonfire.

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Pictured: Sperry

 

 

What are your fall wardrobe staples?  Do you ever succumb to wearing hoodies and old jeans on cold days?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

pumpkincheesecake

I love pumpkin.  I love cheesecake.  I love you.  That is why I created this delectable fall treat.  Pumpkin Cheesecake day is officially celebrated October 21, but you don’t need to wait until then to enjoy this dessert.  The pumpkin to cheesecake ratio is perfect, and the viscosity is ideal to either be eaten as pudding or used as a dip.  Because it is loaded with calcium, fiber, beta-carotene, and all those other nutrients that we don’t really understand, I am not even ashamed to say that I ate the entire batch. By myself. At once.  :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet sugar free cheesecake pudding
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (not soy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  • Combine pudding mix and milk in a bowl.  Whisk for 1-2 minutes.
  • Fold in pumpkin and cinnamon.
  • Chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Enjoy as a dip for a potluck, dessert after dinner, or mid-day snack

Top Ten Tuesday: Tea Steeped Overnight Oatmeal

For a Southern girl, I don’t drink a lot of sweet iced tea. Don’t get me wrong; it’s tasty on a hot summer day. I just would rather have a steaming cup of hot lemon tea. Or peach tea. Or green tea.

One thing is for sure though. I LOVE overnight oatmeal. No matter what type of tea you prefer, tea steeped oatmeal is a unique way to add new flavor to a classic breakfast food.

Here’s the basic recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • 1 tea bag
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Mix-ins

Directions

  • Bring water to a boil and pour 1/3 cup into a mason jar.  Add tea bag and let sit at least an hour.
  • Add 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup milk, and “mix-ins”
  • Seal jar and shake vigorously.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove tea bag from the oatmeal mixture before eating (if preferred, this can be warmed in the microwave before eating).

**If you prefer to make your oatmeal in the morning, boil 3/4 cup of water with tea bag and 1/4 cup milk.  Reduce to low heat and add oatmeal.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Transfer to bowl and add mix-ins.

 

1. Orange Tea Steeped Overnight Oatmeal.

  • Black pekoe-cut tea
  • 2 tbs. raisins, chopped
  • 1/2 orange, slicedteasteeped

 

2. Green Tea and Nectarine Overnight Oatmeal

  • Green tea
  • Nectarine, pitted and chopped

greentea

 

3.  Dark Citrus Overnight Oatmeal

  • Orange spice tea
  • Grapes

citrus

 

4. Tart Tea Overnight Oatmeal

  • Lemon tea
  • Dried cranberries

lemontea

 

5. Pomegranate Punch Overnight Oatmeal

  • Pomegranate Tea
  • Cucumbers

pomegranate

 

6. Plum Spiced Apple Overnight Oatmeal

  • Apple Spice Tea
  • Plums

plumspicedapple

 

7. Calm Carrot Cake Chamomile Overnight Oatmeal

  • Chamomile Tea
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Cinnamon

carrotcake

 

8. Minty Morning Overnight Oatmeal

  • Mint Tea
  • Pineapple

**This may sound like a weird combination.  I was leery of it, but don’t be afraid.  It is actually really refreshing!

pineapplemint

 

9.  Prominent Pumpkin Overnight Oatmeal

  • Earl Grey Tea
  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Cinnamon

pumpkinoatmeal

 

 

10.  Relaxing Honeydew Overnight Oatmeal

  • Chamomile-Mint Blend Tea
  • Honeydew, cubed

melonmint

 

What is your favorite tea flavor?

Facing the Mirror: The Truth About Self Esteem

selfesteem

Dove Research claims that only 4 percent of women worldwide find themselves pretty, and the company has declared that their mission is to help women rediscover their beauty.  We blame bullying, eating disorders, low graduation rates, and even suicide on a lack of self-esteem.  Believing that self-love is the panacea for numerous problems, companies plaster encouraging messages globally.  However, self-hatred is not the root of the problem; self-love is.

Humans have the natural inclination to love themselves.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote “We are constantly looking out for ourselves, deeply sensitive to our own feelings and needs, always conscious of how things and people affect us.”  We want the entire world to have a correlating opinion of our own person.  We are easily hurt because “we want to be accepted, cherished, and treated well.”  When we feel that others do not share our admiration, we begin to believe lies about ourselves.  We see flaws that do not exist.  We strive to create unattainable perfection, and we feel that we are failures when we miss these unrealistic expectations.  With the mirror as our judge, we go to drastic measures to make others love us as much as we love ourselves.

Perhaps we are looking in the wrong mirror.

James 1:24 compares a reader of God’s Word to a man “beholding his natural face in a glass.”  When we look into God’s Word, we see truth to combat the lies.  Truth is, we do not need to love ourselves.  Neither do we need to hate ourselves.  We need to love God.  We need to focus solely on Him.  We need to let Him control every aspect of our lives.

When we begin to love God more than we love ourselves, we will see ourselves as we truly are.  This is apparent in the life of Paul.  In an early letter, Paul viewed himself as “least of the apostles” (I Cor. 15:9).  Although he was ignoble, he noted the fact that he had seen the risen Christ.  Later, he referred to himself as “the very least of all the saints” (Eph. 3:8).  Once again, he admits his shame but grasps his position in Christ.  However, in one of his final letters to Timothy, he wrote that he was chief amongst sinners.  As Paul grew to love God more and more, he realized his own deficiency of merit.  Paul did not lack self-esteem; he knew exactly who he was and his purpose on earth.  He lacked pride.  He lacked self-love.  He had immense love for God.

James goes on to say, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein… shall be blessed in his deed.”   Forget the breakable, carnal, glass mirror.  Look instead into the true, perfect Word of God.

Blueberry Cucumber Smoothie

bluecumber

“If you like to talk to tomatoes,

If a squash can make you smile,

If you like to waltz with potatoes,

Up and down the produce aisle…”

Then you’re gonna’ love this smoothie!

As a kid, VeggieTales was one of my favorite video series.  Larry the Cucumber, Bob the Tomato, Jr. Asparagus, and Laura Carrot always made me smile.

Now, I am more of a veggie-eater than a veggie-watcher, but I still throw random VeggieTales quotes into every day conversation.

And are you prepared to deal with that? I don’t think so!

Before I proceed with the rest of this post, I would like us to take a moment of silence to mourn the end of berry season.

 

Moment over.

Don’t fret;  I have some good news!  The delicious smoothie posted above was made with FROZEN berries.  You can make this tasty veggie and fruit smoothie any time of the year.

But before I share the recipe with you, I have one more piece of advice…

Beware of grapes with wooden mallets.

bluecumber1

Blueberry Cucumber Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 2/3 cup to 1 cup frozen blueberries

Directions

  • If using oatmeal, I recommend soaking the oatmeal in milk overnight
  • Combine oatmeal (if using), milk, cucumber, and blueberries in a blender until smooth
  • Transfer to a glass and drink

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