Scripture Sunday: Are You Praying Enough?

pexels-photo-208278Because I’m not.

And this isn’t me feeling bad about it, guilty, or beating myself up, it’s just an observation. But I want to be praying more. So I write it down with the rest of my to-do’s, and I write it first. Every time I realize I am not praying as much as I want to be, I make it a priority.

Sometimes, I fall off the pray train. But I always get back on. And I guess it isn’t even praying that I am slacking at, there are always prayers throughout each day. But what I need is to get into the Word more, to read my daily devotionals, and to set apart a large chunk of time to pray and get into it, not just to pray out the door, as I call it.

Praying out the door refers to those quick prayers, the ‘Thank you God for waking me up,’ or the ‘Please protect my friends and family throughout this day.’ It’s for any small prayers you make during the day, and those are all great, and He wants us to talk to Him each day. And to pray to Him each day. But He also wants us to get deeper into our faith.

He wants to hear from us but He also wants us to give time and silence, and to meditate on the Word so that we can hear from Him.

Since traveling, my hubby and I took next to no time at all in figuring it out. We’ve easily streamlined workdays, outings, packing the car, and the organization of it all. But for me, I need to up my prayer game.

Do you pray on a “schedule?” What works best for you?

If you’re reading this, I just want to pray for you.

Dear God, Thank you for reminding us to keep praying and to keep talking to You. We are forgiven, whether we pray or not and whether we remember to talk to You and read the Word or not. You are such an amazing God. We are so lucky and blessed to have You! Please, talk to us so loudly we know it’s You and we cannot NOT hear You. Never stop reminding us to pray everyday, be thankful and grateful, and love on others as Jesus would. Some of us need these reminders more than others. **Haha** In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Where Are We Now: Beech Mountain NC

We just got here and I’m so excited. The weather is perfect, the sites are beautiful, and we will be here for a whole week. Eeeeeek!

But let me back up. Where have we been? Everywhere! In Wisconsin, that is. We spent the last two months visiting friends and family, and it was the best.

After leaving Nick’s BFF and fam in De Pere, WI, we went to

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My dinner helper Ava, and a fellow lover of eating frozen,  frozen corn=)

Sheboygan and enjoyed a night of dinner and dancing. A wedding, we went to a wedding. It was so fun and pretty with shimmery rose gold and navy blue. Congrats to the Riste’s!Screenshot_20180916-201514

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Go Brewers!

Next it was off to the Brewer’s game with some of my favorite fans. These girls and I have been causing mischief for almost 20 years together and we always will. Cheers to the next 20 and Go Brewers!

Next was a whirlwind week in the Milwaukee area. There was trivia, lots of trips to the library for work, more work for my mystery shops, Nick had lunch with an old work buddy, and then golfing and lunch with another, and I even helped someone move! Well not move, but I did organize a closet.

After that we spent a weekend with my nanny family, the Bowes, in Hartland. We went to see Jameson, the oldest child and the one I used to nanny for, play flag football.

They even won! Then it was off to apple picking and spending the rest of the night together. The next day the Bowes hosted a Packer party so we got some good eats, drinks, and fun with the other Packer lovers.

Then it was a day in Lake Geneva for another (work) library and some more shops. I went hiking and loved it. Lake Geneva has a public path around the whole lake. If you’ve never been and you love hiking, you must go. We spent a couple last days in Beloit, a dinner out with friends and then a dinner in with friends and we were out! (of Wisconsin that is.)

For the last two nights we were in Cinncinati, living it up! )In reality, we went to the gym IMG_20180928_213157and worked a lot.) But we also did our monthly wine tasting and I cooked in the hotel. One hand-sized skillet and a hot plate is all you need to make a meal from scratch. Ha. It’s true and it totally worked, but I had to do everything in about 5-6 different batches when I normally would have done it all in one. It was fun thought and tbh, I impressed myself.

Well that’s about it for now. We’re officially back on the east coast time and still sleeping until 8 AM. Sometimes you just need more sleep! I for one cannot wait to hike, cook, nap, explore, and have some full work days this week.

I think the only other time I spent in the mountains was in Panama and I loved it. I cannot wait to see what this week brings, yay! Thanks for reading, you’ll hear from me again soon. Have a great week!

(Written on Sunday 9/30)

Scripture Sunday: Stronger by Mandisa

I love this song. In fact, it’s my favorite Christian song and has been for a while.

This song reminds us to hold on, whether we are being pulled under the waves or poured on by rain. Just because the days are hard and we are hurt and crying, that doesn’t mean that God’s not right there. He knows what we are going through, He knows we are struggling. He is always there to listen to us, we just have to talk to Him.

He is always there for us. And all we have to do is let Him be.

‘Cause if he started this work in your life

He will be faithful to complete it

If only you believe it

He knows how much it hurts

And I’m sure that He’s gonna help you get

Through this

These are my favorite lines in Stronger. I love to turn this song up, belt it out, and keep it on repeat. Have you heard this song? Do you love it as much as I do?

If you’re reading this I just want to pray for you,

Dear God, We want to say thank you for being there for us whenever we need You. Thank You for the amazing Christian artists in this life that share their experiences and songs and are relatable and comforting to those around them. We know that You are there for us, no matter what kind of mood we are in or what we may have said or done wrong. You are an amazing, all-powerful God, and we are so blessed that You Have our backs! Praise You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Oils That Save My Skin After A Sunburn

It’s almost late September and it (sometimes) feels like Fall, I’m in Wisconsin for a few more weeks, and I accidentally got sunburnt just 3 days ago. Ugh. This is what I did.

I used oils. Yup, my trusty essential oils. And the burn, and my lobster red skin, were 90% recovered by morning. No joke. This is what happened.

I was with some of my favorite friends since high school and we all went to a Brewers game. It. Was. HOT. I’m talking sun without clouds, almost 90 degrees, and the littlest of breezes you ever did feel. I use sunscreen religiously so I did apply!

I slathered on sunscreen..that is on my legs, arms, and shoulders, a spot I always know IMG_20180917_120539gets too much sun. But I forgot to get my face, and I forgot to get my upper chest, and DAMN did I get a burn. I meant to sunscreen my face and chest, but one distraction later, and I forgot. That night, it hurt.

But after getting back from the game, I showered my sunscreen off, and added three essential oils with a carrier oil to my burnt parts, mostly my face, chest, and shoulders. My forehead and hairline was the worst by far but like I said, three applications and a good nights sleep and my skin was cured!

I should have taken a before and after because looking at my face yesterday made it hard to believe how red I really was. But if you need to save your skin from a burn (or if you peel,) use this blend and you will be good to go!

Sunburn Saver

  • 1 drop Lavender
  • 1 drop Frankincense
  • 1 drop Copaiba
  • ½ squirt of Sweet Almond Oil (or carrier oil of choice)

Mix this combination in the palm of your hand and apply to your face or any sunburned area.

I’m telling you, this blend will take your skin from tight, hot, and red to better in just a few applications. Be careful in the sun, but if you do get a burn, save your skin with these oils!

 

Where We Are Now: De Pere, Wisconsin

We’re off! We left this morning, on the way to our new life. The car was packed by 8:45AM and we were ready to walk out the door by 9AM. Scratch that, I was ready, hubby was in the bathroom. **eyeroll** haha.

This post is a new weekly (or so) blog post so that you can stay current we me and my hubby as we travel, work, and begin our new remote life. So much has been happening and we are busier than ever, more blessed than ever, and it starts now!

First stop, De Pere WI. We are staying in De Pere and visiting with Nick’s best friend and family for about a week. Him and Nick are going to the first Green Bay Packer football game tonight. (They are there now and the Packers won. What a game!)

For this week, there will be lots of time to play with his BFF’s kiddos and sit and visit with Nate and Jackie, his best friend and wife. We can’t wait to grill out and have some drinks and some laughs.

But first, I know you wonder what we’ve been up to since we left Florida. Well, we fell in love with WI all IMG_20180822_134600.jpgover again=) The summer weather has been perfect. We got to hike a lot, bike a lot, Nick golfed a lot, and we ate a lot, of beans!

My MIL has a small garden but a small amount of beans it did not produce, there were soIMG_20180729_085919_164 many fresh green beans to eat! My parents in law live in Central Wisconsin and there is everything imaginable to do for fun. We spent time with his brother and girlfriend, too and had dinners, lots of talks, and a round of mini golf. Around the area there are other events, giveaways, golf scrambles, open houses, and more. *family time*

In fact, just last night, we attended a dueling piano show. There was a huge raffle, singers, piano players, and someone even got out a trumpet. What a gas! (As my Dad would say, LOL.) Speaking of my Dad, he just happened to be working about an hour away from us, in a town named Pittsville, and we were able to see him and have dinner with him twice in these last couple of weeks. I loved that time with him, and little as it was, and can be these days, I will always be so thankful for it.

Speaking of family, we also took about a week to go see Nick’s extended family in Fargo, ND, and in Bemidji, MN. Mom and Dad drove the whole way so that Nick and I could work while on the road. That was so helpful and I hope we didn’t take too much advantage of the transportation situation, but we did get a lot of work done. (Thanks again Mom and Dad!)

And about traveling and visiting with family, I know it sounds like we were taking vacations, going to events, chilling, and simply living it up while we’ve been in WI, but IMG_20180825_085408_830the truth is, we worked a lot, too! I finished my latest book, Everything’s Better with Soup and Salad: Part Two, while we were at my in-laws. I wrote a ton of freelance work and did more edits this month than I ever have before. Such a busy work month for me. And for hubby!

Nick’s workload was pretty typical, but he also got out into the world, made some moves, and got some on-site experiences so that he could talk and write about new and fun stories to his readers. Want to know what he did? Of course you do!

Nick did a presentation on bitcoin at a rotary club meeting. His dad is a part of the club IMG_20180827_114538_1and asked him (persistently) to do a presentation. Me and mom helped push Nick to do the presentation, too. And for good reason! Nick is smart, knowledgeable, and did an amazing job explaining a hard to understand and very new to people concept. Way to go, Nick!

Nick also toured a cranberry bog and a ginseng farm, and took me along for the ride! It was awesome to see these things, not only growing but thriving in Central WI, a IMG_20180828_095113place known for both cranberries and ginseng. He talked business, and I talked fun, LOL. We got to try a cranberry, not fully ripened and picked right from the field. It tasted like an apple, not sour at all, a little sweet actually and less firm than an apple consistency but not in a mushy sort of way. We also got our first taste of ginseng via candy. It was different and good, and that’s saying a lot coming from me because I am not a huge candy lover.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you for now. September is busier than ever and filled with more visits with friends and family, fun WI events, and lots of work during the days.

Thanks for reading and make sure to stay tuned for more from our adventures. Happy Sunday!

 

Scripture Sunday: God is Everywhere

And I love it. I cannot go one day without Him showing up and reminding me He is there. Matthew 28:20 says He is always with you, and he really is.

At the Gym

What? I know it sounds weird but one day as I was about to leave the gym, I overheard a fellow gym goer talking with an employee. Normally I wouldn’t think twice about it but I heard the guy telling the employee about this new Christian rap station, artist, or song. I don’t know exactly what the conversation was but the gist of it? God at the gym=)

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I don’t “work” for a company that is outwardly religious, religion based or otherwise, but lots of my coworkers are Godly women.  And make it be known. Because it’s a remote position, all of our communications are done over email and my boss had this meme one morning. Thank you God for my amazing coworkers!

Social Media

It isn’t hard to find God in and on social media. I see Him all the time. Fun memes, pretty scriptures with backgrounds, and more. All you have to do is “like” some Christian things and Insta people who like Christian things, and all the sudden your feed will be filled with God. Try it, you’ll love it.

At the Bar

Seriously, earlier last week I was just having a wine with my hubby at a bar. I can’t remember specifically what was said or how it came up but when the bartender said, “God Bless,” and it was good enough for me. Yes, God is even at the bar.

Wherever you go and whatever you are doing, He is there. How awesome is that?

I just want to take the time to pray for you if you’re reading this:

Dear God, Thank You for being everywhere we are. Thank You for constantly reminding us that we can come to You and that You are always with us. We are so thankful to hear from You and see You in our daily lives. There is nothing we want more than to feel Your presence and know You are there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture Sunday: Worry Less

Philippians 4:6 says not to worry, but instead to go to Him with everything.

I love this. It’s reassuring and calming, like so much of the Word. The thing is, worry is a part of everyday life. And while I am not one to worry, I know people that are.

And this is where Jesus comes in. And prayer. And God. Don’t worry, instead go to Him with everything.

 

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In your prayers, thank God for everything He has done for you. And pray to Him about everything you want Him to do. Prayer is how we communicate with God, and he is always listening.

As you pray (and go through your day,) pray as if you already have what you’re praying for, as if your prayer has already been answered. This is faith.

Speaking life and what we want from life is the most important thing. If you don’t want it, don’t say it!

I just want to take the time to pray for you if you’re reading this:

Dear God, We thank you that we can come to You and that You know our hearts. We are glad to know that we can always speak to You and that You are always listening. We thank you for Your peace and joy. We thank You for encouraging us to come to you in prayer whether we are sad, happy, upset, annoyed, hurt, or worried, because You will take care of all of it. Thank you for taking our worries so that we don’t have to carry them. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Banana Pecan Pancakes

It’s been rainy here and I am LOVING it?!? Am I the only one that loves cold, rainy weather? While it doesn’t get cold down here, it is def gray and rainy and for me, that makes me think of home. And at home, usually if it’s rainy, it’s cold, too.

Anyhow, I made these pancakes and fell in love with them. And I generally don’t even love pancakes. But Nick does, and since I liked these too, you will for sure!   Top them with extra nuts and make a double batch so that you have some all week! Yum!ban pecan pan

Banana Pecan Pancakes 

  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup broken pecan pieces
  • coconut oil for cooking

Add banana to a medium-sized bowl and smash it. Next add the eggs and mix with the mashed banana until it is well incorporated. Mix in the remaining ingredients excluding the coconut oil.

Into a skillet on medium heat add coconut oil. Pour small pancakes, about 4 per pan, and cook until the begin to bubble and flip, about 4 minutes per side. Use the rest of the oil for the batches of pancakes until you are finished cooking.

Like this recipe? Go HERE to check out my books!

I Love to Travel: Just a Long Weekend at a Mexican Resort

It was Friday April 13th and we were on our way to Mexico together for the first time. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true.

Back in February we went on a cruise and one of the stops was in Cozumel.

But this time we were on our way to Cancun. We were headed to our cozy, chill all-

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First stop, water and drinks.

inclusive resort and we couldn’t wait.

Our preplanned transportation service was perfect, picked us up from the airport as scheduled and brought us right to the front door of Sunset Marina. We had arrived.

First things first, some relaxing and drinks on the water. The water was pretty tame

 

as we stayed on the bay side in Cancun.

Saturday we had planned our excursion to one of seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza! This site has Mayan ruins and they are truly grand and amazing to encounter.

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Chichen Itza

It was a steamy 96 degrees as we walked around Mexico that day, so I couldn’t wait to go the the cenote, or sink hole, in Spanish. I heard it was “cold,” fresh water and 150 feet deep, and I was so excited!

I was literally the only one though, no one else in my group went in, not even my husband! Where are my friends when I need them?

It was super fun though and perfectly refreshing for how hot I had been earlier in the day. I love cenotes!

That night we visited the resort restaurant for French Cuisine. The restaurant had

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Cancun

different styles of food, depending on the day. The food was good and because we had all-inclusive access, everything was “free.”

On that note, I don’t think there was anything I said more on that trip then “Dos cientos ocho y A (ah),” our room number, haha, we used it for everything!

Sunday morning started with talking with our vacation company. We got to tour Tres Rios Resort and it was beautiful and sustainable and I loved it. However, we didn’t buy anything, this time. By Sunday afternoon we wanted to get back to the pool and relax but it had been raining all day, so instead we hopped in the hot tub to watch the sunset. The hot tub was right on the water so you were sitting on the bay, the sun and sky were so close!

Monday was our last day so we wanted to spend it at the pool. Along with the excursions we went on, we had massages as well and because we talked with or vacation company, all of these activities were comped.

The massage was at two, and by that time we were ready to get out of the sun for a little

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Waiting for our massage=)

while. The massages were great, relaxing and renewing. We went back to the pool and played a quick round of bingo before late lunch/first dinner. To get an extra number to add to your card, someone had to name the only animal with three brains. And guess who knew it? Yup, this girl! Octopus! I win.

Not really, but I did get an extra number for knowing that fun fact. After that, we grabbed so buffet food and went back to the pool before dinner. I even went down the water slide.

Dinner in the restaurant was Spanish themed that Monday night.  I ate the best thing I

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Garlic Fish and Rice

had had yet in Mexico, Chicken, Wine and Garlic Rice. It was absolutely delicious. We enjoyed many Mexican dishes while we were there but this Spanish dish was just delectable.

Tuesday morning came really fast and because of our scheduled transportation, we spent a long three hours at the airport before take off. Snooze, literally.

And then we were back. Cancun was fun and I would love to visit again. This was not a typical long weekend for us but it was really fun!

Have you ever done an all-inclusive resort vacation? Where did you go? Happy travels!

Oh and PS, I almost forgot, Nick got pooped on HAHAHAHA

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POOP

Scripture Sunday: Just Cry By Mandisa

If you love Christian music like I do, chances are you have heard and like Mandisa’s music. I love this song. It really spoke to me and I just had to share it with you!

The thing is, God is always there for us. He is there when we are sad, happy, torn apart, and even as we sleep. Not only will he take on everything we ask of him (and more) but he wants us to cast our cares on him:

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  Peter 5:7cast

This means that instead of holding onto fear, sadness, anxiety or worry, we can hand it all over to God. Instead of having these bad feelings and thoughts, we can enjoy the day, choose peace, live in joy and be thankful for and live with His promises.

But the thing is, life can be tough. It can get you down. People will hurt you. Situations will upset you. And it’s hard not to let these things get to you, or not to beat yourself up about them. And this is why I love this song.

Just Cry by Mandisa is such a great reminder that it is OK to cry. It’s OK not to always fake it until you make it. You don’t always have to be strong and brave and act as if you’re OK.

Sometimes, you NEED to have a good cry. Crying is OK! It’s a release and it can be therapeutic. God won’t judge you, shame you, or think less of you if you let go and cry.

‘Why you gotta act so strong
Go ahead and take off your brave face
Why you tellin’ me that nothing’s wrong
It’s obvious you’re not in a good place
Who’s tellin’ you to keep it all inside
And never let those feelings
Get past the corner of your eye’

This song is a reminder that you don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to hold onto your emotions. We can trust in Him and feel better when we hand our stuff over to Him, but sometimes we just need to cry. And He understands that, He is there with us, and He is glad to let us express our emotions.

The most important thing is DON’T STAY in that sadness. Yes, let it out. Cry it out.

But then, let go and let GOD!

Do you love this song, too? What are your favorite Mandisa songs? What about other Christian songs?

Happy Sunday friends XOXO