Monday Motivation | Eternally Encouraging

Monday Motivation | Eternally Encouraging

It’s Monday, again.

Monday…again.

Your freshly built weekend optimism has dissolved. 

But there is One who strengthens, offers good hope and eternally encourages us

Jesus.  

So if you’re at the end of your motivation, turn to the One who encourages.

Jesus, 

We need You…especially on Mondays.

Strengthen our minds.

Strengthen our hearts.

Strengthen our spirits.

Help us accept Your good hope.

Help us receive Your encouragement…Your eternal encouragement.

Help us as we move in Your strength to do good deeds and speak good words so we may shine like the sun.

Amen

Shine on!

For Your Weekend | Mid May Edition

For Your Weekend | Mid May Edition

Around here, it’s time for graduations!

Graduation time again!
So here a few quick

links to help you between the end of year activities, recitals, concerts, graduations, proms and field days!

Jen Hatmaker’s husband has written a new book!

This book speaks to what your heart needs to hear!

Brandon Hatmaker’s book A Mile Wide launches September 13th, but you can preorder it here.

Ai Weiwei’s Instagram

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist and political activist. I was first blown away by his work several years ago when I saw his exhibit “According to What?” At the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.

Ai Weiwei’s art provokes strong emotions…

I love following his Instagram. Lately, he’s been in Greece documenting the Syrian refugee crisis as well as his new exhibit..

A riff on his famous photo of breaking a Ming vase

Whether you agree with his political view is beside the point.  Ai Weiwei is genius for making his art make the viewer react and think. 

The Lazy Genius Podcast

So much fun!

Podcasts are a must during drive/chore/exercise time and Kendra Adachi’s Lazy Genius makes all of these so much better!  I love her mantra “Be genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t.”

What’s getting you through the last of school activities?

Take the Brazen Path

Take the Brazen Path

Brazen by Leeana Tankersley came my way by being selected as a member of the Brazen launch team. Honestly, I had never heard of Leanna Tankersley before, much less read any of her two previous books.

Brazen by Leeana Tankersley
 

But then I read Brazen.  Oh. My. Stars. Brazen has been the perfect gift at precisely the right moment in my life. 

Leeana Tankersley is your cheerleader. She’s for you and she points you to the Creator…your biggest cheerleader.

God’s beauty in creation demands attention! The beauty He created in you demands even more so!

If you’ve ever felt beaten down by the soul bullies (Leeana describes them as those inner negative voices streaming in your thoughts) Brazen is the book for you.

Reading Brazen was like sitting down with my best friend over coffee, sharing our lives and saying, “Yes, I’m feeling that way too.”

Not only does Leeana identify the areas of your neglected creative soul, but she points you to a path of discovery to take those beige soul areas and reclaim your right to brazenly shine forth in full color as God created you to be!

Shine forth!

Last year, I had given up on our front bed azaleas.  One shrub looked as if it had died while the other only halfway bloomed. I cut them both back hard thinking that act might mercifully finish them off. 

Imagine my surprise, when pulling up to our home after spring break, our azaleas had doubled both in size and bloom and were brazenly displaying the hottest pink fuchsia blooms ever seen.

Brazenly blooming!

Thank you God and Leeana for reminding me that after the hardest cuts, the most brazen beauty will emerge.

Reading Brazen was like water to my parched soul. While there’s so much more within Brazen I wish for you to discover for yourself, this quote sums up my experience reading Brazen:

I believe God wants us to make peace with our woundedness, and that’s the journey I’ve been on…we need to welcome our brokenness, but also our belovedness.  This is the brazen path.

-Leeana Tankersley | Brazen, p. 111

You are beloved in your brokenness. Take the Brazen  path!

Holy Guacamole Baked Appetizers

Holy Guacamole Baked Appetizers

 Happy Monday peeps!  

Truly life changing in the most beautiful way!
 

If you follow me on InstaGram , you’ll notice I’ve been a traveling fool lately. I owe y’all umpteen traveling posts.

But until then, let me share a food gem from my most recent travels to Corpus Christi, Texas.

I love all things Tex-Mex, even though this gringo can’t go beyond “mild” in Texas heat ratings. We had a lovely stay on the beach and dined twice at Fajitaville on the Beach.  Doesn’t that sound like fun restaurant?  They even have a Ferris wheel!

Besides amazing fajitas, we enjoyed their Guac & Rolls as appetizers, thanks to the generous coupon we found on Restaurant.com .  Fajitaville’s Guac & Rolls were delicious but they were fried…and while okay for a Spring Break trip, not so good in everyday living.   But I was determined to recreate these rolls…baked!

If you’re not near Fajitaville to grab some of their Guac & Rolls or you’re trying to avoid fried food, these Holy Guacamole Baked Appetizers will fit the bill!

These apps are super easy and will make you the star of your next party/cook out/family meal! 

Also, big shout out to Nasoya All-Natural Won Ton Wraps for instructions on how to properly wrap a won ton wrapper! #foodorigami

I remembered to take a photo after I made these rolls, but this photo shows all my ingredients for the guac and the won ton wrappers I used
 

HOLY GUACAMOLE BAKED APPETIZERS 

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, mashed and seasoned with lime juice, cumin and kosher salt to taste (or grab your favorite store bought Guac)
  • 12 Won Ton Wrappers (you will find them in the refrigerated produce section)
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • A little bowl of water
  • Baking sheet sprayed with oil
  • 1 teaspoon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Make your Guac or open your store bought container 
  • Lay out 12 won ton wrappers on a sprayed baking sheet
  • Spoon a heaping teaspoon of Guac on to the middle of each won ton wrapper
  • Wet all 4 edges of the won ton wrapper with the water (I dipped my fingers in the small bowl of water) and make a triangle, pressing edges together. 
  • Invert the triangle with the top pointing down and bring the two ends of the triangle together, pressing them together. 
  • Work quickly as the won ton wrappers can dry out. 
  • After you’ve filled and folded all 12 won ton wrappers, give a light spray of oil over all the wrappers. 
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes. 
  • Serve with salsa or ranch dip or anything else your heart desires!
Aren’t they pretty?
The first fold into a triangle
Next, turn triangle upside down…

 

Bring two ends together and press firmly
 
 

     

    Hello, gorgeous!!
     

    These wrappers seriously make for an easy yummy appetizer!  

    Have you ever tried to recreate a restaurant recipe?  I’d love to hear about your recipe recreations!  Comment below!

       
       


        Easy Valentine’s Day Sweet Rolls

        Easy Valentine’s Day Sweet Rolls

          

        Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

        Hope you’re braving the Arctic vortex warmly this weekend…it’s presently snowing again in Kentucky and the forecast calls for more snow.

        Maybe you’re excited about Valentine’s falling on the weekend and want to do something special for breakfast…something Martha Stewart Pinterest worthy but zero effort!  I mean, you’ve already pulled out all the stops for your child’s Valentine’s Day box!

        I’ve got the sweetest solution for your dilemma!  I saw this idea earlier this week on the Today Show…but, thought of a nifty improvement…mini sweet rolls! 

        This is what you need:

        • Can of normal sized  8 count cinnamon rolls you find in the dairy aisle
        • A knife
        • A cookie sheet
        • An oven

        The End.

        I’ll walk you through the steps:

        Step 1:

         Buy the cinnamon roll regular sized 8 count (it will make 16 per this hack)

        Dont buy the giant sized can…buy the 8 count regular sized sweet rolls…these Pillsbury ones are yummy!
         

        Step 2:

        Set aside the frosting (on the left) and get out a sharp knife!  

        Step 3:

        Separate the 8 cinnamon rolls…each will look like this one.  

        Step 4:

        Unroll the cinnamon roll.  

        Step 5:

        Cut the length of the unrolled cinnamon roll in half…just eye ball it!

        Step 6:

        Take each end of one of the halves of the cinnamon roll and roll each end toward the middle, then pinch the bottom to make it heart-shaped. 

        Just like snowflakes, each heart will be different!!
          

        Step 7:

        Finish the roll and place on cookie sheet into oven per baking directions.  I didn’t have to cut the time of the baking even though the rolls were smaller!  

        Step 8:

        After baking , frost cinnamon rolls and enjoy!  

        Of course, you could make normal sized heart shaped cinnamon rolls…but the mini size is so sweet and cute!!!

         

        These mini heart shaped cinnamon rolls would be sweet tucked inside your child’s lunch box or for an after school treat! 

        How are you spending Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart(s)?  I’d love to hear!

        For Your Weekend | Super Bowl Weekend Edition

        For Your Weekend | Super Bowl Weekend Edition

        Yes…it’s Super Bowl time again and it’s an epic matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.  Here’s your cheat sheet before you hit the Super Bowl party.  

        The old quarterback (Bronco’s Peyton Manning vs. the new kid (Panther’s Cam Newton) makes it interesting. Who can deny big love for Peyton Manning….

         

        Peyton Manning in State Farm commercials
         
        …giving himself a pep talk to his bobblehead.  

        But the kid Cam can catch some attention himself… 

        Mr. Fancypants in nearly $900 Versace pants
         

        …it takes some guts and apparently a lot of extra cash to pull of this look!!  

        So, you may be able to make your pick based on these two factors alone.  But no…here’s the twist…Michael Oher, who’s life was depicted in The Blind Side plays for the Panthers and this….

        via US Weekly
         
        …basically Sandra Bullock’s son is playing in the Super Bowl!!! All the feels!!  

        I don’t know that I can pick a team to cheer for  but I know the game will be amazing. And if this happens… 

        Go follow @notkennyrogers now!

        …It would make me a happy crying mess!!  But  seriously, go follow Not Kenny Rogers .

        As a huge Coldplay fan, I’m so excited that they’re playing the halftime show!!!  I’ve been listening to their newest album, A Headful of Dreams, nonstop this week!

        And if Super Bowl’s 50th game doesn’t stir you, maybe this story of 5 friends who have attended every single Super Bowl game when tickets the first year cost $10 a piece.  

        Maybe the food is more your thing!  

        This skinny mozzarella sticks recipe from Skinnytaste would be a perfect snack or maybe or dare I suggest my own Super Easy Bowl chicken salad recipe here!

        Or maybe you’ll be watching it for the commercials!

        Hope you have a “super” weekend whatever you decide to do!!  Let me know in the comments!

        “Super Easy Bowl” Chicken Salad & Yay…Happy Groundhog Day!!

        “Super Easy Bowl” Chicken Salad & Yay…Happy Groundhog Day!!

        Y’all…Happiest of Groundhog Day to ya!  I can’t even begin to share how much this silly holiday means to me!  

        First, it’s a day where a groundhog predicts how long winter will last. Second, there’s more than one groundhog prognosticator! 

        Yep, besides the famous Punxsutawney Phil of  Pennsylvania, featured in Groundhog Day, I’ve met the southern groundhog gent, General Beauregard Lee of Atlanta!  Impressive, right?

        I don’t care what either groundhog prognosticates as long as it means Spring is on its way.  

        Third, if you haven’t seen the movie Groundhog Day…remedy that situation.  Better yet, watch it a couple of times so you fully appreciate this classic movie. Bill Murray…sigh.  

        Aw, Phil…you crazy guy!! | image via Parade.com
         

        But on with the chicken salad recipe!!  Y’all I made this crazy good chicken salad last week and it would be perfect to being for a Super Bowl party!  Best of all, it’s super easy! 

        If you need a pep talk about chicken salad, then read my post here because chicken salad is best when it’s eyeballed measured. That’s the joy of chicken salad!

        Here’s what I used:

        This is it…nothing up my sleeve!
        “Super Easy Bowl” Chicken Salad Recipe 

        • Leftover chicken baked chicken tenders, chopped up (about 6 chicken tenders)
        • 3 stalks of celery chopped (eyeball to ratio of chicken)
        • A generous dollop of mayonnaise (I use Just Mayo )
        • A few shakes of Frank’s RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce (to taste…a little hot but also sweet!)
        • A few shakes of onion powder (no cutting)
        • Salt to taste (didn’t even put in pepper…I’m such a rebel)
        • A few squirts of lemon juice (no cutting up and squeezing!)

        That’s it!  Of course, add more of whatever to get the flavors right but it’s so simple and so good!  This chicken salad has just enough kick for a Super Bowl party but it won’t scald your mouth!  Serve it with triscuits and you’re good to go!!

        So yummy!!!

        Do you get silly over Groundhog Day or is it just me?  Who are you cheering on to win the Super Bowl or are you just waiting to see Coldplay & Beyonce at the halftime show?  Let me know in the comments!

          7 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

          7 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

          I’m joining Anne Bogel of  Modern Mrs. Darcy in sharing what’s saving my life right now in the throes of Winter!

          I agree with Anne that February is the cruelest month and I’m excited to see what others share that keeps them sane during the winter months!

          Sunfilled days during Winter save me!
           

          So, here’s my list!

           

          Homemade Taco Seasoning
           
          1.  Good Cheap Eats Taco Seasoning Mix. I find awesome recipes all the time on Jessica Fisher’s Good Cheap Eats blog but was skeptical about her taco seasoning mix. I had tried other DIY taco mixes but hadn’t liked the results. 

          But Jessica’s recipe rocks…it’s simple and makes enough for several meals (a bonus).   In full disclosure, I use regular chili powder (couldn’t find chipotle chili at my local grocery) and I substituted onion powder for the onion flakes ( had powder but not flakes on hand).  It’s still awesome with the substitutions!  I love Mexican fare and having this taco mix on hand really saves my life right now!!

          2.  Ice Glazed Frozen Chicken Tenders.  Continuing with the food theme, the frozen chicken tenders save my dinner prep life!!  The tenders cook up so much faster than the frozen chicken breasts and a bag gets me through two meals!  #winning

          3.  Walgreens App. I have a ton of photos held hostage on my iPhone.  I used to wring my hands to try and get a photo book together, beautifully curated of course!  With the Walgreens App I can quickly upload my most recent pics and choose the store location for pick up and within an hour they’re ready! There’s usually a discount code too.  I then display my recent photos on a simple string with small clothes pins!
             

          Mexico on the left & Costa Rica on the right!
           

          4. Traveling to a sunny tropical destination! Don’t hate me, but winter does affect our family’s moods and so we made a decision to travel to a guaranteed sunny destination during winter!

          This year we traveled to Mexico over Christmas Break and Costa Rica two weeks ago. Spending time in a warm sun filled locale is a wonderful remedy to the cold grey days of winter. 

          5. 100 % Pure Lanolin for Chapped Lips.  Winter brings on dry skin for many but for me it affects my lips the worst. I might even have a bad habit of licking my lips, even in subzero weather. Last year I highly recommended Dr. Lipp’s Nipple Balm (I know, that name!) here in an earlier blog post. I had received a sample in a Birch Box. But when I went to order a full size, the sticker shock drove me to find an alternative…because the only ingredient is 100% lanolin!

          I saw where others recommended Lansinoh HPA Lanolin.  And you’re right…that’s a product for breastfeeding mamas but I bought a big tube of it at Target and it’s exactly the same thing!! What I love about lanolin is that it creates a barrier and keeps my lips soft, even hours later!  It’s also perfect for dry cuticles and skin.

          6.  Podcasts!  I’m late to the game but I love listening to podcasts while on a long drive, flight or doing the mundane household chores. My favorites include:

          • The Simple Show
          • Happier
          • Stuff You Should Know
          • What Should I Read Next (Anne’s New Podcast!)

          7. This quote:

            “O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the devil.” -William Shakespeare 

            Shakespeare always said it best! For some reason this quote deeply resonates with me and daily motivates me.

            What’s getting you through these winter days?  I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below! Or join the link up here!

            For Your Weekend | The Great Snow Melt Edition

            For Your Weekend | The Great Snow Melt Edition

            what a difference a week makes!

            Y’all, we survived Winter Storm Jonas which dumped over a foot of snow in 1 day  in southern Kentucky!  

             I give you Exhibit A for your consideration:

            Holy cow, that’s a lotta snow!!!
             

            If you notice footprints, you’re correct.  After last year’s blizzard, we parked our cars at the top of our driveway before the snow fell.  It was all very Little House on the Prarie.  Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t live during pioneer days!!  

            But like those hardy pioneers, we have amazing neighbors on our country road who help dig each other’s cars out of the snow drifts or scrape the roads/drives with their tractor plows.  

            So while others may be still digging out or bracing for another snow storm, the great thing about Kentucky is that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a while!  Today it’s supposed to be sunny with a high of 65…degrees…Farenheit!!

            Whether thawing out  or hunkering down, here’s some interesting links for your weekend!

             

            Yes, you need this book!!
             
            1.  Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington is available now!  As part of the Breaking Busy launch team, I received an advance copy and so can I say this…it is a practical road map to help you break busy!  And…Alli has just released a Breaking Busy Digital Toolkit that’s full of great resources!  You can read my review here.  

            Yay!!! image via Coldplay

            2.  Coldplay announces their US tour concert dates! And tickets go on sale next Friday, February 5th!!!

            3. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and this looks like a great no sweet/chocolate idea by Ashley Hacksaw at her blog Lil Blue Blue, Make your own photo pillow.  So cute!!

             

            It’s like that old Reese’s peanut buttercup commercial, when two good things combine!!!!
             

            4. I love listening to podcasts whilst doing house chores and two of my favorite podcasts are The Simple Show hosted by Tsh Oxenrider and Happier hosted by Gretchen Rubin.  My happier quotient went through the roof when I listened to Tsh interview Gretchen on The Simple Show.  You can listen to it here or if you’re used to iTunes Podcast App…find it under The Simple Show.

            So there you go!  How’s your weekend shaping up?  What podcast do you enjoy listening to?  Let me know in the comments!


            Are You Ready to Break Busy?

            Are You Ready to Break Busy?

            Y’all I’m so excited that Alli Worthington’s book  Breaking Busy launches TODAY!! 

            As a part of the launch team, I received an advance copy and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect…smack dab in the middle of the busy Christmas season!

            Busy is such a buzzword for our culture today and yet we don’t know how to get off the busy train.  I’m so grateful that Alli wrote this book for us to provide a roadmap on how it’s possible and totally doable to break busy.


            Run and buy this book today!!!
             

            It’s easy to play “beat the clock” in our daily lives. We cram so much in each day between work, family obligations, kids’ schedules not to mention all the meals and housework to be done. Our inner voice screams “STOP!“. But we  ignore that voice!

            On the flip side, we suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) which crazily drives us to do more and more which pushes us into a constant state of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with our lives. 

            Truth!!!
             
            If you’re stuck in the middle of these two predicaments then Breaking Busy is for you!  Alli identifies the factors which create the busyness and then provides strategies to, as she puts it, “…break busy before the busy breaks you.”

            Reading Breaking Busy was at once liberating (yes, that’s the problem) and convicting (ugh…I have to get myself out of these destructive patterns).  Thankfully, without condemnation (thank you Jesus) Alli walked me through why I wish to be busy (!), what triggers me to say yes when I should not(!), and bless, how to say no!

             

            Seriously!!!
             
            At the end of each chapter, Alli provides thought provoking and soul stirring questions for the reader to take action in the process of breaking busy.  Breaking Busy would be a perfect book club selection or even to read through with a friend to help each other break busy!

            So, ready to Break Busy?  Click  here to read the first chapter free and order!!  Thank you Alli for writing this book!!!

            Do you have trouble breaking busy?  What’s one strategy you use to say no to busy in your life?  Share in the comments below.