Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mountain Movers

The Mountains Are Calling

The slogan on my shirt is NOT about my desire to visit the mountians, though they ARE beautiful and breathtaking and a wonderful place to experience the majesty of God's beautiful creation.

Instead, I picked this shirt out as a birthday present because it reminds me that the God I serve and follow after daily with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength is a God who moves mountains.

Never once did Jesus promise that being His disciple would be easy.  He never said the path would be straight or smooth.  Quite the opposite.  He assured His followers they would face trials and tribulations of all kinds.  He had people like Paul write letters to remind us for years to come that we should NOT be surprised when the going gets tough.  Before Jesus returned to heaven, He flat out told us, "The world hated Me, and so too the world will hate YOU."

So why then do we seem to forget we are at WAR?
Why do we chase after COMFORT?
Why do we grumble and complain with the road before us is bumpy, steep, narrow, winding?
Why do we fear the darkness when we have the LIGHT of the world living inside us?
Why do we forget to SHINE and spread the hope and joy and peace and strength flowing freely within us if only we would tap into that power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead?!

Why do we stare at the mountains "in our way," hang our heads, droop our shoulders, and sit down feeling defeated?!!!  We have been promised that our God can move mountains!  Not only that, WE can move those mountains.  Jesus Himself told us, "If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move,' and it will move!"

No need to run from obstacles.
No need to turn back or look for another way.

The mountians ARE the way.
We can go up and over them.
We can go THROUGH them.
Or we can ask God to move them.
Going around them is a waste of precious time and energy.
And there is definitely NO reason to stop our journey altogether.

Today, as I wear my new shirt, I hear the mountains calling.

Climb us.

What about YOU?
Are the mountains calling you too?
Those difficulties or obstacles or hardships you are facing right now are NOT a surprise to God.
They are part of His good and perfect plan.
I don't exactly how, but I know they have purpose, that God is using them to shape and mold you into the man/woman you were created to be.  He is using them to strengthen you, empower you, and equip you to do all the wonderful things He prepared for you before spoke the world into existence.

Do NOT fear.
You are strong.
You are powerful.
You are able.
You are courageous.
You are brave.

God is with you.
And God is on the move.
He is moving those mountains.
Follow Him to the top, to the other side.
A glorious destiny awaits...
So, shall we go up to those mountains?!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Grocery Shopping, Meal Planning, and Being Healthy on a Budget

I posted some pictures of my grocery store trip this afternoon, and a friend asked me to share what I got at each store.  So, figured I could do a blog to give anyone interested a little insight into how our family tries to be healthy - on a budget and with our busy, fast-paced lives!

I have come to realize that I am NOT superwoman, and so I do my shopping on Sunday afternoon.  We get home from church, eat lunch, and then I leave all 4 girls with the hubs so I can shop solo.  It's faster and MUCH easier.  My stress level has gone WAY down and I actually enjoy getting the groceries.  That hour and a half on Sunday afternoons is like my mini vacation for the week. Sad, that my "me time" is spent in the grocery stores, but alas that's mom life for you.  And I wouldn't trade it for the world either!

Before I leave the house, I do 2 things:
*make a meal plan for the week
*check the ads to see what is on sale at each store so I know what to get where because I am all about getting the best bang for my buck (and is why I have NOT used the Hy-Vee delivery program yet, even though I have soooo many friends give it rave reviews)

This week's meal plan is:
*Chicken and Veggie Lasagna
*Salmon, asparagus with mushrooms and turkey bacon, twice baked potatoes (or skillet potatoes)
*Steak Salad with feta cheese
*Tilapia, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts with bacon
*Chicken Enchiladas with homemade guacomole
*Hamburgers, sweet potato fries, steamed veggies (carrots and broccoli)

With meal plan and cloth bags in hand, I headed to Sprouts.

They had a sale on nuts, so I picked up a BUNCH of almonds in bulk for 4.99 a pound (saved $4 a pound).  Dried cranberries were also on sale (saved $1 a pound), so I grabbed at least 3 big scoops of those to use for powerballs, trail mix, and homemade granola bars.

They also had certain brands on sale, so I got 35% off 2 packages of organic salad mix for our Steak Salad night.  Almond milk was another thing on sale, though I should have waited and gotten it at Aldi for even cheaper :(  Spent 50 cents more on each container than I needed.  But...

Sprouts had turkey on sale for 6.99 a pound.  I grabbed that instead of going to Hy-Vee for our deli meat. And since I wasn't making a trip to Hy-Vee, I got our yogurt at Sprouts too. They had individual Greek yogurt cups on sale for 89 cents each.  They are 75 cents at Aldi, but not organic :)  I got 10 yogurt cups so Coralyn and Lawrence could each have 1 a day in their school lunches.  I also got a tub of Whole Fat Plain Greek yogurt for me to use in my smoothies.  And then 2 tubs of vanilla yogurt for Lawrence to use for his (he doesn't like the plain Greek).

Kombucha was on sale.  2 for $4, which was like getting almost a whole bottle free.  I got 6.  I may or may not really like kombucha.  BUT, it is really good for you, and I did share a bottle with the girls today, so they got some great probiotics and such in them as we continue to hear about so many people dealing with the flu.  (I also made smoothies for a snack for them and put in 3 scoops of greens, so they each got an extra 4 servings of fruits and veggies plus a probiotic in that!)

I only neeeded 1 green pepper for the week for our Chicken Enchiladas, so I grabbed one at Sprouts, on sale for 77 cents.  They had strawberries on sale too, so I got 2 cartons (only to find out at Aldi that I could have saved 21 cents on each carton - I read the ad wrong I guess).

They also had boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for 1.77 a pound.  Picked up 2 packages.

Mini red potatoes were there as well, so I grabbed a bag (and took quite a few out and put what I didn't need in another bag for someone else to get).

And I THINK that is all I got at Sprouts today.
Loaded up the bags in the trunk and made my way over to Aldi.

Grabbed 4 boxes of the Simply Organic applesauce pouches.  I never thought I would be "that mom" who gave her kids applesauce pouches, but let me tell you - they are fast and easy and a healthy snack since they don't have any added sugar or junk!  I got a box of GF granola bars and a box of Simply Organic Peanut Butter Protein Energy Bars too - they make super easy snacks for Coralyn for her to pack herself in her bag.   A jar of organic peanut butter and a jar of organic almond butter.  A jar of pickles.  And a new salad dressing a friend posted on FB about, so I thought we could try it on our Steak Salad.

4 dozen eggs.  I really, really, really, really want to buy free range eggs, but we go through a TON of eggs - at least 6 each morning, so for now I get them at Aldi.

I grabbed some Orange Mango juice and then some Pomengrante Cranberry juice too for a Sample Party I am doing at my house this week.  The greens taste great in both :)

From the cooler part I also got a package of turkey bacon, a bag of spinach, a bag of Simply Organic shredded Mexican cheese, 2 tubs of Pine Nut Hummus, and a pound of grass-fed beef.

For produce: I got 3 bags of baby carrots, 8 avocados (on sale for 49 cents each), 3 bunches of bananas, a bag of mandrain oranges (on sale for 2 something), 2 grapefuit (on sale for 39 cents each), a bag of Granny Smith apples, and a bag of Fuji apples.

From the freezer: I got a bag of tilapia filets, 2 bags of blueberries, 2 bags of raspberries, and a bag of strawberries (because the frozen ones are better in smoothies in my opinion).

I THINK that is all I got at Aldi.
If I didn't mention something obvious that was on the menu (like salmon or steak or asparagus), it's because I already have those things in my freezer/fridge.  We get a half beef every year, but ran out of the hamburger.  I have PLENTY of steaks and roasts though.  And some liver too - if anyone wants that, I am HAPPY to give it to ya :)

So, that wraps up my grocery trip for today.  Sorry, it reads more like a story than a simple list to look over, but I am not going to take the time to go back and change that now.  I have a baby who needs her diaper changed and a house to pick up before the kiddos come over for Ponca and Beyond Bible study in about 2 hours!

If you ever have questions about how to eat healthy on a budget or fix meals that are nutritious and delicious but don't take more than 20 minutes to throw together, I would LOVE to help you out!  Health has become a passion of mine, and I want to support and encourage as many people as I can to invest in themselves/their families.  We spend more on fresh, quality food and see it as an INVESTMENT in our health.  We haven't been to the doctor in 3 years, so I would say it's paying off!