Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year: God Is Making A Way

As we pray in 2013, we declare that we see God doing a new thing!  It is springing up...a way is forming in the wilderness, streams in the desert.  Open wide the gates for the King of Glory to come in.  We open our lives to you this year Lord, as wide as open gates.  

Isaiah 43:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Natural Bathroom Cleaner

I have been trying to clean with more natural products.  The following recipe is a combination of a few I have tried over the last few years.  This one I really like and use all the time.  It is great for bathrooms, especially for tub and tile work.  Just layer it on, let it stand a few hours, come back and wipe off then rinse.  I also use it for the sink and toilet, and it works great. 

1 2/3 cup baking soda

1/2 cup dish soap (I use a natural dish soap from our grocery store)
1/2 cup water
10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil
2 tablespoons vinegar right before using

The essential oil gives it a great smell.  I have different scents to choose from depending on what I feel like that day.  I think lavender works great, and so does orange or eucalyptus.  I don't have a favorite brand of oils, I just buy what is available.  I have found them at our local grocery store in the natural products section (like shampoo, soap, etc) or on

What do you like to clean with?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Flourless Pumpkin Muffins

I wish I was a better food photographer, but maybe I will get better as I go along!

These muffins are a recipe I developed after trying a few different recipes and adjusting them.  They are flourless and high in protein.  They are gluten free, casein free, and soy free.  

2 cups almond meal (not almond flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons agave nectar (or other sweetener)
6 eggs
4 large tablespoons of protein powder (I use Raw Protein by Garden of Life--see post on 12/26/12)
mini chocolate chips as desired (I use Enjoy Life brand to fit with GFCF diet)

350 degrees
25 min
makes 12 large muffins

The recipe is a little heavy on the spices.  You can adjust them to fit your own tastes.  
Add protein powder until desired consistency, adjusting as needed.
The consistency is like a corn meal muffin because of the almond meal. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Beloved

I have been meditating on identity.  Who are we in Christ?  We are the beloved. 

I've been thinking about the disciple John, laying at table next to Jesus.  In John's gospel he describes himself as the one that Jesus loved.  There is always some question as to why John referred to himself that way.  Some think he was arrogant.  But, perhaps he referred to himself this way, not because it was easy for him to believe...  Perhaps it is because John didn't feel like the beloved.  Perhaps he knew he had to commit to knowing, believing, and living his identity in Christ.  "I remind myself that I am the beloved."  At all times, I walk in my identity, my relationship with Jesus, and I know who I am. 

John 13:23
Amplified Bible (AMP)
23One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved [whom He esteemed and delighted in], was reclining [next to Him] on Jesus' bosom.

Check out the Jason Gray song "Remind Me Who I Am"


10 Minute Solution Exercise DVDs

I have usually done pretty well getting in regular exercise.  Lately, I have been feeling like doing routines mostly for strength and flexibility, and have neglected my cardio workouts.  In an effort to get back into some cardio routine during my busy schedule and the cold winter months, I have ordered some of the 10 minute solution DVD's.  Have you tried those?

I ordered this one from for under $5.  It has 5 ten minute segments that you can mix and match for a cardio workout.  Sometimes, the hardest part for me is getting started.  I find that if I tell myself I only need to do 10 minutes, then a lot of the time I end up doing 20-40 minutes.  I figure, even if I only do 10 minutes, it helps me wake up, have better energy, and get my metabolism going.

What do you do to stay healthy?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nutrition: GFCF Protein Powder

Thinking about nutrition for the New Year?  Me too.  My son Joshua is in the autistic spectrum, and he has benefited greatly from a gluten-free, casein-free diet.  We also avoid soy proteins.  In looking for a good protein powder that followed these guidelines, I was stumped.  Then I found a powder by Garden of Life that I really like.

 These are the stats:  Raw Protein has "the nutritive power of living seeds and grains with raw protein from garden of life a certified organic, raw, vegan protein powder. Featuring 13 raw and organic sprouts, raw protein is an excellent source of complete protein, providing 17 grams, or 33% of the daily value, plus all essential amino acids. raw protein contains vitamin code fat-soluble vitamins A and supports digestive health and function with live protein-digesting enzymes and powerful probiotics."

Although some people drink it in water or juice, I put it into smoothies with nondairy milk and frozen fruit.  It is available at for $23 and is eligible for the subscribe and save program. 

Another option for protein powder would be powdered peanut butter if you have no nut allergy.  I add this sometimes to ice cream or smoothies.  It comes in regular flavor or with cocoa powder added and has 85% less fat than peanut butter.  I buy mine at our local grocery store in the health food section.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Soul Felt Its Worth: Pursued By God

We attended Christmas church service this weekend.  It was a beautiful service and the message has continued to echo for me.  The title of the service was "O Holy Night: When The Soul Felt It's Worth" based, of course, on the lyrics to the Christmas carol:

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining. 

Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine! 

The pastor spoke about how God is a pursuing God.  He loves us, desires us, and values us.  No matter what we have done or where we are in our lives, He wants us to come home.  He is the Good Father who runs out on the road to embrace the prodigal children and restore their place in the family. 

The pastor referenced the book Relentless Pursuit by Ken Gire which is about how God pursues us with love and faithfulness.

Within Relentless Pursuit, a children's book is also referenced to highlight God's desire for us: The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise.

The book is about a mother bunny who explains to her young child that, no matter where he runs away to, she will always find a way to welcome him home.  For example, he asks, "What would happen if I turn into a bird and fly away", and the mother bunny says she would turn into a tree and welcome him home.   

This is what Christmas is all about.  God is a pursuing God.  He sent his Son to dwell with us, to come embrace us, and to make a way home.  

May your soul feel its worth in Christ!  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Get Smart TV Seasons: Review

What does your family like to do over Christmas vacation?

In between all the hustle and bustle, we always need something just relaxing and mindless to do.  It let's us relax, regroup, and spend family time together.

This year we are enjoying DVDs of the Get Smart TV series.  Season 1 has 30 episodes and is $10 on .  For adults, the jokes are classic, memorable, and funny in a silly, retro way.  For kids, the "spy theme" is cute and fun without being scary.  Teens like the retro feel and, of course, it is all new to them.  If you are looking for something relaxing, retro, and just a little silly to do as a family, you might want to check it out.

Get Smart Season 1

Friday, December 21, 2012

Singing Songs of Christmas

We are singing songs of Christmas here in central Illinois.  What are your favorite Christmas carols?  Some of the words become so familiar we don't even notice what we are singing.

How about this one:
God rest ye merry, gentlemen 
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

We are able to rest!  Why, because Christ has been born to set us free.  We let nothing disturb us, nothing fill us with fear.  Because Christ has come for our freedom.  These are great tidings, of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. 

What about this one:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

When God came to dwell with us, it was a silent night.  Most people had no idea that God was doing something great, something wonderful, something eternity changing.  Oh what a holy night.  

Wishing you wonderful songs today.  Merry Christmas!