Archives for February 2014

God Will Provide

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

This week, I had to say good-by to a dear Aunt who passed away.  It is so hard to say good-by to someone you love.  She was such a special lady, who I will always remember fondly.  She was one of my Mom’s six sisters.  Over the past few years, my Mom has lost all but one of her dear sisters and a cousin who was like a sister.  This has been really hard on her as they all shared a very special bond.  They got along so well and truly enjoyed spending time together. One of their favorite things to do was to meet for lunch and they took the time to make this happen on a regular basis.  My two daughters and I were privileged to be included in these special “Sister Lunches” and  those special memories comfort all of us during this sad week of good-byes.

As I was thinking about my Mom this week and how hard it has been for her to cope with so much loss, I thought about how God has been there for us.  I think God knew how hard it would be for her to lose her sisters and each time one of them left this earth for their heavenly home, I was with my Mom when she heard about their passing.  I am so glad she was not alone when she heard the sad news and I’m thankful I could be there in person to comfort her.  I truly believe God helped my Mom through these difficult times, by making sure she was not alone in her grief.

Earlier this week, Jules posted about the birth of her twin grand babies.  My Mom, Little One and I were able to fly to visit them last weekend.  What a blessing those two little ones are!  Traveling with my Mom and Little One was a little challenging.  We had luggage and a car seat to juggle and my Mom needed assistance.  Once again, God provided just what we needed in the form of what I call “earthly angels”.  At the airport we received exactly the help we needed, at just the right time, from some very kind people! I realized that you never know when you might be the person that is an answer to someone’s prayer!

These are just two recent examples of how God provided for my needs.  How about you?  Do you have any stories to share about how God provided just what you needed at just the right time?  We would love to hear your stories!

Below is a picture of one of our “Sister Lunches”:

100_1440~Blessings,

Jen

Fitness App

 

I stumbled upon this fitness app and wanted to share it with you.  It is called POPSUGAR Active.  You can search for this name in the App Store on your phone or Ipad, or you can check it out on by following this link.  This app has choices for strength training, running, yoga or cardio workouts.

The workout choices include videos or exercise guides to choose from.  I like the videos, which give you 10 minute or 40 minute options.  Each area of fitness has a variety of choices from total body workouts or specific body part focus such as arms, abs or legs. One of the main instructors, Anna Renderer, is upbeat and motivating and the videos are easy to follow.  I love the 10 minute videos because they are easy to fit into my busy day.

Below is one of the videos for abs:

 

Wishing you a happy, healthy, blessed day!

~Blessings,

Jen

Silent Vigil

Psalm 139:13-18. Praise God for the way He has intricately woven your baby together, first in your womb, and now outside of it. Thank Him for the opportunity to watch His hand at work. Thank Him for forming all of your child’s days in His book, long before they took their first breath! Be comforted that He has a plan for them and is in control.

I have just returned from visiting my daughter and son in law. My daughter gave birth at 34 weeks to preemie twins. It certainly was not what any of us expected. My visit was delayed until they came home from the hospital. I finally traveled to Georgia when my granddaughter came home, leaving her brother still in the NICU; he just wasn’t strong enough to come home yet. I didn’t realize that for almost the 2 weeks I was there, I would be going daily to the hospital to be with my grandson. I quickly found out what an exhausting job this is. I’m sure unless you have been through it, you just can’t understand. I had no idea how hard it would be. It’s quiet in the NICU, as little babies are trying to grow. Parents keep silent vigils, leaning over cribs, talking and praying with their babies. Everyone seemed tense and tired. The nurses were great, for the most part. You really wanted to get to know the nurses you would be intrusting to nurture your baby when you couldn’t be there. Walking out at night and leaving that tiny little guy in that room was hard on me, I cannot imagine what my daughter was going through. He was really doing okay, we were lucky; he just had to get strong enough to eat. There are many preemie babies going through a lot more than and we were grateful his problems were small. Dinner was usually eaten at 8:30 or 9:00 without much energy or enthusiasm. And every day we got up and repeated the day. One day I just placed my hand on that tiny little head and prayed to God to help him get stronger so we could bring him home. And finally he started making progress and at last they declared him ready to go home. What joy and relief.

It is pretty amazing what God can do, but I would strongly encourage all of you to remember these parents of preemies. They are going through a lot and they are exhausted. Remember to let them know you are praying for them; take them a meal or two or three. Your support is more important than you can ever imagine. And I can attest, as the Psalms said, God certainly did intricately create two beautiful little miracles.

Meet Brooks and Elle!

TwinsHave a wonderful week,

Julie

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Sorry for the lapse in posts this week!  Jules and I have been busy visiting and helping with her new twin grandchildren!  It has been a while since we have posted a recipe.  I thought I would share this muffin recipe from skinnytaste.com with you.  The bananas make them super moist and of course the chocolate makes them extra special!  You can make this recipe as mini loaves or muffins.  I have always opted for the muffins, but the mini loaves would make great gifts!

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Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3  ripe medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 oz mini chocolate chips
  • Smart Balance baking spray

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a non-stick loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Mash bananas in a bowl, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, bananas, apple sauce, vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

4. Add flour mixture, then blend at low speed until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Do not over mix.

5. Pour batter into muffin pan; bake on the center rack for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

As muffins:
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 1 muffin • Old WW Points: 3 • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 131.9 • Fat: 3.3 g • Carb: 27.2 g • Fiber: 2.7 g • Protein: 2.8 g • Sugar:14.6 g
Sodium: 148.6 mg

Enjoy!

~Blessings,

Jen

Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope you are able to celebrate today with all of the sweeties in your life!  Last week, the Mister and I celebrated early by attending a show called Shen Yun, a Chinese classical dance performance.  The show had great reviews and the advertisement displayed graceful dancers in colorful costumes.  When I brought up the idea to my Mister, he was not all that thrilled about going.  Then, one night, I found him on-line ordering tickets.  Now that folks, is love!  My Mister would much rather be watching sports or pretty much doing anything else other than watching classical dance, but he is the type of person that puts the needs of others before his own and that is one of the reasons I love him so much.  So as I was wondering what to write today, this self-sacrificing love came to mind.

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 Here we are at the show.

I really enjoyed the show and even learned some new things about Chinese history and culture.  When the show was finished, I asked the Mister what he thought.  He said, “I have to be honest…” and I thought maybe he was going to say that he actually liked the show or had a revelation about Chinese dance…ummm no!  He proceeded to tell me that the show made him really hungry for Chinese food!  I had to laugh at that comment and he was over the top excited when I agreed to stop for Chinese food on the way home!  I have to admit, the Chinese food was extra good that night!

I am so blessed to have such a loving husband and I thank God for him every day!  In thinking of self-sacrificial love, I am also reminded of the greatest gift of love ever given to all of us, which is expressed in this verse:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Whether you have a  loved one to share this Valentine’s Day with or not, we can all find immense comfort and hope in these words.  You are loved!

Wishing you much love and hopefully some chocolate this Valentine’s Day!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

 

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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On my way home from dropping Little One off at school today, I noticed an elderly neighbor shoveling the end of her driveway.  As I drove past, I considered stopping but felt kind of awkward about it.  I pulled in my driveway and thought about my own Mom and how I would not want her out shoveling her driveway, so I turned around and drove back.  Turns out, she was shoveling  because she had received a notice from the post office that they wouldn’t deliver her mail until she cleared the snow by her mailbox.

She was so thankful for my offer of help and as I shoveled, we chatted and learned a bit about each other.  She shared that her husband had passed away last year and that she was learning to do many things by herself such as taking care of the yard, bills etc. for the first time.  I am very blessed to live in a neighborhood where I know most of my neighbors.  Our children play together, running from yard to yard, we have impromptu backyard gatherings,  an informal “neighborhood watch” and we help each other out.  I had not met this particular neighbor yet, but I was so happy to meet someone new and get to know her.  I could hear the relief in her voice when I gave her my number and told her to call us if she ever needed anything.  I would hope that someone would do the same for my Mom if she ever needed help.

In this day and age of people driving straight into their garage, shutting the door and not coming out, I realize I have  something special in this little neighborhood of mine! If I am ever in a pickle, like the time Hubby was traveling and my garage door broke with my car trapped inside, I knew there were several neighbors I could ask  for help.  I had no problem finding a neighbor who came right over and held up the door so I could get my car out!  I love the feeling of community and watching out for each other that we share.

I think we could all benefit from some of those “old-fashioned” practices of front porch (or back patio) gatherings, taking a plate of cookies to a neighbor, making a meal for someone who is sick or has a new baby, or just watching out for each other.  All of these things help us feel connected and give us a sense of community that is so important in this busy world we live in.

How about you?  Do you know your neighbors? If not, I encourage you to take that step and say hello or offer a helping hand.

~Blessings

Jen