Feed the Belly Not Just the Soul

So I talked in my last post on recognizing God’s call to minister to my family and part of that is to fill their bellies with yumminess! So today I bring you a new recipe in my house that has gotten rave reviews by ALL!

Mix together olive oil, black pepper, salt, garlic powder and paprika-if you desire add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce but this family doesn’t handle the heat well!

You will need to peel and dice your potatoes, place the diced potatoes in your olive oil mixture being sure to coat all the potatoes.

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olive oil

Place potatoes in a 9×13 pan-you will have some olive oil mixture left you need this! Don’t scrape it into the pan with your potatoes.

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You’ll notice my cracked dish-my prized Crate and Barrel dish that was my best purchase one year while shopping on the annual girls weekend in Chicago. This crack happened at the hands of my children and I choose to embrace the chip rather then crying that momma never gets to have anything nice. Which I’m ashamed to admit is what flew through my head at the first sight of that chip.

Put the potatoes in the oven at 500 degrees (I know right-I had to check and to be sure it could do that!)IMG_2625

Next cube chicken and place in the leftover mixture. chicken

Your potatoes will bake for about 30 minutes and you will need to stir them at the half way mark. IMG_2642

After 30 minutes of baking, stir the potatoes and add chicken on top of them evenly. Cover with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Bake for another 20 minutes. I turned my oven down after 10 minutes so my bread didn’t burn once I put it in. cheesy

Serve hot but watch those tongues so they don’t end up burned!

I like to serve with bread because who doesn’t want their meat and potatoes with a side of bread! IMG_2648

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I think the best part of this meal is the easy clean up only your mixing bowl, cutting board and casserole dish doesn’t get much easier then that!    Enjoy this tasty easy meal and spend that extra time you saved by painting nails or playing a game with the kiddos!

Love and Blessings

~W


Ingredients:

1 tbsp Black Pepper

1 1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Paprika

1/2 C Olive Oil

7-8 Potatoes

2 lbs Chicken Breast

2 C Shredded Cheese

1 bag of Bacon Bits

Directions:

Mix black pepper, garlic powder, salt, paprika and olive oil. Cube potatoes and coat with oil mixture. Place in baking dish. Bake 30 minutes at 500 degrees stirring half way through. Cube chicken and add to remaining oil mixture. After potatoes bake for 30 minutes add chicken, cover with shredded cheese and bacon bits, bake 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

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Holy Grounds

Everyone needs a sense of purpose, a sense of direction in their life, well mine seems to be misplaced, or so it seems. Today I realized I seem to be going through life without a solid defined direction. I was thinking why do I seem to be feeling as if there is no intentional route I’m taking? I was thinking how after I closed the photography business, I did that in order to have more time for my family and for the youth ministry,I felt a sense of loss, sense of no longer being defined as a photographer. Then when last month I put down the youth ministry I had this sense of loss again, a sense of no longer being defined as a youth leader, a sense of not being needed by anyone. So I have been floating without a sense of purpose.

Then today while in the shower and I’m pondering these great reflections, let me add here that my shower is holy ground I have been spoken to and felt more alive with the spirit of the Lord around me there than even in church. So I’m in the holy grounds of my shower pondering this sense of empty, drifting when I’m reminded of this event I was at 2-3 years ago I was seeking the Lords confirmation of his intention to place me in ministry. Yet I felt his call was to just love my family well, my response was well I’m already doing that I want to serve you bigger Lord. So I continued pretending that His plan was to use me in a bigger way, then the fall of 2013 came and I decided that in order for Him to use me in a big way I better make some room so I closed the business. I did focus more on my family at this time and dived into the youth ministry of my church, after all my sense of purpose comes from my doing. I have to do, do, do, I’m definitely a Martha.  So this Martha did what was in front of her, serving and growing this ministry that was in front of her. Loving my family still, seeking the Lord for the ministry’s direction but fully focused on what to “do” for this ministry. Then 4 months ago God started to remove my grasp on this ministry, this ministry that defined me, that fulfilled this part of me. He caused such a strong stirring in me I could no longer be apart of this church. He grabbed my shoulders and turned me away, I didn’t understand how this was the plan, He was going to us ME. How could this happen and continue without me?

Today in the holy grounds of my shower I’ve began to understand, He had to strip me bare in order to be a Mary to show me that I don’t have to do, only be. I need to BE a godly wife, I need to BE a godly mom and most importantly I need to BE a godly Winter that sits at the feet of Jesus. My friend over coffee last week said would you have left your church and ministry if this huge stirring hadn’t happened? I said no way, that this church was my family, my best friends, we didn’t just attend we were involved all the way, Jesse plays guitar every service, we served the youth together, our kids have grown up there. Never would we have left, she said then maybe that’s why this drastic change took place because God had to get your attention and move you out.  For a week that has swirled in my brain, of ok that makes sense, but why, why would He need to take me out of this ministry, why wouldn’t he want to use me bigger?

Today it was answered, I was reminded of that event when I was shown the direction I needed to move and I didn’t like the answer. I wanted to do, I just didn’t understand the concept of Mary. The idea of sitting at Jesus’s feet, the idea of being Jesus here on earth to my family only. I have always been a big or go home kind of person so to me I want to live out Jesus bigger, serve Jesus bigger, yet today after nearly two and half years of being allowed to move in that direction the Lord said enough and I finally heard him. I heard just BE, don’t do, don’t look for a to-do list, don’t overlook the gift in front of you, just be with me [Jesus], just be with your family.

This seems so difficult and challenging to me, but through Jesus I can be Mary. Today I seek to only be. I will be with Jesus and I will be with my family. Even when it doesn’t seem like it could be enough, I will remind myself of the heartache of not following what the Lord asks of me. Yes good came out of those two and half years, because God always brings goodness, but what could have come out of obeying and being satisfied by the Mary mentality. Are you Martha or Mary-is God calling you to be more like Mary too?

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Legacy of Love and Respect

So a few weeks ago I started watching Parenthood on Netflix, it was around the time my Facebook friends were crying over the series finale I thought if this many people are loving it and are so sad over the ending it must be a good show…well it is! I will not embarrass myself by saying how far I am into the series in only a few short weeks, but lets just say I’m moving right along! A few many episodes back I’m watching Crosby and Jasmine have a mega fight and end their engagement all over how to load the dishwasher. Of course it’s not all about how the dishwasher is being loaded but circles back to her lack of respect for Crosby. For being controlling and expecting him to change and be a different man. (Yes I realize this isn’t real life but bare with me!) It made me think about so many early relationships and marriages I watch from the outside looking in and see the lack of respect that women give to their man. I do NOT have a perfect marriage but one thing I know and live out the best I can is to respect Jesse. God’s word doesn’t tell me to love him, it says to respect him and he is to love me. This is a circle that feeds itself. Men long to be respected and women need to be loved.

This brings me to a relationship that I have so much respect for, a real life relationship that I have had the privilege to witness it lived out and learn from. A relationship that was paused on this earth at least, two weeks ago. It is my grandma and grandpa’s relationship nearly 63 years in the making. My Grandpa said goodbye on this earth and hello to Jesus. This marriage was formed in the war era and blossomed after only a short time of knowing each other. They experienced 5 children, a military career, losing a child, and so much more. But my main memory that I will carry with me and try to live to that example is of the love and respect. He lived out love to his partner, children and grandchildren everyday, even when it wasn’t deserved.

I handle death differently then those that know me might expect for me to, I’m one who processes most things out loud and tends to over share everything. But death is different, I become very reflective and turn with in myself to process. These past couple of weeks I’ve thought so much of the example of marriage, how a man loves a woman-and how Grandma turned that love into respect back to him. I’ve thought on what makes my own marriage work and on my relationship with my children.

After 15 years of marriage I know the importance of these things, most days and live them out, most days. The death of Grandpa and the getting to be apart of the legacy of love has made me re-evaluate the intentionality of my approach to my own relationships.


So the above was written a week ago as we were ready to walk out the door for a marriage retreat. Seriously I started writing while Jesse was in the shower, I was dressed, make up on and ready to hit the road! I didn’t know what to expect at this retreat that is hosted by a local church. We’ve had several friends attend in the past and tell us how great it is and that we should go. This year thanks to the generosity of my in-laws we were able to attend.

What was ironic was the weekend in part could be summed up in my above post. Love your wife, respect your husband. It expounded on what not to do and what to do, of course. I loved to hear that we are on the right path that we are doing this thing called marriage well and as it was intended.

Towards the end of the weekend we were asked to put done our “complaints” of our marriage/partner in order of 10-100 (by 10’s) so the 10 would be something minor and a 100 would be a huge thing. After 5 minutes we looked at each other with mostly a blank page, each of us had a 70 listed but it wasn’t about the other it was something that we wanted to work on together. I said teaching our children about the word more intentionally and he said doing our budget together again. Neither of these things have we fought about or do we intend to fight over them it’s areas to improve together with love and respect.

So ladies respect your husband,  the bible is sound-it works, respect him at all times but by golly respect in public and to your friends. Never talk down about him to his face or behind his back because the words you speak is the attitude that you live out. Build him up even when you don’t think he deserves because he is called to love you even when you don’t deserve to be loved. Men love your wives don’t expect intimacy without loving her emotionally women want to see you invested in them do that little thing you know makes her feel loved, a long hug, reading a book to the kids, letting her shower in peace the intimacy will be soon to follow.

Love and Respect that is the foundation of a marriage, let it be your legacy to your children and grandchildren like it was for me.

The Honor of Gods Call

When I think of my call by God I remember lots of agony, of is this his call, what should it look like, do I hear him or me, am I making the right choice of moving from my spot I’m stuck in? I think at least I have tended to over analyze His call  (I would guess I’m not alone!) God calls each of us uniquely at different times in our lives, not just once but over and over. He calls us to move forward, to stay and grow with only Him, to move on and let go.

God has been calling His people to do things we may not want to do, things we think are too hard for us to accomplish or begin. That is the test of our faith it brings endurance and strength to our relationship with the Lord.

He called Esther a Jewish orphan to a time as this to become a queen, convince a king to change his mind, and save a race of people.

He called David to defeat a giant with only a stone, to become a king when he was the youngest, the runt of the litter even.

He called Saul to become Paul a missionary, a complete 180 from how he started his life.

He called the disciples to leave careers and family to follow Jesus.

He called Jesus to the cross,

He [Jesus] took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will done, not mine.” {Matthew 37-42}

This shows us Jesus begging for another option, another path to take, other than the road to the cross. Yet he knew that the Lord’s will was the plan.

He calls us to follow him with all of our being, to chase after his plans for our lives, to seek him daily not just in the big or hard stuff.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

This is a passage of scripture that is oh so familiar, it was written by Jeremiah from the Lord to those that had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon-this is a message of encouragement that if we seek him wholeheartedly we will find him and he will reveal those plans.

My greatest desire is to be obedient in my journey with the Lord. There is a situation in my life currently that is beyond difficult. A situation that by me moving on and releasing it to Him alone to fix and repair will paint me to be the problem in some peoples eyes. I have to trust God’s plan and purpose for me, the situation and all those that it affects. One of my greatest struggles is to remember that it isn’t others views of me but the Lord’s view of me that defines who I am. He has been with me through every step of this journey, from the tug to serve to the responsibility of impacting others journeys with Him, to the secrets and changes, the tears of anguish of the next step, to the final release of moving on.

God’s will will be accomplished we can choose to be a help or a hindrance. My choice is to move aside and make it not about what I want but what is best and what will allow room for Him to move. My faith is built upon His rock, my trust anchored in Him so, I know in the depths of my being that His call in this situation to let go and move on will bring a peace and healing. Now that I have obeyed instead of trying to stay and do what I want, to serve as I define.

Love and Blessings

W

Is Your Jesus Hat Crooked Too?

Today my Jesus hat is a little crooked, heck make that the last couple of days weeks! What in the world is a Jesus hat you ask? The Jesus hat is when you are so focused on the Lord, and when its on perfect and straight you are praying for your entire Facebook friends list, sending encouraging text messages, soaking in the presence of the Lord…this hat IS an AWESOME hat to have and to wear that isn’t what this is about.

I’m talking about the crooked hat moments of life when you can’t even bring yourself to pray for your family let alone everyone you know, when you can’t look at a piece of scripture without something inside of you clenching, when you receive those encouraging text messages and you inwardly groan. When your so darn tired of running that you just aren’t sure you can put another foot in front of the other, when satan has attacked at every angle and your hands are in the air surrendered.

Well girls I’m so thankful we are loved by a God who is bigger than all that! A God who has not only run the race but won the race for us! Paul tells us in Philippians that:

“I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

We aren’t running a sprint that is accomplished with a burst of energy but we are running the marathon of life. We need more endurance than the greatest Olympian to ever run! When we run this race we can’t keep looking back, when we do we burn energy that we don’t have to waste. Nor do we have extra energy to look to the left and right we only can look ahead, ahead to the prize that we are called to. When we slow down to look to the left and right we are comparing our journey to those beside us. They have beautiful journeys but when we stop to look we begin to let ourselves wonder why? Why do they have such an amazing house, why do they get to have children, why do they get to have a body that works and is healthy…..why, why, why…..

The Lord has blessed us with our journey, our families, our friends, our neighborhoods for a purpose, and when we let our Jesus hat stay crooked for too long we lose sight our race and our true purpose. Our purpose is to live transparent, authentic Jesus filled lives.

So today I ask Jesus to straighten our hats, to lift up our chins, and heal our battle wounds. Father my heart is weary and I know that others are too so I ask that you give us the strength to continue -the endurance to place another foot down. Father you have called us to live lives that are glorifying to You so let us be purposeful intentional woman of the Lord. Father I ask that you cultivate relationships that honor you, that encourage each other, and transparent so that we can hold each other up when the other is weary.

Hole In My Heart

I grew up in a home that didn’t have a lot, a lot of money or freedom to be who I was created to be. So my lessons in self-control were from necessity. Well I left those unpleasant experiences behind me as soon as possible which ended up being about 16. That’s when I got a job so I had the money to buy the “things” I so desperately thought I needed. I soon realized how fun that was but I still wasn’t being filled so then I searched for the freedom I craved freedom to go where I wanted, date, spend time alone with boys. This unfortunately allowed me to try and fill that spot in my heart with all the wrong things. I had spent 16 years being told no, either no there was no money or no because I wasn’t worth it.

So for the next few years I spent searching for a way for my heart to be complete, I allowed portions to be filled by being open to God’s plan to marry young to help me avoid the heartache of the path I was on the brink of walking but I didn’t understand that “the boy”- the man I’m still married to wasn’t the actual answer. The answer was the Lord-trusting in Him, in His plan for me, His love that wasn’t conditional like everyone else’s around me seemed to be. Girls are you seeking for a way to be filled? Can I tell you it will not be with clothes, the newest gadget, popular friends, the boy you long to date or the boy you long to keep by giving him your body. It will be finding who you are in Christ…you are loved, cherished and He LONGS to be in a relationship with you. Not an occasional conversation but an ongoing daily journey that you need to say yes to everyday.

Hurting Heart

Do you ever have those times in life that your heart just hurts? Maybe you can’t even really say why it aches with a lacking or a longing you just can’t put your finger on. That has been my heart the last few weeks. Everything around me has been going well, my hubby got a less stressful better paying job, summer is here, what more could a girl need right? Well it does need something and I think we are created to know what it is we need or seek but we can be unwilling to admit what it is. It is a joy that only comes from the Lord, my time with the Lord has been minimal lately and the time I spend “with Him” has been doing what needs to be done for the youth group another item to mark off my check list. My challenge to myself over the next few days is to truly seek the Lords face listening for Him to speak in my life.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Sin is sin love is love

I have been thinking about love and what Jesus says about love. He says to love everyone as yourself,  I don’t know about you but I tend to treat myself pretty good.  This isn’t a qualified love, its not a love that says well since you have this sin or trial in your life I can’t love you until you get your hot mess cleaned up. It’s a love that says I love you just as you are, a love that says I know you have crap (I have crap too-so please love mine!) yet I choose to love you. It’s a love that is made up of enough strength to say you have this sin going on and you need to clean it up. (This works both ways so tread gently in pure love!) Our jobs as Christ followers is to love well and this doesn’t apply to only those easy to love but to ALL those around us.  How are you loving?

Slow down He wants to talk to you…

Wow, how God has been working in my life lately! Two weeks ago I attended a women’s retreat with my fellow church ladies the theme was being a child of God/your identity in God. The best and most intense part of the weekend came almost at the end with a simple prayer exercise, one I had never done before. There was music playing and the speaker asked us just to get silent with the Lord and to write down whatever He may be telling us on the note card that she had given us.

So as I sat on the floor clearing my head wanting to hear what the Lord had for me I got “stop fighting me”…well I didn’t want to hear that I mentally said what else do you have Lord there has to be something better for me to hear…I again get “stop fighting me” I don’t want to write that down Lord this goes back and forth a few more times when finally with a shaking hand I write down “Stop fighting me” as I continued to listen with tears streaming down my face. I was also told:

I want you.

Be patient

Need refining-haven’t finished yet

As the song played through once more I sat wrestling with the Lord about my need for direction, and how He wants me to serve Him, if I’m “good enough” to serve Him in a greater capacity. So as the song ends for the second time the speaker says I’m going to have Jennifer pick up your card {which I DID NOT want anyone else to see} She goes on to say that the words that we wrote may not be for us but for someone else in the room. She asks Jennifer to pass out the cards not in any kind of order but just go with the Lord’s leading.

She heads for me first and I as look at the card and its message written there, my heart is pierced, especially when these words are combined with the words God gave to me. I have reassurance and a renewed confidence in the journey that I’m to take for the Lord.

The card I received read: Confidence…..is good. But be humble.

God is in control. He has a plan and I don’t get to-and don’t need to-understand.

I trust Him not to give me more than I can handle.

I am doing what He wants me to do~He told me.

I am on a journey surrounded by two friends to grow closer and deeper with the Lord these words were given to me shortly after drawing my circle to say I seek you with more intention and obedience Lord. How He longs to speak to us and encourage us if only we take the time to slow down and listen.

Just Love-Even When its Ugly

So lately I have really been pondering the thought of peoples views and why they think/respond the way they do. Example being: someone made a comment of how you need to be on time/early even {whaaat} to church, if your not your basically not being a proper christian {i need to insert i’m not real sure what a proper christian looks like, i think its way messier then what we picture it being!}. When I first heard this I immediately got my dander up a bit…i’m generally ALWAYS late when one) its early morning and two) when i’m getting 2 children motivated and moving {by myself since the hubby has to be there prior to me}. So I took a bit of offense to this until I thought hmmm maybe this is how in his mind he shows his love/respect/worship to God. I don’t show these things to God in this way but i do by rocking out to worship music and giving it all to him…another area i’m sure some think i’m crazy for but when i get to worshiping i just can’t hold still! We need to remember to think about the other persons point of view before we judge, just because its not how we view or think doesn’t mean they are wrong.

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

When we stop loving and get to judging our mouths then get to flapping so we really begin to stir the pot….don’t deny it you know you’ve done it. Some one has gotten under your skin so your high tailing it to your friend saying “are you kidding me can you believe that just came out of their mouth.”  We are only digging ourselves deeper and deeper into this incorrect thought process, we need to stop and think before we speak to avoid the hole! What an opportunity we may have if we can stop long enough to even ask the person “hey what did you mean by this because i heard this” maybe the real issue is we aren’t listening we are just in too big of hurry to assume what they intended to say.

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

Much love ~w

election day is tomorrow need to be in prayer for a God guided vote and results. No matter the outcome He is still King of Kings.