Monthly Archives: July 2017

The Vital Marriage Prayer

Different ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was recently reminded of something that I do that may not be commonplace, even among Christians and thought I’d share it with you today.

Michael and I are pretty much opposites! Not all that surprising, I know, as many people marry their opposite. Although, to this day, I wonder why but that is not the topic for today. Being opposites though means that we frequently have different opinions or viewpoints on any given subject. This has been problematic in our marriage as he can feel that I don’t ever agree with him. I am not a “yes man” and never will be; if I have an opinion about something and it differs with the one stated, I will NOT agree with someone just to be nice or for peace because I feel that would be a lie. I don’t always voice my opinion though because I don’t always feel that it is beneficial to share it.

For quite a few years now, if Michael does something that I don’t agree with, sometimes I will mention it to him but if it causes frustration I will agree to disagree for the moment. Then what I do is I go and pray. Praying isn’t that big of a deal but it is what I pray that seems to be a bit uncommon.

I cry out to God, quietly, as I don’t want Michael to overhear me. In that prayer I tell God how frustrated I am with the situation and ask God to deal with him. But then the very important part is that I pray, “God if he is wrong (and I think he is, I’m just sayin’ ) then change him and if I’m wrong, then change me.”

You see, it is vital to pray that last part because if you want your hubby to be open to God changing him then you also need to be open to God changing you. I have found that I have to remain teachable, never thinking I know it all or that I’m always right. God is the only one that is always right. So I want to be able to be corrected and changed by God, because I certainly do not want to be wrong thinking I’m right.

By always praying that God change him, if he’s wrong and me, if I am wrong, it gives God something to work with. Recently Michael and I had one of these situations arise. We were both emotional with how we felt and both felt very strongly about our opinion. I prayed that prayer and within a couple of hours, I could feel myself changing. I was no longer frustrated by his opinion and could actually see where he was coming from.

This prayer has worked on many occasions. Many times, I can see where God has worked on his attitude/opinion. It is a prayer that works. Now I will admit that it works easiest when both parties have submitted their wills to God and seek Him with their whole heart but it can still work in other circumstances.

I hope you will give this prayer a try. I know it has been very helpful in my marriage.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Conference Volunteering and Mowing

It has been a crazy busy week and unfortunately I did not take any pictures. I fixed lunches for the young adult conference at our church this week. I had some good help. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of them today, which is the last day of the conference, and add it here.

We made spaghetti with garlic bread and a salad on Monday. It was a good spaghetti, if I do say so myself. ;) We have some attendees that need a gluten free diet, so we try to accommodate them the best we can, for which they are grateful. We even have a lady in the church that donates gluten free desserts for them for the entire week. What a sweetie! We also have a few that are on a keto diet and since I’m one of them, I made Keto compliant foods as well. Tiffany made cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies last weekend to make our lives a bit easier and less hectic. (I thought I’d shared those recipes already but I don’t see them, so I’ll have to rectify that sometime soon. :) )

Tuesday was an easy day because it was just sandwiches! Hooray for sandwiches and chips! Then Wednesday I got off the hook for the major cooking as two attendees grilled the burgers and hot dogs. :) Win win! It’s a good thing it was an easy day for me too because it was game day and my help was needed to make the teams even. :D

Thursday was the big cooking day. We made Chicken Tortilla Bake, Corn Tomato Mozzarella Salad, and White Queso. That’s a lot! We also had some wonderful donations from two local restaurants . . . Chili’s gave us chips and salsa and Jack in the Box gave us tacos!

To make matters more difficult, the air conditioner that cools the kitchen was not working. Thankfully we had some fans to help cool us down. Of course that would happen on the day I have to use three ovens and the stove top. Oh well, we got through it without too much sweat. ;)

Today is pizza day! Hooray for pizza! I’m also glad that one local restaurant sells gluten free pizza. I will be making a keto pizza or two though. We will also throw together a salad. The attendees are always happy to have some salad with their pizza, which is surprising to some of us. The first year I just threw one together because we had so much leftover lettuce from the sandwich/burger days and didn’t want it to go to waste. Now we buy extra to ensure we have enough for a nice big salad.

Even though cooking is tiring, I love doing it and when I see the smiles on their faces and hear that they enjoyed the food, it makes me happy. It is a good thing.

Even with all of that, our lawn had needed mowing. Michael’s been busy helping family for the last several weeks and the grass has been growing, especially since we got a good amount of rain too. So for the last several days, he’s been going out in the evening and getting some mowing done.

YAConf and Mowing ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, that’s his mowing getup! Nice hat. But uhm, long sleeves and long pants too? The temperature was in the 90’s!

He explained this though. The long sleeves and the hat are to protect against too much sun and thus sunburn. The long pants are to protect against chiggers. You see, he is a chigger magnet! So it isn’t enough that he wears long pants with shoes and socks. No. Take a close look.Chigger Proof ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, he tapes the pant legs around his ankles. :D Hey, you do what you gotta do! He came in  without any chigger bites, so I guess it worked.

Well, I gotta run. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Be Aware and Pray

Be Aware ~ Lifeofjoy.meI tried to keep communications open with my kids both as they were growing up and continue to do so now. Unfortunately, I’ve learned in recent months that I was clueless about what they were actually feeling. I had no idea my sweet daughter struggled with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Of course, to be fair, she didn’t realize that her feelings had names or that her feelings weren’t normal.

Thankfully, these are things that I have never really had to deal with, except for the occasional minor bout (I’ve talked a bit about it here and here.) but it left me clueless to notice any symptoms.

This post is to encourage you to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, as well as self-image/self-worth. You should not go overboard complimenting your children, as that will do one of two things, namely puff them up with pride or make them question whether you are being truthful or not in other matters too.

I wish I had known what my children had felt and would have known the signs to help guide them to positive emotions. Please don’t misunderstand, all my children know I love them and have known it all their lives. They are also very aware that I am a momma bear and will look out for them as best I can but sometimes they (in hind sight) didn’t know how to describe what they were feeling and because I am a very optimistic person, I didn’t realize what was going on.

It’s hard when your child has a bad experience. You try your best and guide them to positive behaviors. I wish I had know how serious things were and would have prayed about each thing. I guess that is the takeaway . . . the big point I want to make . . . talk to your kids and really listen . . . take time to really listen . . . and then take each little thing to God in prayer and seek His guidance. Prayer should always be the first and last thing we do but unfortunately, way too often, we completely forget to pray about specific things. I know because I have smacked my head and said “Duh!” way too many times.

So, if you do not struggle with any of these things, do your children a favor and dig around for some information about what they look like/sound like/act like, so that you are aware and can pray and get them the help they need.

I hope this crazy rambling is helpful to you today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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More Hearts

This week begins Laura’s summer break and thus a guest challenger. It’s always fun to see what the new challenge will be. This week’s challenge is by Jessica Davies, who shared some absolutely gorgeous tangled hearts. It’s hard to say which one I liked the most because they were all so lovely.

I really loved the creativity of the ribbon on the first one but the one with just the tangle with the pearls (tripoli?) is elegant. But I think my favorite was the last one. I’m not sure what made it my favorite . . . I love the flux bursts, and I love the hollibaugh background . . . I’m usually a purist when it comes to Zentangle but I really liked the colored heart and how shapely it was . . . clearly it was my favorite. :)

I’ve been in a heart mode here lately! I started with an anniversary card for my husband to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.

Unshaded heart ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen last week’s home tile was all hearts.

Home Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had a hard time deciding how to tangle the heart for today. I thought about Hurry but my next thought was ‘Nzepple and I never quite moved away from it. It really seemed to fit with my thoughts last week too. I like how each little piece is an individual piece and yet is part of several different ‘flower’ shapes too, depending on your focus.

Here’s the unshaded tile.

Pre-shading ~ Lifeofjoy.meI thought about adding LOLO as a border to it but every time I went to start, I just felt the tile was done. So I shaded it. I love shading because it hides my imperfect line work. Some people have absolutely gorgeous line art but not me.

DC#324 ~ lifeofjoy.meI considered blackening in the border but in the end just went with blending it inward.

Thank you for stopping by and a huge thank you if you leave some comment love. :) Your kind comments about my shading abilities has really helped my confidence.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread

Variation of a grain-free nut-free flatbread, using sun-dried tomato.

Having a keto friendly bread is very helpful. Sometimes you just want a sandwich! :)

I found the basis for this recipe on a youtube video from Cooking Keto with Kristie. She uses Italian seasoning in her version but Italian is not my favorite seasoning. We are more of an oregano or basil fan here.

Last year, before going Keto, we got some wraps from Aldi that were sun-dried tomato flavor. Tiffany and I absolutely loved them. Unfortunately they were not a standard stock item and we only were able to have them once or twice. That is not all bad considering, I just saw them in the store last week and really wanted them but also, not low carb.

So I decided to try some sun-dried tomato in this flatbread recipe instead of the Italian seasoning. I did this once before, processing a few pieces in a mini-food processor. I used the same amount that I would’ve used of the Italian seasoning but it wasn’t a strong enough flavor, so this time I doubled it. :)

It is really simple and takes just a few ingredients.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl . . . coconut flour, psyllium husk fiber powder, salt, sun-dried tomato, and granulated garlic (which looks a whole lot like garlic powder to me) . . . and blend.

Sun-dried Tomato Flatbread dry ingr ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat sun-dried tomato is moist so it will be hard to mix around but just keep at it until is is pretty well spread throughout the dry ingredients.

Next add in the oil and optional cheese. This time I used part skim mozzarella cheese.

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow add in one cup of boiling water and mix until well combined and dough is formed. Place the dough on parchment paper covered rimmed baking dish (this one is about 10″x15″;) and spread out evenly.

Spread the flatbread dough ~ Lifeofjoy.meI use the cheap disposable gloves from Dollar Tree so that it doesn’t stick to my hands. The first several times I did this I didn’t use the gloves and I kept having to dampen my hands to keep the dough from sticking to them.

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture after I’d spread it all out in the pan. And I did not get is spread very evenly because I have a small section that is a bit overly browned. ;) Oh well, it will eat all the same.

Bake on 350º for about 20 minutes, until it is ‘dry’ and browned on the bottom.

Slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack and cut into pieces with a pizza cutter. I cut it into 10 pieces to give a more substantial sandwich than cutting it into 16 pieces.

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husk fiber powder
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced sun-dried tomato
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup oil (your preferred oil: coconut, olive, avocado, etc.)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

  1. Combine the dry ingredients well.
  2. Add oil and cheese (if using) and mix well.
  3. Add boiling water and mix really well.
  4. Spread dough on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet
  5. Bake 350º for about 20 minutes
  6. Cool on a rack and cut with a pizza cutter.
http://lifeofjoy.me/sun-dried-tomato-flatbread/

I hope you enjoy the flavor of this flatbread too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Two Series (Links)

Links ~ Lifeofjoy.meI just want to share a couple of links, real quickly, with you today. The first is 93 suggestions of things to do with your spouse to encourage togetherness and joy. Now I have not been through this completely yet, but it has some good ideas and focuses on just one little thing to do to promote closeness.

They realize that every idea is not going to be to every person’s liking and have provided several pdfs upfront so you can have an alternative if you prefer. But check out 93 to Joy.

This second one is the Respect Dare. This one is at a slower pace than the first but goes a bit more in depth. The posts are only up once a week. I subscribed so that I get them all in my email and when I get a chance, can read them. It takes you on a journey really thinking about your attitudes and motivations, as you develop character in yourself.

She has seven posts so far in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. I have not read through them all but I will say they are challenging and should not be taken swiftly. ;)

I believe that we should always be growing, bettering ourselves. It is difficult it grow if we don’t challenge ourselves or take a step back and assess where we are, taking responsibility for our own part and not shifting blame to anyone else.

It is okay to have reasons why things are the way they are and what caused them but the goal should be to grow and make things better. :)

I hope these two resources bless you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Painting, Liam, and Conference

We’ve had a busy week. My sister and her husband closed on their new house, so much painting was being done. My son and his wife are getting their house ready to sell, which also means much painting is being done. Since Michael is a paint contractor it is only natural that he would help when he can.

I made a special breakfast before they went off to offer their help to Brian and Lauren.

Pancakes, Eggs, Sausage, Cheese and Syrup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is really filling! Tiffany hardly ate any of hers. Michael ate half of his and I ate three-fourths of mine. Brian and Lauren hinted that it would be helpful if I could watch Liam for them, so they could all get some work done . . . I got myself together and off I went, just a few minutes behind Michael and Sean. Tiffany let me take what she didn’t eat to Brian . . . what a sweetie she is. I’d packed up Michael’s leftovers and what was left of my piece and sent it with Michael for him to eat later.

I took Liam supplied with toys and his pack-and-play. I expected that I’d have him at my house for a bit and then I’d be off to see how I could help Tracie. While I was gone, Tiffany was a jewel whipped up a replacement batch of pancakes for the guys for breakfasts this week. I got home and puttered around a bit. I should’ve done things but I enjoyed watching this cutie instead.

Liam and the ball ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe liked the mail. Last time he was playing with the grocery ads. :DLiam ~ Lifeofjoy.meI finished feeding him his lunch and thought I should check in with Tracie. Turns out that I missed her reply text to me and she was home already. So Tiffany, Liam, and I packed up and headed over. Thankfully, she lives close by.

I had so much to gather since I had Liam that I completely forgot about taking pork rinds and ketorito seasoning to eat with our burgers for dinner. So we stopped at Family Dollar on the way. Unfortunately, Liam fell asleep in the car, which did not bode well for any further nap later. But try we did.

Michael and Sean showed up around 6:30, in time for dinner, followed closely by Brian and Lauren, who had also picked up Ashlee from her dance practice, so Tracie didn’t have to go back into town.

My parents had been there all day. They are both in their 70s and sometimes forget that they are not in their 40s any longer. :) They are amazing.

I didn’t get any good pictures, as usual. I was too busy living life.

We also celebrated Brian’s birthday this week. It was ridiculously cool for July and under normal circumstances I would’ve liked it but we were there to swim. :D

The young adult conference starts this coming week at our church and I’m in charge of the lunch. So we have another errand day and then a fun week of serving the next generation. I won’t kid myself though, I’m gonna be tired.

Speaking of which, I better run. We’ve got lots to do today! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Juvenile Non-Fiction Book Suggestions

Several weeks ago I recommended that you take your children to the library and let them browse through the 900’s section of the non-fiction books of the children’s section. I had heard of a book series that sounded pretty interesting. I checked them out to see if I could recommend them but when I was searching the stacks for them, I found some more books that looked interesting and that is what sparked the idea to let the children browse the section to find books that interested them.

Here’s some from the first series.
Good Children's non-fiction ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe two on the left are from the Who Was Series and the right are from the Where Is Series. I loved the book on Milton Bradley. I enjoyed the book on Alcatraz too. But the book on the Amazon had some evolution worldview and some such information, so be aware of that. These were really good books though. I started reading the on on Winston Churchill but needed to stop to write this. What I read so far was good and interesting.

I like that they do not dumb down the information but define possible new words right in the text. I recommend these books. They are chapter books with a medium size print. Very nice! At the end there is a timeline of world events and the subject of the book so that you can see what was happening in the world as well. Good idea.

In the Where Was books, there is a color fold-out map in the back. It is perforated so be careful when you open it for the first time. This series of books also has another subcategory, What is. I couldn’t find any of those in our branch when I was there, but I bet they are good as well.

There are over 120 titles in the Who Was Series. They cover all different people from Houdini to Tubman to Franklin to King Tut to Mozart and oh so many more. There are a couple dozen in the What Was Series ranging from the Gold Rush to Pearl Harbor to the San Francisco Earthquake and more. The Where Is Series has around twenty books covering the Solar System, the Eiffel Tower, and Easter Island to name a few.

I do not receive anything from recommending these books. I hope you enjoy them. I did and I don’t even have young kids anymore. :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Home Tile

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge is to draw a tile that means home.

For me, home is all about love. It starts with the love of God for me. Next is the love of my life, Michael, and then our children, and now daughter-in-love and grandson. It goes to my extended family and then out to other friends and people God puts in my path. So the natural thing to draw was hearts that overlapped one another.

I tried to add other tangles but all I could see was a bunch of hearts. I just couldn’t put anything inside them. So I didn’t fight it and I just shaded it.

I forgot to take a preshaded picture. I just started shading and didn’t stop. This one really flowed for me. Some of the hearts are a little wonky but that is the way we people are; we’re not perfect. I’m a work in progress.

Home Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy shading has come a long way from my beginning. :) I’m pretty happy with this.

Thanks to those that take the time to comment. It is greatly appreciated. I’ll be posting something every Wednesday, even if there isn’t  Diva Challenge, so please stop back by each week and leave a little love if you don’t mind. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

This is a combination of chicken, ham and cheese and is really nice served with broccoli.

Many years ago I found this recipe for a weight watchers version of Chicken Cordon Bleu. I really loved it but did not like the work of pounding the breasts thin, breading them, and then rolling them up with ham, broccoli, and cheese. It took too much time, so even thought we enjoyed it, I did not make very often.

I thought it would be great to find a casserole that tasted as good. The problem is that the breading was crucial to my liking it and none of them had enough of that taste. Now enter the keto diet and I can’t have the breading anyway, so I revisited some of the recipes I had.

This one is one I have modified and fixed several times and enjoyed it. It calls for three cups of cooked chicken and two cups of cubed cooked ham for a total of five cups of meat. I usually fix this after having made a large ham and thus having ham leftover, so I frequently increase the amount of ham I use and decrease the chicken by that amount.

Start by heating 3/4 cups of heavy cream and 3/4 cup water in a sauce pan over medium heat. Sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon of glucomannan and bring to a low simmer. You can also sprinkle in about an 1/8 teaspoon of onion powder into it as well. Let it thicken a bit.

Sauce ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace the cubed  cooked chicken in a 9×13 casserole dish.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the cubed cooked ham and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or whatever cheese you prefer.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the other 1/2 cup shredded cheese to the sauce and melt completely. Pour over meat and cheese. (I forgot to add some of the cheese to the sauce and so my sauce was too thin.)

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meUse whatever keto bread you have available and pulse it in a mini food processor, into bread crumbs or you can grind up pork rinds. You want a half cup of crumbs. Add a tablespoon of melted butter and 1/2 cup grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese. Combine and sprinkle over the top. (I did not combine them but layered them on . . . wish I’d have combined it before sprinkling)

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meBake at 350º for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is all melted and bubbly and it is heated throughout.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was really good. We all wanted the leftovers the next day. Oh, I have also made this with turkey ham with good results.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 2-3 cups cooked, cubed ham
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon glucomannan
  • 1/2 cup keto bread crumbs or ground pork rinds
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss or Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat cream, water, onion powder and sprinkle glucomannan over it and combine well. Cook over low heat until it thickens.
  2. Combine chicken, 1 cup of the cheese, and ham in a casserole dish.
  3. Add remaining 1/2 cup cheese to the sauce and melt in completely.
  4. Pour thickened sauce over meats and cheese.
  5. Combine bread crumbs or ground pork rinds with the melted butter and grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes, until all the cheese is melted and bubbly.
http://lifeofjoy.me/chicken-cordon-bleu-casserole/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº