Be Still and Listen

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In follow-up to yesterday’s post, I have something to share with you. I have this daily devotional calendar written by Sarah Young, it was a wedding present from our mentors. This morning, as we were reading today’s message, I realized that God was replying to my post from yesterday. I had to stop and catch my breath..cry a little, and then continue on. I find that God does this often with me; this is how he speaks to me and I must be still and listen or else, it could go unnoticed. Below is the message for July 25th; you read it and tell me it’s not a direct response to yesterday’s post (the last sentence sums it up!):

AS YOU LISTEN to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you. I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, Scripture. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come. When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief. (I think of my son here, on the street and on drugs, the tragedy and grief he’s filled with) – I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good.

Search for Me and My messages, as you go through this day. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being.

(sigh)…The Lord works in mysterious ways. It’s things like this that remind me that GOD ‘IS’ there and HE ‘IS’ listening. It reinforces that HE responds to our cries for help in HIS TIME & HIS WAY.

This verse is for my son, Nathan: Jeremiah 20:13

 Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.

Ask, Seek, Knock

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Matthew 7:7-8 New International Version (NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Who among us has knocked? Who among us has not had the door opened? Are we not being patient? Are we misunderstanding what “the door will be opened.” means?

FAITH is believing without seeing. Believing when no hope is in sight. Believing, because you KNOW, there is a God whether or not doors are opened. Faith is when that ‘something’ deep down in your soul keeps you in line and gives you the will to persevere.

May we all walk in faith, when the path is dark. Keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. For if we give up, we have nothing.

Mary

 

Are You Hanging In There?

Everyday we wake up with a fresh start. We haven’t even gotten out of bed yet, and already have a zillion thoughts running through our head as far as what we hope to accomplish this day.

I’m going to eat better, eat less, perhaps try to get in some exercise. I’ll try to consult with God every time I’m faced with a decision; that could be 100 x’s a day, or more! I’ll call my mom; I’ll apologize to my sibling for being rude and out of line. I’ll call my daughter-in-law and check in on her and my grandson. I won’t let anyone at work get to me; I’ll be polite and overlook anything negative. I’ll spend more time in the evening with my family and we’ll actually turn off social media at dinner time, and talk like a family should. Heck, maybe even fit in a short game or something fun before bedtime!

We have all these good intentions, but how many of them truly come to fruition?

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Do today what you know you should and of that, don’t put off till tomorrow!

Hang in there; take one day at a time. Enjoy every moment of every hour. Seek the face of God and always try to do the right thing – we all can do it!

God bless!

 

June 19, 2015

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What a catchy title, huh? But it’s true, today is June 19th, 2015 – and my, how time has flown.

I went to bed last night a little down; sad…you know, simply ‘depressed.’ We all know what’s been going on in the world, nationally and locally; a whole lot of ‘bad.’ One doesn’t even need to turn the news on to hear these discouraging reports, we can look around in our own circle of life and get a glimpse on negative forces. Families are fighting among one another (brothers against sisters, children against parents, etc.), spouses with each other. Even the workplace can bring strife.

You’ve heard me frequently mention my young son Nathan, a two war veteran, who has been battling with PTSD since his return home. The family doesn’t hear much from him. We sometimes get calls from the authorities who will have questions for us, after picking him up for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s a call from a medical/mental  facility, also with questions. If we’re lucky, we actually receive a call from him long enough to attempt to carry on a logical conversation but soon realize how bad off he really is. I’m not sure if it’s simply better not to hear from him at all? My heart can only break so many times.

One of my daughters has been battling drug addiction for a few years now and hit bottom a few months ago. God’s angels saved her that night, a pure miracle, but even that close call didn’t free her from her addiction. She didn’t use her second chance wisely. She’s getting help, just about all the help that a person can receive, but it comes down to her wanting to be healed. Hopefully God’s voice and healing hand will touch her and she’ll walk away ALIVE, and a new child of god, soon.

Yep…we all have trials and tribulations, I am not alone. This morning while enjoying my morning coffee, I read a daily inspiration. These words, for June 19, 2015, lift us up and allow us to carry on with hope in our hearts and a smile on our face.

I AM THE FIRM FOUNDATION on which you can dance and sing and celebrate My Presence. This is MY high and holy calling for you; receive it as a precious gift. Glorifying and enjoying Me is a higher priority than maintaining a tidy, structured life. Give up your striving to keep everything under control – an impossible task and a waste of precious energy.

My guidance for each of My children is unique. That is why listening to Me is so vital for your well-being. Let me prepare you for the day that awaits you and point you in the right direction. I am with you continually, so don’t be intimidated by fear. Though it stalks you, it cannot harm you, as long as you cling to My hand. Keep your eyes on Me, enjoying Peace in My Presence.

Psalm 5:11; Ephesians 3:20-21; Jude 24-25; Joshua 1:5

May none of us ever give up; instead, press on and win the battle! Let’s find the good that does exist in the world, and spread the good news!

Mary

Fall is here!

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When I was a child, one of the first signs that fall had arrived was when the sweaters came out! The chill had hit the air. Then of course the leaves were everywhere on the ground and we would love to rake them and then jump into them from out of tall trees! As I look back now I think to myself how lucky we were not to have broken something…leaves do not have cushion – LOL! Our Angels were always standing close by.

I used to love walking and crunching the leaves under my feet with each step I took, and even as a kid I would appreciate the cool, crisp air with that distinct fall aroma! Ahhh…it was definitely my favorite time of year and still is to this very day! When I go home to visit I usually try to make it October; I love sitting on my mom’s front porch, all wrapped up in a warm blanket and drinking my morning coffee! God.. I LOVE it! That’s when I just want time to STOP!

How I ended up in Arizona, from the East Coast, I still don’t really understand, but nonetheless I keep reminding myself that it’s always God’s plan that is in play. Phoenix doesn’t really get fall the way I know it. I mean, it cools off here, thank God, but that’s about it. However, we are lucky enough to be able to drive a couple hours North and be in the Pines, and there we can see leaves, and even snow! The seasons are never too far away.

Yep, I’ve been in the mood for fall! And on that note…today I decided to make Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. What a perfect way to say “HELLO FALL!” I had never made it before and was very happy with how it came out; DEE-LISH. I can’t post pictures here because I have no space left to do so on this blog. I think I will have to do something about that for sure! Some of the basic ingredients are: Butternut squash, red onion, carrots, celery, leeks, and the spices are: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, maple syrup.

The best way for me to describe the aroma is a cross between pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving stuffing! My mouth was watering waiting for a bowl!

Il prodotto finale?

The final product? O M G! A fall goodness…and pure vegan gluten free to boot! Mother Nature at her best! (If you choose, eat it with a homemade biscuit of your choice). My first reaction was “Oh my gosh, can you taste the holidays?” and second, “This is flipp’n ecstasy!” I love it when food tastes so good! Mmmm.

If anyone would like me to post this exact recipe, let me know. Otherwise, just google Roasted Butternut Squash Soup…there are many recipes available; I’m sure they’re all good. And may I suggest some Baileys Chocolate Cherry over ice for an after dinner drink!

Ciao, and happy fall!

Get a LIFE Joe, get a life!

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Life, it’s a funny thing…it’s always changing, we’re always changing, good things happen, bad things happen, we love, we hurt, we fall down, we get back up again, we love again, we feel better; and the cycle starts over. We have children, we have grandchildren, sometimes we have great-grandchildren, and then we die; and everything in between. Maybe some don’t have children…they just live, then die…and everything in between.

How many times have you sat down and pondered life? What’s it all about? What’s our purpose on earth, and ultimately…what comes after?

When life gets me down, such like now with my son & daughter not doing so good, I begin to consider life and all it’s trials and tribulations. My son is a  two war vet, with PTSD, on his own, on the street, out of touch with friends and family, no one can help – the VA didn’t help, it makes me wonder what this life is all about. Why all the PAIN and SUFFERING? Why? Of course a lot of the time I blame myself. I see my mistakes, and wish I could go back and change everything, but then I realize none of it would matter. God is in control, not me.

We are all victims of our own circumstances in life. And when we get down, only God and our own free will can get us back up. We must OVERCOME.

My daughter is on the right path now, and I’m thankful for that – but I know it won’t be an easy road for her. At least she’s taken the road to healing, and has her angels helping her out.

And, with all this LIFE going on, I have to maintain myself; try to stay healthy! I must be careful of what I put into my body. For me, my only option is eating ME-gan style. Meats, fish (any animal basically), dairy, eggs, and gluten are not my body’s friends. My body reacts very poorly when I consume these things. Yes, obviously I lose weight when I eat and live the ME-gan Lifestyle, but more importantly, I FEEL 100%. I need to be all that I can be in order to survive my day to day stresses: family, economy, job, relationships, etc.

If you notice I mention ‘family’ as a stress factor in my life. I’m sure we all know that family can just SUCK sometimes. My brother Joe, for example, is OBSESSED with this blog, he has basically non-stop for as long as I’ve had this blog (several years) continued to taunt me and ridicule and just leave these obnoxious messages. He’s a Mormon, and has something like 15 kids, I can’t even keep up. They live this self-righteous life, and then turn around and stalk me, harass me…day after day after day. Isn’t this a sickness? I just keep deleting the messages & of course I don’t POST them, maybe I should? Maybe I should give the world his address and phone number and then let everyone see his stupid comments he leaves for me.

It’s people like HIM who should be on the street, homeless, without his family, on drugs, and just waiting to die, not my son!

Get a LIFE Joe, get a life!

I’ll be waiting for your absurd message…who will it be from this time? Uncle Sam? Get help.

Pea Soup, Italian Style!

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I love pea soup! I even made a big pot of it over the fire pit while we were camping last fall. It made the perfect meal for camping and it turned out better than when I cook it in my own kitchen!

Here’s a version of pea soup that would make any Italian shut up long enough to enjoy a bowl or two! By the way, it’s vegan and gluten free too. I doubled the recipe and we got about 8 small bowls out of it. Besides, it’s deee-lish, trust me – you’ll want extra!

Ingredients: (This all gets tossed into the food processor at the end, so don’t worry about chopping too perfectly).

  • 3.5 cups frozen baby (or regular) green peas
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly torn, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large or 2 medium Vidalia onions
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 5 tablespoons evoo
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat evoo in a large pot and add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir often to keep from sticking.

Add the peas and vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil – may take awhile to boil because the peas are frozen. Reduce the heat, then add the basil and S&P. Simmer 10 minutes.

Pour soup into food processor for a couple of minutes; until smooth. Transfer to bowls and if you’re not vegan, then sprinkle with Parm. Just the way it is, is PERFECT for my taste!! Get creative, enjoy with gf bread or a french baguette! Whatever your pleasure is! The options are many!

MANGIA!

Quick-and-Easy Salisbury Steaks (A Weight Watcher’s Recipe)

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I made this, this past week and OH BOY was it delish! Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 pound of ground round
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar fat-free beef gravy
  • Thyme sprigs (optional)

1. Combine first 4 ingredients; stir well. Shape mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.

2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done (I made sure they weren’t over cooked. You want them nice and juicy!). Remove patties from skillet, and set aside.

3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms, onions, and thyme to skillet; saute 3 minutes.  Add wine or sherry; saute 1 minute. Stir in gravy; return patties to skillet. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

**Yield: 4 servings. According to this “Cream of the Crop” Weight Watcher’s Magzaine, this dish is 5 points per serving. This magazine is old, so I’m not sure if it’s changed with the new point plus system.  Here are the measurements per serving:  CAL 237, PRO 29.2, FAT 6.3g, CARB 13.7g, FIB 1.7g, CHOL 65mg, IRON 3.5mg, SOD 511mg, CALC 26mg.

MANGIA!

Sometimes Quick & Easy Just Works Out In The Vegan, Gluten Free World!

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Today is one of those days that I wish I had more of. Let me explain…I’m actually not ‘THAT’ hungry!  Why can’t it always be like this!? LOL!! I’m feeling like I want to eat, but definitely not a lot. I have lots of delicious leftovers in the fridge, but my eyes spotted the asparagus and broccoli in the crisper, and they just sound delicious to me! So here is where fast and easy comes in.

1. Rinse them off

2. Lightly season the asparagus with evoo and some garlic powder. Toss in heated oven at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Microwave the broccoli in a bowl with a little bit of water, covered, for about 7 minutes.

There’s my light dinner!  I eat the asparagus like finger food, and enjoy my broccoli tossed in a little bit of gluten free soy sauce!

It hit the spot, and was without a doubt, no fuss… no muss! Ahhhhh……………..Now, time to relax!

Take the easy route sometimes…it’s worth it!

Mary

Aim Your Motivation In The Right Direction!

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So here I am planning my meals for the week and putting a grocery list together. When I do this, I like to watch you-tube videos for ME-gan friendly meal ideas. There are many interesting videos available as well as blogs and other social media. When I watch these videos and read articles on Vegan/Gluten Free cooking, I get motivated & inspired! I really get ‘into’ it!!

Colorful food presentations and beautiful ECU photography entice our senses. With that said, we need to be careful what we read and what we watch, pertaining to food. When I watch food network shows such as Giada De Laurentiis, or Molto Mario, etc., I get inspired (or rather ‘tempted’) to get up and cook a full course Italian dinner! My mouth starts to water, my stomach starts to rumble and my brain says…. LET’S DO THIS!

The world is filled with tempters, so this is how I look at it…just as an alcoholic shouldn’t hang out with a singles group who goes to happy hour or other ‘meeting’ events that involve alcohol, so shouldn’t those with special dietary needs and who eat with certain limitations, hang out with foodies. In reality, they shouldn’t be watching the food network – period! It’s common sense.

AVOID TEMPTATION!

Instead, live ‘intentionally’ and go to the specific source of information that fits your needs. Look for books and social media venues that cater to your dietary need. Meet and hang with people that share your situation. Get motivated on the things that will do YOUR body good! Most importantly, if you do treat yourself and indulge in a meal that you really should not be having, limit your portion size! Make an effort; it’s better than no effort at all! One day at time…baby steps!

So, as I plan my weekly grocery list and prepare meals, I’ll hide all my Ciao Italia magazines!

Mary

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