encouragement · Encouraging, Scripture · inspiration · Scripture

“Death, where is your sting?”

This devotional was originally posted in my church’s blog, for which I am a contributing author.  I wanted to share it with my Nitty-Gritty friends, because there are so many of my friends and loved ones who are struggling with the loss of loved ones.  It’s one of the most difficult journeys that we take in life, and it is only by the comfort and peace of the Holy Spirit, and the hope we have in Christ, that we can make it through to the other side…where we are able to experience true joy once again.  I hope that it helps you, and I hope that if you know someone who is grieving, you will share this with them, and that it will help them also.

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(1 Corinthians 15:51-56, NLT) 51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. 54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?”

56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

From November 2013 through May 2014 was a very difficult time in my family.  We were faced with mortality and grief in various undesirable ways.  In November 2013, my grandmother passed away after suffering from a massive stroke that hit her three years prior to her death.  The following April, my grandfather (who had lived with Alzheimer’s Disease for 7 years) made his grand entrance into Heaven.  Then the very next month, my dad was diagnosed with advanced, rapidly progressing, Alzheimer’s Disease.  To say that we felt devastated doesn’t quite encompass the depth and magnitude of our anguish. 

I could write page upon page about the crippling effects of dementia (as well as other types of neurological diseases) on the victims and their families.  It is a certain, and often slow, death. 

And there it is, the thing we most fear will happen…death.  Our humanity causes us to accept death as final.  In our minds, it is the end.  When a loved one passes on, people tell you that it’s not goodbye…not the end…and you nod and feign your resolve and agreement, but in that moment the only thing that you can truly feel is the emptiness and pain left behind, and the only thing that you believe is that you’ll never see that person again.  We are humans, and to us…death stings. 

To us, death feels like a punishment, because we have to go without someone that we love…missing that person and holding fast to our memories, hoping to never forget anything.  In our grief, we are blinded by emotions and we forget the truth of God’s word about death.  We are hurting, so we don’t understand or remember that because of Christ we have a HOPE that goes beyond mortality. 

13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14)

Though we can’t accept it in the hours of distress and pain, the truth remains that death is only temporary.  It isn’t the end for those who are in Christ.  Essentially, our mortal lives are but a progression toward our own individual appointed times.  So we have to get out of our heads when it comes to the dread and anguish associated with death.  Death has no sting or victory…not because we don’t have to experience it and deal with it, but because we have a promise that far outshines anything this life, this temporary existence that is riddled with heartache and difficulties, has to offer us.  This life is not purposed to benefit us.  It’s not about you or me.  Every moment spent breathing air is a gift…not because this life will be the pinnacle of your existence, because it just isn’t.  It’s but a vapor that lasts mere moments in the span of eternity.  It is a gift because we have been created and chosen to be a part of something bigger than ourselves…to live outside of our own needs and serve a purpose in God’s plan for humanity.  So when we have lived that out, when we have given our lives to Christ and done our best to serve God’s plan, we don’t have to fear what comes next.  We naturally miss our loved ones, but what purpose does it serve to give ourselves over to the emotions of grief, sadness, and distress? Having victory over death isn’t cheating death, because we don’t have that power.  The victory is in knowing that even when the wages of sin is death, we don’t have to pay that price because Christ did when He went to the cross.  His sacrifice gives us the victory that comes from not fearing our exit from this life. 

Watching someone that you love suffer through a disease is not easy.  I see my dad, who is reduced to the mindset of a young child…unable to care for himself…no longer able to think rationally and independently, and I hurt.  My humanity aches at the thought that soon we will no longer have him with us here at part of our lives.  Yet there is this other part of me, driven by the truth of God’s word…by His promises, that longs for the day when my dad is free from his humanity and transformed supernaturally into his heavenly body that will never die.  He’s earned that.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4: 17-18)

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Prayer:  Heavenly Father, sometimes our fears are born out of the unknown.  We don’t know what to expect out of death, other than grief, so we are fearful of it.  Help us to remember that mortality is but a present trouble.  Help us to fix our eyes on the unseen…the glory of Heaven.  When we are Heavenly-minded, we are able to see beyond the here and now.  When we fix our eyes on You and Your ways, we are able to move beyond our emotions and accept our human experience for what it is…temporary.  Thank you for this gift…for choosing us to live for this time.  Amen.

encouragement · Family · friendship · From the Editors · Night shift

The Night Shift Family – Let’s Talk About That

So, I know this is sort of a different subject to focus on but, nonetheless, it’s something I feel the need to share about, to help others better understand the lives of a night shift family. I’m going to attempt to compare below the “normal” day-to-day happenings for day shifters and then night shifters in a sort of timeline fashion. Granted, there are always things that pop up and our schedules always get changed, but from my own life, and those of friends and family, this is a generic idea of what each shift would generally encounter through out a normal day.


Timeline for typical day shifters:

  • 6:30ish– get up and get ready for work and school
  • 7ish-breakfast and off to work
  • 8ish– kids on the bus or take to school
  • 8:30ish to 12ish-errands, grocery, play time, crafts or creative time, play dates, library, maybe the zoo (which includes picnic), really whatever needs to be done, probably coffee time, dr.appts., or maybe homeschool time if that applies.
  • 12ish-lunch
  • 1-2ish rest and/or nap time. Which is also rest time or catch-up time for mom
  • 3ish-getting kids from school
  • 4ish-getting homework going and getting things together for dinner
  • 5-6ish– spouse home from work, dinner time and cleanup
  • 7ish-family time or outside time, maybe a sports practice or household duty like cutting the grass, maybe an ice cream trip
  • 8ish-winding down for the night and getting baths
  • 9ish-bedtime for kiddos
  • 9:30ish to 11:30ish-hubby and wife time (insert your own details here) lol
  • 11:30ish and later-sleeping (hopefully)

 This is how a typical day runs for us:

  • 7ish-getting up and ready for school and the day (all while being quiet as a mouse, dad is sleeping)
  • 7:30ish-breakfast (again no dinging spoons on bowls or slamming cabinets-have to be quiet)
  • 8ish-getting all the kiddos to school (unless some are too little)
  • 9ish-quiet time, coloring, a cartoon or very quiet play and also getting small ones dressed for the day, oh and don’t forget coffee time! Or maybe homeschool time if that applies
  • 10-11ish– real quick errands or a fast grocery trip, also could be homeschool time
  • 12ish– lunch and wake spouse up
  • 1ish-household stuff like cutting grass, garden, laundry and loud cleaning like vacuuming and dishes, things that are too loud in the mornings.
  • 2ish-try to spend some family time, try to catch-up on schedule details and family plans since we haven’t got to speak to each other since the day before around this same time. (usually nap time for smallest)
  • 3ish-start dinner and get kids from school at 3:30
  • 4ish-sit down for dinner and start cleanup; spouse starts packing lunch for work and getting ready (sometimes there is sports practice and I eat later and hubby leaves before I get back)
  • 5ish-spouse leaves for work; me and kids start homework
  • 6ish-sports practice and/or game, finish homework
  • 7ish– outside time, play time and snacks
  • 8ish-start baths and house cleanup
  • 9ish– getting everyone in bed. Takes 30-40 minutes for just one person, some nights longer.
  • 9:45-11:30– quiet time for me..usually paying bills, maybe a Netflix show or finishing tasks around the house
  • 11:30ish and later-hopefully sleeping

I know the schedules may not seem much different from one another, but this is really a day in the life of a night shift family, with each parent working separately on different ends of the clock. All the while, I juggle kids, dinner, messes, homework, sports, baths, bedtime, etc.  My poor husband is sleeping or working while all this hustle and bustle is going on, and he knows he’s missing out on some great stuff…but he does it for our family. I know some who would say, “Why go to such lengths of being quiet?” or, “Why cater to when he’s getting up?” My answer is, would you want your spouse only getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep a day? Which leads to awful health issues later like high blood pressure, diabetes, and eventually heart disease…and don’t forget…feeling like crud as well.  My job is to ensure the health and safety of my whole family and that includes my husband too.

I said all that to say, we night shifters want “play” time or “talk” time too, or would like to socialize with friends, but when we’re able to do that most of our friends are at home with their spouses having dinner and having family time of their own. If I called to talk at 7 or 8 on any given night you probably wouldn’t answer because you’re spending precious time with your family, just like I’m doing for a precious hour or so earlier during the day. And let’s not forget my school aged children only see their daddy for about an hour when they get home from school, and that time includes sitting down for dinner and my husband getting ready for work. The weekends are absolutely sacred to us.  We have just a couple days with a few hours to focus on our family and try to makeup for almost zero (whole) family time we get during the week. By God’s grace, and by keeping our family centered in Christ, we have been able to handle this way of life for 16 years now.

I’m not saying us night shifters have it harder really, but there is some extra responsibility that falls on us and that’s ok, that’s how families work…we work together. I can only imagine how a single parent feels and the lengths they go to, to try and cover the roles of both parents. So, if you’re a day shifter have a little grace for those who have to do life a little differently. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it would be. Don’t assume they’re too busy for you or have new friends…just realize they’re doing life the best they can.

inspiration · Poetry

“an ode to letting go”

Hi friends.  This week I’m sharing another original poem from my heart to your screen.  I hope you like it.  I hope you share it.

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“an ode to letting go”

 

Sometimes

Just no matter what

Life waltzes past

After ushering in deep sadness

The stuff that regrets and pain are made of

And it just dances right on past

To a different tune

 

And I stand here

Motionless

I can’t even breathe

 

Because sometimes

Just no matter what

Life skips on by

After stirring things up

The stuff that romance and loss are made of

And it just traipses on

Laughing at a joke I don’t quite get

 

And I lie here

Breathless

And I can’t even think

 

Because sometimes

Just no matter what

I can’t catch up

Always a step or a breath behind

I am chasing things I’ve lost

The stuff my heart can’t seem to release

And I keep grasping at air

Trying to revive what is already dead

 

And I stop here

Arrested

And I

                   can’t

                                     even

 

DIY · Essential Oils · Gardening · Skin Care · Summer · travel · Wellness

Summertime Essential Oil Must-Haves…

Alright guys, if you love essential oils and can’t live without them, or if you’re just curious and wondering what this oil craze is all about…I have put together a list of the top 10 must-have essential oils for summer.

I must start up by saying that I’m not going to push a particular brand on you or bash any other brands that I don’t use…for some reason there tends to be this rivalry among oil users to convince others that your brand is the best.   With that said, I have to reiterate that pure quality oils are a must, or they simply won’t be effective, and can even cause harm.  You cannot buy quality oils at the grocery store (not even organic chains), pharmacies or over the counter.  You pretty much have to order from an essential oil company or through someone who sells for the oil companies. If a company’s main focus is not on essential oils I can guarantee that their oils are not 100% pure, organic or therapeutic grade oils. Now,  I know you’re thinking it and yes I do have a company that I use and trust for my family and business.  I could go into a whole other post about why I choose this company, but for now we’ll just say they are 100% pure, organic and grown in the most natural state that the plants thrive in.

Ok, so now onto to the summer must-have list! I will list them from 10 to 1, 1 being my favorite and/or most useful for summer.

10. Vacation Car Oils –  Can I get an amen?!  If you have kids, this is vital in order for your family to arrive at your vacation destination with your sanity and the majority of your hair.   For my family it has double purposes.  I have 3 members of my family that get car sick…seriously bag carrying, pulling over in the nick of time…car sick.  So, it is a must for me to carry peppermint oil and the digestion blend, Digestzen.  Simply applying to the stomach and even just smelling these can ward off this awful feeling for my family.  Secondly, I carry relaxing oils like Lavender, a grounding blend called Balance and a calming blend called Serenity.   You can imagine the value these calming oils can have on a van full of bad attitudes, restless legs and cooped up kiddos.  On a road trip these are priceless to me!!


9. Poison Ivy Blend– Also, a yearly tradition is for someone in our house to get poison ivy or poison oak.  I can testify it is awful and so annoying to have that constant nagging feeling to scratch.  For this you can use Lavender “neat” (undiluted – full strength), or Cypress and Peppermint with just a few added drops of Witch Hazel.  Apply as often as needed.  (Caution: limit use of Peppermint on little ones under 1 year old).

 

8. Allergy Blend– For those summer allergies like Ragweed…whatever may be the trigger… LLP is the relief you need.  Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint blended with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) is a great way to use it topically, but diffusing and/or taking it orally are very effective as well. Remember, do not take essential oils internally if the company advises against it.  My company does inform you if an oil is safe to be ingested or not.


7. Cooling Mist Spray– Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how great this trick is when you’re standing in line at Disney or some amusement park roasting in the sun.  All you need is Peppermint oil, water and a spray bottle.  The cooling effect peppermint has on you is remarkable. Tests can actually prove that peppermint can lower your body temperature.  Hint: those fan spray bottles (like at Disney) are even better with just couple added drops of peppermint!


6. Super Sleep Blend– Alrighty, I’m just being real. Summer can be hard for us parents to get our kids to bed…and let’s face it, we need quiet time occasionally in order to be fully functioning adults.  There are usually a couple nights a week where I have to whip out this sleep blend to get my rascals to bed.  I blend 30 drops Serenity (restful blend), 15 drops Lavender and 10 drops Vetiver all in a roller bottle with FCO (Fractionated Coconut Oil).  Roll it on wrists, pillows, and (if necessary) on the bottoms of feet and behind ears.  It works like a charm…even for my night owl.


5. Bug Bite Blend– If your family is like mine, and you’re outside a lot, then without fail, someone probably forgets to apply bug repellent and you end up with itchy, scratchy kids.  This blend is a great relief for them when they just can’t stop scratching.  There’s actually 2 variations of this blend, and both are great. First is 25 drops Lavender, 15 drops Melaleuca mixed with some FCO in a roller ball, applying to bites as needed. Second is the allergy blend listed above as #8, which also works well for bug bites.

4. Stress and Anxiety Blend (Chill Out)– This blend is a must for me when the whole day (for whatever reason) has been difficult or just plain impossible.  This is a 50/50 blend of Serenity and Balance(grounding blend).  Add 30 drops of each, topped off with FCO, to a roller bottle and you’re set. Roll that sucker on your wrists, behind ears, back of the neck, over your heart…maybe not all at once…but really find the area that works best for you, and reapply until your sanity has returned.


3. After Sun Spray– OMG, it’s hard for me to contain my excitement for this blend!!! It has helped me and my kiddos when we have gotten too much sun, and (well, let’s face it) when I (mom) have forgotten to reapply the sunblock.  No more sleepless nights or chills from being severely burned. I apply this blend at the first sight of pinkness on any of us.  I generally apply 2 times before bed and by morning we’re usually tanned already. If not, keep applying. It not only tans, but it also removes the heat from the burn and helps to prevent peeling as well.  The blend is simply 20-25 drops Lavender and 8 drops Peppermint filling the rest of a 2oz spray bottle with FCO.

2. Lavender– Yep, that’s all.  Lavender is a must around the pool and to have readily available if your kids run barefoot outside.  I’m not kidding when I say Lavender will take out a bee sting or wasp sting…any sting…in a matter of seconds!!  Someone in my crew, without fail, always manages to get stung by the pool, and Lavender is my life saver.  I rub it onto the sting area and count to 3 and they’re already jumping back in the pool…after screaming just seconds before from an awful sting.  Seriously, this makes my mom job so much easier!


1. Bug/Pest Repellent– Yes, this is a must-have for our family.  Three of us I think attract bugs from the neighboring counties!  So, I spray us all down…including my dog! It’s non-toxic, and I don’t have to fret over wether or not they get a bath every time I apply this repellent like I did when I used products containing Deet and other harmful chemicals.  The blend consists of  25 drops Terrashield, 8 drops Peppermint, 8 drops Lavender, 8 drops Lemongrass and 6 drops Cedar Wood with the remaining amount of the 2oz spray bottle being filled with spring (or distilled) bottled water.  Be sure to shake well before each use, and you can reapply as needed. Click here for more info on this blend. 


So…there you have it!!  The top 10 oils to make your summer easier and more enjoyable.  If you’re needing a place to buy quality essential oils, click here to access my website.  Feel free to contact me for more information, or with any questions you may have about essential oils.  

encouragement · Food · Keto · Weight Loss · Wellness

Keto…Thus Far…

When I first changed over to the Ketogenic Diet, I did so purely on my own.  I didn’t have help, or anyone’s brain to pick about it.  I just had to sort of figure things out as I went.  A couple of months back, I posted a how-to article for those interested in this way of eating, aka “WOE.”  (You can access that article by clicking here.)  Since that time, I have had even more success with weight loss and health benefits from living a clean, ketogenic lifestyle.

I began this journey on March 8, 2017.  Since then I have lost 30 pounds, and I have shed 15 inches overall from my body.  I am still not quite to my goal size/weight, but I am well on my way (just 20 pounds shy of my official goal).  Along with the fat loss, I have experienced some desired results with my hormones and with my issues due to PCOS and Adenomyosis symptoms.  I am experiencing regular, and much lighter periods, with much less pain than ever before.  I feel like I am having somewhat “normal” periods for the first time in many, many years, I haven’t had a migraine since May, and the all-over shooting pain that I would have for two weeks of every month has completely disappeared from my life…and I know that this is all because of Keto…namely, the absence of wheat and grain from my diet!

Going Keto hasn’t been a seamless effort, as I have had to learn by trial and error, doing a ton of “Googling” in the midst of it all, but I do feel that I have finally got this thing mastered.  So, I wanted to just take a little time to share my victories, failures, and the lessons learned from all of it, with those of you who may be on a similar journey and could use some tips to help you along your way.

  1. Meals:  The most important part of this lifestyle is finding some easy, delicious, go-to recipes.  I have a Pinterest board dedicated solely to this WOE, and there are endless amount of Keto recipes, but I have a few that are tried and true that I am sharing below in the “links” with y’all today.  However, I do like to keep things as simple as I possibly can with meals.  The more complicated and stressful a “diet” is, the more likely we are to just give up on it, right?  So how do you keep it simple with Keto?  Two things:  meat and veggies.  Refer to your favorite Keto food list (click here to access mine), choose a meat and a few vegetables, and cook them up your favorite way.  I prefer tossing my veggies in some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, and oven roasting them until they are little crispy.  Sometimes I take them out a little early, grate some fresh parmesan or cheddar cheese on top and return them to to oven for the last 5 minutes or so.  Delicious…every time!  For meats, you can grill them, pan sear them, roast in the oven, slow cook in a crock pot…really just whatever suits your time-frame and your palate.  Figure out what works best for you and stick with it.  Be creative with herbs and spices too!  Don’t be afraid to season, season, season!  And don’t forget, butter is your friend (a pan seared steak with butter and herbs is a favorite around here)!
  2. Plateaus/Stalls:  Know this right now…and just go ahead and accept it…prepare for it…you WILL stall out from time to time.  I have had two or three periods of days and even weeks where I lost absolutely no weight whatsoever.  I have even fluctuated up to 7 pounds up then back down to my current low within a week.  This is why, even though weighing yourself is important and gives you a feel for what foods will make you retain water and feel bloated, you can’t always trust in the honesty of the scale.  It doesn’t always reflect your fat loss.  Keep eating within your macros, consume clean food choices, and stay active.  You will absolutely see results both on and off of the scale!  I promise!  There is something called a “whoosh” that takes place after a stall almost every time, and if you just hang on and trust the process, you will get your “whoosh” and feel that gratification you need to stay motivated!  (Click here to read more about this.)
  3. Intermittent Fasting:  I started practicing intermittent fasting to get over my first stall, and when I realized how easy it was for me to do, I decided to do it most days.  I have never been one to want to eat anything at all before lunch, and I have always hated feeling like I have to force myself to eat when I am not necessarily hungry yet, so this system works very well for me in my daily life.  However, if you are one that wakes up hungry, this may simply be a discipline that you will want to employ when you need to get past a hump in your weight loss journey.  Basically, you just stop eating for a 12-16 hour period of time and allow the remainder window of time for your calorie consumption for the entire day.  So, I take the last time that I ate in the evening, and I don’t eat for the next 12-16 hours.  It is quite easy to do, because this type of fast happens mostly when you are asleep overnight.  Anything over 50 calories will break a fast, so usually what I do each morning is have a cup of coffee with some heavy whipping cream in it (which is less than 50 calories).  That is all I need, plus lots of water, until I begin eating around noon or so.  For an even better explanation of IF, click here.
  4. Cheating:  I feel compelled to stress to you…DO NOT CHEAT!  It is almost never worth it.  It will most assuredly cause you gastrointestinal upset, bloating, water weight gain, lots of discouragement, and make you have some serious cravings for sugar and carbs!  However, let’s be honest and realistic here…cheating happens.  When it does, the best thing to do is get a good fast in, and jump back on the Keto train.  Don’t let it get you down…even if the scale goes up some.  It isn’t fat gain…just water.  Remember that.  Also please note:  IF YOU HAVE A REGULAR CHEAT DAY EACH WEEK YOU ARE NOT LIVING A KETO LIFESTYLE.  DON’T CLAIM IT IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO LIVE IT!!  JUST CONSIDER YOURSELF EATING LOW-CARB AND GO ON WITH YOUR LIFE.  Keto is short for “KETOSIS” and if you are cheating regularly, there is no possible way you are staying in Ketosis or becoming fat adapted.  Kinda defeats the purpose…don’t you think?
  5. Eating Out:  I’m here to tell it…eating at restaurants can be Keto friendly!  You just have to be careful about ingredients (less is more), and steer clear of foods that have sauces, rubs, and glazes.  Grilled meats (especially fish) are a safe bet, and a Caesar salad and/or some steamed or grilled veggies.  At a Mexican restaurant, a great option is fajitas.  Just make sure you tell them no beans, no rice, and no tortillas.  Get your fork and some hot sauce and dig in!
  6. Snacking:  People always ask me what I eat for snacks.  Truth be told, I don’t do a ton of snacking, but when I do get the yen for something between meals, or in the evenings, I have some favorites:
    • pork rinds dipped in sour cream or guacamole
    • uncured beef sticks, salami, ham, pepperoni (etc.)
    • dill pickles
    • full fat cheeses
    • roasted, salted almonds
    • peanut butter
    • berries
  7. NSVs:  Non-Scale Victories – events that make you feel confident and motivated…even when the scale isn’t moving.  Examples:  before and after pics, smaller clothing sizes, compliments, overcoming cravings, turning down junk at parties and such…  These victories are vital to your success, because the scale sometimes lies to us.  Make sure you share these NSVs with friends and family.  Give yourself those well-deserved pats on the back as often as you can!
  8. Recipe Links:

I would also like to link you over to my Keto pin board on Pinterest.  Click here to visit it.  There are tons more recipes that I have saved, as well as a lot of great Keto advice articles.  I am constantly adding to my board, so follow if you want.

Also, Stephanie (Nitty) and I (Gritty) had recently posted a blog detailing our successful endeavor into a few Keto recipes that looked good to us.  You can access that by clicking here.

I hope this update has been of some help, and (as always) feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about this way of life.  Also, like and share on social medias, please and thank you!

I am still on this journey of mine, so I am sure there will be more updates in the future.  So stay tuned!  Keto on!!

 

encouragement · Encouraging, Scripture · friendship · inspiration · Scripture

Growing in Friendship

Confession time…I’ve always been the type to hold a little back, to be cautious, to have boundaries and walls, especially when pertaining to friendships and really all relationships. Except for my husband, I can honestly say there are maybe only one or two people who know my leanings, inner thoughts and raw feelings. Keeping people a little at a distance has always seemed safer to me, protects me I guess. However, a while back some good friends of mine moved. I seriously love these guys. They probably don’t even realize the depth of my caring for them (due to my keeping a distance), but through this process of change I have found a place that needs to be opened up and shared a bit. It’s new, bigger place for friendships and really all relationships for that matter. It doesn’t come naturally though, but with some focus and intention, there will be plenty of people to bless and be called friends. I’ve decided to love the way God intended me to…with an open heart and open arms, no more walls or fear of rejection or of being hurt. How can any of us possibly fulfill what we’re called to do, if we’re closed off from the world around us?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

While my friends’ leaving hurt and I sorely miss them, somehow, this thing that I’ve always been afraid of has made me realize the love I have passed up and that I have refused to give love to others. There’s a silver lining though, I know now not to take people for granted and there’s no time like the present to embrace a fresh opportunity. Imagine a world where we all are being the friend that we want others to be to us.

Don’t get me wrong, you can’t be everyone’s best friend or even possibly handle all the different personalities out there. Also, you can’t let people use you or in any way bully you…never ever is there room in your life for that. I tell my kiddos all the time to remember The Golden Rule. One thing I know about getting older, especially when I see my own children getting older, is there’s no time to waste. With that said…take some time today and be a good friend. It’s ok to be honest, open and caring with those who are in your life.

Luke 6:31-Do to others as you would have them do to you.



 

Food · Keto · Weight Loss

Keto…when you wanna cheat-o!

Hey there everyone!  Has anyone else been craving carby-goodies lately?  Sometimes a girl just wants a greasy slice of pizza…or a gooey cinnamon roll!!  Well this week, we (Nitty & Gritty) decided to do a collaborative post that might help you out with your yen for some junk food.  We got together and made a fantastic Keto friendly meal…even dessert…and it was so good that we wanted to share it with y’all.  (In case you don’t know what Keto is, click here to read more on it, but basically it is a very low carb, high fat way of eating that will help you lose weight and correct some health issues that you may be having.)

Both us have been seriously craving pizza lately, so we took to Pinterest and found a pizza crust recipe that is not only Keto approved, but it also looked fairly easy to prepare, and came with some great reviews.  We made an Amish Broccoli Salad for a side, and then we finished the whole thing off with some low-carb (yes, also Keto approved) cinnamon rolls.  So, below we have shared each recipe, step-by-step, with pictures and everything.  We made it all from scratch, and we ate it up…because it was so delicious.  🙂

1.  Amish Broccoli Salad

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This salad is a people pleaser.  It is seriously delicious…and you won’t be able to stay out of it!  Pictured above are the ingredients that we used to make ours.  We have listed them below, followed by the how-to instructions.  Enjoy!

Salad:

  • 2 bags fresh broccoli/cauliflower medley (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 package uncured bacon (fried crisp and crumbled)
  • 1/2 large red onion (diced)
  • 1 brick of sharp cheddar cheese (cubed into bite-sized pieces)

Dressing:

  • 2 TBSP white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. Pyure sweetener (possibly a little more)

 

Toss the salad ingredients until everything is evenly distributed.  In a small, separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and vinegar until smooth.  Next add in the sweetener, tasting to see if it is to your liking.  If it isn’t sweet enough, add a bit more sweetener.  After you get the dressing mixed up, simply put it in with the salad and toss it all until everything is coated well.  Please note, we made a little extra dressing for our salad, because we thought it needed more.  So just do your own thing and make it how you want it.  You can also add shelled sunflower seeds and nuts if you want.

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2.  Fat Head Pizza

(We don’t know WHY it’s called Fat Head!!)

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Above is a picture of everything we used to make our pizza.  We have listed the crust ingredients below, but the toppings are purely up to your preference.  We used green bell pepper, red onion, bacon (uncured – cooked and crumbled), and hard salami (cut into chunks).

Fat Head Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella (we used whole milk mozzarella, as pictured above)
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (we used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 2 TBSP cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia, of course – and it does make a difference)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-2 tsp. garlic powder*
  • 1 tsp. onion powder*
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning*

*The seasonings are not set in stone.  You may use as much or as little as you want, or leave them out completely.  It’s your pizza, so make it how you would like it to taste.

To make the crust, start with the cheeses.  Measure both the mozzarella and the cream cheeses into a medium sized microwave safe bowl.

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Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and then microwave for another 30 seconds.  If your cheese is stringy, you need to microwave for another 30 seconds until it is a dough-like consistency.

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Stir in egg , almond flour, and seasonings.

 

Wet your hands and spread the dough thin and evenly onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Use a fork to poke air holes into the dough, then place into a preheated 425 degree oven.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, and add your desired toppings.

 

Then continue baking for another 6-8 minutes, or until your pizza is a golden brown and all toppings are cooked and cheese is melted evenly.

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Building Your Pizza:

  1. When you remove your crust from the oven after the initial 8 minutes, you will want to start with your sauce.  Try to find the sauce that has the least amount of carbs.  We used Simply Nature Organic Marinara, with a net of 5 carbs per 1/2 cup.  Spread your sauce evenly over crust.
  2. Next, you’ll want some more mozzarella to sprinkle over your sauce.  We suggest getting a separate bag of cheese for topping your pizza.
  3. Finally, top with the meats and/or veggies of your choosing and sprinkle with more cheese!

3. Fat Head Cinnamon Rolls

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Fat Head Cinnamon Roll Crust:

  • 3 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (we used the same cheese that we did in the pizza crust – whole milk mozzarella)
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill again)
  • 4 TBSP cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia is the best)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of Pyure brand sweetener (this is a Stevia/erythritol blend, and it is far superior to any other sweetener that we have tried…highly recommended)

To make dough, in a large bowl melt the mozzarella cheese for 1 minute in the microwave and stir.  If it is still stringy, microwave for another 30 seconds and stir.  Continue to do so in 30 second increments until is it melted and at a doughy consistency.

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Next, add cream cheese, almond flour, eggs, and sweetener.

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Mix until everything is incorporated.  You have to really work it in, but keep at it.  It may get stringy while you are mixing, if so, pop it in the microwave for another 20-30 seconds to get it back to that melted, dough consistency.

Spread the dough into a rectangle, onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  It should be a little thicker than your pizza dough, but not so thick that you can’t roll it.

Filling:

  • 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Pyure sweetener

Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough.  Next, sprinkle the cinnamon and sweetener (that has already been combined) over the butter.

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Next, roll the dough length-wise into a log.  Try not to tear the dough, and then seal the edge.  Slice the log into approximately 12 spirals.  Place them in a lightly greased, round, 9-inch cake pan.  They will be touching on all sides.  Any excess filling that squeezes out during the rolling, can be spread over the top of the spirals after you get them in the pan.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees, until the rolls are a golden brown.  We had to bake them much longer than this time.  It was more like 30 minutes.  Just make sure you keep an eye on them after 15 minutes or so.

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Glaze/Icing:

  • 4 TBSP cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pyure sweetener (to taste and desired consistency)

Mix together with a spoon or fork, adding sweetener as you go, tasting after each addition.  When you have it like you want it, spread over warm rolls (still in the pan).

 

We are so sorry there aren’t any pictures of them on plates, but we scarfed them down before that ever even crossed our minds!  We just want to add, also, that the kids in the house gobbled them up!  They were asking for more, and had no idea that this was a sugar-free, low-carb treat!

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Well that concludes the breakdown of our night of Keto indulgence.  We hope that if you are like us, craving things you miss eating from time to time, you will find it easy to make some of these goodies for yourself and get cheating off of your brain!  This stuff is seriously delicious!  We give it all 4 thumbs up!

As always, please like and share our blog!  Keto on!