Saturday, April 4, 2015

April Meal Plans

Several people asked me about my April meal plan so here are the links. Please, please, please don't expect it to be gourmet or remotely fancy! If it gives you some motivation or ideas, great! This meal plan included Easter, so it’s a bit more than usual.  These meals feed 5, including 2 teenage boys.  If they have friends over for dinner, I usually double the recipes.   My goals are to save as much money as possible on our food budget, while providing lots of fruits and vegetables.  I do not eat gluten or dairy, so when the rest of the family has bread I avoid it.  I use gluten free pasta and snacks when possible.  We also have a very busy schedule in the evenings with dance, choir rehearsals, instrument lessons, Justin’s job, and tons of I need to do easy EASY meals!! I repeat, nothing fancy here! I do most of my shopping at Aldi at the beginning of the month, but of course must go back weekly for little things like milk, bread, and fresh fruit/veggies. I honestly don't have time to coupon, but I use the Target Cartwheel app and my Target Red Card when shopping there. We certainly aren't poor but we choose to spend our money on music lessons and dance during this season, and having teens is just expensive anyway! We also choose to be consistent in giving to our church, our Compassion kids, and various community opportunities. Planning ahead just helps us afford what's important to us.

Breakfasts are usually overnight steel cut oatmeal with blueberries or frozen pancakes/waffles.  AND COFFEE!!!

We all pack our own lunches.  Justin takes turkey sandwiches on hawaiian bread with chips, fruit, carrots, and a granola bar.  Caleb takes almonds, blackberries, hummus, carrots, and celery.  Sarah takes PBJ, yogurt, fruit, and carrots.  Blake and I take leftovers.  We all use our water bottles.

shopping list =

recipes =

spread sheet of meals =

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday Thoughts

Today is, without a doubt, one of the most deeply meaningful days of the year to me! Don't get me wrong, Sunday will be joyful and full of celebration for me because the resurrection is proof of God's all encompassing, death defying power over sin...even my sin! However, today is proof of His willingness to do whatever it took to have a relationship with me, with humanity! Today is always dark to my soul, and I feel it. I am somber and sad and even somewhat embarrassed over what my sin caused. I need Good Friday to be like this because in my daily life sometimes I have the audacity to forget that it was my sin that required Jesus' heinous execution. 

As one of the most meaningful hymns to me says:
"It was MY sin that held Him there until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life..."

So today I will be sad. I woke up sad. The rain and hail seemed appropriate. 

But I also found such sweet balm in a bit of reading that I often skip on Good Friday. I usually meditate on the gruesome verses about Jesus' beatings and executions, and believe me I will focus there much of today, but then I remembered a prayer of Jesus that He offered just prior to the arrest.

(Last year I had the opportunity to speak to a women's group in the KC area. They asked me to teach on John know the familiar vine and branches part? I discovered so much of what Jesus said and did RIGHT BEFORE the crucifixion while preparing for this teaching time, and I've been radically changed by it this year!)

Chapters 15,16, and 17 of John are Jesus' last words before the arrest, trial, beatings, and crucifixion all started. Tucked into those chapters is one long prayer! Guess who He prays for!

"Now I’m returning to you. I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing So my people can experience My joy completed in them. I gave them your word; The godless world hated them because of it, Because they didn’t join the world’s ways, Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission." (John 17:13-19 MSG)

Just before Jesus gave Himself over to the authorities, He prayed for me...and you. 

Jesus prayed for His followers!! For me! For the very ones who would scatter and deny Him in just hours! I'm so struck by this that it will color my subdued spirit in a new way today! He prayed for my protection from the enemy. He prayed that I would be able to live in this sin laden world with His joy! That prayer is a game changer to me! 

Today as I reflect on what my sin required of Jesus, I will also be freshly encouraged and amazed that, not only did He die for me, He first prayed for my joy and protection! What kind of God is so tender? 

I'm awestruck. So today I will be sad, but I will also remember that He ask God to protect me from the evil one and fill me with HIS joy.