Archive | September, 2013

Reflections

28 Sep

I am coming up on a big milestone in my life.  My oldest daughter is getting ready to turn 18.  I became her mama under the most unfortunate of circumstances.  I was a young, unwed, teenage girl with no money and honestly no clue.  What makes the story a little more complicated is that she was born not well.  I was only 24 weeks pregnant when she made her very small and very quiet way into the world.  I think we can all agree that even under the best circumstances having a baby is hard and having a sick baby is super hard.

The past several months has had me being very reflective.  Looking back on that hard first year and the subsequent years that were still a little hard but mostly joyful.  I keep thinking on all the things I should of done and the things I could of done better. I look at her now, a senior in high school, enjoying a life much different than my own.

I was the youngest in a blended family of five, actually I was a big oops!  My older siblings really gave my parents a run for their money.  It seemed one big problem kept overlapping the next.  I was often told to go play and probably unintentionally overlooked because I wasn’t causing any problems.  Fast forward to the really formative years of my life and I was still alone.  I was left to navigate these years with only destructive bahavior patterns leftover from my now grown but still incapable siblings.  It was now my legacy and I didn’t disappoint.  The only difference is that being left alone for so long, I was good at hiding in the shadows, therfore, I was able to avoid real trouble.

I really missed out on healthy behaviors being modeled for me.  When I became a mama, I ferociosly loved my baby girl with all that I had. I didn’t know what being a good parent looked like but I knew that I wanted to be one.  The first years were trial and error.  What I really lacked and really craved for was a woman who I could look up to and someone who could encourage me.  Self pity is an expesive trip to take and I certainly maxed out.  A time came where at a cross road I had to decide once and for all the path I would take.  Since I didn’t have the people I needed I could become the type of person I needed.  I love that even though I didn’t know God, He still had His hand on me.

Thus, the journey began. So here, 18 years later, I reflect on the journey and all that I’ve learned. That the brokenness of your past does not have to be the legacy of your future.  It is never too late to keep trying again.  That with God nothing is truly broken, that all the past wounds, heartaches, disappointments etc..are all God shaped.

So here we are.  I look over at the one who made me a mama and thank God for our journey this far.  She is learning to navigate this complicated world as a young woman with dreams and desires and she is trying to make a mark for herself despite the physical limitations of Cerebral Palsy.  She is walking with the one who loves her most and because of that she is OK and so am I.

~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~

Rebecca

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Bring Back That Summer Feeling ~BBQ pulled chicken~

24 Sep

Now that Fall is in full swing here in the North I am already missing the lazy days of summer and the wonderful tastes that go with it. This is one of our favorite summer recipes adapted to cook in your crock pot. Enjoy a little taste of summer year round with this easy and flavorful recipe!

In a large slowcooker add 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts. Add 1 1/2
green bell peppers on top of chicken.
Add one large sliced onion.  Cover with lid and cook on low about 7-8 hours.
Remove lid and drain any excess liquid on the bottom of the slow cooker. With
2 forks shred chicken (chicken should be tender enough to do this right inside the
slow cooker).
Add 1 1/2- 2 Cups of your favorite BBQ sauce and stir to mix.
Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes to an hour.
Serve with your favorite sides.
Ingredients
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 green bell peppers
1 large onion
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

*serves my family of 5 for 2 meals*

Add your chicken breasts to your slow cooker and top with sliced bell pepper and onion.  Cook on low 7-8 hours and drain excess liquid.  With 2 forks shred chicken and add 1 1/2-2 Cups of your favorite BBQ sauce.  Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes to an hour.  Serve with your favorite sides.
*As a variation I also serve these on hamburger buns. To make it even more delicious add a slice of provolone cheese to the chicken and melt
 under your broiler until melted goodness is acheived.*

As always, thanks for stopping by!
~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~
Rebecca
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Another Beginning

20 Sep

In the early morning hours I sit here thanking the Lord for His sweet provisions.  For the birds singing His praises as dawn breaks and overcomes darkness once again.  For the brisk breeze sweeping away the last whisper of summer and ushering in autumn and the beauty of the colors of the falling leaves.  For the quiet house and sweet sleeping faces still tucked in tight , safe and dreaming away, waiting for the first rays to dance upon their faces.  For the blessing of another season to love, play, and worship. For breath, health, family, and friends.  But mostly for a Savior who is present with me, reminding me that the day is new and so are His mercies.  That yesterdays failures are todays testimonies. Another day, another chance, another beginning.

What are you thankful for today? I would love to know.

~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~

Rebecca

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Taco Soup

18 Sep

The lazy days of summer are just about over. Soon enough the weather will change, the trees will showcase their brilliant colors, and the days will become a little more hectic.  One of my favorite ways to warm-up and to solve the mad dinner rush is to dig out my slow-cooker and make soup.  One of our family favorites is Taco Soup.  Easy, economical, and so yummy! Throw this on in the morning and dinner is done!  I want to hear from you! Do you have a favorite family recipe or maybe an easy and quick go to meal?  I would love to see it. Leave a recipe or a link in the comments below I would l love to see what you’ve got cookin!

What you will need to get started (scroll down for full recipe).
Fry up your ground beef, onion, and garlic until cooked through.
Here, Broukie demonstrates proper ground beef crumbling.
Alison finishes up.
Add the cooked ground beef to your slow-cooker.
The next step is easy-add everything else and give it a good stir.
I needed someone with a little muscle for this step;)
Voila! Turn it on low, cover, and go about your day.
Don’t want to crock pot it? You can add all the ingredients to a
stock pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes and serve.
This is how it looks, mama style. Sharp cheddar cheese,
sour cream, green onion, and Frito’s. What will you add to yours?
If you’re so inclined, enjoy it with a nice glass of chocolate milk!

Taco Soup
-1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
-1 large onion, diced
-1 clove of garlic, finely minced
-1 12oz bottle of green taco sauce
-1 can beef or chicken broth (14-16 oz)
-2 (15oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (optional-if you don’t mind the off color)
-15 1/4 oz can of corn, drained
-4 1/2oz can of chopped green chilies
-15oz can of tomato sauce
-1oz packet of taco seasoning
-3-4 Cups of water
-your favorite garnishes

 In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef, diced onion, and minced garlic until the ground beef is no longer pink.  Add the beef mixture to your slow-cooker and add the rest of the ingredients, stir. Cover and cook on low until ready to serve.  Simmer 15-20 minutes for stove top method.
   Add a salad some corn bread muffins for an even heartier meal.  This recipe feeds my family of 5 with leftovers for lunch the next day. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Thanks for visiting!
~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~
Rebecca
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I Saw Faith

16 Sep

I held a woman today as she sobbed for her daughter who recently passed away.  I have not drank from that cup so I can’t imagine the debilitating pain of losing a child.  There is nothing, even with my very best intentions, I could do to ease the terrible ache in her soul.  I did experience something extraordinary in the midst of her pain.  I saw real faith.  Not the “God is good because life I going my way” faith but faith in the arena of despair.

This woman, in her profound agony, said “I trust in you, Lord”.  She is battered and beaten, breathlessly crawling her way to the throne to the feet of our Savior and she says in between sobs, “I trust you, Lord”.

Faith that doesn’t doubt God’s goodness but trusts that He is Sovereign.   Faith that says “I’m not OK”, but I will be.  Faith that says “Your will, not mine”.

I know grace is given in accordance to what we are going through but I am not sure if my faith is that unshakeable.

What I do know, is that today, in the brokenhearted face of a mother, I saw faith and hope and trust and Jesus.

Through all the pain and heartache, the victory is still ours!

~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~

Rebecca

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It’s a Wrap

13 Sep

When we are wanting to whip up something quick but delicious, you will usually find a wrap on our dinner plates. Tortillas are so versatile, you can’t go wrong (well except for that one time…but we won’t talk about here). With a little prep work you can have dinner ready in a jiffy! This recipe will make 6-8 wraps.

You are going to need 1 large green pepper, 1 large onion, 2-3 Roma tomatoes, 
 1 8oz package of fresh mushrooms and 3 cloves of garlic. Chop pepper, onion,
 tomato and mushrooms into bite size pieces and finely chop the garlic. Set aside.
 1 package (8-10) of your favorite tortillas. *You'll want to turn your oven on warm now
 and add your tortillas if you are not microwaving them*
I have chopped up 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.
For spices you are going to need 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder,
1 tsp of black pepper and 1 tsp turmeric.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over med-high heat.
When pan is hot add your chicken breasts and seasonings. cook
6-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan heat another tablespoon of olive and heat over med-high heat.
Add the green peppers, and onions. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until they are starting to get tender.
Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are
tender add the garlic and cook a minute longer. *Please note that you may have to adjust the cooking temperature of your
stove top*
Add the chicken back in and stir well.  Turn your heat down to low.
Get your tortillas ready.  *If microwaving your tortillas do it now. I add 2-3
at a time and heat for 15-20 seconds and repeat until all tortillas are warmed*
Add filling to center of tortilla and sprinkle on your favorite
cheese ( I used a Mexican 4 cheese blend).
Wrap up like a burrito and enjoy! Makes 6-8
burritos.

Ingredients
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large green pepper
1 large onion
2-3 Roma tomatoes
1- 8 oz. package fresh mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
6-8 of your favorite tortillas (burrito size)
Your favorite shredded cheese
Instructions

-Chop green pepper, onion, mushrooms and tomatoes into bite sized pieces.Finely chop the garlic set aside
-Chop chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive    oil     over 
med-high heat. When pan is hot add the chicken and spices. Cook 6-8 minutes or until cooked 
through. Remove from pan.
- In the same pan add another Tablespoon of olive oil and heat over med-high heat. Add the green pepper and onion. Cook 4-5 minutes or until they are starting to get tender. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add garlic and cook a minute longer.
-Add the chicken back in the skillet and mix well. Turn heat down to low.
-Prepare your tortillas by heating them up a bit (if you desire) in the microwave 15-20 seconds
or in a warm oven for 5-10 minutes.
-Add a heaping spoonful in the center of the tortilla and sprinkle on your favorite shredded cheese.
-Wrap up like a burrito and enjoy! Makes 6-8 wraps.

Another great add to these wraps is fresh flat leaf Italian parsley. It gives it such a fresh summery taste! Have fun and experiment with different spices and ingredients. It is fun to get the little ones in the kitchen and let them "design" their own. Our children are more likely to try something new and enjoy it if they had a hand in helping to make it.  Thanks for visiting!

~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~
Rebecca
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We Will Never Forget

11 Sep

We all have our stories. Stories, that with time, our children will ask about.  Where we were, who we were with, and how we heard about it.  Stories that regardless of how much time passes will remain freshly etched in our minds and freshly felt in our hearts.

We all saw the horrific images and stayed glued to our TV’s for days.  We remember how eerily quiet the skies were and how we let our differences go to become united as a country.  In one day we saw the very worst and the very best of humanity.  We saw what one human being was willing to give up to save another human being, we saw heroism and bravery on a scale we might never actually get to witness again, and we were brought together as a country, even for just a moment, like we may never experience again.
For the brave men and women on the flights, for the first responders, for our firemen, police officers, for those who stayed back to make sure everyone got out, for those who left last, for those who went back in, for those who never came out, for the doctors, nurses, medical professionals, good Samaritans, clergymen, our brave soldiers, and all those who shed tears for the loved ones they lost-WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

God Bless the USA!!

~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~
Rebecca

 

*Photo credit Google images

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BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

8 Sep

Here in the Midwest we get a short season to grill, therefore we do it a lot in the summer. With all that grilling comes leftovers. Honestly, my family isn’t all that excited to eat the leftovers and I am not all excited to waste food. So that leaves me some creativity to turn yesterdays leftovers into something my family will enjoy. Let’s get started!

Here are last nights BBQ chicken breasts. I took them straight from the fridge
and removed the meat from the bone and chopped it into a bite sized dice.
Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts- 2 plum tomatoes diced- 1 small onion diced- shredded lettuce-
burrito sized flour tortillas- Provolone and an Italian shredded blend cheeses-
Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce- and some non stick spray.
Heat a skillet over med heat and spray with some non stick spray
(I have used butter it works great I was just trying to save a few calories).
Add a tortilla and sprinkle with your favorite cheese ( I made one quesadilla with an
Italian cheese blend and another with Provolone slices. Both were good but the
Provolone was best). Sprinkle with some chopped onion.
Add enough chicken to evenly cover the tortilla. Squeeze some BBQ sauce all
over the chicken. I didn’t measure but approximately 3-4 Tablespoons of
sauce. Definitely just add all ingredients to your taste.
Add some tomatoes and more cheese. Top with another tortilla and cook
4-5 minutes per side or until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted.

*Since it can be tricky to flip without a lot of fall out you can just use one
tortilla. Just make like above but go lighter on the filling and flip one side of the tortilla
over so the edges meet.*

I cut it using a pizza cutter. Just like that…You have a crispy, cheesy, BBQ
Quesadilla! I like to top mine with shredded lettuce. YUM! This recipe made 2 large
quesadillas and 2 half quesadillas.
Recipe
*Yields 2 large and 2 half quesadillas
2 chicken breasts
2 plum tomatoes diced
1 small onion diced
shredded lettuce
burrito sized flour tortillas (I used a total of 6)
Shredded Italian cheese blend (or your favorite)
Provolone (or your favorite)
BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce)
Non stick cooking spray
Heat skillet over Medium heat and spray with non stick spray. Lay tortilla in pan and add cheese. Evenly top tortilla with chicken and add BBQ sauce. Sprinkle with tomatoes and top with more cheese. Lay another tortilla on top of the ingredients and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted. Cut with pizza cutter and serve with your favorite toppings.
This was a big hit with my family! Definitely going on the please make again list! Just like with most of my recipes you can personalize it to your tastes. This would be delicious with some grilled green peppers and mushrooms!
If you are cooking more then 2 quesadillas I would put a foiled lined baking pan in a warm oven to keep the finished quesadillas warm until you are ready to serve. Also, you can cook 2-3 quesadillas at a time on a large griddle.
I hope you enjoy this delicious easy recipe! Thanks for stopping by!
~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~
Rebecca
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Awww Shucks!

6 Sep

I have really enjoyed my short time here on WP and have come across some awesome blogs.  I have received a few messages lately letting me know I have been nominated for a few liebster-awardawards. Thank you, I am very humbled!  Please visit and say hello to the sweet bloggers who nominated me, you won’t be disappointed!

http://alygeorges.wordpress.com/

and

http://kristenzuray.wordpress.com/

and

http://ebun23.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/the-liebster-award/

and

http://helenaalcala02.wordpress.com/

Have  nominated me for the  Liebster Award.

Here are the questions asked by http://alygeorges.wordpress.com/

MY 10 QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES

1)      How has your childhood affected you?–It has shown me that with God nothing is broken.

2)      If you went back in time, is there one particular thing you would do differently?- It has all made me who I am. So I don’t think I would change a thing.

3) Is there any particular experience that has made a significant impact on your life? Being a teenage mama of a micro-preemie.

4)    If there was one thing you could do to make the world a better place, what would it be? End abuse and famine.

5)      What are the three most important things in your life? Jesus, Husband, and my chidren.

6)   What characteristic do you admire most in a person? Honesty and kindness.

7)   Is there anything you feel people don’t know about you that you wished they knew? Hmmmm…..

8)      What’s your favourite pastime? Bargain hunting and just spending time with my loves.

9)      If you had a chance to dine with three famous people, dead or alive, who would they be and what would you say to them? Jesus, Pontius Pilate, and John the Baptist.

10)  Do you have a favourite quote? If so, what does it state? I have many but this one comes to mind-“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” ~C.S. Lewis.

and the sweet gal over at http://kristenzuray.wordpress.com/  asked these questions.

1.)  What prayer has God answered recently? School bussing for my oldest daughter. I love that God cares about even the smallest of details!

2.)  How do you wish God will use you? I have always admired missionaries who serve abroad, but God has me content where I am.

3.)  What is your spiritual gift? Service and mercy

4.)  What is something fun you like to do? Bargain hunting and spending time with my family.

The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. list these rules in your post. (You can copy and paste them from here.)
Once you have written your post, and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

These are some blogs I have really enjoyed and think you will to! I nominate, in no particular order-

http://thevintagecouple.wordpress.com/

http://rebecajones.wordpress.com/

http://salruv7.com/

http://ahundredaffections.wordpress.com/

http://helianthusblog.com/

http://redhotinspirations.com/

If you so chose to accept here are my questions for you.

1. What is your favorite Bible verse?

2. Favorite place you’ve ever visited.

3. Favorite movie?

4. Who do you most admire?

5. Favorite season?

~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~

Rebecca

My 13th first Day of School

5 Sep

Well, we made it through another summer vacation.  We had a lazy uneventful but fun summer.  I’ll admit, I am very sad to see it end. I am gearing up for my 13th first day of school….YIKES!

I was sitting here thinking back 13 (that flew by) years ago, Labor Day.  My oldest, Alison, was a precious itty bitty five year old with pink glasses.  She was anxious for her first day of kindergarten-I was not! Tuesday came. Even though we could of slept in a bit (because she had the afternoon class), Alison was up early-ready to make it official. Sporting a new outfit, her name tag, and her new pink backpack, that was almost bigger than her-we headed out on a beautiful Colorado day, on our short walk to school.  The classroom was buzzing with excitement as the kiddos explored their classroom and made new friends.  The teacher gave parents a few minutes to take pictures and give extra hugs.  One by one parents started to trickle out until it was just me.  I was thinking “They expect me to leave this precious child who hasn’t left my side for more than 5 minutes for almost 6 years, here alone-without her mama?”.  I made up my mind right then, that she needed me too much to leave. I was gonna stay.  Of course, the kindly teacher assured me that she would be OK and that I would see her in a few hours.  I left that classroom and cried my heart out all the way home. Sad, because life as I knew it had changed forever and it changed so suddenly in just one day. No more leisurely afternoon Hundred Acre Wood picnics, no more late night blanket fort sleepovers, and no more little shadow all the time.  She was a big girl doing big girl things- without me!  Time passed slowly that first day.  Time eventually passed and I made my way to pick her up.  I remember thinking how upset she must of been all day and how glad she will be when she sees me.  I envisioned her plowing through the crowd and jumping into my open arms begging to never go back.  When she saw me she was in tears, but not for the reasons I thought…the girl didn’t want to leave school.  She really burst my bubble.  She had a blast-without me!  Here I was mourning and she was having the time of her life.  Life did change that day but certainly not for the worse.  We just moved into a different season of life and it was still wonderful. Even if she is a high school senior!

Brouke came along and I went through it all again.  Now I am sitting in the same place as I was 13 years ago except this time, my baby-my last born, my only son will be  starting his journey as a first grader.  Yes, I will cry and have a moment but I will look on with joy as I watch my boy learn and grow and I’ll be reminded how very blessed I am.

I know many are here with me.  My prayer for you is that God will be near to each of you as you kiss the sweet faces of your babies as you send them out into the world. May he comfort you as you adjust to a new season. For all our babies, may God watch over each of them as they begin a new school year.  I pray for safety and protection over each of them.  May God Bless each of you!

~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~
Rebecca

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