Kora’s Blueberry Muffins taste delicious

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When I had the chance to hang out with my two-year-old niece Kora last week, one of the first things we did that morning was make muffins. I just can’t say enough about getting kids involved with the cooking. The kitchen is a great place to talk to kids about what is healthy. And it is good for children to see where food comes from and that there are many options available for making food. Food is much more than processed junk out of a box. When my nieces ask for fruit snacks, my new answer is “Ok here is some fruit what kind do you want?” It is fruit and it is a snack. How did we get to a place where fruit snacks are handed out everywhere and they are brightly packaged and many times very sneaky in their marketing tactics. I believed for many years, fruit snacks were a healthy snack. Well, obviously I was not reading the ingredients back then, I was just going off the name. The fact the name has fruit in it makes us think it is healthy. So even when the package says,”100% real fruit juice” Fat Free,” “Gluten Free” or “All Natural” do not be fooled. When we turn over the package and look at ingredients it is startling. Most brands have at least two or three artificial colors, sugar (and sometimes more than one kind of sugar) and when I was reading labels for this blog post I also came across some brands that had artificial sweeteners in them. And yes, there are some organic fruit snack brands that do not have artificial colors and other harmful ingredients. However, I recommend these only as a special treat. They are still packaged and processed with lots of sugar and they can be an expensive snack. When time allows, choose real, whole food for your kids.

It is important for kids to be involved with making healthy, real food.  Both of my nieces really enjoy helping in the kitchen. When they come to visit me cooking is always one of the fun things we do together. The recipe I had decided to make was blueberry muffins.

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I started off asking Kora if she likes blueberries. She said yes but I was not sure I believed her because she can be a pretty picky eater. So I took the blueberries out of the freezer and gave her a couple to eat. She ate them and said yes I like them. I told her we were going to put the yummy blueberries in the muffins we were making.

My teaching background of course always shows through in the kitchen too. We talk about what color the blueberries are and we count how many eggs are in the recipe. Cooking is a great opportunity for learning about counting and measuring. We even practice words in Spanish while we are making the muffins. Kora’s first job was to put the silicon muffin cups onto the cookie sheet. We counted them in both English and Spanish when she got them on the tray.

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This is a new recipe I put together. I wanted a muffin recipe that used applesauce because I still have some unsweetened applesauce in my freezer that my sister and I (with Chloe and Kora’s help) made last summer. I was really curious to see if Kora would eat the muffins once they were baked. Trust me, I had nothing to worry about. She loved them and wanted to eat only muffins for lunch. I really think when kids are actively involved in food preparation they are more likely to eat what is on the table because they had a part in making it. OK, so I was not super surprised when my two-year-old niece liked the muffins because she helped make them (when kids help prepare food they are always more excited to eat it) but when my husband asked on Sunday morning if we had any blueberry muffins left, I knew they must be good! We both really like them and in fact, I made another batch this week. If we don’t eat them fast enough I will freeze the extras.

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Kora’s Blueberry Muffins

2 ½ cups almond flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

3 eggs

2 tbsp. organic, unrefined coconut oil

1 tsp. organic apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. pure vanilla

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen will work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a glass bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Melt coconut oil. Then mix in the eggs, applesauce, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and vinegar. When mixed well stir in blueberries. Put in muffin tins and bake 15 to 19 minutes until a nice golden brown color. If you are using muffin tins without paper liners be sure to grease the pan with coconut oil.

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Wellspring women share favorite Bible verses

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A few weeks back it was the night before Wellspring devotion group and I had not written a devotion. Life had been really busy and I just did not have it in me to get a devotion done. I knew that writing one would be stressful, so my friend Stephanie had the idea to have each woman bring a favorite Bible verse to share! This turned out to be a wonderful idea and it was great for us to dig into our Bibles and choose a verse to share with the other women. The discussion was awesome and when the devotion group was over that morning, I was so glad that we decided to do this. It was exactly what we needed that morning. God definitely knew what he was doing.

Sometimes when life is so busy, we must have the courage to step back and realize we cannot do everything. We must prioritize and only do what we are able. And when I made that conscience decision to not write a devotion last time, I had to let the guilt and self-destructive words go. Instead, of being really hard on myself and feeling like a slacker, I tried to embrace my decision and feel relaxed about it.  And my am I glad I did. The Bible verses shared were powerful and each woman had a story to go with why they chose that particular verse. We all agreed it was hard to pick just one verse.

Here are the Bible verses that were shared.

John 1:9-“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”

Song of Solomon 2:4-“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

1 Corinthians 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Isaiah 40:31-“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Psalm 23- “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

1 Samuel 2:25-“If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him? But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.”

1 Philippians 4:13-“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

In the 10 months since we started Wellspring it has definitely enriched my life! It is such a blessing to be able to start the day surrounded by positive, God-loving women. If you are wondering, Wellspring is a morning devotion group focused on encouraging women to relax, recharge and renew their faith with God’s word. Life is busy and filled with many distractions. Wellspring is a time for women to grow and pray together. Women from Worthington and the surrounding area meet the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 a.m. in the Family Room at Grace Community Church. One of the things I really like about this group is that it is women from all walks of life, women from a variety of churches. In fact, attending a church is sure not required, we want all women who long to know Jesus more to join us and be encouraged by the word of God. If you live in the area and would like more information please feel free to email awalljasper@yahoo.com or send us a message on our Facebook page.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse to share? Feel free to leave a comment!

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Holistic pregnancy coach offering class in Worthington

When I met Sandra Fraser Maurer and her husband in my store back in August, they had only been in town for a few days and my health food store was one of their first stops. I could tell right away they were cool people who care about healthy food and healthy living. I will not forget the day Sandra told me she was a doula. To be honest, I had no idea what it was. I actually went on the Internet and looked it up so I knew what she was talking about. Yes, I feel silly now (but hey, cut me some slack I have never given birth) and to be honest doulas are not something you hear a lot about in these parts. That is why I am excited to write this blog post.

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In Sandra’s words “a doula offers physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy and birth.” To learn more check out her website Whole Beginnings Doula Services. It is so much more than these few words on paper.

Being a holistic pregnancy coach/doula was not always in Sandra’s plan. In college she majored in art therapy and she worked in that field for a year and was very stressed out. She decided to try being a nanny. “I loved it. I spent a lot of time with moms and I heard a lot of birth stories,” she remembered. “One woman was a women’s health practitioner and she had lots of books and I became so interested in the birthing process.” During her five years as a nanny, she also became a certified yoga instructor.

“We moved to Worthington in the middle of my morning sickness,” said Sandra. Now Sandra and Bryan are the parents of a baby girl, Fiona, who was born in March.

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In honor of Mother’s Day, Sandra will be offering a free class at Schafer’s Health & Gifts on Monday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. Click here to register for the class. “I want to connect with women locally who might want guidance through pregnancy and birth,” Sandra said. “I want to be a resource for moms because they are a big part of the community and the world. Mothers can change the world if they feel their motherhood journey is being honored and well treated.”

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This class is for you if: you are an expectant mama, you are considering or planning on expanding your family, you want to do everything you can to create the joyful pregnancy, birth and postpartum you deserve, you are just starting to learn about holistic nutrition, you already love nutrition and health and want to learn how to start to apply that to motherhood or if you work with mamas-to-be and want to know how to help them more.

All women who attend the class will be able to take home Five Keys to Nourishing Your ‘Mama Spirit’ in pregnancy, Mama Nutrition Inventory and Mama Nurturing Inventory. Sandra is generously providing these at no charge to everyone who attends the class at Schafer’s. The regular price for these resources is $97.

Sandra hopes the local class will connect women who are pregnant or new moms. “Everyone can read books about pregnancy and birth but having a mentor and other women to connect with through it is important,” she said.

As I said earlier, I am not a mom and have never went through the experience of pregnancy and birth but I have learned so much from Sandra about supporting women in pregnancy and especially post-partum! I am so grateful to my sister and brother-in-law who have allowed me to witness the birth of each of my nieces! It is truly the most amazing, miraculous thing I have ever been a part of. What a blessing to see one of God’s new creations enter the world. What I have learned from Sandra and her blog posts is valuable information and I hope I can use it to be more supportive of new moms.

And a quick reminder, if you want to be updated via email every time I write a new blog post please subscribe to my blog.

 

Blogging: Always learning

Today I got to start my day at the Social Media Breakfast Club in Worthington. I was happy to join bloggers Aaron Hagen from the Daily Globe and Julie Foote of MVTV WIreless on a panel talking about blogging.

When I was asked to be a part of this panel, I was happy to participate in the discussion but I was thinking I am so new to blogging I really don’t know much at all. The experience proved to be a great one and I came away with some valuable information to help me continue to grow this blog!

One of the things I realized today is I need to have a place on my blog so you my readers can subscribe and be updated every time I write a new post! I know, I know several people have told me I need to do this for awhile now and today I took the time to get it set up. It is easy all you have to do is enter your email address and you will start receiving notifications when I blog! The email signup is to the left of this post or if you are using a phone to view my blog it might be at the bottom of the page….so keep scrolling.

Thanks for being a part of my blogging journey!

Amanda

Zingers make drinking water fun and flavorful

Remember when I wrote a blog post at the beginning of this year called, “New Year: A time to make healthy changes.” There is a lot of great information packed into that one post (for those of you who are new to my blog and want some tips for getting healthier you can click here to read it). The very first tip I wrote about was drink plenty of water! Again, I just can’t tell you how important it is to drink a sufficient amount of water on a daily basis.

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One of my favorite new water bottles is the Zing Anything Citrus Zinger. This bottle makes it easy to add real fruit flavors to your water and enjoy the flavor all day long! It is so simple! I received a Citrus Zinger bottle as a gift in October while I was in Texas and as soon as I saw it I knew it was something I wanted to order for The Daily Apple Worthington and The Daily Apple Storm Lake! What a genius idea to flavor water naturally! Yes, I know a lot of people think they do not like plain water. Trust me, I hear this every day! It is important that we realize here that not all water is created equal. So many people grab zero calorie drinks marketed as flavored, healthy waters. What many people do not realize is these waters are loaded with icky chemicals and artificial sweeteners. So before you grab for a flavored water, be sure to read the label and find out what your are really ingesting.

Here’s an idea—make your own flavored water and it will be cheaper in the long run and much healthier! And using a reusable bottle is much better for our Earth (with Earth Day just around the corner what better time to start using a reusable water bottle).

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Zing Anything makes two styles of bottles to infuse water. The first one I owned is the Citrus Zinger. This bottle works great for lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers and even more. It is easy to juice the fruit in the bottom. This bottle has a lid that screws off to open and drink out of. I have come to like the Aqua Zinger bottle a lot because it has a straw in it and so it is easier to drink on the run or at work near the computer. This bottle has a different style of grinder. It works better for berries. For great recipes from Zing Anything click here.

The bottle that makes me the most excited is the brand new bottle designed for kids! (We actually had moms asking for a kid’s version of the Citrus Zinger even before the company released the kid’s zinger).  It is smaller and with a straw so it is perfect for teaching kids to drink water. Adding fruit to the bottom makes it fun for kids and it shows them ways to incorporate fruit into their diets.

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Zing Anything bottles are so easy to get excited about and I am so happy that this company has given me two products to give away! Be Real blog is now just over three months old and I think it is a great time for a giveaway. We are giving away an Aqua Zinger and a Citrus Zinger. And this contest has now ended. Congratulations to Michelle and Terri who were the lucky winners.

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Here’s to lots and lots of ‘zinging’ healthy water!

Amanda

 

 

Wellspring Devotion, April 1, 2014

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Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

This verse reminds me of my childhood days when we used to sing the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” What a simple song with some very powerful words. “This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out! I’m going to let it shine.” To be honest, I have not thought of this song for a long time but as I was reading this verse in my Bible the song kept coming in to my mind. The words are ingrained in my mind and easy to remember. Though this song is often geared toward children it is packed with powerful truths that we all must remember once we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

Sometimes, once we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, it is easy to get complacent and not continue to follow God’s will for our life. Sometimes we see the attitude, “I am saved now. I don’t have to do anything.” In fact the Bible tells us the exact opposite of this. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Verse 20 specifically tells us to obey God’s commandments that are spelled out in the Bible. Whether we are new Christians or have been a believer for many, many years there are some things we can incorporate into our daily life to strengthen our relationship with Christ. Read the Bible regularly (click here to see ideas from my earlier post). Pray often (with everything going on in life take time throughout the day to pray). Find a place to worship with others who believe in the Bible. And let God’s love shine through you in all that you do. As the verse above says, “let your light shine before others.”

For the past several weeks at church, our pastor has been reminding us that we are “the church” everywhere that we go. We are called to sacrificially love and serve Christ and others in all places that we are. “Church” can be our homes, our workplaces, our community! Let us remember always to love others as Christ has so graciously loved us.

Prayer for the week: Dear God, We thank you for sending your only son Jesus to take away our sins so we can live our lives focused on our eternal home in Heaven. Help me this week to keep the focus on you and let me be a light to others in this sometimes dark and negative world. Give me the desire to know you more each day! This little light of mine-I want to let it shine all of the days of my life for you! In your name we pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

What are some ways we can let God’s light shine in our home?

What are some ways we can let God’s light shine in our community?

The Wellspring devotion group meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 a.m. at Grace Community Church in Worthington, MN. The group is open to all women in the area.

 

Wellspring Devotion March 18, 2014

 

This week I am happy to share the Wellspring devotion written by my dear friend Stephanie! May you be blessed by these words and keep this verse from Joshua 1:9 in your heart and mind always. These are some powerful words!

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes, my mind takes my thoughts on a frightening walk through my brain, visiting all the possible scenarios that could happen in a given situation. Much of the time, these scenarios are apocalyptic, worst case scenarios.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Imagine how comforting these words were to the Israelites as they were about to march into Canaan, against some rough and very tough warriors. These words comfort me in times of fear as well. Over the last nine months, I have learned that God is indeed there for me, no matter where I am.

Romans 8:31 asks us, “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

How true and powerful these words are! Every person is fighting a battle of their own, whether it be a physical one or a purely spiritual one. In all of my battles, I have learned that the best way to fight the fear and darkness is to call out to my God and ask for comfort, strength, wisdom, whatever it is I may need. God may not always grant this in the way I request, but He is always there, and He is always on the side that is best for me, providing me with what He knows I need.

As you go through these next few weeks, remember that you are a mighty warrior of God. He has instilled in you a strength and fearlessness, in His name. Be strong in Christ and watch what happens around you!

Prayer for the week: Heavenly Father, I come to You with all my fears and worry. Take these from me and give me the courage to move forward into whatever plan You have for me. I surrender my fear of all that is to come.  I hold you up, Lord, and recognize you as my mighty warrior. With You in my corner, I can never be defeated by this world. In your name I pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

Can you think of someone that has faced something in their own life that you personally fear?

How did they handle it?

What did you learn from their experience?

How do you handle your own fear?

A new way to make pork

 

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We all know it can be scary to try a new recipe that we have never made before. It is always an adventure to see how something will turn out. For the first time in awhile, we (ok, mostly my husband) made a brand new recipe that we had never made before and it exceeded all of our expectations.

I have to admit when Doug first told me about the recipe over the phone I was not sure what to think. But I loved that it was a new recipe and it had good ingredients. And as soon as the cooking was under way, it smelled delicious!

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 We used a dry red wine from one of our favorite local wineries, Calico Skies Winery in Inwood, Iowa. The American Chambourcin is a nice dry red that is packed with flavor from the oak barrels it is aged in. If you are ever in the Inwood area definitely check out this winery owned by Will and Ashlee. They are such nice people and they have a beautiful business!

With our pork chops we had Haricot Vert green beans (French green beans) cooked in bacon grease (keepin’ with the pork theme) with fresh garlic. They tasted delicious with the pork meal. We will definitely make this recipe again. It tastes so different than any way I have had pork. The flavors were awesome!

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Pepper and onion pork chops

4 boneless pork chops

1.5 tablespoons tomato paste

1 red onion

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 red peppers, cut into slices

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup dry red wine

Salt and pepper

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

In a large skillet heat olive oil. Put chops in skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side (until browned). Remove from skillet. Add tomato paste to skillet and stir for about 20 seconds. Add onions and peppers to skillet and season with garlic salt. Cook stirring occasionally  until vegetables start to cook, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

Add wine and bring to a boil, stir in any brown bits in the skillet. Then put the pork chops back in the skillet, covering them with liquid. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook about 5 minutes and then turn chops over and cook another 4 minutes or so. Remove chops from skillet and let them sit for 4 minutes.

 

My aunt’s incredible weight loss journey

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This is a blog post I have wanted to write for a while and after just spending a week with 10 of my family members, including my aunt Jolene, in the Dominican Republic now seems like a great time to tell her life-changing weight loss journey. The photo above is a photo of us taken just a few weeks ago in the Dominican. Even when we were on a relaxing tropical vacation hundreds of miles from home Jolene was disciplined and I was inspired watching her dedication to her new lifestyle changes.

You see between May 15, 2012, and Sept. 16, 2013, Jolene lost more than 139 pounds and what I love most about her story is she has done it right—by exercising and radically changing the foods she eats.

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“I had been a gym member at Anytime Fitness in Mt. Pleasant since it opened and I went faithfully in the beginning and then I quit going and for 1½ years I did not go,” recalls Jolene. “Then they had an offer for personal training get five sessions for the price of three and I decided I needed to start going to the gym or quit my membership.”

And she credits her personal trainer Carlos for changing her life. “It took him three months to convince me I needed to change my diet. He kept telling me diet was 70 percent and exercise the other 30 percent to lose weight.”

During those first three months, Jolene trained twice a week with Carlos and went to the gym other times but she did not want to quit eating the carb-laden, processed foods (especially ice cream) that made up the biggest part of her daily diet. When she realized the exercise alone was not helping her drop weight she started to try a few of the recipe ideas that Carlos gave her.

“I thought I will try it and see and I can always go back to cheating at what I eat like I did every other time I tried to diet,” Jolene remembered. “The minute I started eating the way he told me to the pounds started falling off.”

“I used to drink diet soda all the time,” Jolene explained. “I went cold turkey on pop and started drinking lots of water. I drink between 100-120 ounces per day.”

Jolene, who was a picky eater when it came to healthy choices like vegetables, has learned to like many foods that she used to despise. “It’s like you always say Amanda you have to try things 10 times or so before you acquire a taste for it,” she said. “As I started eating more vegetables and incorporating more into my diet my palette changed.”

Over the years, Jolene has tried nearly everything available on the market to help with her weight loss but time after time she did not get the results she desired and they left her feeling disappointed and like a failure. She is adamant in letting people know diets don’t work. “It’s a lifestyle change. You can’t look at it as diet. You have to make lifestyle changes,” she said. “You have to be ready and dedicated and determined. No one can make you do it until you are absolutely ready in your mind.”

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Every morning on our vacation, Jolene got up and ran on the beach and one morning Jolene and my cousin Emily and I did boot camp on the beach. Wow, these girls are in good shape and pushed me to work hard (and thanks to Carlos for providing Jolene with the “boot camp” work out). This dedication is definitely a lifestyle change and as we all know change is never easy. Exercise has now become a part of Jolene’s daily routine. She continues to go to the gym five days a week. She works on endurance and strength and is training to participate in a Mudderella event this spring and she plans to participate in some more 5Ks. And there might even be a 10K in her future. Time will tell!

When people ask Jolene how she eats she describes it as clean eating. She tries to avoid processed foods most of the time. Meats and vegetables are the bulk of what she eats. In the summer she grows her own garden and eats and preserves the produce from that. When vegetables are not in season she buys fresh or frozen ones at the grocery store. She avoids canned vegetables because of the extra sodium they contain.

For others looking to lose weight Jolene offers these words of encouragement, “Take it one day at a time, making small changes that you can do for a lifetime.”

Not only does my aunt look completely different on the outside, but she has seen many other benefits from losing the weight. She is no longer on blood pressure medicine and is no longer pre-diabetic. And she has the same warm, caring spirit she has always had but she is more outgoing and willing to try new things. Just a few years ago, Jolene would never have agreed to go on a tropical vacation. It is exciting to see her have a new outlook on this adventure we call life

After vacation Jolene knows without a doubt she will keep this weight off. On vacation, she ate more carbs than she does on a regular basis and she noticed a big difference in how she felt. “I had that miserable feeling like I had all the time before I started eating clean,” she said. “To be honest, Saturday when I got home I was ready, really ready to get back to eating healthy. I don’t want to feel tired and miserable all of the time anymore.”

 

 

Wellspring Devotion March 4, 2014

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                                              Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV) –                                                 He has made everything beautiful in its time.

When I was asked recently to speak at the local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group on the theme “Beautiful Mess” I immediately decided this was a great topic for a devotion. I chose the Ecclesiastes verse because it reminds us God has made each of us women a unique, beautiful person. We are constantly a work in progress and we grow closer to Him through our daily messes. When we many times feel like a mess or like our lives are a mess God loves us anyway. His love for us is never ending and he knows our “beautiful messes” are all for a greater plan – his eternal plan for our lives.

When we feel like a crazy mess, we have peace in knowing that God is our father and he loves us through everything. He uses all of our messes for the greater good. God is able to forgive our every sin and take it from us. We do not need to hang on to our anger and guilt because when we ask God to forgive us for the messes we create he does just that. In him we have peace and comfort and we can look forward to each new day as a beautiful adventure.

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A beautiful mess comes to mind when my two nieces come to visit my house. They get fingerprints on the walls, they have toys and books placed throughout the house and sometimes they make a big mess by spilling juice and food. This is all a part of the beauty of having children in our midst! One time when my niece dropped a piece of a sticky banana on a page of my Bible—I made a note in my Bible that reads, “Chloe’s banana fingerprints” and I wrote down the date. Every time I pass by this page in my Bible is brings a smile to my face to think of my sweet niece. God has given us precious time with children and we must not get caught up in the small, trivial messes they help create, but see them for the Heavenly blessings that they are. Children are one of God’s most precious gifts and we are called to care for them well. So sometimes even when we feel like our life is a mess, see the beautiful mess for what it is- a true gift from God.

Prayer for the week: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for making everything beautiful in its time. Help me to be patient in waiting for your time in all that I do. Thank you for giving us the hope of eternal life! And thank you for the “beautiful messes” you put in my every day life so I can see your beauty and grace that surround me. Help me this week to see all of the messes in my life as a gift from you and please use these messes to draw me closer to you. In your precious name I pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

Share a “beautiful mess” you have experienced lately.

How did this “beautiful mess” draw you closer to God?