Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To My Blog Friends...

Hello friends! I’ve been away from blogging for the last couple of week, but a lot has been going on and I’m so excited to now be able to share it all with you.
My husband and I have been living in Wyoming for quite some time, and the opportunity has finally come for us to move back South. Next week we will be moving back to Texas-closer to friends, family and the southern lifestyle we know and love.
A couple of weeks ago we purchased our first home together, and couldn’t be more excited about our future and what’s to come.
We’ve learned so much during this journey. We’ve learned that God’s grace and goodness is beyond measure. We’ve learned that patience really is a virtue, and once you learn the importance of it you then begin to let go and let God. We serve an amazing God and I praise him each and every day for this journey He’s lead me through. I am nothing and can do nothing without Him.  
I’ve started yet another online Bible study, and my friends, if you’ve never experienced these studies I encourage you to do so. They are truly life changing.
I wanted to share with you a little from this study because I know this is where so many of us are right now, today. The book is called “Stressed-Less Living” by Tracie Miles, and this study couldn’t have come at a better time in my life with a big move and all. But honestly, I’m so happy to share that my stress level during this time is nothing compared to what it would have been a year ago. God has done miraculous things within me. I wish I had the words to truly express what I feel inside and how he’s changed me-it’s beyond words.
I want to share with you some, as Tracie calls it, stress busting scripture. This comes directly from the book. I would encourage you to write these scriptures down, highlight them in your Bible and begin memorizing them. Keep them in an easily accessible go-to spot for when you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, troubled or scared. This way they are right there for you to stop and lean on God’s promise. If you’re interested in joining the Bible study, please visit melissataylor.orgmelissataylor.org. You’ll be glad you did!

I have set the Lord always before me.

Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

~Psalm 16:8 NIVp

Cast your caress on the Lord and he will sustain you;

He will never let the righteous fall.

~Psalm 55:22 NIV

In my distress I called to the Lord: I called out to my God.

From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.

~2 Samuel 22:7 NIV

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.

He rescues them from all their troubles.

~Psalm 34:17


Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

~Isaiah 41:10

I have so much enjoyed all of my blog friends. For the next few weeks, and while the move progresses I will most likely not be as committed to my blog, but as I continue this study I will share with you what’s on my heart. I’m thankful for each of you. I enjoy getting to know you, and thank you for allowing me to share my life with you.  Stay in touch!
Many, many blessing!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Being Friends and Embracing Your Differences

Let the wife see that she respects her husband. ~Ephesians 5:33


Happy Tuesday, Friends! I know I’m a day late with my Marital Bliss post, but better late than never. I really wanted to make a marriage post this week, and I wanted to talk about the importance of being friends and respecting each other’s difference.  
One thing I love about my marriage is the friendship Matt and I share. From personal experience, I know this isn’t always the case in some relationships whether dating or married.  Friendships are usually built on common interests that are shared among individuals. Matt and I are a lot alike in many ways. Since the day we met, we’ve joked about sharing the same brain. I think this is something that makes our relationship so strong and has built a great friendship between us, but though we share more of the same interest than not, there are still those differences between us.   
Respecting those differences between you and your spouse is another key to building a strong friendship within your marriage. One way we respect the differences between us is by showing interest in what other likes or is passionate about. I love talking and asking questions about Matt’s job. I really do want to hear about it and understand it better. I don’t want to run out and start doing the job alongside him, but I want to know what his days are like away from home. We’ve actually found ourselves in some great conversations when discussing his work. In return, he shows his interests in my work and usually offers some great ideas in the process of our conversation. Does he want to come to a Clever Container class or organize a home office with me? Probably not, but he respects what I do and love. Same goes for our hobbies. He respects my love for horses and I respect the pleasure he finds in fishing, going to the lake, doing DIY projects or whatever it may be.
The differences between you and your spouse shouldn’t separate you and be excuses to do things without each other, they should be what brings you together and builds a friendship that is everlasting. My husband really is my best friend. Of all the friendships I’ve had, the friendship with my husband is by far the best one. I’ve never been so open and honest with anyone else. He takes me as I am, loves me unconditionally, supports me but also guides me-a perfect example of what a friend should be.
Many Blessings,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Let's Dish Wednesday: Skillet Bucatini with Spring Vegetables

It’s Let’s Dish Wednesday and since it’s the first day of Spring I wanted to share a Spring time recipe from Better Homes and Gardens April issue. I love the colors in this dish. I made this Monday night for dinner and it was delish! I’m so glad I have a husband who also loves to try new recipes, and loves vegetables. There is NO meat in this dish and he went back for seconds and took it for lunch they next day. J So, here it is…
Skillet Bucatini with Spring Vegetables
Here’s what you’ll need:
4 oz. dried bucatini pasta or thick spaghetti (I was unable to find bucatini, so I used spaghetti in my recipe)
2 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
12 oz. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (2 ½ cups; 14 spears)
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges (optional)
Here’s what you’ll do:
1.       In a large pot cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; reserve ½ cup pasta water. Return pasta to pot. Add 1 Tbsp. of the oil of your choice. Toss until well combined; set aside.
2.       Heat a 14-ich flat-bottom wok or 12-inch stainless-steel skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 2 seconds. Swirl in remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.
3.       Add asparagus; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add garlic; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add cherry tomatoes and ½ tsp. of the salt; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add basil and olives; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat. Add pepper, remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and pasta. Add enough reserved pasta water to create desired consistency. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a side of garlic bread. Pass lemon wedges, if desired. Serves 4.
I hope you'll try it!
Happy Spring!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Marital Bliss Monday: Praying for Our Husbands

My husband and I always take time praying together. It’s a moment out of the day when he and I, together, are connected with God thanking Him for our many blessings, thanking Him for bringing us together. We seek His guidance and direction, and we praise Him for leading us through not only times of need, but times of joy and happiness. Praying together can strengthen a marriage tremendously, and it’s amazing to see how close you become as couple. Though praying together is very important, praying for each other is just as important.
Praying for one another also brings you closer. You begin to see changes in each other-good changes- changes that only God can make within someone. I know my husband’s worries, his concerns, his fears, his hopes and dreams. I know how badly he wants to make a great life for us and our future family. I know how hard he works, and though most of the time he comes across confident and emotionally strong, I have to also know there are times when he’s tired and weak.
As his wife, it is my duty to lift my husband up in prayer. I know his struggles and it’s my responsibility to pray The Lord covers him in a calming peace, the kind of peace that only comes from Jesus Christ. I pray for his protection, that he seeks God in all he does and that he’s given the strength needed to get through any situation that comes his way. When I pray, I’m at peace because I know God is in complete control. When I pray, I not only see changes within my husband, but I notice changes within me as well.
Ladies, let’s remember to always lift our husbands up in prayer. Let us pray for their strength and guidance through Jesus. Pray that their worries and concerns disappear and that they receive peace in their hearts.
Happy Monday, friends.
Many Blessings,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Just A Few Things I've Been Working On

Have you ever had a list of projects you really wanted to get to, but they weren’t so important that you’d put off other things in order to get them completed? For example, for me I had a year’s worth of pictures I needed to either have printed or that were printed but needed to be put into photo albums. Since high school, I’ve always had my pictures organized and in photo albums, but this year I just let it get away from me. I thought I’d never get to these things because I always felt there was something else that should come first. Well a couple of weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to complete some projects around the house and within my business. It’s such a great feeling to have them finished and I love that sense of accomplishment.
Here's my photo project:
I found these photo albums at Ross for $4 each. I bought three of them, and they all match-I love that!
I can't tell you how good it feels to have all my photos finally in albums!
The first project I actually completed was a Mixbook I made for my husband for our one year anniversary. Our anniversary was back in January, but if you've ever created a Mixbook you know it takes some time...and patience. I've never been a scrapbooker because I don't have the patience to sit there and try to be creative. Though it took some time, I'm so glad I did it. It portrays our first year together and I know it's going to be so much fun to look through years from now.
Another important project I completed was my Organizing with Rachel website. I have a completely new design and I love it! If you'd like to, you can check it out here.
Thanks for letting me share. And I'll be back next week for Marital Bliss Monday and Let's Dish Wednesday!
Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Let's Dish Wednesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

We LOVE this soup! I've already made it couple of times this winter-it's so warm and yummy. And yes, it's yet another great recipe from The Pioneer Woman.
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
About 1 ¼ teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup diced green bell pepper
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
One 10-ounce can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups hot water
Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
3 tablespoons cornmeal
5 small corn tortillas
Diced avocado, for garnish
Diced red onion, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375
Start by mixing together the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the chili powder, the garlic powder, and salt.
Drizzle the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Set the rest of the spice mixture aside.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove it from the oven…
Shred the chicken using 2 forks. Set aside.
Next, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Throw in the onion, garlic, and green and red bell peppers.
Throw in a teaspoon of the spice mixture used to season the chicken.
Add a little extra chili powder (about ¼ teaspoon) for heat.
Stir to cook the vegetables until they begin to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken…
The Rotel, juice and all…
The chicken broth…
The tomato paste, and 4 cups hot water. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low.
Next, add the drained black beans.
Then mix together the cornmeal with ½ cup of water.
Add the mixture to the pot, then simmer the soup for 10 to 15 minutes. Give it a taste and add salt or seasonings as needed. (I added the remaining seasoning to my soup)
Cut the tortillas into uniform 2- to 3-inch strips.
Stir them into the soup. Turn off the heat and get ready to serve it up!
Ladle the soup into a bowl, then add avocado, red onion, sour cream, cilantro, and extra tortilla strips to the top.
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 4, 2013

MBM: Selflessly Compassionate

Hurts, irritations, unmet needs-life is full of them. How ironic it is that marriage often magnifies these things. For example, we might quickly forget a passing critical comment from a coworker, but we remember the same comment for days-or longer- if it comes from our spouse.  And if a casual friend shows a lack of interest in our conversation, we probably think nothing of it. But if our spouse fails to give us undivided attention, look out!
We often ask questions that make our spouse’s hurts worse, such as, “Why is my spouse feeling this way?” “Is my spouse overreacting?” or “Would I feel the same in an identical situation?” when we should be asking, “How could I be more compassionate toward my spouse when he or she is upset, sad, or anxious?” (The One Year Devotions for Couples).
One thing my husband is, is compassionate. Compassionate towards all people, but especially me. What I’ve always admired about him is the way he puts himself in another’s situations before making any kind of judgment. When he and I got married I left behind a lot-my schooling, my job, my family and friends-in order to start our married life in Wyoming. All was left in Oklahoma as I was making the move to Wyoming to begin a brand new life with my husband. Though I couldn’t have asked for more-I was marrying my best friends, the love of my life-it was still a hard move and a huge adjustment. During my most difficult times of adjustments –and I had a few-my husband was always there in a compassionate and sympathetic manner. He put himself in my position and imagined what I must me going through. I know, for a fact, that if he had not shown this kind compassion I wouldn’t have made it as long as I have.
It’s so important to show your spouse you care and understand. That you know their hurt, irritation, sadness, or anxiety isn’t about you, but about them. I encourage you to make a point to show them God’s compassion and love through you.
What can you do today to show true, selfless compassion to your spouse?
Many Blessings,