chocolates

Junk Food of Life

It’s everywhere you look. On TV, in the newspaper, throughout the aisles of the grocery store, by the checkout register. Colorful packages beckon you to reach out and take them home. We love it. We sometimes think we need it. Oh baby, we gotta have it.

Such is the junk food of life. Cookies, chips, soda, candy, anything deep-fried and covered in chocolate. Now that’s tasty right there. Talk about instant gratification.

For the general American population, we tend to take a things for granted. We can have a bag of Cheetos and 32 oz ThirstBuster of Coke in our hands before you can say “$2.53, please.” We can get a full meal in our hands via drive-thru in about 4 minutes or less. And we can eat pretty much whatever we want.

Junk Food Still Life

The junk food of life… It’s everywhere.
Source: Flickr/awrose

Now, I am a huge proponent of all things in moderation. Sure, my husband and I are limiting ourselves to eating only 7 foods for 30 days, but you can bet your ketchup bottle that I will be grabbing me a Diet Dr. Pepper and something that involves cheese when that time expires.

Yes, snarfing down that entire package of Oreos or slamming that Mountain Dew like you just came out of the desert sure tastes good– and it makes us feel good.

For a little while.

Until our stomach starts to hurt. And we start feeling guilty about our choices.

Here’s the thing with stuffing ourselves with junk food… it doesn’t leave room for the “good stuff.” Yeah, you know, the meat/dairy/veggie/fruit/bread kinda stuff that your Mom always told you to eat (or else.) Something about “Young lady, put the cookies away before you ruin your supper!” (Sigh. Why do Moms ALWAYS have to be right?)

This concept isn’t just true for actual “food” that we eat. It is also true for the junk food of our life. If Jesus is the bread of life, then what are the Skittles?

The junk food of life comes in many forms… too much TV, Facebook, thinking about what “might have been,” worrying about tomorrow,  focusing on material possessions… the list goes on. If we are consuming these areas of “junk food,” then we probably won’t have much of an appetite for Jesus.

It says in Matthew 5:6  (MSG) “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” Working up a good appetite for God starts with not stuffing ourselves with the “junk” around us.

What areas of your life do you consider “junk food?” Are they in moderation or out of control? How do you think you can work up an appetite for God? I am excited for your feedback– please leave a comment below 🙂

Today I challenge all of us to take a good look at our “shopping list” and “menu” when it comes to our junk food vs. good food Jesus ratio. If it is a little off-balance and we find yourself full of the “junk food,” let’s take a moment to bow our heads and ask God to clean out our pantry or fridge of the junk food in our life. He is the Main Course that will ALWAYS fill us up and satisfy our appetite.

Hungry but satisfied,
SGK

“God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you!  I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.” –Psalm 63:1 (MSG)  

Categories: chocolates, Christ, food, God, health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

25 Reasons Why Moms Rock

“But Moooooooommmmmmmmmm…”

“Mom, you just don’t understand.” 

“Whatever, Mom.” 

Aaahhh, the sweet, sweet sounds of my childhood. (My teenage years were kind of brutal. Just ask my parents. Apparently, I had something called an “attitude.” Pshaw. Whatever 😉 )

Fortunately, I am well on the other side of my teen years and my beloved Mama and I no longer butt heads. (At least not like we used to.) In fact, she is my best friend. It’s amazing what a little personal maturity can do for a gal. (Talking about you, Mama. Just kidding…)

Love my Mamas. ❤

Just in case you didn’t get the memo, yesterday was Mother’s Day. (If you didn’t call, text, or acknowledge your Mom, I will allow a brief blog intermission for you to panic and subsequently rectify the situation.)

Are we good? Ok, great. So yeah, yesterday was Mother’s Day. And for the first time in my adult history (at least I think?), I actually had a chance to celebrate Mother’s Day WITH my Mama. Yes, folks, she is spending a few days in Georgia with me. This is a big deal… because I haven’t seen her since Christmas, and this is her first time in Georgia since we moved here over a year ago.

We’ve had a great time. Scratch that. It’s been incredible. I love that woman.  In the days I have spent with her (and the days leading up to her arrival) I couldn’t help but think about why my mom (and moms in general) simply rock. They are just so awesome.

Thus, in honor of Mother’s Day, I have compiled 25 Reasons Why Moms Rock. (Feel free to forward this to your Mom in case you forgot to acknowledge her awesomeness yesterday.) Let’s praise Jesus for the gift of our Mamas! Drumroll please…

25 Reasons Why Moms Rock

  1. They love you unconditionally.
  2. Moms always know what to say.
  3. They know what NOT to say.
  4. Their hugs are unbeatable.
  5. They ALWAYS have that one recipe that you need… memorized.
  6. Moms laugh at your jokes… whether you are funny or not.
  7. They give great advice.
  8. When angry, their voice can be projected and heard up to 3.64 miles away.
  9. They are great nurses when you are sick.
  10. They are so good at drying tears.
  11. Moms always have the cool band-aids on hand.
  12. There is always something good to eat in their fridge.
  13. You can sit together in silence with your Mom and it’s not awkward.
  14. Their eyes have the sweetest little laugh-induced wrinkles.
  15. Moms are the ultimate cheerleaders.
  16. They are supreme holiday tradition-setters.
  17. The things they taught you in your youth stick with you… forever.
  18. They don’t get stuck on “biological requirements” to be a Mom.
  19. They are Moms to every child under 17 in the neighborhood. (See #18.)
  20. They are resourceful.
  21. Their remedy of “eat some chocolate and get a hot bath” will fix almost anything.
  22. The Mother of the Bride/Grooms are ALWAYS the prettiest people at weddings. (Bride excluded)
  23. They pray for you. A LOT.
  24. You can always call them. Anytime.
  25. They were HAND HEART-PICKED by God.

Why does YOUR Mom rock? Please feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment HERE. 

To all the Mama’s out there (My Mama CJ and Mother-in-Love Lex specifically) THANK YOU for being such great role models and influences on our lives. You are truly a gift from God, and I pray that your legacy lives on for generations.

Thanking The Father for our Mamas,
SGK

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” –Proverbs 31:28-29 

Categories: adoption, baby, blessing, cheerleader, childhood, chocolates, Christ, Love, parents, patience | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Removal of the Worrywart

I’ve always been something of a worrywart.

Yep, I was that kid in middle and high school that would always bring “extra” books to class “just in case.” I was terrified that my world would crumble to pieces should I forget to bring my ruler to math class.

For most of my life, I have lived in a bubbles of “what ifs.” As I have gotten older and my relationship with Christ has grown so much deeper, those constant worries have diminished.

Sort of. Honestly, I still have a long way to go.

Our pastor Keith challenged us last week to consider either giving up or taking up something for lent. I had been thinking about it, but couldn’t come up with anything that spoke to my heart.

Chocolate? Naw… while it is something I enjoy, it really isn’t something that I am addicted to or is in the way of my relationship with Christ. Caffeine? Also, not super important to me, since I drink less than one caffeinated beverage per day. TV? Already cut my cable. Social media doesn’t consume my life and is more of a marketing platform for ministry, so that wouldn’t work either.

As I sat in our Ash Wednesday CRAVE prayer service last week, I asked God what He wanted me to do for the next 40 days (which would hopefully carry over into my entire life.) This is what He said:

“Give up your worries. Trust Me. Depend on Me.”

Great. This was going to be more difficult than caffeine, chocolate, and Facebook combined.

I continued to meditate… I knew that me “giving up” being a worrywart wasn’t as easy as me resolving to quit it. I needed something tangible… something to remind me how to remove this “wart” in my life…

So right after CRAVE, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a cross. For the last 6 days, I have literally being laying my fears at the foot of the cross. Afterwards, I write down the “Faith Factors” of God amazing attributes and put them in a jar to remind myself that God’s power easily outnumbers my fears.

Now, I have never had a wart before, so I have never had to have one removed. Rumor has it that it can be temporarily painful. But if you leave it there, sometimes warts can be pretty unsightly, which is exactly the case with my ugly worrywart on my heart. Not only is my worrying a blemish, but it is a sin about doubting God’s goodness, plans, faithfulness and love.

So yes, removing this “worrywart” on my heart has already been a challenge… But I can already feel myself healing and growing stronger into a new, refreshed, more Jesus-trusting person.  I am honestly excited for the entire duration of lent because at the end of this process, I am plan to literally “burn off” this wart by taking a match to my worrywart papers. (And honestly, who doesn’t like a little pyromaniac action?)

I’m so thankful that I can go to THE Professional Healer for removal of my worrywart.

Fear to faith at the foot of the Cross,

SGK

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27

Categories: chocolates, fear, God, lent, worry | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Change and Chocolate Mousse

I’ve always heard that change is inevitable… except from a vending machine. Ain’t that the truth? (Yes, I said ain’t. I’m being grammatically lazy today.)

Change IS going to happen in all parts of life: family, weather, jobs, circumstances, finances, our age… everything. If it is such a common occurence, why do we fear it so much?

I know people personally that will go out of their way avoiding change, even tiny changes that involve finagling schedules or trying a new restaurant. That must be exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong. I love stability and consistency. I sometimes struggle with the ever-changing “plans” of the army, our future, our life. But I love the adventure of experiencing something new!

The other day, a friend here at Fort Benning emailed me a new recipe… It sounded extremely bizarre, and even my adventurous “I will taste anything once” self was a bit skeptical.

The recipe was for avocado chocolate mousse.

Say what??

That’s right. Avocado chocolate mousse. I like avocados. I LOVE chocolate. But together?  As a a female, I thrive on opportunities to eat seemingly fancy foods that are easy to prepare and relatively healthy.

So I decided to try it. I was going over to a friend’s house for Valentine’s Day since my husband is away doing army stuff and her hubby was working. Instead of eating an entire bag of Dove Chocolate to satisfy my V-Day semi-solo self, I thought I would give this avocado chocolate mousse a try.

It took a whopping 4 minutes to prepare. I made a “half batch” of the following recipe.

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup agave nectar (I used honey) 
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cup open avocados and scoop out the insides. Combine with other ingredients and blend until smooth.

And guess what? Even though I was apprehensive, it was AWESOME. For real. It is super rich, so the half batch essentially made four generous servings. We paired it with strawberries and blueberries. You would have thought we were eating a $30 dessert on some fancy island somewhere.

Strawberries, blueberries and yes, AVOCADO chocolate mousse. Best. Dessert. Ever.

Here’s the kicker… I wouldn’t have known what I was missing if I didn’t take that chance to change things up a bit. What was the worst that could happen? So it could have tasted like poo and I would have thrown it out… Big whoop. (Not that I am a proponent of wasting food. I try to be a good steward.)

As I was indulging in this decadent and healthy dessert, I couldn’t help but thing about all the changes that God puts into our lives for a reason. Like the mousse, the “idea” might make us wrinkle are noses and immediately take on an attitude of skepticism. God, you want me to do WHAT? Why? When? NOW?!? 

Is God calling you to change something in your life today? Perhaps change a habit? Turn away from sin? Be more courageous in sharing your faith? Start small. Submit to Him and embrace the change. Make your own version of avocado chocolate mousse, even if the ingredients He gives you don’t really seem to fit perfectly together. Trust our Master Chef. Be  obedient and take a step of faith to answer His call of change… If you do, He might just reward us with an experience that is smoother, richer and more incredible than that avocado chocolate mousse.

Satisfied by His Recipe for my life,

SGK

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” –Romans 12:2 (MSG) 

Categories: change, changes, chocolates, food, God | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lesson of Love

It was the day of the year I dreaded the most.

No algebra exam or P.E. class mile run could rival the distaste I felt. My stomach would be in knots, my heart heavy, my head swimming.

It was Valentine’s Day in high school. (DUM, DUM, DUM…)

Just typing that sentence made me wrinkle my nose a little bit. But before you think I am gonna be sippin’ on some Valentine’s Day Hatorade (get it? Hater? Gatorade?)  let me explain my perspective.

See, I never dated anyone in high school. Actually, I never dated anyone until the last 40 days of college. And that cool dude became my husband. I sure don’t regret the way things worked out… but Valentine’s Day in high school still kinda sucked for us singles.

The morning would start out ok. But as the day wore on… things went downhill. At the end of the hallway was the school admin office. With huge clear glass windows. It was unavoidable to notice the changes of that stinkin’ countertop’s contents with each passing class.

It would start slowly. Maybe with one rose in a vase. Then a few teddy bears were added to the mix. Some balloons showed up, followed by the influx of flowers that would make wedding flowers seem pathetic. By the time that final bell rang at 3:10pm, the office was overflowing with candy, trinkets, floral arrangements… and the giddy girls who received them.

(Sidenote: Flowers are ridiculously expensive. I am not sure where these high school boys were working and/or getting their allowance from, but I sure would have appreciated a job application to rake in that kind of dough when I was 16.)

Obviously, I was never on the receiving end of those extravagant gifts. As I stomped to my car, past the groups of clucking flower/balloon/chalky heart recipients, thoughts swirled through my head, ranging from “poor, poor, pitiful me” to “I bet if I catch that heifer off guard, I could grab her box of chocolates and make a break for it.”

Fortunately, my Mama raised me with self-control and I never did anything too irrational during my brief moments of pity, jealousy and annoyance.

AND…  I am super happy to report that I really don’t feel the same way about Valentine’s Day anymore. Not because I have a husband, but because I am really not too attached to “dates” and “holidays” on the calendar. (Honestly, my husband is the Anti-Valentine’s Dayer… he thinks it’s some commercialized made up holiday. Spoken like a true man, right?)

My semi-indifference to Valentine’s Day is an acquired army wife skill. Today marks the third Valentine’s Day that my beloved and I aren’t together. And honestly… I’m ok with it. Due to his career in the army, we’ve missed varying numbers of Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, birthdays, etc. (Fortunately, he was present at our wedding. Whew.)

I don’t need flowers, chocolates, balloons or teddy bears from him. If I want flowers, I buy some cheap ones for myself. I don’t need chocolate… period. (Minus the stash in the top of my pantry.) Balloons are a little inconvenient, and who needs a teddy bear when you have an adorable Baby Dog? (Plus, I have a “date” tonight with one of my good girl friends and her kids… Complete with a recipe for chocolate avocado mousse. I will report back on that one after we see how it turns out.)

All I need for Valentine’s Day… well, any day for that matter… is my ultimate bridegroom… Jesus.

This goes for all us– single, dating, married, together or separated by duty. Christ is the ultimate romancer. His love is everlasting and eternal. He woos us, sweeping us off our feet! Jesus didn’t give us chalky candy hearts or an expensive bouquet of flowers… He gave us HIS LIFE.

So for everyone out there that is celebrating Valentine’s Day today, I go for it. That’s awesome. Romance rocks. But regardless of your relationship status, remember the most important love relationship…

Our relationship with Jesus… He loves us unconditionally, always keeps His promises, and gave up His Life for us.

Yep. That’s the ultimate lesson of love.

Sharing the Love,

SGK

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” — John 3:16 (MSG) 

Valentine's Day 2012 Calendar

Source Here

Categories: army, chocolates, Christ, heart, Love, romance, roses | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Taste the Rainbow

At 2:58pm yesterday, I returned home from one of the most awesome, intense, transformational, profound, exhausting, replenishing, breathtaking experiences of my entire life.

For about 48 hours from Friday afternoon to Sunday, I was hanging with the Holy Spirit and about 60 other women at Christ Community Church’s Women’s Retreat 2011. The theme was “Come Away…” And away we certainly went.

God showed up in a huge way, especially for me. I could literally write a book (ok, well at least a 20 page report) about the profound revelations and transformation that God revealed in my heart this weekend. But today, I would like to share with you how God allowed me to “Taste the Rainbow.”

Can you see Him? Look closely.

He was there!

We arrived on Friday afternoon and in typical conference fashion, were scrambling around ironing out last-minute details (I was on the planning team.) As registration was winding down, Pam (the preacher’s wife) gasped and said “Hey ya’ll, LOOK.”

Outside the window, over the trees in the distance was a rainbow. Please note that it had not rained on us all day. I took note, thought it was cool and continued to scramble. Little did I know that a revelation was brewing (no, not the FINAL revelation… just A revelation.)

I was set to close out the evening that night in prayer before we dismissed for free time or sleep time or whatever time. As that neared, I prayed that God would give me the words he wanted me to say. Suddenly, the revelation hit me. The rainbow. It is scriptural. As worship was winding down, I grabbed my phone, opened the Bible App YouVersion and searched “Rainbow.” It appears in Genesis and Revelation (beginning and the end.) Specifically in Genesis 9:14-15 it says, “Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.” Hmmm, very interesting. Promises and convenant. Duly noted.

Another verse appeared in Ezekiel 1:28– “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” Also profound. The worship music wound down and it was time to pray in front of these 60 ladies.

I briefly shared with the girls about the rainbow and the Scripture from Ezekiel. We had already experienced a profoundly moving night during the programming, and I mentioned that the rainbow was a physical sign of God’s presence if anyone was doubting that he showed up that night. I began to pray. My heart was pounding and my knees were weak. Not from nerves, but I was pretty sure that the Holy Spirit was so overwhelming I was going to hit the floor (facedown) if he also hadn’t been there to hold me up.

I got done praying and I would love to share with you what I said. But I have NO IDEA. Everyone said it was really legit and moving, but the only thing I remember was saying that God invited us to come away (romantically speaking) and didn’t greet us with roses or chocolates, but with a promise of his love in the sign of the rainbow (please take note: we will come back to this momentarily.)

So yeah, that was awesome. But it doesn’t stop there. God, as usual, was an overachiever and was with us  all weekend in a big way. Long story still long, Hollie spoke the next morning about how God calls us beautiful. He loves us and romances us. Doesn’t get made, doesn’t condemn. He LOVES. Oh how he loves us! Hollie then gave us all personalized, individual love letters FROM God. (He used the hands of some of the women in church to write them, but there was NO DOUBT that they were done well in advance of the conference and were from HIM.)

Well, I took my love letter and went outside under a shade tree for quiet processing time. Good thing I was sitting down, because one of the first sentences of my personal letter said “Some offer ROSES or CHOCOLATES or other earthly trinkets, I have gifts for you– gifts of POWER and TRUTH. Gifts with ETERNAL VALUE and lifelong benefits.” Holy roses and chocolates people!! Needless to say, my love letter also has a few salty teardrop marks.

God was there. But the even better news is that God is HERE too. In my living room. Around your computer screen. In your car. At work. At home. At the gym. AND He love you. SO MUCH. More than any words can say or song convey. HE LOVES YOU!!! He longs to be with you, transform you, speak to you, love on you daily. Let Him. Receive His gifts. Come away with Him, open up your heart and let Him in… If you do, He too will let you TASTE THE RAINBOW!

All for His Glory,

SGK

“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.” –Revelation 10:1

Categories: chocolates, glory, prayer, rainbow, retreat, revelation, roses | Leave a comment

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