Monthly Archives: August 2013

Date Night!

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Date Nights have always been the thing that has gotten me through a long week. If I knew there was a date night coming, I could make it through anything. My husband and I have always held date nights to be very important, and they are. Date nights help keep the romance and flirting alive in our relationship. We strive to have at least one official date night a month, where we go out without the kiddos. Now my hubby and I are on a tight budget, but we always find a way (usually an inexpensive, and sometimes free way) to enjoy an evening together kid free.

I wanted to share some of the date nights we have had just to give you an idea of what you can do, even on the tightest of budgets!

Date #1: Drive-In Movie

This one we did a ton when we lived in Kansas because there was a drive-in just a few miles from our house. Drive-In dates are the best and here’s why:

1. You get to see two or three movies, depending on the night of the week and how late you can stay awake, and it only costs $10.00 a car!

2. You have a great excuse to cuddle up, especially if it’s a little cold outside 🙂

3. You can bring in your own food, so we make sandwiches and bring in snacky stuff, this doesn’t cost us anymore money but it’s fun cause it’s like a picnic in the car!

Date #2: Progressive Dinner

There have been a couple of times where we have had the extra money to go out to dinner for our date, but if you just go to one restaurant the date ends a lot quicker, so sometimes we do a progressive dinner. We will start out at one place, where we really like an appetizer, and that’s all we’ll get there. Then we will move on to somewhere else for the main course, and then after a long romantic stroll in a park or downtown we will slip into an ice cream parlor or coffee shop for dessert. I LOVE doing this for our date night. It makes it feel like an adventure, and it lasts forever. Great date night choice for when the babysitter is free, like a grandparent (gotta love ’em)

Date #3: Movie-In

Now there have been months where we just didn’t have the money to go out, but we didn’t want to give-up our special time together, so we have a date night at home. We would put the girls to bed a little earlier, blow up an air mattress and put it in front of the T.V. . We’d pop popcorn, turn off cell phones, and cuddle down together for a good movie, and afterwards we would….ummm…you know….play scrabble!

Date nights don’t have to be expensive, or an over-the top kind of thing. What’s important is that you and your love are scheduling out quality time to spend together, and nothing comes in between it. A good tip for free babysitting: do a trade. Trade nights with some friend; watch their kids for free if they watch yours. Parents are a great help, but can’t be there all the time. Also you can bargain with a teen: I’ll feed you dinner if you watch my kiddos while we go out (works best on hungry college kids).

If you can’t remember the last time you had a date night with your hubby, then I encourage you to try one of these out. It’s an imperative part of a healthy marriage.

God Bless!

Yummy Crepes Recipe

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I was first introduced to crepes when I was on a month long tour of Europe. There was a vendor on the side of the street selling these amazing smelling things that I had never seen before. They looked like huge, thin pancakes. I ordered one and the gentleman filled it with warm Nutella….. oh my goodness. If you have never had a Nutella crepe or jelly filled crepe you are missing out on a yummy goodness!

A couple of years after returning from Europe I met and married my hubby, and his family introduced me to a long loved crepes recipe passed down from his Ranny. We use this very recipe almost every Family Friday, when we have all morning home to enjoy a big yummy breakfast together. So I have decided to pass this easy recipe on to you, and hopefully it will bring a lot of yummy memories for your family as well.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of Flour

1 tablespoon of Sugar

2 cups of Milk

2 Eggs

1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

2 tablespoons Melted Margarine (I melt the butter on the pan I’m going to use and then add it to the batter. This melts the butter and butters the pan.)

Whisk all ingredients together. Scoop out a small amount from bowl and pour into pan. Pan should be on Medium heat. Move pan around in a circular motion until all the batter is spread out into a thin circle. Put on heat and leave till batter has cooked, about a minute or so, then flip and cook an additional 30-45 seconds. Make sure batter is fully cooked, if not then flip again. The first crepe is usually a throw out because it soaks up the extra butter on the pan, but the ones after are good and so yummy to eat. One batch will make around 8 crepes or so. We fill our crepes with jelly and then roll them up. You can put whatever you like in your crepes. Be creative. And if you happen to have some Nutella, then heat a little up and pour that on the inside of your cooked crepe. Yummo!!!!!

Well this post was short and sweet but promises a great breakfast treat this weekend!

Hope you all have a great rest of the week.

Coming Up on Friday: Date Night

Tithing

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Reader’s Question: Every Sunday my husband and I tithe something but it’s not always 10 percent of our check is this bad?”

There are a lot of questions floating around out there for today’s believers on the area of tithing. Questions like the following:

“Is it relevant for today or is it just and Old Testament principle?”

“Do I have to tithe 10%?”

To begin answering these questions we must first take a look at Matthew 6:21; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. When we choose to give God 10% of our income, it shows that our heart doesn’t belong to our money, but rather that we love God more than our money.

A lot of people get caught up on the thought that tithing is mandatory. As if it keeps us in bondage within our relationship with God. But God’s standards were not put in place to keep us in bondage but rather to bless us. There are a lot of standards throughout the bible that God desires for us to follow after. One such standard is to keep sex within the context of marriage. This standard isn’t to make us miserable, but to protect us from all the bad that can come from having sex outside of a life-long commitment to each other that is made through marriage.  Tithing is meant to be a blessing in our lives. It blesses us as we are able to help bless others through our obedience in giving God our first tenth. Again this not about our works saving us (we dealt with that on Friday); we are only saved by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. Tithing is not a salvation issue.

As far as the 10% goes, does the amount matter? The reason I believe God puts a percentage on it is because He is aware of our selfish nature. God wants us to give out of a cheerful heart, but a lot of times we need to just take the steps in giving the full amount asked by God, which is 10% of our first fruits (before taxes). If it is hard at first, this gives God the opportunity to soften our hearts as He shows us the blessings that can come through being obedient in our tithing. It all belongs to Him anyways. My husband and I used to not give the full 10%; we were younger in age and in our spiritual walk with Christ. We found ourselves in some hard financial spots, to the point where we weren’t sure if we could tithe anything at all. Finally, my husband made the decision that regardless of the amount coming in the full 10% of our first fruits would go back to God. It was really hard to put that check in the offering plate at first, but through the first few months of being obedient we witnessed God step in to our finances and do amazing things with them. As we became more aware of the fact that we are stewards and what we have belongs to God, we became more careful as to where we spent our money. There were months our number of what needed to go out ended in the red, but we tithed and somehow we always had enough. Now as we continue to be faithful in our tithing, we are constantly seeing God provide for us in ways we couldn’t imagine. In ways I honestly think wouldn’t be there if we weren’t being obedient in tithing and being good stewards of what God has given us.

To answer the question about whether tithing is just an Old Testament principle or if it can be applied to the New Testament, I have chosen to directly quote Cortni Marrazzo from her article, Is Tithing for the New Testament Believer: (actually a lot of her thoughts line up with mine on the topic of tithing and I used this article as a guide for my post today)

 “Whether the tithe is only for Old Testament or if it is also included in the New Testament is probably the most debated issue.  The scripture most frequently referenced regarding the tithe is indeed in the Old Testament (Malachi 3:10-12), but the tithe is also referenced in the New Testament. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus talks to the Pharisees, condemning them for tithing to the penny but neglecting the more important issues of justice, mercy and faith.  He then goes on to tell them that they should in fact tithe, but that they shouldn’t neglect the more important things. Jesus recognized the importance of keeping the tithe and we should, too.

There are many practices in the Old Testament that don’t make sense to us today, yet many of these ancient ways carry over to the New Testament law of grace as part of Christ’s promise to not abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). For instance we no longer sacrifice animals but as believers we are called to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).  Men no longer are required to be circumcised, but we all have a circumcision of the heart through the Holy Spirit (Rom 2:29).  Most of us don’t have grain and produce to bring to the storehouse, but we do have incomes that we can bring the first tenth of into the church. In other words, just because something is written in the Old Testament doesn’t mean it lacks application to us today in some way or another. While it is true that we are no longer under the old law, that we are under grace, we must not forget the purpose of grace: to help us live for God and do the things He wants us to do. Romans 8:4 tells us that Jesus came that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, not so that we could altogether dismiss it. And Romans 3:21-31 talks about how we have righteousness through faith and not through following the law, but verse 31 adds “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” God’s grace gives us the power and ability to tithe!

I hope this is a good starting point in answering the questions I’ve been asked about tithing. If you have any additional questions, seek God! He will surely direct your steps.

Hope you all have a great week!

The Drinking Dilemma

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Reader’s Question: “On the subject of drinking alcohol, where is the line?”

Is social drinking acceptable for a Christian? This question has been asked, digested, researched, and asked again for years and years. The bible does not address the issue of social drinking specifically, so therefore a lot of Christians have made their own conclusion that as long as they don’t get drunk then it’s okay to have something to drink every now and then…..right?

I have spent some time in prayer and study over how to answer this question properly, because it is a huge decision a lot of young adult Christians are trying to make. Will I allow alcohol in my life in any capacity, or will I fully abstain? And what are the reasons for choosing my answer?

So let’s take a look into this “drinking dilemma”.

First, we need to start by looking at what God’s word has to say on the topic of drinking. Here are just a few of the 75 verses that speak specifically on the issue of alcohol:

Eph. 5:18- “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”

Gal. 5:21- “Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Cor. 6:10- “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Just in these few verses it’s clear that drunkenness is a sin, and God wants us to have no part of it. So what about just having a drink?

I have heard over and over again from my Christian friends that are trying to justify drinking in their life say such things as, “I’m not getting drunk so it’s okay”.

Well let’s break apart this justification and see if it can still stand:

Justification: “I’m not getting drunk so it’s okay”

Drunkenness is a sin that is made clear in the Bible. So what constitutes being drunk? Is drunk when you can’t stand up and walk straight? Is it when you are puking all over yourself because your body is casting out the poison that you have poured into it? Or is it when you first feel that buzzed feeling? According to the DUI billboards, “Buzzed driving is the same as Drunk driving”. So when are we drunk? Since the answer to that question is a gray area, then one may not think or realize they are in the sin of drunkenness. In honesty, when someone is saying “I’m not getting drunk so it’s okay”, they are really saying, “how close can I get to sin without sinning?” As a true Christian, our goal is to not see how close we can get to sin without sinning, but rather to see how close we can get to God.

In Philippians 3, Paul is speaking about not having confidence in our flesh. When you see how close you can get to sin without sinning, you are putting confidence in the flesh and not in God. Just in case you didn’t know, our flesh will always fail us! Don’t be fooled into thinking that in being a casual drinker you are in control. If you must have a drink with dinner, or if you go to the bar, even if it’s only one, does not constitute control. If you do not think alcohol has any control in your life, then give it up completely for six months. For some of you, just the thought of that just made you cringe…alcohol has a controlling factor in your life

The justifications we present for socially or casually drinking do not stand when put them next to the Word of God. The real question we need to be asking ourselves when it comes to drinking is “why”. Why do we want to drink? What do we hope to gain from it? What is our purpose in it? If the answers to those questions do not line up with God, and I don’t see how they can because drinking is just an attempt at filling up a need that only God can fill, so then it’s clear that we need to have no part in drinking. Does this mean we can’t be friendly with those who drink? No. We need to be in friendships with nonbelievers so that we can disciple them to a knowing, accepting and thriving relationship with Christ. But to do that does not mean we have to join in on their sins to connect. Rather, by abstaining from those sins yet still trying to connect will have a much greater impact. Even if it’s not verbalized, people see that you can have such joy and peace in your life and it doesn’t come from emptying a bottle of beer or a glass of wine; it comes from Christ and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Give them something to long for, instead of just making you appear the same as them, but happening to also believe in God.

I encourage you all this week that if you do drink to challenge yourself to take that out of your life. Do a drinking fast. Give this area of your life completely over to God and see what He gives you back in return. if you have further questions about drinking and the bible please feel free to email me those questions or ask them as a comment. Again my email is: godgroceriesgirltalk@gmail.com

God Bless!

Coming up on Monday: Tithing

To Spank or Not to Spank

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Reader’s Question: What are your opinions on spanking?

Spanking; this is an area of child rearing where opinions are usually very strong. I’m stepping into this topic with a precursor: what I am about to write is my opinion; yes it’s being backed by some biblical standing, but don’t get angry if your opinion differs. I would love to hear about the different opinions out there through reading some of your comments, so feel free to comment at the end on what you think about this topic.

So, what is my opinion on spanking? I think spankings are needed, and are biblically based. I grew up in a spankings free household. My mom held the philosophy that many mothers hold; she wanted to be our friend. As much as I love my mom, and I do because she is amazing, I disagree with that philosophy. So Mom if you are reading this, sorry but this probably doesn’t surprise you anyways. J Parents are to be the authority figure over their children; “training them up in the ways they should go, so when they are old they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) It is the young formative years that children develop their view on authority, including both respect and obedience. If the authority training that they are presented with within their home-life is one where the kids rule the roof, then that will transfer over to their view of authority at school and possibly their view on Godly authority as well.

The idea in spanking is not to become this scary dictator of a parent that children are afraid to be around, but rather it’s supposed to, when done correctly, present the parent as the one in charge in a caring and loving manner. Which if boiled down to one word it would clearly be defined as respect.

Now each child is different, and spanking may not be necessary for all of your children. My oldest, Eleanor, has not been spanked all that often. Now she went through a couple of months where she was testing our authority, and yes she received several spankings then, but in general she is a great kid who is very obedient. I do think however that the reason we have such an obedient four year old is because we have reinforced the necessity of obedience in her head. We have this saying around our house that Eleanor can quote off the top of her head, “obey right away without delay”. She knows mommy and daddy are final authority and if she crosses that authority she will be disciplined.

There have been times where she has disobeyed in areas that didn’t seem that important, but we still disciplined, because children need consistency. It does nothing for them if they get disciplined once for something bad, but not the next time. And threatening children with discipline but never following through is only making your situation worse because they now know mom and dad aren’t really going to do anything about it so they will just keep right along in their disobedience.

Now the times we have had to spank Eleanor it has been a very intentional process. We never spank on the spot, no matter how angry or frustrated we may be. Whenever Eleanor does something wrong I, or my husband, bend down to her level let her know what she did wrong and that she has disobeyed and will be disciplined for it. For example, last week at church Eleanor went outside without our permission; this is a big deal in our book. So when I found her, as angry and half scared as I was, I told her what she did wrong and that when we get home she would be disciplined. So now she had the entire car ride to fret over and think about her wrong-doing, while Aaron and I had time to calm down so we didn’t spank out of our anger.

I think this process is very important because it creates a much longer lasting memory of the event for the child verses just spanking on the spot where sometimes the kid isn’t even fully aware of what they did wrong. And it keeps the parent in line as well, so they are not over spanking.

It is a very sad fact that some parents have chosen to take advantage of their authority through different means of abuse, and I understand that there are parents who when they were children were beat and not spanked, so that makes the idea of spanking the children they now have very difficult. So if you disagree with spanking for that reason or even for other reasons, that’s fine. There are many ways to properly discipline without choosing to spank. I just encourage you to choose a form of discipline and then make it consistent.

God has blessed us with our children, and we only have a handful of years with them in our house before they go out on their own. It is our responsibility to teach them, discipline them, train them, prepare them, love them, pray for them, and give them over to God.

I hope you are all having a great week!

Coming up on Friday: The Drinking Dilemma

Sharing Your Faith

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I’m amused at myself right now; usually when I sit down to blog my fingers so easily type out what is stored up in my head, but today, not so much. I find myself sitting here perplexed at where to start. And what’s even more humorous is that the exact topic I’m typing on today is much the same. It’s hard to share our Faith.

When asked why more Christians don’t share their Faith I seem to have found three common reasons: it scares them to death; they don’t know where to start; they aren’t living like a Christian should.

The first and most common reason people don’t share their Faith and talk about their Savior is because it scares them silly. I mean the fastest buzz kill to any conversation is usually brought on when religion is brought up. I know for me, I have had those scared straight moments, usually at the check out of a Walmart, where I feel like I’m supposed to talk to the girl behind the register about God’s love, but all I can muster up is a quick God Bless as I grab my receipt and run out the door. What in the world? I mean Jesus hung on a cross, naked by the way, to save me from my sins and I can barley say God loves you to a cashier who might need to hear that way more than my pride needs to not feel embarrassed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that this is a legit fear, and it effects a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean we just don’t do anything. Here is one way I slowly overcame my fear; I started small. Now I don’t tell this story for bragging rights, I just want to show you that when we are even the smallest bit willing to share our Faith, God can do amazing things. So I was in college and my best friend and I loved to go to this particular Mexican restaurant. I had been pushing myself to share my Faith more but was still uneasy about doing that verbally, so at the end of my meal, and after leaving a good tip (that’s very important), I simply wrote Jeremiah 29:11 and God Loves You on the top of my signed receipt. I left that day and didn’t think anything else of it; until I came back next time and had the same server. He came up to our table as usual, but then all of the sudden became very excited and teary eyed. He said you are the girls who wrote that scripture and that God Loves Me on your receipt. He then went on to tell us that he had fallen away from God, but that night after reading what I wrote, he went home found his bible, found that verse and began reading. He said he read for hours. He rededicated his life to Christ. And then he thanked us. I did nothing to be thanked for, it was my cowardly way of sharing my Faith, but God still used it and in an amazing way! So even if you’re too afraid to share your Faith through a conversation, don’t not share it. Find a way, even a small and seemingly insignificant way; God can do huge things!

The second reason a lot of Christians don’t share their Faith is because they don’t know where to start. In the same way that I didn’t know how to start this blog, we often get tongue tied on what to say. I mean it’s a little awkward for both parties when a random stranger just walks up to you and starts asking personal questions, like do you believe in God. So where do we start? For me, it starts with my attitude. I certainly am not sharing Jesus when I’m speaking rudely to the drive-through kid who took two minutes instead of 30 seconds to make me my fires. However, if I can show God’s love through my attitude by being an uplifting part of someone else’s day, then in a way I’m sharing my Faith. Also, it starts by living out my walk with Christ in a non-hypocritical way. If I’m daily striving to be more like Christ, then that will reflect in my conversations, my attire, my attitude and the way I treat others. And when I see the same cashier the third time, because I’ve purposely gone to the same line so I can establish some kind of relationship, then it becomes a lot easier to say God loves you!

One thing my husband does, which made me very uncomfortable at first, is he asks our waitress or waiter if there is anything we can pray for them when we go to pray over our meal. Yes sometimes we get the quick “No” and then our drinks never get refilled because they are scared to come back in our direction, but then there are times our server has started crying pouring out a lot of pain. And we prayed.

When we take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on the cross, we start to see things differently. There are a lot of people dying and going to hell, but we have the opportunity, through Christ, to bring others with us to Heaven by introducing the love and saving power of Jesus Christ.

I encourage you to put yourself out there this week. In one way or another, show someone, tell someone, or write to someone about the love of God.

Hope you have a blessed day!

Coming up on Wednesday: To Spank or Not to Spank

Divine Hook-Up

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About five years ago I encountered my first “Divine Hook-Up”. I was a young adult lady who had graduated college, was married, knew I believed in God but was still pretty far from His heart. I was at a fork in the road when it came to my walk with God. I was either going to take that next step on the path closer to God, or I was going to begin on a path that would lead me away from my Savior. I had been going to church for years and recently graduated from a Christian University, but I was still asking questions like: “what’s the point in going to church”, and “does it really matter if drinking is a part of my life”? I knew I wanted God to be a part of my life, but I didn’t understand how to go deeper with Him.

Then I met my first “Divine Hook-Up”, or in better words, a mentor. My life-changing mentor came in the form of Deven Wallace. She was the pastor’s wife at the church I had been attending for the past few months. I had been at the altar crying because I didn’t know what to do with the feelings God was giving me and the things He was trying to speak to my heart about that I just didn’t understand. That day she told me that “when I seek God in a secret place I will find Him and He will change me and begin to work through me.” She then went on to explain that a secret place is like a prayer closet, or a specific place where I go daily to seek out God in prayer and reading of the word and listening. But Deven didn’t stop there, after giving me a spiritual life change word of advice; she took me under her wing. I began to go to a women’s meeting where I felt the presence of God stronger than I have ever before. She pushed me to open one of those meetings with a quick word and prayer. I went to a women’s retreat where she continued to pour into me and where my spiritual life to a turn that has catapulted me to where I am today with Christ.

Deven was my first “Divine Hook-Up”. God placed her in my life to mentor me, by exampling to me what it looked like to go deeper in God than I had ever been. Years later, now I am a pastor’s wife of my own but knowing there was even more I needed guiding in. God very specifically aligned my path with that of Karen Yancey. Karen was studying to be a Christian Life-Coach and she asked if she could coach, or mentor in other words, me. I was so excited! Over the next year I met with Karen every other week for an hour. During those meetings Karen would ask me questions and then guide me into finding out my own answers. She led me down the path of realizing what God has called me to do. I look back on that time as priceless. Over those conversations, she poured into me and then allowed myself to discover what God had been putting in my heart over those past few years.

Life is hard. And so many times we find ourselves saying, “I wish I could talk to someone about x, y and z”, or wishing there was someone who could pour into us and help guide us along the way. That is what a mentor does. They align themselves next to a person and help them along the way, all the while encouraging them to grow closer to God.

There are a ton of examples of “Divine Hook-Ups” in the bible. In II Kings 2 you see the mentoring between Elisha and Elijah. In 1 Samuel 3 you see it between Samuel and Eli. In Esther 4:14 you see it between Esther and Mordeci. And then throughout the ministry of Jesus you see it very clear between Jesus and his disciples.

It is so important for each of us to find or create a “Divine Hook-Up” in our lives. We need to seek out someone who is where you want to be spiritually and then ask them to come alongside of you and pour into you. For them to be the person you can ask hard, embarrassing, practical and sometimes silly questions to, but knowing they will answer you in truth and in love from a Godly perspective. Someone you can reveal your biggest dreams and fears to, and they will spend time praying for you over those things. These “hook-ups” are the relationships that can change who we are for the better. They can lead us closer to God and bring us closer to the person we want to be.

I urge you that if you don’t have someone in your life right now that you could call a “divine hook-up” that you seek one out. Pray and ask God to open the door to you finding someone who will align themselves next to you and guide you through these years of young adulthood.

My main purpose in doing this blog is to have an outlet where I can pour into other young adult ladies. That is the area God has called me to. I know my life will be full of “divine hook-ups”. Some will be where others are pouring into me, and others will be where I have the honor to pour into others. My heart is mentoring. I know I’m still young, but I truly believe that as long as a person in one day further in life and one scripture ahead in the bible, then they can mentor the people one step behind them. Isn’t that what God has called us all to do anyways? Jesus said in Mathew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”, being a disciple to someone else is a form of mentoring.

We need to link arms with the people around us. Each person should be holding onto the arm of someone in front of them and behind them. All of us being discipled and all of us discipling someone else. And at the beginning of this linking of arms is Jesus Christ, who is the great disciple. The one we should all be following!

If you need a mentor and don’t know of one in your life currently, I would be honored to fill that role for you. We can either FaceTime once every two weeks or we can connect through email. My email address is godgroceriesgirltalk@gmail.com send me an email and let me know in what way you would like to be personally mentored. It is best to be mentored face to face, but if that is not possible in your life right now, then I am more than willing to come up alongside of you and guide you in the areas I can.

God bless all of you ladies!

Coming up on Monday: Sharing your Faith