Out of Creamer? Try These Coffee Hacks.

CASTLE

Pretty much every time I scroll through my Facebook feed I will see at least one meme about coffee. Here’s a few that I thought were funny…

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In case you didn’t know, coffee is right up there with flour and sugar, an american staple. As a stay at home Mom, coffee is sometimes more than a staple. About once a month, I am convinced that my kids conspire together on how to keep me up all night. I get one down? Another wakes up. I get that one down and two more wake up and so on, all night long! Anyway, it’s on those mornings that coffee becomes more than a staple. It becomes my very best friend. Or “best best friend” as my 4 year old would put it.

So what do you do when you’ve had a rough night and you suddenly realize that you are out of creamer? Do you drink it black? I don’t know about you, but the more tired I am the more I crave a good cuppa. Here are some things I do to spruce up my coffee when I am out of creamer and haven’t had a chance to get to the store (or am avoiding it because, three boys!).

  1. If you happen to have a carton of heavy whipping cream (HWC) laying around, take heart, your coffee is about to get a makeover! I actually prefer HWC to commercial creamers because it can make a regular cup of coffee taste like a latte without all the effort. Just put in a couple teaspoonfuls (doesn’t take much!) or more if you’re feeling naughty, then add some sugar, maybe some spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg and viola! You have a gourmet cup of a joe to help soften the blow of your rough night.

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  2.  No heavy whipping cream? Ees all good. Pour about 1/4 a cup of whole milk (almond milk will work too) into a small jar and heat in the microwave for 15-30 second intervals until it reaches desired temperature (don’t heat to boiling or else the milk will curdle). Pour most (or all) of it into your coffee and then add a wee bit of sugar along with some hot chocolate mix. This recipe tastes similar to a mocha latte. If you want to make it even more decadent, skip the chocolate mix and instead add a few spoonfuls of coco powder to your mug along with a few teaspoons of sugar or stevia. Coco powder is actually rather bitter (but oh so smooth) in it’s natural form so a sweetener of some kind would definitely be wise. Oh! And while you’re at it, add a pinch of salt. Mmm.
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  3. If you don’t have any form of dairy to add to your coffee, all is not lost. Take a hike over to Pinterest and search “bullet proof coffee.” While not my personal favorite, many a Mom has raved about this interesting concoction.
  4. Another great option for when you are out of creamer is to simply head to your local coffee shop. Let someone else do the work for you! My favorite coffee shop is called Side Street Coffee, located in Kaufman, TX. I especially enjoy drinking their coffee because one, it tastes good and two, I know that my purchase will help support local coffee farmers in Honduras. Win-win! Here’s a picture of me and my family at Side Street Coffee:
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  5. Finally, if you’ve had a rough night, remember that while coffee is a great help and blessing from the Lord, it cannot fulfill you or truly prepare you for the day ahead. As with all things created, the Lord wants us to use them and enjoy them, yes, but ultimately the Lord desires us to let those things and experiences drive us to his throne. We were made to worship our creator and find fulfillment therin. Looking to created things for our strength will leave us wanting. So, while you drink your new creation this morning or spend time at your local coffee shop, be intentional and do yourself (and probably your husband and kids) a favor and take the time to talk to the Lord. Ask him for strength, for wisdom. Ask him for whatever it is you need, remembering that he loves you dearly.

    “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” -Matthew 7:11

Blessings!
Grace|Housewife|BoyMom

Keep Your Chin Up

​Hey there Mama. I know you’re exhausted. I am too. I mean come on, it’s 4 am! Who wouldn’t be exhausted?? I don’t know why your little angel won’t sleep but I’m pretty sure mine is working on a poop to rival all other poops. 
With this being the fourth time I have been woken up tonight, I was tempted to focus on and despair over the lack of sleep. Thoughts like “What if I turn into a Mombie?” and “If he doesn’t hurry up and poop his pants I may never sleep again” are fighting for front and center. But thankfully and definitely because of the grace of God, I am not completely overwhelmed by those thoughts or by this difficult night. Another thought has been knocking around in my head. And tonight isn’t the first time God has brought it to mind. It’s something the Lord has been showing and reminding me of over and over, tonight being no exception. It’s simple really…rather than thinking about what I don’t have (i.e. a good night’s sleep), I should meditate on what I do have and then find a way to use it for God’s glory right now.  
Tonight I have an opportunity to pray for others. I have the opportunity to bond with my baby through hardship. And I have the opportunity to encourage other Mama’s that also might be struggling to keep their hearts in the right place at this late hour. 
So, keep your chin up, tired Mama, not just because it’s what we do as Moms but because if your chin is up, then your eyes are too…put those weary eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. 
Blessings! 

Grace 

xooxo

Ladies, Adorn Yourselves

((Operation Write Real Fast: I don’t have much time. My oldest just woke up from his nap. I’ve given him a snack but it’s only a matter of time before he wakes everyone else up!!))

 

KITCHEN

I wanted to share with you some thoughts I had this morning on 1 Peter 3. Verses 3 and 4 say, “Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” There are two things that stood out to me regarding this passage.

 

|Observation Number One|

 

Based on the context before and immediately following these verses, the gentle and quiet spirit spoken of, is clearly referring to wives submitting to and respecting their husbands.

Context-Before (verses 1-2): “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
Context-After (verse 5): “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,”

 

((The baby has woken up but  the pacie has been utilized and I have administered a second snack. Operation -write real fast- is a go. I repeat it is a go!))

 

|Observation Number Two|

 

The act of adorning one’s self with something, whether in this case that be jewelry or a gentle spirit, requires intention and action. We must intentionally choose what we are going to adorn ourselves with and then take action to do so.

 

|Conclusion|

 

It is important that we be intentional in how we relate to and treat our husbands. The Lord desires us to respect and submit to their leadership—surprisingly, even if it is not godly leadership (as we see in verses 1 and 2)! So how do we give them respect and submit to their leadership (even if we don’t agree with their leadership)? By intentionally preparing and adorning our hearts for the day to come. By taking the time to pursue a quiet and gentle spirit.

One of the practical ways we can do that is by recognizing and confronting worldly beliefs that may have crept into our hearts.  i.e. sometimes I find myself having the attitude that women are superior and more competent—and thus I start acting as if I am the leader of our family, rather than my husband. These perspectives very much affect our daily interactions and will affect how well I am able to honor him.  So, if I take time in the morning (or at some point in the day) to examine my spiritual “face” as it were, I will recognize that this belief is opposed to scripture and can then apply the cleansing touch of God’s word. Facial cleanser are not bad! But as we ready ourselves for the day ahead, it is always going to be more valuable to pursue the heart by applying spiritual adornment. Why? Because our inner beauty affects our actions and attitude thus having great impact on others but our outward beauty usually only has great impact on how we feel about ourselves.

So, as you stand in front of the mirror tomorrow morning, maybe putting on some lip stick or blush, take the time to look into the mirror of your soul and adorn yourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. Your heart matters. It is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks and your heart is what the Lord sees when he looks at you. 1 Samuel 16:7 says,

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Our hearts and the words and actions that flow out of that wellspring have incredible power…the power to give life or death, to bind or rescue. Our words can tear down our husband, undermining his leadership or they can be a great encouragement and catalyst in his own spiritual wellbeing and thus his leadership as head of the home.

One more thing…I want to remind you (and myself!!) that marriage is a picture of the gospel. The husband and wife each have very specific and separate roles to fill and when we try to avoid those roles or take over the other’s role it not only hurts the marital relationship but also mars the picture of the gospel that marriage was created to exemplify. So as you take the time to examine and  beautify your hearts, remember that ultimately it is for the glory of God and that you are taking part in the big picture of redemption that began and is being perfected in Christ!

 

((Okay so this was NOT the short pithy post I had planned and my kids are all DEFINITELY  awake now, but I hope and pray that the Lord will use it for good in your life and marriage. I know that this passage today has been very convicting to me and I am looking forward to better preparing for my days and interactions with my husband. ))

 

Blessings!
Grace|HouseWife|BoyMom

This is Life Right Now

And then there were five. In a week it will have been two months since the birth of our newest addition.

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If you don’t know me, you are probably wondering if the wee one is another boy or if he is a girl. Oh you caught that, huh? Yep, he is a boy! 😉 If you ever want to talk about boogers, wrestling, or how to get pee off of your bathroom floor I am your gal! It’s officially official, I am a boy Mom.  #TestosteroneEverywhere #Outnumbered 🙂

The transition from two to three has been interesting to say the least. On some days, it doesn’t feel very different or difficult. The baby sleeps like a dream, my older two eat halfway organic (Organic plastic ware counts, man!), and nobody beats up anybody. Sometimes I even have a couple of those days in a row. In fact, I might start feeling like Super Mom…but…those feelings are usually short lived. Eventually somebody decides it would be fun to make edible paint (not the kind you would find on pinterest. Noo, we’re talking halfway organic paint, i.e. plates thrown on floor and chewed up lunch smeared across the table kind of paint), turn the living room into a toy store (dump), and poop in their underwear in their bed in the middle of the night. Yes sometimes very suddenly, those Super Mom feelings morph into Hulk Smash feelings and I have to start doing some serious praying!

At times, amid the chaos or even in the middle of the peaceful moments, I find myself thinking, “Wow, this is life now” and not in a positive way. But really, what I should be saying and what I am trying to actively remember is, “This is life right now” Having three boys that are three years old and under is hard. Wiping sticky remnants of breakfast off the floor while holding a fussing 2 month old in the other arm? Yeah that’s hard. Not being able to calm my baby down because he has a bunch of poop that won’t come out–hard. BUT while this is life right now it won’t be how life is always. I am in a season of life. My children won’t stay little forever or proudly announce to all their friends “That’s my Mom!” These days that I have, that my children have are days that have been given to us by the Lord and rather than be conquered by the chaos that is three boys, I am trying to learn to embrace it and use my time and my life to teach them–and myself God’s truths, to live out and teach the gospel!

When things turn cray cray my initial course of action is to do whatever it takes to put an end to the situation as soon as possible, but sometimes it’s better to slowly work through why we decided to punch brother in the face and take the time to talk about how screaming “I dun lieke ewe” followed by a right hook is in fact a sin, a sin that separates us from God. Sometimes these sticky chaotic moments of life are actually the perfect moments to teach our littles about the Lord. They are opportunities to teach them unconditional love, patience, kindness, and self control to name a few. They are opportunities that we have right now and may not have later.
Life is made up of seasons, and in each season we have a unique opportunity to be faithful with what God has given us. So, rather than telling myself “This is life right now” as a way to mentally escape the madness I am going to remember this truth and use it as a catalyst to be faithful in the time, days, moments, and seasons I’ve been given. Rather than worrying about how much sleep we get or how hard it is to break up a toddler fist fight, we need to remember that this is the day the Lord has made,and rejoice and be glad in it. We must take the opportunity to train our children up in the way they should go because tomorrow might be the start of a new season or tomorrow our children might be at home with the Lord. Either way, rather than trying to keep my head down and just make it through, I am going to pray that the Lord helps me to fix my eyes on Jesus and train my children to do the same. I don’t know what season you are in, but I hope you will too.

Blessings!
Grace – Boymom

L

 

Jesus: A Drink That Matters

Offer Peop

Every week some controversy or “atrocity” goes viral and everyone and their mother has something to say about it. This week’s drama centers around Starbucks and their infamous Christmas cup.

 
Now, I could go into detail about the whole situation, but I have no reason to (and honestly just don’t care). Ultimately, Starbucks isn’t who I want to make an appeal to. Rather, I want to speak to the hearts of my fellow Christians.
 
The bottom line here is: we should not be fighting for something that Jesus would not fight for. We raise high what the Bible raises high and this aint it. It is our culture’s current trend to look for drama, for something to sensationalize. But as Christians, we are called to live quiet peaceable lives (1 Thessalonians 4:11)–lives that are centered around Jesus and the Gospel. Lives that light up our world, not the news feeds.
 
Romans 12:14-21 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
 
Our mission is not to uphold our religious rights or to demand we be treated equally. Jesus actually calls us to lay down everything (our rights, freedoms, preferences, comforts, money, time etc) in service to him and to others.
 
Mark 10:45 “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
 
Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
 
Do not be fooled. Fighting for trivial things such as a particular cup is not fighting for Jesus or the gospel. Yes, you are making a stand and making a stir but while supposedly done in the name of Jesus it is certainly not for Jesus. Getting worked up over something like this generates attention but it points eyes and ears to you, rather than towards God. It sends the message that you are righteous and deserve to be treated as such. But reality is, Jesus is our righteousness, without him we are nothing. And demanding our way is not his way. The Bible doesn’t call you to raise yourself and your rights high, it calls you to raise Jesus high that all men might be drawn unto him.
 
So, as followers and ambassadors of Christ, let’s focus on our mission. To know God and to make him known. To glorify his name rather than ours. We are called to be the light of the world and raise Jesus high–not some paper cup. In the end, no matter the color of the cup or the words printed on it, a cup is a cup. It can’t save anyone and is nothing special. Sure, you can fill one with water and find that it will sustain your body as you drink it, but in a couple of hours you are going to be thirsty again and at some point in our lives, no matter how many cups we have touched or drank from, we will all experience death. BUT, as Christians, we have drank water from an eternal source, from Jesus himself. We have a hope that goes well beyond Starbucks. So stop being consumed with the affairs of the world and thus offering people a paper cup. Use the life and influence you have been given, use your words and passion to glorify God and offer people a drink that matters. Offer them Jesus. He is the only one that can sustain their soul…
 
John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
 
1 Peter 2:22-25 “[Jesus] committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

 

Laying Down Your Life

Our culture will try and tell you that your biggest accomplishments in life will happen before you get married, before you have kids or in spite of those things. We live in a culture that is very individualistic and self centered. It’s all about what you can do–by yourself–without people dragging you down and definitely without kids getting in the way. Sadly, many Americans activly avoid marriage and children because they have bought into a lie. They believe the lie that their way is better than God’s way. But any other path than the blessed narrow will lead souls headlong into darkness, sorrow, and death.

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

So what is God’s way? God’s way involves the sacrifice of self. The Lord very specifically designed and works through the family unit to bring about his will and to draw people into the light of his son. That is because maraige and children provide a beautiful living breathing picture of the gospel. And friend, there is power in the gospel.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

There is great power and great value within your marriage and within your pursuit of training your children in the way of the Lord. There is a reason God tells us to be homeward in our orientation and that is because when we pursue his model and his way of doing things we are walking in the light, shining light into the darkness, and are pointing people straight to Jesus. What greater accomplishment is there than laying down your life every day for the cause of Christ by joyfully serving your husband and children? By doing so, you are being a real life, up close and personal, living, breathing, representation of the gospel.

Coming Face To Face With Tragedy, Injustice, and Perversion: How Will You Respond?

Tonight I am broken and hurting. Earlier, while scrolling through my Facebook feed I came upon a status talking about a refugee that drowned along with his Mother and Brother while trying to escape Syria. Their Father is the only one that survived. When I clicked on the link to the article I saw a picture of this drowned toddler laying face down, on the shore, in little boy clothes. He looked like Adam (my son) and I literally thought I was going to throw up. Do yourself a favor and don’t look at that picture. But also, do yourself a favor and don’t ignore the reality of this tragedy and don’t ignore the other dark realities of our time. When we come face to face with tragedy, injustice and perversion it demands a response. Our response often determines if we will become a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Here are the three most conman responses I have personally seen:

1. We ignore it and try to distract ourselves from the seriousness, basically sticking our heads in the sand.
2. We think we are above it all. “I could never be capable of such evil.”
3. We look at it through Gospel lenses.

 
Sticking Our Heads In The Sand
We tend to make light of sin. “A white lie never hurt anyone.” But this attitude and belief–it is a lie unto itself! A most dangerous lie. Sin promises a reprieve, to fulfill or to lend happiness, but the pleasure therein is temporary and ultimately enslaving. It never fulfills and only whets the appetite for more of something destructive that can never truly deliver.Do you think that most child molesters thought that they would ever do such a thing the first time they viewed a naked woman on a screen? Most would tell you that they believed themselves to be incapable of such perversion. Many a repeat offender has grieved and felt remorse only to go down that same path again because they initially gave sin that foothold and are looking to their own power to stop. Without Christ, we are powerless to overcome…but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Reality is, sin is no small matter. We are sticking our head in the sand to believe that sin will not take ten thousand times over what we give. Apart from a repentant heart and intervention from God, sin will only always lead souls down a path away from their Maker and thus straight into the pits of darkness and death. If we trivialize it than we are much more likely to end up on the headlines ourselves someday.We were made for more than anything this temporary life has to offer. We must look towards eternity and ultimately to Jesus–the only one that can truly satisfy. He is our hope and only he can truly deliver.

“Jesus said to her,“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” –John 4:13-14

Thinking We Are Above It All
It is easy for us to feel shocked and judgmental upon hearing the news of Josh Dugger and other Christians struggling with sexual sin. Maybe you feel you do not have any areas of sin in your life. Maybe you feel that you could never stoop so low. But scripture is clear: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12) And again, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)” Jesus referred to the Pharisees as “Whitewashed” tombs. (Matthew 23:27)” They looked great on the outside, but inside, the unmistakable stench of death loomed. Don’t look at your own morality and behavior assuming all is well within your soul. We can do things perfectly by the book, all the while our hearts can be black as mold.  We can modify our behavior all day long, living spotless lives but if we are doing this in our own power, the Bible says that these “good works” are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). It is only by the redeeming work of Christ that we stand and it is only by his work that we can continue to grow and walk down his narrow path that leads us unto light and life.

Beating your child, making an Ashley Madison account, or murdering your spouse are things that we would like to think we would never do, but they are all things we are capable of. Most of us would not get there in a day, but sin, allowed to fester and grow will eventually pervert our mind and actions. Do yourself a favor and when you look at the people behind these tragedies and transgressions, know that without the grace of God and saving mercies of Jesus Christ, that they could be you, that they could be me! Repent of your sin as soon as it occurs! And don’t further give sin a foothold by having a lofty view of yourself. Without Christ we are nothing. The only righteousness we can boast in and claim, is the righteousness given to us by Jesus himself. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”  Which brings me to the third response…

Looking Through Gospel Lenses
Instead of ignoring these atrocities, downplaying them, or using them to have more confidence in our own flimsy morality, we would take heed to see them for what they are–the result of sin. We can let them drive us to be a part of the problem or we can let them drive us to the foot of the cross, recognizing that we are nothing without Him. Coming face to face with the darker realities of this world is an opportunity to recognize the true nature of mankind and the true nature of ourselves apart from God.  It is a reminder to take our sin seriously, doing inventory to see if there are any areas wherin we need to repent. We can let it drive us to his throne, to his word, and to a time of prayer. May we never look at the sins of others and find reassurance in our own goodness but instead recognize that we are frail and wholly dependent on the person and saving grace of our Lord Jesus. Both for Salvation and for daily living.