Monday, July 7, 2014

(GIVEAWAY) Meaningful Entertaining...Made Simple

Many of us love decorating, cooking, making crafty things...if not all of these, then we at least enjoy one of these things! I know I love all of these things. I love having people over to my home, as well. It has become part of my life and a definite part of my heart to open my home to anyone and everyone that needs a place to be. Just BE.

I love hospitality. I believe I was made for it. But more than that, I desire to really love people the way the Jesus loves us. I want people to feel loved and at peace in my home. I pray that I can help women be able to open their homes, without worrying about perfection. Just being hospitable to their families, friends, neighbors, coworkers. I pray that through the use of these products, women can feel confident in their ability to entertain, to serve, and enjoy having people enter their homes. To love your neighbor as yourself.

Mary & Martha is my new company and they make products that give women the confidence to have people in their homes without the worry and fuss of "Is everything perfect??" "Do I have it all right?""Is everything in its place?", etc. I love these products, the message and purpose behind them, and the beauty they create when added to your home.

I am currently reading The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to be Beautiful by Myquillin Smith "The Nester" and it is so great at covering the topic of having your home be a place of ministry, a retreat space for you and your family, but also for your neighbors, friends, coworkers, etc. I actually found Mary & Martha through The Nester's blog and emailed a lady in the Atlanta area about being a consultant and 4 days later, I was signing up to sell the products myself! It has been 2 weeks and I am loving it!

The Engineer and I have been praying about what I should do during my "free" time right now. I am not going back to teaching the fall, but will stay home and "hopefully" have a foster child in our home soon. So, in all the praying, I knew I would want to stay close to home but also help to contribute financially to our household. And that same week was when I read about Mary & Martha! God knows what we need, exactly when we need it!

So, I am telling all of you about this because it matters to me. It matters to me that you would want to have people in your home. It matters to me that you wouldn't shy away from inviting people in. It matters to me that your home become a place of rest, peace and love for your family. It matters to me because I believe Jesus wants us to have that--no matter the size of our home, the amount of "stuff" we have, etc. He wants us to invite people in, share life with them, share Him with them, and love people right where they are. Jesus, himself, got to experience this in the home of Mary and Martha many times, the Bible tells us. He taught them, and He received hospitality from them. I love that.

I would love to help you. I would love to help you feel comfortable with having people come into your home! Visit my website, check out our products, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below with your favorite product! You will be entered to win this fabulous item: Mary & Martha's Medium Nested Market Basket! (This is one of my favorite pieces and a $46 value!!!)

If you would like to know more about the company, Mary & Martha, or would like to host your own gathering and earn FREE products, please contact me and me know! I would love to help you feel great about having people in your home! It is easier than ever to start your own business, as well! Business kits are being offered at 50% off right now through the end of this week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On the menu tonight: Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta

I have been saving a few recipes, creating new ones and trying to live a healthier lifestyle this year. Well, since February. I have been on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Plan and it is definitely working for me! I could see myself living and eating this way forever! Here is a link to a few of their Featured Recipes!

Most of the recipes from now on will be healthier, trimmer, and made with a lot less sugar or carbs! The wonderful part of this plan is I never feel deprived, hungry or like I am missing out on things. I love eating this way and I especially love the way I feel! And just reading the testimonies every day online are so encouraging and keep me going! I am not just in this to lose weight (I have lost 24 lbs as of today! Slow and steady, but it's working!) but I am in this to be healthy! I am so thankful to have more energy and overall feel really great! My hormones are more in balance and my skin is clear!

I am also able to take recipes that I love, make a few tweaks and it works for THM! Here's what I am making tonight! This is an S meal if you're following THM. That means, it is a meal with low carbs (less than 6 grams digestible carbs) and high fat and protein.

Pasta is full of carbohydrates...and I love it soo much! But, there is a brand called Dreamfields out there that makes a low carb pasta that is amazing! I have never been able to tell a difference in the way it tastes! So, I used Dreamfields for this recipe. You can find it in the regular pasta aisle, in a black box.

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta, S

1 lb package Dreamfields pasta, cooked (Rigatoni, Fusili, or Elbows)
4-5 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint container grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups broccoli (steamed or blanched)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Red Pepper flakes, optional

Fry sausage in Olive oil until brown over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Throw in half of the grape tomatoes and let them cook down (4-5 minutes). Throw in second half grape tomatoes and all of broccoli. Add 1 tbsp Olive Oil, or more if you'd like, and toss everything around for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss sausage mixture with cooked pasta and add cheese! Enjoy this yummy dish without any guilt :)

*Variation: add more green veggies like zucchini or spinach to the dish!

Here is my Pinterest board of Trim Healthy Mama recipes! Hope this helps some of you!
Follow April's board Trim Healthy Mama on Pinterest.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fostering Children

Everything about being a foster parent terrifies me and excites me, and both of those emotions assure me that this is what God has for us right now.

If you have followed me on Facebook at all, you know that The Engineer and I have been through the Foster Parent training classes for the state of Georgia. We completed them in March 2014. It has been a long process, but hoping to be approved at some point this summer to be official foster parents.

We always talked about fostering. We want our home to be open to anyone, everyone, all the people, anytime. But, I think we thought we would foster later in life, you know, after we had a few children biologically. Since that has taken longer than planned (Ha! Our plans! God is so much bigger than our plans!), we thought we would adopt. And you all know that story, and if you don't, well it's here and here. And then we started reading more about fostering, like this book by Dr. John DeGarmo. We said YES to fostering in January of this year. We obviously have no idea what we are doing!

So, we are continuing to read, pray, figure out what we are supposed to do, and wait. We wait because the system is slow, overworked, underpaid, and exhausted. We wait because that is what our life is like right now....a lot of waiting. But it is often in the waiting that we come to know God more, what He is truly like, and how He is working on our behalf even if it does not feel like it. We are trusting that He will build our family the way He wants it to be. We are hoping that we receive children and will be able to adopt them, eventually. We understand the system a little more than we did 4 months ago and made some new friends. And we know that in the end, if children come into our home even for a day that they were meant to be here and meant to be in our lives.

We know God is opening our hearts to receive many children who have never known love or safety and that we will get to provide that for them. We are beyond hopeful that they would come to know Jesus by being in our home. But overall, we just want them to know they are cared for, loved and safe. Even if they go back home or to another relative or foster family, we will love them no matter what the circumstance or outcome. That is what we are called to do. That is what we will do. Because of His love for us, we are able to love. And we will give away His love as much as we can. No matter what.

So, this Mother's Day, even though I do not have children, I know God is making a way. Even when it hurts beyond hurt that I am not a mother just yet, I am trusting in His promises and His plan. I will be a mom one of these days. I am thankful for the 16 children I have been able to teach this year and the place in my heart that they are in. I have been where God needed/wanted me to be this year and I am so thankful. He placed me in a good school with children and families that are amazing, supportive and loving.

He has a plan for ALL THE THINGS and I am thankful.

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