Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

I'm not going to lie, most of my favorite meals are made in my crockpot. There's something about leaving your house in the morning for work/errands/a day full of shopping and fun (in my dreams!) and knowing that dinner is waiting for you at home with little to no prep left. Am I right?! :)

One of my most favorite recipes for this time of year is chili, and it's given a new twist in this recipe, adapted from one I found on The Architect & The Artist.

The Perfect Pumpkin Chili


1 bag frozen tri-color pepper mix
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can solid-pack pumpkin
1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin


Place all ingredients (except peppers) in your slow cooker. 

Stir, then cook on low for as few as 4 hours or as many as 8 hours. (The longer your chili simmers, the better it will be!) Add the peppers 30 mins to an hour before serving to help them retain their color and a bit of "crunch."

You can serve this chili over tortilla chips, spaghetti, or corn bread and top with shredded cheese and sour cream. This makes 8-10 servings in our house, and let me tell you, it's even better the second day than it is the first!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Great Songs to Start Your Day Off Right!

I'm not gonna lie... I used to be a MySpace fanatic. There are a LOT of things that I don't miss about MySpace. However, I do miss the cool little music player you could put on your page to bombard your friends with your favorite music every time they viewed your page.

I recently found myself with a little bit of extra iTunes money. (Isn't that just the best?) After much debate about whether to buy myself some new camera apps or some fun new music, the idea of new music won out. I've been listening to the radio for days and searching the internet to find just the right songs with an upbeat tempo and positive lyrics, and I think I finally figured it out!

If you're looking for some new music for your iThingamabob (or if you just want something fun to listen to while you work or clean) here are 10 of my new favorite songs! Click the underlined hyperlinks to check them out on YouTube!

1. Good Morning - Mandisa
2. God's Great Dance Floor - Chris Tomlin
3. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us - Sidewalk Prophets
4. We Are The Free - Matt Redman
5. Make Some Noise - Krystal Meyers
6.  That's How We Roll - Britt Nicole
7. Overcomer - Mandisa
8. Burning in My Soul - Matt Maher
9. Steal My Show - TobyMac
10. Lord, I Need You - Matt Maher

Let's hear it friends - what are YOUR favorite songs for starting the day off right?! Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, September 19, 2014

On Being a Mess

There are some days that I'd rather not admit that my chosen profession is writing. 

After all, I studied writing in college. I teach writing classes. I write homeschool curriculum.

Still, sometimes I forget to write on my blog for weeks in a row. I frequently make spelling mistakes on the board in front of my students. I submit drafts of my books only to find out that I made a bajillion grammar mistakes. 

My life is a lot like that, too. 

I make an awful lot of mistakes. There are some days that my temper is short, my attitude is negative, and I just want to be selfish. I've made more than my fair share of bad decisions.

On those days, I would rather not admit that I am a Christ Follower.

Thankfully, being a Christ Follower doesn't mean that I have to be perfect 100% of the time... Being a Christ Follower means that I am forgiven.

When I make mistakes, when I react too quickly out of my frustrations and anger, and when I make poor decisions... His forgiveness is always there. All I have to do is admit that I need Him and ask his forgiveness and healing. How beautiful is that?

But honestly, friends, that's not the best part. The best part is that God takes those broken and messy places and after he heals them, he uses them for His Glory. 

Romans 8:28 says "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."* I especially love the way that it is written in The Message: "we can be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."

Or, as Lysa TerKeurst states in What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, "a MESS, when touched by the MESSIAH, can become a beautiful MESSAGE."

Can I get an AMEN?!

I am so thankful that God doesn't give up on me. I am so thankful for God's mercy and forgiveness. But most of all, I am so thankful that He doesn't let a single moment of my life go to waste.

Lord, I make so many mistakes! I am so thankful for your amazing forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Thank you for your promise that you will take the broken and messy places in my life, touch them, and turn them around to be used for your glory. Help me to be a shining light for you, even in my messy moments. Amen.

*English Standard Version