Tag: Jesus

Easter Redemption

A beautiful sunset from my backyard, and a message God has put on my heart.

You may have noticed (or not, and that’s okay) that I have been gone for awhile. Almost a year and a half, now.

Peter Cottontail Cloud

It wasn’t planned, but it was filled with purpose, intentional change, health issues, ups and downs, and a big adjustment to life. With my chronic illness (migraines) and corresponding anxiety and depression, it’s been a rough year, health wise. I’ve felt defeated. I’ve felt a deep darkness and sadness, a mourning for a life without pain. A mourning for the Mom and Wife, Daughter, and Friend I should be.  While I’ve suffered from all of these things for many many years, it had reached a peak. A really awful peak. Sure, it ebbs and flows (not so much the chronic pain, which is most always present), but, I am starting to see the up. Praying it so.  I’ve seen some real darkness in my life. A place where I am not even sure how I got there. Or how I’d climb and claw my way out. I’ve questioned God’s presence in my life, because how can I suffer so much and have Him still love me and have this as His plan for me? I’ve questioned my own existence. How can I be made for this Earth, this life, with such heavy burdens, both physical and mental. It’s taken its tolls on all aspects of my life. Anxiety and depression (along with my ever-present body pain) are monsters, but ones I’m both familiar and comfortable with, as they are my constant companions. I both hate them and respect them, as they are a part of me. Will we be lifelong friends? Maybe. Probably. But I am changing things. This is my year. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a good first three months, but we’ve still got time. Getting control of my “things” and my many hangups is priority. Changing up medications, expectations, and healthy living have been monumental these last few months. I’ve started yoga, daily workouts (save for those awful migraine-filled mornings), gluten free diet, less dairy, no cheese (it’s a trigger, among many others), and a more positive outlook, and it’s been so helpful. Do I allow myself to feel when I’m sad or upset? YES. Shoving down my hurt only hurts me more. And more deeply. Some days, I may not be ready to tap into my hurt, but when I am, I am here for myself. SELF CARE. Caring for myself. Not in a selfish way, but in a necessary way. I want to be the best me I can be for my boys, family, friends, students, co-workers, and this Earth. Because I AM FOR THIS EARTH, temporarily at least. Despite my questioning of my God, He’s never left my side. He’s been faithful, although I haven’t. He’s there. He’s here. I am His, and He is mine. This is especially poignant to me this Easter weekend. The greatest love story ever told. I am redeemed in Him. I will rise. I will rise. As Christ was raised to life. Now in Him, I live. I might not rise today, or tomorrow, but I’m getting there.

And I’m quite thankful for those who have supported me on this sometimes ugly journey. It has not been pretty or packaged up in a cute little box, as I’d have preferred, but in really messy, torn open, pieces missing, package kind-of-way.

But this is who I am. Perfectly created imperfectly in His image.

Talk about what hurts. That’s been ringing in my ears for some time. I’m ready.

So in all of that, my vision for my blog has changed drastically. I have adopted a more raw, vulnerable way of writing. I have also changed the way I eat, so my recipes will reflect that. More organic, more natural, like I aspire to be in my everyday life. You’ll also see a lot more dairy free (sometimes) and gluten free recipes.

Please keep me company on this new, refreshed, redeemed journey? I’d love to have you along.

I am segueing into food now. Because this is a food blog, afterall. No clever segue, however.

I know that Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday (yesterday). According to some random website on The Interwebs, “The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.” In my typical blogging fashion, I made something Hot Cross Bun-ish a day after Good Friday. Side note, Good Friday is called such because, in my humble opinion, what Jesus did was GOOD. It was a horribly, hard time, but how he died for ME, for YOU, for US, was good. How do I deserve such great love? I don’t. And He loves me still.

So, I made Hot Cross Bun Muffins and Hot Cross Bun Donut Holes. An updated version of the amazing and delicious Hot Cross Bun. Gluten and almost dairy free.

So, please tuck this recipe away for next year. Or when you need a reminder of God’s overwhelming, incredible love, or of how far you’ve come in your journey, all while eating a treat. 😀

Big love and blessings,

Kristin

www.twloha.com

 

Print Recipe
Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun Muffins and Donut Holes
These muffins and donut holes are gluten free and mimic the flavors of a traditional Hot Cross Bun. These can be made dairy free with DF butter.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18+ minutes
Servings
12 muffins, 12 donut holes
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18+ minutes
Servings
12 muffins, 12 donut holes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease the bottoms and tops of your silicone donut hole baking pan and put cupcake liners in your muffin tin. Cream butter, oil, and sugars in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and continue beating. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, raisins, and chocolate chips and mix well. Add the flour and milk, alternating, and end with the flour. Spoon into silicone mold, filling only the bottoms. Fill the muffin tins. Bake for 17 minutes. Remove the donut holes. Bake the muffins for an additional 7 minutes. To add the "cross", I mixed together powdered sugar, LorAnn Oils Butter Vanilla Bakery Emulsion, vanilla, and coconut milk, until I reached the desired consistency. You can use orange juice and powdered sugar. Or just vanilla. Get creative! I then spooned it into a ziploc bag and piped the cross on the "buns". Enjoy!
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Christmas Wreath Themed School Lunches

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For tomorrow’s lunches for my boys, I went with a Christmas wreath theme. In many churches, the Christmas wreath, circling five candles, is used as a way to celebrate the Advent season, which counts down the four Sundays in December leading up to Christmas (which is the symbolized by the fifth candle). This season is so important to many families as we gather together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to rejoice in His glory! I know my boys might just see a wreath (with red hots!)…at least I HOPE they can see that it’s a wreath HA!…but, it was fun for me to connect it to the precious and everlasting love of Jesus.

Back to those red hots…

I used food safe spray and markers to add color, and red hots as holly berries on the wreath. There’s PB&J inside. HA! I also packed Triscuits, yogurt raisins, mandarin orange (Bigs), red grapes, and a slice of spice cake with some fun sprinkles for dessert.

In His love,

Kristin

Sailboat Themed Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

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To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Change is so hard. Not for everyone. Some people thrive in change; reach their full potential in it. Not me. I have to force myself to stretch, to grow, to change. And it’s hard. It’s so uncomfortable. It makes me so ridiculously nervous, giving my anxiety a chance to reach its full potential! But, it’s good for me. Growth is good. Necessary. To reach our port, we must set sail.

Even though it’s important that I grow and change, it’s so very comforting to me to know that Jesus does not change. He is the same today as He was yesterday, and will be the same tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).

My precious boys don’t even know the reason I chose these sweet little sailboats for their lunches, but they will enjoy them! I made sailboat shaped PB&J (Smalls) and sunbutter and jam (Bigs) sandwiches. I added details with my new favorite food-safe pens. I also packed baby goldfish crackers, red grapes, a teeny mandarin orange (Bigs), cantaloupe (Smalls), and chocolate crinkle cookies.

Blessings!

Kristin

Star of Wonder, Star of Night…

O, Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

The birth of Jesus is an incredible story. To ponder what Mary (and Joseph!) was thinking when she was told by an angel that she would be with child and that her son would be called Emmanuel and be the King of Kings, is just overwhelming. She must have felt such fear, only to be comforted by the fact that her son would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And then to travel, heavily pregnant, and give birth in a stable – with only the peace from God to comfort her. Such courage. And that baby, that precious baby, who took his first breath, surrounded by animals and his two loving parents – that baby would would change the course of the world, as it was known, and forevermore. Mary and Joseph must have felt such pride, holding this wonderful gift from God. I can only relate on a worldly level, being a Mother myself. I cannot even imagine knowing that my child would have such an important destiny in His life.

I just love reading the story of Jesus’ birth. I love imagining Him as a sweet baby, an energetic child, a dedicated teen, a leader, a teacher, a Savior, all the while knowing His own purpose on this Earth.

I LOVE celebrating Jesus’ birth this Season. He is my Father, my Wonderful Counselor, my Mighty God, my Everlasting Father, my Prince of Peace. He is our reason for this season. CHRISTmas.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7

In thinking of how the Stars over Bethlehem showed the Wise Men their way to greet the new born King, I was inspired to make a Star lunch for my Bigs.

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I made a gold star shaped PB&J (I used gold food-safe spray and used my yellow Food Writer to outline it). I packed goldfish crackers, yogurt raisins, red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds (dessert), grapes, apple slices, seasoned corn, and a cranberry oatmeal bar.

Blessings,

Kristin

Christmas Bible Study

Religious Manger

It’s so easy to get caught up in the baking, shopping, wrapping and unwrapping of gifts this time of year. But if we take a minute to really think about why this is all even happening, it changes things. Matthew 1:18 tells us of how the birth of Jesus came to be. It explains that Mary, a young woman, was pledged to be married to Joseph. She was found to be with child and since they had not been together, Joseph decided to discreetly send her away (because he was a righteous man). An angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid of this and that the child born to them would be from the Holy Spirit and would save everyone from their sins. Joseph faithfully followed through with what God put on him.

Baby Boy Jesus

Mothers – can you imagine how Mary felt through all of this? A young virgin, given the task of carrying the Savior, the man who would wash away the world’s sins for the rest of time. Although scared, Mary was also faithful to God’s will. He sent angels with comforting words and guided her and Joseph to the place where Jesus would be born.

Linus Speech

Mary, heavy with child, rode on a donkey to Bethlehem. Can you feel how deep her ‘burden’ was? She gave birth to Jesus in a stable, surrounded by animals and her Joseph, a far cry from how most births happen now.

Away in a manger

What a humble beginning for the baby who grew into the man who would go through such pain for us.

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, how He came into this world, how He has saved us. I am eternally grateful for what that couple went through on that night in Bethlehem. I am so grateful to know Jesus in my heart. He has changed my life.

Christmas begins with Christ

And all we have to do to be saved is to ask Jesus to live in our hearts and to live by His word. We can be free in Him. He can heal your pain, heal your heart.

Mighty God

If you want to know Jesus in your heart and are not sure how to start this, you can say a simple prayer with me. Or you can use your own words.

Dear Jesus,

I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.

Amen.

Salvation Prayer from:

http://christianity.about.com/od/prayersforspecificneeds/a/salvationprayer.htm

   Santa Bowing to JesusIn Christ,

Kristin

Thanksgiving Bible Study & Pot Pie

Thanksgiving Day1

I’m a thinker. I over analyze. I put too much emphasis on small things. I get very nostalgic and more self-aware around holidays. So, for me, personally, really deeply thinking about what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving comes as no surprise. I just want to make sure that I remember these things I am thankful for throughout the whole year…not just when we are faced with the holiday or a hard time.

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The Bible has a lot to say about being thankful and I’d like to delve into some verses. I need constant guidance in my faith journey and am hoping the study of some verses will help. Nothing better than learning from the source! Join me? I am in, no way, a teacher or in an authoritative position for this. I am simply a Christian wanting and needing to deepen my relationship with Christ.

thanksgiving bible quotes

It’s so hard to remember to thank God for things during tough times. It’s hard to see the “bigger picture” and know that those challenges are truly a piece of God’s plan for us. We question, “Why?” and “Why me?”, but easily forget to continue praising Him for the work He is doing behind the scenes.

Happy-Thanksgiving-website

C.S. Lewis wrote, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” I think this applies to more than just our worldly “fortune”.

The Bible says, in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” It’s easy to ask God for help during the hard times, but what’s not so easy is to also thank Him during those times as well. This is one of my go-to Bible verses because it touches on the topic of anxiety, of which I know very well. But I need to also focus more on the topic of thanks when presenting my prayer requests to God.

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So. Praying WITH Thanksgiving. Andrew Murray, a South African missionary and minister wrote, “Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.” Boy, isn’t that the truth?

What I am getting from this is that, no matter the circumstances, no matter the hardships, no matter how easy it is to forget, I need to be thankful in all that I do. Thankful for what I have. Thankful for what I don’t have, for surely there is some reason for that. A small story: My oldest son, Bigs, shows his thankfulness in a way that can certainly teach me a thing or two. I told him a long time ago, when we saw and heard an ambulance rushing past us, that we should pray for those who are in need of the help and also thank God for our own safety. Years later, and yes, it was years ago that I told this to him, when he hears an ambulance, he comes running to me (or says to me, if in the car), “Mom! We need to pray for the ‘helf people’ [help people – that’s his word for anything with a siren]!” and he proceeds to thank God for keeping us safe. That is just a small act of giving thanks coming from a three and a half year old. But it’s not so small. It’s pretty big and I give God the glory for his empathetic heart, where the love of Jesus is evident.

Let me make an aside: my kids are no where near perfect in behavior or attitude and I am quite the opposite of perfect, so sweet stories of my children are not to come off in a way that I think my kids are perfection (which, in the Mommy sense, of COURSE they are perfection; they are fearfully and wonderfully made and hand crafted just for me to love). I hope you understand what I mean.

Thankfulness

God also tells us, in more than on verse, to show our thanks with praise and song! I adore hearing my Bigs sing his church songs with such gusto! “God our Father, God our Father, once again, once again, thank you for our blessings, thank you our blessings, Amen, Amen – yaaaay God!”

“Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.” – Psalm 147:7

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – Psalm 106:1

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4

I’m going to end on a note of dinner. Good note to end on!

Last night, I made a dinner to be thankful for! I mean, I am thankful for any dinner that makes it onto the table not burnt or smoking. I made a chicken pot pie from scratch, using a pre-made pie crust. Well, then, I suppose that isn’t entirely homemade, but that’s a minor detail. I have no time for making a pie crust from scratch if it isn’t being stocked to the brim with some kind of chocolate, fruity or nutty filling.

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I browned onions and celery in some olive oil with some salt and pepper. At the same time, I boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets in chicken stock. I cubed the chicken once it was cooked through. Once the celery and onion mixed were cooked, I made a quick roux out of 1 T of butter and 2 T of flour. Once the flour “flavor” was cooked out, I added chicken stock and a little bit of half & half. Once that gravy thickened up, I added the cubed chicken, celery and onions, and a bunch of frozen veggies (corn, carrots, green beans and peas). I then put it on top of the bottom crust, added the top crust and cut out a steam vent in the shape of a turkey. I baked it. It was delicious. Everyone ate it, except for Smalls, who is in a phase (short-lived, I hope) where he eats almost nothing. But if he were into eating, he’d have loved it too!

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Have a very blessed, very thank-FILLED day,

Kristin

Thanksgiving End