Saturday, September 15, 2012

Que The Nutmeg {Weekend Inspiration}

Good morning beautiful friends!

I wanted to share a little weekend inspiration with you.

Que the nutmeg!

The first day of Autumn is September 22 and I can hardly wait for the start of my favorite season!

I wanted to share a favorite fall recipe with you again. I know there are at least a hundred different pumpkin muffin recipes floating around the blog world.  I share this one here every year, given to me years ago by a dear friend. My family never gets tired of these wonderful pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

Kellie's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 and 2/3 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
mix all of the above into one bowl
2 large eggs
1 cup of Libby's plain pumpkin
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
mix this part in another bowl
Then combine both bowls together and spoon into a muffin pan
Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Makes one dozen of the most delicious muffins you have ever tasted!

It is also time to start cooking my favorite family meal!

Your entire home will smell like you have been transformed into a gourmet cook and everyone you make this for will beg you for the recipe.

Chicken Marbella {From the Silver Palate Cookbook}

I serve this with cous cous and crispy french bread. It is divine. (I also use chicken breasts or tenders)

Servings: Serves 10 or more
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 head garlic , peeled and finely puréed
1/4 cup dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 chickens (2 1/2 pounds each), quartered
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or fresh cilantro , finely chopped
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. 

Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

Note: To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, reheat it in the juices, then allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.

I also wanted to share one of my favorite christian artists, Chris McClarney.

Chris is a brilliant, gifted artist by every definition. Every song on his album is amazing, but lately, I have clung to the words in this song- Defender.

I also think it's time to create a station on Pandora entitled Autumn in New York.

It does not disappoint!

Turn up the volume and get to cooking this weekend!

I wanted to thank Kim from Three Peanuts for sharing her wisdom and expertise on Blog Talk Radio this week. She did an incredible job and I am so proud of her for taking a leap of faith with me!
Kim is also about to launch her new website entitled The Nurtured Home.

 You can like her page on Facebook here.

If you missed the show you can listen here:

Listen to internet radio with The Pearl on Blog Talk Radio

Also, Kim will be joining us again, this coming Monday night as she shares her expertise in the area of parenting.  I am so looking forward to it! The show is every Monday night at 9:00 central time and I would love to have you join us! Thank you to all of you for your encouragement, prayers and support. It has meant so much to me!

I also wanted to share about a wonderful blogger I recently found.

Her name is Beka Watts and she is an absolute doll! Her passion is football!


She teaches women how to understand the game!

She has an online class that is called Football 101- A girls guide to the game.

You can also follow Beka on twitter here.

Hope your weekend is filled with family, faith, wonderful food, inspiring music and a little football!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

On Falling Short

Maybe you've uttered the same words too. Cried them. Shouted them from the roof tops even.

Those few words that can feel like defeat staring you right in the face.

What a mess.

When everything seems to be all tangled up in a this is overwhelming-I can't fix this kind of way.

Difficult things happen.

Bad things happen.

Unfortunate circumstances are not always the result of disobedience, as some Christians believe.

I try to remind myself and others, when they are feeling defeated and walking through a "what a mess" situation and wondering what they have done wrong-if anything... of a beautiful chapter in scripture.

The book of Job.

Job was blameless. Blameless. He was all kinds of amazing in the sight of the Father.

But have you read the book of Job?

He did nothing wrong. The Father allowed circumstances. And plenty of them.

He uses situations and obstacles to shape and grow and mold us into becoming more like Him.

And then there are the times when quite simply...we just fall short.

Over and over again . Each and every one of us will fall short.

We all fall short of the glory...

He set it up like that. So we would need Him.

I fall short every, single day. My family will tell you.

And although I am learning and growing and doing my best to become more like Him,

I am thankful for the shortcomings.

And it is not because I want to live a life of mediocrity.

I want to live a life completely surrendered and dependent upon Him.

My shortcomings keep me close to Him. 

I am thankful that I don't have to be the perfect mother and the perfect wife.

That I don't need to shine up the gold medal award for good housekeeping for everyone to see.

I'm thankful that I don't feel the need to impress anyone and that the Father stripped me of all pretense years ago.

I'm thankful that when I lose my patience some days and my children have lost theirs, we recognize it, forgive, love and start again.

We begin again.

I'm thankful that I no longer feel the need to display my splendor any more.  

I want Him to display His.

Less of me and more of Him.

And in allowing more of Him...He teaches me how to love myself more, even when I fall short.

Looking back and thinking about days where I did life with less of Him...

I have fallen short in the category of relationships more times than I can count.

I have never been the daughter or daughter -n-law or sister or sister-n-law of any one's dreams.

I've had expectations in those relationships that no one could meet, coupled with mountains of hurt and years of unforgiveness.

I fell short. Again and again and again. Years of falling short.

I've recognized this in recent years and I am so thankful that even in spite of it all - in spite of the mess.

The One who knows and who is well able to make all things work together for the good of those who love Him can redeem and renew and restore and help us forgive ourselves...

He is faithful.

He makes Himself available. He longs to pour out His love, mercy, goodness and grace.

He can take our pride and arrogance and shortcomings and lack of patience and mistakes and in offering it up to Him with a heart of repentance and humility- He can use it.

To teach us. Grow us. Change us. Mold us into becoming more like Him if we allow the process.

And out of the process He gifts us with a deep well to draw from within.

A deep well filled with Him and the gifts of His sweet spirit and the ability to do life out of a place that overflows with becoming more like Him and loving ourselves more- in spite of it all.

Love yourself more today beautiful friends....

Source for photo

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Intentional Marriage ~ Radio Show

There are very few things in life that are better for a blogger than when a blog friend turns into a real life friend. So much is true with my very special friend Kim from Three Peanuts. 

For years I have read Kim's heart as she has openly shared about her faith and her life as a mother of three beautiful children and wife to incredible Dave. I have so admired the way in which she loves her family, her gift for creating a beautiful Christ centered home, as well as her amazing photography!

I recently invited my beautiful friend to join me on a couple of upcoming segments for Blog Talk Radio and was humbled that she would partner with me.

Kim practices as a marriage, parenting, relationship and life coach in Houston, Texas. She is also in the midst of launching her new marriage and parenting website entitled The Nurtured Home- where she will offer her expertise and passion on the topics of marriage, family and parenting.

Here is a little about Kim's background...

Kim Swales earned an M.A and a Ph.D in Marriage and Family Communication by the age of 25 and became an assistant professor at the University of Houston.  Her focus in research and teaching has been gender differences, family communication and marital maintenance throughout the life cycle.  However, she has also taught public speaking and business communication.

Kim’s research has been published in professional journals and books and she has presented her research all over the United States.  Specifically, her research on communication between men and women has won a prestigious national award.

In the community, Kim has started a support group for families going through divorce.  She also counsels engaged couples in her church and speaks at various churches, synagogues and schools on parenting and marriage.

When Kim started her family, she took some time off from teaching but she has remained professionally active in other ways. Currently, Kim sees clients privately for marriage and parenting coaching.  She is also in the process of launching a parenting and marriage website.

I feel incredibly blessed to have Kim joining us tonight for a segment on Marriage. She is an absolute wealth of wisdom and expertise. One of the things she shared with me about her heart behind her career is that it is a passion that was developed out of something painful that she walked through as a child. Kim is passionate about helping families as well as individuals in their relationships.

Tonight we will discuss how to move from autopilot to a place of being intentional, as well as search out the hope and encouragement in God's word on the subject.

She will also be joining us next Monday as well, for a segment on Motherhood and Parenting!

Kim will be answering questions tonight and responding to comments at the bottom of the show page.

You can follow the Facebook page for The Nurtured Home here and Follow Kim on Twitter here.

We ask you for your prayers tonight as we give the Father space to minister to hearts and offer encouragement and hope to many marriages.

So appreciate your support and many prayers beautiful friends...thank you.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank You


You all are a bunch of amazing encouragers and I cannot tell you how much your reaching out has meant to me this week...

Thank you beautiful friends.

Many times I have started to share a piece or two. And thought to myself....
Don't be a burden. Don't talk about the negative. Don't share the attacks. That doesn't help anyone.
Doesn't glorify God in the least. It won't help anyone out of their mess. People have their own stuff. Their own heartaches. They do not need anything else to pray about or anyone else to pray for.

So I have remained radio silent about it all- for years.

And so I would ask the Father for something encouraging to write and share with you all instead.

Doing my best to shine a light on my difficulties through the sharing of His beautiful words.

Or I have just not posted anything at all.

Many times over the years, I have written an email in response to one of yours and prayed and asked the Father to give me encouraging words and scriptures to share with you all....

But to see that returned and to see my inbox filled with encouragement and scripture and beautiful comments and thoughtfulness, well..... it brought me to my knees.

You all blessed me in the most beautiful ways....

I have spent the week in overwhelming gratitude because of your kindness toward our family.

And I cannot thank you enough.

I thought by holding everything in and keeping everything close to my chest, I was doing what was best. But I can see now, that there is a community full of beautiful, amazing, incredible women who want to stand in the gap for one another during times of trial. Who want to help. Who want to do something. Who want to pray. Who want to reach out. Who just want to be a blessing.

I never dreamed it. Can we talk about how amazing you all are?

What a gift.

I know that you all have jobs and families and housework and soccer practice and bible studies and need to shower for heavens' sake!  I cannot believe the ways in which you have extended yourselves. Thank you.....

I also wanted to thank you all for your support and your prayers for the new radio segment that is about to start it's third week this coming Monday night.

This was a huge leap of faith for me and something I questioned the Father about- especially during such a difficult time for me personally.

But God is close to the broken hearted. 

He can have His way the best when we are fully relented and clinging to Him.

I see that now more than ever.

Here is the link if you would like to listen to it.  Charity did an amazing job and I am so thankful that she was willing to share her pieces and allow the Father to speak through her like this!

I am so looking forward to next Monday night with another very special guest blogger!

Thank you again for being such wonderful friends to me this words big enough tonight.

Listen to internet radio with The Pearl on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Finding Strength

I have shared less and less here about our life as a family over the last year.

I love to write and want to write what He prompts me to share.

I enjoy writing about the children and whatever life lessons I have discovered as a mother and wife too.

But this last year has been-for the lack of better words....

Ayouhavegottobekiddingme- type of year.

I know that many of you may be sitting there with your hand up saying this- Oh yes, me too.

I hear you.

The last three years have been that way for us, but this last year has just tried to literally, take us out as a family. Before we could recover from one thing- three more things would happen.

We knew that a lot of this was warfare because of The Pearl Event. Because we had decided as a family to say "yes" to Him. Whatever that was. Whatever that looked like. There is a price to pay for that. It doesn't come without a cost. 

Still. It didn't make it any easier.

We all have seasons in life that threaten to overtake us.

God is still good. He still has a purpose and a plan. And He promises us that He will use everything in our life for our good and His glory.

I believe that. I believe Him. I do.

I have wanted to write about it ...

Writing is healing for me. Writing breathes life to my soul. But I chose not to share while I was walking through it all. Many, many times I just did not even know how to put words around it. 

I have also wanted to write about it from a place of having overcome it all. I long to share pieces of it out of a place that would bring hope and encouragement to someone else. Out of a place that would speak life and bring glory to God. Out of a place that would maybe help point someone to the Father during their time of suffering.

But I haven't overcome it all. We are still walking through so much right now.

So I have posted less and less here because of that.

In saying all of that I will share this- we have been grieving as a family, as a couple and as individuals.

Layers upon layers of grief and sorrow.

I have learned that grief isn't just something that comes with the tragic loss of a child or a spouse or a loved one.

Grief is the result of any loss.

And the last three years for our family have been marked by loss.

With the exception of our priceless gift in baby Preston.....thank you God for our precious son.

We have done our best to manage loss and grief and sorrow by the truckloads and hold babies and love babies and do our best to be the parents they need in the midst of it all.  Many days we have failed miserably and failed in a lot of areas.

Many days have been spent with hands covering our faces and fighting back tears and searching out God's word for answers and wisdom or just spent weeping over the the sorrow of it all.

Many days over the last year especially, have been spent just trying to figure out what to do next. How to manage. How to get through. How to help the children. How to love them the best through all of this. How to move forward. On and on and on.

It has unraveled us.

We have tried to cling to one another and to the Father the best that we know how.

We cannot compare pain or loss. It all hurts just the same.

And you do your best to believe God, trust and move forward without trying to minimize or dismiss anything- but just to try and process it and grieve and ask for His guidance.

I have struggled a lot over the last year because of the testimony I already have. I have felt to add anything else- just seemed like too much for one person or one family...

But His ways are not our ways....

At church on Sunday, our incredible Pastor asked those to stand who have been walking through and carrying overwhelming burdens.

We stood.

He began to pray and make declarations over all of the families standing- there were many.

He fought for each one of us like a Father would war for his own children-

He fought for each one of us through prayer.

We wept.

We were grateful.

We were thankful.

We stood for a long time during the service and prayed that this would mark the end of this difficult season for our family.

We would be grateful for your prayers too....

Please pray for breakthrough for our family. Please pray for courage and strength and provision. Please pray that we would be able to move forward into all that He is asking of us - even in the midst of so much that we do not understand. Please pray that we would have joy and peace while we are waiting for the breakthrough. We have moments of this- but I am praying for a constant stream and that we would be unmoved by circumstances.

We would also be grateful for your prayers for our sweet Bella Grace.

She has experienced a decrease in her vision over the last several years and just recently we were told that her vision has decreased by another 70 percent just in the last year.

She is in contacts now and we will be putting her in a hard contact lens to wear at night in hopes of stabilizing her vision.

God is good. We are trusting Him on a new level. We are grateful for each day with our children. We are grateful for it all and we thank you for your beautiful prayers sweet friends...

Thank you....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Beauty and Worth

On occasion in life we are blessed to meet a heart who lives and breathes the beauty and goodness of the Father. Please allow me to introduce that very person in my own life, my blog friend turned real life friend Charity from The Heartfelt Home.

Charity is a prayer warrior. She is authentic and genuine and true. She is a woman of her word. She is beautiful in both inner and outer beauty. Her spirit soars. She is a gifted and blessed wife and mother of two. She is an amazing homeschooler. She also leads the social media ministry for her church and teaches a bible study to young girls as well.

Cha-Cha recently wrote a powerful post titled "Am I Beautiful?" 

I loved her transparent heart and how honestly she shared about this subject and thought it would be a great conversation to break down together on an upcoming Blog Talk Radio Show.

It seems we've all struggled in this area at one time or another.

I was so thankful she agreed to my little invitation and we are already praying for the Father to move however He would like to during this time, as well as for anyone who will be listening.

We are planning on sharing some scriptures about what the Father has to say about beauty and worth, as well as a few personal experiences and what may have helped us along the way.

I also have another wonderful book to share that was instrumental for me in this area!

The time has been changed from 10:00 to 9:00 central time! We are hoping to move the time slot up to 8:00 eventually. Also, that 30 minute segment flew by last week, so we are taking a leap of faith and expanding the time slot to 1 hour.

Here is the link if you would like to join us Monday night:

I wanted to thank all of you who prayed for this new thing the Lord is doing. It was a risk and I'm running empty on courage now, but I loved that time with all of you. Thank you so very much for your prayers and encouragement! It looked like we had 44 live listeners, and then 73 archived listens. I could not believe it! God is so good. You girls are a bunch of night owls!

So we will try again tomorrow night with our very special guest and lots of space for the Father to have His way. I ask you for your prayers again and we would love to have you join us!

Thank you beautiful friends....