Calling

People say that hindsight is 20/20.  I believe that God calls people to specific places for specific times, and all of us have different callings.  It’s funny how I believe that God is in control but sometimes it’s hard to see in the moment how He’s working.  It is so powerful to look back and reflect on what He’s done.  I could go on and on.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to talk about and easier to write about.

When I was in 6th grade they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, and they published it under our names in the yearbook.  I said ‘Accountant’.  Funny thing is now I am a Certified Public Accountant.  If you asked me in my senior year of college what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would tell you that I had no idea.  4 years of education.   2 majors and a minor, and I didn’t really know but I would tell you that I wasn’t keen on accounting – seemed boring – and I liked my other major, Spanish, so I thought for the time being I’d pursue that.  A partner at the accounting firm that I interned at thought that I’d become a hippie and not pay social security.  Well that never has been true but it took me a couple years to ‘find myself.’  I’ve been in public accounting for 10 years now.

When I left college I went back to New Jersey and was a Spanish teacher for a couple years.  All throughout college I told people that I thought that I needed to marry a guy from New Jersey.  I guess God had placed that on my heart.  As it turns out I met a guy who grew up a couple blocks away from me but we never met until after college.  This guy is now my husband.  For years in college I felt that I wasn’t going to meet my husband there – I was going to meet him in New Jersey – and that’s exactly what happened.

Fast forward a couple years.  All throughout college my dad marveled at western Pennsylvania, where I went to college.  He liked the culture and the affordability.  He was always looking at houses and showing them to me.  Then when my husband was in the military, especially when he was overseas deployed, we would dream together of owning a home in Pittsburgh.  It helped to have something to look forward to.  We wanted to settle down and start a family in a place where we could afford to buy a good sized home.  For about 3 years we dreamed about this and then it became a reality, and for the past 10 years we’ve now lived in Pittsburgh.

You may say to yourself that you don’t have stories like this but I promise you that if you live by faith in the God of the Bible you will, but more importantly you’ll know that He calls you to know Him.  I’ve been playing this song over and over again recently and it keeps hitting me, and I encourage you to play the YouTube version:

“As You Find Me” by Joel Houston, Matt Crocker & Benjamin Hastings © 2018 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7124065

VERSE 1: I’ve been strong And I’ve been broken within a moment I’ve been faithful And I’ve been reckless at every bend I’ve held everything together And watched it shatter I’ve stood tall and I have crumbled In the same breath

VERSE 2: I have wrestled And I have trembled toward surrender Chased my heart adrift And drifted home again Plundered blessing Till I’ve been desperate to find redemption And every time I turn around Lord You’re still there

PRE-CHORUS 1: I was found Before I was lost I was Yours Before I was not Grace to spare For all my mistakes And that part just wrecks me

CHORUS: And I know I don’t deserve this kind of love Somehow this kind of love is who You are It’s a grace I could never add up To be somebody You still want But somehow You love me as You find me

VERSE 3: Who am I To think Your glory needs my praises But if this borrowed breath is Yours Lord Take it all You are faithful and You are gracious And I’m just grateful To think You don’t need a single thing And still You want my heart

PRE-CHORUS 2: I was found Before I was lost I was Yours Before I was not You wear the scars For all my mistakes And that part just wrecks me

TAG: Your love’s too good to leave me here

BRIDGE: If You want my heart I won’t second guess ‘Cause I need Your love More than anything I’m in I’m Yours Your love’s too good to leave me here Your love’s too good to leave me

 

Avocados are Amazing!

This blog post is an ode to the avocado!  If you haven’t gotten addicted yet to avocados – go for it!  It has the nutrients your body needs and is very heart-healthy.  One avocado contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including: 14g of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), 0 mg cholesterol, 12g carbs, 3 g protein, 24% DV Vitamin C and 708 mg potassiumthat’s almost 2x potassium than in a banana!  It is high in fiber – improving digestion.  Avocados are also known for decreasing the risk of depression  and protection against cancer.

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Having a MUFA at each meal is said to help with weight loss and heart-health, just to name a few benefits.  Eating fat slows down the breakdown of carbs, which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable.  Fat is essential for skin health too.

Almost everyday I have an avocado in my morning smoothie, an avocado in my salad for lunch, and guacamole for a snack with pita chips and carrots.  You can say I’m obsessed and I’m proud of it.  It’s really hard to get enough potassium, and many gurus try to sell their powdered drinks so you’ll reach your potassium for the day, but I think eating real foods is the way to go – ahem…the avocado is the way to go!

Avocados can be expensive, so I usually buy the bag rather than individual ones – it’s always cheaper.  If you shy away from how to cut them open, watch a YouTube video or two or just buy an avocado cutter.

KonMari with Kids!

Do you long to declutter? Does it seem impossible with kids? There’s a Facebook group called KonMari with kids that I’ve found to be super helpful – check it out!

Marie Kondo has been popular for a while but recently her popularity has soared with her new Netflix series! Before having baby girl #3, I Kon-Maried my house from top to bottom – mostly between the hours of 2-4am when I couldn’t sleep (all my kids were real active in the womb)! Also – just like Marie Kondo, I’m super into going paperless (I have another webpage devoted to that and my e-pamphlet ). I have a lifestyle of promptly throwing out, shredding or scanning papers – I HARDLY HAVE ANY PAPER IN THE HOUSE. It’s wonderful! I feel like it’s a huge stress reliever.

Anyway yet again we decided to KonMari our kids toys this past weekend. Here’s how we are organizing them:

You can see how each bin is labeled (LOL dolls, Hatchimals, Shopkins, Barbies, etc.). Very few toys live outside these bins and it’s been very helpful to teach the girls to clean up. Still, usually every Christmas or early winter we KonMari our house once again. Maybe we need to take a year off from getting Christmas presents (or something)! Still getting new gifts gives us a chance to share our used ones with someone in need.

Let me know your thoughts on kids and clutter in the comments below!

Kristen

I Have a Dream…

Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr died decades ago, but yesterday our nation again continued to remember him. The national holiday day is on or about his birthday – celebrating his birth – although the holiday didn’t exist nationally until he died. He had a dream not fulfilled in his lifetime, but he had hope and more importantly the Holy Spirit giving him the words to say: “Only light can drive away darkness…”

This year for the first time I read a devotional by one of his daughters, Rev Dr Bernice King: “Cultivating a Heart of Mercy.” I was reminded in this devotional not only of the need for mercy, but that God in His mercy has given us as believers in Jesus the Holy Spirit, and that true mercy is given to others in the power of the Holy Spirit.

year-end musings

Studies show that having more money doesn’t make most people happier. In fact many times it has the opposite effect. Money often times doesn’t provide the safety and happiness that we long for. People and experiences, many things that cannot be acquired with money, are priceless.

With the year-end upon us many people are trying to strategize – last-minute charitable donations, business supply purchases, retirement contributions, etc are in the to-do list.

What if we constantly dwelled on the promise of heaven, for believers in Christ, and longed for it above all else? What would happen if we who have much lived as if we were poor, and gave our money to help others?

Giving shouldn’t be dependent on recognition received or tax write-offs although they sure can boost our feelings of satisfaction – or do they?

As I ponder how to spend the last day of 2018 I pray to be a good steward of the gifts given to me, and to store up treasures in heaven.

Happy New Year,

Kristen

Eating Smart During the Holidays

I recently started using the app MyFitnessPal. Friends of mine for years have been using it and I decided recently that I needed to finally fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes again. Also because I had gestational diabetes twice, and have some insulin intolerance, my doctor considers me to be pre-diabetic. I’d rather handle all of this with food rather than with a pill. My doctor also encouraged me to have a green smoothie every morning to get plant-based protein and other nutrients. Here’s the recipe I use for the green smoothie:

  • 1 banana
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chocolate almond milk
  • 1 small cup almond vanilla yogurt (almond milk)
  • an avocado
  • a handful of broccoli
  • a handful of spinach

To blend I use a Nutribullet.

Many people overeat during the holidays. Since I’ve started tracking things with MyFitnessPal I’ve already lost 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks. More importantly I feel better! It doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge or have sweets but I control things more.

I thought someone out there could use some guidance and encouragement eating-wise during this holiday season!

Take care,

Kristen

Embracing Change

Yesterday we had a National Day of Mourning for George H. W. Bush.  This change brought tears to many, but I would venture to say that it brought joy to celebrate the life of a man who was respected by many.  Pictures like this one below flooded Facebook – celebrating a couple that many remember fondly.

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Do we celebrate life and embrace change?  Or do we often get stuck, afraid of what lies in the future?  The Bushes had a lot of difficult changes in their marriage – one of which was the death of their daughter at age 3 to leukemia.  George W. Bush, his son, spoke at the memorial service of how his father prayed everyday to God Almighty when he dealt with this very difficult, very sad event.  This was a change that no one wanted, but it obviously made George H. W. Bush and his family members into the people that they are.

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On a lighter note, the changing of the seasons is upon us – it’s COLD here in great state of Pennsylvania!  Although it was pleasantly 60+ degrees this past Sunday!  We haven’t had much snow but my daughters love every snow flake that falls.  They dance and spin around in the driveway with the slightest wind and snow that comes down, playing with the leaves and snow dusting.  They LOVE the seasons.

I would say that as much as we try to keep our kids comfortable, they thrive on change.  Starting elementary school…making new friends…visiting a new museum or amusement park…  They are sponges and they are learning and growing.  Let’s not stifle them out of fear or selfishness.  I want to keep my kids the way they are right now – I have a hard time imagining my 4 year-old in kindergarten.  I want to enjoy spending time with my 7 year-old when she comes home from school, rather than setup play dates.  BUT I’m trying to embrace these changes.  I challenge you – and I challenge myself – to embrace change and ENJOY the season we find ourselves in.