Counting Our Blessings

This morning I saw my son staring at the calendar. He turned to look at me and exclaimed, “I can’t believe there’s only ONE day left in the year!”

One Day LEFT in 2014?! Where did the time go?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me 2014 has flown by.
It wasn’t a bad year. It wasn’t a great year, but I have no complaints. I may not have accomplished everything I wanted to, or achieved every goal I set out for the year, but that’s life. Not everything goes according to plan and that’s OK.

I’m thankful for the experiences, both good and bad, that I’ve had this year. It’s like I’ve told my kids, “Life is a learning process; it’s full of tests. If we fail a life test, God is gracious and merciful and gives us other opportunities to pass it.”

I used to dwell more on the negative things in my life,
but I’m getting better at counting my blessings instead.
A few weeks ago, I saw a post on FB with an idea to do just that:

You need a large jar with a lid.
Decorate it as you’d like.
Every time something good happens during the year,
write it down on a slip of paper and put it into the jar.
Then on New Year’s Eve you read all of the good things that happened during the year.
A Jar of Blessings!
Repeat annually.

xCraftyChickx’s Bean with Ham Soup

We don’t have it often, but my family and I enjoy homemade bean soup. In this recipe I used leftover ham from Christmas dinner that was heated in a crockpot in water and apple cider. (Ham was fully cooked; reheated in 6 quart crockpot/slow cooker with half pot of water and about a cup or so of apple cider).

Dawn’s Homemade Bean with Ham Soup
16 servings  235 calories each

xCraftyChickx's Bean with Ham Soup

xCraftyChickx’s Bean with Ham Soup

1 (2 lb. bag) dried northern beans
leftover ham (estimated 2 lbs of meat), with bone(s) AND juice it was cooked in
5 med (or 3 large or 1 XTRA large carrot), diced8 small russet potatoes (3″ potatoes), diced small
1 large onion, chopped
12+/- cups water
sea salt & pepper to taste (ham will give salty flavor too so don’t use a lot)

Soak beans as directed (fast soak or overnight).

Rinse beans.

Add beans to large stockpot (6 qt).
Add juice from ham and add water up to 2/3 full; add ham bone(s). Add salt and pepper.Cook on HIGH heat to boiling; boil for 30-45 minutes then add potatoes & carrots. Add water until it’s about 1 1/2″ from top of stock pot (it will cook down).
Reduce heat to med-high (cook between a simmer and rolling boil).
Add onions and cook for 45 minutes or until beans are soft.
Add ham during the last 15 or 20 minutes of cooking.

Holiday Weight Maintenance

Between October and December many people find it difficult to maintain &/or lose weight, however, it IS possible.
If you think about it, there really is no difference in HOW it’s done. It’s still all about what you eat, how much, and exercising.
PORTION CONTROL & SELF-CONTROL are most of the problem.
How many people do you know who binge and over eat during holiday festivities?
I for one am guilty of doing it in past years, BUT…
this year I am challenging myself to have more self-control so that THIS doesn’t happen:

Photo was shared by a friend of mine on FB

Also, remember to drink plenty of water.
HINT: Water can HELP with weight loss.
Drink a glass (or two) of water before sitting down to dinner.

May you and yours have Happy and Safe holiday celebrations!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Happy Birthday JESUS!!

Mrs Grinch

Ahh, December… Christmas…
It’s supposed to be the most JOYFUL time of the year, right?

Almost every year it seems I struggle with the joyful part. Last year I didn’t so much, but here I am again this year trying to be cheerful.

My beloved was laid off in the summer of 2009.
He did odd jobs off and on for 5 years. Some weren’t worth the money and some he wasn’t paid what he was owed.
He was hired this past May, but got laid off in October; temporarily this time until the company starts a new project contract.
So we have had our struggles. And it hurts me deeply that we haven’t been able afford to get the kids at least some of the things they would like.

Yes, I know that Christmas isn’t about material things. Christmas is, or should be, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That is where our JOY should come from.
I guess, in all honesty, my focus has been in the wrong place. Instead of focusing on Jesus, my attention is on my circumstance.

Forgive me Lord, for forgetting my focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I ask that You would help me look past my circumstance and to look to You always. Amen.