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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When God rolls back the curtain.

"God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them."    ~ John Piper

A dear friend sent me a link to this article written by John Piper and it has resonated in my heart ever since.  Through the years as I have grown deeper in God's word,  one of my favorite qualities of God's character is His sovereignty.  Knowing that all things in my life have a purpose….that all things are filtered through his love…this makes the hard things easier to embrace.  Knowing He has allowed it for a purpose. (Romans 8:28-29,  Psalm 66)

I understand this principle and have seen it time and time again in my life and my family.

And this statement above…that He's always doing a ton of stuff when we can only see a few has just hit home with me.  Because He recently rolled back the curtain and let me peek in on what He has been doing in me and Nick's lives.

Y'all remember the little challenge  my girls and I started last April amongst the four of us?

It has been a tremendous journey for me.  Life changing.  It started off as one thing and ended up being another. What I thought was a little jump start to get me to lose weight so that I could look nice for my daughter's wedding ended up becoming a whole new way of life for me.
A life filled with daily exercise, learning to run, and a whole new mind set when it comes to food.

In the midst of that journey, I totally changed the way we eat around here.  The way I cook for me and Nick. We began to eat whole foods.  Fresh fruit and vegetables began to be a staple around here.   Gone were the days of consuming entire bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos and Diet Dr. Peppers, deep frying everything and smothering all my vegetables down in bacon grease and butter.  We began to eat our salads without drowning them in dressing and I discovered coconut oil (we are talking game changer, people).  Our snacks became roasted almonds, sliced carrots, hummus, hard boiled eggs and edamame.  And my favorite of all faves….avocados. They get tossed, chopped and smeared  on everything.  Of course, every now and then I would buy Nick a bag of Doritos or pig skins or something but he too pretty much began to eat just like me.  

So here we are trucking along.  Eating better. Dropping pounds. Nick wasn't even trying to lose weight but hey….if you eat healthier that's what is gonna happen.

And this is where God rolled back the curtain and showed me that what I thought was all about me losing weight on this journey of losing to gain, 
He was doing something far greater.

He was saving Nick's life.

You see, what we didn't know during this time was that Nick had developed diabetes. 
We always knew it might be in his future.  His dad is diabetic and we knew it's hereditary.  And then there is the way Nick loves to cook and loves to eat.  If any of you follow him on Instagram or Facebook, you know how he enjoys his food.  He's my favorite foodie.

Well with Nick's military background he qualifies for medical care from the VA and he went for a routine check up in the beginning of January.  When his blood work came back, his blood sugar was 285!  His a1c was 10.5!  His blood pressure was elevated and his triglycerides were off the charts high. Now with all of this being this high after 8 months of eating healthy, I shutter to think what could have happened had I not started down the road of losing to gain!!  I understand the reality of what can happen from living an unhealthy lifestyle …. Nick is the exact same age that my own dad was when he died from heart disease.  

But of course God knew this all along.  I would even go as far to say this is why He planted this little idea in my mom's heart…to host the contest for us girls.  She may have thought it was to help get us motivated to lose weight but I know God used her to play a pivotal part in the health of her son-in-law's life.

"God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them."

Wow.  Yes He is. And I'm so thankful for that.  

And just so you know…Nick has punched diabetes in the face.
He is down 30 lbs.  His blood sugar has been pretty much normal the last several times we've checked it.  His blood pressure has been great.  We are expecting great results at his next check up with his a1c. He has taken it serious and I am so proud of him.  Since we had already made so many changes in our diet, we only had to tweak how we were eating just a little bit more. So a new diet wasn't a challenge for us.   We actually are having fun in the kitchen together and have even taken it up a notch with creating our own recipes on this journey.  

Who knows?  A cookbook might even come out of all this.  
Perhaps that's something else the Lord is working on behind the curtain too!
That gets me excited!

This is the year we begin what we call "temple maintenance".  We now realize that we spent too many years abusing what the Lord has given us with our bodies and health.  We want to do our part to take care of it starting now. We want to be around to enjoy our grand kids if the Lord wills.
 ….and we have a lot of living still left in us.

It would mean so much to me, if you could lift us up and intercede on our behalf as we learn more about this disease and how to make the best choices for our new way of living.
I appreciate each and every one of you.

Walk in obedience, do the hard things….you never know what God is doing through what you can't see.
Hang in there…sometimes He gives us a peek behind the curtain. But even when He doesn't, we can trust Him.  That's one of the rich benefits of belonging to Him.
He is always at work in our lives.  Always. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Sixth Fix {stitch fix}

A half a dozen.
That's what number Stitch fix I'm on.  Say what?!

It's true.  This last fix makes six months of working with my personal stylist, Catherine. 
Six times I've received that happy little box in the mail filled with pieces of clothing that she has picked out just for me and my style and my body type.  

Six months of trying new things that I probably would have never thought could work on me.  And now I have a foundation of great pieces in my closet to mix and match and build upon plus a few things of just pure solid fun to mix things up a bit.

It's been a fun journey.  You can see the other fixes here.
1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

And now for fix number 6.

First up. This amazing cobalt blue top.
I'm ready for date night!

I love the difference textures and the details of the lace…
and the color!  Love the color.
It looks great tucked in too.

And it looks great for a casual look too.
This was a definite keeper for me!  I can't wait to mix it up with more stuff in my closet.
ps. that amazing ring I'm wearing was made my one of my dear friends.
She has a shop called Florero and you can check it out here.

Next up is this olive green open face cardigan.
Such a great basic sweater that I can throw on with most anything.
(that black and white zig zag top is from a previous fix)

  In fact I've already worn it twice.
Loved it with my jeans…

 And with my "edgy" shirt.  This was from a past fix too. It has thumb holes which I thought I would hate but actually love now!  Especially on cold days like this one from last week.  These pics were taken pre hair color touch up that happened a few days ago,  ;) 

Then there was this top.
It makes me happy.
 It's super duper duper comfortable like and old favorite T-shirt but without all the sloppiness. So I can throw it on with my favorite jeans and Toms and look put together while still feeling like I'm in pjs.  Win win.

And last is this dress.
Catherine, my stylist, has been a little hesitant I think in sending me dresses because I told her from the beginning that I don't wear things that are short. (unless I can wear dark tights with it)  I'm 5'9" so finding dresses that are at the knee are just a tad above is a challenge at times. I also told her in my profile that I don't like to show cleavage which adds another element when finding a dress.  But she has done great job finding stuff that meets all of these requests AND still is my style. This dress is such a great example of that.  I love the retro feel you get when you add a belt.  It's such a basic color that I can change up the dress just with my accessories.
 ….Like changing my belt and shoes to dress it up a notch for a wedding or something.

 The fifth piece in the box was the bracelet you see in the pictures above.  It's not my favorite but I love that she picked out something that matches several of the pieces in this fix and things in past fixes. I'm glad I decided to keep it after seeing it in the pictures.

Well, there you have it.
Stitch fix number 6.
I say it every time but it keeps getting better and better.
For reals.

You can find out all the details here if you're interested in getting your own happy box delivered right to your door.
 Take it from me, it's the bomb diggity.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chinese Buffet Green Beans :: recipe ::

You know those amazing green beans that you can find on most Chinese buffets anywhere you go? The ones that are slightly crunchy yet fully cooked with a light sauce that is out of this world? Well, those are my faves.  I make a bee line straight to the beans every time I go and pile them sky high til they are falling off my plate on the walk back to my table.  

I haven't always loved them so.  In fact, it was my sister-in-law, Joicey Poo, who introduced them to me for the first time many many years ago.  All three of us Holden girl wives went on a little weekend retreat to a women's conference with our mother in law and my mom.  Now, I have always loved Joice from the start but two things made me wonder about her that weekend.  First, she went on this retreat on her way home from her honeymoon!  She hadn't even been home yet and she piled in with us…all the women in her new family she inherited 5 days earlier…and off we went 4 hours away for 2 nights.  And secondly ….when we went out to eat that night for Chinese, out of all the yummy deep fried stuff  covered in amazing sauces she comes back with a plate full of green beans.  Green beans!??  I couldn't imagine?  She chose green beans over sweet and sour chicken?  

Well ironically, years later when I finally tried them myself when I was on a diet and needed to cut back on the fried biscuits dipped in sugar, I discovered what Joicey-Poo has known all along.  Those green beans are the bomb diggity.   I can't get enough of them when I go. (those and the coconut macaroons but lets not talk about those.)  So this started my quest in trying to figure out how to make them at home.  And I'm happy to say that Nick finally figured it out for me and now I'm gonna share this happy news with y'all.

First you got to start off with fresh green beans.  
This is a must if you want them perfectly cooked yet still slightly crunchy.
 I recommend cutting the tips off the beans but you don't have to.
I didn't in these pics but have started doing that the last several times I cooked them.

Now…hold on to your black yoga pants.
Here are the secret ingredients to that light sauce that makes them taste sooo good.
Oyster sauce and honey.

Now don't tune out if you think the word oyster is just disgusting and that any kind of sauce made from it must be from the devil.  I'm telling you, it's good stuff.  It doesn't taste like you're eating oysters. I'm not a huge oyster fan myself but love cooking with this stuff.  It's just a super rich and wonderful flavor that you need to have in your life. We have begun to use in a lot of our dishes. And when you add the honey, the two flavors come together perfectly.

Now I'm not a measurer when I'm cooking. I just do it by taste and looks.  This is why I don't put recipes on here much.  I realize that frustrates some of you.  It does my girls too and that's why they now call their daddy when they want a recipe because he's so good with details.  Me, not so much.

I start with some olive oil. It barely covers the bottom of the pan…like just enough to coat the beans when I toss them around. (sometimes I use a little sesame oil with it but it's not necessary if you don't already have any)  I mince two toes of garlic and throw that in there with the green beans.  I stir them and add salt and a little garlic powder. ( we like garlic) 

After they have cooked for a few minutes and start to lose that raw bean taste. ( you will have to sample a few as you cook), then I drizzle the oyster sauce and honey.    I have no idea how much to tell you.  Drizzle enough that all the beans are covered once you stir them up.  More oyster sauce than  honey.

Now just keep stirring these on med to high heat until the beans are the right texture for you.
Some people like them crispy.  Some like them cooked down a little more. 

Then serve them up while they are nice and hot.

 I can honestly say I've almost eaten my weight in these beans.
Which is better than the Flaming Hot Cheetos that I used to consume in the same matter.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Happy Friday!  I hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What I Wore

Well it's February already. Like most people, I started off this new year deciding I'd set some goals for myself. Weekly and monthly goals that are doable so I can actually scratch a few things off my list and have some victory in the one area of my life that is out of control….being organized.  I'm like the worst in the world….with my time, my house, my everything.  But that's another post for another time.  So just know when you look at these pics of me all put together looking, that my house was probably a disaster zone and I have a ton of emails that need to be returned. I don't have it together folks. But I'm working on it everyday.   ;)

January has come and gone and I was actually able to attain a couple of goals on my list. 
 I got back in my routine of running. Logged 59 miles last month 
 AND I made my bed every single day of January!  (Yay me!)

But a few of the goals I didn't quite meet for January were 
1. Getting caught up on my blog with my Top 10 moments of 2013 and..
2.  Taking inventory on what all I have in my Honey Pot supplies to re-open my shop
3. Finishing Lydia's wedding book.  BUT…I started it!  And I'm halfway through. That's progress right?

So…instead of feeling like a failure, I'm just starting fresh right where I am.
New month.  New goals.  

So to get back into the groove with blogging, I'm gonna share a "what I wore" post.
Because truth be told… getting dressed is so much more fun these days.
Losing 40 pounds will do that. ;)

My "Heading to church feeling vintage-y outfit".

Top: Target via Dirt Cheap// Skirt: Thrifted // Shoes: ModCloth // Earrings: vintage

My "Having lunch with a friend outfit".
 Heart t-shirt: Brickyard Buffalo // Blue Blazer: Stichfix //  Black skinnies: Old Navy 
Booties: Sears //  Bracelet: Lisa Leonard //  

My "Sunday night at church after a good nap outfit".

Same black skinnies and booties // Sweater : Edna Grayces //
 Necklace: Eager Hands // Earrings: Ike and Co // Wooden ring:  Target via Dirt Cheap

My "First day to get out the house in a week because of the snow- Hallelujah I don't live up North outfit" 
Shirt: Stitchfix // Scarf: Brickyard Buffalo // Skirt: thrifted // Green tights: TJMaxx
Boots: Lane Bryant (so tickled they are big in the calves on me this year compared to last year!  I NEVER have owned boots that are loose around the calves!)

My "I had to change my skirt because I was freezing and I should have known better than to ask my part polar bear husband of mine what the weather was like outfit"
 Olive Cardigan: Stitchfix //   Black and White Top: Stitchfix //  Corduroy Skirt: Gap // Same black skinnies and booties // Necklace: Noonday Collection

And last…
My "Oh my Gosh I paid $3 for this sweater outfit"

Star Sweater: thrifted // Chambray shirt:  Target via Dirt Cheap // 
 Bracelets : Christmas gift from my daughter //  Boots: Lane Bryant
Good looking bearded man: God's amazing grace in my life

Alrighty, well that's what I've been wearing lately.
New stuff mixed with old stuff.  
Most of all …"me stuff". 
Just wearing what makes me smile and feel pretty and confident about myself.
  My favorite.

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Linking up here today.
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