If Gathering

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If: Gathering

As a mom, I don’t get the opportunity to dress up like I used to.  Typically, leggings and a long shirt, sometimes I may even do my hair and makeup.  My church isn’t the dress up kind of church, so I will typically wear something nice but I don’t get to get “fancy”. When I go invited to the IF: Table I was excited for multiple reason, one being the women fellowship and another I would be able to break out some “fancy” duds ( not necessarily fancy but get a little dressed up).

Dressing for your body, today

Grace Boutique with Premier Jewelry

Going through my closet was discouraging, I am still at that awkward stage of postpartum.  Too small and so tired of maternity and not small enough for my former size 6 wardrobe (although I am working diligently to get back).  I don’t want to buy clothes in this size.  I am grateful to have found Grace Boutique beautiful, unique, mommy friendly boutique.  I went in there and they had exactly what I needed. One shirt/dress that can be worn six different ways and the best part yet, it covers my mommy tummy and curves.  Paired it with my Girl’s best friend necklace that can be worn 30 different ways and I have 36 different outfits with two pieces.  The best part is that both companies make being a modest Christian women stylish and classy.  Just what I need until I can fit back in my wardrobe again.

Need to fellowship

if table

I also needed the fellowship with the women that the If:table gathering brought me, what an amazing experience.  It’s an amazing ministry bringing women together like in the old church to talk about their lessons with God.  The night was amazing we all brought a side dish and out hostess made a delicious pasta meal.  I loved that we all garden and brought fresh side dishes, grown and picked by us,  I left the meal soul filled and stuffed. The guest including myself was from all walks of life.  New moms, multiple children mother, mom of teenagers, and a widow.  The different perspectives, ages and experiences made for a great in depth night.

We were given four thought provoking questions.  Some of the ladies answers really made me think about my own relationship with Christ.  I was so blessed from the experience and I am hosting my own If:table this month.  I can’t wait to share with a different group of women this experience and learn from a new group of women to grow from. With my two pieces from Grace Boutique and SamBling I also don’t have to worry about an outfit. Is there something you do to fellowship with different women or the same thing every month?

 

 

 

 

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My Need for Discernment

This Or That Way Directions On A Wooden SignpostAccording to the dictionary, discernment means “the quality of being able to grasp or comprehend what is obscure.” This is not a strong trait of mine.  That saying, “can’t you just take a hint?” NO! I am very black and white; concrete thinker. When it comes to picking up on clues that’s what I need God for.  I have to pray everyday for his help in this department, sometimes several times a day depending on the day that I am having.

B

Now we (and I am referring to saved Christians) know God leads we follow, whether we actually follow that is another blog post.  Some of us stumble along and others confidently go on our way.  He opens doors we graciously or reluctantly walk or bump into them. I wish there was always a clear cut path to take.  I struggle with this in parenting too. If we could just have a “how to” or instruction manual for each child and their particular personalities. Then I could confidently raise my girls and wear the badge as the “best mom ever”, couldn’t we all? I am the type of person who reads the instruction manual cover-to-cover before proceeding to tackle the complicated Ikea furniture. When I begin to struggle with discernment I go to the life instruction manual; Yes, I am referring to the Bible.

Proverbs 2:6-8 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright,he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

shield

There it is was as if God had sprinkled glitter (of course in my favorite color) on the pages just for me to see. The words wisdom, knowledge, understanding, success, shield, guards, protects all stood out to me.  Now, when I need a magnify glass to grasp and comprehend the obscure. I call on knowledge and wisdom from God.  Sometimes I need understanding because although I think of myself very intellgient. Sometimes I just don’t get it.  When I care to much I may need a shield, guard and protecton of my heart.  No matter what it is or what I need it’s comforting to know God’s got me covered.He has provided me with the discernment to see the way and the decision or choice to be made.  Leading me while protecting me the entire way.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Do you think of discernment as something you choose to see or a natural gift?

Father’s Day Gift Dilemma

In my house of 3 little diva’s I have to say that my husband is pretty much the king. He has three little daddy’s girls and I am pretty fond of him myself. This week of father’s day and with the chaos of end of school, baby’s first birthday party planning, garden harvesting and of course the everyday task of maintaining my household. I am at a Father’s day gift dilemma. I usually plan a little something and I have gotten his Father’s Day card while I was out and about; but I like to give meaningful memorable gifts to my husband.

He is an amazing father and for not having any guidance from his own he is simply a natural. Raising a tween, 7 year old and baby girl is a hard task and his infinite patience and attention to detail. Is just another reason why I feel he deserves honor on father’s day. So, after googling, pinsearching (aka pinterest research) I have come up with many ideas but 2 final “Best Father’s Day EVER!” contenders.

My husband is a second grade special needs teacher in Camden, NJ which is low income urban area. Also, a basketball coach and trainer. He watches every sport girls and boys so my first go-to is something dealing with sports.  I notice this year he has been watching in alma mater on social media. For years I have been meaning to frame his college jersey but never got my act together in time. Since this summer we will be working on his man escape cave (much needed with 4 females in the home). I am thinking this may be a viable contender but that would take some time that I really don’t have this week.

My husband if a faithful man as well and doing my google/pinsearch I came across this really cool company called Faithbox. The website says that they inspires daily Christian living by helping people grow in their faith, impact their community, and discover meaningful products. You can get a variety of subscriptions. I am thinking of trying out the 3 month subscription and they pack each box devotional notebook, favorite scriptures, inspirational quotes, and seasonal prayers each month has a unique theme. They aren’t things that you could do yourself (which I don’t have time for) they are hand-picked products from companies and organizations who respect God’s people and His creation. Also, every box that you purchase will feed a child in need through their Rice Bowl partnership AND other products are from companies who match our purchases with an equivalent donation to a worthy cause.This makes me feel almost obligated to give him this gift because of the positive impact on so many people other than my husband. I think that he would appreciate this gift because of helping others and help strengthen his faith. For me its a click of a button and ta-da “Best, most memorable Father’s Day gift ever!!”

So, those are my two top choices after much contemplation. I feel the answer may be obvious but which one do you think would be an awesome father’s day gift?

Picture source from Veronica Black Pinterest Page

Picture source Faithbox.com blog

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

image

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

1 cup Palm Sugar
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup White Whole Wheat (Unbleached) Flour
1 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 c. Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Lemon Zest
3/4 cup Strawberry Preserves

Icing
1/4 cup unrefined (virgin) coconut oil
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp almond milk (vanilla unsweetened)
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease and flour a two 9 inch round pan or line with paper liners.
3. Juice 3 lemons and zest lemon peels.
4. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
5. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
6.Finally stir in the lemon juice and add lemon zest until batter is smooth. Pour batter into the two greased pan.
7.Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back.
8. When cool frost one cake with strawberry preserves and the entire cake with Vanilla Lemon Icing
9. Refrigerate for 20 mins and serve

Icing Directions
image

Directions:
1. “Cream” the coconut oil until it breaks up and gets nice and smooth with hand blender
2.Add in 1/4 of the powdered sugar, the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of almond milk
3.Mix together until nice and smooth keep adding powdered sugar along with tablespoons of lemon juice (alternate almond milk &lemon juice until everything is combined – you don’t want any clumps of powdered sugar or coconut oil.)
4.Frost everything in the vicinityThis frosting melts pretty easily, so make sure whatever you put it on is nice and cool. It should be enough to cover
two layer round cake.
image

Cake

Nutrition Facts
  16 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 212.3
  Total Fat 14.7 g
  Saturated Fat 12.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g
  Cholesterol 23.3 mg
  Sodium 66.1 mg
  Potassium 19.2 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 20.2 g
  Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
  Sugars 16.5 g
  Protein 1.3 g

Icing

Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
  16 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 89.8
  Total Fat 3.5 g
  Saturated Fat 3.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 1.6 mg
  Potassium 4.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 15.2 g
  Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
  Sugars 14.8 g
  Protein 0.0 g
  Vitamin A 0.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 0.1 %
  Vitamin C 1.5 %
  Vitamin D 0.2 %
  Vitamin E 0.4 %
  Calcium 0.4 %
  Copper 0.1 %
  Folate 0.1 %
  Iron 0.1 %
  Magnesium 0.1 %
  Manganese 0.1 %
  Niacin 0.0 %
  Pantothenic Acid 0.0 %
  Phosphorus 0.0 %
  Riboflavin 0.2 %
  Selenium 0.1 %
  Thiamin 0.0 %
  Zinc 0.0 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  Vitamin A 0.8 %
  Vitamin B-12 1.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 0.7 %
  Vitamin C 5.8 %
  Vitamin D 1.3 %
  Vitamin E 0.0 %
  Calcium 3.5 %
  Copper 0.1 %
  Folate 1.0 %
  Iron 1.8 %
  Magnesium 0.2 %
  Manganese 0.1 %
  Niacin 0.0 %
  Pantothenic Acid 0.1 %
  Phosphorus 2.4 %
  Riboflavin 1.3 %
  Selenium 0.0 %
  Thiamin 0.2 %
  Zinc 0.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

“Fear Based” vs. Grace Based” Parenting

Now that I look back I feel that my parents did the best that they could.  A lot of their parenting were to create fear so that I would not have to endure some of the hardships they experienced due to their own mistakes. As parents we want our children to better than us and try to lead them in the right direction.

We love our children so much and we don’t want them to succumb to the world so we do the best we can to keep them away. We teach our children John 3:16 NLT “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Sometimes being interpreted as we have follow Jesus not the world and those who do are bad or evil. We often forget about John 3:17 NLT God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Fear and judgement is pervasive and condemning and does not create an attitude of love. My understanding is that we are to be disciples and follow God’s way which is loving, graceful and inclusive not exclusivity and discriminant.

We are surrounded by the lost and as Christians we are here to be a light for God. You can’t be a light for someone else if you are to busy putting out there light to let your own shine; by condemning or judging their behavior, conduct or appearance. Even if there actions are offensive we should be graceful. Rather than looking at what we don’t like or want for our family maybe we should see how we can teach or grow from these situations or circumstances. Maybe we can to teach our children how to be disciples of Christ to that “bad influence” instead of the “steer clear” attitude.The only way that we can do that for our children is to be that example.

Our job is to teach our children to love God and love others. We have to remember Mark 12:30-31 NLT 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Showing our incredible love for God that overflows to our incredible love for other people. We can teach our children how to be good disciples.

“Grace Based Parenting” it is defined as treating your kids as God’s treat His-with grace. There is a fine balance between teaching them to Fear the world and using legalistic standards of parenting; and total abandonment of the foundation of God by becoming so accepting that you do not create a environment for your children that sets a standard of how to live. Every situation needs checks and balances.

Think of what John 1:14 (NLT) 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.  You must have grace but still stick to God’s truth. They go hand in hand. By being a walking reflection of God’s love will condition your children to act within those limits.  Without feeling that by falling short of His grace that the love is conditional on living beyond a level that is attainable.

Try to remember to be graceful with your love because if it wasn’t for God’s grace we would be in trouble. With all the dumb things as adults that we do and the fact that He still loves us. We can cut our children a little slack and strive to be just as graceful. Yes, teach your children about the Bible; set a acceptable living standard but reinforce it with grace.

I would define the difference of a “Grace Based” Christian Family as a family that shows God’s heart,a kind family, generous family, shows kindness and love in all that they do, they serve others, most importantly they are humble. The “grace based” Christian family is a loving family that loves and cares for others no matter what or how they live, they care about others and wants the best for others, they improve others quality of living by focusing upwards and outwards versus inward.

I would define  “fear based” Christian family of fearing or being “sin managers”; by making sure that sin stays away from your family. Versus living and growing from situations where we innately fall into sin. If we strive to have Jesus loves for others, be merciful, gentle, and not fault others when they struggle through temptations, nonjudgmental.

Remembering Christ loves ALL no matter their disappointments, short givings.There is victory in Jesus who is the only way that we will overcome sin and grow and learn. When correcting your children do it through love.

 

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