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What the Cross Represents…

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

1 Peter 2:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

I received these earrings to review. I know I post a lot of reviews here… most of that is required for the product reviewing hobby I’ve developed (I hope you’ll continue to bear with me as I try to incorporate other content), but they help me to keep the content updated more frequently and usually lead to some deeper sort of reflection for me.

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When I looked at these, beyond the baguette stones and the solid construction, the lyrics to the song below came to mind.  This album came out when I was in middle school and my mom played it all the time.

I didn’t mind though. I loved it. This was one of the songs that was very personal for me. I think it was around this age that church became more than a “place to go” for me.  My salvation became VERY real and I would often reflect on the kind of love one had to have to sacrifice His “only begotten son” for a world of people.

At this point, my nephew had been born and I loved him with all of my heart– I didn’t know that a love like that could exist. To see a person that you’ve never known before and love them instantly– and want the best for them. It blew my mind.

So when I thought about that kind of love and asked myself if I would be able to give his life to save the world. I just cried. I’m crying now (I’m more of a softie than most people realize🙂 ).

It really IS a powerful question to ask yourself: Think about the person you love THE MOST in this whole world. Then ask yourself if you could give his/her life to save the fate of the rest of the world? Could you do it?

I sometimes think we can hear altar calls so often that we can become numb to what that sacrifice REALLY meant and just HOW personal it was.

He did it JUST FOR ME.

He did it JUST for YOU.

He did it with EACH  and EVERY one of US on His mind.

When I look at a cross– be it a pair of earrings, in a church, or a photo on a wall — That is what it means to me.

Just for Me ~ Donnie McClurkin
What does the cross of Jesus mean?
It’s more than songs we sing, yeah
Much more than that emblem on your chain
But it means I’m free, yes from the chains of slavery
And the blood that shed won’t let my sins remain, oh my
Upon the cross my Saviour died, the Lamb was crucified
Showed us love that this world had never known
Oh what love, divine so divine, true a love you’ll never find
So that we might live, love came and died alone, Hallelujah

Well the Cross will always represent the love God had for me
When the Lord of glory, Heaven sent gave all on Calvary
He did it just for me, just for me, Hallelujah

 

There are lots of different ways to pray the prayer of Salvation, but I wanted to leave one here if you’ve yet to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and feel a stirring in your heart after reading this post.  This is from one of my favorite prayer authors, of the book Prayers that Availeth Much.  You can reword this to make it more personal, but this is the general overview.

Prayer To Receive Jesus as Savior and Lord

Father, it is written in Your Word that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that You have raised Him from the dead, I shall be saved. Therefore, Father, I confess that Jesus is my Lord. I make Him Lord of my life right now. I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead. I renounce my past life with Satan and close the door to any of his devices.

I thank You for forgiving me of all my sin. Jesus is my Lord, and I am a new creation. Old things have passed away; now all things become new in Jesus’ name. Amen

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Workout Recovery: Compression Therapy 

My husband and I have histories of joint pain. We also enjoy working out as one of our dating activities, but we have to be very intentional about our recovery methods. This is where compression therapy comes in.

 
What is Compression Therapy?

I was thrilled to see an article recently on one of my favorite fitness apps, MyFitnessPal explaining compression therapy and its benefits. Usually, when I mention compression therapy, I get confused looks or raised eyebrows from folks. I get it though, I was unfamiliar with it until I learned of it during my last round of physical therapy.

As the article states, compression as recovery is nothing new. Many athletes already rely on compression socks and shorts after a workout, and research identifies a link between compression garments and reduced muscle soreness after sprinting and plyometrics. You can read more about the method in the full article found here.

My Newest Workout Recovery Tool: The Wuju Fitness Knee Brace

This #WujuFitnessKneeBrace won’t make you young again or cure any joint issues, but it will help to lessen your joint pain and support your knee muscles and ligaments and aid you in bending your knee.

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It’s basically a knee brace used to compress the knee for sports or to solve aches and pains. It comes in 3 sizes, the color is silver/grey with a design in the knee cap. I like this more than other braces I’ve used it the past because it fits around my thigh without rolling down or bunching.  

I’ve used it for the past two weeks and will be purchasing more for continued use. The fabric is lightweight, but sturdy and it could be worn during my workouts, though I prefer to save it for my compression therapy which I complete after my workouts and at various times throughout the day if I experience any muscle discomfort.

If you workout frequently, I encourage you to try compression therapy if you haven’t already.  This is only one of many braces/compression sleeves to choose from, but it worked well for me!

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Pasta Possibilities!

I love making pasta.  I feel like the possibilities are almost endless.

Now, I know I said I try to limit the number of occasions that I make traditional pasta in one of my previous posts— but let’s be honest– there’s nothing like a good fettuccine!

I received a stainless steel colander to review and used it to make one of my favorite recipes.

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Here’s a bit of info about the colander:

  • The stable base allows you to safely strain hot liquids even in busy and wet kitchen environments.
  • Micro-perforations let the liquid quickly drain away while keeping the food safe in the bowl.
  • The entire colander is easy to carry.
  • Aside from straining, this is also a great solution for grease cooking, splatter control, frying, sautéing and other liquid-heavy cooking.

Anyone who loves to cook knows the importance of a high quality colander. The Pro Chef Kitchen Tools round colander is strong, stylish and efficient and I’m happy to have it in my collection.  When I’m not using it to cook, it also doubles as a great fruit/veggie holder on my counter top!

Now that you know a good bit about the colander, here’s the all important recipe and some photos of the colander in action!

We made this dish using another Blue Apron recipe.  (This isn’t a sponsored post — I just REALLY like Blue Apron and they post ALL of their recipes online, so you can use them even if you don’t subscribe.  I LOVE THAT!)

Spring Chicken Fettuccine

Ingredients:

  • 8 Chicken Tenders
  • 6 Ounces Fettuccine Pasta
  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • ½ Bunch Asparagus
  • 1 Bunch Rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons Crème Fraîche
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

  1. Prepare the ingredients:

    Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Snap off and discard the tough, woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces on an angle. Remove and discard the kale stems; finely chop the leaves. Pick the rosemary leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and chop into bite-sized pieces; transfer to a bowl. Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

  2. Cook the chicken:
    In a large, high-sided pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through.
  3. Cook the pasta:prochef_chicken_fettuccine1
    While the chicken cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.
  4. Add the vegetables:
    While the pasta cooks, to the pan of chicken, add the asparagus, kale, rosemary, 2 tablespoons of water and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and the kale has wilted.
  5. Finish the pasta:prochef_chicken_fettuccine2
    To the pan of chicken and vegetables, add the cooked pasta, crème fraîche and half to the reserved pasta cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring vigorously to coat the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Plate your dish:
    Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the cheese. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Abundant Life

What do you think about when you think of an “Abundant Life?”

For me, I think about a life that is filled with peace and security.  Sure abundance may come with physical possessions, but more than that– I think of fulfillment and a heart and mind that is centered on the will of God.

As described by the author’s, 4 Abundant Life is a step-by-step guide to help you discover what it means to be an authentic man/woman/married person, develop your unique talents and gifts, and use them for His glory, and how reconciliation and redemption lead to transformation into life abundantly. 

This book is for anyone who wants more out of his or her life. The challenge is yours! Find your inheritance of abundance and discover why God sometimes says, “no” or “not yet,” and how to grow in the valley of life struggles and emerge victorious.

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Are You Ready For Some Football?

It’s Football Season, which means it’s that time when I get to make tailgating snacks.

See, I could care less about who is playing.  I’m a “Carolina Girl” living in Saints Country, so I’m really just here to make the food.  And tablescape.

I found some really cute yard-line print table cloths at Kroger on an extreme markdown (were talking 99% markdown) when I lived in Mississippi and I knew it was meant to be.

So I’m just here to cook the food and go with my party theme.  I’m a simple woman.😉

I received this Sriracha CHA! by Texas Pete® to review and my Carolina Girl, heart was sooo happy!

For those that don’t know, Texas Pete is a North Carolina Company.  If we know anything in North Carolina, we know our sports and we know our food!  Winston Salem is the home of hot sauce and Krispy Kreme Donuts… I could go on and on about how much I miss Carolina Style Barbecue, Hush Puppies, and Robert’s Famous Chicken Salad, but I’ll get to the point of this post– THE RECIPE!  

I used this item to add some kick to one of my favorite tailgating snacks: “Fran’s Famous Meatballs.”

 

Fran’s Famous Meatballs: 

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Meatballs (You can make these fresh if you have the time, we keep meatballs in the freezer since I make these on demand). I usually allow them to thaw before cooking.
    • This recipe makes 1, 16 oz bag of meatballs
  • 1/2 Cup of Grape Jelly (YES– JELLY!)
  • 1/4 Cup of CHA! by Texas Pete®
  • 1 Cup of Barbecue Sauce (I normally use Smokehouse Barbecue Sauce, but I tend to go with whatever brand is on sale or what we have available in our pantry)
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic (Can you tell that we like Garlic?😀 If you’re not a fan, just leave this out)

Directions:

(If you are making your meatballs from scratch, you will need to brown them first, before beginning these steps. You can do that in the oven or using the stovetop)

  1. Warm the jelly over medium-high heat (until it is dissolved). Be careful to stir continuously so that the gelatin does not burn.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients and the meatballs, stirring until the meatballs are coated on all sides.
  3. Allow meatballs to simmer in sauce for 5 minutes while covered.
  4. Then transfer meatballs to a crock pot or serving dish where they can remain warmed for serving.
  5. Stir occasionally to prevent meatballs from scorching.

This is really a simple recipe, and can spice it up by adding in a new item like I’ve done with the CHA! by Texas Pete® or changing the barbecue sauce that you use. Sometimes I even change the jelly– I’ve used apricot jelly, grape jelly, and blackberry jelly in the past. You can mix it up, but don’t leave it out.  The JELLY is key!

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Let’s Toast to New Fitness Goals: Detox Tea Review

​My next birthday is quickly approaching. I’ve decided to start a two-month birthday countdown. 

This also means it’s time for increased workouts and weight training! In fact, I’ve started off with this week with another series of morning detox tea. 

I received these cups to review and I love that these #cutea cups are ready  to go in my Keurig. I’m not really a big fan of most commercial “detoxes.” I side with the school of thought that our body is already equipped to naturally detox itself. 

However, I do believe that we benefit from intentional, positive changes in our diets and those periods when we pay closer attention to the items we consume and how often we consume them. I also perfer drinking tea and I find this beverage beneficial for increasing my water intake. 

CUTEA’s unique formula is a 100% natural way to rid yourself of toxins, boost energy and burn tough body fat. 

☕The specially blended detox brew can be enjoyed hot, first thing in the morning or sipped chilled as an after-workout, morning refresher.

☕Added bonus: Each cup in the 10 count box gets up to 3 uses per cup for a total 30 uses from the set! 

☕Ingredients: Organic Green Tea, Organic Tulsi, Organic Spearmint, Organic Rose Hops, Organic Lemon Myrtle, Organic Linden Blossoms, & Organic Ginger Roots.

I’ve already come a long way and I’m so grateful for God’s faithfulness and strength. 

It will involve a good bit of hard work, but I’m excited to see what God has in store for the journey ahead. 

November will be here before we know it.

Let’s get fit together! 💪🏋🏃

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Say Hello To My Little Friend….

I’ve shared a bit about my history with chronic pain in a few of my past blog posts, but I first learned of the benefits of using a TENS Unit after I was injured in a car accident in 2010. 

TENS units have proved to be a great help to me. For those that are less familiar, TENS is short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. 

This Easy@home EHE010 Pulse Massager TENS Unit delivers electric impulses to nerves, muscles and cells on different part of the body. 

The impulses, used in proper strength and frequencies, make continuous and gentle stimulation to trigger the body producing natural response to block, relieve pain and to stimulate the regeneration of tissues.

Natural and Drug Free Way for Pain Relief

Pain Relief without Medicine! TENS stimulates your body to produce higher levels of its own natural painkillers, better known as “Endorphins”. 

Easy to Use

Large Blue Backlit LCD screen shows you at a glance exactly what is happening, including the type of massages, intensity and the time left on the cycle. 

Portable and Long Battery Life

About the size of a remote control, this unit packs enough power to thoroughly massage your body, but can travel with you anywhere you like. Take it to the gym, on a trip, or even to the office – it fits in your briefcase or purse.

So, “Say hello to my little friend.”😄Maybe you’ll be like my husband and decide you want one of your own. 😉 

He recently gave in to my suggestions and used one of my units when he hurt his back while doing yard work and he’s been a fan ever since! 

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Heading Back to the Gym

I’ve been ripping and running for the past three weeks and I am looking forward to getting back to my normal routine and going to my neighborhood gym.

There are 3 things you need when going to the gym: a pair of shoes, a comfortable outfit and a great gym bag.  I normally have a bag on hand for my gym sessions, but my husband does not– which means he resorts to asking me if he can put his keys, phone and wallet in my gym bag.  Not a major issue, but I wouldn’t be a “good wife” if I didn’t seek to remedy this issue…. by getting him a gym bag of his own.😉

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This bag features padded carrying handles, a mesh pocket for water bottle, and built-in cellphone holder.

The top of the bag has a zippered flap that opens wide for easy packing and also features zippered end saddlebags that expose the roomy center storage compartment.  He officially has more storage space than I do in most of my bags…. maybe he can be responsible for being the keeper of the gym gear for a little while😀

 

Here’s the clip from my YouTube Channel of him looking over the bag.

 

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Light It Up

“Light it up. Light it up. Let the world know that JESUS LIVES!…”

Something as simple as a set of balloons brought those lyrics to mind.

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I received these glowing LED balloons to review and I really like them. You simply pull a tab to light up the LED bulb and inflate the balloon by mouth or helium tank just as you would with any regular latex balloon.

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If you’ve been following my blog for any period of time, you know I’m a big kid at heart. Balloons are one of those simple joys in life. I love how this item takes something that is classic and introduces a new twist and with an energy efficient element that will last for hours at a time.

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My husband was the first person to really get me to become a fan of LED products. He’s an engineer and will quickly explain the difference between a standard bulb and an LED bulb… Don’t get him started on television sets. You’re in for a full blown lesson.  I’m thankful though, times like these are when I realize how much I’ve benefited from what he’s shared with me as God uses those moments to minister to my heart in a whole new way.

In this instance, me looking at these balloons also made me think back to the first time my husband explained the technology behind an LED TV and how it was better than a standard TV.

Have you ever made the transition from a standard definition television to a High Definition, LED TV?  Stay with me here. Do you remember the first time you turned on your new TV and that moment when you saw the screen “light up” and how you could see the difference in the image clarity and overall picture?

That’s how our walk should be with Christ.

We are new creatures… but we are creatures that are constantly evolving. We should be going from GLORY to GLORY in Him.

I may have accepted Christ when I was 12 years old, but there should be a new definition to who I am in 2016. My light should be becoming more efficient. My “model” should be constantly evolving and showing the world what God will do with a surrendered and sincere heart. And when there is an fault with the current model, I should look to the author and finisher of my faith and do the work necessary to correct the error.

Just like these balloons are a new technology or a new evolution of a former thing… so should we be.

Matthew 5:16 New Living Translation

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.


2 Corinthians 5:17-21 New Living Translation

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God.


 

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Book Review: 30 Days of Goodness, Love and Grace

This insightful 30-day, eBook Bible study contains selections from the Faithgirlz Secret Power Girls Bible Study series.

I am less familiar with this series, but I enjoy reading books like these because of the work I do with the youth ministry at my local church– specifically our Girls of Destine mentoring program.  I know I’m getting older and more removed from things that younger girls are doing and reading, so I try to take advantage of review opportunities like these.

This text was written especially for girls between the ages of 8-12 years old. In the text, author Susie Shellenberger shares deep truths in each daily devotional that will challenge, inspire, and nourish a reader’s growing soul.

I’ve included a few selections from the publisher’s description that provide a good example of how the text takes classic bible stories and uses modern day examples to connect them to more common day stories/movies that young girls may more readily know and understand (like Cinderella):

  • The Secret Power of Love (book of Ruth),
  • The Secret Power of Grace (1 Peter), and
  • The Secret Power of Goodness (Colossians).

The Secret Power of Love: Like Cinderella, sometimes it’s easy to feel left out and ignored. Maybe things with your family aren’t right, or you don’t feel very lovable. But something amazing happens when you discover God’s love. Journey through the book of Ruth and study one girl’s real-life “Cinderella story,” and see how God transformed her world.

The Secret Power of Grace: You probably want to achieve great things. You probably want a happy life. And you probably want to look incredible every step of the way, sporting a style that makes you sparkle. For a girl like you, that’s no problem—because you’re about to discover the secrets to true success, lasting joy, and a killer style you’ll never outgrow. Cruise through the book of 1 Peter and learn God’s ideas about a beauty and style unlike anything money can buy at the mall.

The Secret Power of Goodness: Sometimes it seems everyone has a different idea of what is true. Some people say that truth is simply whatever works for you. But what if you found reliable truth—as solid and real as the ground you walk on? What if it changed your life? What if it changed you? Come explore the book of Colossians and learn to sort through what you hear about other’s beliefs while discovering what makes our faith special and what it means to be a Christian.

While, I do believe that this type of approach is very effective for the target age group (8-12 years old) I think that it should also be partnered with a “real talk” dialogue that also addresses the issues that these young girls are facing at an increasing rate in this day and age.

Overall, I think this is a great text and approve of the author’s move to create an e-book bible study guide for young girls.  Much of our work and social activity is conducted using electronics and an e-bible study will be a great method for attracting an already captivated audience.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”