Sunday, June 19, 2011

Turning My Eyes

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

- Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

These words say it all for me right now. For the past couple of weeks I have felt like I've been suffocating in the busyness of life--just going through the motions--trying to keep my head above water. I decided at the last minute this morning to go to church with my dad since it is Father's day and it's not often that I get the chance to visit my old "home church", and as we sang this hymn, I was reminded that all I have to do is turn my eyes on Jesus. His eyes are already on me. I just must choose to "look full" in His face rather than at the spinning-dizzy world around me. Losing Granddaddy, work, the stack of books to read, the projects and papers to complete, the mountain of laundry and dishes to be done, etc., etc., etc.--all of that nagging stuff that makes me almost lose my breath when I let my mind dwell on it--"the things of this earth" will dim--will be covered up by the light, unending light, of His {glory} and {grace} IF ONLY I will choose single-minded focus. Choose to turn my eyes to the One who always has his eyes on me. 

Why is it that I run away from Him when I need His strength the most? Why do I refuse to spend time with Him when it's only Him that can make me stand? Why do I reject the Good Shepherd's always open arms?

Are you maybe feeling a bit weary or overwhelmed, too? Be encouraged, because HE is enough. 

This upcoming week, I'm praying for the strength and discipline to turn my eyes--to look full--in His wonderful, glorious, and grace-filled face. He outshines everything else.

[Ignoring the cheesy graphics on this video, I love this a cappella rendition by Selah.]


Friday, June 3, 2011

What's for Dinner?

That infamous question shouldn't be quite so least for a few weeks! 

$150 worth of groceries + 8 hours of cooking = 1 upside-down kitchen & 14+ meals in the freezer! 

I've been needing/wanting to do this for a while and Tuesday was finally the day! Getting dinner on the table every night or even just 3-4 nights a week is a big challenge for me with trying to balance work and school and everything in between. And I know it's going to be an even bigger hurdle come August when I add grading papers, etc. to the mix. 

So enter Once-a-Month Cooking. I found this little gem of a book hiding in the cabinet at my Dad's house, and his wife said I could borrow it.  It lays out everything you need--from shopping lists to the preparation order--to cook & freeze meals for either two weeks or a month at a time.  The book gives you three two-week plans and two one-month plans to choose from, along with side dish options. 

I chose one of the two-week plans...a) because this was my first time to try it and b) because I have limited freezer space.  I'm so glad I only did the two-week plan because it took me all day and I ended up with just enough freezer room!

So the freezer is stocked with:
Baked Jambalaya
Stuffed Pork Chops
Beef Goulash
Caraway Pot Roast (we already had this and I liked it, but Paul not so much.)
Taco Soup (we had this last night and both loved it--delish!)
Marinated Flank Steak
Cranberry Chicken
Twelve-Boy Curry
Sweet Soy Marinated Chicken
Chili Hamburgers
Karen's Barbecued Chicken
Fiesta Shrimp Dinner

(There was one recipe that didn't sound too good to me, Baked Tilapia in Spaghetti Sauce, so I didn't buy the fish and we just have extra spaghetti sauce. The recipe made a gallon!) 

Technically this meal plan should feed a family for two weeks, but it is definitely going to last longer for us since it's just the two of us. When you factor in that all of the dishes serve at least four people (many of them serve 8-12), we'll have leftovers, and I divided a few of the larger dishes before freezing them.

It's so convenient to have meals in the freezer to pull out when you have a hectic day. The hard work is already done--all you have left to do is toss a salad or whip up an easy side dish.  And not only will this make dinner time less stressful, it is definitely going to help us manage our grocery budget better! No more last minute trips to Kroger where I end up spending more than necessary because I don't have a plan. When I did all the shopping for these meals, I scanned sales ads, compared prices, and used coupons--took some time for sure, but definitely worth it and I won't have to do it again for a while. Bottom line: $150 groceries/14 meals = $10.67/meal (but its really less than that since I know we'll probably stretch it to about 20 meals).

It was a long day in the kitchen, but at dinner time on hectic days or when I have night class, I know I'll be glad I did it!

{If you're interested in trying this cooking-for-two-weeks deal, but want to see what it's really all about before you buy the book, (you can snag it on amazon for about 10 bucks), I'll be glad to email you a scanned copy of the plan I used. Just leave a comment :)} 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Looking for Rest?

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, 
and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

-St. Augustine
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