"God doesn't give you more than you can handle"

First of all, that is one of the lies we as humans try to soothe ourselves with!

Like you, I have heard this phrase my whole life...when times are hard and difficult and unfair.  

The truth is...God DOES give us more than WE can handle...but He DOES NOT give us more than HE can handle.  That's they key difference. 

Some others you may have heard..."It builds character" or "it can only make you stronger"

Wrong!! Our relationship with God builds our character and only He can give us the strength to endure such heartache and pain.  

It is only when we become fully reliant on God, hit our knees in need of Him, and give all that we have to our Maker...can we begin to see the "plan for hope, prosperity and good" He has for us.

I am an "I've got this" kinda girl...always been a survivor of things, but I have been rocked to my core this year!!  So much so, my body is failing to keep up with the stress of self-management.

My stress hormones are in overdrive and causing a lot of physical symptoms I pray will go away soon...when a doctor tells you your insulin and cortisol levels are "off the charts" and your adrenal glands are "way past fatigued"..it is time to change most of your coping mechanisms.

We fail everyday, and not one of us can handle life without God being ever-present in every minute detail of our days.

The phrase "Let go and let God" is plastered all throughout my home to remind me of which mindset I need to keep.

I would love to talk to anyone who may be dealing with the loss of a parent or loved one and cannot seem to get a grip on things...if that's you...leave me a comment and a message :)

Many Blessings Ya'll


Perspective and Grief

"Grief is like an ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim."
Vicki Harrison

"I loved you at your darkest." Romans 5:8

I have not felt like blogging, much less doing anything else that I had to focus on my feelings lately.  As some of you know, my mom passed away from brain cancer on February 23rd of this year.  It was a short, 9-month battle, and she was literally my only person.

The person I could be truly myself with, be truly honest with, truly real with...each of us have that one person...my mom was it for me!

Over the past few months, the stages of grief have been hard.  I have never really allowed myself to go through anything like this.  Not through divorce, five miscarriages, even the death of my papa who was the only man, until God, that I truly trusted.  

Your prayers and cards and thoughts have been my lifeline alongside my daily walk with Jesus.  Knowing that he will "never forsake or abandon me" is where I reside. 

I always thought, being a woman of God, that knowing my mom is in Heaven would be enough to sustain my joy.  It hasn't been!  I know she is there with God, happy, healthy and watching over me, but my selfish humanness wants her back...even if for only a day.

The pain of losing your person is so encompassing that only leaning on God can make it somewhat ok.  

We have had so many blessings in our lives this year.  We finally moved into our newly built home, have another grandson on the way, and so much more!!

I needed to write this to lay out my feelings and move forward with joy and happiness being a choice I choose first daily...along with the trust and strength I find only in Him.

Again, thank you all for your prayers and thoughts...keep them coming

Many Blessings Ya'll,


God's Salvation Plan

I have to apologize for allowing this week's crazy life take me away from God's instructions for me this week! 

Easter Sunday was and is a time to remember the Resurrection of Christ.  We need to know deep down in our hearts that even if it was just you or me on this Earth, he would have died for just us.  God loves us that much!!

Most of us know this verse by heart, but I encourage you to let it sink into your heart as you read it... "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

I have a son.  I cannot imagine sacrificing him for any human....can you imagine that for your son or daughter?  We would gladly give our OWN lives for our children's sake, but sacrificing our children for another human being sounds impossible to all of us as parents.

God's Salvation Plan is SIMPLE!!

These Scriptures above lay it all out for us.  When teaching kids, I lay it out with the ABC's of Salvation.

  • A - Admit that you are a sinner; turn and repent to God so that He may forgive you of all your sins.  Something you need to know...sin is sin...whether we lie or cheat on a spouse or murder someone!  There is NO hierarchy of sin!
  • B - Believe that Jesus is God's own Son, and He died for you and me; was resurrected 3 days later to live in Heaven forever and give us eternal life by asking Him to come into our hearts and lives
  • C - Commit to God; start a growing lasting daily relationship with Him today!!  Start with 5-10 minutes in prayer and Bible reading.  He wants you to seek Him first in ALL things.
It is that SIMPLE!!!  Some people ask "Am I saved when I get baptized?"  The answer is "No!"  Baptism is just an outward presentation to the church family of your having already been saved.

Ask God to come into your heart, cleanse you of all of your sins, and commit to a daily relationship with Him.

The greatest gift in life is knowing where you and your loved ones will be when they die!  I had the opportunity to lead my own momma to Christ one year before she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.  She was saved in June 2013.  She was diagnosed on May 23, 2014 and died EXACTLY 9 months later this year on February 23, 2015.  I know she is in Heaven happy and healthy...and watching over me!

I will ALWAYS be thankful to God's prompting and my obedience to Christ for that opportunity.  God will open the door...we only need to step in!

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question...I am no expert, but I am in love with Christ.  He comes first in all I do and say, and I am more than happy to share with others so that they may know Him too!!

Many Blessings ya'll, 


A Journey through God's Will - Final Chapter

Saying it's the "final chapter" just means the final chapter here on Earth.  For us as Christians, we know it is never the final chapter til we see Jesus!

My mom got that chance yesterday at 8:23 a.m.  Her husband said he was holding her hand as she took her last breath, and a tear rolled down her cheek.  I will, forever, have that visual memory etched in my brain.

This journey through brain cancer ended with great suffering here on Earth.  My mom spent most of her last two weeks bedridden with little and then no food or water in her last days.  I had never experienced anyone having to be on a "morphine diet" before, and I pray I never have to do it again.

The trip she made to TX three weeks ago was my last visit with her.  I knew it would be, even though I still held out hope it wouldn't be.  She pulled every bit of strength she had to make the trip to see all her "people" one last time.  Once back home, she gave up and gave into her disease.  It did not take long for it to overcome her.

This is the last picture I want to remember of my momma.  It was the day she had visited three weeks ago, and we were on our way out so she could see our new home that is being built.  She was so happy!!  I have two pictures that I wish I never received once I saw them.  One was of her suffering in bed, and the other is of her lifeless body.  The first image and the fact of knowing of her suffering haunted my dreams and brought on a panic attack for the first time in over seven years.

I do not wish that kind of pain on anyone....EVER!!

I know people who have the same kind of brain tumor my mom had and have lived with it for years...surgery after surgery...treatment after treatment.  That was not the fate for my momma.  God needed her.

I will always be grateful for the grace God gave my momma and I in setting the stage to allow my obedience to bring her to Christ.  There is no better feeling than knowing that the ones you love are happy, healthy and whole in Heaven!!

What have I learned in this journey?  God is always there.  Through the hard times, the even harder times, the sad times, and the saddest of times when your loved one dies.  God is always putting us in places to grow and to become more like His image to others.

I have cried til there were no more tears coming out, and I know I will cry many more tears for her being gone, but the peace of knowing where she is and who she is with...brings me back into the light!!

I am working together with a friend to create something in her memory to honor her...to make what she endured not be in vain...and to give all the Glory to GOD!!  The proceeds of this will go to St. Jude Children's Hospital in her name.  We are from Memphis, TN and that hospital has a special place in our hearts.  My mom was a nurse, and she would be proud!

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts, prayers and more prayers!!  This journey will bring a non-believer to Christ, and when they meet my precious momma...they can thank her!

Sincerest blessings to ya'll, 


Oily Feet!!! One of the BEST places for your oils!!

I am offering up a "share" from a fantastic blog that has a ton of great info on all things #oily!!

Vita Flex Points chart tells you EXACTLY where to place your oils for maximum absorption and benefits!

Thank you www.penandpaintblog.com for sharing!! :)

Happy Friday ya'll,


A Journey through God's Will Part 2

So we have come to the part where my mom has emergency brain surgery.  Praise God, I had the funds available to fly up to TN to be there while she was in surgery and stay for the four (4) days she was in the hospital.  

We also praised God when she made it through that agonizing surgery!!  I have to share this part with you because seeing my mom after surgery more than shocked me!  It wasn't the large U-shaped cut over her ear...it was the fact that my mom seemed to age 15 years just having gone through that surgery!!  It was crazy, and it was scary!!

Waiting for news from specialty doctors seems to take FOREVER when your mom is in pain.  We "knew" it would be CANCER, but we still held out hope that God would change her fate.  He didn't!  I had stayed with my sister's boys and husband back at her house to kind of give everyone a hospital break the day after surgery, and my sister was there in the room when my mom got the news of cancer.  When I returned to the hospital, everyone "braced" me for the worst news...it was Grade 4, and it would kill her.  

When I got that news from my mom crying, I was sad because she was sad, but my faith knew we are all dying, and that she WAS going to Heaven!!  In that, I rejoiced!  I reminded her of who God was to her, that she was never alone in this, and she could fight and give the treatments a good run for their money!  Telling your mom to pray for God's will for HER life when SHE is the one fighting cancer is HARD!!  I wasn't going through what she had to go through grieving her life, playing back every regret, wishing she had done things better, gotten right with God sooner, etc.

All that truly mattered now was God had her!!  She is His, and He "never leaves or forsakes us" and His will is PERFECT!!

The journey we would walk alongside her in through the chemo and radiation took a toll on all of us.  She kept going with the treatments until the doctors told her they would no longer work.  The timeline of this was so freakishly fast!! Diagnosed in May after brain surgery, chemo and radiation begin one month later, 2 1/2 months of treatment...which leads us to where we will pick up next in Part 3.

I so appreciate you reliving this part of my journey with my sweet momma, praying for her and us, and knowing that our "warriors" are with us all the way!

Many Blessings,


A Journey through God's Will Part 1

Where do I start when I start talking about the past 8 months during this what seems like a lifetime of a journey!!??

My mom was healthy and doing her thing until May 24, 2014.  She had been at my cousin's home for two weeks taking care of her after breast cancer surgery. Cancer runs all through my mom's side of our family!  My mom had a terrible sinus upper respiratory infection while she was there, and her doctor would not call her in a prescription being in another town.  She felt awful!  She was tired, stressed and just plain worn out.  Come to find out, my mom had a mini stroke while she was at my cousin's home.  My mom is a nurse, so she called her doctor immediately and got an appt for the next day after returning home.  The doctor confirmed what my mom was thinking and ordered a CT Scan of her brain for that Thursday.  

The Wed. night before her CT Scan is a night I will never forget.  My daughter and I called my mom after church on our way home, and she asked me "are you alone?"  I replied, "no, Claire is with me."  She said in a strange voice I had never heard, "call me when you get home and you are alone."  Of course, my heart starts racing!!  I got home and got all of the kids bathed and tucked in and made the phone call that was so prevalent on my mind.  My mom spoke to me as if were going to be the last time we ever spoke during this conversation.  I cried and prayed with her for God's will, and boy, neither of us knew what was about to strike our family!!

This is my momma, 3 months after being diagnosed with a Grade 4 Gioblastoma on the right side of her brain.  

My mom went to get her CT Scan that Thursday and ended up being halo flighted to the hospital in Memphis, TN to have emergency brain surgery.

But the story does not end there....God is good, and He is faithful!! 

Visit back later this weekend, and I will share more of the hard but joyous story of this great woman...my momma!!

Many Blessings til then,


Recipes that really did not come from a "recipe"

Because my family has so many food allergies, I have to modify so many recipes to feed my family in a healthy way.

Me:  Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Egg
Clayton (my son): Nuts/Tree Nuts/Soy/Corn

It makes for a whole lotta home cookin...and a whole lotta trying to SIMPLIFY MY LIFE!!!

I wanted to have a place where I could share a lot of the foods we have tried, modified, and "tested" for full flavor and healthy clean eating...for the most part!!  It is hard to navigate the food allergies road...I am not gonna try to sugar coat it!!  I have been "allergy-free" now for 4 years and my son for almost 2 years.  It's great how God orchestrated my journey way before He orchestrated my sons...praise God for that daily!! "He will not give us more than we can handle" 

So here are a few "recipes" I have made that turned out to be AMAZING, and we will keep in our rotations :)  I say "recipes" lightly because I do not follow recipes...unless they are from "The Pioneer Woman" because I love her...but even then, I have to modify!!  You will see as you read why I say that word so lightly...lol  I play with flavor combinations and make my own recipes...they 99.9% of the time work out great!!

Last night, I made...

Tortellini Kale Soup
2 cans dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of sliced carrots
1 carton of low-sodium organic chicken stock
1 tube of gluten free Italian breakfast sausage
2 huge scoops of Contespasta chicken tortellini (found at HEB Plus) or order online www.contespasta.com
2 huge handfuls of fresh Kale
2 cups of hot water
1 large can of crushed tomatoes w Roasted Garlic
Dried sweet Basil
Sea salt and Pepper to taste

This is how SIMPLE it was!
In one pot, cook the breakfast sausage til done.  Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for 10 mins.  Dump in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 30 mins...DONE!! I told you it was SIMPLE!!
It was sooooo good...we are having leftovers tonight!!  I bet it is even better the 2nd day :)

Another "recipe" I wanted to share because it is so hard to find a good Allergy-free flour that holds up in cookies, muffins, etc. is my 

Pumpkin Muffins
2 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend www.namastefoods.com (Sprouts has it too)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can of organic pumpkin (not pie filling)
Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves to preference
Mix all these ingredients together and put into greased muffin cups...Bake at 350 degrees til golden brown and toothpick tested clean...DONE and YUMMO!!!!

These are just two of the super simple "recipes" we have tasted and approved of 100%....ENJOY!!

Keep checking back for more yummy recipes and leave a comment if you feel led.

Many blessings,


In order to grow...we MUST remember where God brought us from, and seek where He is leading us to

Titus 3:3 says, "Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient.  We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures.  Our lives were full of evil and envy.  We hated others, and they hated us." (NLT)

I started this blog for many reasons, but the main one that kept coming back to me during my prayer and quiet time with God, was to share my journey to encourage others that may be in the place where I have been or empower someone to seek God's truth for their lives.

Titus 3:3 explains a lot about who I once was not so long ago.  A person filled and fueled with anger and resentment from my childhood and parents.  I lived with so much anger and the questions of "why did I get abused and unloved and forgotten when I was so good?"  It did not matter that I made straight A's, never smoked, didn't do drugs, walked the good girl line....NONE of that mattered.  The the long list of people who hurt me after that....and so on and so on grew and grew.  There are MANY things I have chosen in my life because my heart was filled with evil and not God.  It took me a very long time to learn that I could let all of it go, and surrender it all to God...and how FREEING that would be!  God gives you exactly what you need exactly when you need it!!  My "hurt others before they hurt me" mentality took me all kinds of places in the name of "independence".  It was me against the world.  Now it is, God helping me to serve others and love them even when they don't deserve it.

I spent years looking for love in all the wrong places (yes, that's a sad country song), but I am so glad I do not live in that place anymore.  The issues that Satan would love for us to cling to like distrust, abandonment, etc. can't breathe and hold true with God ruling your life.  Do I still have times, when the comfortable past where I used to hold onto so tightly, come back...oh yes!!...but I am quickly brought back to whom I belong, who created me, who was born for me, and who died and was resurrected for ME!!  And He did that for YOU TOO!!

People cannot give you what God can give you!!  Let me say that again, "People cannot give you what God gives you!"  People will let you down, disappoint you, and cause you grief.  Remembering that God made them and loves them too is very hard for me at times and in certain situations in my life...but it's the key to my happiness.  You cannot find true love, peace, kindness, faithfulness etc. in any human being.  Do we know people with these qualities??? SURE!!  I am not saying people can't be those things at times in your life, but merely that, God is that for you ALL the time....NO MATTER WHAT!!!

Titus 3:4-7 follows with "But"...it is sooooo good when God says it!! "But then our God our Savior showed us his kindness and love.  He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy."  That was perfect to my ears, but it took me a long time to believe that being a "good girl" didn't matter to my Salvation.  The verse keeps going.  "He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.  He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did.  He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness.  And now we know that we will inherit eternal life."  Verse 8 says, "These things I have told you are all true.  I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time.  These things are good and beneficial to everyone."

How many people are in your life can you count that you KNOW that they are always truthful to you for YOUR benefit???

I want to encourage you to allow God to help you find someone to put into your life that will be what we in our women's Bible Study call "your shoulder shaker".  Someone who will point you back to God's truth when we ourselves cannot see it!!  Seek a Bible Study that will cause you to grow closer to Him, read more of His word and cause you to GROW in your relationship with your EVERYTHING!!

I pray this blog shows you how in love I am with God, and how much I want to share what He has done for me...and can do for you!! Leave me a comment with your email for weekly encouragement from a great listener!!!  You can always "subscribe" and get these posts directly to your email as well.

Many Blessings,


New Year's has it's UPS and DOWNS...

As the New Year's resolutions start piling up, and we start to think about what we want 2015 to look like or feel like...here at our home...we have begun what I am praying will be a lifestyle change!!

So, yes, this has begun today in our home.  To some of us with food allergies who eat clean and healthy 99.5% of the time...it's no big deal.  But the other 1/2 of the house begged to differ!!  

We each embraced this challenge with cleaning out "our shelves" in the pantry.  Here is the tally:
Mine: Zero
Claire: 3
Tom (the hubby): 30+ items and I am being NICE 
We did not want to trash it if it hadn't been opened so I came up with a solution...hubby, take it to your work's break room!! It will be gone in less than a day, and the break room is very far from his office :) I try to be a thoughtful wife...really!!

Breakfast was eggs, sausage, and honey crisp apples sliced...YUMMO
Lunch was Panko crusted fish sticks and some applesauce
Dinner will be Marinated Lemon Vinaigrette Chicken Breast on top of Spinach Salad...but this challenge is MORE than just a challenge!!  I need those that I love MOST to learn something....as a teacher and life-learner, I cannot help it!

So......I made them a Black Bean Chocolate Cake!!  It has no flour, no sugar, and uses only UNsweetened cocoa for the chocolate flavor...they won't know what hit them!! I know the "rules" say no cake or chocolate, but I am trying to make a point here with healthy cake made with unsweetened cocoa.

The lesson is:
God gave us a body to treat as "his temple".  We are sinners and imperfect, of course, but as we know better, we need to do better.  I want my family who hasn't been on a clean eating food allergy lifestyle change like the other 1/2 of us for years now to learn that healthy = yummy...SIMPLE right!!!???

Here is the link to the recipe...I did NOT make the frosting by the way.  I have always been a cake with no frosting kinda gal anyway...birthday parties were interesting as a kid. "How come your cake has frosting only on half of it?"  Yep, that's me!!

Make this for your family...and hear the "what's" and "wow's" and "mom you're the bestest cooker ever's"  My sweet 13 yr old. boy still says that at almost every meal...and I cherish it!!!

Happy New Year ya'll,