Monday, December 28, 2015

A Cracked Pot With A Crock Pot - Orange Chicken

Well I must be crazy. (I am a cracked pot after all - 2 Corinthians 4:7 - look it up!) I am known for my baking, but to be honest if I don't see another cookie for a long long time, I'll be ok. Really. It's hard to be in the health and wellness business and only be showing pictures of powdered sugar and chocolate chips. This holiday season was absolutely wonderful, and I believe I made a lot of people smile with my baked goods. My son says, all those people are going to need to participate in our Shake Off The Holiday Pounds Challenge now. (Including myself!). (If you're interested...let me know...we have an incredible plant based shake..and we're offering a $250 reward for the winner.)

I own my own health and wellness business. That's right...I really push fruits and veggies. Juice Plus! You can check it out my website here!

For 2016, I'm not only going to get back on track with my diet/exercise/health, I'm going to try to expand my talent to helping my husband make dinner....he's a busy guy too.

I'm a wife & homeschool mom (my first job), a business owner, a football mom, a piano mom, a youth group mom....(these are just the wife/mom things I do...we won't go into Bible studies, preschool teaching, church attendance....) SO I need to organize my meal times a bit better. I will be out 4 out of 7 nights at least. It is so easy to get caught in the trap of "grabbing a bite" because we're in a rush. When we do this we sacrifice two and nutrition. I can't afford to sacrifice either of those on the altar of "stop at the store and pick up XY so we can have a quick pasta meal" or whatever. NOPE! Not gonna do it.

SO for 2016 my goal is to make at least one crock pot meal a week....and try to keep it healthy"ish" and delicious enough to please the palates of my people! I will most likely start blogging it in my kitchen blog. Krypton's Kitchen. So stay tuned.

For today I will share what I made right here. It was a show stopper! I had to adjust the original recipe for a family of 5 (4 of them men...3 of them going through puberty)

Orange Chicken
2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup of Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce
1 cup of Smucker's Orange Marmalade
2 Tbsp. of soy sauce

Brown rice

Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours. (That's it, you don't have to do anything else - no seasoning, no nothing. I'm serious! Mind blowing!!!)

After 3 hours take chicken out (drain the juice) and cut into cubes (I tried, it didn't work, it shredded - we loved it that way).

Place back into crock pot.

Mix together the barbecue sauce, marmalade and soy sauce and pour over the chicken and continue to cook on high for 30 minutes. 

I took that time to make some brown rice and broccoli. 

All done! According to My Fitness Pal app, this meal was 255 calories per serving (not including the rice and broccoli.) Not bad. (Little high on the sugar per serving - so if this is a problem this might not be good, but very low in fat).

It was delicious. The orange aroma spread through my home and it called to my people. Really! (Useless fact: The scent of orange makes people want to spend money. - that's what I read once - I don't think it works). :)

Well, I'll be looking for next week's crock pot meal and I'm willing to share if you're willing to read. See you next time in the Kitchen (Krypton's Kitchen).

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Private Pain

I cannot believe it has been 3 years since I wrote the light hearted What Do You Call An Old Chicken. This was the absolute beginning of my journey. My journey to....

I'm presently still camped in the long stretch of Peri-Menopause. That is a real thing. Google it. I'm updating for two reasons; one, because it helps me to do some research and to write when I'm experiencing something and two, because I believe I have a voice (albeit a small one) and if I can help anyone else who is suffering from makes everything worth it.

Suffering. I don't want to be heavy, but this is actually more serious than you may think. Well it has been for me.  Three years ago when I was first diagnosed with classic symptomatic perimenopause, I had only a handful of symptoms. 

Let's say I presently have 8-9 from the left column and all 7 from the right plus a few others like (irregular heartbeat, and a sense of being overwhelmingly overwhelmed.)

These are so fun. You feel like you are on fire on the inside of your body and then it just oozes out of your pores. Best when it happens in the middle of the night and you wake up with the fan blowing your soaking wet self, sheets and pillows. 
For me the physical symptoms are not as bad as the emotional ones. To sum it up, I have cried/sobbed hard close to 3-4 times a week since September. I've run away 3 times (not getting very far), I have felt like my life was falling apart at the seams. I have kept this all inside for the most part. I have a couple friends who really know what I'm going through (and they have either gone through it or are experiencing some similar symptoms). I've confided in my husband...although it wouldn't surprise me if he recognized my symptoms before me.

Is this the same lady that wakes up in the morning, spends her time with the Lord, journals her prayers and believes God with supernatural faith? YES! One in the same. 

So that I'm not depressing you, I should put out there that I have serious thyroid issues too. When I was giving birth to my twins I lost over half of my body's blood, putting me into a coma for 4 days. I had 8 blood transfusions to help save my life. With those transfusions I inherited an antibody that ate my thyroid. I've been on medication since. Sadly, my numbers are so crazy out of whack..I'm sure this is just exacerbating the perimenopausal issue, so perhaps your journey will not look as bleak as mine.
Just look at how long that blue box is. We have to get through all of this first.

Ladies and gentlemen (if any read this) we need to be aware that when we are feeling this way (or when your wives are feeling this way) it is fertile ground for the enemy to attack. 

My husband told me that that's just what the enemy wants. He wants me to be alone like a wounded gazelle so he can devour me. I have totally felt alone and wounded...totally (but the toothless lion has yet to devour me - I'm thinking He despises the taste of the blood of Jesus - praise God!)

The truth is this is very private pain. I think its so private because we feel like we're going crazy and we don't want anyone to know it. SO if and when we can, (and that's a big if/when) we put on our happy face, suck it up and muddle through until we can get alone and cry again. I know it sound pathetic, believe me it feels pathetic, but it is really very real. 

SO now what? Well for me, I have options. I can go the medication route...and I have tried some of that. We can eat right, exercise and continue to stay on our face in prayer. I think it is important to remember some key things when we're in the middle of this. OK here is the part that I call therapy, the reason I'm writing this is first for myself remember. I don't have this mastered, I just got back from running away for 4 hours to the river first and then to a friend's house (today) where she promptly, prayed with me, then called an endocrinologist and an OBGYN.  SO I'm writing this for myself, and if you happen to be reading and need to be's for you too.

Encouragement #1 - although as you can see from the graph above, this process can take YEARS, but it will eventually end. My closest friends tell me - it is actually quiet wonderful when it does.

#2 - Because we are children of God, we can take comfort in the knowledge that it is who we are the inside that matters to Him. (Prov. 31:30) We shouldn't fear the aging process. 

#3 - We have the assurance that God's grace is sufficient to get us through whatever life throws at us. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2nd Corinthians 12:9

#4 - God will never leave us or forsake us! (Heb. 13:5)

#5 - Let's remember when we are feeling like we are unravelling - we need more than ever to take all of those anxieties to the Lord in prayer, seeking His wisdom and strength in order to overcome. (1 Peter 5:7)

#6 - If we're married, we should confide in our husband and communicate as best we can why we might be behaving erratically or why we suddenly cannot cope anymore. Listen, after 25 years of marriage as much as I don't like to accept the reality of it, husband's are NOT mind readers. God has the perfect design for marriage - and so if you are married, review that design in Eph. 5:25 and adhere as closely as possible to that.

#7 - If peace of mind is what you're after (and trust me we are) Philippians 4:6-7 says it best "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

#8 - Approach the throne with confidence and as often as needed! (Heb. 4:16)

#9 - Make Him your dwelling place, your refuge and He will command His angels concerning you... (Psalm 91:9-11) Running away to the river can help sometimes and/or to a friends house (I did both of these today), but be sure that your friend runs to the cross with you...because that is where I always find peace. 

Do we have to suffer in private pain? NO Do I sometimes still? YES However, I'm encouraged just by writing these scriptures down, because His Word is alive and active in me and it is TRUTH!! And we all know the truth sets us FREE!  Write down those scriptures ladies! And remember to bear with those who may be suffering in private pain - pray for them, don't be too hard on them, it will pass.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Remember with Peace Not Pain

October is an awareness month. We have Breast Cancer Awareness and Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness going on this month. I thought about it last night as I was lying in bed. When I lost my babies, there was no awareness month, yet I and those who walked that journey with me were aware every day...of every month. I'm glad there are awareness months. I have a son on the autism spectrum, I love to help educate others during Autism awareness month. Losing a pregnancy or a child, there is so much private pain, and it is so incredibly individual. To hear my story of the loss of my babies, I wrote a piece a few years ago called There is a Time For Everything. I hope you find hope and comfort in my experience and my words.

I love how many people I know have memorialized their babies in different ways. Some people have pictures, some have paintings, some have baby blankets, many have named their unborn children.... Not that we would ever forget, but there is something that happens in our hearts when we look at whatever it is that we have as a memorial. Something so endearing that it is almost impossible to find the words. You have to trust me on this.

My memorial of the loss of my 14 babies is this jar. This is a special jar, given to me by a special lady in my life after I lost my first two babies. Sadly, it is cracked and very delicate - yet it has endured the past 20+ years. In this jar are little shells, each shell representing one of my babies that now reside in Heaven. Interestingly enough, I can look at each one and remember the first 2 that I put in this jar so vividly. I actually remember placing each one in the jar, but for sure I remember what the first two look like. This jar is so special because at the top of it is a magnifying glass, so when you look into the jar, you can see the details of each shell, the uniqueness of each one. I think to myself, each of my babies were so unique, I'm sure so different in many ways, but as I look in the jar I know that my love for every single one is the same - so deep, so sincere, so emotional.

Do I look upon this with sadness each time. No. It is not because I am presently raising 3 teenage boys right here on earth. I know this because throughout the 10 years that I lost these children to Heaven, I had to slowly fill the jar and I remember being comforted by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." Psalm 34 (indeed He was). "There is a season for every activity under the Heavens, a time to be born and a time to die..."  Ecc. 3 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 4:11 

I know my babies were created for His Glory (Rev. 4:11). I find great comfort in knowing that one day, I have a very LARGE family, one day my children will meet me, one day when I go home they will know me and recognize the love that I have for each of them. 

My journey of infertility and loss was long, but it was a time that the Lord did an amazing work in me. Oh I remember how patient and loving He was towards me. When I cried, screamed, got angry, hurt, envious...times when I would soak my pillow with my tears...He was there to remind me of His love. He spoke words to me and comforted my soul. There really are never words anyone can every speak that can comfort you the way the Lord can. I count myself blessed and honored to have carried these little ones for as long as the Lord allowed. 

If you've read this and you know someone who has been in this place of loss...pray for them, send them a card, give them a hug. Trust me when I tell you, it doesn't matter if it is 3 days ago, 1 year or 20+, never fear that you are going to remind us...we've not forgotten. 

If you are someone who has lost a baby, a child, or a pregnancy...take time to feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Let Him wrap His arms around you. There is no time limit on grief...but be aware of the Love of Jesus as He hold's you in His arms. Give Him access to your heart so He can begin the healing process.  We tend to want to hold our hand over our wounds don't we? We don't want to expose them to anyone, for fear of the pain. I can tell you, if you let go of those wounds and let the Healer do His thing...He doesn't put a bandaid on it...He heals the wound completely. Don't worry, you will not forget, but you will remember with peace and not pain. I promise. ♥

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just a Small Jar of Oil

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I - Psalms 61:2

Overwhelmed? I've been studying 2 Kings and I love, absolutely love Elisha. He has taught me so much. As I'm in my 4th week of homeschooling my superheros, perhaps it is my theory of education of homeschooling that gets in my way sometimes, but I have a 7th, 8th and 9th grader now. I'm running a household, running a business, serving at church, keeping up with relationships, trying to stay can be overwhelming. (could be why I've not written in a while) :)

I was walking with a friend this morning and we agreed that everyone has issues in their lives that can easily bring them down. It's how we deal with those issues, how we look at our situation, what we focus on.

Whatever stage of life we are in, there are moments when we feel like we are faced with too many responsibilities facing us at every turn, or like we've run out of options and we're doing life on empty. I imagine that is how the lady in 2 Kings 4 felt. With her husband's death, she was in terrible financial trouble. When you think your financial problems are bad, read about this woman, it puts it in perspective. She was desperate, in fear of losing everything she had including her boys - to creditors.

We know the story. She asks Elisha for help, and he asked her what she had to work with and she said nothing! Just this small jar of oil.

Wow! Can you relate? Have you ever been in that place where you don't think you have enough, you feel desperation in your gut...what happens? We tend to focus only on our limitations don't we?

God sees our situations much differently than we do. I promise you, I serve a God that specializes in doing a lot with a little! 

God took one jar of oil and multiplied it so the widow cold pay her debts.

I just felt like someone needed to be encouraged this morning. When you feel like you've run out of options, or you are drowning and feel there is no way out,...remember you have all God needs. He's given you everything you need. Practice gratitude for those things in life that you do totally changes our focus.  It's outrageous faith that Elisah teaches us! I want outrageous faith - I've got all I need and that's all God needs to do miraculous things in my life! Take a moment and write down what you have, what is your small jar of oil? That's all He needs.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Defeated...I Think Not!

I want to say thank you to my friend Monica -  she is an inspiration. Visit her here! She missed me, needed to catch up, wanted to know what's going on in my life - she and I met in this virtual world of blogging years ago - I consider her my sister and love her dearly. It blessed me that she missed me.

I'm going to be very transparent (when am I NOT transparent?). I say this only because it feels like I'm about to undress in front of you and it is "awkward" to say the least. However, I know I need to do this, because getting vulnerable and being authentic is what ministers most to others.  So, lets catch up a bit.

I am still homeschooling all three of my middle schoolers (6th, 7th, 8th graders). I am attending a new church (well not so new, I may have mentioned that in the past year and a half), teaching preschool Sunday school once a month (pick that jaw up off the floor...I am a new creation). I am hosting my first "Fill My Cup" girlfriend gathering at a local coffee house this week, I am a Sales Coordinator with the most amazing company ever - Juice Plus. I've been privileged to see results in my own life, the lives of my family and so many others. God is totally using whole food nutrition to minister to the health and wellness of many. I'm so close to Senior Sales - May is a very big month for me. I've been spending time helping my team grow.  I've been teaching writing at our Homeschool Co-op, getting ready for our big promotion day this Saturday. Running the Mom taxi to tennis, piano, allergy shots, youth group once a week (all different days). Working on raising money for all 3 of my boys to go to camp this summer. Trying to be that cool Mom who loves to watch Marvel with my man group. Yes, I'm still going through peri-menopause...ready for that to move on. :) I group once a week with my accountability group and am presently studying the book of Psalms with another group of amazing ladies. Love going to church on Saturday nights now that we've added that additional service. I'm going through a little mourning because I'm having to say goodbye to a little ray of sunshine in my life as she goes on an incredible adventure with her precious family for a year plus.  I'm trying to be the best friend, wife, Mom, coach, servant that I can possibly be. That's my nutshell.

With that said, today was a rough day. I am thankful for the friends who speak truth in my life. I think sometimes when I get overwhelmed with all the hats I'm wearing I feel paralyzed. I love my hats. Really, I love every single one of those hats...a lot! I've done some serious evaluating of my "crystal balls" and my "bouncy balls" or my hats whatever you want to call them.  I feel like I've placed my hats in proper triage, but today I had a meltdown.

I woke up this morning on fire! I've been declaring out loud who I am in Christ. My pastor is preaching a great sermon series. "I AM COMPLETE! In Christ I have everything I need to live a full life!" Yes, every my Psalms and make my declarations. What happened today? Does it have to do with my many hats? Here is my theory.

It is May. Every homeschool Mom I've ever known says things like..."Gosh, did we do enough this year?" We are WAY harder on ourselves than I ever was when I was a public school teacher with a class of 23 high schoolers). Truth! So in my "fear" I let the enemy get a little foothold. Suddenly, things were not going as I had planned. There was a bit of nit picking going on, some buttons being pushed - I gently warned if the buttons were continually being pushed the nuclear bomb that the boy holds will eventually erupt and that will just not be pretty. Oh but, lets admit it, when you were 11, it was kind of fun to see just how far we could go before the explosion. It's kind of excited...for the one child, for the other....not so much. Well, it wasn't exactly Chernobyl, but by my reaction, it might has well been. What happened to me. I lost it. Suddenly I was appalled by my own behavior and then I started to fall apart.

Lies. Oh the enemy loves to whisper lies. My weakened state from wearing my many hats may have something to do with my meltdown over something so silly. I'm just being real here. I entertained those lies and I said things. "I can't do this...." "I'm not good at this!"  "I'm not going to reach my goals", "I feel like I'm doing all of this on my own." "I feel like scrap metal put out to the curb!" YES I said these things. The very same woman who declared "I AM COMPLETE!" just 5 hours before...said these things. The words were flying out of my mouth and being echoed in my ears. I seriously could not recover. I know the power of words!  When I tell you that I cried...I mean...I haven't cried this hard in a LONG TIME! Seriously, people are going through very difficult things (I've been through more difficult times) but I couldn't recover. In the midst of my tears...I am saying..."NO weapon formed against me shall prosper!" It was like the enemy heard that and was laughing and just shot a little dart my way (I mean it could have been on of those little orange rubber darts) and I just couldn't get up off the ground! UGH! Pitiful right?!

OK. End this pitiful story right? I ran to a friend. I cried on her shoulder. I got back in my car with swollen eyes, told the devil he's a liar and reclaimed my authority! NO MORE! ENOUGH!

Listen, when we criticize and condemn ourselves, we side with the enemy of our hearts. GOD IS FOR US! WE ARE MORE than CONQUERORS! I AM an OVERCOMER!

It happens folks. Even when we read our Bible, even when we wake up with declarations on our tongues - we can get beaten down. I just needed to run back to His feet! I am all about speaking life. Ask my kids! They recognize immediately when they hear someone speaking death! There is so much power in the tongue.

That top picture. Baloney! Rubbish! Well, we can do it - just not alone! We can do ALL things through Christ!! When the hats get to be too much, when we feel overwhelmed or paralyzed, that is not the time to start "taking the wheel", start controling even more imporant to LET God handle it, let Him be in charge!

Defeated....I think not! You, Me, WE ARE OVERCOMERS! WE ARE VICTORIOUS! Thank you Lord for your GRACE! Yes and Amen!

Friday, April 3, 2015

From A Virgin's Womb To An Empty Tomb

I haven't been writing as often as I like. I journal, I use to journal here, but for some reason haven't lately. Perhaps because my children are getting older and they enjoy their privacy...I have to be more creative if I'm writing about my superheros now.

I reflect on my Jesus once again this morning. This week, my study group and my family are all reading Luke 20-24. It's Holy Week after all. I've contemplated allowing my children to watch the Passion of the Christ (haven't decided yet). They are teens now, I think they could handle it...parenting wisdom...always one of the top requests in my prayer time.

I was writing my morning "nugget" on Facebook this morning and I thought about what I had written last Easter. The story of how my Jesus and my Mother both sacrificed for me. Differently, but a sacrifice nonetheless. The link to that story is : They Took My Place.

So much love from the Father. In years past I know I've cried over the sacrifice of Jesus, the pain that He suffered, for me, so that I might enjoy everlasting life. This year once again, I meditate on this story of Cross and concentrate on His Love. His amazing Love! The fact that He came as a baby. He left Heaven and put Himself in a tiny shell, walked this earth...sinless! Suffered incomprehensible persecution and pain...all because He loves me.

Wow! I've been saved for over 36 years and it still overwhelms me. I think about our moments - Jesus and I. The moments we've had, quiet times in my chair, before the sun rises. The intimate times where I could almost physically feel His presence. Times when I know He rocked me to sleep, or caught every tear. Times when my spirit knows He was speaking to me. Whispers of love, gentle correction or even laughter. My Jesus....I am really always on His mind.

Do you feel that way too? I wonder? Is your relationship the kind that you can reflect and recall moments, special moments between just you and He? I can say, to some extent I really do understand His comment..."I AM". He is! He is everything to me. I don't always do this journey correctly. Many days I wish I can do a do over. But His Grace...demonstrates His moves me, it woos me.

Thank you just doesn't seem to fit the emotion that goes along with the words. It will have to do. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to be born in a manger, where animals slept and ate; To walk and work this land before me; to walk the Via Dolorosa bearing a cross that was meant for me. Thank you my Jesus...thank you. I love you too.