Saturday, May 28, 2011

Making a Morning

bam, bam ... bam, bam, bam, bam, bam ... bam ... bam, bam, bam

The noise slowly fills my consciousness -- it's already filled my room.  What is that?

I rub my eyes and look at the clock - 5:51 AM.  Sounds like ... hammering.  Who is hammering something outside at 6 o'clock in the morning?  On Saturday?

Rick is usually a lighter sleeper than me, but he's still sleeping.  I go look through the closed windows for the source of the sound. I stand on my tiptoes trying to see the neighbor's backyard through the branches of the trees that sit between us. And I wonder, should I see someone hammering, will I walk out there and say something about poor timing? I'm not very confrontational that way.

bam, bam, bam bam, bam ... bam ... bam, bam

I wake Rick with my movement at the window that lets in some light. "What's that noise, Rick? It sounds like  someone is hammering -- at 6 o'clock in the morning! I hope it doesn't wake the kids." Rick listens then announces confidently, "It's a woodpecker." Anticipating my response he adds, "You can't stop him."  With that Rick goes back to sleep.

I'm already out of bed.  So I decide to watch the sun fill the sky.


As it did, the woodpecker left for a far away tree. And I opened my Streams in the Desert devotional.  The first part of today's entry:

May 28

The Lord's Times

"Thou makest the outgoing of the morning and evening to rejoice" (Psalm 65:8).

Get up early and go to the mountain and watch God make a morning. The dull gray will give way as God pushes the sun towards the horizon, and there will be tints and hues of every shade, that will blend into one perfect light as the full-orbed sun bursts into view. As the King of day moves forth majestically, flooding the earth and every lowly vale, listen to the music of heaven's choir as it sings of the majesty of God and the glory of the morning."

In the holy hush of the early dawn
I hear a Voice
"I am with you all the day,
Rejoice! Rejoice!"

I'm suddenly thankful for the woodpecker that called me out of bed to watch God make a morning.
And feeing certain it's going to be a good day.

PS. The WINNER of this week's giveaway of His Revolutionary Love is Christina Mathis.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Revolution of Love

This is me with my daughter Alaina.

In the dedication of my book It's No Secret I wrote: "For my daughter Alaina. My love for you fuels my pursuit of these "secrets" to godly womanhood. Don't reject them just because Mom wrote them."

It's no small challenge to guide a daughter into the truths she needs to know.  Every day when I look at her, I feel the weight of that responsibility.  Therefore, I'm thankful for my friend Lynn Cowell - her blogs and her new book His Revolutionary Love are helping me to raise a confident teen.  I asked Lynn to guest post and share from her heart about this topic and she agreed.  She even agreed to give away a copy of her new book - so read on and then comment by midnight Thursday to enter!

So, take it away, Lynn! ...

How would your life have been different if you had been a confident teen? Would it have empowered you to make wise choices?

I was blessed enough to have a mother, youth pastor and older sister who all poured into me the truth of my identity: that I was a daughter of the King of the Universe. After high school, God blessed me with some women just a few years older than me, but light years ahead of me in their faith. The consistently taught me that Jesus was crazy about me and could fill every love gap I had in my heart. The confidence that this truth instilled in me gave me the confidence to say no to drinking, drugs and guys. It gave me the confidence to purpose God’s purpose for my life and begin to walk in His calling for me right out of high school.

Confidence is a major factor in young people when it comes to the paths they choose. Those craving acceptance, approval and affirmation to an unhealthy degree find themselves trapped. Caught between what they know is right and what they believe will win friends, they find themselves confused. They are uncomfortable, miserable even, but they don’t know how to navigate themselves back to what they were made for.

The amazing women in my life revealed to me some passages in God’s word that I needed at just the right time. I had never seen some of these truths before, it were as though I was slipped hidden love notes from Jesus. The truth that Jesus was wild for me (Psalm 45:11), that He saw no flaw in me (Song of Songs 4:7) and that He actually enjoyed me (Zephaniah 3:17) transformed the way I saw myself.


Do you want your daughters, nieces and granddaughters to be filled with a confidence that is true and can stand the pressure of this world? “Girl power” just doesn’t hold up; it can only take our daughters (and us) so far. True confidence only comes from one source: knowing who we are. Only a foundation built on unconditional love will provide that.

Do you see a girl struggling with low self-image? Can you read in her eyes, “Won’t someone love me the way I am?” She needs to know when Jesus looks at her, He is not disappointed in her. She needs to know that love from a guy, be it a dad or a boyfriend, can never fill the love gap in our hearts…but He can.

Maybe you’ve thought about investing in a young girl, but you don’t know how. On my website I am offering a free leadership guide for my book “His Revolutionary Love”, a study for girls ages 13 - 17. Filled with practical how-to’s and thought provoking questions, this guide provides every step you need to do just that.

What young woman can you begin to pour truth into? Ask Jesus to show you one girl that you can make a difference in; one girl that you can begin to change the world through.

Let’s start a love revolution! A radical movement to spread the truth of real love!

I am happy today to give away a signed copy of “His Revolutionary Love.” To enter simply share what truth - divine or practical - you wish someone had told you when you were a teen.

~ Lynn Cowell

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hedges, Heat and a Winner

This weekend Rick and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Actually, Rick wound up multiple dance recitals that day for a friend who owns a studio. And I spent much of the afternoon at another friend's birthday party.  But we went out together for a romantic candlelit dinner. And he gave me an electric hedge trimmer.

Yes, you read that right. From Home Depot. Apparently year 18 is lawn and garden power tools.

Now before you get upset for me, this is actually something I asked for. The azalea bushes in my yard were past the point of threatening to take over; they were in charge. I was more than ready to reclaim my dominion.

A couple summers ago I borrowed a neighbor's power hedger and loved using it. With a wave of this electric wand I can bring a shrub to its knees.  OH the power!  (Insert a Tim the Tool Man Taylor-like grunt here.) So I was happy with my hubby and my hedge trimmer gift. Besides, I can always bedazzle it.

I'd show you before & after pics of the azaleas, only I'm not at home to take any. Our A/C picked the week it's going to hit the 90s to run out of freon. In the words of Jane Austin, "What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."

So I'm hanging out in the air conditioned cafe of a bookstore today. Which is a dangerous place for me to be hopped up on caffeine with a debit card and hours to kill. Somebody come talk me out of buying these books.

I was suppose to make a new fritatta recipe tonight to post tomorrow but I don't think that is going to happen in this heat. Instead I'll make my favorite thing for dinner - reservations.  It can be anniversary part two ... maybe I'll get some flowers this time around.  And when they die I'll mow them down with my shiny new orange and black hedge trimmer.

THE WINNER of this weekend's giveaway is commenter #36 - Julie Spearing.  Congrats Julie.  I'll mail the book to you, and I apologize in advance if it smells a little "inelegant."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Will I Conform?

I may have been complaining just a little in today's devotion, "Because He Said So," about my daughter's tendency to question things. Particularly the things I tell her to do.  Truth is, she's a lot like me. That's probably why she pushes my buttons.

I imagine there will be a point in her future when she turns to her best friend or husband and declares, "OH NO, I'm turning into my mother!"  Heaven help her, she's close already. But I don't tell her that - it would crush her. Instead I hug her and tell her, "You belong to me."

In recent weeks I've been given a personality profile, and a learning style assessment. It confirms that I lean heavily towards extroversion, and towards non-conformity. No wonder "blind" submission just because God says so doesn't always come easily to me.  But, my desire to please God is strong. So my mission is to obey the biblical commands, whether I understand them or not.

And I've never regretted a time that I did.

If you have a few minutes, go take this online personality assessment.  Then report back in the comments here which one it says you are. You can read the explantions of temperment and tell me if you think that is accurate, or if submission to authority or protocol comes easy to you.  (I know it's not exactly easy for anyone - just relatively speaking.)

Then, you'll be entered to win a signed copy of It's No Secret.

And if you're wondering, I'm an ENFP based on this test.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Potato & Zukes Fritatta

You say "po-tay-to," I say "pot-ahh-to."  Actually, I say "po-tay-to freet-TAH-da."
(Note: to get on the same page with me here, see this post.)

So here's the fritatta recipe I made up this week.  I loved this one!  I knew I wanted to use potato but I didn't know what I'd put with it. As soon as I saw these onions at the food co-op, inspiration struck.  It's crazy how exited I was over these onions, y'all.  The checkout girl and I even had a conversation about how beautiful they were. I think she and I could be friends.

I bought the onions, a small zucchini, and some eggs.  I already had a bag of Simply Potatoes and the cheeses in the fridge. I pulled out my How to Cook Without a Book book and used their fritatta base recipe as a guide. (Has anyone told them that technically this is not cooking without a book?) Here's what I did: 

Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a warm skillet.  Add a 1/2 cup or so of the diced potatoes. Add a 1/4 a cup or so of chopped onion. Add a tablespoon of water.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Cover and let "steam" a few minutes. Lift lid and stir, adding an entire small zucchini sliced into thin rounds. Cover again for a few minutes.  Then lift lid and saute until the potatoes and onions are golden-browned and the zucchini is cooked through.

Meanwhile, whisk 8 eggs together in a bowl. 

That's the reflection of my pendant lights, not shell.

Add 1/2 a container of Philly Cooking Creme.  Add a handful of grated Parmesan cheese (maybe 3 T). Add 1 medium garlic clove, well crushed. Sprinkle with black pepper and a tad of salt (note: there is already salt in the cooking creme). Add a few fresh basil leaves, chopped. I grow basil in my kitchen window.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet.  Reduce the heat and cook until the edges are set. *If you cook it at too high a temperature the bottom will get overdone and tough before the sides have set. Ideally the bottom will turn out something like this when you're done - set and golden but not brown.

I know that's not the most appetizing view but, trust me, if you let the bottom get too browned the texture and taste is negatively affected.

Once the sides have set, cover it with 1/2 cup shredded cheese - I used mozzarella this time - and sprinkle a little more grated Parmesan on top. Then pop it in the oven under the broiler for 2 or 3 minutes. Until lightly browned and slightly puffed up.

I served this with crescent rolls, a fresh sliced tomato and an apple salad on the back patio. I really liked the combination of onion, garlic, potato and zucchini.  It definitely had a savory flavor.  I could serve it for breakfast or brunch, but I think this one makes a nice light dinner fritatta.


I decided with this one that I'm getting pretty good at making (up) fritattas. To my surprise, my daughter said "Yay, fritatta and crescent rolls" when she walked in the kitchen.  I wondered if my family would get sick of fritattas this month but so far so good - she's my most demanding customer in the kitchen. The boys around here will eat most anything. Lucky for me - especially all those years I had no clue how to cook. With or without a book.

(linked with

Monday, May 16, 2011

The fate of the library

I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Until I was ten, my house sat in the middle of a small neighborhood atop a large hill. We called it a hill, but the people here in my beach town might just call it a small mountain. There was one road up it - the kind that makes you feel you might not make it as you lean heavy on the gas to power the car up.

On the other side of that hill, down below it, sat our public library. As mentioned there was no road down the other side to get to that library, only a mildly worn dirt path with a wall of trees on one side and about a 30 foot drop on the other side. The path was 2 feet wide. I never saw anyone travel it but me, my friend Trisha, or my brother. 

On Saturdays I'd watch cartoons, eat a bowl of cereal, then hop on my white bike with the white basket and the flower-print banana seat and sail down that dirt path like a Kamikaze. Riding the path made me nervous, but the lure of books inside that building was enough to make me shove my fear aside.

I had my very own library card. It was second only to my Barbie townhouse and my bike in terms of possessions I was most proud of. I felt so grown up going to the library by myself, with my own card, at the ripe age of seven -- never mind that I spent all my time there in the children's section. Sitting in that library reading those books gave me the feeling I could do or become anything.

I could only check out as many books as would fit in my bike basket, and I'd have to push the bike back up the steep, narrow path. So I'd spend an hour or so in the library reading, then choose which books were worthy of the push.

I remember thinking I was the luckiest kid because I could bike to a library whenever I wanted.  Is it any wonder I became an author? It was either that or a librarian, but I knew I couldn't be quiet for that long every day!

Today I'm longing for a chance to hop on that banana seat and ride down that path once again. I wonder what inside that library branch has changed, and what looks the same. The thing that got me nostalgically remembering my weekly treks to the library as a kid is this post by Seth Godin on the future of the public library. And the librarian.

These days I read a lot on the Internet; I frequently browse bookstores; I own a Kindle; I buy paper books; and I still borrow books from my public library. No longer do I ask which books are worth the push. Now I ask, which books are worth the price. What about you - do you utilize your public library? Or do you just use the Internet or book stores? Do you use an e-reader like the Kindle?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Broccoli & Cheddar Fritatta

Blogger was down yesterday but now that Blogger is back up, I can finally post my latest frittata: Broccoli, Cheddar & Ham.  I'm enjoying these fritattas for breakfast, lunch or an easy dinner. This one turned out good.

8 eggs
2 T olive oil
3 T water
1/2  small red onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli florettes (frozen or fresh)
1 small garlic clove, minced (or 1/4 tsp. of garlic powder)
1/2 cup ham, cooked and diced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Put oil in skillet and saute the onion, 3-5 minutes.  Add water and broccoli to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over med-high heat a few minutes until steamed soft. Remove the lid, add the garlic, and allow the liquid to cook off while the broccoli and garlic begins to lightly brown.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs. Add in the chopped ham, then pour mixture over the broccoli in the skillet. Reduce heat, cover, and cook several minutes until the edges start to firm and set, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar. Then place the skillet in oven under broiler for 1-2 minutes.

(edges starting to set)

Serve with a toss salad or a fruit salad, and cheddar-garlic biscuits or crescent rolls.

I'm off this morning to two soccer games, followed by graduation at the university. My husband is giving the faculty speech and one of my former public speaking students is giving the student speech. Happily, I don't have to speak at all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

I'm working from a desk inside my public library today.  Directly in front of me is the "Self Help" section. It sits next to the "Spirituality" section. Starting at this has me pondering, does God help those who help themselves?

That quote is often attributed to the Bible.  It sounds like something you might find in the book of Proverbs, or maybe in a paragraph of rebuke in a letter from Paul. "Those who don't work, don't eat. And God helps those who help themselves." But it's not in there.

Many will tell you Ben Franklin uttered the famous "God helps those who help themselves" line, although some claim he was quoting another writer from much earlier. I'm not interested so much in who said it - for truth can come from any number of sources - I wonder if it is accurate or not.

I imagine it can go either way depending on how you qualify or define things. I know that God helps people. The availability of His help is not in dispute in my mind.  That part of the quote I'm good with.  It's the "those who help themselves," I'm pondering.

My first response is to say, FALSE. God helps the weak.  The defenseless.  The broken and brokenhearted. He helps the widow and the orphan. That's what I think of when I focus on the word "those." When I google this question, I find this is where most Christians land in their response to this quote.

My next thought is to say, wait, God will help any follower who places their faith in Christ. He will help me - regardless of my physical, marital or economic status - if I trust Him to do so. And if I'm not asking for help with something that would be outside His will.  I'm quite sure God won't help me rob a bank or seduce my boss, no matter how much I ask Him to. Or how carefully I plan it out. Or how hard I work at it.

(Then again, my husband is my boss at the university so ... hold on, I'm going to pause and pray a minute.)

And that's where I arrive at the phrase "help themselves" in this quote. Faith certainly helps me - and I've just said God helps those who have faith in Him. And in the Bible, faith leads to action. Faith leads to works. God's biblical heroes sometimes "wait" on Him to move, instruct or direct, but they are not idle players in the ancient stories.

But most of the books I see lining the shelves in the Self Help section, like little soldiers ready to be put to work, make little to no mention of God. I don't think Ben would be down with that. Here's an interesting fact about Franklin.  He tried, at the Constitutional Convention, to mandate the practice of daily common prayer. It never came to vote but read this part of what he said towards that:

"I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: ...I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business..." 

Clearly, Ben wasn't being dismissive of the absolute overarching role of God when he said that He helps those who help themselves.

Funny that I sit here in this public library today, thinking of Mr. Franklin. Ben began the very first lending library in America. Franklin - the man who trusted God to help him in his work - brought many good things to this nation. Maybe his quote isn't fully on the money, yet I don't think it it's off base either. 

But, what do you think?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Black Bean Fritatta

Last week, as part of my master-the-fritatta-month, I made a Cinco de Mayo frittata. I didn't use a recipe; I made it up.  That's part of my goal - learning to cook without a book.

Basing it on the fritatta recipe I gave you last week, I used 7 eggs, a few spoonfuls of Philly Cooking Creme Santa Fe flavor, a handful of black beans, a handful of chopped green pepper, a handful of chopped spring onion, and about 3/4 a cup of Mexican blend and taco blend cheeses.

I didn't think to saute the peppers in the pan first the way the other recipe instructs. I realized this once it was in the oven.  I worried that would make the green pepper too crunchy in there, but it wasn't at all. I guess I diced them small enough to cook well through. Sauteing them, however, might have brought out their flavor more.

This fritatta turned out pretty good, but I wanted a little more kick to it. I don't like super spicy Mexican but I do like lots of flavor, bordering on threatening. I've never been the gal that totally falls for the bad boy, but I don't mind getting burned from time to time by a jalapeno - so long as I have plenty of sour cream near by.

You do know that dairy is the only thing that can "wash" the burn off your tongue, right?  Water won't help and soda will make it worse.  But sour cream or milk will neutralize it. The dairy proteins bind with your taste bud receptors, knocking the hot molecules off and down your throat. That's a free fact brought to you today by the letter D and the American Dairy Counsel.  (Actually, I learned it from Alton Brown.)

So, next time I make this fritatta I will use more of the Santa Fe creme to up the flavor - I only used about 1/4 of the container this time.  I'll use 3/4 next time.  I also think that will give the fritatta more "lift." I may also add a 1/4 tsp. of ground cumin, or throw in some diced jalapeno and black olives.

I rescued this one's good but relatively mild flavor by spooning some salsa over top our slices and served it with some guacamole and chips on the side. Then I followed with the real show stopper - Dulce de Leche cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.  OH MY that was good.

Over all, not bad for a first attempt at a new fritatta made up by yours truely. I think for my next one I'll use potato in it somehow, or maybe asparagus ...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

To my readers

This week Melissa Taylor is wrapping up her online study of  It's No Secret. I recognize it's no small thing to purchase a book and then spend hours of of your free time reading it - so I'm honored that you've done that with us. I consider it a privilege to be able to share some of my life and some of the Word of God with you through these pages this spring.

Did you take Melissa's INS Super Challenge? I pray God fuels your efforts as you focus in on your chosen areas. Remember, your main task is just staying plugged into Him. Spiritual maturity isn't something we manage to produce for God, it's something He produces in us as we yield to Him. As Andy Stanley says, "God takes full responsibility for the life fully devoted to him."

As a writer who spills her guts, shares her stories and teaches scripture into a blinking black cursor on a white screen day after day - knowing it will be a year before any readers see it - it's been so rewarding to hear your responses to the book. On your blogs, on Facebook, over email, and here in comments. 

I'll let you in on a little secret. Writers - even "professional writers" - don't always know if what they've written is any good. If it will connect with anyone. If it will help anyone. Some days you are sure it will. Other days, well, you spend a lot of time pressing delete. It can be nerve-wracking to write something book-length with those questions bouncing around your head for months.

So I have a favor to ask of you. I'm working on another book right now, with those same questions and fears bouncing around in my head.  I'd love to be able to cover a bulletin board in my office with photos of smiling readers holding It''s No Secret, so that when I start to waiver or doubt, I'll remember you. And pray for us both.

If you're willing, email me a photo of you with the book - it can be you in your favorite reading spot or coffee shop, or you standing by a famous landmark in your hometown. Send to rachel@proverbs31(dot)org. If you'd rather, mail to the Proverbs 31 office.  I can't wait to see your faces!

I just wanted to take this time to say "thank you" to my readers.  And Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco books to read in May

Today is Cinco De Mayo - the 5th of May. On the fifth day of this the 5th month, the U.S. celebrates Mexican culture and pride. Mainly by eating chalupas and downing margaritas. 

I'll be making a Mexican fritatta.

Yesterday's post revealed my plan to make well over 5 fritattas this month in my mad experiment to master a new dish. Yes, I know, my life is that exciting.  Just wait until I drop some hot sauce or some pablano peppers in this eggy bad boy - then we'll be living on the edge!  It's all in how you look at it.

That last statement was profoud, if I do say so myself.

Another post will cover my Cinco De Mayo South of the Border fritatta.  This post outlines the 5 books I'm aiming to read this 5th month of May. Yes, I know, my life is that exciting. But I might just read one of them on the beach now that the weather is warming. See, now you're jealous.

My May Reading List:

  1. Jane Austin Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
  2. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
  3. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Allen
  4. A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester
  5. How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson   

Do you sense a theme here?  #1 is an e-book I started but didn't finish yet. I began #3 on the plane last weekend to Atlanta - a friend gave it to me thinking I'd like it. So far so good. And I got #5 from the library. I tend to read more than one book at a time.

What you are reading now?  Got any plans for Cinco De Mayo?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fritatta Challenge!

Before I announce the winner of yesterday's giveaway of a signed copy of It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know, let me explain the frittatta comment at the end of yesterday's post.  I've decided I'm making fritattas all through the month of May.

You're thinking that's really random, right? I know, but let me explain why I'm doing this.  And why I think you might want to join me.  :)

I want to craft a satisfying life that is pleasing to God. That's my mission. I believe feeding my family and enjoying my food is piece of that. See Proverbs 31:14-15 and Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 as the anchors for those beliefs. 

As such, I want to learn to cook more things we like. And I want to like cooking them. But, I don't just want to try a new recipe out every now and then - I want to master a dish. Yes, I'm driven that way.  (If only I wanted to master the basket of laundry ...) Mastery doesn't happen unless you stay at something a while, learning it's in and outs. I plan to find what techniques work best for me, discover what combinations my family likes, and by May 31, be able to create a fritatta without a recipe.

By the end of May, I want to be totally at one with the fritatta!

What is a fritatta, you ask?  It's a versatile egg-based skillet dish, usually with meat, vegetables and cheese. They are easy to make, healthy, high in protein, quite economical, and as flexible as a world-class gymnast. They can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can be made elegant - like for a wedding shower brunch - or as a weekly means to clean out the fridge or veggie drawer.

I once heard Italian Food Network chef Giada pronounce "fritatta," and it sounded so fun with the Italian accentuation. Follow this link to hear some guy say it the American way and then the slightly punctuated Italian way. I say it the Italian way because I'm all about fun.

Come on, say it out loud with me: freeeet TAH dah.  I told you.

Back in the winter I got in the habit of coming home after church, kicking off my shoes (which inevitably drops me down an inch or more), pouring a glass of iced tea and whisking up the fritatta recipe from the Philadelphia cream cheese company.  It was the first and only one I've made, but I've made this one like five times.

My whole family likes it. Plus, I get to have the left-overs for breakfast the next day. Which works out well since I'm rarely interested in cooking before 9:00 AM. I usually wake up "in stages."  The cooking stage doesn't kick in til mid-morning. We'll see if that changes this month.

Soooo, I'm challenging myself to commit over the next four weeks to make at least two different fritatta recipes each week and blog about it. I'll share the recipes I try, tell you my successes and my failures (those are more than likely!) and post a few photos of my creations. I'll also teach you the tips I learn. I'll post about this every Tuesday and Friday in May.

Listen, I'm not the world's best cook. I'm probably not even the best cook on my cul de sac. I'm no LeAnn Rice! But I've decided that if I have to cook on a regular basis - and I do, what with my need for food and my lack of a live-in chef - I'm going to find a way to enjoy it.  And get good at it. What I'm saying is, if I can master the fritatta in May, so can you.

So follow along with me in my mad May "freeeet TAH dah" mastery experiment. Try making the recipes that look good to you. Let me know how it goes if you do. Leave me comments suggesting yummy ingredient combinations for my next fritatta. Blog your own fritatta tries for me to see. Or just stop by to gawk at what I managed to burn. Or at my bad photography.  Just don't let me eat alone.  :)

Here's a link to a Word document with the Ham and Cheddar Philly Fritatta recipe I spent many a Sunday sabbath with this winter.  And here is it in a PDF file. My pic of it is above, and below.  Let me know if you try it and like it - or don't as tastes vary.

Oh, and yesterday's winner is KJEAN.  Kjean, email me your address for the book!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Emotional Wisdom

Welcome if you followed the link from my devotion published today at Proverbs 31 Ministries. I talked about feeling frustrated from the get-go one morning and struggling to get a grip on my emotions. That particular day I was battling frustration and disappointment (laced with a little selfishness I'm sure). Other days it has been stress, sadness, envy, anger, or feeling hurt by someone.

In a Gallup poll a few years ago, 90% of respondents described women's core nature as "emotional." And according to the National Academy of Sciences, they're right. The Academy says, "Women's brains are wired to both feel and recall emotions more keenly than the brains of men."

I think that's both a plus and a minus. It's mainly only a minus when we can't gain the upper hand on our flying emotions. By the way, suppressing them isn't the same as dealing with them.

An article in Scientific American warns that, "Women who hold back feelings of anger may end up more irate in the long run. According to new research, women experience a rebound effect when they suppress angry emotions, which can result in greater feelings of fury."

You're probably thinking, tell me something I don't know! So what can we do when we feel our emotions getting the best of us?

Number one on my list of responses is PRAYER. Take those unruly feelings to the One who can handle them. Give God your permission to rule over them. He is the God of all Comfort, the Prince of Peace, and the Author of a sound mind. Claim your sound mind and ask Him for peace in Christ's name.

Also tops on my list is READING the Bible. This is the one I turned to the day I wrote the "Feeling Emotional" devotion. Grab hold of a relevant scripture and repeat it until you can believe it. You can rewire your thinking with the Bible. I use verses to replace my overly emotional - often irrational - thoughts with eternal reality from the Reality Maker Himself. Try reading the Psalms.

It's proven that EXERCISE tames our stress and get us thinking clearly again. 15-20 minutes on my treadmill with upbeat music playing does me a lot of good when I'm angry or depressed. It helps when I'm feeling stuck or out of control. And as Elle explained in the movie Legally Blonde: "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't kill their husbands. They just don't."  :)

That leads to the next one on my list, HUMOR. Everybody needs somebody who can make them laugh. Laughter not only makes us feel better, but it's good for our health according to Proverbs 17:22. Laughter has an amazing by-product - it puts our problems in perspective. It's a gift from God. Research shows it can stimulate our problem-solving abilities as well.

Sometimes I just have to WRITE. Spilling my feelings onto the page of a journal unburdens my mind. And writing a letter to someone who hurt me can unburden my heart. Most of the time I decide never to send the letter, and that's OK because it served its purpose by helping me think through things and calm down. Even writing a to-do list can keep me from feeling overwhelmed some days.

What do moms do when a toddler gets upset? Often they redirect them. They shift their focus off the upsetting thing to something more pleasant - maybe point out their favorite toy. So next on my list is REFOCUS on something. Stop stewing and start doing something productive. Immerse yourself in a project you enjoy. Write something. Cook something. Plant something. Sew something. Scrap something. Clean something. Get your mind off it.

Be careful here that you don't use this one to just sweep things under the proverbial rug and never deal with what needs dealing with. Use diversion to calm down and let your subconscious sort things through.  Then face it once you are more centered. Or, use diversion when what you are facing cannot be dealt with or changed (think Serenity Prayer here).

And finally, research shows that dark CHOCOLATE can be of help in soothing emotions. You didn't really think I would write a post on dealing with women's emotions without mentioning chocolate did you?  But as I point out in It's No Secret, numbing our emotions with food can cause additional problems. Namely, love handles. So use moderation.

These are just a few of my strategies. If you've got a solution for reigning in your emotions on days when they're flying - please share and you'll be entered to win a copy of the book mentioned above.

Meanwhile, here's wishing us both an emotionally peaceful day.

Monday, May 2, 2011


I wore the hat to church yesterday ... everyone assumed I was inspired by the royal wedding. It wasn't the Brits, it was my fellow southern belles in Atlanta (see previous post). Our scantuary seats something like 1800 people - and I was the only person in the room in a hat.

Rick did not walk five steps behind me, though he did make me sit towards the back, at the edge of the room in an aisle seat on the end by the wall.  He was worried people couldn't see over my hat.  I obeyed, but I'm only 5'2" ... maybe 5'4" with the hat on.

I told him as we filed out of the sanctuary after the service that I wondered if he might walk behind me, embarrassed by my head wear. At the time he was holding my hand royal wedding style. Remember how Will held Kate's hand going down the aisle to exit the church?  With arms bent at a right angle?  You have seen it like four times already, right?

Well, once I told Rick I suspected the hat might embarrass him he flexed his large bicep  muscle on the arm holding mine and said, "Baby, no body's looking at your hat." This is the same guy that came dancing towards me the other night, stopped, and said, "You might want to fix that because I just busted a move."

Yeah, he's man enough to be my man.

I can affirm that if you wear a hat to church or anywhere others do not, you will be looked at. And stopped as people comment on it or ask you about it.  By men and women alike. Even by the guy taking up the offering. And your pastor may or may not laugh hard when he sees you in it.  Mine did.  But that's because he knows me well enough to know this was a departure for me and for our contemporary church.

So here is my T.J. Maxx special in all it's glory. Whaddya think?  Fashion fabu or fashion faux paux?  Would you wear it?

My prediction is hat sales go up in the U.S. this week and that lots of moms wear hats to church this Sunday for Mother's Day.  Not because of me - although I'm doing my part to stimulate the haberdashery economy - but because of the royal wedding.

Let me know if that prediction rings true at your church this Sunday - or if you bravely decide to make it so yourself.