Amy's Testimony: Beyond the Physical Healing

This is another guest post in a series where readers share their testimonies of how God has worked in their lives. I'm excited to share that today's guest post is from one of my favorite bloggers, Amy from The Ragamuffin Stuff! Many thanks to Amy for sharing her beautiful story!

It was the same week that we brought home our baby girl, GG, child #2 for us, after a care-free pregnancy, easy-breezy delivery, and thanksgiving for a beautiful 9 lb. 2 oz.(!) healthy baby girl, that we began to notice her eye fluttering. First, it was only a couple times a week. I was dismissed by the pediatrician as an over-protective mother at her 1 mo. check up. At 2 mos. of age, she began having the eye flutters up to 5 times a day.

My beautiful baby girl was having seizures.

The next 2 months is a blur of frantic calls to anyone and everyone we thought may have advice or be able to help us, hospital stays for weeks at a time, CT scans, spinal taps (yes, on a 2 mo. old), never-ending blood tests, and gripping fear and sorrow and pain and loneliness that I never even knew existed.

However(!), God had mercy on GG's health and lead us, as her parents whom He had entrusted for her care, to the doctors that could help us. They turned out NOT to be the doctors here in our hometown, not the closest children's hospital, not even in this state.

On the week of her 5 mo. birthday (October 2008), GG had 2 brain surgeries. The first was on a Monday when the neurosurgeon attached electrodes to her brain (for real, y'all) to more accurately follow the brain activity, specifically during a seizure. She remained with a turban-like bandage around her head while attached to a portable transmitter that we were allowed to wear over our shoulder while we held her. Nurses had to rebandage her head several times and check for infection.

These days were spent in a room that couldn't have been any bigger than 10x10 consisting of a flat screen tv mounted on the wall where we watched her brain activity 24/7, a small fridge, a pull-out sleeper for Dad, a closet for our daily necessities, and the teeny-tiniest hospital-grade crib you never want to see. The lights were programmed to come on immediately flooding the entire room with florescent lighting and automatically call the nurse's station when GG had a seizure—which now was up to as many as 12 a day but had recently tapered off. (FYI...seizures must be controlled or stopped or else they deteriorate the brain.)

On Thursday of that week, October 2008, our baby girl went to the OR yet again to have her right temporal lobe removed. This is the area of the brain that the docs were able (through the grace of God) to pinpoint as the "epicenter" of the seizures. During that surgery, her doctors tell us, the seizure activity stopped immediately when the right temporal lobe was removed. She also had a stroke during the surgery but has shown NO effects from it—praise God.

Our daughter has not had a seizure since. She is developing fully and meeting (perhaps surpassing, if I may be so bold) all of her milestones. She is a joy every minute, even in the difficulties...testing us as toddlers will, how we are called to discipline her as the Word tells us to so that she may be "blameless and pure and boast on the day of Christ" (Philippians 2:14-16).

Do we rejoice only in her healing? I pray to God, not. Even if He had not healed her—God was revealing Himself to me (me! a sinner above all sinners!) during this entire time. In Romans 9:15, God says that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy on and goes on to say that it is not based on anything that we do.

Did I pray for Him to heal her? Of course. Daily, hourly, several times an hour on some occasions! Desperately, begging Him, even bargaining with Him (I knew not what I was doing at the time. As if I can bargain with the King of kings!) to heal her.

That was irrelevant in her healing, and yet, was extremely relevant in the fact that I was earnestly seeking Him. Someone(s) many years ago and throughout my life had planted the seed in me about the Truth of our Creator. And when I called out to Him, He answered. Not by healing GG, He answered me in my heart. I was not alone. I began to open His Word and seek Him.

And, THAT, is the message of our story. The blessing—and, oh what a blessing it is!—of Him healing our child is just gravy on top of the beautiful, unexplainable fact that He summoned me, my family, to Him. To accept His free, blood-stained gift of forgiveness (Thank you, Jesus!). To stop living for ourselves and to live for Him (Thank you, Lord!). To be assured of our eternal home with Him who created us (Thank you, God). How lovely.

Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call [upon Him] as long as I live. (Psa 116:2)

This is a guest post by Amy Neeley, who blogs at The Ragamuffin Stuff. She says that she has been "rescued by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ to do His will and, simultaneously, I get to enjoy the refining process He is doing with my sinful nature. I have a loving and hard-working husband, David, and 2 (so far!) beautiful 'rewards of the womb' (Jonah, age 8, and Georgia Greer, age 2 & 1/2). I am busy working at home (Titus 2:5), training our children (Prov. 22:6), and helping my husband (Gen 2:8), but you can find me at my blog.

P.S. If you're interested in submitting a guest post testimony to be featured on Life Blessons, please visit the original post for details!

A Little Note of Thanks...

Hey friends,
I just wanted to post a little note thanking you for how kind you always are in your comments and notes to me! I was nervous about posting my thoughts on tattoos over the weekend because I know how touchy the subject can be for so many folks. But, since I said I'd answer your questions, I wanted to stay true to my word! And I was so encouraged by all your kind responses to the post! I am so fortunate to have such a great group of people who not only take the time to read my blog but also to leave little encouragements like those comments, too! I really appreciate it, and wanted to take a chance to share that with you. Thank you so much!!


Your Questions Answered: Tattoos and Taboos

QUESTION: What is your stance on tattoos and the religious taboo associated with them?

I usually stray away from controversy, but since you asked, I’m happy to share my thoughts, though I’d like to stress that last component: These are the opinions I’ve formed regarding tattoos, however, I know that there are some religious traditions and Christian denominations that don’t agree with me.

I personally do not have any tattoos of my own—but it is not for religious reasons. I don’t believe tattoos are in and of themselves evil or sinful. My decision is based solely on the awareness that my aesthetic tastes are ever-changing and I doubt that when I’m a grandmother, I’ll still want a tattoo peeping out, however symbolic it was to me decades earlier.

Why don't I believe that tattoos are inherently bad? Well, we must remember that even Jesus said that it’s how pure our hearts are on the inside, rather than how pure we might look from the outside—appearances can be quite deceiving. I think we can get hung up on the wrong things when we start worrying too much about our outward appearances and neglect the state of our hearts.

Having said that, I also don't think tattoos are automatically right for a given Christian, either.

Instead, I feel like tattoos can be one of those subjects that falls into what I like to call “the eating meat” category, à la what Paul talks about in Romans: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (Romans 14:5-6)

Essentially, when it comes to eating meat—and what I feel like also pertains to tattoos—each Christian is free to eat or not eat meat according to his own conscience, but either choice ought to lead to giving thanks to God. 

While I don't believe that a tattoo in and of itself will defile you, I do believe you should seek God about it and move forward only when you have "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding" regarding it and are "fully convinced in [your] own mind." In other words, for some it might be right for them to get a tattoo, but for others it could be wrong. It is here where folks must exercise wisdom and seek God.

For instance, I know there believers who are able to use their tattoos as a witnessing tool, where people will ask them what it means and they can share the Gospel. And for other believers, their tattoos are simply a personal reminder to them of God’s love and presence in their lives and a permanent encouragement to them of their faith.

However, I got in touch with one of my friends who plans to be a foreign missionary in the future and has a Bible verse tattoo. I asked her about this and she provided another perspective to consider—not whether tattoos are evil or sinful, but how they might be a stumbling block to others in sharing the gospel: "Just knowing that there can actually be people who would be turned off to the gospel that I preach because I have markings on my body, this has given me conviction to not get anymore tattoos," she said.

Then there are those, who see tattoos as defiling our bodies, what we ought to treat as God’s Holy Temple.
Obviously, the subject is wrought with varying opinions that all present valid points to the discussion.

Whichever choice you make—to tattoo or not to tattoo—it ought to bring you to glorify God. I also believe that if you do get a tattoo, consider how the tattoo itself might glorify God. Not that it has to be a cross or Bible verse, but, given that it is permanent and likely highly visible, it it should be (in image and body placement) intentional, tasteful, pleasing to the Lord and approached thoughtfully and prayerfully.

In essence, whether it’s tattoos or anything else, we must not lose sight of what is the utmost importance, and that is point to Jesus and his sacrificial love.

What Other Questions Do You Have For Me?
Recently, I invited you to ask me any questions you might have that I could answer in upcoming posts, whether it's follow-up regarding anything I've written about in the past, curiosities regarding any of my personal experiences, or your general blogging questions. In the following weeks I will continue to respond to your questions, so please feel free to ask any that come to mind in the comments below or send me an email

Win a Gift Card to Publix!

Here's some great news for any of you who live in an area with Publix grocery stores! Read on to find out about a current promotion Publix is running, a sweepstakes you can enter to win $10,000 worth of free groceries as well as a $25 Publix gift-card giveaway to one of my very own readers!

 From now through March 2nd, Publix will be offering great savings on some of your favorite General Mills brands such as Progresso, Green Giant, Pillsbury, Muir Glen and Totino’s, plus you can save $5 when you purchase 20 participating products.

While visiting Italian Days at Publix, you can also enter the Publix Italian Days Sweepstakes, sponsored by General Mills, for a chance to win one of four grand prizes of $10,000 worth of free groceries or one of 200 $100 Publix gift cards being given as prizes.

There are three easy ways to enter for a chance to win the Sweepstakes. Enter via phone, mail or at—a convenient one-stop website, where you’ll also be able to download great coupon savings on some of your favorite General Mills brands and other great offers from Publix.

Here’s how entering the Sweepstakes works:
1. Click – Stay up to date with the latest General Mills promotions happening at Publix by visiting Once you’re registered and logged in, you can participate in any current promotions.
2. Call – If you’d prefer to enter the sweepstakes and participate in other promotions via telephone, feel free to call the General Mills/Publix hotline, at 1.800.627.6059, and be sure to say that you want to enter the Publix Italian Days Sweepstakes. Please be sure to provide your complete contact information (Full name/address/zip code/phone #).
3. Mail – If you prefer to participate via mail-in entry, print and mail your complete contact information (Full Name/address/zip code/phone #) to P.O. Box 43425 Atlanta, GA 30336 and be sure to write “Publix Italian Days Sweepstakes” on the outside of the envelope.
General Mills gave me one gift card to keep and one to giveaway (US residents only, please), as part of the MyBlogSpark program. You can enter to win a $25 gift card to Publix by filling out the form below by Thursday, February 24th at 12:00 noon EST. Each person can earn up to five entries by fulfilling any of the options below:

Remember to enter by Thursday, February 24th at 12:00 noon EST. At that time, I will select a winner using and contact them for their mailing address to pass along to MyBlogSpark, who will award the gift card directly. If I do not hear back from the initial winner within 48 hours, I will select a new winner. 

All entries must be made in the form above, so to avoid confusion, I have closed comments on this post. If you have any questions, please contact me directly

Walking to the Grocery Store and Other Thoughts On Life Without a Car

A few years ago, I read a book with a silly title that talked about French women and the health benefits of their lifestyle—one aspect of which entails that they walk almost everywhere.

At the time, living in the suburbs on a busy road, I shrugged my shoulders and moved on to the next point, to see if maybe I might benefit from that one instead.

But now, living in an urban-ish neighborhood, I finally find myself in a position to be able to put that old-fashioned way-of-life to the test. The funny thing is that I wouldn't have even attempted it if it hadn't been for the fact that I had to. I've lived in this neighborhood for more than a year and a half. But it wasn't until last week that I decided to trek to Publix. And then to Kroger. And then to Home Depot and CVS.

It wasn't until I didn't have access to a car that I realized that I could do all of these things, on foot and in less than an hour, the same amount of time I'd spend strolling through picturesque neighborhoods and wooded parks when I'd go for a walk.

It's been about a year now that my husband and I have been living with only one car. I wrote awhile ago, during the season when I was working from home and my husband had a part-time job, about all the grateful insights I'd garnered from the seeming inconveniences of a shared-car lifestyle.

But it wasn't until my husband got his job, along with a 45-minute one-way commute, that I was really stretched regarding only having one car. For awhile (when the skies were dark and gray and the temperatures harsh), I limited most of my errand walks to the closest neighborhood grocery and waited until the weekend to hit up the others.

But now, thanks to the blue skies and beckoning sunbeams that have come out to play of late, I've finally had the courage (yes, courage to try something new) to put sneakers to the pavement and take grocery bags to the streets.

And I've been surprised at how close things really are, despite the busy streets and traffic lights. I'm pretty sure that I can make it to Kroger faster on foot than when I'm driving and hitting red light after red light!

I know many people are still straddled by suburban constraints or busy schedules that make walking to and fro burdensome or unrealistic. But I also know that sometimes, it's not so bad or hard or far or time-consuming as it might seem. Aren't those the most wonderful of discoveries?

It's literally a breath of fresh air, being able to hitch a bag of groceries over my shoulder and carry the feast home with my own bare hands. All thanks to a little bit of inconvenience that pushed me to take a walk on the wild side of things.

Related Posts
What I've Learned From Being a One-Car Couple
We're Officially a One-Car Family

Recent Thrift Store Finds

Yesterday, I got together with a few friends and we decided to spend the morning and afternoon scouting out some local second-hand stores, from your regular old thrift shop to beautifully curated antique shops, with yummy Indian fare thrown in for lunch. I haven't really done very much thrift-shopping in Atlanta (hence why it garnered a spot on last year's 27 things for 27 list), so this was a perfect opportunity to pop into some new places, spend time with lovely women and pick up some new treasures for a bargain.

I'd made a whole big list of ideas and possibilities I hoped to score (particularly regarding kitchen cupboard organization). But as luck would have it, none of those items showed up, but a few unexpected others did! I figured I'd share some of the finds I picked up recently:

Having recently tried my hand at making my own salad dressing (so far I've only attempted a wonderfully successful raspberry vinaigrette but I do endeavor to try a homemade Italian once my bottled version gets used up), I thought this small bottle with a stopper will be perfect for housing my creations!

I also picked up a little creamer pitcher that has the most beautiful lines on it. I'm still not sure how I'm going to use it, aside from making a pretty vase, but I thought it was too great to pass up for $1.50! (Any ideas or suggestions?!)

I anticipate that the future for the little purple vase will be as a reed diffuser. The latest issue of Whole Living included a few recipes for making your own home fragrances using essential oils (rather than chemical-y perfumes) that I'd love to try out. Now that I have a container, I need to scout out the reeds and essential oils. I'll let you know how that goes when I finish the project!

Another recent find that I came across while I was scouting a couple of other thrift store possibilities for our trip included this Japanese-style Kapoosh knife holder. I recently upgraded a few of our most-used knives, and they didn't fit into the knife block we already owned. I'd read of homemade crafty versions of the Kapoosh using bamboo skewers to hold knives in place, but when I saw this one already made, I grabbed it up. The great thing is that the plastic spokes inside slide out and you can run it straight through the dishwasher to easily disinfect it! And now my new knives have a home all their own.

Related Posts
What Going Green Looks Like for Me
27 Things to Do While I'm 27

Book Review: Sabbath

For the past few months, my husband and I have been trying to intentionally build Sabbaths into our schedule. Our Sabbaths included a break from work, errands, household tasks and we made sure to go for walks, play games and spend extra time in our Bible reading.

This is what we typically think of when we imagine "taking a Sabbath." But author Dan B. Allender says that we have greatly misunderstood what the Bible means by "rest" and stripped the Sabbath of its truest intentions into a litany of "do's" and "don'ts." He delves into this and more in his new book, Sabbath, which I received a complimentary copy to review from BookSneez Dan B.

In Sabbath, Allender states that the kind of Sabbath that God envisioned on the seventh day was not one of rest from six days worth of hard work (because it was not hard work for Him!), but one of celebration and delight. That word there—delight—is the crux of Allender's interpretation of what a Sabbath ought to look like: Our Sabbath day should be one in which we take full delight, as we are simultaneously taken back into the Garden of Eden when the Sabbath was first initiated and as we look forward to the joys of heaven.

"The Sabbath is an invitation to enter delight," Allender writes. "The Sabbath, when experienced as God intended, is the best day of our lives. Without question or thought, it is the best day of the week. It is the day we anticipate on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—and the day we remember on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Sabbath is the holy time where we feast, play, dance, have sex, sing, pray, laugh, tell stories, read, paint, walk and watch creation in its fullness. Few people are willing to enter the Sabbath and sanctify it, to make it holy, because a full day of delight and joy is more than most people can bear in a lifetime, let alone a week."

I've never heard anyone position the Sabbath in that light, and yet, it rings true in my heart. But what does delight even look like? That is one of the greatest hurdles to remembering the Sabbath, Allender points out. We hardly even know what brings us true, God-honoring delight. And that is the journey that Allender takes readers on in Sabbath, where he opens eyes to a new way of seeing and savoring the Sabbath and helps readers tap into the possibilities of what Sabbath can look like in their own lives.

Find Sabbath by Dan B. Allender on Amazon.

Related Posts
My First Sabbath Experience
Book Review on Communion

My Favorite Websites of Late

Lately, I’ve been collecting some new websites that have seriously helped streamline some of my online activities. Here are just a few of my newfound favorites that I thought I’d share:

Letter Me Later
This is definitely at the top of my list of new online discoveries! For quite some time, I’ve been wishing that I could schedule emails to go out in the future, and this (free!) service does that seamlessly. It syncs up with your existing email address, and you can log in here, create emails (even add attachments if you want), and schedule them to go out any time in the future. And, if you’re the recipient, you have no idea that it’s coming from a third-party; no advertising or branding on the outgoing emails at all!

Online Stopwatch
I’ve mentioned before that I can easily get sucked into online searching and scouring and surfing. Online Stopwatch is one way to set up a time boundary to coral yourself in after your allotted time is up. You go to the website (no logging in required), set the clock to countdown until a set time, and then a buzzer goes off, letting you know that time is up. You just have to make sure that you have your sound turned on, and that when the buzzer rings, you actually log off!

Most of you know this isn’t anything new, as I’ve been a big Swagbucks advocate for almost two years now. But I figured while we’re on the subject of online resources, it was worth plugging again. If you haven’t used Swagbucks before, it’s basically a search-engine alternative to Google (although its results will be very comparable to Google’s) and you earn points for your various searches, which you can redeem for gift cards or products. In preparation for springtime, I recently just snagged a container gardening book off Amazon using my Swagbucks! Here’s a more in-depth post I did a few months ago that provides more details about my experience using Swagbucks and how to get started using it.

we heart it
A site filled with beautiful images, this is where I’ve been sourcing more and more of the images used on my blog for the past month or so (including the one in this post!). I love the ethereal and subtly vintage feel of this ever-growing collection of images. And while the tags aren’t always well-categorized (which can making finding the “perfect” picture a bit of a challenge), you don’t have to do nearly as much clicking through hoards and hoards of mediocre photos like is often the case on Flickr.

Iowa Public Television Broadcasts Available Online
When I’m doing tasks around the house—whether it’s fixing an involved meal, stitching up some clothes, or organizing unwieldy piles of paper—I like to have something going on in the background, whether it’s an audiobook or a video playing on my laptop. I normally don’t have enough time to commit to a whole movie and I’ve found Netflix’s TV selection to be lacking, so I ended up stumbling across this PBS station’s website that streams many of their programs online for free! There’s a pretty big assortment, ranging from history to health to home-related shows, many under an hour long. So I can get things done, and maybe learn a thing or two at the same time!

Ebates & Mr. Rebates
Finally, two other sites that I think worth mentioning are Ebates and Mr. Rebates, if you do any online shopping regularly. They will give you a kick-back for most of your online purchases if you log into their site and then click to the site where you’re doing your shopping. It’s one extra click, but you can get a small percent of your purchase price back, which adds up in my book. Here’s more detailed information about using these sites and how they work, if you're interested.

Do you have any websites you've been especially enjoying lately that have made life a little bit easier? If so, share them in the comments. I'm continually amazed by all the smart sites there are out there!

Lindsay's Testimony: "A Sinner Saved By Grace"

This is another guest post in a series where readers share their testimonies of how God has worked in their lives. I'm excited to share that today's guest post is from one of my favorite bloggers, Lindsay
from Passionate Homemaking! Many thanks to Lindsay for sharing her inspiring story!

Here is my story…I am a sinner saved by grace.

I was extremely blessed to grow up in a wonderful Christian homeschooling family. My mother and father loved the Lord with a passion and taught us the gospel from an early age through regular family devotions. Despite all this, I was a very rebellious child. I loved stealing my brother’s candy and hiding behind the couch to secretly partake. I went through the motions and asked Jesus into my life several times in my early childhood, but in my heart I still hated our family devotions. I disliked getting up at 6:00am to read together.

Yet, my parent’s faithfulness really paid off. They did not give up. They made our family a priority. We had weekly family nights that were sacred. We participated in events as a family. We attended church as a family and remained together throughout the whole service.

At the age of 12, God radically changed my heart. He made the truth clear to me. I knew that I couldn’t just piggy back on my parent’s religion. I needed to know and understand the truth of the gospel for myself. I am a sinner in desperate need of grace. I saw the beautiful difference that Jesus made in my parent’s lives as they worshiped him, loved on others through generous giving and hospitality, and knew I wanted to follow Jesus too.

Once I confessed my sins, and believed in Jesus as my Savior, I had a new and amazing passion for the Bible. I started rising early every morning at 6:00am to just read for myself and journal all that the Lord taught me. I was baptized shortly afterward, acknowledging that the old man was dead and I was covered in the blood of Christ.

Throughout my childhood, I dealt with a lot of insecurity. I had no friends. And the friends I pursued happened to be the popular bunch and did not care to reciprocate the friendship. I in turn struggled greatly throughout my teenage years with lack of friends beyond my family members. I turned to reading and writing as my means of communicating my thoughts and struggles.

At 14 years of age, I read a book about a missionary from the Philippines. She was 19 years old and loved the Lord. I wanted to be like her. I read numerous books through this period on various missionaries from ages past and present. I began to throw myself into various mission activities—serving on overseas trips to the Dominican Republic, coordinating a trip back, coordinating bringing shoe box Christmas gifts to the children there for a few years, and striving to stir up mission awareness in our church with a team of others. I absolutely loved serving and organizing (come to find out, these were my spiritual gifts!).

Looking back, I realized that I had a weakness in that I often was trying to find satisfaction and praise through displaying my gifting. I struggled with comparing myself to the giftings of my siblings. My sister was more up front and excelled at everything. I on the other hand, struggled to just complete my level 10 piano examination – the only thing I really pursued outside of my high school studies.

During my high school years I become extremely close to my older brother. We would go on dates together and loved conversing with each other. He was my closest friend. Shortly after he graduated, he began pursuing another friend in a serious relationship. My friendship with him was seriously stretched and torn during this time as I had to let go. It was as if God was tearing down my security once again. I was blessed with a prayer partner friend during this time, which I am so thankful for. We would pray together for the nations, each other, and whatever God laid on our hearts.

The summer after graduation, I went to Cambodia to serve for two months with a ministry called Warm Blankets. It was the most challenging period of my life. I went to a poverty stricken nation, by myself, and I had never met anyone there before. I desperately missed my family and often felt helpless and not needed. I spent many hours in my room just crying out to God asking him for purpose and direction for my life. I discovered that He ALONE can and must be my True Satisfaction. No one…nothing else…no other accomplishment…or value…or purpose…can be found apart from Him. I had to cling to the Lord during this intense season of pruning when it was only me and God.

I returned home to find a young man waiting for me. A young man who loved me. A young man that was devoted to me, despite my intense withdraws. He pursued me. Over the next two years, this young man (soon to be my dearly beloved husband) pursued me while I committed myself to serving the Lord. I passionately wanted to please my Lord and use my life as a blessing and gift to others. I had seen the poverty of the world and the needy hearts around me. I led a young ladies Bibles study for a whole year and we served amongst the needy in our community together. I took the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class with my dad and became and active member in promoting this class and how it changed my perspective on God’s plan for the nations.

I returned to Cambodia with a team of people from my church and my heart was again actively stirred with a love for orphans. I wanted to sponsor a home and see these children raised to change their nation. I still struggled with my appearance and comparing myself with my sisters, but my heart passionately wanted to make my life count for eternity. I attended college for a short season and strove again to prove my abilities, and once again I had to lay aside my pride in trying to prove myself. God closed the doors. And Aaron asked me to marry him. I never got my GED or degree. God has something far greater for me. The privilege of being a wife and mother. The world does not see that. I gave up a potential career in music to dedicate my life to my family.

Together as a married couple, we strove to encourage and motivate our church in missions. We served together on a team to Russia, and led a small missions group in our church. I began my blog shortly after the birth of our first child, a ministry that I never would have imagined. It began as simple as a blog to share about our family and what God was teaching me, and it grew to a huge ministry to ladies around the world. To God be the glory. And I praise Him because all the profits earned have been dedicated to sponsor a home in Cambodia—my heart’s dream is coming true.

After our second child is born, I went through a year of battling insomnia, another dark season in my soul, but God has surely used it to weed out other idols in my heart—idols of sleep, ingratitude, expectations in my marriage, blog, etc. God is continuing to prune, but He is also continuing to be faithful to me. In the last year, God has also completely delivered me from my sinful comparing myself. My sisters have become my closest friends. Christa is my accountability and prayer partner now and one of the sweetest gifts to me. I am a sinner saved by grace. I want to be a faithful follower of Christ. I want my life to count for eternity. I want others to see the joy and delight I have found in Christ and see them set free from the lost state of striving to please others, receive acknowledgment and success from what the world thinks of them. I can testify that God is a good God! He loves you so much!

This is a guest post from Lindsay Edmonds, who is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of two, homemaker, doula, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning over three years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

P.S. If you're interested in submitting a guest post testimony to be featured on Life Blessons, please visit the original post for details!

Your Questions Answered: Cooking Tips and Recipes

QUESTION: I've recently started using dried beans, but I haven't been able
to figure out the ratios of dried to cooked beans. Any rough estimates on that?

I am a big fan of dried of beans, and I don’t think I’ve used canned beans in well over a year!

Typically, what I do is soak and cook* a whole bag of beans at a time. This will make a hefty amount of beans, which I’ll then let cool and then I’ll freeze** and store for later. Then, whenever I need some, I’ll just measure out the amount by using my digital kitchen scale. As a rule of thumb, most cans of beans are 15 ounces, so I weigh out that amount of beans. It’s best if you let them thaw before measuring, but I usually just weigh them while they’re still frozen and my recipes have all turned out fine.

Things do get a little more difficult if you don’t have a kitchen scale. But I did some research and found that about 1½ cups of dried beans that have already been cooked equal one 15-ounce can of beans, according to the American Dry Bean Board. Or, if you’re starting with dried beans, you’ll need to measure out 2/3 cup of the dried beans so that, once cooked, they’ll be about 1½ cups.

* For some more information, here's a previous post I made to walk readers through cooking dried beans.

** To make freezing easier, make sure your beans are cooled and drained, then spread them out in a single layer on a wax piece of paper on a large cookie sheet. Let them freeze for about an hour, then you can pull them out, pop them off the wax paper and store them in a freezer bag. You might have to do this in batches depending on how many beans you’ve cooked. Then, when you want to use them, you just heat them up in the microwave or stovetop and, since they’re already cooked, they’re ready in minutes!

I’m trying to get away from Splenda in my coffee. I see
you are using a simple syrup that you make. What is your recipe?

Yes, I do make my own simple syrup, which, like its name suggests, is really simple to make! I just made a new batch this morning.

All you do is put 1 cup of water into a sauce pan. Add 1 cup of sugar. Turn the heat on and stir occasionally until all the sugar dissolves. There's your simple syrup! Then, I just store mine in a small jar that’s easy to pour from and add it to my coffee each morning with a little half and half!

I know you can also add flavorings and once I added some vanilla extract, but I couldn't tell the difference so now I just keep it this straightforward. Let me know if you try it out!

What Other Questions Do You Have For Me?
Recently, I invited you to ask me any questions you might have that I could answer in upcoming posts, whether it's follow-up regarding anything I've written about in the past, curiosities regarding any of my personal experiences, or your general blogging questions.

In the following weeks I will continue to respond to your questions, so please feel free to ask any that come to mind in the comments below or send me an email. I have some questions in the queue regarding my thoughts on tattoos and some kitchen insights, so those and more to come! 

A Glimpse Into My Gratitude List

As inspired by my reading of One Thousand Gifts, I’ve started my own burgeoning list of all those sundry things for which I must give thanks to God. It is almost hardest for me to remember to be thankful for the smallest of things, so I am enjoying this exercise.

Here’s a look at some of the items and moments that have graced my list of late (as well as some of the prayers they have also incited):

Dear Lord, thank you for all your gifts, including:
  • A good book to read and inspire me.
  • Warm flannel sheets.
  • Pretty, soothing music that comforts my soul.
  • An onion to chop up.
  • Extra ingredients for tonight’s dish, and the perfect amount.
  • Your patience regarding calling me back to you.
  • Your perfect timing regarding ending my job.
  • Providing me with this respite right now, a chance to relax. (Please help me enjoy and relish it!)
  • Ready cups of coffee that are sweet to my taste buds.
  • The stories that you share with me in the Bible. (Please help me continue to learn from them and fall in love with them!)
  • Easing into the morning slowly.
  • A clean desk welcoming me to the day.
  • My blueberry scented candle that burns scents into the winter air.
  • The insights and clarity you give when I take the time to sit down and listen.
  • Giving me blankets to throw over my lap
  • Giving me a kind and loving husband who shows me your love daily. (Please help me be able to better reflect your love back to him.)
  • Inspiring me to keep this list. (Please teach me through this. Please change my heart.)
Related Posts
Cultivating Gratitude for the Smallest of Things
Next Post Previous Post
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...