Monday, February 23, 2015

Living a Life of Faith: Looking Beyond Circumstances

Living a Life of Faith - Looking Beyond Circumstances - The Cozy Nook

Our circumstances are very real to us. They are what we live and breathe. They are what we see, hear, and feel every day.

Good and bad experiences flood into our lives continually with the power to shape our thoughts and emotions.

However, if we are going to live a life of faith,
we have to live beyond circumstances.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Faith has so much to do with the unseen. As the above verse says, it is the evidence of things NOT SEEN and the substance of what we HOPE FOR.

As I’ve said before, sometimes it takes work to see God. In order to see God, we must seek Him. We must look for Him, and He says we WILL find Him.

And you will seek Me and find Me,
when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Faith is not - looking at good circumstances and seeing the hand of God or looking at bad circumstances and seeing His absence.

  • Faith is looking BEYOND circumstances
    to see God and His character.
  • Faith is looking BEYOND circumstances
    and trusting that God is at work.
  • Faith is looking BEYOND circumstances
    and believing that God can CHANGE
    our circumstances
    if He desires.

If we want to live lives of faith, we must continually challenge ourselves to keep our focus off the tangible realities of life and seek our God who is currently unseen by human eyes.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Quick-Fix Chicken Noodle Soup

Quick-Fix Chicken Noodle Soup - The Cozy Nook

In comparison to my usual chicken noodle soup, this soup is a breeze. Typically I make my own broth and shred the chicken off the bone, and therefore, it takes hours to make the soup. With this recipe, I just used packaged broth and boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Also, my family actually said they liked this recipe better. Part of me felt a little disappointed. “What? You don’t prefer the recipe where I pour in a little more love over a lot more time?”

I may have to tweak my other recipe a bit. ~wink~

Quick-Fix Chicken Noodle Soup
Printable Version

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
3 carrots, sliced
4 chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 T parsley
1/2 - 1 package of wide egg noodles (I used 1 entire package. It made the soup very full).

Saute onion, garlic, carrots, and chicken breast. Stir occasionally.

When chicken is almost done, add peas and salt and pepper. Stir and cook until chicken is cooked thoroughly, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken broth, water, and parsley.

Bring to a boil and add egg noodles. Cook until noodles are done.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Potato and Bacon Hash

 Potato and Bacon Hash - The Cozy Nook

Potato and Bacon Hash
serves 6
Printable Version

4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 slices turkey bacon, chopped finely

Put about 1 T olive oil and 1 T butter in a large skillet.

Once butter is melted, add potatoes. You may need to add more oil or butter during cooking.

Cook for a few minutes, stirring once or twice. Then add bacon.

Cook mixture until potatoes are nicely fried and cooked through (test with a fork). Stir every couple minutes to avoid burning., but don’t stir too often so you can get a nice crisp.

Season with salt and pepper.

Choose your garnish. I chose grated cheese and a broiled egg. YUM!

Hash with Broiled Egg

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Loving People When It’s Hard

Loving People When It's Hard - The Cozy Nook

It’s easy to love people when it’s easy.

You know… It’s easy to love people when you feel like it.
It’s easy to love people when they love you back.
It’s easy to love people when you get something in return.

It’s not so easy to love people when it’s hard.

Sometimes loving people hurts.
Sometimes loving people feels empty.
Sometimes loving people is completely sacrificial.

Jesus said this,

Love your enemies,
Bless those who curse you,
Do good to those who hate you,
and Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

Wow! That doesn’t sound like it’s easy; does it?

So, I’m supposed to love the people who hate me, speak evil of me, reject me, use me, and persecute me?

Got it! … Or do I?

I’m learning. All of us are, if we are yielding ourselves to God’s Spirit.

God desires that we love people,
whether it’s easy or hard.

Do you know why?

The next verse in Matthew 5 tells us:

That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

God wants us to be like Him.
He wants us to be kind, gracious, and merciful.

How have you been loving people?

Are there people in your life whom are hard to love?

God wants you to love them. God wants you to give, even when it hurts.

Dear Lord,
Give us strength to be the people you want us to be. Help us to love people, just as you do – humbly, generously, and sacrificially.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Give Yourself Grace

Give Yourself Grace - The Cozy Nook

I’m in a season of life where I need a lot of grace, yet I realize I’m not always good at giving myself grace.

I’m a firstborn, you see. One of those firstborns who likes her ducks in a row, has a hard time being flexible, and wishes everything in life were black and white and completed, of course.

I like to give myself goals, responsibilities, and even … guilt, but grace? I’m learning.

We must give ourselves grace.

I’m convinced that grace is as necessary
to our lives as air and water.

It is necessary, not just for surviving
but for thriving.

There are times when we need wiggle room in life.

We need room, just to be the imperfect,
needy humans that we are.

…Not in a bad way, of course, but in a realistic way. We need room to admit that we will not always be perfect. Actually we will fall very short, at times, and we need to give ourselves grace.

We need to admit that we won’t get everything done all of the time.
We won’t always be everything we want to be.
We won’t always live up to our own expectations.

We WILL fall short and have extra needs sometimes, and that is okay.

We are humans, relying upon a loving and gracious God to mold us and shape us
into the people He wants us to be.

If you need extra sleep, take it.
If you need more quiet, get it.
If you need to take a break to spend time with God, do it.
If you need to let go of your routine for the day, hack it.
If you need to avoid your “To Do” list, neglect it.

Do what you need to give yourself grace each day.

Grace is activated as we mercifully
enable ourselves to live imperfect
but good lives.

Giving yourself grace might equal:

  • Sleeping in
  • Ordering out
  • Simplifying your task list
  • Saying “No” to something
  • Accepting a less-than-magazine-cover household appearance
  • Taking a break when there’s still much to do
  • Canceling an appointment or event

Giving yourself grace is letting go of the way
you think life *should* be
and accepting the way it *must* be.

Give yourself grace today!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Quick, Rustic Breakfast Parfait

Quick, Rustic Breakfast Parfait - The Cozy Nook

My oldest son, especially, likes breakfast parfaits. Oftentimes I do not make them because I don’t have granola on hand. The other morning I decided to make one, a bit rustic-style.

I chopped up some pecans and almonds and toasted them with some oats in my toaster oven at 400 degrees for a couple minutes. The items toast quickly, so watch them carefully while you are toasting.

After I took the crunchy mixture out of the oven, I put it in a bowl and drizzled maple syrup on top. Then I gently stirred the mixture.

Then came the layers: creamy, plain yogurt, the nutty oat combo, and some wholesome fruit – frozen blueberries, chopped pear, and sliced banana.

It was rustic, delicious, and nutritious! … and Quick!


Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Slow Down Life Without Slowing Life Down

Slow Down the Pace of Life - The Cozy Nook

The days are long, but the years are short.

This saying rings a bell for most of us. Sometimes the days feel so long and hard, but we look at our age, the past, where we are now, and our children growing up, and we can’t believe where time has gone.

Nowadays, life is definitely packed. There are books about creating margin, simplifying, and decluttering. One of our society’s ills is that we have too many choices, too many decisions, and too much stuff on our plates.

I agree… we ought to work hard at slowing life down.

However, when life is still crammed full of busy, and there’s more than plenty to do,
we still can slow down the pace of life.

  1. Live the present moment. God has been working on me for a while with this one. With full schedules, it is easy to look at the big picture and feel overwhelmed. Instead, try to focus on what you are doing RIGHT NOW. Live the present and focus your energies there.
  2. Appreciate the little things. I believe this really is key to us feeling more peace in our lives. When we are thankful and content, we can feel better about life. Our gratitude helps us remain in the present moment as we fix our minds and hearts on the beauty of our current lives, letting go of past regrets and future anxieties. Appreciating the small things helps us to savor life and not allow it to slip through our grip without notice. Be thankful for your hot shower, warm cup of coffee, fuzzy blanket, the bright sunshine, time with your loved ones and friends, and all of the extravagances we have in life.
  3. Be calm. It’s very important that we try to stay calm. When we are rushing, harried, and stressed, we only intensify our perception that life is just way too busy and full. Our demeanors will greatly affect how we feel about our days and what we will do with our days. A calm disposition helps us feel like life is more doable and enjoyable.

No matter how busy your week is, try to slow it down a bit.

Focus on the present,
take time to smell the roses,
and stay calm.