Monday, November 17, 2014

Hope Comes from God

Hope Comes from God - The Cozy Nook

Hope. It anchors our souls. It is what holds us steady. It’s what keeps us from falling into complete discouragement at times.

When we are feeling down and out, we need hope. We need something to shine that light at the end of the tunnel. Hope gives us strength to carry on and look towards better and brighter things.

However, when circumstances in life are gloomy, it seems hard to have hope. We look at our circumstances and think, “How in the world can this change? How will this get any better?” Then we sink down into our little holes and hide from life.

The reason we lose hope is because we are looking at our circumstances. Think about it. Do dismal situations and desperate scenarios bring hope? No. They don’t.

It’s hard to find light
when you are looking at darkness.

When we stare our problems in the face, wishing to find hope, we may actually lose hope. We will continue to get more and more discouraged as we see the heartache, the trial, and the insufficiencies.

Hope is not found in our circumstances.
Hope is found in God.

God is the Giver of hope, not our circumstances.

God is the One who has the ability to change our circumstances.

God is the One who loves us and desires good things for us.

God is the One who wants us to trust Him and rest in Him.

God is the One who has all wisdom and knowledge and power for our situation.

God is the One who is working in us to will and to do His good pleasure.

God does not change.

Our circumstances will continue to bring unexpected bumps into our lives, but God is the constant in our lives. He is always there, always ready to help carry our burdens, hear our prayers, and help us, if we would just let Him.

Do you need hope today?

Don’t look to your circumstances.
Look to God!

For in You, O Lord, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God.

Psalm 38:15

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dear Homemaker, You Are Valued

Dear Homemaker, You Are Valued - The Cozy Nook

Dear Homemaker,

Please read this slowly:

You. Are. Valued.

What you do has value.

The words you speak have value.

Your sphere of work has value.

The people you are raising have value.

Where you live, breathe, dream, labor, toil, and rest has value.

Your act of sacrifice has value.

Your labors of love have value.

Your love for your husband has value.

Your concern for your children has value.

The people you invite into your home have value.

Your organization has value.

Your cleanliness has value.

Your meal-making has value.

Your errand-running has value.

Your transportation services have value.

Your medical services have value.

Everything you are and
everything you do has value.

God created you with value!

Don’t let this world and its voices tell you otherwise.

Don’t let the struggles of your day drag you down into the pit.

Remember that you are in the
most valuable place with
the most valuable people
on the face of this earth.

You have the privilege of serving in an arena God established as sacred and holy from the beginning – the home.

Homemaker, never forget:

You. Are. Valued.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

BBQ Chicken Chili

BBQ Chicken Chili - The Cozy Nook

Well, after all of that talk about stress, I’m hungry! ~wink~
It’s time for a good, Fall recipe!

I love chili. I have a few good recipes I like to use:

White Chicken Chili
Heather’s Chili
Chicken Chili

And now… BBQ Chicken Chili!

My husband loves BBQ sauce, and he loves chili, so I figured he would LOVE this chili. Yep, he does!

My favorite BBQ sauce right now is Stubbs Signature BBQ Sauce. I buy it at Costco.

If you are worried your children won’t like the BBQ side to this chili, you can set aside a portion of chili before you add the BBQ sauce. Then just add a smaller amount of BBQ sauce to your chili pot.

BBQ Chicken Chili
Original Recipe found here
Printable Version

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion (or cooking onion), diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked (or regular) paprika
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
12 oz cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
12-oz jar roasted red peppers in water, drained and chopped
1 1/2 cups (1 15 oz. can) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups (1 15 oz. can) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken broth
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
Cheddar cheese, for topping
Cilantro, for topping

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil, onion, jalapeño, and garlic.  Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the paprika, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Stir and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the chicken, red peppers, beans, chicken broth, tomatoes, and BBQ sauce. Stir.

Cover the pot. Lower the heat to medium low, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir a couple times during the cooking duration, if desired.

Ladle the chili into bowls and top with cheddar cheese and cilantro.


Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days to Becoming Less Stressed, More Refreshed. Day 31: Live by Faith, Not Fear

Live By Faith, Not Fear - The Cozy Nook

Well, I made it! It’s the last day of the “31 Days” writing challenge. I appreciate everyone who supported me this month – through your “likes”, your comments, your shares, and your encouraging words. Thank you!

This was a journey of becoming less stressed, and I hope you were able to do that! Fortunately, my continual writing didn’t stress me out too much. ~wink~

To end this series, I am going to address something very integral and foundational in our lives, something that forces us to address the very core of our beings and decide whether we will choose to live by faith or by fear…

This summer I was presented with various situations where I was experiencing a lot of stress.

In one situation I was looking for a volunteer teacher to help with our girls’ classes at church. I had asked eight women before I got a “yes” and in the process had another position open up. That process drained me, and I allowed it to cause stress in my heart. I was living by fear, not faith. I was worried that I wouldn’t find anyone to fill the spots. I was worried that I would have to shut down the program. I was worried about a lot of things. My mind and emotions went a bit crazy.

Rather than trusting that God would
take care of things, no matter what,
I was focusing on all of the if’s, and’s, or but’s.

In another situation I was presented with some challenges with my health. I was experiencing a lot of physical symptoms and forced myself to get a check-up. My new cardiologist wanted me to get a stress echo test. I didn’t feel good before I got there. I was unable to finish the test because I nearly passed out and my heart rate skyrocketed.

Both at the stress echo test and my follow-up visit with the cardiologist (and in-between), I felt a lot of anxiety. I felt inadequate, weak, unsure of the present and the future, and taxed.

Once again fear filled my heart.

God prompted me one day about these and other situations in my life and caused me to realize how much I was living by fear rather than faith. I had a choice to make.

Was I going to let fear rule my heart or FAITH?

When we are confronted with stressful situations in our lives, we choose how we will respond. We can respond with uncertainty and emotionalism or we can respond by turning to God and trusting that He is control of our lives.

Are you living by fear or faith?

Only you can make the choice.

This choice is very crucial because it really affects our attitude towards dealing with stress in general.

If we live by fear, we will be paralyzed and hesitant to push forward and make the changes we need to make.

If we live by faith,
our actions are fueled by confidence and hope.

I pray you will choose to live by faith. I pray that you will ask God to help you with the stress that you carry and ask Him to give you the strength to alter how your life is going.

As you continue your journey in this fallen world, I pray that you will do whatever it takes to fight against stress in your life. It robs us of abundant life!

May the Lord richly bless you!

Take Action: Surrender your anxiety to God. Ask Him to help you. Drive out the fear that resides in your heart by stirring up your faith in the living God!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days to Becoming Less Stressed, More Refreshed. Day 30: Prayer and Praise

Prayer and Praise - The Cozy Nook 

Prayer and Praise are two of our most important weapons against stress,
yet two of the most neglected.

If you’re honest with yourself, you will probably admit to that – at least most of us can. When it comes to dealing with stress, we might think about getting away from it all, getting some peace and quiet, and being able to do something that is enjoyable. It is easy to *think* about praying and submitting situations to God. It is easy to *think* we should be praising God in the midst of trouble. However, it is hard to put these two into action sometimes.

If we can learn to turn to these wonderful
tools that God gave us,
we will experience much more peace and joy.

The book of Philippians gives us an awesome promise!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6

According to this verse, we ought not to be stressed about anything. Instead, we ought to offer our anxieties up to God, leave them there, and have the sweet peace of God guard our hearts and minds.

That sounds great; doesn’t it?

It does sound great, but like I said, we must practice it to experience it… praying, submitting, giving thanks, and allowing God to permeate our beings so we might live lives of peace.

Are you praying? Are you praising?

Let’s make it our goal to FILL
our days with prayer and praise.

When anxiety and worry come, let’s take out our weapons and use them. Let’s pray. Let’s sing. Let’s praise God. Let’s change our perspective and think about the God who loves us tremendously and desires GOOD things for us.

Take Action: When stress comes, try not to focus on your stress. Place your focus on God and put it into action through prayer and praise.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days to Becoming Less Stressed, More Refreshed. Day 29: Make Time for Friendship and Fellowship

Friendship and Fellowship - The Cozy Nook

Friendship and fellowship are integral parts of our lives, parts of our lives that need to be kept well-maintained.

If we want to battle stress,
we need the support of others.

We need friends to come alongside of us and run this race called “life” with us. Life is tough! We need encouragement, advice, wisdom, love, and strength from others to keep us going strong!

Friendships are the glue of life. God intends us to live life with other people. We are meant to live in community. When we feel alone or weak, life feels a lot more stressful. It isn’t fun to feel destitute.

Friendships encourage our hearts
and help lift our loads.

Not only do our friendships help us to feel supported, they also provide an avenue where we can bless others. When we look outside ourselves and pour into other people’s lives, we are blessed. We are living with a greater purpose, outside of our own lives. Blessings others feels good!

The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Proverbs 11:25

We live in a dark world. I am continually grieved by all that happens on the earth and the way our society is going. Hearing the news, reading articles, and seeing others’ struggles can be very disheartening.

In order to flourish we must pursue fellowship!

We must be an active part of a community that shares the same sacred values we do. Spending time with people who love God and His ways encourages our hearts as we continue to press forward in a very imperfect world that awaits redemption!

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 11:24-25

Sometimes when we are stressed, it is easy to draw back and become a bit more focused on ourselves. However, that is really the opposite of what we need. Isolating ourselves will only increase our stress, as we substantiate our feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and disappointment.

Take Action: Make some time for friendship and fellowship this week! If no one is initiating with you, be the initiator! Ask a friend out for coffee. Invite a family over for fellowship. Call someone. Do something that will strengthen your ties with people.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days to Becoming Less Stressed, More Refreshed. Day 28: Spend Less, Stay Within Your Budget

Spend Less, Stay Within Your Budget - The Cozy Nook

It’s never fun to be in debt.
It’s never fun to feel like your spending is out of control.
It’s never fun to feel the weight of bad choices.

Our financial decisions affect our peace a lot. When we are struggling financially it wears on us. In life there are a lot of financial demands, but we can do our best to stay within our means. In the end we will feel less stressed.

Staying out of debt on a regular basis
promotes mental and emotional peace.

Daily we make choices that can make or break the bank. It may feel good when we are spending the money, but buyer’s remorse sometimes settles in all too quickly, and we realize the effect of our actions.

Living in the black ink helps us feel secure and more in control. We feel we are able to handle life because we have a reserve.

We need God’s grace and wisdom to help us make choices each day that will carry us from paycheck to paycheck with more finesse.

Spending less and staying within your budget really boils down to the various financial decisions,
big and small, you make each day.

What can you do to help your financial situation, baby step by baby step, that will provide you with more peace?

Take Action: Be conscious of the financial decisions you are making today. Remember that your ultimate goal is to live more financially secure so you can be less stressed and more refreshed!

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