Lemon Chicken and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner

Lemon Chicken and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner

The school year might be upon us, but the weather is still warm and it’s not quite time to simmer a pot of chili on the stove! With routines kicking back into gear we can all use easy dinner recipes. Have you tried any of the popular sheet pan recipes that have been floating around social media? Those are PERFECT for busy nights! You can whip them up quickly and if you line your pan with foil or parchment paper, clean up is a breeze. What makes them perfect for this late summertime is that they utilize all the great veggies you find this time of year at the market.

My mother-in-law recently shared this recipe for chicken thighs with green beans and red potatoes that’s drizzled with a lemon dressing and we gobbled it all up- even the picky preschooler! So I thought I’d share the love with all of my sweet friends at Creating a Great Day in case you are in need a delicious and simple dinner recipe!

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Lemon Chicken and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner:

Ingredients:

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 lb  small red potatoes, quartered

1 lb  fresh green beans

3 TB Olive Oil

2 TB Fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 TB Italian Herb Blend (Or combine a TB of your favorite dried herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano, and thyme)

Instructions:

  1. Arrange veggies and chicken on sheet pan.
  2. Combine oil, lemon juice, and garlic with herbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drizzle oil blend on chicken and veggies and use your hands to coat everything well with the oil.
  4. Roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.
  5. Serve with crusty bread, which you can dip in the oil from your pan. 🙂

 

I hope your family enjoys this sheet pan dinner as much as we have!

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Marriage God’s Way {Book Review}

Marriage God’s Way {Book Review}

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I’ll never forget the first book I read about marriage. I’m sure this old book was actually wonderful. But as a newly engaged college girl, I cried through the entire thing. I felt the author described a woman I could never measure up to. I wasn’t sure I wanted to measure up to her, either.

When I was growing up, young women were encouraged to speak their minds and develop independence and leadership skills. This book told me that the only way to be a godly wife was to basically shut down every “natural instinct” I had. Suddenly my expressive personality was a sin. My independent spirit was insubordinate. What’s worse, I felt that I somehow wasn’t “womanly” enough because I didn’t fit the image of the tidy, quiet housewife. This was salt on the wounds of all my insecurities.

God Calls Women to be Submissive

Although I resisted the idea of being a submissive wife, I knew that God called women to be submissive to their husbands. Scripture gives this instruction multiple times (Ephesians 5:22-24), but I struggled to understand what that really meant.

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What did a verse like this mean for a girl like me? How would our marriage work with my personality more geared toward leadership, and my husband more content to go along? These verses were just because of cultural practices, right? After all, men and women are equal. The message of our culture was so ingrained in my mindset. It was very hard for me to accept and understand scriptures about what a Christian marriage should look like.

What Submission Is and Isn’t

In our culture, to submit means you are less than, weak, and taken advantage of. But perhaps we’ve mixed up “submission” with “enslavement.” Maybe submission doesn’t mean what the world thinks it means. Maybe God knew what he was doing when he designed marriage to be one loving husband leading his one submissive wife toward Christ. And, just maybe, our submission as wives isn’t an act of fear and reverence for our husband, but instead a beautiful way of honoring our God.

“A husband is to love and cherish his wife not because she is perfect, or because she treats him the way he wants to be treated. A husband loves and cherishes his wife because he loves Christ. Likewise, a wife submits to her husband not because he is a wonderful spiritual leader, or because he loves her the way she wants to be loved. A wife submits to her husband because she wants to submit to Christ.  A husband’s love and a wife’s submission is not a test of their obedience to their spouses. It is a test of their obedience to the Lord…

There will be times when a husband does not want to love his wife and a wife does not want to submit to her husband. In those moments husbands and wives can tell themselves: ‘I am doing this out of my love for Christ. I am submitting to the Lord, because of what He has done for me.’ ” – Scott LaPierre 

A New Understanding of Submission

Recently, I had the opportunity to read Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. (I received a free copy of it in order to write this review and am sharing my unbiased thoughts about it.) I’m truly grateful the Lord brought this book into my hands. I have a much clearer understanding of what it means to be a submissive wife. I have also discovered the joy that comes in seeking God’s design. Can you believe that after hearing the mindset I was coming from? I can’t! Perhaps you’re like me, and you have wrestled with the scriptures instructing wives to be submissive. If so, I encourage you to take a look at Marriage God’s Way. Read what Scott has to say about marriage. I’ve only barely touched on the convictions that are now on my heart!

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In his book, LaPierre explains these scriptures very clearly. Throughout the text, he uses many examples to prove how great God’s design for marriage is. His book is packed full of scripture, explanations, and personal life experiences to show how a godly marriage should look. He takes the time to make a full circle around issues, looking at them from many perspectives. The book speaks directly to both wives and husbands, jumping back and forth so that both understand how scriptures apply.

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Marriage God’s Way: A Foundational Book for Marriage

I’ve talked specifically about how this book changed my perspective of submission, but this book looks at so much more! It’s not the typical marriage book of date ideas and ways to communicate better. That type of book certainly has its place in a healthy marriage. However, those concepts can’t stand without a solid foundation. Marriage God’s Way is a foundational book for your marriage because it purely centers on what God’s word says about marriage.

Scott might step on and bruise your toes, and your spouse’s toes as well. He has a very direct way of bringing into the open a message very counter to what our culture preaches. And that is why this book is so important! Marriage God’s Way would make a great bible study tool for you and your spouse to use together. A companion workbook is also available to go through after you read the book. I’m looking forward to checking out that in the future with my husband!

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I hope you’ll consider reading Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. You can find it on Amazon in paperback or marriage-pindigital format. Click here to watch the book’s trailer. 

 

Bearing with Each Other: The Other Side of Forgiveness

Bearing with Each Other: The Other Side of Forgiveness

“Forgive and forget.”

It sounds so easy. I don’t like conflict so forgiveness usually comes quickly for me, but oh, the forgetting–that is where I have a hard time. The sting of past offenses stay with me, and the enemy uses them to distract me and even bring out sin I am ashamed of.

About ten years ago, I found out something had been said about me and it crushed me. To make the situation even more difficult to walk away from, this was not a person I could avoid. Someone I was going to be around for a long time had said these hurtful things. Despite my hurt and disappointment, I knew I was going to have to live with this remark and move on. I knew I didn’t want to hold a grudge, so I decided to take the comment for what it was worth and forgive in my heart.

Don’t Let Hurtful Words Destroy

As I said, this person is a part of my life, and whom I love. I’ve had good times with this person as well. In fact, I’ve even grown a little as the comment has helped me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m without memory of what happened. To this day I cringe when the memory pops up. I often feel intimidated and insecure around this person, all because of that one comment made ten years ago. The enemy wants to stir up past wounds and put anger in our hearts. He is out to destroy our godly relationships with others and wreak chaos in God’s kingdom. We can’t let that happen. We must put into practice the instructions offered in Colossians:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.  

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How Can I Forgive?

I don’t believe I have to forget about my past grievances in order to forgive. I just need to be able to handle these hurts with:

  • compassion, as I seek to understand my offender’s point of view and situation;
  • kindness, as I choose to be respectful and pleasant despite how I’ve been treated;
  • humility, as I examine myself, and my own fault, realizing that I need Jesus to make me whole;
  • gentleness, as I respond to offenses, with my words, thoughts, and actions;
  • and patience, as I understand that this might happen again, and it might be difficult to move on.

When I read the phrase “Bear with each other,” it reminds me of ongoing struggles. It tells me there will be those who drive me crazy and might even upset me, but it’s not my right to hold a grudge. I’m to bear and forgive. I’m to live with it, and move on, realizing that the only perfect one is Christ.

Above all, I must remember to love. Strong’s Concordance defines this agape love as benevolent. It’s a love we give, not because it has been earned, not because we “feel” it, but because it is the right thing to do.

Bearing Each Other is Hard Labor

Learning how to move past my offenses in a godly way has been life-changing for me. I wish I could say that it’s easy, but “bearing each other” is hard labor. We should take the step of forgiveness, but we mustn’t forget that our relationship with that person isn’t over yet. The regard we hold each other in and the way we interact is important. We will likely feel the sting again, but we can move forward in love if we take on the characteristics described in Colossians 3. It is also helpful to remember that our enemy is Satan–not each other.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12

We must move past the grievances we have toward one another so that God’s kingdom is made stronger. 

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Do You Have Unforgiven Past Hurts?

What past hurts are lingering in your heart? Are you open to bearing and forgiving? It sounds hard, but you don’t have to do this on your own. You have a Father who understands because he continues to lavish his children with perfect forgiveness and reconciliation. Our Lord can empower you to bear and forgive, offering you the support you need. Won’t you seek Him?

Father God, You are Lord of the universe, yet you seek us out, one by one, drawing us to you in perfect reconciliation. Thank you for the forgiveness and life you offer us through your son. Thank you for your presence in our life and may we draw strength from you as we seek to have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience in our relationships with others, bearing with each other and forgiving. Forgive us for the times we struggle to forgive and fail to take on these characteristics. Give us strength and wisdom to be united as your church in love. In Jesus Name, Amen

 

 

 

8 Reasons Not to Stress Over Dirty Dishes

8 Reasons Not to Stress Over Dirty Dishes

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heavenEcclesiastes 3_127

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

I know very few people who enjoy chores. It’s not often I hear someone say, “Cleaning toilets relaxes me,” or “I spend my ‘me time’ mopping the floors”! Every now and then I meet people who actually enjoy chores, and I admit for a short season in my life I didn’t mind them, but that season is long over! I’ve tried making chore charts time and time again. I try to hold myself accountable but I stick with them for about a week and then fall behind!

I constantly felt guilty about this until one day I realized that what kept me from my chores was usually more important than a spic-and-span home! Scripture tells us that there is a time and season for every activity under heaven. For me, the time for a clean home does not come as often as the times for other things!

So this is for all the women, wives and mommas out there who are feeling guilty for their less-than-spotless home! It’s OK!!! I give you permission to forgive yourself and be at peace.

 

8 REASONS NOT TO STRESS OVER DIRTY DISHES
1. You are having quiet time with the Lord.

Be it thoughtful meditation, time in your prayer journal, reading inspirational articles, or a full on bible story–this is more important. 

 

2. You are playing with your children.

Oh, the time to play with our kids is short. Don’t feel guilty about one single chore undone when you are playing with your kids. This is more important. 

 

3. You are serving others. 

Have you ever had someone drop everything they were doing to come and help you? It a beautiful way to show Christ’s love. Who cares if the breakfast skillet has to wait until the next day? This is more important.

 

4. You are going to church or a church activity. 

Hmm…chores or worshiping God?? If you need help with this one I encourage you to look up the story of Mary and Martha. Church gatherings are a wonderful blessing. This is more important. 

 

5. You are earning money for your family. 

I grew up with a hard-working mom and I know how difficult it can be to juggle work among all the other aspects of life. You are providing for your family–don’t feel guilty if the laundry is piling up. This is more important. 

 

6. You are staying home to take care of or homeschool your kids. 

This sort of goes with #2. Some might think that because you stay home all day it would be easy to keep a clean home. They are very wrong. Cleaning your home with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It just doesn’t happen very easily. Not to worry though, you are doing important work. This is more important. 

 

7. You are having time with family or friends. 

When I’m ninety years old, I want my mind to be full of memories spent with the people I love. I honestly don’t think I’ll care if my house was kept perfectly. So chores can wait–go and make happy memories! This is more important. 

 

8. You are having personal time. 

Everyone needs time to decompress. If mopping the floor and doing the dishes relaxes you then go for it! But for the rest of us: don’t feel guilty for taking a moment to read, check Facebook, exercise, or hop in a long bubble bath. You will feel happier doing your chores if you are also making time for yourself. Now, I know it’s easier to relax in a clean house. So try to keep one area clear of clutter where you go to escape and the other chores can wait. This is more important! 

I constantly felt guilty until one day I realized that what kept me from my chores was usually more important than a spick and span home!

I know this isn’t for everyone, however, if you feel yourself stressed over chores I hope you will go over this list and find room for grace. I’ve found that it helps me to prioritize the chores that are most important to me. Focus on those and save the other stuff until it’s noticeably needed or company is coming. I spend my days caring for my toddler, finding time with Jesus, having fun with my husband, and serving my church family. I don’t mind if there are crumbs on my floor or if the dishes have piled up because I am living a happy and full life. There is a time for everything, my friends!

What are your favorite ways to spend your time? 

8 Reasons to Not Stress Over Dirty Dishes

 

 

Confessions of an Imperfect Homemaker

Confessions of an Imperfect Homemaker

Tonight I mopped our kitchen floor.

I know, I know. My post is titled “Confessions of an Imperfect Homemaker” and here I am bragging about accomplishing the hardest chore ever. 😉

 

Would it help if I told you that I can’t recall the last time I mopped our floors?

 

I’m definitely an imperfect homemaker.

 

I’ve printed and laminated chore charts, and I’ve read all kinds of blog posts trying to work up the inspiration and motivation to keep better house. It’s just hard!

 

I used to really beat myself up over my lack of pristine cleaning skills, especially after my daughter was born. The words of someone dear to me were a great encouragement.

 

(I’m going to paraphrase here because it was many years ago, and I can’t remember her words exactly.)

 

“Some people are just naturally good at keeping things clean, and others like things clean, but it doesn’t come naturally.”

 

Can you guess which category I fall under? This sweet friend was in the same category so it was extra encouraging to hear it from someone who truly understands.

 

Those words have stayed with me and helped me find grace for myself. Notice I said grace, not excuses. Yes, I still want to work hard to take care of our home. But I’ve come to terms that I might not have the same results as others, and that’s okay.
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The Life-Giving Home

For Christmas I asked my husband for Sally Clarkson’s book The Life-Giving Home. I really had no idea what it was about. I thought it was going to offer me some inspiration for keeping a tidy home and cooking good meals. While Sally does touch on those things a bit, this book was about so much more. In this book co-written with her daughter, they discuss the many ways to cultivate God’s goodness in your home and give life to your family and all who enter your home. Cleaning and cooking have their place, but habits such as listening, deep conversations, and making time for family devotions and celebrations are life-giving as well!

 

As I scurried through this book, completely enthralled, I realized that my value as a wife, mother, and homemaker is not determined by how clean my house is.  God has designed us as women to bring life into our homes in many different ways. Struggling to keep up with chores does not make me a homemaking failure! House cleaning might not be my best quality, but I certainly have other areas where I thrive. There is no perfect homemaker.  As hard as that might be to believe about some of the women in your life, they too have areas in their life that don’t come naturally.

 

This doesn’t mean that we stay where we are. We can definitely strive to form better habits. Sometimes we just have to rise above what’s not natural for us and get the job done.  There is definitely value in having a tidy home, so this post is not to undermine such chores.

However… 

 

If, like me, you find yourself struggling to keep up with the house cleaning, here is my message:

 

We don’t have to feel sorry for ourselves when certain aspects of homemaking don’t come naturally. We should look for the gifts we’ve been given and appreciate the ways we care for our family that come easy to us. Maybe it’s the yummy food we cook, the adventurous spirit we have, the way we are emotionally in tune with the individual needs of our family members, or our love for story time. I’m not sure what your niche is, but Momma, you better believe that you have one! We can go about our lives confidently, knowing that Christ gives us what we need to serve the ones we love with glad and true hearts. While our responsibility to care as a wife, mother, and homemaker is great we can find strength in knowing that we have a heavenly Father who cares for us.

 

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“The Lord himself watches over you! 
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.”
Psalm 121:5

 

Give Yourself Grace

 

So pick yourself up, fellow struggling homemaker! Offer yourself some grace and realize you are exactly what your family needs.You might find that you’re not struggling as badly as you thought. You’ve got this!

 

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