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Food Affairs

All Things Christmas 2014

Let’s talk Christmas stuff today.

About how I love Christmas and all the trappings. From the commercials, to the stores, to the cookies at my parent’s house, the candlelight services, advent studies, and everything in between.

We all have family traditions and favorites and I would LOVE to hear yours!

Feel free to share below in the “share the love” section.

We’ve had lots of traditions over the years.

Some have stuck, some have changed, and some have only recently been adopted.

I would love to do a Christmas post devoted to aaallll the Christmas things, but today’s post is devoted only to all things Christmas for 2014.

Which will be enough.

We have a few things coming up this month that I’m very much looking forward to, and feel the need to share on the blog.

Sorry. smile

Because of all these changes I keep talking about (and not sharing!), Will and I opted to minimize Christmas stress wherever possible.

That meant we opted not to go to our company Christmas parties. While super fun (I enjoy them way more than Will), our time is valuable and important so I opted to give that one up in favor of more time with family (and taking care of all these changes that I keep talking about but not talking about).

We also opted to do a joint Christmas present early next year.

We’ve always done joint Christmas presents with each other, and I love that we do this instead of buying each other presents.

Will is impossible to buy for.

Even with no Christmas parties, there’s still lots of fun in store.

We are attending The Nutcracker with my parents this year!

Funny side story.

I think I realized just how much Will liked me back in 2002 when he skipped an OU game to take me to The Nutcracker and acted like it was no big deal.

We both know it was a big deal.

That guy bleeds Crimson and cream!

Anyway, we’re going again, 12 years later, and I’m looking forward to it.

We will also enjoy some of the gorgeous lights and decorations downtown OKC.

We also love going to the movies this time of year.

I’m the annoying person that whips out my not-so-quiet carrot sticks and proceeds to eat them at the worst ever time.

During quiet scenes when you need to pay attention.

All of a sudden you hear, “Snap! Crunch. Crunch.Crunch.”

I’m sorry.

I don’t mean to eat at the worst times, but it often happens.

Anyway, Will isn’t a carrot stick smuggler.

He’s all about the movie theater popcorn.

Understandably.

It’s delicious.

Every Christmas, our theatre has deals on refillable drink cups and popcorn buckets you can buy and use for the following year.

It’s a must-do in the B-Love house, so we’ll be making a stop to the theatre at some point so Will can buy his tub.

Speaking of movies, here’s a fun fact.

My sweet Will had never seen It’s a Wonderful Life in its entirety until just a few years ago.

Real life.

Now it’s among his top favorite movies.

Naturally.

That’s on the to do list, too.

Oh, and while we’re at it, if you haven’t seen it, you should! 

Now.

As for Christmas music this year, I typically alternate between Pandora’s Christmas Radio and their Christmas Choral Classic stations.

Something about Christmas makes me adore the choral classics. I can rock around the Christmas tree with the best of them (um, and I totally do), but I can’t beat a beautiful rendition of my favorite Christmas hymns.

My family also had a yearly tradition of going out to eat together sometime the week of Christmas, followed by a huge tour of Christmas lights!

There are some fantastic public displays in OKC, as well as in neighborhoods. We hit them all.

Now that we’re responsible old, P and I opted to simply do a $20 stocking challenge for each other’s gifts this year.

Oddly enough, I had a blast with it! I think this will be a new tradition. You might be surprised at the good stuff you can get with only $20.

My mom kills me with baked goods.

This is a yearly tradition, however this year I hope to take some time while I’m off to help bake.

You know, seeing as how all I usually contribute is my appetite for delicious Christmas cookies.

Layla has been my mom’s helper this week, and I can only hope to live up to her superior stirring (and testing!) skills.

Speaking of Layla, can I please just tell you how much fun she’s been, especially this time of year!?

That is all.

While Will and I are ever-mindful of advent, we’ve never really done anything on our own for it aside from church stuff.

This year I bought candles to light for each week and have been doing an advent study. I have been so very blessed by it.

It’s a story I’ve read a million times, but when I quiet myself and really think on God’s love for humanity and how I need to love others, it reminds me why I even put up my dang decorations in the first place.

To celebrate Him.

If you haven’t done an advent study, I would definitely encourage you to do so. It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas (because, let’s face it, it’s kind of wonderful).

However, I cannot express the value of quieting yourself amidst the hustle and bustle to really contemplate the meaning of Christmas and the beauty of its simplicity.

I don’t know about you, but that simplicity can get drowned out by the tissue paper, cookies, movies, and Pandora music.

Oh friends, it probably clear to see I truly do find Christmas to be the most wonderful time of the year!

Thanks for letting me share some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.

I would absolutely love to hear some of the things you’re excited about this year. Share away! ❤️

Tuesday Things, 8 Dec 14

Take 20 seconds today and meet Arthur.

This dog.

He epitomizes my love for the canine.

He walked over 400 miles and had no prize to achieve like the racers competing.

He got a meatball 400 miles before, but was a friend for life.

There’s a good chance I’m walking into the office with striking white dry shampoo head multiple times a week.

Real life.

It’s awful, guys.

I try to remember to rub it out, and I do.

Sometimes.

How to turn me into a huge puddle.

Oh girls.

My sister has an email account for Layla that’s she’s going to share with one her day when she’s much older.

There are hundreds of things I’ve wanted to say whenever I try to rid myself of distractions and write her a letter.

Then I start contemplating my thoughts, tear up, turn into a big mess, and never write anything.

Oh man y’all, I completely fall to pieces!

So my goal is to push through and write something I’ve been meaning to for months now.

If I turn into a big crocodile teary mess, so be it. We push though!

Or just write a lighthearted and funny email instead? (Duh!)

Two Words

Hot Hands.

Oh.my.stars.

I greatly appreciate these things. They’ve saved me many a frigid football game.

We were outside a few hours last weekend and those puppies were like a big fat hug amidst my chills and runny nose.

Bethel Music’s You Make Me Brave

This song.

There are actually a few on their new album that are darn near killing me, but this one was the first I heard.

Love.

How to Annoy Me
To all of you organized and on top of everything eager beavers who sent out your Christmas cards Thanksgiving weekend- Stop It.

You’re making the rest of us look bad.  smile

That’s it for today. Any randomness you care to share?

The One with the Christmas Show & Look Ahead

Here we go again!

This weekend was nice.

I find most weekends this time of the year are nice!

It started with getting to see Layla’s first ever Christmas program.

Christmas show!

Oh man.

Can we be completely honest with each other?

Aside from the fact that we all swoon with glee to see our kid/niece/grandson/etc. on stage for their portion, these things have the potential to be major snoozefests.

Admit it.

This is a safe zone.

I mean, they had teachers hold the teeny babies on stage while they played a Christmas song and gently moved their wrists around, which had little bell bracelets on them.

Adorable, but long.

Anyway, I loved getting to see Layla up there. It’s an interesting thing watching kids in front of a crowd for the first time.

Pretty entertaining.

Friday was full of work and fun. I worked out, but opted to skip my cardio session in favor of some girl time with my mom and Layla!

We made multiple stops, and got some Christmas shopping done.

image

I’m also afraid I ruined Layla when it comes to riding in the cart.

Let’s just say we had fun, and I got to work on my sprinting and agility.

image

In the safest, most responsible manner, of course. wink

The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house.

I didn’t even miss ditching my morning cardio session. I made up for it with four hours of cleaning!

I also managed to get some Christmas decorations down too

And even get some small candles to light one for each advent week. ❤️

Friday night was quiet and relaxing. In fact, after all my work cart sprinting (kidding… Mostly) and cleaning I didn’t even balk when Will suggested pizza for dinner.

Refeed. Haha

Saturday. Oh Saturday.

No need to address the incredibly frustrating third home loss at bedlam, or the fact that we let OSU re-punt, resulting in a touchdown.

Instead we will talk about how I killed my leg workout.

We’ll also talk about how Will’s parents came to town and we had dinner with them and watched football together.

Brr

Gotta focus on the positive, right?

Yesterday was incredibly lazy and wonderful.

Church, gym, football, food prep, and a ton of nesting.

I made a chocolate pie, my breakfast for the week, a casserole, as well as How Sweets carne asada nachos for our evening football fare ( I make Will’s according to the recipe but ditch the meat and the chips and add veggies for my version).

A relaxing and cozy day at home with my beloveds.

And now, another long week begins!

Here’s a look at what’s coming up this week:

-Tuesday Things
-WIOW
-All things Christmas
-Preparing our hearts

I hope you’ll check in this week. Until then, here’s to a good Monday!

WIOW:All About Balance

I know we just experienced a holiday devoted to pies, fowl, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes encased in butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows, but I gotta talk about food today.

Despite the Thanksgiving hiatus, I’ve made some changes to my diet over the last couple months and am compelled to share.

Earlier this year, I switched from a completely vegan diet to one allowing for more vegetarian options.

And oh man did that open up a whole new world for me. smile

While I still prefer vegan, I’ve really enjoy the vegetarian protein options available.

Prior to this switch, my diet was always heavy on carbs.

Healthy carbs, but carbs.

And I was happy.

While I was happy, my winter pants weren’t.

I was also holding onto a lot of water weight.

I love carbs and acknowledged their importance in a balanced diet, but that was the problem.

My diet wasn’t balanced.

Heck, with the job change my whole routine felt out of whack and unbalanced.

Without living on pea protein, I really had a hard time naturally achieving a completely vegan higher protein diet without also upping my carbs.

I could do it, but the truth is, I also missed B-12.

And iron.

I don’t need to tell you again. I posted all about it here.

Anyway, making the switch felt so much better.

So that’s the background.

Based on that change, I’ve recently made the decision to alter my diet a little more to be more protein focused.

In fact, I’ve reduced my calorie intake by about 300 per day by adding back more protein to my diet. I’ve felt completely satiated and don’t even notice the deficit.

I don’t think I’ll share my macro breakdown today, but I will talk about my “HEC.”

Metabolic Effect, a site I personally have found to be a great resource, talks about how much our Hunger, Energy, and Cravings (HEC) play into hormones and how we eat.

It’s not a one size fits all, that’s for sure.

When I decided to lower my carbs and increase protein, it was really important to me that I kept my HEC in check (haha).

That meant an incredibly slow process of reducing carbs and adding protein.

I didn’t go on a crash diet of slashing all carbs and eating nothing but eggs and cheese.

No way.

I cut by only a handful of grams per day to see how I felt.

The good news was that I felt just fine. Satiated and satisfied.

I still eat plenty of carbs, but I have definitely seen such a difference in my clothes by increasing my protein.

I realize this increased protein concept seems like such a “duh” moment, especially for someone like me who has done lots of my own research on the subject.

Yes, I fully acknowledge the importance of protein. I always have.

Today’s post really is about sharing my decision to harness its power in my own ability to feel satisfied and shed some holiday fluff. smile (Remember my fall football fitness goals?)

Here are just a few examples of the swaps I’ve made.

The biggest change came with my daily green monster. I LOVE my daily green monster, and I love it super fruity.

Instead of my daily green monsters with a whole banana, I’ve ditched the fruit altogether or have added low glycemic berries instead.

I also opted for a fruity greens powder to help add the flavor without the sugar.

Hands down, that’s where I started saving the most carbs. Breakfast was second.

Instead of oatmeal for breakfast, I’ve swapped for eggs with three cups of steamed greens (or something similar).

Instead of lentils or quinoa for lunch, I’ve swapped for a salad with avocado and tofu.

I’ve swapped air popped corn for organic yogurt, or my rice cakes for organic greek yogurt. This switch has been the hugest bang for my buck. We all know how much protein greek yogurt offers, and that was one was switch that catapulted my protein intake.

I’ve enjoyed my beloved mangoes once or twice a month versus once or twice weekly (money saver too!)

I’m still occasionally adding in fish once or twice a week, which also sends my protein macros soaring.

I share all this, but must also note, when I say “soaring” I really mean soaring the levels into a more balanced state.

I was easily eating 45-50% of my calories in the form of carbs many days.

Between the new job and the more hectic schedule, I stopped focusing on balance. 

Fast forward eight months and I finally woke up and realized it was time to get ahold of myself.

It started with my Fall Football Fitness goals and progressed from there.

So yeah.

Balance.

It’s a good thing.

My HEC is in check (couldn’t resist), and my winter pants are happy girls.

Thanks for tuning for this rather long ramble! Check in tomorrow!

Tuesday Things, 2 Dec 14

My office got a new coffee machine a couple weeks ago and it is killing me.

Seriously.

It’s affecting my life.

I love coffee but rarely drink it (yeah, yeah I realize it makes no sense).

Now that they have this new machine with the most delicious vanilla flavored coffee ever, I’m up to multiple cups a day and it’s killing me, ya’ll.

I had the worst time trying to get to sleep last week, and staying asleep was just as hard.  I knew it was the coffee but I just.couldnt.stop.

So yeah, I rationed down to one cup, first thing in the morning. One and done. No matter how wonderfully vanilla-y it is.

HELP ME.

Yesterday was the first day my macros were finally where they needed to be since Thanksgiving.

I did fairly well navigating through the long weekend, but I spent my fair share of time carb crashing after the large meals.

It feels good to be back to normal eating and feeling more like myself.

Kind of.

I mean, who doesn’t love a plate full of your favorite carbohydrates?

We had a house full of dessert and delicious leftovers.

We finished the last of it Sunday. Now there’s nothing.

Nothing.

No pie. No potatoes.

It’s like complete food drug detox over here ya’ll, and I’m kind of going through withdrawals.

Ugh.

Pass the protein and healthy greens.

Parenthood
Joel and Julia.

It’s about time they reconciled so my life can go back to normal.

I still have so many unanswered questions. Mainly, WHY ARE THEY CANCELING THE SHOW!?

The game changer
Guys.

My culinary horizons have expanded.

Have you ever “hard boiled” your eggs in the oven?

If you have a Pinterest (I don’t), you’ve probably seen this trick a million times.

Someone told me what a difference it made for easier peeling, and they weren’t kidding!

I’ve always battled peeling problems. Pieces of egg completely ripped off when I’ve tried to peel. What a waste!

Just plop your eggs in a muffin tin, and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

Plunge the eggs in an ice bath and let them sit a few minutes before peeling.

Easiest removal ever.

No more Neilsen

Remember how annoyed I was when Will agreed to do the Neilsen rating stuff for a week?
Turns out, it wasn’t too bad.

Um, maybe even a little enjoyable?

(What’s wrong with me!?)

Now it seems strange not having to write down what we’re watching every single time the TV is on.

***

That’s it today! Any randomness you care to share? 

Thanksgiving Weekend & Look Ahead

Mondays after holidays are such a major drag.

I wish I could be like some of you, eager to share your stories at the water cooler (haha do people even do that anymore?), but I’m not.

I would love to enjoy the Monday after at home with Will and the pups.

Let the wishful thinking commence.

My Thanksgiving weekend was different than most, but still very nice.

I find these holiday weekends go far too quickly, mainly because half the days are spent traveling and doing family activities, while the other half is reserved for normal weekend duties.

I tried to keep my normal weekend duties to a minimum, though.

Wednesday night was all about food prep. I made my favorite mashed sweet potatoes.
Let the mashed sweet potato eating commence

The carbicide also commenced a day early.
It's got spinach on it, so it's got to be healthy, right?

It had spinach on it. It was healthy pizza, right!?

As you already know, we spent Thursday with Will’s family.

Thursday was sort of a weird day.

Will’s great uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer just three short months ago. He never smoked a day in his life, but after a long spell of coughing and never getting better, doctors made the discovery.

In just three very short months, the cancer spread and he got worse and worse. It’s like we didn’t even get to properly prepare because we were still in shock just how quickly it began to take over.

When we got to Will’s grandparent’s house Thursday, we learned they moved him to hospice and things had taken a grim turn. Will’s grandparents and parents were headed to the hospital right after we ate lunch together.

Will’s family is all about “visiting.” They love to sit and visit hours on end.

Thursday was hectic. We all ate, and as many of us were catching up and “visiting,"Will’s mom and grandma were frantically clearing tables and putting things away. We kind of got kicked out of the house!

We figured they must have gotten news things were even worse.

So we caravaned back up to OKC.

It was a whirlwind day.

Two hours driving to his grandparent’s house, about an hour and a half actually spent there, and then quickly turning back around for the two hour trip to the hospital.

We got there, and the waiting room was full of family. I’m so thankful we were able to go and be with everyone.

We got to see Will’s uncle.

I pray you’ve never had to see the deterioration of cancer. Unfortunately, I have seen it a few times. It’s a wrenching thing to remember the vitality of a loved one and their demeanor the way they were, and then to see cancer take its toll.

He could barely speak, and his eyes remained closed. Will and I held his hand, and amidst tears prayed with him.

I’m thankful for that moment.

We said goodbye to everyone and headed home.

A Thanksgiving far different than our norm.

I did manage to snap a few pics before we got news of Will’s uncle and his worsened condition.

Oh Will.

He hates pictures, as you can see. smile

Will is smiling on the inside.

About two hours after getting home, we got a call to see if Will’s grandparents could stay the night with us.

I’d love to tell you I handled the request with grace and warm hospitality, but I’d be lying.

Will and I frantically went into guest prep mode for the 20 minutes we had before they arrived.

Let’s be honest, after the day they’d had, they probably wouldn’t have even noticed if I had a pile of laundry on the couch or a little dust.  Heck, I could have had spaghetti stuck to the walls and they probably would have been none the wiser.

I’m so thankful we were able to extend our house to them. I’m so happy they were able to stay and be in OKC when we received the news Friday.

Friday was packed with family, too.

We received the news about Will’s uncle passing around 6:00 that morning. Although very sad, there’s such a peace knowing how much he loved and praised Jesus, even until the end.

Will went to breakfast with his grandparents and mom, while I stayed behind to do a little prep for Thanksgiving with my family.

Oh girls, we outsourced Thanksgiving with my family this year, and it was the best decision ever!

I ordered the healthy menu, and it did not disappoint. The menu came with turkey breast with pomegranate au jus, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed white potatoes, made with Greek yogurt instead of cream, fresh green beans, quinoa salad (so good ), and a pumpkin dessert.

So delicious!

I also made rolls, and my mom made a relish tray and another casserole. Aaaaand the most delicious caramel vanilla cheesecake ever.

So much for healthy. smile

Despite the sad morning, it was really nice to be with my family. I’m sure I hugged my mom and dad a little tighter.

Love my mom

The afternoon was a nice break, especially after the rushed and emotional day before.

Layla is such a hoot! I know I tell you all the time, but seriously. She’s a hoot.

We finally had a quiet evening Friday night. In fact, we went to bed before 9!

Saturday was enjoyable. It was a nice break to simply spend time together and appreciate the long weekend. I got up and worked out (for the third time over since Thursday. Woo hoo!).

We caught a movie, and then proceeded to spend almost three hours putting seat covers on our old Honda.

Almost three hours.

Will is the most meticulous man on the planet about some things.

The seat covers

We tucked, and buckled, and pulled, and tucked some more.

The back seat was the worst.

Painful, guys.

The evening was much less annoying. We enjoyed leftovers (and cheesecake) and caught up on shows.

Sunday came way too fast.

We kicked off the Christmas season at church. I also worked out and prepped for the week ahead. It will be nice to eat normal meals again! smile

Now we’re back to Monday. A Monday that feels mountainous. Remember how I accidentally screwed up Thanksgiving for some of our friends to the north? Yeah… What goes around comes around. I have lots waiting for me today.

Here’s a look at what’s ahead this week:

Tuesday Things
The Diet Lately
Things I’m Loving Thursday
A Trashy Realization

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and that today is t too overwhelming. Check in tomorrow! 

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m posting early in hopes you won’t be in pecan pie coma yet.

Which brings up an important question- do you even like pecan pie?

Much like pumpkin, I find the topic highly divisive at the Thanksgiving table.

I don’t understand how anyone could hate either, but then again I pretty much love anything placed in a buttery crust and baked.

Oh, and can we also talk about how one properly slices a pie?

I realize I’m a self-proclaimed health nut, but I must confess, Thanksgiving pies must always be sliced into six, not eight pieces.

Unless of course you are creating a little dessert sampler plate, in which case it should be cut into 12 pieces.

Yes.

6. Or 12.

I realize how preposterous 6 may sound, but that’s just how it’s gotta be.

Regardless of whether you love or detest pecan (or pumpkin) pie, or cut your pie in 8 pieces instead of six, I will not judge.

On the same note, please be so kind not to judge me as I reach for my second helping of cranberry sauce or mashed potatoes.

It’s probably going to happen.

Today we head to the boonies to celebrate Thanksgiving Round One with Will’s family.

Which means, for about six years straight, I’ve missed the Thanksgiving Day parade. I used to always watch it growing up.

Are you an avid watcher? Am I missing out? Should I DVR it?

Actually, don’t tell me to DVR it. I wouldn’t watch it. Something about taping a live holiday event and then watching it afterward just seems a little sad.

Moving on.

You’ll be proud (or annoyed?) to learn I worked out at the gym this morning, despite the fact it feels a little like a complete and utter waste in some ways. smile

I still feel quite accomplished, and even gave myself a pat on the back.

Literally.

I’m pretty sure Will rolled his eyes.

He was even more annoyed when I kind of sort of ran late and had to accomplish my makeup, crooked eyeliner and all, in the car.

Real life.

So now we’re all settled, all done up, and headed to grandma’s house, mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli salad, crooked eyeliner and all.

Anyway, tomorrow’s festivities will be more low key. We outsourced our Thanksgiving meal and I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Until then, I am going to bask in the love of my family.

And pie.

Definitely pie too.

On a serious note, I want to take a moment to thank you.

There are millions of blogs out there. Ones that are far more modern than this outdated archaic design I’ve had since 2008, and ones that are probably more entertaining.

Yet you come here and read my words everyday.

I appreciate it.

Some of you since 2005, and I love that. I’ve grown up so much since those early posts as a young newlywed. I like to think, by God’s grace (and patience) I’ve gotten far better since then. I hope you’ve become better too.

I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for being for me.

Thank you for being kind.

Sorry for the scattery post today, but I wanted to say hello.

Happy Thanksgiving from The B-Love Family. ❤️

WIOW: All About Thanksgiving

Today we’re talking Thanksgiving prep.

I realize it’s over a week away, but hey, I say no time like the present to make a plan.

You fail to plan, you plan to fail, yes?

My mom would be proud.

Like many of you, Thanksgiving lasts more than just a day at our house.

It’s more like an entire weekend, really.

Almost a season, if you will.

I feel like everyone has their own approach to this time of year.

Today isn’t about investigating what’s right or wrong.

Today is all about sharing my own thoughts regarding Thanksgiving and my own personal plan of attack.

The Workouts

Ah the workouts.

My philosophy is to keep to schedule.

If I scheduled an appointment with myself to workout Thursday, I workout Thursday.

Obviously if it doesn’t look like a Thanksgiving workout is going to be feasible, I plan ahead and move that workout up in the week.

However, for now I plan to workout at home Thursday. I’ll either do a workout video or one of the dozens of at-home friendly workouts I’ve created over the years.

Friday-Sunday will be gym workouts. I’ll do both resistance and cardio work all three days.

There’s a good chance all three cardio sessions will be a little longer than usual to help burn off some of that pecan pie. smile

The Food

The food.

I love Thanksgiving Day food.

I don’t even miss the turkey because I load my plate with everything else!

I know people approach this entire meal in their own way, and so.do.I.

I eat a normal breakfast that morning. Since I’m working out, I’ll drink my usual green monster followed by a high protein breakfast an hour or two later.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I eat what I want for that meal only.

I usually fill up my plate half full of veggies, and the other half with tastes of other deliciousness like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and various other yummy sides.

Oh, and I always eat a roll, too.

I drink water and eat what’s on my plate, enjoying the company of others all the while.

After I finish what was my plate, if I’m still hungry or there’s something I wanted to try and didn’t, I will.

My goal is to feel like I ate what I wanted, but not like I’m so full I need to unbutton my pants. Haha

Let’s talk dessert.

That’s pretty much just as fantastic as the actual meal.

I often make a small sampler plate of a few tastes of things I want and leave it at that.

Do I eat more at that meal compared to usual meals?

You bet.

Am I so full that I want to die after?

No.

I try to make smart choices, but there are also things I enjoy that I don’t the rest of the year.

No food guilt here.

The Leftovers

Sooo that brings up the topic of leftovers.

Will’s grandma loves to send us home with a big plate of leftovers.

I usually only take small portions those items I can’t live without, and have round two later that night long after we are home.

I don’t take more than one meal, and I don’t let them linger all weekend.

One and done.

Thanksgiving Weekend

If only Thanksgiving lasted one day.

The bad news is that the pecan pie lives on.

The good news is that I am blessed to have family in my life to enjoy...as we scoop another piece of pie onto our plates. Haha

The B-Love family has two Thanksgivings! One with Will’s family, and one with mine.

I do my family’s Thanksgiving much like with Will’s family. Only, I feel like I take more leftovers home.

Th most exciting news of all is that this year we outsourced our Thanksgiving dinner to professionals! I am so so excited about it.

It was dirt cheap and we picked the healthy menu option! Granted, we will add rolls and dessert, but hey, much better than the alternative. Plus it saves us all time in the kitchen and allows us to enjoy each other’s company!

I can’t wait to tell you how it was.
***

Let’s put a bow on everything as a nice little recap:

My workouts stay the same (with the exception of increased cardio smile ).

My meals surrounding the Thanksgiving meal are pretty much the same as usual so I don’t overdo it and feel miserable after.

I load up my plate with healthy options, but I also leave room for delicious treats.

I eat dessert and don’t feel bad.

I don’t overdo it on the leftovers.

So there you go!

I love this time of year and look forward to next Thursday. I hope you do too!

Here’s to smart choices leading up to the meal, and smart choices the day after onward. smile

Ezra Nine: Brokenness

Ezra

Only one week left!

Real life.

I have some fun things up ahead and look forward to future Friday’s with you guys.

Today is all about chapter nine.

Let’s do an abbreviated recap.

Ezra learned the Israelites had intermarried among some of the locals (think Cannanites, Hitties, Jebusites...). When you read the chapter, you see he sort of lost his mind and literally pulled his hair out!

He sought the Lord in prayer and cried out to him in brokenness over their sin.

There’s a lot to cover here, but I want to only focus on two big elements.

1. Why was Ezra so distraught about these marriages?

There’s a ton of historical and biblical importance about just why exactly these intermarriages were such a big deal.

To keep it short, waaaay back in Exodus God made it very clear his people were not to marry other people of the land. 

Plain and simple.

The fact that the holy God said it should be reason enough.

However, one of the big reasons behind this command dealt with the gods these people worshipped. In merging these cultures and lives, the Israelites would turn away from the God who brought them out of Egypt and worship false idols.

If you’ve read the Old Testament, even for a few minutes, you know there was plenty of that going on.

God said it to protect his people from heartache and following after empty pagan gods.

No wonder Ezra was rocked by what was happened.

That’s great and all, but how does that apply today?

It applies in lots of ways.

We are called to guard our hearts and remain in fellowship with Christ.

It’s hard to do that if we are pursuing other “gods of this world.” Sure, maybe we aren’t saying “I dos” to Canaanites and Hittites, but maybe we are harboring bitterness, focused on work more than God, or not even acknowledging God in our lives at all.

1 John 5 tells us to “keep away from anything that might take the place of God in our hearts.”

Anything.

While it looks a little different in terms of what’s going on in chapter 9, it’s really not so different after all.

During the time I took my eyes of Jesus, I had lots of other things that took his place in my heart.

My masters program, other people that shouldn’t have, exercise, fitness, and almost anything else except Him.

It wasn’t until I woke up in the pig pods, to use a prodigal son analogy, that I realized just how far I had fallen.

I see why Ezra was so torn up. When was the last time we were torn up for sin? Broken for the way we have grieved the heart of God?

Because He feels it.

The Bible talks about how he delights in us (and even sings over us!), but Genesis is also very clear on how he feels sorrow from our rebellion, too.

I never want to hurt his feelings. I think brokenness over sin is something we (a collective “we") don’t want to take the time to deal with or take the time to ask for, but oh how we need it.

I think it’s also easy to rank our sin and not feel much brokenness over “small” sins compared to “bigger” sins.

Oh friends, it’s all sin.

I lived so long doing this very same thing. It desensitized my heart to sin until the sin became justification for more sin and more sin until I was over my head deep in sin that initially seemed so very benign.

We must ask God to break our hearts over the things that break his in order to fully obey and know him.

Whew! I sure want to keep going, but there’s another element I want to discuss from today’s chapter too.

2. I also want to touch on verse 15.

Ezra said these words thousands of years ago, but they are just as applicable today as they were then.

Verse

God is righteous and holy. Even on our best day, our very best day we still we could not stand before God.

Oh friends I’m so grateful that’s not the end of the story.

Yes, we couldn’t stand before God on our best day, but now we have a way.

Through Jesus, and through surrendering our lives to him, we can stand before God.

We can stand before him righteous, favored, adopted, and chosen. Just read the beginning of Ephesians if you don’t believe me.

Not only that, but the bible also says through Jesus we become royal priests and God’s very own possession. Ah how I love that!

We are not so different than the Israelites in this chapter, but through the grace of Jesus, we can now stand before him forgiven and as a new creation.

Oh how I long to be perfected in him, and I pray the Lord works in your heart too.

*****

Thanks for checking in today. I hope you’re gearing up for a good weekend! It’s going to be absolutely frigid here so I plan on baking my pumpkin protein bars as well as other healthy treats.

Catch up with you Monday!

The One with the Birthday Party & Look Ahead

Happy November, sweets!

November.

How can it already be!?

I sure hope you had a wonderful weekend full of warmth and fun. Tell me tell me!

Overall, mine was pretty delightful.

Friday was busy with Will’s mom’s birthday party prep, and Will and I didn’t get home until late. We missed all the Elsas and Lego men.

After my errands that evening, I made a salad and my favorite homemade dressing for Saturday.

Thankfully Will helped me out and picked up the pretty cake we ordered.

Only, we got home and they completely used the wrong frosting. :(

Will didn’t realize what I ordered, so he obviously didn’t say anything when he picked it up. I was kind of bummed about it, but decided to make lemonade (it was still delicious).

Saturday came early, as I decided to hit the gym before the day was underway. I did my weak in the knees workout, and also made some time to hit the elliptical.

Afterward I got ready, and it was off to grandmother’s house we went!

To grandmothers house we go!

We enjoyed the road trip and even caught some of the Sooner game on the radio before arriving. Birthday girl

The party was wonderful. It’s always nice to see Will’s family. I am very blessed to have married into such a good family.

We ate, caught up, and enjoyed a DVD Will’s dad had put together for the birthday girl. It was fun to see all her old pictures over the years.

We enjoyed birthday cake, college football, and more visiting with one another.

We headed out late that afternoon, knowing we would see them again soon with the upcoming holidays on the horizon!

Saturday evening we watched some more football and caught up on a couple shows.

Aaaand ate more cake.
The after party
Real life. 

We went to bed around 9:30, but with the time change it was really like we went to bed at 8:30. Wonderful. smile

We went to church Sunday and spent a lot of time with the Bigs the rest of the morning. It was pretty chilly yesterday, and they loved the cooler temps and we’re all energy!

Afterward, I planned to get some food prep done, only I noticed the stuff in our freezer wasn’t very cold.

Aaaand sure enough, I was right.

When it rains, it pours, right?

We kept the fridge and freezer closed for the rest of the day.

What is it about a refrigerator that’s off limits that gives you the insatiable urge to want to eat everything that’s inside!?

Everything. Even condiments seemed appealing! Haha

I got a tad stressed out, because I just bought $100 worth of groceries sitting within, and I was going to be really bummed if things spoiled.

I’m so thankful for my parents and being able to stash our stuff there. Thankfully the fridge is holding by a thread and we kept everything at home, but are having someone come out to take a look today.

Saying a prayer it’s benign and easy to fix! The fun of adulthood.

I was so blessed to get to chat with a friend yesterday, oh how I needed it! It felt good to share my heart and hear what was on hers. We prayed together, and I felt so strengthened by our talk.

So there you have it!

Now onto the week ahead.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up this week:

-Homemade Granola
-Candy Coma Workout
-Thursday Things
-Ezra Eight

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and start this week strong! 

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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