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Apr 10, 2014
Apr 10, 2014

June Retreat

Blogger Tricks
Mar 7, 2014
Mar 7, 2014

soul : He reveals

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Isaiah 40:5 “And the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind together will see it. “

Each day, whether we look for it or not, God reveals Himself to us. There are ways that he speaks to thousands of us in a single moment about His majesty through a glorious sunrise. Then there are times where he quietly whispers our name in our ear that is personal and private. God reveals His character and truth through His Holy Word. He uses the melody of song to capture our hearts and the words of friends to convict us. He demonstrates His faithfulness by answering our prayers and uses our families to realize the meaning of sacrifice. He is constantly revealing His nature and truths to us and we have to be on the lookout. Every revelation, every whisper, is God teaching us about Him. We don’t want to miss those moments. Ask God today to help you be aware of His presence. Ask Him to open your eyes to His truth and glory in your everyday. God gives of glimpses of Himself to encourage us and because He loves us. Don’t be too busy to miss Him.

Posted by : Stephanie
Mar 5, 2014
Mar 5, 2014

soul : truth

Read the above quote. I had to read it a couple times and let it soak in. It's true and I should stamp it on my head and heart.

Feb 28, 2014
Feb 28, 2014

soul : amazed


I am amazed at God's great goodness even in my sinfulness. He brings life from death, like the couple who conceived a baby the very weekend the wife's beloved mother died. He brings beauty from ashes, like the friend who got divorced this year and then saw real forgiveness this year too.

I am amazed at Jesus' paradox that the king of the world would wash his friends' feet. He makes the poor so very rich, like the family who has an empty savings account but a couch full of grandchildren. He makes the valley the place of vision, like the grieving parents of a very sick child who see God provide for them by way of meals and money and comfort.

He is in the business of making my broken heart a very beautiful heart.

"Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly.
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory..."
The Valley of Vision, a puritan prayer

Posted by : Betsy

Feb 27, 2014
Feb 27, 2014

body : healthy chocolate

If you are looking for a sweet way to show love to someone or to yourself, here's an simple to make and healthy to eat chocolate recipe.



1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup raw, unrefined organic coconut oil
4 tablespoons maple flavored agave nectar
sea salt to taste

Put all ingredients into a double boiler and stir over low heat until melted smooth. Pour into plastic heart-shaped molds and chill in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Pop out and wrap your treats in tissue or the packaging of your choice! These do melt easily, so keep them chilled until it's time to give and inform your lucky recipient that they are best stored in the fridge.

In addition to being so cute and charming visually, I love that this recipe is nourishing and beautifying! Coconut oil is an excellent fat that plumps your skin but not your belly, and raw cacao is a powerhouse of health promoting antioxidants. Enjoy! And Happy February! 

Posted by : Katie
Feb 24, 2014
Feb 24, 2014

soul : relationships


Relationships are what matter most. It is not the city that you live in but the people that you live with that matter. It is not the dinner on your table but the people you share that meal with that matter.

And to be honest, I see these relationships suffering. I see my husband ignored because I want a moment alone. I see the kids whining because I am checking off my to-do list. I see girlfriends neglected because I selfishly prefer the comfort of my couch.

And I look deeper: to my relationship with my Creator, my God, my Maker. I ignore Him. I neglect my time with Him. And I suffer for this selfishness.

But there is hope. There is hope for my relationships here on earth. There is hope for my relationship with God. This hope is named Jesus, who forgives and loves over and over and over. Amen.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus."
Philippians 2:3-5

posted by : betsy

Feb 20, 2014
Feb 20, 2014

body : Mint Chocolate Flour-less Cakes


When I think about February, Valentine's Day is the first thing that comes to mind. And when I think about Valentine's Day, chocolate instantly comes to mind. Naturally. Lately, though, I've found that my deep love for chocolate has been waning as I dive deeper into my quest for eating clean. Chocolate by itself actually offers some great health benefits, but when you add in cocoa's besties, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar, it instantly puts a damper on the good stuff. So in an effort to keep my love for chocolate alive, I set out to come up with a flourless chocolate cake recipe that didn't depend on gluten or dairy or other inflammatory ingredients to taste good. I feel like this simple combination of some of nature's best ingredients is the perfect example of how desserts and healthy eating can co-exist in beautifully delicious harmony.



One of nature's best kept secrets is the awesome ingredient, coconut palm sugar. It tastes and acts very similar to typical refined cane sugar but it is much lower glycemic and actually offers some nutritional value. Many recent studies show that coconut palm sugar is high in amino acids and nutrients like iron and potassium. And, because it is low glycemic, it doesn't cause the same "sugar crash" that conventional sugar does. The best part is that it really does taste like the real thing without that weird sugar substitute aftertaste. Just another example of how God has given us far greater ingredients in nature than we could ever create in a lab!
This is a quick and easy recipe that can be modified to work based on your available cooking tools (some modification options mentioned in parenthesis).


Yield: large dessert for two, each about 1-cup portions (can be doubled to make more)
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Ingredients:
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 TBSP unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar or coconut palm sugar
2 large pastured eggs
1/2 tsp peppermint oil
fresh berries, mint leaves, and powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
Using extra coconut oil or cooking spray, coat the inside of 2 oven-safe serving dishes (1 cup capacity size) or you can use smaller ramekins to allow for about four smaller portioned servings.
In a double boiler (or a small pot inside a bigger pot of water), melt the chocolate and coconut oil while stirring until it is a smooth liquid consistency. Remove from heat.
Separate the eggs: whites into a stand mixer bowl (or a separate bowl large enough for an electric hand mixer) and yolks into a separate medium sized bowl. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Using a whisk (or hand mixer), beat together the egg yolks and sugar until they are all combined and a thick creamy texture. Pour a small amount of the melted chocolate into the yolk and sugar mixture. Mix well. Add remaining amount of the melted chocolate and stir until it is all combined.
Gently scoop the chocolate, sugar, and yolk mixture into the mixing bowl with the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whites in with the chocolate mixture until it is all combined and is a light creamy consistency.
Pour mixture into prepared baking dishes until they are about 3/4 full. Place filled cups on a cookie sheet and put in preheated oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops of the cakes start to crack.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. The cakes will sink down as they cool. Garnish with fresh berries, mint leaves, and powdered sugar. It tastes amazing when it's still warm, but it can also be enjoyed at room temperature.
For the love of chocolate... cheers, my friends!

Posted by : Chrystal
Feb 17, 2014
Feb 17, 2014

soul : love love love

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One of the words best associated with February is love. Love, love, love. Love in the form of presents, in the form of greeting cards, and in the form of physical affection, too.

One of my best definitions of love comes from the greatest lover of all. 1st Corinthians defines love and every time I read these verses, I'm reminded at just how much I need love and how much better I can be at loving those around me.

So this month, I'm reminding myself of what real love means. Not the conversation heart love, but true love that never fails.

"Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always 'me first,'doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end" 1st Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)

posted by : KiKi

Feb 12, 2014
Feb 12, 2014

body : raw brownie heart sandwiches

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to do a heart shaped raw treat! I have a passion for making raw desserts less expensive, but still delicious. So for this recipe I’m using easier to find ingredients with a less expensive seed as the main base, and raisins and banana as the sweetener in lieu of more expensive dates.  

Raw nuts and seeds ideally should be soaked and dried before using, as they have enzyme inhibitors that help protect them while they grow. When you soak them, not only does it get rid of these inhibitors, it makes digestion easier and even makes them more nutritious! Most people whose tummies are negatively affected by nuts or seeds can enjoy them and feel perfectly fine once they are soaked. There are differing opinions out there, but I would suggest researching this issue more for your selves!



Raw Brownie Heart Sandwiches

First off, start by soaking the (1) cup of cashews for the icing in some water for 1.5-2 hours before you start making the recipe. Not only will this make the cashews easier to digest, but it will also soften them for the icing.

Brownie:
-1 ¼ cup Sunflower Seeds
-3/4 cup Walnuts
-1/8 tsp Salt
-1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Powder
-1 cup Cacao Powder
-1 1/2 cups Raisins

Start by putting the sunflower seeds and walnuts in your food processor and grind until crumbly. Add the salt, vanilla bean powder, and cacao powder and process a bit more. Next, add in your raisins. Process until your mixture is sticking together. Stop the food processor, grab some in your hands and try to ball it up. If it balls up nicely, you are good to go. Do a taste test J. You might want to add in more raisins if it’s not sweet enough to you (or not sticking together enough)…or even more cacao powder if it’s not chocolate enough.

Then, take your dough and place on parchment paper. I put some unbleached parchment down on my bamboo cutting board and that worked well. Take a chunk of your dough and pat down with the palm of your hand. Then roll it out with a rolling pin to your desired thickness. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to get little heart shaped cakes. Continue this until you have used all of your dough. Put these in the refrigerator to set a little bit while you make the icing.
 
Icing:
-1 cup Cashews (that you soaked, see above)
-2 Ripe Bananas
-1/4 cup Cacao Powder
-4 T Coconut Oil, melted

Drain your soaked cashews. Put your drained cashews with the rest of the above ingredients in your blender and blend until creamy. This works best to let “set” a bit in the freezer or refrigerator for a little while before making the sandwiches.

When the icing has hardened a little bit, put your sandwiches together by putting some icing between two of the brownie cakes (for me, this recipe makes 8 sandwiches). You can also let the finished sandwiches set in the freezer or refrigerator before serving too, but it’s not imperative.

These are wonderful as a special breakfast…or as a dessert or snack! OH and they taste delicious when paired with some fruit, especially strawberries and raspberries!

Because of the banana in the icing, this recipe really is best the day of, but you could make them the night before if need be. Alternatively, you could make the brownie beforehand and the icing the morning/day of.
I really hope you LOVE them and have a LOVEly Valentine’s Day!

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love Ephesians 4:2

Posted by : Jillian

Feb 9, 2014
Feb 9, 2014

soul : yes


"No" is a much overused word. I find it easier to roll off my tongue, without much thought, than a "yes".  My "no's" are heard mostly around my family, because they are the ones who see the real me, the ugly me, most of the time.

 While they may fall victims to my "no's",  it's in the quiet, the thoughts in my head, that the Lord hears it most. "No", I am going to control this or "No" I'm not going to listen to you.

I pray that I can be more of a "yes" girl:

yes - I will serve you!
yes - I will put down my phone and play with my kids
yes - I will trust in you
yes - I will wear a smile on my face while folding clothes and think of something joyful
yes - I will not complain
yes - I will be looking for joy and instead of grunting through the day
yes - I am available for you!

Lets be a "yes" kind of woman.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10 : 38-42

posted by : kk
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