Personal growth is so important. Do you have dreams and goals? Dreams should become goals. Goals should become reality. But this simply can not happen without a plan.
It is the start of a new year and so many do news resolutions. But so many fail. Because people wait till new years to start something new, to make a change. This is not good. If you have a goal you make the change now not later. You make reaching your goals a lifestyle. That is the very first start to having a plan. So are you ready to make this the best year yet? Below are some helpful growth ideas.
First step to having a person development plan is to think deeply and pray about what you want to accomplish this year and why. Listen do not rush and listen for the Lord to prompt you. Write down what comes to your mind. You must know your why and be passtionate about it. Other wise you will be aiming blinded and will not be effective.
Do not wait for motivation because it will never come to you on it's own. You must move and do and it will catch up.
Think through what it will take to get you to those goals you are setting. The best way to get to those goals is to set up a daily routine. The worlds most sucessful people have a daily routine. From morning to night. Having a daily routine will help you in so many ways not to mention it will build consistancy which is the very next point after goal setting.
Consistancy is so important. Consistent in the dictionary means acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.
Routine = Consistancey = Effectiveness = Results
There are so many helpful tools to incorperate into our productive day once you have clarity to help us find productivity in that daily routine.
Time blocking is a way. With time blocking you say for example from 7- 7:30 am I will read my Bible. From 8-9 I will respond to emails. And within reason stick to it daily. If you do you will see the effective results in productivity when you set the routine.
Time batching once your in working day and out of the morning routine could look like this for example if you work from home. From 9 am till 12 pm on Tuesday I will work on the entire weeks blog writings. In the time batching you only focus on that task of writing for that day set and hours and do it EVERY week same why as much as you can. You do not worry about photos or comments or emails reply they go in a time batch of their own. From 1 pm to 2 you do photos for your blog for the week. Or if you are working outside of home with time batching you can say for example from 2-4 on Saturday I will do laundry. You do not worry about laundry the rest of the week.
Brain dumps before bed. These are so helpful in getting all your thoughts out on paper to see what must be done or to deal with emtions of the day. It is kind of a pre method to form your next days to do list too. I have a pen and paper at my bed side and as soon as I think of something I write down so I no longer worry if I will forget it the next day.
Plan a daily routine. Then, plan a weekly routine. In it include your weekly goals your monthly goals for the monthly.
Write your goals often during week so they are before your eyes. Make it part of your morning routine! It will help motivate yourself again and again to keep going for the goals.
Make time in your weekly routine for self care. You do not want to suffer burn out.
Remember the personal development plan all goes back to this........
Routine = Consistancey = Effectiveness = Results
So get started! I would write all your daily planning, weekly planning in a journal, calender or planner! Get one that motivates you!
It is time to have your best year yet! I am excited for what this new year will hold for you! All that you suceed at this coming year is all for his glory. May your year shine brillant as you partner with God. For all that we suceed at is to utimately shine glory to the Father.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
If you have any great tips add them below!
Is The Greed Of Achan On Repeat In Your Life?
I find the book of Joshua fascinating. God was with his people guiding them in detail every step of the way out of the desert dwelling. He lead them with exact instructions of what the people would do to acquire the promised land.
God gave them everything they needed. All the protection and wisdom and provision they needed. Once they conquered a territory given them by God. But there were some instructions as to what they could take within a territory besides the land itself.
Joshua 6: 18 – 19 18 And you, by all means, abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a cure, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated of the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.
Now most of us know the story of Jericho and how amazing that was when the Israelites took over Jericho with the help and divine guidance of God. God wants to be our all. He only asked they not take any accursed thing or be a part of it. Anything that was of a false God or religion. Something that poses a threat to take the throne of the people’s heart in the false God world of that day that was so rampant in those lands. God is a jealous God and does not nor should not share his glory with anything a person makes a God.
Let’s look at just some of the verses to prove this!
You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
For you shall worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Take heed unto yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the LORD your God has forbidden you.
They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations they provoked him to anger.
You shall not bow down yourself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
(For the LORD your God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and destroy you from off the face of the earth.
And Joshua said unto the people, You cannot serve the LORD: for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
How long, LORD? will you be angry forever? shall your jealousy burn like fire?
For they provoked him to anger with their high places and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
1 Corinthians 6:19
What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have of God, and you are not your own?
1 Corinthians 6:20
For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which is God's.
2 Corinthians 11:2
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
So with this said, I think this is where the devil knows how to try and get (so he thinks) under Gods skin so to speak. The devil does not want God to have any glory at all.
Now bear with me here. The Lord lavishes gives us all we need. I love the verse in Ephesians 3: 20-21 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God can and will do more than we can think or ask. He will provide all we need. But he says in his word he can do abundantly more. He can and he will that is for sure. Our abundance lies in him.
The children of Israel basically had abundantly all they would need in the new lands. God just said, do not take any accursed thing. This reminds me of the original sin in the Garden of Eden where God said in Genesis 2:17 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[f] shall surely die.” They could have anything they wanted but that one thing God said no on.
God made us in his image the word says. But, when he made us in his image there are many things about us that God has done to replicate himself. Like how we look, emotions and creativity and more. But what we did not have was the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of that really opens up so many doors. Where as in the original state of Adam and Eve all they knew was a carefree amazing life with just knowing God with no knowledge of good and evil like God himself had.
Remember God is a jealous God. But Lucifer is jealous of Gods glory. God created us in his image for fellowship with him. He desires our company. Now when Satan (Lucifer was his name in heaven) saw all that awesome fellowship between man (made in the image of God) , God and all focus was on God, Satan got jealous for he thought he could be better than God that is what got him kicked out of heaven. He wanted to destroy the glory of God and any glory going to God which man gives. ALL glory must go to God no one can be above him. So Satan knew if he made man who was made in his image to go against God like Lucifer himself did that he could take many many more of these “people made in his image” away from ever giving glory to God.
Now back to Joshua’s camp and keep what I just told you in mind. After the defeat and accruing of Jericho next on the list was Ai. The people had such confidence in God winning this battle and it was a sure deal. They were so sure they had, they sent less people. In Joshua 7 the spies came back saying in verse 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “do not let all the people go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” So then only about a thousand people went but got their behinds kicked.
No one saw that coming. In verse 6 of chapter 7 Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. That is what the people of the times did when mourning a loss and tragedy. Not only that I believe they did it out of respect and reverence to God because Joshua thought God had abandoned them and indeed, he did in that battle but Joshua forgot what God said and why he would if they didn’t follow his exact instructions.
Next, the Lord says to Joshua in chapter 7 verses 10 – 12 10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the [g]accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.
So Joshua finds the person who did it. Achan was the man. Then the people of Israel stoned him and his family to death. So where Achan went wrong, God had given abundantly more than they could think or ask in deliverance from their enemies, bronze, gold, silver, iron. And provision of the land and all the abundance it brings with it. What more could a person want? Achan was indeed in that moment of birthed greed, standing with a choice like Eve to choose is God enough for me or do I want to be higher than God and have more than he says I should have, which by the way is abundantly more than we can think or ask, if you are trusting in God anyway. Achan did and we all do this when we choose greed that we are sitting on the throne of our life not God. Greed is the keyword. Greed is defined as an intense selfish desire. The safest abundance is found in God alone and his provision. Yet greedy Achan let the devil and that sin seed he put in Achan’s heart grow to try and overtake God on his throne by saying I know best. I can take what I want when I want and I want this accursed stuff. Achan got all the people of Israel in trouble with that one act of greed but Satan had a larger plan!
Satan only had to plant a seed of greed. He knew if he planted that.. that someone in the camp would let it grow into the reality. It started as thought. That’s all it took. Achan did the rest. Satan was pleased. Satan used one man’s greed (Satan’s specialty) to humiliate God’s people and take glory from God in that battle as all the peoples of the lands where watching the people of Israel and their God. You know word got back around the land, hahaha maybe they have just been lucky where is their God now? Satan never ever wants God to have glory of any type.
His main goal in all our lives and throughout all time since his fall is to simply repeat in many ways what he did with Adam and Eve in the garden to take all the glory from God he can. It is his second top mission besides still souls of those made in Gods image from God.
Achan’s greed is only many of billions of stories throughout time that Satan is stuck in a roundabout way (he just repackages the goal to look different sometimes) to simply keep doing what he did from day one. To steal and kill from Gods image & take Gods glory that Lucifer so desperately desires.
Get that! With greed, he knows he caused death to come on Eve and Adam and all of mankind so he then could say look at those made in Gods image now! And he could say I will steal as many souls from God as I can, so they never give him glory. And if I can’t do that to all I will make the believers in Jesus mess up and sin so much that each day they live in the camp of the accursed they will not bring him Glory, now in their earthy life or the life to come when we all pass through the coming judgement. Yes there is a judgment for all be those in Christ and not. What you did in Jesus name will be judged. What will you hand Jesus a life of greed or a life lived to give him glory? What is on the throne of your heart? Make sure it is always God. And obey what he says and do not think your ways are higher than his for he is a jealous God and deserves all the glory from you. Your life of obedience gives him glory and honor. He wants the throne of your heart.
For a keto friendly low fat low carb Christmas morning, this is such a cute idea.
To save time Christmas morning make these sausage patties ahead of time and freeze them.
What a cute little sausage patty. It will surley bring smiles.
Make life easier and freeze it for a future time.
You can save the bits left over from cutting out the shapes to crumble for casseroles,soups, scrammbled eggs or this tasty Low Carb Egg Roll In A Bowl. You can also freeze these bits too!
One roll of sauage can do so much for the holiday and go so far!
I received this sausage as a Jennie-O Switch Circle Blogger. The ideas and options are my own.
Did you know everyone is a leader? Someone, even when you do not realize, is watching you. We are all influencers in this life. So even if you are not a top CEO you are leading someone on some level. So ask yourself how will you lead?
I choose to lead with the principles found in the Bible. That is why I am fancinated with The Maxwell Leadership Bible. Here are the reasons why.
Why I like The Maxwell Leadership Bible:
This is a Bible that any aged leader could benifit from. Teachers, parents, bosses, CEO's, supervisors, teenagers, pastors, entrepreneurs, executive, investors, managers or as well as anyone in the work force. Awesome for leadership development, activties, educational, training, skills, for women, men, teens for help delvelop leadership qualities. I am extremely happy to have this Bible in my Bible study collection.
Awesome for leadership development, activties, educational, training, skills, for women, men, teens for help delvelop leadership qualities.
I was honored to get this Bible in exchange for my views.
It happens every holiday. We end up with more turkey than we know what to do with. However I have some easy ideas to help you not waste that delisious bird.
Click each one to see the recipe:
I was sent an Oven Ready Whole Turkey by Jennie-O in exchange for me tasting it and telling you all about it in my own opions.
This turkey seriously beats hands down any other turkey out there. No thawing reguired. Gluten free all natural. It comes fully ready to pop in your oven. You just set the suggested time and cut a few slits in the oven ready bag and cook for around 4 hours. The pop up thermostat will indeed pop up when the turkey is ready. Your not going to find an easier better quality turkey than this on the market. It even comes with a gravy packet.
I want to introduce to you a new soup I created with Parmigiano Reggiano. I call it Italian Vegetable Parmesan Bisque or Italian Veggie Parm for short. I created Spinach parmesan crisps to compliment it. I made this soup recipe for one for when I am eating alone. It is so very simple and easy. You do not see many soup recipes tailored for just one. However, this recipe can be doubled for more servings to make a fantastic soup to freeze for future meals. So why not make ahead or freeze for fast meal or give a delicious homemade soup as a gift to a sick friend this winter. Would make a great gift for the holidays or to serve at parties when you host and entertain.
Soup is perfect for these cold Fall and Winter months. It is my favorite meal to have during this season.
To make this bisque and the crisps you will need a blender of any type. I love my little bullet when making soup for one. You can use a large blender for a family size pot.
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese is known as the KING OF CHEESE. They have made their cheese the same way in Italy for 900 years. This is an amazing legacy. Amazing authentic parma cheese with the best taste I promise you have ever had. I highly recommend this cheese for the recipe to taste just perfect! No other will have a rich history of amazing quality.
Next, blend your soup to a creamy texture. Bring to a boil then turn down to medium low and let simmer for about 20-30 mins. Stir often.
To go with the soup these low carb spinach parmesan crisps are a great substitute to crackers. Super loaded with nutrients.
To make the Spinach Parm Crisps you need
Godere!! Italian for enjoy!
Let's talk about the health properties of this brand!
Check out Parmigiano Reggiano just in time for the holiday seasons.
I recevied this product for free to create this amazingly simple recipe. All thoughts and creations are my own.
(Republished from my blog I shut down last month WhatsUpSusan)
My journal prompt that day came from a fortune cookie. My friend taught me once that if you do you not know what to journal, grab a fortune cookie to use as a writing prompt. This was perfect because I was at my favorite Asian dinner on a me time break. So I got my cookie and pulled out my Travelers notebook ready to let those writing juices to flow.
My fortune cookie said A secret admirer will soon send you a sign of affection. I was laughing like what am I supposed to do with that? Then the holy spirit gave me a prompt of how I can use it. I wonder who all has secretly desired to have a secret admirer at some point in their life? I guess it would be exciting and fun to sit and wonder who sent that gift or note knowing someone was watching you. If you think of it most confuse a secret admirer with romance. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with that at all. But the term secret admirer really makes me ponder that if someone is a fan of me, watching me, I truly hope with all that is in me they are really seeing and admiring Jesus in me!
Colossians 3:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
This post is not sponsored. We were in Fl for a work conference in 2017. I wanted to just write a post telling you the short skinny from my perspective of Universal Studios FL and hopefully provide a helpful perspective without pushing this or that for affiliate sales or feeling like it has to be all positive things if sponsored etc. You know what I mean.
Now on to Universal Studios and how I view it!
The ticket price for one park ticket is around 200 dollars. There are three parks. Universal Studios, Universal’s Volcano bay, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I thought when I was given the ticket to Universal I had access to all the rides, I had no idea it was three different parks $200 x 3 = $500 for all parks. Yes you can get package deals online ( but still pricey per person a day) but let’s say you are there like me and already in the park only to discover you do not have access to it all. I saw some costing still as high as $300 a day for packages. It is not worth the trip there without all three parks! Trust me! Once I saw what each one contained and how they get you in price for each one… for a family of four to go would cost a few thousand dollars by the time you travel, stay somewhere, food.
That ticket only gains you access to the central main Universal Studios park (and as said it’ 200 alone). For me to visit the other parks would of cost me a few hundred more while I was there for three days. When I saw what was in the parks I decided against it.
Plus, the fact when I went in January of this year it was too cold even in FL for water parks.
The main Universal Studios theme park is not very big at all, this is the one I went to. One day I went in the park alone at 2 p.m. And was done and out at 5:30! I will say this I did not have to wait long in any lines because staying at Loews Royal Pacifica’s Resort in Universal, the hotel key is also an express pass for rides. But even still. I saw everything there was to see in that park taking my sweet time. Had I of paid for that ticket (I was grateful do not get me wrong) but had I paid I would of been disappointed.
Most of the rides was 3D or 4D you sit down, and the seat moves about. That’s it. Because most of this, by ride number three I was feeling a bit motion sick. There was one coaster there in the main park.
The sections of the park had themes which was great, but they were mostly all just fake buildings you could not enter. The ones you did it was only high-priced eateries or gift shops. That was it. So let me get this straight…. the average person pays you $200 to get in here and just walk about to spend more money in gifts shops there is really nothing to see? Now I did see some people dressed like minions dancing that was fun for about five minutes then I was done.
Then I saw Sponge Bob singing and dancing with fish on skates during a parade of only about five floats. The same floats that you see all day riding about in the park. That was fun for about two minutes. There was a fake Marilyn Monroe chatting about and a Scooby- Doo near the famous Mystery Machine van. There was a Hollywood section with some fake stars in the side walk (not many) to see. It was kind of cool to find Sylvester Stallone’s star, but even still it is not the real Hollywood star.
Nothing was worth $200 a day for that park in my book per person. I feel awful for families with high hopes and saving money to come only to be let down. I thought all is not lost I will take the Hog Warts Express over to see the Harry Potter experience only to be told it would cost another $200 I was like, no thank you!
Now the positives the staff everywhere I went was super helpful and kind. One of the only rides that was not the one roller coaster or a 3D sit down was E.T.. I loved that simple ride! I rode it five times in one day. I found out sitting in the front was the best part to experience it. So I requested that two times and the staff kindly accommodated it! My next favorite ride of the 3D offerings was Jimmy Falon’s Ride Through NYC. The pre-ride entertainment was good.
I loved the random show in NYC The Beat Builders put on that was good. If you visit my instagram you can see video clips of the show. It was by far the best entertainment there.
Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley was fun to stumble upon because it is hidden. But when I found it at first I thought, wow! But it was same thing fake buildings you can not go into but some where real stores. It too was not very big. I walked around Diagon Alley in less than 20 minutes. I do have the say the most impressive thing to see in Diagon Alley was the fire breathing dragon.
I had some fun, but I know this I would never pay to go back. Most of what you walk around and see is stores not experiences. Why pay money to see stores with overpriced stuff. Personally I would rather have experiences and more memories… save your money and make it count go to Disney! This is my opinion, you may like it better?
Tip: If you do go, go to the NBC media center during a time they are doing pilot programs you can watch a show for an hour on the tv answer questions and get $25-30 dollars in credit to spend in the park if you’re on a budget. I went to do that each day I was in the park only to find them closed each day, so maybe call ahead for that. They only allow you to do this once a year per person.
If you want to learn how to tell a great story first learn from the best.
What is awesome is we all have a story to tell… each and every one of us. The greatest stories are yet to tell. It requires you to tell them. Yes, we have classics or biographies that will forever help to shape mankind but they will not always remain the best. As time goes on more people will share their stories and more wonders and shaping of humanity through a story will take place. Your story can make a difference in someone’s life. That is why I feel called to share my stories.
I am a budding writer. I love to tell a great story and paint a picture with words. But I wanted to learn how to tell a great story even more effectively by some of the great Editors at Guideposts Academy. I was given the chance to review the Academy in exchange for sharing my experience with it.
This is coming at a perfect time as I am starting to write my own book. It is amazing how God works things like this out perfectly and provides our every need to complete a task. When he sets a plan in motion it is amazing.
I am excited to report I just completed the course at the Academy. I wanted to wait and write this blog post after I was through. Here are my takeaways about this course.
First a little about Guideposts. Guideposts is a non for profit Christian inspirational publication group that was founded by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in 1945. You may of heard of their publications? They are one of the top magazines of the modern era. Sharing positive faith building stories from people all over the world.
Made For These Times by Justin Zoradi is a book for those who feel called to ignite change and maintain change. One person can start something but you do need people to come along side to help make impact. Justin shares the transparency of the call and sturggle of making change in a struggling world. His personal pain and joys pull you in to really examine when you set out with a mission the reality of the journey. Zoradi also shares whats most important in maintaining balance in life so you can make that lasting change more effectivly for maximum impact.
Justin teaches us that, " our most successful contributions to the worl lie in our ability to act in a vibrant recongnition of our own imperfections. Our shorting comings are not only normal but purposeful. We are meant to be broken and unfhinised, waiting for God to invite us alongside him and achieve what he stated well before us."
These times need solutions. These times need people willing to say yes and do what they are called to do. These times needs you! You really where made by God for these times. I love how Justin shares how he was doing good in the world but made an idol of it at some point and warns us never to make the same mistake. GOD is the only one who sits on his throne. Never let the work of a God become an idol in Gods place. Justin urges us to the important step of partnering with God and not leave God out when doing his work he has called you to do.
This is the most influencial book I have read for these times. Forever changing the way I look at stepping up to do something and the needs all around me and exactly how to balance it all in life. You where born for this time for a purpose. You only get one chance to forfill it and touch the lives your supposed to touch. I highly recommend this book to cultivate your next steps when you say yes to your call.
I absolutely love small business people. Small business ventures are great to support as often as you can rather than the big box venues. Small business is the American dream, in reality, today and that dream is not dead yet! At my site, I want to make it a regular series to share and support American small business ventures, authors, creators. When you purchase directly from a small business owner the impact is major. You are cutting out the middleman and the financial impact to the local economy is felt in so many ways. You are helping others create their dream come true. And that makes me feel awesome. You are also getting a more personal touch and amazing customer service rather than being the next number in line which in turn is creating an awesome community of service and relationships in business. That to me is also awesome! So if you love succulents lets show our support to small business owner Erin!
Today’s Inspirational Small Business is Erin Fesperman. She is going to share her passion for why she likes being her own boss and what her business is all about.
Erin owns a shop in Esty selling the most amazing succulents you have ever seen.
Why do you love succulents?
I absolutely love how intricately detailed and unique they are! It’s fascinating to think that they were all spoken into existence. There are literally tens of thousands of different species and each one is created beautifully in its own way just like us!
I have to agree with Erin. God spoke the world into existence and everything in it. It is amazing to think about.
Erin, why did you want to go into business for yourself?
Two words. PAJAMA PANTS. Plus, I was ready to be my own boss! I also didn’t like the fact that I was investing so much time and energy into someone else’s corporation and making them money. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was starting this business. There is no limit to what can be achieved!
I see your shop in Esty Little Emerald Thumb has over 616 sales since your 2017 launch with all five start reviews way to go! Do you like selling in Esty? Do you have plans to sell in other venues?
Thank you! The beginning was slow but I have since learned that is normal for Etsy sellers until that foundation is set. I wouldn’t’ be where I am today without the good Lord Jesus Christ and my amazing customers! I have sold on eBay for nearly 20 years and I definitely prefer Etsy so much more. It’s a totally different atmosphere and the customers are completely different but in a good way! I have considered Amazon but decided against it (for now) because you lose that personal feel that you get with Etsy.
What would you say to others to encourage their small business dreams?
Go for it! As long as you keep God at the center of every single thing that you do, He will see you through it. This goes not only for business but life in general. It does take a lot of time and dedication and I totally understand not everyone is able to just quit their job to take such a huge risk. For those considering it, I suggest starting small. Work on it during the evenings and on the weekend to get a feel of things and go from there! I am blessed that I have a husband who supports me in every way imaginable so I was able to focus all my energy into starting Little Emerald Thumb!
Thank you, Erin, for sharing with us today. I am so excited and inspired by you and your business. Keep going strong all while wearing your pajama pants girl boss!
Take time to visit Erin at
Tell us a little about your books.
I’m in the middle of an exciting season because I have some vastly different projects coming up. In a general sense, I’m a Christian Fiction author, so all of my books carry a message for the soul from the Christian perspective. But each novel carries its own theme and setting … as well as a touch of clean romance.
I debuted with a Civil War series. The Ancient Words Series follows the Harper family and their close friends from the viewpoint of a small southern town during the war. I chose a real regiment from my hometown as the center of the novel and was able to weave in a lot of historical facts. The first two books cover the four years of war and the various obstacles commonly experienced by those on the home front as well as the solider. The third book takes place in the year following the war and focuses on the difficult time of transition. We watch the Harpers struggle with real-life issues where they learn that God is their Savior, a place of refuge in the midst of their greatest fears, and a source of healing.
I’m in the process of starting two new series. The first one is called A Season Passed and is loosely inspired by my favorite Disney movies.
The first book, If Only It Were Yesterday, released last month and was inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Liz Cooke longs to experience a simpler lifestyle like those that she reads about in historical novels. But when she dreams she time-travels, she may not find life in 1885 to be as ideal as she once had thought. You can read the first chapter for free HERE.
Yesterday’s Christmas releases on November 5th and was inspired by Beauty and the Beast. It’s a dual-time novel following Betty and Glenn during their first Christmas together in 1954, where they fell in love, and thirty years later when the couple is on the brink of divorce but stranded together. This is such a powerful story on bitterness, and I can’t wait to launch it out into the world.
And then there’s the Art of Love novels. These novels are set in the 1950s and feature a different type of artist. Dance With Me releases in April of 2019. It’s a stunning story about facades, the pain that causes them, and the healing we find only in Christ.
Anita, why are you writing historical fiction?
Simple: I LOVE history! I do have some contemporary stories in the works but it’s safe to say that I’m primarily a historical author. I’ve really enjoyed delving into various eras of history. Each new era is a new opportunity to research and I enjoy learning about life in the past.
When did you first realize you wanted to write books?
I think it’s been something that I’ve attempted to do since I was a young child. But writing as a serious venture, started for me nearly 10 years ago. I just felt the urge to write for fun and discovered a hidden talent. In time, the Lord made it clear that this was a talent with a purpose, and I began writing for the public. I was very uncertain of myself when I understood that the Lord was leading me to publication. I knew I didn’t have what it takes to write and write well, but the Lord reminded me that anything He leads us to do, He’ll also enable us to do it. And He’s never failed me yet!
What advice would you give others to accomplish their goals and dreams and balance daily life?
This can really be tough. I feel like I’m better at this in certain seasons of my life than at others. There’s a lot of helpful advice out there about how to manage your time, and prioritize your life, etc. But my biggest advice is this: Understand that you’re not the only one who struggles. I feel like so many people, women, in particular, put additional pressure on themselves to measure up to the standards they see around them, but they don’t realize these standards are fake. By nature, we tend to show off our good side. We only post our best pictures. We only talk about our accomplishments. We only chime in when we’ve done something spectacular. And because of that, we fail to see in others, or allow others to see from us, the struggles. For the things I get “right,” I get as many “wrong.” I may have one great day but four rough ones. And when we fixate on trying to reach perfection 7 days a week, we find ourselves disappointed and then we’re hard on ourselves.
Instead, give yourself some slack. Look for ways to cut time. Celebrate the small accomplishments. And understand that you’re not the only one who fails. You’re not alone. So keep trying.
What advice and motivation do you have to offer other entrepreneurs?
Understand that anything you’re attempting to do WILL take time. Lots of time. You’re going to have to be ready and willing to put in the hard labor. But ALWAYS celebrate the small accomplishments. If you wait until you get to the end to rejoice, you’ll dry up along the way. And keep healthy reminders. I keep inspirational quotes on my desk. (I cut scrap paper into index cards and wrote a variety of quotes on them and display them on a mini easel.)
Here are a few of my favorites:
“Do the hard stuff; it’s going to be great.” Christy Gragg
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain
“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
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It’s (somehow) quickly becoming that time of year once again: the summer heat is cooling down, the leaves are beginning to fall already, and everywhere you go, some variety of pumpkin-flavored delights are popping up for sale. I know that those of you who most appreciate sweater weather and pre-holiday season cheer are already tingling with excitement! Fall has probably the best assortment of seasonal foods and flavor options, but the problem is that a lot of them are either pretty difficult to prepare, or loaded with excessive sugars and fats in the form of baked goods and enticing, flavor-abundant dishes.
So what can you prepare for yourself and your family this fall season that you’ll enjoy cooking, and actually feel good about eating? With all of the fruits, vegetables, nuts and gourds in season, there are limitless possibilities - you just have to know where to find the good recipes! Below we’ve compiled a small variety of harvest-style meal recipes that are relatively easy, and won’t cost you a fortune (especially if you already pride yourself on having a hearty spice rack in your kitchen). So allow yourself that pumpkin spiced latte, and sip with a smile as you read on to see how you can kick off the fall season at dinner time tonight!
Creamy Autumn Vegetable Soup with Easy Pumpkin Bread
For the soup recipe, you’ll need:
2 ½ cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
1 large sweet potato, also peeled and cubed
3 medium carrots, washed and sliced
¼ cup thawed orange juice concentrate (preferably one with no added sugar)
3 cups fat-free milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
To get started on this hearty and colorful dish, you’ll want to steam the first three ingredients in a steamer basket over a large saucepan of boiling water. If you don’t have a steaming basket, don’t fret! Boiling your veggies works all the same, it just leaves them a little less firm and colorful. Whichever way you choose, cook covered for fifteen minutes - you may also fall over or under this mark by a few minutes, depending on how well your vegetables tenderize.
Once they’ve cooled slightly, transfer your ingredients to a food processor, and add in the orange juice concentrate. Again, no worries if you don’t have one - simply mash up your soft veggies a bit before taking them to your blender instead. Process (or blend) until smooth, and then transfer to a large saucepan, stirring in the milk, salt and pepper while still cool. Cook slowly over low heat while stirring, but do not bring the soup to a boil - simply allow it to heat the whole way through while you stir. This recipe is good for six servings of thicky, creamy, nutritious soup, each of which can then be topped with the sour cream, chives, and sesame seeds, if desired.
For the bread recipe, you’ll need:
⅓ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup organic honey
1 cup pumpkin purée (You can make your own with raw pumpkin and a food processor, or collect a can from the grocery store to make things easier!)
¼ cup low-fat milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
Pinch of ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top
If you’d like: ½ cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or raisins
This side of sweet pumpkin bread takes a bit longer to prepare than it will to get your soup together, so I recommend getting started on the bread first, and then letting it bake while you get to work on your main course. For starters, you’ll need your oven preheated to 325 degrees F and a lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Then, grab a large bowl and whisk firmly together the oil and the honey. Blend in the eggs next, making sure that your coconut oil does not solidify - if it does, simply let it warm up in the microwave or on a warm stovetop before proceeding.
Whisk in next your pumpkin puree, milk, ground spices, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Finally, with a large spoon, stir in the flour a little at a time until it is just mixed in - it’s fine if you have a few lumps. Fold in any extras now if you have them (I like to sneak in some chocolate chips every once in a while), and then pour into your greased loaf pan.
Sprinkle the top of your raw batter with cinnamon (if desired), and bake for 55 to 60 minutes until you get a clean toothpick when inserted into and removed from the center of the loaf. This recipe makes one loaf that will need to cool ten minutes before being removed from the pan, and then for 20 minutes on a cooling rack, all before slicing. And now you’ve got a lightly sweet, healthy side or dessert for your soup!
Harvest Nut Salad with Cinnamon Apple Chips
For the salad, you’ll need:
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
⅓ cup chopped pecans
1 bunch spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons red raspberry jam (with seeds)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
⅓ cup walnut oil (extra virgin olive oil also works fine)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste
This salad is simple to prepare and delicious to have! To get started, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, and spread your walnuts and pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet to toast in the oven for about five minutes. While you’ve got that going, whisk together the jam, vinegar, oil of choice, pepper, and salt to prepare the salad dressing. Once the nuts are done and cooled, mix them together in a large bowl with the spinach, cranberries, blue cheese, tomatoes, avocado and onion. Toss in your salad dressing to coat, and you’ve got six easy servings of a deliciously nutritious fall salad!
For the chips, you’ll need:
3 large sweet, crisp apples, such as Honeycrisp, Fuji, Jazz, or Pink Lady
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
These apple chips are really as easy as it gets, and can be prepared on a lazy Sunday to have with your salad whenever you’d like throughout the week, since they need to bake for a few hours. To begin, spread your baking racks out on the upper and lower thirds of your oven, preheat to 200 degrees F, and line two full-sized baking sheets with parchment paper. Wash and core your apples of choice, and use a sharp knife to cut them into ⅛ inch thick round slices. Places the apple rounds in a single layer on your baking sheets and sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Bake for one hour, switch the pans on your oven racks, and then continue baking for 1 to 1 ½ hours. At two hours in, check the crispness of your apple slices by removing one and allowing it to cool at room temperature for 2 to 3 minutes. Continue baking for that last half hour until you are happy with the crispness. Remember that the total baking time will vary upon the thickness of your slices and the kind of apple you chose! Once you’re done baking, turn off the oven, but leave your pans in for 1 hour as it cools to set the crispiness of the slices, checking occasionally to get them just as crispy as you like them. When you’re finally done, you’ll have about three cups of apple chips, which also just make for a great fall snack!
Slow-Cooker Thanksgiving Casserole
For this recipe, you’ll need:
14 ounces multigrain ciabatta rolls (about 7 rolls), cut into 1-inch cubes
Nonstick cooking spray
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
1 pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 1½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon crushed Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup turkey stock
This is probably my favorite one on the list, since it’s a full Thanksgiving meal, without all the hours of work! Lay out your ciabatta cubes in a single layer on a large baking pan and bake in a preheated oven (350 degrees F) for 20 to 22 minutes until they are completely dried, and let cool afterwards. As they bake, lightly coat the inside of your 4-quart crockpot with cooking spray and set aside. Get to work on the meat of this recipe by rubbing ½ teaspoon of the Italian seasoning onto the surface of the turkey with your fingers, and then melt butter over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick skillet.
Add the turkey to the skillet and cook for about five minutes, or until just browned on the outside, and then remove from heat. Once your ciabatta is done baking, toss the bread cubes and browned turkey in a large bowl, adding in the celery, carrots, onion, cranberries, parmesan, and remaining spices. (You can also add in some of the drippings from the turkey pan if you like, for an extra boost of flavor.) Once combined, drizzle in the stock over the mixture and toss regularly until the bread is lightly moistened (but don’t let it get soggy!).
Finally, spoon your mixture into your prepared crockpot, cover, and cook on low for 2 ½ to 3 hours (or until your turkey has reached an appropriate color, and your stuffing is warm throughout the casserole). Dish out up to eight servings directly from your crockpot for a delicious, easy, and early Thanksgiving dinner!
Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs with Mashed Sweet Potatoes
For the meatballs, you’ll need:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds ground turkey
1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice
½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
⅓ cup reduced-sugar ketchup
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
This one is a hearty, filling recipe that is still simple to whip up, and can be served as is, on meatball subs, or in whatever other way you can think of. Combine your eggs, turkey, rice, cranberries, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using your palms (you can wet them if the mixture seems too sticky to work with), shape the mixture into individual meatballs, each being about 1 ½ inches in diameter, which should give you about 60 meatballs. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in an extra large skillet over medium heat (use the last teaspoon if you deem it necessary as you cook), and cook half the meatballs at a time, turning each batch over once about halfway through, until just browned and slightly firm (about five minutes).
Once you’re done, immediately and carefully move each batch of meatballs from the skillet to a 3 ½ or 4 quart crockpot. In a separate bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, ketchup, and orange and lime juices with a whisk, and then pour that mixture over the meatballs in the crockpot (but do not stir!). Cover and cook on the low setting for 3 to 4 hours, checking occasionally within the last hour to see if your meatballs have cooked entirely through. For a quicker meal, you can also cook them on the high setting for 1 ½ to 2 hours, paying careful attention that the meatballs near the edges of your crockpot do not dry out or begin to burn. This recipe produces a lot of meatballs, so be sure to have friends or family over for this one to show off your seasonal chef skills!
For the mashed potatoes, you’ll need:
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup low-fat milk
½ teaspoon salt
⅜ teaspoon black pepper
This is an easy mashed potato recipe with a seasonal twist that makes for a healthy, delicious side! Start by filling a large saucepan with your sweet potato cubes and covering them with 2 inches of water (meaning 2 inches from the surface of the water to the top of the potatoes). Bring the pan to a boil on high heat, and then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for about 18 minutes until the cubes are tender. Drain the cubes thoroughly, and return them to the saucepan.
In a small skillet, combine the butter and olive oil over medium heat, and cook for about three minutes until the mixture browns and becomes fragrant. Remove this mixture from heat and stir in the thyme. Add your milk, salt and pepper to the sweet potato cubes and mash thoroughly, then drizzle with the butter mixture and stir gently to distribute the flavor. Garnish your potatoes with thyme leaves if desired, and you’re all set! This recipe provides four servings that pair perfectly with those cranberry meatballs above.
To wrap it all up…
… Yes, it really is that easy to create a variety of delicious and wholesome meals that contain all of your favorite fall flavors. Whether you whip up a light but tasty soup or salad, or a hearty and filling crockpot dish, you’ll love every step of the process, and every bite that you create as well. So, which one are you excited to try first?
Years ago I lived through one of the most devastating Hurricanes in my region in over 130 years. Hurricane Floyd. It put half my city I lived in at the time under water. Disaster recovery services where indeed needed. Storm detectors made us aware of the looming danger of the storm to our work places and schools in our communities (that where wise enough to have them). Most work places have a storm readiness plan but while your away at work do you have a personal plan as well? This is now hurricane and tornado season you should really consider these reasons of why you need to have your own personal plan as well when your at work.
Hurricane season is from June 1- Nov-30
Seriously, I think we have all done this at some point and scratched our head wondering what to give as a gift, am I right? I have found the best gift idea for everyone... and I mean everyone on your list any time of the year. Something that everyone needs is socks. It is a very practical gift but it does not have to be boring. Why give a pair of socks once, why not give mom, dad, grandparnets, teens, neighbor, friends a cool awesome pair of socks every single month as a surprise. Not to mention at an affordable price. You will indeed be the coolest gift giver ever.
It would arrive at their door in a cool package with a message on it. How fun is that?! I think I would much rather have this than just a set of socks given to me once. Not only that, each set is a theme. Giving socks as a gift is no longer lame!
I love the above picture with the taco dinosaur socks! I love innovative ideas and I think Say It With A Sock really is just that. Monthly sock subscription takes all the work out of gift giving. It makes it easy and fun.
So every month when your loved one gets their package and they open their cool or cute socks you will be thought of and love will gush in their heart for your thoughtfulness!
I say thank you Say It With A Sock you rock!
This fun sock of the month club starts at only 11.99 a month.
This is a sponsored post. All thoughts of this brand are my very own.
Hi I am Suzie
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