Faith, Food

Lenten meal ideas for meatless Friday’s!

I’m always looking for and Pinning meatless meal ideas for Lent. During the rest of the year we do try to eat seafood weekly but still I’m constantly looking for different recipes that I know the kids will eat. I’m pretty fortunate that my kids seem to love seafood…my littlest one is still a bit hesitant but coming around. My husband is a lover of casseroles which is pretty new to me because I did not grow up on casseroles. But there are plenty of seafood casserole recipes that seem fairly easy and look really good. So I’m learning as I go!

Tuna is an easy staple we always keep in our cabinet so it’s definitely a go-to during Lent. My kids surprisingly love tuna too! And …I finally gave in and tried the canned tuna at Aldi and was pleasantly surprised. I’ve only purchased the Albacore in water so I can’t speak for any of the others. But it’s just as good as some of the pricier supermarket brands.

As Ash Wednesday hit I wasn’t thinking at all and even mistakenly gave my kids meat for lunch. Now I do know since they’re young they don’t have to abide but we do it as a family and that works for us. Once they left for school it hit me that I made the mistake but wasn’t making it again for dinner! So I raided the cabinets and found tuna and pasta, then recalled I had saved a Tuna Tetrazzini Casserole recipe at one time. Here’s the link:

https://www.thespruceeats.com/tuna-tetrazzini-casserole-3061727

It was so good you guys, I may have had thirds!! Most of the recipes I searched called for heavy cream or a creamy soup can, but this one is much lighter and I even used 1% milk. I probably used a little more spaghetti then it called for and omitted the green onions so as not to scare the kids off. This one will definitely be used again throughout Lent! Let me know if you try it!

~Elena 💖

Faith

Chapter 8 Review

A Time for Fruitfulness and Replenishment

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. Ecclesiastes 3:5

‘Just as God has a plan that bolsters the fruitfulness of trees, He also has a plan to develop the fruitfulness in our lives. In seasons of life, God will call us to gather-to become highly active and productive. In other seasons of life, God will call us to scatter- to become less active and productive so we can recover and become rejuvenated. Times of fruitfulness and replenishment are necessary in our lives if we’re going to grow into all God has for us.’

I am most definitely in a “scatter” season. As most of you know I went through a divorce last year. Anyone who has been through a divorce knows how painful it is. So many emotions and stages of grief. For me I feel relief, anger, failure, sadness, and happiness depending on what day it is. Because I have all these emotions that I’m dealing with I feel like I can’t share or post because a lot of ugly comes out. 😬 So I know before I can write and share about my divorce or anything else about my life, I need to heal. That’s why you see more posts from Elena these days than from me….and because she is a better writer, but whatever! Lol

I am not normally a person who likes to sit alone and do nothing but it is exactly what I need for now. I am figuring out who I am, what I want to do in life, and what makes me happy. I have set goals for myself and I’m working towards them. I am easily distracted so being solo, staying home, and never going out helps me stay on track. 😂

Most days I feel like I can’t meet my goals, that I’m not smart enough, and I’m not strong enough but it’s all fear. I know that God has a plan for my life and I’m excited about the future!

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

-Erin 🙌🏻

Faith, Family

Signs

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s the holiday season or it’s a Monday, but I found myself super emotional this morning watching the news. I had it on early this morning in the kitchen while I was making the kids lunches and starting the day. All the memories shared and tributes to the late President George H. W. Bush really brought me to tears. First and foremost he was such an exceptional man, President, husband, father, entrepreneur, etc. Then to listen to his friends and family share his final few days and moments is really just amazing. The way he interacted with family seemingly knowing these would be his last moments with them. His last words were spoken to his son President George W. in which they both said I love you to one another and that they would see each-other on the other side….oh my goodness I cried like a baby!

Losing a loved one is hard no matter what the circumstances, no doubt! And I think it’s safe to assume losing a parent is no different, difficult across the board whatever the age of the child or parent. But how amazing for the Bush family to be able to love him in the flesh for so many years! I mean 94 is pretty remarkable. He was here to watch not only his children, but also many of his grandchildren grow their families.

So of course I get emotional and a little sorry for myself having lost my father in my 20s. My children will never get to know first hand what an amazing man he was, although I make sure to share stories and speak of him often.

After my morning cry fest I got myself going and went to run some errands with a heavy heart. I get in the car to leave and when I turn the radio on an older song that reminds me of my dad is playing. When that song ends and a commercial comes on I quickly change the station. And to my surprise the next station is playing yet another song that brings back memories. Shortly after my dad passed away I made a CD of songs that meant something to him and reminded me of him. It was comforting to play them when I was missing him. And now since I got in the car 2 of those songs played in a row! I pulled in to the store I was going to, finished listening to the song and waited for my eyes to dry before going inside.

When I came out of the store and decided to head home my mind was totally clear and I wasn’t even thinking about the morning. I’m about halfway home and realize it’s super quiet in the car so I turn the radio back on. The first song I hear is Alan Jackson, When Daddy Let Me Drive. And then it hit me! I was getting a sign. I’m a firm believer in signs and have been that way my whole life. Signs from God. Signs from loved ones that have passed. Sometimes we can see them but most often it’s not until after some time has passed and we realize wow that happened for a reason! Well my dad taught me how to drive a lawn mower when I was young so I could help with yard work. A few years later my dad taught me how to drive a boat when we moved to a house on the water. And a few years after that at 15 my dad taught me how to drive in his pickup truck. That song has always made me tear up but this time I get it. This was my sign. Today I needed it. My dad will always be with me and someone was making sure I knew it & felt it. So I’m going to keep telling my kids those stories so he will always be with them too and be thankful for the time I did have with him ❣️

~Elena 💖

https://youtu.be/dQe3DKDQRRs

Faith

Chapter 7 A Time to Remain Faithful

A time to weep,

And a time to laugh,

A time to mourn,

And a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 3:4

This Chapter opens with the story of Elizabeth and Zacharias. If you’re unfamiliar with them they are the most remarkable couple in the Bible. ‘Both known for being righteous before God. Yet despite their faithfulness, the couple struggled with infertility.’

I honestly thought about reviewing this chapter without touching on their story. But at the last minute I decided I should because I know so many women struggle with infertility. I can’t relate to it, but my heart goes out for the ones who have struggled.

You can read their story in the book of Luke, Chapter 1 Verses 1-25.

‘We all go through times of sadness and loss as well as times of hope and joy.’

‘But no matter what season of life we’re in-whether marked by hardship and pain or great joy and celebration-we can remain true and faithful to God even in the midst of our experiences.’

‘We can trust that God can transform our most painful and difficult areas into emblems of beauty and inspiring stories of restoration.’

I love that the Bible helps us not feel so alone when going through difficult times. That since the beginning of time people have struggled and God’s restoration gives us hope.

We all have this fear to share our struggles and I’m not sure why. I’m not sure if we are scared of being judged, (which let’s be honest they will no matter what)? OR is it because we want to look perfect and put together? Life isn’t perfect, people are not perfect, and life is full of disappointments. But by sharing our stories and opening up about our struggles and how you got through that terrible season and into a season of joy could help someone else and give that person hope.

Whether our current season of life is marked by hardship and pain or great joy and celebration, we can remain faithful knowing that God remains with us.’

-Erin

Faith

Chapter 6 A time to Reassess

A time to break down, And a time to build up.

In order for us to know if it’s a time to break down or a time to build up, we need to know what season we are in. We need to reflect on the past (where we have been) and where God is leading us. To reassess requires us to prayerfully seek God.

I know that I am in a season of rebuilding. I have more alone time than I like but it has allowed me to spend countless hours reassessing my life. I had a vision of how I thought my life would end up and unhappily ever after was not the plan! Lol

Now that I am in my rebuilding stage, it is so overwhelming that it is paralyzing some days. I feel like God is opening a door somewhere and it’s immediately shut and the rethinking begins. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and give up. But thankfully each day is a new day to start again and allow God to take the wheel.

One thing I know for sure in life is that you can’t force things. So I’ll continue to open doors to only have them close until the right door opens. All I can do is continue to pray that He will work out the details. My trust is in Him.

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!

What doesn’t kill me, will only make me stronger! 🙌🏻

-Erin

Faith

Chapter 5 A Time to Heal

Hope for the wounded

a time to kill and a time to heal .Ecclesiastes 3:3

In this chapter we learn about two types of wounds. The physical wounds, which sometimes take a while to heal and can be alleviated with modern first aid practices. Then there are wounds on the inside, unseen …which are the hardest to overcome. Whether emotional or relational they can be more complicated to heal.

God draws close to those who are wounded and broken hearted.

“Through His Holy Spirit, God comforts, encourages, and heals us in areas of our souls and spirits that medical science can’t explain.”

Throughout the chapter there are questions to help dig deeper and get you thinking. One of the questions that stuck out for me is ‘Which do you tend to heal from more quickly, the scrapes and bruises of life that people can see or the scrapes and bruises of life that people can’t see? ‘

I would definitely say the scrapes and bruises of life that people can see are much easier to heal from. People carry a lot of heavy things inside whether it is hidden sin, things that happened in their childhood, things that happened behind closed doors, or regrets from their past. It’s those things that eat at you, that make you question yourself, question others and cause you to have doubts. While some people are self destructive, others have had someone cause them hidden pain. The good news is there is hope if you draw close to Him.

Psalms 147:3 He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.

The same God that opened the eyes of the blind, allowed the deaf to hear, and the crippled to walk can heal your wounds!

Entrust yourself to God as your healer.

-Erin

Faith

Chapter 4 A Time to Transition

I skipped over Chapter 3 because I didn’t realize that the study broke up the first part of Ecclesiastes 3:2 in two chapters.

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,”

Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So Chapter 4 talks all about the second half of the verse, a time to plant and a time to uproot.

I am usually a creature of habit and not big on changing things up. I say that as I am in the middle of transition after going through my divorce. But normally I don’t like change that’s why I get the same exact latte at Starbucks every single time I go, I have tacos every single Tuesday, and depending on which restaurant I’m at I get the same exact meal I get every single time at that particular restaurant. If I find something I like why would I risk trying something different?! I don’t want to spend money on something I hate and then end up being hot mad the rest of the day. Nope, not gonna do it!!

So here I am now going through a transition season. I’m living by myself half the time and a single parent the other half. So my whole world has been completely turned upside down and as much as I know it needed to happen, it’s been hard at times. I worry for my girls, I worry about finances, and I worry about how I will find the perfect full time job that will fit best with my girls schedule. It’s scary and overwhelming all at once.

I know some of you love change, everyday is a new adventure and it’s exciting for you. But I am not that person! I have found ways to make this time exciting like decorating my new place, going to the movies by myself, and sleeping in past 9am! Lol

Change isn’t easy for most people. But rest assured that whenever you face a time of transition, God is with you. He longs to see you to a more fruitful life in Him.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13

On top of everything else that I am going through, I also wrecked and totaled my car about a month ago. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I totaled a car that I had only owned for a solid month. So the worrying began, what will insurance cover, what will I drive until they figure that out, etc. I had to completely put all my trust in God because He is the only one who can work those type of details out.

If we believe, truly believe that God is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End then we need to start loving change, embrace what life throws at us, and know that everything will work out in His perfect way.

After two weeks of not having a car and fighting with a really crappy dealership I have a car again. I have a cute little apartment that I got to decorate the way I like and my girls see me being the best me during the storms of life. I am really trying hard to keep a positive attitude no matter what life throws at me because I know that the One who created me will be with me from the beginning to the end. I will rest in Him.

-Erin 🙏🏻🙌🏻