Thursday, April 29, 2010

UPDATE: Is Jesus really worth it?

I'm so excited to read this book - I hope you will be, too! We need to be RADICAL for Christ!

It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...



In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being His disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment --a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

Read the first chapter of Radical here

Request a free copy of The Radical Question by going to It's a concise companion booklet...tiny, but the message packs a big punch!

Get 15% off the book + FREE shipping by using promo code WBMNEWS09 and pre-order your copy here!

What goes in, must come out...

"The poet Muriel Rukeyser said the universe is composed of stories, not of atoms. The physicist Werner Heisenberg declared that the universe is made of music, not of matter.

And we believe that if you habitually expose yourself to toxic stories and music, you could wind up living in the wrong universe, where it's impossible to become the gorgeous genius you were born to be.

That's why we implore you to nourish yourself with delicious, nutritious tales and tunes that inspire you to exercise your willpower for your highest good."

-- Rob Brezsny

What's going into your eyes, ears, head, heart...?

Just something to think about.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Baked Spaghetti to die for!

I originally found this recipe at Once a Month Mom and thought "Hmm, french fried onions on spaghetti??" but since well, who doesn't love french fried onions?? I decided to try it. My family absolutely LOVED it! I made up several batches to freeze, along with some other great recipes from OAMM, but this one got gone QUICK. I mean, we ate like 3 pans of it in 2 weeks! My hips can attest to this fact...

I made it again last night (the OAMC session was a few months ago, just to clarify LOL) and didn't have everything the original recipe called for, so I tweaked it a bit. Here's my version:

  • 1 bag frozen pepper mix (green, red, yellow pepper strips)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 16oz (2 blocks) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup or so milk (eyeball it as you're melting the cream cheese)
  • 16 pasta (any kind, I used for one pan, rotini for another)
  • 2 jars spaghetti sauce (any brand/flavor you like)
  • Shredded mozzerella cheese or Italian Blend
  • 1 large container of French Fried Onions


  • Prepare pasta as directed on package.
  • Saute vegetables in margarine.
  • Add cream cheese and milk until well blended.
  • Add spaghetti sauce to this and mix well.
  • Combine half of spaghetti sauce and cream cheese mixture with cooked pasta.
  • Divide evenly in baking dishes to suit your family size. Top with the rest of the sauce mixture, sprinkle with shredded cheese and crushed french-fried onions.
Freeze at this point if you don't want to cook it all now (it makes A LOT) or...
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

BTW, I use mostly store brand stuff for this recipe: frozen peppers, spaghetti sauce, cream cheese, french fried onions...makes it a really frugal meal!

I also use whole wheat pasta & organic skim milk to make it just a *little* healthy. ;)

Find tons of other Tasty Tuesday recipes by my favorite bloggers here!Blessed with Grace

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kolton has been found...

Kolton Karnes, the five-year-old son of my friends in VA, has been found not far from where he went missing on the Dan River last Monday afternoon while fishing with his Daddy.

Please pray for the Karnes family as they find closure to this tragedy and begin healing. Thank you.

Friday, April 16, 2010

More ramblings from the rambler

This will be one of my very unusual rambling posts (haha, ok, stop laughing now)...

It's been a very rough week. My friend, Sunday, and her husband took their boys fishing at a local river on Monday. Long story short - their 5yo drowned. His body has not yet been recovered. Please pray - then pray some more - for them all. This alone makes the rest of this post hardly worth writing, except that I need to post something else or I'll just depress everyone for the 3rd time this week.

I went out Wednesday afternoon to help search the riverbank, and apparently the only thing I found was poison oak (to which, I am highly allergic). Luckily, my coworker was able to call me in a prescription for Prednisone (oh yay, don't you love it? like I need MORE bloating??)

I just started listening to the revised edition of Beth Moore's Breaking Free cd set today. I was LOLing in my car when she talked about her need to do her own Bible study before. She said "I kept Amen'ing myself, and yelling at the the videos "I have BEEN THERE sister!" --- well of course I had, it was MY STUDY!" Ha! I just love her so much. What a blessing her teachings are.

Hmmm, what else? Oh yeah, my sweet online buddy (whom I've yet to officially meet in person, despite the fact that she lives in my little town!) was featured in Complete Woman Magazine this month for...of all things...abstinence! Now, when you see the cover of this mag, that's probably the last thing you think of (Kendra What'sHerName from Playboy/Reality-show fame on the cover in a bikini). But they did an article about women who are waiting until marriage for sex, and Katie was one of them! I'm so proud of her, and the example she is setting for other young ladies!

Speaking of abstinence, have you downloaded your FREE audiobook from Jonathan Acuff?? The first essay reminded me of the subject matter of Katie's article. It's so funny! I love that our God has a sense of humor and gave us one, too!

Ok, so - I need some serious Mamavation regarding my workouts - again! I put a hold on my YMCA membership over the holidays and forgot about it. I joined the gym my hubby goes to, but haven't been at all this week. Then today, I found out my hold at the Y has ended so now I belong to TWO gyms and still not working out!!! If that doesn't deserve a kick in the pants, I don't know what does!? So give it to me, ladies (and gents if you're out there). Kick away!!! I need it!

Gotta get to my sweet babygirl's fastpitch game now...then to church for a run-through for our Child Hunger Ends Here! benefit concert on 4/30. Y'all come now, ya hear???

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green Week Challenge!

April 22nd, 2010, the official Earth Day! I know that you have all been doing your part each and every day to take care of our Earth and practice those sustainability and green skills. (Yeah, who am I trying to kid? I know that's a lie. I should be doing more...) What better way to show your love of dear 'ole Mother Earth than taking part in Lori & Kaite's GREEN WEEK CHALLENGE!!

Your mission, ff you choose to except it, it starts on April 15th and runs until Earth Day.

Read and reread this post, as it will become your new best friend for the next week and a half. Rules, challenges, and prizes (that's right! You will be rewarded!) are listed below.

Have fun, enjoy the ride, and save the Earth!

  1. There are 2 “tiers” of the challenges. 1 Point for challenges on the 1st tier, 2 points for the 2nd tier.
  2. You can only do each challenge one time (can’t get multiple points for multiple loads of laundry, nice try though). But we do encourage you to do multiple challenges for an *Honorable Mention.
  3. Do one of the challenges and post about it on your blog or email Lori or Katie with a photo (gotta have proof, ya know?). If you post it on your blog, please email Lori or Katie a link to that post. The post must include a photo of you doing the challenge!
  4. The challenge will run from April 15th through the end of the day on Earth Day (April 22nd).
  5. We will tally all the points at the end of the challenge and 2 people with the most points will win a goodie-basket filled with green **prizes!
  6. Blog about the challenge on your blog before the challenge begins to spread and you can get an extra point!! Please link to this post, and email one of us the link to your blog post!
Want to blog about this? Pick your green goodness up right here! Yes, go post it to your blog, already!
copy and paste this code:
[a href=""][img src="" /]
[a href=""][img src="" /]
[a href=""][img src="" /]
just replace ] and [ with > and < in the tags and you're all set!

For all of your Earth-lovin' efforts, there will be a reward. Since you're send in your pictures, post a comment, blog your sustainable actions, and just do your way through the challenges, we're keeping track. You will not go unnoticed!

*Honorable Mention is included in this challenge. To be eligible for Honorable Mention, we ask that you email one of us multiple challenge items that you have completed. There won't be tangible prizes, but you get your name spread all over the Green Week Challenge!! That means you're a do-gooder!

**Prize items will include green goodies from Natural Zing, Pure2Raw Bakery, fabulous, crafty Katie's reusable shopping bags, and coffee cup cozies, seeds for your NEW garden, and much, much more!

  1. Wash clothes with cold water 1 pt
  2. Drink a green smoothie 1 pt
  3. Eat a vegetarian or vegan meal 1 pt
  4. Use cloth napkins 1 pt
  5. Make and use your own cleaning products (Recipes here!) 2 pts
  6. Use a canvas, or reusable, grocery bag 1 pt
  7. Plant a tree/herb/vegetable (indoors or out) 2 pts
  8. Shop at your local farmers market or buy only local produce for a day 1 pt
  9. Shop at your local farmers market/buy local for the next week 2 pts
  10. Take all batteries, old computers, DVD players, or other electronics to an electronics recycling center (keep hazardous substances out of the landfill) 2 pts
  11. Start a compost 2 pts
  12. Clean out your pantry and donate unopened non-perishables to a food bank 2 pts
  13. Walk, bike or take public transportation to work for the ENTIRE week 2 pts
  14. Carpool to work/store/gym 1 pt
  15. Make an Earth inspired meal using only whole foods- whole grains, fresh veggies and/or fruits, nuts, seeds 1 pt
  16. Get in touch with the Earth- try a yoga class, go for a walk without distractions such as your Ipod, meditate 1 pt
  17. Donate your time to a soup kitchen (good karma!) 2 pts
  18. Bring a reusable coffee cup on your next cafe run 1 pt
  19. Hang laundry to dry 1 pt

Are you up for the challenge?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chronic Over-sharer?

A dear new friend confessed last week that she is a "Chronic Over-Sharer", and it struck a chord with me. This is a theme that God seems to have put in my life the past few months.

Beth Moore says in her study of Esther: "We can not realize our destiny without transparency."

I'm sorry to break this to you, but yes, I tend to babble at times. I know this comes as a major shock. Ha! This is something that I have tried to reign in over the past year, and had much prayer about (obviously, God isn't done with me yet if this post is any indication!).

Yesterday's post gnawed at me last night...Satan kept whispering "You shouldn't have posted that long bit about your father. No one cares. No one wants to read that depressing mess...You should delete it - right now (at midnight) or first thing in the morning at least. Really, that was just pathetic!"

I've spent an awful lot of energy and time concealing certain parts of my life from others. I know I'm not alone here - can I get an "Amen" from the sisters?? Some things I just don't share with people - whether I've known them for years or just met them recently. They are shameful, embarrassing, and yes - I fear those people won't accept me anymore if they knew. If you're one of those people who has read my blog from the beginning, you might be thinking to yourself right now "Oh, I don't see that she has ANY trouble sharing...I remember that one post...oh, and THAT one - yikes!"

But real transparency?

I want to be transparent.

I want to be a Chronic Over-Sharer if it will help someone else along their journey. And for my friend - your sharing most definitely helps! :)

I want to be a person who knows so deeply in her heart that "There is therefore now no condemnation..." that I can share freely, truly, and be authentic in every part of my life.

I'm just trying to figure out how to do that. Any tips? :)

I'm really trying to get back to a Happy Place here at Frugal Grace, but there's just been a lot going on that I need to process lately. So I hope I'm not totally bumming everyone out here!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why I'll only watch comedies for awhile - Brothers movie

Last night, my hubby and I settled in to watch a movie. I picked it up at Redbox, thinking it would be a good "guy" movie that he would enjoy (to thank him for being such a good hubby, I'm willing to compromise now & then on the flicks). I knew little about Brothers, except that it was a war movie - I thought it was about 2 brothers that went to war together. We almost had to turn it off after about 30 minutes or so, as I was crying like a 2 year old. I know a dear boy - 19 years old - who is about to enter Marine bootcamp, my own brother has been to Iraq & Afghanistan so many times that I've lost count. The scenes in the movie about the soldier being in Afghanistan were beyond torment to watch - much less imagine someone you love possibly going through the same.

Now, I've been pretty emotional lately, so I attributed the tears to my crazy hormones or something... I'm sure I'm not the only person who cried at this movie. If you can watch it and NOT cry, I either need to applaud you or wonder how you possibly did it.

My father is a Vietnam vet with PTSD and a host of other issues both from the war and from his own childhood. I haven't seen him in over 30 years. There's a scene in the movie where Tobey McGuire's character walks across the yard to his daughters, who are playing in the snow. The older child backs away from him in fear - it was at that moment that I lost it. Something in me *clicked* and I felt every emotion of that young girl - because I'd BEEN her. I remembered, somewhere deep in my gut, of fearing my father on such a gutteral level that the scene brought back such a flood of emotions that I couldn't hold them back. I started sobbing and nearly hyperventilating, hubby was very concerned and said "If I had any idea..." It wasn't his fault, as I said *I* picked the movie! But at that moment, he finally got it. I don't know, and didn't ask, if he meant if he'd had any idea the movie would affect me that way or if he'd only known how my father did...

After years of him asking me "Why don't you go see your dad." - I was finally able to SHOW him why... I said "That little girl...I remember that...I remember that look..." It was the look of a man who had been through inhumane tortures, who was now back to "normal life" and didn't know how to do "normal" anymore. It was the look of that poor little girl, who had missed her Daddy so much, but feared the look in his eyes so much that she couldn't go near him. I want to see the sequel to this movie (there isn't one in the works that I know of). I want to see how that little girl turned out. But I already know the rest of the story... it's mine.

As Tobey's character says at the end "I can't remember who said ..."It is only the dead who have seen the end of war.” (the quote is attributed to Plato)

This is the biggest reason I hate war. People think about the innocent civilians killed, the fallen soldiers - I cry for them, too. But most people don't think so much about the soldiers - the heros - who survive the war, only to come home and die a little more every day, every year. They don't see the children who are afraid of a father who loves them but who scare their loved ones - not because they want to, but because they just don't know how to do "normal" life anymore.

Note: my father is still alive, living in W.Va. on the top of a mountain with other vets who can't do normal. He is very ill, but he writes every few months, he sends checks now and then in an attempt to make up for his "failures" (his word in the last note I got from him). I haven't seen him, I don't know that I ever will. As I told my husband last night "Now you know why I don't see him...and why he doesn't want us to see him." He hasn't yet seen the end of war.

(You can see the clip below, a 40 seconds into the trailer, where he walks toward her and she steps back)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Open letter to all parents, kids, teachers, etc

(CNN) -- During the last afternoon of her life, 15-year-old freshman Phoebe Prince was loudly berated in the high school library and she was taunted again as school let out, court documents say.

To every student, teacher, school admin, and parent reading this:

Can we PLEASE stop calling this type of behavior "bullying" - it's ABUSE.

And it needs to STOP.

Who is raising the kids who behave like animals at our schools??? Where are the teachers? You know what, I can visit my daughter's school during the day, or even after school in the parking lot after school, and I can hear bad language, see girls half-dressed and boys with their pants around their ankles (that's all for another post, though)... So how is it that the teachers, admin, and PARENTS did not see what was going on in this case???

Or did they see it and now that the girl is gone, only worry about covering their own butts.

Look at the beautiful 15yo girl in the picture below - Phoebe Prince - now DEAD because she was tormented relentlessly over what - - - - ?

boy she dated & some other girl got mad. Really?

Girls - do you really want to cause someone to take their own life because you're an insecure girl who didn't get the boy you wanted?!
You think it's fun to be mean to others - really?? You think you're tough & cool because you talk trash to some other girl?? Newsflash: YOU'RE NOT COOL. You're sick, and you need to reach out to an adult who can help you with your anger management issues - and this is NO joke. Do you think your friends are your friends because they love you? Probably NOT, they are scared of you. Do you want friends that are afraid not to be, or do you want people who genuinely LOVE you to be your friends? Only YOU can make that decision and turn your life around... Do it today, before it's too late.

As Beth Moore says "Meanness is power to those who have none."

Think about it the next time you want to talk to or about someone in a negative way at school. Meanness only means you don't have any power to control yourself. Is that how you want to be remembered after high school? And trust me, the ones that really KNOW you - they WILL remember. Only you can make those memories great or horrible.

It's all up to you.

What if the girl below were your best friend, or sister, or cousin...


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Great Gift idea for Mother's Day!

It's crazy to think that we've already pass over Easter (hee, get it??) and now looking at Mother's Day in just a few weeks! I love to give personalized gifts, and this is a STEAL in my opinion: get a personalized photo mug for only $1.99! For that price, you can get one for ALL the grandparents and they'll have a special momento from your family to cherish - and use - for years to come.

I gave one to my daughter & son-in-law for Christmas and they LOVED it! We used a pic from a recent formal event that they had attended, so they both looked at their best (which, frankly, they are always gorgeous anyway!).

Check it out - except you, my Mom, don't ruin your surprise from my kids! ;)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Why I Don't Tweet Demi Moore, and Other Tales of Holiday Depression

Demi Moore, Patron Saint of Suicidal Tweeters, is not my friend on Twitter. Not because I'm still mad at her for marrying my future next husband, and I don't mean Bruce. Seriously though, good for her averting yet another Suicide by Tweet. Though I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would turn to her for help in the depths of depression (though I suppose "in their right mind" is the operative phrase), I suppose it's good she was online at the time. ~shrug~

My Easter weekend - the greatest holiday of my faith - has been a total bust due to my depression/anxiety rearing it's hideous head yet again. Note to Depressives Everywhere: do NOT switch meds close to a holiday where you're expected to don cute new Springtime clothes, act all giddy at chocolate eggs, and basically act like everything is just peachy keen. Trust me, it doesn't work well, despite your therapist's insistence that you'll be "normal again" in a week or so.

I don't even know what normal is - I never have. That's all I want is "normal", but after 41 years of looking for it, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't want me to find it. Kind of like all those Easter eggs that will lay hidden until someone mows the yard again and ends up with a million peices of plastic all over their yard and melted chocolate all over their lawn mower.

After not eating for 2 days, and lying in bed under the covers on the prettiest day of the year (from 2pm yesterday until 9am this morning) - I've decided that I'm just sick of this mask. No, it's not Halloween, but I wear one year-round. It's the mask of the Happy Face, which I am usually able to wear pretty convincingly.

My husband, bless his heart, knows about the mask - and now, thanks to Therese Borchard he understands the "little man" in my head. But he still has trouble with my wanting to take the mask off sometimes. He doesn't understand that it's darn near impossible for me to put it on and face the world sometimes. Like this morning, and yesterday, "Just get up, you'll feel better." he says. But he can't - and no one who has not struggled with depression can - possibly understand the sheer agony it causes to "just get up" at times like this. Simply walking into the next room can be excruciatingly exhausting. Add to that going out in public, putting on the Mask, and pretending to be the normal mom, wife, friend that you're expected to be - it's impossible sometimes.

So today, I won't Tweet Demi Moore (though I'm sure she'd have some great new-agey advice to offer, and a nice visit from the local men in white coats while she's at it). I'll put the Mask on for an hour or so since I have to visit my mom & family for Easter lunch, then I'll take it off - leave it off, maybe manage to sit outside in the sun with a glass of something cold and non-alcoholic (I don't drink). I'll try to quiet the little man in my head that's telling me constantly that I'm worthless, useless, fat, ugly, fake, doomed, hated, a charity case that people are only nice to because they have to be, that I'm a horrible wife/mother/friend/sister/daughter/granddaughter/aunt and everything else I'm supposed to do right. I won't use the perfect excuse "I miscarried on Easter weekend 18 years ago" which would explain it all away and people would accept my mood if I told them - they'd probably even be really nice to me all day if I told them. But I don't want people to be nice to me today. I don't want to have to have an excuse to be this way. Because there is no excuse. That's why depression sucks so horribly. Because we never know WHY we're cursed with this disease.