Goodbye scale, Hello apple pie!

I want to share something powerful with you. You ARE more than a number! I saw this Special K commercial this evening on TV and it really spoke  to me.

As I prepare for Thanksgiving my mind begins thinking about all the exercise I am going to need to do to make up for all the indulging I will do on Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Christmas, then I stop myself and think…

why do we do that to ourselves?

Why do we automatically start the self loathing here at this special season of year?

I am so tired of it. I want to eat that second slice of apple pie without thinking about how many miles I will need to run or how much green juice I will need to consume in order to be forgiven of my “second slice of pie sin”. I’ve decided I AM DONE WITH IT! Starting today I am putting away my scale and it will not see the light of day until January 2015.

Please understand me. I am not interested in being obese, and I am not saying that I will indulge at every opportunity this season brings my way, but I do want to enjoy my food and plan to do so consciously. I am putting away my scale this season because I believe it has become a crutch for me. Every day the first thing I do is step on that scale to see “what the damage” was from the day before. In doing that I rob myself of the joy of food. As I say time and time again it is all about balance. I will purposely focus us eating well this season so that when my aunt’s delicious Kahlua cake is served this Christmas I can indulge with zero guilt. My scale is disappearing for the season but I have noted my starting weight and plan to prove that you can get  through the holidays without  putting on excessive weight and without working out a ton every day.

So who is with me? Use the hashtags #healthyholiday and #healthyholidayindulgence to document your food this holiday season.

Goodbye scale, hello apple pie!!!

Changing Direction

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I can’t believe over a year has passed since my last post. In that time so much has happened both god and bad. There was the whirlwind craziness of the holidays, a job change which I could not be happier about and sadly the loss of my beloved grandfather who meant so much to me.

During my break from blogging I decided to make a change related to this blog. As the title suggests I love fashion and I love food. Never have I focused solely on those two subjects. Up until now PearlsandPasta.com has always a collection of my thoughts and inner rumblings. You never knew what you would find on a daily visit. That changes today. Today I am giving the blog back to what it was originally intended to be. An outlet for me to share my love of cooking and fashion.

A daily visit to PearlsandPasta.com will reward you with a delicious recipe or fashion inspiration. My approach to both subjects is it is all about balance.

I was blessed to grow up in close proximity to my two very Southern grandmothers. Both have sadly passed away but they have left me with a love of cooking and their collection of precious recipes. Now here is the thing. I love Gram’s ooey gooey, diet busting macaroni and cheese and am happy to indulge in second helpings whenever it is served, but I don’t eat it every day. I do make my own version of gram’s recipe and it is just as cheesy, but way healthier…and NO I do not puree butter nut squash and try to pass it off as cheese sauce. Been there. Tried that. No one can convince me it is cheese sauce. In their memory I want to use this blog to share my grandmother’s diet busting and my waist forgiving recipes with you.

I also love fashion, both high and low end. I have a ridiculous amount of Kate Spade handbags and jewelry, but I’ve learned to pair them with inexpensive pieces to complete my look. I will never be one of those girls in name brands from head to toe.  You know what? When wearing the two together people always comment on much they love my bargain pieces! I love my designer things but I also love my bargains and my budget demands that I have a healthy appreciation of both. Fashion inspires me every day and I want to share that passion with you.

This blog will also document my fitness journey.  I was never athletic in high school or college instead I was a total book nerd. After college as a way to deal with my high stress job I took up running and discovered a passion for fitness and healthy living. Fast forward to the winter of 2011 and my love for running left me with severe illiotibial band syndrome. This injury caused me to take a year off from running and my fitness has never been the same since. I try to stay active but I have not been consistent. To get back on track I have signed up to compete in the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. I am so not conditioned for the race so now is the time for me to get serious and back on track.

Now yes, before you comment, you will still find an inner rambling or two but having a direction for his blog will allow me to create better quality content for you, my readers. I thank each of you for sticking with me in my long absence and am excited for what the future has in store.

My Goal For September

My goal for the month of September is to let the Lord direct my path. Too often I find myself planning out every detail of my life. Inevitably this leads to disappointment because my perfectionism makes me feel like a failure when things do not happen as I planned.

For the next month I am going to make ever effort to NOT plan.

I need to take a step back and recognize that I am not the captain of my life. God is.

I realize that when I attempt to take control of the direction my life will take I am setting myself up for failure. I am not the captain who is controlling the ship. I am the first mate whose role requires that she follow her captain wherever he may lead. This is the truth I will focus on for the next thirty days.

Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your gracious Spirit
lead me forward on a firm footing.

Psalms 143:10 NLT

The Bigger Picture

Lately I’ve been struggling. In the grand scheme of things my worries and troubles do not compare to the hardships others face, yet they are mine. I am grateful to have a mother that encourages me through all my trials and heart aches. Today she sent me a beautiful email of encouragement and I thought I would share it with you in the hope that it will help you see through your struggles and focus on “the bigger picture”.
                                                                                                                                                                                             -Nicole

“Sometimes I feel like I can not hear God speak…………..and He seems silent for a long while. While other times I feel like He is speaking to me at every bend in the road and through every one and every thing.
This week has been very humbling, as this has been a week when I’m hearing around every corner. The Bible study I am currently studying with a few neighbors, and the Video Bible study my small group is following this summer, and the current struggles in my own heart, have all pointed me to one central truth: God is sovereign and He decides!

Lately I have found myself struggling with the mass confusion of the world and the awful decline of morality in people at large. I have been wrestling with the world issue of hungry and dying children  and the rampant evil evidenced everywhere you turn.
Yes, I believe the Bible is absolute Truth, flawless and eternal; but I have wrestled with God’s control over things; including things in my own life.
As I have reached midlife, I have begun to struggle  all over again with why God has not done certain things yet and why He has allowed others.
We are bombarded with so much information now, and the amount of “bad” reports and “bad” news we get on a daily basis, that I believe it is just plain unhealthy
To add to my inner battles, a friend called this am and was struggling with her family stuff and the “whys” in her own life;  why hasn’t God caused prosperity in her life, or her kids’ lives when they love and seek God, and why
does their have to be the same old struggles of old; doesn’t God give victory in our lives and take back ground?
 
Here are some of the verses God has spoken in my heart
from studying this week, where I felt God answering these questions:
 
for God alone decides the matter, HE IS THE MOST HIGH GOD,
and who am I to question the Creator of all, the creator,of my person who has given me my life and knows my inmost parts.
:
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom endures from generation to generation…..All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heavens and among the inhabitants of the earth. and no one can ward off His hand or say to HIm, “what have You done?”
…..for He is able to humble those who walk in pride. Daniel 40:35 & 37
 
“It is I who put to death and give life, I have wounded and it is I who heal”………….Duet. 32:39
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and rich, He brings low, He also exalts.”   I Samuel 2:6 & 7
 
“I am the Lord and there is no other; besides me  there is no God. The one forming light and creating darkness; causing well being and creating calamity;
I am the Lord who does all these,” Isaiah 45:5
Psalm 33:11 “The counsel of the Lord stands forever; the plans of His heart from generation to generation.”

Many are the plans of a mans heart, but the Lord determines his steps.
 
I think it’s important to remember These truths about who God is when we find ourselves wrestling with the “whys” of things in our life at any given time.
 
Proverbs 16:33 ” The lot is cast into the lap, but the Lord decides every decision of it.”
 Wow, meditate on that for a while……………Our Lord allows the place of each of our lives, He alone planned our lives, He alone gave us breath and has ordered our days; He alone has the sovereign control over the destiny of our lives, and He is worthy of praise ir-regardless of what life on earth has been like for us.
 
What I fail to grasp most is that His plan for me is part of His Bigger plan ………….. The Big Picture of His everlasting Dominion, and Eternity is what I need to stay mindful of! The bigger picture involves me being a part of others coming into His kingdom; and that is why we are here……………to transfer from the dominion of darkness to His Eternal Kingdom of light and to help others do the same.
Colossions 1:13-16 reads:
“For He (God) has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
 
I have been so humbled for asking God so many “whys” lately………………and He has gently dealt with me & my pride for asking and questioning His ways.
 
I am so grateful for a heavenly Father who loves me personally and who speaks to the questions of my heart through His living Word.
I’m much better off emotionally when I keep a perspective of His bigger picture; which includes a lost and destitute world of others, and not just my world.
…….which includes a portion of my time investing in others knowing such a gracious God, and my mind giving thought to how God is leading me to do that.
I’ve not been put here to just live a good life for me, but to glorify God  with the talents and provisions He has given me, and to in turn point to His Truth with them.
 
God Bless You! Love you!
Mom

Find Comfort In God, Not Cheetos

TrustInTheLord

Too often we forget to rely on the Lord to ease our troubles and turn toward various vices for comfort. For me comfort takes the form of food. I tend to gravitate towards pasta, baked goods and oh lets just go there…. all things starchy! While this yummy comfort bandage feels oh so good in the moment, I always feel awful when it’s over.

Why is that?

Besides the fact that I feel overly stuffed and uncomfortable, I know in my heart it is because I sought comfort from something other than my Heavenly Father. When I was a little girl my mother used to make up rhymes and songs to help me memorize things. The spelling of my name, what street I lived on and Bible verses that would stay with me to this day.

Tonight after turning to a bag of oh so delicious crunchy Cheetos which ended in my above described remorse, one of those Bible verses came to my mind.

Proverbs 3:5-6

New International Version (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Even though I was raised to seek comfort in the Lord I still have a hard time remembering to do so. My stubborn nature wants to believe that “I’ve got it” that I can “do it” all by myself. Silly, silly me.  I need to learn to turn to the Lord instead of turning to the pantry. The comfort found through his spirit is the only thing that can ease ones struggles and stresses. I find relief in the knowledge that my God is always there for me. Even when I am snuggled up with a bag of popcorn instead of my Bible.

What about you? Do you find that you turn to earthly things for comfort instead of the Lord? Leave me a comment.

Searching For A Plan

Source: Uploaded by user via Nicole on Pinterest

I am a girl in search of a plan. I have decided I need to make some changes in my life. Changes regarding how I spend my time, my future “career”, and my spiritual diet.

The last couple of months have been very difficult. I have struggled with the guilt that I am not being the kind of wife I would like to be for my husband. Do not get me wrong he is the most wonderful man, and he never complains about me working, but I still wish I could give him more of myself when we are home together in the evenings. Often I just want to be alone to veg out on Pinterest or read blogs.

Like so many others I work outside of the home nine to five and struggle daily to juggle my job, housework, cooking, and fitting in workouts. I know there are many women out there who work, take care of the home, run all their errands, and on top of that are mothers. To all you women out there you have my utmost respect. 

The simple truth of the matter is that I am young, married, working, and overwhelmed. Maybe that should be the title of this blog.  

The only way I can see getting over this nagging feeling of guilt is to make some changes.

Spiritual Diet

I know that I should start every day with time in God’s word. Devotions are great when you need something quick but it is not enought spiritual food to last you through the day. My current job is pretty stressful and I need more spiritaul food to get me through my day.

Future “Career”

I always thought I knew what I wanted to do for a career. I went to college to persue that profesion and am now working in that field. In the last few weeks through prayer and searching my heart I have decided that the profession I am in is not one I want to stay in forever. God did bless me with talents that allow me to be good at what I do, but I think I need to use those talents differently. How you ask? I have no clue. I need to spend time praying about this matter and my prayer is that God will direct me to a profession that will bring joy to my heart.

Time

Time is a precious comodity. One that I am still learning not to waste. When I come home from work in the evenings I really only have about 4 hours to play around with. During that time I need to cook, do housework, play with the dogs, exercise, and spend time with my husband. Believe me when I say those four hours go fast and I never get done with all the things I would like to. My husband is the one that usually gets shorted out on time and that is totally not how I want things to be.

Ok, so I know where I need to make some changes. Now the question is how. The only answer that comes to my mind is through God. He is the one that will help me come up with a plan to carve out more time to spend with my hubby, discover what my next “career” move will be, and minister to me through his word so that I may be better prepared to face whatever the world throws my way.