Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010

This past July I started this site as a place of spiritual encouragement & central hub for writing project details. How you've responded as readers blows me away!

In only 5 months, 147 of you became official followers via Networked Blogs or google. And, I've had 12,592 pageviews from people representing every state, Canada, Russia, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Serbia, Indonesia, South Africa and the list goes on.

The top 5 most popularly viewed posts were:


If You Don't Like the Mirror's Reflection, Remember This...

A Thanksgiving Top 10

When Life Gives You Lemons

The Problem With Living in a Shortsighted Culture

The top 5 posts most commented on were:

Teaching Purity to Our Daughters (AND a Pam Stenzel DVD Giveaway)


My Journey to Becoming an Author

Christian Moms Unite

Welcome to "Fill My Cup"

If you missed reading any of them, grab a cup of hot chocolate and read up! (We are homebound today due to a snow & ice blizzard. Can you tell by my beverage suggestion?!)

Thank you all for your support! You saw me get my first blog button and celebrated my first book release with me. In just 5 short months, each you have made me -a newbie blogger - feel incredibly welcomed and blessed!

I can't wait to see what 2011 will bring. :)

Have a safe New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A First

I never imagined that I would be signing a book with my name on the cover

Written with one of my favorite people

And endorsed by one of my favorite Christian artists.

It is an amazing feeling to see this dream come to fruition & I pray God continues to bless it.

Order yours now & it will ship today!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Giving Back at Christmas

How do we teach our kids this important lesson?

Jesus came down into the world as love. The mission at Christmas is not to fill our shopping carts with “things” to bring temporary happiness, but to celebrate the One who inspires us to live a Godly life and give back.

Each year at Christmas we aim to promote a global sense of ways to celebrate Christian giving and love. This year we filled an Operation Christmas Child box. While we’ve done this in the past, it felt particularly fitting this year because our three and five year old wanted to get a box and pick out the items for it.

They are into a princess phase in life. Gigi, God’s Little Princess by Sheila Walsh is a fixture series in our home that celebrates each girl as a daughter of the King. This year, they wanted to let a little girl in an unknown place know that she too was a princess, made by and special to the King.

So, we went to the store and they picked out all things princess to celebrate a young girl and bring her joy.

Although the gesture was simple in nature, it created for big, important conversation. They understood – long before getting to open gifts of their own – that they were picking one box that would bring a little girl extreme joy because she didn’t have a family able to purchase gifts. This put the ability to get packages themselves into some perspective and helped them realize how lucky they were, all the while celebrating the importance and joy found in giving.

Jesus is the reason for Christmas. We must keep this in focus as we go about asking “what do you want?” to our little ones. Gifts are great and fun and we love to do them, but we want them to know it isn’t just about us.

Our family aims to continue growing and celebrating Godly love at Christmas. How do you do this? I loved this advent giving calendar idea and there is so much more that we haven’t thought of – from the simple to the complex.

I’m thankful for a God who meets us as a baby, love us, and inspires us to grow and give out of love for Him. That is Christmas spirit poured out for all to see.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Christmas Food Favs: Birthday Cake for Jesus

Thus far, all my Friday Christmas food favs have given you goody and supper ideas. But, today is Christmas Eve and tonight and tomorrow Christians will raise their voices in singing "Joy to the World. The Lord is come." A birthday needs to be celebrated.

Today's food fav is about taking time away from the chaos that surrounds these days to focus with your entire family on the birth of our Savior and your relationship with Him.

So, get a box of cake mix, frosting, cake decorations, and some candles & head on over to my ModSquad post to find out how this week's food fav will protect special family time, create fun for the little ones, and most importantly, enhance your faith life this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Early Christmas Present

Oh. Yes. It. Is.

Today a delightful Fed-Ex man arrived at my door, and I have to admit, I was confused. All of my mail order packages have arrived so I had no idea what he held.

However, when I opened it up, THIS was inside.

Yes, a Christmas present come early.

For those of you who were wanting to order my book with Pam Stenzel, it is done early and if you order it now it will priority ship so that it in your hands by next week. For those of you with late Christmas gatherings, this will be perfect for those hard to buy for teens in your life. And, they will have plenty of time to read it before Valentine's Day!

Regal Press did an amazing job. The graphics are great, the wording holds powerful truth, and the gripping stories and questions from peers provide answers and uplift God's design for relationships.

Just wanted to let you know. You can have it sooner than you thought! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moldable Clay

I’ve always known that I had two goals in my life’s work – to share Truth and to help others.

Initially I thought this was in medicine. But, as I become a wife and mother I felt God speak to me in a way I never had before. That wasn’t my path. I was called to something different. I simply needed to make myself moldable clay for the Potter.

My will was released and God’s will took hold.

By day I stayed at home with my children, able to see their every “first.” And, during nap time or night, my husband supported my goals to share Truth, help others, and creatively fill life missions I never imagined.

This is the cover of my new book (Regal Press) with Pam Stenzel.

Inside of these (now able to order) pages are the stories, questions, and encouraging words to help today’s teens and those who love them choose purity until marriage.

God used to two goals I always knew to be true in a way I never anticipated. He created a friendship with an amazing woman in Pam and creatively combined our talents to powerfully impact the future generation. He brought a Christian literary agent into my life for wonderful representation. And, He used a gift that I always considered a “hobby” to create income and change the face of tomorrow.

I can’t wait to see what God continues to do in my life and writing. I simply had to let go of human made agendas and be the soft clay He desires. If you haven’t “let go,” please do. God will create a life of fulfilling purpose that you could never craft yourself.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Christmas Food Favs: Southwestern Tortilla Cheese Soup

So far my Fri food favs have been sweets. But, we all go to Christmas dinners/parties where we need to bring something of substance. That was supposed to be the case for me last night until I found myself very sick in the doctor’s office yesterday diagnosed with walking pneumonia. For a pregnant asthmatic, that translated to go home, start your meds, drink lots of liquids, and stay in bed for a few days.

However, if I would have been able to go to my Bible Study Christmas dinner, I would have blessed them with Southwestern Tortilla Cheese Soup. It is low maintenance and very good.


To make it you will need:4 oz diced, cooked chicken breast
2 c. canned tomatoes with juice, chopped
2 c. chicken broth
½ c. salsa
1 tsp taco seasoning mix
½ cup diced onion
1 can Nacho Cheese Soup
½ lb Velveeta, cut up
1 can Chedder Cheese Soup
Tortilla chips (optional)

Instructions:Put all the ingredients EXCEPT the tortilla chips in the crockpot and allow it to cook approximately 5 hours stirring occasionally.

Or, you can make it in a pan by mixing the first 6 ingredients in a big pot and for 5 minutes on medium heat. Then add the last three ingredients, cooking until the cheese is melted.

Serve with tortilla chips on top as desired.

To be honest, I make this soup throughout the fall and winter months. It is just that good. And, it works great in bread bowls.

Since I was unable to take this to my party last night, I was greeted with this instead.

While my husband and 3yo were out getting a new humidifier and other items for me, my 5yo surprised me with food in bed. She doesn’t like seeing mommy sick. Melted. My. Heart.

I’m going to try and sleep now. Enjoy your soup!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

“You Will Conceive & Give Birth To A…”

Okay so no angel appeared in the heavens foretelling the birth and gender of our newest child.

But, the “big” midway ultrasound we had today was pretty awe-inspiring and powerful, nonetheless.

When I saw this face, I couldn’t help but smile.

Because the baby was constantly on the move pictures were a challenge, but between that 3D image and this most adorable profile

We were touched. And, hearing that everything is normal was an answer to our prayers!

Speaking of prayer, check this out. It appears our peanut likes to pray too.

Well, that or suck its thumb. Either way, we are blessed and thankful for this perfect gift from above.

And as for the gender, well, unlike the story we hear in advent this is going to be God’s special surprise. We’ll find out in the delivery room. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Christmas Food Favs: (Easiest Ever) Gluten Free PB Chocolate Star Cookies

Easiest Ever cannot be exaggerated.

My college roommate and I have had a Christmas goody making day tradition since the year we graduated. And, this recipe is one that has held strong since year one. It’s a keeper.

So, if you are getting ready for family gatherings or parties and want cookies for your platter, this is the one to make.

You will need:1 cup skippy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 chocolate stars
a little sugar in a small bowl

*Note: You can use chocolate kisses in place of the stars. My friend’s hubby likes stars better and sometimes the smallest of gestures speaks loudly of love. Use whatever your family likes best! :)

Instructions:In a mixing bowl, cream peanut butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Roll into 1¼ inch balls. Then, roll the balls in the sugar in the small bowl and place them two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Immediately press one star into the center of each cookie. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans or wire racks.

Simple enough right? I mean, you don’t even need flour! You can make it by yourself, with friends, or even with your little ones.

One batch makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Have fun making this second Christmas Friday food fav!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What Pregnancy Taught Me This Advent Season

Ever have a day where things don’t go quite as planned?

Today was one of those days.

By nature I am a very type A, planning, dead-line loving kind of girl. (That is probably why writing works so well. I got a book deadline and, as is typical for me, turned it in before it was due.) So, it makes complete sense that I was very planned for Sunday morning church. My husband was supposed to be the reader so I had my alarm set with plenty of time for all of us to get ready.

I got myself up and started getting ready thinking that my husband was doing the same. But, he was still in a deep slumber as were our (typically early rising) girls. With the clock ticking, I awoke everybody and rushed to get us out the door. We had service to do, right?

However, once everyone was to the car, my all day long sickness kicked in and there was no way we could leave.

I’m now 18 weeks pregnant, gaining the unique experience of a lived pregnancy in advent. Advent means “traveling toward,” and I’m finding huge lesson in this for me.

While Christians around the world travel closer in great expectation to the date we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we are also living that out in our day to day lives. We wonder if it is a boy or a girl. We dream about the unique gifts God will give this child. We anticipate transitioning in family size and how this child will change our lives.

And we pray this poorly named “morning sickness” will pass. :)

Once we arrived to church, my husband had missed the reading. I felt crushed. I had a plan in place to help in the sharing of God’s work and I failed. The loss of control stung.

As I sat in the church pew pondering the words “traveling towards” new revelation took place. You see, advent isn’t just about traveling towards the celebration of the birth of a baby in a stable. Advent also signifies traveling towards submission. Christ came in the form of a baby to enter into a lived relationship. His presence on earth and the Bible stories that speak of it are a powerful display of God’s nurturing love, His amazing teaching, and the Lord’s total control in the midst of life’s chaos.

When Christ walked earthly terrain, He had people to help in the advancing of the kingdom, but it didn’t fail if they did. God doesn’t need help doing His job. He is fully capable of accomplishing His purposes on His own in His own ways.

So I felt God saying relax. I love you and appreciate your heart. Don’t take more on than necessary. You will not find peace this Advent taking over my work or busying yourself till the day the world finds me in a lowly manger. You will find true peace when you live out the relationship I came to form with you. Rest in me and submit my child.

The pastor showed grace, my husband demonstrated mercy, and the church didn’t even notice. All was well and the tiny life within me kicked and danced through it all.

So, as we await the birth of this baby growing within me, his or her health influence has already deepened my understanding of this church year I’ve celebrated many times over. We are traveling towards a life-transforming relationship that allows us to let go of self and find peace.

“I AM” came for my heart and when I focus on that everything else falls into perspective.

Listen to who He is friends-

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"— which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23


“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

May peace, blessing, and relationship be yours this Advent season.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Christmas Food Favs: Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls

It's been a big week in the writing world. Book #1 is available for pre-order. The proposal for book #2 is in. And, there is another fun project in the works, but you will hear more about that when it is available!

Now I've decided to relax a bit and enjoy some holiday cooking. The ornaments are out and the dining room center piece is changed. I'm in the mood for some fun.

Since I heard from so many of you that you enjoyed the pumpkin chocolate cheesecake bars, I thought I'd make a Friday Christmas Food Favs series until Christmas, sharing some of my favorite Christmas goodies. Perhaps it will help as you consider what to bring to holiday gatherings.

Today we'll start with CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER BALLS.

What you will need:
1 cup of skippy peanut butter
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme
1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
chocolate almond bark

What to do:

In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter and marshmallows creme; add cereal and stir until well coated. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate almond bark.

Roll cereal mixture into 1 inch balls; dip in chocolate (until completely covered). Place on a waxed paper-lined pan. Refrigerate until set.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Note: I've had "flops" with different peanut butter brands so I'd stick with the Skippy.

I hope you enjoy these almost as much as you enjoy our new book! You can store them in the fridge or freezer. When I go to gatherings, these are always the first to disappear from my platter.

Happy Holidays!

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