3 Steps to Organized

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After having the twins, there was a time when I was frustrated and seeking the Lord to help me prioritize and "get my ducks in a row." This is what He showed me and instantly it made a big difference in my day. Give it a try. You'll be amazed!

Step 1:  Ask yourself the question, “What’s next?” Seems simple enough but I can’t tell you how important this one is.   It is so easy to float through your day letting one task run right up into the next without ever taking the time to plan. Don’t fall into this trap. Considering what you have to do in 10 minutes, 30 minutes, that afternoon, the next day and so forth. It makes ALL the difference in the world! If you ask the question, you will automatically plan ahead. Before I go to sleep at night if I get the bottles ready for the next day, lay out my clothes, my Bible, and my computer it makes the next morning so much easier. I’m far more likely to get up early, do Bible study, and get the day off to a good start. Just try it. Intentionally ask yourself this question. You will constantly be on your toes, prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Step 2:  Do just a little bit more. A few years ago I was listening to a presentation on leadership by a corporate executive. She said one of the things that helped her succeed was to always try to exceed expectations. She pointed out that there is very little difference between meeting expectations and exceeding them. So, why not make a habit of always doing just a little more than is required? What does this look like in practice? If you are cooking dinner, double the recipe and freeze half of it. If it takes 15 minutes to get to an appointment, leave 30 minutes early. If you are posting a blog, write two and save one for a rainy day :-) If you can stay one step ahead, it really does make a huge difference in organization and stress level!

Step 3: Do the most important thing first. Boy, have I learned this one. I have got to prioritize.  It is so easy to do a great job of cleaning out the closet when I need to get dinner on the table, help the kids with homework and have a blog posted by the next day. If you are intentional about how you spend your time, you just might have more of it for what's most important. It’s like the old adage put the biggest rocks in the jar first and everything else fits. If you fill your jar with sand first, you won’t have time for what matters most.

How do you stay organized? Leave us a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

 

 

 

The Worst 4th of July Ever

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I’ve had the dresses since before they were born – the cute ones my twins were going to look just perfect in.  They had matching shoes and hair bows too but they won’t keep those on for more than 30 seconds so that part was probably never going work out anyway.  The rest, though, was going to be great...or so I thought!

We were going to go to the parade – where I would have had the most adorable little family.  Of course, I rather hate parades and it’s about 95 degrees by 10am but, hey, who cares when you have the chance to show off cute outfits, right?  Then we would all go for a picnic in the park (never mind that it’s probably 105 degrees by the time the parade is over and that the babies have to nap every two hours) and finally head over to the pool to let the rest of the kids do some swimming (no nap, hot weather and I won’t let the babies near a public pool for fear of chemicals, salmonella, lead poisoning, and toddler pooh, or whatever it is you find in a public pool).  Regardless, it was going to be a good 4TH, a darn good 4TH, a Facebook-worthy kind of darn good 4TH. 

And then, it wasn’t.

Instead, the night of the 3rd my husband and I got in an argument. For the record, I was right.  [Editor-Husband's note: Well, of COURSE you were, Babydoll.]  But, you know the old saying in marriage you can either be right or be happy. Well, this time I picked right but shortly thereafter I really wished I had chosen happy.

Then, the babies both got sick. It started early the morning of the 3rd with a little cough. By that night, the cough had turned into hacking.  And then they took turns going ba..ba…ba until about 1:30 in the morning when I finally got some sleep only to be awakened around 3:45am.  At that point I was up for the day. By mid-morning, an overprotective mamma, who shall remain nameless, was Googling whooping cough.  It wasn’t whooping cough.  Oh, and the girls were in cozy, but completely mismatched, and not-so-cute...sweat suits. 

But wait…there’s more!  I had dressed the girls in those cute little dresses I was so fond of for Sunday church and hadn’t gotten them washed since.  So, I thought I would just throw them in the washer that morning and at least take a few pictures of our first Independence Day.  Well…after starting the wash, we discovered that neither the washer nor the kitchen sink was draining properly, resulting in a big, soupy, sloppy, disgusting overflow onto the floor.  At this point, I was one grumpy, sleep-deprived momma who was still rather perturbed with her husband.  [Editor-Husband's note: I think what Jill meant to write here is something like "Fortunately, my awesome husband is oh-so-handy and was able to get the drains going again, lickety-split.  Plus, he cleaned up the mess and then washed the towels he used to clean up the mess so I everything was good as new."  Yes, I'm sure that's what she meant. ;-)]

Of course, the teens had to have something to do [Editor-Husband's note: Young teens and a 10-year-old...no driver's licenses to be found just yet.], so for the vast majority of the day they sat in the living rotating between a marathon of video games and an entire season of the show "Dirty Jobs" that I had picked up at a thrift store for a dollar (yea me!)

But wait…there’s more!  When I was making bottles at the kitchen sink, my sweet girls, who like to stand up at the counter with mommy, were chewing on the pull-knobs for the cabinets.  I looked down to see that one of them had cut her little gums on the knob and was bleeding all over herself...as if just being sick weren’t enough.  Bless her little heart.  I felt terrible!

Around six that evening after a dismal day of sick babies, mad-momma and watching a man clean up pigeon poop for hours on end (the Dirty Jobs marathon :-), my husband put some steaks on the grill.  [Editor-Husband's note: Looks like Jill forgot another line or two.  I think she meant to say something like "Those steaks positively melted in our mouths...I told him he could get a job as a chef at a high-end steakhouse, but he said his artistry is not for sale."  Or something like that.]  After we finished eating, he planned to take the teens to see some fireworks and get a few of their own.  I gave up on taking the babies being as they were sick and…well, a 7:30 bedtime doesn’t really mesh well with the 9:30 fireworks.  Plus, at that point it's too dark for anyone to appreciate cute outfits.  At least there would be peace in the house, fewer arguing teens and no more pigeon poop marathon.

And then it started raining...pouring, actually.  Are you kidding me?!?  Rain?  On the FOURTH OF JULY?!?  It poured like I have not seen in years. Seriously?!  It never rains here...except, apparently, on holidays featuring cute outfits.  It was raining so hard that all fireworks shows in the area were cancelled.  By this time I had entirely given up on my Facebook-worthy pics of my perfect family on the perfect 4TH... (I guess I could have posted pictures of my teens watching a man clean pooh for four hours??)  But now, no fireworks, no show, no quiet house.

Later that evening, I was in our room putting the girls to sleep when my husband brought in a plate full of cookies.  Now, I’ll be honest: I was slightly annoyed because the girls were just about asleep and I was afraid it might wake them up…and because my patience had gone the way of the pigeon pooh.  But, even in the half light I could see the two sugar cookies and one beautiful chocolate chip cookie on the plate.  My husband must have gone to the store just to get cookie dough!  I’d wanted chocolate chip cookies for two days.  I mentioned it earlier in the day – as did the kids.  [Editor-Husband's note: Actually, the kids said "M&M cookies," which is evidently what THEY wanted.]  My husband prefers sugar cookies. Poor misguided soul. At least there was one of those glorious, luscious, chocolate chip beauties on the plate.  It took a bit longer to get the girls completely to sleep.  So, for a good 20 minutes my mouth watered.  When they were finally asleep, I made my way over to my delicious treat took a big bite.  Wait...what is THAT?!?  He wouldn't have...surely not...doesn't he know how much I HATE peanut butter?!  Detestable, loathsome, wretched, disgusting peanut butter!  Now, you go right ahead and think I’m a terrible person.  You’re probably right.  But I was mad.  Legitimately mad.  He went to the store and bought – peanut butter and sugar cookies.  Atrocious!  I marched straight into the kitchen to get to the bottom of this travesty.  So he said he thought I wanted M&M cookies and that the store didn't have them, but he thought that the Reece’s ones would be the closest.  Does this man know me at all?!  Do 2 ½ years of marriage mean nothing to him?!?!

My second ex-husband (yes, I know it sounds bad) used to tell me that I was the most optimistic person he had ever met when it came to the future and the most pessimistic when it came to the past and the present.  I hate to admit it but I think he was right.  I have a confession.  I hate holidays.  Even birthdays.  I used to love them when I was a kid.  I’d mark my calendar and look forward to the day for weeks.  I guess in a way I still do that, even if just mentally.  Then, that darn perfectionism gets in the way.  It just never is as perfect as you think it’s going to be – or as everyone else’s appears to be on Facebook. So where’s the lesson in all this?  Where’s the happy ending?

Maybe it’s found in balance. You know, a little bit of plan-ahead. Don’t wait till the day of to wash the dresses and buy the fireworks. And a little bit of let-go. Play in the rain and enjoy the pigeon poop.  After all, even on the “Worst. 4TH. Of. July. Ever.”  I still have a loving (however misguided, peanut-butter-cookie-buying) husband. Two sweet little, sneezing, stuffy-nosed girls and a house full of teens who can now make a city roof-top or bridge free from the fecal matter of our feathered friends any day of the week (or at least tell you about it). Maybe it’s not in making every day perfect but in finding the perfect in every day.

Hope you have an awesome week! If liked my story I hope you’ll share it with your friends J

The Secret to Success

So today I learned the meaning of the verse “seek First the Kingdom of God and all things will be added unto you”. I was getting the girls down for their second nap and for some reason I actually had energy. It had been a really good day. One of those days that you look back on and are suddenly struck by how everything just worked out. The babies weren’t overly fussy. I organized under my bathroom sink. (Mainly I threw out a bunch of 20 year old make-up. Yes, you read that right. And no, I’m not a hoarder. I just kept thinking one day I would go back and dig all the lipstick out that was below the rim so I could use it. Yes, I really am that cheap. But you know it really was kind of a release to just admit that I won’t ever do that, the lipstick was probably chemically decomposing (or something like that) and just toss the stuff. I digress…) I also hung out with my teens and had no major throw downs with my 14 year old boy. It was a good day. Oh, and as if that weren’t enough. We went to the thrift store on base and I found Sperry’s for $2, an entire set of these really cute glass plates and saucers for 50 and 25 cents each and some clothes. I spent $38 and didn’t buy one thing over $2 just to let you know how much I found. 

So what does all this have to do with the Kingdom of God? Well…everything. This morning I woke up at 4:30am. You read that right. I hated it too. But I felt led to get up and pray. So I drug myself out of bed and knelt down - not because I was pious but this way I could lay my head down and kind of…ahem…sleep while I prayed for a moment. And, eventually got all the way up, drank enough coffee to wake me up from my sleep-induced coma and really got to praying. I spent a quiet time (of sorts) until the girls woke up at 6:30am, telling myself I would nap at my first opportunity. But then I just didn’t need it. I was less stressed, more energetic and a better me. 

It didn’t dawn on me until late in the afternoon as I was reflecting on the day that it just might not be a coincidence. Prior to pregnancy and babies when I used to be a single mom with 5 kids in the house and life was a lot less chaotic (LOL!!!) I would get up really early to pray. My days were better when I did that. I worked full time as a teacher in a junior high and came home to a bunch a dimple-faced darlings but somehow found time to get up and spend time with the Lord. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t stopped praying or reading The Word but often I squeeze it in during the girl’s first nap so I can get a little more shut-eye in the morning. Maybe there really is something to seeking first His Kingdom. 

 

The 10 Most Important Things You will Ever Do

10.  Let go of what you cannot change.

9.     Make a list of the ten things that you want to do most with your life.  Then take a look at your schedule and prioritize.

8.     Schedule fun. Okay, maybe you don’t have to schedule fun but little ole type A me definitely does!

7.     Pray every day that you will be a better parent than the day before.

6.      Think of inconveniences as opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life.

5.     Quit being a perfectionist.  It just drives everyone around you crazy and zaps you of your energy. (Okay, I totally wrote that one for my benefit only being as I'm kind of an ex-perfectionist, repenting of being a perfectionist daily. But I'm getting better at it really...I just need to work a little harder at it :-)

4.     Think carefully before you speak.  Never speak when angry.  (Especially to your kids.)  Go to another room if necessary.

3.     Forgive yourself daily for the mistakes you have made in the past.  When they come to mind dismiss them immediately.  Another name for Satan is the Accuser.  God forgets our sins the moment that we turn from them.

2.     Completely commit your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and turn from any sin in your life.

1.     Encourage everyone you love to completely commit their lives to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and turn from any sin in their lives.  (Don't let a few uncomfortable conversations intimidate you. What could be more important than an eternity with the ones you love in the presence of the Lord.)

For more ideas on how to put first things first check out last week's blog How to Build a Successful...well anything and Fighting Overwhelm

 

 

 

 

 

What's most important to you? Let us know in the comments. Would love to hear from you.

 

The Secret to building a successful ministry, blog, business, you name it

I love to read books, parenting, blogging, ministry, really just about anything. But if you're anything like me, by the time you read the book you have so many ideas that you have no place to start. Personally, I think this feeling of being overwhelmed, having SO much to do and not even knowing where to start is a tool the enemy uses to keep us right where we are. Satan shows us the forest and tells us, "Look at all those trees. There is no way you can chop them all down." Then we stare at that massive forest daunted, sit down, and take a nap. We are exhausted by the mere thought and exhausted by all we cannot possibly do.

God does things a bit differently. He shows us one tree. He says, "Chop this tree down." And when we are finished He shows us the next tree. He says, "Okay now, my child, chop this tree down." And one at a time He helps us clear the path we are supposed to take. We look back and are amazed by all WE have accomplished.

So what does all this talking about trees have to do with ministry or blogs or business or anything else for that matter? It has everything to do with it. When I first felt the call to transform Relentless from a ministry that put on a yearly conference to a community that reached people every day where they were and gave them the tools to equip them to get where they wanted to be, it was daunting. I was overwhelmed. I thought here I am raising twins, raising teenagers, and trying to grow a ministry into a community. But then the Holy Spirit guided me. I felt led to write down three things. When I completed these tasks I wrote down a few more things. One at a time, like the parts of a recipe, the community, the ministry came together.

I learned when I read a book or an article no matter what it's about I take one item and implement it. Just one at a time. Then I bookmark the article to come back to later - once I've completed my one take-away. This way I don't have the sudden compulsion to make an Excel spreadsheet just so I can figure out what to do next. No, just like in the parable, I chop down one tree, one little tree. And once that tree is cut down I turn and chop down the next. Give it a try. In time, you'll look back and there will be the path God has called you to take.

For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to give you hope and a future Jeremiah 29:11. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Posted on May 13, 2017 .

Fighting Overwhelm

You know what I'm talking about. Trying to make that mental checklist of EVERYTHING you have to do... The incredibly long list of tiny errands and chores which seem to add up faster than they should.. then there's that friend (or five) vying for your undivided attention between all of the work, church, (in my case) school, and kid responsibilities. Yeah, I get it. Life is crazy. There is no such thing as a person who doesn't stay busy anymore. Suddenly, around mental item number 35, your to-do list morphs into a carnivorous monster, trying to devour your time, energy, and joy. Forget leaving time to care for your most basic needs... like sanity. 

I am learning as I go that there are several key things to keep in mind when in combat with that oh-so terrifying monster we like to call stress:

One: If wonder woman would shy away from your to-do list... its too much for you! (seeing as you are not wonder woman.) IT'S OKAY TO SAY NO. If you can't possibly fit that extra coffee date, volunteer position, or friendly favor into your schedule.. then DON'T! 

Two: You only have two hands for a reason. You aren't made to do more than one thing at a time. I was recently sitting in my favorite coffee shop, drowning in the sea of things I had to accomplish, when a good friend of mine walked in. I greeted her, and she asked how I was. With the intention to be real with her, I said, "You know, I am kind of stressed. I am making it, though!" She gave me some priceless advice, and I knew I had to share it with you! She told me, "Begin each day by asking the Lord, 'What should I get done today?'" The simplest advice, I know. It made me think, though! He knows me. The Bible says that He knows even the hairs on our heads. So, if He made me and knows everything about me, He will know how much I can handle. Why not ask Him to adjust my to-do list for me? So, ask Him what you need to do for the day. When He gives you a thought of something to accomplish, set aside a certain amount of time and devote every ounce of your attention to it. I mean phone off, TV off, locked door type of fully devoted attention. Or work on it until you complete it before thinking about and moving on to the next thing! 

Three: Take a walk, drink some coffee (or tea, hot cocoa, lemonade.. whatever floats your boat) read a book, paint a picture, take a power nap.. It is scientifically proven that you are more effective when you give yourself space to breathe! (really! google it!) YOU ARE NOT A MACHINE. You were made to BE, not to DO. You will lose yourself in your laundry list of tasks if you do not take time to do the things that make you YOU! Work some "you" time into that busy schedule. Maybe you could forgo that favor your friend just asked of you. Or whatever it is extra that doesn't have to get done. 

Four: Get plenty of rest! You can't possibly function your best if you aren't getting enough sleep at night! If you are in the middle of something when bedtime comes around? Put it down and pick it back up tomorrow when you're fresh and ready to knock it out! 

Five: Think in bits 'n pieces! You wouldn't eat a steak in one bite, so don't try it with your to-do list! This will keep you on track and help you get it done, as well as keeping you from being completely overwhelmed!

xo, Kim

Relentless Creative Director

Posted on May 6, 2017 .

8 Easy Ideas to Connect with your Kids

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Let's get our ducks in a row and start next month off right by having a Family Fun night at least twice a week.  Here’s eight ideas to get you started.  Comment with your ideas so we can add them to the list as well.

1.      Take a picnic lunch to a park along with some basic sports equipment.   Have lunch then spend some time playing in the park.  Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

2.     See if your local movie theater has any specials on the first movie of the day.  In our hometown, they show a previously released movie at 10am for only a dollar per person.

3.     Go to the store and stock up on water balloons.  Divide into teams and let the fun begin.

4.     Be a tourist in your own town.  See if there is a museum, waterpark, amusement park or any other local attractions and plan a day to just have fun.

5.     Have a progressive dinner.  Choose some inexpensive restaurants (fast food dollar menu definitely qualifies) or partner up with a few friends.  Have an appetizer at one location, dinner at the next and desert at the last location.  To add to the surprise, if choosing the restaurant option, have the kids write suggestions on paper and draw from a hat to find out your next location.

6.     Go garage sale shopping.  Give each of the kids five dollars to see what they can find.  Start out early Friday or Saturday morning and come home with all kinds of priceless treasures.

7.     Have a cookie decorating competition.  Roll out some sugar cookie dough (or buy the pre-packaged kind), set out decorating supplies and let the kids make a mess.  Then you can eat some of your creations.  Deliver others to friends and family with thank you notes from the kids describing their appreciation for all they do to help out your family.

8.     Have an old fashioned watermelon seed spitting competition.  Purchase a few watermelons, make some lemonade and invite a few friends over.  Don’t forget to have prizes for the winners.  (candy bars or dollar items from a local store make great prizes)

I am committing to do each of these things this month.  I invite you to join me in making family fun a priority this year.  Don’t forget to comment with your ideas!

Posted on April 29, 2017 .

My 12 Minute Mile

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Yes that's right I really am that out of shape! I've now started jogging prompted mainly out of my own vanity. After delivering the twins I had a lovely mommy tummy and looked about six months pregnant. So, one of the things that my physical therapist suggested was jogging. Now, I've never been much of a runner anyway so the fact that I can run any distance without someone chasing me I find quite impressive (sad I know). And the fact that I can run a whole stinking mile in 12 minutes at almost 40 impresses me more (even sadder). That said, this post isn't about jogging or about my lack of athletic ability. It's about one of the biggest secrets that I found to having a productive, happy, fulfilled life. I think the easiest thing to do and the greatest tool of the enemy is procrastination. We don't tell God "no" we tell Him tomorrow or later or as soon as I finish this.

When I was a kid I would labor over my homework for hours and hours. My mother, an educator, would tell me, "Jill, just put something on the paper and turn it in." She would say, "The teachers probably not even going to grade it anyway so just write something down."

I think that's one of the greatest secrets to life - sometimes we have to just put something on the paper. So whatever it is that the Lord's laid on your heart, whether to start a ministry or climb a mountain or anything else in between, I want to encourage you do a terrible job of it. Fail miserably to start with. Fall on your face 20 times. Run a mile in 12 minutes. But get started. Do something. Just put something on the paper. Because sometimes the greatest victory that we have is simply to start running.

Six Easy Ways to Save Money This Summer

Save a little green (in your wallet) while the grass is green. With summer just around the corner vacations and activities can get expensive!  Here are a few ideas to save some money that won’t cost you any fun.

1.     Purchase sugar, flour, rice and beans in bulk from a large wholesale store.  Store them in new five gallon plastic paint buckets from a hardware store.  Five gallon buckets are typically from $3 to $5 at a hardware store and will keep your dry goods fresh and pest free for long periods of time. 

2.     When cooking prepare double or triple the quantity you need.  Then immediately place the extra food in storage containers and freeze them.  I like to use the aluminum pans from the dollar store.  They come with a lid for easy storage and can be placed directly from the freezer to the oven.  I rewash and reuse the pans to stretch the money I spend as far as possible.

3.     Take kids to local vacation Bible schools.  They are a free alternative to more costly day camps that kids attend.

4.     Instead of renting movies trade videos you already have with a friend.  (Just be prepared to replace any videos that get lost or scratched.)  Most libraries also have a good selection of DVDs to check out for free.  But beware, unlike your friends, they charge late fees.

5.     Instead of paying for babysitting, partner up with a friend and trade off.  Schedule this several times a month so that you have a day of rest.

6.     Shop garage sales.  I have saved a small fortune from shopping garage sales.  Church sales and school sales often have a huge selection and you get the added bonus of helping someone out.

Comment with your ideas.  I can always stand to save a little green myself!

Posted on April 8, 2017 .

Ten Simple Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them

 Photo by Tom Vogt

Photo by Tom Vogt

The moment that we sign up to be parents we commit to love our children – we commit to this both when they are the sweet dimple faced darlings that we know they can be and when they are… well…not.  Those are the times when it’s good to have a few ideas tucked away as a helpful reminder that this is a marathon – not a sprint.  It is about crossing the finish line as a team not climbing every mountain in unison.  With that in mind, let us aspire to show our children daily that we love them.  This does not mean that we always agree with them or enjoy them.  It does not mean that we are their friend.  It means that we are relentlessly and irrevocably committed to their future and well-being.  We are an immovable force, separated only by death, and bound by sheer determination and the will of Almighty God to stand firm in our resolve.

1.     Spend time with your children.  Plan activities other than watching TV together.  Go to museums, the park, play board games and “vacation” when you’re right at home. 

2.     Cook meals often.  Have dinner together as a family complete with desert.  (which is, after all, the most important part of the meal)  Good home-cooked food can truly evoke a feeling of fellowship and comfort after a long day.

3.     Write small notes (cards or sticky notes) of encouragement for your kids.  Leave them around the house in common areas.  Remember, “A gentle words turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV) 

4.     Give your children small, simple gifts to show them that you care.  Do this not because it is a birthday or holiday, but just to show that you care.

5.     Listen to your children.  Simply stated be, “Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19 NIV)

6.     Never discipline your children while you’re angry.  (Trust me; I struggle with this as much as the next person.)  How easy it is to become so consumed with our own feelings that we forget it is a marathon not a sprint and we must be the one to set the pace.  This does not mean that we neglect to discipline our children – only that we do so out of love and not to indulge our own feelings of anger.

7.     Pray for your children.  Pray Bible verses over your children.  Tap into the power of the Almighty Father.  “Seek and you shall find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NIV)  There comes a time when the door is too heavy and great a burden for our own strength.  It is then that we must remember to knock.

 Photo by Guillermo Ossa

Photo by Guillermo Ossa

Posted on April 1, 2017 .

Strawberry Lavender Lemonade [The Broken Bread]

Kids are getting out of school, college students are taking finals, things are starting to grow... summer is right around the corner!!!

Here is a wonderful seasonal recipe from one of the neatest websites out there!

the-broken-bread.com has a wealth of seasonal recipes (for every season) from an amazing blogger, chef, and believer named Kristan. If you have not heard of her, you need to check out her website and follow her on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook!!!

Here is her post from June 26 with a recipe for Strawberry Lavender Lemonade. (YES please)

STRAWBERRY LAVENDER LEMONADE

JUNE 26

It is finally starting to feel like summer in Seattle, and I couldn’t be happier. This city truly comes alive when the sun is out. Parks, look-out points, farmer’s markets, basically any type of activity that you could think of is filled with people who are out appreciating the glorious weather that has fallen upon Seattle. I had completely forgotten that the sun does not set until 9 or so, which means that we have the opportunity for a lot more sun!

 Image belongs to the broken bread

Image belongs to the broken bread


I purchased a fresh bundle of lavender last week, and I kept thinking that I wanted to incorporate this tender flower into some type of drink. I proceeded to search around my kitchen and realized that I had some strawberries that needed to be used, so I decided that a refreshing strawberry lemonade would be the perfect companion for the aromatic lavender that I had on hand. Lemonade is the perfect summertime refreshments to have on hand, and it only takes about 20 minutes to make.

For this recipe,You will need:

STRAWBERRY LAVENDER LEMONADE

Yields 5 Cups ~

· 3/4 Cup Fresh Strawberry puree, plus a few extra for garnish

· 6 Tablespoons  Honey, or about 5 Tablespoons Sugar

· 3 Tablespoons Dried Lavender

· 3/4 Cup of Lemon Juice ~ about 7 lemons

· 5 Cups of Water


Equipment: Large Saucepan, Food Processor/ Blender, Fine Mesh Sieve,

Mix water and honey into a sauce pan and bring to a boil, and stir until the honey dissolves.

Once the water is boiling add in 3 tablespoons of dried lavender and remove from heat.

With the lid on, let the lavender steep for about 10-12 minutes.

While the lavender is steeping, place strawberries in a food processor/blender and puree till smooth.

Combine the lemon juice and strawberry puree into pitcher.

Pour hot water through a mesh strainer into the strawberry and lemon mixture.

Let lemonade chill for up to 2 hours before serving, or until cold. If the lemonade seems a bit tart, simply add a bit more sweetener to mellow it out.

Optional: Dice up a few strawberries and place a small amount in each glass before serving.

- See more at: http://the-broken-bread.com/2013/06/strawberry-lavender-lemonade/#sthash.0aj1oLg4.dpuf

[all content of this recipe and post belongs to the broken bread. Relentless takes no credit for it!]

Posted on May 14, 2015 .

Brave&Love Banana Pancakes

Braveandlove is a blog written by Christy Johnson, who is the wife of a young pastor in Los Angeles! They felt the Lord calling them to start a church, and it has been incredible to follow along (borderline obsessively listening to their podcasts... no shame) as He has guided their steps the whole way. 
Christy's blog is full of so much goodness. Everything from her recipes, stories from her family's journey of learning how to be fearless, to her clothing line, seeps excellence in every way. I am continually encouraged by them, and I hope you are encouraged by this story from her blog as well! 

Kim

Relentless Creative Director

Banana Pancakes

My family and I are uhhhhbsessed with these pancakes! I top them with some bananas and blueberries with some Maple syrup and they are to die for! Hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1 c flour

1 tbsp white sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg beaten

1 c milk

2 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil

2 ripe bananas mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil, bananas and vanilla.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over med-high heat.  

Top with butter, fruit of choice, and syrup - YUM!


Posted on April 17, 2015 .