Monthly Archives: March 2014

Better Health & Kickin’ Salsa Chicken Soup Recipe

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“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
” I Corinthians 6: 19-20

About six years ago, my husband went to the doctor with a sinus infection and called me at work to tell me that he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. The doctor was very concerned as Chris’s blood pressure readings were “stroke level high.” The doctor went so far as to give Chris blood pressure medication in the office rather than sending him home with just a prescription. Chris had to come back in two weeks to see if the medication was working and to discuss other matters. Other matters turned out to be a series of every available heart test. Since Chris was in his early 30’s, it was determined that there may be extenuating conditions that might need treated.

Initially, I was very concerned about this health development. I took vacation days and went to every doctor’s appointment. Finally, after several months of testing and appointments the doctor told us that Chris’s high blood pressure was probably hereditary and that we would just have to keep trying medications and dosages until it was under control.

I did a little research and discovered that almost 33% of American adults had high blood pressure. In fact, many relatives in our immediate families had high blood pressure. We decided that this wasn’t the end of the world and pretty much ignored it. Chris continued to take medication and go to checkups every six months. Each checkup the doctor said the same thing, “It’s still a little higher than I’d like it to be.” And each checkup he either increased the milligrams of Chris’s medication or added another pill altogether.

Life went on, yet Chris had a persistent cough and often complained of dizziness and fatigue. A little more research told me these were the most common side effects of his blood pressure medications. Chris said he would just go off the pills and yet our concern was that his blood pressure was still well over the recommended 120/80.

After more research, we decided to change. We had had enough. It was time to address our diet, our lack of exercise, our general health. We started walking every day. We cut out red meats, processed foods, and pop. We didn’t mention our changes at the January doctor appointment in 2013, but by July 2013 the doctor had noticed significant improvement. For the first time in five years, he cut out pills and reduced milligrams. He changed Chris’s checkup schedule from six months to a year and he told us to keep up the good work.

Well, it’s been 15 months and we’re still on track. We’re eating healthier, exercising more, and feeling better. We now see our bodies as the temple of God and we’re determined to take care of them. As a cook whose whole philosophy was everything tastes better with butter or sugar, I’m learning a lot. Some days are easier than others but we know we’re doing the right thing.

In pursuit of better health, we’ve had to make some new recipes. This is one we really like, so I hope you do too!

Kickin’ Salsa Chicken Soup

Minutes to Prepare & Cook: 30
Number of Servings: 6

Ingredients:
1 lb free range chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper chopped (leave seeds in for more heat, remove seeds for less heat)
5 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14.6 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes (with jalapenos for more heat, regular for less heat)
1 quart low-sodium, organic chicken stock
1/4 cup cilantro
juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked brown rice

Directions:
1) Start rice (as directed on packaging).
2) Chop onions and garlic.
3) Heat oil, garlic, and onion on medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes or until starting to get some color.
4) While cooking onions/garlic, chop chicken.
5) Add chicken and cumin and cook five minutes.
6) Add chicken broth, cilantro, spinach, jalapenos and tomatoes. Raise heat to medium-high and simmer for 10 minutes.
7) Remove from heat and add lime juice and rice. Stir well.

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Health information: (based on actual products I used and for 1 of 6 servings)
Calories: 204
Fat (g): 4
Cholesterol (mg): 47
Sodium (mg): 383
Potassium (mg): 332
Carbohydrates (g): 21
Sugars (g): 2
Protein (g): 21
Vitamin A: 80%
Vitamin C: 37%
Calcium: 7%
Iron: 15%

My Shot at the Title “Wife of the Year”

gracepicI can do it myself. I don’t need a man to do it for me. I can change the light bulbs in the bedroom ceiling dome (10 foot ceilings) and give it a good cleaning too! I can be wife of the year!

Smugly, I retrieved what I would need: two light bulbs, the rubber jar lid remover since Chris would have things screwed too tightly, a bottle of cleaner and a dust rag. Armed and ready to turn darkness to light, I mounted the bed and approached the light fixture. Grossed out by the amount of dirt in the light fixture, I decided it should be taken to the bathroom for its cleaning. My ego deflated just a little bit. It wasn’t exactly my fault. After all, it’s really high, HE changes the bulbs normally, and HE has never mentioned or given it to me to clean… It’s sort of HIS fault, right?

As I turned to climb down, the vision of the coveted title disappeared completely. Gone like the surface of my once hard-wood canopy top, which was now buried under a minimum of two inches of dust. Why had it never occurred to me in the 7 years since we got this bed that I would need to clean the top too?

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) These words ring true, and I had definitely fallen from the pedestal I had so carefully climbed.

Humbly, I cleaned the light dome, changed the bulbs, and then dusted the entire bed. When Chris came home, I didn’t gloat over my victory. He praised and stroked my ego, but I didn’t take the bait. “When I was up there I found two inches of dust around the top of the bed. I’ve never thought to clean it,” I blurted out. Chris grinned, “Gross, huh? Did you see the cob web stretching from the dome to the bed?”

Dumbfounded I realized he had known of this domestic failure all along, but he’d given me a gift. It’s called grace and my husband had been extending it to me all these years without me even knowing it. The next time I want to gripe because he forgot to clean out the cat litter or carry out the trash, I pray I remember my failures and offer grace. May I remember to serve with love rather than reproach, forgiving his flaws and accepting him for the man he is—gracious, kind, and understanding.

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” I Peter 4:10

Toiletries: How Many Is TOO Many?

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As I’ve mentioned a time or two, I am not naturally an organized person, yet I find that to live in God’s plan for my life I must live organized. I need to be able to find what I’m looking for without losing half an hour searching for it. I need to know what we have on hand so I don’t waste money buying unnecessary duplicates. My family needs to know where things are (and where to put them back) without going into meltdowns over missing or lost items. I need to be able to welcome unannounced guests into my home so that they can feel the peace and joy God grants to His people.

To accomplish these goals, I find that a few less items help considerably. I would love to tackle the whole bathroom, but limited time means focusing efforts on just one are, the toiletries bins in my bathroom. The shampoo, lotions, etc. basket has filled up, spilled over, and has now taken over several shelf areas that don’t belong to them. I carved out apx. 30 minutes to tackle this area. (Had I not been documenting this process with my camera, I feel certain it could have been done in a 15 minute window.)

When cleaning or organizing something, I always follow the same simple process. If you are doing it with me, you will need a small trash bag and 2 boxes or baskets. The boxes are 1) for donations and 2) for items that don’t belong in the area I’m cleaning out.

1) Collect & Sort: Start by gathering up all the shampoos, lotions, body washes, etc and the overflow items that have spilled into other areas. Once you have everything in one place, then sort all items into stacks of like items. All shampoos together, all lotions together, all body washes, etc. You get the idea. Once your piles are made, you will have a better understanding of what you have.

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2) Trash: Go through and toss out all the empty bottles. Who puts empty bottles back in the closet? Our family does! With those out of the way, look for any old, discolored items. If an item has had enough time to age and discolor, you obviously don’t use it, so trash it. Finally, look for doubles that could be combined. After pouring the smaller portions into the bigger bottles,  throw out the now empty bottles.

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3) Give Away: Next think about what you don’t use anymore. Some are easy choices, but others require a little more thought. Since we make our own shampoo now, I placed all shampoo bottles into the giveaway box. Next, look at the doubles. Will you ever use 10+ bottles of scented lotion? Do you even like all the scents you have? Quickly move anything you don’t use, love or need into the give away box.

4) Put Away Somewhere Else: Take the 2nd box, the items that didn’t belong in the toiletries baskets (or in the bathroom even) and returned them to their proper homes throughout the rest of the house.

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5) Put Back: Arrange the items that you are keeping in one nice basket (not two).

6) Label & Address New Needs: While cleaning out this area, I found a few items that I realized we didn’t really have a designated place for in our home. These items are outdoor bug spray and sun tan lotion. I’m extremely fair and burn very easily. Similarly, I’m very sensitive to bug bites and am allergic to many types (mosquitos, spiders, bee stings). I need these items where I can find them and also where I can reach them in a hurry, so I corralled them in a pretty bowl. Before placing everything back on the bathroom shelf, I labeled my toiletries basket and my outdoor items bowl.

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Now that our bathroom is a little less crowded (34 items less crowded actually), we won’t have to worry about buying duplicates, searching for items, or not knowing where to put something back (thus, creating a mess somewhere else).  “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

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Cleaning the Fridge

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“She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.” – Proverbs 31:15

We’ve all heard it said that “the kitchen is the heart of the home.” Well I like to take that quote a step further and then say “Meal time is the pulse of the family.” In our house, we eat most of our meals together at an old fashioned table. It’s where we catch up on each other’s lives, where we air frustrations and problems and where we rejoice over triumphs. But in order for us to make it to the table, I have to cook, and for me to cook, I must start with finding the right ingredients. For me, one big deterrent to cooking a family meal is a cluttered, messy refrigerator.

Today, I want to post a quick tutorial on how to clean out the fridge. I like to think about this space as just another closet. I use bins, a lazy susan, and even a big bowl to organize this space.

1) Collect & Sort: Start by removing everything from the fridge and placing on a nearby counter. As I’m pulling the items out, I quickly sort them into categories of like items.

2) Trash: Go through each section and check dates, tossing out anything that is out of date. I also think about whether we liked the item and would eat it again. It really doesn’t matter if an item is still in date if we didn’t like it and aren’t going to eat it again. Throw the undesirables away (or text someone you know who will eat them and will come get them right now). While I’m evaluating each item, I like to wipe down the ones I’m going to keep with a vinegar/water mix.

3) Clean: While everything is out of the fridge, you can either remove drawers and shelves to wash in the sink/dishwasher or you can wipe down the surfaces with vinegar and warm water mix.  Be sure to clean the ceiling, walls and floor of the fridge as well.

4) Put back: As I put things back in the fridge, I corral like items in baskets and place jars on a lazy susan. I leave a space in the fridge specifically for left overs.

Voilà! Looking good and I know just what to serve for our next meal!

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Welcome!

Hi I’m Heidi Lynn! Welcome to Chronicles of a New Creation where I love to talk about CHANGE!!!

Not too far in my recent past, I was a woman ashamed. I would hear the doorbell ring and grab stacks of dirty dishes to stuff in the oven. I would re-wash a minimum of two loads of laundry a week because clothes were left sitting too long in the washer or dryer and had begun to stink or had become hopelessly wrinkled. I would re-buy food, cleaning, even gift-wrapping supplies because mine were nowhere to be found when I needed them. Don’t get me started on how many times I lost my keys, phone, purse, shoes, anything, everything! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t catch up and I couldn’t get my life together. I didn’t have time for the people in my life or time to do the things that really mattered to me. Yet this is not my life anymore! Through the grace of God, I have become a new creation.

My prayer is that God will use my struggles and a few of my victories to bless you and help you change some of the more stressful areas of your life. When you are overwhelmed and struggling, you cannot be the wife, mother, support, or witness that God called you to be.

Through the blog part of this website, I talk about organization for our homes, hearts, health, relationships, and more. Additionally, I offer training seminars to church women’s groups and conferences to help women gain control of their household tasks and the things in our lives. Finally, I offer one-on-one services to women within a 100-mile radius of zip code 47012 to personally teach women how to get organized. Whether its cleaning out a closet, setting up a functional kitchen, or tackling an entire household, I am here for you! Please see my page Helping You to understand my services more fully.

I reach out to women to help you get control of your life, but more importantly, I challenge you to keep God in the center of your change to becoming a new creation!!

 

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