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January 2013

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The Conversion of St. Paul

January 27, 2013

Conversion-of-St-Paul

We celebrated the Conversion of Saint Paul on Friday. As I prayed about this, something interesting struck me. We were celebrating his conversion. It wasn’t the feast day of St. Paul (June 29 – Feast of Saints Peter and Paul), it was the feast day of his conversion. Just his conversion. Not the day we commemorate his ship wreck in Malta (Feb 10) or the dedication of his Basilica in Rome (November 18). Friday was just about his conversion. And what a conversion it was! On his way to round up some Christians to take them to be tortured and killed, he is knocked off his horse by a bright light and Jesus asks him to stop persecuting him. He is struck blind by the light and later regains is sight when meeting up with a Christian later.

I might be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure Paul’s is the only conversion we celebrate with its own feast day. I was trying to think why that’s the case. Perhaps it’s because there is so much for us to gain by reflecting on Paul’s conversion. It is not just a great story; it’s an opportunity for hope. If Paul, one of the meanest, baddest, persecutors of the Church can be radically transformed into one of her biggest evangelists, there’s certainly hope for me, for all of us. Paul persecuted Jesus by rounding up his followers to be killed. We persecute Jesus by turning away from him and going down our own road when we sin. If Paul can be transformed, certainly so can I.

And what was it that transformed Paul? What changed him from a man with a zealous faith that motivated him to ride around persecuting Christians to a man with a zealous faith that motivated him to travel the earth as he knew it spreading the Gospel? A flash of bright light? A desire to stop riding horses and start sailing in ships? No, it was an encounter with Jesus. It wasn’t knowledge of Jesus, not hearing about him, for certainly Paul had heard all about Jesus, he knew his claims to be the Son of God, the Messiah. He met Jesus, and his life was changed forever. He met Jesus, and our lives were changed forever.

After having this personal encounter with Jesus, Paul didn’t just stop killing Christians, he traveled the world preaching Jesus and converting multitudes to Christianity. Tons of the New Testament was written by Paul, without his letters, where would our faith be today?

This Feast of Paul’s Conversion reminds us of the transformative power of a personal encounter and relationship with Jesus. If we open ourselves to that relationship. If we really let our relationship with Jesus sink deep into our hearts, it will not only change our lives, but the lives of others.

 

Intentional Living, Marriage

Want to Cook Healthy Meals and Save Money?

January 23, 2013

Have I got a treat for YOU!

A year ago when I got married, I knew how to cook like three things. One of them being a grilled cheese sandwhich. Trust me, it was delicious. I  quickly learned that although I was content eating the same meal all the time for years on end, my husband was not as thrilled. But the reasons I cooked the same thing all the time were good ones!

1) Lack of Knowledge. I didn’t know how to cook and didn’t own a cook book.

2) Economics. I thought it was economical to eat the same cheap things all the time and food never got wasted.

3) It was easy! I was super busy and honestly didn’t have time to cook gourmet meals everyday of the week let alone shop for a variety of ingredients to make those meals.

All my reasons, though good, seemed lame after a while. Most people knew how to cook SOMETHING. There ought to be some program out there that will work for me….right? I tried Allrecipes.com, which was nice but I felt pressure to look up and organize 10 recipes for the week, compile a grocery list, and then head to the store after being wiped out by my prep work. Plus half the recipes get changed and don’t turn out all that consistently anyway. I tried Food Network’s website and was making Emeril dishes…that cost an arm and a leg to make plus 4 hours of my night to cook. We tried frozen bag meals for a week, which was easy, but I didn’t feel great about all the processed food and sodium. I tried cookbooks but I ended up destroying them quickly with flour, wine, oil, butter, water, garlic, you name it…somehow every ingredient ended up getting on the pages and warping them.

Then I was listening to my favorite financial guru, Dave Ramsey, one afternoon and found eMeals.com and my entire life was all better! Not really my whole life, but it did take care of my kitchen, cooking, and budget woes with food though!

Look at what this FABULOUS website pulls together for you!

how it works

So this website would allow me to pick my healthy eating habits, sync up with local sales in my area, plan my meals and organize my shopping list by aisle, save me money, prevent waste, provide me with preparation and cooking instructions and all I had to do was PRINT? Yes please! Check out the plans!

the meal plans

Jonathan and I have been using eMeals for a few months now. We’ve experimented with the Paleo and Clean Eating plans. They have been phenomenal for us! I have found the recipes to be incredibly user friendly but also QUICK. I spend maybe 20-30 minutes cooking at the max, which is all I can really afford working full-time right now. God-willing I am a mother some day and stay home with my kiddos, I doubt I will have much more time to cook anyway!

I have cooked things I would NEVER have even purchased before, like parsnips, beets, quinoa, and salmon among so many other ingredients I was afraid of. There are plenty of “normal” ingredients included too but some plans are more exotic than others! Now I shop with confidence, knowing that eMeals will help me prepare delicious meals. I receive my meal plan in my inbox once a week. I click print, head to the store, and pick up my items that are organized by “produce” or “dairy” so I am not running from one side of the store to another and then back chasing forgotten items. I love how smart eMeals are. Ex: If I need half a cabbage in some recipe, it will automatically give me another recipe to use the other half so I don’t have any food go to waste!

It’s less than $5 a month to use eMeals but for that what do I save?????

1) Time – I never have to menu plan anymore or write up a grocery list. I also shop more efficiently. Hello 2-3 extra hours a week! 🙂

2) Money – I am not wasting food anymore. With a few eMeals plans it actually syncs up with local SALES in your area! I also have found that when Jonathan and I aimlessly bought food for the week, we spent about $75/week for the two of us. Using eMeals it’s been more like $60/week for groceries. That’s significant for us.

3) Health – Since being on the Paleo and Clean Eating plans, we have felt awesome! We’ve eaten so many veggies and since unhealthy items aren’t even on the shopping list, they aren’t in our house!

4) Energy – I am actually enjoying cooking more but still like keeping it to a minimum. eMeals thinks for me and all I have to do is follow the recipe, which is typically very simple and easy. I get a meal on the table in no time these days and it gives me more time to focus on activities that bring me energy, like reading or exercising. I am not trapped in the kitchen for 2 hours every night.

I don’t even know how to put a price tag all of those things but I am 100% sure it’s more than $5 a month. Below are sample photos of my weekly grocery list and menu.

sample ingredient

sample plan

When I love things, I feel the need to share them. So that is why I have written this post. I hope it will come as a blessing to all who read it! Happy Cooking!Click on the picture below to visit eMeals!

Just as we are affiliates with Amazon.com, we are also with eMeals, so if you end up wanting to use them, be sure to come back to this post and access their website by clicking on our links!