Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Perfect For You

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not: but remember that what you now have was once among the things you hoped for." 

                                                              My Perfect Match

You ever have those days where you wish you social media never existed?  Where everytime you log onto Facebook, the first ten posts are people celebrating what you wish you had?   Or you see people making great announcements on Twitter?  Well, today (actually all of February) has been one of those days (months) for me.  No exageration here, every day I have looked at my Facebook account this month, someone else has found out they are pregnant and someone else has just had a baby.  And by someone, I mean lots of people.  Literally, every. single. day. it seems like I've had a constant reminder that I am not pregnant, or we do not have children yet.

Last week Brian knew I was feeling this way.  We both deal with this reality in our own way and help the other one with it.  Brian told me to go read a blog post that our pastor, Steven Furtick, had recently made called "Perfect For You".  The post starts out by saying, "Everyone desires to be in God’s will. But God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will might not look the way you think it should."  How true is this?  The life I had invisioned for myself is vastly different from where I am today.  However, I would not change what I had today at all.

If I had the life I had dreamed of, by now I'd have 2 kids and a house.  Brian wouldn't be about to finish school and embarking on a new and exciting career.  I wouldn't have the great job that I have now.  We would not be living in North Carolina.  We would not be able to travel as easily and go see our families and friends.  We wouldn't have the things that God knows we needed, we would have only had the things that I thought were right for us. 

"God’s will doesn’t have to be perfect to me to be perfect for me."  That's another part of the blog.  I don't know when we'll have children, where Brian will be working, when we will get our first home.  But I do know that the man He chose for me is perfect for me.  The friends He placed in our lives are perfect for us.  The families we were placed into are perfect for us.  The lives we have now, are perfect for us.  If I had done what I wanted to do, I wouldn't be where I am today.  Who knows where I'd be.  What I do know is that life's pretty darn good right now, and the best is still on it's way. 

Here's a link to our pastor's blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Lately I've been addicted to Pinterest.  I've been on the hunt for new recipes, crafts to make and ideas for our future home among many other things.  While searching for a new recipe, I came across the site for Better Homes and Gardens and some of their casserole dishes.  This one definitely intrigued me!  I did make a few changes to it, but I'll include the link to the original recipe at the bottom.  Hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did! 

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
Salt and ground black pepper
tablespoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
16 ounces penne pasta
2 teaspoons minced garlic
tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups skim milk
2 1/2 cups of a mix of shredded cheddar, mozzarella and colby jack cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese 
3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet cook chicken, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in hot oil over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.  **We used grapeseed oil that my friend, Teresa, sells from Wildtree. It's a great company that sells all natural food, containing no additives, preservatives, MSG or food dyes. We've used a lot more of their products and have always liked them.**

2. In a large pot cook pasta according to package directions until just tender. Drain and return pasta to pot.

3. In the same skillet you prepared the chicken in, cook garlic in 3 tablespoons hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour until well combined then add milk. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly; reduce heat. Add the shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is almost melted. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sauce and chicken to cooked pasta in pot; stir to coat.
Spray a casserole dish with non stick cooking spray and spoon mixture into the dish.

4.  In a small bowl stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and 3 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle crumb mixture over pasta mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until crumb mixture is golden and edges are bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

We prepared roasted broccoli with the dish and sliced tomatoes.  Brian said it was a hit and took it for lunch at school today. Here is the link to the original recipe

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We're Finally Home

Brian and I have grown up with the understanding that your home is where your church is. While growing up, both of our families chose where to live in Atlanta based on the churches we were called to attend. Our faith and being active in church has always been a huge part of our lives.

After moving here in May 2010, we started going to a church that was about an hour away from us. The services were good and it was connected to our church back in Atlanta. However, with his school and work schedule, it wasn't a great fit. So after about 6 months, we switched churches and tried out on about 5 minutes from our house. This church was good, but we still felt like something was missing.

Three weeks ago, Brian said he'd like to go to a service of a church we had both heard about in the Charlotte area. We hadn't heard a lot about them, just about their name. So, we did some research online and decided to try it out the next day.

After the first song, I felt like we were home. The people were so welcoming, the music was incredible and the sermon was unforgettable. We both still remember the verses that the pastor spoke about. On our car ride home, we were both so excited! We couldn't stop talking about the sermon, the people, the music, the church's involvement in the community, the married couples group we had just signed up for.

Brian then told me that he had been thinking that after he finishes school he was thinking we should move back to Atlanta. He said that was because we had not been able to find a church here we felt called to go to and that was too important not to have here. However, after leaving that service and learning about that church, he knew God was telling us to stay here and get involved here.

Since our first time going, we've joined a Bible study group, volunteered in Love Week (where over 50,000 hours were served in Charlotte to local organizations that needed assistance) and have taken friends there with us. More are coming the next time we go. We have to miss this weekend because we will be out of town and we are bummed about that.

While the other churches are all wonderful churches and we have friends that go to both, this was the right church for us. That's what I think is important; to find the church that has the same values you do, that challenges and encourages you to grow in your walk with God and one where you can get plugged into and become a part of it.

After searching for almost 20 months, it feels so comforting to know we have a church here we can call home.

Our New Church