Bi-Weekly Meal Plan for March 1–14

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Welcome to The Better Mom Whole Food Meal Plan.

These easy & Healthy turkey breakfast sausage patties not only make a delicious breakfast but are also great for dinner too!

These easy & Healthy turkey breakfast sausage patties not only make a delicious breakfast but are also great for dinner too!

Our free bi-weekly GF menus open into a convenient pdf that includes links to each of the gluten-free recipes featured making it easy to access them with just a simple click.

Once you click on the graphics below, you can easily save these gluten-free menus to your computer for easy access anytime you need them. Then, simply click on the links within the meal plan pdf to gain instant access to each of the recipes. (Please note: Many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf document. So be sure to save the meal plans to your computer first.)

March 1–7 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for March 1–7: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

March 8–14 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for March 8–14: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

In addition to the gluten-free meal plans above, we're pleased to provide you with a free meal planning template perfect for creating your own custom meal plans:
• Meal plan template PDF 

To learn more about meal planning, please check out my FREE Video Course: Mastering Meal Planning. My hope is that this will be a great resource and encouragement for you whether you’re just getting started with meal planning, or are a seasoned expert.

Always a treat to share healthy meals with you! Let’s give thanks to the Lord for providing us the opportunity to nourish our families in this way!

Joyfully Serving HIM, Kelly at The Nourishing Home

Kelly Smith

Kelly loves the Lord, her family, and sharing her passion for gluten-free, grain-free cooking and meal planning with others. She is a full-time homemaker who loves spending time with her awesome hubby and two sweet boys. Kelly's whole food, gluten-free journey began six years ago when she was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disorder. Since then, the Lord has blessed her with an amazing recovery - a testament to His grace and the health benefits of eating whole foods. Kelly shares her knowledge and love for whole food cooking at The Nourishing Home.

Why Loving Your Husband Makes You a Better Mom

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How can you shine beauty on God's design for marriage and family in your children's lives? It may be as simple as loving your husband well.

I've learned over the last 15 years of marriage that loving my husband has made me a better mom. It wasn't until after we had our first child and she began to mimic me that I began to understand this to be true. Now, nearly 14 years after her birth, I have watched our baby girl grow up and become a wonderful young lady. I have also realized that some of her character traits have been influenced directly by the way she sees me love my husband.

Now with three precious children in our home, God has given me the privilege to see just how much His design of marriage influences families for His glory. I watch as our children pick up so many things from my husband and I -- the good and the bad. Today I want to share with you three positive traits that I see my children posses because of the love my husband and I share.

Compassion

I can honestly say that my husband and I try our very best to display great compassion toward one another. Simply because God has show us such great compassion, we believe that we are to honor Christ by showing others around us compassion, especially our spouse and children. I have watched how our children have grown to have great compassion for one another as well as those outside of our family, and know that this filters down from my marriage.

I am so thankful that God has given my husband and I the strength to model His compassion much of the time in our home. While we are not perfect, I know that our children do see more compassion than not. I do my best to model the compassion of Christ toward my husband when the opportunity presents itself.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is such a big part of a successful marriage. The Bible tells us in Mark 10:8 about marriage that "the two will become one flesh". Part of the process of becoming one with our spouse involves a lot of forgiveness because of the sinful nature of our flesh. While Christ died so that we might be forgiven, we still have to choose to forgive one another when we are hurt or offended. While this isn't always easy, I work very hard to walk in forgiveness. I see how our children also are quick to forgive one another because of the way my husband I quickly forgive each other. It is such a beautiful thing to see because we know that without Christ at the center, none of us would be forgiven, let alone forgive others. And this, my friends makes me continue to work hard at being a better mom as I know they are watching my every move.

The Action of Love

One thing that my husband and I promised one another from the start of our courting relationship was that we'd both try our very best to be "love in action". We were not interested in just "saying" I love you as that is easy and many people do that. We were committed (and still are today) to let the actions we make every day speak the volumes of love we have for one another and those around us. And God has definitely shown us that He is at work in our hearts because of the fruit of love in our actions.

I will never forget the first time our daughter told me that she wanted to marry a man just like her daddy. I asked her why she wanted to marry someone like her father and I will always remember her response: because daddy always shows you how much he loves you by the way he acts towards you. And she's right -- he does. The action of love has proven to be a huge success in our home. And I believe as long as we continue to submit our hearts to Jesus, it always will be.

How does loving your husband make you a better mom? I'd love to hear about it!

xoxo,
Carlie K.

ManagingYourBlessings.com
TodaysFrugalMom.com
 

 

 

Holding Fast in the Storms of Life

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A beautiful life is not one without dark seasons, but rather, one that presses on through difficulty. How will you choose to live?

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."

Galatians 6:9

Sitting in the dark shadows of my small cozy library as the sun went behind the mountain, found me and one of my older children talking quietly of struggles, challenges, battles of life, and long term endurance. The deep friendship, shaped over years of shared life, had knit our souls quite together.

I wasn't expecting this moment to be a memorable one. Just a normal moment in the dusk of day, that shaped a soul-satisfying memory.

"Mama," my grown child tenderly whispered, "One of the greatest things you have ever accomplished is to keep our family together through love, faith, laying down your own life, and enduring with as much grace as Jesus could give you, so that our lives could be whole, healthy and strong. I know that only God will know the ways you have chosen to give and serve and forgive,  when you had to make the choices to do so. But all of us kids have benefitted because you were willing to weather the storms of life for us and hold us together."

Sometimes, I think mamas hold the whole world together. Their work is that important.

Much of our lives as a family has been a battle through raging storms.

But, there are some amazing graces on this side of motherhood, when my four children have reached adulthood---I don't have to go back through any of the storms we barely weathered and much of my labor is behind me. And from all of it, I see four healthy, strong, vibrant young adults who are also my beloved friends.

Life is a journey from our present lives,  to the future home Jesus is preparing for us to live in, with Him, for all eternity. Our own lives are filled with storms and gales and the blowing winds of a fallen world. Many times, unexpected gales of life threaten to undo us and overcome us. I hardly know of a family who isn't suffering through some sort of illness, loss of job, relationship heartbreak, conflict and difficulties.

An illusion that some people have about our family is that it has ever been easy for us to hold fast to ideals. Through 17 moves (5 international); clinical asthma with three of my children; adhd and ocd to extremes in two children; illnesses, financial issues, church splits, rejection from family members for ideals--so many storms that I was never trained for or ready to live through. Then there were the fusses, messes, long hours and no support systems.And then the weird children and unusual parents--we are all a study in contrasts and misfits.

All family travel into the eyes of life-storms. It is not an evidence of a bad family, it is the reality of a fallen world, with rebellion and fallenness evident with every dark cloud.

And yet, wanting to love God and serve Him through it all, was the glue that held me, us, our own family, together when life threatened to tear all of us apart.

It is not the grand, noble accomplishments that are the most profoundly valuable to God. It is the unnoticed, the invisible practicing of being faithful, courageous when no one else is looking, that become the jewels of our faith in the eyes of God.

Accepting a loud, boisterous child and seeking to be patient and gentle over and over again, when feelings threatened to erupt into frustration and anger.

Working beyond exhaustion and getting up in the middle of the night, again, for a sick child, when there was no one to help or anyone to be a friend, through all of the moves and loneliness.

Enduring by choice the heavy burdens of the tests of marriage.

Cleaning up messes one more time. Making one more homemade meal and drawing the family circle together to celebrate life, reflecting the real vibrant life of God, when a nap or getting far away seemed more desirable. Having one more devotional in the midst of wiggly, distracted children and believing that somehow eternity was entering their hearts.

These, and more, are the noble and valiant, priceless works of motherhood. The unseen heroism that captains a ship successfully through the dark storms of life--bringing hope, and security to the lives of those making the journey--courage and strength in the face of storms is the choice that a mom makes which deeply touches the soul and heart of the child being guided and sheltered through the storms.

I can see this now in the lives of my children. When I would worry that the instability of our family life would ruin them, or my flaws would harm them, the Holy Spirit was making them strong, showing them how to exercise muscles of faith in dark situations.

The words and heart of my child was salve to my soul--it all mattered, each day, each moment of faith, each decision to keep loving and giving against all force of selfishness. Somehow, God took the sacrifice of my fish and loaves and made it enough.

And the words of an adult child, returned home, became the voice of God, encouraging--

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. Hebrews 6:10

And so, somehow, many failures forgotten and discouraging moments lived through, the Life of God and the strength He gave in the face of strong winds of temptation and fear with faith lived out, became in my child, a strong work of heart that gave foundations of faith.

For it was the storms of life that prepared my children to be strong for their lives and gave them a pattern of learning how to ford the rough waters that their own lives would hold.

Take courage today, sweet, tired, mama. Your labor is not in vain and in contrast is the very work of the soul that will be your best labor for eternity.

Blessings to you today,

Sally

This post is a part of The Better Mom Book Club, where we are currently reading, Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. We'd love to have you join us by clicking the image below and also in our private facebook group where we discuss what we are learning with the author, Better Mom writers and one another!

Sally Clarkson

For over two decades Sally has championed Christian motherhood in North America and in many foreign countries. She trains and disciples mothers in ministry, and leads a local Bible study that draws up to eighty women into her home each month. She loves discipleship.

To Linger Longer: Treasuring Person Over Productivity

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His answer caught me a bit by surprise. "I would love it if you just hugged me...longer."

In a season of difficult decisions and busy schedules, I had asked my husband, "What can I DO to help you?" I wanted to make phone calls, create to-do lists...take things off his plate. I longed to right the wrongs and fix things. Well aware of all that had to be done in the day to day, I rarely paused for long displays of affection; I was too efficient for hugs.

The one thing that feels superfluous in your day, may just be the most meaningful to your husband. Have you slowed down to linger lately?

I had somehow grown self-righteous in my refusal to rest and to enjoy leisure...the luxury of lingering. 

But for my husband, the greatest way I could be of help to him was to simply acknowledge, tenderly, that he was worth my time, and worth pausing for. He wanted to know that I still needed his embrace and that he could count on mine. He was longing for the relationship while I was looking for results. What I counted as superfluous in the midst of a busy day, he considered essential for lasting motivation. 

My husband...he chooses the person over productivity.  Sometimes I'm so caught up with serving him that I miss out on enjoying him. And, isn't that how it is with our relationship with the Lord?

God extends his welcome for us to linger...to listen...to choose the good portion: 

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
— Luke 10:41-42

What pleases our the Lord the most is when we desire Him...not just what we can do for him. We look around our needy world and cry out, "How can I be Your hands and feet? How can I help?" Perhaps He answers us by simply reminding us to first savor, first draw near, first enjoy Him, first linger...

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
— John 15:5

His arms are open wide today...how will you linger a little longer with the Lord? 

Because of grace,

 

Ruth Simons, gracelaced.com

Ruth Simons

Ruth Chou Simons is an unlikely mom to six young boys and wife to a very patient man, Online, she's an artist, writer, and speaker, who shares her journey and how God's grace intersects daily life at her blog + shoppe at GraceLaced.com. In her everyday life, she washes 8 loads of laundry a week, cooks for large crowds, and educates her children from home part time through the classical Christian school she and her husband, Troy, founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Get a glimpse + behind the scenes of her heart, art, and home on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Wagging Fingers or Bended Knees? {on teaching our children about the sins of others}

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What do you tell your children when they witness the sin of others? What should our reaction be? Let's look together at how Jesus handled this very thing.

It was a bright, sunny spring day with puffy clouds in the sky. My children and I were returning home from a busy morning of running errands. Since we were ahead of schedule for once, I decided we would stop at a local coffeehouse to grab a refreshing treat. I love the coconut lattes there and my children love their green tea– fruit smoothies. We could sip our drinks and talk about what the evening held, which included grilling out and a trip to the local baseball diamond where both of my sons had games scheduled for later that evening.

As we rounded the corner of the building to reach the front door, a teenage boy stood near the door with his back facing us. I thought he looked familiar. His navy blue coat and curly brown hair seemed to belong to the son of a friend of mine.  As we got closer, I saw him turn his head to the side and then realized it was my friend’s son. I spoke his name cheerfully to greet him. The reaction I got was not what I expected.

He snapped his head around quickly, looking our way. As he did, he also turned to face us and hid something behind his back. As we grew closer to him, it became evident what was being held back from our view. My nose smelled cigarette smoke, as my eyes saw the concerned and worried look on this teenager’s face.

I made small talk with him, asking about his involvement in a sport I knew he played and questioning how he was coming along in his quest to find a job. I told the children to go into the coffee house and order their beverages and that I would catch up with them in a minute. After a few exchanges of pleasant sentences with this teen, I gave him a hug and then went in to pay for our family’s drinks.

It didn’t take long for one of my children to pipe up, commenting on what they’d seen. “Mom! Was ________ (boy’s name) smoking a cigarette?” one of my kids inquired. Before I could answer, another chimed in, “Oh yes he was! I saw it. AND I smelled it! Smoking cigarettes is bad!!!”

And so that day our little outing to grab something refreshing to drink turned into an impromptu lesson about our thoughts and actions when we encounter what we perceive to be the sins of others.

Throughout eternity, people have reacted to the wrong behavior of others.  A quick trip through the Bible will see people stoning others for their sins.  A glance into a world history book will see individuals being flogged or put in the stocks or forced to wear a red letter “A” on their clothing signifying their status when it came to their sins. And today, well, just how do we react to the news of another’s wrong choices? Or better yet—how should  we react?

Our reaction to another’s sin should be modeled after Jesus. He spoke the truth, but He also enfolded it in forgiveness and lavished it with love.

So what do we teach our kids about the sins of others? Here are a few thoughts:

We all sin.

Sometimes in our quest to raise our children to be godly, we can send a wrong message. When we point out that the standards in our family are in keeping with scripture, sometimes we mistakenly give off the impression that we as a family are somehow immune from making wrong choices; that other people who may exhibit behavior that is in violation of Scripture are somehow “less than” our own family members.

But we all sin. The difference between a Christian and someone who is not a believer is that the Christian knows where to go with their sin. When they first forge a relationship with Christ and place their trust in him, all of their sins are forgiven.  And when they sin in the future—which they will—they have a place to go with their sin. They can hit the refresh button and begin to walk again without the offense being held against them. It is important to remind our children that while we are trying to live a life that pleases God, we will still sin sometimes. Just like other people do.

When we do sin, we need correcting from some, and love and encouragement from all.

Of course when a child makes a wrong choice, he or she needs discipline from their parent. If a student breaks a rule in class, the teacher needs to correct them. Police officers are put in place to confront and arrest those who break the law. A pastor or church leader needs to deal with a public sin of someone in their fellowship. But just because we know someone, it does not grant us the permission to wag our finger at them or try to point out their sin.  Sometimes it is our place to offer gentle correction, keeping in mind we could also need correcting at times. In most cases, however, what they need is to be reassured of our love. To know that we are there for them should they desire to talk. And the straight–up truth that we recognize that we sin too and that we do not think that we are any better than they are. Our default mode should be to lovingly encourage them back toward the right path with out condemning and shaming, wagging a self-righteous finger in their face.

When we see another sin, we need to realize that we could also do the very same thing.

Sin is an icy, slippery slope.  Usually when someone is caught up in a sin that has great consequences, it started with just a little wrong choice. I think of the time a good friend of mine made a choice to start participating in a particular activity without her husband. The activity was not wrong, however it brought her in contact with a lot of single men. I knew she was disillusioned with her marriage at the time and so I didn’t think it was a good idea for her to take up this activity. I gently told her so. Then, one by one, she made a series of choices—from participating in this activity, to talking frequently with a single man she met there, to going out to coffee with him one day, to eventually allowing physical contact to occur. At the end of the sad story, she had an adulterous affair and left her husband and children for this man.

But as sad as that situation was, I came to realize something when I saw it all unfold: It could have easily been me! I too was going through a time in my marriage where I wasn’t so thrilled with the guy I chose. Nor was he too thrilled with me. My friend had invited me to take up the activity with her but I declined. (Thanks be to God!) We are all just a few choices away from the icy, slippery slope of sin. We need to remind our children of this.

When we hear someone talk about the moral failure of others, we must not gossip, but instead make prayer our practice.

Oh boy, is this one not only hard to teach our children but also hard to do ourselves!  But we should refrain from chiming in, giving our unsolicited two-cents worth, when we hear about the moral failure of others. We should stop the conversation, stating only that we will be sure to pray for them. Period. End of story. And then? We should pray for them! 

This is what I did with our children that day we encountered the teen taking a puff on a cigarette. We did discuss the habit of smoking, and whether that was actually a sin, or just a stupid health choice. But I would not allow any discussion about the person. I told them we loved this young man. We had known him for many years and loved his family.  I wanted my children to know that I cared for him and would be praying for him, but I would not be participating in any “Can you believe it?” type of talk. And I quickly shifted the focus back to the times when we are tempted to behave badly and what might make us do so. I wanted to foster empathy in them, while also maintaining the goal of behaving biblically ourselves. A hard balance to achieve.

We need to model for our children acceptance rather than awkwardness.

We need to show our children that even though it may be awkward to be around someone whose lifestyle is violating scripture, we need to love and accept the person in the midst of their struggle. This does not mean we dismiss their sin or act like it is no big deal. It does mean we speak the truth in love. We tell the truth about sin but we also let the person know we love them too much to let them stay stuck. If they desire support and encouragement to take their life in a new direction, we need to be available to pray for them and help tangibly if we can.

I have seen many instances when someone ––especially a struggling teenager––felt more love and acceptance from the wrong crowd rather than they did from Christians. And sadly, they often gravitated toward the wrong crowd because of the awkwardness they felt when they were around a group of Christians who acted uncomfortable or avoided them.

I am not saying we should allow our children to spend a great deal of time hanging around the wrong crowd. As Scripture says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33 HCSB) but they can be taught that when they do encounter the person who is not making good choices, they can be loving and encouraging. They don’t have to be friends with such a person, but they should be friendly when they do have contact with them.

We must teach our children to remember who and Whose they are.

Even though we should strive to teach our children to be loving, patient and understanding with the sins of others, we do want them to fight as hard as they can against sin in their own lives. Therefore, it is important to remind them that at all times they should remember both who and whose they are. They are a member of a Christian family. And they belong to Christ. By reminding them verbally of this, hopefully this phrase will be brought to their attention when they come up to a crossroad where they might be tempted to make a wrong decision. Another way to put it is to say what my own sweet mother used to tell me often, ”Be sure your sins will find you out.” And you know mama is always right!

What else could you add to the list? Discuss with your children how to avoid sin but also how to treat someone else who is making a wrong choice.  Here is a verse to use in your discussion:

Galatians 6:1-2 says,  “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (HCSB)

Remember, model for your children how to refrain from wagging fingers and to bend our knees instead.

Blessings,

Karen

You Will Never Influence the World By Trying to Be Like It

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I'm sure I'm not the only mama out there has often heard the statement, "But mom! So and so is allowed to do it!" Or, "Everyone else has one..." Or, "Why can't we just be like everyone else???"

And what do we always say in return?

"You are not so and so, and I am not so and so's mom, and our family has their own way of doing things."

And while we might hear this more clearly from our children and have a strong reaction against it, what about all the times we have a similar dialogue within our own hearts and minds?

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