www.onlinecasino.to

Five Killer Fall Crock-Pot Recipes Your Family Will Fall In Love With

My friends over at Red Gold Tomatoes contacted me a few weeks ago offering me an opportunity to test several of their products and help them promote their 2 a Day Crock-Pot giveaway featured right now on their Facebook page. Being a lover of crock-pot recipes myself, of course I said yes!

Red Gold giveaway

*Disclaimer- This is a sponsored post. Red Gold Tomatoes graciously provided me with a package of products to try out and review on my blog. All opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

I’ve never used Red Gold products until now. I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve seen their products on the shelf at the grocery store and have been tempted a time or two to purchase them, but I am a creature of habit and have religiously stuck to what I’ve always used. So I was giddy when I opened my box of Red Gold products and eager to put them to the test.

The first recipe I am sharing with you is a long-time family favorite. It’s quick and easy, full of flavor, and the most delicious taco soup on the planet! I substituted Red Gold tomatoes for Rotel and Hunt’s tomato sauce and I will not go back. It was 1,000 times better with the Red Gold products. Like, slap your mama good. My mouth is watering just typing this post. So. Good. I want to make another batch. Like, now.

Taco Soup recipe

Taco Soup featuring Red Gold tomatoes

Hayden enjoying taco soup featuring Red Gold tomatoes

 

I thought Hayden was going to fall out of his chair during dinner. He was bouncing around like he had tacks on his seat cushion, shouting, “It’s SOOOOO awesome!!!” It kinda reminded me of Agnes from Despicable Me when she encountered the fluffy unicorn at the fair. It was hilarious.

Its so fluffy

Source

The next recipe is another all-time favorite in the Card household. Texas Chili. You can’t live in Texas and not like chili. You just can’t.

Once again, I substituted my usual Rotel for Red Gold, this time using their Petite Diced tomatoes with green chilies. Mmmm…. it was so. good. y’all. So. Good. I think the next time I make it I will also include a can of their lime and cilantro diced tomatoes. Just for fun.

Texas Chili featuring Red Gold Tomatores

If you’ve never made queso in a crock-pot, you’re missing out. It’s the best thing, ever, and my family gobbles it up faster than a pack of ravenous wolves. This recipe is courtesy of Red Gold. I usually just combine a package of Velveeta cheese into my crock-pot, add a can or two of Rotel (sorry Rotel, I think you may have lost your spot in my grocery cart) and about a pound of ground beef (already seasoned and cooked), stirring occasionally until the Velveeta is melted. I really like the recipe below. It has a few more steps, but it’s packed full of flavor.

dip-and-can

1 can of Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Lim Juice and Cilantro, drained.

1 can of Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies

1/2 pound of ground beef (I used 1 lb.)

12 American processed cheese singles (I used 1 pkg of Velveeta, cut into cubes)

1 clove of garlic, mined

3 Tbsps whipping cream

salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients into a crock-pot and cook for about 20 minutes on high. Serve with Frito Lay Tostitos scoops.

slow-cooker-BBQ-Pork-Recipes

I cannot claim the rights to this next slow cooker favorite. I found it on Pinterest and it was mind-blowing. Definitely worth checking out. For sure!

I don’t have any pictures of this next fall favorite because it was stored on my previous cell phone and I lost all of it’s content when it went to cell phone heaven last week. So you’ll just have to use your imaginations and trust me when I say that this pot roast is to die for. Trust me. Just do it.

Ingredients:

1 3- lb chuck roast

1 pkg dry Ranch seasoning mix

1 pkg dry au jus gravy mix

1 pkg McCormick pot roast seasoning

1 12 oz bottle of Samuel Adam’s Boston Lager

6 tbsp of butter

5-6 pepperoncini

Instructions:

Pour half of the Boston Lager at the bottom of your crock-pot and then place the chuck roast on top.

Next, add the dry Ranch mix, dry au jus gravy mix, and pot roast seasoning on top of the roast. Add the remaining Boston Lager and place the pepperoncini along the side of the roast. Top with butter.

Cook on low for 8 hours, shred, and ta-da! You now have the best pot roast in all the land.

I like to serve my pot roast with creamy mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables, and a dinner roll. It’s the bomb.

So what do you think?! These recipes are ah-maz-ing, right?!

Again, special thanks to my friends at Red Gold Tomatoes for providing the delicious tomatoes and an excuse to make some of my favorite fall slow cooker meals even though it currently feels nothing like fall in Texas. The struggle is real, y’all.

Be sure to head over to their Facebook page and enter to win a brand new crock-pot! They are generously giving away 2 crock-pots every day until October 8th. I mean, who doesn’t like a chance to win free stuff?

And speaking of free stuff, have you entered my current Facebook giveaway? I’m giving one fan a chance to win a customer necklace from The Vintage Pearl. Check it out!

Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//Pinterest

From My Heart to Yours, With Love

I want to take a moment to interrupt your day to say the following: “I love y’all”.

 

I do. I really do.

We have accomplished something I NEVER DREAMED would happen when I first started blogging. We have reached over 3,000 subscribers. This milestone leaves me feeling a number of things: dumbfounded, grateful, in awe of your continued support, humble… to name a few.

As a way of saying “THANK YOU!” I have sacrificed and saved up my money to offer one of my readers an opportunity to win a custom necklace from one of my favorite sites, The Vintage Pearl. More details on how to enter the giveaway can be found on my Facebook page.

Vintage Pearl Giveaway

If jewelry isn’t your thing, stick around. I am partnering with Red Gold later in the week and I will share with you how you can enter to win a brand new crock-pot, along with some rockin’ recipes just in time for Fall. You won’t want to miss it. :)

What are some of your favorite crock-pot recipes? Maybe I will feature yours in my next blog post?!

Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//Pinterest

Confronting One of My Greatest Fears

My computer sits idly on my kitchen table, humming softly, calling me to awaken it with the subtle tapping of my fingers on the keys. I walk past it, determined not to look, for fear that if I should look, I will have to face the inevitable—writing.

I duck my head, keeping my eyes focused solely on my feet and quickly enter the kitchen, briskly walk the extra five steps it takes to reach the washer and dryer, and begin the process of pulling wet clothes from the washer and placing them in the dryer. This task takes me all of two minutes to complete and I am left standing before my washing machine, drumming my thumbs rhythmically on its lid as I make feeble attempts to steady my heart rate.

I exhale sharply, “This is stupid.”

I gather enough courage to slowly make an about face, and march resolutely into the kitchen toward the computer, only to by-pass it and make my way to the master bedroom where I crumble to the floor and sob.

Why am I so afraid to write a blog post these days? What has gotten into me lately?

Fear.

What if I take what God has entrusted to me and somehow destroy it? What if no one reads the words I have written? What if I’m not good enough? What if misspeak and misrepresent God? What if someone preys on my vulnerability and attacks my reputation or my character? What if I fail?

What if… what if… what if…

God whispers softly into my frantic soul, “What if your words bring glory to My name? What if your story brings about healing and restoration in the lives of your readers? What if your words shine a light into dark places and souls are released from captivity? What if your words offer hope to the hopeless? Dear One, do not deny others of your gift simply because you are afraid of failure.”

During my (unintended) sabbatical of sorts from blogging over the summer, God made it inescapably clear that I am to shift my focus. He has placed upon my life a call to write—to share stories that deeply touch His heart, stories meant to challenge and convict us, stories meant to bring us to repentance, stories pleading for a call to action, stories of redemption and restoration. He is calling me to share my story, your stories, and the stories of those around the world who fear they have no voice- no one to advocate on their behalf. These stories, when woven together, share the greater story of God’s majesty and glory, and the weight of such a task leaves me feeling equally breathless and terrified.

I don’t exactly know why I am sharing all of this with you, only that I find the vulnerability of sharing my fears with you oddly liberating; that, and it is my hope that you will be gracious as I awkwardly find my footing in this new role. I don’t know how this shift in focus will transpire on the blog. I really don’t. All I know is that I am called. And as an act of obedience answer, “Yes, Lord.”

God has invited me to wade into water far deeper than I am accustomed to, without the security of the shoreline at my back should I begin to sink. Calling me deeper. Calling me to Himself. And as wave after wave of insecurity and fear and doubt wash over me, it is replaced with strength and courage. Not my strength, but His.

It’s exhilarating.

I’m still afraid, but I feel that with each blog post I write, with each small act of obedience, fear will be replaced with boldness; insecurity replaced with confidence; and doubt replaced with assurance in the One who appointed me to this task.

I refuse to allow my fear of failure keep me living a life of obedience. I refuse to allow my fear of failure to steal the beauty I was destined to create.

 

Has God ever called you to step out in faith, only your fear of failure kept you from acting in obedience? How did you face your fear? What was the result of your obedience?

 

Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//Pinterest

It’s Coming…

It’s my favorite time of the year!

School’s in session. The weather is growing steadily cooler. Leaves are changing into radiant shades of gold, blazing reds, and tantalizing oranges. And though it may be a stifling 100 degrees outside here in Texas, I’ve got a pot of taco soup simmering right now in my crock pot.

Red-autumn-morningSource

Autumn is approaching in all of its glorious splendor and this can only mean one thing… football season, hay rides, pumpkin patches, boots, chunky sweaters… and scarves!

Meg's 2nd Annual Scarf Swap

 

Last year we kicked off our first scarf swap with amazing results!

This is one of my favorite things to do on the blog for two reasons:

1. Scarves. Duh!

2. The friendships I have seen blossom as a result of this scarf swap melts my heart. I have always said that I have the kindest, most generous readers, and the scarf swap puts these attributes on full display. Many of you go above and beyond just sending your partner a new scarf– you send care packages. Wow! I’m totally impressed, y’all. You never cease to blow me away with your tenderness toward others.

For those of you who are new to the blog, allow me to explain the “rules” of the swap.

The rules are simple.

If you are interested in participating, in a comment below, please leave your First and Last Name along with the following:

current email address 
Blog address (optional)
Twitter handle (optional)
Instagram (optional)
Blog Facebook page (optional)
Pinterest (optional)

This way we can all go check out your social media sites and follow along because this is, after all, all about building community. We love supporting one another on this ‘ol blog. And I promise, you will meet some of the most incredible friends if you should join us!

1. On September 14th I will take the names of those who would like to participate, put them in a hat, and pair you up with someone awesomeOn September 15th I will email all participants and reveal the scarf swap partners.

2. Once you have been paired up with someone, you have two weeks to get to know your scarf swap partner and purchase a scarf for your new friend. Try and have all scarves in the mail and at your partner’s doorstep by September 27th.

3. We will link up here (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram) on Tuesday September 30th to show off pictures of your new scarf!

4. The suggested price of the scarf is $20. It can be more or less depending on your budget, but this is just a good starting point. Also, many of you have asked in the past if you could send your partner other goodies along with the scarf. I think this is an absolutely wonderful idea and I am sure your partner would love it! I do want to be mindful of those who are on a strict budget, so this is not required to participate in the swap. I would suggest talking it over with your scarf swap partner first so you can decide together if that is something you would like to do.

5. Share this with your friends and family! The more the merrier in my opinion!

6. Use the following hashtag #Megsfallscarfswap when chatting about the swap online.

***Disclaimer***

In fairness, if you are not 100% certain that you will follow through with the scarf swap, please do not sign up. I want everyone to have fun and would hate for someone’s partner to not follow through on their commitment at the last-minute. Thank you for understanding!

I scored these two beauties last year!

from jessie

from casey

We would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for you to join us this year!

We’re Already Crazy. Let’s Just Own It.

It all started four years ago.

I was sitting at my desk, a fresh copy of ‘Interrupted’ in one hand, a highlighter in the other. I had a few minutes before my next staff meeting and my soul was frantically grasping at anything that would stifle the voices in my head. Voices that caused me to doubt the current trajectory my life was taking. Voices that beckoned a response to the following questions, “Is there more to this life? Am I missing the point?” My soul was parched, and for whatever reason, I thought Jen Hatmaker could relate to the inner dialogue I was experiencing and offer me some guidance.

If I wanted the voices in my head to subside, I seriously should have reconsidered my choice in reading material, because little did I know, God was about to take a wrecking ball to my present view of the gospel, the least of these, and my role in His greater story.

After reading a few pages, I bowed my head and prayed, “God, break my heart for the least of these. Grant me the ability to see the poor, the widowed, the fatherless, the homeless the way You see them. Help me to love them as You love them. Raise up in me a pure and holy passion for Your people.” Or something dumb like that. (In all seriousness, be careful what you pray. God just may answer said prayer and wreck your life in the process.) I closed the book and walked out the door to my meeting, not realizing that my life was about to be forever changed.

Raise Up In Me A Holy Passion

 

If ever there were a book that accurately reflected the condition of my soul, it would be this one.

 

One day, while studying John 21,  Jen recalls the following encounter with Jesus:

Nothing could have prepared me for what came next. I told Him, “I thought I was feeding Your sheep, but I’ll try harder.”

And from the depths of heaven, this is what I heard: “You do feed souls, but twenty-four thousand of my sheep will die today because no one fed their bellies; eighteen thousand of them are my youngest lambs, starving today in a world with plenty of food to go around. If you truly love Me, you will feed My lambs. My people are crumbling and dying and starving, and you’re blessing blessed people and dreaming about your next house.”

I couldn’t have been more floored if I’d come home to find Jesus Himself making homemade salsa in my kitchen. I did a little checking, and those statistics are spot-on. It dawned on me that Jesus was asking me not to do more of the same but to engage a different charge altogether. He was enlisting me in the cause of my generation, the mission of God’s true church.

All of a sudden, I saw my exact reflection in Peter: devoted but selfish, committed but misguided. And that is not going to be enough. It won’t suffice to claim good intentions. Saying, “I meant well” is not going to cut it. Not with God screaming, begging, pleading, urging us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned, to care for the last and least in nearly every book of the Bible. It will not be enough one day to stand before Jesus and say, “Oh? Were You serious about all that?

-Excerpt from ‘Interrupted’ by Jen Hatmarker, emphasis mine.

The statistics are alarming

 

  • Of the six billion people on planet Earth, about 1.2 billion live on twenty-three cents a day.
  • Half of the world lives on less than two dollars and fifty cents a day.
  • The wealthiest one billion people average seventy dollars a day. (This places you and me in the upper, upper, upper percentages of the global population.)
  • If you make thirty-five thousand dollars annually, you are in the top 4 percent.
  • If you make fifty thousand dollars annually, the top 1 percent.
  • Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds.
  • Last year twenty-two million children and adults are trapped in slavery (sex slaves, labor slaves, child soldiers, and child slaves) because of economic crisis. More slaves exist today than ever before in human history.
  • More than 143 million children in the developing world have been orphaned (equivalent to more than half the population of the United States).
  • In the last hour:

-Over 1,625 children are forced to the streets by the death or abuse of an adult.

-Over 115 children become prostitutes

-Over 66 children under the age of fifteen were infected by HIV.

  • Roughly 1 billion people in the world do not have suitable housing, and 100 million are entirely homeless.
  • 780 million people lack basic water sanitation, which results in disease, death, wastewater for drinking, and loss of immunity.

-Americans consume twenty-six billion liters of bottled water a year.

  • We spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half the world spends on all goods combined.
  • Fifty-seven million children worldwide work every day instead of go to school.

-Four out of five Americans are high school graduates.

  • The poorest one-fifth of the world owns 1 percent of the world’s cars.

-The richest one-fifth of the world owns 87 percent of the world’s cars.

  • Roughly forty million people (the equivalent of about seven Jewish Holocausts) die annually from starvation, disease, and malnutrition.

-69 percent of US adults and 18 percent of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

*If you are interested in the sources behind these statistics, email me at megan.card@gmail.com and I will send them to you. Or better yet, buy Jen’s book.

 

Feed My Lambs

There it was, the source of my spiritual anemia, staring straight at me in the face- I was blessing blessed people and growing apathetic to the condition of the poor and the least of these, not only around the world, but in my own backyard. I came back from my meeting, head swimming, and full of questions. I pulled the door to my office closed, fell to my knees, and wept. I was on staff at a church for crying out loud. How could this possibly happen? I was immersed in Scripture daily. I lead Bible studies. I taught on passages like Luke 18:18-34 (that would be the one where Jesus confronts the rich young ruler and tells the young man that unless he sell all of his possessions, he cannot follow Him.)  How could I have possibly missed something so fundamental to the gospel as tending to the needs of the poor? And not just tending to their souls, but their physical and emotional and economic needs as well.

 I began to talk about what I was discovering with anyone who would listen. Friends, family, co-workers, people at church. Each time I was met with, “You’re crazy, Meg. We’re busy doing enough as it is, and here you are, wanting to add trips downtown to feed the homeless, and orphan care ministries, and mission trips to Africa to our agenda. Can’t we just send them some money instead?” My soul was restless and I knew God was calling me to do more than just teach the latest Beth Moore Bible study (I’m not knocking Beth. I love her and her Bible studies.) He was obviously leading me in a new direction and few were willing to join me on this new journey.

Four Years Later

I’m still met with the same dumbfounded, “You’re crazy, Meg” look when I bring up the concepts behind ‘Interrupted’ and ‘7’ with friends and family, and my growing struggle with excessive materialism and the overindulgent lifestyle marked by the majority of Americans. I’m just learning to embrace it.

Here’s the thing- God’s heart beats for the broken, the wounded, the misunderstood. It beats for the outcast, the homeless, the marginalized. It beats for the lonely, the diseased, the helpless. It beats for the hungry, the captives, and those without hope. It beats for the widowed, the fatherless, and the poor. And He was serious when He said that meeting the needs of the least of these is non-negotiable if you are to be counted as one of His followers.

Truly I [Jesus] say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.

Matthew 25: 45, emphasis mine.

We are to care for the least of these out of love for our Savior and obedience to the calling that He has placed on our lives. It’s as simple as that. If I claim to love Jesus, I need care about the marginalized. I need to care about the poor and the afflicted. Because He cares about those things.

 

In closing, Jen, if you should ever read this, I want to thank you for allowing yourself to be used by God to wake me from my slumber. Thank you for not ignoring the restlessness of your heart and for pressing further into the Presence of Christ to ignite a passion for the least of these in our generation. Thank you for wrecking my comfortable Christianity.

Review: ‘Wherever the River Runs’

 

… I sat with my journal the next morning, reminiscing over the journey God had so surprisingly orchestrated. I realized how much serving the poor in the Amazon and in my own community had deepened my understanding of the gospel. It was so simple to me now: When you serve the poor, God changes you. We’re changed because when we enter the lives of the spiritually, physically, relationally, emotionally poor, we find that we are not enough. Our resources are not enough; even our tightly wrapped theologies prove insufficient. The complexities and harshness of poverty force us to either abandon our belief in God or press harder into the Savior, Jesus Christ, the good news of the gospel. If we distance ourselves from the poor, we may be able to maintain a more comfortable, and certainly tidier, existence and theology, but we will miss having a deeper, more abiding, and more fulfilling relationship with Jesus.

I remembered a story John once told me about a time he stayed at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The hotel has a glass-enclosed atrium that’s reminiscent of the Amazon rain forest, with walkways through the cascading waterfalls, winding “rivers” with boat rides, tropical plants spilling out of the window boxes. ‘I was crossing this bridge and I saw these fabulous rock pools with these jets of water springing up,’ he explained. ‘And I thought to myself, Just once in my life I wish I could have a suite in this part of the hotel! And then, all of a sudden, God spoke to me really powerfully. ‘But this isn’t real,’ He said. And I remember taking a step back and looking at this shadow of the rain forest as the Lord kept speaking. ‘You live in a bowl; you live in a glass bubble. And there’s hundreds of millions of you in this glass bubble, there’s nations of you in this glass bubble, and you write songs for each other, you write books for each other, you send kids to school together, you to go church together, you worship Me together. And you think that’s the whole world. But if you press your face to the glass, you see another world, and it’s called hopelessness, the abandoned, the diseased, those who have no clean water, those who have no education, the sick, the dying. I sit with them as the die, and if you want to embrace Me, you have to embrace them.” ‘

Excerpt from ‘Wherever the River Runs’ by Kelly Minter. Emphasis mine.

As I prayed and wept through Kelly’s book, one theme continually forced its way to the forefront of my mind: love is costly. It is inconvenient. It’s messy. Sacrificial. And it requires all of you; every fiber of your being– your time, your attention, your resources, your affection, your thoughts, your words, your touch.

I was reminded that if I am to love as Jesus loved… if I am to serve as Jesus served… it’s going to cost me. If I am going to live out the gospel– the good news– I cannot detach myself from the poor. I cannot turn a blind eye from those who are wounded, abandoned, and often forgotten. I can no longer live inside a glass bubble and pretend there isn’t a world out there full of men, women, and children who are helpless and living without hope. And the poor and the least of these not only live oceans a part, but right in front of me. Right in front of my own eyes. I just have to look.

Kelly’s book was a fresh reminder that God’s vision far exceeds my own, and while I am still piecing together what His vision is for my life and how I will be woven into the fabric of His greater story, I know with certainty that it includes the least of these… the wounded… the abandoned… the forgotten. I still don’t know what that looks like, but I am eternally grateful that this book made its way into my hands because of FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network and the team at David C Cook. Kelly’s words renewed my sense of purpose and calling. I pray that God shatters my glass bubble and sends me– wherever that may be.

5 Ways to Wear a Wire Headband + a Giveaway!

Serendipily YOURS giveawayI don’t know about you, but I could use a pick me up. It’s been one of *those* weeks. Really, the last three weeks have been rough and I’m glad it’s over. And that God offers new beginnings each day. Can I get an Amen?!

Anywhoo, I have a sah-weet giveaway for y’all thanks to my dear friend, Gay Vaughn, owner of Serendipily YOURS.

She is known as Ms. Gay in our house, as she taught both of my sons in their first year of preschool. Anytime her name is mentioned, my boys blush and swoon. They absolutely loved her. Greg and I love her. She holds a special place in our hearts. And not only is she the most amazing preschool teacher, she is a creative genius. I wish I had one ounce of the creativity that run through her veins. I’m kicking myself for not having pictures of her classroom or any of her DIY projects to show you how truly gifted she is, because me sitting here trying to describe her talent sans pictures just doesn’t seem to cut it. Trust me. She’s good!

And she wants to bless not one, but TWO of my readers with a Serendipily YOURS headband (of her choosing). As if that were not enough, she is also offering FREE SHIPPING on orders placed through her ETSY shop using the code: SYFREESHIP2U.

Serendipily Yours Collage

 

How the headbands are made:

“First, I cover the ends of the wire in my headbands with tape so as to not leave the raw edge of the wire exposed. Second, I stitch the ends of the wire into the seam of the bands so the wire does not eventually get “lost” inside the wrap. All items in my shop are handmade here in the USA and each are as individual and unique as the person buying it.”  – Gay Vaughn  

After wearing the headband she sent me to review, I appreciate Gay’s attention to detail. I’ve worn headbands purchased from drug stores and boutiques alike and they ALWAYS end up giving me a headache by the end of the way. ALWAYS. These wire headbands are legit. I don’t have to wear a million bobbie pins to keep it in place and they are so light I forget I’m even wearing one. They are the perfect accessory for a woman on the go because they make even messy buns look intentional and put together! Take a look at a few of the headbands she already has in her shop:

Headwrap CollageIf you are a fan of Anthropologie, she also has her own version of their fabric wrap bracelets! Take a look:

10393820_739189926122321_6181901434356129465_n

Here are a few more:

Serendipily YOURS fabric wrap bracelets Collage

 

 

 

So who wants to WIN a Serendipily YOURS headband?!!

HOW TO WIN:

1. “Like” Serendipily YOURS on Facebook

2. Leave a comment on Gay’s page telling her you found her page via my blog

3. “Like” my Facebook page

4. Leave a comment on my page telling me which headband on Gay’s etsy site is your favorite

That’s it! Easy Peasy.

All entries will be validated. Must like both Facebook pages to win. Two winners will be randomly selected on August 31st and announced here on my blog September 1st. Don’t forget, you can use the code: SYFREESHIP2U to receive FREE SHIPPING.

I’ve spoken with Gay and she is working on adding even more items to the site throughout the giveaway, so check back frequently.

Have a fabulous weekend, y’all!!

 

Life Lately: Catching Up With the Cards

life lately catching up with the cards

 

My laptop is dying a slow and painful death. It’s agonizing to watch, y’all.

This explains my absence from the blog as of late. I haven’t been able to get my laptop to turn on. After a week and a half I FINALLY got it to work! I have no clue how I did it, as I am not tech savvy by any means, but whatever I did worked and I am praying that this poor old laptop will last me a little while longer.

Pitiful excuse though it may be, the lack of a functioning laptop has allowed me more time to step back and evaluate the direction the blog has taken. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you may recall that I have been presented with various opportunities to work with brands and begin monetizing my blog, but before I made my choice, I wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter. I value my readers’ opinions and I appreciate those of you who took the time to respond. I was surprised at how well the idea was received, to be honest. Yet, any time I pondered the idea of monetizing the blog, my heart was unsettled… restless, even. For days I couldn’t put my finger on the uneasiness I was feeling, but experience has shown me that the lack of peace is an open invitation to further press into God’s Presence for clarity and vision. So I did.

He reminded me of the reason I started this blog in the first place- to chronicle my faith journey and share with you things the Lord impressed upon my heart along the way. He reminded me that while posts about makeup, current fashion finds, fitness, or favorite hair products are not evil and have a place on this blog, they should not make up the bulk of my content. It was a tough conversation, but much-needed. The temptation to monetize my blog steamed from my temporary lack of trust in His provision. It’s as simple as that.

Please, let me be clear, I am in no way saying that monetizing your blog is evil or that I am somehow holier than thou for choosing not to do so, I am simply stating that this is not the path God has chosen for me. I know many godly women who have made blogging their career and I fully support their decision to do so, it’s just not what He has for me, and coming to grips with that was hard, y’all. Really hard.

So what does that mean moving forward?

 

  • Deeper, more vulnerable posts
  • Occasional product reviews relevant to my readers (with giveaways, duh!)
  • No affiliate links cryptically embedded in my posts
  • I will still host various swaps and giveaways (those are always fun!)
  • More Jesus, less Megan

I hope you will stick around with me on this journey. My goal has never been to become a ‘famous blogger.’ I don’t think I’d do well with lots of notoriety to be honest. I value truth. I value raw authenticity. I value community. If you do too, you will fit right in here. My readers are genuinely the kindest, most compassionate bunch of people I know and if this is the first time you are visiting my blog I do hope to connect with you- it’s my favorite thing about blogging. And because I feel like I’ve been sort of a Debbie Downer today, here is a brief look at what the family has been up to lately :)

 

Hanging out with some of my best friends for a much needed girls' weekend.

Hanging out with some of my best friends for a much needed girls’ weekend.

 

Pool time with Daddy!

Pool time with Daddy!

 

 

4th of July Parade in downtown McKinney

4th of July Parade in downtown McKinney

 

Waiting patiently for the parade to start

Waiting patiently for the parade to start

 

Greg and I at my friend Ashley's wedding. Proof that blogging friendship can blossom into real life friendships.

Greg and I at my friend Ashley’s wedding. Proof that blogging friendship can blossom into real life friendships.

Easy Summer Makeup Using 5 Products or Less

School is out. Temperatures are soaring. And I am spending 95% of my time outdoors trying to keep my rug rats occupied. I don’t have the time nor the energy to put a great deal of effort into my makeup routine, but I also don’t want to leave the house looking like a hot mess either. Y’all are constantly emailing me questions regarding my makeup routine/products, so here are my top 5 summer makeup must haves that will give you the perfect summer glow with little to no effort :)

***This is not sponsored content. I am not receiving compensation for mentioning these companies in this post or providing links to their products. These opinions are entirely my own.

 

Easy Summer Makeup Using 5 Products or Less

 

1.// Estee Lauder Double Wear Powder- I have tired so hard to like other brands when it comes to foundation, especially now that they have increased the cost of their product, but I keep going back to Estee Lauder. They have my heart. I will gladly cut back in other areas of our budget so that I can afford my double wear powder because it really is the best I’ve ever used. For those of you who are like me and get super oily in the summer due to increased heat and or humidity, this is the powder for you! It covers just as well as any liquid foundation I have ever used and because it is a powder, it is easy to throw in your purse or beach bag.

2.// Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess- I apply Bronze Goddess to my cheeks during the summer to give me that much desired sun-kissed glow. Like the powder, it is on the expensive side ($36) but a little goes a long way. I have had mine for about 6 years now and it will probably last me for another year or two. There was one summer when I ran out of foundation while on vacation and got away with using this bronzer until I got home and could get some more.

3.// Younique 3D Fiber Mascara - I cannot say enough good things about this mascara! I mean, can we just talk about these results…

Younique 3D Fiber LashesThese are MY lashes, y’all! I’m in love. The only time I have ever been able to achieve lashes like this has been to use false lashes, and we all know how annoying those can be. They are easy to apply, water resistant and the results are fabulous! I do have a party that you can shop if you so choose, that ends July 4th, but please, do not feel obligated.

4.// Wet-n-Wild Color Icon Eye Liner - Depending on the look you are going for, you can omit this step if you want. To get a very natural look, you can take a smudging brush that still has a little bit of product on it from previous use, and lightly sweep it under your bottom lashes. I like to use a little bit of eye liner in the outer corner of my eyes. It keeps it natural looking but provides a little extra definition. If you are using the Younique 3D Fiber mascara, you don’t need a lot of eye makeup to make your eyes stand out and you can easily get away with no eye liner and still look amazing.

5.// Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter - I wear either Creme Brulee, Peach Parfait, or Pink Lemonade on a daily basis. This stuff is AH-MAZING y’all! My lips feel so smooth and hydrated when I am wearing it. And there are so many color choices that there really is something for every skin tone. I would probably own one of in every color if Greg would let me :)

Summer MakeUp

 

Ta-Da! Easy peasy, right?!

And I can usually pull this look together in about 5 uninterrupted minutes(all my fellow Mamas know what I’m talking about).

What are some of your favorite summer makeup products?!

12 Weeks to a New Me

This week, I officially begin my half-marathon training.

I’m excited, nervous, slightly scared, and a ball full of energy all rolled into one.

12 Weeks to a NEW me

Completing this half marathon is important to me for a number of personal reasons, but none of them are as important as giving hope to those who also suffer from fibromyalgia.

If you had told me when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia that I would one day be training for a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face. My days (and nights) are marked with chronic, widespread pain, that at times, leave me bed-ridden. During flare ups I battle chronic fatigue, restlessness, memory lapses, depression, tension and migraine headaches, and numbness in my hands and feet.

People like me don’t usually run half marathons. It’s too painful. So why am I crazy enough to do it? Because I want to prove to myself that I am not defined by my condition.

For the past four months I have made an effort to workout in some form or fashion at least 5 times a week, especially when my fibromyalgia is acting up. As a result, I have seen a significant decrease in the number of flare ups I have had, and those that I did have were minor and lasted less than 24 hours (this is HUGE for me, y’all!) There were a few weeks when I didn’t get into the gym or go running and those were the weeks I experienced flares. I have absolutely no scientific evidence to back this up, but for me, exercise = no flare ups, while no exercise = flare ups. So maybe this half marathon training isn’t so crazy after all?

half marathon training week 1

 

Every Monday for the next 12 weeks I plan to post my weekly training schedule. This is two-fold. One, I need the accountability– if I post it online, I feel compelled to follow through. Second, it is my hope that this inspires others who suffer from chronic illness to rise up and not be defined by their condition. I know that there will be moments throughout the next 12 weeks where I will want to give up and quit… I will be in pain and try to convince myself that I should never have committed to this– don’t let me. I need you. All of you. When I cross that finish line in September, it will be because of your continued support.

Lastly, if you suffer from a chronic illness and interested in completing a race (any distance) or want to improve your well-being through fitness, I am considering starting a Facebook support group. Leave a comment at the end of this post and let me know you would like to join us . If you do not suffer from a chronic illness but desire to join this group to help provide tips, encouragement and support, you are more than welcome! The more the merrier! Also, if you are interested in helping me LEAD this group, please contact me at megan.card@gmail.com.

 

Congratulations to Ashley V. for winning the 5 mL bottle of doTERRA Balance Facebook giveaway

and to Ashley P. for winning the ‘Favorite Things’ giveaway!!

If you are participating in the ‘Favorite Things’ summer swap, your packages should have been mailed out by this time.  Don’t forget to come back and link up with us on July 7th to show off how incredible your swap partner is! We will be having another swap start back up in a few weeks so stay tuned for more details :) I hope you all have a fantastic week! xoxo

%d bloggers like this: