A True Servant is Focused on Giving rather than Getting

Unfortunately, I sometimes {more times than I’d like to admit} utter up phrases that sound something like this…
“If I do this whatever it is, then will you do this other thing for me?”

What better description of a non servant’s heart is there,
than a servant who only serves so that they in turn will be served?

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If my service to others is about what I’m going to get in return, then it is all for naught.

As Tim Keller writes, “When you say, “I’ll serve, as long as I’m getting benefits from it,” that’s not actually serving people; it’s serving yourself through them. That’s not circling them, orbiting around them; it’s using them, getting them to orbit around you.”

Part of putting other people before yourself means that we aren’t looking for what we will receive on the flip side. Instead, we care more about the needs of other’s than caring about what they can do for us.

One of the best examples I’ve ever read on this topic, especially with it related to marriage, was written in a viral blog post by Seth Adams Smith. He writes “You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy… a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

So when I’m stuck in my rut of keeping track of whose done more or what can I ask for in return,
I have to remind myself to pray.

Asking God to keep my heart focused on giving rather than focusing on what I am receiving.



{Day 12 of the #write31days challenge. Every day I get more & more excited as I inch ever more closely to October 31! Click here to see a listing of all the posts written in this series. Or click on the right sidebar link to receive these posts in your inbox.}


Hungarian Beef Stew

For my friends that do not enjoy chopping vegetables and cooking for a few hours at a time…this is not the recipe for you!

But if your sweet spot is found in front of a stove this recipe was made for you!


I’ll never forget the first time I had Hungarian Beef Stew years ago. There was a torrential rainstorm outside.  I had no idea what to make for dinner and didn’t want to venture to the store amidst the downpour and yucky weather. But the idea of whittling away a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon in my kitchen sounded delightful. For I’ve always found a cathartic release in chopping vegetable after vegetable and in stirring a pot of stew as it slowly simmers unhurriedly .

On this particular afternoon, the icing on top was that I could use pantry staples to make the stew. I didn’t have to put on galoshes and contend with my ever so often broken umbrella. Instead, I opened my cabinet & freezer doors, and was able to pull together everything I needed.

So here’s to my fellow kitchen foodies who find much contentment in making a meal to serve those they love.

Beef & Sweet Potato Stew

We can tomatoes every summer, so I use them for all my soups and stews. It is a great way to take advantage of summer ripeness in the dead of winter. But I understand not everyone ‘puts up’ as those from my childhood called canning. In place of home canned tomatoes, you can use whole peeled plum tomatoes, but you will need to use a kitchen shearing knife to cut the tomatoes up so they aren’t whole in your stew.

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" to 1" cubes
  • 2 large whole carrots, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or sweet onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1/2" to 1" cubes
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground chili powder
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 3 TBSP Gluten Free Flour mix {or even just brown rice flour}
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 32 ozs canned tomatoes {see note}
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4-6 slices cooked, chopped bacon
  • 1-2 cups finely chopped spinach

Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a dutch oven on medium heat until warm.

Add sweet potatoes and carrots, along with a sprinkling of salt & ground pepper.

Saute for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Then add a dash more olive oil along with the onions and another sprinkling of salt & pepper. Saute the mixture, stirring as needed, for another 7-10 minutes until the onions are translucent.

As the vegetables cook, mix together in a small bowl the stew meat, spices, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Once meat is seasoned, add in flour and coat all pieces of the meat well.

Add stew meat, along with a bit more olive oil if needed, to the pan and allow to sear for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and stir well with a wooden spoon.

Add the broth to the pan and using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan so all the little bits of brown 'stuff' comes up. This is what impacts huge flavor into your stew.

Once the bottom is sufficiently scraped, add in the canned tomatoes, bay leaves, and bacon.

Bring the stew to simmering {just a few bubbles pop up every minute or so} and allow to simmer for approximately 1-2 hours until the meat is tender.

Stir in the chopped spinach and taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed.




{Day 11 of #write31days challenge.}


Thoughts on being subservient in marriage…yes, I’m going there!

Today is Day 10 of my writing for 31 days in a row and in many ways it is thrilling to try a challenge. But I find that on the weekends I have little motivation to write. If the post is not going to be read by many {which might happen on the weekend} then I don’t feel like writing.

So I am having to remind myself of my motivation to participate in this challenge. It wasn’t to grow blog traffic or the quantity of people signed up for post in their inbox. Those are nice bonuses, but the real reason was to improve my writing and become more consistent in how often I blog.

So even though I feel like time is running out on me getting a blog completed today, I am reminding myself it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just Do It will be my mantra for this post.

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I often hear people say that the Bible is antiquated in its view of a woman being subservient to a man. And to some extent, I get it, because when I google Subservient, the definition is blaring and I would never want those synonyms to describe me.

 prepared to obey others unquestioningly.
  1. synonyms: submissive, downtrodden, obedient, biddable, passive, unassertive, docile, subdued

But what if preachers {and readers of the Word} focused on the Bible as a whole?

Looked at the Bible as THE SUM OF IT’S PARTS.

Not just pulling out this verse or that single word and basing whole platforms on them.

What if instead of only preaching on women being subservient, they also preached on the importance of men serving their wives as Christ served the church?

Which means being willing to lose their life for their spouse.
Giving up your life sounds all glorious but isn’t the majority of serving found in the mundane, in the everyday?

So perhaps men should lose themselves every day for their wives?

….Tell your wife to get out with her friends for the evening after your extremely long day at work. Even though that means you’ve got to handle all three kids by yourself, along with making dinner, giving baths, and wrangling kids to that thing called bedtime. Sure, it isn’t fun, it isn’t easy…but it’s putting your wife above yourself first.

…Or what if it’s truly listening and engaging with your wife when she talks about her not interesting day…we get that diapers and breastfeeding aren’t exciting. But when a husband takes the time and effort to listen, then us women, want to do the same for our husbands.

I think we need to look at husbands as being just as much of a servant to their wives, as their wives are to them.

I get that this is a controversial topic and there is so much more I could say on the topic.. For example, I consider myself extremely blessed to have a husband who highly respects me…so for me, it’s not hard to think about serving my spouse because he serves me so well.

But for way too many women, their husband’s are abusive, controlling, demanding…everything Christ commands a man NOT to be to his wife. So where does the subservient relationship fit into those roles? I’m not sure.

I just wanted to share my thoughts on the topic because I don’t think you can discuss how to serve your spouse without also considering the meaning of being subservient.



PB & Chocolate & Hazelnut Dessert Bars with Sea Salt

It’s Friday and what better way to end the week than dreaming about a yummy gooey dessert that is easy to make and unstoppable to eat!


I am sad though because I accidentally deleted a lot of the photos I had taken of this dessert {during multiple recipe trials} and I can’t test this recipe out yet again because it’s just THAT good and you can’t stop yourself from eating way more than you should. So the pictures you see are when I tested the recipe out using almonds. They were definitely good but I think the hazelnut version was even better.

The best part of this dessert is how adjustable it is. Don’t have enough chocolate on hand…no problem, just make less. {This recipe feeds a lot… you want the bars to be bite size because they are super decadent & rich!} Or did you decide to just demolish off the remaining chocolate while waiting for everything to freeze and now you have no chocolate for the top??? Don’t despair…just cut into tiny squares and devour. It’ll still be yummy!

Original inspiration for this recipe came from these homemade peanut butter chocolate cups. I was going to make them again but realized just spreading everything out on parchment paper would be way easier. Then I was testing out a different recipe and realized how much I loved coconut mixed with peanut butter. And the rest is history!


Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, and Hazelnut Dessert Bars with Sea Salt

This recipe is very adaptable. It can easily be halved to make less or you can make the parchment paper a bigger size so that the dessert bars are not so thick. Or if you don’t like coconut flakes, then just leave them out of the peanut butter mixture. I like it for the texture it provides, but it is not essential.
Do not try substituting a silpat liner for the parchment paper. You do not want to have any off flavors from the liner coming out in the dessert.

  • 9 oz bag of Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 2-3 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped hazelnut, almonds, or any other nut you want to try
  • Kosher or Sea Salt (optional)

Cut a piece of parchment paper into roughly a 9x9 size and place on top of a baking sheet.

In a glass pyrex/mixing bowl, place chocolate and coconut oil, and melt in the microwave, stopping every 20 seconds to stir. When just a few pieces of chocolate remain, stop the microwave and stir until completely smooth.

Spread 1/2 of the chocolate mixture out onto the parchment paper; reserving the other half for the top of the dessert bars. Place baking sheet into the freezer for approximately 10 minutes, until hardened.

While waiting for chocolate layer to firm up, take another mixing bowl and mix together the peanut butter, coconut flakes, and maple syrup.

Once the chocolate layer has hardened, remove from freezer and using a plastic spatula, spread the peanut butter mixture on top of the chocolate.

Scatter chopped hazelnut over the peanut butter mixture and then press the nuts down.

Return baking sheet to the freezer for another 10 minutes.

Once peanut butter has hardened, spread the remaining chocolate mixture on top of the peanut butter. Or, you can drizzle the chocolate mixture on top if you don't have as much left as you thought you would.

If desired, sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on top of the chocolate.

Return dessert to freezer for another 10 minutes. Once completely hardened, take out of freezer, cut into bite sized squares, and then return back to freezer until ready to eat.

This dessert will melt if left out of freezer for a long time. But normally you are eating it so quickly, it won't matter!




{Day 9!!! of the #write31days challenge. I can’t believe I’ve made it over a week of writing every day. YAY!}


Love Each Other As I Have Loved You


{Image Source: fiercemarriage.com}

Day 8 of 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart


How to Have A Servant’s Heart in Marriage

It’s laughable that today I’m writing about a servant’s heart in a marriage. I’m definitely not writing this because I succeed at this whole serving your spouse thing.

Most days I tank right there in the mud and get clogged up thinking everything is about me, my desires, my needs.

But if I am praying God will help me have a heart bent towards getting to serve, then what better relationship to focus on, than in the one I wake up to every morning?

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But it’s hard isn’t it?

It’s much easier to…serve the homeless… travel to Uganda to serve the barefoot children… have a servant’s heart of compassion for someone I don’t know.

But I do know my husband. I know his strengths, his weaknesses, his good, his bad.
{Unfortunately, he knows mine too.}

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And when faced with serving the person I commune with daily, he receives the least amount of grace from me. I can tell my heart isn’t in the right place when doing something kind for him feels more like a begrudging action or when I tally up my mental scorecard of who has done more around the house that day.

What I crave is that making his lunch, ironing his shirts, or saying ‘yes’ to watch that documentary on black holes will become a priceless way for me to give him love. To give him a piece of me. And in so doing, I have been the hands and feet of Jesus.

I want my heart to delight in doing things for my husband.
Just because.
Not for anything it gets me in return.

Serving my husband with a gracious heart is a choice I have to make countless times each day. And as Ruth Soukup writes “…the reality is that true change will come only through prayer… continual, wholehearted, and passionate prayer.”

So practically speaking, what can I do differently so that I may actually see change and not just talk about it?

What if today, before I rise from the bed, I ask God…

…Give me insight on something kind I could do unexpectedly for my husband, just because…
…Slow down my racing ways so I remember to truly kiss my husband goodbye before I leave the house…
…Help me see & focus on my husband’s positive attributes and tell him how thankful I am for him…
…Please take away the tally marks in my head of who has done most and focus me instead on the things he does for our family…
…Help me share with my husband how grateful I am he is in my life…
…When it comes time to make dinner, bathe the kids, read them bedtime stories…give me courteous words when I need to ask my husband for help…


And when I get it wrong and gripe or when I fail and keep those tally marks, I am so thankful for a God that reminds me that each day is a new day.
“Great is the Lord’s faithfulness to us. His mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22 & 23




{Today is day 7 of the series 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart that I am writing for #write31days challenge.}


The SC Flood Rages On: How You Can Help

Yesterday’s post was all lighthearted and fun but today’s is a bit more somber. And even though I woke up planning to write on A Servant’s Heart in Marriage for my series post, I just couldn’t. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Right now, there are people losing their homes because of the floodwaters in our state and my heart breaks for them.

The people of Columbia, SC need your prayers. Really really badly. The latest count was at least 18 dams have been breached. People’s homes are being destroyed by floodwaters and their lives will forever be altered. I’m sure they are thankful for the skin on their backs but I can’t imagine what life would be like if you had to start over from scratch. Which reminds me that whatever physical comforts we wrack up, all of it can be gone in the blink of an eye.

And here in the Lowcountry, we do have flooding but, in my opinion – me with the dry house & simply a soggy yard, our woes are nothing like Columbia where rivers are spewing and many have no drinking water and others now have no home.

Beltline Rosewood Dr rescue (Source: WIS)

{Beltline Rosewood Drive Rescue: Source: WIS}

So even though Day 5 of kids at home again may seem rough at first, I’m reminded the importance of perspective and how thankful I am for a home not standing in water, for safe kids, and for the gift of time to be with them when they still want to spend time with me.

If you want to help the victims of the #SCFlood you can partner with either the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or The United Way.

Most of all, please pray that those in danger could be rescued safely. The rivers are continuing to rise and may not crest for a few more weeks.




{Today is day 6 of the series 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart that I am writing for #write31days.}



Photojournal of A Flooded Lowcountry Experience

The governor calls it a once in a thousand year rain deluge.

We call this whole thing deranged, us with our restless kids, antsy to do something other than endure another day long marathon of PBS Kids.

So this morning again, rather than stick to the Servant’s Heart topic for #write31days, I thought I’d share photos of all the flooding we’ve been wading through over the last 5 days.

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A Prayer for A New Heart

{Day 4 of #write31days series 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart. Click here to see a listing of all post in this series.}


What is a Servant’s Heart?

{Day 3 of the 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart series. Click here to see all series posts.}

Whispered worriedly in my ear are the words of a precocious little one “Mama, I’m sorry I used up all your dental floss, but I just had to make the Orb’s golden silk spider web”.

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The cords of floss thread in and out of every crevice in his room, making a spider web for this animal loving boy of mine.

It doesn’t matter how simple the task of navigating the spider web seems, I can’t do it without getting tripped up in the floss. And I’m reminded of just how often I get tripped up in this whole serving others thing.

I set out to serve with a gracious heart but instead I get so caught up in keeping track of all ‘my good’ that any love I started out with is gone before I’ve done more than just think about serving someone else.

So what is a servant’s heart and why in the world does it even matter?

A servant’s heart is bent towards gratitude that they are able to serve instead of resentment that they have to serve.

It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

So easy to grumble that my kids are legions beyond stir crazy as another 24 hours of flooding rain continues here. But when my perspective changes, I find myself thankful I have a roof over our head, no floodwaters are entering the safety of our home, and my kids are healthy & thriving based on the high decimal level echoing through the house.

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Perspective changes my heart from…

…I HAVE to make dinner yet again to I GET to provide a healthy nutritious meal for my family

…I HAVE to fold the never ending pile of laundry to I GET to provide a clean house for us to find rest in

…I HAVE to wash those dishes, bathe those kids, the list could go on & on….

But there is always time to take a step back and retrain my thought process to focus instead on the positive and the blessings I DO have in my life.

So that’s what I’m working towards this month.

Working to change the whispers in my heart from
I have to
I get to.



{Written as part of the #write31days challenge. My entire series 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart can be found here.}