Real Foods Explained: The unrefined and unprocessed truth about Whole foods

When we got married, I knew how to cook. I mean, I knew the very basics. I could pull out a recipe and follow it. But I didn’t really know how to cook. I didn’t have this natural instinct or skill of throwing together meals and recipes. I realized after watching my mom that she could just rummage in the fridge, pull out random ingredients, and make a delicious meal in minutes. This is the skill that I lacked and I knew that as a homemaker I needed to get to that point!

To read the rest of this article, head over to Homemaking From Scratch

Share your Story: Kandace ~ Love Found Online

Welcome to the next edition of Share Your Story: Young Wives. Today Kandace from Moments and Memories is with us sharing how she met her husband online and how young love blossomed from that.

About a month before I even knew Jason (my husband) existed, I remember completely surrendering this area of my life to God. I wanted Him to be in control of bringing a man into my life that would truly make me happy. When Jason sent me a message on Myspace with the desire to get to know me better, I had this strong inkling that he was going to be “the one,” yet I made certain I didn’t base my decision on that inclination alone.

I knew that I needed both of my parent’s approval as well as the Lord’s blessing on my future marriage in order to be completely happy and have a successful married life. As Jason and I started chatting online and holding
phone conversations, I began to realize quickly that we had the same convictions and beliefs and agreed on everything pertaining to the Christian life, aside from the fact that he was caring and considerate and fun-loving–things that I thought were important too. Eventually, I found myself naturally falling in love with him and I wanted nothing more than to be with him forever. We didn’t jump into all the emotional aspects of a relationship right at first, but developed a “best friend” relationship. And because of that, we were comfortable sharing just about anything with each other and learned to always be open with one another.

My parents had different feelings about our relationship and shared some of their concerns with me. Although my mom was apprehensive about certain things, she wasn’t totally opposed to the idea; but my father did not approve. So we prayed and we cried and we struggled. Our desire was for both of them to bless our relationship. Marriage was definitely in the forefront of my mind at this point.

Finally the day came when I was able to meet him in person during a family camp in Washington State. I also was able to meet his family and enjoyed my time very much. I could see myself being a part of his family hopefully in the near future. Jason and I felt our hearts drawing closer and closer together and we disliked having to separate. We wanted to go deeper in our relationship and both agreed that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Aside from the fact that many miles separated us, we faced many challenges with my parents not agreeing with our decision to pursue marriage. It wasn’t easy! But it taught us to rely on each other for strength and trust in God to bring my parents around and help them understand our love for each other.

Eventually, my parents decided to visit Jason’s family. Meanwhile, all of us sat down to have a conversation. It gave all of us an opportunity to express what was on our hearts. Thankfully, my parents could see our deep love for each other and eagerness to get married, but encouraged us to wait a little longer. My father was no longer opposed to the idea! So Jason and I continued to pray for wisdom and guidance in the matter and, laying feelings/emotions aside, really felt God impressing us that it was time. We ended up getting our marriage license at the courthouse, I was 21 when we got married. My parents wished we had waited, but they now fully support our marriage and love Jason like their own son.

As I look back, I can clearly see now the reason behind my parents wanting us to wait. Although Jason had a place for us to live, he was not currently working. It put a strain on our marriage. It was rough. My parents did not want me to have to experience those hard times because they care and love me with all their heart. Though I don’t regret marrying him when I did, I wish I would have listened to their wise suggestion. However, I am thankful for the lessons that God has taught us as we struggled through the difficult financial situations.

Note: My husband suffered a terrible accident before I met him, breaking his T3 & T4. He lost all feeling from his chest to his toes. Since then, it has been difficult for him to find work. He’s been job hunting periodically with no avail. While my parents were very understanding of this, they still wanted to be sure Jason could sufficiently support me.

Our relationship wasn’t perfect and I don’t claim to have done everything the right way, but I believe God had His hand in bringing us together because we are so fitting for each other. My advice to you is to follow your parents’ wise counsel if you have been blessed with godly parents. It is definitely not their intention to hurt your feelings or stand in your way. Rather, they love you and only want what’s best for you. It will save you from having to face many unnecessary obstacles in life.

Currently, I am going through a licensed practical nursing program ultimately to minister not only to my patients’ physical needs, but point them to the true Healer. I am married and madly in love with my sweetheart, Jason, who treats me better than I could have ever imagined! Some of my favorite things include: baking, gardening, blogging, walking, learning more about God’s amazing love each day, and being amongst little ones. To learn more about me and my everyday life, feel free to visit my blog Moments and Memories.

Spring into Smoothies {Free eBook}

I am so excited to share this free eBook with you all! I and some other fabulous bloggers have been pulling together yummy smoothie recipes and have put them together into a free smoothie eBook as a thank you for reading!

With summer just around the corner and the days getting increasingly warmer, what sounds better then ice cold nutritious smoothies?

There are over 15 smoothie recipes from Anne from Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy, Erin from The Humbled Homemaker, Mindy from The Purposed Heart, Nikki from Christian Mommy Blogger, Rachel from Day 2 Day Joys, and myself.

From yummy Straw-nana Berry Smoothies

to a Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

To smoothies with avocado, mint, pumpkin, cranberry, pear, peanut butter and more! These smoothies are delicious and so healthy for everyone in your family.

How to Download Your FREE Copy

Subscribe to Young Wife’s Guide via RSS feed and look for the download link at the bottom of your daily updates. See my directions for downloading free eBooks if you still need some help.

Overcoming The Fear of Hospitality

This is a guest post by Karen Yates at Finding Rest.

Two months ago, I hosted my first dinner party.  Ever.  To say I was nervous is an understatement.  I was 35 years old and petrified.

I never learned how to set a fancy table or make a 5 course meal.  I mean, where does a grown woman learn to be Martha Stewart, if it isn’t modeled to her when she’s young? 

And I never minded that I never learned.  I grew up in a small town, and my house was the house where all my friends gathered—we’d swim in our pool, play ping pong, play board games, watch movies, and eat buckets of popcorn.

I may not have been taught how to embellish a pasta, but my parents taught me to greet with a smile, have authentic conversation, say thank you and mean it.  And that was always enough.

Since moving to Orange County, though, I’ve watched many friends, most of whom are from ‘the OC,’ host incredible dinner parties, plating their food, drizzling with teriyaki glazes and fresh pineapple pinched with cinnamon.

Tables are decorated with seasonal centerpieces, votives, cloth napkins, fancy wines.  Evenings are themed and sometimes rated, and everything about the night, from the food to the conversation to the decoration is first-class, stunningly gorgeous.

I’ve wanted to reciprocate.  I’ve wanted to fit.  But I have an ill-equipped kitchen and zero confidence.  Not to mention, I’m trying to be myself—and myself serves frozen chocolate chips over a game of Settlers of Catan.

One thing I questioned, if this is how they show their love for me, how they ‘do’ friendship, (serving me a lovely meal in a lovely way), are they disappointed that I’ve never done anything remotely similar for them?

I’ve never meant to only be a taker.  I’ve just been afraid to try to play catch with a bunch of major leaguers.

{You know that scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding when Cameron Diaz sings karaoke and makes a fool of herself?  Yeah, I was pretty sure that was going to be me—except over cheap flatware.}

Two months ago, I decided enough was enough.  I was sick of feeling inadequate.  I spilled the beans to my neighbor—a confession—“I’ve never hosted a dinner party before.”  She was so encouraging, and so loving, and so not judgmental.  “I will help you,” she offered.  And the planning began.

I invited a few precious friends and their spouses for dinner.  (These friends I trusted would love me even if the whole thing flopped.)  I had diarrhea for 24 hours before hand (um, did I say that out loud?)—yes, I was that nervous.  I started setting up 8 hours early.  I recruited the help of my gracious neighbor, who loaned me place settings and serving platters and wine glasses.

I swept my kitchen and vacuumed floors.  She helped me set the table, roll the napkins, decorate centerpieces.  I planned an Italian menu, and suggested my guests bring with them something to read/share about what they’ve been learning.   And by the time they arrived, I was so overwhelmed with joy.  Because I did it.

35 years old is not too late to learn something new.

What insecurity are you up against as a mother or homemaker or friend?  What might you gain by trying something new or intimidating?

I want to encourage you—if I can do it, you can do it.  The first step is deciding to try.

Karen Yates is a writer, blogger, non-profit consultant, and homeschooling mother of 3.  A lover of sushi and Chopin, Karen writes about Christian culture, mommy parables, radical living, books, and finding rest in God.  She lives in southern California and blogs at

Do you want to learn more about hospitality?

You can sign up for my FREE 3-part video series on hospitality. We begin by first starting where any Gospel-Centered discussion should start: with the Bible! We then take that Biblical definition of hospitality and practically apply it with a beginner’s guide to hospitality – everything you need to know to have the confidence to start extending hospitality – today! Sign up HERE for free!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Biblical Hospitality

I love hospitality. If we don’t have people over for a week or two I start to get antsy. I start trying to figure out who we can have over. I happily prepare dinner, pick up the house, light the candles, get the kid’s toys out, and turn the music on. It has started to become second nature to me.

But this was not always the case. At one point, having even friends over was a big ordeal. I had to spend a couple days cleaning and preparing just for friends to come over.

Thankfully, the Lord has grown me over the course of our marriage and we find ourselves inviting people we barely know into our home 2-4 times a month!

This did not happen over night. We started out slow. We slowly invited others into our home to get to know them and share a meal, and they started inviting us over.

Slowly we learned the tips and tricks to making hospitality run smoothly and be enjoyable for both us and our guests.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hospitality

Start Slow

Don’t jump into this thinking you have to invite your entire church over next week. If you are not comfortable or used to having people over that you don’t know very well, start out with a simple goal.

When we began doing hospitality we had decided that once a month was a good pace. Quickly we fell in love with hospitality and upped that commitment to twice a month.

Most months we were inviting others into our home weekly but our minimum always stayed at twice a month so that we didn’t feel like a failure if one month turned out busier than usual.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot!

Practicing hospitality doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Many people feel that they don’t have room in their budget to have families over.

But don’t stretch yourself. Start with a commitment of having a family over once a month and serve pizza! Everyone loves pizza, your meal doesn’t have to be complex or fancy.

Many families will over to bring something to dinner. LET THEM! If they ask, let them bring a dessert or side dish.

Try out freezer cooking and make all your meals ahead, it can save a lot of money!

Be understanding

When first starting out practicing hospitality, it can quickly become overwhelming and sometimes emotions can run high. But try to be understanding when practicing hospitality.

Do you keep inviting a family over and they ALWAYS seem busy? Don’t take it personally or get offended. Families get busy, don’t take it personally; sometimes schedules just don’t match up. And many do not make hospitality a priority or even know that they should so be patient and understanding.

Do you live in an apartment? Don’t take offense if you invite a family over to your apartment only for them to offer it at their house. Here are 7 practical tips on practicing hospitality in an apartment.

Learn from Others

As you start extending hospitality, just wait and you will get invited over to other’s houses as well. Learn from what they do. When you get invited to other’s houses, make a mental note of what they do from the moment you walk in the house.

Do they have music playing? What kinds of questions did they ask? Did they get a card game out or offer coffee after dinner?

This is the best way to learn new tips and tricks. Offering coffee at the end of a meal is a great comfort to offer, but if you never drink coffee past 10am then you might not think about it. Glean from other’s experiences and wisdom.

Simple touches can make a big difference

Hospitality doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, like I said before. So even simple touches can make a huge difference on your house and hospitality.

Buy a couple candles and have them lit around the dining room. Can’t afford Yankee candles? Head to the dollar store and see what you can find. It’s all about the ambiance!

Have soft music playing low in the background during the meal. Decorate your home in a way that welcomes in new guests and find ways to fix up things for less, like recovering old dining room chairs.

Pull out some toys from the closet to let kids play with or head to your local thrift store to pick some up for cheap.


When practicing hospitality, ask, ask, ask. Many people that we have invited over to our house, we felt nervous about asking…will they want to come over? We barely know them…do they even know who we are? But everyone loves to be invited over. So just ask!

Ask about food allergies or preferences. You don’t want to make a big meaty lasagna only to find out that one kid is allergic to tomatoes and Mom is a vegetarian!

Ask other women for their hospitality tips. Many women like to share what they do to make their home welcoming, so ask those around you how they do it!

Practice and Readily Learn

Unfortunately, there is not a ton written about hospitality in the Christian world. But what is out there, is excellent!

I highly recommend Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch.

I HIGHLY recommend Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others by Ennis and Tatlock

I also put together a list of my top 7 hospitality resources.

Remember, it’s not about your home, it’s about your heart.

At the end of the day your candles don’t matter. Your cooking skills are not what is on display. The dessert and music in the background will quickly be forgotten.

What will not be forgotten is your heart. What really matters is your heart for serving the Lord and opening up your home! Remember that and don’t sweat the details. 

Do you want to learn more about hospitality?

You can sign up for my FREE 3-part video series on hospitality. We begin by first starting where any Gospel-Centered discussion should start: with the Bible! We then take that Biblical definition of hospitality and practically apply it with a beginner’s guide to hospitality – everything you need to know to have the confidence to start extending hospitality – today! Sign up HERE for free!

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