Bible Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

Hello Wonderful People!

I pray your week has been great so far!
My wife and I are taking part in a 21 day fast with our church.
We are praying and fasting, believing God for supernatural breakthroughs in our life.

One area of our life in which we consistently have on our prayer agenda is for divine health and healing.

1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV) – via YouVersion

Everyday, in our prayer time, we confess healing scriptures over our life. We confess a long life, walking in total divine health and free of all sickness and disease. We confess this over our ourselves, our family and friends, and our doggies as well. We want anyone we know and love to live a long and abundant life.

One of those scriptures which we profess each day is 1 Peter 2:24. This is a foundational scripture that everyone needs to be confessing over their life. In this scripture, we see that Jesus Christ has already bore (taken) our sickness when he went to the cross for us. When He died on the cross, our sins were forgiven and our sicknesses were healed. We just stand in faith to receive it. We know that Jesus can and will heal any sickness or disease that Satan tries to use against us. We have seen many miraculous signs of healing in our life. And we know that many more miracles are our way.

If you are needing prayer in your life for healing, please let us know in the comment section below. We will stand in agreement with you for your complete healing and total restoration of your life; In Jesus Name.

The Journey To Find Out Where We Came From

Hello Wonderful People!

I hope you are having a wonderful week. It’s been bitterly cold here in the Show Me State. I hope you are staying warm and enjoying a good book. I have been reading Time Management Magic by Lee Cockerell, who recently spoke at a reception at our church.

Have you ever wondered about who you are and why you are who you are? Have you ever thought about what makes you, you? If you could find out more about your parents, your grandparents and your ancestors; would you do it? If you could take a test that would tell you more about your ethnic makeup, would you be curious to find out the results?

Taking a Journey To Find Out Where We Came From

For a while now, my wife and I have been asking these questions and curious to know more about us. We wanted to know more about the wonderfully unique attributes that God used to make us. We had been hearing advertisements on TV and online about DNA tests that can help answer these questions. To be honest, I was quite skeptical of them from the beginning; but my wife wanted to take the test anyway. After asking colleagues about it, and doing some of my own research, I decided that it would be worthwhile. So, my wife and I decided to take a journey – a journey to find out where we came from.

Of the many companies out there, I decided to use the testing service from 23 and Me. From my research, 23 and Me offered the most comprehensive results and provided the most details. With this test, it will break down your DNA into ethnic percentages; telling you how much of DNA is from a specific region or area of the world. The results and reactions that I had seen from the people who took the test were amazing and made me a believer.

23 and Me uses your own saliva to analyze your DNA

Why Take The Test
For my wife and I, we have very different reasons for taking the test. Yes, we both wanted to know more about where our ancestors came from; but it was much more to it.

Me
I previously researched my family and traced my them back to the 1850s when they migrated from Germany. Looking at the family tree, all of my ancestors from that point to now where from Germany. I wanted to know if the scientific research matched the genealogical research. I wanted to know with more certainty if this was accurate or if there were other ethnicities in this mix. I had not researched the family prior to the 1850s, so I didn’t know if other ethnicities were in the mix prior to that time. I have always said that my family was German; but now would I have to add other groups into that. Also, in my line of work as a historical researcher, I help people doing their own genealogical research. I wanted to be give my opinion of the testing if anyone would ask me.

My Wife
I just wanted to learn more about my family pure and simple.I first started looking into Ancestry. However, my hubby told me that 23 and Me had a special running during Thanksgiving so we decided to test it out. I have heard some history from family members that I had a Native American great-grandmother and a half-white, half-black Grandfather on my mother’s side, but not sure what region. I know very little about my father’s side of the family. Other than that, I have little known information about my family heritage. I am curious to see what the results will say when I get the percentages back.

We started the journey back in November. We submitted our salvia test and we should be getting the results back anytime now. When we do, we post the results and our reaction. Let us if you have taken the same test or a similar one. Were the results what you were expecting? What did you learn from it?

RECIPE: JTs Easy Chili

Chili is the greatest of all winter-time comfort foods. What a perfect way to warm the soul on a cold day, but with a hearty bowl of chili. The greatest thing that I have learned about chili is that everyone makes it a little bit different. Depending on who you speak with, you will get a different version of what is the proper way to make chili. Some folks will say that the only authentic chili will have no meat, while others will argue that there must have no beans, of any kind, included in the recipe. And, depending on the part of the country that the person lives in, the chili sauce may be a different color all together. Some people like the chili to be a mild spiciness, while others think if your mouth is not burning, it is not chili.

This was very evident this past week when I took part in a Chili-Cook Off Contest at work. There were two categories – traditional and non-traditional. Traditional was defined as tomato-based and non-traditional was non-tomato based. With the other entries, I saw chili made with carrots, turkey, beer, and even green chilies. I entered the chili that my family has ate for the last several years. I entered the traditional category that included the standard meat and beans; but I take it a little bit further. I added in a few extra ingredients and make the chili into a filling meal. The kind that will stick to you when it is so cold outside. My recipe is easy to prepare and is made using one large stockpot and is completed in less than one hour. The full recipe is listed below. ENJOY!

JT's Easy Chili - Taste So Good

JT’s Easy Chili – Taste So Good and Easy to Prepare

Ingredients:
– 2 Cups of Water
– 1 Chili Brick
– 1 Large Onion
– 1 Can of Chili Sauce
– 2 Cans of Chili Beans
– 2 Bags of Frozen Black Beans, Red Peppers, Onions and Corn Combo
– 2 Cups Fresh Lentils
– 2 Cups of Fresh Mushrooms
– 1 Medium Zucchini
– 1 Medium Squash
– 2 Cans of Diced Tomatoes
– 1 tsp. Seasoning Salt
– 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
– 1sp. Chili Powder
– 1sp. 21 Seasoning Salute (Trader Joe’s)
– 1sp. Sugar

Cooking Instructions:
1) In a 6 quart stock pot, combine the water with the chili brick (cut into small pieces) and the diced onion. Bring to boil and cook for five minutes. Stir frequently.
2) Add Chili Sauce and Chili Beans. Bring back to boil. Turn the burner down to medium and allow to cook for five minutes.
3) Add in the Black Bean Combo and Lentils.
4) Cut Mushrooms, Zucchini, Squash into small pieces. Add into mixture and cook on low until the Zucchini is soft, about ten to fifteen minutes. Stir frequently.
4) Add  Diced Tomatoes.
5) Add Chili Powder, Seasoning Salt, Ground Black Pepper, 21 Seasoning Salute and Sugar.
6) Simmer for ten minutes on low. Stir regularly.
7) Serve with Cornbread or Wheat Crackers
8) Yields at least eight servings

Taste the Goodness!

Taste the Goodness!

Substitutions / Modifications:
* If Chili Brick is not desired or unable to be purchased, use one pound of ground beef.
* If Frozen Bag of the Black Bean Combo cannot be found, use two cans of black beans, diced red peppers and one small bag of frozen corn.
* If Trader Joe’s is not in your area, 21 Seasoning Salute can be omitted.
* Fresh diced tomatoes can be used instead of canned tomatoes.
* Any ingredient or seasoning can be omitted or increased, based on your taste preferences.
* Any brand of the canned ingredients can be used. Pick your favorite or what is available in your local supermarket.

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out by leaving me a comment below.
If you have another Chili recipe, I would love to hear about it.
I would also love to know what your definition is for an authentic chili.

Avoiding the Christmas LetDown

Hello Elegant Readers!

I pray that you are having a wonderful and peaceful Christmas Holiday Season! Christmas is my favorite time of the year. My wife and I decorate our home with four trees and put up lights on the outside. With all the Christmas hype, are you feeling a Christmas Letdown? In speaking with people and how they describe their holiday, this is a very true emotion felt by many people.

JT and Tree

JT standing next to one of our Christmas Trees

The buildup to Christmas is months in the making. You start seeing retailers advertise for Christmas in July specials. And then once Halloween is over, the gift-giving season is in full-swing. Every store you go into, or every website you click through, they are trying to sell you something. Black Friday Steals, Doorbusters Deals, Cyber Monday Deals! It’s everywhere! Retailers are telling you that you need to buy a gift for everyone, from your mailman to your co-workers, to your long lost cousin Jimmy who you haven’t seen in twenty years.

Christmas Day arrives. You have your gatherings, whether with family or friends. You distribute your gifts, and partake in a feast (or two) and have a sweet treat (or two). And then before you know it, it is over. Just that fast, all the hoopla is over and Christmas is done for another year. It’s time to start planning for New Years. And the Christmas LetDown starts! Why? With the months of planning and purchasing gifts, preparing meals and organizing gatherings; it is all over in a matter of few hours. Here are a few quick tips to avoid the LetDown and to be able to enjoy more of Christmas.

Celebrate the True Meaning of Christmas
With retailers forcing their agenda of purchasing a gifts for everyone; you must step back from the commercialization and shift your focus on why you are celebrating Christmas. My wife and I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, first and foremost. Without Jesus, there would be no Christmas and no gift-giving season. If you are a Christian, Jesus should be the center of every part of your life, including Christmas. As Christmas Day approaches, take some time to read about the Birth of Jesus and reflect how His birth forever changed the world and forever changed humanity. It is an amazing story that should never be forgotten through the deluge of gifts. Many churches often have a Christmas celebration. Find one in your area and be sure to attend. This will help keep the true message of Christmas in the foreground.

Make Christmas Last More Than One Day
Christmas is only one day on the calendar – December 25th. Many people plan their celebration for that day, or maybe Christmas Eve. Since the holiday is on a random day during the week, many people only have that one day to celebrate before going back to work. And with New Years Eve the next week, people turn their attention to the next holiday. The key is to make Christmas last longer is to spread out the festivities. If you are planning a gathering for friends, try for the weekend before. If your family is out-of-town, you can visit them on a weekend in January. Another thing that I like to do is to continue saying “Merry Christmas” beyond December 25. If you have many people who you are giving gifts to, then spread out the distribution throughout the entire month of December. If you have more than one gift for a spouse or a child, then give the gifts to them over a course of days. All of these things will keep the Christmas Spirit alive and burning in your heart.

Avoid the Hoopla and Enjoy the Season
The Christmas season is a fast-paced ride and it can be quite overwhelming. The key to really enjoying the Season is to step back, slow down and enjoy every moment. If you are buying gifts for friends and family, be sure to make a list of who you are buying for, how much  you want to spend for that person and then start searching for the gift as early as possible. Don’t wait until the last moment before going out and finding the gift. It will make the buying process less stressful. If you are making home-made gifts – cookies, lotions or crafty items, make sure you have all of your supplies and start the process early. Then as the Christmas approaches, you are already finished and you can sit back and enjoy visiting with family and friends.

The Christmas LetDown can easily set in when we get caught up in the craziness that other people have placed on Christmas. If you step back and remember why you are celebrating and learn how to avoid the rush and hoopla; then Christmas will never be a burden again. You have to put your mind to it and make an effort to follow through with these tips.

Let me know if you have felt a Christmas LetDown and what you did to do to combat it. Or if any of these tips have helped you through the Season.

The Greatest Mother That I Never Met

Today is to celebrate Mother’s Day! We honor our mothers with cards, flowers and tokens of love and appreciation. I have been blessed with a wonderful mother who raised me right. I thank God for her and for all of the sacrifices that she made to me. I would not be who I am without her guidance and her support. She is the greatest mother that I have ever met.

Me with Mommy Bernice.

Me with Mommy Bernice.

There is a another lady who I know to be a wonderful woman and the greatest mother even though  I never met her. I know her only from the memories shared by her daughter and the spirit that lives on in my wife. She is my mother-in-law, Gloriastean. I never had a chance to met her because she passed away three years before I met her daughter.

My mother-in-law, Gloriastean.

My mother-in-law, Gloriastean.

In spite of never meeting her in the natural, I feel that I have gotten to know her well through the many wonderful stories that my wife shared of her. From the times that she sang in the jazz clubs as a teenager, to the time she lived in California with her father and attended  San Fransisco State University as a music major and the stories of her driving a Cutlass.

My mother-in-law had a passion for life and a passion for excellence. My mother-in-law only wanted the best for her daughter. She gave her the best education, making sure she attended private school all the way through college. Her mother and father sacrificed and bought my wife a grand piano in college so she could her learn how to play. She also encouraged my wife to learn how to sew by investing in buying my wife a sewing machine so she could learn how to make her own clothes.

My mother-in-law had a passion for excellence in taking care of her house and her family. She instilled in her daughter the same passion. Whether it is keeping the grass cut in the yard or the floors swept in the house, I see that today in the way that my wife keeps our home.

My mother-in-law spent her life making sure that her daughter was taken care of and to provide her with a good life. Even though she is in heaven and I never met her, my mother-in-law’s passion deeply influences me today. It is my desire to take care of my wife the best way that I can. I look to my mother-in-law for this inspiration. I only hope that I can continue at the same level that she started. Thank you for being the greatest mother, and greatest influence, that I never met.

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