At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Family Favorites - January 2018: Gluten- Free Upside Down Pizza (Wheat, Nut and Fish-Free, Can Be Soy, Egg and Milk-Free)

This year, I decided to list a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month.  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's family favorite that we make weekly is Gluten-Free Upside Down Pizza, which is an adaption of my Upside Down Pizza recipe (I will share the ingredients we normally use, where appropriate, as well). This modification is wheat, nut and fish-free, but can also be soy (if you use all soy-free ingredients), egg and milk-free.

The thing we love most about this recipe is that it is completely customizable, and it is so much easier to make than a gluten-free pizza.  It is definitely cheaper to make, too.  It is my hope that you will give it a go, and maybe it will become a family favorite for you, too.

Note: The gluten-free flour that I recommend does not technically contain soy, but it does contain guar gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and that is why I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.

Gluten-Free Upside Down Pizza

gluten-free pizza toppings of choice that are bite-sized: 
gluten-free pepperoni, cooked hamburger, cooked gluten-free sausage, cooked gluten-free bacon, gluten-free ham, peppers, onions, mushrooms, pineapple, chopped olives, etc.
(We normally use Aldi's Never Any! brand ham lunchmeat (though we've used other gluten-free brands), canned Pennsylvania Dutchman mushrooms (though we've used other gluten-free brands) and Aldi's Mama Cozzi or Hormel sliced pepperoni (though we've used other gluten-free brands), but have used plenty of other combos, as well.)

1 (24 oz.) jar of gluten-free spaghetti sauce
(We normally use Reggano Meat Pasta Sauce from Aldi, but have also used Prego's Chunky Garden Combo and other gluten-free spaghetti sauces, too.)

12 oz. of Mozzarella cheese, shredded
(We always get the blocks of Mozzarella and shred our own.)

2 large eggs

1 Cup milk
(We use whole milk, but you can use whatever you have on hand.)

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
(Our favorite brand is O-Live.)

1 Cup gluten-free flour blend
(one that is a cup-for-cup replacement for regular flour)
(We use Pamela's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour.)

dried oregano (optional)
(We prefer McCormick brand, but have used others, too.)

dried parsley flakes (optional)
(We prefer McCormick brand, but have used others, too.)

1. Preheat oven to 350oF.

2. In the bottom of an ungreased, glass, 13x9 pan, combine the spaghetti sauce with your gluten-free toppings of choice, mix well, and spread the mixture evenly along the bottom of the pan.  (Note: If you are using meat toppings, they need to be fully cooked in advance!  Make sure all toppings that need to be cut are cut into bite-sized pieces, too.  Any canned items (mushrooms, olives, canned pineapple, etc.) need to be drained before use, too.  Also, do NOT fill your pan more than half full of toppings/sauce.)

3. Sprinkle most (think two-thirds) of the cheese over sauce/toppings mixture.

4. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil, and gluten-free flour thoroughly and pour it evenly over the top of the sauce/toppings mixture and cheese in the pan before sprinkling the rest of the cheese on top.  (Note: Use a large liquid measuring cup (like 3 to 4 Cup capacity) to mix the "crust" in.  It is a lot easier to pour this way!)

5.  If desired, sprinkle the dried oregano and/or dried parsley flakes on top of the "pizza".

6. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes, or until slightly browned and bubbly (think what pizza/lasagna looks like when it's done).

Makes 12 -24 portions, depending on how large you cut your slices.

  • Soy-Free: Pamela's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour does not claim to contain soy, but it contains guar gum, which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies, and hence the reason I won't claim this recipe is soy-free already.  You can use regular flour (if you can have it) or a soy-free, gluten-free flour of your choice.  Keep in mind that if your blend doesn't contain guar gum or xanthan gum, you may need to add up to 1 teaspoon of ground flax seed, guar gum or xanthan gum to help with textural issues, too.  You'll have to make sure all your ingredients are soy-free, too
  • Egg-FreeUse an egg replacer (such as Ener-G) in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page.  The flax seed "egg" replacement would be a good fit with this "pizza".
  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy milk (like SoDelicious brand) and non-dairy mozzarella (Daiya is a good option) in place of the regular cheese and milk in this recipe.
  • Other Cheeses:  You can use the combination of cheese that you like on your pizza for this.  I would not recommend a soft cheese for this.  Mozzarella, CoJack, Monterey Jack, even a touch of Cheddar would be ok depending on the flavor profile you were going for (if you wanted Cheeseburger flavor, for example).  Just don't exceed 12 oz. of cheese.
  • Different Flavors:  You can make this into a Chicken BBQ upside down pizza by using shredded, cooked chicken and a large bottle of BBQ sauce.  You can make it a Chicken Bacon Ranch upside down pizza by using shredded cooked chicken, cooked bacon and a large bottle of Ranch.  Basically, you can use any pizza sauce (white or red), BBQ sauce or Ranch for the sauce with any of your desired toppings, and this will turn out well.  There really is no limit to the toppings other than you don't want to overflow your pan.  It should be no more than half full of toppings/sauce before you add the cheese and "crust".
Sounds good, right?  It is!  It is a good "craving pizza, but don't want to pay for delivery/frozen or take the time to make the crust" alternative.  You can make it as healthy as you want, too!  I hope it becomes a family favorite in your house like it is in ours!

(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Recent Reflections - January 2018: The Blessing of Dead Trees

I decided to do a new type of monthly post called Recent Reflections.  Recent Reflections will go live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post will cover something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I'll be sharing about a burden-turned-blessing in our lives: our dead trees.  (Note: It's quite a long story, but please read it all - you won't regret it!)

A picture of some of our dead trees when the Village came out to do some water main work.

For the last 3 or 4 years (possibly longer), we've been dealing with dead trees - 6 to be exact.  We called the power company multiple times to remove them because the trees were near power lines, and we were told by both workers for the power company and tree removal people that the trees were the power company's responsibility and that we should NOT remove them ourselves.  Each time we called, the power company told us they would take down the lines attached to the house, but they were "not obligated" to remove the trees or it was "within acceptable risk" to let the trees remain standing.  They even refused to remove the trees when doing work in the area, despite them saying they would remove them if they were working in the area and workers telling us they would remove the trees if the power company would give the ok because the trees needed to come down.  It was a real matter of frustration, especially since we were being told the cost could per tree could range between $150 to $1,000+ (and we were told it would probably be closer to the latter due to the line involvement and how close the trees were to the house) if we could even get anyone to agree to come out, that we would have to coordinate multiple companies to get the lines down (electric, cable and telephone) to remove the trees safely, and not finding anyone who was willing to remove the trees because everyone was saying it was the power company's job.  Talk about a nightmare!

When a limb came down in November of 2016 and took out half our power, nearly causing a fire.

In November of 2016, we had a limb come down on our power line, taking out half our power and nearly causing a fire.  We were able to get the power company to come out to replace the line, but they didn't remove the limb hanging above the line for almost a year.  When the crew came out to remove the limb, they tried to help us out by calling the power company and telling them the trees needed to go.  Unfortunately, the forester that came out told us that it was "acceptable risk" to leave the trees standing, and that if they were doing work in the area they'd take them down - which was not true because they'd just finished doing work in the area less than a year earlier and had refused to take them down then.  Anyway, after that encounter, we decided we had no choice but to figure out a way to remove them ourselves.  Due to the possible high price tag, we knew we'd have to wait until our tax return to deal with them because we didn't have $1,000 to spend, let alone over $6,000.

A few of our dead trees after one fell on our neighbor's power line and car.

Fast forward to December of 2017.  We had a horrific wind storm the beginning of December, and one of our trees fell...not on our house or power line, but on our NEIGHBOR'S power line and car.  We were horrified.  The tree took out half their power, bent their power pole, and did minor damage to their vehicle.  We did all we could to help them, and promised to make things right with them by offering to pay for the deductible to get their car fixed and the cost of the electrician to replace the power pole, though we were technically not legally obligated to pay anything (that was up to their car insurance and home owner's insurance).  We also told them that we'd get a tree removal service out there ASAP, though we knew we couldn't possibly afford it.  We felt it was the right thing to do, even though we feared that the cost could be anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 - depending on how much everything turned out to be.

(Now, I want to take a moment to clarify something here.  About 2 weeks before the tree fell, God had really impressed it upon my heart to be grateful for the ugly, awful things.  I'd read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with my son for school the year before, and I just couldn't get over how they'd been grateful for lice and fleas because it had allowed them freedom in the concentration camps.  I was in awe of how the Lord had used something so awful to be such a blessing.  I realized then that I wanted to have that sort of faith - to have the ability to be grateful for the awful things and let God show me how they could be a blessing in my life.  Little did I know what He had in store for us.)

Right after we made the decision to do right by our neighbors and get those trees down, we knew we'd have to pray for a miracle.  We prayed as a family, begging Him to provide the funds, begging Him to not let another tree fall until we could get them down, and asking Him to keep our relationship good with our neighbors.  In my heart, the Lord reminded me to be grateful for this burden.  Trust me - I didn't want to be.  I was so scared about the potential financial impact, so nervous about the forecast (more wind was on the way), and just overwhelmed.  Nevertheless, I told the Lord, I would be grateful, and asked Him to show me how those trees would turn into a blessing.  My kids even prayed with me about it, especially my daughter.  As we prayed, God gave peace that He would provide, and we trusted in that...and then the blessings began to come.

Blessing #1: We were able to find a local man who was willing to remove all 6 trees for $800 in total, if we did the clean-up.  We were thrilled, especially since it was less than the cheapest we were told it could be, PLUS they wouldn't have to take down any power, cable or phone lines (which meant we'd be able to keep the electricity on during the project which is a HUGE plus in the winter time).  The only set back was we would have to wait 2 weeks.  We set to praying that the trees would hold up until then...and God kept them standing for those 2 weeks.

The trees coming down!!!

The 22nd of December, 2017, was one of the most exciting days of our lives!  Our burdensome, dead trees (AKA "those dumb trees") were coming down!  We wouldn't have to worry about them anymore!

 It took about 2 hours...
...but then they were down...
 ...with only clean-up remaining.
Blessing #2: My dad came over to help us chop up the trees and stack them by the side of the road.  He was a HUGE help, and there is no way we would have been able to do the work without him!  If we had had the tree service do it, it would have cost us an additional $400, so he helped save us a bundle!  (He did get lunch and some homemade muffins as a thank you, FYI.) 

Also, the weather was perfect for the job!  It wasn't too hot or cold, no crazy snow or rain - absolutely amazing, and made the job a lot more tolerable.

Everyone pitched in a little bit...

My husband and boys...

 My daughter...

 (I think she liked "supervising" with Grandpa best!)

...even I helped, though I didn't get pictures of that.

And about 4 hours later...
 ...we had 2 large piles of wood to get rid of!

Blessing #3:  For about half a minute, we thought about advertising that we had firewood for sale.  We probably could have made quite a bit of money (a truckload can be about $300 in this area, and we had 10 truckloads-worth easy), but we quickly decided against that.  The Lord made it very clear that we were to give the firewood away, and let Him take care of the cost of the tree removal and cost to make things right with the neighbors.  So, we advertised on Facebook about free firewood...and that's when things got a bit wild.

In less than 24 hours....

...our yard looked like this!

We thought it would take days to get rid of all that wood, but it didn't!

Blessing #4:  Not only that, but we got to see 9 or 10 different groups of people come by to get wood who needed it right before Christmas and be a blessing to them!  We had people tell us on Facebook that we were a blessing, and one gentleman in particular left us this note, that made me cry:

I was so moved that the Lord let us be such a big a blessing!  We ended up being a Christmas miracle to that man and his family, and I couldn't have been more filled with joy in my entire life.  God reminded me in that moment that He turned those trees into a blessing for so many, and wasn't I so glad I'd been grateful?  I cannot express to you how special that day was!  God wasn't done blessing us, though.

Blessing #5: I forgot to mention, the tree removal service told us we'd have 30 days from bill date to pay for the service, so we had a bit of time to figure out how to get the money for the job.  That was a relief, for sure!

Blessing #6: On Christmas Eve, we sold our Jeep that we'd been trying to sell for months to someone who desperately needed a vehicle.  We'd wondered why it'd taken so long to sell it, and it had been very hard to be grateful.  We'd had a few people interested, but nothing had ever panned out, and in our hearts we wanted it to go to someone who needed it.  Well, it did, and we've been told it has been a real answer to pray for the person who now owns it.

Blessing #7:  We didn't get much from the sale of our Jeep, but we knew it would be enough to at least cover the cost of the deductible for our neighbor's vehicle, so my husband went over there to talk with him.  My husband told me to pray for a miracle as he left the house to go over there, so that's what I did with my daughter.  We prayed that God would keep the relationship with our neighbors good, that we'd figure out a way to afford the cost of the tree removal and the cost for the damages to our neighbor's property, and we thanked Him for turning those trees into a blessing, too.  When I got done praying, it was like I heard the Lord say to me, "It's ok, Julie.  I've already paid for the damages.  I've taken care of that bill."  I thought it was wishful thinking on my part, but thanked Him again for the goodness He'd already showered upon us.  Little did I know what was coming....

Within a short time, I saw my husband come back inside, and he was crying.  I was mortified!  I thought for sure the neighbor had quoted him a price in the thousands.  I asked him what was wrong, and through his tears he told me that nothing was wrong, and that "we were good".  I looked at him like he had two heads and asked what that meant.  My husband said, "He doesn't want a dime."

I was floored.  What on earth did he mean by that, I wondered, and then he explained.

When my husband went to talk with our neighbor, my husband told him that we didn't have much, but we knew we had enough to cover the deductible for his car, and we wanted to at least pay that, and that we wanted to know how much the cost for the electrician to fix the power pole was, and we'd pay that, too, when we could.  Our neighbor said he wasn't sure on the cost of that bill, but he'd go look it up.  Our neighbor then went inside for about 5 minutes, came back out and told my husband, "We had a small miracle happen today.  A family in our church gave us enough money to pay for the damages.  God paid your bill for you.  You don't owe us anything."  My husband asked him if he was sure about 3 times, and said he wanted to be a good neighbor and all that, and our neighbor assured him he was sure, and that we were all good.  Talk about a  miracle!  And that our neighbor used nearly the exact words that God had given to me in regards to the situation blew me away!  God is so good!

Blessing #8: On top of that, our kids got some treats from that very same neighbor (we've been friends for 10 years, and exchange Christmas goodies each year) that included some money for each of them.  We were overwhelmed!  God had been so very good, but He wasn't done yet!

Blessing #9:  We didn't get a bill from the tree service for weeks, so my husband finally texted the guy and asked about the bill.  My husband's text was something like, "I was wondering about the bill for the tree removal.  I believe we agreed on $800."  The guy texted back something like, "It went good.  Let's call it $700."  We were going to save an additional $100!  Hallelujah!  A few days later, we paid the tree service, knowing that God will provide for the rest of our needs somehow.

Blessing #10: I know that sharing this story with you all has blessed and encouraged someone.  This blesses my heart beyond words!  I also know that my kids have learned about the power of prayer, and have witnessed God working a miracle in our lives first-hand - a lesson that is beyond priceless and that will stick with them in any tough times to come.  This has also increased my husband's and my faith, as well.

I can't believe how good God has been, taking a horrible situation and turning it into a blessing.  This situation could have cost us up to $10,000 and the friendship of some amazing neighbors, but He allowed us to have this all settled for $700 and kept the friendship intact!  We know that if we had at any time decided to be selfish (i.e. charged for the firewood or decided not to do right by our neighbors or wait to remove the trees because we could) that things would not have gone the way they did.  And to let God show me just how He could use such a burden by turning it into multiple blessings - I can't tell you how amazing that was!

Never, ever fault God's timing, and be grateful in ALL things!  He can truly turn ANYTHING into a blessing!  We had to wait over 4 years to see the blessing of those dumb trees, but we saw it in full force!  All the waiting, all the praying, all the sleepless nights wondering why we couldn't get those trees down or sell our Jeep were worth it all!  God made it all very clear in one weekend - Christmas weekend, no less - that allowing Him to move in His way and timing was the best thing ever!  We can "be still" and "know {He is} God", and truly know that He is always working for our good.  Amen!

I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart!  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Chicken Vegetable Soup (Soy, Wheat, Egg, Fish, Milk and Nut-Free)

To me, nothing fits cold, winter weather quite like a nice, hot bowl of soup.  This soup is my own creation, and one that my whole family loves.  It is free of all the top 8 allergens (assuming all of your ingredients are), and makes a hardy amount for not a lot of money.  It is also very customizable.  Can we say win-win-win?  I hope you enjoy it!

Chicken Vegetable Soup

1 large, bone-in, skin-on, raw chicken breast
2  (32 oz.) boxes/cans of allergy-friendly chicken stock
(I highly recommend Pacific brand)
  1 to 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 - 2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
  1 teaspoon onion salt (I recommend McCormick's)
½ teaspoon celery salt (I recommend McCormick's)
3 big shakes of paprika (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  ground black pepper (to taste)
10 baby carrots cut into bite-sized pieces
3 stalks celery cut into bite-sized pieces
  5 to 10 potatoes, diced 
(I recommend red potatoes, but you can use your favorite type.  Peeled or not is up to you.)
  1 (16 oz.) bag frozen peas
  1 (16 oz.) bag frozen corn

1. Put chicken, stock, diced tomatoes, spices, carrots and celery into a large stock pot.  (Note: The amount of diced tomatoes, parsley flakes and pepper are all based on personal preference.) 
2. Cover the pot, and cook the chicken on medium-high heat until the chicken is completely cooked. Generally, that will take around 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  (NoteCheck on the chicken now and then, and add more stock or even just water if the liquid level looks low.)
3. When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pot and put it on a plate and in the fridge to cool.  (Note: Taste your broth at this point, and add more seasonings or even just plain salt if needed.)

4. Make sure the stock is simmering well/boiling, and then add the potatoes to the pot, and cook until they are nearly to desired doneness.  (Note: Generally, potatoes will cook in about 20 minutes, so you'll want to check them anywhere from between 10 to 15 minutes, depending how done you like your potatoes, to see if they are nearly done.  If you like your potatoes fork tender, you want them still a little firm before preceding to the next step.)
5.  Add the frozen peas and corn to the pot.
6. Take the chicken out of the fridge, remove the skin and bones from the meat, and then cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and re-add the meat to the soup.
7.  Cook the soup for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is warmed through and the potatoes and frozen veggies are cooked to your liking.  (Note: Taste your broth at this point, and add more seasonings or even just plain salt if needed.)
Serves a family of 5 easily with left overs.
  • Fresh or Alternative Veggies:  You can certainly use fresh tomatoes vs. canned ones or fresh corn and peas vs. frozen.  Amounts of those are based on preference.  You can also use 32 oz. of a frozen veggie of your choice (mixed veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, just peas, just corn, kale, etc.) vs. peas and corn.  You could even add more veggies, but you may need to add more stock/water to the soup, and you'll want to add most veggies in during step 5, unless it if a firmer veggie like broccoli or cauliflower - those would most likely need to be added with the potatoes.  If you want to add diced onion, you can add 1/2 Cup or so without needed to up the stock/water content, and you'll want to add it with the celery and carrots (carrots, celery and onion should all be roughly the same amount).
  • Beef Vegetable Soup: If you prefer beef to chicken, you can use cubed beef or hamburger and beef broth instead, though you'll have to brown your meat first before making the soup.
  • Other Cuts of Chicken or More Chicken:  You can use chicken wings, thighs or legs to make this soup instead of chicken breast.  You can also use more than just one chicken breast.  This soup turns out best using bone-in, skin-on chicken, but you can use boneless, skinless chicken.  Boneless, skinless chicken cooks in about 1/2 the time as bone-in, so keep that in mind, too.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Vegetable Soup:  Leave out the chicken and use just the chicken stock or even beef stock for a vegetarian option or vegetable broth for a vegan option.
  • Water and Bouillon:  If you don't have stock, you can use water and bouillon instead, if you have a bouillon that fits your allergen needs.  You'll need at least 8 Cups of liquid to make this soup.

Looks good, right?
I promise, it is, and it's perfect for a cold, wintry night!

(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

My Quarterly Report: First Quarter 2018

Today is the start of a new quarterly post that is replacing Monthly Milestones.  On the first Saturday in January, April, August and December, I will be posting a quarterly report of how I am doing in regards to meeting my goals, and what my goals for the upcoming quarter will be.

If you want to share a post that has to do with meeting personal goals, just leave a comment below with a link to your goal-related post, and I'll pop over and visit it and leave a comment, and hopefully some of my other readers will, too. :)  

Here is my first quarterly report:

1. I am starting the New Year off at 194 lbs.  This is a change in weight from the beginning of December 2017 of 3 lbs., but I've listed it as a 0 lbs. change because this is my first official weigh-in of this year.  My first goal, as listed above, is to lose at least 5 lbs. by April 7th, 2018 when I will give my next official weigh-in here.  Wish me luck!

2. I want to drink at least 9 Cups of water per day.  I was drinking 12+ Cups of water per day, but that got to be too much for me to maintain for now.  I am cutting back to 9 Cups with the goal of working up to 12 Cups when it gets hot outside again.  I know I need at least 9 Cups to feel healthy, so that's what I'm going to do.

3. I want to eat more vegetables.  I am pretty bad about getting enough veggies in my diet.  I'm starting by trying to eat a salad for lunch pretty much every day that I can.  I want to try to vary the veggies I eat, too, and maybe try a few new ones.  We'll see how I do!

4. I want to eat less sugar.  I already limit the amount of sugar I eat, but this holiday season, I ate more than I wanted, and paid the consequences.  I'd like to avoid added sugars in foods whenever possible, try to sweeten with honey vs. sugar as a personal choice, and only use cane sugar for baking/recipes that need granulated sugars.  I am already making steps in this direction, and it does help me feel better.  I think the hardest thing for me will be avoiding chocolate when I have a craving for it.  I'll have to come up with an alternative that works for me, though it may take awhile.

5. I want to get some form of physical activity daily.  I won't be able to do that outside every day, but I want to do something.  If I sit too much, I get very stiff and sore, so I have to get some form of movement.  I may start walking the stairs inside if nothing else.  We'll see what I come up with.

6. I want to be grateful even when it is hard.  Though I would not consider myself a pessimist, I am not an optimist either.  It is very hard to be grateful for the ugly and difficult things that come into our lives, but I am finding that God works in those things, too, and I should be grateful for them, even if I don't understand why I have to face the hard things.  God is really convicting me about gratitude, so this is the first major thing that I want to work on.  I've already seen Him work in my life greatly when I've decided to be grateful in the hard times, and I plan on sharing more about that later in a future post.

7.  I want to meet my blog posting goals.  I have made some new blog posting goals that require me to post twice a month minimum on here and on Natural and Free.  I'm very excited about these goals, and I hope I can meet them!  I'm going to work hard at it.

That's about it for now.  How are you doing?  Are you reaching your goals?  Have you tried something new?  Come up with a new recipe?  I hope all is going well with you, and I hope you will leave a comment sharing your thoughts and/or goals (with a link to your post, if you wish).  As always, I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and hope you will return soon! :)

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)