Finding Perfect Peace

You don’t have to look far to find someone who struggles with anxiety.  Maybe you know several people in your church who deal with anxiety.  Maybe it’s someone in your extended family, friends, or work group.  Maybe it’s even someone in your home.  Or perhaps you are like me, and you’ve struggled with anxiety yourself–at least to some extent.

Finding Perfect Peace

According to this article from Elements Behavioral Health, here are 8 “facts” about anxiety and anxiety disorders:

  1. It’s normal to worry or feel anxious about some things in life.
  2. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.
  3. There are many types of anxiety disorders:
    • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
    • Panic disorder
    • Social anxiety disorder
    • Major depressive disorder
    • Phobic disorders
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Separation anxiety disorder
  4. Women have double the risk for anxiety disorders than men do.
  5. Anxiety disorders are often accompanied by other related disorders.
  6. Anxiety can cause or exacerbate physical illnesses.
  7. Anxiety may be hereditary.  (“Many researchers and medical professionals also believe there’s such a thing as inherited anxiety, while others think it has more to do with learned behavior than genetics.”)
  8. Anxiety can be managed and treated effectively.
    • Talk therapy (psychotherapy)
    • Coping strategies
    • Medication
    • Alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture

So apparently, as you probably already knew, anxiety is pretty common.  But what about for Christians?  What does the Bible say about it?

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

“Be anxious for nothing.”  That sounds like a command!  So even if “It’s normal to worry or feel anxious”, God is commanding us not to be anxious.  If you struggle with anxiety, you might be thinking, “Easier said than done!”  I get it, but the Word goes on to tell us what to do instead of being anxious.  (The world call this a “coping mechanism”.)

“In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  Whenever you feel anxious, STOP letting those feelings go through your head.  Get on your knees, if possible, and dive into prayer.  Tell God about all of your anxieties and ask Him for a solution.  Make your requests to God, instead of just worrying about them!  THANK God for being there, for being powerful enough to handle whatever it is that is worrying you.  Say that phrase out loud.  “God, You are strong and powerful.  You can handle this.”  Keep saying that phrase, until you believe it–even if that leaves you saying it for years!

If we do this, the Scripture leaves us with a promise!  “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Wow!  Now, you might be a skeptic.  That’s okay!  God says that you can’t possibly understand this peace, or how this peace is even possible!  You won’t understand it!  Quit trying to rationalize or understand it before you obey God.  You’re not going to understand, but you can begin to believe it if you will obey.  You can believe it, because when you obey–when you take your requests to Him and offer thanksgiving to Him, regardless of how you are feeling–HE WILL ALWAYS FULFILL HIS PROMISE!  If you are faithful to obey, you will experience His peace!  That’s a promise!

Lest you think that this one paragraph is all you have to lean on in Scripture, it’s not.  The Bible gives hope for you all throughout it’s pages.  Now, I’m not going to pretend that there might not be physical or hormonal imbalances that are causing your anxiety.  However, I will still say that God has an answer!  He might help you through His Word AND medicine, or through leading you to change your habits or even by changing the very circumstances that you are in.  Or he could just change your heart to one that is less anxious.  He can do that!  And He will change your heart if you will follow, obey, and seek the things His Scripture says.

Not long before Jesus died, He told His followers, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27)  Jesus left us His peace!

Psalm 94:19 says, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”  When you are anxious, He can comfort you and be a delight to your soul!

Matthew 6:31-34 says, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Do you often get caught up worrying and feeling anxious about tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or even 30 years from now?  When our minds focus on all that has to be done, or all that could possibly go wrong, it’s nearly impossible to find peace.  But when we seek FIRST the things of God’s kingdom, God will take care of us.  He knows our needs.  Let HIM be the One to worry about them.  You just focus on today.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.  Because he trusts in You.”

Is your mind stayed on the Lord?  Stayed.  That word means exactly what it says!  If your mind STAYS on the Lord–and doesn’t wonder from circumstance to emotion to worry to fear–but truly STAYS focused on the Lord, thinking of Him all throughout the day, then God will keep you in PERFECT PEACE.

PERFECT peace?  Not just a little corner of peace or a moment of peace.  Perfect Peace.  He will keep you there.  In perfect peace.  Why?  Because you trust in God.  When you trust in God, you will have peace.

Is your mind stayed on the Lord?  If not, this is where you begin.  Not in life change, or in seeing doctors, or in taking supplements.  God might lead you down that road as you seek Him, but don’t start there.  Start with the Lord, and trust that He is powerful enough to handle anything–even your anxiety.  Trust Him.  When we are weak, He is strong.

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May your day find you in perfect peace, as your mind is stayed on the Lord!

Meal Plan for April 30-May 6

This week, I have NO “extra” plans!  We have church, of course, and I’ll also be getting together with a sweet friend, but nothing “extra” in our schedule!  No big events or dinner parties, no Doctor’s Appointments or meetings….I’m super excited!  Hopefully this time we will all stay healthy, and it will be a wonderful week to focus on homemaking and our family!  (And get back to more blogging!)

 

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Sunday, April 23

  • Beef Stew
    *Recently I made a typical roast for dinner, and afterwards we cut up the pieces and froze it, including the broth.  All I will have to do is dump the bag into my crockpot on Sunday morning, and add a couple of ingredients to it!  Hooray for an easy dinner that will be waiting on us when we get home from church!
  • Garlic Bread

Monday, April 24

Tuesday, April 25Oven Fried Chicken

Wednesday, April 26garlic-pork-roast

Thursday, April 27

Friday, April 28

  • Tacos

Saturday, April 29
Sesame Crusted Chicken

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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FREE PRINTABLES!

meal-planner-image

I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.

Meal Plan for April 23-29

This week is the WORLD’S BIGGEST FISH FRY in our county and I’m so excited!  We’ll get to see the Brett Perkins Band LIVE on Wednesday night, and I’m so excited about it!  Brett, minus his band, came and led worship for my husband’s youth group about a year and a half ago, and he was fantastic.  On top of being an awesome singer and Spirit-led worship leader, he was also a really great guy that both my husband and I really enjoyed getting to know.  It will be awesome to get the chance to see him with his entire band!

Of course we’ll also take the boys to the carnival Thursday night (and their very first experience with carnival rides!), and attend the parade Friday morning.  There are TONS of other events going on as well, but we’re just going to stick to the basics (except we aren’t really fish-eaters, so we’re just going to ignore the whole “fish fry” part of the festival, Ha!).

It looks like we’ll have super warm weather and lots of fun!  I’ve planned only two full meals that will require much cooking, one meal that’s already in my freezer, and then several quick and easy meals to get us through the week.  Thursday before the carnival, we’re going to make some quick tacos and then hopefully enjoy some cotton candy and funnel cakes at the carnival!  I’m sure the boys will LOVE that, LOL!

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Sunday, April 23IMG_9743

Monday, April 24caesar-crusted-chicken-salad

Tuesday, April 25

  • Pizza

Wednesday, April 26

Thursday, April 27

  • Tacos

Friday, April 28venison-diane

Saturday, April 29

  • Sloppy Joes
  • Pinto Beans
  • Chips

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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FREE PRINTABLES!

meal-planner-image

I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.

Today I Have a 3 Year Old!

3 years ago today I got to lay eyes on a precious baby boy that I had waited 41 weeks to see. It was a rough day, and a hard way to enter the world–but he was finally here!

Skin to Skin!

We didn’t yet know that we would have to stay at the hospital for 5 more days, and go back and forth from our room to the NICU to visit him. In spite of the difficulties, he was still the biggest blessing I had ever seen. The day of his birth is a blur to me, but I can remember the coming days clearly–the cords and IVs hooked up to him, the beeping of the monitors, the cuddling him and trying to learn how to nurse him.

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Everything was new, and hard, and yet beautiful at the same time.

At his birth he weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and was 22 inches long.

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Today he weighs 34 pounds, is 39 inches tall, and wears a mix of 3T & 4T clothes and size NINE shoes. (Yes, he still has big feet!)

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He loves trains, puzzles, books, coloring! His favorite shows to watch are Little Einsteins, Chuggington, Paw Patrol, and Go Diego Go. His favorite foods are pizza and tacos, which he asks for several times a day. He loves to talk, make animal sounds, and has been learning his shapes, colors, and letters. He’s doing great! He’s {mostly} potty-trained, sleeps in a big boy bed, and can even clean his room {sort of}. We are very proud of him and the boy he is growing up to be!

Nathanael Birthday Collage

Happy Birthday Nathanael!
Mom & Dad love you very much!

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Rachel 🙂  *and Nathanael!

Meal Plan for April 16-22

Happy Resurrection Sunday everyone!  Our church is having a Sunrise Service this morning, and then our family will be hopping over to visit my family’s church for their Morning Worship, and having lunch and an Easter Egg Hunt at my parent’s house with our extended family.  It will be a full and fun day!  Also this week is my son’s third birthday, his 3-year well check at the pediatrician, and our monthly MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) meeting!  And…..lots of rain and thunderstorms in the forecast.  Maybe that means we’ll get a lot accomplished in the house?  (We’ll see!)  Since it’s raining though, I did plan for what I hope will be my last “soup day” of this spring!  Check out our menu for this week, and let me know what you’ll be making this week!

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Sunday, April 16

Happy Easter!  We’ll be visiting with my family and enjoying my Mom’s yummy cooking!  🙂

Monday, April 17

Tuesday, April 18

Nathanael turns 3!  He loved—like LOVED–the taco ring I took to our last church potluck, so I’m going to make it again for him!

Wednesday, April 19

  • Beef Roast, Potatoes & Carrots
    (No Recipe Needed.  Add Salt, Pepper, & Garlic.  Cook in the Crockpot on High for 5 Hours)
  • Rolls

Thursday, April 20

  • Beef Stew (Made from Leftover Roast from Wednesday)
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Friday, April 21

  • DeerBQ (From Freezer) Sandwiches
  • Chips

Saturday, April 22

Breakfast for Dinner!

  • Biscuits & Gravy
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Sausage

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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FREE PRINTABLES!

meal-planner-image

I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.

Creating a Space for Guests

We recently moved our two boys into the same room, so our “nursery” became kind of an empty space.  Then, my parents gifted us their mattresses that were still fairly new–and we were left with TWO sets of Queen-size mattresses for our bedroom.  So, I got this great idea to turn Joshua’s nursery into a guest room.  It was perfect timing, too, because for Revival we invited the guest pastor’s family to stay in our home!

Space for Guests

Here’s how we took just a set of mattresses and turned it into a guest room:

1. We used pieces of furniture we already had!

  • The dresser that had been Joshua’s changing table still worked perfectly as a dresser.
    IMG_9843
  • The night-stand we moved out of Nathanael’s room (to make room for a twin bed in there) paired perfectly with the existing nightstand that was already in Joshua’s room.
  • The nursery rocking chair remained in the corner and served as a perfect place to sit!

2.  We found metal bed-rails.  You can get these at Walmart for pretty cheap, but we were blessed by having a friend offer some that she had in storage!  They work great!  A headboard would look nice, but the room still looks nice without it.

3. We found art for the walls:

  • This piece was one of FIVE free Scripture art prints that I received for registering early for an online homemaking conference last year!
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  • I picked this one up at a local consignment sale for about $10.
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  • I bought this beautiful hanging last fall at a local festival.  My intent is to use it someday if/when we have a daughter.  I’d love to do a girl’s nursery with birds and bird houses!  It has been in storage since then, so I might as well use it!  (It’s actually a little brighter than this picture shows.  You can see the color better in the picture of the dresser above.)
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4.  I bought bedding.  We got ours off of Amazon and it was here in 2 days!

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5. I added some nice touches for our guests:

  • Joshua had a CD player that was for lullabies.  I gathered some worship CDs they would be able to enjoy.
  • I found a notepad and pen, in case they needed to write something down.
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  • I moved a cute trash can from under my desk to their room.  I can still use it at my desk whenever we don’t have guests.
  • I picked up some treats ranging from “pretty healthy” all the way down to “junk food” for them.  Since I didn’t know their tastes in snacks, I wanted to make sure they had plenty of options!IMG_9844
  • For fun, I made this card and placed it in their snack basket.  It’s unnecessary, but it has our WiFi password on it (something we know every guest is going to want!), and I felt it added a personal touch.IMG_9845

All in all, the guest room “project” cost us under $100!  Granted, we were blessed by a totally FREE bed, but you can generally find good deals at local consignment sales, auctions, or even Facebook resale pages.  Look around you!  You might be able to make a nice and inviting guest space too, without too much cost or effort!

I’m in LOVE with this guest space!  I’d still like to add a headboard to the bed, and find matching curtains for the 2 windows, but I’m pleased with it and feel that it is an inviting space overall.  Of course, we hope to someday turn it back into a nursery if we’re blessed with a third child, but for now this room is helping us to serve others outside of our family!

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Rachel  🙂

 

Meal Plan for April 9-15

So much for last week being “slow”….  I think God just knew that my schedule would need lots of flexibility!  Ha!  Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of things accomplished for our home, but it was still a fruitful week.  We were able to have some friends over for dinner one evening, do some planning for our upcoming Easter Sunrise Service, and we attended a banquet for a local Christian School.  This next week we have my son’s THIRD birthday party (What?!?!?!), our church’s Easter egg hunt, and we’re attending an Easter play in a nearby town.  We’re excited to celebrate the Resurrection!

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Sunday, April 9

Church Potluck!  I took:

Monday, April 10

  • Leftovers!  “Clean out the fridge!”

Tuesday, April 11

Wednesday, April 12

  • Italian-Seasoned Chicken  (No recipe needed.  I just sprinkle an Italian seasoning packet on a chicken breast and fry it up!)
  • Salad
  • Whole Red Potatoes
  • Rolls

Thursday, April 13

  • Taco Thursday!

Friday, April 14

Nathanael’s 3rd Birthday Party!

  • Pizza!  (His favorite!)
  • Chips
  • Cake
  • Ice Cream

Saturday, April 15

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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FREE PRINTABLES!

meal-planner-image

I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.

Meal Plan for April 2-8

This week I finally have a “slow” week!  Outside of church, we only have one thing on the calendar for the entire week!  I’m excited because I hope to get back to doing all of my routines well.  With Revival and busy weeks leading up to Revival, I am behind on laundry & on decluttering.  This week I’m making the home my top priority!

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Sunday, April 2

  • Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches
    *The last time I made this I slipped some pulled pork into a freezer bag and stored it away in my freezer.  Last night I moved it to the fridge, and it’s defrosted and ready to go this morning!  Super easy meal!
  • Fried Potatoes
  • Baked Beans

Monday, April 3

Tuesday, April 5

Wednesday, April 5

Thursday, April 6

  • Taco Thursday!

Friday, April 7

  • Leftovers-  “Clean out the fridge”

Saturday, April 8

  • We are attending a banquet for a local Christian School!

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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FREE PRINTABLES!

meal-planner-image

I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.

A Desire to See God

Last night at Revival, the preacher talked about Exodus 33, where Moses was asking for God’s presence to be with the Israelites.  After much discussion with God, Moses says “Please, show me Your glory.”  Although God says that no one can see His face and live, Moses is begging to SEE HIM.  So God agrees that Moses can see Him from behind.  He hides Moses in the cleft of the rock, covers him with His hand, and then uncovers Him so that Moses can see His back.

Desire to See God like Moses

At this time, Moses has been meeting with God for a while.  A lot has happened since the burning bush–which I came across in my daily reading this morning.  In Exodus 3, when Moses sees the bush, he was intrigued and wanted to see what “it” was.  God calls to Him and stops him, telling him that he must first take off his sandals.  He then introduces Himself to Moses, saying “I am the God your your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

When Moses hears that this is GOD speaking to Him, the Scripture says “Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Moses was AFRAID.
Afraid to SEE GOD.

Often in Scripture we see the reaction of people being afraid of God, and even of angels.  Since the Fall, man’s natural response to seeing that level of holiness is almost always fear.  Immediately after the fall, we see Adam and Eve–who had previously walked with God often– now hiding themselves from Him.  Mary was afraid when the angel came to tell her that she would give birth to the Son of God.  When Saul met the Lord on the road to Damascus, he was trembling.  Granted, Jesus hadn’t just shown up as a guy walking next to Him.  When Jesus appeared, Saul became blinded by a great light.

At first response, man sees God’s holiness and wants to hide.    In comparison to God’s holiness, we feel guilt.  Shame.  We want to hide.  Even in my own life, when there is sin in my heart–my first response is to close my Bible.  If I’m not willing to give up my sin, I generally don’t want to face God.  And when I do face Him, I come to His Word with a sense of trepidation.  I’m nervous, because I’m expecting His conviction to set in and I know it’s going to change things.  I know it’s going to change me.

So what about Moses?  He started the same as many of these other men and women.  He was afraid to see God.  And just thirty chapters later, He is begging to see Him.  What changed?

A lot happened in those thirty chapters.  Moses had gone to Pharoah asking for his people’s freedom.  God had performed signs and miracles through Moses.  He had sent 10 plagues on the Egyptians, and had saved Israel from the worst of them–via the Passover Lamb.  God had parted the Red Sea to save them.  God had provided water from a rock, and manna from the sky.  Had guided their every step of the way with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  Perhaps it was this myriad of signs that drew Moses to the Lord, but I don’t think so.

I imagine those signs would only further prove the Greatness of God in a way that would leave most of us lying face down on the floor, ready to obey His every command, but still afraid to lift our faces and behold His glory.  I imagine there was something else going on through all of this–something that seemed even MORE miraculous to Moses.  Through all of these signs and wonders, through Moses experiencing the greatness of God, Moses was also given the grand opportunity to meet with God often.

In Exodus 33:8 we see that whenever Moses would go out to the tabernacle to meet with God, “all the people rose and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.”  And as Moses would enter the tabernacle, the people would watch as the pillar of cloud came down to the tabernacle.  There, the Lord would talk with Moses.  And all the people would worship God.  Can you imagine?  All the people would see Moses heading to the tabernacle.  They would ALL quit what they were doing, and watch Moses–knowing that GOD HIMSELF was about to come down.  And though they couldn’t see God through the pillar of cloud, they were able to worship His greatness.  It’s unfathomable to even imagine myself one of those Israelites, nevertheless as Moses!  Can you imagine what was going on in Moses’ heart and mind during those times?  During that walk to the tabernacle?  What was he thinking as he journeyed to the tabernacle?  Was he expecting God to come down and meet Him?  Or did he wonder, “Will God show up this time?”  Obviously we can’t know what he was thinking, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, I can know one thing:  He was able to meet with God, and through that He developed a desire to see Him.

What used to be fear became longing.  The more Moses got to know of the Lord, the more He wanted to SEE HIM.  What had changed?  For Moses, it was more than just the miracles that every other Israelite was a witness to.  For Moses, it was one big change:  Relationship.

Moses had a relationship with the Lord.  He had spent personal time with Him on a consistent basis.  He had experienced God meeting with Him each time He went to the tabernacle.  God was faithful to Moses.  He knew Moses by name. 

How did Moses respond?  With one statement.

“Please, show me Your glory.”

Moses’s response to God’s presence?  He wanted to SEE GOD.  I’m the same way.  In my flesh, I first come to God with nervousness.  Sometimes even fear.  My sinfulness placed beside His holiness is overwhelming.  I feel unworthy to face such a holy God.  But just as God came each time Moses approached the tabernacle, the Holy Spirit is always there when I open His Word.  He lives inside of me, but my sin creates a barrier between me and Him.  When I open His Word, He’s faithful to come to me and help me tear down those walls.  And brick by brick, as He removes the walls of guilt and shame, He creates the same desire in me that He created in Moses.  A desire to SEE HIM.

The more I experience God, the more I WANT to experience God.  The more I know Him, the more I want to know of Him.  His presence in my life, though met with fear, creates a relationship that dispels the fear and replaces it with longing. 

I long to see Him,
and to know Him more.

Do you?  Or have you allowed your fear to keep you from His presence?

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Rachel  🙂

Here’s a song to enjoy:

Meal Plan for March 26-April 1

This week my church is having Revival!  I’m so excited to get to sit and listen to God’s Word FIVE times in the same week!  We’ll also have the guest pastor & his family staying in our home one of the nights (They’ll commute the rest of the week.), so setting a plan for our meals was a bit different!  Some of these meals will be prepared for lunch instead of dinner, but it’s still so helpful to sit down and make a plan–and at least know what to expect in that one area of our world!

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Sunday, March 26

  • Church Potluck!  Since it’s a busy week, I’m keeping it simple and taking some corn flake chews and some rolls.

Monday, March 27  (lunch)

Tuesday, March 28 (lunch)

Wednesday, March 29

  • Leftovers

Thursday, March 30

  • Tacos  (I think Taco Thursdays is becoming a ‘thing’ at my house!)

Friday, March 31

Saturday, April 1

  • Venison Steak Diane
    *I made this a few weeks ago, and my husband called it “gourmet”!  I knew I had to make it again!  I do replace the brandy with apple juice.  I was supposed to make it this past week, but our schedule changed and I wasn’t able to.
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Rolls

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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FREE PRINTABLES!

meal-planner-image

I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.