Hummus- Instant Pot

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a hummus connoisseur. 

Boy, do I love hummus. (Understatement of the year)

So when I found out I could make my own hummus at home, quickly, easily, and way more cost efficiently, I couldn’t wait. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound dried garbonzo beans, rinsed
  • 12 cups water
  • Instant Pot
  • Food processor
  • 1/2 cup warm bean cooking liquid
  • 1/4 cup tahini 
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

What you’ll do: 

Rinse beans and discard any stones. Place in Instant Pot along with 12 cups of water. Close lid, make sure steam vent is sealed and set to Manual for 35 minutes.When done, allow Instant Pot to naturally release. 

After steam is released drain beans and reserve 1/2 cup of warm bean cooking liquid. Place the remaining ingredients except olive oil into food processor. Set to mix and add olive oil a teaspoon at a time. Blend until creamy and smooth. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add your own flavor to your hummus. I love to add hot pepper flakes and Chipotle Chili Powder. Serve warm. Store rest in airtight container and refrigerate. 

Enjoy! 

Hardboiled Eggs- Instant Pot

So, not going to lie. When I first heard that people were making hardboiled eggs in their Instant Pot, I thought, ‘Wow, they must be lazy.’ 

(And then I thought, ‘Sounds like my kind of people.’) 

But I quickly realized, ‘they’ were onto something. 

Hardboiled eggs are a staple in my house. I eat them all the time as a quick boost of protein or a fast breakfast on the go. 

But the one thing that sucks about hardboiled eggs is finding the right amount of time to cook them and crossing your fingers that they’ll be easy to peel. 

Now I want you to listen to me. Do yourself a favor and use your Instant Pot to make your hardboiled eggs. Follow this recipe exactly. Because it is perfect. And then you can thank me later by sharing this post with your friends. 

This is the 5-5-5 method. 

And believe me when I tell you that I have tried a dozen of different recipes and times. This is the one that will guarantee you the perfect hardboiled egg.

What you’ll need: 

  • Eggs (I do 8-9 at a time)
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Instant Pot 

What you’ll do:

You’re going to start by placing the rack that comes with the Instant Pot into the bottom of the pot. Add 1 cup of water. Place eggs on top of rack. Close the lid. Make sure steam valve is closed. Set on Manual for 5 minutes. And then you wait. 

When timer goes off, turn off Instant Pot. Set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes and let the Instant Pot naturally release. 
And then you wait some more. 

When timer goes off, turn steam valve to open (Be careful and don’t burn yourself). Once steam is released, open lid. And place eggs into a bowl of ice water immediately. This stops the cooking process and that means no green ring around the yolk. 

Let sit for about 15-20 minutes and then get ready to enjoy the best egg ever. 

Happy

People must think I’m crazy. 

I get that a lot. They take one look at me and they just don’t understand. 

I have been through so much. I have been through hell and back. I have been in constant battle with the enemy. I have a target on my back and I know it. 

I struggle. Everyday I struggle. With life. With finances. With worry. All of it. 

I am not immune to it, I promise. 

So then how am I so darn happy? 

You’d be surprised at how many times people ask me that. 

Well, that’s easy. I’m happy because of Him. 

What you see isn’t me. It’s Him. 

I have spent so much of my life being angry. Feeling sorry for myself. Being jealous. Hating myself. And quite frankly, I’ve had enough. 

Is my life perfect? Not even close, but He is. And because He is, He has graciously given me a heart of gratitude. 

Could I still feel sorry for myself? Absolutely. I busted my butt last month for work. Remember, I work in sales and solely for commission. And when my paycheck didn’t cover the bills this month I could have decided right then and there to be mad. 

And I did. For a little bit, I was mad. But want to know something? No matter how mad I was it still didn’t change the size of my bank account. But it did change my heart of gratitude. 

So I gave it to Him. He knew I was disappointed. He knew I didn’t like my situation, so I gave it to Him and He gave me His peace. 

So remember that when you see this girl. This girl who always seems to have a smile on her face. This girl who is so ‘glass half full’ it can make you sick. Know that you aren’t really looking at this girl, you’re looking at Him.

I would love to pray for you so please send me an email or leave a comment and let me know how I can pray for you today. 

In His Love, 

      Lauren 

Restoration

I’ve asked myself the same question for years, now. 

Because I remember how it felt every time I prayed for it. Because I believed that He could do it. And for a long time, I believed that He would. 

So imagine my surprise when I came home from a 3+ week vacation to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and instead my husband decided to walk out. 

It would be the last time he walked out. 

But even in those moments of not knowing, I knew. I knew that He would fix it. That He would make it better. That we would finally have the marriage that I had dreamed about and worked so hard for. 

I was constantly praying during those next few days. I think I had everyone praying for me. For us. 

So then, why didn’t He restore my marriage? 

He could have. 

He was capable. 

He could hear the desperation in my voice.

I had been faithful, both to Him and to my marriage. 

He knew I didn’t believe in divorce. 

He knew I couldn’t imagine my life without my husband in it. 

He knew the shame I felt as I watched my marriage fall apart and I knew that there was nothing left I could do, and yet, there had been so much that I did to get us there. 

He knew my pain. My loneliness. My frustration. He knew it all. 

He knew what it did to me to feel that rejection. To know that my husband had already found someone else. Someone that he wanted more than me. He knew how that crushed me. How I let it define me. He knew. 

And yet, He chose not to restore my marriage. 

Oh I prayed to give Him the chance to let me give Him glory and honor for the restoration. I told Him repeatedly that I would not take any credit, but instead give it all to Him. 

This was His chance to shine. This was a chance for my friends and my family and for those who didn’t believe in Him to see just exactly what He could do. 

But He never took me up on my offer. Despite my compelling argument.

Instead, He chose not to restore my marriage. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself through all the things I never imagined I would be doing. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself through starting over. He chose to show Himself in blessing me for my faithfulness. Instead, He chose to show Himself in answering my prayer to get me back home. He chose to show Himself through the strength that only He could provide when it came to raising these two kids all by myself. Instead, He chose to show Himself by blessing my business and allowing me to do all the things I loved without having to sacrifice any of it. He chose to show Himself in the way that I had finally fallen in love with who I was, not because of who I am, but because of who He is. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself in my story of love and compassion and forgiveness and grace. 

And with that, He brought Himself the honor and glory that I had so desperately pleaded for, on His behalf. 

Because by not restoring my marriage, He restored me. 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

It Had to End

Earlier this week, when I found myself on the phone talking to my ex there was something different about him.

It wasn’t that we were getting along. It wasn’t that he was finally saying all the things I had wished he had been saying. But it was that he was happy.

He was actually happy.

It had been a long time since I had heard him be that happy. I honestly can’t remember making him that happy in our marriage. I’m sure I did at some point, but he was genuinely happy. 

And it was because of her. 

I know that’s weird of me to talk about, but it was. 

It was her. 

He talked about her and you could hear the smile in his voice. 

I thought I would be upset. That it would hurt. Knowing that it wasn’t me who made him happy, but I realized that wasn’t my job. 

Let me explain.

Did I love my ex? Of course I did, but it was a specific kind of love. 

Oh, I thought we would be together forever. I had invested 10 years of my life into that relationship only to have it end through a text. I spent days and weeks and months analyzing everything I did leading up to that moment. Trying to figure it all out, but I couldn’t.

Until I heard how happy he was.

I know some people get into a relationship that ends and they can’t understand it. They can’t help but claim that it was a waste of their time. 

But I don’t believe that. 

Even though it didn’t work out the way I thought it would, I think it’s better. I think it served it’s purpose. 

Yes, my marriage ended. Yes, it was sad. But look at what has happened because of that. 

And I don’t think it was a waste of time. I think it did what it was supposed to do.

You guys, not only is my ex happy, but I am. I have found this man who is unlike anything I’ve ever known. 

Do I wish I had found him sooner? Of course. I’m crazy about him and now that he’s in my life, I can’t imagine a second without him. 

But the timing was perfect. 

Because not only has God given me an amazing guy, but He made sure to give me my amazing kids. And without my ex, they wouldn’t be here. 

I had to ‘waste that time’ so I could have them. 

Hard to be upset at that, especially as I sit here writing this watching them play on the couch. 

My ex wasn’t the love of my life. And I wasn’t the love of his life either. But what our temporary love did was give me two of the greatest joys I could ever have. 

And who knows, maybe it’s even introduced me to the love of my life. 

Sometimes it can be hard to understand God’s plan. Sometimes it’s hard to think that anything good can come from something that hurt so bad. But you guys, that’s when you go back to my favorite verse of all times and you read it, over and over and over again. 

“In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28

Because had my marriage not ended. I would be miserable. Had my marriage not ended I never would have learned to fall in love with myself. Had my marriage not ended I never would have met the man who has swept me off my feet. Had the marriage not ended I never would have understood the point of it all. 

So see? It had to end. 

Because how else would we have known how to be so happy? 

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

 2 a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 8 a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

More

You wanna know something? There is never going to be enough time with you. 

Like, ever.

The truth is, had I known that it could be this good, I would have waited.

I would have sat on a rock and waited for you. 

Twiddling my thumbs. Patiently, well, almost patiently, waiting for you. 

I wouldn’t have wasted my time on anyone else because, if I’ve learned anything since being with you, it’s that there is never going to be enough time. 

I say that and then I think back to all the time, all the hours, the minutes, the seconds, that I have taken for granted. 

But not with you. 

Because I refuse to take even a single second for granted with you. 

Because I’m convinced there is never going to be enough time with you.

Because I’m only going to say this once. 

This is it.

Even the time it takes to say those 10 words is time that I’m losing with you. 

Because I’m always going to want one more minute. 

Because I’m always going to want one more kiss. 

Or one more chance to put my hand inside of yours.

Because I could wake up to you every morning and fall asleep to you every night and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Because I’m always going to want one more hug. 

One more story. 

One more laugh. 

Because I’m always going to want more. 

More of everything. 

Because there is never going to be enough time with you. 

Love People. Trust God.Β 

I’ve never actually heard the voice of God before. 

I always talk about how He talks to me. It’s never been a voice though. Not His. Well, not what I would imagine His to sound like. But I’ve heard Him speak to me through people. Through books. Through posts on Facebook and Instagram

He can get pretty creative.

This past week I was struggling with insecurities. Lots and lots of insecurities. 

I got so lost in my own head. You ever do that? Start thinking and then suddenly you can’t get out. And then you become your own worst enemy? 

I’ve gotten to the point where I can even see myself doing it. I’m aware that I’m doing it. And yet, I still can’t find my way out. 

So I just stop and pray. And I keep praying. Long enough to distract me. Long enough to let me forget what I was thinking about in the first place.

Over and over, this last week, the enemy tried to make me doubt Him. The enemy convinced me that I needed to find the crisis. That there was a crisis to find and that I was just being naΓ―ve and vulnerable for not knowing that. 

Y’all know how I feel about being vulnerable. 

And just like that, I began to doubt. 

I reached out to my friend. The one I can count on to almost always speak on behalf of Him. That’s how I know. When they both say the same thing. 

I begged her for a word of encouragement. Begged her to help me get out of my own head. 

“Love People. Trust God.”

I studied those four words. I repeated them over and over. 

Love People. Trust God.

Later the next evening I was preparing to do my taxes. This was the first year I would be filing without my ex husband. And I’m not going to lie, I had my hopes on a refund. So you can imagine that when I finished with my taxes and it informed me that I actually owed the government nearly $500, I wasn’t entirely thrilled. 

I texted my ex. Oh, I was ready to have words with him. Because technically, we’re still married. So because we’re still married and we’re filing separately, I don’t qualify for a specific tax credit that I would have if we weren’t legally married. 

But then something strange happened. He called me. I was ready to be angry. But then we just talked. We talked for nearly two hours. We didn’t fight. We didn’t yell. 

We just talked. 

We talked about finalizing the divorce soon. We talked about the new relationships in our lives. We talked about being friends. 

Y’all. This was the man who I hated. The man who broke my heart. The man who has given me every reason to hate him.

And yet, I don’t. 

 Why is that? Yep, you guessed it. 

Love people. Trust God. 

Even if that person is your ex. 

And even if people might not get it. And even if people try to encourage you not to do that with him because of ‘all the things he did to you.’ 

So, I found myself in church the next morning where one of our Bishops was visiting. The first thing he said as he stood in front of our congregation was to expect to hear God talk to us. Not to pray or wonder if He would, but to expect it. 
My ears perked up. I needed God to talk to me. I had been waiting to hear from Him.

I was confused. Confused about the relationship with my ex. Confused about the insecurities I had been feeling. Confused about the reactions from others.

Now, y’all know I love reading the Bible. I love finding God’s truth. I love how it applies to my life. And there are certain books that I’m convinced were written just for me. 
So just imagine my face when I realized the Bishop was going to be leading a sermon on the book of Jonah and that I should expect God to talk to me. 

Through Jonah? Yeah, okay. 

I admit, I’ve never really studied the book of Jonah. I’ve probably only read it once in my Bible in One Year devotional. It is not a book that I would have said could do much for me. 

Boy, was I wrong.

Turns out, the book of Jonah isn’t just about Jonah and the giant fish. But really, it’s about God’s sovereignty, His grace, and His mercy. 

I totally encourage you to open your Bible, today, and read it. 

And when you read it, you’ll see exactly what I saw. 

Love People. Trust God. 

There it was. There He was. 

Now this Bishop could have preached on a thousand things. But that message? That was for me. Oh, I’m sure it applied to other people too. Especially the part where he read the words “Does it do you well to be angry?” 

And the part where he talked to us about holding onto anger. On not forgiving people. 

I’m sure he had everyone’s attention.

But I know that that message was for me. That was God’s voice. That was His reassurance. 

Maybe I do look crazy for forgiving my ex completely and actually wanting to be friends. Maybe it makes no sense from the outside. Maybe you’re right, maybe he does deserve me to hate him. 

But that’s not what God wants. 

I am simply to love people and trust God. 

Even if it makes no sense. Because let’s just remember one other thing. He loves you and I unconditionally. Despite our pasts. Despite those days when we do a terrible job of representing who He is. Despite always falling short. 

Because the truth is, we don’t reap what we sow, right? (Can I get an ‘Amen’?!)

Because we can make the worst decisions our entire lives, but that still doesn’t stop Him from loving us. 

Any of us. 

And if He can love me. I can love people. And trust Him. 

Because, no, it doesn’t do me well to be angry. 

“Why Women Suck”

Just stop already.

I don’t typically use this blog to rant. Or to stand on top of my soap box. But, if I can be honest, enough is enough already.

The other day a friend of mine did a live video on facebook about why women suck. 

Ouch, right?

But here’s the thing. We kind of do. 

Just like my friend, I have had just about enough of this cyber woman bullying that just keeps happening. 

You know what I’m talking about. The women who hide behind a Facebook app and troll their newsfeed looking for anywhere and everywhere that they can share their opinion and why they are right and why they are better than you. 

You know what I’m talking about, right? Maybe you’ve even been guilty of it a few times. 

I will never forget the time that me and the kids had been in a car accident. Hard to believe it will be 3 years ago, next month. I remember being a part of a ‘crunchy mom’ group in Houston. The night of the accident or the next day, I can’t remember, I shared how grateful I was to be alive in the group. And how grateful I was to God for not allowing anything to happen to my kids. 

What happened next was disgusting. 

I was accused of thinking that my kids were better than everyone else’s kids. I was accused of thinking that our lives mattered more than others. I was accused of believing that God loved me and my kids more than the kids He hadn’t saved. 

It got real ugly real fast.

And the truth is, the only way to be offended by what I had posted was to look for it. 

I didn’t think I was better than anyone. I certainly didn’t believe that my kids deserved to live more so than another child, but here I was being attacked and bullied right in the comfort of my own home. 

I felt targeted. Isolated. Confused. Alone. But what I’ve realized almost 3 years later is that this is a common occurrence. 

This happens more often than it should. And it needs to stop.

I don’t want to act like I’m better than anyone. I’ve not always had the nicest things to say about other women. I won’t pretend like I have. And I have been working on that. I have asked God to remove that from my heart. But what I won’t do is bully someone from behind a computer screen. What I won’t do is team up with other women to make someone feel bad. What I won’t do is say something behind my computer screen that I wouldn’t say to their face. 

But what I will do is pray for them. If it’s something serious, I’ll reach out to them privately. If I can’t find it in my heart to say something nice, I’ll pray for myself. If I can’t figure out what to pray, I’ll simply go to Him and ask Him to tell me how I need to pray. 

Because the truth is, I’m not better than anyone else. Neither are you. Let me repeat that, we are not better than anyone else. 

So who cares if someone wore a shirt you didn’t like. Who cares if their makeup made them look ‘cheap’. Who cares if they aren’t feeding their kids gluten free, soy free, non dairy pancakes for breakfast. Who cares if they’re wearing something that you wouldn’t wear. 

Seriously, who cares?! 

Because let me tell you something. Let me give you a little inside tip. When you start pointing out the flaws of others, it’s so you can avoid pointing out the flaws in yourself. I know that because that was me. 

Maybe I wasn’t doing it on Facebook or other social media outlets, but I was doing it in my marriage. I would tell you everything that was wrong with my ex husband. I would tell you everything that he did. And you would agree with me most of the time, but the truth is, I did that because I didn’t want you to see how messed up I was. I didn’t want you to be able to point out my flaws. 

My shortcomings. 

So when you find yourself thinking you’re better than. When you find yourself pointing out the flaws of everyone else. Maybe it’s time you to go to Him and talk to Him about your own flaws. 

Because I’ve said it a thousand times, hurting people hurt people. 

So maybe it’s not that women suck, so much, but maybe it’s that there are a lot of us that are hurting. And maybe, just maybe, we’re the ones hurting ourselves. 

And if that’s true, then I guess we do kind of suck, huh?

Hosea- Week Fifteen

This week’s reading Hosea 14Isaiah 61:1-4Psalm 52

I remember when God first laid it on my heart that I would be ‘leading’ a study on Hosea. 

I begged for any other book in the Bible. I didn’t know Hosea. I wasn’t comfortable talking to anyone about Hosea, but He was adamnet. And if I’ve learned anything over my walk with Christ, it’s that sometimes you just gotta trust Him. 

What a fitting way to end the book of Hosea. Especially in regards to what’s been going on in my life. 

When my ex husband walked out on me in October 2015, I was determined to find love.

At any cost.

I wanted it. I was desperate for it. I craved it. 

I prayed for it.

For over a year, I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t answering me the way I wanted. 

Until I found myself spending new year’s alone. 

I had big plans for the New Year. I had an idea of what it was going to look like. 

But instead, I stayed at home, took a bath, and soaked in the silence. 

It was then that I got it. 

That love that I had so desperately craved for. It was Him.

The feeling of someone loving me in spite of all my brokenness. It was Him.

Oh, I looked for that love everywhere else. 

Everywhere else.

But it was always Him. 

And even if I wasn’t sure, here it is again. As we conclude the book of Hosea and this study. 

Not only did He have me lead on a study about love, but perhaps the greatest love story of all. 

The love He has for us. The kind you can’t earn. The kind you can’t run away from. The kind that just sort of grabs you when you least expect it. 

Because no matter what we do. No matter how much we might not want it. No matter how far we run from it. 

He’s always going to love us. 

Because, if Hosea has taught us anything, it’s that that’s just who He is. 

He is love. And for some crazy reason, He can’t help but love us. 

Lord, thank you for loving us. Thank you for loving us even on the hard days. Thank you for never letting us have anything to do with whether or not you love us. Thank you for being the only constant we can count on. Lord, I pray that anyone who reads these words will know just how loved they are by you. Even on the worst days. Because Lord, your love is unfailing. Your love is constant. And your love is exactly what we crave, even if we don’t know it. I pray these things in your name. Amen. 

Hosea-Week Fourteen

This week’s reading Hosea 13Acts 4:11-121 Corinthians 15:54-56

Okay, is anyone else reading this and thinking ‘Seriously, Israel? Like you still don’t get it?!’

Yeah, me too. 

Or at least I was, until I realized that even on my good days, I still don’t get it. 

Oh, me and Israel have so much in common. More than I’d really care to admit. What about you? 

Yeah, I thought so.

I’m going to share something that I’m not proud of. Something that makes my skin crawl when I even think about it, but it’s something that I think He wants me to share. 

To acknowledge.

Sometimes being a Christian is one of the easiest ‘get out of jail free’ cards there is. 

At least for me.

I can screw up without really having to think about the consequences. Because, well, I’m forgiven. 

If things get tough, I can beg Him to make it better. 

Even if those tough things are my choice. 

Or when life is going good and I don’t think I need Him at all. 

That’s not what this is all about. He doesn’t want that. He wants us. 

He wants the whole package. 

Recently, I started dating someone new. You guys, he’s amazing. He is everything that I could have ever wanted. 

And he’s even things I had no idea I wanted.

See, nothing else felt right before. Oh, I had met some really nice guys. And I desperately wanted things to workout, but they never did. 

Why was that? 

Because they weren’t the whole package. 

If we really want to have a relationship with God. And I mean an actual relationship, not just a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Not just someone to bail us out when we get into trouble. Not just someone we put away when things are going good. But an actual, whole kind of package, relationship with God, we have to include Him in everything. 

We already talked about how much He loves us. We already see that He will never stop pursuing us. Even if it doesn’t make sense, even if we can’t understand it, we can accept it. 

So then it’s our turn. We make the decision to have that relationship. We see how silly Israel looks. We’ve rolled our eyes over and over at the mistakes they keep making, pretending that we would know better, but do we? 

Because I’d like to think that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes as Israel, but given my track record, I’d say we’re pretty much neck and neck. 

But the difference? I get to read about it. I get to see it. God has given me a glimpse into what I need to do to not make the same kinds of mistakes. 

I get His word. 

So now I’m going to give Him this relationship. 

Not because I have to. Because it doesn’t matter what I do. God is God. And He will love me in spite of. But I’m doing it because of that. Because He loves me in spite of. And when you realize just how much He loves you. You can’t help, but to want to love Him back. 

You know, and (try to) be the whole package. 

Lord, I already know I’m going to mess up. There are going to be days when I think I don’t need you. And there are going to be days when I desperately call out your name when I’ve screwed something up. But my prayer to you today, is that those days are few and far between. Help me to be the whole package, Lord. Remind me that I need you. Every hour I need you. In your name, Amen.