Chronicles of Kyle

Humble Husband * Fond Father * Enthusiastic Educator * Lover of Life

No S Diet Plus

My No S Diet Results article has gotten quite a bit of traffic and comments. I wrote that piece back in 2018. Some people have asked me if I have still been following the No S Diet guidelines. The simple answer is YES. The realm of possibilities with this protocol are quite endless. What I am currently following is what I, myself, call the No S Diet Plus.

No S Diet Plus

I will make this article brief, as it is simply an insert, to the long, detailed article I initially wrote about the No S Diet. Before I I get started with what currently works for me, let me introduce myself. My name is Kyle Ballou and I am 35 years  old. I am an educator and have three young kids of my own.  A person must eat to live. I get that. However, because I was always so busy, I sometimes ignored this important detail of life. Sometimes I would skip meals altogether and then attempt to catch back up by binge eating and/or eating food that was not wholesome. I became attracted to the No S Diet for it’s sheer simplicity–No Sweets, No Snacks, No Seconds, EXPECT on days that start with S. 🙂  However, I took it up a notch. Read on find out what my  “Plus” is with the No S Diet Plus…

Intermittent Fasting

I have been intrigued with fasting for a while now. There are many ways to go about fasting that can be read HERE. My approach is the 18:6 protocol coupled with the No S Diet. Fast 16 hours, eat during an 8 hour window. Why did I add this part to the diet? A couple of my reasons.

  1. My busy lifestyle had me skipping breakfast anyway, so it was actually natural for me to take in my first meal at 11ish.  My only adjustment was when I stopped eating.  In this case, my fasting window is from 7 PM-11 AM. A big chunk of that fasting window is while I am sleeping.
  2. Fasting has many health benefits that can be read about HERE.

No S Diet Plus Results

Once I added this to my regimen, I have been losing a pound or two a week, like clockwork. My wife also does it and it fits our busy lifestyles so well.  At the end of our fasting window, we are more intentional in making healthy meals because our bodies are ready for them.  With this, you can choose to continue your fast through the weekend or since those are your “S days” (free days) you may decide to forgo the fast on those days and start back Sunday evening into Monday morning.

Disclaimer and Tips

Before starting any type of diet or exercise regimen, it is important to consult with a doctor beforehand.

Another tip is that if you become hungry during your fast, a glass of skim milk always helps satiate me and gets me through any hunger pangs.

Also, diet coupled with exercise is crucial in fast tracking your weight loss endeavors. The 10,000 rule is powerful–10,000 steps a day is a great goal to set for good health. That is all well and good but documentation is the number one thing to hold yourself accountable and consistent. I started off by using  this journal HERE to manually write down my fitness and food journey.

When that became too monotonous,  I turned to a comprehensive health tracker like the one HERE. This gives me a holistic view of my health all the time–diet, heart rate, sleep, exercise, nutrition–a one stop shop for wellness. With this I am quickly able to tweak any part of my lifestyle that could be derailing my efforts.  While this was a bigger investment, I decided to get more serious and not put a price tag on my health.

I only share these two bits of information as what has worked for me in fast tracking my results and is in no way something that has to be purchased but writing activity down does help. Be intentional. 🙂

Give No S Diet Plus a try and see how you like it. Here’s to your great success stories!

Is Qkids Legit?

Well, is Qkids legit? Oftentimes people are leery when others talk about ways to make money online. Rightfully so! I have been part of some of the schemes of “if you scratch my back I will scratch yours” mentality. I have been a part of network marketing programs in which I feel the only reason the person looks to help is because he/she is receiving a hidden benefit for themselves.  The more the prospect sells, the more the person in the upline reaps the benefits. So, when my wife came to me with an opportunity to teach English to Chinese children online, I knew that this offer might be different. Of all people, I knew I could fully trust my wife’s judgement. To read about my whole experience with Qkids, CLICK HERE.

Money Talks

For most people, the legitimacy of something comes down to whether a fair amount of money can be made consistently. The screen shots below are only for informational purposes, but they show my monthly incomes for every month I have been with the Qkids company. It should be noted that amounts some months are far more than others.  This is attributed to the sheer flexibility of the opportunity. I am able to choose the schedule that works best for me and work as little or as much as I like. Read more on that by CLICKING HERE.

Once a person applies and is hired, money starts going into his/her bank account 30 days later. Other opportunities rely on items sold or commissions and take months or years before things come into complete fruition financially. This is different in that you are working with Chinese children from the comforts of your own home with a ready-made presentation. Essentially, you get paid to play and have fun. See my monthly payouts below…

Is Qkids LegitIs Qkids LegitIs Qkids Legit

 

Conclusion

I have been pressured by people who did not have my best interest at heart. To be fully transparent, Qkids does have a referral program. Employees do receive referral money for helping aspiring teachers, interested in making money online from home. There are never pushy sales pitch but only a helping hand if asked. Never once have I pressured anyone to join, but the only people I share my link with are those who have reached out to me first. I believe in the company and its mission.  Plus, they pay consistently by the 15th of every month. Those are the reasons much of this blog is devoted to being a resource to people who wish to take the online ESL teaching route. To take advantage of this opportunity, feel free to APPLY HERE.

Best of luck in your money-making endeavors.

 

Devotion for Today: Matthew 5:13

Devotion for Today

Devotion for Today

The devotion for today is Matthew 5:13. To read last week’s devotion CLICK HEREThe devotion this week really spoke to me. The expression “if your are worth your salt” came to mind for me.

What worth do I have for this world?

Am I a loyal employee and colleague, devoid of gossip?

Do my actions always reflect unconditional love for my spouse?

Do I spend enough time with my kids and set a good example for them?

Are our actions more godly or earthly?

We must be good christian examples if we want to be “worth our salt” with any human being we come in contact with.  Are we walking the walk?

A pinch of salt for a colleague who needs help at work. Some grains of salt for the person wanting to speak about the boss negatively.

A dash of salt with a compliment to your wife about how nice she looks in her new outfit.

A tablespoon of salt for your children to help you with the recipe for supper.

All of the salt you spread adds flavor to your character and the world around you!

When we begin to stray from those positive, Godly aspects of life, we then begin to lose our salty flavor.

Eye Opener

An example of slightly straying was a time, several years ago, when we had some friends over.  Adults sometimes have an occasional adult beverage and casual conversation.  My whole perspective changed, when my daughter approached me and asked what I was drinking. When I told her it was a beer, she asked if she could have a drink. I said “no” and stated that it was only for adults.  She asked why, and I explained that it had alcohol in it and that children should not be drinking alcohol because it is not good for them. Her next question rendered me speechless…

“If alcohol isn’t good for me, then why are you drinking something that is not good for you either?”

From the mouths of babes…

My daughter made a valid point to me that day and she was right. Since then, I have felt convicted. I felt like I lost some credibility with her that day. She looks up to me and has only seen me drink very few times, so when I was drinking something she had not seen very often, it really stood out in her mind. Her question that day was completely innocent and something I needed to hear.

Perhaps I lost a little of my salt that day, but the beauty in all of this is that it does not have to end with that one event. Anyone who strays or loses some of their spiritual brine, by partaking in an earthly time, does not need to feel hopeless.  Every day in a new day and we must make the best of it with the actions we show. Stay salty, my friends. 🙂

To watch some powerful testimonies CLICK HERE.

Devotion For Today: Luke 6:38

 

Devotion for Today

Devotion for Today

The devotion for today is Luke 6:38. To read a little motivation from the last blog post click here. We all have talents and gifts we can bestow on others. Some of us are intimidated by the idea of giving to others. It is not that we are selfish; however, I know sometimes I do not feel worthy nor do I always feel like my cup runs over with talents or gifts that I can pass on to others.  Having said that, God has given each of us gifts that we should outwardly bless others with. We just has to be receptive to the subtle hints and messages He gives us.

I might add that this does not have to be a monetary gift to someone else.  Gifts come in all forms. Some may bless others with music. Others are great communicators. Some are great writers. Others can cook anything you ask them. Whatever the gift and talent may be give it, give it, give it!

No Strings Attached

I will never forget one time when a friend of ours, down on his luck, came to us to borrow some money. We had noticed some changes in his behavior, but he had been so helpful to us, so I was quick to give him the money.  After I gave him the money, I went back inside feeling defeated.

Leah (my wife): Whats wrong?

Me: He just asked me for money. I might as well kiss that goodbye.

Leah: If you are willing to give someone money, Never expect it back. In the end, expecting something back only makes you bitter and defeats the whole purpose.

I feel that this encounter that day was a great reminder for me that if we, as people, feel moved to gift someone money, we should NEVER expect something back in return. That goes for anything.  Don’t give with the intent to receive praise, recognition, or something in return, but know that the Lord will bless those who are willing to give and to serve.

What if I am broke and/or have no talent?

I oftentimes feel this way. I feel that I have no talent nor am I worthy enough to bless someone else.  However, that is my mind only playing games with me. If you are struggling to find what works for you, then simply give others the gift of kindness.  Include others in your day-to-day. Never let someone sit alone. With suicide on the rise more and more every year, goodness is the biggest gift that ALL of us can give. Kind words can be the difference in someone making a poor decision due to a sense of hopelessness or having a more positive outlook. It really can be the difference in saving someone’s life.

For great testimonials and motivation, click here.

Dad Bod Prevention Protocol

Dad Bod Prevention Protocol

This blog post will not be full of fluff. My body is already enough fluff without putting more here. Enter– Dad Bod Prevention Protocol.

This is for men who are tired of a dad bod or men who have bodies softer than than the throw pillow that supports their back, as they plant themselves on the couch.

There were three Ss that came to mind when deciding what I wanted in an exercise routine, since kids, jobs, and other obligations consume much of my time now.

SWEATJust move!

SUSTAINABILITYSomething that won’t make me so miserable that I won’t stick with it.

SIMPLICITYMinimal equipment. Functional fitness that will make me stronger for daily life.

This routine won’t get you show ready, but again, that’s not my intent. Toning is my intent.

Minimum Viable Prevention (MVP)

These exercises can be done daily without any problems. If need be, they can be done every other day, and on off days, walk or jog as far as comfortable.

Push-Ups

1 set of 10

Set-Ups or Crunches

1 set of 10

Repeat this 10x

I kept the rep range low because I am just that out of shape. This was doable for me and something that made me sweat but did not make me question if I would stick with it. A stronger core and a firmer chest are ways to save yourself from full-blown dad bod or soft bod. Possibly not an end all, be all, but a start, nonetheless.

I finish the last part of the routine with either exercise bands or 20 lbs dumbbells.

Flex Curls into Shoulder Press

1 set of 20

Lying Skull Crushers

1 set of 20

Repeat this 5 times

Feeling Super Ambitious?

Put the treadmill on full incline and walk at a moderate pace with light dumbbells for 15 minutes.

Conclusion

That is it. This is not earth shattering stuff, but it is something that absolutely anyone can do daily. But how many will actually commit to the Minimum Viable Prevention daily? I am traditional all the way. If this is done early, one could also do something else of an evening to really up the ante, or this could be done before bed. To add more to the diet side of things, check out my No S Diet Results article. What part of your physical life will you change today? Just move. 🙂

Qkids Teacher Evaluations

Today I want to discuss with you some of my teaching strategies, based on the criteria used for Qkids teacher evaluations. Note: These are my approaches and are not the only ways that a teacher can fulfill lesson expectations. CLICK HERE if interested in starting the path to $20 per hour from the comforts of your own home. If wondering about the hours Qkids offers, CLICK HERE to find out.

Sound Control and Quality

The first Qkids teacher evaluations criterion has to do with sound control. Volume features can be adjusted on the student’s individual screen by hovering the cursor over the student. Parents and students will pay close attention as to whether or not they are able to hear clearly. At the beginning of class, during the greetings, I say hello to all of my students and ask them simple questions. This is a great way to get to know the students personally, but at the same time, I’m indirectly checking to make sure that I can hear them properly and if they can hear me properly. Checking this at the very beginning of class ensures that the lesson will run smoothly. I also check for echoes and any other issues that may hinder the learning process. If I hear echoes, I will lower the student’s volume in hopes that it will go away and will not confuse the other students in class. As the lesson progresses, I will continue to ask students questions individually to make sure that the sound is still at a good quality. Sound is the first step to a successful lesson.

Button and Feature Options

Qkids Button Navigation

These buttons can be accessed in the top right of the screen of the teaching platform.

The next guideline for Qkids teacher evaluations is about the teacher’s proficiency with button navigation. The Qkids platform is robust and has many features to enhance the lesson.

Diamonds

Qkids Diamonds

One thing that students love is the use of diamonds during the lesson as motivation. I always make a point to give all of my students equal amounts of diamonds, so that no one feels left out. Before I give diamonds, I let the students know that that is what is coming their way. Students always seem so appreciative to receive diamonds.

Highlighter

Qkids Highlighter

Another tool that I use often is the highlighter. Simply right click and hold the button down and highlight or circle anything that you feel is important for the students to pay attention to. When you right click and hold the button down you should see a blue line that can bring attention to any part of the lesson that you wish.

Spotlight

Qkids Spotlight

In addition to the highlighter, there is the spotlight. The spotlight darkens the entire screen and allows the teacher to left click with the mouse and put a spotlight on something in particular. For example, if I want the kids to pay attention to an apple among many many other fruits and vegetables, I can use my spotlight to focus on the apple. This is another great option to complement the highlighter feature.

Marker

Qkids Marker

Another feature is the marker. You can click on it and left click your mouse to circle an object or to spell a certain word that may be part of the lesson. This feature requires that the teacher clicks to activate the marker, and when finished, the teacher clicks the X to exit the marker. Only then can other features on the platform be used. This is one thing that I wish could be fixed. I would like to use other features while using the marker, but that is not possible at this time.

Text Board

Qkids Text Box

One of my favorite features of the platform is the text board. Let’s say that a student is having difficulty putting words together to make a sentence. A teacher can use the text board to type the words and create sentences to aid the student to better understand which words to click on his/her end.

Stickers

Qkids Stickers

Another form of motivation are the many stickers that a teacher can give the student throughout the lesson and at the end of the lesson to finish up. Stickers at the beginning of the lesson are also a great icebreaker to bring humor and style to the lesson. A new teacher should familiarize himself/herself with the various stickers that students may request. Sometimes students may be difficult to understand, so it is important to have familiarity with all of the sticker options.

Productive Learning Setting

Next is a productive learning setting. There are many ways to achieve a productive learning setting. In my case, I make sure that I am familiar with the lessons before. I think about what creative ways I can present the words and sentences, so that it will be fun to the students. Oftentimes I will make sure that I have plenty of props to model in order to ensure student understanding. I also have an approach of student speak/teacher listen. By this, I mean that I allow the students to look at the words or sentences and attempt to say the words or sentences first. I then listen to the student and give the student praise or feedback as needed. If I offer feedback, I use plenty of gestures by pointing to my mouth when I say the word to prompt speaking, and then I hold my hand up to my ear for the student to repeat what I have said. In my experience, parents like this much more than when I speak first and the student repeats after me. This small tweak has increased the rigor for English language learners. Parents also like all of the speaking opportunities that it gives their children. I also find it important during the lesson to stop and compliment the student on how well he or she is doing. This comforts the student and reassures the student that I am pleased. It gives the student the confidence he/she needs to finish strong. These are my main strategies for a productive learning setting. As you can see, I use best practice strategies recommended to me by my mentor and from my own teaching experiences at my brick-and-mortar school.

I also find it important during the lesson to stop and compliment the student on how well he or she is doing. This comforts the student and reassures the student that I am pleased. It gives the student the confidence he/she needs to finish strong. These are my main strategies for a productive learning setting. As you can see, I use best practice strategies recommended to me by my mentor and from my own teaching experiences at my brick-and-mortar school.

Approachable

Parents, students, and Qkids staff also look for whether or not the teacher is approachable during the Qkids teacher evaluations. A smile and kindness go a long way to ensuring a successful lesson and student participation. If a student does not feel that the teacher is approachable, he or she will not give his or her full effort. I feel this is one of my biggest strengths because I value students and families and feel that they are both a blessing. I’m thankful for new relationships with them.

Feedback and Emphasis

Feedback and emphasis are also valued by students and parents. I always allow the student to attempt the word or sentence first and then I listen and provide feedback as needed. When the student reads a sentence, I listen to every word that the student says from the sentence. If the student leaves out a word or mispronounces a word, I kindly repeat or emphasize that part of the sentence and prompt the student to repeat after me. Parents really appreciate when teachers take the time to do this because they feel that it is a bang for their buck. Parents are paying for their child to be taught proper English and sometimes that requires feedback an emphasis when needed. Sometimes a student’s accent is heavy and it requires some corrections. This oftentimes comes in the form of repeating the sentence and emphasizing the words the student missed.

Fairness

Another part of the evaluation instrument is simply fairness. I always try to give students equal amounts of diamonds. Students have equal amounts of speaking opportunities. I call students by their first names or the names they have designated. If I give one student praise, I give all students praise. Equality is a major part of success in the online ESL classroom.

Professional Presentation

In addition to the previously mentioned Qkids teacher evaluations criteria, next comes professionalism. This takes many forms. For example, the teacher must always be professional with students and parents and how they redirect them and communicate with them. The teacher must be tactful in the messages and reports they write about the student, so that the message is understandable and applicable for the student and families to improve. There must be also a clear communication with class coordination to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met and that all issues, big or small, are documented and reported. If it crosses your mind and is a question, it is always wise to consult with your superiors to make sure they know, in case a complaint arises or the family may have questions. I try to be mindful that all families are not proficient in English, so I write as clearly and concisely as possible for them to understand. Sometimes if I have concerns that a family might not understand what I am communicating with them, I will contact class of coordination for further assistance.

Student Emotional Support

Next in the Qkids teacher evaluations is student emotional support. Some days students are very emotional and need that extra push. This can come in the form of diamonds, stickers, or simply words of encouragement that everything will be okay and that the student is doing a great job. Along with fairness, I feel that student emotional support is one of my strengths, as I can always seem to make students smile, even when they are having a bad day.

Student Participation

The next thing that students and parents look for is student participation. Are all students participating the way they should? If I have four students in a class, sometimes I will mute all but one student and give that student an opportunity to say the words and sentences. Then, I will go on to the remainder of the students to give them equal opportunities to participate. I feel this is important when you have groups because some shy students will try to blend in and not participate as much. Even during group games I like to focus on individual students to make sure that everyone is participating.

Teacher Language Use

Teacher language use is also valued by parents and students. I try my best to use simple sentences that are clear to English language learners. Speaking at a slow pace helps students to more easily follow the lesson content. I use hand gestures, pointing to my mouth, and holding my hand to my ear to prompt students.

Interaction and Communication Style

Last but not least, students and parents value a teacher’s interaction and communication style. Every teacher will be different in how he/she approaches the lesson. That is the beauty of teaching and education is that every teacher has his or her own style. My personal style is offering ample encouragement, plenty of props, and equal opportunity for speaking among all students. If a teacher does these things, it ensures a fun a successful lesson for all students. As you look through the lessons, you will discover your own way of interacting and communicating with students that fits your personality. Use video examples to get an idea, but do not think that is the only way to teach. Develop your own teaching style, based on your own personality. If you try to teach like someone you see in all the videos, it will be mentally draining and will come off as fake and not sincere to who you really are as a person and teacher.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these are all things that students and parents and those who evaluate look for when reviewing our lessons through Qkids. Granted this is a lot of information, most of it is common sense and best practices that anyone can apply. If you think this is something you might be interested in, feel free to click here to apply. CLICK HERE to apply for Qkids today!

Qkids Hours: Which Times Work Best for You?

Qkids Hours…

Potential applicants for Qkids often wonder what the hours are. One apprehension that I often hear is the classes are just too early. In this article, I plan to thoroughly discuss the Qkids hours and hopefully present times that can be beneficial for all. CLICK HERE to register for Qkids today.

Qkids Time Slots: Morning Hours

Morning Hours

It is true that not every person is a morning person. Some can’t fathom getting up at 5 AM to teach ESL classes online to Chinese students. Others enjoy the early classes, as they are able to teach and have the rest of the day ahead of them once they are finished. Note: For the times used in this article, I will be using Central Standard Time, so convert to your time zone accordingly.

Each day of the week, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,  Teachers have the option of teaching four morning classes. Teachers’ morning class times are as follows…

Class 1–5:40-6:10

10-minute break

Class 2–6:20-6:50

10-minute break

Class 3–7:00-7:30

10-minute break

Class 4–7:40-8:10

For the 1v4 classes,  teachers are to end 2 minutes early to do a simple, short evaluation in which the teacher checks  some boxes on student performance. For 1v1 classes, teachers end 6 minutes early to do a written evaluation of the one particular student.

Qkids Time Slots: Evening Hours

Evening Hours

Many teachers would prefer the evening hours, so that they can sleep in. Evening hours offer 5 classes on nights they are offered.  During non-peak season, evening classes are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Class 1–7:40-8:10

10- minute break

Class 2–8:20-8:50

10- minute break

Class 3–9:00-9:30

10- minute break

Class 4–9:40-10:10

10- minute break

Class 5–10:20-10:50

Peak Season Hours

During the peak season, that usually spans from July to August, evening classes are offered each night, along with the same morning class schedule mentioned above.

Qkids Hours Requirements

The minimum requirement to keep employment with the company is 12 classes or 6 hours. In order to obtain the $20 per hour, one must work 15 classes or 7 1/2 hours to get the bonuses needed to bump it up to the $20 per hour.

Conclusion

These minimums are super easy to obtain during summer break, if your primary job is teaching. Having said that, if you are a teacher during the school year or a person with a different job that you report to all year, then you will have to become more creative.  Hopefully by seeing Qkids hours you can get a better idea of what will work best for your own unique schedule.

CLICK HERE to register for Qkids today.

Happy Teaching!

 

Returning to God After Backsliding

Return to the Cross

We have all had our moments. Those times when we have lashed out at someone. We have said things we shouldn’t. Bad thoughts enter our mind. Our actions are sometimes contradictory to how we are most of the time. In life, people are all going to have their vices. I discuss this in my blog post entitled Persevere Throughout the Year. Oftentimes, we become so ashamed when we start backsliding as Christians; however, returning to God after backsliding is easier than one might think. YOU ARE NEVER A LOST CAUSE. Today I share with you some of the key points from the sermon that was delivered at my church yesterday with the addition of how I connected with each of the points. Each point revolves around the initials “HP”.

Honest Prayer

Honesty is the best policy and that is definitely the case when it comes to prayer. Pray for peace and pray for guidance during times of adversity. This morning during holy communion, I left it all at the altar. The Lord already knows, but there is this feeling of peace during prayer that comforts me when I am weary.

The last few months, I have been super frustrated with wanting to provide more for my family but not really knowing where to start. I have wanted to provide more financial security. I have researched and researched various side jobs, but nothing makes sense and nothing seems worth enough money to pull me away from my family more than I already am.

During my search, it has left me feeling overwhelmed and super anxious, which in turn, makes me hard to live with. The very people I am doing the research for are the ones I sometimes take it out on the most. It has also distanced me from my relationship with the Lord.

Today, as I knelt, I teared up because I know that I have strayed from Him. My focus has been less on my spiritual life and more on my personal and professional life. It felt so good to be honest about all of this today–to have honest prayer, which is something I have neglected for such a long time.

Do you personally talk to your Lord and Savior daily?

Heartfelt Penitence

We need to right our wrongs. Saying sorry helps but changed actions heal. A few years ago, a man openly slandered my name to others in the community. He defamed my character and never blinked an eye. People would come and tell me what he was saying. I wanted so much to retaliate physically or confront him. I harbored so much dislike for this individual. However, what I noticed was that it made me physically sick but probably did not even phase him.

Over time, I realized that this type of feeling was simply a curved blade and the feelings I had toward him were coming right back to just hurt me. Once I had this realization, I vowed to bury it. Harboring hatred only led to my spiritual breakdown. Forgive and forget past transgressions and mend broken fences.

Are you willing to forgive and forget?

Humble Persistence

The first two are nothing unless you continue striving for the first two. It is easy to be on fire for the Lord for a week but fall back into the same slump once again.

Be deliberate. A closer relationship with the Lord will mean we make a point to pray and we make a point to shed the chains of hate and wrongdoings.

Not every day will be easy. Some days those negative thoughts will creep back into our minds, but it is important to stomp them at the onset.

The more rocks we carry, the heavier the load is that is ready to break us down.

Persistent positive steps in the right direction become habit over time and catapult us into peace. The same can be said for negative thoughts that mar us in misery.

Are you just a one-week warrior or are you persistent?

Holy Praise

During the good times and bad, praise Him. Simple as that. It is easy to be a fair weather Christian and praise during the good times, but how do we react when life happens?

Sure, holy praise means that you go to church, tithe, and participate whenever the doors are open. However, I feel that holy praise also entails allowing the Lord to shine through us in all we do and spreading our love for Him to others when opportunities arise. Don’t force feed someone who is not willing to partake of the bread, but always be at the table when opportunity presents itself.

That is not to say that a person needs to go out and do “look at me” deeds, but instead, we should consider ourselves second. Be of service to others. Consistently help others. CLICK HERE to listen to amazing testimonies of how people across the world, from all walks of life, are placing themselves second and allowing Christ to live through their actions.

Do you praise Him during the sunshine and storms?

Conclusion–Have Peace

These were some nice gentle reminders for me. As I sat in my pew, the four main points were a revival of sorts for me. Are there areas in your life you fall short? It is never too late to steer our lives back in the right direction, and these four principles are a great foundation for change. If you are deliberate in focusing on these areas, one can have peace in his/her life. God Bless all of you. 🙂

Smile Through the Hiccups: Motivation Monday

Life happens. No one is immune to it. The thing to remember is that if you can live through it, use it as a growing experience or just a good laugh. Below is one such instance where it truly shows that we just need to smile through the hiccups. ☺

June 29th, 2017. The following is based on true events. No names or events have been altered in any way…😂

The GPS said that the first day of the trip would be 9 hours. It ended up being 14 hours. Here are a few of the high points:

•We left at 6 AM and I started the day feeling queasy. For some reason, I ate the worst food possible before a trip (Taco Bell) and traveled most of the day with the urge to vomit but never could quite get to that point. That was too bad because I would have felt much better.

•Interstate traffic was bumper to bumper, so the GPS detoured us to places in which I am sure the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was set. 90 miles worth of this type of country, actually. Note: We did manage to travel this stretch of the trip with all of our limbs still intact and we experienced no bodily harm.

•When we got back on I-95, with approximately one hour left of driving, it came a downpour that was comparable to the days of Noah.

The lovely part was that my driver’s side wiper blade quit working during the torrential downpour. We pulled over and tried to let the storm pass before traveling further. The whole time we were terrified that oncoming traffic, some of which did not have their lights on during the terrible conditions, would sideswipe our vehicle.

Once the rain slowed down some, we drove to the next exit three miles away. I had to contort my body the whole time, so that I could view the passenger side of the windshield because that was only wiper that was working. After this experience, I am such a believer in Rain-X!!! If you haven’t tried it, please do because you never know when you might end up in a Kyle Ballou situation. 😂

Thank God we convoyed with my parents because they were a huge help at this juncture of the trip.

•FINALLY, we arrived at the hotel we booked in advance. We could finally get some much needed rest before reaching our destination the following day. BUT this isn’t where the story ends! When we got to the second floor, it smelled of Mexican food, possibly with an extra order of shrimp.

When we opened the door to our room, it smelled like the people before us had just gone to the tanning bed and applied way too much brown sugar tanning lotion.

Despite all of these bizarre smells, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when the circus of roaches, that were so big they had saddles, ran out from under the bed. When we went to the front desk to report the problem, the receptionist already knew what I was going to say. We got a refund and went to a much cleaner hotel.

•Once we had settled in at our new place, I had to go to the van to get a few additional things. After such a long day, I thought I would lighten the mood some. It was 1:30 am and we had made it! Why not offer some comic relief?

I approached the hotel door, and I did what most kids would do. I knocked on the door, pressed my eye against the peep hole, and as the door opened, I planned to fall in and give Leah or one of the girls a hug.

Well, I did just that, but instead of falling into the arms of one of my sweet girls, I nearly fell into the arms of a shirtless, 250 pound, burly, tattooed man, ready to whip my a$&! So thankful he spared my life.

At that point I went back to the correct room and told Leah what had just happened. We both had a great laugh and went to bed.

The next day was much better and that week was wonderful! 🙌🏻😂😳😬
So that’s my story.

Mom’s Pepper Steak: Wondering Wednesday

Mom's Pepper Steak

Greetings to all! On Wondering Wednesday, I usually share something that randomly crosses my mind or that I want to explore further. Lately I have had food on my mind, so I want to share my Mom’s pepper steak recipe that was a go-to when my brother, sister, and I lived at home. We all played sports and were active, so this was a great protein and carbohydrate dish to give us the energy we needed before games and activities. My teammates would also come to the house some, and this is what they usually requested. It is fairly simple to make and feeds quite a few people.

Mom’s Pepper Steak

Ingredients:

  • White Minute Rice
  • 1 or 2 Packs of Cubed Beef Stew Meat/Steak (depending on how meaty you want it)
  • Mushrooms Canned or Fresh (depending on time)
  • Onion
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1/3 C Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 C Worcestershire Sauce
  • A few drips of A.1. Sauce or a little under 1/3 of a cup

Directions:

  1. In a skillet, saute 1/2-3/4 of an onion, a red and green pepper, and fresh mushrooms. Cook until tender and shrunken somewhat.
  2. In a separate skillet, brown the beef stew meat. You may want to half the pieces to cook faster. I use cooking scissors for this.
  3. In a microwave safe container, make six servings of minute rice per the directions on the box. Water should be completely absorbed by the rice. Add a small amount of butter.
  4. Once steps 1-3 are complete, mix all of the ingredients together in a bigger skillet and pour in the sauces and mix it until the sauces are mixed evenly.

Serve with Ritz crackers or some rolls. I also like to add some ranch dressing to the top of mine.

Conclusion

This is one of those nostalgic recipes that takes me back to when I was a kid. While time flies, recipes and great memories of good food and fellowship remain. YUM!

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