Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Bible Verses and a Prayer for Deployment

If you're a long-time reader of Jo, My Gosh! you've probably picked up that I'm Christian, even though I am not typically vocal about my faith on the blog. If you're an even closer reader, you've might know that I'm Lutheran. Faith has always been an important part of my life-- in fact, at one point in my life, I was seriously considering going to seminary to be a pastor-- but it was especially instrumental last year while I tried to keep it together. I've written  before about how wonderful my home church was in welcoming John and supporting him (and me) through that very long, long year. Bible verses were also very important, and as this is Holy Week, I thought this would be a great time to share what helped me, in the hopes that it will be inspirational for you, too.

Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
This one was my all-time favorite while John was deployed. I had it written on a sticky note and taped to my school computer so I saw it at least every hour of the work day.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This is a verse my mom has said since my sisters and I were young kids. It just stuck with me.

Psalm 71:14: ...But as for me, I will always have hope.
One of the boxes I sent John had a little book of encouragement that I put together, and I included this particular verse. Short, sweet, and a wonderful reminder.

Genesis 31:49: ...May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.
The verse is about a stone column called Mizpah and has inspired jewelry for long distance relationships. There are many pieces you can get with this verse on it (and many of them have two parts, so two people can wear it). I did a quick search on Etsy to find handmade Mizpah jewelry, and you can see the choices here.

Psalm 91:11: For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.
This one has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. The wording is beautiful and so powerful! 

Deployment Prayer
One of John's family's friends posted on his wall before he deployed. I thought it was wonderful, so I printed it out and kept it in my wallet (and taped a copy to my work computer, too). Of course, when I got a new wallet this year, I accidentally threw away the poem. I looked through Facebook for almost an hour to find this prayer again because it is my favorite. I can't tell you how many times I read and prayed it last year. For those of you in the midst of or facing deployment, I hope it brings you the same comfort and strength.

Lord and Holy Protector,
you called Abraham and Sarah to leave their homeland
 and to journey away from their own people.
Yet you kept them safe wherever they went.
Protect your children and our friend and loved one
who must now leave to fight in this war.
Walk by his side and calm any fear.
Be his companion and guide his thoughts.
Encircle him with your light and keep him from harm.
And when his service is ended, lead him safely home again.
For you, O God, are our shelter in every storm
and our refuge in times of danger.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

nibblr: A Subscription Box Review (and Free Box for You!)

Disclosure:I received a free product from nibblr for review. I only review and endorse products that I enjoy and believe that my readers will, too. All opinions (even the goofy ones) are my own. 

Before I go any further, let me alert you: there is a very, very cool gift for you (and for every single one of my readers) at the end of this post. (Curious? I hope you are!)

One of the things that John and I are actively trying to do is snack healthier. We are pretty healthy eaters when it comes to lunch-- we love our fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats-- but we fall short when it comes to desserts and snacks. So let's talk snacks and healthy alternatives!

As a snack subscription, nibblr is very similar to MunchIt except that nibblr sends four snack mixes instead of one. They are individually packaged, single-servings that include health and nutritional information on the packaging. These are perfect to throw in a lunch (which I did for John) or a purse (which I did not do for John).  Nibblr has a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly subscription and will ship to your home or place of work. It's a fantastic choice if your workplace only has soda and snack machines! 

My box had four very different mixes that mimicked the four kinds of mixes nibblr has to offer-- fruit, fruit and nut, nuts, and savory sensations. I got to try (from left to right):  A, B, C's (a blend of dried fruits), Sesa-Me & You (almonds dipped in honey and rolled in sesame seeds), Cranberry Crumble (praline, chocolate covered cranberries, and granola pieces), and Turtle Twist (chocolate, walnuts, and caramel).

nibblr has a ton of different mixes, so if you're not thrilled with those, you can check out the others. (And you can rate them according to your taste and interest. That's right, nibblr will send you the snacks that you think are tasty, not just whatever they have available!) I'm particularly fond of the names they've given their snacks... like Cluster's Last Stand and My Week Starts With Sundae.

John and I loved the Cranberry Crumble (the chocolate is so good!), but my hands-down fave was Turtle Twist. How can you not love chocolate and caramel?

John's favorite was Sesa-Me & You-- he was really surprised by how good the combination of honey, almond, and sesame seeds is. In fact, I believe his exact words were, "This is delicious."

So here's your gift from nibblr: Try a free box on nibblr using the exclusive code JOMYGOSH ! No strings attached! To redeem, hop on their website and click the "Subscribe" button. Enter "JOMYGOSH" into the Referral Code box. If you just want to try one box, select "one box" and put your mailing address in. If you would like to order more than one box, you will have input credit card information.
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Guilt-free Seafood Veggie Pasta with Brancott Estate Wines

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Millennial Central for Brancott Estate Wines. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Spring is finally, finally, finally here! I'm not one to complain about winter-- I love it-- but stepping out into the sun yesterday and actually feeling it on my arms was inspirational. (Did I mention that now that my flip-flops are on, they're not coming off until October?)  The beautiful weather has reminded me that-- yes, I can step outside now without freezing! It's time for enjoying dining al fresco again! 

I decided to whip up my own creation that is ready for you to take outside and enjoy. (You might remember that I am a huge fan of making recipes lighter, especially pasta dishes.) This sauce has no fat, sugar, or oil. It's really just all veggies and seafood!  

This recipe serves two, so it's perfect for a springtime date night on your deck, balcony, or at a park. It also goes well with either Brancott Estate Wines-- the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Pino Grigio. Both wines are 20% lighter in calories than other similar wines and they both have light, crisp finishes that just taste like spring and summer. (Dorky, I know, but it's the truth! And, have I mentioned I'm stoked about it being spring?)

I love that this recipe has two choices: spicy or savory? It's the same health, low calorie dish, but you can dress it up two different ways. You decide! 

You'll Need:
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers (2 whole peppers), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 6-8 oz of peeled shrimp
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 1/3 cups penne pasta, uncooked (We used whole wheat penne to make it just a little healthier still.)

  1. Boil water and make penne pasta according to directions. 
  2. As penne pasta is cooking, sautee garlic, onion, red pepper, and green pepper in a pan on medium. 
  3. Add shrimp to veggie mixture and sautee. 
  4. Add diced tomatoes and juice and heat sauce until pasta is ready.
If you are pairing with the Marlborough Pinot Grigio, add salt and pepper to taste and serve. 

If you are pairing with the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc,  add 2 tablespoons of chipotle seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper and stir thoroughly. 

And that's it! Really-- you have just one pot and one pan to clean and a delicious, healthy recipe and wine pairing for a beautiful spring night.

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