Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wanna Try a Crazy Recipe?


My own Cheese-Broccoli Chowder
It's been a blast hearing from the fine folks who've tried the stress-free recipes in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook since its release in November.

Thanks so much for your terrific feedback and kind words - I read each and every comment and am very, very thankful that you take the time out of your busy day to write.

One dear elderly lady named Garnet Edmondson even sent me some interesting and quite unique recipes she had painstakingly copied by hand on index cards. I want to share a few with you today.

Hey, let's make this fun!

I hereby challenge you daring BBFF's (Blessed Blog Friends Forever) to try one of these recipes and send me a photo and the feedback of your fam (provided they live through it). The first ten I receive will be placed in a drawing and the winner will receive an autographed copy of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook PLUS your photo and comments be posted here on my blog for all the world to see.

*Disclaimer: I can't vouch for the quality of these dishes (I haven't tried them yet personally), nor can I claim they're quick and easy like my cookbook recipes; in fact, I'm pretty sure they're the opposite. So enter at your own risk and bon appetite!

This first one is 65 years old and involves a combination  of flavors I would have never imagined:

Tomato Soup Cake

3/4 c. Crisco                                      1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c. sugar                                     1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs                                                1 tsp cloves
1 can tomato soup (11 oz)                 1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda                               3 c. all purpose flour                                            
3/4 c. water                                        1 c. raisins + 1/2 c. chopped nuts

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; sift together dry ingredients and mix with first five, blending well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into greased 9x13 baking pan and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This next one was copied from a 1952 cookbook and doesn't include oven temp or baking time so you'll just have to boldly fly by the seat of your pants:

White Bean Pie

1 1/4 c. cooked white beans forced through a strainer ( Yikes! I don't even own a strainer!)
1/4 c. sugar                                         1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon                                1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger                                      1 slightly beaten egg
7/8 c. part milk, part cream (Deb's note: This would be called half-n-half today and good luck measuring 7/8 of a cup!)   

Mix all together in order given. Bake in a pie tin lined with pie dough. Tastes a lot like pumpkin pie.

And lastly but not leastly, this amazing recipe incorporates ingredients right out of the pages of your Bible. It's at least 70 years old (likely even older) and again, since many older recipes didn't state oven temp or actual baking instructions, you'll have to take your best guess and test with a toothpick. Only attempt if you're fearless and love a creative challenge (might even be fun to try with your kids)!

Scripture Cake (also called Old Testament Fruit Cake)

Amount                    Book                         Chapter                      Verse
4 1/2 c.                  1 Kings                            4                                22
1 c.                        Judges                              5                                25
2 c.                        Jeremiah                          6                                20
2 c.                        1 Samuel                        30                               12
2 c.                        Nahum                             3                               12
2 c.                        Numbers                        17                                 8
2 tsp                      1 Samuel                        14                               25
1 tsp                      Leviticus                          2                               13
6 tsp                      Jeremiah                         17                              11
1/2 c.                     Judges                              4                               19
2 tsp                      Amos                                4                                5
2 tsp                      2 Chronicles                     9                                9

Mix all together and bake slowly in moderate oven (Deb: I would guess this means 350 degrees). 

                                 









Wednesday, December 23, 2015

No Substitutes

Last Christmas as I prepared to host a dinner party, I was in a quandary about what to serve for dessert.

I settled on a low-calorie pie recipe that looked super scrumptious in the magazine photo. All the regular cheesecake ingredients had been replaced with fat-free, sugar-free substitutes, topped with fat-free whipped topping and drizzled with zero-calorie faux fudge sauce.

Hmm. Faux fudge. Shoulda been a red flag.

It turned out gorgeous! I was so proud to be serving my guests such a masterpiece that wouldn't add more wattle to their waddles.

At the first bite, I saw the faces all around the table fall. It tasted like soggy cardboard. Magazine-cover beautiful it might have been, but there's no substitute for the real thing.

Faith can be like that. Many religions look tempting on the outside, but once you get past the fluffy frosting, you find the ingredients have no real substance. They're inferior. Flat. Fake.

Jesus made it very clear that true faith is found only through Him. He, Himself is truth.

And the only way to a living, breathing, dynamic relationship with Papa God is through Jesus. Everything else is just a poor substitute for the real thing.

As worthless in the end as faux fudge.

Wishing you a joy-filled celebration of our Savior's birth this Christmas!


*Adapted from the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook





Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Stress-Saving Tips from YOU

Many thanks to all who entered my recent Cookbook contest; today I'd like to share with you some of the terrific cooking decom-stressing tips submitted by the fine folks who entered the drawing.

If yours isn't included, please forgive me. Wish I could include them all, but I didn't have enough pages.

Once again, congrats to the winners of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook drawing:

Grand prize package: Pamela Black

Autographed cookbooks: Carolyn Law, Sueann Walter, and Cheryl Greene.
(All of you need to get me your mailing addresses ASAP in order to receive your prizes by Christmas!!)

Stress-Saving Tips for the Holidays


  • From Kay: Make anything that freezes well ahead of time. Then you only have to thaw and reheat, or just serve. 
  • From Jen: Use a crock pot or even a few crock pots! Just throw everything in and you don't have a worry for hours. 
  • From Marie: I use lavender essential oil while I'm cooking. It adds to the aroma.
  • From Steph: (this one cracks me up; sounds just me, the sticky note queen!): My fave stress-reducing tip is writing everything down so I don't forget. I hope I didn't miss the giveaway. (Deb's comment: Oops! Forget to write it down, Steph?)
  • From Francie: I make several gluten-free pie crusts a month ahead and freeze them. They're easy to thaw, roll, and fill for my gluten-free grands.
  • From Cathy: I learned this the hard way. Now I make as many dishes as possible 1-3 days ahead of time (and freeze or refrigerate); it it's pies, HIDE THEM! Never will I save everything to make all at once again!
  • From Sandra: I enjoy the holiday with a group of friends - we are all seniors with no local families; each brings a different dish. After eating while talking up a storm, we play games and have a ball. 
  • From Pamela: My favorite way to de-stress for the holy-days is to eat the chocolate I'm baking with. (Deb's comment: Ah, you're a gal after my own heart, Pam!)
  • Also from Pamela: I say a morning prayer each day for the Lord to be with me in all situations that will arise. Keeps my stress level down knowing that I'm too blessed to be stressed in the first place. (Deb's comment: Hey, somebody should write a book with that title!)
  • From Alita: I make big pots of chili or soup in my slow cooker so we always have something to eat on hand without spending a lot of time cooking.
  • Adriana: My family and I make tamales every year, which can be prepared ahead of time. I also shop early in the morning and have everything ready to cook so there's no rushing or stress later. 
  • From Carole: Clean each bowl, utensil, and pan as you go. Then during the meal, you can relax knowing that only what is on the table will need clearing and cleaning. I'm all for enjoying time with family after the meal.   
  • Caroline: My recipe for quick and easy holiday meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350; 2-lbs ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 can onion soup, 1 sleeve salting crackers. Mix all together; I use my hands. Put into a loaf pan and bake about an hour, checking for doneness for the last fifteen minutes (cooking time varies with different ovens). 
Love these, don't you? Anyone have other ideas they'd like to contribute?




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contest Winners Announced!



I'm happy, happy, happy
to announce that the winner of 
the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook
GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE, 
including some of my 
favorite kitchen stress-reducers, 
an autographed copy of the Cookbook,
and
a $25 VISA gift card
is ...

Pamela Black! 

Congrats, Pamela!!!

And the three winners of 
autographed copies of the
award-winning
Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook
are:

Carolyn Law
Sueann Walter and
Cheryl Greene

To receive your prizes
in time for Christmas, 
just email me your mailing address
HERE ASAP


Many thanks to all who entered!

Stay tuned for my next post,
which will feature 
terrific decom-stressors
sent in by you, those who
registered for the contest. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #6

Hey there, BBFF! I'm assuming you made it to this sixth and final tip in my Decom-stress Your Christmas series by reading the previous five posts (if not, there's no time like the present!).

I hope you've enjoyed them, and maybe, just maybe, you've found something helpful. If so, I'd love to hear from you! (Even if not, I'd still love to hear from you!)

So without further ado ...

Stress Buster #6: Family Feud? Change Channels.

Dodge friendly fire. Avoid triggers like politics, religion, and who will inherit Granny's prize pig. Especially if Granny is rockin' out in the heirloom Bentwood. Even if she's not, the birthday celebration of our Savior is not the time or place for a discussion about inheritance issues. If a spat erupts, divert attention elsewhere and turn up the Christmas carols. Music really does calm the savage beast.

Get away from the fray and play. Provide a physical outlet to relieve tension, i.e. a family football game, Frisbee, or horseshoes. Various options in different locations may be a good idea even if your name isn't Hatfield or McCoy.

Plug in a ceasefire. Have on hand funny or beloved Christmas movies to amuse and placate the masses if incompatibility persists. Laughter diffuses tension and puts the jolly back in "Tis the season to be ..."

Thanks again for scarfing this 6-spoonful serial (a little play on words for my word geek buds).

Oh, yeah - be sure to get your name in the hat for the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas prize package drawing ... only ONE DAY LEFT to register! Just hop over to my website DeboraCoty.com and find details for entering on the contest page.

Winners will be announced right here on Thursday. I hope one of them is you!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #5

So glad you're here! This is the fifth of six tips to help decom-stress your Christmas season. I'd love to hear from you if you've had a chance to implement some of the other suggestions (scroll back to see the first four).

Stress Buster #5: Make it a Holy-day, not just a holiday.
Marinate in peace. Tape Philippians 4:6-7 to your bathroom mirror, fridge, and other hot spots where you'll see it frequently: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Ask Papa God for HIS peace. Not the veneer kind the world gives that's dependent on blue skies and tweeting birdies ... the deeper kind that transcends all understanding. Peace in the midst of chaos - how can it be? Yet it truly can. But hey, don't sit around waiting like a lump of linguine for the holiness pot to magically boil and plump you up. Actively practice this acronym:
P: Placing
E: Each
A: Aggravation at
C: Christ's feet,
E: Expectantly. Yes, expect Him to do what He promised in the Philippians 4 passage above ... "And the peace of God ... will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." If you do your part (the first part of the verse: tell Him your needs and pray with heartfelt thanksgiving), He'll do His ... you can count on it.

Take a daily prayer walk. Immerse your senses in Papa's creation and focus on gratitude for everything you see, smell, touch, hear, and feel. Sincerely thank your Heavenly Father for each blessing He's given you, especially the incredible gift of His son.

Grab the popcorn. As a family, watch a quality biblical account of the Christmas story, like "The Nativity Story" (my personal fave). Just watched it last night, in fact, and it set a sweet, sweet holy-day tone that was much needed after being inundated by all the Rudoph's and Frosty's in my face.

Be intentional. Set aside time to pray every day. Make it a priority to communicate with you Savior and draw from His strength. You'll need it when Aunt Bertha arrives.

Celebrate Jesus' birthday. What do you do on your spouse or your precious child's birthday to show he/she is special to you? So why don't you do the same for Jesus? Buy or make a small cake and decorate it as a birthday cake for the babe in the manger (I like to bring the manger scene baby Jesus right to the table, and sometimes I even top the cake with him surrounded by candles). Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and let any children present blow out the candles. Before opening your gifts on Christmas morning, give Baby Jesus a present; have each person write on a piece of paper something in their life they want to give Jesus the following year (such as my pride, temper, talent for yodeling ... wherever your heart leads) and place it in a box with a bow. Present it to the holy child in the stable along with the Wise Men's gifts.

Okay, peeps - one final tip will be coming in a few days. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond; I've enjoyed hearing all the innovative personal stress-saving techniques from those of you entering the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook drawing (register on the contest page of my website, DeboraCoty.com). In fact, I'll be posting many of your great ideas - along with your names - in a post next week, so be sure to tune in!

Oh, yes - for those of you in the Tampa area, I'd love to see you at my Brandon LifeWay book signing this Saturday (12/12/15). Drop by between 10 am - noon to nibble some of the delicious delectables from my award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, and take advantage of the great sale (30% off the day of the signing only) to pick up some terrific Christmas gifts for the stressed ladies on your list.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #4

Welcome to #4 of a series of six tips for decom-stressing your Christmas season. This one you definitely should take personally, girlfriend!

Stress-Buster #4: Take time for YOU
Prevent BOOP (Boiling Oatmeal Overflow Phenomenon). I postulate that women are like little pots of oatmeal. At the beginning of the day, we simmer ... little manageable bubbles of stress rise to the surface and harmlessly dissipate. But as the day progresses, the heat escalates, and the oatmeal boils high and wilder and meaner until it overflows and spoils everything around it with an ugly, nasty mess. The trick is knowing when to remove the pot from the burner. The following suggestions should help you avoid an eruption.

Deep breathing. When you feel tension building, inhale to the slow count of three; exhale at the same pace. Close you eyes and repeat 3 times. Seriously, nothing floods those weary body tissues with rejuvenating oxygen like a few deep cleansing breaths.

Take a grown-up time out. Remove yourself from the source of stress, even if it means finding solitude in the bathroom or a closet for five minutes. Ten is even better. Step outside if you can swing it. Clear your head. Take a few deep breaths. Sip hot tea. Pray. Hum "Joy to the World." Whatever unzips your too-tight attitude.

Schedule quiet time. Remember, ain't nobody happy when you miss your nappy. Schedule a 30-minute (minimum) nap/rest time in the afternoon to revive and refresh. Don't usurp your regrouping time with something "more important." YOU are most important. And don't ever forget it.

Decom-stress with a 6-Pack. Nope, not talking Bud Light here. Take a few minutes to perform the 6-pack of tension-melting stretches found on page 157 of my book, Too Blessed to be Stressed. I honed this 6-pack (that can be performed anywhere, any time) during my 36 years in physical therapy clinics; my patients loved them for providing immediate stress relief. You can also find these simple but effective stretches in an 8-minute video on my website, DeboraCoty.com; click on the Stress-Busters drop box, then Stress Buster #10, "Protecting Our Earth Suits." (Come back and enjoy all the brief videos when you have a free moment.)

Make your car a rolling cathedral. Play uplifting praise or Christmas music during the many hours you're in your car to knock road stress down a notch. Take along a small pad to jot down prayer requests; when you're cut off by a crazy driver or stuck in a traffic jam, pull out your prayer pad and spend productive time praying for the people on your list. And be sure to notate Papa God's answers; you'll have documented proof that He's there, He's aware, and He cares. A wonderful way to morph road rage into prayer and praise.

So, BBFF, that's it for today. Hang tight for Tip #5 coming your way in a few days. Please - feel free to share these posts with your stress-out besties.

Oh, and be sure to register for the awesome prize package in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas Drawing - it's overflowing with my personal favorite kitchen stress-reducing goodies, as well as a $25 Visa card to decom-stress your pocketbook too! Details at my website DeboraCoty.com; click on the Contest dropbox and then the Cookbook Christmas Drawing. Super simple to win, win, win!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #3

Crispy Chicken Salad
Alrighty then - are you ready for the the third of six terrific tips to help decom-stress your Christmas season? (Scroll back for the previous two.)

Stress-Buster #3: Come and Get it! (Food Prep)
Look Ahead. Investing ten minutes of preplanning saves barrels of time ... and craziness. Make a menu plan and shop early to have everything on hand so you can breathe easier. Stock ingredients for your favorite go-to dish just in case. Having a feasible Plan B is a tremendous decom-stresser (believe me, I've had to go to Plan B a few times when a new dish flopped and it's a day-saver).

Determine your meal and cookie ingredient needs then watch for deals. Be flexible; adjust your menu to accommodate sales. For example, if you find a BOGO on peaches, tweak your menu to peach cobbler instead of plum pudding. Little Jack Horner might be disappointed, but he'll get over it.

Gorgeous Grape Salad
Cook ahead. Free yourself up to sit back, relax, and enjoy the holy-day. Many dishes can be assembled and/or cooked ahead of time. Here's a great tip I learned from a professional chef: cook your turkey or ham two days ahead. After the meat has cooled, refrigerate it. Then, the morning of your feast, you'll find the chilled meat slices thinly and beautifully. Place the slices in a baking pan with the broth/juices you saved from baking day (or store-bought broth) and reheat. You'll get the scrumptious aroma of turkey or ham PLUS moist, delicious meat you don't have to tend to.

Another good example of dishes you can prepare ahead is the Gorgeous Grape Salad in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook - it's beautifully festive with red and green grapes coated with a lovely cream cheese sauce and nut topping and will happily hibernate in your fridge up to five days. (By the way, all the dishes on this post can be found in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook - over 100 recipes, each requiring less than 20 minutes prep time!) 

Spend your precious time with guests, not casseroles!

Chocolate Eclair Cake
Host potluck buffets. Don't get crazy and try to do everything yourself. Trust me, nobody minds bringing along a favorite dish - they figure if they hate everything else at least they'll like their own. Do yourself a HUGE favor and delegate food preparation, set-up and clean-up. Really, what else is Cousin Elmer good for?

Paper or Plastic? Yes, please. Both. Snub that dishwasher and buy some pretty but sturdy disposable plates, cups, and tableware. My motto: An ounce of unused dish detergent is worth a pound of Christmas cheer!

Give the gift of giving. Gift each of your immediate family members with favorite restaurant gift cards; take turns treating the fam to a frolicking dinner out during the weeks before and after Christmas. It'll help you and at the same time help your kids learn the joy of treating their loved ones to a meal they provided.


Stay tuned for Tip #4 for Stress-Busting your Holy-days. And in the meantime, register to win a marvelous gift package and FREE copies of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. To enter, just click HERE

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days, Tip #2

Deb's Famous Chicken Salad
Hey there BBFF (Best Blog Friend Forever)! Got some great tips here to help you decom-stress your crazy-busy life during this hectic Christmas season. Scroll back for Stress-Buster #1.

And without further ado, here's the second of a series of 6 forged-in-the-fire tips I think you're gonna find bodaciously invaluable. Please feel free to share this post with your stressed buds.

Stress-Buster #2: Budget - Work it, Baby.
Decide and abide. At the beginning of the season (that would be now!), agree with your spouse - if you have one - upon a reasonable, workable budget; include hidden costs like stamps, grocery bills, and long distance phone charges. Now comes the hard part: STICK to your budget.

Haunt Dollar Tree. Any Dollar Tree junkies out there besides me? I see that hand! If you're not one of us, get on board. Everything's really a dollar ... good, bad, and cha-ching bargains. True, some things are worth only a dollar, but be selective. You can find decent quality gift wrap, tissue, bows, boxes and tags for a fraction of the price you'd spend elsewhere. You might even grab a few stocking stuffers while you're there!

Limbo under the bar. Buy multiple gifts only for children; draw names among adults for one gift each and agree on a price limit ahead of time. Augment with love-gift coupons (see next point).

Offer loving service. Create love-gift coupons promising a specific service you know that specific loved one will appreciate - a foot rub, two weeks off dish duty, an hour of lawn mowing. There's no shelf life in demonstrating your love through customized acts of kindness. It's the gift that keeps on giving long after batteries poop out.

Be blessed, not stressed: online or in bookstores
Make or bake. Use your special skills (stop that snorting!) to create something uniquely handmade: needlepoint, framed photos, pinecone potpourri, reindeer antler hat racks ... wherever your imagination leads. If you're culinarily gifted, bake what I call "growlers" for friends and fam - something yummy with the Christmassy aroma of cinnamon to induce growling stomachs. Or hey, nothing says Merry Christmas like Chocolate Crack! (You can find this simple, tantalizing recipe - called chocolate crack because you can't stop eating it - in my award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook.)

Shop online. Check sites like coupons.com, dealcatcher.com, retailmenot.com, and couponcatcher.com for free printable coupons, reduced prices, and deep discounts on your preferred brands and stores. Many items are cheaper online than in stores and gift-wrapping and/or free delivery may be offered. Here's a great tip for you: Plug "coupons" into your search engine and you'll find great everyday savings resources like coupons.target.com and coupons.walmart.com.

Okay, BBFF, that wraps it up for today, but be sure you've hit the subscribe button on the right side of your screen so you won't miss Stress-Buster #3 later this week.

And register NOW for a chance to win your own Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook and a fabulous gift package including my favorite stress-reducing kitchen items and grocery gift cards (that's $$$) in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas Drawing. Just hop over to the contest page at my website for details on how to enter: http://deboracoty.com

P.S. I'd love to hear from you - got any of your own tried and true stress-busters you'd like to share?


Friday, November 27, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #1

Ho-Ho-Ho!

Do these iconic words from a jolly old elf produce a shiver down your spine instead of a twinkle in your eye?

Yep, many folks agree: Christmas is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it's also the most stressful.

Crazy-busyness can make it feel like just another harried holiday, not a holy-day. Instead of joyfully celebrating the birth of our Savior, we find ourselves screaming at the kids for being kids, resentful that Spouse isn't doing his/her share, angry that we've overspent again this year, and completely ragged out from that intensive last-minute cooking frenzy.

Not exactly the ''silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright" we'd hoped for, is it?

But take heart, my frazzled friend, there's hope. Hope that you can actually enjoy the holy-days; that you can live in the moment, feel the love, and embrace the wonder of the tiny messiah in a manger.

For the next few weeks, I'll be posting some tried and true tips for Decom-stressing your Holy-days ( be sure to hit "subscribe" on the right side of the screen so you won't miss anything). Here's the first Holy-day Stress Buster - please feel free to share the link to this post with your stressed-out friends and fam:

Stress Buster #1: KISS - Keep it Sweet & Simple

Examine your constipated calendar and perform an activities enema. Take ten minutes to sit down with your calendar to prioritize. First, pray: Ask Papa God to give you insight, clarity, and ruthlessness. Then identify the top 3 ministries He has assigned you in this season of your life (priorities will change as your life seasons change, so it's a good idea to re-assess periodically). Take a red marker and slash all activities not conducive to those three priorities. Be bold. Be ruthless. Cancel or postpone everything possible until January. This is your chance to free up yourself to truly experience the joy of the season. Carpe diem (Seize the day)!

Tidy now, deep clean later. No use duplicating your efforts. Your house will succumb to the ravages of Spontaneous Degeneration anyway. Spontaneous Degeneration? That's my Coty Near-Fact of Science that states that an hour after you triumphantly finish slaving over a clean house, mold begins sprouting on shiny faucets, green slime oozes from the vegetable crisper, tiny hairs creep up from the drain and embed themselves in the sink. Clothing magically appears on every piece of sitable furniture and dirty panties peek from behind hampers just in time for the dog to proudly present them to dinner guests. You can't fight Spontaneous Degeneration, but you can choose NOT to stress about it.

Strap on the Wrap. Wrap a few gifts every day instead of piling them like shrines to the clutter god, threatening to avalanche and bury you alive. Wrap, bow, and tag those puppies, then remove them from your too-do pile and line of sight. Ahhh. Stress relief already.

Spotlight center stage. Focus your decorating prowess on the three locations most festivities accentuate - the front door, Christmas tree, and dinner table. A welcoming entrance, festive tree, and creative centerpiece are really all that's necessary to provide your family and guests a very cool Yule.


Okay, BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever), that's all we have room for today; stay tuned for more great tips coming soon.

Oh, and be sure to register NOW for a chance to win a fantastic Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook gift package in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas Drawing.

The grand prize includes my favorite kitchen stress-reducing doodads, an autographed copy of the award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, and gift cards for FREE groceries to try out some of my quick, easy, and delicious recipes.

You can find details on how to enter on the Contest page at my website: http://deboracoty.com/contests-2/too-blessed-to-be-stressed-cookbook-christmas-drawing/


Monday, November 16, 2015

Cookbook Giveaway Winners Announced!

All right! Congrats to:

Diane Stanko
Patty Brooks
Ethel Appenzeller
Pamela Wright
Donna Solze and
Marie Garthwaite

Come on down! (If you're not on this list, don't fret ... keep reading. Another chance to win is right around the corner!)

Okay, so maybe you don't need to go anywhere, but you've just won a free copy of my new Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook! 

What you do need to do is to send me your mailing address and I'll get your prize right out to you. You can PM me on Facebook or drop me a line via my website contact page. So happy that you won - I really think you're gonna LOVE this cookbook!

Over 100 recipes requiring less than 20 minutes hands-on prep time, plus lots of great organizing tips, funny foodie stories, suggested menus, and even premade grocery lists to make your culinary life easier.

I want to thank everyone who entered the Cookbook giveaway and remind you that the fat lady hasn't sung yet! It ain't over folks! Stay tuned for another even BIGGER contest beginning on Black Friday (Nov.27). 

Besides more chances to win copies of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, the grand prize will be a Decom-Stress Your Kitchen prize package containing all kinds of goodies (my personal favorites) to help free up your crazy-busy self and enjoy the holidays. Details will be announced right here a few days before Thanksgiving so be sure to subscribe to my blog if you haven't already.

And by the way, BBFF's (Best Blog Friends Forever), I would greatly appreciate your review of any of my books on Amazon or Goodreads - people really read those reviews and you'd be helping me out immensely (assuming you don't mention that you use my book pages to potty train your puppy!).

Wishing all my BBFF's a Thanksgiving full of gratitude to Papa God, great food, and family warmth!

Love,
Deb

P.S. I'd  LOVE to hear from any of you who try out some of the recipes from my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook for Thanksgiving, like Sweet Potato Dumplings, Carrot-Squash Sensation, or Mudbar Ecstasy to name a few. And hey, be sure to send me a photo if you spatchcock your turkey!
     

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Wee Hours


Whew! I'm dragging. And there's not much I can do about it. Aside from clonking myself over the head with a hammer.

And believe me I've considered it.

About five years ago I asked Papa God for more hours in the day to get things done. He sent me menopause. Now I have half the stinkin' night too.

Insomnia has its good points, I suppose. I sure get a lot done before the sun comes up. Many days I've put in 2-3 hours of work on my writing before most folks get out of bed.

I've witnessed some humdinger sunrises.

I know which streetlights are the best bat hangouts.

Star constellations I never knew existed are now my favorite nightlights.

I've learned there are at least ten shades of quiet.

When you e-mail people at 3 a.m., it's downright shocking how many people write back.

So I'm not alone. There are many of you out there having tea parties in the wee hours. (I'm convinced that phrase was invented by a menopausal woman on a midnight potty run.)

Let me share with you a scripture that gives me comfort in my insomniac affliction: "He awakens me morning by morning. He awakens my ear to hear as a disciple" (Isaiah 50:4-5, NASB).

Makes me wonder if Peter, James, or John were ever awakened from a dead sleep by a grinning Jesus donning his Nike's for a 4 a.m. hike.

At least we're in good company.




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cookbook Giveaway

Releases Nov 1
I'm really excited to announce that my long awaited Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook will hit bookstore shelves in a matter of days!

I want you to be as excited as I am, so I'm GIVING AWAY copies!!

If you’ve been following my blog (if not, subscribe now so you won't miss anything), you know there are already contest winners eagerly awaiting the Nov 1 release date for their free copies of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook

Well guess what? You can be a winner too!

All you have to do is promise you’ll post a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon after you get the Cookbook – I trust you to follow through, of course, BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever) – and drop me an e-mail to that effect. (Click on "e-mail") 

Your name will go into the drawing for SIX happy Cookbook winners, to be announced right here on Monday, Nov 16.

You’ll receive your prize in time to enjoy the awesome Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes, and get a hearty chuckle over the funny holiday stories tucked between recipes like this one:


Chuckle Break: Mystery Guest
From the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook

Don't you just hate it when you overcook your holiday turkey? That shriveled up thigh meat shrinks right up their naked little leg bones till it looks like the bird's wearing high-waters.

One day I was grousing about this very thing to my friend Ruth (who could give Rachel Ray a run for her money in a cook-off), and she suggested I spatchcock my next turkey.

"Um... what?" I asked, thoroughly confused. "Shuttlecock my bird? I don't have a badminton racket big enough to whack a sixteen-pound birdie. Will a tennis racket do?"

"No," she replied, trying to keep a straight face at my ignorance. "Spatchcock. It means remove the backbone and flatten out the turkey so it will cook evenly. The skin turns out crispy and the meat perfect. I won't serve turkey any other way."

I truly thought I was being bamboozled, but when I went online and searched "spatchcock," sure enough there was a video of an aproned man de-backboning a turkey then squashing it flat so the poor thing looked like it flew into the front grill of a semitruck.

So maybe I'll give it a try. And then I can tell everyone we're having a special guest for dinner this Thanksgiving - Alfred Spatchcock. 




  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'd Rather Eat Oatmeal

Floating restaurant in Thailand
My missionary friends Lilli and Rene just got back from Thailand and in honor of the upcoming release of my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, entertained Spouse and me with foodie stories for hours.

In Bankok, they encountered floating markets on wide canals that contained little shoppes and restaurants. The restaurants were quite unique.

Get a load of those squid
Ladies in little skiffs below the platform cooked the food on charcoal and propane grills - shrimp, crab, squid, fish - and passed the plates up to the servers.

My friends didn't know the reasons behind this strange arrangement, but we theorized that maybe in case of fire, they could just shove the skiff out onto the water so not to burn down the entire wooden market.

I know that's why kitchens were often built away from the rest of the house in early America; kitchen fires from wood-burning stoves were rather commonplace and spread too quickly to save the rest of the house.

Fried crickets. Yum, right?

But the most memorable food experience of all was when my friends were served fried crickets. Rene said they're crunchy like chips but have a nasty aftertaste.

Oh. My. Salivating. Glands.

Lilli said she preferred to stay away from any foods that might hop, slide, swim, or squirm off her plate. 

All photos by Rene Palacio
Reminded me of the time Spouse and I traveled to Bavaria and picky me couldn't stomach all the pickled foods (I'm squeamish about vinegar). So I lived off instant oatmeal packets I'd snuck into my luggage from home (just add bottled water, and voila - lunch!).

Come to think of it, I lost 5-lbs on that trip. Maybe I should go to Thailand - I could shed that extra 10-lbs I picked up preparing and tweaking and preparing and tweaking recipes for the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook.

So the moral of this story?

Don't become a missionary (or misson'ry as Lilli says in her lovely South African accent) unless you have an open minded palate or a crate of instant oatmeal.   


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stress-Free Cooking

Look what's hot!  Here's the third video sample of one of the great dishes from my upcoming Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook (releasing Nov 1, 2015). Every recipe requires less than 20 minutes hands-on prep time to help decom-stress your life.

You can preorder the cookbook HERE

You're gonna love Cheese-Broccoli Chowder - so easy to make and deliciously rich. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Some Day

Fascinating Turkey
We were four old friends sitting together in a restaurant catching up over lunch.

Judie enthralled us with exotic tales of her trip to Turkey, which she had always said she'd take some day, and finally did.

Joy's fork paused halfway to her mouth and she pensively said, "Some day. I just read about a woman who always said that some day she'd wear the beautiful nightgowns she received every Christmas.

But that some day never came. When she died, they were all folded neatly in her closet with the tags still on them."

"My aunt did that too," Nancy chimed in. "She always had the most frayed, worn towels hanging in the bathroom, so we gave her set after set of pretty new towels, which she said she'd use some day. We found them all stacked beneath her bed after she was gone."

A long silent moment passed. Then Joy said, "I think we need to break free of that way of thinking ... putting off the best for some day. Some day is now."

She's right.

Saving the best for some day resonated with me. Maybe I got that from my mother, who always dressed like a ragamuffin when company wasn't coming and saved her good clothes until she outgrew them and never got the chance to wear them.

Or maybe I just fancy myself too plain, practical and pragmatic to eat on the good china. So it sits in the china cabinet untouched year after year collecting dust.

Why do we do that? Why do so many of us limp along, making do with second best or even rags in life? I'm not talking about just nightgowns or towels, but jobs, relationships, personal accomplishments ... so many areas in which we give up trying too soon.

Do we not think we're worthy of something better?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stirred, Not Shaken

Our charred porch
"Fire!"

I startled awake from a dead sleep last Sunday afternoon, the word we all dread to hear vibrating through my every molecule.

"Fire!" I heard it again, this time recognizing Chuck's strained voice only a decibel below scream level.

Sitting up and staring dumbly at my surroundings, I groggily realized I was in bed. Then it came back to me - I had been taking a much needed afternoon nap after getting 2 hours of sleep the night before and teaching 9 preschool classes within 3 hours that morning. Ugg. Talk about a lead weight in your head.

What's going on? I thought, still not quite awake. Then I smelled smoke.

I jumped up and ran into the smoke-hazy den, where through the glass porch door, I could see Chuck throwing a bucket of water into the corner. The smoke alarm started screeching. I raced over to the metal porch door, but it was super-heated. Ouch!

Peering through the window onto the porch, I saw glowing embers surrounding a blackened lump that used to be a large potted silk fern. Black soot left a smoke trail up the stucco wall and darkened the white metal ceiling. The floorboards were charred. Chunks of smoldering fiberglass from the four-foot fountain in the corner - the one now sporting a gaping hole in its side - were scattered to the far end of the porch, 30 feet away.

One sizable chunk had adhered itself to a wooden rocking chair leg like one of those cannonball blobs fired at Mr. Incredible on the runway of the secret island computer room. (Now don't tell me you aren't an Elasti-Girl fan - I know you saw that movie!)

We still don't know exactly what happened, but our best guess is that an electrical cord attached to the fountain pump shorted out and somehow caused the potted fern to explode, turning pieces of the fountain into flaming projectiles. By the grace of God (and that is NOT just a flippant expression here), Chuck was home (he usually goes outside to get exercise on Sunday afternoons at that time), sitting in a chair he rarely sits in about as close to the porch as you could get.

He heard the explosion and thought it was a tree falling.(With all the rain we've been getting lately, huge oaks have been falling about every other week.) Then he noticed pretty good sized flames erupting through the glass porch door and started yelling while he ran to grab buckets of water so I would wake up and get the heck out before the house burned down.

Long after Chuck had doused the fire, we were still trembling. What if we hadn't been home when the fern exploded? Two hours earlier or two hours later we would have been gone ... and come back home to a blazing inferno. The entire wooden porch would have ignited quickly, eventually engulfing the house as well. Every single thing we own could be gone. And our sweet little dogs? Can't even go there.

Be still my heart.
This is what a nuked fern looks like.

So you can imagine how immensely grateful we are to Papa God for His mercy and care. I found a new verse I've added to my Life Saver scriptures: "Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Acts 2:25, NIV).

Stirred, yes. Shaken, no. Papa's got our backs.

Now I've just got to figure out how to get the smoke odor out of my sweaters hanging in the closet nearest the porch. I'd really rather not walk around this winter reeking of charred faux fern and molten fiberglass. Ideas, anyone?  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Stress-Free Cooking



I'm sooo excited to share this first short video introducing stress-free cooking recipes from my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, releasing online and in bookstores Nov 1. 

Three additional videos are in production and will be released within the next two months. 

Rachael Ray I'm not, but I do enjoy creating quicker, easier ways of doing all things kitchen like she does. I'd love to hear what you think of my videos! (Always open to improvement!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Near Misses

KaBLAM. Whoa.

That was close.

My nose hairs are standing at attention, my skin is crawling and my teeth are tingling like I just bit into a wad of tin foil.

Ever felt like this?

Living in the lightning capital of the world (Tampa area), I experience this nasty sensation more often than I'd like. And since my sister was knocked senseless by lightning when we were kids, I have more than a healthy respect for those silver bolts of destruction. I have fear.

(Don't worry - my sister recovered. Mostly. Except for her strange chia pet hair and that crazy twitch of her left eyebrow that makes her look like Mr. Spock flirting with a Klingon.)

My neighbor had a near miss recently. During a severe thunder storm, a particularly virulent bolt zig-zagged strategically through the thick leafy canopy of a 50-year-old oak about 15 feet from his house, leaving a clean slice mark on the trunk but largely ignoring the tangle of oak branches while exploding its wrath on the much smaller crepe myrtle sheltered beneath the eaves of the house.

It was like the bolt was aiming. It snaked through and around the branches of the massive oak and the roof of the house sheltering the little bush to zero in on its target. Ka-BLOOEY! Big time.

The poor little crepe myrtle looked like it had jumped right out of its bark. Its branches were splintered into small shards, spread all over the front yard.  

You could only survey the damage and shake your head, pondering all the disastrous could haves.

 Near misses. You've had your share too, haven't you? Maybe not with lightning, but something that was so close to calamity, it frightened the bejeebies out of you. How did you react? Did you dwell on the could haves and allow fear to kidnap your heart?

Or did you open your palms toward heaven and thank your Papa God that He protected you yet again?

I actually do both. What about you? I'd love to hear about your experience with near misses.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Double Blessing Contest Winners!

Many thanks to everyone who entered the Double Double Blessings Blessings Contest!

I was very moved by the double blessings from Papa God that you so graciously shared with me and may possibly include some of them in the Too Blessed to be Stressed Daily Devotional I'm now writing (set to release in 2017).

If my editor chooses yours, you'll receive a free copy of the Devo and your name will be included in the book!

And now ... without further ado, I present the six winners in the drawing for a free copy of the Too Blessed to be Stressed 2016 Planner:

Charmaine Andrews
Pamela Black
Adrianna Fuentes
Kristen Sweat
Ronda Crawford
Karla Hanns

Congrats ladies! Now if you'll just get me your mailing addresses, I'll send your prizes out right away.

Hey BBFF's (Blessed Blog Friends Forever), if you weren't a winner this time, stay tuned for my next great give-away right around the corner.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Winner Dinner!

We're all too blessed to be stressed! 
So last night was our Winner Dinner and we had an absolute blast!

Congrats to grand prize winner Donna and her husband Ish (on far left in photo holding 3-week-old Baby Boy; I'm in the middle, and my daughter and son-in-law are on the right holding 5-week-old Baby Girl).

As you may recall, a few months ago, we had an adoption fund-raising dinner for my daughter's family combined with a drawing for 5 autographed copies of my upcoming Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, which debuts Nov. 1.

Yummy Chocolate Eclair Cake for dessert
All the recipes for the fundraising meal were from the Too Blessed to be Cookbook - Baked Spaghetti, Parmesan Nuggets, and Mudbar Ecstasy were a huge hit! Some excited folks even called the next day begging for more.

The grand prize winner (congrats, Donna!) received a home-cooked dinner with the author (moi!). Once again, the menu consisted of recipes from the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook - Teriyaki Pork, scalloped potatoes, Spinach-Broccoli Surprise, mixed fruit, and for dessert, none other than my ooey, gooey, Chocolate Eclair Cake.
Chili  Dip as our appetizer

Oh, mustn't forget the zesty Chili Dip with Frito Scoops we scarfed as an appetizer.

You know, it was hardly any trouble at all because every recipe in the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook takes less than 20 minutes hands-on prep time. The hardest part was deciding which delicious dishes to serve.

Coming Nov 1, 2015
Yummm. At the end of a great evening with some great folks, in one accord, we all said, "Let's do it again!"


Monday, August 17, 2015

Funny on the Inside

A long lost childhood friend e-mailed me this week. A gal who lived next door for a handful of my pre-teen years. We bummed around together a lot on hot summer days, playing board games, running barefoot, and dipping our toes in the pond behind her house.

My best memories of Ginny involve scarfing a bowl of freshly popped Jiffy Pop swimming in a whole stick of melted butter.

Mmm. Those were the days. No diets, no cares, no cholesterol counts.

Ginny's e-mail said she had recently run across a book called Too Blessed to be Stressed and loved it. She said she'd laughed out loud 3 times in the first 5 pages. Unprecedented. She just had to look me up to see if that Debora Mitchell Coty and I happened to be one and the same. Surely not, right?

I was the one LOLing when she wrote, "Maybe you were funny when we were young, but I don't remember it."

You know, I get that a lot. I guess I'm only funny on paper and not in person because more than once someone who interacts with me in the real world has expressed shock when they find out I write women's humor. Then they read one of my books and say things like, "No way. Wait. You did NOT write this."

Makes me wonder how people perceive me compared to how I perceive myself. Goofy stuff is always bouncing around in my head. I guess the craziness doesn't make it to my face or out my mouth as often as it should. Is there such a thing as a split-end personality?

It's so cool how Papa God starts preparing us for our life ministry from our earliest days.

He began molding me for my ministry when I was just a wee tyke by surrounding me with humor. Mama loved to laugh and make other people laugh (still does at 86) and Daddy was hilarious (and still is at 88) but nobody ever knew it because he was always drowned out by Mama. He was soft-spoken and very quiet around most folks, but at home he displayed a dry, wry wit that I absolutely adored.

He was smart and keen, and could turn a clever phrase better than anybody I've ever met. He was from Georgia (so was Mama) and routinely pronounced everything adorably weird: I peenched the eench worm on the beeeench when I went to wreench (rinse) my hands in the saynk (sink).

I had to become English-backwoods bilingual in order to understand most of my relatives.

My sister, two years older than me, would rather laugh than eat. During the whole of our growing-up years, when we weren't wrestling or fighting over shoes, we were laughing. There was always something to giggle about if you just looked for it.

Then I married Chuck when I was just a big child (age 20) and he is one funny, twisted soul, let me tell you. He still keeps me chuckling 37 years later.

So not surprisingly, I turned out to be a humorist. At least on the inside.

Take a minute and ponder ... what ministry has Papa been preparing you for your whole life? I'd love to hear from you BBFF!






 

I


Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Double Blessing Contest!


Win one of six 2016 Planners!
Okay, BBFF's (Best Blog Friends Forever), I've heard from many of you asking for my new planner, so it is!

In honor of our recent double family baby blessing, I'm giving away SIX copies of my newest literary Baby Blessing - the brand new Too Blessed to be Stressed 2016 Planner! 


My daughter and our double blessing
Just send me a short account of a time in your life that you felt doubly blessed and you'll be entered in the drawing for a Too Blessed to be Stressed 2016 Planner

The winners will be announced on my blog on August 28. (So if you haven't already subscribed to my blog, do it now so you won't miss out on your prize!)

As a double blessing, your story may be chosen to be included in my next book!

So get on it right away and plan (hey, it's a Planner, right?) on enjoying your double double blessing blessing!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Precious in His Sight

Our sweet little Bree-Bree
Hallelujah - she's here!!!

If you've been keeping up with my FB and newsletter posts (and I hope you have!) you know exactly who I'm talking about.

She's been referred to alternately as:
  • Baby #1
  • Girl Baby
  • The firstborn twin from different mothers
She's the tiny but enormous blessing that many of you have helped bring into our family with your prayer support, financial support, and words of constant encouragement.

We are very, very happy as we await the birth of her brother, the other twin from different mothers (Papa God blessed my daughter - who is my best friend as well as backdoor neighbor - with an adopted girl and a biological boy due within 2 weeks of each other). Nothing but joy, joy, joy, singing bluebirds and misty sunbeams. Right?

Well, almost. Sigh.

Alas, isn't there often a fly in the pudding? A rip in your jeans? Someone who throws lightning bolts at your parade?

This particular fly/rip/bolt-heaver was an acquaintance on the tennis court next to mine the day after our precious blessing was born. The very day the adoption papers were signed and sweet Bree-Bree became a forever piece of our hearts.

"So she's adopted, is she?" this woman asked, as soon as I finished gushing out the awesome story of her birth. "Does she, um ... does she look like the rest of you?"

"Well, not exactly," I naively answered. "She's got dark hair and the rest of the family are more blond, but it's no big deal. She'll also probably be quite tall and my side of the fam are all shorties but that's cool with us."

"Dark hair?" the woman continued, glancing around to see who might be listening. She leaned in close. "What about her skin tones?" I honestly had no idea where she was going with this.

"Uh ... I guess she might have a little more olive tones than we marshmallows do." What in the world is she getting at? I thought to myself.

Then she dropped the bomb.

"She's not ... she's not black, is she?"

I swear I felt like someone had socked me in the stomach.

Indignation erupted somewhere in my gut and rage poured of me out before I could stymie it. I don't even remember what all I said, but it was loud and clear and included the fact that my family is colorblind and proud of it and when my daughter and her husband applied to foster and adopt, they prayerfully specified that children of ANY race were more than welcome to be loved and loved and loved some more in their home. We fully expected a child of a different race and we were delighted about it.

As I paused to take a breath, I recalled the pain of the friend who confided that her parents refused to accept the beautiful Latina and African-American daughters she and her husband had adopted. They only sent Christmas and birthday gifts to their four biological children and ignored the other two. At this moment, her pain became my pain.  

I felt disgusted just having this conversation. Are you kidding me? How do people like this sleep at night?

Before me flashed the lovely face of my best friend in college, Nadine, who used to laugh about being able to easily pick me out of the crowd in the photos of her wedding - the only pale face amid hundreds of color.

And my current BFF and heart-sister, Eddie, who is one of my most beloved spiritual mentors. And happens to be black. (By the way, Eddie considers herself black rather than African-American, so on the rare occasion that a label is required, that's how I refer to her too.)

I've decided that if I ever need a racial explanation, I prefer peaches and cream. No. On second thought, make me white chocolate.

I love the way my Indian friend Lali refers to people flavors. She considers herself  "curry" and other races as chocolate (black), vanilla (white), swirl (mixed), salsa (Latina), sushi (Japanese), mango (Filipino), pineapple (Polynesian) ... you get the idea.

Seriously. Why can't we all realize that our different flavors are simply Papa God's way of spicing up our world?

So after I removed my tennis racket from this woman's throat (not really, but I did consider stuffing it where the sun don't shine a time or two) I said a prayer for her. And for me. And for all the children of the world who have to deal with bigotry ... red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.

Jesus loves the little children of the world. And so should we.







Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Make Your Bed


Make your bed.

These are the surprising words that Women of Faith veteran Patsy Clairmont credits with saving her life in her book, Stained Glass Hearts.

Here's her incredible story as I recounted in the chapter of my book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, about dealing with anxiety:

"Patsy, even as a believer, was unable to accept responsibility for running away from people and things that intimidated her. In her mind, her fear-avoidance behavior was always someone else's fault and out of her control. Patsy downed tranquilizers like candy and became drug dependent.

After suffering hundreds of debilitating panic attacks, Patsy finally reached a breaking point. This was not living. She was the equivalent of a breathing corpse. Something had to change.

One morning, while she was hiding beneath her blanket, Patsy heard her Savior's still, small voice whisper three life-changing words to her tormented heart: Make your bed.

No kidding.

Although at first 'Make your bed' didn't sound much like a divine directive from the Master of the universe, it was brilliant, really. So simple ... it was something she could actually do. Patsy felt powerless to address the mountain of problems in her life, but by golly, she could make her bed. And by making her bed, she couldn't still be cowering in it. She had to get up and start putting one shaky foot in front of the other on the long, twisting road back to living."

Make your bed.

Three simple little words. Yet profound healing power is contained therein.

These very words jumped out at me recently while I was reading the story of Peter performing a healing miracle in Jesus' name in Acts 9:33-34.

"And there he [Peter] found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, 'Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise, and make your bed.' And immediately he arose" (NASB).

Funny, I'd read that story dozens of times before but  somehow had never noticed those particular three words. But this time, with Patsy's story fresh in my memory banks, they glowed like neon lights.

Make your bed.

Wow. These simple words were astounding game-changers in the lives of Aeneas and Patsy. So how do these unlikely but powerful words apply to me? How do they apply to you?

Perhaps it has something to do with motivation. With taking the first step away from our stagnancy and moving forward. With shucking our old normal and taking the risk to seek a better normal. With becoming more obedient, courageous, or dependent on Papa's strength rather than our own.

What if complacency is robbing us of the "more" Papa God has in mind for us to be and accomplish before we burst through Heaven's gates?

Or maybe we simply need to change the sheets. Hmm.

Make your bed.

What do you think, BBFF? (Best Blog Friend Forever) How does this three-word mandate apply to you?