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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stay tuned for our Messy Beautiful Love winner!

Just a reminder that yesterday was the cut off for our Messy Beautiful Love giveaway and tomorrow the winner will be announced! Eek! So exciting!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Organized October!

I had quite the fantasy about being home full time and it was pretty parallel to June Cleaver.
My home would be spotless- decluttered and freshly scrubbed all the time. There would be an assortment of fresh baked goods being prepared. Laundry would always be caught up. A meal would be ready for my husband, no matter what shift he would be working.

Then real life hit. Newsflash: infants can be pretty time consuming. There are days I'm nothing more than a vending machine in a rocking chair. So after spending several weeks berating myself for failure to measure up to my own high standards, it was time for a plan! (Again, I love plans. A lot.) I'm currently fine tuning a cleaning routine and I hope to share that with you soon. But I believe the first step to keeping up with the day-to-day is a clean slate.

Enter: The Organized October Challenge.

If all goes as planned (HA!), by Halloween, I'll have tackled all the little things that are keeping the house from truly feeling like an oasis. My problem areas may not be the same as yours, but I encourage you to play along. We can organize our way through October together!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The messy, beautiful truth about marriage

It's no secret that marriage is downright HARD at times. A lifetime of, well, Lifetime movies has left us with huge expectations, but the reality is that we're all married to imperfect people. And like it or not, so are our spouses. But when it's done right, marriage is also incredibly BEAUTIFUL!

You may recall that I've had the incredible privilege to be a part of the launch team for Darlene Schacht's newest book, Messy Beautiful Love. As such, I've had the opportunity to read the book before it is released and I can promise you it is well worth the time to read it! It's so refreshing to find a marriage book that is goes into the messy places and gets brutally honest.

The book starts with an example of a completely broken, messy marriage and the transformation that followed. It goes on to explore what a beautiful marriage looks like and how we can work towards living out Christ's example of love.

A marriage is at its most beautiful when both partners are operating in their roles as demonstrated by Christ's relationship with the church. A husband is to lead and love his wife and a wife is to respect and submit to her husband. (Now, I know the "s" word brings up a lot of hot emotions, but you can read more about biblical submission in the book.) I personally love the example of Peter, the disciple who swore he would always be loyal to Jesus, only to deny even knowing him when things got hard. In the same way, I believe we go into marriage truly intending to be loyal to the end, but then things get hard. We don't take our vows lightly, but oftentimes, life take turns that we couldn't expect.

One particular passage stuck with me, especially for my mission here at Life of a Trooper Wife.
"The world is doing a great job of making your husband feel like a failure already; he doesn't need to hear it from you. What he does need to hear is that he is valued, loved, appreciated and respected for the man that he is."
This is exactly the heart of this page. Our law enforcement heroes face nothing but hate every single day and it only seems to be getting worse. Most of us can't imagine facing the world the way these folks do. Now do you really think they want to spend an entire shift being targeted, hated, spit on, cussed at only to come home and be nagged by their spouses?

Each chapter outlines a different aspect of biblical marriage and closes with a challenge. I'm the kind of girl who needs a plan always. So having these specific challenges is wonderful! It takes the book beyond ideas and helps you put it into action. I've been on a mission the last few weeks to eliminate nagging in my marriage and this book has been a huge tool in working toward my goal. Obviously, I'll never reach perfection and I can promise I'll always have negative days, just like anyone else. Because life is messy. But when I commit to reflecting godliness in my marriage, it's inevitable that we will both reap the benefits.

The principles in this book are so wonderfully backed by scripture and apply to you, regardless of your current status. If you're hoping to be married some day, a newlywed, have been married for 50 years or anywhere in between, you will be bless by this book. Take some time, read it, study it and apply it. You can order through Amazon or Barnes and Noble on September 16!

I hope that even one marriage can be refreshed by the truths in Messy Beautiful Love! I'm praying over each of you, that you'd find the encouragement that you need in these pages!

As a special treat, we're giving away a copy of Messy Beautiful Love to one of our lovely readers! If you're already a fan of Life of a Trooper Wife on Facebook, you've already earned one entry! For bonus entries, refer a friend! Just invite your friends to "like" us on Facebook and earn an additional entry for each one! Just send a Facebook message or email and tell us which friends you invited! Entries will be open until Saturday, September 20 and the winner will be announced first thing Monday morning, the 22nd!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I was provided a copy of this book to promote, but was not compensated for my review.**

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Alice Springs" Chicken and Zucchini "fries"!

Some days, you have a hungry, clingy baby and have leftovers for dinner (for the 3rd day in a row). Some days though, baby cooperates and hubby is home to help keep him entertained and you can actually cook! It's a great feeling! So tonight, we ate like kings! (Or that's how it felt anyway, after so much leftovers.)

I've had this chicken recipe on my Pinterest for years, but only made it once before. I don't know why, because it's DELICIOUS! It does get customized a little bit in this family because we're not big on honey mustard and absolutely refuse mushrooms.
So simple...
Fry up some bacon. (YUM!).

Brown seasoned chicken breasts (I use Mrs. Dash Chicken Salt Free Seasoning Blend 2.4 oz">this seasoning. ) in the leftover bacon grease. (Why is this not done for all chicken ever??)

Whip up some honey mustard sauce. (See? I only made enough to spread, not for dipping like the original recipe says.)

Place your chicken in a pan, spread with honey mustard, top with bacon and shredded cheese. (I prefer to use disposable foil pans for cheesy dishes because who has time to scrape all that melty mess off later??)

Bake through and DEVOUR.

I picked up zucchini a few days ago because somehow we haven't had zucchini all summer and now summer's almost over! But I'm always on the lookout for new ways to cook it. So I read about a dozen different recipes online and fudged up my own version.

Cut the zucchini into strips.
Toss in flour to coat.
Beat an egg with some water to be nice and smooth.
Mix up bread crumbs, salt and your choice of seasonings. (I used a packet of ranch dressing mix.)
Dip the floured zucchini in the egg, then in the bread crumbs.
Place on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 425°.

Crispy, ranchy and perfect!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just a girl with a book and a very special offer

As of today, my husband and I have been married for five years. Not an extraordinarily long time, but we were 19 and 20 when we got married, so we've done a lot of growing and changing together.

I can honestly say that we've had LOTS more happy days together than bad days. Even when life gets ugly, we tend to take on an "us against the world" mentality. Don't think that I'm naive though. Marriage in itself is HARD at times and a police marriage brings a unique set of challenges. When you deal with shift work, over time, missed holidays and special occasions and essentially live as a single parent, it's enough to push anyone to the edge. I hate to admit, but I've let myself get caught up in the negative far too often and my selfishness has caused more arguments that I could count.

"Love is a beautiful thing, but it's messy at times."
Have truer words ever been spoken?

I'm so excited to announce that I've been selected to be a part of the launch team for Darlene Schacht's new book, Messy Beautiful Love! As a Christian wife, it's refreshing to find a book that honestly approaches the messiness of marriage. If we let ourselves be real, we can't help but admit that life gets out of control sometimes and our marriages end up taking the hit.

As a part of the launch team, I've had the privilege to dive into this book before it's released and I'm here to tell you that it is more than worth your time to read it! Darlene's heart-breaking honestly is beautiful and if you take the book to heart, your marriage can be transformed. I haven't finished yet, but I'm loving the journey through it!

The book itself is more than enough, but wait, there's more! Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages will be released on September 16th (so close...eek!), but you can pre-order now! (Follow the link to order!) And anyone who pre-orders the book (paperback or digital copy) gets an incredible freebie package, worth more than $50! Purchasing one copy of the book gets you lots of great tools, but if you purchase five or more copies, you get extra bonuses!

All you have to do to claim your freebies is email with your receipt or confirmation number and how many books you ordered!

If you're thinking that this book is for someone else, someone who's actually in a messy spot right now, please reconsider. You may very well be in a good place today, but God prepares the heart for tomorrow!

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book to review and promote, but am not compensated for my review. This post does contain affiliate links and I may be compensated through those merchants for any purchases made.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Official Page Kick Off (and a special announcement!)

This blog has been around for a few months as I've been getting focused on my real mission behind my writing.

Today, though, I'm so excited to announce that we're officially kicking off! For anyone who's been around up until now, THANK YOU! (Yes, you may say, "I followed her way back when...") And for any newcomers, welcome! You're jumping in at such an exciting time.

First, I'd like to give a little overview of my goal here. I am a trooper wife and I know firsthand the unique struggles and rewards that the law enforcement life brings. My passion is to connect with other law enforcement spouses (although this information can easily relate to anyone!) and share ways to encourage our heroes.

Every day, these men and women are battling evil right here at home. It's no wonder the stress of the job often finds its way home. There's not much I can do to change the nature of my husband's shift, but I can change the nature of our home environment.

My goal is to make our home a haven; a place he can feel safe and relaxed. Each person's idea of a haven will look different, but I'm here to provide ideas to do the same for others in our blue family. By providing recipes (everyone finds comfort in food!), housekeeping tips (a clean, organized home invites relaxation), marriage talk (we could all use pointers there!) and financial advice (have you seen what law enforcement officers bring home?), we can work together to show our heroes our respect and love. The world seems to be getting more hateful by the minute...home needs to be getting more enjoyable at the same pace!

So stay tuned for lots of fun, tips, deals and giveaways! I can also be found and followed on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest so you don't have to miss anything!

As we start this new journey in a brand new month heading into beautiful autumn, we're going to start with a fabulous book deal and freebies! Come back tomorrow for the scoop!

Thank you for joining me on this adventure! ❤