Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Giveaway :)

Every health guru needs a great blender. Everything from blending protein smoothies, crushing Kashi GoLean or FiberOne cereal to make your own bread crumbs substitute, chopping veggies, or creaming chickpeas to make your own hummus starts with this one kitchen appliance.

In fact, of all of the appliances in my kitchen, I probably use my blender the most. Recently, I've found one that I really enjoy because of the multiple speeds it includes. Not only does it work as a traditional blender, but it doubles as a food processor. I enjoy it so much that thanks to my friends at CSN Stores, I'm going to kick off 2010 by giving one away! So get ready for your chance to have one arrive in your mailbox!

You can view details of the Hamilton Beach 10-Speed blender by clicking here.

Everyone who makes a purchase from in the month of December will be automatically entered in the drawing for the free blender. So if you haven't already ordered something, you have a full week to do so!! I will announce the winner on my blog and on my twitter site ( on January 1, 2010.

It doesn't matter how much your order whether you purchase a $20 box of protein bars or a $250 home fitness system, you are in the drawing! Head to Michelle's Store to get started!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and GOD BLESS YOU!

Also, take a moment to browse all of the CSN Store Websites with the links below. They have awesome stuff at fantastic prices!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oven-Baked Ranch Chicken

I am always looking for healthy recipes that are "man-approved." After some experimenting in the kitchen, I've developed a recipe that I think is going to become one of our family favorites. So far, the winning sides are homemade roasted potato wedges and a garden salad. Enjoy!


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup of Kashi GoLEAN cereal, crushed into bread crumbs
1 package Ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
4 oz. fat free cream cheese


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Use non-fat cooking spray to coat a non-stick pan OR I highly recommend a Pampered Chef baking stone....really helps the flavor soak in!
3. Mix cream cheese, sour cream, and Ranch dressing mix packet together in a bowl.
4. Place aluminum foil on counter and spread out bread crumbs evenly.
4. Use a spoon to coat the chicken breasts with the Ranch/cheese mixture, then dip both sides of the chicken breast into the cereal mix.
7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, and let it cool for 2 minutes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2010 Reading Resolution

According to research done by George Barna, most churchgoing adults:

- Reject the accuracy of the Bible....yet "knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God(B) as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21).

- Reject the existence of Satan....but "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

- Claim that Jesus sinned...however, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

- See no need to evangelize....but that doesn't make much sense because Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

- Believe that good works are one of the keys to God's forgiveness of their sins...yet "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away" (Isaiah 64:6).

- Describe their commitment to Christ as moderate....but we are warned "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16).

Other disturbing findings that document an overall lack of knowledge among churchgoing Christians include the following:

• The most widely known Bible verse among adult and teen believers is “God helps those who help themselves”—which is not actually in the Bible and actually conflicts with the basic message of Scripture.
• Less than one out of every ten believers possess a biblical worldview as the basis for his or her decision-making or behavior.
• When given thirteen basic teachings from the Bible, only 1% of adult believers firmly embraced all thirteen as being biblical perspectives.

The only way to fix the problem of a world that seems to be Biblically illiterate is by reading the Bible...which is why I've committed to reading the Bible all the way through during the year 2010. If you are a female follower of my blog, I'd love for you to join my Ladies iBRAG (Bible Reading Accountability Group on Facebook. Click here to request to join.

Use the discussion board to post questions. I will do my best not only to answer questions, but to post my thoughts as I am reading. I am encouraging each person who joins the group to do the same.

If you've ever tried to read the Bible straight from Genesis - Revelation, you know it can be exhausting....That's why I've selected a plan where each day includes a passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. It should take you about 15 minutes a day to complete.

I can't imagine a better goal for 2010 than to spend each day meditating in His Word, seeking to understand the fullness of God.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Protein Bars

If you're like me, you're pretty picky about protein bars. There are few things more frustrating then heading to the store to discover the only kind of bar you like is out of stock....or reaching into your pantry to discover your husband ate the last one, and the only place you can order your bars is online. With my strenuous training schedule, protein bars are critical to my diet plan because they not only help fuel my workouts, but they help me make sure I am consuming enough calories so my workouts only burn carbohydrates and fat -- not muscle (protein).

Yesterday, I played around in my kitchen with ingredients I had, attempting to make my own protein bars. I was extremely pleased with the result. Sure, it's convenient to purchase protein bars rather than make them myself, but these are worth the trouble! Enjoy!


1/2 cups oats
2 cups Kashi GoLean cereal
1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
3 egg whites
2 mashed bananas
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons nonfat milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat an 8x8 pan with non-stick spray.

2. Mix the oats, cereal, protein powder and cinnamon. Add peanut butter and stir until well combined. (Sometimes, heating the peanut butter briefly will help it mix better.) Add egg whites, bananas, honey and milk.

3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into 8 bars.

Nutritional Analysis: One bar equals: 180 calories, 3.5g fat, 27g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 17g protein.

I'm still in the experimental phase with these, but I'm thinking so far that it will work best to store them in the freezer and move one bar to the refrigerator to eat that day. I will keep you posted if my method changes!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A CHRISTmas Reminder: Love

A Christmas Adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13

by Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way. Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

*Thanks to Teri Rodgers for passing this along!*

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Choosing Rejection

I am rejected on almost a daily basis. I make it my personal mission to get at least one person off the treadmill and into my class when I teach at the gym. However, this doesn't come without some rolled eyes, rude comments and being obviously ignored.

But it really doesn't bother me. The people who reject me...I don't know what's going on in their life or what their day has been like. What I do know is that I am certified in great formats that promise a better workout than they could do themselves and that the people in my classes would make awesome workout buddies. When they don't come to my class, I don't really focus on their rejection of me. It's not personal. They don't know me. I just regret that they are cheating themselves.

I've developed a similar philosophy with sharing the Gospel. I memorized Luke 10:16 at a young age, so I've always known that when I share the opportunity of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it is rejected, they are not rejecting me, but rejecting God. Yet, I really got a peace in my heart with this issue while reading Acts 18.

Paul was testifying that Jesus was the Son of God in the synagogue at Corinth when the Jews opposed Him and became abusive. Paul "shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, 'Your blood me on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles.' Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshipper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized" (Acts 18:6-7).

Paul didn't waste time arguing with them. He didn't take a long walk to blow off steam and gather his composure. He simply shared what the Lord had laid on his heart in the synagogue. When the Jews rejected him, he simply walked next door and shared with someone else.

While I seem to have a grasp on this type of rejection, there is another rejection that I don't handle as well. It's the rejection of those that are closest to me - whether blood family or friends that are as close as family - that type of rejection crushes my soul. It tears me up so much that almost daily, I pray for peace in my close relationships.

God has blessed me with an incredible support system on this earth, so I haven't had to experience this type of rejection much, but each time it has happened, it rips me apart. The situations vary, but the issue remains the same. Their actions communicate that they value something else more than their relationship with me.

First of all, let me say that I don't expect to be the first priority in anyone's life. God should always come first, and immediate family comes next. I am second priority only to my husband. For everyone else in my life, I fall third or after in their list of priorities. That's not hard for me to deal with. That simply lets me know that their values are in order.

When it gets tough is when the actions of someone I love deeply convey they value me somewhere after having highlighted hair or that can make time for me as long as it is convenient for them. I know for a fact they would never list their priorities this way, but actions prove stronger than words every time. Gandhi was right when he said, "Actions express priorities."

The last time I experienced this, I was praying for someone who had rejected me. Deeply wounded in my heart, I came before the Lord in tears, just praying for the words to say. Wanting the God of comfort, I cried out for His understanding.

I got what I prayed for, but it wasn't what I expected. I wanted His understanding in my personal situation. I wanted empathy for the person who had hurt me, but what I got went way beyond that.

God simply said, "Michelle, the piercing that you feel in your heart right now, that gut-wrenching pain of the rejection of someone that you love so much and feel like you would do anything for...that's just a piece of what you've done to Me."

The rejection I felt was numbed by the guilt of knowing that my Father's words were true. He created a beautiful world for me to live in. He knit me together in my mother's womb and gave me a purpose. And He sent His only Son to die for me.

Yet sometimes, I watch TV in place of having personal time with Him. I save my prayer time until the very end of the day when I am exhausted, and I fall asleep halfway through my first sentence. Or I take time to pray to Him, telling Him everthing I desire, but I immediately move on to the next activity, not leaving time to listen for His reponse.

Now, my personal rejection seemed insignificant in comparison to Jesus' sacrifice. He was cruicified by the very ones He came to save. His closest friends couldn't even stay awake to pray for Him on the hardest day of His life. One of his disciples who had been with him since the beginning of his ministry was willing to betray him for just 30 pieces of silver.

As I child, my pastor frequently reminded us, "If you want to know what your priorities are, check your calendar and check your checkbook." Of course, I would never say out loud that watching 24 or The Office is more important to me than reading God's Word, but sometimes, that's what my actions convey to my God. I would never list working out as more important to me than my relationship with Christ, but in a given month, I wonder what my bank statement shows.

This series of events sparked a conversation between my husband and me about our financial and scheduling decisions. James and I are not financially well off by any stretch of the means. With both of us juggling careers, ministry and the last year of our master's degrees, time is scarce too. And the decisions we make on how to spend our money and our time probably will never make sense to nonbelievers.

But it gets even tougher than that. There are only two categories of people when it comes to God - those who are His children and those who are not. God's Word tells us that the gate that leads to eternal life is narrow, and few will find it (Matthew 7:14). A few verses later, He gives an analogy that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, meaning the way we live our lives is evidence of our relationship with Jesus (Matthew 7:16-20).

In the church, though, we don't talk about that much. We don't dwell on the truth of God's words in Revelation 3:15-16: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

When someone makes a decision to be radically sold out for Jesus Christ, it comes with incredible blessings. Gifts from God trump anything that we could ever recieve from anyone else. But identifying yourself with Him also comes with division (Luke 12:51). Chooisng to follow Christ will not only draw lines between those who are hot and others who are cold, but it will stir up conflicted values and priorities among those who are hot and those who are lukewarm.

I am no longer praying for peace. I am praying that God will kindle a fire in my life and in the lives of my family and friends for Him. We are imperfect people, and it is only in drawing near to the Father and allowing Him to move through us that our hearts will be aligned with His.

I realize that the chance that everyone I am close to having similar convictions is slim to none. But I am praying that I will be strong enough to withstand the rejection when it comes and that I will become more in line with Christ with each day that passes.

Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 4 have challenged me while God has been teaching me about this lately, so I leave you with this passage, hoping His Word speaks to you as it has encouraged me.

So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?