The lost art of Forgiveness…let’s bring it back, because it is Beautiful.

Asking for forgiveness is a lost art, I think.  Though it is something we all know about–how rare it is these days.  Sure, we say ‘sorry’ all the time, or at least we should be.  But, when was the last time you actually asked someone, “Will you forgive me?”  And then waited to hear the verdict…”yes” or “no.”  I’m sure the last time I did was in conversation with Petersen, but that was a while ago, and besides him, I can’t think of another time.  It is a hard thing, this “asking for forgiveness.”  But, there is a very real, and very big difference between the two, and  I think it is something worth teaching to our children and perhaps refreshing on ourselves–myself included.

Why is it so hard?  Because we are prideful–I am prideful.  And saying “sorry” is pretty easy–it is one sided.  We can say it, move on, and tell ourselves, “ah, I said sorry, so they should be ok with it and I’ve done my part.”  But there really is something so beautiful in asking for forgiveness.  When you do it, and you put your heart out there to someone else to either accept or deny–talk about being humble and feeling meek.  But, when that someone says “yes, I forgive you,” — wow, there is this relief that happens in my heart.  And, I don’t feel the same when I just say “sorry,” because I wonder if they are forgiving me, like really forgiving me–meaning it is over, it is done.  And, similarly, when Petersen has done something that intentionally hurt me and he just says “I’m sorry,” I may smile, say “ok” and we hug, but a lot of times I still am hurt and a bit mad.  But, when he genuinely humbles himself and asks for forgiveness, I almost feel bad answering “yes” because what was the offense that he’s apologizing and asking forgiveness for, really?  Probably something pretty minor and petty.  But, hurtful nonetheless.  And when this whole exchange of asking and answering happens, our hearts are refreshed and healing starts.

Now, I am not saying that the hurtful thing disappears instantly.  Words and actions hurt, and they can leave deep deep scars.  But, healing can start when forgiveness is involved.

Now, teaching this to our kids can be tricky and takes more effort for sure.  But I truly think it is worth it–oh so worth it.  Because when you start to witness your children asking their siblings for forgiveness on their own–you just might tear up.  Again, I have 5 kids, so I am still teaching this, and will be for a while now.  But, I think my older three (ages 7, 6 and 4) actually understand it.  And, I want them to grow up doing this, so that it is normal and common for them to do–not something foreign; which is how it feels to me, still.  I feel awkward asking for forgiveness and there’s a pit in my stomach.  I was taught to say “sorry,” but I do not remember being taught to actually utter the words, “Will you forgive me?”  What a head start we will give our children for their future spouses!

Saying Sorry vs. Asking for Forgiveness

Saying “I’m sorry” is important.  But this is for accidental hurts, like the other day Lucy threw a ball and it hit Bethany directly in the head.  Made her cry, etc.  Lucy had to say “sorry” to Bethany, no big deal.  They hugged and started playing again.  Or if I bump into someone or step on your foot–“ahh I’m so sorry!”  But, when the hurt to someone else is intentional, there needs to be forgiveness.  Like when Lucy hits Bethany on the head on purpose out of frustration, or when Hannah *gasp* does not get her way and speaks ugly to Mommy or one of her siblings, or when Mommy loses her cool and yells at her children in anger…forgiveness is needed.

Again, this is going to take work and effort on your part, as making your kid just say “sorry” is the quicker and easier way out.  But just last week, Hannah mentioned to me that Bethany was not being very nice to her and was hurting her feelings by the things she was saying.  So, while giving Bethany a bath, I asked her about this and she confessed to me that she had in fact been a little mean to Hannah.  This was SHOCKING to me–as Bethany is my sweet as pie, easy kid.  And I honestly thought Hannah was just trying to get her sister into trouble.  Nope.  Bethany told me, “Yeah, I have been kind of not nice to Hannah lately Mommy.”  We talked through it some more and I mentioned to her that she needed to ask Hannah for forgiveness and she said “yes Mommy, I know.”

Then at dinner that night, while Hannah was helping me with dishes Bethany out of the blue said “Hannah, I am sorry for being not nice to you–you know, the other day?  Will you forgive me?”  I nearly cried as I watched this exchange happen.  You could just see the love oozing out of their hearts as they hugged and Hannah answered her sister with “yes.”

Now, I don’t want to give you the impression that this is how it always goes down.  It doesn’t.  Sometimes, they are asking for forgiveness through gritted teeth.  In which case they are clearly not ready, and they are sent to “think” about it some more.  Sometimes, the asking for forgiveness is a few days away.  Because we are trying to teach them that when the asking and receiving of forgiveness happens, it is over and done with, truly.  No more anger, no hanging on to bitterness.  Really truly done.  Ahhhh, yes!  Such freedom in it.  And trust me–these little people can feel it, you can see it.  And it. is. beautiful.  Just like our Savior intended.

Blessings Friends.




Weekly Meals March 21-24

This next month and a half are insane for our family.  So we are going to be keeping it pretty simple around here–but still yummy!  My husband is smoking chickens this weekend, so when I talk about leftover smoked chicken, that’s what I am referring to.  And, if you’ve never had smoked chicken–you are missing out!!  Our dear friends got us HOOKED on it.  Oh, so yummy….

Monday March 21 – Greek Salad with leftover smoked chicken

Tuesday March 22 – Ground turkey tacos/taco salads – This one is a no brainer 🙂

Wednesday March 23 – REAL chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and a veggie

Thursday March 24 – Baked chicken, broccoli salad and orange maple glazed sweet potatoes (My girlfriend told me about this chicken recipe, so we are trying it this week!  So, if you try it too we are in the same boat!  Hoping it is delish!)

Friday March 25 – Leftover night/Pizza di Spaghetti

Hope you all have a great weekend and week ahead!!

REAL Chicken Nuggets

REAL Chicken Nuggets

The last time my kids ate Tyson’s chicken nuggets, Bethany took a bite and then said, “Look at that big bite Momma!”—and then I looked at this thing that was supposed to be chicken and I was completely grossed out.  I just cannot do it anymore.  I cannot feed my children this garbage.  Again, no judgment here—Lord knows we’ve been eating these nuggets for years, but I cannot do it anymore.  But my kids LOVE chicken nuggets!!  What is a Mom to do!?!  Make homemade ones, that’s what.  This recipe is super easy, and the best part is; I make a double or triple batch and freeze them.  This way I have an emergency stash if I need a quick meal if we are having one of “those” days.  I wish I knew where I found this recipe, but I don’t–somewhere from the online world.


3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup Parmesan (we use Pecorino-Romano)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 T. dried basil
½ cup butter (melted)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Dice chicken into bite sized pieces.  In a bowl, mix together bread crumbs, cheese, salt, thyme, and basil.  Mix until blended.  Place melted butter in a separate bowl.  Dip chicken in butter, then coat with bread crumb mixture.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Eat right then or pop them into the freezer on the tray for an hour or so.  Then place them into a Ziploc baggie for long-term storage.

When ready, grab out as many as you’d like and bake in the oven at 400 degrees until heated thoroughly.

Tomato Mac and Cheese

Tomato Mac and Cheese
I LOVE this recipe from Paula Deen. I just cannot fix powdered mac and cheese for my kids anymore, because what is in that powder?? No judgment here if you do—heaven knows it is delicious! We are just striving to go home-made as much as we can. And, if we are pinched for time, I just skip the tomato part and make it plain. But if you have the time, do the tomatoes—soooooo GOOD!

4 T. butter, plus more for baking dish
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2 T. minced onion
4 T. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
¾ T. dry mustard
¼ tsp. paprika
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded Cheddar, divided
2 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and cut into ½-inch thick slices
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2 inch baking dish.
Bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until tender. Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, and paprika; mix well. Stir in the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Toss in the macaroni and pour into the prepared dish. Cover the macaroni with tomato slices and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

The last few minutes, top with remaining cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts. Serve hot. Yummmmmm….

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen via the Food Network

Greek Salad (It is all about the dressing, really)

Greek Salad

Though nothing compares to my husband’s hometown restaurant Mr. Souvlaki’s Greek Salad in Tarpon Springs, FL—this is pretty fantastic.  Leave it to Ina to create such a delish dressing.  We heart Greek food!!

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
½ red onion, sliced in half rounds
½ pound feta, ½ inch diced or crumbled
½ cup calamata olives, pitted

For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup good olive oil


Place the cucumber, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Still whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.  Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetable.  Add the feta and olives and toss lightly.  Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Serve at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten via the Food Network

Pizza di Spaghetti

Pizza di Spaghetti

So many times I make spaghetti and I don’t cook enough or I have too much leftover.  And I hate half boxes of pasta.  I have a lot of mouths to feed, so I cook the whole box—always.  But what do I do with the leftover spaghetti?  THIS is awesome.  Be sure to follow the measurements with your pasta, or it won’t “set” as well. (Speaking from a girl who tried to use too much pasta a time or two…).  My kids LOVE this…and so does Momma.


2 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing (again, we use Pecorino-Romano)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups leftover spaghetti
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Your favorite homemade or store bought tomato sauce

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk and Parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add leftover spaghetti and combine well.

In a large 10-inch skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add spaghetti and egg mixture, spreading evenly and pressing down in pan.  Cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes.  Carefully invert onto a plate, add a little more oil to the pan, and slide mixture back into skillet and cook the other side for 6 minutes.  Turn out onto serving platter and cut into “pizza” wedges and serve hot.  Ladle sauce on top and top with grated Parmesan (or Pecorino-Romano) cheese and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Giada di Laurentiis via The Food Network

Orange Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Orange Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
juice of 1 large orange, zest reserved
2 T. brown sugar (optional, as I think it is sweet enough to omit this)
1 T. pure maple syrup


Preheat oven to 450.  Place potatoes on large baking shee, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once.  Mix orange juice, sugar and syrup in a small bowl and drizzle over potatoes.  Return to oven for another 10 minutes.  Remove to serving dish and garnish with fresh orange zest.

Recipe courtesy of The Fresh Market Magazine