Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Infamous Baked Spaghetti

I have had a LOT of people asking me lately for my baked spaghetti recipe, so here ya go!

Here are the things you shall need:

Brown your turkey with garlic (we prefer quite a bit).  OPTIONAL - I add about 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut oil to this process since the turkey is so lean - it gives GREAT flavor.  

When the turkey is done, add both cans of soup to your skillet and combine.  At this point, I turn the heat off and let it sit a while.  

Boil your noodles according to directions.  

In a  9 X 11 dish (greased lightly with coconut oil), layer noodles, meat sauce, and cheese.  This will only end up being two layers.  You will end up with this:

 Cover it with foil.  

Cook on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  The last five minutes of baking I remove the foil and, if I have it on hand, put Parmesan cheese on top and bake it off.

This is a really simple dish that your family will LOVE.  For my dairy-free friends, I honestly haven't found a dairy free cheese that will do this justice.  And for my friends concerned about the sodium in the Campbells Soup, well then consider this a "splurge" meal.   You won't regret it.

TIP:  If I have the time I like to make this the day before and put it in the fridge overnight.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I wish so greatly that I could just stream my conscious succinctly here.  I use to.  I did.  And, now, for some reason I can't.  And, yet, here is what I will tell - God as usual is pushing me.  He is moving me.  He is a forward movement.  A catalyst of constant change.  Part of it I understand and most of it I do not.  I don't try to fight against it anymore.  On the flip side, I try to embrace it.  Figuring it out is not my motive anymore.  I just want to ride the wave and trust that it will bring me safely to shore.  It always has.  It always does.  It always will.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Like A Child

Craig Groeschel, pastor of, has been teaching a series the past two weeks entitled Like A Child.  Last week's message was "God is For Me" (and, yes guys He is!).  This week's message was titled God is With Me.  Oh my goodness how I needed that reminder!  As I once again go through a season of being stretched, challenged, and trying to follow God's lead, it was so refreshing to be reminded of the simple truth that God is with me through each and every step of my journey.

I was so convicted by a statement Craig made that he "prays that we never become too 'intellectual, too 'mature' or too 'prideful' to remember the simple fact that God is with us.  Just like parents are always there for their children, so our God is always there for us.  The truth of the matter is that, just like our children are sometimes not connected to us, we are many times and likely most of the time, not connected to our Father.

As you start this week, I challenge you to take a moment each day to talk to God, and, even if you don't, remember He is still there with you.  And the best news is, He is for you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This time of year brings about much happiness, gratitude and joy.  For me, those feelings also come with feelings of sorrow, grief and despair at times.  

God called me into a "ministry".  That I am sure of.  Though I know I followed his calling, it has been a journey.  Helping and serving others is the easy part for me.  The "not-so-easy" part for me is seeing the constant subculture of people who are suffering.  And along with that, the subculture of people who are not suffering, yet abusing the system - the people who have found themselves in a pattern of living that they either cannot rise above or do not want to.

There are little words for the things that I see sometimes in a day.  The people I want to help, but can't.  Reality is, I do not mean to whine.  I know that am called to and can find joy in all circumstances.  I know I am called to be a light.  I am called to do the best I can and to show the love of Jesus to everyone I encounter.  To swallow my pride.  To remember I am not "better", only different.  To remember that we are all children of God. 

I feel as though I am failing.  I feel at times that I am becoming jaded.  I feel ungrounded as though, in my day to day job, I lose the "eyes of Christ".  Honestly, I feel sometimes completely adrift in a sea of different emotions. I don't want to become judgmental, hypocritical, unlike Jesus, a Pharisee, a person without His eyes.  

So here I am back.  Blogging again.  Needing to type it all out so that I can make some sense of it all.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Does It Really Work?

For the past two months I have been reading over and through, and back over again, Ann Voskamp's book one thousand gifts.  

Giving thanks in all circumstances.  Searching out 1000 things to give thanks for.  Then finding more. 

It works.  As I have dealt with the loneliness for new friendships since our move, endure the neverending  drama of three teenagers, try and handle living life in an apartment, and mostly miss my husband as he travels so much this time of year, I have found that YES, it does work.  It's quite simple.  It is also everything I grew up learning from my parents - give thanks.  I am by nature a thanks giver, yet this determined act of giving thanks for at least three things each day is slowly causing a soul shift.  You see, the more I give thanks, the more things I find to give thanks for. 

1.   Three beautiful and awesome teenagers.
2.   A husband who runs all the grocery errands.
3.   The clouds in the sky today all melded together in oranges, and yellows and even blues.

Try it - I dare you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So, I went to Haiti.....

It was comical.  Really.  Not kidding.

The week before I left for Haiti here is what happened - Biopsies for cervical cancer the day before I flew out, my car died ($1000.00 in repairs) and when we filed our taxes we found out someone had stolen my SSN and already filed a tax return in my name.   As you can imagine, I was mentally and spiritually exhausted.  I had never gone into a mission trip that way.  Yet, I thought I was "fine" and everything was just "okay".

Haiti was amazing.  It is impossible for me to explain to you the experience I had there.  The children, the school, the market, the "family" of people that were serving with me - all such an incredible experience.    Yet, I came back feeling defeated.  I wasn't a good witness.  I was not the "ball of fire" for Jesus that I wanted to be.

I did the physical labor and I think I did it well, but I was so spiritually dead the entire time, that I fell under attack.  I hope there are those of you who understand what I am trying to say.  The mission was accomplished, but I did not grow nor did I positively affect those around me.

And so, guess what?  God is good - and I came out the other side of this trip stronger.  

Just because I was on a mission trip did not mean I was a spiritual superhero - quite the opposite.  I learned that I am weak and He is strong.  I learned that His mercies are new every day and ultimately I learned that my call to missions still is strong and that this trip was a time for me to grow and learn.

Thank you all SO much for your prayers and support.  It was a chance of a lifetime and I we are now sponsoring a little boy there.  His name is Davidson.  Please pray for him.

I love you all and I love that God is a God of second chances.

Here are some photos:  Haiti 2012.

Also, there are some great photos of this trip on my Facebook Page - Melissa Shields Brown.

Love to you all!!!  Melissa

Friday, January 13, 2012

First Snow Day of the Year

Here is what the girls and I did this afternoon.  I get a little weepy thinking about how Jacob doesn't bake with us anymore.  He is 16 you know and much to old to do such things!  ;)   What a joy to spend a few hours with my amazing daughters making some snow day treats.  Click below and you shall see:

Monkey Bread and Butter Mints

Thursday, January 12, 2012

As I gear up for my trip to Haiti, I am trying to clear my head of many of the things that have been consuming my time and energy for the last few weeks, months, geez - years!  (Good luck with that, right?)   I am fervently trying to just focus on the upcoming opportunity to help at the school in Fond-des-Blancs and let myself truly receive the experience.   So, with that being said, I am not worrying about finances, when we will find a house, how the kids are going to eventually adjust to this move, and all the changes I want to make in my life.  Instead I just want to sit back and watch, enjoy, experience, and feel.  And that's exactly what I am going to do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Well, the hubby is traveling.  I pushed the kids out the door to youth and finally have some quiet time to myself.  (insert sounds of happiness here)

I have been putting some thought into my One Word for this year and believe that I may need to focus more on contentment than consistency.  Well, to be honest I need to focus on both.  Yet, it seems that the Lord is speaking to me lately to find contentment in certain things, such as my marriage and my finances.  NOT complacency.  No, the two are very different things.  I do not believe we are ever to be complacent, but I do believe we all need to seek contentment in certain areas of our lives.  In this culture, it is very hard thing to learn to be content.  We are constantly bombarded with things that will supposedly make us healthier, wealthier, skinner, prettier and ultimately happier.   Contentment is hard to find.  Yet this year I will choose to seek it out, search for it, hunger for it and hopefully learn how to live in it.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

One Word 2012

Consistency - "The achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time."

My one word for 2012 is CONSISTENCY.  This is something I struggle with in so many areas of my life.  Maybe it is my "ADD" characteristics, but I am notorious for starting something strong and finishing it fairly weak.  This year I want to focus on consistency in my habits, my relationships and definitely my parenting.     It seems overwhelming for me to think about being consistent, since I am 41 and have not conquered it yet.  But, my God is a faithful God and I know He will give me the power to at least make a little progress in this area this year.  

Instead of making a New Year's Resolution, want to choose a New Year Word?  If so, my friend Alece's link is shown below.  Give it some thought, pick a word and go for it!!  :)