Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Chili and Cornbread

Can you believe it is already the last day of August? Where has the time gone? We’ve arrived at the final (for now) helpful little hack of the hour! Let me tell you why I chose chili and cornbread.

This recipe is Simple with a capital S! This is not gourmet chili. But it is hearty, inexpensive, and anyone can make it.

Seriously – even if you’re not a cook, you can do this!

A teal recipe card
I miss recipe cards. Receiving a recipe over text, blog, or email is nice, but it does not preserve the handwriting of the originator.

If you know a student headed to college, send this recipe along. I taught it to my kids when they were in middle school. I made sure they knew where the few ingredients were kept in the fridge and pantry. That way, if ever they needed to (hey, moms get sick too!), they could prepare themselves a comforting meal.

I think I make a pretty good “from scratch” chili. But that doesn’t stop my kids from requesting this variation sometimes. And when they do, I simply agree and let them make it for me! Win/win!

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Galatians 5:13

This is a helpful little hack of the hour for everyone to have on hand. I posted this chili and cornbread recipe to encourage the young adults in my life, and I pray it blesses you too. It is The Recipe in Your Back Pocket. (Click to read.)

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.


Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Split Rings

When I think about practical hacks I want my kids to remember, split rings immediately come to mind. I wrote about them when I began blogging. I hadn’t connected with most of you yet, so I thought it might be one to share again.

If you ever lose charms from your jewelry, or are concerned about your loved ones who might, this helpful hack of the hour about split rings is for you! Click here –>> Change the Ring. This might just make you a hero!

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.

Emotions Recommendations

Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Your Face

Today’s helpful little hack of the hour is your face. Or more specifically, how you can use it as a secret passageway to gratitude. Folks, I’m telling you, this one has been an absolute Godsend in my life!

My face saved me yesterday.

The day was fabulous. All was going well. Until one little thing got under my skin and suddenly, I felt the pity party coming on.

Have you been there? One negative circumstance – relatively small compared to all that is going right – suddenly sours your mood. As false as it is, your emotions convince you that everything is going wrong.

The one bummer looms larger than all your blessings.
And the downward spiral begins.

When I first heard today’s helpful little hack of the hour, I was on the H1 Freeway, on the island of Oahu, headed west in the afternoon. If you have ever lived there, you know that means I was stuck in traffic. I was God’s captive audience.

Pastor Mike Kai was on the radio. He spoke about getting so pulled down by a problem, that it was hard to look up at Jesus. Relatable, right?

When he described the negative cycle, I was tracking with him. His solution, he said, was to begin with something literally right in front of his brain – his face.

“Jesus, thank you for my eyes, that I can see the beauty you’ve created. Thank you for my nose to smell the flowers and delicious food. Thank you for my mouth, that I can taste flavors and speak to the people I love…”

And it starts coming easier. “Thank you, Jesus, for this… and that… and that too.” Joy returns as gratitude takes over.

A bright pink and yellow sunset over a meadow
I’m thankful for my eyes, which enabled me to see this sunset. Gratitude puts grumbling in its place.

When my pity party was ramping up yesterday, I didn’t feel grateful. But I started with my face. I worked my way out from there. I thanked God for this helpful hack, which – once again – set my heart right.

It works every time. I triple-dog dare you to try it! Next time something goes awry, thank Jesus for the miracles you experience every day, right on your face. And then expand out.

Before you know it, your emotions will reset, and you will have a proper perspective on what is wrong and what is right.

The bummer will be cut to size by the enormity of your blessings.

I hope you find this helpful little hack of the hour is a game-changer for you too. The enemy throws pity parties and sends attractive invitations. Don’t attend. When gratitude is fleeting, start with your face.

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.


Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Luggage Notes

My husband used to travel. A lot! With a house full of children, it was difficult enough to connect when he was home. When he was gone half the month, I needed a helpful hack to encourage him with my words.

Luggage Notes

I started hiding little notes in his luggage. My goal was to put them where he would slowly discover them over the days he was away. In his shoe, in a shirt pocket, in his Bible, in his toiletry case…

I tried not to let him see me slipping them in his bags, so he would be surprised. I waited until he had packed and set his suitcases by the door. My window of opportunity was brief, and it was a challenge not to get caught. It became a game that I enjoyed.

3 notecard envelopes
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on
Smaller notecards are easier to hide!

Luggage notes can be brief and silly or long and sentimental. Anything that conveys love is a welcome read for someone missing home. And they are not only great for business trips. They can be hidden in bags packed for camp, going away to college, etc.

Does this helpful little hack of the hour have your wheels turning? Into whose suitcase might you sneak a few luggage notes? Or, if travel isn’t something that occurs in your household, is there a lunchbox, briefcase, purse, or jacket pocket that could hide a heartfelt note for an opportune surprise?

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Colossians 2:2, 3

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.


Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Jar of Pieces

Hello, my clumsy friends. Don’t scroll away – I’m talking to you, and I’m right there with ya! Drops happen.

So do soccer balls, earthquakes, and wrestling matches. I’m sure you know that feeling of loss when something special breaks. Today’s helpful little hack of the hour comes in as you’re picking up the pieces.

Jar of Pieces

You can start a jar of pieces in any clear container. I think mine was a spaghetti sauce jar before I repurposed it. What makes it special are the contents inside – a piece or two of many treasured items which have broken over the years.

I can look at the pieces in my jar and get lost in memories when I want to. If I’m feeling nostalgic, I can dump them out and run my fingers (carefully) over them, remembering what they once were.

Someday, I might make a mosaic with the pieces. But for now, they stay contained and visible in my jar. A pre-emptive idea would be to photograph the items before they break. See Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Photo Books.

Broken glass and pottery made into a mosaic
Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash
I’ve seen broken pieces repurposed into mosaics on tabletops, picture frames, lampstands, etc.

A jar of pieces is a way to preserve your connection to the memories and people your fragile items represent. It can ease the sting of loss. Next time a drop happens, you might remember this little hack of the hour and start a jar of pieces.

Did you know God keeps a jar too? He puts our tears in it. If you doubt how precious you are to God, let this settle over your heart.

“You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.”

Psalm 56:8, 9

Blessings, my precious friends.

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.


Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Taco Salad

Trust me – if you’re thinking you already know what this helpful little hack of the hour is going to say, you don’t! My mind was blown when I first encountered this taco salad. Prepare to be amused and surprised!

The Best Taco Salad Hack

First, I cannot take credit for this. K, if you’re reading (or even if you’re not), God bless you!

My friend K doesn’t cook. She works long hours. I invited her to a potluck. She arrived with a big bowl of taco salad. And it was delicious!

While everyone was raving about the salad, she pulled me aside and confessed. She had driven through Taco Bell, purchased a dozen tacos, and crunched them up into a bowl.

Wala! Incredibly scrumptious taco salad.

Wrapped tacos and hot sauce
Taco Bell Tacos and Hot Sauce
Broken tacos in a bowl look like salad
From top photo to bottom photo in 10 seconds flat!

“It’s okay if you fall apart sometimes! Tacos fall apart and we still love them.”

Author Unknown

I hope this little hack of the hour might prove helpful next time you’re running short on time and ideas. It really can be this simple.

Thank you, K for the laugh, the unforgettable memory, and the easiest taco salad recipe ever!

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

1 Timothy 6:6,7

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.