beef lasagna ingredients

Refrigerator Lasagna

  • 1 lb of Ground Beef
  • 28 oz Marinara Sauce (2 medium jars)
  • 1 (15 oz) Ricotta Cheese (whole milk)
  • 1 (15 oz) Cottage Cheese (whole milk)
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Garlic – fresh pressed (for garlic lovers, like us, you can’t have too much)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese (whole milk)
  • 1 (16 oz) box Lasagna Noodles (DeBoles Artichoke Noodles are my favorite) *Whole Foods

Brown the beef and garlic – drain. Add marina sauce to cooked beef. Mix ricotta and cottage cheese with eggs in a separate bowl.

Place 2 Tbs of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Layer with uncooked lasagna noodles.

  • Layer ricotta/cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  • Layer meat sauce.
  • Layer uncooked lasagna noodles.

Continue layering until dish is full. Top with sauce. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes – covered. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes – topped with parmesan cheese.

Let lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 9 (or 6 hungry guys) We triple and even quadruple this recipe for our large family!!





by Debi on


In the midst of raising little ones, a mother may find herself at odds with the future. Often, dreams and gifts are shelved in preference of little people with big needs.

Conflict ensues between the privileged nature of motherhood and the long pause in what was once a productive, somewhat predictable life.

So – how does a mother measure success?

Some say life is made up of defining moments. A typical Sunday revealed itself as one of those moments for me. While the speaker expounded on the life of David, I did not expect to be singled out by the Lord. No one around me suspected the arresting that took place that Sunday morning – of my mind, will and emotions – held captive by a thought which transformed into a desire to take the Lord at His word – at home.

Mothers of young children can feel overlooked in the church setting. From the pulpit we hear of mission trips, service opportunities, small groups, worship bands and all sorts of public endeavors. But with a van full of car seats and nap times looming – I was in no place to serve in public. I knew it – but needed affirmation from above.

If I could sum up my thoughts on mothering – they would be contained in the words of this post. In retrospect, I have never regretted the decision to take God at His word!

My story is continued at Sally Clarkson’s blog – I Take Joy -

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by Debi on

He who follows righteousness and mercy, finds life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21 

Mothering has brought me face-to-face with my weaknesses. This journey of love and devotion often led me to a dead-end road where I found myself back where I’d started – bewildered and disappointed – in myself. There were so many days when I purposed to do better – to BE better. My kids deserved more than I could offer.

KINDNESS – that’s what I needed: To be more genuine, less self-absorbed, more concerned for their well-being and less pitiful in my devotion.

In Jewish culture they call this ‘chasing chesed’. Chesed is the Hebrew word for ‘loving-kindness’. Though, not an exact translation because no ONE word in our language adequately describes the kindness of God. The type of kindness that follows us, all the days of our lives.

This revelation changed my life.

The kindness I desperately needed to offer my family was offered TO me at the cross. This bankrupt soul did not have the emotional resources needed to raise a family and I knew it!

I have been freely given grace and mercy in my time of need. So, I have the privilege and joy to pass these gifts on to those around me. I am the recipient of the treasures and riches of Christ! This realization changed everything. I felt like royalty in my own home.

There are still days when I feel like a pauper – then I remind myself to:


 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies
 Psalm 103




Above & Beyond is about motherhood and how the Lord uses it to take us further than we could imagine while He answers the cries of our hearts beyond anything we have the capacity to envision. Because – He is God! {Ephesians 3:20-21}

Although we are a household of many – we’re also a family of individuals. As in any large family – each one stands alone and we all stand together.

Today is our son, Micah’s birthday. His name actually means, ‘who is like the Lord?’.

Micah is our 10th child and my first late in life baby – as we call it. I had spent my 40th birthday mourning the loss of our baby Judah. Born at 20 weeks – Judah was a child we never knew – yet always dreamed of. A bitter season it was – to face midlife with a miscarriage. This loss introduced me to grief and to a world of comfort I had never know.  As I mustered the strength to face the future – my body began to have symptoms that were all too familiar. Sure enough, only 6 weeks after the sudden loss of our unborn son, another son was making his way into the world.

During pregnancy my mind questioned his health – but, somehow my heart knew he was fine!  Our faith became sight when we held this strong, healthy, big, baby boy in our arms. From the start, Micah has been dear to our hearts in a unique way for all of the obvious reasons.

Micah holds the spotlight in our home – as a little brother – and has grown into a confident, intelligent, capable young ‘man’. His smile can rock the planet while his voice is still sweet and young. He plays hard, eats heartily and reads habitually. Micah has an earnest way about him that provokes others to wholeheartedness. He loves the stars and dreams of being an astronaut. Although, his brothers have tried to convince him astronauts have a dangerous job – his Dad and I believe he just might do it.

We thank the Lord for doing what He does best – creating life!

Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;  he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. Psalm 113:5-9




New Season

by Debi on

New Season image

Above & Beyond began as a dream 4 years ago. When I began to hammer out the thoughts of my heart onto our, then, home computer and offer them up to an unknown audience of readers – I never imagined what the results would be.

When I look back – my first thoughts are ones of gratitude. Through networking and blogging conferences I have met some of the most precious of friends. I have also been challenged to raise my standard of communication and to consider the reader more than myself.

My kids say I have discovered my inner geek!

I have also had the privilege of speaking to groups of mothers and bloggers – all of whom have similar hearts. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the tools I use to shout to the world that God is good! While perfection alludes us all – this journey of faithfulness knits our hearts together for a greater purpose and renders us more resilient.

Blogging has been a gift to me and hopefully a gift to my readers, as well.

I plan to continue this journey, in its new diverse form, and to keep my home space here at Above & Beyond – even to blog more often!

But writing – blogging and (someday) publishing – come at a cost.

Our family lives on a ministry income. The local church, inner-city ministry and faithful investors keep our hopes alive. We have personally made the investment in this blog and Tim’s Legacy Father’s Devotional Blog. The response to our writings have blessed us beyond measure.

But with a house full of teenagers – I find myself in a new season.

I have never planned to monazite my blog or host venders. You will not find adds at Above & Beyond or be contacted for any reason. This is a safe place.

So I have started a home business to support my blogging addiction and to help me pursue further dreams for this spot on the web.

This season: Essential Oils are a mainstay in our home. I have the opportunity to spread the word of their effectiveness and to help provide for the needs of our growing family in the same season.

New plan: I will be adding a healthy section to this blog which includes the basics of Essential Oils for all families. But the remainder of this blog will be the same. My focus has not changed – just the sponsorship.

Family history: We were avid health enthusiasts LONG before it was the rage. Providing healthy alternatives for my family has been an interest and hobby for decades.

Young Living is my oil of choice and I enjoy working alongside our daughter, Hannah.

If you are like me and have considered essential oils and Aromatherapy – you will find answers and direction here.

Meanwhile: If you haven’t already – I invite you to explore the possibilities of integrating Young Living Essential Oils into your family’s health regime.

A mother wears the hat of discipler, educator, homemaker, and nurse. (to name a few) Essential oils provide an arsenal of effective, healthy tools to keep a family well. Trust me – I know from experience!

I look forward to this new season and hope you will join me in the journey to wellness – body, soul and spirit.



“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” 
― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed

The grieving mother has a backstory etched into her soul.

We have a big family, eleven kids in all. Our home is teaming with life and has been for as long as I can remember. But two little boys are missing. Knit together in my womb, not yet completed – their lives ended without warning. In two different seasons – with no explanation.

This mom knows the jolt of grief – a thief that can rip the joy of living right out from under you.

But God  – who is rich in mercy and ‘well acquainted with grief’ draws near to the brokenhearted. He reaches into a mother’s heart and creates her life anew. Grief’s journey to wholeness is a long road marked with countless encounters. When someone you love suffers loss – here are some ideas. Take courage – step into their broken world – and offer hope.

I wrote this in honor of every little one who has slipped out of this world and into the hands of our Maker and for every mother.

Follow me to I Take Joy - where I share:

10 Ideas for Giving Life in Times of Grief

Please Comment: We would love to hear your stories and further ideas. This is not a comprehensive list – there is not one. History is continually being written by you and I. May we love well and show our families, by example, how to do likewise.





“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” {Isaiah 40:31} 

Have you noticed how mothering and running are similar? The day-in-and-day-out repetition of training and nurturing is not for the faint of heart. When I feel the race is never-ending and the reward, illusive – practical applications help put my feet on solid ground and my heart in the race.

~ 6 Aspects of Running Well ~

{taken from the runner’s manual and adapted for mothers of all ages}

When I spoke at Sally Clarkson’s Mom Heart Conferences this year – I shared my perspective on mothering. This post is a summary of my life message.

Continued at I Take Joy - where I’m a guest writer today – please follow me there.



Today is a Gift

by Debi on

Gift of time

Today, each of us will breathe in and exhale a day’s worth of living.

Time is a gift – we all agree. A moment has, within its design, the capability of effecting eternity. To invest our lives is a privilege.

Think of it: All of creation welcomes the dawn of a new day. Nature comes alive as the Lord graces the earth with another sunrise.

But for mothers – time may feel like a taskmaster – bearing down, and mocking our efforts. How can a mother work so hard and seem to accomplish so little? How can so many variables be tossed into a carefully planned day?

With mounds of laundry and dishes multiplying before our eyes, we spend our days in service, no doubt. But, when the work alone is our goal – the race to complete a day’s demand is a rat race indeed. Surely there’s more!

Continued at I Take Joy where I’m a guest writer today.

Let’s explore the possibilities of embracing the day ~ we can all use fresh start.