Monday, December 31, 2012

::this week::

We found out that the little baby growing in my belly is a BOY!  Noah had been telling us that for a few weeks, and it is going to be so great for him to have a little brother to play with.  God had actually told Jeremy that it was a boy 2 weeks ago, and gave us a name for him, but more on that later when we share the name.

praising:  this sweet little life growing inside of me.  health for both of us.  the fact that my pregnancy has been really easy and enjoyable for the last several weeks.  God's faithfulness, mercy, grace.  His holiness.  how he pursues and speaks to me.  what a great year 2012 was for our family.

praying:  for the needs of others.  for our city, nation, and world.

thankful for:  the holidays... some great time with family... getting to watch Noah LOVE playing with his cousins... traditions... good food... Jeremy off of work for a week and lots of extra time with him... a date night... grandparents nearby who serve us by babysitting... all of the sweet and thoughtful gifts from others... having a baby around again, they really do help me to slow down and enjoy each moment... the sweet and gentle way that Noah plays with and cares for the new baby I'm watching, he has matured so much since a year ago and I was watching Hayden at 3 months.

reading: Jeremiah, 2 Kings, Momentum

cooking:  sesame salad dressing, steak, curried veggie dipsesame noodles, chocolate fondue with fruit, white chicken chili with jalapeno cheese cornbread, chocolate chip banana oat muffins, corn pudding, mac and cheese, BBQ and buffalo chicken pizza, cilantro pesto pasta, ham and bean soup, slow cooker hot dogs, lots of smoothies (my craving of the week)

creating:  pondering some projects for myself, now that all of my holiday gifts are done

doing:  started to watch a new kiddo who is currently two and a half months old.  still searching for a new to us car. celebrating J's sister's birthday.  hosting a low key pot-luck and board game New Year's Eve with friends.  breakfast with a sweet couple who pour into us and are co-laborers in the harvest.  coffee with a couple of friends.

reflecting:  on 2012.  2013.  the concept of spiritual inheritance... what I've received, what I'm passing on.  a lifestyle of gratitude and giving thanks in all circumstances.

Chocolate Chip Banana Oat Muffins

I made these banana oat muffins. The few changes I made were to;

-used 1 whole egg instead of 2 egg whites
-doubled the recipe and used 3/4 c whole wheat flour and 3/4 c all purpose flour
-switch chocolate chips for the pecans

These are a good, healthy breakfast muffin, but don't expect an overly sweet/ heavy dessert muffin.  All 3 of us liked these, I like them best heated up with the chocolate melted and gooey.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

19 weeks

Here is what is going on with our little tomato this week according to;

Your baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.
Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.

Think you're big now? You'll start growing even faster in the weeks to come. As a result, you may notice some achiness in your lower abdomen or even an occasional brief, stabbing pain on one or both sides — especially when you shift position or at the end of an active day. Most likely, this is round ligament pain. The ligaments that support your uterus are stretching to accommodate its increasing weight. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but call your practitioner if the pain continues even when you're resting or becomes severe.

As for me, I'm doing well.  We get to find out the gender tomorrow and are super excited.  We have our boy and girl names picked out and are just waiting to see what we are having.  I've been feeling good and feeling lots of movement from the baby.  I'm still not overly excited about sweets, or heavy foods with lots of oil and butter.  Lately I've been wanting a lot of meat, fruits, veggies, and orange juice.  Still jogging and lifting weights and not having any pregnancy symptoms other than a growing belly and moving baby.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

handmade Christmas gifts

Here are some of the Christmas presents I made this year...

I took a free box of old ornaments from the curb, and a little scrap fabric from a friend's stash and turned them into these...

scrap fabric ornaments

I used more scrap fabric to make a few adult and kid sized headbands

and some key chain wristlets

a key chain chapstick holder

some sweetheart and initial necklaces

some photo cubes/ paper weights 

and some interchangeable doll blocks

May your Christmas be merry and Christ centered!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

18 weeks

Here is what is going on with our bell pepper this week according to;

Head to rump, your baby is about 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper) and he weighs almost 7 ounces. He's busy flexing his arms and legs — movements that you'll start noticing more and more in the weeks ahead. His blood vessels are visible through his thin skin, and his ears are now in their final position, although they're still standing out from his head a bit. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around his nerves, a process that will continue for a year after he's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If you're having a boy, his genitals are noticeable now, but he may hide them from you during an ultrasound.
Your cardiovascular system is undergoing dramatic changes, and during this trimester your blood pressure will probably be lower than usual. Don't spring up too fast from a lying or sitting position or you might feel a little dizzy.Hungry? An increase in appetite is pretty common about now. Make it count by choosing meals and snacks that are rich in nutrients instead of empty calories (chips, French fries, candy, and other sweets). Bigger, more comfortable clothes are a must now as your appetite and waistline grow.
From now on, when you do lie down, it's best to lie on your side — or at least partly tilted to one side. (When you lie flat on your back, your uterus can compress a major vein, leading to decreased blood return to your heart.) Try placing a pillow behind you or under your hip or upper leg for comfort.
If you haven't already had a second-trimester ultrasound, you'll probably have one soon. This painless procedure helps your practitioner check how your baby's growing, screen for certain birth defects, check the placenta and umbilical cord, determine whether the due date you're working with is accurate, and see how many babies you're carrying. During the exam, you might see your baby moving around or sucking his thumb. Bring your partner along, and be sure to ask for a printout for your baby's first photo album!

As for me, doing well.  Still feeling good.  Able to eat anything I want for the most part without feeling nauseous afterward.  Exercising regularly (with slightly less strength/ intensity/ endurance than normal).  I've only gained 5 pounds, but it feels like a lot more right now.  Nothing really fits me well right now, my regular clothes are getting too tight, but my maternity clothes from last time are still a little too big and loose.  I'm just in a weird in between stage.

This week was the first time I started feeling this baby move and confidently knowing it was the baby and not my tummy rumbling.  Jeremy was even able to feel some flutters one evening after I ate a piece of cake and loaded our little one up on some sugar.

I think we have our boy and girl names picked out now, so now we just have to wait a week and a day until the appointment and we find out the gender.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

::this week::

praising:  God... His goodness, faithfulness, presence, guidance, Spirit...

praying:  for the needs/ requests of others.

reading:  1 Kings, Isaiah, 1000 Gifts

thankful for:  beautiful weather.  the laughs and smiles of the sweet little ones I get to watch.  Jesus... Christmas... redemption, salvation, freedom, and victory through Him.

cooking:  spinach balls, slow cooker ratatouille, baked oatmeal, sausage and cheddar breakfast casserole, pumpkin gingersnap cookies, toffee cookiessesame noodles, hummus, tabbouleh, rosemary curry spiced nuts, chocolate fondue with fruit, green bean casserole, pumpkin pasta, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, black bean rice and corn casserole, braised coconut chickpeas with spinach, green smoothiesBBQ chicken quesedillaslentil salad, no bake peanut butter oat cookiescurry dip with a veggie tray

creating:  the finishing touches on a few Christmas presents

doing:  purchasing and delivering groceries to three of our neighbors as a Christmas giving opportunity for our community group.  community group Christmas party.  my mom comes in town for a little less than a week.  Jeremy's brother, his wife, and their two kids come in town, so we'll be busy doing lots of fun family stuff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

I made these chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies for my mom's upcoming visit (because she doesn't eat eggs, and therefore most desserts are off limits for her).  There taste really good, are easy, and have a little nutrition thanks to the oats.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bastion Ministries December Newsletter

You can view our December newsletter here.  Please let me know if you'd like to be added to our mailing list, or change the format via which you receive it (us mail vs email).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice

This is my attempt at a classic New Orleans dish.  My version is healthier, and eliminates the chicken livers found in the traditional version (because they gross me out!).  

-4 c brown rice, cooked according to package directions, but using chicken broth instead of water
-4.5 cups chicken broth (see above, to cook rice)
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 lb bulk turkey sausage
-1/2 bell pepper (red or green), diced
-2 stalks celery, diced
-1 onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-2 Tbsp dried parsley (if I had fresh on hand I would have used that though)
-2 tsp dried thyme
-1/4 tsp cayenne
-salt and pepper to taste
-3 green scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Cook sausage, breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink.  Add bell pepper, celery, and onion.  Continue cooking and stirring until vegetables are tender, 5-10 minutes.  Add  garlic, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add parsley, thyme, cayenne, and rice.  Reduce heat to low, stirring to combine.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  Top with scallions and serve.

17 weeks

Here is what is going on with our little turnip this week according to;

Your baby's skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord — her lifeline to the placenta — is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and she's around 5 inches long from head to bottom. She can move her joints, and her sweat glands are starting to develop.

You may also notice your eyes becoming drier. Using over-the-counter lubricating drops may help. If your contact lenses become uncomfortable, try wearing them for shorter stretches of time. If you still have discomfort, switch to glasses until after you give birth.Starting to feel a bit off balance? As your belly grows, your center of gravity changes, so you may begin to occasionally feel a little unsteady on your feet. Try to avoid situations with a high risk of falling. Wear low-heeled shoes to reduce your risk of taking a tumble; trauma to your abdomen could be dangerous for you and your baby. You'll also want to be sure to buckle up when you're in a car — keep the lap portion of the seat belt under your belly, drawn snugly across your hips, and also use the shoulder harness, which should fit snugly between your breasts.
Many women report that their dream life shifts into high gear during pregnancy. Interestingly, during the second and third trimesters, you spend less sleep time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the cycle in which most dreams occur. Why, then, all those frequent and vivid dream memories?  It's probably at least in part because you may be interrupting a dream-filled cycle when you wake up to pee, cope with heartburn, leg cramps, restless legs, or a backache, or to shift to a more comfortable position. Waking up during REM sleep makes you more likely to remember your dreams.

As for me, I'm doing well.  The nausea is almost completely gone now.  My belly is continuing to grow.  This week a stranger asked me if I knew what I was having.  I was so shocked, because I still don't think I look pregnant (just bloated), so I think that was a risky  assumption and question on her part.  I was so caught off guard it took me a minute to process before I could answer her.  I guess I'm looking more pregnant than I think.

I'm eating pretty much anything I want these days, with no real cravings, although sushi and sausage always sound great to me.  I'm still lifting weights, walking several miles most days, and jogging 1-2 miles 2 days a week.  I am determined to keep my strength and endurance up better than I did last pregnancy, and not gain as much weight either... so far so good!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sesame Kale

Sesame Kale

I had a bunch of kale left after making zuppa toscana this week, and wanted to try something new.  I was thinking along the lines of one of my favorite veggie dishes, warm sesame slaw,but with a few changes.  There actually aren't sesame seeds in the picture because I was shocked to find that I had run out, but I included them in the recipe because that's how I would serve this in the future.

-2 bunches kale, washed trimmed and chopped
-1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
-1 Tbsp sesame oil
-1 Tbsp rice vinegar
-1 Tbsp soy sauce
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Heat peanut or canola oil in large pan over medium heat.  Add ginger, garlic, and kale, stirring constantly.  While kale is cooking, whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.  Once kale begins to wilt, stir in sauce.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until kale is cooked to your liking.  Toss with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Monster Cookies

I made these monster cookies to send with Jeremy to work.  The only change that I made was to use old fashioned oats instead of quick oats because that's what I had on hand.  I was surprised that there wasn't any flour in these cookies, only oats, making them more healthy than most cookies.  I thought these were good, but not amazing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

::this week::

praising:  some additional provision for our ministry, including a used/ new to us laptop that will arrive this month... and all of this, coming from people we've never met... such a cool God thing!

praying:  for a reasonably priced/ good condition car that will meet our needs... that we can pay cash for.  for additional provision for Bastion, as we haven't quite raised what we need to live off of yet.  for friends.

reading:  John, Joel, Isaiah, 1 Kings, 1000 Gifts

thankful for:  some really great wiser/ older/ more spiritually mature people who invest in us.  we had a great time on the Northshore last weekend with two families who do so.  I was blown away by some admonishment/ truth the ladies shared with me.  we have always been blessed with really great mentors in our lives.

cooking:  Chinese Char Siu, Chinese green beans, corn pudding, maque choux, dirty rice, zuppa toscana, cilantro pesto pasta, BBQ chicken and buffalo chicken pizzagreen smoothies, steak, sesame kale

creating:  Christmas presents

doing:  hosting community group.  a walk date with a friend.  having a sweet couple over for dinner.  hopefully some sort of car shopping as our rental car is gone as of Monday.

inspired by:  Isiah 38... the Lord told Hezekiah that his life was over, Hezekiah cried out to the Lord, and the Lord added 15 years to His life.  prayer matters.  it changes outcomes.  it's powerful.  am I crying out to the Lord for all I should be?  for the pains, hurt, oppression of those around me?  for my family?  my church?  for this city?  the country?  the world?

pondering:  John.  particularly John 11:4  But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  and the numerous other "so that's" in the book of John.  Lazarus died SO THAT God would receive glory.  most of the other "so that's" in this book are along the lines of "so that" they would believe, have faith, have hope, have joy, remember.  something seemingly "bad" happened, so that the good would come from it.  but the original thing wasn't even bad... lazarus may have died, but then he was raised.  pondering what my "so that's" are, and seeking to change my perspective on them.  being challenged by what is being revealed to me, by my selfishness, lack of perspective, lack of the big picture.   

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cilantro Pesto Pasta

Cilantro Pesto Pasta

For a long time I've been wanting to try Rachael Ray's cilantro pesto pasta.  I used her recipe as a starting point, but reduced the oil, omitted the pasta water, changed the nuts, and added spinach for extra nutrition.  This was unique, and good, something I would make again, but not quite a home run in my opinion.  It's got a kick to it, so if you don't like heat, reduce the red pepper flakes to 1/8 tsp.  The recipe as is made enough for 1 box of pasta (for my taste), but I doubled it to have some extra to freeze for a quick dinner in a pinch.

-1 bunch cilantro, washed, leaves picked off
-1 c spinach leaves
-1/4 c walnuts
-1/8 c olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-1 inch piece ginger, peeled
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-juice of 1/2 lime

Puree all ingredients in food processor and toss with warm pasta of your choice.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

16 weeks

Here is what is going on with our little avocado this week according to;

Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his weight and add inches to his length. Right now, he's about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. His legs are much more developed, his head is more erect than it has been, and his eyes have moved closer to the front of his head. His ears are close to their final position, too. The patterning of his scalp has begun, though his locks aren't recognizable yet. He's even started growing toenails. And there's a lot happening inside as well. For example, his heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your baby continues to develop.

The top of your uterus is about halfway between your pubic bone and your navel, and the round ligaments that support it are thickening and stretching as it grows. You're probably feeling a whole lot better as you settle into pregnancy, too. Less nausea, fewer mood swings, and "glowing" skin contribute to an overall sense of well-being.

Soon you'll experience one of the most wonderful moments of pregnancy — feeling your baby move. While some women notice "quickening" as early as 16 weeks, many don't feel their baby move until about 18 weeks or more. (And if this is your first baby, don't be too impatient — you may not be aware of your baby's movements until 20 weeks or so.) The earliest movements may feel like little flutters, gas bubbles, or even like popcorn popping. Over the following weeks they'll grow stronger and you'll be able to feel them much more frequently.

As for me, not much new.  Still feeling good, a tiny bit of nausea here and there, but hardly worth mentioning.

I had my first appointment with my new doc this week, and I LOVE her!  Baby's heartbeat is good and strong.  We go Dec. 28 to find out the gender.

I've started gaining weight now and am not happy about it.  Why can't I just skip this whole stage and go straight from flat belly to basketball belly without all the awkwardness in between?

Thai Chicken Pizza

Thai Chicken Pizza

We both really loved this pizza.  I don't think it's one that I could eat every week, but it's a really fun change from our typical faves.  I made this entirely from ingredients that I had on hand, and would do it a little differently if I was planning in advance.  I think I'd also add sliced red bell pepper with the toppings before the pizza is cooked, and add some bean sprouts to the top upon removing it from the oven.  I think crumbled tofu  could easily be used instead of chicken, and zucchini, broccoli, mango, shredded cabbage, or pineapple could join the topping list.

-whole wheat pizza dough (refrigerated, or my favorite homemade dough)
-peanut sauce (see recipe below)
-1 c cooked chicken
-1/4 c Thai sweet chili sauce
-1 c part-skim mozzarella cheese
-sprinkling of red pepper flakes
-1 carrot, shredded
-garlic powder for sprinkling
-3 scallions, sliced
-fresh cilantro, chopped
-3 Tbsp peanuts, chopped

Top the unbaked crust with the peanut sauce.  Cover with the cheese.  Combine the chicken and sweet chili sauce, and sprinkle over the cheese.  Sprinkle entire pizza with red pepper flakes.  Top with shredded carrot, and then a sprinkle of garlic powder.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or until the crust is crispy.  Top with scallions, cilantro, and peanuts, serve.

Peanut Sauce
-3 Tbsp peanut butter
-1 Tbsp rice vinegar
-1 Tbsp soy sauce
-1 Tbsp water
-1 Tbsp honey
-1 clove garlic
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 tsp sriarcha sauce
-1/4 tsp ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and mix until combined.

::this week::

praising:  the return of my perspective... joy... peace... hope... trust.  some more promised provision for our ministry... still so humbled and blown away by all of it!  some cool healings, freedom, and ministry opportunities for J over the last week, and the faithfulness of our Lord through them!

praying:  for boldness, obedience, opportunities to love others in action and in Truth, and that I'd make the most of each of these opportunities.

reading:  1 Kings, Isaiah, 1000 Gifts, cookbooks

thankful for:  my husband, he is beyond an amazing leader for our family, he challenges and encourages me daily to seek and live for Jesus, by both his example, and gentle words.  a new to us/ used dryer so I can return to laundry duty.  a healthy doctor's appointment for me and baby M #2.  the weather.  trips to the park.  my job and these sweet kiddos, their different personalities, and the way they play together.  my new doctor, I am very happy with her personality, philosophy, and outlook... wish I would have had her the first time around!  a more than reasonable compensation promise for our car from the insurance company.

cooking:  lemon bars, dark chocolate drizzled salted caramel popcorn, BBQ chicken and Thai chicken pizzas, buffalo chicken enchiladas, pulled BBQ pork with homemade BBQ sauce,  ham and bean soup, hummus, slow cooker vegetable pavlavacinnamon roll cake, Thai tilapia curry

creating:  more Christmas presents

inspired by:  Isaiah 32:20 the Lord will greatly bless his people.  Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up.  So encouraged to know that even when I am not seeing the fruit of the seeds that I sow, that a bountiful harvest is coming!

Isaiah 30:15b "Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved"  {rest}

Isaiah 30:18b For the Lord is a faithful God.  Blessed are those who wait for his help.  {wait}

doing:  doctor's appointment for baby M #2.  making and distributing neighbor gifts.  family zoo trip.  trip to the Northshore to have breakfast with some guys (and their wives) who have been investing in Jeremy, he has been so blessed with so many great spiritual fathers!  a date with my hubby.

Noah:  now that I don't do monthly posts on Noah I feel compelled to give random updates...last week I took Noah for his 2 year well appointment and the doctor noticed some breathing trouble. we are waiting for his cold to clear up and keeping an eye on it in case it could be asthma.  He is quite the picky eater these days.  right now his foods of choice are apples, popcorn, any type of cereal/ granola/ protein bar, yellow cheese (NOT white!), applesauce in packets, crackers, pretzels, and pb&j... everything else including pizza, bananas, pasta and all other kid friendly foods has pretty much been abandoned, even his once beloved guacamole.  he is starting to learn his colors.  he can say the whole alphabet, minus L and one other letter that he skips.  he can recognize/ read W's, O's, B's, and S's.  he isn't really interested in practicing numbers or counting right now.  he is just as energetic and fearless as ever, finding new avenues for mischief in our house (including climbing up on the back of a chair and adjusting the thermostat... sometimes as high as 80 degrees.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Slow Cooker Vegetable Pavlava

Slow Cooker Vegetable Pavlava

I've been making this recipe for Chicken Pavlava (Aftrican Peanut Stew) for a while now and it has become a family favorite.  Anticipating my mom's visit next month, I wanted to come up with a vegetarian version, because I knew she'd love the flavors just like we do.  I also wanted to try it in the slow cooker, because I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when I have guests in town.  I am so happy with the way this turned out.  I just used the vegetables that I had on hand, whether they are authentic or not to African cooking. I think black beans could also be interchangeable with the chickpeas here.

-2 c vegetable broth
-1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
-1/2 c peanut butter
-1/4 tsp cayenne
-2 Tbsp brown sugar
-1 tsp ground ginger
-1 tsp dried thyme
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 tsp sesame oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 onion, diced
-2-3 colored bell peppers, cut into large chunks
-1 (29 oz) can chickpeas, drained
-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
-3 carrots, diced
-1 lb baby spinach

Combine all ingredients, except spinach, in a greased slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours, stirring every hour to help distribute the peanut butter and ensure that all of the potatoes get submerged.  Stir in spinach until it wilts.  Serve immediately over brown rice.

Dark Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramel Popcorn

I made this Dark Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramel Popcorn for our neighbor gifts for this year.  Before I had (and watched others') kids I always made a bunch of different types of cookies to distribute. In recent years, that has seemed like too much to handle, so last year I made peppermint bark and I chose this popcorn this year for all the neighbors.  I really liked the way that it turned out and I would definitely make it again.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

fabric journal cover

I used some scrap fabric to make a composition book/ journal cover for a friend.  I followed this tutorial, but added a small pen pocket to the front.  next time I would also add some elastic stitched in the back flap to serve as a bookmark.  

15 weeks

Here is what is going on with our little one this week according to;

Your growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She's busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam. There's not much for your baby to taste at this point, but she is forming taste buds. Finally, if you have an ultrasound this week, you may be able to find out whether your baby's a boy or a girl! (Don't be too disappointed if it remains a mystery, though. Nailing down your baby's sex depends on the clarity of the picture and on your baby's position. He or she may be modestly curled up or turned in such a way as to "hide the goods.")
If you're having amniocentesis, it'll most likely happen between now and 18 weeks. This test can identify hundreds of genetic and chromosomal disorders. If you're getting very anxious while waiting for the results, it may help to know that most women who undergo amniocentesis get good news about their babies — bringing welcome relief from their worries.You've probably gained about 5 pounds by now (a little more or less is fine, too) and are well into the swing of your pregnancy, but you may still be surprised by an unexpected symptom now and then. If your nose is stuffed up, for instance, you can probably chalk it up to the combined effect of hormonal changes and increased blood flow to your mucous membranes. This condition is so common, there's even a name for it: "rhinitis of pregnancy." Some pregnant women also suffer nosebleeds as a result of increased blood volume and blood vessel expansion in the nose.
Don't be surprised if you and your partner are feeling a little stressed out these days. Many pregnant couples worry about their baby's health and how they'll handle the changes ahead. But with physical discomforts on the wane and energy on the rise, this is also a wonderful trimester for most women.

As for me, the minimal nausea that I've been having is subsiding even further and now when I wake up in the morning I feel good, and don't feel the need to immediately eat something so that I don't feel sick.

I've been getting up several times an evening to use the restroom, but I guess that's to be expected.

I still haven't gained weight, although the shape of my body is definitely changing.

A few times I've wondered if I felt the baby move, but I'm not fully sure yet.

First appointment with my new doctor next week, so I should have more of an update on our  progress then.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

::this week::

This has been a rough week.  Noah has had diarrhea, and therefore a diaper rash.  He has been unruly, and been getting into everything.  Our car was totaled. Our computer is broken.  Our dryer is broken.  We've had to deal with car insurance companies and issues.  I've had to deal with health insurance companies and issues.  Basically, it has been a lot.  And all at once.

And I have not handled it gracefully.  I have let my circumstances cause stress, worry, and overwhelm me.  I have let them dictate my joy and peace.  I did not first turn to the Lord through these circumstances, using them to press into Him.  I tried to handle them on my own, in my own strength, and failed.  I let the enemy win.  I lost perspective.  Perspective that God is good.  sovereign.  present.  loving.  faithful.  graceful.  perfect.

I am so thankful for His grace, despite my lack of faith, despite my lack of trust.  I am so thankful that He is my rock.  I am so thankful that my husband has been patient with me, gently, and consistently pushing me towards the Lord in all of this.

praising:  that although our car was totaled last weekend, that everyone involved in the accident was unharmed.  for God's favor... one car accident and 2 tiny fires in our house in the last month but the Lord has completely protected us and no one and nothing (other than our car) have been damaged.

praying:  against some serious spiritual attack that's been coming our way... for protection, to be able to see the attacks for what they are, for my heart to be guarded in truth, rejoicing despite whatever our circumstances are.

reading:  Isaiah, 2 Samuel, 1000 Gifts

cooking:  split pea soup, BBQ chicken pizzafish tacoswarm sesame slawblack beans rice and corn casserole, chocolate molten lava cakes, roasted squash, banana bread, chicken salad

thankful for:  our health.  that the insurance company and person causing the accident have accepted liability.  a new opportunity for me to make some more money and watch the kiddo of another friend... in perfect timing, just before one of the kiddos I'm currently watching came to an end.  that the nausea is pretty much entirely gone and I'm feeling like myself again.

doing:  2 year doctor's appointment for Noah.  walk with a friend.  making dinner to celebrate my MIL's birthday.  hosting community group.  having dinner with two sweet friends.

creating:  more Christmas presents

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

This soup is inexpensive, simple, nutritious, and delicious.  Perfect on a winter evening with a good loaf of bread.  I initially hadn't intended adding the pasta, but ended up with way more broth in the soup than I tend to like (I like stew consistency better than a thin soup), so I threw the pasta in last minute the thought it was perfect with that addition.  If you don't wish to add the pasta (or you like your soups soupy, not stewy), either reduce the broth by 4 cups, add more beans, or add some diced potatoes in with the veggies when you saute them.

-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-3 carrots, diced
-3 stalks celery, diced
-1 large zucchini, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp thyme
-1 tsp rosemary
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 tsp salt
-10 c chicken broth
-1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes
-2 (15 oz) can cannelini beans, drained
-1 lb fresh spinach
-1 box (13.25 oz) desired whole wheat pasta shape (optional)

In large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, and celery, saute until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add zucchini and garlic, saute until fragrant, an additional minute.  Add thyme, rosemary, pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and cannelini beans.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir in spinach.  Add pasta, simmer 5 minutes, remove from heat and allow the pasta to finish cooking and soak up some of the broth until it's your desired consistency (I let it sit about 5 more minutes).  Serve.

Roasted Squash

I followed the method (ingredients and cooking instructions) for this roasted acorn squash recipe.  I used 2 carnival squash that I had on hand, reduced the butter to 3 Tbsp, eliminated the olive oil, reduced the brown sugar to 1/4 c, and used 1 tsp dried rosemary instead of the fresh.  I thought they turned out really well... I don't tend to be much of a squash person, an aversion to cooked orange vegetables that has been plaguing me since childhood, but this had made me a believer that squash can be flavorful and delicious.

Friday, November 23, 2012

14 weeks

Here is going on with our little lemon this week according to;

This week's big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb! Thanks to brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. His kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him — a process he'll keep up until birth. He can grasp, too, and if you're having an ultrasound now, you may even catch him sucking his thumb.

In other news: Your baby's stretching out. From head to bottom, he measures 3 1/2 inches — about the size of a lemon — and he weighs 1 1/2 ounces. His body's growing faster than his head, which now sits upon a more distinct neck. By the end of this week, his arms will have grown to a length that's in proportion to the rest of his body. (His legs still have some lengthening to do.) He's starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair, called lanugo, all over his body. Your baby's liver starts making bile this week — a sign that it's doing its job right — and his spleen starts helping in the production of red blood cells. Though you can't feel his tiny punches and kicks yet, your little pugilist's hands and feet (which now measure about 1/2 inch long) are more flexible and active.

Welcome to your second trimester! Your energy is likely returning, your breasts may be feeling less tender, and your queasiness may have completely abated by now. If not, hang on — chances are good it will soon be behind you (although an unlucky few will still feel nauseated months from now).

The top of your uterus is a bit above your pubic bone, which may be enough to push your tummy out a tad. Starting to show can be quite a thrill, giving you and your partner visible evidence of the baby you've been waiting for. Take some time to plan, daydream, and enjoy this amazing time. It's normal to worry a bit now and then, but try to focus on taking care of yourself and your baby, and having faith that you're well equipped for what's ahead.

As for me, doing well.  Still feel nauseous for a few hours here and there, but not bad at all.  My energy and endurance are returning and jogging is starting to be easier again, for the last few weeks I've had to take walk breaks along my normal route.  I'm still not eating much sugar or sweets because they still aren't sitting quite right, as well as foods with lots of oil or butter.

I still haven't gained any weight, but my tummy is definitely sticking out.  There's only one pair of jeans I can still comfortably wear buttoned, but they all fit as long as I unbutton them and tie the button hole with a hair band.  All of my maternity clothes are still too big, so I'm in this awkward phase where nothing seems to look good on me or fit quite right.

I go back to the doctor Dec. 4 and am looking forward to hearing the heart beat again to reassure me that our little one is doing fine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

::this week::

praying:  for the needs and struggles of others.  for our city.  nation.  the nations.

praising:  God's grace... His many blessings.  some additional provision for our ministry.

reading:  2 Samuel, Isaiah, 1000 Gifts

cooking:  chille relleno casserole, hummus, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, ramen noodle pad thai, mac and cheese, slow cooker African peanut stew, tuscan bean soup

thankful for:  a four day weekend for our family with no real plans and lots of time to relax and enjoy each other.  God's provision.  abundant food... that my fridge is full of yummy things while others in the world don't have enough to eat.  good friends.  the thoughtfulness of some sweet friends who have looked for ways to serve and bless us.  family.  amazing weather.  a healthy family.

doing:  having a low key Thanksgiving with just us and J's parents, hoping to relax, eat lots of yummy food, and stay in my jammies all day long.  date night with my love, via a recent gift certificate from a sweet friend.

creating:  more Christmas presents

May you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving, filled with laughter, love, food, and the presence of the Lord!

Monday, November 19, 2012

family photo shoot

here are just a few photos from a fun photo shoot that some friends did for us yesterday.  we (and they) are by no means professional photographers, we just took our bottom of the line Nikon camera and did the best we could with no technical expertise. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this pumpkin cheesecake.  The few changes I made were to use neufatchel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, instead of regular cream cheese.  I also used light sour cream.  And I used graham cracker crumbs (of 12 graham crackers) instead of the gingersnaps, although I do think a gingersnap crust would have been quite lovely.  Then, once I had finished baking the cheesecake the top had cracked (probably because I didn't use the hot water bath) so then I came up with a way to cover up the cracked top and add some additional decadence to the dessert.  I made cinnamon whipped cream and spread over the top of the cheesecake, and then candied some pecans with brown sugar and sprinkled them over top.  This was really good, but really rich and heavy, definitely a special occasion and not everyday dessert for our household.

Friday, November 16, 2012

::this week::

praising:  new life in Christ for someone Jeremy prayed with this week.  healing for someone we got to pray with this week.  some more promises of provision for our ministry.

praying:  for greater faith, courage, boldness, love, and power... for an awareness of the opportunities God gives me and the obedience to use these in those opportunities.

thankful for:  having Jeremy around a lot extra this week as he was off Mon-Thur.  an awesome conference that we got to go to on Sunday, and having a bunch of sweet alone time with my hubby that day!  finally getting to meet a guy who has become a recent ministry partner for Jeremy... they are very like minded and share similar beliefs and approaches to ministry... so grateful to have so many great people pouring into us!  great weather.  so many sweet friends.  a gift card in the mail from a thoughtful friend who wanted to bless us with a night of not needing to cook.  a thoughtful hubby who looks not only to his needs, but also to mine... giving me a morning this week to have some much needed alone time.

reading:  2 Samuel, Isaiah, 1000 Gifts

cooking:  salmon cakes, baked mac and cheese, dressing, squash casserole, pumpkin cheesecake, slow cooker ratatouille, wonton soup, sweet and spicy sugar snap peas, ramen noodle pad thai, chile relleno casserole, pizza, pumpkin gingersnaps

creating:  more Christmas presents.

doing:  hosting a girls night, community group, and a birthday party for a sweet friend.  a walk/ lunch date with a friend.  a Christmas card photo session with friends.

pondering:  Isaiah 2... hope for the nations... the hopeful and good promises for the "last days"... not just the "bad" ones of trial and tribulation.  what it looks like for me to believe these, claim them, declare them, & bring them into our time, rather than just accepting the bad as a sign that the end is coming, but having hope and bringing that to the nations.

the conference from last Sunday... wanting to not let it be just a cool experience, but something that changes me forever.  pushing me into greater faith, power, courage, hope, peace, joy, and boldness.

 walking in the Spirit... learning how to stir up the Spirit... it is easy for me to get in the Spirit during times of worship, prayer, etc. but learning how to stir that up on a regular basis... to always walk in Him.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes

We've had a can of salmon in the pantry for almost a year, so I had an itch to come up with a way to use it.  These turned out well, and are relatively simple, inexpensive, and nutritious.  I made a few dipping sauces to go with them, but wasn't really happy with any of them and ended up using Sriarcha, feel free to accompany these patties with ketchup, tarter sauce, cocktail sauce, or teryaki.

-1 (15 oz) can salmon, bones and skin removed
-2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, toasted and chopped into crumbs
-1 egg, beaten
-1 stalk celery, finely chopped
-3 scallions, finely chopped
-1 tsp dried dill
-1/2 tsp old bay
-1 tsp hot sauce
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 tsp dijon mustard
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in medium bowl.  Mix well with a fork, breaking up and mashing salmon into small bits.  Refrigerate mixture for at least a half an hour.  Form mixture into 6 patties.  Heat oil over medium in a skillet.  Add patties, cook 3-4 minutes, flip, cook an additional 3-4 minutes and serve.

13 weeks

Here is what is going on with our little shrimp this week according to;

Fingerprints have formed on your baby's tiny fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catch up with her head — which makes up just a third of her body size now. If you're having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Your baby is almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and weighs nearly an ounce.
This is the last week of your first trimester, and your risk of miscarriage is now much lower than earlier in pregnancy. Next week marks the beginning of your second trimester, a time of relative comfort for many women who see early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue subside. More good news: Many couples also notice a distinct libido lift around this time. Birth is still months away, but your breasts may have already started making colostrum, the nutrient-rich fluid that feeds your baby for the first few days after birth, before your milk starts to flow
As for me... still feeling about the same as last week.  A LOT better than a few weeks ago, but still some nausea here and there.  Overall, I am just graeful to be able to eat most food again and function in a normal way.  I still haven't gained weight, but my belly is getting round and squishy.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Slow Cooker Ratatouille

Slow Cooker Ratatouille

I served this over whole wheat pasta, and topped it with cheese for a simple dinner.  It would also be a great side dish to accompany any meat, and lends perfectly to dipping crusty bread.  I really enjoyed it, and the fact that Jeremy ate eggplant (which he won't eat) says a lot also.

-1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes
-1 eggplant, cut into large chunks
-2 zucchini, cut into large chunks
-2 colored bell peppers, cut into large chunks
-1 onion, cut into wedges
-1 (16 oz) pack mushrooms, quartered
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1 tsp dried basil
-1 tsp dried thyme
-1 tsp dried rosemary
-2 tsp salt
-2 Tbsp sugar
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/8 c olive oil
-1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

Combine all ingredients, except tomato paste, in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours (or until desired tenderness is achieved), stirring every hour.  Stir in tomato paste and allow to cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens.  Serve.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

When I get sick I don't crave the traditional chicken noodle soup like most people.  I tend to crave Wonton, Egg Drop, or Hot and Sour Soup.  I've always been intimidated to try making my own Wonton Soup, but it really wasn't hard, just a little time consuming making the wontons, but not nearly as lengthy as I would expect.  This turned out really well... maybe the best wonton soup I've ever had (if I do say so myself), I could really taste each of the flavors in the filling.

-32 square wonton wrappers
-1/2 lb ground pork
-4 scallions, sliced
-1 inch chunck ginger, peeled and minced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-2 tsp soy sauce
-1 tsp sesame oil
-2 tsp cornstarch
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper

-8 c chicken broth
-1 Tbsp soy sauce
-1 tsp sesame oil
-4 scallions

Combine pork through pepper in a bowl, mix well.  Arrange 8 wonton wrappers on a work surface, place 1 tsp of pork filling in the center of each.  Wet you index finger (it is handy to have a bowl next to you to dip your finger in) and moisten all four edges of each wonton wrapper.  Pull one of the corners diagonally over the filling to make a triangle.  Press the edges firmly to seal, squeezing out any air bubbles.  Bring the left and right corners together, pressing to secure.  Place wontons on a baking sheet, dust with cornstarch, and cover with a damp towel.  Repeat steps with remaining wonton wrappers and filling.  In a large pot, combine broth, soy sauce, and sesame oil over medium heat.  Once soup simmers, add wontons.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring intermittently.  Sprinkle with additional scallions and serve.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

12 weeks

Here is what is going on with the little lime this week according to;

The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Your baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder.

Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

Your uterus has grown to the point where your healthcare provider can now feel the top of it (the fundus) low in your abdomen, just above your pubic bone. You may already be into maternity clothes, especially if this isn't your first pregnancy. If you're still fairly small and not yet ready for maternity clothes, you've no doubt noticed that your waist is thickening and that you're more comfortable in loose, less restrictive clothing.

You may begin to feel heartburn (also called acid indigestion), a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of your breastbone to your lower throat. Many women get heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, and those who've previously had bouts of heartburn may find that it gets worse. During pregnancy, the placenta produces a lot of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. Particularly when you're lying down, gastric acid can seep back up the pipe, which causes the uncomfortable burning sensation. For many women the problem doesn't begin (or get worse) until later in pregnancy, when your growing uterus starts to push up on your stomach. The discomfort may range from mildly annoying to intense and distracting.

As for me, I am happy to say that I am over the hump, haven't thrown up in almost a week, and have been feeling mostly well/ normal.  It's so funny how the nausea seems like it is never going to end, and then all of the sudden, one morning I wake up feeling good.  I am so thankful to feel good again, be able to jog, cook, and eat most foods without feeling sick.

My stomach is continuing to stick out more and more, but I'm in that awkward stage where you can't tell if I'm pregnant, ate too much, or just never lost the belly from my last baby.  I'm looking forward to when my little bump is a little more pronounced and looks more like a growing baby.  I still haven't gained weight... well... I've gained back the weight I had lost while I was so sick, but I'm now at the same weight that I was when I got pregnant and I'm still wearing my normal clothes just shooting for looser tops.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

::this week::

I am THRILLED to say that I am starting to feel better... to feel like me again... to have energy, not feel constantly sick, and to just enjoy my life again.  I am SO grateful that I'm not one of those women that feels sick their entire pregnancy, because 6 weeks was hard enough for me.  I forgot how much I love and enjoy my everyday life... probably because it has been a while since I have enjoyed anything.  It feels so good to settle back into our normal routine, to take morning walks to the playground, to jog, to cook, and to just enjoy and be present with the people I'm around.  I feel like I have a whole new appreciation for feeling well, and for the simple but amazing life the Lord has given me.  I am so grateful for the sweet kiddos I get to hang with, for this beautiful city, the beautiful park within walking distance, playgrounds, sunshine, free time, access to varieties of foods, and the community we have here in New Orleans (just to name a few).

praying:  for the needs/ struggles/ requests of many that have been made known to me over the last week.  my heart is aching for so many people right now.  pondering if this is a specific attack on our church and/ or city right now.  if this is a reflection of the busy end of the year for everyone.  is this is an attack pushing God's people from thankfulness, rest, peace, joy, and the Lord's presence during the holiday season.

praising:  restoration in my relationships with the Lord, family, and friends as I feel better and have energy to invest in those relationships again.

reading:  Song of Songs.  1 Samuel.  1000 Gifts.

thankful for:  a big bag of hand me downs for Noah, plus some recent great yard sale finds for him.  thrilled that it doesn't look like we'll need to buy any new clothes for him for this size/ season.  AMAZING weather this week.

cooking:  baked crab rangoon, Thai coconut corn soup, pizza, huevos rancheros, lentil salad, applesauce muffins

creating:  Christmas gifts.  decorations for a birthday party we're hosting next week for a sweet friend.

doing:  hosting a friend for dinner.  slowly slipping back into my routine and things I like to do as I begin to feel better.  Chick Fil A lunch to chat with some mommas and let the kiddos enjoy the play place.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Baked Crab Rangoon

I made this baked crab rangoon.  The two changes I made were to add 1tsp Sriarcha sauce to the filling, and place the wonton wrappers in a mini muffin pan, stuffed with filling and baked for 20 minutes at 350.  These were good, nowhere near as decadent as the takeout version, but good and healthy enough to enjoy whenever I'd like.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Maple Dijon Brussel Sprouts

Slow Cooker Maple Dijon Brussel Sprouts

The day I made this I was nauseous, and the flavors didn't do well in my stomach, so I planned not to blog the recipe.  But now that I've been eating the leftovers for 2 days I am really enjoying them, and thinking the reason I didn't like them the first day was nausea and not the recipe.  So here you have it.  I tend to like the char and crispness of roasted brussel sprouts better than this, but these were good, and you can't beat the ease of dump and let it sit for several hours.

-2 lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed, large ones halved
-2 Tbsp butter
-1/2 c water
-1/4 c maple syrup
-2 Tbsp dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4 hours, or high for 2 hours.  Serve.

Applesauce Muffins

I made these Martha Stewart Applesauce Muffins.  The only two changes that I made were to eliminate the frosting, and to use 1 c whole wheat flour in place of 1 c of the all purpose flour.  I thought they turned out well.  Very moist and subtle with hints of apple and fall flavor spices.  These are a great healthy breakfast muffin without the frosting, but for more of a sweet or dessert muffin use the frosting. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

::this week::

I've been feeling a little discouraged this week.  Since by this point in my last pregnancy I was starting to feel better, I was really hoping to be going in that direction by now.  Not to mention, this pregnancy has also been a lot harder than my last one, because I have been more sick.  I have been throwing up pretty regularly this time around and have felt pretty bad most of the time for the last 4 weeks. This has affected every area of my life. By the time Jeremy gets home in the evening (and after I've been watching other people's kids all day) I'm usually worn out, and feeling awful. So I have done a very poor job of emotionally connecting with my hubby the last few weeks, and asking him deep questions, listening, and encouraging him. I've mostly just laid on the couch, trying not to throw up, and doing the bare minimal cooking and housework I can get by with. Same thing with my friends and community group. And the Lord. I feel like I've had nausea in every of my life for the past several weeks... physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have felt so bad that I haven't been able to do the things that I enjoy, that make me feel like me, that fill me up (like cooking, exercising, hanging out with friends, crafting...). I am beyond thankful for the grace of the Lord, and my husband, and my friends during a season where I haven't been much fun to be around, haven't been myself, and haven't been very encouraging.

One other praise on all of this is that our "Desperate Women of the Bible" study was such a rock, encouragement, and refreshment for me during this time. If it had been up to me each Friday morning I would have rather cancelled, and not seen anyone, not had people in my house, and not led a study, I just wanted to lay on the couch and not do anything, but it was really good for me to see ladies each Friday, to invite the presence of the Lord together, to encourage and be encouraged, and not spend my morning feeling sorry for myself. So each week, if for only 2 hours on Friday mornings I felt like myself again, and was able to take my eyes off of my circumstances and put them onto the Lord and His Kingdom. And as a result, the rest of my Fridays were always much better than the rest of the week.  I'm so sad that this week concludes our study, and that I will not be seeing these ladies each Friday morning going forward.  But I am so grateful for the season we had together, and our last day was such a blessing... we went around the room and prophesied, encouraged, and spoke truth over each other and it was SO great and encouraging!

Also, I'm assuming that most of you have seen that Jeremy has resigned from his job effective 1/1/13. We are in the process of acquiring non-profit status for our ministry. This involves a lot of paperwork, details, legal terms, etc. It hasn't been easy every step, but God has provided exactly what we need at each step, and things are falling into place. We are also in the process for raising our support for next year. Again, it's crazy that we have no idea where it will come from or how much our income will be as of January, but it has been really cool to see how God was stirring the hearts of His people to give to us even before we had ever sent a single support letter or asked anyone for money. It has been a great reminder that He really is in control, and how futile my plans and efforts really are.
praising:  some of the details that have been coming together for Bastion Ministries.  feeling like we are finally moving forward.  seeing God starting to build our monthly support team.  grace in relationships with the Lord, my husband, family, and friends while I have not been myself or very encouraging for the last month.

praying:  to feel better.  to feel like "me" again.  to have energy to do the things that I enjoy and that fill me up.

thankful for:  extra help from my mother-in-law with Noah so that I could have a day to rest.  for friends who brought us dinner one night.  for new landlords, who are so nice and we genuinely like, and that were very responsive to a problem and got us a new stove this week.  for some downtime at home with just Jeremy and Noah this week to enjoy each other.
reading:  Ecclesiastes, 1 Samuel, 1000 Gifts, assorted cookbooks (lamenting my lack of cooking and new recipes lately and dreaming of feeling well enough to try new things again)

cooking:  spinach artichoke dip, pizza, sesame soy honey baked tofu, pasta with bolognese, slow cooker maple dijon brussel sprouts, steak, mac and cheese, pad thai, chinese green beans

doing:  still not much, as I'm still not feeling well.  dinner with friends.  Bible study.  a community group Halloween party.  finally got our ministry announcement letters sent.  relaxing.

creating:  Christmas presents... looking forward to when Christmas is over and being able to share what I've been working on.