Thursday, May 31, 2012

Share in the spoil

As embarrassing as this is to admit, recently I've been feeling a little jealous of Jeremy spiritually.  He has gotten to do a lot of really cool and "big" things for God, and be used in really profound ways.  I realize just how worldly this sounds.  I understand that I should not be a piece of clay questioning what the potter has purposed me for, and I should not be an ear wishing to be an eye.  That said, the reality is that I have been jealous.  That I have heard all of the cool stories of things that the Lord has done through Jeremy and I have wanted to have an active part in those.  This week the Lord has been comforting me with a passage that a wiser, older woman shared with me years ago...

1 Samuel 30:21-25  Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.”  But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.”  And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.

I find comfort in knowing that in this season, in which often times I am "staying with the baggage" and am watching over our home and child, that I still share in the spoil as if I had gone out to the battle.

::this week::

cooking:  pesto tomato soup with grilled cheeses, lemon bars, portobello mushroom pizzas (mushrooms stuffed with marinara sauce, cheese, and turkey pepperoni), portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach artichoke dip, chicken sausages

listening:  Bryan and Katie Torwalt... their lyrics have been coming alive to me this week.  I've been praying and worshipping my way through the entire cd while I cook and do housework. 

reading:  finishing Exodus and starting Leviticus, Practicing His Presence, The Discipline Book

doing:  a marriage retreat with our church on Friday and Saturday.  cooked food for the memorial service on Wednesday for the man murdered on our street last week.  hosting several dinners with friends.

praying:  for the marriages in our church, and the marriage retreat this weekend.  for our city... for freedom from this chain of violence.  for this generational sin to be severed in the name of Jesus.  for this poverty mentality to be severed in the name of Jesus.  for the families of the man murdered last week, and for the families of the multiple murders this week.  for racial reconciliation... to see unity and fellowship among all races in our city.  to see the walls that have been built up for years torn down in the name of Jesus.  for healing of these hurts, prejudices, and judgments.  to move into a more full experience of the beautiful, diverse body of Christ.  praying and fasting for our homes again this week, and praying for the other ladies doing the same.

praising:  God is so cool!  He has been working, speaking to, and using Jeremy and I in such creative ways.  It's so awesome to be a part of!  super thankful this week for the way He is at work in some of our friendships, really deepening them and bringing them into a sense of family.  praising Him for new breakthroughs and freedom in some of our friends.  for His freedom in my heart... many months ago I was so judgmental and critical over our church and the leadership... now He has filled me with so much grace and love that I don't have a single negative thought in that area.

pondering:  1) As I finished Exodus I was pondering just how awesome and powerful God is.  He performed so many powerful signs and wonders... the plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, manna, and more.  We have this same God, with this same power seeking to do equally powerful works today and I am ready to see Him in action!  Yet, despite His majesty and works the Israelites were so unfaithful, so quick to grumble and complain or worship false Gods.  Praying that I would not grow out of touch with the miracles that He does in my life as the Israelites did back then.  Praying that I would have mental altars (as the Israelites had physical altars) reminding me of His many works, gifts, and encounters. 2) Thinking of how vibrant the celebration was for the man who was murdered in our neighborhood.  At how his friends and family celebrated him with such passion.  The street was filled with people dancing, music was blasting, a brass band even marched down the block.  Wanting to see us celebrate our God with this same fervor.  To worship Him with such passion.  To celebrate baptisms with such enthusiasm.  To celebrate the lives of our friends in family n such an exuberant manner.

stepping into: a season of more obedience to God.  I have tended to pick and choose what I will and won't do for God.  I have tended to not do anything out of my comfort zone or that was too much of an inconvenience for me.  thankful for small opportunities this week to obey and experience Him in ways that were not comfortable for me, in ways that I was scared I would like stupid and be uncomfortable... particularly in approaching the family of the man that was murdered, and in giving a friend a word from the Lord that was sort of weird and out of the box.  grateful for the strength and courage He gave me in these areas and excited to see Him increase my territory as I'm being faithful with the bits and pieces He is giving me.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

I made these Thai Chicken Enchiladas and they were delicious, perhaps the best things that I've made this year!  I really didn't expect much from them either, I pinned the recipe months ago, but thought it might be fusion food gone wrong and ignored it.  Then one of my favorite bloggers tried it and raved about it so I decided to give it a try, still not expecting much, and wow!  did they over deliver!

I doubled the chicken, doubled the sauce, and quadrupled the veggies to fill 8 10" whole wheat tortillas.  The only other thing that I changed was that after I finished the filling I sampled it and found it very milk.  To me, Thai food should be spicy, so I added 1 tsp or sriracha sauce to the sauce, and 4 tsp sriracha sauce to the filling.  This gave it a great kick without being overly spicy. 

19 months

Here's what is new with Noah this month according to;

The vocabulary of a typical 19-month-old toddler may consist of as few as ten words or as many as 50. Yours may be able to link two or more words together, and is starting to use more "action" words. Verbs like "go" and "jump" are common, and so is linking a verb with her name (or pronoun), as in "Come me," meaning "Come with me." (It will be some months before she inserts the preposition.) Many 19-month-olds are also well-versed in direction words such as "up," "down," "under," "out," and "in."

You'll also discover that when you read familiar stories, if you pause at certain points in the text, your toddler will fill in the blank. To test this, next time you're reading a book that your toddler has heard dozens of times, pause at the end of a sentence and see what happens. If Goodnight Moon is a bedtime standard, try this: "In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red ..." "Balloon!" she'll likely shout.

Looking at picture books with your toddler, and labeling the objects for her, will help build her vocabulary. While you're at it, explain to her what the object does, what sounds it makes, or what it feels like. For instance, you might say, "This is a horse. Horses are big. They run fast," or "Here's a fire truck. It's red." You get the idea. And if you want proof that your child understands more words than she can say, when you're looking at books, ask her, "Where's the red tractor?" or "Where's the white horse?" and odds are she'll point right to it.

Toddlers learn by touching, holding, and moving objects from one place to another. They struggle to push or pull heavy objects, toss light ones across a room, and observe how small objects literally slip between their fingers. Experts call this "motor learning," and this constant testing teaches children about size, weight, and shape. You may think it's just fun for her, and even get frustrated with the inevitable messes that your 19-month-old's explorations create, but she's learning about perception and spatial relationships, concepts that will be important in a few years when she's introduced to math. This is an age when many toddlers enjoy trying to match shapes together, so a shape-sorting box is an ideal toy for a 19-month-old.

Starting last month, you may have noticed that your child was finally interested in playing with toys. This month she may become engrossed in a favorite plaything for 20 or 30 minutes — an eternity to you if your child has been unwilling to let you out of arm's reach.

Since toddlers tend to be enthusiastic explorers, be sure to choose toys that are safe. Board books, musical instruments, nesting blocks and boxes, stacking toys, toy telephones (without cords), and push-and-pull toys are top toys for toddlers. Make sure the toys, and any parts attached to them, are too large to be swallowed, do not have detachable parts that could pose a choking hazard, won't break into small pieces if thrown on the ground, don't have sharp points or edges, and don't have moveable parts that could pinch fingers.

I think I say this every month, but this is such a fun age!

Noah says lots of words, probably close to 100.  He will basically repeat any word that he hears us say.  He is also putting some sentences together.  His current favorites are "I dropped the ....", "I got you", "I pooped again", and "I want to read that one book" (I didn't say the sentences are grammatically correct). 

At his 18 month checkup Noah was healthy, growing well, and weighed just under 28 pounds.

Just this month Noah has seemed to start playing more by himself, and not always wanting/ needing us to interact with him.  Until this month he has pretty much wanted my attention all of the time and I've had to reserve cleaning and cooking for nap times, unless they are simple tasks that he can help with.  But this month he has started to contently play on his own for up to 30 minutes at a time, sometimes multiple times a day.  He still likes to be in the same room as me and near me, but he doesn't go looking for trouble just because he doesn't have my undivided attention anymore (at least not most of the time).

We put Noah's potty in the bathroom and have started talking to him about the potty and letting him sit on it.  He seems interested, but not yet telling us before he needs to go.

The Bayou is his favorite place, and he asks to go there several times a day.  Then upon arriving he wants to pick a bunch of clover flowers.  He really loves flowers and asks for them several times a day.

For the first time Noah seems to be starting to get attached to some toys.  He always wants his stuffed giraffe and crocheted blanket when he goes to sleep, and he usually likes to walk around hanging on to them for a while after he wakes up.

He is also starting to nap longer.  We've mostly been down to 1 nap a day for a few months, but since he wasn't used to this transition that nap was only lasting about an hour to an hour and a half.  Now, more often than not, that nap tends to last 2=3 hours... which has been wonderful for me finding time to shower, cook, and clean!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I made these Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars. They were good, maybe a solid "B". I didn't think this was possible, but they almost had too many chocolate chips for me, next time I think I'd reduce them down to 1-1.5 cups. I only had 5 oz of caramels around, so I had less sauce then called for also, but they still turned out great.

Monday, May 21, 2012

::this week::

cooking:  iced coffee, sun-dried tomato pesto pasta, pizza, Thai chicken enchiladas, salted caramel cookie bars, salad with tangy tomato dressing, garlic noodles, black bean rice and corn casserole, hummus, spinach and mozzarella breakfast casserole

reading:  Exodus, Practicing His Presence, The Discipline Book

praising:  the glory and faithfulness of God.  that His mercies are new every morning.  that He is doing a great work in our church family and pouring out His Spirit upon our body!

praying:  1.) for our city, and neighborhood.  mourning for a shooting on our street that took the life of a 21 year old man.  the lack of value for life around here is so sad.  the fact that this is nothing, a regular occurrence in this city is so sad.  praying that I never get desensitized to things like this even though they happen all of the time around here.  praying comfort for the families... that this would spark life change... that it would put an end to the generational sin and poverty mentality that is continuing to be passed down from generation to generation.  praying for the salvation, freedom, and healing that only Jesus can bring for this city.  2.) praying and fasting (along with our women's ministry) to intercede for the homes in New Orleans... that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit and centered on Him.  that they would be houses of worship, of prayer, of hospitality.  that they would be places of refuge for our families.

doing:  hosting a few friends over for dinner throughout the week and community group.  planning a ladies and kiddos zoo trip for Friday.  need to work on the project I keep putting off of backing up all of our pictures and videos that are on our computer.

creating:  still working on putting new velcro on all of Noah's diapers, some Father's Day cards, and some baby shower decorations

Iced Coffee

I followed this recipe to make an iced coffee concentrate to keep in the fridge.  I halved the recipe, because I didn't have a container big enough to pour the entire recipe into.  After I strained it and poured into a pitcher, I stirred in a small container of fat free sweetened condensed milk.  This was perfect for me, poured over a large glass of ice.  Too perfect in fact.  This is dangerous to have around.  I do like my coffee strong though, and black when drinking it hot, so I'm thinking that others may still want to add some cream/ milk and sugar when pouring this coffee concentrate over ice.  I used cheapo generic coffee for this and it turned out well, so I'm thinking it would be even better with the good stuff.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

This is quick and easy to whip up and is extremely versatile.  You could spread it on sandwiches, add a few tablespoons to eggs, make a cold pasta salad tossed with vegetables, make a warm pasta dish with meat, whisk in more oil for a salad dressing, and so on.  This will keep in the fridge for two weeks.

-4 cloves garlic
-1 c sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained with oil reserved
-1/4 walnuts, toasted (toast them in a pan or oven for 5-10 minutes)
-1/4 c parmesan cheese
-small handful of basil leaves
`-1 Tbsp lemon juice (although next time I might add 2 for a stronger lemon flavor)
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and process until finely minced.  Add in 1-2 Tbsp of the reserved oil from the tomato jar until desired consistency is achieved. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

I made these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars, although they strike me more as a moist pumpkin cake than a bar.  The only change that I made was to use reduced-fat cream cheese in place of regular.  Everyone loved this dessert, and Jeremy says it's one of his favorites.  It is lower in fat and calories than most desserts, and the pumpkin adds at least some nutrition, plus, pumpkin/ fall flavors always tend to be my favorite.  I normally tend to like most desserts, breads, and muffins warm, but this is one dessert that I actually preferred chilled in the fridge first.

::this week::

cooking: Thai Red Curry, pumpkin cream cheese bars, French lemon yogurt cake, pizza, sundried tomato pesto pasta

reading: Genesis, Practicing His Presence

praising: beginning to see doors open up for a certain dream and desire that we have been praying about for a month.  God is so good, so faithful, so perfect, and so mighty... seriously humbled by and in awe of His majesty this week.

praying: for the Lord to make our path straight regarding that dream... for wisdom, guidance, for every step that we take to be in faith, inspired by Him.

contemplating: Joseph in Genesis 39... the favor of God was upon him, and God gave him success everywhere that he went, yet when Potiphar's wife repeatedly tried to seduce Him Joseph ended up being in jail for something he was innocent of and God did not protect Joseph from these circumstances, yet continued to use them for His good.  If I, or someone that I knew, were put into jail for something we were innocent of I think my instinct would be to think that God had removed His favor.  I think I would be discouraged (that is an understatement).  I am so impressed at how, despite His circumstances, Joseph was still able to seek to honor God, to still serve God.  That takes incredible faith, character, and trust.

enjoying: these 3 kiddos, they are so much fun!  Luke moves in a week and a half and we are savoring every last second with him.  we've been having dance parties, races, and lots of laughter.  these 3 all play so well with each other and enjoy each other, I love watching it.

thankful for:  kiddos.  to get to hang with them.  family.  a great visit with my mom.  our fun neighborhood.  beautiful weather.  playgrounds and parks.  walks.  the gym.  friends.  our church body.  this city.  music.  yummy food. 

creating:  some games and decorations for a baby shower in July.  some father's day cards with Noah.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Fruit and Nut Balls

I made these chocolate dipped fruit and nut balls to have on hand as a dessert for my mom (who does not eat eggs, and therefore cannot eat most baked goods).  I didn't have any figs around so I omitted them and just added more of the other dried fruits.  These are really good.  The inside of the ball is similar to the flavor and texture of a fig newton (funny, considering I omitted the figs).  These tiny, popable desserts are guilt free, and even nutritious... this is the kind of dessert that I don't feel guilty about giving to Noah to eat.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I made this Cooking Light peanut butter banana bread.  It was AMAZING, more delicious, yet more healthy than my go to recipe!  I also love the fact that it is only for one loaf, so I don't end up with excessive amounts of treats around.  I left out the chopped peanuts, substituted an extra egg for the ground flax, used 3 defrosted ripe bananas that I had frozen when they got too ripe, used skim milk for the glaze, and substituted 1/2 c of whole wheat flour for an equal amount of all-purpose flour.  I think it would be great with chocolate chips also, but the glazes gives such a great sweetness and richness that I think they might almost be overkill if you did add them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Practicing His Presence

I have been reading the book Practicing His Presence.  First of all, it is quickly becoming my favorite Christian book ever.  Mainly because instead of being a how to/ 5 step program, it is the documented experience of two men, as they sought to be constantly in aware and in tune with the presence of the Lord.  This is encouraging and challenging me deeply.  So yesterday was my first day of really intentionally trying to constantly seek His presence.  I'm thinking and hoping that this discipline will get easier with practice.  Here is a summary of how yesterday went...

6-7 am:  most of this hour was spend in the presence of the Lord, worship, journaling, basking
7-8:  maybe a few seconds of this hour was I aware of Him
8-9: again, maybe a few seconds of this hour was I aware of Him
9-10: trying to learn how to be present and listen to God amidst the chaos of having multiple kiddos here.  retreating to the couch with my journal.  resolving that the most important priority today is resting in the presence of the Lord, not my to do list.  resolving that my day will still be... no, will be more victorious even if I don't accomplish the things I'd like to do.  pondering the balance between responsibilities and rest.  of how to be present with God while doing.  but not doing out of duty or obligation, but all as an act of worship, and out of love.
10-11: had some great worship time as I cleaned the house.  then had a neighbor, and a friend (with more kiddos) over.  had a hard time staying present with the Lord amidst conversations and kiddos running around.
11-12:  a few moments aware of His presence, a lot of doing.
12-1 pm: busy and distracted with housework and caring for kiddos.  need to work on being present with Him and others simultaneously.
1-2: prayed for friends and sent encouraging text messages.  more aware of Him during this, but still need to practice listening to Him amidst doing.
2-3: reflected. journaled. praised. thanked. then not.  still compartmentalizing my time with Jesus, and my time for tasks.  encouraged though.  because this documentation and intention is allowing me to experience much more of Him than normal in a day.
3-4: realizing that in my efforts to constantly be aware of the Lord, that I have neglected to bring the kids into that with me.  taking a few moments with them to seek Him.  worshipping.  sitting.  resting.  even a few minutes are so refreshing.
4-5:  busy & preoccupied.  listened to a sermon... find it funny how things like that, that are supposed to encourage me in Him can actually distract me from His presence and peace.
5-6: busy & preoccupied mostly, with a few moments of awareness
6-7: time with a friend.  hard to be fully present with the Lord while relating with her.
7-8: more of the same.  but spent some time in prayer with a couple and had a great time seeking Him.  still struggling to rest and listen to Him while praying with others.
8-9: moments of awareness
9-10: pretty much tuned Him out completely.
10-11: trying to bask in Him while falling asleep.  worshipped.  prayed.  funny how prone I am to "doing" rather than just being and resting.  had a few moments of awareness with Him and then my mind would drift off to details.  then after a few minutes come back to Him, and so it continued on and on.
2-3 am: (Noah woke up and then I couldn't fall back asleep).  some rich time with Him, while the house and outside world are quiet.  finally listening well as He unpacked some truth in recent words for me from friends... allowing that truth to soak in and speak to my heart. 

what a great day!  the most part of each hour was not spent in His presence, but constantly realizing that, and getting back in tune with Him is so refreshing.  prior to this exercise I'm sure that often hours at a time would go by before my heart turned towards Him.  what a glorious and victorious day.  and this is just the beginning.

::this week::

cooking:  sundried tomato pesto, spinach feta and sundried tomato breakfast casserole, pizza, hummus with homemade pita bread, spinach and black bean enchiladas, passion tea lemonade, chocolate dipped fruit and nut balls, French lemon yogurt cake, braised coconut spinach chickpeas, salad of spinach mushrooms corn eggs tomatoes cucumbers and tangy tomato dressing, greek salad

reading:  Practicing His Presence, Genesis

listening:  Bryan and Katie Torwalt

praying:  for provision.  for the desires of our hearts to be met.  for a fun time with my mom this weekend.  to seek Him above all else, and to find my security, worth, and motivation in Him alone.

praising:  1) a fun season for our marriage.  being more constantly connected spiritually and emotionally then we have in a while... maybe ever.  enjoying exercises in spiritual disciplines together.  2)  that God works all things for the good of those who love Him, even the things the enemy meant to harm us... specifically an argument that Jeremy and I had that was able to draw us closer. 3) freedom, through Christ, from the largest insecurity that I've been struggling with lately.

looking forward to:  a visit from my mom this weekend.  a ladies clothing swap at our church this Friday.  community group at our house Wednesday.

meditating on:  Psalm 37:7  continuing to grow in my ability to be still before the Lord.  continuing to grow in my ability to quiet the noise of the world and listen to the Lord.  continuing to grow in practicing His presence.  the humanness of the fathers of our faith shown in Genesis... such a great example that God doesn't use perfect people, because none of us are perfect. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

a new day

I have been a comfortable and complacent Christian for far too long.  I'm tired of religion.  of theology.  of discussing Christian theory.  of not obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit because they are inconvenient for me.  I'm tired of being lukewarm.  I want to be on fire.  full of the Holy Spirit.  manifesting His power.  exercising His authority.  proclaiming His name with boldness.  known for His perfect love.  characterized not by what I am against, but by what I am for.  by being for people.  I want to expect miracles.  to have a keen awareness of the spiritual battle going on.  to be used by God.  to hear Him.  to know Him intimately and deeply.  to spend less time talking at Him and more time listening to Him.  to be constantly aware of His presence.  for each of my days to be in constant communion with Him.

Jesus, make it so.  rid me of all complacency.  of all selfishness.  of all things that I love more than you.  of all things that distract me from you.  I ask for a fresh filling of your Holy Spirit.  give me confidence in your power and authority in me, and in my ability to exercise it.  rid me of all fear and doubt.  of all insecurities.  may I find my security in you, and you alone.  may you be all I need.  may I live only to know you, and to make you known.  may this day be a spiritual marker in my journey, a day from which point forward everything is different.  everything becomes alive to me, as if waking up from a deep sleep.

I repent of gossip.  of judgement.  of pride.  the weight of these things has kept me down.

I embrace you Lord.  from this day forward may I be characterized by the fruit of your Spirit.  by your love.  by your joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  may I operate, grown, and thrive in the gifts of the Spirit... the gifts of miracles, of healing, of tongues, of words of wisdom and knowledge, of faith, or interpretation, of discerning of spirits, and of prophecy.  may I be full of faith, supernatural faith.  may your word be alive to me.  may you be more real to me than anything of this world.

Today marks a new day.  the beginning of a journey.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you for new mercies.

Matthew 22:37-40

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

1 Corinthians 4:20

Friday, May 4, 2012

Whole Wheat Rosemary Sea Salt Soft Pretzels

I made these rosemary sea salt soft pretzels.  I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour in place of 2 cups of the all-purpose flour.  I thought they turned out delicious, but I do need a little more practice rolling my pretzel dough out more thin so that my pretzels aren't quite so knot-like.  For a first attempt I think these were great though, even with the whole wheat flour.  I decided to skip the cheddar sauce in the recipe and served these with spicy mustard to make them a little lighter, but I'm sure the cheddar sauce would be amazing!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Braised Coconut Spinach Chickpeas with Lemon

I made this Braised Coconut Spinach Chickpeas with Lemon.  I thought it was great, but a little more lemony than I expected.  Next time I might reduce the lemon by half, but that's just a matter of preference.  For once, I made this exactly as described in the recipe.  I served it over brown rice for a simple and healthy dinner.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

::this week::

listening:  All Sons and Daughters

cooking:  lots of new recipes!  falafel, Asian steak marinade, rosemary and sea salt soft pretzels with rosemary cheddar dipping sauce, red velvet brownies, peanut butter banana bread, pizza, sesame noodles, coconut braised chickpeas and spinach

praying:  for the Lord to give Jeremy and I the desires of our hearts, and to provide the resources for a certain dream of ours to come true.  for wisdom and guidance along with that.  that I would be so filled with the perfect, always patient, always kind, always faithful love of God that I would pour it out to my family, the kids that I have care over, and everyone else I encounter.  for the requests of many friends, in this state and others.

praising:  a sweet season with the Lord.  one in which His Word is so alive to me. 

creating:  still working on putting all new velcro on Noah's diapers.  some decorations for a baby shower in July.  planning to slightly re-do my gallery wall and add some 20 year old pictures of our families into the mix.

contemplating: 1) Jeremiah 17:7-8 and having deep roots like this tree... not being anxious in the year of drought, and still bearing fruit.  So often I feel like I'm in a dry and fruitless season with the Lord.  This verse is teaching me that dryness does not have to mean fruitless.  That deep roots will still produce fruit despite the season or conditions.  2) The faith of Abraham in Genesis 12... leaving his home, walking by faith, one step at a time, to go to the land that the Lord would show him.  This is so meaningful to me in this season. 3) that although God had promised a child to Abraham and Sarah they both lacked faith on multiple occasions... yet this did not change God's plan and promise... He is so faithful, despite our fickleness, and still did just exactly as He said He would, but in His own timing, that did not make sense by human standards.

reading:  Genesis, What the Bible is All About

enjoying:  1) many sweet phone calls with friends out of state who have been such an encouragement to me.  praising God that I have had the privilege of knowing and walking along side such amazing women.  2) hosted friends for dinner on Monday, hosting community group Wednesday, tea and walk dates with other friends.  I love having a constant flow of people in and out of our home.  Praying this place would be filled so thickly with the presence of God that all who enter would encounter Him, receive the ministry that they need, and be so refreshed and encouraged that they would be overflowing with His perfect love and joy with everyone else they go out and encounter.

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these red velvet brownies with this cream cheese frosting (but only made half the recipe).  These were delicious!  I will definitely be making them again.  The brownies were good on their own without the frosting, but they are over the top with it.  I made the brownies exactly as directed, and used neufatchel/ 1/3 less fat cream cheese instead of regular.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


It goes against everything that I stand for (because of the frying), but I made this falafel recipe.  I was sure I'd never fry anything my entire life, but I like falafel so much that I had to give it a try.  This turned out pretty well, but I would make a few changes in the future.  The few things that I did differently from the recipe were to leave out the breadcrumbs, add 1 tsp salt, and to increase the cumin to 1 Tbsp.  Next time I think I'd substitute more cilantro instead of the parsley, increase the cumin even more (maybe to 1.5 Tbsp), and increase the salt to 1.5-2 tsp.