Wednesday, June 27, 2012

::this week::

praying:  for guidance and provision for the next steps with our ministry.  for opportunities to love the people that I encounter in action and in truth, and that I would make the most of each opportunity.

praising:  for God's provision.... that we have not sent out a single support letter or asked anyone for money and yet the Lord has brought people to us that want to give to us monthly.  humbled that people believe in what God is and is going to do through us so much that they are willing to give to us financially!

reading:  Numbers, Psalms, Isaiah, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind

contemplating:  finished reading Leviticus and have been meditating on Jesus as our sacrifice for sin, replacing all of the sacrifices and offerings required by the law.  thinking about Jesus our High Priest, who allows us direct access to God and eliminates the need for a mediator.  thinking about the sacrifies and blood that was required by the law. grateful that Jesus has fulfilled that.  thinking about the feasts in this book and the Bread that sustains us.  deeply grateful for the salvation and freedom found in Jesus!

cooking:  not much, we are still finishing up the leftovers from our beach trip... pizza, banana bread, spinach pesto pasta, spinach and ricotta pasta

creating:  patchwork dish towels, a baby shower banner, a sign for our bedroom, a pillow cover for our living room

doing:  it is a much needed, very quiet week with not many plans on the books for us.  I am looking forward to a pickle making class with the ladies from our community group and a ladies blueberry picking trip this weekend with a bunch of amazing ladies and all the blueberries we could want!

20 months

Here is what is going on with Noah this month according to;

At 20 months, your child will probably be able to run, though not expertly. He may also go up stairs by himself, but he'll most likely need some help on the way down. He can probably kick a ball, too. Most toddlers at 20 months haven't yet got the hang of jumping or throwing a ball overarm.

When you or another important adult leaves, it can be unsettling for your child, who relies on your presence to feel secure. Ease transitions by letting him know beforehand that you're going to leave and that you will be back "after lunch," "before tea," or whatever, and then don't drag out your exit. Give him a quick kiss and be off.

Small children frequently resort to hitting, pushing, biting, tugging, or any variety of other frowned-upon actions, sometimes to make themselves feel more important, but also to experiment: What happens when I hit Katy? Will the same thing happen when I hit Jamie? Don't overreact to your toddler's behaviour. If you retaliate by hitting, it teaches that hitting is acceptable. Calmly make clear that such actions are never acceptable -- no matter how intense his feelings.

You've been warned about the "terrible twos," but you may be unprepared for this rite of passage if your child has been cooperative up until now. The stage doesn't always begin exactly on your child's second birthday. Development experts say it can strike as early as 18 months and as late as 30 months (though some angelic children never go through this phase). How do you know if you're in the midst of the TTs? Look for new signs of assertiveness from your toddler. Hallmark behaviors to watch for: He may insist on doing exactly what you've told him not to do or throw himself down on the floor in a fit of temper if he doesn't get his way. His demands may alternately frustrate and amuse you. At times, for example, he'll likely ask for something that he doesn't even want, just to see if he has enough power to get it.  Though you may be tempted to cry and throw yourself on the floor, too, the best thing to do during a temper episode is keep your cool, stay close to your child, and let him release his feelings. A hug and a shoulder to cry on may be all that some toddlers need to feel better, while others may benefit from the distraction technique — offer him another activity or toy.  If you're in a public place or at someone's house, pick up your child and take him someplace where the two of you can sit calmly until the feelings subside. Save the time-outs until he's old enough to understand and follow rules, sometime between ages 2 and 3.

Does your toddler love to try on your shoes? Does he attempt to put on your coat, hat, or eyeglasses? By stepping, literally, into your shoes, he's showing you — and himself — that he's aware he's growing bigger and that he wants to be like you. You may also notice him pretend playing with stuffed animals and dolls. He'll take over the "parenting" role by feeding his stuffed monkey a "banana" (which is actually a yellow wooden block) or by tucking the animal under a blanket and singing it a lullaby. He may kiss the monkey's boo-boo and want to put a bandage on it. Pretend play like this is a great example of imitation, and a sign that your child is learning to empathize with others.

Many 20-month-olds are very affectionate. Yours probably likes to sit on your lap and cuddle because he knows it's a time when he has your undivided attention — something he loves. He continues to want to help you with household chores, everything from folding laundry and unpacking groceries to sweeping the kitchen floor. Of course he really wants to do these "grown-up" things without your help, even though odds are he can't yet. It may slow you down a little, but it's worth the time to find safe ways to let him assist you.

Noah is doing great!  He continues to learn to form sentences.  His most used phrases are "I wanna go that way", "I find the ....", and "It's very broken" (usually after he has broken or ripped something).

He loves playing with other kids and our adult friends.  He often asks for his favorite people by name.

Several times a day he asks me to dance, which means he wants me to put on music so he can bounce up and down.

He's grown quite fond of a dinosaur tail that he received as a Christmas gift.  We strap it on him and he runs around the house all day wearing his dinosaur tail.

He loves attention, and loves to show off and perform in order to be the center of attention.  His favorite tricks are "upside down" (where he does a sort of downward dog yoga pose), "back up" (where he walks backwards across the room), "spin" (spinning in circles, sometimes until he gets dizzy and falls over), and "strong man" (where he strains and flexes his muscles so hard that his arms shake). 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Herb Baked Eggs

Herb Baked Eggs

This is more of a method than a recipe.  You could add or take away any vegetables, seasonings, or cheeses, this is just what I had on hand.  A neighbor brought me a fresh egg from her chickens along with some tomatoes and herbs from her garden and this is what I came up with to enjoy them.  Simple, flavorful, and delicious!

-tomatoes, diced
-fresh herbs, chopped (I used thyme, chives, and rosemary but oregano and/ or basil would be great also)
-splash of milk or cream
-salt and pepper (preferably sea salt and fresh ground paper)
-parmesan cheese

Grease the number of ramekins needed for the number of portions desired (I'd figure 1-2 ramekins per person).  Place diced tomatoes in the bottom of each ramekin.  Sprinkle with fresh herbs.  Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with a very thin sliver of butter.  Crack an egg over top of the butter.  Top with a splash of milk or cream.  Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with a pinch of parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

::this week::

reading:  Leviticus, Isaiah, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind

praying:  for the Lord to make our path straight... for His guidance and provision.  for my friendships/ relationships to be centered on and submitted to the Lord, used for encouraging and spurring on others.  for a more keen awareness of the spiritual realm and battle. 

praising:  for such great friends.  we are surrounded by so many wonderful people who are all so unique and special.  God is so creative, and His body is so beautiful!  I've been really enjoying having lots of rich time with special friends lately.  for His provision... so shortly into our new step of faith He is already providing exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.  that God tore down a wall of lies that has been building in my heart for the last few weeks.  that Jeremy and I are so equally yoked, united, and in such a great place in our marriage... I am such a blessed woman to be married to such an amazing man, daddy, and leader!

cooking:  pumpkin bread, huevos rancheros, hummus, blueberry breakfast cake, pizza, chai gingerbread bars, whole wheat mac and cheese with squash puree in the sauce, a veggie tray with my favorite curried veggie dip

creating:  some new art work for our walls with Scripture on it, patchwork dish towels, re-covering some old living room pillows

looking forward to:  a weekend beach trip with our community group, a 3 day weekend with my love, and the two 3.5 hour car rides that we'll have alone with each other... car rides have always been one of my favorite things to do with J!

being challenged to:  listen more.  talk less.  use the words that I do utter for good (Ephesians 4:29), to constantly encourage others. 

learning:  I'm realizing that although some of my struggles (with fear, insecurities, etc) are common, they are not normal in the Christian life. That normal should be the reality of who we are in Christ. For years I have been selling myself short by accepting the lie that these things (that are clearly of the enemy and not of God) are normal.  I'd been using that as an excuse to not grow and break out of them.  I was making agreements with these lies and allowing them power in my life.  And now I'm rebuking them in the name of Jesus, and receiving the freedom found in His authority!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

a step of faith...

The last few months have been an exciting ride! The Lord has revealed Himself to Jeremy and I in new ways, taking us into a much different walk and season with Him than before. He has made it clear that He is calling us into full-time ministry.  We are taking a leap of faith, that God is calling us to. We have sought the counsel of many friends and mentors and have continued to receive confirmation after confirmation that this is where God is leading us. We have the support, parnership, and some resources of our church being made available to us.  So... Jeremy has given 6 months notice at his job, and we are beginning to pursue full-time ministry. We have some ideas of what He is calling us to, but not many specific plans yet, because that’s how He is working. We feel very strongly that He is asking us to not have it all planned out, so that we can take one step at a time as He prompts us, as He did with Abraham, and countless others. We know that He has given us hearts for discipleship, to invest ourselves deeply into the lives of others. We know He has given us a passion for prayer and worship, and starting some type of prayer and worship gathering in the New Orleans area. We know that He has given us passion and gifting for supernatural ministry, particularly healing, prophecy, words of wisdom and knowledge, and fighting against the demonic in order to see people walk in the complete freedom and power that are available through Jesus. We don’t know exactly what all of that looks like yet, but we are confident that He will show us one step at a time, and that He will provide.

I tend to be a planner, a controller, and a details person. In the past, I have tended to operate in the natural, not leaving much room for God to show up in supernatural ways. Because of all of this, this leap of faith is especially hard for me. I’m learning to let go, to have supernatural faith, to trust God even when it doesn’t make sense to me. Some people might think this irresponsible, but for us, right now, it is a step of obedience. A step into a calling that we can no longer run from and deny.  I spent a few weeks a little scared by this, but am so glad that the Lord has brought me to a place of complete peace amidst the unknown.  I have been asking God to give me the spiritual gift of supernatural faith for many months now, and Jeremy has jokingly (sort of) hinted that this is my chance to use that gift... that supernatural faith involves trusting in things unseen and taking steps that don't make sense to the natural mind.

So here we are, stepping into the unknown.  Believing that the Lord will make our path straight and lead us.  Desperately seeking Him in that.  Desperately seeking Him with our whole hearts so that we may have something to offer others... the only thing that matters... His love, and power overflowing out of us.

We are in the beginning stages of pursuing non-profit status for our ministry, Bastion Ministries.  We are in the beginning stages of trying to raise support for our family to live off of. 

We would love your prayers throughout this process!  This is how you can currently be praying;
  • that all of the details/ administrative/ organizational stuff will be worked out smoothly
  • that no plans would be our own, but that each step would be in complete submission to the Father's will
  • for provision
  • for God to show up in big ways... that people would be saved, healed, and set free by the name of Jesus.  that He would use us in this, and that His name would be known and praised throughout this city, and the world, as a result
  • for protection for our home and family as we step out and engage in battle with an enemy who has come to steal, kill, and destroy

African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup

I made this African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup.  I thought it was really good, but I think that Jeremy was indifferent about it.  The few things that I did differently were to use 3 sweet potatoes, 8 carrots, and 8 cups of broth (to accommodate for the extra vegetables), but next time I would keep the broth at 6 cups because I tend to like thick stews better than soups.  I also doubled all of the dry spices and peanut butter, and added 1/2 t cayenne because I used regular (not hot) paprika. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Handmade Father's Day Gift

I made this cube for Jeremy as a photo paperweight for his desk.   It was definitely a quick, easy, and free (using stuff I already had on hand) craft.  The pictures were printed on cardstock using our printer, then I modge podged them on a wood block and dipped the edges in a brown stamp pad to give it an aged look.

Happy Father's Day to all of the dad's out there!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Butterscotch Bars

I made these Butterscotch Bars.  They turned out pretty well, but there are lots of other desserts that I like better.  The few changes that I made were to swap out half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.  And in the butterscotch layer I included the whole (2 c) bag of butterscotch chips, and the whole can of fat-free sweetened condensed milk... it just seemed less wasteful, besides, who would like an extra thick gooey butterscotch center (but I guess it does take away from the overall "lightness" of this recipe).  The topping was a little dry for me.  I'm sure that's because she was trying to omit as much butter as possible, but it was just a little dry for my taste, and I am a person who tends to reduce butter in things.  Next time I would add an extra 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Guacamole Salad

This was a perfect side dish for spicy chicken enchiladas.  It's really versatile also.  You could leave out the corn or bell pepper, and you could add in black beans or cucumber.

-1 clove garlic, minced
-zest of 1 lime
-4 Tbsp lime juice
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
-1 Tbsp sugar
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp cayenne
-pinch of cumin
-1/2 bunch cilantro, minced
-4 ears of corn, cooked and cut off the ear
-1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
-1 red or yellow pepper, diced
-1/2 red onion, diced
-2 avocados, diced

Whisk together garlic through cumin.  Toss with remaining ingredients.  Serve at room temperature.

::this week::

cooking: guacamole salad, blueberry breakfast cake, spicy chicken enchiladas, pizza, mongolian beef, African sweet potato peanut soup, butterscotch bars, granola bars

reading: Leviticus, Isaiah

praying:  for family and friends.  for our city.  for the nations.  for signs and wonders.

praising:  what a great God I get to serve!  how sweet & thoughtful He is and His gifts are.

creating: finally finished sewing new velcro on Noah's diapers that I've been working on for months.  a pillow for our bedroom. decorations for a baby shower.

doing:  this is the busiest week in a long time... hosting community group and several dinners and play dates with friends. have a planning meeting for our women's ministry, and planning to hang with Jeremy's parents on Father's Day.

listening to and being challenged by:  David Hogan.  seriously, this guy is the real deal!  him and his team have raised over 500 people from the dead and continue to heal the multitudes from incurable diseases.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ruffle Pillow

I had a bunch of ruffles leftover after I made this ruffle lamp, and decided to turn them into a pillow for our bed.  This is one of a few projects that I fully designed on my own, without following a tutorial.  I love how it turned out!  The cost was almost nothing because I simply covered an existing pillow that I already had, and the fabric was from a duvet cover that I bought at a yard sale for $1.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Discipline Book

I have been reading The Discipline Book for months now and am glad to have finally finished it.  I have to say that it is my favorite book on discipline that I've read yet.  It has more information and practical application than any other discipline book that I've read.  I do not buy into every single philosophy that the authors suggest, but there was a lot of good information I was able to glean from this book.  If you are pro-spanking, then this is not the book for you, but I found it very refreshing in contrast to all of the Christian discipline books that seem to be heavy in the physical discipline category. (I am not trying to get into a pro/con spanking debate with this, and I respect the right of each family to make their own decisions, so please respect our right to make our own).

::this week::

reading:  Leviticus, The Discipline Book, Practicing His Presence, Streams in the Desert

cooking: pumpkin cream cheese cake, summer fruit salad, chicken pavlava, oriental cole slaw, spinach and mozzarella breakfast casserole, chicken sausages

praying:  for wisdom, guidance, and provision for a big leap of faith we are about to take.  for strength, courage, and faith for that leap.

praising:  for all of the little things and simple pleasures in life.  that God gives us so many good gifts.  that He is good.  that He delights in us, and in giving us the desires of our hearts.

wrestling with: trusting God.  surrendering my plans.  surrendering control.  surrendering what makes sense, and trusting in Him. 

creating:   baby shower invitations, appliqued onesies for baby shower gifts

doing: hosting community group and a ladies coffee morning. organizing a ladies and kiddos zoo trip.  dinner with new friends.  enjoying some down time with our family of 3.