Sunday, March 31, 2013

Thai Lettuce Wraps

I wanted to try a new version of the lettuce wraps that I've been making for years, and opted for these Lettuce Wraps.  We both really liked the use of chicken over the beef that I normally make mine with, but other than that, we were not impressed with this recipe... it was good, just not as good as my go to version.  I did add some shredded carrot and chopped red bell pepper for extra nutrients and enjoyed those additions and will start adding them to my "go to" version, as well as using ground chicken instead of ground beef.  For those wanting to try this recipe, we found the filling sort of bland as is, so I ended up making a whole extra batch of the sauce to add in until we both thought they had enough flavor, just not quite the flavor we like in our lettuce wraps.

Mango Coconut Smoothies

I made these mango coconut smoothies.  The only changes I made were to use 2 cups of frozen mango (instead of 1 1/2), and a frozen banana instead of a fresh one (because we like our smoothies cold and thick).  We liked them, but would have preferred a less intense coconut flavor, and some more intense mango flavor.  Next time I think I'll replace half of the coconut milk with pineapple juice for a different twist.

Friday, March 29, 2013

::this week::

praising:  some really cool provision and answers to months of prayer this week... not ready to share the details on all of them yet, but they include several specific needs we've had, a donation to our ministry, and even a bag of coffee... just a great reminder that God is with us, provides, is faithful, and cares about our needs and desires.  the healing of a man that Jeremy got to pray with this week.  after multiple days of sickness my 4 day fever finally ending the night Jeremy prayed for me.  the life, death, and resurrection of Christ... that the enemy has been defeated, that Christ is alive and in us, and that we have all power and authority through Him to go and do greater works than He did!

praying: for some future desires for our ministry to come to fruition.  to see the people of this city, nation, and world saved, healed, and set free through relationship with Christ.

thankful for:  a rich evening of fellowship, worship, prayer, teaching, and ministry time last Friday night... I could see Jeremy and I holding meetings very similar to the one we attended one day.  having the Friday evening meeting and travel time alone with my hubby... a great chance to catch up and talk about our hearts.  a coffee date with J Saturday afternoon.  my MIL watched Noah overnight Friday for us so we could go to the meeting together, then Saturday afternoon for our date, and then even made us a delicious dinner Saturday evening... she is such a servant and a blessing to us.  some nice relaxing and fun family time Sunday afternoon for frozen yogurt and a playground.  our zoo pass, and getting to go to the zoo weekly with my kiddo. our health... although I've been under the weather this week, overall we are a very healthy family, and for that I am grateful!

reading:  Psalms, Ezekiel, Job, Spiritual Warfare by Derek Prince

cooking:  pizza, Thai lettuce wraps, banana bread with chocolate chips, huevos rancheros, french toast casserole or baked oatmeal, sesame noodles

doing:  well... I had a bunch of fun coffee dates, play dates, dinners, and zoo trips planned for this week, but ended up cancelling every single one because I didn't leave the house from Tuesday on because I was feeling sick.


His word, and the importance of being in it constantly, allowing it to soak into my heart and guard it with truth, and then using it as the sword of the Spirit against the enemy... and what it looks like to not just know the Word and keep the sword on my back, but to really use it to slice into and defeat the enemy.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

"It's irrelevant what Hell is doing to you, the only thing that's relevant is what God is doing to you." -David Hogan 

Continuing to ponder what it looks like to use all my words for the good and encouragement of others (Eph 4:29)... no gossip, no negativity, no complaining, but constantly discussing God, what He is doing, and dwelling on His truth.  Not wasting my words on details, circumstances, events, etc. that glorify or are the work of the evil one.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hearing and being used by God

I don't want to hear another Christian (INCLUDING MYSELF!) say they want to be "used by God", or want to "hear God" without being willing to do the "work" associated with it.  Not "work" in that it's us who controls/ does it... it's God who gives the opportunity, desire, ability etc.... but "work" in that we are willing to sacrifice... to crucify our own desires and flesh... willing to do what we hear God say... willing to take risks and do uncomfortable things that don't make sense.

John 8:47  He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;

If you aren't hearing God... is it possible that you simply don't like what He's saying?  If you aren't hearing Him, are you really listening?  Do you really know Him... are you really in relationship with Him... or do you just know about Him, and talk at Him?

If you're waiting to be used by God, or for the next assignment... is it possible you haven't obeyed the last thing (or 100) that He told you?

If His commands are to love Him (Matthew 22:37-40), love others (Matthew 22:37-40), make disciples (of all nations) (Matthew 28:18-20), proclaim the Gospel/ Kingdom/ good news (Luke 9:60), heal the sick (Matthew 10:7-9), cast out demons (Matthew 10:7-9), care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27) (and so on...)... are you doing this?  Or are you waiting for the "right" opportunity?  If you're not doing those where you are, with those you already come in contact with, then you don't need a special opportunity... you've had many. 

Joshua 24:15  If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

::this week::

praising:  continued ministry opportunities for J, and provision to make them possible.  God's grace... faithfulness... goodness... that He is alive!!!!

praying:  for complete healing for someone with cancer that Jeremy is going to Houston to pray for today.  for protection for our family after some spiritual attacks toward the end of last week.  for the needs and desires of others.

thankful for:  closure and unity on a recent conflict.  beautiful weather.  provision.  health.  grace.  a doctor for this pregnancy whom I LOVE.  sweet friends and family nearby.  my hubby, and our two kiddos.  stickers= instant quiet activity for my busy 2 year old.  nearby parks and playgrounds.

reading:  Psalms, Esther, Ezekiel, Spiritual Warfare by Derek Prince

cooking:  spinach mozzarella breakfast casserole, sausage cheddar breakfast casserole, Thai tilapia red curry, chocolate fondue with fruit, sesame noodles, pizza, black beans corn and rice casserole, some sort of baked oatmeal and/ or pancakes, white chicken chili with jalapeno cheese cornbread, salad with cilantro lime dressing.

doing:  several park/ play/ zoo dates with moms and kiddos.  ladies Bible study.  two dinners with sweet couples.  community group.  dinner at J's mom's while his dad is away.  meeting for the planning team for the women's ministry at our church.

pondering:  Psalm 51... David's repentance... what I need to repent of...

the book of Esther...
-the themes of fasting and feasting... do I fast and seek God when necessary, or do I try to handle things on my own, in my own efforts and strength, with my own wisdom.  do I feast to proclaim and celebrate God's goodness, deliverance, provision?
-Esther 4:14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and (A)deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”  1) God is bigger than us. If we do not obey His call it is not going to mess up His plan, we will just miss out on our opportunity to participate in the action. He is still going to accomplish His purpose, He will just use someone else and we will miss out on the opportunity that He had placed us in. 2) for what have I been/ am being placed "for such a time as this"?
-The choice we make to see God’s hand at work in our lives (and give Him praise), or merely see courses of events as coincidences (ex/ king had a sleepless night, chose to relieve his boredom by having the royal annals read to him, became aware of account of Mordecai’s deed, Haman came in at the moment that the king wanted to recognize Mordecai, this all happened the night before Esther’s 2nd banquet).  How has our Lord been at work in my life this week that I may not have noticed, but He deserves praise for?

Monday, March 18, 2013

29 & 30 weeks

Here is what is going on with Elisha this week according to;

Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain. To meet his increasing nutritional demands, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because his bones are soaking up lots of calcium, be sure to drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby's hardening skeleton each day.

Your baby's very active now. Your healthcare provider may ask you to spend some time each day counting kicks and will give you specific instructions on how to do this. Let your provider know if you ever notice that your baby is becoming less active. You may need a nonstress test or biophysical profile to check on your baby's condition.

Some old friends — heartburn and constipation — may take center stage now. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes smooth muscle tissue throughout your body, including your gastrointestinal tract. This relaxation, coupled with the crowding in your abdomen, slows digestion. Sluggish digestion can cause gas and heartburn — especially after a big meal — and contribute to constipation. Your growing uterus may also be contributing to hemorrhoids. These swollen blood vessels in your rectal area are common during pregnancy. Fortunately, they usually clear up in the weeks after giving birth. 

Some women get something called "supine hypotensive syndrome" during pregnancy. This happens when lying flat on your back causes a change in heart rate and blood pressure that makes you feel dizzy until you change position. You might notice that you feel lightheaded if you stand up too quickly, too. To avoid "the spins," lie on your side rather than your back, and move slowly as you go from lying down to sitting and then standing.

Your baby's about 15.7 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds (like a head of cabbage). A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after she's born, she'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)
Also, this relaxation of your ligaments can actually cause your feet to spread permanently, so you may have to invest in some new shoes in a bigger size. Remember those mood swings you had earlier in pregnancy? The combination of uncomfortable symptoms and hormonal changes can result in a return of those emotional ups and downs. It's normal to worry about what your labor will be like or whether you'll be a good parent. But if you can't shake the blues or feel increasingly irritable or agitated, talk to your doctor or midwife. You may be among the 1 in 10 expectant women who battle depression during pregnancy. Also let your caregiver know if you're frequently nervous or anxious.

 I am feeling good... not quite as good as a few weeks ago, but good.  I'm getting increasingly more tired, and have been napping a couple of days a week while Noah naps (which is completely uncharacteristic for me).  I've also been feeling nauseous again for a week or two, similar to how I felt around week 6 in my first trimester, nothing causing me to actually get sick or anything, but just not feeling all that well some of the time, especially after eating certain foods.  Other than that things are good though... I am very grateful to seem to have such complication-free pregnancies... the sickness is minimal, no heartburn at all, no swelling, no gestational diabetes, and so on.  I would say that at this point I am still enjoying pregnancy, but if I get much bigger things will start to become uncomfortable.  Fortunately my weight gain, although more than I would like, is still significantly less than it was with my last pregnancy.

Elisha is moving all of the time now, and responding to (not so gentle) pats on my tummy from Noah, or when Jeremy puts his mouth on my belly and talks to or prays for Elisha.  We had a doctor's appointment today that went well, and it is sounding like I will have a scheduled c section sometime around week 40 (May 25), unless I go into labor on my own prior to that, in which case, if things are progressing well, then we may be able to try for a VBAC.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

::this week::

praising:  several ministry opportunities for J this week... an answer to recent prayers.  Noah's behavior lately... he's still 2, but it has improved dramatically... such an answer to prayer!

praying:  still for an office for J and more provision for our ministry.

thankful for:  a date night to catch up with my love last weekend.  free babysitting for said date night.  gift cards to make said date night possible.  some great weather this week, and several chances to get outside and enjoy a nearby playground.  longer days, with the chance for evening family walks.  the gym/ "me time"... and the fact that our gym membership has been paid for for this entire year.

reading:  Esther, Psalms, Ezekiel, Dare to Discipline

cooking:   slow cooker Indian curry, brownies, huevos rancheros, BBQ and Thai chicken pizzas, salad with cilantro lime dressing, applesauce muffins, spinach artichoke pesto, pesto white bean dip

doing:  ladies Bible study. community group. dinner with Jeremy's parents.  lots of family time. Chick Fil A with some moms and kiddos.


the book of Ezekiel... a lot of the prophecies, visions, and imagery are completely "out there", and would probably be frowned on in most churches if such words/ imagery were used today.  getting a better understanding of how God communicates with Jeremy in many ways by reading about Ezekiel and his experiences... I think Ezekiel had a very similar relationship with God as to Jeremy.  in awe at how far fetched many of Ezekiel's prophecies would have seemed in his day, but at how they later came true.  I serve such a cool God, who is so creative in the ways that he communicates to His people and makes Himself known.

the word "Helper", as used in Genesis for Eve.... the negative connotations this term carries in our culture, but that this same word was used for God 19 times in Scripture... clearly showing that the term doesn't indicate a lesser/ subservient role for the woman.  meditating on my role as "helper" for J.

meditating on: who I am in Christ, and who He is in me... freedom I have over old patterns (negativity, gossip etc.), and the new creation I am in Him... guarding my heart and engaging in spiritual warfare against the lies of the enemy with these truths...

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pesto White Bean Dip

Pesto White Bean Dip

I used leftover Spinach Artichoke Pesto that I had on hand to make this dip, but any variety pesto would be great here.  Serve with pita chips and/ or cut veggies.

-1 clove garlic
-1 (15 oz) can white beans (I used cannelini beans), drained
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-1/2 tsp salt

Place garlic in food processor, and process until finely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients, and process until well mixed.  Chill until serving, and serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken Scallopine

Chicken Scallopine

This is my much healthier version of one of my favorite dishes I've ever eaten.  The original was swimming in butter, oil, and pancetta, and tasted great, but always left me feeling uncomfortably full.  Serve with a simple/ plain pasta, and a salad for a delicious meal.

-1/3 c flour
-1/2 tsp dried sage or Italian seasoning
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper
-4 chicken breasts
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-16 oz mushrooms, sliced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
-2 Tbsp capers
-1 Tbsp butter
-1/2 c white wine
-1/2 c chicken broth
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 Tbsp lemon juice

In a shallow pan, whisk together flour, sage, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper.  Pound chicken breasts flat with a mallet or frying pan.  Dredge the breasts in the flour mixture, reserve unused flour for a later use.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken, cook 5 minutes per side, or until no longer pink.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside to keep warm.  Add butter and mushrooms to the skillet (still over medium heat).  Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, artichoke hearts, and capers.  Saute an additional minute.  In a bowl, whisk together wine, broth, remaining salt and pepper, and the reserved flour.  Pour wine/ flour mixture into the pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens.  Stir in lemon juice.  Pour sauce and veggies over chicken breasts, garnish with parsley if desired, and serve immediately.

Monday, March 4, 2013

::this week::

praying:  for safe travel for Jeremy, Dave, and Jeff as they return from India.  that the things they experienced in India would become the new normal for their ministry here. 

praising:  the amazing things that occurred during the guys trip in India... lots of people healed and/ or delivered... lots of prophesies and visions... a major theme of unity bringing together the formerly "rival" Christians in that area.

reading:  Psalms, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Dare to Discipline

thankful for:  that Jeremy comes back tomorrow!!!!  all the friends who prayed for, loved on, and encouraged me while Jeremy was away... the body of Christ is amazing!

cooking:  BBQ and buffalo chicken pizzas, chicken enchiladas, salad with cilantro lime dressing, refried beans, migas casserole, chai bars

 doing:  ladies Bible study.  lunch with a friend.  some play dates with friends.  community group.  dinner with a sweet couple.  not making many plans, hoping to enjoy some sweet downtime with our little family after J gets back on Tuesday.


Exodus 19:5-6  Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.  And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”

God's initial plan was for a "kingdom of priests"... He told them that up front, pre-Christ.  He didn't want one tribe interceding, He wanted them ALL. 


Exodus 20:18-19 When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!”

the Israelites responded that they did not want a personal relationship with God... they wanted a mediator, and sold themselves short on what God had planned for them.  they chose to do things for God, and put themselves under the law and rules rather than just listening to His voice and following Him.

He wanted them to "be" His people... they wanted to "do" things for Him.  God gave them so many rules that they couldn't "do" without "being".

Been thinking about this concept of "doing" vs "being" a lot lately.  Of service, activities, Bible reading, etc. that I try to do for God (not that these aren't good things... a relationship with God just isn't about these things... it is so much more!)... of how to stop "doing", and how to just "be".  and this all ties back into everything God has been teaching me about worship this month. I think that for some, worship could be about doing, but for me, it is definitely about being rather than doing.  encouraged as I read through the Psalms by all of the verses (too many to name) that talk about waiting for God, about rest, about being still in His presence.

also, been pondering Psalm 40:6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.  Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings... thinking about how this is common truth is today, but in the time and context when David wrote this Psalm, this would have been a profound revelation from the heart of God... it would have been contradictory to the only Bible that David had at the time... it would have been considered heresy by the religious.

and I can't help but ask... What revelations is God giving me and those around me that may sound like heresy, but that is equally profound and in tune with the heart of God as David's revelation here in Psalm 40?

Spinach Artichoke Pesto

Spinach Artichoke Pesto

I think this is my favorite pesto that I've ever made.  I enjoyed it tossed with pasta for an easy vegetarian dinner, you could even add quartered artichokes or some spinach leaves in with the pasta toss.  I think this would also be amazing as an appetizer spread on crostini, or served with pita chips for dipping.  Noah took one bite and said "I love it!".  I love it when I can get him to really enjoy veggies, like the spinach in this.

-1/3 c walnuts, toasted
-1 can artichokes, drained
-1 clove garlic
-zest of 1 lemon
-3 Tbsp lemon juice 
-1/2 c shredded parmesan
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 c olive oil
-1/2 lb baby spinach

Place the garlic clove in a food processor and process until finely minced.  Add remaining ingredients and process until well mixed.  Serve as you like, this will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

White Bean Dip

I made this Spicy White Bean Dip.  I still can't decide how I feel about it, but the people I served it to liked it.  I think I'd just rather have hummus.  It was interesting, good, a unique twist on hummus, but didn't wow me.  I did reduce the olive oil by half, and next time I think I'd add at least an extra Tbsp of sriracha sauce because it was a little mild to me for a dip that has "spicy" in the title.

27 & 28 weeks

Here is what is going on with Elisha this week according to;

This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were to be born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle.

The second trimester is drawing to a close, but as your body gears up for the final lap, you may start noticing some new symptoms. Along with an aching back, for example, you may find that your leg muscles cramp up now and then. They're carrying extra weight, after all, and your expanding uterus is putting pressure on the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart as well as on the nerves leading from your trunk to your legs.  Unfortunately, the cramps may get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Leg cramps are more common at night but can also happen during the day. When a cramp strikes, stretching the calf muscle should give you some relief. Straighten your leg and then gently flex your toes back toward your shin. Walking for a few minutes or massaging your calf sometimes helps, too.

By this week, your baby weighs two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. She can blink her eyes, which now sport lashes. With her eyesight developing, she may be able to see the light that filters in through your womb. She's also developing billions of neurons in her brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world.

You're in the home stretch! The third and final trimester starts this week. If you're like most women, you'll gain about 11 pounds this trimester. At this point, you'll likely visit your doctor or midwife every two weeks. Then, at 36 weeks, you'll switch to weekly visits. Depending on your risk factors, your practitioner may recommend repeating blood tests for HIV and syphilis now, as well as doing cultures for chlamydia and gonorrhea, to be certain of your status before delivery. Also, if your glucose screening test result was high and you haven't yet had follow-up testing, you'll soon be given the 3-hour glucose tolerance test.
And if the blood work done at your first prenatal visit showed that you're Rh negative, you'll get an injection of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent your body from developing antibodies that could attack your baby's blood. (If your baby is Rh positive, you'll receive another shot of Rh immunoglobulin after you give birth.)

Around this time, some women feel an unpleasant "creepy-crawly" sensation in their lower legs and an irresistible urge to move them while trying to relax or sleep. If this sensation is at least temporarily relieved when you move, you may have what's known as restless legs syndrome (RLS). No one knows for sure what causes RLS, but it's relatively common among expectant mothers. Try stretching or massaging your legs, and cut down on caffeine, which can make the symptoms worse. Ask your caregiver if you should try iron supplements, which can sometimes relieve RLS.

As for me, doing good.  Starting to get a little uncomfortable, especially when Elisha sits in a certain position I get some pain toward the right side of my belly.  Other than that all is going well.  I feel huge already, and some of my maternity shirts are starting to no longer cover my belly, so I can't believe I have 3 months left.  Hopefully my growth will chill out for a little bit.  I'm still sleeping well at night, and maybe a tad tired from time to time during the day, but nothing that slows me down from my normal routine.  Still lifting weights, walking, and riding the bike at the gym, but haven't jogged in a week or two and might be done for this pregnancy.