Tuesday, April 30, 2013

::this week::

praising:  some unexpected provision for our ministry.  some recent revelation from the Lord... hearing Him a lot this week.  miraculous healing of an infection in my finger... continually blown away by the ailments (large and small, physical and emotional) that God will, and loves to heal.

praying:  for wisdom and clarity on some decisions.  for boldness, courage, and confidence in Christ in me, and more opportunities to exercise those with.  for increased faith and wisdom.

thankful for:  some sweet downtime/ family time last weekend... after a busy week, where Jeremy was working late and not home for dinner 2 nights, it was nice to relax and spend a lot of time together.

cooking:  pasta with peas and prosciutto, chicken tortilla casserole, pizza, sausage potato casserole, guacamole chicken salad, potato salad

reading:  Matthew, Psalms, Daniel, Your Power in the Holy Spirit by John G Lake

creating:  after a several month long crafting hiatus I am finally feeling the urge to create again... making Mother's Day gifts for our mom's and some wedding presents for a sweet couple

doing:  gym and coffee date with my love.  lunch with a friend.  play date. brunch on the Northshore with some powerful men and women of God.  dinner with J's folks.  coffee date with a friend.

pondering:  1) spiritual warfare... especially the multitude of verses in the Psalms like the two below;

Psalm 61:3 for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.

Psalm 62:7  My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

If God is my rock or refuge where no enemy can reach me, then why do I feel so attacked at times?  Am I not hiding myself fully in Him?  Is hiding in Him purely rest?  Or is there an active engaging in the battle?  Most of the armor in Ephesians   is defensive... but we are given the offensive sword of the Spirit, and told to pray in the Spirit persistently... is this our offense?  Am I constantly covered in the armor listed in the Ephesians passage, or do I leave holes open for the enemy to reach me, if so, what are they?

2)  As I've been reading through Matthew I see an overall theme of faith...

Matthew 8:13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

Matthew 9:22 Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

Matthew 9:29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.”

Matthew 21:21 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.

Matthew 21:22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

In many cases miracles were performed or promised because the subject believed, or according to their faith.  Also, I see many situations where people were criticized for looking and responding in the natural realm, according to their circumstances, power, or strength...
Matthew 8  Jesus calms the storm

Matthew 14 & 15  the multiplication of food to feed thousands.

Matthew 14 Peter walking on water until he got distracted by the waves

Matthew 16:23   Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
I want to constantly walk in supernatural faith that believes the impossible, that doesn't look at my circumstances or things in the natural, but that knows that God is all powerful and sees the supernatural possibilities of all situations.  I don't want to look at the storms, 5 loaves, or crashing waves and allow them to take my focus off of Jesus, allowing them to limit my expectations and experiences of Him.  I want to constantly believe things that sounds crazy, expect things that sound crazy, and constantly experience God through the miraculous.  If I'm only operating in what makes sense then I am selling the world short of the fullness of experiencing the Kingdom.

meditating on:  Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Wasabi Noodles

I made these Wasabi Noodles.  The changes I made were to;

-use 1 (13.25 oz) box whole wheat linguine
-omitted the cucumber and replaced it with one bag of broccoli slaw
-double the sauce recipe since I had extra noodles and veggies, plus stir in 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, and an extra 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil

I think this would also be great with shredded cabbage, carrots, or edamamae tossed in.  This dish was good, nutritious, and very quick to throw together.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables

Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables

I made these to serve as a side to a Vietnamese Shrimp Noodle Soup.  I'm not sure if it's that I'm pregnant and everything pickled tastes delicious, or if these are just one of the best things that I've ever eaten, but let's just say that I ate an entire batch in 1 day and am kinda thankful that Jeremy doesn't like cauliflower so I didn't have to share them.  I'm pretty sure I'll be making these again soon, and not just on nights when I cook Vietnamese food.  In fact, they should be a staple to have around my fridge.  They are a great combination of spicy and sweet, but they are pretty spicy, so reduce the red pepper flakes if you don't like a lot of heat.  This batch filled up two large canning jars for me, so halve or double the recipe as needed.

-2 c sugar
-3 c white vinegar
-3 tsp salt
-2 tsp red pepper flakes
-2 tsp black pepper
-6 cloves garlic, sliced
-1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
-1 cucumber, sliced
-2 carrots, sliced

Bring sugar, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and garlic to a boil on the stove.  Layer the vegetables in desired canning jars.  Pour the hot brine over the vegetables and seal jars with lids.  Once jars are room temperature place them in the fridge.  These were ready to eat within a few hours, but could stay in the fridge longer based on your preference.

Vietnamese Shrimp Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Shrimp Noodle Soup

I have been on a Vietnamese kick lately... craving lots of light, fresh flavors.  This soup was my attempt to create them at home, loosely based off a recipe from a friend for a pork noodle dish.  And for my first attempt of cooking Vietnamese food at home, I'd say I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and could eat this for dinner once a week.

-4 c broth (you could use all chicken broth, or all seafood stock, but I used a combination of clam juice and chicken broth)
-1/4 c soy sauce
-1/4 c sherry
-2 Tbsp brown sugar
-1/2 Tbsp sriracha sauce
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 2" piece ginger, sliced
-2 star anise 
-1 head bok choy, chopped
-1 pack mushrooms sliced (I used button, but shitake would be more traditional)
-1 lb med-large shrimp, shells removed 
-4 oz vermicelli rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
-assorted toppings: chopped cilantro, lime wedges, bean sprouts, scallions, and/ or basil

Combine broth through star anise in a large pot.  Simmer over medium heat for at least 20 minutes, but up to several hours (the longer the better).  Remove star anise, add bok choy, mushrooms, and shrimp.  Cook an additional 10 minutes, or until veggies and shrimp are cooked through.  Place noodles into bowls, top with shrimp, broth and veggies.  Sprinkle with desired toppings.

*Per the initial recipe that I worked off of I actually did the whole soup in a slow cooker, but the original recipe was intended for lengthy cooking because it used a pork shoulder.  With quick cooking shrimp, you don't need to use a slow cooker, but I found it very low maintenance to cook it that way.  I combined the broth- star anise in the slow cooker over low for several hours.  Removed the star anise, added the bok choy and mushrooms for 20 minutes.  Added the noodles for 10 minutes.  Then added the shrimp and cooked a final 5 minutes before serving.

::this week::

praising:  a miraculous multiplying of money in our bank accounts.  God using Jeremy to heal a physical condition in one of our friends.  supernatural peace that transcends all understanding (Phil 4:4-8)... although multiple circumstances could have me stressed and worried this week, our Lord, His peace, and His promises are so good, so faithful, and so worth trusting in... grateful for eyes to see Truth, and by faith, beyond what I can see in the natural realm.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Where do you need freedom today?  Receive it by faith!

praying:  still for a new level of breakthrough and revelation from the Lord for me... a newer, deeper, more passionate hunger than ever before... that I would truly seek Him and only Him with my whole heart.  for friends and the requests of others. 

thankful for:  provision... that all of our needs and many of our desires are met.  our health.  some unscheduled downtime this week.  my sweet hubby and how well he loves and leads me and our son.  such varieties of food so readily available through grocery stores... that stuff like bok choy, rice noodles (and more) can commonly be found at any everyday market now.  the weather... the warm sun, the cool breeze, the rain that refreshes the earth and my soul... that there is a purpose in all of it... embracing and enjoying exactly what each day brings... hoping to do this with every circumstance in my life... thankfully allowing them all to serve their purposes.

listening:    lots of Jesus Culture, including Fill Me Up and Freedom Reigns

reading:  Matthew, Daniel, Psalms, Your Power in the Holy Spirit by John G. Lake

cooking:  parsley pesto (on pasta, and as potato salad), Vietnamese shrimp noodle soup, pizza, wasabi noodles, salad with ginger dressing, Vietnamese pickled vegetables, curried couscous (made with the dressing from this curried rice salad)

prego update:  had a doc appointment this Monday, all is doing well.  seem to be further progressed now at 35-36 weeks then I was at 41 weeks with Noah... not sure if that means that Elisha could come early or not, but glad to know that all is well.  have an ultrasound this coming Tuesday to find out how big Elisha is, just to have as much info. as possible as we weigh whether to pursue a VBAC or do another c section.  excited to see our little man one last time before we get to meet him in person.

doing:  not much... resting after a busy week last week, and soaking up each last minute that we are a family of 3.  a play/ dinner date for me and Noah with a friend and her kiddo while J co-leads and teaches at a meeting on the Northshore on Friday.  a couple tea/ play dates with friends.

pondering:   Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

We're no longer under the law/ Old Covenant... our command is no longer simply not to murder, we are now under the New Covenant and the law of love, which encompasses don't even be angry... Ouch, convicting!  and then...

Matthew 5:23-24  So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 

reconciliation is more important than our sacrifice (or deeds) unto the Lord.  and then...

Matthew 5:44  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  

Jesus said this to hearers who would literally have enemies and be persecuted simply because they were followers of him... enemies who did worse than slander or gossip but that would take some of the hearers lives.  and yet, despite the severity of these enemies to come the hearers were told to love them, to pray for them.

Matthew 5:8  God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

And all of these things... anger... love... reconciliation... come down to having a pure heart before God... those with pure hearts will see Him... I sure don't want Him to be hidden from my sight because of a lack of purity in my heart. 

meditating on:  Matthew 6:9-13  “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

This is the model of how we should pray... meditating on the principles found here to guide me.   Also, thinking on "daily bread"... often translated daily needs... but by doing this are we selling ourselves short?  Jesus spoke of Himself as "daily bread" (John 6:32-53)... so is daily bread our daily needs, or is it our ONLY need, found in Him?

John 6:35   Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Parsley Pesto

I made this Parsley Pesto. I really liked the fact that the recipe calls for spinach, because I add spinach to pretty much every pesto that I make for an extra burst of nutrition.  The only change that I made was to add 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes.  I thought this turned out really well, and served it tonight over pasta.  I'm planning on making a potato salad with it tomorrow also.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

women's ministry in my life...

This morning I will be speaking at our church women's brunch.  Here is a summary on what I'll be covering...

freedictionary.com defines ministry as: the act of serving.  So women's ministry would then be the act of serving women.  I believe this includes women both inside and outside the church.

Ministry isn't something that happens at a certain time, place, or event, but it's something that we are... our lives are ministry. Ministry isn't about a program or formula, but about using our creativity and gifts for the good of others.

Ministry may take the form of hospitality, it may be organizing a group of people together, it may be sharing the Gospel, an encouraging word, or meeting the needs of someone we encounter along the way of our everyday life.  We are all ministers of the Gospel.

I was asked to share some examples of what that looks like in my life, how I do ministry, and stories of that playing out...

Here are a few examples from over the years of how I've organized groups of women together;
-used to hold a monthly Craft Night where ladies could bring their own project to work on while enjoying food and conversation with each other... since this was not held at my house I was comfortable advertising this on Craigslist, flyers in coffee shops, open FB groups etc.
-I used to organize the ladies from our community group used to get together once a month for some sharing/ encouragement/ girl time without having the guys around... this has gotten a lot less frequent as our lives have gotten more busy, and most of us have had children, but we still try to do it when we can
-we host singles/ couples in our home for dinner on average of 1-2 night a week
-most weeks I plan a weekly zoo or Chick Fil A trip for stay-at-home moms and their kiddos to get together
-organize groups of women to attend a local Turkish Cooking Class... all of the women who teach these classes are Muslim, and open to inter-faith dialogues, so over the years several of us have had the chance to share the Gospel with some one these women, and if nothing else educate each other on our beliefs, culture, etc. and tear down some of the negative walls that exist between Muslims and Christians, particularly American Christians
-ladies board game nights at our house
-yearly ladies blueberry picking trip to a farm on the Northshore
-send weekly texts to ladies from our community group and our Pastor's wives to encourage them and find out how I can be praying for them
-Bible studies

I also know of ladies who have organized artists retreats, running groups, worship nights, and various other events.  I know a stay-at-home mom who bakes goodies every Monday morning to send to work with her husband for his co-workers, to her kids schools for the teachers, and to leave in the mailbox for her mailman.  I know a group of young adult ladies who got together and started their own monthly breakfast cafe for the homeless in New Orleans, where people are served restaurant style.  Get to know your neighbors and the people around you... bring housewarming gifts to new neighbors, Christmas or holiday treats to your neighbors.  There are no limits to the creativity of how you can bring people together or do ministry... work off of your talents, passions, interests, and skills.  Not everyone is a planner/ organizer, so organizing big groups of people won't be for everyone, but each of us is equipped with some gifts to use.

For me, this looks like taking my son to the parks in our neighborhood, going on walks through the neighborhood and engaging our neighbors in conversation.  Knowing them, and knowing their needs.  Over the last few years my neighbors have continued to warm up to us, at first they wouldn't even let me in their homes, and now they invite me in and give me hugs and kisses.  This has brought up several opportunities for ministry... my husband has had the chance to pray with multiple neighbors over the last month.  Our community group has provided Christmas dinner for 3 of my poor neighbors for the past 2 years.  Because we know them, we know their needs, and we are able to meet their needs provisionally, emotionally, and spiritually.  One former neighbor used to come over almost weekly for tea, and would comment to me that I was the first neighbor that she had who actually tried to get to know her.  I would text her weekly when I was going to the grocery store to see if she needed anything, and sometimes pick up additional items for her while I was there. 

Also, one encouragement that I've learned from... it's not about numbers.  Don't get caught up in worrying about how many people come to each event, remember the shepherd would leave the 99 to go after the 1 who was lost.  A few years ago, one craft night that I hosted, only 1 person showed up.  I was defeated thinking that it was a failure, basing my "success" on numbers, but God knew exactly what He was doing bringing only 1 person there that evening.  And after some crafty time with the 1 lady who did come the Lord gave my friend a huge burden to confess to me a particular crippling sin/ stronghold in her life and I had the opportunity to encourage, speak truth to, and pray with her right then and there... all of which would not have happened had other people shown up that night. 

Often as women we can tend to be a Martha and not a Mary... to get caught up in the wrong things... the plans and details, rather than our relationship with Christ, and to others.  Plans and details are good, but Christ is better and the only thing that is important.  It's not about having the perfect event, the food, decorations, activities etc., it is about having the Holy Spirit, in a relationship, listening to Him and His promptings and using our passions and giftings for His glory, wherever we are.  It's about doing all that we do to the glory of God, in relationship with Him, being His Light to each and every person we encounter and being faithful stewards of every resource He gives us.

It's about being fully present, available, and engaged where we are, and not adding more activities to our calendar.  It's about having the margin and time in our schedules to be the church, and not about having so many church activities on our schedules that we don't have any time left to be in the world.  It's about being in our neighborhoods, offices, places of interest (gyms, spas, restaurants etc.) as ambassadors for the Kingdom, as Light in the darkness.

Friday, April 19, 2013

35 weeks

 (sorry for the blurry picture)

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

Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

Your uterus — which was entirely tucked away inside your pelvis when you conceived — now reaches up under your rib cage. If you could peek inside your womb, you'd see that there's more baby than amniotic fluid in there now. Your ballooning uterus is crowding your other internal organs, too, which is why you probably have to urinate more often and may be dealing with heartburn and other gastrointestinal distress. If you're not grappling with these annoyances, you're one of the lucky few.
From here on out, you'll start seeing your practitioner every week.
So I haven't been as regular as keeping up with this as my last pregnancy.  I guess my busy 2 year old, and the baby I watch keep me more busy than my 40 hour a week job during my last pregnancy.  I think I missed 3 weeks since my last prego post, but really, I'm sure that not that many people care to see and hear exactly how I am doing each week.  

35 weeks?!  When did that happen?  This pregnancy has FLOWN by and is almost over!  I feel like I haven't even done anything to get ready, since we are just using everything that we already had from Noah.  Now that my baby shower has happened it seems a little more real though.  

I'm still feeling good... not overly tired, although I do sleep a little later than I would if I wasn't prego.  No complications (swelling, heartburn etc.).  Just pretty large, and not quite so easy to get out of bed, or off the floor right now, or bend down to pick things up.

I've had a bunch of Braxton Hicks contractions this time around, and never had a single one with Noah.  I'm hoping that means that I have a better chance of actually going into real labor with Elisha on my own than I did with Noah... but I'd be happy if he'd still hang out in the womb at least 2 more weeks.

Sausage Balls

I made these sausage balls for our brunch at church tomorrow.  They turned out great, but who can go wrong with sausage, cheese, and carbs?  This is the most basic recipe, which was great cause I had a bunch of food to make for the brunch and a family reunion tomorrow.  Next time I think I'd try this a little more complicated Martha Stewart version, and maybe use turkey sausage instead of pork to reduce a little of the fat.

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Cups

I made these smoked salmon cucumber cups for a ladies brunch at church.  I thought they were great, and easy to throw together.  I did add 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper to the filling.

Lazy Lasagna/ Baked Ravioli

I made this lazy lasagna (baked ravioli).  The only thing that I did different was to use Italian turkey sausage instead of the ground beef, because I tend to prefer sausage in my lasagna.  This is so simple to throw together and makes for a great weeknight meal with all the flavors of lasagna, but only a small portion of the work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

::this week::

praising:  Salvation, freedom, healing, and victory that are found in Jesus!  That there is no guilt/ condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1).  That I am more than a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:37). 

praying:  for breakthrough... for some walls to be torn down that I've had up with the Lord and others.

thankful for:  all the great love, encouragement, and gifts I got at my baby shower.  amazing friends and family who made all that possible. 

listening:  lots of Kim Walker-Smith, particularly "I Need You More"

"I need You more, more than yesterday, I need You Lord, more than words can say, I need You more than ever before, I need You Lord"

reading:  Psalms, Daniel, Matthew, Your Power in the Holy Spirit by John G Lake

cooking:  smoked salmon stuffed cucumber cups, sausage balls, pizza, baked oatmeal, wasabi noodles, tabbouleh, warm dijon potato salad

doing:  ladies Bible study.  community group.  dinner with friends.  zoo trip.  planning, helping with, and speaking at a ladies brunch at church.  yearly Mangerchine family reunion.


"Don't just read your Bible, do your Bible."  (paraphrased from a Danny Silk sermon)... reminds me of James 1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  I want to have faith for, and live out every reality I read in Scripture... healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, making disciples of all nations...

The 5 times (v 1:20, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22) in Matthew 1-2 that God spoke to people through dreams... and they had to act in faith in response to a DREAM.  What faith it takes to take action based on a dream.  Am I in tune with how the Lord may be using my dreams to speak to me?

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”  So thankful to serve a God who did speak, but that continues to speak (words that PROCEED) to His people!

The temptation in Matthew 4... Satan uses Scripture to tempt Jesus, Jesus fights Satan with more Scripture.  Great example (Satan using it out of context to Jesus) of how dangerous Scripture taken out of context is... how Scripture can be used against us in the hands of the enemy.  How much my heart needs to be guarded and saturated with Truth so that I can recognize the lies.

Each of the disciples/ fishermen in Matthew 4 being immediately willing to get up and follow Jesus without question, delay, or getting their details in order.  Oh how I long to so immediately follow His every invitation without question.

meditating:  Psalm 63:1-8  O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.  My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.  I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and gloryYour unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.

Beautiful!  Breathes life into me!  

Psalm 65:12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy.

He promises to take our dry and bareness and turn it into a lush pasture, blossoming with joy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

::this week::

praising:  continued ministry opportunities for Jeremy, the Lord using Him to share Jesus, love, heal, and bless many people this week.  the Lord's goodness... He is so perfect, so good, so true, such a good Father, such a good giver of gifts

praying:  for those around me... a new level of breakthrough and revelation from God for me... our city... our nation... the world

listening:   Set a Fire by Will Reagan... over and over again... cannot get enough of this song.  "Set a fire down in my heart, that I can't contain, I can't control, I want more of you God...".  YES!!!!!

thankful for:  books, friends, Monday morning ladies Bible study, the Word, God's faithfulness and grace, the Holy Spirit, nice weather, the zoo & our zoo pass, our city, our freedom... in this country, and in Christ

reading:  Job, Daniel, Psalms, Your Power in the Holy Spirit by John G Lake

cooking:  lazy girl's lasagna, shrimp and grits casserole, sausage potato bake, korean beef, pizza, some type of baked oatmeal or pancakes, salad with ginger dressing, chai bars, broccoli prepared using the sauce and method of my Chinese green beans

doing:  ladies Bible study.  community group.  some walk and coffee dates with friends.  dinner with friends.  brunch on the Northshore with some amazing men and women of God.  my baby shower.

pondering: Ezekiel 44:23 They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean.

It continues to be a theme and passion for me this year to set myself apart from what may be considered "normal" or "common" behavior, even Christian behavior, and to instead pursue complete holiness... not just settling for something less because that's what others are doing.  Normal or common behavior isn't necessary holy, or "best" behavior... though all things are permissible, not all are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)... Christians are to be set apart, holy, a royal priesthood, and I'm tired of acting in ways that contradict that... it's not who I am, it's not who Christ is in me!

meditating on:  Psalm 56:4 I praise God for what he has promised.  I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?  What can mere mortals do to me?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I made these blondies. I thought they were very good, but pretty much the same as a big 13x9 chocolate chip cookie cake... not quite sure what makes them a blondie.  The only change that I made was to double the chocolate chips, and that was perfect for our taste.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sausage and Potato Casserole

Sausage and Potato Casserole

This is such a nice, lazy dinner. You chop and drop everything and then let the oven do the work. It's full of flavor, nutrition and color.

-1 lb red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
-2 colored bell peppers, diced
-1 onion, diced
-1/2 lb carrot, diced
-1 cup chicken broth
-4 Tbsp olive oil
-4 cloves garlic
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
-1 lb Italian turkey sausage links
-6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Whisk together chicken broth, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Place potatoes, bell peppers, onion and carrots in a greased 9 x 13 dish. Pour broth mixture over vegetables and stir well. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

While vegetables bake, brown sausage in a pan over medium heat. It doesn't need to cook all the way through, just mostly. Once sausage is cooked slice into bite sized pieces and set aside.

After the vegetables have baked 30 minutes remove foil, stir sausage into the pan and bake and additional 20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic and serve.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Korean Beef

Korean Beef

This is one of our absolute favorite recipes.  It is quick, easy and delicious!!!!  I was inspired by this recipe over at Izzy Writes but then made a few changes of my own to the ingredients and the process.  We like ours on the sweet and spicy side so I use the max ingredients for red pepper flakes and brown sugar, but adjust as needed to suit your taste.  We always serve this beef over rice, sprinkled with scallions and with a bottle of Sriracha sauce for squirting on top.

-1 Tbsp sesame oil
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and diced
-1 pound lean ground beef
-4 cloves garlic, minced
 -1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup soy sauce
 -1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (to desired spiciness)
 -1 bunch green onions, sliced
-cooked rice
-Sriracha sauce

Heat sesame oil in large skillet, over medium heat.  Add bell pepper and ginger.  Saute 5 minutes, until it begins to soften.  Add beef, cooking until brown, breaking up with a spoon while cooking.  Drain beef/ veggie mixture and return to pan.  Add garlic and cook an additional minute.  Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce and crushed red pepper flakes.  Continue to cook until the flavors come together, at least 10 minutes.  Serve over hot rice, sprinkle with green onions and top with a squirt of Sriracha.

::this week::

praising:  God's victory over sin, death, and satan.

praying:  for a few needs/ desires for our ministry.  the needs/ requests/ desires of those around us.

thankful for:  to be feeling better and returning to my routine.  beautiful weather.  healthy, diverse, delicious, colorful food.  technology, computers, and the internet.  spring and summer flavors... including two of my favorites at a certain coffee chain; Cool Lime Refresher and Passion Tea Lemonade.  for an easy/ healthy pregnancy.  worship music, and the way it sets the atmosphere in my house during the day.

reading:  Job, Psalms, Ezekiel, Your Power in the Holy Spirit by John G Lake

cooking:  fish tacos, refried beans, salad with cilantro lime dressing, blondies, pizza, whole wheat blueberry pancakes, mango coconut smoothies, avocado egg salad, black bean corn and rice casserole, salad with ginger peanut dressing

doing:  hosting a few friends and couples for dinner.  gym and coffee date with my love.  lunch and coffee dates with friends.  dinner with J's folks.


Job 1:20-22  Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

That Job's immediate reaction to overwhelming circumstances was to praise and worship God... oh that I should be so faithful!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Avocado Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad

After seeing lots of versions of this across the internet I decided that I had to give it a try myself.  I've seen several versions with chopped celery, diced onion, and/ or lemon juice mixed in, and I'm sure those are all great, but I went plain and simple for mine.  The recipe as listed should make 2-3 sandwiches, but I think this would also be great served in lettuce cups or stuffed in tomatoes.

-2 Tbsp light mayo or greek yogurt
-2 Tbsp dijon mustard
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-4 hardboiled eggs, diced
-1 avocado, diced

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately... I enjoyed mine on whole grain bread with spinach leaves. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ginger Peanut Salad Dressing

Ginger Peanut Salad Dressing

I seem to continue to recreate recipes for Oriental Pasta Salad, and Oriental Slaw.  They are all very similar in flavor and ingredients, but different enough for their own recipes.  Whichever one I'm eating at the moment is always my favorite.  I served this dressing over spinach, shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots and peanuts.  Some edamame, cashews, bean sprouts, cucumber, or pasta would also be great in here though.

-1/4 c honey
-1/4 c olive oil
-1/4 c rice vinegar
-1 Tbsp soy sauce
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 Tbsp peanut butter
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp sriarcha
-1" chunk ginger, peeled
-1 clove garlic, peeled

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until thoroughly mixed.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, April 1, 2013

31 & 32 weeks

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

This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.

Have you noticed the muscles in your uterus tightening now and then? Many women feel these random contractions — called Braxton Hicks contractions — in the second half of pregnancy. Often lasting about 30 seconds, they're irregular, and at this point, they should be infrequent and painless. Frequent contractions, on the other hand — even those that don't hurt — may be a sign of preterm labor. Call your practitioner immediately if you have more than four contractions in an hour or any other signs of preterm labor: an increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge (if it becomes watery, mucus-like, or bloody — even if it's pink or just tinged with blood); abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramping; an increase in pressure in the pelvic area; or low back pain, especially if you didn't have it before.

By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.

To accommodate you and your baby's growing needs, your blood volume has increased 40 to 50 percent since you got pregnant. With your uterus pushing up near your diaphragm and crowding your stomach, the consequences may be shortness of breath and heartburn. To help relieve your discomfort, try sleeping propped up with pillows and eating smaller meals more often.

If you do, let your caregiver know right away, particularly if you haven't had back pain before, since it can be a sign of preterm labor.  Assuming it's not preterm labor that's ailing you, you can probably blame your growing uterus and hormonal changes for your aching back. Your expanding uterus shifts your center of gravity and stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, changing your posture and putting a strain on your back. Hormonal changes in pregnancy loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine. This can make you feel less stable and cause pain when you walk, stand, sit for long periods, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair or the tub, bend, or lift things.

As for me, I'm doing good, no real changes.  Still feeling and seeing Elisha move a lot.  It's hard to believe that he'll be here in under 2 months now.  This pregnancy has flown by!  I'm still able to lift weights and do cardio and am confident that this has contributed to me gaining a significant amount less weight than my last pregnancy, and I'm assuming this well greatly help me to get back in shape more quickly post-pregnancy also.  Still sleeping well at night and having no major pregnancy side effects other than my largely growing belly and the fact that it's getting hard to get my socks and shoes on (or pick up items off of the floor, or close my car door, or get out of bed...).