Wednesday, February 27, 2013

::this week::

Definitely a weird week!  Jeremy is in India and I'm a mess.  We have never been apart for more than one night in the almost 6 years that we've been married, so this is quite weird for us!  Being away from Jeremy is WAY harder than I expected.  We are coming to realize just how bonded and connected we are, and exactly why we have made such a point up until now to not need to be apart for any reason.  Him being gone has been hard in ways that I didn't expect, and the ways I did expect it to be hard haven't been an issue.  I expected to actually enjoy the first few days, being an independent introvert, I thought I'd really enjoy some extra alone time and get some projects done.  Well, that has not been the case.  What I expected to be hard was caring for our son without the help and support of my teammate, but that hasn't been hard at all.  As of now, 3 days in, I'm fine until someone asks me how it's going without J here, or if I've talked to him, or when he calls me... when those things happen, I turn into a sobbing mess!!!!!

praising: additional provision for our ministry, including the possibility of a computer for Jeremy to use for work.

praying:  for spiritual and physical protection for Jeremy, Dave, and Jeff while they are in India.  for strength, health, and energy for them.  that they would be full of the Spirit and His power and that they would be used in great ways to heal the sick, encourage believers, share the Gospel, set people free, and introduce people into life transforming relationships with Jesus.

thankful for:  that prior to now, in the almost 6 years J and I have been married, we've only had to be apart for one night a total of 2 times.  in J's absence I'm acquiring a whole new sense of gratitude and appreciation for him and Noah, hoping to enjoy each moment with them to the fullest... I'm so thankful for our little family.  for all of the prayers, encouragement, and offers to help from the body of Christ while J is gone... it has been strange for me, because I'm not someone who tends to ask for help, and I tend to prefer to serve over being served, but I think it has been good for me to "let" others help and serve me, and I have surely been blessed as a result.

reading:  Psalms, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, Dare to Discipline

cooking:   all things that I love but J doesn't (while he is gone)... including lots of cabbage, cauliflower, artichokes, and olives... white bean hummus, lemon loaf cake, pumpkin cream cheese bars, zuppa toscana, buffalo cauliflower, artichoke pesto, guacamole chicken salad, chicken scallopine, Kenyan curried cabbage

doing:  missing my hubby.  dinner at the home of a different friend almost every night.  hosting a ladies board game night.  potluck at church.  coffee, play dates, meals with some sweet ladies.

pondering:  worship (still from a few weeks ago).  wondering why, in most churches I have been a part of, reading of the Bible is stressed so much to the congregation, but I've almost never heard people encouraged to worship at home or on their own.  I almost never hear of people wanting to do this aside from Sundays.  shouldn't this be a part of our community groups also?  of what we do when we, as believers, get together.  beginning to realize more and more how powerful worship is, how much the Lord ministers to me through it, how it should be a lifestyle, and not something we do at the beginning and end of each church service.  how David (the man after God's own heart) was such a worshipper.  how everything that we do should be an act of worship to God. 

Psalm 37 and the continued use of the phrase "the land" throughout it.
  • v 3 live safely in...
  • v 9 possess...
  • v 11 the lowly will posses...
  • v 22 will posses
  • v 27 live in ... forever
  • v 29 will posses...
  • v 34 honor by giving you...
Meditating on what "the land" meant in the original time and context and what it means for me/ us today.

original:  a physical land/ the promised land... but so much more than that... a promise, a promise that took faith to accept and believe for because it seemed impossible because of the giants and current inhabitants.  a land of abundance (overflowing with milk and honey).  the Lord's will for the nation of Israel... stepping into His perfect will for them as a people... and the world.

today:  "the land" is a metaphor for the inheritance/ legacy that the Lord gives us... it represents safety (He would give them safety from their enemies), provision, experience.  I want all of what is listed in verses 3, 9, 11, 22, 27, 29, 34... I want to live safely in and posses the land/ God's perfect will for me.  I want to believe in faith and seize it when it doesn't make sense, rather than spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness because I looked at my circumstances instead of God's promises.

What is my "land"?  What promises has God made me?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lemon Loaf Cake

I'm still working my way through the last bag of home grown lemons that I tend to acquire during citrus season, and thought that this Lemon Loaf Cake would be a great way to use up some of my bounty.  I made the cake as is, but used entirely all-purpose flour (rather than cake flour), and used light sour cream (instead of regular).  It is good.  And I'm enjoying it even more now that I chilled it in the fridge.  The texture was a little different than I expected (maybe because of the omission of cake flour), but it's still good, moist, and not too sweet or sour.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guacamole Chicken Salad

Guacamole Chicken Salad

I like to eat this plain from the bowl but it's great on a sandwich, with crackers, in a tortilla wrap or on a bed of lettuce. This is a great summer dinner, it's healthy, chilled and just tastes like summer.

-2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
-1/3 c mayo or yogurt
-4 Tbsp diced green chiles or salsa verde
-3 Tbsp lime juice
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cumin
-dash of hot sauce
-1/4 red onion, diced
-1 stalk celery, diced
-2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced

Whisk together the mayo/ yogurt, chiles/ salsa, lime juice, salt, cumin and hot sauce. Combine with remaining ingredients, mix and serve. (If making in advance combine everything except the avocado and add the avocado just prior to serving)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

I made these Buffalo Cauliflower bites.  They were great!  I used one head of cauliflower and cut the recipe (breading and sauce) in half.  I used the Louisiana hot sauce that I had on hand and thought they were perfect for me, but fairly spicy.  These would be a great appetizer or side dish, especially for a health conscious game day menu.

Bastion Ministries February Newsletter

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

::this week::

praising:  God using Jeremy to heal physical conditions/ pain in 2 of our neighbors.  God using Jeremy to set a friend free from bondage he's been enslaved to for years.  new life in Christ for someone Jeremy got to pray with this week. some additional provision for our ministry.  a pretty cool encounter with God for me last weekend... at a worship service I was so filled with the Spirit that I was fell over on the floor and was filled with a supernatural joy and peace... I never thought I'd be "one of those people", in the past I've been skeptical over people who "fall down", and I tend to be too in my head and analytical for experiences like that.  I'm so glad that the Lord is bigger than my doubts, and the box that I put Him in, and that He continues to challenge my theology by giving me experiences contrary to what I have previously believed.

praying: for our neighborhood (and city).  there was a shooting in our neighborhood this weekend, at the same house that multiple shooting have occurred within the last year.  praying that these chains of violence would be severed through the blood of Christ, and that our neighborhood would be transformed to His image and character.  still for an office for J, and a computer for him to use for work only, aside from our family laptop at home, and some additional provision.

thankful for:  a sweet weekend with some quality alone time with my hubby.  the thoughtfulness, sentiments, encouragement, and gifts from friends and family for my birthday.  all the sweet friends and family who have offered me a place to stay, or whatever help they can provide while J is in India.  the grace of my God, husband, family, and friends.

reading:  Psalms, Lamentations, Ezra, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, Dare to Discipline

cooking:  jerk chicken, tabbouleh, gyros, BBQ and buffalo chicken pizzas

pondering:  the word "believe".  last year a huge theme for the year for me was that the Lord kept telling me to "remember", and so far this year I feel like "believe" has been an overwhelming theme.  specifically challenged by a few verses...

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.

Mark 11:23-24 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.

Mark 9:23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.  

James 1:6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

I want to ask, and believe, God for BIG things... miraculous things... supernatural things.  things others would think are crazy.  things that are only possible with God. 

doing: birthday dinner with J's parents.  trying to soak up every last bit of family time before Jeremy leaves for India.  no plans other than community group and a catch up with a few ladies.

meditating on the truth of:  2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Declaring this truth over something I have struggled with for years.  Allowing Christ to transform every part of me, especially old patterns and behaviors. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

26 weeks

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

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel.

Are you rushing around trying to get to childbirth classes and prepare your baby's room while still taking care of all your other daily tasks? Make sure that you also continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it's probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.)

Preeclampsia — a serious disorder characterized by high blood pressure and protein in your urine — most often shows up after 37 weeks, but it can happen earlier so it's important to be aware of the warning signs of this condition. Call your caregiver if you have swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week). With more severe preeclampsia, you may experience other symptoms. Let your caregiver know immediately if you have a severe or persistent headache, vision changes (including double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light, or temporary loss of vision), intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen, or vomiting.

If your lower back seems a little achy lately, you can thank both your growing uterus — which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve — as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you're carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time, take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen.

As for me, I'm doing well.  No major changes this week.  Still feeling good.  A little tired, but hardly worth mentioning (and that may be the result of my son deciding 3 weeks ago that he now gets up at 5 am).  Elisha moves and kicks all of the time, which is super fun.  I had my glucose test this week, and am now just waiting on the results.  I've gained about 12 lbs this pregnancy, which I'm not excited about, but is better than how I was doing at this point last time.  Overall, I feel like I've been fairly active, and eating pretty healthy, and sure that if I continue that I won't gain the excessive 50 lbs that I gained with my last pregnancy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

::this week::

praising:  an answer to prayer over the last few weeks... Noah's behavior is improving.  opportunities for J to minister over the last week, including people being healed.

praying:  for the requests and needs of others.  for J's upcoming trip to India... that God would be preparing the way, and the hearts of those he will encounter... for lives to be changed, people saved, set free, and healed.  for additional provision for our ministry, and an office for J to work out of.

thankful for:  a thoughtful gift from some sweet friends to provide financially for us to have a date night this weekend.  the fact that we get to have a date night this weekend and I get to have lots of alone time with my handsome hubby. a zoo pass.  other moms and kids to play with during the day.  having family in town and getting to see them often... family who loves the Lord, and is so good with our little boy, watching him whenever we request.  a sweet husband who was super thoughtful and selfless with me last weekend.  an abundance of great friends and co-laborers in the Gospel that we have here. 

reading:  2 Chronicles, Lamentations, Psalms, Letters from a Skeptic

cooking:  Zuppa Toscana, Thai BBQ and buffalo chicken pizzas, migas casserole, tex mex egg rolls

doing:  ladies Bible study in the Psalms. community group.  having a few friends over for dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday.  double date in with one of our favorite couples.  a 2 day date (to celebrate my birthday, Valentine's day, and to connect before J goes to India for 10 days) while Noah stays overnight at Jeremy's parents house.  a zoo trip with some sweet mamas and kiddos.  spending lots of time this week resting in the Lord, listening to Him, being quiet and still with Him.

pondering:  worship.  challenged by a sermon I heard recently in which the speaker said that if he has 1 hour with God he spends 45 minutes of it in worship... this initially shocked me (and my duty driven, rule following, checklist checking fleshly struggles)... I wondered if this was even ok, and counts as "spending time with God".  and then He showed me just how silly I was being.  I've been reading through the Psalms and He helped me to understand David as "a man after His own heart" because he was a man of worship and praise... that He does not delight in duty... in my obligatory prayers or reading of Scripture, but that He delights in my pure worship of Him, whether that be by giving financially, serving others, reading His Word, communicating with Him through prayer, and/ or resting in Him, singing to Him, and enjoying His presence.  such an elementary truth that you'd think I would have grasped by now.  I intend to spend a lot more time during the day getting lost in worship as the Holy Spirit quiets and ministers to my soul.

setting the atmosphere of my home... seeking the Holy Spirit's presence here.  am I spending as much time on the spiritual atmosphere (praying, worshiping...) as I am on the physical atmosphere (cooking, cleaning...).  wanting a home known for, and characterized by the presence of the Spirit, and an overwhelming sense of Him, His joy, His peace, His power.

challenged by:  Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the LordBe brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord... been learning a lot lately about waiting patiently for the Lord... about surrendering all expectations and agendas that I have of Him, and in waiting patiently on Him.  also challenged that Abraham had to wait 25 years from when God promised him a son, before that son was given... hoping I can be graceful in patient in my waiting on promises, and not loose sight of said promises.

 encouraged by:  Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning... His favor lasts a lifetime!  This was written by David, who had fallen into great sin, but had received God's forgiveness and continued to walk in favor for the rest of his life... even extending to his family because of his inheritance.  love how I serve a God who doesn't cast me aside when I "mess up", but that His {unmerited} favor lasts a lifetime!

meditating on: God as the Light.  He has given me a few visions recently involving light and darkness... one of which involved His light being so bright in people that you couldn't even see them anymore... loving that picture that when others look at me they are not seeing Shannon or my flesh, but are seeing Him revealed.  that He is the light for my path, and that I see all things through Him... looking at all of my circumstances through Christ (by His Light) rather than through the natural eye.

Psalm 27:8  My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me."  And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”...grateful to serve such a personal and relational God  who asks me to "come and talk with Him"... being aware of how much I am talking WITH Him, instead of just talking at Him.  

claiming the truth of:  Psalm 27:5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary.  He will place me out of reach on a high rock.... holding on to the fact that He can conceal us and place us out of reach from the enemy, that we are untouchable to the enemy and victorious through Christ!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

24 weeks & 25 weeks

Here is going on with Elisha this week according to;

week 24
Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball. Most women have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between now and 28 weeks. This test checks for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related high-blood-sugar condition.

Untreated diabetes increases your risk of having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow too large, especially in his upper body. It also raises your baby's odds for other complications like low blood sugar right after birth. A positive result on your GCT doesn't mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you'll need to take the glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out for sure.

Finally, if you don't already know how to spot the signs of preterm labor, now's the time to learn. Contact your caregiver immediately if you notice any of the signs mentioned below.

week 25
Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture.

Your baby's not the only one with more hair — your locks may look more full and lustrous than ever. It's not that you're growing more hair, but thanks to hormonal changes, the hair that you'd normally shed is sticking around longer than usual. Enjoy the fullness while you can — the extra hair will fall out after you give birth.
You may also notice that you can't move around as gracefully as before. Unless your caregiver has advised you otherwise, it's fine to continue to exercise, but follow a few safety rules: Don't work out when you're feeling overly tired and stop if you feel any pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Don't lie flat on your back and avoid contact sports as well as any exercise where you're apt to lose your balance. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and make time for both warm-up and cool-down periods.

As for me, doing well.  I'm starting to get cramps when I jog, so I'm thinking those days might be over and my physical activity might now need to be limited to walking, biking, and lifting weights.  I have my glucose test this Monday.  Other than that everything is going well, I'm still in a very comfortable stage where I'm not so big that it's uncomfortable yet.  I'm still on track to gain about half of what I gained last pregnancy, so I'm relieved about that!  I'm just starting to get a little more tired than normal and have taken a mid-day nap upon a few occasions.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

::this week::

Yesterday was Jeremy's first day of full-time ministry.  He really wanted to jump right into actual ministry and not establish a comfort zone by focusing on the administrative details that we need taken care of for our ministry (we'll get to those later).  I am so proud of him for diving right in, even to situations that aren't in his comfort zone.  Here is his recap from day 1...

"So far, for my first day on the job, I ended up in the French Quarter and Central City, saw a couple of people healed, shared the love of Jesus with a bunch of people, hugged an old lady and stumbled across this shooting."

Praise God.  So excited to see how God is going to use him/ us in this city.  So humbled to be able to play a small part of what I believe is going to be a much bigger move of God in this area.

praising:  that both Jeremy and I get to do our dream jobs... exactly what we are confident that we are created to do, and the favor that God gives us in those.  opportunities for Jeremy to share the love and power of God with others.  answers to some recent prayer requests for friends and how faithful our God is!

praying:  for more provision for our ministry.  for an office for Jeremy to use as a home base during the day (considering we do not have an extra room in our home, and it gets crazy and hectic here around the day with multiple kiddos).  for protection and favor for Jeremy as he goes out to engage the poor and broken people in this city... for God to show up in mighty ways changing lives and transforming hearts.  for wisdom, patience, and discernment to shepherd our kid well as we try to rid him of some misbehavior patterns... for a teachable and obedient heart for Noah in the process. 

thankful for: fresh eggs from some friend's chickens.  Monday mornings to myself... some time at the gym to exercise, read, and be quiet, and then some sweet time of study and fellowship with some ladies.  my MIL living nearby and serving me by watching Noah on Monday mornings (and really whenever we need it).  the sweet flutters of movement from the baby in my belly.  that J doesn't spend 2 hours a day commuting anymore... although he is out of the house and working 8-5 we still get him home and around more now that most of his time will be spent in neighborhoods near our house.

reading: Psalms, Chronicles, Jeremiah, Letters from a Skeptic

cooking:  migas casserole, made over ramen noodles, red beans and rice, fried rice, sauteed red cabbage, Mexican and BBQ chicken pizzastex mex egg rolls

doing:  ladies Bible study.  multiple dinners with some friends and family.  community group.  zoo trip with some moms and kiddos.  low key party for a mardis gras parade.

pondering:  2 Chronicles 5:13-14 ...At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord.  The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God.  Asking God to experience His presence like this... to be so overcome with it that I can't even continue what I'm doing... in my home, in our church, in our city.

(also from 2 Chronicles) That like David with Solomon and the Temple... not all that we have a passion to do is our job... sometimes our purpose is to equip another person for the task/ assignment that we have a passion for... David wanted to build it, but God told him that it was not his purpose, so David arranged the materials and workers for Solomon to complete the task.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Made over ramen noodles

I made this Martha Stewart ramen noodle upgrade.  The only change I made was that I tripled the recipe, but reduced the Sriarcha to 1 tsp (for the entire tripled recipe).  I thought this was delicious, and super easy.  It would also be great with some shredded carrot, cilantro, or chopped peanuts added in.  It is on the heavier side as far as a side dish goes, so I would plan to serve it with a lighter main dish, or just toss it with some cooked chicken for a one pot dinner.