Sunday, November 30, 2014

Apple Dumplings

I have made this recipe a few times now.  I am sort of horrified at, and embarrassed by the processed ingredients in this, but I gave it a try because the Pioneer Woman has never steered me wrong.  And she didn't this time either.  These are super easy, super delicious, and a great vegan dessert option.  Serving these with vanilla ice cream is a must, in my opinion.  The few changes that I made were to reduce the butter by half, use reduced-fat crescent rolls, cut the apples into larger slices (4-5 per apple instead of 8,using 2 apples rather than 2) and to use sprite instead of mountain dew.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

::this month::

as I stated in our update for October, if I had to describe that month with one word it would have been "refreshing".  to the contrast, this month I would describe as a "whirlwind".  this month we have been barraged with details and decisions about schools for next year for Noah, possible homes to buy, Jeremy's trip to India, finalizing his book on rest entitled The Quitter's Manual, finalizing details for some new partnerships and events we have coming up and more.  phew!  this has been a busy month, and it appears that the next few months will continue on in that pace.


such a good trip for Jeremy and Dave to India.  so much fruit.  such a rich time of connection, teaching and ministry.  here are a few blurbs and updates that we previously shared on facebook (written by Jeremy);

Friends, meet Arpan. I met Arpan today when we were taken to a slum to minister. The visit was life altering for me. I immediately feel in love with the people. During our visit, many people were healed, but I was most blown away by a particular way in which God chose to creatively demonstrate His love and affection.

Our Indian partner David was praying with Arpan in Hindi when I walked up. I joined in. After that, I began to prophesy over the boy and David translated. Arpan is destined for great things and God told me to speak to the calling that Jesus was speaking over Arpan's life.

As soon as I was finished, David told me that just before I walked up, he asked Arpan if he had heard of Jesus. Arpan told him that he had heard of Him, but knew little of Him.

David then asked Arpan if he wanted to see Jesus. Arpan shook his head in interest and agreement. What happened just after that, set the course for the next hour and impacted me for life. When we prayed and asked Jesus to appear to Arpan. He did just that!

Jesus, Himself, appeared to Arpan! I repeat: JESUS, HIMSELF, APPEARED TO ARPAN!

We asked him what Jesus looked like. He told us that the Jesus who appeared to him was a white man wearing white cloths of loving fire. I then asked Arpan if he wanted to have the Jesus that he just met become his King and accept the gift of life the Jesus died to give him. Arpan said yes. He prayed with me and will never be the same.

Two other people had the same encounter with Jesus as Arpan, and were healed of their infirmities and realized their salvation in Christ.

I love when Jesus does that, become I He is who people need to meet and I would much prefer Him personally minister to people than me.

Lots of people were healed and met Jesus in the slums today, but somehow I feel as though I am the one who was blessed. It is beyond humbling to see how relational God is and how eager He is to touch people. It is also humbling to see people respond and get zapped with the Glory!
***Update Nov. 8***
This morning, as we were getting in the car to go to the conference that we are speaking/ ministering at, we received a very exciting phone call...

The slum that we visited earlier this week- where many people were healed and realized Jesus as their Savior- is helped regularly by the staff of the Kolkata City Mission. The Mission has provided wells for fresh water, a small milk factory to generate revenue, a little school, and other resources to assist the extremely impoverished "city" inside the larger city of Kolkata. The sudden phone call was from the head of the mission and he was giddy with joy to explain to us what has occurred in the slum in the last couple of days since our visit. He proceeded to explain that his staff that works in the slum met yesterday afternoon. Occupants from the slum that we ministered to during our visit welcomed themselves to the meeting. They came together with one voice and declared to the mission employees; "We've never seen a God like Jesus. If Jesus has so much power to heal us like He did, why are we still following our gods?"
The collection of occupants want to hold a meeting and gather the entire community to find out how to leave behind their Hindu gods and turn to Jesus.

There is nothing to add to this. This is just plain awesome. God is just plain awesome.

***Update Nov. 14***

I don't know jack squat about church planting, but it appears that we have accidentally played a in roll in starting a slum church.

Last week, while in Kolkata, we were brought to a slum to minister the love of God. The neighborhood consisted completely of beautiful Hindu people. Long story short, the Holy Spirit went all book of Acts on the place and many miracles occurred. The next day, the collective people declared their desire to turn to Jesus.

We received word that they have already held their first meeting and 168 people came to worship Jesus. I don't know about you, but this sounds like a church to me.

The purpose was to love; the results were left to God.


for provision... we could use some additional monthly donors and/or one time gifts for Bastion Ministries.

for favor, opportunities and open doors.

for wisdom on numerous details and decisions needing to be made soon including schooling for Noah and housing for us all.

for vision and clarity as we finalize details on some upcoming projects.


Psalms, Luke,  Isaiah, 1 Samuel

thankful for:

so much!!!!  big and small!!!!  in light of Jeremy's trip to India, and experiences in a culture without many of the modern conveniences that we have in America, and in light of a recent trip of me and a few ladies to minister in the French Quarter to the homeless population there, we have a renewed sense of gratitude for everything that we have... materially, physically, spiritually, emotionally.  we have so much.  we are rich, in every sense of the word.  we are blessed and living in abundance.

I'm grateful for heat and air conditioning and  roof over our heads and food and clothes.  for relationships.  for people who stand by us through the good and the bad.  who stick it out with us through conflict and grow stronger through it.  for people who lift us up when we are down.  for the way God works through His people to encourage and serve and touch others.  for all of the people who kept me company, loved on our family and served us while Jeremy was in India... I could not have done it without you, y'all are a blessing!!!!

for our family.  Jeremy and I both get to do our dream jobs right now.  we love what we do and are grateful for this privilege.  for a close connected family.  for great kids.  for lots of time for us to be together and enjoy each other.  this is priceless.  this is what I have always wanted, hoped for and prayed for.  a family that is close.  that spends time together.  that is connected.  I am just so grateful!


huevos rancheros,  whole wheat pizza with turkey pepperoni and jalapenos, vietnamese noodle bowls, chicken sausage on buns with sauteed onions and peppers, chai bars, salad with ginger peanut dressing, green well salad, white chicken chili, cornbread, sausage cheddar breakfast casserole, pumpkin french toast breakfast casserole, tukey sausage lasagna, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, apple dumplings, baked "risotto", sweet potato and black bean tacos, slow cooker apple oatmeal, spinach and butternut squash lasagna


Christmas gifts and kiddos birthday gifts.


all the usual activities; weekly ladies Bible study, monthly book club, monthly community group, lots of playdates and dinners with friends.

Friendsgiving for our community group.  Jeremy's trip to India.  me and some friends handing out food, coats, socks and water to homeless people in the French Quarter.  family photo shoot.  a few date nights to celebrate Jeremy being back.  Thanksgiving at our house and a visit from my mom.


Luke 9:12-13  Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.”  But He said to them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.”

this month God has been teaching me about action, responsibility and power on our part.  He has been teaching me that while our salvation/ freedom/ healing/ standing with God are not obtained by what we do, but that what we do matters.  how in Luke 9:13 Jesus says "you give them something to eat" to the disciples.  how He has already placed all authority in us and has told us "you do it".  how we are His chosen agents and vessels of love, action, power, healing and signs and wonders.  how we are commanders, having been empowered by Him.  how so many times we, like the disciples, pray and ask God to do x, y and z, and then He says back to us "you do it". 

we are not defined by what we do, we are not the sum of our actions, but our actions can determine the degree to which we walk in our destiny and the fullness of God. 

I think that sometimes I get lazy and take a copout of "God said {or} promised" that something is going to happen and then I fall into a state of passivity waiting for it to come to pass.  when really, most of the time, God telling us that something is going to come to pass is His invitation to us into action. 

action does not mean striving.  all valuable actions will be done from a place of rest and communion with God, but rest is not an excuse not to act.  once we have learned to quit striving then we will find rest, and then we can do, from a place of being.

I've been thinking how so often people can share struggles with each other and then a cliché "I'll pray for you" is thrown out in response.  how this statement can sound callous and like a lame copout to the person with the struggle... if we're not willing to step into action and get our hands dirty alongside someone and give of ourselves and time and resources then a prayer can sound silly.  (please don't hear me undermining the power and value of payer here... I deeply believe that prayer is powerful and effective, but it's a both/ and... as always, with Jesus there is never a formula for how to handle things, it is always based on what He is saying and doing in a particular situation, but what I am learning right now is that I have been coping out the choosing passivity all to often over His invitation of "you give them". )

it's also standing out to me that after Jesus told the disciples "you give them..." their response was doubt.  their response was to inform Him of the reality of their circumstances and of the natural world.  Jesus' call to us is one of faith... of the miraculous... it's a call to look beyond the natural realm and to expect and be agents of the supernatural... of the impossible.  it's not an invitation to explain to Him why what He is asking doesn't make sense, but it's an invitation to change what we see in the natural realm.  to bring Heaven to earth.

the main point to all of what I am learning is that I am powerful.  you are powerful.  we are commanders.  we have been entrusted with all authority, power and God almighty dwelling in us and it is our destiny to release Him.  to change people, circumstances and our world.  that changing others and our world requires action on our part.
may we walk in confidence of Christ in us.  may we be aware of what He is doing in and through us and hear His call for us "to give" when He beckons.  may we be world changers, walking in power, authority, and above all else, love.  love that is action and truth.

may your holidays be blessed... with eyes to see all of the blessings and gifts from the Lord, and a heart that delights and rejoices in each gift.  may you be present in each moment, with God and those around you, savoring each moment to the fullest. may you have a "Mary heart" amidst holiday to do's, and sit at the feet of Jesus resting and taking Him in.  may your cup overflow with love, peace, joy and hope to every circumstance and person that you encounter. 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!