Thursday, December 31, 2015


(special thanks to Elizabeth Lafargue photography for this pic)

I love this picture so much. It seemed very fitting to illustrate us going into the new year. Jeremy and I each have a lot of individual projects and groups that we are a part of, but above all of that we are a team in everything. We work together in everything and consult each other on everything. Looking forward into 2016 I couldn't think of a better picture to show that sometimes we work on different things, or look in different directions, but we always step forward united and together in each endeavor.

We have a lot of exciting things that we are working on for 2016. Some of the highlights are;
1.  launching our online meal planning business
2.  co-writing a marriage book and another individual book project for Jeremy
3.  continuing with all of the ministries and groups that we are already doing or a part of including;    ladies book club, our weekly community group, Jeremy's men's breakfast, MOPs (Mother's of Preschoolers), homeless outreach with Kingdom Project, hosting a local New Orleans livestream of the IF women's conference in February
4.  Jeremy already has some travel plans for speaking opportunities and will continue to accept invitations to travel and share the message God has given Him

A big theme for Jeremy this year is influence. God told him that this year is the year of influencers and we are expecting to see this play out in many facets this year.

My focus and word for this year is nourish. defines nourish as;
1. to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth.
2. to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.:
3. to strengthen, build up, or promote:

This year I will be focusing on nourishing myself (emotionally, physically and spiritually) and nourishing others (emotionally, spiritually and physically).

I want to nourish myself by carving out the alone time, one on one God time, active time, outdoors time, creative time and margin that I crave and need. I want to be intentional about the relationships that I have and surround myself with people who bring out the best in me. I want to Brene Brown (her name is a verb to me now) my emotions and reckon with them and tell myself and others the truth about what I am feeling... not letting bitterness and frustrations build up.

I want to nourish others using the gifts/ interests/ talents that God has given me by celebrating, gathering, feeding, serving, encouraging and praying for them. I want to be fully present in my interactions, actively engaged and listening, enjoying the people around me.

Here are some questions that I have been processing in looking forward to the New Year;

  1. What are my goals this year?
  2. What are my goals for the next 5/10 years and how can I begin to position and prepare myself for these?
  3. Based on what did/ didn't work in 2015, what changes do I need to make this year?
  4. What am I looking forward to in 2016?
  5. What are some areas I would like to grow in this year?
  6. What is a word/ theme that I would like to focus on this year?

Happy 2016, friends! May this be your best year yet!

Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

2015 in review

2015 was a bit of a roller coaster for us. we had extreme circumstantial highs and lows over the course of this year and a lot of changes to adjust to. Through these varied circumstances two big lessons that we continued to learn and re-learn were (1) to find our joy/ peace/ value in our identity in Christ and not from our circumstances and (2) to be grateful for each moment/ item/ relationship that we have.

The highs from this year included buying and moving into our new home, the release of Jeremy's third book: The Table and the Dream, the birth of baby Zeke, new relationships, starting new groups and businesses, some travel in the US and abroad for Jeremy to speak and minister and more.

The lows included the loss of two very close friends within 2 months of each other, the multiple times that the contract on our home almost fell through and we had to scramble to make it work out. Lots of annoying circumstantial challenges from cars breaking down, to a fire in our house, to several of our major appliances dying. Because we don't tend to focus on the bad/ hard things and because we believe that God uses ALL things to work for good we are able to see the gifts that these challenges brought though... the gift of having a greater appreciation for the relationships and things that we do have with us. #perspective

The changes from this year included Noah starting school with pre-k and us all adjusting to him being gone during the day and having a homework routine in the evening. Eli had several changes this year also as he got potty trained and moved from a crib to a big boy bed. With our new home came a new neighborhood to adjust to and settle in. We have also adjusted to becoming a family of five, and couldn't be more happy with the addition of Zeke to our family.

We've been learning and processing a lot this year (and hope to always be doing so). Some of the main themes have been;

-five influences: A big topic of conversation for us this year has been the idea that each person is going to be influenced by and become like the 5 people that we spend the most time with (or most time being influenced by via books, shows, podcasts etc). That whether you like it or not, the people that you spend the most time will start to rub off on you and shape your attitude and behavior. We've talked a lot about who these people are for us, what we are learning and picking up from them (intentionally and not) (good and bad) and being intentional to spend more time with people that we want to be like or be shaped and influenced by.

-a commander mindset (as Jeremy discusses in The Table and the Dream). The idea that we have a lot of freedom in life to co-create with God, that He doesn't need to dictate every single step that we take, that He has given us passions, talents, desires and gifts so that we can be creative. That when we are living out of our oneness with Him, our thoughts and desires are His thoughts and desires so we can freely follow them rather than being consumed with worry over the "right" step to take next. Knowing that God is limitless and infinite and that His fullness dwells in us and that we can tap into His unlimited resources at any moment.

-relationships and community: People, relationships and community have continued to be some of our greatest strengths, values and ministries. We each have started and led various men's, women's and couples groups this year and really enjoy the time that we get to spend interacting with others. Because of this, group dynamics, conflict resolution, what true community looks like and other related topics frequent our conversations. We're always processing ideas about what makes a healthy group, how to handle difficult things within a group and how to live life closely with others.

-self-care: I've done a lot of processing this year (see this blog post) on the idea of self-care and whether it is a biblical concept or not.

Similar to that, I've also done a lot of processing this Brene Brown quote "until we can receive with an open heart we are never really giving with an open heart". I've never been a very good receiver, or ask-for-help-er and I've spent a lot of time processing that this year and growing in there areas.

-how I relate to God: Several months ago God had told me to call Him Adonai. While I had heard this term before, I wasn't sure of it's specific meaning. When I looked it up and realized that it means "Lord" something within me flinched. When I first became a Christian years ago I was most comfortable relating to God as Lord and taking orders from Him. Over the last few years I have grown much more comfortable relating with Him as a friend, co-creating with Him, being empowered by Him. Him essentially telling me to call Him Lord/ master/ boss was hitting a nerve in me. I think that was just the point. He was completely aware of the hang up that I had unknowingly adapted. After talking through this with Jeremy he had mentioned how God is multi-faceted and how He is equally Father/ Son/ Holy Spirit/ Lord/ Friend/ Comforter and more. Jeremy had suggested that although God is dynamic, that people aren't used to dealing with Him that way and that most of us interact with the side/ face/ attribute of God that we are most comfortable with. This has had me pondering how much of God I have been missing out on by limiting my interactions with Him to one facet of who He is. So now I've been trying to engage Him more holistically, and not just through the lens of whatever teachings/ theology/ ideas of Him I am most comfortable with at any given time.

Here are a few of my fave photos from the year

 (special thanks to Sarah Becker Photography and Elizabeth Lafargue Photography for the pictures above)

Here are a few questions that I've been asking myself as I reflect and close out 2015;
-What worked for me/ us in 2015? What didn't?
-What were my/ our highs and lows this year?
-What's something (or things) that I/we want to leave behind in 2015?
-What main lessons did I/ we learn in 2015?

Stay tuned for a post tomorrow looking forward to 2016 and some of our plans, goals and dreams for this coming year and beyond...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

This is great breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. You can easily add any meats or substitute whatever cheeses and veggies that you have on hand.

-1 homemade or store bought pie crust
-6 eggs
-3/4 c heavy cream
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 c broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
-1 c cheddar cheese

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Stir in broccoli and cheese. Pour into pie crust. Place quiche on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes, until the center is just set.

Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

These are by far my favorite pumpkin seeds I've ever eaten. I modeled the recipe after my favorite roasted nut recipe because I love this combination of flavors. This recipe easily doubles or triples based on how many pumpkin seeds you have on hand.

-1/2 c pumpkin seeds
-1 tsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp brown sugar
-1/2 tsp curry powder
-1/4 tsp rosemary
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp cayenne

Boil pumpkin seeds for 10 minutes, drain and blot dry with kitchen towels. In small bowl stir together the oil and spices. Toss with the warm, just boiled pumpkin seeds. Spread pumpkin seeds out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday Noah!

Happy 5th Birthday Noah!

This year you;

 started school and have been attending pre-K. it was a bit of a hard adjustment with you (and me) crying everyday for the first week, but now you have adjusted and tell us that everyday was the "best day yet". you have made several friends in your class and are learning so much. you have great behavior and understanding of the material at school and I am so proud of you.

continued to play soccer and have really improved your abilities over last year. now you play actual games every Saturday. you have scored goals every game and scored as many as 6 and 7 in a single game, being the high scorer for your team. it has been so much fun to see you really apply yourself to something, do well at it and learn how to come out of your shell and go for it on the field.

last week when we played the ungame with friends you said that your favorite place to go is church because they give you candy and you learn lots of things. you  have several friends at church and I love that out of all the fun things that we regularly do (trips to the zoo, museum, chick fil a etc) that church is your favorite place to go.

you are such a fun, silly, energetic, creative, confident boy. you are rough and tough yet thoughtful and caring. you love to be the center of attention and to do tricks for or tell stories to people. you get lonely and bored when you don't have someone to play with and you always want to be around other people.

you love to dig in dirt, go to playgrounds and the zoo, wrestle with your daddy and brother and do just about any craft from playdoh to painting or coloring. this year your main interest has been dinosaurs, so we threw you a dinosaur 5th birthday party, but you have also been into superheros as well. you have a vast knowledge of dinosaurs and can identify them and tell us names that your daddy and I have never heard of. you can also tell us which dinosaurs came from different time periods. you say that the indominus rex is your favorite dinosaur. you say that you want to be a paleontologist when you grow up.
you love to play games like I Spy and Hide and Go Seek.

you love our family and when we are all together. you love your brothers so  much. when you get a treat you always want to make sure that Eli gets one also. you want to pray for Zeke every night before bed.

Noah, your dad, brothers and I love you so much!  you bring so much adventure, fun, excitement and joy to our lives. you make us laugh and help us to not take ourselves too seriously.  you make me more aware of my words and actions and the example that I set. you give me a reason to be better, to be slow to anger and quick to seek and extend forgiveness. you teach me about childlike faith and expecting and believing big things from God.

you are destined for great things, my son!  you are going to take the spiritual legacy and inheritance that your daddy and I give you and go so much further with it.  you are going to change the world.  you are going to be a leader of men and a lover of people.  you are going to walk in the power of God and a supernatural lifestyle.  you are going to do "greater things".  you will be like Noah, and will walk in righteousness despite the depravity around you.  you have found favor with God and are His chosen instrument.  you will be a mighty man, a man who walks with God always seeking His heart. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mixed Berrry Cobbler

Mixed Berry Cobbler

This cobbler is very versatile, you can use your favorite combination of berries, all of one type of berry, or really use any fruit that you like. I've also used frozen berries straight from the freezer, just increase the baking time by at least 10 minutes. I've doubled the recipe to fill a 13x9 pan and feed a crowd and I've used whole wheat flour instead of the all purpose flour and no matter what I do, this turns out delicious! You can eat it as is, or my preference is to serve vanilla ice cream scoop over the top.

-1 cc plus 1/4 c sugar, divided use
-1 c flour
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 c milk
-4 Tbsp butter
-3 c (fresh or frozen) mixed berries or your choice of raspberries, blackberries or blueberries

In a medium bowl whisk together 1 cup of the sugar, the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk and butter. Pour batter into the bottom of a greased 8x8 dish. Top with the berries. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until the dough has risen above the berries and browned nicely.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Roasted Chickpeas

 Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are an easy, healthy, inexpensive, vegan snack that you can customize however you like with different flavor combinations. I've listed the two pictured below (Indian Spiced and Salt and Vinegar) but I also intend to experiment with Buffalo and Chili Lime flavors over the next week.

Indian Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

-2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp sugar
-1 tsp curry powder
-1 tsp garam masala
-1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Dry off chickpeas by patting them with paper towels or a kitchen towel. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil and all of the spices until well combined. Stir chickpeas with spices until well coated. Spread chickpeas in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven when they reach your desired crispness. Cool to room temperature and store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

-2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 tsp salt
-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Dry off chickpeas by patting them with paper towels or a kitchen towel. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil and salt. Stir chickpeas with oil/ salt mixture until well coated. Spread chickpeas in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven when they reach your desired crispness. Drizzle the vinegar over the chickpeas and stir to incorporate. Return chickpeas to the oven for an additional 1-2 minutes to allow vinegar to soak in. Remove chickpeas from oven, cool to room temperature and store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chipotle Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Chipotle Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
This is a hearty vegan dish as is, or you can add ground turkey to please the meat eaters. Serve with an assortment of toppings such as cheese, sour cream, cilantro, chopped scallions and diced avocado.
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 yellow onion, diced
-1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-15 oz diced tomatoes
-1-2 c vegetable broth
-1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
-1/2 Tbsp chili powder
-1/2 Tbsp cumin
-1/2 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1 Tbsp sugar
-your choice of cheese, sour cream, cilantro, scallions or avocado for topping
 Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

Monday, September 28, 2015

::this month::


(thank you elizabeth lafargue photography for our beautiful recent family/ baby bump photos)

it's been about a little over a month and a half since my last update so here's about 45 days worth of updates on us...


(thank you sarah becker photography for some sweet hospital photos of us and baby zeke!)

ezekiel "zeke" jeremiah was born friday september 4, and him and i are both doing great and recovering well. this recovery has been harder for me than the births of our other 2 sons but now, by 3 weeks post arrival i am in fairly little pain and am easing back into our normal routines of seeing friends, running errands and getting out of the house. zeke is absolutely perfect and is so far a fairly laid back and flexible baby. the boys are completely obsessed with him and want to see him, hold him and touch him all of the time.

most of the last month has been spent preparing for and adjusting to life with a new baby, so we haven't had too much extraneous stuff going on. jeremy's next book is mid-editing and cover design process right now though, and we hope to have it out in october or november so we will be busy finalizing that and getting ready to release it.  here's the blurb from the back of the book to give you a taste of what is to come;

So you’re free! 
That’s great!
Now what?
You’ve been swept into new realities of grace and freedom. You’ve grasped the truth that you now possess absolute liberty in the unconditional love and grace of a truly wonderful God. You’ve dipped your toes in the abundant pool of new possibilities. But you know this is only the beginning. What does being free really mean? Where do you go from here? How do you even begin to define the possibilities? Are there limitations? What barriers stand between you and realizing true greatness? There’s clearly a lot more to life now, and you long to experience all of it.
So come on. Dive behind the scenes into one man’s divine expedition. Follow Jeremy far into this land of discovery. Learn with him to tap into the greatness of God, to face longstanding fears, and to emerge on the other side owning a life which absolutely bursts with abundance. You can explore the very heart of God and, discover the full measure of your own true identity and calling. Together with God, you can co-create a vibrant, rewarding new life.


that zeke is here and that me and him and are both healthy and doing well and our family is adjusting well to our new addition.

god's faithfulness and answers to prayer. i've seen several "smaller" prayer requests answered over the last month in my life and the lives of friends. god has been so faithful to provide for the needs and desires of me and so many others and i am just so grateful to know a personal, relational god who is always present, who hears prayers and answers them, and for whom no request is "too small" or "trivial".

for our continued adjustment to life as a family of 5.
for god to provide financially, physically/ skillfully and relationally for our desires (that we believe are from him) and the upcoming projects that we've been working on.


psalms,  john, ezekiel, galatians, philippians, colossians, ephesians, savor, fringe hours, scary close, for the love, love does

thankful for:
i am still thankful daily for our home that we fought and prayed for over the course of so many months. i look around regularly and am humbled and grateful that we get to live here. that all of our needs and many of our desires were provided for and exceeded. that we have such a perfect space for our family to settle, make memories and host others. this house is such a gift and i hope that i never start to take it for granted.

family, friends, community, the body of christ. i am utterly grateful for all of the ways that people have blessed us over the last month with gifts for baby zeke and us, with prayers and encouragement, with thoughtful acts of service, with a months worth of cooked meals being delivered to our house daily and more. i have felt so loved and cared for. i am incredibly grateful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of others. for the way god loves us through his people. for each of these tangible displays of love of such a perfect heavenly father.

the beginning signs of fall appearing in stores and restaurants. although it won't feel like fall here for a while, and it will definitely not be scarf/ sweater/ boot season for a while here, i am enjoying seeing and tasting fall inspired items as they pop up and give hope that some cooler weather is in our future.

lots of sweet baby snuggles. sweet baby grunts and sounds. new baby smell. hours spent nursing and snuggling this little one making me slow down, sit still, and the numerous books that i have already enjoyed during said nursing time.

for my "job". the fact that i get to spend my days with my boys outdoors playing and exploring.


{click on the words to see the recipe}
not too much, a few odds and ends before zeke arrived or extra items as our schedule permits. mostly we are just enjoying a month of having other people cook for us.

slow cooker pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin french toast, chai bars, pizza with rosemary whole wheat crust, curried chicken pasta salad, huevos rancheros, chicken sausages on buns with sautéed peppers, caesar pasta salad, parmesan tilapia, {turkey} sausage and cheddar breakfast casserole, linguine with clam sauce, carbonara, vietnamese iced coffee, sweet potato and black bean quinoa bowls, fried rice, gumbo, whole wheat pumpkin oat chocolate chip muffins, white chicken chili, cornbread, fish tacos, refried black beans, chocolate fondue with fruit, cilantro lime slaw, chana masala, red beans and rice, jill's salsa, pumpkin gingersnap cookies, mexican rice bowls
some low key decorations for noah's upcoming october dinosaur birthday party. seeing as how we have a newborn, this may be one of the more low key parties that i've thrown, but it has still been fun to plan, brainstorm and create some ways to make my dinosaur loving boy's birthday special.

not too much. we are taking things a lot more slowly around here this month without many commitments or activities as we settle into life with our newest addition. i like the slower pace of life that we settle into when we have a newborn around. we're soaking up many evenings of our whole family all being home together and tinkering around the house.

we've still been regular with our weekly community group and worked in a few coffee dates for me and j and a few playdates and dinners with friends. noah started soccer again this month so we will be spending monday evenings at practice and saturday mornings at games. and this month our new mother's of pre-schoolers group launched in lakeview, at which i'm a table leader, and i am super excited for the meetings and playdates over the course of this year with this community of mothers.


i have been thinking a lot about self-care over the last month. about how i am not good at asking for help or communicating my needs. about how as a wife, mother, ministry person, friend {and more} i am often faced with the reality of meeting the needs of others rather than considering my own. about how sometimes (especially as an introvert) that leaves me worn out and needing time alone to refuel and recharge. and i'm left wondering if this whole self-care concept is biblical or cultural or both. in our society and time we have such large focus on the individual, on our personal wants/ needs/ desires/ dreams. there are many benefits of these lines of thinking but there are also passages in scripture that seem to point us in a very different direction;
philippians 2:3-4 do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
and here it sounds clear. clear that we are to look to the interests of others, not our own. this sounds like the opposite of the idea of "self-care".
but does our cup first need be full to overflow? do we fill up our cup by focusing on it and intentionally pouring into it, or as we go about life, not focused on our cup, do we ultimately find that in the act of not focusing on our cup that our cup has become full. that we have been filled through the pouring out, through the serving and blessing of others, through the laying down of our own desires and needs.
we already have the source of all hope, joy, life and love living inside of us. it is only natural that our cup be full and overflowing with those attributes. it shouldn't be work to overflow but should be effortless.
and i wonder if the whole battle isn't possibly in our mind. in our perception of whether we are "full" or "dry". i wonder if the solution isn't found in the renewing of our mind mentioned in romans 12:2 and ephesians 4:22-24. in the meditating on god in and with us always. in the remembering that we have been given living water and that we should not ever have a thirst or hunger again as we have been fully satisfied in him. and as we remember these truths our "needs" fade into the background and the needs of others become more urgent.
and i also remember how jesus took time to be alone and pray. how he would withdraw from the crowds at times. how old testament prophets took lots of time to be alone with god and communicate with him. how after paul encountering god and receiving the revelation of the gospel of christ then took 3 years before embarking in public ministry. i think about how for my relationship to thrive with my husband, or kids, or friends that i need to regularly invest time one on one with those people in order to connect with them in a way that is deeper than how I would connect with them with others around. and so, there's an element of our relationship with christ that must be nurtured/ developed/ deepened/ built in a place of intimacy, where we set aside all other priorities and distractions and focus on him. and in this focusing on christ, on him in us and with us, we should become aware of his fullness in us. we should be aware of how he has given us all things and made provision for every need that we have. he is the fulfillment of every need that we have.

and still, god has given us each passions and desires to pursue. he has uniquely and purposefully formed and created each of us. and maybe by calling the activity of the passions and talents that he has given us "self-care" it makes them sound more selfish and less spiritual, but everything is spiritual, and in fully tapping into our passions and talents we are fully living as who he created us to be, fully displaying him in us to the world around us

so perhaps my whole discomfort with the idea of "self-care" in in the term itself, and the connotations that i've attached to it, but a life of thriving in our giftings and of purposeful times of intimacy with our maker is not selfish or something to be avoided in the name of serving others and putting them over ourselves. so maybe this whole self-care idea isn't an either/ or. maybe it's not a choice of putting myself or others first. maybe it's a both/ and built out of a life of intimacy with christ and knowing who we are in him.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mexican Rice Bowls

Mexican Rice Bowls

This is an easy dish to set up a buffet for that can easily please meat eaters, vegetarians and even gluten-free eaters since everyone gets to assemble their own combination of ingredients. Choose your choice of the toppings below, set up a bar and give guests big bowls to fill up. This also offers you the chance to go easy with store bought ingredients like canned beans or packed guacamole and salsa or you can click the links below for my favorite recipes for these items.

-slow cooker chicken taco meat
-taco meat
-slow cooker pork carnitas
-black beans
-chopped avocado and/ or guacamole
-homemade salsa
-chopped cilantro
-sour cream
-shredded cheese
-cooked rice
-hot sauce
-pickled jalapenos, banana pepperes and/ or red onions
-shredded lettuce, chopped romaine or your choice of salad greens

Caesar Pasta Salad

Caesar Pasta Salad

With each of my pregnancies I have craved caesar salad big time. This pasta salad replaces the traditional croutons with cooked pasta making it a more hearty side dish than your traditional Caesar salad. This is a great side dish or bring along for picnics and potlucks. By using mayo (or yogurt) I eliminate the traditional egg yolk in a Caesar dressing and give this version a longer shelf life.

-romaine lettuce, torn or chopped
-parmesan cheese, either shredded or shaved off of a block using a veggie peeler
-desired cooked pasta (I used whole wheat penne)

-1 clove garlic
-1/2 c olive oil
-1/2 c mayo or yogurt
-juice of 1 lemon
-1 Tbsp sugar
-1 Tbsp Dijon
-1 Tbsp parmesan
-dash hot sauce

To prepare dressing, mince garlic in a blender or food processor. Add remaining dressing ingredients and puree until smooth. Chill dressing until serving, will keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Toss salad ingredients with desired amount of dressing and serve.

Parmesan Tilapia

Parmesan Tilapia

This is such a quick and easy dish to prepare and Jeremy and I both loved it. Serving with fresh lemon wedges is a must because the extra squeeze of juice really brightens the dish and makes it pop.

-tilapia fillets (thawed if frozen)
-lemon pepper (or salt and pepper)
-olive oil
-chopped fresh parsley
-shredded parmesan cheese
-lemon wedges for serving

Sprinkle fish on both sides with lemon pepper. Drizzle each piece with about 1 tsp of olive oil. On a separate plate or shallow dish combine parsley and parmesan, stirring to mix well. Dip both sides of fish in parsley/ parmesan mixture, patting to cover fish. Place fish on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then pop it under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown. Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges for squeezing over the fish.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

We have been eating a lot of quinoa bowls and salads lately. Quinoa is such a nutritious grain that packs protein and my hubby just happens to love the texture of it. Set up an assembly line with the ingredients and let each person assemble their own according to their taste.

Sweet Potatoes
-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced in bite sized pieces
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 Tbsp chili powder
-1/2 Tbsp cumin
-1/4 tsp cayenne

Stir olive oil and spices in a bowl until well mixed. Toss with sweet potatoes. Roast sweet potatoes at 425 for 20-25 minutes (until browned and tender), stirring half way through cooking time.

Prepare 1 c quinoa according to package directions. After prepared stir in 1/2 tsp salt and any combination of 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp lime juice and/ or 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

-1 avocado
-1/2 c sour cream or yogurt
-2 Tbsp lime juice
-1 handful cilantro
-1 tsp sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 Tbsp hot sauce
-1/8-1/4 c water, until desired consistency is achieved

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until pureed and combined.

Additional desired toppings
Set out any assortment of the items below for guests to add in their bowls
-corn, either cut off of the cob or drained canned corn
-chopped cilantro
-hot sauce (I like the Tabasco brand Chipotle or Jalapeno hot sauce varieties)
-goat cheese
-black beans

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

::the last 3 months::

it has been almost 3 months since my last {monthly} update. those three months have been very busy and have been filled with many emotional and situational ups and downs (i am 8 months pregnant, so everything feels like an emotional up and down right now!).

after a 7 month long process of having our house under contract, and having the closing date pushed back month after month we were finally able to close on our home. we had to be out of our rental several weeks before closing, so this complicated process involved us moving twice, putting our stuff in storage, and our whole family of 4 staying with family and sharing 1 bedroom while we were waiting to close. but now all of those months of uncertainty as to whether or not the deal was going to work out and all the months of unknown about where we would end up living have finally come to a close and we are in our home and settled and so incredibly thankful that it is finally ours.
we have been doing some traveling this summer also. due to the generous gift of a friend, jeremy and i were able to spend 4 days away alone together in seagrove beach. after all of the difficult circumstances that we've encountered this year it was wonderful to have some good quality time away together to focus fully on each other rather than the distractions of life. we also took a weekend long trip as a family to lafayette to visit friends and really enjoyed having some time away as a family. jeremy has also taken several trips out of town this summer for speaking engagements.
we have been busy and trying to re-establish some rhythm and routine in our new home before our baby boy arrives the first week of september.

noah also started his first day of school ever (pre-k) on july 29. we are all still in the process of adjusting to him not being around during the day and adjusting our family schedule and rhythms accordingly.
in addition to all of the changes, travel plans, nesting/ settling/ home projects we have been working on some ministry and business related things. jeremy has finished the rough draft on his third book, which is now in the editing process. he is currently working on drafts and outlines for a few other books that have been waiting in the wings. he also has a business project that he has been working on for the last few months. i also have a business project that we have been working on this year, and hope to be able to launch sooner than later.
seeing as how we are not strangers to having lots of change in our lives or taking on lots of new stuff in one year it is no surprise that so far this year we are working on and taking on so many major life events including; buying a home, having a baby, building and starting two businesses, starting a few new monthly and weekly groups, writing and editing multiple books and more.
this year sure has been a busy one so far, but we wouldn't have it any other way. i shouldn't be surprised at that though, because right at the beginning of the year god had made it very clear to me that i/ we were stepping into a period of lots of activity and doing and making real many dreams, visions and ideas that had been ignited within us. he had spoken to me at the very end of 2015 through mark 6:33-44 and said highlighted the words "you give" from jesus telling the disciples to feed all of the people who had gathered to hear him speak. he was telling me that it was time to take action on many desires and passions that had been birthed in my heart and to stop passively watching and waiting for these things to happen, but to use the gifts, talents, desires and resources that he has already given me and to move forward with them. it's also pretty interesting that all of this is very similar to the message of jeremy's newest book that will be released within the next few months. we have spent this year really learning, living and developing this message that the book covers of moving beyond freedom with god, to being a commander and using what he has already placed in us as individuals to co-create with him in a way that is not micro managed, but in which we have a lot of freedom and creative room to make decisions and dream.


that the 7 month long saga of having our house under contract and having complications with the deal is finally over and we have moved in, are mostly settled and are loving it.
that me and baby boy are both doing well and healthy, without any complications.
god's faithful, abundant provision that has been so timely lately with so many things that we needed, right when we needed them over the last few months. items including the finances to be able to buy our house, to a car, to furniture that we needed to an unexpected check to our ministry from a donor, and more.

for our continued adjustments as a family to all of the recent and upcoming changes. mainly noah starting school and the soon-to-be addition of a baby to our family.
for a smooth entry into the world for our boy and that him and i continue to be healthy and recover easily from his arrival.
for god to provide financially, physically/ skillfully and relationally for our desires (that we believe are from him) and he upcoming projects that we've been working on.


psalms, 1 corinthians, acts, john, savor, unbroken, the storyteller, kinfolk table, l'abri, the gifts of imperfection

thankful for:
the bountiful gifts that god has provided us, through his vessels/ his people, that have truly blessed and humbled us over the last few months. gifts of finances to complete the sale of our home, to donations to our ministry, to a car that will easily hold and transport our growing family, to furniture including our bedroom set, a couch, a chair (and more), to a much needed beach trip for me and jeremy, to so many thoughtful housewarming gifts from friends. i have felt so utterly loved and provided for in this process and have experienced god's love and goodness through the hands of so many people that have stewarded these gifts to us, bringing fresh reminders of hope, encouragement and god the provider at times when i needed it most.
all of the friends and family who supported and helped us through the process of moving twice, cleaning out our old rental, and getting settled in our new home, not to mention providing places to stay while we had no where to live. there were people who did our laundry while we had no washer or dryer for a few months. people who contributed to this by watching our kids while i packed and bringing us paper and plastic plates to use when our dishwasher gave out due to a fire. there were people who spent part of their weekend moving our stuff, and cleaning our old home. i am beyond thankful for the thoughtful acts of service from so many friends and family. one of the ways that i most see and experience god is through friendship and connection with people, and i was so honored to be a recipient of so many tangible acts displaying divine attributes.
our home. not a day goes by that i don't look around exploding with gratitude for a home that we love so much. there are so many little things that i am so grateful for. for having 3 bedrooms now. for having a separate laundry room (and no longer having our washer and dryer in the midst of our kitchen. for the first time in over 6 years having a garbage disposal. for the first time in many months having a working washer, dryer and dishwasher again. for having separate bedrooms, each with it's own lock on the door (after several years of living in homes with shotgun floor plans). for having a closet in each bedroom (especially after only having 1 closet in each of the 3 prior homes we had lived in in new orleans). for having plenty of room and storage place to put stuff meaning that for the first time in the 8 years that we've been married we don't have clutter anywhere and everything has it's own spot. and the fact that our home is new so we don't have the typical problems surfacing constantly like we have the last few years from living in 100 year old homes. yet the fact that our home is very pretty and has beautiful historical and architectural details. is it perfect, of course not. had we built it ourselves there are many things i would have changed or done differently. but that doesn't stop me from being so very grateful for all that we do have and love about it.


{click on the words to see the recipe}
huevos rancheros, whole wheat pizza with turkey pepperoni, grilled cheese and tomato soup, taco meat, steak, maple balsamic pork tenderloin, mexican quinoa, asian quinoa salad, white chicken chili, cornbread, salad with mexi-ranch dressing, vietnamese noodle bowlslasagna, red beans and rice, fish tacos, quick refried black beans, cilantro lime slaw, peach cobbler, sesame noodles, dark chocolate sea salt toffee, lemon bars, spinach artichoke dip, hummus, veggie tray with curry dip, rosemary curry sweet and spicy pecans, cream cheese stuffed bacon wrapped jalapenos, pasta with goat cheese and asparagus, four corners lentil stew over sesame rice, goat cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates, curried chicken salad sandwiches, buffalo chicken dip, curried chicken pasta salad, chicken sausages on whole wheat buns with sautéed onions and pepper, salad with ginger peanut dressing, korean beef, chicken gyrosd with tzatziki sauce, tabbouleh, curried quinoa salad, chai bars, thai coconut tilapia red curry, jerk chicken with red beans and rice, cold brew vietnamese iced coffee, picadillo, chili mac, spicy chicken enchiladas, baked tortilla chips
baby update:

we have 1 month left until baby boy will be here. everything is going well and me and him are both healthy. although there are no complications i'm starting to be over this whole pregnancy thing and am feeling a little uncomfortable overall and tired of not being able to comfortably bend over to pick things up or strap on a pair of sandals. 
we have decided on the name ezekiel jeremiah and are planning to call him zeke.
my cravings have been pretty much the same throughout this entire pregnancy. i have eaten copious amounts of watermelon, orange juice, caesar salad and anything pickled.

baby shower decorations
baby shower gifts
some refinished furniture projects

all the usual activities; weekly homeless outreach, monthly book club, radiant monthly ladies gathering, weekly community group, lots of playdates and dinners with friends.

lots of packing, moving into storage, a quick beach trip for me and jeremy, moving out of storage and into our new home, lots of unpacking and home projects, a trip to pa for jeremy to speak and lots of adjusting as a family in our schedule because noah has now started school for the first time ever.


i've been thinking about relationships a lot lately. friendship/ relationship/ community is one of my biggest passions and pursuits. i very tangibly experience god through his people; through acts of service, words of encouragement, through the diversity of his people and how creatively he made us. i learn so much about relating with him through relating with others (and vice versa). over the past few months i have had some relational struggles though. whether i have said the wrong thing, there has been a breakdown in communication, or hurt feelings for someone on the part of someone else, it has been all too real to me that relationships are difficult. that they take work. they require grace (for ourselves and others), forgiveness, communication, investment, time, energy and more. at times i've entertained the idea of moving into the woods and never talking to or seeing anyone again. but then i have had moments that remind me that relationships are worth fighting for, worth putting ourselves out there for, worth risking being hurt ourselves or hurting others, worth the work it takes to clean up the mess when someone has been hurt. i remember that i have been created in god's image, and that he is in his core a relational being, 3 beings in 1. that my main purpose is to relate with him and his people in love. if i were to close myself off from others i would feel as if something was deeply missing. i would be missing out on who he created me to be and selling myself short on the experiences he wants me to have in life. and so i continue to put myself out there, to engage others, to risk hurting others and being hurt by others so as to not miss out on one of the sweetest gifts available in life.