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.