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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Adapt and Overcome"

This post is in honor of my good friend Jenna and one of her mantras that has and will forever stick with me.

"Adapt and overcome."

I had one of those days today. I woke up Abishai early to get him on the potty, got the kids all dressed, fed and watered and rushed out the door to get to bible study. I was mentally ticking off my massive todo list for the day, culminating in picking Chris up from the airport and going to small group.

But as I turned the key in the ignition I heard nothing, and then the dreaded clicking... Dead. The van was dead. I called Chris, who, surprise surprise, could do very little to help 500 miles away. I knocked next door, no answer. I consoled Anibel who was in tears over the car breaking...and then proceeded to have my own little tear fest. To which my ever so sympathetic son asked, "Mom, why you crying?"

But through it all I had these words resonating in my mind. "Adapt and overcome." It might be the end of my todo list, but it is not the end of my world. And if I didn't let it- it didn't have to spell the end of my day. So, in dysfunctional style, I scrapped my list, and headed to the plant nursery. Where I loaded up one dogwood bush, a bunch of pansy's, and 3 cubic feet of compost next to Ezzie in the double jogger. I left the nursery employees asking where I lived (hopefully close) and wishing me well for my journey home.

But we made it. I took a little frustration out by ripping out the dead bushes in front of the house and replanting the flower bed. The kids had a blast "helping" and getting all sorts of dirty. And we had a successful and fun day.

As an aside, I was blessed by my friend Jessica stopping by and helping me jump the car. So all in all? It was a day adapted to... and overcome. I need to remember this more often.

Scene of the week - Boy Love

Saturday, April 23, 2011

God Gave Us Two

In God Gave us Two, by Lisa Tawn Bergren, you once again enter into the home of a lovable polar bear family and are charmed by their simple conversation about how their family of three is about to turn into a family of four.

The illustrations are simple and toned down, compared to the many hyper-color and visually busy books that grace the bookshelves. The language is simple and realistic. In fact, when our second, and third child was born, I remember being asked the question, "Why do we need a new baby?" As if they were a commodity we bought at the grocery store.

Overall, it is enjoyable, well done, and my children love it...even though we DON'T have a new baby on the way...

I recieved this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spinach and Salmon Salad

So I tossed together some ingredients from the fridge today and stumbled upon my favorite new recipe. I figured I would share it!


4 - 6 oz. Salmon

Lemon Juice

Italian seasonings

1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Inca Red Quinoa made to package directions

Fresh Spinach greens

Mix olive oil with Italian seasoning and brush on Salmon. Sprinkle salmon with lemon juice and broil for roughly 5-6 minutes per inch of thickness.

Place broiled salmon (minus skin) on a bed of spinach greens. Add a scoop of quinoa on top. (I like making a batch of quinoa, a high protein whole grain, and saving it in the fridge for an easy addition to meals or salads.) Drizzle with vinaigrette (recipe below) and fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Enjoy!

Easy Vinaigrette: (from Hilary Lowe)

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed (or garlic powder)

Mix in container.

Makes 1 cup of dressing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Some Invisible Line

I crossed into a new land today. I crossed some sort of invisible line. And it is edging on causing some sort of Mommy emotional crisis...

Today I dropped Anibel off at a little girl's birthday party...and left.

I know! I wasn't prepared. Anibel and I walked hand in hand 5 doors down to little Katie's party. In my head I am thinking, "this will be good. Anibel will get to meet some new kids. I will get to meet some neighborhood parents." Wrong. I showed up, girls are running around with party hats and parents are saying, "Have fun, I'll be back at 4pm!"

I was caught off guard. My little girl is growing up. I can just drop her off at a birthday party now.

I've crossed that line. And I'm not sure I am ready to...

I was told once it would happen all to fast. The growing up that is. And during the sleepless nights all I could think was, "Not fast enough." But now I think they are right. It is happening all too fast.

A False Hope?

In A Life without Limbs, Nick Vujicic mingles motivational speaking with tales of his challenges and victories as a result of being born without any limbs. I appreciate his story, as one who cannot relate, but can value him who through faith is living an abundant life. It stands in stark contrast to many of us who are merely "surviving" in life. Having recently moved to a new city, this in particular struck me: "You have to screen out panic mode thoughts like Oh my gosh, what did I do? and focus forward along the lines of This is a great adventure" (page 149).

HOWEVER, I struggle intensely with much of his message. The bulk of the book is a long strand of cheap motivation quotes, spreading what I believe is not a christian message but a secular one of "self love." These are some examples, "Remember, God helps those who help themselves" (16). Where does God say he only helps those who CAN do it themselves? Or, "You must believe in your own beauty," and "to be fulfilled, you must know in your heart that you are I worthy of success and happiness. You must love yourself..." (77). And "Without trust in the possibilities for your life, where would we be?... They keep us moving through the inevitable hard times" (63). These sound nice and pretty but not one of them points to real reliance and neediness for Jesus. They promote Self satisfaction, not God satisfaction. Valuing self for SELF not valuing self for God. Valuing SELF possibilities, not God overcoming our troubles. We are a culture that all to often turns to ourselves for the answers.

This is what the bible says, "Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency comes from God" (ESV, 2 Corinthians 3:5).

While I hate to be a whistle blower on a book laced with many cool stories of a man overcoming unimaginable obstacles to live his dreams, I was also deeply disappointed in his cheap reproduction of Hallmark prose.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Scene of the week - Desolate Drives

Scene of last week - Rainy Redwoods


I must admit, of the last 12 years I have been following Jesus, about 7 of them have been spent asking myself this question, "Am I missing something?" I'd heard over and over of the joy to be found in Jesus. I'd read over and over of the overwhelming joy of our salvation and the peace found in Jesus. But daily I felt restless, empty, yearning and soul hungry. And all I could seem to say about it was, "What am I missing?"

I knew the world had nothing to offer. Truly I knew this, both in my head and in my heart. I also knew Jesus did hold something for me. But secretly I felt he was holding back, refusing to give me that little piece more. Withholding, for some reason, that which he freely gave to so many others.

As with most things, I learned I was wrong. And I am still learning that I am wrong. I read this today:

If you honor it [the Lord's day] by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land..." (Isaiah 58: 13)

I think much of the time I have prayed and believed that if only I found my joy in the Lord, then it would empower me to walk away from sin and selfishness and THEN I would feel free to set aside my way and live only for God's ways. But I have the cart before the horse. It seems to suggest from this verse that if we honor God by not going our own way and not doing as we please, by setting aside our idols, THEN we will find our joy in the Lord. We cannot fully grasp God if we have one hand clinging to the world or to ourselves.