Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How my Soul's Lover has wooed me with His Love Letter

holy experience

It began with a craving to know more live more truly.

"Would you join me and we can be an LTG?" I asked My Hero. He (somewhat reluctantly) agreed. He doesn't throw himself blindly into commitments that might demand too much as I am prone to do. But this one was good. How can it not be good to commit to read large portions of scripture together, to hold each other accountable, to pray for lost people, to see where God takes us?

A few weeks later I was invited into another LTG with a couple of girl friends. I grinned. Thirty chapters a week wasn't enough, anyway. I can read sixty.

My soul drinks long gulps. I see how God deals with Abraham, watch Abraham make mistakes but never waver in confidence that God will deliver all He has promised. I walk with David through his life, watch with shining eyes as he challenges the giant because he knows God is on his side. I see new sides of God; he puts the rainbow in the sky not for us, but to remind Himself never to destroy the earth again with a flood. I see him cause David to take a census of the land, and then punish all Israel for that sin. And I hear Paul say to the Romans, "Well then, you might say, 'Why does God blame people for not listening? Haven't they simply done what he made them do?' No, don't say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to criticize God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who made it, 'Why have you made me like this?' When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?" 9:19-21 (NLT)

Who is this God I call my God? He is bigger than I can ever know, but He lets me know Him. His ways are unfathomable to me, but he pours out grace. His justice cannot be satisfied by me, a broken sinner, but he provides a blood offering Himself so I can be clean.

I thirst to thirst for You. I hunger to be hungry for You. I long for wisdom that will pull me to your Word as my daily sustenance, that will desire silence before You more than a soft couch and an easy, mind numbing sitcom. I choose You, commit to You, even when I don't feel it, even when my straying eyes lose sight of the King of Heaven and wander aimlessly and settle on a magazine, a brownie, a daydream. My Soul's Lover, catch me up and open my eyes and recapture my heart. I commit to immerse myself in Your Word so that who You are is such a part of me that I cannot settle for less.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a good tip

A friend of mine loaned me a cookbook, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld, that's full of recipes that include lots of pureed veggies (even spinach brownies!) as ingredients...a supremely inoffensive way to serve vegetables that kids might otherwise turn up their nose to. The idea intrigues me, because even though I'm determined to learn to cook veggies the most delicious ways possible, so we all as a family can learn to like them, I really like the idea of learning to add vegetables to as many meals as I can, as many ways as I can.

The cookbook also includes tips from moms for ways they have found to help their kids eat more veggies. One I really liked was from a mom who, like me, found her kids coming to her begging her for food before supper was ready, so she started setting out raw veggies for them to snack on while she made supper. That way if they were truly hungry and not just bored, they would be eating something good for them, and even if they filled up on the veggies and didn't eat much supper, who cares?? They've filled up on vegetables! Last night I set out sliced cucumbers and carrot sticks, and sure enough, most of the cukes were gone and some of the carrots before supper was ready. Then Christopher Robin shocked me by asking for three helpings of salad and being unable to finish his sausage hash brown bake, which is one of his favorite meals. I will be stocking my fridge with fresh raw veggies for pre-supper snacking from now on.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Q is a conference held every year for church leaders interested in finding ways for church to influence culture. The conference invites speakers who know something about culture or who happen to have done something big to influence our world, like Blake Mycoskie with TOMS Shoes, and Catherine Rohr who founded Prison Entrepreneurship Program. In the words of the Q website:

"Q is a gathering where church leaders and cultural influencers from the fields of business, politics, media, education, entertainment and the arts are exposed to the future of culture and the church’s responsibility to advance the common good in society."
Now the Q website features videos of some of their speakers. They're all stimulating and thought provoking.

Here's one I've listened to twice, because the ideas resonate truth:

Narrative Expressions by Donald Miller, author

In order to make a good story, you need conflict. If our lives are boring, depressing, pointless, maybe we need to find something bigger than ourselves to be a part of, to give our "story" a point. If we live mediocre lives, we're just a background character in someone else's story.

Towards the end, Miller tells the story of a friend of his whose teenage daughter is dating a loser and living in rebellion. The friend is at a loss to know how to get through to her. Miller suggests that the story she's living makes her the heroine, adds drama in which she is the star. He tells his friend that he should find a way to make the story he has to offer even better than the one the boyfriend offers. So his friend researches for a few weeks, then presents his family with a situation in a third world country where some kids need an orphanage or they'll die. Then he tells his family that it's up to them to figure out how to provide an orphanage for these kids before any more of them perish. The family takes up the cause, the daughter included, and in the process she drops her loser boyfriend for this better story in which they are all true heroes.

I wonder how that perspective can help in day to day parenting? Can challenging kids to throw themselves into doing what's right help keep them from sinking into mischief and squabbles? Also, I need to find the kinds of stories that will inspire them to be heroes by doing right. I know, I know that the kinds of books I read growing up formed my perspective of the kind of person I wanted to be.

How do I explain how good it is?

My Hero downloaded a free audio book a couple of weeks ago from The title didn't grab me. Crazy Love. But My Hero listened to it during his long commute to work and back, and he came home and recommended it to me with passion in his voice. I knew it had to be good, because he has shown...mild approval about the last few books I've raved enthusiastically about to him. He doesn't get excited about books easily.

Crazy Love offers a fresh perspective on what it means to really follow Jesus. It picks you up and shakes you until all your apathy has fallen away. It dunks you in the cold water of truth until you're fully awake again.

It's free from for the month of July. Don't delay!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

a good supper

In an attempt to cook using only real, whole, unprocessed food, I find myself cooking with a new freedom to experiment, to deviate from recipes and alter them to fit my ingredients. And the surprising part is, so far it has all come out tasting really good. I guess when the ingredients are really good, it's hard to go wrong.

Last night I tried out the new Kitchen Aid pasta roller and fettuccine cutter set I received for my birthday. I was most excited to try the recipe for spinach pasta that came with the set. It called for 10 oz. frozen spinach, but I had fresh, so I washed it, patted it dry, and chopped it fine in my mini food processor. I cut the recipe in half, because it was a BIG batch, and I made some alfredo sauce to go with it. Making the pasta was time consuming, but I think each time I do it I'll get faster. Part of my slowness was figuring out how it worked.

It was AMAZING. Is homemade pasta really any better than from a box? YES. It was so tender. The kids gobbled it up. And asked for seconds. And thirds. This from boys who have a tendency to beg me to make supper and then sit at the table picking at it once it's made. Who sometimes won't finish their one small helping even when ice cream is offered for boys who clean their plates. Part of the success was the homemade alfredo sauce. Who could resist? Raindrop sat in her high chair grabbing fistfuls and stuffing them into her mouth (she isn't very ladylike yet).

I didn't take any pictures. I didn't think of it in the midst of trying out my new pasta maker for the first time surrounded by the chaos of three hungry youngsters. It wasn't very pretty anyway. As the pasta came from the cutter I laid it in a pile, and the noodles ended up sticking together. It all still cooked chewy uncooked clumps at the end, but it wasn't photo worthy.

The recipes:

Spinach Pasta

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed.
1 Tbsp. water
4 large eggs
4 cups flour

(I cut the recipe in half, used fresh spinach and white whole wheat flour.)
Place spinach in a towel and wring out all water until spinach feels very dry. Finely chop spinach using a food grinder attachment, food processor, or blender. Place chopped spinach, water, eggs, and flour in a bowl and mix together. (The recipe specifies speeds and times and attachments for mixing the dough, but I just used a medium bowl and a wooden spoon, then my (clean) hands when the dough was thickest...I added the flour a bit at a time. It gets really thick and stiff.) Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide dough into eight pieces before processing with Pasta Sheet Roller attachment.

To cook pasta:
Add 2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. oil (optional) to 6 quarts boiling water. Gradually add pasta and continue to cook at a boil until pasta is "al dente" or slightly firm to the bite (6 min.). Pasta floats to the top of the water while cooking, so stir occasionalyl to keep it cooking evenly. Drain in a colander.

Yield; 1 1/2 pounds dough.

Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the garlic, cream, and white pepper and bring mixture to a simmer. Add Parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is smooth. Add the mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth.