This Moment

 

Inspired by SouleMama

 

It’s the little moments…

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Two Little Words

Two words left me breathless and in awe this morning. Two words that I never expected. I woke up in the middle of the night (not uncommon). Was it the baby or just my running mind, I don’t know, but instead of tossing and turning I grabbed my Bible from the nightstand and sat at the dining room table. What was I needing? Thanking God for this rare uninteruppted quiet moment, I flipped and turned to the first chapter of Ephesians. It is there I am reminded of my identity. Who am I really? In all these tangles of daily life, children to raise, world to face, I forget, I forget. The buzz of earthly distractions still rang through my body, but I began reading, and this morning… this morning was different. The words lept and danced off the page and into my heart as if a dim foggy room had just been flooded with bright and pure morning sunlight. It was all so beautiful. My daily manna this morning was a feast, and I ate, I ate.

Oh, and was I hungry.

But of all the 12 glorious verses from Ephesians 1:3-15, of all God’s beautiful, mysterious design and purpose explained in those verses, two strange little words caught my heart and my attention the most.

Wisdom and Prudence.

Ephesians 1: 7-8 reads: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence

I come to God again and again. I pour out my heavy bag of distractions and mistakes, unbelief and wounds into His lap far too infrequently. I hang onto it until it becomes too heavy for me to bear and I have no where else to turn. Because well, God doesn’t want to hear about this again, does He? Doesn’t He tire of lifting those same burdens I keep throwing over my shoulder? I know I’m forgiven, I know I stand free, but…?

And again I read it:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us

in

all

wisdom

and

prudence.

All wisdom and prudence. When God chose us in Him and blessed us and adopted us before the beginning of anything (1:3) and decided we would be forgiven and restored to all the glory He intended, made to be like His Son Jesus, made to be one with God and everything else (1:10) He made that decision in all the care and calculation, foresight and knowledge that ever was. This universe altering, heart transforming decision was not a willy-nilly, out-of-the-blue, fly by night decision made by a foolish and impractical god bent on following emotional whims labeled “love.” No, forgiving and redeeming humanity was the most sound, intelligent and practical thing this forever unchanging and almighty God could think of to do.

That blows my mind.

Of all the decisions He could have made toward us, of all the positions He could have taken, of all the possibilities that faced this young race of human creatures, wiping our messy slates clean and making us shine in glory with Him was the very best one.

And what is our position towards God? What do we make of all of this? What can I say to Him, what can I do? Three times we are reminded of our stance, our eternal cry- Praise!

“To the praise of His glory” (vs 6, 12, 14)

What a beautiful end to our redemption, our faces shining, glorious in praise, glorious in His presence.

What Bible verses have spoken to you this week?

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This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama

It’s the little moments…

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I’m Still Here! And Move In Day!

20140217_120852-001I’m still here! I know it’s been nearly a month since I last posted, but now I’m excited to be coming to you from our new home surrounded by dense trees, soft sunlight and animal calls. We don’t *really* have internet here yet (just using phones and hot spots) so my posts may be few and far between for the next month, but I will do the best I can.

We moved February 16th, and for the first week or so about every few minutes I’d feel these fleeting moments of sheer panic. Where was I to put all our stuff?! We had just had a big garage sale and got rid of (what I felt was) a lot. Clearly, not enough. It’s not like this was the first time I’ve ever moved…how did I forget how overwhelming it can be? Boxes piled high, pictures to hang, furniture to rearrange. Just. so. much. work. And I know I’ve mentioned this before, but we have no closets. We designed our house to be simple, affordable, and possibly temporary- one day perhaps turning this house into a large garage/workshop for my husband. So we wanted to keep things as simple as possible. And I really love it, but it has been challenging to know where to put everything that once was housed nicely out of sight in a closet. But I’m loving the way everything is turning out, in all it’s unconventional-ness (yes I just made that up) and I can’t wait to share more on that with you later.

Marlee had a rough transition too. The first day she cried, told me she didn’t like the new house and wanted to “go home.” I just about burst into tears too. What do you tell your sweet weepy toddler- that you can’t ever go back “home” and that this new unfamiliar place is home? I remember those feelings. I was and am such a homebody. I remember spending the nights at “Grandma camp” and lying on the floor in my sleeping bag after a full day of fun, still wishing I wasn’t there but home. I remember the ache of homesickness. My heart broke for my little daughter. I really didn’t know what to say. I mustered up something feigning excitement of our new house and all the fun we will have here, still wishing I could take it all back and sweep her back to the place where I birthed her and she first inhaled this earth. The next few days she repeated her desire to go “home” but everyday with less tears and one day the requests stopped altogether. Sigh. She is making this her home. A stockpile of bubbles and bubble wands doesn’t hurt either.

The picture above is of Marlee on one of our walks. It’s really gorgeous here. And peaceful. Most of our 2 acre lot is densely wooded so its difficult getting around, but our neighbor’s lot (whom we know, although he doesn’t live on his property yet) has a nice trail cut through so we will often take walks through it. And the beauty and quiet of this place is like breath for my soul. The first day I was here, I didn’t even tackle the looming boxes in the living room; I just rocked and nursed my baby in my room, looking out the window listening to the rain drip-dropping on the forest bed of leaves. And I closed my eyes and breathed. Nothing else could be heard, and in that moment that drip- drop-dropping of rain sounded exactly like applause for the beauty of its Maker.

“…and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

And when we sit to dinner the sun sets right through the cluster of trees outside our window and it’s just like heaven breaking through. And I can breathe.

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So while you may not have heard from me much lately, this is where I am… still unpacking, breathing, loving, settling in to new.

 

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{Grain-Free Paleo Friendly} Roasted Vegetable Medley with Chopped Turkey Bacon

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Grain-Free Paleo Vegetable Medley with Chopped Turkey Bacon

We are truly in the throws of moving now. The house is becoming strangely empty with each new day; boxes are stacked waiting at the door. There has been a lot going on, but graciously I’ve had a lot of peace about it all. Ready for a new chapter in a new year, to see what God has in store. The only thing is…I’ve been really meaning to get out my Real Food Week #2 for you (see my Real Food Week #1 here), and have accepted the fact that I simply haven’t the time right now! My goal is to share with you another week of REAL food eating, fresh and homemade, this time focusing on grain free and sugar free meals. Sadly, it will probably all have to wait until we are settled and I have a little more time to compile the recipes and photographs. So in the meantime I will leave you with this super yummy dish I created the other day. I seriously ate the entire two trays of it myself!

{Grain-Free, Paleo Friendly}

Roasted Vegetable Medley with Chopped Turkey Bacon

What you’ll need:*

- 1 sweet potato

- 1/2 head of cauliflower

- 1-2 carrots

- 1/2 to 1 whole onion (depending on how much you like onion)

- couple handfuls of brussell sprouts

-whatever other vegetables you like! Feel free to substitute, except don’t swap the sweet potato for a white one, that’s a no-no on many paleo and sugar free diets. Even sweet potatoes might need to be limited depending on your health needs. But butternut squash, zucchini, or broccoli would be good here too. Be creative!

- uncured nitrite/nitrate free turkey bacon

- good quality cooking oil- NOT canola or “vegetable” oil please. I use grapeseed oil.

- sea salt and black pepper

*organic if at all possible

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop all freshly washed vegetables into similarly sized chunks and spread in an even, uncrowded layer on a baking sheet or dish. Use two trays or dishes if they are too crowded on just one.

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2. Coat with good quality cooking oil, using maybe about two tablespoons (I never measure anything). Sprinkle generously with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and can be easily poked with a fork. The edges of the vegetables may becomes brown as well- this is super yummy.

3. While your vegetables are roasting pan fry the turkey bacon in a skillet on medium high heat, or just follow the package directions. It’s important to use preservative free, uncured bacon, and I like turkey bacon since there are all kinds of studies that report the negative health effects of pork. For my vegan friends, you could always swap this bacon for a vegan variety soy bacon.

IMGP3951-0034. Once the bacon is cooked, let it sit on a plate with a towel to soak up any grease, then chop into chunks and set aside.

5. When the vegetables are done roasting, toss them into a bowl with the chopped bacon and combine, gently.

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IMGP3958-008Enjoy!

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This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama

“A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

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God Needs You Mama

It’s been one of those days- for a couple of weeks now. I’m trying to remember that it’s simply the season I’m in. I have a two month old and an almost three year old. While baby Hannah is sweet as sweet can be, she’s still demanding, as any baby should be. Long nights of nursing drain me, and she is already quite big (12+ pounds) and so my arms often feel like limp noodles or dead branches about to break. Marlee is a flurry of constant words and activity. She can barely sit still. OK, many times, she can’t sit still! She loves to dance, sing, have noise in any form come out of her lips nearly constantly. She loves to run and whispering is an absolutely foreign concept to her. She is at that wonderful and curious age where she wants to know everything. She wants to know what I am doing every second and even when I tell her she’ll still ask me ten more times. She wants to know what every noise she heard was. She wants to know what everything outside is called. And she wants. Oh how she wants. She wants food, she wants drink, she wants to play, she wants to watch a cartoon, she wants to go outside. Oh…and how I want quiet. My husband has been putting in crazy hours at work and building us a house too. Could he be any busier? Needless to say, he’s not around too much to relieve a bit of the burden, but that’s OK. We would be no where if he did not provide for us. And wow, we are blessed beyond measure in provision.

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But it’s been one of those seasons. Lots of demands from little ones. Last night we went to the store finally, got home and I attempted to prepare dinner for myself. Hannah needed nursing, then sleeping and that meant crying and rocking her in her chair with my foot while I cooked the chicken on the stove top. Marlee was hungry but wouldn’t tell me what she wanted to eat. She wanted to play and I turned on the TV instead (oh yes, for quiet moments!) Later on she was bouncing and flitting about and busted her lip resulting in bleeding and wails. Hannah didn’t like the wails so she started wailing too. After soothing and comforting for the three year old (the baby had to wait…) and trying to get her to swish water in her mouth to spit it out (didn’t work), sigh- back to my chicken. Then only a few minutes later Marlee informed me quite unhappily that she had a poopy diaper, so more interruptions, changing, potty lesson, cleaning up, and…back to my chicken. More cartoons for Marlee, Hannah’s tired and crying, my arms are breaking, it’s 8 o clock and I’m wondering if I will ever get to eat. One of those seasons. And since I’m cutting out sugar from my diet, I can’t just reach for that really good hidden box of cookies to soothe my wired nerves. And unfortunately this is what it takes for me to turn to Jesus, to just give up and let Him soothe my tired heart and sometimes letting tears fall too, IF I can find a moment by myself.

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After all that was said and done that night and the girls were in their beds, pretty much- almost sleeping, husband was still out, I found myself lying on the bed dreaming of pigging out on something really sweet and comforting. I wanted to sleep but couldn’t. Then I stopped and asked myself what it was I felt I really needed. And God spoke something simple and sweet to my heart. He said

I see you.

And then He said

Thank you.

Thank you for taking care of My children. I love them and I need you to take care of them for Me while they are here on this earth. I need them and I need you. I know your days are often crazy and exhausting. I know what it’s like on this sin-bent fractured earth. Thank you for getting up out of bed when you don’t feel like it, for each meal that is eaten happily and for each precious meal that ends up on the floor, for carrying them through the day even though your strength fails, for not losing your temper, for every new diaper, endless as they seem, for each time you nestled them in their beds so they could learn the importance of rest, for being interrupted a million times every minute, for teaching them, forgiving them and for getting up one more day and doing the same thing all over again. 

I realized I needed someone to see me. To see what I had done and tell me, you did it. You made it through another day. Your house may be a mess and the kids worse for wear, but you did it. Another day lived, bellies fed, cheeks kissed, hands held, hearts filled, house cleaned, babies rocked. At the end of every day I sigh and want to give up. I throw up my hands and cry out, “Jesus, I just don’t think I can do it again!” And then a new day dawns, God gently wakes me from sleep, sustains my bones, strengthens my heart and then when another day ends and I’ve loved my husband and kids one more day I see the miracle God did. I did it.

God needs you Mama.

Don’t give up.

You made it through one more day.

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{Grain Free- Sugar Free- Vegan} Warm Apple Cinnamon “Oatmeal”

Seriously- I am so excited about sharing this recipe with you, I can hardly stand it. It’s taken me a little longer than I wanted to post this recipe because I kept eating it before I could snap any pictures of it!

I mentioned here that my newborn daughter and I were dealing with a yeast overgrowth and have had to drastically alter our diet in an attempt to knock it. I’m a big believer in “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” (Hippocrates) so we’re using natural means like diet and probiotics to get our gut back in balance. This means no sugar- NO sugar even in the slightest and that means no grains (like wheat, corn, barley, oats and all those other yummy things) and very little fruit too. So in one word- HARD. And as I was rummaging through the fridge one morning, longingly looking at all the things I couldn’t have and so over eating eggs for breakfast (you paleos understand) I created this recipe and completely fell in love with it.

It is totally grain free, sugar free (just a note if you are counting fruits as sugar, as far as fruits go, apples are relatively low in sugar), vegan, full of good fats and fiber and tastes warm and delicious, especially on a cold winter’s day! AND it’s simple and inexpensive!

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whole flaxseeds

{Grain Free- Sugar Free-Vegan} Warm Apple Cinnamon “Oatmeal”

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

- 1 1/2 c homemade or store bought applesauce. Make sure the store bought applesauce is the “natural” kind that contains nothing except apples and water.

- 1 heaping Tablespoon flaxseeds, freshly ground. Flaxseeds should always be ground fresh and used immediately. Don’t buy already ground flaxseeds, and when you do buy whole flaxseeds, keep them refrigerated.

- ground cinnamon to taste

1. Pour applesauce into a saucepan and heat over the stove top until warmed through. (This recipe will not taste the same if the applesauce is not warm!) In the meantime, grind your flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or high quality food processor until ground very fine. The finer the better.

2. When applesauce is hot to your liking, take it off the heat and mix the ground flaxseeds in. The flaxseeds will thicken the applesauce and give it a subtle nutty flavor.

3. Add as much cinnamon as you like and stir to combine. The cinnamon masks the color and taste of the flaxseeds so if you’re trying this on little ones, more cinnamon might be better than less. (My two year old loves this “oatmeal” by the way!)

Enjoy!

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Grain Free Apple Cinnamon “Oatmeal”

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This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama

“A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

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Categories: this moment | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Simplify Your Home and Free Your Mind

I don’t talk it about too often, but we’re actually going to be moving soon. Yes, finally, soon! I can hardly believe it. What seemed like what was going at snail’s pace, is actually being finished at lightening speed. Now that our little house in the woods is finally winding down and we can soon settle in, our attention has turned to our current house. Yikes. I almost forgot- this house. There is so much to be done. Rooms to sort through, boxes to pack, things to move. What shall we take? The house we’re moving into is about 800 square feet smaller than the one we’re in. One bedroom for all the kids (for the two we have plus more should we have more), one bedroom for us, and one bathroom for the whole house. The kitchen, living and dining is just one big space. And no closets except for a laundry room for storage.

I love it.

Part of our desire was to move into a mortgage free home, which it will be, to live closer to the country, which it is and to simplify our life. And that is where we are now. There is no way all the “stuff” we have now will fit into our new home. Did I mention there are no closets? We designed it that way, but clearly, it creates challenges. It challenges me to look at everything I own and question it…Why do I have this? Do I need it? Do I want it? Why do I want to keep it if I never use it? (That is the question we have been asking ourselves a lot lately). This is a physical as well as intensely emotional and spiritual journey.

Looking through book boxes yesterday evening made me realize the relationship between our “stuff” and our energy. I realized it is not just about these physical spaces we live in, but it is more than that… it is about what kind of energy all around us our physical spaces are helping to create. Simplicity affords not just a beautiful serene uncluttered home, but it actually imparts free flowing, positive energy all around us, into our environment, our minds and our spirits.

It allows for energy that creates instead of takes. 

I have been feeling weighed down with a cluttered mind lately. I often feel this insatiable desire to read and learn and become more and more of a better person. Sounds great right? Not always so. There is simply not enough time in the day, hours in the week, or days in the year for me to sit down and read all books I want to read or research all the most interesting articles I want to. This verse kept coming to mind:

[in reference to women in the home] “…always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7

I could be always and forever learning, filling my mind with more and more mental clutter but always missing the truth. And what is the truth? I believe the truth is that we cannot know everything. An insatiable desire for complete knowledge about any given subject is, well, in my opinion, a little greedy. But it’s true with my home and spirit as well. My mind sets the mood for all of this. Am I content with the resources and knowledge that I have now, waiting on God to provide for me just what I need when I need it? Or do I always crave more without regard to savoring what I have now? Being grateful for what is and not what will be? Is my home filled with positive free flowing energy, empty and ready to filled with just what I need for today or is it stuffed and stagnant, with no room for a fresh outpouring?

I glance over to the desk next to my computer and see the stack of magazines I have been saving to read “later.” I see the books I have never read but kept because well, it was a gift. I hate browsing through my closet, running my hands over the clothes I never ever wear. And here’s where it gets hard. I see a stack of my dad’s old college textbooks in the corner. They were his when he lived on this earth. His hands held them, his eyes read over the words. I never look at them, but I’ve been saving them. Why? Because they were his, and somehow letting go of them means saying goodbye again. It means he’s still not here to read those words and hold those books. But I know in me, that holding on to anything really, is toxic to our souls. We hang on because we’re not free. Hanging on to the past means we’re not free to choose the future, to choose the positive that is approaching us. I’m still looking behind me, at the wounds and can’t see the light embracing me now. And so instead of putting his books back on the dusty bookshelf, I leave the books in the stack in the corner knowing that I will put them in my car and take them to be donated for others who may actually be blessed by using them. And there they stay.

What’s truly interesting to me is how our physical worlds affect our spirits and how our minds and spirits affect us physically. Hanging on to things, to anger, to unforgiveness can actually lead to digestive problems. We’re hanging on to what’s inside and can’t let go. This can manifest itself as constipation, poor digestion and stagnant energy all around us. It’s a poor way to live and I want nothing to do with it.

It’s hard to let go, but let go we must.

I’m doing this hard work, and I encourage you do to it too. We’ll do it together.

What are you holding onto today? What’s in your home that you never use but can’t seem to get rid of? 

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