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Showing posts from May, 2011

Have you been asked to follow?

I've been reading Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos lately.  We're discussing it in our book club this month.  I was struck by one scene where Peter asks Matt how he would explain to someone what it means to be a christian.  They have a little discourse and I realized that it all boils down to this.  At some point, Jesus is going to say "Follow me" and you are either going to say yes or no.  If you say yes, then you are in for the most amazing relationship you will ever experience and if you say no, you will have an admirer who will woo you in hopes that you will one day change your mind. 
There is a lot of talk about  God abandoning us, but he does not.  We abandon him, but he does not forsake us.  We are the wayward children, begging to be left to our own devices.  God loves and waits and desires for us to come home and accept the love that he has for us in grand abundance.  God does not ask us once to follow him, but gives us the opportunity to say yes to his in…

Why art is important

I was talking with a dear friend of mine the other day and we briefly discussed how life does not turn out the way we imagine it.  We develop these dreams for ourselves but it is very rare for someone to come up with a dream that plays out exactly as they wanted.  A key in life is to accept what does happen instead and move on, continuing to dream and continuing to see the beauty in what is instead of pining over what is not. 
Art is one of the things that helps us learn this concept and to see the good that comes from it.  Everyone who has ever put pen to paper or paint to canvas knows that what you think you will have in the beginning is never what you get in the end.  But you also know that the process and the enjoyment of the creation is part of the joy.  Your picture may not hold what your brain imagines.  Our imaginations are far more powerful than our bodies.  Art helps us to realize the weakness of our bodies in comparison with our imaginations.  It allows us the safety of dr…

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that I was able to go for a walk yesterday before the flood rains came down.

I am thankful that we have a couple of plants growing already.

I am thankful that next weekend we will have a wonderful guest!

I am thankful that I am able to do things even when I have no desire to do them.  That desire is not the ruling factor in my life!

I am thankful that Hannah has shown already that unschooling works for her. 

I am thankful that even though unschooling doesn't work as well for me, I'm adapting.

I'm thankful that my dear sweet husband has dinner with us most every night.

I am thankful that when I need encouragement for the things that I'm struggling with, that encouragement appears in numerous different ways.


What are you thankful for?

Veg Bad Challenge Week 9

It's that time of year for salads.  I'll be honest, there are very few salads that I actually enjoy.  I will order them in restaurants if there's more junk than lettuce.  And if I'm at a salad bar, I completely by pass the lettuce section and go for the good stuff.  I just don't like the way it tastes, which is normally like dirt, even after it has been washed.

But I know that the rest of the world loves salads, so I'm going to share a recipe for Taco Salad that is a pretty big hit in our home, even for me. 

Taco Salad

Romaine hearts cut up or torn into bite size pieces or slight larger
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Black olives
Salsa
Tortilla chips, crushed
1 pound ground beef (we prefer ground sirloin, but any fat content will do)
1 onion, diced
1 can dark red kidney beans (you can use any bean, but this is what we prefer)
A little bit of olive oil or veg oil, whichever you have

Okay, put the oil in the pan and heat on med/medium high heat, place the onions in an…

It's all about what you're used to

Yesterday, Hannah and I were watching a movie.  There was an alien that was masquerading as an old lady.  She was washing the dishes after dinner.  Hannah says "Nobody washes dishes after dinner!" 

I laughed, because I'm under the impression from movies that everyone except us does that very thing.  I wonder if Hannah thought the very act of washing dishes at night proved that the lady was an alien.  She very well might have from the way she stated it. 

Just goes to show, normal is what you think it is. 

I'm off to watch some Egypt documentaries with my girl.  We've slipped out of volcanoes and into pyramids.  Unschooling definitely keeps me on my toes.

The lesson for today

Something has always haunted me.  I remember it first when I was in grad school.  I would wake up, first thing in the morning and weigh myself, go for a run and weigh myself again, in order to replace the fluids that I would supposedly lose.  But every time I came back, I weighed more when I came back than when I had left, and no, I was not stopping at the donut shop and throwing back a few during my run.  I was working out every day, eating smoothies for breakfast, had a vegetarian diet, but still the weight persisted.  I asked a trainer about it casually and they indicated I was working out the wrong muscles in the gym and eating too much fruit. 
I pretty much let it slide until recently.  I was going on a few casual runs with my daughter, having dreams of 5ks in my future but then the scale started to inch back up.  I'm talking 2% weight gain. And it was persistent.  And scary, because the only thing that had changed was my increase in eating vegetables and the occasional run.…

House of Eight Nates Chapter 6

Nate thought God was having a good laugh that morning at church. The lesson in class was on the prodigal son. Nate just thought to himself how no matter what happened, he would never return to his parents’ house. He pretty much tuned out all the class, because Nate knew that it was just God’s way of picking on him. It got worse when he went to worship and found out that the pastor was preaching on the same scripture. Nate wanted to tell God that he could just shut up, because he got what God was trying to tell him. Nate was sure though that this was the right move for him. He really could not stay there any longer. His family was just not the right place for him. As Nate’s mind wandered during the service, he kept thinking back to the scrapbook that his mother had made of him. He kept trying to figure out why it was that the pictures stopped when his little sisters were born. When the service was over, Nate waited in line to shake the pastor’s hand.




“Thanks for coming today, Nate,” s…

Two of my favorite people in the world

What if and the reading monster

In case you didn't know it, one of the greatest benchmarks that parents like to measure their elementary aged children by is if they can read and how well they do it. I'm a homeschooler, so there's also an air of "Are you hurting your child by not having them in public schools?" when some people ask about Hannah's reading level.  Because let's face it, the kids in public school are expected to read in Kindergarten if not before hand and all their curriculum is based on the fact that kids must be able to read, so if you can't mainstream your child at any given moment, you can be put under suspicion. 

As the start of our new school year began, Hannah and I were at the library and she happened to sit down to look at some books near the homeschooling section.  I looked over and there was a book about unschooling.  A concept that I adore, but am a bit too much of public school graduate and perfectionist to take on.  But then I found myself checking out th…

Fasting is Like Popcorn

One of the greatest difficulties that I have with fasting is thinking that I've learned what I need to learn and it's time to stop.  It would be convenient if fasting came with directions like paint by numbers art, but it's more like microwave popcorn.  You put it in and have to stay there and wait.  Sometimes nothing pops at all and sometimes you burn the bag hoping for the last kernel to burst, but more often than not, there's delightful aroma and feast in store. 
I tend to want to stop a fast too soon, not reaping the fullness of reward that I could; not knowing that there actually could be more in store for me if I would persist through those "good enough" feelings. 
I actually had this very thing happen in a recent fast.  I thought long and hard about exactly what to give up and then finally choose something on the spur of the moment to give up for an intended month.  It was terribly tough the first couple of days but after that part was done, I though…

Veg Bad Week 8?

Has it really been a month since I've posted some Veg Bad goodness????  Well, I must say that when we had our staycation, it became infinitely harder to keep my veg intake up.  One thing that I learned was that it's best for us to plan out our meals weekly, or else veg will fall to the wayside, even if we remember to eat it, it's only half heartedly. 

But we did got to a couple of restaurants while on staycation and some that had great veg options included Rebecca's of Northville.  I had a spinach, mushroom and egg croissant for breakfast double YUM!  We also went to El Patio in Livonia.  I had their potato burrito, not veg, but definitely plant based and tasty.  We also went to Aubree's in Livonia and had the dinner for two, the salad was phenomenal considering it was not the star of the show, it was very well done, not an after thought. 

Now, for me to share one of my favorite recipes from this past month.  I think it will have to be...

Asparagus

1 bunch of as…

House of 8 Nates Chapter 5

Nate slept late the next morning. When he woke up the house was quiet. He could not hear anyone downstairs. He got up and looked around, the family was all gone. Nate went into the kitchen where there was a note from his mother “Gone out to pick berries. Be back after dinner. Love, Mom”




Nate crumpled up the note and threw it into the trash. He poured himself a bowl of cereal and went into the family room and flipped on the TV. SpongeBob was on. Nate laughed as he ate his cold breakfast. But the show quickly lost his interest. He put his empty bowl back in the sink and wandered back upstairs. He looked into his parents’ bedroom and saw their unmade bed. He found himself drawn to it. He snuggled into the covers and pressed his face into the pillow of his mother.



The scent brought good memories with it. He lay there and remembered when he used to be loved by his family. He remembered being a little boy and lying in bed with his mother and father. His mom would wrap her arms around him a…

Thankful Thursday!!!

I am thankful for the beautiful weather that we've been having lately.  It was nice enough last night that we had Bible study outside at the church and Hannah was able to play outside and entertain herself for the majority of our class time.

I am thankful for the fact that even though my husband has been to court twice in one week, it's not a normal occurrence.  But he'll likely get called for jury duty and spend the next month there ;)

I am thankful for the opportunity to go visit my families.  I am looking forward to the time with them.

I am thankful for house guests regardless of how long or short their visit. 

I am thankful that one day soon, that pool will open and we will be swimming!

What are you thankful for?

A writer writes, a wife with children...

I have heard over and over again, if you are a writer then you write, every day.  It's something that you condition yourself to do, you do it even if you don't want to.  So that got me to wondering if a writer writes, then what does a wife with children do to build her skills and craft?  Does she sit around in her bathrobe drinking coffee till the rollers fall out of her hair from kids climbing on top of her begging for something for lunch?  Or maybe she is like they used to say on television, she is up and immaculately dressed and sends her kids and husband off for the day with pressed clothes and a winning lunch?  Neither of those have worked for me personally.  And I think a lot of it has to do with patience.  I don't have the patience to sit until the kid goes berserk and I don't have the patience to make everything perfect.  Good enough is more often than not good for me.  What does that leave me?  I think it leaves me with somewhere in the shaky middle ground. 

What's in The Bible DVD 5 Israel Gets a King!

We love What's in the Bible? (WITB) with Buck Denver, man of news.  It's by far one of the best Christian based edutainment options out there.  We love it because the entire family can sit down and watch it together and laugh, as well as, learn.  I went to seminary, but I have always learn something new when I watch WITB.  It's great, but I think the laughter is the thing I love the most. 

Phil Vischer, the guy who did Veggie Tales, is the creator of WITB, but after hearing his story, I think creator might be the wrong word, facilitator could be a better choice.  I am in awe of how honest Vischer is in regards to the depth that God reached down into him in order to bring this series into being.  I am also in awe of Tyndale and their dedication to the series and to teaching the world about the Bible. 

Hannah's favorite part from Israel Gets a King, the latest in the series, is when King Saul and David fight in the popsicle theater.  Saul turns evil and oddly enough lo…

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that the weather has finally decided to change from snow and cold to breezy and warm. 

I am thankful for a great vacation with my family and all the fun things we got to do.

I am thankful for friends and time together face to face.

I am thankful for my sweet husband and all the hard work he puts in to care for us.

What are you thankful for?

Craving Grace by Lisa Velthouse

Craving Grace is a very enjoyable book. The thing that Velthouse has managed to do with great skill is to be blessed with grace and still remember the naiveté and rigidness of the time before grace. The thought processes that she shares in this work are not tinged with the hurried race to the cross, but with the sorrow and pain of being there at the foot of the cross wondering what God has in store for us next.


There are times within Craving Gracethat you can see what is about to happen in her story and the struggle that she will endure and yet she is clear that her understanding before it happened gave her no clue as to what was in store. I think that concept is best written in the chapter “Freeloading Ain’t for Sissies.”

In the chapter, she is washed over with grace in such a way that she is able to welcome other gifts that she had been struggling against. In that revelation, we are reminded of the fact that in our depravity we are saved. And it is not until we are faced with the …

Unleashed

Unleashed is a re-release of McManus’s Barbarian Way. I did not read it the first time it was released, but I am so thankful that I got to read it this time. I seriously would have a yellow book from highlighting if I had read the print copy. I am thankful for the stories and encouragement that McManus gives in this book.


I was encouraged time and again to not just let life be sedate and safe, but to seek what God desires for me and for my family and to work towards that. This has been especially true in regards to how I parent our daughter. She is quite adventurous and has been the type of person who is not easily dissuaded her entire life. I have struggled against it, but with this new light of how life can be, I have stepped into encouraging her adventures and not trying to rule with fear.

McManus does an excellent job of presenting the benefits of living a life that is seeking God in every aspect and how that is not a pathway of safety in worldly terms. He also shows the difficu…

An anecdote from this past week.

We enjoyed a beautiful staycation this past week.  On Sunday, we skipped church and hung out at a hotel, swimming in the pool, shopping and watching television.  It was great.  But my brain did not realize that it was Sunday until after this funny thing happened.
You see, we live next to a mega church, well technically, two mega churches, but one hardly ever refers to large catholic churches as mega.  So as we're leaving our home on Sunday, the first clue should have been when I asked to check the mail, thinking the mail man had been there already and delivered some fun in our mail box.  Had we stopped to check I probably would have realized right then.  We head out onto the road and there is traffic every where. I asked out loud "Where is all this traffic coming from?" Joel politely told me the mega church.  My brain starts trying to figure out what exactly they could be doing on Monday at noon to get such a large attendance.  I even see the shuttle buses running and wo…