Monthly Archives: March 2016

Saturday Family Time

What a beautiful Saturday morning! Warm weather, gentle breeze, blue skies! We got up early and went to Tandem Creperie in downtown Travelers Rest to meet up with my cousin Anna from Boston and a friend Allison, along with the babies. So good to catch up! And the coffee and crepes are always a delicious start to the day!

Then we walked around various little shops in TR till Bryan had to go to work. Kyle fell asleep in the stroller on our walk, so I decided to keep walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail. He woke up about an hour later and this was my view: cute little fingers and toes, toddler trail mix (cheerios, goldfish, and puffs), and a sippy cup of milk and strawberry-banana smoothie–held on by a “SippyPal” strap (amazing invention!).

Came home, ate a little lunch, read “The Little Blue Engine That Could” and played with trains, dinosaurs and soccer balls (#boymom) till Kyle went down for his nap. Thankfully, he’s napping well today, so I got a chance to sweep and straighten up the house…and blog a little. peanuts-movie-sweeps_pbNext up is dinner with Anna and my sister’s family–grilled cheese sandwiches and the Pioneer Woman’s “Best Ever Tomato Soup” (I can’t stop making this soup!). And I picked up a copy of “The Peanuts Movie” to watch with the kids (throwback to Kyle’s bday party a few weeks ago).

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

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The Enemy of Discontentment

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Source: quitewomen.tumblr.com

Do you ever battle discouragement or discontentment? It’s a completely normal battle in our fallen human nature, and it’s not fun, but it’s a battle that must be fought. And it’s a battle we can’t fight alone. Thankfully, we have a great God who is the only true source of courage and contentment. The past couple of weeks I’ve been battling this more than I might like to admit. Thankfully, God has been driving me back to His Word for the courage to fight the discontent (and provided sunshine and chances to chat with friends that have brightened recent days as well).

One day last week, I was reading in the Psalms and was reminded of Psalm 61.

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint [overwhelmed]. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy (Psalm 61:1-3).

I let that be my prayer throughout the afternoon and evening. And the next morning, a friend prayed Psalm 19:14.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

It was as if God was answering my heart’s cry and showing me that He is my Rock. I said, “Lead me to the rock.” And He responded, “I am your Rock.”

Then, a still, small voice gently rebuked me and asked, “Is discontentment a meditation that is ‘acceptable’ to Jesus?” The answer was a resounding, achy, “No.” In fact, it smacks in the face of my great God and His continual provision and good, gift-giving nature. And the ultimate reality of discontentment with any aspect of our lives–whether it be looks, weight, stage of life, family, work, friends (or a lack of friends), ministry opportunities, home repairs, you name it–is discontent with what God says is “good” for us at this very moment. As the Author and personification of “good,” why is it that we think He can be anything but good? It’s because “good” is subjective instead of objective–it is subject to our point of view instead of objectively in the Person and Work of Christ.

It doesn’t matter how “good” things look from the outside. The ugly face of discontentment can raise its head up even when things appear “put together.”  You can have the nicest house and the most beautiful family, great jobs, plenty of resources, and yet still feel empty. The devil is a sneaky lion, prowling and preying on our hearts if we don’t actively fight to resist him.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8).

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

And so, we must fight. Much of this fighting is internal–it’s choosing to trust Christ, to claim His joy, to walk in His Spirit, to humble ourselves, to forgive and ask for forgiveness, to love those around us, and to praise our Savior, even when we don’t understand. We don’t have to have all the answers. We may think we want a crystal ball to see the future, but when God showed one of His prophets, Jeremiah, the future, he went into deep mourning for his people–there was a reason they called him “the weeping prophet.” God knows we don’t need to see it all up front–quite frankly, it would probably scare us if we knew all His plans. But we can rest that He does have a plan and that He’s preparing us for that plan–and sometimes that means testing us with discouraging situations, knowing that we will need to run back to His everlasting arms of hope .

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

My prayer is that Psalm 30:11-12 will be my reality–and yours, if and when you find yourself battling discontentment as well.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! (Psalm 30:11-12).

(Obviously, there are physical/hormonal, emotional/psychological, and environmental reasons for discouragement as well that may be completely outside of your control. If you find yourself often discouraged and believe the source to be one of those reasons, seek appropriate help from doctors and professional counselors, as well as the spiritual encouragement and emotional support from your friends, family, and church.)

Recipe: Winter Harvest Soup

This soup was invented based on two criteria: 1. I had the ingredients on hand that needed to be used before going bad, and 2. I needed something that would give Kyle (age 1) vegetables in a soft form. Thus, Winter Harvest Soup. The grownups enjoyed the recipe as is–a heartier, chunky soup; and I pureed the rest for Kyle–or those who prefer a smoother, creamy soup. He LOVED it!

Feel free to adjust the types of vegetables used in this soup (though root vegetables do seem to work best). If you’re not a sweet potato fan, try Yukon golds. If you have acorn squash instead of butternut, go for it! And if you’ve never seen a parsnip–well, first, try to find a parsnip because they’re delicious!–but if you can’t, try a turnip or rutabaga or just more carrots. This made a large pot of soup, so if you have fewer vegetables, just use half of the other ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (halved)
  • 1 butternut squash (halved and seeded)
  • 1 bag baby carrots (chopped)
  • 4 parsnips (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. marjoram (if you don’t have marjoram, basil would work)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. chicken (or vegetable) bouillon
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. prepared basil paste
  • 2-3 c. coconut milk (or cow’s milk, if preferred)

Instructions:

  1. Prep the winter vegetables. Using two large baking sheets, spread out vegetables in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Roast at 400°F for 40 minutes.
  2. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool slightly. Peel and chop squash and sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces.
  3. Toss all vegetables in large stockpot; fill with water to not quite cover vegetables. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or until vegetables are completely soft). 
  5. Serve hot. 

Suggestion: serve with crackers, croutons, or garlic bread and a simple salad.