Monthly Archives: January 2017

To Know Him & To Make Him Known

2017 Theme: To Know Him & To Make Him Known (i.e., Word-Filled and Overflowing!)

Theme Verse: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).

Theme Song: “Thrive” by Casting Crowns

Kale, Pomegranate, and Caramelized Parsnip Salad Recipe by PBS Food

I had a large bag of kale from our winter garden, along with a few other mixed greens, 2 small bags of parsnips, and 4 pomegranates in my refrigerator, so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I immediately wanted to try it.

I put on a large pot of chicken noodle soup while I roasted the parsnips and prepped the other salad ingredients. It was absolutely delicious! And it looked like Christmas! This one’s going in the archives. The dressing recipe alone is worth saving! And it was the perfect accompaniment to the soup on this dreary winter day.

Here’s what PBS says: “Prepare a crispy maple-caramelized, roasted parsnips intermingled with sweet pomegranate seeds and shredded kale from Aube Giroux of the Kitchen Vignettes blog.”

Kale, Pomegranate, and Caramelized Parsnip Salad Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 1 large bunch of kale (about 10 large leaves)
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 4 medium parsnips (about 1 pound)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Garnish:

  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 Tbsp. toasted hazelnuts

Directions

  1. Wash the parsnips and scrub if needed, no need to peel them. Slice lengthwise into pieces about 3 inches long and then cut those into quarters (or eights if the parsnips are big). Place them in a roasting pan with the 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp maple syrup and toss well. Roast them in a 375 F oven for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender inside and crispy golden on the outside. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Place all the salad dressing ingredients in a jar, screw on the lid, and shake vigorously.
  3. Cut away the stems from the kale leaves and discard them. Place the kale leaves on top of one another and shred finely. Place the shredded kale in a large salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Let the kale rest for 30 minutes to absorb the dressing.
  4. Deseed the pomegranate. This video shows how to do it. Add the pomegranate seeds and the cooled roasted parsnip to your salad and toss.
  5. If you wish, garnish with toasted hazelnuts (simply place hazelnuts in a skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn) and freshly grated parmesan.

Original URL: http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vignettes/kale-pomegranate-and-caramelized-parsnip-salad/

 

Thy Will Be Done, Lord!

In a season of life where we have seen so much suffering and death and hurt in the lives of friends, in the loss of loved ones, in insults and injuries of various kinds, this song is a breath of fresh air.

I know God is good, but sometimes life really hurts. Thankful there is hope in Jesus and in seeing these loved ones again–but still so much pain in this broken world. Praying for that peace that passes understanding when life really doesn’t make sense. Thy will be done, Lord.

Music video by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family performing Thy Will. (C) 2016 EMI Records Nashville.

“I’m so confused;
I know I heard you loud and clear.
So, I followed through;
Somehow I ended up here.
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan.
When I try to pray,
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words:

“Thy will be done;
Thy will be done;
Thy will be done.

“I know you’re good,
But this don’t feel good right now.
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about.
It’s hard to count it all joy,
Distracted by the noise.
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises.
Sometimes I gotta stop,
Remember that you’re God
And I am not.

“So, Thy will be done;
Thy will be done;
Thy will be done.

“Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is:
Thy will be done;
Thy will be done;
Thy will.

“I know you see me.
I know you hear me, Lord.
Your plans are for me;
Goodness you have in store.
I know you hear me;
I know you see me, Lord.
Your plans are for me;
Good news you have in store.

“So, thy will be done;
Thy will be done;
Thy will be done.

“Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is:
Thy will be done;
Thy will be done;
Thy will be done.
I know you see me;
I know you hear me, Lord.”

Songwriters

BERNIE HERMS, HILLARY SCOTT, EMILY LYNN WEISBAND

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

Book Review: The Pastor’s Wife by Gloria Furman

9781433543838(Furman, Gloria. The Pastor’s Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015. 156 pages.)

The Pastor’s Wife is a quick read and is summed up in its own introduction on page 20: “In case you don’t have time to read the rest of this book I’ll just put my cards on the table–I think wives of ministers need encouragement and refreshment in the Lord, and we find that hope and help in the gospel. This idea isn’t new or scandalous, but with all things clamoring for our attention I think we (I!) could use an opportunity to recalibrate our perspective and set our gaze on eternal things. After all, why would we want to wade around in shallow puddles of man-made ideals when there is the incomprehensible ocean of the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge for us to dive into (Eph. 3:18-19)?”

While this book is called The Pastor’s Wife, with a few tweaks, it could apply to any believing wife (or woman, for that matter). But as it stands, it should still be read by all women (and maybe men too) because it shows at the very least how to pray for and encourage your pastor’s wife in her God-given role.

The Pastor’s Wife is saturated with Scripture and Gospel realities–every section pointing our hearts to repent from our sin and run to Jesus! Over and over, our need for the grace of the Gospel is revealed–not just for salvation but in every moment of every day. In fact, every page exudes Gospel grace. We all need “encouragement and refreshment in the Lord” (20), and this book continually points us back to the reality of our Redeemer and exhorts us to renew our minds in His glorious Gospel.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“‘The Plan’ … was my functional idol, and I couldn’t fathom what life would be like if the plan failed” (44).

“We don’t take up the axe to chop down our idols so that our Father will love us. No, we reject our idols because we are our Father’s beloved daughters. … You know that a ministry opportunity is greater to you than Jesus if, when it is taken, hindered, or altered, you feel rattled, wrecked, preoccupied, anxious, insecure, insignificant, ignored, angry, sad, betrayed, or distraught. …when we design our lives around idols, we are setting up our own little kingdoms in which we insist that we are sovereign” (45).

“Sister, if the Lord is your shepherd, he will not leave you wanting. He provides abundantly for your needs and cares for you in seasons that are frightening. Of all the things we need on this earth, he provides it all, and he restores our soul. There is no shadow in any valley so dark that his Word does not illumine. Sister, you’re being followed. ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever’ (Ps. 23:6). Held in our Shepherd’s unflinching grip, we are safely his at all times and in every circumstance. Your constancy is Christ. And at the end of all things created, in the most beautiful paradox of the ages, the Lamb is shown to be the Shepherd, ‘and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’ (Rev. 7:17)” (54).

My favorite chapter was the final chapter about God being glorified in our weaknesses. Without spoiling the end too much, I found this chapter refreshing. So much emphasis is placed on finding and utilizing our strengths–for the Kingdom, for business, in marriage, etc. But God’s ways are not our ways and He chooses to use the foolishness of man to show forth His immense wisdom (Isaiah 55:8; I Cor. 1:27-31). Life and ministry is not about me or my strengths, but about the strength of Jesus to redeem us from our sin into His righteousness, and to use our weaknesses to show forth His surpassing glory (II Cor. 3:3-10). Amen and amen!

Recipe: Salted Chocolate Coconut Ganache Torte with Chocolate Cashew Crust

Chocolate Cashew Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 c. unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut butter (or coconut oil; if not worried about dairy, butter might be a good substitute)
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. fine Himalayan sea salt

Crust Instructions: Add cashews to food processor and pulse till coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until thoroughly combined. Press into greased 8″ round (or square) pan (I use Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray and wet my hands slightly to press the crust on the bottom and sides of the pan; you could use a spring-form pan, if desired). Chill in freezer until ready to fill.

Chocolate Coconut Ganache Filling Ingredients:

Filling Instructions: Bring coconut cream to low boil over medium-low heat. Empty chocolate chips into a large glass bowl. Pour boiling coconut cream over chips, let sit for 2-5 minutes, then whisk gently till smooth. Add vanilla and whisk gently until combined. Pour into chilled crust. Return to refrigerator to set and chill for at least 2 hours.

Top with any or all of the following: 

  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. coconut flakes
  • 1/4 c. roughly chopped, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 – 1 c. whipped coconut cream (or whipped cream, if not concerned about being dairy-free)
  • 1/2 – 1 c. fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or a combination would be nice; or you could serve this on the side)

Serving Instructions: Serve chilled in small slices or petit-four sized squares. Just before serving, sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. coarse, pink, Himalayan sea salt (if you do this earlier, the salt may dissolve into the dessert). It looks especially nice on top of whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, since it’s a beautiful pink! Serves 12-24 (depending on how large you cut). Bonus: This recipe is gluten free and dairy free! Bon appetit!

Book Review: Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow

Set in Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Revolutionary War, Celia Garth is a historical fiction novel about a young seamstress learning to make her own way in the new world. Through love and loss, grief and joy, and even a little intrigue, follow Celia through the streets and coasts of the low country. Even though this book is a little over 400 pages, it’s masterfully written and hard to put down!

Charleston is one of my favorite cities in the world, so I could see the steeples and cobblestones, hear the bells and horse hoofs, and smell the salt air as I read this novel. Definitely worth the read! And, please, someone make a movie out of this amazing classic!

Book Review: Word-Filled Women’s Ministry

51wwy59ejal-_sx322_bo1204203200_(Furman, Gloria, and Kathleen B. Nielson, Eds. Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015. 272 pages.)

My number one resolution for this year is to be a Word-filled woman, so it was only natural to pick Word-Filled Women’s Ministry as my first book to read in 2017. And I was not disappointed. On page 205, the editors describe Word-filled women as “women who clearly understand and pass on the Scriptures through both life and teaching.”

This book is different than many, as it’s a compilation of several authors, edited by Gloria Furman & Kathleen B. Nielson. Gloria and Kathleen add their own chapters too, of course, as they both have unique perspectives on and experience with women’s ministry in the local church. Here’s an overview of the parts, chapters and authors:

Part 1: The Heart of Women’s Ministry

  • 1: The Word at the Center: Hearing God Speak (Kathleen Nielson)
  • 2: The Word on Women: Enjoying Distinction (Claire Smith)
  • 3: The Word Passed On: Training New Leaders (Carrie Sandom)

Part 2: Contexts for Women’s Ministry

  • 4: The Local Church: Finding Where We Fit (Cindy Cochrum)
  • 5: The World around Us: Practicing Evangelism (Gloria Furman)
  • 6: The Ends of the Earth: Thinking Global (Keri Folmar)

Part 3: Issues in Women’s Ministry

  • 7: Older and Younger: Taking Titus Seriously (Susan Hunt and Kristie Anyabwile)
  • 8: Sexual Wholeness: Affirming Truth with Compassion (Ellen Mary Dykas)
  • 9: Gifts and Giftedness: Finding the Place to Serve (Kathleen Nielson and Gloria Furman)

Part 4: The End of Women’s Ministry

  • 10: Ultimate Goals: Heading for That Day (Nancy Guthrie)

I especially appreciated that the forward and several endorsements were written by men. It’s invaluable for men, especially pastors, to recognize the value and unique giftedness that women have among other women and as part of the Church at large. Women and men are equally gifted with being image bearers of God, and we all have the responsibility and privilege to study the Scriptures and share a personal relationship with Christ.

So many young women in the Church are desperate for older women to mentor them–single women, hurting women, young moms, women new to being empty nesters, and the list goes on. We all need to have two levels of accountability: looking to the more mature generations and speaking truth into the younger generation. But so many in the mature generations were never trained to mentor other women, so they feel inadequate or ill-equipped. And so many in the younger generation are tired of asking women to mentor them and feeling rejected when the answer comes back, “I just don’t think I have time right now,” or “You don’t want me to mentor you; why don’t you ask someone else.”

Word-Filled Women’s Ministry challenges each of us to not only pick up our Bibles and read them, but to apply the truths to our lives and then share those truths with those in our sphere of influence–and if we don’t think we have a sphere of influence, it challenges us to find a sphere of influence in our local church and community. It’s about time! And I give a hearty “Amen” to this!

If we are truly filled with the Word, it will naturally spill out of our lives as we move through our homes and classrooms and churches and grocery stores and…well, you get the idea. It’s not just about learning the Word, or even teaching the next generation, but there’s also an exhortation to teach the next generation HOW to teach their next generation! And we need to be willing to give them opportunities to practice this.

This book has lots of perspectives and voices and practical examples of how this can be done. Most importantly, it encourages us to cling to the grace and truth of the Gospel as fresh and vital to every moment of every day, and to use the gifts and abilities God has gifted us with for His glory and to point those around us to His great redemption story!

 

2017 Reading Challenge: Overview

This year, a couple of friends and I are attempting to read one book per week on average. Some weeks may be just a few chapters of two or three different books, and other weeks may be finishing multiple books, but by the end of the year, the goal is to have read 52 books! I was inspired by Tim Challies’ 2017 Christian Reading Challenge (pictured below), so I thought I’d give it a try. And I’m going to attempt to do at least a mini review of the books as I go. I tend to have at least one theology book, one fiction book, and one either self-help or other genre going at any given time anyway, so this just motivates me to finish the books I start (unless they’re really not worth reading by chapter 3), branch out into new topics and authors, and watch TV less. 😉 Who’s with me?!reading-challenge-2017copy

Our Winter Wonderland

This past weekend, we got our annual winter storm, complete with 6-8″ of snow (which is a lot for South Carolina). But it makes for a beautiful winter wonderland and perfect weather for snuggling up with a hot beverage and good book (or three). Kyle and I bundled up on Saturday morning and headed outdoors. Whoever came up with the term “Winter Wonderland” must have been referring to a child’s eyes at the sight of snow flurries. It’s a beautiful site to behold, let me tell you! 🙂

We walked around the house, checked on Kitty and the blueberry patch, and walked down to the mailbox, digging for rocks on the snow-covered gravel drive and making snow angels along the way. I spent the rest of the weekend with a toddler bringing me his snow boots with wide eyes and “Please” on his lips. So sweet! Thankfully, he was quickly distracted with hot chocolate, toy trains, and books–though we did let him play in the snow for a few more minutes Sunday afternoon as well.

Bryan worked four shifts in a row–including spending the night at work last night, since the roads would’ve been a little risky before 6AM. At least the power didn’t go out this year (yet)! And, hopefully, Kyle will get to don his snowsuit one more time with daddy in the morning (if it’s not too cold) before it gets washed and goes back in the bin for next year. He looks so cute in it! This snow suit has lasted through 5 children–starting with my oldest nephew, who’s now 12!

This Northern girl has loved staring out the windows during nap times, snuggled under a fuzzy, knit, white blanket, between pages of Word-Filled Women’s Ministry and the historical fiction novel Celia Garth, coffee in hand. Reviews to come another day… For now, I’ll say goodnight, as I stare out the window for one last glimpse of the winter wonderland before sleep overcomes me.