30 April 2012

Are You Willing To Be Radical?

In many Bibles, Christ's words are set apart with a red font. It should be obvious, but this distinction helps remind us that when God becomes Man and that Man speaks--it's probably something we cannot afford to miss.

So why doesn't the church take these " red letters" to heart? Why aren't we doing more to be Christ's hands and feet to the poor, the disenfranchised, the weary, the ill, the fatherless, the prisoners? It's all there--in red letters. Why has the Church shirked its responsibilities, leaving the work to be done by governments, rock stars, and celebrities?

The Gospel wasn't only meant to be read--it was meant to be lived. From the HIV crisis in Africa to a single abused and lonely child in Russia, the Church must seize the opportunity to serve with a radical, reckless abandon.

What if all Christ-followers lived the Red Letter words in the Bible--Jesus' words? What if we offered the hungry something to eat, gave one of our many coats to someone who was cold, and truly loved all our neighbors as ourselves? How radically different would our lives be? How different would our world be if Christians were really living as little Christs?

That's what this book is about. Learning to live a faith that is so real, you bleed Jesus.  Author Tom Davis offers both challenge and encouragement to get involved in an increasingly interconnected, desperate modern world.

"I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." ~Matthew 25:42-43 ESV

Morgan and I recently finished this book.  Parts of it were heart wrenching.  Other parts were plain educational and inspiring.  This unassuming little book has been the topic of many of our evening discussions.  Needless to say, God is stirring something in us!  We actually long to follow the “red letters” without changing them or interpreting them to suit our needs or our comfort level.  However, our fear, apathy, and laziness can often get the best of us.  This book will challenge you to look at the world differently.  It will inspire you to do something, anything. 

We have committed to prayerfully seeking what that might look like for our family going forward…    Stay tuned!

As a follow up, the next book I’m planning to read is Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.  Morgan and I are questioning, pondering and trying to see through this hazy American life that so easily blinds us to the real Jesus and our real purpose here on earth.

Here are some interesting quotes from the book that caught my eye…

“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”

“My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus’ words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to Him. ”

“God beckons storm clouds and they come. He tells the wind to blow and the rain to fall, and they obey immediately. He speaks to the mountains, ‘You go there,’ and He says to the seas, ‘You stop here, and they do it. Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, ‘No.”

“Should it concern us that the bible never calls us to ask Jesus into our hearts. Should it concern us that the bible never mentions such a superstitious sinners prayer and yet that is exactly what we have sold to so many as salvation.”

Radical thinking?  Maybe…

Radically living?  Hope so!

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We had the joy of having my cousin’s daughter, Da Yeon stay with us for the last 5 days.  The last time we saw her was in Seoul, Korea.  She was 6 years-old then and Morgan and I were there, meeting our daughters for the first time.  Da Yeon has been living in Bryn Mawr, PA with her mom and older brother for the last 5 years. 

The girls kept saying it was like having an older sister around and of course, Da Yeon enjoyed all the love and attention the girls gave her, too.  Our time together was filled with lots of normal, everyday activities but we also had a few special things planned, too.

Here are some highlights of our time together: 

  • Community Bible Study
  • Playing Hide & Seek in the house
  • Las Casuelas
  • Open Call Talent Competition at The McCallum Theatre
  • Baking cookies
  • Playing in the mud and making sand castles
  • Chimpanzee movie
  • Playing at the park
  • Card Games
  • Aquatic Center High Dive (she conquered her fear of heights!)
  • Church
  • Making paper dolls and origami
  • Dance Party
  • Homework with Morgan
  • Frozen Yogurt

The poor girls cried their little eyes out as soon as she left.  Da Yeon is a kind and tender-hearted soul with a sweet spirit.  I had the joy and honor of giving her her very own bible… a road map for her future!  She loved learning about God and why He sent His Son, Jesus to die on the cross for us.  She had questions about heaven and prayed out loud for the first time in her life!

We will surely miss her but we look forward to more frequent visits in the future!    

23 April 2012

My Favorite Lemon Vinaigrette


One thing I love about summer is creating delicious “all in one” salads for dinner!  Morgan and I had to chuckle this weekend when we reflected on how far he’s come with his salads.  His favorite salads are no longer comprised of iceberg lettuce, a few tomato slices, croutons, and ranch dressing (although there’s nothing wrong with that kind of salad!).  He now happily eats Spring greens- things like spinach, arugula, mesclun, endive, and radicchio.  Basically, all the stuff that’s packed with good vitamins and antioxidants.  He also eats cheeses like gorgonzola and feta.  Lucky me!  Feta and summertime go hand in hand, don’t you think?.  It’s one of the only cheeses where you can actually use a low fat option and it still tastes amazing.  However, this post is not about cheese, it’s about salad dressing!
So, here it is… my favorite summer salad dressing.  I love it because it’s light, summery, and packed with tons of flavor.  It’s versatile, too.  I can use it for a marinade on meat or add different herbs to it to create a slightly different taste.  This weekend, I made it with basil and oregano but I also use cilantro, for more of a Mexican style dressing.  Think: steak, beans, avocados, and limes, instead of lemon. 
The possibilities are endless! 
Plus, the cost is so much cheaper than anything you can buy in the store.  I think it tastes far better, too!  You can actually taste all of the ingredients!
Like most of my cooking, I kinda wing this recipe.  I’ll share the basic ingredients and the approximate measurements but give it a try for yourself and create your own jar of summery goodness.   
Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 to 1/2 cup diced or sliced shallots
1 garlic clove minced
3 lemons juiced
1 to 2 T white or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
Let those ingredients marinade in the jar for 10 minutes - this step is key!
Add:
1/2 to 3/4 cup canola oil (EVOO is too strong for my taste here, although it would be fine for a marinade).
1 to 2 T dijon mustard (optional)
1 to 2 T honey (optional)
add a large handful of chopped fresh herbs like basil or cilantro
or use 1 T of dried herbs like oregano
add pepper to taste
Shake well and taste again for the right balance.
Store in the fridge and enjoy your summer in a jar!

22 April 2012

slippin’‘n slidin’ into summer

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I know it’s technically still Spring but when it gets to be over 100 degrees, I call that Summer! 

I asked Morgan to go to the store to buy a sprinkler so the girls can cool off and play in the backyard.  He came home with not only a fun sprinkler but also this slip ‘n slide. 

Since the slip ‘n slide was only 5 bucks, we didn’t expect much but it held up great and the kids had such a blast!  These are the kind of summer memories I grew up with as a kid… Except I think my brother and I cut up big trash bags and taped them together!  Good times!   

20 April 2012

mac & cheese muffin cups (again!)

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The boys came over the other day and spent the entire day with us until Josh picked them up after work.  You know what?  Having 4 kids isn’t all that much different than having 2.  Yeah, I know, it was only for a day, but STILL!  We enjoyed having the mix of boys and girls.  

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They happily enjoyed cleaning together, too! 

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On to the recipe!  I browned 2 sweet chicken sausage links.

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Threw in some blanched broccoli…

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Cooked up some elbow pasta to al dente.

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And then combined everything together in the pot.

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After spraying the muffin tin, I coated it with a mixture of bread crumbs & parmesan.

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Then the kids did all the rest.  They added 2 lightly beaten eggs…

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Some sharp cheddar cheese…

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Combined the whole mixture and took turns scooping the filling into each muffin cup. 

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We added more bread crumbs to the top (and more cheese) before drizzling with a little EVOO. 
Bake at 375 for 15 mins.

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In the meantime, they started a band and marched around the house… Trey loved that guitar and he knew how to rock it!
I’ve know I’ve blogged about these muffin cups before but they bear repeating!  I sent half of these home with boys and the rest was devoured by my girls. 
You can’t beat an “all in one” meal.  Besides, anything in the shape of a muffin is fun to eat, right? 
I used a low fat sausage because it packs a flavor punch but any leftovers or veggies would work.
Hope the boys enjoyed these as much as the girls did!   

18 April 2012

Little Shoppers

We love these little shopping carts at our local Trader Joe’s.  Is there anything more precious than having two little “mommies in training” following you around the store, as they joyfully shop for their own little families?! 

The nice cashier even bagged their groceries separately and placed the bag in their carts for them.   

The girls are relishing some new responsibilities lately.  For example, everyday after breakfast, they ask me what the weather is going to be like for the day.  I’m allowing them to go upstairs and choose their own clothes and do their own hair.  Since we do most of our clothing shopping at thrift stores now, matching outfits are hard to come by.  But today, they came down with these matching summer dresses- it was 94 today!  It’s so sweet to know that even at 6, they don’t mind dressing the same. 

With this new responsibility, the girls are learning about modesty, appropriateness, color, patterns, prints, and style.  My little girls are growing up! 

14 April 2012

a heart of service

 

I used to believe that motherhood was the quickest path to sanctification but now, I’m inclined to think that homeschooling is. 

One of the biggest blessings about homeschooling is the fact that I get to constantly work on my heart of service towards my family.  Whether I like it or not, I am being refined, daily. 

Some days, I’ll admit, I can be put through the fire, kicking and screaming.  But on most days, I joyfully surrender. 

Morgan and I have now entered a stage of life where we can actually complete sentences and conversations, in the presence of our children.  Hey, it’s the little things, right?!

Have you ever felt like the littleness of motherhood would never end?  You know, all the little responses, corrections, attitudes, selfishness, and sins?  Well, God sees all those little things and uses our faithfulness to transform us into something BIG.  He is cultivating in us, a heart of service.

And the fruits are eternal!

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” ~Luke 16:10

12 April 2012

the joy of hospitality

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The joy of hospitality has been one of the greatest blessings of this new home, thus far.

As a matter of fact, I think I’ve had more guests in the last 2 months than I’ve had all of last year.  Every week, I’ve been inviting friends over for tea on the patio or a play date with the kids.  My aim is to make people feel welcomed, comfortable and valued.  Sometimes, I make a homemade treat to share and other times, I’ll just pull out whatever I have in my fridge or pantry.  Either way, it’s just my way of showing them that they’re special to me.

It’s funny, I used to be a stressed out mess, the whole day before anyone came over.  It was no fun for me, my kids, or my husband- trust me.  It’s probably because my idea of hospitality felt more like entertaining.  But through the grace of God, I’m learning to let go and focus on blessing rather than impressing.   And it feels good!

This “new” house is by far, the oldest and most imperfect house we’ve lived in since we’ve had the girls.  And it’s here, that we all feel the most comfortable!  Ever since we sold our first house a couple of years ago, this was something that I’ve been praying for so I can’t help but Praise the Lord for allowing me to begin leaving a legacy of hospitality, not perfectionism!          

Last weekend, we even bought a new bed for the extra bedroom so now we have plenty of space for overnight guests as well.  In fact, I can hardly believe it… 3 out of the 4 weekends this month, that bed will be filled with visiting friends or family.  Thank you, Lord!

"When you entertain, you bring honor and glory to yourself. Showing hospitality brings honor and glory to God." ~Author Unknown

“The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it.” ~Author Unknown

10 April 2012

She is worth far more than rubies…

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A little Proverbs 31 woman, in the works.

 

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We had fun making these head pieces one afternoon.  I thought they were going to be necklaces, but the girls turned them into head jewelry, instead.  When making the jewelry, it led them to say, “When I get older, I’m going to learn how to make clothes and give them to the poor.”

I guess I had better learn how to use that sewing machine my hubby picked up for me at a yard sale this weekend!

 

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We called ourselves, Queen Esther!

Excuse the no make up… that’s just me, on a typical day.  It’s way better for cuddling and kissing those sweet faces, anyway!

"A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman, who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls."~Proverbs 31:10

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