Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Favorites

Yes, yes, he is!

Brother Hug!

 Silly Baby!

Those are my boys!

Kitchen Help

We were supposed to be napping...

Baby Love!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love God, Love People?

On Tuesday, I shared this article on Facebook. Yes, go ahead and read it.

I know, it's long. Go back and finish it. It's the only way to fully understand the context of this post. I'll wait here. 

Ok, first let me say I did not intend this as a political statement. Somehow I forgot didn't know that this whole thing with gay marriage is going on with the Supreme Court right now. I should stay more up to date, I know, and the next time the Supreme Court calls for my counsel I'll fit that into my schedule. 

Second, I didn't post it to condemn the friends I have on Facebook who live with their boyfriends. Not my agenda. 

Now that we have that out of the way I did post it because I love the message! I love the message that marriage and sex is something that God designed specifically to go together and that our world has crazily messed up both! I love the message that there is more to being feminine than being "hot." I loved how she defended not reading modern magazines and spoke against the message they contain. I love the compassion and love she portrayed toward those not following God's plan while she plainly spoke the truth. That's why I shared it on Facebook. 

Why does any of this matter? I would say it probably doesn't. I'm not so important that anybody pays too much attention to what I do on facebook or cares that much about my opinion. Several people liked the article and no one said anything negative to me. I'm talking about it now because I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying the past couple of days. 

I've seen status updates and pictures supporting gay marriage on Facebook. Most of the people posting these things claim the name "Christian." I've seen articles posted that ask "What if Jesus Meant All That Stuff?"  I've seen people proclaiming that God is love and we can just be nice to people and be a light. Yes, God is love. Love sent Jesus to the cross. 

But God is also holy. And God's holiness also sent Jesus to the cross. My sin cannot stand before God without Jesus. Your sin cannot stand before God without Jesus. It doesn't matter what the sins are. The Bible says if we are guilty of one we are guilty of all. 

Love alone is not enough. The guy that wrote that article about Jesus meaning that stuff? He didn't love his friend he mentioned at the end of the article. Love tells the truth...even when it hurts. Love must be balanced with truth. And the Bible plainly tells us we can know that we are going to heaven. 

Now I can understand someone who doesn't claim the name of Christ supporting this "love everyone and everything" philosophy. But a Christian should know how damaging this is.  One observation I've made over these few days is that even Christians don't care about what the Bible says. It's not our authority. It's not our guide. We don't even bother to read it. We call ourselves Christians and do whatever we please and feel good about ourselves. We're concerned with being accepted. We're concerned with being liked. We're concerned with not offending anyone. We're not concerned with truth. We're not concerned with people's eternal destinies. We're not concerned with winning the world (which is Jesus' passion, by the way. It was His last commandment to us.).

I've also noticed that the world in general thinks we are kooks. Crazy people in the wrong time era who are concerned with judging people and limiting other's freedoms. And you know what? I have to be ok with that. I have a non-confrontational personality. I was always of the opinion growing up that if I was nice people would like me. ALL people would like me. I've since been corrected, don't worry. We should be nice. But not so people will like us. We should be loving, joyful, peaceful. We should measure our words carefully. We should care for others and help them. But not so people will like us. We do that because Jesus commands us to. It's not supposed to be optional. "Oh, I don't like that part so I won't do it." There's no clause for that in the Bible. 

But we're also to be firm. Firm in our convictions. Firm in our beliefs. We don't need to march up to people and tell them they are going to hell. Or confront friends on their facebook wall about their lifestyle. But when asked, we should be able to give a clear defense of what we believe and why. We should teach those convictions to our children. Those convictions should guide our voting, our words, our entire lifestyle. People will notice even without you screaming at them. And that's why I probably wouldn't share that article if I had it to do over again. 

If I'm going to be considered weird, I want it to be real. I want to really be Christ-like if I'm going to claim the name "Christian". I want to be sold out for Jesus. I don't want to sit on the fence trying not to offend people and offending God instead. I may not be able to win them all but I do want to win some. I want my life to matter for God and it won't if I'm concerned with whether or not people think I'm weird for believing that or living a certain way. My life won't matter for God if I'm concerned with making sure people like me. But what if I'm concerned with helping people? What if I'm concerned with telling them the truth that Christ died for them? What if I'm concerned with speaking appropriately? With treating others with respect? What if I'm more concerned about pleasing God with my life than anything else I could ever think of?

God's people have lived in far worse times. The early church had a worse culture than we have now. They suffered intense persecution for being Christians. We don't face that in America like our fellow believers do in other parts of the world. The worst we are going to get is ridicule. Non-approval. Mockery. And I don't think "But they made fun of me!" is going to be a great excuse when we stand before Christ. Christ who bore our sins. Christ who was mocked. Christ who was ridiculed. 

So, yes, let's love others. But let's love God more. I can disagree with you and still love you. I can hold to my convictions and be kind to everyone. It's not how we treat our friends that shows our faith. It's how we treat those who don't agree with us. Live according to the Bible and let God be responsible for the results. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Counting the Right Things

I remember when I was young I would sit in church and count the ceiling tiles. If  I was sitting toward the front though I could only count so far back inconspicuously. And it wasn't that I wasn't interested in the sermon, I was probably taking notes at the same time. I have a tendency to do weird things like that while I'm paying attention to something. Justin makes fun of me because I occasionally trace words that our Preacher says on Justin's leg during the preaching. I don't even realize I'm doing it. They would probably diagnose me with some kind of disorder if I told the right people that. Don't spread that around.

My counting habit hasn't really gone away since I've gotten older. I just changed what I was counting. And if I'm not careful I count the wrong things. I naturally tend to count
-how many diapers I change in one day
-how many times I got up last night
-how many nights my husband worked late
-how many times I've disciplined a toddler in one day
-how many times I swept the kitchen floor

photo courtesy of tungphoto/

I think you get the idea. Those aren't the right things to count. Yes, they are there. But why focus on those? Why not count the wonderful things that happen? Why not count
-how many times Micah ran up and hugged me
-how many times Kevin squealed when he saw me
-how many times God spoke to me through His Word
-how many times my husband did something sweet just because he loves me
-how many books I read with my babies
-how many meals we've enjoyed around our table

You see the difference? Much of my attitude comes down to what I am focusing on. I can see the sunshine coming in my kitchen in the morning or the dishes that need to be unloaded...again. I can see the fun times we had dirtying the clothes or the pile of dirty laundry. I want my focus to be right so that I bless my family!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Stuffed Shells: Tomato Alfredo and Spinach

I found a stuffed shells recipe on Pinterest. Where else? But I never made it even though I bought the shells. Finally I decided I needed to use those shells. I really liked the idea of stuffing them with yummy ingredients. And it was fun! Eating them was even more fun. As much as I like cooking, I love eating more. 

1 lb. ground beef
2 cups spinach, sliced into ribbons
1 28 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 carton ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan
15 large shells
1 cup mozzarella
1 cup cheddar

Brown hamburger with my normal meat seasonings. Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, steak seasoning.  Drain grease, who wants that?  

Warm spaghetti sauce in pot. 

Add spinach to meat and cook for two minutes until wilted. 

Cook shells according to package directions, drain. Fun shaped pasta is fun. I really wanted to eat one of them like this. I love plain cooked pasta. 

Add whipping cream to spaghetti sauce. Somehow I love this much more than plain spaghetti sauce. And I can pretend that it's just as healthy. 

Add a thin layer of sauce to 8*8 pan. 

Mix hamburger mixture with ricotta and parmesan. 

Stuff the shells with hamburger/cheese mixture and arrange in pan. 

Pour the remaining sauce over the shells. 

Top with cheeses. I love cheese. Cheese is amazing. 

 Bake at 400 until cheese is brown and bubbly. 

Yum! They were cheesy and delicious! We will definitely be eating these again! Bread, salad, maybe some broccoli. I'm having a thing about broccoli right now. Specifically, this broccoli. If you don't listen to anything I say, listen to this. Go make this broccoli. Soon. Like for dinner tonight. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One Day

One day my boys will be grown. Their beds will be empty. 

There won't be smeary banana fingerprints on my windows 
Or spaghetti sauce on the back of the kitchen chairs
Or toys all over my kitchen floor
Or a toddler everywhere I step
Or baby grins after naptime
Or running footsteps in the morning
Or grinning boys posing for pictures
Or random socks left wherever they were thrown off. 

One day my house will stay clean, my fridge will stay full, my nights will be uninterrupted. What I'm going to do I'd better do quickly. One day will be here soon. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pork Chops

I pinned a pork chop recipe on Pinterest and then discovered it didn't really link to a recipe! What?? All it had was a description of the food so I decided to go with it. And it was a hit! Simple and delicious. Do you detect a theme? 

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup honey
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 1/2-3 pounds pork chops (I used bone-in because they were much cheaper!)

Mix together soy sauce, honey, and garlic. 

Add pork chops, being sure to coat each side in the marinade. Refrigerate for 3+ hours. This could definitely go all day. 

 Lay pork chops on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 35 minutes. 

All that marinade will make a mess on your pan but check out that meat! And if you use a non-stick pan it will come clean easily. 

Yummy pork chops! Yes, I had started eating this before I remembered I hadn't taken a picture! I'm glad I thought about it then! They were so moist and I find it's easy to overcook pork chops because I don't make them frequently. The marinade really helps with that. 

And by the way, that broccoli?? Amazing! I could eat a whole pan of it by myself. No lie. You should definitely try it. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Favorites

If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle till you can. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very vine of strengthening to someone else. Try to re-state to yourself what you implicitly feel to be God's truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.  Oswald Chambers
That is why I'm trying to write down what I'm learning. And I'm writing a lot more than you're reading. It helps me understand it better. It helps me remember it. And one day it may help someone else! I know I have been blessed by many people who have taken the time to write down what they have learned. 

And now, on to the pictures :) 

I have adorable pictures of Micah in this same outfit at almost this same age. I couldn't resist. 

He was so excited. I think he's going to like having his picture made as much as Micah does. Although he doesn't really like hats.  It stayed on for as long as the pictures took. 

Ok, Micah on the left. Kevin on the right. 

Husband's birthday was last weekend. My cake stuck to my pans. It was bad. And hilarious. But never fear, we just stacked them up, thinned the icing and poured it over the top. It was delicious but certainly not a triumphant baking moment. 

 Took a picture for Daddy! 

Micah's art! Justin said he was a chip off the old block. (And he was referring to himself. He doesn't call me old! Or a block.)

I thought Kevin was going to get out of the seat and come across the kitchen. he sat way up here! 

Clothes change! We were pretending it was summer and putting on shorts! But speaking of summer, I love Daylight Savings Time!! These longer evenings are so nice! And it will be spring soon. We have some green appearing! Enjoy your weekend! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All the Days of Her Life

Want to know my favorite thing about reading my Bible? I love how you can read something you've read many times before and see something new. The Bible really is a living Book. God can meet His children right where they are in life. 

A few days ago I was reading the Proverbs 31 passage and only got three verses in. Verse twelve says, "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." I had only considered that verse in the context of a lifetime commitment. ALL the days of her life. Until he or she is dead. But this time I saw it in the context of all the days. Today. Tomorrow. The next day. Next week. How am I doing my husband good today? 

Next week, next month, next year are all great times to set goals. I don't have to do anything! But when it's today I have to consider what I can do differently. How can I do my husband good today? This is a great daily marriage focus for me. It's easy for me to get wrapped up in teaching the boys and getting my work done and not intentionally focus on my husband.  But asking myself this question throughout the day refocuses me. 

So I plan on asking myself this question every day "all the days of my life." 

Monday, March 11, 2013

French Bread Pizza

There are some recipes so ridiculously simple that I feel bad even posting them. But they are also amazing and we eat them a lot. And I only recently tried this. What's wrong with me?? 

Want pizza quickly? Make French bread pizza! I make my own french bread now that I found a recipe I actually like. I've tried three or four recipes and most of them are really dense but this one is delicious!  I double the recipe and freeze them. We can eat those four loaves quickly. It does appear that it does best if you let it rise as much as possible. Do the three to five times. Just pick a day when you're home and punch it down when you walk by. It really doesn't require much watching. 

Once again, this is really simple. Slice your loaf of bread in half horizontally. You can slice off some of the middle if you want your bread portion smaller.  Then cut to the size of pizza you want. This was a small one for us. I just wanted a small one for lunch one day Justin wasn't coming home. 

Layer on some spaghetti sauce. As much or little as you like. 

Add your first layer of cheese. My preference here is provolone slices but I use whatever is in the fridge. 

Add pepperoni. 

Add your favorite pizza toppings. I love pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach, and black olives on mine but this time I only did pepperoni and mushroom. 

Top with mozzarella.

Place on cookie sheet and bake at 425 until cheese is melty and browned. This will also make the bottom all crispy. Yum! 

Here's a picture of one with spinach. Seriously, so yummy!  And a quick trick for delicious pizza! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Favorites

Boy Fun! 

Hey! Whatcha looking at? Seriously, how is he already almost sitting up?? 

This rice stuff....not so sure about it.

Silly boy! He loves the prayer sticks! 

Micah loves to have his picture taken! 

And I love these boys! And this picture!