Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Were you wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth? Well, I haven't, and thankfully my lack of posting has not been due to morning sickness, either. However, my laptop has been needing repairs for several weeks, and the only place Don trusts to fix it correctly has a three week turnaround. Since it is difficult to type on the desktop, I probably won't be blogging much in the near future. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on some sleep, reading, and household tasks in the meantime!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Hayden's Second!

Today's Wordless Wednesday is brought to you by chocolate crazy cake and by the Number 2.

They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Psalm 145:7

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For Fresh Air, Freedom, and Fifty

Since I have been tired lately and not always feeling well, it has been easy to focus on myself and my perceived needs. For a little perspective, though, I would like to share a few things I am thankful for today. It is amazing how counting our blessings really can change our outlook!

I am thankful for my sweet husband, who stayed home to take care of the children on Monday while I laid in bed with a migraine and nausea. He even gave them their baths, washed the dishes, and did the laundry - all tasks which are usually my sole domain. It was such a blessing to be able to rest, know that the boys were having fun with Daddy, and not worry about the house falling apart.

I am thankful for Don's job, which gives him enough sick time to be there for me when I need him, and pays enough for us to live comfortably. He has wonderful benefits there including vacation time, bonuses, and good health insurance. I am ever grateful for the opportunity to be home full-time with our children because my husband works so hard to provide for our family.

I am thankful for our children, who make me laugh and make me grow, challenging me to be more gentle, more patient, more creative, and less selfish. I am excited that God has chosen to bless us with another pregnancy, and trust that He will give me the strength I need to meet the challenges of each new day as our family grows.

I am thankful for fresh air, because when I manage to overcome the lazy desire to shut myself indoors, the crisp fall air and sunshine work wonders for my mood. The beauty of nature reminds me of the Sovereign Creator who designed each intricate detail of the natural world. I realize how insignificant I am in the vastness of the universe, and yet how precious to the One who made me for His own glory.

I am thankful, especially since today is Veteran's Day, for the many freedoms we enjoy in this country, and for those who fight to protect them. Though America's future seems uncertain, I can rejoice that today I can worship God freely, teach my children to walk in His ways, and enjoy my liberty without fear of persecution.

I am thankful that no matter what happens, God is in control. He has control of the little details and the world events, from what house we buy to what President will lead us. I am thankful for the promise that Jesus will return, and for the guide book He has given me so that I can prepare myself for that blessed day.

And I am thankful for my blog, neglected though it may be while I lounge around feeling sleepy and uninspired. I love being able to share my thoughts with my readers and reading your encouraging comments. This is my 50th published post! So thank you, Lord, for many blessings, and for friends who share in my joy.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire." - Hebrews 12:28-29

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lentil Soup for the Soul

I have read that pregnancy cravings can reflect a nutritional deficiency in the mother: a craving for steak means mom needs protein and iron, while a sudden desire for strawberries can signal a lack of Vitamin C. If such reasoning is true (and I am not convinced that it necessarily is), apparently my body is short on sleep and sugar.

You may have noticed my lack of posting lately, which is thanks to the early pregnancy fatigue that leaves me struggling to stay awake during my usual evening blogging time. Even with a daily nap, I find myself too tired to type a coherent blog post. And while fruit and meats have gained little appeal to me, I have been consuming gingerale and chocolate chip cookies in never before seen quantities. Normally, I bake with honey rather than sugar, and avoid any products with high fructose corn syrup, but lately those very items seem to be the only ones that will settle my pregnant stomach.

Since I am slightly nauseous and growing a baby, I feel comfortable giving in to the sugar cravings - in moderation. I am realizing, though, how quickly giving in to desires becomes habit, and habits become expectations. This can happen with a cookie (or two, or three) to quell queasiness, or with a destructive and sinful habit (such as, say, self-centered thoughts that revolve around one's own physical comfort). Yet the reverse can also be true: good deeds become habits, which in turn become expectations. I have a habit of daily Bible reading, so reading two chapters every morning has become my expectation.

Even with good habits in place, though, I have been convicted that I am craving cookies more than I am craving God's Word. I am ashamed to think that I set temporal pleasures - even those as innocent as snacks - above the desire to know my Savior. Shouldn't my greatest longing, the one that consumes my thoughts, be to know and love the Lord my God? Why does my mind desperately seek ways to comfort my flesh instead of ways to nourish my soul? The Lord Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6). If I allow Him to fill me with righteousness, maybe I can stop thinking about myself for long enough to experience a truly satisfied hunger.

As far as my eating habits, thankfully I have managed to sneak a few nutrients into my sugar-laced pregnancy diet, even beyond the whole wheat flour I used to make cookies. While browsing through my recipes this week, I found some ideas for lentil soup, and the vision of a hot bowl of soup on a chilly fall day inspired me to break out the bag of legumes I had nearly given up on. My prior experiments with lentil recipes have sometimes been edible, but never anything the other members of my family would touch. This time, though, I managed to concoct a meatless soup that actually tasted good enough to share the recipe.

Lentil Soup
  • 16 oz. Kitchen Basics chicken stock
  • 16 oz. water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 chopped onion (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. sea salt

Combine ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer until carrots and rice are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. In my soup, the lentils broke down to become a protein-rich broth, leaving me with a tasty chicken and rice soup, with some carrots thrown in for variety. Yum!

And it wasn't just Mumma and baby number three who enjoyed the soup; my picky boys - including Donny, who refuses any normal meal that could be classified as dinner - ate their entire servings too. Even my picky husband managed to choke down a few bowls without complaint. A nutritious, inexpensive, and easy meal the whole family will eat? I think this is a first - and definitely a meal to make again!

Well, I'd like to write more, but it is 9:00pm and I am just about ready for bed. First, though, I need to update my grocery list: we need flour, raw sugar, and red lentils. And I need to spend some time with my Bible, too. In spite of my drooping eyelids, I'm hungering for a few more morsels of God's precious Word.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reminders from God

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

James 5:7-8