Monday, July 14, 2014

Raw Caramel Apple Dessert


It's about 85 degrees in Seattle right now which means it's like 100 degrees in our apartment. Cooking has become unbearable!

My husband is a genius and came up with a delish dessert and a fun way to cool down while we are in the house in these dog days of summer. The first is very simple: a dollar store spray bottle. We're having fun in here spraying each other and feeling more refreshed. The other thing my handsome hubby came up with: the BEST dessert ever! There isn't much of a recipe but here is the general idea:

Chop up 1 apple, add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and sprinkle with a dash each of cinnamon (maybe 1 tsp), salt, and stevia. Now here's the part where we kick it up a notch. Add a very small amount of oil and caramel extract. Mix it all up and enjoy. It is seriously like a raw caramel apple pie without all the guilt and no baking in this hot heat!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Embracing Imperfect


I fall victim to it all the time. I'll be checking my facebook or instagram and see a friend on a fabulous summer vacation or just complete a swanky new home project, and I get jealous. I want to also be having a fabulous time and a beautiful home so I try and make myself look like I too am living an equally as amazing life. But it's all a show. It's all my way to look like I'm perfect. It's this thing I feel I need to achieve. To be a perfect mom and wife. To be an excellent home maker and cook. To be a totally toned and fit woman. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to do well at something or enjoying yourself on a vacation, not at all, but there is a problem with seeing someone else have those things and then coveting after them. My reality, however, is imperfection. We can't always afford expensive vacations (staycations here we
come! :P), we don't own a house so there are no projects to be done, and I am by no means a perfect mother! Every day is a constant reminder of my imperfect existence.

As you know, ever since the birth of my daughter, I've been on a journey to get back into shape. I recently finished two more sessions of the workout program that changed my life and perspective on living a healthy lifestyle. I don't know what happened at the end of this last session, but I kind of went off the deep end. I've always been good about my food choices and kept on a pretty focused meal planning system (never feeling deprived of delicious food mind you and definitely not starving myself!) but I ended up eating like cookie monster for the last several weeks, literally devouring everything in sight including all those not so good for you items, i.e. boxed cookies, cereal. It's carb city over here! Jeremy and I have been hoping to add another little one to our family soon so when my pants started to feel tight I got hopeful that that was the reason why. When I found out it was just me putting on a few pounds I realized I had a problem. I recently signed up for my first half marathon and I just finished week one of my training. Getting back into the swing of things is tough, but it is absolutely necessary or I'll never grow, well, not in the way I want!

I feel like this applies in all areas of my life right now. I viewed a series of baby & toddler early development informational videos this last week. Usually when Hannah disobeys my instructions and outright defies me I get angry and/or frustrated and proceed to punish or discipline her in whatever way needs to be done at the time. After viewing those videos, my perspective changed. The doctors explained that each and every  baby or toddler is testing their boundaries, learning how far they can act or do in a certain situation. They are just seeing where those limits lie. And every time they do this it serves as an opportunity to teach. That's our job as parents and  I feel like I completely overlook that part most of the time and instead of seeing the teachable moment I just see a difficult situation that I have to begrudgingly deal with. Now I'm using my new perspective to approach each situation with more love and patience knowing that it's my job to teach her to control herself, to obey her parents and to enjoy the moment within the boundaries we've set.

These two areas in my life serve as examples of just how imperfect I am. That doesn't mean I wallow in my imperfection and say woe is me. We must strive for excellence, and for the God honoring desires we have, but also know that we're never going to be perfect. We're never going to be the best dressed, have the nicest house, or go on the best vacations. We need to stop trying to keep up with the Jones's (and by we, I mean me!! :) ) I'm beginning to embrace the fact that I'll never be an amazing athlete or perfect mother but I can learn from my mistakes and move forward knowing that they serve as a steppingstone to help me become a better person, someone that knows that it's God's grace that covers those mistakes and sins in my life. My identity is in who I am in Christ, not in what I achieve or do on instagram or facebook.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." -2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Seeing the Silver Lining {A Praise Report}

A month or so ago, I wrote about the growing pains associated with raising a toddler and yes, the struggle is still there, but God has enabled me to grow in this area of my life. He has enabled me to love her and be patient with her. He has given me new eyes and a new heart in the situation.

As I am writing this my little one is throwing a tantrum in her room. This time it was because I looked at her and smiled. : / Being a first time parent, all these things are new to me. At first when she'd throw tantrums I would get frustrated with her and then at myself for getting so mad. Now I can't help but giggle when she throws a fit because she is being so silly. Kicking and screaming for no reason at all.

She is learning and growing and trying to establish herself as a person. She is testing her boundaries and seeing how much control she has in her surroundings. I get that and understand the struggle. I feel the same way in my own life sometimes.

God uses these every day moments to teach unconditional love. Even when Hannah is shoving me away and crying about me not letting her watch Elmo for the umpteenth time, I sit and extend my arms open for her. I wait patiently for my girl to come to her senses and embrace me back. It doesn't happen now because she may still be mad but I will continue to love her and wait for her. Parenthood is a beautiful picture of how the Father deals with us. What a blessing to be able to partake in this journey with the sweet family God has given me to love and teach and also to learn from.

I guess the point of this post is to tell you mamas to hang in there. You're going to have good days and you're going to have bad days. But when you lean on Christ to see you through the challenges, He will be right by your side. I've seen in my life and if you trust in Him, be assured you'll see it in yours too!

                                   Now for a few pics of Hannah's best meltdowns ;)
Happy (or sad) Memorial Day 2013
Apparently she didn't want to play in the barn :(

Hannah hating her drindl

Thursday, June 5, 2014

{Book Club} Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

I've always been a big Martha Stewart fan. I LOVE her and her amazing culinary and crafting skills. Her home is always impeccable and her parties were stylized perfectly. Well move over Martha, because I recently finished reading Bread & Wine: A love letter to life around the table, by Shauna Niequist, and I think I've met my new culinary soul mate.
"It takes some time to learn, to try and fail and make a mess and try again. It takes even longer to get truly comfortable, to feel at home with a knife in your hand, to read through recipes as a guideline or set of ideas, to read through and add your preferences of tastes, your history and perspective. But it's a lovely process, with not a minute wasted. If you put in the time, the learning, the trying, the mess, and the failure, at the end you will have learned to feed yourself and the people you love, and that's a skill for life - like tennis or piano but yummier and far less expensive."

It's not just the beautiful way she describes dinner parties with friends and family or the mouth watering recipes she shares, it's her heart and her desire behind them. She is authentic and beautiful. Her soul is right there for you to read on every page of her book. She is someone you can talk to, laugh with and cry together. It's one thing to put on a fancy party and it's another to feed a grieving friend who's mother just died or celebrate a homecoming of a loved one. It's not just about preparing a delicious meal, it's about connecting with people you love, forming new relationships, and remembering the reason why we care for others.
"And I believe Jesus asked us to remember Him during the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine every time, every meal, every day - no matter where we are, who we are what we've done. If we only practice remembrance every time we take Communion at church, we miss three opportunities a day to remember. What a travesty! Eugene Peterson says that 'to eyes that see, every bush is a burning bush.' Yes, that, exactly. To those of us who believe that all of life is sacred, every crumb of bread and sip of wine is a Eucharist, a remembrance, a call to awareness of holiness right where we are."
Don't get me wrong, I love to plan parties and entertain friends and family at our house but I often times have to check myself to make sure I am not doing it as a performance but doing it out of love. I'm reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. Mary sits at Jesus' feet and there is Martha, busy at work in the kitchen again. :) This Martha, not unlike Ms. Stewart, thought that the most important thing was getting everything done and perfect for her guest, but Jesus reminded her that the most important thing was to just be with and listen to Him. Likewise, when we have friends and family over, we should be with them and bless them with encouragment and fellowship. So the chicken was a little overcooked and the house not 100% clean, the point of having your loved ones there is to love them, not put on a show.
"What people are craving isn't perfection. People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel at home."
Sauna is such a lovely person. I couldn't help but want her as my own friend to gab with for hours while we cook in the kitchen. I guess until that day I will settle with enjoying her book and amazing recipes!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A day in the life {SAHM Style}

7am - Breakfast with this kiddo
9am - Family bible study time
11am - Preparing Daddy's food for work and trying out some new recipes
1pm - Story time and afternoon nap
2pm - Quiet time for mommy :) :) :)
4pm - Quick trip to the store (in her 2nd outfit of the day!)
7pm - Evening workout class - here I come!
9pm - Dinner and sleep before I start it all over again tomorrow

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Endurance

 "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" -Hebrews 12:1
I love to run. I don't know what it is but there is just a simple joy in lacing up my shoes and going on a jog around the neighborhood. I've always done 5k's, 8k's and 10k races but I am now in training to complete my longest run to date: a half marathon. That's 13.1 miles!

This past weekend I ran in the 'Beat the Bridge' race here in Seattle. 20 minutes after the last runner crosses the start line, the University Bridge goes up, stopping any runners from getting across until it is lowered again. I am happy to say that I beat the bridge. :)


Running is an endurance sport but not just for the athletic side. Endurance is needed in controling your mind too. Something happens in your head when you run. I expressed my joy for running but on my longer runs, there comes a point in the middle when my mind wanders and I just don't think I can do it. All through the run I am convincing myself that I can do this, making up little things in my head to keep my mind occupied while my legs continue to work. I think in life we let the same thing happen to ourselves. We sabotage our efforts for what we truly want. We let sin come in and ensnare us. But it is in trusting God and laying aside those sins that we can truly move forward.

The half marathon I want to compete in is taking place this fall so I have some time to prepare mentally and train physically for this feat. It won't be easy but it will be so wonderful to achieve this goal of mine and tell that little negative voice in my head "Yes I can!".

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Growing Pains

Motherhood is hard. I don't know if I was naive or just didn't pay attention growing up, but I never knew the struggle involved in raising children. When I was pregnant with Hannah I had visions of a cute, happy baby always playing, eating all her food, sleeping well, etc... Oh brother, what was I thinking!? Don't get me wrong, Hannah is such a blessing but it's not all rainbows and flowers. Sometimes it is and other times it's messy floors and tantrums.

We've had a couple of rough days this week and I was in tears when Jeremy came home last night. I just felt defeated. At 19 months, she has taken on a mind of her own. She doesn't like to eat meat, she gives us kisses but then promptly wipes away our "cooties", and she has just discovered hitting. She is usually an angel but I think the combination of bad behavior has really gotten to me. All of this leads me to be less patient and irritable right back to her which in turn makes me feel worse. I am the adult, I need to be setting the example to her and teaching her to be patient and loving, even to people who don't deserve it.

This morning during our family bible study time, Jeremy reminded me that Jesus paid for our sins. Not just the sins in our past but the ones we currently commit and the ones yet to come. He chose us before the foundation of the world and He knew of the great sinners we would be but He chose us anyways.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
"It is crucial as a mom to ask God for moment by moment wisdom" - Lysa  TerKeurst
I am so happy to be a mother. When the tantrum ends, and she gives me one of her sweet smiles, I know it's all worth it. This is my calling, hard as it may be, and I need to rely on God to help me raise this little rug rat. And in those times when I fail, to rely on Him to pick me back up because this mama can't do this alone!