Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuna Cornbread Cakes

I am looking for more ways to get good healthful fish into our diet. My guys love salmon, just plain grilled, but I naturally prefer white fish so I've had to acquire a taste for salmon. I've enjoyed my friend Jamie's recipe for an orange-maple glaze, but my favorite way to prepare salmon is definitely to add so much garlic that it covers up the salmon flavor (added bonus: it uses canned salmon, which is way cheaper).

Then there's tuna. I enjoy tuna noodle casserole, but not enough to have it every week or even once a month (I don't even cook most of our favorites that often). Quite a while back, I found this recipe in a magazine and finally got around to trying it yesterday. It was a hit! Well, Elijah wasn't a huge fan, but I think that's because a) he thought it was a hamburger—one of his favorite foods, and 2) the lemon aioli was a strong, surprising flavor (the look on his face was hilarious). Still, he ate three or four bites, so I think he'll come around.

The recipe turned out to be quite time-consuming for me yesterday: first, I had misread the recipe, and ended up having to make cornbread from scratch before I could do anything else; second, I didn't have Old Bay seasoning so I had to google a recipe and make my own. That plus the other new recipe I was trying with the rainbow chard I found at the farmers' market on Saturday meant my kitchen looked like a bomb went off. Now that these things are done (I froze the extra cornbread) next time it will be a cinch to put together. If you make the cornbread ahead (or use a box mix) and buy Old Bay, it'll come together quickly and easily.

Without further ado...Tuna Cornbread Cakes with Lemon Aioli. We're definitely having this again.

Tuna Cornbread Cakes
(adapted from Southern Living)

cornbread, prepared (I use this recipe)
2 T mayonnaise
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 T chopped fresh parsley (I omitted)
1 t. Old Bay seasoning (I used this imitation)
1/2 – 1 t. garlic powder
a little lemon pepper
splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 cans chunk light tuna
3 T butter
3 T olive oil
Lemon Aioli (see below)

Stir together mayonnaise, onions and seasonings. Crumble two cups' worth of cornbread. Fold cornbread crumbs and tuna into mayo mixture until blended well. Shape into eight patties.

Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown tuna patties 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden; drain on paper towels. Serve with Lemon Aioli.

Lemon Aioli:
6 T mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t. grated lemon rind
1 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt

What are your favorite salmon or tuna recipes?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Multitude Monday, Take 206

WHOM do I thank?

I keep a daily list of gifts. But what separates this list from a list any random agnostic could make of "27 Things I Love"? It has to move from gifts to Giver, from a generic warm-fuzzy pleasantness to a personal "Thank You."

This week my goal is to direct my thoughts "back up the sunbeam to the sun," as C.S. Lewis put it. Not just, "ah, this is nice, so glad to enjoy it," but "Thank YOU, Lord, for this gift, an expression of Your goodness and mercy and love for me!"

A few of His recent gifts...

1684. boys taking long, simultaneous naps
1685. reminders from older moms that this season is fleeting and one day I will miss it
1686. infinite mercy
1687. Elijah's first carousel ride
1688. Elijah walking through the mall, left arm swinging wildly, jabbering about who knows what

1689. free samples at the food court
1690. roadside strawberries
1691. boys giggling in the backseat
1692. anticipation of many years of brothers making each other laugh
1693. grace to get through a couple of days without Steve

1694. Steve home again safely
1695. friends reaching out to spend time with me while he was gone
1696. not having to take the boys to the basement in the middle of the night during storms
1697. unexpected phone call from my mom
1698. Jude's desire to be held

1699. Elijah matching socks for me
1700. Scripture prayers
1701. our zoo membership
1702. ride on the new "train" at the zoo
1703. food out of the freezer

1704. my neck didn't go out while Steve was gone
1705. helpful, gospel-centered preaching from our pastor
1706. amazing grace that saved a wretch like me

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Last Word: BUT God

[Returning to and revising this post as I am needing the reminder fourteen months later...]

So often my inner monologue goes something like this:

"Lord, I know Your Word says children are a blessing, but this sure doesn't feel like a blessing right now--I am not enjoying it."

"I know we're not supposed to complain about the weather, but I sure am frustrated at how all the rain has brought the mosquitoes out in full force."

"Steve's promotion at work was a huge blessing, I know, but I'm really not a fan of his having to travel more and these intensive weeks when he comes home later with his brain fried."

Notice a pattern? My emotions get the last word. "Truth, BUT...emotions that drown out that truth."

More and more I'm realizing the need to practice exactly the opposite:

"Lord, I'm really struggling to enjoy and appreciate these blessings, but You have indeed blessed me with TWO sons to raise for Your glory. Through my boys I can have an impact on places I will never go, people I will never meet, in a time I will not live to see. Through them You are refining me, teaching me patience, exposing my sin, giving me glimpses of my helplessness and Your Father-heart. You have chosen such a kind, gentle, beautiful way to refine me. You love me and are committed to making me holy! You are using motherhood and all its difficulties to glorify Your name and remake me in the image of Your Son. You are graciously teaching me humility and dependence on You; You are tearing down the idols in my heart because You are jealous for my affections. This is hard, but You are with me and I have every reason to praise You!"

"Lord, I definitely don't like mosquitoes, but you are the Sovereign Creator of everything, including bugs, and You know what's best. ...OK, I really don't know how to spin mosquitoes positively, I believe their itchy bites are a direct result of the Fall, but at least I can know that in Heaven they won't be biting me or my sweet babies!"

"I'm feeling frustrated because I miss my husband when he's not mentally/physically here--but thank You that most of the time, he IS here! You have blessed me with a faithful, loyal husband who works hard to provide for his family and really, in the grand scheme, doesn't have to work long hours or travel that much. And I love that he is so valued and respected in his job! Thank You for giving me a man who serves his family so diligently when he is at work and when he is home."

Same content...totally different perspective. Who gets the last word? The fact is, my emotions are untrustworthy and God's Word is true, not vice versa. Rather than letting my fickle feelings about my circumstances trump what is eternally true, I need to submit my emotions to the Truth.

I'm not saying it's wrong to be honest about how I feel. The emotions are real, and it's better to acknowledge them than to bury them and pretend they don't exist. But I don't want to let myself be ruled by them. Emotions make terrible masters. My heart can only be ruled by one Master--and how much better to be ruled by the wise, loving, sovereign, NEVER-changing King...than my foolish, self-centered, limited-perspective, constantly-shifting emotions?

Two of the most beautiful words I have ever memorized are "BUT God." Horrible truth about who we were in our sin and the hopelessness of our condition...But God, being rich in mercy, trumped that hopelessness. Reality was bleak--but God was bigger.

This week I'm trying to "...But God" my emotions. I'm learning to let the King have the last word.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cynical Blasphemy

Since Sunday I've been chewing on this quote from Paul Miller's book A Praying Life:
"Cynicism looks reality in the face, calls it phony, and prides itself on its insight as it pulls back. Thanksgiving looks reality in the face and rejoices in God's care. It replaces a bitter spirit with a generous one.” (p. 90)
“Reality” is another way of saying “that which is true.” And if all truth is God's truth—if Jesus Himself IS the Truth—then in cynicism I am looking God in the face and calling Him phony. I am proudly pulling back from intimacy with my Savior (and wondering why He feels distant?!), self-satisfied and smug in knowing that *I* recognized His promises as empty, unreliable, false.


O, for grace to replace my cynicism with thanksgiving. Evidence of God's care is everywhere, if I will only have eyes to see it. If I fix my eyes on the Truth, I see the YES to all of His promises, and I can trust and rejoice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Review: Craving Grace

In the spirit of Lisa Velthouse's searing honesty in her new memoir, Craving Grace:

There was a tiny, weird part of me that didn't want to like this book.

I went to college with Lisa. We weren't really friends, just acquaintances, though I remember her as one of the first people I spent time with during my first week on campus as a very lonely freshman. She seemed to have already amassed a gaggle of friends, and I was wistful. I learned that night that she was the Brio Girl, and though I previously had no idea what Brio was, I was duly impressed. And jealous.

When her first book was published a couple of years later, I was jealouser still. The part of me that was dying of curiosity to read Saving My First Kiss lost out to the part of me that resented the fact that a girl I knew—a girl my age—was a published author. I'd dreamed of being a Real! Life! Author! ever since middle school, when I wrote a letter to Ann M. Martin and she responded. Here was Lisa, published at 21, established as a role model for young girls and doing public speaking all over the country—the same set of giftings and interests I had, with the opportunities I lacked but longed for. It was enough to make a prideful college senior not buy the book out of spite.

Did I really just admit that?

And that's the question I found myself asking over and over as I read Craving Grace: Did she really just admit that? It wasn't so much that the thoughts and actions Lisa described were so appalling, because every time I began to raise my eyebrows in judgment, it didn't take long to spot myself in her confession. It was that I couldn't believe she'd own up to such...carnality.

That's not to give a false impression of this book as titillating in its description of sin; it isn't. It's simply that for Lisa to recount her deepest thoughts the way she did took a lot of courage, a lot of humility. I tend to pride myself on being vulnerable and honest—but I typically do it in broad generalizations. The specificity with which Lisa shares the ugliness of her heart is often uncomfortable. Because it is familiar.

Shortly before I read Craving Grace, I read a profound blog post by Lisa that encapsulates exactly what her memoir succeeds in doing:
To write one’s self honestly — to take a day, a month, a year, whatever, and record what actually happened — is not a pretty experience. It’s especially harrowing for those of us who assume we are mostly good. When the veil comes off, when the real thoughts and events and conversations are put to paper, we find that we are not the delightful and winsome people we’d like to think we are. Sometimes we don’t even come close. This is why one of the biggest challenges in writing memoir is presenting the self-character fairly: not skimping on ugly portions, and not giving extra emphasis to attractive ones. There are times when the allure of over- and under-stating can feel constant.

At a most basic level, each of us would like to believe that we are not so flawed as our actions would prove. We’d like to believe we are better, and we’d like to be seen as better. But the gospel of Christ can free us from the desire to masquerade. In him, there’s no need for anything more — no exaggerated trimmings, no theatrical frills — because he is it, and with him we have enough and then some. His light falls on and around and through our sinful realities, and that illuminated darkness is a story worth telling every time. His presence puts meaning in our unseemly and bare details, and makes them spellbinding.
That's the beauty of Craving Grace. As the spotlight falls on Lisa, most of the time, it doesn't flatter her. (She actually is beautiful, at least from what I know, and really no more self-centered than the rest of us; it's just that the way she exposes her sinful heart in this book is more raw than the rest of us dare to let the world see.) Instead, the stories she tells magnify Christ and the sweetness of His grace.

All that to say...I loved the book. “Courageous” is one of the words that came to mind most frequently, in light of Lisa's transparency. But Lisa isn't just honest for authenticity's sake; she uses her honesty to relate the beautiful truths she learned about God along the way.

I did have a few minor complaints/concerns. First, it felt like Lisa was awfully derogatory toward her first book. On one hand, in the context of Craving Grace, I understand where that comes from as far as her journey out of legalism. On the other hand, I wonder how that will affect girls who responded to the first book's message. In her desire to emphasize grace and tear down the “good Christian girl who has to earn God's favor” religion she'd built, Lisa almost seemed to tear down what I think is still valid, not-necessarily-legalistic advice about purity and premarital relationships. Not having read her first book, I'm sort of speculating here, but not too wildly, I don't think.

I will also admit that it kind of seemed a little too convenient that God was sweet when Lisa got what she wanted and the pieces of her life started falling into place. On the other hand—does my skepticism here merely reflect my own warped understanding of God's character? Am I simply too cynical to accept at face value the reality that God lavishly blesses His children with good gifts that they have earnestly desired, even when their desires were often idolatrous?

Which brings me to another concern: While the gospel *was* very clear (yay!), I did notice that Lisa seemed to define sin solely on a horizontal level. Any talk of sin was focused on screwing up in relationships with other people; there wasn't (to my recollection) mention of the underlying idolatry, of sin as an offense against God. While I think that's a serious point of theology, I do recognize that this book is a memoir, not a theological treatise.

Finally, I am familiar with—and appreciate—the creative nonfiction convention of jumping back and forth in a seemingly disjointed yet artistic way. And I think for the most part Lisa used it well (the book alternates between events of three-years-ago and present-at-the-time-of-writing). But I kept flipping back, trying to orient myself. Mostly I was confused about the actual sweets fast(s). Were there multiple (failed) attempts? It's not exactly clear.

Regardless of these minor quibbles, it's really a lovely book. I was hooked from the beginning; the chapter titles alone were brilliant. And the writing delivered on what the table of contents promised. Many times I marked poignant turns of phrase and vivid metaphors. Lisa provides lots of sweet morsels to chew on in her narratives about encountering the God of extravagant grace.

So, to conclude the world's most long-winded book review: I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend Craving Grace. And...stick around, because Lisa has agreed to do an author interview here on my blog. Lord willing, I'll be posting a Q&A with her sometime in the next couple of weeks. [Update: Read part 1 and part 2 of my interview with Lisa.]

[full disclosure: Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review]

Monday, May 23, 2011

Multitude Monday, Take 205

"To become thankful is to be drawn into the fellowship of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, into their enjoyment of one another, of life, and of people." ~ Paul Miller, A Praying Life

This week, I've been thanking God for...

1661. the joy of hearing Elijah recite Scripture
1662. burnt sugar pecans - Marjorie's awesome recipe, just like the nuts at the mall
1663. the acoustics in the shower
1664. sugar cookies in animal shapes: dinosaurs, seals, fish, caterpillars
1665. friends with whom to learn to apply the gospel

1666. knowing Romans 8 by heart
1667. Megan, Elijah's old speech therapist, and her ongoing desire to help Elijah grow
1668. my ever-patient and understanding husband
1669. the money to order a backup baby carrier
1670. Wednesday night dinner and prayer with friends

1671. grace to have compassion for Elijah in the middle of the night
1672. opportunities to watch big construction trucks at work
1673. a picnic on Saturday with the KidTalk study people
1674. other people doting on my children
1675. temporary tattoos

1676. Jude wearing a sun hat, sitting in the grass
1677. Elijah's bucket hat and sunglasses
1678. Qdoba for lunch, unexpectedly
1679. the logic and common sense of baby-led weaning
1680. Jude's first tooth

1681. dinner with friends
1682. not remembering my sins
1683. hymns sung in a crowded living room

Monday, May 16, 2011

Multitude Monday, Take 204

It's not so hard to keep a list of gifts--of things you love. What's harder is to write down the things you don't immediately love and see them as gifts. What's harder still is to start thinking of gifts and speaking thanks--out loud--when the stress mounts.

I'm learning. It really works. In moments when I am frazzled and frustrated, when my heart is seething and my natural inclination is to wallow in "ooh, I hate this," I am increasingly experiencing the grace to choose gratitude instead. "Fight feeling with feeling," as Ann says...it's hard to speak thanks and simultaneously feel resentment.

This week I am thanking God for...

1631. grace to speak those thanks in desperate moments
1632. friends who preach the gospel to me
1633. fresh strawberries bought at the roadside
1634. preschooler constantly asking for help
1635. enough dirty clothes for a full load

1636. death (birds, flowers) right alongside spring's beauty, reminding me that we are not Home yet
1637. dirty diapers
1638. old emails deleted
1639. a huge anthology of Thomas the Train stories from the library--epic win
1640. brilliant writers keeping me company while I nurse

1641. playdate at the park with friends
1642. babies lying on a blanket in the shade
1643. pushing kids on swings
1644. big red rubber ball
1645. first strawberry shortcake of the season

1646. my guys' delight in eating it
1647. khaki bermuda shorts
1648. a faithful, loyal husband
1649. Elijah imitating me (*facepalm*) at a completely appropriate moment, making me laugh when I was frustrated and annoyed
1650. the nonsense rhymes he makes up to go with Jude's name

1651. Jude's white-blond hair
1652. Elijah's unprompted gratitude: "Fank you, Mom! Fank you, God, for da stwawberries!"
1653. daylight lasting longer and longer
1654. mercies new, fresh starts
1655. excited splashing in the bathtub

1656. familiar faces at the farmers' market
1657. lettuce, green onions, shallots, thyme
1658. chickens devouring cicadas
1659. answered prayers for a three-year-old to be brave
1660. old photos of Elijah

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Gospel for Moms

Last week, on a rough day, I emailed the friends with whom I pray on Tuesday nights. Nothing terrible had happened to make it a rough day; I simply found myself in the sadly familiar place of despising the work set before me, and then despising myself for not enjoying motherhood or finding delight in God.

One of my friends responded by preaching the gospel to me, and her words were such an encouragement to me that I got her permission to share them here:
I'm thinking out loud here...The cross, the cross. How does the gospel apply? Double imputation. [Our sin was put on Christ, and His righteousness, meriting the Father's perfect love and favor, was put on us--so we are loved perfectly because we are in Christ!] The promised perfect love of the Father—All He asks of us, as wives, as moms, is shrouded under the assured umbrella of, ‘Because I love you…’ It is good for us, because He only does good, and promises all works together for our good (our being conformed to the image of His Son, who sacrificed His all for us). Motherhood is an opportunity to partake in the sufferings of our Lord--in a very small sense of the word, we would admit--but it does involve sacrifice, a dying to the things we’d rather do, the way we’d rather have it…

I want to know Christ [really know?] and the power of his resurrection [this sounds good] and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings [hmm… put in the context of motherhood, etc.—those places that really challenge and stretch me], becoming like him in his death [Paul, I’m still getting here, when I really think about what that might mean. Spirit, patiently grow me in this direction.]... Philippians 3:10

Double imputation, again. When I reflect upon that reality, that truth, I’m drawn towards surrendering as I remember the selfless, infinite, and undeserving love of my Lord for me. Impress this deep within my heart, so that when I’m inclined to murmur, I instead choose glad surrender for Christ’s sake, as an opportunity to say, “Thank you, Lord. I love you—because you first loved me. Grow in me a desire to be stretched beyond my self, for Your name’s sake. Amen.”
My sweet friend doesn't have a blog, or I would certainly point you there...but I hope her wise, gospel-saturated words are an encouragement to other weary and sinful mamas today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Half Full

Oy. A month of nothing on the blog but gift lists. Which are valuable, but still. I never can seem to sustain long-term actual writing...why is that?

Meanwhile...guess who is six (and a half, now) months old? We're celebrating half a year of our little butterball!

Here he is in Elijah's first Easter outfit. No, they don't actually make spandex khaki pants; that's just me pretending that Jude can still wear 3-6 month clothes. This kid is a tank. He's bigger now than Elijah was at a year. Granted, Elijah was tiny, but still! Jude has plenty of chub (you can pinch the fat on the tops of his feet, for crying out loud!), but he's also just solid. We keep telling Elijah that he better be kind to his little brother, because it may not be long before *he* ends up being the "little" brother :)

I'm glad I've gotten to experience both ends of the baby size spectrum. I have to say, it's fun to have a chubby breastfed baby and know, “MY milk did that—he has grown this big nourished solely from me!” But having had a skinny breastfed baby makes me sensitive. I remember all too well how easy it was to feel defensive and self-conscious when other nursing moms seemed to boast about their big, fat babies while my little guy was healthy and happy, but didn't have three chins or dimples where knuckles should be. Knowing that my milk has produced both a big baby and a small one is good for tempering my pride at Jude's roly-poly thighs.

Though there was definitely a phase when Jude looked just like his older brother, I don't really see it much anymore. (Here's Elijah at six months, if you're curious.) What's especially different is that Jude has his daddy's coloring (I am still holding out hope that his eyes will turn Steve's gorgeous shade of gray-green). Their temperaments seem similar, though...I've had more than one person use the word “chill” to describe Jude. He's such a happy, content, laidback baby.

He's also earned the affectionate nicknames “Slobber Face” or “Drool Monster” because he is a perpetual fountain of saliva.

No teeth yet, but if I don't keep a bib on him, his shirt is guaranteed to look like this:

He recently started the army crawl, and I'm discovering how much harder it is to have a mobile second baby than a mobile firstborn. With Elijah, the only toys we owned were baby toys that were safe for him. Now Elijah's completely un-baby-friendly toys are scattered all over the house, so having Jude on the move is way crazier.

The second baby has also been more difficult in terms of having to deal with the first child's treatment of him. Elijah had more than three years of all the attention, so he's had quite an adjustment, and I've lost count of how many times I've lost my temper in response to his treatment of Jude. On the flip side, he is also really sweet to Jude a lot of the time. (Letting him go in to greet Jude first thing in the morning is a riot; he repeats all the silly things he's heard me say: “Good morning Jude! Are you awake? Are you awake? Tickle, tickle, tickle! Dere's a spot! Get dat fat wolls!") And I love the way Jude just adores his big brother.

I'm still not the mom who cries as she packs up the small clothes; I look forward to the stages to come. The cup of Jude's first year is half full for me, not half empty. But although I've found that the newborn stage is still definitely not my favorite, I have been much more able to enjoy it this time around. Jude is a charmer, with those gummy grins and that entirely kissable face. Even he likes to check out the cute baby in any reflective surface:

I'm trying to soak up moments—to stare at his sleeping face, to hold him a little longer. I love seeing Jude grow and change—but who knows if I'll ever have a tiny baby again? I'm not in a fog of despair like the kind that makes my memories of Elijah's first year a blur, and for that I'm unspeakably grateful.

Yet if I'm perfectly honest, I have to admit that although we got off to an infinitely better start this time around, the babymoon ended pretty quickly. Nursing, which I expected to be much easier the second time, turned out to be nightmarishly worse. And it didn't take long before I found myself struggling with the competing demands of two children and the ways they cross the selfish demands of my own flesh. Many, many times a day I had to remind myself: The newborn stage does not last forever. And God has provided, is providing, and will continue to provide the grace you need.

I'm often discouraged to realize how little has changed in my heart since I first became a mother almost four years ago. It seems that I didn't get less self-centered and more willing to serve sacrificially; my kid just got easier. And so now that I have a demanding baby again, I'm still dealing with the same heart issues that contributed to my struggles last time. But this time, at least one thing is different. I am taking up my shield of faith and trying, however feebly, to fight. I am giving thanks and speaking truth. I am saying little Jude's name and declaring—praying--that This time, I will praise the Lord.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Multitude Monday, Take 203

Thanking God this week for...

1602. seventeen baby chicks of various sizes and breeds

1603. friends who are raising them with/for us
1604. my boys' delight in watching them

1605. Steve's hard work to fix up the chicken coop
1606. pizza and fellowship with our friends last night as we kicked off the chicken adventure

1607. a fantastically helpful meeting with Elijah's old speech therapist
1608. a husband who remains calm and patient and logical when I am frazzled
1609. advice and support and prayer from friends
1610. difficult decisions being made for me, thus quickly ending the agonizing and deliberating
1611. the rest that His sovereignty provides

1612. the relief of pumping when I feel like I'm about to explode
1613. spicy chili
1614. instances of Elijah being kind to Jude
1615. the people at the hatchery who were SO helpful and patient with all my chicken questions
1616. lost slipper found

1617. determined little Jude pulling himself all over the living room, getting into everything
1618. Elijah reciting Colossians 3:20
1619. adult conversation at the end of a long day
1620. time to sit and breathe and pray in the quiet dark while nursing Jude to sleep
1621. playdate with friends

1622. getting my haircut fixed and liking it much better
1623. husband taking me out for dinner for Mother's Day
1624. pineapple margarita
1625. chips and queso
1626. fresh peonies in a vase on the table

1627. baby fat

1628. my giving and loving mother
1629. my wonderful mother-in-law
1630. the privilege of being a mother

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ 5.6.11

Because I am needing to blog about something other than what I'm thankful for...but don't have the mental energy to compose a thoughtful post today...the Simple Woman's Daybook:

Outside my window...
Sunshine! For a while there I was starting to feel like Noah :) Everything is all greened up and gorgeous. I love spring (minus the frequent tornado watches/warnings).

I am thinking...
that this is a season, and though the days are long, the years are short. I won't always have to wipe bottoms...change outfits fourteen times...remain patient through screaming and whining...carry twenty pounds of chub on my hip. And probably there will come a day when I wish I could again. Probably.

I am thankful for...
the fact that the gospel is true, and the reminder from King Josiah's life (2 Kings 23-24) that amazing, godly children can come even from wicked and awful parents.

From the kitchen...
whole wheat bread very, very slowly rising...it appears my yeast is no good (and I just bought it this week, grr). Elijah helps me make bread almost every time now, which is fun. Last night's dinner was the summer's first chicken, corn and tomato salad in homemade pitas...would have been better with fresh thyme (turns out that really does make a difference, at least to me). Tonight I don't have to cook!

I am wearing...
jeans, a gray nursing tank top, and a blue zip-up sweatshirt. Plus gray slippers that are ripped even though they're a week old. Grr again.

I am creating...
nothing at the moment...though I did use the code “OPENHOUSE” to get $40 of gorgeous products free at Paper Coterie this week (if you hurry you might still be able to get the deal this weekend). So I created three journals—one with photos of my guys, one with a wedding photo, and one with no photo, just a verse of Scripture. Can't wait to see how they turn out.

I am going...
to start blogging again soon, I hope. I miss writing. I don't know why I go through these phases of stopping.

I am reading...
several books simultaneously, as usual. I recently finished (and loved) Craving Grace (full review coming soon), Hinds' Feet on High Places, and Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane). I'm still slowly savoring One Thousand Gifts and just picked up The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets to Enjoying Motherhood. I have also been dipping into A Praying Life (which is FREE for Kindle right now, FYI!) and am hoping to get the motivation to come back to Middlemarch (haven't read any classics on my Kindle in a while). Then there's Andrew Peterson's latest Wingfeather Saga book, which releases next week—meaning I want to go back and reread the first two! Always, always, too many books and too little time...

Bible-wise, I am digging into Proverbs and about to start 1 Chronicles, still trying to grow in "how to read the Bible Christianly."

I am hoping...
that someday Elijah will be kind to his baby brother. And that I will enjoy motherhood more and more as my boys get older.

I am hearing...
cars, birds, a white noise machine.

Around the house...
Diapers drying on the line...and a sink full of dishes plus the remnants of the breadmaking that need to be cleaned up. But—bliss!--both boys are sleeping simultaneously. Ahhh.

One of my favorite things...
see above :)

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Steve is taking me out for an early Mother's Day dinner tonight, yippee! Looking forward to checking out a new-ish Mexican place in town. Tomorrow we are picking up 17 baby chicks, which some friends are raising on their land and letting us go in with them (so we get half the chicks until they're feathered out). And Sunday we're having dinner with a family from church. Lots of fun plans!

A picture thought I am sharing...
I snapped this with Steve's phone on the way home from church last Sunday—Elijah was talking to Grammy and I just thought he looked so grown up and hilarious :)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Multitude Monday, Take 202

Thanking God this week for...

1582. safety through storms
1583. reminders of His power
1584. new shoes on my porch the next day from Endless.com
1585. Elijah bringing me fresh peonies from our bushes out front
1586. dinner that I thought would be a flop bringing rave reviews

1587. Steve running to the store for one more ingredient to rescue it
1588. little things that remind me of dear friends
1589. boys sleeping in, waking up happy
1590. husband's encouragement and belief in me
1591. having someone else shampoo, cut and style my hair

1592. hardly ever having to buy baby clothes
1593. dinners with friends
1594. our beloved pastor back from sabbatical
1595. Jude sleeping in my arms at church
1596. Elijah "helping" wipe down tables after lunch

1597. grace to try and empathize/understand instead of judge
1598. grace to keep my mouth (mostly) shut when hot-button issues come up
1599. Elijah's favorite "no" responses: "Mm...not today." or "Maybe later."
1600. the endless riches of His Word
1601. the upcoming Wedding Supper of the Lamb