:: turkey veggie rice soup ::

November 14, 2014

i made this last night and was totally surprised by the depth of the flavor. it was delicious, we all loved it, and if i don’t write it down i will never remember it! also, i have never felt like i am much of a soup-maker … it was intimidating for some time and i am increasingly realizing that soup is very forgiving and it’s pretty hard to mess it up.

food pictures taken with a phone in bad lighting are really the worst but, i wanted some image to remind me.

food pictures taken with a phone in bad lighting are really the worst but, i wanted some image to remind me.

:: turkey veggie rice soup::

first, i chopped a lot of turkey breast – probably a couple of cups worth (i buy a cooked turkey breast at costco for about $12 and it lasts for *many meals in our home – chopped in soup, sliced and seasoned and fried, put in sandwiches, the options are endless).

i put the chopped turkey in the soup pot with some olive oil and generous amounts of cumin, oregano and real salt. i let this cook for a few minutes, until the turkey was browning and hot.

after removing turkey (and setting aside in a bowl), i added 1/2 a chopped small red onion, and a few chopped cloves of garlic to the same soup pot and simmered stirring in olive oil.

once the onion and garlic softened, i added approximately 1 chopped head of broccoli, about 1/4 head of cabbage chopped, and a few chopped carrots.

i let this simmer for several minutes, softening the cabbage and broccoli.

next i added about 1 cup diced tomatoes, a container of veggie broth and what was left of some beef broth. i brought to a boil and then reduced heat and simmered.

i generously seasoned this … adding a lot of basil, oregano and i am sure a few spoonfuls of real salt.

as this simmered,i added back the chopped cooked turkey and some leftover rice i had in the fridge – probably 2 cups.

i served this with feta cheese for me and the hubs; the kiddos ate it happily as is.

i will so be making this again!

pampered

November 9, 2014

my hubby returned this week from (yet another) business trip and during his trip, i was on the phone sharing an update with a dear person. i was happily telling her about the incredibly positive response my hubby received professionally on this trip; how wonderfully he was treated, how appreciated and esteemed. knowing this made my heart happy & gratified. after sharing this information, my dear friend commented that she is eager for me to be “pampered and spoiled” – that i am deserving.

i was quiet and found myself nodding and agreeing.

and then there’s this: the slippery slope of letting our minds camp out on what we “deserve”; what we want and feel we should be getting.

and i am so thankful for the grace of GOD which prompted my mind and brought this to the front: i am pampered and spoiled in ways that the world does not value but that are inexplicably more valuable. my man serves GOD and out of that love and service, he lives a life of love for our family. for me.

and sure, i would love if he thought along the lines of the way our culture thinks sometimes – i wouldn’t protest a gift certificate for a pedicure, for instance :).

but here’s the truth: i wouldn’t trade that for who i have; for the man of deep integrity, of sacrificial service and selfless love … would never trade it.

and allowing my mind to camp *there* – on the good, the blessing – is a much better place to be. :)

the doing & being

October 21, 2014

some days, my mind can survey the day or week ahead and be totally sunk when i think of the sheer effort that i will need to expend in parenting. there are so few pockets of rest and mostly, i need to produce … expend … give … share … create. i need creativity to conjure up meal plans and learning plans; energy to carry out play dates and outings and exploring; patience to mediate endless fights and battles; commitment to stick with discipline and follow through countless times a day; joy and excitement in order to set the tone for our home that i am responsible to set. and as i anticipate yet another super long business trip for my beloved, the weight feels heavier.

there is no way around it: parenting and especially with 2 toddlers, is insanely exhausting. it is relentless.

the other day i was sitting on our couch, curled up and honestly thought … i just want to stay curled right here. to not have to jump up and *do*.

thankfully, i don’t stay in this place long. i am so thankful to mostly feel well and healthy and *able to do and be all that i feel called to do and be. i am strong. i am healthy. the days that i am fighting the funk and wrestling with these feelings, are far fewer than the days that i genuinely feel the energy and flow to do what i need that day.

and really? most of all, i am desperate. for the strength of the savior; for the peace and rest in my spirit that ONLY He gives.

with intention

October 8, 2014

my mind and heart have been

here

and

here.

both beautifully capture the enormity of this role of being a mama, of being a wife … the stewardship, the responsibility, the potential. the capacity to be God’s agent in equipping future generations while loving well my partner along the way.

and a theme strikes me: intention.

here’s what i know and yet i fear my life evidences that i often forget: distractions keep us distracted.

the daily-ness of life; the pull of schedules and chores and recreation and to-do lists and logistics … and then a week passes then it’s a few months. then years. the big stuff – the real stuff – can be pushed aside. so easily.

i don’t have the quick pat answer but i do like sally’s encouragement:

“Simplify your plan,

create the essentials, the rhythms that need to be established to get the work done,

cut out the unnecessary expenditures of time and energy and money that are not necessary to the overall building and

be sure to plan in rest and refreshment every week along the way.”

i am so desperate to do this mothering thing well. it’s the hardest work of my life and as hubby and i were sharing hearts about it this week, we agreed that it – parenting – is the greatest tool God uses to shape *us, to crucify our earthly focus and to grow in Christ-likeness as we desperately lean in to Him for strength and wisdom and patience. and He grows us, in this. and it’s hard.

i want to love my man well. he is God’s gift – our marriage is the sweetest gift from the One Who saw my repentance and surrender, and blessed exceedingly abundantly. oh, that i would not get caught up in the trivial, in the silly irritations and grievances but instead, as gary thomas writes,

“‘Making allowance’ means we are sensitive and encouraging about each other’s weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, the quirkiness of our natures that sometimes needs to be accommodated. We do this with joy and a good spirit. God created our spouse, so it is a joy to worship Him by celebrating this unique expression of His creative genius.”

and

“To have a marriage worthy of our calling, we need to be humble and gentle. We are not attacking each other, we are not harsh with each other. We do not “lord it” over one another. We are servants, mutually caring for each other. That’s what best models our calling, because that’s what most reveals the character of Christ.”

august refresh

September 14, 2014

i love coming together with other mama’s, sharing hearts and encouragement as we walk this wild journey of motherhood.

a friend from church and i had been throwing around the idea of hosting a mama’s bible study since early last year … but there were always obstacles and hiccups. the timing seemed off.

around the middle of this summer, the inspiration came to me again so i started thinking of ways to make it happen. the phrase, “august refresh” came clearly to my mind and i knew that’s what we’d do: meet weekly just for the month of august. to refresh.

i asked just a few friends to see the interest and got a resounding “YES!” from almost every one. we were all looking for this thing, right about now. i wasn’t sure at first what book to study – or should we study scripture? – but after some looking and seeking, i found the very perfect choice for our group: “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe.” yes, that was us.

as i think over the month, over those 4 tuesday mornings that we met, i smile. it was *such* a time of sweet refreshment! we were able to have my maddie and her darling friend watch all our kids, upstairs! away from us! contained and mostly happy! :) the first week, once babies and kids were happily upstairs being cared for, we all sat and laughingly agreed that if we didn’t discuss a single thing, the week would be a success: we’d have this 1 1/2 hours to rest. to breathe. ;)

but it turns out, we *did* discuss much. we shared insights, convictions, concerns, burdens, ideas, prayer. there is something so special about women coming to together!

i am so thankful for the blessing the women and that pocket of sweet time was in my august … thankful that i decided to step forward and do the thing that was on my heart. looking forward to next time :)

doing the hard thing

August 17, 2014

there was a day last week, when both boys were napping at the same time (bliss) and i faced that ultimate question: do i drink my iced coffee and rest on the couch with a good book for a few quiet moments of much-needed rest OR do i exercise? as i was deciding (and leaning toward the former) i got a text from one of my workout accountability partners, saying that she was stepping on the treadmill. that was just the boost i needed and i went for a really great run … the weather was finally cooler and it felt great – both getting a workout done and just being outside, alone.

this morning, i faced a similar situation: both boys were up at the insane hour of 5:30am (what??) and i had agreed to go with a girlfriend to a new exercise class at 10. as 10 approached, i felt weary (already on my 2nd cup of coffee), grumpy from already having broken up countless fights, toy grubbing, falls and mayhem. i ran through all the rationale about why of course going to exercise was out of the question … and that not going was completely legit.

at 9:44 i put on my clothes and decided to GO. just go. and sure enough, it was incredible (an aside: it was the most intense challenging grueling HIIT – high intensity interval training – that i have *ever done. ouch). i drove home, GLAD … that i had made the decision to go.

the hard decision. 

a sweet girlfriend commented last week that she couldn’t believe when i could finally sit and rest i chose to exercise. and after working out this morning, i’ve been thinking a lot about how i’ve been making the hard decision, most days, to exercise.

and it isn’t self-congratulatory, or prideful … as i evaluate this. i am realizing that we can always find some seriously legit reasons not to do the thing that is the best thing. i am for sure in a super crazy busy season w/these two little guys, a teen about to start a rigorous classical education home school high school year, a hubby that works round the clock, a commitment to preparing whole real food most of the time, the list goes on.

and yet i am realizing that what “they” say about building self-esteem: not built through empty praise but through doing the hard thing, experiencing success and growth and competency – it’s true. it feels good to realize that i *can and do often choose the hard thing and that over time, this choosing is growing me and forming me in to more of the person i want to be when i grow up. ;) in so many areas (like parenting) i struggle with feeling effective and capable. but i am finding that this sense of self-efficacy (to borrow a old sociology term) really does impart a boost to all areas of life. 

the scale isn’t budging much, i am not seeing instant results, but in other (more important?) ways, things are getting better. after making the hard choice, most days i am left with a true boost (is it those endorphins?) and it often informs my eating choices throughout the day. today i was in the checkout line and had hit that late afternoon wall and oh boy, did i want that chocolate bar. but then i remembered the workout i did this morning and didn’t want to trash that with a few bites of pleasure. so, the hard decision was made. no chocolate (wah, lol). i don’t always walk this line very straight. lots of curves and bends in the road for me.

but it feels good to be walking it. 

recreation mode

July 18, 2014

it seems that everywhere i turn – hanging out with friends, browsing social media – the focus is on summer plans.

“what are you doing this summer?”

it can be so easy to get caught up in comparing and i am having to be more focused and mindful than ever about not slipping in to the comparison funk. because here’s the thing: we are not in a season where taking big trips (or even small trips) is very feasible.

we are five years in to living in radical obedience: hubby and i both leaving our jobs (read: steady income) to embark on homeschooling and entrepreneurship. it has been the most intense, raw, difficult and rewarding time and we both know for certain we are walking the path GOD has set for us. there is deep down peace even as the tides of desperation and crisis have rolled over us more than a few times.

suffice to say, disposable income for recreation and fun hasn’t been in the budget for the most part. for sure, there have been pockets of time where we’ve indulged and honestly, if i look over even the course of the past week, i see (relative to the rest of the world) a TON of fun … just local, small-scale fun.

water parks, play dates with friends, local kid’s museums, time with family, dinner out with girlfriends, sleepovers, grabbing a meal out, an iced coffee (or 2!), library story times,crafts and learning time at home, walks and wagon rides … all this in the span of a week.

which is lovely and blessed and beautiful. 

but boy how easy it can be to fall in to the comparison trap!! two of my dearest girlfriends are flying to *hawaii* this weekend for a week and i am so SO happy for them! many friends are taking similarly awesome trips and many more are taking cool day trips: water slides, the beach, you name it.

i want to do those things. really bad. i am a road trip girl at heart; i love to travel, explore, see and taste all that’s around me. i love the mountains, the ocean, lakes.

and yet right now, RIGHT NOW … i am reminded:

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (i timothy 6:6). my deep desire is to faithfully move through this season, embracing ALL the beauty and blessings and not wasting a single second longing for someone else’s blessing.

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