Monday, August 1, 2016

Risotto, Cordon Bleu, and Other Yummies

Let me be straight on this: I am not some majestic cook. 80% of the time, I am just reading a recipe and adapting it (Or just executing it exactly). Truth is, for me, the heart of the home has ALWAYS been in the kitchen. As a kid, my mom cooked most nights. She worked, as did my dad, and most of the time, the meals were simple and not complex, but they instilled the importance of family dinners to me.

This week, I have posted a few dinners that people requested recipes for, so here they are!  (And a few nights, I painted until well into dinner time and we got take out. Chipotle, your app may be one of my top 3 things about living here.)

Chicken Cordon Bleu
I had a recipe for this somewhere years ago, and couldn't find it when I went to cook it, so here's what I did:

chicken breasts
deli ham (not flavored)
swiss cheese
butter, melted
seasoned bread crumbs

1. pound the chicken breasts thin, but not torn (I put them between plastic wrap or plastic cutting boards.)
2. salt and pepper both sides (A must for ALL chicken dishes)
3. Put 2 slices of deli ham and two slices of swiss cheese on each chicken breast (I spread them out, instead of stacking)
4. Tightly roll each chicken  breast
5. Holding the roll closed, dip the roll in melted butter, being sure to coat it all
6. Roll in bread crumbs
7. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. 
8. Pour the remaining melted butter in the dish (but not over the chicken)
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes

We typically use this as a side dish. Feel free to double it for a main course

2 T butter, divided
diced onion, about 1/4 c.
3/4 c. arborio rice
2 1/2 c. of chicken broth
1/2 c. parmesan

1. Warm chicken broth to warm, not hot.
2. Melt 1 T butter in a saucepan and sauté onion until soft.
3. Pour in the rice and coat and stir frequently to let it soak up the flavors
4. Gradually add in the chicken broth, stirring often (I normally do 1 cup'ish at at time) until liquid is absorbed.
5. Add 1T of butter until melted
6. Add Parmesan until melted

Feel free to use other cheeses, too. A buffalo chicken and cheddar risotto is amazing. But this is the base.

My Favorite Broccoli
Broccoli (My favorite is the baby florets from the frozen section in the blue bag)
Chicken broth
Italian seasoning
parmesan cheese

1. Put broccoli and a small amount of chicken broth in a skillet. (Let the broth cover the bottom, but not swimming) Cover
2. Steam for 8-10'ish minutes
3. Using the lid as a strainer, drain the chicken broth off.
4. On a different burner, sprinkle on the Italian seasoning and a light sprinkle of parmesan. Cover for 1-2 minutes.

Smothered Pork chops
This is a Pioneer Woman recipe and one of our favorite comfort foods. We used regular sized pork chops and just adjusted accordingly. Also, when making the rue, I used the seasoned flour from dredging. (One of my greatest decisions)

Smashed potatoes
Red potatoes
garlic powder
lots of butter

1. Wash your potatoes
2. Put them in a pot of very salted water. Boil until fork tender
3. Using a potato masher, mash (skin and all) using more salt, garlic powder, milk and butter. Adjust seasonings accordingly

Oven Roasted Cauliflower
Head of cauliflower
olive oil
garlic powder

1. cut cauliflower into small florets
2. drizzle a healthy coating of olive oil
3. sprinkle on the seasonings
4. Roast at 400 for 20'ish minutes

Summer Capri's Pasta
I typically use whatever pasta I can find in the whole wheat variety (Which normally means penne). I've also used turkey Italian sausage to cut some of the fats before.

(This is recipe #5 on the page)

This gal writes Bible studies that are aimed at having small group discussions with food. So, she includes awesome recipes with each week of study. Her studies are as awesome as her food. Love her!

Here are a few of our favorites! Message me with any questions!! Have fun and give your littles jobs; they'll be more likely to eat the veggies if they helped! Happy cooking!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Truth.

Blog readers, forgive me for I have sinned. I have told many lies to many people in regards to "How are you?". Not because I have wanted to lie. Or because I was trying to be deceptive. Or because I was trying to give off the persona of everything being sunshines and butterflies. But, because most days, I seriously have NO idea how I am. And because I have been ashamed by how I actually AM.

The truth is that this has been the most TRYING and DIFFICULT time of my life. It has tried my faith, my marriage, my personal sense of being. The truth is, since November, I have questioned God's calling, my husband's love for me, my purpose (and if I even HAD one). The truth is, there were times where I considered leaving my marriage and returning to Summersville because, there, I KNEW life. I KNEW people, I KNEW ministry. (Y'all, I am not lying when I tell you that this blog post is messy.) The truth is, I have never been so barren, so hurt, so bitter... but man, have I never been more aware.

Thursdays have lovingly been coined "crazy Thursday".  My new job is M-W. On Thursdays, I was too alone with my thoughts. Y'all, I lost it. Sweet Lee and some amazing friends and my momma and daddy talked me off the ledge more than a few times, but I'm pretty sure they questioned my sanity. I heard words come out of my mouth and part of me was thinking "You DON'T think that! Why are you saying that?!" and the other part of me was saying "What is there to lose?!"

The problem is, that this move wasn't anything we sought out. God spoke obviously, boldly, and wouldn't take any "no's". I have read the Bible. I wasn't going to be a Jonah. So, we went. But the thing was, I was leaving everything that had defined my adulthood. The amount I loved my job as a Spanish teacher at Nicholas County High School was kind of sad. I LOVED my job. I loved my students, my coworkers, my routine... (I never liked getting up early. That will never change.) I loved our church and our church family. I loved our friends and being close to both sets of our parents. Now, we are living in a 1 bedroom apartment with all of us and both dogs, I'm a "teaching assistant", no one knew who I was, heck, I had to use the GPS to find the grocery store.

I felt purposeless. In Summersville, I had taken on TOO many jobs and here, I was just twiddling my thumbs. A song that I've heard on the radio began playing in my mind "empty me of me so I can be filled with You." I began to realize how much my purpose had been built on my comfort. I knew my students and our youth kids. They knew me. I knew my coworkers, and my friends, and my church... But it was time to put our words into action. Too often we have spoken about "getting out of our comfort zones" and "being obedient to what God has called you to", but until 5 months ago, that meant starting a new Bible study. Or talking to a friend. It had never meant uprooting my family, moving (not into a house), into a town where I was constantly lost and uncomfortable, where I would be very sick for my first month of work... It never meant that. Until it did.

Then, people starting asking me hard questions. One noted one was from one of my favorite people in the world (She had no idea when she got her counseling degree that she would talk her crazy friend through every Thursday for the near future) When I told her "I'm thinking I may just walk away and come back home." She said "Have you prayed about that? Do you feel that's what God's calling you to?" No. I hadn't. I didn't care. I wanted to be home. I wanted my house, my job... But that question made me realize how far I had let the bitterness go. I was so blue that I was sleeping in and not taking care of my physical side nor my spiritual side. I would sleep as late as possible, bite everyone's head off, go to work and fantasize about being back at NCHS, come home (in an incredibly chipper mood, as you could guess), and fight with Lee because he was an easy target of my frustration.

*Side note* Lee and I have made a pointed decision to never argue in front of our kids. Which is really difficult in "760 sq feet of fun". We would "Whisper fight". We would claim sore throats and sit an inch from each other to voice our frustrations with one another. It's funny now. *

A week later, I texted a few close people and said, "I'm going to say this because I'm having a good, clear thinking day: I wonder how much of God's plan for me is emptying myself of me. Maybe I've made being known and knowing things a false god in my life. Maybe my purpose has had too much emphasis and has wrapped myself up into one prideful being."

Maybe it isn't about me. And by "maybe" I mean it isn't. Our constant egocentrism suddenly changes the Gospel to be ME centered and not centered on Christ. My constant need to beg God "What's my purpose?! What do you want from me here?! Why did you make us leave?!" was just me saying "FOR THE LOVE WOULD YOU MAKE THIS ABOUT ME!" And what I finally heard was "But it isn't about you. You've always said that it's about Me. This is where the rubber meets the road."

I started doing a Bible study called "Missing Pieces" by Jennifer Rothschild. She asked a few tough questions on the first day:

  • Have you ever felt a lack of compassion from God?
  • How do you feel he should have reacted to your situation?
Hit in the gut.

I remember a book Lee and I read a few years ago stated, "What if marriage wasn't ever intended to make you HAPPY but to make you HOLY?" It isn't about me. Oh, how I want it to be. Oh, how I want for the stars to align and for everything to be roses and sunshines, but Jesus said to "take up your cross" and crosses were never beautiful nor easy nor pleasant. But they're necessary.

I am still not sure exactly WHY God has called us here. But we know that He has. We know that His Word never falls void. We know that He is faithful. We talk and sing about Him being "The Rock of Ages" and I find so much comfort in knowing that there is nothing new under the moon to Him.

I also know that, as Dr. Swindoll stated:
"It [my attitude] is more important than appearance, than giftedness, and skill. It will make or break a church, a company, a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."

I am beginning to know that I am called to have an attitude like Christ's, therefore causing me to ask better questions. Instead of "Why am I here?" I say "I'm here. How can I love? How can I let someone see You in me today?" I have found a new love in Lee. Not the giddy school girl type of thing (Don't get my wrong... I still swear he is the most handsome thing I've ever laid my eyes on), but the kind of love that has seen me act in a way so different than the woman he married and the kind of love that has always been kind and gentle and quickly accepted my apology for the mean and awful things I said in a fit. The kind of love where he has loved me as Christ has loved the church. The kind of love that has been in the trenches together. The kind of love on a 2 man team with a Coach that we wonder "what in the world is He doing?" but together, we have learned to trust and lean on both God and each other. It has gotten so much more.

By God's grace for a few less crazy Thursdays, and a soon closing date (And probably a few more trips to Target to buy important things like bleach), and I can stop lying. For now, I am living as an empty vessel and ready to be filled.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Family Dinner

As a kid growing up, we ate dinners together. I can't think of many nights where we didn't. My mom has always been an excellent cook, but most of the time, these meals were never anything complicated or fancy. We had lots of quick meals that this picky eater would eat. (Hard to fathom that I used to be picky.) My mom worked, dad was bivocational (a English teacher and a pastor), Travis played soccer, I cheered and was in gymnastics. Things were busy, but we ate dinner. (Mom recalls many meals eaten in the car, but honestly, I remember none) I remember some nights of dinner being reheated and hanging out while the one who was out ate dinner. It was important and a priority, and we knew it.

When I taught high school, I would discuss this with my classes. In a class of 30, I was feeling great if I had 5 kids that said that they ate dinner as a family at least 3 days a week.

Recently, many studies have emerged around the importance of this lost tradition. They point to higher ACT scores, lower rates of teen pregnancy, lower obesity rates, and lower incidence of teen drug use. All of that with one meal. 

People often wonder what has happened to society. How could it be so grossly misled? How could we appear to be making less intelligent decisions as a whole? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that, in most cases, it can be connected to the breakdown of the family. There seems to be no check in and time to talk. When we spend our days at work and school, come home and turn on electronics, eat dinner separately, bathe, bed, repeat, we become strangers to those who share our name and our roof. Eventually, you don't know what happened in their day. You don't know what kids got in trouble (and maybe it's yours who talked too much during circle time and had to move their clothes pin just a few days at a new school. Theoretically.). You also aren't able to find out food likes and dislikes (apparently Nina has recently developed a strong dislike for cooked carrots. She said it makes her stomach turn thinking about it. It makes my stomach turn thinking about the 15 minute meltdown over one bite).

We have found that the #1 component in arguments goes down to unmet and uncommunicated expectations. Luckily, Lee grew up in a family where meals as a family were just as important. So, now that we have a family, we have continued this every evening activity. We try to never miss it.

 If this is something you don't do (or have never done), here are some good rules to go by: 
1) No phones. This includes mom and dad. And iPads. (Sorry YouTube Kids)
2) No tv
3) Everyone stays seated (something we have to remind a certain 5 year old every few minutes some nights)
4) TALK - If you're not sure where to start, do "high/lows". Go around the table and everyone talks about their best part of the day and the worst part. It will get conversation rolling.
5) I am not a short order cook. Everyone gets input on our weekly menu when I make it on the weekend. Yes and no votes get considered then. Nina always gets at least one meal that is 100% her choice. On dinner night, it is what it is. If there is something I anticipate Nina not liking (Brooks will eat everything), I let her help cook it and/or pick it out at the store. 9/10 times, she will eat whatever she can take pride in. And, if not, you still have to try one bite of everything. (No hateful comments on this. I've read the blogs. I'm doubting I will mess up my kid by her having to eat a few bites of a less than desirable vegetable. Lee and I were both kids who made harsh judgements on foods long before we ever tasted them to later find them delicious.) (Here's looking at you, broccoli.)

Try it. If it feels awkward, fake it til you make it. Try it 1 night a week for a month, then increase it to 2 nights. Let your goal be 5 nights a week and see what happens. 

We might not be able to change the world, but we can change 1 habit of our family. Start with this small change and big things will happen. 

Eat and enjoy with those you love the most. (And maybe promise ice cream to those who do)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Power of the Call

Until recently, the mostly obvious the Lord had ever spoken to me on anything was the day I realized the call to marry Lee Boso. We had been dating for around a month. It is a long story (and completely irrelevant) that I will leave for another day, but a day that left me feeling "kicked in the gut by the Holy Spirit". It was a Saturday night when it was spoken so clearly to both of our hearts, and on Sunday, I didn't even want to go to P.F. Chang's for after-church dinner. (That's a sign of the nausea; I am a self-proclaimed Asiatarian)

Even though that moment was nearly 11 years ago (How is that even possible?!), I have never forgotten that moment. The warm tingle, world standing still, instant breath taken away, moment was still fresh.

Fast forward to the last month. 

Recently, the Lord began to lay on our heart an open position at a church in Huntington. When the position first came open, we were well-established in Lee's hometown at his home church where we have served for 8 1/2 years. I have loved everything about my high school teaching position. Both sets of grandparents got to see our kids on a more than weekly basis, we had the best friends, loved the quietness of a small town, Summersville Baptist had opened their arms to me so that I never felt like an outsider. We loved our life and our ministry. But, as my dad has always said, "Then God".

The Lord continued to pursue Lee's heart as I continued to run in the other direction. (I despise change. My parents moved out of their house last year that I grew up in. I cried. Mom often tells me that it's a good thing I didn't marry my college boyfriend who was in the Navy. I would have been an awful military wife.)

We were wrestling so much with a calling that felt so strong to go, but our desire was to stay. I had a conversation with a dear friend one evening. I asked her, "I don't understand how, if this is God's will, why my will has yet to align with His?" Her response changed me. "I don't think there is a single person in scripture that jumped up and down and said 'YES! Please send me there!' Not Moses, not Abraham, not Jonah, Jeremiah, Joseph... but they were obedient and God used them in mighty ways. Peace and obedience." Man, she spoke Truth to my soul.

A few days later, Lee had a meeting with people from the new church in which they asked him what his favorite attribute of God was. His response was "His presence". He began to expound on the months of uncertainty and fear through all of my pregnancy complications with both Nina and Brooks. He said that in the midst of all of it all, he never doubted God's presence. When he was telling me about it, he said that the Spirit was strong and could nearly physically be felt. 

Two days later, we were at Junior High Convention. The speaker took a quick detour off of his main text to Exodus 33. As he read through the account of Moses, our hearts stopped as we read verse 14: "The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

We continue to read that verse over and over again. The feeling was so similar as to the aforementioned moment with my marriage, but so much more intense. My heart began racing, I couldn't find a single breath in my lungs, and I began to sob. (As I'm doing right now as I recount the event)

We had asked for clarity and He was giving it. But in my human nature, I needed more. (Ugh. I get so annoyed by myself) I prayed, "Lord, if this is Your will, I need a job."

Sunday morning of the convention, we were eating breakfast in the hotel lobby beside some youth leaders we had met the day before. Their youth pastor was at a wedding, so they volunteered to bring their students. In casual conversation, I asked the wife what she did for a living. She proceeded to say that she was an audiologist that ran a deaf preschool at Marshall University. I told her that my masters degree was in deaf education. In more conversation, she said that the program was auditory/oral. My training in grad school specialized in auditory/oral deaf education and I didn't think I would find an opportunity to use this training outside of Knox County especially with WV being a "Total Communication" (Sign with voice) area. I stalked her online to find her email address and found out that there was an open position that was part time. (I have always said that I wanted to work part time since I became a mom, but didn't think that teaching would ever offer that opportunity.) I will have an official interview after the first of the year.

When we first felt the Lord leading us toward this position, my heart landed on the song "Ever Be" by Bethel. I listened to that song day in and day out. After the events of Exodus and breakfast, we were sure of the Lord's intentions with us. Then, the closing worship song for the weekend was "Ever Be". That was the first time I had ever heard the song not on the album. (At this point, I told God "Enough with the clarity; You're freaking me out!)

He had been clear and we were in awe.

Here we are terrified, needing to sell and buy a house, and heart broken over leaving family, friends, and familiarity. My dad has pastored the same church for 41 years. While I know he is an anomaly, this whole concept is completely foreign to me. However we are excited and filled with expectation as to what is next. I could write for days of other events as to how God's will for this area has been crystal clear. (But eventually you would hit the red x and leave me. If you're still there now...)

So, bear with us through this transition. I haven't baked the first batch of Chex Mix, cookies, or made any homemade cinnamon rolls. Teacher gifts will be store bought, I relinquished my wrapping to Lee, and we will send New Years cards instead of Christmas cards. However, God has been faithful to us through so much and we know He will continue. While we are more sad than a dictionary has words to explain, we know that since He has been so present with us, He will go with us. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Our New Challenge

This past weekend, was a 5K to honor our sweet Julia. If you've been reading for a while, you know that Julia has been memorialized through several different running events.

Why running? Our motto has been "I run for those who can't." Since Julia was never able to walk, we choose to use our legs in honor of her.

To read how the 5K went, read Cami's recap here

After the race, Cami asked if I thought she would be able to run a half-marathon. A thing about Camille is that she has so much of her mother and me in her, that she is stubborn enough to do something as ridiculous as running 13.1 miles.

Cue my mind into a rapid line of thinking. The morning of the race, I was on standby in case someone didn't show up to help direct, register... wherever they needed help. A great thing about a great cause like, Make A Wish, everyone was there and eager beavers to help. So, I was there for moral support; free to walk or run. Check out this picture of the start line:

See that? No? Let me zoom in:

There I am. Watching. It is true that it was a monsoon in the hour leading up to the race and having both kids in the stroller may have given a new sense of "end" to the finish line. However, the underlying truth of this picture was tough for me to swallow. I ran my last race when I was 6 weeks pregnant. Due to a very complicated pregnancy that had several months of rest time after delivery, I only ran one time since that race. While not completely sedentary, I haven't been nearly as active as my pre-pregnancy self. 

Cami told me about the race she was considering. The Air Force half-marathon is on Sept 19 (Just a few days after, what would have been Julia's 19th birthday). It is also two days after Brooks' first birthday and the anniversary of me beating HELLP syndrome. Then I thought "You have nearly died in childbirth twice. Surely to goodness, you can be the comeback kid to celebrate these two events with your mini-me!" Then I thought, "You're an idiot! You haven't run in over a year!" While both of these are true, Lee and I sat down and looked at training plans and decided that I could do it. It was definitely not going to be a race built on a solid base of months of regular running (As recommended), but it will be a race built on endurance of tougher things overcome.

I texted Cam that I would do it. (Then proceeded to say "That darn Millie" multiple times over the next day.)

Yesterday, I laced up my Mizunos, put on my Garmin (Tried to put on my iPod mini, but it was dead. Like, so dead that 30 minutes of charge still didn't enable it to function to go for a run. Have I mentioned how long it has been since I last ran?!), and went for a run. And today, I did the same. My body hurts in ways it hasn't in a long time. But my head is clear and excited. (And, yes, I am that crazy girl raising hands in worship as I run.)

We want to open it up to everyone to join us in Ohio in 12 weeks! If you ran the 5K last weekend, you already have the base ready to roll with a training plan. Here is the plan that Cami and I will be following to be ready: Hal Higdon's Novice 1. While this plan is Hal's most basic plan, I promise you, you will be prepared. It's a 12 week plan and we are 12 weeks out!  We are talking about getting Team Julia dry-fit shirts made for the event. We really hope you join us!

There is nothing like setting a goal and achieving it. For my most immediate goal, I will attempt to stand up.

Let the training begin!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer of 7: Food Addition

This past March, Lee went on a trip to visit our dearest friends, the Reeds in Bolivia. Seeing that my TV-watching, laundry-folding, talk-to buddy was going to be gone for a while, I decided to read a book. A rare occurrence since having babies.) I had seen on Instagram about a book called "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" by Jen Hatmaker. This book is a story of a woman who felt convicted by our Western lifestyle of excess. She was in the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia and had taken in refugees displaced from Hurricane Katrina. When she heard a little boy refer to them as "rich", she was taken back.

After she identified the excess, she decided to do a fast in one of the areas a month to see what God had to say about how she was choosing those things to fill her instead of what Scripture said about them. The areas chosen were:

Whew. I feel certain that all of us know that we have/do/want entirely too much of these things. 

While this book was rocking my world in the USA, I would email Lee excerpts from the book. One day, a certain passage had me sobbing during my lunch break on the same day that Lee was visiting a special needs orphanage in Bolivia. We decided that these issues had all taken a front seat in our lives while things like justice and mercy (You know, the things Jesus talked about all the time) had been something we thought of in a small fashion and glossed over. 

So, our Youth Adult Team (We call ourselves "The YAT pack") decided to study this book this summer with our middle school and high schoolers and our college kids. We teach on the item one week, choose how we will observe a fast from the given item, and do a service project around it for the week. 

I am going to share with you all a weekly account of how I/we (Lee unfortunately becomes an object lesson on the blog sometimes) did and what the Lord showed to us through the fast. (Dear students in my college Sunday School class: I know I shared this with you all during our time together. Forgive me.)

We just completed our first week: Food.

If you follow me on on Instagram or on Facebook, you KNOW my obsession with food. I love to cook it, watch it, and especially EAT IT! For our fast this week, I chose to give up sugar in all forms, meat, and all processed foods. (Lee added coffee. Seeing how I still have to nurse the baby sometimes at night, I chose to not hate anyone and kept my coffee flowing. Don't worry, I take it black.)

The week proved to be differently difficult than I anticipated. Generally, I cook with a "whole foods" mentality. (I don't buy pizza crust, I make it, etc) But I was surprised by the amount of sugar was in some of the things I ate. (Jif, why must you put sugar in my favorite peanut butter?!) 

I thought I would miss meat the most, but it turned out, I missed it the least of all of the things I gave up. Due to its absence, I experimented with foods we had never had before (Here's looking at you, eggplant. We love you.) While, my eggs felt naked without its bestie, bacon, it wasn't terribly painful.

Processed foods were things I swore I didn't eat much of. And while it's true, I don't, I still ate much more than I thought I did. I found myself wanting a filler of chips. Or on mornings when the kids wake up ready to roll and Mama isn't ready to roll, I would grab some Belvita crackers and eat them while feeding Brooks. "I'll just have a grilled cheese!" Until I read the package on American "Cheese" to find out it is a "Cheese-like product". Bleh. One day, I tried a salad recipe that was a complete bust. Few things frustrate me like having a recipe tank. Lee needed to get back to work and I was nearing HANGRY. I really just wanted to grab a bag of Cheetos and call it good. I'm not lying when I tell you that I was grouchy for the rest of the day. Proud moments. 

Sugar. Oh, my sweetest friend (see what I did there?). You have been with me through it all. You were so present with me that I didn't even notice you were everywhere. This darn stuff is in EVERYTHING! (No wonder I lost 3 lbs in a week by giving it up.) To say that I missed it is a complete understatement. I am embarrassed to say, that at certain times of the day, I literally felt lost without it. Lost. My worst times were afternoon rest time for the kids (aka, "when mommy watches "The Chew" and folds laundry), and when Lee and I watch DVR'ed shows together at night. ("Which do we want tonight? Ice cream? or Oreos and milk?) I tried to fill my cravings with a lot of fruit. It somewhat worked, but was obvious that I had quite a habit going that really needed kicked. Even when I thought I wasn't eating much sugar (I mean, I don't drink any cokes, take my coffee black, don't bake a ton...), I was still consuming an incredible amount of it. Out of the 3 fasts, this was my toughest and probably the one I will become the most conscious of.  

The Take Away
We live in a culture that chooses to fill our gas tanks with apple sauce and then get upset when the car isn't running the way it should. In the Bible study, we studied Levitical  laws that detail the "What to eat" and "what not to eat" that are so frequently dismissed by "We no longer live under the law" and fail to realize that things as prescribed by the Law was mostly to keep the people free from disease and plagues. Enter the New Testament and we dismiss everything from the Old Testament and count it all joy to do everything in moderation. However there lies the problem. We haven't been doing food in moderation. Our culture is one that has been so blessed that we have become entitled to having as much of it as possible. I cut ONE ingredient and felt as though my arm had been cut off.

(Mind you, an ingredient that has ZERO nutritional value and arguably does more damage to our bodies than any other ingredient in our foods.)

And while there are starving people all over the world, we live in a country starving ourselves. We don't recognize it, because we are also the country with the highest rate of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. But our bodies are starving from the nutrition that God created for us. For our bodies to function the best. To be good stewards of what we've been given. 

We are so careful to make loads of rules of what we do and don't do in the church building, built by men, that money can repair. We aren't as careful with our bodily temples, made by God, in His image that money can't repair. 

The Lord has used this chapter to really shake me up. I am just as guilty as the next to deny myself nothing and eat as I desire. I need my car to run, therefore I need to put oil in the engine (I have no idea if that's right; I'm a Spanish teacher, not a mechanic), gas in the tank, and run it occasionally for it to reach its best potential.

My college students shared stories of heartbreak as they cleaned our their refrigerators and threw away food that they never touched. Lee reflects often on a time when he was on a mission trip in India, when he was told "We can feed our entire nation out of your garbage cans." This week, my favorite substance, food, was called on the carpet and my toes are sore from being stepped on.

Now, to start to take care of that car. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It Has Been a Whole Deal, Y'all.

This weekend, I was at Camp Cowen (Woot!) when a counselor told me, "You should start a blog!". I am a blog neglector. It is true. My last post was a week before I returned from maternity leave and have basically been in the fire ever since. Seeing that I can't catch you up on every detail, I have decided to go through my phone and let my photo stream tell you about the last 6 months of my life.
One snowy evening, Nina was running into dinner and fell. As she was falling, her mouth caught the corner of a shelf and popped out 4 teeth. She was a trooper even though I still have PTSD.
Lee's dad was appointed a state senator by the WV governor. Lee and I then peppered his office with post-it's. It's what we do. 

My little who is never sick got the flu. The rest of us dodged that bullet. 
Brooks started cereal. Food. Is. His. Favorite. 
Valentine's Day changes when you're a parent. Lee nor I have ever been huge Valentine's fans. This year, we did a soup and movie night. Obviously Brooks enjoyed himself. 
Lee went to Bolivia to visit our sweet friends, the Reeds. They're coming Stateside for a year soon. We can't wait!
Boso 4 at Easter. I can't even. 
We took a family trip to NC to visit. I died when I saw how much like a little boy Brooks looks here. Can someone tell me when that happened??
We get to be outside all the time now that Snowmagedon 2015 is over! (Even though I'm currently still in school because of those blasted snow days.)
Nina illustrates her parents' attitudes by drinking her "coffee" straight from the pot. (And she knows that Keurigs don't support the high volume of caffeine that must be consumed. Drip pots: we won't leave you now.)
Nina graduated from preschool. (Even though she will return next year since she's my August 31 baby)
Lee taught me how to use a saws-all to build a fence out of deconstructed pallets. (He did the building. I did the deconstructing. It works better that way.)
He's handsome and handy. Red Green has nothing on him. 
The kiddos are finally able to bathe together. So much faster to give baths. I die. 
My parents have sold the house they have lived in since I was 1. So excited for them to have a new place that doesn't require the steps to do laundry! 
Lee and I are beginning to plan our 10 year anniversary getaway for next year. I determined to look better for that than I did the honeymoon. Then I realized that we're going to the beach next month and I realized how true this currently is: 

Happy summer, y'all!