Monday, November 22, 2010

No Menu Plan this Monday

For the past two weeks, I've been doing menu plan Monday. But this week, we're planning on visiting Tennessee for the majority of the week, so no menu plan. When I went grocery shopping this weekend, I bought us salads, a frozen pizzas and sandwich stuff to eat before we leave. I didn't want to spend much time in the kitchen-- either cooking or cleaning-- before we left. I also bought the ingredients to make chicken salad. I am a pretty picky eater, and I don't enjoy eating fast food the whole trip there and back. So, along with our chicken salad, I have an assortment of nuts, granola, and dried fruits. Oh, and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. Yum!

We're not positive yet if we get to go on our trip, though. I was in an accident on Friday night, and the car we all fit into was totaled. I was completely stopped at a red light, and someone drove into the back of me! It was pretty scary, especially because the baby was in the car with me. She hit me so hard, that her car spun around 90 degrees into the shoulder, and the force of the impact made me skid and hit the person in front of me. I am just so very thankful that we are okay! It happened about a block away from where Reed works, so he was over to the accident even before the police officer was. We know that her insurance will cover a rental car for me, but we're not sure how long we will have one or if I can take it out of state. We'll see!

Well, the boys are napping and I need to get some laundry done. If we can go on our trip still, I want to be ready!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beans and Rice

Recently, I read a blog post about a family who ate beans and rice at dinner time for a whole month, then donated the money they saved to their friends that were in the process of adoption.


I have to admit, my first thought was, "We're adopting. Do we have friends that would do that for us?!"

I quickly realized that was the wrong question. And realized it was a sign of my selfishness that I thought of that first.

When Reed got home from work that night, I shared with him what I read. By now, I had been thinking about it all day. And Reed had the right attitude immediately:

Who can we be eating beans and rice for?

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21, emphasis mine

Everywhere we put our money, we are making an active choice not to put it somewhere else. When we buy a new car, we are choosing not to save the money. When we buy a new outfit, we are choosing not to go out to eat. When we buy the CD, we are choosing not to buy the book. Americans like to think they have endless money, and can do all of these things without repercussion. But if we're honest, money only goes so far; you cant give it all away and keep it for yourself. By spending money on lunches, we are choosing not to spend it somewhere else.

Now, there is nothing wrong with buying a nice lunch. Or going to a movie. Or buying a new outfit. Going to an expensive concert or the 'big game.' We just have to be careful when we come to expect these things. When our lives become characterized by these things. When we feel like we deserve it. What are you known for among your friends? Eating out? Always having a soda or coffee? Having fancy cars?

In our case, we didn't have a big ticket splurge, but were putting our wants before the needs of others. If we saw a starving child, the family that can't afford heat, or medicine, would we still be able to spend money on our new DVD? Put ourselves first? It's easy to forget that people all over the world have real needs, when our biggest dilemma is whether or not to 'supersize' our combo.

Of course, eating beans and rice for lunch is such a small thing. We're trying to allow this mentality to trickle into all we spend our money on. But we still pay for internet, have two cars, buy new books. We bought a pizza the other night for dinner when we didn't need to, and we're buying Abel a few unnecessary things for Christmas. But you've got to start somewhere, and for us it's beans and rice!

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18, emphasis mine

When someone is going through a hard time, do you only love in word ("I'm praying for you!") or do you act? Can you act? Or are you spending all your money on 'lunch'?

*By the way, this might not seem like a big deal to some of you, maybe you already eat the same thing for lunch every day. But because I am pretty picky, and I love to cook, I felt like it was important for me to be thankful for a simple, healthy lunch. even if it's the same every day. Many people all over the world are thankful to have beans OR rice, as their only meal in a day! Having this lunch also reminds us to be thankful for what we have.*

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 11/15

I am linking up again this week with Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday. I enjoy sharing each Monday, because it keeps me accountable to at least one blog post a week! My hope is to be writing more often, and I'm hoping this will kick it off. But for today, here is my menu for the week:

Monday: Chicken, onion, and roasted broccoli in a coconut curry sauce over Basmati rice, homemade naan (Planned on this last week, but we were invited to our friends' house instead!)

Tuesday: Manestra (Greek Style orzo) with sauteed garlic green beans

Wednesday: Meatball Subs, sweet potato fries

Thursday: Reed closes at work, I'll have leftover subs

Friday: Reed closes at work, I'll have tuna salad

Saturday: Roasted tomato and red pepper soup with squash

Sunday: Baked beans and cornbread

Still eating cream of wheat (us) or Greek yogurt (baby) for breakfast. The baby (10 months) eats a modified version of our food for the other meals. Lunch is still beans and rice. One week of eating that every day and going strong! I do still owe you a post explaining why we've switched to beans and rice for lunch...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Typical Day

I want to be a schedule person. Really, I do. I would love to do the same thing at the same time most days. I love to plan, to make the most of my time. But in reality, this doesn't always happen! (And I do love being spontaneous, especially when it comes to enjoying my precious boys!) But particulalry since we're still having issues with Abel's night time sleep patterns and we're waking up exhausted, getting up bright and early does not appeal to Reed and I!

But now, I'm watching Chase. He arrives at 7:30, which means I must be showered, dressed, and have a tidy house by (I think) the crack of dawn :) Now that Abel is use to being woken up (he hears us getting ready) at 630ish, he gets up then even on the days we don't have Chase.

Here is our new typical day schedule:

Up at 6:30
Shower, dress, make our bed
Abel up, nurse
Chase here at 7:30
Tea and breakfast with Reed
Abel breakfast
Boys play
Abel dressed/ bath if needed
Laundry/ etc
9:30/10:00 Boys go down for nap
Spend time with Reed if he's home, read/computer/prep lunch/clean if he's not
Abel up 11:30ish/ nurse Abel
12:30ish Chase up
Clean kitchen and/or start dinner while boys eat
Playtime, finish any chores
Nap for Abel around 3
Play with Chase, get him ready to leave, have him help pick up
Abel wakes up/nurses, Chase leaves both sometime between 4 and 5
Enjoy Abel
Finish making dinner, nurse/feed Abel dinner if he will miss dinner with Daddy
Dinner when Reed gets home sometimes before, sometimes after Abel is in bed
Abel gets ready for bed about 6:30, story time with Daddy, he nurses one last time, usually down at 7
Spend time with Reed
Clean up from dinner
Bed sometime between 10-12 but trying to aim closer to 10

There you have it! On days where Chase doesn't come, it's pretty much the same but I also run errands during time slots where the boys usually play. Our schedule also changes around Reed's work schedule, which is all over the place. Abel might stay up later the nights Reed closes, because I like to go visit him at work (Starbucks). If we're both home, sometimes we play together with the boys, or take turns watching them so the other can get stuff done! :) Also, depending on the day, we have church, ladies/mens bible study, small group, and the church children's program.

I'm so thankful I have the privilege of spending the day at home!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 11/8

This week, I am joining up with Organizing Junkie for the first time to share my menu plan for the week.

I menu plan every week for my family, and have for some time. I've found that it seriously helps with keeping the grocery bill under control, and (for the most part!) prevents those "Oh my goodness I'm starving but there's nothing to eat let's eat out!" moments. Typically, I do not buy processed food (i.e hotdogs, boxed whatevers, frozen dinners. You know, the stuff hubby would survive on if I didn't cook!) Of course, the occasional bag of 75% off Halloween candy just might find it's way into my basket. But for the most part, I prepare all of my family's food from mostly whole foods.

For breakfast, we generally have homemade granola, oatmeal from oats (not those little instant packets) or cream of wheat. The baby (9 months) eats Greek yogurt with banana for breakfast. The rest of the time, he eats a modified version of what we eat.

For lunch, we typically will eat leftovers, a quick pasta, or veggie stirfry over rice noodles. Since my husband's schedule is all over the place, sometimes we eat dinner for lunch since that's when he's home. But after some serious thought and prioritizing in our lives, we've decided to exercise some self control for a while and have beans and brown rice for lunch. Every day. More on that another time :)

Dinner, for the week of November 8, 2010

Monday: Grammy's Spaghetti sauce, salad

Tuesday: Lentil and veggie soup with dumplings

Wednesday: Lasagna (made with leftover sauce from Monday) and roasted broccoli

Thursday: Reed will be at work at dinnertime, so I will have leftover lasagna. He takes leftovers when he goes to work, too.

Friday: Again, Reed will be at work. I'll stir fry the rest of the broccoli with garlic and an onion and add some teryaki sauce, maybe eat it over rice noodles.

Saturday: Chicken in Yellow Curry Coconut sauce over rice with homemade naan

Sunday: Finish up the leftovers

Thursday, I will also be making a spinach and onion quiche for a Ladies' Bible Study fellowship in the morning. Sunday, there is a fellowship breakfast for Sunday school, and I think I'm bringing a loaf of cider-pumpkin bread which I made a few weeks ago and froze.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Understanding Love

We had a baby shower at the church today for one of my friends in celebration the upcoming birth of her little one. I was invited to give the devotional, and this is what I shared:

I know that nearly each of you in this room has been a mother longer than I have, with my little one just 9 months old. It is humbling to me that I am suppose to share something with you all this afternoon. I pray that I will encourage each of you, but particularly you Sara, with a little part of what I have learned and realized in my short time of being a mom.

When I was younger and my mom would tell me that she loved me, of course I would respond with, “I love you, too.” Every once in a while she would look at me closely, and tell me that I had no idea how much she really loved me. I just shrugged it off, frustrated that she thought I didn't know what love was, and say, “I know mom, I love you too!” Then she'd reply, “Toni, you won't understand how much I love you until you have a child of your own. When you do, then you will understand.”

So I grew up, hearing this every now and then, thinking my mom was a little bit crazy. I knew her love for me was special, but she really thought I couldn't comprehend it?

Then I had Abel. And I understood.

Sara. When you have your baby and as you continue to watch him grow, you will understand too. You will go into protection mode right away, and your love for him will be fierce. When he smiles at you, learns to clap, or says Mama for the first time, you will melt, into one big mommy puddle.. You won't care about anything else, because you're beaming with pride and love that your son called you Mama. When he cries, your heart will break and you'll want to fix it. You'll want to shelter him from anything that can harm him. When he is in pain, you will hurt. Physically, and deep down in your soul, you will hurt. And wish you could take away the pain, or the fever, or the cough. When he does something wrong, you'll pray for him to just learn the lesson so you won't have to discipline for the same thing over and over and over. And when you pray for his salvation every night before he goes to bed, you will truly understand the meaning of the scripture in Romans 8:26, “ ...For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” That's the kind of love my mom has for me, and now I understand, because that's the kind of way I love my son.

As I've grown to love Abel more and more, and to understand this deeper kind of love, I've realized something. The way we love our children is just a shadow of how God loves us, His children. We might think we understand the depth of His love, or the power of His love, we might think we know how precious we are to Him, but I believe this is beyond our comprehension. Eph 3:19 tells us that “ the love of Christ surpasses knowledge.”

Just like a parent, God disciplines his children to bring them to maturity. He is faithful when we are in pain. He is patient as we make the same mistakes over and over and over. Like earthly parents who try to understand problems their child faces, the bible says that Jesus can “sympathize with our weaknesses.” The love God has for his children is so vast, and immovable. In Romans 8, the Bible tells us just how awesome God's love is for His children. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?.... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And like a parent, God protects His children. He has made us his own, adopted us into His family, at great personal sacrifice-- the death of his only son. We are his children now. 1John 3:1 says. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Before Abel was born, I knew of course that God had sent His only son to die for me, and my sins. But when Abel was born, and I had an 'only son' of my own, this took on a whole new meaning. The God of the universe sacrificed his son, his perfect child, for my disgusting rebellion. Not only has he redeemed us, but he has made us co-heirs with Christ. Romans 8 declares that we “ have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” How rich is this truth! And how deep it is to me now that I have a son. God has sacrificed His son, to make those which have rejected him, his heirs. We've been adopted into his family. And we carry his name.

I love the song by Stuard Towend, How Deep the Father's Love for Us. I know you're all familiar with this song, but let me remind you of the first two verses

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

So Sara, I want you to remember, that when you see that sweet face for the first time, and when every day you fall deeper in love with your little boy , that that is just a shadow of the love Christ has for His children. We might think we understand how God loves us, just like I thought I understood my mom's love for me before my son was born. But God's love for us is beyond our comprehension. I pray that each day, as you grow to love your son more and more, that you will be reminded of, and in awe of, the immeasurable love our Father has for you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Anne Bradstreet

Recently, Reed bought me a biography on the Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet. I was encouraged and convicted while reading about her deep faith in God, and I enjoyed learning the stories behind some of her poems. The beginning of her poem titled "Upon my Son Samuel his going for England" hangs in Abel's room. I read it once again as I nursed my precious baby, and I was reminded again to surrender his life to the Lord.

Thou mighty God of Sea and Land,
I here resigne into thy hand
The Son of prayers, of vowes, of teares,
The child I stayed for many yeares.
Thou heard'st me then and gave'st him me;
Hear me again, I give him Thee.
He's mine, but more, O Lord thine own,
For sure thy Grace is on him shown.
- Anne Bradstreet, 1657

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Letter to My Little One

Dear Little One,

Today marks the first anniversary of your due date. Had God seen it fit for you to be our first born, you would have been one today. But God had other plans, and your little brother is nearly one himself. Your brother, Abel, brings us such joy and happiness. We love watching him grow and learn new things. We love meeting his needs, reading him stories, and snuggling before bed. Your daddy and I have grown even closer through loving him together. Had you been our firstborn, dear Moriah, I would not know your precious brother. Though my Mama's heart loves you both immeasurably, I believe that is one of the reasons why we never met you face to face.

But because you came first, though you were not born, I am a different kind of parent. I know not to take any little moment with Abel for granted. I trusted God through my dangerous pregnancy and delivery with Abel in a deep way, because through your life I learned just how in control God is. I learned how faithful He is to meet out needs. How loving He is to care for His children. Your Daddy and I grew and learned so much from our time with you, and through the time we clung together and to God after you died. Your life taught us to live in total surrender to God's glory, and to submit our desires to the will of God.

Whenever (if) God sees fit to give Daddy and I a little girl, we plan to name her after you Moriah. You will never be forgotten, and we will always remember the things we learned from your brief life.

With all my love,

Genesis 22: 1-3, 11-12
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I." He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him..... But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

To read more about our first baby, read this post.