Monday, October 31, 2011

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Fritters

My garden is long gone, but thankfully we have a little bit of Summer's goodness in our freezer.  One meal we really enjoy to use up some of our garden veggies is zucchini fritters.  And as of a few days ago, we officially used the last of our vegetables from the garden:

On the health scale, zucchini fritters are probably tipping closer to artery clogging than we'd like, but it's so yummy and we love the flavor of the zucchini.  Occasionally if I'm running low on zucchini, I'll do half zucchini and half yellow squash and we've noticed no real flavor difference.  

I also switch between using flour or panko crumbs as the binder.  I think Panko gives the fritters a bit of a crispier texture, but I don't always have it on hand :)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Zucchini Fritters with Homemade Marinara

2 Medium zucchini, grated
2 tsp. kosher salt
Combine zucchini and salt and let set 5 minutes. Then rinse in cold water and either squeeze dry in a kitchen towel or spin in a salad spinner.  It's important to get all of the liquid out or else the fritters will be soggy.

Stir Together:
1/2 cup flour or panko crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg
1/4 red onion (or yellow if you prefer)grated
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Drop zucchini mixture by a couple of tablespoons, flatten and fry about two minutes per side (or until centers are cooked through and outsides are brown and crispy).

Keep warm in oven until all of the fritters are cooked.  Serve with marinara and additional Parmesan.


1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
Heat oil in pot, and cook garlic and salt just until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and cook uncovered 15-20 minutes, occasionally mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher until the sauce thickens.  We like our sauce a little chunky, but if you want a smoother texture, let it cool slightly and then process the sauce in batches in either a food processor or blender.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Axel F...

The little Mr. has a new favorite song.  Axel F...He hums it to himself all. day. long.  I really don't mind it, as when I was five, it was my favorite song too.  I remember hearing it for the first time when I watched Beverly Hills Cop...yes.  At five.  It's not my parents  fault, I had a cool babysitter who let me stay up late and watch it with her.  I may or may not have even developed a slight crush on Eddie Murphy at the time.

Now, I do have a little more discretion and have not allowed my son to watch Beverly Hills Cop.  He heard Axel F from Monsters vs. Aliens.  I know.  Not much better as far as movie choices go for a five-year-old.

I'm all about sharing the love or rather exposing you to the pain of getting a song stuck in your head, so without further ado...Axel F as performed by the little Mr....look out for a key change mid-song and a slightly inappropriate finale.

You're welcome.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thrifted Thursday...'s been a while since I've done a Thrifted Thursday post.  I haven't been thrifting as much, and really haven't found anything worth claiming...until a couple of weeks ago.

B and I were driving through a neighborhood close to downtown when we spotted a mid-century modern dresser sitting along the side of the road with a 'FREE' sign on it.  We are suckers for modern furniture, so we did a loop around the neighborhood so we could get a better look.  It was actually really cool and had a lot of, we crammed her into the back of the suv.  And I'm not even ashamed about it!

Suffice it to say, she needs a lot of love.  But, we looked her over and she's actually in fairly good condition.  The drawers glide really well, and everything is sturdy.  We love that the drawers are flush, with a slight indentation along the top which means there is no need for hardware or drawer pulls.  It's really funny to us that three of the drawer fronts don't match, so we'll definitely be remedying that.

We love the look of tapered or peg legs...but, as you can see, it is missing two legs, so we'll have to replace all four. There is also a long scratch on the top...

The inside of one of the drawers was stamped with a 'Kroehler Furniture' logo.  Anyone know anything about Kroehler?  

I Googled it, but didn't really find anything that would lead us to believe that this piece of furniture is worth anything.

We are no strangers to restoration, so we have big plans to make her beautiful:

  • We plan to repair the scratches and lightly sand the outside shell, then we will paint it white.
  • B will remove all of the drawer fronts and replace them with stained walnut so they all match.  We think the walnut will contrast nicely with the white.
  • Replace all of the legs with either new tapered legs or stainless steel.  I'm voting for tapered wood, B wants stainless steel.  What do you all think?

Once she is beautified, she will reside in our little one's bedroom, replacing this Ikea Malm dresser:
MALM 6-drawer dresser, white stained oak
                            Width: 63 " Depth: 18 7/8 " Height: 30 3/4 "  Width: 160 cm Depth: 48 cm Height: 78 cm
We are really excited to get started on this project and hope to update you all with the finished project soon!

Do you have anything that was previously a diamond in the rough, but after a little work was turned into an awesome gem?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Heart For Missions...

I beg your forgiveness for a couple of reasons.  1) This is a lengthy post and 2) I'm a terrible blogger.  And what I mean by that statement, is I'm not always an open book.  I'll share funny stories about my kiddos, share sarcasm regarding myself, or share something I've learned in my quiet time, but I don't really flesh out life's decisions on the blog.  I often find myself being vague or cryptic when I share about change etc.  I think part of that reason is fear that you will lose faith in me if the decisions I/we are contemplating never come to fruition.  But, as we all know...our plans are not God's plans, nor are our ways His...can I get an Amen?

All that to say B and I have had a lot to pray about, mull over, and give to the Lord over this past year.  We feel God is asking something big of us...but it's either not time yet, or it may look different down the road.  We're not sure.

Last year, when Brent was laid off from his architecture job, our lives were flipped inside out.  Not only did we have a lot of time together, but we had a lot of time to think about our lives and how we believed this one circumstance would forever change who we are.  To say B had a lot of time on his hands is sort of an understatement.  He did a lot of thinking, evaluating his life as an architect and provider, and how God could possibly use this experience to bring HIM glory.  B was approached by our Missions Pastor at church who encouraged him to attend Perspectives.  Ever heard of it?  According to the Perspectives website:
         Perspectives is an intensive 15 week course aimed at helping believers from all walks of life see how they can get threaded into God’s story of redeeming people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to Himself. From Genesis to the prophets, Jesus Christ to the early church, and Constantine to today, you will see how God has been moving, how the global Church has responded, and what the greatest needs in world evangelism remain today. It isn’t a class about missions, but a course on how every believer can be intimately woven into the story of God using His people to be a blessing to all the peoples of the earth.

Since B was in flux, he decided this class would be really good to attend. If anything, it would help him to better understand missions and help us to be better plugged in at our church (our church has a strong emphasis on missions).  When B informed me of his decision to participate in the class, I laughed and said, "I hope you don't think we're going to become missionaries just because you're learning about them."  I obviously need to learn to allow my inner monologue to filter my thoughts before I verbalize them.

While they say this class isn't about missions, most people who have completed the class either go to the mission field, equip others to go, or send missionaries through financial support.  The speakers are amazing, and by the end, you really get the whole for lack of a better word perspective of how great the need is for many across the world to hear about Jesus.  There are over 2500 tribal groups who have never heard the gospel.  That is huge!  That is approximately 140 million unreached people who still have never heard the name of Jesus, many of whom are located in the 10/40 window.

It's hard for me as an American to grasp that.  We live in a country with a church on virtually every corner, the freedom to worship without persecution, and most people (even if they don't believe in Him) have heard the name of Jesus and know what He did on the cross.

After weeks of B attending Perspectives, we both felt God moving in our hearts.  We felt that we had a responsibility with the knowledge we received, coupled with how clear scripture is on sharing God's word with all the nations.  We felt that we should take the steps to make connections with missions organizations and let God open and close doors as He should see fit.  About seven months into B's unemployment, we began applying to a couple of missions organizations, and shortly thereafter B got a job with his current architecture firm.  At that point, we didn't feel God saying 'no', but more of a 'wait'.  Not because B had a job and now we no longer desired missions, but we wanted to explore what missions would look like for our family.  We decided we would continue to be obedient by pursuing missions, but locally for now, until it became clear when/if we were to go.  We felt like what better way to start than by living it out now, on our own 'turf' so to speak.

So, what does it mean to pursue missions locally?  We recently joined a small group along with other Perspectives alumni and are going through a curriculum called The Global Life which is a year long curriculum designed to help people live out a missions-minded lifestyle.  It is a 3-2-1 module...basically, our family spends 3 hours a week in God's word, 2 hours per week with internationals or non-believers, and 1 hour a week as a team (our group actually meets for 2 hours).  Our particular group is fairly eclectic:  we have a couple who are former missionaries to Malaysia, a single young woman from Indonesia, two single gals in their 30's, a missions pastor, another single woman in her 50's, and our family of four.  We include our children as much as we can so they can see us in action and know that they are very much a part of what mommy and daddy are doing.

Each week we meet as a team, study God's word, discuss how we are making connections in our community and explore how missions looks for each of us.  It's incredible to be in a room with so many people who are so burdened for others to hear the truth, but more than anything, people who are intentional about building friendships and relationships, caring for others, and allowing God to open up doors in conversations as He sees fit.

Because of this change in our life, and after much prayer, we decided to try homeschooling our children.  Our thought was that we wanted to see how homeschooling would look for our family, work out the kinks, and find a routine that suited us best now, while on our home 'turf' rather than wait until if/when we were on the mission field--which could be an added stress while navigating life.  Of course there is the very real possibility that we are to remain here...for now at least, it seems clear we are to stay.  Either way, we are okay with God's leading.  More than anything we desire to be obedient, and live out a life that is missions minded in the here and now.  B and I feel convicted that if we can't live it out here in our own community, then we have no business going overseas.

What does that mean for our family?  It means that we sacrifice a bigger house with a bedroom for each kid, so we can live near the Bosnian families that flank either side of our home.  It means we stay in the neighborhood we've been in these past eight years so we are closer to the refugees a few blocks away, the couple down the street who we have built a friendship with, and the bus route to downtown where the passengers know B by name.  It means we live in our urban neighborhood so we can be closer to downtown, where we frequent the coffee shop that attracts a particular group of people who are searching for answers to life in all the wrong places.

For the past several months, missions has been our new normal...  

This call is so far out of my league times a thousand.  If I do this on my own, I will fail.  It defies all of my previous ideas of what missions is or looks like.  And to express how inadequate I feel doesn't even scratch the surface .  Right now I am holding onto HIM and begging HIM for strength.  But I do believe one thing is for sure...God does not call the 'equipped'.  He equips the called.  And I am clinging to that.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homeschooling On A Shoestring...

As promised, today I am sharing a bit about what we are using for homeschooling curriculum, and how we've kept the cost to a minimum for our family. 

But first, I thought I'd share a few pics from a recent field trip.  We've been reading the book, "The Story About Ping," which is a story about a duck who lives with his family on a boat on the Yangtze River in China.  To go along with the story, we talked about China and what it's like to live there, identified the Yangtze River on a map, made Chinese flags, and learned about the missionaries from our church who are based in China and talked about ways we could be praying for them.

Des Moines has a really cool pagoda located near the river, so we decided to take the kids so they could see a structure that is similar to many traditional structures in China and other parts of Asia:
After the pagoda, we took the kids to a couple of Asian markets in town so they could see how they are the same or different in comparison to American markets.  It was a whole new world.  The frozen food section was eye opening with bags of frozen chicken feet and other delicacies.  The kids had a blast, and we let them choose a few food items to take home and try.  A favorite was Lychee, which is a small fruit that we thought tasted similar to ripe pear. 

While strolling the aisles of the market, this product sort of stood out:

Is it a drink or an exercise regimen?  The packaging is oddly unclear.  Either way this coffee product seems to insinuate that your rear will be toned and perfect after consumption.  Sold.

Now that you have indulged me in gratuitous family photos, I will share how we are homeschooling on a shoestring and what we are using.

First, let me state that there are amazing curriculum sets out there that are already pieced together for you (covering all subjects) and laid out in advance so you have very little prep.  Unfortunately, the sets are very pricey, and after much research, I decided to piece together my curriculum instead of purchasing a set.  If you are interested in a set, ABEKA, My Father's World, and Sonlight are a few of the most popular Biblically based curriculum and each are really wonderful.

We are blessed to live in a school district that makes homeschooling really easy for families and has an abundance of resources.  I checked with our district, and we have a program called the Home Instruction Program, which allows families to check-out curriculum for a small fee, and provides a teacher who visits twice a month.  Really, this program has been key to saving us money. In addition, the little Mr. attends a block class every Wednesday for two hours, where he is paired with other homeschooled children in a K-2nd class.  He loves going every week and is learning some really advanced things (right now they are studying the body systems).

Below I have listed what we are doing for Kindergarten.  I indicated curriculum that we have checked-out through our home instruction program with an asterik*, and have provided links to each item so you can look up any that interest you:

  • Math- *Math-U-See-I can't say enough how impressed I am with this curriculum.  The little Mr. loves it, and I love teaching it.
  • Reading-*Explode The Code I love that this curriculum is fun and stresses not only reading but early reading comprehension.  We also checked out a set of scholastic early readers that the little Mr. loves.  He's doing so well, that we are almost ready for the next set!
  • Writing-I chose not to use a handwriting curriculum, and instead have the little Mr. do copy work in his journal each day.  We use sentences from his children's Bible or his Awana verses, or sometimes we focus on a particular character respect (not that it's necessary or anything).  Before copying he sight reads each sentence to further emphasize that reading and writing go hand in hand.      
  • Social Studies/History/Geography etc.- Five In A Row I love FIAR...I am a FIAR groupie now.  Really this curriculum is sort of a catch all.  It can be used to teach anything from social studies to art to math, hence the 'etc.' in the description.  Basically FIAR provides a book list to choose from (most if not all can be checked out from your local library) and then provides lesson plans to go along with each story.  Each book is read five days in a row, while completing the corresponding lessons.  I am only using the list as a spring form, and am creating my own lessons (our 'Ping' lesson and field trip was part of FIAR).
  • Science-The Usborne First Book of Knowledge this book was  given to me by a friend.  It's perfect if you have a little one who asks, "Why?" as it covers how things are made and how they function.  It's a fun read with bright pictures and my kiddos love it.
  • Bible-Each week we work on scripture memory through the Awana program at church.  We also use the Children's One Year Bible for story time and I typically look online for craft ideas to go along with our story.  
Friends, this sort of just scratches the surface.  We have more that we use to sort of fill in our day and keep things fresh, and I'll share those tidbits later on.  I've had so many friends share links for free printables and so much more, but to list all of that today may leave you feeling as though you're drinking from a fire hose...

I am surprised by how much I enjoy homeschooling my children. I had never thought of myself as a person who would homeschool, but it's been a very good decision for our family thus far.  But, we are also realistic and are willing to be flexible should our lives change later on down the road.  Tomorrow I hope to share a bit more in depth as to why we came to the conclusion that homeschooling was the right fit for our family.

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meatless Monday: Burrito Bowl...

A week ago I was sorting through my pantry, trying to dig up something for our Meatless Monday dinner.  Beans?  Check.  Rice? Check. A fridge full of veggies? Check.

After displaying what I had on the counter, I realized that all of these ingredients might just make a good burrito bowl.

What was born from this combination was a dish reminiscent of a Chipotle burrito bowl...minus the steak (which is usually my meat of choice).  It was really great and the whole family enjoyed it!

Burrito Bowl

2 cups brown rice
1 chicken boullion cube
1 Can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup cooked corn
2 carrots shredded
1/4 red onion diced very fine
2 Roma tomatoes diced 
1/4 cup (or more per taste) Newman's Own Cilantro Lime dressing
Warmed Flour Tortillas

Garnish:  cilantro, shredded Monterrey jack cheese, avocado, salsa, chopped spinach (or other leafy green) and sour cream

Cook rice according to package directions, adding the boullion cube to the boiling water along with the rice.
Cook the corn and combine with the rice, beans, carrot, onion, and tomato.  Drizzle dressing over all, toss lightly and garnish with cilantro.  Place warmed tortillas in the bottom of each bowl, top with rice mixture, a bit of cheese and spinach and garnishes of your choice.

Whirlwind Weekend...

This weekend B and I packed up our kiddos, arranged a Stella-sitter and headed down to Missouri (that's MIZZ-OOR-EE...not MIZZ-ER-UH, or MISERY) to visit our families.  

First, we headed to my side, who happen to live on a little over 65 acres just north of Kansas City.  My parents moved our family to the country after spending most of my years in the city.  I guess you could say that I'm a country-girl with city roots.  Thankfully I can walk with my feet in both worlds and feel comfortable.  

However, it was a shock to my system when I woke early on the first morning at the farm and suddenly remembered that my parent's small town doesn't have a Starbucks...and after a 20 minute drive (and much to my displeasure) neither does the neighboring town.  I settled on Folgers.

It was so gorgeous this weekend, so we spent plenty of time outdoors doing farm feeding the goats, llamas, chickens and petting a new baby calf.  There is a certain attire for doing these leggings and knee-high boots aren't it.  If you can imagine, animals process their food quickly...and well...there's a lot of poop.  Improper attire aside, it was so wonderful to be out on the farm again.  

The little miss loves animals, so she had a blast being a farm girl for a day.  The little miss happens to love rocks as much as she loves animals, but unfortunately she had a hard time discerning the difference between a rock and dried poop.  She pocketed a few poop pebbles before I realized her error.  *Sigh* City girls.

My youngest sister and adorable nephew joined us later, and we had a bonfire out in the pasture...among the goats.  One thing about my family is that we are competitive, and no one chickens out of a dare.  Things started innocent...challenging the little Mr. to run to the fence and back.  Then from there it was to run and touch a goat.  And after that to run and catch a goat.  But, then someone threw out, "I'll bet your mom can't run out there and catch a goat...and kiss it."  It was on.  So, not one to back down...I ran in my knee-high boots and leggings and chased down a goat.  Which turned into goat-diving as those suckers are fast and I did a nice face plant before actually nabbing one of the beasts.  Thankfully there are no pictures as proof, so did it really happen?  If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear the sound, did it make a noise?

After the farm, we headed down to KC to spend time with B's family.  We raked some leaves as a family...

Uncle K.K. put down his guitar for a day...
Caleb Jackson

And grabbed a wheelbarrow full of leaves and kids...

Later, Nana J. did a popcorn craft with the kiddos...more popcorn may have ended up in little tums than in the actual craft...

It was a crazy-busy weekend, and two of us Jackson's brought home colds as souvenirs, but we loved seeing the fam, and I'm sure Stella loved having the house to herself other than visits from the neighbors.  She almost seemed a little disappointed when we arrived back home, "Seriously?  You people came back...and brought the loud-short, humans with you?"

Happy Monday friends!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Okay...not going to lie.  Life has been crazy.  Really crazy.  Crazier than I normally infuse on a daily basis.  And honestly?  I'm in over my head.  

I could list out all of what's been going on, but frankly I don't want to see it in print, and I don't want to be the downer of the day for you either.

Ha!  I just read the first two paragraphs and realized I've already pulled you into my pit a little.  Let's climb out together shall we? 

One area that seems to be plugging along is homeschooling.  I really love it and so do the kids.  B has been such an encouragement in this area.  I have to give him so much credit, because I don't know that I'd have the strength to teach every day if he wasn't all, "Babe, you've got this and I'm so proud of you."  Yeah...he's amazing.

After a couple of months now, we've found our groove, and it's been incredible to see the little Mr. grasp new concepts and thriving.  He has been a breeze to teach.  He loves to learn and is such a trooper when it comes to sticking it out until we're done.  And the little Miss is really doing great too.  I see how allowing her to be a part of what we're doing is helping her to grasp some of the same concepts, but on her level.

Early on, we got plugged into a home instruction program through our school district.  You read that correctly...through our school district! What I love about the program is that it supports homeschooling parents and provides resources and even access to curriculum through a lending system should one choose.  Tapping into this resource has saved us so much moolah...but I'll write a post about homeschooling on a shoestring another day.

Twice a month, we have a visiting teacher who comes and does fun science experiments with the kiddos:

And an art project or two:

Mostly, she's there to support us in our endeavor to teach at home.  Through the home instruction program the little Mr. also takes part in a block class once a week, where he is placed in a classroom with other homeschooled students (in his case, grades K-2).  Right now they are learning about body systems, and I'm so impressed at how much he understands about how the body operates.  Future physician maybe?  A mama can dream.

I may have mentioned it before, but for us, homeschooling this year was sort of a trial.  We weren't absolutely tied to our decision to homeschool, and if it wasn't a good fit for our family, we had no problem admitting so and making a change.  But thankfully, it's been really wonderful.  

Sure there are days when the kiddos ask, "Do we have to do school?" Or I'm frustrated because there is way too much goofing off.  And let's face it, something had to give, and so this blog has been sorely neglected.  We're all striking a balance and trying to function in our new normal...which sometimes includes me passing out on the couch after a full day of teaching.

Hopefully, I can pull myself together and get back to posting stories about the craziness that is the Jackson '5'.  

I give you permission to hold me to it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Let Them Come To Me...

I, I ADORE hearing my kiddos pray.  They are two and five, and there are two things that come to mind when they pray, A) they pray for the funniest things, and B) they pray earnestly.  I mean like eyes squeezed tight, hands clasped, loud, earnest prayers.

This montage has nothing to do with the topic at hand...these pics just crack me up.

My sweet miss usually prays for the same thing every night.  It goes something like this, "Desus, tee-coo for Vee-va's teef, and tee-coo for bubby's teef.  Tee-coo for Elmo.  Tee-coo for my bed and pee-low, and food. A-meeeeen.

Now, I'm not sure why she prays a prayer of thankfulness for her teeth and her brother's teeth, but the girl is very thankful for them, as she usually shouts that part out.  

The little Mr. has gained some sophistication in his five short years, and his prayers go a little like this, "La-wrd, thank you for my house and my bed and food.  And La-wrd thank you for Jesus and dying on the cross.  La-wrd thank you for my mommy and daddy, And dear La-wrd, thank you for Stella and for all we have.  And Heavenly Fodder, I'm sorry for pushing Eva today when she took my Legos.  In Jesus name, Amen.

His prayers usually sound a little like a southern minister as he repeats 'Lord' with a slight southern draw.  I love it.

B and I often find ourselves bowing our heads low as they pray to cover the smirks on our faces when prayers get particularly specific.  But, really, I'm so grateful to hear such honest fervent prayers.  They are praying what's on their hearts...they are talking to God, whom they know without a doubt, hears their prayers and cares about what they are laying before Him.  They believe their Heavenly Father pays attention to the small details in their lives.  Their prayers to Him are so conversational, recounting the details of their day, and the ways they are grateful for how He provides.

It's no wonder why God wants us to have hearts like little children. It's no wonder why He gathers them up to Himself.

In Matthew 19, after a long day of preaching, parents were bringing their children to Jesus, and the disciples began shooing them away saying Jesus didn't have time for these wee ones.  But, Jesus heard this commotion and chastised the disciples saying, "let them come to me."  Jesus gathered these little ones up and blessed them.  And then he said something profound, "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  I'm sure the disciples were stunned to hear that.  I mean, these were just kids.  But, these little children were flocking to Jesus.  They knew who this man was, and they longed to be near Him.

I look at my own children and see how easily they trust God at His word.  If I ask them who God is they reply, "He's Jesus!  He's big and Mighty."  If I ask them what He made, they reply, "Everything!"  If I ask them what He can do they say, "Anything!"  If I ask them who God loves, they reply with great big smiles, "Me!"

That is faith like a child.  Trusting God at His word.  Believing He is who He says He is.  Believing He can do all things.  Knowing He gives us all that we have and giving Him the glory He deserves.  

I want faith like that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trust Fall...

My sweet little miss just discovered the dangerous fun that is a 'trust fall'.  Any time I park myself on the floor, she immediately runs over to me, stretches her body tall and straight, spreads out her arms and dives forward into my arms, squealing with delight.  She never asks me to catch her...she never hesitates...she just falls toward me with a huge grin on her face, trusting that I will catch her in my arms.  

Over and over she falls, and over and over I catch her.
This fun little game could go wrong in so many different ways should I choose not to catch her...but she's my child.  I love her and I want to protect her, so of course I'm going to pay attention, stretch out my arms and catch her every time she falls toward me.

One day, after about 10 minutes of laughing and catching my little dare-devil, I couldn't help but think about how this little game is so similar to my relationship with God...or rather not-similar.  God holds out HIS arms to me, I spread mine wide and begin to fall back into HIM, only to falter ever-so-slightly and then stop.  Will HE catch me?  Can I trust HIM with the details of my life?  I'm afraid to let HIM be in control.  Unlike my sweet miss, I don't fall back with abandon.  I look at HIM, shake my head with shame and decide to take my life into my own hands.

Even though I am HIS child, and I know HE will never let me fall, I'm afraid to let HIM have it all...I'm afraid of the trust fall.

 So often, I want to take the reigns...I want the control.  I want to make my plans and I want to check off the tasks from my mental 'to-do' list.  I want, I want...

I hesitate to give everything to HIM.  I hesitate to release it all to HIM.

As HIS child, do I trust God to catch me in life?  Do I trust my life and the direction it is going in HIS capable hands?

I wish I could always answer 'yes' to that question, but I would be kidding myself and you.  

Daily I find myself praying with trepidation, "I am yours with me as you will..." While still holding back the parts I want to keep for myself.  It's selfish, I know.

But, then I think of Isaiah's vision in Isaiah chapter 6.  Isaiah is at the throne of God, in the perfect Almighty presence of God, and the Seraphim are so in awe they are covering themselves as they shout God's praises.  Isaiah was feeling completely unworthy to be in the presence of the Lord, and could only think of his shortcomings, when all of a sudden the Lord spoke and asked in verse 8, " Whom shall I send, and whom will go for US?" and Isaiah replied, "Here I am, send me!" Isaiah was humbly ready, and had complete trust in the task prepared for him.

The job he was accepting was not a good one.  He was to deliver  news to an unreceptive people...yet, HE trusted God's good and perfect will.  HE trusted this task that was given by God.  I am in awe of Isaiah's readiness.  His willingness to bring God glory through trust and obedience.

As I am typing this, the old Hymn 'Trust and Obey' came to mind so, I googled the lyrics. I was particularly struck by this verse:

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we'll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey for there's no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.

It is clear that our Mighty God has capable hands that are strong to carry the burden of every detail in our lives.  How great of a disservice it is to not relinquish all to Him.  To not let Him have His way in our lives.  To say, "Thanks, but no thanks."
To not let our lives bring HIM the glory HE deserves.

The trust fall is sort of cliche`, but I love the point it place our trust in someone other than ourselves.  Relinquishing control.
More importantly, spreading our arms wide, erasing fear and doubt, and giving God every piece of ourselves to do as HE wishes for HIS glory.

Monday, October 3, 2011

We'll Take The Fries--With A Side Of Fries...

Was it a beautiful weekend where you are?  It sure was here in the Midwest!  So gorgeous! 

B's parents came up to spend the weekend and watch the kiddos so B and I could attend a, it's nice to have family to watch kiddos!  All of our family live out of state, so we totally take advantage are thrilled when they offer to watch our little ones for us.  If any of you have family in town who are able to watch your wee ones while you go out...well, then I'm jealous and you're lucky! 

We didn't just make B's parents watch the grandkids...we took them to the zoo, not our house...the real zoo.

Anyway, we attended an outdoor wedding at a lovely old mansion here in Des Moines. The wedding was beautiful, and it was so nice to have B all to myself!  He's an architect and for the past three months, he's had crazy deadlines and worked long hours (60+) so it was nice to not have to share him.  We really needed that time alone to reconnect. 

After the wedding, we looked each other up and down and decided to play hookey from the reception, and went on a date to a local french restaurant instead.

We got right in and found a quiet little corner table.  Now, I've admitted on this little old blog many times that I am a food snob.  I readily admit that I turn up my nose at chain restaurants and prefer locally owned secrets.  I's bad.  Can we still be friends? 

Anyway, I was feeling at home in my snobiness (snobishness?) at this little french place, and got a little too proud of myself as we ordered our appetizers:  Poutine (a dish of french fries covered in a red wine reduction gravy with cheese curds), and the Duck frites. 

Now, I did not read the full description of the Duck Frites, nor did I ask our server about them.  I assumed the dish was sauted duck or strips of sauted duck hence the 'frites'.  After our server left, B was like, "What are Duck frites? Are they fries?" and I was all, "'s duck, duh."  Now with what little french I remember from college, 'pomme frites' are what we know as french fries, so I assumed 'Duck frites' would be duck meat. 

When our appetizers arrived, the server set down the Poutine...and then set down a plate with a large mound of french fries.  I was like, "Oh...we didn't order fries."  and the server was like, "These are the duck frites you ordered."  I was all, "Where's the duck?"  she was like, "They are french fries fried in duck fat."  Oh.  As she left she laughed and said, "I just assumed you two really liked fries."  Um.  Thanks.

So, we laughed at how ridiculious we looked with our large plate of fries...with a side of fries. I certainly wasn't laughing later when my stomach was screaming all night at me.  Gravy fries, and fries fried in duck fat are not a good combo.  I don't want to see or smell another french fry for a very long time.  And honestly...after those choices, I think I've lost my status as a food snob.  Just reading those  food descriptions after typing them makes me nauseous...gravy fries?

Moral of the story:

A)  Read the full description on a menu and ask your server.

B)  Don't be a self-proclaimed food snob...