Monday, January 20

I was thinking....

I was thinking yesterday.
Marting Luther King Jr. Day.
About our life with our 3 littles.
2 vanillas and 1 chocolate.
What a wonderful life we have. A blessed life. A life that only God himself could orchestrate. We live a life that only a few short years ago, would have been completely unacceptable and unheard of.
 photo 4_zpsf352a212.jpg Praise God for restoration and redemption in the broken. In the ugly. In the shameful.
Praise God for equality. For justice. For making things right. The way they are supposed to be.
Praise God for people who Dream. For people who are bold. Bold enough to say No! This is not ok! Praise God for people who are not afraid to render over their safety and name sake for the restoration of others. Praise God for people who rise up and fight for truth. Fight for peace and fight for God to intervene.

Martin Luther King Jr. He was one of those people. A person who fought for a broken dark world to be made right. He wasn't afraid of his dream. He wasn't afraid to stand his ground and fight for what his heart knew was right. This man had a dream. And today, we get to live that dream.

Growing up I knew who Martin Luther King Jr was. I knew what he fought for and I knew he "had a dream." But it wasn't until Emme entered our lives that I fully grasped and KNEW what his dream meant. I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into what all this amazing man taught us. What he was really about.

Now, I cant hear/read his speech without getting weepy. It stirs something deep in my soul. Something tender. Raw. Emotional. It brings deep emotions of regret. Hurt. Pain. Shame. But at the same time a spirit of victory. Joy. And Excitement.

Facebook yesterday was consumed with Dr. Kings quotes. Most I had read but never let my thoughts ponder on them. Do you grasp the power in his words? Do you feel his passion? Let me share some of my thoughts inspired by Dr. King.

"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
Friends, we may not be fighting a war for race equality and for human rights but, we are indeed fighting a war. Everyday we fight a war that is unseen. If you believe and have professed Jesus as your Lord and savior you better believe that you are fighting a war. An unseen war but none the less real and painful. The enemy attacks those who fear the Lord. He will use clever tactics. He will use even friends/family/co-workers or whoever to tear you down. Fight this battle with dignity and discipline. Rise to the majestic heights where physical force meets soul force.

"We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead."
No matter where you are in your walk of life, surround yourself with those who are fighting the same battles as you. Who have overcome the ones you face.  And those who edify you and sharpen you. Link arms. Stand together. Do not walk this walk of life alone. March ahead. In adoption it is said that it "takes a village" to raise these kids. It does. In marriage, in parenting, in relationship, in ministry, I believe that in every walk, you need a village to fight the good fight. Find your village, make your pledge to march ahead. We can take on the world together.

"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.""Faith is taking the first step, even if you don't see the first staircase."
What are you living for? What would you die for? What is your purpose? It doesn't have to be grand or big it can be something small. What ever it is, live it and live it big. I want my children to be passionate. It is important. Passion is what brings change. What bring things to life. I to love and I want my children to learn to love. Not a fairytale love. But love that brings cause. Love that brings hope. Love that brings on something bigger then themselves. Love and Passion with no boundaries. That have no fear of missing their dream. Whatever it may be. We were created for purpose. I want to encourage you to lay your fears down. And find it. Live it and fulfill it. Even if you are the only one. Trust me...when you start living out those dreams, those things you fight for and would die for, you find people in the strangest ways that are just like you. You just have to take the first bold step to do it.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others."
It is easy to be brave when no courage is required. It is easy to talk about being bold and standing up for what it right. How many of us have actually been in a place where real courage was required and being brave was the only choice?
It is so easy to talk about giving when your bucket is overflowing but what about giving when the bucket is dry and you only have crumbs to give? How many times has the Lord told you to give when you had none to give and you were obedient. When was the last time you helped someone despite what others around you including the ones you love most thought about you?

I could go on an on but I cant close without sharing his dream...
"I have a dream that one day my four children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today."
For the first time in my life, I read this quote yesterday and nearly wept. What a powerful dream. One we watch come to fruition day after day. In our home, our friends homes and in the homes of so many others across the nation. We live in a nation that once had a thick cloud of darkness that covered us called hatred. Today, we join hands in our daily interactions with one another.

The other night we sat over frozen yogurt while Parker asked Phillip and I who Martin Luther King Jr was. As we told him, his eyes filled with little tears. I watched as my almost 7 year olds face dropped with sadness. We explained the brokenness that our country once suffered from. We explained to him, in a very 7 yr old way, the disease of hatred our nation once carried. As he bit his bottom lip and pondered what we were saying I knew he was struggling to wrap his mind around such a thing. He was quite for awhile and later that night at bedtime told me "Mom, I would have stood with Dr. King and I would have told those people to Love each other because that it what Jesus tells us to do." He has the purest heart.

So I was thinking...
What if we all had the compassion for people that my 7 yr old has?
What if we all were brave and had real courage to stand up for what it right and to stand up and fight for others?
What if we all had the courage to live with purpose and be the change the world so desperately needs?
What if we fought with dignity and with discipline and not harshness and cruelty?
What if we opened our eyes to the "invisible" people and laid our privileged lives down for them? To fight for their redemption and restoration?
What if we all had a dream and would die to see it be fulfilled?
What if we all fought for the dream of our Father to make his Son known so that those made in His image could be restored to Him as rightful heirs? As son's and daughters?



I was thinking...What if......???

Monday, January 13

1 Easy Step to Making Your Meal Planning Stress Free

I have a secret and I can't wait to tell you.
I have figured out a way to succeed at meal planning with very little stress and its actually enjoyable. *Insert gasps of amazement here*.  I know, bold statement.  Bold yet true.

I don't know about you but sometimes meal planning is stressful and daunting to me. I mean, I love to cook, but sometimes I don't feel very inspired to create an amazing meal nor do I always have the energy to stand in the kitchen for 4+ hours creating something for my crew.

However, cooking is one of my favorite things to do. It is so rewarding when you work hard in the kitchen to provide your family a healthy and delicious meal that they love and eat seconds or thirds of. And yes, it is possible to do both cook healthy and it be delicious. And, it is possible to get your kids eating healthy too. It just takes time and discipline in being firm about their dinner options. My kids know that if they don't eat what is infront of them at dinner, they will go hungry and or eat it for breakfast the next day. I refuse to make 5 different meals every night. (Harsh? Maybe...)

So, I am assuming you are like me and you love to cook but you are a busy wife and mom and you find it hard to make and think of fast, healthy, delicious and creative meals. So here is my secret, my 1 easy step to making your meal planning stress free....

  eMeals. 

Ya'll eMeals is saving my life. I have a friend who has been using it for awhile. She has been trying to get me to love it for quite sometime now. She even gifted me a month or 3 so I could try it. I used it off and on but didn't really look into it all that much. I have NO CLUE why. It is amazing and I am hooked so far. I have been using it for 2 weeks now and I am so impressed. The meals have been delicious. The grocery list is incredibly organized and so helpful. And it has been budget friendly.

They have several different dietary options to choose from (Vegetarian, Low-Cal, Gluten Free, Paleo, Clean Eating, Simple Gourmet  etc.) and family sizes to choose from. They even have a drop down where you can select your local grocery store and they will cater towards their sales and promotional offers. (HEB isn't on there...boo!)

I chose the Vegetarian/Vegan option since that is how we eat in our home. Here are some things we have eaten the last couple of weeks:


  • Grilled Apple Butter, Pear and Sharp Cheddar Sandwiches with Tomato Soup (BEST grilled cheese I have ever eaten)
  • Baked Tofu Caponata with Sourdough Toast (Tofu, Eggplant, Squash, Zucchini mixture...My kids LOVED this)
  • Cannellini Bean Gratin with Spinach and Pear Salad topped with a Maple Vinaigrette (This salad is a little slice of Heaven)
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Lettuce Wraps with Honeydew Melon and Pita Chips on the side (Everyone scarfed this)
  • Spinach and Mozzerella Quiche with Sweet Potato Fries (OMG...even better the next day!!)
  • Mexican Mole Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread (Stop it. Mouth watering delicious!!)
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Image via eMeals.com
The menus come out on Wednesday and they are sent straight to your email. I signed up for the 3 months for $30 but I wish I had of done it longer. Its that amazing. You need to do yourself and your "meal planning stress level" a favor and check this website out. You will thank me.

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This is the Baked Tofu dish and the only food picture I took. I will have to get better at this.

I hope you check out eMeals. And if you do, let me know. I would love to know what you think.

***This is not a sponsored or paid Advertisement. These are my own and true opinions and eMeals did not ask me for a review. I just really love their service.***



Friday, January 3

Live. My word for 2014.

Live. This is my word for 2014.

This word “live” came to me earlier this fall, around the time school started. I had a moment where I realized how quickly this life is being lived. Each day goes by faster then the one before it. Each year whizzes by leaving my head spinning. I realized one day that Parker is almost 8. These past 8 years have more then flown by. I thought for a moment on how the next 8 years will fly by and Parker will be 16 and driving, and then after another 8 years he will be 24 and probably graduating from college. (He might even be engaged or newly married by then!!!!!) My heart sank for a brief moment and I grieved the thought of missing out on each moment given to me if I didn’t LIVE in each of those given moments. We as mothers and parents are writing our children’s memories and we are aiding in those moments that form them and shape them into who they will become. I want to LIVE fully in those moments. Not for myself but for them.

And then there are the moments with my husband. The man I get to grow old with. The one who will know me deeper then anyone else. I want to LIVE fully in our moments together. I want to embrace every date night, ridiculous argument, vacation and every other normal day with him. I think sometimes we mommas get lost in our life with our kids and we forget the man we married. This is the person who will be with us after these booger coated, fit throwin’, ragamuffin kids move on to build a life of their own. I want to live a very intentional life with my husband full of memories and love. I want to live a life that will bring laughter to our hearts and smiles to our wrinkled faces when we sit and think about the good ole days.

Living in these moments starts now. Learning to be alive in the present starts today, in the present moment. This year I want to retrain myself on how to truly live with intention and less distraction.
I want to really LIVE.
Live with love.
Live with purpose and with passion.
I want to live fully. Not necessarily big. Its not a big life I want to live, but a life that has meaning and purpose. I don’t want to waste this year, or even this life, not truly living in every moment. I want to live out my freedoms and embrace my fears and learn from them.

I want to live so deeply in every moment that the smells, the sights, the feelings and the sounds are forever etched in my memory. I want to discover more of the things that make me feel alive. I want to uncover the things that bring me inspiration and the things that fuel my dreams. I want to feel more alive this year then the years past.

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Do you have a word you focus on for the year? If so I would love to know what it is.

**To read about my words from the last few years click here, here and here.

Thursday, January 2

Happy New Year!!

My favorite way to spend the first couple of days of a new year is sick in bed. (I hope you hear the sarcasm here) I have been sick with a virus from HELL. No lie. It is ROUGH. I have ridden it out without antibiotics. I am not a martyr or too good for modern medicine, I just HATE sitting in a clinic for 4 hours before I am ever moved into a patient room where I will most likely wait another 1-2 hrs before I am seen for a whooping 5 minutes. I just don’t have time for that as a momma and I guess I would rather drug myself with Day & NyQuil, have a pity party for myself and make people serve me rather then spend a full day in a clinic. Anyway…

I love the turn of a new year. Each new year is like a new chapter in a book. It’s the turning over of pages filled from moments the year before held, to new blank and crisp sheets eagerly waiting for adventure, life, love, memories and sometimes heartache and disappointment to be written on them.

When we talk about events in our life or places we have been we often refer to those moments by the year in which they happened.

Examples:
“Oh, you remember back in 1995 on that warm February day, when I was riding bikes with my sister and a couple of neighbor friends and I flipped over the handle-bars of my dad’s bike and ripped my scalp open?? And then, in September of that same year, I drove a Go-Cart under my aunts suburban and was rushed to the hospital with severe cuts across my forehead and left wrist?” It was the year for stitches I suppose. I must of had some kind of quota to meet. (I was an accident prone child)
“Do you remember in 1999 when I had my first heart break over failed friendships, insecurities and boys?”
“Do you remember 2005? That was the year my life changed forever! I became a Mrs.”
“In 2006 I became a mom and my whole world changed again.”
“In 2007 I rededicated my life to the Lord.”
“In 2008 our second son was born”
“Do you remember 2010? It was a wonderful but trying year for us. Filled with lots of love and lots of heartache. Our marriage  was a little broken but was redeemed and restored and this was the year my husband dedicated his life to Christ. And later that year we felt the call to adopt.”
“2011 was the year that God broke my heart for people in the developing world and gave me a passion to fight against the injustices that happen to His children around the world. This is also the year that we went to Ethiopia to meet our new daughter.”
“How about 2012? Do you remember everything we experienced this year? We brought our daughter home. We battle crazy lice. We learned to love through the hard times. I returned to Ethiopia on a mission trip and was wrecked all over again.”

You see each year is a chapter in our lives. Each of them filled with many memories that have shaped us and molded us into who we are.

So when a new year rolls around I tend to get a little excited about what this brand new year might have in store for us. Where will we go? Who will we meet? What will we experience? What memories will be made?

The anticipation of these things gives me energy. It excites me and has me ready to leap forward with full trust that this next year will only be better then the last.

What are you looking forward to this year?
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