Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just had to share with you :)

I just stumbled across a shop on Etsy that I love - box64studios. Her work is just perfect! I think that she and I would be great friends. :)

Kelly uses beautiful vivid colors and combines them with words from hymns and scripture in a way that creates pieces that put the old words into a fresh setting. It somehow makes them stand out more and is just so lovely.

Kelly also offers a bunch of other things in her shop, one of which is a printable baby's first year calendar that is just darling. :)

all images copied from box64studios

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

what I found in the laundry

I pulled out the basket of clean clothes to fold this morning, and found George looking back at me.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

you know you're the mother of two under the ago of two when:

your children are only eight pounds and one diaper size apart.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

for when I become complacent

"Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

"Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

"Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

-Sir Francis Drake

I've read this prayer before, but it was a while ago and I had forgotten about it. The little ones and I were visiting Brian and Leah over the weekend while John was hunting, and the pastor of their church led the church in reading this together during the worship service.
I've been pondering it for a few days and thought I'd post it to share with you all.

Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little

Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes

I've found that sometimes God uses poetry to re-say things that He has said before, things that I've heard so many times that my ears and heart become deaf to them.
God has plans and dreams for our family that are so much bigger, broader, deeper, higher and more wondrous than we can imagine (Isaiah 55:8-9), partly because He is God - all knowing, all seeing, all present - but partly because we are at times content to dream little dreams.

So, Father, what dreams would You have us dream? Disturb us, Lord.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

china for a baby boy

If I had, oh, say $70-$100 that I wanted to spend on a keepsake for Ian, this set of dishes would do the trick!
Baby Mug

Cereal Bowl

Small Plate

Or I could just get the boxed set for 46 pounds (which today equals $77.09). It costs more than we spend on groceries in two weeks, but would be so sweet to have!

Monday, November 01, 2010

I've joined the flock

I know Twitter has been around for a while now, but I haven't been that sure that I wanted to be a "tweeter".
Until yesterday morning, that is.

It's actually kind of fun!

Follow pltmarket on Twitter

God makes beautiful things

"Beauty out of dust, beauty out of us"


Saturday, October 23, 2010

just a song on the radio

John had to work on Sunday, so it was just me and the little ones going to church. We dropped him off (kisses all around - Emma loves giving kisses right now) and then Emma asked me to turn on the music (she also loves to sing and "dance" in her carseat as we're driving).

After a few minutes "No Matter What" by Kerrie Roberts came on:

I’m running back to Your promises one more time
Lord that’s all I can hold on to
I gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises You
Before a heartache can ever touch my life
It has to go through Your hands
And even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why

No matter what, I’m gonna love You

No matter what I’m gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, if not, I’ll trust You no matter what, no matter what

When I’m stuck and there’s nothing else by myself

I’m just sitting in silence
There’s no way I can make it without Your help, I won’t even try it
I know You have Your reasons for everything so I will keep believing
Whatever I might be feeling, God You are my hope
And You will be my strength

Anything I don’t have You can give it to me, but it’s OK if You don’t

I’m not here for those things
The touch of Your love is enough on its own
No matter what I still love You and I’m gonna need You

No matter what I’m gonna love You, no matter what I’m gonna need You

I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, if not, I’ll trust You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, but if not, I’ll trust You

No matter what

No matter no matter what
No matter no matter what
No matter no matter what

There was one line in particular that struck me, and as I pondered it, the truth that was in it ministered to my spirit as much - or maybe more than? - the fellowship and sermon that we enjoyed later that morning.
Before a heartache can ever touch my life
It has to go through Your hands

While I know that God is sovereign and permits trials to come into our lives for our benefit, I sometimes realize that I have forgotten that God is with me, before and behind, in my heartache as well as my joy.

It is easy for me to forget that He doesn't just allow any pain to come into my life, no, just that which He is using to shape me for His glory.

Everything He does has purpose, and everything that He allows to touch me will end up being for my good - even the things that really hurt, the things that - at the time - I wish never happened.
It all goes through God's hands before it touches me.
I can trust Him.
Even when I can't see the hope through my tears, I can trust Him.

(nothing is going on right now, just in case you are wondering!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

faithful living

"This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness." -Elisabeth Elliot

I found this quote on someone's blog this morning. So good.
I've been pondering - what's my job? What does this look like for me?
Job - wife. Mother.

So the quote could read like this: "Being a wife and mom is the job that has been given to me to do. 
Therefore, it is a gift. 
Therefore, it is a privilege (sometimes this is more evident than others!). 
Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God
Therefore, being John's wife and a mom to Emma and Ian is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. 
Here, in my days at home, I may learn God’s way. 
In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness."

pondering and applying this truth today.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

you know you're a mother of two under the age of two when:

you find yourself figuring out how to nurse a 15 1/2 lb baby and help a little one on to the potty seat at the same time (quite the trick!).

Monday, September 20, 2010

you know you're a mother of two under the age of two when:

your kitchen sink looks like this 5+ days a week (or you perpetually have a bowl of Oxy Clean on your counter, soaking whatever was soiled recently).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

flaming baked cappuccino alaska

One of the Jacobsen family traditional favorites is Baked Alaska. It's a very special dessert and would usually only be made for very special occasions - such as when Dad's little brother was in the States.
It's best when it's eaten all in one sitting, so having a table full of people was also a prerequisite!

John and I didn't have anything special happening, but a few days ago I had a hankering for some charred meringue atop of a slice of ice cream and cake. Plus, I felt that John needed to experience something that I had such fond memories of!

I knew the gist of the recipe by heart - slices of cake in the bottom of a pie dish topped with ice cream and meringue, brown the meringue, splash it all with some alcohol and strike a match - but I pulled out my copy of the Joy of Cooking just to be sure. :)

According to the Joy of Cooking, the first step is to line your baking dish with a half inch layer of cake - both sponge and angel cake are recommended. My family always used pound cake which tasted delicious and stood up to the weight of the ice cream quite well. I deviated from both and used a pan of brownies as the base.

Next, make up your meringue. Beat 6 egg whites until frothy. Beat in 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, a pinch of salt, 2/3 cup sugar (adding the sugar slowly) and 1 tsp vanilla and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff.

Once the meringue is quite stiff and glossy, mound 1 - 1 1/2 quarts of slightly softened ice cream on top of the cake. I used coffee ice cream, but any flavor combinations are acceptable! Fruit flavored ice cream is especially good.
Joy of Cooking says to next lay strips of your cake over the mounded ice cream. I didn't, and my meringue didn't quite cook through, so I am guessing that this is an important step! At this point you may choose to freeze the Baked Alaska for 30 minutes or so to firm it up.

Spread the meringue over the ice cream and cake, taking care to cover right down to the edge of the baking dish.
Rinse off half of one of the egg shells and place it on the top (this will hold the alcohol).
Brown the whole thing under a 500 degree broiler for no more than 3 minutes. It browns quickly, so watch carefully!
Grab some plates and forks and matches and tell everyone to gather round! Pour about 2-3 tblsp of alcohol into the egg shell and shake the Baked Alaska so that some runs down the sides. Strike a match, turn off the lights ... and voila!

you know you're a mother of two under the age of two when:

you stop by the Starbucks by church (which doesn't have a drive-through but has a very convenient location) and are so preoccupied with guiding the little feet back out the door and balancing the coffee and infant carseat that you forget to put the cream in your coffee - after you asked them to leave extra room for it, too!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

amazing and full of wonder

My sister-in-law posted some ultrasound photos of our new little nephew or niece on facebook the other day.
As I was looking at them this morning I found myself choking up - they amaze me.
This little one already has a soul, an eternal soul. God knows his/her name and has known it since before the beginning of time. Even before it was ever spoken of, He know of Baby Smillie's existence. Oh, these things are amazing and full of wonder.

I was thinking about the verses where God talks about knowing us before we were conceived, knitting our bones and muscles together, seeing us while we were hidden away in the safety and darkness of our mothers' wombs.

O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
   behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
   and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
   it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
   Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
   and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
   and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
   and the light about me be night,"
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light with you.

For you formed my inward parts;
   you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
   my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,
   the days that were formed for me,
   when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
   I awake, and I am still with you.
 -psalm 139:1-18

Saturday, September 04, 2010

the recipe

I mentioned that the granola I made turned out really, really good .... but didn't get around to posting a recipe. So, now I am!

Tawny Granola (loosely adapted from Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights by Sophie Dahl)
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons apple juice 
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pinch fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of raisins and dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350 and oil a large rimmed cookie sheet.
In a mixing bowl combine the oats, nuts, coconut and fruit. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients and the spices. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet.

Spread the mixture evenly on the cookie sheet, using a spatula to smooth it. Bake for around 40 minutes, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn't get over done. When it starts to brown, turn the mixture over with the spatula to make sure that it toasts evenly on both sides.

When it is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Store in an airtight container and serve with milk or yogurt. :)

Friday, September 03, 2010

gifts is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot.
Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.
-ecclesiastes 5:18-19

Happiness in our work is a gift from God, as are satisfaction and contentment.
Contentment has been near the front of my thoughts for the past several weeks ...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

strawberry scones

If you've ever had your scones turn out heavy and rather unappetizing, you  might be thinking "hm, those look good but I can't make them". You can. I did. And they are sooooo light and creamy! I found the recipe over on Annie's Eats (I really love her recipes!) and have made it over and over.

The main difference between this recipe and the other ones I have tried (and I have tried many) is that is calls for yogurt instead of cream or half and half. Maybe that's what makes them so good?
These also freeze really well!

Strawberry Scones
1 large egg
¼ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
½ cup milk
1 tsp. orange or lemon zest [I've been using orange and it tastes wonderful!]
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 heaping cup diced fresh strawberries [I use thawed frozen berries because they are cheaper - and because I usually have some on hand]

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, milk and citrus zest until blended; set aside.  In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Add the butter pieces to the bowl with the dry ingredients and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour, until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.  (If you don’t have a food processor, you can just as easily mix up the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives or forks.)  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and toss to coat.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and gently fold together with a fork or spatula until a sticky dough has formed.  Knead just a few times to ensure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is cohesive.  (Only if absolutely necessary, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time to hydrate the remaining dry ingredients.)
Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface and pat into a disc about 7-8 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.  Slice the disc into 8 wedges.

To bake the scones, preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Place the shaped scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes before serving.

To freeze, transfer the baking sheet with the shaped scones to the freezer and let them chill until they are firm, 30-60 minutes.  Wrap the scones individually and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to bake.  Bake as originally indicated, adding a few minutes to the baking time (usually about 18-20 minutes for me.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

poem and ponderings

God's Grandeur
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.               The heavens declare the glory of God;
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;                   the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil                                                              -Psalm 19:1
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?                   Creation itself also will be set free from its
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;                          slavery to corruption into the freedom of
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;         the glory of the children of God.
  And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil     For we know that the whole creation groans and
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.                             suffers the pangs of childbirth together until now. ...
                                                                                         but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us
And for all this, nature is never spent;                                 with groanings too deep for words;
 There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;                                                - Romans 8:21-22,26
And though the last lights off teh black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

homemade granola

 before being put in the oven

I made granola the other day and it turned out better than I thought it would (aside from being slightly burnt)!
The recipe ended up being a combination of three that I had on hand, using the things that sounded good to me and leaving out the things that didn't (or that we didn't have in the cupboard).

All done! Yum.

"The will of God is ... bigger"

John and I have been married for 28 months, and it's been good. Not always easy, but very, very good.

"The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It my seem much worse, but in the end it's going to be a lot better and a lot bigger."~Elisabeth Elliot

I found this post in my drafts file, originally written last June. It's still true (all I needed to change was the number of months). God's ways are not our ways.
His thoughts, plans and ways are ever so much bigger and better than ours.
If He had given me the chance to opt out of certain experiences over the past 2 1/2 years I certainly would have! But then I would have missed out on the blessings.

Isn't it good that even though we can't see the end, God can?

Monday, August 16, 2010

God-powered Mothering

 One of the blogs I follow - Femina, written by Nancy Wilson and her daughters/daughter in law - posted about loving our children. Not just loving them, though, but loving them with a I Corinthians 13 kind of love, a Christ-like love. I was thinking of paraphrasing what they wrote, but it's all good!
So here it is:

"1. Love is longsuffering. Moms will have plenty of provocations in this world, so they need to be able to suffer for a long time. Some of this longsuffering involves putting up with people who degrade motherhood and despise children. Moms need to think long term, give themselves a good job description, and adopt God’s view of the high calling of motherhood.
2. Love is kind. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). Much kindness (and unkindness) comes via words. Pervasive kindness means listening, forgiving, anticipating, speaking, and doing. It includes physical comforts for your kids: giving them clean beds, warm food, soap and water. It is a LAW of kindness, which means it includes discipline and instruction that is given kindly.
3. It is not envious. Not of other mothers, not of other people’s children or their accomplishments or grades or personality. This means no comparisons with the other siblings, no complaining. Children feel their parents disapproval and it can crush them.
4. It does not vaunt (parade) itself. Moms should be careful not to provoke others to envy (or disgust or weariness) by putting their children on display in a bragging way, hijacking every conversation back to the report card or the clever cuteness. This does not mean that moms should not praise their children and rejoice in their accomplishments. But the Christmas letter should not be full of vaunting.
5. Love is not puffed up. This implies being full of oneself. And this is the kind of mom who cannot be taught by her own children because the kids are never right, and mom is never wrong. This kind of parent is full of her own authority and looks to lord it over the kids rather than love them. She demands attention.
6. Does not behave rudely (unseemly). This means improper or inappropriate behavior. We’ve all seen this at the grocery store: “You are driving me crazy! I am going to count to three and then I’m leaving you here!” Love does not threaten. Love takes responsibility. Love doesn’t over-share about her children’s needs, failures, weaknesses, or sins.
7. Seeks not its own. This kind of mom gives herself away. Home is for the family, and the schedule is for the kids, not the kids for the schedule. This means family night is not the night the kids dread.
8. Not easily provoked. This kind of supernatural love doesn’t react. It sees the big picture and doesn’t flip out over spilled milk or muddy shoes.
9. Thinks no evil. She hears both sides of the story first before making a judgment. She doesn’t believe everything she hears. She does not attribute motives.
10. Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. When someone else’s child fails or flunks or loses, she does not do a victory dance.
11. Bears all things. Sickness. Slowness. Messiness. Childishness. She can bear these things if she has supernatural love.
12. Believes all things. She loves the truth! She lives it out and she teaches her children to believe.
13. Hopes all things. This kind of supernatural love can believe that God is in control of all things, even this sickness or this frustration or this loss. This kind of mom hopes in God and knows He is writing her story and her children’s stories.
14. Endures all things. Who can do this without the supernatural love and power of God?

15. Love never fails. This love sees the kids to the finish line with faith and courage.
Okay, so who doesn’t need supernatural love to do this? Pray to God for it! He loves to give the supply."

He does love to give when we ask (especially when we ask for things that make us more like Him), and always will.

Asking God for love like His reminded me of the verses at the end of Ephesians 3:
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Amen and amen.


better things

"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." -c.s. lewis

"Better things ahead" - so true and so good to ponder.

Monday, August 02, 2010

triple ginger cookies

One of my favorite summertime flavor combinations is lemon and ginger (well, anytime combinations really). Lemon cheesecake with a ginger crust. Gingerbread cake and lemon curd. And lemonade with gingersnaps.
I had a hankering for the fresh and tangy combo again last week and made up some ginger cookies - not gingersnaps though. These are really, really zingy Triple Ginger Cookies. So zingy that instead of using a typical "rounded spoonful" of dough, these are only 1/2 a tablespoon worth each. Pretty much the size of a quarter.

2 cups spelt flour OR whole wheat pastry flour (I used whole wheat)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon star anise, finely ground
4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2/3 cup fine grain natural cane sugar, sifted (I used Xylitol)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large egg, well beaten
1 cup crystallized ginger, then finely minced
2 lemons, zest only (I used orange zest)
Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Line a couple baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or a Silpat mat (I used a knock-off version of a Silpat from Crate and Barrel), place the extra sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, star anise, ground ginger, and salt.
Heat the butter in a skillet until it is just barely melted. Stir in the molasses, natural cane sugar, and fresh ginger. The mixture should be warm, but not hot at this point, if it is hot to touch let it cool a bit. Whisk in the egg. Now pour this over the flour mixture, add the crystallized ginger (make sure it isn't too clumpy), and lemon zest. Stir until just combined.
I like these cookies tiny, barely bite-sized, so I scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. I then tear those pieces of dough in two before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape. From there, grab a small handful of the big sugar you set aside earlier and roll each ball between your palms to heavily coat the outside of each dough ball. Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cookies puff up, darken a bit, get fragrant and crack.
Makes about 4 dozen or so.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

it matters, because of Him

"One of the most profound and far-reaching implications of the Christian belief that God both created the world and entered it personally, is that matter matters; it has inherent meaning. It is not simple neutral, empty and waiting for us to grant whatever meaning or value we choose at any given point."  
-debra rienstra, great with child

Friday, July 23, 2010

He. Is. Faithful.

"suffering is not for nothing. It's not just an opportunity to try and trust God. There is something glorious that He desires to produce in us through our sufferings." a. ann

"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful;" -Heb 10:23

He is faithful.

He is faithful.

He is faithful.

He. Is. Faithful.

I've come to the conclusion that I can expect "baby blues" to hit me about 6 weeks after I give birth.
For some reason, even though I get tired and a bit emotional after my babies are born, that passes fairly quickly and it's not until about a month and a half goes by that I start reaching out for help. Or quietly shutting down and weeping.
It happened after Emma, and now it's happening again.

It's wonderful that Ian has started to smile. He lies there, saying "ah ga, ah ga" and smiling. Emma comes over and wants to snuggle. And it's good. I wipe away tears and try to smile back.

I'm not really sad, per say, but not really happy either. The tears lie just beneath the surface and anything - or nothing - will make them flow.
I want to be happy, joy-filled, entering into Emma's play. Most of the time I am. It's just so much, much harder right now.

This feels like such a poor explanation of what is on my mind, what I wanted to say, but it's a start. I want to come out on the other side of this time knowing that God was faithful, giving me grace. Knowing that, somehow, He was working out something glorious.
I want to see that fruit.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

humble, joy-filled, God-dependent mothering

One of my friends texted me the other day asking how I was doing with emotionally, if I was feeling the "Baby Blues". I hadn't taken time recently to think about it - too much has been going on!
Once I took the time to think, though, I realized that I am doing okay - if I'm not tired. When I'm tired my emotions rise to just below the surface and almost anything can cause tears or "shortness". Especially when both babies are being needy at the same time.

I found this blog post this afternoon about mothering that really spoke to my heart and I wanted to share a part of it.

"Motherhood ... laughs in the face of our competence and confidence we try so hard to feel and have in a society that tells us we can do anything we want and do it good.

Motherhood can make a wimp out of us. Out of me.

...Don't make motherhood an idol. Or motherhood your identity. If you do, you have failed at the calling you think you have and the fruit you thought you would reap, will devastate you.

But the truth is, ... when you get into it all, you find it just doesn't mix with a self-seeking heart. ... It's easy to lose our hearts to the glitter of a self-important career and forget that there are hearts under our charge that need our unconditional love and acceptance and training -- AND IT'S WORTH IT.

I want to RISE TO THE CHALLENGE to the hardest career I could have ever chosen. Yep, I will probably have to tell myself this each and everyday. Not because I don't LOVE every single one of my children, and not because I don't love motherhood, but because it's hard. And though I typically love a good challenge, this motherhood stuff goes beyond that. I can't do it without God.

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone
-"Lead Me" by Sanctus Real "

 It's so true. Having Emma was an entirely new experience in relying on God, but it didn't wear me out. Having Ian and Emma? It's driving me to my knees.
I want to give them and John "the best of my life" but I can't do it. Not by myself.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

my darling boy

yes, he's a pacifier baby. :)

just something beautiful

"poppy" by Carl Larsson, one of my favorite artists

and a quote that I found this morning:

Seek, O believer, that every good thing you have may be an abiding thing. May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock!
-Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, July 10, 2010

yesterday evening

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Yesterday evening was a quiet time, just the four of us enjoying playing and being together. John sent me outside to take a walk after Emma was down. He stayed with Ian, and I took a stack of letters to the mail box.
It was a bit sticky outside (it seems to hardly ever be dry during July/August), but cool enough to be pleasant. And so pretty.
I'm so glad John told me to go out.
There is something about being out of doors that is refreshing for me. And John knows this.

As I walked I decided that when I get old I want to be the old lady on the street who has the garden that is overflowing with a profusion of old-fashioned flowers.
I want to spend my time tending it, being with my family, building into their lives and the lives of the younger women around me. 
I want to wear the slightly funky but ever so lady-like clothes.
I want to have pretty dishes to use everyday, especially when others stop in for coffee and something sweet.
In my old age I want to celebrate and enjoy the simple and sweet things that make up the days.
And if it is going to happen I need to cultivate that contentment and joy now.

Friday, July 09, 2010

sweet words

I just stumbled upon Banter Banner. It's such a fun company! They make a variety of banners with different phrases, all reflecting the company motto: "because we should celebrate everyday".

And one of the great things about these banners? They're each just $10. :)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Saturday, July 03, 2010

ah, commitment. and love that's been tried and found true.

this couple is just darling! they honestly recognize each other's faults, but then love them anyway. day after day, and year after year. that's what a lasting marriage takes!

Friday, July 02, 2010

summer = rhubarb

I found a recipe for baked/stewed rhubarb over on Orangette a few months ago and the other night I made it.
It's delicious. And refreshing. And addicting.
Oh yum.

It's also pretty simple to make, which is a really nice feature right now!

Roasted Rhubarb
2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
½ cup sugar
½ cup crisp white wine
1 vanilla bean, split (I used about 1/2 tsp of liquid vanilla that I added about 5 minutes before it was done)

Set a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put the rhubarb in a Dutch oven or other deep oven-safe pot. Add the sugar, wine, and vanilla bean, and stir to mix. Bake (uncovered) for about 30 minutes, or until very tender, giving the pot a gentle stir about midway through to ensure that the rhubarb cooks evenly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a summer sunday morning

The tree outside our window.

This blog post by Ann Voskamp spoke to me, especially these lines:
"The most enchanting days never cost a thing, only that you pay attention.
I slow down and open the eyes wide and dig deep into the pocket of me.

I'm thinking now is worth all I have."

Ian is wearing a romper/faux suit that Mimi gave him at the shower and Emma is wearing a romper that Grammie bought while she was here. They looked so cute!

Emma wanted her picture taken, but wasn't quite so sure about smiling.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

oh, this was funny!

maybe I can reconcile myself to driving a minivan?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

father's day dessert

Because John had to work on Father's Day, I wanted to make an extra special dessert for him.
I found a recipe for "Heaven and Hell" cake (so called because it has both Angel Food and Devil's Food cake layers in it) on, and Julia pitched in and helped me make it (actually, she did most of the work - thank you Julia!!!).

The recipe says this cake is rich, but I'd have to say it goes beyond that. It is very, extremely rich. Oh. My.
And so so good.
The only thing I'd change is the peanut butter mousse filling. There's so much of it that you actually could cut it in half and still have a great dessert.
I think I'd really like to try it again, but with a fruit filling perhaps. Maybe raspberry? Strawberry? Cherry?

For the Ganache:
2 lbs. milk chocolate, such as Valrhona, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For the Angel Food Cake:
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

For the Devil's Food Cake:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coffee
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

For the Peanut Butter Mousse:
1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1. Make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium-size bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan; pour cream over the chocolate and let sit to melt for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, combine the chocolate and cream. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to let rest for 4 hours.
2. Make the angel food cake: Heat oven to 325°. Line bottom of a 10" round cake pan with ungreased parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together confectioners' sugar and flour; set flour mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a handheld mixer on low speed until frothy. Increase mixer speed to medium, sprinkle in sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle half of the confectioners' sugar–flour mixture over egg whites; using a rubber spatula, fold until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until top of cake springs back when touched, 45–50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack and let cool.
3. Make the devil's food cake: Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 10" round cake pan with shortening and dust with flour to coat; shake out excess flour and set pan aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder; set flour mixture aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the coffee and cocoa powder until smooth; set coffee mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat the shortening, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture to the bowl in 3 stages, beating to combine after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, 30–35 minutes (we found that it was more like 40 in our oven); transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
4. Make the peanut butter mousse: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and confectioners' sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Put cream into a large bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture; set mousse aside in the refrigerator.

5. Assemble the cake: Using a serrated-blade knife, slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer of the devil's food cake on a cake stand and spread 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse over the top with a butter knife. Top mousse with a layer of the angel food cake and spread with half of the remaining mousse. Repeat with the remaining devil's food cake, mousse, and angel food cake. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours. Stir ganache until smooth and spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake with a butter knife. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before slicing.
SERVES 10 – 12
This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #121

Monday, June 21, 2010

this moment

A few pictures from this afternoon when Emma was napping:

Also, there's a woman that writes a blog that I follow who wrote a good - and really long - post the other day about parenting. Here's a snippet:

"Fear based parenting ... is when parents motivate their children to do what is "right" out of fear. Just plain fear. ...
Fear is sin. I do not want to parent my children based on my fears.
I do not want to raise fearful children either. I believe if we parent this way we can hinder our children from understanding who God is.
There are a few different types of fear based parenting possibly?
-parenting according to what we FEAR others will think of us.
-parenting where we actually plant FEAR in the hearts of our children [ultimately not trusting the Lord].
-over protecting out of FEAR.
-motivating our children to behave the way we want them to out of FEAR of us, or fear of hell, or fear of punishment.
I think fear based parenting is something that can easily sneak into our relating to our children without even realizing it."

There's a lot more too, just her recent thoughts on being a godly mother.
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