Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I massaged a salad. . .

Way and I had lunch downtown today with my Biffer, aka, Aunt Mary! So fun to just sneak away and grab lunch just the three of us! Turns out my meal came with a side of quinoa salad, which reminded me that I had not yet shared my new favorite quinoa recipe. . .

Thanks for a fun lunch date, Biff!

So, it's been a few months since I've posted a quinoa recipe. Some of you are new around here. Some of you have never tried quinoa. Some of you need a new recipe. And I'm guessing, ALL of you like yummy food, right??

Well, stop what you are doing. Go grab the ingredients. And then, prepare yourselves for a healthy and delicious meal! Plus--easy peasy to make. What could be better??
Oh, and you get to massage a salad. Fancy stuff.

A friend of mine sent me the Kale-Quinoa recipe, but I made a few changes. . .

Kale-Quinoa Salad

1 bunch kale--torn into bite size pieces (you can add more or less)
1 cup cooked quinoa (don't forget to rinse the dry quinoa first)
shredded carrots
dried cranberries
pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
walnuts/almonds, etc.
You really can use any fruits, veggies or nuts here

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
juice of 2 lemons

Whisk together dressing and then massage onto kale, add quinoa and stir well. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then add the other ingredients!

Now for the kiddo rating. Let me preface this by saying Luke does NOT like olive oil, which is why I cut back the olive oil a bit, you can actually use a touch more. He noticed the dressing right away. He's also not a fan of Craisins. So that being said, it wasn't his favorite. Charlie did well with it, finished his and Miles did too. Luke ended up finishing his after being bribed with a piece of chocolate. Because that's how we roll sometimes! Chocolate makes everything worth it. Should be a hashtag! Hubby and I devoured it, and lucky me had leftovers the next day! I'd put this quinoa recipe right up there at the top of the list with my Lemon-Cilantro Quinoa recipe. So, what are you waiting for? Go try it! Let me know if this tops your list too!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered!

Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered!

I cannot stop repeating these lyrics and singing this song, by Keith and Kristyn Getty! We sang this song yesterday in our Easter service at church, and I just love their hymns and worship music! 

And while I love the Getty's music, we went to a free outdoor concert at the Levitt Shell on Easter Eve and it seems that Myla Smith may have a new fan! Way so enjoyed himself and was just dancin' to her music all night! We all enjoyed being together and with friends and have loved the past couple of years of Easter Eve concerts!


And then Easter Sunday! What a beautiful day it was! Hubby took the older two boys on a walk to sunrise service. One of these days, we will all make it! But I stayed back with our younger two boys and started getting ready for our service at church! But in between services, we did find a little time to hunt for Easter eggs! These boys are so quick and I couldn't keep up with them, but all 14 eggs were found, which hasn't happened every year! Good for them, and us!

After church we snapped a few photos and then headed over to my parents for lunch and swimming (can you believe it was that warm?)! We had a wonderful time with them, my Biffer and Kevo, and Auntie joined us for lunch too!

It was a sweet Easter day and night! Even though I was completely tuckered out, Hubby led us through the last of our Resurrection eggs and the conversations and discussions with our boys just spurred me on---to continue to look to the Lord for His guidance and wisdom as we grow our little boys in His love!! 

Happy Easter! He is risen!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

our thirst. . .quenched!

This week has looked like this. . .
I. . .
-loaded clothes in the dryer and then walked away and didn't start the dryer
-took out the peanut butter and then put it back in the pantry before I used it
-went to dinner to celebrate Charlie's birthday and then realized I left the cupcakes at home
-made tea and then forgot about it and then reheated my tea and then forgot about it again. . .

I've had a lot on my mind and have consequently been forgetful and distracted. I've accomplished some tasks and crossed off several items on my super-long to-do list, but still.

Yesterday, after putting the finishing touches on dinner, mid-afternoon, I finally realized I was parched! I hadn't had anything to drink all day. I was thirsty! I filled a glass with water and sat down to breathe and drink. And as I was filling my physical thirst, I realized I hadn't yet filled my spiritual thirst for the day. I picked up a collection of devotions for this Easter season and was led right to "I Am Thirsty" by John "Skip" Ryan. Skip makes several points in his devotion, but what hit home for me was his thoughts on John 19:28, when after being hung on the cross, but before he died, Jesus said, "I thirst." He wasn't speaking of physical thirst. Skip points out that Jesus hadn't complained about anything else on the way to the cross--not when he was beaten and whipped or had a crown of thorns pressed into his head or nails driven in his hands. So, he wasn't complaining about being physically thirsty, but instead he was weighed down by the sin he bore because of us, for us. He was thirsty for Heaven, for His Father. Nothing else could fill that for Jesus and nothing else can fill that thirst for us either. 

Our days are filled with errands and meetings and school and cleaning and playing and cooking and parties and on and on. And we can find ourselves worn out. Forgetful. Distracted.

And Thirsty.

As the Easter weekend is approaching, may we all remember that Jesus said,

Only the Lord can quench our thirst!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We are not the Joneses.

Growing up, I was part of a pretty awesome family. We'd often say things like, "Who wouldn't want to be like our family?" or "We have the best family in the entire world!" To a little girl, it was dreamy! I had the best parents and sister (still do) and life was awesome!

Then one day, I grew up and got married! And eventually, we had children! I would stop and take a step outside our family looking back in and think, "Man! We have the perfect family! Who wouldn't want our family?" I felt thankful for what the Lord had blessed us with, and hoped to live up to what people wanted: to be like the Joneses (except we are the Jacksons).

Once I realized. . .
And then another day came, when we found out we were having a baby with Down syndrome. Though it was most definitely not my immediate thought, in the weeks after finding out our unborn baby would have Down syndrome, and imagining the thoughts running through people's minds, I landed on this. "Oh, so I guess people aren't going to want to "keep up with" us anymore." People aren't going to want to be us at all. I remember thinking, "people are just thankful that we are not them."

Well, praise the Lord those thoughts didn't last long! We have been incredibly blessed with our baby Way, just like we are blessed with our entire family!

But Way has changed me and so has the Lord! Though I've been a follower of Christ for decades now, it's just been in the last couple of years that my perspective on "perfect" has been altered. I truly see there is nothing perfect created by humans, this side of heaven. Only His plan is perfect! No one, not one family, has it all together. There are no Joneses out there. Only the illusion of the "perfect family."

No one is perfect!
Whoa! Debbie Downer am I? No, not at all!! In fact, I'm only hoping to encourage you! In a social media craving world, we are filled with posts and images of picture perfect lives. I know people who are leaving the social media scene because it makes them feel worse about themselves!

Stay with me here. I like social media, at least some forms. I love blogging and I love Instagram! I get great recipes and ideas from Pinterest, too! Occasionally, I'll even tweet, though usually I'm re tweeting something brilliant someone has shared! And while I believe everything should be used in moderation, I can say honestly, without feeling bad about it, I enjoy social media, and I don't think it's the enemy, BUT, I do think it's necessary for me to remember who and what is real! And, that no one is perfect! (All the English teachers out there just cringed because I started 2 sentences with "But" and 2 with "And." But, again, no one is perfect--even this former English teacher)!

So, why am I not turned off by social media? Because I know there are friends out there who are real and aren't afraid to show their less than perfect moments! Ones who don't need to post to feel better about themselves, but ones who are in the thick of parenting with me and share good laughs! I seek out those who are encouraging and who speak Truth. I play on social media as a creative outlet. I enjoy social media as an extra-bonus to relationships I already have, or to enjoy new ones. But I'm not seeking out the Joneses. I want real. Don't you?

 And because I truly desire to keep it real here in this little space . . .

 I just need you to know . . .
--I hardly ever iron. In fact, I almost wrote I never iron, but that would have been a lie, since I have once or twice before. . .(but if you know me, or my children in real life, then you probably already know this).

--I don't buy organic milk anymore and we have Cheez-Its in our pantry. I once did buy organic milk, but since our pediatrician doesn't buy into the organic way of life, I figured I'd save some money on the 8 gallons of milk our 4 boys drink a week.

--Sometimes, I choose to scroll through Instagram or blog feeds instead of reading my Bible.

--I despise crying in front of people. Yet, the Lord chose to make me a crier. If someone shows me they truly care, if I feel "safe", if I'm so beyond thankful, if I'm moved by something, if something is way too funny or way too sad or just downright joyful, Or, if there's music involved with babies, animals, families, mission work and really just about anything, I will cry. And, I will despise it. And then the moment will be over and I'll be laughing at something else. Thank goodness! ;)

--If you see a perfect picture on this blog, just know it probably took me at least 50 shots to get a post worthy one.

--Our children run in the hall at church, and often cause people to stare at us in Target, like they've just seen a circus for the first time!

--We still haven't filed our taxes.

--Just because you might see me in work-out clothes does not mean I have just worked out. Maybe I have, but it's likely they were comfy and I could be playing on the ground with my boys and I really don't care what I look like when I go to the grocery, or school pick-up, or Chick-Fil-A!

--I don't always say the right thing to my husband or children at the right time in the right tone. I mess up so often. I love them, and I try, but I don't always get it right.

--My scrapbooks for our first two children are as far as I've gotten. Our last two children don't have one. Maybe I'll make them one day, maybe I won't.

--We aren't even up to speed on the latest techy gadgets (gasp)!

I could go on for miles and miles telling you more. Maybe this isn't vulnerable enough for you, or maybe it's just right. You don't need all the nitty-gritty, but I want you to know that we are far from perfect! And so, if you feel less threatened by our "imperfectness" come hang around! We are all in this together!

We are not the Joneses.  

No one is perfect. Be encouraged by that! And realize. . .that is why we need our perfect Savior!

** Just to come around full circle. . .Though we know we do not have the perfect family, we do think we have the best little 6 person family in our house! And none of us would trade us! :) We are thankful and we are blessed!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

guitar, counseling, life lessons and TSwift: an unexpected Wednesday night

So, I had a little bit of unexpected counseling last night from an unlikely source. I arrived at my guitar lesson ready to rattle off the myriad of reasons why I wasn't able to practice my guitar much over the past week. And as I was pulling out my guitar and sweating bullets that I was going to be in trouble for not cutting my fingernails this week, my guitar teacher did something strange.

Checking in.
He asked me how things were going. I literally opened my mouth, with nothing coming out, and blinked my eyes. I wasn't sure what he was really asking. I could take this answer in so many directions. And he could see that, so he politely narrowed it down to guitar. "How do you feel like guitar is going?" he asked. Still, I wasn't sure how to answer. I've been taking for a couple of months and he has been teaching me so much, but I'm not at a place where I want to be or even making much progress to where I want to be. I told him there is just so.much.going.on. and explained various things in our life. I told him I haven't been disciplined with practicing and quite honestly, I haven't been disciplined with much at all lately.

I'm just not able.
I've been struggling with not practicing my guitar as much as I want to, because I really want to, but also because I don't want to let him down as a teacher, or my sweet hubby down (because he gave me lessons as a Christmas gift) or my future-self down, because it's something I desire to have accomplished before our children are grown and out of the house! And so I've been bummed that I haven't made myself sit down and practice. But, the truth is, there hasn't been time, or if there has been, something else has taken priority, even if I haven't wanted it to. The same thing goes with exercise and organizing our house and cleaning out our carport closet and I don't know, but you name it and it's been tough.

And then the counseling began. My intuitive guitar teacher, proceeded to speak to my inner-self in a way I'm accustomed to my Bible Study girls, or other friends or my husband or family speaking to me. He told me, it's not that I'm not being disciplined, it's that I'm just not able, at this point in my life. And while that stings, it's comforting to hear at the same time. In fact, it was encouraging!

It's only for a season.
Why am I sharing about my guitar lesson/counseling session? Because, I needed that encouragement and maybe you do too! As my guitar teacher pointed out, we all have our "things" in life. My "things" are not yours, and your "things" are not mine, but we all have them. Maybe you just aren't able to do one more thing. Maybe your calendar is full. Maybe your wallet is empty. Maybe you have lots of littles that require your presence and don't have extra help. Maybe you just had a baby. Maybe you are just so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open.

Whatever your situation is, check in. Process a little and find out what is keeping you from saying yes, or taking that next step. Know yourself and figure out what you are able to do and unable to do. Once you acknowledge and accept your "thing" you may find yourself quite relieved! But also, be patient and give yourself grace. This is just for a season!

You wanna know how my never-been-married, middle-aged, classic rock, Beatles and Elvis-loving guitar teacher (and apparently counselor) ended our lesson? He played me my favorite Taylor Swift song! I'm thinking if I'm ever able to practice my guitar and I make it big one day, maybe I'll dedicate a song to him! ;)

Monday, March 31, 2014

a prayer for Monday.

Counting my blessings this morning and praying this verse:

"Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name." 
--Psalm 86:11

As you gather your people this morning, treasure them. 
And, as you gather your thoughts this morning, seek Him.

Friday, March 28, 2014

FYI Friday: What I Learned in March

What I Learned in March. . .

Let's start small and work our way up. . .

1. When filling out March Madness brackets, I've learned it helps to do a little research. This year, there was no time to scour the standings and previous match-ups. I'm middle of the road right now, but I've researched in years prior before filling out my brackets and I've done better. Of course, when filling out March Madness brackets, I've also learned that it's probably a fluke that I've fared well when I've done my research, and that no one really knows what the basketball tourney is going to end up looking like. I mean, no one is still alive in the billion dollar bracket challenge. Ya feel me?

2. And on an entirely different note. . .when 2 of the 6 of us caught a bug earlier this month, I learned there's an actual word for the fear of throwing up. It's called emetophobia. Surprisingly to me, I've come to find out that I don't have emetophobia. Now, let me be clear. My tummy gets in knots and I sometimes lose sleep when I think someone in our house is going to come down with the bug, but, it turns out, that some people are actually prevented from living a regular life because of their fear. Think avoiding pregnancy altogether or young children. How absolutely horrible!! I cannot imagine having the fear that intense!

3. On to things more pleasant. For a while, I've known that I absolutely love this grapefruit candle I have, so, I didn't learn that this month. However, I did discover the Williams-Sonoma grapefruit candle is an incredible mood-lifter! There's something about grapefruit. Maybe that's why lots of shower gels and shampoos are scented with grapefruit?? I'm just figuring these things out! Happy spring days!!

4. And finally, I am putting my word of the year, brave, into practice. After lots of prayer and encouragement, I decided to join a team from our church on a mission trip halfway around the world this summer! Our purpose for the trip will be to minister to mothers of children with special needs. And during part of our trip, I will be visiting and sharing with families of children with Down syndrome! I cannot express how thrilled and blessed I am to be going on this trip! It's been pretty amazing to see how the Lord used different people, events and Isaiah 6:8 from the Bible to send me on this trip! Am I a little anxious leaving my Hubby and 4 littles behind? Absolutely!!! And while the trip is still a couple of months away . . .

I've learned this month, that I can be nervous and brave at the same time!
 I can't wait to share more as our trip draws near!

(linking up with Emily today!)


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