Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: The Story of the Bible by Larry Stone

The Story of the Bible provides a fascinating overview of the Bible, beginning with the basics: key terms, important people, and significant places related to the Biblical narrative.  Stone then traces the actual production of the Bible from its earliest form as scrolls through its most recent translations and editions, highlighting the people who have risked and sacrificed their lives to spread the message of the Bible.

The text of this book is interesting, but the illustrations are truly remarkable.  Alongside reproductions of beautiful Biblically-themed art, the book also includes life-size reproductions of texts such as Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gutenberg Bible.

The Word of God is living, active, eternal and able to transform lives; those attributes shine through in this volume.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson, but the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 11

Recently during a Wednesday night service at church, the speaker emphasized how our minds control our lives: "When you know who you are," he remarked, "you know what to do."  During his message, he referenced this verse:

Romans 8:6
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

I want my actions and reactions to flow out of the life and peace of the Spirit.   The Father graciously endows his children with life and peace and not merely in a theoretical sense but in practical ways as well.  As I meditate on this Scripture, I'm praying that the life and peace of the Spirit will characterize my life to a greater degree and become more and more evident in my daily life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 10

I love this verse:

"May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, 'God is great!'"

Psalm 70:4

As I'm seeking the Lord, through every situation, I have a responsibility to rejoice.  No matter what my circumstances may be at the moment, I should be glad, IN HIM.  The blessing of His salvation should prompt me to reflect daily on the greatness of our God--the ultimate reason for joy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

I haven't posted a meal plan in a while, and this one is abbreviated since we will be with family this weekend.  I'm trying to get by with what we have one hand, which might explain having soup during a week in which temperatures are supposed to soar to near 90!  Yikes, this IS only May.  I do love the sun, though!!

 I'm hoping to post some pics of Tinkerbell's fourth birthday sometime this week.  Stay tuned . . . . Without further ado, here's the plan:

T--Soup and Sandwiches
W--Baked Ravioli
Th--Date Night with Joel -- I'm planning on having veggie patties--ahem  "chicken patties"--for the little ones.  They love them.  Shhh--don't tell :)

Have a great week!

For more great menu ideas, check out Menu Planning Mondays here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 9

As school wraps up this year, the boys are memorizing a portion of James 1-2: what great, practical wisdom can be found in that book!  For this memory verse, I've chosen a verse from this passage, James 1:26:

"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless."  (ESV)

I don't want to deceive myself.  I want God's Word to penetrate the depths of my heart, changing my life so that the overflow of my heart evinces God's work in every area, including my speech.    

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Tuesday--Kindergarten History Banquet
Wednesday--Slow-Cooker Barbecue Chicken
Thursday--Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce

This weekend we'll be out and about, exploring Arkansas, and that part of the menu is under-construction.

Have a Happy Easter all!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 8

I love this verse.  We all crave stability in this unstable world, but nothing is as secure as our God.  He sustains us with an "abundance of salvation, wisdom and knowledge."  When life gets a little topsy-turvy, I need to remind myself that His faithfulness is all the stability I need!!

Isaiah 33:6, ESV

[H]e will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion's treasure.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Here's the game plan for this week:

Monday--Oriental Sesame Chicken with broccoli slaw
Tuesday--dinner with Mom and Dad
Thursday--Continental Beef

The definite hit of last week's menu was this Lazy Baked Greek Chicken: super yummy!  Here's the recipe:

2 Tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 10-ounce box chopped spinach, thawed
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 pieces skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 425.  Heat 1 tbsp EVOO, in a small skillet over med. heat.  Add the onion and two-thirds of the garlic and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl to cool, then add the spinach and season with salt and pepper.  Melt the butter in the same pan, turn off the heat and add the panko, oregano and remaining garlic; toss.

Drizzle a baking dish with the remaining EVOO.  Split each chicken breast across ( but not all the way through) and open like a book.  Stuff with the spinach and feta, letting the stuffing overflow at the edges.  Place the chicken pieces in the baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs.  Bake until the juices run clear, about 20 minutes.

Adapted from Rachael Ray

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 7

This is my final installment of Psalm 121.  I will be memorizing verses 7 and 8 for the first two weeks of April.

7 The LORD will protect you from all harm;
    He will protect your life.
8  The LORD will protect your coming and going
     both now and forever.

In verse 5, the psalmist reminded us that "The LORD protects you." Verse 7 reinforces this encouragement: not only does the LORD protect us now, but the verb tense shift from "protects" to "will protect" assures us that His protection extends to our future as well.  Verse 8 lends an exclamation point:  the Lord will protect us FOREVER.  That is a truth to plant deep within our hearts!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review--Gray Matter by David Levy, MD, with Joel Kilpatrick

In Gray Matter:A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time, Dr. David Levy, a respected neurosurgeon, narrates how his journey of faith ultimately leads him to initiate praying with his patients prior to surgery.  The decision to introduce spirituality into his medical practice was not an easy one for Levy, and his book allows readers to witness his struggles with incorporating prayer with his patients into his medical practice.  Dr. Levy acknowledges with candor the concerns he faced about praying out loud with patients:  How would prayer affect his medical reputation?  How would he handle the possibility that patients could be offended by his offer of prayer?  

Ultimately Dr. Levy was unable and unwilling to resist the Lord's prompting to offer prayer to his patients, and the results are amazing.  Not only did patients and colleagues experience a greater sense of peace, but through prayer, Levy was able to lead patients and family members to experience forgiveness and salvation.  Not every case Levy describes has a fairytale ending; life isn't like that, but Levy describes how prayer reshapes the messiness of real life by introducing forgiveness and hope.

This book is a great read on several levels.  First, the medical situations that Levy describes are fascinating and the outcomes are dramatic.  Second, the power of prayer shines through this book.  Dr. Levy is not  heavy-handed with his religious beliefs, and yet, the impact of his simple prayers is unmistakable.  This book encouraged me to consider what seemingly simple act of faith I might take that might have a profound impact on my world.    

Thanks to Tyndale for a review copy of this book.  The opinions are my own.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Spring is here in name only!  Sigh.  I miss the sun.  A string of dreary cold days makes uncovering my homemaking motivation a bit more of a challenge: such days find me inclined to grab a book, a cup of coffee and a cozy chair.  But, in an effort to jump start the week and be slightly organized, here's the menu: 

Monday--Tortellini, Bean and Pesto Soup with Grilled Cheese
Tuesday--Chicken Potpie
Thursday--Baked Ziti (from the freezer)
Friday--Eating out
Saturday--Easy Baked Greek Chicken

This quotation summarizes my thoughts exactly:

"Let the sun shine." 

--(Henry David Thoreau) 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 6

I'm still working through Psalm 121, and I love the intimacy and tenderness of these verses.  The Lord is right by my side.  He protects me.  What powerful prayers these are for my children as well.  So much of life is out of my control, but the Lord, with His eternal perspective, walks right beside us, protecting and sheltering us.  Amen!  

Psalm 121:5-6

The LORD protects you;
the LORD is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day,
or the moon by night.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris is an inspiring and challenging book.  The premise of the book revolves around the idea that our culture has virtually no expectations for teenagers beyond the pursuit of pleasure.  While culture at large views adolescence as the time to revel in gratifying childish desires, Alex and Brett Harris counter that adolescence is  the very time when people should begin to put childishness behind them.  The Harris brothers argue that the teenage years are the perfect time to step up, to take challenges, to do mighty things for God's glory, and they back up their assertion with inspiring examples of teenagers who have done just that: taken a risk for God and watched as He has used them to make a difference in the world.

I loved this book.  Its message is timely and caused me to consider afresh what hard things I can do for God.  Part of the beauty of the message of this book is that Alex and Brett define "hard" not just as "huge," though hard things may be that for some people, but they also define "hard" as being disciplined in doing the right thing, such as practicing Godly disciplines in a consistent manner.  We all are called to do hard things for God, and, regardless of our ages, we need to step up and then watch God work.          

Friday, March 4, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 5

Several times this week I have had posting these verses on my mind, and one thing or another always managed to get in the way;  I am so glad that nothing gets in the way of God's care and provision for me.  Nothing manages to interrupt His schedule and push me to the back burner.  Thankfully, He never says, "I really should have done this sooner, but I guess I'll go ahead . . . ."   This Psalm is a great reminder of God's attention to our individual lives.

I'm memorizing verses 3-4 of Psalm 121:

3.  He will not allow your foot to slip;
Your Protector will not slumber.
4.  Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.

Psalm 121:3-4  (HCSB)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

This week I'm cleaning out the pantry and the freezer and primarily making do with what we have on hand.  This week's menu should look something like this:

Monday--Parmesan Garlic Chicken--from the freezer
Tuesday--History Banquet at school--supposedly this will be medieval fare
Wednesday--Soup--also from the freezer
Thursday--Pad Thai

I've had a couple of occasions recently for taking snacks to gatherings, and this recipe for Chocolate-Toffee Shortbread Bars has been a big hit.  Really, this is such an easy recipe and the bars are rich so a little goes a long way--perfect for our recent PTO meeting.  Yum!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 4

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be dividing up and memorizing Psalm 121 as part of a Bible study I'm completing.  This psalm is one of my favorites, but I'm memorizing it in a slightly different translation than I've used before, so I hope I'm able to get the wording straight.

Psalm 121:1-2 (HCSB)

I raise my eyes toward the mountains
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD
the Maker of heaven and earth.

I'm so thankful that my help comes from an all-powerful, infinitely loving God!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Here we are back at Monday after a week of being stuck inside with sickness.  We didn't even get to enjoy the snow.  Meals last week were a blur of soups, sandwiches, and easy-to-grab foods.  No one felt like eating much, but that was last week, and this week, we're trying to get back on track, so with that in mind, here's the plan for the week:

M--Breakfast Burritos with Fruit
T--Zesty Chicken Potpie
F--Eating out

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 3

My first verse for February comes from Colossians:

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."  Colossians 4:6

Opportunities for more gracious speech abound around here, especially during a week when we've been snowbound and sick!!  Gracious speech opens hearts and engenders a gentle response.   As I'm teaching my kids to be gentle with their words, I'm reminded that they learn so much from my example.  As I memorize and meditate on this verse, I'm praying that my speech will be seasoned by a greater measure of grace!

Monday, January 24, 2011

On the Menu

Last week our menu had quite a few revisions.  Joel was out of town one night and we had some illness, so we didn't really follow the plan, but we did manage to have the Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Tri-Tip, and it was a hit with Joel and the boys.  Since it's a crock-pot dinner, it's super easy--a definite plus for me!!

This week's menu includes:

Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes  (super delicious, not super kid-friendly though)
Chicken Azteca
Lasagna Soup

Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes  (adapted from Rachael Ray)

2 pounds mixed mushrooms--cleaned, stemmed and sliced
3 cloves garlic--thinly sliced
5 Tbsps EVOO
Sea salt and pepper

5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk
a few dashes of hot sauce
1 1/2 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 450.  on a large baking sheet, dress mushrooms and garlic with 1/4 cup EVOO and spread out.  Roast mushrooms for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and season with sea salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine the sweet potatoes and enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, season with sea salt and cook until fork-tender.  Drain and return to the pot, then mash with the stock and milk.  Season with sea salt, pepper,  and hot sauce.  Stir in cheddar until melted.

While the potatoes are working, in a bowl, toss, the kale with the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO and season with sea salt, pepper.  Arrange on a rack set over a baking sheet and roast until crisp at the edges, 10-12 minutes.

Combine the mushrooms and garlic with the kale and serve on a bed of sweet potatoes.

Print Grocery List

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

We enjoyed having a slow start to the week with the MLK holiday, especially since one of our little ones was under the weather, hence the chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight!  

Monday--Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Buttermilk Biscuits
Tuesday--Stir Fry
Wednesday--Cranberry Chicken and Rice
Thursday--Sundried Tomatoes and Feta Tri-Tip

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 2

This week the Living Proof Ministry Blog introduces a new app to help with the Siesta Scripture Memory.  Details about the app can be found here.  Joel already has an app for scripture memory that he really loves:  I'm sure there are many choices.

My second verse for January is also from Ephesians:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11

So often I try to be strong in my own strength, but, obviously, that never works.  My prayer is that I might be strengthened by HIS might which is made perfect in MY weakness.  Thankfully, His strength is more than enough for any situation I'm going to face!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

This week's menu is in no particular order. Usually, I try to plan particular meals for particular days according to that week's schedule; however, it's really rare that I actually follow the meal plan exactly.  This week I didn't even get to the "assign one meal to each day" stage, so here are five dinners we are likely to have this week:

Chicken and Mushroom Chowder --Ok so this one we actually had tonight. Definitely one of my favorite soups!
Honey-lime Chicken--(from the freezer)
Egg and Sausage Breakfast Burritos

This week my oldest son turns nine, so we celebrated this weekend with some really yummy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes.  These are amazing!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: Voices of the Faithful

Voices of the Faithful is a compilation of daily devotionals written by missionaries across the world relating stories of their encounters with God through times of encouragement and times of difficulty.  The stories are arranged according to themes and each ends with a prayer.

I love how this book reminds me to pray for places in the world that are usually not on my radar.  I need to be reminded to pray both for the unsaved across the world and for those who are sacrificing comfort in order to be obedient to the God's calling.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson, but the opinions are mine.  

Book Review: Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity by Drew Brees with Chris Fabry

In Coming Back Stronger, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees chronicles how the setbacks he faced in his NFL career ultimately led him to New Orleans and to a Super Bowl victory.  When Brees arrives in New Orleans, he finds a city still coping with the initial aftermath of hurricane Katrina, while Brees himself is in the final stages of recovering from a serious shoulder injury surgery.  Brees identifies with New Orleans's determination to triumph over circumstances, and he draws upon that strength to lead his team to victory.

Admittedly, this book is not my usual fare, but with young boys who are very interested in football and football stars, I wanted a chance to point them toward a player with faith and a strong moral compass; based on this book, I think Drew Brees fits the bill.  Throughout the book, Brees clearly expresses his faith in God and his desire to follow the Lord. He is equally clear about his commitment to his wife.  There are no deep theological truths here, but this isn't a theological text.  It is simply an inspirational/motivational story. The book is filled with recaps of numerous games, which could be tedious at times, but it was a book my son and I could read and discuss together, which is always a good thing.

Tyndale House provided me with a free review copy of this book, but the opinions are mine.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

The first menu for 2011!  This time of year I love soups and I'd have them a couple of times a week, except for the fact that some of the other members of my family don't love them quite as much as I do.  So, although I have three or four soup recipes that sound really yummy right now, I'm using all of my self-control and limiting myself to one soup dinner this week.  What's your favorite soup recipe?

Monday:  Meatballs
Tuesday:  Vegetable Bean Soup
Wednesday:  Spaghetti Pie
Thursday: Roast
Friday: Beef Sandwiches

Vegetable Bean Soup
3 cans great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 pkg.  (16 oz) frozen corn
1 can crushed or diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can condensed bean and bacon soup, undiluted
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon dried cilantro flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1cup shredded cheddar cheese

In Dutch oven, combine the first 13 ingredients.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Discard bay leaves.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Yield: 12 servings

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse 1

This year I'm excited to be memorizing scripture along with other followers of the Living Proof Live blog.  I did this two years ago and found the encouragement to be very motivating.  For more information, go here.

Our pastors have been doing an amazing sermon series in Ephesians, which inspired the choice for my first verse:

"[G]iving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."   Ephesians 5:20-21 (ESV)

There's no better way to start the new year than memorizing God's Word.

Happy New Year!