Category: Resources (page 1 of 10)

Soul Food for Memorial Day Weekend

We started Memorial Day weekend off a little early last night with a spur of the moment dinner out, soaking up the beauty of our town. So full of gratitude!

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Whenever you start it, I hope you all have a delightful weekend, perhaps sharing the sentiment of one of my favorite Instagram posts:

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And if it’s been a bad week, just shake it off!

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I want to spend every minute I can outdoors, but our forecast has a bunch of rain in it so I may get into some of the books I want to read…

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Unfortunately, my friend Michelle won’t be getting outside. I went to see her in the hospital today where she’s on bed rest waiting for her 3rd baby to arrive.  She’s longing to be outside this weekend, but is doing the important work of growing a baby!

As hard as it is to be patient, she shared encouragement she got from the Lord on a hard day (she’s already been in for 3 weeks!). They did an ultrasound and not only did it show this clear, tiny foot…

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but God brought to mind Proverbs 16:9 which she wrote on the back of the picture.

In their heart, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

What a great reminder for anyone waiting for anything this weekend!

Summer’s almost here and that means salads, so here’s a new recipe I like…  I found the original on Pinterest.
Ingredients
  • 1 bag spring salad mix
  • 1 bag romaine
  • I made my own bacon bits but burned them so ended up using a 3 oz bag of Hormel real applewood smoked bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 large granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans or almonds
  • 5 oz  Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbled

Directions
Clean lettuce, place in large bowl and top with ingredients – toss.

Tips

  • You can add more or less of each ingredient – do what you prefer.
  • Chop the apple right before serving to prevent it from browning.
  • This salad is great with grilled chicken tossed on top for a meal.
  • I’m thinking I might try a variation and replace the fruit with blueberries and add red onion

    Mary’s Sweet Balsamic Dressing

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
    • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard (or a little squeeze of Grey Poupon mustard)
    • Few twists of fresh cracked pepper Or use 1/8 tsp of reg ground pepper

That’s a little bit of what has delighted me this this week. What about you?

Soul Food Friday

Sharing some “soul food” that brought me joy this week…

First, a little Instagram delight for all you mamas limping to the finish line of the school year.

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Oh my gosh, we all need some good news and uplifting stories these days, right? This first video was sent to me by daughter Maggie and brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful picture of community and caring.

And this one…Wow, what a Jesus-like picture.

I read Secrets of a Charmed Life this week and loved it! It takes place during World War 2 in London and is totally engrossing. I couldn’t put it down as the author weaves the stories of two half sisters and their unmarried mother through the Blitz and beyond. Such a great story that keeps you guessing to the end.

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I took dinner to a new mama this week and had small group dinner too, so it was a great excuse to try out this new recipe. Holy buckets! Definitely a winner! (I’m not very good at cutting or food styling, but trust me…yum!)

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SNICKERDOODLE CHEESECAKE BARS (original recipe here I always change them)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST:

  • 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full size grahams)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING:

  • 2 packages (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

FOR THE SNICKERDOODLE LAYER:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Spray Pam on a 13×9 baking dishPreheat oven for 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers with sugar until fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until combined.
  3. Press crumbs into bottom of prepared baking dish. Using palm of your hand (or bottom of a cup) press crumbs firmly until they are pressed into the bottom of the pan.
  4. For the cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese with sugar, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer. Beat until fluffy and smooth (about 3-4 minutes). Pour over graham crust.
  5. For the cookie dough, beat butter with sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Add in baking powder, salt, flour and cinnamon and beat until fully combined.  Scoop dough by large spoonfuls onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Try to use your fingertips to spread gently until cheesecake layer is fully covered.
  6. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon topping. Sprinkle generously over the cookie dough layer.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, middle may still “jiggle.” That’s okay. You want the cookie layer to be completely cooked and browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Once cooled, cover with foil and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight. Cut into squares and enjoy. Keep leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  8. yield: 24 LARGE BARS
 Happy, happy weekend friends!

Soul Food to Celebrate Life

If you’re a mama or if you’re not, this is a great weekend to celebrate Life in every expression! Here are a few things that were life-giving to me this week.

Our daughter Katy works as liaison between USAID (humanitarian aid) and Capitol Hill. She sent us this video that made us all cry. Powerful stuff!

If that one made you cry, this video will bring a smile. During a season when there’s so much focus on what divides us, this is a reminder of the things that we can celebrate together.

Favorite Instagram. Nuf said.

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A beautifully written book I read this week was Purple Hibiscus. This amazing book is written in the voice of a 15-year-old girl living a life of privilege and abuse in Nigeria. It brings to life all the sights and smells of the culture and all the intricacies of family dynamics.

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This Sunday is Mother’s Day, but it would also have been my brother David’s birthday.

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He had the gift of hospitality, always drawing people together and welcoming them in. He was also the Grillmaster. So in honor of David I’m sharing our favorite turkey rub recipe from one of our friends. We call it Turkey ala Bob. It’s awesome!

1 clove minced garlic ++

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coarse sea salt

2 TB minced onion (I use the dried kind)

2 ts. crushed red pepper flakes (I cut this way back cuz we don’t like spicy hot)

2 ts. coarse ground black pepper

1/2 ts. EACH cloves and allspice

Pat turkey with oil. Rub in marinade. Double bag for 2 days.

To grill use a aluminum drip pan and grill for 11-13 minutes a pound. Let it stand for 15 minutes. Read more here.

And lastly…

Happy happy weekend!

Soul Food Funny, Yummy, and Engaging

It’s Soul Food Friday! Congratulations! You’re dancing across the finish line into the weekend! Here are a few of the things from my week that I think you might like…

Daughter Katy shared this Buzzfeed article with us it and it has brought so much joy into my Twitter feed! Check out some of the posts from Exploding Unicorn.

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And my new happy Instagram feed – Scary Mommy

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And…Who doesn’t love Fixer Upper and want to be best friends with Chip and Joanna?? This week Joanna posted a recipe for a lemon pie and I just happened to have (most of) the ingredients so I made it for my small group dinner.

Yum! It was definitely a keeper, and since I only had one can of sweetened condensed milk instead of the THREE in the recipe, I could call it a Lo Cal version. So Score! It just made a thinner layer of filling.

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Lastly, I’ve read two fascinating books this week. 

I got the precious gift of having lunch with my friend Sharol while we were in D.C. She lost her husband to cancer just 4 months before we lost my brother David and is such a wise and godly friend. She also is doing her D.Min focused on how the church can help people die better. She suggested the book When Breath Becomes Air which John and I immediately got on our Kindle.

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It’s a memoir written by a neurosurgeon who chronicles his journey with cancer, mortality, and quality of life. It may not be for everyone, but I found it engrossing, perhaps because it paralleled much of our experience with my brother David.

IMG_4331The other book is also a memoir by a woman who has struggle with deep depression – Still Life.

About now you may be thinking, “Boy Debbie Downer, do YOU know how to choose books!” But, I found this book also super engaging and helpful to me as someone trying to understand what others may be going through. I definitely recommend it.

That’s it for me! Have a joy-filled weekend, and let me know what’s making your heart sing!

Family Soul Food (a few things to think about if you have littles)

This weekend our whole family (minus favorite son-in-law) is in Washington D.C. for the International Justice Mission‘s Global Prayer Gathering. I love our little family soooo much, but (clearly) we’re far from perfect. There are so many families I admire and so many do-overs I wish I had from when our kids were growing up. But being together has made me gratefully reflect on some of the ways we fed our kids’ souls that have paid off. I thought I’d share a few today.

  1. Communicate. Be available 24/7 for the fun stuff and the 911’s. I’ve written before about how this is a high value for our family. I’m guessing girls are better at this than boys but I don’t know. This was a recent text exchange.

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Yes, my kids are so self-aware 🙂

In addition to texts and sharing Instagram pictures we think the others would like, and the girls and I getting fashion advice from dressing rooms, Maggie started a deal a couple years ago when we ended up spread across the world.  We call it “the view from here”. Someone starts it and texts a picture of where they are and what they are doing in the moment and then the others stop and do the same. It’s a way, while we are miles apart, to step into each other’s daily lives.

2. Do, and talk about meaningful stuff together. One of the best decisions we made (and one with the most far-reaching effects) was to take each of our kids on a trip to a developing world country when they turned 10 years old. We wanted them to see kids that God loves and wants us to help around the world.

Next was building houses together in Mexico alongside the families who would own them. Hosting heroes like John Perkins in our home and serving alongside folks in our city all helped our kids to have the perspective of kingdom Christians, aware of the world outside their own.

Maggie ended up interning for IJM, and is now on their alumni board. Katy is the liaison between USAID (the international humanitarian aid part of the government) to Capitol Hill (Translation: her job is to get Congress to care about poor people around the world).

This does NOT mean that this should be the trajectory for everyone, but there are lots of ways to foster kingdom awareness. Sponsor kids from World Vision and write them notes together. Get involved in other organizations as a family. Pray together. I said we’re at the IJM Global Prayer Gathering which I highly recommend (for adults). I started coming because my friend Bethany made me by paying my registration a few years ago, and now I wouldn’t miss it!

3. Tell family God-stories. We always want to be sure He is honored as the hero. Honestly, this takes intentionality and can feel awkward at times, but it’s really important. God tells us throughout scripture to remember His faithfulness. In several places He has the Israelites make visual reminders, like in Joshua where He has them pile 12 stones.

“In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’

 “Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always.” Joshua 4:22-24 MSG

We have a “12 stones” book where we record instances of God’s faithfulness in our family, but I also want to model this authentically in my speech in everyday ways.

4. Celebrate each other.

The day we arrived here, a food aid bill that Katy had been working on got passed through the Senate. This was a big deal and we were excited to celebrate with her. Maggie likes to call it “The Katy Bill”.

When we had lunch together I asked each person to share what they were proudest of in the past few months since we had been together last. Each person shared an area of personal growth and we were able to affirm the progress we’re seeing.

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“Everyone has inside himself…what shall I call it? A piece of good news! Everyone is…a very great, very important character.” Ugo Betti

So that’s a little bit of our family soul food. What would you add?

A Little Bit of Soul Food from the Beach

Fridays are for sharing soul food – little bits and pieces that have encouraged or inspired me during the week…

So we’re on vacation in Florida as I write this and there is just so much goodness to soak up that I don’t even mind it that Minneapolis is breaking records this week for unprecedented warmth. There is gobs of loveliness to go around.

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This first story…oh my gosh oh my gosh! Love

Continue reading

Soul Food for April Showers and Baby Showers

It’s Friday! Hope you guys have a lovely, refreshing weekend and that April showers don’t keep you from a long bike ride or run or walk. Hope you enjoy some of these morsels that have delighted me this week too!

Last weekend John and I had the privilege of preaching together on relationships and baggage. (What could be more fun than unpacking your dirty clothes in front of a couple thousand people, right?)*

Anyway, afterwards we were touched by how many people bravely shared their baggage with us. And a friend sent this song by Francesca Batistelli called If We’re Honest, saying she thought it went perfectly with the message. I love it and I hope you will too. Continue reading

Soul Food for the Week After Easter

On Fridays I try to post just a few of the things that have delighted or inspired me, and resources you might like – the “soul food” from my week.

I would love to hear about your “soul food” in the comments too! Just remember, if you’re posting for the first or second time it won’t appear immediately, but it WILL show up eventually 🙂

Monday I wrote a hard post that many of you resonated with. On Tuesday, Ruth Haley Barton posted an eReflection from her excellent book, Life Together in Christ. that is a great follow-up to my post. You can read her thoughts here: Continue reading

Soul Food For Easter and Broken Hallelujahs

A couple of weeks ago this book showed up in my mail.

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I flipped through it, but didn’t read closely til a few days later when I was looking out at the bare space and pile of stump chips where our beautiful maple tree used to be, reflecting on the losses in my life this past year. (and yes, that is snow coming down in the picture, making this all the more depressing!)

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I picked up Broken Hallelujahs again, and found such relevance, especially for this Holy Week. Continue reading

Soul Food When You’re Depressed With Politics (or life in general)

Hey friends, I don’t know about you, but around here it’s been quite a downer of a week. It just seems that all the news from both friends and the world at large, is H.E.A.V.Y.

Sure, sometimes the appropriate response is a sarcastic “Your problems are soooo real!”

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We need safe places to be real about our mess, but we also need to balance our pain with the discipline of genuine gratitude.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:18

So, after a week of ugly politics, continued war, hard diagnoses, hurting marriages, and loss on many fronts, here’s some stuff I’m thankful for. Continue reading

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