Sunday, October 30, 2011

Plan It--Don't Panic! Week 6

So one huge thing happened to us this month which interrupted the Plan It--Don't Panic blogs for a few weeks!

We welcomed Autumn Shalom Redman into our lives! :D I gave birth to her at home on October 10, 2011 at 11:00 am. It was wonderful. Later on in the week I will try to post the whole story for those of you who would like to hear it. We love her so much!

Now for the final week:
October 31st to November 6th--
Monday--Breakfast: cold cereal & eggs
Dinner: beef enchiladas
Tuesday--Breakfast: smoothies & toast
Dinner: ham and navy bean soup
Wednesday--Breakfast: eggs & toast
Dinner: chicken Pad Thai
Thursday--Breakfast: hot cereal & eggs
Dinner: chili w/ cornbread muffins
Friday--Breakfast: smoothies & toast
Dinner: turkey salad sandwiches
Saturday--Breakfast: pancakes & eggs
Dinner: tatertot casserole
Sunday--Breakfast: oatmeal w/ fruit & nuts
Dinner: Harvest Dinner @ church (make/bring stuffing)

Confession: Most of these meals are pre-made freezer meals I made when I was pregnant so that I wouldn't have to worry much about making meals the first month after giving birth. I have been thankful I did this. I have also been very grateful for 2 weeks of meals that our church family has so graciously brought to us. God has blessed us so much!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Plan it--Don't Panic! Week 2

All righty here's the plan for this week...

October 3rd-9th:
Monday--Breakfast: oatmeal w/ fruit & nuts
Dinner: steaks, cornbread stuffing, green beans
Tuesday--Breakfast: fried eggs & toast
Dinner: Mediterranean meatballs
Prep: soak rice, get out re-fried beans
Wednesday--Breakfast: smoothies & toast
Dinner: Southwestern style casserole (because I didn't get around to making it last week!)
Prep: get out roast
Thursday--Breakfast: fried eggs & hot cereal
Dinner: Pot roast w/ potatoes, carrot curry
Friday--Breakfast: smoothies & toast
Dinner: leftovers
Prep: get out bacon, soak pancake flour
Saturday--Breakfast: pancakes, bacon, & eggs
Dinner: chicken breasts, tortellini in Alfredo sauce
Prep: soak oatmeal
Sunday--Breakfast: oatmeal w/ fruit & nuts
Dinner: spagetti & salad

P.S. My first week of planning breakfasts went really well! I love having less to think about early in the morning, lol.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Coming King

How many of you know what Rosh Hashanah is?

I didn't know until I began studying some of the Jewish feasts and holy days. It is the Jewish version of the "New Year." Except that it falls on the first day of their 7th month. It is a holy day that the people of Israel were commanded by God in Leviticus 23:23-25 to celebrate, the feast of trumpets.

The trumpet they used is called a shofar and would be made of a ram's horn. According to the book "Feast," by Derek Leman that I've been reading through, "The shofar was used in various ways in ancient Israel: The trumpet was heard in God's appearance at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:16). The trumpet was used to gather armies to battle (Judges 3:27). The trumpet marked the special Jubilee year in which debts were remitted and slaves set free (Lev. 25:9). The trumpet was used at the coronation of kings (1 Kings 1:34)."

The sound of the trumpet always called for attention and signaled change was about to come.

So what did the trumpet mean in regards to Rosh Hashanah? It signaled the beginning of "The Ten Days of Awe," the period of self-reflection and repentance before another holy day, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, was to happen. On that day, a sacrifice would be made for the sins of the nation of Israel and they would wait to see if God accepted that sacrifice.

By now you may be thinking, "Blah, blah, what significance does any of this have to me, Dessa?"

Well a big thing that Derek Leman points out in his book is that, "Someday trumpets are going to blow. And when they do, they will mean a change is at hand. The trumpets will herald the King."

Scripture says:
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Someday soon the King of kings is coming for us. He will then reign on earth, bringing hope and joy to those who have accepted Him as Messiah and Savior, and bringing fear and wrath on those who haven't. This truth should lead believers to the importance of repentance and reflection in our daily lives. Not only do we personally need and want to be ready for His Second Coming by preparing our hearts and living lives that we won't be ashamed of, we must think about those who are not ready for His return. There are millions of souls in our world today that are not. Do our hearts break for them? Or are we hardened to that truth? Are you and I truly ready?

I personally need this time of repentance and reflection. I am participating in the "Ten Days of Awe" in my private walk with God. I want to be ready for my King whenever He comes back for me, a servant who needs not be ashamed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meal Planning & "Plan It--Don't Panic" Week 1

A few weeks ago I was talking with an unmarried friend and she asked me what one of the hardest things I've had to learn while being married. I had to think about it for awhile, but then I realized that learning to be a better time manager has been a huge struggle for me! When you are single, disorganization doesn't wreak quite as much havoc on your life as when you are caring for another person who is depending on you. (I'm sure here in a few weeks I am going to find out how REALLY true that with the birth of our baby!)

I still have a long way to go, but one of the most helpful things I've done to keep life organized is plan out meals. I've tried both weekly and monthly meal plans. Neither totally matters, both are beneficial.

Here are some benefits I've found to making a meal plan:

1.) Knowing each day what your family will be eating. It prevents rushing around 30 minutes before you want to eat like a chicken with your head cut off. You can make nice meals because you've had time to prepare. It adds a peacefulness to cooking.
2.) Being able to plan nutritious meals. It helps me make the time to soak my grains, etc., things that don't happen if I don't plan ahead.
3.) It saves us money! Meal planning allows me to make out a monthly/weekly grocery list and stick to it. I try to only go to the store for food once a week. It has been proven that the more trips you make to the store, the more money gets spent on impulse shopping. It also helps me budget out how much money we might need for groceries that month.

So all that said here is my "Plan It--Don't Panic!" post for meals for the week of September 26th-October 2nd. I'm not sure if I will be able to participate in all 6 weeks because of the baby coming but I love that this is gathering women together to encourage this helpful practice! Plus it's given me some meal ideals already for next month. And usually I don't plan breakfasts but in honor of the challenge, I am trying it!

September 26th-October 2nd
Monday--Breakfast: eggs, toast, yogurt
Dinner: steaks w/pineapple chutney, baked potatoes, & coleslaw
Prep: soak 1 1/2 cups navy beans
Tuesday--Breakfast: smoothies & toast
Dinner: ham & navy bean soup
Prep: thaw hamburger
Wednesday--Breakfast: fried eggs, hash-browns w/onions & peppers
Dinner: hamburgers w/ frybread buns, fresh veggies
Prep: thaw hamburger
Thursday--Breakfast: scrambled eggs, leftover frybread, fruit
Dinner: lasagna
Friday--Breakfast: smoothies & toast
Dinner: potato soup
Prep: soak pinto/black bean mix; thaw stew meat
Saturday--Breakfast: pancakes & eggs
Dinner: Chili w/ cornbread
Prep: soak oatmeal & rice; thaw re-fried beans
Sunday--Breakfast: oatmeal w/fruit & nuts
Dinner: southwestern style casserole

To see more about the challenge, check out this link!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Prepared for the Blessing

"It is true that we must wait God's time for revival, and cannot force it; but is it not also true the HIS time is the Church is prepared for the blessing? There is nothing fluctuating or spasmodic about God's desires for His people. Their UNPREPAREDNESS is the only problem. The Church might have revival as wide and deep and as powerful as she please, if she would only comply with the conditions on which God can grant it.
One of the most important things to observe in our Christian life and service is the CONDITION attached to any blessing that we may need....when there is obedience on our part to the divine condition, there follows abundant blessing and continuous victory."
~James A. Stewart

Revival in the body of Christ has been on my heart a lot lately. (How could it not, when reading James A. Stewart's "Opened Windows"? Of which I highly recommend.)

And the big question has been, "What can I or should I do to help bring revival about?"

And really it goes back to being "a one-man revival." All I can do is make sure that I am doing the will of God for me and serving Him in obedience. But practically, what does that look like in my life?

Well these are the steps that He has shown me to prepare the soil of my life for the harvest He wants to grow there:
1. Turning away from ALL known sin in my life.
2. Obeying His Word even in the small stuff.
3. Interceding for His body, the lost, our nation, and the world.
4. Serving others with the love of Christ.
5. Living out His priorities for my life.

Those are some huge things. But God promises to do each one in my life.
"As His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." ~2 Peter 1:3-4

He's only asking me to be faithful in my day to day life. And He's promising His strength and help. In some ways it doesn't seem like enough to bring about the revival I desire to see in the Church today. I can easily fall prey to doubts. But God desires MY faithfulness. He doesn't ask me to save the world; He already did that! He asks that I live a holy life that others can see. He asks that I serve those closest to me with joy so I can then with good conscience serve those in other places. He asks that I be prepared for the blessing He wants to send.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Like Pooh Bear

I am now 5 1/2 months pregnant. I feel huge. I look huge. And I am only going to get bigger. Slightly depressing...except for the fact that I can comfort myself with the fact there is a baby in there and I'm not just fat :D

Moving around is getting awkward. At work today, I was picking up toys in the daycare room and started singing that "Up, down, touch the ground" song that Winnie the Pooh sings. I feel like I'm starting to look like him, so it's a fitting song.

Here's a link to the video. It made me chuckle and remember my childhood, watching Winnie the Pooh.

On other topics...
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Ours will be very busy, but fun. Luke's brother is getting married on Saturday and then we'll be heading up to Crawfish Lake for the rest of the weekend to celebrate the 4th of July.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Catching Up

It's been 2 months since I last wrote and I have a lot of catching up to do :) Some big things have happened around here!

Spring has come. Hopefully we'll have some apricots this year from this tree. Last year we didn't. Now summer is on the way...

This is unleavened bread. We had a Passover celebration at Luke and I's house with several friends over. It was a great time of comparing the Passover and what the Israelites were remembering to what Christians have to remember with Christ's death and resurrection. He was our Passover Lamb! Thank you God!

I got to plant flowers in my pots. They are so beautiful. This is my favorite flower I've planted so far.

I've been experimenting with kefir. This is a jar of water kefir. (Sorry I didn't have time to rotate the photo!) Kefir is still a mystery to me. Strange little growing creatures...but I do like to drink it. To find out more info, check out this site:

And the BIGGEST happening of all...I'M PREGNANT! It was a surprise, but we are happy. I am now 4 months along and as you can see in the picture, am starting to grow a belly. My due date is October 15th. So that is definitely something you will be hearing more about later.

That's what has been going on in my life in a nutshell. Talk to you later!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Do the Next Thing"

Here is a poem that I read in a book recently. I love it! It's been such an encouragement to me these past few weeks.

"Do the Next Thing"
(Author Unknown)

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
There came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
That, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
Like a low inspiration, do the next thing.

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance, be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons, do the next thing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Venison Bourguignon

I have been having fun trying out new recipes from a book that Luke got me this Christmas, Nourishing Traditions. This past week I tried their "Beef Bourgignon" recipe with venison instead because we have a lot of that right now. Here is the recipe (with my additions in parenthesis) with some pictures that I took of some of the steps along the way. The recipe is found on page 336 of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Beef Bourguignon
3 pounds stew beef (or venison), cut into 2" pieces
2 cups red wine
4 cups beef stock
6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
several small slivers of orange peel (didn't use)
several springs of fresh thyme tied together (used 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp dried green peppercorns, crushed (used red)
1 lb fresh mushrooms
2 pounds medium boiling onions
sea salt and pepper

Marinate beef in wine for several hours or overnight.
(I forgot about this and so mine only marinated for 2 hours. It still turned out well. And don't throw the wine away, you will use it later in the recipe! If I wouldn't have read the directions well, I would've done that probably.)

Remove and dry well with paper towels. This is important. If beef is too wet it will not brown.

Melt 3 tbsp of each butter and oil in a heavy flameproof casserole. (Okay, I guess it might depend on the casserole pan, I used a dutch oven type, but that was way too much oil when I tried this and my meat didn't brown well. My advice would be to only use 3 tbsp of oil.)

Brown the meat cubes in small batches, transferring with a slotted spoon to a plate when done.

When all are browned pour out cooking fat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the casserole, let it melt and add flour. Cook the flour in the butter, stirring constantly for several minutes. Add wine from the marinade and the stock.

Bring to a boil, stirring up scrapings from the bottom of the pan and blend well with a wire whisk. Return meat and juices that have accumulated in the plate. Add thyme, crushed peppercorns and orange peel.

Transfer casserole to a 300-degree oven and cook 3 or 4 hours or until meat is tender. Meanwhile (as in 45 minutes before you're going to take the meat out of the oven), brown the mushrooms, either whole or sliced. Peel the onions (there were directions on the package of pearl onions I got, that made this step much quicker) and saute them gently in butter and oil for about 20 minutes.

When meat is tender, remove from the oven. Season to taste.

Remove thyme (unless you are cheap like me and didn't want to buy fresh). Stir in onions and mushrooms and serve. (I also served it with cooked quinoa to add a little more substance.)

Overall it turned out great! It's a time consuming recipe, but delicious. In Luke, my taste tester's opinion :D it was, "Really good. Tell them I loved it. I really like the spicy-ness. And it tasted even better the next day as leftovers!" So mission accomplished! My husband liked it. And he never even knew until today that there was thyme in it (which he usually dislikes and points out right away even if I try to sneak it in, lol!). And I loved it too.

Now it's your turn to try it.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Fear is Dispelled

"For He Himself is our peace..."

God has been my peace in the last few weeks, despite myself and my circumstances. Fear is something I continually struggle with and have to keep giving to God to heal me.

In the past month I have dealt again with the presence of a rash on my hands and face. (For those of you who don't know last winter's story of my crazy skin issues, you'll have to ask me about it all some other time.) A couple weeks before Christmas it appeared again on my hands, not in full strength, but just enough to freak me out. I was so afraid that last years trial was going to be repeated again. After a few days of silent fearing, I exploded at my poor husband who was only trying to give me ideas of what might help. Luke had been giving me suggestions which he intended for me to at least try. After my yelling at him, he calmly said something along the lines of, "Dessa, I don't know if this is the full reason that God is having you deal with this, but I want to you to talk to God right now and see if He might be giving you this trial to force you to deal with any sin that might be in your life. Take a real close look." And he walked off, leaving me there to think and pray. And I did just that. I was humbled by what God showed me--a spirit of rebellion in my heart towards Luke's authority and leadership in our home. Ouch. I confessed that sin to the LORD and to Luke. Was I immediately healed? No...but God gave me the peace that I had been asking for all those days that had avoided me. God doesn't give us the peace we pray for when we are in sin, I've found.

My rash slowly went away that week, to only come back a week later on both my hands and face, after spending time around a Christmas tree. What I now believe to be at least part of my problem is a pine tree oil allergy (based on a lot of what went on last year). But you know what?!! I didn't freak out! I had a complete and utter confidence in God! I was blessed by the peace that God can give. The rash is now gone again.

God is healing me. He has healed me in the flesh (for now anyway), but most of all He is in the process of healing my soul and spirit from the affects of my sin. I pray that God would keep me close to Him, no matter what happens in the flesh. I pray that I wouldn't live in rebellious sin, but submit to the LORD and my husband.

As Elizabeth George says in her book A Woman After God's Own Heart,
"Faith is the opposite of fear...It is by faith that you and I believe that God works in our lives directly through our husbands. It is by faith in our sovereign God that we trust that God knows our husbands' decisions and the end results of those decisions, and trusting that God redeems, if not guides, those decisions. And so it is by faith in God that our fear is dispelled and we gain the strength to submit."