Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random Thoughts Thursday


My dear grandma brought me this gladiola stalk this afternoon. It was quite a surprise to see her at my door carrying the brightest colored gladiola I had ever seen!  It's pink hue is stunning and it sparkles as though covered in a fine mist of glitter! Like the striking beauty of a fair-skinned maiden, with lovely bright rosy cheeks and pink lips glistening in the dim light of evening... Or the gorgeous thick layers of cotton white clouds dipped in hues of sunset oranges, pinks and peaches as night begins to fall.  I had gifted her some gladiola bulbs for Christmas last year and just like the saying,"What you give will come back to you!", I have been pleasantly given the fruits of that gift back to me in a beautiful vibrant action of love.
Thank you, Grandma! I love you.
Speaking of beautiful sunsets, what is it they say--"Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning!"-? May I just say that I am always longing for a red sky in the morning, for that would certainly mean a storm was brewing.  There is nothing more exhilarating or inspiring than an awesome thunderstorm, as it drenches our dry desert terrain with rain and our children with fear.
My oldest daughter is purely a delight. I can see the Lord working in her little heart, and it is an awesome beautiful occurrence to witness.
My husband is resigning from coaching soccer.  So yes, his (major) involvement in fundraising over the summer was just him volunteering his time, as he will not be coaching this fall. I am so very proud of this man. He is a precious soul, one I could not ever hope to deserve the right and privilege of loving. But graciously, God has made us One in Him. In marriage. I have the awesome opportunity to follow my beloved as he chooses priorities, makes plans of action, and sticks whole-heartedly to building a strong family foundation and raising our children with Heaven's will on the forefront of our human minds. I am awestruck as he listens to the Lord, buries himself in His Word, follows His lead and joyfully lays down his seemingly good aspirations despite the attractive draw of his fleshly passions for the sake of knowing, serving and walking with our Lord with total abandonment. You see, it seems at times, that to do something really well, to do something great, you have to dedicate your whole life to that goal, that calling!  Above all, my husband and I want to dedicate ourselves to our family, and to our God. All else pales in comparison and lacks the deep richness of contentment that fulfilling God's destiny for our life fills us with.
My daughter's sliced toe is healing nicely. It has been a semi- long, harrowing process, and a learning experience. Not one I would like to go through again, but can assuredly say has turned out for good semi-positively, slightly kind of okay.
My kids spent the last two nights at Memaw Dawn's having an extended sleepover with their cousins. It was just about the best experience they've seen in their short lifetime yet. {smile} Kudos to Memaw for having 8 of her grandchildren for a sleepover, BY HERSELF! Go SuperMemaw GO!
Ran 3 1/2 miles today. It felt really good!  Although, the amount of sticky sweat that poured forth from my pores is staggering. I literally looked and felt like I had just stepped from the shower, soaked I tell you. Soaked!  From head to toe.  Hmmm, if only I smelled like I had just stepped from the shower, too.
{long contented sigh}
Looking forward to my fave season, fall and all of it's beautiful contents; activities, schooling, camp outs, remodel projects, wedding, races(maybe even a half marathon-AH!), new found "freedom" on my husband's part, church retreat, Bible studies, not being pregnant, book reading, house painting, that gorgeous cooler weather time-of-the-year.
Yeah, God is just that good.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Potato, Broccoli & Chicken Chowder

Our dinner tonight was warm, comforting and fully enjoyed by each & every little{and BIG}family member in our home. I thought I would share it's yummy-ness with all of you!

Potato Broccoli & Chicken Chowder

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 32 ounce carton organic chicken stock
3 cups red potato, cubed (about 1 1/4 pounds) 
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups organic baby spinach, finely chopped 
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and coarsely cubed
1 1/4 cups organic whole milk 
1 (8-ounce) cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire/soy sauce (use one or the other or mix both, which is what I prefer to do)
Pepper to taste
2 green onions, chopped

Put potato, broccoli, onion, garlic and
*thickening into pan on medium heat. Bring to a low simmer with lid on for 8 minutes or until potatoes are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.  Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil for 5 more minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Add spinach and cubed chicken, milk and cheese stirring until cheese is melted and chowder is thoroughly heated through. Add Worcestershire/Soy sauce mixture and pepper to taste, stirring well. Sprinkle a few fresh green onions on the top of each serving of chowder.

*flour and 2 cups stock

I paired this yummy dinner with freshly baked apples for dessert. This apple recipe is not exactly the same as mine, but it is close. I added about 1/4 cup of oats to the stuffing, as well as dashes of ginger and cloves. Such a comforting meal! Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Daily-ness

My dear pastor's wife sent out this little devotional awhile back via e-mail and I am continually blessed by it's words and reminded to seek the Lord on a daily basis for what our family needs and what the Lord has already graciously provided.
It doesn't matter what vast amount of daily-ness our day may hold; I believe these treasures

are so completely worth it all.


"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." Proverbs 8:34 (NIV)

Life wouldn't be so hard if it wasn't so daily. As I sit here surrounded by laundry and dishes piled high in the sink, I see more than ever how life wears us down one day at a time.

Crumbs litter the floor and dirty smudges cover the windows. And I have yet to discover where that smell is coming from. For this mother of four, a simple trip to the grocery store requires an act of God and Congress – attempted only when we are down to powdered milk and Ramen noodles. Not thirty minutes ago a little one-year-old boy clung to my legs, belting out that scream - you know the one, bats can hear it. And I felt my co ping skills slipping away. Not because he was crying but because he cries every day.

The daily-ness.

The job of motherhood feels so vast, and frightening, and unending. I am called to raise these children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and yet there are days that I can't seem to get out of my pajamas much less lead them in a time of prayer. I think anyone could endure the temper tantrums of a small child or the rebellion of a teenager or the constant needs of another if they lasted just one day. But the truth is that these things are the stuff of daily life. And when I am honest with myself, they grind down the rough edges of this woman. Because parenting can not be all about me when diapers must be changed, noses wiped and beds made.

In those moments I force myself to take a deep breath and thank God for this season of life. These children. The privilege of wiping noses and bottoms and countertops. A privilege many women wou ld love to have, but don't. I remind myself that the days are long but the years are short. And one day I will look in the rear-view mirror and see empty seats. The cup that is overflowing right now will slowly drain. The stretch marks will fade. And I will find that a new set of daily struggles has overtaken me. When that day comes I will find the strength to face them as well because God gives the grace, daily.

The daily-ness.

As C.S. Lewis once said, "The thing is to rely on God... Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done."

Your daily-ness is probably different than mine, but it is nonetheless God-ordained. It is exactly what we need to live dependent on His grace instead of our own strength. The One who knows us best, who knit us together in our mother's womb, has allotted these days that are equal parts trial and triumph. And He knows that we will see Him most clearl y from a place of dependence.

So today I embrace the normal things. The daily things. Another round of laundry. The ring in my toilet. The dust on my dresser so thick a child could write his name. But even more than that I want to celebrate the important things. A child slowly learning to read. A husband that finds his comfort in my arms. A baby who learns to walk and talk. Because all these are the things of life: some mundane and some holy. And all of them must be received daily.

Dear Lord, sometimes daily life is just hard. And we're tired. And overwhelmed. But You promised to be our strength and our hope and our comfort. So today we look to You for what we need. Would You meet us in this, our daily-ness, and help us receive Your grace? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

~Ariel Allison Lawhon