As usual, you can find them all on my keepers board on pinterest.
Beatty’s Chocolate Cake by the Barefoot Contessa was Kate’s birthday cake — made into a 13×9 and decorated to match her theme. It was a hit with both adults and kids.
Brined and Grilled Pork Loin Roast from Grilling Companion: Skipped the bay leaf, used mostly rosemary and thyme and grilled over charcoal. The meat was delicious sliced the first day and also shredded for BBQ sandwiches.
Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad adapted by Nutmeg Notebook from Cooking Light was tasty and filling and everybody ate it.
Poor Girl Eats Well’s Mediterranean Garbanzo Salad was a great side to grilled chicken, filling and healthy.
Turkey Stuffed Zucchini from Skinny Taste was good enough I’ve made it twice already and had leftovers both times. My squash hater does detect the zucchini in the filling, even though I cut it back quite a bit.
I made this for kids memorizing Psalm 100 this year, and thought someone else might want to use it. It’s plain, but you can print it on colored paper. (Click on the image to open and save it at full resolution.)
Today was Lexi’s stagger day, when she finally got to visit 1st grade. The whole class starts together Monday. It’s been a long week of anticipation, luckily, we had plans to keep us busy. Lexi cannot wait to be back in school. In fact, she wishes there was no summer break at all, just shortened days so she can still go to the pool.
Lexi is energetic, fun-loving and eager to learn. I hope that this year brings her both challenges and great joy. I pray that she would grow more and more gracious towards herself and others, and that her deep conviction would blossom into a great appreciation for Christ’s finished work. She is really excited about playing soccer with some girls from school and I hope their team helps them build real community, without excluding the girls who aren’t playing.
Happy First Day of First Grade, Alexine.
Lexi has to bring pictures to share about her summer. I asked her what she wanted to share about, and she said “going to the pool.” So, I printed her pictures of our trip to Colorado. It was really fun to go through the pictures again.
I still can’t believe we got this close to the Mount Evans mountain goats, who live 14,000 feet above sea level.
Today was Kate’s first day of third grade. This feels like a big milestone to me as I taught third grade while I was pregnant with her. It feels like it was just a short time ago, but those kids are now finishing up high school.
Eight is a strange in-between age. On the one hand, she has grown so much but on the other, she feels so little. She loves pop music but still plays with My Little Ponies.
Last year, I wrote a little prayer for Kate on her first day. I prayed through it again today, but I was coming from a different place. Instead of being the new girl, she is familiar and comfortable. That’s a good place to be, but also one that needs to be bathed in prayer. She is so excited for all this year will hold academically, but there will be challenges along the way. I am praying for enthusiasm to translate into diligence and interest into mastery. Happy first day, sweet Kate!
A new occasional series on the everyday things that show me God’s presence and care.
On this anniversary weekend, it is fitting for the saving my life honor to be bestowed on Michael. This past week was the only week between his summer class ending and the start of in-service. In spite of mountains of preparation for fall classes, he took Kate and Lexi to school with him several mornings and gave me time to work on my own projects and made it possible for me to meet deadlines and feel sane. I am so thankful for how hard he works and how much he chips in around the house to make our lives work.
As I look back on our marriage, it’s been 9 years of consistency in this regard. He is always saving the day and always willing to go the extra mile. He is a good man and an even better husband. I don’t deserve his kindness and daily sacrifice, but I am grateful for them.
Michael, thank you for saving my life, one load of dishes at a time.
How Children Raise Parents by Dan Allender is a great framework for thinking about parenting, but could be slightly more practical. I recommend it highly for parents of children in any age or stage. (9/10)
A Curtain of Green & Other Stories was the first short story collection published by Eudora Welty and it was a great read. Some stories are better than others, “The Key” and “A Worn Path” were my favorites. (8.5/10)
Subtitled “Adventures in Loving Your Neighbors,” Margot Starbuck’s Small Thing with Great Love is a choose-your-own-adventure style book about being compassionate where you are. Great ideas but not overwhelming. (8/10)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a fun little play that everyone should read once. (9.5/10)
Filed under books, reviews
We broke down and got cable over the weekend, to watch the Olympics. It got me thinking about the lengths we go to watch and the joy we get from the games themselves. There is something magical about the smile of a 17-year-old girl in pearl earrings who just swam faster than any other woman in the world. It’s the same magic as young adults beating their heroes and of parents in the stands with so much pride it seems to be seeping out their pores.
There is magic, too, in seeing a world focused on sports that usually ignore. We rekindle a love for gymnastics or diving or swimming and remember fleeting moments in our past, whether our own attempts at glory or Olympics of the past. I will never watch a woman vault without remembering Kerri Strug and her amazing second vault (I know, we would have won without it, but it was still magical.)
Most Olympians will never be Michael Phelps. They will never earn a medal, let alone a fortune. They compete because they love their sport. And there is something to be learned from them and their stories, even if NBC has the obnoxious tendency of exploiting them*. They have trained so hard and given so much just to be there.
I love watching the camaraderie between athletes, both teammates and rivals, who appreciate each others talents and cheer others on to excellence. I love knowing that for two weeks, all around the world, there are people who are watching, cheering and caring.
I love seeing my children discover these things for themselves. They find new heroes and new sports to try. I love that watching makes them “Olympic dreamers” as Lexi aptly described. It is good for a child to be a dreamer and to recognize talent and hard work. I don’t want my children to grow up to be Olympians, but I hope they grow up to do their very best. I hope that Missy Freeman and company inspire them to do that, like FloJo and Jackie Joyner-Kersee once did for me.
* It is crazy how bad NBC is getting. Can we get Google or the BBC or something instead? I am so tired of them using the tape delay to build drama in editing. It is out of control. I don’t think we can last through 2020 with them. Also, Bob Costas is looking really scary. The plastic surgery and botox is not a good look for him.
Last month, World Magazine’s blog published a letter our friend Molly wrote to her four young adult sons about reputation. The letter itself and Molly’s new blog are both worth reading!
In an earlier version of the letter Molly posted on facebook, she wrote that she had always prayed that if her sons were in sin, that they would be caught. This idea was new and refreshing to me. We are afraid of the truth sometimes. Afraid to admit the truth to ourselves. Afraid to show our vulnerabilities to others. But we know that the truth will set us free. Instead of being enslaved to secret sins or delusional thoughts, the truth brings freedom to grapple with reality and move forward.
Our sin has consequences and the longer it goes on, the worse things can get. Sin steals joy from us and destroys our peace. But there is hope and healing available to us. As Molly said, “Even when you fall you have a way forward—a well-worn path through repentance, confession, forgiveness, restoration, and hope.”
As I meditate on this, I am praying for myself and my family as Molly has, for our sin to be revealed to us. And if we resist that revelation, that we would be caught in sin. The reality is that sin easily entangles us, and we should not be surprised to find ourselves sinning. But we should not let shame or our reputation prevent us from embracing the path of repentance. It may feel easier to live a lie for a little while, but it will only bring more slavery. Praying that we will believe that the truth brings real freedom.