Monday, September 26, 2011

contemplating this

this study has been very timely for me. this week has been on idolatry and this chart has been on my mind as i spend time repenting and asking Jesus to replace idols in my heart with Himself. i will go ahead and tell you that i struggle most with #2, but there are a variety of things i try to place my hope in.

"Whenever you see your heart in the grip of some kind of disobedience or misery, some temptation, anxiety, anger, etc., always ask, (1) How are these effects being caused by an inordinate hope for someone or something to give me what only Jesus can really give me? and (2) How does Christ give me so much more fully and graciously and suitably the very things I am looking for elsewhere? Next, rejoice and consider what he has done and what he has given you." keller

Trailer for Gospel in Life from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

no worries

but we are finishing up our first cold of the season. we have not been seeing many folks so as not to share the snot. i am introverted, but can tell i still need to talk to adults when i have been hibernating like this. it can really make you crazy. for real. and also, all the wakeful children at night makes me remember newborn days...i have renewed sympathy for my friends and family with new ones! miles has been uncharacteristically fussy and needs to be touching me at all times unless he is mercifully sleeping in his crib. i tried to cook dinner with him in the ergo last night and it was quite problematic as he kept grabbing things. and yes, i tried him on my back...would.not.have it.

it helps us to get out of the house. so we went on a picnic the other day

and today we gathered nature after our run and arranged it in vases. i love to see the kids get excited about nature and all the details to be found in a simple fallen leaf or a bit of queen anne's lace.

and on a random note, we are doing keller's Gospel in Life in Bible study, which i missed today. however, i was reading it this morning while graham laid his head in my lap and it is SOOOO good...repentance, idolatry (surprising from keller, yes?), grace, Gospel. i need this...working it in so that i actually believe...

Friday, September 16, 2011


he's an old man, my husband is. i am so thankful for him and the husband and father he is to us and the doctor he is to so many others. adam is an instrument of grace to me in countless ways. love you babe! we squeezed some celebrating in during this night float week with breakfast and coffee together yesterday morning before his eyelids started shutting on me (thanks laurie for babysitting), early dinner with his parents and brother's fam yesterday evening, and his choice of pizza and wacky cake for dinner tonight. then we sent him off for his last night shift for now...whew! i forgot the camera last night, but it was so good to see jon and motsy and their three precious kids and jon turned 30 yesterday. thanks for dinner dave and carol!

dinner tonight

replacements for his 2yr old running shoes (thanks for the contributions family!) and the bonhoffer biography.

i also gave him this documentary since indelible grace is his favorite band. it was so encouraging. i'll post the trailer at the end of this post.
miles gave the best gift...turned 11 months old yesterday and today started saying "dada"... soooo sweet. here he is playing tackle with marit

Indelible Grace Documentary Trailer: Roots And Wings from Kevin Twit on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

a good read

one of my friends posted this wonderful article on blindspots in homeschooling on good ol' facebook today and i want it here so i can go back and read it again and probably repeatedly. it is written by a father looking back on the experience of his family as homeschoolers, but i think it would be helpful for any Christian parent. i feel like we are always teetering on the edge of legalism and works righteousness...doing good things like homeschooling (though we have barely started this, we are thinking a lot about it), parenting our children, ministry, just life with hearts of thanksgiving and worship because of the grace with which we have been lavished in the Gospel and because of our idol-factory hearts, we can quickly turn judgmental and self-righteous...doing the same things, but for our own joyless glory instead of in humble worship. this is our struggle and i know it is the human twist, steal glory, try to render ourselves worthy of His does. not. work. another reason i appreciate the wisdom in this article is that it puts into words the fears i have about homeschooling and raising kids based on my own experience as a homeschooled child. i am not referring to my parents as they were careful and humble. that's all. just read it if you like. it is long and took me all day to read.
"It is critical for our sake, let alone for our children, that we enjoy a life-giving faith in Christ with no religious trappings added to it."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

spinach and black bean lasagna...

i know i'm on a fairly prolific blogging kick, but i am trying to productively use my alone nights with adam working to put some things on here that a)may be useful to others and b)i want to be able to quickly find later or remember. don't worry, i will neglect it for weeks at a time soon i'm sure. so i'm trying to post some recipes that we use frequently. this one is not nearly as pretty in this picture as it is in my tummy, but it is one of our absolute favorites. my sweet friend katie made this for us after miles was born and we have adopted it as a family favorite. everyone cheerfully eats it and it is chock-full of spinach and black beans, which are two of the healthiest foods for you, in my humble nutrition-conscious opinion. it is a lighter spin on lasagna and lends itself well to substitutions based on what you have on hand...for example, you can leave the cilantro out, use whatever cheese you have on hand, or use lentils or pintos with or instead of black beans.

Spinach and Black Bean Lasagna by the Dinner Doctor (Anne Byrn)
2 cans (15oz) black beans, drained
1 jar (26oz) tomato based pasta sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained)-i usually just defrost in microwave (or cook down some fresh as i often do)
1 or 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional, but i think it adds a lot!)
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 package (8oz/2cups) preshredded Monterey Jack cheese w/ jalapeno peppers (i often use mexican or mozzarella)

1. place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375.
2. place the beans in a medium size bowl and mash them with a potato masher until smooth. stir in the pasta sauce and cumin and set aside. place the ricotta, spinach, eggs, and cilantro in another bowl and stir until just combined.
3. spoon 1/3 of the bean mixture evenly over the bottom of a 13x9 (3qrt) glass or ceramic baking dish. arrange 3 of the noodles side by side the long way on top of the bean mixture. spoon 1/2 of the spinach mixture on top of the noodles and spread it out evenly. scatter 1 cup of the cheese evenly over the spinach mixture. spread remaining spinach mixture over the cheese, then arrange 3 of the lasagna noodles side by side the long way on top. spread 1/2 of the remaining bean mixture on top of the noodles. arrange the remaining 3 lasagna noodles side by side the long way on top of the bean mixture, then top of the remaining bean mixture. cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
4. bake until bubbling, 40-45 minutes. remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully remove the foil and set it aside. scatter the remaining 1 cup of cheese evenly over the lasagna and cover the dish again with the foil. let the lasagna rest until the cheese melts, 10 minutes, then serve.

a covert in thy wounds

been listening to and singing this song over and over in the last couple days as i'm in one of those coming to the end of myself waves...i love the chorus...oh Blessed Jesus, may we find a covert in thy wounds...

A Prayer For The Broken Hearted
Words by Chelsey Scott (based on a prayer from “The Valley Of Vision”) Music by Chelsey Scott © 2006
Petit Bateau Music (ASCAP)

1. No day in my life has past,
That hasn't proved me guilty
Prayers are uttered too fast
From a heart that’s cold and empty.

Oh Blessed Jesus,
May we find a covert in thy wounds
Though our sins, they rise to meet us,
How they fall next to the merits of you
2. Oh, all in me calls for this
It calls for my rejection
This heavy unrighteousness,
Oh is there no protection?

My best services are rags, my best deeds are filthy.

Oh Blessed Jesus,
May we find a covert in thy wounds
Though our sins, they rise to meet us,
How they fall next to the merits of you
3. Grant me hear thy shoring voice,
That in thy wounds is pardon
Grant me see thy willing choice
To make my hard heart softened

Keep the broken-hearted sure,
Clinging to thy cross, our cure.

Oh Blessed Jesus,
May we find a covert in thy wounds
Though our sins, they rise to meet us,
How they fall next to the merits of you

you can hear the whole encouraging album here

Monday, September 12, 2011

mediterranean meatloaf

can you tell my meatloaf-loving husband cut this enormous portion?

this is adam's favorite dish. i don't cook tons of meat mostly because i'm not all that great at it, but this is adam's favorite. one year i made it for his birthday and invited a bunch of his medschool was the weirdest party-fare...pulling something like 5 or 6 meatloaves out of the oven.

side note: adam is such a pleasure to cook for because he has about 100 "favorites" of things i cook. despite the fact that i am very much a simpleton cook, he is always so thankful and verbally affirming. i love that about him.

i made it today because ground turkey was on sale, adam is on un-fun night shift on his birthday week, and he is sick to boot (achy and even had a fever yesterday). my mom got it from the paper i think when i was a kid and it was always one of our "company meals" and now it is one of our staples. i also like it because i can assemble it while at least one or two of my kids are napping and just stick in the oven closer to dinner time.

here is the recipe:
Mediterranean meatloaf
1 lb ground beef or turkey (i prefer turkey and some with a little
fat-the 99% lean stuff won't work well as it is too crumbly)
1 egg
1 Tbl sundried tomatoes chopped
1 cup italian bread crumbs (i often just crumble a couple slices of
whatever bread i have and put some italian seasoning in )
2/3 cup feta (or i think it is even better with goat cheese) cheese crumbled
1 cup cooked rice or couscous (works really well with rice pilaf or yellow rice...any of the near east products are great)

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2tsp honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1 pinch of mint

preheat oven to 350
mix all ingredients except rice or couscous
put half of mixture in a loaf pan
put rice or couscous on top of first layer
put 2nd half of meat mixture on very top
cook 45 minutes or until browned through (a glass loaf pan is helpful
for knowing when it's cooked all the way through)
serve with sauce

add a veggie of your choice and eat the left-over rice, potatoes or some multigrain bread!


my sister left a gazillion paper lunch bags at my house after her wedding (they were used at the reception for carrying peaches home as favors) so i've been trying to put them to good use. they make great "nature collectors" for the various things the kids discover outside, but today we made kitty cat puppets. i found this site and we will probably make these often as it is a great way to work on an assortment of fine motor skills for my little preschoolers as well with gluing, coloring, cutting and then pretending! of course it requires lots of supervision (esp for graham), but they have to practice these things to learn and it was a fun project to do together...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

saturday snuggles

we all need them

the mama who needs to wash her hair and the teething baby

the home-from-work daddy, the chatty sister, lazy dog, and sleepy brother

sibling love

while watching a squirrel raid our bird-feeder

Thursday, September 8, 2011

just a few things to remember...

in an ice-breaker game at Bible study this week, i had to answer the question: what is your proudest accomplishment? i had to rephrase the question because that p word makes me is dangerous right? of course i immediately thought about my family and my children...they are significant because they have souls...or i guess i could have said...i can run x number of miles in x number of minutes or i can wear *some* of my pre-pregnancy clothes or i have survived a stroke or something else sort of lame. i rephrased the question and answered that i am thankful for my children, though they are not my "accomplishment" and God uses them to humble me on a regular basis as well.

today, though,i was talking with marit about pride. she is big into asking what things mean lately. i was trying to explain to her the difference between sinful selfish pride and what someone means when they say "i'm proud of you." we settled on defining the not-sinful pride as something like rejoicing when someone is doing well. i told marit when she gave graham one of his favorite animals to comfort him that i was thankful for her kindness and that God must be working in her heart. she replied: "i feel God working in my heart! it hurts a little bit." little people are so literal. i love it. the i'm praising God for people in my life doing well vein, i wanted to remember a few moments:
marit read her first words today...they were just in a bob book and it was just mat, sat, sam...BUT she did it and she was so excited! during rest-time, i found her reviewing her letters. i love to see a little spark to's beautiful.

and she learned this week to pump herself on the swing...hooray

butternut finally learned to crawl like a real's cute. even pax finds it amusing

i got a love note today (crayons were left out i guess) because adam ate toast on my bread. never mind the fact that it was only because we were out of milk so he could not have his cereal ritual. he was thankful and encouraging anyway. i mean, he took the time to write me even though he leaves for work at 6 am. thanks babe.

and, well, graham keeps us all laughing...he has been extra cuddly lately too and i am thankful for that because he is SO big, he soon won't fit in my lap. here he is with the hair of one of our now bald babies...

oh my, i am so thankful for the four people that live with me in this house...these dear ones...praying for God's grace to love them all well and faithfully.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

a praying life

i have been wanting to read something on prayer for a while as this is an area of my life that i want to do well and in which there is always room for improvement. my sister-in-law recommended this one so i borrowed it from my dad and found it to be such an encouragement. it is an honestly written book with rich insights and practical ideas (like making 3x5 cards for all the people you pray for and adding verses and requests over time) all woven with stories about miller's family--his six kids and especially his autistic daughter. it was a refreshing read and one i will come back to. i was particularly convicted by the sections on cynicism...not realizing how much of our culture i allow to seep into my thinking...

"Cynicism begins, oddly enough, with too much of the wrong kind of faith, with naive optimism or foolish confidence. At first glance, genuine faith and naive optimism appear identical since both foster confidence and hope. But the similarity is only surface deep. Genuine faith comes from knowing my heavenly Father loves, enjoys, and cares for me. Naive optimism is groundless. It is childlike trust without the loving Father...Optimism rooted in the goodness of people collapses when it confronts the dark side of life...Our personal struggles with cynicism and defeated weariness are reinforced by an increasing tendency toward perfectionism in American culture. Believing you have to have the perfect relationship, the perfect children, or a perfect body sets you up for a critical spirit, the breeding ground for cynicism. In the absence of perfection, we resort to spin--trying to make ourselves look good, unwittingly dividing ourselves into a public and private self. We cease to be real and become the subject of cynicism...Cynicism is the air we breathe, and it is suffocating our hearts. Unless we become disciples of Jesus, this present evil age will first deaden and then destroy our prayer lives, not to mention our souls. Our only hope is to follow Jesus as he leads us out of cynicism...Instead of naive optimism, Jesus calls us to be wary, yet confident in our heavenly Father. We are to combine a robust trust in the Good Shepherd with a vigilance about the presence of evil in our own hearts and in the hearts of others. The feel of a praying life is cautious optimism---caution because of the Fall, optimism because of redemption. Cautious optimism allows Jesus to boldly send his disciples into an evil world."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

this is good music

my brother sent me this link a while back and i finally downloaded it yesterday. it is so good and there are several tracks that make me want to cry (not altogether unusual, but still). his music is so original and poetic and filled with truth. enjoy.

"Farther Along" - Josh Garrels from Josh Garrels on Vimeo.

Monday, September 5, 2011


you just have to play in the rain!

especially when you've been having a sort of hum-drum kind of day

and just maybe, sweet neighbors will join in

...and definitely a bath night....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

sweet saturday

blocks are fun for everyone. the challenge these days is to be patient with littlest brother who wants to knock down everything the big kids build...

i mean he is intimidating, right? he has much to learn in the area of kind and gracious sibling play.

three cheers for adam getting off early today! (and bonus, he gets tomorrow off) he is in the icu, putting in 13hr shifts most days. of course, my days are basically the same, but i struggle to know what to do with our time from nap to bed when daddy usually brings a welcome diversion, or at least a new voice for the kids to hear. anyway, we enjoyed our evening tonight and took a trip to see adam's parents for grandpa's birthday. a trip to feed the ducks is always a pleasure for all. especially since we get to ride in this

greediest ducks and geese you have ever seen

happy birthday grandpa!

Friday, September 2, 2011

and the winners of my totally lame contest

everyone! ok, apparrently my contest was ridiculous easy. and also, i am clueless about the appropriate way to do them. i'm just going to pretend that you all know my kids so well that you could recognize them perfectly at any age. nicole and delane, i'll make you some fresh bread...steph and kelly, hang tight while i think of something i can mail you.

so here they are...three wigglers in the tub (miles would not hold still at all so he is blurry)

and for fun...marit and graham 2 years ago

Thursday, September 1, 2011

on "reformed"

“And we need to rediscover Augustine’s peculiar slant—a very biblical slant—on grace as the free gift of sovereign joy in God that frees us from the bondage of sin. We need to rethink our Reformed doctrine of salvation so that every limb and every branch in the tree is coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight. We need to make plain that total depravity is not just badness, but blindness to beauty and deadness to joy; and unconditional election means that the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before we ever existed; and that limited atonement is the assurance that indestructible joy in God is infallibly secured for us by the blood of the covenant; and irresistible grace is the commitment and power of God’s love to make sure we don’t hold on to suicidal pleasures, and to set us free by the sovereign power of superior delights; and that the perseverance of the saints is the almighty work of God to keep us, through all affliction and suffering, for an inheritance of pleasures at God’s right hand forever…” john piper

thanks char for sharing this with me