The Best Summer Pasta Salad

I make this cold pasta salad, and the family devours it. My children and their friends eat it so quickly that I’m amazed I don’t even have one little piece of pasta left over.

Here’s how:

Cook a pound of pasta. (I like the organic four-color radiatore that Target sells.) Drain and rinse in cold water.

While the pasta cooks, add to a pretty bowl 8 torn up basil leaves from your garden to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 4 tablespoons good olive oil. Mix this together with a teaspoon salt and a teaspoon pepper. Then, mostly drain a jar of capers and add the capers and a little caper juice to the bowl. Mix well. Next, finely chop three carrots (I used the food processor). Add 2 cups sweet cherry tomatoes cut in half. Add 1 chopped red pepper. Toss everything with your pasta.

It will taste salty / lemony / and crunchy. You will love it. We ate it so quickly that I simply had no time for a photo.


Summer Reading

So far, I’ve finished Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves and Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I recommend both! It’s a summer for me to learn more about the Holy Spirit.


With Others

This morning I watched a team of ducks floating along with a gaggle of geese! I didn’t realized they socialized. I didn’t realize that ducks would hang out casually with large geese, but there they were, floating and eating and having a merry old time.

I learn that because both ducks and geese live highly social lives, they’ll often travel together. They simply don’t like to be alone. They enjoy lots of company.

It made me wonder about what it means to float alongside all kinds of people and socialize with those we might not normally enjoy just because we’re highly social and it’s good not to be alone. Take it from the birds; it’s better together.


Stay Put

Instead of the long walk to comb the beach during our day at Wrightsville Beach, I return and place my chair in the sand.

What’s this? The waves come to me and deliver their gifts this way. I stay still. It’s a different way to receive. The waves leave shells and coral and sea glass right here.

Sometimes we search and travel far down the path to find that seashell; other times we stay put and don’t do a thing. God can work in either position.


A Bright New Day

It’s wonderful to begin a new day! I think of the adventure ahead, the opportunity to love and serve well, and the marvelous things God might place in our path. I think of living bravely and humbly. I think of living with a curious heart.

Let’s get going!


A “Double Portion”

In Isaiah 61:7, I read this as a promise to God’s people: “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”

Think of what would bless you. Now double it.


Encouragement from 2 Chronicles 20

I love rereading 2 Chronicles 20 when I feel discouraged about anything. Think of that thing that’s discouraging you as the “vast army.” Note what happens when the Lord handles the problem. Consider this excerpt:

Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said:

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine,we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ . . For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord.Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lordwith harps and lyres and trumpets. The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

We inquire; the Lord responds and delivers.


It’s True: You’re Always Driving

There’s this time as a parent of teenagers when you’re driving them everywhere, all the time. Other parents warned me, but I didn’t believe them. Where could these teens possibly be going all the time?

Oh, all the places.

Before they have their driver’s license and, most importantly, a vehicle to use, it’s all you.

They need a ride to work, to see friends, to shop, to go to the movies, to pick up that one thing they need at Target, and to do that one thing they promised they told us about (of which we have no memory whatsoever). And if you’re in a smaller town and some of these places are in the next town, you might find yourself driving for an hour when you really needed to finish the laundry and make dinner hypothetically.

But it’s precious time. After all, you’ve got them trapped in an enclosed space with you. And it’s actually wonderful if you think about it. You let them play their music. You let them talk about whatever they want to talk about. Recently, in my own spiritual journey, I’ve been so sensitive to how I inadvertently (and often purposefully) shame myself, others, and my teens by my expectations and judgements. So this time in the car isn’t for correction, my thoughts on their personal development, my criticism that she has a least five loads of laundry in her hamper to wash. This time isn’t about how she should be better at anything. In my mind, of course, I’m thinking of her getting a head start on college applications and a whole list of things I want her to do.

But she’s not me. She herself, and for this time as the sun sets over the mountain, the cool evening air rushes around us, the music blares, and the country road disappears into the distance, I have her right here with me. It won’t ever be just like this again.