A Paw Covering the Face

I love when I come upon a sleeping cat with a paw covering her face. This paw gesture of blocking out the whole world, of curling tightly in upon oneself, and of signaling do not disturb, warms my heart for some reason and beckons me to go ahead and curl up right beside this little cat who sleeps mid-day with no problem at all.

I think about resting like this and the necessary blocking out of all distractions. Sometimes, we need to tuck into ourselves, spend time resting, and only then return to the mayhem of the day.

 

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New Foods I’ve Added to My Diet

On my health journey these days, I’ve added in some new foods that I’m loving. I manage migraines and fatigue with nutrition as much as I can. These foods have made a difference in energy levels and have eased joint pain, too. Unbelievable!

Quinoa with Black Beans and Kale: So nutritious and filling. Cook 1 cup of quinoa, add a can of rinsed black beans, and then stir into the same pot a big handful of chopped kale (it will wilt down). Then, mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, two or three mined garlic cloves, some salt, and some pepper. Add your dressing to your quinoa pot. Chill in the refrigerator. A great lunch or even breakfast!

Nuts: I’ve added in some walnuts or cashews (just 1/4 cup) to a bowl of cut fruit, and it’s delicious!

Almond milk: Replaces coffee creamer and can also make a great morning smoothie if you combine with your coffee a frozen banana, a splash of vanilla, and a teaspoon of peanut butter. Add in some cocoa powder for a chocolaty taste.

Kimchi: I love it. I know that’s odd for some of you, but it’s great for probiotics, fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Eat a few bites of kimchi with lunch or dinner or just for a snack.

Flaxseed, chia seeds, oatmeal, cinnamon, and fruit: The night before, add in 1/2 cup oats, 1 tablespoon each of your seeds, a dash of cinnamon, some milk (almond), and a handful of chopped fruit (preferably frozen). In the morning, your refrigerator oats will be ready and delicious.

Chickpeas. Great protein and wonderful to combine with curry and tomatoes for a great pita sandwich.

As I talk to healthy people, more and more I find they eat these foods regularly. I joined in, and it feels great!

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How to Boil Eggs for Easy Peeling

Whenever we have to boil eggs that we’ll peel for deviled eggs, egg salad, or just to enjoy by themselves, we always wonder why those eggs won’t peel well. We’ve grown so tired of tiny flakes of egg shell coming off with chunks of egg with it.

I’ve been researching exactly how to boil perfect eggs for perfect peeling. My conclusions:

  • Boil water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of salt.
  • Add your eggs to the boiling water carefully (with a spoon).
  • Boil for 13 minutes (you can turn down the heat if the boiling is too rambunctious)
  • Remove each egg with slotted spoon and place immediately into a bowl of ice and water.
  • Let the eggs cool in the ice bath for 5 minutes.

Peel! You won’t believe it! The eggs finally, finally, finally become easy to peel with the shells coming off smoothly, quickly, and often in large pieces fully detached from the egg.

Yeah! Yeah!

Now, the reasons:

  • Salt (increases temperature of water, prevents cracking, helps egg solidify faster). You can also use baking soda, but I have not tried this.
  • Vinegar (soften shells for easier peeling)
  • Adding to boiling water makes for an easier peel (according to the Pioneer Woman!)
  • The ice bath (stops the cooking)

I hope I’ve forever solved the problem of how to boil eggs for easy peeling.

 

 

 

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Letting God Lead to Abundant Life

After all these years of trying to design my own life, and the lives of my children, I continue to learn to surrender my notion of “abundant life” to Jesus. He came so we might have life “to the full,” yet I often wonder what this life will look like. So I fret and compare and despair.

What I let Him choose, let Him lead, let Him design our lives?

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Today It’s Rising Dough

Today, I took a moment to consider how happy rising dough makes me. I continue to make my sourdough bread from a yeast starter my friend gave me, and when I turn the ball of dough into the bowl to rise all day long, I love the secret, unaccompanied work of it. I love that the rising happens without me or anyone else.

It’s doing it’s work.

I feel this way about crockpot cooking. I feel this way about anything you put in place and leave to itself.

I feel this way about so many secret processes: growing seeds, tomatoes ripening on the vine, autumn leaves changing color, lakes beginning to freeze.

There’s so much happening, so many unseen, marvelous processes!

Today, it’s rising dough.

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One

The creatures eat every berry in the garden except this one. I’ll take it! I notice the rich growth around it, and how lush and green the leaves are. I would have expected so much more from this blackberry patch.

I think of all the endeavors that promise so much more, that seem like they’d be so fruitful. I think of what feels like stolen time or wasted effort.

But then I remember that one blackberry is perfect. I’ve learned all these years that the harvest doesn’t have to be magnificent numerically. The one tiny blackberry, in a single location, governed by God, matters more than a whole harvest outside of His plan for us.

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Early Signs

On the sidewalk this afternoon on the way to the mailbox, I find a cluster of fallen green acorns. What a happy find to know that autumn will come!

The green acorns hold a special place in my heart because of the wonderful cover design of my Live with Flair: Seasons of Worship and Wonder volume 1 compilation (the best of Live with Flair year 1-5) that I published in 2014. Rachel Schrock designed the cover with a bowl of green acorns, and I love it so much. The green acorns symbolize hope and joy to me.

 

If you wish to order a copy of this book, it’s each season’s 100 most loved blog posts. Enjoy!

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Back and Forth

While on a walk with my daughter, the storm clouds gathered. Then, we heard the downpour before we felt it. In fact, we could see it. Like sheets of water falling down one after the other, like marching legs, the rain came towards us.

“It’s raining there but not here! And it’s coming towards us!” We shrieked and huddled under the umbrella I brought along and waited. It felt the same way it feels at the beach when you brace yourself against a coming wave. But, unlike the wave that crashes, we felt only the steady drops of rain on our umbrella. And then they stopped and continued on behind us.

It was a giant heavenly sprinkler. The back and forth of it made us smile on our walk; sometimes the rain drenched us, and in the next minute, a clearing into the muggy, buggy air.

I walked beside my teenager and thought about the back and forth of emotions, of good days and bad days, of just what it means to be human. One minute, the downpour. The next, the clear sky.

We kept walking. And we huddled close when the rain came again.

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How You Need Help

I have a friend who, whenever you call her phone, asks, “How can I help you?” I thought it was so unusual, but eventually, I loved that question. She positioned herself to help. She wasn’t a chatterbox, a gossiper, or someone who just needed to talk on the phone. She got right to the point: How can I help you? 

I think of her this morning when I read Psalm 30. I love how David writes this astonishing statement about God: “I called to you for help and you healed me.”

I called to you for help and you healed me.

I think about God as our “ever-present help in time of need” (Psalm 46:1). But then I remember the phone call to my friend. I remember that I always said, “I’m good. I don’t need anything!” I rarely, if ever, took her up on her offer to help.

I picture God positioning Himself as my Helper. Can you believe it? What would you say if Jesus said to you, “How can I help you today? Really! I’m here. I really am. And I am here to help you in whatever way you need.”

I take out my journal and cry for help. It might be in parenting, marriage, health, work, friendships—every area of life needs that infusion of holy help from God. And how would life change if I walked into this day with God as my Helper?

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