Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I am SO happy that I am finally feeling normal. In fact, I was feeling so normal last night that I ran 4.18 miles. Now I'm a bit sore but it's a good feeling.

We actually ended up with too many meals planned this week and I'll have to prioritize what I'm cooking. It's so nice to have options.

Monday - Spaghetti
Tuesday - Garlic ginger noodles (new recipe)
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - I will be attempting sushi for the first time but not sure what to make with it. Miso soup/gyoza/soba noodles/or...
Friday - Thai Green Curry (new recipe)
Sabbath lunch - 8 minute vegan enchiladas (new recipe)
Sabbath dinner - Homemade pizza

Writing up our menu is making me hungry!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's On My Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

I really need to stay on top of my book reviews. Several of these were read earlier this spring but I'm just now getting the reviews written! Oops!

Books completed in May (links are to my reviews)

The Castle by Franz Kafka - 3 stars
A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell - 4 stars (read in April but posted the review in May)
The Walk by Shaun Alexander - 2.5 stars (read in March! but posted the review in May)
The Boy, A Holocaust Story by Dan Porat - 3 stars
Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell - 3 stars
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov - 4 stars

Currently reading

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - I have read just over half this book so far and am gaining some great insights into WWII, Bonhoeffer himself, and how the church dealt with Hitler's rise to power.

To-read in June

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, by Francis Chan - I meant to read this in May but have spent all of my time reading Bonhoeffer.

I have a pile of library books but I know Bonhoeffer will probably take another week to read. I'm leaving June very flexible for reading options. Usually I don't like not having a list but today I'm feeling very relaxed about the whole thing! We'll see how it turns out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Still MIA

*sigh* I am still having minor health issues and have not been able to use my glasses for the last several days. That makes using the computer relatively difficult! I hope to be back on Monday. If anyone is still reading, have a great weekend! :)

Friday, May 13, 2011


I've been rather light on posts this week. It was not intentional. It has been an amazing and crazy week. Unfortunately, now I'm down with some sort of an eye problem. Doc put me on two different antibiotics but I haven't taken prescription medication in years and my body is not appreciating me taking it now.

Hopefully I'll be back Monday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My new nephew

Last night, I met my nephew for the very first time. He's three months old and so adorable!

I only got to see him for a couple hours but we'll see him and his mother again on Monday for a bit. Then nephew, his mom, and his dad (my brother) will be staying with us for almost a week in June. I am so excited!

Monday, May 9, 2011

2 book reviews

I have seen Siri Mitchell praised around the blogsphere but had never read one of her books. When Bethany House offered a copy of her newest book for review, I jumped on it. A Heart Most Worthy is not great literature, nor does it claim to be. However, what a great weekend read! The characters were engaging, the plot was interesting, and I read the entire book in one evening.

The biggest draw of this book is the characters. They just come off as so real. They grapple with normal issues, just like the rest of us. They have good days and bad days. They go to church but aren't sure if they have a real understanding of God. It was just so believable. The plot wasn't as believable, but the characters really made the story come to life. If this book is a reflection of Mitchell's other works, I will be reading more!

Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Another recent review copy received is The Walk by Shaun Alexander. I wanted to like this book; I really did. I think the main issue is just that I wasn't the target audience.

Football references mostly worked for me because I watched football for years with my dad. However, the steps a Christian moves through in his life are completely action based. As a woman, I am more emotion based. For me, spiritual maturity is more about beliefs and emotions and the actions that come from that, rather than a desciption of behaviors that a Christian would exhibit during certain stages.

Also, if you were to look at what God prefers - actions or heart - the Bible comes out on the side of the heart.

As a woman, the book just doesn't resonate. Hopefully it appeals more to a male audience, as I feel the book does have merit. Just not for me.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

God desires a close relationship with us

I was so blessed to be able to write a guest post for today's Scripture reading! Visit Mom's Toolbox to read what I learned in Mark 3.

Friday, May 6, 2011

God was tempted

We have started the book of Mark! If you would like to join us, here is the devotional for today's reading.

Mark has very little preamble. It jumps right into the action!

And He was there in the wilderness forty days,
tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts;
and the angels ministered to Him.
Mark 1:13

This ties in with the post I did about how Jesus knows how I feel. We really do serve a God who knows what it's like to be human. Not only did Jesus experience the full range of emotions, He was tempted by Satan.

It is really reassuring to me that God knows how I feel. I do not have to go through struggles alone, because there is Someone who understands and is always available for comfort and help.

Father, I love you! Thank You for the Sabbath, for the time to spend with You. Please forgive me for not acting like You today, for letting my frustrations turn me angry and a bit bitter. Change my heart, Lord! Help me to be like You. I pray for this in Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

He's alive!

There was no specific Gospel reading today, just a day for reflection over what we've learned so far from Matthew. Because I didn't post on yesterday's chapter, I thought I would post that today. It sums up Matthew nicely, I think.

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.
Matthew 28:6a

My God is alive. He faced death, felt forsaken, and rose from the dead. He is risen!

I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20b

Not only is my God alive, but He is with me always. This is such an incredible promise and I'm so glad that Matthew decided to end his writing of Christ's life with this promise. My God is with us always. A personable, loving God. Someone I can get to know. With me always.

Father, thank You for displaying Yourself to us through Jesus Christ. You are an amazing God! I love You so much! Thank You for being with me always. Amen.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

God has felt forsaken

Today's reading was Matthew 27:27-66. This section would have been incredibly depressing if I had not known the end of the story. Soldiers mocking Jesus. Jesus being nailed to a cross. Pain. Suffering. Death. Burial. A guarded tomb.

So what did I learn about God?
And about the ninth hour
Jesus cried out with a loud voice,
saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”
that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Matthew 27:46

Jesus has felt like He has been forsaken. He knows! My God knows what life is really like. He knows what it means to struggle. To feel depressed. I heard this same message just a couple days ago. God understands.

When I feel down, I can reach out to God and know that He understands. If you need comfort, isn't it best to go to someone who understands where you've been? If I need comfort, I can go to God because He knows. It sounds like such a simple message, but I needed to hear it today.

Father, thank You! I was feeling down today. Struggling with my emotions. But I am reminded now that You understand me better than anyone else. Please help me to remember to turn to You instead of feeling like there is no one who can understand. Thank you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

God is... ?

If you're following along with the Gospel reading, today's section is Matthew 27:1-26.

To be quite honest, I wasn't sure what to think about today's text. Only a small portion of the chapter directly involves Christ; instead, it deals with the events going on around Him. I'm reading through the Gospels with the specific intent to learn more about God's character and I'm not sure what this section is teaching me.

Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”
Matthew 27:11

Here, we have Christ telling Pilate nothing. Pilate asks Him a question and Jesus confirms that Pilate already knows the answer.

And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders,
He answered nothing.
Matthew 27:12

Jesus doesn't even respond to the priests and elders.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
Matthew 27:13-14

Again, Jesus doesn't defend Himself. They were smearing His name. Creating lies about Him. Falsely accusing Him. Misrepresenting God. And Jesus doesn't defend Himself.

I'm not sure what to think about this passage. What is it teaching us about God's character? I'm still thinking about it. Any ideas?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

God knows how I feel

We are just about to finish up with the first Gospel, the book of Matthew. Today's reading is Matthew 26:36-75. If you would like to join us, this week's reading schedule is posted here.

This is a really heavy chapter. Jesus is arrested in the garden of Gethsemane and begins His trial. But first, Jesus goes through an intense prayer session, pleading with God that He does not have to undergo this ordeal. As always, He offers to do the will of God, even if that means death.

However, while this entire passage is worthy of study, I was struck by something a bit different.

Then He said to them,
My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.
Stay here and watch with Me.
Matthew 26:38

God knows exactly how I feel! This is not just an intellectual knowledge, but the knowledge of someone who has experienced the full range of human emotions. Jesus felt depressed. Got angry. Was exceedingly sorrowful. While He was on earth, He did not just experience the positive side of human emotions. He experienced the full range, from exceeding joy to exceeding sorrow!

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

He know how we feel!

Father, thank You! Thank You for not being distant, for not being separated from Your creation. Thank You for allowing Jesus to undergo the same temptations and emotions that I face. Thank You for giving me the promise that You understand! And that I can come boldly to Your throne for both mercy and grace. Thank You! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.