Where did I last leave off?
BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)!
We are studying the book of Genesis. It is amazing how looking at such a familiar story piece-by-piece can change your perspective. I never thought about how Genesis really is the basis for what we Christians believe. We are only on chapter 4, but I have learned so much thus far. I am loving this study!
Ben has been traveling some again, but we have been trying to be more deliberate about spending quality time together as a family. Our babes have an early bedtime, so our weekdays don't have enough hours for anything outside of home that includes Ben. Don't get me wrong- one of my favorite things is being at home with my family. Side note: It is a personal struggle of mine to try to play "catch-up" on household stuff when Ben is home on the weekends; you know, those things that you just can't do when you have little ones in the house. So, a couple of weeks ago we got to do my absolute favorite thing- go hiking. I carried Lottie and Ben carried Rush. We got rained on, and Ben saw a bear! (I am glad I didn't see it; let's just say I have a reverent fear of black bears.) But we had a great time! The kids did really well for being in the packs for 8 miles. Rush even hiked part of the trail, including 2 river crossings (I covered my eyes). It was refreshing for my soul.
Stay tuned... we haven't been backpacking since I was pregnant with Lottie (September 2011) and we want to go soon (sans babies). I'll certainly post about it if we can make it happen!
We also went to a fun little fall festival near our house last weekend. Rush had a good time looking at all the antique tractors and we enjoyed the apple fritters! Sunday last week, Ben and I got to go on a long run together, as we are prepping for a half-marathon next month. I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into!!!
Our sweet little Lottie is nine months old today! I know what my mom was talking about now when she would tell us to stop growing up! She is such a sweet little girl. She is has been very mobile now for about 2 months, though I would not call it crawling. We have a couple of nicknames for her style: "inchworming" & "mermaiding!" Her two bottom front teeth came in a couple of weeks ago, and now she's working on more- thank God for modern medicine. Lottie loves her big brother; even when he is tackling her or standing on her or whacking her with a bat, she smiles and giggles. I hope that someday they will be able to be true friends. Time really is flying, and from what I hear, it's not going to slow down.
Our (not so) little Rush will be 3 years old in a couple of weeks! Whoa! Who knew parenting a toddler boy could be such an emotional roller coaster?! Rush is such a fun little boy! He is constantly in motion; he loves all things sports, but more than anything he likes to make up his own games with balls, rackets, and golf clubs, e.g., throwing golf balls on the roof to see if they will get stuck in the gutter! He is his father's son! What a blessing to be chosen to be the mommy of this little ball of silliness, creativity and physical coordination!
Rush has also become a full-blown sinner. I would label him as "strong-willed," but I am sort-of "anti-label," AND- aren't all toddlers strong-willed? I wouldn't know since he is my first. I digress.... We just call Rush our rebel. We can tell that he is going to always struggle with going against authority. I am praying hard that all of our little talks about sinning and obeying/honoring God are not going in one ear and out the other, and that someday the repetition will make it (the Gospel) "click."
If you think of it, please pray for me as I react to direct and repetitive disobedience. I realize that this is an issue that every parent deals with; I know I am not alone. But I am a sinner too, and an emotion-filled one at that! I do not want my reaction to my children's disobedience to have a negative effect on their heart's response.
I've been able to be a little more creative in the kitchen lately (which I love, but don't have as much time for anymore.) Last Friday, I whipped up two loaves of homemade bread- banana bread and pumpkin bread. They were amazing and made my kitchen smell like heaven!
While Ben was out of town last week, I decided to make a vegetarian dinner for myself. He doesn't mind vegetarian, but I usually don't have any leftovers if I make something with no meat- he eats it all in one meal! Eggplant sounded good to me, so I went with this one from Rachael Ray (you know I love her!). I had made this once a long time ago, and I must have forgotten how good it was. Oh my! I am still eating the leftovers, and I will be sad when they are all gone. This meal was SUPER-EASY to make. Highly recommend it! Here's the recipe:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
8 slices day-old Italian bread
1 large eggplant
4 beefsteak tomatoes or 8 plum tomatoes
2 medium zucchini
1/2 cup basil, torn
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Fully grease a baking dish, using the first 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Line the baking dish with the eight slices of bread. Drizzle another 2 tablespoons of the EVOO over the bread.
Slice the eggplant into 1/4-1/2-inch thick slices. Slice the tomatoes and zucchini the same thickness. Line the eggplant over the bread. Next, layer the tomatoes and zucchini. Sprinkle the torn basil over the veggies and drizzle the rest of the EVOO over everything. Sprinkle the cheese over the veggies, followed by the salt and pepper.
Bake, uncovered, for an hour and serve hot by slicing into squares.
Ineffective & Unproductive
So, I have felt kind of "numb" lately (the last month or so). Couldn't really explain it; couldn't put words to a prayer about it; my spirit just seemed "dry."
This past week we added a couple of verses to a passage that we have already committed to memory (verses 3-7 & 10-11).
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 2 Peter 1:8-9
I have been trying to meditate on these qualities (mentioned in the preceding verses): faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, Godliness, brotherly kindness & love, and how I can "increase" in these in my heart. But I was still feeling pretty empty on Sunday. It was (again!) one of those instances where I heard exactly what I needed to hear while at church. (I don't know why this blows me away now, as many times as it has happened.) Our pastor preached from Acts (part of a series) about the ministry of the Holy Spirit (HS). The HS should enliven us (John 6:63), enlighten us (John 16:13), examine us (John 16:8), and empower us (Acts 1:8). As believers, we have no excuse for being ineffective & unproductive! Don't forget what you have been cleansed from! The Holy Spirit has given us everything we need to get through this journey called life. Be fruitful!