Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I've started a new blog, which will mostly replace this current one. I'm excited to have a new venue, although for all intents and purposes it is basically the same as this one. It just seems that I've filled up a rather large journal, and that I need a new clean, empty journal on which to lay out my thoughts and dreams.

I hope you'll join the conversation over at Dishes and Dreams. And many thanks to all who've kept up with me through Making Life Beautiful, Today. It seems like we've been through alot together!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Continuing on with the thoughts I started sooooo long ago...oh my goodness, that was April! (If you need a reminder, read it here)...

Searching for satisfaction in my own life, my productivity, my results, more often than not is a dead-end game...true satisfaction can only come from making it my aim above all else to be pleasing to the Lord. Not putting our confidence in how we feel about ourselves, pleasing our moms or mother-in-laws, our super-mom friends, etc. But how? How can I train myself to stop seeking the approval of myself or others, and to focus on Christ's approval?

     Deuteronomy 10:12-13,  
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, 
but to fear the Lord your God, 
to walk in all His ways and to love Him, 
to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 
 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes 
which I command you today for your good?”

My sister-in-law told me that she asks herself, "What does the Lord require of me?" And the answer is found in this verse. It's not the clean toilet (however nice that might be), or the cleaned dishes, or the reading of amazing books to your children while having their undivided attention and affection...Agh, I make things so difficult for myself, when God has really and truly made it so simple!

~Fear God, not man
~Walk in His ways (be in His word, daily)
~Love Him, the creator and giver of life and salvation
~Serve others, not yourself
~Keep His Word--obey Him 

*It’s not about: my accomplishments, techniques, expertise, amazingly well-behaved children, checked off lists, a "feeling" or sense of accomplishment
*It’s about: keeping in check what God truly requires of us--

It’s not that we abandon our earthly work and become lackadaisical-- it’s that our earthly work has more purpose because we are freed up to please the Lord and not man...believing that true satisfaction only comes from Christ helps us to hold our work loosely, not depending on it to satisfy or sanctify.

I find it so easy to forget these truths, and sometimes I come to the end of the day ragged and disheartened, but even then, going to the Lord and seeking Him for comfort, remembering that His grace is sufficient and when I am weak, then He is strong, helps me to gain a refocused heart and seek to please Him tomorrow. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about a woman's sense of accomplishment; the feeling we get at the end of the day, when we look back and decide whether our day was a success, or a failure. Surely, you know what I mean...the moment you head for the shower after all the kids are in bed, and the quiet settles in, and you start to recount all the things you *didn't* get done, all the ways you were not-so-cheerful to your family, or maybe how your day at work was full of road blocks.  Or maybe it's just me...

I was thinking about all this as I prepared a little devotional for a sweet friend who was about to deliver baby #2. So, I dug through my old journals and found the year and months when my #2 was born, way back in 2006...And what did I find, but those same feelings--overwhelmed at life's responsibilities, the never ending checklist that never gets checked, and the burden of feeling like I had no prayer life, except for the quick meal time/bed time prayers I prayed with my children. I was dealing with those same feelings of not being able to see results of my day's work, and being discouraged (or just feeling stressed because I had a constipated baby!!!)

But what is God's perspective on these thoughts--what does God want me to do with these feelings? How does He want me to view my work, my personal sense of satisfaction?

Getting to the heart of this involves asking a first question, "Who's approval am I after?" My own? My husband's? My children's? The other woman who seems to have it all together?

2 Corinthians 5:9 says, 
"Therefore, we make it our aim...
to be well pleasing to Him."
I need to preach this to myself, and keep it in perspective, that my aim is to be pleasing to the Lord, not to man, or myself. It truly never satisfies if I'm trying to gain my own approval, or someone else's. Ultimately, I want my life to be pleasing to the Lord. It’s not about me, it’s about Him. So often I have to remember to turn my eyes off of myself and onto Jesus remembering that He is the God of my salvation, Christ’s righteousness covers me, and I am approved of by God because of the accomplished work of Christ on the cross, not my outward accomplishments.

Isn't that comforting? Yes, turn from your sins, the ones that plague you day in and day out, and work hard on them. Yes, do your earthly work, and seek to do it well. But ultimately, remember that if you have repented and turned to Him for salvation, then you are approved of because of Him, and Him only, not based on anything you have done or will do. It's all of Him, and none of me. 

Take this to heart momma, wife, single lady, at the beginning and end of everyday...

(and there's more, but I'll save it for another post...)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup

Since my scribbly, handwritten recipe is making its way slowly through my facebook friends, and I feel bad that they all have to decode my script, I thought I'd offer it here, for your enjoyment...

But as with almost all the food I make, it comes with a story. Luke had this favorite little restaurant in downtown San Antonio called Hill y Flores (named for its cross streets). We'd meet there for lunch in the dark, industrial warehouse type building, enjoy visits with the chef, who would make our children whatever kind of pasta and sauce they liked. He would also make a soup that he would send out before every meal, based on what was in season. Our favorite was the butternut squash soup/ bisque/ whatever you call it (it's thick).

And of course, I had to try to imitate it at home. Sadly, the restaurant has since closed, but we still have fond memories of the place every time I cook this up. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash/ Potato Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch cubes
2 medium size russet potatoes
2 c. chicken broth & water (more or less; just enough to cover the squash and potatoes in the pot)
S & P
1 T. or so fresh rosemary, minced
½ tsp. ground sage
7-8 pats of butter
Cream (a few drizzles at the end, about ½ cup)
~homemade croutons, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and diced bacon

Bring squash and potatoes to boil in the broth/water. Boil til fork tender. Remove about 1 cup of the broth and reserve. Blend the squash/potatoes with emersion blender til grainy and slightly lumpy, but somewhat smooth. Add back in more broth if it seems too thick. Then season with S & P, the rosemary, and sage. Add the pats of butter and the drizzles of cream. Taste and adjust seasoning and texture, according to your preference. I usually look for a cross between creamy and grainy, with a few small lumps. I know, that doesn’t sound easy, but just use your best judgment.

Top with the homemade croutons, freshly grated parmesan cheese and diced cooked bacon.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I'm marveling at the goodness of God right now; at the grace and the sweet gifts He brings just exactly when we need them; and how He knows what we need so much better than we ourselves do. 

Naomi and Joshua flew into town unexpectedly this week, for about 36 hours...a whirlwind trip, and in sooo many ways, absolutely tooo short. But, mostly just exactly what I needed. At a time in my life when things are just different around here, schedules are shifting, needs are changing, I sometimes find myself weepy (I'm realizing change is hard). And earlier this week I had messaged Naomi to pray for my weepy heart; and she did. And she also flew to town...

(I like to think she flew here just for me, but there were other extenuating circumstances--yet they were definitely orchestrated by God, and it blessed me for sure...)

And then the sweetness grew sweeter when we spent a late evening baking an almond tart that was supposed to take 4 hours to make (and we miraculously made it in like half that time..."shove it in the freezer, quick!" was yelled over and over again)...and shared it with family and close friends...it was just a sweet unexpected pleasure...

and it was soooo good for my soul.

(by the way, Naomi, the tart got better the next day. so maybe, just maybe, the recipe meant what it said by letting it set for several hours...)

Thursday, January 10, 2013


It's easy to trust God when things are clear, your ducks are all lined up in a row, the door is clearly opened or closed, and all that. It's easy to trust God when the wind isn't blowing, you know what I mean? Kinda like when I'm driving my kids the thirty minutes to school in clear, good weather, I almost sail there, without even thinking about how God was protecting me all the way. But when the weather gets bad, the wind is fighting my car all the way, then I'm quivering and shaking, trying to trust God to get us there all in one piece. 

I'm finding that life is like that right now. The winds of change are blowing all around us--lots of change in different aspects of our life. And while I'm confident God is directing us, I'm not necessarily sure of where we are going. I feel like we are walking a path that hasn't been forged yet (although it totally has). My heart is tender, quivery, shaky; I tear up at the drop of a hat, or a Hallmark commercial.  I feel unsettled, unstable, sort of unsure of my footing. And yet, I have this hope that God is going to make everything clear in His timing.

I'm learning to trust God, even when I don't necessarily feel at peace with all of it. I'm learning that God is my strength, He is the sure thing, and He totally knows. And I'm learning to rest in His leading, and not in my flaky, indecisive, doubtful, changing heart.

Psalm 143:8 and 10 say,
"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You...
Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God; Your spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Resolutions, sort of...

My husband doesn't really make new year's resolutions, at least out loud anyway. But I'm beginning to wonder if he did this year. Because so far, the shed has been emptied out (the items are now on my driveway, waiting for a home), and a playhouse has been miraculously constructed. By miraculous, I mean, really? is this really for children? I mean come on, I think my parents could live there...I do think it's very cool, and so do my kids...

We have Brett, the architect uncle, to thank--he took the job very seriously of writing up plans for a playhouse. He even held a skype conversation with my kids to identify their wants and needs... He did charge us, so don't be thinking his services are free or anything. But we have yet to pay up...I do believe we owe him 24 1/2 cookies for his time and expertise, but I'll have to double check my records. 

And while I haven't officially made any new year's resolutions yet, I'm thinking that perhaps a "playhouse open-house" is in order--if not a huge party, at least lots of play dates with neighbors. That seems like a good way to get to know each other; and maybe we can plant a garden while the kids play...well, that's kind of a stretch, but just maybe...