Monday, July 26, 2010

40 Day Family Fast Update: Week One

Well, our 'fast' is going very well. We made it through one week.

It was incredible to be reading the Word so much. I am reading through the whole bible in these 4o days and am using this bible.

I love it! It is arranged in such and easy to read way. I just finished with the whole section of the Law. This bible is arranged in chronological order and combines repeated scriptures. Also included are little 'commentaries' that explain what is coming up or why this section is placed where it is. It also give a little historical background. I thought I was going to skip over these because I have so much to read, but find myself so interested that I can't skip them! I bought this years ago when the children and I were reading through the bible as part of our school. I am so glad I have it. I would not want to be reading through the bible any other way. It really reads like a story.

We are all pretty much on track with our reading. A few of the children needed to adjust the amount of pages they read each day to finish on time. I think they were surprised by how much time it would take each day to meet their goals. Everyone is rededicated and on track. The conversations we are having around what we are all reading is so great.

We made it through our first weekend without TV! Yeah! Brian and I always have 'date night' on Saturday and watch something we have taped, Top Chef or an old West Wing, while enjoying popcorn and kombucha. Not this week. We pulled a few comfy chairs together, read our bibles, and played some cards. It was very nice.

For family night, on Sunday's, we usually watch something for an hour with the whole family. Usually, 19 Kids and Counting, but this week we visited grandparents and came home and had popcorn and kombucha! And later on Sundays we usually have 'big people' night, Brian, myself and the two older boys. We watch something from Food Network for an hour. But this week we played cards and got whipped at Spades by the boys!

This past week seemed busier than usual and we seemed to have way, way more strife than usual. We are excited to press in and seek the Lord, together.

These are a few of our key verses for our fast.

Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning [until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored].

Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met].
(Joel 2:12-13)

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a straight and right way for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. . .
So we fasted and besought our God for this, and He heard our entreaty.
(Ezra 8:21 & 23)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Complaining, Grumbling and Unbelief ( A Look Inside My Heart)

I have been reading a lot about the Israelites and their wanderings. (reading through the bible in 40 days) Wow! They complained and doubted so much. It is so easy to point a finger at them, but oh how the conviction burns in my own heart. How often do I grumble and complain about the circumstances in my life? From small, seemingly insignificant issues of life, to the, by comparison, hugely significant things. How often do I find myself dissatisfied with something, anything?! The way something turned out. A decision Brian made. The weather, for crying out loud! (as I sit here watching it rain on blueberry picking day ;-) Not to even mention the bigger things of life.

And, oh my, their unbelief and doubt of His saving hand! The fear they would die out there in the desert. The complete and utter lack of faith that God would/could do what He said He would/could do! So easy to think, "for crying out loud, He parted the Red Sea! He rained down manna and quail! Water from a rock!!?? Come on, already."

Wait a minute. How often do I doubt Him? How often do the difficult things in life loom impossible in my eyes? How many times have I sat down, folded my arms, put out my bottom lip, and said, "it will never change" or "this is impossible" "I was better off . . . "

I may not have experienced the actual parting of the Red Sea, or food raining down from heaven, but how often has His hand worked miracles in my own life?!

What about saving a lost girl who was neck deep in sin and rebellion? I think taking a heart of stone and setting it ablaze for Himself is pretty miraculous.

What about taking two completely broken, clueless and worldly people and putting them together and making an absolutely heavenly marriage?

Or how about taking a heart that did not want anymore children, ever (after 3 ;-) and turning it into a heart that now saw children as gifts and blessings. Now willing to welcome any 'gifts' He bestows. Pretty miraculous.

Several medical mini-miracles with many of the deliveries of my children.

Countless little miracles that go unnoticed each and every day!

And let's not forget, most recently, healing and delivering me from a very debilitating illness. I mean symptoms gone, vanished over night! Bondages in my mind and heart disappeared! Healing, spirit, soul and body!

Yeah, I guess I have seen a miracle or two. I suppose I have no more 'excuse' to grumble, complain and doubt than the Israelites did.

Father God, I repent for a lifetime of grumbling and complaining. What a stench that must be in Your nostrils. Forgive me, Father, for taking for granted, for refusing to acknowledge Your miracle-working in my life. I recognize and repent for the utter lack of faith, my unbelief, in so many areas of my life. Father, how richly You have blessed me and how faithful You are. Thank You, a thousand thank Yous for all I have been given. May I only and always sing of Your praises all my remaining days.

Friday, July 23, 2010

How To Increase Hunger For God

I read a quote the other day that confirmed what the Lord has been speaking to our hearts and I thought I would share it with you!

"If we are not hungry for God, it is because we have allowed our souls to be satisfied or satiated with other things"
(John Bevere)

He went on to say that the Lord showed him that 'he' was responsible for his hunger level. If he wasn't hungry, it was because he was already full, filled with the cares of this world and filled with pleasures and distractions. If he wanted to hunger in the midst of the abundance of things, he would need to fast--fast the things that would distract, comfort or distress him.

For years I have prayed that God would make us (our whole family) so hungry for Him. That we would have an unquenchable passion for Him, His word and the things that touch His heart. I see this 'fast' as His answer, at least in part, to this prayer.

When I read it to the children they so 'got it' and saw how the Lord was doing this in us by our laying down some of the things that really keep us from hungering after Him.

Some things that I personally see could fill that hunger:

Computer! I cannot believe how much I run to the computer to just 'check out'

TV, again, after a long week, I just want to 'veg out' and flip channels

Friends, fellowship, phone calls, food, baking/cooking, shopping, (more like running errands) all these things I can tend to run to if I am bored or stressed. I am not saying there is anything wrong with any of these things, I just wonder how much I use them to fill up that 'hunger'. This week is already proving to be quite interesting.

Can I just say again, I cannot believe how many times in the day I think to just run and check my email or some one's blog! It is shocking to me. I find, most often times, I am doing it to escape! I have never thought of it this way before, fasting the things that fill up to increase my hunger for Him! Hmmm, learn something new everyday.

What about you? Are there areas that you could see if the Lord would have you fast to increase your hunger for Him?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

We Are So Excited

The Lord has been doing amazing things in our family. He has been teaching and leading us and it has been so exciting to see so much growth. I was sharing with a dear friend recently that it seems that we have been under some sort of 'oppression' as a family for about ten years. Not that there hasn't been growth and wonderful things in the last ten years, but something has definitely shifted in the spiritual realm.

We have a great sense that the Lord has 'brought us out to bring us in'. We have been seeking Him in a much greater way with unity and determination these past few months. The Lord has also been teaching and leading us in times of various kinds of fasting. It has been so awesome to have everyone on the same page!

We struggle with sharing what I am about to share, but we felt it important for you to know what was going on, ( some of you have wondered if everything is okay) why there are 'archive' posts, we want it to be an encouragement and also we are seeking your prayers.

Through the Lord's leading, we are beginning a 4o day fast. (Start date, July 19, 2010)(not food, though there will be daily fastings from food woven in) We, as a family are going to be fasting all TV (we don't watch much) and just about all computer. There will be occasional email checks, but all recreational computer time will come to a halt. We are also going to be reading through the bible in these 40 days which will take up about 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day, with the exception of Brian, who will be reading through the New Testament and the rest of the Old Testament that he is currently reading.

It is nothing short of amazing to us that we are all on the same page with this. Even the boys suggesting that they put their computer aside leaves my jaw dropped!

We feel impressed to 'seek Him with our whole heart', and this is what we are going to do. The 'fast' will end the day before Brian and I go to Be In Health in GA for the "For Their Life" program. (a program equipping the saints to minister the materials the Lord has recently used in our family)

Please, please pray for us! While I am sharing with you the exciting things that are going on in our family, there is a great deal of spiritual struggles and some serious 'attacks' on our family. I don't suspect the enemy will be thrilled with us 'setting our faces like flint'. I am seriously asking for prayer cover these next forty days. (If you are picturing this idyllic picture of our family sitting around reading the bible all day long, loving each other perfectly, wonderfully behaved children and perfect parents, PLEASE think again! ;-) Real life here, folks, real life!)

I plan to post 2-3 posts a week from my 'archives' during our 40 day fast, as well as whatever the Lord puts on my heart. We are so excited! Thank you, in advance, for your prayers.

Please, if you need prayer or things change in your world, email me. I will not be making my rounds with all my blog friends these next forty days, but I will be checking my email. I will be praying for you all though. (might be nice if you emailed me, I am afraid I might go through serious withdraw! Just kidding ;-)

May God bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Reason To Celebrate!!

I was looking back over my calendars (where I keep track of symptoms, my cycle, ect.) because I knew it was about a year ago that I got sick.

Sure enough, one year ago today is when I got sick. Looking back over the weeks and weeks that turned into months of extreme and profound weakness and depression (and countless other symptoms) I almost cannot believe that I am SO healed and we are heading off to some friend's cottage to kayak and play all day! Praise the Lord!

When I looked back and actually put the last year into weeks of feeling okay, weeks of barely functioning, and weeks of not at all functioning, I am shocked at how bad I really was. It seems so distant now, as I feel so good, so joyful, so full of life. I often times have to hold myself back, I think I scare people with my excitement and zeal. ;-)

I feel like I could bounce off the walls some days, there is so much energy, comparatively speaking. I will often just marvel at how 'normal' I feel on the inside. I really began to wonder if I would ever feel this happy again, ever. Don't get me wrong, I am still a very 'normal' human being with plenty of sin nature left to deal with, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I just had to let you know that God is so faithful, no matter what the circumstances. No matter how hopeless everything might seem to you right now, all is not lost and He is still on the throne!

No sickness, no depression, no symptoms, no wayward child, no financial difficulty, no difficult marriage, no weariness, no lying devil, NOTHING is out of His reach and out of HIS control! Put your hope in Him. Anything else you put your hope in will fail you eventually, He never will!

Sing with me today!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

One more thing, below is one of my favorite songs right now that might just be an encouragement to you. Have a wonderful weekend. I am so thankful for all of you!
J.J. Heller, Back Home

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Believe! Help My Unbelief

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?

(Jer. 32:27)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lacto-Fermented Pickles

I wrote this post last summer but never posted! Huh! I thought now would be a perfect time, as those tasty little pickle cucumbers are coming in soon!

This is so easy and so much better for you than store bought pickles! Give this a try! Who knew eating your fill of pickles would actually be good for you? You can find links in my Lacto-Fermented Salsa post to explain the benefits of this old tradition.

Ingredients (for 1 gallon/4 liters):
3 to 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
6 Tablespoons sea salt
3 or 4 heads flowering dill, or 3-4 tablespoons of any form of dill
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 handful fresh grape, cherry, oak, horseradish, or bay leaves
1 pinch black peppercorns
filtered water


Rinse cucumbers. If using cucumbers not fresh off the vine, soak them for a couple of hours in cold water with ice.
Dissolve sea salt in 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is dissolved.

Put dill, garlic, leaves, and peppercorns in the bottom of a crock or jar.

Place cucumbers in crock/jar.

Pour brine over cucumbers. If using a crock, put a plate on top of the cucumbers and weight it down with a jug of water or a rock. If using a jar, use a clean rock, glass of sand or water, or other creative weight on top of cucumbers, or just put the lid on the jar and don't worry about a weight. Make sure the brine is covering the cucumbers; if not add more brine (just under 1 tablespoon salt to each one cup water). Cover with a cloth or lid.

Check every day, skimming mold from the surface (if there is mold, rinse the plate and the weight).

After 1-4 weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be ready. You will know if they are ready by tasting them. If you like the taste, they are ready! Refrigerate and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Wild Fermentation .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Come For A Visit

I am over At The Well today! It is an encouraging word whether you have a prodigal or not.

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

This here is a post I wrote last summer and never posted! I have another one on Lacto-fermented pickles coming up too, so hang on to your shorts!
My friend Cindy recently posted on her lacto-fermented salsa and it reminded me of this post that I forgot to post!
Of all the lacto-fermented foods salsa is by far our favorite!

Pickles and sauerkraut are close seconds, but those are other posts waiting to happen;-)


Makes one quart, double, or quadruple if you have lots of tomatoes and peppers

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

2 small onions, finely chopped

3/4 cup chopped chile pepper, hot or mild

6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (optional)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

juice of 2 lemons

1 TB sea salt

4 TB whey, if not available, use an additional 1 TB salt1/4 cup filtered water.

Peel tomatoes, cut along the "equator" of the tomato, squeeze out the seeds. Dice up tomatoes, and combine with all the other ingredients, and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Press down lightly with a wooden pounder or large spoon, adding more water if necessary to cover the vegetables. The top of the salsa mixture should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to cold storage. Make several jars if you have plenty of tomatoes, as this salsa is wonderful. The same Salsa can be made using canned tomatoes in the winter time.
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions.

This is the recipe I sort of follow. I do add lots of red or yellow peppers to my recipe. I don't usually peel my tomatoes and I use tons of lime juice instead of lemon.

If this is all new to you, you might be wondering where in the world do I get whey!? One very simple solution is to buy some organic yogurt, Stonyfield is good, and put it in a tea towel in a strainer over a bowl and strain out the whey. The liquid that comes out is the whey and the yogurt is now like a yogurt cheese that you can use for dips or cream cheese.

Here are some links that explain the benefits of lacto-fermentation.

Here is another recipe for lacto-fermented salsa

Hopefully this inspires you to try your hand at lacto-fermentation. Salsa is one of the easiest ways to incorporate this wonderful practice into your eating.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Hurting Heart

I wonder, does everyone have one? You know, a place deep in their hearts where there is pain. Pain that brings the tears flowing. A little place, thought it doesn't seem so little some days, that resurfaces every now and again bringing tears and pain.

It seems like the years just drift by. Will my heart's cry to see ALL my children walking in the Truth ever be answered? I have to believe it will. It is easier to be frustrated, almost angry at him for the choices he makes. But what about when the heart goes all soft and you can't keep up the hard shell? Then what? What about when you can't keep yourself and your mind busy with the day to day, and compassion and sadness spill out of you?

What do you do with the pain when you see him struggle because of past choices? Even now, if he desires to change, it seems so overwhelming. Watching life, and sin, and the enemy, and the horrible choices beat up on him, that is simply too much today.

But now, I see not only the pain in his heart, but his little son too?! A little boy, just about two, crying for daddy. The daddy he only sees once a week or so. "This is not how it is supposed to be!!!", I scream from deep within my heart. Nothing stops the tears, no matter how many times I tell it to stop. No matter how many times I choose prayer over emotion. Nope, hearing that little boy cry out for daddy in his own sweet little voice, that it what puts me over. He didn't choose this!

One thing is for sure, sin always causes heartache. First to our Father's heart and then to others. Sometimes we have no idea who our sinful choices are going to hurt.

So, I wonder, what can I do with this pain? I remember something I read long ago, not sure by who. 'Offer this pain to Him as a gift, as a sacrifice'. Don't try to cry the pain away. Don't let it eat me up. No, bring it to His feet. Bow before Him saying, 'Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord'. You and I Jesus, we can carry this pain. One day, You will make all things right. Until then, I know that young man who struggles to find his way, and that little boy crying, 'daddy', and my hurting heart are in Your hands.
"Gather my limping one, O Father. Gather him in and reverse his captivity. You are good and faithful. You do ALL things well, in this I rest today, at Your feet, trusting You."

I will gather those belonging to you . . .Behold, at that time I will deal with all those who afflict you; I will save the limping [ones] and gather the outcasts and will make them a praise and a name in every land of their shame. At that time I will bring you in; yes, at that time I will gather you, for I will make you a name and a praise among all the nations of the earth when I reverse your captivity before your eyes, says the Lord. (Zeph. 3:18-20)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Arugula, Spring Greens and Recipes!

In this post I will show you how I harvest my arugula and spring greens, provide several ideas on what to do with your arugula, (store bought is fine too) as well as the recipes. It turned into an epic post, sorry. I wanted to keep it all together, though. Let me know what you think or if you have questions.

A peak into my "Spring Greens" garden and how to harvest them.

A super simple Arugula salad with recipe below the video

Super Simple Arugula Salad

bowl of clean arugula

sliced onion

feta cheese

salt and pepper

fresh lemon juice

olive oil

Ideas of things to add to this salad to make it more substantial or to change things up a bit:

cooked chicken breast

sliced strawberries or Mandarin oranges

goat cheese instead of feta (added at the end on top)

pine nuts or any nut of choice


Sauteing your arugula with some chopped onion and sweet peppers and then adding eggs, milk and cheese makes a delicious frittata.

Arugula Pasta

I also made a delicious pasta dish using my arugula.

Chop lots of garlic, sun dried tomatoes and fresh arugula

( I should have used way more, as it shrinks quite a bit)

Saute the garlic and sun dried tomatoes in plenty of olive oil for a few minutes.

Add the arugula and saute for another couple of minutes. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Add leftover chicken breasts to heat through.

Toss with your favorite pasta and dust with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Add a little more olive oil to finish it up and Mangia!

Arugula Pasta

fresh chopped garlic

chopped sun dried tomatoes

chopped fresh arugula

olive oil, salt and pepper

cooked chicken breasts


fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

There you have it, an epic arugula post! Have a wonderful weekend!