Thursday, October 16, 2014

Where I've Been...

So I haven't posted for a little a year. It's not because I haven't wanted to, believe me I have. It's just that I've been, well, slightly preoccupied.

Yep. We're expecting our first baby (a girl) any day now. Like, literally any day now. I'm due October 21st. 

This whole process has been life-changing, to say the least, and will only continue to be more amazing. I can't wait to post updates and pictures and stories about motherhood and my new little girl. I want to tell you all about my pregnancy (lots of morning sickness, fatigue, and hormone swings), my birth experience (hopefully a natural birth with a midwife), and how all this has changed me for the better (because it has). 

My husband says I already laugh more than he's ever heard. And I smile a lot. 

Also, I don't know that I will ever fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans, and I'm ok with that. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chunky Cilantro Lime Hummus

I have been on a hummus-making kick lately, and this is one of the better recipes I've come up with in the past couple of weeks. It's really easy, and the flavor is awesome.

The secret to this recipe is the water chestnuts. I learned this from the guys over at the Engine 2 Diet. Their jalapeno cilantro hummus includes water chestnuts as well, both for added texture and for fewer calories per serving. Once everything is blended together you actually can't tell that there's an entire can of water chestnuts in the hummus, which is kind of crazy. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Chunky Cilantro Lime Hummus
1 can (15 oz.) or 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped
1/2 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained
juice of 1/2 lime 
2 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp water or oil
salt to taste (at least 2 tsp)

 Add all ingredients into a blender and go for it. If the mixture is too dry to blend properly, add a touch more water. I actually blend mine in a mixing bowl using an immersion blender. It makes for an even chunkier texture that I really enjoy. 

For best results, chill overnight. But if you're like me and you can't wait, enjoy with raw vegetables, tortilla chips, or atop a baked sweet potato. Yum!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester

I bought this book at The Gospel Coalition back in 2011. John and I were feeling particularly passionate about community groups and home churches at the time, and this book promised to speak to the heart of home-based missions. 

A Meal with Jesus describes the importance of meals as enacted grace, community, hope, mission, salvation, and promise. It identifies the importance of sharing meals throughout Scripture, focusing specifically on the book of Luke but drawing connections with other examples in the Old Testament (think of Abraham's meal for the three unnamed visitors, or the feast for the prodigal son's return).

The book also shares stories of people who've been impacted by the simple sharing of a meal: a son-in-law who finally felt welcomed into the family through marzipan cake, fresh New England lobster and clams for a tired lecturer, homemade curry in honor of a neighbor's Kurdish New Year, and many others. Simple acts of kindness that impacted entire communities.

If you are like me and slightly phobic about hosting parties, movie nights, or even coffee with a friend, this book will help gently nudge you in the right direction. It's truthful without being curt, and earnest without being pushy. I plan on pulling this one off the shelf again soon.

Favorite Quote: "Jesus didn't run projects, establish ministries, create programs, or put on events. He ate meals. If you routinely share meals and you have a passion for Jesus, then you'll be doing ministry."

Book Club Potential: While I know of community groups that have used this book as a platform for their weekly get-togethers, I think this book works best when read alone or with a spouse. Why? Because it's talking about how you'll do ministry through inviting people into your home. So if you walk this road with fear and trepidation (like me), you might feel apprehensive about sharing your concerns with a room full of people who are excited about jumping right in and hosting dinners each week.

Recommended Age: Anyone who lives in a dwelling and could (theoretically) invite people over to said dwelling for some sort of food.

Buy/Checkout: Buy. Buy two or three and give them to people who do a great job with this type of ministry. It will not only make their day to know you think so highly of them, but it will open up opportunities for some great conversation. And you'll probably be invited over for a meal...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Workouts, week of October 20th

Week five!!!

This week was all about trying new things - from workouts to overnight shifts to homemade hummus (recipe to come), I was all about newness this week.

Sunday and Monday were my late days, and I counted Sunday night as a workout since I helped tear down walls and unload shelves, fixturing, and pallets for the store's new campaign. Monday night was an overnight, so I worked from 9pm Monday night until 6am Tuesday morning (employing every means of caffeine/energy booster I could find). So Tuesday was a bust....I don't actually remember Tuesday, now that I think about it...

Wednesday I did one of my own workouts using Workout Labs, which, if you haven't used yet, you should check it out. Then I did sprint intervals for about 20 minutes.

Thursday I tried a Step class. It was not great. The instructor was kind of in her own world, sashaying and jumping and lunging to the beat of her own (very awkward) drum. I actually snuck out after about 15 minutes and did intervals on the treadmill until Spin class, which is now officially one of my favorite classes.

This morning I capped off the week with my first Zumba class. While I got a pretty good workout in, I also confirmed that I am, in fact, white. Very white. And tall. These two things do not add up to natural talent in Latino dance. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made up my own dance move that is somehow a half-shimmy, half-jumping jack. I don't think it's going to catch on anytime soon.

What I'm Reading...Found in Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick

I first heard of Elyse Fitzpatrick when my husband and I signed up for a seminary/pastor conference this fall. She was on the list of speakers, and her books were highly recommended by the event sponsors. I must say, I fell in love with the cover of her book long before I bought it - the aged ombre background overlaid with bright white branches and text is beautifully enticing and piqued my interest pretty quickly.

Fitzpatrick actually spoke on the topic of this book during the conference, comforting me with the discerning words and cadence of a wise grandmother. She spoke of our relationship with Christ as one of joy, peace, and intimacy, one that both empowers and humbles us.

She asked, how would your life change if you knew you weren't an outcast? Because you're not. You are the cherished bride of Christ. 

I bought her book before the end of the day.

Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick

This book is divided into two parts, Incarnation and Union with Christ. It also includes study questions at the end of each chapter, making this a great option for small groups or book clubs. In the first section, Fitzpatrick outlines who Jesus is and highlights echoes of his presence in the Old Testament. She spends time describing the importance of the Old Testament stories in light of Christ's presence in them, including the story of Creation, Israel's wandering in the desert, and the relationship between Abraham and Isaac. She reminds us that "all of the Old Testament was meant to point forward to Christ, to the one who would live a perfect life and die a substitutionary death in our place."

In the second half (which I have not yet read), Fitzpatrick describes what union with Christ actually means - how we are "chosen, betrothed, beloved, and named," and how that impacts our faith, our relationships, our future, and our past.

All of this is done with a quiet, humble, thoughtful passion that leaves you meditating on each paragraph before moving on to the next. I found myself underlining and writing in the margins within the first few pages, and I've pulled my husband from his studies more than once to share passages with him. It's the kind of book that manages to balance the emotional and theological sides of our faith, one that you can easily read while curled up in a chair with a cup of coffee on a cool fall evening. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Little Things

 Two little things....

I found 7-Eleven. Did you know their small coffee is $1? Did you also know they have flavored creamers, syrups, mini marshmallows, cappuccino mixes, steamed milk, pumpkin latte mix, and a variety of sweeteners. All of these are included with your $1 coffee.  Seriously. 7-Eleven just became my new coffee place.

Every day at dawn and twilight, thousands of birds commune at the intersection next to my gym. Thousands. They congregate on the power lines like the united avian nation. It's a beautiful reminder of God's creation, of the power and majesty of life. I look forward to seeing them, to watching their meetings and murmurations. They're beautiful.

That's all. Just two little things.

Workouts, week of October 13th

I feel like I say this every month, but this month is flying by. It's odd how the days seem long, but the weeks seem so short.
20.2 miles in spin class.

This is my fourth week of workouts. I've been mixing it up, doing spin classes, step classes, weights, and Nike Training Club. I must say, I have a lot more energy. And I feel better about myself, regardless of whether I've lost weight (I don't weigh myself...I feel like it's counterproductive). I feel like I've toned up and my jeans are fitting better. And most importantly, I feel like I'm actually making time for exercise, making time for me.

Quick session with the Nike Training Club App and sprint intervals on the treadmill.

I also did a step class on Tuesday night - I didn't burn a lot of calories, but it was fun. I really love step classes. I'm going to try Zumba this week as well, which I used to do about 3 years ago. I am not a good dancer, but for some reason I tend to be pretty good at Zumba.

Random Joke of the Week: How much does a hipster weigh?                                      

                                                                                                        An instagram.