Rainy Day Fun: Stone Soup

I was so excited it was fall … time to go apple picking, and pumpkin picking, and nature hiking, and all the fun things to do outside when the cooler weather hits. And then the rain came. I can’t imagine what Noah must have felt like when it rained for 40 days … it’s only been 4 days of rain here and our whole crew is going stir crazy. Rainy days ruin my house … and my attitude. After a pretty testy day yesterday, I woke up this morning and prayed a prayer of gratitude for a new day. I prayed for patience, for creativity, and for more patience.

One of our favorite rainy day activities is reading. Both of my girls love books, and they could sit and listen to stories for hours. Lately I’ve been trying to find activities that go with some of our favorite picture books. We read a story and then act it out in some shape or form. It’s something my mom, aunt, and grandma always did with me growing up, and it has been a fun thing to do now with my own girls. Last week, we used Ten Apples Up on Top as our inspiration. Today’s storybook adventure: Stone Soup.

First, we gathered some stones from our yard.
Collecting Stones

Next, we scrubbed them really good – because you don’t want rain and dirt in your soup.
Washing Stones

Then, we gathered our ingredients and began reading the book.
Reading the book

As the story went on, we tossed in vegetables & spices just the way the townspeople did in the story.
Tossing in the Veggies

And finally, we added the chicken and turned the crockpot on high.
Stone Soup

The whole family is excited to taste our Stone Soup for dinner.

I used this recipe as inspiration. We altered it a bit, using chicken broth instead of water, dry thyme, half an onion instead of a whole, added mushrooms instead of zucchini or beans, and used only 2 stalks of celery.


Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Happy Fall! We are loving this cooler weather. This is one of those seasons where we spend a good chunk of every day outside, and it makes everyone so much happier. Lots of outdoor projects, bike rides, and the return of the crockpot! Here are a few of our favorites from the week. Continue reading

On Theology & Confidence

Theology belongs to the rest of us
I first felt God’s call to ministry when I was the young age of 16. Acting on that call, I went to college as a theology major, and eventually tacked on a pre-seminary focus. Throughout my time in college, I frequently felt like I wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t think like all the others – maybe I wasn’t cut out for this world of theology and seminary. Perhaps I was way out of my league. Although I usually left my class with a grade of A or B, I never really felt like a theologian.

And when I tried to live out my theological beliefs in the world and in the church, I always felt like I was too young to really know what I was talking about. I was too emotional … if only I could think about things with my head, instead of my heart. Then I might be able to talk theology.

It wasn’t until I was in law school that I really felt like I found my tribe. A group of people who really got it when I started talking theology. People who didn’t look at me as if I had three heads – people who thought I had something brilliant to say – at least when it came to talk about Jesus. The only problem was most of those people weren’t followers of Christ … and many weren’t followers of any religion or spirituality. It wasn’t until my years in law school that I found a church where the pastors, and many of the congregation, believed the things I believed. And that congregation transformed me.

That congregation helped me see that maybe I was cut out for ministry, in some shape or form. Maybe God had given me a different way of thinking – and even though I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the great theologians, maybe I was a different kind of theologian. Maybe I was a real-life, right-now theologian. Continue reading

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Can you believe it’s the last Friday of summer? I’m always ready for fall by the time it gets here. I love living in Atlanta, but man the summer’s humidity can really get to me. Although I love the sunshine, I much prefer sunny spring and fall to the heat of the summer. Our temperatures have been cooling down and it’s been really nice to bring out the jeans again! If you’re looking for some inspiration for the weekend ahead, here are some of the things we are loving around here. Continue reading

Finding Jesus

finding jesus
I am, what some like to call, a cradle Lutheran. I was born into the Lutheran church and baptized in the ELCA when I was a mere 4 months old. I don’t remember missing many Sundays. We would go early for Sunday school and stay for worship, where we would sit with my mom and Grandma and best friend’s family. My dad never went with us, but he never did much with us, so we didn’t think much of it.

As we got older, our moms sang in the choir while we sat in the congregation on our own. I don’t remember much about the messages in church back then – probably because we were too busy passing notes – but I do remember the service. The routine. The ritual. The sacredness.

I hated it. Continue reading

Every Ending is a New Beginning

out of sorts beginning
As I left the courthouse, I went straight to my car and called my mom. As soon as I heard her voice, tears started streaming down my face. I was sobbing so hard I could hardly get the words out. Breathe, she said. Take a deep breath. What happened?

She told me to go back to being a lawyer. She said it didn’t matter that I felt called to ministry – if I can’t afford my obligations, I should do the very thing that I went to school for. After all, it will pay a lot more, and I won’t leave him footing the bill. MOM – IT’S NOT FAIR! I don’t deserve this! I thought this would make things better … but how am I going to survive on my own?? Did I make a terrible mistake??

Some memories are so vivid, you know? If there was ever a time in my life when I thought I had it all figured out, it was then. I was certain God was calling me out of this marriage – a marriage that was destructive to both of us – a marriage that wasn’t fulfilling either of us. A marriage that was broken – and one that, when it came right down to it, I just didn’t have the energy to try to fix. I was so certain God was calling me out of this little mountain town and into the big city. Calling me out of the lawyering world and into the world of professional staff ministry. Certain that God had provided me with a church community that would sustain and support me through this darkest time of my life.

So, I left the marriage. I moved to the city. I accepted a full-time ministry position. I had it all sorted out.

And then it was over. Continue reading

Book Project: Out of Sorts

Once upon a time, you had it all beautifully

On the day I vowed to give up Facebook and never look back, I opened an email that started something like this:

Well, here’s a funny story for you. I had a plan. (Go ahead, start laughing, you know how this ends.)

This was no ordinary email. It was an email inviting me to be part of a launch team for Sarah Bessey‘s new book, ‪Out of Sorts. A launch team that would “meet” only on Facebook. A launch team that I just could not say no to … Continue reading

Finding Our Wings

Finding Our Wings
I laced up my shoes and corralled them all out the door. The music from VBS played in the car as we drove; “My God, is powerful;” … “Sing it mama!” I heard from the backseat, “A little louder!” As we drove up to our destination, she exclaimed “There it is! There’s that Y place mama! Did you get the cards?”

We walked in, scanned our cards, and headed to the kids’ play area, To her persistent, “I don’t want to go. I want to stay with you,” I replied, “You’ll be fine A! You and E get to play with all these cool toys while I go to my class…and then we get to go to the pool! Come on, let’s build a tower with these huge blocks!”

I get them settled and start to leave. As I close the gate I see tears start to fall. Big, huge, crocodile tears. Deep, heaving breaths. Then the little one starts her own crying and runs towards me as fast as she can. I take a deep breath, put on my brave face, and go back in.

“It’s okay,” I reassure them. “Mommy isn’t leaving – I’m just going to the other room.” I tell her to breathe – deep yoga breaths. We count to ten. And then the heaving starts all over again.

It takes a few minutes, but I am finally able to calm her down. We sit at the table and open their snack. I remind her that we’ll go to the pool just as soon as I finish my workout. “You and E get to play together with all these new friends! Are you ready to be brave?” “Yes mama,” she says tentatively. I give them more kisses and head out once again. Continue reading

CSA Adventures: Late Summer Edition

Stocking Up
Wow has it been a summer around here. Since I last posted, The littlest fell on the kitchen floor and hit her head, causing a minor concussion, a week of vomiting, and two visits to the ER. In the midst of that chaos, our dryer stopped working, so we [thought we] had to buy a new one. After going through two brand new dryers, neither of which worked longer than 24 hours, we discovered it was a faulty wire in the wall. We fixed the wire, returned the second dryer, and purchased the one we wanted to begin with. Oh, AND we decided it was a good time to refinish our kitchen table as well.

But – despite it all, we managed to use or preserve for later all the produce we picked up every week from the farm. I’m not real sure how we did it … but we did. Over the last few weeks, here’s what we’ve been eating: Continue reading

Why You Should (& Shouldn’t) Read Go Set A Watchman

harper-lee-go-set-a-watchman-cover-leadIt’s been a while since I posted a book review around here. Not because I haven’t been reading, but mostly because I just haven’t had time to sit down and really critique what I’m reading. I recently re-read To Kill A Mockingbird because I knew I wanted it fresh in my head before I read Go Set a Watchman. I purposely didn’t read many reviews of it before I started it, because I didn’t want my own views tainted. So here you go … my unsolicited review.

And here’s the deal … if I were going to rate this book based on its writing, I would give it 2 stars. It is incomplete, chapters end with no transition to the next, there are contradictions throughout, and there’s no real ending. Had this been written by anyone other than Harper Lee, it would have never been published as-is. But because To Kill A Mockingbird was, and still is, so successful, someone thought they could get away with publishing a very rough draft. Continue reading

CSA Adventures: Summer Week 3

purple pepper
You can tell it’s summertime when you pick up your CSA box this time of year. Lots of tomatoes, peppers, green beans, eggplant … all the best of summertime in the south. I can’t wait for okra to start making an appearance.

Here’s what we picked up this week:
1 lb Islander Peppers
1.5 lbs Heirloom Tomatoes
1 lb Green Beans
1 lb Eggplant
1.5 lbs Potatoes
Continue reading