P31 Wannabe

How do the Duggars do it? October 29, 2010

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 5:09 pm

I’ve never actually watched the Duggar’s show on TLC/Discovery…whatever its on (we don’t have cable).  But I’ve heard quite a bit about them and have looked at their website a couple of times.  I’m not sure how I feel about that whole-having-20 kids thing.  I know its definitely not for me…

Although last week, Seth and I experienced something similar.  We (along with a few more adults…thankfully!) were parents to about 20 teens from Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon.  We all lived at the church building (including Haddie and Teli’s daughter Eliada who’s 9 months). The kids had to still attend school like any other regular week (those who were homeschooled went home) and then they all returned home (to us at the church).  It was quite interesting.

This was our 2nd year of doing this event and I’d have to say that both years have been quite a success.  We can gauge it a success when they’re left wanting more (“Can we do this for a whole week next time?”  “Can we do this twice next year?”..and the answer to both is “NO!”).  Haha.  Us adults can only handle so much.  We’re getting old, you know…

But I really ended up enjoying the event.  Its neat to prepare meals with the kids, see them stuck hanging out with each other and not able to really escape from all of us.  We played lots of board games and lots of mafia (yes, they never seem to tire of that card game…).  They even did a puzzle together although I don’t think it ever got finished.  They most enjoyed playing in-the-dark games like hide-n-seek and zombie.  Don’t ask me what the last one is…I didn’t play it.  But I do know it resulted in a whole jar of spaghetti sauce ending up on the carpet.  Thankfully it came out (or so I’m told).

And we (at least the adults) end up rejoicing (secretly inside) when Saturday morning comes.  I hate the cleaning (more like the delegating to the kids…ok, more like following them around to make sure they’re actually working…then cleaning up behind them).  Seriously…one note to parents….PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…teach your children how to clean up after themselves and do basic chores.  I still cannot understand how year after year of youth events we still have kids that don’t know how to wash dishes by hand (no lie!), pick up their own belongings (including left out undergarments), shower (and with soap!), and vacuum. On the last one, we had a good laugh (not in front of the kid), about how this individual was vacuuming.  He/she had made it halfway through the area when I realized that it (lets just say that because its easier than he/she everytime!) hadn’t even lowered the head of the vacuum.  It was tilted at a good 45-90 degree angle AWAY from the carpet.  I had to lower it then tell it (lol…I know) to vacuum over that spot again.  Many loud sighs later…there still wasn’t much progress…let’s just say we did our best.  But in all honesty, they did a pretty good job cleaning up.

And as a result of the Big House and other events (and random get-togethers…Romping…as some are calling it…and no, its not what you think…), has been a great amount of group bonding and becoming like a serious family.  I’m loving it….but not enough to have 20 kids!

Here’s some of my favorite pics from the week:

 

 

Looking Forward to It? October 28, 2010

Filed under: Books,God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 5:26 pm

Here’s some more of my favorite excerpts from Randy Alcorn’s “Heaven.”

(Italics are direct quotes, regular text are my comments)

Are You Looking Forward to Heaven?

  • Tragically, most people do not find their joy in Christ and Heaven.  In fact, many people find no joy at all when they think about Heaven.

-Randy discusses how most people, even Christians, only think about Heaven as some boring, strumming on harps, sitting on clouds all day place.  He says that this idea is totally unBibilical and damaging to our spiritual walk.  Heaven will be beyond our imagination, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t imagine it.  Without really thinking about what we have to look forward to, we won’t look forward to it at all.

  • Charles Spurgeon: “To come to Thee is to come home from exile, tocome to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labor, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes.”
  • We do not desire to eat gravel.  Why?  Because God did not design us to eat gravel.  Trying to develop an appetite for a disembodied existence in a nonphysical heaven is like trying to develop an appetite for gravel.  No matter how sincere we are, and no matter how hard we try, its not going to work.  Nor should it.
  • What God made us to desire, and therefore what we do desire if we admit it, is exactly what he promises to those who follow Jesus Christ: a resurrected life in a resurrected body, with the resurrected Christ on a resurrected Earth.  Our desires correspond precisely to God’s plan.  Its not that we want something, so we engage in wishful thinking that what we want exists.  It’s the opposite–the reason we want it is precisely because God has planned for it to exist.  As we’ll see, resurrected people living in a resurrected universe isn’t our idea–it’s God’s.

Where do we get our misconceptions?

  • I believe there’s on central explanation for why so many of God’s children have such a vague, negative, and uninspired view of Heaven: the work of Satan.”
  • Our enemy slanders three things: God’s person, God’s people and God’s place–namely heaven (Revelation 13:6)
  • What better way for the devil and his demons to attack us than to whisper lies about the very place on which God tells us to set our hearts and minds?
  • Satan need not convince us that Heaven doesn’t exist.  He need only convince us that Heaven is a place of boring, unearthly existence.  If we believe that lie, we’ll be robbed of our joy and anticipation, we’ll set our minds on this life and not the next, and we won’t be motivated to share our faith.  Why should we share the “good news” that people can spend eternity in a boring, ghostly place that we’re not looking forward to?
 

Starting to Imagine…

Filed under: Books,God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 5:02 pm

So, I started reading the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn yesterday. I’m impressed so far and looking forward to reading a lot more (I better be…because its 473 pages long!). Like some of the other books I’ve read in the past couple months, I’d like to share the highlights of this one with you. I hope they get you thinking, imagining, hoping…and maybe even doing something to make this place your true home.

(Italics are direct quotes, regular text are my comments)

The Subject of Heaven

  • Anthropological evidence suggests that every culture has a God-given, innate sense of the eternal–that this world is not all there is.

He mentions that yes, each culture differs on their ideas of the eternal, but the fact that this idea is universal to all cultures, really means something.  (On another note, Seth and I have been watching a lot of the TV show Bones recently…so reading anything about “anthropological evidence” made me laugh.  If you’ve never watched the show, just ignore what I just said.)

  • God never gave up on his original plan for human beings to dwell on Earth.

He explains this in more detail throughout the book.  Just know that he’s talking about the New Earth and how it relates to our current Earth.

Our Terminal Disease (mortality)

  • The current death rate is 100 percent.  Unless Christ returns soon, we’re all going to die.
  • If the Bible is right about what happens to us after death, it means more than 250,000 people every day go to either Heaven or Hell.
  • God uses suffering and impending death to unfasten us from this earth and to set our minds on what lies beyond.  I’ve lost people close to me.  (Actually, I haven’t lost them, because I know where they are–rather, I’ve lost contact with them.)

-I liked his “lost contact” bit here.  Found it interesting…and true.

  • Jesus came to deliver us from the fear of death, “so that by his death he might destroy whim who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15)
  • In light of the coming resurrection of the dead, the apostle Paul asks, Where O death, is your victory?  Where, O death is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
  • What delivers us from the fear of death?  What takes away death’s sting?  Only a relationship with the person who died on our behalf, the one who has gone ahead to make a place for us to live with him.  If we don’t know Jesus, we will fear death and its sting–and we should.

-So true!!!  I want to put a bizillion exclamation points behind this one!!!

 

Chicken Crunch

Filed under: Main Courses,Recipes — Lacey @ 3:04 pm

This recipe is pretty easy and yummy! I got it from a 3-Ingredient Cookbook.

Chicken Crunch

4 Chicken Breast Halves, boneless and skinless
1/2 C Italian Dressing
1/2 C Sour Cream
2.5 C Cornflakes, Crushed

1. Place chicken in zip-loc bag, add salad dressing and sour cream. Seal, refrigerate 1 hr. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.
2. Dredge chicken in cornflakes, place in 9X13 pan (sprayed w/ Pam).
3. Bake at 375 for 45 min.

 

Cupcake Cones

Filed under: Desserts,Recipes — Lacey @ 3:01 pm

I made these for my high school D-Group this week and they were all amazed. They’re pretty easy. And they’re actually quite yummy. The only problems I ran into was the taking them out of the oven (because they’re much lighter after cooking and don’t stand up as well) and taking them in the car. They did alright transporting them, but they did fall a bit. Might be a better option for a party at home or if you have some type of carrier that works well.

I got this idea from a magazine article and I also found the recipe on the side of the ice cream cone box.

Cupcake Cones

1 pkg cake mix (with required ingredients: eggs, oil, water, etc)
1 pkg ice cream cones (24 is best)

1. Mix the cake mix as directed on the box.
2. Place the ice cream cones in the muffin tins. I used the mini muffin pan and it worked pretty well. I read you can also use a regular muffin tin, but you will need to somehow use foil to secure the cones in the muffin holes. That or you can buy a specialized baking pan for the cones.
3. Pour the batter into each of the cones. (I put chocolate chips in the bottom of mine for a sweet surprise!). Bake as directed on the cake mix box for cupcakes.
4. Carefully remove pan from oven (remember the note from above). Cool cupcakes, then frost and serve!

 

Candy & Stickers October 27, 2010

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 11:47 am

Well, we are still stuck in the potty training cycle. Quite a while ago, Haddie learned to go potty in her potty chair and the “big” toilet. But progress came to a complete stop once she accidently went poop in the potty and freaked herself out. Well, she actually did it 3 days in a row and then avoided the potty at all cost for about a month or so. Then she started occasionally going pee again.


We bought some super cute Dora underwear, which she was totally excited about. And I might add, I thought she looked super cute in.

She did pretty good for a few hours wearing them (probably because I made her try to go every 30 min or so). And then we had 3 accidents in a row. Including poop, and one pee that she slipped on…sounds sanitary, yes I know….


Then she again avoided the potty. She started asking to go occasionally, including at restaurants and to the nursery workers.


We started a sticker chart and giving her candy (fruit snacks…since she can’t have chocolate like in M&Ms). 1 of each for #1, 2 for #2. She’s yet to get 2 at a time.




She still gets rather excited about getting stickers and candy. Whenever she has to go she shouts “stickers and candy, stickers and candy.”






But we’re at an impasse. She sometimes will go in the potty, but other times refuse. Sometimes she still asks to go potty when we’re in stores and such and actually goes (although she absolutely hates the hand driers!). Sometimes she even complains when she pees in her diaper and won’t sit down. She knows that she’s not supposed to go potty in pull ups, so she usually won’t want one on. So…the question is….do I force her and pressure her to go potty more in the toilet or do I just give her more time? She obviously seems to understand the concept, but maybe she’s not completely ready? She’s only 26 months. So I know I have more time…. Anyone have any advice? Opinions?

 

Chicken Burritos October 26, 2010

Filed under: Main Courses,Recipes — Lacey @ 5:17 pm

This is a super easy recipe that I learned from my mom (without an actual recipe…so I’m doing my best to remember it all to formally type it out). It’s yummy and one of my favs.

Chicken Burritos
3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
1 pkg Flour tortilla Shells (8-10)
Shredded cheese

2 small cans tomato sauce
1 pkg taco seasoning
Ketchup

Shredded lettuce
Tomatoes, diced
Sour Cream

1. First cook the chicken and shred it or cut it into cubes. I prefer to cook it submerged in water in either a large pot on the stove or in the crockpot. It makes it a little more tender.
2. In a large bowl, mix the chicken and the taco seasoning together, adding enough water until it is mixed well and slightly juicy.
3. Spoon the meat into each of the tortilla shells, roll them closed and place side-by-side in a 9X13 baking pan. Sprinkle with cheese.
4. Cook at 350 in the oven until the cheese is melted and the shells slightly browned. Meat and juices should be slightly bubbling.
5. Meanwhile, combine the tomato sauce and at least 1/2 pkg of taco seasoning in a pan. Heat and let simmer for a few minutes. You may want to add a little bit of ketchup as well. Mix to your tasting preference.
6. Serve the burritos with the sauce on top and lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream on the side. I prefer to also serve with some type of bean dip ( like Mexican Chili dip) and rice.

 

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Filed under: Main Courses,Recipes — Lacey @ 5:07 pm

I made this last night. It’s one of Seth’s absolute favorite dishes, but it just tends to be too spicy for me. So, beware…if you don’t like it too spicy, I wouldn’t put in the whole amount of cajun seasoning. I first time I made the recipe (years ago), I accidently put in 6 Tablespoons of cajun seasoning instead of 6 Teaspoons. Yeah, I didn’t eat much of it.

I got this recipe from a lady who did a youth ministers’ wives’ class at FCC a few years back.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

6 Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
6 tsp Cajun seasoning
3/4 tsp Dried Basil
3/4 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
5 Tbsp butter
1 Red pepper, cut into strips
1 Green pepper, cut into strips
1 pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
2-3 C heavy cream
12 oz cooked linguine
Grated Parmesian cheese

1. Place all spices in resealable plastic bag and mix. Place chicken strips in bag and shake to coat.
2. In large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until almost tender; 5-7 min. Add peppers, mushrooms and onion; cook and stir 2-3 min. Reduce heat; add cream and heat through.
3. Add cooked linguine and toss, heat through. Sprinkle w/ Parmesian cheese, if desired.

 

Death’s Sting

Filed under: God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 4:35 pm

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
(1 Cor. 15:55)

For many of us recently…death’s sting has been right here among our family.

A great woman of faith from our church family died this past week. Death isn’t easy to deal with…even if you know where that person is going.

While I wasn’t really personally close to Michelle, I still have felt a loss and have shed a few tears. I remember working with her in the nursery. Hearing her sweet voice and seeing her patiently and lovingly playing with the children. I have seen her strong fight to defeat cancer and never heard her actually complain. Sure, she was honest and said when she was in pain, but it was never voiced negatively. She was such a positive woman in all aspects of her life.

I don’t mourn for her because we know that she is now without any pain or tears and is being rewarded by Her Father for her perserverance through this life.

But I do mourn for her daughters and her husband. Her girls (the oldest in 8th grade) have done amazingly well through this ordeal. I have yet to really see them upset. I don’t necessarily believe this is because they haven’t dealt with their loss yet. But they’ve seen their mother suffer for years and its probably a relief to know she’s at peace. And according to their father, they’ve had a lot of opportunity to deal with their upcoming grief in the past couple weeks since they knew what was probably coming. But I still continue to pray everyday and multiple times a day for them. I know the road is rough ahead.

I also mourn for Michelle’s husband. While I don’t know him closely, I have seen his patient loving care of his wife. And the way he is always supportive to his daughters. He, too, seems to always have a nice encouraging word for everyone and a constant smile.

I don’t truly worry for Michelle’s family. I know the strength of the faith that they’ve developed and how her beautiful life has permanently influenced their lives. I found it so fitting to here Jeff’s response on Sunday morning as Seth told him how glad he was to see them all at church. Jeff said, “Well, where else would we be?”

I kept thinking of these verses this week:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)

“If one part [of the Body of Christ] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (I Corinthians 12:26-27)
-And I’m so glad I’m a part of it!!! There’s truly nothing like it!

And finally, this verse was also on my mind a lot…
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
(1 Corinthians 15:55)

I looked up the verses around it (to better understand its context) and I was reminded again about the blessings that wait for those of us who believe:


“I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

In thinking about the above verses, it is encouraging to know that death has ultimately been defeated. But it can still be discouraging to feel the sting of death right now. And I’ve felt it quite a few times throughout my life. I’ve watched both of my maternal grandparents die from cancer.

My grandfather died when I was around 10 years old. I still remember that dreaded call when we had to jump in the car and head to their house because my grandma knew it was his last few hours. I remember being shooed into a bedroom with all my other cousins while our parents said good-bye to their father. And I remember going into that tense grief-filled room and saying good-bye to my bald, gaunt grandfather while he struggled to breath. And I remember hospice coming and taking his body away (although I don’t remember seeing them actually take him). I can’t really remember his funeral though. But I think I remember standing at the gravesite under those awnings.

My grandmother died about 4 years ago. I remember seeing her suffer from chemo, then recover, then having to go under more treatments again. I remember her having to wear a wig to my college graduation (I remember mainly from my pictures). I remember visiting her when I knew in my heart it would be the last time I would see her alive. She had me read to her from her devotional in the mornings. Then she had me help her write (because she didn’t even have the strength to do it) final goodbye cards to family and friends whom she knew weren’t right with the Lord.

I also remember her asking us which pieces of furniture we wanted and watching her write them down in her will. On a funny note, I remember her willing her silly purple hat to my sister because it always made her laugh to see her wearing it. I also remember the sound of her oxygen machine and how I couldn’t cry in front of her because if she started to cry she couldn’t breath. And I remember lying next to her as she took a nap and fighting back my tears.

I remember being at CIY with our youth group and getting that dreaded call from my mom. She was crying and I knew what that meant. I remember dreading having to rush back as soon as we returned home in a few days to make it in time for the viewing and funeral. I remember seeing her still face and hating the awkwardness of the formalities of a funeral. I remember watching my husband, uncles and father serve as pallbearers to take her casket to the hearse. And I remember sitting graveside at the final service.

I remember going through her things with my mom and sister. Laughing and tearing up. I can remember many of my own possessions that were once hers.

And thinking of all these things…they were oh so tough (my grandma’s death and other stressors at the same time were what combined to cause my first major case of anxiety). But I can’t imagine having to go through it all and it being your mother instead. Especially at such a young age. So, I continue to pray and think of the Phillips girls often.

With all of that said, how can we think that death’s sting has been destroyed? Aren’t we still feeling it now? In contemplating it all recently, I am reminded about the true sting and cause of death…Sin. In the beginning God created the heavens and earth…to be perfect. There was no sin, no death, no pain. But He also had to create free will. Otherwise He would have only created robots.

And because of free will and the natural rebellious nature of mankind, the first humans decided they knew better than God and wanted to be equal to Him. So, thanks to them (although if they hadn’t…we can safely assume that someone else would have made the same decision soon enough)…we now have pain, death, labor pains (thanks a lot Eve!), weeds, and more. All thanks to Sin.

Many people argue that if God is real why does He let bad things happen to good people. Why does He let people die and suffer?

Honestly, if there is good, doesn’t there have to be evil? You can’t know and categorize something as good if there isn’t something evil to compare it too.

And God has to let consequences play out just like He lets people make their own decisions. Yes, God could stop these things, but then He’d be forcing our hands as well and controlling our choices. It’s a no win situation because we’d argue against either case.

And yes, its hard to understand. So many times we think we know better than God…that we’d make things happen differently. But in reality, we have no idea of the big picture. We don’t know how our different choices would pan out…probably to cause someone else more pain in the end. So, let’s let God be God. He knows it all and sees it all and…

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

For those of you who aren’t Christians, and don’t have the above reassurance, I do have pity for you. You may believe that God is just out to get us all and that He is ultimately cruel. But we definitely know differently. I would urge you to seriously consider your position because I know what’s coming if you don’t…and it burdens me deeply.

I have been thinking about many of my family members who aren’t Christians, or who aren’t right in their walk with God. I sometimes don’t even know how to approach the subject with them. And I fear that my words will only push them further away. I continue to pray daily for them and I really, really hope that they will see the error of their ways before its too late. Our days are numbered and we don’t know the future. We could die in some accident, get sick, or Jesus could even come back any second, any minute, any day. So why wait?

Since I just finished a book, I’ve been trying to decide what to read next. I think I’ve decided on Randy Alcorn’s “Heaven” book. I’m curious to read it and learn even more about my true home and the rewards that await me. I hope that I will see you there someday, too….

 

White Chicken Chili October 19, 2010

Filed under: Main Courses,Recipes — Lacey @ 11:29 am

I made this last week and it was a hit.  I made spaghetti noodles to go with it since that what Seth always requests with regular chili.  Guess its kinda a Skyline Chili influence.  I usually like rice w/ my chili.  But anyways…we also added sour cream and cheese.  It was pretty yummy!  I cooked the chicken and onion together and let it all simmer a bit longer on low.

I got this recipe from the back of a bean can.

 

White Chicken Chili

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 T olive oil

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies, drained

3 T flour

2 tsp ground cumin

2 (16 0z) cans Navy Beans

1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth

1.5 C finely chopped, cooked chicken breast

Shredded cheese

Sour Cream

Salsa

1. In large skillet, cook onion in oil for 4 min or until transparent.  Add chilies, flour and cumin; cook and stir for 2 min.  Add beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 min or until thickened.  Add chicken; cook until hot.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream and salsa, if desired.