Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Together on Tuesdays: 2

Annette @ This Simple Home and Dorie from These Grace Filled Days are hosting a meme for the summer months called Together on Tuesdays. I'm going to participate because, well, I know and like Annette very much! :) And because I think they've picked some fun topics to discuss over the course of the next few months, when we're all traveling and feeling a bit more laid back in the blog-o-sphere. (To learn more about Together on Tuesdays, click the title I just linked to and you'll see the list of topics to be discussed.) LINK UP your own post at This Simple Home.

The question the lovely ladies are asking today is:

What is your favorite food or recipe?

Well, my favorite food is Chick fil A's chicken sandwich but, unfortunately, I live no where near a Chick fil A. This might be a good thing, actually.

As for my answer to today's question, I think I'll re-share my favorite summertime sandwich recipe, which comes out of Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism Cookbook (which is linked to my previous review "way" back in 2010 when I was still watching The Biggest Loser).


(Makes about 4 cups salad; enough for 6 salad servings or 8 sandwiches)

Health Benefits: Heart Healthy, Boosts Metabolism, Improves Mood, Digestion, Strong Bones, Healthy Skin, Miscellaneous.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached and cooled
1 cup halved red grapes
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

For 1 sandwich:
2 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
1 butterhead lettuce leaf

Use your fingers to shred the chicken into a large bowl. Add the grapes and pecans and toss gently to mix the ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, celery, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chicken and toss to coat. Store the salad in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.

To make a sandwich, toast the bread, if desired. Place 1/2 cup chicken salad on 1 slice. Top with the lettuce leaf and the other slice of bread. Slice in half and service.

Nutritional info per 1/2-cup serving of chicken salad:
Calories: 118.6 kcal
Fat: 5.1 g
Protein: 12.9 g
Carbohydrates: 5.6 g
Sodium: 93.8 mg


I typically only make this recipe in the summertime as it makes for tasty sandwiches to take on summer hikes. I've also used it for lunches after church when we need to have something quick and easy to put together. Every time I've served it, it has received a positive response. It's awfully tasty and easy to make! (Especially once you've made it a few times.)

Again, it's really easy to serve this on a hike. Just put the chicken salad into a portable dish (tupperware or what have you), pack a loaf of bread and a utensil for spreading. You're all set!

Hope you find some opportunities to explore the outdoors this summer! (Here in Oregon this is the best time of year!)

A picture that we took on a recent hike.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Becoming More Excellent

I've been ruminating on this post by Sally Clarkson for a few days now. I particularly like the following statement which she made:

It is only in being intentional and purposeful about your life that you will grow. But in growing, your heart and soul will become more fulfilled, because God’s will, which is to become more “holy”–set apart for His purposes–is indeed good and acceptable and perfect.
The idea she presents in her post is that in order to grow spiritually - to become more mature and wise in our faith - we need to surround ourselves by people more excellent than ourselves. This is definitely a thought that is counter-cultural! What we typically want to do is surround ourselves with people who are worse off or somehow "lesser than" ourselves so that we can shine. We want to be thought well of, have many friends, and generally be thought of us as quite refined and successful.

We also all know that, to varying degrees, we are "faking" our way through life - hoping that no one else will realize what we know to be true. That is? We are not perfect. In fact, we have a lot of growing up and maturing to do just yet! If you are still alive and breathing, there is still more work for God to do in your life!

But we don't like to work very hard, do we? We are inclined towards the status quo. We'd like to just chill and relax exactly where we are at now. Not much is required of us right here, right now, and we can just coast. To think about intentionally surrounding ourselves with people who are more skilled than ourselves in any given area is enough to frighten us. (I know it frightens me.) It does require a great deal of humility to say, "I need to work on this area of my life" and then be willing to spend time with those who can teach you how to go about doing that. Whether it's learning how to be a better listener, learning to garden, learning to scrapbook, or learning how to train up children or love your spouse well - it is very important to lower ourselves in our own estimation so that we can hear the advice of those who are more excellent in these areas than ourselves. But not only should we ask for advice - we should be ready to take it! (There is a clever distinction there!) It is good to be wise when listening to the advice of others, and it is good not to be too quick to dismiss. Even as we say that they are more excellent in certain areas than ourselves, we need to be ready to own that and accept that they have something worth sharing.

Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, 'Friend, we have a better place for you!' Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. Luke 14:10
Come to the more excellent and learn and observe. Watch and converse and then let them praise you for the areas where you have succeeded at making progress.

Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:7

It is imperative for our spiritual growth that we do not go around thinking that we have it all together. I am not saying that we should deny that we have gifts and talents (for we do and it would be equally sinful to deny that God has already begun to work in our lives) but we should not boast in them, but glory in Christ. Recognize there is always room to grow. Don't be afraid to seek out those who might be viewed as being better equipped than you. Humble yourself to heed advice.

Most of all, praise the Lord that He has seen fit to surround you with faithful ones who can encourage and strengthen you in your Christian faith. You do not have to walk this path alone for He has provided His own company, and the company of His other children to brighten your path, lighten your load and encourage you to grow stronger! What a beautiful thing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Inclusion of Children in the Church

I have to confess to you that I really want to make this post all about the importance of children in all of society but we'll start with the church, where they are currently being ousted from the pew for the sake of peace and quiet.

Since I am now the mother of three small children (ages 1, 3 and 5) I am now entering into the joys of a society that does not want to see children. It seems no matter where we go, what we do, or what we are involved with, we run into people who have very negative reactions to young people. (They seem to forget that they were also 1, 3 and 5 at one point in their personal history!) Children are not valued as having any net worth. Rather, they are viewed as inconvenient things which should be put aside where we cannot see or hear them, or be bothered to remember them. If we are at a gathering and a child of any sort makes a peep to remind the other adults that they are in the vicinity, we are instantly informed that the party would be much better off without them there.

What an atrocious attitude to have!

Worse though is when this attitude is expressed within the Body of Christ. I have heard many a time that a baby fussing (even quietly) is disruptive. "Children are distractions." "They are too noisy." Essentially, they are generally unwelcomed and unloved. It breaks my heart (and frustrates me endlessly). For good or for bad, I've had to start informing my oldest that it is very important to be quiet at group events because noise bothers people. But what I'm really saying is, "YOU bother people." And it bothers ME to say that to him! That is, in fact, the very message I am communicating to him. It is not a biblical message at all and it's one that I think I ought not tell him because it has disastrous ramifications. (He's already a silent boy. But I feel like I have to request TOMB silence from him least we hear negativity from those around us after the fact.)

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— Duet. 4:9

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Duet. 6:6-9

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Ps. 127:3-5

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 12:13-14

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Ages 8 and up.
1 Corinthians 12:27

I made that last part up. And so did the rest of modern day Christendom who believe that children should be tucked away as they are "distracting" instead of "filled with worth" and designed to engage with the Gospel message. They were created with great purpose in mind. God did not segregate people by ages and neither should we.

Now, I recognize that there are arguments to be made for nurseries and Sunday School programs but I'm not addressing those issues with this post. I'm merely declaring what I believe to be Biblically true and accurate - children were made to worship and glorify God and it is the adults in their midst who must teach them to do so. They will learn how to do this by watching and receiving instructions and explanations. They will not learn this if they are tucked away where we cannot see them and they, in turn, cannot see us.

They will learn to be a part of the Body of Christ by being included in it! They will learn by attending weddings, going to Christmas parties, participating in baby showers, and being interacted with by those outside of their immediate family. Including them in special events and occasions builds in them a sense of confidence and self worth. To know that you are valued and welcomed can do wonders for your sense of peace and belonging. Just as you and I, as adults, can sense when we are not welcome, so can children. Perhaps more so. Instead of expressing their feelings with words though, they tend to become incredibly quiet or they will cry. They do not know how to tell us that they are uncomfortable, but this is a feeling of theirs which can be discerned by anyone who is actively paying attention and reaching out to them.

Exceptions of really bad behavior in children aside, we need to not dismiss the entire childhood race because of a "few bad eggs" in the bunch who are unfortunate enough to have parents who do not care enough to train and instruct them on how to behave in public. I get that not all parents do this. That is sad and is an issue that also needs to be addressed. However, regardless of this, we must look to scripture and determine the worth of the child and I suggest that scripture is clear that children are a blessing and have proper standing before the Lord, just as you and I do.

We should be ashamed of our quickness to remove them from the teaching of the Word of God. We should be mortified that we have kept them from understanding the sacraments so that they might participate in them. We should be disheartened that we have given in to societal demands that children not exist (except in back rooms where they are tended to by people who are not their parents).

My children know when they unwanted and unloved and it bothers me that they know this. It confuses and baffles them to be told that they cannot participate in certain activities because they are too young. (And my kids can sit still and be quiet when told to!) I hate that they are already being imprisoned in the church that is being influenced by the society of death which surrounds us. Instead of being quick to dismiss children as "inconveniences" - why do we not welcome them in? Children are capable of a massive amount of love that they are ready to spill out all over you if you would just let them. They desire to please and are happy to feel that they are important enough to be counted among the Body of Christ.

Why do we not let them in?

There is a serious need for repentance on the part of Christian adults who have sought to block children from entering the sanctuary and participating in the life of the Body of Christ as a whole. They are our smallest members, yes, but this does not decrease their levels of importance. In fact, it should cause in us a desire to rise up, surround and protect them. Instead, we seem to find it easier to cast them from the assembly, so that we will not be "bothered."

I would sincerely ask that you read through the following verses and begin to think of children as being a part of the Body of Christ. The next time you are tempted to not allow them access to the body, in essence telling them that they do not belong and are not wanted, think of these verses.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part 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.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

And yup, this is Steve Green back in the day but it's a simple song that we adults might need to spend some time memorizing.

Surely we can learn to accept what God Himself not only accepted, but designed, created and decreed to be good.

A few books to read on the subject:

* Parenting in the Pew (linked to my review)
* Children in Church (linked to my friend Shonya's thoughts)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Together on Tuesdays: 1

Annette @ This Simple Home and Dorie from These Grace Filled Days are hosting a meme for the summer months called Together on Tuesdays. I'm going to participate because, well, I know and like Annette very much! :) And because I think they've picked some fun topics to discuss over the course of the next few months, when we're all traveling and feeling a bit more laid back in the blog-o-sphere. (To learn more about Together on Tuesdays, click the title I just linked to and you'll see the list of topics to be discussed.) LINK UP your own post at This Simple Home.

Today is an introduction, of sorts. Apparently our job today is to introduce ourselves! So, without further ado . . .

Who am I? That's actually a hard question to answer in an online forum. But here is a little snippet, for any newbies:

I am a stay-at-home mom to three children, all under the age of five. I have two boys and one little girl. I refer to my children online as the "bookworms." Why? Well, because we love to read and Living Like a Narnian is an outgrowth of that love. My original "home" on the web is Reading to Know: book reviews from a Christian worldview. Reading is indeed my passion and I relate much of life through the books I read.

Favorite reads:

* The Mysterious Benedict Society (linked to review)
* any book by Lucy Maud Montgomery
* The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

Every July I host the Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge. That's comin' right up and I invite you to join in! You can learn more about it by reading last year's introduction post. I hope you'll consider it.

Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge

I do blog most regularly at Reading to Know. Living Like a Narnian is an extension of every day life which flows out of thoughts and/or ideas from the books I've read. Are you getting the idea that I value books?! If these two sites were not enough, I also am a staff contributor at 5 Minutes for Books. I blog about books with a team of other women over there.

I recently celebrated seven years of marriage with my husband, Jonathan. That may seem like a small number, but we've packed a lot of big stuff into those seven years! Most recently, we were smoked out of house and home for a few months during the early part of this year. That was an adventure, to be sure! Here is a picture of us that was taken a few weeks ago, during a rare overnight getaway:

When I'm not reading (and blogging about it), I spend my time with my children and tending to home. I love to cook and bake. Our family has also planted our first garden this year! Most of the plants we are growing on our deck (for fear and threat of deer), but they are doing rather well. I've been using something called the EarthBox. (Ever heard of them? As a friend of mine likes to say, they are "a-MAZE-ing." They work wonders on plants.) Here's a picture of my snap peas, which exceeded the cage trellis I put in for them. They are mass producing these days, which is just fabulous! I love eating the fruits (or vegetables) of our own labor! It's an incredible feeling.

First and foremost though, I label myself a Christian, as Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. If I want you to know anything about me at all, it is that. It is the most important thing for you to know, as my belief and worldview will generally tell you all of the details of me which I have left out. I am not perfect and do not claim to be. I am a sinner in need of a savior. I am grateful to have been saved by grace and I purpose to follow Christ in all that I say and do. (Some days I succeed more than others, but I press on.) My favorite musical artist is Steven Curtis Chapman and this is my favorite song of his which reflects my own feelings on this topic.

And that, my friends, is a general snapshot of the things I like and care about. In the spirit of Together on Tuesdays, I'm now off to learn about some of you! Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Daybook: 8

(I can still do this. It's still Monday, right?!)

Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook! I've rather missed this, really.

Outside my window... the window is blowing the trees around and there is a stiff, cool breeze. O Summer, Where Art Thou?

I am thinking... about how to organize my time over these next few hectic (but fun!) weeks.

I am thankful.... . . for a fun family getaway this past weekend. Absolutely nothing went as planned (and if you know Jonathan and I - you know that we like to plan!) but we had a very adventurous time and it was good.

In the kitchen... there is a mess. But my wonderful husband will help clean it AND he's making dinner tonight.

I am wearing... my usual uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.

I am creating... blog posts. (Perhaps not exciting, but it is what I am doing.)

I am going... to enjoy the next few weeks.

I am wondering... why the year is flying by so very quickly.

I am reading... Life Without Limits. I am having a hard time being excited about it.

I am hoping... to re-organize the house a bit.

I am looking forward to... family coming. First, we start with Jonathan's family who will all be coming to town and (I think?) staying at our house. It will be a full house but a fun one. We are all very much looking forward to this!

I am learning... that it's ok when plans fall apart.

Around the house... one child is still taking her very long afternoon nap. She has a lot of sleep to catch up on after our busy weekend!

I am pondering... how long it's going to take before all of the cherries on my cherry trees ripen up.

A favorite quote for today...

The general tendency we have in our society to want entertainment. If we see the gathering of the church body as a time to be entertained with great worship music and a dynamic message, we might not want to be distracted by the responsibilities of parenthood. If, however, we see the gathering of the body as a time to worship, to remember the Lord's sacrifice, to build one another up, and glorify God, we might be more likely to bring our children alongside us so they can witness our worship and learn to worship Him as well.

~Shonya, at Learning How Much I Don't Know who talked about having children in the church service in this blog post. (I want to read this book/let.)

One of my favorite things... tuna quasadillas, made by my wonderful husband!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Fellowship with a friend, hiking with other friends, and it's Jonathan's birthday and we have a few plans surrounding that which we are looking forward to!

A peek into my day... It's been rather calm and quiet, actually. I got through some laundry, started teaching one child how to tie shoes and read another chapter in The Hobbit with him as well.

Now, let us leave one another in song:

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Entertaining

About a month or so ago I picked up a Fruit Infuser Pitcher at our local Target store:

(I found a cheaper, more simplistic version at Target. I can't find it online or else I'd post the link to that one instead! The one I got was about $8 and works perfectly well.)

I absolutely love this pitcher. It's a fantastic way to "spruce up" regular water, especially when having company over. During a season when we're picking a lot of fresh berries, it's nice to be able to pop these into the infuser and have berry flavored juice. (I use frozen berries in mine as well. This works great - I just have to remember to stick the berries in several hours before I want berry juice-filled water!)

It's tasty and it's fun to come up with different combinations. Highly recommended for the fun and the flavor!

Also, a few months back I picked up this Dark Chocolate Quinoa candy bar (because it was on sale) to try out:

I'm not normally a dark chocolate fan but I thought this tasted delicious! It rather has a Nestle Crunch feel to it. (I love Crunch bars. Haven't had one in years but boy those are yummy!) However, the Alter Eco Midnight Crunch bar itself runs around $4 - which I find to be ridiculously expensive. There is no way I'm going to pay that much for a candy bar. I just cannot bring myself to do that. So, instead, I bought a whole bag of dark chocolate chips for $4 and melted them down with a 1/2 cup of butter. I threw in a dash of cinnamon and about a cup(ish) of quinoa and then spread the mixture out on a pan to harden. I cut my quinoa bites into small squares which look, more or less, like the candy bar I had originally purchased. Only far, far less sophisticated. (Hey! We were going for taste. Not appearance. I'll improve on that part later.)

I store them in the fridge and after meals I've been known to pull out the container and offer a piece to my family. It's a nice, small after dinner treat and the amount I made has lasted us for weeks! We definitely got more bang for the buck this way! (Bonus: since it's not milk chocolate I don't devour it as quickly which is also nice. I am learning to like dark chocolate. It's sort of like learning how to like coffee, only better. I haven't learned to like coffee yet.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Daybook: 7

(I didn't totally disappear, honest! I just need to settle into a calm groove again.)

Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook! I've rather missed this, really.

Outside my window... Cool air and warm sunshine. That's hard to beat!

I am thinking... about how we should be spending our time this week. We have a rather insane schedule for the next few days.

I am thankful.... . . for a fun time of fellowship with family this past week. We had Jonathan's (local) siblings over and we watched Disney's The Rescuers) (which Bookworm1 had been waiting to see). Then after the kids went to bed we adults enjoyed playing a game and catching up on life. Very fun.

In the kitchen... there is a line of jars of freshly made strawberry jam. This past Saturday was spent making: strawberry chips (dehydrator), strawberry lemonade concentrate, strawberry jam, strawberry pie, strawberry butter, strawberry hazlenut muffins and strawberry popsicles. That's in addition to about 6 tubs of strawberries that we froze for future use.

I am wearing... jeans and SHORT SLEEVES! (Another taste of the coming summer.)

I am creating... opportunities for play today. I think.

I am going... to be hosting a "Grammy Baby Shower" this Thursday. (A friend of mine is "finally" becoming a grandmother and I promised we'd host a fun shower whenever that time time. It has come!)

I am wondering... how to set things up for the shower.

I am reading...A Girl of the Limberlost for the Reading to Know book club. I'm actually having a hard time enjoying it. (Gulp.)

Reading to Know - Book Club

I am hoping... for gorgeous weather this weekend!

I am looking forward to... an upcoming family getaway.

I am learning... to remember to be friendly to all, but select friends with few (as discussed midweek last week); to choose friends wisely and well.

Around the house... children are playing and plants are waiting to be planted and set out on the deck.

I am pondering... blogging. (As sort of described in my post at Reading to Know today wherein I set the summer schedule.)

A favorite quote for today...

Re: re-reading classics and older works

Somebody who only reads newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else. ~ Albert Einstein

One of my favorite things... weekends.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Grammy Baby Shower, cooking and baking, spending time out of doors hiking a few trails with the family and generally soaking up some sunshine.

A peek into my day... It's calm and quiet and I'm hoping it will mostly stay that way. The guy who has been working on our yard (carving land out so that we can put in a retaining wall) will be back this morning, giving the boys a huge tractor to watch. Just kind of a lazy day.