1. I'm a ministry widow for the next couple of days while Travis is on his annual winter retreat with the junior highers. There was a day when I always went on those retreats but it's just so much work to bring the kids along, especially for a mostly outdoor retreat in winter and equally as much work to leave them with someone. So, when it's just a short weekend event, it's just easier for me to stay back with them. Ava told Travis she was "so sad" all morning while he was packing. She wanted to go on a "twip" with him too :) Thankfully she rebounded when I told her about some things we could do together. A few more years and we'll probably be tagging along again. It's interesting to watch her process these things as she gets older. Sometimes I think the reality of sharing her Daddy is beginning to sink in but I'm grateful that it's still over her head and we're able to distract her pretty easily. I'm thinking we'll do a netflix movie tonight just to shake things up! Ha ha.
2. I am happy to say that I spent some time last night going through my scrapbook stuff yesterday and I'm really feeling like I'm getting back in the groove again! yay! However, as I was organizing pictures from my sister's wedding 3.5 years ago, I found myself lamenting over the fact that I do not look like I once did...Aging has a bizarre way of creeping up on you when you least expect it and causing some serious self-esteem issues. Fighting to stay grounded in truth and remember (as only one cause) the two precious people who are a worthy exchange for some extra pounds. It's amazing how those triggers of insecurity can be buried deep within and all of a sudden, they come screaming to the surface and take you by surprise. At different times I've battled seasons of low self-esteem stuff and gratefully, I come from a background of being loved and affirmed and praised. I can't imagine how crippling it might be without that yet, no matter our background, the Lord is the only One who can speak directly to those issues and stop them from becoming our master. Sometimes that stuff comes on the heels of me counseling a student about that very topic, prompting me to consider what I'm saying and reminding me to take my own advice. I just think the enemy is all over those kinds of situations when you are in some kind of leadership or counseling role. He loves to try and make a hyprocrite out of us or tell us that we are in no position to help someone else...Realizing I need to tear down some lies today and replace them with God's Word...
3. As I type this, I'm looking outside at the snow globe that we currently live in and I love it!! We've had almost no snow this winter, which is CRAZY, and everytime we get a little dusting, I realize how much I've missed it. Today it is snowing big, huge flakes that are coming down in a whirlwind. If I had to be out and about, I might not love it, but because I can hunker down with the kids it seems very magical.
Plus this is great timing for Trav's retreat. It will make the 75 students who are going very excited to spend the weekend tubing and playing! Thankfully they are going somewhere with several inches on the ground, and they just bought some extra double and triple tubes to add to the arsenal, so the kids will have a blast. So will Travis. I always wonder if there will be a day when he starts to feel restless about student ministry or starts to dread these retreats, but if so, it hasn't happened yet. He loves these kind of weekends. Which makes his absences a lot easier to take. I'm glad he's doing what he loves!
4. If you are a facebook friend of mine (and sorry if you're not, I try to keep that list to people I actually know in real life) you have seen some of the recipes I posted this week. I can't take much credit, other than finding some things that sounded good and then following directions, but I can tell you that I added two amazing recipes to our world!
The first one is this: Smoky Ham and Bean soup with Bacon. Um, yes. Can you say super bowl menu?? It was very, very good and had a pretty distinct smokiness to it, so don't think the title is a lie. If you don't love smoky things, you could control that and do some substitutions, but if you do like that stuff you will love it. I served mine with some crusty bread and topped it with some smoked gouda and a few more bacon pieces. Yum. The recipe for that soup is right here: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/02/smokey-bean-soup-with-ham-and-bacon/
The second thing was this French Dip sandwich. It was the French Dip OF MY LIFE. And I am not exaggerating one bit!! My sister first made this at Christmas and I loved it, so I tried it and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. My advice is to follow the directions exactly and cook it in your crockpot low and slow, all day. I cooked it for about 9 hours and it was so tender that if you even glanced at it, it immediately fell apart. SO GOOD. Trav and I ate like fools for two nights on this and so did Ava. She loved it and she especially loved dipping her sandwich in the au jous! It was one of the easiest roasts I have ever made (EVER) and so yummy. If you never make a recipe I post, just make this one. It will be totally worth it and then some. I promise. And get some crusty bread and some swiss cheese to serve with it. The directions said to broil it, but actually I baked it for a few minutes the second night and the cheese was more melty and the bread less burned. But still crispy. Just typing this almost makes me want to go straight to the store and do it all over again. Almost.
Here is this recipe:
5. Have you been watching American Idol?? Didn't you love the worship pastor last night who was born without ears?? Did his sweet Dad not bring you to tears?? AND he sang Chris Tomlin's Amazing Grace, with the refrain, which just make me praise the Lord because all of America heard those incredible words. Plus, I love that Steven Tyler picked up on that. I recently watched a 2 hour interview with him and Oprah and man was it good. He is a complicated guy, who has many regrets in his life and yet, is searching like everyone else for meaning and purpose and ultimately, the Lord. I really like him. I don't love all the choices he's made or the things that come out of his mouth sometimes, but I have really remembered to pray for him when I see him. He needs Jesus to heal those broken places and give him some purpose. He has some very insightful things to say about his life and lest we all get on our soapboxes and condemn him, who are we to throw the first stone? Just throwing that out there...So easy to judge celebrities and all the dysfunction they bring to the table but how quickly we forget that we are all sinners who need the grace of God. Would love to see him surrender to the Lord! Who knows?? So far, I'm watching, but this is part of the show I like. I like the auditions, and Hollywood week, but I despise when they start inviting artists to perform on the results shows. There were far too many AWFUL performances last year and by awful I mean, totally innappropriate. Katy Perry, Lady Ga Ga, etc, etc, etc. Here's hoping for a more family friendly format this year...
Happy Friday friends! Hope you have a blessed weekend ahead of you!