Life in my Shoes

Life in my Shoes

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Teaching Them Diligently: Be conformed to the image of His Son

"And be not conformed to this world....."   Romans 12:2

To adapt to new or different conditions.
Like the blocks of chocolate that we heated.
They became soft and pliable.

Conforming to the shape into which it was molded.

"For those whom he foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the
image of His Son......"
Romans 8:29

The image of Christ.

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Teaching Them Diligently: Holy Week

Several years ago, I was led into studying more about the Lenten season,
Passion Week, and the events leading up to and into both.
What I learned created an urgent desire within my heart
to pass on to my children more than simple traditions
 of a fun holiday in the spring time full of bunnies and pastel eggs
fought over by greedy, spoiled little ones.

How did our culture ever come to trade the beautifully exquisite truths
of Christ exchanging His position for our wretchedness with
Peter Cottontail and spongy Peeps?
For remembering His victory over death and the horror of His crucifixion
for a basket stuffed full of plastic grass, candy, and toys?
His glorious resurrection for a huge chocolate bunny?

I don't want my children confused.
I don't want them to confuse the richness of their spiritual heritage
 with the paltry offerings our society hands them.

Don't get me wrong.
I'm all OVER Spring and the themes related to this beautiful time of year.
But I don't see how I can legitimately mingle the two?

This year, I prepared enough a head of time, to find
a concrete visual that we could incorporate into our family devotions
to prepare our hearts and infuse our minds with
the Scriptures that lead us straight to a full understanding
of the Easter season.

And I'm so glad we did this.
Did we make it through every devotional?
But we made a concerted effort to sit down as a family
as many evenings as time allowed us to read through these
stories, these signs that pointed to our need for a Savior,
and that Christ was the perfect fulfillment of that need.
Most importantly, we remember His resurrection as the culmination
of every prophecy made about Him and by Him,
and that without this event our Christian beliefs have no foundation!!

To read more about this devotional and to download
your own version, go here.

To see ways that we prepared our hearts in the past
 and felt God's great love and mercy toward us
during the weeks before Resurrection Sunday,  
look here and here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Happy Birthday Reprieve

Last week, bar none, was one of the single most difficult weeks
I can remember in a very long time.

There was just so much that had to be done as we finished up our rehearsals
and preparations for the Easter Drama our family had been involved
in since January.
Homeschooling, two birthdays, and our anniversary were all packed into this week.
Not to mention a major holiday celebration on Sunday.

On top of all that I was having some annoying health problems 
that were only getting worse the closer we got to performance day.

I had taken careful steps to try to lessen the stress levels of that week,
but I was NOT prepared for how heavy the onslaught would be.

But right smack in the middle of the week, Wednesday,
was Ashlyn's 17th birthday.

She had been talking about it for weeks.
Different ideas of what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go,
who she wanted to celebrate with.
It wasn't until a couple of days before the day that she finally had
a concrete picture in her mind of how she wanted to celebrate.

We agreed she could take the day off of her schoolwork,
and she decided she wanted to spend the day on the town.

We started the morning at our favorite local coffee house.
But I surprised her by secretly inviting one of her sweet friends to join us!!

After coffee, we had such a delightful time shopping for our Easter accessories
and capping that off with lunch together!!

After lunch, Ashlyn wanted to go back to the Korean market we had
visited with our Advanced Foods class the previous week,
and what a relaxing time we had perusing the local shops
and trying new treats.

In retrospect, isn't it just like our Good Shepherd 
to lead us to green pastures where we can lie down and rest? 
 Isn't it just like Him to lead us beside still waters?
To give us a break when the demands are heavy.
Maybe when we have no idea what is yet ahead?
To whisper, "Be still.  I am with you.  All is well."

In the middle of a hard Holy Week, I found a reprieve 
I didn't even realize I was going to need.
Goodness and mercy were following me.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ashlyn!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

British Invasion: Advanced Foods Class

We launched our unit on European and Asian food with a bang!!!

I have friends who are church planting missionaries in Great Britain!
Our family has committed to pray for them almost daily, and to do
what we can to encourage them 
and let them know that we support what they are doing
for the Lord in this spiritually dark place!

Imagine how thrilled I was then I learned they were coming back to the states,
to stay with their family in the next big city over from us,
just as we were about to begin this unit!!!
So as they were packing for their flight,
I sent a message asking Ashlie if she would be interested in coming
to our class to discuss British food culture!!

She said, "YES!!"

What an amazing morning this was!!!

Because Great Britain was part of the European Union, they had to switch
all their measurements over to the metric system; therefore, all the recipes
are written in grams and milliliters.
We learned how to use a scale to measure out our ingredients. 

Next, we made two wonderful dishes that are common and very popular in England:
1.)  Banoffe (rhymes with coffee) Pie
2.)  Coronation Chicken

 Banoffe Pie is a caramel/toffee pie with banana topped with fresh
 unsweetened whipped cream topped with shaved chocolate!! 
 Very popular with the locals.

Coronation Chicken is a recipe that was developed to serve at the coronation
of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.  It's made with a mango chutney
and curry powder giving a nod to the Indian culture so prevalent in Great Britain!

Of course, we HAD to learn how to make a proper cup of English tea!!


We finished up this lovely morning by sitting together sipping hot tea,
tasting our sandwiches and pie, and hearing Ashlie's testimony
of how she uses hospitality to reach so many women for Christ
in Great Britain.  She and her husband live in
a community that is very multi-cultural and heavily muslim.
These ladies are often very lonely and isolated and crave the fellowship
of other Moms.  Using hospitality has been a marvelous, Biblical
tool to reach into homes that they might never reach otherwise.

Thank you, Ashlie Gillit, for your graceful presentation and for all the thought
and preparation you put into this!!!
What a blessing it was to us!!!

Friday, April 7, 2017

When you wonder what it's all for

I love walking the streets of my neighborhood at dusk.
It's my favorite time of the day.
One of the streets our family fondly calls "the rich street" because 
the large homes sit majestically in the middle of well manicured lawns
under tall, ancient trees that umbrella them with long, rugged branches.
As I quietly wander past these peaceful estates, I often wonder about the people who live in them.
What do they do for a living?
Are they sitting by the big, picture windows in a comforting easy chair
with a cup of coffee watching the sun set?
Are they even home?
The street is always so quiet and I have never actually seen anyone
 coming or going into these homes.

 Recently, as I was driving home from a busy morning away, I noticed a sign.
It pointed in the direction of these homes and said, "Estate Sale."
I followed the sign to find many cars lining the street and more signs pointing
directly to the home with the sale.
All-of-a-sudden,  I had a free golden ticket to walk right down the driveway
to one of these grand places with an opportunity to simply walk right
in to the open front door.
Last week, I could only walk by on the street at arm's length with privacy laws
keeping me wondering what happened behind such beautiful doors.
Today, I could simply walk right into the kitchen
where on display was the most breath-taking collection of vintage, floral china 
and gleaming crystal I had ever seen.
I almost felt like I was intruding as I tip-toed on plush carpet up the stairs and
into the hallway cedar closet.
Here I was looking through the clothing and collectibles and sentimental jewelry
and treasured books and bathrooms of complete strangers.
Their whole entire lives where laid out on stacked tables with little price tags on
each and every piece. 
And what big, grand, glorious lives it seemed they had lived.
Based on the abundant treasures stuffed in every room.

But what happened?  
Had they passed away?
Moved to an assisted living facility?
Had their family already come through and culled out what they wanted?
And this is what is left over?
I left that day with an even stronger sense that life is but a vapor.

"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of
man as the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away......"
I Peter 1:24

Several years ago I discovered the wonder of researching my own genealogy. 
What fascinating stories to be uncovered.
Weaving characters from my family tree into the pages of this nation's
history left me breathless at times.
But I also grew disheartened.
Of all the information available through modern technology,
I was limited to what was permanently documented.
Any given person's life was mapped out simply by a handful of events:
birth, the national census, draft cards, marriage, and death.

That's it.
That's all I know about my great-great-grandparents who led full, busy lives.
I can tell you where they were born, who their parents were, where they lived, if they went to war,
when they died and the cause, and where they are buried.

I can't tell you if they liked their neighbors.
I can't tell you their favorite colors, or if they played an instrument.
I can't tell you about their faith, or how they came to find their faith community.
I have no idea if they attended church regularly.
I don't know what they liked to have for breakfast
or if they drank coffee.
I don't know what size shoe they wore or if they voted Republican, Democrat, or something else.

They lived 70, 80 years on this earth rising everyday with the sun, raising their families,
and it's like they are complete strangers to me.
Nothing left.
I have no memories of them.

I drove away from that estate sale that day with a heightened awareness
of the fact that all the things we run ourselves ragged over to get done
really mean nothing in the long run.

Our central purpose is wrapped up in this:

"But you are a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood, an holy nation,
a peculiar people,
that you should show forth the praises of him 
who hath called you out of darkness
 into his marvelous light."
I Peter 2:9

That's it.
Our central purpose.
To give glory and praise to our Creator.
Because of the great mercy He has shown to us.

The baubles we grasp for and cling to?

The accomplishments and trophies we exhaust ourselves trying to obtain?
Garage sale items.

You may live on the fanciest street with a house full of treasures,
but what will you be remembered for?

"...the flower thereof falls away:
But the word of the Lord endures forever."

I think I'll continue working to focus on the things unseen.
The things that will go on with me into eternity.
The souls of my children and my husband.

The time spent talking to my children about things that really matter.
Seeing things from God's point of view and not our society's.
Building up my faith community and equipping and encouraging the saints
to keep the Kingdom of God moving forward and growing!

Letting my life be a fragrant incense of praise and glory to my Savior.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Advanced Foods Class: Cooking our own African/Middle Eastern Foods

After learning some African foods and cooking techniques
from a Nigerian friend in our previous class,
my students and I took a whirl at cooking our own
African or Middle Eastern dishes.

We all researched recipes in a cookbook from our local library,
and prepared a recipe of our choice.

What deliciousness we shared!!!

I chose a recipe from an Israeli cookbook that turned out amazing!
This will end on our family dinner table again!

Lentil Soup with Tomatoes

Grace made a recipe from a Jewish cookbook using familiar ingredients
that we would not normally pair together.

Broccoli Black Bean Nachos

Rachel and Brea worked collaboratively on two recipes from
the Israeli cookbook and served them to their family the evening
before our class.  They got a thumbs up from their family,
and an A+ from their teacher the next morning!!

Carciofi Alla Giudia 
Artichokes Jewish Style

Citrus Roasted Chicken

Ashlyn loved the idea of something chocolate coming out of Africa
so she chose a recipe under the "Brazil" heading (yes, that was confusing)
developed by a Ghanaian author.

This recipe for "Chocolate Pot" was exquisite.
Think the inside of a silky smooth chocolate truffle.
The recipe called for a little hazelnut liqueur to be lightly poured over the
top, but we used the Torani flavoring syrup instead!
I can think of no better way to close out this look into 
the foods of Africa and the Middle East!!!