Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trumpet fanfare

Today I harvested my first ripe, garden fresh, home grown tomato! It is small, but I am not complaining. Last year (my first year gardening on my own) I had to harvest all my tomatoes while they were still green and bring them inside to ripen because of freezing temperatures, so this is a big and happy deal. Even happier is the fact that I have several more that are well on their way to crimson ripeness.

Sweet 'n' Sour Chicken

I've been wanting to share this recipe for a while now and simply haven't gotten around to sitting down and doing it. Today seemed like a good time, though, since Little Man is napping, and I'm trying to be quiet to encourage the longest nap possible (he hasn't been sleeping well lately). Brother is lying on my lap looking around and hiccuping contentedly.

I got this recipe for sweet and sour chicken at my bridal shower. (You know how sometimes they have everyone bring a favorite recipe to share with the bride? That's what they did for me.) We liked it the first time I made it, and it seems like I just keep getting better and better results as time goes on.

Sweet 'n' Sour Chicken

3 tablespoons cornstarch
8 ounces chicken broth
1/4 cup vinegar (I use half vinegar and half lemon juice since Benjamin prefers a less vinegar-y flavor.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
1 small green bell pepper cut into 2" long strips (I always use red ones since they are easier for me to handle)
1 carrot (about 1/2 cup), thinly sliced
1 eight ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
4 cups hot, cooked rice

~Mix the cornstarch, broth, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Set it aside.
~Fry the chicken in a large non-stick skilled over medium-high heat until it is browned. (Or add a little oil and fry in a normal frying pan.)
~Add the cornstarch mixture to the chicken and stir constantly until it begins to thicken.
~Add the pepper, carrot, and pineapple.
~Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 5 minute.
~Serve over rice.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such things there is no law."
Galatians 5:22, 23

I have been thinking about these two verses a lot lately. When I was in labor, I focused especially on the self-control part. The presence of God's Spirit was so evident, and God gave me a lot of grace and glorious victory.

A few days after coming home, however, as I battled sleep deprivation and hormones, I crashed. I was not being full of self-control, patience, kindness, joy...

Interestingly enough, shortly after one of my "crashes" my mom gave me a much needed reminder of these verses even though she didn't know they were something I had clung to while in labor. I've been mulling them over ever since and have been so encouraged by them.

Through the work on God's Spirit, I can wholeheartedly love each person around me, even those who are difficult. I can have joy even when I feel more like sitting down and crying because I feel like I am woefully inadequate and the world in black and dreary. I can have peace and trust in God when I would naturally worry. I can be patient and kind even when Little Man dumps his spaghetti on the floor or when Benjamin rubs me the wrong way. I can be full of the goodness God gives. I can be faithful in my tasks even when I'm tired. I can be gentle and self-controlled even when I'm sleep deprived and would rather be crabby.

And really, when my focus is on God and His goodness and trustworthiness, it's not that hard. He is good. I am so thankful for His work in me!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Three years and two days ago, I married my true love.
He's my dream guy.
My hero. My knight in shining armor.
He knows just the right ways of being romantic.
He's tall, dark, and handsome.
He plays music with me.
We have long talks together.
He is a strong leader.
He loves God.
And he loves me.
I'm glad he chose me.
He is my best friend.

Happy Anniversary, Benjamin!
Lets have a lot more, okay?


Last Saturday, August 15th, we had the joy of welcoming our second son! He was born at 12:58 p.m., weighed 7 pounds 15 oz., and was 21 1/4 inches long. As it was with our first son, it was a beautiful though difficult experience. But God was good and answered many, many prayers.

Our small town hospital has been slowly losing its family practice doctors, so our doctor is the only doctor left in town who delivers babies. As you can imagine, his work load is immense! He does have to take time off, though, so they have arranged for doctors from other towns to cover for him while he takes a couple of days off every week. However, there are a few times that other doctors aren't available, and during those times, anyone who goes into labor has to drive to the small city an hour north of here.

Well, guess what. Last weekend was one of those uncovered weekends. So I breathed through early contractions as we drove north! I got to deliver in a strange hospital with a doctor and nurses whom I had never met before Saturday. Even though there were moments of stress, overall we had a good experience. God gave us a lot of peace and helped us rise to the occasion. Plus He provided a nurse who was just about perfect for us. ; )

Little Man takes his responsibilities as Big Brother very seriously. He helps by bringing blankets and pacifiers and does so well at being gentle with Brother. He loves to narrate everything that Brother does, telling us when he is "tryin" (crying), "seepin" (sleeping), "op eyes!" (opening his eyes), "kick feets" (kicking his feet), etc. One of the cutest things was when Brother was crying during a diaper change, and Little Man explained to me that he was "sore" and advised me to use "powder."

It has been so delightful watching Little Man grow into more of a "big boy" this last week as he sees and interacts with his little brother. He has had a few emotional times, but they are to be expected.

Brother has been a delightful baby to get to know. He loves to eat and quickly mastered all the required skills. Thankfully he also loves to sleep! He is already sleeping three to three-and-a-half hour stretches at night for which I'm so thankful. I wouldn't exactly say that I'm well rested, but I am certainly not suffering from sleep-deprivation-induced-insanity. ; )

I am going to close for now because I hear Little Man calling cheerfully from his room: "All done nap, Mommy!" Can life possibly get sweeter than it is right now with my three guys?