"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

re-do's & recipes.

Recently we celebrated my birthday. To give a little background on birthdays in our home- problem #1: we came into marriage with a different perspective on birthdays. Problem #2: for some reason my birthday is always hard for me- for some reason it is a day that I miss my big brother, Tony, really bad- I can't put my finger on why, but it is just plain hard every year.
The first year of our marriage my "birthday celebration" was a royal fail [no offense dear]. Thus began the concept of "re-do's". We decided that instead of wallowing in making bad memories we should redeem them and make good memories. So when we try something and it flops, we ask for a re-do. This was one of those years. The day started off well with a few rough spots of emotions (see problem #2 above) and we ended up in an argument...not how you want to spend your "golden" birthday. Honestly, it was a major bummer to say lightly. I was hurt and sad as was he. Why is it when you both want so badly to enjoy time together that it gets thwarted? My blame goes to our selfishness and to the enemy's attempts to pin us down. BUT because we believe in redemption of bad things we did a re-do a couple weekends later. and it was SO fun. Oh sure, it still had it's bumps but we decided to put those into our "what not to do next time" folder and learn from our mistakes.

Anyways, we went out to eat breakfast at an awesome local restaurant called Roots. It serves food from local farmers and has organic things [which, yes, I love] and the environment is just fun- it's a tiny little place with tables so close to one another that you can hear every word your neighbor is saying and it is run by a bunch of young, artsy folks who are crammed into a tiny kitchen and you can tell are just having fun. One of my favorite things about going out to breakfast is talking. I love deep, meaningful conversations and heart to heart talks. Over the years Seth has picked up on this and made that a point of the day. [we won't lie and say this has come easy- we've worked and worked at this communicating thing (and continue working)].
We then drove out of town into a tiiiiiiny little town called Keo. Here there is a huge antique mall that we perused around. We even bought some olllld doors- which we have a thousand dreams of what could become of them [this is another thing we love doing together- dreaming up projects]. Seth even haggled with them on the price and they threw in a 3rd door. [Yes we live in an apartment and no we don't have storage for them so currently they are under our bed].
Also in Keo is this "legendary" pie shop. Apparently people drive for miles to get this pie. I L-O-V-E pie. I looooooove apple pie. What's better than a quaint pie shop in the middle of nowhere that supposedly has the best apple pie?? We took a break from our antiquing and visited this little shop....and yes I mean little. We got there about an hour before it closed, sat down in excited anticipation of a beautiful piece of apple pie and a good conversation. When the waitress came over we asked what kind of pies they had and she said "Oh we are almost out of everything...we only have chocolate and some cakes left"...I literally felt my heart drop. Okay- you might be thinking that I'm a huge drama queen [and you'd be right] but I had my expectations pretty high. It was so bad I even got teary eyed and grumpy. I thought, "Fine. I'll just order the chocolate pie". I sat there and begrudgingly ate this chocolate pie. Every bite was i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. But I didn't want to admit it because I was sour about the void in my heart. This had to be the best chocolate dessert I'd ever had. Oh my. Isn't that just like God to make beauty from ashes [yes, a very shallow and materialistic example of this verse- but true].

Sooo what if things didn't go exactly like I wanted or I expected- isn't it still okay? How often do I miss the blessings God puts right in front of me because I'm too focused on what I am feeling? [That's something I'm working on- combating my feelings].

Later we went out to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants and stayed for a couple hours [Gracie is usually our indicator of when it's time to leave- she starts screaming and we try sticking the pacifier in her mouth to gain us a few extra moments but she eventually lets us know when enough is enough and we frantically scramble out of there trying our best not to make a scene].

I am grateful for redemptive days and moments. I am grateful for a husband who loves to have fun and do random things together and who cares about investing in our marriage. I am grateful for a daughter who is [so far] a flexible baby and can sleep on the go [and who is so stinkin precious to us]. I am grateful for life and for the full one God has given to me.

                              haha. I cracked up at their mugs... "happy time" and "we're 90"....love it.

                            oh yum. we split this parfait...organic yogurt, homemade granola and strawberry jam & honey!

                                        We loved the attention to detail- cloth napkins, ball jars for water, etc. so fun!

                                                          Seth got the yummy pancakes & real maple syrup

                                                 I got a delicious omlette with fresh local produce

                                    This is what Gracie did during breakfast...slept. She's our champ!

                                           The delicious chocolate pie and carrot cake!

                                                            Our family of three!


I'm trying to get back into the swing of cooking and trying new recipes. After we had Gracie many wonderful people brought us food and I collected many of their recipes because the food was soo good. Two of those have become staples in our home... homemade granola and banana carrot muffins (gluten free).

1. The granola recipe can be found here: http://realfoodlittlerock.blogspot.com/2012/03/granola.html
It is soo good. We have it for breakfast in yogurt with nuts and coconut flakes! You can add fresh or dried fruit as well!

2. The muffin recipe is soo good...trust me. The dates in it might scare you away...but they add such a sweet flavor- so much in fact that there is NO sugar or white flour in this. These are so healthy for you and taste soo good.

Carrot Banana Muffins

Makes: 18 muffins


  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 ½ cups carrots, shredded
  • ¾ cup walnuts, finely chopped


1. In a small bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
2. In a food processor, combine dates, bananas, eggs, vinegar and oil
3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl
4. Blend dry mixture into wet until thoroughly combined
5. Fold in carrots and walnuts
6. Spoon mixture into paper lined mini muffin pans
7. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes

Source: http://www.elanaspantry.com/carrot-banana-muffins/

3. The other day I was on an outing with Gracie to Walmart...sometimes we just need to get out of the house and so we either go to Target or Walmart most of the time. I was walking through the produce section and saw a spaghetti squash. I have always loved it when other people have prepared it, but I had never tried my hand at it so I decided to give it a try. We LOVED it. I found a recipe on pinterest and tweaked it a bit...we will be making this again!

Here's how I made ours (see below for link to original recipe)

What it took for 2:
* 1 spaghetti squash
*1 lb. ground turkey- browned
* 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 red bell pepper, chopped
* 1 Tbs. ground cumin
* 1 Tbs. dried oregano
* 1 Tbs. chili powder (we decided we will omit this next time)
* 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
* 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 lime
* 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
*sprinkle with parmesan cheese as well before broiling
Preheat oven to 375.
Roast squash on a baking sheet for 50 minutes. Let cool another 30 minutes, then cut in half. Spoon out the seeds, then using a fork, scrape up the flesh, making the “spaghetti.”
Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and red bell pepper. Saute 2 minutes. Add cumin, dried oregano, chili powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Saute another minute. Add the beans, corn and browned turkey meat. Stir to combine. Squeeze in the lime juice and give one last stir. (I also added a tiny sprinkle of brown sugar- it tasted good with the squash)
Add in half the “spaghetti” to the bean mixture and stir to combine. Taste and season accordingly. I probably tossed in a little more salt at this point.
Switch oven to broil.
Stuff each squash half with the mixture and top with grated cheese.
Stick it back under the broiler until the cheese melts and gets all brown and bubbly

*I used only half of the spaghetti squash as it was A LOT. I saved the rest for lunch the next day.*

original recipe: http://bevcooks.com/2011/10/southwestern-stuffed-spaghetti-squash/

Song of the day: Story of Grace by United Pursuit/Will Reagan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwY6BXaLlzA)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

a weber christmas.

A couple weekends ago my family came to Little Rock to celebrate our Weber Christmas. I know, a little late, but better late than never. Since Gracie was due on Christmas day this year (however she came 3 weeks before that!) we decided it wouldn't work for us and the Texans who then would have had a 4 month old to travel to IL for Christmas but we thought it would be fun to get together later- once Gracie was a little older. So we picked a date and it worked out amazingly that everyone was able to make it. At first we looked at condos or rental homes, since our apartment certainly wouldn't hold everyone, and really weren't able to find anything for a size and price that worked. Amazingly, a dear couple here offered up their home for my family to stay in for the weekend. It was perfect- there was room for everyone and we felt so at home there. The time was short but so sweet. We spent lots of time just hanging out and playing with the girls (Kylie Jo- 2.5, Lila- 6 mo, Gracie- 2 mo). We also did presents and ate a TON of food- it wouldn't be a Weber gathering if there wasn't tons of food.

I love the time we get to all be together as a family. We love being together and yes we have our conflicts like every good family does, but one thing that is true about my family is that love runs deep. We have weathered a lot of storms together but it has only grown us closer to each other in such a deep and rich commitment and love for each other. If anyone knows how to press each other's buttons- it's us- but something I love is the unquestioned forgiveness you know you will receive. We've learned that life is too short to hold grudges and to stay upset. We've learned that life is too short not to love and have fun together. We aren't perfect by any means but I love them so stinkin much.

 Being together is a cherished time and I love looking forward to it. I hate it when it's over and we all have to bid each other goodbye again. It's a continuous cycle of excitement/anticipation as the time approaches and huge heartache as the time ends. I keep thinking the "goodbye" thing will get easier but for some reason it's getting harder...argh! I was talking to Seth about it the day everyone went home and crying about how hard it is to keep saying goodbye but realizing that some day in Heaven we won't have to say goodbye anymore- maybe it won't ever get easier down here- the saying goodbye thing- but as long as we all make it to Heaven then it makes it okay because we get to look forward to a better home awaiting us.

Here's the weekend through pictures:
                                                       Mom (Grammie) and I with Lila and Gracie

                               This is just PART of our "Christmas appetizer tradition" meal...did I mention we like to eat??

                                                                   Uncle Jake and his niece, Gracie

                                                      Uncle Jeff and his girlfriend Lindssay with Gracie

                                              Uncle Jeff and Gracie...this was right before she gave him a "present" :)

                                                                   Grammie and Gracie

                                Our lunch one day...we picked up Whole Hog barbecue...sooo good!

                                         Gracie and Lila- 4 months apart and almost the same length- we have a tall girl!

                                                 Sweet Kylie Jo and her new "high heels"

                                                          Love my brother and his humor :)

                                          Helping with taxes....I think they look so much alike here

                                                                         Dad and Gracie

                                                        Love this girl and love this picture!!

                                             I think we are going to look back at this picture later in life. I love it!

                                                                Uncle Chad and his niece, Gracie

                                               Chad trying out his hand at the new wii game Dad got for Christmas

                                                                Family photo thanks to Jen's fabulous photo skills :)
                                                                             Jeff and Lindssay :)

                   I LOVE this picture....we did a lot of this during the weekend...it's so sweet to have Gracie surrounded by her uncles

Awesome family...love Kylie Jo's joy!

                                                           Grandpa is lovin all this granddaughter time!

                                                         All the Weber kids :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2 months old

Sweet Gracie,

You are already 2 months old! How have you grown up so fast?! SLOW DOWN! You are so fun to watch and interact with. The smallest of smiles brings my heart SO much joy.  Your sweet coos melt me. You do pretty well sleeping through the night- though I do wish you would sleep longer at times. You’re my little buddy- we pretty much do it all together- run errands, hang out at home, morning devos with you next to me otherwise you wail J, doctor’s appointments- girl, you are my little sidekick.

You’ve grown so much in a month. You started to smile this month, we  introduced tummy time, you’ve grown soo tall, your cheeks are the most soft kissable things ever, you open your eyes a lot and look around in wonder, you can focus on and follow us. We just think you’re brilliant J.

We pray for you all the time. For your health, your growth & development, your heart & soul, your future, your future spouse, your friends, your relationship with your cousins, etc. I have to remind myself you are God’s and I have the incredible blessing to raise you.

Here is my prayer for you today- Jesus, thank you for my sweet baby girl, Gracie Mae. You perfectly knit her together in my womb and you know the plans you have for her & they are good and her days are numbered in your book. I give her to you and am trying to trust you with everything- there are times when it is hard to let go of my fears or worries, but help me to remember you are in control and you are good and want good. I pray you would grow her heart to be soft towards you all her life and that she would have compassion towards the things you have compassion towards. Give her a steady heart that trusts You and a faith that does not waver. Help her to be an example of You by the way she lives her life. I pray she would love the outcast and the broken and messed up- since we all are wrecked by sin but redeemed by You. Keep her pure in every way and help her to be a leader with her peers and others. I love this girl and I know you love her more- thanks for her, Jesus. And for now, I pray this time can be so sweet at home with her- that in the midst of sleep deprivation and crazy moments- I can savor these days with thanks- even for the hard things. Teach me how to be her mom and how to love her and teach her well. I love you, Lord.

Gracie girl, you are one loved child. I love who you are and the joy you bring to your dad and me.

Happy 2 months, baby girl!
                                                 beautiful bracelet that Aunt Jackie made for you!

                                           I just love love love those beautiful big eyes of yours.

Here is my song for you this month:
Little Light by Matt Hammitt & Audrey Assad