Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All I Really Want For Christmas

Just before Christmas 2007 we began our adoption. By Christmas 2008, we had received a gift which was immeasurably more than we could've asked or imagined. (Eph. 3:20-21) Adoption blesses all involved. To HIM be the glory.

Here are a few glimpses of our journey.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week Menu

Yey! It's Christmas week! We have the little "Christmas Countdown" hanging in our kitchen. Minte got it out and started counting before it was even December, and loved to watch me act all freaked out each day as the number got lower. Now that I'm through shopping and mostly finished wrapping, I cheer right along with him as the count gets lower. It surprised him the first day I said "Hooray!!" instead of clutching my chest like I was having a heart attack. LOL

This year I haven't gotten as creative with my cooking and homemade food gifts as I have in years past. I gave myself the year off. It's been nice! Also, it's "back to basics" for me on our Christmas menu this year. In years past I've found fun and different recipes, or spent lots of time making fancy cookies and candy, but this year I just didn't have it in me. Some years are like that!

I hope you are having a great Monday and looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with those you love! Here's what's on our menu this week:

Monday: Asian Sesame Chicken in the crock pot, rice, stir fry
Tuesday: Pumpkin Chili, cornbread
Wednesday: Ethiopian Food night! This week I'm making Doro Wat, a spicy chicken dish that is made for special occasions.
Thursday: Christmas Eve at my father-in-law's house. He always makes a yummy spread, but we all bring appetizers. I think I'm taking this Snowman Cheeseball this year. I made it a few years ago and it was fun!
Friday: Merry CHRISTmas!!
Christmas breakfast favorites- Muffins (blueberry, banana chocolate chip, and lemon poppyseed), and sausage balls
Christmas lunch- Crock Pot Ham, yeast rolls, Paula Dean's Green Bean Casserole, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, chocolate chip pecan pie
Christmas dinner- at my mother-in-law's house. We all land there after having at least one or two gatherings elsewhere during the day, and thus a big meal at lunch. So we bring snacky appetizer food. So fun! This year I think I'm going to make something I sort of "made up" last year... easy and yummy. (Healthy, not so much. But it's not January 1st yet!) It's the Hormel Tamale casserole recipe, but with the tamales cut up so it's "dippable." Served with the ginormous Fritos. Yum.

For more recipes or to share your menu, visit Laura at Have a yummy, wonderful CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Monday's Meanderings and Menu

It's the holiday season!! A wonderful season, to be sure, but such a busy one! I'm certainly not a social butterfly, or a person who's "in demand," but I've been receiving invitations regularly for various gatherings, putting them on our calendar and figuring out what I need to bring. This morning I received an invitation I simply cannot refuse. In fact, it's one I've received before and accepted, only to find it buried again under a pile... the invitation is found in 1 Peter 5:7. In this scripture I am invited to "cast all [my] anxieties on Him, for He cares for [me.]" Did you know you're invited, too? Here is it for YOU: "...cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you."

And, as with many invitations during this holiday season, there is something to bring to the occasion. It sounds so simple: bring your anxieties. But truly, it would be easier to prepare an appetizer for a party than to REALLY bring my anxieties to Him. When we bring food to a party, presumably all we bring home is an empty (or almost empty!) dish. How is it that when I "cast" (literally "throw") my anxieties onto Him, I either take them all back or go get new ones?? So it's an invitation, but I do need to bring something. It's an invitation I'd be crazy to refuse! And it's one I'm not letting get buried in the busy-ness this season. So, I accepted it this morning and brought to him my school anxiety, my oldest-son-with-a-broken-finger worries, my traveling-husband fears, my driving-teenager angst... all of it.

[You can scroll down for Menu Plan Monday... sorry for the marathon post!]


Here's what we've been up to in recent days. I'm starting with my older two kids, as they get VERY little "press time" here on the blawg. That's as they want it, of course, being teenagers. I've often said I would've simply DIED if my mom would've had a blog when I was a teenager! So, I try to give them their space, and let them live "unpublished" and unblogged lives. But, sometimes I just can't help it. :)

Our sweet daughter Bethany was named "Player of the Week" on her varsity basketball team. The coach told her it was for her great defense, guarding their best player, and spurring this week's "come-from-behind" win. She has only recently gotten back into basketball, which was the sport she first fell in love with in elementary/middle school. By 6th grade or so, she had moved on to gymnastics, but that became too all-consuming. So, we're back in basketball and loving it! She is such an amazing young woman, and her new teammates are just as fantastic. They are precious young women of God from wonderful families, with hearts for the Lord and for the nations, and have welcomed her right in. We are so blessed!

My sweet oldest son was part of a production of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" this weekend. He's never been part of any theatrical production, so I was very proud that he decided to try this. He was Assistant Stage Mgr., part of the set crew, Prop Master, as well as on the grip crew. I love how he worked behind the scenes to help other people be seen and succeed, and to help serve others. I think that is very Christ-like of him!

And while Dad and Bethany were at a basketball game, here was my handsome "date" to the play performance this weekend. He came to me and asked if he could wear a "jacket" to the play. Well, since it was below freezing outside, I told him a jacket would be a great idea. Then he explained that he meant a "soup jacket." Which, of course, means "suit jacket." Absolutely! I love it when my young men dress like civilized young men, so I thought he looked very handsome when he came downstairs dressed in his button-down shirt and soup jacket. Very, very nice!

Another precious thing happened this weekend. Our church collects shoe boxes, similar to Samaritan's Purse, but specifically for Mexico. We have several members with private planes who volunteer their planes and fuel to pilot the boxes down to Mexico. It's a wonderful ministry, and each year our church sends around 3,000 boxes. Last weekend it was reported that they only had received 900 or so boxes. Well, this bothered Minte greatly. He came to me Saturday with a Wal Mart gift card he had received a couple of months ago for his birthday and insisted that he go put together a box for a boy. So, bright and early yesterday morning he and I headed out to Wal Mart and he filled up a box. I asked him if it would've made him happy to receive such a box when he lived in Ethiopia. His response was, "I did. From you."

Last year it was ALL so new to him, and he didn't even speak the language yet, so he is experiencing Christmas in yet another way this year. He has wanted to send shoe boxes and get an angel off of every tree (church, restaurants, etc.) I just love it! And yesterday , he insisted on using his own money. It's especially poignant to me, given his background. And seeing a little Ethiopian boy buying presents for a little Mexican boy this morning was just the thing I needed to warm my heart on a cold, drizzly morning. God is just so good.


And finally, our menu. Why am including this? Who really cares? I realized this weekend it is such a gift. In this season of gift-giving, I'm scrambling to find the perfect gifts for those I love and came to the realization that menu-planning (and, really, all planning that I do for a smoothly-running household) is a gift to MYSELF. Of course, it spills right over onto my family, but it is such a gift to me! Just as with a gift, you choose what that person will like or need in a given moment in the future. Well, menu-planning goes ahead of you, visits say, next Tuesday, decides what will help you or bless you that day, purchases what will be needed, and... there it is. Tuesday (or whatever day you've planned for) you've received a gift! And in turn, your family has received a gift of a meal. We go to such lengths to give gifts to others this season, as we should, but shouldn't we put that kind of effort into our planning? It is a gift for you!

So, here's what's cooking in my kitchen this week. Keeping in mind there are 3 basketball games and a traveling husband, dinner is a priority!!

Monday: Crock Pot Pork Chops and Stuffing, green beans, carrots, yeast rolls
Tuesday: Crock Pot Chicken Tacos (one of my favorite things to have on hand for dinners and lunches... great nachos, too!) We will be eating these rolled up in tortillas en route or at a basketball game. :)
Wednesday: Ethiopian food night! Minchet Abishe (beef), spicy peas and potatoes
Thursday: Black bean burritos (portable... going to a basketball tournament. May also stuff these with Mexican rice)
Friday: Turkey hot dogs (again... portable, see above. ;)

For more menus, visit Laura at

I hope you have a blessed, wonderful week!

Friday, December 04, 2009

First Snow!

All he's asked for for Christmas are 3 things:

1. A swimming pool
2. A Labrador Retriever
3. Snow

Needless to say, we've been praying for snow!

One morning this week, my Facebook newsfeed was all a-buzz that there was, of all things, right here in Texas on the second day of December... SNOW! My daughter texted me from two towns away, where my husband was taking her to a class. "Tell Minte there was snow coming down while we were driving on the highway!" So, I told him, even though there was no trace of snow at our house yet.

And so he took up his watch:

And waited...

...and waited

...and waited.

If you've lived in Ethiopia for the first 10 years of your life, there's been no chance that you've seen snow. If you've been transplanted "deep in the heart of Texas" your chances have not gotten much better! So, if you're going to see it, you have to watch for it. Which he did, for a long time!

Finally... some snow!

If you look reeeeallly hard in the picture behind him you can see a few wet flakes coming down, which melted promptly upon impact. But, that counted. His official first snow!

I know, I know... it's hard to see.

Almost as hard to see as the sandals he's wearing. LOL