What I'm Into Right Now

Listening: I recently discovered The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and I'm really loving it. I went back through the archives and am catching up on her various interviews with Shannan Martin, Tasha Morrison, Shauna Niequist, Trillia Newbell, Jessica Turner, Gloria Furman, Jen Wilkin, and Jen Hatmaker to just name a few.

Also, just finished listening to The Orphan Train on audiobook. It was okay but not amazing. I'm moving on to The Light Between Oceans as my audiobook pick. Should I get my tissues out now? I've heard it's a gut wrencher.

Watching: Broadchurch: Series I. If you like British mystery and crime, this is for you. Even if you don't, try it anyway. This is one of the best series I've ever seen. It's gut-wrenching, humorous at times, raw, riveting, and smart. The story, acting, and cinematography (ah, I geeked out the the cinematography) is superb. When it ended it felt as satisfying as a good novel. It follows a family, a town, and two detectives as they seek to discover the murderer of a 11-year-old boy. The premise is sad but it has wonderful redemption moments too. I won't say if we watched the last three episodes all in one night. Ahem.

Reading: I got Green Dolphin Country for Christmas. I'd wanted to read it for years, being an Elizabeth Goudge fan but it was out of print for a while, I believe. But the size put me off for a while (it's 767 pages). I decided summer was the perfect time to delve into it. As always, the writing is exquisite, that old-fashioned quality of character development and description I love so much.

Eating: We are loving Spaghetti alla Carbonara (so easy) and now that it's zucchini season, we are eating it in many forms like Zucchini Cakes and Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats.

Drinking: Lots of cold brew iced coffee. Like, everyday.

Exercising: I'm getting back into my exercise routine with the help of Tracy Anderson's Precision Toning. With 15 minute segments I can easily fit it into my day and get a real good workout too, either doing one segment or combining them for longer sessions.

What are you into right now?

Morning Muffins

2013-10-03_001 I have a thing for muffins. I just love them. They are the perfect for breakfast paired with yogurt or an afternoon snack. They're portable and freezable. Fast and easy to make. Since school has been out I've been making lots of different kinds to have on hand for snacking, breakfast, and picnics. Here's some of our favorites.

Limelight Blueberry Muffins

This is a long-time favorite that puts a slight twist on the standard blueberry muffin. Since we have three blueberry bushes, we had lots of blueberries to use up and these are delicious if you like a hint of lime.

Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins (we usually omit the nuts)

Another favorite, who can resist the combination of chocolate and coffee flavors. Certainly not me!

One-Bowl Carrot Spice Muffins

This is a new family favorite I discovered in my new favorite cookbook, Brown Eggs and Jam JarsThe carrots and cranberries made these muffins super moist and pretty healthy too.

Morning Biscuits with Cheddar, Dill, and Pumpkin Seeds

Although this recipe is referred to as a biscuit there is no rolling and biscuit cutting. You make them in a muffin tin, so I'm including them in this muffin line-up. I love dill and since we have some growing in our herb garden, these are an easy treat to make and easily freezes too!

What is your favorite muffin?

What Does It Mean to Lament?

Imagine this: You’re with your friends from church in a small group setting. You’re sitting around the table, coffee in hand, maybe you’re sharing prayer requests: Doug needs a new job, Aunt Louise has cancer. Then the guy across from you starts to pray, starts to weep. And as he weeps, he sputters out this prayer:

“God, God, save me! I’m in over my head! I’m hoarse from calling for help, bleary-eyed from searching the sky for God. I’ve got more enemies than hairs on my head; sneaks and liars are out to knife me in the back. God, you know every sin I’ve committed; my life’s a wide-open book before you. Don’t let those who look to you in hope be discouraged by what happens to me, dear Lord! Because of you I look like an idiot, I walk around ashamed to show my face!”

This is uncomfortable. Weird. You steal a side-long glance at your spouse. You’re ready to get out of this situation. How are you supposed to respond to such an emotional, sad, and angry prayer?

Believe it or not, this is actually a paraphrase from part of Psalm 69 in The Message. It’s also an example of something that is very common in scripture and that God is very comfortable with hearing. It’s called a lament.

To find out more about what it means to lament, continue reading at Ungrind.org.

(Image Credit: Ungrind.org)

How to Have Fun with Your Kids

“Did you have a fun vacation?” I asked. My girlfriend had just gotten back from a week in the mountains.

She looked at me quizzically.

“Fun?” she questioned. “A relaxing, restorative time, perhaps, but not fun. I don’t really have fun with my kids, do you?” It was an honest question she was asking.

I thought for a minute. “Yes, I do,” I answered. My kids have thrown their share of tantrums and bicker with each other like the next set of siblings, but generally, I do have fun with my kids.

The conversation got me thinking; do most parents have fun with their children? Although my response to my friend’s question is true, I’ve certainly gone through seasons when fun has been harder to come by. We parents teach our kids table manners, interrupt sibling squabbles, pray for them, help them with homework, but do we actually have fun with them? Do we enjoy our kids for who they are, with their own quirks, sense of humor, and interests? And if not, is there a way to intentionally pursue more fun with our kids?

Join me over at For the Family for some ways to cultivate FUN with your kids this summer.