Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Peace Like a River

We live only a few hours south of where Sandy took out her fury. This hurricane was no joke. My heart aches for those that woke up to shambles rather than homes this morning. We were spared the catastrophic damage that many experienced yesterday and last night. I feel fortunate and broken. 

One of the things that amazes me with these storms is the calm that is left once they are gone. You look around and see the effects but the wind and rain are just gone. It's amazing. This morning my children needed to get out of the house so we drove around the area to see what Sandy left behind. I'm sure if we had left a little earlier in the morning there would have been more damage to document but honestly, it wasn't bad. Instead, I was able to get some beautiful fall photos as we drove down a rural road I've actually never been on before :)

When peace like a river

Attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot

Thou hast taught me to say

It is well

It is well

With my soul

Truly, let us keep those affected by this storm in our hearts and prayers. By all means, if you can reach out and help, do it. The Red Cross needs blood. With over 300 cancelled drives that account for over 9,000 units of blood/platelets, the need is great. My heart is heavy for those that have not only lost so much but are also spending their time rescuing and assisting citizens that are facing something they never imagined they would face. Let me encourage you to lift these people up in your prayers/

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meal Share Monday V.2 (Paleo Chicken Veggie Soup)

#mealsharemonday v.2 

(use this hashtag on instagram or twitter to link up your favorite meals!)

I'm writing this as Sandy moves in over the area... hoping we don't lose power but we'll see :) So far, it is windy and rainy but we have food to eat and stir crazy children, what more can you ask for??? :) 

Speaking of food, this week I prepared 2 BIG pots of chicken vegetable soup for our church family that was volunteering to get our church building ready for our ribbon cutting service we had yesterday. It was super tasty but there were only a few people working and lots of food so 1.5 pots came home to me. Yay for reheat meals- especially during a storm when all you want to do is sleep! 

Honestly, there isn't anything super original about this recipe but it is yummy and all my kids shovel it in.

Paleo Roasted Chicken Vegetable Soup

Roasted chicken:
1 Whole chicken
-3 cloves grated or finely choped/minced garlic
-salt & pepper
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-whatever other seasoning you like for your chicken

combine olive oil w/ garlic & all the seasons and then rub under the skin and on top of the skin. Bake @350 for 45 min-2hrs depending on the size of your chicken. When it is finished, let it cool some & pick the chicken off the carcass & set aside.

Homemade Chicken Stock:

After picking chicken from carcass, place all the bones in a pot w/ about 12 C of water & season w/ garlic, onions, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, basil, oregano & whatever else you may like. Heat slowly and simmer (not boil) for about 3 hours. After simmering, strain out all the bones, onion & garlic and even any meat that happened to come off in the water. At this point, that stuff doesn't have much flavor or nutritional value so don't feel bad tossing it.


Homemade chicken stock
picked chicken
3 cloves garlic (grated or finely chopped)
1 onions chopped
5 or 6 stalks celery chopped
1/2 head of cabbage chopped
1 lb bag of baby carrots (I cut them in half lengthwise)

When I made this, I split the stock into 2 pots and then added more water (in this case, pretty much double the veggies). If you just want one pot and don't care to have stock to freeze or use later, you could probably just use all the stock and not add water & season to taste :) Throw in all the veggies & chicken and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer until all the veggies are soft (maybe 30-45mins).


Saturday, October 27, 2012

5 minute friday (on Saturday): VOICE

A Voice.

Everyone has one. Even those that can't physically speak, have a voice. Far too often I have allowed insecurity, lies and fear hold me back from using my own voice. I am learning that even when I don't think what I have to say matters, say it any way. Chances are, if I feel compelled to share it, someone needs to receive it.

So I'm learning. It is a process but I'm learning to use my voice. I'm learning that what I say does matter. Who, how & what matter as well. God has given me a specific sphere of influence and when I choose to be quiet- be still- and listen, I am able to use it for His glory.

Maybe you are like me. You think you're voice doesn't matter. No one care what you have to say. People will judge you harshly for having those thoughts or they might perceive that you are self righteous. Let me encourage you to push past those insecurities. Push past those lies. Push past your fear. Even if you're little. Even if you're big. Even if your voice is really, really quiet or really really loud. Even if you cannot speak at all. 

In the end you may bless someone. 

You might just bless yourself.

Use your voice.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Embracing Lilly

Today I am embracing my sweetest little copy-cat. 

This is actually her, "I don't like this very much" face but mama got her kisses anyway :)

Lilly is such a goofball, monkey. She always has us rollin'! Most of the time she pretty much rolls with whatever but lately she has picked up some "terrible 2's" habits. You know, the regular screaming, laid out in the floor, kicking temper tantrums.

I'm embracing her no's and her giggles. Her screams and her songs. Her harshness and her I love you's. She loves hugs and kisses and 'Jesus loves me'. She climbs and jumps and never, never stops! 

We are so blessed to have this sweet girl in our lives. She fills our home with so much joy and I am incredibly blessed to spend every single day with her <3

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Are You a Bully?

He loves us. Oh how He loves us.

So why can't we love one another? The world & let's face it, equally as much the christian community, is swarming with selfish, manipulative, unloving girls/women. We backstab. We gossip. We hold grudges. We place blame. We are more concerned with ourselves than loving like Jesus loves. We bully and push to get what we want. 

October is anti-bullying month. While I've never been a victim of extreme bullying, I have experienced it and I've also seen the catastrophic repercussions from it in people close to me. My heart aches for people at the hands of a bully. It truly aches. So I've been going over and over and over in my heart about how to broach this topic here on my blog. Today, I just decided to start writing... seeing where it would lead. And I realized, I have often thought of bullying as an issue at school and is largely reported as a "teen to teen issue" but it is so much  bigger (and worse) than that. Bullies are everywhere. At school. At work. The grocery. The television. Facebook. The church. They are teachers, parents, preachers, reporters, strangers, friends. They are relentless; they will tear down until there is nothing left and then stomp on it. 

Bullying? In church? Call me crazy but I'm pretty sure even Jesus had to battle bullies and he didn't do it by walking on eggshells. In the Bible, they are called Pharisees. They walked around high & mighty making marks against anyone breaking The Law and the more people brought down, the better. They were very intelligent men but sadly deceived. They were fulfilled by crossing all their t's and dotting every i. Unfortunately, they missed the entire point.

So what then? As a believer, what does this mean? How do I battle bullying? How do I battle being a bully? As I've been in the word the past couple of weeks, I have continuously come back to our calling. Paul tells us to love one another. Love like Jesus, Jesus who loved us death. To death. Wow. When I look at my life I can honestly say without a doubt, much of the time, I don't love like that. But I can try. If His spirit is in me, it is my calling.

How do I do that? How do I love like Jesus? I mean, I can't literally die for everyone. Philippians 2 says to count others more significant than yourself. It brings the Father glory when we humble ourselves and love one another. I can't die for the world (Jesus did that) but I can die to me to the glory of the Father. Only when my spirit is filled with Him, am I able to pour out anything good. Apart from HIM I am nothing but as I come to know Jesus, I am filled with love and love pours out. And it doesn't even feel like humbling. It is natural. Passionate. And I don't condemn. I don't judge. I don't force law. It isn't manipulative. I love and it reveals the gospel. It reveals what He is all about... GRACE! 

Think about how many people walk around wounded, feeling forgotten and lonely, seeing no purpose in trying. Suicide may be selfish but so are those that ignore the damage that can be done by simple & selfish actions and words. Cutting, starving and abusing one's body may seem ridiculous, crazy or just plain stupid. Believe that these type of responses come from a place of desperation and need. A need for love and affection.  Ignoring the problem won't make it go away. Responding to your heavenly calling just might save a life.

This is a quote from my devotional today,

"For the love of the One who loved us all the way to earth, all the way to the cross, for His sake- let's love one another today."

There is so much more that could be said regarding this devastating issue but for now I will end with this...

STOP IT. Stop the judging and grudging. And for goodness sake, don't ignore it. If you see this happening to someone near you, call it out. Be a loving, kind support & point to Jesus. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meal Share Monday V.1


If you know anything about my family, it is that we like to cook/eat. My husband has a natural gift for putting really good flavor together. He can grill, smoke, saute, etc. just about anything and it will taste good. He hasn't baked much but that's all good since sugar is evil. :) That being said, it isn't a surprise that even with the changes we've made to our diet, we still eat 

Probably the #1 question I get when I say we are now eating paleo is, "WHAT do you eat?!" Honestly, it is easier to answer that with what we DON'T eat. (i.e. sugar, grains, pretty much anything processed & legumes)

Last night it occurred to me that we could be sharing some of our creations with the world... 


Meal Share Monday

Each Monday I will share at least one of our favorite meals from the past week including a recipe so you can attempt to recreate (if you so please) in your own kitchen :) 

First up, this one happens to be created by the ladies (Me & my friend Kelly):

Grilled Chicken w/ Dirty Greens & Baked Sweet Potato
Serves 4 Adults

Chicken of your choice that you like to grill (We used boneless skinless chicken breast & bone-in chicken thighs- whatever you prefer/have on hand) seasoned to taste. (Thank you Papa Cain for your grilling skills :))

-4 Sweet Potatoes
-~2 C balsamic vinegar
-1/2 T agave
-~1/4C coconut milk
-1t vanilla extract
-4 slices of bacon (nitrate/nitrite/sugar free)
-salt&pepper to taste

-Kale (about the equivalent of 3 bunches) I'm actually not 100% certain how much kale we used because one of Papa Cain's co-workers gave us literally a black trash bag FULL of fresh picked, pesticide free kale straight from his garden. #blessings
-bacon grease from 4 slices of bacon
-3 cloves of garlic (minced or I just use a hand grater and grate it right into the pan)
-salt&pepper to taste
-hot sauce of your choice (watch out for sugar and added ingredients though)

The chicken is pretty easy- season & grill it.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake for about 45 mins- 1hr or until soft. 

Heat balsamic vinegar on stove top and simmer until reduced to a kind of thick saucy yumminess. 

Sizzle up some bacon in the pan you are going to cook your kale in. When it is finished remove bacon and set aside, leaving the grease in the pan. Clean and tear apart the kale from the tough stem and put it in the pan. Go ahead and throw in whatever you are seasoning it with- garlic, salt, pepper, etc. Let that hang out for quite a while until the kale is nice and soft. After you plate it, drizzle with some hot sauce & be very, very happy :)

When the potatoes are nice and soft, remove from oven and unwrap. Slice the potatoes open and scoop out the insides and put in a large bowl. Add coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla & agave and mash together. Scoop the potatoes back into the shells and sprinkle with bacon & drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction. 

Information only: I don't really write recipes so I hope this makes sense. If you have any questions, just comment below- I'll do my best to help you out. Also, the sweet potatoes were as good as dessert. I'm not kidding you. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

5 Minute Sunday {Look}

I have participated in this fun writers flash mob once before. Today I am joining up for a 5 minute Friday Sunday. Call me an innovator.

 Basically,  you're given a word and have 5 minutes to write. Unedited. Right from your head to the keyboard. If you have a blog, I would encourage you to join in sometime. It is fun and a good writing exercise. Plus, you get to be blessed by reading other bloggers 5 min blurbs :)

So without further adieu... 


"Look at me, Mommy! Look!" 
"Mommy, you're not looking." 

How often do I glance but do not look? Look but do not see? Allowing this life to pass by. My children. My husband. The lost. Allowing my vision to be clouded by the worries of this world. 

Oh Lord, open my eyes. Help me to look. Help me to see. Help me to slow down and soak in the wonders of this world. The wonders that are infront of me 

Forgive me for my selfishness. To only glance or not even glance. 

"Yeah, yeah." 
"Uh huh."
"Isn't that nice?" 

Without even a care or second thought. Sarah, don't cheat yourself of the blessings. Just take a moment.


You'll be glad you did.

I'm on a BOAT! :)

Five Minute Friday

Friday, October 19, 2012

I am strong

Friday!!! Yay! I always like Friday because it means we get to have daddy home for two days. It means farmer's market & fun stuff with the kiddos. It usually means sleeping in (for me). We're hoping to make it to the pumpkin patch tomorrow :) YAY! Friday!!!

Here are some favorites from this week :D

As I've shared before, I have been in community with some seriously Jesus loving women over the internet. We've now gone through multiple books of the Bible together. Prayed for one another and some were even able to connect in person at a conference last week. cue jealousy. I'm kidding. Sort of. This past couple of weeks we worked our way through Ephesians. What a blessing it has been! The Lord is reminding me again how desperate I am for Him & his grace. I am secure in the gospel. I know that much. Here's my issue:

Ephesians 5:8 "for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."

It's the walking part. Do my children see light in me or do they see grouchy mama? Does my husband receive grace and love from me or darkness and frustration? Am I serving others in love or for self gain? Don't get me wrong; I'm not beating myself up. The truth is, I'm prideful and selfish and seeking. I am growing. He's already done the work, I just need to walk in it. Prayerfully, intentionally, walk. BAM! 

Speaking of walking... how about this...

We just passed our 30 day mark in the Lurong Paleo Challenge. 30 days, clean eating. NO CHEATS! No cheese, no sugar, no creeeeaaammmeeerrrr. for.30.days. Still another month to go but it's good. I am so proud of my hubby for sticking with me on this. He has seen SO many benefits from it, I don't know why he would even want to cheat anyway :) I've kicked the caffeine addiction. Sugar, gone. I still want cheese but we're doing well and eating GOOD FOOD. Next is to work my kids into this but that is a lot of work for this mama so we'll have to see. 

Also: This morning, I performed a 105# deadlift! Got that thing off the floor like 21 times! I'm far from the strongest in our gym (probably one of the weakest) but this is such a HUGE accomplishment for me! Channeling that inner athlete :) I'm sore but so proud. Watch out... Mama Cain is gettin' serious. Mama Cain is gettin' fit!

And while we're on the subject of favorites & proud moments...

Check out this sweet moment I walked in on the other night. I had gone to get jammies or something for the girls & came in to find Malakai "reading" to his sisters. Such sweetness. My children bring me such encouragement when I am graced with moments like this. It wasn't planned or coached. He loves them and they love him. And it is so precious.

Hope you enjoyed your Friday & enjoy yet another beautiful fall weekend :) Take a moment to stop and remember some favorite moments from this past week and offer up some thanksgiving :)

friday favorite things | finding joy

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I'm a little sad that I've spent the past 2.5 years growing my hair out and it seems to pretty much always end up in a messy bun. I noticed yesterday that it is starting to look pretty sad. That being said, I'm still okay with being in photos with my kiddos any day of the week :) Showered, unshowered. Brushed, messy, whatever. Wearing a winnie the pooh shirt... why not? Today, I'm embracing post (too short) nap babies. I'm embracing seasons. I'm embracing contentment. I'm embracing toys on the floor and a kitchen that I clean but it never seems clean. Today, I'm embracing little moments. Blessings from above. Oh and of course, adorable little boy costumes.

Y'all, I'm considering this adorable costume and small love note from Jesus. Malakai has been all over the place with deciding what to dress up as. His top pick was a witch, WHICH mama overrode. Next choice has varied between all of The Avengers. I was waiting to see what he would settle on (or at least pick most days) before attempting to fulfill his desire. Wouldn't you know, our apartment manger had costumes sitting in a closet just waiting to be adopted. Hanging right there, in his size (the only one his size) was Thor. Probably wasn't his first pick but he has fallen in love. He can't wait to get his hammer and is learning what it means to be blessed. He generously offered up a Buzz Lightyear costume (that was too small & he never wore) to donate for some other child to have. Fun times. I love how the Lord cares about even the little things.

I think she was bitter I managed to get a second photo with her face in it. Poor girl. But seriously, the hand is bigger than her head! :)


Lilly really wasn't into the whole photo op deal today. She avoided at all cost.

Good night, all!

so, have you ever joined us for embrace the camera?
if not, what's holding you back?
you do realize that your little people won't care what you look like, right?  they love you, even with those extra pounds---that greasy hair---those sweats that you never get out of.
they love you.
isn't that enough?
join us today, won't you?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Wednesday is usually an easy blog post to scoot through because I can always use the whole "wordless wednesday" deal but unfortunately, I've been a slacker and haven't taken many photos today or even this week. :( I guess I'll just have to write... 

In recent weeks, I have continually come back to this issue within my heart. I have this nagging "need" for things to be convenient for me. Whether it be my meals, my kids, my husband... whatever. If things aren't going my way or force me to get off my tush, I can feel the frustration rise up. The more I recognize it, the more sick I am becoming to this quality in myself. I mean, I know everyone is inherently selfish but if nothing else, I can see the Lord working on pruning this out of me. 

It is time to get intentional.

Intentional in my marriage. Look for way to bless my husband and serve him. I was reading in Ephesians the other day and asking myself, "how can I apply this calling to be my husband's helper?" The last note on a small list I made says this, "Ask him what his needs are." Profound, right? Now ask me if I've done it yet. Wait, scratch that, don't ask. Next on the list... DO IT! 

Intentional in my parenting. God has blessed me with the incredible responsibility of training up 3 little people. I struggle with gentleness. I struggle with patience. I struggle with a lot of things when it comes to this area. Worst of all, I get to see it all thrown right back in my face when they open their little mouths. It is humbling and has the potential to be extremely discouraging. There isn't an easy answer except to continue seeking His face. Continue seeking to know Him. To get out of my own way and up off my butt and be a parent. Just... DO IT!

So what does that look like? It looks like me getting up earlier than my kids (which happens at least a couple of times a week). It means setting aside time everyday. EVERYDAY to be in the Word. And praying constantly. Praying by myself. Praying with my kids. It means seeking out teaching moments and paying enough attention to recognize when they arise so I can take full advantage. It looks like me asking the Lord for wisdom that only he can give. Realizing that ultimately, my joy, peace, strength and everything good, comes from Him. 

Be intentional.
Receive grace.
Look forward.
Just do it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Going to bed now.

I realize I didn't post yesterday. I'm not even really bummed about it. Some times it just isn't worth forcing. I almost went to bed just now without posting again but that would just be sad :)

Honestly, I am so exhausted that even though I want to write, I don't have it in me. Sooooo.... I'll share some sweet moments with you :)

First up, I find it so funny and sweet that as soon as they see suds in their siblings hair, they want to get their hands in it.

This is just super sweet. While this happens to be Lilly, Malakai has gotten so sweet with both of his sisters. Actually, yesterday I walked in the living room to find Ava sitting on Malakai's lap at his request. It is such a wonderful thing to see friendships growing between my littles. I know how much my siblings mean to me and I hope to see my kids grow up loving & cherishing their relationships with one another. 

Unfortunately, that's all I have for you right now. My head is telling me to

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I like him.

Due to my selfishness, my anniversary almost sucked. Thankfully, I realized my shortcomings and also have a good catch. Our celebrating was split up a bit but ultimately, we were able to spend some nice time together in honor of five years together in marriage. Friday night (after putting kids to bed) we had a nice dinner at home of: grilled steak, scallops & acorn squash. Michael discovered a new love in his life (aka: scallops). Let me tell you, I thank God for a man that has a gift for cooking food. Spoiled I am. 

Saturday, he was gone all day at drill ::sadface:: so the kids and I hung out at the farmers market & target. I love that my kids look forward to "market" every week and they eat lots of fresh, local food :) My sister, kindly, drove over (from a couple hours away) to keep me company and spend some time with the kids since we weren't sure when Daddy would be back. As it turned out, Michael was able to leave early from drill so my sister stayed with her niblings (including putting them to bed) so we could go out.... alone. To top it off, we had TWO other people OFFER to watch our kids so we would be able to go out. Talk about a God that blesses abundantly. I don't think words can express the appreciation we have for the willingness of our friends/family to be there for us. So sweet and incredibly meaningful. You all truly blessed us.

Thank goodness I was able to get over myself and be content with my circumstances. When it comes down to it, I love my husband. I wouldn't want to spend my time with anyone else. NO ONE else would put up with my crap. And he still enjoys coming home to me... even though I'm a jerk sometimes. I've got it good. 

And I like him. 
I really like him.

Photo Credit: In His Grace Photography

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Five years

 Five years ago, I married my best friend. 

Michael, I love you more than yesterday.

Even better, I still like you.

You're still my favorite & my best.

Really Really.


Photo Credits: In His Grace Photography

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Rehearsal

This day, 5 years ago, I was getting pretty anxious for the biggest event since my birth. I was just one day away from marrying my high school sweetheart. The day was filled with busyness. Lots of familiar faces gathered in one place to help us prepare. Such sweet people that served and sacrificed more than I could have known at the time.

I figured it would be nice to revisit and share some of the photos from our rehearsal/rehearsal dinner.

The boys :)

Father & son- aka: best man & groom :)

Practicing the entrance ;)

Two of them are cut out in the picture but these girls mean the world to me. I know that in 30 years, I will still know that these were the right women to have by my side.  *oh and everyone should have a bell girl in their wedding :)

2 of the kindest, godly, loving women I know. They made that rehearsal dinner amazing :)

These two men give me a glimpse of my man in a "few" years. 2 generations of loving, gentle, caring men.

My mother in-law did a beautiful job of decorating and preparing a wonderful dinner!

This super awesome couple provided sweet music & some fabulous dancing!

This sweet couple opened up their home for us to come eat, dance & have a great time!

Looking back makes me realize how much truly changes in five  short years. Babies in a sling are now in kindergarten, the awkward middle schooler is about to graduate high school, some are now married w/ kids. It is just amazing to think back and realize we had no idea how wonderful our life was going to become. no.i.dea. That night was stressful and emotional but lead up to one of the best promises I have ever made.