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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ginger Chicken

I'm making this for supper tonight.  I intend to wrap it up with sticky (glutinous) rice in banana leaves.  But if you don't have those you can serve with some rice and a veggie.

Marinate 3 Chicken Breasts in:

1 T grated fresh ginger
1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T apple cider vineager
2 T italian dressing
1 T soy sauce (or Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
2 T olive oil
1 t. sesame oil (the toasted Asian kind - should be dark and fragrant)

Let it sit for 1-3 hours.

Sprinkle with salt & pepper or/and seasoning salt.

Cut into chunks and saute in a pan over high heat.

Thinly julienne 2 big carrots.  Slice an onion.

Throw these in with the sauteeing chicken.

Stir around, while in a separate pan boil down the marinade.  When it is reduced to about 1-3 T's (you guess), pour over the chicken, carrot, onion mixture.  Saute a minute or two longer.



If you want a sauce follow the next step:

Remove the mix from the pan, leaving any residue behind.
Dump in 1 T cornstarch.  Add 1 T butter and brown lightly.  Slowly add 1 or more cups of chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  Let it cool and thicken.  If you want, add 1-2 T's of apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar.  Pour over your chicken mix.

(I am not doing the last step - I'll put a heaping spoon of cooked rice in the banana leaf, spoon over a bit of chicken, push it down into the middle and wrap and tie up the banana leaf.  I'll let it sit in a warm oven for 20-30 mins before serving).



Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Easy Granola

I made this Granola today for the family.  Note - though Granola made at home lacks a lot of fillers and extra unhealthy ingredients, this does not mean one can gorge him/herself freely and think the calories don't add up!  They do!  Lots of other websites give great 'healthier' versions of granola.  I figure I'll just make it my way and use as a condiment rather than to consume by the bowlful.  Granola is deceptive in that many think it is a great 'health' food - which because the main ingredient is oats, it is - however it is highly caloric and will not really be a great addition to a diet looking to curb calories etc.

This is great sprinkled on ice cream (more health food anyone?!) or you can add a spoonful to non-sweetened cereals, or if you are looking to bulk up, just eat by the bowlful!

This is a heaping amount - enough for a big family!

12 c. oats
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour (I used a mix of brown, white, oat flour combined with wheat germ and wheat bran - I call it my 'power flour' mix)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 c. coconut
1 - 1 1/2 c. chopped nuts

Mix these together.

Warm up together:
1 1/2 c. oil (coconut oil? or butter? - you choose)
1 1/2 c. honey (if you're being cheap you can substitute some other liquid sweetener - I had liquid raw sugar on hand and used some of that - also Lyle's Golden Syrup - not sold in U.S. grocery stores for the most part).

Stir into liquid:
1 1/2 T vanilla
1 T almond extract

Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients.

Spread on all cookie sheets available in your house.
Bake at 300 for 40 mins.
(I did the convection bake at 325 for 35 mins - with more stirring in between).

Here's the secret to perfect granola:
When you take it out of the oven it will seem soft and you will think, 'Hmm, I need to bake it longer or it will be mushy!'  Not so fast!  Take it out, let it sit for 30 mins or so, after stirring it first, and wait and see if it turns crispy.  It should!  I always tended to overbake mine and not realize that it would get crispier as it sat and dried out.  (The sugar part of it makes it soft and sticky when hot, but when it cools off it turns crunchy).  Believe me - it really works!

At the end, stir in together in a big bowl to break up any clumps and leave to cool for a while.  Then add any extras you like - raisins, extra nuts, extra dried fruit, a box of rice crispies or such.

I do other Granola recipes too - but this one I like a lot.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 Years Ago... (Graphic details birth story - fair warning).

This was me ten years ago today.

After having Caleb and seeing how delightful a child he was, and how wonderful it was to be a Mommy, when he was about 10 months old we thought, 'One is good.  Two must be better!'  And soon after that we took the pregnancy test and it was positive!

When Caleb turned 1 and began walking we suddenly realized what we had done.  How on earth would we manage two mobile creatures?  How would I get through morning sickness while chasing a toddler?  I still don't have an answer for that.  But we did.  Somehow.

(It was such a blessing that Caleb was so content to sit and look at books on his own - sometimes for more than an hour!)


Sure enough that summer Sam had a business trip to Hong Kong and China.  I got to tag along - with 1 yr. old Caleb in tow.  I don't remember much from that trip other than the nostalgia and longing I had to be back there.  I remember throwing up in a taxi.  It was a fun time!




We got back to the U.S. and bought a house and began life in West Chicago.

My pregnancy went okay - but nearing the end I felt huge and tired and sluggish - moreso than I thought was normal.  In fact, it was more 'hugeness' and 'tiredness' than normal.  (Because I was an undiagnosed gestational diabetic - which we didn't know at the time).  My sugars only skyrocket near the end, so I passed the initial tests and they didn't re-test much at that time (they do now!)

I had had a homebirth with Caleb (someday I'll tell that story), and decided against it the 2nd time 'round.  (Good thinking!)  But I think the Dr's viewed me with suspicion.  You know, that's the homebirth lady.  Be careful.  She may just walk out last minute.  Or some such thing.

They warned me this was a very big baby.  They mentioned being induced but never pushed it on me.  Finally, at my 39 week visit I said to the Dr. 'I really feel tired all the time.  I'm sluggish and sleepy and I don't feel quite normal, whatever normal looks like at 39 weeks.  I would be up for being induced, if you think it's warranted.'  With relief, they said 'Okay.'

We went in early on Wednesday and they hooked me up and did all the stuff they do in hospitals to deliver babies.  When I got to the pain part I said, 'Bring on the epidural!'  And they did.  And it was wonderful.  I took a nap.

At 5 p.m. or so they checked and it was time to push.  I began.  And nothing happened.  I kept going.  Nothing happened.  I was prepared for that because with Caleb it was about 5 hours of pushing - after 20 hours of labour.  In hospitals they try to keep it under 2 hours.  There is good reason for this.  With Caleb I ended up with a fractured tailbone that took over 10 months to heal.  Pushing that long wasn't a great idea in my predicament.  But for homebirth fanatics - be my guest.  Just not something I'd ever want to do again!

10 minutes shy of two hours the Dr. said if we can't get her out we need to do an emergency c-section.

At long last her head was birthed.  But not the rest of her.  She was stuck.

This is a precarious situation - for her mostly.  If a baby gets stuck like that and can't be birthed they will have to break the child's collar bone - with possible lasting damage.  The Dr. called into the hall, 'I need help in here!'

A rush of every nurse on the floor came in and surrounded the bed.  (Okay, not every nurse - maybe 8 or so).  They looked me in the eye and said, 'Sorry in advance.  We're gonna have to do this!'  They put their fists on my belly and said, '1, 2, 3 - Push!' and mashed down with great force.

And Priscilla was born!

She weighed in at 10 whopping pounds.  I took one look at her and said, 'Now I know why I felt that way!'

In the initial checks her breathing was shown to be rapid and shallow.  Her blood sugars were dangerously low.  They wrapped her up, gave her to me, timed 1 minute and said, 'We need to take her right away to NICU.'  And away she went.

I was just dizzy from the whole ordeal.  Exhausted.  Bruised.  And now she was gone.

It was a crazy, strange, kind of sad, surreal feeling.

I didn't get to see her 'til the middle of the night.  I kept thinking, 'I thought I just had a baby, but where is she?'  But I knew she was being looked after in the NICU.  "Lord, look after her, will you, since I can't be there!" I prayed.

Finally they were able to wheel me down to the NICU to see her.  I finally got to examine her and see what God had formed in me.  She was so chubby!  She looked the size of a 3 month old.  We were concerned because she did have some bruising on her arm from the emergency ejection.  Sometimes this kind of thing can lead to long term nerve damage and she wouldn't be able to use her arm properly. But after a day or two they re-tested her arm strength and she recovered fine.

There was a sweet Asian nurse in the NICU - quite elderly and very experienced.  She said, 'Most babies in NICU, very tiny!  She, very, very BIG.  We say, tiny baby - not so good - very big baby - not so good.  In the middle - just right!'  Wise words!  Although I guess you could say bigger is better than smaller as far as outcomes.

It was very kind of the hospital at the time to allow me to stay one extra night as there was extra space so that I could be near Priscilla since she was needing to stay longer.  But on Saturday it was time for me to leave, but not Priscilla.  I remember coming home without her and feeling very strange.  Didn't I just have a baby, I thought?  Where is she?


The next day they told us her blood sugars were stable and that she could come home - so we only had to endure that one night away from her.  We went to pick her up at the hospital on Sunday morning on our way to Church.  On the way to Church we asked Caleb what he thought of his little sister.  He bonked her on the head with the truck he was holding.  Guess that was our answer.

In looking back we know we should have kept her home that first week or two.  But we were happy-go-lucky eager to be with friends and let them see her.  So to Church we went.  And when everyone saw her they understood why I was so miserable the last few weeks.


But life settled into routine after that.  I was overwhelmed with having two little ones, but God was so gracious to give me the time with them - to be home, to enjoy them, to watch them grow, to see their first smiles, to watch the days go by with nothing accomplished but simply loving my kids.

(Pardon the orange shirt!)














Priscilla has been such a joy these last 10 years.  She adds SO much to our family.  I call her 'little Mommy' because she takes on the challenges of the little siblings so often and so well.  This last year as we've homeschooled I've come to see and know her even more and delight in the person God is making her to be.

I love you Priscilla!  I thank God for you and for the Princess you are - learning to love Him and walk as His daughter!





Monday, January 21, 2013

Sister Pictures - Priscilla and Hannah

For my friends who aren't in Facebook land, I'll post some pics here I took last week of the girls in their lovely Christmas dresses - sent by my Mom (she had them made from a piano cover!).

























As if I COULD make my Marriage Work!

Today I'll link you up to my blog at A Biblical Marriage.

In this post I give a few pointers for managing conflict in marriage.  Needless to say, I've had a lot of background in that area! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

I Can't Make My Marriage Work!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Unforgiveness is Like the Flu

I don't generally struggle with unforgiveness.  But lest I speak too soon, I've had a bout of it lately.  And as the days pass and my demeanor improves I am feeling a bit like how I felt when recovering from the flu last month.

And it hit me:  Unforgiveness is like the flu.

You see, when I had the flu last month, I was miserable.

I found it hard to sleep because I was achy and sore and stuffy.  But sleep was what I really wanted and needed.  But the pain in my bones kept me uptight and unrelaxed making sleep very difficult.

Unforgiveness has done the same thing to me.  It made me uptight.  Unrelaxed.  Fidgety.  Unable to sleep.

The flu made me miserable.  Unforgiveness did the same.

Also, the flu is highly contagious.

I would venture to say that unforgiveness also breeds itself in seedy environments where festering, brooding and spill-over occurs.  When others catch a whiff of your bitter insolence it plants toxic seeds in their memory banks of what is possible in the human psyche.  These seeds can reproduce themselves until you have a replicated full-blown case of unforgiveness in a second contaminant.

When I finally did get some sleep with the flu, I tossed and turned and woke up early, not refreshed, not feeling much better.

Unforgiveness had the same effect.  When I woke up I wished I could be sleeping again.  But my anger burned.  Unforgiveness had its grip on me and I could not get relief.  At least with the flu there is ibuprofen or benadryl.  But these won't affect an agitated heart.  I'd say unforgiveness is worse than the flu.  It infects your soul and can creep into your body too.  I'd much rather have a miserable body and a heart at peace than vice versa.

With the flu I had no appetite - the upside of it all was I lost 5 pounds!  (Which were swiftly re-gained over Christmas...*sigh*).

Interestingly, unforgiveness has stolen my all-too-robust appetite.  This is perhaps a fringe benefit in our culture of eating less and being thin.  But if our appetite is nixed in the long-term, this is detrimental to a healthy body.  The other downside is that it is not just my physical appetite that vanished, but my appetite for normative, healthy, nourishing food.  I tended to want to eat junk food - because I was physically hungry, but had no interest in preparing or consuming proper meals.

Unforgiveness...?

           The Flu...?

                        Unforgiveness...?

                                       The Flu...?

Which has got you?

Be careful during this flu season.

But be far more careful  with the condition of your soul.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Anger in Parenting Part 2

A long time back I wrote about anger in parenting.  I think it's time I revisit this subject.

Because as I ponder it I realize that I still think it is healthy for children - especially as they get older - to know that:

1. Anger is a powerful emotion that has a proper place in the home.
2. Anger is meant to be controlled.
3. Anger can provoke fear - and fear is not always to be avoided.
4. Anger is appropriate at times.
5. Anger needs to be addressed, dealt with and expressed in a healthy way.

As I have considered all the feedback I realize that anger is wrong when it:

1. Is based on my selfish desires and wishes.
2. Is focussed on retribution or retaliation.
3. Is not instructive but merely biting or hurtful.
4. Is out of control.

These thoughts raise some theological questions, as all thoughts should in any thinking person.  Namely, God, as a perfect parent, does get angry.  Sin, unrighteousness, injustice, degrading one another, tearing down those He created as His own image bearers, rebellion, unrepentance, pride, arrogance, haughtiness, superiority, unforgiveness - these all bear the wrath of God - and rightly so.

If our children grow up devoid of any sense of righteous indignant anger on our part as parents, are we truly revealing to them the character of God?

I really believe the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  And I believe fear means fear.  As in afraid.  Shaking in our boots.  Woe-is-me type fear.

We should be afraid of the wrath of God and our children should be afraid to incur our wrath - no question.

Should we love God less?  No - where else can we turn - He has the words of eternal life!
Should we fear to approach Him?  No - when covered in the atoning blood of His perfect Son we stand shielded from His mighty wrath.  Should we then deny His wrath exists?  No - we should humbly adore and gratefully devote ourselves to Him for undertaking our just punishment.

Should our children love us less because they fear us?

No.

In homes where I see strong discipline and children who almost shake in their boots in the presence of their fathers I also see deep loyalty, respect, devotion, affection and love towards this one they respect so highly.

Children need strong parents - it goes without saying - but I'll say it.  It is almost cliche by now, but I really believe wet-noodle parenting yields disastrous results.

I fail at many turns and in this way of course I do not emulate God as a parent.  But I believe it also behooves us as parents to repent of our failings and demonstrate humility and our frail humanity and show them what it looks like to fail.  But in apologizing to our children, when it is called for, I do think it is important to make clear to our children that regardless of our failings it is not their place to critique us as parents (unless we invite their input at a neutral time), or to gloat over their parents when they do fail.  I have often apologized to my children and at the same time told them that they are still required to respect and obey me even when I make mistakes or am wrong in my attitude.

So many parents live in perpetual guilt that they are afraid to call their kids to respect and honour their God-given authority.

Some would tell me that we must always be gentle in our tone, always building up in everything we say.  Scripture does teach this - but Jesus often demonstrated to us that 'building up' may include correction, rebuke and a call to change.  I somehow cannot see Jesus saying to Peter - his close friend - 'Get thee behind me Satan!' in a syruppy sweet voice.  We don't know what tone he used.  We don't know the tone He used with the Pharisees - 'You white washed sepulchres!'  We can only guess.

When our children demonstrate foolishness, insolence, rebellion, unrepentance, haughtiness and disobedience I do believe we have not only the freedom, but the obligation to communicate to them the dangerous ground they are standing on.  If we do that with an edge in our voice, a seriousness in our tone and a rebuke on our tongue, so be it.  They need to fear God.

Their lives depend on it.




Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Love Your Neighbour

I was just thinking about how Jesus told us to "Love your neighbour as yourself."

Lately I've noticed a trend.
A do-gooding trend.
A trend in the Church.
A 'let's do lot's of nice things for those outside our walls' trend.

Which is great.

I applaud it!

But let's not forget that Jesus taught us to first love our neighbour.

It is so easy to lose ourselves in 'good works' - feeding the hungry, going across the globe to the poor and needy, reaching out in the community, thinking of nice things to do for others... and forget to show love to those closest to us.

Who is my neighbour?

Let's start with: my spouse, my children, those in close proximity to me, those in my church.

What good is it to do a lot of 'good' things for needy people if you despise those closest to you?
What good are your good works if you harbour bitterness and resentment towards those nearest you?

Really, what good is it?

If we can't show love to our neighbour our good works are worse than a clanging cymbal.  They are useless.  They can't make up for the harm we do our neighbour when we are rude, insolent, judging, mean, unkind, hurtful, angry, disrespectful and ugly.

So, before you jump on the good-works wagon - go out and really, REALLY love your neighbour.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dear Little Girl Bullies

Dear Little Girl Bullies,

You could be any age, but for my purposes I will address this to the 6-12 year old range.

I have come across you a few times in my short life as a parent.  I want you to read and listen and learn and change as a result of this letter.

I am well aware that my little boys may cause you distress.  They probably provoke, annoy and are bothered more than they should.  I, as their mother, seek to address their deplorable behaviour and attitudes.  I would appreciate your help in coming to me if my sons have caused you problems in any way.  That aside, I'd like to address your deplorable behaviour.

I used to think little girls were sweet, harmless, angelic creatures who were a positive inclusion in my child's life.  I used to think little girls would be a blessing to my sons and inspire them to kindness, mercy, grace, understanding and soften their rough edges.  I now see that little girl bullies are also a blessing to my child, but in another way.

I see you as a blessing because you teach my child patience.  Your disturbing attitudes, mockery, put-downs, instigating, attempts to incriminate and otherwise wreak emotional havoc in my child's life are a blessing to him as he grows.  He will learn that some people can't be trusted.  He will learn that innocent friendship isn't to be had by all.  He will learn to guard his heart.  He will learn to grow in kindness towards those who mistreat him.  He will learn all these things - yet I fear for your loss little Bully.

Because you lose out.  You lose the opportunity to develop what could be a lifelong friendship with my wonderful son.  Do you know I continue to relate in a very distant way to my classmates of my childhood?  How might I feel if in my early years I had mistreated them?  How do you think you will feel as you grow and change and move on in life knowing you left a trail of bitterness and enemies behind you?  Have you thought about what your attitudes and actions mean for your relationships for the rest of your life?  Have you considered how your reputation may be smeared by the nastiness you engage in on a day-to-day basis?

I would say 'shame on you' but I won't.  Instead I will simply ask you to leave my child alone.  I would ask you to open your Bible and meditate upon the following verses:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful for building one another up."

   "As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;  ... in hard work... in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;  in truthful speech and in the power of God."

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...,"


"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."


Those are just a few to start you off - there are many more where they came from.


I am not mad at you.  Just disappointed.  Just sorry for what you are losing.


I do not mean to make it sound as if my children are innocent.  Every day we struggle with being bullies to each other in our home.  This is what family life looks like for us.  They over-step their bounds.  They fail.  They are embarrassed, undisciplined, bitter, not always repentant, judgemental, graceless, unkind, rude, difficult.  You name it - our children struggle as any do.


We as parents continue to deal with these difficulties in family life.  I would simply ask you to not add to our burden.  Seek to be a joy, to think of others more than your immediate gleeful pleasure of having victory over your chosen victim.


That is my advice to you, little Bully.


Grow up.  It's high time you learned to.


I'm not asking for perfection.


I'm asking for humility.


Joy.


Love.


Grace.


Kindness.


Peace.  


Change.


Growth.


Thoughtfulness.


That's all.  Not a tall order is it?  Okay, maybe it is.


But I just needed to get this off my chest, because you know - I only have a million things to do today what with five kids and a Mother-in-law to attend to, and your baggage is wasting my time.  


You're welcome to come talk to me any time.


Your friend and patient adviser:


Sarah Logan


P.S.  A note to parents out there:  What would you do?  What would you say to your kid about coping with a tormentor?  What would you say to the child who is malicious against your own?  I'd love your input/feedback!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Model Your Marriage After those in the Bible? Hmmm...

Today instead of posting a blog here I'm linking you to A Biblical Marriage.  This is a two-part article looking at some of the marriages in the Bible.  Basically I just skimmed the surface.  I'm not necessarily saying we need to follow the examples of the characters in the Bible (unless God tells us to - like telling us to be like Sarah in hoping in God etc.).  I'm just saying that marriages in the Bible didn't exactly look all hunky-dory and romantic-like the way we think they should be!

Here's the link!  Enjoy!

So, you want a BIBLICAL marriage? - Part 1

And now, here's part 2:

So, you want a BIBLICAL marriage? - Part 2

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's in YOUR name?

Do you ever wonder why you have been given the name you have?  If we really believe God is sovereign over all things, then I suppose we must assume the name we have been given is under His auspices as well.  Maybe you have been named for something silly that has no meaning to you.  No matter - perhaps it was only to teach you to be more thoughtful in your name choices for your children.  See - I like to find a reason behind everything and in everything.  Nothing is meaningless.  Unless you are Solomon writing Ecclesiastes who says, 'Everything is meaningless - there is nothing new under the sun!'  But I digress.

I haven't had to wonder very long why my name is Sarah.  I have given her character a lot of thought through the years but the one line that stands out to me is this from 1st Peter: "You are her daughters [referring to Sarah] if you do what is right and do not give way to fear..."  My guess is that with all that Sarah had to endure (being given into another king's harem of women/wives, being dragged away from home and country by her faith-filled adventuresome husband, being barren and longing for a child, being promised a child but not seeing it happen in her understanding of a time-frame, having a child at 99 years old - ouch/yikes! - you get the picture) - my guess is she may have been given to fear in her natural state.  And who wouldn't?!  A life like that would drive me to fearfulness - without the power of the Holy Spirit working in me.

I think God had me named Sarah for a very good reason.  A key lesson He has me constantly learning is the truth that He is in control, He is good, He is love, He loves me, His perfect love casts out fear, I can trust Him and I need not fear.

Again and again He tells me:

I am in control.

I am good.

I am love.

I love you.

I perfectly love you.

If you trust my love for you, you won't fear.

You can trust me.

You don't need to fear.



Yes, I repeat myself.  Because the lessons of my life get repeated like trying to hammer a concept into a sieve-like brain - because I am slow of heart to learn - because I learn and forget - because God so graciously doesn't give up on teaching me more of Who He is and who I am in His Son.

So, what is YOUR name, and what did God have for you in it?

Is your name Hannah, Anna, Grace or Anne?  All of these mean Grace.  Why might God have given you this name?

Are you named after a relative?  What shaped his/her life?  What did God want you to learn from his or her life?

Are you named after a famous person?  What lessons did God have for him/her?  What might you learn from them?

Are you named after a biblical character?  How might God want to teach you more of His purpose for you by such a name?

Our identities go far beyond what our nomenclature says about us.  But God was very careful to reveal Himself to us and others via His name: I AM.

The Door.

The Shepherd.

The Way.

The Truth.

The Life.

The Servant.

The Holy One.

The Messiah.

The Provider.

The Healer.


There are so many more - it could be a whole other study in and of itself.

But I just thought I'd toss that out there for your reflection, because so much can be learned from understanding what's in a name - both yours and God's.