website Wednesdays: 101 cookbooks/beautiful and scrumptious recipes to try

I love Heidi Swanson’s website filled with airy photos of beautiful food she prepared, places she’s traveled to and the unique flavor ideas she offers in her recipes. 

image from Heidi's siteHeidi’s description of how her site started makes me chuckle cause it sounds so much like something I would do: “The premise this site was built on is best summed up in two sentences: When you own over 100 cookbooks, it is time to stop buying, and start cooking. This site chronicles a cookbook collection, one recipe at a time.”

Since Dustin and I are on an adventure of incorporating more whole and plant based foods into our daily meals, I’ve been at a loss as to how to prepare these meals and what ingredients to buy! 

Heidi’s site, 101 cookbooks not only stimulated my visual-love-of-photography side, but also my taste buds. I’ve only tried two recipes from her site (I substituted some ingredients though cause I just happened to not have them in my kitchen…I may never have those ingredients haha) and they were both delicious!

I highly recommend her Coconut Red Lentil Soup. I made it last Sunday and it was delicious! The only thing is, don’t overcook the coconut milk. Make sure the lentils/beans (whatever you decide to add) are fully cooked and at the softness you desire before adding the coconut milk. I made the mistake of cooking it for too long and it totally changed the taste of the soup. Also, instead of the lentils she used in the recipe, feel free to use beans you already have. I used a bag of 17 beans and barley I found at Trader Joe’s. So feel free to substitute ingredients if you already know what you’re doing : ) Enjoy! 

website Wednesdays: A Holy Experience/the power of simple thankfulness

I’m excited to share with you a website that has been blessing my days and drawing me close and closer still to Jesus, A Holy Experience, the online journal of Ann Voskamp the auther of One Thousand Gifts

Ann describes herself as, “wife to The Farmer, mama to six, determined laundress, chief bottle washer, desperate Grace-clinger.” 

Her words from the pages of her book, One Thousand Gifts warmed my heart, drew me near the kindness of Jesus I was afraid to know and gave me hope of what the Lord can do with our messy lives. 

Both her book (which is currently number four on the New York Time’s bestseller’s list) and her online journal, draws out the softness in my heart I often want to forget and banish in order to get more things done and move on with life. 

At first, I totally judged her book by the cover. It looked too girly and full of fluff to me. But then Becky, my small group leader gave me the book after asking me to read it for several months to no avail.

But once I opened the book, I was hooked. It was difficult to put down. I love its spirit filled pages that drew me near Christ and the lyrical way Voskamp writes. Her writing style made me remember the joy I had in reading and writing poetry and prose in college.

I hope you get a chance to read her book and her journal. Whether male or female, the Lord has anointed her to draw people to the grace-filled kindness of Christ Jesus. Please also share it with your friends! It’s a wonderful resource, a light in the dark world we live in. Read the first chapter here for free! 

For All the Singles Out There:”I Will Wait for You” by JANETTE…IKZ

Wow this woman knows how to bring it on the topic of staying focused during your single season. I especially loved the line, “I will be the one drenched in Proverbs 31 waiting for you.” I loved that entire portion, the last half of the video dedicated to who she will be before her husband comes.

Yes Lord, help us all remember who we are in Your eyes, how we already are the apple of Your eye. 

I hope this encourages your hearts : ) Please share!

HealthTuesdays: Just a Spoonful of Sugar, the secret about sugar intake

Just as I promised, I’m going to take you slowly, step by step into improving your health. When I first started on the journey of healthy living (which was only a month ago) I was so overwhelmed by all the information out there. On top of that, much of the information I was coming across was so extreme in its choice of wording that I was really skeptical. 

But, as Dustin and I looked more into health, we both became convinced and hungry for the wonderful benefits of making healthy dietary choices. There are actually many diseases that can be cured or prevented by simply implementing a whole food plant based diet, not to mention the increase of energy you will have as a result. 

I thought that a perfect place to start is with sugar. 

Why is this delicious little friend bad for you? Well, mostly because the sugar we are consuming are not natural but highly processed. Corporations want to increase their revenue so they use cheap sugars such as high fructose corn syrup to sweeten their products. These affordable highly processed sugars are linked to most diseases and degenerative conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes just to name a few.

In the last 100 years, with the increase of the consumption of sugar, (where the average American is consuming nearly one pound of sugar per day) came an increase of diseases. You can read more scientific reports about the connection between sugar intake and disease here

Sugar also stimulates the same receptors that crack and cocaine does. Hm…maybe a hint that it just may not be that great for the human body. In light of that, don’t be surprised that as you cut back on it, you may feel some withdrawal symptoms. It may even take you awhile to quit the habit but just remember, one baby step at a time. 

Not all sugar is bad. Your body does need natural sugar to function but the problem is that we are eating WAY too much of it and the sugar we do eat is pretty much fake stuff that mess with our bodies.  

The body naturally will process sugar and turn it into energy but when we are feeding it non-stop, our bodies don’t have enough time to process it so it turns into fat stored up all over our bodies. Dr. Vaughn states that, “the combination of highly concentrated sugar and fats with an inactive lifestyle is the recipe for disease over time.” 

Not only does sugar create a recipe for disease, but when we eat a large amount of artificial (processed) foods, we are forced to overeat in order to feel satisfied resulting in the ever growing number of obesity in this country.  

Safe and Unsafe Sugars:

So what do we do now? Never eat sugar again? No, your body still needs sugar to function but we just need to extremely lower the intake and also choose to work towards feeding our body sugar from whole foods rather than the processed stuff. 

Sugars that are really bad for you: white processes sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sodas, store bought juice, powdered sugar even the diet sugars.

Alternatives you can use IN MODERATION to help to wean yourself off of sugar: stevia (herb that tastes sweet but does not contain any sugar), organic cane sugar, organic raw sugar and agave. There is actually no “good” sugars that you can replace the processed sugars with and continue in your normal daily intake.

An example of the amount of natural plant based food to eat in order to obtain the amount of sugar your body needs each day is (15 grams): one apple, a small orange, few berries etc.

Lastly, don’t try to replace your regular sodas with diet sodas. Diet sodas are actually worse for you than regular sodas. The ingredient used to make diet sodas, aspartame, can actually “destroy the nervous system of an already compromised diabetic” (Dr. Vaughn). 

If you found this helpful, please retweet, share this on facebook and email to your friends!


MarriageMondays: Honeymooning @ Tainan with Friends!

For our second stop, Dustin and I drove to Tainan. Taiwan’s original capitol. A place full of friends, history and food food food!

You must be thinking that we’re strange for meeting up with friends on our honeymoon. But actually for us it was fun. : ) 

On the first night, we met up with some of my friends, Candy and Amber for dinner. By this time, Dustin and I were both stuffed all the time from all the food. This is a picture of us with Candy and her parents. 

Amber also rode over on her scooter to join us.

We also got to hang out with Abby and Moses, the kids I used to live with. They’re now interning at the Living Water Church in Tainan, building the house of prayer at that church. 

Our friends took us to one of the many night markets Tainan is known for. Dustin didn’t really enjoy it though because he was both tired and doesn’t like the smell of stinky tofu and grilled squid. 

I had to divide up my photos of us in Tainan. I took a lot of picture of the food we ate and artsy places we visited in Tainan. I’ll post them next week.  

The Truth About Single-hood

I’ve been a bit weary of telling all you singles out there of the truth about what it is to be single. But as I talked over my worries with Dustin, he encouraged me that what I had to share, rather than discouraging (which is what I believe it would be) it’s actually encouraging. 

With every journey, unless there is vision, one looses sight of what every suffering and hardship is unto. One easily gives in to hopelessness.

So what is the purpose of this seemingly endless and torturous season of singlehood?  Is it merely to show that you’re unwanted, have some strange deficiency you can’t fix and that actually God has called you to celibacy without you knowing? Of course not! But those are mainly the doubts looming behind the emotions that escape every once in awhile…or more often than that? 

The purpose of your season as a single, like all seasons of life, is to draw you even deeper into knowing who Christ is. It is to draw you into marriage with your true Bridegroom. 

God has called us and given us grace to fulfill the first and greatest commandment, to love Him with our all. 

I’m so thankful for what the Lord did in my heart when I was still single. He opened up wounds to bring healing, truth and the water of His pure love into each and every scar He touched. With each spot He healed, I saw more clearly, stood straighter in who I am in His eyes. The fruits of my single season is what allows me to fully enjoy my marriage now. 

I can’t tell you that it’s not difficult, painful or lonely. It is. It is hard. It is lonely at times. You can’t escape it. You can run, you can put on another movie, read another book on relationship rather than talk to God about the pain He’s inviting you into. You can call up your girlfriends go out to Chipotle and then Starbucks afterwards. But it will still be waiting when you come home. It’ll be there next to you at night when you put your head on your pillow. 

The persistence of the Lord to expose each wound is not to torment you, it is His zeal for truth to come into your every part. We cannot delight in the Lord when we are fearful of Him, doubting His goodness by shrinking back. We delight in the Lord by allowing Him to help us take steps into each door He knocked on. As we delight in Him, His leadership, He gives us the desire of our hearts. As we delight in Him, it prepares us to fully receive, fully rejoice, fully marry every good and perfect gift He has and will give to us. 

So for all the singles out there, I pray that the Lord will strengthen you and release grace to your hearts to come to Him as you are and let Him put healing balm of His truth into your pain. 

Your pain is not evidence of your sinfulness, failure or rejection. It is an invitation to usher you into His glory. The enemy may whisper otherwise, but it is the truth. 

Through the pain of facing his rejection of Christ, Peter discovered the deep love of Christ, determined not by his faithfulness but by Christ’s alone. Speaking to Christ face to face after rejecting his beloved friend, Peter was healed of shame and raised to be the rock of the Church. 

These days are not in vain but unto greater glory. Unto blessed and joyful marriages. Unto children with healed parents, parents who know the Lord so they can lead their children further into Him. It’s unto marriage to the Lamb. 


Daily Reminder: God is SO proud of you!

Reminding you on this Saturday morning that God is so proud of you, no matter how you feel about yourself today, know that this is true. God is so proud of you. We stand not on what we feel, how we’re doing. Our solid rock, our firm foundation is the faithful unchanging love of God for us. 

Where Do I Put My Emotions?

I’ve always been emotional. I laugh, I cry, I pout. I didn’t know where to put all these feelings when they rose up in me. 

Then the Father started to slow me down and talk me into giving it to Him. He smiles and says come. He extends His hands when I expect them to be cold and closed. He runs to me when I expect Him to be back-turned. He holds me where I’m at. He meets my fearful eyes with kindness. He waits for me to speak and share. He opens His heart as I pour out mine. Slowly, I discover the great exchange. 

Not once does He utter those words, “you should have known better.” Never does the look of disapproval cross His eyes. He gives me His warmth for my cold. 

So I’m learning. To place each tear, each hurt, each wound, each bitter-rooted anger in His opened waiting palms. I talk to Him, come to His lap more often than I used to. I frequent His house. It’s slowly becoming my home. He shows me my room He has made for me. I sit and lay my head down. I rest and let Him hold my heart and not just the things I do for Him. I discover in this place, that I’ve been trying so hard to fix things on my own. 

Accustomed to independent problem solving, just one pair of hands and one mind I didn’t know how to let Him help. So I just raise my hands and sing His songs when I’m with others who are doing the same. Then crawl into my bed and try to solve the puzzle of my heart alone at night. 

I used to keep all my emotions tied up in a bundle within my heart until they collected dust and fermented into a deep bitter taste. But they grew and grew until I could no longer keep a lid on them. They would tumble over awkwardly and block my path.  They would invade and intrude rudely everywhere. 

But He came and said give them to me. Give it to me, over and over again. Until I am convinced He means what He says. 

He is teaching me the Gospel. The one I thought I knew so well but was actually a stranger to. Line by line, washing me in His truth. It’s growing on me, the Gospel. I discover the foundation underneath me is not covered with my own fingerprints but His. He has paid the price so now I am righteous and holy. There is no emotion too much for Him. No anger too strong for Him. No bitterness too deep for Him. He has done it all, and all that is His is mine. I am clean, I am pure, I am righteous, I can come. 

Thank You Jesus.