Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New York, New York

The trip to New York was wonderful.
The city had all of its finery out for my old roomies and me as we wandered and toured this past weekend.


I was impressed by the art inspired by the loss on Sept. 11. "The Sphere," originally meant as an image for world peace, was located in the plaza of the World Trade Center. It was damaged on 9/11 and is now displayed near Battery Park.
This bronze sculpture is of a root of a tree uprooted on 9/11 on the grounds of St. Paul's Cathedral. The tree fell in such a way as to damage neither the church or the historical tombstones nearby.
Trinity Church
1 World Trade Center--When completed "Freedom Tower" will be the tallest building in America at 1,776 feet.
Chocolate Polenta Torte (amazing)
(you know, the one from You've Got Mail)
Me at Belvedere Castle in Central Park
city skyline behind me
($3 brand new H&M hat from the BEST thrift store ever--near Cafe Lalo)
A piece of one of the original twin towers carved into a memorial city skyline
Did I mention NYC was windy and MUCH colder than we anticipated??
This was me with borrowed scarf before I purchased the hat above. 
Central Park was absolutely gorgeous!
Our itinerary:
Sunday: Church at my roomie's sister's husband's church in Brooklyn
ride the local train into Manhattan to see Wicked 
eat at Bistango 
(all restaurants had to offer gluten free options because the CO roomie and her sister are both eating gluten free)
ride local train back into Brooklyn for bed
Monday: 
local train into city
harbor cruise
lunch at 5 Napkin Burger
walking in Central Park
shopping on 5 Ave
local train back to Brooklyn for more excellent food for dinner from my roomie's sister
Tuesday: 
train into city
visiting the 9/11 Memorial
(quick lunch at Au Bon Pain)
more thrifting around the city
train to Brooklyn--car to JFK--JFK to HOME
It was a really great trip, and I'm sooooo thankful to my 2 roomies who made it awesome!




Friday, March 23, 2012

Call for Action for Those Who Love Babies

This is a baby.
A baby.
According to parentweekly.com, a baby at about 6 weeks is about an inch long.
It has a beating heart,
baby boys have a tiny penis
and
"Week eight marks the beginning of a very busy developmental stage: its face continues to change as the ears, eyes and the tip of the nose appear; the intestines start to form in the umbilical cord; and your baby's teeth begin to develop under the gums."
Just a little bit later,
"He or she has eyes, a chin, bits of teeth, a nose, and a forehead and the fingers and toes are almost fully formed."
In the fourth month, 
a baby
sucks its thumb,
has all its major organs
and its tiny kicks begin to be felt.
And all of this 
is before that "age of viability" that some use as a permission to believe that 
this is not a a baby.
But it is.
But there are many, many people in this country right now who can look at that form above and say
"Not a baby."
And not only that, they can advocate killing it.
But that is not really what burns me up the most.
What burns me up the most is that there are many people in this country right now
Who do believe that that is a baby
They know that this is a baby!
And yet they sit idly by while millions of babies are killed.
Millions of babies.
How can we be so apathetic?
We allow the Wikipedia definition of abortion to prevail
and spread its lies to our vulnerable teenagers.
Here are some quotes from Wikipedia's abortion entry:
"Abortion, when induced in the developed world in accordance with local law, is among the safest procedures in medicine."
" Legal abortions performed in the developed world are among the safest procedures in medicine... making abortion about 14 times safer than childbirth."
"Complications are rare and can include uterine perforation,pelvic infection, and retained products of conception requiring a second procedure to evacuate." 
Yes, in case you didn't know,
Wikipedia uses the Planned Parenthood language
for the unborn baby:
"product of conception" or "POC."
"Some proposed negative psychological effects of abortion have been referred to by anti-abortion advocates as a separate condition called "post-abortion syndrome", which is not recognized by any medical or psychological organization."
Where are girls interested in abortion going to go for facts?
Why, the internet of course! And who do they trust on the internet to give them facts?
Wikipedia, right?
And what are they going to hear from Wikipedia?
There are no side effects.
It is completely safe.
Get rid of this POC.
Convenient half-truths to base their decisions upon.
And what do we who "care" do about this?
Nothing.
We bloggers find other things to write about.
We Christians find other things to care about. 
Plus, this is an uncomfortable truth to deal with.
I mean, who wants to deal with pictures like this,
image
This is a baby too.
A decapitated, aborted baby.
This is what a baby looks like when a vacuum abortion has been performed.
And as Abby Johnson has explained, someone has to piece the baby back together
to make sure all of its little parts are there
and not harmfully left behind in the mother.
Please, for the love of life!
For the love of a merciful and good God!
For the love of babies,
do something.
Anything.
Write a post.
Repin a pin
See a movie.
Post on FB.
Or Twitter.
Have a conversation.
Volunteer with an organization 
who spreads truth
and gives free ultrasounds.
Tell your children the truth.
Pray.
Pray that this atrocity would end in our lifetime.
Please.
For the love of babies.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Packing for NYC

It's getting a little random here on Of Such is the Kingdom as we handle several things at once:
**Cleaning for the Home Visit for our Adoption (more pics to come)
**Easter (Christian Seder Meal, Easter Garden)
**The opening weekend for October Baby, which I can't recommend enough for its amazing message on the sanctity of life.
And then there's today. What will be today's focus? Something totally different:
A trip to NYC!
In college I had two room mates. One of them now lives in our town and we see each other pretty often. The other lives in Colorado. Usually the Colorado chico comes to visit us here, but this year the town roomie and I decided we would visit Colorado chico. But, it just so happens that Colorado chico is visiting her sister in NYC this week. And so she invited us to meet her there instead.
Amazing idea!
And so we looked at tickets, and they were affordable.
And we got tickets to Wicked, and they weren't quite as affordable, but we got them anyway.
And we're going; we're really going! AAHH!
So yes, I'm packing with all my best brain power...right after the home visit is finished tomorrow.
Here's some of what I'm packing:




the famed purple skirt

Forgive the messy pics--I was lazily snapping pics with my phone to pass them on to Colorado chico for her opinion.
I'm a teeny bit excited about this; can you tell?
Oh, and the great thing? Thanks to T.J. Maxx and an As-Is Shoe Store, I got the coat, blue dress, clutch and cream sweater for a total of $40! And the two pairs of boots were a total of $23!
And the black skirt in that bottom pic? See it here and here (and pretty much every other day, if I'm honest!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Christian Seder Meal

Repost from April 19, 2011:

A Christian Seder Meal

image
I have been studying many things Jewish in the last few months to prepare a curriculum for our church's Marketplace VBS. We will transform our church into a marketplace from Jesus's time, and our children will learn about the four spring Jewish feasts.
The times that God appointed in Leviticus 23 were not only times for the Jews to look back and remember, they were a clear foretelling of all that Christ would do. Jesus fulfilled the first four feasts in his first coming.
Passover is not only the story of an enslaved people being miraculously freed by their God, it is the story of Jesus spilling his own blood so that death might pass over His people.
And so, celebrating the Passover as Jews do has definitely become something more appealing to me.
This year, many Jews celebrated the actual Passover meal last night, April 18. But the week-long Passover celebration continues until the 25th. Sometime this week, my family will celebrate a Passover meal to look back and to look up. I highly recommend it for your family as well.
The way Jews celebrate Passover now centers on the highly symbolic seder plate. This plate contains bits of food for tasting during the story of the original Passover. Each piece of this plate also looks to what Jesus did in his first coming. Ann Voskamp's Christian celebration of Passover is a great way to celebrate this plate together as a family. Or you could use this Christian Haggadah (Christian Seder Supper Plan) or this one.
When we celebrate the Seder Supper as a family, we will pause to eat after we taste each symbolic food. Here's what we'll be eating:
1. Grape juice or wine--There are traditionally four cups of wine/grape juice that will be used throughout the meal. These are the Cup of Sanctification, the Cup of Deliverance, the Cup of Redemption, and the Cup of Thanksgiving.
2. Romaine Lettuce Salad--After we dip the celery into the salt that symbolizes the Israelites tears, we will pause to eat a salad. The dipping of the vegetable into the salt water could also represent the way that the Israelites dipped the branches into the blood of the lamb to spread it over their doorposts.
3. Matzah bread--Matzah is an unleavened bread that refers to the fact that when the Israelites fled Egypt, they did not have time to let their bread rise. Leaven stands for sin in the Bible, and getting rid of leaven is a big part of the week of Passover. The Matzah bread is a beautiful picture of our Savior, the Bread of Life. He was perfectly sinless. During the Seder meal, the bread is broken, as our Savior was. Matzah bread is traditionally both pierced and striped, as our Savior was before He was crucified. Making Matzah with the kids would be a great way to prepare for the Seder meal both practically and spiritually.
4. Matzah Ball Soup--This would be a good place to pause for the soup made of crushed matzah bread. My mouth is watering just thinking about the combination of the broth and dough!
5. Steamed radishes--After we have tasted the horseradish, which is bitter herbsto symbolize the Israelites bitter enslavement, we will have our steamed radishes. In one of the Christian Haggadahs I linked to above, this is said to also be a reminder that sin can be our bitter enslavement.
6. Haroset is a mixture of apples, raisins, and honey that symbolizes the mortar that the Israelites used to build for the Egyptians. Charoset (HahROset) is a very kid-friendly part of the meal, and this was the whole idea for the seder meal--it is a way to teach our children about the beautiful truths of our faith.
7. Zucchini-stuffed Chicken--During a traditional ceremonial seder, no meat is tasted. A "shank bone" is displayed on the plate to show that a lamb was the central theme of the original Passover. Since there is no temple now, Jews cannot sacrifice a lamb. This bone is spoken of in the meal but not eaten. For a Christian Seder meal, you could display a cross for this bone or use a regular bone. After speaking of the lamb that had to die during the original Passover, the true Lamb of God is a natural subject. Jesus, our Lamb, was crucified for our sins so that we might have eternal life. After this discussion, the chicken can be eaten. (And it gets in my recent infatuation: zucchini!)
8. Deviled Eggs--Hard boiled eggs commemorate the sacrifice of the lamb in the temple. Now they are a symbol of the new life brought by the Lamb.
9. Matzah Rolls--The matzah bread is eaten several times during the meal. If you would like more than the crackerish matzah, you could try these matzah rolls.
10. Chocolate Torte--An unleavened chocolate cake finishes off the meal. (Gotta get that chocolate cake in there, you know?!) Perhaps the dessert could be prefaced with talk of how sweet the Gospel story is--we are saved out of our sin to a sweet relationship with our loving Savior, Jesus, the Passover Lamb.
When we celebrate the Passover meal, we probably won't follow any of the Haggadahs linked to above exactly. We will instead, eat our way through the story of our own redemption. This is exactly how the Seder Supper is supposed to be taken--as an assault on one's senses to help us remember the provision of our Lord!
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October Baby Ticket Winner!

October Baby ticket winner!
And carolwegs is our winner!
Thanks to all who left comments!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Armor of God

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, 
having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 
above all, taking the shield of faith 
with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 
And take the helmet of salvation, 
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 
praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saint.
Ephesians 6:14-18

I'm in a Bible Study that is reading Holiness (Unabridged) by J.K. Ryle. The last chapter we read was on "The Fight" and it was very interesting to me, especially when thinking about the Christian fight while I'm reading fight scenes in Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle)
One of the statements Ryle makes towards the end of the chapter has been running through my head since I finished reading. "Put on the armor of God, and don't take it off. Don't ever take it off!" I keep picturing the kind warrior laying down beside his cook-fire in the evening clanking in his heavy armor. 
Last night it got me thinking, "What armor do I wear?" And it's quite disturbing, but my armor probably goes something like this:


And when I picture my armor, it looks more like a plastic shield, a foam sword and some jelly sandals. 
Oh, that we all might know that this walk as a Christian is a FIGHT.
Oh, that I might know it. And live every minute of my day in the Ephesians 6 kind of armor.





Wednesday, March 14, 2012

October Baby (and Giveaway!)

Forgive me for taking a bit of liberty with the "Wordless Wednesday" theme today.
Please, please, please make plans to go see this movie if it is showing anywhere near you on 
March 23! 
October Baby is a powerful story of a girl (Rachel Hendrix as Hannah) who is the product of a failed abortion who seeks out her birth mother (Shari Rigby as Cindy) and seeks to find peace in such knowledge.

To encourage you to go,
I'm giving away 2 tickets to October Baby. 
Please just be a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom
and leave a comment telling why you would like to go see October Baby.
Extra entries include:
* Facebooking, Twittering, Blogging, etc. this post (leave a separate comment for each.)
*subscribing to Of Such is the Kingdom via email (Feedburner box to the right).
I will use random.org to choose a winner on Monday March 19.

For the love of the sanctity of life, for the love of God, for the love of unborn children everywhere help us send a message to Hollywood saying that this is the kind of story real people love to see in theaters!
Be sure and watch the trailer!
And this powerful story of how Shari Rigby isn't at all acting in one of the scenes of the movie:
(p.s. Locals: stay tuned for info on our movie viewing party!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daily Dough

Remember the 10 Super Easy Recipes I posted a while back? Well, I have been using the Angel Biscuits from that post a lot!
On Sunday, I had scheduled to eat those biscuits for lunch (See my March menu.) so I went ahead and whipped them up early to eat some for breakfast as well.
So here's how a day of dough might look:
7:30am--Throw all the ingredients for your Angel Biscuits together. Pull out a handful of dough to use for breakfast biscuits, throw those on a pan, and cook them for 15-20 minutes on 400 degrees. Put the rest of the dough in the fridge.
Scramble some eggs and cook up some sausage to go with your biscuits.
Put a whole chicken in the crockpot with lots of seasonings and olive oil.
12:30pm--Get home from church and dig out another big handful of the dough. Roll the cold dough into rolls and put it on a pan. Stick it in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 400 degrees. Shake some flour on the counter, add some flour to the dough and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough using a pizza cutter or knife into one-inch squares. Pour some chicken stock into a pot (about 8 cups) and bring to a boil. Add the dumplings and allow to boil for about 20 minutes.
Take the chicken out of the crockpot, steam some veggies, and serve up rolls, chicken and veggies for lunch.
After lunch, debone the rest of the chicken and put some of the leftover chicken into the pot with the cooked dumplings. Throw in some frozen corn, peas, and whatever leftover veggies you had for lunch. Make sure the stove is turned off and leave the pot alone until dinner time.
6pm--Turn the chicken and dumplings on medium heat to warm up. If desired saute some mushrooms in a little butter to add some umph to your chicken and dumplings.
Serve up the one-pot wonder for dinner.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Impromptu Pink Party

It all started when I sat down to read
with the youngest one morning.
It's the story of a girl who is jealous of the "pinks" at school 
who have all the perfect pink.
Her family can't afford perfect pink clothes,
so they have a pink day where they eat pink sandwiches
and have pink tea
and play in the park covered with pink, Spring trees.
All of the sudden, it hit me, we should have a pink day!
(Just like they do in the book.)
And the next thought was,
Wouldn't this be more fun with more girls?
So I made a quick phone call to a friend with two girls
and another quick phone call to a friend with three girls
And then we had to change it from just a "pink day"
to a "pink party."
So we set up the table with sticker letters spelling
PINK
and pink foam shapes to trace with pink crayons and markers and pencils
and cut out with pink scissors.
And we set up a reading corner with pink pillows and pink stuffed animals and
all our best pink books
Like this one
and this one
and this one.
And we pulled out some animal crackers with pink icing 
(nice how we just happened to get some of those from Grandma for Valentines day)
and made pink smoothies
1 cup pink yogurt
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup pomegranate juice (or any juice, really)
2 frozen bananas, slightly thawed
Blend well in blender and pour in clear glasses for a beautiful pink treat.
When the girls arrived in their pink finery, we read the book, had our snack and then let them loose at the table and reading corner.
It was super pink fun.



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Menu

Here's our March menu (and schedule) for your viewing enjoyment:
Wed 7:Ham and Mozzarella Braids (one for our fam and one for a family nearby with a new baby) with Broccoli and Double Chocolate Flax Seed Muffins--for dessert or breakfast
Thur 8: Family Favorite Taco Salad (ground beef with taco seasonings, chips and loads of toppings)
Fri 9: Pizza Night for the Kids Program at our church's Missions Banquet--Yay! Bring friends for a "Journey around the world."
Sat 10: Baking Birthday Party for a friend of my 3yo's. What a great iea! Sloppy Joes (with canned sloppy joe sauce), buns, and veggies
Sun 11: Baked whole chicken with italian seasoning, Angel Biscuits, and Green Beans
Mon 12: Chicken Soup (stone soup or food remixing soup)
Tues 13:Bacon and Cheese Quiche and Broccoli (Eat a bit early--at 5:30 and then head to a rally for our local Pregnancy Resource Center's Walk for Life)
Wed 14: Black Bean (and squash and zucchini) Burritos (add taco seasoning and serve with salsa)
Thur 15:Bubble Pizza (made with homemade Angel Biscuits) and Green Beans
Fri 16: Leftovers
Sat 17: Cheeseburger Buns and sauteed veggies
Sun 18: Baked Pork Roast, Baked potatoes, Stir-fried Zucchini
Mon 19: Barbecued Pork Sandwiches, (Leftover pork crumbled and mixed with barbecue sauce on buns) Cole Slaw, and Broccoli
Tues 20: Beef and Bean Burritos (with shredded carrots added to the filling), Mexican Rice (rice cooked with taco seasoning and tomatoes) and salad
Wed 21: Butter Chicken with Baked Vegetables
Thur 22: Our Home Visit for our Adoption Home Study!! so for dinner something easy like baked potatoes and baked pork chops and Broccoli
Fri 23: Out to dinner and to see October Baby
Sat 24: Daddy Cooks (spaghetti?)
Sun 25: Daddy Cooks (burgers on the grill?)
Mon 26: Daddy Cooks (Sandwiches)
Tues 27: Order Out Pizza
Wed 28: Cheeseburger Pie and Broccoli
Thur 29: Mozzarella Chicken, Garlic noodles, and Green Beans
Fri 30: Crock Pot Salsa Chicken (use home made cream soup mix and plain yogurt for sour cream), white corn chips and salad
Sat 31: Walk for Life!! at the Riverpark and Petting Zoo at a local toy store. Tuna Salad Picnic for dinner (with fresh veggies, crackers, deviled eggs, and fresh fruit)

What I'll Need to Buy (NOTE: I already have some of the ingredients to make the above.)
6 bags frozen broccoli
4 bags frozen green beans
1 bag frozen carrots, peas, and green beans
1 bag frozen cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots
7 pounds ground beef/turkey/chicken
1 whole chicken
1 large pork roast
9 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 pounds Pork Chops
1 can sloppy joe mix
Fresh Zucchini, Peppers, Carrots, etc.
Salad Greens
Croutons
Potatoes
Eggs
Pickles
Shredded cabbage for cole slaw
2 packages hamburger buns
bread yeast
Tortillas
2 bags tortilla chips
Large jar salsa
1 Box Pasta

I think that's it!
Have a yummy month!




Friday, March 2, 2012

The Blogs I Frequent

When you spend time here, on this little thing we like to call the internet, you make something like friends. Or something in between friends and shops we like to visit. So anyway, I thought I'd share with you a few of those bloggy friends I've made.

Katherine Marie's: this is a mom-photography blog--my favorite thing about her blog has always been her themed weeks that she does with her children. They are wonderful and the pics she takes of them are incredible!

Don't Waste Your Homemaking: This one is a bit like Of Such is the Kingdom--eclectic tips and encouragements for the parent

Project Alicia: This is another blog by a mom/photographer, but the blog itself is more focused on her own becoming. Her pictures are awesome and she's taught me not to be afraid of posting my own pics on my blog.

The Activity Mom: Tons (and tons!) of toddler and baby friendly activities from one mom to another

Graceful Abandon: Another eclectic mommy blog of tips and recipes and mom advice

A Holy Experience: This blog is a very popular one which usually turns me off, but I do enjoy her suggestions for family life--especially her outlines of how she celebrates holidays with her home schoolers

Once A Month Cooking: This has a great data base for recipes and almost every recipe comes with directions on how to freeze it for later.

Good Cheap Eats: Another foodie blog

Kendi Everyday: Yes, I'll admit it; I check Kendi's blog almost daily. She's stylish and super funny and it's one of those things that I do that feels like a daily treat.

Discover.Share.Inspire. This is a new blog for me, but I'm fascinated! This family has declared themselves nomads and is now traveling from Alaska to Argentina in a truck. Oh, and did I mention they have 5 children? Their adventures are crazy and fun and they're very real about the good and bad of being a travelling family.

We Are That Family: Another momma sharing her daily life, joys and struggles

So I see that I'm attracted to mostly mommy blogs, mostly those writers who write real--you know, the kind who are not afraid to write bluntly that they have messed up--and blogs that encourage rather than discourage on this walk of parenthood. I'd love to know what blogs you love...
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Easter Garden

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. John 17:24-18:1

Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day,for the tomb was nearby.John 19:41-42

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
Streaming to the goodness of the Lord...

Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden
And they shall sorrow no more at all.
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning to joy,
Will comfort them,
And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:10-14

In preparation for Easter, we have again planted our little Easter Garden. 
We keep it on the table and light it before dinner each night as we talk about the coming season. I think when my kids are older, we will follow more of a lenten schedule in these weeks before the celebration of our Lord's death and Resurrection, but for now, our garden is a good way to prepare. The kids are (of course) obsessed with the candles and can hardly stay in their seats at dinner for watching the flames sink into the small candles. But there is peace in the garden--even if that garden is contained in a small pot. 
I think about the prayer Jesus prayed for us (for me!) in the garden with His death looming before Him.
I think about the garden where the risen Lord was mistaken for a gardener. 
I think about the fact that His work makes my dry soul a well-watered garden, and I rejoice.
Happy Easter!


p.s. Stay tuned for tomorrow's list of blogs I frequent in answer to a question from a friend.