Thursday, October 20, 2016

Recipe: Sprouted Grain Bread Dough / Pizza Dough

I added melted butter and granulated garlic on top of my breadsticks last night.
There were so many people interested in our new bread that we made so I thought I'd share the recipe...which isn't MY recipe at all, but like most recipes, I adapted it to make it our own.  The following recipe is my modified Bob's Red Mill Buttermilk Rolls

Sprouted Grain Buttermilk Bread / Pizza Dough
(we leave out the Tbsp of sugar they call for because we try to eliminate sugar when we can)
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
3 Tbsp melted Butter

Preheat oven to 200 F
Combine yeast, (sugar), and water and allow to proof for 10-15 min.
Add 2 cups flour and mix.
Then add salt, buttermilk powder and butter.
Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough becomes difficult to stir.
Tip dough out onto a floured surface to knead in the remaining flour.
Turn oven off.
Continue to knead for about 7 min.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn dough to coat.
Cover and place in warm oven for 1-2 hours and allow to rise until doubled in size.

At this point you can divide the dough into two loafs of bread.


Divide onto two pizza pans to create two pizza doughs.
After spreading out the dough on the pans we like to coat with Olive oil and sprinkle with fresh Rosemary, garlic powder and onion powder.


Divide into gently rolled balls  or bread sticks and place in oiled pan for dinner rolls.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

***dough can be refrigerated for several days after rising***

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Moving Over To The Slow Lane

The moment I saw Jim Elliot's quote, "Wherever you are be all there", it grabbed me.

I was tired of being distracted by to-do lists, technology, rushing frantically from one thing to the next (and sometimes even for no other reason than to just be in a rush), intrusive thoughts...

I was tired of being present but not really BEING ALL THERE.

I began asking God to reveal the things in my life that I could let go of.  Because I knew that in order to create the space we all need for REAL relationships (OFF screen) and eternal conversations, I would have to make it part of my lifestyle.

All of this reading and soul-searching has led to the Holy Spirit calling me out.
Telling me things like:
Slow down.
Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions (to yourself, to others and even to God).
Dig deeper. Don't be satisfied in what you already know.
To REALLY figure out what living a life on mission looks like for me, because I firmly believe that God created each one of us with beautiful differences that work together to reach the world for Christ, and the way I love on others and share His wonderful story is going to look different than the way you do.  And that's ok.  That's the BEAUTY of it! It's the Body of Christ working TOGETHER for the Kingdom!

At times I have been in tears, looking into the ugly that is my heart.
Then sifting through the ugly to lay it down and let it go.
Those are the most difficult times.
When I can't excuse my behavior away.
Its pride. Its selfishness. Its jealousy. Its fear.
And this kind of ugly keeps me focused on myself instead of seeing others for who THEY are.

Other times God simply gives me gentle reminders to turn my phone over (or even off) so my family can have my complete attention.
Or to take the time to really listen to a person sharing something with me.
Or that life will keep going, even if I don't rush my kids from one thing to the next or say yes to every activity invitation.
Or that taking my tween up on the date she wants to take me on with her Starbucks gift card is the most important thing, even if I had other plans for my morning.
Or to spend an afternoon following through on an idea the LORD gave me in order to share His love with someone else.

Through it all I have noticed a common's not about me, it's about others.  It's about slowing down in order to see the world around me.

Have you ever stopped to realize that in order to help somebody on the side of the road you have to move over and slow down?

So what if I were to live a life actually LOOKING for people to help?  I can't just zoom in and out of traffic and expect to safely be able to slow down in time to help that person without causing a possible pile up behind me.  I might even accidentally hurt the person I initially stopped to help.  And I can't honestly expect people who need help to just appear in my car.   If I am going to view my day with eternal perspective I am going to have to drive my life in the slow (intentional) lane, looking and waiting for those interruptions and constantly fight the natural tendency to get irritated by the zooming traffic around me or even the urge to speed around the slow people in front of me.

And what I have found is a freedom, joy and fulfillment that I have never felt from trying to accomplish days just to be productive, no matter how many things I check off of my to-do-list, or activities I can accomplish by rushing around just to fit one more thing in, or how put-together my life can appear on social media because that is where I spend the majority of my time.  Because I've realized that none of that matters, without the Joy of the LORD guiding me and slowing me down for the next stop in the slow lane.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Beginning To Believe The Lie

Yesterday the kids and I walked into our Chiropractor's office, just like we have on every Tuesday for the past 5-6 years.

As we checked ourselves in and the kids began creating Yoga routines in the middle of the waiting area floor, arguing over crayons and rolling around on the furniture got situated in the waiting area a lady was saying her goodbye's to Dr. Joe and began noticing the string of children filing in behind me.

Now you can just imagine the comments I typically get:

    Wow, you've got your hands full!
    Oh goodness, I'm SO sorry!
    Just wait until they're teenagers!
    Are all those YOURS?!
    Oh, poor mama...

It's so much more than the words though.  It's the voice used when saying these things to me.  Each spoken in a very exasperated or negative tone.

Then there are the looks of pity and even DISGUST that I receive while out about with my spicy little colony.

But, back to the lady checking out in Dr. Joe's office.  She looked almost overjoyed as she began eyeing all the littles filing in behind me.  She excitedly asked if they were all mine and then quickly smiled, clapped and said, "Oh WONDERFUL! That is just so fun!"  She wanted to know all of their ages and what book Alethia was reading.  She smiled the ENTIRE time she spoke to the kids (not to me ABOUT the kids). She was so kind and sweet and positive.

I was so blown away by her response, because BELIEVE ME,  I know we've got a spicy bunch!  But that kind lady and her response to our family was just what I needed to jump back in the game.  Josh has been gone since last Thursday night and the first few days when daddy is away the kids always test the waters.  And after hearing (or seeing) a handful of those first responses I typically get, I can begin believing those lies that infer that my kids are a burden, that I'm in over my head and that God didn't know what he was doing when he entrusted 5 of HIS children to us for this time.

So, thank you, sweet, kind lady for making over my kids like they are a treasure...because they are!

Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to ENJOY these 5 littles for as long as you'll give them to me.  Help me to see their worth and exemplify the Fruit Of The Spirit over them.  Thank you for the encouragement through this stranger yesterday.  Such a timely gift.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The ONLY "Secret Trick" To Surviving Through Your Season

I have been ruminating on a recurring thought lately.

Most of you know I deal with anxiety, and most of you know, whether you deal with anxiety or not, that there are several factors that can affect the outcome of a day for an anxious person.

  1. Food
  2. Sleep
  3. Exercise

But even if I do all the things I know I need to do to keep a clear mind and focus (get a good night's sleep, limit my caffeine, don't eat sugar or processed foods, and get a great workout in) , it isn't fool-proof.  I am still going to have days where I wake up at the top of my mental threshold and feeling as though the anxiety has already sucked all the air out of my lungs before my feet even hit the ground.

This is a daily battle for me.

There are other battles that wage war on my Joy and Peace as different seasons come and go.

Maybe for you it is dealing with your teenagers and the choices they are making.  Or maybe it is the kid(s) who will NOT stay in bed to save his life at bedtime (for the LOVE, STAY.IN.BED!).  Here's another one, maybe you are in a season where everything in your house keeps breaking (because we all know that appliances have a secret way of communicating when it's time to all go out together), or your savings and emergency fund are dwindling by the day, or you can't find a job, or your health is on the brink, or that guy you were dating turns out to be yet another loser.  Maybe life is just too crazy or the to-do list won't stop growing and life seems to be swallowing you whole.

"Don't worry," I confidently remind myself  my friends "it's just a season."  "You'll get to the other side, I promise."

With which we then go into our list of helps that may get our friend (or ourselves) through that season.

Two thoughts come to mind after catching myself repeat this phrase:

1 - What if God doesn't say "yes" to taking you out of this season?  What if The LORD has you in this spot for the rest of your life?  What then?

What if I struggle with anxiety for the rest of my entire life (which is potentially a pretty accurate conclusion, seeing as how I've dealt with it since I was 4 years old)?

2 - What exactly do we think is on the other side anyway?

Yes, we might have a brief season of rest, but that rest is only to fill us up again and prepare us for the next season.  There is ALWAYS going to be another season, even if God is gracious enough to lift us out of the previous one.

If we are just living to get through our current circumstances, believing that the other side is where all the joy and contentment are, then we are sorely misguided and will be extremely devastated when we realize that the stressors of life are exactly the same, just packaged differently in another season, on the other side.

We have neglected to see life through Eternity's eyes.

I am reading a book called Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman where she writes:

"But these temporary helps cannot compare to the hope that we receive from considering the real long view.  The real long view is actually longer than we think.  It wasn't at the end of the ark's voyage atop miles of water.  It wasn't at the end of Sarah's barrenness.  It wasn't at the end of the Hebrews' Egyptian slavery.  It was't at the end of the conquest of Canaan.  It wasn't at the dedication of the temple.  It wasn't at the beginning of the exile' return, temple construction, or wall restoration.  The long view is not at the end of this no-good, terrible day.  Or at the end of this magically brilliant day.  It's not at the end of five years or seventy-five years.  Or five hundred years.  The long view stretches past whatever earthly ideas we have into a vision of a new world, into eternity and the new earth.  Contrary to popular opinion, when we mothers take this long view, we actually become so heavenly minded that we are of immense earthly good today.  If we want to get technical, we should say that the real long view is not actually even heavenly minded - it's new-earthly minded. We're looking forward to the consummated new creation.  Being new-earthly minded corrects our Season Obsessive Disorder.  It corrects our nearsightedness and returns our vision to God's mission to glorify his name in all the earth."

I don't know about you, but I needed to read this today.  I needed to be reminded of the LONG VIEW.  Of the WHOLE STORY!

So often I get stuck trying to parent through my current "season" with the END of that season in mind rather than eternal perspective on my lips.

Only eternal perspective will give me the grace, patience and love that I need to parent well.  Only eternal perspective will give me the contentment in the NOW.  Only eternal perspective will give me the compassion, generosity and boldness I need to share.

By all means, DO the things in your power to help get you through your current season, but don't neglect to place eternity on the horizon.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" 
 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mmmm: Sweet Potato and Chicken Sauté

I haven't written a "Minimalist Meals for Many Mouths" post in quite a while, but last night's dinnertime #win was worth a repeat and a blog post.

Josh and I are wrapping up a 41 day "diet" called The Makers Diet by Jordan Rubin. The book is a MUST READ and the diet is biblically based.  We may be almost done with the program, but we intend to keep this lifestyle going as our new norm.

I have been cooking based off of this diet and tweaking it to fit the kids needs (and pallets), but they are really beginning to enjoy the Romaine Lettuce Wraps (vs. rice) and Tuna (Chicken)/Avacado Salad (vs. bread and deli meat).

Many of the meals we have consumed over the past month and a half haven't been that far from what we normally eat, so don't think it's all that crazy!

Here is what we had last night:

Diced Sweet potatoes sautéed in grass fed cow's butter with a dash of salt and pepper.  Then I added some chicken that I had cooked the day before in fresh cut rosemary, basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. (HERE is where I get our yummy spices)

Then I made some Okra sautéed in butter, salt and pepper.

Very filling, budget friendly for all family sizes and all the kids loved it (minus Rainy, but that's because she would live off of cheese, chicken and pretzels if I allowed it, ha!).

Friday, August 12, 2016

Words Worth Remembering

Jude:"Mom, what does commence mean?"


Me:"I loved that idea from Mr. Matt and Mrs. Magan so much we are going to start it here."
Rainy:"That's the thing about parents, they always build off of each other."


Jude:"Daddy, your day off is always the BEST day.  All the other days are NOT good."


Josh:"So after Adam was born who did God create next?"
Jude:"Justin Biever!"


Cai:"MOM, I just did 21 burp ups!"
(he meant "burpees")


Jude: "Look at that fruit fly.  It's trying to get fruit out of my toe!"


Josh:"yeah, we have a Hobby Lobby now.  I don't get what the big deal is."
Me:"Well, have you actually been inside?"
Josh:"Um, do they sell guitars or theology books?"


Ace Hardware = "Lowes Hardwars"


Cake Lady:"Alright, so what should I put on the cake?"
Me:"Happy Birthday Z-E-K-E."
Cake Lady:"Oh, well that is a TERRIBLE name!  Just awful!"
Cake Lady:"Haven't you heard of ZIKA virus?!"


Jude to Josh mowing the grass with his shirt off to get some sun:
"DAD, you're NAKED!!!  But it's good you have pants on."


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Taking Off The Floaty

Josh and Rainy at the intro night for student ministry at church
I have written and rewritten a half dozen posts over the past month but can't bring myself to complete a single one.  I feel like I'm so far behind on capturing our lives (the main reason I began blogging in the first place), but more so, I feel this new tension rising as my kids get older.

My life no longer consists of sharing tired ramblings after a long night with a fussy newborn, or reviews on the best spill-proof sippy cups.  My kids, minus Jude, pretty much speak like maturing little people with words flowing in the appropriate order (although, if I could get Cai to keep his two front teeth from growing in, we might be able to hang on to his cute little lisp for a little bit longer), and parenting is taking that deep dive from the shallow waters of physical exhaustion of the little years to the mental exhaustion of preteen and adolescent years.  I've still got my foot firmly planted in both, but the weight is increasingly leaning into the deeper side.

And because of that, I can no longer "just write" about my life as a mom and how I'm trying to learn how to thrive instead of just survive these little years.  The words that fill my journal these days are saturated by these little lives that are beginning to form their own identities and the trials they are facing as they grow up and learn to step out of fear and into the steady hand that promises to guide them.

And that isn't MY story to share.

It's hard for me to be vague.
I like to just say it how it is.
But I'm having to show great restraint in order to protect these little lives God has placed in mine, and respect their wishes for privacy.

My prayer is that they will learn to work out their faith, labor through their love and cling to the hope that gives endurance (1 Thessalonians 1:3), and those are things that I CAN write about.

I'm hoping I can figure out how to continue to be an encouragement to other moms in similar seasons but still keep my integrity as a trustworthy mom who doesn't share THEIR story unless I'm given the green light.

Here's to a new season of blogging, parenting and swimming in the deep end without a floaty.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Always, Without Ceasing, In ALL Circumstances

Yesterday began with a feeling of anxiety.  You know, one of those days where you wake up, maxed out to your tolerance threshold for no apparent reason (this is the difference between a physical anxiety problem and worry/anxiety over circumstances).  It was just one of those days where I KNEW I was going to have to fight hard to stay focused on truth.

Then circumstances started playing a part into my angst and the day quickly began to unravel.

I knew that it was going to be more than just an anxious day to fight through, because once actual "things" start playing into the anxiety you've got yourself a whole other battle to fight.

I was so caught up in the seemingly hopeless situation(s) that I froze.
Well, everything froze but my mouth.
The poison just kept seeping out between the creases of my lips, leaving a wake of uneasiness around the entire house.

My anxiety quickly turned into anger, frustration, touchiness, and before I knew it, I was in the middle of a good ol' fashioned pity party, salted with anxiety and peppered with hopelessness and anything BUT joy.

I'm sure the Colony children could quickly begin to list off EVERY area that this affected yesterday. Let's just say that it wasn't pretty, and I will NOT be getting any "awesome mom" awards for the way I acted.

To top it all off, the kids were at each other.  Or maybe they were just being crazy and wild kids.
It didn't matter.
I was NOT having it and they needed to calm down.
I deserved a peaceful, quiet moment to gather my thoughts and regain control...
didn't I?

But being stressed out or anxious never excuses a sinful reaction, and this is the area I got stuck on.

I apologized more times than I can count, but the sin inside of me kept reclaiming ground.

Yes, yesterday was more than just a battle over my everyday anxiety that I deal with.  THAT cannot be helped.

But the way I respond to news like I heard yesterday, and the exhaustion from a busy weekend, and noisy kids playing around and having fun...THAT is a choice.

This morning I woke up to  have my time with the Lord and EVERY. THING. I read had to do with choosing JOY.  Giving THANKS.  Making WISE CHOICES.

NONE of which I accomplished yesterday!

I focused on everything else: the house that is literally falling apart beneath us, the volume of my kids (I'm pretty sure their decibel level clears the illegal threshold is some states!), the physical exhaustion from being busy (and sick) over the weekend, and all the other stuff that kept "going wrong".

When I should have just kept my eyes on Christ.
Because He is the hope.
He is the provider.
He is the interrupter of my perfectly laid out plans.
He is the author.
He is the one who gives JOY in the midst of seemingly rough unHAPPY news.

And He doesn't just ASK us to "rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in ALL circumstances".  1 Thessalonians says, "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

This focus on HIM isn't just for God's glory but for US!  It brings us the JOY in the midst of bad health, or thousands of dollars worth of house repairs, or lost jobs, or dwindling accounts, or struggling relationships, or broken promises, or overly-lively children;).

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

I'm claiming this today and I'm starting with thankfulness for HIS grace and HIS love and HIS patience for me, even when I get off track like I did yesterday.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Colony Mom Picks ~ Workout Faves

My parents used to call me "gnat" because I was so fast and would literally RUN everywhere!

I ran "track" in elementary school and really enjoyed it.

I tried my hand at basketball, but never really got the hang of it, because, well I could never remember which basket was my team's basket and then I found out that you can't technically be referred to as a basketball star with only 1 3-pointer under your belt in 2 years (and yes THAT basket was in MY own basket, ha!).

Then I found soccer.
Well actually, I found I guy I liked who was trying out for the soccer team in high school and he lived down the street from me and if I tried out for the girls team I could give him a ride home.  Yes, I was THAT girl!

Somehow I made the High School Varsity team as a freshman.
And the team was REALLY competitive and good.
Although I was NOT.

But I had speed in my favor, and the fact that I liked a good battle scar from slide tackles and snatching the ball away from the other team gave me a huge rush!

I moved my way up through the ranks on the team and actually got pretty good as my excellent teammates (and coach) rubbed off on me and I picked up on their techniques.

I even got a soccer scholarship which helped put me through college.
After college I played on a couple co-ed adult leagues until I found out I was pregnant with Rainy.

Josh and I also cultivated our young relationship through the hills and trails of Greenville, SC.  There is something to be said about a couple who can workout and sweat together.

All that to say, exercise and staying active have always been a pretty big part of our lives.

Now, more than ever, I use exercise as a way to manage my anxiety, but finding time can be really difficult.  That is why the way I workout is less about a "fit body" as it is to stay healthy and to release  endorphins.  I also believe that I can find time for the things that are important to me, and the times where I consistently lack exercise are the times I simply don't make it a priority.

I very frequently get asked what I do for my workouts, so I thought I'd share my workout faves.  I try to workout at least 4 times a week, if not more.

1 - Beachbody videos are my favorite.  Specifically T25 and 21 Day Fix Extreme.  I prefer Shaun T over Autumn any day, but I love both workouts.  They are only 25-30 minutes long and high intensity so you are getting a great workout in a manageable/realistic time.

2 - Jogging/running.  Going for a jog looks a lot different these days.  I typically have at least 1 kid with me at all times so having practical expectations is key.  I have it good though, because Jude LOVES to get on his scooter and go for a jog with me.  He clocked nearly 60 miles with me last month alone!  I can also get some miles in during nap time running laps around my house.  And Josh is really good about letting me get out for a run to escape clear my mind:)

3 - I also use yard work as a workout outlet.  Push mowing our yard will give me over 3 miles and if I jog while mowing it makes it even that much more effective;)

4 - I have tried LOTS of different protein shakes but my favorite is Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens.  It is safe for the whole family and it is packed with protein and veggies!  I buy it off of Amazon.  It is cheaper (which is a HUGE factor) and packed with more vitamins, minerals and protein than all of the other shakes I've tried.

5 - These hairbands are my favorite to keep the flyaways out of my face.

So there you have it.  Nothing fancy and I'm not paying a fortune for a gym membership, which also releases endorphins for me, ha!