March 31, 2013

Baby Eats: Broccoli n' Carrots

Baby led weaning, or "place food in front of your 6 month old baby at meal time and see if they eat it" is so much fun! It's so much easier than making a dozen purees and attempting to feed it to them with a spoon, and it makes us giggle. We have tried a handful of different foods, but this time around was steamed broccoli florets and stems, with baby carrots cut in thick matchsticks. I have seen parents give their babies whole carrot chunks, but for our peace of mind we chose to cut the carrots in half long ways - so Santi could grab them and we could avoid him choking.

He loved them both! It seems like he prefers a food that he can grab without it slipping out of his hand, like avocado or banana, and he isn't as hesitant to bring it to his mouth. Them slippery foods are harder to handle, take longer to get the hang of, and aren't as fun to "chew" for this boy. He always stares at us while he munches, as if to make sure it is okay that he is eating, and he seems to want to examine our facial expressions as he experiments.

No choking. No gagging this time around. Happy broccoli trees and carrot sticks into his belly.

I had pinto beans with avocado, vegetables with wild rice and creamy sweet potato sauce. The sweet potato sauce was out of the blue and not planned, so I threw half a sweet potato, a handful of cooked carrots (leftover from Santi's portion), a splash of water and almond milk, nutritional yeast, some soaked cashews, paprika, garlic powder, pepper and red pepper flakes into a blender. Then simmered over medium heat to thicken up a bit. I made the recipe for some macaroni that I brought to a friend, and the leftovers became a sort of "dipping sauce" for me that week. So good and easy to make! Blenders are gems.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV)

Sound without soul. Sharp and piercing. That is what the words that flow off of my tongue would be like if I were to say them without love. Lord, help my every thought to arrive slowly to my lips, so that I would examine them and make sure that my words would build others up in love, instead of tear them down. If I do anything without -sincere- love in my heart, it has no meaning. It is pointless. I am guided to do every (little and big) thing in love. Today I start with my language.

March 30, 2013

Veganism meets Christianity

A lovely lady friend that God has permitted me to meet recently asked me what I thought about veganism and Christianity. Since Jesus Himself ate fish and the like, and God says that He gave us both animals and plants for food, is it bad that I think we don't need any animals in our diet to reach "optimum health"? I sound like Joel Fuhrman when I use those words... I decided not to answer her question in my own words. That would require having an introduction, some really good, well thought, (backed by the experts in theology and plant-based eating) points that include references, wording it perfectly as to not miss anything, and then a well-put-together conclusion and all those I'm -far-from-an-English-major techniques, of which I don't do well with (as you can see by the ca-raaazy long sentence you just read that I am sure has too many commas, is missing commas, and includes this unnecessary parenthesis add-on.)

So this is my 100% guided-by-God's-holy-Book response.

With regards to what God has gifted man with for food, here are the bible verses that I like to follow:

The bottom line, no matter what we eat: 1 Corinthians 10:31 "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

I like to imagine that God calls us to be vegan.... Genesis 1:29 "And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food."

But, He does say, in Genesis 9:3, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything."

So He gives us animals for food. This is not debatable, it's truth. And I try not to get too stressed out about how passionate I am that people eat more vegetables and less meat, trying to follow this verse:  Luke 12:23 "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing."

It just hurts me inside seeing how badly we are feeding the bodies we are gifted with from God. We fill them with foods that man has invented and put together in some huge laboratory, and we enjoy it. In return, our bodies aren't able to work as God intended them to and we get sick easily, and sick very seriously. Mind you, I truly believe that God blesses the food He gives us, if a family strives to follow Him, cannot afford a very healthy meal and have to purchase a handful of frozen dinners for their family, then prays that God bless the food in front of them, He surely will!

Romans 14:3 reminds me not to judge anyone because they do or do not eat meat, so, again, I try not to be too biased " The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them"

In conclusion, I believe God calls us to simply eat and enjoy, to not judge how others eat, and to take care of our bodies - which I translate to eating foods that He planted for us. He gave us meat, yes, but it was man that turned cow's fresh milk into sugar-sweetened, artificially-colored yogurts. It was man that has over-fed livestock nutrient-lacking "foods" for the sake of making large amounts of money in short periods of time. It is man that has modified meats, cheeses, even eggs and milks so much that it is causing us to be more sick than ever before.

So, I agree, God has gifted us with both animals and plants to nourish the bodies He has placed us in. But the meat we have available here in the  supermarkets is far from what God gave us, it's modified and we eat very, very large amounts of it with little or no plants. Same with dairy, eggs, and all other animal products. I support people who eat meat, but if possible, it ought to be the meat from animals you have in your backyard since it is just as God intended for human consumption.

Books that guided me to make the switch for the sake of living a healthier life: The China Study, Eat to Live and The Kind Diet.


As I said in a past post on my meat-eater to meat-free journey: I don't eat plants to "live longer" since that isn't my deck of cards to play, it's God's. He knows the day I will leave this earth, and eating more broccoli and less steak is not going to change that date. But I do want to live a high-quality life, feeling strong 'til the day I go, and sharing the good news of the gospel for all the time I have left. (Mind you, you don't have to be in superb health to share the gospel, but I think serving others in love whether it be in physical labor or simply going to their homes to be a friend is much easier when you're feeling strong physically!)

March 29, 2013

Blueberry Smoothie

It was one of those days where I had purposefully pre-blended a couple smoothies for the work day. They sat in my fridge happily overnight in self-sealing jars (keeps the good flavors alive) and waited for me that morning. My silly insides told me, "no, of course we don't want those right now, give us something different, we want blueberries" so I listened. Goofy tummy.

 Into the blender went boat loads of fruit and out of a jar came a lovely serving of sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat. Crunch, crunch! This was one of the richest smoothies I have had in a long time, and I hope to keep it rotating in our line of smoothie consumption. Oh so good!

Blueberry Banana Smoothie
serves 1 hungry, hungry belly.

1 cup frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
1 banana
1 handful greens (kale, spinach, collard greens)
1 cup nut milk or water
a few drops of vanilla
1/2 cup sprouted buckwheat, divided*

*half in the blender, half for sprinkling on top afterwards!

How to: Blend that business up!

Santi loves mirror. Mirror loves Santi.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)

The one that is hitting me most right now: love endures all things. The annoyances, the frustrations, the let downs, the disappointments, the errors, the flaws, the disagreements, the mis-guiding, the lies, the unfairness, the pain, the sorrow, the agony. Love endures all of these things.

To endure: Suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently. Tolerate (someone or something).

Love suffers all painful and all difficult things. Love tolerates everyone, and everything. I pray that the Lord would continue to open my eyes to what my heart struggles to endure. I believe I am filed with His perfect love, so I am fully able to endure everything with His strength in me. Our God is so, so good.

March 27, 2013

Tofu Coconut Curry Soup

We aren't huge fans of going out to eat. You see, we have come to the realization that mostly everything we eat out can be and should be made at home, and it will cost us less ca-ching, as well. Every so often, though, we find ourselves dining out at a fancy or not-super-fancy restaurant and we discover some real keepers.

Example: Coconut curry soup.

I don't believe I had ever tried anything like this in my entire life, and boy oh boy am I happy I did! We went to Araya's Vegetarian Place in Seattle for dinner one day last year *searches everywhere for that post and fails* and I stumbled upon this bowl. It had green curry, coconut milk, chunks of tofu and vegetables, and burnt my esophagus. Spicy joy in my mouth and belly! The only problem was how much sodium had to be added to this bowl, because I chugged about 24 gallons of good ol' H2O that entire evening and the day prior.

Lesson: make your food at home, leave the salt in the cabinet.

So I Googled a few recipes to come up with this. I wanted to make my own curry paste and leave out the salt - how hard could that be? Well, it was actually a tiny challenge, I won't lie. I found this recipe for a curry paste and this recipe for a tofu coconut soup and went to town! It turned out spicy, creamy, rich, and decadent.  Even my lovely hubby asked for it to become a bi-monthly staple for dinner in our home! Hooray for new meals!

Tofu Coconut Curry Soup
serves 4 as a side, 3 as a main course

2 cans coconut milk
2 cups veggie stock*
1/2 cup water
10-20 dried red peppers, stems removed - spicy!!
1/2 block of extra firm tofu (10oz or so), cubed
1 bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 large zucchini, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves

Curry Paste
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp lemon juice

cilantro and lime juice, for garnishing and squirting that lime goodness on top.

*I make my own vegetable broth by blending and entire onion, 3-4 celery stalks and 3-4 large carrots in a blender with 4 cups of water, 1-2 tsp each of: rosemary, italian seasoning and pepper. I then keep it in the freezer in 2-cup portions and use as needed - it's so easy!

How To: Bring a large pot to medium heat, pour in your veggie stock and water. Add your curry paste ingredients and red chilis to a high speed blender with the coconut milk. (If you don't have a high speed blender, grind up your dry ingredients in a coffee grinder and add to the pot with the coconut milk.) Once the coconut milk and spices are evenly combined and no pieces remain, add it to the bubbly vegetable stock in the pot. Carefully drop in your vegetables and tofu. Let simmer for 10-20 minutes, until vegetables are cooked but not mushy. Serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16 ESV)

God is love. Meaning, God is everything that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes love to be: God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonor others, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.

He is the reason I have inner peace. He is my joy, my hope, the example I am to live by. God loves us, more than we can even begin to comprehend. And if we abide in love, we abide in Him, we are secure in our relationship with Him. He is our (very loving) Father and we are His (very loved) children.

To put my trust in God's love means I do not worry about tomorrow (at least I try not to). I don't feel alone, knowing He loves me too much to ever leave my side. I don't question His way of doing things, because I trust fully that His way, although I don't always understand it, is best.

March 23, 2013

An Edmonds Kind of Day

A beautiful Sunday afternoon proposal: "Let's go to Edmonds" says my hubby. "Eeeee!! Really?!" I respond. It was chilly, it reminded us of when we were newlyweds, t'was pure joy. Santi didn't really show a lot of enthusiasm, but I'm pretty darn-tootin' sure that he thought it was the coolest place he has ever been to in his entire life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

Imagine You create a world, and put people in it. It's a perfect, beautiful, flawless world of abundance. You give these people one rule. They break it. One rule! And they fall, they disobey. This perfect world is now stained. The people get worse, disobey more, and you realize how much they need a Savior - a fresh start. Your heart aches as you come to this realization. It has to be your child, your only child, that suffers and dies so that all of whom you created can live. Your only son. Picture him. You let him feel unfathomable pain, be beaten, tortured, ridiculed. You let him die. So that others may live.

Sacrificial love. We are sometimes able to say, "I would take a bullet for you" to a loved one. We can somewhat comprehend what it's like to love someone so much that we would give our life for them. But what God did was even BIGGER than that, more profound, surprising, hard to grasp. It's like He said, "I'll give my Son, to take a bullet for every (sinful, wicked, rude, lying, cheating, stealing, flawed, depressed, lost, hurt, sad, empty) man and woman on this entire planet."

It's the most incredible example of unconditional love that we will ever know. And yet, so many of us still turn our backs to Him, we still deny His existence, we still curse His name, we still hold sin's hand and not His. All the while, He never stops loving is. We need to turn our eyes upon our Lord and Savior, and accept this magnificent gift of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ.

Praise God for His eternal love. Thank You, Father!

March 22, 2013

Carrot Beet Orange Smothie

So beet root and so orange! I love this smoothie because it has not one but two vegetables in it! The color makes me happy, and the flavors mix so well together I just can't help but smile as I drink it. Unless I am in a hurry for work or something else is rushing me, in that case I am staring down, slurping as fast as a I can with a very serious, determined look... which usually isn't the case, woohoo! So I be smilin' and slurpin'.

Carrot Beet Orange what other plant food can I add to the title Smoothie
serves one
  • 1 medium gold beet, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 orange
  • 1 handful of baby carrots
  • 1 cup coconut water*
  • 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut**
  • ice, if desired (yes. do.)
Blend! Add a straw. Take its picture. Pour half the smoothie into a separate jar, add ice water to fill each jar, and find yourself with a drink that lasts twice as long as it was going to before you added the water. That's optional.

*you can simply use water
**you can omit shredded coconut, if you wish.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV)

To love God this way means everything in me needs to love Him.

To be constantly thanking Him: as I feed our gift, our blessing, Santi to sleep, as we rest in a warm bed that God provided for us, as Santi calls for a middle-of-the-night meal, as he happily eats, as my body is able to produce nutrient-loaded milk to feed him, as he falls back asleep peacefully, as I find my comfy bed again, as we are given strength by the Lord's Spirit to wake in the morning, as we breathe the life He once breathed into us, as we exercise the bodies He formed with His own hands, as we eat the food He planted and gifted us with, as we spend time with one another, as we grow, as we read the Bible He inspired believers to write.

To love God with all my heart, mind and soul is to always acknowledge what He has done and is doing in my life. To share the love that He has for all of us by loving each person that I meet, by smiling, by giving hope, by serving in any way I can. To love God fully is to not fall into the daily temptations of gossiping with others, of lying, of discouraging, of selfishness, greed, pride - but to call on Him when temptation taps me on the shoulder.

To love God this way is to strive to be like His Son, Jesus Christ, to the best of my ability. Depending on our Heavenly Father with each step I take, and praying for a humble heart. Knowing that everything I have and am able to do is from Him and because of Him. Without the Lord Jesus Christ, I am nothing. With Him, I am filled.

March 21, 2013

Parsley n' Apple Smoothie

Oh, parsley! Why are you so refreshing? Why do you make my burps all just-brushed-my-teeth fresh? Why do you dance so well with apple, pineapple and cold water? Why, oh why, had we not met until this year? You're delicious. I added a banana last time. It worked wonders.

Parsley and Apple Smoothie
serves one

  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, with stems
  • 1 handful spinach 
  • 1 apple, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1-2 (or 3!) cups water, ice
Blend! I like a lot of water because it is more the consistency of juice straight from the juicer, and it takes longer to drink since it doubles in quantity, and... and... it just works better that way. Feel free to add a banana or two next time around and see if you fancy.

"Don't seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people. "Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God. (Leviticus 19:18 MSG)

As an early-teenager, this verse was hard for me to follow. No, not because of the crazy kids in my life that I simply could not even begin to try to love, but because of the, "as yourself" part. You see, like (unfortunately) a lot of kids, I didn't really think of myself too highly. It wasn't too obvious, though, because of the pressure to look and act the joy-filled, I-have-everything-and-I-am-happy part, it seemed as if I thought I was pretty rad. But that was just pride, filling my heart and saturating my thoughts, hiding the fact that I really thought I was a waste of existence.

I know, that's a bit harsh. But I was dramatic (aren't most 13 year olds?) and blind to truth, and most of all, I wasn't walking with the Lord.

Once I started loving the daughter God made me to be, and embracing the beautiful heart He formed in me, the goofy attitude, the simply-amused side of myself, the fact that He didn't make me to look, act, talk, dress, or think like everyone else (mainly: the half dozen girls I thought were perfect for 100% materialistic and vain reasons... Sheesh I sure was a young, brain-washed soul!) I was able to understand this verse so much more. It is a profound commandment God calls His followers to believe, even the 13-year-old believers.

Loving others as I love myself doesn't only mean that I should accept them and love them just as God made them, like I have learned to accept and love myself. It also calls me to love them just how I hope to be loved: unconditionally, just as I am, don't count my flaws, please forgive my mistakes, make me aware of any wrong I have done, be honest with me. This is how God is guiding me to love you. If you were me, how would I treat me?

In the devotional I am doing it asks, "why did God remind them of who He was at the end?"

It's a reminder that He is our Creator, our loving Savior, the reason we breathe. This all-knowing, all-powerful King of all creation is telling us to do something. We need to take this commandment seriously and obey Him in love. Obey Him and love.

March 20, 2013

Carob Buckwheat n' Banana Smoothie

I had all my smoothies packed for the day, but I hadn't had breakfast yet. If I drank one of the prepped smoothies, I would have one less drink for the workday, and I would surely be hungry before I arrived home. What's a girl to do? Throw fruit in a blender, that's what. You've got 2 minutes. Just do it.

Carob Buckwheat n' Banana Smoothie

  • 2 bananas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tbsp carob powder
  • hefty dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sprouted buckwheat
  • 1/2-1 cup water
Blend! Drink! Smile.

I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?" And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:36-40 ESV)

I instantly am reminded of the half dozen "regulars" that we see on the street corners of this city. The same homeless people, the same signs made from thick poster board with new home ads on them, their same clothing, same old backpack. Why is it that I can't even give them a smile? I always say, "if I had food I would give it to them." I hardly ever do, since I pack for just enough grub to get me through the day. But I wonder, if I someday did have food, would I really give it to them? Should I pack a bible in a sack lunch? An invitation to my church? A warm coat? All are great ideas, but will I do it?

Pride. We are all so embarrassed! We avoid eye contact (or is that just me?) we pretend we have NOTHING to give. What about the coat I am wearing? The blanket in the back seat? The worse is when you think of something to give them but a voice whispers, "they don't want that, they want money. They are going to refuse what you give them." Why do I listen to that voice? If they don't want what I give, what is wrong with that? Pride. I will be rejected. I will never want to give to a beggar again.

Humble my heart, Lord Jesus.

When we serve others that are in need, we are serving Christ. When we ignore the needs of others, we ignore our Savior. When He provides everything we have, and we don't in turn give to those who do not have much at all, we are being selfish. We are cold. We think we are better than them. We earned it, we worked for it, what did they do? What's their story? Did they once ignore someone asking for money at the stoplight on the busiest street in town? How did this become their life?

I'm called to serve others with the love of Christ. To make a sandwich, pack it up with a piece of fruit, a water bottle, a bible and invitation to church, and a pair of gloves or warm socks.

I pray that God would continue to put this on my heart, that I would stop being cold toward those in need and remember that what I do to the people He places in my life, I do to Him. Will I choose to serve Him or ignore Him?

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:17-18

March 19, 2013

Veggie Bolognese, Zucchini Pasta

When I saw this recipe I couldn't stop imagining how amazing it was going to taste. I love how easy it was to throw each ingredient (or two) into the food processor and then empty the minced vegetable into a big pot. Let it simmer, simmer, simmer some more and in 45 minutes you will have yourself a very hearty, filling, rich pasta sauce. I served it over quinoa and zucchini noodles. I ate spoonfuls of it cold the next day. I gave some to my family members. I wish I had some sitting in front of me every night around 10:00pm while I feed our 6-month-old peanut, Santi. Both of those are lies. I wouldn't be able to eat this at 10:00pm, because I would have yummy smoothie digesting in my belly already. And, normally Santi is asleep by 10:00pm, so I'm not feeding him then.

It's all lies.

This recipe is not lies. It's life changing. Oh, Chef Amber Shea, what would my sad quinoa and zucchini noodles do without you? Cry themselves to sleep, that's what they would do.

March 18, 2013

Lentil Balls over Vegetables

You know, when you're all, "oh snap I have to eat those lentil balls they look fabulous" and at the same time you just sauteed a bunch of vegetables (zucchini, bell pepper, green cabbage), and you want kale salad and you want some of that fantastic coleslaw? This size of a meal appears before you. You stare because you cannot do anything else. You are so glad this lasts forever. You try to eat slowly but cannot gain any control over the speed of the fork to food to mouth. You ask for this to happen tomorrow. You thank Google for recipes. You lick your plate clean. (gross.)

Lentil balls - used lentils instead of chickpeas
Kale salad

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Luke 6:35 NKJV)

It's one of those, "much easier said than done" type of commandments. I could pick someone in my life as said, "enemy" and when I ponder the idea of loving them -unconditionally, no matter what- it seems pretty simple. Until I am standing in their presence, and they do something to remind me of the very reason I struggle to want to constantly give them hugs, smooches, and invitations to my house for dinner.

This is where I give myself up fully to God. "Love them, Lord, for me" asking His Spirit to fill me with compassion for them, so much so that it pours out of my heart genuinely. So that they would see Christ in me, they would feel how much they are worth in their Creator's eyes. That they would catch a glimpse of a love more profound than what this world has -wrongfully- taught us, "to love those who do good to you, be kind to those who are kind" complex, beautiful love that goes far beyond this idea to:

Love your least favorite people
Love those who hurt you
Love those who mock you
Love all who persecute you, who hate you, who disrespect you.

I like the reminder that we are to expect, "nothing in return" for loving our enemies and doing good. We all enjoy immediate rewarding, but what if we waited for it every time we are kind to our enemy, every time we lend a helping hand, every time we bite our tongue instead of saying something hurtful? We would be really disappointed by the let down that there is no flashing neon sign with our face on it, saying, "Great Job!" Our name doesn't immediately go on a plaque that hangs in a museum for all the world to see. We aren't called to appear on a well-known and enjoyed talk show to boast about our good deeds. Expect nothing in return, BUT...

Your reward will be great. You will be son of the Most High. For God is good to all - even us, when we are at our worse. So we need to be like Him: love all (even the hardest to love) and we will be blessed, even if it's not until we meet Christ face-to-face in Heaven. Our rewards will be GREAT!

Lord, help me to love even those who don't love back. That You may be honored, and they might know You as their Savior one day.

March 17, 2013

Tahini Coleslaw

A small rabbit once told me that cabbage is awesome. He also told me that it's even more awesome when it is consumed raw. I believed him. I found a recipe, and I ran with it. A weekly staple in the Carrillo household that is approved by hubby and loved by meself! I never liked raw cabbage before, especially the purple stuff. That business is serious business when it comes to strong flavors, and the only time I have been keen on it raw is when I ordered the oh my sombrero! dish at Thrive restaurant in Seattle. Cover a cabbage leaf with "A nutty, savory patty made of mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, walnuts and spices." and some Onion Cashew Cream, and anyone is going to demolish it without even realizing it's an. entire. cabbage. leaf. raw. crunchy. strong. and mighty.

If only that restaurant didn't eat half of my paycheck.... we would be there weekly by golly (half an entree, one appetizer and an 8oz juice came to over $40- ay ayyy!!)

The recipe & the dressing are on this.... post.... I just wrote this same month oh my goodness I am losing my mind is this what they mean when they say "mommy brain"? Pretend this is the first time you have ever seen any of this. bahahah oh my. Moving on quickly!

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:31 ESV)

We are called to forgive, as we wish others would forgive us. We are led to forget another's dark past, as we hope our dark past is forgotten. We are not told to remember our friend's mistakes, just as we wouldn't want anyone remembering our many mistakes. We are guided to love and be compassionate, much like how we desire to be loved and be embraced by a friend's compassion. We exist to serve others when they need it, as we would love for others to serve us when we're in need.

I hope to be forgiven, to be loved, to be guided. I hope to be cut some slack, to have some room for error, for you to remember I am an imperfect human being that will fail from time to time. Be kind to me, please.

In turn, I need to forgive, I will love, I ought to guide. I need to cut you some slack, to allow you room for error. I will remember that you are an imperfect human being that will fail from time to time. I need to be kind.

Treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.

Forgive your friend as you hope they would forgive you.

Be compassionate for the sick, as you would hope someone would have compassion on you.

Allow your co-worker to make a mistake, and don't expect them to never mess up, just as you hope you would be allowed to make a mistake or two, and no one would expect you to never mess up.

Try it. Do it. Pray at all times, God will help you every time you call.

cute cheeks, we love you.

March 16, 2013

Lentils and Rice Lettuce Wraps

I can't get enough romaine boats in my weekly meals. It's such a blast consuming large amounts of fresh greens this way! Green Smoothie (or 2) in the morning, romaine boats or big salad in the afternoon, more greens in a nighttime smoothie, why didn't I ever think to do this before? My tummy does happy dances after each meal, and I can only imagine my heart is lovin' on them leafy greens!

This meal was one of those, "get rid of the leftovers, now!" type of dishes. Guacamole to help things stick to the leaves, parsley for good measure, autumn rice and sweet potato lentil chili. Easy peas. I haven't had peas in over a year. I need some peas. Macaroni and peas. Peas by themselves. Peas with red pepper flakes. Mmmmm....

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 ESV)

This verse makes it clear: letting bitterness toward someone cling to us and fester will indefinitely break a friendship. Whereas forgiving does the opposite: it mends the bond that holds people together in love.

It's interesting how it says, "close friends" as opposed to simply, "friends." If I repeat errors, hurtful acts or harsh words I can lose close, even my best, well-known, very much loved, growing-together-since-childhood friends! What a reminder of how powerful our tongue is, how sinful our flesh, that we can really hurt people that we love if we aren't careful. Even as a follower of Christ, I am still imperfect and can make the same mistake more than once. This motivates me to be the Word of God consistently in order to live in His love and have it pour out onto those around me, to have my eyes opened to how easy it is to fall to sin more than once, and that if effects not only me but the people that surround me.

At the same time, I need to place everyone else in the same shoes. We are flawed, we slip up, and I am called to forgive their faults. Cover their offenses, love them for exactly who they are (a sinner, like me) and it will result in a stronger friendship. Forgive. Forget. Move on.

Lord, help me to think before I speak. To be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. To have grace for friends like You have grace for all of us. To focus on the beautiful person You formed them to be, not the errors that sin has caused them to make. Guide me to see a repeated sin trying to creep its way toward me and to bring my focus back to You. That the words on my lips, the actions I make and the thoughts that fill my mind would be pleasing to you and bless others as they come to the surface.

March 15, 2013

A Pound of Romaine

Eating green stuff is so much easier than it used to be for me. Try this one: almost an entire head of romaine, cut up as you wish: in little pieces, in strips, torn, etc. Add a medium sized zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces, add a few stalks of chopped celery, add a green onion or two, some diced bell pepper. Serve with Ah-Ma-Gosh Cilantro Guacamole and a side of beans. You can squirt a lime's juices all over the bed of greens, too.

Yes. I have done this before very recently.
Yes. It will happen again very shortly.


Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 ESV)

Jesus gave His life so that we could live. The most profound example of selfless love in all of history (not to mention God giving His only Son). This demonstrates love in that He didn't worry about how much it would hurt, Christ didn't ask one of His followers of they wanted to die instead. He paid the penalty of a painful, long-suffered death, sparring all of us from feeling the physical agony that we deserve.

How can we live this way? We don't have to step in front of every flying bullet necessarily. We can, however, pray that God's Spirit would work in us so that we may know what a life of self-sacrifice looks like. Lord, help me to be selfless, to put everyone else's needs before mine, to reflect Christ's love by loving more than I think I am able to.

March 14, 2013

Cilantro Guacamole

I heard from a bird somewhere that eating cilantro is mega amazing for your body, eating is is 100% a good idea, and apparently it does the following:
  • Contains immune-boosting and antioxidant properties.
  • A good source of dietary fiber, iron and magnesium.
  • Rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids.
  • A powerful detoxifying agent that has been used to help remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
  • Aids digestion and settles the stomach; drink a cup of tea made from the leaves when you experience any form of stomach discomfort.
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate arthritis symptoms and reduce minor swelling.
  • Protects against bacterial infection from Salmonella.
  • Can help increase (good) HDL cholesterol and reduce (bad) LDL cholesterol
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea, eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation and reduces menstrual cramping.
  • Helps promote healthy liver function and stimulates the endocrine glands.
  • Helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar.
  • Acts as a natural antiseptic and antifungal for skin disorders such as eczema and fungal infections.
  • Wards off urinary tract infections.
  • Helps ease conjunctivitis, eye-aging, macular degeneration and other eye stressors.
Yes, I copied and pasted that directly from a website, enjoy visiting the writer at Happy Mothering.  She just said bullet-pointed it so well! After hearing about all of cilantro's health benefits, I decided to buy a bunch of it each week. I tried smoothies (no luck, too much tastes-like-taco, not enough tastes-like-a-regular-green-smoothie) and making a salsa (no luck again, too much salsa not enough uses and it went bad after 6 days - I probably could have been more consistent with adding it to my meals, but alas... I failed) but it simply wasn't working out.

Until I found Carrie's recipe. Ah Ma Gosh. We have a keeper, and it meets us for lunch and/or dinner every week. Thank you, Carrie. Thank you, cilantro. Thank You, giving God who created such a delicious green leaf!

Ah-Ma-Gosh Cilantro Guacamole
serves 4
  1. 1 avocado, peeled and pitted *save pit
  2. the juice of 1 medium lime
  3. 1 roma tomato, cut in half
  4. 2 serrano chilis, stems removed
  5. 1 splash of vinegar (Carrie calls for coconut, but I just used white distilled)
  6. 1-2 splashes of water, or more lime juice to help the blender
  7. 1 bunch of cilantro, washed, including stems (you can cut off the tips if they're ugly!)
BLEND! I used a high-speed blender, but a regular blender ought to do the trick. Just make sure you put the liquids & tomato in first, followed by the avocado, chili peppers, then the cilantro.

TIP: if you don't get through it in one sitting, leave the pit inside the bowl. This helps the whipped avocado mix to stay fresh. It will change in color by the next time you use it, but the flavor will remain loud and incredibleeee!

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9 ESV)

Not faking it... That the love we demonstrate not only be in the exchanging of polite words, but in deed. That our actions, our thoughts, our words, out life would be a testimony of sincere love. To want it, not to love simply because we "have to" but to enjoy it! Recently I have been trying to genuinely show love to people I hardly know (and well-known friends, too!) and it only causes a positive domino effect. Everyone smiles in return, you feel great inside, it's easier to share your faith, and they are more open to listening to you. They are also more open to sharing a little bit of what is on their heart. Christ's love saturating on believer's heart and pouring out onto someone else really has a powerful effect! It's beautiful, fun, and exciting, to -really- love the people God has allowed to be part of your life.

Turn away from evil, from everything that doesn't come out of a rich love. Turn away from characteristics that don't represent Christ, from lying, cheating, stealing, hurting, boasting. Cling to all that is good. Hold tight, don't let go. Dig your thought deep into God's word daily and be strong in the Lord. Then, when temptation greets you and the idea of "turning from evil" isn't so appealing anymore, you have the full armor of God protecting you, guiding you to look to all good things.

Since God has placed it on my heart to read the bible more, it has been so much easier for me to see evil before it greets me face-to-face and I have no where to turn. Sometimes it's only one or two verses in the morning, that I reflect on and try to remember throughout the day. But even half a verse can guide me, even 5 minutes can bring all my attention back to my Creator, off of me, and onto His many blessings in my life. This is how it is easier to turn from evil. When you are filled with God's promises, and believe them fully, you can't help but see all the good in life and abandon evil.

Thank You, Father, for Your powerful Word! Help us to apply it to our lives, and open our eyes to any changes we can make to draw closer to You and further from our old sinful ways.

March 13, 2013

Santiago: 6 Months!

Oh hi! I'm 6 months old and I can do 1,000 things more than I did when I was 5 months old!

  • Sits up by himself! Rolls back or to the side after a while. Has bonked his head on the side of his crib, on his carpeted bedroom floor, and just yesterday, on his play mat that sits on our hardwood floor - of course he fell not on the cushioned part, but on the that-might-as-well-be-concrete part. It didn't phase him, though. Must have assumed it was just a less-fluffy version of a pillow, I s'pose

  • Has rolled over four times. Once for mami, being tempted by a smoothie right by his face, and three times for his grandmami! We got it on camera, of course!
  • He holds play carrots!
  • He bites play picnic baskets!
  • He grins for the camera!

  • Naps in a loved one's arms (mami, papi, grandmami) with piano hymns and white noise. We had switched to naps in cribs but he just wasn't getting all the shut eye he desired. After all, we don't know how long he'll enjoy naps in arms, so we are enjoying it while it lasts! I'm hoping that by 15 years of age he will have weaned himself
  • Sleeps from 8:30pm to 10:30pm (usually later nights are our fault, starting bed routine late for whatever reason! Dessert soothes not happen until 8 instead of 7? we just "had to" do the dishes real quick? I needed to put the sprouted buckwheat in the dehydrator? Probably all of the above.)
  • Wakes 1-3 times to eat, falls back to sleep while eating
  • Wakes from 7:20-8:30am for the day
  • Sleeps swaddled at night, but arms-free

  • Wears 9-12 month clothes, same as at 5 months! Legs getting longer, preferring 9 months pants over 6 month-ers.
  • Weighing in at just under 21lbs (94th %) and almost 29 inches (98th %)
  • Elimination Communication: I'm not as consistent with it. I used to take him potty for a "potty-tunity" after each nap, diaper change, long or short drive, but now if he already filled his diaper I just change him and move on. All the family, however, is on board with grunting and saying, "poopy!" When he is playing and decides to go #2. He grunts and smiles at us. It's all about word association! He now can sit on his Bjorn potty on the floor (we used to sit him on the sink counter with the toilet bowl insert under him) and has done both #1 and #2 for me twice!

  • He fancies a water bottle over a toy any day, any hour. Same with paper. Hand him a light up, buttons-all-over, singing toy, and a piece of crinkly paper, and he'll go for the simple stuff made from trees.
  • He sings while mami practices her choir music in the car. He also sings while no music is playing in the car. I think he likes telling stories :)
  • No words yet, but I'm practicing, "papi" with him a lot. I think it would be beautiful if it were his first word! I mean, we get a lot of each other, so how cute would it be if he mentioned his papa before me? I vote yes. You won't catch me telling him to say, "mami" anytime soon!
  • He takes really awesome naps after getting his vaccines. I mean, over 2 hours - those types of really awesome naps.

  • He caught his first full-blown, full-throttle, this-business-is-real, I-promise-I'm-not-faking-it upper respiratory virus! Cute coughs, a sneeze or three, runny nose = days 1-2. Loud coughs, a sneeze or six, bulb syringe and some saline to remove boogies = days 3-5. Sad, violent cough, sadly large quantity of boogies = day 6.
  • Enjoyed one of his first play dates! He has met other babies, but just recently he started responding to their existence. He reached out and tried eating the nose of my friend's 2 'n a half year old daughter. I giggled really loud. This boy is bold!
  • Reaches out to us to be held! We were just waiting for this one, always enthusiastically saying, "up! Up!" as we stretch our hands toward his. And just look at that bugger, he's just asking for some lovin'
  • Continues to enjoy sucking on toys, preferably rubber-like blocks, lion feet, giraffe ears, and people's knuckles 
  • Smiles if mami is taking the picture, but not if papi is taking the picture. Way to look awesome in all of our portraits together, Santi. (Awesome in this context really means: frightened, unhappy, not-that-into-it, and disappointed.)

Baby Led Weaning!
Copied from Baby Led Weaning website

"Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning. The term was originally coined by Gill Rapley, a former health visitor and midwife.

According to the most recent research most babies reach for food at around six months, which is also the time that mothers are being encouraged to wean* by their Health Visitors, in accordance with the WHO guidelines.

The distinct advantage of weaning at around six months is that by then, our children are developmentally capable of feeding themselves proper food, in other words – no more mush!

You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t. (But they do, really they do… check out the baby with the pork chop).

That’s the essence of Baby Led Weaning. No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.

* re ‘wean’. This is meant in the Brit sense, not the American. In the UK, ‘weaning’ means ‘adding complementary foods’, whereas in the States it means ‘giving up breastfeeding’. Two nations divided by a common language, and all that."
  • He watches us eat more attentively than before, starting to make a chewing movement with his mouth and lips as we munch on food.
  • Has gotten food on his hands before after reaching for our plate with success, but doesn't care to put his food-covered fingers in his mouth yet
  • Planning on starting solids today of we get the OK from his pediatrician. First food of choice: avocado! If she says his sickness probably just needs loads of mommy's milk and no solids, we will wait it out a few days. Right now we have been practicing with giant, fake kiwi placemats. 

  • UPDATE: Gave the child avocado! Mind you, it seemed to have been too ripe, because he couldn't grab onto it like he grabs perfectly at his toys. So Edu ended up bringing a piece to Santi's mouth and he leaned forward and opened his mouth real wide! We video taped it and everything, expecting goofy faces, gagging and the like. We got nothing. Santi ate and ate little bits out of his papa's hand without making any faces. It's as if he has had avocado every day for lunch since he was in the womb. Hey... wait a second, could it be because I eat avocado almost daily? Maybe he tastes it in the breastmilk? Agreed. Future foods to try: anything we are eating. Quinoa, steamed veggies, salad... that's on tomorrow's menu! Will keep updates coming :)

  • Pediatrician Questions:
    * eczema: Aloe Vera Gel, natural organic soaps?
    * solids: avoid citrus?
    * delayed rolling over? * Immunizations OK with Santi's cold?
    * Bulb syringe hurting his nostrils?
  • Pediatrician Answers * Baking soda bath 3 tbsp helps eczema and rash. No Dr.Bronner soap, can cause dryness
    * Solids: citrus OK, may cause diaper rash because it's acidic
    * No rice: arsenic nowadays* but a little is okay, just not daily.
    * NoseFrida instead of bulb syringe: doesn't go in as deep
    * Immunizations OK with a cold
    * Rolling over delay okay in bigger babies! 

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples. For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD. Psalm 117:1-2