July 30, 2013

Family BBQ: Papa BDAY

My papa turned a year older this year. So we gone and have ourselves a celebration! There was salmon, there was chicken, wait - I think there was just chicken... there were tortillas, there were leftovers, there was fruit and greens.

Family is a gift from the Lord!

July 25, 2013

Mango & Tomato Salad

Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.

Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand.

And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

Philippians 4:6, 7 CEV

(Side note: I'm really enjoying this translation of the bible - it says, "The text is easily read by grade schoolers, second language readers, and those who prefer the more contemporized form" so put me in that third category because I'm referring to this translation often. It's simple to understand, but doesn't go as far as The Message translation, which I sometimes struggle with because of...personal reasons [I feel like it uses slang words that sometimes I don't even understand].)

This verse is so simple and to the point. We are called not to worry. God is in control and when we trust Him completely with our lives, we will see Him at work and anxiety will slide off of our shoulders. If we have a request, all we need to do it is lift it up to Jesus in prayer and let His will be done. He will answer us in His timing, and we need to accept that He, like a loving Father, may answer, "yes" or, "no" - but nonetheless He will answer us.

Because of these promises, we can be then filled with PEACE. Depending on our Lord instead of ourselves is such a relief, and once we give Him our prayers and petitions we are filled with peace by the Holy Spirit. Nothing can touch us now, in Christ we are free and have hope. This peace will overwhelm our feelings, the little bumps in the road of our lives don't shake us. We can stand firm in the presence of Jesus Christ and in turn share His gift of complete joy with the world around us.

Cast your cares to Jesus, trust in Him with your whole heart, feel His peace fill you up.

This is a really easy, really fruity, amazing salad I want to share. Take any type of lettuce (I used a head of red leaf) and dice 1-3 tomatoes (beef steak, woohoo!), 1-2 mangos, shredded carrots and some celery. Mix, mix, mix. No dressing needed since the juicy fruits are sweetening each leaf!

SO GOOOOOOOD I could eat this daily. But I take a while when it comes to cutting mangos, so I eat it every couple days or so, maybe twice a week. Yums!

July 19, 2013

Eat an Entire Head of GREENS

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:5, 6 NKJV

May my conduct reflect Jesus as I walk among unbelievers. May my speech be full of grace, love and Christ-like kindness as I answer them.

Even around followers of Christ, I pray the same things. To carry myself in a way that honors God, and to speak in a way that glorifies Him!

As a seeker of truth, that is Jesus and His message, it is a constant spiritual journey that never ends. You think, hey, I believe that Jesus Lord and Son of God, I choose to follow Him for the rest of my days and live for Him, not for man. Won't my remaining time on earth be peachy, new, and joyous? Well, in part that is true. Yet, as long as I am growing in Him, the Lord, His Spirit is constantly working in me - opening my eyes to my own sin, to the needs of everyone around me, to the lost sheep that we need to put up with because they really, really need Jesus and He LOVES them. With the Spirit of God constantly doing work in my life, I am always growing in Him. I am learning, I am a tree being pruned so I can bear spiritually fruit, I am being humbled, guided, forgiven.

Each day is a gift. Each day is a challenge. Redeem the time!

Santi says, "my teeth hurt. Can I has celery to chew on? thxma"
This is when frozen, organic corn from Costco, became my favoritist. Ohmygosh avocado tomato lime juice salsa bell pepper and an entire head of red leaf lettuce bigger than my torso - get in my tum tummssss!!

But really:
  •  1-2 bell peppers, any color, cut into strips or diced
  • 3 huge tomatoes, diced
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, if you want your eyes watering half way through the salad
  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce, wash it good and tear into pieces or cut up
  • 1 cup of frozen organic corn from Costco, heat or let thaw *tends to be a bit chewy when just left to thaw*
  • 1 lime, juiced all over this beauty.
  • half an avocado - optional business!

July 18, 2013

Zucchini Noodles meets CORN!

Humble like CHRIST

Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves.

Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought:

Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God.

Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us.

Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross.

Philippians 2:3-8 CEV

I'm working on memorizing these verses. Join me?

Zucchini noodles. Corn. Celery. SAUCE. I know, I seem to be abusing this idea of zucchini noodles. But for a while during this high-raw food transition I was going wild for noodles. Jump ahead a week or three to now and I hardly ever make these noodles because it takes much more time than ripping up a bunch of romaine leaves for a giant salad. Anyhow, I do enjoy me a noodle dish every so often. Here's a fun one: zucchini noodles (3 zucchini) and a cup of corn. Sauce on the side (I ended up straining it, of course!) that consisted of tomatoes, basil, celery and I think carrot?

Just throw a bunch of stuff in your blender and see what happens!

July 17, 2013

Raw: Zucchini Noodles and Tomato Sauce

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders.

Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

I Peter 5:5-7 NKJV

I used to be rebellious toward my elders. I'm going to look at the word, "elders" as anyone who is older than me by at least 15 years. In grade school, this included all of my teachers. I never heard of the idea of respecting them, even less so did I understand what it meant to submit myself to them. They were older, they weren't as fun as my friends, and most of them were teaching me subjects I didn't care about. I wonder what kind of student I would have been had I memorized this first verse. Would I have greeted the teachers in the morning, behaved in their classroom in a respectful way, contributed to their lesson of the day, been intrigued by the subject they were passionate about? Just a thought. Man, I was a strange adolescent. I'm so glad I sort of knew about Jesus and sort of feared my parents (in obedience) even though I would have been better off fearing the Lord (in obedience).

I'm really praying for humility lately. I've been catching myself puffed up with pride, disguised as it often is as "self-confidence" and I'm not liking it. To be more like the giving Jesus Christ, to count myself as a servant before those around me, is my hope and prayer. To respect the authority God has placed in my life: my boss, the government, the law in general. To be submissive toward my elders: the pastors, my older siblings? My spouse.

Living for others, and serving God by serving people is a gift, and a challenge. What I hope for most is that, in servanthood, the praise I receive I would direct it to Christ. To quote pastor Mark Driscoll's recent sermon:

"the goal is for the world not to know me, but for the world to know God. Reflect, mirror, show, echo some attributes of God.

That is very generous of you.
- God is generous.
That is very loving of you.
- God loves you through me.

Be humbly BOLD. Speak about the Lord whenever anyone speaks highly of you."


I have discovered the art of raw, Italian-esque pasta dishes. I have also come to the realization that straining your raw pasta sauce before pouring it over a bowl of spiralized zucchini is recommended or you will end up with Italian zucchini noodles with yummy madness sauce and a river or liquid - yay! No. Not yay. Strain your sauce. It will be thicker, amazing-er, and it makes life a better place at the dinner table. Serve with greens.

  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 3 celery stalks
  • fresh basil (handful)
  • 1-2 dates
  • optional: garlic, onion 
I like to strain the sauce after blending, and sometimes leaving it a little chunky.  Straining helps the noodles not swim in tomato juices and the sauce bulks up! I think this would be dreamy good with diced mushroom for volume.

Santi says, "teething is for wimps and I'm not one but I am showing my feelings because I'm brave. Oh and I want some of my mom's raw pasta dish."

July 16, 2013

Cucumber, Mango, Tomato Salad

But He replied, “My gift of undeserved grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am.
2 Corinthians 12:9 CEV

"when we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we see ourselves weak in ourselves, then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and are qualified to receive strength from Him, and experience most of the supplies of divine strength and grace." Matthew Henry's commentary.

God's grace is enough for me. It is all I need. Even when I lift up a prayer request to Him and I don't receive the answer I had hoped for, He still answers me. Even when I repeat the same sin ten times in a week, He still forgives me. Even when I close my mouth and feel too insecure to share His promise of eternal life after this one is over, He still loves me. This is grace; a gift given that is undeserved. This is grace; one of God's most divine and overwhelming qualities.

This is when a few mangoes weren't quite ripe, but I wanted to give it a try. Also, needed more tomato. Other than that, this dish is a win win win win!! Next time I am adding 6x the tomatoes, more ripe mango, aaaaaand the cucumbers were perfect. Very refreshing for summer, and you can dice the cucumber as well for a "salsa" like recipe for romaine boats!
  • 2 English cucumbers, cut thinly with mandolin (good)
  • 3 mangoes, I used the skinny Ataulfo guys (use 5-6)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced  (double this)

July 15, 2013

Santi James Boy: 10 Months!

Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow! We have a ten month old on our hands, folks. And we love him to bits and bits and pieces.

Oh. hi. I'm Santiago James. and I am full of fluffy-haired sweetness.

Let's read about what this little guy has been up to for the past month or so:
  • He has taken three steps unassisted! Walking from the couch to his mama, as well as from grandma to grandpa, and from papa to mama, and from standing by himself away from papa to papa's arms. Go, Sants pants, go!
  • he stands with help, has stood alone by 20 seconds straight! Okay so there was no clock watch involved but it has felt like 3 whole minutes before. It's impressive, however short/long it lasts. Standing isn't easy! He's a wobbly, finding-my-balance-don't-touch-me-anybody boy.
  • has two teethies that shine like the sun and surprise me every time I catch a glimpse.

  • 2 naps about 1-2 hours each, not always a fan of nap #2 - we thought for a little bit that maybe he wanted to drop his 2nd nap like he recently dropped nap #3, but I think we were just timing it wrong. He lasts awake from 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours in the morning after he wakes for the day, then around 3 hours on the dot between the end of nap #1 and the start of nap #2
  • art of screaming: gets it, owns it, will share it with you often.
  • likes the idea of crawling but won't follow through
  • knows the sound of the garage door opening and looks for his papa
  • likes kitchen gadgets more than toys
  • can and will walk around the entire house 14,000 times if you hold his hands and allow him to. 
  • Think it's funny when I let him grab a hold of the camera lens cap and he proceeds to put it directly into his mouth. I think it's funny when I snap a photo of an odd expression of his unacceptable behavior. Seriously he looks like a 40 something year old man in this picture, what up Santi?!
  •  The other day he had a toy tractor on the floor ahead of him (he was in standing mode) and he actually walked over to it, decided not to bend down and grab it but step on it like he was Godzilla or something. Really, though, if we had had a girl, would she have done that? Did God instill this in the hearts of boys? Step on things! Take it all apart! I'm entertained. Speaking of destruction...
  • Destroys his toys like a real boy should, would, could, does (and has awesome bed hair all the while).

  • has opened FaceTime (okay, it was an accident but it was still cute - like he was saying, "call my abuelita (grandma) now!!"
  • recognizes his family in Mexico and smiles at them
  • learned the art of the straw with his first try. Shoot, this babe will do a whole lot if it means yummy food is going to reach his belly! He set his mind to it and ran away with this new skill. It makes feeding him smoothies in the car so, so easy and smoothie snacks are completely clean! For the most part, besides his green gotee left under his lip :)
  • Sneaky boy likes to push peas, corn, berries off the high chair onto the floor through the slot between the high chair and table.
  • Has a whole week where he skipped his 2nd nap and decided to cry instead
  • He has told me that hard, round fruits like apples are the best for teething. He expresses discomfort and isn't appreciative when a piece of the apple was removed with his 2 little teeth and touched his tongue. I think he ate it, though. Just with a grimace. 
  • 2 meals a day of solids + nursing often, longest nursing happens in the nighttime before bed, and upon waking up.
  • He wants to know why strange human-like statues exist and if they can cease to exist soon because they make him uncomfortable.

  • Kiwi gives this bubba a face and neck rash but he loves its sweetness
  • Awesome pincer abilities with small pieces of food
  • Watched me stack blocks the other day and proceeded to pick up a block himself and try to bring it up to the top of the stack - I was amazed!
  • Thinks his papa is the funniest human ever created.

  • Watched me put a cloth on my head for fun, he pulled it off my head then tried to put it back on my head - again, amazed at this babe!
  • Goes #2 in his potty all the time if I am not lazy, I catch him in "push" mode and run him to his little toilet!
  • He doesn't care about fireworks! This was his face while he watched his papa light off baby-friendly firecrackers:

  • He pretends to want to walk down the stairs but backs out at the last possible minute and turns around for mama or papa to pick him up. Then grandma Pam recently pointed out that teaching a baby to walk down the stairs is actually nonsense and dangerous and they will surely fall so you should teach them to turn around and crawl down backwards! Oh goodness, I am so thankful that she opened my eyes to that one. Pure madness could have ensued if I had not learned this important fact of baby life.
  • He can walk up stairs while holding your hands!

  • He stares outside the window every time he hears an airplane or truck.
  • He can open cabinet doors (woohoo for not being able to crawl/walk and do this when I'm not paying attention!) 
  • He played outside in his tub tub when it was 90* F!

  • Bubba ate sushi for the first time and loved it! (nori seaweed, white rice and avocado with raw ginger)
  • He loves the baby girl I nanny and hugs her with his feet when they are lying down, and touches her nose as gentle as a wittle rabbit.
  • He met the waves and wasn't a fan! Okay, so he stared at them cautiously then walked toward them with me and out of no where they decided to greet us up to our shins. He screamed. Then did it again. Then wanted it to end. 

  • He now makes fun sounds and googoos and all sorts of "words" that fill us with great joy. Included, but not limited to, "ma ma ma ma da da bu bu bu na na na"
  • He does goofy things like sleeping through the night one night, then frantically realizing it at 5:00am and crying wildly for a milk session - followed by a night of frequent nursing, followed by up-just-once, followed by madness I can never predict. I love babies!
  •  He visited the public library for the first time and stared at the child across the table doing his word puzzle as if he were the strangest little boy ever to speak. Then Santi met his first pine cone on the walk back to the car, which I quickly threw back into nature because it immediately covered my hand and phone is sap. Boo.

  • Wears 18 month clothes almost all the time now. I don't know how much of his clothing is actually 9-12 months, but goodness me I am thankful his growing has simmered down a bit because to put all of what he has now in storage boxes and go for 24 month clothing would throw me off a bit. He does, however, thanks to loving family members, already have some 2-year-old outfits waiting for him.
  • I much enjoy standing him up against a log at nearby parks and beaches to take his photo. I don't know why, it just looks like too much cuteness to avoid I s'pose. He also likes to observe the world around him and contemplate life's deep meaning. Pants-lookin'-too-short alert:

Being parents has taught me so, so much and we are only 10 months into it. God has really been showing me how to be more like Christ Jesus by being a mama. I mean, we are placed in a situation as parents to serve this itty bitty being. Their needs might clash with your needs, their timing not in line with your timing, but ultimately it's about making them feel loved and cherished like God loves and cherishes us as His children. Meet their needs, assure them you are near, enjoy each moment. I love it all, even when it's one of those challenging, how-am-I-supposed-to-do-this types of days. God is in control of each day He gives us, we are called to trust Him, lean on Him, and guide our kiddos to do the same. It's a beautiful gift that leaves me in awe!

July 14, 2013

Dinner: Fruit Before the Meal

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31, 32

God, in His Son Christ Jesus, offers us complete forgiveness of our past sins. He is full of kindness, He has a tender heart, and He calls us to strive for these things as well. His Spirit worked through Paul, the author of the book of Ephesians, and purposefully had him list: bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice as things that should be put off completely as a believer and follower of Jesus. It's a heavy list, and many sins stem out of these "root" sins, so avoiding them is essential! I think of how our lives are testimonies to the world, everyone sees what we do (in public) and if we are full of anger, bitterness, or wrath- what type of testimony are we giving to, say, a coworker that has yet to know the Lord? On the other hand, if our heart is set on giving a good testimony of how God has saved us, transformed us and changed us by filling our hearts with kindness and forgiveness - how many more will want to ask us about our faith and seek their Creator!

Just a thought today. Sometimes it's easy for me to say, "I don't have any of those bad things in my heart right now" but I know I do, so I simply ask God to make them known to me. Open my eyes to the sins deep down in me that I do not see, bring them to the light so that I can change. It's such a beautiful reminder of His presence and hearing our prayers, because soon enough I will catch myself with a nasty thought, or a bitter feeling when I hear someone's name, and BAM - God opened my eyes and made it clear. This spiritual walk is a life long journey, until we are in Jesus' presence we are growing and being changed my Him. It's absolutely incredible.

A cool idea I have fallen upon is the whole, "eat fruit before dinner" trick. Since fruit digests fairly quickly (under an hour) while vegetables and cooked foods take longer (1-4+ hours, longest to digest are fats), it's best for the fruit to hit your belly + intestines first. Afterward you munch on all the vegetables you'd like and they will slowly do their thing behind the fruit. Imagine reversing this, and eating a potato with some avocado on the side. Then eating a plate full of grapes. The potato and avo would be joyfully digesting when woah woah woaahhhh here comes them grapes, speeding through the digestive track, running into your used-to-be-happy starch/fat foods. Bring on bloating, gas, discomfort and the like.

I don't think that sounds awesome, or would feel superb. We've all experienced it though, at least I have a zillion times. I used to always wonder why on earth I hurt so much after work parties where food + fruit was served potluck style. I would eat fruit, then a bunch of cooked food, then always want more fruit. For one, I bet my body knew there were a handful of nutrients lacking in my cooked meal so it called for more calories in general, and two - fruit is uhmazing. An hour or so later my gut would hurt like the craziness and I blamed the cantaloupe. Every time. Silly rabbit.

Romaine, kale waldorf salad, mangos, steamed peas and sweet potato. Mango first! Salad 2nd. Cooked vegetables third (shared with Santi boy!)

July 6, 2013

Raw: Spicy Green Pasta

Set your mind on things above,
not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3:2

One of the shortest, most simply put verses I have read lately. Where is my mind set on right now? On whether or not I will have time to exercise today? On what I'm going to do with the babe during our day together? On work, on me, me, me, myself and I? Selfishness. Pride. What am I going to do today that is going to make me look good for only a moment? One track mind. Don't set your mind on things of the earth - there is no harvest in this.

Commentary from Bible Study Tools:

"not on things on the earth; not mind earth and earthly things, temporal enjoyments, riches, and honours; and though food and raiment, and the necessaries of life, are to be sought after, and cared and provided for, yet not with anxiety and perplexity of mind, in an over thoughtful and distressing manner; nor should the heart be set on those outward things, or happiness placed in the possession of them."

What would it look like if my mind was set on things above? On sharing Christ's love. On God's gift to man. On inner peace provided by Jesus Christ as He dwells in us. My heart would ache, for one, because I would think more about all the people who need Jesus. Who hasn't heard His message yet, the hope of eternity with their loving King, the gift of forgiveness of sins? Who has heard it but has questions? Who knows that truth exists but isn't sure how to start this journey? Who needs hope in a discouraging part of their life? Who is exhausted by the demands of the world, and longs to lean on Someone more compassionate?

I pray for boldness to not only write about Jesus and His gift of salvation, but to speak this truth and "make disciples of all the nations" like Matthew 28:19 guides us to.

Let us set our minds on things that are eternal. Let us try, by the grace of God, to shine for Christ when it's easier to shine for our own glory.

Spicy Green Sauce, meet zucchini noodles. Zucchini noodles, meet spicy green sauce. Be friends. Enjoy the inside of my belly. This is so, so good. You can mix up the ingredients, this time I used a zucchini, half a bell pepper, a poblano chili (not spicy) with some sunflower seeds and lemon juice (2 lemon's worth). So, so good! Even beats my red sauce over these noodles. Yums!

Santi says, "I don't like spicy right now I just want blueberries with oatmeal. Thanks"