Uncategorized

You Need this Weeknight Dinner

Okay so if you’re greek, this quick meal could actually offend you. Maybe move on along. I made this meal up with Trader Joes foods a few weeks ago. We’ve been having it every week and we will likely have it every week for the next six months until we’re sick of it. Then we’ll forget about it for 3 years. It’s feast or famine! What can I say…

 

Grocery List AT TRADER JOES:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins

1 container of the Tzatziki creamy garlic cucumber dip

1 package of frozen Garlic Naan

1 container Goddess Dressing

1 bag of the Champs Elysees salad (the only salad I buy).

 

I marinate the chicken in the Goddess Dressing for a couple of hours. Maybe 4-ish.8RQCYSveOttI4qqsF8A

While I’m grilling the chicken, I throw the Garlic Naan in the oven for a couple minutes.

G3cpvT9+TIOJylAptwZQsg

When they’re both finished, I pour the rest of the salad dressing on a bag of salad. Sometimes I sprinkle some parmasean cheese on it if I’m feeling fancy.

0AagBSIcSEynQ3Mjj2kU6g

Heres the magic part. I put several tablespoons of the tatziki on the naan. Then I cut up some chicken and put it on there. Then I top it all with salad.

H%gOCTbFTI+p5t01TkeB2g

Guys. IT IS SO GOOD. I fold it up and eat it like a taco. Dan rolls his eyes at me while I applaud myself for such a delicious meal. Now hurry and go to Trader Joes so you can be a super chef as well.

Enjoy! Start to finish cooking is 15 minutes!

Uncategorized

Praying for Eva (and Katie)

Internet world, it has been a bit of a crazy week. I would say I had a complete PTSD breakdown. I happened across a family on Instagram with a seven year old named Eva. Two weeks ago she had a freak accident, fell off of a golf cart and had a traumatic brain injury. I’ve been following along on the posts as her parents have expressed great faith in God to heal their sweet daughter while wrestling with what is happening medically.

The dad posted last night, “Today was a very difficult day. There are no big changes with Eva, but the conversations the doctors are now having with us feel like I’m taking punch after punch until I can barely stand.
Fair warning, I’m gonna get pretty raw here.

Medically, the doctors are gently saying they essentially believe there’s a good chance Eva will be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life, or close to it. All her movements, they’re saying, are reflexive, not intentional, and the best we could hope for would be some eventual movement of her eyes and limbs…after a year of rehabilitation. They even looked us in the eyes and asked, based on their prediction of her future quality of life, if we’d like to keep her on life-support or not.
I’ve never felt this kind of anger before.
I’m angry at the doctors for having such worst-case-scenario mindsets, I’m angry at myself for feeling so hopeless and clueless and inadequate, but mostly I’m angry at God.
He made Eva so full of life and joy and crazy and fun, why would He allow this freak accident to happen, only to keep her alive…but unable to talk, see, or move? I would much more have preferred for Him to have taken her to wholeness and life with Him the moment she hit her head, rather than keep her body alive but eliminate her spark.
What the heck, God?
I’ve never felt more like I need to sob and also smash everything I can touch than I do today.
I’m out of prayers. I feel like I’ve been praying non-stop for 2 weeks straight and am running on fumes. I mean, Jesus simply spoke healing and life and authority over sickness and death once and people were healed or rose from the dead. Why is God taking so long in answering my prayers? I know and have absolute faith that God is bigger than Eva’s injury, than the atoms in her brain and skull, bigger than brain scans and doctors’ opinions, bigger than the breathing tube still in her throat. I have zero doubt that God could shock this hospital and the world with His power through Eva’s healing…but why isn’t He? And if He’s not going to, why keep Eva around for so long, only to let me (and tens of thousands of others) down? I’m angry and empty and lost and a million miles past confused.
But still trying to hold on to this:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,  and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,  out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground  and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,  a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.  They will put their trust in the Lord. – Psalm 40:1-3 *I also want to say, regardless of how my faith is being tested, the medical professionals (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc.) have all been fantastic. I fully understand they are doing their job and doing with such love and care for Eva and us. I have zero resentment or frustration with them, just frustration with the reality of our world challenging my faith.

Sound familiar? I could have written this 3 years ago. I think I did! Watching these posts pop up has forced me to walk through the trauma of such a horrendous diagnosis all over again. Its also made me walk through them again as a bystander and pray for all of the same things but for a seven year old.

I took Judah to see Katie yesterday. We sat with her, listened to worship music, and I updated her on her kids first days of school. I told her about Eva and she nodded when I asked if shed like to pray for her. Shocking-the tears flowed all over again. Its a holy place, sitting with Katie, wrecked by a brain injury, as we pray for Eva still in a coma for her brain injury. Holy, and beautiful, and so. very. hard.

I stand three years later, still wondering why Katie and now Eva haven’t sprung out of their hospital beds, healed miraculously and completely. Still, I know God is there with them in those beds, it’s His angels all around them. He is sometimes so hard to see but other days its clear. He was there when Katie’s tracheotomy came out when the doctors said it wouldn’t. He was there when her vocal chords started making sounds when the doctors said they wouldn’t. He was there when she started writing, when the doctors said shed never wake up. He’s been there all along. It doesn’t look how I want it to. But HE IS THERE for it anyway.

Take a minute today, please! Pray for Eva to wake up and talk! And as always, pray for our Katie to be restored.

Here is a picture of Katie a few months ago with her daughter in her lap for one of the first times since her brain injury. (thank you botox for strengthening her muscles!)

IMG_6462

 

For Katie the Warrior, Uncategorized

Two Fourth of Julys Later

Its been quite a while since I’ve blogged. I started working part time a few months ago and it has taken up my free nap time! Judah has also stopped napping so that has taken up my free nap time even more.

Anyway-like most holidays this one feels weird but for a different reason. It was exactly two years ago that I had a meeting with my sister’s doctors at the Neuro ICU and they told us she had global brain damage and that there was no hope for her waking up or for any meaningful recovery.

What cold, harsh words. I remember thinking I felt like I was in a movie. It was one of those moments in life that changed more of me than I could have anticipated. My life is cut into two parts-before Katie’s brain injury and after. This day was the marker to me even more the day that she went to the ER. It was the day they laid out our future and it wasn’t one I wanted.

I still remember looking at the doctor while he spoke such ugly words to us. He wasn’t warm, or apologetic. He said them like he was diagnosing strep throat. “global brain damage. 24/7 care for life. She wont wake up from the coma.” I couldn’t help but think of our beach trip the week before. Sitting in the sand next to each other, watching our kids play. Drinking wine at night while talking about the future trips we’d take. It was cruel. It still feels cruel. She was stolen from me, from her kids and family. 32 and brain dead.

I was explaining to a new friend the other day why I watch my niece and nephew a few days a week. Its so bizarre to sum the last two years up in a sentence or two. I always mention that Katie wasn’t supposed to wake up, but she did. I explain that she wasn’t supposed to be able to communicate, but that she writes “I love you” every time I see her. She cant walk or scratch an itch, or stand, but she can cry. She can feel things and sometimes thats the worst of all. But she has hope, and we all have hope. She asks to hear worship music. She asks to come to church. She asks to see her family and friends.

She says she’s seen angels, she’s felt the Lord near, she’s had dreams and experienced the miraculous.  She has sat strong while I’ve sobbed over her, while I’ve screamed at the Lord at her bedside. She’s moaned while I’ve been brave. So as much as it felt like a big part of my world was taken away that fourth of July, I’m thankful that the sister bond wont leave. No matter what a doctor says, or the ugly words he speaks over our lives. We still have each other. In new, excruciating, precious ways. I know that I’ll visit Katie, and God is there by her bedside every time.   Countless people have said they visit Kate and see the angels above her head. Its a sacred space in that room, where my kids have learned to pray and where I’ve learned to trust.

I’m so thankful for my sister. That she has risen above the ashes and that she tries like hell to come back to us. I’d take her pain away if I could but in the meantime I’ll be praying that one day soon she’ll tell me she loves me with her words, that if she cries she’ll be able to tell me why, and when I cry she’ll be able to reach up and pat my back. One day!

IMG_9323

Renovation, Rental, Uncategorized

The BIG sigh of relief

I’m breathing deeply again. House officially rented and Dee is done repairs, our new home is starting to come together, we’ve begun hosting things at our home again which although is hard work is definitely life giving for our family.

Nap time today had all kinds of feelings. One of the “major players” in my life had a major surgery yesterday. The big C word is no small thing but today is all about gratitude. Witnessing the waking up from surgery marked the end of a lot of questions, fears, wondering, and expectation. A whole lot of “ifs” were all laid out concerning God. He and I shared lots of bare naked moments the last six or so weeks and not once did He leave me. I went to the If:gathering a few weeks ago and Jen Hatmaker mentioned meeting God after the shock of a loved ones C diagnosis and proclaiming “He is still good”. Later in the conference another speaker mentioned her own battle with C and how her prayer changed from one of healing to begging for the absence of fear no matter the outcome. This was so timely for me.

I came home last night snuggled up to the hubs which was a bit miraculous in itself with the way I’ve been so stinking stressed(cold) lately. We took a sigh of relief, fell asleep and slept like we didn’t have kids. Until of course 4am when Jay was crying for milk 😁.

Raining or not, it’s a beautiful day today full of crazy promise and expectation.

Let me leave you with my favorite story:

Daniel 3

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[a] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this”

May we all walk around like not a hair on our heads has been singed in the midst of fire.