Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Never thought I'd be making my own chocolate chips, but it was worth it. There are no chocolate chips out there that don't contain sugar or sugar alcohols. And this was super easy. I got the recipe from Delectably Free.

2/3 c liquified coconut oil
1 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c agave nectar

Using a double boiler (or a saucepan with one inch of water, with a glass bowl over it), whisk everything together until the chocolate is shiny and smooth. Remove from heat. Pour chocolate onto a jelly roll pan lined with parchment, and spread. Cover and freeze until set, about an hour and a half. Remove chocolate from parchment and cut into chunks. Store extra in freezer.

I used these chocolate chips in place of carob chips in the Carob Chip Cookie recipe from my Simply Sugar and Gluten Free cookbook. Worked like a charm! And they were gobbled up fast. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Forgiveness and the Crucible of Marriage

Last night it was quiet in the bed but my heart was screaming this song.

On our wedding day when I could barely breathe because all those people had traveled from the ends of the earth to watch me so vulnerably vow my heart to this one I had finally settled on at the age of 26...

On that day I was shaking and I wondered, Could I do this? Would I be able to withstand the all the hurt that a relationship this close inevitably carries? Because it does hurt, you know. If you love hard enough you are bound to be wounded. I knew that. What was I doing?

That ceremony is all a blur and sometimes I listen to the recording of it just to hear this one guy prophesy, this guy I barely know. People gathered around us and prayed and prophesied over us, and the Holy Spirit came thick and Shane's friend, Will, said, "...and Kati, you are going to learn to forgive."

Right there, God cut straight through all the dizzy emotion to my heart. The answer to my question. "You will learn to forgive."

I wanted to shout out, "Excuse me? Whoever just said that, could you say that again? What exactly do you mean? Could you elaborate a little, please?"

Because that word "forgive" has always been a little strange and scary and foreign to me. My head knows not to keep a record of wrongs but my heart is a special needs student. And I wanted God to tell me that love wasn't going to hurt because he would protect my heart from all that and it would all be okay.

But instead He said, "You are going to forgive."

So, last night, as I laid there in bed for the seemingly thousandth time thinking about how angry I was, and for the seemingly thousandth time listening to Shane's apology... I didn't even hear what Shane was saying, actually. Because Will was a vessel but the Holy Spirit keeps speaking it: "You will learn to forgive."

This is the answer to how I will sail the storms of marriage.

And so I laid there in silence for about five minutes, just thinking, "I have to say it. Out loud. There is no way I'm saying it. I have to say it because this battle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world. They win if I don't say it. It's going to sound awkward because I am angry."

It's like the Holy Spirit was giving me a pep talk, bringing to mind all that I have heard... "Forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is not excusing what he did. Forgiveness is a choice to treat him as if he never hurt you. It is the choice that Jesus made for you."

"But Lord, it doesn't feel right for me to turn a blind eye!
But I guess it's not that much, when I think of what you've done."

And all that talk about not going to bed angry, and unilateral forgiveness, and how God forgives us as we forgive others, and borrowing the prayer of Jesus, and how forgiveness really sets the forgiver free... It was all coming at me loud, in the silence, until I finally blurted it out --

"I... forgive you."

In Jesus' name. My voice cracked as I said it and it sounded so stupid and contrived.

And with the spoken word the powers of darkness were thrown back, light was created, and heaven cheered. Kingdom come.

I didn't think he was still awake,

but he said thank you.

And we slept.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken and Rice Soup

It's been a long time since I've eaten anything from a can or a box or a package. I think once you have been fully weaned off of the preservatives and additives and artificial junk, there is just no going back if you can help it! Real food just tastes SO much better.

This chicken soup I am about to share with you is one of those "real foods" that my doctor told me about. Yes, my doctor. One of my doctors works with hormones and nutrition, and part of the money we spent on her was for me to learn how to cook. No, she didn't teach me how to cook; she motivated me to cook. She explained the effects that foods, and what I now call "pseudo-foods" have on my body (based on my blood tests and general nutritional science). Then she gave me simple ideas and rules to get me started.

One of the rules was "real, whole foods" -- nothing prepackaged. I also needed to stabilize my blood sugar levels by eating protein in small quantities throughout the day, so one of the ideas was to cook and freeze large quantities of meat. "Cook a whole turkey, a whole chicken, or a roast. Freeze portions of it," she said. "You can thaw the meat later and use it in another meal. And freeze other meals that you cook, too."

This might sound too simple to you, but for someone like me who thought big hunks of meat were only cooked for holiday meals, it was revolutionary. It took health problems and a doctor to get me to do this simple thing -- cook real food -- because it just wasn't my habit.

Now that I am literally making everything I eat, I simply feel better. I wouldn't do it any other way. It is worth the time and I have learned ways to save time by cooking what I eat.

I want to be clear that my diet has not been the answer to migraines or any other life problems. For many people, diets are a be-all-end-all miracle. Not for me. God has not chosen to use a special diet to save me from worldly perils... at least not yet. But on the days without migraines, I have energy, and I can think more clearly, and I feel better in general. That unexplained low fever I had for over a year? It's gone. I don't know how much of that was diet-related or not -- I just know that I'm not putting all that junk in anymore, and through all this I have learned a better way to take care of myself and my family.

So, if you are so inspired, take an afternoon to cook up this simple soup. For my small family I am able to freeze two-thirds and get three total meals out of it. And of course there is nothing so delicious as homemade chicken soup.

4 chicken leg quarters
2 onions, chopped
6 celery ribs, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
1 c brown rice, uncooked
4 carrots, sliced thin
6 tsp salt

In a 12-quart stock pot, place chicken, onions, celery, and thyme.
Cover with water to the 6-quart level.
Simmer, covered, for one hour (1.5 hours if chicken was frozen).

Spoon out solids and allow to cool. 

Add rice and carrots to the pot, and cook 45 minutes more, covered. 

When chicken is cool, remove meat from the bone, chop, and add it to the pot. 

Stir in salt...

...and serve.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cheese Enchiladas

This is my spin on a Betty Crocker recipe that we like. Maybe you will like it, too. What's not to like about cheese?

1/2 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
1/4 tsp ground cumin
15-oz can tomato sauce
2 c shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c sour cream, plus extra
1/4 tsp pepper
8 (5-6 inch) corn tortillas
4 green onions, chopped

Mix green pepper, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and tomato sauce in a medium bowl.

Mix cheeses, sour cream, pepper, and onion powder in a large bowl.

Soften tortillas in the microwave for 15 seconds, two at a time, and spoon 1/3 c cheese mixture down one side of the tortilla to within one inch of the edge.

Roll each tortilla and place seam-side down in a pan or casserole.

Pour the sauce over the tortillas. 

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Garnish with sour cream and onions.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blueberry Muffins

Having received the Simply Gluten and Sugar Free cookbook for Christmas, I made the blueberry muffins last week. Z had been asking for muffins so I was eager to try this recipe.

I just love the cookbook so far. I have already made several recipes from it (more reviews to come). One of the reasons I'm enjoying it so much is because Amy Green has created a very good gluten-free flour mix that I can mix up myself and use for many of the baking recipes in her book as well as other recipes that call for basic gluten-free flour.

In most gluten-free baking you don't use just one flour -- you use a blend of flours and starches to get a great final product. Amy's blend is one I like because it uses the least amount of starch needed, and the bean flour adds protein. I can taste the bean flavor and that is taking me some getting used to, but it's light and fresh and still very tasty. It gives the foods a different taste than you would expect with wheat flour, but it's not a bad taste -- just different. And after eating several foods based on this flour mix, I think I'm starting to really like the flavor.

The other thing that's great about mixing up my own gluten-free flour (I am keeping a large container of it in the fridge), is that it saves money. You can buy a pre-mixed gluten-free flour but it's more expensive.

The muffins were great. Not crumbly, moist, and with a little butter they really hit the spot.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Accepting Your Life, Like A Gift

The other day Ann Voskamp shared how you don't get to demand your life, like a given... you get to accept your life, like a gift. And how you don't get to make up most of your story... you get to make peace with it.

Don't get to demand my own life or write my own story? What is that?!

For a self-taught, self-motivated, do-it-yourself kind of person such as myself... these are hard truths to swallow. Sometimes I just can't wrap my overly self-sufficient mind around having a "Lord." Did you know "Lord" means "Master"? Who in this day and age considers it a privilege to have someone else tell you what to do? But this is what following Christ literally means. You follow. It means you might have some good ideas, but his ideas are always better even if you don't think so.

But, really... who wants that??

To make matters worse, if you happen to be too self-sufficient for this kind of "following," do you know what label Christians slap on you? Prideful.

"Pride." (Like, in a bad way!)

I blame this whole self-sufficiency or "pride" issue or whatever you want to call it -- I blame it on growing up in a small town. Being raised in a small community, you learn a little bit about everything, and your experience of life is only as good as your own contribution. Because if you don't participate, there will be no softball team or spring play or chamber of commerce. When a group is small, people aren't just expendable... every person is valuable for something... because whoever just died was so-and-so's grandma, and whoever needs help moving in is so-and-so's uncle, and whoever just got engaged is so-and-so's sister and you better be at the wedding... Seriously. You get this sort of "I can do anything if I work hard enough and put my mind to it!" in your head, and you aren't afraid to try things. Or be the only one trying something.  

Like you can make your own life.

This is the mentality I grew up with and it was fully embraced in my family. You think highly of everyone for something and therefore you think highly of yourself for something. It gives you good self-esteem to grow up in a small town. We are a bunch of inquisitive, lifelong learners who think we can pretty much do anything if only someone will teach us how. Add to that the chorus of voices chanting, "You can be anything you want to be!" for 18 years and you've got a regular entrepreneur on your hands. At least this has been my perspective.

So, when something comes up that I didn't plan on, I am genuinely surprised. And, being called by God to "be busy at home" as a wife and mommy? Yes, I planned on that. But I planned on lots of other things that aren't happening, and there are other things happening that I didn't plan on. Therefore, much of the time I have ants in my pants like something just isn't right right now. As a wife you are not the leader and that is humbling, too. You are infinitely valuable to your family, but (most of the time) you don't get to choose the main career, where you will live, what kind of health you will have, etc. You get to make plenty of suggestions but when the rubber meets the road you are not calling the shots in your own life.

Shane, on the other hand, is terribly good at waiting. That verse, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him" (Psalm 37:7)? Shane takes that one very seriously. Until there are angels coming down to attend him with specific, supernatural instructions, he won't be moving an inch.

Which means I have to wait, too.

It's a shame I am so intelligent and have all the answers to our problems. (Insert dramatic sigh here.) I know how to make our life better. Where we need to live. What we need to do. I know how to make things happen, and I'm not afraid to try. I know how to make things into what we want them to be. Or at least I know what phone calls to make... But these suggestions are not always heeded as almighty wisdom by my husband, and that utterly confuses me! When there is seemingly no control over the direction of our life, shouldn't I naturally just take the wheel and drive?? Because, for crying out loud, we can't just sit here and let life happen to us!

But alas, I don't get to demand my life, like a given... I get to accept my life, like a gift. 

I don't get to make up most of my story... I get to make peace with it.

If God truly is smarter than me, and is good, then surely I can make peace with what he gives.

This week we are learning about Joseph's time in jail. Joseph had to spend two years in jail before becoming the prince of Egypt. He was pretty confident in himself (proud, maybe?) before that happened. But there were still parts of his destiny that he would have no part in choosing (like whether he would be sold as a slave, be wrongly accused, and be thrown in jail). Even though he was smart, handsome, favored... he apparently needed some jail time to remind him that God was still smarter than him. I think this is what's happening to me. God is reminding me that even though I am pretty competent, he is more competent, and can be trusted. Pretty sure even with all his smarts and charm, Joseph didn't see jail coming or have the means to stop it. Just like I wouldn't necessarily choose certain realities about my life at the moment.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (I Peter 5:6)

That's what I can learn from Joseph in jail.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:7)

That's what I can learn from Joseph in jail.

When you are a do-er, how do you rest?

How do you change your mindset from creating your own destiny, to accepting God's destiny for you?

How do you really trust that God's ways are higher than your own, when you feel stuck?

How do you let go of the reins, without giving up?

How do you trust someone else to steer, when you can see they are turning toward the unfavorable... or the unknown?

How do you believe in a reward you have never seen?

How do you accept your life -- all of this -- like a gift?

These are mysteries I have yet to unfold. I don't know the answers, just learn as I trust. I command my soul to be still and I cling to this one simple truth: God is good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Berry Crisp

There are three reasons I like to make berry crisp. First, it tastes good. Second, it's easy to make. Third, Shane gets really happy if there is fruit in his dessert. You can really use any kind of berries or fruit in this. I often substitute cut-up strawberries. You can use fresh or unsweetened, frozen berries, but do thaw frozen berries before adding them.

1 1/2 c blackberries
1 1/2 c raspberries
1 1/2 c blueberries
1/4 c agave nectar
2 c oat flour
2 c rolled oats
1 1/2 c palm sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c butter, softened

In a large bowl, gently toss together the berries and agave.

In another large bowl, combine flour, oats, palm sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.


Cut in butter until crumbly.

Press half of oat mixture into a 9x13" pan, and cover with berries.

Sprinkle remaining mixture over the top. 

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"This Is Gonna Shut Your Mouth"

If anyone else is having a little trouble with the circumstances of your life, please watch this. And know that God works ALL things together for the good of those who love him, and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

My mouth has been shut. How about yours?!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Back to Bread

I have bread to eat! Let me introduce you to "Perfect Bread." No gluten, sugar, or artificial junk involved.

Oh, how I have missed bread. So far, I have eaten it plain, I have toasted it, and I have made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. It doesn't fall apart or crumble, and it's spongy -- not dry. It rises nicely and doesn't collapse. It does everything I need it to do. Just look at it.

This recipe is from Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Beef Stew

Both of my guys love potatoes, the big one and the little one. I'm not a big potato fan, but I do love the aroma of hearty beef stew all through our house in the winter. Warms me up.

There's nothing fancy about this recipe; it's just good.

2 lbs beef, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into large pieces
6 big carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
14-oz can of petite diced tomatoes
10 oz beef broth
8 oz tomato sauce
1/3 c gluten-free flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
6 big potatoes, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 250. Mix all ingredients in a large (4-qt) roasting pan. Cover and leave in the oven for 3 1/2 - 4 hours, stirring every hour or so. Stew is done when meat and veggies are tender.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pain and Providence E-Chart

My pastor made me aware of this free Pain and Providence E-chart by Joni Eareckson Tada. For anyone who battles chronic pain, I recommend printing this to have on hand.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Praying For Our Husbands: 31 Day Plan

Before getting married, I didn't think I needed too much from a  man. Honesty. Loyalty. Somebody who knows what he wants. I was pretty low maintenance, actually. Easy to please.

Then I got married and wanted a whole lot more. 'Cause when you get married and you see all the holes in the material that need patching, well, you wonder why you didn't see that before. I read in a book that this happens because if we saw all the holes before marriage, we'd never get married at all.

So, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of things I need from a husband that mine just plain lacks. You see, my husband, bless his big ol' heart, has... issues. Lest you belittle my situation because your husband's "issues" are so much bigger -- or lest I slander or disrespect my guy -- I will not go into detail about his issues. (So you can stop reading now if you just wanted the dirt!) But... my point is, the man needs help.  

Lots of help.

(Are you hearing me, people?!)

It dawned on me that I should do something to help him grow out of these "issues," since helping is my wifely role (see Genesis 2:18). So of course I have tried every thing I know how to do... constructive criticism, destructive criticism, instruction, silent treatment, punishment, fashion advice, laughing at him, screaming, silverware advice, whining, crying, career advice, throwing potatoes, and -- apparently none of these were what God meant by "help."

What a conundrum!

Fortunately, a woman who is older than me, wiser, and has been married longer knew just what I needed to do. She gave me a comprehensive list of Scriptures to pray specifically for my husband (see below, author unknown). Yes, pray for him. Those prayers turned out to be a great form of "helping" for me, because I got to be honest with someone (God) about how I felt. Vent, if you will. I ended up complaining less. I ended up not needing to gossip about him because God is a good enough listener, and he's pretty much the only one with the power to do something about "issues" anyway. Plus, when God came down, he lived with a bunch of teenage boys. Think about that for a minute... he probably can relate pretty well when it comes to living with "issues."

So I spent a month praying for Shane each day. Just five or ten minutes a day. Through the process, I was reminded that no man can ever meet all my needs for security, love, protection, provision, friendship... not even a husband. A husband can be a humble part of that, but God himself still wants my heart and my trust for himself alone.

Lately I haven't been praying for Shane very often, and the "issues" have been... shall we say, magnified. You know what I'm talking about. This can only mean two things. He really does need my prayers... and I need to pray for him so I can maintain a healthy breathing pattern. Give it up to God and breathe. I simply don't have the wherewithal to live with such a {uniquely magnificent} creature when I am not praying for him.

God's Word is powerful. God's spoken word created the world. Using God's Word we have divine power to demolish strongholds. Praying straight from Scripture for our husbands can help them out in a big way. It can also change our perspective of them, grow our love for them, remind us to lean on God, and afford us some peace of mind.

Some of these Scriptures were obviously for myself and not Shane, so I prayed them that way. Day nine, for example, says, "May he always look at the plank in his own eye before seeing others' sawdust." You can probably deduce from what I have already said that I am the one who needs to look at the plank. And if you are reading this, maybe you do too. :)

I need to do this again. Anyone want to join me?

Praying For Our Husbands: 31 Day Plan

Day 1

That he might become a holy man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in his knowledge of the Lord.

I Thessalonians 5:23; Colossians 4:12; Ephesians 1:18-19, 3:16-19, 6:18.

Day 2

That he might grow in all eleven descriptions of a man who will not be shaken as listed in Psalm 15.

Day 3

That he might be a man of contentment as seen in Proverbs 15:16, Philippians 4:11, I Timothy 6:6-8, Hebrews 13:5.

Day 4

That he might learn to take every thought captive, to not be conformed to the world's thinking and to think scripturally.

Romans 12:2; II Corinthians 10:5.

Day 5

That he might daily seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence upon Him.

Psalm 119:1-2; Proverbs 3:5-6.

Day 6

That he would forever be captivated by my love.

Proverbs 5:18-19.

Day 7

That he would be a man of courage.

Deuteronomy 31:6; II Chronicles 19:11.

Day 8

That the Lord might give him wisdom to lead his family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Ephesians 1:17-19.

Day 9

May he always look at the plank in his own eye before seeing others' sawdust.

Matthew 7:3.

Day 10

That he might become a called man, not driven, with well-thought-through and prayed-through goals in life.

I Corinthians 9:24-27.

Day 11

That he might be a man of prayer, guarding his heart and mind, putting into practice what he has heard, seen and learned.

Philippians 4:4-9.

Day 12

That he might stand firm against the schemes of the devil and resist Satan in all circumstances.

Ephesians 6:10-18; James 4:7.

Day 13

That he might grow in spiritual maturity by putting away childish things, cultivating, understanding, striving after the Christ ideal, partaking of the deeper truths of the gospel, and overcoming temptation.

I Corinthians 13:11, 14:20; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 5:14; I John 2:14.

Day 14

That he might make me holy, cleansing me by the washing with water through the word.

Ephesians 5:26.

Day 15

That he would learn to not depend on his circumstance for happiness, but on God alone.

Hebrews 3:17-19.

Day 16

That he would be a man who enters into spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:11-12; I Thessalonians 5:8.

Day 17

That he might have new strength in the midst of his busy schedule, and that the Lord might infuse him with His strength.

Isaiah 40:31; Ephesians 3:14-19.

Day 18

That he might have a burden to see lost people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Matthew 28:12-20.

Day 19

That he would be kept from strange women and evil men, and that his friends would be men and women who walk with God.

Proverbs 13:20.

Day 20

That his self-image might be a reflection of the Lord's thoughts toward him.

Ephesians 1:17-19; Romans 12:3; Psalm 139.

Day 21

That he might be a man responsible for family spiritual growth.

Proverbs 4:1-14.

Day 22

That he might not be deceived into unbelief, sin or bitterness.

Matthew 13:8-10.

Day 23

That he might learn to love as God has commanded.

I Corinthians 13:4-7; Romans 12:8-10; Ephesians 5:25.

Day 24

That the fruit of the Spirit might be exhibited more and more in his life.

Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:8.

Day 25

That he might grow in humility and in being a shepherd.

I Peter 5:2-6.

Day 26

That he might grow daily in character.

II Peter 1:5-8.

Day 27

That he might keep a clear conscience.

I Peter 3:16-18.

Day 28

That the Lord might protect him, guarding his course.

Proverbs 2:8.

Day 29

That he might learn to manage his time well.

Ephesians 5:15.

Day 30

That the Lord would put a song in his heart.

Psalm 33:3, 40:3; Job 35:10.

Day 31

That he may have a holy fear of God.

Psalm 34:11, 111:10; Proverbs 9:10.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Artichoke Dip

My family is all about the hors d'oeuvres on Christmas Eve. I don't know how this came to be, but it's a mouth-watering tradition. The artichoke dip is usually served with crackers, but since the gluten and sugar are out the window, I have discovered a new dipper that works great...


And now for the recipe. Super easy.

1 c sugar-free, soy-free mayonnaise
1 c grated parmesan
1/2 c chopped green onions
1 (14-oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350. Mix up everything and spoon into a greased one-quart casserole. Bake 20-30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Makes 2 1/2 cups. Serve with raw broccoli florets.

Who can deny the cheesy-goodness of artichoke dip? Even Shane likes it now. He used to eat neither artichoke dip nor broccoli, so when I saw him eating them together, I gave myself a little pat on the back.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus

We had just finished eating supper, the three of us one night, and my thoughts were filled with Christmas presents and baking projects and Advent and all the family photos filling up our mailbox.

We don't usually send a Christmas photo. Sending a family photo at Christmastime is very low priority for me. Why spend the time and money? Especially now that anyone can see what we look like on facebook any time they want. (Okay, so the whole truth is I would like to someday get in on this family picture sending thing. Maybe I am a tiny bit sad it didn't happen this year. Maybe next year?)

Anyway, I cleared the table and Shane asked me to read the letter from Sebastian. In this midst of all these beautiful photos, there was this letter from our sponsored child in Colombia. I began to read.

I noticed that the letter was longer than usual. He has grown up so much in the last few years, and the printed Spanish words looked so crisp and clean. The words came in a fleet and I was not prepared...

"I tell you that I would like to meet you to thank you in person what you do for me in the distance, sponsor, I am so happy to write you again. Even though now I help my mommy with the house chores... someday I would like to help her financially... for this I would like when I grow up to be a great soccer player, to carry Colombia's name high, and like this make my mom's dream come true (have a business of her own and be independent)... I give you Psalm 23 and I ask you to pray for my mom and my grandma so they do well at their jobs. Thank you, I love you very much, hugs and kisses."

A lump in my throat... All these family photos...

 all these toys...

all these gifts...








Suddenly, there is only one family photo that I need to send. One gift that I really need to give. We have never sent him anything other than our words and money. It's time to wrap up some love and send it to Colombia. For Sebastian.

For this boy who will turn 10 years old on the very same day we will celebrate the birthday of the King.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

A family picture... for Jesus. A letter of love, and a birthday gift... for Jesus. A gift for the boy. A gift for the King.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. We love you.