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Author Archives: howsyourlovelife

Shrimp Avocado Salad

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I saw this recipe within my photos on my phone, I often snap pics of of food ideas to try later. Unfortunately I didn’t get the website in the picture, and I can’t find it when I search, so I can’t give credit for the recipe. I made this for lunch yesterday and had a tough time waiting for the flavors to meld,  taking spoonfuls every few minutes. This is the perfect summer dish, especially if you’re pulling cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and herbs out of your garden!

Shrimp Avocado Salad

2 c cooked shrimp, tails off

1 large cucumber, diced

1/3 c red onions, chopped

1-2 avocados, diced

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 1/2 t salt

1 t garlic, minced

1 t pepper

1/4 c olive oil

3 T red wine vinegar

juice from 1 lime

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 t cilantro

Chop all those veggies and shrimp and place them in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mix the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. 4 servings.

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Thank You for Your Time

BillygrahamI have a friend named Sean who knows Billy Graham. For years my friend was a manager at a hotel that connected to a hospital, the same hospital that Mr. Graham visited regularly to have tests run. At some point during his stay each time, the evangelist would come into Sean’s office, take a seat and talk with him. About life. About God. About the state of the world and the state of his heart. I was amazed by the idea of such an icon taking the time to get to know this young man. But what impacted my friend most by the whole interaction was the way it ended each time. Billy Graham always said the same thing as he was shaking his hand and leaving his office, “Sean, thank you for your time”. Wow. Can you imagine?

Is it possible that our rarest commodity is time? In this age that values money and materials above all else, perhaps what we should be most acutely aware of is the way our time is spent. We each have choices to make every day; spend hours in front of screens, drinking in the latest/funniest/edgiest offerings by creative strangers or share our dreams and hearts with those in the room. Have you ever had someone you trust and admire pour themselves into you, investing their time and attention into your story? If so, you know the feeling of worth this gives, have you then turned around and done the same thing for someone else?

It’s been at least a dozen years since I’ve heard this story, but it still stays with me. When I am leaving a meeting or an interaction that involved someone choosing to spend their time with me, I try to remember to thank them for their time. If it’s good enough for Billy Graham, it’s good enough for me.

Lights

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Last week a friend and I visited a museum downtown, there was a temporary exhibit on Light that we were both interested in, so we took the afternoon to do something a little different. I have never regarded myself as artistic or particularly creative, so for me viewing art and seeing light and color tends to be a flat experience, while some of those closest to me see technicolor and life. This recent adventure started off similarly; my friend kept trying to show me beauty and magic and I saw mirrors reflecting not much of anything.
But then, we walked into a separate room that contained various glass objects on tables scattered throughout. There was a young man sitting near the door, so I approached him and asked him what we were meant to see there. The guy lit up, he came from around his desk and walked us to the first exhibit and showed us that instead of looking at the object, we should focus on the shadow it created. The next one cast a great prism onto the wall behind it, and suddenly I saw what the artist wanted us to see! Lights from the ceiling were placed just right onto the glass pieces, which dispersed color all over the place. It was beautiful. For the first time ever, I found myself excited to go to the next table to see what else was in store for us!
It occurred to me that recently I have been more willing to ask the expert in the room what it is that I am meant to see, instead of relying on my own ideas and limited experiences. Sometimes I even think to do this before reading a passage of scripture, or listening to a sermon; God, what am I meant to see here? When this happens, fresh wisdom rains down, opening my eyes to what has always been, but I was previously unable to see. I really want to hold on to this revelation because when I am willing to be open and teachable, light shines through.

https://thekaneko.org/seasons/light/

photo by Andreas Resch

 

What Donald Trump Taught Me About Marriage

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Donald Trump is constantly in the news, and recently I was reading about the new tax plan he is unveiling. The writer said that this was a pyrrhic victory for Trump, using a word I had never seen before, so I looked it up. It gives me great satisfaction to see a word well-used, in the right time and space, and I enjoy learning something new, so this one was doubly pleasing. In fact, I woke up the next two nights with the word at the forefront of my thoughts.
Pyrrhic victory – noun – a victory won at such great cost to the victor that it is tantamount to a defeat. Ouch. I wondered why this term had lodged itself so firmly in my head, to the point that I found myself discussing the term with others. And then it hit me.

Early in our relationship, patterns were established between my guy and me, that we would argue until he finally gave in. He once joked that I could murder someone and convince him he had done it. For years in our marriage, I was guilty of choosing an empty win at all costs; sacrificing rationality, consistency and certainly the feelings of my guy, in the name of winning the day.

It took years for me to really see that in winning the battle I was losing the war. A pyrrhic victory, because in conquering, I was choking our relationship, snuffing out trust and respect as I went. I think we are often short-sighted in our closest relationships; so eager to be heard and understood that we are willing to do anything to win. What I realized over the years is that when I take the time to listen to my guy’s heart, pray for understanding and reception and make it my goal to argue for us, instead of with him, we both win.
Maybe Donald Trump could learn something from my marriage….

Salted Caramel & Glazed Pecan Ice Cream

77B843A0-0195-4055-8A55-D4DA534A0C27Today is my Mom’s birthday, and she is visiting us this week. Caramel has always been her favorite flavor, and if you can incorporate some pecans and ice cream as well, you’ve hit a home run with her. I think I knocked it out of the park this year. I got the ice cream recipe from bare feetinthekitchen.com, but added some glazed pecans, served it over a warm brownie with homemade whipped cream. Happy Birthday!!

Salted Caramel & Glazed Pecan Ice Cream

3/4 c Brown sugar

6T butter (I use salted)

1 1/2 c heavy cream

1 c milk

1 t vanilla

pinch salt

3/4 c Glazed pecans, chopped

Heat the brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring constantly till thickened and syrupy. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the whipping cream. Whisk until incorporated and then add the milk, vanilla and salt. Refrigerate till chilled and pour into an ice cream maker. Allow to process until Ice Cream thickens and add half the pecans into the maker. Spooon the ice cream into individual containers and add pecans throughout and on top.

*photo from Williams Sonoma

2017 Reading List

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I am trying to spend more time reading what I want to learn more about, or just what I enjoy. I took these off of my Kindle, it seems to be the only way I read anymore. For 2018, I want to read more, I have three books piling up now. If you have any suggestions, I’m open!

Life Giving

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek – an interesting book that teaches the simple (but not easy) philosophy of ‘figure out your why and your how should follow’. He gives many examples of successful companies who have done this and succeeded, as well as examples of those who never found it. He does repeat himself quite a bit.

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel – an intriguing fictional account of a family going through an identity crisis. This book opened my eyes to the issue of having a transgender child, or person in your life. It was uncomfortable and a valuable read to me.

The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship by Shaunti Feldhahn– looking back over the year I read several books that deal with being kinder and gentler to those you love most. As Feldhahn always does, she fills this book with research and accounts to help you see that you are not alone. We tend to believe that we are very kind to our families, this books helps you determine the truth, and how anyone can improve.

The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming of Age Crisis – and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse – I have been following our Senator on Twitter for more than a year, so I was excited to read what he had to say about parenting. I was so pleased to see that he didn’t use his book as a political platform, but as a soapbox. His argument is that we don’t allow our children to work hard and enter adulthood, and freeze them in adolescence. He makes a great point, and has clear ideas on how to combat this epidemic in our society.

Dare to Respect by Tammy Oberg De La Garza – this author contacted me and asked me to review her new book. Honestly I did not expect to like it, the title alone made me want to push back. But I ended up enjoying this fictional account of a group of women who read the book and the various ways they accepted the challenge within their marriages.

A Family Shaped by Grace by Gary Morland – I was on the launch team for the writer of this book. It is a powerfully personal account of a man who had addictions and issues along with a wife and children, and eventually overcame the obstacles to even thrive as a father and husband. It is a very loving book with wisdom that anyone can benefit from.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff – this was one of the last books of the year that I read and I loved it! Acuff is someone I have followed for years and I read whatever he has to say, but this book gives a good, solid explanation for the reason we either never start our goals, or tend to stop before finishing them. He uses research that makes it so much more interesting and valuable to the reader. I definitely learned some key take-aways from this book.

Life Changing

Whole: Restoring What is Broken Inside of Me, You and the Entire World by Steve Weins– this is a wonderful book written by a pastor in Maple Grove, MN. The reader learns some key Hebrew words and their usage and is taken on a journey through scripture and the writer’s experiences to learn how to live a life the way God intended: whole. His explanation of being shalom to others is beautiful, and a concept that keeps resonating with me. This is a book for a longtime believer who may have lost touch with why we’re here and what we’re supposed to be doing.

Water to Wine: Some of My Story by Brian Zahnd – I read this book at the beginning of the year and I am not sure I’m ready to talk about it yet. Brian Zahnd is a pastor in MO who pastored a large congregation, until he had a crisis of evangelical proportions and changed the way that he saw the world and preached to his congregation. This book was the first of three this year that have radically changed my perspective. I’m grateful for reading it, but life honestly life was easier before I ever did.

Sinners in the Hands if a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News by Brian Zahnd – This is the second of Zahnd’s books that I read this year, and this one also blew my box open, but not in such a big way as Water to Wine. To really understand the heart of the author, I would suggest reading them in the same order. Zahnd is seen as a radical in the Evangelical world, and not supported by everyone, and that’s okay with me. The chapter on hell is my favorite.

Life Zapping

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – I can hardly remember this book. Cool concept, not cool execution.

If I Were There….

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It’s something we started years ago, I’m not sure exactly when or who said it first. But my friend and I lived many states away from each other and when one was really sick or hurting from a large disappointment in life, the other would say, “If I were there, I would make you a pot of your favorite soup” or “If I were there I would clean off your patio and pull out two chairs for us to sit outside, in blankets with coffee”. That last one as one of my favorites spoken over me many years ago.

As my daughters live far away from me now, the tradition has moved on to share with them. Our youngest had strep throat last month and I found myself saying, “If I were there I would play with your hair till you fall asleep” and to our oldest during a very trying time, “If I were there I would fill your fridge with good food and make you pancakes.” Nothing extravagant, no trips to Europe or promises to fight the others’ battles. Just a quick picture of what could be.

The whole point is to simply convey that I love you, I know you and want to help, even though we both know I can’t right now. It’s reserved only for those closest to me, the ones I know best, and whose happiness actually affects my own. I wonder if you have someone far away in your life that you can show love to by simply sharing what you would do if you were there with them? I would encourage you to tell them. It won’t change the circumstance, or fix all their troubles, but it will assure your Love that you see them, and you care.

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