Tabooleh

Mediterranean cuisine is our newest family favorite. This summer, our Footsteps of Paul journey was memorable and incredibly satisfying except for one tiny thing…….we were very surprised to have a hard time finding restaurants that served Tabooleh. The very last night that we spent in Capadoccia, Turkey we found a restaurant that served it and WOW what a treat. Here is our family’s rendition of Tabooleh.

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Ingredients
2 cups bulgur wheat (medium grind #2)
3 cups boiling water
112 cups chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 4-5)
1/4 cup chopped mint (fresh is best, but if only dry is available use 2 Tablespoons)
2-3 large tomatoes chopped into small 1/4 inch pieces
1 large cucumber chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 head romaine lettuce

Pour the boiling water over the bulgur wheat and let it sit until the wheat kernels are soft and cooled completely. Add all chopped vegetables except romaine lettuce and stir. Mix the oil, lemon juice and spices and pour over wheat vegetable mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place a bed of chopped romain on a serving platter and pile Tabooleh on top. Place on your table and enjoy. Tabooleh makes a great side dish for any BBQ especially Shish kebabs or grilled meat or fish.

Red, White and Blue Dessert

Here is my favorite fun and easy 4th of July dessert. It is so festive and the fresh fruit is the perfect end to a hot summer day of family and BBQing.

4th of July Strawberry and Blueberry Shortcake

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Shortcake (made from the back of a Bisquick box!)

serves 6

2 1/3 cups biscuit mix (I used Bisquick brand)

1/2 cup milk

3 TBS sugar

3 TBS butter, melted

Star-shaped cookie cutter

Toppings (personally, the fruit is my favorite part, so the more the better!!!)

1 quart (4 cups) Fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced

6 oz. Fresh blueberries, rinsed

Whipped Cream

If you like your strawberries sweet, mix them with 1/4 cup sugar and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a separate bowl mix biscuit mix, milk, sugar, and butter until soft dough forms. Drop 6 spoonfuls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I prefer to roll mine out a bit and cut out star shapes with a star-shaped cookie cutter). Bake 10-12 minutes.

Let shortcakes cool. Split open and top with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. Enjoy your yummy patriotic dessert!

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Fourth of July Fun!!


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How are you going to celebrate our independence with your family? First of all you should look at this Fourth of July Facts Post to share some facts of our history with your family. But what are some fun and patriotic things to do? Here are a few:

Fly your Flag (rules and regulations of flag: http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagcode.htm)

  • Make sure you follow the rules of how to take care of your flag
  • See the above post to learn about the meaning of the colors Continue reading

4th of July Crafts

I love 4th of July! I love seeing the American flag waving, being reminded of the amazing freedom we have, and seeing the red, white and blue worn proudly! There are such fun crafts to decorate for your 4th of July celebration or to make apart of your day! I am sharing with you some of my favorite 4th of July crafts from fellow blog friends! Since food can be art, I have added some delicious 4th of July food ideas to make your treat SPARKLE! Check them out below…

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1. Handprint Flag or Footprint Flag

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This craft is shown on a T-shirt, but you can also use a piece of paper or canvas! Add Happy 4th of July or God Bless America to your flag!

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2. Free Printables Compilation put together by The Dating Divas!

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3. Star Streamer Garland

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4. Red, White, and Blue Mason Jars

mason-jar-flags-red-white-blue-painted-distressed_thumb5. Fireworks Cake

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6. 4th of July Rice Krispie Treats from Lil’ LunaFourth-of-July-Rice-Krispies-Treats-006

7. Red, White, and Blueberries

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8. Patriotic Taco Salad

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9. American Flag Dip

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10. Check out some of our Growing Weisser Crafts

Use these Memorial Day crafts and Snacks for your 4th of July Celebration!

Red, White & Blue Felt Garland to make your 4th of July decor complete!

Take this fun Christmas decor post and use it with 4th of July Fabric to make a Fabric Garland!

Hope your 4th of July is full of fun, great food, and creative crafts! And, don’t forget what it’s all about…

FREE

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

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NYC Releases Synergy

Sights, sounds, smells, synergy…. the incredible energy of Manhattan…..to spend a week strolling the streets, exploring the districts, the subway, the waterways, the incredible diversity in the architecture, seeing skyscrapers, museums, memorials……absorbing all that the city offers would take a lifetime. Each day as the people of New York City awake and begin their crazy complicated city lives, there is a powerful release of synergism-the interaction of elements that when combined, produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements.
I loved every second of my time in New York and can not wait to go back. I had forgotten how much of American history and rich culture has its roots in NYC and the surrounding area. Discovering how the new traditions have grown up around the historic buildings and districts was fascinating. I was captivated by the architecture of the buildings and the museums that held mass quantities of incredible art and artifacts from cultures around the world. I loved the sense that the people of Manhattan are working together to make their city a safer and more ecologically friendly place. I stayed with my sister and nephew near Central Park and began each day walking by the beautiful park where locals and tourists go to spend leisure time walking, running and biking. It is incredible to comprehend that 12 million people are hustling and bustling about in Manhattan each day. They work hard, exercise hard, play hard and although the sense is that people that live in NYC are driven and always on-the -go, we met genuinely nice and extremely helpful people wherever we went. I loved hearing the stories about young passionate people using their talents and entrepreneurial skills to pursue their dreams. We met bakery shop owners who had learned how to bake bread in their grandmother’s kitchen, brothers who perfected a chocolate recipe and were producing and selling gourmet chocolate bars and heard about a gal and her mom that started a business together making reusable shopping bags. We heard stories from 9/11 survivors who shared their stories about how the city came together during that time. We walked around the church that became a home away from home for the rescuers to rest their weary bodies and get some warm food after a hard day searching. We toured the incredible 9/11 memorial museum and grounds and we stood before the “survivors tree” and were moved to tears. We saw musicals that made us laugh until our sides hurt and walked through small peaceful side streets that exuded calmness, creativity and artistry. We ate absolutely phenomenal cuisines from all over the world in small shops, from street vendors and in crazy cool pubs, bistros, delis and restaurants. We were “wowed” by the glitz and the bright lights of Times Square and inspired by the enormity and significance of the new One World Trade Center. One of my favorite experiences was walking on the High Line-an elevated walkway built over the High Line railroad tracks that were refurbished and renovated by a group of concerned citizens lead by two people. They had a passion for preserving the history of the railroad and providing a park like path for locals and visitors to hike on. We also had the blessing of spending the last few days of our trip with extended family that we had not seen in over 15 years. It was wonderful to reconnect and catch up on life, to see how each one of them had grown and changed. NYC is a city that is growing and changing not only internally but changing the world…..Although it is a big city each district has a community feel. I was inspired not only by the passion of the people but by their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and combined effort as they work together to transform their city into a thriving unified community that lives in harmony amidst diversity. Synergy is the word I take away from my New York City experience.

image image image image image image image When have you experienced the release of synergy?

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Release Your Priorities

I constantly struggle to find time for myself or the things I think I need or want to do. I have been working for a while on getting organized and prioritizing my day to maximize what little time I have. I think, “once I find the perfect formula of daily activities I will be more productive.” Although this is true, I’ve lost sight of the one thing that needs to be first and foremost in every day and every thought–God’s plan for my day and God’s plan for my life.

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How fitting that as I’ve been struggling with this a perfect song came on the radio today. This is why I love Air1 Positive Hits radio–the lyrics of God’s love and promises for our lives reminds me of his perfect plans for me.

The song that I heard today was, “First, ” by Lauren Daigle. Here are the lyrics:

Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You

(chorus)
First
I want to seek You
I want to seek You
First
I want to keep You
I want to keep You
First
More than anything I want, I want You
First

Before I speak a word
Let me hear Your voice
And in the midst of pain
Let me feel Your joy
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I speak a word
I will bring my heart
And seek You

(chorus)
First
I want to seek You
I want to seek You
First
I want to keep You
I want to keep You
First
More than anything I want, I want You
First

(bridge)
You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
I seek You

(chorus)
First
First
I want to seek You
I want to seek You
First
I want to keep You
I want to keep You
First
More than anything I want, I want You
First
First

This song reminds me that my relationship and time with God must be my priority, and by focusing on Him and listening to Him all other things will fall into place.

How do you make God your priority? What does that look like in your life?

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Release your Fears

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Have you ever felt a physical affect from being afraid? In your mind you feel anxious, uncertain, and hesitant.  But in your body you may actually be able to feel the tension, the strain, and the heightened senses. But what is that fear? Is there really a danger? Or is the situation blown out of proportion because of a bias, a preconceived idea, or an opinion? Some of our bodies affects are good things.  Sometimes we need that extra adrenaline or the alert of danger.  But what about when our fears are just holding us back from who we want to be?

Fear prepares us to react.  But reactions are impulses, in the moment gut feelings, and can’t sometimes be far from reality. We go into fight or flight mode. Rather than being able to assess the information, listen to our hearts, minds, and feelings, we react.  Being aware of fears, of your triggers, or your anxieties can have a huge influence on how it affects you.  Fears will most likely always be there, they will come and go. But the more we recognize them, the more we are able to put on the necessary armor to battle against them. Have you recognized your fears? Or are you blind to them? Think through what keeps you up at night, what keeps you from doing things, what are those gut reactions that leave you unsettled?  Be real with your fears. And Be real with what you can do about them. And release them.

What can you do?

  • Talk to someone about them
  • Think about what your reactions are, then go backwards to what your fears may be
  • Breathe
  • Yoga, or something that relaxes you
  • Call a friend
  • Pray specifically over the actual fear
  • Ask for Prayer from other people
  • Quote verses (Isaiah 41:10, Ephesians 6, Psalm 23:4, 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 56:3,  Psalm 33:18, Zephaniah 3:17)
  • Journal

I was listening to a sermon this past week that quotes a prayer from St. Patrick.  I know its long, but I couldn’t cut any of it out because it’s so good!!! Maybe you need to read this everyone morning. But be encouraged. Ephesians 6:10 “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”.  The prayer from St. Patrick reads,

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
 
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
 
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
 
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
 
I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
 
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
 
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ on the deck,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
 
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

What fears are holding you back? It is time to RELEASE.

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Lessons Released

My husband and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday, so marriage was definitely on my mind – looking back on our favorite memories from the year, having conversations about what we want for this next year… I reread an email last night that I received from FamilyLife with a Happy Anniversary message. The top suggestions for marriage that they shared from couples who have been married a long time were CELEBRATE, FORGIVE, and KEEP GROWING TOGETHER! It continued on with Dennis Rainey, the President, CEO and co-founder of FamilyLife, and his 40 years of marriage. When Dennis’s and, his wife, Barbara’s 40th anniversary occurred, he decided to create his list of “40 Lessons for 40 Years of Marriage.” These lessons are so important and vital to a strong, God-centered marriage. They include keeping God #1 in your marriage, praying together, forgiveness and more! Below are the Top 10 Lessons – the link for the full list of “40 Lessons From 40 Years of Marriage” is at the bottom of the article. These are life lessons I want in my marriage to create a strong foundation for our family, to edify one another, so we can continue celebrating for years to come!

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Our first 3 anniversaries :)

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40 Lessons From 40 Years of Marriage

After decades of married life, I’ve learned a few things.

Four decades ago, I married Barbara Ann Peterson. Looking back now on the first 12 months of our marriage, I’d have to describe myself then as an idiot—repeatedly ignoring the dignity of the woman that God had brought me.

But after six children, 19 grandchildren, and decades of married life, I’ve learned some things. I think of them as 40 lessons from 40 years of marriage … and family … and life.

1. Marriage and family are about the glory of God. 

Genesis 1:27 makes it clear: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” From the beginning, marriage has been central to God’s glory on planet Earth. The Bible begins with a marriage and ends with a marriage. What God designed, lifted up, and gave a transcendent purpose, man has dumbed down.

Many today make the purpose of marriage to be one’s personal happiness—of finding another person who meets my needs. God created marriage to reflect His image, to reproduce a godly heritage, and to stand together in spiritual battle.  Your marriage, your covenant-keeping love, will be your greatest witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Marriage is about the glory of God—not about the happiness of man.

2. Marriage is taking place on a spiritual battlefield, not on a romantic balcony.

Satan’s first attack on the image of God was to destroy the image-bearers’ relationship with Him. Then Satan went after Adam and Eve and their relationship with one another. If he targeted marriage to begin with, why would we think our marriages would be any different?

I think we often forget that our marriage—our family—can be targeted by the enemy to destroy the image-bearers, to destroy the legacy that is passed on to future generations.

I believe that the very definition of marriage is under attack today because of who created marriage, God.

3. Your spouse is not your enemy.   

Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Have you ever looked at your spouse in the morning as your enemy, asking God, “What did you do in bringing us together?”  I have.

But the Scriptures tell us, your mate is not your enemy. Your mate is a gift from God to you. In all his imperfections—in all her imperfections—God has given you a gift. You can either receive it by faith, or you can reject it.

4. The couple that prays together stays together.

In the first months of my marriage, I went to a friend named Carl Wilson and said, “Carl, you’ve been married 25 years. You’ve got five kids. What’s the best single piece of advice you can give me, as a young man who’s just starting out his marriage?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” he said. “Pray with your wife every day.”

I said: “That’s it? ‘Pray with your wife’?”

“That’s it.”

So I went home, and Barbara and I started praying together. This worked really well for a couple of months … until the night when we went to bed facing opposite walls. Although it wasn’t the most comfortable position physically, it expressed where we were spiritually and emotionally.

There seemed to be a tap on my shoulder that night, and it wasn’t Barbara. God was speaking to me in my conscience. He said: “Hey, Rainey!  Aren’t you going to pray with her tonight?”  I said, “I don’t like her tonight!”

He said, “Yes, but you made the commitment to pray every day with your wife.”  And I said, “But God, you know that in this situation, she is 90 percent wrong!”

God said, “Yes, but it was your 10 percent that caused her to be 90 percent wrong.”

I wanted to roll over and say, “Sweetheart, will you forgive me for being 10 percent wrong?”  But after the words got caught in my throat, I said, “Will you forgive me for … ?”

Barbara and I are both strong-willed, stubborn, rebellious people. But we’ve been transformed by praying together. Now we are two strong-willed people who bow their wills before almighty God, on a daily basis, and invite Him into our presence.

Praying with your spouse will change the course of your marriage and legacy.

5.  Isolation is a subtle killer of relationships.

Genesis 2:24 gives us a prescription from Scripture:  Leave, cleave, and become one. The enemy of our souls does not want a husband and wife to be one. Instead, he wants to divide us.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for the church to be one. He realized that when we are in isolation, we can be convinced of anything.

Isolation kills relationships.

6. It’s easier for two broken people to build a marriage and family from the same set of biblical blueprints.

What would a physical house look like if you had two different architects, two different builders, and two different sets of blueprints?  You’d get some pretty funny-looking houses, wouldn’t you? The same thing will happen in your marriage if you and your spouse are building your relationship and family from different plans.

For the past 37 years, FamilyLife has hosted Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways.  If you haven’t been to this with your spouse, I encourage you to go. Weekend to Remember speakers explain God’s blueprints for a successful marriage and family, and transparently share from their own lives.

7. It is healthy to confess your sins to your spouse.

James 5:16 reminds us, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

If you want to be healthy, develop a marriage relationship where your spouse has access to the interior of your soul. Are you struggling with bitterness over a betrayal?  I’ve been through that. I’ve asked Barbara, “Will you pray for me?”

Maybe you’re struggling with a bad attitude … a sense of rebellion … toying with something you shouldn’t be toying with. Bring your spouse into the interior of your soul so that you may be healed.

8. It is impossible to experience marriage as God designed it without being lavish in your forgiveness of one another.

Ephesians 4:32 says we should forgive each other “just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Failing to forgive or to ask for forgiveness kills oneness, and unity, and life in a marriage.

I love this statement by Ruth Bell Graham: “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”  Why is this true?  Because forgiveness means we give up the right to punish the other person. In a marriage relationship there are plenty of things (either committed or omitted) where you’re going to have to give up the right to punish the other person. Bitterness does not create oneness.

9. One of the greatest threats in any marriage is losing a teachable heart.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Most of us do all we can to prevent a heart attack. Why? Because there’s a simple equation: If the heart dies, you die.

The Bible is filled with references to the heart. In fact, the Great Commandment is one that calls our heart to love God totally and fully, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Pay attention to your heart. Guard it lest it become hardened or not teachable.

A teachable heart is a spiritually-receptive heart. When was the last time you asked your spouse to forgive you?  When did you last listen to a child who had perhaps been hurt by you?

Remember, from the heart flows the springs of life.

10. Every couple needs a mentor couple who is one lap ahead of them in the seasons of life.

Who’s your couple?  Who’s your person?  If you’re a newlywed, you need someone to coach you on the habits you establish at the beginning of your marriage. If you’re starting out with your kids, you need someone just to say:  “You know what?  This is normal. This is the way it happens.”

Even if you are moving into the empty nest with adult children, I’ve got news for you: You really need a mentor in that phase!  Relating to adult children has been more challenging than the terrible twos—not because our kids are bad kids. It just didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it.

Who’s your mentor?  Be careful about who’s speaking into your life.

Click here for the entire list of 40 lessons from 40 years of marriage. 

Which of these lessons do you want to work on for life or marriage?

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A Tribute for Fathers

Father’s Day was on Sunday and it was the first Father’s Day that my precious husband spent the day without any of his daughters, son-in-laws and now 7 grandchildren around him. But we had a joy filled day because …….we hold them all in our hearts. My husband is faithful and  devoted to his family. He is a hard worker and dedicated to his profession. He is well respected and a blessing to his patients and their families.”Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged, and the glory of children are their fathers.”
Proverbs 17:6

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“The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” Proverbs 23:24
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“I have written to you, fathers because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you…” 1 John 2:14

A friend wrote a beautiful tribute to her father and had the compassionate and insightful quote….”We are born into families with either a dad who heads his family with breathtaking responsibility or with dads who struggle their entire lives to ‘get it right’……..in spite of the confusing examples of some less-than-perfect Dads, we all have access to a Perfect Father. We really do! And this is what gets me so excited: We are invited into a relationship with this Father. We are warmly invited to be the son or daughter of the Father who loves us without restraint…….He loves us intimately and gently and well-as a Father should.”

Take a moment to think on this concept and share it with a friend who might struggle on or around Fathers Day.

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Release Your Excuses

I am sharing this exercise from a leadership group that I am in. I mentioned last month about the value of being mentored, and I still highly recommend that you have someone in your life that can challenge you to reach out of your comfort zone.

1. START

Write down one thing that you feel you are struggling with in life.

Something you fell you can’t do or can’t master.

Begin your comment with “I can’t…”

(For example: “I can’t keep my office clean.” “I can’t wake up early.”)

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2. RE-WRITE

Now, re-write your comment. Replace “I can’t” with “I won’t.”

3. REFLECT

How does that new statement make you feel?

4. RELEASE

Now do you see how what you thought was a result “I can’t keep my office organized,” is actually a CHOICE that you made not to do something. It’s time to release your excuses and take full responsibility for your results and actions.

Stop saying “I can’t.” Start saying “I won’t.” Then take action to release your excuses and fix it!

I would love for you to take on this challenge with me. Please write one of your “I won’t” statements in the comments and share how you are going to release the excuse and change that won’t into a will!

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