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Saturday, February 6, 2021

Kenyan Beef Samosas

 


KENYAN BEEF SAMOSAS

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

WRAPPER

  • 10 inch Tortillas
  • Flour and water
  • Oil for frying

  1. Cook ground beef and drain fat.  Put beef back in pan, add onion & oil and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, salt, , coriander, and cumin, to the meat. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the and cilantro, then cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the meat filling from the heat.
  3. WRAPPERS- used this video as tutorial, starting at 2:10 . In a small bowl, combine flour & water to make a paste. Fold tortillas into a triangle so that they make a pocket, use paste to seal. Put a meat in the pocket, leave enough room to seal top. Seal the top seam with paste.  
  4. Let the paste dry before frying, and really squeeze the tortilla together to seal.
  5. Fry in vegetable or canola oil, flipping once, until light, golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Revival

 



"It is hard for you, little one,” said Aslan. “But things never happen the same way twice.”

—C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian 

I wonder if many older people praying for revival, including me, think it will look like Billy Graham: Part Two. Maybe the revival we've been praying for doesn't look like what it has looked like before.

Maybe revival isn't packed stadiums, but coming back to our first loves in home churches and small sanctuaries.

Maybe revival is the painful sifting of deeply embedded idols. 

Maybe revival is a new desperate desire for the community God's family can offer.



 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Should I Unfollow or Unfriend?

 

One thing that 2020 taught me is how much I don't necessarily want to always know what everyone is thinking. You may have had to unfollow some people in 2020, and in drastic cases unfriend others.

The question we have all had to ask ourselves this year, when do you unfollow and when do you unfriend?

I recently discovered I was unfriended due to political reasons by a woman who used to be a very close friend. I was shocked, and ended up on my husband's shoulder crying for over 30 minutes.

After I pulled myself together, I examined my reaction. Why was it so hurtful, when we had already unfollowed each other for years due to many belief differences? In this case an unfriending felt very different than an unfollowing, it felt like a breakup.


THERE ARE STEPS BEFORE UNFRIENDING

Unfollow button- You don't see them: Some people may not even know the Unfollow button exists, but it has saved many relationships in my life.

Privacy filters- They don't see you: You can customize who sees what you post. Do you have a beloved uncle who comments politically on EVERY one if your posts? Set your privacy to exclude him from seeing anything but your family photos.


BEFORE I UNFRIEND or UNFOLLOW SOMEONE,

I ASK MYSELF THREE QUESTIONS:



1. WILL UNFOLLOWING ALLOW ME TO MAINTAIN AN IN-PERSON RELATIONSHIP?

Sometimes online social media habits can grow bitterness in a real life relationship that is too important to lose. I have a few people in my life who I can maintain an in-person relationship with only if I don't follow them in our social media relationship.

I unfollow, then I can choose to go their profile at my leisure to look at pictures of their kids, instead of getting frustrated by a divisive post in my newsfeed.

There are many times in life where we have different, possibly divisive, beliefs that would never come up in our in-person relationship.

For example, I deeply treasure a multi-generational church setting, but generational differences are highlighted more on social media than in person. I want to maintain a real relationship with some women who are much older than me, and not tracking their social media can sometimes keep me from bitterness or annoyance.

If you feel good anytime you are with someone in person, yet get mad at their online posts, that is an indicator that maybe a boundary needs to be set.

There are a lot of reasons why you may need to filter what you see online to maintain in-person relationship.



2. DO WE HAVE A SACRED HISTORY?

A sacred history means you have carried each other through a trial in life. You have ugly cried together, gone through a life changing experience, walked the shared road of loss and crisis, and/or held each other's babies while the other one naps/cries.

Like I said above, I was recently unfriended by a woman with whom I have a sacred history, presumably due to our differences about 2020 politics. I was somewhat blind-sided.

Our lives had separated in the past few years due some moves, we drifted from close friends to people who only saw each other a few times a year.

The thing about sacred history is that you never go back to being acquaintances. An acquaintance is some who doesn't know you snort late at night when you laugh too hard, or has not had to get you toilet paper because you cried so much you used all the Kleenex.

Even during our closest days, this woman and I had different beliefs when it came to medical decisions. She never forced her beliefs on me, and vice versa. Like I said above, we always had social media boundaries to maintain our in-person relationship. When life moves made our in-person relationship less frequent, I checked in on her timeline every month or so just to see how she was doing. 

The year 2020 had starkly highlighted our political and medical belief differences, but I didn't think it had erased our sacred history. I had loved this woman, truly.

While unfollowing was a boundary, unfriending felt like a breakup. It felt so final, and so one sided. I'm 37 years old and have been married since I was 19 years old, I didn't think I'd have to deal with breakups anymore.

But it is ultimately her choice who she chooses to be friends with, and I can only control my choices.

3. ARE WE MEMBERS OF AN IMPORTANT SHARED ORGANIZATION WHERE UNITY IS REQUIRED?

Are you members of the same home church?

Same homeschool co-op?

Are you extended family?

I deeply believe in the local church. I like to say that all of Christendom is my extended family, but our local church body is our immediate family. I do not have a sacred history or in-person relationship with everyone in my local church, but I do view the ones who are my friends on Facebook as extended family members.

If there is someone in my church, or in my extended family, who I don't have a close friendship with, but who is politically active on social media (on either side of the aisle because I'm an independent and both sides exhaust me) I tend to unfollow them so that a root of bitterness does not hinder our in-person relationship.


IS THERE A TIME TO UNFRIEND?

The short answer is yes of course.  I purge my friend list often of acquaintances, but only you can answer when this is a step you need to take with a real friend. 

I have unfortunately had to unfriend people with which I shared a sacred history, BUT that was only after I followed Matthew 18 guidelines of how to deal with conflict. Unfriending doesn't come until AFTER you've had the hard in-person conversation, counseling, and if resolution still isn't happening, then sometimes your boundary has to include some unfriending.

Boundaries are not an excuse for unforgiveness. Matthew 18 is about confronting a brother AND forgiveness.

If you'd like more on how to forgive while maintaining boundaries, I highly recommend "Boundaries" by John Townsend and Henry Henry Cloud.


I do not claim to be a social media expert. These are MY filters for MY boundaries, I only share in hope that maybe someone out there is trying to figure out their social media boundaries during this divisive time.

I know everyone is different, and I'd like to hear your experience about boundaries on social media.



Friday, January 22, 2021

Writing God’s Word on Your Heart: Christian Print Handwriting

 


​MEANING MATTERS!

Writing God’s Word on Your Heart: Christian Print Handwriting is homeschool curriculum designed to give meaningful handwriting practice through copywork of words and verses from the book of Proverbs (New International Reader's Version).

A student, child or adult, learns best when the content is connected to something meaningful in their own lives. Learning with Literature Workbooks take the whining out of handwriting practice with meaningful words and quotes from beloved children's literature. Designed for elementary students just learning cursive, middle schoolers who need practice, or anyone who wants to improve their handwriting.





 Skills are scaffolded upon each other, as the the child progresses from letters, to words, to verse copywork. Children will copy one verse from each chapter of Proverbs.

Part One: Letter Practice



Part Two: Word Copywork


Part Three: Verse Copywork





Thursday, November 19, 2020

How do I teach High School math...when I failed it in High School

 


I pretty much got straight A's my whole life, except in Algebra.  It was my academic nemesis, I was only one class away from an Honor Diploma, and it was because of Algebra.  Unfortunately I was told by more than one person that “girls are just better at English than math”.  As an adult with several math-minded female friends, I now see this is utter absurdity, yet I unconsciously believed it for most of my academic career.

 Today my 8th grade twins took their Unit 1 Algebra Test, one son got 100% and the other got 97%.   This is a big deal for many reasons, but one is my abysmal history with math.  In 8th grade, I took Algebra, then had to repeat it in 9th.  In 11th grade I took Algebra 2, and then had to repeat it in 12th.  



 Many moms say they have their husband teach math, and I thought I would have to once we got to Algebra, but we haven’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting down any moms who have their husband help. I am sure that mine will need to once we get to some higher levels,  mostly because he LOVES math and I very much do not.  If he wants to help in a subject I don’t like, more power to him!  I just don’t want single moms, or moms whose husbands don’t want to teach, to think they can’t teach high school level math.

My husband teaching math also hasn't worked out because he just does not have the time right now to teach math.   The few times we have waited until he got home to help explain a problem, it ends up not happening because:

a.) he is jumping into a scope and sequence without knowing the methods they have learned

b.) we forget in the bustle of the evening

c.) we want family time at night

So how do I teach a subject I don't understand?  I search for people who do.


1. DVD TEACHER

We have DVD math teacher in Math U See.  It isn’t the perfect curriculum , and we have times were we just don’t get it, but overall we make it work. I watch the DVD alongside them some days, but many times they watch it and get it without any of my help. 


2. YOU TUBE

You Tube Videos are a modern homeschool moms’ dream! Last week we watched 3 different You-Tube videos from 3 different teachers on the distributive property in Algebra because the DVD lesson wasn't sinking in when they did their homework. 


3. CORRECTIONS ON HOMEWORK, NOT GRADES

I don't give grades homework, only tests.  I will mark what they got wrong on homework, but they have to fix it until they get it right. If they still can't see what they got wrong after they have tried to fix it a few ways, I let them see the teacher's manual to see how they got wrong. We pray through the frustrations, and not pushing them to move on until they master a concept is a key to Math U See. Some days it is HARD, and we all get frustrated, but this approach has built confidence and joy in learning.


4. PHOTO MATH APP

If all else fails, I use the photo-math app.  Seriously, if you have a high schooler taking math, get this app for yourself.  I don’t let them use it, unless all of the above has not helped, but when we needed it, it was a life saver. 



There has been plenty of years where we struggled, but learning isn’t learning without the struggle

Homeschool Moms, you can do this.  If I can do it, anyone can. 


 



Sunday, November 1, 2020

Empty Wells

 


Are you a fill-the-bottom-half of your gas tank or or fill-the-top-half kind of person? As a teenager and broke young parent, I was a fill-the-bottom-half.  I knew exactly how many miles I could drive after that little green light came on!

In the recent years I have become a fill-the-top-half person because of safety, and fact that I had a van that gas tank indicator was broken! I never knew exactly how much was in my tank, and you never know when a winter storm will hit and you need to be prepared. It also only takes 1 or 2 times running out of gas to realize how much easier it is to fill the top half. 

I told a friend recently I feel like my emotional "tank" is on empty and I'm struggling to barely fill the bottom half. We all know 2020 is a "running on fumes" year.  

I am not going to explain why I'm empty (it can be said with just a simple "2020"), but God is reminding me again how to "fill my tank" when a storm is happening.

My last "running on fumes" season was when I had infant twins, and very low financial resources,  We were young broke parents, I had no friends who were also moms due to having babies at 23 and attending a church with no other moms.

I can feel the emotional echoes of that time, feeling isolated and drained, without built-in ways to meet my needs.  During that time I had to fight hard to find connection, and I slowly healed and got to the point where I was filling the "top half" of my emotional tank.

Switching from modern gas-tank metaphor to a more biblical water-bucket metaphor, God has often warned me of empty wells. I know they don't work through experience, but I keep finding my wandering back to quench my thirst in wells that do not satisfy. 

Why do I return to something that has proven unreliable in the long run? I return because these wells promise to satiate my thirst, and they require very little from me. 

They promise distractions from the pain, or momentary pleasure, and they give both. They promise a numbing feeling that sometimes we all desperately crave in a broken world.

Empty wells also promise self sufficiency, with very little vulnerability. I get to pull up the bucket, and in that I feel in control. Almost all my empty wells are in my control, and are one-way: no true intimacy is required.

But they do not satiate my need for peace. I thirst for unconditional love, for genuine relationships, and for someone to see my heart without fear of them hurting me. Empty wells of this world do not meet these needs.

Again, why do I keep returning when I know that my thirst will not be met? I return to these empty well when I do not trust in the sufficiency of His grace to slake my thirst. I do not trust in His unconditional love, His genuine want for relationship with me, and His ability to see my heart without hurting me.

Our enemy doesn't have to destroy us completely if he can slowly distract us. Distractions from the true well of Life are just promising enough that we mistake them for life giving, people and things that take more than they can ever give. 

What is an empty well that God is calling you to walk away from in 2020?  Procrastination, social media, dysfunctional relationships, and world powers all might make the list.

And what wells is He calling you to? Intentional relationships? Productive living, not just busyness that numbs? Spiritual discipline to renew your mind?

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:38

Monday, September 28, 2020

Spiritually Fed During Coronavirus

 


The modern Christian rhythm of getting "filled" on Sunday Morning has been disrupted by this Pandemic. Our spiritual routines are changed by online sermons, watching your kids during the sermon because of no children's church, or dealing with divisiveness in your church about a piece of cotton over your face. 

What do we do when we have to learn to be in charge of our personal growth?  Coronavirus has highlighted the need for personal spiritual disciplines more than any other time in my life.

 Personally, all my usual outlets of spiritual development have either been put on hold, moved online, or changed drastically due to restrictions.   Our less than 100 people church has had to move to two services, so I see only half my church family any given Sunday. Our weekly small group can't gather to eat together safely. My homeschool co-op prayer group has been cancelled because not enough people could agree on meeting with or without a mask.  My Bible study (www.bsfinternational.org) has moved online, which still keeps me in The Word, but definitely feels a bit different. 

But maybe this interruption is one of the many things God is trying to work out for good?  We were never ever meant to be "fed" on only Sunday (and don't get me started on my biggest pet peeve of someone leaving a church because they were not "being fed"). 

Babies are fed. Adults feed themselves.

God didn't make our bodies to only eat physical food one day a week, then pray those calories last for 6 more days.  Our bodies are designed to eat everyday, and as we grow up, to enjoy the responsibility of feeding ourselves.  

Daily Bread.  Intentional relationship. Constant Prayer.

These are the rhythms God has given us to feed our souls.

How are you feeding yourself during this time of Coronavirus?

(This is NOT A POST ABOUT WHETHER COVID RESTRICTITONS SHOULD BE THERE OR NOT. I will deleted comments debating restrictions.)