The Drift

picmonkey_imageEvery May, my parents rent a house on the beach on Hilton Head Island for family vacation. Kids and grandkids gather for a week of surf, sun, and togetherness. We love it. The water is still a little chilly in late May, but not too chilly for the 18 and under grandchildren!

It’s always interesting to watch the phenomenon of the current, or the drift. The kids start off right in front of us with their surf-boards and floats. Within a matter of minutes, they are yards down the beach. The adults are waving like maniacs to get them to exit the water and walk back up the beach before re-entering.

This isn’t just a beach phenomenon though. It happens in life. When we stop paying attention, we drift. When we stop being intentional about exercise, we find ourselves consistently NOT working out. When we stop paying attention to our spending, we’re shocked that the credit card company needed a box rather than an envelope to send the bill. When we stop being careful with our words, we find ourselves thoughtlessly hurting people’s feelings.

When we lift our feet and just let the current of society carry us, we always drift in a negative direction. Before we know it, we find ourselves in dangerous waters.

The scariest drifting of all is the drift away from intimacy with God. No one is immune. Being a pastor’s wife doesn’t make me immune from drifting. Having grown up in church doesn’t keep anyone from drifting. Even memorizing a bunch of verses doesn’t keep us from being susceptible to the drift.

Every single one of us has the potential to get outside the rails. Every single one of us has the potential to make choices we thought we’d never make.

So what causes a spiritual drift? As a wife, mom, and ministry leader, I’ve found that two main things lead to my drifting ­- busyness and pride.

Here’s what gives me a heads-up that I’m drifting in a dangerous direction:

  •             Three consecutive days of skipping my time alone with God
  •             Catch myself gossiping or being negative about people
  •             Easily annoyed, and quick to anger
  •             Jealous heart that leads to comparing myself to others

So what’s the solution? How do we exit the current, regroup, and right our path? For me, if the catalyst was busyness, I MUST make some schedule changes. Usually, I’ve allowed too many things that don’t represent the priorities of my life fill my calendar. If the catalyst to my drifting was pride, it’s time to confess. It’s time to celebrate others. It’s time to serve someone who doesn’t have the means to serve me back.

What is it for you? What are your drifting triggers? What are the red flags that alert you to the fact that you’ve drifted? And, how do you right your path? Spend some time in prayer, asking God to shed some light on the answers to these questions in your life. You just might find yourself better able to avoid the drift!

In This House, We Will Giggle

In-This-House-We-Will-Giggle

 

I’ll never forget the moment Andy and I loaded our first newborn into the squeaky-clean, fresh-out-of-the-box car seat that was perched in our car. We were in the parking lot of Piedmont Hospital and were in shock that the “hospital people” were letting us take him. After all, we knew very little about what we were doing. We kept eyeing the revolving doors to see if maybe a security team was on its way to stop us with a “Hey! What do you think you’re doing? You can’t leave with that baby. You don’t know enough!”

But they did let us leave, and we’re grateful. I realize now that it wasn’t just the physical stuff of taking care of a baby that concerned us. It was ALL of it. Good grief, this baby would be a high school student someday, and a college kid someday, and probably even a dad someday. What if we mess up?

Early on, Andy and I discovered that there were so many facets of parenting. Not only did we want to care for the physical needs of our kids, we wanted to help them develop understanding. We wanted to lead them to be discerning and wise. We wanted them to be in a position to honor God and honor others in their choices and decisions.

While all of that sounds a bit heavy, the lion’s share of it comes in the day-to-day living with our kids. The daily training and coaching and FUN that comes from being together. The daily modeling, encouraging, and celebrating important virtues and character traits.

The GREAT news is that Courtney DeFeo has recently written a book about this very thing! In This House, We Will Giggle is the book I wish I’d had when the Stanley three were growing up. I’m thrilled that I can use it with nieces and nephews and our sweet foster kids who are in and out.

Here are the chapter titles, because I think they’re awesome!

  • Joy: When the Reality of Life Meets a Heart of Gladness
  • Love: Letting Concern for Others Guide
  • Forgiveness: Discover the Freedom That Comes Only Through Grace
  • Faith: Planting Seeds of Trust for a Lifetime of Spiritual Growth
  • Patience: Some Things Are Worth the Wait
  • Perseverance: Pressing On Through
  • Respect: Words and Actions That Honor Others
  • Responsibility: Working Hard and Taking Ownership
  • Service: Meeting Needs with Our Hands, Feet, and Hearts
  • Humility: Giving God and Others Center Stage
  • Gratitude: So Many Reasons to Be Thankful
  • Generosity: Join in the Adventure of Giving

In This House, We Will Giggle provides parents with the motivation and practical ideas to plant these virtues deep in the hearts of their kids and have so much fun doing it. For each virtue there is a practical activity to do with your kids to make it fun. Don’t miss this! The book launches on October 7, but you can preorder your copy this week on Courtney’s website: Courtneydefeo.com. The publisher is offering a buy one get one free deal right now. If you think you might want to do this as a small group study, now’s the time to get a great price.

Comment here with which chapter you expect will be your favorite and you’ll be automatically entered to win a copy autographed by Courtney! Drawing will be on release day, October 7.

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

ASC_3801Occasionally, when Andy and I are in Buckhead, we make our way over to Houston’s Restaurant. One of our favorite menu items is the Grilled Chicken Salad with mixed greens, jicama, honey-lime vinaigrette and peanut sauce. So, when I saw pinchofyum.com‘s Chopped Thai Chicken Salad , I knew we’d LOVE it.

Sure enough, it did not disappoint! Little warning… it’s hard to stop eating. I did make a few changes to the original recipe based on ingredients I had available and the number of servings I wanted. So, here you go. I hope you enjoy it!

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

Salad:

  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 large mango (not too ripe), chopped
  • 3/4 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup chopped peanuts

Dressing:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar or local honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 Cup of water, if needed

Toss all salad ingredients, except peanuts, into a mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whisk together the first seven dressing ingredients. When well combined, add peanut butter and water. Again, whisk well.

Toss dressing with salad. Plate the salad then sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Garnish with a little extra cilantro.

Take a pic, and be so proud of your beautiful, healthy, and oh-so-delicious meal!

Live from Israel!

Isn’t it funny how we visualize a person we’ve only talked to but never seen? We have a picture in our mind’s eye of that person—hair color, facial features, height, build. Then we meet him in person. The collision of expectations and reality prove us completely wrong.

For me, the Holy Land was that way. Before visiting Israel for the first time, I had certain pictures in my mind. Some of them originated from Sunday school pictures and flannelgraph stories. Some of them I simply conjured up on my own.

After seeing some of the significant sites of my faith, and walking in places where Jesus likely walked, it was like seeing a person for the first time when I’d previously only heard his voice. The familiar stories of the Bible took on new significance and depth.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit, you should! Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from our journey.

Holy Land Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee as the sun was setting.

Holy Land

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.

Holy Land Walls

Walls around Jerusalem

Holy Land Court of Gentiles

Temple Mount

Holy Land Jordan River

Jordan River

Holy Land Upper Room

Upper Room

Holy Land Gethsem

Garden of Gethsemane

Holy Land Holding Jesus

Holding cell in the High Priest’s house (Caiaphas’ House)

Holy Land Garden TombGarden Tomb