Monthly Archives: August 2013

Five-Minute Friday {Worship}

Last week I linked up with Lisa-Jo Baker for her five-minute Friday series. I really enjoyed the process of unscripted writing for a mere five minutes, so I’m linking up with her again today. Her prompt this week is worship. And when I read that prompt this morning, I couldn’t get the memory of Susan Kim Jones out of my mind. Kim (as we all knew her), was a dear college friend of mine. In September 1999, Kim went home to be with the Lord after a gunman opened fire at Wedgwood Baptist Church. One moment, she was praising the Lord with eyes closed and hands uplifted, and the next she was praising Him face to face. Kim lived her life as an act of worship, and so today, I reflect on her for this five-minute Friday.

Worship, Five-Minute Friday | Faith and Composition
It will be 14 years this September. Fourteen years ago that she stood with arms uplifted and spirit surrendered worshipping the God she loved with abandoned affection. And then a shot rang out, shattering that reverent moment. And without warning, she met you, Lord. You wrapped her in your arms, lifted her out of this world and brought her straight to the throne of grace. And I know she heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

If ever there were an angel among us, it was Kim. The joy of the Lord filled her, and she radiated your spirit with a contagious beauty. The night before her homecoming, she sat before me and a small group of college women, her face aglow. She spoke the words of Psalm 139 and wept over the beauty and the mystery of being wonderfully made.

We couldn’t have seen what lay ahead the next day: evil and death would come to collide with life and grace. And yet isn’t that the same story that was written more than 2,000 years ago? When evil and death came to collide with life and grace at the foot of the cross. And when it seemed as though death had won, darkness rolled in like a blanket and covered the land, an earthquake rattled the ground, the curtain ripped in two, and you overcame the power of the grave!

And so we worship you in the plenty and we worship you in the few. We worshipped you then, and we worship you now, and she worshipped you then, and she worships you now … singing with the heavenly hosts and the saints who have gone before, glory, glory, glory.

I wept for her, uncontrollable sobs welling up from a broken heart. Wept for the loss, wept for the senseless, horrific tragedy of it all. But you are near to the broken hearted; you say blessed are they who mourn.

It’s been 14 years, but we will always remember. And her story goes on, touching even those in the darkest places, reaching into the deepest recesses of countries closed to your gospel. Chains are breaking off of hearts enslaved because her story tells your gospel, because her life reflected worship.

A Quick, Efficient Workout for Busy Mamas {Guest Post by Heather Jones}

The Busy Mom's 15-Minute Workout | Faith and Composition

Happy Monday to each of you! Today I have a delightful guest post from a friend of mine. Heather and I became acquainted through our church several years ago, and we eventually co-led a Bible study together. This girl is the real deal. Several years ago, she worked with Athletes in Action in Prague, and shortly after returning to the US, she met her husband. Heather’s an athlete, a personal trainer (with specialization in pre-/post-natal fitness), and a mom to a beautiful baby girl, so she understands the challenges of trying to sneak in a workout amidst the busyness of little ones. Since we’ve been talking about health with our whole food series, I also wanted to address fitness. So I asked Heather if she could craft a workout just for F&C readers, and she agreed! So today, she’s going to show you how you can tone up even with tiny tots underfoot. With three little ones, trying to figure out a consistent workout routine is a real challenge for me, so I’m especially excited for today’s post. Ready to join me? Welcome Heather!

Meet Heather, the busy mom's 15-minute workout | Faith and Composition
Like most of you reading this blog, you almost instantly fall in love with the completely relevant, insightful content as well, as the whimsical and cozy pictures that fill each entry. As I scroll down, picture after picture, I always think to myself, ”I want to be where she is!” So when she asked me to guest blog, I was honored! 

Let me take a second to introduce myself. My name is Heather Jones. I’m momma to a sweet 11-month-old and wife to an amazing man. I have an overwhelming love for my faith, family and fitness. I’ve been a trainer for five years, but a competitive athlete for 12 years leading up to that. I have several certifications, most recently specializing in pre/post-natal fitness.

I want to give encouragement and help to all you moms out there. I gained almost 50 pounds with my pregnancy, and let me tell you, I’m no spring chicken! Having my first at 32 years old, I was definitely nervous to see how my body would bounce back, as they say. So as you’re reading these words and saying to yourself: “Well, of course it was easy for her …she’s a trainer!” I want you to know 50 pounds is 50 pounds, and somehow it has to come off. So, just remember I’ve been there too!    

I want to help give you a quick and easy workout for moms who are ready to exercise and get healthy. But before I do, let me give you some very important rules to follow:

1) Listen to your doctor
Seems simple, I know, but please talk to your doctor about any and everything you’re feeling. Ask your doctor if she/he thinks you’re ready to start exercising.

2) Listen to your body!   
I cannot stress this one enough. Your body is your best friend. Listen to it. Let it guide you, especially at the beginning.

3) Fuel your body.  
I know it’s tempting to try and diet or restrict calories in order to speed this process along, but we’re focusing on lifestyle choices, not quick fixes.

4) Hydrate.
Drink lots and lots of water. Tons of water. If you have issues with water, try it at room temperature. Just get it down!

5) Find accountability.
The BEST thing that happened to me was being apart of a group of fellow moms a friend of mine put together. There were about ten of us on Facebook who created a private group, and we held each other accountable to do our workout of the day and our eating challenge.

I am going to give you a quick, 15-minute workout you can do with ZERO equipment. And zero equipment means ZERO excuses! Remember, this is not just for mommas out there, ANYONE can do this. If you are further along with your fitness level, just double it up and do this workout twice. Here we go.

The Busy Mom's 15-Minute Workout | Faith and Composition

Click here to print this workout.

Glossary and Notes:

Static Lunge: Make sure your weight is in your front heel. Do not let your front knee cross over your toes. Keep your shoulders over your hips.

Lower body jacks: Start in a squat position, feet wider than hip-width apart. Lower into a squat position, then jump up and bring feet together. Jump back into squat position. Lower into a squat and repeat.

Floor Bridge: Lie flat on the floor, on your back with the hands by your side and your knees bent. Your feet should be placed around shoulder width. Pushing mainly with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Slowly go back to the starting position, and repeat.

OR

Hamstring curl: Find a slick surface (i.e. tile, wood floor, etc) for this exercise. You’ll also need a towel (hand size). Lie flat on your back with knees bent, and place the towel (folded in half) under your feet. With knees still bent, lift your hips off the floor. Slow and controlled, slide feet back toward your glutes and back to starting position. Try to keep glutes squeezed and activated. If you feel it in your lower back, stop and lower your hips.

Burpees: Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended. Immediately return your feet to the squat position, and return to standing position.
*If you don’t feel comfortable at first with jumping your feet back at the same time in the burpee, you can walk each back and then walk them forward.

All push-ups can be done on your knees or on the wall. Keep your hands in line with your chest. Keep ears and shoulders in alignment at all times. Try not to let your head dip down.

Cobra: Lie face-down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms next to your sides, palms down. Contract your glutes, and raise your head, chest, arms and legs off the floor. Simultaneously rotate your arms so that your thumbs point toward the ceiling. 

Whatever you do, just do something. Make goals, find a support system and take it one day at a time. If you miss a day, just remember, tomorrow is a new day. Don’t let excuses get in your way. You can find 15 minutes a day. Make yourself find 15 minutes a day! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns (e mail: heatherchristine10@gmail.com or leave a comment here). Love those babies, take time for yourself, and give them a positive example to follow!

Thank you, Heather! To pair this workout with healthy eating habits, check out my Whole foods for the Family Table series, if you haven’t already. And be sure to visit later this week, when I’ll be sharing a sample 5-day whole foods menu plan. 

Five Minute Friday {LAST}

I’ve had a few sick kiddos this week; first the boy and now the baby. Just a fever and lethargy, but I’ve logged some time in the rocker. As a result, two of this week’s planned posts got pushed to the wayside. So instead, today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for her Five Minute Friday. Just five minutes of unscripted writing on a prompt she posts. I have a feeling I’m a bit late linking this up, but I’m posting anyway. So here goes …

LAST | Faith and Composition
LAST

He’s five now. Kindergarten looms, and these are his last days as a preschooler. The baby fat has melted away. The rubber-band-like indentations are gone from his wrist, and the pudgy belly has been replaced by a slender abdomen that shows the faint outline of muscle beneath. He has his daddy’s gait, tall, slightly bowed legs that stretch long as he walks. Though he’d really rather run, and when he does he laughs and begs for a race.

He’s five … no longer teetering between toddler and boyhood, he’s jumped headlong into the adventurous masculinity that defines little boys. He’s all stinky shoes, a sweaty hairline, a competitive spirit, a hunger for adventure and a heart for the wild. I blinked, and he started to grow up. I look into his brown eyes, witness the whisperings of his soul, and I get glimpses of the man he will someday be: fierce but gentle, brave but compassionate, wild but loving.

These last five years were but a breath. Five more and he’ll be ten, then 15 … I want to press the shutter on the camera and never release it; just freeze time. Freeze all 3 feet 6 inches of him, freeze those impish dimples and piercing brown eyes that speak to me in a language not even he can understand … the language of a first-born boy to his Mama’s heart.

And yet the shutter releases, the hemline of his pants rise to high waters and another pair of too-small shoes get cast aside for a larger size. Oh Lord may he learn to sink his roots deep into the fertile soil of your word! He’s five …

I’ve got a great guest post planned for Monday, an efficient, yet effective work-out especially designed for moms with little ones by by a fellow mom. I can’t wait for you to meet Heather, so I’ll see you Monday. Until then, have a blessed weekend!

A Quiche Recipe and a Book Review {French Kids Eat Everything}

A Review of French Kids Eat Everything and a Quiche Recipe | Faith and Composition
Open the first chapter of Karen LeBillon’s French Kids Eat Everything, and these words from the first paragraph jump off the page: “Ask my children what their favorite foods are, and the answer might surprise you. Seven-year-old Sophie loves beets and broccoli, leeks and lettuce, mussels and mackerel—in addition to the usual suspects, like hot dogs, pizza and ice cream. Claire, her three-year-old sister, loves olives and red peppers, although her all-time favorite is creamed spinach.”

I’d barely cracked the spine (err, fired up the Kindle) of French Kids Eat Everything before I was hooked. The book is a heartwarming manifesto-of-sorts that tells how Karen and her family moved to France and cured her children’s picky eating habits. For one, the book is honest, witty and a few times chuckle-out-loud funny. But it also provides some fantastic take-aways, ideas that can readily be implemented in any home with young, picky eaters.

The food culture in France is radically different from that of the food culture in the U.S. (obesity rates attest to this; whereas France’s rate of childhood obesity is one of the lowest in the developed world, the U.S. boasts some of the highest.), and there’s a lot to be learned from the French methods. Lucky for us, Karen gives some honest, you-can-do-this-too advice for busy moms and dads who want to get their kids to not only try their beets but to enjoy them as well.

During her year in France, Karen perceived a set of unstated, commonly understood rules that set the groundwork necessary to guide young French kids into a healthy relationship with food. These rules form the framework for the habit of eating in France, and Karen suggests that these rules can be applied to help establish healthy eating patterns in North American kids too. From the very first rule—“Parents, YOU are in charge of food education”—the book empowers parents with the confidence and the methods they need to help instill healthy eating habits in their little ones.

And perhaps the best thing about the rules? They’re not ironclad. In fact, rule number 10 (the Golden Rule, as Karen dubs it) states that “Eating is joyful, not stressful. Treat the food rules as habits or routines, rather than strict regulations; it’s fine to relax them once in a while.”

In short, the book is a witty how-to manual that gives advice for curing young, picky eaters with word pictures of the provincial French countryside dotted throughout. It’s a joy to read, and you come away from the pages thinking: I can do that. So if you need a little more help in encouraging your kids to eat and enjoy whole foods, check out French Kids Eat Everything (get the Kindle version here). You’ll be both pleasantly informed and entertained!

A Review of French Kids Eat Everything and a Quiche Recipe | Faith and Composition
The back of the book contains several simple French recipes that parents can whip up in no time. I asked Karen if I could share one with you, and she was happy to oblige. I’m choosing to share this Quick No-Pastry Quiche with you, because quiche is a meal we serve once every couple weeks, if not once a week. I especially love quiche for its versatility; we often throw in an assortment of veggies (broccoli, zucchini, greens) or a handful of herbs. It’s also great with a little ham or bacon. I sometimes double this so we can have a quick breakfast or lunch the next day. In Karen’s quiche recipe, she deliberately leaves out the pastry, which reduces the prep time and allows busy parents to have dinner on the table with less fuss and in no time flat.

Quick No-Pastry Quiche | Faith and Composition

Quick No-Pastry Quiche
Reprinted verbatim with written permission from Karen LeBillon  

Preparation: 5 to 7 minutes
Cooking: 30 to 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 small adult servings

Easy and quick to make, quiche is a classic French recipe that pleases adults and children alike. Quiche is also one of the most versatile recipes in the French household, as it can be eaten hot or cold, for lunch or for dinner, and works well with any combination of vegetables that you can think of. French families often make it in advance, as it lasts well for a couple of days in the fridge (or even a few hours in the cupboard—my mother-in-law tries to avoid refrigerating her quiche, arguing that it changes the texture). In a pinch, I find that quiche freezes fairly well, although most French people don’t do this. The recipe presented here is the children’s version, which uses a higher proportion of milk and a smaller number of eggs than a quiche intended for adults. The resulting dish is fluffier, less dense, and less eggy, and so more likely to please young palates. For older children or adults, reduce the milk by a half cup, and add one more egg (or play with the ratio of eggs and milk until you find the texture that your family prefers).

Most French cooks have their personal twist on this dish. For a while, my favorite was a ratatouille-style quiche, with eggplant and tomatoes. A quick survey of our extended family turned up as many recipes as there were cooks: zucchini, broccoli, carrots—almost any vegetable you can think of. Chopped or grated finely, most vegetables don’t even need to be cooked in advance.

Ingredients:
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (or 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup cream)
Salt and pepper, if desired
1 cup flour

Filling suggestion (These are some of our favorites, but feel free to make up your own.):
Quiche lorraine: 1 cup cubed or sliced ham and 1 cup grated cheese (Gruyère works best, but Cheddar will also do)
Quiche aux légumes: 1 small onion, finely diced, 1/2 cup thinly sliced greens (I use spinach or chard, but not kale, which is too chewy) 1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
Quiche provençale: 1 cup ratatouille (this is a great way to use leftovers)
Optional: dried herbs such as parsley or oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat the egg; add the milk (or milk and cream) and mix well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired. Stirring constantly with a fork or a whisk (to avoid lumps), add the flour a little bit at a time. Mix in the cheese followed by the fillings you are using.

2. Pour the mixture into a greased 9- or 12-inch pie plate and bake for 30 minutes, or until the quiche puffs and starts to brown on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving (the quiche will settle, and you’ll be able to cut it more neatly).

Tip: Changing your quiche ingredients is also a great way to introduce new vegetables: the reassuringly familiar look of the fish may entice even the wariest of eaters.

Note: Take care not to overfill your pie plate, as the quiche will puff up as it bakes. I place mine on a baking sheet in the oven, in case of spills. The quiche will deflate after you remove it from the oven: this is normal! Kids like watching this soufflé effect.

Enjoy, and au revoir, friends! I’ll see you in the next few days with a sample week-long whole foods meal plan, and next Monday I have the first F&C guest post featuring a simple, yet effective work-out you can do at home with the little ones underfoot!

Friday Freebie {Printable Watercolor Verse}

Free printable watercolor verse, Psalm 91:11 | Faith and Composition

I had another post planned for today: a review of a fun, informative, witty little book that fits right in with the whole food series. But I awoke yesterday with this verse on my mind, and it stuck with me … through the high afternoon hours and well after the sun had set low behind the horizon. I don’t know if one of you sweet readers especially needed to hear this specific word of encouragement, or if it’s all those pictures inundating my Facebook feed of mommas sending their little ones off to the first day of school. But whatever the case, today needed to be about this verse.

So I got out the paints and blended a little watercolor treatment. The result is a free printable, just for you. You don’t have to like my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram or subscribe to the blog (although I’d love it if you did! The subscribe box is over there in the right sidebar). Just simply click here for the 8×10 version or here for the 5×7, then print and enjoy it. Have a blessed weekend, friends!

I’ll be back next week with that aforementioned book review and some other fun posts, so check back then. I look forward to seeing you on Monday!