Lovely Family

Sunday, 3 May 2015

My Lovely Daybook~

FOR TODAY


Outside my window... rays of warm sunshine, deep blue skies and bird songs. Thank you, Lord, for Spring!


I am thinking... of ideal summer picnic recipes fit for a crowd.  I'd really love it if you would share your suggestions with me :)


I am thankful...for a cute little home to call my very own. I've just been so very blessed by the Lord!


In the kitchen... enough Salvadorean Beef & Vegetable Soup, known as "Sopa de Res," to feed a small army.


I am wearing... a relaxing blue jeans jacket and my turquoise spring sandals.


I am creating... a homemade board game for a Grade 4 project (starring explorer Henry Hudson) with my younger son.


I am going... to endeavor to "stop", to be still, to rest - inside & out.


I am wondering... when is a good time to buy my boys a new pet and what shall it be? Though, none can replace their beloved fuzzy hamster.


I am reading... library books for beauty tips and event hosting ideas.


I am hoping... that my effort towards every accomplishment that pertains to my sphere brings a positive lasting influence.


I am looking forward to... an upcoming family road trip. Will hubby decide on Victoria or Oregon?


I am learning... how to balance: loving myself as well - not just loving others.


Around the house... hanging fuchsia-colored silk flower planters adorn our balcony.


I am pondering... to journal my thoughts and daily events as I used to when I was a young lady. Life goes by so fast, some memories are too precious not to make a note of.


A favorite verse for today...  "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth." (Psalm 50:2)


One of my favorite things... listening to my older son play the piano - simply brings so much joy to my heart <3


A few plans for the rest of the week:  accomplishing a bit more spring cleaning each day and spending real quality time with my loved ones.


A peek into my day... a quick visit to my favorite bookstore before I head to the theaters for an 'epic' action movie with my 3 men  :)





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This is the day the Lord has made; 
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118:24)

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Traditional Lebanese Pastries - Kaak & Maamoul




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But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5)


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Dear Lovely Readers,

Today I'm sharing with you the most delicious traditional Good Friday & Resurrection Day
pastry recipe that I grew up with and still love to make for my own family!

These wonderful stuffed semolina 'cookies' are extremely tasty
and can be enjoyed as a dessert or even at breakfast with a lovely cup of strong Lebanese coffee.

Kaak is stuffed with dates with a round shape that symbolize the crown of thorns that Jesus wore.

Maamoul is stuffed with walnuts or pistachios and dipped in powdered sugar after baking to symbolize the sponge of vinegar that Jesus was given on the cross.

So many Easter treats such as chocolate bunnies, eggs and other cartoon characters 
are very delicious and fun but don't bring our families any reason to think of Christ.

These wonderful homemade pastries are, however, such a lovely alternative way
to keep the sacrifice of Jesus meaningful to our kids during this special season that we celebrate
to worship the Lord for the Love He showed us by dying for our sins on the Cross.

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KAAK & MAAMOUL RECIPE

Dough

5 cups semolina
1 1/4 cups margarine
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mastique
1 tbsp mahlab

Mix the five ingredients in bowl & leave covered in towel to rest overnight

1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast

(Wooden molds can be purchased in any local Middle Eastern store)

Mix these three ingredients and let rest to activate yeast, then add to the rested dough. 
Add more water until dough is moist and can be made into 2 inch balls. 

Date Filling for Kaak

1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 kg chopped seedless dates
drops of olive oil or 1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp. rosewater

Mix in food processor until smooth


Nut Filling for Maamoul

2 cups walnuts or pistachios
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp. rosewater

Mix in food processor until coarsely mixed

Make an indentation with your thumb into each ball of dough and create a small bowl shape then stuff with the date or the nut mixture.  Close ball and place in wooden mold and flatten with palm until it takes the shape. Gently hit the wooden mold on a counter covered with wax paper to release the cookie.  Bake at 325 degrees just until golden.  When completely cool, dip the Maamoul cookies into powdered sugar before serving.

A Blessed Good Friday & Happy Resurrection Day to all!


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Therefore, whether you eat or drink,
whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

My Never-Ending List, Part 2



What I Love About My Beloved Husband...My Never-Ending List, PART 2


(...see PART 1)


65. His wonderful voice.

66.  That he can be so unpredictable, yet so predictable.

67. How he will stand at our door daily when he comes home waiting for me to come running.

68. He asks to hear all about our day every evening at dinner.

69. That he once cancelled a business trip just to stay by my side when I was in hospital.

70.  He always stays young at heart.

71. He stands with justice and truth.

72. He teaches me to take risks and get out of my comfort zone.

73.  And how he gets really proud of me when I do.

74. He is always motivated in moving forward in life.

75. He's seriously the coolest guy ever.

76. He always smells amazing.

77. He has super great hair.

78.  Plus the bit of grey hairs makes him look even more sophisticated.

79. How he makes my heart melt, especially when wearing a sharp suit and tie.

80.  He is so dashing with his sunglasses on.

81. He gives me really good advice when I need it.

82. He once told me he married me because he always goes for the best, never second best.

83. He answers all the million Bible questions I have without hesitation.

84. He never feels intimidated but rises to any challenge with determination.

85. He does not stay quiet when there is a need to defend or protect.

86. He gives me many reasons to dream of him all day.

87.  He has great taste in practically everything.

88. He is extremely responsible and trustworthy.

89. He is a great example to our boys of what a real man looks like.

90. He respects humble people and doesn't enjoy being around proud individuals.

91. He enjoys doing the grocery shopping.

92. He is so organized and tidy.

93.  He loves children.

94. He is more into quality than quantity.

95. He is a private person yet also very outgoing.

96. He is a born leader and thrives in a position of authority.

97.  He lights candles in our living room on occasional evenings after the boys are in bed.

98. Then he takes my hand and slow dances with me to good soft jazz.

99. He buys me the best quality chocolate and eats most of the box.

100. He gives me a hand with chores and does a better job than me when he does.

101.  His heart of integrity.

102.  His passion for Christ.

............................................

To be continued...

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Until next time...

Keep on loving, Lovely Readers!


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Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.

(Song of Solomon 8:7a)

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Friday, 19 December 2014

He Asked Me For A Drink



Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
(John 4:7)


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Dear Lovely Readers,

Today, how will you react when the Lord asks you for a drink?

Will you maybe ignore His Voice, avoid His Words, 'block' His request, or attempt to drown Him out with Christmas Carols and Shopping Malls?   Will you excuse yourself because you're too tired/busy/inconvenienced, then politely decline by being 'helpful' enough to point Him to another source of refreshment? 

Your thoughts may actively lead you to wonder, "Why would He be asking? Shouldn't He be the One giving instead? Isn't He The source of provision in my life?

Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  
When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  
Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  
(Matthew 25: 37-39)


But the Lord DOES ask and WILL ask.  THAT is part of His Righteous Character.

Jesus asks each of us for a drink. 

And yes, we all DO hear Him.

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God,
and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’
you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
(John 4:10)
 
This week the Lord asked me for a drink.

I also heard it but I admit that I didn't really 'know' the gift. 

Instead, I complained a little under my breath (because I myself claimed the need to be watered), I was uncomfortable with the sudden request (after all, it was totally not in my schedule), but I did, nevertheless, oblige, and (eventually) served the drink with a smile.  

This 'drink' My Lord asked me for was in the form of a particular person's need for some love, joy and peace.  Their urgency was so great that it completely overwhelmed my entire household.  But, by God's Grace, we welcomed them into our life and served to help attend to their physical, emotional and spiritual condition.

And the King will answer and say to them,
‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these
My brethren,  you did it to Me.’
(Matthew 25: 40)
 

So now, I'm coming to realize that the 'drink' Jesus will ask of me is, and always will be, completely for HIS Kingdom's sake.

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 14:17)  


And I'm beginning to know that sacrificing the time and effort to offer it, is really such a 'gift' for me, because it not only benefits MY life and MY purpose here on earth but for all eternity.

“For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 
Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? 
Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
(Mark 9:49-50)

With every drink the Lord requests from us, comes the purposeful opportunity for me and my family to minister.  By the use of the gifts HE has given us and the flowing of 'Living Waters' of HIS Holy Spirit, which we freely received by His Grace, we are able to season others and in turn be seasoned in ourselves, while we wait to receive and inherit His ultimate Gift.  

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 6:23)


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Friday, 12 December 2014

Always Striving, Never Reaching?


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Dear Lovely Readers,

Have you ever found yourself working to exhaustion trying to belong, accomplish, and arrive to absolute perfection (especially this time of year)?  If you're anything like me, then you may be someone who constantly shows much grace for everyone else's normality and occasional mistakes, but for yourself cannot abide with anything less the 120% at every turn. 

I've recently discovered this and am coming to terms with the truth about myself.  I unnecessarily put way too much uncalled-for pressure on every area of my life:  on each family relationship and friendship, on my parenting skills, on my church service, on my work habits and of course, last but not least, on my intellect and physical beauty. 

But what has all this constant striving gotten me exactly? Simply a lot of FRUSTRATION and (yes, I daresay) FEAR

Two things I would have never thought a person who loves the Lord would daily live in.  But the actual facts of my daily life seem to all point towards these products.  Shall we take a closer look?

FRUSTRATION

....because I just don't read as many books as I should to catch up on lost time educating myself about every single subject, therefore I keep buying more books and piling more guilt at my bedside.

...because I just don't have a shiny clean bathroom/kitchen/floor every single day of the week, and oh goodness the worst is when on busy occasions I run out without even having made the bed.

 ...because my growing to-do list, which I write for myself, is never all checked off completely each day to the minute I planned it to be accomplished.

...because my children have to breakfast on cereal or instant oatmeal instead of on eggs and fresh baked bread, homemade preserves and fresh squeezed orange juice each weekday morning.

...because of so on.... and on....


For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
(2 Corinthians 10:18)
 
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.
(Titus 3:5a)
 
Not according to our works,  but according to His own purpose and grace
which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
(2 Timothy 1:9b)

For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
(Ephesians 2:9-9)

FEAR

...of saying "Thank you, but No" to friends, family, church invitations or ministry opportunities that I know would totally not work in my family's schedule, well-being or even within my current energy capacity.

...of not being beautiful enough, of getting wrinkles and grey hairs, and of course, of putting on any more weight.  So I remember not to lift up my eyebrows, check my head daily and yank potential grey out, and seriously obsess hourly over every calorie I may have eaten or drank (Eggnog can live in my memory this Christmas.  Aren't green smoothies and water with lemon slices festive enough?)
 
...that everything I say might somehow offend.  So, I hold it all in until I can't hold it in any longer, and I blurt out way too much way too fast, then go around apologizing for each word.

...of big bad scary critics or anyone who may disagree with me on any single thought I have, and therefore I don't freely express myself on paper no matter how much I desire to write, refusing to grow by sharing anything of my own, and so ending up never really fully enjoying my own personal blog *ahem* but using it instead to hide behind other much more successful writers and authors.

...of so on and on.....

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
(Proverbs 29:25)
 
Do no fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame.
(Isaiah 54:4a)
 
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
(Psalm 118:6)

"Listen to me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law:
Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults."
(Isaiah 51:7)

What does the Bible tell me about all this?  So much! But I only just shared a few verses above.


Hello, my name is Nadine and today is the right time to become REAL (with myself). 

We all know that actions speak louder than words.  That is why I am writing this transparent post, because this year has been a beginning of some serious growth for me: growth in understanding the character He wants me to have, in trusting only in His approval for me, in developing His courage to act, and in increasing in His confidence to function. 

No need to hide in fear.  No need for extreme to-do lists.  No need for self-imposed high expectations.

I don't need to go on striving and reaching for the mountain in my own strength.

The Lord is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet.
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
(Habakkuk 3:19)

I just need to lift my eyes up and receive my help from Him, Who is much stronger than I am.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills--from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
(Psalm 121:1-2)
 
In His Strength I can reach even farther those things which He calls me to, and for the purpose of His Glory alone attain them.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:10)

In His Strength, frustration and fear disappear, and the only product left for me is His blessing of PEACE.
 
The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with Peace.
(Psalm 29:11)

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How Much More!


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If you then, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts to your children, 
how much more will your Father who is in heaven 
give good things to those who ask Him!
(Matthew 7:11)

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Be comforted and emboldened in your faith, this Christmas season.

With every gift you purchase and every gift you wrap
and every gift you place under the tree,
remember this:

God has gifts for you, and in quantities you never dreamed.
These gifts are infinitely more valuable than the tinsel 
and materialistic toys pursued so desperately by the world.

He has gifts of peace, strength, joy, fulfillment,
and a sense of significance in life
that will draw you out of bed each morning like a magnet.

He's looking for people who will come in simple dependence
upon His grace and rest in simple faith upon His greatness.

At this very moment, He's looking your way.
Look up and see.
And open your hands.

---- by Jack Hayford, Come...And Behold Him!

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Filled with Good Fruit


My heart is overflowing with a good theme.
(Psalm 45:1a)

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BAKED FRUIT-FILLED PUMPKIN

Wash small pumpkin

Cut & empty insides of pumpkin

Fill with fresh:
Apples
Cranberries
Raisins
Walnuts
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Ginger
Cloves

Close & Bake

Serve with a SMILE.

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Dear Lord,
Thank you for the Love, Joy & Peace you overfill my heart with.
May my worship to you and my attitude 
be an acceptable added aroma in your presence.
Help me to serve you by serving others daily 
with willingness, diligence, faithfulness and gentleness.
Keep my heart, Lord, always yours,
May I glory always in You alone.
In Christ I ask and in His Name,
Amen


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