Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mexican Chicken Salad

3 cups shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/4 cup julienned red onion
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 chopped fresh jalapeno, veined & seeded

Mix and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve on croissants, toast, or a bed of lettuce. Great with sliced avocado!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Holy Spirit & the Airport Bathroom

Silly title, but I wanted to share this God story because I just love how He cares for us so much that He is involved in the details...

On September 6, we went to Las Vegas (for the first time) for a huge baby product trade show called ABC. We were going to represent SlingEZee, our baby sling business. SlingEZee has been our favorite baby carrier for years, and we were blessed to buy the business in January 2007. We had worked incredibly hard for many months to prepare for ABC. The week before leaving for Vegas, a particular section of scripture spoke to Mark, and he sent this e-mail to some of our employees and me the day before we left for the show:

Sent: Friday, September 05, 2008 8:42 AM

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Psalm 127:1-2

This Psalm that has been on my mind for the past week and I’d like to share it with all of you because I think it pertains to us. We have put all kinds of time and effort into this years ABC Show but I ask that you pray today and through next week that God will do with this show and SlingEZee whatever he wishes. Whether we win or we lose in the worlds eyes lets thank God for being there and bringing us on this journey.

Thanks, Mark

We had given our business over to the Lord, which only made sense as it was clear to us that He led us into owning SlingEZee. Once again, we asked Him to do what He wanted with it - it was His.

The next day, we drove to the off-airport parking lot for Houston Hobby, parked the truck, caught a shuttle, and checked in at the curb for Southwest. Mark realized at that point that he forgot his glasses in the truck, and would need to go back. I told him to go ahead - I'd run to the bathroom and meet him near security so we could go through together.

I walked down to the baggage claim area at Houston Hobby and found a bathroom. It was clean and offered about 10 empty stalls. I stood there looking at the empty stalls (really needing to go) and felt that I was not supposed to be in this bathroom. Why? I couldn't figure it out. There was nothing scary about it. I tapped each stall door open and looked in, seeing that each one truly was empty. I felt so goofy - what was my deal? Though I toyed with telling myself that I was being silly, I'd had this strange feeling before and decided to listen. After leaving the bathroom, I called Mark on his cell purely because I felt so strange and didn't know what to do with myself. I told him that I needed to go to the bathroom, but didn't feel good about this one and would wait for him to return. He said that was fine - he needed to go, too - and we'd look for one after going through security.

After going through security, we turned toward our gate and each went into our designated bathroom. While in the ladies' bathroom, I heard a few women talking while washing their hands. It was clear they were going to the ABC show as well. I came out of my stall, noticed the ladies who were chatting, and proceeded to wash my hands. When Mark and I met back up, I pointed the ladies out to him, now chatting in front of our gate, and told him that they were going to ABC as well. He said that I ought to meet them, and I agreed, but the timing did not feel right.

Settled on our plane, we ended up in front of one of the ladies, who happened to own a diaper bag company. She would be representing her company at ABC. The other two ladies were seated far ahead of us, and had made a comment about my baby sling as we passed their aisle.

A while into the flight, Havilah, our 10 month old baby, became tired and started to nurse in the sling. I got up and went to meet the two ladies seated ahead. They affirmed that they were going to the ABC show, and explained that they were buyers for a baby furniture store in Houston that has several locations. When they asked what we were going for, I explained that we were representing SlingEZee, the baby sling I was wearing. They responded with the trouble they were having with the slings being sold in their stores, which led into my passion for babywearing and offering workshops to help mothers. I was able to show how SlingEzee is constructed differently, making wearing your baby comfortable for longer periods of time. When I mentioned how easy it was to breastfeed in it, they were both surprised to learn that Havilah was nursing herself to sleep. When she finished, I was able to readjust her vertically against my chest and tighten the top rail of the sling independently - something that most pouches don't allow. The owner of the baby furniture store was very pleased with what she saw of SlingEZee. She then told me how she was part of a large buying group. This group consisted of owners of baby stores across the United States. She wanted to mention SlingEZee to her group at their upcoming meeting. This buying group, which I was previously ignorant of, happened to be at the root of the ABC show's start years ago.

As I walked back to my seat on the airplane after conversing with the ladies, I realized the huge gift the Lord was giving us - as He gives His beloved even in his sleep. I realized that He led me to this opportunity by placing me in the right place at the right time. I was clearly not supposed to use that first bathroom - for reasons that I was not aware of. I was supposed to be in that second bathroom - at just the right time. I sit in awe at the Holy Spirit's mysterious ways, helping Mark to leave his glasses behind, and speaking to me through a strange feeling in that first bathroom. The gift the Lord gave to our business was very exciting, but more exciting to me than that was His involvement. He's shown Himself over and over again in our lives, and there is fresh awe every time.

I remember learning through my studies at a Christian university about how God used to speak to people and work in miraculous ways, but He no longer does. I accepted this, since it fit my experience. Fourteen years down the road, however - having grown closer to the Lord through trials and joyful times - I have watched my intellectual (often legalistic) faith transform into a deeper, living faith. Increasingly, I was experiencing God - not because God decided to finally speak to me or interact with me - but I think because my relationship with Him was deepening and my eyes and ears were starting to open. I'm still a child on this walk, praying for my eyes and ears to be truly open. It amazes me how often He speaks to believers today (just thinking of my friends here in Houston!) and how often He miraculously heals and manifests Himself to those who love Him. How strange to see this consistent, wonderful truth amidst a culture that denies His power and very existence. If you're struggling with doubt, be encouraged. He's really there, and He wants you to know Him intimately. Pray for open eyes and open ears, so you can hear the words that are falling all around you, and see the opportunities for a fuller life that await you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike vs. Nurtured Family

Hurricane Ike passed, and we are thankful to have electricity back and to have no damage to our home.

Here's a picture of our storefront... pre-Hurricane Ike. When the sign arrived, Mark wondered if it was big enough (not very noticeable from the street).
Now, due to the hurricane, the sign will be replaced. We take that as confirmation - ha - the sign was not big enough!
Amazingly, none of the glass shattered, and the only bit of water in the store was in the men's bathroom - no big deal.

A little 'e' from our sign.