Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ezra Josiah

Ezra Josiah was born on Friday, December 11th at 11:30 PM!  This was the easiest birth so far - we're very thankful.  He was born at home, in the water, with the assistance of our midwife, Cathy, her assistant, Amanda, and the loving support of Rebecca's parents and several good friends, who came over and stayed up very late to share our joy.


Ezra - one day old.


Ezra's proud big sister.  Havilah can't get enough of him!


Proud big brother.  How fun for Ezra to have THREE big brothers to look up to!


Dad finally gets a turn to hold Ezra - it's hard, with all the competition!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finding Calcutta

I've been enjoying reading "Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work and Service" by Mary Poplin. I found this description on Amazon:
Lifelong educator Mary Poplin, after experiencing a newfound awakening to faith, sent a letter to Calcutta asking if she could visit Mother Teresa and volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity. She received a response saying, "You are welcome to share in our works of love for the poorest of the poor." So in the spring of 1996, Poplin spent two months in Calcutta as a volunteer. There she observed Mother Teresa's life of work and service to the poor, participating in the community's commitments to simplicity and mercy. Mother Teresa's unabashedly religious work stands in countercultural contrast to the limitations of our secular age. Poplin's journey gives us an inside glimpse into one of the most influential lives of the twentieth century and the lessons Mother Teresa continues to offer. Upon Poplin's return, she soon discovered that God was calling her to serve the university world with the same kind of holistic service with which Mother Teresa served Calcutta.

This review by Phyllis Tickle says it well:
In this poignant, elegant, humble memoir, Poplin gives us far more than Mother Teresa or even another Mother Teresa story. She gives us instead the Jesus and the Christianity that operated through Mother Teresa. Poplin's experience of finding Calcutta irrevocably changed her soul. It will change yours as well.


In the chapter "The Missionaries and Miracles," Mary Poplin discusses her experience with a miracle and how in the Western culture, "one is at risk for reporting such things." As she says, miracles are certainly "not a part of the academy" and notes that "even in many religion departments" there have been "alternative explanations for the miracles of Christ." It is interesting, as she notes, that developing nations - unlike Western cultures - see the supernatural, in "revivals, signs and wonders." I'd have to agree with her conclusion that "we have too little faith - Mother [Teresa] called it spiritual poverty. Christ proclaimed to many who were healed, 'Your faith has made you well.'" The result of our Western view of how God operates, for most believers, means that we pray "calmly for ordinary things and fervently when things get really bad" as Charles Kraft (a Western missionary in Nigeria) puts it. In contrast, "the Missionaries of Charity relied on the power of God for everything." This kind of reliance - this stepping out in faith - can only result in experiencing Him.

I deeply appreciated this chapter, based on my personal paradigm shift over the last couple of decades. From a believer who considered that God 'doesn't work that way' (like what you read in the New Testament) anymore, to a believer who, by the grace of God, was able to open the door to experiencing Him, my personal experiences confirm what Poplin discusses. In the past, my worldview, self-sufficiency and general lack of faith kept God 'in a box.' After that box broke open, I have since experienced God in many supernatural ways, such as being physically healed of chronic pain after being prayed over, hearing the voice of God, witnessing demons leave a friend (and the radical transformation in his life after) and being ministered to by words and pictures that other believers (strangers to me) shared with me - words that could only come from God, based on His intimate knowledge of me. I can't express how encouraging it is to walk with God in this new way.

Why did I not experience the Lord so personally before? This question was one that I used in the past to confirm that God in fact does not operate today the same way He did in the New Testament church. After all, if He did still operate supernaturally, then believers that I knew would be experiencing Him. The stories I'd heard from others - usually 'charismatics' - must be made up! Now I know that to be untrue. Many stories are made up - people are people. But the fact is that many stories are true... God works, even today, and He works in power.

So why did I not experience Him before? I liken it to Him being 'a gentleman,' if you will. He's so graciously given us free will and allows us to make our decisions. He knows where we are, respects that, and is not an insecure God who has to 'prove Himself.' In fact, scripture says that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" Heb. 11:6. Also, how would we grow in character if He kept busting in and 'proving Himself' all the time while we never stepped out, taking the risk to have faith?

Now that I've experienced Him so richly and cannot for a moment doubt His personal involvement, much less His existence, I consider Him to be incredibly patient, gracious and kind toward us and where 'we're at', rather than questioning His very existence due to 'not seeing Him show up.' I'm thankful for His guiding me gently along the journey to knowing Him more fully, and long to continue down this path. If you've not peeked around this curve, I invite you to do so - the path grows more beautiful with every step.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hummingbird

This little hummingbird (about 1 1/2" tall) sat on a branch for several minutes today outside of our office window.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fabulous Salsas & the Perfect French Omelet

Fire-Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa

¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. virgin olive oil
½ onion, peeled and chopped
2 pounds Roma tomatoes, blackened
4 tsp. finely minced roasted garlic
½ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
4-6 chipotle chiles en adobo, chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

1. To blacken the tomatoes, remove the stems and place on a rack under a broiler until the skins blister, crack, and blacken. Do not over-blacken, or a bitter taste will result.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until lightly smoking, add the onion, and sauté until caramelized, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the onion, half the blackened tomatoes, and garlic to a food processor or blender, and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed.
4. Add the cilantro and chipotle chiles, and pulse again to mix.
5. Peel, seed, and chop the remaining pound of tomatoes, and fold in together with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar.

To Roast Garlic:
1. Cut the top off of one head of garlic, so garlic cloves are barely exposed.
2. Place in a small baking container, with cut edges facing up.
3. Pour 1/2 inch of water in the baking dish.
4. Drizzle olive oil over the cut open garlic.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
6. Use any extra cloves to spread over French bread with some butter!


Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and roughly chopped
1 or 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped
1 or 2 serrano chiles, with seeds (depending on desired spice level)
¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and purée until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.

Delicious breakfast idea - Serve as a garnish with a cheddar cheese omelet, with black beans and sour cream on the side.


The Perfect French Omelet

2 eggs
1 Tbsp water
Dash pepper
1 Tbsp butter
  • In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, water, salt and pepper. Using a fork, beat til combined but not frothy. In an 8- or 10-inch skillet with flared sides, heat butter on medium. Lift and tilt pan to coat sides.
  • Add egg mixture to skillet; cook over medium heat. As eggs set, run a spatula around the edge of the skillet, lifting eggs and letting the uncooked portion flow underneath. Be careful not to 'mix' the eggs in the skillet, or they will become scrambled eggs. When the eggs are set but still shiny, remove from heat. Fold unfilled omelet in half.

To prepare a cheese omelet, omit the salt. For filling, sprinkle 1/4 cup cheddar, Swiss, or Monterey Jack across center of omelet. Fold sides over. Top with additional shredded cheese.

Best Ever Banana Cake

Oddly enough, a good food memory I have was from a school cafeteria. I remember the delicious, moist banana cake with cream cheese icing. I've been trying different recipes, looking for just the right one. I think I've found it - this was delicious!

3 ripe bananas
3 Tbsp sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus enough milk to make 1 1/2 cups total. Stir and let stand 5 minutes before using.)

Frosting:
6 Tbsp butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar

Garnish:
chopped walnuts
  • Preheat oven to 275° (yes, that low!).
  • Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
  • In blender, mix bananas with sour cream. Add lemon juice and blend a bit more; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
  • Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  • Stir in banana mixture.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (may take 15-30 minutes longer, depending on your oven).
  • Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.
  • For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Beat in 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.
  • Spread on cooled cake.
  • Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of the frosting, if desired.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tim Tebow Leaving Reporters Speechless

Thursday July 30, 2009

Florida Quarterback Tebow Leaves Reporters Speechless: "Yes I am" Saving Myself for Marriage
Also says he is grateful that his mother's story has helped women choose not to have an abortion

By John Jalsevac

Last week Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow's photo may have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, the same magazine that is best known for its annual "swimsuit issue," but the contrast between the two cover stories couldn't have been more glaring.

At 21 years of age and graced with boyish good looks, Tebow is one of the most talked about rising stars of the NCAA; but the football superstar literally left reporters speechless last week when he answered a question during a press conference about whether or not he is "saving himself" for marriage.

"Yes I am," said Tebow briefly, who then indicated he was ready for the next question. However, in the video of the press conference, a reporter is heard stumbling over his words in the background as he tries to ask a follow-up question. Tebow then laughs, obviously reacting to the reactions of the reporters in the room.

"I think y'all were stunned by that," he says. "Y'all can't even ask a question. Wow. I mean, I was ready for that question. I don't think y'all were."

It wasn't the only controversial remark that Tebow made that day. In response to another question about whether or not people may be tired of the volume of coverage devoted to the young football star, Tebow, a devout Christian, said that the level of exposure he receives is a mixed blessing. However, he said, he looks at the positive side that, thanks to his fame, he has been able to share his Christian faith with so many people.

In addition, the football star told the reporters that he believes that the publicity given to his mother's story has helped other women choose not to abort their unborn children. Tebow's mother, who serves as a Christian missionary together with her husband, was pressured to abort Tebow following a life-threatening infection she suffered while pregnant with him. Doctors pressured her to abort her son to save her own life, but she ultimately resisted the pressure and both mother and child survived the birth.

"There has been a lot of people that have been encouraged not to have an abortion because they heard the story of my mom, or they have been encouraged because they have heard me give my faith on TV or in a report or something," said Tebow.

"You know what, although there has been a backlash, oh, well. You know what, I'll deal with it if I have to. It's not a big deal to me because of the kids and people that have been encouraged by the stories we have tried to tell and by the life that I've tried to live."

Growing up Tebow would often help his parents with their Christian mission work in the Philippines. He was homeschooled by his mother, who instilled in her children strong Christian values.

Tebow was the first home-schooled athlete to be nominated for the Heisman Trophy. "That's really cool," he said at the time. "A lot of times people have this stereotype of homeschoolers as not very athletic - it's like, go win a spelling bee or something like that - it's an honor for me to be the first one to do that."

Monday, August 3, 2009

SlingEZee in Greece

It's been fun to work with a really neat family from Greece who are distributors for SlingEZee in their part of the world. Recently, they sent us some photos - I especially love the dads slinging their babies while playing chess!








Monday, July 27, 2009

A Must See Documentary

Yesterday we watched a documentary called "America's Godly Heritage: Wallbuilders" (1995). I'd found this by searching for some of the highest rated documentaries on Netflix, figuring some of these would be good homeschooling tools. Homeschooling or not, this is a must-see. Mark and I were fascinated to learn things we'd never even heard of before. My mind went to how history has been 'edited' in other countries to cover things up... how sad to see that happening in America.

One of the most interesting parts of the documentary was learning the original intentions of the founding fathers regarding concepts such as separation of church and state. It was shocking to see how that concept has been totally re-defined, to the point where it is now counter to their intentions. The documentary did an excellent job revealing how this redefinition (re-defined primarily by new policies starting in the 1960's) has had grave consequences for America. A must see!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means to Him

I'm sharing a daily message from Dunford Family Ministries that I appreciated. THIS DEVO WAS WRITTEN WITH WOMEN IN MIND…

"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 The Message Bible


My husband has always said, “Men are simple.” After a short thirteen years of learning many things about being his wife, I have to emphatically agree! Three very enlightening areas have become highlighted for me when it comes to “seeing eye to eye” with him. And these three things are so simple, we women can totally miss them. Let’s count them down, and they are not necessarily always in this order!

Number Three: Food! No matter what your responsibilities are during the day, (and they are undoubtedly numerous!), not many things speak love to your hubby more than the smell of a nice meal wafting through the front door. I have never been an aspiring gourmet cook—I observed my grandma and mom quite a lot but spent more time during my childhood reading books. In fact, the standing joke with my two sisters when we were growing up was that I couldn’t even make rice krispie treats! :) Since I have delegated some our meal planning to our eager thirteen-year old daughter, I’m starting to get off the hook again occasionally! But, whatever the state of your abilities, even a sandwich and a bowl of soup can speak thoughtfulness to your man!

Number Two: Sex! Let’s face it. Our world is screaming out degrading information on every street corner about this precious area, and God’s people should be the ones enjoying His gift to us, and talking about it with clarity and honor. Our husbands need our intimacy, body AND soul, without feeling like they are just another thing to check off of our lists. My response and my receptiveness speaks volumes to the very core of who my husband is, and I can reap untold blessing by putting his need above my own. In fact, everyone in the family can sense the confidence of a husband and daddy who experiences “a bowl full” of good loving. We are wise wives to chase that hubby down!

Number Three: Respect! Every man longs for the respect of his wife. Respect comes in many forms, but as women, we can give it or take it away with just a glance of our eyes! I have felt the “wine press” of learning and practicing this so many times! True to our heritage from Eve, we can decide in a moment to give our husbands a “piece of our mind,” because “who does he think he is!” But the “office” he holds was given by God, and we walked down an aisle to demonstrate our allegiance to him. Call on God’s wisdom and strength to respect your husband, with kind words, kind gestures, and kind thoughts, even when he doesn’t deserve it!

Jennifer from http://www.dunfordfamilyministries.com/

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hip Hoppin' Hava

Havilah enjoys some Hip Hop with her raisin bran.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Love Note in the form of a Free Car

My faith in God started as a child, in Someone I couldn't see. This was important, because "...without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" Hebrews 11:6.

But over the years, as my faith has grown and I have walked with Him, I've been blessed to see and experience things so that even by sight, there's no possibility of denying He's real. That's one of the reasons I started the blog "He Still Moves." I so desire to share some of these stories from the past that have just blown me away, because He is so intimately and powerfully at work in the lives of those who are surrendered to Him. However, in this busy season of life I'm in, raising four children and expecting #5, I haven't been able to post many of the stories from the past that I'm itching to!

For now, I'd like to share a little story from this week (because I just can't keep it in!). Recently, I shared the story of our friend David, who has come out of a very troubled past. His transformation - out of drug use & selling and psychological struggles - has been radical. But accepting Christ does not bring about a rosy, trouble-free life, of course. Life is a battle - it's simply good to know where to draw your strength from for it. Lately, David has struggled with depression, as well as being out of work and the loss of their car.

David's father made an offer that he was willing to pay $3000 for a car. So, David and his wife, Cynthia, started searching for a used car, but $3000 still didn't seem to be enough to find anything except junk. And then there would be the issue of where to find the money to insure the car.

On Sunday (five days ago), I decided to post David & Cynthia's needs for jobs & a car on several local homeschooling loops I'm a part of. I didn't ask for a freebie, I simply mentioned that $3000 was what they could spend on a car. But I did pray and ask God, "Would you please just GIVE them a car?" What a great encouragement that would be to them!

We've received several good job leads. Then, Wednesday night, I received an email from a lady who is new to one of the homeschooling loops (I've never met her). It said:

"Hi Rebecca,
We have a high mileage 1999 Camry that is in excellent mechanical condition (even new tires & will have a new battery) that my husband was contemplating selling because it wasn’t being used. We feel God has asked us to donate it to David & Cynthia. I think we could have it ready by Sunday if they are interested. You can email me back or call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Thanks, Xxxxxxx" - excuse the x's, I'm respecting their privacy : )

Because a car is being given to David & Cynthia, David's father is now willing to pay for 6 months of car insurance for them.

WOW! We're all feeling very thankful over here, and pondering the mystery of God, who hears our prayers and asks strangers on our behalf to do a good work for His glory. He is GOOD! He is good through the good and bad in life - by the way - He's just always good to walk through anything with!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hava Picks Her Outfit

So, it's a bit of mix and (not) match, but it's snazzy... especially with big black shoes complimenting the pastels.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ZoloWear!!

Today was the big day - Mark drove a moving truck to Austin to load up all of the ZoloWear goods. ZoloWear has now officially joined our other family businesses, Nurtured Family & SlingEZee, in Houston.

Here are a few of the many beautiful ZoloWear slings:


It was fun to learn that the creator of ZoloWear had started with a SlingEZee before designing her own brand. This made sense to me as to why many of the same key principles that made SlingEZee my favorite sling, due to the comfort it offered, are reflected in ZoloWear. Commonality can be seen in the great design for proper cupping around the shoulder cap, as well as in the generous spreading of fabric across the back, for weight distribution.

We're excited about the differences between ZoloWear and SlingEZee as well! While I couldn't recommend some unpadded slings due to the material used, which can have taut or scratchy edges which chafe delicate baby skin, ZoloWear's fabrics are luxurious, soft and high quality. Now we offer three unique baby slings that all meet our high expectations for style and comfort, which have different features to meet the different preferences that exist, regarding padding & tail style. SlingEZee features a closed tail with heavy padding throughout the rails and at the shoulder. Hava (the new sling I recently designed, which just came out this month) features a flared tail with a zip pocket, with very light padding throughout the rails and at the shoulder. ZoloWear features an open tail with a zip pocket, with no padding.

SlingEZee:

Hava Slings:

Hava sling with little Miss Havilah in it (nickname "Hava," meaning "Life"). Excuse the temporary, low quality pic.
A prototype of the Hava sling, before the label & ribbon was sewn on.








Sunday, May 17, 2009

American Baby & Family Expo

Working the American Baby & Family Show at Reliant Park. It was a busy, fun day.



The lovely doll that modeled the Sleepy Wrap for us.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jaden's Play - Paradisia

Jaden's been taking drama lessons since last fall through Drama Kids International. Today was the big play!

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Jaden yells one of his lines. We were amazed to hear him project like this!


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A song from Jaden's play.


Jaden receiving his trophy from Ms. Mary, his sweet teacher.

Jaden was THRILLED about this trophy. He'd been anticipating it for weeks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sweet Girl

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Hava working on the computer, then coming to greet me with a sweet little face.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Affliction vs. Comfort

"I think our prayers are unbalanced—in the direction of just physical needs. We can and should pray for people with infirmities—but it might be wise to change the emphasis of our prayers from physical healing alone to God accomplishing His purposes in and through afflictions."

This quote touches me, as I recollect the darkest times in my life as those that drew me closest to God. I wouldn't give those times up - the unimaginable pain of having my husband walk out on our marriage, the loss felt due to a miscarriage, the betrayal by a friend, the daily grind of ministering as a mother... these times help me draw nearer to God by bringing me to my knees. In those times, I've felt His very real presence, heard His voice, felt Him molding my character... experienced HIM. May I surrender more and more, that I may experience God face to face - even if that means walking through the desert of life. I'd rather that, than to live a life of comfort, deceived by false feelings of self-sufficiency.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pierce's 1st Piano Recital

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First Song


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Second Song

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Family Fun Day

We had a blast today at Family Fun Day, put on by our Cypress Homeschool Association. The children enjoyed a huge blow up waterslide, field games, Chick Fil A lunch, and popsicles.












Friday, April 24, 2009

Top Notch Houston Swim Club Lessons

I am so pleased with the lessons the boys have been taking from Houston Swim Club! The lessons we've taken in the past at the YMCA didn't compare. The focus on the back float survival technique is top priority for me, and the instructors are just phenomenal!

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Elijah getting his ring from the bottom (5'6").

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Elijah learning the back float method.

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Jaden learning to use big arms, and to turn over to his back for rests.

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Pierce practicing the floating technique.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Positive!!! Number Five!




We are thrilled!

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalms 139:13-16

Monday, April 6, 2009

Caesar Dressing Recipe

Our favorite Caesar dressing recipe!

2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup regular mayonnaise
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup half & half
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Mix everything in a blender. Toss romaine lettuce with dressing. Garnish with very thin lemon slices and shredded Parmesan.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Beautiful Day to Play Outside


Elijah's excited about painting his "hammer" - a piece of wood we found while camping a week ago.