Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!



Friday, February 27, 2009

quote from Practical Theolgoy for Women

I read this the other day and felt it was a good word to ponder during this Lenten season.

"Rather than grasping all of his [Jesus'] rights and power as sovereign God, Christ made himself nothing for our sake. It is not that he thought badly of himself. The point is that he did not think of himself at all. He opened his hands and willingly let go of his rights, forgetting about himself completely. He allowed himself to be maligned, spat upon, treated as a bastard, liar, and traitor, and ultimately allowed himself to be murdered...

We are called to willingly give up our rights and welcome sacrifices that accompany being a servant to others. We are not called to think badly of ourselves. People who think badly of themselves are as self-centered as those who think highly of themselves. Instead, we are called not to think of ourselves at all. As our grasp on our perceived rights weakens, our needs fade into the background, and we become little images of Christ--consumed with the needs of others to the forgetfulness of our own."

from Practical theology for Women by Wendy Horger Alsup, p. 87

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent


How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit!
Psalm 32:1-2

Today marks the first day of the Lenten season. Lent is a time of prayer and preparation for Easter. It's 40 days, not including Sunday's, set apart for reflection and repentance. What better time to reflect on the graveness of sin and the beauty of grace than the weeks prior to the resurrection of our Lord.

I'd encourage you to use these weeks to focus on Christ and the cross. As I've grown older, I've realized how quickly we rush by the cross and Christ's sufferings. It's painful to look at. Seeing our own sin at his expense. At first glance, there's not much joy in the cross. It's a uncomely, bloody death marking the sins of all humanity. Who takes joy in reflecting on their own weaknesses?

But without the cross, there is no joy. Without Christ's suffering, there is no life. Without his despair and sorrow, there is no hope.

We need to spend time before the cross, kneeling in retrospection at the sacrifice that was made on our behalf. For if we do not, then do we really know what we've been saved from? Do we really know how deep our sins and misery are apart from Christ? Reflect with me on the passion of Christ, so that we might to take part in His joys.


Resources for Lent:

Contemplating the Cross: a 40-day Pilgrimage of Prayer by Tricia Rhodes is a great devotional for Lent. The author is my pastor's wife, a truly gifted writer and speaker who has a heart for God and helping others know him personally. You can find the devotions on her website (click here). I read this last year during Lent and am planning to read portions of it again this year. On her website Tricia has different ways you can observe Lent (click here).

The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper is another good devotional for Lent. Piper shares 50 reasons why Jesus came to die.

CRI/Voice Institute: The Season of Lent - Gives a brief history of lent, practices, and lenten readings.




Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's on your nightstand?


What's On Your Nightstand

Recently I discovered that 5 Minutes for Mom has a 5 Minutes for Books site, which is right up my ally! The fourth Tuesday of every month is "What's on your nightstand?" sharing what you've bben reading and plan to read the next month.

Let's just say this, I've been a reading madman...rather mad "woman" lately. In the last two weeks I've finished three books from my booklist for the year!

This month I finished reading:
  • Jane Austen (a biography) by Claire Tomalin
  • Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C.S. Lewis & Joy Davidman, Brian Sibley
  • Daisy Miller, by Henry James (short and sweet)
  • Prisoner of Tehran, by Marina Nemat (I read this one in two days!)
I'm still reading:
  • Practicing Hospitality, by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tatlock
  • Practical Theology for Women, by Wendy Horger Alsup (I'm a little over half way through this one.)
  • Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, From Birth to Age 3, by Paula Polk Lillard & Lynn Lillard Jessen (I just started it today!)
  • Mi primera mirada a Los Tamanos/Colores/Formas/Numeros (These are Spanish kids books on size, color, shapes, and numbers. I'm reading them to Joe, but more for my benefit than his. I'm trying to get my Spanish back.)
Next month I plan to read:
  • Lady Windermere's Fan, by Oscar Wilde
  • Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World, by Carolyn McCulley
  • Story, by Robert McGee
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver

I really enjoyed reading the biographies/memoir. Prisoner of Tehran wasn't originally on my list for this year, but I saw it in the library a few weeks ago and on my most recent trip I picked it up. I read it in two days. It was really good, but sad. I'm really interested in Middle Eastern culture and literature, especially in regards to Iran. The book is the story of a woman who became a political prisoner during the Islamic Cultural Revolution. It follows her time in prisoner and how she got out.

It makes me want to go back and reread Lipstick Jihad, which I never actucally finished. It'd be interesting to see the difference of Iran from a woman who was coming of age during the revolution and a woman who goes back to Iran as a young adult 20 years after the revolution.

Just a note...

Practicing Hospitality is in conjunction with the book discussion over at Passionate Homemaking with Lindsay. The discussion and questions are posted on Mondays, although I usually post on Thursdays. You can join the discussion here.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is the next book in Simple Mom's Sound Mind, Sound Mom Book Club. The reading dates are March 19 - May 21, 2009.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday



Last week our meals got rearranged a bit, my brother-in-law brought dinner over Monday, so Monday's dinner was moved to Tuesday. Then Tuesday's dinner moved to Saturday, but then got canceled because we had so many leftovers to eat.

I also made some homemade granola and chocolate chip granola bars--yummy!

So...there's some repeats from last week:

Monday - Veggie Stir Fry

Tuesday - Spinach Minestrone

Wednesday - Lentil & Rice Casserole w/ veggies

Thursday - Lentil & Rice Veggie Bake

Friday - Rubio's for MOPS fundraiser

Saturday - Leftovers (OR Sloppy Lentils w/ home fries if there's not enough)

Sunday - Body Brunch at church

Friday, February 20, 2009

Joey's 3 months old!

Today marks Joey's third month of life. It was only three months ago that our little man showed up in our lives...out of the womb that is. And, oh how he's grown!




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First Time Rolling Over Video!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 2

Hospitality & Strangers

This book is redefining my view of hospitality (and how I practice it) more than I thought it would. It's challenging the way I currently practice hospitality and how I can be extending hospitality toward others.

Here are some questions from Lindsay at the book study:

1. How was your definition of hospitality re-defined after reading this chapter?
I really liked how the authors defined hospitality as "a daily pursuit because of our love for people, which flows out of our love for God." Hospitality is more about extending love, than just entertaining. Another thing that stood out to me was in biblical times people didn't necessarily have to have know the person to extend hospitality to them. I also like how they mentioned at the end of the chapter that hospitality is really a reflection of God's nature.

2. How can you begin to switch gears from focusing on “entertaining” to truly demonstrating Biblical love?
For starters, I've been trying to interact more with people I meet while I'm out and about. Instead of simply going through the check out register bored and seemingly impatient, my goal is to interact with clerk or others in line. You never know where a short conversation might lead. (I did this the other day at Michaels and the woman was a little shocked!)

3. How can you begin now to start including a variety of “strangers” into your hospitality practices?

The application process is hard for me at times. It requires getting past my regular way of thinking. But that is the point, isn't it? This could be ministering to the homeless with my church, making a meal for a busy family I know, and/or getting together a game night with old and new friends. (It feels like thinking of these shouldn't be this hard...)

You can join in on the book discussion over at Passionate Homemaking. It's good.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Change Is Coming

In the next few weeks I'll be bringing some changes to the blog. I've been thinking about it for some time and am finally putting some action to that thinking.

If you been around here for a while you've noticed the randomness that can be my blog. Everything from book reviews, pictures of our life, reflections on worship, poems, notes from my Bible, things God's been teaching me, menu plans, attempts at post series, Works-for-Me Wednesdays, and not to mention times when I haven't posted for weeks or even months on end.

How will things be changing?
Well, I'll be breaking things up. We're (Joe & I) will be dividing this blog into three different blogs:

Reflections of a Princess - Reflections will finally (fingers crossed) get its chance to be what I originally planned for it to be: a blog on the Christian journey specifically geared toward women and topics on biblical womanhood. (I'm planning to write a more detailed post on what this means later.)

My Family's Money
- I'm partnering with Joe and getting my own blog on My Family's Money. I'm going prime time! Not really, but maybe. Here I'll post menu plans, Works-for-Me Wednesday among other things; basically I'll be sharing the in's and out's of how we live frugally and sharing our journey as we live debt-free while moving toward a more simplistic (and somewhat sustainable) lifestyle.

Mueller Family Blog - We have yet to come up with a witty, Mueller-esque name for this blog, but don't worry we will. This is where you'll get all the pictures and video of our joy Joey (maybe the occasional picture of mom and dad), along with tidbits of what's going on in our life.

With all the different blogs, how much will you be posting?
The plan is to keep posting the same amount with the benefit of each blog being more of a niche, which could mean more focused posts.

The goal is to post with some regularity on each new blog, especially my corner of My Family's Money since it already has a steady readership.

Added bonus: I'll feel less guilty about posting sporadic menu plans with thoughts on spiritual topics and posts of just pictures of my son.

When will "the change" be official?
Umm....good question. Give us two weeks.

Also, look for another important announcement regarding change in the Mueller household. (Someone of you already know it, and no there's no new baby yet--so don't even ask!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Monday - Honey Baked Lentils w/ rice and squash
Tuesday - Lentil Rice & Veggie Bake w/ biscuits
Wednesday - Red Beans & Rice w/ cornbread
Thursday - Tomato-Curry Lentil Stew
Friday - Hummus Pizza (Joey's 3 months old!)
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Family Dinner

Valentine's Day

For V-day we've kind of made it our tradition to cook dinner together. This year the menu was fettuccine with a (homemade) white sauce and shrimp and a chocolate souffle.

Joey signing some Valentine's Day cards and reading his first Valentine from his great-grandparents.




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Friday, February 13, 2009

OUCH!


Yesterday Joey got his first round of shots--five of them in all! I thought I was going to cry for him. He was all happy and laughing when he was laying on the table. Then when the nurse gave him his first shot he shuddered and his little eyes looked up at me as if to say, "What was that!"

Those cute little eyes watered up and his face turned red, and he screamed. I had to hold his arms and the nurse had to hold his legs, and there were four more shots to go!

But he's doing good. No unusual crying or fever (at least not yet). Last night, he was playing on his mat and started to try to roll over. I wondered if he'd feel the little soreness in his thighs, but he didn't seem to notice anything. Then a few minutes later, he started whimpering.

The poor guy was trying to roll on his sore thighs.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Did I miss it?

So, I left Joey laying on this mat to play while I went to the bathroom. (He was parallel to the toy.) When I came back this was where he was.

My first thought? Did he roll over and I missed it? He's being trying more and more, and able to roll his legs over but always gets his arms stuck.

Joe and I talked about it later and figured it was just his scooting whilst trying to roll.