For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been engrossed with the first novel in Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series. It is gripping, and I quickly became caught up in each of the main characters’ lives. Not only have I given hours of my time to this novel, I’ve become emotionally invested. And yes, drawn ever so intoxicatingly into the romantic side of it. So when I finished the book last night, I was distraught over it. For those that haven’t read it, I don’t want to give anything away. But I was deeply grieved and hadn’t the nerve to muster up the emotion it would take to read the first chapter of the second book in the series that was tagged on at the end. I fell asleep thinking about the ending. I woke up thinking about the ending. I was seriously wrestling with God over it! I could not get past the tug on my own heart. How valuable do I consider Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross? Do I really consider everything a loss for the sake of knowing Christ and sharing in His sufferings? Why did it have to end that way, Lord? Y’all, I cried over my bowl of granola this morning at the state of my heart and trying to explain to Brennan the amazing love of Jesus and how He asks us to take up our cross and follow Him.
Later this afternoon, I finally felt up for taking a glance at the second book and reading the first chapter. I don’t want to give too much away, but last night, I ended on a somber and sobering note, really grieving. Today, there was hope…a very good thing! I was so excited and relieved. In some odd way, and maybe one of the subtle purposes of the author, I experienced the emotions of Good Friday last night and today was the glorious hope offered in Easter. My emotions very much were on that realm of grief and celebration.
While the story probably won’t turn out the way I’d originally envisioned and hoped for, I learned a valuable lesson. First, to go ahead and read the token first chapter of the following book in a series when included. And more importantly, it brought me to a yielded place before Jesus, honestly wrestling and sincerely longing to be more willing to follow Him no matter what, knowing from the deepest part of me that this love of His, so amazing, demands my life, my all.
We are now 3 for 3 in our household who have been on antibiotics in the past two weeks. I am now down for the count with a milder version of bronchitis that Matt gave me. Actually, I jest. Sometimes I think I’ll automatically be immune to whatever comes in and out of our home through the boys and thus lower my preventative defenses, unwisely so. He and I make a delightful pair as we cough up a couple of lungs together.
I want to thank you all for your kind words of encouragement from my last post about my grandfather, Papa. He passed away last Thursday morning. Brennan and I drove down to San Antonio to spend the day with my Daddy and allow him to have some extra lovin’ from his grandson. His services will be in a couple of weeks. This is really more sad than “bad” as I’m writing in these categories to fit my title. And it’s a good thing to celebrate his life and that he is with Jesus! Really good, so I could have put this up above, but it is also really sad. He was the last living grandparent of mine and that carries with it additional grief as does returning to El Paso, a city I have very fond memories of, but a city that I now deeply associate with mourning and death from recent years. I’m trying to keep this post a little more light-hearted and can share more later as I feel led, but I wanted to let you know and thank you for your love and prayers.
I made a recipe last night that was super scrumptious. It’s from my favorite cookbook, Desert Treasures by the Junior League of Phoenix, and I’m really surprised I’ve not made it before. It’s now one of Matt’s favorites so I thought I’d post it. If you want to end your light, summer cooking with a bang before settling in with pumpkins and squash, try this!
Summer Pasta Salad
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
6-8 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
2 cups olive oil or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
1-1.5 cups fresh basil leaves
- Place garlic and basil in a processor. Process.
- Add remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated.
8-10 ounces tortellini or swirled pasta (can be gluten free pasta, too)
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 small jicama, diced (I left this out)
2 cups cooked chicken, ham or beef, diced (I left this out)
2 cups salami, diced
2 cups Pine nuts
2 cups fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- Cook and drain pasta. Toss with a little light oil.
- Add remaining ingredients to the pasta.
- Toss with the dressing.
- Add extra fresh basil and cheese just before serving and toss again to mix ingredients.
Wanna guess what else is really yummy?
He was half-way dressed for swimming and so proud of himself for stacking the cans so high.
My, oh, my, he’s yummy!