Monday, May 16, 2016

In Remembrance of Our Children Who Have Attained the Prize of Heaven

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I doforgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14

This past Saturday was the due date of the baby we lost in October.  Russ and I were talking over the weekend about the honor of having two babies who have already attained the prize of Heaven.  We personally still have so much reaching and striving through sin and its effects to do, so much to press on through.  And we witness, every day, that same struggle and striving in our children on Earth.  

To be responsible for forming our children's hearts for Christ, while simultaneously working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, is an overwhelming and humbling thing for a parent.  I admit there are days that the earthly toil is so exasperating, I hardly give a thought to my heavenly home.  Even as I was trying to take a quiet and somewhat emotional moment to write this, Ruth came down from her afternoon rest time.  She was in tears.  And there was a large round hairbrush stuck in her hair.   Like really stuck.  The cycle of disobedient child (she knows not to go in my drawers), exasperated parent, earthy consequence (ten minutes worth of tugging and detangling), and apology and reconciliation, is a familiar one.  

I'm no fool.  I know that this is my relationship with my Heavenly Father as well.  But I have two children that haven't known this struggle.  They only know the prize!  

What an emotional dichotomy it is to be a Christian parent mourning a child.  I long to hold my child, to know what she looks like, to smell her baby skin.  But she's in Heaven. I wish I could see my other children hold her and kiss her and snuggle her so excessvely that I have to say, "Ok, enough for now!  You'll smother her!"  But she's in Heaven.  I want to introduce her to our friends.  I want her to be in our family photos.  I want to hear her cry and hold her close to nurse.  I want to see her personality develop, her loveliness bloom, her love for her siblings deepen.  These are all the things I want for me.  But she's in Heaven!!!!   And there is nothing more I want for her.  

Russ and I have talked about finally naming the two babies that we have lost to miscarriage.  The fact that we're having some, ahem, arguments about the names themselves, is a good indication that we've truly embraced these little ones as our own and are not taking the honor of naming them lightly ;)  Among other reasons, we think naming these dear children will help make them more relatable in conversation, and approachable in prayer, to their siblings here on Earth.  To refer to a brother or sister by name, one who is truly living in the arms of our Lord in the company of Our Lady and the angels and saints, is a reminder that their home is also our home.  There are two Blackstones already home.  I pray that those of us still striving will live this life - the daily struggles, the times of immense joy, the crazy loud fun of wrestling in the basement or splashing in the creek, the quiet moments of sadness, and life's little hairbrush dramas - so as to lay hold of the prize - eternal life in the presence of the living God.  Laying hold of that prize will also mean a reunion with our babies in the true home of the Blackstone family.  


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Easy Egg Bake -or- Busy Ladies, Get Your Morning Protein. Every Day!!

This post was written in response to, and in honor of, 69 cent/dozen egg week at Aldi.  Seriously, if you're not one of those people who has backyard chickens that deposit fresh eggs onto your plate every morning, rush to Aldi.  Rush.  But remember, limit four per person.  (so I'll be going back a few more times this week ;) ) 

I love to start my day with a pretty big breakfast.  I once read an article that said people that eat the majority of their daily calories at breakfast are healthier that those who save their calorie-packing for later in the day, so I feel justified.  I also try to get a hearty dose of protein in the morning.  My ideal breakfast is... only available at all you can eat Sunday brunches at swanky restaurants.  It involves fluffy omelettes, bacon, breakfast potatoes, fruit, waffles, whipped cream, and coffee.  And mimosas.  

Such as it is, I have to make due with breakfast at home most days.  Actually, all days.  And since all days are busy days, I don't usually have the time for making giant, fluffy , swanky restaurant omelettes.  

So I get my morning protein the busy mom way - I make a big egg bake on Monday and eat it all week long.  It works.  It's easy.  And I get my big breakfast.  And protein.  

I highly recommend this method if you're committed to starting your day with protein and veggies but don't have time for omelettes.  

Your egg bake can have any combination of veggies, seasonings, or cheese.   But here's what I recommend (complete with very helpful pictures to guide you through the most difficult of steps ;) ) 

Saute mushrooms and onions in butter until they're tender.  

Add a hefty helping of spinach.  I usually add two cups or more because it cooks down so much.  

Continue to cook until spinach is wilted.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 10 - 12 large eggs, a dash of heavy cream, salt, and pepper.  If I don't have any onions to add to the veggies, I'll throw some onion powder in the mix as well.

Add veggie mixture and cheese of your choice.  I typically use feta, but will happily use cheddar if we happen to be out of the good stuff ;) 

Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish.  

Bake at 35o degrees for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.  Allow to cool before refrigerating.   Enjoy large slices throughout the rest of the week.  Or share it with your family; my kids love stealing mine!  

Enjoy!  And maybe I'll bump into at the egg cooler at Aldi.  I'll even share with you if there are only four dozen eggs left ;) 

If you're eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama plan, this is a fabulous S breakfast.  I love to have it with couple pieces of bacon and a small handful of berries on the side. 

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