Since you asked…….

Everywhere we go we are asked the same questions about our large family. So one year as a Christmas letter I decided to answer the top ten. Ya know, like “Are they all yours?”…. “Are you Catholic?”….  “What kind of car do you drive?” But the number one question we get asked hands down is “How do you do it?”

The answer to that for us is simple. God.  However, when I expressed that answer to a woman at the library the other day, she didn’t stop there like most. She went further. “How exactly does God come into play?” she asked maybe a little, doubtful, but genuine.
“Well,” I answered,  “He gives us peace when it’s crazy, patience, when we have had enough, and wisdom, when we don’t know what to do.” She seemed slightly, like, “ok, maybe.” and started to walk away, but not before I slipped her a little folded up piece of paper.

When I was little, my mom used to hand out Bible tracts. She gave them to waitresses and bag boys with a nice tip. She gave them to the cashier to read on her break. Just about anyone, was someone, with whom my mom wanted to share Jesus. You see,  my mom was that person once. She was seeking. And one day, a woman, who also wanted to share Jesus, picked my mom’s name out of the phone book and offered her a free hair cut. My mom has never been one to turn down a free anything so she went, and got her free hair cut. but also got freedom from sin. My mom was seeking. And just like that, because someone else was willing to share, she found Peace.

A few months after Christmas I got the idea to turn our Christmas letter into a tract. I was so excited. I ran it by my editor, (Paul) and my campus pastor and got the thumbs up. Now, when people ask us these questions, instead of worrying about the negative way they sometimes refer to my blessings, it has become fun way for us to turn the tables. Instead of bracing for the questions, or the stares, or even just the curious onlooker, we are now looking for them!! Who will ask one of the questions! We fold them up like a little card and on the front it says “Since you asked…..”

The reason this is so exciting for me is that if you hand someone a regular tract, they might read it, but they might not. However, in our case, if these people are already curious enough to ask a stranger in the middle of the grocery store questions about her personal life, then they are going to be curious enough (read nosy) to read the whole darn thing! Right down to all the good stuff about Jesus!

So why am I sharing this with you? Well, despite the dangerously declining birthrate in America (topic for another blog!) I have SO MANY FRIENDS with big (3 or more kids ) families. Truly, if you have 3 kids, you have been asked most of these questions! And a lot of these same friends also love sharing about Jesus. So I wanted to make this available to you, big family people out there, so that you could adapt it, make it your own, and also start sharing with people the truth of how we do it!! Since they asked! Seriously, think about how many times a week you get asked these question and all those opportunities to share the gospel? Let’s do it!  (A google document is at the bottom. Email me if it doesn’t work or if you have a more efficient way of sharing. I am no techie, that is for sure!)

p.s. There are so many ways to adapt this. Even as Christians we can get tired of answering the same questions about  a certain part of our lives.  Consider how you can instead use that to share what makes you who you are in Christ, even if it is not in writing like this.

1 Peter 3:15

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 

****For best results click  on the link below, then click on File > Download As > Word doc, or whatever format you choose.****

Eggplant Parmigian and sweet memories.

When I first met the love of my life, like a giddy school girl I wrote this list of all the things we had in common. One of the items on my list was that we both had a special “Great Aunt” with whom we had a deep bond and by whom we had been thoroughly spoiled! Mine was Aunt Adele, my maternal grandmother’s sister. His was Aunt Rainey, his maternal grandfather’s sister. During my high school years, when Aunt Adele would spend her snow bird days in sunny South Florida, she would regularly take my parents, sister and I out for dinner. And if it was an Italian restaurant, she would order Eggplant Parmigian.  Fast forward past dating, a wedding day,and a toddler and a baby, and Paul’s dear Aunt Rainey had established a similar tradition with us. And whenever we would venture out to an Italian Restaurant, she also would always order Eggplant Parmigian. And now, that I am old, and gray (not entirely) I also have developed a love for Eggplant Parmigian. But my favorite part of making it is always remembering these two amazing ladies, who touched and changed our lives forever.

So here is the recipe, for those who want to give it a try!
 2 Eggplants
A lot of breadcrumbs (Costco’s are great!)
4 eggs
some milk
a lot of oil (vegetable, canola or coconut- olive oil makes it too mushy)
 lots of sauce
First you need a 6 year old who LOVES to bread!(really, breading is not my favorite, and the kids love it!! Let go of perfectionism, and let them have at it!!)
Preheat oven to 350
Peel and slice up the Eggplant.
Scramble the eggs and mix with a little milk.
Find a child who is eager, and step away. You can clean up the mess in one easy swoop later!!
Pay no attention to the messy kitchen in the background. I *do not* clean as I go to avoid eating at midnight, or having to start cooking dinner during lunch. This makes my mom crazy. Sorry mom.

Heat up the oil on medium high, test the heat with some bread crumbs to make sure they sizzle. Brown on both sides, then place on paper towels on a plate to soak up some oil. I just layer paper towels,eggplant, paper towels, eggplant until they are all cooked and I have the leaning tower of eggplant!

Next find a 9×13 pan and add your favorite sauce  as your first “layer.”
(My sauce recipe is at the bottom)

Then add some delicious eggplant. (seriously, the hardest part is not eating them before dish is assembled)

Next ladle on some sauce and sprinkle some cheese

Then another eggplant layer. Wash, rinse, repeat, until you have used all the eggplant or run out of room in your dish! Then bake for about 30 minutes or until it’s all bubbly and browned to your liking.

Somehow in the craziness, I did not get a final picture! So maybe the next time I make it I will add one on, assuming I can figure that out! Sounds complicated! But I could not delay as I hate to deprive the world of this deliciousness one more day! So here ya go! Also, you can alter this in several ways. Some people prefer to bake the eggplant instead of frying. I prefer to Google things like “The health benefits of frying” or use coconut oil, so I can feel good about myself. 🙂

Oh and this is my sauce:
Saute 4 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil (or coconut) till light golden brown. Add 3 or 4 large cans of crushed tomatoes. Then add one tablespoon of : sugar and basil and teaspoon of salt. Add more or less of any seasonings to taste. Fresh basil is even better! And we use Kosher salt.

In a pinch you can substitute garlic powder for sauteed garlic. Like when you want to make tortilla pizzas really bad at 10 o’clock at night??? Open the can, dump in the seasonings, and stir! Your welcome!