A Golden Summer

2 Turkey sausages slice thin
I whole onion, chopped
a heaping tablespoon of garlic
1 large can (29 ounces?) tomatoes (I like the chopped)
1 full can of water--or a little more to taste 
2-3 thinly sliced zucchini 
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can beans (navy beans preferred--but we didn't have them last night so we used pinto)
1-2 teaspoons salt to taste
1 heaping tablespoon Italian seasoning
Saute sausage, onions and garlic in olive oil in a large soup pan. Add the tomatoes, water, salt and zucchini. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the zucchini is soft. Add the beans and seasoning and salt. Simmer another little while (I think it tastes better if you just leave it on to simmer while you are doing other things--the tastes blend together better.)
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and a small dollop of sour cream on top and enjoy!
This was a great summer treat for us last week that Sarah made up on the spur of the moment! I had to repeat it this week to be sure I knew how! It is a real pleaser.
The pathway behind our home--awash in beautiful blues, gorgeous--everywhere!
Every once in a while, life seems at peace in all arenas. It does not happen often, but when it does, I have learned to cherish each moment and store up the goodness of it for future times. Finally, after all the weeks of travel, the girls and I are enjoying the rhythm of home life with our boys. We all feel called to minster as a family and to speak and reach out and do what the Lord has put on our plates to do, but really, we love home--the comfort, the meals, the fellowship and the life. So every day that we have to cherish this life is a gift. Clay is in his element with all of us home to talk and have fun--what a fun sense of humor he flavors our discussions with!
I love having Nathan home. We are such pals and he is such a friend to Sarah and Joy--this after all the seasons of living through the stages of younger children--those times when you wonder if your children will be friends. And wonder if you have more conflict in your home than others do--but I have to say, if you are raising your children to be confident, independent thinkers--there will always be a little tension.
 Since I know that he may never be home this long again, when he wants to talk, I drop everything. When he says, "Hey, Mom, fix me breakfast--it always tastes better when you do it." Then I do it and enjoy it, knowing sometime soon, he will be gone. But also knowing that it was being available to make many such memories and serving him so often when he was a little boy that makes him want to come home. It is also good to see that God was in New York City and that He was working in Nate's life--even without me! Prayer kept me involved in his life, but now I see that his passion for the Lord is stronger than ever. Thank you, Lord, for showing me that you can draw my children to you even when I am not there.
The only thing missing is Joel--who is at Berklee taking an over-full load--and still loving his music. A big praise to the Lord is that after applying for 25 jobs, he has a great one at Berklee working in the administration office. Thanks so much, Lord!
Now we do still have some of the teenage issues--Joy and I were just talking the other night about how sure she was that she wasn't going to go through the phases the others went through. But, now she is full into them--(watching lots of her peers beginning to compromise ideals, her little gang that she has enjoyed for 6 years being split up because at 14 many of the moms put their children into schools--and they live all over the city, the loneliness that sets in when you realize your family has such different commitments and standards, and the desire to have and be with friends--a real healthy, natural desire--I want friends and fellowship, don't you--just a need God designed us to have.) But most of the time, we have continue to build on the foundations of our relationship that was laid securely during the young years of her life. That's where home life fills in--daily good family meals and laughter and discussions; evening walks in the mountains or on the streets near us. Also, making sure I plan lots of activities with her and friends to fill some of those needs.
And Joy is a "doer". She doesn't just want to sit and hear one more discussion--she wants to do things together. So, we have spent a lot of time this summer gardening--she is amazing and organizes most of it. 
Here is our little plot of garden--on our mountain, rocky soil--(7500 feet high!) This year, she made her own sort of raised beds out of sturdy boxes as the lumber was too expensive. They have held up through lots and lots of rain and hail! We will hopefully have lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, onions, radishes, green beans, peppers, herbs and roses--if the deer don't eat off the blossoms again.
I also have Joy in a little fun discipleship group at church, a drama day camp, piano, I took 4 girls up to the mountains to shop and eat for a whole day on her birthday,  and we have planned our monthly  dinners with our small group of friends, a mystery night, a girl's tea--where she and her friend will invite friends and girls they know that are lonely and don't know many others; she will be in a play and maybe a couple of more history camps. (She had it in her mind to put together an explorer's camp for kids with her friend--they had 12 kids and a good time was had by all--now we are getting more requests.) 
Joy keeps me on my toes, but because I don't want to lose her heart, I do make efforts to give her times with friends so that she can feel she has community--even if it is mainly through our home. 
I am off this week to speak at CHEC in Colorado and then for 8 days in California--taping two new video series for 2 of my books and speaking 5 times--so I am off again, but so thankful that I have had my time to be at home with these great days of summer. Please pray for us as we have important decisions and meetings the next three weeks to try to pursue getting mom heart off the ground in the next year. We are praying for the Lord to give us partners and helpers to launch it in many churches. Meanwhile, in the midst of it all, in my early morning hours, I am finishing the editing of a book that is due. I am thankful for my life. God is good.