Wednesday, April 6, 2011

True Religion

No, I'm not talking about jeans.

James 1:27 says (AMP), “External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.

Thanks for making it clear what you care about, Lord.

I’ve heard it said (I’m pretty sure by Oswald Chambers) that adoption and foster care are callings, but orphan care is everyone’s responsibility (at least it’s every Christian’s responsibility). We all know we can give money to ministries with orphanages oversees like Life Impact International (an AWESOME organization that rescues children from sex trafficking) or Zoe Children’s Home  (that does the same thing). But here are some ideas of ways you can help orphans closer to home (thanks to

1. Pray for the children in foster care and their families.
2. Collect birthday gifts for the foster children in your community.
3. Have a baby shower to collect baby essentials.
4. Collect luggage for foster children in transition.
5. Create toddler toy boxes.
6. Mentor a foster child.
7. Be an alternate caregiver for a foster family.
8. Contact your local OKDHS foster care specialist about specific needs in your community.
9. Host foster children’s visits with their birth families at your facility.
10. Become a foster parent. Xoxox
11. Cook a meal or a treat for the foster kids living in a group home.
12. If you live in Oklahoma, join the 111 Project

All of this makes me think of the song by Josh Wilson that says, “I don’t wanna live like I don’t care/I don’t want to say another empty prayer/O, I refuse to/Sit around and wait for someone else/To do what God has called me to do myself/O I could choose/Not to move/But I refuse.” Amen!

So, what will YOU do?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Deep Thoughts with Heather

photo by Carol M. Highsmith

I know, I know…I’ve broken the blog-world rules: it’s been TOO LONG since my last post. I would fill you in on the details of the last couple of weeks (since I’m sure you’re all dying to know what’s activities have filled my exciting schedule), but since I don’t want to use my brain energy to recall everything, I will just say that I’ve been traveling (here among other places), volunteering, and doing some deep thinking.

Yes, you heard me correctly - deep thinking. Thinking about life questions and different worldviews. Truth and deception. The fact that we seem to be living in the last days of this earth.

So, if you’d like to take a peak into the mind of a genius (okay, or just my mind) here’s what I believe:

There is a God, and He is good.
There is a devil too, but he’s bad news.
Jesus came so that we could have abundant life; He said so.
The devil only comes to steal, kill and destroy.

God’s purpose in making mankind was so that He could have relationship.
There is no true love without free will.
Free will means that He does not control us; therefore everything that happens on earth is not God’s will. (It is not God’s will for me to go murder someone or speak hurtful words to my spouse.)
God is All-Powerful, but He’s set up a system that He operates within. He’s bound himself to His word (He CANNOT lie.).

So, I guess what I want to say in this random-feeling post. Is that when disaster hits your own life – like has just happened for millions in Japan. Please don’t automatically assume that you are suffering at the hand of God or experiencing God’s judgment (which I still believe in). Know there are people out there who are not submitting to God. Know there is a devil out there who loves to bring pain and death. Know that we live in a fallen world that is falling apart due to the effects of sin.

But there is hope. One of the amazing things about God is that He takes actions or events that were meant for evil and somehow causes them to work some good in our lives (Gen. 50:20; Romans 8:28). Again, this doesn’t mean He initiated all of the happenings, but He is smart and creative and can work good in spite of evil.

And that’s what I believe; what about you?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jesus - the PERFECT Lamb

Sin. I’m sure you’ve heard of the stuff. Some people don’t believe it exists…well, they really do (Try punching them in the face; I’m sure they’d think that was wrong; but if you start talking to them about certain behaviors they have, they appear to have no sense of right or wrong. But I digress.)  Sin is the stuff that separates us from God (Isa. 59:2).   See, He is holy (completely perfect, right and pure), and sin cannot live in His presence. The whole story of sin and man’s relation to God is much to great for me to tackle in this little post, but allow me to try to summarize so I can get to the main point.

In the Old Testament, God gave His people a system of coming near to Him that really serves as a wonderful picture for us today.  Because of God’s great justice, He simply could not allow sin to go unpunished.  Because of His love, He decided to come as a man and take that punishment for us. Wow. 

But back to the Old Testament. When the people wanted to come near to God, they were to bring a sacrifice to pay for their sins – usually a lamb. This lamb was to be spotless and perfect, having no defects. The priest would then examine the lamb. Did you get that? He would examine the lamb – NOT the person.

1 Peter 1:1-19 says, “And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”

Jesus is the LAMB that God provided to pay for our sins. He is the perfect sacrifice, and when we confess Him as our Lord and believe in Him, God is no longer looking at us. He is examining our LAMB and declaring us righteous because of His perfection.

So, I encourage you, as I encourage myself today. STOP looking at yourself and worrying about your faults, and start considering JESUS and all His sacrifice has paid for (mainly right standing with God. Wow; thank you, Lord!).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Scrambled Pasta?

Hola! It’s been a while since I’ve written. You see, I’ve been planning to blog about an idea inspired by King Corn, a interesting documentary that is worth watching. This idea could be a huge part of the solution to our nation’s health crisis (Who knew you’d find such answers right here on Spinach Smoothie?!).  My hypothesis is that if our nation would simply STOP subsidizing corn crops, there would eventually be no corn-fed beef, and much less corn syrup production (which is in practically everything this nation eats that’s been processed, and probably causes the majority of our health problems).  And this one change could SUBSTANTIALLY move our nation towards healthier eating habits.  Anyway, I shall have to expound on this topic on a later date.

For tonight, I have experienced a taste so exquisite that I HAD to share. It all began when I started to hear (seemingly everywhere....okay, not everywhere, but at least on the cooking channels I watch and magazines I pick up in the workout room) about scrambled pasta. Evidently in Italy, the combination of noodles & eggs is quite common – who would’ve thought?! Anyway, my beloved hubby is out of town, and since I thought this combination might scare him, and since I found peppers on sale for $0.50, tonight was my chance to finally try this recipe.

Had I known it this dish would merit a blog post, I would’ve taken pictures of the process (we all know I need the practice :) ), but I only took this one:

It’s two servings, but it is now all gone :)

Here’s the recipe (I made just a few changes to Martha’s):
         1/4 of a 1-pound box of spaghetti (about 2 cups cooked)
         3 tablespoons coconut oil
         1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
         4 whole scallions, thinly sliced
                ¼ onion ( I just used one I had left over)
         1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
         4 large eggs
         1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
         1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
         2 tablespoons dried basil (I didn’t have fresh.)

1. Cook spaghetti as usual.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the pepper, onion, scallions, and crushed red pepper (if desired), 3 to 4 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the Parmesan and salt; add them to the skillet with the spaghetti and basil. Toss gently over heat until eggs are set.
It was GREAT with crusty bread! Promise you’ll try it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stuffed Pizza

Pizza…the American food…the dish that allows you to take in the five food groups in one bite. Well, unless you’re vegetarian and don’t eat meat. I am not a vegetarian, but I did have some leftover tofu to use, and while I searching for recipes online, I came across this fabulous twist on a stuffed pizza.

I had made some wheat pizza dough earlier this week (Thanks to last year’s discovery of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day; this book can be life-changing, but this is a topic worthy of it’s own post, so check back later.), so I was ready to begin.

After following the recipe (Well, I did ½ it and substituted goat cheese for the mozzarella; goat cheese is my favorite!) I enjoyed this for lunch:

Forgive the pics; I wasn’t really planning to post about this, but  . . . YUM!! Who knew tofu could taste so good?!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Thai Treat

I love to try new things…especially if they involve food.  In my early 20’s, a date introduced me to Thai food, and a new love affair began (not with the guy, rather with the food :) ). For the last decade, I have received great pleasure from experiencing the different flavor combinations and textures that Thai dishes bring to the table.

But someone else always delivered these delicious flavors to my table – never had I attempted to produce them in my home. But stricter food budgets can cause people to take drastic measures. Actually, a stricter food budget was just the fuel for prayers. Prayers that God answered by allowing me to win an online contest. An online contest in which the prize is receiving “Taste of Thai” ingredients for various Thai recipes. So my adventures in Thai cooking began. (Isn’t God amazing to even give us the little desires of our hearts?!) :)

Thus far, I have made this delicious Pad Thai:

And these (which I never would’ve thought to try, but they are very tasty and would make a great party appetizer!  (I used ground beef instead of pork in an attempt to be a bit healthier.)

So, don’t be afraid to: try new things, ask God for little desires, and cook different dishes; you may be surprised at the pleasure you can find. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I know...

...that my photography skills are SORELY lacking at this point in time, but I shall work at excelling in this area in the future :)
Just wanted to share.

Hummus 'N Music

I would've titled this post, “A little bit of Heaven on Earth,” but since I found myself feeling that way many times (mostly while eating…is that bad? :) ) during the last several weeks, I decided I better save this for a way-over-the top, absolutely amazing eating experience.

Still, I must share this unique recipe for hummus that even I might have never considered had I not happened upon this interesting blog yesterday afternoon.

Since I had sweet potatoes on hand that I were crying out to be used; since I had just re-discovered the tahini I had forgotten about in the fridge; since I had already planned to get my food processor dirty pureeing some acorn squash (for this bread – which was delicious too!) and mostly since I was hungry; I decided to make the Sweet Potato Hummus straightaway.

It must’ve been a God-inspired decision. While listening to Be Lifted High the new CD from Bethel Church I:

prepared the ingredients (forgot to get the black pepper…added it later :) )

Followed the directions, and viola

Okay, I have to say it…

I experienced a little bit of Heaven on Earth.

 I’m reminded of 1 Timothy 6:17: “…put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” Thank you, Lord!

Jesus Loves Me; This I Know

Jesus loves me, this I know…or do I?  I’m in my thirties, and after growing up in church AND attending a Christian school AND going on to Bible College, you’d think that fact would be one that I’ve got down pat. After all, I’ve read about it, heard about it, and sung about it for years. And, yes, I have known it as a fact, and even believed it to a degree, for as long as I can remember.

Yet somehow, lately, it’s like I’m really coming to know it--truly starting to believe it deep within my heart.  (Right now I’m wishing that our English language had about five different words for “know” or “believe” like the Greek languages does.) 

Perhaps the difference is that I’m taking time to think about it and learning to accept it as a reality for me--personally. Or perhaps the difference is that the older I get, the more I realize the utter ugliness of my natural selfishness in contrast to His lovely selflessness. Whatever the case, the fact is that Jesus loves me. He loves you. Not only loves us, but loves us in the same way that God the Father loves Him (John 15:9)—completely, tenderly, eternally. Wow.

I owe this “deeper” revelation of Jesus’ love for me individually in large part to this book by Andrew Murray (It’s a life-changing read if you’ll really take the time to ponder it’s truths.).  Allow me to share one of my favorite excerpts:

“As we think of the love of the Father to the Son, we see in the Son everything so infinitely worthy of that love. When we think of Christ's love to us, there is nothing but sin and unworthiness to meet the eye. And the question comes: How can that love within the bosom of the divine life and its perfections be compared to the love that rests on sinners? Can it indeed be the same love? Blessed be God, we know it is so. The nature of love is always one, however different the objects. Christ knows of no other law of love but that with which His Father loved Him. Our wretchedness only serves to call out more distinctly the beauty of love, such as could not be seen even in heaven. With the tenderest compassion He bows to our weakness, with patience inconceivable He bears with our slowness, with the gentlest loving-kindness He meets our fears and our follies. It is the love of the Father to the Son, beautified, glorified, in its condescension, in its exquisite adaptation to our needs.”

Take a few moments now ponder Jesus’ love for YOU. Accept it as the reality that it is. Unconditional. Unchanging. All-encompassing.  Pure.

Father God, I pray for every person who reads these words. I pray that they would know and believe the love that You and Jesus have for them. I pray it would penetrate their souls and change their lives. Thank You that You love us. Please help us know more every day what this means and how to love you back. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Carpe Diem!

Greetings!  My name is Heather, and I blog. At least I just started to blog. I’m not sure when I become an official “blogger.” Anyway, I’ve admired bloggers for a long time – their ability to write so fluently and post magazine-quality photos. I visit foodies’ sites with their fantastic pictures of original dishes and am amazed at their creativity (in cooking, writing, photography, etc.).  I watch Julie & Julia and revel in the idea of following in Julie’s footsteps – having a challenge and rising to meet it.

But really, it is my husband who inspired me to commence with SpinachSmoothie – even coined its name…well, actually that is another story for another post. See, I pitched him my business idea of making healthy muffins and bars to sell at our local farmers’ market & coffee shops in order to raise funds to fight sex trafficking.  He responded with, “Why don’t you just start with a blog.”  I’m not sure what the correlation is between the two, except that after we talked, it became evident that the root desire behind my baking business idea was to help people while doing something that I at least find a bit pleasurable. It’s a basic human longing, isn’t it? To enjoy life while making a difference for good?

Normally, I would’ve considered the idea for weeks--pondering, praying, preparing—in hopes of venturing on into perfection while avoiding embarrassment and mistakes (and I might add, a bit of work too :) ). But I don’t want to live like that anymore – allowing fear of failure or growing pains – to keep me from pursuing an opportunity that could enrich the lives of others and even my own. After all, isn’t one of our favorite quotes (at least if you’re a Dead Poets’ Society fan), “Carpe Diem!”—Seize the Day!

And so begins SpinachSmoothie, a blog that I suppose will be an expression of musings on the things that I love, namely: Truth, Love, Health, Food, and the USA. An odd mixture, I know. But these are the things I am passionate about, so I shall try to encourage you with the things I’ve learned. I hope to somehow enrich your life – even if that means just entertaining you for 10 minutes, helping you find joy in simple things, or providing an opportunity to laugh with me at my own mis-haps…I’m sure there will be plenty of those. 

So, why don’t you join me in your own way.  Today, step out of your comfort zone and do something to help make someone else’s life better. You may just find some happiness along the way.