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Friday, September 8, 2017

5 Friday Favorites: September 8, 2017 Edition

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Well, I hope your Friday started off happier than mine because I just got home from the dentist which is always a joy. According to the hygienist my mouth is really small which probably explains why I could never cover my teeth with one of those quartered orange rinds like all my friends on the 2nd grade soccer team could during halftime. It also means my mouth hurts. Luckily, my dentist seems to fancy A LOT of easy listening and often takes to humming along to Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers and Air Supply.

So there was that.

We had a busy week around here getting into the swing of things with the new school year. I made my 7th appearance at a Middle School Back to School Night on Wednesday which always lends itself to some deep thoughts and reflections about my middle school self. And I'll have you know that the Middle School is all about self-esteem and affirming a kid's feelings because after seven years, I found that they still have mirrors lining all of the stairwells with encouraging messages like "You are important." and "You are a good person." and encouraging stuff like that.

It poured down rain all day the day we went to B2S night and we had to park practically in the next county, so by the time I hit the stairwell I was pretty sure my mirror should have said, "You are having an super bad hair day and your mascara is smudged, but go get 'em, kid!"

Anyway, let's suffice it to say that although I loved all my kid's teachers and admire them profusely, #b2s17 did not make the cut for my favorite things this week.

Here's a look at what did:

This Kid. Can you even?

This kid from some where in Massachusetts made the front page of The Washington Post for an article about Back to School. Wouldn't you agree that all of America would be much less filled with angst and hand-wringing if we could see this little man on the cover page of every single news outlet every single day? I immediately cut his photo out of the paper and put it on my fridge where it will stay for all of eternity because this guy makes me want to seize the day and learn all the things and just basically PARTICIPATE IN LIFE. Look at that face. Maybe he has just come to realize that Sam I Am should stop asking if that guy likes green eggs and ham because he has made it very clear that he DOES NOT. Or maybe he has decided that 2 plus 2 actually equals 5 and he is going to prove it. Or maybe he just realized that he is going to need to ask for the bathroom pass. Oh, that face.  Your day is better already, yes? You're quite welcome.

Nichole Nordeman's 
Sound of Surviving

I downloaded Nichole Nordeman's entire album, Every Mile Mattered, last week and it is UH-MAY-ZING. As we are in the midst of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, this song made me think of so many of my friends who have lost their children to cancer. It made me think of a woman who this very day is marking the crapiversary of the loss of her son in a terrible accident. I have friends who are grieving the loss of a husband or a parent. Some who are grieving the loss of a dream or a marriage. Some are grieving the end of a season of life, a job or a friendship. But they are getting up every day, breathing in and out, caring for their families, going to work and some are even using their pain to spread grace and hope and comfort to others. I am stunned by the strength of women who survive. I am stunned by women who find purpose in every stage of life. Listen today. YOU'RE STILL HERE.

Whole 30 Cashew "Alfredo" with Shrimp & Broccoli

Earlier this week I started doing a (Some Percentage of a) Whole 30 for the month of September. I hesitate to even write about it because I know that the Whole 30 people will come at me because you can't do it half way. You can't have a smidge of anything that is not compliant or you're not doing it. So, I'm not doing Whole 30. Let's just say I'm changing some things in my diet. And let's also say that I can't really imagine a world in which I could pull off even the changes I've made for a whole 30 days anyway, even though Luke 1:37 and all that stuff.

Anyway, I followed Jen Hatmaker's month of doing Whole 30 on Facebook in the spring. If you're a Jen Hatmaker fan you know she is straight-up one of the most hilarious people on the planet, so it was quite entertaining to read her updates. I stole this recipe from her facebook page and I have never in my life been in more shock and awe.  First, that I even was able to pull it off and second, because it is CRAZY STUPID good. Just ridiculous. It makes no sense at all.  Here's the recipe basically.

For Cashew "Alfredo" Sauce
12 oz raw cashews (soak in water for 6 hours before using.)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 can veggie stock
3 T lemon juice
A lot of salt
2 garlic cloves
3-4 dashes cayenne pepper
1-2 dashes nutmeg
Blend it all up in a blender for five minutes.

Then saute some broccoli in coconut oil over high heat for a few minutes. Turn down the heat and add a spoonful of ghee (which is clarified butter. I'd never heard of it. Why don't they just call it clarified butter? That's annoying) and then add 1 lb. of raw shrimp, 4 minced garlic cloves, 5-6 shakes of red pepper flakes, one squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour as much cashew sauce as you want over the top and heat through until shrimp is cooked.

I served it over a spaghetti squash that I roasted for 45 minutes at 375 degrees just like Jen said to do.  I had never bought a spaghetti squash in my entire life. I had no idea what it looked like. The hardest part of this 75%ish Whole 30 thing this entire week was cutting that bad boy in half. I tried every knife I owned and employed a 16 year old kid to help me. It was practically impossible and I was sweating by the time it was done.

Y'all. I can't tell you enough how good this stuff was. I was laughing the whole time which is exactly what Hatmaker basically said would happen. It's hilarious.

Of Mess and Moxie
Jen Hatmaker

Speaking of Jen Hatmaker, I just started her new book Of Mess and Moxie and so far it is just as fun and thought provoking and delightful as her previous books. I'm only a few chapters in, but one of my favorite chapters was titled Beauty, Food, Fun and Naps. She mentions the "ministry of a new haircut" which has long been a ministry that God has used to speak love and joy into my life, perhaps more than any other. ;-) Her contention is that the notion that "winning" Christians enjoy the least number of good and fun things is a lie. 

"The thing is, God absolutely created us and His world with tastes and sights and sounds and connections designed to thrill. He thought up humor and laughter and delicious flavors coaxed from the earth. He gave us beautiful colors and dance and music and the gift of language. He invented apples and sex and baby lambs . . .In other words, God is into beauty, food, fun and naps.


The Kyle's Kamp Gavin Rupp Open
October 2, 2017

I mentioned last week in 5 Friday Favorites that I would write about some ways you could help children fighting cancer and their families during September which is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. If you've read here for awhile you know of my involvement with Kyle's Kamp, an organization which raises funds for pediatric cancer research and patient care at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. On Monday, October 2, 2017 Kyle's Kamp will host the 5th Annual Gavin Rupp Open -  a golf tournament to honor the memory of an incredible kid who passed away from brain cancer in 2013 and whose story has had a profound effect on my life.

If you are in the Northern Virginia/DC/Maryland area and love to golf, please come join us  by registering here. If you are in our area and have a product or business service you would like to donate for our Silent Auction, please email me at and I can get you in touch with the right people. If you'd like to read about Gavin, you will find that if you enter his name in the "Search this Blog" box on the right, there are about a gazillion posts in which I mention him. That is how much he has impacted not only my writing, but my every darn day.  If you read just one today, maybe go here to read about our first Gavin Rupp Open.

Blessings, Friends! Have a great weekend!

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