Sunday, September 27, 2009

BEEtween the Pages: "Kabul 24" by Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson

Kabul 24 chronicles the gripping story of 8 Western missionaries and their 16 Afghan coworkers imprisoned by the Taliban in 2001. About six weeks before the September 11th bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, armed Taliban kidnapped 24 workers affiliated with Shelter Now International (SNI), a humanitarian organization providing aid to refugees in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This story recounts the eight missionaries' steadfast faith in God, their love for the Afghan people, and their resolve to stay together as they endured more than three terrifying months in captivity.

Kabul 24 is a page-turner and contains many valuable insights about the Afghan culture, the missionaries' unwavering faith in God, and God's unfailing love displayed through the many miracles described in this book. This book humanizes the ordinary people of Afghanistan and gave me a compassion for them. I was saddened when I read stories about the heinous circumstances many Afghans endured under the rule of the Taliban. But I was also encouraged by the faith, love, and loyalty shown by the missionaries, Afghan prisoners, and even some of the Taliban as this story unraveled. I highly recommend this book.

For more information about this book, please visit:

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BEEsy in the Kitchen: Soup Celebration

I love soup!

I love the savory aromas from a pot of soup simmering in my kitchen.

I love the creativity involved in making a batch of soup. Add a little of this and pinch of that, and oh, what about trying something new!

I love the warmth I feel inside as I sip on a spoonful of steaming soup on a chilly day.

I love the assortment of foods available to accessorize soup: a baguette of french bread, a handful of crackers, a dollop of sour cream, or a wedge of homemade cornbread with honey.

I even love the dishes designed just for soup.

After three days of cold, cloudy, and rainy weather, I am craving a good bowl of soup. One of my favorite soups is White Chicken Chili. It's a simple recipe. I usually have the ingredients on hand so I can make it whenever I crave it. Enjoy! :-)

Juliet's White Chicken Chili

2 1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in small pieces
1 (7-8 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 jalapeno, roasted, seeded, & chopped (optional, spicy!)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 TBSP flour
3 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
Green Pepper Tabasco Sauce (several drops, to taste)
2 (15 oz) cans great northern white beans (drained)

Suggested toppings: shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, chopped onion, and/or tortilla chips


(1) Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in large stockpot over medium high heat until hot. Add onions, garlic, and chicken. Cook until chicken is done.

(2) Add 1/2 TBPS olive oil, green chiles, jalapeno, thyme, cumin, and flour. Cook for about 1 minute until mixture is thick. Add chicken broth, Tabasco sauce, and beans.

(3) Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes.

(4) Serve with suggested toppings and tortillas or cornbread.

Monday, September 21, 2009

BEEing A Mom: Rainy Days

My family and I awoke this morning to a cold and rainy day. What should Hayden and I do today? I wondered as I peered outside. It was too frigid and wet for outdoor activities. Hayden watched a few cartoons on PBS this morning, but I did not want us to sit in front of the TV all day. So together we discovered five simple activities perfect for a rainy (or snowy) day.

#1: Drinking Hot Cocoa

As I sat at my desk working earlier this morning, I heard Hayden enter my office. I glanced up at him and laughed at the sight before me. In his mismatched pajamas, he stood in front of me wearing his red Lightning McQueen baseball cap and Batman clogs, twirling an open umbrella above his head.

"I wanna go outside in the rain," he said under the canopy of the umbrella.

Grinning, I led him to the back door and allowed him to stand out on the deck with his umbrella for a few moments. I listened as the rain pitter-pattered on his umbrella and our wooden deck, then shivered from a cold breeze pushing through the open door into my living room where I stood. Seconds later, Hayden cried, "I'm cold. I wanna go in."

I reached out onto the deck to retrieve his umbrella and then guided him into the living room and closed the door.

"How about some hot cocoa?" I asked.

He nodded. Minutes later, he sipped on a cup of hot chocolate with a big smile on his face. It's amazing how hot cocoa on chilly day can solve almost any problem!

#2: Making A Mailbox

Remember when I mentioned in an earlier post that I am not a "crafty" mama? I must admit I had so much fun with last week's craft I decided to try another. Today we made a custom mailbox for Hayden.

Using a shoebox, I helped Hayden decorate it with an assortment of scrapbooking paper. We cut a long rectangular hole on top to insert mail and added a flag with a giraffe on the side. Placing my hand over his, we spelled his name and "mailbox" on a piece of paper and glued it to the front. I hope to fill his mailbox at least once a week with something special, like stickers and a letter to him.
#3: Baking Cookies

After lunch, we mixed batter for oatmeal cookies. Hayden enjoyed dumping the ingredients in the mixing bowl, turning the mixer on and off, sampling the cookie dough, and dropping the cookies on the baking sheet. Ten minutes later, I served him one of his specially made cookies with a cup of cold milk. Life is good! :-)

#4: Reading Books

On any day, reading a stack of books with Hayden is such a joy. And today was no different. We sat in our reading chair in our den, and I read a few books to him.

Each summer we participate in our library's reading program. If we read for at least eight hours, Hayden receives a free book of his choice from the library. I decided I would like to continue recording our reading habits, and for every eight hours we read, I thought it would be a treat to go to the bookstore and select a book to add to our own home library. So today I created a "pirate" themed recording sheet and attached it to the bulletin board. I anticipate we will be visiting the bookstore soon to select our first book.

#5: Taking A Nap

After a morning and afternoon filled with activities, Hayden and I lay down for a nap. Oh how cozy it was to curl up with him and a blanket for a snooze on a cold and wet day. Hayden slept for about three hours.

I have come to love a rainy day every so often because it allows me to slow down and spend some quality one-on-one time with my little boy. And by doing this, I'm truly savoring the sweetness of life!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BEE Fulfilled: Breaking Free

Several months ago, I spent a morning reading scripture in 1 Thessalonians. As I neared the end of this book in the Bible, I read the following three verses:

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all
circumstances, for this is God's will
for you in Christ Jesus."

~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)~

I remember jotting down on a piece of paper the following:

Be Joyful + Be Prayerful + Be Thankful = Be Fulfilled

On the surface, these verses presented a simple equation on how were are to live our lives in Christ Jesus. But as I pondered on the three components of fulfilling God's will, I realized I often struggle to follow this calling. In fact, I was not sure I truly understood what it meant to "be joyful always." And I knew that my prayer life was sporadic and did not qualify as being continual. I expressed thanks in many situations, but I knew I could not make the claim of giving "thanks in all circumstances."

Shortly after reading these verses, I began a Beth Moore bible study called Breaking Free. I love how God places the tools we need for growth just when we need them. I stumbled across this bible study when searching for another study at my local Christian bookstore. The store employee assisting me pulled this study from the shelf and recommended it to me. Somewhat disappointed that they did not have the study I wanted, I hesitated before deciding to purchase it.

That evening, I sat cross-legged on my bed and began reading the first section of the study. Within minutes, I was fascinated as the study delved into a history lesson about the kings during the prophet Isaiah's time. At first, curiosity about the history components of the study drew me to it each day. But soon a desire to learn about the truths found in God's Word and a yearning to mature in my relationship with Him grew day by day.

During the second week of the study, I discovered one of the reasons I needed to embark on this journey at this particular time. In this study, Beth Moore provides the following definition of captivity:

"A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders
the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for her."

It did not take long for me to discover I had been living in captivity in certain areas of my life for some time. During the study, I came to understand that the only way to find freedom from this captivity is through seeking Christ's help.

Each week as I completed the daily lessons in this study, I found my relationship with Christ deepening, and I began to gain knowledge and understanding of how to break free from the strongholds in my life. I have wept more over the last two months than I have in a long time. The Lord has stirred such a yearning within me to know Him better and to be obedient to His commands and callings in my life. Every morning, I find I hunger to spend time with God in His Word and prayer, a hunger that grew from a few random rumbles and growls just a few months ago to an intense need from deep within me.

Each day, I am learning what it means to "be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances." In the weeks and months to come, I hope to further explore the meaning of these three verses in 1 Thessalonians and share the truths God is revealing to me related to them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

BEEing A Mom: Bumblebee Rocks

I have a confession: I'm not a "crafty" mama. I wish I were. I admire the creative and cute crafts I find on websites and in books and magazines. But often I read the craft's directions and either don't understand how to complete them or think they will require more effort than I'm willing to devote to them. I usually opt to take Hayden to the zoo or a museum rather than work on a craft. This is where Hayden's preschool teacher, Miss Ashlee, has been a blessing. Each day Miss Ashlee coordinates a craft for the kids in the class. So I'm reassured I'm not depriving Hayden of opportunities to explore his artistic abilities.

But every once and a while, I have a moment when I desire to tackle a craft. This morning I had one of those moments.

After breakfast, I thumbed through a couple of my preschool books until I finally found instructions on a craft I thought I could complete with Hayden. The craft: making bumblebees out of rocks. I quickly perused the directions and thought, "I can do this."

Minutes later, we embarked on an adventure behind our house to find flat rocks to be used as the bumblebees' bodies. After collecting several rocks, we laid them out on the patio table. As I reread the craft's directions, I struggled to understand what to do after cleaning and drying the rocks. The book did not include any pictures, and as I much I tried, I could not comprehend what to do next.

So in a rare moment for me, I decided we would abandon the book and make the bumblebee rocks using our own creativity and the supplies we had on hand. For the next hour, Hayden and I shared a delightful time together painting rocks and putting the finishing touches on them.

And even though our masterpieces may not be worthy of being included in a book or magazine, we were thrilled about how they turned out.

Throughout the afternoon, Hayden discovered many creative ways to play with the bumblebee rocks. My favorite was a new twist to the game of "tag." In our living room, we took turns being the tagger with the bee. My son made the sound of a bee buzzing as he chased me around the coffee table until he finally caught up with me and rather than "tagging" me, he used the bee to "sting" me.

Perhaps I will try to be a "crafty" mama a little more often now!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

BEEyond the Hive: An Old-Fashioned Parade

As a child, I loved watching and participating in my small town's parades. What a thrill it was to sit along the curbside and anxiously wait for candy to be tossed by kids and adults riding on floats, Shriner clowns on their silly bicycles, and cowboys and cowgirls on their horses. With candy scattered along the road, we kids would scramble to our feet and dash this way and that to collect as many pieces as possible. At the end of the parade, we would peer into our bags and gloat over the treasures we accumulated.

As much as I loved parades as a child, I realized a couple of years ago I had rarely attended parades as an adult. But why? Perhaps it was because I became too busy to slow down and enjoy an old-fashioned parade. Or maybe that youthful spirit I once had disappeared for a season.

But it's amazing how having a child often draws out the inner child within us. About two years ago, my family and I ventured to our downtown area for a parade, my first in many years. My son was about 18 months old at the time, and I wanted to share the merriment of parades with him. I soon rediscovered how much I loved parades as the long procession of marching bands, floats, dancers, cyclists, horses, and other participants promenaded past us.

Unable to attend my town's annual Harvest Festival parade last September, I yearned to be there for it this year. At around 9 a.m. this morning, my husband, mother-in-law, son, and I lined up on a curb along the parade route. Within minutes, we were waving at firefighters in their trucks, clapping as marching bands finished their musical performances, and pointing at pieces of candy for my son to collect. We marveled as Mexican dancing horses tapped their hooves to a tune played by a Mariachi band, dancers and gymnasts dazzled us with their twirls, lifts, and back flips, and firefighters accentuated the somber beauty of the bagpipes and drums. Three hours later, the last act strolled past us, and I felt delighted to have been a part of the event.

As I pondered on my parade experience this afternoon, I realized one of the reasons I love parades is they draw me closer to my community, allowing me to witness the playful side of those who live in my town and to see their kindheartedness. During the parade, two kids sitting next to us on the curb picked up pieces of candy and shared them with my son. It warmed my heart to see such generosity from the younger generations in my town.

I also observed parades are timeless. I found few differences in the parade I watched today from the ones I enjoyed as a child. Even with the major technological advances over the last 30 years, hometown parades still have an old-fashioned flair to them. They are simple, yet fun celebrations that bring communities together. And perhaps that I why I loved them when I was a child and love them now!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

BEEsy in the Kitchen: Grandma Jobes' Apple Crisp

I love autumn!

The flickering of yellow leaves as a brisk breeze sweeps through a grove of aspens.

The thrills of listening to elk in the rut bugle in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The kaleidoscope of crimson, chartreuse, gold, and orange peppering parks and neighborhoods throughout my town.

The giggles of young children as they zigzag through a pumpkin patch, stopping occasionally to try to push or lift a pumpkin bigger than they are.

The ambrosial scent of apples just picked from a local orchard.

And sweet flavors bursting in my mouth as I indulge in a bite of freshly baked apple crisp.

With the start of autumn just around the corner, I'd like to share an heirloom recipe from my Great-Grandma Jobes. As a child, I always looked forward to my mom baking my Grandma Jobes' Apple Crisp in the autumn. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have!

Grandma Jobes' Apple Crisp

6 juicy apples, peeled and cored
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

(2) Cut apples into quarters and arrange in greased pie plate or shallow baking dish. Pour lemon juice over apples.

(3) Blend butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon as for pie crust. Press mixture over the apples.

(4) Bake for 1 hour. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with milk and/or vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BEEing A Mom: Lemonade, Dinosaurs, and Ice Cream

"What do you want to do today?" my husband asked me yesterday morning.

For several minutes, we brainstormed on possible activities our family could enjoy on the Labor Day holiday. After discussing a plethora of ideas, we finally settled on a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. I recalled reading about a dinosaur exhibit at the gardens. My three-year-old son LOVES dinosaurs, so we were certain it would be a hit.

An hour later, the three of us piled into our van and set out for the gardens near downtown Denver. But soon our plans changed. As we drove by the baseball stadium and noticed crowds of people gathering at the gates, an idea popped into my head. "Let's go to a baseball game," I blurted out. "We've been talking about going to one all summer. Let's do it today."

Within minutes, I found a parking space several blocks away from the stadium. I felt a surge of excitement as I thought about spending an afternoon with my family at a baseball game. It had been nearly two years since our last baseball game, and I was eager to watch my son discover the joys and thrills of being at a live game.

We approached the ticket counter and inquired about ticket availability and prices. Stunned by the high prices, we hesitated in buying the tickets. Maybe we should go to the gardens, I thought for a brief moment. But we've talked about going to a baseball game for months and if we don't do it today, we'll probably have to wait until next season. And besides, we only do this every so often, so it'll be worth the cost, I reasoned with myself. Several seconds later, we agreed to purchase the tickets.

As we waited in line to enter the stadium, I glanced down at my son. I spotted a bright smile on his face, and even though his red Lightning McQueen hat covered his eyes, I imagined they sparkled with excitement. Oh, we're going to have so much fun, I thought.

Minutes later, we strolled past the stadium's long line of concession stands, trying to decide on what to eat for lunch. I rarely eat hot dogs, but there's something nostalgic about enjoying a hot dog at a baseball game. With our munchies in hand, we found our seats in the lower deck and waited for the game to begin.

All three of us seemed to be enjoying the game until the second inning. As the inning began, I glanced over at my son and noticed a grimace on his face. I studied him for a moment and discovered he was overwhelmed by the loud sounds within the stadium. Above us, the speakers boomed with music and announcements. The crowd clapped, stomped, roared, screamed, booed, and hollered. Vendors climbed up and down the stairs, yelling sales pitches for beer, popcorn, ice cream, and cotton candy. Never had I noticed how deafening a baseball game really is. And it was too much for my son. Covering his ears, he looked up at me and plead for relief. As I escorted him out of the stands and into the concession area, I wondered if we should have gone to the gardens instead of the game.

"Let's get some lemonade," I proposed. He nodded and smiled. We sipped on lemonade and enjoyed several moments in the concession area before returning to our seats. Within minutes, he again struggled with the noise. Holding him in my arms, I comforted him and covered his ears when the crowd cheered and clapped after an exciting play by the home team or when the announcer's voice bellowed from the speakers above. During the fourth inning, he curled up in his seat, rested his head on my husband's lap, and fell asleep. My husband and I sighed in relief.

A couple of innings later, my son woke up, still struggling with the noise. Recognizing his discomfort, I was about to announce to my husband it was time to leave when Dinger the Dinosaur, the Rockies' mascot, appeared on the field. I stood up with my son in my arms and pointed toward the field. "Look, it's a dinosaur," I said with enthusiasm. My son's eyes widened and a grin appeared as he watched the dinosaur waddle up and down the field. Minutes later, Dinger disappeared below the stands.

"Let's see if we can find the dinosaur. I bet he'll come out again," I encouraged my son. He nodded, and the next inning was blissful as we searched for Dinger. Fortunately, Dinger reappeared briefly at the end of the inning.

By the middle of the eighth inning, my husband and I knew it was time to leave the stands. We bought our son an ice cream cone, and while he savored it, we watched the last inning from the concession area and cheered as the Rockies won the game.

As we left the stadium, my son seemed to be in happy spirits. I asked him if he enjoyed the game. He smiled and nodded. I grinned, grateful for lemonade, dinosaurs, and ice cream.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Welcome to my blog! I'm so happy you stopped by for a visit. For a few months now, I have pondered on the idea of starting a blog. As you probably already figured out, I'm a late bloomer. But I suppose I have to start somewhere. So here I am blogworld! :-)

Like most moms I know, I am a BEEsy Mama! And similar to many moms, I yearn to slow down at times and savor the sweetness of life. So with this blog, I hope to chronicle my journey as a BEEsy Mama doing just that! Some of my posts will be reflective and serious while others will be light-hearted and fun. In the days and weeks to come, some of the topics I hope to introduce on my blog include:
  • BEEyond the Hive: Discovering family activities outside the home
  • BEEing a Mama: Stories and life lessons about being a mom
  • BEEdazzling Mamas: Celebrating the inspirational and beautiful mamas I know
  • BEE Mine: Ideas for sparking romance in a BEEsy Mama's marriage
  • BEE Fulfilled: Exploring the truths found in 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 (BEE Joyful + BEE Prayerful + BEE Thankful = BEE Fulfilled)
  • Building a Bountiful BEEsiness: Insights and practical advice for work-at-home mamas
  • BEEsy in the Kitchen: Recipes and other cooking tidbits for the BEEsy Mama
  • BEEtween the Pages: Book reviews and musings of a writer
I'm excited about sharing this adventure with you and would love to hear your comments from time to time!

Many Blessings to You,