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Butternut Squash Soup

Do you have a soup on your thanksgiving menu? If you don’t, I think this soup will change that real fast. This soup will make you feel cozy and thankful with its sweet notes that are enhanced by savory spices.

Here in Ohio, I savor watching summers fade into fall with annual anticipation. This is the golden time of year for me. Each dreamy fall day has marked my soul with their invitation to relish the beauty, to remember cycles and traditions, to let some things go. So, this Thanksgiving week as we let go of discontentment make this soup to nurture your soul. Wether it makes it on your Thanksgiving meal or for an easy meal after the celebration, I promise you will be glad you did. I invite you to set your table, light a candle, and let your tables nurture your health and open your heart to give thanks as you break bread together.

Ingredients

2 strips of bacon*
1-2 tbsp of olive oil or ghee*
1/2 of a shallot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
5 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 green apple, cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 can of Whole fat unsweetened Coconut milk
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of boiling water

For Serving

Shaved parmesan, manchego, or your favorite aged cheese
Pumpkin seeds
Crusty bread and a favorite salted butter

Instructions

Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables.

  1. Even as your are chopping and prepping, heat a large pot on medium heat and cook the two slices of bacon. Let the bacon get crispy but be careful it doesn’t burn. When the bacon is cooked to your liking remove it and set it aside, it will crisp up even more as it cools.
  2. Add the tablespoon of olive oil or ghee to the pot. Then add your shallot and onion and let it cook, about 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent and smells divine.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Do not let the garlic brown too much or it may turn bitter.
  4. Add the cubed vegetables, carrots, squash, and apple. At this point you may need to add more olive oil or ghee* depending on how big your butternut squash is. As they sauté add the spices and let it all sauté for 15 minutes.
  5. When the vegetables start to soften add the can of fire roasted tomatoes. Pour the half cup of boiling water in the empty tomato can to get all the sauce out, then pour it into the pot. Add the bayleaf and the two cups of chicken broth and let it simmer on medium for 20-25 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Do not let all of the water boil down. It should have lots of broth.
  6. Heat up the oven and prepare the bread you want to serve. Cut up the crispy bacon and put in a bowl, set out a bowl of the cheese, and a bowl pumpkin seeds.
  7. When the vegetables are very tender, taste it, you may need to add more salt and pepper. Add the can of coconut milk and let it simmer for a few more minutes maybe 4 or 5. Remove the bayleaf and transfer the soup to the blender, blend it until smooth. You can also use an immersion blener for this step.Serve immediately with warm crusty bread topping the soup with bacon, cheese, and pumpkin seeds.

Notas

Making this recipe should feel very comfortable and organic. Do not hesitate to add more of any of the spices to make it to your taste.
*Ghee is a clarified butter that you can find almost in any store now. I love to sauté and roast with it but you can also substitute butter or olive oil.
*When I don’t have oregano I substitute Herbs de Provence instead – you will love this herb blend!
*You don’t have to use bacon if you want to keep this recipe vegetarian.
*This soup tastes even better when shared with friends.

I pray Thanksgiving Blessings over your family,

Psalm 100 Booklet

A beautiful interactive booklet to help you store His word in your heart this Thanksgiving alongside your children. 

Get your copy delivered straight to your inbox here.

A ThankFull Home Playlist

Plus a Free Thanksgiving gift

Almighty God to you all hearts are open

Search and know our thoughts and anxious fears

Wash us in the fountain of your mercy

Come with your light, we cannot hide from you

–Almighty God by Sandra McCracken

Open Hearts, ThankFull Hearts

Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner and although this year may look different around the table we still need to cultivate a thankful heart. I am once again pausing with the liturgy of the year, this holiday marking a moment for me to be still. To open our hearts can be difficult but one of the ways I find this practice easier is through music. Music is a beautiful usher, it leads my soul to deeper communion with my Creator. I have done the hard work for you and curated a play list that will usher your heart to open up in with thanksgiving!

I invite you to join me to listen to play list below exhale the tension out and inhale in hope. Be blessed.



Psalm 100

A Psalm for giving Thanks.

I created a beautiful booklet for you and one for your kiddos so that together you can take some time to slow the hustle and rest together. This booklet will walk you through Psalm 100, gives space for coloring and doodling as well. While you read it and memorize together you will have the opportunity to add color and even write a thanksgiving prayer. You can find more information here on how to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

So, let’s open our hearts and give thanks,

On Grief: Hurricane Iota

Preface: Two weeks ago on Monday, November 2nd, I came home from work and climbed into bed and as my body relaxed the tears flowed. My heart was there with the land in which I was born. I couldn’t even string words to explain what I was feeling, as I learned that Hurricane Eta had devastated Central America. Today, Monday, November 16th, in the midst of another devastation I was reminded of a poem I wrote while in High School.

This poem was written by a young gal wanting to process Hurricane Mitch in 1998. I would visit Honduras a year after that hurricane and intensely felt the devastation alongside my family. Here we are 22 years later and I am feeling the same sense of loss and grief for the beautiful country of Honduras. I am grieving the loss and devastation so deeply.


Photo by Amith Anuradha on Pexels.com

The Hurricane

I hear my little sister’s laughter as she plays, joyfully enjoying the sun’s soft fingers as they caress her warmly. The day smells of sunshine and roses.

Suddenly I turn around to the sound of thunder
Approaching us is an evil gray cloud
It spreads a felling of gloom over the entire world.

Instantly the laughter stops the laughter stops.
The beautiful smell sours,
And silence is heavy as fog.

Only the sound of the howling wind
Threatening with death is heard.
The rain starts, slowly at first
Spreading a clear blanket of water over us

It does not stop,
it intensifies like rocks pelting my soul
Stinging through and reaching my whole being.

No pause just pouring rain
It seems as if each drop brings forth God’s fury
I feel as though He is trying to wash us away.

The neighborhood is desolate
Everyone has evacuated
Escaping this rain created sea,
Afraid its depth will swallow them up if they stay.

My family had to stay
Where could we go?
We huddle close giving each other warmth,
We need each others comfort and strength to go on.

The food is gone
Our time to depart has come
The river will soon flow over
Where my neighborhood once stood.

Oh, God, I tremble with fear
Thunder rolls in hard closer now
I know the current is headed this way.

“Run!” I hear the words “Go now”
We start running
We wade through waist deep water
We must keep running leaving all behind
We run into the frigid arms of fear.

In a second my hand slips from my mom’s
I turn to look
She is gone with my sister in her arms
the current fierce and swirling is all I see.

I cry out into the deathly night
I beg, “God please hear my plea.
God, how will I live?
Where will I go?”
The current has taken all I loved.

I’m just a child, I feel so small.
How do I go on alone?
I turn to the sound of anguished cry
It’s my neighbor and school friend.

He also cries out begging God please!
The pain is too much to bear
Our souls feel as if they are shattering
Our entire families are gone.

We trudge towards each other
Through the rain we find each other
Afraid to be alone.

Time exists no more, hours turn into days
Not knowing what life has in store for us
We walk anyway
Long hard hours of walking
Through rain, lakes of mud, and fields of dead bodies

The tears have not stopped falling
We cannot give up now
We must reach help
We must live

The loud crash bursts from behind
I turn in time to watch, as if in slow motion, a mud slide
Carrying and turning over everything in its path.

I stand my mouth agape
I watch my country crumble into pieces
Along with it our dreams
Our happiness
And our hard work

When will this end, Oh God,
When will your mercy shine down
Will your strength help us survive?

The rain has stopped.
The sun has crept out of its hiding place
Drying the wetness left by the rains
But unable to dry our tears

Our hearts will cry forever
As this tragedy is engraved in our soul.

A sound again behind me
I turn not wanting to see more pain
A truck is near to take us to safety
I look up into the tear stained face of my blue-eyed neighbor,
His arms envelope me.

He says: “ We made it
Together with God’s help we will survive
I turn to my pain and suffering.
Yet I know, I am not alone.

My eyes into the distance are gazing
As I cry not knowing what awaits us
I reminisce on the beautiful past instead.

Still reeling from the shock of this odyssey I am scarred for ever. But hope, like the sun breaks through I will see more good in this Life.


This is me at 5 years old. I see the rain in this picture, and instantly I imagine rainy days in Honduras. I remember the beautiful and calming rains that whispered into the night. But the rains coming down right now are hard to imagine and so I pray, Lord, have mercy.

Hope In Grace,

Ep.009 A HopeFull Farewell

Farewells can be hard but they can also be hopefull encounters that help us prepare for new beginnings. This small offering from our hearts to you was a labor of love. Although we must say goodbye for now we trust that you are not alone and so we bless you today in love. 

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Transcript:

Hi friends, what an honor to be back with you and yet a bittersweet moment of Farewell. For this is our last episode for now. With open hands we held this offering of being a companion to you as we navigate a new way of schooling. We have loved helping you find refreshment in the Lord and giving you a practical step to help you learn alongside your children. This small offering from our hearts to you was a labor of love.

We pray that your hearts will be strengthened by the Grace that Is in Christ Jesus. Although, we can not walk the rest of the way with you, we pray that you know that He walks with you- always. You are carried by Him and he remains your glory and the lifter of your head.

Friends, if like me this year has been a year of shedding and letting go for you, I pray that your heart will be sustained by his grace.
I pray that His love for you will come and settle your aching heart.
I pray that your eyes will remain fixed on Him as you experience his generosity towards you.

One thing I do know for sure and “ this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion, “ Says my soul, “ therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:21-24

So, once again I invite you to prayer. I am very aware of my forgetfulness and my self reliance and through prayer I can shed those and lean on his grace. I love this passage from the New Morning Mercies Devotional from Nov. 13th “ Real prayer is prayed in an attitude of what the Puritans called /importunity/, which is the condition of being troublesome or persistent because of a deep sense of urgency. It means being frightened into crying out for help. It is a condition of heart that is only there as the result of grace. It’s grace that causes you to acknowledge your sin. It’s grace that causes you to be frightened by where that sin can lead you. Its grace that opens your heart to the help that only God can give. Real prayer is motivated by that grace acknowledges your need for that grace. Prayer isn’t an announcement of personal righteousness, but a cry for help that rests in the righteousness of another, (Jesus) . Have you prayed today?”

So, what does this have to do with HopeFull Homeschooling? Everything. I am not called to carry all that comes with homeschooling but instead to bring it to Him and he will carry it for me. I am called to fix my eyes on Him and let him transform my heart as he shepherds both me and my children.

And iI leave you with the words of John o’Donahue,
“ And so may a slow wind
work these words
Of love around you’,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.”
And I add alongside our friend Jesus.

What’s next? Find us on our Facebook group we will be posting there our next steps. There is a stirring in my heart as advent approaches and the Lord is birthing new things to keep us filled with His hope. Come and see!

Scripture
So, I bless you with this scripture today.
 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

https://my.bible.com/bible/111/NUM.6.24-26

Breath Prayer:

Jesus, my hope
Your steadfast love gives me peace.

Resources Mentioned:

Now back to you:

Join us on the Facebook Group and meet other parents who are on this journey with you.

We also have an Instagram account for more encouragement and connection.

Jesus, my hope

Your steadfast love gives me peace.

breath prayer

Your Mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:23

Ep.008 The Value of Play in Home Education

Play, whether it occurs indoors or outdoors, is an integral way that our children experience and learn how to navigate the world in which they live. Daisy and Rachel discuss how play, particularly outdoors, has impacted their families in recent seasons.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts|Spotify |Breaker |Pocket Casts |Radio Public|Overcast|

Topics discussed during this Episode:

  • Introducing podcast topic: Outdoor Play [01:22] 
  • Daisy’s Update on life and history of being outdoors [02:07]
  • Fall a good season for being outdoors [04:35]
  • Daisy’s go to for meltdowns [05:05]
  • Outside time to calm down instills great coping mechanisms for us and the kiddos. [06:37]
  • Rachel’s reminds us to know our kiddos cues for going outside or when they need help transitioning [06:47]
  • going on Hikes together models the importance of being outside for our children [07:47]
  • In nature we become students together [08:46] 
  • The heavens declare the glory of God [09:00]
  • Rachel’s update on her hikes with her kiddos [09:38]
  • Learning about the importance of play [15:04] 
  • Using your senses to enjoy nature [16:19]
  • Exercising skills of imagination outside [18:41]
  • Health benefits of being outdoors [22:58]
  • Practical Tip: Stewardship and care of our environment [23:35]
  • Psalm 145:10 (MSG) [24:39]
  • The beauty of our creator is found in play and in nature [25:44]
  • Psalm 8 [27:37]
  • Breath Prayer [28:42]

Resources Mentioned:

The Following are suggestions of how you can incorporate it at home
Just for fun

Now back to you:

Join us on the Facebook Group and meet other parents who are on this journey with you.

We also have an Instagram account for more encouragement and connection.

Jesus, the heavens declare your glory, and so do I.

breath prayer

Your Mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:23

Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving

3 Ways to Use the Rhythm of Your Home to Express Continual Gratitude this Thanksgiving

I had the privilege of writing a piece for my friend Gwendolyn, over at the Wandering Hearth. It’s a piece that serves as an invitation to use the the rhythms of our home to store the word of God in our hearts. I invite you to join us there and help set your heart on the path for gratefulness all season long.

The kitchen provides for the table to be bountiful and it is there that provisions come from. Could we create space in the kitchen to post the psalm we are memorizing to remind ourselves that we don’t live by bread alone?

Daisy

Because this year we all need a little extra help

Gwendolyn released the Thanksgiving in a Difficult Year Planner.  It’s a printable guide that helps you get ready for the holiday as well as planning the Thanksgiving meal. This resource is chock full of great tips, ideas, and practical ways to make your thanksgiving a breeze. It will not only help you with a guest list planner, meal scheduler, and shopping lists. But it will also help you set your mind on practicing authentic gratitude, having meaningful conversations around the table, and encourage you to invite others along to giving back to those in need. She has thought of it all don’t miss it! Go check it out here.

May love and hope abound with gratitude,

Daisy

Ep.007 The Surprise Ending of Setting Down the Books

 Setting down the schoolbooks, throwing out the schedule, yielding control, and giving children ownership over their education and lives, can result in some absolutely lovely surprises and heavenly reminders. 

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts|Spotify |Breaker |Pocket Casts |Radio Public|Overcast|

Topics discussed during this Episode:

  • Introducing podcast topic: What we learned [00:45] 
  • Rachel’s reflection and a change of plans [00:53]
  • A gift of rest by taking a week off school [04:45]
  • The Lord’s grace towards us in grief, hard moments, and hard homeschool moments [07:42]
  • God wants to be our rest [09:41]
  • Rachel’s time off learnings through an opposite approach to routine [10:49]
  • Our Kids also need space to rest and exercise their creativity as natural learners [12:31]
  • Daisy’s kids reflection while on a hike[17:21] 
  • Daisy is caught of guard by her kids’ questions [21:19]
  • Rest and Reflection go hand in hand [24:08]
  • God and rest [24:48] 
  • Rachel describes her restful mornings [28:04]
  • The word of God is to be made a priority [31:41]
  • Practical Tip [34:37]
  • Matthew 28:28-30 [36:48]
  • Breath Prayer [37:32]

Resources Mentioned:

Now back to you:

Join us on the Facebook Group and meet other parents who are on this journey with you.

We also have an Instagram account for more encouragement and connection.

Jesus, you are my rest.

breath prayer

Your Mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:23

Zuppa Toscana

We are entering soup season, am I right? Soups evoke the beauty of family, cozy togetherness, and comfort in a bowl. I see soups as a sign of love to our families and friends as we invite them to the table.

You may or may not know that I was born in Honduras. These crisp fall evenings cozy with fog and blistering winds was not something I knew there. But soups I did know. They were our Sunday lunches, a special treat normally made by my dad. Oh they filled my tummy but mainly they nourished my soul. They also made me sweat buckets, you see in Honduras soups are not a cozy fall dish, they are an all year round all weather staple.

This Zuppa Toscana will add cozy and light to any fall evening, winter night, spring day, or even summer get together. But for us here in the Northern hemisphere, I invite you to set your table, light a candle, and let your tables nurture your health and open your heart to others as you break bread together.

Ingredients

4 strips of bacon
2 lbs of mild Italian pork sausage*
2 lbs red potatoes or 6 large red potatoes*
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 crushed red pepper
1 tsp of oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp fennel seed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp of salt, plus salt and pepper to taste before serving
6 cups of broth
1 bunch of kale*
1-2 13.0z cans of coconut milk full fat

For Serving

Shaved parmesan, Manchego, or your favorite aged cheese
Crusty bread and a favorite salted butter

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables. Dice the onion, chop the potatoes into larger chunks, remove the kale leaves from the stems – discard the stems and coarsely chop the kales leaves.
  2. As your are chopping and prepping, heat a large pot on medium heat and cook the two slices of bacon. Let the bacon get crispy but be careful it doesn’t burn. When the bacon is cooked to your liking remove it and set it aside, it will crisp up even more as it cools. (If you don’t eat bacon you can add a table spoon of olive oil to the pot to complete step 3.)
  3. Add the onion to the same pot, about 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent and smells amazing. Add the sausage and brown in until it renders excess oil, drain the oil but leave some for taste.
  4. After you drain the oil add the garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, and fennel seed. Cook them together for about 3 minutes so the flavors penetrate the meat.
  5. Add the potatoes, the bay leaves, and broth. If need be, add a bit more broth until it covers most of the ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 10- 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Add the cans of coconut milk and bring the heat down to low for about 5 minutes. Right before serving, add the kale and cook until the kale is bright green and has softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with grated cheese and warm crusty bread for added coziness. (Unless you are doing Whole 30 then skip the cheese and bread.)

Notas

*This soup tastes even better when shared with friends, this is why I give you the doubled portions to make a large pot of soup.
*You don’t have to use bacon for this recipe.
*You can use Italian chicken sausage for this recipe. You can also use just sausage without any flavor – but play around with the salt and pepper because plain sausage can be bland.
*This recipe is Whole 30 compliant if you use Whole 30 compliant bacon and sausage. (I find both of these at Whole Foods) Also, leave the cheese off and skip the bread to be Whole 30 compliant.

Bonus Episode: Middle of the Night Musings: Here’s What I know.

When all the Things converge–a bad mood, a lack of sleep, a dog that vomits, children who didn’t do their homework–Rachel rises (though, not by choice) in the middle of the night to muse and meet with the Lord, reminding herself (and hopefully, you) that you are never alone. 

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts|Spotify |Breaker |Pocket Casts |Radio Public|Overcast|

Topics discussed during this Episode:

  • Rachel’ encouragement to us that though this (mothering/homeschooling) is hard we can know that He is always with us.

Resources Mentioned:

Now back to you:

Join us on the Facebook Group and meet other parents who are on this journey with you.

We also have an Instagram account for more encouragement and connection.

Jesus, in your favor,

establish the work of our hands.

breath prayer

Your Mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:23

Ep.006 Taking Time For Reflection

   This week, we take a moment to reflect on the past few weeks of homeschooling, on lessons learned, and on the value of considering what we can put down. As we move “further up and further in” to the academic year, we encourage homeschooling parents to take time to sit with some reflective questions, alongside their children, and in the presence of the Lord–putting down shame and guilt, filling the bucket one drop at a time, and numbering our days so that the Lord will establish the work of our hands. 

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts|Spotify |Breaker |Pocket Casts |Radio Public|Overcast|

Topics discussed during this Episode:

  • Introducing podcast topic: Reflecting [01:30] 
  • Sneak Peak into our home school life [01:57]
  • Rachel’s Reflection [02:14] 
  • Putting things down and getting out [08:14] 
  • Daisy’s Reflection [09:04] 
  • Rachel’s update on morning time [14:40]
  • Daisy’s update on morning time [16:12]
  • Reflecting alongside your children [18:40] 
  • Shared journal recomendation [20:39]
  • Reflect with the Lord [22:43]
  • Psalm 90 [24:00]
  • Breath Prayer [25:21],[28:20]

Resources Mentioned:

Now back to you:

Join us on the Facebook Group and meet other parents who are on this journey with you.

We also have an Instagram account for more encouragement and connection.

Jesus, in your favor,

establish the work of our hands.

breath prayer

Your Mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:23