How to make an eco-friendly family Advent calendar on a budget!

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I used to get my kids chocolate Advent calendars. They were quick and easy ways to do a family countdown until Christmas, and the kids loved them and looked forward to opening a new door each day.

The problem, however, is that once they swallowed that last bit of chocolate, it was over. They were on to the next thing. All the anticipation and reflection that ought to come with the Advent season was gone … Read the rest

The Table of My Ancestors: Week 12 (Egypt)

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To read the post that started it all, click here!

As I close out my month of exploring my Egyptian heritage, I feel like I’ve grown in my appreciation for the culture and the history, particularly, of this fascinating country. But in all honesty, the food aspect has been just…okay. The last dish I’d had planned is considered the national meal of Egypt, and it’s called koshari. It’s rice and lentils mixed with elbow … Read the rest

The Table of My Ancestors: Week 11 (Egypt)

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To read the post that started it all, click here!

It’s been nearly three months of exploring my ancestry through food, and I am learning so very much. I’ll be honest — there have been a few recipes that fell flat because the kids’ palates aren’t as adventurous as mine. But even then, the joy that comes from sitting down to a common meal as a family is worth it all.

The table is central … Read the rest

Embodied faith

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“From the beginning of the Bible to the end, God is intrinsically connected to matter.”

My professor ended his weekly devotional video with those words, and I can’t stop thinking about them. I think it’s because there’s such a temptation in modern Christianity to make our religion all about the head, or the heart, or the soul, all at the expense of the body — the flesh and bone and marrow and muscle, the tangible, … Read the rest

The Table of My Ancestors: Week 10 (Egypt)

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Through my research, I have found that Egyptian food can be quite similar to Middle Eastern food, of which I ate quite a bit during my years overseas. However, this week, I came across a recipe I had never heard of before but sounded quite delicious. It was for something called umm ali, which is a national dish of Egypt. The legend is that it dates all the way back to Egypt’s Mamluk era … Read the rest

Church In The Margins

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About ten years ago, I walked away from church.

I didn’t lose my faith in Jesus, but I did say goodbye to worshipping in the same way with the same words and the same songs and in the same routine. Instead, I found a new way to do church. Because at the end of the day, church for me is finding the holy in unexpected spaces — spaces where I encounter Emmanuel, God with us … Read the rest

The Table of My Ancestors: Week 9 (Egypt)

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To read the post that started it all, click here!

The percentage of my DNA that’s Egyptian is small, but I was thrilled to discover I had some. Egypt’s always fascinated me, and I really wanted to dive into researching this amazing country.

What I’ve discovered is that while the art, culture, mythology, and history captivates me, the food…did not. (Gulp.) Most recipes I came across didn’t appeal to me, and I knew that they’d … Read the rest

The Table of My Ancestors: Week 8 (North Africa – Tunisia)

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To read the post that started it all, click here!

Tunisia is one country I admittedly don’t know much about, so I was a bit hesitant to try recipes from there without doing some research. I learned that harissa is very common in Tunisian cooking, and since we love spicy stuff in our family, I figured it would be a hit. I also was eager to learn more about Tunisia because I know that the … Read the rest

The Table of My Ancestors: Week 7 (North Africa – Morocco)

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To read the post that started it all, click here!

Morocco has always been on my list of countries I’d love to visit, so it was a lot of fun learning more about it through cuisine this week! When I think of Moroccan food, the first thing that comes to mind is tajin (or tagine). Tajin is a rich stew consisting of meat, fish, or poultry, often including vegetables or fruit, such as apricots. The … Read the rest

The Table Of My Ancestors: Week 6 (North Africa – Libya)

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To read the post that started it all, click here!

This week, I continued discovering my North African ancestry by focusing on Libya, the 4th largest country in all of Africa which is well-known for its beautiful Mediterranean coast (which houses about 90% of the country’s inhabitants) and, just a bit further south, a sparse grassland that gives way to the Sahara desert. I read that Libyan cuisine focuses heavily on olives (and olive oil), … Read the rest