Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I actually finished a crochet project.

I hooked up this nifty little shawl for myself. Be impressed. Oooh and ahhhh. You know you want to. And, when you get to the picture of my face, squint really hard, so that I don't look so washed out and tired. It was late, okay?

Tasty Tuesday

Here's a yummy (if maybe not-so-healthy) meal for those cold fall evenings. My kids eat this up like crazy when I make it!

Chicken Spaghetti

In your crock pot:
3-4 chicken breasts (I use frozen ones and put them in frozen)
1-2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (depending on how creamy you like your sauce)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 packet Italian dressing mix

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. About an hour before serving, pull out the chicken and shred with a fork. Return it to the crock pot and add a half of a block of cream cheese, chunked up. Cook a package of spaghetti according to directions, drain and stir into chicken mixture when you are ready to serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan or cheddar cheese. Slurp from your fork.

Photo from www.justapinch.com

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tis almost the season!

Every year, Christmas comes and goes in a flurry of activities and rush and stress, with me vowing to be prepared and organized next year. Somehow, year after year, December 25 just slips up on me. Sometimes I do get a jump on the shopping, but when I do, I tend to forget what I've bought and then I end up buying more than I intended to anyway.
I'm just not good at the whole organized holiday thing. I always bungle it up!

And this year, with our newly revised (read: tight as a drum) budget, planning is going to be crucial. John and I have set very firm limits for every one's gifts. He's totally fine with that. I hate it. I like to give lavishly. My budget is not set up for lavish.

Here I am, sixty four days from the Silent Night, and my stress level is already rising. The kids have high expectations for Santa's loot. I have much candy to make and many items to crochet- yes, dear readers, this is going to be an old fashioned, handmade Christmas. If you are on my list, just be prepared. You're getting a scarf, or some Bourbon balls, or a mug cozy, or a hat. At the rate I'm going, you might just get some yarn in a bag with an IOU.

Because this Christmas is going to be financially strained, I want to make sure that my kids feel the season in a different way. I want them to experience giving. I want them to experience anticipation. I want them to experience the joy of the Christ Child.

My prayer is that I do not let the busy-ness get in the way of the real meaning. I want to build some special traditions and memories for my family so that they experience a happy holiday season, not a hurried and hassled one. My hope is to use the season as a way to glorify the One we celebrate. That said, I vow to lay down the stress and strife the holidays usually bring, and take up one thing only- the expectation of the coming King.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

I used to love politics. Now, I'm one of the disillusioned many who struggle to find a candidate who speaks my language. I watched last night's debate, and this thought occurred to me. I stewed about it and posted it on my Facebook page:

"Am I better off today than I was four years ago? Oh, yeah- but not in the way the politicians seem to be focusing on. Four years ago, I had just been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. I was sick and in pain and slowly dying. Today, I'm in remission and living well. Four years ago, I had a job that was crushing my soul. Today, I LOVE to come to work. Four years ago, I went through the motions of church and spiritual practices but I wasn't fully awake. Today, I'm living in community with a vibrant bunch of committed Christians who encourage and challenge me to reach new depths, and as a result, I'm seeing God move in my life in mighty ways. So, yes, I'm so much better off today than I was four years ago, but it sure isn't due to the person sitting in the Oval Office. Nope. All thanks and praise and glory goes to a much higher power- the One seated on the Throne of Grace, "He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see (1 Tim 6:15-16)." That's way better than a stinky old president!!!"

To expand on that- I think our society is so caught up in who to blame for our misfortunes that we rarely give thanks to the ONE who grants us our very breath of life. I could generate a list of stuff that stinks about the world we live in and the state of affairs even in my little corner where there is a never ending to do list of bills to pay, chores to do, repairs to be made, and all other manner of pressures and demands and stresses. But guess what? None of that REALLY matters in the grand eternal scheme. Those things are going to be around as long as we are living in this world.

What really matters is where we rest our hope. No politician is going to do the work that mounts up at home and at school. No matter who is elected I'll still have a stash of unmatched socks and a mountain of laundry. The POTUS doesn't impact what I'll cook for dinner, and he sure doesn't come over to help wash dishes. My hope doesn't rest in an elected official who neither knows me nor loves me.

My hope rests in my creator. The author and perfector of my faith. Jehovah-Jirah, the Lord  who will provide. The everlasting. The light of the world. The prince of peace.

Am I better off now than I was four years ago? Yes. And, I will continue to be better off, maybe not in material riches, but in all the things that matter, because "my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness....On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."