07 January 2010

What's for Dinner?

I'm so excited about what we're having for dinner tonight in the face of this quite chilly January weather, I thought I'd share the recipe with you. I created this recipe last year and, quite honestly, was pretty proud of it. So . . . here it is for all to enjoy:

Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Stew

1-1.5 lb. cubed beef
1 can tomato soup
3 c. water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 bag mixed veggies

Put everything in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Now, the wonderful thing about this recipe is its versatility - as with most stews. Just put in what you have. I don't think I put in a full pound of beef, but no problem, I supplemented with potatoes, which I did not have in last time but am looking forward to. Also, we were low on frozen veggies that I wanted to put in our stew (although last time I used carrots, green beans, cauliflower and broccoli - yes ANYTHING!), so I used canned green beans from my grandma-in-law's garden, frozen corn and half a yellow onion (the other half was not lookin' so pretty).

So . . . that's what we'll be eating tonight . . . and I am very much looking forward to it - well, that and the wonderful aroma I'll get to enjoy all afternoon. I love slow cookers, although I don't use mine as often as I should.

Anyway, hope you all find your own ways to stay warm tonight! Ciao.

More Adventures in Mommyhood

I realize it's been awhile since I've said anything about how daily life has been around our house. Baby Girl is a-growin'! We are officially the parents of a toddler and, while there are drawbacks, I actually really enjoy it - like the fact that I can say, "Come on, let's go change your diapey" (yes that's what I call it, don't mock me) and lo and behold, she'll pull up on her two tiny tootsies and toddle after me toward the nursery. Now if she could only climb up on the changing table . . .

And please know I'm teasing about that last part - my child will NEVER learn that climbing the furniture is ok - I can only pray she does not turn out like me, who, as an 8-year-old child, in an attempt to avoid the lava on the floor of my bedroom, or for any other excuse I could dream up would, no joke, stand on the doorknob of my closet door and swing it from side to side. Pretty sure my mom never saw that - or maybe I blocked out the whoopin' that resulted from it - I can't be sure.

She's also cuter than ever as she's trying out new words - well, mostly "no" and sometimes "hi" and "bye". In fact, the stockers and cashiers at our local grocery store are big fans of our little miss. They light up when she walks in the store and she does all she can to charm them all. Big smiles, waves and "hi's" for everyone! It's actually rather a pleasure to shop with such a social butterfly. Someday we'll need to introduce the concept of "stranger." I'm thinking that's going to be a difficult one for her.

Finally, I'll end with my husband's favorite recent story of our little firecracker. A couple of weeks ago, after indulging in lunch and play-time with his girl it was time to head back to work. She sat in his lap and he tried to explain to her that it was time for him to go. We're not sure how much she understands yet, but she responded with her favorite word: "No!" Daddy explained that he has to.
"But why?" (That's what it sounded like to us anyway.)
"Well, because Daddy has to earn money for food so you and Mommy can eat."
"Blibber blabber, blabber boo" (We took this to mean something of "I don't have to eat.")
"That's very sweet of you, but Mommy and Daddy still need food. Do you want Mommy to go to work so I can stay here?"
No joke. She looked me right in the eye, raised her arm high, waved and gave an emphatic, "Bye bye!"

I can feel the love.

05 January 2010

Sold Out

I'm stuck.

I know I want to live a life that is sold out for Christ. One in which God is not simply a side item, an appetizer with which to start my day. Not even one in which He's the main course. I want God to be everything with all that I do or think in every day being permeated with one thought, "What would God have me do?"

The problem is this: I don't know what that looks like in today's culture. Or, rather, in this culture in which I live which has become my grand comfort zone.

All around me I see other Christians living their happy little lives as I live mine. We bustle around, going to church as we should, praying about the big decisions, trying to let God guide us on where we should live, what jobs we should have, when and how to grow our families. We're doing this the best we know how.

And, yet, day to day it's all the same, run around (or stay at home as is the case today), do the things on my list, go to bed feeling somehow accomplished and empty all at the same time. I finished the tasks I wanted to have completed today so why does it all feel worthless? Did I do anything eternal today? Did I even open my own eyes beyond the scope of my own wants, needs, plans and worries? Did I really see anyone else today? Did I see their wants, needs, plans or worries and, even if I did, did I help them along this crazy path called life?

Why am I living only for me? And why does that seem so normal?

The times in my life I've felt most close to God were those times when I was separated from the "normal" thrust into a culture and a life which was not my own, struggling to keep up - in a world but not of the world in which I resided at the time. Separated from all I knew to be a "normal" day and all the things, people and places which I used to accomplish my "normal" tasks I was forced to slow down. I thought about everything I did, how it would get done and allowed God time to shape me, my life, my plans. I actually pondered Him. Not just at the reserved times of the day or week, but all the time - all the time when I couldn't shut off my brain and tune into the radio of others' prattle, switching stations with each new conversation I passed. I contemplated Who He is and how He fits into this context, as He fits into them all. How does this form of worship make Him feel? What does He wish these people knew? Questions I don't even consider when I'm at "home".

So, how do I do this in my own culture. How do I separate myself from all that surrounds me? How do I simultaneously live my life - pay my bills, buy groceries, run to the bank, play with my daughter - and yet, at the same time, feel like I'm living a life of purpose and meaning?

In a culture where Christian and non-Christian look everything alike, how should I truly live? Do I follow in the footsteps of those around me? I doubt it. But, what then?

I don't even know if these thoughts make sense - but they are all floating around up there in the gray matter above my neck and they needed somewhere to go. And here they are. Whatever they are.