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Archive for November, 2006

A Bouquet of Thanks

Bouquet of Thanks

Each year at Thanksgiving, I try to make sure that the kids and I do a project of some kind that shows what we have to be thankful for.  It is appropriate that Thanksgiving comes on the cusp of Christmas, because we need a reminder of what we already have during the season of “And this year I want….”  This year, I was looking for ideas on-line and came across this one at Kaboose.  We had so much fun tracing and cutting out the leaves and gluing them on the little popsicle sticks.  This was a super easy craft for the craft-impaired (namely, me), but most of all, it got us thinking about all the wonderful things we have to enjoy and to remember to thank the Giver of All Good Things.

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Home Cookin’

Ah, comfort food.  Holiday recipes.  Traditional meals.  I love this time a year when all the favorites, the tried-and-true, and the nostalgic food is being served.  Of course, it isn’t great for the waist-line, but then this year I don’t have to worry about that, since our soon-to-arrive blessing gives me an excellent excuse to eat.  🙂

While it hasn’t been hard to think of yummy holiday goodies to make (spiced nuts, Chex mix, Texas sheet cake…), I have been having a bit of trouble in the regular meal planning.  When it is time to go grocery shopping and I sit to make my list, I think of the things we’re out of, I include the chocolate and the flour and the sugar for the “goodies”, but I can’t seem to plan a menu for the week.  It’s like having “Chef’s Block” or something.  And it isn’t for lack of thinking of the situation.  I feel like all I have thought about lately is, “I don’t know what to fix for dinner!”

Well, when in doubt, I try to go with something easy, something comforting, and (if possible) something healthy.  Today for lunch, I decided on this lovely version of Chicken and Dumplings that I have adapted from several other recipes.  When you can’t think of what else to make, and you only have a few ingredients, this works well.

 Amanda’s Chicken and Dumplings

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs (or a 2-3 lb. chicken, whole)
  • 6 cups of water or more, to cover chicken and make stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a stock pot and simmer until chicken is tender (about an hour or an hour and a half).  Skim off any fat or “scum” that rises to the top.  When chicken is cooked, remove from broth and shred or cut into bite size pieces.  (If using a whole chicken, remove chicken from bones.)  Return the chicken pieces to the broth. 

For dumplings:

Beat one egg until light in color.  Add one cup of flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp. of pepper and 1/2 tsp. of sugar.  Mix until a dough forms (will be very sticky).  Drop dough by half-spoonfuls into the simmering broth.  Let cook until they hold together on their own, about 2-4 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

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As I have written before, pregnancy seems to be a time for increased worrying.  While I don’t worry constantly, I have noticed that I go through “worry phases”.  As the birth of our little one draws near, being now only two months away, I find that my worries have started plaguing me again.  This time, however, I am not so concerned about the pregnancy and the baby so much, but rather I have been worrying over my other three children.  Am I schooling them well?  Are they getting out enough to socialize well?  Am I fair and equal with them?  Are they happy?  Am I too critical?  Am I communicating unconditional love to them or do they feel they have to earn my approval?  Do they each receive enough time with me one on one?  When they look at me, do they see a smile in return or am I too often looking past them to something else?  Do they know their value, not only to me, but also to their Father God?  Do they have too little structure to really thrive?  In short, Am I doing a good job? 

Now I realize that these thoughts are all completely natural.  They occur (for the most part) to all of us.  And it is not lost on me that these increased worries about my “job performance” come at a time when my responsiblities are about to increase.  God has entrusted me with three small souls, His children given in my care, and I am about to receive another.  And I wonder, “Am I worthy of caring for another of His precious ones?  Have I been faithful with what He has already entrusted me?”  The answer is, of course, “No.”  I cannot be worthy of this high calling.  I cannot live up to it.  I have failed in many ways, and I have found myself lacking.  We, none of us, are truly worthy of God’s calling in our lives.  Yet He calls us.  And not because we will be good at it.  Not to show how great we are.  No, He calls us to bring glory to Himself.  And His glory shines through the best when we are weak, for then we can take no credit, but must give all credit to Him who gives us strength and wisdom.  If I have done anything well, if I have shown love, if I have ever been selfless, if I have been even a little bit wise, if I have taught my children any good thing, it is because God has done it through me.  He gets the glory.   There is no good thing in me that did not come directly from Him, through His Spirit who lives in me.

So my only real concern needs to be, “Am I allowing the Spirit to flow through me?”  If I take care of that, all those other worries that plague me will be taken care of.  Sometimes the biggest obstacle to God working in my life is me, trying to do God’s work for Him.  Oh what peace there is in focusing on that one thing!  So my prayer today is, “Let me keep in step with the Spirit, God.  I will trust you with all the rest.” 

 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

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