Sunday, November 14, 2010

Colcannon - It's What's For Dinner

My husband has been asking for me to make a special dinner for a few weeks now. I always drag my feet in these issues. It is sooooo difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone and try new recipes!

While what he asked for seemed pretty straight forward, I was concerned that.... it would be lack luster and a disappointment. What did he want?

Mashed Potatoes, Cabbage and Bacon. - aka Colcannon

As a meal??


So tonight, because I was slower about selecting the meal de jour, Aaron once again threw his request out there. I had all the ingredients... so... I said ok.

My son, 4 year old Isaiah, hates potatoes. I have tried many many different methods of preparing them. He accepts hashbrown casserole and chokes down anything else. Really. He even hates french fries.

He watched me sadly as I peeled the potatoes. "Mama? Are you making that for the family, and something else for me?" "Nope honey. Tonight we will all eat this."

"Ok mama." He sadly left my kitchen, but did not complain.

So I cooked it up and served it into the bowls and called everyone to dinner.

Isaiah took the first bite. And exclaimed, "This is soooooo good!" He devoured his entire bowl and requested that we have this for dinner every night.

It is EASY to find recipes online, but here is what I did.....

Peel and dice 2 potatoes per person.
Chop 2 or more cups of cabbage.
Cover in water and boil until potatoes are soft, (about 15 mins for me).
Drain. Mash with masher and some pepper.

In a skillet cook a package of bacon to desired doneness. Take out bacon so you can chop or tear it into little pieces.

Then pour the bacon and ALL bacon grease into the potatoes and cabbage. Mix and serve.

It really is awesome. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gift Giving for the Holidays, Phase II

Since last Christmas, my husband and I have spent alot of time reconstructing what this season means to us.

What is Christmas about?
How do we celebrate THAT?

Let's face it. We all love presents. But when I think of Christmas, I think of music playing and lights glowing and snow. I think of meals with family and friends, warm drinks in front of a fireplace, laughter and love.

And I think of what we are to be celebrating to begin with. The birth of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

I feel bad that it is my second thought often. But I recognize that society as a whole is BOMBARDED with Christmas decor, music, lights, sales, toy catalogs, and spiced pumpkin lattes. And I recognize too that my grandmother, who LOVED LOVED LOVED Christmas, and who raised me and my brother, was a GIFT GIVER!

That is not a bad thing. It is one of the Five Love Languages. Unfortunately... it is the only one I am quite fluent in. And I am trying to widen my repertoire for the benefit of my loved ones and myself.

SO, I am trying to focus my own thoughts and the celebration of my family towards the REASON for the SEASON. Jesus Christ, sweet and fragile babe, born to walk on this earth with mankind..... born to die for our sins....born to redeem those who could not ever redeem themselves.... born to redeem me.

So, how do I go about celebrating the birthday of the Lord that loves the lowly?

My husband had a great idea to start searching the local community, and abroad for charities that we could give to. Local food banks, homeless shelters, schools for underprivileged communities, etc.

And I also was blessed to find a GREAT advent calendar this week that focused on giving to others for the Christmas spirit. I will be paring it down this year to make sure it is doable for my family and small children. But I felt that it really would bless my children and myself to be actively blessing others this year.

Some of the activities I think are perfect for our family include, make cookies and visit someone who is lonely, create your own christmas cards and send to friends and family, and sing christmas carols!

And for our family and friends, I have found some great treats the kids can help make that will brighten their spirits and bring them great, yummy joy.

I am REALLY looking forward to Christmas. The greatest gift has already been given. Receive it! And spend the rest of your life REJOICING IN IT!

Gift Giving for the Holidays

Our family has begun a new tradition when it comes to holidays.  For the last few years we just walked the road that seemed set for us.  Accepting all the gifts showered upon us and our children, wading through the wrapping paper and dealing with lost perspective and selfish attitudes in the post-holiday wake.

Last Christmas in particular became a real eye opener for us when, for 3 days following, my son refused to eat and kept asking for candy.  3 days!  I was really getting worried, and my husband assured me that my son would eat when he was hungry.

We discussed what we wanted for our children and for our holidays.  We wanted the holidays to be a joyful celebration, not a case of overwhelming sate.  And we wanted our entire lives, especially during the Christian holidays, to focus more on Christ and service.

So, much to the angst of some family members (whom I pray will understand and celebrate with us anyways), we have decided on purchasing one and only one gift for our children on these occasions, and focusing on the celebration that we are here and together and that the Lord has blessed us and will continue to do so.

How does this play out?

Soon after we made these decisions, we celebrated my little man's 4th birthday. We planned on meeting at the park, with all his friends (ie. the Huff tribe, lol) and letting them play for hours and enjoy fried chicken and cake. We did not open any presents there.

Why flaunt in front of other people what we have? Why invite people just to have them buy you presents? Why not just hang out with your friends and your family and have a great time! Why not run and laugh and play! We did and it was WONDERFUL!

How many times I have seen my son open a present bought with love and care, only to see him be uninterested, forced to say thank you, and the item thoughtlessly buried under many other purchases, forgotten?

This is not a reflection on the gifts or the gift givers!! This is a reflection of each of our hearts, our own selfish natures, crying "Want! WANT! WANT!" Time and time again it is proven that the more you have, the less it thrills you. And even worse, the more you have, the more you want.

It is not that I want my children grown in poverty. But what a sad thing it is to have a home full of toys, and have poverty of the spirit! On any given day you can walk in my home and find Legos all over the living room floor, children's books scattered around the bookshelves and end tables, a baby doll by the bed, and a much loved Bender doll sitting in the corner overseeing the mess. What do my children need, that time and love cannot provide? It is most certainly not 'things.'

So... with the understanding that some will disagree, we have chosen this path for our family. If you join in our celebrations, please respect our wishes and work within them. There are 365 days a year to show our children that you love them. And no matter how many toys you give them, it will not make up for a trip to the park, sitting down at dinner, and reading a bedtime story. I know you can't be there everyday. But you are welcome in our home anytime you can do so.

And we will be keeping a fund specifically for our homeschool supplies, which any would be welcome to donate towards.

Thank you and God Bless you this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Five Solas of the Reformation

Sola Scriptura
Bible is the sole written divine revelation and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely.

Sola Fide
Justification is by faith alone. The full righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith (comprised of His active and passive obedience) is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are remitted.

Solus Christus
Christ is Prophet, Priest and King; the only mediator through whose work we are redeemed.

Sola Gratia
Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us and in us.

Soli Deo Gloria
To God alone belongs the glory.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Cornfield

I got this vision from the Lord last week.....

We are like little kids in a corn field. We are so short and the corn is so tall that we can't see anything past our immediate location.

And this corn field is a crazy place, with bogs and quicksand and fires and bands of thieves and robbers. But you can't see where you are going so if you stumble through by yourself, you won't know where you are going, you will undoubtedly run into trouble after trouble after trouble and never get to your goal.

But God can see everything. And if you stand really still and put up your hand and say "Please help me!" He will come and take your hand and lead you step by step.

And some days you will travel far and see amazing things, because God can see that the path is clear.

And some days you will stand exactly in one spot and not move at all, because the path is blocked by things you cannot see.