Potatoes In A Pan, Man!

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INGREDIENTS

2 TBSP EVOO
2 TBSP minced garlic
3 small onions, diced
4-5 medium potatoes, diced
1/4 cup water
1.5 green bell peppers, sliced
2 TSP salt
1 TSP pepper
1/2 TSP ground sage

WHAT YOU DO

Heat EVOO in a pan over medium heat.
Add garlic. Cook 1 minute.
Add onions.  Stir. Cook 3 minutes.
Add potatoes.  Stir. Cook 3 minutes.
Add water.
Add green bell peppers. Stir. Cook 3 minutes.
Add seasonings. Stir. Add lid.
Reduce heat to medium low.  Cook 10 minutes.
Remove lid.  Return to medium heat.
Cook until desired texture.

EAT.IT.UP!

***   WHOLE30 compliant ***

 

Prefer this dish prepared with Red or Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on, but you can use any variety of potato, with skin or naked.  Cooking this with the lid off until the potatoes begin to stick to the pan yields a little blackened “crust” on the edges of the veggies.  So good!

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My Relationship With The Trashcan

Sometimes I hear God loud and clear.
It’s not that He’s sometimes speaking to me, but more that I’m sometimes listening.
And when I’m not listening very well to something He is adamantly saying, He sometimes has to show me.  And most of the times, when He sometimes has to show me something, I don’t see it.  Not the first time.  Probably not the second.  Maybe I will see it the third time, but I can’t say for certain that’s always a truthful statement.

Today, God showed me the trashcan.  It took THREE times before I saw it plain as day, and realized that I have an awfully quick handed relationship with that thing.

FIRST GLIMPSE (I totally missed this one):

I thought it was a container of butter.
It wasn’t.
I was scraping it out into the trashcan before I realized it was orange frosting.
My mother-in-law’s frosting, to boot!
Horrible, horrible mistake.
It looked like re-solidifed soft butter.
Butter that had been firm, then melted, and then re-firmed.
You know what they say about looks…that they can be deceiving?
They were.  And I didn’t think twice about it.
I thought it was something it wasn’t.

SECOND GLIMPSE (missed this one, too):

I thought it was trash.
An empty package.
It wasn’t.
I had thrown it away, tied up the garbage bag and hauled it outside to our curbside trashcan before I realized it was a brand spanking new package of chewing gum.
A pack my husband would later be hunting for.
It had been sitting atop the counter in the kitchen with other trash items:
and empty can, broken pencil and torn in half junk mail.
You know what they say about the company you keep?
This pack of gum was hanging out with the wrong crowd.
That’s what happened to it.
I thought it was something it wasn’t.

GLIMPSE THREE (this one I got!  I finally got it!)

I thought it was a forgotten soft drink.
There was a ring of condensation beneath it.
It wasn’t.
I said to my son, “Daddy forgot to take his drink to work”,
and I popped off the lid and dumped it in the sink.
It ‘plopped out”, the last quarter of my son’s milk shake.
You know what they say about judging a book by it’s cover?
I did that. And that’s what happened to the milk shake.
I thought it was something it wasn’t.

“Lord, I’m so quick to discard things, discounting them as things they are not.  Oh, Heavenly Father, do I do this with more important things, too?  Like people – my relationships with them?  Situations?  It’s so easy to ‘keep tidy’ by throwing things aside, or by getting rid of them all together.  Lord, I need Your help to distinguish between the things of value and the things that are to be cast aside.  Please help me to see Your hand-sewn opportunities beneath the exterior coverings of people and situations that are of value to You.  I don’t want to go through this life missing those opportunities.  And Father, I need Your help also in knowing when to let things go.  Help me to listen and see better, Lord.  Thank you for Your patience with me, and unwavering love, despite how messy I am.   I love you!  In Your Son’s name, Amen.”

 

 

I Thank My God For You

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Phillipians 1:3

Today marks one year since my mama stepped into Eternity. Time is a funny thing. It’s a constraint inside this world, but outside of these boundaries, it’s nothing really. Though mama has been absent from our lives physically, her memory is so alive with us – so present! – that she is a part of our every day. Still. And I am thankful!

Leading up to today, I’ve been trying to feel all the things that this world tells us we should feel when we lose someone so dear to us. I’ve considered sadness, a suppressed joy, even…I’ve considered what might be outwardly perceived as a respectful, mournful state…and I’ve even considered that silence might be an appropriate display for this time.  But what the world tells me I should feel today, and what I should have been feeling all year, does not match up with the promises of My Savior – and oh, how I can’t deny that its by nothing less than God’s grace and mercy – His complete and faithful promises – that I am not feeling exactly the way the world teaches us to feel. Instead, leading up to today, the Lord has showered me with some amazing memories that are like a cool-whipped topping on the peace He has graciously given me. Memories of YOU!

You have gifted me, kind strangers, my friends and my family, with a love brought to flesh directly from The One who set this world in motion. I DO thank my God for every time I remember you!

YOU, short red-haired lady who always greeted my mama with that beautiful smile, as you escorted her behind the scene at Dr. Pavy’s office. YOU, soft-spoken manager at the hotel where mama and I stayed in Charleston, waiting to see the doctors at MUSC. YOU, young working mother at the bank who took time to hold onto my mama’s hand in the parking lot, where you so graciously handled her business while she stayed in the comfort of our car. YOU, four gentlemen, who gave my mama the ride of her life in the heart-reach ambulance (she really did love your humor, that wasn’t just the pain medication talking!). YOU, all of you, with McLeod Hospice, treating my mama with such dignity and calm – and loving on our whole family. So many, many kind strangers that Jesus shined through. I remember you, and I am thankful.

And my friends. You know who you are. You brought my mama an ever-flowing supply of donuts from Krispy Kreme. You went with mama for her first pedicure. You saved my mama from a spider, and she really did believe you were a superhero for that! You tracked me down at MUSC to share a Starbucks and tears. You showered my mama with the most beautiful flowers. You sent mama the sweetest letter, telling her of the goodness of life through trials and the abundant love of Jesus (she kept that letter inside her pillowcase, did you know that?) You baked us a yummy chocolate chip cake…fed our souls with so much delicious foods and company.  You stayed by mama’s bedside with me, through her very last breath. You called. You emailed. You sent cards. You prayed. You came and sang hymns to her. You held mama’s right hand, while I held her left, and encouraged her to go into the arms of Jesus. You, ALL OF YOU,  loved with the hands and feet AND heart of Jesus.  I remember you, and I am thankful.

And to my family. I love you. My mama loved you – every single one of you – ferociously. From shelling butterbeans with her just a couple of weeks before she left this earth…to the fingernail polishes you delivered bedside…The flounder you special delivered to our house so mama could enjoy her favorite…the calls, the visits…the hugs and squeezes…the tears and the laughter…The Lord gifted my mama’s life – my life – when He made us family.  I remember you, and I am thankful.

And to my husband and sons – words cannot describe what we have journeyed through together.  Nana  loved her boys, ALL OF YOU, so much.  What a blessing to have her in our lives as we did.  As we do.  I draw on so much strength from who you are in Him.  I remember you, and I am thankful.

Today my mama’s been celebrating in heaven for a year our time – but for an eternity in eternity!  That brings me endless joy – almost giddy, even – to know where my mama is and in Whose presence she walks, literally, always.  I’m not sad, world, and I’m not depressed or off-centered today, as you would want me to be.  My mama lives today!  More so than any of us here on earth.  She lives, and I WILL see her again.  All because I know that Jesus’s promises are true, today I’m celebrating what is to come.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

-Lamentations 3:22-23

 

Room 15

My mama had pancreatic cancer. She chose hospice care, instead of trying to battle this particular intruder. I know that there are many (too many) who are and will face this beast called cancer, pa…

Source: Room 15

God’s Plan Was (Un) Expected

Expected: regard (something) as likely to happen
Unexpected:  unforeseen; surprising

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Jesus knocked on our door today.  His name was Mr. Johnson.*

He rang the doorbell, actually, 2 or 3 times before he knocked.  It was 8:30am – a Sunday morning!  The dogs were barking.  Our quiet sleep-in was breached.

The youngest had already clambered out of bed and peeked through the curtains to bring me this full report:  “It’s a tax man or business man or something.”

“On a Sunday morning?”, I quietly asked myself, rhetorical, of course.  So then, with much less effort required to clamber, I got out of bed and went to the door.  I held onto the collar of our eldest furry matriarch as I opened the door just a smidgen enough to look this unannounced visitor in the eyes.

What happened next was a blur.  A sudden, wonderful rush of glad tidings.  I okayed it with our guest that he was good with dogs, and invited this stranger-no-more inside.

“Reed, put a shirt on and come out here please”, I called to our recent high school graduate.

Mr. Johnson stepped inside, offering his hand for the sniff-test and subsequent, almost obligatory, pet patting of both of our dogs, before Reed rounded the corner.

“Hello Reed!  I’m with Haddum Corporation.*  Some time ago, you applied to our scholarship program, and I don’t know how it happened, but your name was overlooked at the award ceremony at your school last month.  So I’m here this morning to congratulate you, young man, and award you our highest scholarship.  We are so proud of you for continuing your education and following your dreams.”

***********

Reed had applied to a handful of scholarships this year, but hadn’t received a single one outside of the merit-based state scholarship and a small scholarship at the college where he had applied.  He had received rejection letters (hate calling them that, but they do leave you feeling rejected, none-the-less) from all of the places he applied except for Haddum.

When Reed was invited to attend the awards ceremony at his high school in May, we all were hopeful that he would then receive a scholarship award from Haddum.  Instead, he came home with an unexpected recognition certificate for Theatre Arts – which totally surprised us! – but no Haddum scholarship.  9 other students received one, but not Reed.  It was disheartening.

************

In this life,
You shake off disappointments.
You rid yourself of that feeling of rejection.
And you move forward.
You don’t condemn Haddum.
You congratulate your fellow students who received the scholarship.
And you trust that God has worked everything out for you.

*************

And when you least expect it, God shows up, sometimes in person, to confirm that He has worked things out and that He is still in control.  He knocks on your door at 8:30am on a Sunday morning, unexpected, to bring you news of good tidings and joy.  He blows your mind.  He loves you.  And He reminds you that all you have to do is Trust Him.

God’s plans are always better than anything we can hope for.

This morning, in our little house, we were given a gift – more than the scholarship.  We were given a tangible reminder of God With Us.  All the time.  Not just when we feel He “shows up in person”.  God has been here the whole time, waiting on His perfect timing, so that He would be Glorified through this generous gifting.

Had Reed received the scholarship from Haddum at the awards ceremony, it would have been expected, sort of, and honestly, it would have been easy to give Reed the glory for obtaining it.  BUT, even when (even though) we work hard to achieve things, God is The One to receive all the Glory, for it is only by His Hands that we are able to do great things.

This morning I am praising Him, and thanking Him…

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!  

Great things He hath done.
________________________________________________

*The names of the business and scholarship presenter have been changed.

Beyond My Mess

Fall puts an interesting spin on summertime gardens.  As the lush greens begin to fade, and the flowers become spindly trying to eek out one more perfect bloom, the continuity, or as some like to call it, the “flow and ebb” of the garden is visibly interrupted and turned into something lacking in uniformity and peace-filling symmetry.  Usually this time of year finds me trimming and cutting and pulling and such, trying to maintain some sort of control over an ultimately failing Southern Living cover dream, but not this year.  This year, I let it go.  I decided to watch and see what would naturally happen without my hands interrupting.  And oh, the beauty!  And the bounty!  And the splendor found when looking purposefully beyond the apparent.

Fall Garden 2015

Isn’t that how God sees us?  Up close and personal, beyond the apparent mess?  He looks past all the scraggly stuff, the fading things and the heap of tangled limbs and twigs, and sees the beautiful, intimate parts of who we are.  That’s what Jesus Christ does for us.  Because of Him, God is able to see the most amazing, beautiful pieces of us.  He doesn’t see the chaos.  He doesn’t see the askew.  He sees us, His perfect creation, in all the splendor He created us with.  Without Jesus, God couldn’t look upon us and see us as unblemished and blameless.  But because of Jesus, God sees us up close.  He sees our most intimate selves, our true selves, and finds that in our season of change, we are more beautiful than ever.  We’ve sprung forth from the ashes, grown under the Son, set seed in fertile ground and are fading…but only for a moment.  Thank you, Jesus! 

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This scraggly looking bush…

has these beautiful flowers

houses these delicate little flowers within.

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This carpet of weedy stuff (amaranth)…

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looks like this, up close.

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The furmosa lily is way beyond the beautiful show of pure white flowers, but it’s seed pods hold the promise of new life in the next season.

Rock-A-Bye Baby, A Sweet Remember

…twenty-three years! Holding that first baby boy in my arms was literally just two blinks ago. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Drakeford. I love you. Much. <3, Ma

the toenail

Rock-A-Bye Baby, A Sweet Remember

Remembering the warmth of this little body against mine. His chubby cheek on my shoulder. Probably a little drool, too. The rhythm of his every breath. His complete and satisfied rest, in arms that were so eager to hold him and so uncertain of much else in this world. We’ve come a long way, baby! Praising God today for His grace and mercy that have allowed me to look upon moments like this and see that His arms were confidently around us then, and remain with us today. Feeling blessed, undeserving, and loved beyond measure, as I am able to celebrate twenty-one years of being a momma today. Thank you, Lord! Happy Birthday, Drake. ❤

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