Category: Resources (page 1 of 9)

Soul Food for Super Bowl Weekend

Yay Weekend!  I know these Friday posts are such a hodgepodge, but I hope you each find something to delight, inspire, or motivate you.

Some of you will be into the Super Bowl, some not, but I pray this weekend God will meet you and refresh you in ways that only He can.

First, a quote from my friend, Sharol Hayner. Her husband, and our friend, Steve, died just over a year ago.

As for us with my brother’s death, this has been a year of absorbing the reality of loss and trying to choose joy, and envision life again.

Sharol sent an update this past week which included this reflection. Her image has been one that has rolled around in my head all week. It is beautiful and hopeful and maybe as helpful to you as it’s been for me.

Grief is like living in a house with many rooms, each with a different name: sadness, anger, fear, celebration, remembering, joy, gratitude.  A friend suggested that the key to abiding in this house is to leave the door to each room unlocked and even opened. I frequently visit these rooms and will occasionally get stuck in one of them. I’ve learned that I must keep the door open so that I can get out. This has been helpful when a room overwhelms me and I am tempted to lock the door from the outside and never enter or lock the door from the inside and never leave. I will always live in this house as it is God’s place for me. But the house itself isn’t named Grief. It is named Life.  There will be new rooms in time. Gratefully, I don’t live there alone. God is always there, ready to meet me and walk with me into each room. Many of you are there with me as well.

Along those same lines…If everything in your life feels broken, this may be the song you need today.

Any I have to share my favorite picture of the week – Muslim girls waiting to fist-bump the president, taken after Obama gave a speech in Baltimore against anti-muslim rhetoric.

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(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“There are voices who are constantly claiming you have to choose between your identities. … Do not believe them. … You fit in here. Right here. You’re right where you belong. You’re part of America, too…You’re not Muslim or American, you’re Muslim and American. And don’t grow cynical.”

On my nightstand…The Art of MemoirYou guys! Oh my goodness, this book! It has me obsessed. Each sentence feels like I need to chew it like a cow chewing her cud, squeezing every bit of flavor and nutrition out of it.

And there is so much there to absorb! It is fascinating whether you’re an aspiring writer or a reader. One of the reviewers wrote: “…Anyone yearning to write will be inspired, and anyone passionate to live an examined life will fall in love with language and literature all over again.”

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Here’s a sample…

“That’s the quality I’ve found most consistently in those life-story writers I’ve met. Truth is not their enemy. It’s the bannister they grab of when feeling around on the dark cellar stairs…”

I took this book out of the library but it’s all I can do not to grab a pen and underline huge chunks of it!

Lastly…For those Super Bowl party goers or watchers...I tried this recipe recently (the easy version) and had people ask for the recipe so I thought I’d share it here as an option for a Super Bowl party this weekend. Enjoy!

Super Bowl Sunday Hot Corn Dip Recipe

So there are two ways to do this – the easy way is by using this or any similar corn salsa you like:

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If you use a bottled corn salsa just skip down to the mayo part :)

You really can totally play with this, but here’s the “real” recipe:

2 TB butter

3 1/2 cups corn kernels (can use corn from 4 ears of white or yellow corn or use canned mixture)

1/2 ts. salt

1 cup finely chopped yellow onions

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell peppers

1/2 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)

1 jalapeño seeded and minced (I’d omit)

1 tsp minced garlic (I’d use more)

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup (4 oz) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 cup (4 oz.) Sharp cheddar cheese shredded

Tortilla scoops or Frito scoops for dipping

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt 1 TB butter in leg heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn, salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 min. Transfer to bowl
  • Melt remaining TB of butter in the skillet. Add the yellow onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the green onions, jalapeño and garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes, or until veggies are softened.
  • Transfer to the bowl with corn.
  • Add mayo and 1/2 of Monterey Jack cheese and 1/2 of Cheddar cheese, mixing well.
  • Pour into 8 inch square baking dish (or whatever).
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake until bubbly and golden brown – 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 6 cups of dip. 12-18 servings.

That’s it for me. What has been delighting, inspiring, or motivating you this week?

Soul Food When You’re Stuck Indoors

This is the time of year when the weather just starts getting…well, old. Gray seems grayer and soot seems sootier.

January 29th is about the date when it’s crucial to recount all the things we’re thankful for:  Downton Abbey, a warm fire, the beauty of a fresh coat of snow, and the fact that it can’t last forever.

We “do” winter here in Minnesota, but this month I’ve been stuck inside healing from some minor knee surgery instead of cross-country skiing, so this weekend I’m focusing on resources that have delighted or inspired me that can be done indoors. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments! Continue reading

Soul Food to Lift Your Spirits

Some weeks are just so…weekly aren’t they? I hope something from this post today will lift your spirits, inspire, or encourage you. Have a great weekend! Continue reading

Soul Food Friday

It’s Friday! You’ve made it!

If you’re anything like the folks around me, it’s time to celebrate the small victories of the week –

that time you took a brave step even when you were afraid,

the time you prayed first,

the time you forgave when you wanted to lash out,

the time you listened when you wanted to scream…

For me it’s been a week of abundance, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. Hope you enjoy some of these morsels that have delighted, inspired, or motivated me this week. Continue reading

Soul Food For a Winter Weekend

On Friday Soul Food posts I try to share things that have delighted, inspired, or filled me. Hope you enjoy!

Christmas is over, decorations packed away, and kids back in school. The twinkle of the holidays that could distract us from angry politicians, racism, and world conflict is no more. We may be feeling a little let down and we really need some uplifting stories, books to curl up with, and healthy comfort food. Continue reading

Soul Food for the Day After Christmas

Note: I’ve heard from many people that have had a trouble subscribing to the blog. First of all, “Thank you for trying!” My amazing, wonderful, favorite son-in-law has been in town this Christmas and has changed the subscription system so hopefully it won’t be a problem anymore. 

For those of you who aren’t out looking for after Christmas deals today and prefer instead to sit in front of a fire while your kids play with new toys, here are a few things to make you smile. Continue reading

Soul Food for When You Need a Craft, a Recipe, some Hope, and a Laugh

With these Soul Food posts I try to share things that have delighted, inspired, or filled me. Hope you enjoy! (If you’re not a crafty baker just skip the first part of this post :) )

I am so over-the-moon blessed to have many amazing, talented, creative friends in my life. And, one of the perks of being in ministry is that everyone brings their best recipes to events and I GET THE RECIPES!

Wednesday night the community of young couples I shepherd, had a girls only Christmas party. So many of these women have the gift of hospitality, leadership, creativity, and FUN (yes, I think that’s an official spiritual gift :) ) My friend Annalise brought this dessert/snack mix (from twosisterscrafting) which we all loved! (warning – it’s a little gooey).

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And years ago a friend introduced me to Christmas Crack (yes, that is an appropriate name for this addictive delight). I’ve had several people ask for the recipe this year so here you go!

Mix in roaster (I like to get the big tin throw-away kind and re-use cuz I don’t have a “real” roaster.:

1 17 oz box Crispix

1 bag Fritos

1 can salted cocktail peanuts

In medium saucepan melt: 1 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup corn syrup (Karo), 1/4 ts. salt.

Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 ts. baking soda. Pour over cereal mixture and stir. Bake at 250 for 45 minutes stirring about every 15 minutes.

Spread out on wax paper to cool. Store in tupperware. And not a calorie in it! :)

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Last weekend we had our staff Christmas party. I’m so thankful for all the people who show up and contribute delectable salads, meats, and desserts for this celebration! My friend Laurie came with this peppermint plate she made to put her dessert on. Yes, a tiny bit broke off (or someone took a nibble :) ), but isn’t it amazing? And SO easy!

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Here’s the one I made (read: opened peppermints and popped in the oven) last night.

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You could totally make it with your kiddos if you want! It would make a darling base for a gingerbread house too! Here are the directions.

My favorite You Tube video this week – just  try not to laugh!

And this uplifting Instagram post. “The power of love is bigger than the love of power.” Yes!

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For those who are waiting in this season with a cloud of darkness hovering…

“Stay And Wait” (lyrics)

Who spoke the Earth and sky to form
Who sets the sun and calls the dawn
Who breathed me out of dust to life
With the will to trust or run and hide

I will stay should the world by me fold
Lift up Your name as the darkness falls
I will wait and hold fast to Your word
Heart on Your heart and my eyes on Yours

Who loved me through my rebel way
Who chose to carry all my shame
Who breaths in me with endless life
The king of glory Jesus Christ

I will stay should the world by me fold
Lift up Your name as the darkness falls
I will wait and hold fast to Your word
Heart on Your heart and my eyes on Yours

God of wonder and God of grace
Let my soul stand always to praise You
Fix my eyes on Your perfect way
And I’ll never look back

I will stay should the world by me fold
Lift up Your name as the darkness falls
I will wait and hold fast to Your word
Heart on Your heart and my eyes on Yours

Who lifts the poor and heals the blind
Who trampled death for all mankind
Who stands for all with arms stretched wide
My King forever Jesus Christ

Have a joy-filled weekend before Christmas!

How do we Live a Plan B Christmas?

Last week I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s event in the Chicago area. As I prepared, I felt prompted to speak on kind of a strange topic for Christmas: Fear.

AKA worry, anxiety, angst, hot messiness…

The shepherds, Mary, Joseph, Zechariah… To each of them an angel says, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. Don’t. be. afraid.”

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It’s the most often repeated command in the Bible so I’m thinking there must be a lot of people dealing with it, right?

Fear is a weird emotion to associate with Christmas, but as I reflect on the shepherds, Mary, Zechariah and Joseph, it isn’t “CHRISTMAS” they are experiencing; it’s just LIFE – their ordinary, everyday walking around life.

And they lose any illusion of control, any illusion of “life as we know it” the moment an angel shows up, right?!!

LIFE isn’t going according to their plans.

They are living a life interrupted.

They are forced to adapt to a Plan B life.

The Plan B life may not be as safe, or predictable, or comfortable, or boring as they’d like, because there are new circumstances. But more than that, there’s a new character in their story. The main character has arrived; the messiah cleverly disguised as a baby in the muck and mess of a manger.

How many of us are living our Plan A life? Really.

  • You thought you’d have your dream job by now and you don’t.
  • You thought you’d be pregnant and you’re not.
  • You thought you’d he’d live and but he died.
  • You thought you’d be married by now and you’re not.

Plan B. Life is not going as we thought. Or hoped. Or dreamed.

But the main character, a baby has entered our Plan B life to be with us; to redeem and restore and make the story come out right in the end. 

Aaaannnd…spoiler alert: Love wins.

But how do we get from the fear or anxiety that comes with Plan B to the joy promised to all of us? Continue reading

Soul Food for a Busy Holiday Week

With these Soul Food posts I try to share things that have delighted, inspired, or filled me. So, quite a festival of fun stuff this weekend!

First of all, ornaments.  Our tree is up and as I was decorating, I thought of a couple of things…

  • If you are a parent of littles, make sure you put names and dates on all those precious handmade ornaments your kiddos bring home. They will be the ones you cherish most, but when they are grown, you will say, “Who the heck made this and when?”

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  • This year, I’ve shared that one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had was a candlelight memorial service at our church. As we walked in, we were handed an ornament to honor the person we lost this year. I chose this one because of the faith my brother, David exhibited. When I hung it on our tree I wrote his name and date on the back. Maybe this is a way you’d like to honor someone you’ve lost too.

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What if you take some time as a family this year to have each person choose a favorite ornament on the tree and share why, or what story or memory is behind it?

Second, an old post, but too good not to share again.

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Third, an idea… Last year I discovered that Michaels carries mini ceramic loaf pans around the holidays for SUPER cheap – like $2. They are cute and actually work! I got to thinking about the neighborhood around our church. I thought, they are so close, and what do we do to serve them, or show kindness and care to them? So I bought up all the loaf pans I could (about 100) and we’ve mobilized bakers to come pick up a couple of pans each and bake some quick bread. We’ll deliver it to the homes around the church this morning.  Where can you do random acts of kindness today? Who might you dump joy on? Hint: it’s more fun together!

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Next, a video that is sure to make you smile (especially if you’ve experienced travel delays over the holidays)

 

And my favorite text this week from daughter Maggie:

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And my favorite Instagram post. Way to go, Canada!

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Lastly, I know eggnog isn’t for everyone, but here’s a new recipe I tried this year that I like…

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Layered Eggnog Blondies

1 1/2 cup crushed vanilla wafers

2 TB. granulated sugar

1/4 t salt

5 TB butter, melted

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup + 2 TB powdered sugar, divided

1/2 cup refrigerated eggnog

1/4 ts. nutmeg

1/4 ts. cinnamon

1 large egg

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 ts. vanilla

2 TB powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease (with cooking spray), an aluminum foil-lined 8 inch square pan (next time I’d double and make in a 9×13 pan). Pulse vanilla wafers and next 2 ingredients with food processor til blended. Add butter; pulse til blended. Press mixture into bottom of pan.

Bake at 350 for 8 minutes or til lightly browned. Reduce oven temp to 325. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup powdered sugar at med speed. Gradually add eggnog. Stir in nutmeg, cinnamon, and egg. Pour over vanilla wafer mixture.

Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes or til outer 2 inches are set (Watch this. I think I baked mine a little too long and they were a tiny bit drier than I’d like).

Cool completely for about an hour.

Whip the cream and add 2 TB powdered sugar and vanilla til soft peaks form.

Remove bars from pan. Discard foil and cut into squares. Add a dollop of whipped cream on each.

Have a joy-filled weekend!!

 

Soul Food When you Need to Be Present to Jesus, Remember ISIS, and Delight in the Season

Ok, so I really thought I was on top of things since we stayed home for Thanksgiving. All that extra time to get a running start on getting ready to get ready for Christmas I thought! Well, not so much. The blog seems to be coming especially slow, but I’m present, and being present IS a present so I’m counting it a win.

With these Soul food Fridays I try to share things that have delighted, inspired, or filled me. Where have you been present to Jesus? This week I found Jesus…

  • At a candlelight memorial service at our church in the hugs, and prayers and Word to me.  “I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you.”

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  • Over dinner with a friend, sharing heart and soul stuff, paying attention to Glory together…
  • In the immediate prayer support through texts and phone calls when I put out the word that I was wrestling and felt like the Evil one was taking me down…
  • In the rapt attention of 8 and 9 year old Hispanic students I tutor, listening to the story of Mary and Joseph making their way to Bethlehem, relating better than I can, to the hardships they faced.
  • In the surprise gift what showed up in the mail from a daughter who models Jesus’ kindness and thoughtfulness in ways that inspire me.

And I found this cool blog with printables :)

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And in a very different vein…this amazing organization is sending 30 days of prayer for ISIS – reflection, prayer, and often a music video – to anyone who signs up. They use insights from the life of Saul/Paul who was transformed from an enemy of Christianity to a passionate evangelist. We ask what in the world WE can do, and Jesus says “Pray for your enemies.” So let’s DO IT!! It is an awesome resource!!

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I was inspired by this video. We belong to each other!

And, I know this is late, but for anyone who has turkey leftovers throughout the holidays, here is the BEST Turkey Tetrazzini recipe from John’s mom.

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 ts. garlic salt

1/4 ts. white pepper (I omit)

2 Cups milk

1 cup half and half

1 TB of “Better than Chicken Boullion” or granular bouillon to taste

1/3 cup Sherry

2/3 cup parmesan

1/2 package spaghetti

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken

1 package of sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter (if you want, you can use regular salt above, and sauté some minced garlic in with the mushrooms.

You know the drill from there – make the white sauce, add the stuff, cook the spaghetti, and mix it up! SO good!

Lastly, a word from God that was reassuring to me during this busy season!

IMG_2417We’re going to get our tree now. Have a great weekend!

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