Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When God Ploughs Your Soul

How wonderful to take an old, cobblestone road through the meandering hillside in Spring.
Especially when you can spot whispering creeks that line the side of the many forged walking trails. It can be easy to imagine that those little gardens blushing with every hue have been there for as long as time has been...from a distance, that is...but as you get closer, there is no mistake that those plots of land have been cared for.  They have been nurtured...taken care of by a gardener with a heart.

What is it that drives a gardener to turn a bleak.looking piece of earth and transform it into a spectacle for his eyes...for the eyes of others?  He wants it to be a beautiful thing to behold!!  He wants the garden to produce beauty and sometimes it is tenderly thought out with nourishment in mind.  Maybe for his family or maybe for the purpose to provide for so.many others who may come along seeking the lovely or food for which they have been without .  It is his desire for amazing goodness that drives him to pursue his dream for this tender ground he stands upon.

He knows that it is going to take hours upon hours, days upon days... years and years with continual care to get this clay.ridden soil ready for the seeds.  Is it worth it?  Will his time and effort make a difference?  Will it matter?  Will it be worth all of the extra steps to prepare this soil for the seeds and saplings?  Any good gardener knows where the secret is in the ploughing.  The soil must be cut into, lifted, turned over and broken up,  It can be downright discouraging at times, it can be overwhelming, it can be unpleasant with lots and lots of things that can get in the way...but rest assured...this gardener has no intention of giving up, throwing in the towel and forgetting about the plans he has for his land!!  He patiently works what others would consider the impossible, he knows the soil he is working with like no other...he knows what needs to be stripped away and what needs to be worked into spots that are lacking.  As time goes by, some can be critical about the gardener who is still ploughing away.  They can shake their heads as they walk by in sheer disbelief that anyone could envision anything for the lackluster piece of land...but it is obvious that this gardener is bound and determined to bring BEAUTY that He knows will indeed come.  Not overnight...but it will come.

Do you feel like your soul is being cut into, lifted, turned over and broken up?
Do you feel like your life is not worth it?  Like maybe you don't matter?

Guess what...your very soul is God's garden?  It is.  He is the Gardener with A Heart.  He is the one who desires AMAZING goodness for your life.  You are being pursued by Him.  Are your emotions shot?  Is life out.of.control to the point of wondering if you can take your next breath?  Perfect.  The Gardener has already taken that into account and has it all figured out...despite the ones who shake their heads in disbelief that your lackluster life could be anything but an eyesore, let alone a life of BEAUTY!!

This Gardener sees way beyond the dirt, rocks and grime.  He sees the future.  He sees what others will see...possibly way down that cobblestone road.  He sees the plough set aside...and His masterpiece blushing and beaming as the sun kisses the garden goodnight.
And it is quite possible that the stories of the pitiful plot of land will be told for generations to come.
Not only about the impossible...but about the Gardener who knew just what to do in order to achieve His dream and plan for the His garden.

May you allow Him to plough your soul...weed it, nurture it and prepare it for seeds...

Seeds of JOY unspeakable.
Seeds of BEAUTY beyond belief.
Seeds of Love without measure!!

"Why are you downcast, O my SOUL?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God"

Psalm 42:11

Your family LOVES YOU, Landen, Del, and Twinsie

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mimi's Instant Baby Oatmeal {make ahead}

There is  just something  nostalgic and hugely satisfying about making your own baby food!!  I know. I know.  Who has time for that???  You do!!  This takes minutes to make, is quite inexpensive and is packed with good.old.fashioned nutrition minus all of the preservatives and chemicals.  Your baby, and family will thank you!!

Mimi's Instant Baby Oatmeal
Lisa Pearson

12 cups old-fashioned oats, divided {gluten-free if needed}

1 cup C & H brown sugar {less, if desired}

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup dried apple sure to get the tiny apple pieces to avoid possible choking hazard

Blend 6 cups oats in the blender...kinda like a rough chop

Add blended oats to large mixing bowl with the rest of the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and dried apples.

Place 1/4 cup dry mix to small glass jars with lids.
For older children and for adults, fill larger glass ramekins with 1/2 cup dry mix.
For on.the.go...fill paper soup containers with desired amount of dry mix and forget about having to wash the dishes.

To Prepare:  Shake container and cover oats with boiling water.   Place lid on container and let sit for 5 minutes.  Cool oatmeal off with a bit of formula or cream and ENJOY!!!

A little side note...we LOVE taking these on morning picnics and hikes.  All you need to prepare is a thermos of HOT WATER!!

AND, speaking of babies...our "BABY" just turned 21!!  We are more proud of this young man than words can tell.  He had my heart from day 1 and he continues to bring lots of adventure and joy to our family!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

French Lavender Lemonade

Good morning from my sunny, cozy, little living room.  Baby Ady is taking her morning nap and I have a few minutes to blog.

Isn't life interesting?  Just like with nature, God gave us seasons in our lives...and I am so thankful for that in so many ways.

One of my favorite verses is found hidden in the book of Nahum..."The lord is GOOD, a STRONG HOLD in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in HIM."  Nahum 1:7

You don't have to look very far to see that our world is in serious trouble.  Lives are in shambles.  People are hurting deeply and life can seem dark and dreary, but as sure as the sun is bound to shine again, our lives, too can shine even more brightly despite circumstances in resting in the fact that we have a GOD who is guaranteed to be our STRONG HOLD.

I hope that today you will retreat to HIM who holds this fragile world in His hands.  He is trustworthy and the safest place to hide while the storms of life blow over.

French Lavender Lemonade
Lisa Pearson

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

8 sprigs fresh lavender

1 fresh lemon, sliced thinly.

Bring all ingredients to a gentle simmer.  Turn off.  Let syrup sit for a few hours.  Strain into a glass bottle.  Store in fridge.  Add to lemonade or to champagne.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gyro Roasted Chicken

Since I have had enough requests for MEAT lately, I thought I would post the easiest recipe for roasted chicken with a twist.

This will probably be the only time I will have a picture of raw meat on this blog, too! :}

My son has convinced me that roasted chicken is the way to go. It is easy and one little baak baak chicken can go a LONG way...maybe toooooo long if you ask me.

If you have a hectic day on the agenda, this will take a bit of planning {soaking the chicken in kosher salt overnight}, but other than that, the smells of your home come dinner time is sure to please everybody!!

Gyro Roasted Chicken
Lisa Pearson

1 whole free-range, organic chicken 4-6 lbs.{also available at TRADER JOE'S...more expensive but worth it!}OR 4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

4 cloves of garlic

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 Tbsp. oregano

a few sprigs of thyme...I use ALOT

salt and pepper

1 lemon, sliced

*Soak chicken in kosher salt overnight.

*Rinse thoroughly with cold water.

*Pat dry with paper towels.

*Place garlic, oil, yogurt, and oregano into blender and blend away!

*Place chicken in roasting pan with the breast side up.

*Stuff thyme between skin and breast.

*Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and place lemon slices on top and in the cavity.

Place in preheated 425* oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350* and bake for about 1 1/2 hrs. Chicken is done when thermometer reads 170-180* {test near hip joint near thigh}. Cover and let sit at least 10 minutes. {thank you to my hubby and Caleb for teaching me this!}

It sounds a bit complicated, but once you do it once, it will take minutes to do! PROMISE! If I can roast a chicken without burning the house down...anybody can do it.

ANYHOO, this is how our dinner will be prepped for tonight:

Chicken is marinating in the yogurt sauce in the roaster pan for the day...did that this am.

Before company arrives, the table will be set, the GREEK SALAD with balsamic vinaigrette will be made...and the TZATZIKI sauce will be made also. If you don't wanna make the sauces or dressings, TRADER JOE'S has really good ones, but I have a cucumber that needs to be used and I have the rest of the ingredients, I will just make them.

Flatbread is also available from TRADER JOE' that is it. Just serve the chicken on a platter and let everybody make their own Greek sandwiches!!

For a Greek salad: simply add thin slices of red onion, cucumber chunks, pepperoncini peppers, Kalamata olives. grape tomatoes, feta cheese and falafel crumbles and slices of chicken. EASY PEASY for a company's comin' for dinner kinda day! Served with toasted pita bread on the side.

A Greek "taco bar" is another great option for a party.  You can provide the meat and delegate the toppings and pita bread/flatbread out.

...and it is a fantastic dinner to take to someone in need.

Look at our darling grand baby!!  She was literally climbing up me to get her legs back to kicking in the water.  She is just the best little bundle of love and wiggles...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Scott's Firehouse Herb Roasted Potatoes

We are at that time of year where most of us are feeling the "crunch" time of Christmas.  It is that time where our family looks forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus as we get together with loved ones and share memories of past Christmases and look forward to many more years of being together...but honestly, I am craving a much.simpler.Christmas this year than ever before.  I think the way our world has been shaken this year has put things in a much clearer perspective for me.

I don't want the glamour and the glitz and the fancy.schmanzy.dinners to dictate this season.  I want the "come on over in your jammies and enjoy leftover soup" nights.  The ones where our children pop in un-announced and jump in our bed on their way home from a late night date night...and chat with us...the kind where I burn dinner and my hubby runs to get a pizza from Dominoes.  Using stacks of soft cloth napkins that haven't seen an iron in forever. {Notice the wrinkled napkin in the picture!!} You know.Simple.Real.Home-y and Cozy.

Not that I am not looking forward to a few festive parties, a dress-up concert and a few evenings out at restaurants with white-dressed waiters and fresh-pressed tablecloths and candlelight...but you know what I mean...

Now that I am off my soapbox, it is nice to have a few go-to recipes for Christmas that take very little time to prepare.
Potatoes are a comfort food, they are economical and they smell  It is as if they are inviting your guests to take off their shoes, put on their slippers, and stay for awhile and be still.
I hope in the hustle and bustle of the season you will find His comfort and His JOY as you reflect on the birth of this tiny baby that gives us HOPE and the gift of everlasting life...the greatest gift EVER!!

Scott's Firehouse Herbed Roasted Potatoes with Garlic Cream

12 baby red potatoes, squeaky clean, and cut into bite-sized pieces  

1/2 cup butter, melted

freshly ground pepper to taste

fresh rosemary... a small sprig or about 1/2 teaspoon

fresh thyme...a sprinkling or about 1/2 teaspoon

sea salt to taste


Melt butter in a large baking dish

Place potatoes on top of the melted butter.

Sprinkle with seasonings and stir a bit

Bake @ 350* for about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir a bit to cover potaoes with yummy butter

Bake for at least another 20 minutes or until taters are tender


Grammy and baby Ady

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Learning to Love...Better Late than Never

                                                                  {five generations}

There is no doubt about it, everybody has a different definition of what love is, how it acts, how it should work and maybe more than seems to be summed up better in one's mind as to what LOVE isn't!!

With life full of disappointments, trials, seasons of pain and of bitterness and frustration, real love can take a backseat and become all about what is in it for us. Love, as God intended it to be, is to be willing to give everything while expecting nothing in return.

It wasn't too long ago that I read this quote, "LOVE your parents.  We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old."  {author unknown}  For some strange reason, it went right through my heart like a sharp knife stinging at the thought of how selfish I can get in very little time.
We have a tendency to get overly busy with our lives, our families, our children, our vacations, our jobs, our responsibilities, our friends, our...our...OUR.  YES, it is easy  to assume our parents would rather be alone, watch their evening shows, go to bed at 7pm, not be bothered with our craziness, our drama and everything else that has been methodically filed away in our pre-conceived ideas of the elderly.

It took me a few minutes to gather my thoughts and to have a "COME to JESUS MEETING" with myself.
Why is it so easy to love feeling loved and yet so difficult to take the extra steps to make others feel exactly how we thrive on being treated?
If you are wondering how on earth to love, just think about the ways others love you and if you are feeling unloved, insignificant and have no idea where to start...think about how you would like to be cared for and find somebody who needs it.

It just so happens that over the last little bit, my momma tank has been filled to the tippy top, to the point of overflowing. Our children have been stopping in to just check on me when my sweetie has been on long work shifts, calling to chat, inviting me to dinner, bringing the new grand puppy over for some grammy cuddles and the list goes on.  I have felt so needed,so valuable. I asked God to really slow my heart down and have asked Him to nudge me to be more sensitive to my parents and to my in.laws. because, as young as they are, they are getting older and they need their children to contribute to them feeling LOVED.NEEDED.VALUED.

It has taken me a long time to really get it and I am far from mastering this, but somehow, through the extra tlc, I have been shown, it makes me long to really love.  More importantly, I want to clear some of the "busy" and make a concerted effort to bless them by saying "yes" to tea on Saturday, "yes" to Sunday night family dinners, taking them dinner and taking a nap on their recliner {because my momma loves when I relax in their home!!} baking them cookies, taking them to doctor appointments, helping with extra housework, helping organize their garage, taking things they no longer need to goodwill, taking the mommas flowers just because, taking them on field trips to see the Christmas lights, helping them with celebrations in their homes...It is a simple act of "washing their feet".  Jesus set the example:

"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet." John 13:14

{four generations}

With this week being Thanksgiving, thank God for your parents...and if they are no longer with you, maybe you can find a special somebody who is GROWING OLDER who needs to feel loved, valued and needed.  How can you encourage them?

I am already excited about the next time my momma offers to spend the night when my sweetie is working...and we will cuddle in our big.ole.bed and fall asleep talking til our speech slows down as we drift to sleep...because this busy girl wants their growing older years to be THE BEST years of their lives. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Auntie Laura's Yam Rolls

The holidays are right around the corner, and I feel the need for things to s.l.o.w. way down as opposed to accepting the rush and all the bustle that undoubtedly comes along with this time of year.

One of my favorite things to do is to bake bread.  There is just something about the smell that greets those who stop by for a cup of tea or for those who join us for dinner.  When I take bread out of the oven, it is almost like our home beckons for guests to come in, sit, get cozy and stay for awhile!!

Thank you, twinsie for making these for me...they are my favorite!!

Auntie Laura’s Yam Rolls

½ cup milk                 
¼ cup butter

¼ cup sugar               
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg...freshly grated
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup cool water
1 tbsp. yeast

¾ cup mashed yams         
1 egg
3 ½ cups flour

Heat butter in milk until butter is “melty”
Add the rest of the ingredients into the milk in a stand mixer bowl.  Mix.
Form into rolls with oiled hands.  Let rise until rolls are fluffy.
Bake at 375* for about 23 minutes or until rolls are golden.

This makes one pan of about 9 rolls.

Variation:  Use this dough for cinnamon rolls.  Simply roll out into a rectangle.  Spread dough with softened butter and add lots of cinnamon sugar.  Roll up like a snake and cut into pinwheels.  Bake in greased pan and bake for about 25 minutes.  Frost with cream cheese buttercream and ENJOY!!