I missed the point

I'm disappointed in myself. I missed the point and in turn screwed up an opportunity to serve someone.

You see, I was at a stop light the other day and saw a typical scene for Houston. A homeless person on the corner with a cardboard sign. This guy's main message was that he was hungry. I was in the car by myself and decided that I wanted to help. Side note: My husband doesn't really support my desire to help every homeless person that I encounter. Don't gt mad at him--he helps people for a living which exposes him to the "ugly" in people and he is therefore cautious about who he helps on his own time. I didn't have any food with me, so I decided to give him some money. I pulled out $5 from my purse and rolled down my window.

As he walked toward me, I got a weird feeling. It's like I became afraid of him and what he would say or do to me. I don't know why I felt this way. I was never in any danger. I was in a crowded group of cars all stopped at a stop light. There were plenty of people around me who would have helped me if something actually did happen. But this guy wasn't a threat at all. I was judging him because he was homeless.

And I missed the point.

I reached out and handed him the money and immediately started rolling the window back up. As I was very rudely rolling the window up, he was telling me "thank you" and he complimented my curly hair and said that my husband was a lucky guy. My gut reaction was to feel like he was being a disrespectful man giving me a lame pick-up line. Now that I reflect back, I really think he was giving me a sincere compliment. And I snubbed him. I'm such a jerk! As I was driving away I got so sick at myself. I just treated that man like he was a second-class citizen.

I thought he needed money, but what he really needed was someone to smile in his direction and have a normal conversation with him.

As sick as I feel at myself for completely missing an opportunity to serve someone, I know one thing for sure: I get the point now.

A Week's Worth

of recipes, that is.

Now don’t go thinking I’m “Suzy Homemaker” or anything. I struggle to get home cooked meals on the table just like most women…and I don’t even have kids yet! It’s just me and Ben and I still have a hard time with it. So, in the spirit of one woman helping out another woman (or women, depending on who actually reads this), here is a week’s worth of recipes.

Well, it's a week's worth for us, at least. I mean, there is always at least 1 night (sometimes 2) we eat leftovers (can't have any go to waste!), there is 1 night we have small group so we eat with our friends (we rotate who brings food), and so that leaves 4-5 nights and sometimes we go out to eat. I'm giving you 4 recipes here, so there's my week's worth. ;)

Cranberry Chicken
# servings: 3

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
15 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
Small bottle French dressing
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix sauce, dressing, and soup mix.
Place chicken in a shallow baking dish and cover with mixture.
Bake for 1 hour.

Although the ingredients sound odd, it’s actually very good! And it’s SO easy! I usually serve with brown rice and some type of green vegetable.

Amy Parker (2008)

Cheese Ravioli with Sautéed Zucchini
# servings: 3-4

1 lb. cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 small zucchini
2 cloves garlic
½ cup (2 oz.) grated parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Cook the ravioli according to the package directions.
Drain them and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into thin half-moons and mince the garlic.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the zucchini, salt, and pepper.
Cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the zucchini mixture and ¼ cup of the parmesan to the ravioli and toss gently to combine.
Serve with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan.

Real Simple magazine (2009)

Fiesta Shrimp
# servings: 3

¾ lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (I buy the frozen kind)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
1 large red bell pepper
¾ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
½ cup Mexican blend cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Chop the bell pepper and cilantro
Drain and rinse the black beans.
Place shrimp on a 24x18 sheet of heavy aluminum foil.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with 1 t. seasoning, toss gently.
Layer bell pepper, corn, cheese, and cilantro over shrimp.
Sprinkle beans and remaining 1 t. seasoning on top.
Fold edges of foil together over shrimp, sealing packet.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Cook rice.
Serve shrimp mixture over hot cooked rice.

This is such an easy dish to make, it looks awesome, tastes awesome, and is a very easy cleanup (because it is cooked in a foil packet)…and it is healthy!

Fort Bend Junior Service League cookbook testing recipes (2009)

Pulled Pork Tacos *crock pot recipe* (invite people over for dinner)
# servings: 6-8

2 lb. boneless pork tenderloin (or butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat)
18 corn tortillas
2 cups salsa, plus more for serving
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup fresh cilantro
¾ cup sour cream
1 lime, cut into wedges
Any other taco toppings you like (lettuce, tomatoes, etc.)

In a 4- to 6-quart crock pot, combine the salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa, and salt.
Add the pork and turn to coat.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours (or high for 4-5 hours), until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily.
20 minutes before serving, heat oven to 350 degrees.
Stack the tortillas, wrap them in foil, and bake until warm, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred the pork and stir into the cooking liquid.
Serve with the tortillas, cilantro, sour cream, lime, and extra salsa.

This is a meal that is good to serve for casual dinner parties because it looks like you put more effort into it than you really did!

Real Simple magazine (2009)


Also, please share any of your recipes with me. I'm always open to try new things and I especially love when they are easy to prepare, have few ingredients (and/or familiar ingredients), and taste yummy.

My Sermon Notes

1/17/2010 - Scott Rambo - Curb Appeal series - The Bridge Fellowship

Loneliness is a disease. (Mother Teresa said "Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.")
Friendships are a necessity. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Luke 5:19-26 (paralyzed man - had a great group of friends)
Who is there for me?
Who are the people in my life who would crash through a roof for me?

We are made to belong.
Love God and love people--that's spiritual maturity.

The best way to make friends is to be a friend.
Be intentional about being a friend.
Don't sit there and complain about not having friends---go be a friend!

We're talking about vunerability, not just acquaintences. So be real!

Showers of Blessings

JEHOVAH-JIREH: "The Lord will Provide." Gen. 22:14

He did it again, folks! He showed us in a very tangible way that He is in control and that He wants this adoption to happen! I'm talking about Jehovah-Jireh, God our Provider.

As some of you know, adoptions are expensive. Being the ever worrier and planner that I am, Ben totally expected me to fret about where we would get the money for the adoption. He said that he really knew God was working in me when he saw that I really wasn't concerned about the finances. I mean, my lack of worrying about it even freaks me out!

We truly know that this adoption is what we're meant to do. We're just 2 regular people who are honestly trusting in Him (that's all He wants, after all--
our trust). And He gets all of the glory!

You see, God has provided every step of the way in a very tangible way through unexpected bonuses/gifts/blessings that we have received. Each time it has been very clear to us that God was providing specifically for the adoption. There is no questioning when you receive a check for the EXACT amount of what you owe at that stage of the adoption process!

The most recent example happened on Thursday evening when Ben and I went for our required marriage counseling session. Our agency is requiring us to have a therapist write a statement that we are ready to adopt and that we're not "crazies" (
my words, obviously). We got a referral to this pastor/counselor from our pastor (who is not a licensed counselor).

To make a long story short, the counselor told us that his sessions with us are going to be his gift. He said that he wanted to contribute to our adoption and this was the perfect way for him to do t hat. Oh, and we'll have our statement from him in about 10 days. How amazing is that?!?!

All I can say is "thank you" to Jehovah-Jireh! Among many other things, He truly is my provider.

Let it go!!

2nd Edition of "Don't Forget the Lyrics"

I find that the following song is constantly stuck in my head. Partly because it's a catchy tune. But partly because it's such a mystery to me. I mean, to say that life is waiting for the ones who lose control. That's crazy talk.

But it's true. And I've seen it in my own life lots of times. When I finally give something totally to God--that's when I have joy. So why is it SO hard to do?

I know why it's hard. Because it's completely opposite of my human nature. My nature is to handle it, to do it myself, to take control of my destiny...so to "let it go" isn't natural. But thankfully, my God isn't natural. The fact is this: God says it's only when we let something go and give it to Him that we are fulfilled. Isn't He an awesome God? He wants to take my burdens and worries from me. All He wants from me is TRUST.

I've been holding on so tight
Look at these knuckles
They've gone white
I'm fighting for who I wanna be
I'm just trying to find security

But You say let it go, You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one's who lose control
You say you will be, everything I need
You said if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go.

Well it's hard enough to hear
Harder still, to move beyond this fear
We know there's nothing I can bring,
So tell me what do you want from me?

But You say let it go, You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one's who lose control
You say you will be, everything I need
You said if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go.

What do I love?
What do I hate?
What will I lose?
What will I gain?
How do I save my soul?
What if I bend?
What if I break?
What will it cost?
What will it take?
For you to save my soul.

You say let it go, You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one's who lose control
You say you will be, everything I need
You said if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go.

"Let it Go" by Tenth Avenue North

I'm challenging myself to let lots of things go (mostly around work/money) and I challenge you to do the same and see what blessings come from it...