Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spicy Slow Cooker Roast

This is my most popular and easiest "go to" recipe.  Few ingredients, no hassle, cooks while you're at church, washing clothes, or sleeping (my favorite).  I paired with homemade mashed potatoes for Easter.  And I've used for sandwiches this week.  It's a bit spicy, especially if you use spicy rotel.  Only for the brave at heart! 

1 boneless chuck roast
1 can rotel
1 jar pepperoncini peppers
cavenders greek seasoning
garlic salt
black pepper

Rub the roast with cavenders, garlic salt, and pepper - to your liking.  You can marinate overnight if you wish, but it's completely fine if you don't.  Drain the pepper juice into a crock pot.  Place the marinated roast in the crock pot.  Pour the can of rotel and pepperoncini peppers over the roast.  That. Is. It.  Cook 6 hours (on high) or 12 hours (on low).

Sorry, no pics.  It's been devoured!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Two books, One purpose

I am reading two wonderful books, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I alternate chapters each day. Both books center around gratitude.  Eucharisteo.  In the final moments Jesus Christ shared with His disciples before He knew that He would willingly lay down His life on our behalf, "He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it and gave it to them...”  In the original language, “gave thanks” is written eucharisteo. He gave.  His life.  For us.  Eucharisteo.

In Calm My Anxious Heart, Linda Dillow recounts her experiences in Eastern Europe ministering to women about Christ and helping them form secret and dangerous meetings to spread the word. One day when Linda was back in the US, a woman (part of the ministry) visiting from Europe, Eva, came to visit Linda. She and her husband have no home and live as gypsies with their 3 year old child traveling to spread the word. During their conversation, Linda said to her, "When you see all the modern conveniences here for mothers - washing machines, disposable diapers, baby food in jars - how do you feel? Life for you is so difficult." Eva replied, "Linda, when I lived here in the West, I observed Western women. They have so many things that they don't need God."

I have started my Eucharisteo (Thanksgiving) list. The Thousand Gifts List - I'm only to twenty three. What a journey this will be. A few of mine...

2. The refreshing lift leaving Sunday church
3. The sound of my knife chopping vegetables for a meal
4. The feel of my favorite sweats after a long day
5. A baby squeezing his hand around my finger
6. A first kiss that leaves you smiling for days
7. The feeling in your arm after a really good tennis stroke
8. Taking my nieces to get snow cones
9. Picking out flowers for the mood I'm in
10. The helpful men who boosted me off today when my battery was completely dead

"He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." Psalm 50:23

Maybe when I get to number 1,000, I'll have a different perspective of life, a more grateful one I hope.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week

"Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

Luke 22: 39-42

The Last Supper is a strong reminder of how very human Jesus was, yet divine at the same time. How terrifying it must have been for Christ to know his crucifixion was near, yet remain strong for his disciples. He was so human in his request, “take this cup from me”, which reveals his anguish. We sometimes forget that Jesus faced the same human temptations and struggles while here on earth. And yet he prayed, “your will be done” in the face of his own death.

It can be difficult to let go of our desires and follow Christ. Even in the simplest areas of life, we can be tempted to handle adversity in a sinful or selfish way. When we say Yes to God we are called away from our old selves, from our old way of doing things, from our old ways of thinking. We say Yes to God because “…not that we loved God, but that he loved us first and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

As we strive to align the desires of our hearts to God’s will in our lives, we can be encouraged and humbled by Christ, who so bravely in the face of death prayed, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Devotional

Lately I've asked God to change my perspective.  I'm in a rut, a bad one.  It goes something like this - "Ugh, I'm tired of looking at the same ole furniture. My bedroom needs a lift - wish I had a desk.  If I open this refrigerator one more time and see nothing but milk. This 7 year old Honda is not so fancy any more. This 30 minute drive to Clinton every day is wearing me out. I hope my boss isn't in today. Gosh, I've lived here for 9 years.  I'm tired of seeing the same ole people."

Nice thoughts, huh?  

How negative of me.  And how embarrassing. Since asking God to help change my outlook, He has been as simple as can be -- "Be content, my child.  Look at what I've given you. This world is not eternal."

One day we will enter Heaven.  What will God say to us?  I at least want to be able to face God and say -- "Father, I tried very hard, even though I failed many times, to live my life for you."  I would be ashamed to face God and know that I lived my life for new furniture, the next new car, a bigger house, the perfect circumstance, the best husband, impeccable children, a nice wardrobe, and anything else that is only of this world.

The following excerpts come from Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.

What we are on the inside, what we continually think about, eventually shows in our words, actions, and even our countenances. Most of us base contentment on our circumstances, on our feelings, or on other people. However, true contentment is separate from our circumstances. Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs.

God fills our cup with our portion, what He determines best. Our portion is our physical and emotional being, our abilities, circumstances, roles and relationships. Sometimes we don't like what's been poured into our cup. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane seeing the suffering he was about to endure pleaded, "Father, if you are willing, taking this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42 Christ grasped the handle of his cup and lifted it to God and said, "I accept my portion. Infuse me with your strength that I may drink." We can choose to accept our cup, our portion, or we can smash it on the ground and say, "This is not right for me. I don't like what you've put in my cup. I'll control life myself." Contentment is accepting God's control over all of life's circumstances.

"I am strong for all things in the One who constantly infuses strength in me." Philippians 4:13

Contentment occurs when Christ's strength is infused into our weak body, soul, and spirit. God infuses contentment into us through His word. As it seeps into our minds, it transforms us. Just as a cup of tea gets stronger when we give it time to seep, we become more content when we spend time in God's word and allow it to seep into our lives transforming us to be like him.
I pray today that God humbles us to know He is the pourer of our portion, and that no circumstance can overcome the depth of God's love for us - that we may find contentment in our hearts and Christ will beam from us where ever we may go.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Cleaning

First thing's first - it's been entirely too long since I've posted!  But I do have a reason.  My reason is... I've been waiting on my brand spankin new blog template that I ordered, and for some reason it is taking longer than expected.  So, what have I been doing?  Well, I spend the majority of my time in class, summarizing articles on education, studying for Praxis test(s), running, and doing all of this over and over again.  But I became inspired last week - by the weather and the fact that I have yet to put my closet in an order in which I'm satisfied.  All girls know that organized closets bring peace and joy to life. 

On my way home from class last week, I was feeling kinda skippy, so I stopped by Target.  I walked out with the following:
1.  A 9-cube, 3-story white shelf with three cloth baskets that are inserted in the three middle cubes (2 brown, one green)
2.  Two plastic white cubes that sit on top of each other with one brown basket and one green and white basket that fit into the cubes
3.  160 white, plastic hangers
4.  An organizer divided into 3 sections for my jewelry
5.  And a Diet Coke

Always a Diet Coke.  My sweet roommate helped me put together the cubicle shelves and they sat in the middle of my room surrounded by large, red and white Target bags full of plastic hangers and baskets for three days.  #Annoying.  Due to my schedule, I didn't think I'd have time to even begin this project until Sunday, but against my better judgement (or best judgement), I skipped my Thursday night run, and opted for spring cleaning. 

After making dinner, washing two loads of laundry, and watching part of American Idol, I decided it was time to get to work.  I began with the "cleaning out".  Seven garbage bags later labeled "Good Will", and I was finally read to move my new shelves into the closet. 

I then finished arranging my closet to my liking by rearranging clothes by season and color.  And one-by-one, placing each clothing article on a new, white plastic hanger (angels sing).

After much debate between small purses, belts, scarves, socks, and bathing suits, I decided it would be best to actually see my belts and scarves vs them hiding in a trunk on the opposite side of my room.  So they found a new home in the two-tiered plastic cubes and cute baskets.

My next move was to reorganzie my jewelry and place it on top of my new white shelves.  Wah-la.

My closet is very narrow, so it was impossible to get full shots of anything.  But this next picture is the best I could do.  Please pardon the quality of pictures also.  My camera is dead (sign of my blogging sabatical) so all pictures were taken with my iphone.  And no, I have not updated to the iphone 4.  I am not an anxiety ridden Apple technology upgrader. 

Finally my hands met as if "my work is done here," and I climbed into my comfortable bed at 12:15 a.m., said goodnight to the world and my new and improved closet and closed my eyes.

Peace to all - go spring clean!
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