Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Everything Chili

I am currently still on my soup creating spree. We are chili lovers and our regular chili is often a go-to recipe. The recipe below was recommended by a friend and is now a new favorite of mine. I adapted it from Better Homes and Garden. Don't let the random assortment of ingredients stop you from trying it. So good on a "chili" fall day!

1 lb chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups of black beans or kidney beans (I used a mixture)
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 cup peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash
1 onion, diced
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 clove of garlic, minced
2-3 handfuls of spinach (I did not chop it up but you can)
Fresh Cilantro to taste
Add chicken, tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, squash, onion, chicken broth, mushrooms, cranberries, jalapeno pepper, chili powder, and garlic to your crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Add spinach and cilantro before serving. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

One Thing You Lack

I grew up with a very generous mother. She has always loved to cook and bake for others to enjoy. Often times, I view something as trash while she is ingenious with finding a second use for just about anything and proceeds to find the perfect person in need for what I thought was simple trash.

One of my main love languages has always been gifts. The well-thought gifts by people who know me best always leave me feeling known and loved. However, God knows me best. He gives the best gifts. 

Recently, He challenged my heart through a close friend who has one of the most generous hearts I've seen. Each time I've visited her home she sends me with something, usually a spontaneous gift. However, it always catches me off guard..she always gives more than I expect she will. It's extremely humbling and a clear reminder to me that I need to not hold things/food/money/clothes ("my" things) so tightly.

After one of my recent encounters with my open-handed friend, our sermon at church included the scripture below:
Luke 18:18-23
And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: "Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother."" And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

Jesus' wording seems slightly ironic. "One thing you still lack."  This man had everything: wealth, fame, power... everything. Yet Jesus tells him he is lacks one thing. When this particular wording was pointed out, I thought back to my open-handed friend, who does not cling to possessions like the rich young ruler. There's always a freedom and joy when you are giving. At first, it seems so hard but then you let go and feel freedom. You see someone being blessed and immediately lose any desire you had to keep the gift in the first place. I never want to lack an open hand.

All in all, I need to remind myself that God is the giver. Nothing really was or is mine. 

God, I praise you for the many gifts you shower us with each day. I praise you for the greatest of all, your grace. Help me to open my hands to those in need and seek my security in you alone as my provider.