Thursday, April 28, 2016

Grandpa Joe and the Question

I never knew my grandfathers. Both died before I was born. But when I married The Boy form Texas, I gained a Grandpa Joe.  A tall, thin, grandfatherly man with white hair and a dry sense of humor.  We hit it off right away.  The first time we met, he hugged me as I left and told me I was welcome back anytime as long as I brought more dessert when I came.  And after I delivered him a red headed great grandson, I was definitely in his good graces. He was loving, funny, and very stubborn.  Qualities I find important in people.

After 3 terrible weeks in the hospital, he decided his time had come and he wanted moved to hospice. As we sat in the room waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the nurse asked him, "so, what did you do?"  A simple west Texan reply of, "I farmed and raised cattle" ended the inquiry. 

But I wanted to scream, "He did so much more!" He raised quarter horses and took my husband all over the state to horse shows.  He loved fish fries.  He believed in Jesus.  He has strong opinions that he sure didn't mind sharing. He liked to watch judge shows on daytime television and Duck Dynasty at night.   He worked hard, he enjoyed life, and he always wore the shirts we bought him for Christmas anytime we were coming over. 

And maybe most importantly, he raised a family. A good one, by my calculations. Four generations of which were there that day to stand vigil as his time came. He was married to the same woman for over 60 years, and they sure loved each other.   He got the chance to play with his 5 great-grand children.  Just hours before he took his last breath, my baby crawled up on his bed and babbled for several minutes.  As one of my friends often says, babies are the closest to Heaven since they were there most recently.  Made me wonder what he was saying and if Grandpa Joe might have understood.  He did so much more than he could tell that nurse in those few seconds. 

But as we spent the next 12 hours saying goodbye to Grandpa Joe, I could not get the question out of my head. What did you do? I suppose one day, we will all be asked that question. Perhaps by a nurse, maybe more likely by our God.  What did we do? What difference did we make? How did we show love? Show Jesus? Make a difference? 

Grandpa Joe died about 12 hours after his conversation with the nurse. No doubt, he was ready to go home and he had a good answer to that question when he arrived. 

His was a life well lived. He left behind people well loved. One day, may we all say the same. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Newlywed in the Kitchen {2016} Recipe #5: Green chile enchilada casserole

A good New Mexican lady needs turquoise jewelry, the ability to snow ski, and a good enchillada casserole recipe. Let me share one of those with you today. 

Green Chile Enchillada Casserole

1 pound ground beef
Garlic powder
Cooking spray
12 corn tortillas 
2 cans cream of chicken & mushroom soup (you can use just cream of mushroom but I prefer the can of the two mixed together) 
3/4C milk
Chopped green chile
Colby jack cheese 
Bush's pinto beans (optional)

Brown hamburger meat in skillet. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder.  Drain greese. When cooked, add about half of the green chile to the skillet and mix well.

In a medium sauce pan, add soup and about 3/4 C milk.  Whisk and heat.  Add the rest of the green chile.  

Spray 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Lay 6 tortillas in the bottom of the pan. (They will overlap a lot,  that's ok!)

Spread half of the hamburger on the tortillas.  If using beans, spread half on the meat.  Next spread half the soup mixture.  Top with cheese. 

Then build second layer just the same.

Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes just to melt the cheese. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Newlywed in the Kitchen {2016} Recipe #4: Chicken Stir Fry

This is one of my favorite recipes.  It's easy, quick, tasty, and healthy.  Hard to beat those things!  The Boy from Texas eats it without much complaint, and considering it involves no beef, potatoes, or tortillas, I'd say that is a pretty glowing recommendation from him.

Chicken Stir Fry

1 pound chicken breast

Olive oil

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, crushed red peppers (optional)

About 5 cups mixed veggies (I like bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and cabbage)

Rice (I personally would make this with jasmine or brown rice.  The Boy from Texas will only eat it with Uncle Ben's long grain rice medley. #marriageishard)

Stir fry sauce (I used Kikkoman, picture below.)

Put olive oil and chicken in a skillet.  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Cook until browned.

While chicken is cooking, steam veggies.  (You can use a steamer, or you can just put a bit of water in the bottom of a sauce pan, put veggies on top, place a lid on and leave it over LOW heat for maybe 10 minutes or so.)

Put veggies into skillet with chicken and add Stir fry sauce.  (I probably use 1/2 a bottle.)  Allow to simmer on low heat.  Add crushed red peppers for a little spice.

Prepare rice as directed on box.

Serve Stir Fry over rice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

You Can't Plan a Miracle

Well, we've got some big news.

Once everyone picks their jaws up off the floor, we hope you will share in our excitement over this blessing that God has given us.  We know that the timing is not conventional.  I know we were supposed to get married at 23, have 2.5 kids approximately 2.5 years apart, and drive a mini van.  But you know, we've not really done things in the conventional timing.

I was a week shy of 31 when we got married.  We got pregnant with BB right away.  Baby #2 will arrive 14 months after BB.  And I drive a pick up.  So much for conventional.  But God hasn't led us astray so far.  Sure, there have been hard things and hard times and I'm under no dissolution that two babies under 2 are going to be a walk in the park.

But the very day that I had the positive pregnancy test and stood in the kitchen with tears in my eyes, I got a major reality check.  One of my friends suffered a miscarriage.  Another friend learned that their attempt at in vitro failed.  What was I doing crying over a positive pregnancy test when there are so many others desperately wanting to see that blue line?  So I decided then that I would feel only joy for this child that we have been given.

But then, there would be the comments.  People say things that are just hurtful--particularly to someone with pregnancy hormones all over the place. As I struggled to answer questions like "don't you know how this happens?" and "are you crazy?" and "you couldn't have been planning this?," my friend Wade offered the perfect response.

You can't plan a miracle.

Thanks be to God for that.

Newlywed in the Kitchen {2016} Recipe #3: Turkey Cranberry Wraps

I hesitate to call this a recipe since there is no cooking involved, but for those of you who have jobs and/or kids, sometimes a meal with no cooking is just what you're after.  I have been trying to find some new lunch options and came across this idea on Pinterest.  I modified a bit to fit my tastes, and here we go.

(There is no score from The Boy from Texas. I didn't make him one.  He'd hate it.  But I give it a 4/5.)

Turkey Cranberry Wraps

Wrap or tortilla (I recommend the Mission Spinach Herb wraps)
Deli turkey (I like the mesquite smoked)
Sliced cheese (I used white cheddar but any kind would be fine)
1/8 C Craisins (I like cherry flavored)
1/4 apple, chopped
Dressing, mayo or Greek yogurt of your choice

Smear dressing on wrap.  Cover with turkey and cheese.  Sprinkle on Craisins and apples.  Top with handful of lettuce.  Wrap tightly.  Enjoy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

BB Six Months

I remain a month behind posting these. Stick with me...

I don't know how it is possible this baby is half a year old.  HALF A YEAR.  He keeps growing and changing and is more fun every day.

Here's what he's been up to.

--  Added orange veggies and fruits to the food mix.

-- Gone on lots of walks with the dogs.

-- Celebrated his First Valentine's Day!

-- Sucked on some toes.

-- Rode some horses.

-- Met his Cousin Swiss Mister.

-- Looked at lots of sheep. 

-- Discovered tractors!

--Helped with laundry. 

My Favorite Shots

Monthly Check In

Weight:  17 pounds, 9 oz.

Height:  26.5 inches

Head:  90th percentile

Likes:  Scooting all over the floor, his walker, yelling, chewing on everything in sight.

Dislikes:  Shots, sleeping without the comfy bassinet, hitting his head on the floor when he rolls over too fast.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

BB Five Months

I am almost 2 months behind on these things yet again.  Mom of the year...

At his 4 month appointment, the doctor gave us the green light to start trying food.  And we have never looked back.  This kid likes to eat and it has really been fun to watch!

Here's what he's been up to.

-- Had his first cereal (oat cereal with prune juice).

-- Watched a lot of football.

-- Attended his first stock show.

-- Tried green beans.

-- Continued enjoying his favorite monkey.

-- Met his new dog, Ash.

--Watched his first steer show.

-- Helped the family bid at an online sheep sale.

My Favorite Shots

Monthly Summary

Weight:  15 pounds, 12 oz

Height:  26 inches

Likes:  Food.  All food.  Splashing in the sink during bath time.  Stock shows.  Smiling at new people.

Dislikes:  The car seat.  Laying on his back.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Seeing Jesus

Our church was packed full today, Easter Sunday.  Pews full of people dressed in their Easter dresses, perfect pearls, hair reaching for the Heavens (we live in Texas, after all). 

Just before the service started, a man walked in and sat in the back row, right behind us.  I recognized him, not from church, but from the local bar where he works behind the counter. He wore a borrowed jacket. I know because I heard someone ask. He did not know the words to the hymns. Someone told him there were seats closer up, but he joked that he did not want everyone to see him for fear they might go into shock.

And then celebration of the resurrection began. The cross was flowered. The hallelujahs were sang. Prayers were prayed. "He is risen, indeed" was proclaimed. 

Meanwhile, BB began to get a bit fussy and uncomfortable. The Boy from Texas put him up over his shoulder, face to face with the bartender. And immediately, BB giggled. I glanced over my shoulder to see the man in the borrowed jacket who felt like he did not belong anywhere but be back row playing with my son. Smiling and making faces and entertaining him until the service was through. 

I thought it interesting and perfect that I saw Jesus that Easter Sunday. Not in the  perfect Easter attire or the songs in the hymnal or the words repeated in the affirmation of faith.  But instead, in the face of the bartender who did not fit in. In the smiles he offered a child. In the joyful playing with a baby he had never met. In the complete lack of annoyance or care when BB made a noise or did things like gnawed on the pews.

If our mission as Chrisitians is to be His hands and feet, to show love and kindness and Jesus to everyone we encounter, we might ought to take a look at that bartender.  Then we might better take a look at ourselves and ask if anyone saw Jesus in our actions today. 

Big questions. Important answers. Happy Easter. He is risen, indeed! 

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