Monthly Archives: December 2011

One Word: A Year to Behold

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It’s December.

How did that happen? I wrote the first post about the seemingly simple word of “behold” nearly a year ago and I remember exactly where I was when it came to me.

On the toilet.

I’ll give you that it wasn’t a particularly romantic or spiritual experience, but that’s when the theme for my year came to me none the less. In discovering where the Lord has brought me this year though, I must start first with the view of where I was when He and I began this journey.

Last December I was tired. I hid a broken heart and a weary soul.  I felt as though my spirit was but a shadow of a girl I once was. I thought, at the time, part of my personality’s sobriety was adulthood settling in. That my lack of enthusiasm and imagination was simply, and tragically, the reality of being older and carrying the weight of life’s responsibilities.

Last December I was scared. Last December I was so scared people mistook me for being a strong and independent woman. Last December I was blind to just how big God was and just how close He would get. So when a faint voice whispered “behold,” I had no idea how vivid my sight would become 12 months later.

The vision of myself has always been that of a girl who is moderately good at some things, but not extraordinary at anything. I’m not a musician and I’m not an artist. I’m not a skilled problem solver and I’m not destined to be a world leader. The fact that I was never, not one single semester, a straight A student still haunts me. I’m athletic, but I was never a star athlete. I never had a boyfriend in high-school and I never dated in college either. My social resume of what the world would deem certifiable “accomplishments” has always been severely lacking. My self-perception, for as long as I can remember, has been that I am a disappointment to God.

But this year, the way I see God and His love, and the way that I know He sees me, has truly transformed me from the inside out.

In 2011, I beheld a God that is a fountain of grace that does not run dry. I beheld a God that sympathizes with feeling ostracized and misunderstood. I beheld a God that would not let me stand on the outside alone.

I beheld a God that loves me before I am able to prove that I am lovable. I beheld a God that wanted to give me good things before I was able to earn them.

This year, I beheld the God of the Bible that revealed Himself to me through dreams and the prophecies of friends.  I beheld a God of tenderness and I beheld a God compassionate enough to prune away strongholds that clung to me like deadly vines.

This year, I beheld a God that showed me that He remembered childhood prayers and answered them when it would mean that hope was alive and healing had come.

This year, I beheld a God that was, is, and will continue to be faithful.

This one word for this one year, has changed 25 years of misperception.

Beholding God, as He really is, has changed everything.

Now That I’m a Wife…

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Now that I am a wife, I “tweet” about and take pictures of all the new recipes I am trying with all the new baking dishes I have received, all for the new stomach I am in charge of keeping full. It’s as if all my wildest dreams have come true! A Texas-size grocery store just across the street, more time than I know what to do with, no need to fit into a small white wedding dress, and a man who will eat just about anything… except mushrooms.  So what have I done since becoming a wife? I have become irritatingly domestic and a self-declared Pioneer Woman wanna-be.

Yesterday, I posted this picture of a lasagna that I made for dinner.

 

Yes, it tasted as good as it looked.

The response from friends and strangers asking for the recipe was a little surprising and I refuse, as a fellow foodie, to let others go without doing a head stand into such a dish for themselves. So here it is, as given to me by a close family friend.

Spinach, Pesto, Chicken & Artichoke Lasagna

You will need the following ingredients to start your party: No boil lasagna noodles, pesto sauce, raw spinach, artichokes, garlic, yellow onion, ricotta cheese mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, chicken, one egg, and salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions for starting said party:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray (Fact– I cheated on this step and slathered the pan with a stick of butter instead.)

3. Heat olive oil in a saute pan and saute your yellow onion, finely diced, with about 3 cloves of thinly chopped garlic. (Note, this is where you would also add your artichokes. However, I cheated yet again, and used already marinated artichokes.)

4. To the onion and garlic mixture, throw in 24 oz of fresh spinach. Cover, if you have a lid, and let it wilt (takes about 5 minutes).

5. In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups of pesto and 3/4 cups of parmesan together.

6. Then add the spinach and onion mixture to the pesto/cheese mixture. Incorporate well.

7. Spread a small amount of the cheese and spinach mixture onto the bottom of the pan and then begin layering noodles.

8. Once a layer of noodles is laid, spread the spinach mixture generously, top with chicken and  spread a healthy handful of freshly shredded mozzarella cheese on top. (‘Nother note– I used a fully cooked rotisserie chicken instead of cooking it myself. Just peel off the skin, and tear the meat straight from the bone. For time and sanity’s sake, I suggest doing the same.)

9. Add another layer of noodles and repeat process.

10. When finished, place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Just than 10 steps! This is not only super simple, it is ridiculously delicious.

If you give it a shot, let me know how it turns out for you!