Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To My Elders

Recently, as a part of her preparation for a woman's bible study, a friend asked all of the younger women in the church for examples of the ways in which they've been blessed by the older women of the church.  I was absolutely floored to realize that I couldn't think of a single suggestion.  As I mulled over it for a week or so, a new thought occurred to me.  I don't ask for help from older women because I'm afraid to.  I see and hear so much disdain for the younger generation in general (not in particular, mind you).  The bulk of that disdain seems to center around what older folks perceive to be a sense of entitlement in folks my age (I'm 34, so I'm either a Generation Xer, a Millennial, or a Generation Yer, depending on who's doing the categorizing).  I think I was born with the respect-your-elders-and-authority gene.  I never really struggled with that and was a rather obedient child and a favorite student.  I absolutely adored my four grandparents and learned, at a young age, that visits to my great-grandparents, while not necessarily the most fun thing in the world, were an important part of your duty as family.  I was always fascinated by family antiques and lore.  I loved hearing stories about the old days.  My interest in and admiration of history, both immediate and long-past, has always given me a soft heart towards those that are seasoned veterans of life.  But, at the same time, I've become ever more reticent towards those same lovely folks, because I sometimes feel a sense of anger - how my generation's perceived weaknesses are destroying this country, destroying our society, and destroying the church.  It's all rather bewildering and perplexing  While I know that none of that is directed at me personally, sometimes I still feel a sense of needing to circle the wagons, so to speak; you know like how it's okay to pick on your own sibling, but the moment someone from outside the family does it, you are ready to defend their honor to the death (okay, I exaggerate a bit, but no ONE was going to pick on my little brothers on the school bus as long as I was there, even if I did get a perverse pleasure out of surreptitiously tripping them in the comfort of my own home).  When you say that "kids these days are spoiled brats who just need a good spanking?" do you mean mine?  I don't think you do, but then I stay laser-focused on my children at church and notice each and every fidget, each squeak of the pencil eraser, each too loud word, and I start to doubt.  When you say "people these days don't know how to work and think everything should be handed to them on a silver platter" do mean my family?  I don't think you do, but then I think about our financial struggles, the hard decisions we've had to make, and the attendant sacrifices and wonder if maybe it's still not enough; you know, if we just could be less lazy about our garden, if I would be willing to give up my time for pleasure reading, then I could work more, or if we'd planned better as a newlywed couple, then maybe we'd measure up.  All of this is to say that, my dear sweet older women in the church, I'm a bit afraid of you.  I admire you immensely, but I don't want to disappoint you or have you think that I'm weak.  So, instead of seeking you out for help and guidance, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I honor you from afar and scramble to do my best to win your approbation, on behalf of my generation.  And, as you might well imagine, that's a battle that is hard to win, but more importantly, doesn't even need to be fought!  My Titus 2 women, will you please help your younger sisters in Christ?  Will you come alongside us and offer not your condemnation at our failures, but sympathy, sharing how you had similar experiences and what you learned or what you would do differently if you could do it over again?  Will you save harsh words about our friends and our childrens' friends and the world which we will inherit as maturing women ourselves and instead lift us up and encourage us and let us know that it is still and will always be possible to run the race well and to be a woman our husbands, our children, and our sisters can be proud of - women that YOU can be proud of?  What a revival we can bring to our churches if we can bridge this chasm.  We need you and you need us, and above all, the Almighty King has an important place for everyone of us in His penultimate tapestry, and only when woven together can the full potential of our beauty be realized.

In Loving Memory of My Personal Titus 2 Women, Gramma and Mom


Recipe Share - Beef and Black Bean Chili

Oh.my.word - this was deeeelicious.  I know that people have their favorite chili recipes, but this one is worth breaking out of the box for.  It is "fancy" enough for guests (since it's not using ground beef) but easy enough for a quick weekday meal. I like it served over rice (it tastes yummy, and it brings your cost down a bit, per serving) and topped with a bit of sour cream, along with a side of Jalapeno Corn Bread. 


2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs beef stew meat
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14 oz each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp chili powder (I cut it in half for a kid-oriented meal, and double it for an adult meal)
3 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

1.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add beef and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides.  Transfer to Crock Pot.

2. Stir in pepper slices, beans, tomatoes, chili powder, garlic, and cumin.  Cover; cook on LOW 8 to 9 hours.

3. Turn off heat and stir in chocolate until melted.  Serve over hot white rice, and garnish with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Recipe Share - Crock Pot Thai Chicken & Noodles

My Crock Pot is my best friend.  Okay, okay, not literally.  But it's a valued member of our household (or should I say members?  we have two, and we have used both at the same time).  The only thing about the crock pot is that it's easy to get in a roast or soup rut.  I love unusual crock pot recipes, and this one definitely fits the bill.

2 tsp olive oil
11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 bottle (about 10 ounces) chili sauce
3 Tbsp peanut butter
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 can (@14 oz) chicken broth (I used 2 cups of homemade)
8 oz vermicelli noodles
1 cup shredded cabbage and carrot mix
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
     Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
     Chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned on all sides.  Transfer to slow cooker.

2. Stir together chili sauce, peanut butter and garlic in small bowl.  Pour over children.  Stir until chicken is well coated with sauce.  Add broth and stir well.  Cover; cook on LOW 2 hours.

3. Add noodles and cabbage mix.  Cover; cook 30 minutes or until noodles and cabbage are tender.  Garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro, and peanuts, if desired.

Makes 6 servings