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a work of {he}arts

i have started what i hope to be a new ‘community’ blog.  a blog where others can share what god is doing in their hearts….the work they do from their hearts…..i would love to have you join us.  if you have a gift, a ministry, a craft that is a work from your heart that god has blessed you with, will you email me and tell me about it…..

you can see the beginning work here…..

 

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chicken enchiladas

i am sitting in the midst of chaos…..getting new carpet upstairs, so the whole downstairs is full of upstairs furniture.  it is so crowded that we can’t hardly move.

so.

what do we decide to do?

cook.

don’t ask me why, but we are relegated to the dining room and kitchen, so we are eating 😉

we are having a birthday dinner and a going away dinner for my oldest son tomorrow night (that is a whole ‘bother story…for later)….and gretchen decided she wanted to make the dessert{s}…yes….3 to be exact…and not too small or easy ones, i might add.

i had to look up some recipes for her to get ingredients…to go to the store.  yep.  we didn’t even have any ingredients to make the things she wanted to make.  o.  well.

and now.  we are on the 2nd trip to the store…..but, i digress.

i had to look up these recipes.  to do that, the old recipe book has to be pulled out.  this book has some history to it.  i think i bought it about 20 years ago to ‘organize’ my recipes.  it worked.  for a while.  then it got out of control.

it always happens….i find recipes i have forgotten about.  recipes that bring back great {and not so great} memories.  recipes that i have intended on trying.

and i found this one.   chicken enchiladas.  it has a great story.  the recipe is from my friend gail.  gail has been such a great friend.  when this recipe surfaced at our house was when gail came in to take care of me after the birth of my last living baby.

for those who might not know.  i am pretty much on my own as far as family goes.  i have been on my own with each of my babies and with the last 2 being 16 months apart and husband working, i needed help.  so, gail came in for the week and became my doula.  she took care of me, she helped take care of reagan needing cosmetic surgery right after birth, she did laundry, helped with homeschooling the others, and brought recipes.

great recipes.  recipes we still love. my kids will still talk about ‘that dish that mrs. ferguson made’ ….{side note: it was always a running joke that we could get our kids to eat anything if we claimed it came from another mother-as long as it wasn’t ‘ours’}

so.  she made chicken enchiladas for us and they became an instant favorite.  and they are soooo easy! they are pictured above…and i will type it out just like it is written…..

chicken enchiladas

boil chicken.  chop and shred chicken.  add 1 package taco seasoning, 1 can chopped green chilies, 1 cup shredded cheese.  mix well.  roll meat mixture in flour tortilla.  secure with toothpick.  place in greased casserole dish.  pour whipping cream (1/2 pint) over enchiladas.  bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  remove from oven and garnish with green onions, lettuce and tomatoes.

now.  i will tell you what i do 😉

i do all that, except i blend the green chilies up.  my kids do NOT like the texture of them in anything.  i also don’t secure with a toothpick…too much of a hassle.  and then i use more whipping cream.  we like them juicy 😉  we also top with a tomatillo sauce the that gail’s sweet husband made up….and we serve it with a big green salad and chips and salsa. that’s it.  makes a great dinner!  i also usually have left over chicken mixture, so i freeze it for another meal.  the left over enchiladas are really pretty good too!

tomatillo sauce

  • 1 jar herdez salsa verde
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 ripe avocado

blend all ingredients together.  try to keep out of it til its time to eat.

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just a small town girl……..

having spent most of my growing up years in a very small town, i do consider myself a small town girl….but being isolated from others due to abuse that was rampant in our home, i didn’t really get the benefits of the relationships and connections that a small town brings.  i tend to be a loner…an isolator–learned behavior that i am in the process of changing daily, it seems.  from a distance i saw the connections….the families that spent time together.  even now, through Facebook, i see how my classmates were connected when they were younger, in ways i had no clue of.  i was a small fish in a small pond…or it seemed to me.

once out of high school, i moved to the big city…..and became a very small fish in an ocean…..lost, alone and floundering to find myself and my community…….i lived there for many years and, yes through church and homeschooling, we made communities–but we kept everyone  at a distance, still…..

we bought our first home in a small town, but it was pretty much an outlying area of the metroplex….lots of commuters…heck. we commuted to church 4 or 5 times a week…an hours drive…..each way.

then.

we came to our current small town…..which is really small.  it is still close to the big city, but it is nestled in the middle of other small towns…they are all growing, but still on the small side….it has been a double edged sword for me…..

it took some getting used to, going to the grocery store and running into people you knew….creating a relationship with the checkers (remember the amount of people in our home)–since the neighborhood walmart has become more like an extended pantry for me….

the nice side, is that my kids have made relationships that i know will last a lifetime.  we joined a neighborhood church…which was very fun and somewhat settling to this rambling heart…that sometimes feels like there is no ‘home’…..

the day we moved in….i was in the process of miscarrying a baby…..news got out in that {not so} little church and i had about 7 ladies show up on my door step with food and able bodies to help unpack boxes and get my home in order….what a huge blessing that was and still is when i think of it…..

we have neighbors that i know we can call on and count on in a pinch…i love that.

it also has had its drawbacks…..while going through a horrific time with my divorce, i lost {what i thought were} friends….lost my reputation….lost my job, lost the eye contact of neighbors who didn’t know what to say or how to address the situation…or me….or my kids……knew of the gossip….all the while trying to survive…..it was (and has been) horrible….

i have been blessed beyond measure this week in watching this small town….

you see….there was last weekend a horrible accident that took 2 young lives and altered 2 more.  2 kids that *i* don’t know personally, but my kids do….one of the boys that passed went to ‘our’ high school….college with one of my children….he was the son of one of my little girl’s teachers.  so incredibly sad…..and yet.

yesterday.

we got a recorded call from the elementary principal to all parents…..of course the staff wants to be at the funeral to support this family and grieve with them….but how do you do that????  I hadn’t thought of it until this call…..

this one call blessed my socks off……

seems the neighboring elementary school teachers are banding together to cover their school AND our school to allow these teachers to go to the funeral….volunteers have stepped in to fill the gaps….food is there…prayer is there….i talked to another friend that said this family had not been left on their own at any one point of this tragedy…..

there are so many life lessons that have come through this situation…..i could write a book….from my children (ALL of them and their different ages) to how i as a parent handle my children…..and on and on……

and….

back to my point:)

this brings a whole new meaning to small town to me…this is how we are to live….taking care of one another….standing with one another, supporting one another….loving one another….in the midst of pain…no matter the cause….

image credit:  google images

Janette@Janette's Sage - February 22, 2012 - 4:46 pm

Amen..so well said and shares your heart…been there also when the hurts around move in and you see community become what it was meant to be..the good part.

You header picture of the family is wonderful…blessings and hugs.

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chicken salad

i had the privilege of having some chicken salad with an old friend and a few of her friends when we met up for lunch in Canton….that’s a whole ‘nother post….make that 2 posts….one on canton and one on my friend Kaye.  well.  eating her chicken salad reminded me that i had taken pictures of my recipe last year and had never posted it.  we had it for dinner tonight and it is always a favorite….so again, i was reminded that i had the fixings not only for food, but for giving you the recipe.

i think i got this recipe originally from the pantry diner in downtown mckinney.  i think i have said before that one of my favorite things to do is to try to replicate something i really like.  so, after a few tries and kids taste testing…we came up with our own version of it….

it has become the go to recipe for picnics, lake days, travel days, you name it, it works 😉  we usually have it with club crackers, just to make it easier to pack and eat on the go.  we have been eating gluten free for a while now, so we have it with rice crackers.  it is VERY good!  on of my kids favorite ways to eat it is just to digit with chips and veggies….i am always a popular person when this is on the menu……you would think i would make it more…….

chicken salad

  • 1 rotisserie chicken (this is a much, MUCH easier way to do this….)
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, cooled and chopped
  • 2 cups red grapes, halved, or if very large, quartered
  • 1 cup of  mayonnaise, sour cream, greek yogurt or a mixture of any or all
  • and for my secret ingredient–juice of 1 lemon
  • salt to taste
  • and for my secret, secret ingredient–1/4 cup water

strip, shred or chop the chicken….combine all ingredients except the water…mix well….add the water and mix to a good spreadable consistency….you can add more dressing as you desire….

serve on bread, with crackers or on top of salad greens.

 

i will tell you…..when i grocery shop, i try to get it all done in one day.  when i actually get that done 😐 i am beat when it is all said and done.  and we usually have to grab some food out….kinda defeats the purpose of grocery shopping, wouldn’t ya say?  so.  i decided i would buy a rotisserie chicken (the last i bought 2 to have enough for chicken salad, also) and i cook some version of quinoa, and a veggie or two.  it has become an easy {maybe not cheapest} way to have dinner in on shopping days….

 

Kaye @House on Oak Street - February 20, 2012 - 3:33 pm

Yum!! Love your new look!! So glad we got to lunch together! Love you!

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the ruts

in junior high and highschool, i lived in a house that was on a dirt road.  it looked pretty much like this.  one time…i was babysitting when a huge thunderstorm came through.  it rained and rained….and the parents were out pretty late.  when it came time for the husband to drive me home, he went the ‘short-cut’….which was the dirt road.  we got about 5 feet off the main road and we got stuck.  he tried and tried to get us out of the mud….and his back and forth efforts just got us in deeper and deeper.

we had no other option than to get out and walk.  through the mud. through the rain. through the thunder and lightening.  i took off my shoes and trudged through the mud….about a mile down the road to home. up to my knees in mud.  as you can tell…that was a night to remember…or not 😉

but.  as i am walking through some things…god brought this memory back to me…..

my thoughts, you see…are like these ruts in a road…only they are in my brain….

seems my negativity (or positive thoughts for that matter) make little paths in my brain….and the more i have those thoughts the deeper those ruts get…

so.

my project of late….as in the past few years….has been to work on those negative comments and thoughts and turn them into positive, truth bearing comments and thoughts.

and.

it is hard.

that is where this picture came to mind.  you know how hard it is to drive on a road with deep ruts in it?  and how you have to concentrate to keep the car from falling into the ruts?  you know that you really want to drive on the higher, smoother part of the road, but if you don’t watch it, you fall right back into the ruts….that is where i am living right now….i am having to purpose to stay so focused on my thoughts…and the things i speak–over me and my family…over anyone for that matter…..it is a hard task…but one i know will produce great fruit……

I am purposing to make new {ruts} in my brain….to speak truth to myself and to my children and husband and friends….to focus on: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phillippians 4:8)

some great reading resources for this are:  Who shut off my brain, by Dr. Caroline Leaf and Scripture meditations by Harrison House publishers….both of these things have helped me understand what is going on in me when I have negative vs positive thoughts and how to work this into my life in a practical way.

what helps you????

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stephanie - January 30, 2012 - 7:43 pm

What helps me is trying to do as you. Without leaving a long story, I simply try to feel what I need to with the memory (it’s there for a reason). I consider if this memory is something I can “fix” or not. And then try to learn something positive from it. I have had my share of “ruts” that I’ve gotten stuck in. I’ve learned that some thoughts are reoccurring with what activity I do; so I’ve learned to think about positive things while doing things I may repeat.
Very inspiring post. Thank you for sharing!!

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