Taking myself back home

I have been thinking and thinking over the past couple weeks of what I should write for my monthly post on AMH.  I must admit, I am fresh out of lofty words of wisdom and stimulating insights.  Frankly, I am tired.  I am tired, because God has been doing a huge work in me over these past few months through various situations and circumstances.  He is turning me inside out (again) and upside down in order to continue the work He began in me these 20 years ago when He called me to Himself.  Yes, it’s good, but it’s exhausting as well.

So what is this season all about – this topsy turvey time of blessed sanctification?   Well, it’s about coming home – and I don’t mean that in an ethereal, metaphorical sense – I mean, I need to take myself back home to my kids and my husband to my calling there.  For years, I have been finding my place more outside the home – in ministry, in projects, in spending time with friends – all good things in and of themselves.  But in putting my time and energy and  in these things, I found myself resentful of my family because I didn’t have anything left for them.  Thoughts filled my head like, “Eat???  Again???  Why do I have to keep feeding you people???”, and “Can’t you see I’m reading – don’t talk to me when I have my nose buried in a book – It’s MY time”, and “If I hear one more person say my name, and that includes MOM, I am going to bang my head against the wall until it explodes.”

See?  Not good – not good at all.  But as the Lord has been showing me that instead of trying to give my family what is left over – which was basically nothing- I needed to reorient my heart and, well, life, to give to them first and if I had anything left over for ministry, projects, and friends, then great.

This process of reorientation has been hard – but has also been a great source of freedom and life.  I am finding more desire and time to sit before the Lord each day – because I am not running around trying to do all those other things for other people that I thought were so important.  I need His pouring into me through His Word so I can have the grace to do what He is calling me to do each day.  I am finding I have more patience with my kids and a desire to shepherd and disciple them – to see them grow more and more into the likeness of Christ.  I want to be a part of that.  What a privilege and honor to be used by God in the shaping of these little disciple. I have a better attitude about caring for my family and managing my home – it has even helped me to ask for help more instead of taking on the role of a martyr.  I am finding joy and satisfaction in the calling of motherhood – something I have not had for a very long time.

This is not to say I am not to serve others outside of the home – of course, in fact I will find times that I must do so,  just from the role of being a help and support to my pastor/husband as well as a friend.  But my first ministry is the care, nurture and discipleship of my family.  My first-fruits of time and energy must go to them and they must get nothing less than my best.

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Into the Yard

Dear 13 year old Kela,

Being holed up in your room for hours on end does not make for a fun time!
Take a look at all of the neighborhood kids that are in your yard playing with your siblings.

Why don’t you go join them in that game of 4-square?
I know full well how hot the Florida sun can be, but you can’t be comfortable ALL the time.
Little do you know that you will have six children in the future; vibrant and fun-loving children.
They will beg for you to come outside and play; draw on the sidewalk with chalk, jump rope, chase them around the house, push them on the swing. What do you do, sit inside and watch them as your life slips by. Go!

Cultivate that togetherness. It’ll only last a few moments.
Sincerely and Lovingly,Your 37 year old self
Thankfully there is still time for me to enjoy my children OUTSIDE. It’s time to get movin’!

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Killer Queso

This is hands-down our favorite queso, ever. It is very much a myriad of wonderful flavors coming together in your mouth.  Killer Queso is great addition to your tail-gating or gatherings with friends!

1 can cream of chicken soup
¾ c. evaporated milk
1 – 7 oz. can diced green chilies
2 T. minced jalapeños
1 – 4 oz. jar chopped pimientos, drained
1 t. ground cumin
1 – 1 oz. pkg. ranch dip mix
1 can Ro*tel tomatoes
1 lb. Velveeta, cut into cubes
¼ c. minced fresh cilantro
Minced fresh cilantro for garnish
Tortilla Chips for dipping

Combine soup, evaporated milk, green chilies, jalapenos, pimiento, cumin, dip mix, and Ro*tel in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently. When bubbly, add cheese and cilantro, and stir until cheese melts and mixture is combined. Be sure to keep the heat low, and stir constantly after adding the cheese to prevent scorching. Serve warm with tortilla, reheating as needed.

From Molly Fowler, The Dining Diva, in Menus for Entertaining

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Mer’s Spinach-Artichoke Dip

I am a spinach artichoke dip aficionado.  If it’s available at a restaurant, I get it.  And among all the wonderful ones I have tasted, this recipe my friend Meredith shared with me is by far the most EXCELLENT. You should definitely make some for your next gathering.

1/4 c. butter plus scant amount for greasing dish
1 med. onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, cut in chunks
1/2 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
8 oz. bag four cheese Mexican shredded cheese

Melt butter in skillet; add onions and garlic. Sauté until tender. Add spinach and cook 3 minutes. Add artichokes, cream cheese, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese, stirring until cheeses melt. Spoon into greased 2 qt. baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 10-12. From Meredith. The best artichoke dip we’ve ever tasted!

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