All Things are Possible

The past six months have been formative months for me.  I can say it no other way.  I have gone deeper with God, knowing that He alone can sustain the pressings of my heart. He is after all, the One who formed it.  He is forming it still. His Light has come and permeated the dark recesses of my heart. His power has amazed me.  His ability, astounded. His love has come and become my foundation–firmly establishing me in Him.

One afternoon in March, I had time for a shower.  The sun was gently filling the room. My heart was heavy–burdened with prayer.  Of the many heavinesses upon my heart was the daily knowledge that we owed property taxes.  They were not in our main mortgage.  We owed over $3,300!  And from where it would come, I had no idea. So I had daily been bringing this heavy weight to God.

This particular day, I prayed–almost jokingly, but not–for a fish with a coin in its mouth with our property taxes. Now, I often hear from (in my heart) and talk to God in the shower. With four kids, it is an uninterrupted place for me. So as I showered, I heard Him speak plainly, “Be at peace.  I have taken care of this for you.”

From that place, I hoped I heard right and I made some decisions for the summer to not work–to be present and available for our children. It was a hard choice, because I am thinking, “$3,300!  Where will it come from?”

Time passed…still no clue where the taxes would come from.  They are due by the first week of June, which is right now. I began working for other goals the Lord had placed in my heart: being present with the kids, de-cluttering our home, down-sizing our stuff and finally getting rid of this weight I have carried–for years now, really. On the morning of May 23, I had my morning time with God–praying, reading my Bible and devotionals, praying more.  I felt led to pray something particular, “Lord, today I am looking for the treasures You have for me.”  Simple, right? Well, He knew I was looking for Him, watching to see Him work and show the strength of His mighty arm on our behalf.

I loaded up the kids to go to the YMCA, dropped them off to their designated places and I went to the upright bicycle with the scriptures I am memorizing, as I am planning to be at the SSMT event in January with Joanne. As I listened to TobyMac, I read these words from Tozer opposite my scripture verse, “God has said, ‘I AM THAT I AM’ (Ex 3:14), and we can only repeat in reverence, ‘O God Thou art.”

As I prayed, as I listened, my phone buzzed with a text from Chris: “Whoop! Property taxes are paid. Call me.” You better believe I bowed my head in thanks right then and there.  I sat there stunned.  After my workout I called.  Apparently when they restructured our loan in February, they included these taxes.  We had no idea they were being paid.  Before we called, He answered!

I stand amazed in the Presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean, singing How marvelous! How wonderful!  And my song shall ever be!  How marvelous!  How wonderful! is my Savior’s love for me! (and you!!)

Got some hard life?  Got some trouble? Some worries?  Some great concerns? Cast ALL your cares on Him.  He cares for you.  And if you hear His still small voice consoling your heart and telling you He has taken care of it, BELIEVE HIM! All things are possible!

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Shrimp Dip

This is a Smith family favorite!  Every holiday at my Chris’ parents’ home, his sister Angela will begin making this.  And we will all hover around her like vultures waiting for it to be finished. So usually the refrigerate for 2 hours part does not happen…it’s just that good.

1 bar cream cheese
1 large carton sour cream
1 pkg. Good Season’s Italian dressing (dry)
2 (4 1/2 oz.) cans shrimp
2 t. lemon juice
1 can cream of shrimp soup

Thoroughly blend cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and dressing mix with a blender. With a spoon, mix in soup and shrimp. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Great with Wheat Thins or Triscuit crackers (fire-roasted tomato are our favorite!).

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Anna Brown’s Beef, Onion & Guinness Pie

When my friend Sue shared this recipe and told how good it was, we went out that day to get the supplies.  It did not disappoint!

Approx. 3.3 pounds Shin Beef, cut into 2” cubes
2 medium onions peeled and sliced
1 T. flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 c. Guinness
1 c. beef stock
I pack ready-roll puff pastry

Place the cubed shin beef and the onion in a casserole dish and coat with the seasoned flour. Pour in the Guinness and the stock and bring to simmer gently on the hob. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and place in an oven preheated to 140 Celsius for at least 2 ½ hours until beef is tender.

Cook pastry as per the pack instructions, cut into individual portions about 5” by 5” square. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and spring greens.

For this recipe be sure to use shin beef as it is well suited to the long slow cooking process. Stewing steak tends to disintegrate, as opposed to shin beef which has gelatinous fibres running through it. From my dear friend Sue, who shared it from this link St. Patrick’s Day 2010.

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Fried Chicken Salad

One evening, my Chris concocted this wonderful salad.  Using funnel cake batter, he covered and fried the chicken. Then he put it on a salad and called it healthy.  And…um…well, it isn’t healthy really. But it is very good!

2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs (separate from below)
2 c. milk
1.5 lbs. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 c. canola oil plus 2 T. butter (or 1 1/2 c. bacon grease)
1 head Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium onion, minced
3 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
French dressing to taste

In a mixer, blend together flour, baking powder, 2 eggs (not boiled), milk, cinnamon and salt. Stir in chicken pieces.

In a large frying pan or stock pot, heat bacon grease over medium high heat for about 3 minutes. Add chicken pieces in a single layer, cooking for 3 1/2 minutes on each side (’til golden brown) until all are done. Place fried chicken in a bowl lined with a paper towel to soak up the grease.

 In a large bowl, toss lettuce, onions, tomatoes and boiled and sliced eggs. Serve in individual bowls, adding a generous amount of chicken and French dressing (or your favorite) to taste.

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