Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beef Stew

This morning I got a pot of stew in the oven and the house smells so good. It would be great if I could bottle this scent! This is a great recipe for a day when you know you will be at home, it's blustery cold out and you want to knock the socks off your family with a savory meal. There are a couple of keys to a great stew, the first is that you dredge the meat in seasoned flour and brown it. The second is using a cast iron pan in a low-heat oven.

2# beef stew meat (you can cut up a chuck roast, steaks or other roast as well)
1/2c flour
1tsp. salt
1/4tsp pepper
1tsp. paprika
2T olive oil
2T butter
4c beef broth (I use 4c water + 1T beef base)
1c red wine
1-14oz can stewed or diced tomatoes(we hate chunks of tomatoes so I whip in the mini chopper)
1tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1tsp garlic cloves, minced
fresh ground pepper
carrots, potatoes, onions and peas to preference, pealed & chopped in the same size pieces as the beef

Heat the pot well, over med heat so you don't burn the oil and  butter. Cut up beef. Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a plastic zip bag. Put meat in bag and coat well with flour mix. Place 1T butter and olive oil in pan, brown half the meat and remove to plate. Do with other half of oil, butter and meat. Remove all the meat. Add water, beef base, wine, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, garlic and fresh ground pepper, bring to boil (make sure to mix well and scrape the beautiful bits of crusty meat, butter and flour off the bottom). Once it has boiled add meat and stick in 250 degree oven, the longer the better! A couple of hours before you are ready to serve the meal add the vegetables, I like to taste the juice at this point to see if it needs any salt. Potatoes always taste better if salt is added when they cook, not after. Cook an additional couple of hours. Cornbread and a salad or coleslaw is a great accompaniment for this. The stew is terribly hot when you take it out of the oven, so it can stand to sit while you bake your cornbread.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who am I?

Our church has been reading the book, 30 Days to Live. One thought that has struck me in this book is that our society promotes mediocrity focusing on improving our weakness's. We tend to try and bring our weakness's up to average and ignore our strengths. During my quiet time this morning I wrote in my journal who I am and my strengths. It was so encouraging! So many times I foolishly look around me to see what I should be instead of looking clearly at what I have already been made. I would highly suggest each person take a few minutes to evaluate who they were made to be in strength and be encouraged. Just for fun here is what I came up with.

I am a daughter of the great King Jesus, excited to proclaim his truth and encourage my sisters in His word. Contemplating His truth, design, and order drive me to obey Him and submit. How I love to safely be in His fold, obeying His laws. I am thankful for my heavenly Father and the freedom I have in His law.

I am a wife who loves to encourage and challenge her husband in submission to his authority. I enjoy serving him so he can be free to do and be who God wills him to be. I love to joyfully create an atmosphere for my man to rest and and be refreshed by.

I am a mother gifted in teaching, loving to watch my children grow in their individual relationships Jesus. I enjoy creating a healthy, disciplined environment for my girls to thrive securely in.

I am a daughter and friend grateful for the beautiful relationships around me. I am honest, maybe too honest with those around me! Serving those near me brings me great joy especially if I can feed them, or enourage them with the Lord's truth.

Eating well, living healthfully, cooking, reading, quilting and trying new things with Pete and the girls are some of my personal interests. I especially like to read books that grow me and challenge me or teaching me something new. I like relaxing, coffee and being helpful. It is a trial to be waited on! I like pedicures, good deals and Jane Austin style British movies. I am blissful for the first 5 minutes after the house has been completely cleaned.

I also know what I am not. I am not casual, as much as I may try my strength does not lie in small talk, and being laid back. I love children but I do not enjoy managing many of them at the same time, I am easily overwhelmed.

Take the time to really look at your strengths and design. I hope you'll be as encouraged as I am!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Practicing For Eternity

Submit: To surrender; to yield one's person to the power of another; to give up resistance. Websters 1828 Dictionary

Obey: To comply with the commands, orders, or instructions of a superior.

Websters 1828

Obedience: Doing what your told, when your told with a good attitude

Kim Doebler

On more than one occasion I have heard that we can think of this life as the training grounds for eternity. This has always sounded reasonable to me, but I have never really thought on it much, until today. As I was talking with a friend about submitting to our husbands the thought struck me that our submission in our earthly marriage is our training ground for our submission to our eternal husband. In addition it is one of our most obvious pictures of God's relationship played out in an earthly relationship.
As believers in Jesus Christ we have many opportunities to speak for him and to model his love in action. Perhaps the most striking models of His love and character will be in our marriages and parenting. On our own we can have his traits and show them, but in our relationship with others we truly reflect the relationship principles of the Lord. God is always working in triune relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In most relationships on earth their is a triune as well. If you have a healthy relationship under God it will reflect the beauty and freedom of living within a chain of command and triune.
Marriage is an excellent example of God's order. At the tip of the triune triangle is God, one corner is the husband and the other corner is women. Man and women both point toward and live under God, with women taking direction and submitting to God and man. When each component of this model is in the proper place amazing things happen. Men are free to be who they were created to be and are able to live up to God's commands. Women are protected and free to do what they were created to do without struggling to usurp power. God is honored and enjoyed!
Often times when we speak of submitting to another sinful human (our husbands) I hear the underlying attitude of, "how can I submit to HIM, HE can't do anything right and will surely lead me into ruin, my agenda will not be considered and things will just not work!" or perhaps there is the blatant statement I've heard as well, "well, he is just not the leading type, he just doesn't do anything, what am I suppose to do nothing?" I think it's interesting that God in his divine word does not put exceptions on women respecting and submitting. He doesn't tell us that we only have to submit to a natural born leader, or a decisive man. He simply tells us to respect and submit to the man He has joined us with. Our job is not to be judge of whether our husband's are capable of leading, it is simply to follow and obey no matter what the circumstance or situation save if we are asked to go against God's laws.
When we do get the courage and power from the Holy Spirit to submit to the sinful man He's joined us with how do we start? I clearly remember when I chose to start submitting to Pete no matter what the outcome would be. It was a trial for me to truly believe that things would work out for the best. In my heart I was not able to see how submission would work, but I chose to believe God's word and submit anyway. When a decision needed to be made I wouldn't make it. When something needed to be done I wouldn't nag I would try and sweetly as possible mention it and then I chose at every opportunity to believe that my husband would do well and to encourage. The results were astounding. My mild mannered, quiet go with the flow man suddenly turned into a vibrant, more confident man who got things accomplished. I don't recall the individual items that he did that didn't get done before or the specifics. I just recall how my attitude changed towards him. Where I had not had hope in him, now I did and where I thought he was "not the leading type" I realized he was!
After several years of growing in submission to my husband I can truly say that God's way works. I believe that God blessed my submission and Pete's willingness to lead. With great conviction I believe that God will take a poor decision made by a husband in his effort to lead and bless it. If his wife submits and is humble to the husbands leading, again I have seen the Lord blesses the situation. It is a true comfort and need of mothers and wives to have a man who will make the decisions and shoulder the responsibility. I can't count the times I have struggled with a parenting issue, teaching problem or relationship dilemma where Pete has been able to step in and shed light and wisdom on the situation. Guaranteed if I was to proceed on my own there would not be nearly as much success. I simply have too many emotions that lead me astray, my husband brings clarity!
I love the lessons that I have learned over the years in submitting to Pete. However, I know that I have only begun to see what a true heart of respect and obedience looks like. I have so far to go, yet I trust that God will continue to grow me in this area as I choose to obey and submit moment by moment.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Overwhelmed and Tired

I confess I did not get up on time this morning, when I did finally get up I wasn't completely ready to great my little ones for the day. In all truth I still just want to crawl back in bed and take a nap. This is one of those days where I ask myself a hundred time, "how am I going to make it through!"

As a wife, disciple, mother and homeschool teacher the demands of the day can look terrifying at times. Most days are manageable and I can look at them with confidence, on the other days, I need something more than motivation. I would like to think a shot of espresso could do this, but that's not strong enough. The only thing that can get me through days like these is the Lord's power. Often times after evaluating where the exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed are coming from a realization strikes me, I have not been living in His power. On my own I tend to frantically rush from one to do item to the next and get frustrated when something comes between me and checking off things on my list. Is this the same list the Lord would have for me? Umm...probably not. His standards are not human standards.

A human believes she can get up at the crack of dawn; take a quick shower and end up looking radiant; cook wholesome delectable meals; have a spotless house; teach an exciting, educationally stimulating school day; manage the families extra activities with vibrancy and grace; serve each and every person she sees in need; and still have time left over to love on her man and keep him enthralled with her! Written here I know this sounds so stupid, but honestly in my power, of my standard this really is what I expect. His word places a high standard before us, but the truth is, it is not to be met by us in our power. In His strength, of His will and in His timing we can accomplish what He has before us. If I am willing to put aside these silly expectations and ask him to be in each part of my day so much more gets done. When I give Him the first place on my agenda and in my heart, he makes my day stretch to so much more than I could ever do alone! Yet, I find that I fall into my old ladies ways of trying to control it myself.

Having a quiet time to start the day is the first decision that leads to a more peace filled day. It isn't a cure all as I still can feel like there are a million things to fit into a little bit of time. It amazes me how God really does answer prayer. If I can remember to stop fretting and being anxious and get on my knees and let go, God answers and blesses that release. I laid all of the days worries and frustrations at the Lord's feet and he took care of it today. What a relief it was to look back at two completely different portions of the day. The beginning was stressful, frustrating and awkward in my power. After I prayed I got done way more than I could have imagined and felt re-energized. Thank You Lord, for showing me in such an obvious way so quickly that your plan is so much better than mine!!