Why do I Have to Clean YOUR House?

My children are getting older, as evidenced very clearly yesterday at the breakfast table.  While discussing the plans of the day and the chores that would need to be completed in the morning, our 8-year-old son was given his tasks of cleaning the living room and office.  He immediately asked me, “Why do I have to clean your house?  It’s not my house, it’s yours.  You don’t have to clean my truck.”  Oh wow.  My sweet, compliant child who loves to do as he is asked has decided he doesn’t WANT to do it!

Perhaps I should make it very clear that although he consistently challenged the rules to cleaning the house yesterday, he always did it politely.  But no amount of politeness would have removed the surprise from my face!  I stammered and stuttered, then turning to Caleb, asked, “You want to answer that one?”

Now, this is something I love about my man.  It’s one of those things that makes me eternally grateful that he is my man!  He doesn’t get fluttered about little things like this very easily.  I could easily flare up, demanding of the child, “What do you mean??  You eat at my table, wear the clothes I give you, etc. etc, and you want to know why you have to do a couple chores??!!”  But not Caleb.  What a blessing to have a man like him!

He simply looked at Isaac, and replied with a slight smile, “That’s a good question!  But you know, we all work together on the house to show others that we love them.  It’s like giving someone else a present.  Every time you put away Ethan’s blocks, you are giving him a present.  When you pick up Elly’s coat, you are showing you love her.  When you are cleaning the living room, Elly is putting away the dishes that you ate out of.  She is giving you a present at the same time!  And if you want, I will wash your truck.  I want to show you that I love you, and maybe I could wash your truck real nicely, then wrap it up, and bring it to you!  Wouldn’t that be great.”

Wow.  I hope someday to be like him.

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Enjoy Liver?

How many of us actually like to eat liver?  The answer is probably ‘not many’!  But, us healthy Mama’s out there, who understand the benefits of such a health food try to cram it down our throats.  At least, I do, especially when I’m pregnant.  (Which, is not now, but oh well.)

And then, throwing aside the health benefits, those of us who raise our own livestock and poultry have even more reason to eat the liver.  After all, it is more meat after all the hard work of raising the animal!  We have now processed pig, sheep, cow, duck, and chicken.  Total up all the livers, and that’s a lot of meals we’d be throwing away if we didn’t eat it!  Notwithstanding all the benefits, the problem still comes down to:  How am I going to get my family to EAT all this stuff???  Well, Necessity did it again.  I’ve finally come up with a recipe (of sorts, if you want to call it that) in which my family truly enjoys the liver!  Children will ask for several helpings, and we will easily finish up 3 quarts of Liver Stew in a single meal.

So, if you are wanting to get the benefits without the taste and texture of liver, here’s my recipe.  It’s important to understand, that, like all stews (at least all stews in my house!), this is not really an exact recipe, but rather a recipe with a few things that must be exact.  Feel free to experiment, but refer back to the notes I make.  There are a few things I found that really help with getting rid of the taste and texture of liver.

Liver Stew

Basic ingredients:

Liver, Vegetables, Grains, and Tomato Juice

~Be sure to cut the liver into itty-bitty pieces.  And I don’t mean small, I mean mini.  About 1/8″ or maybe up to 1/4″ cubed mini.  Really tiny.  The best ways to do this is either freeze the raw liver and cut it frozen, or boil the liver in water or juice until it’s mostly cooked through, then cut it.  Don’t try to cut raw, fresh liver.  It just doesn’t work.  I use about 1 pound of liver for every 1/2 gallon of stew that I make.

~ Use lots of different kinds of vegetables.  Carrots, corn, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, peas, and green beans are all ones I’ve used, and liked.  The essential part is to use several different kinds each time you make the stew.  The different tastes and textures of all the veggies help mask the liver.

~ Be sure to add a grain, such as barley or rice.  Personally, I like barley the best, and will use it in this stew every time if I have it!  Again, the reason for the grain is to mask the texture of the liver.

~ Essential:  Do NOT add water to your stew!  Use tomato juice.  The taste of tomato is strong enough to cover the liver somewhat, as long as it’s not watered down.  For a 1/2 gallon of finished product, you will probably need about 1/2 gallon of tomato juice.

~ Certainly add spices to your liking.  Since I do so much ‘winging it’, I’m not going to give exact amounts (I don’t know how much of anything I put in this stew!)  But, some spices I like to use are: salt, pepper, basil, thyme, oregano, and garlic (lots of garlic).  Occasionally I will add bit of beef bullion, just to help strengthen the ‘good’ flavors!

~ Usually I make this stew fairly hearty and kinda thick (although I do not thicken it with flour or corn starch)

And that’s all there is to it!  Certainly add a cornbread or rolls to round out a good (and good for you) meal.  Enjoy!

Thankful…

Today I am thankful for…

Dentists.

And more importantly, I’m thankful for the dentist appointment that is happening today to remove my wisdom tooth.  Not that I’m happy about having the dentist appointment, or will enjoy it in the least bit, but I will be thankful for it.  After all, the jaw problems I’ve been having for 7 months are soon going to disappear…

What are you thankful for today?

Angel Food Cake Lessons

The following is a blog post I’d written probably 2 years ago that never was published for some reason.  I found it in my stack of ‘drafts’ this morning, and thought I’d share it today.  Hope you enjoy it!  (No, I haven’t made an angel food cake now in a LONG time… maybe I need to.)

Most Sundays I make an angel food cake from scratch.  In my mind, this serves two purposes:  1) We get one last chance to celebrate the weekend  2) I get an opportunity to use up all those egg whites I’ve been saving through the week  (Someday I need to explain that one!  Another blog post.)    I’ve been realizing lately though, that I might just have 2 reasons, but maybe the LORD has a third reason for me.

You see, I love making angel food cake.  It’s easy and goes together very quickly!  I’m not one for having to wait or follow complicated steps.  There’s only one problem with the entire process.  Mixing the flour/sugar ingredients into the egg whites.  If you’ve never made an angel food cake, you need to understand that in order to not deflate the egg whites, one must mix the flour in very slowly and gently.  And you can’t just dump all the flour in at once.  No, only a quarter of the flour can be mixed in at one time!

Maybe you don’t have this problem, but it takes nearly all my willpower to sit there and very sloowwwly fold the flour into the batter.   The kids can’t drive me insane half as fast as folding flour into angel food cake batter can!  A couple weeks ago, while pushing myself through this process, our LORD opened my eyes to the fact that I’m so not patient.  It’s hard for me to wait on His leading in my life.  It’s hard for me to rest on the fact that He knows best, and will guide me little by little.  I want to know the end result NOW.

But, just like that angel food cake, my life can get flat and dull if I take charge, whipping it up as I see fit.  How often can I give an example of this!  So now, I’m thankful for the reminder of the angel food cake.  I’m thankful to remember to calm down, wait patiently, and enjoy the beautiful life our LORD has in store!

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.      ~Psalm 27:14

The Good Samaritan’s Stash

Caleb and I were reading through the account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) the other day, when something stuck out at me that I’d never considered before.  But first, let’s take a quick glance through this familiar story.

A man was traveling between two cities.  It was a treacherous road, full of thieves.  As he hurried along, he was suddenly jumped upon by robbers.  They stripped him, beat him, stole all that he had, and left him to die.  He was an ugly sight, laying in pools of his own blood, naked, and pitiful.  By and by, a church priest also came hurrying down the path.  He saw the bloody, beaten man.  Perhaps due to the man’s blood, or maybe due to the leader’s commitment,  or possibly because he was afraid of robbers himself, he decided not to help the poor, pitiful, beaten man.  Instead, he walked completely around the man, having to even go around a tree on the other side of the path to avoid coming near the wounded.  Not long after, another man came walking down the path.  This time it was a helper in the church.  This man followed the steps of the church leader, as he too walked off the path, around the tree, and avoided the bloody man entirely.  Finally, along came yet a third man.  This man was not a church leader, but rather one who had been rejected by the church.  He had his donkey with him, and he promptly got down upon seeing the beaten man, washed his wounds with oil and wine.  He set the poor man upon his own donkey, and walked to the city.  He then brought the wounded man to an inn, paid for care to be given to this man, and said that if the bills exceeded a certain amount, he would pay the rest when he came back later.

There is plenty to glean from this passage, and I encourage you to read through it again in Scripture if you haven’t in a while, but the verse that stuck out to me was the following:

“And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast,  and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”

It suddenly dawned on me that the Samaritan had prepared for a situation to come up!  He brought oil, and wine, and extra money.  He had an extra stash, a first-aid kit, to help out those who needed it.  I’ve often heard the moral that we need to help anyone we come across, which is true.  But how often have we thought of preparing for helping?

Our family lives on a main highway pretty far out in the country.  We are 30 minutes from town in either direction.  We are also 30 minutes from any grocery store, gas station, or anything else for that matter.  You might find plenty of cows pretty close to us, but that’s about it.  However, as I said, we do live on a busy highway.  It connects two of the larger towns (if any rural midwest town can be considered ‘larger’), and we have a substantial amount of traffic.  Several times since we have moved here, we have had people stop in our driveway for one need or another.  Possibly it’s as simple as asking directions.  Others ran out of gas when GPS told them to take the ‘shortcut’, and still others had flat tires.  It made us think.  Do we have extra gas on hand at all times?  Do we have a jack?  What about the little things?  Do we have disposable cups to give them a hot chocolate or ice tea to drink on their way?  Do we keep our home in such a way that we aren’t embarrassed to bring someone in for a few unexpected moments?  Are we practicing showing love to our family so that when a stranger comes, it is easy for us to know how to help him best?

I realize that not everyone has the same opportunities that we have.  But everyone has the opportunities appropriate for their own life.  Perhaps in your life it’s a stressed-out mom in the grocery store.  Do you have a little book or toy you could give the child to help occupy him while Mama shops?  Perhaps it’s an elderly couple walking in the rain without an umbrella or hat.  Do you have an extra one on hand that you can give them?  Perhaps it’s a young man caught up in the lusts of the world.  Do you have a simple, truthful tract you could hand out to him that he would appreciate reading?

I encourage you to think about what preparations are needed in your life.  Let’s each make a stash – A Good Samaritan Stash.