Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fiesta Biscuit Casserole



I have never been a fan of cooking or anything that pertains to it: recipe hunting, meal planning, ingredient shopping, meal prep, etc.  In fact, I think I would rather scrub a toilet if given the choice.  Yes, I am being serious and no I am not proud of this fact:).

On the other hand, surprisingly, it does bring me great joy to feed my family and our guests in spite of this blaring flaw of mine, so we trudge along with our boring staples year after year.  My poor family. 

The meals that I cook must be easy to prepare, have few ingredients and hopefully taste decent...which isn't always an easy combination to pull off.   I don't have much time but, I do enjoy flavor.
 
Once or twice a week I will try out a new and easy recipe in hopes that we find a magical meal that our entire family enjoys (very difficult!) and then we can add it to our staples.  Last week we made this tasty, Fiesta Biscuit casserole and everyone enjoyed it. I modified it a tad and used a sweet cornbread mix instead of biscuits as I am not a big biscuit fan.  The sweet cornbread created a perfect balance with the salty casserole mix in my opinion.  I also put the cheese on top of the casserole only for the last five minutes that it cooked in the oven.  This kept the cheese from getting crunchy and instead kept it soft and melted...the way our family prefers it. 

There are so many ways that this casserole can be modified to suit your taste buds.  That's why I like it!

So, if you are like me and you desperately need simple meals to feed your family...This is an easy and hearty, fall recipe addition for anyone that enjoys a southern style casserole. 

You can find the link to the recipe here

or simply follow these super easy instructions.
Prep time: 15 min Cook time: 25 min Servings: 6
  • 1 ½ lb ground beef
  • 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 cans (15–16 oz) ranch style beans
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar
  • 2 cups biscuit baking mix
  • ½ cup water

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cook ground beef and tomatoes in large skillet until beef is browned.
  3. Mix in corn, beans, and ½ cup of the cheese.
  4. Pour mixture into casserole dish.
  5. Combine baking mix and water in a medium bowl, and pour over the meat/bean mixture.
  6. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Not Perfect


23" For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;
24 But, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." 
Romans 3:23-24

News Flash.

Christians are not perfect.

I mean, you already knew that right?

I hope you didn't ever get the impression that I thought I was perfect?  

Because, Christians are SO not perfect. 

We make lots of mistakes.  

We sin in our anger.

We covet.  We lust.  We think impure thoughts. 

We lie.  We cheat...you name it.  

We do things we shouldn't.

We look at things we shouldn't.  

We struggle with lots of stuff.  

We are broken. 

We are a mess.

But, at some point on our sinful journey we recognized our desperate need for a Savior.  
We finally saw our sin for what it was and we realized, WOW....I'm a hot mess.   

We were finally able to see that no one is truly good...no not one.    

We looked around at the glorious creation surrounding us and thought...there is just no way that this perfect balance just came to be.  

There is no way that life could be this miraculously designed without the existence of one able to do the miraculous. 

We felt a strong tug on our hearts...a beckoning, a warm and radiant embrace.  

We took a step of faith and asked Jesus to take the reigns in our life.  Surrendered control.  

We began to read our Bibles with a new sense of urgency and saw just how perfectly the dots lined up when viewed through scripture. 

 It's not as cheesy as it sounds.  But, it is mind blowing and eye opening.  

The meaning of life reached exponential depths and everything became shockingly vibrant.  

We never became perfect nor will we ever be.

But, we got covered for life.  We got forgiven because, we saw our desperate need for it. 

Every day we learn.  We fall.  We grow.  We trust in someone who never failed.

Jesus was in fact perfect and there is none wiser. 

So who else could better set the standard for morality and what is truly good? 

Man's morality changes with the tides and has no stable foundation.  

Man's definition of good is incredibly full of holes.  Have you ever really thought about that? 

Churches aren't full of perfect people.

Churches are just full of people.

People that want to learn more about the purpose of life.

People that are terribly broken and have come to realize that only one man can really put the pieces in their lives back together. 

People that finally surrendered to the tug on their hearts.

People that have asked Christ into their hearts.

People that want Him to take the lead.  People that love him and are deeply, passionately and infinitely LOVED by Him

So, please don't be so quick to judge a Christian.  

And Christians please don't be so quick to judge one another.  

Can't we just be real?

We are all on an imperfect journey with a perfect Jesus.  

And we are all in different places on that journey.  

And whew.

Jesus died for all of us sinners.

Even me.
YEAH!! 

I can't tell you how thankful I am.

If you haven't ever asked him to take the reigns in your life,

If your mind is open to the realization that maybe something is in fact missing...

I promise you don't have to get all your stuff together first.

You don't have to be perfect or anywhere near it.

You don't have to be fake or hide who you really are.

Just come.

  Call on Jesus.  
Then we can be sinners saved by Jesus together.
It's that simple. 

When I say ... "I am a Christian,"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'.
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."
When I say… "I am a Christian,"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble,
And need CHRIST to be my guide.
When I say ... "I am a Christian,"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak,
And need HIS strength to carry on.
When I say ... "I am a Christian,"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed,
And need God to clean my mess.
When I say ... "I am a Christian,"
I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible,
But God believes I am worth it.
When I say ... "I am a Christian,"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches,
So I call upon His name.
When I say ... "I am a Christian,"
I'm not holier than thou.
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace somehow.
                                                                       Maya Angelou

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Because of a Storm


I recently read this profound quote by C.S. Lewis from his book, A Grief Observed:
 
 “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” 


We may think that we know the quality of our faith but, unless it is tested how do we really know?  A house of cards can stand effortlessly and in oblivion until the wind blows and the waves crash. 


Consider another C.S. Lewis Quote: 
"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it?” 

Peter had good intentions when he stepped out of the boat and attempted to walk across the water towards Jesus.  He wanted to follow Jesus.  He loved Jesus.  He believed in Jesus and he was brave enough to step out..but, then his eyes got distracted by the winds and the storm, he was filled with fear and he began to sink.  He cried out to Jesus to save him and ever faithful, Jesus stretched out his hand and saved Peter from drowning.  [Matthew 14]
Good ol' Peter.  So human and feeble like so many of us.  I can't tell you how much I love that the Bible is crammed full of stories of real people just like you and I who struggled, doubted and had to be saved.  What would we do without Jesus? 

Peter started out with the best of intentions but, it took a storm to reveal his doubts and his fears.  I'm quite certain that this near drowning experience was a life lesson that Peter would never forget.  Don't focus on the storm Peter it will only cause you to fear and doubt.  Focus on Jesus Peter.  You will sink when you take your eyes off Jesus Peter.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.  The storm is dark, deceiving and full of death.  Don't look to the left or to the right Peter or you might stumble. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Jesus saves.  Jesus always saves.

In the storm, Peter doubted.  Peter was fearful.  Peter was a bit of a fool.  Peter was human.  

but,

Jesus saved him and would not let him drown.

and after the storm passed, 

 "when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Because of a storm, 

They trusted who Jesus was and they worshiped him for it.  



Friday, October 11, 2013

Never Give Up

Don't give up. 

Even if your steps are small.  Even if you can't take a step at all. 

Fall.

Into His love.  

Focus on the light in the tunnel.  If darkness has swallowed it up, know His light.

It's there. Always.

Don't let it go.

It's yours to keep and no one can take it from you.

Rest and breath and then rest some more.

Set boundaries.  Honor them.

When no one understands.  He does.

Don't run away.  Run Home.

Home.    

Ragged and weary.  Broken and torn. 

You will never be turned away.

There is no greater love.  

Come Home.  
<

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Heart Melts When She Gets It

Teaching a 3 year old to share is like trying to teach a dog that sticking his head out the window while driving down the road is not the best thing in the world...it feels impossible some days.

I've also decided that this is how God must feel about most grown ups.  He patiently and endlessly gives us little and big life lessons to teach us valuable things and most days we flounder and fail because we are so hard headed...until that one day when something sinks in and we grow a little more.   I bet God gather's the angels and says, "Did you guys see that (jumping up and down with excitement)?? It's a miracle.  Wow. She finally got it.  That took forever!"  Kidding of course but seriously, God must have a lot of gray hair from all the stress we put him through (wink). 

 Then there are those little glimmers of change and progress that roll in like the changing seasons when you least expect.  They remind you that parenting is a life long adventure with exponential rewards that overwhelm your heart with tremendous joy.

My little miss was making a birthday card for her preschool teacher at home this past Sunday.  I was hoping she would be willing to share one of her special candies with her teacher.  The card just needed a little something but, of course my child didn't agree. Daisy was the opposite of thrilled and the typical 3 year old melt down ensued.  All I wanted to do was make a cute card for her teacher..."aint nobody got time for that."

I can't tell you how exhausting it is some days to teach the same lesson to a tiny, stubborn person over and over and OVER again...in love of course, great love with patience sprinkled on top.  

At this particular moment we decided to shift gears and take a little family walk and get some fresh air...and perspective.  While on the walk, I briefly told Daisy a little story about Jesus and how he shares all of His gifts with us because sharing means that you love someone so much.  I told her that Jesus shares everything and I want to be more like him.  Short and sweet.

Honestly, I didn't even know if she heard a word of what I said.  She never responded and seconds later she was talking about trees or squirrels or something of that nature.  

But, when we got home she came running up to me with a sucker in her hand...her favorite candy in the bag.  Excitedly she taped her precious candy inside the card for her teacher.  I was in a state of shock, my eyes wide like saucers, my mouth gaping open.   

I asked her, "why did you decide to give your teacher a candy darlin'?" To which she replied, "Because I want to share with her because I love her." 

Melt my heart into a big soppy puddle of Mommy emotion.

We still have a long ways to go of course but, this was without a doubt one of those priceless parenting moments that I just don't want to forget. 

Daisy, this post is for you.   Someday when you read it, I just want you to know how proud I am of you.  Not because you have perfected the art of sharing (quite frankly no one has) but, because your heart desires to do what is right and you are learning to be like Jesus one day at a time.  Even if you fail and flounder from time to time...just like your Mommy, I will celebrate with you every step of the way because I see that you try.  That is all that matters to me little one.    

 Love you to pieces my little peanut! 

We are not molded into the image of Christ overnight but, rather over a lifetime.  We are molded, shaped, refined and tuned one adventurous day at a time.  - CM

Below: I had just finished taking head-shots for a client when Daisy ran into my "studio" and asked for her picture to be taken.  She does this just about every time I have a photo session now...wanting to get in her Mommy's world no doubt. So cute.  I didn't have the studio lights on or edit these as I seldom have the time anymore but, I sure got a kick out of her poses and facial expressions.  I can't tell you how much joy this kid brings to my life. 

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