storm

What’s weighing on your heart right now?

There’s a thunderstorm raging tonight. But that isn’t what’s keeping me from sleep.

It’s you. All of you.

Because I know you face your own storms. The ones that keep you up at night.

So I’m sitting in the bathroom with the polkadot shower curtain, crosslegged, on the laptop, atop a lime green boho rug (because if I was on the desktop computer in my office, the lightening would probably explode it and catch my hair on fire).

I’m awake because I know people in this world are hurting and struggling.
I can’t hold back the tears as the rain pours down.

Tears for those of you wrestling with the future. For the mothers who are exhausted and worn tissue thin. For the teens who’ve lost all hope for life. For the ones feeling like they’re losing friends or can’t find any. For the daughters and sons wrestling with family. For the rebels who haven’t quite found a way to live out your dreams. For the cashier facing divorce from a drug addicted husband whom she loves. For the tender souls living through loss of parents, spouses, and children. And for those of you with bright eyes and a joyful smile who still harbor a tiny fractured place in your hearts.

I see you.

You are not alone.

But like Jamie Tworkowski says,

“The thing about the idea that you’re not alone is that it doesn’t do us much good if it’s just an idea. We have to do something with it. It’s like having no money and then someone hands you a check. You have to take it to the bank. You have to do something with it. Maybe hope is like that. Maybe community is like that. Maybe relationships are like that. We have to choose these things. We have to say they’re real and possible and important. We have to say some things out loud. We have to choose to believe our story matters, along with the stories of the people we love.”

I see it in your eyes. Hear it in your stories. It’s been a little hard. Whether the toughness is overwhelming your life or buzzing right below the surface mingled with the happy and the good – I see it there.

Can we meet each other where we are?

Not because we have the answers, advice, or the way forward but because we have ears. We have hearts. We have souls and vulnerabilities and stories too, that can connect us, bond us. There is restoration in being known.

So nothing fancy today. No “how to…”. No crazy simple recipe or clever ideas. Just four words that I hope you’ll take to heart, move you to connect with those around you, and tell them what keeps you up at night:

You are not alone.

Can we try this? This fellowship thing? Because it might just change our lives.

5 comments

connectlinks

[1]

Jennie Allen continues to teach me about listening, loving, and leading. “I think we will naturally love better online if we are loving well off line in these spaces.”

[2]

Sarah makes the pretties handmade dishes and is all about inspiring people back to the table, to connect with the ones they love.

[3]

I found Tim’s book on my grandma’s shelf after she passed away. What comfort it’s brought. “To those who sense pain in others, may you be a healing presence.” Me too: Everyday Extraordinary Stories that Connect Us.

[4]

“Everything I’m afraid might happen if I ask a new acquaintance to get coffee.” You’ll be sheepishly laughing by the end because you’ve probably used one of these excuses. Basically — maybe we shouldn’t be so irrational.

[6]

The Nester shared my post last week, which sent tons of awesome new friends here to Kitchen Fellowship. Shaina is one of those new friends! She started a blog that will chronicle her journey of remodeling their 106 year old home. Her blog is THE perfect place to learn about restoration of heart and home.

[6]

Because your ears deserve to hear something remarkable. Bonus — has David found some sort of UFO? 😉

[7]

Lee’s recipe for Kung Pao Chicken made one of the tastiest dinners we’ve had all year.

2 comments

Roasted Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce Recipe | Simple Dinner Ideas | Kitchen Fellowship

The best way to break routine in the kitchen is to try out new recipes. That’s been happening this week in our home and, thankfully, I have two new recipes to add to our regular dinner menu! It’s rather exhilarating.

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce Recipe

I adapted this pasta sauce recipe from Ashley at Baked by Nature. Most of my variations happen when I’m missing certain ingredients in the pantry but still want to test out a new dinner option.

INGREDIENTS

2 orange or red bell peppers, roasted
1/4 cup cashews
2 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, crumbled or grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon dried garlic [bump this amount up or use fresh if you like garlic]
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce Recipe via Kitchen Fellowship

DIRECTIONS

Turn oven to 450 degrees (F). Cover a pan with shallow walls with tinfoil. Place washed peppers on pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over them. Roll peppers around in the oil so that they’re coated. Roast them for 20 – 25 minutes. Carefully turn peppers over and roast for another 20 – 25 minutes.

In the meantime, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and sauté the copped onions. Sprinkle in the spices, herbs, and salt.

Once peppers are done roasting, remove them from the oven and carefully cover with foil. Let them rest and cool for 45 minutes. Once they are cool, remove stems and seeds. In a blender, blend cashews and vegetable broth until smooth. Blend in peppers and any juices from the pan. Sprinkle in parmesan cheese and blend. If you’d like a little texture in your sauce, pour it into a bowl and stir in the onions + spices mixture. If you prefer a smoother sauce, blend the onions + spices while the sauce is still in the blender.

If your sauce seems too thick, add a splash more vegetable broth. If it’s too thin, add in a little more parmesan cheese.

After I cooked my pasta according to the directions on the box (2 servings), I drained it, and then added the some sauce back to the pan of pasta to heat it through. If you toss it with the hot pasta, it should warm right up. You could throw cut up tomatoes or other cooked veggies, cooked chicken, or more cheese, into this mix.

What’s Happening in Your Kitchen?

As always — I’d love to know what’s happening in your world this week. What cooking challenges are you facing? What meal prep road blocks are you facing? I’d love to help, so tell me in the comments below.

Glad you’re here.

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Personal Restoration | via Kitchen Fellowship

Have you ever been obsessed with building your life?

I have — but I’ve been meditating on Psalm 44:1-8 for a while now. It’s powerful. It’s about remembering all the ways God’s moved for us in the past.

And isn’t that part of restoration? Realizing it’s time to stop fighting? Stop striving and working things out for ourselves? That there’s someone all-knowing watching out for us, saving, establishing, restoring, and loving us? Take a look:

Psalm 44:1-8

1 We have heard it with our ears, O God;
our ancestors have told us
what you did in their days,
in days long ago.
2 With your hand you drove out the nations
and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples
and made our ancestors flourish.
3 It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.

4 You are my King and my God,
who decrees victories for Jacob.
5 Through you we push back our enemies;
through your name we trample our foes.
6 I put no trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;
7 but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.
8 In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.

It’s funny because earlier in the year my husband and I were trying to buy some actual land and, ohhhhh, did it feel like a battle. We’d been doing A LOT of building, working, moving and shaking to make things happen so I’m grateful for authors like Emily Freeman who speak truth:

“Release your obsession with building a life and trust in the life Christ is building in you.”

We wanted that land to put up a garage and maybe a loft above it. And you know what happened? We prayed more. Lots more. For clarity. For God to take care of it. For us to make wise decisions. God led us to buy a new-used car instead and gave us new neighbors who will probably turn into friends. That’s so much better than an empty garage + rundown vehicle that could hardly make a journey anywhere.

So how do you release your obsession with building a life? 

Step 1) Remember What He’s Done

Take out a notebook or a piece of paper and write down what he’s done for you.

There were many months before I met Brent that I thought a wonderful man might never come into my life, but God provided him. Finding a job post-college seemed insurmountable but God had the perfect place in mind. And a house? For several years after we were married I fretted that we’d never find one — yet God established us and gave us a home. There were guys, new towns, jobs, and homes I thought “might work”. I strove, worked, and fought for them. Yet in the end God’s ways were better and outshone my expectations every, single, time. When I look back, even to childhood, there’s a history rich with God’s ever faithful provision. How will you acknowledge the story of His victories in your past?

For all the ways you’ve been trying to live by your own strength and power, your talent and ‘tools’, trying to claim victories — how can you come to the end of yourself? How will you embrace that giving up [and giving into God] is a perfect path toward victory?

Step 2) What Do You Need to Give Up?

What in your life would be better established — be a better victory — if you gave up and gave into God? Is the home, the babies, the new clients, better health, creative inspiration, strong finances, authentic community, or the happy family you’re fighting tooth and nail to usher into your life?

I don’t know what it is for you — but declare it. Declare what you’re working for by your own power then give it up. Release the outcome to God.

Take these verses, fill in the blanks, and let them wash over you: “It was not by my ________ that I won the __________. Nor did my _________ bring me victory. It was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you love me.”

Step 3) Praise

Fill your days with praise. It’ll put your focus in the right place from morning to evening.

I’m here for you…

What ever you’re facing right now, whatever’s hard to give up, feel free to reach out and share your heart in the comments. I want to pray for you. I want to let you know it’ll be alright and that this beautiful life of yours is being built.

CC: Picture by Moyan Brenn on Flickr

4 comments

KitchenFellowship

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelley

Away I’ve been from this little blog but good friends and reflective months have called me back to it. I’m beginning again. I’m grateful you’re here.

Both grandmothers passed away in March. Much of the month was spent traveling for funerals, sorting belongings, absorbing the loss. Then came a pesky flu, fun design projects, and time to ponder the direction of 2015.

It’s refreshing to be back here, in this space of fellowship and restoration, although there’s not a ‘master plan’ of how the content will flow. I want to be faithful in sharing real conversations, erasing loneliness, building meaningful relationships, gathering with purpose — and encouraging you to do the same — even if the details of “how” are blurry in this moment. Because I know it’s part of my life’s calling and neglecting it wouldn’t be right.

Let’s start with what’s been pressed into my heart this past month. It might just ease your heart too…

Can You go There?

Lately I’ve been hoping and praying for a few big, important, things in life. You too?

There’s one in particular that I’ve been hesitant to pray through. Because if I don’t ask, I won’t be disappointed. Right? That’s crummy logic.

As I fell asleep a few nights ago, thanking God and praying through my mental list I came to the one request that’s seldom brought up. In that moment it was as if God was saying, “Will you know me in this?” Oh?! My mind paused.

More questions tumbled out, “Will you go there? Will you trust me? Will you pray that? Will you watch me surprise you?

What that surprise is I don’t know but when we pray for the things we’re scared to pray for God can show us his character. It’ll either be what I’m praying for or it’ll be knowing more of God himself which is a rich gift in itself. It might just be both.

As you go throughout your day listen to him calling, “Will you know me in this?”

When fear rises up answer, “Yes, I want to know you in this.” When doubt closes in, “Yes, I want to know you in this.” When anxiety overwhelms, “Yes, I want to know you in this.” Because God manifests himself in a multitude of ways. As healer, provider, joy bringer, as friend and if we hold certain requests and situations at arms length from God, we’ll only know him in part.

Where will you go this week that you haven’t been? What bold requests will you pray that you’ve neglected because of fear? Begin today. Ask away.

CC via Reji

14 comments

Cornbread Tamale Pie Recipe | Kitchen Fellowship

Cornbread Tamale Pie

It’s been all spaghetti, tacos, hamburgers, and pancakes over here. Which we love but honestly, we’re in a food rut and we’re in deep.

What’s meal time been like for you lately?

Since we’re focusing on personal restoration this month on the blog, I thought our weekly dinner menu could use a little restoration too. Which means pulling out the enormous stack of cookbooks I own and actually cooking something from them!

This recipe for cornbread tamale pie comes from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.

INGREDIENTS

Filling
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup drained canned or frozen corn
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup water or beef or chicken broth
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cornbread Topping
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or GF flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Sauté onions and ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the meat is browned and the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes) add beans, corn, tomato sauce, water or broth, green peppers, and spices. Simmer for 15 minutes and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. In another bowl whisk egg, milk, and olive oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Spread the meat mixture into a greased 3-quart casserole dish and cover with the cornbread topping. The topping might disappear into the meat mixture but will rise during baking and form a layer of cornbread. Bake until the bread is brown – about 20 to 25 minutes.

Notes and Variations

I like to cut this recipe in half and bake it in a pie dish. This recipe is easy to make substitutions in if you don’t have everything on hand. Don’t have tomato sauce? Use spaghetti sauce, salsa, or enchilada sauce. Skip the corn and green peppers — no biggie. Out of onions? Use a little onion powder. You can make the corn bread gluten free or use a boxed Jiffy cornbread mix. Seriously. Mix it up.

It’s great served with shredded cheese, chopped lettuce and tomatoes, and a little green chili enchilada sauce on the side.

Your Challenge for the Week

Make ONE new recipe. If you’re feeling adventurous, try two. Changing up your food routine in the simplest of ways can have a big impact. It’ll jolt you out of the everyday-ho-hum-dinenr-rut. Tell me below what you might make!

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“Vulnerability is not about fear and grief and disappointment, it is the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for.”
– BrenĂ© Brown

 
As we begin to work through the topic of ‘restoration’ this month on Kitchen Fellowship, I’ll start with a deeply personal story of healing and transformation that’s unfolding in my life. I’m hesitant to share because it’s not easy to talk of dark areas of life that cause sadness to well up. But I’m hoping my transparency will encourage you to share your heart and stories along with me.

Let’s start with this picture. That’s me there…on the right.

Personal Restoration | Kitchen Fellowship

When I was little I wanted to be a professional ballerina with every fiber of my being.

Not just because that’s what little girls do or because my parents thought dance classes would be cute. It was a desire I embraced and adored.

Ballet was beautiful, healing, and a profound way to communicate without a single word. I loved infusing the world with grace through dancing.

Leotards, top-knot buns, Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Barber were my BFFs. When not in class I’d spend hours twirling around the living room. I kept a notebook to catalogue French ballet words like pirouette and relevĂ©.

I was ALL IN until…

I took lessons in preschool on up till one day, in 4th grade or so, my mom told me I wouldn’t be able to attend lessons any more. “I’m so sorry,” I remember her saying as she kneeled in front of me, her sadness evident.

My little mind raced. I remember feeling confused and shocked.

But I pushed the sadness of a lost dream away, moved on with life, and danced an ounce here and there but never at a professional level.

Looking back, it makes sense. There were plenty of reasonable family circumstances that contributed to that decision.

Fast Forward to Present Day

I noticed that I had become excessive about setting and reaching goals. Striving to prove to myself that I could do what I’d set out to.

Frankly, it was getting out of hand. I’d set outlandish personal and business goals and feel pressure and anxiety to achieve them. When the mark was missed I’d slump into sadness or frustration because of a silly failure.

It was time to mine for the root of this behavior because I longed to live restored. After prayer and journaling the ‘ballet dream’ surfaced and confounded me. An experience I hadn’t thought of in years. Several theories rose to the top:

  • Because I couldn’t achieve that dream, I’m obsessed with making everything else in my life happen.
  • Life’s trying to teach me that failing is okay. Embrace it as a necessary path to success.

Happily armed with this new insight I assumed I could “tone it down a notch”. Embrace a slow, steady, meaningful pace in business and life.

Yet the striving continued and the sadness of unmet goals hung over my head. Have you ever been here?

Uncomfortable with a sliver of the way you’re existing but unsure how to usher in healing?

I began to evaluate and pray about this frustration because I so badly wanted to be free. Where was the pressure coming from? Was it internal or external? Did it involve my heart alone or my perception of other’s expectations?

My life coach asked a beautiful question unrelated to this story which goes like this:
“How did that feel?”

I came home from my life-coach-coffee-date, asked myself that question in relation to the ‘ballet dream’, and promptly had an ugly cry that was snotty and beautifully freeing. I was honest about how it actually made me feel for the first time.

When my mom told me that my lessons would come to an end my little mind thought:

“Don’t let her know you’re sad. Don’t let on that this disappointment hurts.” (Which is an odd belief my parents never instilled in me… so I’m not sure why these were my first thoughts. Mom was always at the ready to soothe our bumps and bruises.)

Losing ballet made me feel so sad, broken, and uncomfortable, which I’m finally able to admit to my 30-year-old self. And since I didn’t acknowledge that as a young 4th grader and grieve the loss of a long-held dream in that moment — it actually led me, unaware, into strange ways of living.

I took on the burden of ensuring others would never feel the hurt and sting of disappointment.

There it is, at long last. The root of my striving. The impetus of the up and down joy and sadness of achieving or not achieving a goal.

That realization made my heart burst with healing, freedom, and love. Like a rubber band popped inside my chest, I could breathe again, and my tired feet slowly hopped off the treadmill of managing everyone else’s happiness and sorrow.

I’ve acknowledged the good which flourished from that lost dream; how quickly I developed the ability to sense when others were hurting and honed my ability to encourage and build others up as they reach for their dreams and goals.

The past few months have been restorative and wholly different as I’m learning to leave that way of relating to the world behind.

Which Brings Us to This…

Where do you need hope? What are you longing for?
Meaningful purpose?
Authentic community?
Less anger and more joy in daily life?
Peace and fulfillment as you work?
A heart of kindness as you relate to others?

How could vulnerability be the “birthplace of everything you’re hungry for”?

Could it be that barring the broken and bruised parts of your soul is the first step towards living life restored?

What’s ragged and in need healing in your life right now?

Feel free to share transparently in the comments below. We’re gentle — and with you in this journey towards restoration.

Over the next four months let’s focus on restoration!

Here and in the KF community on Facebook –>
February: Personal | March: Relational | April: Communal | May: Global

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A summer classic turned winter comfort food! Sautéed eggs!

INGREDIENTS

6 eggs
3 tablespoons mayo [I like Hellmann’s with olive oil]
1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon vinegar [for a zingy alternative use some pickle juice]
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter

DIRECTIONS

Place eggs in a pan in a single layer. Add cold water to the pan until it completely covers the eggs and there is about an inch or two of water over top of the eggs. Cover with lid and place pan on medium high heat until the water boils. Set a timer for 10 minutes and let them boil gently. Remove from heat and rinse the eggs in cold water [or place cold water and ice in the pan and allow them to cool].

Drain water and let eggs continue to cool in the refrigerator. When completely cooled [an hour or so], peel the shells from the hard boiled eggs. For easier peeling, gently roll the hard boiled eggs between your palm and the counter to loosen the shell first. Rinse the peeled hard boiled eggs under cold water if any shell particles remain on the egg.

Carefully cut your eggs in half with a sharp knife. Remove the yolks and place them in a bowl. Combine yolks with mayo, mustard, vinegar, and spices. [Feel free to use your favorite egg filling recipe too! Roasted red pepper? Smokey tomato? Sriracha and sour cream? Greek yogurt and italian spices? Go for it!]

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat with 1 tbs of olive oil or butter in the pan. When oil or butter is hot, place deviled eggs in, yolk side down. Saute for about 2 minutes, turn eggs over and brown other side for 2 minutes.

Serve hot as an appetizer or side dish! They go nicely on spinach salad and are also pretty fun for breakfast on a chilly morning!

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As a blogger I’ve seen posts, pins, and emails on downright everything anyone needs to know to prep for the holidays. Awesome bloggers are posting recipes, Christmas devotionals, simple celebration ideas and I’m left thinking, ‘It’s all been said.’

You have enough good ideas, right?

Which draws me to what I read this morning instead…

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-3

I took out the trash at frosty 6:30 a.m. and experienced those verses in real time. Glory in the deer tracks scattered across the driveway. Glory in the streak of pink glimmering in the sky and on sheets of ice blanketing the lake. Glory as the brittle air hit my lungs and the silence slipped into my ears.

Isn’t that what we need?

To ditch a few great ideas and instead hear and see His glory revealed in our every days lives by simply walking out the front door? By taking out the trash or grabbing the mail?

May you experience glory this season as you open wide your heart in simple ways — outside in creation.

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INGREDIENTS

3 sweet potatoes (about the size of your hand from wrist to finger tip, 1 1/2 inch around) washed and peeled
2 cups grapes, washed
feta cheese
olive oiL
sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Slice sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch thin rounds and place on greased cookie sheet and spray with olive oil. Place grapes on a parchment lined baking sheet (preferably with sides so the juice doesn’t run off the pan).

Bake as follows:
Minute 0 = place potatoes in oven
Minute 10 = place grapes in oven
Minute 15 = flip potatoes over
Minute 20 = stir grapes and mush them a bit
Minute 30-35 = potatoes and grapes should be ready

The sweet potatoes will be soft inside with a slight crisp on the outside. Grapes will be fagrant and juicy. Spoon several graps onto each sweet potato round and top with sea salt and feta cheese. Best when served warm but still tasty when cold.

 

2 comments