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The Post You All Have Been Waiting For…

The Post You All Have Been Waiting For…

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamt about love and finding a husband.  But in a way, different than most girls might, I think.  From a young age, I imagined that I was going to have an incredible, strong, world-conquering marriage.  Before I even understood the fullness of matrimony, I knew I was destined to a partnership in the truest sense of the term that would stretch far outside of just the two of us.  I knew that an average, loving, healthy marriage would never be enough for me.  I wouldn’t settle for anything except “power couple” status and so I was going to make it happen.

In October 2016, my husband and I went to a Marriage Conference put on by our church.  I was so excited for the weekend as we drove to the small coastal town in NH, dressed to the nines in anticipation of a super fun, and super romantic experience where we could grow and learn together.

Fast forward to our ride back home.  It felt that my excitement and anticipation had metamorphosed into frustration and discouragement.

18274951_1445443225520363_9079635165776095689_n.jpgWe had a fun time, please don’t get me wrong! It was an excellent night away with some of our closest friends, enjoying food, drinks, dancing, and great words.  But you see my marriage was far from perfect.  It wasn’t a bad marriage; there were no major grievances between us, or struggles.  There weren’t any fights over money or whatever married people usually fight over, and despite my husband and I both being stubborn, independent, somewhat self-focused people, we always allow each other those qualities and we always are able to resolve conflicts and get to the same page.  But I really sensed, back in autumn 2016, that our marriage was ready to be taken to the next level.  I thought there was something I was going to learn, to change, to control, to help it get there.

During the ride home when my husband asked me what I thought of that weekend, I told him that I had had fun, and I felt that our pastors had spoken a lot of truths, but that my interpretation of what they were trying to share meant that my marriage would ultimately be doomed.  Hopeless.  Out of control.  I had taken the impression that my husband could be who he needed to be only by my constant reminders.  And what I learned that weekend was that ultimately, despite my greatest efforts, my marriage could never be top level unless my husband plays his role to make that happen.

I didn’t trust that my husband would ever step up in the fullest way, and I never trusted that he would let God work in his life unless I created that situation to happen.  And if I am not in control, my efforts are futile and so is my marriage.  Trust me, I know how dramatic this sounds given what I said about our marriage being an overall pretty decent one, but I was striving for power couple! Not decent! And I was the one that had to make it happen! (Yes, you can laugh at me, I sure do)

Going through the motions of the holidays and winter months in New England, I decided that the best approach to fill this sudden lack of control was to start seeking out “my mission” on Earth.  My husband had his construction business, and invested a lot of his time and energy into that, but now that I was not going to put the same efforts into making my marriage what I wanted, where else should I focus the mission?  I did a lot of reading, praying, and soul searching, and I learned some pretty cool stuff that I will write another post about someday.

Spring came, then summer.  A good friend of mine had invited me to attend a small concert with her in the same coastal town where the marriage weekend had been.  As we were hanging out on the pier waiting for the music to start my friend asked me if Frank and I were planning to attend that year’s marriage conference, and what we had thought of the previous one.  I told her we probably would because we had a great time last year.  I shared with her my feelings from it.  The ironic thing is, as I was explaining all those thoughts to her, my husband at that exact time was sitting in a hotel room in Honolulu where he was on a business trip, thinking and praying about our life and the direction it was headed.  He had landed some huge jobs that were requiring him to travel.  I was becoming increasingly frustrated whenever he took absence.  I viewed our separation as a negative thing, and a hindrance to the partnership I desired.  He was searching for the right resolve on how to fulfill his work duties, grow his business, but continue to grow our marriage and be with his children.  Although I had a lot of thoughts about all this and was open with him, I no longer was saying no to the things I wanted to say no to, or trying to advise him on what I would do if I were in his shoes.

A few days later when I picked my husband up from Logan Airport he told me that he had figured out how we were going to make this all work.  I got very excited because I assumed that he had come to the same solutions that I had thought of myself.  “We’re going to Hawaii!” I was shocked.  This was not the solution I wanted.

Despite the end result, Frank told me all the reasons why he felt that was the best decision.  And everything he had to say about our marriage growing stronger and our family being together and our spirituality increasing, was exactly what I wanted him to say.  I didn’t ask him to say it, I didn’t lecture him on anything to get him to say it.

You get the point?

In the same exact moment, I was reflecting with my friend about how frustrated I was that my husband might not do what I wanted and needed him to do, he was figuring out the answers on his own without my help.  Now I am not advocating that marriage partners do things separately, not work together, or whatever other accusation one might make toward me at this point in my story.  I am simply sharing in order to inspire, encourage, and give hope to someone because you see, I doubted if I would see growth or change where growth and change was needed because I wasn’t the one initiating it.  I was under the impression that most people would never change, or never grow, if someone wasn’t behind them reminding them to do so or helping them see “the point” all the time.

I wasn’t giving my husband enough credit for how thoughtful, intuitive, and discerning he could really be, and I wasn’t giving him the space to flex those qualities.  Thankfully, pre-marriage weekend, my husband was laidback and loving enough to give me grace during my attempts at control to either agree with me, or ignore me altogether.  In this sense, we are compatible.  He is a very strong person.

IMG_2372So, in less than a month’s time, we went to Hawaii!  Within a week of being here we felt that we were supposed to make the move more permanent than the 6 weeks we originally signed up for.  We had very clear direction and peace about making this our home, longer-term.  Although we knew that we would be going back to NH someday, we also knew that we should settle in a bit.  In many ways, it was difficult but we did it.

Regardless of business and opportunities to increase our coiffeurs it was impressed on us from the very beginning that the point of our time in Hawaii was going to be our marriage first, and our family.  That’s it.  Although we thought we saw ideal money-making situations, or invitations to ministry leadership, the only thing promised to us was that we would learn a lot about ourselves, each other, and taking our marriage to that next level.  That was it! Anything outside of that was just assumptions and distractions.  Anytime we started to focus on something other than self, and marriage, things got stressful, confusing, or felt “off”.  In fact, so far everything outside of us that we thought was going to happen fell flat.  All of the business deals we were offered when we first got out here turned out to be way less appealing than we were told.  All of the investment opportunities we thought we were going to take were held up by details that we didn’t consider, or couldn’t have anticipated.  But we got more calls than ever for work back East.

This past week, on Valentine’s Day, my husband was in Boston working a job.  He was feeling frustrated and discouraged that we were apart, and that he has so much work there, but now we are living here.  We had a beautiful conversation about this whole journey, beginning to now.

Why did we come to Hawaii in the first place?  What lessons have we learned here?  What growing have we done here?  In what ways are we in agreement and stronger more than ever before?

It was amazing to hear him open up and take the position of victory and gratefulness rather than how he sounded when he first called.  Even more amazing, later that evening I received an email from him where he’d written down some of the lessons he’s learned in great detail.  I am telling you, the words I was reading would make any wife swoon.  Better than any romance movie, or love song.  What he wrote is worth more than any opportunity or deal we could have landed out here. Worth more than living in a tropical paradise.  Worth more than gold.  He said all the things that I didn’t even realize I needed or wanted him to say.  Deep stuff. About our kids, about our partnership, about our God, about our future.

The opportunity was never about money, or influence, or status.  We were actually given the best opportunity ever.  Abundance in love and unity.  And in all His goodness and grace, we got to do it in one of the most beautiful places in the world, surrounded by some of the most amazing people we have ever known or have love us.

You see friends, you don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t! You don’t have to pressure yourself into the illusion of being in complete control.  You’re not! You don’t need to know all the details.  You don’t need to have all the directions.  Through these last six months, what I have learned, and do now know, is more valuable than anything. From October 2016 fearing that I was doomed to a healthy but boring, happy but uninfluential, content but routine marriage, all the way to now.  Now, where through this journey, I believe more than ever that I am walking in destiny.

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Faith Over Feelings.

Faith Over Feelings.

 

So this happened.

A Plane Engine Fell Apart In Midair 

One thing my close friends and family can say about me, is that they know what some of my deepest fears are.  In fact, I am pretty open about my fears, and sometimes I may come across as anxious or fearful, but I like to think I am just more honest and vocal perhaps than the next guy.  Because I’d be willing to bet he has just as many if not more, fears as me.  He just doesn’t think about them, or like to talk about them as much.

Probably the biggest phobia I have right now is my fear of flying.  I can’t tell you where it comes from, as I used to fly just fine! It wasn’t until about five years ago it started to develop.  I am actually wondering if I have a fear of heights in general.  The most scary and daunting situation to me is flying over the ocean, specifically the Pacific Ocean, mainland to Hawaii.

And yea, we live in Hawaii.

So, guess what, it is not easy at all for me to decide to fly back East.  I have wondered many times if I will never again leave the Hawaiian Islands, which wouldn’t be so bad except all my family, and closest friends are very far away, and it is not affordable for all of them to come see me!

My husband and eldest son are currently on the East coast, and about to get on a United Airlines flight to come back home.

 

 

 

I have already decided as of a couple years ago that I will never fly United due to their horrible customer service.  Statistics show them to be one of the “least safe” airlines due to mechanical failures and inability to keep up with proper maintenance.  Whenever my husband books with United I get irritated, because he knows how I feel.  (My flying preferences if you’re wondering, for safety and/or amenities is Virgin first, then Hawaiian.  Alaskan Airlines and Jet Blue aren’t bad either.)

As I was driving home from dropping my daughter off at school yesterday, I had the radio on, and the D.J. mentioned something about a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu having an issue but landing safely.  All day, I tried to ignore my curiosity what that was about.  But as I was preparing for bed I thought to myself, “I’ll just look into that, after all they landed safely and didn’t give much detail on the radio so it couldn’t have been that bad, and perhaps knowing will actually help me feel better”.

Boy how wrong I was.

The story was basically the beginning of my worst nightmare.  I went into a full-blown panic attack, the worst I’ve had in a long time.  It was a United Airlines plane, same airline as my loved ones are about to board, and it happened over the Pacific Ocean on the way to Hawaii, as my worst fear is concerned, and thankfully, they were only an hour away from the Islands, as if they’d been much further out the situation could have turned out devastatingly.

How was I going to rest until I knew that my husband and son were safely back across the Pacific?!  How was I myself, ever going to get back on a plane and cross over when one of my worst fears has now been proven true (thank God it wasn’t me on that flight!)?  I immediately began looking for one way cruises from Honolulu to the mainland, so that I could give myself a [false] sense of peace, that I had other options if I ever need to leave.

IMG_0033Here’s the thing.  I have read a lot about aviation, how the physics work, and what causes turbulence, etc.  I know all the statistics about how safe it is to fly, and how many planes are in the air every day with no issues, and how rare it is for anything to happen.  I have talked to therapists, and read about conquering fears, about how you aren’t supposed to feed your fears by avoiding them, but instead face them head on.  I have prayed for this crippling phobia to be taken from me, so that I don’t have to worry or obsess over flying anymore.  I have been on six different planes in the last five months, and will be getting on two more in a couple weeks (short trip to Maui).  And I can tell you, that my fear is no less now than it was a year ago, quite the contrary, I am MORE terrified.

The last flight I took was actually very pleasant and not too horrible turbulence wise, but I was borderline hyper-ventilating for at least three of the six hours.  It seems like an eternity up there in those planes where I feel trapped, and helpless, and terrified of plunging 40,000 feet into the ocean.

I was talking to one of my best friends about this today.  He said, “May I submit to you, that this is actually proof that you are living by faith, despite your feelings?”

You see, my feelings say “Fear, terror, lack of control”, but my decisions so far have said “Trust, Obedience, Courage”.  I have not felt courageous at all, while taking any of those six flights.  As I said, I feel more scared today than ever.  It seems that the advice of facing my fears was useless, because there has been no relief.  It seems that the advice of reading statistics and about how planes are designed or work has been pointless, because for every 50 good statistics I read, I find that one horribly fatal one and then that seems to be the one that sticks out most.

Upon moving to Hawaii so many people have called me brave, courageous, and talked about the amazing opportunity and adventure we can find here.  But really, this journey has been all about self-growth, and learning lessons.  That’s it. That simple.  Just as there hasn’t been any huge job landed, or perfect property opportunity, in my battle of this flying phobia there has been no huge release, or miraculous healing.  And I am starting to wonder if I have to just be okay with that!

There’s a scripture from Paul in 2nd Corinthians where he talks about how he has had many revelations, and speaks much truth, but he won’t boast about himself because he has a thorn in his flesh that he has pleaded with the Lord to take from him.  He believes that this struggle of his is not meant to be overcome quite yet because it keeps him from being conceited.  “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  And then he goes on to say, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

For me this thorn in my flesh has not gone away despite every attempt to face it and will it away.  It would be amazing and nothing short of a miracle to never again have to worry about getting on a plane, or a loved one doing so.  But that is not my reality.  My reality is that it’s a very real and strong fear.  Do I cower, and find ways around it?  (I live on a tiny island now, so doing that doesn’t seem very fun or practical).  Do I give in to my fear and cry every time my husband or children get on a plane, and refuse to ever step foot on one myself?  Trust me, these are the thoughts and feelings that I have.  I would miss a lot of things and people in the rest of my life, but it would be so easy for me to succumb to those feelings.  It would be very comfortable.

Or do I continue to step out in faith.  Faith in our airlines and the FAA that they are doing their jobs to continue to keep us safe.  Faith in the steps that I take to conquer this giant in order to continue to live a life of freedom and truth.  Faith in my God, and that His grace is sufficient, and with His power alone I can be truly, perfectly strong.

I still don’t have all the answers, I still don’t know when the time comes what I will choose!  If I had to make a choice today, if I am honest, I think I would choose the cruise! But there is a lot to think about and consider in here.  If you have any thoughts or comments on the topic of faith and/or fear I would love to hear them.  You can message me at thebriarpatchco@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

I would encourage you also my friends, don’t let fear hold you back.  Whether it’s something as large and hindering as my fear of flying, or something smaller like reaching out to a loved one and apologizing, or something more creative like being afraid to give your all to an endeavor in whatever dreams you have.

Let’s put faith over feelings, and allow our lives to be true testaments of greater.

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Quiche Rhiannon

Quiche Rhiannon

This quiche recipe is pretty tasty!  One of the things I love about it is that in its simplicity, yet very good flavour and texture, it is easy to do all sorts of variations for fillings.

Last night, we made one in our personal favourite way: with swiss chard, and summer squash (and it’s the ONLY way I will eat swiss chard!).  We also added a leek this time, as I wasn’t sure what else I might be using the leek for.  One time I brought this version to our monthly Sunday Morning Zeal Meal, a monthly sharing of a huge meal and relationship with one another at our church.  That particular morning, I threw a couple sliced mushrooms in the pan with the onion and OMG the compliments that morning were endless.  Quiche can be so fun, and creative! Goodbye, Lorraine.  Hello, Rhiannon!

This make one large quiche, so I would not go over the suggestions, and if your eggs are on the large side or you’re planning to add a lot of filling I would cut down to four or five eggs.

Quiche Rhiannon

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 90 minutes

IMG_3611.JPGIngredients

Single pie crust, either store bought or homemade is fine. If you want a simple homemade recipe, comment below!

1 tablespoon of butter

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

6 medium eggs

¾ cup of half and half (or milk product of your choice)

1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice

½ teaspoon each: salt, ground mustard

a scant ¼ teaspoon each: paprika, nutmeg, black pepper

Variations: I would add ½ cup to 1 cup per ingredient depending on how many I am adding

Diced ham, crumbled/cooked bacon, peppers, mushrooms, feta cheese etc

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Place pie crust into an ungreased pie plate.

Sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat for 9 minutes, lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the onion as cooking, and add the garlic in the last minute or two. Allow to cool.

Whisk together the eggs, and cream.

Add the onion, cheese, seasonings, and any other add-ins.

Pour the mixture into your pie crust.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until set. (this may vary slightly depending on what add-ins you have, ie. The more veggies the longer it may need to cook)

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

This can be eaten warm, cold, or room temperature.  Voila! The beauty of quiche.

Serve with orange slices, a fresh garden salad, or bacon and potatoes.

Here is my swiss chard variation

Added Ingredients:

One small each: zucchini and summer squash, peeled and diced.

One bunch of swiss chard, stems separated from leaves.  Stems diced, leaves torn.

4 to 5 minced garlic cloves

¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Follow all previous directions but adding these:

After 5 minutes of the onion sautéing, add the chard stems and the squash.  Sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and sauté for 3 to 4 more minutes, until the leaves are soft and darkened.

When adding ingredients to the egg mixture, include the extra garlic, and the parmesan cheese.

Proceed as previously directed.

 

 

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When Perfectionist is a bad thing

When Perfectionist is a bad thing

Another parenting post.

But perhaps this can apply in many other situations in our lives, whether with people that work for us, spouses, or anything really.

I was talking to a friend recently, who gave me some good advice.

“Don’t expect your 8 (5, 1) year old, to act older than their age.”

I have often been disappointed or frustrated with my children for things that could be considered normal behaviours.

img_3460.jpegExample: I pick up all the couch cushions and pillows off the floor, for the thousandth time this week, the millionth this year, and my toddler within minutes tears them all off again, laughing and finding it to be the best game he’s ever played.  I see the out-of-place pillows; I obsess over the dirt and dust they are rolling around in; my mind is wrought with concern over rips and tears; I get mad.  I have to remind him, AGAIN, that this is not the purpose of the pillows.  I resist the urge to yell “Sage! Stop!” as a last-ditch effort to end the madness.  It is futile.  I let it ruin my mood.

Why would I expect my toddler to care about the cleanliness or organization of my couch pillows?  To him, these are a great tool for fun!

Since my friend challenged me, I have been constantly checking my mind for unrealistic expectations.  And it is actually helping me! It may seem silly, and I don’t think I am being too soft, but now when my daughter starts to unpack her lunchbox after school, instead of getting upset that she ate only two small items (and usually the least nutritious), I expect that she didn’t eat ANY of the food.  Why would I expect my 8-year-old, who during lunch time at school has the freedom to choose what she eats or doesn’t, to choose the nutritiously dense items to eat first?  Of course, she’s going to go for the fruit snacks, or the muffin first as opposed to the cucumber slices or hard boiled egg.   Now, when she has eaten most or all of her lunch, I am ecstatic!

You see, I believe there are times when I SHOULD expect that my expectations be met.  i.e. “Please go upstairs and get your socks on so we can leave,”.  This morning, this direction was blatantly ignored, and so I had to make a correction.

But how many times in a day do we expect things, only to be frustrated and disappointed?

I realized that for me, there are expectations I have almost constantly that I was not even aware of!  I think that it stems from a “Type A” personality, or a “perfectionist” mindset, or whatever term you want to fill in there.  But the more I am understanding where these attributes are a weakness for my mind and heart, the more I can open my eyes to reality, and have a true sense of peace.

Do you have unrealistic expectations that are stifling your joy?  If you are finding yourself stressed, frustrated, or disappointed constantly, maybe it’s time to ask yourself that.

Let’s learn to live in better peace together.

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Its just stuff…

Its just stuff…

Today, I am taking time to sit down, and reflect on the last week since my husband has returned home from his work trip.  He was gone for four weeks.  In some ways, it seemed like much longer, yet in others, it’s like he never left. IMG_2883

We have been quite busy since his return, one of the primary reasons being that our stuff has arrived. Bring out the champagne, put up the banners!!! This is a moment to celebrate!!!

You see, when one makes a move such as New England to Hawaii, one has many choices to make.  Sell, or not sell?  Pack, or give away?  Does one attempt to pack, pallet, move, and ship on one’s own, or hire a moving company to take care of everything start to finish?

We chose the latter, which seemed to be the easiest, yet definitely the most expensive option.

We chose a company called Hawaii Moving and Storage.  Google them.  Because as I share this story you’re going to wonder if we did.  I swear, they had some glowing reviews.  And a fine rating with BBB.

We made a huge mistake, but how could we have known?

Google Hawaii Moving and Storage, then CROSS THEM OFF  YOUR LIST!!

When we got our household items last week there was a lot of missing items.  Among them were a large sofa chair, 13-foot-long truck racks, a huge and expensive table saw, a toddler bed mattress, and a brand new car seat.  Of the things we did receive, about half of it was damaged.  I’m not kidding.  Furniture that had been in pristine condition upon loading was completely scuffed up, dented, chipped, stained, or just plain broken.

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We found ourselves torn between incredible relief that all of our stuff had arrived, and utter disappointment that we were missing so many things and had so much damage.

The company claims to have no idea where the missing items are, and no explanation of how it even happened.  They want to take no responsibility for any of the damaged property.

We paid them over 10,000 bucks to get our stuff here. 

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

Here’s the reality.  There is nothing we can do.  It seems that this outcome was/is completely out of our control.  They gave us what appears to be a book to fill out and send to their insurance company, which we will do, but if we get anything approved from them it will be worth a certain amount of monetary value per square foot of lost or damaged stuff.  Which means we’ll be lucky to get half compensated.

Here are the takeaways.

We should have heeded the advice that we read online of many people that have moved to Hawaii.  SELL OR GIVEAWAY YOUR HOUSEHOLD ITEMS.  I sincerely hope that at least one person out there planning to move to Hawaii reads this.  IT IS NOT WORTH THE RISK!! Unfortunately, we have talked to so many people, and it is not completely out of the ordinary that this happened to us.  If we could go back in time, we would agree that that 10,000 bucks could have given us a damn good start at new items here in Hawaii, as opposed to missing and broken items that we were determined to bring.

Takeaway two: I hadn’t seen our stuff for over 5 months.  During the time we’ve been living here, waiting on our belongings, we had to make some purchases obviously to get by. We rented a couch from Rent-A-Center.  We were given a few things.  My husband even built the kids some furniture!

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Hubby working on my sons bed

We did the bare minimum, yet what made sense for the stage of life we are in.  We had what we needed, but not nearly half of what we had been accustomed to back home in NH.  Part of moving to Hawaii is understanding that in some respects, the way of life really is simpler.  One respect in regards to stuff.

When you live on an island where shipping anything from 2000-6000 miles away is expensive and takes a long time (amazon prime even takes weeks), there isn’t a Walmart, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or Jordan’s furniture within reach, you learn that you can get by with only three pots and pans, or one set of bed sheets, and you realize how unimportant the superfluous is.  When our boxes arrived, I was very excited; it was like Christmas!  But I also sort of got stressed out realizing how much stuff we had.  Where would I put it?  What were we going to do with it all?! (I have already given away three full boxes).

On that note, take away three, it’s just stuff.  I really am learning what it means not to hold on so tightly to our earthly possessions.  Yes, it’s true, that the chair that was not returned to us had been a splurge, and my favourite chair, and it’s infuriating to think that this company just let it “disappear”.  But here’s a good reminder: these things are just things.  My joy, my hope, should not be placed in a chair.  Can I be content with out it?

Can I be content, knowing that the importance of following the still small voice within is more pertinent and eternal than a comfortable chair?

Can I set the example to those around me, that my attitude, my determination, my perseverance, is not founded on my things?

Can I laugh fearlessly at the future knowing that the five of us are healthy, well-fed, and living on an island that many would call Paradise?

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There’s a passage from the bible that I have been reminding myself of through this experience.  Ephesians 4.  Its good stuff.  But specifically, this highlighted verse.

To me, in this situation, it is saying, stuff happens.  That is life here on Earth.  But don’t let your joy be stolen.  Don’t let your hope be dictated by such volatile occurrences.  Especially those that are out of our control.  Our minds, and our hearts are ours to protect and guide.  We should allow nothing, and no one to have so much power in our lives to detract from the power within ourselves.

It’s just stuff, right.

Almost Famous Pumpkin Chili

Almost Famous Pumpkin Chili

I am so excited to share this recipe with you.  Everyone loves this chili. I mean everyone.  I have yet to meet someone I’ve given this to whom hasn’t raved about it.  Next time you want to change up your chili night try this. Pumpkin and the accompanying seasonings may sound strange with chili,  but I assure you, it is a match made in heaven.

This chili is very simple!  And there is room for flexibility.  Make it meatless and simply add an extra can of beans or some fresh chopped zucchini.  I have done that many a time.  I also have used chili sauce to make it easier! Just cut the tomato sauce, brown sugar, chili powder and salt in half as well and omit the vinegar.  If you like it spicier, just add some diced jalapeño with the onion and meat, or a small can of chilis with the beans and corn.

Almost Famous Pumpkin Chili

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound ground meat (I use chicken or turkey but beef is great too)

1 chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup canned pumpkin

28 or so ounces of canned diced tomatoes

15 ounces or so of kidney beans, drained

8 to 12 ounces frozen corn

15 ounces or so of canned tomato sauce (the kind without seasoning)

¾ cup water

¼ cup vinegar

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

fullsizeoutput_358aBrown the meat and onion in a pot over medium heat, adding the garlic in the last minute or two.

Add all remaining ingredients and mix well

Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

 

Serve with cornbread, fresh diced onion, jalapeño, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, and/or cheese. So good.

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Yum!

A Little Sidenote

A Little Sidenote

I am interrupting my afternoon laundry folding/homeschooling/dish washing to deliver a quick message to you, friends!!

My husband is on his way home!  (No, that’s not the real message).  He has been gone for 4 weeks for a job.  It’s the longest we’ve ever been apart, and the longest he’s been away from the kiddos.  His absence was tough on us, but with a ton of grace, a little patience, friends, and prayer we made it to the other side!

While he was gone, I read a few great books, and got into a couple mediocre TV shows.  One of them being, “When Calls the Heart”.  It’s not the best acting, or the most flawless plot, or sexiest dialogue, but there is a slight inspiration I get from some of the characters.

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What inspired me to press pause on Netflix and write this post is that, in the episode I was watching just now, one of the characters has just offered to make a repair in a single mother’s home for her.  The mother hesitated, and kept saying “I don’t want to be any trouble”, but the man insisted, responding “No trouble at all, I just have to bring my tools next time I come this way!”.  It got me thinking: was he just saying that or was it really “no trouble at all”?  The repair is small, and easily made with the proper mind and tools, but to the mother who didn’t have the tools, or the know-how to do it, it was a HUGE deal.

How many people are there around us that have needs, that for us could be so simple and easy to meet, a slight inconvenience if that, but to the person with the need, it could make a huge difference.  What would happen if instead of averting our eyes, we looked up and saw even one need of someone around us that we could easily meet, and could literally change their quality of life (physically, spiritually, emotionally).

How many times have I passed an opportunity to help someone, such as this?

I don’t know about you, but I think that this world could be a much better place.  And I am realizing more every day how that cause, that effect, that CHANGE truly does begin with each individual.

Let’s start today.  Let’s lift our heads and stop being so scared or wrapped up in our own stuff, and start making a bigger difference.