Sunday, July 13, 2014
While doing that He has brought me into a lot of churches and introduced me to new people. I can only fathom that this means I am about to enter the next step of my faith walk with Him.
As I questioned what all this means, I was heard His voice (internally, not audibly) say look out there. What do you see?
I answered, "I see your beautiful creation. I see the field, the trees the mountains. I see the birds flying through and chipmunks running around. I see your provision for them."
"Look closer, and tell me again. What do you see?"
So I stared out across the field, over the beautiful high grasses blowing in the wind. The trees with their green leaves were fluttering in the breezes and occasionally bending with the more forceful gusts.
"What am I supposed to see?" I asked myself. I had the impression I was missing something. Something I that was so obvious it would have bit me if it had teeth (as my dad used to say.)
"I have created most of the world like this." I heard the Lord say. "You will see it repeated in many areas of my creation, in life, in the spiritual and the natural. Keep looking."
Then it hit me. I was looking at various stages of life in the grass, the field, the trees and the mountains in the distance.
Just as there were levels to the grass, height to the trees and mountains, so are their various levels and heights to the things around us.
Then I looked at the field and saw the higher growth that was some of the very same grasses we had in the lawn, but were allowed to grow to their full potential. To bud and flower and go to seed. Occasionally they to may be cut or dryout or died off.
I noticed the trees on the edge of the field, standing proud and graceful watching over the grasses of the field and reaching higher to the heavens. Some would flower, some would change color, and some would die off if not cut down by men or lightning.
Then there were the mountains in the distance, made up of trees and grasses and having their own purpose in breaking the winds that blew through the valleys and redirecting it. By causing changes in elevations that brought temperature changes and caused storms to escalate or dispel their violence around them.
I noticed that all these parts of nature while rooted in the same earth, did not move about as the animals and people. They were stuck in their places just doing their best to be who they were. Never once moving under their own power. Just stuck.
"That's what some people are too," I heard the Lord say, "they don't care to grow closer to me. They allow others to cut them down and make decisions for them. Then there are some that grow for a while and get stuck at one level in life. Others grow to a point they feel they can point the way for those behind or below them. But they are all stuck. They are all part of my creation, but they are stuck. Look again." He said.
So I looked up over the field and at this precise moment I saw a flock of birds in perfect unison, swoop into the field, down into the grasses and then in one graceful movement, fly across the field happily chirping and enjoying their freedom.
"Now what do you choose to be?" he asked.
"Oh, this is easy! I want to be as the birds!" And then I thought how the birds never has to worry about a home, it's food, or fear the weather. The only thing the bird has to fear is it's enemy. The thief who tries to steal their eggs or babies possibly destroying it's home in the process. But even then while they do make a racket if they are aware of the thief in their midst, once the crisis is over, they don't fret about it. They rebuild and move on.
Freedom I have through Christ. Provision I have through God. Direction I have through the Holy Spirit. If I trust in these three, I have nothing to fear. Fear comes from not trusting. Fear comes from trusting in the thief and giving him more power than he deserves. Fear is why we get stuck.
Friday, January 10, 2014
This was a favorite dish my mom used to make when I was growing up. After sitting down with her as she made it to get the recipe, I enjoyed making for my own family. It became a favorite for them as well. Everyone raves over how delicious it is and I have never seen one with these ingredients.
So for my niece and nephew and three sons and their families...Mangia!
Serve with garlic bread and salad for a delicious meal!
Allow plenty of time to let the sauce and meats cook down.(3 hrs. at least)
Baking time, once assembled, is another hour.
2 T Olive oil (1 for sauce, 1 for noodle water)
3 lbs. chuck steak
3 lbs. pork loin ends or country ribs
1 lbs lamb loin end can take the place of 1 lb. of pork loin end (lamb adds flavor)
1 lg onion
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 T garlic salt
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 T crushed basil (dry)
1 T Oregano (dry)
3 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
3 small cans tomato paste
3 lbs. lasagna noodles (regular, not the no-cook kind)
3 lbs. of ricotta cheese (low-fat or regular)
2 lbs. mozzarella cheese, 1/4" sliced or shredded* (lowfat and low salt if you can get it)
*Don't buy shredded, it's coated with stuff to keep it from sticking together.
In a large saucepan add olive oil and heat to brown meats. Remove browned meats from pan and slightly brown the onions. Add garlic - cook 1-2 minutes, but don't burn. Stir constantly. Add back the meats and add tomatoes and tomato paste and all seasonings. Stir. Bring to boil and then simmer for three hours or until meat fall off the bones.
Remove meat from sauce to a large bowl and allow to cool.
In the meantime, start a large pot of water to cook the lasagna noodles.
In a separate bowl put in the ricotta cheese and stir in a small amount of sauce (no meat) to make a smooth consistency - Not too much! You don't want runny cheese. Set aside.
Remove the bones and fat from the meat and discard. Break up all the meats into small pieces (they should just pull apart) and put back in the bowl.
Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the water for the noodles. (You can add 1 tsp. of salt to the water if desired.) Bring water to a boil and add noodles one pound a time...Reduce heat to a slow boil. (Cook one pound then remove to colander carefully with tongs. Use the same water to cook the next pound and repeat.) This keeps the noodles from over-cooking and sticking together. As one pound cooks you can start assembling the lasagna.
As the noodles finish cooking and cool enough to handle, start to assemble the lasagna.
Use a large roasting pan or two 13" x 9" pans.
Add a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan to give the noodles a base to sit in.
Layer each item in the pan in this order:
Noodles, overlapping the sides a very small amount.
Meat - 1/2 the amount
Ricotta - 1/2 the amount
Mozzarella less than 1/2 as you need some for the top
Sauce divide for three layers
Repeat these layers
Top with noodles, cover with sauce and add mozzarella on top of the sauce.
Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray so cheese doesn't stick.
Carefully cover with aluminum foil but don't let the foil sit on the sauce or it will corrode!
Try to make a cover with the aluminum foil so it doesn't touch the cheese or the sauce and you will be golden!
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and cook an additional 20 minutes.**
Let it set for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
(Good time to heat up some garlic bread!)
** For day ahead. You can cool and refrigerate overnight.
Reheat at 250 degrees for one hour.