"The real voyage of discovery consists
not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes."
~ Marcel Proust
The last day of the year.
I could write about how year after year this season has me in a cooking and baking frenzy expanding the waistbands of everyone that crosses my path. Dinner party after glorious dinner party. Delectable treat after treat. Until I join with the rest of America on the yearly pilgrimage to....sigh.....The Muffin-Top Crossroads: that terrifying place where one must choose their fate....do we buy bigger jeans??? or do we bust out the Fluidity Bar, wipe the dust off of the protein shake container, and let P-90X awaken us from our sugar comas and exercise our hearts and bodies into cardiovascular oblivion. Yes!
Or...I could write about how my husband drove white knuckled through a blizzard in his attempt to reach his love on time for New Years Eve, only to arrive with the onset of a nasty cold. How two coughing, runny nosed children in Pittsburgh Steelers pajamas and one wife with a sore throat were there, waiting and ready to join him by his side for a camp out on the living room floor. How we have been swimming in a sea of blankets and a mountain of pillows in our cave-like atmosphere, only the twinkling lights of the christmas tree illuminating our path...a pile of movies,Twizzlers, M&Ms and left over baked goodies in hand. How I let my daughter eat yogurt and golfishies for dinner....does that make me the worst mom on the planet.....or the coolest mom on the planet? It is a holiday, right?
I could write about how I whipped up a pot of green chile chicken cheese soup *recipe below* to warm our colds and our spirits. How I threw together a quick nosh of pepperoni, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese wrapped in puff pastry and ready to be dipped in marinara sauce for our movie watching and snacking pleasure. And...drum roll please....how I made a batch of "the easiest Peanut Butter Cookies in the universe" *recipe below* so we would have no fear of stepping off of our sugar highs any time soon.
Yes, I could write about all of those things.....
But what I really want to write about, what I really want to share, is my gratitude for all this year has ushered in, through both the joy and the pain. What a full year it has been...
We started this year off with lots of "new"....enjoying all of the changes that our move from where we had spent the last decade of our lives had brought us, the birth of our son, connecting with family and reveling in new friendships that were beginning to forge, appreciating the thrill of stepping outside of our comfort zones, allowing ourselves to be stretched...experiencing great enthusiasms and great losses.....I never could have anticipated all that this year would bring, all of the unexpected "gifts" we would receive even amidst great trial.
I am reminded yet again of the necessity and sheer beauty of letting go, going with the flow, enjoying "the journey" with all of it's twists and turns...discovering the hidden treasures along the way....this life is meant to be an adventure that we not cower and calculate into a formula before we move. We were meant to run with passion, to sit and rest for a moment, and to walk steadily on in the glory of the everyday-ordinary-things.
I have been thinking much on what it is I'd like to purpose in my heart to do this coming year. And it all comes down to perseverance. Perseverance is defined as "Continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.”
Tragedy can strike at any moment, yes? Whether it is our health, or the health of a loved one, sudden financial instability, a broken relationship, death, prodigal children.... And yet through these trials we can either become bitter - or better. We can give up - or grow up.
Lenya Heitzig shared the comment by famous television personality Arthur Godfrey of how he recounts a lesson he learned while watching a local blacksmith separate scrap metal into two piles. She tells the story like this: "After carefully examining each piece, the blacksmith would cast some metal into a pile on his right, while the other scraps were thrown into a heap on his left. Godfrey asked the blacksmith what the two piles represented. The smithy replied, "I can see that some of the metal will be useful when it's put through the fire. There is something in it that will let it go through the fire and come out refined and perfected. But the other metal is useless, it cannot take the fire, so I have to toss it into the junk heap." That experience forged a favorite prayer that Godfrey uttered throughout his life. Whenever a difficult circumstance turned up the heat in his life, he knew that God was using that fiery trial to refine him. Believing that God's ultimate plan was to make him a better man, Arthur would pray "Lord, fire! (not the junk heap!)" "
Oh let that be our prayer! "Lord, Fire! Not the junk heap!" I re-read Hebrews 11 (the great "hall of faith") to be reminded of those who went before us. Let us have patience that produces staying power! Let us abide, continue, endure, tarry so that we can be mature and complete and lacking nothing!
Perseverance: "Continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.”
May this coming year be filled with lots of "new" for each of you...new awareness...new significance...new perspective...new purpose...
Green Chile Chicken Cheese Soup
This soup has been a comfort through many snow storms and chilly days. While I am not generally a fan of "canned soup," this recipe was taught to me from an old friend Anthony used to work with many many moons ago. Mark & Brandy Murray taught me how to make this soup, and I have since adapted it. Although we seem to have lost touch over the years, every time I make it, it reminds me of late nights sipping tonics, listening to great music, and playing Pente in Ranchos de Taos/Llano Quemado with our old friends.
1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can of Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 soup can of milk
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup of green chile sauce - or - chopped green chile, roasted and peeled
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup of cooked rice
1/2 cup of chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded
shredded cheddar and green onions for garnish
pour the first 4 ingredients into a pot, bring to a boil
add the rice and chicken
*you may even add some cooked mushrooms if you'd like :)
plate, and garnish with cheddar cheese and green onions
serve with a hot tortilla
Quick Peanut Butter Cookies
My Aunt Debra shared this recipe while chatting during her last visit, and it reminded me that this recipe was emailed to me by Richard Copple's Wife through a recipe exchange the month before. This recipe should come with a warning label....they are too easy to make and you can't eat just one.....
1 Cup of Peanut Butter
1 Cup of Sugar
*yes that is it!!! No flour in this recipe, you only need these three things!!!!
Mix ingredients together, form into balls, put onto greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper lined baking sheet)
you may use a fork to smash them if you desire
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes
*add a topping such as a hershey's kiss or a mini peanut butter cup in the center of each one after it comes out of the oven if you so desire
Praying for a very peaceful and blessed New Year to you all....