Nourishing Passions

Chasing Wind

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity, a striving after the wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” Ecc 2:11

Chasing Wind Nourishing Passions C I sometimes think Solomon must have been one of the most miserable and depressed men to have ever lived on this earth. Because he had the means to pursue everything I’m naturally prone and drawn to—every passion, every pleasure, every allure that sets itself up as a source of fulfillment but ultimately brings utter disappointment–and lives the entirety of his life unsatisfied. He sought every conceivable source of happiness available in his lifetime (Ecc 2:1), indulging himself in everything imaginable. He sought out entertainment in various forms, pleasure from rich food and drink (Ecc 2:3), comfort in a luxurious home (Ecc 2:4-6), companionship with friends, extravagant possessions and entertainment (Ecc 2:7-8), sexual relations with women (1 Ki 11:3), and fame throughout the known world (Ecc 2:9).

The heartbreaking irony of Solomon’s life is that in keeping himself from no pleasure (Ecc 2:10), he inhibited himself from experiencing true contentment and joy. The more worldly, temporary happiness he sought, the more grief and disappointment he wrought. He wanted it all—he wanted God and things. Scripture says, “He loved the Lord, [a dangerous place for a comma] ONLY…he sacrificed and made burnt offerings at the high places (1 Ki 3:4).” I am convinced that “loving God, but” has not worked out well for anyone. It didn’t work for Solomon, it didn’t work for Samson (1 Ki 11:9), it didn’t work for the rich young ruler (Mt 19:22), and it most certainly doesn’t work for me. We are designed to worship the Lord and serve him only (Deut 6:13)—why? Not because He wants to withhold, but because he wants to give. He longs for us to enjoy creation, but not more than the Creator of them (Ro 1:25). He wants us to worship the one to whom all created things, concepts, and ideals point to. Anything less than that would be to short us on the abundance of this life (John 10:10) which he so adamantly sacrificed to give us.

Solomon had riches incomparable to what I will ever experience…. Or did he? Wealth is relative to one’s circumstance and values. A camel which would be of very little value to me* was worth much in the ancient world whereas an Iphone would hold no meaning for Solomon—there is no one he could contact and being the wisest human (1 Ki 3:12) who’s ever lived second only to Jesus, he would have no need for Google or Wikipedia. I might not have the monetary equivalent of millions of dollars, but I do live in the wealthiest nation on the planet with luxuries people in other countries have never heard of. I may not have a palace with manicured grounds, but I do have a home with a yard, irrigation, trash pick up, electric and gas hook up. I may not have a harem of superficial relationships, but I have facebook, pinterest, twitter, and Instagram.

I sometimes wonder whether the excessive grace God pours out in response to our prayers can actually be a hindrance if not received with humility, wisdom, stewardship, and maturity. Solomon seemed to have a right heart in his initial request, responding in gratitude (1 Ki 3:8) and humility (1 Ki 3:7)—he took his role of stewardship over God’s people so seriously that he wanted most of all the wisdom to do a good job with what the Lord had entrusted him. In his lavish delight (1 Ki 3:10-11), God poured out upon him, not only heavenly wisdom (1 Ki 3:12), but also the ability to pursue worldly things (1 Ki 3:13). This ability in and of itself is not bad, but it is dangerous—because it paves a way for competition with God, something which has potential to lead the purest of human hearts astray. Solomon later said, “Give me neither poverty, nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God (Pro 30:8-9).” Might it be that God often graciously withholds our earthly desires and even inflict suffering such that our eyes would be fixed on Him alone—the only source of true and lasting joy—for rescue, relief, satisfaction and peace? (Isa 38:17) It took a lifetime of frustration for Solomon to realize that the one he originally sought after to give him all he needed to be successful was not a means to an end, but the end itself. He concludes after a depressing discourse on the meaninglessness of life while pursuing all earthly gain, “Fear God and keep his commands, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecc 12:13),” and I believe we could save ourselves a lifetime of frustration by heeding his wisdom, learning from his example, and pursuing God and Him alone.

An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.—(Screwtape) CS Lewis

*That being said, if given a camel I have several ideas were the opportunity to arise ;-)

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract Nourishing Passions

Second only to my beloved cinnamon, vanila extract is possibly the most frequently used flavoring agent in my kitchen. Compared with store-bought versions, making vanilla extract at home costs less per serving (approximately 5 times cheaper), evades the chemicals and questionable manufacturing processes, and only takes a few minutes to make.

All that is needed is:

  • Vanilla beans (purchase locally or online–different beans produce slightly different flavors)
  • Alcohol (I’ve used vodka but brandy or rum can be substituted), and
  • Patience (it takes about 3 months for the flavors to fully infuse)

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe:

Homemade Vanilla Extract
 
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DYI Vanilla Extract
Author:
Recipe type: DIY
Cuisine: Vanilla Flavoring

Ingredients
  • 15 Vanilla Beans
  • 1 Bottle Vodka (can substitute other alcohol such as brandy, rum or bourbon)
  • Glass jars

Instructions
  1. Slice vanilla beans lengthwise and place in glass jars. Top with vodka and shake up. Store in cool dark place for 2-3 months to infuse. Shaking periodically will help speed the infusion process.

 

 

How Do I Love Thee?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength Mark. 12:30

Adoration Noursing Passions

I used to think I knew what love was. When I was a child, I was shown unconditional love and affection by my parents. They were always there for me-I could talk to them about anything and everything and though I’ve always feared failure and disappointing others, I knew there was nothing I could do to warrant the cessation of their affection. Our family was one of deep loyalty and I would do anything for anyone of them. My parents we respectable and lovely people and thus easy to respect and love. To this day, they are among those I feel most strongly drawn to and enjoy being with. We have had some trails and challenges over the years as all families do, but they have been few and far between. I learned that love was a feeling…a deep emotional commitment to those I was most drawn to and felt incredible affection toward and which was reciprocated. There was a childlike trust with which I adored and cherished the people around me.

My relationships outside of my family functioned quite differently. Friends came and went. They were often based on common interests or locality, but without deep or lasting roots. Expectations were different and often the solution to problems was an unspoken cessation of friendship initiated by gossip or slander. My friends in Jr High and High School were fun, but they were often not easy to love—they said hurtful things and did hurtful things and were often difficult to love. I learned that more than simply a feeling, sometimes love was a choice….a decision to forgive and an attempt to reconcile, which sadly didn’t often happen.

Then I met Jesus. And my definition of love expanded exponentially and was taken to a superhuman level. There was an exhilaration of knowing the truth of his nature and experiencing the power of his Spirit. I was captivated by the sheer joy which accompanies knowing the Creator of the Universe and purposely doing what I was created to do. I learned that love was supernatural bigger than anything I could ever experience on this earth. I found myself increasingly patient with those I’d previously been frustrated with, more prayerful toward those whom I’d formerly hated, more hopeful for those whom I’d at one time given up on. It was wonderful, but not nearly so wonderful as the giver of it all. It is only natural for me to love more fully having known the very source of it. God is love personified (1 John 4:8) and we can only love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). It’s no wonder my heart had previously been so deficient in love-and no wonder we struggle so deeply to love one another.

And then Jesus withdrew. Not in a literal sense, which would contradict his character. Not in a providential sense in that he broke one of his promises. But in a felt sense, in that I no longer knew the confidence and assurance which once defined my faith. My effectiveness at reaching out to others, the fruit of ministry I strove for, and impact on his kingdom seemed diminished at best. I ached for a felt sense of his presence and strove to attain it at any cost. And I’ve yet to receive the answer I’ve so desperately prayed for. It’s been over 3 years and I’ve learned that love is perseverance. It is not something that may be fallen into or fallen out of. It is a commitment and a sacrifice in which the beloved is worth all costs.

There are weaknesses exposed in me that have alluded to the horrors of how easy it would be to just give up and walk away, the lies that Jesus isn’t real and my spiritual life had been nothing more than an emotional experience, and that there was nothing in my hopeless life worth loving or saving—which contradicted the ultimate source of authority which states that Jesus never loses his sheep (John 10:27), that it is impossible to truly know Jesus and walk away from him (He 4:4-6) and that I was counted worthy by the judge of the universe, not according to my own standards, but according to the justifier (Ro 5:7-9). And I learned that love is truth. And truth depends not on a feeling I have or a decision I make-it is rooted in the God who radiates it by his very nature and who exemplified it on the cross. The feeling, the decision, the struggling, they are only the natural result of being known by the King Himself and what less can I give him than everything? He demands heart, soul, strength, and mind, but deserves so much more. The least I can do is love him with everything I have and all that I am. Love is no less the childlike adoration I’d once had for my family, but is so much more—it is that same adoration rooted in and given by Jesus and poured out back to him and onto others from the overflow of his abundant grace and mercy.

“Man was made to know good with his mind, to desire it with his affections once he knows it, and to cleave to it with his will once he has felt its attraction.” –John Owen

 

Waiting

Wait for The Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage.
Wait for The Lord. –Psalm 27

Wait for the Lord Psalm 27-14

Patience has never been one of my top virtues. In fact it’s most likely my limiting fruit (Gal 5:22-23)–if only I could substitute sarcasm or cynicism for patience I think my “spiritual fruit profile” might look a bit more promising. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been horribly impatient when it comes to just about everything. My mom tells stories of when I was a baby how I came out screaming and didn’t stop for about 9 months….until I learned to crawl/walk/run (apparently there wasn’t a whole lot of transition time between these phases). Once I was mobile, I was apparently much more content in my newfound ability to navigate the floors, the yard, the neighborhood.

One of my earliest memories is when I was 3 or 4 (guessing) trying to put on a Cookie Monster shirt. I remembered to look at the picture, which was supposed to be on the front, before putting it on. I must have tried 10 times, each time with the shirt either inside out or backwards. I could feel my face getting hot and red in anger and frustration while my Dad gently offered to help. Stubborn and prideful, I threw off my clothes and stormed off to pout for a while, thinking I SHOULD be able to do this…

I think that “should” is one of the biggest barriers in my quest to gain patience. I have this set of expectations, these standards I develop and to be honest, many of them are somewhat arbitrary and downright silly. “I should be smarter,” “I should be able to understand how cars and electricity work,” “I should be married by now,” “I should make more money,” ”I should be good at gardening, sewing, cooking, and everything else [I strive to excel at].” I’m pretty good at holding others to various “shoulds” as well: “He should not be driving in the left lane,” “she should not wear as much perfume,” “they should not be able to take so much in taxes out of my paycheck.” Some of these standards are probably just ingrained assumptions I’ve had most of my life–such as having a family and children, some are probably imposed upon by the culture of our times, some may be whispered by the enemy, but what is most interesting is that none of these standards are what God uses as a measurement for growth in sanctification (2 Pe 2:5-11) and He who both sets the standards and holds those accountable is the ultimate judge before whom I will stand.

Scripture speaks so highly of motherhood (Prov 31:28), encourages domesticity (Prov 31:27), exhorts those who are wise and intelligent, and gives wonderful examples of courageous (1 Sa 25:3) and entrepreneurial (Prov 31:18-19) women. But I am not them and that is where my impatience in lies (say that 3 times fast!). Ultimately, I think that if my situation were to change, my problem would be alleviated, but this is neither scriptural nor logical. The problem is in my heart attitude and flawed worldview. I am selfish with the time God’s given me and not faithful enough to view life accurately in light of eternity. If I cared about Jesus more than myself and lived in a way that put his kingdom at the crux of my being and doing, I would have no reason for impatience, frustration, or anger….because what else have I to do with this time?–it is his and not my own–and what does it matter what I do so long as it serves him and others in love (Ro 13:10; Gal 5:6) I can do that single or married, young or old, and in various types of employment, hobbies, and interests. I can do it with what he has given me, asking that he might give me more, but content in trusting that he gives just the right amount to each & every one of his people and does not hold us to account for talents he doesn’t give us (Mt 25:14-19).

What does it mean to “Wait for The Lord?” I don’t think it means idly sitting on our hands doing nothing until we die, nor do I think it means we try to twist the application of scripture to say something that it doesn’t. I think it means actively trusting Him with our lives, knowing he is soverign and good and has the best of intentions for us regardless of how it looks or feels, all the while passionately pursuing biblical principles in order to have the greatest impact on his kingdom possible in our lifetime storing up as many treasures as we are able to joyfully present to him (Rev 5:8) on the day he visits (Eph 2:12).

PhotoCredit: Joyce Yong

I call all times soon. -Aslan, the Lion (C.S. Lewis)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Nourishing Passions

Spaghetti Squash can be hit or miss (every once in a while I get a dud), but when it’s a hit, it’s totally worth it! It’s a a great pasta substitute and will save you about 170 calories and 35 grams carbs per cup, not to mention added vitamins and minerals often devoid in refined pastas.

There are endless variations with spaghetti squash:

  • Roasted with just a sprinkle of sea salt, pepper and butter
  • Topped with marinara or meat sauce as you would regular pasta
  • Drizzle with a bit of butter or olive oil and Parmesan cheese
  • Check out basic how to’s with spaghetti squash here and recipes here.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
 
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Simple delicious side dish to accompany any meal or can be used in a recipe as part of a main dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Turn oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and goop with a spoon.
  3. Fill pan about 1 inch with water.
  4. Place squash in pan with cut ends facing up (this will give it a nice roasted texture on top).
  5. Bake in oven approximately 1 hour or until fork tests it is soft and tender.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before running fork through to scoop out strands.
  7. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 42 Fat: 0 Saturated fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 10 Sugar: 4 Fiber: 2 Protein: 1 Cholesterol: 0

Ignorance is Bliss…Or is it?

If you say, “Behold we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? Pro 24:12

Ignorance is Bliss Nourishing Passions

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that my tendency is to always look for loopholes–trying to get the most I can out of a situation with the least amount of pain and suffering. Not so much practically as a means to avoid consequences, but psychologically to justify a rationale in my conscious in an effort to come out feeling better about myself and my circumstances. I’ve fought godly guilt with worldly ignorance and it often allows a temporary pacification. And I’ve realized that each and every time I claim an ignorance that is not there, I am engaging in one of the most destructive and dangerous habits for the eternity of my soul.

Prior to knowing Jesus, I would have thought, “ignorance is bliss” and that by avoiding thinking things that upset me, I could escape the tension of my troubled soul. Also known as “optimism,” I’d just cover up all negativity of sin with positive thinking. The only problem with that is that it never quite worked. Somehow, there was always at some root level an awareness that no amount of positive thinking was able to smother.

After Jesus came in and stole my heart, I was increasingly conscious to all that opposed him. I had a heightened awareness of sin and resolved that there is none who could escape God–he holds everyone to account and will reveal both the outer and inner workings of each and every person on that great day when we stand before him (Rom 14:4). He watches over each and every part of my life and though I may deceive people, it is impossible to manipulate God. When I stand before Him, I cannot claim ignorance (Rom 1:20).

As my walk continued and my experience grew, I discovered a darker and deeper truth in that my biblical understanding of conscious was incomplete. And that is that while, God will not be mocked, a man reaps what he sows (Gal 6:7) and if one sows seeds of desire for insensitivity to the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:18-19), and if that desire superceeds a longing to humbly submit a soul of wickedness in exchange for one of holiness and purity promised by the giver himself, he will reap the hardness of heart and searing of conscious he has requested (Rom 1:28). One of the greatest dangers of all is self-deception. I have watched men and women more gifted, more versed in scripture, better trained in leadership walk away from the God of the Bible, an act I struggled to reconcile with the perseverance described in scripture (Phil 1:6; John 10:27). I’ve experienced the draw back to those things which never satisfied me in the first place and known the terrifying truth that if I chose anything over him, if I allowed any other god to take the seat on the throne, I would prove myself to have never really known him in the first place (1 John 2:18-19). The terrifying reality is that the giver is generous and will eventually gives us over to our deepest desires, and that if our deepest desire is anything but him, it will result in a hardening of heart, a distortion of reality and a destruction of conscious. We will feel better for a time in this blissful ignorance, but my hope is not in a temporary feeling, but in an eternal certainty. I would rather take the heaviness of conscious, the foolishness of exposure, and the vulnerability of depravity as he whittles away at character and nature than a lifetime of happiness and fun which mask the uncertainty and unease of my eternal hope. So long as God gives me free will to choose, the strength to do so, and the perseverance to hold fast, I choose a clear conscious above any and all gain in this life.

To let sin alone in our lives is to permit it to grow until it chokes and blinds the conscious.
–John Owen

Pastured Eggs

Pasture Eggs Over Easy Nourishing Passions

I love eggs! Check out these stats:

  • One egg contains approximately 70 calories and 6 grams of protein
  • They are a great source of many vitmains (Vitamin A, B12, B5, D, E, Folate) and minerals (iron)–most of these are found in the yolk.
  • The protein in eggs are complete (containing all 9 essential amino acids) and have a Biological Value of 100 (making them the standard by which all other proteins are measured)
  • They are a rich source of antioxidants (Lutein and Zeaxanthin) and choline (required for brain function)
  • They taste AWESOME! (not a stat, but a true fact nonetheless!)

Unfortunately, they got a bit of a bad rap over the years due to some faulty science and misguided recommendations, likely the result of some political decisions which were based on incomplete information. Though they are a significant source of cholesterol (about 212 mg/egg), there is quite a bit of controversy as to whether the association of cholesterol and heart disease is what has previously been purported. Regardless, eggs are a great food consumed in moderation and have a similiar nutrition profile to breastmilk, often touted as nature’s perfect food.

As it turns out, not all eggs are created equal and pastured, free-range, grass-fed chickens produce eggs with a much more impressive nutrition profile and are often higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, choline, and other nutrients and do not contain hormones or antiboitcs which may have been used in chicken production.

Regulated claims are as follows:

  • Cage Free: Hens are not kept in cages (note this does not mean that they were given access to outdoors or say anything as to what they were fed or how cramped or tight their coop condition was-chickens should be eating mostly grass, bugs, worms, etc, digging and scratching for their food)
  • Free Range: Cage free and given outdoor access (note that the outdoor conditions are not specified and the amount of time allotted is not specified)
  • Vegetarian Fed: This simply means hens were not fed animal by-products. (note that chickens are omnivores by nature and eat bugs and worms so this claim is not indicative of any additional natural feeding mechanisms.)
  • Omega 3 Fortified: Hens were given flaxseed or algae to increase the O-3 content of their eggs. Humans are very poor at converting ALA to DHA and EPA so having chickens do it for us is a plus!
  • Organic: Probably the most valid of claims, chickens are free range and not treated with hormones or antibiotics, and fed only organic chicken feed.
  •  Pastured: (not a legal term) Hens foraged on bugs and grass.

Cooking eggs denatures proteins which may be more beneficial left intact. However, egg whites also contain avidin which can bind to biotin (a key B vitamin) if not cooked, so it is best to consume the egg whites cooked, and yolks runny or gently cooked (its best to cook store-bought eggs through). Which is just how I like them! Soft boiled, sunny side up or over easy.

Pastured Eggs
 
Cook up some fresh eggs and you’ll never go back to store bought!
Author:
Cuisine: Breakfast

Ingredients
  • 2 Fresh Eggs (from local farmer or friend who has chickens)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. For Sunny Side Up Eggs:
  2. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs and place in bowl. When butter is melted an sizzly, gently add eggs to pan and heat until whites are cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. For Over Easy Eggs:
  4. Follow same directions as above, but when whites are cooked through, carefully flip eggs over and cook for 10-15 seconds until bottom is just barely set.
  5. For Soft Boiled Eggs:
  6. Fill a pan of water sufficient to cover all eggs and bring to a boil. Genly add eggs with a ladle very carefully to avoid cracking. Boil 5 minutes 30 seconds (my favorite–go a bit shorter for runnier yolks and a bit longer for thicker yolks, at 9 minutes they will be fully set). While eggs are cooking fill a bowl with ice water (or put an ice pack into the water) to chill. Remove eggs from pan and place in ice water. Leave until eggs are fully chilled and refrigerate.

Notes
Aged eggs tend to peel better so its best to enjoy fresh eggs fried and older eggs boiled.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 eggs Calories: 160 Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 5 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 1 Sugar: 0 Sodium: 150 Fiber: 0 Protein: 11 Cholesterol: 330

Shadows

“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” –He 10:1

Shadows

My parents are probably the most intentionally loving and generous people I’ve met on this earth, and some of the best memories I had growing up were the special vacations and trips they would take us on. Disneyworld was probably our favorite. I still remember bits and pieces of our first trip, being swept away by the magic of it all. I was probably 5 or so at the time and ecstatic that I got Robin Hood’s signature (and still have!), honored to shake Goofy’s hand , and truly felt I was in another world as I rode on Peter Pan. Everyone was smiling and laughing and it was etched in my mind as a place of absolute perfection. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world and dreamed of what it would be like to live there forever. We went again when I was a bit older (Jr High) and it was super fun, but my experience was a bit different. The rides were still fun, but the wait in line sure seemed longer and it turns out the characters were actually real people in costumes (but oh-how fun the workers must have had making kids happy all day!). While waiting for the laser fireworks show, I attempted to save spots for my family while they went to the bathroom and was consequently yelled at by a mom stating that saving spots wasn’t allowed. Needless to say, the place seemed a little less magical. My freshman year in college, my Mom and I decided to run the Disney ½ marathon in January. The race was amazing and there was no one I’d rather spend time with! While we were down there we spent a few days in the park. As it turns out, staying at a hotel is pretty darn expensive for a college student (old enough to be paying my way, but not old enough to be making much money), as was the food, souvenirs, and plane tickets. I learned that Disney workers were actually treated pretty lousy and thought of how uncomfortable it must be for the poor guy or gal playing Mickey in a giant black suit and 100 degree weather.

The older I get and the more I learn, the heavier life seems to be (Ec 1:18) and the bleaker the world around me appears. A realization of the abundance of wonderful and beautiful gifts God has blessed his creation with contrasted with the sad reality of how deeply we have managed to corrupt them is crushing. Greed, pride, and selfish ambition have stolen the place of generosity, humility and self-sacrifice that characterizes our Lord. We have depleted so many of the earth’s resources, oppressed and enslaved one another, ignored and neglected his word, and placed ourselves, our children, and our stuff upon the throne which he so deserves to dwell.

I think the heaviness results from a maturity through life experiences and willingness to have one’s eyes opened to reality and heart exposed to the truths of our depravity which I suspect were graciously hidden by a loving father who knows our limited emotional capacity present in youth. There never was anything magic about Disneyworld—it was just a shadow of paradise, a glimpse of perfection as conceived through the heart of a toddler. Disneyworld is ultimately as dark and broken a place without Jesus as is the rest of the world, though at times I think God allows a distortion of reality to give us hope as he begins to slowly open our eyes to the truth.

I suspect the world is at the same time both worse than I will ever know and better than I can ever imagine because we live in the in between-the paradoxical frustration of Jesus’ triumphant victory which has not yet consummated. I suspect that as we grow nearer to God, we see more clearly the contrast of what we once thought reality, but which ultimately is simply a shadow of the glory which once was and will one day become, and the state of depravity in which Adam and our own sin has reduced us. I suspect the deeper the wisdom, the sharper the contrast and the clearer the vision becomes, the more we see things from the perspective of the heavenlies—all as shadows of perfection waiting to be transformed.

“If I find, in myself, a desire in which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” –CS Lewis

PhotoCredit: Joyce Yong

Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin

If Coq Au Vin sounds a little French to you….that’s probably because it is. French for “yummy chicken and vegetables simmered together in a delicious wine-sauce that makes your house smell like heaven.”

That’s not a direct translation, but I’d say it’s pretty close based on my experience. And while the French likely stayed at home utilitzing a traditional slow-cook, method, I’m willing to accomadate a bit and use my slow cooker.

I put this together for some awesome friends who go to my church after they had their first baby & it turned out pretty decent!

And thus I give you: Coq Au Vin

5.0 from 1 reviews

Coq Au Vin
 
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Chicken and vegetables simmered in a thick creamy wine sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 8 Chicken Thighs
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 t Pepper
  • 4 Slices Bacon
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 T Butter
  • 12 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 4 Carrots, Peeled and Chopped
  • 1 Heat Garlic, Peeled & Chopped
  • 1 Sweet Onion, Chopped
  • ½ Cup Chicken Broth or Water
  • 1½ Cups Red Cooking Wine
  • 3 Fresh Springs Rosemary or Thyme (can sub dry)

Instructions
  1. Mix together flour, salt and pepper and coat chicken thighs.
  2. Cook bacon in pan until crisp and set aside to cook.
  3. Cook chicken thighs in drippings (add a bit of olive oil if needed) on medium/high heat approx 4 minutes per side until browned. Transfer to plate.
  4. Melt butter and cook garlic and onions, add carrots after a few minutes and cook until soft adding mushrooms last.
  5. Transfer chicken and veggies to crockpot adding the wine and broth.
  6. Crumble bacon and sprinkle on top along with herbs.
  7. Cook on low 6-7 hours.
  8. Season with salt & pepper if needed.
  9. Devour!

Nutrition Information
Calories: 435 Fat: 15 Carbohydrates: 9 Sugar: 3 Sodium: 800 Fiber: 3 Protein: 45

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Endurance

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1 Co 9:24

Endurance

I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kinda gal. Perfectionism is one of my most persistent idols I’ve yet to crush and I have a horrible track record with balance which my God seems to be resolutely intent on breaking me of. And so when Jesus grabbed hold of my heart 6 years ago, I was gung-ho. I was sold out, intent on doing everything and anything with him, for him, through him and in him. I told everyone I knew and everyone I saw all I knew about Jesus (which was VERY little initially and it is only by the grace of God that any of it was right!). He was the love of my life and in the light of his glory everything I’d previously aspired to, hoped for, worried about seemed to melt away.

There is something attractive and inspiring about an idealistic and zealous approach to walking with Jesus. And no doubt God longs for, and even commands passion and wholehearted devotion (Ro 12:11; Ps 69:9; Luke 14:33) to him. But it is incomplete. He points out that it is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way (Pro 19:2). Even with a right intent of heart, I made a lot of mistakes (James 3:2-5) that can be forgiven but not undone. Sprinting is glorious-it is an exciting, invigorating adrenaline rush. Sprinters are majestic in their form and thrilling to watch. Sprinters are incredible athletes and valuable performers. But one can only sprint for so long. Even the application were stretched to the max-a 400 m run, a sprint doesn’t last longer than a minute. Sprinting, by definition, is anaerobic meaning the demand for oxygen exceeds the available supply and thus maintaining activity is limited to a very short term.

At some point, the runner needs to either slow down the pace or face burnout.

And I would suggest following Jesus is similar—while we love the thrill of spiritual highs, the waterfalls of grace, and the waves of the Holy Spirit, what matters much more is that we make it to the end and finish well. It matters very little how hard one runs after God initially if 5 years down the road he/she has lost interest or “moved on” to another “phase of life.” Because the reality is that it gets hard. And sometimes despite all my efforts–all my desires and longing to be more on fire for my God and to be more effective in his kingdom, to have greater impact on my friends, family and co-workers, and to have my character and attitude radically transformed, sometimes I remain stagnant and God remains silent. And at that point, all I can do is endure. Sometimes my circumstances are nearly unbearable—they pile up mercilessly one after another–friendships are torn apart, relationships are wounded, I hurt others and am hurt by others. And at that point, I weep, mourn, repent, forgive…and try to endure. Oftentimes a depressing darkness hovers over me like a cloud—relentlessly plaguing me with the brokenness of this world, the corruption of humanity, and the despair of my heart. And I fight to endure (Phil 3:14).

Christians are exhorted throughout scripture to “patient endurance” which interestingly translates as “long suffering.” There is something a little less glamorous about that second view, but somehow more realistic. There is also something curiously encouraging about this—when I feel beat up and run down, depressed and exhausted and at the end of my rope, I just may, in fact, be at the center of God’s will, patiently enduring as I suffer for long periods of time. Also encouraging is knowing that we have a comforter (2 Co 1:3-5) and example of one who has gone before us suffering long and enduring perfectly. How did Jesus run his race? With his eyes on the father, with the joy of OUR salvation set before him, hating the shame and oppression, yet subjecting himself to it for the reward promised. And his prize: entrance into the eternal kingdom of perfection seated at the right had of his father for all times, ruling and reigning over all creation (He 12:1-4).

Even more than the emotional exhilaration and thrill of grace upon salvation, I want to ensure I love Jesus 50 years from now come what may no matter how messy, mudane or unglamorous it might look in the meantime. We serve a God who is gentle, loving, and caring, and who longs for us to make it to the end and share in his reward (Rev 2:7; Rev 2:10; Rev 2:17; Rev 2:25-28; Rev 3:5; Rev 3:12; Rev 3:21). He has much grace for our mistakes, coaching us every step of the way such that we might achieve the ultimate goal of our faith: The salvation of our souls (1 Pe 1:9) to the glory of his son (Eph 1:13-14)!

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