Marmie's Enchiladas

I came home from work today and got the itch to cook. And so I did. I called my marmie because I got the craving to make Enchiladas! And I remember from growing up that whenever she made enchiladas they were delicious! So I channeled my grandmother in her apron and got to work.

3T oil
2 med. onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
2 cans enchilada sauce
1 c. sour cream
1 lb monterey jack cheese cut into 12 logs
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
12 corn torillas
1/2 c. oil (i think you need more - but maybe I am not a master chef!)
I added two tomatoes, chopped
5 cloves of garlic

Cook onion and green pepper in 3T oil until soft but not brown, salt to taste (this is where I added the 5 cloves of garlic).

Combine the enchilada sauce and sour cream, simmer for 1 minute.

Fry tortillas one at a time in oil - don't let them get TOO cripsy (you have to be able to roll them). Drain on paper towel.

 Put enough sauce on bottom of 9x13 pan to just cover it.

Put 1/12 of pepper and 1/12 of jack cheese in tortillas (I added tomato!) and roll. Place seam side down in baking dish.

Pour remaining sauce over. Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

This freezes well and serves 4-6! Happy Cooking!!

Bon Appetite!



so, what did you do last night?
me & america: "drank a little wine, watched a little TV, hung out with some people"
danieljames: "won an oscar"

when your friend wins an oscar - it really makes you feel like you should be doing more with your life.

congratulations, dan and miles and all you undefeated peeps!
and all of you other regular boring people - go watch "undefeated" and enjoy the sweet sweet music.


So for lent, I decided to give up lent

I have been thinking a lot about Lent this year. What should I start doing? What should I stop doing? What are those things in my life that are the obstacles and road blocks to a deeper and more satisfying relationship with Christ? What are those things I have been making excuses about that I should really get off my lazy butt and just start implementing? What am I worried about? Anxious? What are my burdens? Fears? What makes me alive? Where do I see beauty in the word? Darkness? Where do my passions and the worlds deepest longings meet - and how am I daily helping to pour into that?

Rachel Held Evans on her blog gives 10 helpful questions to ponder during the lenten season:
1. When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different?
2. Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How do I address that habit over the next 40 days?
3. Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation?
4. What practical steps can I take to carve out time for daily contemplation?
5. What spiritual discipline do I need to improve upon or want to try?
6. What are some things in my life that I tell myself I need but I don’t? Can I give one or two of them up for 40 days?
7. Why am I giving this particular thing up? How does giving it up draw me closer to God and prepare me for Easter?
8. What am I going to tell myself when self-denial gets hard?
9. Is it necessary/helpful for me to share the nature my fast with others or should I keep it private?
10. What do the ashes mean to me this year? What  does baptism mean to me this year? 

But then I got overwhelmed by all the questions. I mean, they are REALLY GOOD questions, don't get me wrong. But I realized - that's what I've been doing for so long. I was raised in a way that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I viewed faith as a very legalistic thing where I had to ask these questions, follow these steps, and then my faith would be good enough. 

So for lent, I decided to give up lent. Get it?

I look at the foothills in my backyard at least once a day - not as a discipline, but because they are beautiful and I can't help but stare at them. Driving home at the end of each day I can't help but miss right when the light turns green because I am frequently captivated by the sunset that is partially blinding me as I stare at the road before me. And I realized that this is what it is all about. Just being. Just living in the moment. Appreciating what is and not always trying to make it something more. 

Every Saturday I meet with a group of three other ladies to talk about life and love and pain and challenges and sorrows and defeat. There are few people I would rather share daily life with. Sipping coffee, laughing, and hearing their stories is often the highlight of my week. I see God in their stories, in being in their presence, and in being part of this journey with them. 

If I tried to turn looking at the foothills into a daily exercise of discipline during Lent - I would stop looking at them on a daily basis and they would lose some of their splendor. If I made coffee with the girls a "meeting" I HAD to be at every Saturday rather than a ritual I am proud and honored to be part of, it would lose part of its wonder. I'm not saying disciplines and planned action are bad - I'm just saying that experiencing God for who God is in the moment that you are living is a pretty beautiful thing. Surrendering from TRYING so hard to be the person that you think you should be and just being who you are is the unpracticed discipline of surrender. That's what I need more of - surrendering to the messiness of life. 

Cause the God who made those foothills and drinks coffee on Saturday mornings is pretty crazy awesome. And that God reveals layers of characteristics and faithfulness on a daily basis just by showing up in that sunset or conversations or laughter. Sometimes I think I try to conjure up the perfect recipe for God to appear when God is already there.

I'm done trying to be perfect by Easter. It has never worked before. So this time I think I'm just going to be me. Simple, old, broken me. And I think that's all God wants. God's appreciated my efforts of starting and stopping things for the lenten season in the past - but I think we'll enjoy just being together these next 40 days. No incessant questions, no mind-games, no pretension, no pretending….just me - just God - just us. 


An Open Letter to Charter Communications

You are, quite simply, extremely annoying. I appreciate your internet service, I really do. And I think you provide great rates and good reliable service. But when it comes to every other area of who you are, how you relate to your cliental and your customer service, you are terrible. I have never interacted with another company that has made me feel more harassed.  If I wanted cable and telephone or any other service that you offered, believe me, I WOULD LET YOU KNOW. There are two main issues that I have with you.

First, you call me three to four times a day - sometimes beginning at 6:45a. This does not make me any more likely to solicit said services from you. You call me from different telephone numbers, and different area codes, trying to trick me into answering the phone. And if you do succeed in making me pick up my phone, your customer service representatives will never let me off the phone even after explicitly telling them 6 to 34,567,890 times I do not want to make any changes to my plan. It has come to the point where I will not pick up any phone numbers that I do not recognize for fear of being harassed by your company. This has resulted in me missing some very important and exciting calls from overseas friends. Is that your fault? Not necessarily - but you aren't making things easier. 

Second, I sincerely think you hate mother nature. The number of letters that you send me marked "VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION" that are the exact same thing as your phone calls just trying to get me to spend more money with you, is outrageous. I could have a bonfire once a month with the amount of paper I throw away that you send to my mailbox. And for the record, trying to get me to purchase cable, is not VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION. I am lucky I have not thrown away one of your bills yet in the midst of all the junk you mail to me.

All this to say, Dearest Charter, please stop harassing your customers. We know what great service you provide. That is why we are with you. And if we ever decide we want more if it - we'll come to you. Trust us, we know that you are there. But right now you seem a little desperate and needy, and that just pushes us away even more.



A Valentine Reflection

Valentines is a day for reflecting. If you are in a relationship it is a time for reflecting on all those things you love and appreciate about your significant other. What it is that makes them special, how you can continue working to cultivate a healthy relationship, and blah blah blah.

For those of us that are single, it is a time for reflecting on the ones that got away. Are we really progressing in this dating adventure or have we just gotten more desperate and too picky along the way so that one truly amazing person slipped away without us even noticing? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves. 

To start this time of reflection for myself, I am going to guess where some of my past dates are now - hopefully you can relate to some of the types of people I have dated (please? make me feel less abnormal!) And by taking a trip down memory lane we can all hopefully learn a little bit about whether we are progressing in our dating attempts or have yet to raise the bar for ourselves.

First, there's Little Justin. I am not sure he counts since he was my next door neighbor until I was about 4. All I remember is chasing him around trying to kiss him. Since I have not seen him for 24 years I am just going to guess he is in therapy.

Then there was Tyska. I chased him on the playground in first grade and kissed him on the cheek (I am JUST NOW realizing what an aggressive little girl I was!). He told the teacher on me so I had to go sit in the timeout chair. I am going to guess he works for a collections agency for the CIA.

Then there was Flower. I guess we never really dated, but I had the BIGGEST crush on him ever and he took me to a couple school dances. My dad hollered at him across a football field during the homecoming coronation. I have a FEELING that didn't help my cause in trying to marry him. That's a great story if you ever want to hear the full thing sometime. I am guessing he is married to a woman with a father that does NOT yell at him in front of large crowds of people.

Then there was Jesus. Cause, you know, I kissed dating goodbye. But it got hard when I wanted to cuddle or kiss him. He felt distant….physically. Don't get me wrong - best boyfriend I've ever had. I just thought we should not get so exclusive so fast - I was only in High School and I was sure my parents would not be happy if I settled down so early.

Then there was Hardy-Boy. You know this type, the boy who asks you to date him but keep it a secret. I am guessing he works at WalMart and plays Second Life on the weekends.

Then there was Scottish Storr. What a dream. An intense dream that scared me. But a dream. You know, the type you can't find ANYTHING wrong with but there's still no spark? I am sure he is climbing a rainbow on a unicorn with an elvish princess somewhere.

Then there was SpongeBob. The guy that had spongebob everything and was a little too obsessed with vampires. But you're willing to overlook the really odd things because he worked as a barista so I got a lots of free coffee. I am guessing he is an extra in some of the Twilight films and currently collects Robert Pattinson paraphernalia.

Then there was Blogger. I hope you don't know this type, but I think they're pretty common. The guy that after you break up with them write terrible awful things about you in a public forum, and USE YOUR REAL NAME. I am guessing he works for TMZ now.

Now we will run through a series of men I went on just ONE date with (see if you can guess why!):

To read the rest - go to the post I wrote on The Public Queue [LINK].



more and more i have been struggling with what it actually means to believe in God or have a relationship with God or anything that resembles the foundations of my evangelical upbringing. i guess this is not a surprise as i have blogged a lot about this lately (for example you can read my post on recovering evangelical here, if you didn't see it) and the more i think about it - the more i realize that it is storytelling. it is hearing the testimony and experiences of others that make me aware of the divine around me. others make me confident that the almighty God is at work. and even more so when they stop to reflect on what they've seen in my life or the lives of others. sometimes i am not patient enough to get a lot out of my own study - but when i pause to listen to the experience of others or take a deep breath to inhale the hidden beauty in the darkest places…it is like God is screaming out I AM LOVE AND HOPE AND BEAUTY AND GRACE AND TRUTH. just hold on cause the ride is going to be bumpy but beautiful.

so, i guess that's all. tell me your stories, and i'll try to remember to tell you mine. remind each other of the changes you see - the growth you've witnessed and the beauty that surrounds us. because when one of us is struggling it just might be your story that brings us back to hope.