Hello, Christmas Turned Upside Down

Dad with Santa hat I am not a writer. So don’t expect much from this little post. I had a few thoughts on my mind that I wanted to record, and this felt like the best way to do it.
Okay, I’ll just say it: I have had a perfect little life. I grew up in a peaceful Christian home. My parents are still together. My family (siblings, spouses, grandkids…dogs) all get along really well (ok, there were some fights, but we love being around each other). I am the baby of the family. Everyone knows the baby gets spoiled. Especially when the baby is a girl… with FIVE brothers. I went to a private school. Did ballet, performed, and got lead roles. My best friends are like sisters, and my sisters are like best friends. I got married to a man I’ve known longer than I haven’t. He adores me. I live in a cute little apartment in my parent’s backyard where we are able to save up for our future. I have a perfect little family I nanny for. We love each other and couldn’t get along more easily. Oh, and my best friend lives with her husband on my parents’ property too. We grocery shop together, and our husbands get along well. My biggest trial in my life was breaking up with a boyfriend, or getting in a fight with a friend or my husband. I had felt pain and suffered to an extent, but I knew it wasn’t much compared to the suffering I’ve seen experienced by those close to me. I have never lost anyone I am close to.
This summer, I began to realize what a grace from God it is that I have never lost anyone that I love. I have never really experienced death. My Granny and Grandpa died, but I was not close with them. I did not feel a loss when they died. I began to feel a fear of losing people.
Then this August, my husband was admitted into the hospital for a week for an abscess on his colon. Then he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through!” I told people. I was scared I would lose him.
Then on October 13th, my dad was admitted into the hospital for West Nile Virus. I was scared I would lose him. But I didn’t. He is still here, but he is still there. He is with us, but he’s not. Thanksgiving was rough without him, and Christmas will be no different. Will it?
I am wishing he was not still in the hospital. I am wanting him home, safe, with us. Longing for “normal” and comfortable. But maybe God has something new for us this year.
For me, Christmas is about being with my family. My big wonderful family. This year I do not get that. At least not with my dad. And without my dad, everything feels wrong. I’m am forced to give up what I want (for it’s impossible to get) and find my joy in the “real” reason for Christmas. I find myself examining my heart and asking myself, “where is my joy?” I have found that I have two choices:
1) Be depressed and angry that I am not getting what I want for Christmas,
Or
2) Find my joy in Christ and the blessings I do have.
I’ve been choosing #1 for a while now. Despite my smile through my tears and my shallow words to ease the burden of worry, I have been battling anger, depression, and anxiety. Today I feel a break through. I feel like God is giving me the grace to choose joy in Christ through this trial. He is the God who gives and takes away. And with this “taking away,” I am beginning to understand how that is for my good. Not getting what I want or what is comfortable reveals what is really important to me, and what should be important to me. Family should be important to us, but it shouldn’t be the source of our joy. The reason I know that is true is because when it has been taken away from me, I lost all my joy. That’s not a good sign! God tells us to not lose heart.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

So what I find is that God is not teaching me anything new. He is just helping me understand the same lesson he’s been teaching me in a deeper way: It. is. not. about. ME.
I recently was crying next to my dad. Holding his hand, through tears, I told him that I hate seeing him suffer. He looked at me with a big genuine Clint Albao smile and mouthed, “I am rejoicing in my tribulation.” He has told me multiple times, “It is not about me. And the sooner we can all understand that, the better.”
So Lord, give me the grace to understand this better. Help me to listen to my dad and my Father. It’s not about me and what I want. I don’t deserve any of it. I don’t deserve my home, my friends, my job, my husband, my dad, or my breath. I don’t deserve it, and yet you still bless me with it! Thank you that my husband’s disease is not fatal. Thank you for showing us what he has so we can know how to manage it. My dad is alive. Thank you for sparing his life and not taking him away for good.  I don’t want to take any of it for granted anymore. YOU are greater. YOU are sufficient. YOU are all I need. It’s not about me, it’s about YOU.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Hello, Spring is in the Airy Quiche

HHH Tea Party0023

INGREDIENTS

No Roll Crust:
2 C. flour
2/3 C. vegetable oil
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 C. ice water

Spinach filling:
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 C chopped mushrooms (about 5 mushroom)
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1/4 C olive oil
10 oz fresh baby spinach (Dole has this in a plastic container.)
1 1/2 tsp dry tarragon
1/3 C chopped pistachio nuts
1/3 C (approximately) feta cheese

Quiche filling:
7 oz good quality cheese, such as Kerigold cheddar or dubliner, or Gruyere, or a mixture of these
5 eggs
1 Cup heavy cream or half & half
2 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt

CRUST
1. Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Moisten and mix thoroughly (not in electric mixer).
2. Press evenly into glass pie dish.
3. Set aside.

SPINACH FILLING
1. Preheat olive oil in skillet on medium.
2. Saute onions and mushrooms until soft, stirring often (about 5 minutes) Add garlic and stir.
3. Turn heat down to low.
4. Place all of spinach on top of onion mixture. It will be piled high.
5. Cover and let sit on how heat for 1-2 minutes.
6. Remove cover and turn spinach over to blend.
7. Continue to do this until all spinach is wilted.
8. Watch and stir frequently until done.
9. Turn off heat.

QUICHE FILLING
1. Grate cheese and  set aside.
2. Beat eggs and all other ingredients.

ASSEMBLY: Preheat oven to 375
1. Cover bottom of pie crust with cheese
2. Spoon spinach over cheese. Separate clumps with fork so it will lie on cheese in a thin layer.
3. Place on shelf in oven.
4. With oven shelf pulled out, pour egg mixture carefully over filling. (This is a lot safer than pouring the liquid into the dish before it is in the oven.)
5. Push shelf back in, careful not to make it spill.
6. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 300. Bake 20 more minutes.
7. Check to see if done by inserting a knife. It is done if the knife comes out clean. If it is not done, continue baking for 5-10 more minutes until done.

Enjoy!

Hello, Minty Cucumber Sandwiches

 

Mint Cucumber sandwiches

These sandwiches are light and perfect for a spring or summer tea. They will complement all the other delicious tea goodies on your plate perfectly!

Ingredients:

Cream cheese
White bread
Cucumber
Mint

Serve immediately or if you have to store them for a short amount of time use our sister-in-law’s [or is it sister’s-in-law?] trick: cover them in a very lightly damp paper towel in a tupperware until ready to serve so that the bread doesn’t dry out.

Enjoy!

Holly + Heather

Hello, Curry Chicken Sandwiches

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Here is another one of mom’s recipes that tastes great on Mom’s Rolls (see link below) This chicken salad is one of those recipes that you can use in so many ways. Have it on your favorite bread, over a green salad or just by itself.

Ingredients
(Serves 5-6)

2-3 Chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2-3 Green Onions , chopped
2 Stalks of Celery, chopped
1-2 TB Curry Powder (use more or less to your taste, we like it heavy on the curry)
2-3 TB Mayonnaise (or to taste)
Salt to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients. Serve on Mom’s Rolls.

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches