Beauty of Acceptance

In my recent post Forgiving Ourselves, I talked about how hard it is to forgive ourselves. Although I do believe that is indeed a very difficult thing to do, we often miss the beauty of acceptance for the same reason; it’s just plain hard.

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But the beauty of acceptance has the power to transport us into a different way of living.

I am reminded as I write, of the first line of The Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I think there is a reason why acceptance is the very first lone of that prayer. It takes the most energy…it takes a lot of energy to let go, and letting go is the very essence of acceptance.

The definition of acceptance is: the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

Letting go is something you receive. Acceptance is a gift. There is much beauty in acceptance and letting go.

Acceptance and surrender seem to go hand in hand as well. Surrender is another way of letting go. They are attitudes that open doors to a new way of living. Acceptance and surrender are often looked upon as a kind of hopeless giving in or a weakness of character. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Acceptance is simply admitting that there are things you cannot change. It’s surrendering the idea of thinking you can.

Surrendering is letting go of the idea that by shear will-power you can change things that you have no power to change.

The ultimate beauty of acceptance comes in knowing that you are not alone. God is there to help. There are people able to help too. Don’t go it alone.

The beauty of acceptance is there for the taking, or rather, I should say, receiving

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi is my chosen dish for my 365 easy recipes today. As you may have noticed, I’ve been missing in action. I have been on a learning curve with my new position, and we are experiencing internet issues which doesn’t help AT ALL! Hopefully all will be resolved in that area tomorrow.

On with the recipe!

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Shrimp Scampi

3 to 4 garlic gloves, minced

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup olive oil

1 uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1regano

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Hot cooked angel hair pasta

In a 10-in. oven[proof skillet, sauté garlic in butter and olive until tender. Stir in the shrimp, lemon juice, pepper and oregano; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and parsley. Broil 6 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve over pasta.

Here are the changes I made. I always make changes, it seems. Even when I don’t plan on it!

I forgot to buy garlic gloves so I used garlic powder. I think the gloves would have been way better, just saying. I also didn’t have any lemon juice but I had lime so I used it instead. Again, I think it may have altered the taste considerably but it was pretty good anyway. I think I might want to try it the correct way next time. :) I added a salad and we were good to go!

 

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The Gift of a Dream

Thinking about dreams today. Not the kind you have while you’re asleep…though I did have a rather interesting, somewhat disturbing dream right before I awoke this morning…but I digress.

Have you ever thought about the gift of a dream?

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People don’t talk about their hopes and dreams these days, or is it just me? Why? Do we not have time to dream? Are we too afraid to dream? Have we owned one dream too many, only to have it crushed by the realities of day to day living?

John Maxwell wrote in his book Running With the Giants that: “Dreams are conceived long before they are achieved. The period is filled with doubts, adversity, changes, and surprises. During the process, you will experience good days and bad days. And frequently you will be faced with a dilemma: Do you give up, or go on? Without hesitation, I can give you the answer: Don’t give up on your dream.”

Someone once said, “In order to live beyond your wildest dreams, you must first have wild dreams.” Is that not what living a life of faith is all about…having dreams and believing in them enough to leave the safety of the familiar and wander out into the unknown zone of desires, callings and gifts?

“Sad is the day when a person becomes absolutely satisfied with the life he is living, the thoughts he is thinking (the dreams he is having), the deeds he is doing – when there forever ceases to beat at the door of his soul a desire to do something greater for God.” Sad indeed. For to do so is to enter into a life of mediocrity where you live the same day over and over and over again.

A dream isn’t something to be dismissed as a pastime of a child; something we outgrow, or something to be ashamed of possessing. The gift of a dream to nurture is one of life’s great gifts. Not simply to hold, wrapped up in a pretty package, to cherish and take out to examine on days of quiet desperation, but to boldly rip off the paper that has held it hidden and allow the God of dreams to breathe life into it.

Dreams…we all have them, but only a few dare to live their lives in pursuit of a worthy goal.

I will leave you with a prayer from Running With the Giants

Sovereign Lord,
I don’t ask that You relieve every pain experienced by my friends; I ask that You fuel them to fulfill their purpose. Make Your dreams for their lives vivid in their minds, and give them the heart to keep running the race.
Amen

Forgiving Ourselves

The hardest task in life is forgiving ourselves. Why is that? Is it because things become so cleverly disguised; tucked safely away in the hidden recesses of our minds, that we are unaware of the need of forgiving ourselves?

Forgiving others is a simple task compared to the act of forgiving ourselves. We look noble and loving and down-right saintly when we choose to let someone else off the hook. And just so you know, I am aware that forgiving others has way more to do with our own stuff than it does with the person we need to forgive.

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I am reminded of the song by Simple Plan a few years ago, Perfect. This is a song that a son wrote to his abusive father. “Now it’s just too late and we can’t go back, I’m sorry I can’t be perfect.”

We all have an unconscious expectation that we are supposed to be perfect, and when we mess up (and messing up is a given), we find it very difficult to forgive ourselves.

Is that the case with you?

Sometimes the need to forgive ourselves comes wrapped up as a need to forgive someone else. That has been my experience. When I have taken the steps to forgive, I am often left with a hollow, empty feeling, so I conclude that I didn’t really forgive that person after all. As I dig a little deeper and examine it a little more closely, I find that the person I need to forgive is me.

Unforgiveness isn’t a fun place to live. It may feel like a well-worn comfy sweater, wrapped around our lives, this familiar, safe-haven of  our own unforgiveness. For to take it off and let it go means taking a risk, and taking a risk is an avenue few people choose to venture down.

It is necessary if we are ever to achieve the tasks that are set before us, and to step into the shoes to walk the higher path of life; then it is imperative to let go of the past and the mistakes we have made and forgive ourselves. As simple as that sounds, it’s the hardest thing we will ever do.

Living in unforgiveness is giving someone else power in our lives. Who has the power when the person you need to forgive is you?

It is more of a peeling away instead of putting aside, and often a choice that we must make again and again.

A difficult task to do alone.

A necessary task to be free.

Ask God for help.

No-Bake Cereal Bars

I have a confession to make…I love chocolate. I wish I didn’t oftentimes, but I do. So whenever I make dessert it usually includes some type of chocolate. I also love to bake, however, when I’m running short on time, a no-bake kind of dessert is a great go-to choice.

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I am doing a 365 easy recipes challenge and this recipe for No-Bake Cereal Bars fits the bill to a tee. Plus, it’s made with cereal, so it’s health food, right? One of the great things about this recipe is that I usually have most of the ingredients in the pantry.

No-Bake Cereal Bars

6 cups Special K

1-1/2 cups peanut butter

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

Place cereal in a large heatproof bowl; set aside. In a saucepan, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Pour over cereal and stir until well coated.

Spread into a greased 13-in. x 2-in. pan. In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips; stir until smooth. Spread over bars. Cool completely before cutting.

This recipe is so simple one would think I didn’t have enough things to mess with, right? WRONG! I did. Not much but I definitely did.

I didn’t have any Special K cereal but I did have corn flakes left over from Hash Brown Pork Casserole  so that’s what I used! And…AND I didn’t have one cup of corn syrup on hand either so I cut the recipe in half and botta bing, botta boom we have a dessert that fits in nicely with my 365 easy recipes challenge.

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Chili Spaghetti

I tried a recipe; Chili Spaghetti, that I’ve been intending to make for years. This recipe is a part of my 365 easy recipes event. This recipe came from Taste of Home’s 2000 Annual Recipe Cookbook. I have always loved their magazine and often purchase the cookbooks for the year. I’ve made many a dish form their publications.

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My family liked this dish and it was big enough that we will have leftovers, which means, at my house anyway, the boys (ages 18 and 22) will eat it for lunch, snack or any ole time!

Chili Spaghetti

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups tomato juice

1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

6 ounces spaghetti, broken into 3-inch pieces

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt baking dish; stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover an bake at 350º for 65-70 minutes or until spaghetti is just tender. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Here are my alterations: I don’t use onions, EVER! Actually, I do cook with onions occasionally. I put slices on top of my meatloaf along with green peppers, and in my spaghetti sauce, which is an old recipe that my mom used when I was growing up.

I didn’t have any kidney beans so I used black beans instead. I also didn’t really have time to bake the dish for an hour or longer so I cooked the spaghetti in boiling water until it was done to an el dente state, and I baked for about an hour. Other than that, I think I left the recipe in tact. I have mentioned before that I never follow a recipe verbatim, right? That’s just the way I roll!

 

 

 

Appetizer Meatballs

I  am cooking again! Well, actually I’ve been cooking all along, but I’m posting the recipes again. I wanted to share these meatballs as a part of my 365 easy recipes. They really are easy and better than the frozen ones you buy at the store!

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These delicious Appetizer Meatballs are quite tasty and I’ve been making them for years. Contrary to the name of this dish; Appetizer Meatballs, I use them as an entrée. They are always a hit, however you choose to serve them!

Appetizer Meatballs

1 pound ground beef

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

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Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 pepper

Combine the first seven ingredients; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. In a skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs; drain Place in a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Combine sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs. Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 50-60 minutes or until meatballs are done.

Of course, I made a few changes. There are always changes! I don’t particularly like the texture of onions but I do like the taste, so I omit the actual onion and use onion powder instead. I never add salt or pepper to any recipe. This time, instead of browning the meatballs in a skillet, I put them in the over at 400º for approximately 20 minutes. As far as the sauce goes, I found that more is needed. I don’t double the recipe, but instead add another half recipe to the one listed above. I hope that makes sense

I always serve these Appetizer Meatballs with mashed potatoes and either corn or green beans.

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Derby Pie-My Version

There is something magical that happens when you mix chocolate and bourbon. That taste…

I’ve published this Derby Pie-My Version post before, but I made one again today (it’s the spring-like weather we’re having) and I wanted to include it in my 365 easy recipes challenge.

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This Derby Pie-My Version is definitely easy to make. Derby Pie is a trademark by Kern’s Kitchen.

Derby Pie-My Version 

1/2 cup butter melted and cooled

2 eggs

1cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups pecans

2Tbls. bourbon

Cool Whip (optional)

Beat eggs with butter. Add flour and sugar. Beat until mixed. Stir in chocolate chips, pecans and bourbon. Pour into a frozen pie shell. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Cool. Top with Cool Whip when serving.

My alterations to Derby Pie-My Version :): I don’t cool the butter. Sue me. I don’t add all the chocolate chips or pecans. Maybe half, and I only use 1 tablespoon of bourbon. The lesser amounts of chips and pecans makes for a gooier pie. However you choose to make it, this pie doesn’t last long!

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What Happened?

After two weeks of daily recipes, I have missed two days. I have recipes to share but I haven’t had the time to sit down and write! I have a very good reason. I have an exciting reason. I have a new job!

For about two years now I have been a community lead for The SITS Girls. I have enjoyed writing posts for them, helping with their Saturday morning Twitter parties, called Share Fests; #sitsblogging, and other sundry things. In December I did some work for them and found that I quite enjoyed it. I am now a regular, working with The SITS Girls team. I am excited and honored to be a part of this amazing group of women.

I am learning a lot and spending a lot of time currently, learning the ropes of the jobs I have happily been given the chance to work on! My own blog is still very important to me and definitely will continue, once I get my groove back.

Thanks for your patience and keep checking back because this lull is only temporary.

 

Upside-Down Meat Pie

Today I am posting Upside-Down Meat Pie for my 365 easy recipes. It is Sunday as I write this, and I shan’t be cooking (yes, I just said “Shan’t”, it must be all the Downton Abby we are watching!) I will be on a quest to feed my burger junkie self today!

If it seems I am a little heavy on the meat recipes, then I apologize. I’m not actually posting the recipes as I cook them, I’m just grabbing the first photo I see, or catching sight of the first recipe on hand that I have cooked. So here goes!

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Upside-Down Meat Pie

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup, undiluted

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1-1/2 cups biscuit/baking mix

1/3 cup water

3 slices process American cheese, halved diagonally

Green pepper rings, optional

In a skillet over medium hear,, cook beef, celery, onion and green pepper until the meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender drain. Stir in soup and mustard; mix well. transfer to a greased 9-inch pie plate. in a bowl, combine the baking mix and water until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a a 9-inch circle. place over meat mixture. Bake at 425º for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Rum a knife around edge to loosen biscuit; invert onto a serving platter. Arrange cheese slices in a pinwheel pattern on top. Garnish with green pepper rings if desired.

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If you think I made alterations then you would be correct!

No celery, onions or peppers (except for garnish).  Everything else remains the same!