Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring Lemon-Basil Quinoa Bowl

I loved today. I needed today. I've found there is little better for my proud heart and busy mind than to kneel down and put my hands in the dirt. It reminds me of my little girl days when I would spend long hours outside with the roly-polies and worms, making tulip houses for the snails and catching caterpillars in jars to show mom. Those were the days when I had no clue life was hard. That was a gift. But, even still, I find so much peace and solace when I'm as close to the earth as possible. Thank God for this day that allowed for it. I planted lots of green things and took lots of deep breaths. Some day I'll learn to do this more.

M and I had a sweet evening---he worked all day and I cooked dinner earlier so we could enjoy a relaxed meal when he got home. I wanted something light and healthy and found this recipe. We loved it. You spoon some quinoa in a bowl then top it with a soupy mixture of chicken, lemon, basil, peas, onion, and zucchini. Perfect for a spring evening, and so quick and easy. We don't have a porch so I insist on making good use of our front steps. I sat, sweaty and covered in dirt, and we snarfed these bowls clean. I want to eat up every morsel of every day that way. I'm gonna try to do it again tomorrow.

Spring Lemon-Basil Quinoa Bowl
serves 4 / modified from

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup zucchini, small diced
2 cups cooked chicken breasts or half a rotisserie chicken, shredded
(I did the latter this time and used 1/2 dark and 1/2 light meat, using the other half on salads for another meal)
2 teaspoons lemon zest (2-3 lemons)
3 T fresh lemon juice (~1 lemon)
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil leaves
4 lemon wedges, garnish
Parmesan cheese, optional
2 avocados, optional


1. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat in medium soup pot. Add onion once melted and cook for 3-5 minutes, until translucent. 
2. Add garlic and stir in herbs de Provence and a couple pinches of salt and pepper once garlic becomes aromatic--about 1 minute in.
3. Add chicken stock, peas, zucchini, chicken, and lemon zest and juice. Stir together, cover, and bring to simmer for 3-4 minutes, adding additional salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in basil.
4. To serve, scoop a couple large spoonfuls of quinoa into bowls and ladle some of the chicken-veggie mixture over top. Top with shredded parmesan, a squeeze of lemon, and diced avocado. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Patient Waiting

These dear daffodils are faithfully pushing up through the frozen ground of our front yard as they do every year about this time. I'm so thankful, for they give nod to the warmer, brighter season forthcoming, the one I think we're all longing for at this point. I love remembering that while everything has seemed still and cold and dead since November, these little bulbs have been actively, secretly growing up and out. It reminds me of one of my most favorite passages by Henri Nouwen. I'll share here:

"Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment.

A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her." / excerpt from Henri Nouwen in Watch for the Light

I pray, friends, that we will learn to be a patient, willing-to-wait people. That we would believe that this moment is the moment (for are we promised another?). That we would be a people who dare to believe---in times when our lives don't appear to be very alive nor our hopes realized---that something hidden and good is taking root beneath the surface. Lord, help us wait well. Make us patient and willing and alert to the moments you have given us. And help us to believe that what is hidden will manifest itself to us right on time.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Christmas in Jacksonville | Afternoon at the Beach

Warm enough for shorts and t-shirts (by my standards), windy, noisy with people, freezing water, splashing, Lila hyper and terrified, M. pulled down the beach, lots of laughing: a quick ocean visit but such sweet memories for a December 28 in Florida.

Friday, December 12, 2014

When We're Sad

I've been sad today. We have some dear friends who are moving to the North Carolina tomorrow. It's in these times I'm reminded I don't like this kind of change. I don't mind rearranging bedroom furniture 3 times in a week (that kind of change I thrive on), but I don't like the way friends come and go. It's a natural flow and I trust there's a proper rhythm to it. But it sure makes me ache inside. Our pastor prayed over this family on Sunday, sending them off on their way, and he spoke of how this sort of goodbye makes him long for heaven, where goodbyes and tears will be no more. I've been thinking about those words this week and how they seem to join the refrain I'm hearing of late: the one echoing the reminder that every good thing we enjoy on earth will fade. It's a sad, true tune. The minute I grasp one good, happy, longed-for thing (i.e., marriage, job satisfaction, a growing friendship, that rug I've been wishing for, ____), I'm abruptly reminded that it won't last. As a baby grows up and is no longer dependent on her parents, as each flower blooms and falls to the ground, as every good day ends with the will each good thing pass away from us. 

But (thank God there's more) then I hear things like, "The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8), and, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), and I make out that voice again, the blessed reminder that there is one Good who will not fade. One who will not shift like the shadows (James 1:17). He will never move away. And he is able to fill in and ease all these cracked, achy places, able to satisfy our every longing. 

In this season especially, I'm reminded and I'm thankful, so thankful, that Jesus came. God knew, of course, that we would be weary and struggling in our own darkness and sinful muck. He knew well this fleeting world and the lost creatures in it. And so he broke in. He put on flesh and came to us. He took his immortal, universe-creating power and pressed it into a tiny human embryo that would be born like us and die like us. This to show us that he loves us. Do you know how much? We simply cannot get it into our heads. It's far too great. But I want to believe it more. So, I pray we will. And that we will be encouraged by the truth that when everything, everything is changing and ending and leaving us achy and sad, there is One who will not, cannot change or leave us wanting. And he is for us, with us, and abounding in love for us. 

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; 
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, 
on them has light shined."
Isaiah 9:2

"Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee."