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Towels of gratitude.

towels

Today as I was folding the laundry, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. You see, I have the same chores every single day. The same routine, the same house to clean, the same long list of things that need to be done. It never ends because as I finish one task, there is another to begin.

As I was folding that towel, I thanked God for the little bodies that use it. I inhaled its sweet fragrance and I was wrapped up in gratitude for the laundry soap I can afford and the washer and dryer I have to use every day. The laundry list of things I have to do every day are things that have to be done because I have the precious opportunity to have a family. I know that’s not something everyone gets to have.

When I think of giving thanks, I often think about Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. That book changed my life. The daily practice of giving thanks should be something everyone tries to do. To practice gratitude is to look through like with a tiny glimpse of God’s vision, it’s a humbling and completely fulfilling task – and it’s not always easy.

Yet long before I think of Ann, I am most often drawn to one of my favorite heroes of the faith, Brother Lawrence. He lived in a Carmelite monastery from 1611-1691. Was he a great theologian? Was he a preacher? An author? A person of high ranking?

He was a dishwasher.

He was a dishwasher, and yet he left behind one of the most significant pieces of literature about practicing the presence of God. You see, he spent every day of his life in an attempt to remain in constant communication with God. No task was too trivial for him. His daily life in the kitchens of his monastery was simple, but his revolutionary faith drew people from everywhere to him. After his death, his abbot collected the letters and notes from his life and compiled a book.

He wrote, “But when we are faithful in keeping ourselves in his holy presence, keeping him always before us, this not only prevents our offending him or doing something displeasing in his sight (at least willfully), but it also brings to us a holy freedom, and if I may say so, a familiarity with God wherein we may ask and receive the graces we are so desperately in need of.”

Brother Lawrence encourages me because he shows me that there is no task that is too trivial for the presence of God. He is with me when I wash the dishes, when I fold the clothes, when I sweep the floor or wipe the countertops for the hundredth time. He knows when I sit and when I rise. He knows my thoughts. He knows me. (Psalm 139:2-4)

I may never be anyone beyond daily chores or wiping baby bottoms. This home is my mission field and I live among the natives. I may never hold a place of importance in the outside world. But if a 17th century dishwasher can revolutionize the way we practice our daily worship of God, there is no limit to what He can do when I submit myself to His will.

In case you think that this was easy for him, Brother Lawrence wrote that, “When I finally reached a point where I wanted to quit, I found myself changed all at once. In my soul, which until that time was in distress, I suddenly felt a profound inward peace as it it were in its true place of rest.”

It’s not until we give up trying to make things happen on our own accord and we relax in our own efforts and rest in the strength of God that we begin to feel His presence.

Be encouraged today. You don’t have to be the best, or the biggest, or anything that you think you have to be. You just have to rest in the knowledge that you are loved. “I considered that he was always with me, that he was even within me.” (Lawrence)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col. 3:15)

You. are. loved.

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Recipe: Mini oven frittatas!

The older I get, the worse I get at following a recipe. This isn’t bad for me, per se, because I know what works and what doesn’t and for the most part, I do fine just “winging” it. The problem come when a person asks me for my own recipe and I have to sit down and wonder what I did to make it! Haha!

This morning, I posted a picture of some mini-frittatas I have been making. They –like most of my recipes– are a work in progress, but I’ve come down to a basic routine as I make them week by week. Since many of you have asked me for the recipe, I’m going to give you the foundation and let you play with them just like I do!

I love this recipe. I’ve been making them for about a month. It’s largely up to you what you prefer to do — and you can make it more involved (or less) depending on your personal preference. My recipe uses the ingredients I have on hand the most, but I will recommend you have another muffin tin ready (or a skillet!) for any leftover mix if you find you have more mix than you planned!

Red dirt mama mini frittatas

Mini Frittatas

You will need:

One dozen eggs
1/2 c. whole milk, heavy cream, or half and half
1 t. cornstarch (not necessary, but recommended)
Below are your preferences!
Cheese of choice (I use sharp cheddar)
Bacon (about 6 slices)
1/4 c. onion
1/4 c. sweet bell pepper
1 cup fresh spinach (I just grab a handful!)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350*

I begin by dicing my bacon and putting it in a pan (low to medium heat!) to begin cooking. Then I add my onion and pepper to the pan, stirring frequently until veggies are soft and bacon is cooked through. Add your spinach and give a quick toss then remove from heat. The spinach will finish wilting and that will give your vegetable mixture time to cool.

While your veggies are cooking, shred cheese. I find that I use about a 1/2 c to a cup of cheese total. You can use more or less depending on preference — I just put a pinch in! If you just buy the bagged stuff — you’re good.

Then, crack your eggs into a bowl or 4 cup Pyrex wet measuring cup. The measuring cup makes it easiest to pour. I use a fork to beat my eggs until light and fluffy, then I add the half and half and salt and pepper to the mix. You don’t HAVE to use milk in your dish, but it gives it this incredible creaminess to the dish and (I think) makes it reheat better. If you only use skim milk, please don’t add it. You’re wanting the fat in there, and skim milk in this mix is the equivalent to adding water. (I drink almond milk mostly– but this is a time where fat is GOOD.) Add in the cornstarch too, if you have it. This was recommended by Alton Brown — it helps soak up the water in the eggs and retain moisture. You don’t HAVE to do it, but I think this batch did better with it in there and you can’t taste it! Beat until light and fluffy.

Take your non-stick muffin tin and grease the tin to make sure the eggs won’t stick. I like to use olive oil spray, but its up to you. I tried bacon grease last time and I didn’t have as good results, although it was delicious.

Here is the process:

1. Put in a pinch of cheese.
2. Pour eggs 2/3 way full in each tin.
3. Add in a pinch of the veggie/meat mixture until all gone.
4. Finish adding eggs until almost to top.
If you find that you’re going to have leftover eggs, then scramble what you have left. I usually just live on the wild side and try so hard to get every last drop in there! haha!

Carefully put in your wet mixture in your preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Set a timer for 20 minutes. They are done when they looked popped out like the picture above (that was right after removing) and the top and center of the eggs aren’t wet. You DO NOT want the mix to turn brown on top, that means your dish is probably overcooked and while edible, will be spongy and dry. Mine takes usually closer to 25 minutes, but I just watch it like a hawk at the end.

These frittatas will be very high when baking, but will shrink down to their normal size when cool. I like to remove them fairly quickly after pulling them out of the oven and place them on a plate to finish cooling so they don’t over bake.

DONE!

To reheat — wrap in a paper towel and zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Use whatever toppings you like! Play around with it! They give Todd and I a quick breakfast a few days in a row. You can make some more kid-friendly ones (if your kids don’t like that flavor profile) for early morning breakfast on the go!

It’s really easy, especially if you are tired of scrambling eggs every morning! We go through so many eggs in our house.

I hope you enjoy them! Let me know what you think, or if you have any ideas for variations!

Have a wonderful Monday!

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Hey friends!

I just wanted to give a quick update on what’s happening in our lives right now and explain why I haven’t been blogging much anymore.

It’s August, so we’re gearing up for school for Bluebelle and a mother’s day out for Dean Bean. This is the first time I’ve ever tried a MDO (Mother’s Day Out) for either of the kids, but Todd and I prayerfully considered it and thought it would be really nice to give me a few hours every week by myself. This will help me with appointments, shopping, and also spending some more time writing. I think this is going to be a good thing for Dean Bean too. He’s two now and he is really enjoying going to church and playing with the kids there. I think this will help him to socialize and learn some fun things.

Bluebelle starts kindergarten (and that’s a whole other post) this fall. I’m so thankful that we have about 3 more weeks here in Texas until it begins. I’m in a little bit of denial over the whole thing. It’s going to be so good for her, and I think she’s going to love it, but it’s the end of an era and I’m having a hard time letting her go.

Now the big thing: blogging.

I’m really wondering if I’m supposed to be doing this anymore. This summer, I’ve started building a community with ladies and I’ve had a wonderful time! They have helped me grow spiritually, and more to the point, I have been going through a deep refining process with the Lord. I’m making some changes, and I realized how stilted and stifled I’ve been at times writing this blog. I’ve been so afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings that I have hesitated to speak about God with the freedom I feel I should have. I’ve also made some mistakes along the way. I’ve written things with my own conviction and boldness (not spiritually, just opinion) and I offended family. Some of the words were genuine misunderstandings, but the way I was approached about it and the fact that I hate to hurt anyone, stopped me from writing so many things because I thought I was going to offend someone else yet again. I feel like I’m too liberal for my conservative friends and family, and too Jesus-oriented for my more liberal friends. It’s a very isolating feeling.

I also feel like I should be writing more, and so I have… just not for an audience yet. It’s time for me to flesh out some things and I’m working on them, bit-by-bit. It’s very freeing — writing without editing. This is one of those things that I’m really looking forward to doing when Dean Bean is at MDO. I want to be able to write without interruption, and that’s nearly impossible for me to do anymore! My brain is like those five minute short stories on the Disney channel. That’s about as long as I can hold a thought right now!

Also, my kids are getting older and while I love taking pictures of them, I’m not as comfortable sharing them online anymore. Not just because of the negative stuff (stalkers, predators, or anything heinous), but because I don’t have permission to share their stories right now. I’m enjoying treasuring these moments. Sure, I’ll share photos from time to time, and tell you a little bit about them, and I need to do updates on them (and I will), but this space is largely my own and I want to take ownership of that.

This has been an amazing summer. We have traveled and spent time together, and Bluebelle has been able to spend some special time with family. I don’t regret it, and I love the new area in which we live. I’ve been enjoying seeing Todd more, and I love that he’s not traveling as much right now. Life is good, and going far too fast to suit me.

I still plan to keep this blog, at least for the foreseeable future, but I can’t guarantee you what the future holds. Thank you for reading my words and being in this space. This has helped me in so many ways, and I am so thankful for you.

And because a blog isn’t a blog without some pictures, here’s some from the summer: McVacation 2015 (1 of 9) McVacation 2015 (5 of 9) McVacation 2015 (8 of 9) McVacation 2015 (2 of 9)

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