Friday, June 19, 2009

Real Prayer

"Of all the duties enjoined by Christianity none is more essential and yet more neglected than prayer." --François Fénelon

I find it ironic that there are so many books out there on prayer these days. It is ironic because many Christians will tell you that they don't pray enough or that they don't know how to pray. I think this is due in large part to a misunderstanding of what it means to pray.

Let me offer a brief disclaimer or two before I expound on that last thought.

Disclaimer #1: Many of the books on prayer that are out there are exceptional. A favorite of mine is Richard Foster's Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home. As with many of his books, Foster is quick to quote the saints and other great giants of the faith through the ages. I also enjoy just about anything by E.M. Bounds as he has much to say on the matter. Another favorite of mine is The Meaning of Prayer by great preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick. I picked up a tattered copy of this book (for $1!) simply because I liked the title. It has become a treasure to me. Fosdick offers insights about prayer and prayers of the saints throughout. There are countless others that I have been exposed to through my love of the saints and spiritual formation. Suffice it to say that many of the resources on prayer that are out there are worth your time.

Disclaimer #2: No book out there will teach you how to pray. In fact, I'd be leery of any book that say that it could. There are a fair share of formulas out there, some more useful than others. But no formula will teach you how to pray. Prayer is deeply personal and different for everyone. Let that last thought soak in and you will be liberated!

Well, since it seems my disclaimers took up much of the blog, I think I'll save my further thoughts on prayer for the next post. What's already written is enough to think about for the weekend, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spicing it Up!

I decided the other day to try and find a recipe for all of the spices on my spice rack. It seems so unfair for some to be used and some to just hold a place on the rack and collect dust. So, I'm on a mission. If you have great recipes for random spices (um...marjoram?!), send them my way!

The first spice is chili powder. This is one of the often-used spices on my rack. I have plenty of recipes that call for it, but this one is a favorite. It is so yummy! I think Jason would eat it at least once a week if I'd let him. Enjoy!

Tostada Pizza
1 lb. lean ground beef
¾ cup water
1 4½-ounce can diced green chili peppers, drained
½ of a 1½-ounce envelope taco seasoning mix (about 2 T)
1 tsp. chili powder
2 T cornmeal
2 cups packaged biscuit mix
½ cup cold water
1 15-ounce can refried beans
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I use 2% Mexican Blend)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
½ cup thinly sliced green onions (optional)

In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain well. Stir in the ¾ cup water, chili peppers, taco seasoning mix, and chili powder. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until thick.

Meanwhile, generously grease a 12- to 14-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with the cornmeal. In a medium mixing bowl stir together the biscuit mix and the ½ cup cold water with a fork until dough follows fork around the bowl. With floured fingers, pat dough into bottom and up edge of prepared pan.. Spread refried beans over dough. Spoon meat mixture over refried beans.

Bake, uncovered in a 450o oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, tomato, and green onions (if desired). If desired, serve with taco sauce (…it is perfectly yummy without! ).

This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens: 75 Years of All-Time Favorites. An excellent cookbook that I inherited from my grandma with lots of delicious recipes!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Listening and Loving

"The first duty of love is to listen." -- Paul Tillich

I shoplifted the above quote from another blog that I enjoy reading. The blog is of a friend I know only through his blogs. Somehow we have connected through the blogosphere and it has been an immense blessing to me. His words are raw and honest and deep. Plus, he has a rare love for the saints. Basically he speaks my language (maybe a little clearer and more intelligently than I do...). Often it seems God is teaching us similar things at the same time. Then there are times when I read a post and just find his thoughts fascinating and encouraging (see The Smell of Victory).If you are ever needing some encouragement or a challenge, venture on over to St. Cuthbert's Island. For starters, his post on the above quote is great.

I'll post my own thoughts on the quote from Tillich later. Suffice it to say this quote and my friend's thoughts on it convicted me in more than one area in my life. I am always working on being a better listener - to God, my husband, and my family. I am still learning...