This is the Day That I Finally Use All Those Garden Peppers

Everything is bigger in Texas.  Even our gardens. And this year, our garden yielded about a billion and a half Poblano, Anaheim and Jalapeño peppers.  I’m not even exaggerating.  Much at least. And thus, we’ve had to start asking the tough questions:  How many times can I make stuffed Poblanos for dinner before the kids start complaining?  And how many bags of peppers can we give the neighbors before they start complaining?  And what can we do with all these peppers without everybody complaining? The answer: Make tomatillo sauce. I love tomatillo sauce– dump it over pork tenderloin in the crock pot for chile verde.  Pour it over enchiladas.  Dip chips.  Smother burritos.  The list is endless.  And delicious. And so, here’s my supereasy freezer Tomatillo salsa recipe… it makes 4-5 big bags full that you can use over time so make some space in your freezer! Freezer Tomatillo Sauce 20-25 tomatillos (peeled) 20-25 peppers (a variety of kinds, whole) 4 onions 6 cloves garlic 1 bunch cilantro 1 -2 tbsp salt 1 tbsp cumin Preheat oven to 400.  spread tomatillos, peppers and onion on a jelly roll pan.  (You may need to use 2 pans).  Place in oven 15-20 mins until skins start to brown.  Flip and brown other side an additional 15-20 mins. Take out of oven.  Let cool for 10 mins and then carefully peel the charred parts of the peppers.  Remove stems.  Remove seeds for a milder sauce. Place all ingredients into the blender (work in batches) and puree until smooth.  Pour finished puree into a big metal bowl and add additional salt to taste....

This is the Day That I Start Being a Little Bit Amish

I confess:  I’m hardly a scholar of Amish culture. I’ve been to Pennsylvania once.  I was thirteen and my family went to Bird In Hand and ate chicken and dumplings in a tiny roadside cafe.  I petted the horses hitched to buggies in the parking lot.  I tried (and loved) Shoo Fly Pie. Aside from that, I’ve spent very little time contemplating Amish culture, the Amish lifestyle and the Amish faith. Until last week. This is going to make me sound very unscholarly, but my unlikely foray into Amish culture came in the form of a novel.  A fantastically interesting and really fun novel. My friend Olivia Newport just released her latest book, Accidentally Amish. The book, set in Colorado of all places, explores the contrast between city-dwelling, technology-loving Annie and Amish-born cabinet-maker Rufus.  The book is great– without spoiling the plot, let’s just say there’s a fantastically romantic love story, some danger, some suspense, some money, some tears, some laughter and a huge dose of hope. But aside from a great story, I also got a glimpse into Amish culture that was so different from anything I’ve ever read or heard before.  Like this:  Do you know why the Amish people avoid modern technology like cell phones and computers?  It’s not because they believe they are inherently evil but instead its because they don’t want anything to stand in the way of God, family and community.  Before allowing anything to become a part of their lives, they ask “how is  this _____ (fill in the blank with a modern contraption) helping me to become closer to God, family...

This is the Day That I Stop Worrying About Lumps in My Mashed Potatoes

I never make mashed potatoes. I’m just not good at them.  I do everything right:  cut and peel the potatoes just so, boil perfectly salted water, mash them by hand with a masher.  And yet, they turn out lumpy every time. And so I quit making them.  Rice and cous cous and toast from the toaster just turn out better.  More perfect. But Joey loves mashed potatoes.  And so, tonight I made them.  Lumps and all.  And you know what?  He ate them.  Every last bite. For some reason, I’m so terrified of the lumps in my life.  As if imperfections make me less lovable, less human, less godly.  But the truth is, God came for me because of my imperfection, not in spite of it. I’ve lived so many days trying to put forth this perfect vibe– trying to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect friend.  And I fail.  Daily.  And honestly, I’m tired of trying to hide the lumps.  Of going out of my way to prove that I’m worthy, I’m right, I’m perfect.  Because I’m not.  And it’s time to stop worrying about the lumps in my mashed potatoes.  And in my...

This is the Day That I Let My Light Shine

How do I even begin to wrap my mind around an unhappy ending? In my life, I’ve almost come to expect happiness.  I serve a God who works in big and powerful ways.  And daily, he performs miracles– big and small– that not only bring forth his kingdom in our world, but also make my life pretty darn miraculous.  And I admit:  I’ve become complacent in my comfortable life.  And I started to expect happy endings, miracles, my prayers answered all wrapped up in a big red bow. But on Friday, something happened to tear down that facade.  To show me that I am not in control of my world.  God is. Last Friday, my childhood friend Jen Burgess Thompson died in a Florida hospital, thousands of miles from home and more devastating, thousands of miles from her precious sons who now face their lives without a mother.  No happy ending.  No miracle.  No big red bow. And I’m left wondering what possible purpose could God have in that?  In so much heartbreak, so much pain?  In so much despair. And then I think about Jen. Her life on earth may not have ended happy, but it ended strong.  It ended with an incredible amount of courage and tenacity.  It ended with eternal hope. Over the past year, I’ve followed Jen’s blog as she battled a debilitating illness.  Where many would’ve shrunk into themselves, Jen reached out.  She courageously fought hard for her life, all while openly trusting God that His will be done. And while she faced unfathomable pain, unbelievable fear, incredible despair, I clearly saw a light...

This is the Day That I Pray for Haiti

Even as I sit here in rainy, muggy Austin, my heart is a thousand miles away.  In Haiti.  A place where I’ve never been.  A place where poverty and disaster collide.  A place where God lives and is working in his own way and his own timing. Several of my friends– both from my real life and from my writing and blogging world– are in Haiti right now on the HelpOneNow Haiti Bloggers trip.  These women– Mary DeMuth, Jen Hatmaker, Jennie Allen, Mollie Burpo to name a few (ever heard of them?) are standing in the gap right now to fight for the orphans of Haiti.  And while I can’t be there in person, I can be there in prayer. This morning, I spent some time reading the amazing words and looking at the incredible photos that this team is sending back to us from Haiti.  Stories of hope, photos of life, stories of God.  And through a veil of tears, I realized one thing:  God is moving in Haiti. And I can’t wait to see how His plan unfolds. And so, this is the day that I am praying for Haiti.  Will you join...
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