Thursday, April 17, 2014

Careful Words and a Calm Spirit

The most regret I have in life has come not from my actions but from my words.  You know, those ones that come at impulse, without thoughtfulness, usually in a moment of emotion?

So naturally this verse in Proverbs spoke volumes to me this morning:

"He who has knowledge spares his words, 
and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit." 
- Prov. 17:27

This is my husband.  He tends to be rather reserved, so when he has something to say, I listen (well usually, unless I AM being a foolish woman!)  He's not a push-over, or spineless by any means, and certainly is no fool.  He has been known to speak up and stand up for what's right and biblical, even at the risk of losing friendships or position.  And I always kind-of shake my head at people who disregard him when he does, on those rare occasions, speak his mind.  Because the guy is intelligent, thoughtful, and prayerful, and so often wisdom-that-comes-from-God flows from his heart when he opens it up.

I'm not writing all this just to "brag" on my husband (although I am enjoying the opportunity - I am so very blessed by him!)

I'm writing this to say I want... I need to be more like him.  Have you ever heard the saying, "The longer you're married the more you become like each other?" This is definitely one of the things I hope I am "taking on" from him.

I think this can tend to be a problem for most of us wife-and-mothers.  So many of us have much responsibility given to us to manage, and we have these little mini people in our charge.  It's easy to become bossy and opinionated in that situation.  Add into the mix all of the other bossy, opinionated women coming at you all the time, seeming to challenge your every choice as a wife and mother.  It's been hard for me personally to stay quiet and just take it all with a nod and a smile.  And it's not even in the negative situations.  Sometimes the motive is right and pure.  We don't want someone else to go through what we went through, so we blab on about our own story, our own advice, our own experience, our own opinion, when it was never even wanted in the first place.

But I'm (slowly) learning I don't always need to say anything.  I don't always need to share MY story and give MY opinion.

How applicable is this verse to parenting also?  It's not necessary for us to rattle on and on to our kids and to nag them with instruction all of the time.  How much easier would it be for us to assess a situation and come up with a reasonable resolution if we would just keep a calm head, a quiet mouth and a prayerful heart?  I've had a few gems of moments like these, and it's always notable to me how much more fruitful the outcome is with my daughters when I am calm and with few words.

Will you join me in making an effort today to be a person who is "quick to listen and slow to speak" (Jas. 1:19)?  May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing to the Lord, and may they be led by Him, and not by impulse!

♥︎ Johnna

Monday, April 14, 2014

Much Increase

Today I was reading Proverbs 14, and a certain verse jumped out at me.

"Where no oxen are, the trough is clean,
but much increase comes by the strength of an ox." - Prov. 14:4

I woke up Saturday and cleaned like a madwoman for three hours so we'd have a clean house to enjoy the weekend in.

I woke up this morning and it looked no different than it did when I woke up Saturday.


Sometimes the role of "parent" seems counter-productive to the role of "keeper of the home."  Sometimes all my efforts seem undone by those three little tornadoes that I call children.

But I looked at this verse and I thought the words oxen/ox could easily be replaced by the words children/child.

"Where no children are, the home stays clean; but much increase comes by the strength of a child."

This is what this verse spoke to me...

I might be able have my orderly perfect world without children... like the story of Persnickety, without all of the messy monsters to mess up his perfectly perfect (yet as he discovers, lonely) world.

But these children, these beautiful, imaginative, creative, and yes, messy, children are quite possibly the opportunity God has given me for the greatest investment I will make in this life.  Only a part of training up these children, teaching them to be strong young ladies is teaching them how to take care of their environment.  A bigger part of it, is giving them the liberty to make messes, mistakes, and to live unconstrained in their home, and looking for those opportunities to shape their character in a much more constructive way that demanding perfection around them at all times.

A wise woman will choose the eternal investment she can make in her children, over the temporary, perfect order she can make in her home.  Don't get me wrong... order is something to aspire to, but the eternal investment must not be sacrificed at it's expense.

On a whole other level, it is also because of my children that I am the person that I am, and that much closer to the person God intends for me to be.  Motherhood has an amazing ability to drive you to your knees, and cause you to recognize your need for the Holy Spirit.  It has undone me, and shaped me in uncountable ways.

The increase of those messy little children comes two fold, in their lives and in my own.

So the next time you look at your messy home and you feel you have nothing to show for all that hard work, stop and take a look at those lovely little ones learning, loving and living in the middle of that mess, and realize that there is MUCH to show for, {much increase} for all that you are pouring into them.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Verde Casserole

When I first married my husband, he told me he hated casseroles and wouldn't like it if I made them.  I quickly got creative and started calling casseroles "bakes" or "layers."  He didn't seem to mind them, so long as they weren't casseroles.  After a while he was on to me, but I was able to change his mind about these wonderful dishes that every busy housewife must have in her recipe box.

This recipe I'm going to share with you came about from an enchilada recipe that I simplified into a layered casserole, as I tweaked it along the way.  You get the flavor of enchiladas without all of the time consuming rolling.

I try to use mild ingredients so my kids will eat it, and it is a kid-favorite in our house, but it really just depends on the kids and what they are used to eating.

We enjoy eating it with a Mexican rice (mix the rice up with sour cream and grated cheddar - I promise you will thank me), black or refried beans, and a salad on the side.  Avocados really compliment the flavors and some freshly sliced tomatoes taste delicious alongside as well.

Forgive me for the really long name.  I just couldn't leave out of the title the creaminess... or the chickenness, or the... okay you get the idea. ;)

Here we go...
<<Click HERE for a PDF of the Recipe you can print.>>>

First you brown some shredded chicken breast (you can boil chicken breasts, buy the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, or use some leftovers from my Sweet Basil Chicken recipe,)  chopped onion, and green chiles.  Then you mix in taco seasoning according to the package directions.

While all that is cooking, mix up a package of cottage cheese and  some sour cream, with a dash of pepper.

Just layer tortillas with the two mixtures and some grated cheese... it off with some verde enchilada sauce, and of course, more cheese,...

...and pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes until it's all bubbly on top.


- Psalm 34:3 Mama


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