Monday, November 27, 2017

Mercy Bend and Breathe Me Back to Life

You could plant me like a tree beside a river
You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild
And I would blossom like a flower in the desert
But for now just let me cry

Our hearts are broken. In a two month's period we were blessed with an unplanned pregnancy, went through all the emotions landing in a place of gratefulness and joy, and ultimately learned that our precious child's heart stopped at 8 weeks, before we would get to watch him grow.

You could raise me like a banner in the battle
Put victory like fire behind my shining eyes
And I would drift like falling snow over the embers
But for now just let me lie

There have been tears, there was a month of uncertainty, prayers for a miracle, prayers for trust in God's great sovereignty and comfort, and prayers for patience in our sorrow.

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before you show me how to die

I have been torn, broken, molded. Refiner's fire. I am being healed. Patience in our sorrow. 

Set me like a star before the morning
Like a sun that steals the darkness from a world asleep
And I'll illuminate the path You've laid before me
But for now just let me be

Faith in joy is so easy. Faith in trials is hard but necessary. The faith of the Saints in trials is a path. St. Gerard, St. Philomena, St. Felicity, St. Perpetua pray for us. Mama Mary, most gracious advocate, wrap me in your mantle. "Whatever did not fit in with my plan did lie within the plan of God. I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God"

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die
No, not before You show me how to die

For a month my body did not know you were gone. Nausea, fatigue, food aversions persisted. And then the labor pains without the beautiful cries of life. But my little darling, we held your tiny body. I looked you in the eyes and I told you how much I love you. I marveled at the wonder of you and words of thanksgiving escaped my lips for the gift to cradle you in my hand. My fingers gently touched your arms and legs before we laid you to rest.  How I wish you were simply sleeping. The bassinet we bought you sits broken down and empty in our closet. Let me die to myself, oh Lord, for only your life in me can renew my spirit.

So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with me

"Thank God ahead of time." Do not let worry get in the way of the design of our merciful Father. We are heartbroken, but we are thankful for Bennett's life, for the opportunity to have him even briefly, for the prayers so many have poured out for us, and for the good we trust God does in all things and in all circumstances. Lord when your glory appears my joy will be full.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Chicken and Chard Spaghetti Squash Bowl

What? A cooking blog? I haven't done one of these in a long time, but I made a spaghetti squash bowl tonight that the whole family enjoyed. Even P-Rex ate some! Shoot, even Hubskie liked it, and he is not a squash fan.

Lately, I've had Zilla help me with preparing dinner and it has really helped with getting him to eat better. Pro tip...I try to get him involved in preparing the vegetables so he is more inclined to eat them. P-Rex is enjoying preparing his own dishes. We still need to work on his hygiene and mise en place before he gets to help with the real deal  (note pretend food tossed on the floor. When he was cutting his tomato, he decided he needed more room so he just tossed the other food on the floor).

I originally sat down to write this recipe for myself, but then decided to go ahead and put it on the blog in case others would like to try it out. I think it could be turned into a casserole, if you were preparing for more people, by increasing the amount of each ingredient and then broiling in a casserole dish rather than the squash bowls. 

The ingredients below were just the right amount for me, hubskie, and the two boys. 

Chicken and Chard Spaghetti Squash Bowls
5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch swiss or rainbow chard
1 white onion, diced
1 spaghetti squash
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (or however much you want) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 stick mozzarella string cheese, tear into strings 
olive oil
Lemon juice and/or lemon zest

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and clean out seeds. Brush olive oil on cut sides and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet cut/flesh side down. Bake for 45-50 minutes

2) While squash is baking, heat 2 tsp olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add cut chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper. Cook through

3) De-stem chard and discard stems (or freeze for later use). Tear chard into bite size pieces. Zilla helped with this part and was so proud of himself! He ate every bite of his chard tonight.

3) Once chicken is cooked, add onion. Cook until onion begins to soften, add garlic. Season with salt and pepper

4) Add chard to skillet, add 1/4 cup water and a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir occasionally and let chard wilt. Continue to stir for additional 3-5 minutes. season with salt and pepper (Blue apron taught me to season with salt and pepper at almost every step.) 

5) Remove squash and use forks to pull out the squash "spaghetti" strings. Add to skillet. Leave skin of squash in baking pan, skin side down to use as bowls. Stir to combine. Add lemon juice/zest to taste. I only added a few drops, maybe half a tsp. 

6) Divide mixture in half and add to squash skin bowls. Mix in Parmesan cheese. Top with strings of mozzarella cheese.

7) Place back into oven and switch oven to broil. Leave for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to bubble

8) Enjoy!