Thursday, August 30, 2012

Very Spicy Taco Soup Recipe

TACO SOUP - Very Hot... Not for the weak stomached!

1 lb. 95% lean ground beef sirloin
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes (I usually get the kind that has chilies
already in it)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 packet (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning mix
1 packet Original Ranch salad dressing mix 
1 to 1.5 cups water (the less water you add, the thicker the “soup”)
1 bag frozen corn
Fresh cilantro, chopped (as much as you like… I like a lot)
2-3 fresh chopped jalapeƱos or habaneras’ *this is optional* 
(**Remember to use rubber gloves while chopping! The oil is hard to wash off and will burn your fingers and anything else you touch!)

·         Brown the beef; drain the fat from the meat & add taco seasoning.
·         Put all of the ingredients into a big pot and bring to a boil. The longer you cook it, the softer the peppers get, so it’s up to you on how long you cook it. I usually only do until the frozen corn is hot.
·         You can top with sour cream, shredded cheese, and/or eat with Fritos or tortilla chips.
·         Leftovers can be frozen and reheated later if needed… but I usually make a double batch and it’s eaten in just a few days.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jesus, Take the Wheel

Sometimes you just need to pray. Life seems to be going just fine, and then all of a sudden, the phone rings... You take a step back and maybe reevaluate where you’re headed and how you’re getting there.

I received just such a phone call today. It turns out that a close relative of mine is having a stint put in tomorrow morning. I realize that over time, this procedure has become a "routine" thing, but routine or not, I'm still going to worry!

So, after the phone call, I hit my knees, and took some time to bow my head and have a talk with God. I know that worrying about this surgery is not going to help... in fact there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change the outcome at this point... so the only thing left was to pray.

As long as I was down on my knees, I took the time to be thankful for all of the blessings in my life, and say prayers for some of the other people that I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by. It had occurred to me that it had been far too long since I had actually just spent some time focusing on spiritual matters. I was due, and it felt good.

Then, on my way to work, I heard a song that always moves me to tears, no matter what state my life is in at the time... "Jesus Take the Wheel," by Carrie Underwood. I felt like it was a message, letting me know to just trust in Jesus, and everything will turn out ok. So, instead of stressing and worrying about my loved one tonight... I am stepping back and praying that God take care of him and keep him safe.

Anyone that is reading this, if you wouldn't mind setting a clock/alarm for 9:20am tomorrow (EST), please take a moment to say a prayer for my family member. It would mean so much to me..!! Thank you.

P.S. I've added a link to the song if you're interested...
 Jesus, Take the Wheel

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finding the Right Words

About a week ago, I learned that a friend's husband passed away. He had been sick for a long time, and he reached the point where he wasn't able to fight any longer. My friend has a little girl, and they are now going through the grieving process. Although they knew that he was very sick, it is still a very difficult thing to deal with, no matter how much "preparation time" they may have had. I felt so much pain for her loss, yet I had no words to adequately express myself to her. All I could come out with was, "I am so sorry."

In addition to that news, another friend of mine told me that one of his friends had committed suicide this past weekend. I didn't know that person, but I could feel the pain that my friend was feeling. {As some of you may know, a friend of mine tried to do the same thing about a year or so ago. Thank goodness he wasn't successful.} There are so many confusing, unanswered questions with suicides. It is so much more difficult to find closure here. Upon hearing the news, I was faced with the difficult position of trying to find the right words... do the right thing.

It seems that no matter where I go in life, and what things I go through, I still have no idea what the right thing is to say in these situations. I feel terrible, but I am keenly aware that no matter what comes out of my mouth, it will not make the pain go away. So, in knowing that, I feel at a loss. I feel awkward with anything that comes out of my mouth.

Am I the only person like this? Maybe nobody really knows how to adequately express their deepest condolences... or maybe it's just me.

When I went through cancer, people always had very nice things to say, and although it didn't change my situation, it was so comforting to know that my friends and family were there for me when I needed them. Even after all of that, if someone tells me that they are going through something similar, I immediately jump into "take action" mode and start asking about surgeries, hospitals, tests, chemo, radiation, and so on. I completely skip the "I'm so sorry" stage because it feels weird to me. I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me, and so I refuse to feel sorry for someone that is capable of fighting. I have no idea if that is wrong! But, I am more equipped (mentally) to help with the "let's fix this problem" stage.

So, at least there, I feel somewhat helpful. When there is a death, I haven't got a clue. My friend whose husband passed away lives too far away for me to be able to make the funeral. I sent my condolences... although I don't feel like it was really adequate. I will be attending a memorial service with my other friend tomorrow. Although I didn't know the person that is now gone, I feel like it is the best that I can do to support my friend.

I don't know what words I will find tomorrow. I am hoping I won't be too awkward... but mostly, I just want to be there for my friend when he is feeling such a loss.

Meanwhile, I am saying prayers for the families and friends of the people that have passed. Time will help heal the open wound, but those loved ones will always be missed. Hopefully, they will be able to find closure in the best way possible.