Lettuce Bombs

My kids LOVE Lettuce Bomb night.  Now let me explain before you get some crazy idea like we explode lettuce or I disguise salad so they think it’s “da bomb”. (they would forbid me from saying that anyway…)

We just really enjoy the Asian Lettuce Wraps at PF Changs.  But I don’t always want to run across town just to grab those tasty wraps.  Nor do I want to pay the price, because honestly, we could eat several orders of those fine little things!  Also, I enjoy throwing something a bit crazy and unexpected in our meals at home.

So I was doing my regular grocery shopping when, much to my great delight, I found a seasoning packet to make my own wraps!  So I bought the packet, some of the dried rice noodles, iceberg lettuce, ground chicken, and went home to create!  

If you’ve never cooked the rice noodles, you’re in for a treat right there!  It’s super easy and fun for the kids to watch.  I use my big dutch oven and heat oil in the bottom.  Get your big tongs or a spatula and slotted spoon ready.  Toss in a bundle, watch them sizzle and expand, flip them over for the other side to do the same, then pull them out.  That quick and simple!  While you’re doing that brown your chicken in a skillet and add the seasonings as directed on the packet.  The iceberg lettuce is also easy to pull apart.  I also like spicy mustard, so I mix some dry mustard with a bit of vinegar to make my own.  Voila!  A quick and fun dinner is ready!

The original lettuce bomb!

The original lettuce bomb!

As for the bomb name?  Well, sometimes they can be difficult to wrap up.  My son just piled a bunch of the crispy noodles and meat in the middle of his lettuce the first night we had them.  Instead of rolling it up burrito style he just sort of gathered the lettuce up, more like a pouch.  A few noodles were sticking out the top.  He sort of chuckled and said, “Look!  It’s like a lettuce bomb!”  We all laughed and the name stuck!

So the next time you’re grocery shopping or looking for a fun family meal, give the lettuce bombs a try!  I’m sure you’ll create your own fun family memories in the process!!

 
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Both / And

It’s been a both and day. Those words keep popping up for me. I was thinking through several situations this morning and they were echoing in my ears. During a skype conference, there they were. In conversations following, yes, both and came up again.

The phrase by itself sounds weird. Both. And. Wait. What? It’s more the response to the question “Will it either be this or that?” Either/Or. One or the other.  This pathway or that one.  No, I’m choosing Both/And.

I feel like a lot of situations in my life have been the Either/Or type. You can do this or you can do that. You can have this or have that. It’s lead to a myopic view of situations. Sort of like a divergent path. I can choose this path, which will lead one direction that is good, but is it the best? I can choose the other path, which is also good, however it may lead a totally different direction.

Often in my life I felt like I wanted the better path, but didn’t have the tools to get there. I saw the destination at the end of the path, and that I could take a few steps now, but then part of the path was missing or really narrow. I would usually not take this one because it was scary. And overwhelming. It was Either/Or. I would usually choose the first path. Sometimes still overwhelming and scary, but it was the direction of the momentum. Or the direction that outside influences had on me. 

So as I’ve approached my life the last several years I’ve envisioned the Either/Or path. I actually see a Y shaped path. One side has been my job and family. Not an easy path by any means. It’s meant nurturing children on my own, fighting for their health and education, and seeing that I am there for them. It’s also meant working a lot of hours to provide for them. The other side of the Y has been the path I have not travelled. It’s a path of big dreams and goals; following the calling God has placed on my life including writing, teaching, speaking and ministry in a much larger context. 

Until this point I have felt like it’s an Either/Or.   And really, the second path didn’t seem like an option at all.   I think that has created a great deal of tension and anxiety for me.  Feeling called one direction, knowing my responsibilities, and having a heart for both. I’ve sat in prayer for many hours over this and wrestled with God at times. Feeling pulled, burdened, diverged in my soul. 

During a recent time of prayer however, God revealed in a mighty way it is Both/And. He took the Y shape that I imagined and closed the gap, making one straight path.   It’s not an Either/Or with Him, it’s a Both/And in HIS timing. I can be a mother in local ministry AND be faithful to His grander calling.  I can do both. So it’s time to quit walking on a singular, narrow Either/Or path. His path is big enough for Both/And. With His strength I’m ready to walk on the Both/And path.

 
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Weaving a Beautiful Mess

Some days I get caught up in the past mistakes I’ve made. The words I stumbled over or shouldn’t have said. Sometimes regretting the words I really wanted to say but instead held in. The regret of holding back out of fear or anxiety. Sometimes it’s just a messy mass of confusion when I look in the rearview mirror of my life. Chaos, hurt, regret, un-forgiveness, anxiety, fear, shame. A disgusting mess.

I do recognize those situations have made me who I am today. I’ve hurdled a lot, bounced back, become resilient. But there is still that mess in the past that I can’t change. And really, I don’t think I would want to. I’m okay with where I am today. Rising from that train wreck, dusting myself off and looking forward with hope. You see, I don’t want to just merely survive. I don’t want to leave those words unsaid any longer. I don’t want to live from a place of fear, anxiety or shame. Instead, I want to choose a life FULL of joy, redemption and blessing.

I’ve been pondering those thoughts a lot lately. Making some sort of strategy or multistep plan to create my path towards a joyful life. And that’s just it. I can’t make the plan good enough, straight enough, fast enough. It’s not my timing. And when I keep looking toward to just the future I’m forgetting to embrace my past mess. More importantly, I’m forgetting to experience the joy of life right now in the present.

This is when I start to get overwhelmed again. Trying to find time to rest in today, keep my eye towards the future, and learn from my past. I feel the anxiety creeping in. Deep breath. I have someone else to rely on. I’m just one small piece being woven into a bigger picture. God’s big picture. He has this all in control.

He’s weaving my past mess into my present to create a masterpiece in the future. He’s weaving this life, my mess of a life, into His bigger picture.

I can rest easy in this grace. In His love, depending on Him for every step of today’s path as well as the future path.

I find reassurance that I’m not alone in this life. That He holds all of my days in His hand and has promised to uphold me with His right hand. I find forgiveness for my past. Those past situations are being redeemed, made for something good. I don’t have to be so hard on myself for my past mistakes. I don’t have to waste my time and energy dwelling there. I also don’t have to worry about my future. He knows where the path is taking me. He’s leading me there. Ultimately, I’m excited to trust Him and see what He can do as He weaves this beautiful mess.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,

who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

 

 

 

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