Friday, April 11, 2014

Hope realized...

My garden is coming alive - just in time for Easter! I planted a bunch of bulbs that I got on sale at Walmart last fall and they are beautiful.  The tulips and grape hyacinths are my favorite.  Along with the pansies, the front gardens are looking colorful...ugly dryness redeemed, hope realized.

Plants in the back yard are starting to bud, as well.  The grass is finally turning green.  Yay!  There won't be any dried grass brought in the house by dogs and small children...until next winter.  I'm very excited that this year I will get to enjoy our lilac bush in bloom.  It does have some drought damage, as does the snowball bush in the front yard, but it is blooming!  I love the delicate scent of lilac.  Just two weeks ago, I checked the dry empty branches of this bush to see if it was still alive...

Towards the end of winter - and this year seemed to be an extra long winter - we look forward to the hope of spring; green returning to the landscape, budding trees and bushes, flowering bulbs, warm earth in the gardens.

It reminds me of my favorite TV shows which all have the same theme:  redeeming what seems impossible to redeem.  These are shows like Restaurant Impossible (we've enjoyed several of Chef Robert's recipes) where Chef Robert comes and rescues failing restaurants by helping the owners understand the problems that are causing them to fail, helping them resolve their conflicts, remaking recipes for tasty food and remodeling their dining rooms to appeal to customers.  He gives the owners hope.

Another favorite TV show is Property Brothers.  Each episode features a couple who have an expectation of their first home being their dream home.  The brothers' first assignment is to help the couple understand the reality of their expectations on a limited budget.  Then they help the couple choose a fixer upper that can be remodeled to be the home they would love.  The couple always comments that they would rather have the dream home without the work and they just can't see how a fixer upper can be turned into what they want.  The brothers confidently tell them that it can be done with a lot of hard work and can be done on their budget.  The brothers talk a lot about the homeowners' need to trust their expert experience.  In the end, even with the inevitable unforseen problems that come up, the home is everything the new owners dreamed of...another avenue of hope.

I had an "ah hah" moment when I realized that I enjoy shows like these because I have come to appreciate and am beginning to recognize the hope that God offers me time and time again when I feel overwhelmed by life.  I was definitely a "fixer upper" when I became His as a child.  It's been a long and sometimes painful process as He has stripped away the old (it must be done before the new can be seen), shown me my failures covered by His grace, and has been and continues to be by my side giving me strength during the "remodeling" process.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 1:6

Chef Robert's Chicken with Kale and Sweet Potatoes
I'm not much of a greens fan, but this sauteed kale was delicious and so nutrition packed. 

2 chicken breasts - pounded, seasoned and cooked in butter in a skillet.  Remove chicken from skillet, keep warm.  Put some red wine vinegar or red wine in the skillet, scraping up the bits of chicken and spices.  Reduce to make a nice sauce.  When reduced, add a tsp of butter and whisk.  Set aside.

Baby kale (it cooks down so fill a large skillet with the kale)
1/4 cup chopped bacon (I used 2 Tbsp real bacon bits)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tsp diced garlic

Saute in skillet until vegetables are translucent and kale is wilted.  Add:
1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp butter
crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Saute until butter is melted.  Serve in a pile on a plate with a cooked chicken breast on top.  Drizzle reserved sauce over the chicken.

Serve with oven roasted sweet potato cubes.

Serves 2

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