Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good for the Soul

 Some friends of ours who have also experienced multiple pregnancy losses recently gave us the book Streams in the Desert. It is basically a year-long devotional that focuses around the topic of trials and hardship. We are only 19 days in and I'm already looking forward to starting each day with this. It's been especially good on days when I haven't exactly felt like opening the Bible. While each entry is encouraging in its own way, I wanted to share one in particular:

"A child of God was once overwhelmed by the number of afflictions that seemed to target her. As she walked past the vineyard during the rich glow of autumn, she noticed its untrimmed appearance and the abundance of leaves still on the vines. The ground has been overtaken by a tangle of weeds and grass and the entire place appeared totally unkempt. While she pondered the sight, the heavenly Gardener whispered such a precious message to her the she could help but share it. The message was this: "My dear child, are you questioning the number of trials in your life? Remember the vineyard and and learn from it. The gardener stops pruning and trimming the vine or weeding the soil only when He expects nothing more from the vine during the season. He leaves it alone, because it's fruitfulness is gone and further effort now would yield no profit. In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you now want me to stop pruning your life? Shall I leave you alone? Then her comforted heart cried, "No". (L.B. Cowman and Jim Reimann)

"Every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15:2)

Now that I've shared some chicken soup for the soul, here is some that is good for the body. I'm not sure when it became the national comfort food of choice, but it does hit the spot on a cold January day.

Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 rotisserie chicken (I buy the lemon pepper kind from Publix)
- 2 cups of chopped carrots
- 2 cups of chopped celery
- 2 cups of chopped onion (I cheat and buy all of these veggies pre-chopped, worth the splurge if you're not in the mood to chop)
- 3/4 bag of extra wide egg noodles
- 1 large and 1 regular carton of chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic

- Shred the chicken, discard the bones and set the meat aside on a plate.
- Splash some EVOO in the bottom of a large pot and allow garlic to simmer on med/low until fragrant.
- In a separate pot, boil some water and cook the egg noodles until slightly firmer than al dente.
- Once hot, add the veggies to the garlic and simmer on med/low until mostly cooked through (about 10 min).
- Once the veggies are cooked through, turn the heat to low and add the chicken.
- Pour both cartons of broth and squeeze the lemon juice into the pot.
- Strain the under-cooked noodles, add to the pot and stir.
- Let simmer for about 5-10 more minutes. Depending on how strong of a flavor you want, you can also sprinkle some poultry seasoning in the pot at this point

This tastes best if you eat it in sweat pants, on the couch while covered up with a blanket. Enjoy.

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