Feast on Friday: Chili Chip Western Hot Dish (Good Leftovers)

Speaking of leftovers. . .


If you find two cups of leftover chips deep down in the snack drawer, here’s the perfect re-purposing entrée: Chili Chip Western Hot Dish from my friend, Debbie Johnston. She claims she never has leftovers after she makes it. My man-in-plaid heartily concurs–must be a connection between plaid and chili and cheese and chips.

Chili Chip Western Hot Dish (Good Leftovers)
Recipe type: Main dish
Cuisine: American West
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
Any kind of chips work but Mark loves his Fritos. Sometimes I have to buy them just to make this dish (but hide two cups so I can…) Very kid-friendly, especially without the celery although I like the crunch (chopped green pepper works well, too)
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • ½ c. chopped celery (opt.)
  • 1 c. grated cheese (or more)
  • 1 – 15 oz. can chili w/ beans (to stretch the amount, I often add a can of Ranch beans to the chili)
  • 1 c. onion, chopped
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • 2 c. crushed Fritos (OR stale tortilla chips)
  1. Brown meat
  2. Add ¾ c. onion and celery
  3. Cook until tender
  4. Drain fat (You can do this ahead and freeze for a later meal or double it for a “ministry meal.”)
  5. Add pepper and chili
  6. Stir gently and heat
  7. Place layer of chips in a 1½ – 2 quart casserole
  8. Alternate layers of chili mixture, chips and cheese
  9. Top with remaining onions and cheese
  10. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot
  11. Did I mention it was kid- (and plaid-) friendly?


Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

“Recipes for Life” Women’s Retreat –Give Yourself a Rest

Cornerstone Church of Long Beach will be holding their women’s retreat this coming May 16-18 at The Ayers Hotel of Ontario. I believe there is still room and time – if you’d like some great recipes for life and cooking, contact Belinda Burton -562.594.0233. Would love to see you!


I rarely get rest on a Women’s Retreat. It’s not why I go. Somehow God gives rest, in spite of late nights, too much coffee, chocolate, laughter and tears. We get soul-rest because we’re not home with all the normal tuggings on our aprons (who wears an apron?) and schedules and demands. When you get sick, it’s a forced-rest. This is a forced-rest with dividends and no runny nose. I’m praying for rest. It’s been a tough year. I bet many ladies who are coming can say the same. I never know their stories before I get there, but God does. They will hear plenty of mine. May hearts be changed–mine, too–and souls rested.

It’s obvious why we need rest.

Women are tired, period. We do too much, for too many people, with too little money, cooperation, or sleep. I think I need a nap–maybe a rest stop.

When my friend and I entered the Nike Team in Training half marathon in SF – rest stops were definitely on our minds. We stopped at every porta-potty, just in case we wouldn’t see another one for a mile or two. It really slowed us up, but we weren’t really interested in winning the race – we just wanted to finish it in a semblance of comfort.

Jesus invited us all to rest in Matthew 11:28:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Jesus said we are to come to Him – that is our rest. I forget that aspect of Christ all too often. The more we come to Him for rest, the more we understand how He Himself is our rest. We come because we need Him. We’re tired.

But there’s another reason. We come to Him because others are depending on us to be their rest. That’s why I love women’s retreats. We get recharged for all those little (and, big) dependents. Praise God and pass the M&M’s. Prayers needed and appreciated.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

Welcome Wednesday…”Hospitaliday” Motto: Do Ahead and You’ll Be Ahead

Or, Do Ahead and You’ll Be Relaxed.

I’m convinced people don’t host or won’t host because it’s too much trouble. Part of the trouble is not being prepared. The more prep–the less trouble. Boy Scouts come into play here: anyone can “Be Prepared.” It just takes a little preparation – or, a lot — depending on the crowd.

Here’s today’s “Hospitaliday Motto” – Do Ahead (whatever you can) and You’ll Be Ahead, and hosting becomes easy. Or, easier.

Mark and I hosted our eldest last weekend – a blast, naturally. She was happy to be fed, dined, laundered (her clothes), shopped and pampered. I knew she was coming so I baked a cake (as they say)–actually, Ghiradelli brownies with Easter M&M’s on top. She made swift work of all, expressed her thanks, and I cried in the closet after she left. All these comings and goings wring the heart.

Part of the joy in hosting Bonnie was the prepping. I knew she was coming. Of course, so were 28 others for Easter Brunch. To make it manageable, I worked ahead: made lists, checked them off, lost the lists, made more, shopped again, and again. I baked and cooked–with Fernando Ortega’s music in the kitchen. All the prep made it easier to host.

I didn’t panic (mostly.) Everyone got fed. New friends were made. Jesus was celebrated. Old friends became better friends. And, Bonnie (the Queen-Bee Eldest Child) received her due: love and attention from a pair of adoring progenitors.

Hesitant to host? Be a Boy Scout. Get prepared. What can you do today to be ready for tomorrow? Choose one thing. Honest. Just one. Jesus knows who needs to be at your table. Next time He prompts you to invite, you’ll be ready. Even for Him.

Now a man named Zacchaeus was there; he was a chief tax collector and was rich.  He was trying to get a look at Jesus, but being a short man he could not see over the crowd.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, because Jesus was going to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because I must stay at your house today.” So he came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully. Luke 19:3-7

Mrs. Zacchaeus kept her pantry full–or, told the short man to stop at the market on the way. Note the joy in spontaneous hospitality.

Who knows who needs an invite to your table? That’s right, God knows. Be prepared–less trouble.


Pampering the Pretties. I prep by putting aside a twenty dollar bill here and there – hosting can be costly when you have daughters. Envelopes work well. Always a pleasant surprise when I find them.

Queen Bee Bonnie on our last trip to SF.


Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

O, Taste & See: Good Leftovers

There are good leftovers and not-so-good leftovers. You know–those you find days/weeks later in the back of your new zillion cu.ft. fridge–it holds the world but you forget where you put the world – somewhere between the spinach, under the chicken soup, and between the must-have twelve mini-yogurts.  These leftovers turn their own special shade of green. Moss green. Grunge green. Green is my favorite color. Not usually on food unless it starts that way.

I do love good leftovers like Easter ham, pork loin, one cup of potato salad, two cups strawberries, three-quarters of an Angel food cake. Never mind the cake. While taking Bonnie to the bus station, Sunny dove in for the kill, dragged it to the ground and made his own Easter celebration in the middle of the entryway. Smart dog. The good news: strawberries and whipped cream safely tucked in said fridge–not sure where, exactly.


Good leftovers are for sharing. Sunny got his share. The friendly Vietnamese gals at Happy (Toe) Nails got the leftover Sour Cream Coconut cake. Mark and I ate ham rolls for dinner. Abundance put to good use.

God’s in the business of Good Leftovers. We ask Him for help and blessing, and He goes beyond. Beyond my faith. Beyond my expectation. Often, beyond my knowing.

Evans wrote:

…my faith triggers God’s action. Once God begins to act, tiny slivers of growth begin to appear where before there was nothing but barrenness.  Thank You, Lord, for the ‘gift of God,’ which is faith (Ephesians 2:8), the gift whereby not only I, but dear ones around me, are blessed with a spread table. —  Daily With the King, W. Glyn Evans

I’m encouraged. To pray. To wait patiently. To rejoice in hope believing. God won’t waste any leftover faith. He puts it to good use. I’m eating at the “spread table” of my parents’ faith (and their parents’) and, I’m full. Very. Grace upon grace. No need to toss. Grateful for generational leftovers.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who prays in faith not knowing whose table needs spreading, but praying anyway. Refuge and great leftovers await.” (Psalm 34:8, sort of)

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

“Come out, Jesus!”

photo 1 photo 2

Over tea and strawberries last Friday, Sherry from Persia, asked: “So what is Easter?” A simple answer:  Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth to die for our sins. But, He didn’t stay dead. He came back to life. That’s what we celebrate.

Easy to say. Much to think about. She didn’t ask more. The seed planted; praying for rain.


These little ones already know: “Christ is Risen!” (He’s risen, indeed!) No one else claimed to be God and came back to life. Preposterous. He was either crazy or God.

Every time Lucy and Oliver get to the page in their Easter story picture book with the tomb, they start yelling, “Come out, Jesus, come out!!!”


Christ died to prove He loved you; He rose again to prove He won. He came out of the tomb for you. Thanks for reminding us, Lucy and Oliver.

They know how it ends. Do you?

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

Feast on Friday: Mandarin Orange Easter Cake

Trishie made this cake for me and it’s the perfect Spring-Delight! And, it starts with a cake mix – how easy is that? Make the cake the day before, and frost the next day unless you have room in your refrigerator for a mountain of lovely layer deliciousness: Mandarin Orange Easter Cake. Hmmm and Happy Resurrection Sunday after the Holiest of Dark Fridays!

Orange Mandarin Cake
Recipe type: Dessert, Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: American (it’s a mix for heaven’s sake!)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
I use a white or yellow cake mix. Sometimes Cool Whip, sometimes whipped cream, depending–no ask on what…
  • 1 box butter recipe yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 1 small can Mandarin oranges (do not drain)
  • Now the Frosting:
  • 1 – 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
  • 1 small box vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Mix together with a 9 oz. Cool Whip
  1. Blend first four ingredients together and put into 3 greased & floured 8″ or 9″ cake pans.
  2. Cool then frost and refrigerate until serving



While making this, you can’t go wrong singing along with Fernando Ortega “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” – you’ll be ready then for “Crown Him With Many Crowns” on Easter right after blowing out the candles. Sing along here. And, here. I do love to wail and croon and worship when no one’s at home. I close windows first.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

Into the Light–More Than Good


Polly asked, “What’s special at Grace Church at Easter?”

“I love our Good Friday night service,” I answered. “It’s just an hour. It’s somber and dark and holy.”

I don’t get a lot of liturgy – in my background, nor in my church family worship. So, anything repeated is fresh, not stale. I need the rhythm of reminding. God knows so He gave us Communion: “Do this – drink and eat – in remembrance.” He knew we’d forget. And we do.

Friday night we walk to communion stations and pray with an elder and stand in a family circle or join another’s. I love the songs but the older I get, the more choky (so much for outward worship.) And, best–we hear the last words of Jesus before He died. At each excerpt, the lights dim further, until we end in darkness. And, finally walk out in silence.

We need the darkness. We need the silence. We need the reminder. All the more reason for the Light. What a Good Friday. Praise be to God.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of the world.  John 1:3

Jesus, You have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in You should not stay in darkness…You did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  John 12:46, 47

Lord Jesus,

Thank You for saving me. I so needed saving. I’m often in the dark. Thank You for going into darkness, so we don’t have to stay there. All glory be to You. Amen and Amen.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

Number One: You Need Courage

Lisa writes encouraging words over at LearningAlongTheWay.com. Today she called Courage the number one trait needed for success. Last week she watched sixty-five adults read aloud for the first time, celebrating their new skill: literacy. It takes guts to admit you can’t read if you’re older than say, eight–maybe seven. Lisa segues beautifully into Holy Week, and the courage and love of our Lord. Read a bit:

This is a great week to think about what it takes to look fear in the face and step forward. Jesus did that very thing.  He showed us His fear and desire to not have to go through what He was facing as He prayed in the garden.  If He didn’t show courage, where would we be?

Where, indeed? See the whole story here.

Needing courage today? Remember Christ faced death for you. He will give you all the strength you need. Courage doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid.

Prayer for today:

Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for your courage. Show me where to go and how to do what needs to be done. Help me take the next step even if I’m afraid. Amen.”


On a lighter note. . . it might take courage for Bethany to wear her new Easter hat this week at Penn State. My mom got us Easter bonnets every year. I wanted to carry on the tradition. I sent it along with chocolate chip cookie dough brownies and an egg dye kit. Happy Easter, Bethany! Take courage–Jesus died on the cross and rose up from the grave. We love you.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhilippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

Tuesday’s O, Taste & See: The Beauty of the Wait


Christy needs a job. She’s got great potential, great leads, great hygiene, and a great resume. There’s nothing not-great about her. Most of all, according to her, she’s got a great wait.

She said, “Every day my life with God gets deeper. It’s as if it’s better not getting the job because of all I’m learning in the wait. The job’s not so important to Him (He’s got it covered)–my relationship with Him far exceeds that.”

Wow. She gets the Beauty of the Wait.

Don’t get me wrong; she’s working full-time on getting full-time work. But, she’s doing the Work of Waiting on Jesus, and finding it and Him all the better for it. Beautiful.

In God’s Waiting Room today? How does it look? Mine can be lined with full-on bumper pads–they muffle kicking and screaming (Moi?) Maybe yours is decked out with mini-posters of cats hanging onto window sills by their claws, terror in their eyes. I love that poster. I am that poster. Or, perhaps you just have wallpaper made of Post-its, each beginning with the words: “What if….?!?!” (“What if he dies?”  “What if she moves out?” “What if she doesn’t move out?” “What if I don’t get a job by the end of my severance?”) Oh, yeah. Those Post-its are cheap. I can write enough to cover a wall. The ceiling over our bed is covered with them. The Man-in-Plaid falls asleep before he can see them. I, on the other hand, can spend hours placing and centering all the worries and wonderings just so. I like an orderly wall of worry.

Or, does your Waiting Room have a window through which you see God’s heart?

Christy’s has a picture window–no blinds, no drapes, no panic button off to the side. She’s not worried. It’s a Beautiful Wait. Can’t wait to see what God does about the job. Even better–can’t wait to see how God works His beauty into Christy.

O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is she who finds refuge, joy, and beauty in the wait. Christy’s Psalm 34:8


Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

Yea, for Bubba!

photo 2

Yea, for Bubba! Bubba Watson won the Masters on Sunday for the second time in three years. He cried. A lot. Shoulders heaving, running tears, broken voice. Love it! A man’s man not afraid to wear his heart (and face) all over you.

photo 3

How can you not root for a man named Bubba?  Some call him Blubba-Bubba. Just jealous. The commentator wiped the floor with his comment: “He hit it like a man.” Yes, he did. Yea, for Bubba. Yea, for grateful tears. A lot of hard work and dedication; all worth it at the end.

Cried grateful tears lately? I can barely make it through a song at church these days. People say I’m grieving. I don’t feel sad. I’m not depressed. But, waterworks abound. I know it’s good, so I give myself a pass. I do get comments: “Are you tired? Are you not feeling well?” That comes from being a redhead and not wearing waterproof mascara. Yesterday while giving a devotional at Carly’s baby shower, I couldn’t get through a paragraph without blubbering. (Bubba-Baby-Blubba) Laurie said, “They say women haven’t had a good time until they cry together.” We had a real good time. I always thought Kleenex boxes made good centerpieces–so cheap and in such pretty colors.

Cried any grateful tears lately? David was a man’s man–one after God’s own heart. He cried a river, more than once. Sometimes grief, sometimes repentance. I’m sure there were grateful ones in-between. I prefer crying out loud by myself. If you see the van outside and I don’t answer the door–don’t worry.  Just thank God for tears and time and that Trader Joe’s is across the street. Go buy some chocolate and leave it under the mat. Yea, for Bubba and Blubbering.

When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. – Psalm 118:5


Bubba won in 2012 as well. His blubbering was just getting started.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone