Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Five - Five Signs of Hope

Songbird writes...
My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13

In the late, late winter, as the snow begins to recede here in Maine, we begin to look almost desperately for signs of spring, signs of hope that the weather has turned and a new day is on the horizon. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Easter and Spring twine inextricably, the crocuses and daffodils peeking through the Earth as we await the risen Christ.

Share with us five signs of hope that you can see today or have experienced in the past.

1. The lengthening of the days is a sign of hope for me. Sunlight is a sign of hope for me. I can easily wake and make my way around in morning darkness, but evenings that bid farewell to sunlight even before we eat dinner are draining for me. We had a sign of hope this week as we could walk the dogs and watch the sunset well past 7:30 pm.

2. The pink buds forming on the branches of our dogwood trees and and the green tips of crocuses pushing through the soil are a delightful sign of hope for me.

3. Personally, fitting into a smaller size pant this week was a very hopeful sign for me!

4. Visiting with a member whose husband of 59 years died a week ago, I was gifted with a sign of hope through the healing tears we shed and the comfort she found as we prayed the Lord's Prayer together.

5. And perhaps the most beautiful sign of hope these past few weeks has been the children whom we now welcome to the Lord's Supper at whatever age their parents feel they are ready. The sight of preschoolers reaching for the bread and being guided by their parents to the cup gives me hope for the faith journey of this new generation of God's sons and daughters!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday March 5th Edition

What has happened this week so far: Many pastoral care issues, sandwiched between sermons (Sunday and midweek) and parish classes; 2 funerals in 10 days, another pending.

What's up for the weekend:
I'll be working at the Band Contest hosted by our high school Friday afternoon and evening and hearing Peter Cetera in concert with our local symphony Saturday evening. Guest preacher Saturday evening -Thanks Eric! Teen Choir Musical Sunday.

Song In My Head:
"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" by Billy Joel

Progeny Story of the Week
Music Man landed the lead in local high school spring musical "Bye, Bye Birdie!"

I am procrastinating about:
the taxes STILL!

Scripture I am trying to wrap my head (and heart) around:
Mark 5:36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, "Don't be afraid; just believe."

Favorite TV minute this week:
2 Hours of 24 Monday night
Unfavorite moment: didn't really watch enough TV to have one of these

What I am serving for dinner tonight (that I never got around to last week):

Chicken and White Bean Stew

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 10-oz. pkgs. refrigerated light Alfredo sauce
  • 1 15-oz. can Great Northern or white kidney beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (1 medium)
  • 1 4-oz. can diced green chile peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (1 ounce) (optional)
  • Fresh parsley leaves (optional)


1. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Sprinkle chicken with cumin and pepper. In a large skillet, cook chicken, half at a time, in hot oil over medium heat until brown. Place chicken in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Stir in alfredo sauce, beans, broth, onion, chile peppers, and garlic.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. If desired, sprinkle each serving with cheese and parsley. Makes 8 servings.