Friday, September 30, 2011

Something New: Chicken Tortilla Soup

In light of all the time and attention school is demanding these days, I thought it would be important that I add some crock pot recipes to my repertoire. The ability to prep before work and have a meal available and ready for Mr. McGoo and I later is a great thing. Takes some planning, but once you throw everything in it's pretty much complete.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs - I used 2 chicken breasts instead
  • 1 4-oz can chopped green chiles (hot or mild, depending on preference)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  1. Place chicken in crock pot slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine chiles, garlic, onion, tomatoes, 1/2 cup chicken broth and cumin. Blend and pour over chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6.5 hours. When chicken is tender, use the tines of two forks to shred. Adjust seasoning and add additional chicken broth.
  4. Just before serving, put tortilla strips in the oven at 225 degrees for 10-15minutes until slightly made firm.
  5. Add tortilla strips into soup, stir to incorporate. Leave a few tortilla strips to add as topper. 
  6. Serve in soup bowls, topping each with shredded cheese.
Serves 4-6
Size 3-6 quarts

Thursday, September 29, 2011

National Coffee Day

Happy National Coffee Day!
Enjoy a cup of buna (Amharic for coffee) today!

Here is something to ponder over your next cup of jo - something that got my wheels turning and heart aching last night....

How do we invite people within the south, who have been overloaded with a religious culture ("Bible Belt" mentally) that causes many to think Jesus=religion-rules-dos&donts-judgments-legalism, rather than the real invitation of the Gospel to be in relationship with our Savior who challenges everything about religion???

I find myself thinking about Brennan Manning's book The Ragamuffin Gospel as I re-read my inquire above and then those thoughts led me back to this post from 2009 that relates.

Happy National Coffee Day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Love this Guy

Met the hubs at an impromptu lunch today and helped him pick out some new slacks and a few shirts. I love this guy! It was a perfect break from a busy day at the office.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busy Girl

As you can tell by the lack of posts, blogging isn't taking a current priority in my life. Truth is - it's not an option. I'd love to have the opportunity to hash out some stuff in type more regularly, verbally vomiting for anyone that happens to come upon the blog, but right now I'm doing my best to tread water.

I'm staying afloat, and working to accomplish all that I can without drowning myself. Nursing school plus a full time job, a husband, a home, a life involved with ministry, and everything in between keeps a girl busy.

Part of the lesson I'm relearning (yes, I have to "learn" this lesson over and over, I'm that stubborn) during this stage of life is the obvious reality: I CANNOT DO IT ALL.

I know it might shock you, note the sarcasm, but for me that's not an easy reality to learn. I'm a "get the job done" kind of person... what needs to be done? Let's do it... and it's humbling to be reminded I can't, as much as I would like to try, do it all! Doing it "all" isn't an option right now and actually should never be! The times I attempt to do it all are the same moments I rely on myself instead of my Jesus.

However this realization of not being able to do it all or all on my own is paving the way for me to lean on others a bit more than I normally do. It's a humbling process but also a real blessing when so many people step up to the plate and love me well, pray for me, and assist along the way. See God's teaching me through all this!

One thing the craziness of my school and work schedule with life scattered in between has brought into clear view again is how blessed I am to have Mr. McGoo. He's a rockstar! Seriously! He's been so helpful in helping me keep the house clean, feed me, run necessary errands, remind me to take one day at a time, cook, grocery shop, etc. He has been beyond awesome in this new stage of school/work craziness for me! Thanks hubs!

Tonight I have my first exam of the trimester in my Basic Skills of Nursing class. Then back to the books to complete the assignments at hand. One day at a time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Corner: When Helping Hurts

As hoped and planned, I completed my most current read, Cutting for Stone before a few days after my fall trimester of nursing school began. All 650+ pages were read and like my mother assumed, I enjoyed it. The book was set in Ethiopia, for the most part, and the main character was in the health care profession - two things my life is currently focused on! I most enjoyed realizing I knew many of the medical terms used and situations described, and felt a longing to be back in Ethiopia as I read about many cultural realities of that country presented in the book. Thanks mom for the suggestion and provision of the book. A good, non-thinking read to tackle on "break".

Now with school FULLY underway... more so than I've ever known it to be, the reality is that reading outside of my textbooks is going to be VERY limited. Nevertheless, the "to be read" category of my bookshelf is LARGE and even more, I REALLY want to read them.

So, my newest read will definitely take me awhile... digesting chapter by chapter as I find the time in between school responsibilities.

How to Alleviate Poverty 
Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself
By Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

This book was suggested by The Forsaken Children director, JB. Last night I tackled everything leading up to Chapter 1. The back of the book is self described to
"reveal the painful truth about poverty. But it does more than tell you what not to do. The book moves from foundational concepts about poverty (Who are the poor?), to principles (Should we do relief, rehabilitation, or development?), to strategies (How can we help the poor domestically? Internationally?). When Helping Hurts guides you toward a true understanding of poverty and a plan to make a difference."

As a board member for The Forsaken Children, a larger understanding of what can help and what can hurt the people our ministry longs to partner with, along with a constant pursuit of what God desires of us and is calling us to, is essential. I am looking forward to gaining a new perspective and further insight into Kindgom building within a community that is physically poor as well as spiritually poor, and showing them the Love and Hope of Jesus Christ in a more healthy and productive way!

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Day

I'm reflecting on two specific verses of the Bible today:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

Saturday, I was thrown into the real world of nursing school. Thus far, my "nursing school" career has been smooth sailing. I'm a task oriented, to do list kind of gal, so adding school into the mix of life isn't ultimately difficult for me. I make my mind up to get the job done and crank it out. However, little did I know, (okay, I knew, but I didn't KNOW!) I had not yet begun the real deal.

Saturday was my wake-up call and reality check. For my classmates too. We're nights and weekend students, meaning the majority of us are including nursing school on top of a 40 hour week at work, family responsibilities, and anything else we have in our lives. Saturday I sat in my class (8am-315pm) and got the reality check that my world is about to flipped upside down for two years. There is much to be done. And with the panic that attempted to settle in, I stopped and reminded myself, I can do this. One day at a time.

So here I am, two days later, as the work load and time commitment ahead begins to settle in... as I begin to schedule what a "normal" week will need to look like in order to accomplish the many tasks at hand.

As my flesh begins to do what it wants to do, I'm working to battle it. Reflecting and praying over Phillipians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:34.

One day at a time. That's where I'm really at and where God wants me to rest with Him. One day at a time.

Life has now been reduced to 3 month intervals. Accomplish now until mid December and breath. Accomplish January to mid April and breath... etc.

I'm thankful I do not do this alone. Besides my mighty God that walks with me each day, giving me the strength I need, I have a fabulous hubby that is my teammate, working through all of this with me. In addition, I'm blessed with an amazing family and friend base that is already cheering me on.

Beginning today. One day at a time.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Labor Day weekend went by with a swirl, but I definitely enjoyed the extra time with Mr. McGoo. We had a complete football day on Saturday, with multiple guys vegging at my house from noon until late after 10pm. And the cool whispered air of fall began to creep into Memphis, getting me excited about sweatshirt weather to come.

One of the main events of the Labor Day weekend was my run in the Chick fil A 5k on Monday morning, Labor Day. As past posts throughout August have noted, I've been attempting to get back in shape and remind my body what it felt like to be "fit". I'm far from it, but running the 5k Monday was a move in the right direction.

Below is a photo of me and my accountability partner for the run, Kimberly. It was a cool, brisk September morning on Monday. The wind was blowing like crazy, but overall, minus the pain of pushing further than I have in a long while, the event was fabulous.

I ran a snails pace, but I completed all 3.1 miles - almost a mile further than what I had run throughout August to "prepare". The 2.3 mile or so marker came right at a hill... talk about having to push through it. I'm not particularly proud of my time, remembering what I use to run when I was fit, but I'm proud of completing the run and stepping out to do something uncomfortable. Ran the 3.1 miles in 32:38, a 10:32 mile pace (told you it was slow). 

Here is a photo of Kimberly and I at the finish, which rounded into the Redbirds Autozone Park. Our hubbies came down to the event to be our drivers and cheerleaders.


The rest of this week has been full with the beginning of a new trimester with school. The next few weeks will be the juggling act of figuring out my new schedule and learning what the McGoo routine look like this fall. I think both Mr. McGoo and I are looking forward to what God has in store.