Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rubies of the North

Another post that should've been posted in the fall....hope you enjoy!

Fall has always been my favorite season. The crispness that returns to the air. The richness that suddenly explodes from the treetops. The musky, deep smell that penetrates the earth. And while fall has always filled me with a feeling of comfort and expectation, it seems to be even stronger in the great north of Alaska.

Autumn in the north is sudden and quick, which makes me even more anxious to capture the preciousness of it in my memory and experiences. And perhaps the most amazing discovery of autumn is little hidden surprises that God has tucked away beneath the moss and fallen leaves. Taking a walk in the woods edging the yard not only awakens the mind from the chill in the air, but sends joy to the spirit as you bend down to discover that the beautiful dark ruby red low bush cranberry is ready to be picked.

I could spend hours scouring the moss and bushes for this little treasure that hides tucked beneath. Kneeling on the cool, damp ground, my fingers combing through the small leaves while my boys tease me by pretending to place the tiny rubies in my bucket only to smile and pop it in their mouth, laughing at my look of mock dismay. Over and over again. The sound of laughter growing with each plunk of berries in the pail.

So now, more than ever, fall captures my heart and soul. God fills me with comfort in the warm colors above me and joy of the precious bounty below me. He awakens my mind with the crisp air and prepares me for the winter to come. I am so thankful for fall and all the treasures God gives in it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let's Get Real

My Sweet Tucker

Yesterday morning I was getting ready for church when I asked Stretch if I looked alright (with the increasing belly, outfit choices are becoming a bit limited). Like the good husband he is, he replied “It looks good. You just look pregnant.” No arguments there! The way this belly is growing, you’d think I’d swallowed a watermelon. Then my sweet little Tucker pipes up and adds, “You’re butt is fat!”

“Gasp” I hear coming from your lips. Stretch and I looked at each other and couldn’t help but laugh. The truth always seems to come from the mouths of our little ones, doesn’t it? We diligently pointed out to Tucker that it is not polite to tell others their back side is large and filed the conversation in the funny file to be told to others.

Yet later that night I was thinking about it and wondering how often we keep the truth from others out of politeness? Sure, I’m probably not going to point out that someone’s rear end is getting a little big, but what about the important stuff like whether someone is trusting in Jesus, the only Way to heaven, as their Savior or talking to someone about a lifestyle choice that isn’t according to God’s purpose or a belief, while popular in society, is contrary to the Word of God? How many times have I kept my mouth shut or glossed over the Truth, just so I wouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings or make someone uncomfortable, including myself.

God has a very strong opinion of telling the truth. In Psalm 34:12-13 He tells us “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.” In Colossians 3:9 He tells us “Do not lie to each other.” But even more convicting is when we are told in Acts 5:4b that “you have not lied to men but to God.” Now there’s the kicker…when we sugar coat reality, when we keep the life-giving Truth of the Gospel from others, we aren’t just lying to them or ourselves, we are lying to God. We are telling Him that our comfort and our desire to keep others comfortable is more important than His command in John 15 to bear fruit and love one another.

Now I’m not saying we should preach fire and brimstone to everyone we come into contact with. We should instead pray for God’s guidance in the words that we speak. Speak the truth, but speak it in love to build each other up and make us stronger. (Ephesians 4:15) And if it’s a matter of eternity, wouldn’t a few moments of discomfort be worth it if someone hears about God’s path to forgiveness and chooses to walk it?

Tucker made me giggle about my growing posterior, yet I’m even more thankful that God has used a child’s truthfulness to make me realize the lack of my own. While I’ll be showing Tucker the importance of politeness, I’ll be looking to God for guidance in when I’m being polite and when I’m downright lying. Isn’t God amazing and wonderful how He finds the most interesting ways to teach?

Has God showed you the importance of being truthful, despite how hard it is?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I know, I know. You're probably thinking, "I thought that Sara said she was going to do this blog thing or something." While I started with a splendid idea of a fantastically written blog, the move to Tok, delay in internet connection, then just general forgetfulness, has my blog in a state of rest. But no longer! Thanks to my good friend Jeannie Gerhardt, writer of the great blog A Family, A Cabin, an Adventure in Alaska, who visited this last week and strongly encouraged me to start up the blog engine again.

Since my intentions were good when we moved up to Tok, I have a few posts that I pre-wrote when our internet connection was nonexistent (not a good feeling). Hating to waste a good read, plus the time I took ignoring my children and other housework to write the posts, I will be posting those over the next week. So without further ado, here is a completely outdated, but still rather fun post for your enjoyment.

Caribou Cabbage Concoction

So earlier this month (i.e. last September) the dear husband went with his friend Mark on a caribou & moose hunt. After a four day long venture and several manly moments, they ventured home halfway successful...Mark got his first ever caribou. So Stretch, wanting me to learn how to process game, had me come and help him and Mark butcher. After a long day of processing (we were all it took a while) Mark was generous enough to give us several packages of steaks, roasts, ground meat, and meat to can.

I attempted to make something yummy with the ground meat, and what was created was a delicious concoction full of the earth’s bounty: caribou and fresh vegetables from the neighbors garden.

Caribou Cabbage Concoction

3 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1 lb. ground caribou
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 Tbls. minced garlic
1 Tbls. Fines Herbes
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1-2 tsp. tomato paste
2-3 squirts of Worchester sauce
1 tsp. salt
2 cups water
1 cup barley

In a large skillet with a lid, brown bacon. Add onion to bacon and sauté until translucent. Add caribou and brown. After caribou is completely cooked, drain any fat and return to skillet. Add cabbage and tomatoes and cook until cabbage wilts. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Serve warm with a nice slice of homemade bread.

What’s your favorite caribou recipe?