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Recently I experienced a situation that was handled with guilt instead of grace.
Ugly, dank, stinky guilt.
And it ripped me to the core.
As I fumbled through my feelings, trying to make sense of my ever-passionate emotions, I asked myself: what is the flip-side, the "nice" twin of guilt? Without hesitation I knew in my gut - it had to be grace.
It forgives, forgets, covers all traces of failure; it inspires, gives hope, and reflects love.
I don't know about you, but I have this lofty concept of grace, almost an airy, dream-like attribute I've bestowed it, as if grace means resting my head on butterfly-covered down pillows and smiling at everyone all the time. It's like kindness on steroids, and I haven't the slightest clue about how to do it in my own strength. You see, I get tired and irritable, and bitey and impatient, and then I say things I want to rewind.
But I am really good at encouraging others to give themselves grace.
Don't be so hard on yourself, you are doing the best you can. Give yourself grace.
She's two and you are tired, we've all been there. Give yourself grace.
He knows you love him, don't beat yourself up. Give yourself grace.
Ironically, when it comes to swallowing this grace pill, I'm the worst at taking my own medicine. Just ask my husband who reminds me weekly, sometimes daily, that I'm my own worst enemy. Whether it's relationships, parenting, trying a new recipe, working with a client, or writing an article, I evaluate my every move, critiquing and searching for improvements. I want to give myself grace but I have no idea what that looks like.
Please tell me you have some idea of what I'm saying. Perhaps you are there too?
I so badly want to know grace so I can live grace, and of this I am sure: to know grace, I have to study my Savior. I have to jump in with both feet, and soak up everything I can on how he lived; how he shared grace with others. Really, apart from Him, grace is self-produced and manufactured and will eventually wear off.
So I'm on a mission of sorts.
To get my hands on every bible verse, book, quote, story and song about grace. To read, listen, recite, memorize and learn as much as I can about this beautiful, far-off idea of the word synonymous with goodwill and favor. Even now, I have goosebumps in anticipation for meeting God's Spirit at what he does best ~ grace!
As Julia Child says, "Everything is better with butter," And if that's the case, everything must be better with grace.
Care to accompany me on this grace awakening? I can't promise I won't get passionate and excited and repeat myself at times. There may be days you open your computer to a whole lotta rambling about discovering a facet of God's grace in an epic way. This girl can get fired up. So there. You've had your fair warning.
If you are farther along in this grace journey, help a sister out and share some wisdom- some powerful verses that hit the aha button for you, or a song that touched your soul, or a book that made grace come alive.
I'm finding this a good place to start...
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Today our home is bustling with the wrapping of last-minute gifts, writing names on hand-made gift tags, trying to decide which boots I'll wear to Christmas Eve Service, and baking the birthday cupcake in celebration of Jesus. It's a day filled with anticipation and family togetherness, a day that makes my heart extremely full and warm and thankful!
And nothing completes this season more than yummy food and the people we share it with!
A tradition for every New Year's Day ~ we'll watch the Rose Parade, lounging in our jammies well into the afternoon, no agenda on the calendar other than being with friends and family. This year, I'm adding this delicious egg breakfast to our family's menu! My friend, and mentor mom, Debbie made this and oh-my-word... it's amazing! And kale just oozes health, right?!
What traditions does your family have on New Year's Day? Do you have any delicious meals you make? I'd love to hear!
Recipe for Sausage-Kale Strata
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 45 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings:12
12 whole Eggs
2-1/2 cups Half And Half (or Milk, If You Prefer)
Salt And Pepper, to taste
4 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Oregano (or Parsley, Basil, Etc.)
1 loaf Crusty French Or Italian Bread, Cut Into Cubes
2 pounds Breakfast Sausage Patties, Cooked And Cut Into Cubes
1 bunch (large) Regular Kale, Torn Into Pieces
Olive Oil, For Frying
16 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Halved
2-1/2 cups Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
*Note: Recipe can easily be halved.
Mix together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and minced oregano. Set aside.
Drizzle olive oil over mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in a 425 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat, then throw in kale. Cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Layer half the bread, half the kale, half the mushrooms, half the sausage, and half the cheese in a large, buttered lasagna pan. Repeat with the other half of all the ingredients, ending with the cheese. Slowly pour egg mixture all over the top.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight if possible.
To bake, remove from fridge 20-30 minutes before baking. Replace plastic wrap with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown and slightly crisp.
From our home to yours, Merry Christmas! May Jesus be real and present as you celebrate our Savior's birth surrounded with loved ones, yummy food, and cute boots :)