I, Hereby Resolve to: Listen

In 2018, I, hereby do resolve to:

Listen.

That is my word for 2018.

What does that mean? I heard the Lord whisper, Listen, to me on a walk right before Christmas.  It was a few days before we were to get together with our dear friends and share our Words for 2018.  I hadn’t thought much about what word I was going to choose.  And then BAM-

L I S T E N

flooded my brain and I thought, YES!  That is it.

These past few months have been a season of waiting and listening.  I finished up my work at the church and was looking ahead to what was next.  My word for last year was Rest and Receive,  and I think I learned a ton about what it looks like to rest.  Really rest.

Am I good at it?  Well, let me just say I am getting better.  The Sabbath Society has helped.  Shelly Miller sends an email each Friday to encourage me to rest and practice sabbath rest.  I highly recommend this little blessing that pops in every Friday.

So Rest and Receive is about to segue into Listen.

Listen is a good word.  A hearty word.

In October I had an ear surgery to repair the hearing in my right ear.  Apparently the teeny-tiny little bones in my inner ear calcify and stop vibrating- boo- because that means you can’t really hear. This was the second time I had this surgery on the right ear- the first apparatus slipped and stopped working years ago.  I had the left ear repaired in 2015- Success!- and decided to do a revision surgery on the right ear in October.

It is amazing what doctors can do.  They fold the ear drum back- don’t cut the nerves or puncture the drum, take out the bad bone and put in a little titanium doo-hickey.  It is all kind of like the game Operation….bzzzzz.

So now I have bionic hearing in both ears.  Thank you, Lord.  While I was resting and receiving on the couch, I did a lot of thinking.  I realized that I had been learning about Resting, but was not doing so well on the Receiving.  Recuperating allows for a lot of receiving.

I realized that I am very much a to-do gal.  A gal who’ll get ‘er done!

I also discovered that a lot of my self worth comes from this same activity of getting it done.  Hmmm, let’s insert the word Receive now, and that’s what the Lord began to teach me as I received my self-worth.  My identity from who God said I was. And I listened and listened.

Which brings me back to my word, Listen.  I am asking the Lord to help me listen to Him,

to the word,

to the Holy Spirit.

Listen-really listen.

Like sit still in my chair and just listen.  Usually I am jabbering away all my ideas. Fears. Requests. Questions.

This year I want to just L I S T E N.

Also I want to listen better when I am with Craig or a friend or a family member.  I don’t want to  try and think of what I am going to say next, but instead, I want to listen to what people are saying and let it soak in.

My boss man at church where I worked last year told me that the biggest gift I could give when I met with a gal was: my presence.

My listening.

He was, oh so right.

I can see that played out all last year, and I want to get better at listening.

So with my new bionic hearing, I am going to listen to God.  Listen when I get together with others.  Listen to you, sweet reader.

I’d love to hear from you if there is something you would like me to write about in 2018.  I am going to try and be more diligent in my writing this year- #2018goals

Probably been on my goal list the last five years….argh.

I bought an old school paper calendar and plan to keep my writing goals/agenda in it.

The things I hope to write about in 2018 are:

Things I am learning.

Things I am cooking.

Practicing Hospitality and Celebrating

Embracing your seasons of life

Can’t wait to begin this adventure with you.  I love Sursees, and I think you will love some of the ones I am going to share with you this year.  And maybe we will both get a little better at Listening…. xoxox

A Menu for You to Use at Your Table

One of the things I think I do well over here in my world is cook.  I love cooking. I love the chopping, the sautéing, the sizzle and the sauce.  I like to sneak tastes and nibbles.  I love the planning and the dreaming and shopping before.  I love setting the table and thinking of each guest coming.  I love thinking how the foods will play off of each other.

I love looking through my recipes and cookbooks- the tried and true and the new and unknown.

I like having people over and saying, ‘no, don’t bring a thing’, because honestly how many times do you get to just show up and eat?  Glory! I Love doing that for others.

I like the conversation around the table and the laughter and connection and stories, and I am reminded that this is the life.  This is where I like to be.

Sometimes I get busy and forget.  Then the cookbooks call.  The grocery list beckons.  The guest list starts, and I remember how much I love this.

I love sharing with you, too. The recipes I tried; the ways I tweaked them. What worked. What didn’t.

I like thinking that my cooking is good for you.  Your soul. Your tummy.  Your mind.  I want to be the kind of friend who shares what she is cooking and hope that it encourages you to step out and try something new.  To step out and invite someone over.  To share life around the table with your family,  your friends, your neighbors.

I know for myself, that I get into a rut, and it helps to hear what someone else is cooking.  Thus my love for cooking shows.  I get so inspired and learn new things and make a grocery list all at the same time.

May I inspire you by sharing what I have been cooking around here?

Recently I wanted to host a special dinner for friends.  We wanted to do something Italian and something a little different.

I made a list of recipes and one day, when Craig and I were in the car driving, I described the different courses and let him pick the menu.

He ended up picking three recipes from our Giada cookbooks.

Butternut Squash soup

Pumpkin Sage Pasta

Salmon with Citrus Verde Sauce

I served a small appetizer of cheeses- a soft, fresh Pecorino and an aged Pecorino from Italy and a spicy Manchego cheese from Spain, all served with crackers.  I also had my favorite almonds from Trader Joe’s in two small bowls, Truffle and Rosemary.  I used my cheese board and chalk to label them so folks would know what they were eating.

While folks were munching on cheese and crackers,  I served the Butternut Squash soup with the Fontina Crostinis.  I will just have to say that the Crostinis are a must.  Sorry all you gluten free people out there,  but these are the perfect accompaniment for this dreamy, creamy soup .  I made the soup the day before and warmed it up slowly while guests were eating appetizers.  Spoiler alert: I took the sage out of the recipe because the next course had sage in it.

I served this taste of fall in my small Le Crueset Coquettes.  Here is a shot of these darlings ready to go for the party!

They are a great Sursee I found in a Lexington cooking shop when we visited Ryan in college.  I bought eight in different colors and have so enjoyed them for desserts and appetizers.  They make plain ‘ol mac-n-cheese look gourmet.

Then I snagged a guest to help me with the next course.  While people were visiting and slurping soup, we plated  the Pumpkin Sage Pasta.

I have these fantastic large restaurant type soup/pasta bowls that make anything look amazing.

I did use the sage that was in this recipe, but I used toasted pine nuts as a garnish because I had a guest who is highly allergic to Hazelnuts.  The pine nuts were perfect. The pasta was divine.

When we had finished that course, I snagged another guest to help me clear the table and we served up the next course.  See, usually I miss all the conversation while in the kitchen, but this time I brought conversation into the kitchen with me!  Thinking ahead I was.

Halibut was on sale when I shopped so I used that instead of the salmon that the recipe called for.  It didn’t take long to sear the halibut on the stove top.  This is different from the recipe which says to grill the fish.

I made the marinade earlier that day, and it was ready to drizzle over the top of the fish when it was finished cooking.  I used my white plates with a pile of arugula in the middle and set the halibut right on top Then I drizzled the citrus verde goodness all over the fish.

It was amazing.  Let me just say.

And this is not hard stuff to make, but it looked hard.  Don’t tell.

You can serve anyone of these items on their own.  As an entree or not.

Again. I have no photos.  I was in the moment which is the best place to be. Plus Giada has photos over on her site that are waaaaay better than what I could produce.

For dessert we had chocolate covered almonds, and I had some Sprinkles cupcakes cut in fourths so you could try a little piece of each. It was just the right amount of sweet for the ending of a delish meal.

I hope that these menu will help you this week!  Pick one thing to try.  Don’t be afraid to substitute for your own likes/allergies/sales at the store.  And please enjoy having a meal around your table. Nothing like it.

 

 

 

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