Saturday, March 1, 2014

Flowers & Stuffed Mushrooms

"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another,
love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous..."
I Peter 3:8

Kevin and Zach walked up to our front door, arms loaded with groceries....
wide grins, and holding two very special, unexpected items....
ones that weren't on my grocery list.

"Here, Mama.  Happy Valentine's Day."
Zach smiled his sweet smile as he handed this to me.

Kevin was right behind him.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie."
His arms reached out to me,
handing me these beautiful, lavender tulips.

"Aww...thank you both so much!
You didn't have to do this!"

"Now, when is the last time I got to buy you flowers?"
Kevin asked, smiling.

I was so touched.
It was several days before Valentine's Day, 
and I just wasn't expecting that.
It made my whole day.

They are both so thoughtful of me....and precious to my heart.
I love them both with more love than my heart could ever possibly hold.

Ever since I can remember, I longed to be a wife and a mother.
When I was little, I loved playing with dolls and playing house.
Sometimes, I still can't believe that God allowed me to grow up and get to do this for real.
Some days I still feel like I am dreaming...after almost 26 years of marriage...
and 13 years of mothering.
I never take it for granted...not one single moment....
not one single day.

It is amazing how fulfilling it is to live life the way God designed it to be.
That design looks different for each individual person.
There is no one-size-fits-all mold for personal happiness and fulfillment.
Because God created us uniquely, and His plan for each of us is just as unique.
Finding His perfect will and staying in it,
whatever that may be or look like, individually,
is the key to true happiness and contentment.

I suppose to some, my life would appear dull and mundane, unexciting and unglamorous.
They would undoubtedly view it as small and unimportant.
But, to me, it is the total opposite of all of those.
To me, it is right where I am supposed to be. so precious...and fragile....and uncertain.
The older I get, and the more health issues I deal with,
the more I realize this and thank God for every moment.

Having a family to love is one of God's greatest gifts.
Every chore, every task...when done for the ones we love,
becomes true expressions of joy and fulfillment and pleasure.

The other night, Zach decided he was craving stuffed mushrooms.
I was SO tired, having struggled with pain often throughout the day.
But, he was so sweet about it, I found strength I didn't realize I had,
and he and I went to the store in search of finding the ingredients to fill his craving.
This is a recipe we came up with, and let me just tell you,
these were, hands-down the best-tasting stuffed mushrooms I have ever tasted.
Not just have to try these.
They would be great for party appetizers or for an anytime snack.
They take a while to prepare, but are so worth the work and time!

Stuffed Mushrooms

16 Large Mushrooms
Pack of Kraft Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Italian Parmesan Recipe Mix
(this is in the cheese section of the grocery store...
it has the parmesan cheese and convenient!)
Finely chopped onion, approx. 3-4 Tbsp.
Finely chopped green pepper, approx. 3-4 Tbsp.
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Minced Garlic
Butter or margarine

Clean the mushrooms thoroughly.
Remove the stems, keeping the caps in tact and whole.
Chop the stems.
Gently saute' the caps in butter, turning them once or twice, until they are warm.
In a separate pan, saute' the mushroom stems, chopped onion, and green pepper in butter, until tender.
Remove from heat, and add the entire packet of the cheese & breadcrumb mixture to sauteed veggies.
Mix thoroughly, until everything sticks well enough to stay together.
Stuff the mixture into the warmed caps, pressing gently to make sure everything stays together.
Place stuffed mushrooms in a greased baking dish.
Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.
While they are baking, melt butter in pan.
Add minced garlic (to taste) to the butter.
After you remove the mushrooms from the oven, pour the garlic butter over them and serve.

Be prepared to enjoy!
These are delicious!!
(Wish I would have thought to take a picture of them before they were all devoured!
Needless to say, they didn't last long.  :)

Kevin finished off the leftovers tonight...
he said they tasted as good as they did when they were first made,
so evidently these re-heat well.

Over the past few years, we have modified our diet to exclude
using any type of hydrogenated oil or margarine.
It is SO hard on the body, and truly, the body doesn't know what to do with it.
We used to listen to Paul Harvey and hear him advertise Smart Balance,
so several years ago, we began buying and using it.
We have never stopped!
Wish I could thank him!
It is the only margarine we buy.
I used it in making the stuffed mushrooms.
It contains no hydrogenated oil, and it is sooo yummy.
To me, it tastes like real butter.
It never upsets our stomachs or contributes to acid reflux.
Smart Balance also has their own brand of peanut butter,
which is also very good and healthy and contains no sugar.
Recently, we started buying the Smart Balance cooking oil, too.
It is expensive, but the health benefits outweigh the cost, in my opinion.

Cooking for my little family is truly one of the greatest joys of my life.

Seeing them enjoy something I did for them is such a blessed reward,
just as it made their day to see my face light up when I saw the flowers they picked out for me.

Isn't that the way it should be?
We push ourselves past our limits sometimes,
because love compels us.
Love enables us.
Love strengthens us and gives us renewed courage and stamina to walk those extra miles.

I realize Peter probably wrote today's passage of Scripture with the body of Christ in mind.
I believe he was giving sound instruction as to how we should
treat our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

But, shouldn't that same kindness start in our homes?
Shouldn't that be applied there more than anywhere else?
To me, compassion is one of the greatest elements of love.
It is amazing how pity in the heart generates and increases strength in a weary body,
enabling us to move past our own capacities.

It also amazes me how sometimes we use the least amount of compassion,
pity, courtesy, forgiveness, and mercy...with the ones we profess to love the most.
Sometimes, we can treat complete strangers with more respect
than the ones dearest to our hearts.
Our family....of whomever that consists...
should be the ones who receive the greatest 
outpouring of the tenderest parts of our nature.

What if we all woke up tomorrow, with a determined mind,
to treat our spouses and children and those who live inside the walls of our homes
as if they were strangers...guests who are visiting us?
Or as if there were strangers among us....present...watching and listening to us?
Or as if our pastor were staying there?
Or as if another minister we respect and admire were spending the day?
Or to take it a step further....
what if we behaved like we would behave...
if Jesus Christ were the flesh....
hearing our tones of voice,
listening to our words,
watching our actions?

Would we be more self-sacrificing?
Less self-seeking?
Kinder of tone?
Gentler and less harsh?
Would we serve more?
Would we seek out ways to make our loved ones' lives easier?
Would we take less thought of ourselves and how things are affecting us?
Would we smile more?
Be more complimentary and less critical?

Family is so important.
They should get the best part of us...every, single day....
even if we have to let other things slide.

What if we treated them as sweetly and kindly and as politely as we treat strangers we pass on the street?
What if we lavished our spouses with as much love and servitude as we would pour out
on Jesus if He were the honored guest in our homes?
In reality, He truly is with us...all the time...
the silent Listener to our every conversation....
the unseen Guest at every meal.

Little things mean a lot.
Flowers, stuffed mushrooms, kind words, and thoughtful deeds.

So, what does your husband like to eat?
What does he like to do?
How about your child(ren)?
What would please them and bring huge smiles to their face(s)?
Why not shower them with the same degree and intensity
you would bestow on Jesus if He were your guest today?

Try it, and just see how well it works.

"...have compassion one of another,
love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous..."

Compassion, love, pity, and courtesy....
mixed together in generous helpings.
Sounds like a great recipe to me!


  1. You're so right, Cheryl! It's extremely important that we treat our family members as cherished guests in our homes. I'm so thankful to have a houseful of people that I love - God has been so good to me.

    My 10 year old son told me this morning how glad he is that we have manners in our home. He didn't say the words, but I think he was trying to say that such things as Please and Thank you are so helpful, and even at home it's important to use those gentle words. As for me, I need all the oil I can get to lubricate any friction here in the home that may develop!

    Thanks for the post, Cheryl!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comments, Lisa! I am always so encouraged by you coming by. That is so sweet that your son said that. It is evident that God is using you right there in your little mission field called "home". May the grace and peace of God always abound in your atmosphere. Love, Cheryl

  2. Dropping by to be inspired and encouraged:)
    I can relate much and thanks for putting words in action:)
    God bless you more:)

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Joy! You always bless me when you come by! God bless you, sweet friend. Love, Cheryl