1 lb. ground beef
3 cups white rice (uncooked)
1 (8oz) can of tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can black beans (don't need to drain)
3/4 cup kernel corn
taco seasoning (check to make sure GF and DF, we use Ortega and are OK with it. There are many homemade taco seasoning recipes that are allergen friendly), to taste
salt to taste
This is a very flexible meal in terms of amounts. Fry the ground beef in a large frying pan with deep sides until cooked, breaking into small pieces. Reduce heat to low or med.-low and dump in rice, tomato sauce, and look at recommended amount of water for the rice you are cooking. Subtract 1 cup from the water recommendations and add the remainder of the water. (If your rice package says to use 5 cups water for 3 cups rice, use 4 here because of the liquid from the tomato sauce and later the black beans) Add desired amount of taco seasoning and stir well. Cover and cook until liquid mostly absorbed. Add black beans and kernel corn and cook till rice is done. If there's excess water, cook without lid for a few minutes while stirring frequently. If for some reason your rice is dry, add more water as you go, but you shouldn't need to. Taste and add more taco seasoning and/or salt to desired flavor.
This book was somewhat like reading the author, Joan Chittister's, inner logic on difficult situations or paradoxes in life. It was like hearing someone think through a conflict (or apparent conflict) or negative circumstance and end on a slightly upbeat and motivated note. In reading, I discovered many thought evoking quotations which would be great to reference in articles or pass on in conversation. Here's a quote I enjoyed in the chapter on frustration, "There is really no such thing as frustration, except in ourselves. We call frustrating anything we want the world to confirm as justification for being unable to control the way we think." While most of the book's content is the author's musings, she includes frequent quotations, often of saints. Charles Spurgeon is quoted in a chapter on exhaustion, and in a chapter on guilt and growth, Louis Kronenberger is quoted as saying, "One of the misfortunes of our time is that in getting rid of false shame we have killed off so much real shame as well."
I guess for a book so closely walking the line of pondering the meaning and direction of life, the area I found drastically lacking was that of God's involvement. Since I am a Christian, I knew I would desire to see Jesus given more attention because I am a dedicated follower of His. I understood the author held different beliefs, being Catholic, but I guess I expected, or hoped, that the Lord would play a bigger role in the author's writings and musings. Some areas felt slightly like circular logic and justification, but I am not without fault in my thought process, either, so I won't cast the first stone.
The beginning of the book concerned me slightly when the author stated, "Centering on spirits within us, rather than being obsessed with the vicissitudes and petty imperfections of life gives the soul its stability, whatever the kinds or degrees of turbulence to be dealt with around it." Exactly what kind of spirits? [We never really find out.] And, Chittister finishes the book with a chapter on spiritual seeking which includes an interpretation of the account of the tower of Babel which is not true to Scripture. The author writes the following:
The Hebrew Scriptures... tells us that in their passion for the spiritual life- when the whole world still had only one language, were one race, one nation and were, then, capable of working together on such a great project- the people decided to dedicate themselves tot he building of a great high tower. The goal was to build the tower high enough to enable them all to go up to God together. ... But then the story goes on, God looked down and saw them all at work and instead of being impressed by their plan was deeply disturbed at the very sight of it. This great tower, this singular definition of one path to heaven, this foolish notion that God was available for capture made a mockery out of the very spirituality for which they sought: the awareness that God was everywhere, that God was with everyone, that God is the very Life of life.
She goes on to explain that God confused all the people's languages and dispersed them, but emphasises that she feels God did this so they would be forced to learn about the Lord from each other, "Otherwise, they would always think that their one experience and perspective and relationship was all there was to know about God." That last statement is a pretty strong theological ground to take without Scriptural support, but the Bible isn't silent on this issue, nor does it support Chittister's theory. God Himself states why He was upset at the building of the Tower of Bable, and it wasn't because He was displeased by the people's great spiritual efforts. He was disgusted by their pride, you can see for yourself in Genesis 11:1-9 that the motive for building a tower was not to get closer to God, but to make a name for themselves and keep from being scattered. They were building a monument to show just how awesome they were and to mark their city.
Genesis Chapter 11 (King James Bible)
Because this book ends by suggesting, at least indirectly, that there are many paths to Heaven, and because much of the emphasis of the book is on personal effort rather than placing trust in the Lord to guide and sustain, I would not recommend this book to anyone. I was looking to find sustaining hope and encouragement in this book, but all I found was rationalization toward self-sufficiency. I think we will all fail repeatedly and we are in need of Jesus Christ as a Savior to provide us with His grace. We simply cannot "fix" ourselves on the deepest levels. We're far too broken, and many people die trying.
In the interest of full disclosure: I didn't realize this book was written by a Catholic author when I ordered it. I understand I will have to agree to disagree with the Catholic viewpoint and hope those who read my review can be respectful of my viewpoint. Also, a copy of this book was provided to me at no cost for the purpose of reviewing by Blogging for Books.
Try to overcome depression,
Every negative emotion questions regression.
What's wrong with me?
Maybe I can't do this.
What was I thinking?
I can't make it through this.
I need to go back to being medicated.
No, I quit because it was more like being sedated.
Got so used to just letting everything go,
Years slip by before you even know.
Looking back, there was no joy.
Damn medicine was like a decoy
Convincing me life was real, yet mundane.
Oddly, it never relieved my pain.
Only dulled my responses to the triggers of anxiety,
Nevermind I was a useless follower of society.
I bought into the lie that life shouldn't be messy with tears,
Figured it was a good deal to trade numbness for fears.
You know what I failed to realize?
Some pain and fears have a solid reason they materialize.
I was so set to avoid tears falling down my face
I let myself get to a nasty place
Of disconnect from reality that things can go sour.
Didn't notice my denial till my darkest hour.
I went off these meds before and I cleaned up my life
Caught the clues I'd missed and ditched the abuser who called me wife.
Ran back to those drugs the next time things got scary,
Like they're some kind of magic dust sprinkled by a fairy.
Did they resolve the issues at hand? No,
But they glazed me over so I could watch the sand
Through the hourglass. My life poured out in front of me
Till one day I woke up to see
I'm popping these pills for no reason at all.
There's no drama in my heart or coming to call.
Time to go off! I"m healthy and strong.
But can I? I've been on them so long.
Got myself some health support from a natural source,
Want to have oversight treating depression, of course.
Someone to check in and make sure I'm on track.
I know the reality is I could fall back.
To those days when I didn't want to get out of bed.
The days when the crying caused an ache in my head.
Those days when I was snappy at those around me.
These are all things I don't always see.
Being in the midst of overcoming, I am so short-sighted.
Every tear I do cry, I wonder if it's invited
This monster of depression back without a leash.
Will relationships make it out of this in one piece?
The fear and doubt weight huge on my heart.
Will my quest for 'no pills' tear my family apart?
Shut up! Those are lies designed to make me fail.
I choose to believe the Truth and set my sail.
God makes beauty from ashes
And grows testimony through lashes.
Not saying He causes pain, but he does allow it.
More than we can handle on our own, but never more than He sees fit.
He lets us pass through a fire, like a Refiner with gold,
And He won't be done with us, even when we're old.
If we're brave and we walk through the pain looking at Him
He'll show us contentment and that our future's not grim.
Teaching us patience, faithfulness, and humility,
He can carry us through circumstances beyond our ability.
If there's anything I've learned about depression over the years,
It's that the battle is against a self-centered perspective, not against the tears.
So next time you weep as you overcome
Let the tears fall at the feet of Christ, God's Son.
He knows pain and sorrow more deeply than we,
He'll make you soar on wings like eagles,
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!