Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Of Sheep and Scripture …

As far back as I can remember, sheep have been among my favorite animals. When I was about 3 years old, I remember seeing an advertisement (I don't exactly remember what it was for) that featured a little girl petting a lamb with her parents watching. From what I remember of the picture, the family's car was parked along the side of a road and the little girl was petting the lamb in a pasture near the road. Some how my 3-year-old mind came to the conclusion that if I just watched closely, I would find a lamb alongside the road and that we would stop and bring it home. Mind you, I hadn't given even the slightest thought to what we would do with it once we got it home. Just the same, I remember many car trips in which my eyes were eagerly pealed to the side of the road watching for my lamb.

Fast forward a year or two to a time when my family did have sheep. I remember when the adult sheep arrived and my disappointment at finding they were not nearly as cute as the lamb I had been watching for. In the spring time, we did have some lambs, and my sister and I had the experience of bottle feeding some of them. Of course the harsh reality was that the bottle lambs of spring ended up in the deep freeze in the fall.

As I got older and started taking on handwork projects, I naturally gravitated to ones that included sheep. I particularly enjoy projects that incorporate Bible verses in the design and reflect the Christian journey. For good or for bad, sheep are not exactly the brightest creatures. In fact, a line from the movie Babe states that, "Sheep are stupid."Perhaps it is fitting that people often are likened to sheep in a number of Scripture passages. Without a shepherd's supervision, sheep have a tendency to wander and find themselves defenseless and in dangerous situations. As Isaiah 56:3 reminds us, 
 "All we like sheep have gone astray."

Fortunately, we have a Good Shepherd who never calls us stupid. Our Good Shepherd seeks those who are lost to bring them into the fold. John 11:11 tells us that "the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."

This final image is of the first cross stitch project that I finished after I was married. I love the verse that was included in this project that reminds us of our standing because of the Shepherd's sacrifice in laying down His life for the sheep. This verse also reflects the true source of peace that we find through faith in Christ alone.

"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1

Monday, April 22, 2013

Warm Food for a Cool Day

Having lived in Utah for over 40 years now, I've found that spring tends to take one of two extremes. On one extreme, we can have nice gradually warming temperatures that allow us to be out working in the yard by mid March and have the garden planted by the end of April. On the other extreme, we can have persistently cold temperatures with summer showing up sometime around mid-June. This year seems to be one of those in which the remnants of winter seem to be hanging around. 

On a positive note, the persistently cooler temperatures allow us to continue to enjoy some of our cool weather foods a little longer. As such, we decided to fix some hamburger stroganoff the other night, and I thought I would share that recipe for my April posting. As you will see with this recipe, it's fairly simple and generates leftovers - two very positive features for our family. Here is a look at the ingredients:

1 lb ground beef (you also can use left over roast beef)
4 cans cream of mushroom soup (I like a little variety so I often include a can of golden mushroom and/or mushroom/garlic soup)
2 cans of sliced mushrooms (4 oz each)
16 ounces of sour cream
2 envelopes of onion soup mix (you can be a little creative here, too, and substitute a package of French dip gravy mix or even a tablespoon or two of beef base)
12 ounce package of extra wide egg noodles (feel free to substitute another pasta of your choosing or even rice)

Brown ground beef and drain. Stir soups, mushrooms, sour cream, and soup mix into the meat and cook until heated through on low to medium heat. Cook noodles according to package directions. Serve the stroganoff over the noodles. We like to serve our stroganoff with beets and garlic bread.