St. Patrick’s Day Musings and Recipe

Well, top of the mornin’ to ya and Happy St. Patty’s Day! ‘‘Tis the day everyone claims to be at least a wee bit Irish,  What about you?  Are you really of Irish decent or just Irish today?

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A sea of green will be flowing everywhere today because most everyone wears green clothes, Irish or not, on this day. It is the day many foods turn green on purpose.  Even the river in Chicago turns green.  This is also the one day of the year that we all put a “Mc” or “O” in front of our surname and become Irish. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick was a soul saver. IMG_1716A soldier for the Lord.  That is what we are really celebrating.  He used a three leaf clover to teach people about the trinity.  St. Patrick turned thousands of hearts, minds, and souls to the one true God.  Now, doesn’t that sound like cause to celebrate!  I think so, too.

It isn’t about having things green and being Irish. No fictional little leprechauns with rainbows and pots of gold were there.  This is about celebrating the vast number of Druids, pagans that were saved and became Christians.

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Irish are supposed to be lucky among a lot of other things. You’ve heard of the “luck of the Irish,” right? Hmm, I am not sure about that. Well, I guess you could say the ones that met St. Patrick were lucky, or could you? Was it luck that drew them to St. Patrick or something else?  Perhaps the Holy Spirit.

Do you believe in luck? Do you think there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Personally, I don’t really believe much in luck or leprechauns. Maybe if I keep losing when playing a game I say I have bad luck, but outside of that I don’t put belief in luck. My faith and trust are in Jesus. He is the one that guides and directs me just like He did St. Patrick.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He was the Way or rainbow to my riches. I followed Him. My gold happens to be where Jesus prepared a place for me at the end of my earthly life – in Heaven. IMG_3600That is where my heart is, too. In Heaven the Bible says there will be beautiful streets of gold.

My saved loved ones will be there. There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears. My Savior, Jesus, is there. Our Almighty God, my Maker, is there. Talk about hitting the jackpot or pot of gold! That is everything I could ever want. Wow, no riches can compare to that. None. So what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21.

Traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day Dish

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Irish Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish

1 lb. potatoes peeled white or unpeeled red potatoes
½ lb. bacon (cut into small 1-inch squares)
1 T. Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (approximately a head)
6 T. butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
½ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
A large onion, chopped
5 or 6 scallions or a clump (handful) of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
Add the Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
Stick one of the potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and easy to penetrate with the prongs.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
When they’re finished cooking, add 4 T. butter.
Add the cabbage and onions.
Sauté the cabbage mixture until almost done, with the onions translucent and cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing it to silky smoothness—unless you left the skins on, then almost silky smoothness.

Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Enjoy this Irish classic dish.

 

 

 

“Choosing Joy, Not Complaining” by Guest Blogger Author Cheri Swalwell

I consider myself a Christ follower and while my family and I belong to a specific church body, our church is considered nondenominational. As a result, our church is made up of people from many different backgrounds – those who were raised Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, or came from no religious background and found a relationship with Christ in their adult life.

One of the blessings that comes from us being “eclectic” is that our church celebrates and embraces many different traditions, with members being invited to join in or not, depending upon their comfort level. Our pastor likes to say, “We keep the majors the majors (that in order to experience eternal life with God in Heaven we must admit that we’re sinners and cannot save ourselves, believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and that accept that He is the only way to bridge that gap between God and us) and the minors, the minors.”

As a result, we’ve celebrated Advent for the past four years. I’d never really known much about Advent (celebrated at Christmas time but truly embracing the message of Easter too) until our pastor introduced it and invited the church as a whole to join the party. I’m so glad we did.

While our church doesn’t celebrate Lent, friends of mine do and I was curious to learn more about it. I didn’t know whether or not God was inviting me to participate or sit on the sidelines. At first, I thought God was telling me to have a free pass this year. Due to other circumstances in my life that God was teaching me through the sacrifice of fasting, I didn’t feel compelled to fast any food but Lent isn’t about just giving up food. God reminded me of a conversation we’d been having off and on since last fall, one He got very specific about in January. He gave me a choice: I could choose one of two paths – a life of complaining or a life of joy. It wasn’t a coincidence that the word God gave me for 2017 was JOY. Not “fun” as I originally thought, but JOY.

So, when my friend casually mentioned what she was giving up for Lent and part of her sacrifice was intangible, God nudged me and said, “While I’m not asking you for your food this time, remember that choice I gave you? Forty days is a great way to form a habit in your life…”

I chose to join the party and give up complaining. I find for myself when I make a choice to do something, if I don’t specifically give it to God, I seem to always fail. However, while I’m still not perfect, making a specific commitment to God gives me that extra will power I need. I guess I’m used to sabotaging myself but to disappoint God or directly disobey Him when I have made a commitment, a promise to Him – that gives me that extra oomph I need at times.

So this is the first Lent season I can remember participating in and I’m choosing not to complain. However, it’s really more than that. I’m choosing to see JOY in life. Instead of focusing on what’s going wrong, I’m choosing to look at life through a Heavenly focus and trusting that what I’m faced with is there for a purpose. The bill that I supposedly took care of last month but never did get adjusted? While I don’t know the purpose behind the inconvenience, I’m willing to see it for what it is – an inconvenience. Maybe God has a blessing waiting for us and that bill is the extra incentive I need to look into alternatives that could be the blessing waiting to happen.

That’s just one example where I could’ve chosen to complain, but instead choose to see JOY in the situation. We are only one week into the Lent season, but I’m choosing to believe that God will use this time to slowly change any complaining behavior I have into a JOYful spirit that will bless those around me.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

© Cheri Swalwell 2017