A Letter

I’v been reading this book today, Don’t Settle for Safe by Sarah Jakes Roberts. Very rarely have I read a book that impacted my life in such a short amount of time. I will go into more details another time, but I wanted to quote one of the last pages.

Side note, I’ve cried multiple times during the course of reading it. God used it and will continue to use it to propel me to what’s next. At first, I was resistant. Growing hurts. Pruning is painful. You have to look at yourself, for who you really are, and face the things you’ve been ignoring and forgive yourself. Ok. Enough with that. This is taken from page 153-154 of her book titled Don’t Settle for Safe….

             You can no longer afford to trust the treasure that is your heart to anyone who says you’re beautiful. Anyone can admire a diamond, but few recognize the quality and care required to keep it beautiful. For too long your insecurities made you so desperate for attention that you handed over your golden heart to people who’ve only handled glitter. This is not their fault; it’s yours. You ignored the signs, hoping they would wake up one day and see your worth. The truth is it’s time for you to wake up. You can no longer go through life unconsciously hurting yourself and asking someone else to heal you. The power for you to overcome is already inside of you. The longer you stay, the more you deny the strength you have to move on. You’re better than the you’ve subscribed to. There is still beauty inside of you. There’s nothing you’ve lost in this process that can’t be restored, but you must determine how you will spend your grace. Don’t give your patience away to people that will abuse it. Don’t give your courage away to people who don’t understand it. Surround yourself with people who can reciprocate what you pour. Let their validation be an overflow that allows you to touch the lives of other broken people. This is bigger than you. This is about redefining love and esteem in a culture determined to make us feel less than. You are the hero you’ve been looking for. So put on your cape, get off your knees, and stop begging for someone to love you. Love yourself. Seek God and all other things will be added to you. 

I really can’t think of an appropriate response to that. It feels like I should mic-drop and walk away. But I can’t. I know you are hurting. I know you feel lost. I know you listened to the bad things people have said about you and allowed it to take root in your heart. Maybe you’re starting to believe those things. But i’m here to tell you. You are not your past. You are not defined by the things you have done. You have the power to change your trajectory. I know because, while failing over and over again, I’m still here. God still reminds me daily of the things I’m called to do. Don’t let your past weigh you down. Also, don’t repeat the negative things you are or have been ashamed of. I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you. I’ll be the first to tell you my flaws. But I have some locked away in my heart that I’ve recently started dealing with, so healing can take place, and I can be a vessel of love.

Buy this book. It will change your life. But don’t ready it until you’re ready to face some things that will be painful. It’s time to be real with ourselves.

XOXO

Jess

Chili. It’s what’s for dinner.

Hey y’all! Its been a long time. But now I’m back. And I have something special for you!

A few years ago, I had a thought. Let me warn you in advance. I can be a pretty deep-thinker. You ready for it??

What if you could have chili with the cornbread baked into it? :::drops microphone, exits stage:::

I know, right? I tried to warn you!

I love eating cornbread with my chili. It brings a little bit of sweetness to the savory chili. But I’m lazy. And I don’t like making a mess. You would think having 3 kids and another on the way, messes wouldn’t bother me. THEY DO. So I became a “problem-solver”. It’s kind of a dramatic title for such a miniscule problem (is it even really a problem?) What can I say. I’m a deep-thinking, problem-solver who has a flair for the dramatic! Wow that was a lot of hyphens. Moving on…….

Out of all the meals I’ve made for people over the years, my chili is one of the most requested and most loved. Now I’m going to share my recipe with you. Reluctantly, I might add. But giving is better than receiving. So take good care of it and use it wisely. By the way, you’re going to be SHOCKED at how easy it is. I’m almost embarassed by it. Ok not really. But it does taste like it’s been simmering all day, when in fact, I just threw it together. There, My secret is out!! I hope you enjoy!

Jessica’s Lazy Chili

2 cans tomato sauce (I use organic)

2 cans dark red kidney beans (again, I use organic)

2 cans chili beans in mild sauce (if you like hot, go for it, you crazy person!)

1 pound grass fed ground beef

1 1/2 Tablespoon chili seasoning (recipe to follow)

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix

Chili Seasoning

3 Tablespoons chili powder

3 teaspoons cumin

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

3 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all together in a airtight container. I use a mason jar.

For every pound of ground beef, use 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chili seasoning

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*Disclaimer* I tried to make this once with homemade cornbread from scratch. It never made it to the execution stage. My husband said “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. So I didn’t! But if your little sweet heart desires to make it with homemade cornbread, go for it. And let me know how it turns out!

Preheat  your oven to 400 degrees

Brown the ground beef in a dutch oven. This beauty is one my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas several years ago. It gets used more than any other pan in my kitchen. I love it!!

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While this is browning and making your kitchen smell amazing, go ahead and make your cornbread according to the box instructions.

After your beef is mostly brown (don’t worry about getting it all done. It will go into the oven later), add your 2 cans of tomato sauce.

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Now for the chili seasoning. If you ask me, this is the star of the show. But you might think it’s the cornbread. That’s fair.

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Let this simmer for about 5 minutes. There’s no real logic here. I’m just giving you time to complete your next task. Which is an important one. RINSE YOUR KIDNEY BEANS. See all the bubbles? Those end up in your belly, causing you-know-what. Rinsing your beans will cut down on the oligosaccharides (oligo is a prefix meaning “a few” and saccharides is just a fancy name for sugar. Don’t you feel smarter??), which cause the music that escapes your butt. Don’t skip this part. You’re family will love you for it!

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Add them to your beef and tomato sauce mixture. Now add your chili beans. Stir well to incorporate.

This is the part where we get a little crazy. Remember your cornbread that you already mixed? Now you want to spoon it onto the top of your chili. Don’t be scared. Just go for it!

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It should look similar to this when you’re done. Or if you’re the creative type, you can do a heart or something else. No judgement here. You’re in a safe place.

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Now pop this bad boy into the oven for 35 minutes and walk away. Feel free to marvel at your amazingness for making such a delicious meal that everyone will be wowed by. :::Miss America wave:::

After 35 minutes is up, take it out of the oven and insert a butter knife through the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, put it back in the oven for 5 minutes at a time and recheck. The cornbread can be a little sneaky (as you can see here). It looks “done” at the top but it can still be runny underneath. No one likes runny, undone cornbread.

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You’re done! Congratulations! Feel free to top your chili with shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeños or anything else you like. See! I can be flexible!

I hope this warms you belly and your heart on this cold and rainy day. Cheers!