only help my unbelief

Good eats: Chicken squash bake
July 31, 2008, 1:00 am
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The original recipe for this delicious meal is from Tammy’s Recipes. I’m going to go ahead and post the recipe here on my blog to minimize your Internet clickage, but be sure to visit Tammy’s site for other recipes.

It was a normal Tuesday night, and I was preparing for my Wednesday morning grocery shopping trip. I was at a lost for what to make for dinner that week, so I started browsing Tammy’s Recipes, which I found at Simple Mom.

I was looking through her chicken recipes when I stumbled across a recipe for chicken combined with one of my favorite things – yellow squash.

I’m surprised at how few people I know have eaten yellow squash with any regularity. I think it’s delicious, even outweighing my love for zucchini. My mom used to cut it into fourths, steam it with onions and serve it buttered. Yum.

Since I’ve lived on my own, I usually cut it into slices, chop up and onion and boil it in a small frying pan, adding salt, pepper and garlic. One squash makes a perfect heaping side dish for one person.

So yeah. I like yellow squash. And this recipe looked good, so I decided to try it.

Chicken squash bake
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut into about 4 strips (I used 8 Tyson chicken breast tenderloins – less than Tammy recommends – because I was trying to conserve meat)
Garlic salt or powder
Lemon pepper seasoning
10 cups yellow squash, washed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
6 ounces fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped (I used frozen)
3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces sliced Muenster cheese (can also use provolone or baby swiss, or even mozzarella)

I wasn’t sure how many cups of yellow squash one squash would equal, so I bought 10 squash. I think that was more than 10 cups, but since I cut back on the chicken, it ended up making about 5 good-sized servings.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and place chicken inside. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt and lemon pepper; turn chicken over and sprinkle other side with seasonings also.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 60 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. After about 30 minutes of baking time has passed, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large stock pot. Saute squash in butter until tender.

Add remaining tablespoon of butter to the pot, and add spinach leaves. Cook and stir just until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and toss with just a little salt.

Take the dish of chicken from the oven, uncover, and spoon the squash mixture over the chicken. Place slices of cheese on top, enough to make a thin layer over the vegetables.

I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. I think it could have used a little more seasoning, maybe while the squash was cooking. I really enjoyed the lemon pepper seasoning on the chicken – it gave it lots of zing.

Probably the best thing about the dish is that it’s a meal in itself, and a healthy one at that. It’s a great way to get some spinach in your blood. I don’t really like the taste of spinach, but in this casserole, it gets lost in the squash and you can hardly tell it’s there. I’d imagine if you have kids, it would be a great way to get them to eat more vegetables.

I give it two thumbs up.


Trusting God to do the best
July 30, 2008, 1:00 am
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This past Sunday I taught the lesson to my 3-year-olds because our regular teacher is out of town.

OK, they’re not really mine, but maybe if I claim them, the children’s director (who is on my top five list of favorite people in the entire world) won’t move them up to the next class at the end of the summer. Sigh.

The lesson was on Jonah, which was providential because I’m working on memorizing the book of Jonah.

Wait a second, Chelsey! I thought you were memorizing Romans!

I was.

I don’t know if you know this or not, but Jonah is considerably shorter than Romans. It only has 40-something verses.

In other words, I’m a wimp.

Seriously, though. Romans was discouraging me, and Jonah is one of my favorite books. I’m still in the first chapter, but it is going a lot better than Romans. I still want to tackle Romans, but maybe when I am more adept at memorizing entire books of the Bible.

Wow. I got completely off-track. What I was trying to say, was that I thought it was cool that I got to teach the story of Jonah, because I’m currently memorizing Jonah.


I was preparing for the lesson last week, and the curriculum my church uses is just fabulous. They have a section called ‘Heart Preparation’ in the teachers’ guide, which basically talks about the lesson and actually provides a hefty dose of encouragement to the teacher.

For example, check out this little gem:

Just as Jonah was not a project too big for God to handle, neither are we, and neither are the toddlers in your class!

I’m sure that my co-helper, Lee, who reads my blog, will find that at least as encouraging as I did.

But it was a quote by C.S. Lewis that was included in this section that really penetrated my heart when I read it.

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

How true that is. I know in my heart that God is sovereign. He has proven Himself so many times, and even if He hadn’t, the Bible makes it clear that God is in control of all things. So when I start to become anxious, it’s not really because I think God isn’t in control – it’s because I’m afraid of how He will control it.

Case in point: Me not having a job. I know that whatever God does in this situation is the best for me, but I’m just afraid that the best means (a) working in a fast-food restaurant or (b) not having a job for a season.

In case you were wondering, my sinful and selfish heart doesn’t see (a) or (b) as ideal.

I needed to read that quote to be reminded of how my heart works. Whether or not God’s plan seems best to me, and even if it is painful, it is all for my good and His glory.

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

If you read this the morning I posted it and are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you’re probably slightly confused. I announced yesterday that I have, indeed, been offered a job! But I wrote this post late last week and scheduled it for this morning. Talk about an important lesson in not really knowing what God has in store in the future!

Photo by T. Keller

Movie review: Pan’s Labyrinth
July 29, 2008, 1:00 am
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I’m a little behind in posting movie reviews. I’ve only posted two, and Christian and I have watched at least five moviessince I posted my review of Chariots of Fire.

Our Netflix queue has a lot of different kind of movies on it, so we’re trying to vary it up. Since Lars and the Real Girl was an Indie comedy/romance and Chariots of Fire was historical, we opted to watch Pan’s Labyrinth next.

Christian had never seen it, and I’d seen only the first 15 minutes or so while flying home from Germany last summer (before I conked out).

It was a lot different than I expected, even having seen part of it.

I was under the impression that it was a fantasy film, and I thought it was about a little girl who gets sent to do adventuresome quests in order to escape her new life with a really mean stepdad.

It was kind of about that, but it was more about the violence in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. And the quests Ophelia gets sent on are mostly terrifying. I’m not going to spoil anything, but let’s just say there’s this one monster who puts his eyeballs in the palms of his hands and holds them up to his face in order to see. Now you know what I mean.

Basically, Pan’s Labyrinth is about a little girl named Ophelia who goes with her pregnant mom to live with this guy who was (I think) a general in the war. He is rude, arrogant and has no problem shooting people point-blank. He doesn’t like Ophelia, and he doesn’t really care about his wife – only about the son he’s sure she’s going to have.

Ophelia is a dreamer, so she wanders off and meets a faun named Pan, who sends her to do some quests so she can prove she is a princess in another world.

Sounds harmless enough, but more of the story takes place in reality than in fantasy. The movie was incredibly violent and really bloody (Note: We did not realize it was rated R before we watched it). A lot of people get killed, some get tortured, and Mean Stepdad (I can’t remember his name. This is why I am not a professional movie reviewer.) gets his cheek cut open.

So I really can’t recommend it. It was a weird movie with violence that I’m sure was historical but also at times seemed gratuitous. Oh, and it’s all in Spanish with subtitles, so if that would affect your choosing to watch this movie, there ya go.

Monday Motivation: What really matters
July 28, 2008, 1:00 am
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In my personal Bible study, I’m going through the book of Galatians. I just moved into chapter 5.

Side note: Tackling a shorter book in my personal time with the Lord has been really encouraging. I’ve been in Galatians for most of the month, and while I’m not going to get through the whole Bible this year, I’ll know when I finish that I’ll have studied an entire book of the Bible in-depth.

The last verse in the passage I read today was Galatians 5:6 –

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Paul is writing to the Galatians about the Judaizers who were trying to convince them that they needed to be circumcised to be saved. Paul isn’t saying it’s bad if you’re circumcised, but he is saying that it’s not necessary for salvation.

And so he points them to what is necessary: faith working through love.

Paul really likes to write about this. Just a chapter later, you see Galatians 6:15 –

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

It’s the same wording, but instead of ‘faith working through love,’ Paul says salvation means being a new creation – which only God can do (see John 6:44, 1 Corinthians 5, Romans 7).

When I study my Bible, I look up the cross references. For this verse, it pointed me to 1 Corinthians 7:19, which is the crux of what I hope God uses to motivate you at the beginning of your week in the marketplace –

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.

Friends, that’s what matters. You could take out circumcision and uncircumcision and change those words into whatever it is that has you captive and steals your joy. Is it legalism (thinking rules leads to righteousness)? Is it pleasing people? Is it obsession with self? Is it worry about the future?

As I struggle with not having a job and asking the Lord, “What do you want me to do?” this verse sounds back loud and clear.

Keep His commandments. I would say it’s ‘as simple as that,’ but obeying God isn’t always easy.

We have the Bible, though, holy words breathed out by the Maker of the universe, and if we just do what He asks, we don’t have to worry about all the other things that so often seem to matter.

‘A devious repentance’
July 27, 2008, 1:00 am
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Every Sunday, I try to share something I didn’t write to encourage you as you celebrate the Lord’s day. I hope this selection encourages you in your walk with the Lord and helps you focus on Him on the Sabbath, HIS day. If you ever have questions about God or how you can have a relationship with Him, please e-mail me. I’d love to talk to you.

Recently I committed a sin of what seemed to me unpardonable thoughtlessness. For days I wanted to kick myself around the block. What is the matter with me? I thought. How could I have acted so? “Fret not thyself because of evildoers” came to mind. In this case the evildoer was myself, and I was fretting. My fretting, I discovered, was a subtle kind of pride. “I’m really not that sort of person,” I was saying. I did not want to be thought of as that sort of person. I was very sorry for what I had done, not primarily because I had failed someone I loved, but because my reputation would be smudged. When my reputation becomes my chief concern, my repentance has a hollow ring. No wonder Satan is called the deceiver. He has a thousand tricks, and we fall for them.

Lord, I confess my sin of thoughtlessness and my sin of pride. I pray for a more loving and a purer heart, for Jesus’ sake.

–taken from Gateway to Joy, a daily devotional by Elisabeth Elliott

On the occasion of him reaching 22 years of age
July 26, 2008, 5:00 am
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Saturday times seven is taking a break this week in honor of Christian’s birthday. It’ll be back next week, where I’ll list seven things I can’t seem to get rid of.

To the guy who moved 400 miles away from everything he knows and loves;

To the guy who took a chance on me when I was emotionally unstable;

To the guy who brings me cherry limeade slushes from Sonic on my dinner break;

To the guy who doesn’t let me call myself a nerd;

To the guy who eats everything I make for him and tells me it’s delicious;

To the guy who washes my dishes for me every time he’s at my apartment;

To the guy who never raises his voice;

To the guy who has taught me what it means to trust in the Lord for all things;

To the guy who isn’t ashamed to work in the nursery;

To the guy who does monotonous data entry so he can save up money for us to get married;

To the guy who takes an interest in everything I do;

To the guy who cracks me up with his crazy voices;

To the guy who never says he doesn’t want to hold my hand;

To the guy who likes all the same foods I like and all the ones I don’t, making him the perfect human vacuum cleaner;

To the guy who was so sincerely thankful for his birthday present, I wished I could have gotten him twenty million other gifts;

To the guy who thinks I’m beautiful, even when I can’t see it;

Happy birthday.

Friday night housekeeping
July 25, 2008, 10:34 pm
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Things are slow at work, so I thought I’d do a little blog-related housekeeping.

First, I compiled a list of the five most popular posts in the last month at GG&GE, for those of you who may be new to the scene or who missed a post.

At the top of the list is my guide to Google Calendar. I had no idea how successful this post would be, but it definitely clued me in to what people enjoy reading about. Look for more posts like that in the future.

In close second was my guide to ING Direct’s online savings accounts.

And even though I posted it over a month ago, people are still really interested to read how I met Christian.

Right behind it in the rankings is part 2 of how I met Christian.

And in fifth place is a list of seven of my favorite blogs.

So there’s the top five. But there are some posts that get read over, either because readers didn’t think they were interesting or because their posting was untimely. So here are three posts that haven’t gotten read much that I think deserve a second look.

This post is from the early days of this blog, but I listed practical applications from a sermon I heard on Romans 14.

Another post I really enjoyed writing was about my struggles to spend time with the Lord.

Finally, for those of you who aren’t familiar with RSS feeds, check out my post on getting the most out of blogging.

My final bit of housekeeping is to direct you to a couple new pages I’ve made. I’ve started compiling my movie reviews (there are more coming soon) and I also wrote out my blog posting schedule to familiarize you more with what I enjoy writing about. Check them out in the sidebar.

Hope you’re having a fantastic Friday!