Sometimes God talks to me in a loud and clear manner, and yet I have a difficult time hearing…either that or I’m slow to answer. It’s more often than not the latter. Then there are times when I can hear even His slightest, most gentle whispers. Those are usually the moments when I am most vulnerable and in need of His saving grace. Since the beginning of the summer, God has been blatantly preparing and moving my heart for a specific purpose – to love my neighbors. I’ve been quite slow to respond, but the momentum has definitely been picking up. My women’s Bible study group has been getting together every other Monday to read and discuss a book called, Small Things with Great Love: Adventures in Loving your Neighbor (I highly recommend). The current sermon series at my church is titled “Loving Your Neighbor.” His message for me couldn’t get any clearer than that. Then there is Explore God…
Oh boy, am I thrilled to share with you about this city-wide movement (with more than 100 churches participating in Austin). The main mission is to encourage believers and non-believers alike to “know God more deeply and experience God more fully.” Christian or not, we all have questions (I know I have TONS), and it can serve as a platform to bring communities together and help people engage in exploring life’s challenging spiritual questions. There are plenty of resources, sermons, common questions and answers (e.g “Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering? Is Christianity Too Narrow? Is the Bible Reliable?…”) on the website, so please do check it out!
What I’ve begun to realize is that I don’t need to go on a mission trip to a foreign country to spread God’s unending love. I can start in my own neighborhood. I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t know my neighbors at all. I mean I’m not pure evil. I wave my hand with a pleasant smile as I drive by or as I’m walking Kona, but I couldn’t tell you their names, jobs, hobbies…Sadly, “strangers” is a better suited term than “neighbors.” This actually never bothered me until recently. Tim and I walked around our neighborhood this past Sunday night to simply pray for our neighbors, and I was overcome with a deep yearning to know them. As we’re both shy (I guess I’m a notch above Tim and that’s not saying much), we will be taking baby steps, but that’s ok, right? Introducing ourselves to those on our block and inviting them over for dinner sounds like a great place to start. What do you think? It’s nerve-racking and exciting at the same time!
I am excited to see how God will open the eyes and stir the hearts of many in Austin and beyond. I’ve lived here for six years now, and while I can’t say I’ve loved every single moment of it, I can’t think of a better place to be than right here. People are friendly, vibrant, and unique in their own right. There’s no shortage of places to eat, great music to listen to, and enjoyable activities to engage in. Sustainability and supporting local farmers are highly embraced, as evidenced by the abundance of Farmers Markets and restaurants using only locally-sourced ingredients. My Saturday mornings would not be the same without a trip to the Farmers Market. I feel blessed. Just look at the beautiful produce…Makes me happy.
This is actually my first time making the Goddess dressing. I didn’t even know what it was until now. But since I’m determined to cook my way through Salad for Dinner, I was prompted to try.
The dressing couldn’t be simpler to make. I made some slight substitutions – Greek yogurt instead of mayo and basil rather than tarragon (just bc I have an overabundance of basil in my garden..didn’t think I’d ever say that). I left out the feta cheese as I’m still not a huge fan. Neither is the Hungryman. Feel free to substitute with another kind of cheese if you are in the same boat as us. I especially LOVED the dressing with the crunchy, refreshing cucumber. It made for a perfect snack throughout the week. I recommend refrigerating the dressing before serving as it tastes 100 times better cold in my opinion. I think you will agree.
- 8 ounces haricots verts (or regular green beans), trimmed
- 12 cups mixed greens (I used oakleaf lettuce)
- 2 cucumbers, sliced
- Grape tomatoes
- 4 hardboiled eggs
- 4 ounces of feta cheese (or your choice), crumbled
- ½ cup Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup snipped chives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tsp chopped anchovy (about 2 fillets)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cook haricots verts in a sauce pan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water immediately to stop the cooking process. Drain them well and pat dry.
- Arrange haricots verts, cucumbers, and tomatoes atop the greens. You can either grate the hardboiled eggs or simply slice. Sprinkle with cheese of choice and serve with cold dressing.
And here’s what I’ve made from the cookbook so far…I’ve loved every single one of them.
Top row (left to right):
Bottom row (left to right):
Let’s keep going!