Just a Pinch of Salt

How many recipes do we look at that say “Add a pinch of salt” or “Season to taste with salt”? Other recipes are far more direct, a half a teaspoon here a fourth there. Salt is definitely a staple in the kitchen.

Lately I have heard it more than once out of that context. I’ve heard the verse and I have heard many people say how as christians we are to be the salt in the world, but I was reading a page or two from a book titled “The Mercy Prayer” by Robert Gelinas that really gave an urgency to the need to be salt in this world. He actually brought it up after speaking about the ten men who lived on the outskirts of town because of their leprosy.

Books

The author takes note on how Luke recorded the path that Jesus was taking to Jerusalem, the border between Samaria and Galilee. It is here that the ten cry out for pity, or eleison and as the author points out, it is translated mercy. The challenge is then given to the reader, are we aware of those in need of mercy? With so much bad in the world, there are many outlets where we can reach out, but do we? This is where Robert Gelinas makes the poignant point that salt slows down decay only when in contact with the meat. Salt is useless unless it is in contact with the meat.

I had just read those words when my sister in law suggested a podcast to me, Family Talk. Eager to switch up my routine while driving of just music, I enjoy a good podcast, so I downloaded a few random episodes of Family Talk. One of them titled “Fight for Freedom in a Godless Society” had the great speaker Dr Robert Jeffress on it, and wouldn’t you know it, he brought up that same idea of being the salt in this world. Honestly, some of the facts he gave about our country were just so disheartening, and I know we are familiar with them, but the idea that we as the salt can help slow down the decay of our decrepit world was encouraging.

Honestly, sometimes messages like the one on that particular episode by Dr Robert Jeffress can make things seem hopeless. It makes it easier to ignore the big issues if we settle for that hopelessness too. He said something to the affect of the only reason we are pushing back against the evil is to give our world a little bit longer to hear the truth and be saved, which makes me take it back to the image of the salt, we slow the decay. He ended with this great quote though, “If you think it is too dark out there to do it, remember this, the light shines brightest in the darkness… Ladies and gentleman, if your goal in life, like so many christians, is peace, prosperity-the absence of any kind of pain, then these are truly terrifying, depressing days in which we’re living. But if your goal, like the apostle Paul, is to share Jesus Christ with as many people as possible, there has never been a better time to be alive than right now! Because the darker and darker this world becomes, the brighter the hope of the gospel shines.”

I think that when we hear something repeated, in various contexts, that it is God whispering to us. This time of the year, it is easier to be the salt as we naturally enter a season of giving. I pray that this was an encouragement to you to be aware of moments where you can live on the border like Jesus Christ, be the salt, and have a goal like Paul.

To-Do’s and New Goals

Week two at home and Shane was actually called off to work again. This left me alone with my list of things to do and Jagger. Most of these “to-do’s” are everyday things, that, if not kept a handle on, would spiral out of control. Laundry, dishes, and we always have dishes to do with no dishwasher in this house, and vacuuming. I admit, I may be a little obsessed with vacuuming, but we have mostly carpet, a hairy dog, and I like running around in my bare feet and don’t like crunching on his kibble he somehow gets everywhere. “To-write” is not necessarily on my “to-do’s”, but it gives me a welcomed break between scraping off wallpaper borders and vacuuming up papery messes, filling in holes, and doing more dishes.

I love lists and I love deadlines. I thrived in college because of this; I would get a list of things to do at the beginning of the semester from some professors and I would begin on papers right then so that when crunch time hit, my day was still my normal day. Now I write my own lists, some last a day, some a month. Goals I set aren’t “get this paper done a week before it is due” anymore, most often they have to do with work and often art call deadlines. Generally, I can be organized enough to get a goal done once I set it, and that is a pretty big deal considering how distracted I can get.

A common goal we both have, though I think I have a little more drive to get it done, is our closet. If it were up to me, it would’ve been done yesterday. Meanwhile, I am pretty sure Shane could go on living the rest of his life with his clothes being in the dining room closet, but I would like that place that keeps our clothes organized, out of site, and all together. I like that lists help me, or us, get organized, and I like to have completion date goals, but I can’t get so distracted by the goal that I lose site of the people around me, and am I still being kind, using love, and being patient? Things will get done, and I shouldn’t compromise relationships just for a goal.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Now my goals are different, and my “to-do” lists are different. They are evolving and including another person. So when someone asked me if I feel settled at my new home yet, I don’t. Not quite yet, and this isn’t a bad thing or a negative reflection on me or Shane and I as a couple. I am just still figuring things out.

With this in mind, Shane and I decided the closet was the first doable project, and while he was away, I got started on things. When I told my mom about the project, she suggested I set the deadline of my cousin Leah coming to visit to finish our closet by. Well, we only have one more weekend then she is here, so I don’t think that will be happening, which is slightly frustrating, as I would like it done ASAP. This is where that whole idea of patience comes in again, only this doesn’t feel like a little moment, like the whoopie pie moment, this feels like a big, all consuming thing. I have to work extra hard to remind myself, it will get done, don’t worry about tomorrow, just keep pushing forward.

Thankfully Shane and I each have an especially helpful family. Both sides are willing to pitch in and help out where ever, when ever. That meant that Saturday, before the men’s game feed at our church, my parents came up to help out in the closet. We knocked down walls took screws out, and really made some decent headway. At the tail end of their help, I began cooking our late lunch which included a venison skillet dish, orange smothered chicken breasts with gorgonzola cheese, lots of Jiffy spoonbread, and of course raspberry whoopie pies. Now the skillet dish made enough to feed a small army, and I automatically made double of the corn bread dish, and this all turned out to be a good thing as more family and friends descended to see our new home and eventually head off to the game feed right as the late lunch was ready to eat. We all ate together and enjoyed listening to kids giggle and got to explain future plans for our home.

This has taught me one valuable home make over lesson. Always have food. I can’t for a moment get hung up on my own expected deadlines for projects when, in all reality, we are doing an okay job fitting in filling in holes and tearing down walls between both of our jobs, and we are so fortunate to have family willing to come over and help in their free time. One way I can show my gratefulness to those lending a hand is by making food. To solidify this point, last night while I was at work, Shane’s brother came over and helped hang up closet things in another closet in the house and they ate the last of the corn bread and chicken.

So this morning I cooked up a hearty skillet dish with ham and turkey kielbasa. It may not be one for looks, as the white kidney beans didn’t hold their own too well, but it certainly is colorful with all the carrots. Because our beautiful 14 inch cast iron skillet doesn’t fit in our fridge too easily, I transferred it to this casserole dish to store until we eat it for dinner. If I am away at work again, and people come over to help, it is a one dish meal that will feed a small group of people of 4-6.

Skillet Cassoulet

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 oz turkey kielbassa
  • 8 oz fully cooked ham, cubed
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15 oz can white kidney beans
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil, add in turkey kielbasa, ham, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and cook until vegetables are tender
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes, thyme and celery seed, simmer until heated through. Add pepper

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