Monday, March 25, 2013

A Love Lost

Today is my father-in-laws birthday. Instead of celebrating today, we are mourning.

I said earlier, we have had a hard beginning to our 2013, on March 1st, Mike went to be with the Lord. It was very unexpected. Earlier that week he had been suffering from a stomach bug, Matt's mom finally decided to take him to the ER thinking he was severely dehydrated. That night between the ER and ICU, he lost consciousness and never woke up. Apparently, he had internal bleeding that could not be stopped and despite great efforts from the medical staff, God was ready for him to come home. We sat in disbelief for hours, no days. I still don't think it has fully sunk in. But as a gift to Mike, I would like to take a second and celebrate his life and the impact he had for the Lord.

I met Mike for the first time when I was in the 1st grade. The Ham family started attending our church and right off the bat I knew there was something different about this man. He was one of the most outgoing eccentric people I had ever seen. He always sat on the right side of the aisle, in the second row, red socks peeking out under his black slacks. I can see him with both hands lifted high during worship. I had never seen anyone worship the way he did. I will admit, in my young age, I thought it was weird... he would yell "Amen" and "Praise God". Was this normal? Often times I would get distracted and start counting the number of rubber bands around his wrist... there were always several. But as I got older, and as my relationship with the Lord began to grow, I began to have that urge to raise my hands and voice as to high to the heavens as I could. I finally understood what was going on inside that "old guys" head. Without knowing it, he had introduced me to a heart of worship.

Many years later, our paths crossed again when I began dating Matthew. From the first minute, he was always so supportive of Matt and I. He was so proud of us and could see that we loved each other and God, and that was the makings of a great couple. When there were so many people saying we were way too young to be getting married, he cheered us on. When we got pregnant 6 months into the marriage, on a single income, he said "Praise God! Children are such a blessing!" And with each child that we added, he was only more joyful. He knew that we were in God's hands, and I know without a doubt, that he was praying fervently for us each and every day. He bragged everyday to customers about his police officer son, his "adopted" daughter and their 3 (almost 4) beautiful children. Brooke, Maddux and Ellie (along with his other grandchildren) were the light of his life. We would go over to their house every other weekend and the kids would sit on his king sized bed talking with him, asking about all the wonders of the world. Grandpa seemed to have all the answers, and if he didn't, he made them up :). We were very blessed by him.

Every birthday, for everyone in this house, he has called to sing us Happy Birthday... he never forgot a single one! And because we can not do that for him this year, I want to say Happy Birthday Dad! We love you so much more than we have ever been able to express. Thank you for loving the Lord and our family, the way you did. We can wait to see you again in heaven, singing and dancing!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chicken Toastadas

As usual, it's been a while... things have been so crazy lately. We have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows in the last 6 weeks. I hope to sit down and blog more about it later but for now, I am just going to share a recipe my mom requested earlier this week.

We love posting our recipes on our blogs because then we can just refer back to each others blog instead of calling each other several times for one recipe.

This is one of our family favorites (I know, we have a lot... but we are foodies)! And it is SOOO insanely easy! I adapted it from a recipe in a Martha Stewart cook book, but of course tweaked it to our families liking.

Here's what you need:

3-4 chicken breasts, boiled
1 small jar of salsa verde, or tomatillo salsa
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 lime
flour tortillas
shredded Monterrey jack cheese or Spanish blend white cheese

Preheat oven at 400 degrees. After chicken breast are boiled and drained, shred (I put mine in the Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment... super easy!). Once shredded, add the jar of salsa, cumin and juice from 1/2 lime. Stir until blended.

Place tortillas on a cookie sheet 2 or 3 at a time so that they are not overlapping, top with a thin layer of cheese and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Then top a heaping spoonful of chicken mixture and another layer of cheese. Bake for an added 7 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and enjoy!

You can top these with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream or chopped cilantro... but they are yummy on their own too!

Yields: 8 toastadas (enough for the 4 of us, plus leftovers for Matt's lunch :])