the noble journey

A journey to become the wife of noble character…

Pity Party June 27, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 2:36 am

Sometimes, I get to the end of the day and I have to ask myself a difficult question.  As I sit in bed this evening preparing to end the day, the question in my heart is not a question that I really want to acknowledge. But if thenoblejourney is going to have any authenticity to it at all, the question has to be shared.

Tonight,  the question I ask is this: do you ever feel as though you are unseen?

Tonight,  I find myself wondering if anybody sees ME.

Sure, everyone sees my flesh waddling around the house. I say waddle because I’ve been limping for a week, literally, on swollen feet. Everyone in this family knows I have been in physical pain, not able to stay on my feet for long periods of time, and also not sleeping well. So, why would anyone choose to ignore the 10 things I did get accomplished today, only to vilify me for the 1 thing I did not?

Please don’t accuse me of being dramatic. I am a writer and an English major and I just happen to like to use words to my advantage. You may think I am exaggerating, so for the sake of proving my point, I am going to make a list of all the things I got accomplished today:

1. I woke up

2. I woke the children up

3. I drove thenobledaughter to her summer class

4. I waited patiently at Starbucks for thenobledaughter to get out of her class, during which time I accomplished the following tasks:

4a. Posted two new blogs

4b. Prayed for several friends

4c. Read from my Bible

4d. Enjoyed a grande Pikes Place and a large water with extra ice

5. Drove thenobledaughter home

6. Put $20 of gas in my vehicle

7. Cleaned some of the trash out of my car

8. Used up the last of that never-ending container of leftover taco meat to make thenobledaughter and myself some quesadillas for lunch

9. Threw away the tomatoes that went bad in my fridge because they somehow got frozen

10. Made half a gallon of homemade pico de gallo with the remaining tomatoes

11. Spent 30 minutes figuring out how to post a picture of my garlic-cilantro pico de gallo on this blog and on Pinterest

12. Washed and folded two loads of laundry

13. Made a great meal for the family: grilled chicken breast, orange-rosemary pork tenderloin (leftovers),  broccoli, and vegetable couscous

14. Picked tomatoes from the garden

15. Gave rotten tomatoes and an ear of corn to theyoungernobleson’s two chickens AND inspected construction of the refurbished chicken coop

16. Spent 15 minutes being encouraged by a good friend via cellphone

I’m going to stop here, not because this list is all-inclusive, but because I think I have proven my point. And that point is that I have not wasted this day. I have not been selfish with my time. I have achieved things, even if they do not seem monumental to others.  Some of those accomplishments were for myself. Some were for others. And some were for the Lord.

I won’t rank them in order of importance. But let me say the following to those who may not feel, at the end of this day, that I have accomplished everything I should have:

I’m sorry that broccoli is not everyone’s favorite vegetable.

I’m sorry that the appropriate laundry was apparently not done in the loads that I ran through the machine.

I’m sorry that I just can’t say with complete assurance that I will feel like going to the mall tomorrow afternoon.

And I’m sorry that I did not follow up with the important phone call that I made last week. Sometimes, when I am not reminded of things, I forget them. And they don’t get done in the window of time that others may like or need for them to be done in.

But please, open up your eyes and see ME. I am not to be judged, valued, or noted for the things I accomplish in the course of a day. At the end of the day, I am still friend, mom, and wife. If anyone is waiting for me to fill those shoes perfectly, it will be a long wait.

But if anyone is willing to love, honor, and respect me for who I am and not what I do, then I am here.

Open up your eyes and see ME.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-26

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9


PS: I promise a more uplifting post next time, once the Lord has had some time to deal with me and my attitude…


Garlic-Cilantro Pico de Gallo June 26, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — thenoblewife @ 8:04 pm

Garlic-Cilantro Pico de Gallo

Just made a fresh batch of this wonderful pico:

Chop fresh tomatoes until you have 6-8 cups of seedless chunks. Finely chop the seedless chunks. (I use my Pampered Chef personal chopper…fast and easy)

Add 2-3 finely chopped onions, depending on your affinity for onions.

If you like garlic, add 1/4 cup minced garlic. If you love garlic, use 1/2 cup. I buy the large jars of minced garlic from the produce section because I go through it so quickly around here.

Finely chop 2-3 bunches of fresh cilantro. I cut mine from the stem right above the twist-tie to get the most greens possible.

Finally, if you want a little more spice, add 6-8 finely chopped jalapeno or serrano peppers, all seeds removed.

Blend everything together and season with salt and pepper. Ingredients will meld together better it you get down and dirty and use your hands, as if you were kneading bread dough.

The pico will be better if you let it sit for 24 hours in the fridge so all the flavors intensify. This also cans well.



Children, obey your parents…

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 4:39 pm

When I began this noble journey, the first thing I committed to change was my lack of consistency as the family chef. Now that it’s summer time and I am on a bit of a vacation, it has been relatively easy to make sure that dinner is being planned and prepared in thenoblehouse and that there is always something available to throw together a good meal. I can say with confidence that at least 6 nights out of 7, I have been putting together a real meal and not just asking the family to fend for themselves.

Granted, that meal is not always what everyone would like it to be. Just yesterday theyoungernobleson began snooping around in the fridge, wondering what he could make for lunch. I don’t normally prepare lunch for myself and thenoblesiblings. More often than not, I use that meal as a catch all for the leftovers or for self-sufficient options, such as making a sandwich.

Theyoungernobleson was asking if he could prepare something using some meat from the freezer. He’s trying to bulk up and get conditioned for the upcoming football season so he is seeking out all forms of protein that he can get his hands on. He has even invested in two laying hens so he can have healthy, fresh yard eggs in his protein drinks. What a resourceful young man!

I know that what he was hoping for was to find some thawed chicken breast in the fridge. Quite the chef himself, one of his favorite meals is grilled chicken. (But please don’t tell the hens…they may stop laying in protest…) He even keeps a small container in the spice cabinet of his own custom concoction: a blend of  seasonings from the pantry that he has painstakingly mixed himself. It is a custom blend whose “recipe” has remained, to this day, top-secret.

Failing to find what he “wanted” in the fridge, he complained that there was nothing to eat.

Now, I took advantage of this complaint to teach theyoungernoble son about being a wise steward. I pointed out the leftover taco meat from two nights before, and the chicken fajita meat that was less than 24 hours forgotten about. I asked him if he would consider using some of those leftovers instead of making something “new”, because I am trying very hard to keep from wasting any food. I acknowledged that eating the same meal two or three times in a row might not be the most appealing; I have a palate that desires variety, also.

But I also have a pocketbook that demands wise choices.

I was proud of his response. Instead of rolling his eyes or whining, as has happened in the past, theyoungernobleson nodded in agreement. “Yeah, that makes sense.” And in a matter of no time at all he had created a couple tacos and was seated in front of the television eating contentedly.

It’s tempting at times to simply tell a child what to do. It doesn’t even matter their age, really. Whether they are 6 or 16, I find myself tempted to say “because I said so” more often than I find myself attempting to explain the decisions I make.

But when the maturity reveals itself in each child, no matter the age, I believe parents are required to help lead their child in exercising it. I’m not sure how I would have responded if theyoungernobleson had not seen things my way. Hopefully I would not have replied in anger, which is always my close associate, waiting to be released like a snarling lion into the arena for battle. I would like to think that I would have been one of those calm, cool, collected mothers that I know in my own personal circle. I won’t call them out by name, but everyone in my circle knows who they are! At all times they appear to communicate with their children in a calm, affirming, and respectfully authoritarian voice.

Me? Well, sometimes I scream. A lot.

Thank you, theyoungernobleson, for understanding the reasoning behind what may seem like an insignificant thing through your eyes. I promise I will not make you eat molded bread, stale cereal, or sour milk. I appreciate the fact that at 14 years old you can cook for yourself, do your own laundry, and work an 8 hour day in the hot sun like some men twice your age are still not willing to do.

I know that God is going to bless you for your respect and submission, as he has blessed me to be your mother.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother”-which is the first commandment with a promise-‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4




Prayer requests

Filed under: Prayer Requests — thenoblewife @ 3:02 pm

I have a lot of friends with a lot of prayer needs right now, so please think of them today:

My friend whose father is having open heart surgery today…Lord I ask that You guide the hands of each surgeon, nurse, anesthesiologist and attendant who will be touching him today and that you provide Your healing for his body. I also ask that you bring a spirit of peace to his family and comfort them in their fear and anxiety. I also ask for a spirit of conviction on those who do not know you, Lord, and that they will feel your presence in an undeniable way.

My friend who is hobbling around today on a sprained ankle…Lord I ask that you also bring a healing touch to this dear friend, Lord, and you return that ankle to a place of strength and stability.

My friends with guiet hurts….Lord there are times when you cause us to look inside ourselves, and sometimes what we see is encouraging, while at other times it can be disheartening. Lord I ask that in a spirit of inner reflection that you bring all things to the light.

Marriages…Lord, I look around and I see so many marriages that are hurting, partners who are lashing out at each other instead of embracing each other. Lord I pray that you would restore the love, desire, and respect to those marriages and that we would all see our marriage commitment first and foremost as a commitment to YOU. When we see our marriages as commitments to You, things change. We understand that love is not a come-and-go thoughtless emotion that wavers and flits about with fickle tendencies. Our love for our spouses is a commitment that should be modeled after the love that You have for us. And when we speak of striving for excellence, as the wife of noble character did, we are reminded that this is “the most excellent way”:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the great of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 1-13

Be thankful for your spouses, my friends. Do not allign yourself with the enemy when he causes you to focus narrow-mindedly on the faults and deficiences, the dilemnas and the disappointments. There is no victory for Christ when those He has united together attack each other with barbed tongues. There is no victory for Christ when a a cold shoulder replaces a warm embrace. And there is no victory for Christ when immature love gives way to a wandering eye.

Ask the Lord to restore your love and your commitment. He can bring you through all things if you keep your eyes on Him and do not give in to the world’s call to abandon and attack your sacred commitment. Your relationship will be strengthened and the Lord given the victory when you defend and protect your marriage at all costs.

“Marriage should be honored by all…” Hebrews 13:4



Confessions of a money hoarder… June 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — thenoblewife @ 6:09 am

I have a problem with money…I like to have it. I like to know where it is. I like to be in control of it.

I’m not talking about large quantities of money. Nor am I talking about a credit card, which can be a tool of Satan in a moment of weakness.

I’m talking about having my own personal stash of cash that nobody else has access to.

In the last six years, while I have worked full-time, I’ve maintained a joint checking account with thenoblehubby that was separate from the bill-paying account. From my account I have bought groceries, paid for my own gas, and  squandered away small sums of money with which to buy small personal purchases. I have never denied thenoblehubby access to this account. At any point in time he could have walked into the bank and drained it all, if he so chose.

Of course, he was never crazy enough to do such a thing! Because the understanding, the unspoken but undeniably accepted truth, is that this was all MINE. And when I deposited the last paycheck at the end of May, knowing it would probably be my last regular paycheck for a long time, I began to panic. I became fearful.

What if I need money one day, and I can’t get my hands on it?

The big argument/miscommunication in my house this past week had to do with how much money I had stashed. I offered the stash to thenoblehubby in the last few months as we debated whether we could afford to keep our children in private Christian school while I stopped working to complete grad school. I named a dollar amount that I thought would be there when the time came for the first tuition payment, and we budgeted it accordingly.

Unfortunately, my calculations were off, which is why things got so nasty this week. But I took what I had, withdrawing everything save for 25 bucks…then handed the envelope of cash to thenoblehubby.

It was not an easy thing to do. I immediately began to fret realizing that I now had to rely completely on my husband to physically put money in my hands when I needed something. I worried what would happen the first time I got low on gas, or needed to run by CVS for a last minute birthday card…and realized I had no dough to blow.

This new system is going to require a lot of planning on our part, but more importantly, it’s going to require a lot of faith…not just in the Lord, but in my husband.

Let me be clear on one thing: My husband is the most amazing and devoted provider for his family that I know. I never, ever worry that my family’s needs won’t be met. What I worry, however, is that this new way of doing things will result in conflict.

If I need money, and he has brought no cash home, and I have to wait until the next day, how will that go? We are committed to using cash for expenses…Will I be tempted to secretly use the credit card in an act of impatience? I don’t want a checkbook…checkbooks and I have a sordid past. Will I wait for thenobledaughter to become distracted by the latest Wonka card on Pinterest,…and then sneak into her room to “borrow” a little moolah?

I know that the Lord is telling me that this is part of the whole trust issue, the stepping out in faith. It’s not just about trusting Him….that part is really easy compared to trusting the husband he has called me to submit to. And when I handed over that cash, trust was on my mind….big time.

But I did it…and today, thenoblehubby proved to me that it’s all going to be okay.

I had to  drop off thenobledaughter for a few days to visit with a friend who lives about 3 hours away. We met at the halfway point, and thinking about the long drive had me stressing yesterday. I knew the gas tank wasn’t full enough for the trip, but I forgot to ask thenoblehubby to bring me some extra cash for the road.

But it’s okay, because the man God designed, set apart, and gifted me with remembered my need. He filled my gas tank to the brim last night in anticipation. I literally almost cried when he told me.

Then this afternoon, before leaving town, thenobledaughter and I drove towards the family restaurant to get a free meal on our way out of town. About 10 minutes from the restaurant, my car died while idling at a red light.

Five minutes later, it did it again.

In panic mode, I called thenoblehubby, who instructed me to put in a quart of oil at the gas station, and pronto.

When we finally made it to the restaurant, he gave me $50 to get the oil changed before leaving town. He then gave me ANOTHER $50….totally unsolicited… because I was down to about 10 bucks in my purse.


And here I was worried and fretting?

But it gets even better. Right before bed tonight, I reminded him…a little nervously…that tomorrow night was our turn to provide a meal for our Friday night Bible study group. I had some change, but might need another $20 bucks…if he had it.

(Okay, must stop here to tell you that thenoblehubby just rolled over in his sleep and asked “Did you walk here to turn in your application?” Poor guy can’t stop thinking about work even in his sleep…)

Anyway, the money was given without any qualms, and then, to top it off, he threw in an extra $30 for me to spend when I hang out with some of my fellow P31’s tomorrow morning. I had already told him I was not planning on spending any money. And since we are going to some antique shops, we both knew how difficult that would be. But I did not need it and would be happy just window shopping. In the past, having no money to spend on myself would have been a bit depressing, to say the least. But spending money on myself is one of those things that simply can not exist anymore if thenoblehubby and I are going to be able to make our new budget work.

No, I did not need any money for the shopping trip.

But the man God designed, set apart, and gifted me with wanted to bless me beyond my need.

What a wonderful reflection of Christ that my God has given me in thenoblehubby. For He, too, desires to give us not just what we need. When we are obedient, He desires to bless us beyond our imagination.

I can do a lot with $30. But I can do a lot more with the love of a Godly man. With the love of a Godly man, I can reach that excellence that I so desire. I can wake up each morning with an uplifted spirit. I can soften my rough edges and temper my weaknesses when they threaten to overpower my strengths. I can make it a little bit further on this noble journey.

God designed the whole submission thing not so He could play favorites, but because it was the perfect way to reflect His own love and grace. Thank you, Lord, for that reminder.

And thank you for the snoring bear next to me…I would be totally lost in this world without him.







Starbucks Ministry…yes, that is what I said June 21, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 3:48 pm

One of the difficult things that I am dealing with right now is the loss of my ministry. For the past 10 years my children have attended the same Christian school, and for the last 6 of those years I have been teaching at that school. When the Lord began telling me to pull away, one of my first questions was “Why? Have I not been doing what You have called me to do? Have I screwed it up? Did I squander the talents you put in my care?”

It’s hard to walk away from a job you love, and even harder when that job involves the joy of ministering to others. Now I am left wondering what my personal ministry is going to be for this season in my life.

I know that part of my noble journey is to continually seek His direction in that area. I do believe that He has some things in the works, but this morning He reminded me that we can be active in ministry anywhere we go.

As I sit at Starbucks this morning writing, I have my bible open. (I’ve been reading from 2 Corinthians, ch. 2 this morning, about forgiveness) As I’m reading/writing, a gentleman sits down in the chair next to me and asks if I’m studying.

“Yes, I am,” I answer.

“The Bible?” he asks.

“Yes, sir.”

He smiles and nods. “The best book in the world.”

He then proceeds to tell me  how many times he has read the Bible all the way through, and how amazed he is at how each time he opens it to read, he learns something new. I start to comment on my own experiences with that, but then his cell phone rings and our moment is interrupted.

It reminded me of a book I read a couple years ago…amazing book and I will post the title when I remember it.  Anyway, this pastor was writing about the need for the church to change the way it approaches the unsaved. He does some very unconventional things in his church, but one of the things that I remember the most is how he goes about writing his sermon each week.

Instead of sitting in his church office, he relocates to Starbucks for the day. He finds a centrally-located table, spreads out his Bible and study/writing materials, and then proceeds to spend the day working on his Sunday sermon.

He is interrupted many, many times by customers and employees alike who casually ask what he is doing.


He always takes a few minutes to explain what he is doing, introduces himself as the pastor of such-and-such church, and asks the inquirer if they are a believer. His recountings of some of the subsequent exchanges is fascinating. At times, he has found himself encouraged by fellow Christians, but at other times he is practically accosted by angry or mocking nonbelievers.

He says it is one of his most productive times of ministry.

(Sorry, but have to take a break here to tell you how disappointed I am to see that there was a subject-verb agreement error in the previous paragraph…I fixed it, but ah, the horror!)

Anyway, his story is encouraging to me right now because while I believe that my first and most important ministry is my family, I also believe that the Lord calls each one of us to some type of outreach ministry that extends beyond our personal circle. That ministry could be something as simple as preparing meals for families in need, or it could be as complicated as selling everything you own and moving to Africa.

Hmm….now that’s a thought.

So, while I sit at Starbucks waiting for thenobledaughter’s summer class to end, sitting here each morning because it is cheaper to have a cup of coffee than it is to drive all the way home and back in 2 hours, I need to have my eyes and ears open.

Perhaps someone sitting nearby is going to ask me what I’m reading, and perhaps they really, really need to hear just what it says.

“If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-if there was anything to forgive-I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Cor. 2:10-11




Okay, so now what do I do? June 20, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 3:37 pm

They say that getting started is the hardest part…and I agree.

I feel overwhelmed at times, wondering how do I even go about making positive change in my life when I see so much that needs improvement? How do you prioritize, how do you know which area to tackle first?

Well, for me, I’m starting with cooking.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to cook. But if you ask my family, particularly over the last few years, they will tell you that I don’t cook very often at home. Announce a potluck at church and I’ll fry chicken for hours, or let me be the one to whip up a meal for our Friday night Bible study group. I’ll volunteer in a heartbeat.

But put me in my own kitchen, with my own family, and I lose the desire. I’m too tired. I want to go out to eat. I don’t know what to cook. I run to the grocery store for ingredients for a new recipe, forgetting that my freezer is already stocked full of perfectly good food waiting to be cooked.

I’m disorganized and without motivation when it comes to cooking for my own family, day in and day out. So that is one of the first things I have been trying to address on this noble journey.

So, what does scripture say about this?

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar; She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” Proverbs 31:14-15

Okay, well, some of that just does not apply to me. Thankfully, a few things have changed since the time of King Lemuel. I don’t have to traipse the docks looking for the best produce each day as it comes off the merchant ships. There is a huge HEB about 12 minutes from my house, and it usually has everything I need, and a little bit more.

It is also not necessary for me to get up at the wee hours of the morning. My husband leaves for work at 4:30 each morning and does not eat breakfast, and since it is summer, the teenagers tend to sleep in a bit late. If I were to get up at the crack of dawn, I would be cooking only for myself. So, in an effort to best conserve my time and energy, I will let that one pass.

Servant girls? Yeah, right.

It is the simplest  part of this verse that applies to me: she provides food for her family.

I am expected, quite simply, to make sure that everyone in my household has something to eat. I don’t have to cook multi-course meals every day. But I do need to oversee the fridge and pantry and make sure that in those times when I will not prepare a big meal, there is something healthy to grab and go.

One of the strategies that I am experimenting with right now is preparing meals ahead of time and stocking my freezer with things that are easy to throw in the crock pot. About two weeks ago I made a massive batch of homemade pasta sauce and froze about 8 quarts of sauce in Ziplocs.

My sauce recipe is so, so easy, it’s almost a shame to call it homemade. But it does incorporate fresh herbs and vegetables, so that should qualify, yes?

Thought so.

Anyway, I’ve already put the family on notice that since I will not be working this year, the meals are not always going to be fancy. I figure we will have pasta once a week, so freezing it in mass quantities is a no-brainer.

I’ve also frozen some pre-seasoned meats that are ready to be thawed overnight and dropped in the crock pot with veggies, and I’ve done some individual servings of Weight Watchers healthy recipes.

It has actually inspired me to do some food preparation for friends, who often complain that they don’t have time to plan healthy meals. (Look for a link to my food business, The Picky Palate, within the next few weeks…)

Yesterday, I made about 12 batches of homemade salsa with fresh tomatoes from my garden, and from the gardens of two friends who have tomatoes coming out of their ears. Using my handy-dandy Pampered Chef chopper, I was able to whip out that salsa in no time at all.

I decided not to put in jars this year because if it sits around in jars in the fridge, then I will be tempted to keep chips in the house all the time, which negates the health value of the salsa. By freezing it, I can use the salsa as bases for soups and bean dishes, and add to pasta sauce and crock pot meals whenever I need it.

I have found many great recipes on Pinterest, which I will start providing links to as soon as I figure out how to do that. I’ll upload a few pictures, too, so you can see what the food looks like in real life, from my own crock pot.

I find myself motivated to put meals together at the last minute, now, instead of just sitting around waiting for everyone to wail with hunger pains. And that motivation allows me to be creative with new meal ideas. Let me share one with you real quick:

Two nights ago, I purchased fresh chicken breast in bulk, as well as onions, jalapeno, and cilantro for the salsa. I had not actually decided what to do with the chicken, other than to freeze some in individual bags for later use. When dinner time came around, I had about a cup of salsa in a bowl that would not fit in the bags I was freezing.

I threw the leftover salsa in with some brown rice, 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water, and cooked it in the microwave for about 20 minutes in my stone crockware. I added about a teaspoon of cumin and a dash of salt, also.

Meanwhile, I heated up a can of cream of chicken soup, using 3/4 milk and 1/4 water. I cut two of the breasts into several pieces, then pounded the pieces out with my meat tenderizer. While the meat was sauteeing in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, I added a handful of choppped cilantro and 4 or 5 sliced jalapenos, in long strips, to the simmering soup.

After the chicken was grilled, I added the soup to the skillet, along with several ears of sweet corn from my garden. I put the lid on, turned the concoction to low, and prayed for the best.

It was a total experiment, but based on flavors that I know the family likes. And I must say, it was a complete success.

Now, some of you may be saying that you have 1,001 recipes using cream of chicken soup. Yes, so do I. And I’m aware that it’s not the healthiest thing in the world to serve your family. But I think that when used as a base for flavor, it’s okay. We drizzled a little on the chicken and rice, but the majority of the soup was leftover. In fact, I’m going to freeze the rest of it today for future use.

Smart, huh?

It feels good to have a hot meal for the family every night, even if it is something simple. And it feels like I am making progress in my journey.