Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Thanks again to Pinterest, I found this delicious recipe and it is definitely worth passing on…I always double the recipe to feed my hungry crowd, but it makes an easy, inexpensive meal that pleases all of my little people!  I serve these with chips, salsa and homemade guacamole!  Click here also for the recipe.

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Yield: 12 taquitos
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup green salsa
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (juice from half a lime)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp sliced green onions
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican flavored cheese
  • small flour or corn tortillas
  • kosher salt
  • cooking spray
Preheat your oven to 425?F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic. Once combined, stir in the cilantro and green onions. Add the chicken and cheese; mix thoroughly.
Working with a few tortillas at a time, heat them in the microwave between two paper towels until they are soft enough to roll (about 20 – 30 seconds).
Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto the lower third of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla as tightly as you can.
Place the rolled tortilla seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas until the mixture is gone.  Make sure the taquitos are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until crisp and golden.
Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

Not Alone

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Last week could never qualify as one of those “pat-myself-on-the-back cause I’m a good mommy” kind of weeks.  It was anything but…we’ve got some yucky and difficult trials that kinda snuck up on us and in my effort to get my head wrapped around what God is doing and fight off the temptations of despair, doubt and worry, I became completely unavailable to my children.  Sometimes that’s the hardest part of facing trials…pressing on as a mother with little ones who need you while being afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted and struck down (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).  How hard it is to be Jesus to your little ones when wrestling through the hardships of this life!  And yet, that’s exactly what Paul teaches that trials and persecutions will do in us…”For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh”(2 Corinthians 4:11).  I face trials, my children see Jesus.  I share in the sufferings of His death, my children get a glimpse of His life.  I am hard pressed on every side, my little lambs see the Lamb of God.

But last week didn’t look like that and as I absorbed myself into everything I’m facing right now, I failed to nurture souls and shape hearts and train them in righteousness.  So this weekend, when Molly Kate (my child who rarely deliberately does anything we’ve told her not to) disobeyed in a very blatant way, was I surprised?  Sadly, no, not at all.  For weeks now, she has been sad at bedtime, asking if someone can sleep with her or if she can sleep on the floor in Mikias’ room.  She tells me how much she misses our house in Louisville (which always makes my heart a little sad too) and sharing a room with Mikias and Miles.  After talking with Kevin, I gave her the option of sleeping in the extra twin bed in Miles’ and Madden’s room.  She was delighted at the solution, and so Saturday night I tucked the three youngest in, specifically reminded Molly Kate that there was to be no talking once the lights were out and then I closed the door.  As I walk down the hall to tuck Mikias in, I clearly heard Molly Kate screaming something to Miles and then talking to Madden.  I walked back into their bedroom, told Molly Kate she had lost her privilege to sleep with her brothers because she disobeyed and took her to her bed. Down came the tears, which eventually turned to sobbing, which then turned to uncontrollable yelling and crying.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I endured such a scene with her and in my heart I was silently asking God to give me wisdom to walk through this with her.  I sat on her bed and tried to console her.  In between sobs, she acknowledged that she had disobeyed me and disobeyed the Lord by talking when I had instructed her not to, but she continued saying “I’m so sad, I just want somebody to sleep with me.”  I kept reminding her that I understood her desire, but that sin has consequences and her consequence for disobeying was losing the privilege to sleep with her brothers.  I could honestly tell that she wasn’t trying to get me to change my mind but that her heart was just broken and she was so sad about what she had lost.  I continually reminded her that the Lord watches over her, even when she’s asleep and that Jesus will bring her far greater joy and fulfillment than any other good thing she desires, even sleeping with someone beside her.  After several minutes of not being able to calm her down and with her still hurting and crying, I told her good night, closed the door and came back downstairs.  Kevin was getting a movie ready for us but as I settled down in the basement, I just couldn’t bear the thought of her trying to wrestle through this on her own.  I climbed back up both flights of stairs, heard her still whimpering under her covers and decided to crawl under the blanket with her.  I held her for a long time, let her crying quiet and began to sing “Nothing But the Blood”.  Her crying stopped and she finally seemed to be gaining some self-control.  She even said “Mommy, I really am thankful that God gave me this beautiful room.  I just wish I had someone to sleep with me.”  Oddly enough, Annie (our chocolate lab) had walked in a few minutes earlier and fallen asleep beside her bed.  I told her Annie could stay for the night and that seemed to relieve her.

I stayed with her until she was almost asleep and in the quiet, I thought about my own constant struggle with sin.  Where do I think God is when I’m laying upon my bed, tears streaming down my face, heart wrenched with the agony of the consequences of my own sinful decisions?  If I’m honest, I usually think I’m all alone or that God is far from me.  I rarely choose to believe that God is watching over me, that Jesus is near.  But the Bible tells me differently…the Bible tells me I am God’s child and if this mortal body couldn’t stand the thought of my child suffering through the brokenness that came from sin all alone, how much infinitely more does my Heavenly Father long to draw near to me as I repent and cry, as I sometimes sob uncontrollably and feel the pain of what I’ve lost?  The truth, the truth I’ve got to fight to believe, is that I am not alone and that my God bears with me in my sin and brokenness, just as He calls me to bear with others, especially the little ones He has placed inside this home.  And at times, this will mean pulling that sinful, broken, tearful little person as close to me as possible in order that I might be a tangible expression of God’s love, the love that does not leave us alone.

A Helpful and Encouraging Word

I love that God gives us good friends, friends that know us well enough to send along the right quote at just the right time.  My dear friend sent this to me today and I’m passing it along…

“That’s how God works. He gets at our most fundamental idolatry and He ruthlessly crushes it in His unfathomable love and fatherly kindness and inscrutable wisdom and He goes after our greatest treasures and He leaves us with nothing but himself so that we go limping on our way for the rest of our lives having learned: ‘My grace is sufficient for you for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Don’t underestimate God. Don’t underestimate His ruthless compassionate gracious commitment to His glory or His commitment to your everlasting joy and good. He will pursue you graciously and ruthlessly and rip out the idols of your soul that would otherwise consume you. He is working for your joy and your good even when you cannot perceive it and have ceased to be able to feel anything anymore.” ~Ligon Duncan, The Underestimated God, T4G 2012

Take ‘Em Captive

So I’ve gotten a lot of advice since we are “officially” in the ministry…I put “officially” in quotes because I feel like we’ve been doing ministry a really, really long time now, but I guess it is more official in recent months :).  Some tell me that I’ve got to be more guarded, watch my words and not reveal too much as everyone is watching me even closer.  Others, like a dear friend who is also a pastor’s wife and who happened to call today, encourage me to continue being real, vulnerable and honest about the ups and downs that make up real life as a Christian, a wife, and a mom.  I’m hoping I can find some balance, a good in-between, so that I can still share with my readers what God is doing in my life but at the same time encourage you to press on in the Lord, no matter what your circumstances.

So today in particular, I’m thinking on this verse “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5.  I’m one of those people who lets the words and thoughts of others eat away at me at times, making too much of people and too little of God.  I’m a pleaser, as much as I hate to admit it, and it drives me bonkers when someone doesn’t like me.  I think I see it even more as I watch Molly Kate…she is just like me in this way and she’s bound and determined that everyone WILL like her!  So what happens when someone speaks a harsh word against me or tells me that they aren’t really sure of me?  I’ll tell you…my world just falls apart.  I question myself till the point that I’m physically exhausted and I replay the words in my head until my head literally hurts.  I beg the Lord to show me my sin, I repent and then I question my heart some more, just in case I’m still missing something.  And then I call to mind 2 Corinthians 10:5 and my thoughts halt and the Spirit quietly calms me and I remember that God doesn’t want me to be ruled by what others think of me.  He wants me to care most about what He thinks of me and He is pleased when I abide in and obey His Word.  That’s my standard…nothing less.  So I’m clinging tightly to this verse tonight…the enemy wants my mind consumed with lies and my Savior wants my thoughts obedient to Him.  May my mind bow to Him, and Him alone.

Oh, and I just heard this tonight and loved it…how thankful I am that my God keeps plunging me to the depths in order that I may see and know Him more fully, and see and know more fully my deep, deep need for grace.

Jesus Suffered, So Will I

This morning I awoke with a heaviness…for this is the day that all went dark as my Savior was given over to death on a cross.  My Savior, my sin, the most cruel and horrible death the world has ever known…as a Christian, its a good day to reflect on His suffering and let the heart feel the heaviness of it all.  And as I think about His suffering, I’m mindful that I too will suffer.

 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Peter makes clear that believers will suffer and I as trod through this life, I know it to be true over and over again.  But there is beauty in the suffering…just as Jesus’ suffering brought forth the beauty of God’s love in a magnificent plan of salvation, so too my suffering yields something beautiful, something good, something that makes even the most intense pain and trials worth the heartache.  Joni Earekson Tada, one who has know great suffering and pain in this life, writes these words on the topic in “Be Still, My Soul“:

God is heaven-bent on inviting me to share in his joy, peace, and power.  But there’s a catch.  God only shares his joy on his terms and those terms call for us, in some measure, to suffer as his beloved Son did while on earth.

God cares most, not about making my life happy, healthy and free of trouble, but about teaching me to hate my transgressions and to keep growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.  God lets me continue to feel sin’s sting through suffering while I’m heading for heaven, constantly reminding me of what I’m being delivered from, exposing sin for the poison that it is. (pp. 33 and 34)

The beauty in my suffering is that God guarantees it will bind me to my Savior, expose and give me an even greater hatred for my sin all the while, making me an even greater vessel for His purposes.  I’ve now been walking with the Lord for almost 20 years.  I’ve served on staff at a church, I’ve worked for a campus ministry, I’ve been to seminary, I’ve discipled countless women and now I’m a pastor’s wife.  But none of those things have shaped my soul and my love for the One True God like the intense suffering and pain that God has allowed to come my way in the last eight years.  Through each trial, seemingly a little harder than the last, God keeps growing my understanding of His promises, gives me a better grasp on how deeply rooted my own sin is and ultimately focuses all of my hope and faith in who His is and what He has done for me…through the suffering of His Son on the cross.

Good Friday is a good day to dwell on suffering…to reflect on the suffering of our Savior and the promise that we too will suffer, for the praise and glory of our Almighty King!