Listening Hearts: Day

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

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Blackbear Bosin, Indigenous Artist

Sometimes I get to share children’s time teachings with my congregation. When I do, I share them here. 

Today’s children’s teaching focuses on Blackbear Bosin (also called Tsate Kongia), one of the most famous indigenous people from our area. As you watch today’s video, you might ask yourself:

1. What is a detail from his paintings or sculptures that I like?

2. What is one thing I learned about or was reminded of about indigenous culture from his artwork?

Have you seen any of Blackbear Bosin’s work in real life? Share your experiences, please!

And you can find the whole service online here.

“The Lord Knows Them That are His” and other little signs of reassurance

We had a little back-to-school display planned for our dining room but when back-to-school didn’t happen, we changed plans. Here are some small things bringing us joy in our house these days.

A windmill and wheat made of metal sit inside a small heart fashioned from barbed wire. June-July is wheat harvest here.
A small sunflower made of wood, framed. Sunflowers bloom August-September. The last of the ones by the sides of the road are dying now.

We ate, dried, or froze over 100 peaches. We’ll use these pits for tea all winter.

A card with an illustration of Timothy. In Kansas, you learn to love all grasses.

Above, a handmade card from a friend that came with a gift certificate for 12 quarts of ice cream from our favorite local ice creamery; a little lantern; another card from a friend reminding us to enjoy the last of the fireflies this year; a compass in a heart, yet another gift.

A card showcasing our state flower; a little wooden plaque referencing 2 Timothy 2:19. I am not a fan of Timothy, but I’ve been exploring the idea of being known by God for awhile now, like here and here.
On the back, a label saying “In remembrance of Christmas 1945,” J.E. Entz. If you know of J.E. Entz or what was happening Christmas 1945, please share the story!
Fall means we bring candles back!

Listening Hearts

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

What is one happy memory you made this month?

Party Tricks: Nelda Siebold’s Meatballs

When can we gather again together? I don’t know, which means that I’ve not gotten to make my favorite meatball recipe in a long time. It’s hard to justify making 3 lbs of meatballs when I’m only cooking for four people. I could scale this down, but it freezes well and reheats nicely, so it’s a good choice for cooking on a weekend and eating now and later.

The recipe is based on Patti Clark’s contribution to the Clay Center, Kansas Evangelical Covenant church cookbook from 1999. It’s in honor of her mother, Nelda Siebold. I know neither of these women, and the cookbook was a gift to me from a former church member. The recipe is titled “Mom’s Barbeque Meatballs,” but since Nelda isn’t my mother, I call them “Nelda Siebold’s Meatballs.” I don’t know Nelda Siebold or anyone related to her, but I thank God for her meatballs about a dozen times a year.

This recipe makes a significant number of meatballs–a 9×13 pan and another 9×9 pan. So they’re good for a potluck or a party. If you use certified gluten-free oats and make sure that your onion powder and liquid smoke are gluten-free, you can make a gluten-free main dish that your friends who avoid gluten will appreciate.

a casserole pan of meatballs.

Ingredients

for meatballs

  • 3 lbs hamburger
  • 2 1/4 c. oatmeal
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 1/4 tsp. chili powder

for sauce

  • 2 2/3 c. ketchup
  • 1  1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion (or, really, a whole onion, chopped any size you like, of any size)

Directions:

Briefly mix meatball ingredients until combined. Shape into walnut-sized balls and place into a 9×13 pan and a 9×9 pan. They should be crowded in the pan, each meatball lightly touching the ones around it.

Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.

Add sauce and bake for 60 additional minutes.

We tend to eat these with egg noodles and Brussel sprouts.

 

 

 

 

 

Jonah’s Big Feelings

Sometimes I get to share children’s time teachings with my congregation. When I do, I’ll share them here. 

Today’s children’s teaching focuses on Jonah 3:104:11, when Jonah expresses how angry he is–so angry he could die!–about God’s kindness to the people of Nineveh. As children listen this week, you could ask them:

1. What is a big feeling you’ve had before?

2. What is one silly way you could describe your anger?

You can watch the whole online service here.

Beets Every Which Way: Beet Salad

red beets tossed in parsley

I love pickled beets so much that I rarely prepare them any other way. That just means that when I do eat them in another preparation, it’s gotta be excellent.

Like this little salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. cooked beets, peeled, and shredded or quartered
  • 1-2 bunches of fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbs oil oil
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Dress parsley with dressing. Gently fold in beets. Season with cracked pepper if you like.

 

 

Beets Every Which Way: Simply in Season(ish)

a glass quart jar of purple beets

I have a beet problem, which is to say that I love pickled beets, which means I’m worried that I’m missing out on the perfect pickled beet recipe. That means I experiment a lot with them. My rule has been that when I make them, I make my current favorite recipe alongside a new recipe, so I can taste them against each other. Sometimes the new recipe goes on repeat and sometimes it just goes into my notes, to be revived if I think a friend or guest will enjoy it.

Today’s recipe is a riff on the Simply in Season recipe, which you know is part of the Lancaster County Mennonite tradition because of the unholy amount of sugar in it. It’s reduced here.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon boiled beets, sliced or quartered*, liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 c. liquid from boiling the beets
  • 1 1/2 c. white vinegar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick cinammon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp salt

Boil vinegar, water, and spices, then cool slightly; strain. Pour over beets in a heat-proof jar. Refrigerate.

*You can steam them by covering them in tin foil and placing in a roasting pan at 400 degrees. Roast by putting them in a roasting pan with olive oil at 400 degrees. Or place beets in enough water to cover and boil 1-2 hours until soft. In any case, wash thoroughly but do not peel before you begin and leave 1-2 inches of tops intact. After the beets are cooked, the skins slip right off.

 

Beets Every Which Way: Red Wine Vinegar Beets

picked beets from a bird's eye view

I have a beet problem, which is to say that I love pickled beets, which means I’m worried that I’m missing out on the perfect pickled beet recipe. That means I experiment a lot with them. My rule has been that when I make them, I make my current favorite recipe alongside a new recipe, so I can taste them against each other. Sometimes the new recipe goes on repeat and sometimes it just goes into my notes, to be revived if I think a friend or guest will enjoy it.

Today’s recipe is a riff on red wine beets, which are delicious but not common in our house because I don’t usually keep red wine around.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beets steamed, roasted, or boiled beets, sliced or quartered*, liquid reserved if boiled
  • 1 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. liquid from boiling beets or nonchlorinated water
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp whole allspice, cracked
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 5-10 black peppercorns
  • half stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Boil vinegar, water, and spices, then cool slightly; strain. Pour over beets in a heat-proof jar. Refrigerate*

You can steam them by covering them in tin foil and placing in a roasting pan at 400 degrees. Roast by putting them in a roasting pan with olive oil at 400 degrees. Or place beets in enough water to cover and boil 1-2 hours until soft. In any case, wash thoroughly but do not peel before you begin and leave 1-2 inches of tops intact. After the beets are cooked, the skins slip right off.