Red Dirt Kelly

Tuesday, 8:35 a.m., she opens her e-mail and reads that, “…tomorrow, June 6, 2012 [is] INTEGRIS Thunder Spirit Day!”  She notices her place of employment used not one, but TWO exclamation marks in an official “wear Thunder clothes to work tomorrow” message. She’s now certain that a good portion of her brain will be completely preoccupied by the impending Oklahoma City Thunder-San Antonio Spurs GAME 6 for every remaining second of the day.

11:30 p.m. that evening, she rolls over to stare at the alarm clock and groans.  “Uhhhnnnnnhhh!” she thinks to herself, “I was right! C’mon brain, shut it off. You’ve got to rest up and save your energy for TOMORROW, the real and actual bona fide game day. Ugh.” Five minutes later, she starts thinking over again the problem of which “Thunder Wear” she’ll don for work tomorrow.  Would it be her official NBA Kevin Durant Jersey? Or…

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Na-Ka-Ta-Ka Mewing…A Christmas Post

One summer day in 1994 my two and one-half year old daughter went streaking. Hyped up on that exhilarated toddler “clean and wanting to be free” feeling, she wriggled out of my arms as I was toweling her off after a mid afternoon bath.

I was on my knees when this happened and by the time I’d made it to my feet in an effort to chase her down, I heard the front screen door open.

I was at least 25-30 feet behind her so the door was swinging back toward me by the time she had made it across the porch and lept into the front yard. I quickly pushed the door back open, towel in my hand and a surge of adrenaline aidEd my mommy-alert status as I followed her.

As I neared the edge of the porch I stopped, hesitated, then took in a scene that if shown in a movie would be a slo-mo moment.  Hubby was standing in the next door neighbor’s yard, talking to two other dads from our ‘hood. Rylee saw him, sped up her already fast pace, long wet ringlets flowing behind her naked body and threw her arms open wide for the upcoming bear hug she expected to receive when she met him.

“EEEEEEeeeeeeeeEEEE!!!” She threw her head back and screamed, glee shooting from every cell in her body. Grass clippings covered more square inches of her wet skin with every step.

The startled man-group saw her, burst into laughter, but right before she lept into her father’s arms I scooped up her wriggling body, wrapped the towel around her and said the only thing I could think of at that moment. “Rylee, naked bathtime bodies are not for public viewing!”

I said it through my giggles, and the men parroted my message. “She’s right, Ry…not for public viewing!”

We said goodbye to the man-group, I hauled her, tow-sack style, back into the house and started bath number two for my little girl.

A few weeks later, Hubby announced that he was taking the girls with him while going grocery shopping so I could have a break. As soon as they were out of the house, I ran a bath, grabbed a book and sank into bubble-heaven.

I must have lost track of time because I was half-way through drying off when I heard the patter of little steps coming into the bathroom. I hadn’t bothered to close or lock the door because the grocery list was quite long. Evidently, Hubby was a quick shopper.

I spun around and grabbed a towel. Before I could even get it around my body the first time, Rylee pointed at me and said, “Na-KA-Ta-KA-Meewwwiiinng!”

“What baby?” I had no idea what she was saying.<!–more–>

A sing-song voice answered back. “Naka-TAKA-Mewing, Mommy!”

The atoms in my brain rushed around for a second or two until it dawned on me that I was indeed naked, having just gotten out of the bath, and was putting on a towel. My daughter was telling me that my naked bath body was “Not for public viewing.”

Ho, HO!

And so, “Naka-taka-miewing” became a household phrase. We’ve used it every year for different reasons, and in different situations.

And, seventeen years later, we used it last night after we staged our already stuffed Christmas stockings for our twenty-something girls, the husband of one, and the boyfriend of the other.

I’m so grateful for the gift of family pet-phrases and I LOVE that gift that keeps on giving from 1994.

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Confessions of a Compulsive Road Tripper Chapter 1: The Addiction Begins in My Youth

I’m Gum Springs Dan… and I love road trips.  What more can I say about this amazing passion I feel towards hitting the road?  Well… it turns out that I have plenty to say!

I even created my own road-trip slogan: “You give me a Dr. Pepper and a bag of peanuts, and I’ll take you anywhere within a ‘hundred’ mile radius.”  Long before I had ever heard Johnny, Willie, Waylon, and Kris sing about being highwaymen, Mom and Dad would pile all six of their children in a Sky Blue 1983 Bronco, and we would travel cross-country to many a destinations, mostly towards the state of Utah, where my mother’s family hails from.

Now I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with family once we made it to our various destinations, and I’ll never forget the time spent with loved ones.  However, some of the most exciting parts of these family visit were the moments of discovery and newness that emerged while I looked outside the window counting mile markers (Yes, this was LONG before the time of portable videos and podcasts) feeling the anticipation, and wondering where our next stop would take us. I can remember Mom and Dad taking us to the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Arches National Park, Cabellas, Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, and many other historical locations as “via points” on our way to visit family.

I know what you’re thinking! “Hey Dan! I can enjoy all of these places by simply surfing the web! They have pictures and everything!”  In reply to this I say, “Yes, you may be able to see pictures, even videos giving you sounds along with vivid images, but you will never truly experience a place until you turn off the computer, hop in the car, and make a visit.”  When Geoff Mack wrote the lyrics to “I’ve Been Everywhere” (Click here for Johnny Cash’s version.), I can’t help but appreciate the powerful phrase “breathed the mountain air, man.”  Anyone who has traveled out of state for extended periods of time can appreciate that the air is different in many locations.  It’s thinner in Wyoming and it’s thicker in south Texas.  There’s overnight freezing through some mountain passes in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, even in the summer time.  Meanwhile, the air conditioners run 24 hours back in the humid summer heat of Gum Springs.

I suppose my main point is to tell you that to hit the road and actually visit sites you get a taste of the area that is much richer than a video clip and some photo montage.

As a child, I recall one journey we took West towards Utah.  On our way across Interstate-40 we stayed at a campground in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  Mom had packed dinner for us to eat when we arrived, and Dad set up our huge box tent.  (This was before Dome tents really took off.)  Mikey, Becky, Rene, and I walked over to see if the pool was open. I honestly can’t remember if the pool was open because as I walked back I happened to brush my shoulder up against some sort of a barbed tree or bush.  It wasn’t your typical sticker bush. These stickers stayed with you once you make contact, and they hurt!

Once they were pulled out, I was able to recover and enjoy many other aspects of our trip including a stop to explore the many Anasazi cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde, Colorado.  I’ll never forget the height of some of those cliffs we looked down from.  I can still remember being a little overprotective towards my little brother who was 3 or 4 and had a knack from running away from the family.  That’s not so cool at such high elevations.

My wife and I just got back from a road trip visiting family in Utah.  I smiled when we stayed in a motel in Santa Rosa on our journey home.  It puts a smile on my face when I think of us as children playing, fighting, and sharing these wonderful experiences we had as a family.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

The next generation of discovery is in play, and we surely enjoy our journey.  My wife and I haven’t quite visited all of the geographical sites mentioned by Geoff Mack, but we’re working on it.  Do you have any memorable road trip experiences?  If so let me know!  I plan on sharing a few more of our adventures both from my childhood as well as from these wonderful married days.  Someday, I look forward to taking my children on these same types of discovery journeys!

In the mean time, pass me the Dr. Pepper and peanuts!

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My Deconstructed Christian Self, Part 2

Editors note: Josh began this discussion last week with “Part 1.”  That entry can be found HERE if you’d like to start with him at the beginning of this discourse. Thanks. ~

I want to make the disclaimer that I do not think I have cornered the market on the Truth with a capital T. I get nervous around people who talk a lot about the Truth, and I certainly don’t want to make you nervous as well. There is a strong possibility that after I die, I could discover that I was completely off from the get go. My guess is that some truth may lie somewhere between in the dialectical tension between where I am theologically and where I came from. Who knows? So please test, probe, critique, agree, disagree, heck, even deconstruct my deconstructed ideas. What I’m looking for is simply a constructive dialogue. Conversion to my side of thinking is not the goal. Conversation is. So come join me and lets tell our stories and ask questions and dive into the divine conundrum together.

*********

I was six years old the first time I got saved. While helping my mother iron clothes, I accidentally burned my hand on the glowing red metal. As my mom wrapped a towel of ice cubes around my throbbing hand, she matter-of-fact said, “You know, Josh, this is what hell will feel like.” Looking down at my blistering fingers, I immediately retorted in breathy panic, “Well, I don’t want to go to hell then!” Moments later, as ice cubes melted across my throbbing fingers, I prayed to ask Jesus into my heart. That night I slept soundly. The thought of heaven was like a medicinal balm that soothed and cooled my burning soul. And what I carried around inside of me for many years afterward was the notion that the Jesus story was about saving people from something bad after death and for something good after death.

How many other Christians, I wonder, carry around inside a similar version of the Jesus story?

Tim Keller notes in his book The Reason for God that in Greek philosophy there was a belief that history was an endless cycle. Every so often the universe would wind down and burn up in a great conflagration called a palengenesia, after which history, having been purified, started over. But in Matthew 19:28 Jesus spoke of his return to earth as the palingesis. “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things (Greek palingensis), the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne.” The purpose then of the Jesus story, as Keller concludes, is to put the whole world right, to renew and restore the creation, not to escape it. In other words, the Jesus story is about saving people for something good before death and for something almost too good to be true for life after life after death.

It’s interesting to note that in almost every other major religion, salvation is seen as escape from the shackles of the material world. The Buddhist concept of Nirvana, for example, represents that moment of one’s ecstatic release into a state of pure consciousness. In Greek philosophy, which under girds so much of Western culture, we find this same idea. I remember reading Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” in junior high and learning that the cave represented the illusory world of time-space-matter. The real world of “eternal Forms”, however, existed beyond the shadowy recesses of the cave. It is this world that we were created for and not the world we occupy now. Theologically, we could translate this to mean that heaven is the reality beyond for which we were made.

Not long after I came to Christ, I was handed a yellowing copy of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. It was my dad’s copy. I remember noticing how tattered the book was, along with how many pages had been dog-eared. Reading the story of Christian’s journey – which involved scenes of enduring persecution in the city of Vanity Fair and overcoming the Giant named Despair — only reinforced this idea that the goal of the Christian faith was to get to the Celestial City. It never once crossed my mind, like it does now, how Pilgrim’s Progress might be rewritten to embody Jesus’ prayer for heaven to come to earth (Matt. 6:10). What if in the re-imagined allegory, Christian has a dream that allows him to glimpse what humanity and culture looks like from within the Celestial City, and then upon waking from that dream, attempts to live among the citizens of Vanity Fair and go to the victims of the Giant Despair in order to bring that dazzling vision of urban life beyond the River of Death into the present world to transform it from how it is to how it will be.

Another book I was handed early in my Christian formation was C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. It was in this book that I was introduced to modern apologetics. It was a serious business being a Christian, I quickly learned, and the mark of one’s Christian maturity was whether or not he or she was ready to defend their faith.

In Mere Christianity I was profoundly inspired by many of Lewis’s arguments for not only the existence of God, but also the reasonableness of the Christian narrative. None of the arguments, though, were more compelling than Lewis’s argument for desire. Perhaps you are familiar with this argument, but in a nutshell, the thread of logic goes something like this: there is that within us that is not and cannot be satisfied by the natural world alone. Our desires and yearnings transcend the physical confines of our world and of our bodies, leaving us restless in a way that a hippo or chimpanzee never has been or ever could be. According to Lewis, the reason for this strange restlessness is that we all possess an inbuilt sense of sehnsucht (German word for longing). Lewis concludes famously, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” What I failed to see then that I do now is that Lewis’s cosmological and soteriological views were co-opted by Neo-Platonism and Romanticism. Certainly I agree with Lewis that we have desires for eternal things burning within all of us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we were created for another world. It just means we have desires within us for this world to be ordered another way.

It wasn’t until my early 30’s before I really discovered the prophets in the Scriptures and came to understand the part they played in God’s story of restoration. No where in any of the prophetic books do we get a science fiction-like vision of a future that looks more like Pandora moon in Avatar than the one we inhabit now. Instead we get a vision of world that looks like the one we live in now, but with an audacious harmony and wholeness that reflects out the way things once were in their Original Form.

Here are just a few of my favorites prophetic passages that invoke in me a sense of sensucht:

The wolf will romp with the lamb,

the leopard sleep with the kid.

Calf and lion will eat from the

Same trough,

And a little child will tend them.

Neither animal nor human

Will hurt or kill

On my holy mountain

The whole earth will be brimming

With knowing God-Alive,

A living knowledge of God ocean

Deep, ocean-wide (Isaiah 11, The Message)

He’ll establish justice in the rabble of nations

And settle disputes in faraway places.

They’ll trade in their swords for shovels,

Their spears for rakes and hoes.

Nations will quit fighting each other

Quit learning how to kill one another.

Each man will sit under his own shade tree,

Each woman in safety will tend their own garden.

(Micah 4, The Message)

There is no doubt that there is within the prophet’s words a provocative ambiguity in terms of the who and the when and the how of the anticipated arrival of the holam habah, the Hebrew concept of age beyond exile to come. But as a Christ follower, I confidently believing that Jesus is the who, that his death and resurrection is mysteriously the how, and that the when is paradoxically both now and not yet. Where I think my theological teachers got it wrong was in assuming that the biblical story climaxes in a massive departure from one world to another. I would argue that what we find instead involves a massive re-arrival. Turn to the last pages of the biblical story and what we discover is a vision of the City of God coming down from heaven to the earth (Rev. 21:1-2). Moreover, Jesus exclaims soon after, “Behold, I make all things new”, which clearly suggests that He has no desire to make all new things like Ewoks and Centaurs. No, instead, God imaginatively and paradoxically creates a new world order by absorbing the old created order without annihilating it.

It wouldn’t be until years later before the cracks in my paradigm began to show. I remember a conversation I had with a close friend after seeing the film The Matrix. You may remember how pumped Christians were about this film, pastors and youth pastors both using clips as sermon illustrations to reinforce a Gospel truth. My friend though led me through an exercise in deconstruction. “The Matrix, “ he said, “is not the Gospel. In fact, it is the anti-Gospel. It is a film that reinforces the popular Christian mythology of heaven.” When I asked him to unpack that statement, he went on to point out that Neo’s mission was to get as many people out of the matrix as possible. This of course analogous to the way many Christians believe (and I was taught to believe) that we live in a “matrix” of badness, and that Jesus makes it possible through his death and resurrection to get us out of it. Of course what this ultimately endorses is an eschatology of disappearance. We see this end-time thinking popularized in the best-selling Left Behind books. What’s dangerous, I think, about this kind of storyline is how it tends to reduce our existence on earth to valuing personal pietism and evangelism. The former implies that we focus inwardly on protecting our souls from corruption (R-rated movies, 4 letter words, public school curriculums that endorse secular humanism, evolution, and religious pluralism, Abercrombie and Fitch, gays, lesbians, Muslims, liberals, Obama, Oprah, etc.). The latter implies that we focus outwardly on pulling others out of the matrix (conversion). What happens then is that Christians like me fail to understand the importance of fighting injustice, caring for the poor, and working to dignify and empower the marginalized. And if I am completely honest, the only incentive I’ve felt in the past to participate in “good deeds” projects is to either to expiate guilt or accumulate reward in the afterlife.

The Jesus story though that I am discovering now is one in which the mission of this 1st century Jewish rabbi/king involves establishing a kingdom on earth that restores the elemental goodness underneath all creation. The Jesus story I’m hoping to participate in is the story of making everything magically and dazzlingly reappear. If this is really true, then the work that I do here on earth now has eternal significance. It means that this world is not the Titanic, doomed to sink. Salvation then is not analogous to jumping onto an inflatable raft before the steam liner goes down. Instead salvation is a total cosmic makeover in which everything in culture and every cultural good gets restored. Which means this, I think? That we are called to be what my dear friend and colleague, Scott Martin, calls “architects of repair”. I love this metaphor to describe heaven-t0-earth minded Christians, who don’t want to hide out in Christianized ghetto, but seek to move out into the places that are messy and get our hands dirty. It means that we believe that there is no place on earth where God isn’t at work. Which also means that there is no place on earth where the Church shouldn’t be at work. Finally it means that this world is worth fighting for. For HIV/AIDS care. And for cancer research. For clean water. And for clean air. For adoption. And for foster care. For the end of sex trafficking. And for the empowering of all marginalized people groups. We fight for these things and for these people because we believe that when we do, we embody what theologian Walter Brueggemann calls “the prophetic imagination”. We point to another way of being human and being a society that citizens of our American empire could never dream of. We become the “will be” people among the “as is” people. We say the impossible is possible through the help of the Spirit. And we proclaim in word and deed that there is coming a day in which everything will shimmer again with the shalom of God, a day when the earth will be shot through with the glories of heaven.

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Counting My Sports Blessings

All of us should count our blessings everyday, but this time of year, we all put a little more thought into what we’re thankful for.  Family, friends, and turkey are the obvious choices.  Even though there are few things I like more than a plump, juicy bird on my table, I don’t know what I would do without sports.

So, to get you ready for the week ahead, I present to you 101 things that bring me happiness in the wonderful world of sports.

I am thankful for…

  1. Football on Thanksgiving
  2. Being able to watch Sportscenter on a loop every morning
  3. Whoever invented fantasy football
  4. Every time I see a game live
  5. The NHL playoffs
  6. An entire channel devoted to nothing but tennis
  7. The voice of Mike Shannon on the Cardinals’ radio network
  8. Rivalries in any sport
  9. March madness
  10. Winning the March madness office pool
  11. A summer evening at the ballpark with a hotdog in one hand and a cold beer in the other
  12. Throwback uniforms
  13. Any sport in HD
  14. College football’s overtime rules
  15. Players who are willing to bunt and know how to do it
  16. Those picture perfect azaleas at Amen Corner at Augusta
  17. Olympic hockey
  18. Cheerleaders
  19. The Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleaders
  20. Televised bass fishing tournaments
  21. Playing ping-pong in the garage
  22. Useless sports trivia
  23. Bedlam (can’t wait til next week!)
  24. High school football in small town Oklahoma
  25. The NBA in OKC
  26. Picking up my spares in bowling
  27. Sports talk radio
  28. True fans of anything
  29. College football’s regular season
  30. Wiffle ball home run derby on the 4th of July
  31. Classic sports movies
  32. Drug testing
  33. Whatever technology that allows me to get scores on my phone
  34. Instant replay
  35. Hail Mary’s
  36. A pick six
  37. OU/Texas weekend
  38. Memories of street hockey with my brother
  39. Media hospitality
  40. Coaches who don’t speak in clichés
  41. A Sampras/Agassi match in a grand slam final
  42. The chance to kiss the Stanley Cup (maybe the greatest sports moment of my life)
  43. Drives that bounce off trees and into the fairway
  44. The fulfillment from coaching kids
  45. Kids who listen
  46. Shooting hoops with my dad
  47. Bass Pro Shops
  48. The World Cup
  49. Collisions at home plate
  50. College football fight songs and traditions
  51. Historic arenas that still exist
  52. Goal line stands
  53. Every coach I’ve ever had
  54. My slice backhand
  55. British soccer announcers
  56. The way the grass looks on the first day of Wimbledon
  57. Buzzer beaters
  58. The intensity of racquetball
  59. First round byes
  60. Rally caps
  61. Getting up and down for par
  62. Fighting in hockey
  63. Pre-game flyovers by F-16’s
  64. The swish sound of a perfect free throw
  65. Jumbotrons
  66. Fishing in farm ponds
  67. Great glove saves
  68. Super Bowl commercials
  69. Sports bars
  70. Rational, reasonable fans
  71. Anyone working security at a sporting event
  72. John McEnroe
  73. Football played on real grass
  74. The years spent waiting for a championship
  75. Girls who love football
  76. Girls who love hockey
  77. Creative team nicknames (Wampus Cats, Banana Slugs, Ironheads, etc.)
  78. Going to early church service when my team kicks off at noon
  79. Sports memorabilia
  80. Rookie cards
  81. Ice cream in a mini baseball helmet
  82. Don Cherry
  83. 4th quarter comebacks
  84. Players loyal to one team
  85. A well executed Gatorade shower
  86. Microphones and cameras in locker rooms
  87. Statistics
  88. The chance to witness history
  89. Hall of Fames
  90. Sports debates
  91. Roger Federer
  92. Athletes who are role models (Albert Pujols, Drew Brees)
  93. Classic soundbites (“Playoffs?” “We talkin’ bout practice.” “You play to win the game!”)
  94. Tying on a brand new crankbait
  95. Cable sports networks
  96. The NFL Red Zone channel
  97. The chance to birdie anywhere
  98. David Feherty
  99. Nerf football on a crisp fall day
  100. Singing the national anthem
  101. The brave men and women in uniform who allow me and sports fans across the country the freedom to go to games, gather around the TV with friends, and be the kind of fans that only exist in America.  Thank you to all of our veterans and soldiers who gave up so much, so we can have so much to be thankful for this week.  May God continue to bless you and your families this holiday season!
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The Marriage Crucible: How I Know My Husband Loves Me

Here's Mick in his "other-centered" mode, helping me clean out my summer garden.

The scene: Our little home on Harding Place, eleven years ago.  My muscles were so sore from moving scenery for our Spring musical dress rehearsal I could hardly get out of the car.  I had just pulled into the driveway, bringing the girls home from school.  So intense were my body aches that I asked the girls to manage dinner.  They were 8 and 12 years old; this was an unprecedented request of them and they looked at me like I had suddenly turned into an alien being.

“Uh, okay…” Rachel said, and she turned to Rylee.  “Let’s have macaroni and cheese!”

“I love macaroni and cheese!” Rylee responded.  And they headed toward the kitchen while I walked into my bedroom.  I sighed, took off my shoes, laid down on the bed and waited for Mick to get home.  I had tunnel vision from exhaustion and was concentrating very hard on our bedroom window.  “Get home.  Please…hurry and get here.”  I needed an intense rub-down with Icy Hot, some ibuprofen and a nap.  I looked at my watch while I listened to the girls in the kitchen.  I prayed that there wouldn’t be some sort of accident with the boiling water, and closed my eyes.

A few minutes later I heard the truck pull into our driveway.  I was completely immersed in self-centered thought as I counted the seconds until he opened the front door.  I heard him come in, say something to the girls and hear their report of, “Mom needs to talk to you.”  I saw Mick’s shadow on the wall as he walked into the bedroom, but I didn’t turn around to face him.  Instead I said, “Can you please go get the Icy Hot and work on my back and shoulders?  They’re killing me; I need some help.”

When he returned to begin his task I closed my eyes and winced.  It takes a while until muscles are worked enough to where they can relax and respond to the treatment.  Somewhere in-between “excruciating” and “sore,” I noticed Mick’s hands and arms were shaking.  Surprised, I asked him about it.  He said, “Well, we had to move three isles of inventory in the warehouse today, all by hand.  I worked almost three hours overtime in order to finish the job, and I’m really tired.”

I began to cry.  I asked him to stop, and to lay down beside me.  I said, “Let’s rest a while together.  By the time we’ve got a little energy back, the girls will have dinner ready.”  I had been so focused on my own needs I hadn’t even assessed where my husband was.  Our universes had intersected with mutually difficult and physically taxing days that had put both of us over our ability-to-manage threshold.  Yet he was willing to help ease my pain without even disclosing what he had just experienced.

A few years later I was reading a book called, “Constructing the Sexual Crucible: An Integration of Sexual and Marital Therapy,” by David M. Schnarch. As I turned through the pages, I thought back to that time when Mick’s arms were shaking from fatigue. Although written about providing therapy for clients with sexual problems, the premise of the book was that a couple is initially immature and “unspiritual” in their relationship, but at some point grows mature and “spiritual;” they pass into a vulnerable and ‘other centered’ relationship that becomes so deep a mystery is revealed –  the mystery of what it means to be intimate with one another, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually.

He quotes Sebastian Moore (1985) frequently when talking about this shift into a deeper intimacy.  I love the passage so much that I’m going to end this post with Moore’s words.  All the best to you as you find those moments of self-exposure, interdependence, hope and spirituality with those you love…~ Red Dirt Kelly

***

…Desire reveals its true nature when it comes into the moment of decision, either for the new initiate of self-exposure that makes possible interdependence, or for the cowardice that overshadows our society.  Love is ‘desire, decided for.’ (emphasis added)

…Desire is most nearly itself when, asserting my own goodness which is its source, I pass from dependence to interdependence whose soul is hope.  Then is desire most itself, so then am I most drawn – no longer by the obvious charm of another, but by the mystery that brings us together enlarging  that desire into hope. (Moore, 1985, p. 30)

Moore, S. (1985). Let this mind be in you: The quest for identity through Oedipus to Christ. New York: Harper & Row.

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Stockyard City Cookbook Cook-Through: Mexican Casserole

This week I have an easy casserole that you are sure to like if you are like me and have a hankerin’ for Mexican food. Honestly I could eat Mexican food everyday of the week; the sad thing is we don’t really have any good Mexican restaurants in the Memphis area. I remember as a child/teenager, any time we left Harmon County for “The City” we would go to Casa Bonita for Mexican food. We even took our kids to the one in Denver when they were little. That was a real treat since they have cliff divers while you are eating!

On to this weeks Stockyards City recipe…

Mexican Casserole
from Debby Keeler

3 cups cooked rice (I used Minute Rice)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can diced Rotel
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 can whole kernel corn (do not drain)
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Spray cooking dish with non-stick spray. Layer the rice in the bottom of the baking dish. Combine ground beef, taco seasoning, corn, Rotel and mushroom soup. Spread over rice. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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As you can see from the picture I used Mexican cheese instead of the cheddar. Also, if you like spicier food as my family does, then I recommend using the hot Rotel and the Hot and Spicy Old El Paso taco seasoning.

Like the Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole I fixed a couple of weeks ago, this recipe makes a lot of food. I have decided that in the future I will cook half for dinner and put the other half in the freezer for a later date.

Be looking for Whitni’s and my posts between now and Christmas. There are a few recipes that we want to share with you for your holiday cooking.

Happy Cooking & Happy Thanksgiving,
Jani

*Editors Note:  To check out other Stockyards City cookbook recipes, simply go to the “categories” section on the right hand column of our home page and find “Stockyard City Cookbook.”

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