Do you ever get the feeling like you’re being guided?
I don’t ever recall a time in my life when I didn’t feel the presence of a power higher than myself, one that I call God, or my Creator, but I do remember periods in my life when I didn’t necessarily pay much attention to the spiritual side of things, or have a conscious desire to have a relationship with the One who made me.
Frankly, I didn’t even know what that meant, or what that could look like.
In my teens and through my 20’s, I was on a different path in life, one that was more centered on discovery and on my own wants.
I was pursuing a career quite different from the one that I joyfully find myself in these days, and going through some very personally difficult experiences.
Through all of the experiences that I would find myself in, there always seemed to be a still, quiet voice, a gently nudging, that helped me to find my direction on the path that is this journey called life.
It was a soft voice, almost a whisper, and it felt like it emanated from within my own soul, because it seemed to so deeply understand and know me and all that I held within my heart that only I could possibly know about.
Growing older has brought me back to a place where I believe we all originate from; it’s brought me back into a consciousness and awareness of my Creator, and the understanding that He longs to have a relationship with all of his creation, little ol’ me included.
Looking back, there’ve been times that I feel I’ve been shepherded along in a direction that I would never seemingly have chosen on my own, and it ends up being a direction that takes me into all the places that I needed to be in, in order to end up where I currently am.
And that’s in utter peace and in utter joy.
Now that certainly doesn’t mean, in any way, shape, or form, that I don’t experience difficulties, pain, frustration, fear, and the feeling of despair at certain points in my life; but the peace and the joy are beginning to be constant companions in spite of those other things, or perhaps, simply in addition to those very human feelings.
Life seems so full of wonder, potential, mystery, and love when I realize that I’ve been exquisitely guided along and helped, even during those times when it seemed difficult and even painful.
My heart leaps at the knowingness that every need of my heart is heard and will be met at just the right moment; and that even the tough times have so much brilliant meaning, and contain within them the treasure of understanding myself better.
Answers are never withheld from us, but it matters what we ask, and with what intention we ask it.
So as I walk forward on this path of life, I am grateful for the guidance that I receive.
It may not always seem sweet or easy; it may not always taste good going down; but as long as I continue to stay in communion with the One that made me, chances are, I’ll begin to see how the pieces fit together for my good.
Though there are many difficulties and challenges in life, I can honestly say that I’d rather face them with Him than without Him.
And with guidance like His, even a seemingly wrong turn can be made right.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Shepherd’s Pies topped with Roasted Garlic-Herb Mashed Potatoes
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 4 individual pies
• Olive or canola oil
• 1 onion, diced finely
• 1 large carrot, peeled and diced finely
• 1 pound ground beef (85/5 ration) (*see note below)
• 1 large clove garlic (or 2 small), pressed through garlic press
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• Pinch salt
• 1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste
• 2 tablespoons (slightly heaping) all-purpose flour
• ½ cup beef stock, hot
• 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus a little extra for garnishing
• 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• ½ cup frozen petite peas, thawed
• Roasted Garlic-Herb Mashed Potatoes (recipe below)
(*You can also use ground lamb, ground pork or even ground turkey; or use a combination of meats, if you prefer.)
-Preheat your oven to 425°.
-Place a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of oil; once the oil is hot, add in the onion and the carrot, and saute for about 3-4 minutes, or until the veggies begin to become tender.
-Add in the ground beef, breaking it up with your spoon into a crumble, and allow it to cook and brown with the veggies until no longer pink, about 4-6 minutes.
-Next, add in the garlic, the black pepper, and the pinch of salt, and stir to combine; once the garlic becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste and stir to combine, cooking it for about 30-45 seconds just to cook out the raw flavor.
-Next, sprinkle over the flour and stir to combine, and cook that for about 30-45 seconds, as well.
-Add in the beef stock and stir, and allow the mixture to cook just until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
-Turn off the heat and add in the worcestershire sauce, thyme, parsley, and peas, and stir to incorporate.
-To bake, spoon equal amounts of the meat filling into individual, medium-size ramekins (you could also use a medium-size baking dish, as well) and top each with a generous amount of the Roasted Garlic-Herb Mashed Potatoes, making a little design in them with a fork; place the ramekins onto a baking sheet (for easier removal), and bake the Shepherd’s Pies for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden on top.
-Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes or so before serving (they will be hot!), and garnish with a few more thyme leaves, if desired.
Roasted Garlic-Herb Mashed Potatoes Ingredients:
• 1 head garlic, top cut off
• Olive oil
• Black pepper
• 4 small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 4 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
• ½ cup (scant) milk (or half & half, for richer flavor)
• ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
• ½ teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
-Preheat your oven to 400°.
-Place the head of garlic onto a small square of foil, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle over a bit of salt and pepper; wrap the head tightly in the foil, and roast for 40 minutes until soft; once roasted, allow it to cool just until it can be handled, then squeeze the soft cloves from the paper, and make a roasted garlic “paste” with a fork or knife; set aside.
-About 15-20 minutes into your garlic roasting, add the cubed potatoes into a pot and cover with water by about an inch; add a liberal amount of salt (so it tastes like sea water), and put the potatoes over medium-high heat.
-Cook the potatoes until fork tender, about 20-22 minutes; then, drain the potatoes very well.
-Put the cooked potatoes through a ricer, if you have one (otherwise, just mash them very well), and add to them the butter and the milk (or half & half); fold that in (or if using a masher, mash that in to combine), and check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed.
-Add in the roasted garlic “paste”, plus the thyme and parsley, and fold those in to combine; keep the potatoes warm.