Camping, Children, Eating, Family, gluten free, Recipe
Comments 4

Silence and Spaghetti

“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God.” – Emerson

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Two weeks ago, our family piled up in our Suburban for a little pre-season camping, looking an awful lot like the Beverly Hillbillies, with blankets, tin cups, enough S’mores’ supplies for the nation of Chad and with sausages strung along the roof rack. Ok, I am teasing on the last one 🙂 If you’ve been into the mountains, isn’t the silence up there hard to describe? Even our quiet moments down here don’t compare. And, it doesn’t just silence the exterior noise but my thoughts start to slow way down, as I take in the popping of the fire, as it breaks down twigs and the white sides of aspen logs, and the evergreen needles snapping under the hooves of visiting deer. Learning to be quiet is a skill and in my 9 person family, which is as peaceful as bead craft day at a junior high girls’ summer camp, a prized commodity!

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Often when the whole house sleeps, I lay there and just listen, taking in the noises from outside- an owl hooting, sounding like a hollow, October warning, the gentle push of the wind moving in a rolling wave through the dark pine tops, the pack of coyotes that run through my front yard, drawing in their prey with their wild moans and howls, and the faraway echo of neighbor dogs talking long into the night. There is something in this silence that refills our souls.

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Even though our camping trips are not solitary and utterly quiet times, being in the mountains reminds us of where we came from and who we are. It calms. It resets our thinking. It rests us.

Ok, “Truth or Dare” confession… As a young teen, I had a MAJOR crush on Harrison Ford. His Indiana Jones films hit on everything that fires me up- adventure, history, faith, living fully, dates (seriously, they are like God’s candy), humor and an odd fascination with the nickname  “Junior” (we call Juliette that- Lol). And, besides, what starry-eyed and hormone infested teen girl didn’t want to smooch him when he was covered in bruises on that boat. 🙂 I mean, he could crack a joke, calmly take out a man twice his size while hanging off of a moving truck by one hand, outrun boulders and reclaim the treasure, all in five minutes!  Lol. Did you know that when you use the scientific methods employed to determine the authenticity of a manuscript (outside verification, eye witness accounts, consistency within, etc), the Bible massively outshines every other ancient document? That is intriguing to me; we have a glimpse of the past in the Bible, like an ancient scroll discovered in a long forgotten cave by our hero, Indiana.

As I pondered this week why I recalibrate when I sit in silence with less voices and movement, it occurred to me that it isn’t just because solitude is restful. Here is what I realized this week as I read Psalm 46; it starts by saying that God will be our help during life’s troubles. It goes on to describe the worst case scenario we could possibly face- “The earth gives way… the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea… the mountains tremble… the nations rage… the kingdoms totter.” But, while all that is going on, it then suddenly says something fascinating and counter-intuitive, “Be still and know that I am God.” From the placement of that crazy notion- being still when there is a massive earthquake, the country is in shambles, there is war- it seems to me that God is trying to let me in on some ancient wisdom. He knows that trouble will come to me at different times of life. He also knows that my perspective is reset when I am quiet and remember how big and capable he is, when I remember that he is God. What do you think? Tell me about your camping trips, how you rest your soul and, most importantly ;-), do you look as “backwoods” as we do, when we head into the wilderness? 🙂

Kid Friendly, Red Chili, Spaghetti Bolognese 

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Serves 9

On the Vibrant Life Diet, I normally eat lean white meats but, once every three weeks, I allow myself a leaner, red meat. Also, I eat it without added sodium but pull my portion out and then add salt for my family. I allow myself 1/2 cup of brown rice noodles. Serve this with salad and whole grain garlic bread for the rest of the family. 

With a little planning and effort, it is possible to eat well while away. Below is an easy, gluten free and healthy spaghetti we made on our camp stove. It is very American and easy. I wanted to share this fourth companion meal, because this brand of brown rice noodles were a hit with my kids, which isn’t always true with gluten free products.

  • 2 boxes of Jovial brand Spaghetti Noodles (King Soopers)
  • 2 cans of tomato paste (organic is available from Costco)
  • 3 lbs. of 93% lean ground beef
  • Homemade Chili Powder or Salt Free Chili Powder (Go here for a great explanation and recipe for homemade Chili Powder)
  • Dried basil, onion powder, No Salt Seasoning from Costco, all to taste
  • Salt to taste

If I was making this for my husband and I, I would petite dice red onions, basil and other fresh herbs to use in the sauce and serve it with a red wine; however, this recipe works well for those kids who are sensitive to texture and the dried herbs make this very fast and easy when in a hurry or camping.

At the same time: Begin frying the meat in a frying pan, and bringing an 8 quart pot, 2/3 full of water, to a boil.

When the water is boiling, add the noodles and follow the directions on the box (we like these noodles more on the al dente side). When the meat is cooked, add the tomato paste and enough water to loosen the paste into a runny sauce. I eyeball this and add enough so that the meat is just covered. Gently mix the water into the paste. If needed, boil the water off a little bit. Mix in the above seasonings to taste (start with a tablespoon of each, roughly). Bring the meat sauce to a slow boil. Drain noodles and serve.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. – Psalm 62:5

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4 Comments

  1. Stephanie Wells says

    Aahhh, any description and photos of the mountains/camping/quiet sets my heart humming… and your’s was extra wonderful. Great reminder of God’s goodness (and to be still) Thank you!
    p.s. I’m either completely ON or OFF when it comes to eating/fitness. Have sadly been in the Off lately! :o( Oh, I know and so miss what it feels like to be in shape! (when I could complete the Incline in 35 min!) I gained 20 lbs. in North Carolina, and lost it all before moving back! Now I’ve gained 10 back! Please pray for me, as we wrap up school and I’m committing to 3 mornings a week at the gym, and walking regularly in my hilly neighborhood. Erika Chaves and I are planning to hike Pikes Peak the very end of July, so that is incentive too. :o)

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