I leave bright and early tomorrow morning to go visit the kids at Miracle Ranch! Miracle ranch is a children's home in Valle de Las Palmas, Mexico.
I first learned about Miracle Ranch through my youth group, and ended up making two trips there during high school. Once I started college I began going down there on my own and last year I spent my entire summer at the ranch. I go back every chance I get and keep in touch with the kids through letters/pictures, but I haven't seen them since November and am beyond excited to think that we will be hanging out within 24 hours!!!
I don't write a whole lot about MR since this is mainly a family/adoption blog, but is hard to leave it out completely when it is such a huge part of my life. It's difficult to even talk about it--I feel like I don't do the kids justice when people ask me to tell them about my time there. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences. The ranch is a place where I have spent the most painful moments of my life as well as some of the most joyful. I have seen the absolute best of humanity and some of the worst. I have held kids as they sobbed within hours of being removed from their families, I have put healing oil on the wounds of a little girl whose grandma forced her hand into boiling water as a punishment, I have broken up fist fights between kids barely old enough for kindergarten, I have nursed them through the flu, I have listened to a seven year old girl order me not to love her and insist she didn't want anyone to love her, I have read kids their first bedtime stories ever, I have been asked more times than I can count why I can't be their Mom, I've been kicked, hit, bitten, and spit on, and shortly after those same kids hold my hand and ask me never to let go. They have taught me a deeper definition of love--the kind that doesn't come easily and actually grows through the painful moments. They have comforted me when I needed it most and given me words of wisdom that could only come from someone who has had to be depend on resilience to survive. They have challenged me, humbled me, and most miraculously of all, they have let me in and loved me back despite the fact that in their world the people who love you always leave. And I leave too. But I will always go back--they are a gift in my life that I'm just not willing to let slip away.
A few of you asked for the recipe to my birthday meal, so I thought I would post it here for everyone to see. We don't have a super creative name for it--when I ask for "rice" my Dad knows what I mean.
Disclaimer: This dish is different every time! My Dad is always switching up the ingredients and playing around with the recipe, so this is just how he made it last time. Also, all of the times are estimated, so keep an eye on things as they cook. Almost all of the ingredients are optional and it's easy to add new things so feel free to be creative with the recipe :)
Ingredients: 1 lb uncooked medium grain white rice 50 oz can of Chicken Broth 2 TBS Olive Oil 1 Onion 1/2 Poblano Pepper 1/2 Dried Ancho pepper 1/2 Red pepper 3-4 sprinkles of red pepper flakes (if you are looking for a more mild alternative banana peppers taste great in this too) 1 1/2 TBS of berbere 12 oz ground Chorizo sausage 1 Can of black beans 4 cobs of corn (my Dad takes the corn right off the cob, but canned/frozen would work as well) 1 Mango 1 tsp Chili Pepper for Fruit 1/2 lime Cilantro
Steps: 1. Cut up mango into small squares and marinate it in the Chili Powder. Put it aside and let it marinate for about an hour. 2. In a separate pan saute onions, peppers, berbere, chorizo sausage in olive oil. 3. Add 3 cups of the chicken broth and 1 lb of uncooked rice. Continue to add chicken broth as it starts to dry out. Let simmer for between an hour/hour and a half until the rice gets tender. 4. Add corn, beans, and mango, then put it all in the oven to bake for about 1/2 hour at 400 degrees. 5. Squeeze 1/2 of a lime into the mix for flavor, and decorate the top with cilantro. 6. SERVE!!
I get sick at very inconvenient times. Like vacations and birthdays. A bunch of people I know have been sick with different things lately and I somehow got a combination of all of their symptoms! I've had a fever, a cough that is burning my chest, a sore throat, stuffy nose, and I'm losing my voice...bleh.
I still managed to have a very fun birthday though!
My Dad made my my favorite food ever for my birthday dinner. Chicken and spicy rice with berebere, cilantro, lots of peppers, fresh corn, black beans, and MANGO :)
Lacy made me a really amazing cake. It was half chocolate (with purple sprinkles of course) and half whip cream/strawberries.
Tekle was trying so hard to make a mustache for himself out of those little wires.
I'm actually only pretending to blow out the candles here--I didn't want to infect Lacy's beautiful cake with whatever I'm sick with. The kids kindly stepped up and blew them out for me though!
And in case you were worried, even though this blog is about my family I DO have friends and we had fun too :)