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New Start

I haven’t blogged in two months because we suddenly moved out of Oklahoma.

After three months of my husband and I being unemployed, we decided to take up his parents on their offer for us to live in their basement. Though it is hard to believe, we have been here now for a month. We are both now employed and filled with new hope, like seeing the sun coming out after the rain.

I cannot say how thankful I am that when we were at our lowest, we had so many friends and family that supported us emotionally and financially. I believe that God has brought us to this new town and has filled us with peace about our changed plans. I thank Him that while we didn’t have health insurance, neither of us got sick. We have been taken care of every step of the way, just like the song “Never Once” says:

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own

You are faithful!  God, You are faithful.

Listen to it here.

Be encouraged, friend. You will pull through this.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in This Just In

 

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Two Week Break

I promised I would blog for 30 days straight. And today is day 20. But I am off to have adventures, so I will be back on here in 2 weeks. 

Why will I be so busy, you ask? 

In about an hour, I am going to the other side of the city to officiate a wedding for the first time. 

And tomorrow I am flying to Ohio to lead worship for a teen camp for a week.

While I am there, I will get to see my grandma who is going through radiation- and chemo-therapy. 

And play with my parents’ puppy, Sebastian, who was just learning to romp around when I saw him last Christmas.

And hug my father, mother, and brother.

 

Until then, may the God of peace be with you.

–The Mrs. 

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in This Just In

 

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Summer Reading List 2014

These 12 books are on my hit list for the upcoming weeks. If you are up for something old, something new, something historic, and something-that-will-be-a-movie-soon, come along for the journey.

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, by Dinah Bucholz. Recipes for foods mentioned in the Harry Potter series, like treacle tart, pumpkin juice, and mince pies! harry potter

The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue, and Son, by Lois Lowry. All four of these are part of the same world. So if you have already read The Giver (which will be in theaters in mid-August!), you can discover the others! gathering bluegiver

messenger

son

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown. I have heard this is a historical telling of how we white people slowly destroyed the people who were here in America first. It should leave me in tears and help me understand our nation’s history better.bury my heart

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman. Fictional middle ages plus dragons. Something about the peace between dragons and humans about to be broken, and a girl with a terrible secret…something something…looks terribly interesting.seraphina

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. Historical fiction about a girl in Nazi Germany who stole books. I have heard this is a great read.book thief

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. Another historical fiction, this book is about a girl who survived the sinking of the Titanic. How did she move on after such a traumatic event? Find out with me. l_TheDressmaker

The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is another book set to come out in theaters mid-September. Something about boys with amnesia being sent one by one into a giant maze filled with giant monsters…The_Maze_Runner_cover

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth. This is the second book in the Divergent series. Since it should be out in theaters next March, I thought I would give it a try just like the first one. insurgent

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. This is a artistic broadening of the story of Dinah from Genesis. It has something to do with how women give each other vital support.red tent

I’m sure when I actually read these guys, I will give you more in-depth reviews of them. But I am really excited about this next bunch of books. They are already all on reserve for me at my public library. Woot!

 

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Hey guys. I made this for dinner tonight. It was my first teriyaki chicken and it tasted fantastic!

I found this on Frugality Gal through Pinterest.

The author, Jazmin, says this dish only has 322 calories per serving.

I served mine over rice, which I started cooking right after I chopped up the chicken.

Image
Honey Teriyaki Chicken Recipe (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken (tenders or breasts)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds


Instructions

1. Chop thawed, raw chicken tenders into 1-inch pieces.

2. Transfer chicken into a large bowl. Add the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic and salt and pepper (but NOT the sesame seeds yet!). Massage into chicken with hands. Then wash your hands.  🙂

3. Transfer chicken (liquid and all) into an oiled and heated pan. Place the stove on medium heat.

4. After about five minutes, crank the heat up to high. Stirring occasionally, cook until the sauce has reduced. It should take about 15 minutes.

5. When the sauce thickens up and starts sticking to the chicken, add sesame seeds. Stir.

6. Remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes before serving. Proudly show off your mad skills. 

Sticky delicious goodness. I made this because the mysterious grocery-giver also got us chicken and honey.

I hope you enjoy making this! Tell me how it went!

 

–The Mrs.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Food (Noms)

 

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A Book Every Young Pastor Should Read

Are you a young pastor? Just entering Christian ministry? Have fewer than ten years under your belt?

Then you need to read this book.

It is called Letters to a Young Pastor, by Calvin Miller.

letters to a young pastorI was delightfully surprised to learn that the author, a 74-year-old retired Baptist preacher, was hilarious as well as full of wisdom. Every letter is about seven pages long, so you feel like you are making good progress in this 250 page book. The letters make up five sections, and cover his advice and stories from experience on topics like keeping your life balanced and your spiritual life healthy, not getting tripped up in the most common ministry pitfalls, and things to remember about preaching. Miller encourages his readers to keep hold of their unique calling. He is honest about many things pastors would not usually confess. But that is what makes this book so uplifting: Miller mentors the reader through the pages of the book. He talks with the young pastor about temptations that will come his way and how to deal with the more troublesome people in one’s congregation.

At first, I thought “A Baptist? He won’t have anything to say to a female Wesleyan pastor like me.” But as I read  it, I found that I had a lot in common with the author.  I, too, don’t drink alcohol, and thought it was fantastic that he linked his abstinence in that area with how highly he prizes his reputation as a Christian. It is simply on the list of things he does not do. I also agreed with most of what he said about handling fads and movements in evangelicalism. I found that Miller wasn’t writing exclusively to male Baptist preachers; he was writing to his younger Christian friends who would be walking the road of ministry as he did.

In the quotes/reviews section at the beginning of the book, Timothy George (founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, AL) said, “There is something in this book to offend almost everyone, from John Piper to Brian McLaren. But there is also a lot of gospel truth and hard-won wisdom from a pastor-professor who loves Jesus and His church with all his heart. This is the irrepressible Calvin Miller at his best.”  Miller calls it like he sees it.

And I think we would be friends. His candor  and empathy are inspiring to me. If I survive being a pastor (and many ministers drop out, especially the ones who go to seminary), I think I will sound a lot like this Calvin Miller.

Now go see if your local library has this book!

 

 

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I just found out that the author, Calvin Miller, died the year after this book was published. That was two years ago. Rest in peace in the arms of our Father, friend.

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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Failure, Faith, and Pancakes

In my life, it seems that faith and pancakes go hand in hand.

In my life, it seems that faith and pancakes go hand in hand.

It was 8:30 in the morning by the time I groggily entered the church kitchen. I knew we were ten minutes late, but we always are on Sunday mornings (my husband doesn’t believe in leaving the warm, cozy bed before absolutely necessary).

She was already there.

Our church treasurer was starting to set things up for our pancake breakfast fundraiser. It was the third Sunday in a row that we had served breakfast, and I had decided that today would be the last one.

Let me back up. My church has a Bible quiz team. They, like hundreds of other kids in our denomination, memorize particular parts of the Bible (this year, it was Romans and James) and compete with each other. Every other summer, there is a big quiz competition in a big city. Ours are going this year. But we need money. So my husband, their coach, says “yeah! We should do a pancake breakfast!” A couple of days before said breakfast, I realize that he is leaving most of the actual planning/executing to me, since I said I would help.

It is the first time I have ever been in charge of a fundraiser. Lots of stress, blah blah blah. The first and second ones go pretty well, although the wonderful people in the congregation point out all of the flaws and problems they see. So helpful, since they were things I did not think of. Anyway, I was out of town yesterday, and I forgot that, being Memorial Day weekend, our church would be a ghost town. So I had another nice lady pick up (too much) supplies for the breakfast.

The first breakfast, I had seven people helping. Fewer last week. But today, it was just me and Ms. Toni. I was thinking that the breakfast was already a failure, because we couldn’t do the work of 7 people.

But we did somehow.

The only people who came to eat were ten 20-something-year-olds. We made $15. I didn’t care. I was tired. I just wanted people to eat our delicious pancakes. I ate some pancakes and sausage myself. They were great. I went back in the kitchen to start the clean up.

Toni was there.

She was washing the dishes.

We had a conversation, in which she revealed that she is the age of my grandmothers. I was shocked, since she looks a good decade younger than that! Lord, let me look that good when I’m her age! She mentioned that, like me, she will be gone the next couple of Sundays (but she will be doing professional clowning and I will be at a camp). “I don’t think people will notice that I’m gone,” she said with a chuckle.

And I was struck. Struck by her faithfulness. Her dependability. Her humility. The pure fact that she was there early when I needed her. When no one else could. Struck by her love for our teenagers. Her devotion to doing God’s work, and her willingness to follow the kooky plans of young church ministers like me.

We are moving on to different kinds of fundraisers after this, but I dare not move on without pausing to notice her faith in God which moves her into serving others. Her life touches mine.

It is in moments like this that faith is passed down, and moments like this I am proud to say that Toni is in my faith web.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Just Talking/Thinking

 

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No-Knead Bread

No-Knead Artisan Bread for Busy People

So…I like to bake bread. And kneading dough by hand is okay. But with this bread, there is no need to knead! Ha. Lame. Anyway, with this,you make the dough, pull off enough for the day’s loaf, and stick the rest in a container in the fridge.  bread

From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Yields about 4 one-pound loaves

Ingredients:

3 cups lukewarm water (about 100°F)

1 ½ Tbls yeast

1 Tbls kosher salt

6 ½ cups unsifted unbleached all-purpose white flour

Additional flour for shaping loaves

Cornmeal

Also helpful to have: pizza/baking stone, cookie pan with 1-inch rim for steam-making, pizza peel for transferring bread in and out of the oven

Directions:

  • Combine the water, yeast, and salt in a 5-quart bowl or plastic food container with a lid. Stir to mix.  Add all of the flour at once and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is wet and sticky with no dry patches. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, but do not seal airtight. Let rise for about 2 hours at room temperature.  If you aren’t using it immediately, refrigerate the dough, covered, for up to 2 weeks.
  • To make a loaf, lightly sprinkle some flour onto the dough’s surface. Scoop up a handful the size of a grapefruit, and cut or tear it away from the remainder. Rub the dough with a layer of flour while gently stretching the top around to tuck the sides into the bottom to form a round, smooth loaf (This is the trickiest part, because your hands will get all gunky if they aren’t covered in flour). Put the loaf on a pizza peel or cutting board dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Let it rise, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes or as long as 90 minutes. The loaf will plump but not change radically in size.
  • About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a broiler tray or other metal pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Put the baking stone or cast iron skillet on the middle rack (I use my pizza stone).
  • Dust the loaf liberally with flour (You could sprinkle herbs on top here if you wanted). Slash the top with a cross or three lines with a sharp knife and slide it onto the preheated baking surface (VERY tricky if it was not sitting on enough cornflour). Carefully pour about 1 cup of hot water into the pan underneath and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is browned and the loaf feels light and hollow. Cool to room temperature and enjoy!


bread 2

 

Just a note: I usually make my dough into three loaves. The longer the dough sits in the fridge, the more it will taste like sourdough. But I wouldn’t wait more than five days to use up the last of the dough. Probably not healthy.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Food (Noms)

 

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