Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tedras Thai Peanut Chicken

Well that was a busy summer... I've learned a lot and now fall is almost here again!

I'm sharing a recipe today - a recipe from an amazing friend for an easy amazing dish!

Per Tedra:
Thai Peanut Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp curry powder

Combine above ingredients, marinate chicken in mixture for one hour. Grill Chicken.

(My Twist)

Cover bottom of a rimmed baking dish with chicken breast tenderloins - usually 2+ pounds (broiler pan works great.) Double all ingredients, spread over chicken, bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Turn chicken pieces and bake until the chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken and sauce with rice. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

*repost* Life... post trip 2009

Life is like a long term mission with short term trips that intersect the daily ...

(Acts 1:8; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth)

Who I am?

Who are they?

Sarah was 18months old when we moved to Estacada, and we found a small local church to attend. The first Sunday my husband visited there was a mission presentation given by the team which and just returned from India. He left church that day with the thought that he, himself, would go. He didn’t know when, but he knew he would.

At the time, we had a stack of toddlers at home and missions trips were FAR from my mind. So far, in fact, that I don’t even remember their presentation! (I was probably hanging out with my toddlers in a classroom that day!)

The next spring, though, we prepared and sent jakes little sister out with the team. And the next year, Jake himself went. By that point Sarah was about 4, and we had moved out to Eagle Creek where we live  now. Jakes trip was very trying for me; I was frustrated and lonely and confused about so many things – I learned much about my dependence on Jake and how I had placed him above God in my life. Ultimately it was a very healing time in my life, and I probably wouldn’t have learned a thing if he hadn’t gone.

I was approached to consider going the following year and I was nervous, but excited, and mostly confident I was to go... We coordinated kids, schedules, and plans, and I was able to go that year (and the next) while Jake stayed home and our daughters spent time in the lives of other families!

The spiritual darkness that met me in India; seeing the poverty and hearing the words of those who have no hope, greatly impacted me and changed my whole perspective. First I recognized my abundance here at home and then I recognized that I want to be a world changer.

But I was stumped by the question “how can a mom be a world changer?” We typically think of “world changers” as those people who make it onto the television, or move overseas, or even just help their community rebuild after a disaster. Not so sure I am ever going to be one of those folks...

I took a step back and evaluated my role with my kids. By that time they were all solidly in Elementary School – we were involved in our local church and had done some things in the community with them to encourage their own ability to serve. I knew that I wanted them to have a broader perspective but I couldn’t imagine the way that God would teach it to them!

As we all prayed about the trip for 2009, Jake and I were confident that we were to go together (for the first time.) When we both applied for the team, we were asked to consider taking the kids also. To be perfectly honest, taking our kids was not something I had ever thought of. I was rather a bit shocked and I concluded, like Gideon, that God would have to do something pretty darn unique to let me know that he really wanted us all to go, because taking three little girls to India on a short term trip isn’t just something you do every day!

We prayed and began to prepare for our family to go. We had money to raise, passports to acquire, and arrangements to make. We were going as part of a team, so we trained with our team and I was very unsure about how the girls would really fit once we were on the road.

God is pretty amazing and gave us several clear signs that we were really supposed to go – We needed about $11,000 for our family to go – and it all came in (some at the eleventh hour) Our girls teachers were all very supportive and actually told them they would be praying for our family – a miracle in this day and age and a blessing to me as I think about it even now...

It all came together and we flew.

Our team was incredibly supportive, and our kids were amazing. The team carried the burden much better than I had ever imagined they could. I decided it would be best for me to strictly be mom on this trip, rather than taking on a team role – that is a decision that I am very glad I made. I was able to give of myself completely every day to the kids; an act of grace I still marvel at now, when I am spent but the day isn’t over yet...

I knew there were many people praying back home because, well, with three kids there are three different personalities, three different kinds of mischief each moment, three different picky tummys, three different possible disasters waiting to happen.... And yet, everything went incredibly smooth.

Looking back, I can recall some key things that were impressed upon our kids and family that have shaped my perspective as a mom to this day: One, the girls were able to see people they knew from home live out their faith in the field. They heard the testimony of the work of God in the lives of our teammates, heard the gospel presented, and saw our team work with the orphans and the strangers. They were included to do what only they could do best – being kids. They were encouraged to play and be friends, and that opened a lot of opportunities for us all!

Two, we were all reminded of the fact that God has a plan and he can work it out without any trouble at all. The gift of financial resourcing was not kept hidden from the kids – they both prayed with us for provision and saw it come through in miraculous ways. Our health and the opportunity we had to share the gospel also revealed the perfect plan God had for that trip at that time.

I spoke to Sarah today about the trip and asked her what she really remembers. Her response, of course had to do with kids and friends and food. But she also said, it makes me really think about how much I have. India is a VERY poor country and our kids saw firsthand how differently life is lived outside of  America. I think the ability to take the kids on a short term trip has impacted our long term mission in ways we won’t ever fully comprehend. They are your typical American kids, with an overabundance of stuff and the usual busy schedule. But every so often lessons we learned together in ministry in India come back in the way they behave, in the way they relate, and in the way they perceive the world at large.

As a mom, this entire journey (which isn’t over yet) has been quite an adventure. But it’s one that I  wouldn’t trade for anything. I realize that we can all be world changers – as it all begins at home.As for the future, who knows? The girls are getting older, and want to go back to India to see their friends and serve some more. Perhaps we will go again as a family. Or perhaps they will be drawn away from Estacada at some point as adults. But in the meantime, my ultimate goal as a mom is to impart who I am in Christ to my children; as I live and grow more Christ-like, my kids are watching and learning from my example and hopefully, learning themselves to live their life on purpose.

The great commission given by Christ to the Disciples speaks to us as women and moms just as powerfully as it did to the original listeners. Our “Jerusalem” begins in Our living room – we don’t even have to open the front door!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thirty Days

The month of June has thirty days... and June is the month of my birth, and roses!

Anyway. I've been silent and absent and learning a bit of.. well... you shall see.

1. my home is a space for little kids to jump on the bed
2. our bodies were not designed for desk work
3. counting calories is a way for this woman to gain weight
4. changing roles is very hard
5. practicing whitespace... 
6. stunning bits of clarity about the american faith tradition, which is so very different from my friends in India and Haiti

We are totally blessed in this new house. Every day I think of those that prayed and helped and I'm just amazed. What an extraordinary set of gifts we have been given! The open floor plan provides ample space for 30+ people to mingle, while the upstairs haven provides a place for children to laugh, run, jump and play!

The true reason for my silence and absence in the written and digital world rests on my physical body. I seem to be undergoing this thing called aging, and the exclusive toll thus far is to my right arm. Most specifically, my work has me at a desk for 8 hours a day, and so when I get home my shoulder and elbow are screaming in pain... leaving no room for any further use. They say its arthritis, pinched nerves,  and a bit of a problem with a rib. I say, cut it off! They assure me that would be a worse situation... so I have settled into a delightful routine of ice, rest, ibuprofen, and physical therapy. Can there be a worse situation for a reader and periodic writer?

I spent the month tracking my food and exercise, which I cannot do much of, due to the right arm issue mentioned above. Anyway, I'm humbled to admit that I gained weight while watching what I eat, and I'm now again rather done with that. Back to what I know, that which assisted in 85 pound weight loss... I must take an axe to the fast food, the restaurant, and the coffee shop. I must also ditch the soda. And... I must start making my healthy breakfasts and lunches each morning. Go Team black coffee and water. YAY!

Roles... routines... and everything in between! SO, in the house I'm adapting to the older teenager; we have three in high school in the fall. They are cooking for one another while I'm at work, and even cooking for me some evenings! The house isn't particularly kept as well as a homemaker would have it, but for a stack of teenage girls it is quite fine indeed! In the community I'm releasing some well worn shoes for none at all. I'm going to walk barefoot for a while as I see what lies ahead on this path. And at the office, I've officially given my desk away. My space of employ for 5.75 years, given to another. The tasks have been divided for the two of us and we set off at a run this past Monday. This change is the most scary for me.... It is difficult to allow someone else to do what you've done so  long... While working on new projects and growing in new ways. I'm still there, tucked in with a new view!

Whitespace... Here we dive into some things that are a little more personal and a little more about my faith. I picked up a book this past month and I didn't know what was in it. I'll be honest, I thought it was going to be a book about taking time to rest. Well. First let me say it was a very good book and I heartily recommend it: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening your soul to rest. I will say that in reading this book I was brought back to a stack of things in my life that I keep tucking back into the corners. They say appearances are deceiving, and I have to agree... Each of us puts on an appearance that we are comfortable sharing with the world, and over time, we can even begin to deceive ourselves. This deception of self most affects our relationship with God - who knows us most intimately... He knows the moments of our life that have caused us to wall off, to hide, to run, or to escape. He also knows the moments of our life which shape our understanding and beliefs about him.  I challenge you to consider cracking this book!

A final bit for today. Having done a bit of traveling outside of the USA, I often wonder at the beliefs and practices of the church. In both Haiti and India, spiritual warfare is understood and prayer for illumination and against the demonic is common. I initially considered the fact that, well, we go to this baptist church, and baptists are very low key in their faith practices.. but the more I read, the more I have the opportunity to stumble upon things that make me fall of my chair (if I'm sitting on one!) Here Goes:
It was Gerald Heard who said : "Newton banished God from nature, Darwin banished Him from life, and now Freud has banished Him from His last stronghold, the soul." I wish to introduce that, if for great numbers of our contemporaries the effect of Newton, Darwin, and Freud has been to banish the divine, it has even more emphatically been to banish the demonic. St  Paul's "Principalities and powers" - the "spirit forces of evil" whose malignant grip upon the souls called forth "a second Adam to the fight and to the rescue" - are now known, we are told, to have been mere apocalyptic imagination.
This may not cause you to aha quite as much as it caused me, when I read it in James Stewarts "A Faith to Proclaim" - but for me, it answered such a large question. Why is it that there is such a KEY difference between the peoples belief about spiritual warfare... ah... what the culture teaches the people! The influence of the church on peoples beliefs has diminished quite a lot in the American culture, when JS wrote this book it was still the church that did much teaching... and the church was all over the board in his opinion! But now, it is culture that teaches us, even though the church teaches us much... the culture sways stronger, so much that it is more common for us to fight for the truth of creation in light of evolution...  than it is for us to talk about the root of the issue

Thursday, May 29, 2014

the house that God built

The honeymoon phase is over… But the house is still amazing!

Sometimes we think, oh, surely… surely if I get this or if that happens… surely then I will be happy, we will be better, things will be lovely... but the truth is, we bring ourselves into every new and better thing!

Even in a new home, the issues we face are those we brought with us; off kilter schedules, differing opinions, unpleasant habits…

So, the true method is to greet each day with a new measure of grace. Grace for ourselves and for one another.


And be thankful for all of the places we are in, the new and the old, the challenging and the exciting. 

Truly grateful to live in the house that God built!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Oh mama where ya been?

This is what I'm into, what I'm up to, where I've been sort of update....

What I'm into… Well, our family has moved... The dream house is a dream and is no longer a dream.. it's reality!  It is a dream because honestly it is utterly amazing!

This is the house that God built. 

So what else is new? I am privileged to be able to take part in leadership training through my work and I'm excited because it will apply so well to many areas of my life, not just at work.

I'm dealing with some new physical challenges that are redirecting me from the computer... and dreaming of working someday with people. I am on a team that is developing a feasibility study for our area which will provide us some input for growth. If I have my way, I will spend my 50's and 60's running a community center and being a liaison between people and local resources, sharing Christ where I can!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

offering

Rain falls gently on the skylight as I ponder...

This is holy week. Today I pour out my alabaster jar and worship the risen Christ, not a dead god but a risen Lord.

Many hours, many days, many years... it has taken a lifetime thus far to reach today.

Our business here is to live right on, to be presently here where we are, fully attending to the things before us while always in prayer and worship. This is a tough thing, this living, uncommon and awkward. We prefer action and activity over it. We prefer to believe we have a lot of say in how things go... And so our living ebbs and flows..

Well, my living ebbs and flows. You may be a saint. 

But today, today... I will take a moment today to pause. Maybe a good long moment...

Pause to truly give honor to the one who gave me this life... this living before me.

I was asked last night what my life was like before Christ. "dead" I said. I have no other words than that all encompassing word.

And so I think about this living. This love, this grace, this wonder. This hope, this joy, this peace.

And I think too, of my pride, my selfish ambition, my lack of humility... so many words to describe my entangling sins flash before my eyes when I pause to celebrate.

They shout UNWORTHY...

They prick at my living and weaken my faith...

I know whom I have believed in... and he is able...

So I breathe deeper, draw quieter... Releasing all of me into the hands of my redeemer....
and weeping, pour my offering at his feet. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter, Christ, and the Cross

This is a post about love.

I have been inhaling some new-to-me books I bought which were written by James Stewart. His simple and clear language is a delight to me as I process through this season.

Easter is around the corner, and the blood of christ has been on my mind.  The blood shed by a king so loving that he shed it for me...  The nails and the sweat and the blood... each step saying, this I do out of love for you.. but do you love me?

I confess that many times I do not love Christ as I ought. I go about my days, bumbling and busy as I always appear, and I fail to pause. I fail to recognize the simple sweet reality that I am his.

Not this year. This year I have been mesmerized by this Jesus. Jesus, who in his very nature God, did not let equality with God to be his goal, but rather put on the flesh of a simple human... taking our form, walking in our world, being like us. Jesus, who brings life from death. Jesus, who loves us when we know not, cares when we cannot, and persists when we dare not.

This Jesus speaks to me. He says, come to me. Walk my way. Trust in me. He says, I know your world, your ways, your options...but my ways and my world are so much more... Don't fall for the trap that this is all there is, that there is no hope, that there is no future. Walk with me and I will take you farther than you can begin to fathom.

This Jesus. He drew a handful of men from the wildest of groups... giving us a first look at the church, with a tax collector working alongside fishermen alongside the rest... He didn't collect them from the proper realm; no, that would have been too easy, too much like the rest. He took those that couldn't see themselves and called them by name.

Just as he does to us.

Just as he did Paul - who says so many times that the love of Christ compelled him... Once Saul, once an adamant pharisee;  now Paul, willing to do anything to teach, to encourage, to share...

The love of Christ compels me.

As we draw close to Easter, let us not forget that it was love that paved the way to the cross.