Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happiness in my mouth

I've always wanted to post recipes on a regular basis. Partially to force myself to try new recipes, partially to be more like Julie from the movie.

So here goes. Some recipes will be new (to me), others old standbys. First on the list is Carbonara. This is Rachel Ray's recipe that I pulled from Good Housekeeping. I like it because there isn't any cream. That and because it is DELICIOUS.

I make two variations--first, I have never used pancetta because I live in Medford and don't want to take out a loan to be able to afford to cook dinner. Second, I generally use a mix of Parmesan and Romano cheese. The shredded one from Costco. Sometimes just Parmesan.

This is really easy to make and definitely qualifies as comfort food. Bonus: I always have all these ingredients on hand, even when I haven't been to the grocery store for a few weeks.

Monday, January 3, 2011

He's talking. I'm listening.

"Read Isaiah."

I've shared before about times when I know definitively that God is talking to me. I enjoy hearing other people's moments and I hope you are encouraged by mine.

This time, however, I am ashamed to say it took me a lot longer to pick up. It started about two (maybe even three) months ago. I was sitting on a balcony with friends when one of them casually mentioned how Isaiah was her favorite book of the Bible. The statement seemed significantly more emphatic than the conversation warranted. But, like the foolish human I am, I let the moment go.

"Read Isaiah."

The second time was after a Bible study. People were hanging out, talking, the room was anything but quiet, but suddenly a conversation taking place in the next room became perfectly audible to me. "I'm so glad you mentioned that passage from Isaiah tonight, God has been taking me to that book a lot lately."

"Read Isaiah."

And it continued. Sermons, tangents in Bible studies, random conversations and then of course the Christmas prophecies...Isaiah, Isaiah, Isaiah.

But I wasn't getting it.

Then last night I got into my car. The windshield was a little frosty, but not bad. I tried a little washer fluid hoping it would help and it just froze instantly to the windshield. I could barely see. (And if you think this is random, you're right.) And in that moment, while I was waiting for my car to warm the ice so I could see well enough to drive home...BAM. I'm supposed to read Isaiah. Duh.

Thank you for being persistent in trying to get your message through to me Lord. I'm starting now.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Since last we talked...

OK, so blogging used to be a regular part of life. Then life fell apart and I pretty much quit. So here's a nutshell of the past two years. We closed both branches of my business and lost the battle with the bank to keep our house. Since then, we are in our third rental. (Fourth if you count the post-eviction month we lived in our friend's garage apartment). Each move purges more stuff, but the things from two stories plus a barn plus the remains of two businesses take a while to whittle down.

At the urging of God I went back to school to pursue nursing. That has been an amazing journey so far. I love it! However this year I feel He has called me to take some time off to add some income to our family and work on repairing some of the emotional damage done during these challenging post-prosperity years.

With just two exceptions, the circle of friends I had then have seemingly disappeared. I recognize that oftentimes friendships are seasonal, but losing that sense of belonging to a group hurt nonetheless. The friends who have come into my life more recently are amazing and I am so thankful for each and every one of them.

My children are an (almost) daily joy. They are brilliant and wonderful and only occasionally make me want to yank my hair from its roots. They love Jesus. They do well in school and are well liked. I love watching them grow.

My job--packing gift baskets for Harry & David--is perfect for me. I didn't expect to like it, but I really do. It's nice to not be in charge.

I have much to be thankful for. Certainly more than I could have anticipated two years ago when the, um, stuff hit the fan. God is faithful and has already caused much of what has happened to work together for good. I look forward to continuing the journey. Stay tuned!

Seeking Answers

I have always enjoyed the Pauline epistles and 1 Corinthians is a favorite among them. For some reason upon this reading, the passages that I had previously skimmed over seem laden with importance. It is time for me to figure them out. I could certainly read them literally, but it seems in our times no one does. Some of these are things I struggle to interpret, others are things I don’t see taught or applied and question why. I mean no offense to those who fall into some of these areas. In fact you might be able to offer the best answers.

Women speaking in church
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (NIV) “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

Yes, you read that correctly. I talked to people at church today. I asked a question at church today. Sometimes I speak in front of a group of High School students. Sometimes I teach these same students.

I have heard it said that this means a woman should not be a head pastor--huh? That isn’t what is said. Also as an unmarried man, does Paul have enough experience with women to know that they are actually capable of understanding spiritual things? I’ve heard it said that this was cultural and no longer applies...ok, who makes that call?

Covered Heads
This could be another cultural issue, but nonetheless it is not being adhered to in church.
1 Corinthians 11:4 “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.” This seems really clear--no man should pray or prophesy with a hat on. Got it. But it happens. I’ve been in settings where men are asked to remove hats before prayer, but it has been a long time. This seems like a simple thing to adhere to--why don’t we?

Verses 5-6 “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.” Totally confused here. Do I need to wear a hat? Or one of those lace mantles? Is my long hair considered my covering? How much hair can I cut off before it is a disgrace?

On that note, Verses 14-15 ”Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.” The very nature of what things? How long is long for a man? Is being disgraced by a man’s long hair or a woman’s cut hair sin?

In this area I question Paul--he states this as opinion, but it seems contrary to other scripture 1 Corinthians 7:8 “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” Verse 28 “But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.”

I agree--marriage brings many troubles in this life HOWEVER in Genesis 2:18 “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So v 22 “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”

Then in Matthew 19:11-12(NIV) “Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Which never seemed to make any sense at all, that is until I read it in The Message “But Jesus said, "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it." So Paul, God says get married, Jesus says (my paraphrase) if you’re man enough...get married. But you don’t.

Paul gets weird
1 Corinthians 7:29-31 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

What? Yes, the world is temporary. Things pass, our minds should be focused on God. Is Paul just finally pulling out some literary technique for emphasis. Paul is usually pretty literal, so that doesn’t really fit.

The big one: Divorce and Remarriage
This is an issue on which Paul is totally clear and this is reiterated in several books of the New Testament. It is also a teaching the church and its members seem to ignore completely. Cultural? Maybe. Choosing their battles? Probably. But it doesn’t sit well.

First of all 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.” Yep. That one gets ignored. But let’s go further--why remain unmarried? Because in Matthew 19:9 Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” SO--if I’m reading this right, and honestly I’m hoping I am not, because I don’t like to believe that my church is blatantly ignoring the commands of scripture--a divorced then remarried person is an adulterer aka a sexually immoral person. And this is why that is such a big deal: 1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” These people with whom we are not even supposed to eat are an integral part of our church.

Often when I blog I am just sharing my life. This time I am looking for feedback, guidance and truth. If I am to follow the scripture, I want to understand it and follow it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Formula for Peace

Do not worry about anything (HAHAHAHA).
Instead, pray about EVERYTHING. (That, I can do)
Tell God what you need. (Hope he has a paper and pen)
And thank Him for all he has done.

Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

This is MY passage. MY formula for coping with stress. In HS Group at TRF on Thursday's the pastors have been preaching through Philippians and I've eagerly awaited this passage. It was there waiting for me last night. I even got to preview it with my friend Lauren who needed a little peace that night.

So, two weeks ago we were given a 30 day notice on our rental. Slightly expected, but with a significantly shorter time frame that what I had been led to believe we would be given. With Jason's landscaping company comes a LOT of stuff. Two trucks, two trailers and about a garage and a half full of things that seem never to be accessed but are somehow imperative to retain. On top of that we have two dogs and a cat. (We actually have two cats, but one will be disappearing to the good people of the humane society before my daughter comes home from Gram's house.) And it should really be in Central Point, so we can be close to the place where Jason dumps debris.

These factors make it difficult (understatement) to find an appropriate rental house. Additionally, our experience of owning and subsequently closing a failing business has left us with unfathomable debt and a FICA score to be scorned.

But God has provided in the past. Twice, actually. The first time was a home with a barn and a view of the Table Rocks. Then, when the owners decided they were ready to demo that house and build their dream home on the property God brought us to the home we are in now. This time the view had shifted to Mt. McLaughlin and Roxy Ann.

This time, after just a few days of looking we found a home that was perfect. Good parking. In town (there are some negatives to living in the country--ticks, poison oak, no place to ride bikes, limited internet). A pool. Good price. "Pet friendly"-ish. But when we were shown the house, I got the distinct feeling the owner didn't like us, our children, or the fact that we had pets. He was polite, but was as discouraging as possible. We applied nonetheless and despite the encouraging words of friends, today is the day we were supposed to have heard, and as of yet, we have heard nothing. It could still happen, but I don't expect it.

Meanwhile, I have been vigilantly checking craigslist for potential homes. We have been offered scams three times (I'll post some of those letters in a future blog...amusing). We have lowered our standards to "we can park everything on the street and have our neighbors hate us." Even at that, nothing has come available.

For those of you who used to read my blog--remember I go on and on and on. For those of you who are new to this. I'm sorry. Blame my high school writing teacher who constantly wanted "more details."

Yesterday, on my way back from Eugene I decided to stop by a house I had seen listed in Gold Hill and hated. From the pictures it was an older trailer house in the middle of nowhere. I really felt like we were supposed to be in town so I had been ignoring it. But, out of desperation, I drove by. It is actually a really nice house. Parking is good. And, it is really a beautiful setting. Still has poison oak, still has ticks and I'm pretty sure they have never heard of the internet out there. But it could work.

Then this morning, a home which was a decent fit but at the very top of our price range, dropped in price. It is in town, in a very good bike-riding neighborhood. It's really near to good friends, the church where the kids go to AWANA , my favorite sushi restaurant, and a school. There is absolutely NO poison oak. There's also no pool, but I'm okay with that. We have an appointment to look at it tomorrow morning. Parking could be better, but it's a neighborhood where if we park on the street, no one is going to mind.

I have hope again. Dare I say peace? These may not be wish list material, but both will fit our family's needs. Please be praying...we will still need to apply and be approved for a house and have only 16 days to be out of our current one. Four of those days I will be rafting with the HS group.

Tell God what you need: We need to be approved for one of these houses and have you direct us in our forthcoming decisions.
Thank him: Thank you for restoring my hope. Thank you for providing so well in the past. Thank you for the opportunity to get on the river for a few days next week. Thank you for my parents keeping the kids so I can pack. Thank you for dying on the cross so that we can even have this formula. Thank you in advance for your peace.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Good day today. I haven't caught up on blogs in quite awhile and I've been blessed with a little extra time this evening. I even found a few new ones that are inspiring enough to add to my blogroll...soon. One step at a time, after all.

I moved to Medford about the same time as a friend of mine. Within a year or so. I've often posted about being bad at staying in touch, but my goodness, this woman lives within a single-digit number of miles of me. In the 6 years I've lived here I've seen her twice. Once at a mutual acquaintance's party and once at Costco.

Both times we've exchanged phone numbers and promises to "get together soon." Finally, this morning, we met at Starbucks. I left feeling so refreshed. She is one of those people that I feel instantly at ease with. Why have I waited so long to pick up this friendship again? Pray that I don't let it go.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Subject Line

Do you ever go to start an email and get the subject line and just freeze. I do it often. If I have a purpose other than just catching up or saying "hi" it is no problem. But if I just want to send an email to a friend and share something cool I am doomed to the subject line "hi."
From: myemail@hotmail
Subject: HI
Subject: hey
Sometimes I try to be creative and "fun" but I feel like I come off looking like a dork.
Subject: The red turtle flies at midnight.
Subject: The grass could be greener.
For now, I'm going to leave the subject line blank. I don't need the pressure.