Friday, November 19, 2010


Waiting.  Note to readers: brutal honesty ahead, beware.
Silas is 10 months.  For 10 months now I have endured every form of sleeplessness.  

Not getting to sleep, waking needlessly, not being able to get back to sleep once awakened.  I have been brave in some moments, mostly I have been impatient and frustrated.  I rely on medications to sleep, of which I am desperate to be released from.  I am waiting.  

Waiting for 'the rescue that is sure to come' but will that rescue be in the way that I hope?  Will rescue from the LORD mean deliverance from sleeplessness?  Will it be deliverance from fear?  Will it be strength to endure?  I am still waiting.  

Most often, I am afraid when I should not be, and worried when I know it bears no fruit.  How can I have the big family I always dreamed of if, with each child, I must endure the hell of sleeplessness of my own body's doing?  Again I ask the same questions 'how long, O Lord,' and 'why?'  

I take some comfort in others' sufferings.  Of course, not that they suffer, but that I am not alone.  And that in fact, I am very very blessed even with the limited sufferings I must face.  I've been reading a lot of war-time novels and I am overwhelmed.  Yes, with the loss of lives.  Yes, with the brutality.  But more often overwhelmed by the everyday, practical aspects of what people endured.  Did they sleep while bombs were overhead?  I'm reading about the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian war- 4 years?  4 YEARS people were trapped in this city, surrounded by ware and snipers, family members being shot daily.  Stuck in the city.  They must have asked 'how long' and 'why' too.  How did they endure?  HOW?  

So yes, my sleeplessness is a pathetic excuse for doubt or fear or worry.  I have so much.  This one verse I read is sticking to me, and 'sticking-it-to-me' in that I realize how poorly I am executing it:
Psalm 27:13 -14 "Yet I am confident that I WILL see the LORD's goodness while I am here in the land of the living.  Wait patiently for the LORD, be brave and courageous.  yes, wait patiently for the LORD."

hmm.  DO I have continued hope in the goodness of the Lord?  Am I waiting patiently for HIM and only Him (not just healing?)  Am I being patient in how I endure this trial?  Am I brave or courageous?  The dictionary says of patience: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship,pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint,anger, or the like.

SO many others are waiting too.  I'm not alone in this.  Waiting- will their child survive this illness, will they ever get married, will they have the children they want to have, will they ever find their purpose, will they...  

Waiting is so hard.  But maybe, in the words of Brooke Fraser's song 

"When I can't feel You [God], I have learned to reach out just the same
When I can't hear You [God], I know You still hear every word I pray
And i want You more than i want to live another day
And as I wait for you maybe I'm made more faithful"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recipe Stories

I have recently started enjoying getting recipes online.  I also refer to some good, basic cookbooks.  However, I love love love stealing recipes from others.  By this I mean, eating something someone makes, asking 'can I have your recipe?' and copying the delightful gem down.  
Because then my recipe book is a history of stories, of friendships, of places I've been and people I've met.  When I open my recipe book to pick something to make, it makes me smile and think of people and moments, together.  
I like that.
Take, for example, this crowd pleasing orange-chocolate-chip muffin recipe.  I added this one to my cookbook around 7 years ago.  The recipe owner?  She was a lovely, enthusiastic and passionate Quebecois gal.  I think she was going to be a doctor?  I dunno.  I don't even remember her name.  But I do remember her face, and her muffins of course.  I met her while living in Montreal and doing missions with Campus Crusade for Christ (now Power to Change).  I ate them.  I loved them.  Now I make them all the time.
Who ever thought to blend up WHOLE oranges to make delicious muffins?
Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins
Put in blender:
1 whole orange (not mandarin, with skin on it and sticker removed)
½ cup margarine or soft butter
½ cup orange juice
½ cups sugar
Blend until Smooth
In separate bowl mix:
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup of chocolate chips (I always add more)
Mix wet ingredients with dry
Blend well
Divide evenly in muffin tins and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes
Makes exactly 12 muffins
Or take this lovely, delicious, spoon licking Butternut Squash Soup recipe.  Easy, delicious.  It was made for me by my darling (can older people be darling?) landlord.  She was our first landlord just after we got married.  She made us feel welcome and even left flowers in our suite to greet us after we arrived back from our honeymoon.  (Is that sweet or what?)  She had a lovely garden, and had us over for dinners.  This was one meal she made.  I always thought I could never make soup.  But, turns out, I can (with the right recipe).
Make it.  Please.  It's soooo good.
Butternut Squash soup:
1 large or 2 medium butternut squash- peeled and chopped into cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 Gala apple, peeled cored and chopped
¼ cup of butter
900 ml of chicken broth
1 cup of whipping cream or sour cream
Dash of cinnamon, salt to taste
3 tbsp of maple syrup

Do all prep work (aka chopping)
Melt butter in a large pot - add apple and onion until softened
Add broth, cream, squash, dash of sage or other herb you want, cinnamon and salt
Bring to boil, cover, and then simmer for 20-25 minutes on low heat (until squash is soft)
Puree in blender (in small amounts) and blend until smooth 
Tip: wait until cooler so that the top doesn't blow off the blender
Add maple syrup
Enjoy!!! Oh so yummy, creamy, smooth, thick.
You can serve it with sour cream over top if you wish.

My whole recipe book is like this.  My homemade tortillas are from a honduran-born American missionary I met in Burkina Faso [you sound so exotic Flo!].  My favorite pasta recipe was scribbled on a 'Jus Booster' napkin - from my employer: a women who in mid-life became an entrepreneur.  My best curry recipe came from British expats in the desert country bordering Mali.  

I love people.  I love being in the kitchen.  And I love stories.  So, I like my recipe book being a meeting place of all these things I love.
What are some of your recipe stories?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

26 'Happy Birthday' moments

26 years old.  Yikes?  or is it, Yay?  Not sure yet.  However, I chose to look over the day and share 26 'happy birthday moments' of Nov 5th: 
1. Waking up to find that Jason had let me sleep in
2. Taking a shopping spree trip with my mom a few days ago.  I bought some awesome, cheap, and very needed new clothes from RW & Co.
3. My brother stopping by for a visit.  I like him.
4. Receiving a starbucks drink from him, AND a gift card.  Spoiled.
5. Getting a starbucks card in the mail from my wonderful friend Andrea.
6. Having a free birthday starbucks drink [if you don't know about this, you should]...although, it was kind of a black market/under the table kind of deal.  I asked the lady if the drink would just come off my registered gift card for free- but she said "no, something should arrive in the mail."  But then she was like, "whatever.  Don't worry about it" and I didn't use my gift card.  Saweeeet. (but shady)
7. Driving home from getting a free starbucks drink and watching a neighbor's dog poop on my front lawn.  'Here's a birthday delivery for you!!'
8. Opening up my facebook to find that 24 people had already wished me a happy birthday!!!  How sweet is that?
9. Getting the rotary cloth/quilt cutter that I wanted from Jason.  Nice.
10. Random, but funny- received an invitation on my doorstep for a 'hanky-panky' party tonight at our townhouse complex community building.  We've been wanting to get involved in our neighborhood and get to know our neighbors that's not the best way?  But I laughed anyways.
11.  Silas was happy all morning.  Scooting around.  Flailing his arms and making all kinds of fun noises.  He's so cute!  Oh, and he gave me a few good morning/birthday kisses.  Oh so cute.
12-14.  Silas then decided he wasn't so happy.  I spent most of the afternoon trying to get him to nap while he cried his eyes out.  It stole a few of my 'happy birthday' moments.  grrr.  Didn't he get the memo that it was my birthday?
15. But then he fell asleep in my arms.  Twice.  Hasn't happened in months and I at least had a little wee happy moment- oh my precious, exasperating son.  
16. My dad took me out for a wonderful lunch at Wendels (my fav restaurant in fort langley) and I had a great smoothie and panini!
17. I got a lovely lululemon wrap from my dad- way to go Dad- good taste!
18.  I also received some novels from my favourite author- Francine Rivers- thanks Sally!
19. After a horrendous and frustrating afternoon, my Mom came to the rescue and came to babysit Silas so J and I could go out.  I was thinking we'd have to cancel the evening cause I was so distraught.  However, she told us to go anyways.  Thankfully, I listened.
20. I got to dress up in some new clothes and felt 26 and stylish for a change.  
21. Went out for dinner with fun friends who made me laugh the moment I got to the restaurant.  I needed laughter at that point. 
22.  Had a bellini.  That was nice.  However, this was after a very confused waitress kept misunderstanding what I ordered.  Then, in my over-eagerness to take a sip, I spilled the bellini on my lap. That was a good moment too.
23. Ate lots of delicious carbs- had some amazing tortellini at Palliotis.  Oh, I got a free dessert- with an awkward happy birthday song from the waitresses.  AND got to use a coupon to make the meal cheaper.  I like coupons.
24. Got home to find that Silas was happy as a clam.  Way to go Mom!  He settled for the evening thanks to Jason's fine daddy-ness.  And finally I could sit down and watch the next, crazy episode of Private Practice.  
25. I get a continuation of my birthday today by going on a hike (if the weather holds out) and going to Porter's coffeehouse with friends- something I've wanted to do for a long time.
26. I got to finish my incredible novel, Sarah's Key.  Incredibly sad, but such a good read.

At the end of the day I am thankful for my wonderful husband, an incredible and healthy son, a roof over my head, food in my belly, an amazing Lord, and I am very thankful that He has allowed me 26 years on this earth.  

That was my birthday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween and Pumpkin Baking

So, our neighbors across the street from us do a HUGE halloween 'thing.'  (aka haunted house).  They've been putting it up for about a month.  Styrofoam skulls, bbq'd hands, mechanized dudes who pull their heads off and rip their chests open.  Gruesome to say the least.  It even made front page of our local paper and you can see a video of it.
J and I were trying to figure out what to do.

As believers we don't like the focus on death and horror and fear.  Obviously.  However, these neighbors are also the nicest neighbors around.  They care about the community, they clean up the townhouse complex, and they do this halloween stuff to create opportunity to meet neighbors.

Hmmm.  What should our response be?
As Christians, this is a highly controversial subject.  Our response is often (from Tim Keller's talk below)
1. Hide from the culture.  It's bad. Stay away.  Ignore halloween, turn off the lights, have our own Christian harvest parties [We should back out of culture, we can't transform society so let's have our own little Christian culture]
2. Love and embrace the culture.  Send the kids out anyways.  [Let's be relevant as Christians, which can be dangerous]
3. Hate the culture- and respond by sending out tracts etc. [Being defensive against culture]

We weren't sure that we liked any of those options.  
We obviously don't like the reason for this holiday and most of the decorations around it, however, it's the first time people surface from their homes and get out in the neighborhood.  

Enter: prayer.  And option 4:
4. Be in culture and serve within it.  
We're still not sure what our response should be but we wanted to: not burn bridges with our neighbors, enter into the conversation around this cultural event, offer an alternative to 'death and gruesomeness' by highlighting harvest, light, and family-friendly fun.

SO, we hosted our lifegroup who helped us carve a bunch of pumpkins.  We wanted to have an alternative option to look at for young kiddies and families.  We were out and about, talked to neighbors, created relationship opportunities (so didn't hide away) but tried to work on transforming the culture. 

yikes.  We need to plan a bit better next year and keep praying to figure out what to do, but we love what Tim Keller has to say about allowing Christ, through us, to transform culture instead of embracing it, rejecting it, or using it.  (If you want, start at 10 min into the talk, he talks about our responses to culture- really good).

This whole conversation had us think a lot though.  WE should be serving and loving our neighbors MORE than anyone.  Are we doing that?  Not just in response to halloween, but on a regular basis?

End of deep discussion.
Pictures from our carving party:
Chocolate/Peanut Butter fudge Rice Krispies from Joy the Baker

Jeana- teaching us how to carve.
Jason hard at work.
Jeana's a pro-star carver.
Other members of our bible study- Heidi, and the Macphails.  
Pumpkin remains.
Here are our happy pumpkins!  Blues clues, veggie tales, flowers, etc.


Enter into the discussion.  How should Christians respond or how DID you respond to halloween this year?
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