Saturday, June 28, 2008


Lately I've been feeling a little blah. I think all the changes going on in my life are just overwhelming my emotions at the moment. Nothing will be wrong at all and then in the blink of an eye I'll be gushing tears without an end in sight.
1. We're moving and we've had a slight hiccup with our loan... but the Lord is working through it and we are ending up with a much better rate but with a later closing date (which will put a little stress on all the things we have to get done).
2. I got a new job and it's going really well but for some reason jobs always unnerve me a little. It's hard to get your bearings and no one likes that feeling where you have no clue what you are doing! My boss has been so patient and I've been coming along well in everything assigned to me, but I still get tense about it an hour before I have to be there every time.
3. I think the Lord is doing a little late spring cleaning in my heart and I'm just having to evaluate a lot of things inside of me... thoughts, memories etc etc... moving seems to churn these things up.

But don't be alarmed, everything is still great! There's just been a lot of deep reflecting and some tension.. but all over blessings!

So, one of my favorite ways to de-stress or to think things through is to BAKE! I love baking.
I love knowing that what I make will make other people happy.
I love the thought of friends sitting around munching on something sweet and sharing fellowship together.
I love creating something from a bunch of random ingredients.
I just love to bake (I get it from my mom who is an amazing baker and cook!)

One of my big downfalls though is sharing my recipes... it's hard for my sinful self to want to give away recipes that people love because then they will make them and people won't be so impressed when I make them. I told you it was silly.
So, here is a recipe that I refused to share with anyone in college or anywhere and I am taking a huge leap into generosity and sharing it with you all


1c unsalted butter
1c brown sugar
1c white or cane sugar
1tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2c flour (I use half white and half wheat)
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
3-4c oatmeal (not instant)
1pk chocolate chips

mix together softened butter with both sugars and vanilla. add eggs and stir. add dry ingredients.
Drew doesn't really like the chocolate chips so I add 31/2 to 4c of oatmeal and 1tsp cinnamon to make them into just oatmeal cookies... and they are super tasty! However, if you add the chips use only 3c or less depending on how much you like oatmeal. You can also add nuts if you wish.
Using 1c of wheat flour doesn't seem to change the taste at all of the oatmeal cookies... so I would try it! Oatmeal + Wheat flour = healthy (right?)!

Enjoy and make sure to give me a hug the next time you see me and thank me for my generosity! haha just kiiiidddding!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I love to cook.
I love to eat.
I don't know why I don't post more about what we cook and eat around here!

So, I am starting my new adventure with my new favorite summer food. Quick, easy, cheap and healthy!

Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Carrots and Low Fat Feta Cheese tossed with a little balsamic dressing= yummm!
Here I ate it partly as a salad and partly in a lightly oiled and salted warm whole wheat pita! mmmmm hmmmm

I don't have pictures but I've also been in a cobbler mood lately, I totally have wimped out about it but even my whimpy version was super tasty and pretty healthy as desserts go....

Line the bottom of a greased casserole dish (large or small) with 1 pie crust (trim the edges)
Bake at 375 degrees until just turning crisp... about 10 minutes
While that's in the oven combine 2 bags of your favorite fruit (approx 4 cups)... we've been using the mixed berry
Add 1/3-1/4c OJ
1/4c sugar (or more depending on how tart you like it... this will keep it really tart)
A dash of cinnamon (or a lot of dashes... again, personal taste)
a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg and cloves if you have those on hand)
about 1T of corn starch or I think flour would work
mixmixmix together
Put in pie dish on top of crisped crust
You can put the other crust on top normally or you can do like me and weave strips over the top and sprinkle with cinn. sugar!
Bake 40 minutes or until top is crispy at 375 and serve with vanilla ice cream!

Last for today... Kale
We've been getting a lot of Kale due to our farm co op thingy... so I've learned a few tricks for Kale.
Boil the kale before you do anything with it 99% of the time (including sautee)
If you boil the kale you can cut it up into little pieces and put it in rice, potatoes, pasta etc etc with out having much strong flavor come out of it and with allll the nutrients included!

You can also make Kale Chips!
Combine washed kale with 1T of olive oil and place on a large baking stone or cooking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes on each side
I think they taste like fried okra.... by far the best way we've had it.

So go buy you some kale because it's one of the best veggies for you and it's in season!

coming up next time: zucchini bread

Saturday, June 21, 2008

That'll work!

Well, well I finally got a job. I'm not sure if I should be happy or depressed. It is really not a bad gig if you can get it to just not work... but most people can't get it. I sure did enjoy it while it lasted.
In all reality this job is only about 10 hours a week, so I don't think I'll die or anything.
Drew didn't really even tell me to get a job but I sort of figured that since we are buying a house that a little extra cash would be nice. So I was just casually applying to places as I found them and nothing was really working out.
Finally I got an interview with a Financial Advisor who needed an assistant and after a few hours of interviewing I got the job. And, it turns out that I know and go to church with his daughter! Smallll world!
So I interviewed on Wednesday and Friday was my first day. I actually rather enjoyed myself... well for it being a job. I imagine that working for this man is similar to what other people feel like when they work for my dad. He is a middle aged business man with grown kids and he is very direct and likes things done right (his right specifically) but is friendly and Christian and cracks a few jokes. At first I was a little scared of the directness but after my first day of work I think I prefer it. He doesn't leave things vague, he knows how he wants it done and will teach you and be patient with you while you figure out how to do it. He's fair.
I only worked 4 hours and I was hopping the whole time. Especially b/c everything I did was completely new to me, it took me a little longer to do each task. All in all I felt pretty confident when I left that I will be able to stay busy in this job and hopefully be helpful and earn a few extra dollars.
There is another secretary right beside my desk and she has been working for her bosses for 20+ years or so and is eager to help, so I hope that we can be friends and that she will be able to help me understand all this. Also the girls in the front office of the place are reallllly helpful in figuring out things like the amazing printer. You can scan in a document and email it to yourself all from the printer!!! It's pretty high tech!
My boss also used to be a trustee at the Seminary and is still on a board or two over there and does a lot with the top professors... so that is neat!

In other news, Drew also just got a new job. He just got promoted!!! He is now Marketing Manager for ALL of Kentucky Car Sales! WOO HOO. He is such a stud. I am pretty sure that makes him Mr. Lewis now. We are so excited because he will have a little more flexibility in this job and won't just be sitting behind the desk. They told him he is now the "Face of Enterprise". And a pretty good looking face if I do say so myself! He is really excited and has already been having brain storming sessions with his boss, who we also really love. Now he is not really over any one but no one except this boss we really like, is over him. I am so proud of him and so grateful to the Lord for sustaining him and giving him favor at erac. He was starting to really fizzle in car sales (as far as enjoyment goes) and the Lord is so faithful to bring something new along for him.
We have no idea where the Lord is taking us but so far it seems that he realllly wants Drew at erac... b/c no matter how hard we have tried nothing else has worked out and erac keeps promoting him!
I bet my mom and dad never thought their son-in-law would end up climbing the latter in a suit! When he asked permission to marry me their big question mark was that he didn't have a career in mind. We are both still open to ministry ideas like family camping and missions but it has been made clear to us that if that is in our future it is just that... future.
We celebrated last night at a neat Italian place where we split a salad with green apples, craisins, gorgonzola cheese and lettuce in a light vinaigrette. Then we had salmon with pesto cream sauce and broccoli. yummmmm Then he got me a new pair of running shorts and some weights. (we are training for a half marathon)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Island of the World

I finally finished my next novel, Island of the World by Michael O'Brien. This 800+ page book was captivating and heart wrenching. I can honestly say that I have never read such a painful story and I don't even remember the last time I broke down into sobs like I did during this book.
O'Brien is a great writer and seems to specialize in stories revolving around different aspects of World War II and how that war effected different people across the world, people we might forget. He is a very Catholic writer and demonstrates that Jews were not the only people suffering during this war.
This book in particular is about Croatia/Yugoslavia. This country is the collision place for Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and Muslim religions and thus the place of constant turmoil and war. The story begins with the Italians occupying the land and later the Germans but during all of this there are waring "homeland" groups that are robbing, torturing and killing their own people. The main character is only a boy when this is happening in a small village in the mountains. His life is drastically changed and only by the providence of God does he make it through these trials. Time after time he is rescued by strangers and divine encounters and often is he pained by the realization of another world lost to him.
Don't read this book without lots of time and tissue.
I am pretty sure the story is based on true stories of the people in Croatia but I'm not sure exactly. I do know that I have no idea how any human could invent such pain with out having heard about it or lived it himself.
This book has really reminded me that in America there are so many things we are blind to because our media picks and chooses what they want us to hear. We hear all about Iran and Iraq till our ears bleed but when was the last time you heard about the struggles in Romania, Croatia, Serbia etc.... all those little countries crammed between the larger and more familiar ones.
The book also opened my eyes to the fact that there is a lot of suffering going on in a world I am not even aware of. I would never have thought about doing missions in one of these places where the faces our white just like ours but the struggles are often as great as many of the African nations. (not that going on missions to Africa is EVER a bad thing!! or to anywhere for that matter!) My heart has definitely been opened for a people I didn't even know existed and/or were suffering.
Check it out, it's a good (though heart wrenching) novel.

In other news:
We had our house inspection (finally!) and discovered all the little things wrong with the house. SCARY!
It turns out that the people who were trying to remodel this house were taking every shortcut possible. Almost all the electrical outlets are wired wrong. The laundry room drain is draining to the storm sewer instead of the real sewer. The laundry room has no foundation!? (What?!?!) That's right... what we thought was termite damage is actually just the case of a porch closed in and sheet rocked with NO FOUNDATION under it... silly silly.
We also discovered that some people had been making themselves quite at home in our place... The side door was stolen (hinges and everything) as well as a window unit and the entire bathroom sink/counter/cabinet. WHO DOES THIS??? We are assuming it was a neighbor or some one with a HUD key that knew the house was vacant and was doing a little remodeling themselves.
At first it made me scared but now I just think it's sort of funny... I would have never thought of stealing things like that. We need some appliances... maybe we're not done "looking at houses" after all... just kidddddding!
In good news, the furnace and other major systems all seem to be in good condition (we were assuming we would have to replace them before we saw them) and there was no termite damage! Hurray... so that should free up the money to get the other little jobs done that they told us about in the report.
So, it looks like we are set to close at the end of this month! CRAZY I am much more nervous about it than Drew, which is great because then I am able to just trust in his judgment and support his decisions. Men don't seem to be shaken up about a few electrical problems and a silly intruder (unlike a woman like me)!

Soon we'll be posting our work schedule and calling for any and all volunteers!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So, since Friday I have been sort of detoxing.
I did a ton of research online and among people I knew about detoxing and certain detox-like diets that didn't include starving myself.
So I settled for the fruit juice "diet" (not to lose weight mind you!) and allowed myself also fruits and veggies.
The diet called for nothing but liquids until 12 and then every night I drank an herbal detox tea.
The first day I was exhausted, emotional and hungry! Gradually I got used to it.
I bought a lot of nectarines and carrots and fruit juices (100%only not from concentrate) etc etc...
nothing happened
I was expecting my body to ooze with detox nastiness, leaving me feeling oh so fresh and clean. (if this grosses you out quit reading)
nothing happened.
In fact my intestines seemed even more content to keep all the junk in there than usual.
I dont know where all my food is going or where all this fiber I am eating is going... but it is strange business.
I drank a whole bottle (the family size) of Pure Apple Juice this weekend myself...
I have eaten my weight in apples and dried apricots.
Today my body is totally mocking me by feeling absolutely wonderful without giving up anything.
I even walked Saturday and Sunday and today I RAN 2.5 miles... and I'm not even hungry!
still nothing
I have had more than 64 oz of water every day
I drank carrot juice!

does this sound crazy to any one else out there?????
Some one said I needed more oils... I had a piece of pizza (very small) nothing
I added walnuts to the diet...nothing
today I had an avocado...nothing
So, while I'm keeping on with the massive fruit consumption I'm giving up the rest.
Tonight I am having RICE...mmmmmmm starchy carb with a DAIRY PRODUCT on top...mmmm
I'm also adding kale, which tears up all my friends and my husband and doesn't even make my tummy uncomfortable...hmm
So, if any one out there is a detox specialist (and don't even suggest I take one of those pills that can tear you up b/c that defeats my whole point of doing it naturally) I would love to hear your advice...

The good news... I learned I can get full on fruits and veggies and nuts (I made hummus and salsa mmmmm)
I no longer craaaaave sodas... though I still do like them and sometimes daydream about them.
I'm not snacking on chips and popcorn and sugar things all the time... but prefer a good nectarine (most of the time)

So it wasn't all bad but I am concerned a little about what is not coming out... tmi... maybe

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Five and a Farm

I have a secret that not many people know.
I am pretty sure any one who knew me in high school or college would be shocked.

I want to be a farmer.

It's true.
I have a secret love for farming and well, more than being a farmer, being a farmer's wife.
This love for farming has grown over time and is just now boiling over.
I've always been a city girl and proud of it. I love that Fort Worth is city and yet small enough and unique enough to have a little country in it. When my parents moved to their second house it was sort of "out in the county" but is now right smack dab in the middle of suburbia! I remember my whole family mourning the loss of the trees and fields around our neighborhood. Maybe this is where it started?
My family also has a very strange thing it loves to do on lazy afternoons... go for a drive. We load up the car and hit up a gas station for some cokes and snacks and then we just drive. We go out and see lakes and mansions and all sorts of things out past the street signs. Even when I only slept in the back seat, I still loved going for a drive. To this day, I love a good road trip and even driving from Texas and Kentucky sometimes just feels like a long drive in the country to me. Maybe this is where the root began?
Then a couple from my church in college decided to leave the life of the "city" of Bryan/College Station to move out and start a farm. They have an organic farm where all their animals are free-range and they don't use any chemicals or toxic anything to keep them alive. They are very natural and so far, very successful. They have a quaint little house with a huge front porch. The wife makes bread and tends a garden and helps with the chickens, cows, goats and pigs. I love reading about their farm and pretending to be there.
We've also gotten more into organic, I know, you Texas people probably don't understand... but here it's what every one seems to be talking about. After doing a little research I am mildly convinced (as convinced as my budget will allow) that all these chemicals and preservatives are just not good for us. Look at all the illnesses that are becoming more and more common in America... especially in kids. (ADD, Autism, Severe Allergies etc) In researching about my allergies (which if you know me, you know are severe) they are finding all kinds of links now to these chemicals and hormones in the food that may trigger allergies in certain people. Well, that alone makes it worth it for me to at least try some organic.
We are also members of a farm co-op where we pay in advance to get vegetables and fruit from local organic farms once a week for 25 weeks. This is a way of supporting our local farmers who are doing the merciful thing for their animals and their clients in the way they raise food and livestock because they don't get as many (if any) support from the government pocket.
All of these things have been cultivating my love for farming. I would love to just go back to when it was a little more simple. People helped each other harvest their crops and then they traded what they needed from one another and had a lot of community going on all the time. Kids helped on the farm and therefore got to know their parents, especially the dad, and matured and developed character by learning how to work hard and help with family. etc... I can just see myself making fresh bread and pulling weeds and sweating a whole lot. That's the surprising part b/c most of my girlfriends know that in the past (and probably a little still) I have not prefered to get sweaty if I could help it! haha.
Well I found some one who is sort of holding on to this old way of life without computers or cell phones. Wendell Berry. Berry is actually a native to Kentucky and occasionally teaches senior English at our local classical school. He writes poems and essays and novels all by hand and his wife types them on their typewritter and then his other peeps finally get it into a computer.. that's what I've heard at least. He's sort of a legend around here. Well I just finished my first novel by Berry and it was inspiring. It is all about this small town and some nobody in it. There is this constant theme of being led, which is always compared to "the river" and how it rises and falls but always flows. Berry doesn't let the smallest detail get away without at least a paragraph dedicated to it and he makes the country come alive in your mind. It makes you want to get your hands dirty and break a sweat or sit on a front porch with friends and just talk about life. I cried a lot in this book because it also shows the end of the family farm era. It shows the effects of war on ordinary human life. It shows what it means to really love some one even if there is no happy ending. It made me want to simplify and take a few steps back from this world that is running constantly headlong into who-knows-what. I'll keep the internet and A/C but I could stand to let go of a lot of the technology and corruption that has come along. I would love to know my neighbors and know that neither of us was going anywhere for a long time (Lord willing). I would love to be in a place where community was more important than social status or careers or privacy.
I don't know. Maybe I wouldn't like it once I got it. But maybe there is a little call from Eden or The New Earth in my heart calling me to want to cultivate the earth and rule over it as we were meant to. Maybe eternity is just planted in my mind and only comes out in the costume of this or that that I want to grasp on to... but I know we will never be satisfied until He comes and restores us and the world... but until then I hope to be more like Berry and enjoy the simple pleasures that are all around and suffer well.
read it... it's good. ( ha I never told you the title... Jayber Crow The Barber of the Port William Membership)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Purple Hibiscus

I love my in-laws.
I really loved them from the beginning... and all along the way... but Friday I especially loved them.
Friday I received a box with 9 novels!!
This is quite possibly like sending a suffocating person oxygen.
I love to read and the summer is really the only time I get to read fiction or anything of my choice. I don't really know what to read since I've read almost all the classics and that's where the in-laws are especially special. They own Logos Book Store in Dallas (go check it out and buy something) and they are always loaning me and giving me cool books to read. Drew's dad with his sly grin has stretched my mind and my heart with many of the books and authors he has given me to read over the past couple of years. His mom, full of joy and spirit at all times, gives me books of heart and soul that usually lock me in from the start. Not only have they ordered many a school book but in the summer they load me up with lots of interesting things. Everything I've read from The Shack to Purple Hibiscus this summer has been from their hand or recommendation.
That brings me to this book... The Purple Hibiscus.
It is written by a Nigerian woman who is currently living in the US. The story is well written and the author has a wonderful way with words that bring out such a vivid picture with out giving you everything. There are so many great inferences included in even the smallest ways that just make my brain so happy. Her writing flows smoothly and the story is very intense. I finished this 300+ page book within 24 hours of receiving the box.
The story is sad and doesn't have the happiest of endings but is very realistic about how life actually turns out. It is interesting in the religious realm being very anti and very pro Catholic all at the same time. The book fits nicely between The Poisonwood Bible and The Secret Life of Bees (the former being a personal favorite and the latter being one of my mother-in-law's favorites).
I shed a few tears but nothing too intense. I had a lot of moments where I wanted to yank on the characters and tell them to say something or do something very different from what they continued to do. But that is what a good book does, right?
It is also interesting because it has Nigerian history built in, which is always interesting to me. Pick it up if you have free time to read.... but if not you can just contact me and I'll give you the recap.
Now I'm on to some Wendell Berry, who gives my mind goose-bumps... he is so well written!