Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday's Ten...on Friday Again

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving if I didn't list what I was thankful for this year, right? goes.

1. amazing chosen family and friends who continually astound me with their love and caring
2. opportunities to use my gifts in worship and service to others
3. my amazing boyfriend who continually reflects Christ to me
4. my parents for their surprising support during this odd time in my life
5. small pleasures like sipping chai teas all curled up on the couch
6. this time of loss of has made me a more empathetic and caring person overall, I think
7. new relationships made throughout this year
8. the gift of honesty and openness...feeling like I'm living with integrity
9. opportunities to seek God in so many different places
10. the promise of an even brighter tomorrow

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recipe of the Week -- Poppyseed Chicken

I know it's Thanksgiving week and the last thing we're gonna want to think about is more food...but this is one of those meals that is always well-received. It's SUPER easy and very tasty. And I bet you could make it with leftover turkey too...although I've certainly never tried it :0)

Poppyseed Chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken
1 8oz jar sour cream
1 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers (I use just one little package/rolls/whatever you call them that comes in the box)
1 stick butter
1 tbsp poppyseeds

Boil chicken
Mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup
Break up chicken into pieces and put in casserole dish.
Pour sour cream and soup mixture over the chicken, mix together.
Melt butter and mix with cracker crumbs and poppyseeds. Sprinkle over chicken mixture.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday's Memory

An older piece of writing...I wrote this in March of '07. I guess with thinking of family/home/whatever during this season I thought of digging it up again.

It’s on Wikipedia now. An article entitled “Lower Ohio Valley Tornado Outbreak”.

3 sentences that are supposed to sum up that time in my life.“Petersburg, Indiana was the hardest hit town affected by the outbreak. It was one of two towns in Indiana that were hit by an F4 tornado. Six of the 12 people killed in Indiana were in Petersburg.”

It’s a rather simplistic answer to the questions we all asked in 1990. I was 9. Mercifully, I remember little about those weeks, months, years after the storm hit us. The images I do have in my mind are vivid though, and have not faded with time. My next door neighbor and I crouching underneath her staircase, crying and holding on to each other sure that we were going to die. Walking out of her house after the freight train had sounded and long gone, and seeing the debris that covered our yard—like snow, in June. There was wallpaper from the nursing home that was flattened—we recognized it right away.

We moved slowly through the next few hours—finally getting our power back after 3 days. We couldn’t leave the house for the longest time. My father was a police officer and when we finally left the house on Sunday to go to church, he was going to drive us through the worst-hit part of town on the way back home so we could see. The roadblocks wouldn’t let us through, even with his badge, because I was in the car.

When we finally were allowed to drive through downtown, weeks later, I didn’t recognize it. The historic buildings—gone. Only a very few were left standing, and those were in pretty bad shape.

Slowly, but surely, our town was rebuilt. The Red Cross was a visible presence for months. Construction became a way of life. People cried a lot, but they soon shook off the tears, got on their feet and began trying to put the pieces back together. I watched all of this, baffled. And then I forgot.

But I never did, really.

The next year we moved closer to town and I changed elementary schools. Only this school had been destroyed by the tornado, so the temporary school was a system of portables connected by a covered walkway. I was reminded of the Storm every day at dismissal as we stood on those walkways.And then I went to middle school, and I forgot.

But I never did, really.

A couple of years later we began attending another church. This one was brand new—because the original building had been flattened by the tornado. Every week as I walked through the front doors I saw the sign that said “Dedicated to the glory of God, June 1991” and remembered that it was because in June of 1990 their other church collapsed.And then I went to college, and I forgot.

But I never did, really.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Sentiment...

I've had 2 people with fabulous jobs tell me this week that they lost them...this week.

I now understand how awful of a feeling that is. I'm at 3 months now. OVER 3 months if we're counting, but I find that too depressing. And while I have complete faith and trust in the One who holds my future, those "something better is up ahead" sentiments are sounding kind of hollow. So as I hugged my friend tight this morning after she gave me the news and said "I'll be praying so hard for you" and she echoed the same...I knew that it was genuine. I don't doubt for a moment that my friends love me and have been praying all this time...but at the same time, there's solidarity in knowing that you really AREN'T alone.

And at the same time, today was a wonderful day of hope as well. A reminded me of that as we were praying together. You see, once a year, our church does this day called Harvest Sunday. The week before we get a shopping list of items for a Thanksgiving meal. We buy the food (about $20 worth), fill a paper double-bag, and bring it forward. At the end of the three services we have hundreds of bags lining the stage. The middle school students (and us lucky middle school lifeguards) sort the bags on Sunday afternoon, and they go to families in the community from now until Thanksgiving

It's a wonderful thing. And even though I have very little money this year, I filled up my bag. A and I went shopping on Tuesday together. It was a sweet time. :0) And for me it was a promise that no matter how bad things get I'll still reach out. I'll still do what I can. And next year, if I am employed (and let's hope!) I will be filling up at least 2 bags in gratitude for what I've been given.

I found this prayer at I'm praying it as I copy it to my blog, and I hope you'll pray it for me, my friend M, and my friend G as you read.

Prayer for the Unemployed

Dear Lord Jesus Christ,
You wanted all who are weary
To come to You for support.
Lord, I am worn out
By my inability to find work.

Guide my steps to a righteous path;
Give me the patience
To find opportunities with a future.
Calm my worries and fears
As my financial responsibilities mount.
Strengthen my resolve;
Embolden my heart to open doors;
Open my eyes to see life beyond rejections.
Help me believe in me.

Let me realize other ways
To bring about Your kingdom on earth.
Let me grow as a person
That I may be worthy
For Your greater glory.

In the name of the Father.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday's Ten

Ten Things I'm Happy About Lately

1. Gas Prices. I passed a station today near my house--1.97!!
2. Obama's election. I don't think he's the answer to all the problems, but I am happy for change
3. Putting babies down for a nap. There really isn't much sweeter in this world.
4. Opportunities lately to sit down and play the piano. I'd forgotten how wonderful it is--like free therapy! :0)
5. My wonderful boyfriend
6. The return of most of my favorite tv shows...
7. Pumpkin Spice Lattes
8. My amazing church family
9. Becoming more "green" really does make me feel good
10. Prospects of a brighter tomorrow

Friday, November 7, 2008

Recipe of the Week -- Greek Meatloaf

I made this tonight for A and I with mashed potatoes and green beans (which I put Greek seasoning in, to fit with the theme). We both loved it--just enough like a regular meatloaf to be familiar, just different enough to be fabulous.

Greek Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs mixed with 1/2 cup milk
4 oz basil-tomato feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 large onion, chopped (I actually had a really large onion so I only used 1/2)
1 cup shredded carrot
1 tsp Greek seasoning (I put about 3 times that in)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (I definitely guesstimated on both s&p)

1. Heat oven to 375. Spray a 13x9 inch pan w/nonstick spray (I actually have a meatloaf pan, so that's what I used. Or jelly roll pan, whatever you call it)

2. In a large bowl mix all ingrediants. Form into loaf and place in prepared pan.

3. Bake @ 375 for 1 hour

4. Allow to rest, covered, 10 minutes before slicing

(pictured with mashed potatoes)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night Reflections...

I've learned a lot over the last few weeks and months, not necessarily about politics or candidates, but about human nature and how incredibly divided we can really be.

It began (for me at least) with emails about my candidate that accused him of being everything from a terrorist and non-Christian, to being TOO much of a Christian. It didn't stop there; there were plenty of articles posted and emailed that told me I couldn't be hearing God's voice clearly if I voted for him because of his views on partial-birth abortion and same-sex unions (which incidentally are two issues that both candidates happened to have nearly identical views on...). There were more articles, more posts, attacking my candidates character. And of course, this went both ways. My candidate was not innocent and neither were his supporters. I honestly can't remember a time when I've seen more hateful things said among my group of friends, both online and in "real life". I started to realize that our country has truly become very divided.

Through all of this I struggled to keep my head above the murky waters everyone seemed to be sinking into, though I wasn't always successful. I maintained my staunch position that there must be a true separation of church and state, and I pointed out that the outcome of this election will not affect our eternal future. Still the comments came, and I responded by saying that we're not electing a savior, just a president. Yes, I defended my candidate and my party, but I also tried very hard to research my points and back up my opinion with sound reasoning and not emotion.

It can be a disconcerting to be both a Christian and a Democrat (or just liberal in general). I'm called upon to defend my position quite often and I often feel that I'm speaking to a crowd that will (a) never listen and (b) never believe me. So this blog is not about trying to convince you that my faith DOES determine how I vote (although it does, very much so) or why I feel that my faith has led me to these decisions. If you want to hear me make those points I'll be happy to--just ask.

Tonight I watched history being made. I was thrilled, and I was brought to tears. Not because I think Barack Obama is the savior of this country, or a messiah. Because now I can with integrity say to all of my inner city students "see what you can do?" Because my parents who lived through the Civil Rights movement have seen a black man elected to the highest office in the land. And because I truly believe that now that this election is over maybe we can begin healing.

I've been saddened as I watched nasty and hurtful things being said on both sides. I've feared that relationships won't be able to be repaired. But I was grateful to both John McCain (who gave a classy and beautiful speech tonight) and Barack Obama tonight. Both of them stressed the importance of working together and healing the divide that this nation has developed. And I truly hope that all who heard those words spoken by both of these good men who love our country will take them to heart.

We need healing now. We need to look beyond red states and blue states and see the faces behind those divisive colors. Let's call everyone purple and work together. That's what it's going to take--that's what it would have taken with either candidate's win tonight. And I'm prayerful--truly so--that we'll be able to do this.

God Bless America, and God Bless you all :0)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I freakin' love football!

Yes, you're on the right blog. Geez, guys.

I've been growing in my infatuation for the game for a few years now. At first I would only watch the Superbowl for the commercials. Then I started paying attention to the games. Then my small group would gather and a football game would be on in the background. Eventually I wouldn't walk out of the room during those games. And last year I found myself shouting at the TV on the Channell's living room floor on more than one occasion.

So this year I've faithfully watched the Titans (who are the ONLY undefeated team in the NFL at the moment with an 8-0 record) and the Colts (can't help it, I'm a Hoosier) when their games are broadcast down here. And since A is a huge football fan I've found myself tuning into more games than just those. Even a few college games here and there! I even (gasp!) own a Titans jersey now.

And tonight I got a strange text from A stating that he was going to watch the Redskins game to see who would win the election. Of course this prompted a confused reply from me which warrented him calling me to let me in on the fact that the last home game of the Redskins during an election year where the current President is not in the race has been an indicator of the winner of the election.

Apparently of the last 6 elections that the incumbant CAN'T win (like this year) if the Redskins win the incumbant party (in this case the Reps) win the election. If the Redskins lose, the incumbant party also loses.So basically according to the tradition if the Steelers win tonight, Obama is in. If the Redskins pull out a victory so will McCain.

So...guess who won?


I'm hoping this holds true for a 7th time. But I keep reminding myself that we are not electing the savior of the US. And that the outcome of this election does not determine our eternal future. So many people are freaked out about the outcome one way or another (and I will readily admit that I'm nervous about the opposite outcome)...but in the grand scheme of things I've got to remember that it's not quite as important as we're making it out to be :0)

Back to football: wouldn't it be awesome if the Titans made the Superbowl again? What a fun 10 years in Nashville anniversary present for me :0)