Archive | March, 2008

a servant’s heart…

28 Mar

We’ve been studying passages of the Bible using the REAP method, simply standing for Read, Examine, Analyze, and Pray. Today I read 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 and wrapped it in with last night’s Proverbs 31 discussion.
R.

“So then men ought to regard us as servants of Christ, and those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required tat those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2

E.

The end of the chapter prior talks about us, as believers, being of Christ, and that Christ is of God. I think it is interesting how Paul calls out that he doesn’t even judge himself. I often think about not judging others (note: I think about not doing it more than I act that way). But, I rarely think about not judging myself. I judge how I look, or how I “think” I look, really. I judge what I cook, clean, create…nothing is ever good enough for my own standards. I also get overwhelmed – I create too much for myself to do and then want everyone’s sympathy because I am so busy.

A.

The beginning of the set of verses tells how we should act in such a way that people see us as Christ’s servants. How would I act if Christ physically showed up in my house and I was to serve him?

I would probably:

  • be much more humble
  • think of others before myself more
  • be more intentional with my conversation – doubt I would just pass the time with Jesus talking about the weather or being frivolous about the shoes I was wearing
  • be more engaging and undistracted in my interactions – I would focus, rather than folding laundry while watching the TV while listening to Him talk
  • cross all of the superfluous tasks off of my list – do I really need to go to the grocery store again because I forgot the apples? I really wanted apples, I really wanted some red in the fruit basket with the yellow bananas and green pears we already have – pretty sure Jesus would be happy with just the pears and bananas
  • listen more than talk
  • be flexible with my schedule – and not go crazy if something gets off-schedule

Last night we spent some time talking about the Proverbs 31 woman, discussing who she is and what she does, and doesn’t do.

Some of the realizations that we came to were that the Proverbs 31 woman:

  • doesn’t have “taking time to herself, sans husband, sans kids” in her daily schedule
  • doesn’t worry about what she looks like
  • is strong from her labour
  • is not entitled to praise…and doesn’t get to quit if she doesn’t get praised
  • is overwhelming….how do we do all of this?

The promise is in the verses around today’s reading in 1 Corinthians help us see why we do it:
1. God’s spirit lives in you (ch 3 vs 16)
2. You are of Christ (ch 3 vs 23)
3. So regard yourself as a servant (ch 4 vs 1)
4. You are given trust and must prove faithful (ch 4 vs 2)
5. Do not judge yourself (ch 4 vs 3)
6. For the Lord will judge (ch 4 vs 4)
7. He will expose the motives of man’s hearts and at that time, each will receive his praise from God (ch 4 vs 5)

For God. How do we do it? How do we strive to be that Proverbs 31 woman? We stop worrying about it and just do it with a servant’s heart. We don’t judge ourselves or worry when we fail, we just keep out hearts focused on Christ.

P .

Lord, make me more like you. Make my heart desire to be more like you. To have a servant’s heart. To cease judging myself. To negate the superfluous and wait for your glory.

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Easter Brunch: Crab Towers, Eggs Benedict, and a Butter Braid

27 Mar

Typically, at Easter, we head to the Resort in The Woodlands for a champagne brunch. The food is fantastic and there is always more to choose from than you can fit in your belly. This year, we visited the brunch at Christmas when my brother was home from college, so we opted to make brunch at home for Easter, sans brother. We had Eggs Benedict, dolled up with prosciutto and spinach, as well as these crab/avocado/mango towers.

Crab Tower and his friend, Egg Benedict

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We also had this fantastic carb-loaf called a “Butter Braid.”

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Twelve or so servings of flaky pastry wrapped around a gooey, sweet, frosting-like cinnamon frosting and topped with a vanilla glaze. Think glorified Toaster Strudel. Doesn’t get much better than that. The recipe for the Butter Braid involves finding your Butter Braid dealer. I would highly encourage it.

Back to the crab. The crab is excellent, the mint and cilantro highlight the dish with a fresh taste and the avocado provides a touch of creaminess next to the sweet mango. The whole dish is tied together with a mango sauce that is sweet with brown sugar with cayenne and paprika for a bite.

Crab Towers with Avocado and Mango Filling, and Mango Sauce

adapted from Simply Recipes.serves 5. Towers:1 lb of fresh lump crab meat, shells picked out

1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons mint leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 medium sized mango, diced

1 firm but ripe avocado, diced

Tabasco sauce

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mango Sauce:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ripe mango, diced

1/4 cup of water

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup brown sugar,

1/4 t. cayenne

1/2 t. paprika

1 t. smoked salt or liquid smoke

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tower Directions:

In a bowl add the crab meat, 2 tsp of cilantro, 1 tsp of mint, the garlic, a tbsp of lime juice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 10 drops of Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix carefully with a fork. Refrigerate.

In a separate bowl add the mango, avocado, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 Tbsp of lime juice, the remaining cilantro and mint leaves, 20 drops of Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix carefully with a spoon, as not to smash the avocado.

Line 5 small ramekins or desert bowls with plastic wrap for individual towers. Press crab into the bottom third of the ramekin, then the avocado mixture into the middle third, and then more crab to fill the dish. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

Sauce directions:

Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the mango, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the fruit is very tender. Add water, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in all other ingredients and let the sugar and spices dissolve for 3 minutes while stirring.

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When you are ready to serve, turn the ramekins upside down on individual plates. Pull off the ramekins, leaving plastic wrap intact, then gently pull off the plastic wrap and drizzle with sauce. serve extra sauce on the side.

day three…

27 Mar

More journaling from last month’s trip.

We roll into Jamaica aroud 8am, and I am in the fitness centre. When I arrived here at 6:30, you could see the entire island of Jamaice, from east to west, like someone painted a picture across the windows of the gym. As I pedal on an eliptical machine, U can see the island more clearly. Rows of hills, lined up like students in a class photo. Tallest in the back and smallest in the front. Clouds lay between each line of hills to protect the valleys from the harshness and reality of the sun. In a few hours, the sun will deny the valleys their coverr and the clouds will dissolve into the sky, valleys left unrequited.

So I am in the gym, with the other crazies who: must. work. out. and Jamaica approaches, or we approach Jamaica, rather. Green lucious hills look like they are covered in astroturf, but they’re not. God greated that vibrant green colour in nature, man only copied it later. The people in Jamaica are slow, they walk slow and talk slow and drive slow. They get your food slow, which is highly irritating to most Americans. They’re not really slow though, they just aren’t so rushed like us. I joke that if I have three hours on a Sunday afternoon, I will make a list of things to do that will logically take 4 hours, and then race around to get everything some in a smaller timeframe. I do this all the time. An hour to make dinner? This recipe will take an hour and 15 minutes, but I will stress myself out trying to speed it up to be finished in an hour while my “30 Minute Meals” cookbooks laugh at me from the bookshelf. I feel like I have to rush around. I don’t know why.

We dock, and take a taxi into the town, and wander around until a guy offers to take us for a tour. Sure, we say, but he’s already leading us through the streets of downtown. He keeps saying “hey, Mon,” do this, or “heymon” look at that. Later we learn his name is Paul, but for now we just call him Heymon. Heymon takes us downtown through Montego Bay, MoBay to the locals. We round a corner and Heymon points to the left, “that’s where the Pakistani markets are.” what? but there’s no point in asking, we’re now down to MoBay’s market and Heymon is stopping traffic for us at each intersection. The only other tourists whiz by in tour busses abd peek out the windows at the locals. We weave through shops with shoes and hats, and head south from whence we came. We pass schoolgirls in uniforms. The uniforms are a reminder of the country’s British past. We end up in a ‘tourist market’ and Heymon tells us his name us Paul. He points us to his brother’s stand in the market. Jon thanks him for the tour and shakes Paul’s hand as Paul asks for $20. Jon gives him a $5, and they both feel like theye got a good deal for the 10 minute tour.

Later, we head the Pork Pit, where we had lunch: half a chicken and Red Stripe while pondering just living here forever. We could slow down, we say. We could take each day as it came, we say. We could live off the land and lose everything we own when a hurricane hits. Maybe later, we say…maybe later.

We walk the three miles back to the shop in the hot 2pm sun, the rays beat down on my back and we’re often sharing the sidewalk with staggering men. It’s all the same as home.

…my huuuuuusband…

25 Mar

The Game of Tag about your MAN:

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1. Who is your man? Jonathan R.

2. How long have you been together? 1 year married , 7 years total…sheesh

3. How long dated? 6 years if you do the subtraction

4. How old is your man? 23
5. Who eats more? Him.

6. Who said “I love you” first? Sad that this should have been a defining moment but I don’t remember

7. Who is taller? Jon, by far.

8. Who sings better? Jon is a very good singer. He can also play many instruments, I have none of these talents.

9. Who is smarter? Eh, Jon is a better analyzer, but I am a better test-taker (for what that’s worth…o wait, not a lot). I can do the English and foreign language if he can do the Math and Economics.

10. Whose temper is worse? Easy, Jon…In conjunction with “Who is more irrationally emotional?”: Me 🙂

11. Who does the laundry? Jon does most of the time.

12. Who takes out the garbage? Mostly Jon. I just continue to cram more garbage into the trashcan so that I don’t have to take it out. I consider myself an effective human trash-compactor.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? If you’re looking at the bed, he sleeps on the right side, but that changes depending on where we are. Jon always sleeps closest to the door. To protect me. From the monsters.

14. Who pays the bills? I do.
15. Who is better with the computer? Jon is a way better typer, I still look at my fingers and I attribute that to moving schools a few times and missing a typing class, but that is a lame excuse. I am better at internet RSS and such.

16. Who mows the lawn? Jon. We can safely say I have no idea how to use a lawnmower.

17. Who cooks dinner? Moi. usually. Glad I get to claim that I do something on this survey.

18. Who drives when you are together? Jon
19. Who pays when you go out? Jon signs the bill.

20. Who is most stubborn? I am.

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? He is better at it and then I typically follow.

22. Whose parents do you see the most? Pretty even.

23. Who kissed who first? He kissed me.

24. Who asked who out? He did.

25. Who proposed? He did.

26. Who is more sensitive? Me! Me!

27. Who has more friends? Not really sure. We have many mutual friends. We’re both homebodies though.

28. Who has more siblings? Jon, he’s the youngest.

29. Who wears the pants in the family? Jon…absolutely. He is an amazing leader and protector. I love that he wears the pants 🙂

That’s all I got, friends.

day two…

7 Mar

It’s Monday and we get up early, only to relocate to lawn chairs and return quickly to the somber from whence we came until atleast 1pm, when the bellyflop competition will commence poolside. I think of the staff meeting that I was not present for this morning, and think of the fondness I have for the people I work for. We spend so much time together and know pretty well how to help eachother our and be supportive.

I wonder what these other 3,000 passengers on this vacation megaboat do on a normal day. Haircolour and number of wrinkles alone lead me to believe that over half of these people are retired and much of what they are doing today is probably normal: waking early, eating, playing bridge and talking about grandchildren. But what about the rest of these people?

An early thirtysomething dad stands with his probably four- or five-year-old daughter to look out into the ocean:

Daddy, what’s under the water?

More water, baby. With fish.

What’s under that?

Even more water.

More fish?

Yes.

Like Nemo?

Nemo is probably out there somewhere, baby.

Well what is under alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the water?

Rock

What’s under that?

More rock.

And?

I don’t know, baby. Why don’t you become a geologist when you grow up and figure it out?

Ok. I want to be a gee-ol-gis. Maybe I will be as smart as you, daddy.

He probably spends 60 hours a week doing something terribly important for a company, but in these two minutes, this five-year-old is more important than anything, thanks to no ability for incoming phone calls and and only four dial-up internet enabled computers available for these 3,000 people.

day one…

5 Mar

We got back from a cruise last week! I will post some entries from my journal in the next few days:

The road to Galveston is a long one, a highway that rushes like a river through the concrete jungle that is Houston. Houston is massive. You can drive for an hour and a half and all along your way meet people who say they’re from Houston. We pass skyscrapers. Symbols of the American Dream, of wealth and power. Rich oil companies and swanky investment firms make their beds in the top floors of the tallest ones while single-digit floors are laden with smaller businesses that spend too much money for a downtown zip code. They feel privileged to rest on the bottom bunks of their more established, more successful counterparts.

We pass desperation on the sides of the road. They’re stumbling either from too much booze or from sheer physical deterioration. Sadly, I can’t tell the difference. I wonder silently if they gave up on life or if it gave up on them.

on travelling…

3 Mar

Today, my airplane was at Gate 1. I have hardly explored the Gates 1-12 section of Austin Bergstrom International Airport, as my typical Continental ticket has me waiting in the 13-25 wing. Today I am at gate 1, so I really will have seen the whole airport. I walk through the terminal, seeing gates 6, 5, 4, 3…round the corner to 2, and then just a simple sign for gate 1: PLEASE USE STAIRS OR ELEVATOR DOWN TO GATE 1. Ah, the special gate, cant wait for this one. I sit down for a few minutes and then they start to board. And by board, I mean open up the door out to the cement runway where passengers climb stairs up to the plane. ABIA is a small airport, but not small enough that it doesn’t have [that accordion thing that connects the terminal to the plane…can’t think of what it is], no, this plane is simply so low to the ground that [an accordion thing] would not be able to accommodate it. Unless it was a mini [accordion thing…what is that called?], but then perhaps we would all feel too much like we were boarding a Disneyworld ride and not a fancy grown-up airplane. For me, this is a business trip. I feel pretty special when I get to take a business trip, so special they had to fly me somewhere. That is pretty prideful of myself, but I don’t really care, and my ego is being fueled by the staircase I have to walk up to board the plane. I feel like the president, or the president’s wife at least. Jackie O or Laura Bush…walking up the steps to my private jet (because there are ohsomany stock photos of W and Laura on the steps of Air Force One, embarking and disembarking). My pride is quickly brought back to reality as I shove my too-big bag under a seat and a lady sticks her behind in my face as she tried to get her bag into the overhead compartment. Oh well. I sit down in my little seat want waited for the plane to leave the airport. I feel really American after my nostalgic minute as a first lady. I feel even more American as the overhead music plays “crocodile rock.” I know Elton is an Englishman, but I claim him as American, so whatever. My American-ness (or Texan-ness?) penetrates further as I eat my smoked turkey salad that I brought from the Salt Lick stand in the airport. I even use bbq sauce instead of dressing on it.

I got to New Orleans ok. my flight was an hour and a half late. Because the “battery broke” on the plane. I put that in quotes because later I called Jon and he said there was no battery on the plane, so who knows what they were stalling for. then I got to new Orleans and then shuttle ride to the hotel was some 50 people long, and I am pretty sure each of those 50 people were paying with foreign currency completely unfamiliar to the shuttle-ticket seller at the window. it was taking forEVER. SO, I split a cab with two other people I met in line: a woman from Michigan (ohmygawsh, you are heeere for a cawnfrence? does that mean all the rest-rants will be filled up? uuuuuuuuuuuugggggggghhhh), and a man from Montreal (read with French accent: we has so much snow in mon-trayyy–aal I don’t know where to put it anymore on my drrrriveway). That was a new experience. My boss can thank me later for the $10 I saved on splitting the cab. I am not sure if it was worth it or not.

I arrived at the hotel and it is fantastic. The room is huge, I feel like I am on my honeymoon with my co-worker.

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