Monday, March 28, 2011

Let them eat cake

Those of you who know me know that I am not exactly the most domesticated creature. I still have to ask my mother-in-law how to boil an egg every Easter. Generally, we have survived on eating out and the kindness of others...mostly those who "love" to cook.

Over the past few months of basement living, we have been without the option to cook our own food. We either ate with our hosts or, when we didn't feel like being a burden, found the nearest fast food joint we could afford (which was dramatically limited, I might add). So, it may surprise you to know that once we moved into our new place, I was actually looking forward to cooking. Of course it didn't help that I had been reading those mystery books where the prime detective is a baker and recipes are included at the end of every chapter...and more than a few late nights of Cupcake Wars.

So, much to the delight of my boys (and a little bit of trepidation), I have been cooking and baking up a storm. The downside is that I haven't lost any weight and I've been running our tiny apartment dishwasher constantly. The upside is that I haven't had any major cooking disasters...yet. Yes, there have been several comments regarding "Who are you and what have you done with my mother/wife?" But overall, I have been very pleased with the response. Maybe I am more domesticated than I give myself credit for. Or maybe the June Cleaver will wear off in a few days. But for now I say, "Let them eat cake!"

My Cooking/Baking Accomplishments this week:

  • Spaghetti with spicy sauce (ok, the sauce was from a jar, but it was tasty nontheless)
  • Mac N Cheese (this was also from a box, but I put it on the list because CT loved it because I added extra shredded cheese and butter)
  • Three containers of chismol (Honduran pico de gallo that didn't turn out right because I forgot the salt, but I froze two of the containers and I think they can be saved by adding the salt after defrost)
  • Crockpot pork roast and potatoes (leftovers chopped up and smothered in BBQ sauce for yummy sandwiches after church on Sunday)
  • Chicken and sour cream enchiladas (made from recipe given to me by a good missionary friend. I even managed to find Honduran crema, which is 100% tastier than our sour cream, at a little Latin American store)
  • Make-Your-Own Pizzas with homemade pizza dough and tons of toppings to choose from.
  • Cheesecake swirl chocolate brownies (from a box, be baked to perfection)
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (no boxes or jars...all from scratch and delicious!)
  • Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting (made from leftovers of cake and delivered to the ladies in the rental office of our new apartment building)
  • Banana bread (made from scratch and half was devoured while it was still warm from the oven)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Exhausted But Excited

At church on Sunday, I was exhausted from our move, achy from lifting boxes and overwhelmed with the work left to be done. We made our way to our seats and I plopped down unenthusiastically. I was almost certain that I would fall asleep before the pastor even finished the announcements. Then the first few chords of "Open the Eyes of My Heart" rang out and I was on my feet and singing at the top of my lungs (unfortunate for anyone sitting within the three rows in front of me). 

Despite no being musically inclined, it's not often that a song moves me. But as PK quietly sung the Spanish lyrics next to me, I noticed tears streaming down my face. This song is a weekly staple at the El Sembrador church service and I couldn't help but wonder if all my boys were singing the exact same words at that very moment. I'm pretty sure that I could even hear them if I closed my eyes. The move, the growing to-do list, the anxiety and the exhaustion seemed to have numbed me over the last few days. But in that moment singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" God re-ignited that something deep inside me...that little piece of my heart reserved for El Sembrador. I closed my eyes and thanked God for this little reminder of His gifts in my life. For the first time in a long while, I let the stresses of my little world disappear and sang with renewed spirit and joy in my heart. I am still exhausted, but I am also excited to see what God has planned for our futures and I have been reminded of His blessings of the past year.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Apartment Living

We're finally getting ready to reunite the family under one roof! While I'm excited at the prospect of being together again, I'm a little leery of moving to an apartment again. We built our house almost 12 years ago and our home in Honduras had plenty of room to spread out. I have to admit, it's more the stigma of apartment living that's got me feeling apprehensive. I don't know where I got the idea that renting is somehow not as respectable as owning. But in all honestly, I almost feel ashamed at the idea of living in an apartment building. Maybe it's the perception of success when someone owns their own home or maybe it's the idea of paying as much as our house payment and having nothing to show for it...or maybe I'm just a house snob. The new apartment will have plenty of room, our own washer and dryer and covered parking and we'll never have to mow or shovel. I have no reason to complain. I just feel like we've lost something by renting again...silly as that may sound. Honestly, I don't know what's gotten into me. Am I really so selfish and conceited? Probably.

I think that when you decide to give up everything and move to a foreign country to serve God, you never really intend to "give up" everything and it sneaks up on you sometimes. Suddenly, you find yourself feeling like a martyr and whining to everyone about your "loss". I think that's the trap I find myself in at the moment. The reality is that we have a storage unit full of stuff and we still "own" a home even if we're not living in it. I mean we haven't exactly suffered for our ministry...not  by a long-shot. I told God I would do anything, go anywhere and give up anything and He has asked so little of me.

I'm feeling a little guilty for even exposing my greediness for the entire world to see! So, I am telling myself to  give up the martyrdom and be truly thankful for my new home and everything else.
"Self, there is no shame in renting an apartment, you silly little brat. In fact, you could really use that on-site fitness center once in a while, missy! Time to start walking the walk and give up something for God's ministry...maybe starting with a little of that pride. And if every you forget how blessed you are, remember that you could be living in your in-laws' basement!"