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Archive for September, 2009

The crossing of a threshold

It’s strange when you’ve been the baby-sitter/dog-sitter/house-sitter/plant-waterer/mail-collector your whole life when all of a sudden you find yourself sitting at the kitchen table writing a 4 page novel on how to clean your dog’s muddy paws if it rains. This is what I found myself doing on friday before we went away for the weekend and I realized I had crossed a threshold. We were now the ones leaving and having someone dog-sit. One of our friends stayed in our house to look after Milton and as I wrote ‘The Note’ I tried to be as normal and undemanding as I possibly could. It’s so hard though, when your dog has so many quirks and you have so many tricks up your sleeve to deal with them.

I think I wrote a whole paragraph explaining how to get Milton in from the yard, only for the whole thing to backfire. Let me explain. Milton is a stubborn fellow and has chosen not to come inside when his name is called. This can be quite annoying when one is rushing and needs to leave the house. Therefore one is forced to resort to bribary …  yelling “TREAT” as loud as possible until one sees his little white-tipped tail emerging from the shrubbs and running at full speed to the back door. Once he is inside, the door must be closed immediately for the plan to work. Then a treat is given.

So, I wrote this whole thing out because I knew it would come in handy, and lo and behold Brian (the poor soul who watched milton) needed to leave the house on saturday and milton was not responding to his name. So, Brian got a treat, yelled “TREAT!”, and milton came running. This is where the mistake was made. He didn’t shut the doggie door behind milton when he came inside. So, milton being the oh-so-obedient dog that he is, grabbed the treat from Brian’s hand and pelted out the doggie door back into the yard yelling “sukaaaa” before brian could even blink. All that to say, I think we shall have to look up some kennels for our next trip…

We had a wonderful time in Savannah, Georgia visiting Rebecca. It is so novel to be able to drive for 6 hours and pass through North Carolina, South Carolina, and into Georgia. Such a difference from living in Texas where you have to drive for hours upon hours just to get outside of the state. The town is a really cool place with lots of rennovated old buildings, lots of art everywhere, and lots of quirky restaurants and coffeeshops. It’s only 30 minutes from the sea too. Wonderful. It was great to hang with Rebecca and get out of town for a couple of days.

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white chocolate rasberry creme brulee

white chocolate rasberry creme brulee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, for those of you that don’t know; I got a nanny job a few weeks ago. I start in a couple of weeks and am very excited. I will be caring for a 9 month old boy named Tej and he is adorable. His dad is British, and his mom is South African but they moved from England in 1999 (same year as me : ) ). I went over to meet them two weeks ago and stayed for over two hours having English tea and hob nobs. They are such lovely people and I was able to talk very candidly with them.  She is an Oncologist at Duke Medical Center, and he is a Physicist. They seem like very interesting people and I’m so happy that we share such a strong tie already; not being naitve-born Americans! It has all just worked out so well after so many weeks of frustration and looking, God is indeed good.

You’ll be happy to know that I’m still keeping up with my cooking goal of making new recipes. Since I last posted I’ve tried a few things such as:

1. Polenta with zucchini and sausage

2. Eggplant casserole

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3. And tonight I made curried chicken and veggies, with quinoa and arugula! It was great, I’m loving the bitter taste of arugula to change it up from always having baby spinach. Variety people, variety.  

I’m so excited that Jess is coming to visit on friday!!! I’m trying to think of lots of fun things to do when she’s here. Can’t wait : ) Also, congratulations to our good friends the Henries who had their little girl Ananda a week and a half ago! She is so beautiful.

And to finish.. here’s  pic of some of our friends here in NC at our house watching the office 🙂

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Did you know…that the Pentateuch (first five books of the OT) ends with the people of Israel assembled on the banks of the River Jordan awaiting to enter the promised land, while the public life of Jesus begins on the banks of the Jordan? Moses’ work, passed on to Joshua, is left unfinished as the Torah is concluded. Though Israel eventually enters the land as the narrative moves forward, their identity does not depend on the actual possession of the land. What really matters is the promise that God has made to Israel. As Jean-Louis Ska points out about Israel’s identity in his Introduction to the Pentateuch, “The Promised Land, and not the possession of it, constitutes a fundamental element of Israel’s faith. In other words, according to the Pentateuch, it is possible to belong to the people of Israel without living in the Promised Land.” Jesus, who is another Joshua, or the one who will complete the work of Moses, is who will finally lead Israel into its true possession of the land, which is  consummated as Jesus announces the coming of the Kingdom. This point seems to me to be profoundly important as the Church discerns its relationship and position in the world: the Kingdom is not possessed through power or prestige, or control over a particular corner of the world, but rather through baptism and worship of the “one whom Moses spoke of.” Indeed, the Church’s identity is still defined by God’s promises. The Church is a sojourner on earth, with no place to lay her head. Like Israel on the banks of the Jordan, she waits in glorious hope to be led into the city that “has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

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One month of seminary down…

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Eat your veggies

I am a very goal oriented person. It’s good for me to have concrete things to strive for. So, I’ve decided I need to actually start setting some.

First up, cooking goals:

One new dish every week. I’m trying to become more adventurous in my kitchen endeavours and this will keep me looking for new recipes to try out. I’ve already made two new dishes this week… look at me go!! One I followed a recipe for, and one I made up! 

#1 Curried Cauliflower (with mango chipotle salmon, fresh green beans, and mashed sweet potato). From recipe.

Curried Cauliflower from Southern Living This is the photo from the recipe, not my own.

#2 Roasted bell pepper stuffed with black beans, mushrooms, corn, garlic, cilantro, and cheese. (With baked butternut squash and baked new potatoes). From my noggin.

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I tried to set another cooking goal but it has been vetoed by another member of the family who shall remain nameless. Until later in the paragraph. I’ve often thought about becoming vegetarian. I don’t enjoy and don’t eat red meat, and I can go with or without chicken most of the time. I love fish. So why not? Well, because I am married to a carnivore through and through. He may be skinny, but he loves him a big ol’ juicy steak. So, I thought, instead of breaking up with meat completely, I think I just need space. I want to get away from the mentality that every meal needs meat to be complete. Hence the meal yesterday of stuffed bell pepper, baked butternut squash (an absolute new favorite of mine!!), and new potatoes. In the midst of feeling very proud of myself and thoroughly enjoying such a healthy meal, I ask Dave if he is enjoying dinner. He looks up from his plate and says “Oh, it’s great, I really like it, it’s great …. it just feels like I’m eating a bunch of side dishes”.

So there you have it folks. Meat is back on the menu. I told Dave that I would have a huge leg of lamb waiting for him on the table when he came home tonight to make up for it. NOT. If nothing else, I want just to give vegetables the recognition they deserve.

Sidenote: I just entered to try and win one of these beauties… oh my sweetness. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Politics and insanity

I’m usually not one to actually get in the game of political opinion, but after observing the last few days of the health-care debate turn into mass protesting (and mass insanity) in Washington, I feel the urge to put down some thoughts into binary code. So, please bear with me as I indict  myself as another talking head in the incoherent world of internet-political-opinion-ranting.

First of all, the health care debate is a moral debate, not an economic one. Certainly the economic questions that inevitably stem from this issue and what is proposed around it are unavoidable and should be carefully and responsibly approached, and I realize that these are real issues that cannot be ignored. However, it seems that the debate in the mainstream media has been anything but a moral one. The issue, simply, is whether or not it is even morally tolerable to live in a community that allows anyone to go without access to health care. If this is the real issue, then health care should not be part of the economic logic of politics. We should be doing whatever it takes to ensure that nobody is left in the dark. Maybe the Government option is not the answer,  but this is what we need to be talking about.

I find it interesting that there has not been much of a connection with the health care debate and war. Both the conservative and liberal side of the debate seem to agree that when we are at war, the American people ought to be willing to sacrifice. Most of the people marching on Washington the other day probably agree that in order to win the  the war on terror- or whatever it is now called- there needs to be some sort of  sacrifice. Whether it be giving up certain moral convictions or sending sons and daughters off to war, most Americans feel that “freedom” comes with a price. America is built on the idea that somebody has to be willing to sacrifice (or kill) something if we are going to be “free”. Yet this does not seem to be the case for the issue of everybody’s right to health care.

The conservative stance may very well be right. Socialized health care may end up being catastrophic for the economy, it may be that the quality of care will be diminished because the resources are spread too thin. But this is all argued on the idea that we should be able to continue living the way we do without having to give anything up. Almost everyone wants a change in the system,  yet nobody wants to sacrifice anything to achieve it. Or for the politicians, nobody wants to ask anyone to sacrifice anything because there are elections to be won and political bases to be appeased.  This seems to be the case on both partisan sides, and it is essentially why Obama’s plan will not work.

For Christians, though, this should never be an issue. The Church never looks after its own interest, but always the interests of the poor, out-casted, and needy. Therefore, it may be that the Church and those that make it up may need to vote or fight for whatever is against their better interest in this situation. Christians should be the first people willing to give up the consumer option and security that we think the current system provides if it means that more people can have the same access to care as we do. Furthermore, I think it should always be a major red flag for Christians when any political cause or movement is overwhelmingly white, male-powered, heterosexual, and middle class, such as the crowd in washington was the other day.

Anyway, whatever one’s opinion is on this issue, it is still absolute insanity to compare Obama with Hitler, or to call him a socialist.

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Thursday night ramblings

There has been some confusion as to the author of the last post and I realize that the source was left somewhat hidden. It was in fact Dave who got on the wrong bus to Chapel Hill. Not I.

Next; let’s bring up the elephant in the room. We’re all thinking it, so I’m just gonna say it. What’s the deal with this 1 comment business???? (thanks Paul). I seem to remember our first blog post having a healthy number of comments, and now we’ve come to this. Not that I check our ‘blog stats’ every day or anything, but according to the graph that I glanced at briefly the other day, we’ve have a good number of visits each day (at least 20), and therefore, unless Paul is coming back 20 times each day, you people need to comment. Don’t you know one of my top needs is affirmation? And attention? And approval? Dad, I’m counting on you to comment on this post. You are the relational needs coach.

Ok, moving on. I must say I am ashamed to be living in such close proximity to South Carolina after last night’s fiasco. I mean, first we have people throwing shoes at Bush (which may or may not have been necessary), and now people calling Obama a liar in the middle of his speech. These people have guts, or maybe they’re just complete idiots. Speaking of… please enjoy this. Dave and I often do : ) 

I’m definately getting closer to finding a way to make some money. People have been overwhelmingly helpful in the process by sending me links, connecting me with people, and keeping an open ear for anything. It has been very encouraging during such a stressful time. The assistant pastor at All Saints comes up to me after the service every week and asks me if I’ve found anything. He emails me throughout the week with ideas, and has hooked me up with a couple of people to talk with. I feel certain that God is teaching me a thing or two about community and not going things alone, as we often think we need to.

Dave has hit the books full throttle. I realized this the night he gave an 8 minute soliloqy on the topic of theology, in his sleep. No joke folks. He even semi-remembered it the next morning. Usually he has no recollection of these late night escapades, and all that is left are my stories. When thinking back about what I was the most unprepared for coming into marriage; I think it was Dave’s sleep activity. I thought I could at least had a warning from a family member or two, but no. He’s done everything from yelling curse words at the top of his lungs, to rearranging furniture, to running away from the snakes that we’re on the floor by his side of the bed. Now that I’m used to it, it’s quite funny. But the first time I woke up to Dave’s face inches from mine yelling “WHAT THE HELL, THE SNAKES!!!” in the middle of the night, I was less than amused.

I have also been hitting the books lately. With so much time on my hands I have been reading lots of fiction. It’s great. In the last month I’ve read The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and A man named Dave. The last is the third book in the ‘A Child Called It’ trilogy written by Dave Pelzer. His story is heart wrenching, but amazing. It turns out that his story was one of the most gruesome and extreme cases of child abuse in California’s then history. Anyway, the first two book are about his life as a child and a teenager, and this last one is about him as an adult. I definately recommend it. 

The choir from King’s College, London came and performed at Duke Chapel this evening and they were wonderful. I absolutely LOVE choral music and listening to them made me want to be in a choir again. Hearing their British accents after the performance added to the nostalgia me thinks.

Anyway, I must go and watch an episode of Big Love (our new HBO addiction). Have a great weekend!

Miss these two little blondies : ) Ging Away party 030

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Today I found myself spending about forty-five minutes more than I typically spend on the shuttle after I accidently (and space-headedly) boarded the bus that goes to UNC Chapel hill (about a twenty minute one way bus ride) instead of the bus that goes to Duke’s East Campus (about a five minute one way bus ride). I realized that I was in for the long ride after I looked up and noticed that we had just entered the free-way and every passenger was reading- not a typical activity for a bus ride that is only five minutes. The good news is, though, that I was able to read about half of a book that I have been trying desparately to find the time to read. Lindbeck on the bus, and everything is just fine.

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