Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hello Again!

Maaf ya, sudah lama! (Sorry, it’s been awhile!) 

When I started this blog, we were barely able to communicate out and about….now, thankfully, we’re alot more “fluent” (a term I will use VERY loosely) and a lot busier! Since I last blogged, we went to Bali for a week, have had a few friends over for dinner, gone to dinner with new friends, and gotten to sit in on team meetings with some co-workers and hear their reports of work being done. We’ve learned the shortcuts around this city, we’ve attended birthday parties and other get-together, we’ve attended a 2-day gathering to lift up this city and people, and I’ve learned the “local” price for things, so now I can bargain for a reasonable price!  We’re about to start our final month of language study, but before that we’ll spend a week visiting our future island/city/home. Where has the time gone?!? Although busy sometimes equals crazy, I’m so grateful Father has filled up our lives here.
Can I take a moment to brag about my husband? He’s pretty great! Here are a few reasons why:
1.       He learned how to drive a stick-shift car. This is no small feat when you consider it’s on the opposite side of the road, sitting on the opposite side of the car, in crazy traffic. He has driven us around every day without complaint….and now he is patiently teaching me how to drive!
2.       He kills all the bugs that get into our house (I am a little frightened with the great joy he derives from this though!)
3.       He has uncomplainingly eaten every meal I’ve made. Again, different conditions make cooking here more difficult, folks! Experimenting with new ingredients/recipes, the biscuits not rising, the pasta that was amazing last week being not-so-great this week when he requested it (I still don’t know WHAT I did differently!?!?), eagerly anticipated brownies being burned, no pork and no big juicy steaks…And he still helps with the mountain of dishes afterward!  
4.       He handles all of our expense reports, all of our administrative email stuff, writes our newsletters, pays our bills, and makes sure we get all our reports in on time. He balances these things along with language study, in which he’s doing awesome!
5.       He encourages me and pushes me to do those things I want to do, but don’t think I’m able to do. There was a great example of this a few weeks ago:

There’s a wonderful family that invited us over for dinner our first month here. We enjoyed talking with them (thankfully the dad knows some English, and their teenage daughters know quite a bit too), and they really blessed us with their hospitality. Stephen suggested we invite the over to our house for dinner, and while I wanted to, and the same time I was crippled with doubts!

Our house is too small…our table can only seat 4! I don’t know all the culturally-polite-hostessy-things yet. I can’t possibly cook as much food as they offered us…much less any local dish! No, there’s no way I can offer them as much as they offered us, so we can’t invite them over.” 

 Thankfully, I was convicted about how incredibly selfish, prideful, and wrong my thinking was. Stephen reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect, that they will be understanding of any shortcomings, and that it’s the heart behind the “stuff” that’s important (he’s a man though, so he didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what I got from it!). And he was right, they were excited about the invite, they were complimentary of the food (I made my mom’s specialty—baked ziti—and they still talk about the breadsticks Stephen made!), and we had a great time of fellowship. Stephen helped with the cleaning and with the cooking, because he knew I would stress myself out trying to “handle it on my own”. Lesson learned: I don’t always have to be perfect. Actually, I never will be. And my pride can either cause me to retreat and never try anything, or I can resist my pride/doubts and give my best to whatever the situation may be (cue the sappy ending music from “Full House”).
As a final thought…is there something Father is calling you to do that you don’t think you can? I know that there have been sooooo many times that He has laid something on my heart, given me a vision or passion for something, or I’ve thought “that would be so cool to do”, but I allow doubts and lies to hold me back. Why do I run from these things? Usually, it can be boiled down to laziness, selfishness, doubts about the gifts and abilities He’s given me, or not wanting to be seen as a failure---which is pride. Not very pretty, right? So, take it from me: DON’T RUN AWAY! Take the next step to follow through on those ideas and dreams!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Ps. 139:14)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in C.J. to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship…We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully…Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Rom. 12)
 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms…If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through J.C. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Friday, June 15, 2012


 We've found a new favorite....Calzones! I got this recipe off a great blog called "Market To Meal". This dough is THE BEST. Within the last week we've used it for calzones, then breadsticks--twice. (What can I a land of rice, I miss good doughy bread!)
This made 4 large calzone---enough for dinner AND lunch the next day!

These were super easy to make, and really didn't take long. I mixed up the dough, and while it rested, I browned ground beef and sauteed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms with it. (Just our choice of filling that time---there are sooooooooooooo many options!) Now that my dough and filling were both ready, I divided the dough into 4 pieces, and patted each into a large circle---maybe 1/4 inch thickish? Put a scoop of your filling on one side (I then added some cheese also), fold the dough into a semi-circle, then slash a few holes in the top. We popped these in the oven for about 10 minutes. Sorry, but I don't know what temperature they cooked at...this is my first time cooking with a gas stove, and I just turned the knob to "the middle dot"! These were crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey-melting-cheesy-puffy-doughy on the inside :-) Here's step-by-step directions:


Calzone Dough

Credit for this wonderful recipe goes to Sara Beth at Market to Meal

1 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbs yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil (regular works, but olive makes a nicer texture and flavor I think)

Combine first 3 ingredients in your bowl. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and let yeast grow. Add additional ingredients to bowl, adding flour 1 cup at a time. Mix well and knead about 3-5 minutes. Allow to rest and rise if you want, but this dough works fine to just go ahead and be used--one of the great things about it!

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Pat out each piece into a round piece of dough, about 1/4 inch thick. On one half, pile toppings (save sauces for dipping rather than putting inside)--about 3/4 to 1 cup worth of toppings and cheese is about what the dough can handle. Fold dough over top, making a half circle shape. Seal edges as best you can by tucking and pinching together (I usually bring the bottom edge over the top edge and pinch down in as pretty of an edge as I can. Slash 2-3 vents in the top of the calzone. Bake at 450F until golden brown--about 10-15 minutes.

Ideas for fillings:
Cooked sausage
Cooked chicken
Steamed spinach
Bell pepper
Other fresh or steamed veggies
Anything you put on pizza!

Sauces for dipping:
Marinara, Ranch Dressing, BBQ Sauce, etc

Our favorite thing to do with Calzones is have Calzone Dinner Parties!! I make up big batches of the dough and everyone comes and pats out their own and stuffs their own with whatever selection of toppings we have (have guests bring toppings if you have a big group!). Have people mark the tops in unique ways when they do their "vents." Then we have different dipping sauces once everyone's calzones are ready. These also make great appetizers if you make about 12 of them instead of 4 and stuff with just a small amount of cheese and meat.

Enjoy! :-) 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Starting Point

My first blog post….whew, a little intimidating! How about we start with a little background info…
S and I are from Tennessee, got married in 2010, and desired to follow the Father’s calling to share His Good News with all people. We moved to Southeast Asia on April 15, 2012, and will be doing language school until October. Once we finish up language study, we’ll move to our “home” for the next year and a half, where we’ll work with an Eco-Tourism company doing scuba diving and hiking, etc. Pretty awesome, huh? :-) 
As we work, our pr@yer is that we demonstrate this verse:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18)
And as we build relationships we want to “overflow” onto those around us: For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Lk 6:45) and “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the H.S.” (Rom 15:13). Just as all believers are called to do, even as we go about our work and daily tasks, we will “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15).
So, that’s our purpose. We’re loving the adventure of living overseas—language learning (AH!), cooking (it usually goes something like this when I read a recipe: “hmmm, can’t buy that here, but I can substitute this…a can of that is WAY too expensive, I’ll have to make that ingredient from scratch…and who knows what temp my oven is ever at!?!?”), driving (we S learned how to drive a stick shift!), and learning what it means to really depend on the Father as “all our fountains are in Him” (Ps 87:7---I also love: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” Ps 36:9; “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death” Prov 13:14).
Check back soon for recipes I’ve tried out (or want to try…my Pintrest board is WAY too full of “recipes to try”…and they all seem to be sweets!), or adventures as they pop up, or things that the Father is working in my heart. Thanks for your pr@yers and encouraging words as you share this journey with us!