Thursday, August 30, 2012

Warby Parker

My vain attempts at finding the right glasses. And I HATE glasses. Mainly because I see what I really look like and kindof hate it. But then again they also hurt my head after a few hours because I have an abnormally large head that they have to hug (see Melanie, Jessica, or Patrick for references). So I also hate that part.

But lately I've had headaches because I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING. EVER. Patrick has to read me menues and anything on TV. And I've resorted to STANDING in front of the TV when I'm deciding what to watch because I can't see one word on the guide from my couch. #firstworldproblems (But praise God for digital cable). 

So here comes Warby Parker to the rescue. Think TOMS for glasses. Before TOMS doing their own glasses was cool. I picked 5 pairs I liked and they sent me the frames in a glamorous box. I think I like the ones in the top right? I wish the style in the top left looked better on me, but I'm fairly certain I'll be embarrassed that I ever owned them in 5 years. So I'm still thinking about them. 

Thoughts?





Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Military thoughts.

Patrick's brother is in the Air Force, and he just graduated from flight training school this past weekend. So we left Thursday to go to Pensacola for all of his graduation festivities, and I was seriously overcome with emotion THE WHOLE TIME. I wasn't crying profusely, but I was so struck with the amazing men and women in the military, and HOW MUCH they put on the line to protect our country. Obviously they're willing to risk their lives for us, and would do so gratefully, without a second thought. I can't fathom a more selfless and noble job for someone to take on.

And so Patrick and his parents and I sat in on these ceremonies, listened to the awards given, watched the graduation traditions, walked thru flight simulations, spent time in the airplane hangars, and went to a museum of all the planes flown by past presidents. And y'all, I seriously could not feel more honored to not only know someone in the military, but to now be related to someone in the military. Someone that is so close to my age. Who could have chosen to do anything else, but he chose this. And I was just not expecting to feel SO PROUD of that fact while I was in Pensacola. So overcome with compassion and understanding for what husbands and wives and parents and children go through on a DAILY basis, so that their loved ones can stand on the front lines of battle...risking their lives on behalf of others. On behalf of me

And the nature of Bryan's plane means that the missions he'll do are more dangerous than most, and he can tell us virtually nothing about them. As I've been thinking about that and how lonely that must feel, especially when you know you're doing something so amazing, BUT THAT NO ONE WILL KNOW... it is almost too much for me to stomach. 

Our military is incredible. And I just have so much more of an appreciation for them after seeing all that my brother-in-law is giving up in order to be a part of it. And to live on base, and be told what to wear and what to eat, and where to go. 

And I hope that I'll learn to honor them all better as I'm starting to get a more realistic view of what it takes to commit your life to our country. 


Here's a note from a dear friend whose husband is in the military. She and I have been going back and forth on our thoughts and proud moments, and I felt like these words were really truthful, poignant, and real. Painting a far better picture than I ever could of what the life is truly like.


The hardest and darkest time in my life to date was when my husband was deployed for those 13 months...and I try not to live in fear of the next deployment (because maybe there won't be one for him!) but the thought makes me physically ill. And I've gone through one deployment. One. While we were DATING. With no kids involved. Surrounded by my friends and family. I've had it so easy. There are THOUSANDS of women who have gone through multiple deployments with multiple children...who have had babies born while their husbands are away...and had to endure that awful, awful fear of wondering if their husband is safe every time a story about soldiers dying pops up on CNN. And the deployment is not even the half of it. Reintegration is hell. It was months before he was able to fully be himself after he came back. And he wasn't even in direct combat...its just the atmosphere alone that will jack these men up. The constant alertness, the constant fear of attack, the isolation....the list goes on and on and on. These guys come back CHANGED and it is terrifying. there is nothing like that in the civilian world. No business trip, no work assignment will EVER compare to a deployment. The people who do this, who live this life, are incredible. Bottom line. Your brother-in-law is a hero, simply for committing to this. Your family is incredible for supporting him and standing by him, for praying for him when he's gone, for sending him care packages when he deploys, for letting him know you're there for him no matter what...even when he can't tell you what he's doing or done...and that will feel very isolating and lonely and frustrating.


So make sure to thank anyone you know in the military for all that they give up on our behalf. Without being asked, and doing so gracefully and humbly. I can't think of a better hero to honor.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Verdict

Verdict on flank steak marinade? Eh.

It wasn't terrible, but I would have definitely added more salty ingredients. For the cut of meat we used, I think the salt would have complimented the sweet/spicy flavor better. Flank steaks are not a great cut of meat. They're easy to use in different dishes, they're affordable, and easy and quick to cook. But they definitely require some love before consuming.

So if I changed anything about my recipe, I'd probably just up the salt/garlic.

The smell was incredible, but the taste was just so-so.

Good luck in your cooking endeavors, and please send me any recipes that you've found that you love! (At least while I'm on my cooking kick). :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Flank Steak Suicide

I read this article on The New York Times and it got me thinking about how I marinade meat. And honestly I don't really marinade meat. Patrick does. I do all the other stuff, which seems to be slightly more important in my mind. But this time I wanted to try something different, and maybe even a little bit bizarre. So I opted for my own creative juices in hope they'd serve me well.


And before I go any further, in an effort to maintain full disclosure, I need to tell you that I have yet to actually try this recipe. So if I have my act together later on tonight or tomorrow, I'll let you know how it turns out. But for now, just invision what it could be, and get inspired to make your own glorious concoction.

In honor of the 8-year old at the soda fountain, we'll call this Flank Steak Suicide.

Flank Steak Marinade Suicide

2 cloves of garlic
1 chopped peach
Handful of chopped black cherries
Some red pepper, red pepper flakes, ginger, and salt
Soy sauce
Lemon juice and zest
Handful of mint and cilantro (only because they grow in my yard)
Brown Sugar

I threw it all in the blender and voila. Ugly, sludgy marinade...that actually smelled pretty good. In a sweet and spicy, garlicky kind of way. (I only used brown sugar because my buddy at the NY Times suggested it helps with mean browning over a grill.)

On my pan I put a little bit of sesame oil and some balsamic vinegar, then put my slab of flank steak down on top of it. Then I poured my thick, dark red mixture over top of the meat. And now it is sitting in the fridge soaking in all of the love it can get before we throw it on the grill.

*One suggestion other than the brown sugar that I used, was that adding a little oil to your marinade can keep your meat from sticking to the grill. Hence my additional sesame oil. Which I mean to put in the marinade. But forgot. 

Here's to a great dinner on the grill! 



Saturday, August 18, 2012

A note from Bob


So I was reading 'Love Does' a few weeks ago, and I came across a chapter that I wanted to share with you guys. I guess because it is so thought-provoking to me, and the words hold more and more value for me as I read over them.

What's up with equating "Bible Study" with knowing God anyway? Wouldn't it be a horrible thing if we studied the ones we loved instead of bonding in deeper ways by doing things with them? I'd never want to get married to a girl no matter how much I studied her. I'd rather take her sailing or fishing or eat cotton candy with her on a Ferris wheel. I don't think knowing her name in Greek is going to help me love her more. In fact, they have a name for guys who just study things about a person they like but don't do anything about it - they're called bachelors.

...

So I started getting together with the same guys each week and instead of calling it a Bible study, we call it a "Bible doing." We've been at it for 15 years now, and I've found there's a big difference between the two. At our Bible doing, we read what God has to say and then focus all of our attention on what we are going to do about it. Just agreeing isn't enough. I can't think of a single time where Jesus asked His friends to just agree with Him. 

...

If you get engaged like that, you'll be able to remember Bible verses better because you're living them instead of just reading them. Another by-product of engagement is all the canned answers we have to complex questions melt away. I think that is because we see ourselves in the context of something larger that is unfolding. The details aren't distractions; they are ladder rungs we can pull ourselves up on. We remember because we are no longer observers. I think Jesus had in mind that we would not just be 'believers' but 'participants.' Not because it's hip, but because it's more accurate, more fitting that way. He wanted people who got to the 'do' part of faith, not because he wanted activity, but because He wanted our faith to matter to us. 

...

We need to make our faith our very own love story.

...

Collecting information about someone is not the same as knowing a person. Stalkers are ordinary people who study from afar the people they're too afraid to really know.

This book has had some incredibly inspiring stories, and I imagine I'll read it a hundred more times. But I loved this spin on Bible studies because Bob doesn't say they are a bad thing, but just that it is all the more important to find where and how those Scriptures can intersect how we live. And how they can add to the love story you have with the Father and with Jesus. It's easy to get away from the love story piece. Because sometimes it's easier to read just to gain knowledge. But being challenged to read, and then do something with what you read is a bigger assignment. Especially if you're meeting with friends and asking each other what they are going to do with what you just read. I think that piece of accountability is hugely important, because Scriptures will mean different things to each of us. 

Which is why I wanted to share this with you guys in particular. Because I hope that this is the kind of relationship we can all have together. To spur one another on to love. And to learn better and more challenging ways to add Scriptures into our lives, and make them part of our love story.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shrimp Tacos, Lemonade, Chicken, Bruschetta

So I've actually been cooking a good bit in the last week or so. I think working from home actually gives me time to think about dinner, which saves us money on Trader Joe's frozen pizzas. I've tried to get creative, and not worry if I don't have all the ingredients for something. Usually I can find a substitue that I might like even better, so I just try to throw in new things as I can.

Shrimp Tacos with Peach/Pineapple Salsa

Salsa: 2 chopped peaches, 4 chopped pineapple rings, handful of cilantro, Thai chili sauce, lemon juice


For the shrimp, I stir fried shrimp, red peppers, onion and garlic in sesame oil. I tossed in some sesame seeds and a drizzle of pineapple juice and soy sauce. Then I combined the shrimp stir fry, cheese, and salsa in a tortilla. 

These were SO good. Sweet, savory, spicy, and crunchy. We had none leftover.



Homemade Bruschetta

In the food processor, I put some tomatoes, a handful of basil, some garlic cloves, a swirl of olive oil, juice from a lemon, salt and pepper. We put it on top of a sliced and toasted baguette, then topped it with feta. LOVE. 


Grilled Gruyere and Onion Sandwich

 I caramelized some onions, and threw them onto a grilled gruyere and turkey sandwich.


 Peach Lemonade

This is delicious, but my food processor couldn't liquify the peaches a ton. So it functioned more as a smoothie. I pureed peaches and a little bit of sugar in the food processor, then added juice from 5 lemons. Easy peasy. But definitely a thicker juice. I love pulp so it didn't bother me a bit. I would also say this would be amazing to add Rum or Peach Scnapps to for a more 'adult' beverage. 


 Crunchy Honey Chicken

Adapted from here. This stuff was like cocaine to me. I did use Kefir instead of eggs, sesame oil, and I used a mix of ground flour that I had. And what made this exceptionally good was the leftovers. The recommendations say to make less sauce, but I say make all the sauce so you can pour it over the leftovers and let it sit over night. Second time around might have even been better. This would be perfect to put on a salad too. One of my favorite things I've ever made. 




Friday, August 10, 2012

Real Marriage


Marriage is hard. So incredibly hard. And anyone who says any different is lying, I promise.

And its amazing to me that we build our lives around one relationship and its supposed strength. Strength that actually takes years to build. We buy houses, have children, adopt pets, and get involved in churches and activities. The basis of all these activities being your marriage. One relationship of two fragile people with histories and baggage and insecurities and opinions. How could it not be hard? And why does it catch us so off guard when we all know hundreds of married people who could have warned us?

Maybe in an effort to look good to everyone on the outside, we neglect to be honest with ourselves and each other. It is just so easy to pretend that things are great and easy when they are really difficult and unexpected and ugly on the inside. Ignorance is bliss, right?

But we can't afford to be ashamed of the hardness of marriage. Because in being ashamed, we deny ourselves help. We deny ourselves the encouragement and support of friends, and we deny others the opportunity to learn from us and our mistakes. Mistakes that they might not have to make, which might in turn save their marriage. All because we are ashamed and prideful, and we want so badly to look put-together and polished.

And for some reason, being vulnerable has become unacceptable in some circles, and that's not okay. Because sometimes you need other people to believe and have faith and be strong for you, when you don't have the strength to be those things for yourself. We have to help each other. Whether that be laying down in the trenches or climbing the mountains together – we have to believe for each other, have hope for each other, and fight for each other. Even when things are ugly and desolate and hopeless. Because that's when we need each other the most.

Because we all lose heart at some point.

And that doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you normal. The fury of hell has been released upon marriages because they are so beautiful and precious to God. And because they are an exact representation of Him and the Church. The war against us is real and intense. And we shouldn't ignore it, but instead be looking for opportunities to support each other through it.

So I want you to know that I want to be all-in for you

For your marriage. 

And your family.

And your friendship. 

And your happiness. 

24/7, forever and always. 

Please let me. Come be a part of my story and let me be a part of yours. Because marriage is hard, and we all want someone to go through it with. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summery Things

This is mainly a picture post, with a few notes on each shot. Not that exciting, sorry. I do have some thoughts rolling around in my head on marriage and friendship and authenticity, but those will come a little later as they become solidified. Or even before that because I have a tendency to speak out before I really know what I'm saying. All in good fun. :) And blogging is supposed to help the process I hear, so I'm hanging onto that food for thought. 


Attempted crafts. Why oh why can I not be like FRANKIE who is an incredible artist? One day I hope she teaches me her ways. 

I'm getting better with my food processor. The dip on the top left is an orange pepper dip, with carrots, peppers, orange, garlic, and salt. Add it to a cracker with a basil leaf and mozzarella and you have homemade bruschetta! I'm so grateful that my basil plant requires virtually nothing from me to succeed. 

Finished this book last week. It came highly recommended. Would I recommend it in return? Eh. It's written by a Norwegian journalist, so although it is about the Arab world, it has little of the Arab style of storytelling that you so commonly find with Arab authors. Hard stories + not beautiful writing = Bleh. 

Heading to the beach with Patrick! Our annual beach trip is one of our favorite times of the year. 24 people in one house is a step above loud and chaotic, especially when there is someone up at all hours of the day/night when you have babies, 5 year olds, teens, Walter, and adults. My brother is a nocturnal adult which is why he has his own category.

Our glorious house! 

My dad's brother and sister - Tom and Marilee, and my grandmother Annie. 

The beautiful sunset we got to watch from the porch every night.

Gathering before we serve dinner to pray.

My church #confessions. Sometimes my books are too good to leave at home.  And our church is amazing, but has been known to have lots of 'lag' time between worship and the message. This is when I open my book.

Judge me all you want, but I love to read and sometimes feel like I hear more from the Lord through stories and books. Its just the season I'm in, and I'm okay with it. 

Peach salsa = GLORY. We bought some peaches coming home from the beach that are FAB. So Liz passed along a peach salsa recipe that is pretty amazing. AND I had all the ingredients in my fridge. Except for the mint that came from my yard. Praise God for another herb that requires me to do nothing. 

One of my new obsessions. AND THEY MAKE IT IN PURSE SIZE! That is what I'm more excited about. But I'm trying to find Shakira's Eau Florale in the purse size sprayer, but have yet to locate it. Womp womp. It is to die for.