Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Idol of Busyness

Busyness is an interesting god.  It tells us that we are important and needed.  It reminds us that if we keep moving, eventually our existence will be validated.  This idol tells us that if we stop to chat with our elderly neighbor or write a letter to a friend, that someone else will be gaining ground on us.  Busyness becomes such powerful force demanding our worship, that we  minimize things like relationships because relating doesn't get us anywhere.

Networking.  Now, that's the kind of relating that the god of busyness loves.  It makes us feel like we are investing in another human being, but actually we are just using them as fuel to drive our desire to be known by others and appear successful to the world around us.

In the Christian world, we can fill our days with good things.  Things that look like service and love, but in our minds, we know that they are simply the Christian counterpart to the secular desire for fame.  We simply find a smaller pool to become known in.

I have fallen pray to the idol of busyness too many times to count.  As I am running around frantically serving others, Jesus is waiting for me to stop.  I am finding much contentment in being a Martha, when Jesus is simply sitting over with Mary.

What would happen to me if all the busyness simply stopped?

Would I fall apart or would I begin to breathe?

At the end of the day, did I find more joy in praying quietly in the back of the room with a struggling friend, or attending the meeting with all the big names?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thai Basil and Pork and the Inferior Coordination of White People

All these recipes in a row and I'm gonna have you all fooled that I can actually function properly in the kitchen.  I usually just steal recipes and change a thing or two.  I'm growing a few herbs, which I'm actually failing quite miserably at.  Creatures from every genus and species have taken up residence in my little herb garden.  I didn't think Chinese bugs would have a taste for basil, but it looks as if their palate has evolved considerably.  

This recipe is actually for spring rolls.  I tried making this inside spring rolls and I will tell you that I think Asian people have better hand/eye coordination than us white people.  Their dexterity with small things like ping pong and spring rolls baffles my mind.  The wrappers were soggy and fell apart, so we dissected them and ate the insides.  Now I forsake the spring rolls so that my delicate self esteem can remain remotely intake while I live among such a coordinated population.

I also double and sometimes triple this recipe.  It's great with rice or even a fried noodle dish. 

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile sauce (you can even leave this out if you aren't a fan of spice)
  • Top with fresh basil (arguably my favorite part of the dish)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Delegation Plan A

Wednesday in our casa means that my almost 10-year old daughter cooks dinner for the family.  She has to come up with the grocery list, write it (in Chinese) for our house helper to pick up first thing in the morning, cut, prep and cook.  

I've worked with her to be able to independently cook about 7 different dinners.  She works through 2 or 3 until she feels like she can do it all by herself.  Tonight, it was breakfast tacos with sausage and hash browns.  She did it all by herself.

I see this as a win win for me.  (Yes, that is my son clench fisted and angry about something.  I left this picture in just to show you how real our life is on a daily basis.  I've got no time for pretending we've got our act together).  She is learning valuable skills in the kitchen and learning to serve her family.  

I've told all of my children that at 8 years old, we start practicing more independent cooking and then by 9 they are assigned a specific night to cook.  As I was unfolding my genius plan, Malachi was gazed over in thought and then announced that "Hey, wait a minute!  We've got 5 kids, so that means that in a few years, you won't be cooking at all!!!"


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Makaria's 3rd Birthday

My girl turned 3 a couple of weeks ago. 

This was the picture where we first laid eyes on our sweet girl. That was 2 years ago.  She now looks at this picture and tells me, "I was sitting there waiting for you."  She really does say that to me, it's not just a line. She easily could have said "Look at my big tummy!" But, she doesn't.  And that makes me smile and get a little weepy.  Not gonna lie.

We did a little party at her Chinese school after waking up to signs and cards given to her by the rest of us.  

She had a Mei Yang Yang (pretty goat) cake.  She is a famous cartoon character here.  She's really is not that into cartoons, but the bakery has limited skills.  I ordered the cake the day before and we spent the next 24 hours telling reminding her how much she loves Mei Yang Yang.

Those eyes are going to get her in trouble one day.  Or at the very least, give her whatever her little heart desires. 

At dinner, we had spaghetti and french bread.  We all told her the wonderful things we love about her.  A few of them were:

full of joy
easily contented
silly and loves to have fun

Her teachers say she is using lots of Chinese now, but is still pretty quiet in class.  She is normally pretty laid back and quiet until she gets comfortable and then there's no going back. She dances and sings all day long, in both English and Chinese.  

Brad, Selah and I went to school and sang with her friends who wished her a Happy Birthday!
I cannot believe it's been 2 years.  I cannot believe we had a life without her.  

Love you sweet girl.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Go-To Pizza Dough Recipe

I've tested many a pizza dough recipe.  Most of them taste like dinner rolls with red sauce.  I don't want my pizza to taste like it came from the Luby's drive thru.  I've found one that is now my go-to pizza dough recipe.  It's bready, but tastes more like pizza dough.  At the bottom, I'm adding a few extras that have amped up my homemade pizza.  

Pizza Dough

2 1/2-3 cups flour
2 T sugar
2 1/4 t. yeast
1/2 t salt
1 cup hot water
2 T oil

I throw it all into my bread maker, but you can simply knead it for about 5 minutes and then let it sit and rise in a warm place.  Wait until the dough size doubles. 

After it rises, divide it into two pieces.  This recipe will make two large thin crust pizzas.  I usually double the recipe because we breed children for a hobby.  

After rolling it into the pizza shape you desire, let it rise for about 20 minutes.  Stick it in the oven for about 15 minutes on 350 F (150 C).  After it's browned, take out and add your sauce and toppings.  


Here are a few things that I've tweaked to make it have a little more zing. 

1.  Sprinkle a little cornmeal on the crust before baking it. This seems to give it a little more crunch.

2.  Put a pan of water at the bottom of the oven.  This is supposed to help the outside of the crust be...well, crusty and the inside soft.  I don't know if this actually works, but I still do it because it makes me feel like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen. 

3.  After the crust is cooked, spread a little garlic butter on top before adding the sauce and cheese.  This is especially good when you've got children that don't eat the crust because then you get to consume the garlic butter crusty part all to yourself.  

4.  I like using half wheat and half white flour.  It makes the crust a little more dense.  And...we'll fool ourselves into believing that the pizza is now classified as 'healthy' because you used whole wheat.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Graduation Performance

As you can tell from the boys in speedos and blush, it was once again performance time at my kid's school last week. 

This time the performance was for Malachi's graduation.  He will be attending half day elementary school in the fall.  It's the real deal school for him next semester.  No teachers still feeding 7 year olds with a spoon.  I wish this was hyperbole for next year being hard, but the teachers actually do feed the 7 year olds with spoons. My children have been told that if they try and let their teachers feed them, they would be doing laps around the apartment complex.

Many of the costumes were made out of cd's, cans or ping pong balls.  Here's the dancing cd collection with the recycled can boy staring enviously in the background.

Malachi pretty much rocked it with his rendition of "Mama birds and her little chicks" while wearing his ancient Chinese robe.  See the flapping chicks circling him while he sings.  Nothing phased that kid while he sang.

The rest of the lost chicks eventually joined him hand in hand and they all left the stage singing about finding their chicken coup or maybe wanting world peace.  I wasn't so sure on the translation.  I was really proud of my buddy.  He was cool and calm and did a fabulous job.

This was by far my favorite costume.  She was wrapped tightly in various colored trash bags; including, but not limited to her hair thingy.

As I saw these little "ducks" saunter onto stage, I felt grateful that my son had been given a rather benign costume to wear.  I'm not sure bright yellow spandex is cute even on 7 year old Chinese children.
At the end of the show, there were crying teachers who were losing their class to real school and dramatic flower presentations. All of this done with a slow, drippy Celine Dion song reminding us that our love must go on.   

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Being Righteously Ticked

Righteous anger.  Hmm, previously I have always defined righteous anger as the things that make me rightfully angry: a person cutting in line, a cheater not getting caught, our landlord stealing our stuff.  But, this week we went over John 2 where Jesus went postal on the temple salespeople.  As I see it, Jesus is defining righteous anger as that which defiles the name of God.  Those things that rob glory and attention from God and give it to something earthly.  As I sat and let this familiar story sink in, I realized how paradigm shifting this should be for me.  If righteous anger is defined as robbing glory from God, then my anger should look different.  When I get personally offended, there is a rage that can creep up inside of me.  Cutting in line is one of those things that make me want to punch someone in the throat and then shout the first Chinese phrase I ever learned.  I will say that the phrase just might include the word 'bastard'.    If you are planning on purchasing something, then somebody is certainly cutting in front of you.  So, daily I am confronted with this rage that I have to temper.  Should I be angry at cutting in line, maybe, but to feel the amount of anger that I feel is probably not ok.  

I know this is not OK, because I can compare it to the amount of rage that I feel when I see someone defaming God's name.  Do I get angry, yes.  Do I feel the same deep rage that I feel when someone body checks me at the market, no.  That my friends is misplaced and non-righteous anger.  Jesus was angry because people were treating the temple like an ordinary market place.  People were misplacing their affections and attention.  And Jesus felt like that was severe enough to tie together a whip of cords and scatter the cattle and sheep from the temple.  He made a scene because this offense was not only personal, it was spiritual.  

I get overly offended at the personal and not offended enough at the spiritual.  I should be so much more concerned with people who are defaming God's name than I do with who is cutting in front of me in line.  If I am going to spend the energy being angry, it needs to be righteous anger and done for the goal of restoring glory to God's name. 

Monday, July 04, 2011

My Little Foreigner Game

Here's a little game for to start off your day.  Can you spot the foreigners?

I know it's hard, but sit in some bright light, strain your eyes and relax your mind.

See, I knew you could do it!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Week 3: Operation Clean Up...Quick!

Well, we finished week 3 with all limbs still attached.  Here's a run down of our week:

1.  We didn't get mauled by wolves this week.  That's a win.

2.  I have realized today that I am going to have to do gratuitous things like shave my legs and brush my hair because my husband will be home in 5 days.

3.  I consumed 5

4.  I averaged 3 cups of coffee a day while he was gone.

5.  I watched "Mao's Last Dancer" by myself and cried.  A lot.  The kind of cry and leaves snot marks on your pillow the next day.  Then I wanted to watch it again.

6.  The kids and I are making all kinds of potty jokes that are inappropriate when Dad is home.  We are going to have to start reigning this in.  Starting tomorrow...maybe.

7.  I talked to a good friend who just moved back to China with her 4 little Ewoks and we laughed about how the luster of international travel wore off 3 babies ago.

8.  I only had one arbitrary parent rule this week.  But it was "Kesed and Makaria, you may not sword fight with your private parts!"

Hubs, I will try to keep the permanent damage done while you were gone to a minimum.  You will have to excuse our rough edges and inside jokes.  We will catch you up and all will be normal very soon.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...