Thursday, January 24, 2013

Close Quarters and the Best Homemade Yogurt

It's been about 6 weeks since the Lord confirmed on Gabe's heart that it was time for him to leave Trinity Aviation Academy and seek what other direction He has for us...currently as missionaries and in our future training. It's been a hard transition. We find ourselves looking back a lot, wondering what we could have done differently, why it went the way it went, nursing wounds, praying, feeling like failures, missing being part of the "family" there in the same way we were. I received this verse (no surprise!) not long ago:

Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I picture Paul writing this with compassion to the church in Phillippi, letting them know "It's so easy to have regrets and look back and over analyze things, but don't! God has so much more in store for you!" All I can say is He is faithful. He tells us to trust Him and keep going, so we are.

By far the most challenging part of all this has been the sudden increase in "family togetherness". Specifically, Gabe being home 24/7 all of a sudden and me getting rather territorial about "my space". You know the stories of when a man retires and is home all the time and his wife of 30+ years has to get a job to get out of the house! Or when you're on family vacation and you spend so much time together that you start to drive each other crazy.  Maybe it's a partner home because of illness, injury, or job loss. Your routine is interrupted, your "normal" is off, and you can't wait for that person or circumstance who seems to have disrupted it to go back to work or wherever so you can "get back to normal".

So around here, that has looked like Gabe being the incredibly helpful husband that he is doing all he can to serve me. The dude does laundry, dishes, diapers, homework, you name it. He's a servant. Every busy mom's dream come true! And instead of feeling thankful, I keep feeling...useless...insignificant....jealous even. Like "hey, that was my job, I may not have done the best at it, but it was mine!". Pathetic, I know. The most telling example of this in the last few weeks has been Making Yogurt.

A few months back a friend of mine taught me how to make homemade yogurt. Her/My method goes as follows:

Take 1/2 gal whole milk, preferably organic, and bring it to a scald(just starting to steam and bubble), whisking occasionally. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 5-10 min or so. Whisk in 3 tbsp plain yogurt from a previous batch or store bought organic plain yogurt with no gelatin/fillers in it. Cover and place on a heating pad on low for 12-24 hours depending on how tart you like it. Remove from heat, stir, and refrigerate.
Amazingly, this really works! You get yogurt that is a little runny, but really good. Gabe eats it every day for breakfast. So, one day we are almost out if it, and he doesn't want to bother me with asking how to make it and having me "supervise" (I can't blame him for this!). He Googles it instead.

The next thing I know there is yogurt being made by Gabe's Method:

Set up a double boiler. Put 1/2 gal whole milk into pot over pot of simmering water and heat to 185 F on a candy thermometer. Hold at a simmer at 185 for 30 min whisking occasionally. After 30 min, remove from heat and cool to 110 F before adding 3 tbsp whole milk yogurt for starter. May use an ice bath to cool more quickly as it takes approx 30 min to cool to 110. Cover and set on heating pad on medium for 1-2 hours and then low for 6-12.(I may not have this quite right but this is my best understanding of it...not good with details)

Needless to say, this is a bit more complicated than my method. So I got quite territorial about it and gave my poor husband a relentless hard time about taking a process I had already figured out and having to improve/perfect it. You see, my personality is one of "get it done" and Gabe's is "get it done right". Anyone who has ever had a steak grilled for you by my husband or his amazing Pad Thai can attest to the fact that his cooking is...perfection. Mine is a bit more crazy and adventurous, but it feeds us 3 meals a day.

The end of the story is...Gabe's yogurt is way better than mine! His is thick and creamy, almost Greek yogurt consistency. So we are now doing it the better way unless I am really in a time crunch and then I may go back to the simplified method. Although I have convinced him to dispense with the double boiler :-)

What the Lord has taught me through this is that whenever I really think someone else is the problem, or a certain circumstance is the problem, to look back at myself and see if maybe I'm not a big part of my own problem. He is LORD, also known as I AM and JEHOVAH which means, He was there in my past, is already in my future, and is completely present in my present and is in control of all the circumstances that seem so messed up to me. He is teaching me through them if I allow Him to.

Now that I have some perspective, I can laugh about "the infamous yogurt making incident" and let Him turn my frustration to thankfulness. I am truly thankful for the time we have together as a family. I am thankful that Asher gets his Daddy around so much to enjoy all his baby moments. I am thankful that Sam has a Dad who has time to volunteer in his classroom and go on field trips with him. I am thankful Ciara has a Dad with time to play with her in the morning before she goes to kindergarten. I am thankful he and I have time to talk, eat lunch together, pray together and just hang out. I love the man God has given me so much, and I know there will come a day when I really am thankful for every minute.

And just so you know, he isn't here making gourmet organic yogurt all the time. He's been volunteering in Sam's class quite a bit as well as at a couple different food banks run by local churches. I think there is some street visitation in Tacoma coming soon too. He's researching and praying through different options for our future while trying to be available and present for God to use him now. He's considered going back to work but since we are blessed with provision for right now, there's no rush on that.  It's amazing to see the heart God is giving him for people. 

May you be blessed in whatever your circumstances are today!



Thursday, January 3, 2013

There's always another bend in the road...

When I was around 12 or 13, I loved "Anne of Green Gables", both the books by L.M. Montgomery and the movies. I loved how Anne had such a big heart, a longing to be loved, and was forever getting herself into trouble with her spontaneity. She loved big, trusted big, messed up big, sought and found forgiveness and bounced back from her mistakes. Much like my oldest son Sammy :-) One of my favorite quotes from her character is "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it. Well, with no mistakes in it yet!" During my preteen years I studiously avoided mistakes, feeling that I had to always be perfect, or at least give that appearance. I still struggle with this (pride is the best name I have for it), but God is so good to give me a forgiving husband and adventurous children who remind me that unless you allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them, you miss the adventure! And, that the more we really trust the Lord and follow His plans for us, the fewer "mistakes" there are. Often our choices can look like foolish mistakes in the world's eyes, but if our eyes are on Him, then we can trust that He has us on the right path.

The Lord has grown us all so much this year. It's hard to condense it down into one end-of-year blog post. Very little of it has been in the ways we would have expected. It has come through surprising friendships, unexpected hurts, humbling mistakes, and moments of pure joy. We are beginning to truly fall in love with Jesus and allow that to just spill out into being able to love others more freely. We thought we were coming to Eatonville, WA to "learn to be missionaries" but God has brought it about in such a beautifully personal way that is far better than any formal discipleship school we could have imagined. Much of it has come through our amazing family of believers at South Hill Calvary Chapel, but also through our wonderful friends at Trinity Aviation Academy.

Phillipians 1:3-7
New King James Version (NKJV)
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,  for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;  just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace."

The Ledfords
We've been struck this year by how much of the Bible is about relationships...really ALL of it is about relationships. It begins with God's relationship within Himself of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect communion and love...then His relationship with man made in His image, how man broke that relationship through sin and then how our loving God has sought throughout history to restore His people to Himself, even though we, not He, were the ones who broke the relationship. It ultimately cost Him the life of Jesus, his perfect Son, as a sacrifice to cover our sin and bring us back into a relationship with Him. We are very, very important to God and therefore should be very important to each other as well! He has taught us a lot about being authentic in relationships this year as we seek to know His nature better.

This Christmas we were blessed with the opportunity to spend time working on our relationships with family and friends, with a visit from my sister, Caroline, and her husband, Dave; followed by our visit to the Ledfords in Grand Rapids. It was wonderful to first open our home, and then to be welcomed into the home of Gabe's brother, Paul, his wife, Tammy, and their five children. Then, on New Year's Eve, we topped off the visit by spending the evening with our crazy friends, Scott and Christine (Christine has been Gabe's friend from childhood). They are always so welcoming, and really know how to have fun!

There are changes on the horizon for us and how He would have us fulfill our calling. For now, we are still called to foreign missions, and still through aviation - including Gabe completing his A&P certificate and commercial pilot's license to better be able to serve the Lord using an airplane (or helicopter?) as a tool. It seems the Lord is changing our direction, however, about where Gabe receives his aviation training from. We feel led away from our dear friends at Trinity and on to somewhere else, not sure yet where it will be, but probably not until summer/fall of 2013. So we ask for your prayers through the transition as we seek where God would use us in the next 6 months in Washington (possibly a summer mission trip?), and where He would have us continue Gabe's training in the fall. It has been a difficult decision, but one covered in prayer in which the Lord has been so faithful to speak to us, send others to minister to our hearts, and preserve our relationships through difficulty. The road to "becoming aviation missionaries" seems longer than ever before, but we trust that God knows exactly what He's doing(duh) and we are seeking to have joy every day in being in His will for this moment. Thank you for all your love and prayers this year and may you all be blessed as you seek a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus!

In His Love,


Here are some recent photos of the family:

Ciara's Ballet Recital

Looks like the Wii is being held hostage again...

"Reading" his Christmas gift

Ol' Man Winter visits Eatonville occasionally

Spending Thanksgiving weekend with friends
Darth Dave has the young padawan on the run

"Sledding" in Michigan

Ciara's Werewolf Phase?