Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For such a time as this

I want to share with you an excerpt from my journal writing this morning. Keep in mind my current context of studying Esther (and her confrontation with her own destiny) with my group of women and Beth Moore's Bible study book.

"I was thinking about Mrs. Head. She left such a rich legacy. Some of it was with her work with children at the Child Development Center, but so much of it had to do with her character, her home, the way she lived her roles as wife and mother. She and Colonel Head did a lot during her life: raising a family (even while abroad), sponsoring many cadets and their families, writing a book, traveling, living for You.

They had so much in so many ways. In one way, they had a lot of things, but it was always so clear that those things were about what could be done with them -even if it was 'just' be beautiful or tell a story. And they didn't just tell any story. They told their story.

Now, I know I'm not Mrs. Head, and my story isn't going to look the same, but I'm pretty sure there's something -a destiny- equally important to fulfill. I guess the point -at least in Mrs. Head's case- is that destiny took a lifetime of 'little' things to fulfill it, but also, we don't know how long that lifetime will be. We must use the present for the Lord. We are brought into each day 'for such a time as this' -for such a time as today."

Mrs. Head was Matt's "sponsor-Mom" at the Air Force Academy. She passed away suddenly in December of 2007, but not without first touching many, many hearts and lives.

Esther was a secretly-Jewish woman made Queen of Persia in the time of Xerxes. During her reign, the whole Jewish people in Persia were sentenced to death because of one Jewish man's actions. In the face of fear and possible death, Esther chose to return to God in order to save her people because she was brought to "royal position for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).

Friday, October 08, 2010

Recipe time

I think we can officially add two new favorite recipes to our "list". Both of the recipes below are ones I found at All Recipes.

Cilantro Lime Cod

I made a couple of modifications to the recipe, the most important one (I think) being using fresh onions instead of dried. I cooked them with the garlic and olive oil until the mixture carmelized. That really made it delicious! I also used lime juice instead of fresh lime and real butter instead of margarine.

The side dishes pictured here are sweet potato fries and black beans.

For the sweet potato fries, julienne one large sweet potato and put pieces on a metal baking sheet. Add brown sugar, olive oil, and garlic salt to taste; toss with the sweet potatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Watch carefully at the end and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

For the black beans, rinse and drain one can of black beans; put black beans into small pot over medium heat. Add diced tomato, onion, cilantro, minced garlic, and garlic salt to your liking. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and gets bubbly. Then switch to very low heat while you wait for everything else to get done. Just before serving, sprinkle with shredded colby jack cheese.

The other recipe that has made it to our list is Mediterranean Lemon Chicken. I was inspired to try this recipe by a friend's good taste and our mutual love of the local Hibiscus Cafe. It turned out delicious. As some of the reviews suggested, I doubled the sauce (be careful with the lemon juice...you may choose to multiply this amount by 1.5 instead of 2). It turned out deliciously!

I'm baking as we speak, so I'm sure there will be more recipes soon...this time for desserts!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Going, going, gone

I've been working on this weight loss thing for a while now, and it's going really well. Eleven pounds later, I didn't really think this was possible, but it really truly is!! If you'd like to read the story, head on over to The Skinny Bs.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The assignment

I can't even believe I've waited this long to make this post.

Matt got his assignment!!!

We've been waiting for this moment for three+ years. Back when Matt graduated pilot training, he really wanted to fly the A-10, but that's not what God had for him or us. We stayed here in Wichita Falls, both of us teaching our remarkably similar students. And while we've enjoyed this experience and learned A LOT, we've always kind of been waiting for this assignment! The FAIP thing is and was good, but it is and was something we could always wrap our minds around. But that next assignment felt like it would be the "real" thing, that unfathomable thing that was unknown that we longed for so desperately. Neither of us could wait! We've done a lot of preparation these last few years; "mission marriage" we called it so that we would be ready for whatever God had in store for us.

In early August, it came down the chain of command that Matt and his cohort-buddies were to submit their preferences or "dreamsheets". They ordered the planes, put in the form, crossed their fingers and prayed to God that he would hear their prayer loudest! Then we waited, and waited some more. Then we went to Michigan. And for three weeks we water-skiied our hearts out, all with this assignment in the backs of our minds. We wondered if it would come when we were away. We wondered if they would call or email or Pony Express.

I hope you enjoy the suspense, because then it actually came! The assignment phone call (for some reason they opted out of Pony Express). But we were out on the boat and had no idea. So a few hours later Matt learns that he has a message regarding his assignment. He calls back immediately! But his commander is out flying. We wait. For an hour or two. I ask Matt (knowing his answer) if he wants to go out for another pull skiing while we wait it out. "No!" he doesn't want to go anywhere. He has a childish grin and a hopeful heart. We drink a couple of beers.

One of the cohort-buddies (who is in his commander's office just finding out his own assignment) calls to ask if Matt's heard the news. Matt tells him no and they agree to quickly hang up so the phone line will be open. We wait.

He FINALLY gets the call and...he goes into the backyard to talk. I resist the urge to follow on his heels.

He comes back smiling; smiling big! He got it! He got the A-10, the one he's been wanting the whole time! Matt's going to be an A-10 Warthog pilot! I'm sooo proud of him!

Matt would probably be ashamed to see which pictures I picked out to show you which plane he'll be flying. He, of course, has been collecting cool A-10 pictures for months in anticipation of this event. Just kidding, but not really. Nonetheless, these may give you an idea of what to picture when you think of what Matt will be up to.

The A-10 is a two engine single-seat attack aircraft that carries a lot of bombs and has a really big 30 mm gun on the front (Reminds me of a funny time when Matt flew the Tweet to an airshow. A kid saw the pito tube sticking off the nose, and asked if that was the plane's gun. Matt just looked down ashamed that he didn't really have a gun on his plane. The pito tube, by the way, is a tiny little stick coming off the nose of the T-37 that senses information like weather or altitude, something like that.).

If you'd like to know more about the A-10 and this training Matt will be going to at Davis-Monthan, this link contains a story about the making of an A-10 pilot. The pilot in the story is actually one of Matt's former students.

And then we celebrated with nothing less than shots of Jeremiah Weed.

The End.

P.S. In more recent news, Matt just got news that we'll need to be in Tucson by early May. Here we come Arizona!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Catching up

As Beth puts it, I really could be one of those people who doesn't work but is busy all the time. She says this because, even though I'm not working, I still have trouble getting to my phone and returning calls. It's true. I feel very busy. Yes, some of it is frivolous (who really needs to go to Target two or three times in one week?). But some of it is also very legitimate as there are a lot of tasks (and priorities like spiritual and physical health) that went undone while Matt and I were both entertaining busy schedules. There are a lot of fun things we've been doing, too though; not just "tasks".

Over the past several weeks, we enjoyed a three week vacation to Michigan and now we've been back in the Falls for a month. Here's a taste our what and where.

We stayed at the Keilen cottage, which sits on little Birch Lake in Elk Rapids, Michigan. We had the pleasure of enjoying three relaxing weeks there. Originally I thought it would be strange (maybe even too cool) to spend August in Michigan. We couldn't have been more delighted by what we found: surprisingly little rain, sunny and 80 almost every day, with refreshing 60-degree nights. The weather was better than the last few summers we've visited.

And the weather made the trip. We water skiied 2-3 or even 4 times each day. We lazed on the boat, in the hammock, playing in the yard, walking on the bay. We read books, drank coffee, soaked up the sun. We talked, and story-told, and slept-in. We barbecued, and camp-fired, and floated along. The trip was perfect. It was restorative. It was blessed.

We also thoroughly enjoyed our visitors. Here, Lisa and I enjoyed a sunny, feet-dangling sit on the dock. Lisa was able to stay for two days and one night. It turned out to be the couple of windy days we had, but we had a fun time attempting to fly kites over the lake the first day. Charlie-dog especially loved it. He would chase them back and forth through the water. It was hilarious! The second day Lisa was there is when the weather calmed and brightened for this picture and a swim.

Matt's brother and his wife Kristen came up to visit as well. We enjoyed the delicious food of Pearl's New Orleans Kitchen, a long-standing family favorite. And with the help of Kristen and Cindy, I found my first petoskey stones in Grand Traverse Bay. It took some time, patience, and a lot of waves in the rear, but it was worth it:)

I mentioned we water skiied, just a bit. Truly, it was the highlight of the trip! Matt and I LOVE to water ski. It's so thrilling, so fun, so refreshing. When the water calms (particularly in the early morning and just before nightfall) it is as smooth as glass. The ski cuts through as Mark (above) put it, "like butter". It's amazing!! It was a fun treat was getting to teach my cousin Mark and his friend Luke how to ski. They did fantastically!
Oh, one more thing about skiing. I got up on ONE ski!! Well, kind of... First I spent a lot of time practicing dropping a ski and balancing on one. It was thrilling and exciting to learn this new skill! The first time I did it for any dignified length of time was breath-taking. In addition to being super-excited to actually be balancing on one leg like some kind of floating flamingo, I also had a dazzling orange and pink sunset to one side of me coupled with the brightness of the rising full moon on the other. What more could melt this outdoor girl's heart? So, once I was fairly confident dropping a ski, I decided to try to get up one one. It's a challenging process and really shows the meaning of "rip you a new one" but it was fun, too. I kind of wish I had started trying this sooner in the trip. I had about two days of trying this before we had to leave. I was able to get partially up and drag a ways while holding on, but I don't think I actually stood all the way up. It was all kind of blurred by the massive amounts of water spraying in my face! Regardless, I was pretty proud of myself for persevering. I had not done either of these things before this trip.

Many of my family were able to join us in northern Michigan for a long weekend. Somewhere in this picture are my Mom, her husband Alan, Grandma, Grandpa, Holly, Dave, Mark, Luke, and Scotty. This was Sunday morning after church before they were all getting ready to take down camp at their RV park. We enjoyed a pancake breakfast with them, complete with (of course) homemade maple syrup.

Marcy and Chris didn't get to make it to the camp-out, but luckily we were able to meet up with them in Gaylord for breakfast. They were on their way up to the U.P. to canoe and camp in the Le Cheneaux Islands (sounds divine!), so we were able to meet them on our way back down state as we ended our trip.

This post wouldn't be complete without telling you about our new dog Charlie. Here he is enjoying a nice, tasty stick at the cottage. It was great to have him there. He's such a natural outside dog; loves the water, the boat, the sticks, and running around and around the house. He has so much energy, which makes him a lot of fun. He's also a real sweetheart and loves to cuddle close. AT the moment he's snoozing at my side on the couch, fully reclined with his head hanging over the edge, utterly relaxed. The fleas we had trouble with in MI are officially gone, and he's really settling in to his life here with us. We still having a problem with him becoming very anxious while we're away, but hopefully that will diminish as time goes on.

To be continued...
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