Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally Finding Rhubarb

Ever since we moved to Texas, almost four years ago, Jon has had yearning for some Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

Several years ago while we were grocery shopping at Wal-mart Jon decided that he wanted to find rhubarb to make himself a pie. We search high and low looking for rhubarb, but there was none to be found. We even asked the woman, who was our cashier if she knew when they would have rhubarb. She looked at us as if we were from another planet! Jon and I left the store stunned that this woman knew nothing about rhubarb.

We tried to reason it out in our heads and the conclusion that we came to is that rhubarb must not be a southern thing. This seemed so odd to us, because southerners are know for the expertise with food of all kinds. Yet they apparently possessed little to know knowledge about rhubarb. I am certain that if we asked Paula Deen about rhubarb she would know what we were talking about.

So I guess you could say that we had give up hope. To be honest we had never looked for rhubarb again, because we just assumed that we could not get it. Oh how wrong we were...

On our way home from church on Sunday we needed basil, because Jon was making bruschetta. Instead of driving to Wal-mart, like we always do, we decided to go to Super 1 Foods. It is another grocery store that we rarely go to, however this time we were on a little bit of an adventure. After finding the basil we were looking for we began to browse through the fruits and veggies, just to check out what they had.

We were shocked when we stumbled upon rhubarb! It was right there with the other vegetables. We could not believe it. I googled Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, so that we could find out what ingredients we would need for this pie. I was so happy for Jon! Finally he would be able to have the pie of his dreams!

This afternoon I got off work early. I had a few errands to run, but after those were finished I came home and made Jon's pie. It's a surprise so don't tell him, but I can't wait to enjoy this dessert with him tonight after dinner. I am not sure if he is going to want dinner after he finds out what is for dessert!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Far from Perfect


My job is extremely detailed and it is required that I work to a very high standard when it comes to entering information into our databases. Even more so, when I send out notices to students. The information I send them should be correct. For this reason I do my best to double check everything I send and work slowly so that I do not mess up.

However, this morning I was reminded just how far from perfect I really am. I had received an email from my boss last night and I knew that I had messed up. I tried not to think about it while I was at Bible study. When I got to work this morning and began to look into the issue further and discovered that I had sent out the incorrect information to about 15 students. Almost instantly I was irritated with my mistake. Shortly after that, I found out I had done something else wrong!

I wanted to close my office door and cry. I HATE making mistakes, especially when other people are involved. It’s embarrassing and extremely humbling. I started in with all the negative thoughts, put downs, and flat out lies. I stopped what I was doing, bowed my head and talked to God. I told Him that I did not want to have this kind of attitude today. I hate messing up, but this attitude could have caused me to mess up even more.

Thankfully, God listened to me and reminded me of this devotional I read yesterday from Proverbs 31 Ministries. I can honestly say that God has changed my attitude. I sent corrected notices to each student and feel better that I was honest about my mistake instead of trying to cover it up.

If you have time, please read this devotional below. I hope it encourages you, like it did me.

God wants us to come to Him just as we are.

. . . . . . . . . .
Being Perfect
27 Sep 2010
Rachel Olsen

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence." 1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

There's a moment I dread when going to the doctor for a check-up. It's not putting on that tissue paper rectangle they mistakenly call a "gown." It's not having my finger pricked for blood tests - though I'm really squeamish about that. It's the moment right after the nurse finishes her questions, grabs her clip board, and announces the doctor will be in to see me shortly. Pulling the door closed behind her, she leaves me alone with it.

I already know what it's going to say about me; I've read it before. It's going to say that I don't measure up. That I'm not reaching my potential. That I don't equal my ideal. It's the height/weight chart that declares the perfect weight for my height – and I'm several pounds away.

It extends no mercy. It offers no grace. It makes no allowances for how old I am, how many babies I've birthed, or the fact that my husband can eat three plates of food every night without gaining an ounce. It demands perfection.

A few years ago I heard a verse that seemed to be the scriptural equivalent of the height/weight chart. A single verse to measure my worth against, and feed my expectations for perfection: "But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48, NIV)

I figured this verse justified dressing my family in matching sweaters, in the middle of July, to take the Christmas card photo because I'd just gotten the perfect haircut. I figured it warranted pricey tooth whitening treatments because I drink coffee and tea, and it shows. And I figured it would be my defense when I drove my family nuts about deep-cleaning the entire house because my new friend said she might stop by.

While the verse came in handy when I needed to justify my quest for perfect teeth, perfect photos or a perfectly clean house, it added to my disappointment, guilt and occasional loathing when my life, body or family didn't match the ideal notions in my head. Rather than fostering perfection, it fueled my self-criticism. Surely this is not what Jesus intended!

In the years since hearing that verse, I've embraced a core conviction that goes like this: If God created life, He alone gets to define it . This conviction drove me to find out what exactly Jesus meant by "be perfect."

Matthew wrote this verse. And the word he used in the ancient Greek language means something a little different than Mr. Webster's English definition. The Greek word here is teleos and it means "complete, full grown, developing."

The first two pieces of that definition indicate something already accomplished, while the third indicates an ongoing process. So this perfection Jesus prescribes for us is already complete and yet still developing. Complete in Him; still at work in us. We're allowed to be a work-in-progress!

All parts of this definition, however, refer to maturity of character, rather than a flawless figure, immaculate home, or the faultless execution of a task. Jesus just doesn't care so much if there's dust on our mantle, a stain on our teeth, or a scratch on our car. He isn't interested in how well our bedspread matches our curtains; He's interested in our spiritual maturity. Jesus teaches I will not find my worth in my ability to reach my perfect weight or accomplish my to-do list flawlessly, but in the fact that I am learning to reflect His character. To graciously give and receive love.

That's good news for a recovering perfectionist. Plus, as John writes in 1 John 3:18-19 of The Message: "My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it."

Dear Lord, thank You for grace! Thank You for mercy! Thank You for empowering me to be like You as I submit to Your Word. And thank You for not caring about dust bunnies or stained shirts. Help me to care less about those things as well and focus my heart more on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flashback Friday: Multnomah Missions Conference 2005

In February 2005, Multnomah Bible College had their annual Missions Conference. They cancel classes for the entire week. Instead of classes they have sessions and workshops that you attend. I really enjoyed participating in Missions Conference every year I was in college.

The year that we dressed up was even more special, because Jon's entire family was there representing their Missions Organization. This was also the week that I began to fall in love with Jon, but I do not have enough time to get into that right now.

Below are some pictures from the night that we had the Parade of Nations. It was so much fun dressing up! I am just thankful that Michelle had something for me to wear, so that I could participate in the parade too!


Jon in his traditional Tibetan clothing.



Michelle has lots of international outfits. She is wearing an outfit from Nepal and holding the Haitian flag. I borrowed the outfit she had from Senegal.


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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Spiritual Gifts

A few weeks ago I told you about our Couple's Bible study that is taking place this fall. Our first topic of discussion was Spiritual Gifts. We talked about this topic in great detail and at the end of the night we passed out Spiritual Gift tests. We did not have time to take the test together, but we encouraged everyone to take the test at home and come back the next week to discuss it.

On Monday, September 20, 2010, Jon and I took our Spiritual Gifts tests, because we want to know what our Spiritual Gifts we possess and I just had to share the results with you. Drum roll please.....



Jon's Gifts
1 Giving
2 Service & Helps
3 Exhortation/Encouragement
4 Leadership
5 Shepherding
6 Mercy

Jen's Gifts
1 Shepherding
2 Exhortation
3 Discernment
4 Teaching
5 Administration
6 Wisdom/Mercy

It is so interesting to look at our results, because in some ways we are the same and in other ways we are very different. I knew that several of these were my gifts, but, when I saw Mercy tied at number 6 with wisdom, I could not believe it. Maybe Jon is rubbing off on me, because I do not see myself as being a very merciful person.

If you are a born again believer and have never taken a Spiritual Gifts test I would encourage you to do so. When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, God gives us gifts so that we can build up the church and other believers around us. If you have never taken a survey like this, it might explain why it is challenging for you to find the right kind of ministry for you to be involved in.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Date Night

For almost four years Jon has faithfully worked at the Olive Garden every Friday night. Two weeks ago Jon turned in his notice and informed them that he would no longer be working there. Here is a picture of Jon headed to his last night of work at the Olive Garden (09.11.2010).



I am sure that you can imagine how excited I was to know that I would actually be able to go on a date with my husband on a Friday night!

Our plan was to go to dinner at Genghis Grill on Friday, September 17, 2010. Little did we know that my sister would be in labor that same day! However, because we do not live close to my family we decided to go out anyway.

Dinner was so good! I did not exactly make mine Weight Watchers friendly. I ate the entire bowl and it was delicious. It was so nice to just have an evening away with my husband. Here are some pictures from our evening.







Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kenneth Thomas

We would like to introduce you all to our nephew, Kenneth Thomas!!

Isn't he beautiful!?





He is 7 pounds 4 ounces.

He was born on September 17, 2010.

Thank you all for your prayers throughout my sister's pregnancy. We will post more details later on after we have gotten some sleep. My sister Vivian and baby Kenneth are both healthy!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flashback Friday: Christmas in Haiti

Today's flashback takes us to Christmas, December 2005 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Jon, Amanda, and I flew down to be with Michelle and her family for Christmas. This was my first time leaving the country, actually in 8th grade I went to Canada for a day. However, this trip required that I got a passport and went through customs which is much more involved.

I am so thankful that Michelle's parents let us come to visit. It was an amazing opportunity to spend our entire Christmas break in another country. We had so much fun. We were able to participate in normal Christmas traditions, like great food, decorating sugar cookies, and exchanging presents. We were able to relax by putting together puzzles, watching movies, shopping, and visiting a beautiful beach. On top of all that we were able to go into the city and work with kids, visit an orphanage, and other Haitian homes.

It is a trip we will never forget, especially after the earthquake in January 2010, because Haiti will never be the same. We cannot wait to go back there someday.


























Please continue to keep the Haitian people in your prayers.


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Weight Watchers and a Baby

There is some much that I want to share with you so hold onto your hats, because we are hitting the ground running.

Weight Watchers Update:
My weigh in day is Tuesday, like normal I left work and went to my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. When I arrived at my meeting, I weighed in and realized that this week is my 40th week at Lifetime with Weight Watchers! For the past 40 weeks, I have weighed in anywhere from 140-135!! I do not think I have ever maintain my weight this well in my whole life. I am so excited and to have had so much support throughout this process. Thank you!!

Baby Update:
My youngest sister, Vivian is still pregnant. Today, she is 41 weeks so hopefully the doctor will decide to induce her when she goes to her appointment this afternoon. As soon as I get baby pictures I will share them with you. Please pray for her and that her baby arrives safely.

My other sister, Bobbi had her first ultrasound on Tuesday (09.14.2010). She was 8 weeks and 5 days along on Tuesday. Her due date is April 21st, 2011. I cannot wait to continue to watch her and the baby grow over the next 7 months. Here is her first ultrasound picture.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Couple's Bible Study - Fall 2010


Seven months ago Jon and I kicked off our very first Couple’s Bible study. We started with Fireproof Your Marriage. Over this summer we studied Putting on the Armor: Equipped and Deployed for Spiritual Warfare by, Chuck Lawless.

To be completely honest we were not even sure if we were going to lead anything for Couple’s Bible study this fall. I (Jen) am teaching another Women's Bible study and we just did not know if there was a need for it anymore. However, after being approached by two different couples asking us if we were going to start Bible study again, we could clearly see that there is still a need to host a Bible study like this.

This Fall we are doing things a little bit differently. Instead of following a book or some type of curriculum, each member came up with a list of topics that they wanted to study. From that list as a group we were able to narrow it down to what we wanted to study. We were only going to make the study 12 weeks long, but we have some many topics that we want to study that we have extended it to 14 weeks!

Yesterday was our very first day of Bible study. We studied Spiritual gifts and gave everyone a Spiritual gifts test to take home and complete for homework. It was so good to talk with one another about Spiritual gifts and look to see what the Bible says about this topic.

I cannot wait to study the rest of the topics that we picked out. The best part is that we are all taking a turn at teaching. People are picking which topics they are really interested in and they will do the research and teach the group on their appropriate week. Please pray for us and the couples in this group. Pray that God continues to grow our love for Him and one another. I will try to give you updates throughout the next few months!

Just in case you are interested here are the topics that we picked to study.
- Spiritual Gifts Quiz. How to use your gifts?
- Quiet Time Quiet time with a busy schedule. How to develop "creative" quiet time?
- Corroborating the Bible with Science
- Managing your Finances
- Sex & Relationships with the opposite sex outside of marriage
- Family/In-Laws/Order/Good Foundations
- Predestination
- Significance of numbers in the Bible
- Idolatry/Wants vs. Needs Copyright?
- How does God Speak to us? Dreams? Discerning God's Will?
- Leadership in Bible
- Parables of Jesus and how to apply them in today’s world
- People Pleasing and Pride
- Living in the Moment/Present

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flashback Friday: Baby Jon & Baby Jen

I've had babies on the brain...again. You see my sister Vivian's due date was yesterday, Thursday, September 9, 2010. Thursday came and the day seemed to drag on as I waited by the phone hoping that today would be the day I would become an Aunt. It's worse then waiting for Christmas morning, because at least Christmas comes as scheduled.

We still we have no baby, but you can be sure that I will let you know when he decides to make his grand entrance.

Because we have been talking and thinking about babies the last several months, I went back to take a look at both mine and Jon's baby pictures. So, until I can post pictures of my nephew, I thought you would enjoy seeing our baby pictures with you instead! Aren't we cute!?


Baby Jonathan David, Born in May 1986



Baby Jennifer Leigh, Born in March 1984


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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Timely Encouragement

God’s encouragement is always timely and strikes at the heart. I think He does this to make sure He has my attention.

I was offered the position of Women's Bible study leader, on the Women’s ministry team at my church. When I was first approached about this position it was like a dream come true and an answer to my prayers. I had been seeking after the Lord for some time and asking Him what He wanted me to do. I had decided to go back to school. I was signed up and ready for classes, but I did not have God’s peace. The same day that I told my enrollment rep. that I would not be taking classes, I received a phone call from a woman at church about this position. I am convinced that this is what God has for me instead of school right now.

I still believe that this is the direction that God wants me to go, but last night I was filled with such doubt!

I am a perfectionist and I never want to do anything wrong. If I think for a moment that I might do something wrong I decide that it is better to just not do it. I am sure I have missed out on so many opportunities, because I was too afraid to try it and fail! This is the kind of freak out I was having last night. I am not qualified. What was God thinking when He picked me? I don’t have time for this. What if we move away? I was letting my doubts and fears trample my faith and trust in God. I wanted out.

Thankfully, I have been reading Me, Myself, and Lies By, Jennifer Rothschild, because I am going to teach this Bible study at my church. She has been teaching me that it is important to fill your mind with truth instead of worry. So in the middle of my freak out, I began to pray that God would bring someone else along to take thing position if I was not supposed to have it.

…but God had other plans….

This morning I received my daily email from Proverbs 31 Ministries (Ladies, keep up the amazing work, because God is using you to change my life.). The verse for the day says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NIV). Susan Meissner goes on to say, “The waiting room has its purpose. It is the place where you get mentally ready for what comes next. You are not meant to live there.”

I needed to hear these truths today. Don’t you see. God does not want me to live in fear of failure! God has things that He wants to accomplish through my life and He does not want me waiting around until I think I am perfect enough to get in the game. When God asks you to do something listen. If you do not do what God has asked, He will find someone else who will. I do not know about you, but I do not want to miss out on the blessings God has for me. I will not be perfect, but Christ is perfected in my weaknesses!

. . . . . . . . . .
Out of the Waiting Room
8 September 2010
Susan Meissner, She Reads Featured Author

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Picture a doctor's waiting room: cushioned chairs, a display of colorful magazines, soothing music wafting above your head, perhaps an aquarium of sparkling fish. Why does the doctor provide such a calming environment? Because he or she knows that by and large, people do not like to wait there. Truth is, we don't much like to wait anywhere for any length of time.

And we often cringe at the mere idea of waiting on God - more than any other kind of waiting. He is so frequently not in a hurry. We don't want to learn patience by waiting, though it is often the best way to learn it.

But consider for a moment the flip side. Consider for a moment those times when the waiting room door has been thrown open but we're still sitting in the chair by the fish, afraid to get up, get out and get moving. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we sense God nudging us to step out, but instead we're oddly content to just wait it out - perhaps hoping someone else will make the move we're supposed to make.

Just as there are times when God wants us to wait on Him; there are times when He calls us to action. And just as we need to listen for His voice in times of waiting, we need to obey His prompting when the wait is over.

When God told Moses to send spies into the land of Canaan, only two of the twelve came back from the mission ready to do what God was prompting them to do. The others wanted to head back to the waiting room, grab a magazine and hang out with the fish! They were afraid to move forward in faith, even though they had seen God time and again prepare a way for them in the wilderness and then lead them through it. God asked that these people take a step of faith and trust Him for what lay past the waiting room door. He didn't kick them out of the waiting room. He asked them to leave it, and they chose not to. History shows us what they missed (Numbers 13:26-14:25).

Are there perhaps blessings you have asked for but then have refused to pursue? Have you been hanging back in the waiting room – perhaps because you've allowed fear to convince you it's better to be safe and ineffective than risk being used by God?

The waiting room has its purpose. It is the place where you get mentally ready for what comes next. You are not meant to live there. You were designed for the world outside. And it waits for you!

Dear Lord, enable us this day to throw off self-doubts and fear so that we may obey You, serve You and live out our purpose for You. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and empower us to do all that You have called and equipped us to do. Forgive us for being content with sitting in the waiting room when You've called us to come out. Ignite in us a passion to live our faith loudly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wordless Wednesday: My Multi-Talented Man

Monday, September 6, 2010

Jon's Haitian Tarantula

A few weeks ago I told you that Michelle sent us presents, before she left to go live in Japan. If you missed that post go check it out here. I told you that Michelle sent Jon a tarantula as a graduation gift. As I was looking through pictures I found the picture from the night Jon caught his tarantula.

These first two pictures are from December 22, 2005. Jon and I were spending Christmas in Haiti with Michelle's family. Michelle told Jon that he could catch a tarantula and bring it home as a souvenir. After hearing that Jon was thrilled and could not wait to catch his own tarantula. The tarantulas would come out at night and the dog would bark when he found one. So Michelle, her Mom Cindy, and Jon would head outside to see if they could catch one.

As you see they did catch a tarantula, actually they caught more than one! I just had to share these pictures of Jon with his prized catch of the day.




Fast Forward, five years later...Michelle took the time to preserve Jon's tarantula forever. It makes for a great conversation piece when people come over and see it sitting in our house. I just laugh when I hear, "So...why do you have a tarantula?" Thank you Michelle that we will never again, now we will never have boring dinner conversation again!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Flashback Friday: My Biggest Loser Reveal

I knew what I wanted to tell you about this week for my Flashback Friday blog post. However, after my Wordless Wednesday pictures at Living a Changed Life that all changed. Wednesday I went searching through my blog for a video I was sure I had posted last year. I could have sworn that I posted this on my blog after I filmed it, but I guess not. So, I have moved things around and decided that this video would serve as my Flashback today.

I love The Biggest Loser. When I started losing weight I decided that I needed to keep a pair of my fat pants. I showed off those pants in my most recent Wordless Wednesday post at Living a Changed Life, if you missed it go check them out. I kept those pants, because I to be able to remember where I have come from. Just a few months ago I was able to fit into those pants with my sister in law! Can you believe that those pants used to be tight on me?

Another reason I kept my fat pants, is that I wanted to be able to film my very own biggest loser reveal video. You know what I'm talking about right? Someone gets kicked off the show and the very last thing they show is a video of that person and where they are today. At the very end the always have a pair of their old pants and they drop them to the floor revealing their new slimmer self.

So naturally after I reached Lifetime with Weight Watchers last November 2009, I filmed my very own Biggest Loser reveal. I know I'm weird, but that really is one thing that I was very excited to do after reaching my goal. Enjoy!!




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