Monday, January 31, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flashback Friday: Chinese Hot Pot

Today's flashback takes us back to China! Over Christmas break Jon's family took us all out to eat a very traditional Chinese meal, hot pot. I have explained the meal below using the pictures I took while we were at the restaurant.

This is a Chinese Hot Pot. The outer ring is a very spicy soup and the inner most container is a non-spicy soup.

We all got up from the table to go look for the raw ingredients that we wanted to cook in our hot pot.

They had brains. I do not know what kind of brains these are, but we did not eat these.

Whole fish...gross. We did not eat this either.

There were four different displays filled with different meat and veggie choices. The men behind the counter were in charge of preparing everything.

Three trays was what we started with! We ate a lot that night and just kept going back for more. Look at all that yummy food!

Next, you add the raw meat and veggies to the soup. The soup is on a gas stove so it is boiling. It cooks the food. After it is finished cooking you get what you want out with a spoon or your chopsticks. 

Jon and I love hot pot! We have this for dinner even in the U.S!

We all had a lot of fun!

Michelle is going to demonstrate the final step. After you pull out the cooked food, you put it in a bowl with soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic. You love let the food cool off and then eat it!

See, some people dig their food out with chopsticks and other people, like me, use the spoon.

It was great! As you can see there really isn't anything left, because it is all in our bellies!

Visit Tia for more flashbacks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dating My Man

Do you date your husband? I do on special occasions, however most of the time our life gets busy and marriage becomes routine. We do the same thing over and over, because that is what makes us comfortable. Being comfortable is good, but not if you take that to an extreme and become lazy.

I want to date my husband this year!

Yes, you heard me right, I have decided to date my husband this year! I am so excited about it that I had to share it with you.

The four years we have been married I have placed very high expectations on Jon in the area of romance. I wanted him to plan romantic dates for us, like the kind you watch in chick-flicks. Much to my dismay, I discovered that my husband is not a natural romantic. The truth is that he cannot read my mind and therefore has a hard time trying to figure out what to plan when I do not tell him what I want.

I’ve been listening to a sermon series titled, “The Peasant Princess” by Pastor Mark Driscoll. In this sermon series Pastor Mark digs deep into the heart of the Song of Songs. Something that surprised me more than anything else is that Pastor Mark talks about how the wife in this book, takes initiative in her sexual relationship with her husband. She did not wait for her husband to figure out what she wanted, she told him. She was not ashamed or embarrassed to show her husband that she loves him by taking the lead in this area.

I want to be a woman that is confident enough to take the first step to love my husband in creative and fun ways. Thankfully, my friend Elise was telling me about this website called, The Dating Divas. You must check out this website.

Here is what The Dating Divas say about themselves:
In a nutshell, each Monday the Divas will offer an awesome date already completely planned for your upcoming weekend! {Aw geez… you’re totally welcome!} Throughout the rest of the week we’ll also post quick & easy ideas to serve your spouse, unforgettable family outings and activities with the kids, intimate moment ideas to spice things up in that room, and fun “romance” crafts to boot! There is definitely something for every couple! {Don’t forget to check out our archives for dates you may have missed!}

This sounds like so much fun! At the risk of being a little cheesy I tried one of these dates this past weekend. I tried The Spouse Sleepover Date, because it an inexpensive and fun idea for an evening together. Jon loved it!

We played Guess Who? I baked Jon's favorite cookies and we watched a movie!

I got a mixture of junk food for Jon and healthy veggie straws for me to eat during the movie.

I moved our bed out into the living room so that it could really feel like we were having a sleepover.

I want Jon and I to be able to go on more fun dates like this one. I pray that God would make me more like the woman in the Song of Songs and give me the courage to love my husband in more fun and romantic ways this year!

P.S. Don't forget to enter in the Made to Crave Giveaway! Click Here to Enter.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Living a Changed Life Giveaway

Hi! Today, please hop over to my weight loss blog, Living a Changed Life and get out the giveaway that is taking place this week. Be sure to enter and maybe you will win!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Working for Weight Watchers

The day that we left for China, I received an email from a woman at Weight Watchers. I had filled out an application a while back, but did not think it would be the right time for me to get a second job. Apparently they had saved my application on file. I was told that they were looking for new receptionists and were wondering if I would be willing to consider the job.

Over a month went by before I responded to this woman. I took time to pray while we were gone to see if this would be something that would be worth my while or not. I do not want to overwhelm myself with all of the things that I am involved in. However, I want to be able to help lighten our financial load as much as possible.

After we got back from our trip I decided to reply to the email to see if the positions had already been filled. I was told that they were not filled yet and that if I wanted an interview I would have to do it within the next week. I scheduled my interview for Saturday, January 15, 2011. The interview went so well. I was not nervous and had told the Lord that I just wanted to be myself. If they did not like me for who I am everyday then I did not want to work for them. I explained to the woman I met with that I would love to work for Weight Watchers, because my weight loss has made such a HUGE impact on my life. However, if they had chosen not to hire me that would not change my desire and drive to encourage others around me who are trying to lose weight.

This morning I received a phone call from my favorite Weight Watchers leader, Amanda. She told me that I had been hired and was calling to welcome me to the team! I was simply speechless. Look at the amazing work that God has done in my life through weight loss. I am so excited for what He has in store for me as I begin to work with Weight Watchers part-time.

Hug Someone You Love

In honor of such an awesome day we are going to take a break from flashbacks and focus on hugging those you love!

My favorite person in the world to hug is Jon! What can I say? I am obsessed with hugging him.

What about you? Who do you love to hug? Jesus lead by example and I believe it was His desire that we love the unlovable. We should pray and be on the lookout to see who God would bring across our path that we can hug.

I'm not saying you have to hug every homeless man on your way home from work, though I am sure they would enjoy that. But look for someone who is down and having a hard time, that you might be able to encourage by just simply wrapping your arms around them. If you hug someone today, I want to hear about it!

This morning, when I got to work I opened an email titled, "Italian Hugs". Normally, I hate forwards, but I was curious about what was so special about this video. I think this video is great and am wondering if I should try doing this in my own town. Be sure to check it ouy!

If you want to learn more about hugs click here to visit Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Civil War Ball Story

Alright, here are some details about the Civil War Ball.

After Jon and I first arrived in China his family informed us, that if we wanted to, we could participate in the home school hosted, Civil War Ball. My first question was whose Civil War are we talking about. They explained that it was an American Civil War Ball in China. Awesome!

The worst part of it all is that they did not tell us about the ball before we arrived! I never expected that I would need to pack fancy clothes for a ball. I am good at being prepared, but no one could see that one coming.

There were a lot of things I needed to get: a dress, shoes, hoop, jewelry, make-up, gloves, shawl, and something for my hair!

Right away I tried on my sister-in-law's dress to see if it would fit. You see the Chinese are short, small, and petite. That's not your typical American build. I tried on Hannah's dress and to our surprise it fit!! Isn't it pretty?

Now that we knew I could fit into a Chinese dress we made a trip to the Northern Market to go dress hunting. It took a long time to find what I wanted, because I am really picky. But that's okay. We found a beautiful dress! Then, Jon went shopping with his parents and found a tuxedo that matched perfectly!

Wordless Wednesday: Civil War Ball

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our MLK Weekend

Jon and I were so excited to have a three day weekend this week. We needed it. We have been going to bed very early each night. However, I think that we are finally over jet lag.

On Saturday morning, I had an interview with Weight Watchers. I received an email while I was in China asking if I was interested in Weight Watchers employment. After praying about it I replied to the email and received an opportunity for an interview. I went to the interview and it went great. I was not nervous and just tried to be myself. I should hear something back about it this week sometime.

After my interview, Jon and I got together with friends that were in our Bible study this past fall. We decided to have a twelve hour Lord of the Rings marathon, because John and Elise had never seen those movies. It was fun! We started around noon and did not finish until after one o'clock in the morning.

I did not even make it through all of the movies. I ended up taking a two and a half hour nap during the first disk of the third movie. I have been doing that a lot recently, maybe I really am turning into my mother.

The rest of the weekend consisted of resting! We watched two football games on Sunday. The team we wanted to win, won. The team we wanted to lose, lost. It was a good football day for us.

Monday was relaxing too, even though I had some house work to do, it was nice to not have to be anywhere. Jon even got off early and came home to hang out with me. I really love those kind of days!

Well, this morning we are headed back to work. I am going to be really busy with Probation/Suspension. I want to post more China pictures, I just haven't done it yet. I will, don't worry!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Flashback Friday: Made to Crave

Something REALLY awesome happened while I was gone in China and I wanted to share it today as a unique kind of flashback.

Let me refresh your memory for a moment, because for months I have been telling to you about a new book coming out called, "Made to Crave" By, Lysa TerKeurst.

Yes, that one. I told you about it in June 2010 and again in October 2010. Feel free to follow the links if you do not remember what I am talk about.

In addition to talking with you all about this book I have been following Lysa's blog to hear the latest about this book and it's release. I have commented on Lysa's blog many times, especially when she is offering a free book! I would share my thoughts and enthusiasm for the new book, but I never won anything.

I was completely shocked when I received an email from Holly (Lysa's assistant) while I was in China. Holly was writing me to inform me that I had been chosen to be apart of Lysa's blog tour!! No way!! I was so excited that I ran out of the room to my husband telling him the good news.

Two copies of Lysa's new book were mailed to me. One for me to read, which I have started and it is amazing! The other is for me to use for a giveaway, which I will do after my life settles down a little bit.

God is awesome!

This coming Monday I will be sharing a blog post with you that Lysa TerKeurst wrote. She is such a talented author and I am excited for you to get a taste of something that is very close to her heart.

See you Monday!

Visit Tia for more flashbacks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cooking and Baking in China

While we were in China we did quite a bit of cooking and baking. One of my favorite things is to cook with other people. I was so excited to be able to try my baking skills in a Chinese kitchen.

Jon and I brought chocolate chips with us for Christmas. Lisa, my mother-in-law, requested that we bring them. It is very difficult for her to get items like these in China. When she does find chocolate chips they are extremely expensive.

The second morning we were in China, Jon, Josh, and I woke up early to make chocolate chip pancakes for everyone.

Jon and Josh made the chocolate chip pancakes, while I took pictures. There is a limited amount of counter space so they decided to work at the table..

This is the kitchen in Jon's parents apartment. The counters are very short.

This is the other half of the kitchen. In this picture you can see the gas stove, microwave, and part of an oven. My mother-in-law has three ovens, because they are about the same size as a microwave.

This is the rest of the kitchen. To the right you can see their fridge and freezer, it is white. Next to that at the very top is the dryer and two ovens. To the left are cabinets that store dishes and various baking/cooking supplies.

This is the view from the kitchen window. We were five stories up. Jon's parents apartment looks just like those outside the window.

I was in charge of washing and cutting strawberries, so that we could have them with our pancakes.

Jon starting the gas stove. He prefers cooking over gas, which we do not have at home.

Jon and Josh finishing up the chocolate chips pancakes. They were so yummy!

Later the next week on Christmas Eve, Michelle and I were put in charge of making all of the cookies. Michelle and I worked hard to get lots cookies made. We made Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, DeBlaeij Cookies, and Sugar Cookies.

It was weird baking in China, because the ingredients are different. The white sugar in China is much more coarse than the white sugar in the U.S. The cookies tasted great, but they just turned out a little bit differently then they do when I make them at home.

Michelle and I wore each wore an apron. She is such a cute baker.

While trying to melt chocolate, Michelle caught the potholder on fire.

Thankfully, my mother-in-law was gracious to forgive us for our carelessness.

Maddy came to help us too!

Michelle and I with the sugar cookie dough.

When it came time to bake the DeBlaeij Cookies, we told the guys that if they wanted to eat, they needed to help us bake.

The guys added a lot of jam, which makes the cookies taste even better!

The cookies baking in the tiny little oven. The guys were determined to get as many cookies on the pan as possible. The cookies almost looked square, because they were so close together. It was so nice to have their help!

The finished product!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Haiti One Year Later

This is a picture of me with my dear friend Michelle. Michelle came to China to spend Christmas with Jon and I. We love her so much!

Michelle was born in Haiti. She is the reason that Jon and I traveled to Haiti in December 2005. One year ago my heart broke for the country that she calls home. Many of you know about the 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti one year ago today. The earthquake may have hit one year ago, but the effects of it's power can still be felt today.

Michelle's parents live in Haiti and were there when the earthquake hit. We praised the Lord as we learned of their safety.

I know that this is not our normal kind of Wordless Wednesday blog post. What I would ask is that each of you take a few moments of silence after reading this post. Please pray for Haiti. Ask God to be glorified in this situation even when we cannot make sense of it. Thank you.

Check out Operation World to find out more about Haiti and how you can pray for this country, please click here.


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