Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A day in the park.

Travis and I celebrate Memorial Day with a picnic in the park at Tempe Town Lake after church on Sunday. Since our honeymoon, we haven't been able to have a concentrated time together except for one rainy, sick day in March. We had attended a timeshare promotional tour a few weeks back and received a free overnight at the Fiesta Inn here in Tempe. We took the oppurtunity to take a little time for ourselves over the holiday Monday. We hosted our party late into Friday night and then Travis worked all Saturday from 7 am until 6 pm, so we decided that Sunday and Monday were ours. We scrambled out the door on Sunday morning, bags packed, food packed, and headed off to fill in for Sunday school teachers who were all at New Attitude. After church, we sped off to Tempe.

These past few days have been perfect weather. It hasn't hit 100 and the evenings have been remaining cool-- down into the 70s. It hasn't quite reached the stage of heat that Jeremy White calls "like as if God turned a hairdryer on you". We enjoyed the sunshine and shade and talked away the afternoon before heading over to the pool at the Fiesta Inn. Its an old hotel but they had recently updated their room decor so it was pleasant. We had a pool and silence and books for a whole afternoon before we went to dinner at Grimaldi's. We polished off a whole small crispy crusted coal oven baked pizza and then I had the pleasure of trying my first Sugar Bowl ice cream sundae. I have to admit this little secret. My one weakness-- I have to say that McDonalds sundaes are still my favorite. Don't ask me why, but they still top most other sundaes.

Monday we enjoyed sleeping in and having a late breakfast at Einsteins Bagels and reading interesting segments of the paper to eachother. Then it was back to the pool for some more rays and relaxation. A wonderful weekend that we thoroughly enjoyed...and needed. Travis also led us in a wonderful time of recounting God's mercies toward us, helping us to grow over the past 5 months of marriage.

At the park.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Friday Night Parties.

Tina and Lory Brett, Calvin, Tongs & Kevin

Tongs & Lassiters Soccer crowd

We hosted a swarm of children, a crowd of adults and a few pets last night for our first "Queen Creek Friday Night Party". My childhood was filled with block parties that our neighbors took turns hosting. Their kind of party included beach chairs, music and liquor on the pavement. We would run around playing tag or catching fireflies, enjoying cool evenings.
Our evening was perfect weather-- a little cooler with a strong breeze. I had some food left over from Life 101 that no one wanted, so I made some out of it anticipating our party. We had chicken tacos with rice and beans along with a vat of chili. We served the requisite chips and salsa. A few side salads and some bread and we were set to go. It was such a joy to see little people running all around, chickens being chased and soccer being played on our green backyard. All in all, it was a wonderful time, capped off by a all-time favorite dessert of S'Mores.

Josiah Jagoda

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Early dinner in Baltimore with friends. Breakfast in Gaithersburg. A quick jaunt to DC for lunch. Dinner over Texas. Late night fries at In & Out on Stapley Road. Hopping around this vast country of ours makes me realize that good things happen when you travel.
I am reminded that distance doesn't really matter, life is shorter than you think, and time develops quickly in your life. Ultimately, there is only daily delight in small things. Maybe its the maturity of age coming upon me, but I am starting to have that "heavenly perspective" and a clearer hope in the future glory Paul talks about so freely.

I visited Gaithersburg over the weekend and saw all the babies from birth to almost six months, who changed so quickly. I got home and I recieved a letter from my dear friend in Australia (www.williamsaustralia.blogspot.com) She wrote that she visited a friend we met together in Cambridge, England over six years ago. I couldn't believe it had been six months nor six years. A cute notecard also arrived from an ancient "aunt" in California who was the original matchmaker of my dad's parents. She is in her late 80's perhaps 90's and yet she still writes profuse letters detailing all her life and goings on in the same city my Oma lived in California over seventy years ago. I also learned that grass grows while you're gone too...Everything in a short amount of time. That proverbial "blink of the eye".

So much to be grateful for, why let it pass us by? Take a seat. Consider all those who have known and love you around the world.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


There are only 3 foods I know I don't like: organ meats, papaya and...now a third. Thanks to Chuck Nam for an awesome dinner at Sapporo-- a Japanese sushi bar-- and a new food to add to the list. On a plate filled with sashimi there was a roll with some very dark orange pink, almost salmon colored, roll that looked like it was an oyster. I put it in my mouth to have a burst of salty ocean-like oyster without the chew. Turns out it was sea urchin. Too much for me. Guess I wasn't meant to be an Asian-- and I can only say that because Chuck, who is Korean, said that. Guess I'll be content to be Dutch.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Taming of the Shrew

Tina, our resident hen, has been tamed. Yes, tamed. But not completely. She sleeps in the coop now (again) and is definitely subdued into submission. It is quite a sight to see her tend to her new found husband, the red rooster. We still do not have a name for him. The red chickens remain aloof from naming. Maybe its the distance between us; as adopted chickens, they don't quite have the same pull on our emotional naming connection.
In other news, Travis is taming another shrew--the land-- and by that I mean the dust. This is quite a feat here in the desert. He is giving our lovely Hyundai a washing before we go out for a night on the town. Our friend Chuck Nam is in town and he is taking us out to dinner in Scottsdale for... drum roll please... sushi. Yea! Lean fish on fresh clean rice with salty soy sauce and crisp ginger and take-your-breath-away wasabi. What could be more delicious?
We don't have much else going on this weekend here on the ranch; Travis is going to hold down the fort while I go away for a little trip to Maryland. Emily is going to tame another beast- the piano- in her final performance as a student of her teacher Svetlana Gorenman. With a name like that, you can probably imagine what kind of Russian teacher she makes. She has been a wonderful teacher. Demanding, but excellent in all she does. Emily has stayed with her for over 10 years now. Svetlana is in her late 60s and when she and her husband immigrated she supported then through her teaching. She is battling cancer and Emily is one of her oldest and most accomplished students. It will be a wonderful performance, I can be sure.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

As a wife I now have a deeper understanding of the duties of a woman for her man. I have a unique seat watching the marriages play out in so many godly women. I've been watching my mother as well as countless other women care, serve, laugh and cry in their marriages for 25 years. Now I am caring, serving, laughing and crying along my own way.
I also want to highlight the mothers who I admire. I respect my mother for never refusing to grow in every season and challenge with her children. I admire my new friends, Chanelle, who gets up at 5:15 every morning with Arianna, so she doesn't wake up her brother. I admire Tina who laughs and lets most things roll off her back-- and with five boys under eight, there's a lot of rolling. I admire my grandmother who still cares for her son Chris at home with great patience. I respect Janis for the way she sacrifices to let her husband travel for the spread of the gospel. I respect my friend Emily, who is watching her daughter writhe in pain as they continue to test her for leukemia. I respect all my friends who now have children: Janelle, Tali and Megan. I have seen so many sides of grace in motherhood. And now with my eyes set on my own, not-so-distant future, I am in awe. (And for those of you wondering, I'm not pregnant.)
I am just aware of the special grace in mother's lives.
To those of you who read this: I love and respect you! Happy Mother's Day from Travis & me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fabulous Dinner Report

Travis and I just had a great dinner, despite the heat. We had a concoction made from some delicious ingredients I picked up today at my favorite store, Henry's.
Soy Grilled Chicken Breast
Cold Spelt Angel Hair Pasta Salad with
Watercress, Snap Peas, and Yellow Squash
with a Crispy Garlic Lemon Sesame Dressing
We served the pasta salad cold to survive the heat and chilled some fabulous Italian white wine my parents had left us from their visit. Perfectly dry and minerally with just a hint of tart sweetness to balance the salt in the soy sauce.
The smokiness of the sesame oil in the dressing was perhaps my favorite flavor on my tongue. Then to soothe the body as well as the soul for the evening, we dunked our feet in the ice water bath I had been chilling the wine in-- Ahhh!

1 lb spelt angel hair pasta
1 yellow squash, cubed
2 cups snap peas
-- cook pasta in boiling water for about 3 minutes, then add squash and peas for the last few minutes. Drain and run cold water over the noodles for 2-4 minutes until cooled.
1 T sesame oil
1 T canola oil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
---cook in microwave (yes, Becky, the microwave) for 3 minutes until garlic is crispy.
Add to the garlic:
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T sesame oil
2 tsp. coarse salt
Fresh ground pepper
---Mix and pour over noodles.
1 head rinsed watercress
Serve with lemon wedges and grilled chicken marinated in soy sauce.
---serves 4
Eten smahlik.


We've been talking about the Three Trees Model in caregroup. For those of you who are unfamiliar with David Powlison, he works for the Journal of Biblical Counselling and teaches about connecting negative behaviors or feelings with the deeper issues in our hearts, called motives.
It begins with a premise. There are situations in our lives that are "heat"; circumstances that we don't like. My circumstance is a real heat. No joke. My A/C unit is temporarily out of service because the main drain is clogged, so it keeps overflowing out the overflow valve, causing water to leak under the inside unit. And today was our first 100 degree day. Heat. Real heat.
So what are these negative behaviors and feelings? Anger. Because the repair man said between 12-4 pm and its 5 already. They "ran into some problems at the last job and are running behind". I'm sure everyone out there has been the victim of some repair man.
The Three Trees Model teaches that the heat in our lives doesn't necessarily have to produce those negative results or "bad fruit". The three trees are one tree bearing good fruit, one tree dying or "thorns" and the cross. The cross helps us to rejoice in our suffering because we know that Christ has already suffered in our place on the cross, bearing all of our sin and solving our greatest problem. These are called "gospel implications"-- the way that the third tree, the cross, bears on our circumstances. Christ makes it possible for us to respond rightly despite our natural tendencies through his Spirit which is willing to help us in our weakness.
So my weakness is heat. I always get bent out of shape when I'm hot. But more than that, I can be rejoicing, knowing that there is a repair man on the way, a husband who loves me on the way home, and a Father in heaven who care for me and is good to his children.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Jam, jam, jam and bread

Except the bread was gone after a very short while.
Here's the fruit of our labors...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Other news

This post is for Brett....
it is a compilation of all the funny, interesting things that happened to Travis and I over the past two weeks. Brett's complaint is that my blog is BORING. Of course it is-- what else do you think life in the country is like? Here's one such story.

Travis and I taught Sunday school for third graders for a teacher who was sick. I haven't done children's ministry in over 10 years and Travis never teaches the lesson. So, we look at John Piper's incredible, but intellectual, lesson plans for the morning. It is about God's patience with the people of God, as exemplified by how God waited 100 years to destroy the earth while Moses was building the ark. A little kid raises his hand. "Mr. Travis?" "Yes, Noah, what's your question?" Noah McCrane, the third grader, boldly expressed "Moses didn't build the ark! Noah did!" Travis later got a phone call from Steve. He said, "Son, just wanted to let you know that Moses didn't build the ark. Noah definitely did. Just in case there was any confusion."

In other news: we found our first black widow spider. It was dead. On our white dining room curtains. It looked very alive to me when I shrieked. Travis gave me the ongoing reminder of why we close the doors and don't open the windows. How can you not with all the delicious weather we are having? Here's a picture just in case you were wondering if you should keep your eyes peeled for one in your area:
On the hospital frontlines, I had two very interesting patients this week. The first was a sweet,old man who answered my question about how the food was this way:s"Well, honey, its good enough considering I'm going to the other side. Do you know where that is?" We then proceeded to talk and I told him about myself and that I was married. When I was about to leave he said, "I have something to tell to you." I said, "What?" He paused for a long time, thinking hard to search for the words that used to come so easily, "Don't forget to hold your head up." Then another pause. "But that's not the whole thing," he said with a quizical look on his face, probably frustrated by the challenge that the conversation now was compared to before : "You hold on to him."

Another spry 88 year old lady said to me: "You know I was noticing you in the hallways earlier. You know, I like to watch people. Its probably not nice, but I just can't help it. I like to notice people. And you have such a nice shape. You're so well proportioned. I just wanted to tell you that."

Those are the good kind of stories you walk away with on a good day.

This morning I am off to pick up my coop basket. I left it on the organizer's front stoop last week, only to get a call on Saturday saying that I had the wrong week. This also happened with the water irrigation this week. What is happening to me? Steve asked me, "What do you have to manage?" I laughed, because his question implied that there wasn't much to keep track of. I said, "What? You mean the animals, the feed, the garden, the watering, the irrigation, the groceries, the laundry, the mail, the trash, the cleaning, the pots, and my job-- not to mention my husband?" We all got a good laugh about that. The new word, just to remind you, is despot. Not Home Depot... Now, its home despot. It means "ruler" of the home. Yea baby, that's my name. Travis is going to make me a shirt with it on it in the Home Depot font.

This morning I am also going to try and make strawberry jam with my friend Becky and Erin. I'll send you more pictures of delicious preserves so you can drool some more.

Can't get enough

They say chickens are stupid but I don't think mine are.

I watched my chickens run across the yard when they saw me through the window this morning. They are all hungry because our new rooster, Arnie, is pestering all the other chickens, guarding the food for his two hens. I adopted them from someone down the road. They are adjusting to life in the country. The rooster has just started to venture out beyond the coop. I am going to try and put some sanctions on their wanderings today by putting up some fencing, so that I can leave them outside without worrying about them.

The old hen hasn't started laying yet, but she's a project in and of herself. Tina hasn't laid any more eggs in her old nest-- I think she's too smart for that. The plan: Clip her wings, stick her in the coop and lock her up for a couple days to get her used to laying in the hen house.

First job: clean the coop.

Can you ever get enough of cool mornings with bright horizons, and even more chicken stories? Pictures to follow...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Do you recognize me? No, I'm not going undercover across the border. Not quite the "California" look that everyone goes for here on the West Coast, but more than half the people who comment say, "I like it!" I've always wondered if I'd look like Mom if I was a brunette; those dreams of jet black hair came close to true last Tuesday when I had it done. The jury is still out; it may be lighter by Friday when the stylist looks at it to determine if its washed out enough (I've been trying my darndest).