Christian Friendship

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and blogging the past few days, and why so many women (especially) are excited to pursue it.  I read a lot of blogs.  Many of the blogs I read are of women I’ve never met.  And yet I get excited to be part of their lives and experiences, mostly because I am inspired and encouraged by these other women and their desire to serve God in life, using their work, their families, their creativity, etc. to discover how God wants to use them.  

Interestingly enough, I’ve been learning a lot about Christian friendship lately.  Our pastor at church talked about Christian friendship last Sunday in church, and just a few days earlier my mom gave me an excerpt from the book The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller, about the importance and power of Christian friendship.  While Keller later expands on the concept of Christian friendship to discuss the ultimate human relationship experienced in marriage, he writes that the basis of any true friendship is a “common vision and passion.”  He continues, “Christians have all experienced the grace of God in the gospel of Jesus.  We have all had our identity changed at the root, so now God’s calling and love are more foundational to who we are than any other thing.”  This connection overpowers any differences we have in race, culture, status.. you name it!  And this is why I can genuinely share in another blogger’s joys, hardships, and common everyday occurrences.  

I think also that people desire to be heard, and to be understood.  I know I want that.  And I want this place to be a platform to be genuinely vulnerable.  I know that I have benefitted from another woman’s story, and so here I am to share mine.  One of my best strengths in life has also been one of my greatest weaknesses, my perfectionism.  So I struggle not to portray only “the best” of me.  I joke with my husband that I am really good at “fake vulnerability.”  I am incredibly willing to share intimate details of my life, but they are often crafted in a way that shows just a piece of what the struggle is, and most often, it’s retrospectively: “A month ago, I was really challenged by…” It’s hard to admit the things that are ongoing, that challenge me daily – the ones where at times I need God’s strength each minute to get through them.  

Instead, I’m going to try to be honest here.  I feel like by being genuinely open, perhaps others will feel comfortable sharing with me.  I believe that brings true friendship.  In fact, I know it does, and have seen that blessing in many of my deep friendships.  While a blog can be a fun way to share creativity and house projects and food love, I also want mine to chronicle a life seeking the Lord and his leading in my life, and his overwhelming blessing as a result.  Thanks for sharing with me in this journey!

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Indian Cooking

While in Portland, Tim and I acquired a book at Powell’s Bookstore (insert: only the GREATEST bookstore I have ever been to, where sold on the same shelves are both used and new books, giving the ease of finding the books you want and the opportunity to buy them at the price you want!) on Indian cooking.  This book had come recommended by my aunt and uncle, foodies themselves, who said they had bought this book to inspire them before their trip to India.  Last week, in a surge of domestic inspiration, I made my first Indian dish from this book, Easy Indian Cooking, called Ginger Chili Chicken.

I honestly knew next to nothing about Indian cooking, and actually learned a few things that I would do differently the next time.  For example, apparently, according to the author, Indian meals normally consist of one “dry” dish, and one or two “wet” dishes.  This recipe falls under “dry” dishes, and while really very good, I made the mistake of not having a soup or “dal,” which significantly would have rounded out the meal.  Instead I made jasmine rice with it, and there was not enough marinade to wet the rice.

It was however, very easy!  Here’s the recipe (for 8 people; I halved it):

  • 12 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (I used breasts, and really probably made a mistake in doing so because thighs are generally more moist)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (I used lemon)
  • 2.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup julienne peeled gingerroot
  • 6 to 8 green chiles, preferably serranos (I used 2 for my 1/2 recipe, and it was already quite spicy, even though I really enjoy spicy!)
  • 1 sprig cilantro, for garnish

The first 4 ingredients after the chicken make up the marinade.  I mixed them together, put everything in a Ziploc bag, and marinated for 3o minutes.

Then I chopped up the ginger and chiles – not very finely, and I liked it this way.

Then using a non-stick skillet with a lid, you heat all the oil on medium high, and then brown the ginger and chiles until almost crisp.

The chicken and all the marinade goes in next, turning the heat to medium, and then you cook the chicken on each side for 4-5 minutes.

Afterwards, you add 2 tbsp of water, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken over once.  (I found this interesting – most chicken dishes are made on the stove – no baking!  Wonder if it’s because it’s so hot 🙂 )

Then garnish with cilantro, and maybe add some more lemon or lime!  Like I said, I served mine with rice, but next time will make something else to go with it.  So very good!

Portland and Hipsters

I’ve always wanted to go to Portland.  This desire first developed when I read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, and then all his other books as well.  You can read about him at his blog: http://donmilleris.com/.  Donald Miller has a way of describing Christianity that is unique and thoughtful.  He also comes from the land of the first hipsters, before being a hipster was even cool: Portland, Oregon.  Having gone to school in another land of hipsters (Boulder, CO), I was always told that if I liked Boulder I would LOVE Portland, and that I absolutely had to go.  So my husband and I recently took a trip to Portland, to see its beauty and visit some of Tim’s cousins who live there.

The thing about Portland that I found beautiful is that it has so much to offer.  Tim and I, the foodies that we are, appreciated the fun, new restaurants that listed where all their products were from (what nearby farms and ranches) at the tops of their menus.  We liked going to local coffee shops that roasted their own beans, imported from small farms in South America where they paid the farmers what they should be paid.  And my new favorite discovery, “drinking chocolate” shops.  We need some of these stores in Colorado.  Perhaps I should open one.  They supply bars of chocolate from all over the world, and also have a “bar” of sorts where you can drink chocolate.  My favorite was the Mexican chocolate, creamy and infused with cinnamon.

The BEST food however, was from Tim’s cousins brewpub he opened in Portland just two years ago – if we lived there we would seriously be there once a week, at least!  Check it out!

Portland also boasts some of the most different types of landscape that you can see in any one place in the US.  We went to the ocean and saw “Haystack Rock” at Cannon Beach.

We hiked through a lava tube (read about what THAT is here).  

 

(this is where the lava tube exits into the forest)

We played in a rose garden.

And we went to a rainforest!

There was just so much beauty and GREEN for this Colorado girl – I loved it!

Needless to say, we felt Portland feeling refreshed after time spent together and beauty in God’s creation.  To all my Portland lovers, I would be a hipster and live there too… if not for the gray skies and rain 🙂

Hello world (or close family and friends)!

Well, I’ve done it.  I’ve jumped on the VERY end of the bandwagon and joined the world of blogging.

I think the primary reason I wanted so much to write a blog that I often end up “blogging” life in my head already, thinking, “Now how would I describe to an audience what is happening right now in life?”  At one point down the path of “What am I going to do with my life?,”  I thought that journalism might be a worthwhile endeavor.  I had a wonderful English teacher my freshman year of college, someone who pushed me and inspired me despite giving me what may be one of the hardest grades I ever worked for, even in my science degree.  She challenged me to use my experiences to fuel my writing, to use it as both an outlet for processing and as a stepping stone to inspire new stories.

The other reason I started this blog is as my personal creative outlet.  To be honest, creativity falls under a different definition for me.  I am definitively right-brained, loving science and logic and understanding why the world works the way it does.  But within this way of thinking, I’ve discovered creativity that falls under the categories of order and color schemes and chemical equations.  I love decorating and matching colors and details.  I enjoy cooking: my father described it as a way to perform chemical experiments.  And I love sharing food with friends and family who can enjoy it as well.  This science nerd is not stereotypical in that she LOVES to be social.

So thus developed “A Confectionary Life,” a place to share my little cooking experiments, house projects, and (hopefully) fun stories of a life full of joys, challenges, and everyday moments.