Friday, February 05, 2016

What's Keeping Me Sane Right Now

(Photo by TJ)

January flew by quickly but once February hits, it seems that winter continues to drag on and on.  Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy had the right idea when she asked her readers to think about what is saving their life right now.  What are you doing that is keeping yourself sane?  What helps you keep going when a season gets long. She has asked bloggers to link up their ideas to hers, and I can't wait to read some of the posts.  But before I do, I thought I would jot down a few things that are helping me right now.  Some are more specific for winter and others are ones I use year round.  

Things That are Keeping Me Sane....

1. The First Five App by Proverbs 31 Ministries.

This devotional app goes through a book of the bible covering one chapter a day.  The app rotates between Old and New Testament books.  If you just read the basic devotional, it takes only five minutes.  Sometimes if I have time, I like to do homiletics on the chapter or a more in depth study.  It is nice to have a longer or shorter option depending on the day.  On the weekends, the ladies who do the devotionals record a video wrap up.  The weekend is also a great to get caught up if you missed a day.  Currently, we are in Exodus, and the truths have been powerful for me for this season.

2. Engaging Not Disengaging.

We are getting ready to leave for home leave.  It is easy to retreat early thinking it will make good-byes easier.  It doesn't.  I find if I engage until the end l leave better for me and my friends.  I tend to be more of an introvert so I have to intentionally take time to spend with my friends.   Yet I need people whether it is through email, Skype or in person.  God made us to engage with each other so we can encourage and build each other up.  A good conversation with a friend is often just what the doctor ordered.

One way I am engaging with a friends is a long walk on Monday afternoons (which is our middle of the week.)  This leads to my next point...

3. Long Walks

Due to where I live, this is a big deal for me.  When we lived in the capital city, this would have not been an option.  Since we are now in a more remote area, I get a long walk in 2 to 3 times a week.  The walk could lead by a flowing stream with blocks of ice due to the cold or through fallow potato fields. One walk even takes us all the way around the airport and runway.   Being next to nature helps me refocus and destress.  The long walk also give me a chance to connect with my walking partner whether it is a friend or my honey.  

4. My Winter Salad and Other Veggies.

This winter I have worked extra hard at making sure to eat fresh veggies.  Right now since lettuce is not available, our salads are full of spinach, cabbage, and bok choy.  Here is my favorite winter salad. 

I found this recipe from Betsy at Faith Spilling Over.  I make this up on the weekend and eat on it through out the week.  Sometimes I even use this as a base for a stir fry.  My honey likes it when I add a tomato or feta cheese.  

Below is the recipe.  It is great for Central Asia since cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower are super cheap. (For example a huge head of Cauliflower is 50 cents.)  For the dressing, I sometimes  use an Asian or balsamic dressing and other times Italian.  

Crunchy Winter Salad
4-5 cups of lettuce, shredded or cut fine
 ( I use spinach which I think lasts longer.)
1 cup grated purple cabbage

1 cup finely chopped cauliflower

1 heaping cup finely grated carrot

2-4 TBSP coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (depending on how nutty you like things) ( I always forget to put this in)

5. Coke With Lemon

This is a fun treat after a day at school even though it is not good for me.  Coke here is made with real sugar so somehow I justify it being better for me than Coke made with corn sugar.  Many afternoons, my honey and I will enjoy a Coke with ice and lemon as we talk about our day.  Or I enjoy my Coke while catching up on emails or my blog reading.  

What is keeping you sane these days?  Feel free to share in the comments or if you are a blogger link up with the others here at Modern Mrs. Darcy.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Lessons Learned in January 2016

As January was ending, it seemed the temperatures here started dropping. Thankfully with the sun out, our days are usually pleasant making the cold, cold nights a time to snuggle close to the warm fire.  We had snow this last weekend enough for some on our team to try out some inter tubing down some hills.   I just love the snow on the mountains, don't you? It makes my cold walk to work not so cold. We don't have snow plows here but with four wheel drive and chains everyone seems to make it to wherever they are going okay. 

January has been hard but God's grace has been sufficient in sending us listening ears and an understanding team.  Here is what I have learned in January.  

1. Sometimes You Just Need a Second Cup of Coffee

Sometimes a second cup of coffee is even better if it is with your daughter home from college.   We were able to go to Dubai for a few days.  W and I thought trying out a coffee place called the Second Cup was a better option than going with the boys to the Apple store.

This month I seemed to drink a lot of coffee with friends and family processing life.  Coffee with conversation is always good.  It was a blessing to spend some time with friends in our capitol city as well as with friends in the UAE while our kids were still on break.   So thankful for friends, good coffee, and great conversations.

2. God Brings Odds and Ends Together to Make Something Beautiful

Over winter break, W and I crocheted the odds and ends of my yarn stash to make granny squares.  We had no idea what the end product would be but thought it would make a nice gift for a friends of ours who is having a baby.  What do you think? 

As I was piecing this quilt together, God reminded me how he brings together bits and pieces of our lives.  He takes each part of our lives, the ups and the downs, and weaves them together to make us more like him and ready for what is next.  He takes the hard and broken places and redeems them into something that glorifies him. 

3. Forgiveness and Prayer

This month I finished reading a novel called Retribution by RS Ingermanson.  It is book three in a series that is set in Jerusalem during the time of Paul, Nero, and right before the temple is destroyed.  In this book, Rivka hates a man named Hanan who has a grudge against her family specifically her husband.   In fact, Hanan almost killed her husband. Rivka was to hear from God.  Their friend who is a healer and hears from God encourages Rivka to pray for Hanan-to bless him.  She needs to forgive then she will hear from God.  Throughout the book, Rivka struggles with this.  She will pray for Hanan and be released from her resentment only to find it crippling her again.  (Warning: Slight spoiler ahead) At the end, Rivka is at home on bedrest while her husband is in mortal danger.  Their healer friend has gone to find Rivka's husband but as he leaves tells Rivka to pray for Hanan.  She does not want to pray for Hanan but slowly begins to pray.  At first, her prayer is just words and then it turns into a true prayer from the heart as God works in and through her.  River has no idea that power of this prayer but she does know that her resentment and bitterness are gone allowing to hear from God.

Even though this was a fiction novel, I felt God telling me I needed to pray for Mr. S., the main official standing in the way of our flight permissions.  I needed to forgive this man for his fickleness, stubbornness, and all the stress he has cause us this past year.  I found myself praying that God would work in him and bless him that maybe God would use this to show Mr. S who God is.  I prayed that I would forgive him and others who are making life here harder than it needs to be.  

On the positive note, our organization received our AOC from the FAA.  This certificate is opening up some doors- flight permission wise for us.  Continue to pray that this will be resolved soon so our guys can get back to what they do best-flying and taking people to the remote areas of this country.  

How was your January?  Didn't it go by fast?  Care to share a lesson you learned?  Once again I am linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky and other bloggers on lessons learned.  Blessings, TJ

Monday, January 25, 2016

Jack: A Book Review


This is Jack, a novel by Chautona Havig.  Chautona always has unique characters in her book, and this book is no exception.  You have Jack, a cowboy who has a past,  and meets Hazel, a rich girl who wants to live life to the fullest.  You have the bad guys and the good guys with a little match making in the midst of it all.  The plot was full of fun twists and valuable lessons.  If you need a relaxing but fun read this book is for you.  You don't even need to like westerns to enjoy this story.  

Two lessons I am still thinking about after reading Jack are....

1. We can't let the past define our future.

If we don't deal with our hurts and struggles in our past, they will continue to control and define our future.  This is a great reminder to deal with the past and seek healing.   It is also reminder that the past can hurt people in our present if the past is not dealt with. 

2. Believe the Person You Trust Not the Person You don't Trust

I don't want to give anything away from the book but in the book one of the main characters believes a lie instead of trusting the word of someone he trusted.  This caused pain to not only himself but others.  When I hear something about someone I trust from someone else, I need to tread lightly and make sure to verify and seek truth.  This year I have seen personally how important this is.  

By the way, look at this bonus if you buy the book this week. 

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I was given this book to read by the author in return for a honest review.  And the link above is an affiliate link.)