Sunday, February 27, 2011

Delighting in 7 Years of Marriage

Early in the morning as the sun is coming over the hills in Cambria
The number one characteristic that attracted me to my husband was his love for God.  Number two was his ability to organize, administrate and execute an event.  From afar, I appreciated his talent for looking at the big picture and helping others take part in the overall goal.  That is, until we got married and he started to organize and administrate me.  And you know what they say...those qualities that seemed so attractive to a person before they got married are the very attributes that cause challenges once married.  I have affectionately given him the nickname "the Admiral", because he runs a tight ship.  I have not always been quick to yield to the overall picture that my husband has attempted to convey to me.  I must say, however, looking back at the last seven years, that his giftings have benefited our family in ways that have exceeded any hopes or expectations that I may have ever had about life.  

We had some time to reflect on our years together during a little getaway that we took earlier this week to celebrate our anniversary.  We came to the little town of Cambria, which is on the central coast of California. It is the perfect combination for us as I love the sea and he loves the mountains.  The first time we came was for our second anniversary and we have made every attempt to come back every year.  Although it is a small town, we have never ceased to find something new and different to do.  Our newest adventure was driving down the Santa Rosa Creek Road.  We beheld the beauty of God's creation through the views and the different animals we encountered. 

We enjoy viewing the elephant seals, shopping around in the little shops of the downtown area, going for a stroll on the boardwalk on Moonstone Beach, eating at the many restaurants, whale watching, meeting the locals, and visiting the local nurseries.  In the past we have toured Hearst Castle and made a day trip to Big Sur. 
Out of the many places we have stayed, our favorite is the Cambria Pines Lodge. You can find their website by clicking here and on the left side you can click on "Join our Mailing List" to receive their specials throughout the year.  They will send you specials to all of their Moonstone Properties in Cambria,  Monterrey, Carmel and Oregon.  
Cambria Pines Lodge
This time we even enjoyed live music in their Fireside Lounge.  Of course, before I leave, I have to bring a few little things to remind me of Cambria throughout the year, so I make a stop at the Cambria Pines Nursery.  I will be blogging about my little lovelies that I got there when I write about our backyard redo. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bringing Her Food From Afar...Shrimp Ceviche

Ceviche is most popular in Central and South America. It is typically made by taking raw fish and marinating it in the juices of limes and lemons.  I have even heard of one recipe that marinates ground beef in the citrus juices.  That recipe I need to try first before I can endorse it here. 

You can find this particular shrimp recipe at one of my Mother's fine dinners.  I actually tweaked it a little to make it friendly for my kids to enjoy.  But it was a hit. 

Shrimp Ceviche (Serves 6)

1  pound medium-small shrimp cut in half (I buy     them pre-cooked to cut out the cooking time)
2 Tbsp salt
Juice from 4-6 limes or 2-3 lemons
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced (I didn't use the chile this particular time)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seed removed, and chopped
1 squirt of ketchup

I just added all the ingredients together and served it into the glasses with a slotted spoon.  And garnished them with cilantro.  For added flavor, the shrimp can be marinated in the citrus juices for an hour in the refrigerator before being added to all the ingredients. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Divine Moment....At the DMV

As I approached the counter I saw her fumbling over her papers.  To my surprise, she was trying to figure out which Betty Boop sticker to put on her stapler.  This put me at ease as I was at the DMV to process some paperwork for my Dad and wasn't sure how I would be received.  The woman who helped me was very endearing as she asked me what my Dad's needs were.   She was surprised to read on the paperwork and that he has leukemia.  Eleven years this month, she had lost her Mother to leukemia.

She recounted the story as if it were just yesterday.  How she and her 7 siblings came together to support their Mother who was given only 3 months to live.  How her Mother lived passionately and wanted her children to celebrate passionately at her memorial service.  Her request was that they all wear red.  As she processed my request, she took the time to share her entire story with me.  It was a blessing to hear her encouragements.  Her Mother actually lived 8 months from the time the doctors had given her. 

I told her how much I had appreciated her story and asked her where she stood with Jesus.  She told me that the Lord used these difficult trials to draw her into a relationship with Him.  I thanked her and rejoiced that the Lord had put someone in my path that could share with me in my time of trouble.  Divinity could happen anywhere, even at the DMV.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bringing Her Food From Afar...Pizza

I always forget about how easy and how satisfying it is to have homemade pizza for dinner.  The problem for me is that I never seemed to have the right ingredients around and making pizza dough seemed very overwhelming.  Until a friend of mine turned  me on to Fresh and Easy's pizza dough.  It is already prepared and comes in whole wheat, rosemary and your traditional white flour.  I even buy three or four of them at a time and keep them in my freezer for a last minute meal.  They defrost very quickly. 

This particular night, I only had the ingredients that you see above:

Whole wheat pizza dough
Olive oil
Sun dried tomatoes
Classico's Pesto
Purple onion - Sliced
Colby Jack Cheese (I didn't even have mozzarella!)

I rolled out my pizza dough on a cutting board making sure I covered it with flour so that it didn't stick to the rolling pin or the board.  Sprinkled olive oil on the top, spread my pesto, put the sun dried tomatoes and onion slices on top and then sprinkled the cheese to cover the whole thing.  Put it into the oven at 375 degrees and baked it until the cheese melted and the crust had a nice brown color.  Served it with salad.  My carnivore husband didn't even mind that it didn't have meat on it.

The best thing about making pizza is that you could put ANYTHING on it.  Do you have leftover chicken?  Ground beef?  Broccoli?  The possibilities are endless! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sorry About the Delay

It's been a busy week with my Dad.  I missed a dear friend's birthday party and another special friend's baby shower.  I am working on a post about my time at the hospital this week and I have another Bringing Her Food From Afar to share with you.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Becoming a New Creation

We had to take my father to the ER on Thursday night.  After a 3 hour wait just to get into an examination room, we found out he needed a blood transfusion and a platelet transfusion.  My parents ended up going to the ER just before having dinner.  He had been saying that he was craving certain snacks, so just before midnight, I went out in search of them.  I slipped into a grocery store just before closing and was the last customer of the night. 

The young man at the cash register asked me if I was getting a snack after being at the hospital.  I told him about my Dad's leukemia and how we were going to be there for several more hours.  His Grandmother had just passed away the month before from leukemia he told me.  This common thread brought us to the topic of where he stood with Jesus.  We talked about religion and how it was man's futile way of reaching God, and how by believing in Jesus, we could be connected to Him in a relationship all through the work that Jesus did on the cross and not by any effort of ours.  A friend of his who had been raised Catholic and had begun going to a bible teaching church, had already been sharing with him.  I too was raised Catholic and I told him about the change that had taken place in my life from reading the bible.  Just like the metamorphosis of a butterfly, I too had become a new creation. 

Several co-workers were demanding his attention during our conversation.  He needed to walk me out and lock the door behind me.  So at the door, I just took the risk and asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart.  "Yes, I want to, but I don't know how."  "Repeat after me,"  I said, and he gave his life to Jesus. 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new...2 Corinthians 5:17