Friday, July 27, 2012

Sheila B's Buttery Jalapeno Popcorn

A group of Latina ladies rented one of our meeting rooms at the library to show a movie last Friday. I went in to chat with them before the movie started. I was feeling pretty suave, being able to chat with them in Spanish… until I asked about that jalapeno soda they were going to be serving with the movie.

Nooo, Hillary. Jalapeno popcorn. Only orange soda. Because I hadn’t had jalapeno popcorn before, the ladies brought me a bag of popped jalapeno popcorn when their movie started. I shelved books the rest of the afternoon with a smile on my flaming lips.

Jalapeno popcorn. Who knew?

I’m definitely going to keep this in mind as a possible gift for certain members of my family for Christmas or birthdays.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Perpetual Over-Stimulization

Hillary's symptoms of stress perpetually over-stimulation:

A.  Inability to fall asleep peacefully and quickly.

B. Inability to watch movies any more thought-provoking than You've Got Mail  or possibly My Little Pony without arousing symptom A. 

C. Temptation to peek in my planner multiple times during quiet time that is supposed to be reserved for God.

D. An irrational sense of doom.

E.  Occasional shortness of breath when thinking about all the things I have to do. No, really, I have to do them.

F.  Occasional heart fluttering.

I'm fairly disturbed by these symptoms (and frankly a little embarrassed to post them-- I'm supposed to not be anxious about anything right?). I'm also struck by how... Western they sound.

I've been reading a large volume of literature on Mozambique and its culture, so when I picked up Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver, I was struck by how such a title could only apply to the Western world, and certainly not to the African culture we're really to dive into.

The title refers to Luke 10:40-42, which are obviously not modern or Western in origin:

'But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” '

But isn't is just amazing that we Westerners have created a whole culture of Marthas? 

Not that I want to demonize my culture or set Mozambican culture up on a pedestal, but I wish I could find a little more balance in my life. A little more margin to relax and just be mixed in with the frenetic to-do list streaming.

I don't really have a conclusion for this point. I'm just interested in sending my stress perpetual over-stimulation into the blogosphere.

Anyone else out there deal with busyness-induced stress?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mark's Baking Adventure

I just have to share pictures of Mark's baking adventure for the International Dinner Club that we're a part of. I can't write much more about it because I was busy teaching English and wasn't a part of the making or baking (sad!). But I just thought this Swedish Tea Ring turned out soooo lovely:

I don't get to be a part of the eating of this Tea Ring either, because of work conflicts, but I told him that at all costs he must save me at least one slice to try!

Friday, July 13, 2012

T-shirt to Tank Top

Last week, in a sewing frenzy, I also tackled the project of turning a couple of my t-shirts into tank tops. I found the project on Pinterest (but I’m not a Pinterest junkie, I’m really not).

The project was easy: just a few slices here and there with scissors, only two straight lines of sewing, and ta-da! All done.

I made my first tank top out of a bright green t-shirt that I got last summer for something I wasn’t really even a part of. When I finished and tried it on, Mark told me it looked a little weird… like a tank top but really baggy (as most t-shirts are on me).

So, I decided that I needed to take the shirt in on the sides. Easy-peasy. I measured myself, did a few speedy calculations, snipped the excess fabric, and sewed up new side seams.

My calculations were disgustingly inaccurate, and I ended up with an hourglass mini-shirt that makes me look like a Barbie-wannabe. Or at least, it would if I could even get it over my shoulders:

With a few deep inhalations and exhalations I released my innate desire to never make mistakes, and I started again with a new t-shirt.

Trial number two went a little better, but again, I cut before I sewed, so when the resulted t-shirt tank top was just a tiny bit too small, I was stuck. 

I took a few deep breaths, gave up, and put the project away for a few days.

When I finally got back to the project, I was a lot more careful. I sewed before I cut. I didn’t try to fit myself into too small of a shirt. I made a few other minor modifications.

I was pretty pleased with the result:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

High Ropes, Campfires, and Family

I’ve been busy enough this week and without time to write so that writing about my delightful weekend at camp with family will seem like old news. So, instead, I’d like to share a few pictures that capture our activities of the weekend and a few words that capture my feelings about the weekend:

Mark makes this look sooo easy. I wouldn't try it.

And he doesn't seem too nervous either.
Please do NOT notice my nostrils flaring in fear of jumping.
Family fuseball!
Lovely, growing family.





Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gearing Up for Adoption, Or Trying

So, you may or may not have noticed my post last week, in which I announced our upcoming trip to Mozambique.

You may be thinking to yourself, “Wow. They’re planning this big trip. They have to raise a lot of money. And they’re getting ready to start their adoption? They’ve got to be nuts!”

If we were about to launch into our adoption process, I would agree with you. Even I, impatient to have a baby as I am, know that these two financial and emotional drains can’t take place at the same time. Sigh.

Usually, in the past, I’ve always been able to recognize my emotions. I took pride, almost, in being able to journal and pray and come out of that time with a pretty clear idea of how I was feeling and why. Over the last few months, however, I haven’t been able to recognize my emotions, despite journaling and prayer, which has left me feeling off-balance and confused.

The result? Tears. Anxiety. Tears. Difficulty sleeping. Oh, and tears. Did I mention tears?

I’m excited to go to Mozambique, I really am. But I’m also excited to adopt. I know that God has led us to this point, to the point of going on this trip (and you can read more about that decision at our Mozambique blog), but my heart—my impatient, selfish, human heart—is already in the adoption process.

We’ve tentatively decided between international and domestic adoption. We’ve tentatively decided on an adoption agency. But we just can’t get started yet.

It took me until about this past week to realize that the raging waves of emotions that I’d been tossed around in recently was a result of this conflict between desire to go to Mozambique and desire to adopt.

Since finally understanding myself, I’ve been able to have more productive conversations with God than tearful spluttering on my end. (I’ve been thankful for the reminder that when we don’t know how to pray the Spirit intercedes for us!) And I’ve also been able to start to find ways to ease what I’ve termed my Adoption Tension.

My first outlet for the adoption tension is through trying to come up with ways to raise or earn money for the fantastic yet financially terrifying event. I’m playing around with a few ideas, like the e-reader cover I just finished, and some other crafty things that someone somewhere may want to buy.

But for those of you who have adopted before, do you have good ideas for ways to pay for an adoption on a limited income?