Tuesday, December 23

A Cold Evening

Its almost Christmas day and I'm playing with my thoughts. Thinking of snow ferries dancing in the frost, and childhood memories and dreams. Remembering Papa and all the things we did for Christmas. I'm wishing I could be lost in this winter wonderland as the snow crunches under my boots and the world is silenced by this peaceful white blanket. Adempting to catch the magic just a bit, I raise the corners of my mouth in a semi-happy grin. Things are looking up, but I'm feeling kind of down as I finish my last gifts alone tonight. Just wanting more than anything for someone to hold me, to lead me to a place of peace and security. Like laying down on a soft rug near the hearth while one arm is wrapped lovingly around a big friendly labrador retriever.

Monday, December 15

The Today Show

Yesterday I was interviewed by the Today Show. That's right NBC's leading early morning show. They were at our church, Mars Hill, asking questions to members, pastors, etc. Matt and I happen to be there at the right time and since we're not camera shy, they spoke with us.

Apparently, in America there is a rise in church attendance. The Today Show is hoping to connect the economic down turn as the reason people are seeking steeples. They were even more excited to find someone like me, who was recently laid off, to ask those pointed questions.

Oh media, oh media- how I love and hate thee.

So, we answered their questions and went on with the day. However, I tend to over analyze everything. Even though I know my answers were truthful, their last question has haunted me. It went something like this:

"In what ways are you hoping your church will help you find a job?"

After mulling over my epectations of what church is about and why I go and what I expect to get from church I realized this: there is one primary reason why I continue to go to church, with a job or without a job. I go because I love Jesus. The role of the church, in my life, is to always point me back to the cross- to show me that Jesus is God's son, and that he made the ultimate sacrifice to save me from a life without God.

I do believe that understanding Christ's sacrifice for us, will encourage us to be givers of our resources, time, and talents, especially to those in need. But when I think about my expecations for how my church will help me- I fall hard on this thought: Above all, my church community must point me to God who will provide; either through people at church or other non-church-affiliated resources

Thus, to the Today Show, whether I have a job or don't, whether I'm rich or poor, if I'm well or sick, the primary thing I expect from my church, is a loving, kind hand that guides me back to Christ.

To our church: thanks for the prayers, the love, the giving and kindness you continue to show, and how always, always, always I am being pointed back to our great saviour.

Sunday, December 14

Jessica's Test Kitchen

I've heard that getting a great breakfast makes the rest of the day much better. While trying to figure out what that looks like I came across a recipe for oatmeal pancakes. The original recipe called for white flour and no wheat bran, so I've changed this to kick up the fiber (the long lasting element of whole grains). One of these pancakes keeps me going for at least five hours. Plus, they keep well in the freezer and its great to pop one in the microwave and have something warm and healthy in the mornings.

Please try this recipe and if there are ways you improve it, e-mail me and I'll try it- maybe even post the new version.

Oatmeal Pancakes
2 cups Milk
1 ½ cups Quick-cooking rolled oats
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup Wheat bran
¼ cup Wheat germ
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 Tbs. Baking powder
½ to 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs beaten
¼ cup Vegetable oil

1. In a bowl mix milk and rolled oats, let stand 5 minutes (about the amount of time it takes to get everything else ready)
2. In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients: flour, germ, bran and sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. In another, separate bowl, beat eggs and oil.
4. Mix together: milk/oats, dry ingrediants, and beaten eggs/oil.Then add them and the milk/oat mixture (if thick just add a little more milk).
5. Cook 1/2 cup (1 cake) at a time on griddle and/or in frying pan at medium heat flipping the pancake when the surface becomes slightly porous.
6. Lay to cool on a baking sheet and freeze.

Makes about 10 pancakes.

Tips and ideas
*The cakes take about 6 min each to cook so it’s a good idea to have another kitchen task while you’re working on them.
* I keep thinking I need to add some vanilla extract, but I haven't purchased any from the store recently.
*When freezing I stick them in the freezer on a cookie sheet, single layer, for about 30 min to an 1 hour so they can have an initial freeze, quickly remove them and shove them in a plastic freezer bag then back in to the icebox. This way they don’t stick together, and it’s easy to pick only one out the next day for breakfast.
*We generally eat these with vanilla or plan yogurt and honey. Another yummy alternative is bananas and nutella, and other ideas include fresh fruit, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and of course maple syrup.

Thursday, December 11

DAY 3

After waking this morning I drove my husband to work then stopped at home depot for some hanging folders I've been meaning to buy for about five months. Now I have papers all over my livingroom. Mostly in organized piles, but there is a large recycle pile sitting there, hapazardly.


Today, as I've been working on the filing project and applying for jobs, I realized I don't miss MasterPress. I do miss a few of my co-workers, but realistically, that is about it.


I've also realized that being laid off, surprising as it was, may be the way God is confirming that it is time to move on. I had been applying to other places before the lay off. God, if that's the case, thanks for giving me an extra push.


Another thing to be happy about, because I was laid off I'll receive unemployment benefits. This means I get paid while I'm looking for work, which also means I will be able to squeeze in some last minute time with Jenn and other family during the holidays.


Anyway...this last weekend, before the layoff, I went to Whidbey Island and we visited Langley where Will bought some marbles (well, his mom bought some marbles). Currently, marbles happen to be his favorite object. We were taking pics and he specifically wanted us to take pictures of the marbles. So, for everyone's marble enthusiasm.


Here ya go.


Monday, December 8

IRONY

When people start yelling or becoming defensive, when I'm embarassed, and when things start becoming illogical my immediate reaction is to find the humor.

So, its kind of ironic that my last post concerned a difficult coworker, and this post well...

Well, I was laid off of work today, and I guess I don't need to worry about the co-worker.

Yes, I'm in a national satistic, and yes- my employer just raised the national unemployment rate by at least ten people. I knew the downsizing was coming, I've been applying for other positions, but I really, really, really wanted an new job before I gave my notice.

I wanted to feel like I was leaving something, for something better. Yeah, I know, I know, I'm sure something better will come along, but so far its 3/3 of jobs in the last five years that I've had bad exist stories with.

Maybe I'm too romantic.

Sigh.

And...umm...

Say a prayer, k?

Irony is fading.

Tuesday, December 2

Coemployees

I was reading an article on difficult co-workers. They said the following:

"Difficult people come in every conceivable variety. Some talk constantly and never listen. Others must always have the last word. Some coworkers fail to keep commitments. Others criticize anything that they did not create."

The only other person in my department has ALL of these traits. I'm not kidding, all of them.

Work related conversations with this person are strained and tiring. I'm ok with confrontation, and have sternly and politely done so. I and other people have tried speaking with management about it. Management has spoken to them about it.

Sometimes it completely astounds me that many people really don't care. Or perhaps it is that they think they care, but they don't really know what love, kindness,repentance, forgiveness and change actually mean.

Hmmm...