Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fruit Dip Wonder

I would like to dedicate this Recipe Thursday post to Eric Margrave.

I don't really know what the formal name of this recipe is, but my mom made it for special occasions as we were growing up. Since I don't have a picture of this recipe, here is a picture of my mom! I love you!! (Ignore Megan...) :)

Fruit Dip Wonder

1 jar marshmelow cream
1 8-oz block cream cheese (regular or reduced fat)
variety of fruit (sliced apples, grapes, honeydew melon, strawberries)

Using a hand mixer blend entire jar of marshmellow cream and cream cheese.
Mix until there are no lumps.
Place in a bowl of a chips & dip tray or serving platter.
Arrange fruit around the dip.

For added color, blend in a drizzle of cherry juice
(especially with Valentine's day coming up)!

Wrestling with Theology

So I officially started graduate work this semester, and my first class is Introduction to Theology. Most of my friends are surprised by this because of having an undergrad degree from Master's, but in all truthfulness, I never took Theology at Master's. I know, right? Somehow I squeaked by that requirement. Introduction to Theology and Hermeneutics are both prerequisites to the program I am in at Dallas, so there's really no getting out of Theology here.

I was really excited to start taking the class, especially after getting the textbooks and reading some of the "recommended" material before the semester started. But now that we're finishing up our 3rd week, I'm finding that I'm having a struggle with desiring to study theology. The class is great; I'm definitely learning a ton. But I have come to a point in most of the reading that leaves me wondering how I got so far away from the actual Scriptures. For example, last night I was reading about what John Calvin wrote about natural theology way back whenever. His thoughts are definitely interesting and they are something I hadn't heard before. But I'm not quite sure how this is going to help me share the gospel message with the wrinkled and toothless woman on Skid Row or how to explain to Abby (4 years old) why I love Jesus.

This is not to say that theology is useless. I was encouraged and humbled by my professor's response "I study theology because I am a person of faith. I cannot help but study theology because I want to know God, since theology is the study of God." I definitely agree that theology has a very appropriate place and time in the life of a believer, being that it is derived from a purely Scriptural standpoint. And if one claims to be a genuine Christian, they automatically claim to be a theologian. When music & songwriting was a huge part of my life I developed the habit of thinking about theology portrayed through lyrics. David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall all have excellent theology. Steven Curtis Chapman, on the other hand, could be questionable. This is not to say that they're not good songwriters. They're all talented and blessed by the Lord in that aspect. May their ministries continue to be blessed. But in attempting to provide (and being responsible to do so) a setting for God's children to genuinely enter into a spirit of worship through music, one must consider the theology of any given song. For example, "Dive" (Steven Curtis Chapman) is not as theologically sound as "Before the Throne of God Above." It may be more catchy and energetic (thus, more engaging), but is the mood worth the compromise?

All that to give an example of why knowing theology can be important. For my sister, knowing theology is important as she is an English literature student. She made the comment to me that studying theology has been profitable for her personally because she is able to better understand and think through old(er) works of literature in a biblical way. She also has the opinion that having a theologically inclined mindset can have a certain "in" with the more intellectually inclined crowd. I think there is a lot of truth to that.

But as for me--studying theology is a lot like taking geometry in high school. I didn't ever think I was going to use proofs again (side note: the only other time I used them was in calculus...). There are a lot of other things that I would rather study. Or that I think would be profitable to study. I think it's an issue of competing desires. But who's desires am I competing with? Is it possible to develop one's theology only from the Scriptures and not by reading anyone else's opinions? I have such a desire to be sitting under formal instruction regarding the Scriptures rather than theology! I care much that these words are written in a spirit of humility, as there have been many great and godly men & women who have gone before me.

I'm just having a hard time enjoying the study of theology.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unsorted Mail

I was made aware of this blog just today--thanks for keeping the secret from me! (not!)

This blog was created by 2 random girls (you can view their profiles on the site) but is highly contributed to by Master's girls!


Sunday, January 27, 2008


What is your favorite song of all time?
Before the Throne of God Above (Shane & Shane does it really well)

Do you have any tattoos, and if so, what and where?
none, but I've definitely thought about it (never came close, just thought)

How do you feel?

What size shoe do you wear?
regularly 9 or 10 in flip-flops

Water or 100% juice?
definitely water, with cucumber & lemon slices!

Would you rather be hot or cold?

Favorite place to eat?
at someone's home--not a huge restaurant fan

Opera, musical, concert, play, performance, or other?
oh man, this is hard. I enjoy plays done at local high schools, my best friend from 8th grade is a musical performer (like on Broadway...seriously), concerts are pretty bomb, and operas are always intriguing. I would have to say any of the above.

Most embarrassing moment?
it would definitely have to be in the process of learning the language in PNG this summer--I think I was the laughing stalk of the nationals until about the week before I left

If you had to pick one car, which would it be?
something that runs, preferably something that I can throw a surf or snow board in the back of. 4WD would be ideal

Your favorite Disney film?
Beauty & the Beast

Where is Waldo?
that's what you're supposed to figure out

Favorite element?
of nature? the wind
of the periodic table? cobalt

What was your last thought?
trying to figure out what artist is playing on my ipod across the room
I think it's's Jordan Lee, my sister's friend

Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape, or others?
i appreciate firefox but usually use safari unless i have to stream videos for class

Juice & crackers or milk & cookies?
this is really nerdy, but I prefer most fruit & water

Favorite fruit?
pineapple, but only if it can be enjoyed in the tropical country where it came from

Which is worse--a bad laugh or a bad cough?
probably a bad laugh because a bad cold usually goes away

Are you a cat or a dog person?
definitely dog. but not small dogs--they're annoying. and not big dogs--I'm scared of them (seriously--I panic--bad experiences in the past with big dogs)

Would you rather be blind or deaf?
i think it would be easier to be deaf

Do you eat cold cereal at night?
no, but I wear my sunglasses at night

What is your favorite TV show?
extreme makeover, home edition
or LA Kings games or baseball games

Kill the spider or let it out?
kill if it has the potential to hurt someone, let it out otherwise

Do you shower every single day?
uh, only if I'm dirty. usually every other

Walking past a beggar, spare change, or ignore?
spare change or food. man! this is hard to encounter as a girl. if I were a guy, it would be totally different

Boat or bus?
boat--the water is fantastic!

Where do you want to travel next?
I'm up for anywhere. I would love to go back to PNG, but Singapore, Germany or Italy sounds nice.

Do you read the Harry Potter books?
I only read the first 4 because I was on a road trip with my family & had already finished all my own books. Those were the only ones left to read. Boo.

What is your favorite place?
in Santa Clarita: Towsley Canyon
in Sacramento: along the river/lake Bike trails
in Ventura: up the PCH about 2 miles north of Surfer's Point
in SLO: anywhere
in Fresno: nahhhh

If you could have one super human power what would you choose?
to know the future

Vitamin water or Gatorade?
vitamin h20--it has less sugar

Favorite body part?

Flip flops or sandals?
flip flops, for sure

What do you do on Fridays?
usually work from 6:30 to 10am then do something active the rest of the day (i.e., surf, snowboard, skateboard, etc.), depending on the weather
sometimes work on homework or read

How tall are you?
57 inches

Do you like bananas?
of course! especially blended into a vanilla milkshake

Friday, January 25, 2008


So, while I was in Papua New Guinea this summer, I had the opportunity to be a part of a filming project to promo New Tribes Mission & Interface. We had some really fun times with the 2 producers (Proctor & Nate) and director (Ben). Since the project has been over we have all been anxiously awaiting the final results. Some of the still shots from the project have been used widely on New Tribes materials (namely, the website & brochures), but we got final word today that the entire short film is done!

I'm still trying to upload the actual film to this site, but in the meantime you can view it by visiting either of these links:

To view on YouTube (most convenient), click here.
To view it on the producer's site (best quality, but takes a while to download), click here.

Here are some still shots of the process,
which will be included in the final product:

(this is the cover of the DVD)
I think I can safely say that this is all of our personal favorite.
Simple, Heather, Proctor, Emily, me, Nate, Hendricks

(this is for the general use of "Changed")
We're all on the upper-left

they used a helicopter for part of the filming process
can you see me waving from the building furthest up in the picture?

Christmas in a Cup

Since we missed Recipe Thursdays yesterday, here is one for today!

My friend Sarah VanValer used to work at a coffee shop when we were in high school (before the Starbucks epidemic broke out) & she named this drink "Christmas in a Cup!" In reality, this is just plain 'ol Indian Chai Tea. This particular recipe comes straight from Peter & Heather Malakar in India. Put on some Christmas tunes & enjoy, especially in this rainy weather!

Indian Chai

2 c water

2 c milk

3 tablespoons loose tea

5 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

3 sticks cinnamon

3 pieces of cloves

Bring to a boil, turn heat down, and bring to a boil again.
Use a strainer to pour into mugs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sorry About the Wait

I was about 10 minutes early to pick Olivia up from school this afternoon.
I thought to myself, "Just enough time to swing by and get a coffee. Perf!"
Yea, right. Only if you have one car ahead of you in the drive-thru lane.
Alas, there were about 6 cars in front of me, and one of those cars had about 4940 drinks ordered. So guess what-I was stuck in line and gonna be late to pick up Olivia. Lame. I got up to the window and the girl said, "Hi. Sorry about the wait. The drink's on us." Score! The good ending to the story is that I wasn't even late to pick up Olivia. It turns out that I thought she was done at 2:30 when, in reality, she was done at 2:35. Those last 5 minutes made all the difference.
Through all of this I was thinking about patience. Many a people have commented to me about how patient I am. Let me be the first to tell you that my patience is deceptive. It's only outward. I'm only patient when I want to be. In fact, I enjoy being patient when I have the time, because I want to be a blessing to others (I never met someone who didn't love a patient person). Is that prideful--to like being patient when I have the time? Probably.

The Bible instructs us to be patient with all men. Since Ryan was looking up words in the dictionary for homework tonight, I took a glance at the definition for "patience." It reads, "habit or fact of being patient." Man, I really need to work on patience being a habit.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Back & Ready for Action

Sorry! Our internet was down unexpectedly this week. Thank you to the AT&T tech who came to fix it this morning!

So-I was all ready for Recipe Thursdays, and since I didn't post on Thursday, here is the make-up post. On this post's menu:

1.5 lbs pre-marinated carne asada (my fav is from Ralph's)

corn tortillas (8-12, depending on size of casserole dish

big can of enchilada sauce (I prefer the mild)

1 cup Monterrey jack cheese

1 cup medium cheddar cheese

while searing the meat in a stove top pan heat canola oil for dipping tortillas

briefly dip tortillas in hot oil to soften but not make crunchy

layer fried tortillas between paper towels to pick up excess oil

put cheeses in a large mixing bowl

when meat is finished cooking (no pink in the middle) remove from heat

let cool about 5 minutes

cut meat into strips and shred into small pieces via food processor or blender

add shredded meat to cheese in bowl & stir

add more cheese if so desired

pour enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of baking dish

taking one tortilla at a time, stuff & roll with the meat/cheese mixture

place in the casserole dish side-by-side until dish is full

pour the rest sauce over the enchiladas until you run out

sprinkle with cheddar cheese

bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees

serve with chips & salsa/guacamole!

I learned this recipe from working for the Stevens. I have made it many times for their family & also my own family and friends; it's always a winner! I really like to make it for a Sunday lunch or if a few people are coming over for dinner. The nice part about this recipe is that it can be made in advance and also reheats really well for further consumption enjoyment!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Recipe Thursdays

Hi Friends!

To add some spice (no pun intended) and creativity to the blog, I have decided to theme a few days of the week. Thank you, Summer Martin. Alas, this calls for Recipe Thursdays. I will do my best to provide some creative & fun recipes for y'all each Thursday.

Here's the catch, though. In honor of my beloved friend, Summer, I am going to do my best at making the selected recipes gluten free. Enjoy!

Maple Apples Brandy*

3 granny smith apples
4 tablespoons brandy
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup

wash and slice apples, cutting out the core but leaving the skin.
bake in a skillet on high-about 5 minutes on each side of apple or until slightly golden brown in color.
while apples are baking mix together brandy & pure maple syrup.
after apples are ready drizzle the liquid mixture (keeping skillet on high heat).
stir constantly with pancake spatula to avoid burnt sugar.
keep on high until liquid is caramelized.
let cool for about a minute.
serve warm either by itself or over vanilla ice cream.

*my little sister Megan renamed this delicious dessert "Spiked Apples"
fortunately for you, the alcohol cooks out but will sometimes leave a brandy flavor.