Impatience = Chifles!

I bought plantains to make a Pinterest recipe, but they’re green which means waiting until they ripen. I’m not always patient, especially when I know I can make a yummy treat from green plantains. 

Having lived in the Peruvian jungle which has a plenitude of banana varieties, this is something I miss in the U.S.  Thanks to Cuban heritage, fried sweet plantains are pretty easy to find. But fried green plantain chips, aka “chifles”? Nope. 

So here’s how you can make chifles, which are awesome because I don’t like potato chips. I’m also trying to do Whole30 and I think these fit in for snacks. 

First, peel your plantains. This might be the more difficult part as it takes a knife to cut the skin and slowly work it off with your hands. Once they’re peeled, slice them as evenly as possible. This will make it better for even frying. 

 
In a large pan heat your oil for frying. I used grape seed oil at medium heat. Place the pieces in a single layer as this makes for even frying. Try not to let them stick together because, well, it makes more for eating!
 
Let them fry for a couple minutes and then flip them. They usually don’t want to flip and its sometimes difficult to differentiate which have been flipped or not, but you notice subtle differences. The idea is to fry them evenly but they’ll cook different depending on thickness. 

   
Fry them another couple minutes until they start turning a very light golden brown. I used my metal spatula to tap the centers of the thick ones to see if they felt hard and done. Don’t fry past this point as they’ll turn darker once out of the oil. Too dark makes them taste burnt. 

 
Place them on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil and cool off. See, they look darker. 

  
I tossed them with a little salt to make the flavor pop. All these yummy chips from just three plantains. Enjoy! 

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It only took one year and nine months

January 2014 – I decided to undertake a challenge I’ve done many a time, but pursue it in a different manner – read through the Bible in one year using a chronological method.

Growing up with an emphasis on Scripture, I’ve read and memorized Scripture a multitude of times. It’s in my head – though paraphrased by me – whenever I need it. It’s the foundation to my faith, which is why I chose to work with a mission organization whose emphasis is on translating Scripture. How does one come to know Christ without being able to read His letter to us? It’s the starting point to giving people an option to step into the world known as the Christian Faith.

Honestly, as I write (and many times before), I wish I had some how documented how many times I’ve read through the Bible.

Sometimes I’ve felt guilty that I didn’t stick with it and complete the plan in one year; that I didn’t read every day and would take days (weeks!) off. One would think with how rough the last year has been I would have been in the Word more often than I have been.

Well, I truly believe that we have season and sometimes the tools we pull out aren’t the ones we use regularly, but the ones we need most. For me, I could read but it just went in one ear and out the other. So I did a lot of light devotionals, prayer, and listened to music instead.

But, TODAY WAS THE DAY! On the last day, of the ninth month, of the year of our Lord 2015, I read the book of Revelation and completed a one-turned-into-almost-two year reading plan.

So for those of you who struggle with regularity in reading, in following plans, etc…don’t worry. God knows you and He’s given you a toolbox full of spiritual disciplines to help you through each season. (Read this book if you want to learn more about that theory – Christianity for the rest of us who don’t like rules and regulations.)

For those who want to know what I use to help me stick to a plan, check out www.YouVersion.com. Awesome app!

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At the end of the tunnel

Next month my sabbatical ends and I start the process of finding my next assignment. Well, to be honest, I’ve already started the ball rolling so it’s just “officially” that it happens.

This time of complete rest has been excellent and what I needed to process through the various unexpected and stressful transitions, some of the things I dealt with while living in Africa, and also trying to heal from the car accident. Still working on that last one but the others have reach peace and conclusion.

I think I’m especially excited as it means not having every day be the same, productivity, and….well….let’s be honest, not living at home with parents who have been empty nesters for four plus years now. Don’t get me wrong! I love my parents and am so amazingly grateful to have a safe place to transition through, but I’m ready for life to start again and not have to remind my dad to “take it to another room”….or get called Ziva (the dog’s name) for the umpteenth million time.

The only concern I have is the back issues I’m still having and how that will turn out. And having to find a place to live – how does one do that in the US? Oh, and speaking only one language and trying to keep it to American English (sorry for all the extra ‘u’s lately!).

So, here’s to the light at the end of the tunnel and life having balance again! Perhaps I’ll start blogging a little more now and be more communicative. 🙂

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What I’ve learned from going blue

And I mean literally blue! I’ve been blue for about a month now and in this season of rest, processing what’s going on in my life, and healing, it’s been quite insightful.

Blue highlights!

Blue highlights!

I had my aunt trim my hair up some more from my drastic cut and told her to have fun and choose between blue or purple highlights to put in my hair. It was one of those moments that I didn’t really care, wanted to do something fun, and recognized that hair (and color) is temporary. Long term reactions were not in my thoughts.

Since then, it has been eye-opening to me to hear other people’s reactions and process my own when I go into my different social groups.

  • Because I am in full-time ministry, I often feel an obligation to live within certain “unspoken” rules that I feel others might put on me, when, in reality, I’m the one putting them on myself. As long as I am honoring God in what I do and say, I don’t need to worry about other’s reactions. I am not responsible for their own journey if they should choose to judge me. I am responsible for my own life. (And the people I thought would have a reaction either haven’t noticed, ignored it, or liked it!)
  • It’s taught me about my own judgmental attitude. There is no way for me to know if the reason someone’s hair is dyed, or they’re dressed a certain way or,….whatever…is the result of a promise to someone, their own culture, or their own rebellious streak. It’s not my place to judge, but to love the person even if I don’t agree with their choices.
  • It’s a great conversation starter! Both the color and the cut have received lots of compliments from complete strangers and from friends.
  • There are a lot of people who wish they had the boldness to chop their hair off or dye it a different color but are too scared to do so. It’s taught me about what is temporary and what is permanent in this life.
  • A whole lot of people like the blue – from the guy behind the Chipotle counter randomly telling me “it works for you” to the salespeople telling me they like it.
  • It brings a smile to my face and happy to my heart, and right now smiles tend to be rare and being happy is often brought down by my daily struggles with pain.

Those are just some small thoughts as I don’t really quite know how to concisely express how it’s one piece of the puzzle in learning to love and take care of myself. I’ve always given of myself when it comes to other’s needs (my counselor reminds me that I need to add a “too” in that sentence) and I don’t think much of my own needs. As I’m learning to heal emotionally and mentally from the challenges of serving, I’m also learning how I should healthily serve in the future so that I don’t end up in burnout again.

So, yes, it’s taught me to be a little selfish and a little radical; but in a good and much-needed way. It’s been amazing in helping me pull out lies I believe as well as to teach me to take care of myself so that I can effectively (and healthily) serve others.

….and remember, it’s just temporary. 🙂

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So, this happened….

What does one do when she’s lived in Africa and can’t donate blood? Or when her hair weighs probably half a pound when wet? Oh, and it’s summer and she has neck pain?

Donate it!

My nieces wheren’t happy with the idea, although they were the ones who inspired me.

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The full length, before picture

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I warned her she’d need a chainsaw to cut through it

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Bobbed after 10 inches cut

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Oh my goodness!

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Easily 1+ inches of thickness

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Finished and styled!

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Snap, Crackle, Pop means Rest

Sometimes, it seems that life is just crashing around you. You try to move forward but find a door slammed shut. Frustration sets in as you’re just not sure what to do because every effort to move forward is thwarted. I suppose most people stop to listen and figure it out before this point, but I do have a stubborn streak – especially when it involves leaving people I care about.

One would think I’d have learned my lesson by now, but sometimes letting go feels like quitting to me – and I hate quitting. So my nice new-to-me car got a hard smack and ended up at the repair shop (for once my car is not totaled!) while I ended up back in chiropractic care where each visit sounds like the Rice Crispies cereal. All this made me realize there was no way I was going on 30 hour flights when an hour car ride would cause my back to spasm. So, I learned to listen and do what’s best for all – I stepped down from my role…and into a sabbatical.

After ten years with the organization (and being involved in ministry since I was little), it’s a well-earned and much-needed rest. There’s just one problem – I don’t know how to rest! When one is raised to do and to serve how does one just be? That is my quest over the next several months. Learning what shabbat means – to rest, to cease from doing.

As I come to your mind, please pray for me in this time. I sincerely desire to reconnect with God on new levels and draw deeper into him. Spending two years with (basically) no church has been wearying and this warrior needs to rest awhile. (Twila Paris’ song The Warrior is a Child is very accurate to how I feel right now).

I will also continue to process and work through cultural stresses, “boxes” I lived in, PTSD symptoms I have (re-learning to not feel like I’m a target is hard), and general burnout from an extraordinary amount of travel. What I consider “normal” is definitely not and I’m trying to learn how to have healthy habits.

So here’s to living in limbo and being “home-less” while, and at the same time very much needing stability in my life right now. Thankfully God’s in control, I have an awesome church, and have lots of friends who love me.

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When God takes the lead out of your boots

Sometimes I have lead in my boots – figuratively. It’s easier to move a person in motion than one standing still. There are the times I feel like I have lead in my boots and I can’t get myself to move – either because I don’t have the where-with-all to move or I’m just being stubborn.

The past couple of months God has been making things clear about me moving back to the USA. I’ve had my moments where I’ve made the tough decision before God revealed that He was going to make the decision for me – such as with my visa situation.

Then there are moments like this past week where I’m still trying to figure out how long I’m supposed to be in the USA and debating how much to settle in. Living life in limbo is not healthy, especially for me right now, but that’s what I feel. Afraid to make those decisions that give more permanence to my stay because (I think) I have yet to fully accept the new path that God is putting me on. When you weren’t expecting to move and had been planning on staying overseas longer, the sudden change requires a radical shift in thinking. But not being at a healthy point, and more on burnout, it’s tough to adjust and accept what is happening when your heart is still behind. I have lead in my boots.

Having transportation while in the USA is an opportunity to plug into my church and find the time with friends that I need right now. But having transportation also means accepting my stay on a longer term basis (most likely). That acceptance, along with the mental energy to car shop, has been non-existent in these past six weeks since I moved to the USA. So God decided to pour out His love on me and provide, effectively taking the lead out of my boots and giving me a kick in the rear to keep processing while giving me the opportunity to connect and be in community (which I really need right now).

He’s given me opportunities to pet/house sit in my church hometown this past week (and upcoming) that have let me reconnect with people. During one of those visits a person told me that they’d like to help me get a car, without me having to worry about the money aspect. I had a mental jaw drop to the floor before I could respond. Actually, how does one show gratitude to a person who is being the conduit of God’s love to you? Having felt more spiritually ‘dry’ lately, God helped me see in a big way how much He loves and cares for me. Sunday, in church, God took my focus off the person/event and put it on Himself…and how much He cares and loves me; that He will take care of me even when I don’t know how to function some days or where to move or what He’s up to. He’s in control when I feel like my world is spinning.

carSo this week I became a car owner again. Each car I’ve owned has had its own story of how it was a blessing and made me smile. This one is no different. It’s an answer to multiple prayers by multiple people I’m discovering; a testimony of God’s faithfulness and provision and love being abundantly poured out; and a testimony of someone’s faith in God and their obedience to His promptings.

To the person who has been an answer to prayers and a conduit of God’s work in the Body of Christ:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

Posted in Life Lessons, Provision, Trust | Tagged , , | 3 Comments