Friday, June 24, 2011

Excuse me, Miss. May I have some more peanuts?

When I think of the word "steward", the only thing that comes to mind is a stewardess.  That's pretty much the only time we hear something close to that word.  But, that name has even been changed.  We have to call them flight attendants, right?  When I think of a good stewardess, she is right there waiting for you at the door and welcoming you as you step on the plane. She is quick to help you lift your luggage into the overhead bins.  She asks you if you need anything.  She gives you extra peanuts or the entire can of Coke.  She patiently helps the little old lady waddle to her seat.  She is very good at serving others, it's her job.

Could you image if you stepped on a plane and she's running around trying to find her uniform, still in her bathrobe?  Her hair still in rollers and her makeup not done.  She starts barking to take your seat because she's trying to get around the crowd to finish getting ready?  She doesn't have any ice for your drinks and there aren't enough peanuts to go around.  People are hungry, irritated, and may feel unsafe with such an unprepared stewardess.  The stewardess becomes flustered and angry at all the complaints she's receiving, she may even forget some procedures thus putting people's lives at risk.  Little does she know, the President of the airline is about to step on the plane.  I think we'd all agree that in any job, being unprepared is a very bad thing.  It's even worse when you're job is to serve others.  Even that much worse when the boss sees that you are unprepared.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a good steward. As Christians, we hear this phrase often. "Be a good steward of your time." What does that phrase mean?

I decided to dig around and see exactly what being a "good steward" means. I thought I should first go to the world's definition of "steward" so I went to Webster's Dictionary of course:

1stew·ard noun \ˈstü-ərd, ˈstyü-; ˈst(y)u̇rd\
Definition of STEWARD

1: one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns (as the supervision of servants, collection of rents, and keeping of accounts)
2: shop steward
3: a fiscal agent
4a : an employee on a ship, airplane, bus, or train who manages the provisioning of food and attends passengers
b : one appointed to supervise the provision and distribution of food and drink in an institution
5: one who actively directs affairs : manager
Examples of STEWARD:
the steward of their investments
teaching our children to be good stewards of the land

Then I looked at the Synonyms: daily [British], domestic, flunky (also flunkeyor flunkie), lackey, menial, retainer, slavey, servant


What?!  This is what steward means???  Being a slave or a servant?  That can't be what it means!  Let's continue deeper and go to what the Bible's definition of "steward" is.  


Luke 12:35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” 
41 Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

WOW!  Do you feel a little convicted right now?  I do.  That is some tough stuff to swallow.  This scripture is saying that we are servants of God!  Not only are we servants to God, but we need to be alert for His return.  He has entrusted us to do His work, to prepare the "house", to keep things in order for when He returns and with that, we are held accountable to those responsibilities.  So if we are to be servants of God, how do we know what He wants us to do while we're waiting for His return?  
Well, I'm glad you asked! 

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers,be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.10 For
      
“ He who would love life
      
And see good days,
      
 Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
      
And his lips from speaking deceit.
       
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
      
 Let him seek peace and pursue it.
       
12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
      
 And His ears are open to their prayers;
      
But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”


Living a godly life sure isn't easy!  We're suppose to have compassion for everyone?  Love everyone?  Not say something crude back if someone offends us or go after them if they've done something wrong to us?  How could I possibly do that?  We are all imperfect people.  We are a result of sin and therefore have a sinful nature.  That is why we need to constantly rely on God to give us the strength and wisdom to follow what He is calling us to do.  We need to guard ourselves with the "helmet of salvation" and the "sword of the spirit which is the Word of God" as it says in Ephesians 6:17.  (AKA Read your Bible!  It is your weapon in this fallen world.  Memorize it to recall it in times of need, you will feel a change.  You will see God changing your heart, making you patient, giving you wisdom to make decisions.)


So, to summarize being a good steward means taking care of these people on the earth while we're here, maybe give someone the whole can of Coke. We are to serve others with an extremely humbled heart (only obtained through God's grace), to be patient, courteous, and loving others like they are our family.  As we read the Word, God's will for our lives will become more and more evident.  Someone at the youth conference this past weekend used a good analogy as to how we are to be good stewards.  This is is analogy:  


What if you were a doctor and you had a patient who's test results just came back saying he has terminal cancer with only a few months to live and you've just discovered a cure for cancer.  When the patient comes to see you, would you say to him, "Hey, how are you?  How's the family?  Everything looks great!  See you next time."  No, you'd say to him, "Man, I'm so sorry to say this but you have terminal cancer.  But, listen, I have awesome news for you to save your life!  I have a cure.  Let me tell you how we can get you better."   That's the same as the Gospel.  We have this news, this key ingredient that our souls long after, and lots of times people don't know it.  We, as servants of Christ, are to be giving away this medicine, this love that heals all things, this Savior that died for us to be SAVED!


Let's be ready when He comes home, guys, so that it will be a joyous prepared occasion rather than scrambling around to get things in order.  Let's be good stewards. 





Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Booming.

As some of you may know, I had a miscarriage Christmas 2010.  Going through this difficult time opened up a huge door of conversation with a number of women.  I was amazed how many women had the struggle of conceiving without telling anyone and just keeping it bottled up.  I was able to develop friendships through the struggles and pain only by the grace of God.  

Specifically, I grew very close to James's boss, Jessica Haley, who for several years has been trying to conceive.  Today, on her birthday, she and her husband have finally shared their story with the world.  It has been an extremely trying time for them and my first request is for you to keep them in your prayers.  My second request is for you to check out their story and, if led, support them in their journey or just give them a word of encouragement. Her goal is the same as mine, sharing her story to open up conversation for others going through conception difficulties and leading people to the Cross. 

Here is their site: 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dumb dahdah Dumb Dumb!

Every time I think about what I've done, I smack my palm to my forehead and fight the urge to rip my hair out.

After putting off the chicken fried steak a few days, I was finally able to make it on Monday evening.  I set up all my bowls just like The Pioneer Woman told me to and got my iron skillet ready and went to work.  Earlier that day, I had asked Lauren why she thought her attempt at the recipe was a failure and she gave me a few good pointers for my attempt.  While driving home from work later Monday evening, I was also talking to my mom about the meal I was about to make.  I told her that the recipe called for cubed steak.  She said she hated cubed steak and, of course, I asked why.  She told me that for some reason or another, though it is extremely tenderized, the steak was very fatty and therefore tough.  She said her mother (my grandmother) used cubed steak often and therefore my mother had developed a pretty strong dislike toward it.  At that point I really couldn't do anything about it.  I had already bought the steak and really wanted to try out the recipe, so when I got home I went straight to the kitchen.

I followed the recipe to the T...well almost.  I added a bit of cayenne in the gravy because it just tasted like flour to me so after adding the spice it was really yummy.  I fried up the steaks and they came out a beautiful golden brown.  It was picturesque.  I took pictures.  I was pretty proud of myself.  The gravy dripped over the side and the mashed potatoes were the best tasting potatoes I've ever made.

James and I dug in but only ended up each eating half of our steak.  My mom was right.  The steak was so tough.  It was also very gamey tasting which I didn't like at all.  James said everything else was great but the meat was too tough for his liking too.  He suggested next time I use chicken.

Later that evening, I sat down to my computer to post my semi-success on my blogs.  I mean, at least the pictures were good!  So, I sit down at my computer and go to take the memory card out of my camera and it's not there.  My beautiful pictures don't exist!  And my half-eaten chicken fried steak is in the garbage!  Blast blast blast!  End.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bravo! Brighthouse

Last week I had discovered that I still had this in my pantry:


My friend, Lauren, and I bought curry pastes when at the asian market in Tampa.  I bought the green curry and panang curry pastes.  I saw this last week in my pantry and thought it would be a fun little dinner for a Friday night (to replace take-out curry from the local Thai restaurant).  I bought my zucchini, green pepper, snow peas, and coconut milk and went to work.  This is how it came out:  


I decided to test the flavor of it while it was still cooking and it set my mouth on fire!  It was so spicy.  I wanted to make sure it wasn't just my palet so I had James try it out.  He said it was so spicy and not to even try eating it.  But, I had to.  I had already made my Jasmine rice.  So I poured some in the boil and started eating.  After the first few bites, my mouth had gone numb.  After about the tenth bite I couldn't take it any more.  I had to dump the whole thing.  Those Asians and their spice!  Phew. 

While we were at the asian market those months ago, we had also bought tapioca pearls and taro powder to make bubble tea.  Since then, I've had several failed attempts at making Taro Boba Tea and it bugs the crap out of me that every single time the tea comes out chalky and tasting like play-do.  Tonight, I decided to forget the Taro and just make milk tea.   So I cooked the tapioca pearls:  


They came out very well.  I made sweet tea and added non-dairy creamer, scooped a few spoonfuls of these colorful balls in with some ice and a jumbo straw and voila :


I also made two baked goods (¡GOOD!) that I'm pretty pleased with.  Of course, they could be tweaked a little but I was pretty happy with them.  And the fact that the pictures of them came out superbly.  Check out those recipes at The Lofty Cook.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Domestic Pioneer

Yesterday, I decided to google "baking blogs" and came across one that looked fairly amazing.  It's called My Baking Addiction and some of the recipes on there make me giddy, especially because there are a few recipes involving blueberries that look absolutely delicious and Publix has blueberries on sale right now!  And, of course, we're coming to a close on blueberry season.  I can't wait to try out the recipes this weekend!  Unfortunately, there really won't be anyone around to eat what I make...and I have zero time during the week to bake for various bible studies.  Maybe I could freeze the creations for later on in the week, thoughts anyone?

My friend, Lauren, started a cooking blog and in her first post she wrote about a failed attempt at chicken fried steak.  I clicked on the link for the recipe and was intrigued.  I've never had chicken fried steak, it always kind of sounded gross to me but for some reason this sounds very appealing and comforting (especially with the large mound of mashed potatoes the Pioneer Woman suggests to accompany the chicken).  I think I'll try the recipe on Sunday.

I'm excited to have time this weekend to explore my culinary fantasies.  Here's to domestic endeavors! I will post with results.

Cheers!

ps.  after browsing through thepioneerwoman.com, i've come to the conclusion that i'm just going to make james "cowboy food" for the rest of his life.  there, that should settle our daily dinner disagreements.  the end.  period.  close the book and turn off the light.  fin. fineto.  end scene.  they lived happily ever after.  done.