Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Foray into the Local and Seasonal

In between moving from my Whitworth-owned house on May 17 to my rental house on June 1, my friend Kari and I have been house-sitting for a Whitworth theology professor and his wife. It's been lovely to have time to rest and play between the end of school and the start of my job on June 2.

In my time off, I've been reading a book by Barbara Kingsolver called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It's a marvelous book about a family who eats locally for one year; Kingsolver writes with humor and poses good questions about our American tendencies towards food, especially to ship out-of-season foods from long distances. I appreciate Kingsolver's insights and want to live as locally and in season as I can within a non-profit salary. I'm excited to buy a chest freezer from my friend Lydia for $50 to preserve fruits and vegetables for the winter.

Last night, Kari and I went to a local farmer's market. The market takes place in the parking lot of a Presbyterian church and there was a distinct community feel to the market, where the local rubber hits the road. Kari and I wandered around and ended up talking with a cattle farmer, who urged us to try his delicious sausage. As I secretly wished for another sample, I asked the farmer a question about his sign, which read: "Five chubs ground beef and 1 dz eggs--$27."

"Okay, so, what's a chub?" I asked him.

"A chub's a pound," he said, matter-of-factly. "The first time I heard that I thought the person was insulting me, you know? 'Hey! Do you want a ground beef, chub?'"

Of course, what the person really meant was: "Do you want a ground beef chub?" You see, grammar does make a big difference. :)

I laughed pretty hard at this. The farmer then told us about the different parts of the cow and which parts are better as soup bones, fajitas or steak, etc. Why do I read cookbooks when I have the wisdom of the farmer himself? This man was clearly full of ideas. My goal is to buy some beef from him sometime this summer. Perhaps I'll buy a chub.

Kari and I did buy a couple things. I bought radishes, asparagus, and two pounds of cracked wheat breakfast cereal from a local grainery. Kari bought a loaf of freshly-made dried tomato bread and a bunch of spinach. For dinner, we had grilled cheese on the bread, steamed spinach, oven-roasted asparagus with olive oil, and a fruit salad. It was delicious, and I took particular pleasure in how many fruits and vegetables were present in the meal. It's hard to do, but satisfying when you can work those fruits and veggies into a well-rounded meal.

The pastor of the Presbyterian church that shares a parking lot with the farmer's market has written a book called A Year of Plenty, similar to Kingsolver's book. I met Pastor Craig at a book signing in downtown Spokane and was eager to read the book and learn more about the local Spokane food scene. Step-by-step, I'm learning more about the rich agriculture of this area. Though the Willamette Valley has a more hospitable growing season, Spokane has a burgeoning local food scene. I'm excited to jump in. Keep me updated on your experiences with local food, whether from a farmer's market, your own garden, or that ubiquitous bag of zucchini left at church in early August. :o) I'd be delighted to hear from you.

God bless!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Graduation Weekend in Photos

Okay, so these photos are out of order. I'll have to play with the photo settings a little bit more. Here are a couple photos from graduation weekend that will give you a feel for what happened. It was a full, but blessed, weekend. My parents, sister, friend Ruth (from high school), and grandma were in Spokane to celebrate with me. I am so thankful for their help and care this weekend, from rejoicing with me over my new job to packing for endless hours on Monday and Tuesday. Thanks!!!

Yes. The good news is: I have a job!!!! On Thursday (May 12), I had an interview at Partners International, which is a mission organization in north Spokane that works with indigenous Christian leaders in places where Christianity is a minority religion. On Friday, I got an e-mail from the Human Resources Director that I had the job. O happy day! There was a lot of "hooting and hollering" that evening, as my grandma told a friend on the phone.

So, the job itself is titled Harvest of Hope coordinator. HOH (for short) is Partners' gift catalog in which you can buy a chicken or Bible or medicine for a person overseas, which will help alleviate poverty and support the work of Christian ministry in the community. Beyond that, I don't know many details about the job. I'll go into the office on Tuesday morning to learn more. I'm so thankful to have a job, especially as my expenses will drastically increase in the coming weeks. :o)

Hope you enjoy these photos! Thanks for reading!

My dear father, goofy as ever! My friend Kari Olson is on the right. We've had the privilege of living together for two years. I am so thankful for Kari. Here's God's grace pouring through yet again in my college career. Among lots of good, friendship-building stuff, I'm also thankful for Kari's love of clothes. She's helped me build up my wardrobe more tastefully. :o) If only you could see the dress she's wearing under that generic black robe! We've taken lots of theology classes together, and we sure get into goofy study moods. I'll miss those days.

Here's a picture of me with Dottie Mohrlang, the Associate Director of the Certification for Ministry program and the wife of Bible professor Roger Mohrlang. I've known Dottie since my freshman year, and we've met weekly since then. She's my mentor and friend. I am so thankful for Dottie and Roger. They've taken me into their home numerous times. Dottie has helped me think and pray through ministry, life, and faith. I've helped her plant and weed and harvest in her lovely garden, and she taught me to make a mean rhubarb pie. Roger made me suffer through four difficult Bible and missions classes. But even with a couple days hindsight, I'm thankful for the suffering. :o)

Yay!! This is me walking across the stage after shaking Beck Taylor's (Whitworth's president) hand. I loved walking past all the theology professors as I came down the other side of the stage. It was so fun to hear their comments and give them hugs. Such celebration! I realized two things this weekend. 1) It's good to celebrate! God loves for us to celebrate what we have accomplished by his grace. And college was drenched with God's grace. 2) There's something to be said for normal life. !! I started to get tired of the pomp and circumstance by Sunday evening. :o) Two good things to have learned, I think.

We're so excited to be done with school work! And to be graduating! My housemates (in order) Sarah, Erin, Kari, and myself celebrating in front of our theme house sign outside our house on Saturday. The house is owned by Whitworth, so we have to put on one program a month for Whitworth students. The Open Door is basically a hospitality house through weekly meals that my housemates and I made. We had lots of students, professors, and community members over throughout the year. We loved it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Beginning!

Welcome to my blog!

I've realized that over the past four years of college, I have written countless pages of reading responses, research papers, book reviews, and personal reflections. Though I may not feel like admitting it now, as I face Finals Week, I will, after college, actually miss the practice and discipline of writing several times a week. This blog is an attempt to fill that gap in a positive way. For one thing, I love to write. And there's no better way to improve one's craft than to actually practice.

So I'm using this blog with several purposes in mind. Here they are:

1) To keep up with my writing, specifically what I like to call creative nonfiction writing (writing about true things in a creative way).

2) To reflect on God's work in my life post-Whitworth and to process through the difficulties of this new life that I'm living. Some like to call it adulthood. :o)

3) To keep track of funny little things that happen in a week. Don't you think it's true that there are a million funny things that happen in a week that are fun to share? I invite you to comment on the blog when you want to share something funny from your week.

4) To keep in touch with friends and family in Spokane, Fairview, and beyond to help them understand what's happening in my life day-to-day. However, I hope this blog is not self-centered, but rather a way to connect with those far away and to understand together how faith permeates all of life.

5) Most of all, to glorify God in how I write, connect with you, process through things that happen, struggle in things that are hard, and rejoice in things that are good.

As I've been studying madly for a final exam in my Paul's Letters class this Tuesday, it seems appropriate to end with a quote from Paul.

"Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace." ~Romans 6:13b-14

Thanks for joining me on this journey of grace!