Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's Ca-ca-ca-Cold Outside, Easy Hot Meal to Please the Hubby

We're in the midst of packing and I'm newly pregnant. Two strikes against making any elaborate dinners this week. With the outside temperature below 20 when the sun's shining, I wanted a hot dinner to warm up my cold hubby after his looooong [5 minute] commute home. Hey, when your body's thermostat is still set for Fall temperatures, those 5 minutes in brutal cold feel a lot longer.

Aldi to the rescue! This dish serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are.

4 Hashbrown Patties
5 Original Breakfast Sausage Patties
2 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
5 eggs

Turn oven on to 425 and pop those patties (both kinds) on a cookie sheet and cook for a bit (8 min or so) while gathering the rest of the ingredients. No need to preheat the oven for this.

Butter a medium casserole dish (I used the larger Corning Ware oval dish)

Remove patties from oven and decrease temp to 350.

Layer everything in the casserole dish as follows:

Hashbrown patties
Sausage patties (I halved the 5th and put it in the center, to fill in the gap)
1/2 the cheese
Eggs (just break them right into the dish for sunny-side up goodness)
Remaining Cheese

Bake until Eggs are cooked to your liking (15-20 minutes or so)

This dish is NOT low-fat or low-cal or preservative-free, but it will warm the cockles of your hubby's heart.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Passing on the Blessing

I come from privilege. I was born in a 1st world country, I'm in the ethnic majority, my parents are still happily married, both have university degrees and my university degree was entirely paid for [albeit not by my parents]. I'm sure if I looked, I could find what tiny percentage of the population this puts me in, but that's not really the point.

The point is, while I have clearly lived life standing on the shoulders of giants, I'm wondering how to responsibly pass this on to my children.

As Mark and I prepare to close on our forever home I'm particularly aware of, and utterly humbled by, the blessings we've been handed.

In the past year, I've been struck anew by the burden of debt that envelopes the lives of many of our peers. These are married couples who both work and yet can't afford to purchase a home, or upgrade to a larger home, because their monthly college-loan payments are larger than our new mortgage payment will be.

Sadly, I think this is the norm rather than the exception, caused largely by unsupported ballooning of college tuition. I don't want this for our children. And yet, I'm not of the mind that the solutions are any of the suggestions that one normally hears, most of which are along the lines of limiting yourself to 1.2 - 2 children, have both parents work and save up in order to fully fund the child/ren's college years.

So, we're not currently saving up for college, and yet I'm desperately against the idea that my children  should needlessly* enter adult life weighed down by a millstone of debt. I don't have a solution. But I have a hope. I hope that my children think and pray long and hard about exactly what they want to do with their adult life. We call this discernment. I pray that we are able to discern alongside them and offer them assistance in the way of a large and loving family, open hearts and home, warm meals and beds and decades of prayer and honest conversations as they make their way towards the adult world in whatever vocation they're called to.

*If they feel called to a career that requires and justifies a mountain of debt, no doubt we would help them with financial planning and encourage them to live frugally (i.e. not student housing) in order to decrease their financial burden.

I would love to hear thoughts from any similarly-minded parents (or kind criticisms if you really feel the need.)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me...

This is the follow-up post to Traveler's Grace. If you haven't read that yet, please start there.

First I'd like to clarify that at the time of my previous post, while the purchase of our future home was clearly delayed, it was not in jeopardy and that helped a lot in keeping the panic at bay.

Traveler's Grace, a.k.a. God's miraculous provision in unlikely circumstances, doesn't disappoint! Read on...

When I left off with my last post it was Tuesday and our current house was officially back on the market, but looked like... well, it looked like we were planning to move in a week. That night I managed to deep-clean the bathroom and we re-staged the kiddos' room. The rest of the house was still a disaster.

In the morning I got a call from a wonderful woman who heard John 13:7 for me during her prayer time. "You don't know what I'm doing but later you will understand." This was another confirmation not to worry. Then the phone rang, again...

Our realtor asked if our house could be shown in 40 minutes. What followed was the biggest, baddest, fastest mad-dash of a clean-a-thon, ever. Let's just say, it's amazing how much you can cram under a Cal King bed!

That person liked our home, but apparently not enough.

Wednesday afternoon, I was prompted to turn to John 6:68 when the "what ifs" threatened, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." It reminded me to trust that God was in control and that worrying wouldn't bring the right people any sooner.

We went to bed on Wednesday with a showing scheduled for 5 pm on Thursday. I was looking forward to breathing a little and doing some final touch-ups on the house throughout the day. ...Until the phone rang at 10:30 am. We needed to be out of the house for a noon showing, but it would be a quick one.

Mark was home for lunch when I arrived home with the kiddos. He was thrilled to announce that, "WE GOT AN OFFER!" Not only that, but it was a great offer and they wanted to close asap!

(Our realtor contacted the 5pm folks and they ended up not seeing the house.)

That evening, we briefly met the new buyers who gushed over our house - I know it's not humble to include that, but it was nice to hear! We signed the acceptance papers and heaved a huge sigh of relief. If all goes as planned, we'll close on both houses on Nov 26th and wake up in our new home on Thanksgiving morning! Please keep praying that all this happens this time!

As if all that wasn't wonderful enough...

Friday we attended an All Saints party where we got to see our children enjoy some candy that they've historically been allergic to. What an amazing blessing! We still have to be careful with a lot of foods, but the improvements are significant!


Saturday morning, we found out that our family has expanded: Archibald Baby #5 will be making his or her appearance in July 2015! We are thrilled!

Talk about a whirlwind of a week! I can't thank you enough for your prayers for us this past week. It has clearly been a work of God that each of these things has happened. We are standing under a torrent of grace...traveler's grace, you might say. ;)

Psalm 23 is our family's psalm and this past week has seen me walk through every verse, in varying degrees.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; they rod and they staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."