Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life Update!

The last two weeks have been CRAZY! But I secretly love it.

To preface this, if you don't know, Jordan and I are moving to Australia for Stint (a one-year international assignment) to help build up the movements in Melbourne city center. Obviously this is a big change since we've spent our first 2 years married in the same apartment that we love in Blacksburg, VA. So, about a month ago, a man came to look at our apartment since we were trying to turn over the lease so we don't get stuck with rent for the rest of the year (through July). He really liked it and was living in a hotel, so he said he wanted it. We told him we couldn't move out just yet but moved up our time to move out mid-November. Then we set to helping him look for someone he could room with for a month since we know way more people here than he does. That was unsuccessful, so 2 weeks ago, we started talking with our boss and his wife (the Highfield's) about possibly moving out sooner. Lisa and I hashed out a plan for us live with them for 4 weeks until the end of the semester which put us moving out...October 24. We decided to just sleep on it and pray about it and talk to the man who wanted to rent. So on Wednesday last week we decided we were definitely doing it!! We just couldn't pass up someone who was ready and waiting to take our place and we just took it as a cue from the Lord that we were supposed to move out now!

This week we have been busy packing and getting boxes (people probably think we are drink a lot now because we have been to the ABC store for so many boxes - great place to go if you're ever moving). Today all the pictures and art and curtains and decorations all came off the walls and now our house is so echo-y and I hate it but I feel really confident in our decision. All our wonderful friends are helping us move on Sunday so we are kind of officially making the transition to Australia-mode!

Here is what I read in my devotional the day we decided to move out and I couldn't stop crying: (Written from Jesus's POV)
"Though I have brought many pleasures into your life, not one of them is essential. Receive My blessings with open hands. Enjoy My good gifts, but do not cling to them. Turn your attention to the Giver of all good things, and rest in the knowledge that you are complete in Me. The one thing you absolutely need is the one thing you can never lose: My Presence with you." So challenging but so comforting! I love how God know's just what I need.

Love Jessamyn

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

These are perfect. This is a cherished, passed down recipe from who knows who during college. Not only is it incredibly easy, but they are actually much healthier muffins than many varieties you might try. This is because the butter, milk, eggs, whatever, you might add is substituted for a can of pumpkin. As far as the cream cheese frosting goes, this is not so healthy, but I omitted one cup of sugar to help it a little bit - but it's still not very healthy. These muffins and great with or without the frosting, though! I made these for staff meeting and Adam Wilson's birthday and they were loved by all. They always are - and it is by nothing I've done! You are going to laugh when you see the recipe and how stinkin' easy it is!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 regular sized can pumpkin puree
1 box of spice cake mix

Heat oven to 350. Mix two ingredients together with a wooden spoon and lots of muscle. Plop the sticky batter into 12 greased muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they seem done (toothpick trick works great). These muffins are kinda spiky when you take them out but no worries.

For the frosting:
4 oz (1/2 package) cream cheese (tastes just as good with reduced fat), room temperature
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter together with a mixer and then add the vanilla. Gradually add the sugar and whip until combined. Yummy! This is enough to generously frost the muffins and you'll still have a bit left. I eat it with graham crackers usually. Oops. That's not healthy.

These muffins look especially pretty if you sprinkle cinnamon on top. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Please Pass the Pie

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

White Chicken Chili

On Monday, we had a day off since we were working like crazy at fall retreat this weekend! Jordan and I spent a good amount of time that day just remembering his mom and missing her. I think one thing I have learned about the grieving process is that you never know when sadness or memories will hit you. And it could be a happy or sad experience, depending on the day.

For dinner that night, I decided to make one of her classic meals - White Chicken Chili. Jordan loves it and so do it and our friends enjoyed it too, since I doubled it to feed 5 and have leftovers.

Here is her recipe, always made with love:

White Chicken Chili
2 cans great northern (white) beans, mostly drained
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
1 chopped medium onion
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz)
1 (7oz) can chopped green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin - makes it smell soooo good!
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper - I put in a little bit more and it definitely had a kick
1 cup (or a little less) sour cream
1/2 cup (or less) whipping cream - this makes it really creamy - I put in less (6 tbsp) or I may use half and half next time just to make it a little healthier. But it is so good this way!

In a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. It will have produced liquid which is fine. Add the beans, broth, chillies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and cream. Serve with dollops of sour cream. I serve with beer biscuits and honey butter or cornbread.

Delicious!! Serves 5.

Fall Retreat

This weekend was fall retreat! There was so much hype leading up to it with all the planning and praying and thinking through ever single detail thanks to Dan's attention to everything. You did a great job! Not that you'll ever read this.

We went down on Friday morning, packing out our cars with all kinds of stuff to take - from s'mores supplies for 400 to sound equipment and instruments, we were set! I love love our staff team so even little things like caravanning together and stopping for lunch on the way is really fun. I got quite the education on bow hunting from Mike Miller over lunch which was enlightening and now I really want to go! I think. It was also really fun that Holly and Josh Deng joined us since Holly was singing and playing in the band, and Josh was running the soundboard and was a general help during the meetings. Jordan was singing in the band too this weekend which was really fun!

The weekend went as well as it could have possibly gone. Our speaker - Byron Straughn - on staff with Cru from the regional office - was awesome and I felt that the talks were broken down and easy enough for someone who had never heard about God before to understand, but somehow complex and stimulating enough for the most mature believers there. I learned so much about Jesus as our priest, a prophet, a servant, and our King!

So far, we have heard of at least 6 who chose to trust Christ with their life this weekend, and it is probably more. My brother's roommate was one of them! Praise the Lord! I have been praying for him.

On a side note, I got to be the emergency contact this weekend :) So that meant I spent lots of fun times in the emergency room! Of course it was with boys. Thankfully, God protected everyone from any serious injuries and it was actually enjoyable for me to be able to just take care of them and make sure they were comfortable.

Unfortunately, I got one picture of the ride home - Holly and Josh asleep in the backseat. So I won't be posting any pictures here, but I wish I could!