Grains Glorious Grains

I love food, so maybe it's not saying much. But every once in awhile a new dish is so unique that it reminds me to savor each delectable morsel of life. Introducing:

Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend.

This savory blend of orzo pasta, Israeli couscous, red quinoa, and mini garbanzo beans can be eaten with chicken or shrimp, as a side, or in a salad. The first time I made it for friends, I was a little disappointed with the mushiness. I think I added too much water. The next time I made it I added less water and it was deliciously crunchy and al dente. The texture is probably the most intriguing thing about it, but the flavor is delicious, too, even with just a little salt and pepper. So far I've made it with some onion salt, pepper, basil, pine nuts, and fresh grated parmesan cheese, but I recommend throwing in your own favorite ingredients.

Sorry for those of you who don't live by a Trader Joe's. If you're really interested in trying it, email me, we'll exchange addresses, and you can send me your favorite grocery store item (Preferably dry...) in return for the harvest grains. It'd be fun!



This is the dating game that won't ever end.

I didn't date many people before I met Jonathan. There was a guy in high school who turned out to be gay. There was a short-lived thing in college that was really more of a friendship. Besides a few random dinners and movies, the most serious relationship I had was with my now husband. And after we met, it was only a few months before we knew we'd get married.

Me and houses? Not so much.

In August, my husband and I began a wonderful relationship with a lender. We contacted our realtor in September. We set up an online profile and eagerly checked the listings everyday for a perfect match. We thought there was a possibility we'd meet "the one" by the November deadline tax-credit, so we enthusiastically set out into the ocean of young first-time homebuyers. There had to be a smallish fish in the sea that needed just our touch of TLC.

After a few months of retro kitchens, walls of wood panelling, a couple of french doors, and one scary profanity-ridden foreclosure, we thought: maybe a more realistic aim is to plan on meeting ours in the new year. Maybe we could still meet the extended April tax credit?

And that's when we found out who we were competing against.


Voluptuous, wealthy investors. Heavily endowed investors. Investors who decided to take advantage of vulnerable real estate instead of aiming their assets at the feeble stock market. Investors who could swing a hammer and make a few extra bucks with house makeovers. As I write, they're multiplying, parading their scantily clad loans--without shame I tell you!--in front of our houses and strategically forming brothels of house flippers.

They have cash and every asset we don't have.

Well, almost every asset.

They're missing one key ingredient:

love. (Sigh.)

We have an unlimited supply of love to pour into the one house that's out there--somewhere out there I tell you!--waiting patiently for us to meet and fall in love and spend every last penny we have on its maintenance and improvement. If only we could get married by April.

Some people are lucky with guys. Some people are lucky with jobs. Some people are lucky with houses.

But I live in California.


The Big Security Guy in the Sky

I was the nerdy one. I spent my high school and elementary school days stressing over both menial and major assignments, perfecting every last detail from the name at the top of the page to the alignment of bullet points. If I made a mistake on a piece of notebook paper in the first few lines, I'd throw it out and start a new one, just because crossed out words made the page look messy.

My perfectionism, combined with my fear of authority, landed me the accidental role of teacher's pet, which ruined my life. No one asked me if I wanted to be the teacher's pet. No one wants to be the teacher's pet. But someone somewhere decided that all teachers should prey on their favorite student, and so at some point some teacher appreciated my maddening inability to break the rules and made an example of me to the class that used to like me. And the cycle continued every year.

Social suicide. I am a victim.

To this day I still cannot break rules. I don't like to talk in the middle of a church service and I don't like to speed (more than 5 miles over) and I don't like to take carry-ons that don't fit in the airline's designated sizer-upper even though they accept baggage a lot bigger than that and even if they don't, you can check it for free at the ramp.

So you can imagine how the following situation almost had me running for solitary confinement.

Jonathan and I had friends stay with us in London over the summer in 2008. On the first day they visited, Jonathan informed me that Anne Hathaway and the actor who goes by "The Rock" (does anyone know his real name?) would be at the Apple store (where Jonathan worked) that afternoon. Jonathan was working that day. My friends and I got there late, so as we walked into the crowd--which was small considering there were two famous actors speaking--I took my camera out of the bag so I'd be prepared when we found a good angle. Just as I pulled the camera out of its case, I noticed a significant sign placed in front of the crowd. On it were written two significant words:


I immediately began to put my camera away. By immediately, I mean I really couldn't put it away fast enough for my liking... and as it turned out, for somebody else's liking, either. Someone else had noticed my camera. The big scary Apple security guys. They immediately headed in my direction. They were the biggest meanest men I've ever seen. The crowd started whispering and pointing. With palms sweating and voice trembling, I tried to explain that I had seen the sign after I had pulled out my camera, and had put it away immediately afterwards, but apparently they don't teach forgiveness at Security Guy School. They told me I would have to be escorted out.

At that moment, some of Jonathan's friends noticed the crowd disturbance. They nudged him and told him someone was getting in trouble for taking pictures. They all craned their necks and laughed until Jonathan said in disbelief, "That's my wife!" He was just as surprised as I was that I was getting in trouble for something--and something big enough for security guys.

Thankfully Jonathan vouched for me and I didn't have to leave the store. I got to listen to the actors respond in the question and answer session. For all of the trouble, I wasn't all that impressed. But at least my name was cleared and the red in my face eventually faded.

I could litter this blog with stories like that--stories that explain who I was and who I'm growing to be. I'm at a point in my life where I'm beginning to remember them and to analyze them for their deeper implications. For example, this story says interesting things about the way I see God. I've begun to realize recently that I like to follow rules in my faith life just as much as in other parts of my life. I've had to ask myself a difficult question:

Do I really love God, or do I obey because he's the big security guy in the sky?

I don't know the answer yet. But I'm thankful that Jesus has already vouched for me.


This. Is. Brilliant.

This is quite possibly the most hilarious scene ever.



“[God] vanishes from our sight to do what He could not do if we could see Him. In the spiritual journey, I know of nothing so difficult to believe. But it’s true.

"Think of those long hours of darkness on the cross. Jesus screamed in agony, “God, where are You?” God said nothing. But it was during that exact time that God was in the Son reconciling the world to Himself.

"Imagine the comfort we would experience and the hope we would feel if we realized that during His felt absence, Jesus is working to cut the chain from our ankles, to remove the weight that keeps us from flying."

--Larry Crabb