Monday, August 16, 2010

mission statement

after reading a post on another blog about how a mission statement and defining core values helped define the bloggers purpose and goals, i decided it might be something i should do too. if you know me at all, or have been following the blog for a while, you can probably see a thread of aimlessness and lack of concrete direction in my life. there are so many things i am passionate about and so many things that i would love to do. i feel oppressed by the daily grind and the obligation to hold down a regular job in order to pay bills and such. there will always be bills to pay, and there will always be opportunities to serve others. so how do i find a balance? how do i know which opportunity or obligation i should follow first? how do the demands of everyday life line up with meeting my goals, and what do they look like against the priorities and values i know God has placed in my life?

so far, other than prayer and reading scripture, i haven't had a way to say 'yes, this lines up with my goals and values' or 'no, this doesn't have a place in my life right now because it does not line up with my goals and values' because i hadn't evaluated my goals and values! of course i believe that every decision we make should be bathed in prayer; but there are some times (i believe) when God says 'I have told you what you should be doing, you don't need to be asking me. I have made it clear'. it would be like noah asking God 'so, God, should i go to the lumber store today or should i hang out at starbucks?'. noah should know the answer. God gave him very clear directions. i feel like this is what my vision and mission statements are, as well as defining those core values that really get to the core of the passions God has placed in my heart. the importance of these statements is also why i say 'matter' after each of my core values. to me, it reinforces the notion that these things are big, substantial, meaningful, leading, defining statements. there is no guessing what i value.

please remember that these are things God has laid on MY heart. i am not saying that you should do this very exercise tonight and it should be just like mine. of course i think some of them would be beneficial for all people since they are rooted in scripture, but i am not here to convict you or put words in God's mouth.

without further ado:

vision statement:
to live a simple, intentional, outwardly facing life in order to share God's love, healing, truth and plan with the world.
1 Thess 4:11, 1 Tim 2:2, Micah 6:8, Titus 2:3-5, 11-13

mission statement:
living simply through wise financial stewardship and self sustainability; being intentional in hospitality, giving, and disciplined in time management; giving to people and organizations out of my abundance or sacrifice, that they may have the tools they need to change their life or others'; pursuing education in order to develop skills that will help others, leading them to the saving knowledge of Jesus through his physical and spiritual healing.

core values:

Personal Time Matters (Ps. 23:2; Zeph. 3:17; 1 Peter 3:3-5)
  • Must happen every day
  • Separate from devotions
  • For reflection, relaxation and decompression

Hospitality Matters (Prov. 31:20, Rom 13:8)
  • Friends, family, ministry
  • Open door philosophy

Home Organization and Routine Matter (Prov. 6:6-8, 21:5, 31:21-22 & 27; 1 Thes 4:11)
  • Lessens anxiety by providing a framework for home management
  • Creates an inviting environment for hospitality
  • Prepares for marriage and family management

Giving and Social Justice Matters (James 1:22; Prov. 31:8-9, 20, Ps 10:17-18, 33:5, 140:12; Micah 6:8, Lev. 19:9-18; Deut. 24:17)
  • Giving of finances, time, materials or other support to individuals or organizations
  • Supporting those who stand up for justice (voting, prayer)

Health Matters (Gen. 1:26-27; Ps. 139:13-14; Prov. 3:5-7)
  • Diet, exercise, sleep
  • Honoring God and seeking Him first in medical treatment

Stewardship Matters (Matt. 6:24; Prov. 14:29, 21:20, 22:7, 31:27; 1 Cor. 13:11; Gen. 1:31)
  • Financial
  • Time
  • Earth 
some of the verses, if you looked them up, would seem a little 'odd' to be placed with their particular subjects. that's okay, because i know why i put it there :) that's the benefit of it being mine!

i already feel much more calmed in my spirit, knowing that i have some foundations laid for myself. i feel like i can really establish myself as an individual with a great calling and purpose, not a wanderer.

i am so thankful that God laid this out, and that he guided my thoughts as i worked through this. i hope to revisit this once a year and add, tweek, remove whatever needs changing in order to bring it in line with where God has me at that time. 

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    experiments in fermentation

    thanks to nourishing traditions and wild fermentation, i got up the courage to do my first lacto-fermentation projects! i had extra cabbage and beets from my csa, so i decided to make kimchi (korean sour kraut) and sour beets.

    a primer in lacto-fermentation:
    lacto-fermentation is a food preservation method that our ancestors used before conventional hot water bath/pressure cooker canning methods came to be. it uses an acid in the form of whey, vinegar, kefir or salt to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria while allowing good bacteria such as lactobacilli to grow and preserve the food. lactobacilli and his gang of bacteria friends are a wonderful bunch. they promote a healthy immune system, improve digestion and help to keep the balance of good/bad bacteria and yeasts in check in our bodies. God designed our bodies to be a certain pH level and have enough good bacteria in our GI tract to fight disease and keep us healthy. a conventional western diet, unfortunately, does not provide the opportunity for good bacteria to gain the advantage and the pH level gets to levels that are unhealthy (side note: we are talking about tenths of a percent difference here. it might not seem like much of a difference to go from 7.45 to 7.55, but a change like this can have huge consequences for the human body. THIS is how intricately God designed our bodies!). add in our frequent use of antibiotics in health care and in food (this article shows the usda and fda have recently conceded that antibiotics used in livestock DOES effect humans upon consumption), we are constantly killing our bodies natural defenses against disease and discomfort.

    since increasing the amount of probiotics in my diet through raw milk, raw homemade yogurt and milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha and cultured butter, my former (almost debilitating) GI health issues are gone! i feel so much better and can eat so many more foods than i used to be able to. my former gallbladder issues have vanished. i can consume dairy without the lactose intolerance problems i used to battle. i feel like a freed woman! praise God!

    okay, on to the food.

    i looked up the kimchi recipe in wild fermentation and went to work getting everything chopped and ready. tell ya what, cooking sometimes calls for getting creative with 'working with what you have'. this pic is my bowl of produce weighing down the kimchi vegetables in their brine so that they could get soft. they have to stay under the brine for a few hours to overnight. mine took about an hour actually.

    after the vegetables were soft, they could be packed into jars for fermentation and storage. my batch made exactly two quarts worth of kimchi. here's what one looked like:
    i didn't get any pics of the beets and carrots that i did, because by that time my kitchen was a mess and my hands looked like i had just committed a felony (i was covered in purple-red beet juice which, to my surprise, did not stain my skin or counter top). i can give you a short recap though. i shredded my beets (yellow and red) along with several carrots. these got mixed with about a tablespoon of salt and then were pounded with a kitchen utensil to get the water out of them. the water mixed with the salt became the brine in which the vegetables would sour/pickle. i added carraway seeds for some flavor then packed it into a small pint sized jelly jar.

    i have been tasting the kimchi every day, and i think i like it at day 4. you can ferment it for a week (some koreans ferment it up to six months. no thank you.). it is slightly sour, very tangy and still a bit crunchy. stinky? yes. it's fermented cabbage and onions and garlic. but it's really good if you have a taste for tangy foods.

    i have a feeling that there will be more vegetable fermentation in the future. there are recipes for fermented salsas and chutneys that i'd like to try. and of course there will be plenty of beverage fermentation too!

    a fun, easy way to get probiotics in your diet...and try a science experiment at the same time :)

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    katie's kitchen escapades

    where do i begin? i was at work today working very hard of course, (okay, thinking about food) and i got a craving for pf chang's lettuce wraps. have you ever had them? yeah, you know why i got a craving for them! so i went searching ( online for a recipe. i found one at that looked pretty good, so i printed it off and took it to whole foods with me to buy missing ingredients. as i was in the asian food section i glanced at the coconut milk and got another craving for my special coconut ice cream. i came up with the recipe a couple of years ago on a whim and it turned out so well. then, i remembered that i needed to get some low sugar pectin for some freezer jam i intended to make. so i headed over to the baking isle and got my pectin and a few other things. a trip that was meant to be a couple of minutes and 3 or 4 items turned into almost a full two weeks shopping trip ( i REALLY try to only shop every two weeks. i don't like grocery stores). with a full evening ahead of me in the kitchen i decided to record my activities so i could have something to show for the evening after all of the food has been consumed :)

    pf changs lettuce wraps

    here's the recipe. i added about 1 tablespoon of plum sauce and 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce as well. there is a notation on the recipe stating that instead of using chili sauce you could substitute cayenne or chili flakes. i used cayenne since it's what i had, but i used more than the recipe called for. it says to use 1/8 teaspoon, and for me that was not spicy enough so i used about 1/2 teaspoon. i used chicken breast and dark meat instead of the ground chicken, as i had some leftovers in the fridge waiting to be made wonderful :) c'mon it was a free range, natural, organic chicken. n-o-t-h-i-n-g about that chicken goes to waste not even the bones. (see how to use the bones here.)

    since my chicken was already cooked, i simply sauteed the onions with some coconut oil in my cast iron pan until they were translucent, then added the chicken and the sauce mixture. waterchestnuts, mushrooms and green onions went in last. smells delicious!!! this was so easy, and really a good summer meal since it doesn't take heating up your entire kitchen.

    i had received an adorable, tiny (softball sized) cabbage in my csa delivery last week, so i decided to use it instead of lettuce. good choice, although i think if i did it again i would steam them a minute before using them. the white stringy stuff you see are thin rice noodles. they add a bit of crunch, and the restaurant serves the wraps with them (the recipe did not call for them).

    after dinner it was ice cream time!!!

    my favorite recipe and flavor of coconut ice cream is the one i made up. i am sure someone else has thought of this too, but i don't know of it so i'll pretend this is all mine :)

    2 eggs
    2/3 cup sugar - beat the two together until thick and cream colored
    2 c heavy or whipping cream
    1 can regular coconut milk (using lite coconut milk will change the consistency and flavor of the ice cream)
    beat these all together with a mixer, then transfer to your ice cream maker. i have a deni electric ice cream maker that was passed down to me a few years ago from my mom. once it is at a 'soft serve' stage, i add toasted coconut flakes.

    the toasting makes them crispy and brings out the flavor so much more. yum. then i transfer it to a plastic container to go in the freezer for a while. after a couple of hours, it is set up enough to be scooped and enjoyed :)

    now, for my first ever attempt at raw, lightly sweetened, freezer jam!!

    yesterday mia and i went to philbrook farms and picked raspberries and blueberries. they were a buck a pound - you can't beat that unless you get them free from your backyard! i knew i wanted to try my hand at making jam this year after seeing a post on another blog using a simple method of preparing the fruit. i am not a fan of standing over a hot, boiling pot of fruit waiting for it to get to the right temperature to process in a hot water bath (yet more standing over pots of boiling liquid). i knew i wanted to try freezer jam, but when i saw lindsay's post i knew i wanted to try it raw too. no cooking? sounds good to me!

    i am not going to post the recipe, since lindsay ( did a great job on her site and i don't like duplicating work. visit her site, read her article, get the recipe there. she has an awesome site that i love going to regularly! i will say though that i used 1/2 cup raw honey and 1 cup sugar so that it wasn't too sweet from just one type of sweetener. also, here are some pics so you can see how easy it is.

    i love that i could use so little sugar (1 cup!!!) and raw honey in this recipe and not lose the benefits of it being raw. same thing with the fruit. many nutrients and enzymes are lost when food is cooked, so keeping things as natural as possible is best. all in all, i started cooking at about 6:30 pm and finished at about 11. not bad for dinner, desert, and jam!

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    a new adventure

    well, i am embarking on a new adventure this month! 5 days ago i signed up to be an Arbonne Independent Consultant. over the last few months i have really fallen in love with the products Arbonne provides, and a couple of weeks ago, i really fell in love with the business.

    if you are a regular reader of my blog (and there hasn't been much lately, i am sorry!) you know that i am pretty discontent with life as it stands right now. i don't like working 40 hours a week. i don't like having debt. i don't like not being in control of when i work or who i work with. i don't like the thought of never being able to adopt because i don't have the money. i don't like not being able to give to causes i believe in for lack of funds. these are just some of my 'why's' for joining the Arbonne team. i am so happy to have HOPE that if i work hard enough i can finally live the life i envision.

    a little over a year ago, God placed a vision in my heart for what my life and family would look like. i had such hope for a while, looking at that vision and seeing the joy and freedom in it. after a while though, i got really discouraged because i realised that some of the things i see in this picture could never happen doing what i am doing now. i wondered why God had given me this vision and why he would make me want something so badly and then not show me a way to get it. not to sound cheesy, but i really believe that when i prayed a couple of weeks ago for a way out of this lifestyle, He brought Arbonne to me. the products are great on my skin...i have terribly sensitive skin; the products also fit into my quest to use only natural products and support businesses that have green practices. the potential for income is really appealing, and i see how God will use this opportunity to grow me.

    i say all of this not to drum up sales or to get people to join the company and sell (well, unless you want to and feel the Lord leading you the same way He lead me!) but to really share with you why i am excited about this new chapter. i love selling, i love meeting new people, i love being in charge of my schedule and i love having HOPE.

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    wow, two in a row

    even though these posts are a couple of months apart, sorry there are two downers in a row. i promise, i'm not turning this into a blog of lamentations :)

    i must express some of my feelings though, not only to clear my own head but maybe to glean a little bit of advise or an 'i've been there too' from someone. sometimes it's good to know i'm not just a demanding jerk, and that what i'm thinking is normal.

    there are a few things in life that i hate. things that i absolutely detest, and are definite deal breakers when it comes to the status of a relationship. being called a liar: probably number one on the list. number two (and the one i struggle with lately): being used.

    i'm pretty sure no one likes feeling used. i think it's probably universal that people want their love, attention, good works, kindness, thoughtfulness returned by those they have bestowed these things on. i do not do these things with the intention of being repaid, but it gets really tiring to be the one who does these nice things and never gets anything back. am i the worlds best friend? no. a resounding NO. but i really try to do nice things for people and consider others in my actions.

    i try to leave a couple of minutes in the morning before heading to work to start the dishwasher or take out the recycling or tidy up. this not only eases my mind throughout the day, knowing that i did one or two things for the good of the household but since i am half of a team taking care of this house, it is a way to pitch in and get things done. i don't do it because it's the first thing i think of in the morning. i do it because i am intentional in trying to do something good, something that needs to be done. my eyes are always open to the things that need to be done. without being aware of my surroundings, everything would be left for my roommate to do or it wouldn't get done at all. living in a household with another person requires you to have your eyes peeled, take of the blinders and think of the big picture. for my own good, and that of the household.

    ejemplo dos:
    i listen to people when they are talking. if they are telling me their grocery list, if they are pouring their heart out to me, if they are telling a story-i listen. i do this because it is respectful and because i value that other person.

    again, i don't do these things in order to be repaid. we can all think of the things we do to be 'nice' to others that we don't expect to be repaid or at least repaid in kind. but when you do 'whatever-it-is-that-makes-you- a-good-person', don't you hate it when there are people in your life that seem like they don't even realize that you are doing something nice? like they just expect it? this is what i hate. it makes my blood boil so hot that i'm surprised there is not steam coming from my skin.

    i want to say 'how dare you be so involved in yourself that you don't think of others!' or 'your schedule/free time activities/family issues do not preclude you from being nice or thinking of others' needs!' it is normally those that are closest to us that offend us the most. the wounds that they cause are a lot deeper than those that people on the 'fringe' of our lives cause. how many couples get in fights because one person feels like they are always the one to take out the trash? how many friends fight because one half of the relationship feels that they are always the one to initiate social activities or the one who 'listens' while the other one is constantly gushing their drama?

    for those of us on the receiving end of, well, NOT receiving, it's easy to feel used. you feel like the things you do are just expected and glossed over by those around you. you don't need or want a parade in your honor. if you are like me, you don't even need your actions recognized in the form of a thank you or a 'good job, sport'. you just want someone to do their part. pitch in. think about the big picture. think about others. think of how their actions or failure to act will effect others. something i heard a couple of years ago that i am really trying to ingrain in my mind, is a question which is to be asked whenever you notice something that needs done. i leave you with the question:

    if not me, who? if not now, when? if not this, what?

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    hard times on the horizon

    right now i am watching office space, not a great movie i know. but in the scene a moment ago peter undergoes (is that the right word?) hypnosis and suddenly doesn't have many inhibitions and is living pretty free and easy. man, i'd like to be him right now. sometimes life gets a little rough and i would just like to skate through unscathed. i don't want to necessarily 'check out' and i don't want to not be alive of course, but i would just like to be able to walk around in a daze not recognizing the stuff around me that i don't want to notice.

    lately i have been getting very anxious at work again. things are ramping up as far as getting ready for our busy 'season' and i am not a fan of customers yelling at me on the phone. i don't understand why people think they have the right to yell at me just because they are mad. it's rude and i hate it. i feel powerless because there is not much i can do about the situation. for most customers there is no settling the situation, they just want to yell and vent. i am the lucky recipient of their bad day and feelings about the bad economy.

    also, i have a tendency to take on other people's issues as my problem to deal with. issues that they don't even know they have, but i see in them. i get upset and judgemental when they make what i consider to be bad decisions. it isn't my problem to deal with the repercussions of their choices so why do i care?

    i think it goes beyond just wanting things to always go my way and everyone doing what i think they should be doing. i hate the feeling of powerlessness. i hate feeling like life goes on around me and there is nothing i can do to change it. the scene in office space just now was the montage of peter doing things his way. he takes down the wall in his cubicle so that he has a window view, he goes into work late (not in dress code)after fishing in the morning, then guts the fish at his desk on the famous tps reports. the song in the background is (yeah i cleaned it up) 'dang it feels good to be a gangsta'.

    i wanna be a gangsta for a day. do what i want to do, make my life how i want it to be. all on my terms without a care for what the consequences may be. i take myself too seriously as it is.

    pray for me to be able to chill out.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    mission connexion northwest part 2

    saturday brought an (almost) full day at mcnw. we had two workshops in the morning at 11 and 12:30. becky and i both attended 'get on your boots' by kerri kenyon, a talk on spiritual warfare and preparing for meeting our trials by being rooted in scripture. it was a great lesson, and my biggest take-away was when kerri said that putting on the full armor of God was important, but you have to start with your boots because 'at least then you are standing', ready to start fighting. good stuff! the second workshop i attended was 'fundraising without fear' by ron frey. it was a good class and challenged some of my apprehensions in raising funds for missions. i have always felt like by asking for financial support was burdening others. i don't feel burdened when people ask me for money, so don't ask me why i think that about myself!!

    the first session we went to was richard twiss, speaking on the subject of missio dei. richard is a native american man whose perspective on missions is really interesting to hear. growing up on a reservation he was exposed to a lot of missionaries who, in coming to 'share the good news' ended up causing a lot of pain in him and his people. they were told they had to abandon their traditions, learn english and assimilate to the 'american' way of life. this caused richard to grow up hating christianity and white people. he told us a story of how in the seventies he was part of the take over of the bureau of indian affairs office in washington dc and had plans to blow up the building. this is a man who had so much bitterness in his life stemming from missions gone wrong.

    he then went on to talk about how missions can and should be done, and how it is most successful. the theology of missions that richard talked about was missio dei, which holds that God is the sender of missionaries and we are a participant in His spreading of His word. i think with this idea of what missions should look like, we end up asking ourselves what God would have us do, where He would want us to go and how He wants us to do it. our goal is no longer just to win souls but to share His love, be His physical hands and feet and to care for the poor, fatherless, widows and aliens. we need to realize that making people to conform to our way of thinking, acting, dressing is not missions. making the 'savage indian' into a WASP is not the goal of missions. we were all created unique with all people groups having diverse cultures. just because they are different from what we are used to does not mean that it is wrong. i'm not even doing justice to the message of this talk, so i will stop...i think you are all intelligent enough to understand where i am going : )

    as i have stated in some of my previous posts, my values and ideas on certain areas of life have been challenged a lot over the last year or so and missions was one of them. hearing richard speak was really great because i was able to identify my thoughts with a name and see that i'm not just getting cynical :)