"Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

All about church, and it wasn't even what I was going to write about!

Tes and I have been married 6 months and 1 day now. Which means I've been cooking meals almost every single day--whoot whoot! Good for me :). I think my cooking has improved . . . not necessarily any tastier but a lot faster to prepare haha :) As in I can easily cook w/o a recipe and it takes less time to throw meals together. And usually the meals actually taste pretty good. I am having trouble with rice noodles/lo mein noodles though. My rice noodles ended up too soggy the other day so I made Tes eat them, and then the lo mein noodles reminded me of dog food. Tes had to eat those too.

As far as cleaning the house--I would say overall there is improvement. No where near perfection. Nights before I work I ALWAYS do the dishes. Nights after I work I sometimes feel entitled to just leaving the dishes. I am changing that. My grandma told me the best rule is always make sure the dishes are done and the toys picked up before going to bed. I think that rule is probably the most helpful household tip I've received! At least in the past year.  So I am trying to make that a habit of mine.

Now where was I going with this whole post??? Oh yes. I've been married about six months, which means I've been living down here six months. There were some rough months in there where I was kind of lonely. It took took time to make real friends. We had started going to the baptist church but were only able to go sporadically. This was due to the fact that we were also going to Tes' Oromo church on Sunday afternoons and I was working lots of Saturday overnights. That meant I had to sleep at some point on Sunday. It made the most sense to me to sleep in the mornings and go to the Oromo church with Tes in the afternoon, so that I could spend more time with him. (Oromo church required Tes to leave at 1 and sometimes not be back until 7 or 8 pm.) So we didn't go to the Baptist church all too often.

I really wanted to encourage Tes to go to the Oromo church. When we first got married, he was okay with leaving it because I don't obviously understand Oromo, and he wanted us to go to an English speaking church together. But I really wanted to try to go to both, because of these reasons:

1. I wanted Jonathan to grow up being somewhat a part of the Ethiopian community. I wanted him to grow up listening to their music, understanding their culture, and speaking their language (all in addition to being part of the overall American community and understanding English of course!)

2. I didn't want to steal away Tes from his longtime friends. Tes has been part of the church for almost six years.

3. Tes also had a neat ministry playing the keyboard for their church services. I really enjoyed his music and thought that what he did was so cool! So talented! He is really very musically talented.

Lots of good reasons. But we ended up coming to the agreement to leave, for now, together. Due to these reasons:

1. The length of the church service: it often lasted at least 3 hours, sometimes 4 or 5. This was a problem because a. ) I wanted to spend time with my husband, b.) it was exhausting and c.) Jonathan got really crabby because he couldn't nap! So it basically led to Tes being in the service and me being outside watching Jonathan for several hours in a strange environment and being bored to death. Of course being bored to death was also due to:

2. I don't understand Oromo. 3+ long hours of listening to things I don't even understand.

3. The services were too loud. I wanted to take the mics away because it was going to wreck Jonathan's hearing! haha!

 And . . . maybe a couple other reasons. So yes, we did for now step away and I am soooo glad now, because even though we really miss the church, we have been finally able to make friends in our community and actually start to become part of the Baptist church! Which by the way I love the Baptist church.

1. There church services are short and sweet. All it takes is an hour! So nice, because you then have the option of going to Sunday School before hand or going to evening service, or not! You don't have to stay alllllll day. Good for people like me who get tired quickly.

2. I love the sermons. Okay, I really like our pastor. He is a close friend of my Uncle's associate pastor or something like that. :) Shell Lake Alliance Church! :) He preaches excellently. This last week it was about how the love of money twists every aspect of life. When you look to possessions for happiness, you spend all your efforts trying to get more and more and are never satisfied, and then "your heart rages against God for the emptiness that is in there. Buying a new shirt was never meant to replace God in your heart and will never ever satisfy. Consummerism is a huge trap in our society.  "The pilgrim travels light." I really want to have genuine love for God instead of wasting my whole life trying to get more things. Something to work on! My mom says the first thing to do is to fill your heart with God and then you won't be as tempted to make things and money your idol.

So, my goal is to STOP buying things just because I want them or like them--if I don't need it, I probably shouldn't buy it. Yes. Let's be practical here! And maybe occasionally buy something you don't need, but that should be the exception, not the rule. God created enjoyment. But he also gave us the ability to control our own selves. Anyway, this is just something that was convicting me, and may be completely inapplicable to the lives of my readers, although I think if you are American, it is always a good reminder! Way too many commercials and ads out there!

3. The music is pretty nice too!

So anyway. Here we are at the Baptist church and finally starting to make some friends. I'm quite excited. And that was an answer to prayer as well, because I was beginning to despair of making friends here. I think Tes and I are probably the youngest couple in the church, but that is fine too.

Okay that is it for today! Wow, a long post full of prose. Good luck reading it. :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lil' handsome man

                                                                   Daddy did his hair

                                                               He's about to walk!

                                 Love my baby. He is growing up soooo fast. Way too fast. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

an utterly satisfying sandwich . . .

It depends on what your craving is, but this sandwich I made tonight was sooooo satisfying. So I will share the recipe.

Dare you to make it next time you are hungry!

Step 1. Fry a burger
Step 2. Fry onions
Step 3. Make french toast (I use whole wheat bread, soaked in milk and egg, then fried)
Step 4. Fry an egg
Step 5. mix together a little mayo and mustard
Step 6. Add a slice of american "cheese"
Step 7. and make a sandwich of it!

I love the added texture and deliciousness of the french toast. I'm thinking it would be good with cinnamon in the egg-milk mixture and then you could mix some spices and brown sugar into the ground beef to make a breakfast sausage patty instead. Later this week. 

Of course, if your household doesn't adhere to the no-pork, no-turkey, no-shellfish diet we have here, you could use ground pork for your burger or sausage patty and that would be over the top amazing. 

Pretty easy, just takes time to fry everything. Unbelievably satisfying, and better than McDonald's by 100 X. 

But if protein isn't your thing, here is a soup you might like:

Step 1. Saute onions in butter or oil
Step 2. add sage, salt, and a little paprika. To smell. (you know, like to taste, except now its to smell. Except for the salt. Don't go too heavy since you can't smell it. duh.) 
Step 3. Add chicken broth. 
Step 4. add cubed squash. 
Step 5. bring to a boil
Step 6. allow to simmer until squash is soft.

Then you can either eat it like it is, or puree it to make a nice smooth soup. I love this one. It is a great way to use up that winter squash you have still . . .  :) Super easy to make.

I think I really like onions. More than garlic, if that isn't too strange. 

Yes, this is what we have been eating just recently ;)

Monday, January 5, 2015

having fun here :)

It was an amazing Christmas!

Jonathan's uncles and aunties (plural, because of great aunties!), grandmas (great grandmas!) and grandpas spoiled him! He loves all of his new toys. The toy in the picture was homemade and works better than a store bought ride on toy! As well as cuter! I love his new toys as well. Keeps him a lot busier! yay!

I couldn't have asked for a nicer Christmas.

I know Jonathan missed the uncles when we came back. I missed my brothers too; we had so much fun playing games! I had a kind of irrational thought that I wanted to take them home with me just to play games with. haha. Anyways we had a good time and I'm so thankful.

This weekend, we decided to have an Ethiopian meal. Enjera from an Ethiopian convenience store in Sioux Falls, and then we cooked our own wat. We couldn't decide on if we wanted to make our usual lam wat with berbere spice, or a gomen wat with turmeric and ginger that we hadn't tried making before.

Tes made the lam wat

I made gomen wat.

It was delicious! Tes was really impressed by how good mine was! (I guess he didn't think I would be able to cook Ethiopian food so well??) Of course his was delicious too. If you would like, come visit and we will cook you some . . . 

I enjoy cooking with my husband. :)

These are Jonathan's second cousins. They live in Iceland. Any family resemblances? 
What do you think? Or are any similarities based purely on the fact that they are all of Ethiopian heritage?? These boys' parents are both from Ethiopia.

This is so cute, I want to kiss him and cuddle him right now!

The only similarities I really see are the eyes. Which are maybe an Ethiopian trait. So dark! And very oval or almond shaped. I think Jonathan's eyes are very much like Tes', his Uncle Daniel's, and his Aka (Grandpa Tamiru!) 

I just kind of realized that Jonathan is the oldest son of an oldest son of an oldest son of an oldest son and Tes doesn't even know how far back the oldest sons go, but yeah, like a long line of oldest sons. That is so neat!