Just Some Things

I can’t believe it’s already mid-October.

Dylan and I celebrated our eighth anniversary on the eighth. <–That sounds surreal.

Nellie is going to be a tiger for Halloween, we found a cheap second-hand costume from Old Navy that is super cute and will be so warm and snuggly–both points that fit the bill for this North Dakotan mama. Dylan and I are still working on Ada to agree to be a tiger trainer/circus trainer. We may have ideolized (I just made that up) so well that she’s unsure she wants to be someone who’s “so mean to animals” and that “animals are meant to live in the wild and not do tricks.”

We’ve picked up our “Eat the World” Challenge again and are trying to at least get through the “Bs” before the end of 2013. Right now we’re planning our Brazilian meal and combining it with another new dinner theme (apparently, I really like theme-y things, well actually, I always knew that)–movie nights. Movie nights we watch a movie together as a family and eat dinner at the same time and have cutesy foods to match the characters/setting of the story line. The girls love it because it’s so against the grain of eating together at the dinner table. Anyhow, Brazil will be combined with movie night because we checked out “Rio” at the library this weekend and thought it would be a fun tie-in. The girls will be boggled. Minds will be blown.

Work is going great–it’s been busy up to my eyeballs but I continue to love it just as much as when I started. I’d consider myself one lucky ducky in that realm.

Dylan is half-way through his student teaching at one of the highschools in town. It’s been hard to juggle the schedules but  I guess it’s boot camp for when he graduates and becomes a teacher of his own domain. Word on the street is that he’s doing pretty awesome, but that’s no surprise here. (I can hear him rolling his eyes now. Literally, hear the movement.)

Ada has started kindergarten and she’s a rockstar. Learning her letters and phonics, she’s so excited to read. She’s been coming home with little “I Can Read”-type books and showing off her new sight-word skills. I continue to be amazed at the collective knowledge she’s gained in such a short period of time, what happened to my baby?

AND speaking of babies (no, not that), my Nellie’s one month or so away from turning 3! THREE?! In honor of the occasion she has chosen to have a “Kung-Fu Princess” themed birthday party. Thankgoodnesstobetsy for Pinterest.

Ufta.

And then there’s this whole shutdown business…

Maybe that’s a good place to stop for now.

Fear not, I will be back.

Re: To women, young ladies, and girls

I should start off by saying that this blog is for me, my family, my friends, but mostly for me. It’s a running record of thoughts, of growth, and of copious amounts of adorable pictures of my girls. It’s a place where I can unleash the thoughts burbling around in my head, help me stay on track, give an illusion of organization amidst the chaos of our life. This blog is not meant to attract a group or person or persons or anyone for that matter. It’s meant for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like readers…it gives me an imaginary pat-on-the-back, ego-boost feeling that there are other people like me out there. It’s nice to build a small blogging community of people that you can share ideas with, learn from and teach, and all that stuff. It’s nice. But at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter.

And I guess I’m telling you all this because I got a WordPress notification the other day that someone had commented on one of my posts. Not a regular reader, just somebody who stumbled across a post from earlier this year, I’ve posted it as follows:

jack on February 11, 2013 at 12:39 am said:

Maybe women should care how a man feels about it.

It’s fine to have an all-female echo chamber about how sexual sin is not all that serious, but it is.

I’d rather die single (and I am sure I will) than marry a formerly promiscuous woman. Too many risks. It has nothing to do with forgiveness. It is just that I am not interested. I don’t need to marry that badly, I suppose.

And I don’t want to have to imagine my wife with a dozen previous lovers.

Not interested.

If you’re lost, he was commenting on a post that I entitled “To Women, Young Ladies, and Girls.” You can read it here. I suggest you do, it is good stuff. But to sum it up if you don’t want to take the time, it’s basically a gathering of pieces that question why a woman’s worth and even more importantly, her faith is measured so heavily, if not solely, on her virginity. So much emphasis and focus put on a woman’s abstinence from sexual activity, consensual or not (the “or not” part being another discussion in itself entirely and certainly not any less of one that needs to be explored) and not on the fact that she has been cleansed in Christ’s redeeming power and love. I posted it because I have two daughters, I am a woman, a wife, an ex-girlfriend, I have female friends, colleagues, nieces, cousins, aunts, sisters-in-law, sisters-in-Christ, and even more succinctly, because I am simply a member of humanity. This issue needs to be discussed. Needs to be challenged and brought into the twenty-first century.

And normally, I wouldn’t respond to a comment like that. Normally I would just delete “Jack’s” comment and be on with my day. But for whatever reason, I think it needs an answer. A rebuttal, if not to simply keep the conversation at the forefront so it doesn’t remain shoved in the back behind gay rights or abortion.

I’m not looking for a fight. I never am when I post such material. I’m looking for thoughts, well thought out, well versed and supported in a manner that would fly in a high school debate setting. I’m looking to grow. Myself. Personally. I want to grow and become a better player in humanity, in our world, to beautify all the ugly that we so often just shrug at with a “what can I do?” attitude. I’m tired of that. I’m no activist. Not really a leader, more of a jaded idealist who fully believes that if we all tried to make just one thing a little better real change could come about in a monumental fashion. Me? I’ll start by responding to this one comment.

Jack, 

 I don’t know how you stumbled across my little piece of the blogosphere. I can’t imagine what tags or categories you were browsing to wind up here. Were you looking for a cookie recipe? I have a lot.

I found your comment interesting in which you exemplified the reason behind my posting such an article. Not only did you only focus on you, as a man (I presume), but as a man who sees and values a woman’s worth as if they’re “marriageable.” No comment on a woman’s faith or spirituality, no comment on whether or not God has forgiven her and made her anew in His likeness, but a rather simple statement, a simple judgment that speaks volumes. A woman who has had a sexual experience (of any kind I’m assuming) would never be worthy of a man such as yourself.

Maybe that’s too sweeping. Maybe that statement is unfair. Let’s go back to your comment and break it down.

 Maybe women should care how a man feels about it.

I don’t think that any of the authors argued that women shouldn’t care about how men in their life feel about their sexual experiences but rather that women are judged by society in all avenues—beauty, weight, wealth, etc., and that we, as people, men and women with or without sexual experiences, should focus on how God sees us. That we should trust and believe that our worth is deeply and firmly rooted in his unending love for us and that through accepting his grace we are cleansed of the old, a life paid so many years ago to give sinners (men AND women) the ability “to taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8, NIV). Without that ultimate sacrifice of death on a cross, murderers, liars, adulterers, thieves, the lazy, the greedy, Pharisees, men and women old and young, would not be able to join in relationship with God. We all would be without grace. Without life.

Granted, it’s quite obvious I’m coming from a Christian background which is why those articles ring so true in relevance for me. If you are not, you’ll simply have to bear with me. Hopefully some of what I say will make sense even if you do not prescribe to the same faith system as me.

Simply put, men and women shouldn’t give a shit about what other people think. Rather they should focus their energy, their worth, and their soul on God’s truths. That “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) and that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 It’s fine to have an all-female echo chamber about how sexual sin is not all that serious, but it is.

No one ever said that sexual sin is not serious. Sexual sin is indeed a sin. The Apostle Paul summed it up for us when he said, “When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4: 21-24). After accepting Christ’s grace and love, we choose a new life, we choose to try and strive for a godly life and godly virtues. But remember we “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and not one of us will achieve a life of sinlessness. That’s not even a word it’s so unreal. (Read: unachievable, unattainable, impossible)

No one is encouraging young women and men to go and have sexual relationships as they please, but women are reacting to the double standard that is so firmly cemented across cultures that a woman’s value and worth is based solely on her virginity. A virginity that is trumped as the ultimate way for a woman to prove her faith. A virginity that doesn’t take into account the atrocities that are committed in the name of God, Satan, and man everyday. A woman’s virginity is what makes them godly, proves they love God. That kind of thinking, theology, practice within the church and amongst believers is deeply flawed, rooted in sexist, repressive beliefs that limit the amazing wonder and power of a God of everything. Put simply again, That.IS.wrong. Messed up. Dare I say, unbiblical?

I’d rather die single (and I am sure I will) than marry a formerly promiscuous woman. Too many risks. It has nothing to do with forgiveness. It is just that I am not interested. I don’t need to marry that badly, I suppose. 

Your comment suggests that all women who would identify with what these bloggers write have chosen to be sexually promiscuous. What about the women and girls who have been made to feel they are worthless and abused from trusted family members or friends? What about women and girls that have been violated by others they’ve never met? What about women who aren’t sexually promiscuous but stand in solidarity that this sweeping belief in the Christian circle focuses not on a woman’s worth as a person but as a commodity, a symbol, and forgets the soul of that person—forgets the sanctity of their life?

Too many risks, nothing to do with forgiveness, you’re just not interested…why are you making so many excuses for yourself? It’s your life, your choice how you live it. It’s how you live your life that tells the story of who you are. Are you willing to put yourself out there and take chances, accept grace and the possible condemnation of a world full of imperfect people, in order to reach a few more with the incredible, healing power of a no-strings-attached, forever-loving relationship with Christ? (It seems as though you are more content to judge them back into their closet of shame and unwilling to let him realize themselves fully as the women that God created them to be. Thank God for all of us sinners that you are not St. Peter’s boss. Because I think women who are brave enough to share these paths, the journeys that have brought them from wherever they started to the life that they currently live in Christ should be lauded. Not for their former sins, the sins that were cleansed and forgotten in grace by God, sins that apparently you are not man enough to overcome, but for their bravery to show their weaknesses. To ask for accountability and to edify the church community by strengthening it through wisdom and maturation, who grows by being stagnant and unchallenged?

Besides, no one is asking you to marry them.

They wouldn’t want to marry, nor should they, someone who didn’t believe that marriage is a union in which forgiveness and grace needs to reign in order to bloom. I don’t know everything about marriage but I’m fairly certain that without those two components there would be no love. So instead of staring down women’s perceived sexual impurity, perhaps you should take a peek at the haughtiness in your own heart lest you find yourself judged (Matthew 7:4, Luke 6:42, Psalm 101:5, Proverbs 18:12, Proverbs 21:4).

And I don’t want to have to imagine my wife with a dozen previous lovers.

Not interested.

I don’t want to imagine my husband with a dozen previous lovers either. I’m sure no woman or man would. There’s a reason that sexual relationships were created to exist within the safe confines of marriage, I’m not refuting that and neither are the women who wrote the aggrieved article. What they are refuting is that the church is telling women and girls that their worth, their spirituality is based on “their ability to remain pure,” which inadvertently discounts sexual violence and other such instances that occur within our broken, sinful world.

Sex is awesome. Sex is beautiful. If sex wasn’t so good, it wouldn’t be such an issue, but since it is, I think it’s important that men and women are able to have respectful dialogue concerning it and how our culture of sexualization has overtaken the mainstream and also how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters within the church concerning it as we perpetuate it (purposeful or not).

Do yourself a favor (and women) and listen to Apostle Paul since you seem to be above the fray when it comes to all of us sex crazed women, “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do” (1 Corinthians 7:7-8).

Sincerely,

Katie

Freaking proud wife, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, sister-in-law, friend, feminist, Christian, jaded ideologist, teacher, mentor, baker, artist, reader, sinner redeemed in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-being grace of God, and unashamed sexual being 

Eat the World 20: Bolivia

Last Wednesday we sampled the cuisine of our 20th country on our Eat the World adventure. If you are wondering, we did indeed skip Bhutan but will be coming back to it later next week.

Bolivia is a South American country surrounded by Peru, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Brazil. While Dylan or I have never been there,we were familiar with the cuisine and culture since we lived in Ecuador for a year. In fact, looking through the pictures and answering Ada’s questions brought back a flood of fond memories such as this:

Rainy season fun.

And this:

Alabanza!

And this one too:

The square.

Basically, Bolivia brought so many memories still so fresh in the mind, and it’s been eight years past since our time spent there. EIGHT years. I can’t believe it. Bolivia was indeed a nice reminder of our old home.

At the time I was planning this meal I think that I was feeling a bit industrious, much more so that what I actually felt last Wednesday, so we ended up limiting my four piece menu down to two. I think that the avocado salad would’ve been pretty delicious but it was just one extra step and I don’t think that it would’ve tasted outrageously different than anything else we’ve ever sampled. I’m still a bit sad that we skipped out on baking the Cocadas (coconut candies, think macaroons), so I’ll probably attempt those sometime later this month just for fun. We’ll see.

The two recipes that did make the cut were Aji de Lentejas con Sarsa (Lentil stew with salsa) and Saltenas (Meat and potato hand pies). I opted to cut the stew servings in half because I wasn’t sure the girls would eat it…and I was right, except that Dylan and I definitely could’ve eaten more than the small bowls that it made. Ah well, proxima vez. It was a fairly simple, quick cooking stew (due to the lentils) and a great vegetarian option. I’d make this again for sure. You can find the recipe here.

The saltenas were a LOT more work. Dylan and the girls made the dough while I prepared the filling. Ada and Nellie loved the dough part because they got to play with their own piece of it. Rolling, shaping, squishing, all that good stuff. They were good, but I’m not sure that I’d remake these. They were just really large and quite dense. I’m a bigger fan of Ecuadorian (think crispy-fluffy fried) and Argentinian (think flakier-more pie-crust-like) empanadas. When the saltenas cooled they were like light dumbbells. Big, heavy, and SUPER filling. You can also find the recipe here.

I think the general consensus was that dinner was good but that it wasn’t necessarily something that we would repeat again out of craving. The stew might show up again because it’s cheap, healthy, and light…but if I’m going to put a lot of work into something, I’ll make mandu or biryani or something much else.

And just a fun video to round everything out: 

Weekend with the cousins

This post isn’t completely about the cousins, I have to admit. This weekend was…full. Truthfully, I’m not sure what other word would best describe it. Maybe I’ll just explain in pictures, I think images are often the best descriptors when words fail anyhow.

Ada and Nellie were reunited with their cousin-BFFs, Lael and Lucy.

@ Grandma Sheila's house.

@ Grandma Sheila’s house.

My Grandma Sue was welcomed into the arms of God on Saturday.

Grandma Sue, the way I remember her as a child, at the lake cabin.

Grandma Sue, the way I remember her as a child, at the lake cabin.

Nellie contracted another round of pink eye and was kind enough to share with Dylan again. We’re still on the fence as to when/if Ada or I am going to get it.

Waiting at the ER for pink eye drugs on Sunday morning.

Waiting at the ER for pink eye drugs on Sunday morning.

I labeled and packed up Ada’s suitcase for her big Florida weekend adventure with Grandpa Pete. (And yes, you did read that right. The Florida trip has been postponed due to recent events and will regain excitement steam this spring when Mom speaks again in March.) There’s just a couple of other things I’ll have to throw in last minute tonight to send with.

Packing for Mayo, again.

Packing for Mayo, again.

And I packed suitcases for the rest of us for our week-long trek to Rochester/Twin Cities.

There is a prayer service on Friday and then the funeral will be on Saturday. I was asked to sing–weddings and funerals. Times for family to come together and celebrate but utilizing different emotions. Meh.

Prayers, I’m sure, would be appreciated.

Eat the World 16: Picking up the B countries at Belarus

I realized the other day, as I stared at a plate full of blackened plantains, that I haven’t posted about our Eat the World adventures in quite some time. Most of that is due to the fact that we have been pretty lax. Okay, really lax, to the point of completely shoving it under the proverbial rug. However, with all the things life has been handing out lately, I am going to give us a pass and we’ll simply pickup where we left off.

We did complete Belarus, I made a huge stockpot of Borscht a la Belarus and picked up some crusty, rye bread from a local bakery. Steaming bowls heaped with soup and dollops of sour cream with a side of rye, thickly slathered in butter was awesome. And super filling. And a great feed-your-freezer type meal. And something that I will do again come January/February when the snow and the ice and the slush begin to freeze my toes and my fingers and my soul. Seriously. It gets that cold.

We ate supper with Grandma and Grandpa Dachtler and The Uncles. I think Dylan was working that weekend, but we did save him a bowl.

Borshch/Borscht Soup from Belarus (Beet Soup with potatoes)

Serves 6 and best served with friends and family to share.

1 large onion, chopped
1-2 large russet potatoes, as desired
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 beets, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 turnips, diced
1/2 a green cabbage, sliced thinly
6 oz can of tomato paste
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp vinegar
salt and pepper
32 oz beef stock
water as needed
sour cream, for garnish (optional, but not really if you want it to be super tasty)
1. In a large pot, cook onion in vegetable oil until soft and slightly golden. Add the rest of the ingredients, except sour cream. Add water as needed to cover all the veggies.

2. Bring to a low simmer and cook for at least an hour, the longer the better as it allows the flavors to mingle. 

4. Ladle into serving bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream. 

Psalm 30:5

It’s been a while since I last blogged. 
There have been many changes in our life since then. Ada’s in full-day preschool, Nellie’s talking up a storm and due for another Mayo visit in December, Dylan’s got 3 semesters left of school, and the interior of our house got a much needed paint face lift.
Those aren’t the only changes. I’m going to apologize in advance for the ambiguity of this blog, not that I’m apologizing for non full-disclosure, but rather that it will be confusing for some. I’m just not quite ready to “talk,” is all. 
If you’re reading and you have a spare moment however, please feel free to send up a prayer or two for us, Dylan and I, as we work through this most recent change in our life. We are blessed with family and friends who have fed our souls in the past week. But surely it never hurts to have more intercession for peace. 
The nature of this blog has always been to keep in touch with our near and dear far away. And it is seasons such these that remind me why blogging is so cathartic. 

Psalm 30:5

New Living Translation (NLT)
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime!

Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

ETW: Algeria Completed!

Algeria was delicious. 
Most definitely delicious. 
Make again and hoard the leftovers good. 

The Kefta was delicious. We scooped up the meatballs and sauce with French bread using our hands, sans utensils. (Ada thought that was the best thing about the meal.)

Dylan liked the Algerian green beans the best. It took me a while to come along but they got me in the end. The clove oil and the toasted almonds won me over and they are interesting addictive.

 The mango papaya salad was easily Ada’s favorite part of the meal; mostly because of the whipped cream. But it was good, yummy, delicious, light fruit in a bowl with sweet cream. Who wouldn’t love that?

All-in-all the consensus is two thumbs up. A Monday make-again meal regardless of its “exotic” origins.

ETW: Afghanistan Completed!

Our adventure finally kicked off on Sunday evening with the dining company of Ben and Charlie (brave, brave souls who delved into the unknown cuisine of Afghanistan, er, rather should I say the unknown Afghani cooking capabilities of moi?).

This was what we sat down to:


Front to back: Sliced cucumbers, Sourdough bread (because I wussed out at the last minute and didn’t get the Noni done…which I’m sure would’ve been my favorite part of the meal), Seer Moss, Burani Bonjon, Sabese Borani, Kabeli Palau, Khatai Cookies

Dylan and I both really liked the Burani Bonjon and the Seer Moss was okay, but I certainly could have done without too. I think it would be super tasty over basmati rice as a vegetarian meal and Dylan thought it would be good pureed (a la hummus or baba ghanoush) with pita chips. Either way, we’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe in the (possibly quite near) future.

The Kabeli Palau was good, although we reheated leftovers the next day and they were even better. I think the flavors all had a chance to mellow out and deepen the chicken and rice. Nellie even got in on the rice action and couldn’t get enough.

I think it was pretty unanimous however that the Sabese Borani, although intriguing for onion-lovers such as ourselves was not so exciting. It was a yogurt-y spinach dip to which my very untrained palate continues to favor the mayonnaise-sour cream-water chestnut-laden one that is our family favorite.

And the cookies were definitely interesting. Different…in the way that you had to try at least two in order to make a final decision of liking or disliking.

And, as you can see from the horrendous lack, I was TERRIBLE about taking pictures of our meal post-feast. Next time I promise to be better. Maybe. Probably. Okay, I promise to try and be better.

Needless to say, the night’s dinner was a good kick-off to this epic adventure we are undertaking. We rounded out the night with coffee and long, catch-up talk (well, in between the antics of a certain overly-tired-overly-excited-hyper-bouncing-dancing-jumping three year old).

Next up: Albania

3 Months,13 Weeks Ada Update

Wednesday Ada turned three months old and yesterday she turned 13 weeks…we think it’s weird how the charting of her age goes (that silly Gregorian calendar). She’s growing and changing quickly, it seems like every time we turn around she’s doing something new. Her last WIC appointment, she weighed in at a hefty 14 pounds even and she’s begun to grab and grasp dangling toys of various sizes and jingling abilities. Unfortunately she’s decided that she no longer cares for tummy time, regardless of whether or not it’s good for her. (And she’s started perfecting her pouty face already…I think we might be in trouble…)