Toasting Pumpkin Seeds

I have been attempting to successfully toast pumpkin seeds for about four years.  The first time I tried, I forgot to cut the oil amount in half (the recipe called for two cups of seeds and I only had one).  Those seeds were so oily that they were still soggy even after toasting them.  I think the worst part of that story was that I still ate the pumpkin seeds–being a college student was not good for my eating habits.  I managed to properly follow the recipe the next couple of years.  Yet despite my stellar recipe-following skills, the seeds still lacked a certain zing that would make them snack-worthy.  

However, this year was the year!  Thanks to this recipe, I finally managed to toast pumpkin seeds so that my husband will actually eat them.  I know, I know, anything will taste great with enough brown sugar but still, yay for me!

Carving pumpkins and toasting seeds means loads of Halloween fun!


Post-Seminary Aspirations

My husband and I have a running joke:  Whenever we talk about buy or doing something that we cannot currently accomplish due to financial or logistical reasons, we say that we’ll achieve our desire when my husband is a rich and famous pastor.  I know, “rich” and “famous” are two adjectives not typically associated with pastors and we have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to his income and fame.  However, when (God willing) my husband becomes a pastor we will have things that we don’t have right now–mainly a stable income and a place to call home for more than a year.

Last night, I asked my husband if he wanted to help me write a “Post-Seminary Aspirations” list.  He thought it was great fun, so we spent about a half-hour telling each other our hopes and desires for the days beyond the seminary life.  Here’s what we came up with (and in no particular order):
Buy headboard
Own piano
Buy shredded cheese:  For some reason I consider this a frivolous purchase when I can buy a block of cheese for less and shred it myself.  However, it is so tedious to shred 16 ounces of cheese! 
Consistent beer supply
Ditch the pink armchair that we got from the Co-op:  Super comfy, super ugly
Have babies!
Have a real kitchen table:  Not that our current one isn’t great, it just isn’t ours
Buy a house
Have a cat AND dog
Get a DVR
Decorate rooms more purposely:  Since we move so often, it’s hard to justify actually buying home decor because we don’t know if we can use it at the next place.  I pointed this out to my husband when he wanted to get another crucifix for our house
Live in the same home for more than a year consecutively
New clothes that fit:  Not that the Co-op and thrift stores aren’t great (nor will we stop using thrift stores once we’re done with seminary), it’s just sometimes we’re wearing clothes that don’t exactly fit because they were free
Flat screen TV
More variety in coffee supply
Two full bathrooms:  This is my husband’s idea, I think it’s frivolous 
Furnished guest bedroom
Guest house:  Again, husband’s idea.  I think he was getting silly at this point
Fire pit
Not looking at everything we own and thinking, “How hard is this to move?”
Patio furniture
Matching furniture for living room:  Or at least stop doing things like using my old, broken TV stand as a side table.  On the other hand, I love that I can tell a story about every piece of furniture in our living room.  The couch was my grandmother’s, the coffee table was my father-in-law’s, one of the end tables was my parents’ and is from the Philippines. . .
Own a kneeler
Buy a guitar
Contacts for husband:  Might spring for this before being done with seminary
Spice rack
Retirement fund
Start investments
Huge kitchen with island
Have multiple flavors of ice cream in freezer
Big computer desk
Sun Room
China hutch
New vacuum:  We’re using the cheap-o one my parents bought me for my first apartment
Magazine subscriptions
Garbage disposal
Be able to pay for others’ meals when we go out 
I realize that some of these aspirations are going to take years to fulfill.  Likewise, some of our ideas depend on where my husband gets a call (it would be stupid to buy a house if we live in a parsonage, we also wouldn’t be able to demand a sun room if we live in a parsonage).  However, I think it’s good to think about our lives beyond the seminary years–it gives us motivation when things get tough.  I will be continuing this list as my husband finishes his studies and keep you posted on what we add.  ūüôā  
Does anyone else have a list like this?  It doesn’t have to be post-seminary, just a list of life aspirations.

Writer’s Block Again

Well, I’m stuck with writer’s block again.  I realize that there isn’t any real pressure for me to post consistently–this blog isn’t my livelihood–but I do have aspirations of someday having a successful blog that has a wider readership than I have now (of course, I would have to actually promote my blog, not to mention create a better focus, work on my prose. . .oh dear).

At any rate, I realize that many of my recent posts have been a bit melancholy.  The transition into my husband’s vicarage year has been difficult for me; this shows in my writing.  This leaves a few options for topics:  the I’m-so-sad-and-probably-going-crazy writings, fluff pieces that aren’t particularly amusing, or nothing at all.  *Sigh*  It’s not a great set of options.


Running Music

In high school I was a fairly decent runner. ¬†However, the extra activities and pressures of college life (not to mention my running buddy graduating and moving, *sniff*) eventually led me to discontinue running. ¬†Occasionally over the last two years I would get myself motivated to start running again, would go for one run, and would then feel so sore the next several days that I wouldn’t go for a second run.

However, with this more recent move I’ve once again found myself determined to lace up my running shoes and start¬†consistently¬†running again. ¬†Admittedly, I haven’t quite gotten the “consistent” aspect down, but I have already run more since we moved here than I did in all of the last school year.

Something I realized helps me feel a little more motivated to run is listening to music, which I never did during high school. ¬†It helps me find a¬†rhythm and gives me a little bit of company (or at least quiets my thoughts of, “Ahhh, the pain! ¬†I’m going to diiiiiiiiiiiiiiie, just let me stoooooooooop!”). ¬†Even better, I’ve discovered my best running music: ¬†Doctor Who¬†soundtracks. ¬†It makes sense, in the show the characters are constantly running and the soundtrack conveys that action. ¬†What better motivation to keep running when the music was created for running?

How Does a Person Go About Finding a Doctor in a New Town?

How does a person go about finding a doctor in a new town?

Well, she asks someone at church for a recommendation.

What if she needs to find a specific doctor for a very personal reason?

Well, then she asks someone trustworthy.

What if she hasn’t found someone who knows the town well that she can trust with her problem?

Well, then she asks her pastor.

What if the closest thing she has to a pastor right now is her husband’s boss?

Ummm. . .

In Some Ways, I Think My Brother’s Wedding Might Be More Fun Than My Own

My big brother is getting married on Saturday, so today my husband and I are heading down to Iowa to join in the festivities.  I have been looking forward to going home for this wedding since we arrived at vicarage.  I get to see my family (including some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins), catch up with some of my best friends, and finally visit the chapel my husband and I attended in college on Sunday morning.  It will be busy, but so much fun!

And the reason why my brother’s wedding might be more fun than my own wedding?  I’m not the one getting married!  No pre-wedding freak outs and no concerns about the day being perfect.  Just food, fun, and family time for me to enjoy!  Plus, I get to see(and laugh at) my brother as he joins his life with his wife-to-be.  May God bless them both!  ūüėÄ

Slowly and Painfully, The Vicar’s Wife Learns to Cope on Sundays

In the past I had lamented about commented on how I found field work very difficult.  At the time I thought it had to do with how far away we lived from the church–distance and work made it impossible for my husband and me to integrate ourselves within the church family.  Our hope was that our vicarage church could become more like a church home and I could once again attend church without feeling uncomfortable.

However, it appears that something more than distance was causing my unease at field work because many of my church discomfort “symptoms”  have worsened here.  At field work I found it difficult to talk to the members and generally felt nervous during social hour.  Now, I still find it difficult to talk to the members, my heart starts pounding when I walk into the sanctuary on Sunday mornings, standing in line after service and seeing all the people happily greet one another (and me) makes me tense and shaky, and trying to figure out where I should sit during social hour causes me panic to the point that I want to run home and hide. To make matters worse, the members have been kind to me, they do invite me to sit with them (which leads directly to the problem I have talking to congregation members), they haven’t done anything wrong.  What I feel is completely in my head and completely my fault.

There are many possibilities for this intense reaction to Sunday mornings–introversion, shyness, social anxiety, incompetence.  Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the one morning a week that used to bring me joy now fills me with trepidation.  I fear the people, I fear that I will say or do the wrong thing, and I fear that I will somehow reflect badly on my husband.  The fear twists my thoughts and I can’t function in church.  Last week I found myself at an all-time low–I barely got myself to church and couldn’t bring myself to attend Bible study.

I realize this fear isn’t healthy and I can’t spend the next 10 months behaving like this.  Consequently, my husband and I started talking about a new way to cope on Sundays.  I wish this problem had a simple fix, a do-this-and-everything-will-be-hunky-dory cure, but it doesn’t.  We researched social anxiety and found some “home remedies” that pertained to my situation.  I should exercise and eat balanced meals, I shouldn’t over caffeinate myself, and I shouldn’t quit doing the things that cause the me anxiety.  From this we decided on our grand plan:  get through this Sunday.

I managed today.  I found a spot to sit in church, I navigated my way through social hour, and I was able to stay for Bible study.  Since I find it extremely difficult to try to carry a conversation in a crowded room with people I don’t know very well, I decided to sit by myself (a trick I learned in college lecture halls).  It meant I had to decline some very well intended offers to join other tables and I realize this is a very odd choice, but I knew I couldn’t face making painful small talk in a room that sets me on edge.  I finally talked to the pastor’s wife after trying to avoid her (and everyone else) for the last several weeks and we arranged a lunch date while our husbands are attending the district conference.  I pretended to function like a semi-normal human and smiled when people said hello.  The panic and apprehension still lurked in my mind but I achieved my goal:  I got through this Sunday.

I Tried To Be An Informed Voter

I had every intention to watch the presidential debate last night, I really did. ¬†I even turned on the TV at the right time (and the right station) so that I could properly learn about each¬†candidates’¬†policies for the country. ¬†However, about 15 minutes into the debate I found it to be rather dull. ¬†Still trying to be an informed voter, I pushed through my boredom for another 15 minutes before realizing I really didn’t care.¬† Both¬†candidates were saying what I more or less expected. ¬†President Obama still insists that things are slightly better than they were four years ago so we should give him another chance. ¬†Mitt Romney still says that giving President Obama another chance is a load of hooey and we should go with him and his detail-less plan to recover the economy. ¬†It’s a no win situation. ¬†*sigh* ¬†(To be fair, from what I watched it seemed that Mitt Romney was behaving better that he has in the past–nothing came out of his mouth that “gotcha” media could use).

Actually, what I was really wondering all night is how they managed to choose different colored ties. ¬†Did they call each other up and say something like, “Hey, Mitt, so I was thinking about wearing a blue tie at the debate.” ¬†“Oh, that’s cool, Barack. ¬†I have a really kickin’ red tie that I wanted to wear.”


There’s Beauty Everywhere

My husband has an app that shows beautiful pictures from all over the world.  However, the Midwest is rarely represented in these photographs.  Why is that?  I find the Midwest to be stunning (Sorry about some of the photos–I’m not the world’s greatest photographer and some of them were taken on my dumb phone).


Illinois (And I don’t have many pics from Illinois)