Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Work Home and Family - Summer Recipes!

One of my goals this summer was to make 12 new recipes and I made it! Whoot!

I didn't take pictures of everything - especially the lone flop (it was gross - trust me).  But here's what I tried and what I learned.

First Recipe:  Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread (Definite Keeper!)

This recipe was from a magazine and sounded good because it rose in the fridge overnight.  It tasted like pull-apart cinnamon rolls, and we served it the morning my folks headed back home after a month visiting.  It didn't rise evenly because I was at the end of my bulk yeast and it wasn't rising well, but the bread itself turned out yummy and rather light.  The inside was sticky and the edges were crispy - just like a good cinnamon roll should be!



Second Recipe: Lemon-Raspberry Coffee Cake  (Definite Keeper!)

Don't have a photo of this one, but it was super good and will almost certainly be made again next spring when lemons are on sale and raspberries are in season.  It also contains cream cheese.  We had it for lunch one day with baked eggs and bacon and it was more than ample for that lunch (for the four of us) and for breakfast for me and John for another couple of days.  The recipe is out of a magazine.

Third Recipe:  French Bread  (Definite Keeper!)

I used Brandy's recipe and it really was easy and very good.  We don't eat enough bread for 4 loaves to be eaten before they go bad (I ended up giving 2 away that first time), so I made a half batch the second time. Just as good!  This one is tied for favorite new recipe with the Eggplant Parmesan!



Fourth Recipe:  Kale Chips (Keeper!)

Our CSA has been giving us a large bunch of Kale each week. There are only so many green smoothies I can drink so I decided to try this recipe from the cookbook that comes with our CSA.  Super simple and definitely yummy - though I probably wouldn't hunt down Kale just to make it.



Fifth Recipe: Pizza in a Dutch Oven  (Keeper - need to watch more closely though)

We like to make homemade pizza once a week.  We decided to try it on a camping trip after I read online that you can cook pizza in a dutch oven on top of balls of foil.  We did and it worked.  We let it sit on too hot a coals for too long though and the bottom got a little too brown without the cheese all melting.  We did the smaller kids pizzas on cooler coals and they worked much better.  We'll try this one again next summer!


Sixth Recipe:  No-Bake Energy Bites  (Keeper!)

I kept reading on Money Saving Mom how everyone liked the No Bake Energy Bites, so I thought I'd try them as a snack to take along camping.   I edited the recipe since our family doesn't eat coconut. I found the amount of honey a little too much but it might have been the type of honey I had.  I won't be making these often, but they were good and proved to be a good snack for camping.

Seventh Recipe:  Blueberry Cream Cheese Squares  (Definite Keeper!)

This recipe came from my Grandmother and was shared to me by cousin.  I remembered my cousin (who is 19 years older than I am) making this when I was a kid and we'd have a fish fry at my Uncle's late cabin.  I had an excess of blueberries and cream cheese was on sale, so I had her send me the recipe and I tried it. Instead of bars, I made it in a pie pan and cut the sugar in half.  It was just a good as I remember!  I will definitely be making this one again.

Eighth Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (Definite Keeper!)

My folks brought up our old hand-crank ice cream maker when they came up this spring.  They spent time as Missionaries over in Ethiopia and my dad had discovered that you couldn't buy ice cream there at that time.  Since he has to have a cup of ice cream every evening, they bought this maker and took it with them.  I remember my dad using it when I was a kid.  The recipe I used came from the original cookbook that came with the maker - the terminology was pretty funny and I had to Google a couple of things to find out what they were (have you heard of rennet before?).  I'm  not sure making ice cream is cheaper - especially since we usually don't keep the ingredients on hand - but it was so darn good and a little went a long way! Will make this again sometime soon!  Side note: The ice cream maker is older than I am by quite a bit and still works like a charm!



Ninth Recipe: Candied Caramel Corn (Just Okay).

I made this to take to a 4th of July Desert Pot-Luck from a recipe out of the children's cookbook my daughter got for her birthday.  The candy didn't work out the way it was supposed to but I used different candy than what they recommended.  I'll try it again sometime with the candy recommended and see how it is.  Right now, I'm not planning on making it again after that unless it turns out particularly yummy.

Tenth Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan (Definite Keeper!)

We got several little eggplants in our CSA this year and decided to try Eggplant Parmesan as a way to use them up after my husband mentioned he'd had some at a work meeting and liked it.  I've never had much luck with eggplant before but I took time to sweat the eggplant before making this and it worked great.  The recipe was straight out of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.



Eleventh Recipe: Chapatis (Total Flop!)

This recipe I found in several places - all identical - and I ended up using Brandy's recipe for reference while I made these.  My guess is that my pan was too hot and that I used the wrong kind of flour.  They ended up tacky and brunt (even with being in the pan less than 5 seconds) and were just awful even though I rolled them super thin.  I am planning to try them again on a day when I'm not frantic to get dinner on the table and with a different pan.  If they turn out good, I'll post pictures for you!

Twelfth Recipe: Fresh Corn Salad (Keeper!)

This is another magazine recipe and was quite good - I made this to use up some of our CSA produce (corn, cucumbers, jalapenos, and kale) and our overabundance of yellow pear tomatoes.  I more than halved the dressing part of the recipe and found the whole thing to be a nice combination of flavors.

I'll be posting the Definite Keeper and Keeper recipes over the next few weeks.  That way you can enjoy them too!

What new recipes have you tried this summer?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Goals Update - Week of August 26, 2012

It is already the first week of school for my kiddos!  They are SO excited to be going to into second grade!  I don't blame them - there is a dinosaur unit for Buddy, their teacher absolutely loves crafts and skits which are two of Missy's favorite things, and they can read so well now that everything is an exciting learning prospect!  Buddy was also delighted that their teacher has all of the Magic Tree House books - he spent about 10 minutes just looking at them on back-to-school night before we had to go find some pizza before the classroom meetings.

Last week was busy and filled with rain and I had a roaring headache caused by a pinched nerve in my shoulder.  I did a move wrong learning a new routine and pinched it.  It's better now, but wow! I really don't care for sleepless nights anymore - especially when they're caused by burning pain. :P

Anyway, how did I do last week?  Not too bad, actually.

Here's last week's list:

Work:
* Finish up last of the prep for both classes.
* Make copies for the first day of class for both classes.
* Badger our lab coordinator until my equipment is in my hot little hands (this is a really long story!).


School:
* Finish up preliminary data analysis This is very close but I need to meet with someone to double-check my statistics.
* Appointment with my advisor
* Begin cleaning out my desk and bookshelf


Jazzercise:
* Learn 2 new songs
* Put together 1 new set

* Attend class 4x this week Attended class 3x this week instead of 4 due to that pinched nerve
* Teach class 2x this week
* Finalize new classes that I will be teaching (sign contract, visit space, etc.)
  The space we'll be having class in is LOVELY and I'm really excited about this!

Family:
* Back to school night on Wednesday night!
* Purchase last 3 things for school supplies for the children (these will be dropped off on Wednesday)

* Purchase new tennis shoes for Buddy
* Take the kids to the park
* Take the kids to the public library
* At home date with John
* Family Night: "Attentiveness"
* Proofread John's final term papers for the summer session

Home:
* One last clean out of the kids bedrooms before school starts
* Donate the "stuff" sitting in our garage so I can finally park my car in there again  A friend of John's from school actually took most of this - he really needed it! - and John took the rest to the local thrift shop
* Finish weeding the back flower bed - it's half cleaned out and redone right now and looks really silly
* Finish edging the front flower bed
* Call for an appointment to have the piano tuned
* Wash, press and hang all of the school uniforms
* Blanch more veggies for winter (planning on carrots, beans and broccoli right now) 

We had rain this week on the days we would have worked on the yard, so that didn't get done.

Ministry/Spiritual/Church:
* Continue memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (almost done with this!)
* Write a quick note to our Compassion Child via email (did you know you can do that?) Totally spaced this one!
* Pray about Altar Guild and the paraments at church, decide what to do (another long story) Not sure what to actually do about this or if I need to do anything at this point - I'll talk to the Pastor this week.
* Update prayer journal

Personal:
* Call for a hair appointment, hopefully scheduling it for next week Scheduled!
* Schedule a coffee date with my best friend
We're actually going out for Breakfast next week - that means we have longer to talk!
* Put together a new schedule for fall now that I have my finalized teaching schedule.


Now for this week:

Work:
* Make black boxes for first day of class
* Finalize equipment details for one class
* Double check everything for the first day of class.

School:
* Meet with the statistician
* Continue cleaning out my desk and bookshelf - I'm taking 15 minutes each day I'm at my school office to clean out unneeded papers and I move 1-2 books over to my work office each time I go. Makes this easy!
 

Jazzercise:
* Promo event 
* Teach 1 class, attend 3 others
* Finalize microphone details fore new classes (they have their own system)
* Learn 2 new routines
* Put together 1 new set

Family:
* Home with the children Monday and Friday - play games, movie with popcorn at home, and other fun stuff
* First day of school on Tuesday! (3 day week this week)
* At home date with John
* Family Night: Continue with Attentiveness and watch "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe."
* Put together sewing lesson for Missy
* Nightly homework routine with the children (they won't have much homework yet, but we want to get into the routine of it)
* Return/Renew Library books to both the church library and the public library

Home:
* Yard work from last week
* Finish tidying up sewing area
* 2 birthday presents finished (sewing)
* Continue blanching veggies
* Wash kitchen cabinets
* Have piano tuned (Friday afternoon)

Faith/Ministry/Church:
* Continue Memorizing the Sermon on the Mount
* Update note card memory verse system
* Continue to pray about the parament situation at church

Personal:
* Get hair cut
* Polish my shoes
* Organize the top of my dresser 
* Breakfast with my best friend

 What are you up to this week?  Visit Money Saving Mom!

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 25th, 2012

Our "typical" back-to-school breakfast.
This week is back-to-school week for us.  The kiddos start 2nd grade already.  They are more than ready. Mom? Not so sure!  They have a three day week this week and are home with me the other two days. I'm excited to have a couple of days home with them before we really kick it into high gear here!

When the children started 3-year-old preschool, we started a breakfast tradition on the first day of school of having doughnuts for breakfast.  The kids chose and we said "sure!".  It's the one day per year when they get doughnuts for breakfast, so we can certainly live with that!  The picture above was taken on the first day of kindergarten (I neglected to take a photo last year), and I'm pretty sure we're up to two doughnuts and a whole orange a piece, especially since Buddy is in the middle of a growth spurt (mothers of boys out there - look out!).  That boy can out-eat John and I combined when he's growing!

Here's what we're eating during our back-to-school week:

Sunday, August 26:
  Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
  Lunch: Baked Eggs, Cinnamon Biscuit Twists, Melon-Banana-Strawberry Salad
  Snack: Dairy Queen (Total splurge since I danced my way through a local parade and John and the kids had been doing yard work for over 2 1/2 hours!)
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks

Monday, August 27:
  Breakfast: Waffles and Bananas
  Lunch: Macaroni and Cheese, Yogurt, Strawberries
  Snack: Popcorn
  Dinner: Pork Loin, Easy Corn Salad, Cantaloupe and Musk Melon

Tuesday, August 28, First Day of 2nd Grade:
  Breakfast: Doughnuts, Bananas and Strawberries
  Lunch: Hot Lunch for Kids, Leftovers for Adults
  Snack: Yogurt
  Dinner: Sesame Chicken, Rice, Cantaloupe and Musk Melon
  Desert: Homemade Ice Cream with Friends

Wednesday, August 29:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Craisins
   Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Yogurt, Cut Veggies, Oatmeal Cookie
   Snack: Oatmeal Cookie
   Dinner: Pot Luck at Church: Bring a Tossed Salad

Thursday, August 30:
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
   Lunch: Hot for Kids, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner:  Ham Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Grape-Melon-Banana Salad

Friday, August 31:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothies
   Lunch; French Toast with Strawberries
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Hot Dogs and Veggies on the Grill, Melon

Saturday, September 1:
   Breakfast: Cinnamon Coffee Cake
   Lunch: Salad with Salmon and Mandarin Oranges
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner:  Turkey Calzones, Strawberry-Melon-Grape Salad

What are you eating this week? Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie! to share.
 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - What I Learned On My Summer "Vacation"

Even though our summer was more hectic that I would have liked it to be, I learned a lot.

Would you like to know what I've learned?

That we have a frog living in our front flower bed.
He's right in the middle - hiding in the curve of the clematis.
I learned that Buddy really does like to take pictures of just about everything!
Bakugan cards and a new stuffed leopard from Grandma and Grandpa.
I learned how to make French Bread - YUM!
Isn't it lovely?
 That Komodo Dragons are really odd looking little (BIG!) critters.  I think it's safe to say that God as a mighty fine sense of humor!
Saying hello!
That we had a dinosaur excavation going on in my son's bedroom.
Dinosaur excavation kit was a Christmas present.
That this has to be buried treasure!
A partially buried rock.
That I absolutely love canal park in downtown Duluth!
From left to right: Missy, my cousin Diane, Buddy and John.  And I have no idea why they were all wearing bright green shirts! LOL!
That you can get really close to a deer in a Minnesota State Park before they run away from you.
This dear was only about 50 feet from us at one point believe it or not!
That pizza can be made in a Dutch Oven.
Our veggie pizza - we left it in a little long so the bottom got burnt.  :(
That I love these three people more than I ever thought possible!
Walking along the river at the State Park.
That mixing different flavors of ICEE not only creates pretty nifty patterns but it can taste good too!
Lime, grape and cherry.
That Kale Chips are easy to make and yummy to eat (though they taste kind of like seaweed, in my opinion).
My third batch this summer.
That sometimes it's okay to just lay in the sun and enjoy life for a bit!
Two turtles on a log - check out the back one's legs sticking straight back! Too funny!
That even camels like to cool off on a hot day.
I am not so sure about that green water though - yuck!
That the St. Croix River is full of treasure!
Left to right: An "arrow head", a "tooth", a "leg bone" and a "large diamond."  LOL!
That Eggplant Parmesan can be really, really yummy!
My first attempt at making it - John ate 2/3 of this in one setting.  He thought it was that good!

What did you learn on your summer vacation?

Truly, I am so very blessed!
Soli Deo Gloria.
Always.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kid Funny

We have heirloom yellow pear tomatoes this year that are for some reason going gangbusters.  No complaints - we love that!
Buddy is the designated person for the tomatoes. He LOVES tomatoes.  Did I say LOVES?  Adores. Is passionate about beyond words. And has a huge devotion to. 

He once ate a half-bushel of tomatoes all by himself. In one sitting.

Yes, really. 

And he was happy as a clam.

Since he was two he has called them "My 'Matoes."  And don't you dare mess with his 'matoes!
He came in the other day and says with the most serious look on his little face:

"Mom, I have to tell you something."

I thought, "oh, no what now!"  "Yes," I said.

"It's about the tomatoes." 

I thought, "O no, what happened."  And immediately thought of all the wild, awful, crazy things that could have happened to the tomato plants.

With the same serious look on his face, he says:

"I accidentally had to eat them."





Gotta love it.  (And can I just tell you how hard it was not to laugh.)
What more can I ask for?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Refiner's Fire - God is Good - Always

The lovely chancel at one of the churches my husband has been privileged to lead worship at this summer.

This summer has left me weary.

Very weary.

Why?

I thought this summer would be a summer of rest.
A summer of time to cross t's and dot i's and put "done" on a few things - the things that needed to get done around the house, this darn dissertation, my growing pile of mending, and craft and sewing projects I've started but haven't finished.
A summer to play with the children in the back yard, and go to the library and make things together and have picnics and make faces in the clouds on a lazy afternoon.
A summer to leisurely put together my new class for this fall - to spend time exploring new ideas, and new practices, and carefully and thoughtfully put some things together.

Instead this summer has been one of running.
A summer when to-do lists seem to have gotten longer rather than shorter.
A to do list with lots of things part way done but nothing completely finished.
A pile of edgers sitting in the garage waiting to be installed.
A hide-a-bed sitting in the garage without a place to donate it.
A summer where my children have been at camp almost every day rather than at home with me.
A summer where only half of our summer "bucket list" of things to do with the children got crossed off.
A summer with four trips to the library total rather than one a week as I'd hoped.
A summer where my class is just starting to come together now - a little over two weeks from the start of classes - with very little "extra" added.
A summer where I feel like I'm scrambling to be ready for fall.

A summer where our annual camping trip required a trip back to town every single day - and included immediate car issues, phone calls that absolutely had to be made, and an appointment that absolutely could not be rescheduled.

A summer where our anniversary weekend was interrupted by a mother-in-law who freaks out (long story about a smoke detector that needed a new battery and phone calls to the fire and gas departments and us at 3am!) and a husband who had to attend a special worship service for a class (I could not attend with him).  A weekend that we did not even know if we would be able to take until the day before we left (which is a whole additional story).

I am weary.

And so very ready for rest.

In the midst of my weariness, God remains so very good.

One of my husband's classmates got unexpectedly dumped from the dorm into an apartment and needed furniture and household items - we donated what we had sitting in our garage - the hide-a-bed and some other items.  We have to install the edgers and then I can put my car in the garage again!

My department chair came into my office to tell me that the Dean wants me to attend the next faculty meeting - something that non-tenure faculty members rarely get to do (this was followed by an email from the dean personally!).  I have no idea why but I'm very excited about this.

Every last one of my 15 gladiolas are blooming - and beautiful!  So are my cosmos - which usually don't bloom until frost in my garden for some reason.

Our watermelon plant has 4 watermelon, our butternut squash plant has 7 squash, our acorn squash plant has 3 and our tomatoes are going gangbusters!   Watching my son's excitement over the tomatoes is catchy!

I finalized teaching another 2 Jazzercise classes each week - more income for me and more options for our students. Love that I get paid to exercise and that I can help other people toward better health too.

At worship on Sunday we got to see some folks that we hadn't seen for a very long time - they moved from town a few years ago and were back to visit - and they were absolutely delighted to be able to hear my husband preach.

A person my husband and I did not know came up to my husband after church on Sunday and thanked him for a terrific sermon.

A friend of ours who suffered 2nd degree burns on a large portion of her body was able to attend worship this weekend and is healing very, very well.

And something that actually made me cry - an older, retired friend of ours paid $400 toward my husband's seminary tuition without telling us.  We found out when we went to pay my husband's bill from summer so he could register for fall.  This friend of ours has been very ill lately and just being up and about has been difficulty for him.  We were absolutely blessed and so very shocked by all this.

Sometimes we all just need reminders that God is good.
That He wants the very best for us.
That all things will work out for the good of those who love Him.
Even if we can't see it right now.
Even when we're so very weary we have a hard time putting one foot in front of the other.

Even though I am weary, I am resting in His goodness and letting that goodness get me through the days, rather than my own strength.

There is no way I could do it on my own!

Soli Deo Gloria.
Always.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 19, 2012

Homemade French Bread!  Don't they look lovely?

We have been so very blessed this summer by our CSA.  We have a wonderful friend who owns and runs a small CSA so we purchased a share and we have been so very blessed by her generosity and her hard work. We collect our share on Fridays. This last share we received a cantaloupe the size of a basketball (and it was SUPER tasty too!), two large heads of broccoli, patty pan squash, zucchini, hot peppers, tomatoes, green and purple string beans, carrots and cucumbers.  Anything extra we blanch and freeze for winter. I have also made and frozen 3 loaves of zucchini bread and canned 15 quarts of sweet pickles!   Yes, it's been busy here in my kitchen!  One of my other goals for this summer was to try 12 new recipes (roughly one a week) and so far I've made it up to 10!  One of those was the french bread pictured above - didn't they turn out lovely?  I used Brandy's recipe - and she really is telling the truth that it is very, very easy!

So, we're heading back into the swing of things now. School starts for the kiddos next week and me the week after. John has a couple of weeks left before he heads back for another term but he's finishing up summer session this week, so it's good he'll get a bit of a break.  We're trying to make sure our "school schedule" runs okay this week with dinner, evening chores and bedtime actually on time.

All of that to get to what we're eating this week:

Sunday, August 19:
   Breakfast:  Zucchini Bread and Bananas
   Lunch: Homemade Pizza, Sliced Strawberries
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

Monday, August 20:
   Breakfast: Waffles with Strawberries and Bananas
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Zucchini Bread
   Dinner:  Cabbage Rolls, French Bread, Strawberry-Blueberry-Cantaloupe Salad

Tuesday, August 21:
   Breakfast: French Toast with Bananas and Almonds
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: BBQ Chicken Legs in the Crock pot, Cole Slaw,  Cantaloupe and Honey Dew

Wednesday, August 22:
   Breakfast:  Oatmeal with Cranberries and Almonds
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner:  At Back-to-School Night (They have pizza and salad for us. How nice is that?!)

Thursday, August 23:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins with Bananas
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Easy Black Bean Soup, Cornbread, Cole Slaw, Honey Dew

Friday, August 24:
   Breakfast:  Toast with Peanut Butter, Applesauce
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Honey Dew
   Dinner: Vegetarian Pot Pie, Tossed Salad, Plum-Blueberry-Strawberry Salad

Saturday, August 25:
   Breakfast: Blueberry Buckle
   Lunch: Tossed Salad with Chicken
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Hot Dogs, Sweet Potatoes and Squash on the Grill, Watermelon
   At Home Date Night: Rhubarb Crisp

What are you eating this week?  Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! to share and be inspired.

Goals Yet Again! Week of August 19, 2012

I think I'm jinxing myself by publishing these - it seems like I type them up and then "poof!" I don't post the next week. Let's see if we can break that cycle, shall we?

Since it's been a whole whopping month (yikes!) since I last posted my weekly goals, I'm going to skip the review.  I can't remember if/what/when I finished those things so on to the now, which I guess is more important anyway!

So my goals for this week:

Work:
* Finish up last of the prep for both classes.
* Make copies for the first day of class for both classes.
* Badger our lab coordinator until my equipment is in my hot little hands (this is a really long story!).

School:
* Finish up preliminary data analysis
* Appointment with my advisor
* Begin cleaning out my desk and bookshelf

Jazzercise:
* Learn 2 new songs
* Put together 1 new set
* Attend class 4x this week
* Teach class 2x this week
* Finalize new classes that I will be teaching (sign contract, visit space, etc.)

Family:
* Back to school night on Wednesday night!
* Purchase last 3 things for school supplies for the children (these will be dropped off on Wednesday)
* Purchase new tennis shoes for Buddy
* Take the kids to the park
* Take the kids to the public library
* At home date with John
* Family Night: "Attentiveness"
* Proofread John's final term papers for the summer session

Home:
* One last clean out of the kids bedrooms before school starts
* Donate the "stuff" sitting in our garage so I can finally park my car in there again
* Finish weeding the back flower bed - it's half cleaned out and redone right now and looks really silly
* Finish edging the front flower bed
* Call for an appointment to have the piano tuned
* Wash, press and hang all of the school uniforms
* Blanch more veggies for winter (planning on carrots, beans and broccoli right now)

Ministry/Spiritual/Church:
* Continue memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (almost done with this!)
* Write a quick note to our Compassion Child via email (did you know you can do that?)
* Pray about Altar Guild and the paraments at church, decide what to do (another long story)
* Update prayer journal

Personal:
* Call for a hair appointment, hopefully scheduling it for next week
* Schedule a coffee date with my best friend
* Put together a new schedule for fall now that I have my finalized teaching schedule.

What are your goals for this week?  Visit Money Saving Mom to share!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - My Husband's Growth into Being a Pastor

My husband is in seminary. 
Seminary.
As in "I want to be a pastor when I grow up" seminary.
When he graduates and is ordained he will become a pastor with the ELCA.

Since he's attending seminary part-time it's a long journey.  And at times it has been an incredibly tough one. One that neither of us in a million years would have chosen for ourselves.

Over these last few years it has been an incredible blessing to watch him grow into actually being a pastor.  This last year in particular has been a time of incredible growth.

He has always been such a good listening ear.
He has always been such a compassionate soul.
He has always been the one to go the extra mile, lend a helping hand and serve others.
He has a true servant heart.

Over the last year he has had many, many (sometimes too many!) opportunities to lead worship and preach a sermon.
Over the last year he has had the opportunity to do "pastoral care"
Over the last year he has had the opportunity to bring communion, share prayers and offer comfort.

It has been a true blessing to watch my husband grow into actually being a pastor.  Someone who loves and serves and gives and leads as Christ would have.  Not just someone who is doing a job or filling a roll. Someone who is being who God would have them be.

He always prays before he writes a sermon and again before he gives it "Okay, God, I'll open my mouth and you talk!"  He prays for God's wisdom and insight before he visits and converses and shares and serves.
And it works every time.
Every.
Single.
Time.

Because God is definitely at work in that man.  Changing him. Stretching him. Leading him.
And having him grow into this new vocation of his.

Watching him and walking with him through this is truly a blessing and it is truly one of my favorite things.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Always.