Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A lesson I will learn a thousand times

Perhaps I am feeling thoughtful, or sentimental because of the rain. Or maybe I am just avoiding my copious amounts of Hebrew homework. Whatever the motivation for my third post on the Castle family blog it somehow seems appropriate.

Danae has done a spectacular job of keeping everyone posted on our planning process ever since we found out that she would no longer be employed at the end of this semester. We are so thankful for all of our friends and family that take time to listen to us and give their advice, and also for the prayers we know are being lifted up on our account. I cannot tell you how much your kind words and encouragement mean to me, and I know Danae feels the same.

It does not surprise me that God is teaching Danae and I a lesson through all of this. What does surprise me a bit is that it is a lesson I felt like I had mastered already. Silly me. I can think of many crucial moments in my life where I was tossed in a sea of confusion wondering what would become of me, only to have the raging waves quelled by the simple thought 'hold your plans loosely.' Only a fool could think he was wise enough to have been the original creator of such a profound thought. I was, and have been at several times, just such a fool.

The thing is even as I have been humbled time and again, and learned to credit God with such soothing comfort, I have not yet reached, and never will reach, a point when I will not be dependent on the Lord. No matter how many times I learn to hold my plans loosely, I will always need the Lord to teach and correct me. It is my joy to be counseled and my hope to be humble.


"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

Fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7


-Douglas E. Castle

Friday, March 27, 2009

Things to be happy about:

new magazines in your mailbox
roasted chicken
red fingernails
sunshine
a full jug of water on the water cooler at work
brothers
my gray pants (that I wear multiple times in one week)
dinner with friends
clean socks (and sheets)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Focus:

I have found myself having a hard time focusing on my work. Most days when I come into the work the thing I look forward to the most are my two cups of coffee and being able to sit behind a computer and dream of things I would like to make, places I would like to live, and other jobs I would like to pursue.

I know that Doug is also having a hard time focusing. He has been going to most of his classes, but there have been evenings where he will walk home early from class just to be with me and because he was not listening to the lecture anyways. (And all the lecture notes are on-line anyways).

The good thing in all of this is that we are both so excited. Excited to know that we will be together no matter where we end up. Excited that God is in control and not us. Excited that we might end up in a new place with new people and a new climate!

Also, we have both been sleeping exceptionally well lately. (So well in fact, the other night I fell asleep on Doug's chest on the couch. When I woke up I have drooled all over his shirt. But he was nice enough to put me in bed and forgive me for the large wet spot). Sleeping well at night is a huge blessing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Cookies:

I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I made them a few weeks ago, and I am still thinking about them. I made chocolate chip cookies over the weekend and they were good, but not as good as these. This just might be my new favorite cookie.

The night I made them I had one. I did not think they were that great. The next day I took one with me to work. It had become a totally different cookie. It was so much better the next day. It really is true that they taste better once they have completely cooled.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped*
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto sheets, spacing two inches apart. Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if you’re using it. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

I know that it will be impossible to let them cool completely, but they really taste a lot better cool, as they continue baking once they come out of the oven.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wedding Photos:

Some of my favorite people in the whole world are my brother-in-law and his finance and my sister-in-law and her husband. They are really great people.

And look, we are really good at taking pictures together:




We have some work to do before Greg and Beth's wedding.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Thoughts:

1. I was told on Monday that they need me to stay at my job until May 18th. God provided and has taken care of our biggest concern. We were not quite sure what we were going to do between now and the end of the semester, but now we know. I will be the University Receptionist that much longer.

2. My mom loves The Martins. We listened to them a lot as a kid. We usually had their tape in our van and as we drove around town my mom would sing to them in the front seat. Here is their picture:
I have been listening to them at work for the past week. Here is why:

standing on the promises of God

standing on the living word
standing on the promises of God with hearts of faith
so unworthy of His love
offering ourselves for all our days
standing on the promises of God
there is strength and comfort in his love
no matter what the need
there is hope and healing in his love
no end to his mercy to those who believe

and they remind me of my mom.

3. I told Doug the other day that I would love to be an administrative assistant for a children's program at a church. A few days later I got an e-mail from a children's pastor at a church in Tulsa that is looking for an administrative assistant to start in mid May.

4. Thanks for all of your prayers and kind words. We appreciate them greatly. You are all just so nice.

5. This weekend I plan on making chicken enchiladas and chocolate chip cookies. Taking a nap. If the weather is nice, hopefully Doug and I will get to take a nice long walk. And, we need to mail our sister her wedding present. After all, she did get married over a month ago.

Hope you all have a nice weekend.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Elimination:

I was told on Friday that they have eliminated my position at work. I have two more weeks of work.

Observations:
- We ate frozen pizza for two back to back meals this weekend.
- In my terminations paper, my name was misspelled throughout the entire document.
- We are not worried, just frustrated.
- The solution to this problem is much more complicated then me just finding another job.
- We have laughed a lot this weekend about things I should do in my last two weeks of work there.
- We are surrounded by lots of wonderful family and friends.
- The possibilities are endless now.
- We might move to Tulsa, we might stay here, we might start a bakery, we might hike all the mountains in Montana, we might live with Jeanette in her sweet new crib, we might try to be permanent counselors at New Life Ranch. (See the possibilities really are endless)
- There are toffee chocolate cookies in the oven baking right now.
- Doug will still be working on his Masters of Divinity. Somewhere, somehow.
- We both took a nice long nap today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rainy Weekend:

We had a very rainy weekend. We stayed inside unless we absolutely had to go out. Doug had to go to work on Saturday morning, I ran down to the grocery store to pick a rotisserie chicken for a recipie, and we went to church on Sunday.

Other than that we were at home. Eating real meals for the first time in a while. I made two new things this weekend. Pot Sticker Pad Thai and Quesadilla Pie. They were both really easy and really yummy.

We also decided to watch movies that were made in the ninety's that were free on our on demand. The Problem Child was the best. Have you seen this movie?

Oh my goodness. We laughed for a long time.

Doug, the sweetheart, cleaned the whole apartment on Friday afternoon. He even did the laundry. So, I did not even have my regular cleaning to do. I just rewarded him with some real meals and lots of couch cuddles. And, I cleaned up the dishes and rested.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Found:

Black yoga pants were in my unpacked bag from our trip.

Keys were found by Doug in our newspaper basket.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Thoughts:

I am looking forward too:
- the weekend
- not living in Deerfield, IL anymore (in two and a half years)
- the recipe for Pot Sticker Pad Thai I am going to make this weekend
- being on the couch with Doug
- having time and energy to clean
- my black yoga pants
- walking home from work in this beautiful weather

I am enjoying:
- my Starbucks drink from Doug
- having my window open at work
- the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack
- Friday
- getting to chat with my sister throughout the workday

I need to find:
- my keys
- my black yoga pants (so I can enjoy them later)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lightrider:

Doug and I have been working with a youth group this year. It has been a really great experience for us to work along side each other in this way. We have been stretched and challenged in new ways. And, we have been blessed to see how God has been working in our hearts and our lives through this group.

This past weekend we helped lead the Lightrider trip. We showed up on Thursday night and loaded a double decker bus. We then spent the next three days driving around the country doing fun things in the day and then sleeping on the bus at night. We pulled into the church parking lot on Monday morning.

Here are some photos of our trip: