Only Hope

I have applied to many jobs this year.  I have had interviews, call backs and the cherished rejection letter in the mail formatted nearly always the same.

Dear Miss Austin,

Thank you for your application to (insert business name here) for the position of (insert job I wanted here), we were impressed by your credentials but chose an applicant who more closely fit our requirements (insert where my eyes fill with tears and I experience the sad, sulking feel of rejection). Thank you for applying to ( insert name of buisness again, just in case I forgot already).

Sincerely, (person in charge of hiring, who really doesn’t care).

I applied a few weeks ago for,in my mind, THE perfect job, the perfect location, the perfect income, the perfect experience. Everything in me WANTED this job. Working in the small job market here in Pullman has been—-challenging——but I’ve been confident that something will turn up. So it seems it had with this job.

I got the call back, I had the interview, I made the impression, I gave the answers, I have the training, I have the degree, it all made perfect sense.

I didn’t get the job.

I got the call about 10 minutes before village on Thursday, and honestly, it was a little too much like bad timing. I practiced deep breathes and made sure my eyes were as open as could be, so the tears would evaporate as fast as they could. For about 10 seconds I felt myself sliding into self pity, hopelessness and depression. It felt like my one chance had come by and I blew it. That was it. I was selling my soul (and my dry hands and chemical burned lungs) to DABCO for the remainder of my life.

No.

I’m not going to do that again. I’m accountable to how I respond, no matter how much this SUCKS. God made this day, He called it blessed. He has shown ridiculous faithfulness in my life. I AM NOT going to sulk/feel sorry for myself/doubt His plan. And I whole-heartedly know He has a plan for my life, obviously it isn’t “my plan” but that is okay— it’s better than okay—- it’s perfect.

I’m starting to get the impression that His plan isn’t on my time schedule and  it probably won’t make me look good or make much money—-but it’s perfect. Itmight not be anything I like, and I might not use my hard fought, expensive college  degree—-but it’s perfect. It’s HIS perfect plan. Not mine.

Switchfoot has been my muse this week.

Sing to me the song of the stars

of your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again

when it feels like my dreams are so far

Sing to me the plans you have for me over again.

I pray to be only yours, you’re my only hope.

So that is my prayer…. Remind me of your perfect plans you have for me, you are my ONLY hope, I need Your assurance, I need Your strength to keep me holding on to You, grant me patience and a peaceful heart. Thank You for Your faithfulness although I am weak and untrusting, You sustain me. I love You.


Brownies

black bean browniesBlack Bean Brownies

I’ve had a little bit of an obsessive week, I’ve obsessively cleaned, obsessively locked doors, obsessively read, obsessively made brownies Not a lot of balance. I think it was partially because Matt was away in Oregon for part of the week, and things aren’t quite the same when he is away. Maybe there is too much caffiene in my system but I’ve been a little anxious, not quite my usual.

I made brownies, yes, better brownies, an evolved brownie you might say, it is even gluten free. I’m so pleased with how this recipe turned out and how legitimately healthy it is, with two “superfoods”, this is an antioxidant junky’s dessert of choice.

I’d like to try it with eggbeaters and applesause next time to try to cut some cholesterol, but other than that, these things are pretty darn good for you.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch of  salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3teaspoons instant coffee*
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth**. Pour the mixture into 13×9 greased pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes, cut into 24 brownies.

*The instant coffee is necessary, it masks the “bean-y” taste very well, but is indistinguishable to those with anti-coffee sentiments.

** My blender isn’t quite big enough, so I split the recipe in two and blended. The second time I made these I didn’t quite blend long enough and the brownies were slightly more “beany”, so be sure to blend thoroughly.

Yum! These are also one of those foods that is better the next day! I’d love that phenomenon explained to me, haha.
Enjoy.



Radishes and some other stuff

Freshly sprouted

The radishes have germinated. The seed sown has grown! Words do not express just how excited I am to see my plants grow and thrive. Working in the garden (so far, we will see when it’s hot outside and snakes linger) I could equate to a spiritual experience of sorts. I’m a naturalist at heart, nothing makes me feel the presence of Jesus more than being in the beauty of His creation.  Walking through the garden has been amazing, just seeing the tomatoes grow new leaves, and the old fall away, watching the peppers wilt but then make a miraculous recovery or even the act of planting seeds with the hope they will grow has been significant.

Jesus makes so many parallels with growing, harvesting, sowing, reaping it has been on my mind lately, and a song we sang at church tonight “resonated” (pun absolutely intended) with me.

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be empited again
The seed I’ve recieved I will sow

I’ve recieved seed. It’s my responsibility to sow, abandoning any worry or anxiousness I have for the future, I have but one choice. I cannot worry about having enough left over, I’m supposed to be emptied. I trust that I will be filled up again.

I have to trust.

But it’s SO HARD.  I have to be okay with seemingly cruel, unfair acts that happen to those I love, I have no choice but trust that God has a plan and to Him be the glory, I have to trust, both hands wide open to Jesus, heart abandoned, soul surrendered.

I will trust that I will be filled once again.

My lack of trust has changed my relationship with Christ this year, I’m hesitant to give it positive or negative value, lets just say “change”.

Last summer Matt’s cousin was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer when she was 6 monthes pregnant, she gave birth permaturely and passed away soon after diagnosis. My best friend growing up has two beautiful baby girls and found out that they both have a rare genetic disesase with a life expectancy of less than 3 years. I look at the pain, the ache, the misery, the anguished parents, the loney children and I cannot understand how God can get any glory from that. I sing the songs, I walk the walk, but I don’t get it. I pull away, my hands are not up in abandon, I don’t want to abandon my heart or surrender my soul to something that could cause so much anguish.

In my heart I know this is foolish.

My spiritual walk this year could be compared to my recent running experience: I run, I enjoy the burn for awhile, then my body starts to switch from glycogen stores to adipose tissue and I peace out, its too hard, this is where I stop, my friends encourage me to just keep running through “the wall”. But something makes me stop, I can’t continue, even though I’m told it gets way better after the wall, I can’t break through on my own.

I’ve hit a spiritual wall, this trust thing, this no worry,  just trust, abandon heart, soul surrendering gig, I just stop. It’s as far as I want to go and as far as I’m confortable going.

and I miss out on the greater things God wants to teach me.

I’m just chillin’ in the kiddie pool with my water wings, inflatable shark and two noodles shaking my head “Nope. Not gonna go to the deep side, nuh uh.”

UHG.

So, here I am, just chilling, missing out on all that stuff because of my own fear, my lack of faith.

My prayer: Jesus give me the faith I need to trust you, both hands faced up, heart surrendered, soul completely abandoned to you and your will, be that what it may. I choose to put my WHOLE heart in Your hands, I give you control, consume me, give me faith, may it bring You glory. Let this new way of thinking spread into my every thought, every action, every word I speak, that all that I am is surrendered to You.



Garden

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week, since it was exactly a week ago that we planted!

We have a GARDEN!

It’s roughly 40 x 25 feet  and includes 30 tomato plants and 20 + pepper plants, 4 eggplant plants (?), two rows of onions, two rows of snap peas, one thick row of carrots, lavender, dill, radishes, 4 hills of cucumbers, 4 of zucchini, 4 of acorn squash and finally two hills of birdhouse gourds. Whew!

We have one row that has nothing in it… yet to be decided, I thought possibly rosemary, thyme,  basil or sage or I might just plant my herbs in pots near the door, easier for cooking. Any suggestions for the final row?

The garden work started last Friday, Matt and I dug out our back yard, it was full of weeds, we tried merely pulling the weeds, but then decided it was a better move to just dig out the weeds along with all the roots. We definitely needed more than one almost broken shovel that we found in our neighbors shed to do the deed.  So we  bought an awesome (yet overpriced) shovel at Ace. And spent the remainder of the day digging out the weeds, it was a workout to say the least.

My wonderful Dad came up the next morning with a whole truck full of steer manure… ahem…”organic material” is what we are calling it. It didn’t smell, and was a beautiful rich brown.  Here I am spreading it with our new awesome shovel!Shoveling Organic MaterialThen we had to spread it evenly around the area where we dug out the sod, then Dad rotatilled it in. Amazing!

Jill shoveling and Dad tillingThen we measured and made rows with stakes and string, and started planting, the soil is so gorgeous here, our neighbor came out and said we have some of the best soil in Pullman because we live on the edge and it was wheat fields not that long ago! Cool! My dad brought seeds that he had gotten in bulk,  seeds of varieties of plants that WSU cultivated and developed to work perfically in this climate! Sweet land grant university perks (there had to be some, right?)

Planted the tomatos and now to the peppersIt was a beautiful day to plant, despite the weather later in the week, which caused me to abandon all my glassware to the garden, also numerous plastic totes, water bottles, soda bottles and anything to cover the sensitive plants from the frost. I think we might be out of the danger zone, but it’s never a guarantee.

Our finished garden, and my Dad isn’t that short, he is just hiding. :)

The Finished productTo water it we wired the sprinkle to our old garbage can so it can reach all the way across the plants.

Watering the gardenSo that is the garden! Our first, technically Jill, Matt and I are talking 1/3 ownership roles. With a weekly weeding date pending.

Exactly one week later no plants have sprouted, but I’m not worried, most seeds have a 14 day germination period, so if things haven’t popped by next week, I’ll start digging around.

I cannot even wait for fresh radishes and cucumbers on a salad! Or bbqued Zucchini or tomatos, oh glorious salsa!

And a thank you to Violent Veg for the hyperlinked vegetable jokes. I absolutely love Violent Veg, but it’s a British thing, so you don’t see it much here. So funny!!!!!!


I know you… but I’ve never met you

So I got a job! Woo hoo! Yes… finding a job has not been my strong suit this semester (and yes I still measure time in semesters even though I’m no longer a student, I plan on doing this until I leave Pullman, it makes things simpler).

My job is cleaning apartments for a huge apartment complex in Pulllman, they are ever expanding and rarely give your deposit back, I now know why.

ANYWAY. I’ve been cleaning quite dirty apartments for the past 3 days, the dirty scale goes like this

White = brand spanking new, glowing with clean , 1/2 of work, no charge to the former tenent

Green = Pretty gosh darn clean, cleaner than I leave an apt, but not up to DAB… excuse me… the “complex’s” standards

Yellow = This is probably where I leave my apts, clean for all intents and purposes, but not shining, a few little messes.

Red = Code red, when things get gross, lots of crumbs, stains, holes in walls, dirty dirty dirty (there is the biggest difference between yellow and red, there should probably be orange too).

Black = This makes me cringe in fear. In one word: FILTHY, usually black is when tenents simply move out, no cleaning, and usually when the tenent was less than sanitary as well.

On my first day, my first apartment was code Black, uhg, 10 hours and a few haulted gag reflexes later we had a clean apt ready for new life.  It’s grunt work, but something interesting, and even though the tasks are menial I still find solace in them and satisfaction in a job well done. And most importantly it pays! And that I’m very very thankful for!

What fascinates me is how much I can know about the former tenent from merely cleaning up their sh** (excuse me, but on occasion, I mean the former word quite literally). I know whether it was a women (foundation splashes on the mirror and behind bathroom sink, EVERYTIME), or a man (toliet… I think you know where I’m going).

What the person ate (tomato sauce splatters, broken pasta on floor, mass quantities of cheese its under stove, crusty green SOMETHING in fridge) or whether they cooked much at all, the oven fan is a dead give away.

Whether the person cuts their nails routinely or only when their fellow classmate cry out “OMG what is that growing out of your toe???”

What sort of hair you had… short blonde or long curly brunette locks (oddly enough all over the fridge… any answer on that mystery?)

I know whether you smoked, if you had lots of furniture, if you spilled blue koolade down your wall, if you opened your window often, if you stored your garbage under the sink, if you used your deck, if you had a bike, if you wore big muddy boots, if you hung up your clothes, if you took bubble bathes, if you used your garbage disposal, and a host of other random things, which I plan on continuing to document.

I have put together rough descriptions for the former tenets while scrubbing the linoleum, mostly to past the time and some out of interest.  Almost could be considered a form of identity theft…

and although my sexist self would consider the male apartment to be loads worse than the female apartment, my opinions have been called into question.


Village

What a fun year. Almost every week, Thursday is my favorite day because I can hang out with these awesome people!

Thursday Village

Our village is essentially a smallgroup from my church. It’s focus is on community building and spiritual discovery (hopefully).  It has been such an amazing experience to be able to have 15+ college students into our home every week and have the opportunity to freely talk about Jesus and what He teaches, I am the last person to claim myself as a good village leader, we’ve had some struggling weeks. Matt and I both have learned a lot what it is like to be good village “host” & “conversation facilitators” this year.

I think the closer we get to each other as a village the easier it is to talk freely without pretense or shame. I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves and I enjoy what he speaks of friendship, it is so interesting, he admires it above the other 3 loves. because it is the most un-animal of the loves, we don’t “need it” for survival.  Lewis talks of  how friendships can elicit change, they are a very strong force in which God created to teach and grow us. How exciting is that! He goes on to describe how friendships emerge over a common passion, or interest and how through them world change can truly take place. I hope that conversations at Village can grow into true friendship, I know some already have.

I learn more from village about Jesus and heart change and how to live an impactful life on Thursday’s from roughly 8:10-8:45 than I do most other times of my week.  That might be pathetic, but I think it’s a clear testament to how valuble God puts on human:human friendships. We weren’t meant to be alone. And how awesome is it to discuss and learn and grow together. What’s that verse… were two or more are gathered..??? Jesus shows up!

That again is cool.

Anyway, as I look toward next year I hope, I pray that Thursday nights are a time where hearts are examined, where healing, growth, learning, meaningfulness happens. And most importantly where love happens.


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