Monday, July 30, 2012

Egg Plant!

Tonight was a cooking night.  These such nights happen often and typically result in a huge kitchen mess...
Thankfully the only kitchen disaster of the night

....and way too much food for one person.

Tonight, I made stacked egg plant lasagna with a recipe I got from Kiki over at I Still Hate Pickles.  It's a recipe I've tried before and absolutely loved.  The sauce is good for just about anything including pizza sauce.  Careful though, it's pretty amazingly spicy!

The final product!

I also made a pizza...but don't worry, while I do eat a lot I'm not going to eat it tonight...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Three Things We Singles Need to Remember (Plus One)

Two posts ago I wrote about some statements that I've had others make in regards to singleness and how those particular statements might be taken no matter how benign the intentions are.  Most of the time these things make me laugh because of how often we all (myself included) tend to believe that we've figured life out and that a one sentence platitude will solve everyone else's problems.  Less of the time (mostly due to pride) these statements can be rather convicting.  So here are three things I think we as singles need to remember in light of the statements we often hear:

  1. Statement: I found my husband when I was finally content with being alone.  What we need to ask ourselves: Are we being content in all circumstances?  In our jobs, in our singleness, in our schools and churches, in our families?  No circumstance in life will ever completely satisfy us.  We will always want something more because this life was never meant to satisfy.  God alone can fill the void; not marriage, not success, and not what we would view as the "ideal life".  (Philippians 4:12-13) 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.   
  2. Statement: Your standards are too high.  What we need to ask ourselves: Do we have a right view of what marriage is?  I think a lot of us (maybe it's just me) have a romanticized view of marriage in general and this messes up our attitudes towards others.  The idea of soul mates pervades our society and often leads us to impossible standards for those we might consider marrying.  I think what we need to remember is that, while attraction and compatibility are important for a life time together, love is and must be a choice.  It's too long so I won't write it out here, but a good verse to mediate and pray over to fight this attitude is the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians.  
  3. Statement: Nothing sanctifies you like marriage.  What we need to remember: Nothing sanctifies us like a day to day relationship with God.  His plan is perfect for us.  He will absolutely chose the best means by which to make us more like Him.  He works all things for the good of those who love Him and who He has called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
  4. Tag on Statement:  How can you be tired?  You don't have any kids!  What we need to consider:  I added this one on Facebook right after I'd finished my post and it was the one that really convicted me this week.  What I've been questioning is whether or not I am using my time wisely as a single adult.  Do I spent my time in selfish pursuits or do I seek to use the time God has blessed me with to serve His kingdom?  It's a little scary when I consider how many hours I day I might waste on vain and meaningless things, on "chasing after the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).  The fact is, I need to be seeking the kingdom, being a tool God uses to help build that which moth and rust cannot destroy, but is that what I'm doing?  (Matthew 6:33)
    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
No matter what circumstance I am in life I need to remember that God is both good and sovereign, and that the world in which I live is only temporary.  He is redeeming it, making it new, setting things right, and I can either waste my time grumbling about my circumstances or praising Him for His blessings while seeking to serve Him out of gratitude.  I pray for the latter and hope that as I grow that God will change my attitudes to better reflect His own.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Very Superstitious?

Confession:  When I kill spiders in my house I apologize excessively, fearing some sort of grand vengeance being taken upon me by the evil, spider if they would take such an apology.

Hi, my name is Courtney, and I have arachnophobia and a very overactive imagination.  A combination of which never goes very well.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

3 Things Not to Say to Your Single Friends

I've been thinking a lot about singleness lately.  Not moping about it, just thinking.  In a lot of ways it's not a bad thing (sole possession of the remote control, right?) but in a lot of ways it can be hard.  Especially in the South where nearly all of my friends got married right out of college, at times I just feel out of place in groups of adults.  I struggle with whether or not I should have turned Mr. X down just because of various and sundry reasons, I wonder whether or not there is something wrong with me (or with everyone else because clearly it can't be the former), and I've even declared that I must have been chosen for celibacy (don't worry, Mom, those moments are typically few and far between).  It's an up and down sort of thing, but what seems to be consistent is that everyone has advice (or this great guy they want you to meet who lives in another part of the state/country/world).  The following are a few things I've heard in the last few years that now make me laugh and why you should avoid saying them to your friend who might not be so jazzed about singleness.

  1. Statement: I found my husband when I was finally content with being alone.  What it sounds like they're saying: You're being punished for not being content in all circumstances and you need to be more like me.
  2. Statement: Your standards are too high.  What it sounds like they're saying: Settle, you should snatch the first guy who asks you out and thank your lucky stars that he did.
  3. Statement: Nothing sanctifies you like marriage.  What it sounds like they're saying: You're not getting the special brand of sanctification I'm getting and if you never get married you never will.
These sorts of comments sometimes bug me, but lately they've just been making me laugh...specifically at myself.  Most likely, the married person making the above statements is well intentioned and really just wants to help.  The problem isn't so much the pride I imagine them saying these things with but rather Who I am trusting to provide for me; whether it be a marriage or sanctification.  God has the best plan for each of His children (Romans 8:28) and that is the lens through which all of us need to look.

Still, the next time you consider one of the above statements in regards to a single friend, think about how they might hear it and consider another alternative.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Insomnia, My Old Friend

It's 37 minutes past midnight on Wednesday morning and I'm staring wide awake into the computer screen.  What are you doing?  Right now, Late Night Courtney is thinking that sleep is so overrated, but tomorrow, Early Morning Courtney is not going to be pleased.  If you know me even a little bit you are well aware that I struggle with insomnia at least every few months, and if you know me personally, you know that most of the time it's fueled by fear or anxiety.

Tonight it's anxiety...and a weird ear thing.

No seriously, there is something wrong with my ears.  Ever since I started living in Peru in 2008 and wanted to shut out the sound of roosters crowing at night (seriously, not when the sun rose, just in the middle of the night!) I've worn ear plugs to bed.  This worked great for when I moved to an apartment near a busy intersection and when my neighbors get noisy, and up until recently I haven't had any problems.  But a few weeks ago something started happening.  I got a box of new ear plugs and thought I'd hit the jack pot because of how well they worked.  They blocked out the sound better than any I'd ever used before but I could still hear my alarm in the morning (I'm a super light sleeper).

Then my ears started to ache.  Having become so used to wearing ear plugs I decided to ignore this and continue using them.  Of course, the problem did not and has not gone away.  In fact, now the insides of my ears are swelling and scabbing.  Now I have an even bigger problem...I can't sleep without wearing ear plugs but the ear plugs hurt my ears!  Lame.

But I'm pretty sure that the weird ear thing is not the root cause of my restlessness tonight, but rather a bit of anxiety.  In an effort to save a little money and get a little closer to work, I decided to find a new apartment.  The search has come up somewhat dry and in my scramble to find a better deal I didn't think to look at my lease.  Today, I was informed that I had to give my current complex not 30 days notice but 60...meaning all of my planning this afternoon was pretty much blown out of the water.  Whoops.

I'm worrying.  I'm anxious.  I know that I will be able to get things worked out tomorrow, but because I can't resolve them right this very second I am if that will add an extra day to my life...or my lease.

Funny how just a few days ago I read Luke 12:22-34.  Amazing how God provides through His word at the exact time I need it.  "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!  And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?  If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?"  (22-26)  This is just a little thing, a very little thing that God is completely sovereign over, and my worrying will not change that.

I'm always amazed at how much He uses uncomfortable and trying times to bless me the most; how during months of sleeplessness He always teaches me deep truths about Himself and draws me closer to Him.  How I can ever doubt His goodness is really rather laughable.  I praise God for my insomnia, for bizarre medical problems, and for confusing contracts, and I look forward to seeing how everything is working together for His perfect plan.