Creativity at Work

I am blessed to have a job that allows me many opportunities to express my creativity. Having to live in a world wrought with a global pandemic and multiple lockdowns, I had the opportunity to begin painting murals in the church basement where the Sunday School rooms are. I started with the entrance at the bottom of the stairs and plan to continue them throughout the hallway.

It was so much fun creating this Biblical-themed town. The fact that it took four million coats of paint to cover the walls didn’t even bother me. It’s so warm and inviting now when you come down the stairs. Instead of being met by cold, grey, walls, you enter into a colorful world!

Any excuse to paint

Those of you who know me, know that I will take any excuse to paint and express my creativity! Needless to say, I was super excited when I received approval to paint these murals! These are some of the largest paintings I have ever done. Sure I painted some murals in the nursery, but in comparison, those were quite a bit smaller. These murals are floor to ceiling, and some are painted on difficult cement walls! As usual, they don’t look exactly as I’d like them to but I’m still happy. And everyone else who has seen them seems to like them.

Carpentry Creativity

Would ladder making be considered carpentry? I don’t know, but I hand-tied multiple ladders made from bamboo for Jacob’s shop. Don’t try to climb them though… they are decoration only!

Variety in difficulty levels

As you can tell from the photos, some of these shops were a little less involved than others. Moses and Aaron decided on a more simplistic look for their law office. However, this simplistic look did detract slightly from the fun factor of painting. It is certainly a lot more fun… and frustrating… to paint something like the Widow’s Oil Shop, or Noah’s Exotic Pets. At the same time, there are days when you just feel like painting a simple blue wall.

My Favorite Painting

If I have to pick one shop that is my favorite, it would probably have to be Jonah’s Fish Fry. This was also the painting that took the longest, and used up a lot of my paints! And, it may only be my favorite because it’s almost all of it is a shade of my favorite teal color.

I’m excited to continue painting down the halls with a park scene… and maybe another shop or two. But first, I need to get some more paint! At least white, you’d be surprised just how much white you use when you’re mixing all of your own colors from red, white, green, blue, yellow, and black paints!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little trip through our biblical town and the fact that I’m actually writing a post for the first time in like forever! I promise there will be at least one or two more before I disappear again! Ha Ha!

Visit our church website to see what fun upcoming events we have planned! See more of my mural paintings here.

I am Consistently Inconsistent!

Am I good at inconsistency or what?

So… I seem to be doing really well at keeping this blog updated, eh? Consistently inconsistent is definitely what I am!

Life has been very busy lately, even with the break that COVID provided. Blogging hasn’t been the highest of priorities for me I’m afraid. However, there has been a lot of cooking… hundreds of food pictures… so who knows, maybe I will start updating regularly and get you all caught up! 🙂 For now, I will just sneak a few teaser photos in amongst the post!

The little free time I have had over the past few months has been spent cooking Korean food and learning Hangul, (Korean language). At this point, I don’t think there has been a Korean dish that we have tried that I did not like. The other day my husband asked me what my favorite Korean dish is; I honestly couldn’t give him an answer. I’d say fried chicken but then think about tteokbokki. Or then I would remember hotteok… there are just too many delicious dishes in Korean cooking!

Kim-Pi-Tang

And then I forgot about this post…

Believe it or not, I wrote those first few paragraphs over three months ago and never finished the post… my inconsistency strikes yet again!

Some major life changes have taken place since those first few paragraphs were written. Just a few weeks ago my church voted me in as the Pastor of Children and Family Outreach. I am officially a pastor… insert shocked emoji face here!

In all honesty, not a lot will change in the work that I have been doing for the church. I was volunteering between 10-20 hours a week, more in the summer around Vacation Bible School time. The difference is that now 5 of those hours will be paid! And also, the encouragement that comes from my congregation realizing the value in having a paid person in the position. It is awesome to know that they value the children’s ministry… and family ministry… enough to step out in faith and create this position. Even more so given the current times and being in a global pandemic. I hope that I will live up to their expectations and that God will bless the ministry of our church in our community and beyond!

Tonkatsu

That’s really all of the updates I have right now. Hopefully, I will resume a more regular posting schedule… for all of you who read this blog! 😛 Maybe 2021 is the year I will become less consistently inconsistent!

In the meantime, check out my previous cooking posts here. If you want to keep up with what is going on at our church, check out our website here.

Mochi Ice Cream and Other Sweets!

Mochi Ice Cream

The Asian home-cooking adventure continues with some tasty Japanese sweets, like this Mint Chocolate Chip Mochi Ice Cream. Have you ever attempted to make Mochi? It’s easier than you might think.

Mochi Ice Cream
Mint-Chocolate Chip Mochi Ice Cream

As I mentioned in my previous post, I find my Japanese recipes at Just One Cookbook. Nami’s recipes are easy to follow and so delicious! Mochi ice cream is not the easiest of her recipes, but it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. The hardest part is wrapping the ice cream with the mochi and figuring out the motion to seal the mochi around it. Nami provides helpful videos on her YouTube which you can find here.

To say the family enjoyed this mochi is a bit of an understatement! It was gone by the end of the day and the kids were begging me to make more. (Hubby may have been as well!) I haven’t made it again since, but I do look forward to trying different flavors in the near future. You can easily customize this recipe by swapping out the ice cream for your favorite flavor!

Mochi Ice Cream
The inside of the mochi.
Sesame Cupcake

Another tasty treat from this website is the Sesame Cupcake. It is not what you would expect from a cupcake. The flavor is more savory than sweet. The frosting is a honey-meringue which is a different kind of sweet from a typical buttercream. I would almost call this more of a frosted muffin than a cupcake.

Sesame Cupcake with Honey-Meringue

The kids didn’t enjoy this one as much as the other, but I thought it was good. This isn’t one that will make the favorites list, but I would make it again! An interesting adventure would be to try the cupcake base with various types of frosting.

Keep an eye out every Monday for more adventures in Asian home-cooking!

Cherry Blossom Cookies – with real blossoms!

My journey into Asian cooking began when I found Just One Cookbook. A recipe website created by Namiko Hirasawa Chen, to share easy (and tasty) Japanese recipes. When I found her recipe for Cherry Blossom cookies, I just had to try it!

I ordered some salted cherry blossoms from Japan since I could not find any locally and to order from Amazon was more expensive than ordering directly from Japan. Obviously it took a bit of time for them to arrive, though not as long as I expected. I think it was just over a week… two weeks at the most.

Cherry Blossom Cookies
Cherry Blossom Cookies! So pretty!

Have you ever tried cherry blossoms? They don’t have a lot of flavor but they smell amazing, and they are so pretty!

These cookies are so beautiful! It’s basically a sugar/shortbread type cookie with a few blossoms ground up in the dough and one blossom on the top. You roll the edges of the dough in sugar crystals… I only had red ones, but it turned out okay.

Cherry Blossom
They are just so pretty!

I highly recommend this recipe, if you don’t mind spending the money and waiting for the blossoms to arrive. It makes a fair amount of cookies… though they didn’t last long in our house!

Follow me to see more of my journey in Asian Home-Cooking!

Asian Home-Cooking – A New Adventure!

I realize it has been… awhile… since I last posted. To be honest I had debated whether or not to continue with the blog. But, here I am! Here to tell you about my newest cooking adventures – Asian Home-Cooking!

How it all started:
Asian home-cooking isn't complete without Ramen.
Starting the journey into Asian cooking!

Back around July 2019, I became increasingly interested in Asian cuisine. It started when I found Just One Cookbook, who offers amazing Japanese recipes (you should definitely check her out!). We have tried so many of her recipes and honestly have yet to find one that we did not enjoy. In the near future you can expect to see many posts of the recipes we have tried, and my family’s thoughts and opinions on them.

From July to about October of 2019 our lives revolved around Japanese cuisine, animes and mangas. Then one day, Mrs. JOC (Just One Cookbook) shared a link to a friend of hers. This friend also posts recipes.

The Jump to Korean
Kimchi - a staple in Korean home-cooking
My first batch of Kimchi

Enter Korean Bapsang, another amazing recipe website, but this time offering Korean home-cooking dishes. I believe I have tried almost every recipe on her website. However, being a big goofball, I didn’t photograph all of the dishes I made. But don’t panic… I did get pictures of a lot of them so you can look forward to those posts in the future as well.

It was also around this time that I started listening to… BTS, (huge K-Pop boy band for those who don’t know), and became slightly obsessed with all things Korean. It also happens that at one of the universities I am attending for my Master’s degree, there are a few Korean students. I have had the opportunity to discuss Korean food with them, and one of them has become a super awesome friend! She has told me now that I have made kimchi, which she thinks is better than her own, I am officially Korean! 🙂

Learning New Languages

So, with this new obsession with Asian culture and cuisine… I have decided that on top of my ridiculously busy schedule, I am going to learn Japanese and Korean. For learning these languages I have been using Duolingo and am on a 54-day streak in Korean! My progress hasn’t been great, other than being able to read the Hangul alphabet and recognizing a few words here and there… but I’m having fun!

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks as I post more about the Asian home-cooking recipes we’ve tried and our thoughts on them. Also, I have been getting some Tokyo Treat boxes, so I may also do a review post about those!

You can also check out some of my previous cooking adventures here.

A Masters course, 1st official class IN University

This week marked a monumental occasion in my life. I attended my first in-person Masters level class at a University.

Why am I getting a masters?

I have taken two Masters level courses from another school, and will be taking a few more from them, but the school is across the country. Four-hour time difference. As much as I enjoy that… particular the ‘avoiding-dealing-with-people-face-to-face part’… I thought for some courses it may be best to actually be able to attend the class.

Enter school number two! Currently I am enrolled as a No-Program student, so I’m not currently working toward a degree, which allows me to finish the courses I was hoping to obtain from the first school. So, on Tuesday, I attended my first class. Intro to Christian History.

It went well… though I left feeling like the dumbest person in the class. My base knowledge on the subject is nowhere near the other students’. This is stressing me out a bit. Especially since the homework went right over my head. I’m the kind of person who puts so much pressure on myself to keep my grades as high as possible. In high school anything less than 85% was a fail and the end of the world. I think I will have to let that go for this course, and just be happy if I manage to pass!

This mess...masters life

We will have to see what happens, but at this point, I do not have high expectations. It doesn’t bode well for continuing in a Master of Divinity but I will give it my best shot! For those who know me, don’t be shocked if you see me walking around with zombie-eyes and randomly crying for no reason! 😉

hyperventilate Masters
This will be me until April! :S

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!!!!!!! Pray that I survive this semester and that I do not lose my temper with the kids because I am stressed about my schoolwork.

How do you handle academic stress and feelings of inadequacy?

Goals or Resolutions? Which do you prefer?

Resolutions

Are you one of those people who starts a new year off with a long list of resolutions? Or do you set one or two achievable resolutions? Perhaps you don’t bother with resolutions at all. Maybe you just have goals that remain the same throughout the years.

Don’t follow Resolutions Meme - Goals

What do I do?

I am typically one of the first type – the one who creates a long list of resolutions. Usually the same as the ones I set the year before… and failed miserably at.

Resolutions are not to be kept, Goals are

This year I’ve decided to put more thought into my New Year’s resolutions. The hope being that I may actually accomplish something. No more resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, etc, etc. Those are still great goals for the year and ones that I will continue to work hard at. But instead of feeling like a failure because I resolved to change and then didn’t, I will set resolutions that are more achievable. My hope is that this will provide a greater sense of accomplishment.

Explain resolutions/goals

My Goals and Resolutions

So, what are my resolutions for 2019? I have two really: 1. Work hard to serve God with all of my heart in the calling he has placed on me, to the best of my ability. 2. No more dying my hair. I resolve to work at accepting the grey/silver streaks and not base my beauty or self-worth on how many others can see.

I will still plan to eat healthier and exercise more; as is my goal at all times. I will also try to spend less time sitting and doing unproductive things like playing Angry Birds 2 for hours on my tablet. But I will not list these as resolutions to be crossed off a list. I suppose the two resolutions I have listed are not really ‘cross of the list’ items either. They are where I want my focus to be this year.

What resolutions or goals have you set for yourself for 2019? Share some in the comments!

Children’s Ministry and Christmas

Have you ever wondered what a children’s ministry leaders life looks like around Christmas? 

No?

I’m not surprised. However, I’m going to give you a glimpse into what my life looks like… (I apologize now for the quality of the photos, and for the fact that WordPress isn’t letting me rotate them to the correct orientation. I will work on fixing that.)

Mountain of Costumes
The mountain of costumes awaiting finishing touches.

It looks like an insanely high mountain of animal costumes. Yep. You read that right… animal costumes.

For the last few weeks, we have been rehearsing for our Sunday School Christmas pageant. This year we are using The Noel Critter Motel musical. It is super cute and I can’t wait for the parents and our congregation to see the kids perform it.

box of goodies
Antennae, ears and finished costumes.

What this has meant for me – a lot of sewing. There are 15 kids taking part in the Christmas pageant and each one has to be dressed as an animal who would appear in the stable where Jesus was born. We had four animal costumes on hand that I had made for last year’s pageant but that still left me with 11 to make.

sewing
Sewing away

Of course, I unknowingly picked a somewhat more complicated pattern than I needed to, and it involved some adaptation to add ears and the like. It’s a great pattern though, and free right now at Goober Pea Designs. At this time I believe I have spent more than 10 hours cutting, sewing, and gluing.

Between costumes and a rather involved homework assignment for my Masters course, this week has just about done me in. 

Needless to say, a Children’s Ministry leader does not have a boring life when it comes to the Christmas season! I am very much looking forward to having a bit of a break once our Christmas pageant is over.

A new adventure, a new focus

Once again, I will be making some changes to this poor old blog of mine.

My focus in life has shifted and therefore the focus of this blog will be shifting as well. I will still leave room here for our adventures in homeschooling and crafting, but now the main focus of my writing will be on my ministry journey. I will be writing about my work in the church (Children’s Ministry in particular), my journey toward a Master’s degree, and the journey to ordination. Yes, that’s right. I have decided to become an ordained pastor… well… that’s the plan right now at least.

Follow along with me as I work through school, ministering, and maintaining my sanity in the process!

Children’s Ministry Decorating Challenge.

A CALL INTO CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here yet, but in September I will be starting my Masters in Children’s Ministry. I’ve been running the Children’s programs at our church for about a year and truly feel that I have found my calling. Recently we decided to renovate/redecorate some rooms in the basement to accommodate our growing Sunday School. We made it into a challenge and had three teams participate.

I led one team and we chose the preschool room. Here is the before:

Before

We had many different ideas for our room and changed our direction many times. Finally, we settled on a sea themed room, complete with a boat. Each team had six weeks and a budget of $500 to complete their room. Our team had many unfortunate circumstances and scheduling conflicts, so we were pretty crunched for time. There’s a still a bit of work to be done even though the time is up. We spent very little of our budget which will enable us to do a few touch-ups over the summer before the rooms are put to use in the fall.

HERE COMES THE AFTER PHOTOS:

Here are the pictures for the after:

After I will make you fishers of menFaith keepersRainbow Children's ministry

My team was amazing! They did a hefty chunk of painting the main colors (and all of the cutting in! My least favorite part.) Once we had that done, I sketched out the fish and other murals. It was here that the scheduling conflicts hit. One team member started a new job that prevented her from being available when most of us were. I was down to one team member. She helped fill in some of the mural pictures until her own schedule conflict came up. I was so very thankful for all of the help they gave though and feel we managed to create a really fun and inviting room for the kids.

THE RESULTS:

By now you’re probably curious as to whether or not we won the challenge. I am happy to say we did… but barely!

The Sunday School kids got to be the judges. We had 14 kids and they each picked their favorite room. Four went to the first room, five in the second and five in ours! We had the four from the first room be the tie-breaking votes and we squeaked out a win by one!

Of course, it really wasn’t about winning. We now have three beautiful, inviting, and fun rooms for when our Sunday School starts back up in the fall.

And just wait till you see what I have planned for the hallway! 😉