Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I read on the news this evening that nine Americans were killed in Central Asia today. Today those nine families lost a loved one. The man who killed them, a colleague, was also killed. There are ten families that lost someone today. Somehow since getting married, news like this has become much more difficult to handle. Life without Josh seems nearly unbearable to me. Yet I know that God doesn't abandon. Josh and I have been reading the book of Job, and Job ironically finds comfort in dust and ashes (Job 42).

Dear spouses and families, I'm so sorry.
Dear Jesus, please bring comfort to the brokenhearted.

(I'm going to go give my hubby a smooch and tell him how much he means to me. I recommend you do the same.)

Improve Your Workspace

When my productivity went down at work, I decided, that one culprit was the space. It was a disaster, and there were days when I came to work, shot straight for my desk, and dreaded looking at my surroundings. So I did something about it and asked for help. A couple people at work came to my rescue. I must say, things are much happier these days.

It started off as a small project, but then we discovered that the wall behind some shelving was like cardboard. No wonder I could hear everything from next door.

A co-worker, volunteer, and I made use of everything we could on a limited budget. They worked on drywall and wiring and we all painted. I decided to paint the file cabinet. So glad.


It was a bit of a shock to everyone when I said that I wanted gray. I felt nervous about it too, but I felt like it would be a good color for a communications/publications office. Plus it won't effect the computer screen when I do editting. Ikea was the winner for furniture.

Then to add a little taste of the World Mission Prayer League, I pulled some pictures from the archives and put them in some clearanced frames.

Here's the final result. And a movement has begun. The business office and other offices on my floor are starting to transform! What do you do to improve your workspace?


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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Climbing Counters & Ceiling Fans

What is the first thing you do when you know guests are coming?

I've heard all kinds of crazy things all the way to stashing dirty dishes in the oven. Now, I never do that, but I wouldn't blame you if you do because I have my very own quick-guests-are-coming routine.

I turn on the kitchen fan when guests come over.

Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but if you've ever had a fan in your kitchen you might get where I'm coming from. They get n-a-a-a-sty, but the secret is to leave it on. No one will know. (Josh didn't even know that's why I had the fan running all the time. I'm good.)

One day I was standing on the counter stashing some pantry items. I had turned the fan off, of course, to keep my head from getting lopped off. When I was eye level with the disgusting-ness, I knew I had to do something.

If you've ever tried wiping grease off a fan, you know it just smears all over the place. I had a learning to wife moment, climbed off the counter, and got this.

It solved all my problems.

And now I don't need to turn on the kitchen fan when guests come over. And when I asked Josh if he noticed anything different, he guessed that I painted it.  What are you embarrassed of? Even better, what are you no longer embarrassed of?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Posole or Pozole is a pork and hominy stew found in Mexico, southwestern USA, or as of last night...  the Wagner apartment. 

That's right, I had a taste of this deliciousness at my sister-in-law Maria's house, yes, the same Maria found here. And she got the recipe from a friend who got it from who knows where. And I switched it from an oven to a crockpot recipe, which I included below. It even got a 5/5 from Josh. :) So, with no further ado...


Serves 8-10, Total time: 2 hrs 30 min. (includes 1 hr 50 min. simmering time)
Serve with shredded romaine, chopped cilantro, sour cream, and chips or warmed tortillas. 
2 T. vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. minced fresh oregano or 1 t. dried
1 T. chili powder
3 lbs. boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used crushed tomatoes.)
5 c. chicken broth
3 (14 oz.) cans white or yellow hominy, rinsed (I bought a gi-normous can at Cub Foods.)
1 T. fresh lime juice
Pepper (I omitted this.)

Oven Version 
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/2 t. salt and cook until softened, about 5 min. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Add the pork ribs and coat with the spices. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 6 min.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pork to a cutting board. Stir the hominy into the broth (be careful of the hot pot handles). Bring to a simmer on top of the stove and cook, uncovered, for 20 min., removing any fat that rises to the top.
  4. Meanwhile, when the meat is cool, shred it using your fingers, discarding all gristle, and season the stew with the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Ruthie's Super-Easy Crockpot Version 
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high. Add the onions and 1/2 t. salt and cook until softened, about 5 min. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Add the pork ribs and coat with the spices. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 6 min.
  2. Transfer to a large crockpot. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and the broth. Cook until meat is tender. (It's great to leave it on low overnight. In the morning let it cool and shred the pork, getting rid of the fat. Put it all in the fridge until dinner.)
  3. Remove the fat from the top and stir in the hominy. (At this point I freezer baggy what I know we won't eat. I can get several additional meals this way.) 
  4. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Serve with all the delicious toppings, especially cilantro and lime.

To Make Ahead

This stew can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to a month. Reheat over low heat, adding more water or broth to adjust the consistency, and season with additional lime juice before serving.

how 'bout this...

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