Thursday, October 30, 2008

For the sake of crazy cookies!

I am writing this blog as I make cookies. After everything I have gone through up to this point (the first batch are nearly ready to emerge from the oven), I am PRAYING that my Martha Stewart attempts are successful.
I got this recipe from my awesome friend Alicia who I have known since going to Redwood. (9 years, if anyone is counting.) I bought all the ingredients the other day at the store. This morning I started to copy the recipe off email and realized I was missing brown sugar and peanut butter. I'm taking these to 20's retreat this weekend, so, if anyone is going to be friends with me then I better make some darn good cookies. Meeting people is already tough enough without poisoning them or noticing them spit your cookie out into the trash.

After an hour of humming and hawing about the wet weather outside I decide resolutely that I am walking the dog to 7-Eleven (quarter mile away) for PB and brown sugar. At this exact moment, it is drizzling pretty hard. But, once I make up my mind, right or wrong, I stick with it. So I walk. 7-Eleven does not have brown sugar. I wonder...should I get the PB and just substitute white sugar for brown? I decide yes. On the way back I decide I will walk to a farther destination, a nearby friend, to see if anyone is home to borrow brown sugar. (Still raining.) No one was home.

I get home and google "brown sugar substitutes" and read that you can substitute white sugar, but the white sugar is drier and won't provide as much flavor. Well, I can't go bringing dry flavorless cookies to a 20's retreat. So I decide to go to the nearest bigger store. Walgreens. Also no brown sugar there. At this point with various distractions it has been about two hours since I started on the cookie mixing. *Sheesh.* So finally I end up at Safeway.

Finally onto baking.

So these cookies are a Reese's variation on the christmas cookies where you put a Hershey Kiss on a peanut butter cookie. Same concept, but you bake the cookie in mini muffin tins and shove the Reese's peanut butter cup in the middle after baking for a little muffin looking treat.

Chocolate does not photograph well. I learned this attempting to be artsy (Lisa L. style) by snapping a "while I'm baking" picture.

These cookies are not fun. I suck at this. (I'm writing this midway through baking.) Self-portraits are a requirement though if I ever scrapbook this event since I'm already taking pictures.

Ok, just took the last ones out. I started to get better by the end.

I think I still prefer snickerdoodles. Or regular peanut butter cookies.
Update. I made another batch because I was worried about quantity. I mean seriously. Could 40 (good ones) really be enough? So the newer batch mixed like a champ, much softer than the first batch (led me to panic: Were the first ones good??!!) but I am just going to get over it, take them all, and hope they disappear.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Saturday. Today did not feel like a weekend. The day started with me filling in as volunteer coordinator for our site. After collecting a bunch of forms and handling 19 unexpected eagle scout volunteers, I quicly realized sitting around at a table all day wasn't going to work. So I abandoned my post in order to keep people busy, inspect the construction, finish up some sheetrock, and various other odds and ends.

For this I was demoted from volunteer coordinator. SHUCKS. My co-AIM team left today, and this was a very sad occurance! I am so glad to have met them and spent time with them and so grateful God provided me with some peers on site to bond with over the trip. And they were very hard workers and we have some great inside jokes (so common for all mission trips, right?!)

In the afternoon my food distribution task was to count cars and passengers. 295 cars, 547 passengers. This job in itself is incredibly dull but when you cound backfilling as traffic controller, walk-in station aid, espanol translator, and some more volunteer delegating, the time passed quickly. All the day volunteers are friendly and eager to work. Today we had mostly families with kids and those kids were major troopers! Throwing around cases of canned goods with the finesse of a wii controller or something like that.

One of the AIM employees keeps trying to convince me to stay here as a coordinator. Believe me, I wish I could figure out a way to do that...I may have to do some logistics analysis to see if I can come back at Thanksgiving or something.

Again, sorry for the short post. I am just so tired. God is so good.

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Friday, October 10, 2008


Thanks everyone for the awesome emails and messages. They have been so encouraging.

Today has been crazy and I think we still haven't stopped but I will say, today I cur sheetrock for about 8 hours straight. And somewhere in the middle of that I learned how to measure correctly. Its been crazy. And we just got fed by some Billy Graham ministry that included some "wise" women (grandmas) singing us some beautiful songs that included choreography. It would probably be mean to be sarcastic at this point in a very public blog so I will just say, those women love the Lord.

I don't have time to write much else tonight right now but if anyone wants a 6 month job in Galveston, let me know. :). Until then the AIM folks are thinking I am going to do the job which is definitely not true.

Miss y'all!!

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday and important survey!

Here is the survey: could you, or could you not, sleep in a builfding where a dead man is resting in the embalming room. I will tell you my answer: I guess - could (or will have to) along with about 20 other new friends. Puh-leeze leave a comment on here and tell me if you can handle that.

Back to seriousness:

God and I had some great negotiating today. I had been dying to tape the newly constructed walls we put up, but I couldn't remember how. So basically today I started anyhow and 2 ppl showed me what to do then - got about 3 other people to help me. An hour later a professional showed up and improved on our technique. Nonetheless, God let me work in the arena I wanted to work.

After lunch was paybacks. I was assigned to pray with cars who were entering the food distribution line. Me. The one with a stranger phobia, amongst many other problems. :) However, I accepted the challenge and...discovered...I really liked it. Well, I mean it was a great growth opportunity for me and - really valued my 1-2 minute conversations I had with the people in line. Out of the 140 or so cars I hit, very few declined prayer (although I did pracice my spanish several times! "Vamos a orar"). I laughed partway through about how I eas enjoying (shockingly) being an extrovert. 4 hours was a long time though and the last 2 were brutal but another staffer was working with me and we didn't really have the option to quit since the line never stopped.

In other news, 8 more volunteers have arrived, 7 of them that run an adventure/sports camp outside of Austin. We bonded easily over some cutthroat Phase 10 and I am glad to have some volunteers my age.

Ok. I've been typing for a long time now. I miss everyone, am laughing at all the comments, and going inside now for evening debrief.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 3

Today is Wednesday, right? Today I ruined (no, "enhanced") my best thrift store/mission trip/painting shorts. Happily. Passing out bleach during food distribution.

Ok back to serious. (If I am capable of that blogging...thinking...thinking...yes sometimes I am serious). Ok today was my second full day. The morning was kind of slow with construction projects so I took a drive around to view some of the destruction. I have texted Christal 3 pictures and she is putting them up on her blog (the link to "Christal" on the side of this page. ) The pictures are of a gas station, a house, and McDonalds drive thru. Its tough to paint a picture with a mediocre camera phone.

I can 100% feel the effects of all y'alls prayers. Like yesterday I went to bed with a minor injury I figured I woud just live with for a few days. This morning: zero pain. Thank you.

The community ministries continue to be primarily food distribution at this time. Today we served over 200 cars with water, cleaning supplies, tea, popcorn, and Nutrisystem foods donated from a food bank. (Side note: those meals are tiny. No wonder celebrities lose 1,000 baby pounds in 15 minutes when on that diet. ). There are 3 food distribution sites in the area but we are the largest and we usually have ice.

7 more volunteers with AIM showed up today and are staying thru Saturday, so it will be cool to have some non-staff around and maybe they'll put us on a demolition team or something. I spoke at length with the AIM staff last night, having a very scary discussion about my dreams of missions and such.

Evenings are by far the quietest time. After dinner is when I do this - write my blog- and guiltily check facebook. I wish I could run outdoors here but the neighborhood really isn't safe. The one night we didn't have the guys pullinh night security shifts, one of the RV's got their gas siphoned. Usually I just read/write/reflect and when in doubt: sweep. There is always something to clean around here.

I have a hundred more stories about a discovery or awesome way God works, but there is a limit to my typing patience. Plus, there are 3 more days to go!

As always you can comment, email, text me, whatevs to say what's up.


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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 2

Well, its only 5:17 right now, but I think the main effort for the day is nearly done.

Most of the team of college students and I spent the morning continuing the gutting and rebuilding of the funeral home we are in. Since the owner has given us most of the area for a year, we are working to finish a few of the rooms asap so ge can continue to run his business from the space he is keeping.

I heart work gloves. It is truly amazing how much of a difference they make.

This afternoon we spent 4 hours distributing food to locals who drove past in their cars. They ranged in social class and kindness. Most were very grateful although some were manipulative. We probably had...500 empty boxes until a dump truck came by and we crushed all of them. I was amazed. Talk about provision!

I expect to be sore tomorrow but luckily we are getting additional day volunteers tomorrow. thankfully, the students here are a fun team, we are just lacking a bit of organization/experience at times.

I think that's all for today...

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 1: arrival in Galveston

Um, wow. I had a running list of topics to write about based on my drive to Galveston but they are kinda blown away in comparison to actually being here.

So, not even 7 days ago, I complained that a stranger was babbling to me in Starbucks (10/1 blog "Stranger Danger part 1). Well, today to stay alert on my drive...I followed his advice and ate sunflower seeds. Which in fact are a huge pain to eat and crunch, but I found it pretty hilarious that I would end up embracing his advice. Taking Katies advice, I am trying to remember that every encounter with a stranger is an opportunity to show them Christ. So I was at Dairy Queen (too hot to resist a blizzard) when I thought the waitstaff was super friendly. Then on the counter...a stack of Daily Bread devotionals. Nice. I snagged one.

So, I thought it was flabbergasting when I saw a boat, a decently lkarge one, like bigger than a ski boat, chilling by the side of the freeway as I became increasingly closer to Galveston. That was until I saw, no joke, at least 5 of them in a row against a highway cement thing a couple miles. I really hope I can get a photo tomorrow. My camera was packed and it was getting too dark.

I'm not sure what the length restrictions are for this type of blog (I'm emailing it from my blackberry) so I will finish the next part in a second email. ... And then I will be smart and email the second email first so hopefully you, my faithful reader and prayer warrior, can read in sequence. Oh and please, feel free to leave comments even if you don't get an account because they will go to my email.

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Day 1, part 2

Ok so arrival in downtown Galveston was shocking. I mean mouth gaping. I saw entire buildings collapsed. That's all I can really say except I am getting out there tomorrow with my camera and also camera phone and Christal has promised that if I text her some pics she will post them to her blog, or, maybe I will give her my password. :)

So I'm staying in a funeral home. Yep, if you want to know what an embalming room looks like...I am now an experienced source of information. Luckily we are sleeping in some other rooms. The boys are sleeping with (empty) caskets.

There is some sort of "masters" program (the students seem much younger) or college replacement/ministry thing where a team of people are running the place.

Tomorrow we are doing food distribution as they are still gathering resources and teams to do demolition. I should be meeting the other AIM volunteers and staff tomorrow, so I don't know if I will be hanging with them or if we are blending into this student team. Time will tell!

Thanks again for your prayers...I'm praying that I will be useful tomorrow and that assignments and stuff start to fall into place. The main leaders are down at the beach (evening debrief, sorta) so I probably won't meet the rest of the gang til breakfast.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

20 Hours til Galveston!

Tomorrow I am flying to Dallas, landing around noon, and dropping my computer off at work (for it to get fixed!) and then making the 6 or so hour drive down to Galveston, Texas. If I haven’t already told you, I am going with AIM (Adventures in Missions) to do hurricane relief work. I have been told I will be doing mostly house demolition (about 4 feet of water damage – so gotta remove all that moldy stuff) and helping residents move their stuff out, cleaning up wreckage, distributing supplies, and probably some prayer walking and evangelism.

I have had mixed feelings about this opportunity. When I first got a communication from AIM asking for volunteers, I was instantly drawn in. I almost went on another mission trip with AIM and so I am familiar with their organization. But the details seemed to fit together so quickly and easily that I was almost skeptical [When I write this now, like 2 weeks later, I’m thinking to myself “duh, that was so God”]. I was critical of myself and my motives for pursuing the trip. I felt like without some HUGE calling or commissioning that for some reason the trip wouldn’t be glorifying to Him, that working for the sake of working (and having the availability to do so) was just…coincidental and good Samaritan-ish.

Until today. Praise the Lord. I was praying about the trip, and feeling quite unemotional about it. I could feel myself withdrawing, conserving my energy the way I do as I gear up for most big, energy consuming trips and activities. (Its like my body has to build up its reserves.) So I was praying about the trip, and wondering a bit more about what to expect when I got there. That’s just it – I don’t HAVE expectations! Aside from listing what I *think* I might be doing at the beginning of this email, and knowing I am sleeping in an old gutted funeral home and showering in an R.V., I actually have no clue what the week will be like.

I feel like I heard God say, “and when you get there, that’s when you’ll know. I’m saving the passion of the trip right now, as a secret from you, because when you get there is when you are going to fall in love with what you are doing and I am going to use you beyond what you think your limits are.” And that made me REALLY excited about the trip. That’s when I knew – and that this trip is the right thing to be doing.
Narrator: And then Christy smiled, content in the Lord.

And if you are now humming the “That’s when you’ll know” song from Enchanted, I’m sorry. If it is any consolation, I am too.


This is a test of a remote blog entry. Factoid: I have 23 tank tops in my dresser. 14 are from Old Navy. Scary.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Half Marathon

I'm still training for my next half marathon. Since 9/1 I've logged 52 miles. (Dang - I should have added up frisbee time and swim laps too. Oh well.) My last race was at a 11:29 pace (better than what I thought I could do) and so far in training I've been able to hit 11:15 and even under pretty consistently. (Even when I walk - I guess I sprint after that to catch up). I have learned - I am a MUCH better jogger when I am not melting in the heat. (Who wouldn't be?) 10/26 is the big day!
I'm not sure how much training I'll be able to do while I'm in Galveston, but I figure the manual demolition labor will at least keep me in shape. Thats what they mean when they say "strength" training, right?