From the Kitchen of Apartment 8 – BLT Pasta Salad

Lunchtime at our house is typically leftovers.  When you’re cooking for 2 there’s often something leftover.  However the other day I found our fridge empty of any leftovers and found us more hungry than just a simple salad with some fruit and veggies.

BLT Pasta Salad


  • 1/2 Bag Baby Romaine
  • 6 Slices of Turkey Bacon
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Ranch (to taste)
  • 4 oz. Cooked Rotini PastaFresh Ground Pepper
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
Toss the ingredients together for a yummy summer lunch!

Summer is Here!

Summer is here!  Than has 1 week off from school (yes, just 1 week) and Ru is diligently beginning work at 6:30 am so she can take advantage of summer hours (aka – finish work at lunch time on Fridays!).  In the midst of classes and work, we’re still hoping to fit in lots of fun this summer and anticipating some visits from siblings and friends!

What are our plans for the summer?
  • Go to the beach at least 1x per month. That may sound lame but it’s much harder to find a day to go to the beach than you’d think!
  • Sell unnecessary stuff on eBay to buy a Wii! (Yes, we’re ONLY using money from things we’re getting rid of to buy it. It’s a fun goal and a good challenge to avoid accumulating more and more stuff!
  • Go to the gym at least 4x a week. We just joined Monday – and my muscles are feeling it today. To think it was just over a year ago I did a half marathon…ugh!
  • Concerts in the Park – what’s better than a beautiful summer night, a picnic and some music?!
  • 1st Anniversary trip to San Diego!
  • We’ll top off our summer with a trip to Montana for Anita (Than’s sister)’s wedding and hopefully squeeze in a day at Yellowstone.


English FAIL

As you may recall, I’m in the process of doing an online TESOL certification program.  I’m about halfway through and I’m looking forward to being done!  I know in the long run I’ll be glad that I have this certification, especially when we move overseas, but right now it’s hard to discipline myself to spend more time behind the computer screen after an 8-9 hour work day!  My goal is to finish by fall so I can audit some classes here at Fuller.

Here are a couple of highlights from my lessons – I think you’ll appreciate them:

  • When KFC® entered the Chinese market, they discovered that their slogan “finger lickin’ good” was translated as “eat your fingers off.”
  • When Gerber® started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the United States, with the smiling baby on the label. Later, they learned that in Africa, companies put the pictures on the labels of what’s inside since many people can’t read.


I Was a Stranger Challenge Days 35 – 40

We made it!  Here are the final days of the 40 Day “I Was a Stranger” Challenge.  I hope that these verses have challenged your thinking on the topic of the strangers in our neighborhoods, cities, states and countries.

Our church held a seminar last Sunday morning called “Immigration: Today’s Civil Dilemma and Theological Challenge – What Does the Bible Say?” with Dr. Daniel Carroll from Denver Seminary.  It was an eye opening seminar and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to hear him teach and to have some guidance to think about this very complex issue through a Biblical lens.  Let me leave you with a couple of thought provoking questions that I am continuing to ponder:

1.  It’s important to have a constructive starting point (ie we are all made in the image of God). What kind of laws can we establish to facilitate the growth of that potential?

2.  Laws show the heart and values of our culture.  What do these immigration laws show us about our culture?

Day 35: Philippians 3:20-21

20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Day 36: Hebrews 13:1-3

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

Day 37: 1 Peter 2:11-12

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Day 38: 1 Peter 2:13-15

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[a] whether it be to the emperor[b] as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

Day 39: Revelation 5:9-13

9 And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Day 40: Revelation 7:9-10

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


I Was a Stranger Challenge Days 27-34

Day 27: Luke 10:36-37

36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Day 28: Acts 16:36-39

36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city.

Day 29: Acts 17:26-27

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,

Day 30: Romans 13:1-5

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Day 31: Ephesians 2:14-18

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Day 32: Ephesians 2:19-22

19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Day 33: Ephesians 3:14-19

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Day 34: Philippians 2:3-4

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

I Was a Stranger Challenge Days 21- 26

Day 21: Ezekiel 22:6-7

6 “Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. 7 Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you.

Day 22: Ezekiel 22:29-30

29 The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. 30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

Day 23: Zechariah 7:8-10

8 And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

Day 24: Malachi 3:5

5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Day 25: Matthew 2:13-14

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt

Day 26: Matthew 25:35-40

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

The Best Things We’ve EVER Done for Our Marriage

That statement drastically loses it’s impact when you consider the fact that we’ve only been married for 10 months.  But nevertheless, out of these 10 months (and even including our engagement) we just finished something that I’d consider the best thing we’ve ever done for our marriage.

Yes, we went through pre-marital counseling (which was excellent) and we’ve read some best-selling books on marriage by our authors we deeply respect (I think my favorite is Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller) but this experience offered something different from everything else.  

When Than started here at Fuller many of the people we met recommended the “Strong Marriages Successful Ministries” course. It was created by Terri Hargrave, a professor in the School of Psychology here at Fuller and geared toward couples who want to go into ministry. It can be hard to get a spot in the groups and we’re excited that we were able to join a group our first year here and also so early on in our marriage.

Unlike the other things we’ve done this group was what is called a Psycho-education group.  It was different from anything I’ve ever experienced.  Over the 8 weeks we discussed conflict, pain cycles, peace cycles, how to get from your pain cycle to your peace cycle, personalities and spiritual gifts.

This was all earth-shattering stuff no one ever told me before…yet it all makes perfect sense and is so logical! You see, we learned that there are certain things that trigger pain in your life – which then often leads to conflict in your marriage.  These triggers can be a vicious cycle and we respond a certain way when we are feeling pain.  Well lo and behold, when you’re living closely with another person and acting out in your pain cycle, it just might trigger your spouse.  And thus begins the cycle.  

From there we learned about our peace cycles.  We discussed the truths that combat our pain.  And when we are acting from our peace cycles, what flows out is so much more lovely!

Now I’m not saying it’s easy to move from your pain cycle to your peace cycle, but there are 4 steps to help.  

1. Say what you feel.

2.  Say what you normally do

3. Say the truth

4.  Say what you will do differently

I’m so thankful that we were able to have this experience early on in our marriage, as every day we’re establishing more and more habits!  This is a good one to develop – and practice!

And of course the experience was made all the more rich by the wonderful people we met and were able to get to know! Image



I was a Stranger Challenge Days 14-20

Being behind is making me crazy!  Knowing that the rest of the church is on Day 31 and I am on 13 just isn’t cutting it for me!  It’s time to catch up!  There’s so much good stuff in the passages below.  Just think – if we started living intentionally in the way we love the sojourners, the windows, the strangers – we’re going to turn our cities upside down!!  People won’t be able to NOT notice!  What an opportunity to show the love of Christ – beyond just to those we are helping!

Day 14: Deuteronomy 26:12-13

12 “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, 13 then you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.

Day 15: Deuteronomy 27:19

19 “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Day 16: Job 29:12-16

12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to help him.
13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
my justice was like a robe and a turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy,
and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.

Day 17: Psalm 94:6-7

6 They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
7 and they say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Day 18: Psalm 146:7-9

7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Day 19: Jeremiah 7:4-7

4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’

5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

Day 20: Jeremiah 22:3

3 Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

I was a Stranger Challenge Day 13: Deuteronomy 24:19-22

19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.

I have no fields…no trees…just some dying herbs. So what does this look like practically for me? I have 3 ideas:

1.  Leftovers.  Usually when there’s leftovers we try to eat them for lunch or if there’s a large amount of food left we will freeze it for future meals.  But perhaps instead of storing it up for later (minus a few meals for the hubby when I’m out of town) I can share with someone in need.

2.  Intentional Leftovers!  Most nights of the week I’m cooking for 2 – why not make extra to share?  There’s never a shortage of people in my life in need of a meal.  What a simple way to bless others – whether they have a physical need or perhaps just a need for some encouragement.

3.  Restaurant leftovers. I don’t know about you, but I really love restaurant leftovers. They always taste better than homemade ones.  Going out is usually a treat so it’s like getting the treat twice!  But how often I have stingily held onto my restaurant leftovers on the walk home, neglecting to give them away to someone in need on the street.