Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 28, 2009

Words of Poetry

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

Pedro Arrupe

Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 26, 2009

7 Quick Takes

**

I bought season 1 of Gilmore Girls this week at a used DVD store (seasons of TV shows for about $12–can’t beat that!) and had forgotten how much I love the quick wit, the hilarious writing, and the delightful characters of this show. It has brought much joy this week!

**

Thursday night my small group was together again for the first time all summer–we were only missing Megan, and it was so great to be with them, and enjoy a delightful potluck meal. I hadn’t realized how much I had been needing some girl time!

**

Last night for dinner I experimented. I had been wanting to make up a batch of vegetarian enchiladas, one pan for the freezer to bake at a later date when I don’t feel like cooking. But, I think most canned enchilada sauce just tastes terrible. So, I ended up combining two different recipes. My friend Jean had a recipe for sauce that I made and I used a random veggie enchilada recipe that I found on line for the inside stuff. They were quite a bit of work, but SO good. I doubled the batch and now have plenty of left overs for this week and another pan in the freezer. Chuck gave them a rousing two-thumbs up! Here’s the recipe if anyone else wants to try!

**

I get to preach next Sunday at a local church around here that is currently without a pastor, I am re-working a sermon I preached two years ago on a chapter from Revelation. It is my favorite sermon I have ever written and I am super excited to get to work with it again!

**

I was back at the hospital on Friday to go over my final evaluation with my supervisor, and lets just say I am okay with not being there every day! It was such a familiar place to walk into, and such a joy to get to walk out of after 30 minutes!

Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 25, 2009

Without our Traditions…

…our lives would be as shaky as…as….a Fiddler on the Roof!”

Last night Chuck and I went out to celebrate our 4th ‘mesaversary” (our 4th month of marriage–mesa is month in latin) and this month he agreed to indulge me. See, a few weeks ago I started seeing TV commercials for the tour of Fiddler on the Roof which was coming to the Pantagus Theater in Hollywood. Most of you know I adore musicals–ok, I’ll admit it, I have bordered on obsession at times in my life. I’ve seen these 48 different shows, some several times, and I never, ever get tired of hearing familiar songs move an audience through a story.

I’ve seen Fiddler a couple times (my dad, who has seen probably more musicals than I have, claims this as one of his all time favorite, so everytime it was near Sacramento we would go). I adore it as well, but realized it’s been years since I’ve seen this particular show. For those who have seen Fiddler, you know that the show centers around the protagonist, Tevye, a Jewish milkman with 5 daughters living in the small Russian village, Anatevka. This show is made amazing by whoever is playing Tevye–his character is central to just about every scene. Playing Tevye this time around was going to be Chaim Topol, the actor who first played Tevye in London in the late 60s and who was cast as Tevye in the motion picture of the musical. He is an unbelievable actor and while he has done plenty of other shows he is going to be forever known as Tevye. He is now 74 years old and has played the role over 2500 times across this globe, on almost every continent. I’ve seen the movie several times, and knew I wanted to see him in his “farewell tour.” Chuck agreed and tickets were purchased. Since he’d never heard of Fiddler on the Roof, muchless know any of the music, I had him watch the movie this week to bcome familiar with the story and songs. After about 20 minutes of the film he looked at me and just said, “wow, this is a beautiful community, this is awesome.” He loved it–as I knew he would! Tevye is one of those characters you can’t help but love–he has honest conversations with God throughout the show that are hysterical and so real. He wrestles with holding fast to the tradition of his people versus allowing his daughters to break traditions in order to be happy, and throughout the show this is the constant tension.

Last night did not disappoint. The second Topol walked onto the stage the audience went nuts, barely allowing him to get his first line out, the famous “A fiddler on the roof…sounds crazy, no?” and from that moment on, Topol held us spellbound. If you haven’t seen the movie, it really is spectacular, add it to your Netflix list and spend a couple hours catching glimpses into a beautiful Jewish community.

And now, just because these lines were cracking us up last night, here are our favorite quotes from this amazing show:

Tevye: As Abraham said, “I am a stranger in a strange land…”
Mendel: Moses said that.
Tevye: Ah. Well, as King David said, “I am slow of speech, and slow of tongue.”
Mendel: That was also Moses.
Tevye: For a man who was slow of tongue, he talked a lot.”

“I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else? ” Tevye

“He loves her. Love, it’s a new style… On the other hand, our old ways were once new, weren’t they?” -Tevye

“Money is the world’s curse” ~Perchik
“Well then may God smite me with it! And may I never recover!” ~Tevye

Dear God, you made many, many poor people. I realize there’s no shame in being poor…but it’s no great honor either. So what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?
-Tevye

“You’re honest and decent, even though you are a Jew.” ~Constable
“Oh, thank you, Your Honor. How often does a man get a compliment like that?” ~Tevye

Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 19, 2009

High School Mission Trips

Anyone who ever attended high school mission trips as a high schooler may appreciate this post!

Chuck and I just returned from spending the last couple days chaperoning the junior high and senior high local mission project. We stayed at the homes of church members overnight and served at a couple organizations during the day around Glendale and Pasadena. This was my first venture into the world of youth ministry–aside from my own youth ministry experience, I have tried to steer clear of being a ‘youth volunteer’ for the last 10 years. There are various reasons for that which don’t need to be posted here, because really, that isn’t the point of this reflection πŸ™‚ However, my husband is one of the youth interns at Glendale Presbyterian, and they needed some help this weekend with transportation, so I said I’d join them. The weekend went really well overall, and I really enjoyed being with the students and spending time with them. What I found most entertaining however was reflecting on the differences between attending a mission trip as a high school student versus attending as the adult leader. I went on several trips as a high schooler, but haven’t been on one since, and well, the differences were quite fun to reflect on! So, in no particular order, here are a few things that I’ve realized are a bit different!

  • As a high school student, every mission trip I attended is categorized in my brain not by the work I participated in but rather by the particular boy I had a crush on that week. Mission trips are breeding grounds for youth group crushes to emerge and I would spend the entire week ‘stalking’ a particular guy with my friends, trying to figure out if he liked anyone etc. For instance, freshman year, Stephen caught my eye. The following year was the week of Ben, and so on. Not the most humble, servant-like attitudes to go into a mission trip with, I realize that. My friends will enjoy this, they were part of nurturing these crushes πŸ™‚ Now that I am married I DO still have a crush–only this time, he knows it. Instead of coming up to me the last day of the trip to ask “what was your name again?” like most of my high school crushes seemed to manage to do, this ‘adult’ crush puts his arms around me and ignores the teasing of the adolescent boys as he whispers in my ear that he loves me πŸ™‚
  • No longer do I feel the need to change my clothes inside my sleeping bag, the awkward relationship between a high school girl and her body has definitely subsided, praise the Lord!
  • I never drank coffee in high school, but now that I do, I realize the importance of the rule that coffee is reserved for the leaders first, with the left overs going to students as they desire. Early mornings after late nights of lying awake listening to giggles = sleepy adults in the morning! (The kids are tired too, but here is where age has it’s perks of getting dibs on the caffeine first).
  • I used to despise the wake up crew of adults that would poke their heads into the tents and start waking us up–in Mexico a bull horn was even used–talk about a painful wake up call! However, I am starting to realize the benefits of this. Rousing sleepy teens at 7 AM is a difficult chore–we had amazing and cooperative kids, but still! Wake up crew does not equal my new favorite job!
  • The Leader’s Meeting. I used to think of this as some sort of secret society–after we were all occupied for the evening the adults would drift away to huddle together. We never knew what was being talked about, which kids were in trouble, what sorts of secret information was being shared–I just KNEW it was a time of fascinating dialogue and imparting of really really good gossip about my peers. Yeah, that’s not exactly how it works. Basically the leader’s meeting is a time when we are all super tired, not exactly thinking clearly, and having to make logistical decisions about the next day which in theory should be simple but in our state of exhaustion appears to be complicated. Yes, Leader’s Meetings–not the exciting Secret Society I once believed.

Overall we had a great weekend gardening, playing with kids, moving furniture around etc. Here are a couple photos from the weekend.

Playing some kind of game during a lunch break, I never did figure this one out.We made animal masks with the kids one afternoon, which basically turned into silly pipe cleaner creations, which everyone had fun with!Caitlin and ISigne and Rachel
Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 16, 2009

Sweeping the Nation

This summer I have become rather addicted to this phenomenon called “the blogging world.” Not just posting my own random thoughts, photos and updates, but spending a large amount of time reading other people’s thoughts. Sometimes even people I have never met. Now, for many of you, you may find this strange. It has been my experience in conversation with a variety of folks that people who grew up in an age without the internet find it rather astonishing that there is a generation of individuals out there who feel the need to spend time reading and sharing thoughts and opinions about almost anything in a public forum, but it is true, there is a generation like this. And I belong to it–for better or for worse. It’s become my morning routine. Roll out of bed, grab my cup of coffee that my husband has ready for me, and flip on the computer to check what is new on my large list of favorite blogs. I started by reading thoughts from close friends, and have branched out to regularly checking sites of women I have never, and probably will never, meet. I read people’s thoughts on theology and how God is working in their lives, I love blogs that have stories of raising families, cooking experiences, humorous stories of interactions with people etc. There are a few I read that I disagree with the author, but still find it entertaining. And of course I still love reading updates from my friends and family members. There is a strange voyeuristic aspect to this–in no other time period would I have the ability to know so much about a family on the other side of the country whom I will never meet. Yet I continue reading. And the fact that you are reading this shows that you too, have entered into the blog-o-sphere. I don’t really know what to think about this, other than that I enjoy it immensely and plan on continuing reading and writing and possibly reflecting on this new phenomenon that I have recently realized I’m kind of in love with.

Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 15, 2009

The Latest

Not a ton is new here–I feel like I have a lot going on in my head these days but none of it is blog-worthy (or appropriate) so we’ll stick to the surface for now! I’m working on job hunting/applying–I have one I am actually really excited about, and well….haven’t found anything else really. So we’ll see…I’m going to keep plugging away at it and see where I end up! We have traveled so much this summer (as you can tell from the photos posted these past several months!) that it’s been tough to be diligent with the few days a week I seem to be home. For instance, I came home Sat. night from Sacramento and we take off again tomorrow evening for a weekend mission trip with the jr and sr high youth at church. We’re staying locally at families homes, and serving around Pasadena and Glendale during the days, but it’s still another 3 days I’m not around. So these short trips have been great, but having one each week has been a bit much I think! We have two coming up in August as well, so more travel to look forward to!

When I am not job hunting (which is still a lot of the time, I’m working on motivation!) I am LOVING getting to read for FUN! Right now I am re-reading the 6th Harry Potter book in anticipation of seeing the movie hopefully next week. I think I’ll go with the 7th HP book next, as diving back into this one has reminded me how much I am in love with this series and how phenomenal JK Rowling’s brilliant story-crafting is. So yes, I am loving escaping to the world of wizards, Lord Voldemort, Professor Dumbledore, and the Weasley’s practical jokes–wizard style of course!

I finally tackled the arduous process of officially and legally changing my name–so in the last 2 weeks I have been to the social security office, the DMV, the bank, etc. We finally have all our finances combined, credit cards joined, a family cell phone plan with Verizon etc. I now have a new drivers license with Sarah Kennedy on it, and I gotta be honest, I wasn’t quite prepared for the emotional reaction that arrived with the card. I opened the mail and my knee-jerk reaction was to cry. Not because I have anything against my new name, but because I wasn’t prepared to have to get rid of my drivers license that had the only name I’ve ever known on it. Made me wonder who I am now–is Sarah Kennedy the same person? Or someone different? The change has been made, now I am adjusting. I adore my husband, but I also am adjusting to not having a direct link to my family anymore. Ahhh….changes….

Summer movies are upon us and while we don’t go often to the theater I am very much looking forward to August 7th’s release of Julie & Julia–a movie where a modern day young woman decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook and then blog about each experience–365 recipes over 365 days, but the cool thing is that it flashes back to Merril Streep who plays Julia Child when SHE was learning how to cook which I think sounds great!

Well, that’s pretty much about it. I know, fascinating huh? Welcome to my life these days!

Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 13, 2009

Official Group Shots

We had Jenn’s dad take pictures of us together on Saturday morning and he got some great shots! Thanks Bob!

Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 12, 2009

Returning Home

I had the chance this past week to be up in my home town of Granite Bay for 3 days visiting with old friends from high school, and it was SO good to be home again! It had been a long time! Now that mom and dad don’t live there anymore, I haven’t had a reason to go back in a couple years. Driving around such familiar streets, smelling the familiar summer smells, eating at my favorite places and seeing all the changes that had taken place over the last two years was so fun for me. And of course it was wonderful being with such good friends! Four of the five of us from high school who were really close made it back into town for a few days and we enjoyed relaxing, hiking, cooking, movie watching, and of course, lots of chatting! Here are some of the pictures from the weekend, more will be coming later as I receive them from the others.

Driving into town on Wednesday I took a trip down memory lane and drove around the neighborhoods. This is the house I lived in for about 10 years.
When I got to Jenn’s our first stop was our favorite deli, the Beach Hut deli for the world’s greatest sandwiches! The Surfin Bird–turkey, avocado, bacon, cream cheese, tomatoes….SO good!Miranda & Isaac drove up from Concord Wed. evening, where we hung out at Jenn’s house catching up. This is me getting acquainted with 7 month old Isaac! We picked Erica up at the airport on Thurs. morning and then spent the afternoon hanging out at the house of the family Jenn grew up baby sitting and house sitting for. They were out of town so we had their entire amazing mansion to ourselves for the day.The most impressive part of the house is the wine room–a separate room kept at a perfect temperature for the red wines–decorated to look like rustic Italy (the husband is Italian). It was the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen in a house!Playing with IsaacOur resort for the afternoon–swimming, sunbathing, strawberry daiquiris. A great combination!Yes those are bar stools in the poolAnd what yard would be complete without a fireplace where s’mores can be made??The beautiful JenniferWe cooked dinner in their kitchen–a delicious pasta dish that Erica makes frequently. I am glad she introduced us!Prepping the salad–delicious ingredients!Our meal–the pasta contains fresh tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, and squares of fresh mozzarella cheese. Delicious!Dessert later that night back at Jenn’s house–strawberries and ice creamFriday we headed up to Tahoe (about 2 hours up the mountain from Granite Bay) for a hike at Lake Tahoe. Our picnic lunch stop before we started hiking.Erica & IsaacErica & IReady to start our hike!One of my favorites–Isaac was a trooper! He was strapped in for a lot of hours!Letting him cool off before making him go back in the carrier for the hike back to the car.Erica takes a turn carrying the baby.Saturday morning we had Jenn’s dad (an aspiring photographer) take photos of the 4 of us, which I don’t have copies of yet, but I’ll post them when I do! Then I took off and drove back to LA–I was missing my husband! Plus, we had plans to see a friend of ours preach her first sermon at her church this morning, so it was good to get back for that. There is a random vista point on I-5 that I decided to check out. I wish the valley was greener, but I still think this is beautiful.
Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 5, 2009

4th of July

Chuck & I returned last night from a very relaxing overnight trip up to Hanford, CA (outside of Fresno, about 3 hours north of LA). My brother in law’s family lives there, and they had brought Megan & Nathan out for the long weekend, so they invited us up to come spend a night with them just hanging out. We had a delightful time relaxing, swimming, watching movies, eating a lot and just doing nothing! It was great seeing the Backman’s again, and it was awesome getting to play in a pool with my sister again! It definitely made me homesick for summer days of our past! And baby Zoe (her nickname until she arrives) is doing quite well and even gave me a kick at one point which was AWESOME to feel!

This is Raffi, who is a black lab puppy being trained by Keith & Gail to be a guide dog. He is awfully adorable and of course, Megan & Nathan loved having a puppy around again!Dinner Friday night by the pool–fajitas! This is Hope, Nathan’s sister, and Nathan.After dinner we went to this local place that makes fresh ice cream and gives HUGE portions–this is the single serving. Good thing she is eating for two!Then we wandered around Hanford a bit–this is some old WWI canon they have there. This is Chuck and Nathan about to shoot something.Megan, Hope and IThe Backman’s beautiful backyardNathan practicing wearing the baby sling. It fit Megan a bit better!They got a huge box of baby stuff from family friends (so note to people–they do NOT need newborn onesies or sleepers–go for 3-6 month clothes if you are planning on shopping for little Zoe!) Raffi was a great model and helped sort through the clothes.Sorting new born clothesRaffi is apparently going to a beach party in late August, and needed an outift. So hopefully he’ll grow into these a bit!It was a hard day. A very, very hard day.Raffi’s sister Rene is being traied by the Backman’s relatives, so Rene came over to play on Saturday. Puppy swim lessons! They are not born with the instant knowledge of how to swim, Raffi sunk on his first few tries but eventually figured out he could use his back legs to keep him afloat.Sunbathing–or baking the baby, one or the other
Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 2, 2009

More Please! Lime Cilantro Taco Salad

Tonight’s delicious meal was found online thanks to my blogging friend Jenny. It was a huge hit with my husband who ate two big plates, declared it delicious and said I should make even more next time! Enjoy this delightful summer meal! I mixed up the dressing in my handy magic bullet and it was fabulous!

Black Bean Taco Salad with Lime Vinagrette
Vinaigrette:
* 1/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 garlic clove, peeled

Salad:
* 8 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce (I used romaine for a bit more nutritional value)
* 1 1/2 cups chopped ready-to-eat roasted skinned, boned chicken breast (about 2 breasts)
* 1 cup chopped tomato
* 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
* 1 cup finely diced red onion
* 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
* 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 4 cups fat-free baked tortilla chips (about 4 ouncesβ€”1 cup per person)

Preparation
To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 11 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients except chips in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette; toss well to coat. Serve with chips.

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