Friday, March 13, 2015

We did it!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of our kickstarter campaign for the community garden we are building!  With just 6 hours to go yesterday, our campaign received full funding.
Our future garden site!
Part of me feels relieved, like we can just kick back and relax now.  But actually, the opposite is true.  The hard work is over, now the really hard work starts.  Now that the funding is in and the weather is warming up, its time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on building this thing.  Today a big truck is going to back up to our tiny apartment and deliver enough 8' fence to surround the whole garden, along with two 8'x6' gates.  In the next few weeks Lord willing and weather permitting we are going to be building and installing a fence, a shed, water pipes and a new spigot, compost bins and raised bed gardens, among other things.

Did I mention that at the moment Alex and I own a hammer and power drill and that's about it for tools?

But we are not alone in this effort.  Some forty people have already offered help (and I hope they were all serious because we need it!!).  And God raised the money, God can raise the fence.

Will you please pray for us?  This is possibly the biggest project we have ever embarked on.  Pray for patience, wisdom, enough help, good weather and fun.  Lots of fun :)

Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Late Winter/Early Spring Meal Plan

This past winter I decided to simplify life by making a 3 month meal plan, a 4 week plan that I would repeat 3 times.  It went very well over all (I didn't follow the plan 100% but it worked for us) so I decided to make a new plan for the next few months.

My main goal with this meal plan was to try some new things, and like last time, include at least one crock pot meal per week and meals that I can double and freeze.

I have included links to recipes where applicable.  Some of these are things I make often enough that I don't use a recipe.

Week 1
1 Hamburgers with sweet potato fries and carrot sticks
2 Sri Racha Meatballs (made with beef, not turkey like the recipe says) with Asian sesame-lime cabbage salad
3 Crockpot Chicken Enchillada Soup with warm buttered sourdough tortillas (I make half of this recipe)
4 Mujadara (I recommend doubling the onions.  Also, the site says it serves 4-6 but I would say it serves 2 adults and 1 child if it is your main dish).
5 Pizza with sausage, olives, mushrooms and bell peppers
6 Brazillian Fish Stew

Week 2
1 Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
2 Tuna Melt Sandwiches
3 Meatloaf with French Fries and Steamed Broccoli
4 Fried Rice
5 Chicken Pesto Pizza with carrot sticks
6 Fish Tacos (all you midwesterners probably think this sounds weird.  I did too until I lived in Cali and now I know fish tacos are the best!)

Week 3
1 Chicken Gyros with Hummus and Veggies
2 Spaghetti and meatballs
3 Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala
4 Thai Peanut Stir-fry
5 Pizza with Sausage, olives, red onions and mushrooms
6 Chipotle Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Week 4
1 Burritos
2 Quiche
3 Crockpot Sloppy Joes
4 Curried Alaskan Salmon
5 Pizza with Pepperoni and Bell Peppers
6 Pesto Pasta with Salmon Fillets and Steamed Broccoli

Bonus: desserts
I don't really plan ahead for desserts very often, but here are a few I plan to make in the near future

Five ingredient peanut butter cookies

Peanut butter cups

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Our Community Garden Vision

Six months ago, Alex and I had a crazy idea.  What if we started a community garden?  We already knew the location: our church has over 200 acres of land and we were hopeful they would let us use some to start the garden.  And we felt like this would be the right place to serve our community, as it is right down the street from a very large low-income apartment complex (with lots of international students and young families).  It would be a great way to build inroads into our community and be of practical service to our neighbors. Around this time we also found out about a new bike path that the city was building right through this same area! This would be another draw for people to garden on this land.

But there were some major hurdles to be cleared: coming up with a proposal and blueprint for the garden, getting it approved by our elders, raising the money for materials and gathering people to volunteer to help build the garden.  Did I mention that we know almost nothing about community gardens?  I visited a community garden that my friend had a plot in while we lived in California, and last summer I had a plot in a garden on the other side of town.  But... that's pretty much it.

We worked hard coming up with a proposal (and by "we" I mean Alex as he's done most of the work on this whole thing).  And finally it came time to propose it to the elders.  We really didn't know if it would be approved or not (among other barriers to it being passed, our church gets much needed money from renting out our currently unused acreage to a farmer).  And to be honest, I almost didn't want it to pass... I knew it would be a lot of work on our shoulders if we had to turn this dream into a reality.

It passed.  And I prayed for strength from God to carry this increased load.  But though I knew it would be hard work, I was also excited to have something so big to trust God for, to depend on him completely for.  It has been a while since I have had to do something where I thought "If God doesn't move in this, then this is going to completely fail."  While that is a scary place to be, it is also a place where you get to see God move the most.  As George Mueller once wrote "Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends."

[Side note: I highly recommend reading The Autobiography of George Mueller.  This is one of my favorite books as it is very faith building and challenging]

Since the proposal passed (and that was just two months ago), we have been working on various aspect of this project almost daily.  We read a book on how to start a community garden and started a kickstarter campaign. We started to spread the word about the garden and have about 10 plots filled and 40 people willing to help build!  

I find that I am being amazed daily with how God is working.  Raising up 40 volunteers?  This is at least double what I could have hoped for.  Just this past weekend he put us in touch with an organization that is probably going to donate the fruit trees we need for the mini-orchard we are hoping to have in the garden.  And just today we passed 50% of the funds we need through our kickstarter campaign.

Will you join us in this work?  Would you consider:

1. Praying for us.

2. Sharing our kickstarter campaign on your social media of choice.

3. Giving to our fundraising campaign.  We have just one week left to raise up the last of what we need.

Thank you!