Friday, August 5, 2011

Bread Pudding - Yummy!

The other day, I attempted to cook bread pudding for the first time. I always wanted to learn how to make bread pudding and since I am living in the South, now, I felt that it was time for me to learn how to make it. Since I do not like if bread pudding is all gooey and mushy, I decided to alter some recipes I found to come up with my own bread pudding creation. VoilĂ , here it is:

1 Cinnamon Bagel (yes, I know... very unconventional... but soooo yummy!)
2 tsp. melted butter (for the pudding and the pan)
1 cup of milk
1 egg
a dash of cinnamon
and lots of love :)

1. Cut the bagel in small cubes.
2. Beat the egg with the milk and 1 tsp of melted butter. Add a dash of cinnamon for extra spice.
3. Soak the bagel pieces in the milk, egg, butter mixture for at least 30 min. In the mean time preheat the oven to 350° and butter a ramekin.
4. Pour bagel squares into the ramekin and pour remaining mixture over the bread.
5. Bake for 30 min. or until the top is golden brown.
Let stand for a couple of minutes before serving the bread pudding. Serves 2.

Instead of adding sugar, I sweetened this dish just with love. The cinnamon bagel was already so sweet. I could have added some sugar after baking if it had needed it, but I really liked it the way was.

If anybody who reads this has a real *authentic* bread pudding recipe from the South, I would love to hear about it. Just leave a comment. I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let me introduce myself...

I recently came across the Proust questionnaire and thought it would be a fun thing to answer some of the questions here. Feel free to comment and answer the same questions on your blog. I would love to get to know who is out there.... :)

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Happiness is being absolutely content with myself and the world around me. Happiness does not mean to have no worries, but to be able to overcome all worries through one's faith. I am happy... maybe not all days, but most days.

Where would you most like to live?
There are many places where I would really like to live. I love California, or Madison, Wisconsin, or Sweden... but even the most beautiful places in this world don't mean anything if you are alone in them. I would most like to live surrounded by friends and family... or just people who I love and who love me.

What is your favorite virtue?
(No need to say more... Love says it all.)

I'll be answering more some other time, but that's it for today.

Catching up

It has been a while since I last posted something on this blog. But I believe I have a good excuse: I finished my Ph.D. thesis, defended it, and deposited it. If you have never written a Ph.D. thesis, you cannot imagine how much work this can be. I am so glad this is over. I cannot wait to catch up with all the old adventures that I had to neglect over the past months and years and I am looking forward to dive into new adventures that still lie ahead of me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Backpacking through Joshua - Week 7

This week, I have read about Achon. He sinned and got called out by God. He admitted his sins and he got ... STONED! Wow! Just like that. And his family, too.


I am a little bit in shock. When I think of sin, I automatically tend to think of forgiveness, because I know that Jesus died for our sins. But this story was long before Jesus showed up on the scene.

So, let’s take a closer look:

Why do we sin?
There are many reasons why people sin. Maybe they think they can get away with it. Maybe they want something that does not belong to them, something they have not earned, something they do not deserve. Maybe they are desperate, maybe they think they need something in their lives that they just don’t have. Sinning often seems to be the easiest solution.

Sins have consequences. Consequences not just for the person that sinned, but for the entire community. Achon is the best example.
One of my pet peeves is when I see people acting without social responsibility. They do things that are most convenient for them at the moment without thinking about the people that surround them and others that might suffer under the consequences of their actions.

But sins do not just distance ourselves from other people. Sins distance us from God.
If I believe that God will provide for me, that he will protect me, there is no need for me to choose the easiest way and harm others. I might as well choose the more difficult way, because with God, it won’t be difficult for long. If I trust, there is no need for sin.

I know He will provide.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Backpacking through Joshua - Week 5

I know I am a little late for week 5. However, I am still backpacking and following the trail. In Joshua 5: 8, it says that the Israelites stayed in their places in the camp until they had healed. I think week 5 is a little late, because I had to stay a little longer in camp to heal...

Did you know that Germans don't practice circumcision? Neither do other European cultures, as far as I know. So unless you are a Jew or a Moslem in Germany, chances are very high that you are not circumcised. Week 5's passage made me think about signs for being a Christian and what we do to set ourselves apart as Christians. And I was reminded of last summer...

Two years ago, I moved to my current hometown. Moving from a northern state to the deep south was almost as much of a culture shock as moving to the US from Germany. But since I love to learn about new cultures, I loved my new place. After some research, I found a church to go to and became engaged in one of the ministries. I invited people over to my place. I cooked and baked and tried to welcome them into my house. I thought, I had found nice people, fellow Christians that shared my faith and friendship... until last summer.

My landlord suddenly decided not to renew my lease. I was shocked, because it came very surprisingly to me. I had moved the previous 2 summers and I wasn't planning on moving a third time. I didn't have the money, nor the time or strength to go through yet another move. I just felt overwhelmed.

Moving is always hard. You pack up your entire life and try to start over in a new place. Some things you have to leave because they are too big or too heavy or too fragile to move. Life changes and it will never be the same again.

During that time, I would have loved to have a friend. Not that I expected someone to carry my heavy loads for me, but someone that would meet with me for coffee when I needed a break from packing. Someone who would have stayed with me despite of the move. But the people from church were not there. They were too busy. From the moment that I found out I had to move and things would get difficult, they miraculously became extremely busy.

In one of my lowest moments, I carefully asked several people for a coffee date, but nobody could come. They lectured me that I, as a Christian, had to learn patience. I felt very hurt. I had never asked them for anything before and they even declined to meet for coffee. I needed a friend to talk to, but instead I received a talking to.

When I told my parents that I needed to move, my father booked the next flight to the US and flew in all the way from Germany. My cousin in Sweden, who has a family with 2-year old twin daughters and a full-time job offered to drop everything and fly over to help out. Friends of mine in Germany googled different moving companies and compared moving truck prices for me online. My "Christian" friends were too busy for a conversation.

The day I moved, none of my "Christian" friends helped. Instead a fellow German friend and two colleagues from South America that I had never really talked to before, came without me having to ask for help. We moved my entire apartment in less than 3 hours.

And I guess, just like I moved my stuff into a new place, I think I also moved into a new place, a new mindset. I went back to church a couple more times, but nothing was as it used to be. Eventually I stopped going. I decided to part from them, to cut myself off from them... my private own "circumcision".

If you lose something that is without meaning to you, without life and useless, you don't really notice the loss. They never asked why I stopped going to church.

I am not sure if I am easily recognizable as a Christian, but I am very careful which crowd I choose to blend in with.

I don't believe being a Christian is about standing out either. You don't have to wear a cross as a sign around your neck as long as you hold Jesus in your heart. Giving a friend a ride with your car says more than a fish sticker on your car.

For me, being a Christian is not a fancy facade that I use to hide my flaws. It is the sturdy foundation that I try to base my life on. You might not see the foundation at first glance, but you will know it is there. It will stand firm, especially during tough times and bad weather when other people's facades come tumbling down.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Running behind...

Sorry, fellow Joshua backpackers. I have been running behind on our backpacking adventure. I promise I will try to catch up at our next stop. :o)

Thank you for all the nice comments!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Backpacking through Joshua - Week 4

This afternoon, I was in my car on the way to a coffee shop. A friend of mine was sitting next to me. He had just received yet another dinner invitation from some "friends". His "friends" are a family that invites foreign exchange students like him to their house to tell them about their faith. They are missionaries. But my friend does not want to be part of this.

He grew up as a Christian, he regularly went to church, played in a church band, and he even did children`s ministry. Just in recent years, he started to wonder... he started to question... and he started to doubt. He studies physics and the laws of nature. He thinks that God is there, but he tries to figure out what to believe in. He says he wants to be as rational as possible. He would much rather know than believe, but right now, he is just wondering and thinking about it.... The last thing he wants is others to tell him what to believe in and what not.

So, I am not saying anything. I am just sitting there, like a stone in the Jordan. I am listening to his words and sentences wash over me. I am not a missionary. I believe people who have read the bible need to find their own way to the Lord. If I tell them what to do, try to push them, to convince them of something, they do not really want to do, then they wouldn't do it whole-heartedly. And what good is it if you bring a person, but not his heart to Jesus?

I am a stone, I don't say much. I just sit there and mark the way. I am not the way itself and I cannot carry him all the way, but I am here and I mark part of his way. Because my friend is looking for the way, he just cannot ignore me. He brings up the topic over and over again. On the way to the supermarket, when I drop him off at home after school, and now on our way to the coffee shop.

"I am just trying to figure out what to believe in." he looks at me. When we stop at a traffic light, I send him an encouraging smile: "I know you do. And I know you will find what you are looking for... I know what I believe in." He knows it, too, because he has been there before and he cannot forget it. He sees me almost every day and every day I am one of Joshua's living stones.

I really liked the fourth chapter of Joshua. Every tribe had to carry his own load. Every tribe had to risk the way through the river. Everyone of us carries a load every day. And often it is not easy and we think we will never make it through alive. But as long as we keep our eyes on the Lord we will not drown. Especially, when we are at the lowest point, when we carry the heaviest load, it is important to set a marker, so that we won't forget. Every load that we carried in the past will mark the right way. And we are not alone. We are each other's markers.
I think at the moment I am a pretty big marker on my friend's way. Even though I don't say much and don't try to convince, I kinda block the wrong turn for him.