Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken, Ginger and Sweet Soy Stir-fry

So I am linking up again with Lyndsie at A Love Worth Waiting For with Monday’s Meals!

So this is my favourite new chicken stir-fry recipe. Just so you know, with my stir-fry’s I don’t measure anything, but I will try to give approximate measurements – but you can always add more or less of anything you like or don’t like! You can always double the recipe too if you have kids!

You will need :

Chicken 500gr – I used thigh fillets, but chicken breast works too.
2 Carrots
1 Red bell pepper
Buk Choy (an Asian green – you don’t need to have it)
Garlic – I used pre minced
Coriander - I used pre minced
Ginger – I used pre minced
Soy sauce
Kecap Manis (A sweet soy sauce)
Peanut oil
Sesame oil – you can leave out these oils if you like or if you have a nut allergy. Just substitute a little vegetable or canola oil instead!

Marinade the chicken first. I cut mine into pieces the placed them in a bowl with a teaspoon each of ginger and garlic. Add to that a ¼ cup each of the soy sauce and kecap manis. Stir in a good tablespoon of honey. (if you put the honey in the microwave for about 10 seconds it mixes into the other sauces much easier!) I let the chicken marinade in the fridge for about 30minutes, but the longer you let it sit the better the flavour!

While that’s happening start chopping up all your vegies. I did little sticks of carrot and little pieces of the pepper. The smaller you cut them the quicker they cook! I also tore the buk choy into small squares.

Once the chicken is done marinading, turn on your fry pan. To the pan add another good teaspoon each of ginger and garlic, a little of each of the oils (just a note, don’t add too much sesame oil – it’s really strong!). Add the chicken and stir it around until cooked through. Toss in the carrots and I like to add a little more of soy sauce, kecap manis and honey at this stage, enough to keep everything a little saucy!

Once the carrots have had a good stir, add the pepper bits. Keep stirring until the vegies are just cooked then add the buk choy. At the very last minute stir in some coriander – don’t forget the coriander, it really makes this dish!

Serve it up with some rice and it’s soooo good.

Let me know if you tried it!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Well I am very excited - I just made my first order on Book Depository!! Yay, books for Christmas!
My lovely husband let me just keep adding to the list, but I think I did very well, I didn't go too crazy!

Anyway, we had a fabulous weekend. The weather couldn't have been more perfect! Sunshine on both Saturday and Sunday! Oh finally some warmth in the air - goodbye winter, hello summer!!

We spent Saturday morning doing some Christmas shopping, because this year I'm hoping to have it all done before the shops get crazy in a few weeks.

After shopping we decided to hit up the beach for lunch. So we went to Subway and then headed to the sand with a couple of beach towels.

This was our view as we ate....bliss

I can't wait for summer to really kick in with some consistently hot weather, I didn't realise how much I missed the beach this winter, but I cannot wait until we start going every weekend!!!

Sunday we had the dedication and first birthday of my littlest cousin. We made the trip to Melbourne to join the family for church in the morning, and then a picnic lunch followed at a nearby lake.

Again the weather was beautiful, and the grounds around the lake were beautiful.

So gorgeous!

I hope everyone else had a lovely weekend too!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Strong Women Soft Hearts Chapter 6

Trust: The Art of Falling Backward
This post has been a little while in writing. I have been letting it simmer for a few weeks now.

If I’m completely honest, it has actually been boiling away in my heart, and my mind and life.

I’ve been trying to decide just how candid I will be here, here on the world wide web where bits of information can be stored forever, where anyone can see and read what I write.

My decision is to be open and honest, and my prayer as I type is that the words that form in my mind and get transferred to the page will be used by God to touch others. Others who also find trust a scary, blind place to be in. Women for whom the word “trust” makes them catch their breath as they fight the urge to let panic over take them.

I don’t know who might read this, if anyone. I don’t know your faces, your stories, your fears, or your dreams to overcome them.

I do know this: God knows.

He knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7).

He knew you even before you were born (Psalm 139:16).

He holds onto you and won’t let go (Psalm 73:23).

And He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Know this too: as I’m writing, I’m praying for you.

I want to share something; I have the team building activity where people stand in a tight circle with someone in the middle. Then the person in the middle is blindfolded and had to allow themselves to fall backwards, trusting that they would be caught before they hit the ground by the people standing in the circle.

I hate this activity. Those few milliseconds where you fall backwards always felt like an eternity to me, and I’m sure my heart has almost stopped a number of times with relief once my turn was complete and I realised that I hadn’t ended up injured on the ground.

This is the analogy that Paula Rinehart uses in this chapter to describe what trust on God should be like. Only she took it one step further and suggested going up a ladder and falling backwards from a height, and trusting strangers that you would be caught! No thank you, I like terra firma.

Paula says that trust is allowing yourself to fall backward into the goodness of God. I guess though to do this you have to believe that God is good, and I have no doubt that there are people out there who struggle with this truth.

But He is good and I wish that I had a good explanation for why bad things happen, for why God allows terrible things to occur. I wish I had a non cliched reason for why, but I don’t. I just know that despite all the tragedy that we go though in this life God is good, and His plans for our lives are for good and not evil. (Jeremiah 29:11) “Accepting the mystery of what we cannot know will lead us to the heart of God where we trade our craving for explanation for a simple willingness to trust”.(page 81)

This is the place I have found myself in over the last few weeks.

I have spent weeks, if not months, battling against God’s timing on a number of areas of my life. And they have all boiled to the surface this last two weeks and exploded, leaving exposed some ugly truths about the state of my heart.

Ugly truths, like jealousy, greed, and my insatiable need to control everything about my life, that all but filled my heart and desires and left no room for God.

I have been so driven about making things happen the way I want them to happen and when I want them to happen that I had closed my ears off to God’s voice, and my heart to His promptings.

My plans to travel have been my own. My plans for when we buy a house have been mine. I haven’t asked God when He thinks it might be a good idea for us to start a family.

I had even decided how my tithes should be used. This one shames me the most. For most of my adult life I have tithed faithfully, even when I had nothing to really give, I always gave something. Yet this year I decided that I didn’t like how my church’s leaders were spending money and so I decided not to tithe into our church anymore.

I kept praying that God would show me where He wanted me to tithe instead. It took me until last Sunday to realise that He has been telling me to tithe into my church, His church. It is His money, not mine, and He alone has the right to decide how it should be spent. I very clearly heard Him tell me to stop controlling this area of my life, and to trust Him.

“The need to trust is our invitation, over and over, to the place where we look into his face – and no one else’s – and let ourselves be loved by him...our hands release their grip on the reins of our lives and we stop trying so hard.” (page 79)

Have you ever felt like you are just trying way too hard for things to happen in life? I think one of the things that God is trying to teach me through this little journey he has me on at the moment is that if I’m trying too hard, maybe I should just take a moment to reflect on why I’m trying so hard. Is it something I want or something God wants for me? Am I trying so hard because I’m fighting what I should really be doing? Am I trying to make something happen that God doesn’t want to happen, or it’s not in His time?

I found beauty and a real sense of peace in an image that Paula wrote. “Trust lies in the willingness to accept the particulars of how and when and where God chooses to intervene. It waits in the cool shade of surrender.”

I picture in my own imagination a beautiful big, full leafed tree, growing near a river bank with lots of lush green grass underneath, perfectly made for resting under on a hot summers day.

I love summer and the hot weather, but even I get tired and feel drained after a number of really hot days in the middle of summer, the kind of days where the has been no respite from the heat, even at night. After days of no or little sleep, everything can become a burden, weighing me down.

The moment the cool change is ushered in is sweet relief! That’s how I picture this idea of trust that Paula painted in her words, the moment of refreshing, of reinvigorating, the moment of release.

This is how it can be when we stop trying so hard to make everything happen, and just rest in God, in the knowledge that He is in control. He is. It often can seem like everything is out of control, but I choose to trust that despite appearances, He holds us all in His gentle hands and is in control.

So much is unknown in this life, and so far I have found that trying to control everything doesn’t make me happy or trouble free. It mostly makes me crabby and stressed out

So I want to leave you with one final quote from this chapter;

“What you don’t know....is how and when and in what manner you will experience his mercy. You are simply and mightily assured that you will.”

Thank you Jesus!

xxx Sharen

P.S. If you would like me to pray for you, please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Life lately

I can't believe it's been nearly 10 days since I last wrote a post. It's not that I haven't had a lot to write about, I just haven't had the energy to.

I am feeling quite overwhelmed by a number of things at the moment, and so my internal processing hasn't been it's usual self, but now as I start to write I wish I had done this sooner, as I always find my way through the maze of my thoughts when I start to write.

If anyone happens to read my blog, you will notice that I have been writing about the book "Strong Women, Soft Hearts." and that Chapter 6 is where I am up to. This chapter has really challenged me and brought a lot of things to the surface that I believe God wants me to deal with and look closely at in my life. (more on that when I write that post)

My job is causing me some grief at the moment and I can't really figure out what it is specifically that has me so upset about work, I think it's one of those times where there are so many little things that bother me that I feel like I'm drowning in frustration.

I work in a local school, in the department that assists children with special needs. We are not a special needs school, but the department is quite large and we have students from a wide range of ages, with a wide range of needs.

I currentlyy have 6 students I work with from pre-school through to year 9. I did have a seventh student, but she was in year 12 and has now finished school. I work with the largest number of individual students of all the classroom aides in our department.

I also have two of the highest needs and most challenging children. Both these little boys have Autism, and they are not high functioning. One of them is even violent frequently - towards both staff and his peers.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the job is when all the adults that are involved with a particular child are not on the same page. I quite often get emails from a particular students teacher about how he is disruptive in class and she has to spend extra time one on one with him otherwise he doesn't work up to the level of the other students! Of course he doesn't! That's why he has special assistance, because he can't. Think about what you're typing for two seconds! This same teacher, of course, does not actually let me know what work he is doing so that I can assist him with it, she just expects that somehow it will magically be done! Arrgh

The other thing that I really struggle with is how much gossip and backstabbing goes on amongst the staff in my department. There are 22 women and there are a couple of people who are constantly saying nasty things about other staff behind their backs. There's even one lady who made really horrible comments about my husband and his job to my face one day, and then wondered why I was upset with her!

So after working for 7 hours a day in this environment, I'm just exhausted and physically and mentally drained by the time I get home from work.

Which is why my house is a complete disaster right now - it's a direct reflection on how the inside of my head feels!

So if you do happen upon my blog, and are the praying type, I would appreciate some prayers as to what I should do. Because of financial reasons I can't just quit, so I really need some wisdom and guidance on this matter. And also on being patient and waiting on God's timing for a few other areas I haven't mentioned.

Thanks! xx

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Random thoughts

I'm sitting in my newly designated "Sharen space" in one of our spare bedrooms. On Saturday I had the urge to reorganise our spare rooms, mostly so I could make space for my craft stuff to be set up on a table not in a room that our guests see, and not in a room where my mess will drive my husband crazy!

I have a candle burning next to me - Christmas tree scent. I actually had to blow it out before because I have never trimmed the wick on it and black smoke was billowing up from the flame. It now actually smells like it should.

I have had a huge cup of tea (which was so large I have had to pee several times in the last 2 hours! Sorry for those who felt that too much information), and have been reading some new blogs I have come across in the last week.

They are encouraging blogs, blogs by women who have strong faith, but are real. I like that.

I had a phone call from my husband earlier where he suggested we go out for dinner. I not so kindly said I was too tired. Even though a week ago I told him I wanted us to have more "dates" together.

I have been so tired lately that the only time I actually feel like I'm awake and functioning as normal is from about 11:30am-2:30pm during the day.

I have been getting short with my students at work and frustrated with co-workers.

My house is in a constant state of mess and disorganisation, with dirty dishes left lying in a number of rooms.

As I have been sitting in my craft room, I can't help but think that this is not how God would have me be.

So now I'm thinking about how I got so tired. If I'm honest it's because I feel like I'm doing it all alone.

Which is a scary revelation because it means I'm leaving God out. And I don't mean to, I didn't plan to carry it all alone. I didn't plan on spending my spare time watching TV and on the computer, I just sort of did, because it's easy, I don't have to think too much or make an effort.

And sometimes having a rerelationship with God is and effort. But aren't all relationships, including the one with my husband?

Yep! So starting right now, I'm going to call Dave and tell him were going out for dinner.

And while I wait for him to get home I'm going to close my computer and open my Bible.


p.s. If anyone reads this post, it would be really cool  - if you want to - if you let me know your favourite Bible verse!