only help my unbelief

Chelsey’s life: A mid-December rundown
December 17, 2008, 8:00 am
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Most of my daily conversations are not exactly as enthralling as I would like. For example, I wish someone would ask me something like, “What are your hopes and dreams? Please answer using as many metaphors as possible.” Imagine something like the scene from Never Been Kissed, when Drew Barrymore is in the cafeteria with the popular girls. Except I’m Drew Barrymore, not the popular girls. I have, truthfully, never been one of the popular girls, but thankfully, middle school is long gone.

But if you’re reading my blog and you don’t know me in person, you don’t have the joy of asking me the more mundane questions, so I thought I’d answer some of the most recent questions I’ve been asked.

When/where are you getting married?
The Big Day is April 18, 2009. We’re getting married at our church. The Big Day, incidentally, is six weeks after one of my best friends is getting married and two weeks after my college roommate of three years is getting married.

What are you going to do after you get married?
Probably most of the same things I’ve been doing before I got married. I suppose the biggest difference will be Living In The Same Domicile As Christian. Other than that, I’ll be working, cleaning, cooking, and praying for my very own chubby babies. Christian will still be working at his job, and things should stay that way until we pay off all of Christian’s student loans. Once that’s done, we hope to be headed to seminary, where, as of this writing, Christian will study Hebrew and Greek in preparation for Bible translation, and I will hopefully be raising aforementioned chubby babies (who may, at that point, no longer be babies).

How’s your job going?
It’s going, and I still have it, so I’m thankful. I may only have it until the end of December, and if that’s the case, I will probably babysit and nanny until I find something else. Once we’re married, we will be able to live (very, very frugally) on Christian’s income, but I don’t have a whole lot else to do, so I’m hoping to at least work part-time.

What are you doing for Christmas?
My family is doing something new – we’re eschewing spending the holidays with our extended family and sequestering ourselves in a cabin in North Carolina. Christian is coming with us, and it looks like Christian’s family may meet us there for a day to be introduced to my parents. I’ll be sure to let you know how the 2008 Initial Parental Contact goes.

What are you doing tonight?
OK, so no one asked me that, at least not today. But I asked myself that so I could tell you that Christian and I are driving to Charlotte after work to see Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God show, and I. am. beyond. excited. This will be the third year we’ve gone together (for those who are counting, that’s every Christmas we’ve been dating).

Any other burning questions? E-mail me (chelseykarns [at] gmail [dot] com) or leave a comment. Especially if they’re of the Drew Barrymore variety.

Sarah Palin – role model or not?
September 2, 2008, 12:20 pm
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I have been reading a lot about Sarah Palin, which isn’t hard these days since she’s all over the news. First there were the stories about her background, which seems really interesting. Then rumors that her fifth child was actually her daughter’s child – a rumor proved false, since the next story was that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, really is pregnant.

I have been excited about Sarah Palin ever since McCain announced her as his running mate, and it seemed like most conservatives and Christians were excited as well. Then last night I ran into some other viewpoints from Christians I really respect that seem to think it’s wrong for her to be in this position.

Voddie Baucham, who is an incredibly godly man, thinks that Palin is decidedly anti-family, though he says so in a gracious way.

And then Nancy Ann Wilson, who writes at Femina, has a completely different take.

I think the point that she is not in church leadership but in civil leadership is well taken. While we never see a woman in a church leadership position in Scripture, we do see Deborah and Esther called by God to impact the people – roles that are similar to the vice presidency. I also think it is a good point that we are not necessarily called to vote for people who are godly Christian role models, although that would be nice.

From what I can see, Sarah Palin loves her family, is vehemently against abortion, believes in strict interpretation of the Constitution, and is supporting her teenage daughter in an incredibly difficult circumstance. So far, these things stand out to me as reasons to vote a McCain/Palin ticket – not as reasons not to.

I’d be interested to hear other opinions.

Chicken, broccoli and cheese casserole
June 11, 2008, 9:00 am
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Lately I’ve been having some issues with food that I haven’t quite resolved. My mom says it might be the heat; Christian’s worried it’s something psychological. Regardless, I’m discovering that in order to get my fill of nutrients, I need to lean back on things that I know I like.

One of those things is my mom’s hearty chicken, broccoli and cheese casserole. This is one of my favorite meals she makes, and when I started cooking for myself, this was one of the first recipes I asked her for. After the recipe, I give you my “fixes” to make it healthier and/or cheaper.

Chicken, broccoli and cheese casserole
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
10 oz. broccoli, cut into small pieces
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups rice

Mix together mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup, broccoli and cheese in bowl. Put chicken on bottom of 9×9 baking dish. Pour mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until cheese begins to bubble on the surface. Serve over rice.

This isn’t a very complicated recipe, and from my previous quick fixes, you’ll probably guess what I have to say.

As always, use low-sodium, fat free cream of mushroom soup. You can also use cream of celery or cream of chicken, if that’s what you have in your cabinet.

Use reduced fat cheddar cheese.

I don’t really like brown rice, but that would make this considerably healthier than using white rice.

This is a delicious casserole that tastes great leftover.

Chicken enchiladas
June 6, 2008, 9:00 am
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In an effort to give easy, yummy recipes to you all, I’m going to start posting some recipes/meal ideas that I’ve been making for the last couple of years. Some of these are stolen from my mom, so I’ll go ahead and give her a hat tip.

I don’t know where my mom got this recipe, but it quickly evolved into one of my favorites while I was in high school. Even though our family has a tradition of going out to eat on someone’s birthday, once I asked my mom if she would just make this for my birthday dinner instead. That’s how good it is.

Chicken enchiladas
3 large chicken breasts, shredded (see below)
16 oz. sour cream
8 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 can cream of chicken
7 oz. diced green chiles (optional)
1 packet taco seasoning
8-10 10-inch tortillas or 12-15 6-inch tortillas (flour)

Cook chicken in skillet until cooked through. In bowl, use two forks to shred chicken (It’s easy! Just cut the chicken into smaller pieces, then turn the forks upside down and pull the pieces of chicken apart). Mix taco seasoning into chicken. Set aside.

In separate bowl, mix cream of chicken, sour cream and diced green chiles. Put heaping spoonful of this mixture in with chicken; mix.

In 13×9 inch pan, spread a thin layer of the mixture over the bottom.

Heat tortillas for 30 seconds in microwave. Put a couple of spoonfuls of chicken and a pinch of cheese on each tortilla. Roll tortillas up and place in pan.

Spread remaining mixture over the tops of tortillas, making sure to cover as much as possible (otherwise, the tortillas will turn really brown and crunchy).

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes, or until top layer starts to bubble. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the enchiladas and leave in oven until it melts.

Again, this is one of my favorite meals, even though it isn’t the healthiest dish. But there are ways to make it healthier.

First of all, you can use fat-free sour cream. In fact, I recommend using fat-free sour cream all the time! You’re never eating it by itself (’cause that would be gross), and you really can’t tell the difference. Especially in this recipe, the sour cream is contributing more to the texture than to the actual taste.

Another “cheat” is to find fat-free, low sodium cream of chicken soup. Just check the labels at the store until you find the healthiest one. Campbell’s has a “healthy choice” brand, but there are off-brands with the same nutritional content.

Use corn tortillas instead of flour. This is one shortcut I don’t like to taste, because I really don’t like corn tortillas that much. But for my roommate Katie, who hails from southern Texas, corn tortillas are preferred. Pick whichever one you like, but be willing to live with the consequences.

The final hint, and probably my least favorite, is to cut down on the cheese. You don’t have to put the cheese in the tortillas if you don’t want to. Another option is to use low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese instead of monterey jack. It will change the taste a little, but you could also throw in some more diced chiles if you want to spice it up a bit.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s pretty much fail-proof. You can’t mess it up!


Just call me ‘Shooby’
July 3, 2007, 9:03 am
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Saturday my aunt, uncle, and three cousins arrived at my parents’ house to stay for a few days. Sydney just turned 6, Alayna is about to turn 3, and Abby was born in December. Needless to say, it has not been a quiet twenty-four hours (though after a couple months of babysitting four little girls under five, it’s pretty typical for me).

We decided that it would be fun to take them to the pool, so me, my mom, my aunt, and the two older girls piled into the car (I make it sound like it was fast – it took probably an hour to get everything ready) and headed to the country club where my family has a summer pool membership. I had a bag full of books, music and sunglasses, ready to lay out on a chair and work on my tan. However, within a few moments of arriving, it soon became clear that I was going to have to be in the pool with my cousins the entire time.

There must be a span of years, somewhere towards the end of high school and the beginning of college, where you feel kind of awkward in your own skin. You’re not really a little kid anymore, but you’re not really an adult. I think that a couple of years ago I would have just told Sydney that I didn’t want to swim. But maybe now I’ve realized that’s actually pretty jerk-ish of me, and now I really enjoy spending time with little kids. Does that mean I’m ready to have my own kids? I don’t know. If it does, I think I’ll still wait a while. A long while.

Anyway, my aunt had Alayna in her arms and was bouncing her around. Alayna wanted everyone to share in the fun, so she called out to her sister: “Sydney, I’m bouncing!” Then she looked at me.

“Shooby, I’m bouncing!”

None of us were really sure what she had just said. Shooby? She looked at me again.

“Shooby, I’m bouncing!”

Clearly she was talking to me. “Good job, Alayna!” I exclaimed.

And if there was any doubt that she was calling me ‘Shooby,’ it was confirmed again Sunday. We headed back to the pool, and after pushing Alayna on the swing for a while, she got off and ran to the baby pool. “Shooby, come on!” she yelled at me.

I’ve been called a lot of things. When my youngest sister was little, she couldn’t say ‘Chelsey,’ so she called me “Shashy” or “Shaf.” In the past couple of years, various foreigners and young children have called me everything from “Chesley” to “Charsy” and “Cholsey.” I guess you get used to it after a while.

Probably the cutest instance of it, though, was last night when we went out to eat at Moe’s. She looked over at me while eating her cheese quesadilla and exclaimed, “Shooby, I’m a’ eatin’ at Moo’s!”

July 2, 2007, 12:28 am
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Christian is coming home to me in 20 days. Well, I guess he’s coming home to more things than me. But I’m the one picking him up at the airport, so technically I’ll be the first somewhat familiar thing he will see. So I’ll stand by my statement: Christian is coming home to me in 20 days.

He’s in a town called Heilbronn right now, staying with an older couple from the church he’s been attending. He’ll be with them all this week and is going back to Bamberg on Sunday. I’ll get to talk to him again in 7 days.

They’re going to London this coming week for a conference. London is a dangerous place now, apparently, which I was reminded of about 15 minutes before we said “goodbye.” I know that God is bigger than terrorists. I also know that anxiety is just a euphemism for not trusting God, which is a sin. Nevertheless, I will be very, very happy when he returns back to Heilbronn. He’ll be out of very, very potential terror-related danger in 5 days.

I guess there are other things to countdown besides things related to Christian, but he’s on my mind and heart right now, so I’ll leave it at that.

Oh, well, my aunt and uncle and three cousins (all under 6 years old) are leaving Tuesday. 2 days. I’m having fun with them, but I think the dog is ready for them to leave, so this last countdown is for Teddy.