the light at the end of the tunnel

For many months now, I have often mentioned how busy JJ is.  (At least, I think I have.  Maybe I haven’t.  But, let me assure you, he HAS been busy!)  He’s had a number of writing projects for our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, two of which have gone to press and will be distributed to pastors across the WELS this month.  Two other projects in particular have demanded much of his time recently: He’s been working on his final paper for his final Master’s class, and he’s been writing and editing the WELS Hymnal Supplement Introduction booklet.  When he’s not doing those things, he’s busy doing his “regular” pastoral and synodical responsibilities.  And he’s principal of our school this year, too!  My husband is a busy guy.

A few weeks ago, the Hymnal Supplement booklet was finally finished and sent off to press.  So, for those of your WELS members out there, if you get a chance to take a peek at the Hymnal Supplement booklet, my husband wrote some of it and edited all of it!  That’s my man!  🙂  He and I were both glad to see that project finished.

But the biggest monkey on his back for the longest time, ever since last year, was the final paper for his final Master’s class.  It was an independent study, so the timeline for getting his paper submitted was looser than a regular class.  The deadline finally arrived, however, and the paper finally got done.  JJ is finishing the bibliography as I type this, and will be emailing it to his professor tonight.  And it will be DONE!!!  Yay!!!

He still has a few more business trips left: 2 in October, at least 1 in November, probably 1 in January, and 1 in February.  However, we’re turning that last one in February into a week-long family vacation in southern California!  I’m very excited about that!  Plus we’ll be spending some time at the church where JJ vicared (a vicar is a student pastor) in the L.A. area.  I don’t think the members there have met our girls yet, so that will be pretty neat.  But there’s an end in sight to his every-month traveling.  I’m looking forward to that.

So, I’m excited to get my husband back.  We’ve both been feeling the strain in our marriage, but we kept reminding ourself that this isn’t forever, that it’s just a season in our marriage.  We’re already making plans to begin having some couple time together in the evenings.  I’ve got an antique cribbage board that I’d like to start making use of, and JJ has mentioned evenings with warm drinks in our lovely, serene living room.  It will be wonderful to have some time to sit and talk again.  There’s been a lot of missed conversations while JJ did worked on his paper or worked on his other writings.  There’s been a lot of solo parenting moments, too.  But those are par for the course in any marriage, so I’ve learned not to get too bothered about that.  Still, it was so nice tonight to have him entertain the girls (especially the fussy, overtired baby!) while I made supper.  It was a vast improvement over plopping the girls in front of the TV or having a crying, clinging baby hanging onto my leg.

There will still be more busy times ahead, as now he has to think about beginning to prepare to take his Comprehensive Exams, the final hurdle to him obtaining his Master’s degree.  But, that’s another season, and those Comps will get finished sooner or later, too.

(Of course, Comps will probably get finished just in time to have another large Synodical project handed to him.  Or he’ll get a Call.  You fellow pastor’s wives out there know how it goes, right?  😉  )

JJ’s done!  He’s calling me to share a cup of tea in our living room.  The paper is finished!  Yay!  🙂

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crock pot enchiladas

I had a few requests for the recipe I mentioned earlier, so here it is.

Crock Pot Enchiladas

(from “Our Daily Bread,” the King of Kings Ev. Lutheran Church 30th Anniversary Cookbook, Garden Grove, Calfornia)

1 1/2 lb. ground beef (I used only 1 lb)
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (10 oz) jar enchilada sauce (I used a 19 oz can)
2 (16 oz) cans chili-seasoned beans (I used black beans instead)
1 (16 oz) can corn (I used an 11 oz can)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
(I also added 2 oz (half a can) of diced green chiles)
corn tortillas

Brown beef, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Drain off fat.  In a separate bowl, mix together beans, corn, tomato sauce (and chiles, if you’re using them).  Grease crock pot, then place a tortilla (or two) on bottom of pot.  Put on some beef mix, then sprinkle on some cheese, and finally pour a little enchilada sauce over it all.  Add another tortilla (or two).  Put on some bean/corn mixture, then add more cheese and enchilada sauce.  Repeat layers and finish with a layer of cheese.  Cook 5 hours on High (mine took only 4 hours on High), or 8 to 10 hours on Low.  Serves 8 to 10.