Cooking and Baking

Kurt has been learning to cook in preparation for the two months I'll be in the USA with Mikayla and Kirsten.

Mikayla and Kurt cooking

He's quite good and we've been enjoying delicious Spanish rice, stir fry, egg bakes, omelets, and desserts.
The other day he and Mikayla made supper. For dessert they made rock cakes. These are an excellent dessert.

Rock Cakes - Rosey's Jolly Raspberry Jelly Rock Cakes
from the Redwall Cookbook

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a bit more for rolling the dough
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter or margarine, chilled and cubed, plus a bit more for the baking sheet
1/2 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Blueberry, Strawberry, or Raspberry Jam or Jelly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the butter or margarine and rub it into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre, add the eggs and mix well to form a stiff dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and form it into a roll.
Cut the dough into ten pieces, shape them into balls and place them well apart on a baking sheet.
Use your thumb to make a hole in the centre of each and fill the hole with jam or jelly.
Pinch the dough closed over the jam, sprinkle the rock cakes with a little sugar and bake them until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Cool the cakes on a wire rack and eat them while fresh, preferably on the same day.

What Is BurnOut?

An occupational hazard of caring is burnout.
Robert Wicks has written several great books on dealing with burnout and living resiliently. One of those books is "Bounce"

What it burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

Most of us have days when we feel bored, overloaded, or unappreciated; when the dozen balls we keep in the air aren't noticed, let alone rewarded; when dragging ourselves out of bed requires the determination of Hercules. If you feel like this most of the time, however, you may be flirting with burnout.

Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn't the same as too much stress. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and psychologically. Stressed people can still imagine, though, that if they can just get everything under control, they'll feel better.

Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don't see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress is like drowning in responsibilities, burnout is being all dried up. One other difference between stress and burnout: While you're usually aware of being under a lot of stress, you don't always notice burnout when it happens.

Stress is:
Characterized by overengagement
Emotions are overreactive
Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Loss of energy
Leads to anxiety disorders
Primary damage is physical
May kill you prematurely

Burn out is:
Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are blunted
Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is emotional
May make life seem not worth living

Source:Stress and Burnout in Ministry

Holmes-Rahe Scale

Interested in taking inventory of your stress? Check out the Holmes-Rahe Scale inventory at

Two Great Reads

Two books we've been enjoying reading are these:

I strongly recommend both!

Missionary Stress

Every year at least 5,000 missionaries leave the field unnecessarily because of excessive stress involving personal, family, social, and ministry-related problems. Those remaining on the field face life stressors at least 2-3 times those experienced by individuals at home in the United States.

The Holmes-Rahe Scale is one way health professionals measure stress in people's lives. The basic idea is that a certain number of life events can build up the level of our stress until it gets dangerous. In the original study, they found that if you reached a level of 200 on the scale in a year, the cumulative stress would have consequences for some time to come.

In 1999, Drs Lois and Larry Dodds (of Heartstream Resources) were studying the levels of stress on the mission field, using a modified version of the Holmes-Rahe Scale. They wanted to find out what the typical missionary went through.

The news wasn't good. The typical missionary had not just peaking levels above 300, they had sustained levels over 300 year after year. The Dodds found that the average missionary's stress levels for the first year are typically around 800-900, and the sustained stress levels of a cross cultural worker stays around 600.

When stress levels reach above a 200, doctors will advise patients to make life changes- drink a glass of wine, exercise, sleep more, that kind of thing. The goal is to keep stress levels below 200, since anything over that can result in some incredibly negative effects, especially over the long term.

We've been proactively dealing with stress by
-Exercising daily.
-Having daily family devotions.
-Maintaining healthy diets.
-Trying to be strategic with our ministry.
-And building margin into our schedules.

We find encouragement in knowing that you are praying for us and encouraging us.

Following God's call to the Philippines, to caring for James and Jerard, has been worth the stress. Yet, even hardened soldiers on the battle field need restoration and time out of the battle.

My Holmes-Rae score has typically been over 400 points a year. Some years it has been 600. And we've been on the mission field 7 years with no furlough yet due to the adoption of James.
It's time now for me to speak honestly of this.

I've been dealing with depression and am in need of getting back to the states. Shame has kept me quiet on this subject, but I need to bring it to the open now.
Our mission organization has been working with us to keep us on the field due to the ongoing adoption but it has now been decided that I will return to the states in July as planned with Mikayla and Kirsten to get some counseling. The plan is I will return to the Philippines in September for a couple weeks for James' adoption court hearing, return to the states for a couple months, then return to the Philippines for a couple weeks in December to bring Kirsten and Ben back to the states. Kurt will stay here with James while final travel papers are completed so James can come to the states. We hope to be all together as a family again in the states February or March of 2014.

Pray for us during all this transition we are facing.