Freezer Meals

So this blog is more than dusty… it is quite forgotten.  I am not at all good at keeping up a blog but I wanted to share some meals that I recently prepared and froze for after the biggest baby of ours is going to be born.  Today I am 33 and 2 days along carrying another little Schaefer boy and that is two days longer than I have ever carried a baby before!  My mom is in town for an undetermined amount of time and I am feeling good and so I have been able to store up a number of meals for our freezer.  We are church planting in Massachusetts and the two other pastors’ wives are also each expecting a baby just weeks after mine and so we won’t have the same sort of meals provided us as we did when we were back at our old churches.  I hope to get some meals made for my dear pregnant friends (or at least pull out some of my little stash) while I am still cooking a baby on the inside and have my mom here to help.

Here are the recipes I used.  I haven’t actually tried many of these but just made them and froze them and am hoping we’ll be so thankful to already have them that if they taste a little funny it won’t matter. :-)

I checked out two books from the library Don’t Panic–Dinner is in the Freezer and Don’t Panic–More Dinner is in the Freezer.  The authors are Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, and Bonnie Garcia.  From the first book I made Sassy Sloppy Joes (I browned the beef and “simmered” the mix in the oven instead of on the stove), Manicotti, and their Very Best Meatloaf.  From the second book I made the Telluride Black Bean Tortilla Bake (super excited to eat this one) and the Baked Penne with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese.  There were more recipes out of these books that I would have liked to make but we ran of space.

The other recipes came from various places online. Let’s see…

White Chicken and Spinach Lasagna from MelsKitchenCafe.com one of my FAVORITE blogs.

Chicken Spaghetti from The Pioneer Woman… basically you can’t go wrong there.

Three of the recipes I made are from this set of Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes that sixsistersstuff.com put together I used their Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken, Chicken Cacciatore, and Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans (but I didn’t want to freezer and then cook cilantro in the crock pot so I’ll add that later and I accidentally put twice as much corn in each bag!).

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry is a super tasty recipe that we just had tonight and I can’t wait until we have it again.

So there are the recipes I used.  Maybe they will be a help to you!

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An Incarnation Hymn

Celebrate the wonder of the incarnation of Jesus Christ this Christmas with this hymn by Joseph Conder.  It is called “Thou Art the Everlasting Word” (1836):

Thou art the everlasting Word,
The Father’s only Son;
God manifestly seen and heard,
And Heav’n’s belovèd one:
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.

In Thee most perfectly expressed
The Father’s glories shine;
Of the full deity possessed,
Eternally divine:
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.

True image of the Infinite,
Whose essence is concealed;
Brightness of uncreated light;
The heart of God revealed:
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.

But the high mysteries of Thy Name
An angel’s grasp transcend;
The Father only—glorious claim!—
The Son can comprehend:
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.

Throughout the universe of bliss,
The center Thou, and sun;
Th’eternal theme of praise of this,
To Heav’n’s belovèd one:
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.

Merry Christmas from the Schaefers!

Merry Christmas 2012

See the link below to read our Christmas newsletter.

Schaefer Christmas Letter 2012

Starting somewhere

I need not point out that I am terrible at keeping up a blog and so I won’t.  But I will say that one thing that keeps me from writing is just the fact that I haven’t written in so long and so I don’t know where to begin.  That becomes a vicious cycle that keeps me from ever writing and so tonight I am just starting somewhere.

That somewhere is today in the van on our way home from our second park outing of the day.  It was just before 5pm and already dark outside (one of the only things I really don’t like about living this far east) and Matthias started asking me a question and he can ask some of the most random questions: “Where do birds sleep?” “Where does the air come from?” “What was in that cave?” [that we visited 2 1/2 months ago].  Questions can arise anytime and out of anywhere.  Lately an increasing amount of Matthias’s questions have to do with Jesus, God, sin/disobedience, happiness (Matthias is always concerned about knowing if someone is happy or sad), etc.  It has been so good to have spiritual conversations with my three-year-old even if they only last 30 seconds and conclude with some comment about the size of his Lego tower.

In the car this evening he was looking at a picture he made in Sunday school that had a picture of a wrapped gift box on it and a paraphrase of the second half of Romans 6:23 on it, “The gift of God is eternal life in Jesus.”  Matthias was initially just interested in what was in the box but later he was asking if God is happy when we disobey and I said that is isn’t.  Then he asked if Jesus was happy when he played.  I told him that Jesus was happy and pleased when he played kindly with Isaiah and with kids at the playground. 

Matthias LOVES for people to be happy with him (a people-pleaser just like his momma) and so I know that he wants to know what to do to make sure God is happy with him.  This is when I need to remind him (and always myself at the same time) that he can’t make God happy.  No matter what he does on his own will put him in a right place with the One who made him.  And so as we were pulling into our driveway tonight I reminded him that he can’t be nice to Isaiah on his own and he can’t obey Momma and Daddy even if he tries with all his might.  But Jesus did obey God all the time and he was always kind.  I reminded him of a question he asks me a few times every day, “What did Jesus die on the cross to save us from?”  Jesus died to save us from God’s wrath so that our sins could be forgiven.  We need God to give us a new heart that can obey him because the heart we are born with won’t and can’t obey him. 

Conversations are beginning to happen like this throughout each day.  And I KNOW that my theology doesn’t come out perfectly each time and different parts of the gospel get focused on at different times.  But what a privilege it is to get to speak to my son about Jesus.  What a mercy it is for me to hear the truth of our need for God and his love for us each day as Matthias asks me again why Jesus died on the cross.

These are some of the conversations I remember having with my parents as a child and so I pray that Matthias can remember these (with a heart that is trusting in Jesus) one day as well.

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Welcome to Boston

Here it is: September 11, 2012.  We arrived in Boston 10 days ago.  More specifically, we moved into Newton 10 days ago.  Newton has about 80,000 residents, covers an area of 18.3 square miles, and is the home of Boston College.  The city is comprised of fourteen villages, and the one we have moved into is called Nonantum.  Nonantum sits along the Charles River, and its name is from an Indian word for rejoicing.  Our prayer is that many of the people here will come to rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Nonantum has a predominantly Italian population, and even has its own unique dialect.  The two other families with us moved in the villages of Newtonville and Oak Hill.

We all made it here safely with our worldly possessions and were met by teams of volunteers who helped us move everything from the trucks into our new homes.  Since then, the extended family members who made the long road trip with us have gone home and we are becoming settled into what is our new home.  We have been meeting our neighbors and other people we happen to come in contact with.

Right now the three men are pursuing job opportunities, with a couple of scheduled interviews this week.  Please pray for those.

Meat for a Month

I was reading this morning from Numbers 11, where the Israelites complain about wanting meat to eat.  The LORD then promises meat for a whole month “until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you…” (v. 20).  Moses then questions how there will be meat for hundreds of thousands of people for a whole month.  The LORD’s reply is v. 23: “Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”  V. 24 then says very simply, “So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD.”  The rest of this chapter bears witness that the LORD sent the Israelites more quail than then could handle, and with it sent a great plague for their rejection of him and his provision.  Indeed, the word of the LORD came true for them.

Is the LORD’s Hand Shortened?

We have asked by many why we would move here to plant a church.  There are so many reasons to think that Christ Community Church cannot come into existence: It is too expensive to live here, Newton is too Jewish, the Greater Boston Area is too post-Christian and anti-Christian, we are not from here, people are to unapproachable and academic and scientific and political and materialistic and atheistic…the list could go on.

But we must respond with the same question of Numbers 11:23—“Is the LORD’s hand shortened?”

Has not Jesus said, “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18)?  Is God not rich in mercy to make alive together with Christ those who are now dead in their trespasses (Eph. 2:1-10)?  Does he not honor the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine the light of the knowledge of the glory of God into the hearts of some of those blinded by the devil—in the same way that he commanded light out of darkness when he created the universe (2 Cor. 4:1-6)?

No, the LORD’s hand is not shortened.  The Keunes, the Mahons, and the Schaefers have put everything at stake that we may see whether the word of the LORD will come true for us or not.  It will by your prayers and ours.

Reflections on the Birth of Jesus – Christmas 2011

Who is this little baby lying in a manger at Bethlehem?  Such a commotion has been reported—of angels descending from heaven and proclaiming to shepherds the birth of a Savior, that this baby is the Christ.  Those who know the prophets remember that this town was to be the birthplace of the Christ.  It is the city of David.  There are many descendents of David here, but the people have not seen a king from the line of David for hundreds of years, not since exile to Babylon.  And yet this is what the wise men who came from the east were saying when they arrived in Jerusalem: “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?  For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Can a king come from such low beginnings?  A feeding trough for livestock is hardly a royal welcome.  This king would need to be a different sort of king than Israel had seen in its history.  For even the king David, after whom the dynasty was named, proved to fall short.  His reign saw adultery, murder, and a disobedient census.  Nevertheless, God made a covenant with him and told him that his son would build a house for the name of the Lord, and God would establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  Solomon looked hopeful, but was drawn away after foreign gods by his wives who worshiped them.  Under the kings after Solomon, the kingdom split and declined into oblivion.  Where was the nation of Israel?  Most of the tribes were lost.  Judah was only a province for a pagan empire.  So where was this son?  What had happened to Jacob’s prophesy, when he said that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah,” and “to him shall be the obedience of the peoples?”

Is this baby really the one who will put his hand on the neck of God’s enemies?  Will the nations be brought into submission to him to give him tribute?  This baby’s cousin John came in the spirit of Elijah, and the Scriptures told that he would come to prepare the way of the Lord.  It is evident that this baby was more than anyone could have imagined.  He is the prophet God promised to raise up like Moses.  He is the king in the line of David everyone had been waiting for.  But he is more than these things.  He is not only the descendent of David, but also his root.  The birth of Jesus is the coming of the God of Israel himself.  And he came to do more than rescue God’s people from their human enemies.  They needed saving from the wrath of their own God, who would utterly destroy them for their idolatries.  And their God has indeed come—as a man—to be the true Israelite who would be guiltless of transgressing God’s command.  He would render obsolete the entire priestly system of sacrifices and atonement, because he has come as a perfect high priest of an eternal priesthood.  The one by whom all things were created at the beginning would offer himself.  His blood would make atonement once and for all time on behalf of those who take part in the new covenant by faith.  This was the plan from before time: “…it was the will of the Lord to crush him…he shall make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”

The ultimate enemy, the serpent from the Garden, would be defeated through the humiliating death of the Son of God on a Roman cross.  The weapon of unforgiven sin would be ripped from his hand as he felt the heel of the second Adam on his head.  The Word of God made flesh would not come to an end with death.  He would defeat death in his rising and be exalted to reign from the very throne of God.  He would come a second time to gather his people and to defeat all of his enemies.  He would return to rule the nations with a rod of iron and to tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God.  The redeemed he will raise to life to see his face and to be with him in his kingdom forever and ever.

The birth of this little Jewish baby is no small event.  No, it is the biggest event the world has ever seen.  Bigger than making the sun travel backwards.  Bigger than leading a nation out of Egypt through the Red Sea.  Bigger than a worldwide flood.  The birth of this baby was bigger than creation itself.  This baby is God in the flesh.  This baby is Christ Jesus, the Lord.

A quick update and a message from Matthias

I love the outdoors!

Hey, everyone!  Just a quick update here from the Schaefers…

We are enjoying the beautiful early spring weather here in Kentucky and Matthias has just fully established his love of walking so he is all over the place!  With the ups also come the downs… the other day he fell three times in five minutes and now has bruises on each check to prove it!

His current vocabulary consists of saying “Mama” A LOT, “Daddy” or “Doo Da,” “hot” for things he can’t touch, “uf” or “af” for doggies (and lots of other animals), “mmm” for the sound a cow makes, “ba” for ball, and a tweeting sort of sound for the birds he hears singing outside.  He seems very content to learn the sounds things make (he does a great truck impression) and that just makes me smile and love the boy-ness that he epitomizes.

A happy adventure that we are 17 weeks into is the blessing of being pregnant with another baby.  We are so thankful to the Lord for the joy and privilege that it is to carry a child.  I have been feeling great and was able to have a hopefully pregnancy-lengthening surgery a month ago called a cerclage.  That will hopefully help to keep this baby sealed in tight for even longer than the 32 weeks Matthias was on the inside.

This past Monday we had an ultrasound and the baby looked great!  The doctor is hopeful that I will make it even further than 32 weeks this time and may even be able to have a vaginal birth (last time was C-Section) if this baby doesn’t go breech.  He did mention that I might have to go on bed-rest starting around 26-28 weeks but we will have to see how things go.

We didn’t find out the sex of our baby with either Elias or Matthias but we had strong suspicions this time and wanted to see if we could have them confirmed and they were… but instead of tell you plainly I’m going to let Matthias deliver the message and show off his great walking skills!  Enjoy the video!



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