Black Bean Pork Spareribs

I spent my first trimester avoiding Chinese food like the Plague, which is odd because that’s usually what we eat in our home. I’ve had a horrible time experimenting with pastas and casseroles – they never seem to turn out the way I want. It seemed like the only things I wanted to eat were pizza, cheeseburgers, spaghetti, etc. I guess the baby’s pretty American. Well, I’m so thankful that my stomach is returning back to normal and I can finally cook Chinese again.

I had to make something quick tonight. Black bean pork spareribs are so easy because you just mix all the ingredients in a bowl, let it sit for a bit, then steam it (you can even use the same bowl, so you don’t have to wash so many dishes!)

I found the recipe originally at the below link, but if you’re Asian, then I’d say to use your intuition instead of measuring all the ingredients. I usually also add some garlic chili paste to make it a bit spicy.

Recipe from: http://steamykitchen.com/203-chinese-steamed-spareribs-with-black-bean-sauce.html

ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs pork spare rib (rib tips)
2 tablespoons black bean sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (on microplane grater)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar

directions:

Cut the spareribs crosswise into 1″ – 2″ sections. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Transfer spareribs and sauce into a shallow, heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok (a pie plate or 9” cake pan works great.) Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Set steaming rack inside of wok and fill with water almost up to height of rack. Turn heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high. Set pan with spareribs on top of a steaming rack in wok. Steam on med-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink. Make sure that when you are steaming that you don’t run out of water in the wok. Replenish with additional water, if needed.

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The women in my life

22 Weeks pregnant now. I really should take some pregnancy pictures to document this.

I went up to Northern California this past week for work, and was able to see some friends and family on the same trip. I stayed one night with my grandma, aunts, and uncle (they all live together in a house up there). My cousins and I call my grandma “A Puo” as a term of endearment. A Puo is 87 – we are 60 years apart. We have a special connection because both of us have the same Chinese zodiac sign – the ox. A Puo is truly the ox to be exemplified – very hard working. I don’t believe any of that zodiac stuff, but when I read the ox description, it does sound like my grandma –

Ox people are hard-working and persistent, they can stick at a task longer and go at it harder than anybody. Ox people are observant, they have remarkable memories and are good at reporting on absolutely everything they observe. Ox people are stubborn and dogmatic, they believe in their decision and will never regret. They are also very close to their families. They are very family-oriented, conservative and faithful.

She came to the States just a couple months before I was born, which is very special to her…and now that I’m getting ready to give birth to a little girl, that story is becoming more special to me as well. This past time visiting with her was very difficult for both of us. She was very emotional. My third aunt’s cancer may be returning, and my youngest aunt has also been having some complications with her anemia. It’s so strange because just a few years ago, we didn’t have any history of cancer or disease in our family. A Puo repeated several times that she witnessed my birth and now I will be having a baby of my own. But she didn’t say it in a happy way – it was more like she was saying, “I don’t know where my life has gone.”

She was worried about so many things. I told her in my limited Chinese that she needs to lay her worries before the Lord and be thankful for the blessings in her life. I really hope she knows Jesus as her Savior…it is hard to tell. When I left, I forgot the bag of persimmons that she had hand-picked for me. When I called her later at the airport, she was so distraught over the persimmons, she was worried about me being tired from travelling, she was worried I would be hungry…basically, she was worried about everything. I spoke to my mom about it later with tears streaming down my face. I don’t know why, but thinking about my little old grandma worrying so much about me makes me tear up even now. My mom reminded me that’s how A Puo has always been – she expresses her care through worry. She reminded me that I need to pray for her.

I think a part of me is so emotional about it because seeing A Puo like that makes me think about my own mom. Okay yes, I’m sure it’s because of pregnancy hormones too. But I do think that if A Puo is like that now, then will that be what my mom will be like when she’s older?

My mom’s zodiac is a dragon, which apparently is very desirable for Chinese people. She is very hard working – she’s not the type to kick back and relax. She is a servant to our family in the truest sense. She is my example of how to serve my family with selflessness, with loves, with diligence. She is the one in my extended family that is able to make executive decisions, and whom the others go to for advice.

I know my mom does worry about me…she wants me to have a good life. Like most immigrant families, her and my dad have worked hard in order to provide us with a better life than they. Because Beland and I are considering and desiring to go overseas for missions, a piece of my heart breaks thinking about how much she will worry about me, returning to the place that she left. Will she be like A Puo – controlled by her worries and fears for me? What if she does not have her health? I feel wretched thinking that I would not be able to take care of her…financially, physically, everything-ly. The night I came back from Northern California, I wept and wept just thinking about all these things. It doesn’t diminish my desire to go to Taiwan with my husband to bring the gospel to the lost. But, I have to admit that the thought of my parents getting older and worrying about me is becoming more painful.

Two days after I returned from Northern California, I saw my mom and that’s when we talked about my trip. I didn’t mention anything to her about my thoughts regarding her becoming old…I don’t think she would have appreciated that! I just told her about what happened with A Puo. She said to me that when you become a mother, you cannot help but worry about your kids, but you have to learn to let them go – to entrust the Lord with their lives. And then, she shocked me – she said that if Beland and I end up in Taiwan, she knows it will be hard for her, but she will have to learn to let me go. If you knew how opposed she was to the idea of me becoming a missionary when Beland and I first started dating, you would be shocked too. I know she can only say that now, not just because she loves me or because she has conceded, but I know it’s because she has learned to love and trust God with both my life and her own.

In a lot of ways, I don’t think I’m there yet. I feel so weak and emotionally affected by all these things. I’m so thankful to God for putting that on my mom’s heart, and I can only pray that he would change my heart to trust in him more.

worship

21 weeks pregnant now. I love feeling our baby girl kicking. During the first trimester, I really wondered if I’d ever want to do this again, but feeling her inside of me is such an amazing feeling…it makes me feel so special, like we have a little secret between the two of us. Although I know she will never remember it, I hope I always remember this feeling.

I’ve been really challenged lately to consider whether my life, my daily life, is lived out in true worship to God. I think – no, I know that it’s not. I feel that I’m so wrapped up in work, in getting things done, and complaining about those two that my relationship with God is pushed further and further away from my thoughts. It’s only on Sundays or when I’m rushing to finish my SemWives homework that I’m reminded of God.

I’ve been reading one of my favorite books “How to Worship Jesus Christ” by Joseph Carroll. There is a quote I read last week that struck very close to home: “…you can desire to see Him in His glory and His beauty and His wonder, and never do so. Why? If there is a mist, the mist of an unsurrendered heart, there can be no acceptable approach to Him.” When I peer into my soul, I do see a genuine desire to worship the Savior whom I profess to love. That desire looks like a timid little lamb, white and cleansed by the Savior’s blood. That desire was given to me when I came to faith in Jesus. And then standing next to that sweet little desire seems to be an evil giant that takes my will by the reigns. He looks like the hulk!! In my prayers, I often relate to Paul who said it’s true that evil is present in him. And that principle of evil tempts me to focus my affections on me me me, and I am ashamed to say that I more often than not yield to him, my own sin nature.

It’s my prayer that God would give me the grace I need to train my will daily, to grow my knowledge and love for Christ, and to say “no” to sinful habits.

Post No. 1

I love writing – putting my thoughts into black letters. But the idea of keeping up a blog seems so daunting to me. Sometimes I get in the mood to write, so I make one blog post, and then about a year later I delete it and start over. So here I am again, deleting whatever I wrote previously, and starting anew.

I know this is probably connected to some deep rooted issue that I don’t finish what I start. I love to put dirty clothes into the laundry, but when the dryer alarm goes off, I have to drag myself into the laundry room to actually put the clothes away. I have to confess that more than a few times, the clothes have sat in the dryer for days. I also love starting new journals, or a new ledger for work. Something about pressing my pen against a never-pen-pressed page is so exhilarating. I love trying my best to write as nicely as possible so as not to taint the journal. In those early stages, if I make a typographical error, I hate crossing out, so I just tear out the page and start over. But a few weeks later, I’m scribbling my notes or writing random reminder in it, doodling in it, and pulling off edges of pages to spit my gum out. I can’t wait to start a new one.

So what does that say about me? I have no idea, but I’m going to go ahead and start this blog post anyway.

I’m 18 weeks and 1 day pregnant today. It’s so exciting to feel the baby kicking (or what I think is kicking), and I wish Beland could feel it. This morning we tried putting his hand on my belly, but he couldn’t feel a thing. But every time the baby kicked, I’d get so excited and make a gasping noise. I think Beland was jealous that we were having a little party without him. I can’t wait for him to feel it too.

My appointment with the Perinatologist is in two weeks, and that’s when we should find out the sex of our little marshmallow. Beland named him/her “Marshmallow” because that’s what he/she looked like in the ultrasound, just a marshmallow blob.

We are so excited to be parents, but I feel scared at the same time. Scared of myself. In the last week, I have found myself complaining about work, not going to God’s Word with joy, feeling sorry for myself, willfully sinning against the Lord. I see so much of my own sin and don’t want our child to become like me. Even apart from sin, this week at work, I had to subtract several large numbers. After trying to do it on paper, I thought I’d just check my work with a calculator. I’m ashamed to say that I was way off! How did this girl graduate from college? How am I going to teach my child to subtract if I can’t even do it??

I’m sure I’ll be struggling with these thoughts for decades to come, but I really want to spend the next five months to prepare my heart before the baby arrives. I’ve been reading How To Worship Jesus Christ by Joseph Caroll – the first few chapters of this book have been some of my favorites since I first read it a couple years ago. It has been a challenge to me that I need to learn what it is to truly worship my Savior – to cast down my “crowns” before Him. I pray that God would help both Beland and I to be true worshipers of Jesus, and to be godly and loving parents.