Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Once-A-Month Cooking - Tucker Style

A Brief Pre-Requisite Update on the Tuckers - which most of you already know...

Duane is back to work, driving locally, and home every night. He's gone to Hermiston, Prineville, Springfield, and equivalent lengths North, and West. But most of his runs are around Portland, or down to Albany/Eugene. He starts at 7am (just 5 minutes away from home), and gets home around 7:30pm (though sometimes he surprises me by getting home as soon as 5). The key fact though, is that he's home every night. Yay!!! When offered jobs that would take him away for a couple nights a week, he declined, saying that his marriage was more important to him than his job. Major husband points, right there! Somehow we survived for three years with him doing over-the-road trucking, but I just couldn't go back "there" again. He provides so much stability for me, and I just love having him around. I'm glad we get to be a team!

Meanwhile, I'm back to work full-time (30 hours/week) with Child Evangelism Fellowship as Office Manager and Director of Training. I'm also taking full-time online courses through the Degree Completion Program at Multnomah University. I'm majoring in Business Management, as a number of those classes line up with what I am doing at CEF. I attend class one night a week, and have 15 or so hours of homework in preparation for each class.

Currently Duane's weekend is Sunday and Monday each week, and I'm able to juggle mine to Saturday-Monday, so I have Saturday to study before I join him in spending our weekend together. Romeo and Jada don't exactly appreciate the long days by themselves, but we try to minimize that as much as possible.

I've also been going to bed at around 8pm, when Duane does, so I can join him in rising early, as I can. He gets up at 4am, and I get up as early as my still-recovering-body allows. Sometimes that means I'm up at 4:30, sometimes that means I barely stir to receive his good-bye kiss and sleep until 8. Some of you will laugh to hear me say that I found out it's actually kinda fun to get so much done before 8 in the morning! I'm just glad for the days my body cooperates!

Food for the Tuckers

All of that was to say: we're busy!!! Since Duane has been our main chef for so long, it's an adjustment to try and sort out the cooking when he's gone so much. On top of that, most of you know, I've never had any desire to be THE COOK. But now that I'm home more than he is, I'm trying to figure out ways to make this survivable by both of us.

The goals: 
  • Food for Duane to cook when he wants to cook (since he enjoys it so much)
  • Food that we will both enjoy 
  • Food that's safe for me to eat (ie Gluten-free, no/very-low sugar, limited dairy)
  • Healthy food that will nourish our bodies
  • Maintain a predictable budget 
  • Require limited time for food prep and cooking: I need something with about 2 minutes of prep when I get home exhausted after work and the last thing I want to do is cook. Also, Duane often gets home at 7:30, and goes to bed at 8, so not much room for waiting on food!
The Ideas: 
  • We tried the Home Chef program (they box up your prepared food supplies and send it to you, ready to cook)
    • Lovely idea
    • Too expensive
    • No leftovers
    • Not enough "safe" meals
    • Still some prep time involved
    • Duane likes the food, but doesn't get to maintain his flexibility to cook ("recipes are great for YOU, Cora...")
      NOTE: I also looked into Blue Apron, as you can get gift cards at Costco, so that it's basically 20% off, but they don't have gluten-free meals yet. 
  • Growing up, Mom Johnson tried the Once-A-Month Cooking plan talked about on Focus on The Family: Prepare and freeze your meals ahead, then pull it out and cook it.
    • Loved it growing up
    • Great meals!
    • Low-Cost
    • Not enough "safe" meals
  • E-Meals (a menu-planning service to help keep cost down and simplify the planning)
    • Once a week shopping
    • Too much food for us in a week
    • Still too much organization, since I had to cut down the menu AND do the shopping (see above)
    • Great food and variety! Many of the foods on our "favorite" list came from them.
    • Challenged us with new and usually tasty foods!
    • Simple prep and instructions
    • Still requires time preparing and cooking
    • Could work for our budget, but not ideal
    • Again, doesn't give Duane flexibility to cook what he wants to cook
  • Dining out regularly (funny how this isn't the top of the list!).
    • Too expensive (duh).
  • This Project: Once-A-Month cooking, Tucker-style
    • Minimal food prep time
    • Predictable budget (yet to find out: is it IN our budget?)
    • Flexibility so Duane can cook
    • Most of the meals are already favorites (a favorite meal EVERY NIGHT!?!?! Yay!)
    • All the meals are safe. 
So here's the cute little cover for my notebook that I adapted from a gal online
The main plan is this: 
  • I have the same set of meals every month (eventually I can do an "A" month and a "B" month, so we won't have the same meal for two months)
  • I do all the shopping from my pre-planned grocery list (no thinking!) once a month. 
  • I take one day and put everything into packages by meal for the month, ready to freeze (or in some cases refrigerate). If I time this right, I'll rope Duane into helping, and it should only take a couple hours. 
  • Each night, I'll pull out whichever package I want to use for dinner the next night, and put it in the fridge. I chose not to try to plan particular main dishes to go with certain sides, or to establish a monthly "menu". If you're more by-the-book, or have other reasons this would be helpful, I say "go for it!", but I've learned about us Tuckers that life doesn't revolve around a chart. I'd just get frustrated that I wasn't doing it "like I planned", so this plan lets us stay flexible, yet prepared! Depending on the week, I might sit down when I'm planning my week's schedule and sketch in some basic plans, which will help me know what to pick up for the fresh-veggie side dishes, but it's also not a "requirement."
  • When I get home from work, I can get to cooking, and not require any prep. Some meals are crock-pot friendly, so I can get them going in the morning before I leave... like on Thursdays when I barely have time to get home before class time... much less eat...
  • Bonus: I build into the budget $20 once a week, so Duane can go out and pick up the stuff for something else he's in the mood to make, just in case it's not something already on our list. Anyone who's had one of his meals, knows that there are usually leftovers, so really that's a 2+ meal budget! :)
So each week, I plan to: 
  • Pick 3 fresh veggies to buy and serve 
  • 1 meal Chef’s choice ($20)
  • Pick 6 main dishes from freezer
  • Pick 4 veggie dishes from freezer
My suspicion is that we'll still have too much food, so this is, quite possibly, the "Tucker 1.5 Month Plan". Which would make the budget even more likely to work for us. Some of the recipes are really big enough that we'll have two or more meals from each one. Which is handy, because that takes care of our lunches, as well. 

So here's what I did: 

  1. I found our favorite recipes, new and old. There are plenty of favorites left, but I selected some that would have similar ingredients (not as expensive getting a bunch of DIFFERENT stuff). 
  2. I entered these into the free online-and-android app called BigOven (also available in the Apple store for you weirdos those of you who have apple products). This app allowed me to enter and store my recipes from my computer, make and edit a grocery list from the meals I selected, and also have my grocery list with me at the store on my android device. It also has a menu planning feature, but I think that works mostly with the paid version, and I didn't need it for this plan anyway. 
  3. I went through by recipe, and decided how things would be packaged (These ingredients go in bag 1, these other ingredients go in bag 2, a couple items just need to stay in the fridge, etc.). This also helped me figure out what I will need to do on Prep day for each recipe (slice the veggies, cut the meat, etc.). I was pleased to find that most of them don't require much prep: it's mostly just tossing it in my freezer-ready packaging. 
  4. I assembled my handy-dandy notebook with the following sections
    1. Prep: 
      • My list of meals (both main dishes and side dishes)
        NOTE: You'll see that each meal is used twice, but I can serve them with weeks in between, or use them together when company comes!
      • The shopping list
      • Instructions for Prep Day
    2. Frozen Meals - Recipes for the frozen meals
      NOTE: these were easily printed off the BigOven app, with the added bonus that I can re-print them later if I need to do any editing, or add some personal notes.
    3. Fresh Meals - the side dishes that I'll need the recipes for, but won't purchase until the week-of
My Meal List
Each meal is offered twice, and
I can check off each meal as I serve it,
so I know what's left to choose from.
My Grocery List I also have this on my BigOven App
Prep Day Instructions A summary of steps required on "Prep Day"

So you're joining me for the progress. I plan to start this program when I return from a conference next week, so watch for another post after I actually do the shopping and prep day, and probably another after I actually survive the month. I'm sure there will be changes and "tweaks" to the plan. And then again, it may end up as another idea on my list with bullet points of pros and cons as I look for another option. If it DOES survive as our new routine, I'll share my recipes and documents so you can easily make it your own, but until I've had a chance to test it, I'll try not to confuse you with any faulty methods. :)

Now... I'd better go remind Duane to try to use the stuff from the freezer while I'm gone, so there's room for a month's-worth of meals!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Time with Family and Friends

The last couple weeks have been a great time of visiting different family and friends!


We celebrated the first Thanksgiving with Grandpa and Aunt Janet in their new house. Though not every one made it, we had a substantial turn-out. It was so reminiscent of the Thanksgivings as we grandkids were growing up: the table(s) piled with food, the table for the "kids" in the living room, playing games of Skip-bo, and the family time together. Now many of the grandkids have kids of their own, and we've had the joy of sharing with them our family traditions. 

From Out of Town

Last week we had impromptu visits with friends from Sprague River (Klamath Falls area), here in Portland. One couple was here in Portland for medical procedure, and another was on their way home from Seattle, where there had been another appointment. What fun to get together for lunch here in Portland, and catch up with our friends!

Immediate Family and Friends

We enjoyed a visit to Elmira this last weekend with my parents, a brother and my sister. Mom was hosting a table at the ladies Christmas tea at their church, and I had some fun china and flatware to share. We had such a grand time! 
Duane and I had the privilege of attending Olivet Baptist Church in Veneta on Sunday, (where I had attended for a number of years before being called down to Klamath Falls in 2006). It had been such a long time since our last visit - we were glad to make those connections!

Still Working on Gathering Addresses...

Until you've done it, it seems like such an easy-breezy job: gathering addresses for a mailing. But I'm in the middle of a third week of gathering those addresses, and still have a ways to go. It seems kinda silly, but could you pray for this process to go smoothly and quickly, so I can get back to the other parts of ministry? Thank you! 
Oh, and if you're reading this and would like to receive a newsletter, could you make sure I have your mailing address and/or email address? I'd like to snail mail a prayer card to you this time, but it would save money down the road for other mailings if I could send correspondence to your email. My CEF email address is 
  • Pray for me to get the addresses gathered quickly and the newsletter mailed
  • Praise God for so many friends and family you share my joy in ministry!

Blessings on you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ministry Musings November 25, 2014

The Lord is My Shepherd...

     At the CEF Staff Retreat a few weeks ago, we were given a great little book by Robert Morgan, called "The Lord is My Shepherd". I'm still not sure how some people I know have been able to slam through that book, because there is SO MUCH on every page that makes such an impact. I'll give them one thing though... I DON'T want to put it down!
     One thing that grabbed my heart is his statement that "The Lord is my shepherd" is NOT a promise. It's a fact. It's not that he SOMEDAY will shepherd me, or that he has been a shepherd to others, but instead, the Lord IS my shepherd. That's just the way it is. What a great comfort!

Helping to start a Good News Club...

     I had the privilege of joining a team as they prepare for their first Good News Club in the school. This team is part of a larger church that has a vision to reach the children in the community, so has already been working hard to develop relationships with the schools. It is fun to watch this team - each individual experienced in various children's ministries, coming together in a fun club! It's also great to see our newest Staff-member, Mary Hunter, stepping up to lead this team. Her creativity makes the learning process so much more fun for the teams she's working with.

  • Pray for her to adapt quickly to being part of the CEF team, and to learn the things she needs to know. 
  • Please pray for the school and school district to quickly give permission to meet and to distribute the fliers for the club. 

Raising Support...

     I've finally had a little bit of time to work on developing my support team for CEF! I have my newsletter just about ready to send out, and my letter ready to go. Now I just have to get a fresh picture for our prayer card, finish and have those printed, and then just gather almost 200 addresses into a format that I can use to print address labels, and of course fold, stamp, and mail all of those. No biggie. Ha ha!
     It has been several years since I've done much in the support-raising department, and I really feel bad. Indeed, it's hardest to spend time to raise support when you're busiest in the ministry, but that doesn't change the fact that that results in neglected, ill-informed supporters, who eventually give up. Ouch. So now I get to basically start from scratch, needing to raise 90% of my financial support, not to mention the prayer support that is so vital to this ministry. 
  • Pray for me to know who to contact about partnering financially, and for supporters to be distinctly called by God to be involved.


     Duane and I spent an early Thanksgiving in Klamath Falls last week, when we were able to visit with Duane's parents and brother and sister-in-law, as well as retrieve several items from our house in Midland. This week, we look forward to celebrating at the new home of my Grandfather and Aunt, and being joined by parts of my family, as well. How are you going to celebrate? Add a comment below!

May you be blessed greatly as you set aside time to thank our Creator for his abundant blessings!

Cora for the Tucker's

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”—Martin Luther

It has been awhile since I have written.  There have been several false starts for me as I look at my ‘drafts’ file for this blog.  As a result, I shall endeavor to inform you of the current ‘seasonal changes’ in our life.

Waiting on the Lord

“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”  Psalms 27:14

A Brief History
In May 2011, Cora and I journeyed to North Carolina to the International CEF conference.  As I told the story in my previous blogs, I believed I was to “go and listen” and in His timing, God would show me what was next.  That ended up being the word “surrender.”  I needed to learn what that meant, not only for me, but also for both of us.  Cora and I began to pray for me to get out of the truck so I would be more available for Gods leading.

Life Lessons

During this ‘season’, we worked on our finances with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  We were doing ok, but we saw where we needed more some discipline in areas.  God was working in our hearts and teaching us multiple lessons, showing us areas that we (mostly me) needed to work on.  Please bear in mind that the majority of these lessons have been a major paradigm shift for me.  I have to think more now about my wife and how decisions affect us, rather than me.  I never had to think that way for 48 years.  Yet, the more we prayed, the more restless I became.  I knew that God was preparing me for something but I was not sure what it would be, when, and for how long.  My attitude began to be “God will let us know when we are ready, even if we do not think we are.”  I was right.  We were not ready for Him.


"The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin … Exo 34:6b-7a

Being a child of God is not so easy in this world.  Of course, if I look at being His child in America, I might think otherwise.  Oh, I have it soooo tough.  “Uh God, I really want this other thing … could you work it so it would work out to my/our advantage so (insert your situation here)?”  Yes, there are people dying all around us because they want a Bible, want to go to church, have a desire for more than food for the body.  They hunger for the Word of God and the fellowship of other believers.  What have I been doing … other than whining to God that things are not going according to the way I planned them?  I do not like it this way.  I will just call on God to change these things, that way I do not have to deal with it.  It is in God’s hands now; I prayed about it.  ‘Nuff said/’nuff done.  Yeah … right.
I see so many Christians today (please note, I am talking about me) that really are a bunch of spoiled, stubborn and stiff-necked people.  It reminds me of another bunch of similar people.  Let’s see … who were those folks?  Um … oh, I remember now … they were God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel.  How could I forget that?  Most times, I am in so much deep and hot water with God.  Given the nature of man (me) and the fallen state of man (me), I am surprised that God has not turned this particular man into an unobtrusive grease spot, at some remote location in the universe.

Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling.  Psalms 2:11

A couple of months ago I read a book by Joseph S. Carroll called How to Worship Jesus Christ.  It is from Moody Press.  It is only 90 pages, but it took me a couple of days to go through it.  I am going to start it again.  Then I will re-read another book called Humility by Andrew Murray.  A very special friend of ours, a lady of great wisdom from CEF headquarters, gave this book to Cora and me as a gift.  It is one hundred ten pages of short, succinct, and amazing steps to humility in and with a relationship with the God and Savior of this universe.  I have come to understand my relationship with the Sovereign God should be the attitude of Job, after God finished talking to him.  “I am a worm.  Who am I to give God counsel on how to run the universe?”  Job 40:4; 42:3

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  Isa 55:8

I like listening to podcasts of R.C. Sproul, John McArthur, John Piper and others.  These are just a few of my “Hero’s of the Faith” in this generation.  In one of R.C.’s lectures, he explains how he is usually very tactful and sensitive to the needs of those in pastoral counseling.  However, in this one particular session an angry man was shaking his fist at R.C. and complaining about how his (R.C.’s) God was not a Merciful God.  The angry man had just lost his child to SIDS.  R.C. explained in his lecture that he usually did not take the particular tack that he did.  R.C. bluntly asked the man why God did not strike the man down where he stood because of the blasphemous words coming out of his mouth at that moment.  Consider in that lesson that the spiritual 2x4 had been applied right between the eyes, at full force.  It affected me in the same manner.  The reasons why God does things are not ours to contemplate.  They are God’s to know the reasons why.  I need to learn how to accept them with the gratitude of a sinful slave that has been redeemed by the Master.
As a result, I have had to do some evaluation on some of the things in my life.  A ‘re-setting’ of values and priorities.  Obviously, this is NOT an overnight process.  Nor is it completed in a season.  This is a constant re-adjustment from the things of man to the things of God.  Questions I have been asking myself are, “Do I NEED this?”  “Is this necessary?”  “Will this honor God … or man?”  “Who benefits if I do/don’t do such and such?”  “Is my heart in it for God … or elsewhere?”  These are just some of the questions that I am continually asking myself.  Other questions can and/or should be asked … for each of us.  The process is called sanctification.  It is something that all Christians must go through, never being completed until we stand before God.  This process of sanctification is a very humbling one and I am very grateful to God for helping me to comprehend, apply, and accomplish it daily.  I must mention that I do spend a lot of time getting up from where I fell down in this process.

"Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!"  Psalms 46:10

In mid-August of this year, my driving position at the trucking company was abruptly terminated.  After several weeks of thrashing about in anger, frustration, and selfishness—disguised as the “poor me” syndrome, I began to pray and pray more earnestly about what God would have us do.  In this current economy, not too many people are willing to hire a grumpy, old, used and abused, worn-out truck driver … especially trucking companies.  I did manage to find a temporary job running a “spud truck” for the potato harvest in October to carry us through the transition period.  Now that spud truck job was a unique experience and I will not go into much detail about it.
When I was in high school, I was in the Future Farmers of America.  I learned enough about the field part of the harvest to know that it was not something to be taken lightly, but I never went into any depth.  With this temporary job, I learned what a harvest operation entails.  As a result, I have been using the knowledge learned to apply in my own life.  I could fill the pages here with metaphors … but I will spare you.  You’re welcome.  Once that job ended, I needed to see what was next.  I was not sure what God had in mind for us.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  Pro 3:5

Cora and I had been praying for “the next step” in this evolution of trusting God.  What would the next job be for me and how would it affect my relationship with God, Cora, and family, etc.  All I could do was wait on Him.  I began thinking over the things that God had put me through and what some of those lessons meant to me.  I also wondered what He might be preparing me to do.  Before I married Cora, I had a quiet hunger to attend some sort of Bible College.  I mostly blew it off as a ‘pipe dream’ ... too old, too busy, too broke, too … whatever excuse I could use.  I had attended a local community college in 2003 and found that I had a hunger for knowledge I did not know I had.  Now with me being married, I needed to focus on securing the things that made us “comfortable” so we could lead that quiet life of following Christ.  See 1Th 4:11 and 2Th 3:12 for further explanations.  I was thinking college is not a viable option; there must be something else on the horizon.  God knows what we need and His next step was for us to re-evaluate our priorities.  Because of that re-evaluation, the old desire for Bible College came back, quite vigorously I might add.


“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."  Mat 21:22

I kept thinking, “Bible College …at my age?”  We started looking in earnest.  I wanted to make sure this was not a ‘panic button’ decision, mid-life crisis, or some such.  Prayer was our first step, seeking peace in and for the future.  This was followed by trying to find a ‘college’ to see if this was what we were to do.  We looked at Moody Bible College, both campuses:  the main one in Chicago, IL and the satellite campus in Spokane, WA.  Our preference was the Spokane campus because it is in the Pacific Northwest and closer to family.  We looked at George Fox U., Corban U., New Hope Bible College, Northwest Christian U., and Multnomah U., and several other schools.  It boiled down to ‘the most bang for the buck’ in a school that would equip us to go wherever God wanted us to go when we finished.  That turned out to be Multnomah University in Portland, OR.  They require a dual degree:  one degree in Bible and Theology, a passion of mine, the other, a major or minor in your degree of choice.  I was impressed with their “New Testament Greek.”  Because of this choice, I believe I need to invent a rapid hair growth tonic so I can pull out my hair in frustration as I learn ‘Koine Greek’.
I have since started the application process to Multnomah University or MU if you prefer.  There is still no guarantee that I will be accepted into the programs I want, but I have placed that worry in the Lords hands.  For me, I have a peace about the direction that my life is about to take.  I cannot answer for Cora.  I know that she does have concerns, as she has voiced them to me and we have talked them over.  She is very good at helping me to evaluate options that I did not think of, did not think to look at, or refused to look at.  I am VERY grateful for her input.  This decision process would not have been very easy without her help and support.  I am praying that God will clear the way to see the goal He has for us, albeit one day at a time.  I believe that it is at MU, studying Theology and New Testament Greek and that is what I am praying will happen.

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”  Hab 3:18

So this is what we are aiming for:  This step of faith.  We are trusting that God will lead us through this season of transition.  Faith that God knows what we need, that He will provide it when we need it and He will not give it to us until His time is right.  We just have to be willing to wait on the Lord, trusting that He is Sovereign and that we are His children.  Will you pray with us, please?

For His glory only,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cora’s Perspective…

So we’ve been quiet on here for a while. Not because there hasn’t been anything happening, but because there just aren’t always the right words to tell the world about the craziness God has seen fit to walk us through. We still aren’t out of the craziness – not by a long shot, but it just seems like time to finally try to verbalize these adventures.
For me, it started around the first of August. I knew that I’ve struggled with stress and worry, and not handling it right. I usually don’t really stew on stuff for very long, but my body knows I’m in a stressful situation, and obliges with sufficient adrenaline to knock my health for a loop. Soooo… I picked up a book that I’d been meaning to read for quite a while: “Anxious For Nothing” by John MacArthur. As I read it, I could never read much more than a page or two, as God was just slamming me with its truths. I’d read a little, then think and journal about it, then come back for more. After two weeks, I had gotten so much out of it, and had changed so much that I thought “Hey! Now that God’s taught me so much, there’s gotta be a reason for it – maybe to teach others or something!” Yeah. Uh huh. It was that same day that we found out that things were about to get very stressful. Duane had lost his job.
Now, we had prayed for quite a while for him to be able to get out of the truck. While Duane had had visions of owning his own truck, we really just wanted him to be able to be home every night. Or even MOST nights. There had been many times that a sticky situation or a cranky boss could have put an end to the job. And we’d had the sense to “fear” that. Instead, God had seen fit to protect that job through it all. And NOW, He had seen fit to drop the floor out from under us. As Duane had planned to clean out his truck for a week-long vacation, his boss told him to just clean out the truck for good, and not come back.
Each of us had our own reaction, but neither of us liked it. Duane was hurt and angered by the situation. I was freaking out that my “security” had evaporated. And we both scrambled to figure out what in the world just happened. We may never know what caused the boss to “snap” that day, but we’ve at least figured out now, as Joseph once said to his brothers: “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”
But that process sure hasn’t been overnight. Daily we would take turns freaking out – thankfully, most of the time God allowed the other of us to be strong for the weak one. Duane will tell you about surrender. I’ll tell you about patient trust. And we’ll both tell you we’re still learning these things.
Since August I’ve wanted to know – “what’s next!?” I wanted to know how God would provide for our mortgage and other bills. I wanted to know what the next job for Duane would be. I wanted to know how God would provide for our food and gas and basics. And most of the time, I haven’t known any of those. Yet God has provided for every need. Every day.
So far it’s been pretty tight on the mortgage, but God has provided what we needed when we needed it. We have never gone hungry. Not for ONE meal. Not even close. And when we needed it most, Duane had a temporary job driving a potato truck. Unemployment finally even kicked in after three months without a job (another story for another time!).God has proven himself faithful through some crazy, crazy times.
So now… the main question is: “What comes next?” While only God KNOWS the future, we finally have a plan for the next steps. Duane has wanted to attend Bible College for quite a while now, and that’s only intensified over the last years. After his potato truck job, we finally had enough gas money to make a visit to his top prospect for a Bible College, Multnomah University in Portland, OR.
We had checked out a number of schools over the phone and internet, finding some great schools in the northwest, but none had quite what Duane was looking for in majors, etc. When we investigated Multnomah, we found that they had the majors we are looking for, has the reputation of a solid Biblical education, and is near enough to family. The only major draw-back in my view is that it’s in Portland. Ya know how you’re always told “Don’t ever say ‘Never’ to God”? Yeah, I was totally okay with Africa, but Portland? Please, God! DON’T send me to *cue super whiny voice* Poooortland! Yet by the time we were heading home from our campus visit, we knew: yep, Multnomah is the one. Duane plans to double major in Bible/Theology and New Testament Greek.
For the past couple weeks I’ve been alternately weepy and excited about the possibilities as we begin to tell our family and friends about the plans. We know that God can tweak and/or earthquake OUR plans at any time, and I can’t say that it’ll even surprise me, but for right now, it seems that attending Multnomah is in our future.
As it sits right now, the plan is for Duane to attend Multnomah starting in January for the Spring Semester, while I stay home and wrap things up with CEF and the house. Then the thinking is that I’ll move up there with him starting in May, between his terms. We THINK he’ll attend classes over the summer, which starts at the end of May, so it’s a pretty short window of time. I’ll probably still need to work up there part time, and we’re praying about the possibilities – there are definitely possibilities there, but we don’t have any announce-able plans yet.
For right now, we’re getting him ready for school, and then we’ll start getting the house ready to sell or rent. To our Klamath Falls friends, please pass the word that we’re looking for someone to rent, lease (w/ option to buy), or buy our 3-bedroom home in Midland. For our friends in the Portland area, do you know of someone that would have at least an inexpensive room to rent for January through May, and/or a one-to-two bedroom home available starting in either January or May? For January to May we won’t have the three dogs with us, as they’ll still be in Midland with me, but after that, we need a place that is pet-friendly. It is possible that Duane will be able to stay on campus during the Spring term, since we won’t have the dogs up there, but since there’s a no pet policy, we’ll need to figure out something different for May. Confused yet? Join the club!
For those of you in the CEF family, you need to know that the ministry in Klamath Falls WILL GO ON!!! As we discovered over my year-long sabbatical, the committee did a FABULOUS job of keeping things going - the ministry even GREW while I was gone. The leadership is still in the process of organizing the "what's next" specifics, and will let you know as soon as possible more details. Please be patient with them! I'd rather have waited to tell you until that point, so I could reassure you in the same breath that even though I was leaving, we have plans A, B, and C in motion. However, too much was happening too fast, and word was getting out to some people and not to others, leading to hurt feelings and the potential for not-fun rumors. I wanted to make sure that YOU would know as much as I can tell as soon as I can. From here, please just be patient, and know that GOD has a plan for his ministry, and as He shows US what that is, we'll be glad to share that with you!
I was telling a friend this weekend about how much I’ve learned about just waiting on God’s timing. Living in the moment that God has given me, instead of stressing about what the future holds. And later that night I was once again freaking out about where in the world we’ll be living in the next few months, and how miserable it’ll be to be apart from Duane for so long, and, and, and… And again I remind myself “Be still and know that I am God.” Translated into Cora’s heart-language, it probably sounds more like “Okay, Cora, it’s time to just sit down and shut up… I said SHUT UP… and remember that I’m in charge, not you… Did I mention to shut up? No buts about it! I AM in charge! Oh, and by the way, Cora? You DO know that I love you! A lot.” Believe me, I know that God wouldn’t be that crude, but it usually takes Him being that pointed with me. I’m so thankful for his patience with me!
As you think of us, would you please pray for us? Pray for continued peace, pray for clear direction, and pray for me to figure out the right balance of busyness and relaxing (i.e. not to become overwhelmed by all there is to do and just shut down!). Pray for my dear old curmudgeon, er uh, hubby as he prepares for school and the challenges that will bring. Also please pray that we’ll be able to get a computer for him to take with him to school. We have a laptop, but if he took it, then I wouldn’t have one here to be able to Skype with him – a key part of our plan to survive the months apart. Also, please pray for the house situation – pray for favor with the board that decides whether we get housing assistance from the state of Oregon (would pay our mortgage for a year), and for the house to have new occupants, and for us to have the right place(s) to move to at the right time. While you’re praying, I’d be remiss not to ask you to join me in thanking Him for His great provision for us thus far: thank Him for abundant food, clothing, home, time together, growth closer to Him and each other, friends, peace, and relief from a major chunk of the debt!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. We are ever grateful for your partnership in this journey!
for the Tucker Tribe
Oh, and Duane's Perspective is just around the corner! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Checking In

Well, I figured it was time to check in with y'all again!
We've both been keeping busy lately, but thankfully not TOO much in the "can't come up for air" kind of way. Duane's been driving each week, Sunday through Friday. He DID finally get to be home for church a couple weeks ago, and I think he will again this week, but we're still hoping for the time when he'll be able to be faithfully home for church each week.
We've been busy working around the yard, putting in flower beds, keeping it watered, and generally trying to keep it mowed. When I get up in the morning, I love to take my breakfast out on the back deck and have my Bible study outside while the dogs wander around or soak up the sun.
I also get to putz around in the garden frequently, weeding, and now finally starting to pick some of the produce! Our lettuce is going like gang busters, and I think we're going to be able to start picking peas any day now. I got some strawberries early this summer, and in addition to struggling to survive Romeo's digging expedition, they've had to fight heat with sometimes irregular watering (like when I was gone for a week). As a result, I was super pleased to notice that I have one larger strawberry almost ready to pick, and a bunch more coming on. So much fun!
We're also getting ready for the Klamath County Fair, which starts next week, and CEF will be there to tell Bible stories to the kids. We had the fair training last night, and the awesome team of volunteers put together a great meeting! It was soooo nice to just show up and do my part, instead of feeling like I was carrying the whole load. I thought the team did awesome BEFORE my sabbatical, but this time, I was so hugely blessed by their involvement and ownership in this meeting.
I've still been struggling with my health, as regards to Adrenal Fatigue. I have times where I'm doing awesome, and times where I'm sleeping a lot. Lately, it's been more of the sleeping a lot, which frustrates me when I want to be doing so much more around the house. I'm still working on it though, and trying to figure out what I need to do different/better. I'm so grateful for Duane's patience in this process!
So those are the basics from our end. We'd love to hear how things are going for you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Big Razz

Duane has a new girl in his life now... And she is DEFINITELY new! Duane's boss bought a brand new (2013) Kenworth T660 for the company, and Duane gets to drive it! Combining the truck's color, and D's personality, it is known as the Big Raspberry.
He spent most of the weekends getting stuff from the old truck arranged in the new truck exactly how he wanted it. I ask riding with him now as I type, for its first full day of work, from Klamath Falls to Clackamas, to Noti (yay for the visit to the hometown!), and back to Klamath. It is so much fun, with all it's gadgets and gizmos. Maybe I'll get Duane to tell you all about it. :)