Hobbit Day and Tomato, Bacon & Onion Pie

Yesterday is known, in some circles, as Hobbit Day. Why? Because it is Bilbo and Frodo Baggins shared birthday. Yeah, we celebrate fictional characters birthdays. So, how did we celebrate? In the Lundin house, celebration means food.

I went looking for an appropriately hobbit-like dish, and found a recipe for Tomato, Bacon and Onion Pie. A savory pie? What could be more hobbit-like!

Tomato, Bacon & Onion Pie

Tomato, Bacon & Onion Pie

The original recipe is from Rod Dreher (whose current blog you should be reading if you love food, culture and Jesus), and I made some modifications to suit our palates better. That means I added goat cheese and took Rod’s advice on the herbs.

1 pre-baked pie crust (cooled)
2 fresh sliced tomatoes (medium size)
1/2-1 fresh sliced onion
1 1/2 cups monterey  jack cheese
crumbled goat cheese to taste
1 pkg. cooked bacon, crumbled (you can do with less, if you want. This will put a lot of bacon on top)
salt, pepper, rosemary & thyme to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Slice tomatoes, arrange in layer on pie crust, then season with salt, pepper, rosemary & thyme
  3. Top with layer of thin-sliced onions
  4. Grate a thin layer of monterey jack over the onions
  5. Repeat
  6. Grate a good layer of monterey jack on top
  7. Sprinkle on goat cheese to taste
  8. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon
  9. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool thoroughly before serving

If you are skeptical, don’t be. It’s fantastic. Try it and I bet you will love it.

The London Times

“Quick” London update…

Sunday at Speakers Corner, we spoke to a lot of people. That’s why we were there. Apparently, every Sunday in Hyde Park, people gather there to talk abut politics, faith, and many other topics. Some people stood on ladders or step stools, others just stood in small groups to discuss. Some yelled, belittled, insulted, and interrupted. Others passed out information on their beliefs or wore signs.

Most of the faith talk was Christian vs. Muslim and much of that was heated. Before Women’s Development, I ran from conflict. I hid from it. I avoided it at all costs. But now I know the difference between conflict and direct communication and also see the value in pushing through some conflicts. Even so, I still did not expect to engage with anyone at Speakers Corner. God had other plans.


I spoke to an atheist man who insisted that faith was nothing and logic was everything. He was tall and well dressed, and spat bits of chip in my face as he spoke. Though he dismissed me as a silly girl, I was able to share several truths with him: God created me, He did so to glorify himself, I exist to glorify God, and God has revealed this and other truths to me through his Word. Sharing these things with such an ardent atheist was a huge victory for me, as I rarely declare the Gospel to anyone but believers because of fear. My team members also had conversations about their faith, mostly dispelling falsehoods or misconceptions about Christianity.

Monday was a training day. We had two long sessions in evangelism and two long sessions about Islam. My hand ached at the end of the day from all of the note-taking I did. Great teaching. For lunch, we all wanted to get some fresh air, so we walked down the street for fish and chips. It was incredible! SO much better than what we get at home! And I also discovered a new love… ginger beer! This non-alcoholic beverage is refreshing and has a bite. I’m a fan.


Tuesday morning included some practical training for the day ahead, and then we drove to a nearby neighborhood. We set up a book table with several Bibles and Christian books. Most were in English, but we also had books in Farsi, Arabic, and Somalian. In the US, I’d walk right by something like this, but here, people just walk up and start talking to you about the books. We also passed out Christian tracts– another thing that I’d walk right by in the US. I never take something someone tries to hand me in the street. I go around them or hold my hand up in a stopping motion and walk faster. Thus, I was extremely hesitant to pass out tracts. But I was wrong again– people not only take them, they stop and talk to you about them.

I was paired with Tiffany for these activities. We had a blast and met some really sweet people. Tiffany did have one encounter where a woman was quite angry, but she handled it with kindness and grace. What I loved about working with Tiffany was seeing how she will talk to anyone and has no fear about bringing up her faith and asking someone else about theirs. Her fearlessness was a blessing, and definitely helped me to do these activities that seem strange to me.


One girl in my group was able to sit with a woman and share the entire Gospel with her. Most of us could see conversation happening and we’re able to pray for them as it was taking place. One major focus this year was to be able to declare the Gospel, and we celebrated this beautiful victory together!

Today, we once again began with training– our final Islam session. Then, we set out to meet people– what an assignment! Amanda, Jami, and I went to the mall. There, we met two women who we talked to for over an hour. I don’t talk to strangers at home unless they’re in customer service, usually assuming that people don’t want to be disturbed. But the ladies we sat down next to at the coffee shop and began to speak with enjoyed talking to us as much as we enjoyed them. We’re hoping they will join us on Friday in the park– please pray that they join us!

Tomorrow is our day off. Having already been to London, I have no need to see everything. I think I’m just tagging along with friends, more eager to spend some sweet time with them than anything else. These ladies and I have shared life for the past year. It’s been a tough and beautiful journey, and they have blessed me beyond measure.

Please pray for our safety and fellowship tomorrow. Pray for our park ministry on Friday– that we would be bold in conversation and that the kids who come would have a great time. Pray for safe travels as we return on Saturday. Thank you for partnering with me in prayer 🙂

Jet lag is tough stuff

Well, I’m not sure if it was all jet lag. I’m sure it had a lot to do with that toddler screaming through the entire flight, too. Either way, this room is full of some giggly zombies right now.

My entire missional community is one bunk room at the training center– all 11 of us. It would’ve been tough to be separated at this point. Going through an intense year of the Women’s Development Program and living life together for that time has bonding us uniquely. We’ve been talking about and preparing for London for so long that it is strange to actually be here living out this mission.

Today we had orientation and training. Tomorrow we have church service, and we’ll experience Speaker’s Corner. There, people of many faiths will be sharing/shouting what they believe. My goal is just to have a conversation about my faith with someone of a different faith. After that, we will head over to a church plant to serve there. It’s a big day.

Those of you praying for us, praise God that we all got here safely, and so did everyone’s luggage. Pray that we would bless our hosts and be good stewards of our accommodations. Pray for sweet and plentiful sleep tonight, and that we’d be on London time tomorrow. Pray that we would be bold and courageous tomorrow at Speaker’s Corner. Pray for our continued safety and at we would continue to sacrificially love one another, in spite of close quarters and little alone time.

And now… to sleep 🙂

Looks like we made it…

Currently waiting in the immigration line, but we are officially at London Heathrow!

We’re excited to be here– to learn and to serve. No one slept much at all on the plane… thanks to a screaming toddler. Pray for focus, energy, and patience today.

Me and Laura on the bus 🙂


After blogging every day of our marriage for the first year, we took a break for a few Enlightenmentmonths. We don’t have a full plan yet for how we will continue this blog, but we are continuing it.

Thank you to all of our followers and subscribers. We really appreciate the support. We will be back very soon with new posts on a sure to be irregular schedule. 🙂


Our first year is over

One year ago today I posted in anticipation of our wedding, and in part I wrote this to my soon-to-be-wife:

Lindsey, you have changed my life in so many ways. There was a time not too long ago when I thought I would never meet a woman that I could marry, much less a woman like you. You are a living, breathing demonstration of God’s love and grace to me. We love so many of the same things, yet are so different. I am constantly learning new things about you, and my love for you is ever-deepening.

A day like today is one of possibilities, hopes, dreams, and plans. We do not know what life holds in store for us. We could have our world changed forever by a phone call. We could experience joy and happiness for the rest of our lives, or could struggle with things we cannot imagine now. No matter what Providence brings my vows today mean the world to me. I will be with you and beside you for the rest of my days. As we have to each other many times over the last few months, there is no way out but the grave– and nothing could excite me more.

Today we now know what the first year held for us, and I echo what I said then. We do not know what God has in store for the rest of our lives, and the last year firmly confirmed that. From Lindsey’s first ever visit to the hospital, an almost fight on the high seas, and many date nights we saw what married life was really like– and we love it.

Lindsey has truly been the mark of God’s grace that I called her on that day. In fact I told my mom just the other day that Lindsey was really helping me become a better man. Honestly, I don’t mean that in the way that sit-coms joke about wives manipulating and beating their husbands into submission, I mean that she is actively helping me with the tough work of growing and maturing. That work is not done in large cuts as if by a chainsaw, but with the subtle efforts of the chisel, blade and sandpaper. She has been there every step of the way– shaping, girding and polishing.

We have turned out to be a pretty good pair. Just last night we had a conversation with friends about how well we balance each other out in different ways, and how good it has been to learn from each other. Don’t mistake me, we still have a long, LONG way to go. We have not figured this out by any stretch yet, and I don’t mean to sound like we have, but we have also come a very long way from that first day of our marriage.

I’ve also learned how hard it is to do what I vowed to do everyday. I admire men like my father and grandfathers whose marriages stood the test of time, because I now see how tough it can be. When I look at the words I wrote in anticipation of this commitment I can see now that I had a good view of what was ahead, even if it wasn’t fully understood:

I have a tough standard to live up to as a husband, I am called to love you as Christ loves His church. I will not be perfect, I will fail. I pray that our marriage will be one filled with grace and love. I pray that our relationship will strengthen even as we are weak. I pray that we overflow will love and grace for all of those around us.

I was right. It is a tough standard, and the call to love Lindsey to this degree is a tall order without the help of my God. He has shown up in many ways, both big and small. He has certainly blessed us this year, even in times of struggle and suffering. I am confident that he will continue to do so, just as he has promised.

Which brings me back to a verse in Proverbs that gives me great comfort as we look to the rest of our years together:

“The heart of man plans his way, but the  Lord establishes his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

No matter what I seek and no matter what I want in my heart (which like all of our hearts does not always want what is good for me), I know that my Lord is is watching over me, loves, and that he will accomplish his will. That is a great, great comfort.

Happy anniversary Lindsey, I love you!!

To smile and remember

One year! Woohoo!!! Brian put up with me for an entire year!!!

Yup. It’s our anniversary. One year ago today, amidst a monsoon, we entered into a covenant with God. We became man and wife.

What a year it’s been, and –thanks to the blog– I can look back at every day of it. So can everyone else. This blog has been part of the journey.

I just looked back and read my post from our wedding day. I cried. It was a beautiful day, in spite of the storm. It was a picture of the year to come– beauty, in spite of the rain.

Marriage is hard. We idealize it as single women, thinking that once we’re married, everything will be perfect. But instead of perfection, it shows you everything ugly and twisted about yourself. I’ve realized my need for God over and over and over this year. I shoot up prayers constantly: “help me love him better,” “help me forgive,” “help me get over my selfishness,” “help me to serve him even though I don’t like him right now,” “help me to love him like you love me.” I truly do not know how people stayed married without Jesus in the middle of their marriage.

And while I am seeing all of the ugly stuff inside of me bubble up to the surface, Brian is in front of me telling me how beautiful I am, how loving I am, how strong I am. I have never been more confident or comfortable in my own skin. He builds me up every day with his words and actions. For the first few weeks of marriage, the first thing I did in the morning was check to make sure he was still there– that he hadn’t left me. But a year later, I know Brian will be there, every morning, snoring away. He sees the ugly, but tells me I’m beautiful. He sees the tears and fear, and tells me I am strong. He sees me struggle, and he leads me in prayer.

I look back at year one and see so much beauty and joy that I can face the future confidently. No, I don’t know what lies ahead, but I do know that Brian and I have learned (and are learning) to communicate well, to serve one another, and to keep God at the center of our marriage.

One year down, many more to go. Several struggles overcome, countless more on their way. But even as I type this, I have an image in my head of me grabbing Brian’s hand and running forward. And that’s what I think marriage is– you say yes to God and to one man, and then you run forward… together. I’m so glad to have Brian as my partner in this life– to love him and serve him and put up with him and point him back to God. And that’s what he does for me.

So today we smile and remember for this day one year ago. And then we turn and move forward towards more laughter and love, more trials and struggles, and to more days like today… to smile and remember.



“Hey babe, how are you doing?”

“Tired. Just want to go to bed.”

“Well,” I said to Lindsey, “I can do the blog then.”

She just looked at me. It’s late, she’s tired from a drive and then a flight, and we’re finally standing in the elevator heading up to our hotel room. She doesn’t want to think about it, and I’m pretty tired myself.

I looked at her and smiled, “It’s the last time we’ll have this conversation.” She looked at me, then broke into a huge smile and her adorable laugh.

This is post number 365. Counting our wedding day, this is the 365th straight post chronicling our first year of marriage. It’s been wonderful, fun, and yes, even tough.

But I’m not going to get ahead of myself. We have two posts planned for tomorrow, our actual anniversary, so I just want to take care of one thing. I want to say thank you.

I don’t remember exactly what I thought a year of blogging would be like, or what I thought we’d experience. But we have loved it. It has been a wear at times, especially late nights when we we’re both wiped out, but we wouldn’t change a thing. It kept us connected to family, it helped us communicate with each other, and it opened our first year up to others. We hope it did some good for our readers, but we’re not kidding ourselves, we’re not experts. In the end, I think this was great for us, and for that I want to thank our readers.

We’re no internet sensation, but we’ve had steady readership month after month. We’ve seen hundreds of people visit every day from all around the US and the world read about our silly little dates and our not so silly fights. We thank you all for the platform and the chance to share in our story. You’ve made it a special year.


#365. Out.

Breaking the fast

We’re at dinner with our community. Brian’s men’s group has been fasting for three days and tonight, they broke their fast together… with steak and potatoes.

I’m sitting in the living room with the wives, talking about TV shows and husbands and kids. I’m listening more than talking– beat from my week. It was quite a week at school, and there was very little else I had time for… including sleep.

Thusly, I wasn’t really around during Brian’s fast. When I was, I was grading, and not really present. So, I know we have a lot to talk about tomorrow when we get to look at each other’s faces and say more than a few words. Even so, I do have a few observations on Brian’s fast.

His group was fasting and intentionally praying through several things. Brian spent a lot if time in the Word over the last couple days. I saw it. And he was very calm and much more quiet than normal. He was also so sweet to me– even though I was tired and cranky and not very nice to him. He’s loved me well this week.

I expected Brian to be grumpy and complain a lot. I also thought he’d just try to sleep through much of it. I confessed this to him and he forgave me. I hate that I thought this of my husband. Instead of a curmudgeon, I got a sweet servant.

The men just came in from smoking cigars and the volume went up– I should probably get off my phone and go join my community.

Oh yeah– and my spring break started today. Bless the Lord! Couldn’t have come at a better time! More on that soon…

One year ago…

IMG_0136One year ago tonight Lindsey and I went to see Radiohead at the Frank Erwin Center. It was a great show for me, and a band I had wanted to see since I was 16.

It was just a few days before our wedding, and we had much more important things to be doing, yet my soon-to-be-wife loved me enough to go to a show that she had, literally, less than zero interest in attending. It was a good sign.

To see just how much she loved, check out a video from that night below: