Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all!

I realize that I have been posting about food lately, but Christmas really is about more than that. It is easy to think it is about giving, hospitality, family and friends and many other excellent things. But at the heart it is about Christ's birth to live a perfect life and die on the cross for us when we were dead in our sins. It is about what He did for us to enable us to come to the Father, God in heaven.

Linus tells the Christmas story well:

Key Lime Pie

I was so excited about these I had to share. Yesterday was my husband's birthday, and since he isn't a big fan of cake I always have to figure out what dessert to put the candles in. I had these Mrs. Field's Chocolate Dessert Shells that I had been waiting for a good chance to use and there was a recipe for key lime pie on the back. I love key lime pie, and this was so easy and so good. All it took was a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime zest, 1 tsp. (plus a little more because I tasted it and wanted more lime flavor), beat, pour into shells and chill 2 hours. You could put whipped cream on top, but they honestly didn't need it. And they look fantastic (I can say that because they were so easy to make, right?)! They were a hit and I know for a fact I will be making key lime pie again in the future.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Cooking and Baking, part I

I started Tuesday with Preacher Cookies (a.k.a. no-bakes) and spiced pretzels for my wonderful students. Our last class was Wednesday.

I made latkes for supper that night as well, in honor of the first night of Hanukkah. We ate them with sour cream, the first jar of my own canned stewed apples that we've opened, and green salads. The apples were great, and I was so pleased that the jar was still completely sealed and they weren't too mushy as I had worried they could be after processing. The latkes were good too, though I'm not sure they were perfectly fried. I am not an expert in frying things (this is the only case I would do it) and I'm ok with that. I only partially followed the recipe above.

This morning I made gingerbread dough and cut, baked and decorated the cookies with my sister and nieces. They tasted good, some turned out well...

Some not so much.
We still had a good time though!

Merry Christmas!

As you can see, our Christmas tree is up! We had a nice evening last Friday decorating it, listening to Christmas music, playing cards, and of course eating cookies.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don't you like random lists?

1. Spoliation is a word, and a very cool one at that. Note to self: try to find a way to work this word into everyday conversation.

2. While I love Wal-mart, their own brand of tea (decaf at least) is terrible. I will throw it out as soon as I get around to buying another kind. And no, I am not a tea snob (the fact that I even tried WMT tea should be a good indication).

3. This is more something I was reminded of, but I just love development economics. Economic Expansion and Development was one of my favorite classes in college and I was reminded of this throughout the last few chapters of Foundations of Economics by Shawn Ritenour. I definitely recommend this book if you want to learn about free market economics from a Christian perspective. I find it so fascinating how all the pieces of the economic theory puzzle come together into a practical path for economic progress. Even better is the way all of it jives with the Christian worldview. This shouldn't come as a surprise, since God created us in His image to harmonize with the rest of his creation, but it still amazes me that it all fits so perfectly!

4. I taught my last actual lesson to my high school economics students yesterday, and handed out their final exam (to be taken at home and proctored by a parent). I am amazed that this semester has gone by so quickly. I think it went fairly well. I know some things that I will have to change for the future, and I have certainly learned so much. I hope the students have also learned and that they don't forget the material, but I also hope they enjoyed it. I truly enjoy economics and it has been such a blessing for me to be able to share it with these students, so if they received some inkling of that enjoyment through class then I am happy.

5. Christmas is in 10 days!! We have yet to put up our Christmas tree, which is very sad. I haven't finished shopping yet, either. I am heading out to try to finish up (hopefully) today.

6. We did, however, watch Charlie Brown Christmas already this year. It is such a good show and I love to watch it. It is probably one of the few things that really is tradition around here, for me at least. It is amazing that such a clear presentation of the Christmas story has been running on regular TV for so many years. God works in mysterious ways.

Monday, December 5, 2011


But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
~Romans 3: 21-26

My husband taught this passage to the middle school youth group at church last night. He did a wonderful job explaining the passage and keeping the kids engaged. They seemed attentive and I hope they took away even a little of the wonder and grace this passage shows of God's love.

I was so struck during the lesson by how blessed I truly am. I am assured of God's love and grace, as the passage describes, though I know what a sinner I am. (And may I truly live it.) I am married to an amazing man who has such a heart for teaching God's Word to these kids. And there are so many other blessings on top of that. God is good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

This is another take-off on a friend's recipe that doesn't look much like the original. It worked well, and froze very well. I almost thought they were better after being frozen and thawed, but maybe I was hungrier then. They are a little sweet, but not too sweet. They remind me of baked oatmeal. We ate these in the car on Thanksgiving morning on our way "over the river and through the woods."

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp ginger
1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all purpose flour
4 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 c. old fashioned rolled oats

Cream separately:
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 c. plain, nonfat yogurt
heaping 1/2 c. brown sugar
heaping 1/4 c. canola oil

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir just until completely moistened. Fill muffin cups and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until done. Makes smallish 24 muffins.

Nutrition facts: 1 muffin has 112 calories, 3 g of fat, 175 mg of sodium, 2 g of fiber, 6 g of sugar, and 3 g of protein. They are high in vitamin A at 55% daily value (don't you just love pumpkin) and have some iron and calcium (6%)as well.

Friday, December 2, 2011


When looking at what appears to be a trend towards DIY (do it yourself), I see a correlation with the trends towards organic or small, self-sufficient farming and farmers markets. It is also, perhaps, related to this trend, but that’s a topic for another day. Understand this is all my own thoughts, and I haven’t done any research directly into this topic. This is simply my observation filtered through the economics of human action.

People want to get back to the basics, the simpler things, back to the land, closer to what they eat, etc. Many who take this view in small farming seem to channel it into anti-factory farming, anti-big business (i.e. Food, Inc.- my thoughts on that are here). But they don’t realize (at least I hope they don’t) the reasons we have large factory farms. Division of labor caused farms to develop from self-sufficient plots where the farmer made everything to more specialized, more efficient, factory type farms where the farmers can produce so much more of the final product (and specialization is such that we tend to specialize in what we’re good at producing). If we were all still producing all or most of the food necessary for our own families to live, there would be fewer economic and scientific advances, fewer finer things in life, less time for hobbies and recreation, even social time. The greater efficiency of the factory translates well to farming, so that our standard of living has increased dramatically, and many more people are fed. If someone chooses to produce as much of their own food as possible on their own farm, that is completely fine. But they are doing that because they choose that supposedly simpler life over anything else. They do it (hopefully) realizing that it does take more time and energy, and they won’t get ahead that way. If people go to farmers markets, they should go expecting to pay more money for the goods there.

I think the DIY trend is part of the desire to be self-sufficient and go back to a “simpler life.” As with self-sufficient farming, one must realize that DIY may not be the least expensive route. It can be fun or provide a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done, but then you are choosing to do it for those reasons. There are people who specialize in all of these goods and services (even perhaps those on Etsy), and they have done so for a reason. They are probably the more efficient or least opportunity cost producer of that good. As my economics students could tell you, they have comparative advantage in that particular line of production. If we choose to DIY, it must be with the realization that the costs may be higher than we realize. This includes not only time (probably more than an efficient professional) and materials (not bought in bulk, as a specialized producer might), but also the value of what we could have been doing with the time and energy we invested in making whatever item (called opportunity cost). If everything was DIY we would be back to those small self-sufficient farms, working from dawn to dusk to feed a family.

That being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to DIY. I attempted canning for the first time this summer. Yes, I could have purchased canned peaches, but it was something new to try. It was a fun experience and there is a certain sense of accomplishment when you do something like that for yourself. However I recognized that I was doing it because I chose to do so. My personal preferences at the time were such that I ranked leaning over a hot stove to can peaches and apples, with the resulting feeling of accomplishment, over the next highest ranked use of my time. But that’s the great thing about preferences- they are personal and they don’t have to “make sense” to everyone (provided, of course, that they are morally equal). We must just realize that we are doing the task because we choose the enjoyment the process gives us, the satisfaction of a job well-done, and/or the quality of the finished product over what someone else could have done.

We must also be careful not to compare ourselves to others, whether in our craftiness or in our decisions about where to shop. We have to be careful that we’re not doing these projects simply because our friends do. We must avoid the trap of unconsciously looking down on others who aren’t as creatively inclined or skilled, or simply don’t choose to use their time in that particular way. There may very well be projects that are more efficient or cheaper when we do them ourselves instead of paying someone else to do them. But this must depend on each individual, their resources and skills. No project or decision has the same costs or benefits for everyone. We are created with individual skill-sets and preferences, so what is a good DIY for you may be a terrible project for me!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Housework and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”

You know that story? The one that starts “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk” and goes on from there until the house is a mess. Well that’s the feeling I get when I do housework.

Take bathrooms: If you clean a toilet, you have to clean the floor behind the toilet. If you clean the floor behind the toilet, you may as well clean the entire floor because it does need it and you have the tools out. Then since the floor is clean, you really should wash all the bath mats. Since you’re doing that, you may as well wash the ones from the other bathroom as well, since you need to fill up a load anyway. If you’re doing that, you should clean the floor in that bathroom too, since you wouldn’t want to put clean mats on a dirty floor. Then you really ought to clean the toilet at the same time. See what I mean?

It works in the kitchen too. Today I’m making a turkey. Well, after trying to get it thawed completely (hopefully) in a cold water bath, I need the roasting pan (which I don’t use very often). Then I decide to try to fit it into the crockpot. It doesn’t fit, but I decide to make stock out of the neck and “package” so I can use the crockpot for that. So I unwrap the turkey, rinse it out, wrestle it into position in the roasting pan. This is where it’s helpful to have a husband handy to fetch and carry so I don’t have to wash my hands every 3 seconds and create the need to disinfect the other half of the kitchen afterwards. Season, rub with olive oil, throw an onion and some garlic in the cavity and it’s ready to go in the oven. But that’s only the beginning. I’m always nervous about raw meat, and turkeys are so big and unpredictably splashy. Because my crock of utensils was near the space I was working with the turkey, I went ahead and washed all of them and the crock. I disinfect everything I can think of and wipe it down, and then wash everything I used with the turkey.

Then I decide that this time I’m really going to move the utensils away from the works surface I often use to handle raw meat, since I think about it every time but haven’t gotten around to it. So I move all the items from that section of counter-top and clean it. But then I have to figure out what to do with the bread machine and the toaster. I decide the bread machine can go on top of the fridge when not in use. That requires clearing off the top of the fridge, putting a few things away, and of course then I see that this surface too must be cleaned before I can do anything else with it. I clean it, then move things from another counter section over to the original one that I’ve cleaned off. The toaster will go there, and so can the coffee maker. Then I have to rearrange the jars of flour on the first counter space. Then I have to stop in the middle of things to put bread in the bread machine.

I can’t tell until the bread is done and the bread machine put away, but I think I’m satisfied with the new arrangements (for now). I’m not sure it completely solves the problem created when handling raw meat, but most things don’t have as much potential for messiness as a whole turkey does. Who knew putting a turkey in the oven would result in rearranging the kitchen? This is what I think about many times I'm working around the house. I bet you thought I couldn’t connect a children’s story with housework, didn’t you? I’m just that good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, part 4: There is a Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.
Wash all my sins away,
wash all my sins away;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
shall never lose its power
till all the ransomed church of God
be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more,
be saved, to sin no more;
till all the ransomed church of God
be saved, to sin no more.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die;
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing thy power to save,
when this poor lisping, stammering tongue
lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave,
lies silent in the grave;
when this poor lisping,
stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving, part 3

Last night we met some college friends for supper. We had to wait for a long time for a table but we had things to talk about, news to catch up on, opinions to share, mutual friends to ask about. These friends don't live very far away, but in our busy lives it is difficult to see each other more often. Still, it isn't too hard to pick up where we left off, and for that I know we are blessed.

I am thankful for Facebook and friends' blogs. I know it isn't as personal and I understand why people like to denigrate internet interaction. But all of my connections are with people that I really know or have known, and I care about what is going on in their lives. Facebook provides a way to connect in our oh so busy lives more quickly and more often than I would if I were e-mailing or calling people.

Today there is a Thanksgiving supper at church. Again, we will be blessed by the friendship within the church body, sharing a meal as the early church did. These are people that care about us, and want to know what is going on in our lives and how God is blessing us. There are hurts and trials among them, as I am reminded by the frequent prayer request e-mails, and I know I must begin to do better about consistently praying for them. I am part of the body as well, and must show the love of Christ.

This week will bring another chance to get together with one friend home for the week and one friend who is always there for me here. God is blessing me through many friendships. Even when life is crazy there are always people there. I'm thankful for this week of a relaxed schedule that allows me to meet friends without the threat of work hanging over my head (or at least not quite as immediate a threat as usual...yes, I need to force myself to stop procrastinating and get some work in later on).

I am so grateful for the common ground provided by the body of Christ. I know non-Believers have friends, but I can't help thinking that as Christians we are even more significantly blessed by our friendships. There is always some commonality if you are in Christ. We can be more open about our faults, our little (or big) trials and we can share each others burdens.

How has God blessed you lately through friendship? How can we bless others?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving, part 2

I'm thankful:
For a weekend to rest
For a warm house (actually I'm freezing, time to turn the heat up a little)
For laughing over the crazy antics of the dog and cat chasing each other around the house at breakneck speed
For pumpkin muffins and hot pumpkin pie flavored coffee
For silliness and for the memories this video brings back:

Thursday, November 17, 2011


It is a freezing cold day and really feels like November. I keep saying this, but I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is almost here. This year has flown by. I know, another cliche, but I can't get over it. Life has been busy (when is it not?) and the creative juices just aren't flowing now that I have time to write, so instead of something from me I have copied below the work of a much greater writer. In preparation for the annual day of overeating one week from today, and as a reminder that it really isn't all about food, below is George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation. I have updated some of the spelling for easier reading.

General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houzes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sausage, Potato and White Bean Soup

We went to Olive Garden the other night with family, and one of us (not me) ordered a soup that had (I think) sausage, potatoes and white beans in it. That just sounds like a good combination to me, so even though I didn't actually taste it I wanted to try to recreate it at home. Yes, I know this doesn't exactly make sense. So when Wal-mart had Cream of Mushroom soup (not low sodium or low fat, unfortunately) on sale for 60 cents and I was in the mood for soup, I figured I'd give it a try.

Of course, the obvious choice is the crockpot:
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
2 cans of water
2 1/2 cups of almost fat free lower sodium chicken broth
1 pound sausage, browned
about 5 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic (I tend to dump a big spoonful in, so really I have no idea how much)
1 can white/Great Northern beans (or frozen precooked in my case)
salt and pepper to taste, heavy on the pepper here
A couple shakes Italian dried herbs mix
Combine and cook until potatoes are done. Mine cooked for about 5 1/2 hours total, with maybe 1 hour of that on high because my beans were still frozen.

Add in the last 20 minutes of cook time:
2 c. frozen peas

Nutrition Data tells me that a 2 1/2 cup serving (that amount includes seconds, really) comes in at 318 calories. Using low sodium and low fat mushroom soup would have been much better, but for a "cream" soup I think that's a pretty good number. It's not as thick as a chowder, but it's still creamy.

Does it taste like Olive Garden's soup? I have no idea, but I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


- For a new day that is "fresh with no mistakes in it yet" (to quote Anne of Green Gables)
- For opportunities to use my interests and hopefully pass them on to others.
- For a wonderful husband who did all the dishes last night.
- For the dog's happiness when both of us are up in the morning at the same time.
- For friendship.
- For the promises:

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'"
~Lamentations 3:22-24

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Yes, I know Halloween was yesterday. But a friend posted this article on Facebook and I thought it was worth mentioning. It is an interesting account of the origins and evolution of Halloween. Yes, there are pagan roots, but it also went through a Catholic phase. The author discusses the various Christian responses to the holiday as well.

I like this line: "There is a big difference between kids dressing up in cute costumes for candy and Mardi-Gras-like Halloween parties, offensive costumes, and uninhibited excess." The problem I see with Halloween more than anything is the fact that you are teaching children that it's ok to go door to door begging and it's ok to eat large amounts of candy. Yes, it's only one night a year, but this has to be confusing. I remember as a young child feeling funny about doing this, because when else are you encouraged to beg from your neighbors? Last night many of the kids were carrying a pillowcase, which I think is a bit much. Isn't a plastic pumpkin-ful enough candy?

Handing out candy last night, I was surprised and pleased about the politeness of the kids. Along with the "trick or treats" there was almost always a "please" and "thank you." There were a couple "scary" costumes, but they were all much closer to the villain out of a comic book movie than to a ghost or demon. I am out of the loop on kid's fads. I saw a couple of what looked like Bionicles, but I have no idea if those are still popular. I'm pretty sure the ones that looked like Power Rangers were actually something else given how long ago those were "in." There were many more princesses, butterflies, a Harry Potter and I think a Southern belle type, Thomas the Tank Engine, etc.

I can completely understand why Christians might not hand out candy or allow their children to trick or treat, and I wouldn't try to change their minds. I don't personally have a problem with it, and saw handing out candy as a way to "meet" neighbors. Of course, there wasn't time for much more than a "Hi" and "Have fun!" but something is better than nothing, I think. I have a feeling this is something we'll be re-evaluating every year. What are your thoughts?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why yes, it is October. Why do you ask?

It has been snowing all day long. If it were colder we would have at least 6 inches, as it is we have maybe 3 inches. My jalapeno plants were still covered in green and red (though those are no good because of stink bugs) peppers.

My poor Gerbera daisies.

I'm not ready for winter.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A new week

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."
~Phillipians 4:19

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, 'My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.'"
~Psalm 91:1-2

Friday, October 14, 2011

Soup weather

The trees are changing and a few are already bare. We continue to have a lot of rain so even though it isn't very cold yet it seems like an appropriate time for soup. I thought I would share (if anyone is actually reading, that is) one of our favorites. I found this recipe at least 5 years ago on the girltalk blog, and have made it many times (slightly doctored, of course).

I like to roast a chicken in the crockpot using this method which I highly recommend. After picking the chicken I put the bones back in the crockpot, fill it with water and cook a few more hours. I then strain, chill, and skim the fat off the stock before making soup.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Fresh Spinach and Farfalle
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use much more, at least 6 cloves)
2 carrots, diced
8 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth (or stock)
2 cups dried farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (I use a whole lemon's worth of juice and peel)
½ 10-ounce package ready-to-use spinach leaves, about 6 cups (I generally use more)
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir 1 minute. Add carrots and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
Add 8 cups broth and bring the soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.
Add pasta and simmer until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix chicken, lemon juice and lemon peel into soup.
Add spinach. Simmer until spinach wilts but is still bright green, stirring occasionally, about
3 minutes.
Thin the soup with additional chicken broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.

I generally use these amounts as a guideline. Whenever I make soup it always seems to spontaneously increase in amount (Stone soup, anyone? Such a good picture book). Leftovers are good as well, though the pasta does swell a bit and absorb some broth. Generally the spinach stays at the top so we end up eating most of it the first meal. When I re-heat the leftovers I then add more. The spinach is best right away, just wilted. I love the spinach in this soup, and the lemon and garlic flavor is wonderful. After eating this, you will be spoiled for plain old chicken soup.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

After 2 weeks of being sick

1. My husband is wonderful: cleaning toilets, cleaning up the very messy kitchen, scrounging for his own food, bringing me things so I didn't have to get up, worrying about me.

2. My family is pretty great too: soup, phone calls, e-mails. I didn't feel forgotten while I was at home alone for so long.

3. The dog is pretty good too: I would have thought he'd be bothering me for a walk every single day at least a couple times, because that's what he does normally. But he was so patient. He kept me company. He slept a lot. He played with the cat. He would watch me when I coughed with a worried look on his face. Even the day N didn't walk him in the morning he was completely content to wait until evening for a walk. He's actually pretty smart and picks up on a lot that I wouldn't have guessed.

4. My students and their parents are amazing: No complaints when I rescheduled class, only to cancel it and then also reschedule the next week's class, on a Friday afternoon no less. They prayed for me, they were concerned for me. The students kept up with their reading assignments. They came to class on a beautiful Friday afternoon and were on their best behavior while I taught with a voice so bad I was even dropping words off the ends of my sentences.

5. Two weeks off work isn't always a vacation, but I sure hope it's enough to last me a couple months because this is it. My coworkers were pretty awesome about things too, by the way. I do find it kind of ironic that this was the precise time period I had wanted to take a few days for the beach but wasn't able to take off.

6. I got my fill of TV and Netflix for a while. A little too much time on Facebook. Some light reading too.

7. Fall arrived, though the leaves haven't really started to change yet. I spent some time soaking in the sunshine on the deck and it felt good.

8. It feels good to be on the mend. I'm sleeping through the night again. I have this weekend to rest up, and then it's back to the daily grind. I'm behind. The house needs cleaning. I have a lot of work to do for class. But at the moment I'm feeling ok about everything. I need patience with myself, and I have an even bigger excuse to give it now than usual. So hopefully I will, and who knows? Maybe going forward I'll have a little more too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Don't stop your crying on my account
A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve

No one knows Him whom eyes never see
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me

Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

~Kendell Payne

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tired, But Hopeful

I have been giving some thought to my lack of interest and almost apathy in current events lately. It can be very discouraging. Our country is in trouble. Politicians don't understand (or don't care about) the Constitution or good economics. Christians are wandering from their biblical base or doing things inconsistent with their faith and the world inevitably sees and wonders, rightfully, about "those Christians." It is so easy to see the very profound fallenness of our world and get bogged down in that. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Because of my teaching, I am forcing myself to pay more attention to current events and try to process the issues, as complicated and discouraging as that may be. The kids want to know, and my calling right now is to try to help them understand.


"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!" (Job 19:25-27)

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Only in Christ do we find real hope and change. There are no easy answers, and there are many things we may never fully know or understand here and now. It gives us more proof that we are made with a desire for more than this life, and we feel it whether we recognize that or not. But in spite of all that is wrong with the world, there is encouragement to be found even in the day-to-day:
-the sun rises and sets each day
-a great sermon this morning at church
-good friends and fellowship
-excellent, thinking kids willing and loving to learn both at church and in class
-people who will tell it like it is to Congress, and maybe a few who will listen.
And that's just a few for today.

But best of all is the knowledge that all is in the hands of our all-wise, all-knowing and Provident God, and he isn't finished with us yet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Excellent (and convicting) read

I read this article Josh Harris reposted on his blog and I wanted to share. It is long, but well worth reading. It is written for homeschool and other family focused parents, but has applications for children, teachers, and Christians in general, I think.

I particularly appreciated point number 5, about being dependant on formulas (even Scriptural ones) rather than trusting in God alone and His provisions. "Yet many of us lean toward a formulaic mentality, because our fallen natures are drawn toward self-reliance. We want to feel that by our own efforts (works) we have achieved something that will make us acceptable to God - by nature we are legalistic." It is so easy to depend on ourselves without even realizing it.

There is so much here and I know it will take time to process.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Years

September 11, 2001.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing that morning, much as previous generations remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard of JFK's assassination. I can't believe it has been so long, and yet such a short time. It is indelibly etched on our minds as a country. It still saddens me greatly to think of it. I tear up listening to Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" or Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" and I'm thankful for these artists' use of their gifts to memorialize what it felt like that day and afterwards (whether I fully agree with them politically or not).

Current events can be a discouraging topic. I tend to bury my head in the sand, maybe hoping irrationally that if I don't ponder the issues they'll go away. I don't pretend to have all the issues sorted out, and one must remember that cliched phrase "hindsight is 20-20." What was the right response to this attack, what was the practical response, when should we have ended the wars or should we have begun them in the first place? But thoughts of 9/11 remind me that I never want to grow fully apathetic. I never want to forget.

I read Lisa Beamer's book Let's Roll years ago about her everyday hero of a husband and his and other passengers' actions that day over Pennsylvania. I am thankful for her testimony of God's love and I pray that she's staying strong these many years later. I pray God's healing for all those affected, that they might remember this day in a good way. I pray that for the entire country. I pray (while I know this with certainty) that God worked good, and is still working it, in the lives of all of us as a result of this tragedy. We don't know the big picture, but one day we will.

1 Corinthians 13:12- "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

Philippians 1:6- "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rainy days

It sure feels like a Monday here, but this old Pixar short is good for a laugh.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A video

I am thankful for this video (though not for the reason it must be made) and for the people who made it.

Official Christcentric Video- "Fight For The Children" from Christcentric on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


The smell of apples and cinnamon. Stewed apples in jars, popping as they seal. Looking forward to fall and chilly weather. The promise of good things in the winter.

The why

I guess it's time for one of those silly "welcome to my blog" posts, and I assure you that this won't be profound. The blog won't be either, probably. It's just my place to share the little blessings, things that make me happy, the reminders, the small reasons to rejoice in the world in which He has placed us. May it be for His glory.