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Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of a Weathered Year

When I was around twelve years old, I didn't like seeing the new year come. I didn't want to get older, I didn't want to see the changes I knew were bound to happen, and I didn't like that feeling of cutting the old year off once and for all. It felt like a dying and a birth too close together.

Now I enjoy the yearly milestone. I see it more as gentle closure...God gave me an empty year the way my parents have given me blank journals. I filled it, and I'm ready for another.
Of course, as I always find with my handwriting, life ends up messier and more complicated than I had anticipated. As I misspell words and scribble hastily, I speak what shouldn't be said or don't take the time to finish my tasks to the degree that they ought to be finished. I spill ink and have to scrub the carpet--I disregard the commands of God and must accept the consequences.
Every once in a while, an entry ends up pretty and neat, but it would be foolish to think that I really had much to do with such a work of beauty. So I am assured that my sanctification continues, because of Christ.

The old year is a dear one, but it has been filled. The last page has been written, and it's time to stack it away with past years until times come when I wish to remember or share with others. For now, I smell the clean, crisp, unstained pages of the new year and pray that I'll have the childishness to ask my Father if He'll hold my hand and help me write.

Monday, December 12, 2011

With Child

Well, I've been absent for a while, but hopefully if you've been by, you'll have noticed the pregnancy ticker underneath my header! Although I've been feeling well enough to post, I couldn't really think of much besides pregnancy-related topics to talk about, and my news hadn't been made public yet. So I have waited. 

Waited to tell you all about the wonders of first-trimester pregnancy—the forcing food down my throat because my stomach wants it but my mouth is sick of it. The sudden love of cilantro and hatred of shrimp (so weird). The looks my husband gives me when I start choking over his deoderant (Me: “How much did you put ON?” Him: O.o “I can't smell it at all...”) and the underlying odors of a neglected travel-trailer kitchen. The frustration because I don't look pregnant yet...I've just gained enough weight to look fatter. And the blechy feeling in my stomach which prevents my being motivated to clean the bathroom, fold laundry, or any of that good stuff.

But there's one thing which trumps all of the above: Knowing I have a real, live BABY inside my TUMMY.

(No, I'm not being anatomically correct here. I just like the word “tummy” better than “belly.” :-P)

God has blessed us, and we are so very excited to welcome this child into our family.

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kitchen Dragons

When it comes to cooking meals, I have plenty of experience. I can operate utensils and appliances, read a recipe, and whip out some [usually] yummy, good-for-you food. But when I started researching how to plan my menus, I felt like I was stepping past the known world into "Here there be dragons" territory.

I got a good deal of spontaneity from the genetics of my former generation...and you might not automatically think it, since I'm sort of introverted, and not always bouncing off this way and that way. I just find that for questions such as "What should I cook for dinner today?" or "What should I wear this morning?" I rely very heavily whatever mood I'm in, and I like to have a variety available.

So plans which assign every day of the week a certain meal which is repeated the next week on that day really don't appeal to me, because I get bored just thinking about repeating the same seven or eight meals all the time. (Plus wondering, "How do I know I'm going to want to eat that on that day?")

My husband loves variety even more than I do, so I knew that this way of menu planning wasn't going to end up being our cup of tea. I knew that if I wasn't careful, I'd fall into the slump of having a vague idea in my head and then scrambling every afternoon to make something which includes only the ingredients I have available without hours of preparation.

I also knew that to change the course of my natural habits, I had to do it now, before God sends children our way and makes changing extremely difficult.

It has had me baffled for a while, but I think I've got something promising, and I'm so excited to try it out. Instead of Minestrone-and-Meatball Monday, Chicken-and-Rice-with-corn-on-the-cob Tuesday, etc. I want to have something more like, "Soup on Monday, Rice dish on Tuesday, Pasta on Wednesday, and so on.

It gives me a weekly outline which focuses my choices, but each category is broad enough to fit many different moods, and give me endless variations and new recipes to learn.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Fall Favorite

It is finally November! I love how Fall blew in so suddenly...as if she had forgotten and the new month startled her into the proper routine. The air has a crisp chill, scarves are coming out, Thanksgiving will be upon us, and so will Christmas. All of this fills me with joy every single year. So, in celebration, another Christopher Morley Poem. Three cheers and a mug of cider to Fall!

Burning Leaves, November

These are the folios of April,
All the library of spring,
Missals gilt and rubricated
With the frost's illumining.

Ruthless, we destroy these treasures,
Set the torch with hand profane--
Gone, like Alexandrian vellums,
Like the books of burnt Louvain!

Yet these classics are immortal:
O collectors, have no fear,
For the publisher will issue
New editions every year.


(Image credit: www.morguefile.com)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Proof is in the Pudding...

And other cliche phrases gone the way of the dodo bird.


Anyways...this is a lowly little foodie-update post to squeal about a couple of things.

One, my adapted bread recipe is working beautifully! The wrath of wheat allergies has not been awakened, and the bread tastes as good as the original recipe.

I'm so happy!

Secondly, I got spontaneous and tried my hand at pudding today, and it worked! My finger keeps wanting to sneak underneath the edge of the plastic wrap and lap up another dollup of the goodness, but we're working on that. Can't wait to have it tomorrow! Gratitude goes to Heavenly Homemakers--this recipe is going into the Kitchen Book for sure.

Photo credit: www.heavenlyhomemakers.com 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Supermom Dream

I don't agree with everything the writers of Boundless put forward, but their perspectives give me a lot to think about, and I really enjoy reading what they have to say. Candice Watters has written a couple of articles lately which look back on previous pieces she's written, and update her beliefs on the same subjects. I'm working on a post discussing her view on the book of Ruth, and today I read her article titled Kids Don't Retrofit, and found it extremely refreshing.

She begins, "I used to think I could fit kids into my life."

Isn't that the dream of so many women today? We go to college and find ourselves face to face with opportunities for the career we've always wanted. We want to get married, we want children someday, but that doesn't mean we've got to just drop all of our goals of success in the working world, does it?

Of course not, culture tells us. June Cleaver's day is past and gone...if you want to be a truly successful woman, be a Stephanie Powell. In last year's TV show "No Ordinary Family," Stephanie is a research scientist with two teenaged children and a husband who works as a sketch artist at the police department. In the episode, "No Ordinary Visitors," her mom comes to visit and continually nags on her for devoting so much time to her career, but the episode ends with this apology (begin at 39:00): http://www.videobb.com/watch_video.php?v=AHbpInUZL210

“Stephanie, I know I've been tough on you. Just, when I see all you've accomplished in your life, it makes me feel like I could have done more with mine. Maybe even more than just a wife and mother.”

Stephanie protests, but really, her position is exactly where so many of today's women only dream of being. What's the catch? Stephanie has superpowers. It's tempting to want to try and be our own little Stephanie Powells, but honestly, we just can't run at the speed of light. My question even past that is, how would her life change with six or seven children instead of two? And more importantly, what does God want women to be doing with their lives?

Candice says,

"For all the debates that rage about whether mothers of young children should work and whether they should place their children in daycare, rarely, if ever, does anyone ask, "What would you want if you were a toddler?" Pop psychologists have conditioned us to assume the answer would be, "I'd want what would make my mommy happy, because that would make our relationship better!" But deep down, I know I'd want someone to love me enough to make me a priority--even if that meant they had to sacrifice something." 

God wants us to sacrifice. He gave some of us children and told us to teach and train them up in His way--why should we stop at using anything less than our fullest potential to fulfill this calling?

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
          ~Deuteronomy 11

(Photo credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween, Horror, and Our Response

Since we got married, my husband and I have been really scrutinizing the holidays we celebrate--starting from Scripture. Halloween...Thanksgiving...Christmas...should we celebrate them, and if so, how?

To be honest, we haven't actually talked much about Halloween, because neither of us have celebrated it since we were very young. I can remember one Halloween dressing up as a fairy princess, and the next year Mom and Dad were all set to dress my brother and I as Thing One and Thing Two, when they decided that Halloween wasn't something they felt comfortable celebrating any longer. For Caleb, he was six when he moved to Romania as a missionary kid, and when you're living in a place where contact with demon-possessed people happens, you really don't want to join into the yearly celebration of them.

But is there a place in a Christian's life for scary stuff, or do we need to shy away from anything considered "dark?" We've been tossing that one around for the last couple of weeks, and I was very excited to find a post on one of my favorite blogs which laid out the exact conclusion we'd come to. Here it is: http://www.rabbitroom.com/2011/10/righteous-horro/

And if you like reading books set in your current season of the year, try out one of my very favorites: The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope.(You can get it used for a penny on Amazon, plus shipping...) In my opinion, she brings a beautifully Christ-centered perspective to All-Hallows Eve in a very skillful way.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Bread

Out of my two most used Whole-Wheat bread recipes, one tastes good, and one tastes better. One calls for soaking of the flour the night before, one just has you throw it in the mixer. One does not turn my face an allergic cherry red (ohh, so *that's* why I look like I've been out in the snow all day!) and one, unfortunately, does.

Well, since my husband ended up rather disappointed that the yummy bread wakes up my allergies, I wondered how hard it would be to adapt my good recipe into a flour-soaking recipe. This is scary territory for me—I'm great at following recipes, but not so great at tinkering with them or making my own. At least not yet.
Anyways, after basking in the wealth of information provided by Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking, I tried my hand at re-writing the recipe, and now I'm excited to try it out and see what happens!

It's hard to believe that this is the me who got together with her mother at about eight years old and decided to at least *try* to bake some kind of wheat bread for the very first time. We always bought our bread before that, and to both of us the idea of baking our own seemed so incredibly, domestically impressive at the time. Those dinner rolls came out hard as rocks, but they tasted good in the middle, and we kept trying.

My mother almost never buys storebought bread now. In fact, we both grind our own wheat berries. And here I find myself...messing with the recipes. What on earth may happen next?

I tell you this so that you may
a) Laugh at the fact that I think this an impressive progression of events because you can't even remember a woman in your heritage who *didn't* bake bread with their own recipes
b) Laugh because you're pleased that there *is* another woman in the home-keeping world whose mother...let alone she herself...did not know how to bake bread, and therefore bought it at the store for her family of seven.

Photo credit: www.morguefile.com

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Courage, New Hampshire

I have some old friends in California who run a Revolutionary War reenactment, and they've recently decided to start making godly movies that portray bits of historical fiction set in America's early days. Their first in the “Courage, New Hampshire,” series is called, “The Travail of Sarah Pine,” and I was very excited to get to watch it recently. Mr. Riley, of Riley'sFarm and Colony Bay Productions, asked me to review the movie on my blog, so here I am—somewhat belated, but finally sitting down to write.

The website's summary reads: In the winter of 1770, the township of Courage lies on the raw edge of the frontier, in western New Hampshire. When a detachment of British soldiers arrive in search of deserters, they fail to catch their quarry, but one of them does catch the eye of the justice of the peace. Sergeant Bob Wheedle, of the 29th Regiment, was here a year before — and he left something behind.”

Sarah Pine, an unmarried young woman in the township, steps forward when Sgt. Wheedle returns, and claims him as the father of her baby daughter. He learns that Sarah considers herself bound to him in marriage, and that she has been trusting in God to bring her husband back to her.

I dearly love my friends at Riley's Farm, and I applaud what they're doing—I can definitely call this first episode a noble effort. The screenplay needs some work, as most of the story was conveyed through sit-down conversations instead of action scenes, but that only takes practice. I do have a few issues with the story, though.

Sarah Pine is a deluded woman. She understands something I believe is correct—this man made a covenant with her when he fathered her child. However, she doesn't seem to have any concept of the shame in her situation, and the township fosters this attitude in her by putting all of the blame of that night onto Sgt. Wheedle. He is the one tried for fornication, she is only called forth as a witness. She is “a good girl who made a mistake,” whose honor everyone is trying to protect—and my question is, what honor? The honor she let go for the false promises of Sgt. Bob?
Satan deceived Eve, but Eve still followed him and she bore the consequences of her actions. Sarah Pine was tricked by a man with less-than-honorable intentions, but she did consent to his wishes. In my opinion, Sarah's “mistake” should have been taken much more seriously than it was.

Bob's side is redemptive, if simplistic—he is pronounced not guilty, but he goes back and asks Sarah to marry him anyways. Sarah is only proven correct in her predictions that this is what he'd do, because it's what he told her he'd do in the beginning and she's believed it all along.

In conclusion, I thank Colony Bay for even writing a story that involves punishment for fornication—a sin which the modern American culture deems completely acceptable. But I think they got it slightly off-balance. I look forward to seeing how they've improved in the next episode.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Poet

I know I'm a horrible blogger. I know it's been a very long time since I posted. I know you're giving me a sad, reproachful look right now. I'm sorry.

As I mentioned to my mother-in-law recently,, being a poet and being a blogger are very similar. The goal is to reach a point where one finds inspiration in the beauty of even the most humdrum, everyday item or happening. I consider myself both poet and blogger, and I have decidedly not reached the goal.

However, while inspiration evades me, I thought I'd continue a habit from my old blog and share bits of favorite poetry every once in a while. Christopher Morley is a poet I've enjoyed for a very long time, and here is a little gem of his.

                                                  The Poet
                                ~By Christopher Morley

 THE barren music of a word or phrase,
The futile arts of syllable and stress,
He sought. The poetry of common days
He did not guess.

The simplest, sweetest rhythms life affords-
Unselfish love, true effort truly done,
The tender themes that underlie all words-
He knew not one.
 The human cadence and the subtle chime
Of little laughters, home and child and wife,
He knew not. Artist merely in his rhyme,
Not in his life.

Image credit: www.allposters.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Newlywed Hospitality

My husband and I have finally situated the apartment enough that we feel able to have people over for dinner or whatever the situation calls for. We are loving it! But this week I was reminded of David Copperfield, and the part where he and Dora are just married and the meat somehow always ends up burnt or raw...
Because apparently one cannot leave chicken breasts in the crock pot for two extra hours and find them unharmed.
We had been gone all day and because of changed schedule information, we didn't get home until about six in the evening. I had estimated our return at about four when I put the chicken on to cook.
Upon entering the house with two guests, the strong smell of chicken met our noses, and my stomach sank. I only hoped the others didn't notice the other, very toasty aroma which I found all too obvious.
So I rushed into the kitchen and pulled the lid off while my unsuspecting husband settled everyone into the living room. I managed to beckon and get his attention, and only pointed at the pot.
He stared at the blackened remains of our dinner and looked at me very worriedly.
“What do we do?” he whispered.
“I don't know,” I answered. “We got home much later than I planned for.”
I almost heard his mind whirring as I watched his face.
“There's nothing you can do with it?” he asked.
I thought fast. “Well, we already have salad,, biscuits and cookies. I can try to pick out the middle of the chicken, shred it up, cook a few veggies, and toss it all into the rice I'm about to cook.”
“Do it.” And he returned to his guests.

I served the meal apprehensively, with many quick prayers that at least the butter would cover any taste of charred chicken—or if worse came to worst, the cookies might atone for my failure. But God saw fit to bless us, and all of the food seemed to be greatly enjoyed by our friends. Praise Him, thank Him for emergency fixes and a good batch of cookies, and please, for your own sake, I plead with you...do not leave your chicken in the crock pot for ten hours when the recipe calls for eight.

Image credit: www.morguefile.com

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Young Stay-At-Home Wives

Before I got married, people always wanted to know what I planned for my life after high school. After becoming engaged, my answer was easy--"I'm getting married!"

Now I'm married, I have a home, no children, and my husband is in college. I get the same question, just applied to a different life stage. What am I going to do while he's working towards his degree? Am I going to get a job or go to college too, or what?

I'm still not very good at answering that one, so I say things like, "I'll be doing things around the house," and other [not] brilliant answers. I'm confident in my role, and I believe that not only has God placed me here, but that it is a high and noble calling. Someday I'll figure out how to sound confident too. Come on, Staircase Wit...how about a little insight here?

If you're a young wife at home, how do you answer The Question? I'd really like to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


                               ~Henry Van Dyke

Let me but do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in my heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
"This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;
"Of all who live, I am the one by whom
"This work can best be done in the right way."

Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the labouring hours,
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest,
Because I know for me my work is best.