Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seven Random Things

Well, PG tagged me to do a seven random things post (which I have never done before) so, we shall see how this goes.

1) I always thought my name was wrong. I mean, Daddy told me that God sent my name to follow my namesakes from the Bible and be both a prayer warrior (Hannah) and a prophetess (Elisabeth), and I think that I am gifted in those areas. But the meanings were the problem. Elisabeth is "God dwells here" which has been true since I trusted in Jesus nineteen years ago. But Hannah means either gracious or graceful, depending on the translation, and I am neither. I have never been a particularly gentle or forgiving or gracious person and I trip over my own feet on a daily basis. But then I found a definition of Hannah in Strong's Dictionary that meant Favored. And that I can agree with. I am most definitely Favored.

2) I grew up in a house full of women who love sports and broccoli. I love neither. Mum cursed me to marry a man who loved both. Never knew curses could be good things...

3) I am a foodie. And my waistband knows it.

4) I am a political junkie and will talk your ear off about why we need to return to strict Constitutionalism, why QE3 is the stupidest thing ever, why a Perry-Bachman ticket would be fabulous for our country, and why 98% of our problems could be solved with less government and more church.

5) I am NOT a libertarian.

6) I would rather spend an afternoon in a museum (ANY museum) than anywhere else on earth, except maybe Glen Coe, Scotland. My favorite museum is the Victoria and Albert in London. It looks the museum curators went to all the other European museums's garage sales, bought the leftover bits, and threw it in a grecoroman style warehouse. My second favorite museum is probably the National Gallery in DC. Lovely lovely collection of art.

7) I fundamentally believe that chocolate is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Emma, you is next.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Modest Infinity Dress

My birthday has come and gone, and with it came such generous gifts from dear friends and grandmothers that I was able to make an infinity dress.  Surely, you've heard of this little gem.  It is essentially a skirt with a wide waistband and two LONG straps that are used to wrap and form the bodice. 

Now, to frugal me, the idea of having one basic dress that I can make into many, many different styles and looks for different occasions appealed greatly.  So, I set off to make one, and rushed over to Google to find somebody to teach me.  I found Sew Like My Mom who had a FABULOUS tutorial and from KnuckleSalad I found this ultra cool graphic detailing what to cut out:
Fabu. 

So, got my material, got my measurements, made the dress in ONE AFTERNOON! (even with breaks to let my back rest after pinning and hemming 114" of material O.O ) I was excited, threw it on and discovered the biggest, fundamental problem with infinity dresses (which I probably could have figured out from the first picture above).  See what the problem is?  No.  Okay, I'll spell it out, because I needed somebody to spell it out FOR me. 

You cannot.

Wear a bra

With this dress. 






And, as if that weren't bad enough, one of the wonderful ladies in the church kindly pointed out to me in an email just how much skin that dress reveals.  Now, I was able to wrap the dress in such a way that it could completely cover my back.  The problem is that 1) I pulled my tricep trying and 2) nothing short of duct tape could keep those straps there.  Grrrrrrr.


But, as I lay awake last night, pondering just how to rescue my birthday present, an epiphany!  A revelation!  A plan! 


I could extend the waist band up until it covered most of my torso (essentially creating a strapless dress).   That would be the "foundation" on which I could build the different styles of dresses!  w00t!  So I pulled out the rest of the leftover material and doubled the length of the band to make the Modest(er) Infinity Dress. 

So, if you would like to try, I recommend following the directions from either sight except for one slight adjustment.  Instead of making the waistband 10" wide and doubling it, measure from your waist to the top of your bra, or to a height that is comfortable for you (for me that was 10").  Then double that number, (so to make a 10" finished waist band, I needed a width of 20"), fold and sew the raw edges to the waist of the skirt like in the directions. 




Here's JUST the  band on me, no straps yet. 

 Here's JUST the band, from the back.  Just about swimsuit height for me.  

Here's one way to wrap it.  (I know, I'm terribly happy in this picture.)  

 
Here's one back of that same dress.  

Personally, I like the X back the best, rather than the open style.  I think it hides more of my tan lines.  : D

So, that's how I *tried* to make this dress a little more modest than the other ones out there on the market.  My one other suggestion is to lengthen the straps.  They say do your height x 1.5.  I say double your height.  Gives you more strap to work with in securing everything.  

Hope that's a helpful contribution to the world of dress making. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Home Coming



Last Friday, my dear friend Liz went home to be with Jesus. Today was her funeral. I thought I was going to be okay, I really was, until I saw her body in the casket.

She was dressed in white, like a wedding: her cancer-shaved head covered in her favorite wig; her makeup flawless; her jewelry glowed. She had an embroidered handkerchief tucked in her hands. You could not tell she had ever undergone years of cancer and chemotherapy and radiation and surgery.

But that was not Liz. That was a waxwork, a shell, a husk of the woman I loved so dearly. And I cried because it was at that moment I realized she was really gone. No more watching hockey games with my grandma. No more Olive Garden lunches after church. No more seeing her rejoicing Sunday mornings, radiant in a pink dress with fabulous jewelry. No more hearing Liz talk about Jesus. No more hearing her pray. My sister was gone. And I went and cried on Mum's shoulder and tried to carry on.

The service was lovely. Many friends came up to talk about Liz's strength, her infectious joy, her love of life and living, her infatuation with Jesus. Pastor Phil gave a beautiful gospel centered homily, reminding us all 1) Liz lived and died in the arms of Jesus 2) our hope is her hope 3) there is salvation for all who believe. I had long been praying that Jesus would be evident in Liz's funeral and I know for a fact that He was.

They showed a video that one of the young men had put together in the spring about Liz's walk through the trial of cancer. And there she was! Her voice and face and mannerisms and story alive for all to see. And I cried more realizing that this was the last time I would see my friend. But oh! What a way to remember her. She described how she hung on God through her cancer and how He carried her over the River Jordan. How could I be so sad? Liz was finally where she had longed to be.

When she was ill, two weeks ago, I brought her a copy of a prayer from the Valley of Vision to encourage her. Pastor Daniel even read it at her grave site! I wanted it to help Liz; God used it today to help me.

Its called "Heaven and Earth"

O Lord,
I live here as a fish in a vessel of water,
      only enough to keep me alive,
But in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.

Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing,
But there I shall have sweet and fresh gales;

Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness,
   a warm ray to keep me from freezing;
Yonder I shall live in light and warmth for ever.

Here I can have the world,
There I shall have thee in Christ;

Here is a life of longing and prayer,
There is assurance without suspicion,
     asking without refusal;

Here are gross comforts, more burden
     than benefit,
There is joy without sorrow,
     comfort without suffering,
     love without inconstancy,
     rest without weariness.

Give me to know that heaven is all love,
   where the eye affects the heart,
     and the continual viewing of thy beauty
     keeps the soul in continual transports
        of delight.

Give me to know that heaven is all peace,
   where error, pride, rebellion, passion
     raise no head.

Give me to know that heaven is all joy,
   the end of believing, fasting, praying,
     mourning, humbling, watching,
        fearing, repining;

And lead me to it soon.

Amen

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pins and Needles

So I finally caved and got on Pinterest.  Jamie convinced me to do it and now that I'm on, I must say that it is quite addictive.  'Cause I don't have enough to do with my free time, right?  RIGHT?

But I do understand her reasoning.  Jamie says she uses it as an online recipe catalogue which is BRILLIANT! because I can't remember the number of times that I've been flipping through a magazine or a cookbook for that *one* recipe that I can't seem to find.  But keeping all the pictures of different foods in one place online?  Like I said, Brilliant.

And now I am an avid Pinner.  (Is that what we're called?  Pinners?  I like getting terminology right.  Like Browncoats and Trekkies and Patients (NOT Whovians, because that sounds like a Dr. Seuss species) I guess I shall call myself a Pinner until I am informed otherwise.  Hope that doesn't step on anybody's toes) 

Anyway, it's fun.  I've already found a SUPER cool/cute dress that I really want to make, and I think I know how to make it.  Hoping I can get some sewing money for my birthday.  *Hopes*

in other news, I've totally stressed my carpel tunnel syndrome from knitting a shrug.  But it was worth it because I knit a shrug!!!  And it fits!!!  *confetti explosion*  I just have one thing to fix on it (collar problems) and then I shall post a tutorial (maybe) here.  But I have to wait for my wrists to calm down before finishing.  And I'm probably not helping by typing all this out.........*logging off*

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spicy Peanut Thai Noodles

I have decided that I am going to expand my knowledge of cooking Asian food beyond stir-fry and fried rice. The problem is that most Asian food requires special ingredients or equipment that is 1) not in my budget and 2) not in my pantry.  Especially when I'm hungry.  Especially when I'm hungry RIGHT. NOW

Which is why, when I stumbled across this recipe in a cooking magazine, I thought YAY! Food that I can prepare quickly and without having to make a pilgrimage to the Grand Asian Market and without having to need extra ingredients.

Now, a warning, dearest readers, DO NOT FOLLOW THESE STEPS EXACTLY! because, as I shall point out here and again and again, I made this extremely too spicy.

You will need: noodles, meat (or not), a little olive oil, water, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, hot sauce, and onions.

1) Begin by boiling some noodles.  These can be spaghetti, linguine, angel hair, or Ramen (poor college and ex-college students rejoice!).  You want the noodles to be DONE by the time your sauce is finished.  (Guess who's noodles got boiled too late and had to let the sauce sit there slowly getting cold until the noodles were ready?) 

2) In a separate sauce pan, cook your meat.  I used Kroger's Hot Italian Sausage, sliced into medallions.  [HERE is where I went wrong with making this too spicy.  Hot Italian Sausage is extremely Hot (and that has nothing to do with 104 degree August days).  If you intend to use a hot or spicy sausage, YOU NEED TO TONE DOWN THE AMOUNT OF HOT SAUCE YOU PUT INTO THE PEANUT SAUCE!!! A milder sausage (like a bratwurst, mild or sweet italian, breakfast sausage, kilbasa, etc) would need more hot sauce for kick]  You also can use beef, chicken, pork loin, pork chops, or no meat at all.  Add a little oil to the bottom of your pan to keep the meat from sticking.  But if you develop a layer of BCB's (Burned Crunchy Bits, for you poor non Pratchett fans), that's okay too because...

4) Deglaze your pan.  Remove the meat and pour 1/4 cup of tap water into the bottom of the pan.  This will loosen all the tasty gooey juices from the bottom and form a nice base for your sauce.  You do NOT want to use ice water, that will warp your pan.  You should get a rapid boil-y brownish goo bubbling up from the bottom.  Add another 1/4 cup of water to thin this out. 

5) Add 1 TBSP soy sauce, 2-3TBSP creamy peanut butter, 2-3 TBSP honey, 1 TBSP (or clove) minced garlic, and hot sauce to taste (GUESS WHO ADDED TOO MUCH HOT SAUCE?!?).  Mix until the peanut butter is no longer a nasty globby mess but nicely smooth in the sauce.  Taste the sauce.  You should get a slight tang of sweet and salty on the tip of your tongue, followed by a rich earthy flavor as you swallow, followed by a bite of heat when you inhale.  If you have added too much hot sauce (LIKE ME!!!!) add some more honey to mellow it.  And serve with LOTS of water. 

6) Drain your noodles and add the sauce.  Mix thoroughly.  Serve hot (temperature wise) with a garnish of raw sweet or green onion and crushed peanuts if you have them. 

YUM! Tasty. 

Unless you burned your tastebuds off like certain cooks on this blog did.  Good thing J likes spicy food.  *love to my long suffering husband*

Friday, August 19, 2011

Going home

My dear friend Liz has just passed away from this life of sin and pain and the Lord has been kind in weaning me off of her. Where just a week ago, I was clinging desperately to the hope that God would fully heal her on this earth, I have learned that it is a far far better thing to be healed in and through heaven.

Her work is done. Her reward is being realized. Her faith is being made sight. She is home, truly home, for the first time in her life.

To paraphrase a passage from Hebrews 11: Liz died in faith, not having fully received the things promised, her final salvation, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that she was a stranger and exile on this earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. For if Liz had been thinking of that land from which she had gone out, she would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, she desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called her God, for He has prepared for her a city.

And while I stand on this side Of the River Jordan, watching her go to Canaan's fair and happy land, my heart is sorrowful. First because there is a long separation on this side and second because I cannot travel there with her as she goes. Like Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress, we all must cross that final river alone. But not alone. For God Himself has gone before us into death and into resurrection to prepare a place for each of us who put our hope in Jesus.

And my heart is also joyful for those exact same reasons. Liz is seeing Jesus, no longer greeting Him from afar as an exile but running into His arms as a beloved child come home. Oh how can a heart be filled with such joy and such sorrow all at once? How can I want her here and there at the same time? How can I so selfishly desire her to stay with me when God calls her home? How long, oh Lord, before it is my turn?

"Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed. The victory is won; He is risen from the dead. And we will rise when He calls our names no more sorrow no more shame we will rise on eagles wings before our God fall on our knees and rise. We will rise." ~ Chris Tomlin

Oh Lord, give me the joy of Heaven and the knowledge that my sister is released and truly alive. Let my sorrow turn away and help me to endure until the day that you call me home. Amen

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

These are the Voyages of the Starship Enterprise

I love Star Trek.



I love the hokey plots, the over-dramatic music, the horrid special effects, the laughable acting, the silly costumes, the obviously-ripped-straight-from-a-Christmas-tree props, and the wonderful iconic characters.



I love McCoy's humanity and the high regard he holds for his culture and his people. I love how beligerant and in-your-face he gets when the emotional toll is ignored, when the weak are abused, when he has to protect someone, even when he can't.

I love Scotty's can do attitude. There is no problem in the universe that canna be solved with a wee dram o' scotch and utterly reversing the laws of physics.


I love Spock's verbal wit and mental aptitude and how, regardless of how much the good doctor needles him about it, Spock shows more courage, valor, hope, and strength than any other crewman aboard the Enterprise.



I love Jim Kirk. I love that he stands for a universal standard of justice. His "No I don't care what your local tribal customs, deities, laws, or plans say, there are some things that you simply DON'T do and we are going to stop you from doing them!" attitude.  I love that he will listen to his advisers but he does not shirk the mantle of command and he will even go against Starfleet if he believes he is in the right.


I love the friendship and courage and respect for life and acknowledgment of evil and the understanding of making and fixing a mistake that these men display show after show. I love that regardless of how bad it might get, Kirk and Spock and McCoy will save the day and we will have a funny haha moment at the end (usually at Spock's expense) and all will be well.

Most of all I love how imaginative this show is. There is no limit to where hard work and a little luck will get you. Technology may save the day sometimes but men's minds usually prevail. There are a thousand thousand different worlds and situations and places and peoples that are just waking to be seen and we can know them and they can know us. There are things we can build that will make our world a better place and things that will make it horrible. There is hope that we can boldly go where no man has gone before but what we find there will be the same truth we have inside us. That there are some things worth standing for and there are many things that must be fought against. That friends come in all shapes and sizes and colors and ear styles. That it is always good to end with a laugh.


I love Star Trek.

Oh, and how can you NOT resist Spock-with-a-beard?  I mean come on:

Adorable!  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tis a Far Far Better Place...



I've been thinking a lot about heaven lately. Mostly because my dear friend Liz is dying. She has late stage aggressive abdominal cancer hat has been slowly killing her for a long time bu it is in the past few weeks that it has gotten much much worse. Her doctors have taken her off her chemotherapy, she's been moved to a hospice facility, her digestive system is so crushed by the cancer that she can no longer get any nutrition from her food. And she is rapidly deteriorating. Her health and strength and vitality and endurance are gone. But what is intact is her joy.

From the beginning of her battle with cancer, Liz has never wavered from the firm belief that either God will heal her so she can testify to His grace or He will take her from this earth so she can testify to His grace. This solid truth and faith in the Sovereign Creator King has sustained her through long years of chemotherapy and discovering that the cancer came back when it seemed in remission. And now, staring into the face of death itself, Liz is still filled with Joy. The joy of knowing that one day, she is going to close her eyes to a world of sin and death and decay and open them to the face of her savior. Heaven is so close for Liz and I am so so so so glad that she is finally going home, finally free of pain. Finally able to see the face of her God who saved her and sustained her in the dark hours and the bright one.

But it is hard to let her go.

Liz is my dear friend, my sister in Christ, a prayer warrior, a saint of God, a faith filled woman, an encourager, a charismatic worshiped who, like David, does not fear the opinions of men when it comes to how she expresses her joy in Jesus. Liz is precious to me, to my Grandma (who is her bestie), to our church where she has served so long. It is hard to let her go.

And so I think of heaven.

"13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

Paul writes to the Thessalonians to help them understand the nature of death for the Christian. It is NOT death to die. We lose this decaying body and gain one of immortality. We leave this world of sin and go to Jesus. We no longer experience pain or sickness or sorrow or fear or sin or death. All longing is satiated, all praying answered, all tears wiped away, all hoping realized, all believing established, all faith vindicated. And we will be with Jesus. Forever.

Liz is not going to die. Her cancer will die. Her sin wil die. Her body will die. But who she is in Jesus Christ will never die. Because the Lord of all creation entered into what he had made and took upon his innocent self the guilt of every rebellious human and carried it to the grave, because God looked upon the sacrifice of a sinless substitute and accepted His death in exchange for ours, because Jesus conquered death and extended his earned righteousness and covering atonement to those who cling to him, because of Jesus, Liz will never taste death. And neither will I. And neither will anyone who puts their faith in Jesus as the only way to God. And we will always be with the Lord in a place purified of sin and all it's fruits. In a place called heaven.

Iced Coffee

I must admit that one of the rings I like least about summer is the fact that it is too hot to drink my regular coffee, hot and strong and very very black. So I began to experiment with ways to make iced coffee.

First I tried to make coffee ice cubes which could be blended into a cold frappethingy. The problems are that 1) the ice never blended smooth 2) I had to add sugar and milk and chocolate syrup and yogurt and ice-cream to my should-only-be-black-coffee and 3) I had to clean the blender.

Then I tried brewing coffee normally the night before and letting it sit out to cool off and adding milk and ice. The problem with that was that the coffee was SUPER watered down and Blech and was also kinda bitter. Grrrrrr

So I went on a hunt for the perfect iced coffee recipe. Pioneer Woman had a delicious looking recipe for a cold brew coffee base. But it required 1lb of coffee grounds and two huge containers and cheesecloth to line a strainer with and ALL I WANT IS SOME COFFEE GRRR!!!!!!!

So then I went to the googles and the googles sent me to Small Notebook who recommended the following recipe. Take 1/4 cup of grounds and place in the bottom of a French press. Add 1 cup of water. Soak the grounds for 10-12 hours. Then add another cup of water. Stir and strain. Pour the coffee syrup into a container to use for later.

Then I add equal parts milk and coffee syrup over ice. The result is a cold rich creamy strong coffee flavor without the bitterness and refrigerating both the milk and coffee keeps the ice from melting a lot when it is all stirred together.

I love this recipe because of the easy ratio of 1:8 cups coffee to water. Having a French press was a bonus but the website gives modifications of using a glass bowl and a fine mesh strainer or pouring it through three or four paper coffee filters. Really easy way to make summer mornings enjoyable again. In fact, I think I may go get another one...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...sammich

There is something incredibly comforting about sandwiches. Bread. Meat. Cheese. Veggies. Dressing. Hot. Cold. Whatever. However.



Love me a sammich.

So does Arthur. I heartily agree.

Ps. Sheldon comics (above) is HI-larious and clean and wonderful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fairy Godmother

My bestest best friend in the whole wide world just had her firstborn nigh on a fortnight ago. I am now a fairy godmother and if anybody calls me "auntie" I shall attack them with a wooden pallet. Auntie has a burned in connection to Wicked Aunt Weeza from Steel Magnolias (you have permission to go watch that scene from youtube, I'll wait) and I refuse to be like that. I would much rather be the Good Fairy Clarice but that's too long a moniker and I am NO Clarice.

Anyway little Zee (my godson) is just the most precious thing ever even though he has loud farts and threw up on me and went spastic a few times while I was holding him and would flail about and wake himself up when he was supposed to be napping but I shall endeavor to help him grow out of this popcorn like explosion. And PG (my bestest best friend in the whole wide world) is just the most natural mom. She is so sweet when she's holding little Zee. Squeeeeee!!!

I had a geat time up there getting to know Zee and helping PG.

Now I need to go knit little blue booties...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Perfect Peace

STRESS [stres] --n.  ..."a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.  
Origin: c.1300, "hardship, adversity, force, pressure," in part a shortening of M.Fr. destresse  (see distress), in part from O.Fr. estrece "narrowness, oppression," from V.L. *strictia,  from L. strictus "compressed," pp. of stringere  "draw tight" (see strain (v.))."


I am finding myself more and more attuned and easily influenced by stressful circumstances, and that I am stressed by more and more pathetically insignificant things.  A dirty house.  A pile of things on the kitchen table.  Forgetting where I put that envelope that I JUST had in my hand.  


Not being able to control the little things around me makes me feel the pressure, narrowness, or drawing tight that is stress.  I don't like it.  Not.  At.  All.  And yet, I find myself living in it and wallowing in it and then blaming it for when I react poorly to a situation.  


Yet, the Lord promises: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on You because he trusts You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock." (Is. 26:3-4)  I love that promise, but it is so difficult for me to live, fixed on and trusting in God.  Surrendering my false sense of control over the little things in my life seems impossible.  But it is something that must be done every day.  


Lord, help me to hold you as my everlasting Rock, my perfect peace.  When I am constricted by little things, help me to pray.  For you, oh Lord, hold all things in control and the Hand that cares for sparrows will also care for me.  


I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul will rest securely
Oh Jesus I will hide in You

My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows.  
~Steve & Vikki Cook

Sunday, July 10, 2011

God's Own Truth, found in odd places

I wrote this some years ago while in college and want to copy it here because 1) I want to be able to find it again and 2) it has been bouncing around in my head for the past few days.

So:Recently ran across this poem by Rudyard Kipling, which I shall copy here in it's entirety, then rant a little bit about it and finally leave you in peace.

"The Gods of the Copybook Headings

"AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

"We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

"We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

"With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

"When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

"On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

"In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

"Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

"As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

"And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!"

My notes on this poem:
1) A copybook was the method by which British school children would practice their penmenship. On each page was a perfect specimin of handwriting (usually some kind of proverb or scripture) which the students would copy down ad nauseum to strengthen their own handwriting.

2) Kipling contrasts two sets of gods, those of the Copybook Headings and those of the Marketplace. The Marketplace gods seem to be those who preach the current, prevelant, and usually erroneous, "truths"; the Copybook gods are those who constantly remind humanity of enduring, tried, tested, and usually odious truths. Humanity is want to follow the old truths and instead goes rushing after whatever is the newest fad, which ends up hurting more than anything else.

3) This poem reminds me of the "Save the Wheel" campaign that New Attidue put out a few years ago, essentially saying that the best truths are the ones that have been around for thousands of years and it is to our folly to try to "improve" upon them. I think that the entire point of the NA2006 conference was humbly defending what we know is true in the face of a culture that is constantly trying to twist truth to make it more "relavant" to the culture and thus far less powerful.

4) Kipling gives three direct examples of how the Copybook gods and Marketplace gods clash (Stanzas 5, 6 and 7), which I find to be the most powerful portions of the entire poem.
First, there is the idea that it is better to surrender without a fight than to stand for what will bring bloody consequences. This is particularly true for those of us (myself especially) who would rather remain silent than preach the Gospel of Christ. Am I more willing to surrender my principles than to stand firm and "suffer" (though it is a far smaller suffering than what my brothers and sisters endure) for Jesus?
Second, there is the idea that giving into small sins will lead to pleasure, rather than pain. But in an age of rampant worldliness, where halves of poison pills abound and there is dog poop in every brownie, it is a grave and deadly thing for the Christian to let his or her guard down to the notion there are no consequences for sin.
Third, and this is the most cultural of all, this idea of the socialist, the government will pay for my bills, society leads to a world of indolence and laziness and douses our torches in the oncoming glacier of lukewarm Christianity. Creating a society where it is okay for a person to just "get by" by relying on the hard work of someone else (which is a rapidly dwindling pool of people) creates a Church that sees no need to labor for Christ. Life is supposed to be hard work, and the Christian life is the hardest of all. But when hard work is looked down upon, how much longer until the Church is no longer actively spreading the Glory of God? Until Christains are no longer actively battling sin? Until we waste our lives on pursuing self when there is a great and glorious, all satisfying God to be chased after?
So, do we give into the gods of the market place when THE GOD of the universe is calling after us? Or do we uphold the ancient truth that the Ancient of Days Himself spoke forth?

There is a great deal of paganism and evolution in Kipling's poem, but the general idea is one that I strongly believe we are in need of. We must not "worship the gods of the market, who promise these beautiful things" because there is a greater God to be worshipped, who promises even more beautiful things to those who believe in His truth.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Pebble

I went walking on the seashore
Saturday evening
Looking at the pebbles that track the tide lines

Mum likes little Pearly gray pebbles
Perfect circles
Euclidian ovals
All small as Yankee dimes
I like bigger pebbles

J likes bigger pebbles
Not even pebbles, stones
That are large and bumpy and strange
He throws them in the ocean
To watch them bounce on the waves.
I like keeping my pebble

Rebekah collects bits of seashells
That are striped or solid
In blues or golds or oranges or browns
I like stone pebbles

My pebbles is an odd size
Not too big
Not too small
An oval of sea grey
The color of wind capped waves
There is variation in the grey
White patches and yellow stains
A hundred years of polishing by sea and sand
I curl it in my hand
My pebble

I think I'll name him Hubert.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lazy crazy daisy days

The last week has been a huge long set of lazy crazy daisy days.

Lazy Monday and Saturday J and I bummed around the house doing next to nothing cept a little painting and a little baking and a lot of wii-ing. It was nice after one crazy full weekend and befor another one. But too much lazy makes my house disorganized and messy and that makes me edgy. I don't know what it is about having a clean room, but when I don't have one, I just feel uptight.

Crazy Tuesday and Wednesday and thursday and Friday and tomorrow are all crazy days. Tuesday I had two back to back tutoring sessions and painting the living rooms and painting the hallway. Wednesday was more painting, more tutoring, helping a lady from church, running errands, and homegroup! Thursday J and I bought 30 cases of laminate flooring to replace the carpets in our house and then I worked on a super secret fathers day present even though my machine kept freezing up. J and I went on a LONG walk to help me ease he tension from THAT. Friday I woke up two hours befor I needed to, cleaned and went walking with Jamie and came home and did the huge sinful of dirty dishes and ran errands and cleaned some one else's house and helped set up for a friends wedding and then crashed. And tomorrow, we have church and my baby sisters graduation party. Hard to believe She's soo grown up!

Daisy we went to a wedding today (and worked a lot at it). It was fabulous, but it kept reminding me of my own wedding. I guess it was the hydrangea (which I used) or the arbor (ours was wrought iron) but I kept thinking of being in my white dress, with J in his black tux and there being daisies everywhere. Daisies are one of my four favorite flowers and they were the first flower J gave me when we were dating.

Anyway, Jand I are one week from our first year anniversary. And I love him more than the day I married him.

Happy One Year, baby. Here's to many many more!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ketchup

Haven't really felt like blogging in a LONG time.  Mostly because I don't know what to write (and Pioneer Woman says to only blog about what you feel like writing, but she does it every day....hmm).

So, some things that have happened since I last blogged:
1) Bought paint for the house.  All Behr: Desert Camel for the living room and hallways, Zinnia Gold for the kitchen (IT IS VERY YELLOW AND HAPPY AND I AM SUPER EXCITED ABOUT IT!!!!!), and Mother Nature for the master bedroom.

2) Bought a rake and hoe and shovel and hose and work gloves to start my garden (whenever it is no longer meltingly hot outside and when we finish painting inside).  Jamie told me the coolest way to prepare stiff clay-ey soil like ours.  You mark out your garden into 1' strips.  Starting with the first one, you dig down 1' and put that dirt into a wheelbarrow.  Then you loosen the next foot of soil, mixing in compost or soil or sand or whatever is needed.  Then you go to the next strip, digging up that foot of soil and flipping it over to the first strip, filling in the hole.  Repeat the process until you have finished digging up and mixing and loosening all strips of the garden, and then put your wheelbarrow of dirt on top of the last strip.  Now you have a loosened, prepared, plot of ground for gardening.

3) CLEANED OUT THE PINK ROOM!!!  So happy!

4) Started painting the kitchen (mostly doing the cutting in work because I hate doing the rolly brush.  blech)

5) Went on a shorts shopping trip with my sister.  Confession: I have not worn shorts since 9th grade, maybe?  It's been a long time.  I just never felt comfortable in shorts because 1) they never fit me well 2) they were never cute and 3) they made my legs look fat to me.  Rebekah was VERY good at telling me that all the shorts I tried on combatted all three of these assumptions (except the ones that DID not fit me well).  And, I found some cute ones.
These:
And these:

And I tried on this dress:

And I looked something very much like a fat, triangular, asparagus stalk.  Beck's laughed at me and told me not in a million years and I agreed.

Still, two pairs of Old Navy shorts for $22?  YES AND PLEASE!

Now, I should probably get back to painting.  Feels good to blog a bit.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mmmm, That New Home Smell

J and I moved last Saturday (thanks to a small army of helpful men and women and friends and parents and brothers and sisters) into the cutest little three bed/two bathroom house south of Fuquay.  The house is adorable and I love it.  I got all my furniture just about where I want it to be and there is nothing stopping me from making this place into a beloved, safe, welcoming, inviting home.

Except, well, the fact that it's 97F outside...  And I have no desire to move when it's 97F outside.

(pics to follow...)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Packing

J and I are moving from our teeeeeniney little apartment into a super cute teeeeeeeeeeniney little house.  (Important distinction: the super cute part).  And we are moving on Saturday.  Because we are so close to the move, today, I had to pack.

And, because the ladies in our church are made of winsauce, I did not have to pack alone!!!  *cue the cheers and explosions of confetti and fanfare for the common man and other happy joyful celebratory celebrations*

We packed: books, DVDs, games (Wii and board), blankets, linens, towels, place mats, napkins, cooking utensils, plates, cups, mugs, glasses, pots, pans, tins, cupcake pans, clothes, shoes, coats, sweatshirts, vases, tea cups, candles, figurines, spices, and silverware.  All in boxes.  All packed up.  All nice and neat....

But, here is how my living room now looks:



Almost everything that I own is now in a box.  What's left, you ask?  Electronic devices and food and picture frames and the random flotsam and jetsam that floats around houses until it gets swept up in a laundry basket and moved.

Oh, and furniture.  The furniture isn't packed yet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2 Corinthians 5:21

"God made [Jesus], who knew no sin, to become sin for us, so that, in Him, we might become the Righteousness of God."

Powerful words that rightly sum up practically the entire New Testament, and certainly the Gospel.

I've been reading John Stott's Magnum Opus: the Cross of Christ in my Bible study and have just finished a chapter on four different ways to view the effects of salvation.
1) Propitiation, from the Temple Mount.  God, through Jesus, satisfied His own wrath by fully and completely bearing it on behalf of sinful humanity.  In doing so, Jesus both fully absorbed God's wrath and fully bore our sins away from us, accomplishing the jobs of both the sacrificial Lamb and the Scapegoat on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16)

2) Redemption, from the slave markets.  God paid the price on our heads (life-blood) to Himself to satisfy His own code of law.

3) Justification, from the court room.  God pronounced us completely justified and "brought forward into the present the verdict that belonged to the last judgement...by sending His own Son in the likeness of our sinful nature to be a sin offering, God actually condemned our sin in the human Jesus.  It is only because He was condemned that we could be justified" (Stott, 189)

4) Reconciliation, from the family room.  God initiated the reconciliation of believing sinners to Himself by 1) removing His wrath from us and 2) removing our sin from His sight.  By destroying the grounds for enmity, God creates reconciliation.  And we, who were once far off from God and cut off from the covenant people are now brought near and bound to both God and His Church through Jesus.

Stott ends with the passage above and a quote from Martin Luther: "Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin.  You took on you what was mine; yet set on me what was yours.  You became what you are not, that I might become what I am not." 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bagels

So today, I attempted to make bagels from scratch.  Note the word "attempted".  Very important word.  I began with the recipe you find in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  No biggie.  Love this cookbook and I have yet to find one single recipe that didn't work out perfectly.  So I followed their steps up until the actual boiling of the bagels.

That's right: BOILING!

You take these precious little lumps of dough...

And poke a MASSIVE hole in them and stretch the lump out until the whole is bigger than the previous exterior wall of the bagel.

 I'm guessing the theory is that it'll shrink in the wash, so to speak?  Well it doesn't.  It tears apart.  And then you end up with strips of gooey bagel mush floating in your stockpot of water:

 YUCK!  So, I thought: what if you only poke a tiny little hole in them?  Will that work?

 The answer is yes:


(though some work better than others)


I dusted them with sugar and cinnamon because the dough was plain.  



Not bad.  Though, what a mess.  

 How do they taste?  ........................uh......................... ask me tomorrow.................