Wednesday, May 25, 2011


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 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


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.................

That's My King

This video is based on a message by the Late S M Lockridge.  LOVE IT!

"The Bible says that my king is the king of the Jews, He's the king of Israel, He's the king of righteousness, He's the king of the ages, He's the king of heaven, He's the king of glory, He's the king of kings, and He's the lord of lords.  That's my king!  I wonder: do you know Him?

"My king is a sovereign king.  No means or measure can define His limitless love.  He's enduringly strong, He's entirely sincere, He's eternally steadfast, He's immortally graceful, He's imperially powerful, He's impartially merciful.  Do you know Him?

"He's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world.  He's God's son, He's the sinner's savior, He's the centerpiece of civilization.  He's unparalleled, He's unprecedented.  He's the loftiest idea in literature; He's the highest personality in philosophy; He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology; He's the only one qualified to be an all sufficient savior.  I wonder if you know Him today?

"He supplies strength to the weak, He's available for the tempted and the tried, He sympathizes and He saves, He strengthens and sustains, He guards and he guides.  He heals the sick, He cleanses the leper, He forgives sinners, He discharges debtors, He delivers the captive, He defends the feeble, He blesses the young, He serves the unfortunate, He regards the aged, He rewards the diligent, He beautifies the meek.  I wonder if you know Him?

"He's the key to knowledge, He's the wellspring of wisdom, He's the doorway of deliverance, He's the pathway of peace, He's the roadway of righteousness, He's the highway of holiness, He's the gateway of glory.  Do you know Him?

"Well, His life is matchless, His goodness is limitless, His mercy is everlasting, His love never changes, His word is enough, His grace is sufficient, His reign is righteous and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

"I wish I could describe Him to you, He's indescribable, He's incomprehensible, He's invincible, He's irresistible.  Well, you can't get Him out of your mind.  You can't get Him off of your hands.  You can't out-live Him and you can't live without Him.  

"The Pharisees couldn't stand Him but they found out they couldn't stop Him.  Pilate couldn't find any fault with Him, Herod couldn't kill Him, Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him!  

"That's my king!  That's my king!" 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Da Bulls

Last night, mum and dad, and J and I went to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to go to our first of the summer baseball games.

The beautiful Bulls Park.

Me and J.

Mum and Dad

 They have this great game where a little kid has to race Wool E Bull around the bases between innings.  He must have been no more than three.  He was adorable.  And he got freaked out by some giant Smurfs and wouldn't finish the race.  So the nice lady ing the blue shirt had to pick him up and carry him around the bases.  Wool E Bull did a great job being distracted and losing.  We all cheered!

 They hit a home run and the Bull board blew smoke from it's nostrils.  (sorry for the bad pic.  I was cheering too much!)

 Another homer, here you can see the smoke!


 Third home run and the bull's eyes glowed!!!

 We won!!!

It was a rollicking good time.  Dollar hot dogs.  Halfway decent beer.  Our team won.  Lots of fun was had by all.

I love baseball!

Perfect Corn

My mom discovered the best way to make perfectly cooked, not mushy, hot, delectable corn-on-the-cob.  I will share this (hopefully with some pics).

Begin by filling a stock pot with enough water to cover the corn and boil on high heat.

Shuck two ears of corn and get as much of the corn silk off as possible.

 When the water boils, place the two ears in the boiling water.  Bring the water back up to a roiling boil and then TURN THE HEAT OFF!!!

Place a bowl over the corn to keep the ears down in the hot water.  

Set the timer for three minutes.  At exactly three minutes, remove the bowl with a pair of tongs and pull the corn out.

Voila!  Perfect corn.  Works with 2 or 20 ears.  No more mushy corn ever.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


EOG proctoring went fairly well today.  Except for the part where they were done and my four boys had to stand in line behind about thirteen kindergarten boys waiting for the bathroom, and missing lunch.  But they were very good.  Or very scared of me (I threatened horrible things if they spoke in the halls).  One more day and then I am NOT driving to the Bull City again this school year.



So I got out and raced down to the library to give math lessons to a young lady who speaks French, is learning Spanish and Arabic, translates Egyptian hieroglyphics in her spare time, reads above the college level, and is doing 7th grade math.  She is sweet and lovely and makes teaching uber fun.  In one lesson we covered ratios, proportions, percentages, percentages of whole numbers, different kinds of triangles and how to make permutations easy (ie: not listing out EVERY SINGLE COMBINATION JUST TO FIND OUT HOW MANY OF THEM THERE ARE!!!).  I had fun.  She got good at all these things.  AND I got paid for it.  love my job.

Also really enjoying my job as a wife, right now.  (well, always, really.  J is the best husband EVUR!!11!1!!one! and makes it really easy to do wifey things.)  Last night I decided that I wanted cheesy scalloped potatoes.  So I made them.  (And didnt' take pictures...which I should have done because I love it when people post recipes with pictures in them so I shall endeavour to do better).  But here is the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350.
Peel 3-4 medium sized potatoes and thinly (like 1/4-1/8 of an inch) slice them.  Boil the slices in hot water until partially cooked (a knife will go through them with a little resistance).
In another saucepan, melt 1-2 Tbsp butter on medium heat and saute a minced clove of garlic and 1/4 of a medium sized onion (diced) until tender.  Add 1 Tbsp flour and mix into the butter.  Add 1/2-3/4 cups of milk and allow to heat.  Then add a good handful of shredded cheese.  Stir until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the potatoes and spread out in a greased 8x8 baking dish.  Pour the cheesey gooey goodness over the potatoes.  Bake UNCOVERED for 30-35 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Tonight: Burgers and Mum's Perfect Corn.  (which I shall write up and post here WITH PICTURES!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ode to Frederick

I sit outside on the patio
That is too small for three chairs
And contemplate the pot of ivy that I sort of nursed through the winter.

His name is Frederick.
And he brings his own seating arrangements,
Which is good
Because the patio is too small
For me and and he and J
To sit and enjoy the mild evening.

Frederick,I thought, died sometime between Christmas and New Years
When I forgot to water him
For months
On end.
But he survived, a resilient bit of ivy.
And his new green growth graces the patio that is
Too small for three chairs.

My sketches, house plans, laundry, dryer, dishes and me

There are days when you get a lot of things done. And there are days when you get nothing done. And ther are days when you start lots of things and get none of them done.

Today was the last.

I started sketching and there is now a pile of pencils paper scissors and tape all over the coffee table and couch. I started planning out where I want things in my new house to go this resulted in more pencils and paper and scissors and tape on the coffee table and couch. I started to do dishes and was interrupted by the guy who came to install our new dryer. So ow half the dishes are clean and dry and the other half are filled with soap and crumbs. I got one basket of laundry folded and another one started and another one sorted (read strewn about the bedroom).

And then I felt dizzy, like abouttothrowupstoptherideiwannagetoff dizzy. So everything stopped while I got a BIG glass of water and sat outside on the little cement block that constitutes a patio on our teenineee apartment that we will soon move out of (praise the Lord) and wrote this little blog about all the things I started to do and didn't. Maybe J will help when he gets home from work......

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Morning Hymn

I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You,
Oh my soul, Rejoice!
Take joy, My King
In what You hear
May it be a sweet, sweet sound

In Your ear.

I love You Lord 
And I stand amazed
My sins are gone!
Let Your name be praised
Look up, my soul,
And behold His face.
I will ever sing, oh My King,
Of Your grace!

(c) Laurie Klein, 2nd V (c) John Piper

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Have Decided...

...that this blog is too... not me. I am not just lists of things to do or goals or plays or prayers. I am all those things with a lot of politics, education, math, art, cooking and randomness thrown in too.

So today we have a random blog:
1)This is cool

And I want to remember it so I shall place it here.

2) J and I are currently renting, house sitting, and buying a house. I think of it as though we are livin in three places at once. Is this not a good metaphor for life? We live somewhere between what we were once familiar with, what we are currently experiencing and what we hope to one day achieve.
Pastor Phil: "The angels beckon me from heaven's open door and I'm just not at home in this world anymore.

3)the cat we are house sitting hates me. The end

Thursday, May 5, 2011

If you give a girl a goal...

The problem with afternoons with no appointments is that I just want to sit around and do nothing.  So I caught up on news, The Book of Face, blogs, clicked around on several decorating sights, and am trying to ignore the BIG HUGE GINORMOUS pile of dishes in the sink that need washing and the Wii Fit on the floor that needs exercising and the basket of laundry that needs folding.


Sometimes, I really don't want to do anything.

Now seems to be one of those times.

BUT, if I go to SparkPeople, then I will exercise.  If I exercise, I will wash my hair.  If I wash my hair, then I will do dishes while it dries.  If I do dishes, my feet will hurt and I will want to sit down.  If I sit down, I will fold laundry.  (I think someone should write a "If you give a Moose a Muffin" style book for grownups.)  All it takes is to go over to SparkPeople... I go.  (Wish me luck)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

"You are not your own.  You have been bought with a price.  So glorify God with your body."

Powerful words.  And, while Paul is speaking about succumbing to sexual immorality and sexual sin, I find this verse applicable to a different idol in my life: food.

Oh, food, how much I love thee, let me count the ways.....

Unfortunately, counting the ways that I love food conveniently leaves out counting the calories.  ><

Food is a good thing, a gift of God that was given before the Fall of Man and will exist into eternity.  But like all good things, the problem of sin is that I want to twist that good thing into a bad thing.  I either run to food as a source of comfort and security or I use not eating as an excuse for sin (cf. last night) or I just eat because I feel like eating and don't want to discipline my body for righteousness. So 1 Cor 6:19-20 is today's verse.  Glorify God with your body.

In light of that, I am using the website SparkPeople to help me try and begin disciplining my body and my love of food.  Now, granted, I am not perfect at this and that pan of double chocolate brownies in the kitchen will probably break down my will to diet soon enough.  But I am trying to learn discipline.  And if that means today I only eat one brownie instead of three, then today is a success based in God's strength.

I remember Eric Simmons giving a great example at New Attitude one year.  He had this huge box of fresh Krispie Kream donuts sitting on the podium and proceeded to talk about how donuts for him had been an idol.  It was not the object in and of itself, he said, that was evil or idolatrous.  It was the fact that he wanted this little piece of dough TOO MUCH!  And it took much prayer and accountability and grace to get him to the point where he could eat that donut and Glorify God for it.  That is where I want to end up.

This is not dieting for the sake of losing weight.  This is trying to use the medium of SparkPeople as a means to keep myself in check.  And, with God's grace, I will do just that.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

See How Great the Father's Love

My sister's play was this weekend.  Her theater troupe, CYT, just performed Phantom of the Opera but not the Andrew Lloyd Webber version.  No, their's was a version twisted by their fabulous director to present an allegory of the Church, sinners, saints, desires, faith, trust, Jesus and Satan, and all that lies in between.

I love this play, it is one of my favorites by far (though I say that about every CYT play) because of all the various characters that I can identify with.  Three brief examples:
1) Madame Soreli--the dance instructor.  She is being pursued by the the powerful and fabulously wealthy Comte de Chagny and cannot comprehend why this man would be interested in an older peasant with a murky past.  Throughout the play they meet, he woos, she pushes away and excuses her disbelief with variations on the theme of "Why do you love me?  What do I have to offer you?" He replies with "I love you because I love you" and does not give up lightly.  Here I see my own sin, my repetitive falling and turning away from God and allowing my faith in His unwavering Love to shake.  I have known my Lord for nearly twenty years now and still I am amazed by why He could ever love me.  And He always replies with "I love you because I love you."
2) Madame Giery--the house manager.  This is a woman scarred by unrequited love.  All through the play she hints that she once gave her heart to a man who scorned her and we later learn that it is the Phantom who has hurt her so.  She sees the love that Chagny has for Soreli and she longs for it, but she goes searching for it in all the wrong places.  Rather than look for a new love, she goes back to the Phantom again and again, believing his lies that he will give her satisfaction and in the end, he murders her.  In Giery, I see the lure of sin.  I think that it will promise so much, like a big fancy present under the tree on Christmas morning.  But the more I pursue it, the more I realize that it is all so much tinsel and ribbon and there is nothing of substance that can satisfy my soul.  Giery stands as a warning to me that all the broken cisterns I keep carving will end up killing me and all the promises of sin that Satan tempts me with are nothing but phantoms themselves.  They do not hold, they do not satisfy, and it is folly to keep pursuing that which burns me.  I do want love and the satisfaction of my soul, but it is not found in the sinful desires of the flesh.  It is found in the love and excellence and worth of God.
3) Christine Daae--the rising star.  Christine is the main character, a young dancer who is vaulted into the position of Prima Donna.  She is pursued both by the Phantom and by Roul, a child-hood friend and the future Comte de Chagny.  The Phantom offers her attention, fame, fortune, music, the praise of mankind, and a life of ease, "all she's ever wanted".  Roul offers only his love and his presence.  For much of the play these two men woo Christine and she wavers back and forth between them.  She wants Roul but she also wants what the Phantom offers and she clings to the vestiges of the Phantom's promises, even as she recognizes him for the evil monster that he is.  The end shows Christine recognizing that being with Roul is worth giving up everything.  This is the daily struggle of my life.  Who do I believe?  Do I choose the lies of the Deceiver, that my will and my desires and my flesh and my self are supreme and will bring me happiness?  Or can I relinquish everything that I seem to "have" that may, for a moment, make me happy and fulfilled to receive and experience the presence and the power of the ONE who really truly satisfies?

It all comes down to belief and promises.  God promises one thing.  Sin promises another.  What makes it difficult for me, personally, is that sin offers instant gratification where God's promises are often long term.  But sin's promises come with the condition of long term suffering and God offers a "light and momentary affliction" followed by an "eternal weight of glory".  Who do I believe?

Nominally, God, but in the day to day living, I choose to believe my own sinful selfish heart and run after instant gratification rather than holding out for something better.  That is why the exhortation I gave today is more relevant to me than anyone else.
The LORD your God is in your midst,
   a mighty one who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
   He will quiet you by his love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.

I read this and think, God how could you love such a sinner who keeps exchanging your truth for lies, who hews out broken cisterns and forsakes the fountain of living water, who keeps calling you and your promises lies and tramples on your glory?  How can you say you exult over me?  How is this possible?
And he answers with this:

"I love you because I love you.
You cannot escape my love.
You cannot break my love.
You cannot earn your way into my love
And you cannot sin your way out of my love.
You are mine, child, and I love you." 

And I stand amazed.