Saturday, September 04, 2010

Baking Bread


It was a absolutely gorgeous day yesterday. Perfect. Everything the weather could be to be ideal, it was - cool, breezy, puffy clouds, the smell of fall...perfect. Perhaps that was why my bread dough turned out so perfect!

Every Friday the Moodys have pizza - homemade pizza. About 4:00 I make the dough. I've gotten the recipe down so well I probably could make it in my sleep but sometimes I add a bit
too much flour and the dough is tough and doesn't stretch very well.

Yesterday, however, it was perfect.
Now I judge dough to be perfect when after kneeding it and balling it up, before placing in my oiled bowl to rise, I slap it and it feels like a 3-month-old baby's bum. Yeap, that's the test and I've had four babies and their bums all felt like perfect bread dough at 3-months-old.

When the dough rises it should have a look of clouds, like the clouds of yesterday: puffy, airy yet substantial. When you punch it down to begin working on it (after letting it rest for 10 minutes after the initial punch) it should be pliable - no tearing, no ripping but stretch where you want it to go.

The pizza dough cooperated, I think because the barometric pressure was just right. I was so impressed with this dough I decided to make 2 loaves of my new bread - Chai bread. Instead of just cinnamon, butter and sugar to add with a swirling effect I added cardamon, ginger, nutmeg and a pinch of black pepper (cracked of course).

Now Emma says I should use tea in the dough
(replacing the water).
I will try that next time.
And I hope the barometer is it its happy place!
video

Monday, August 30, 2010

Not looking forward to 2014

Personally I am suspicious of this outlawing of incandescent bulbs and promoting of CFLs. Follow the money, I say. The disposal of CFLs is complicated and if not followed, which I think for the majority of consumers will not be, could have dangerous results (mercury poisoning in landfills). I may be buying my case load of incandescents sooner than later.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Challenging Words

I read these challenging words today from here:
We cannot be happy without love, and to love truly, we must be free. The freedom that engenders love comes from one source only - total abandonment to the Divine Will. We must not only resign ourselves to the circumstances of our lives, but consent to them. By choosing our sufferings rather than just enduring them, we choose God's will for our lives, and He will be faithful to us.
This needs to be chewed over slowly, let it digest and fill me - consume me. These words ring true to my spirit - provoke and prod me to dig deeper.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stop Playing at Church

Here's another set of videos to watch. I especially recommend video 2 at minute 1:01:00

Michael Ramsden reminds recalls the persecution, torture, death of the prophets and lovers of God from the Old Testament and that it is happening today. The church persecuted is the church pure. He asks, "Are we playing at church in the western world? We need to wake up as a church, stop playing at church. We have to be prepared to lay down our lives for the gospel - that's what it means to be a christian."

Did you know that the root word for witness is the word martyr?

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is Faith Delusional - John Lennox (PART 4 of 5)


Every night we pray God please give our daughter back the ability to feel pain before we lose her because she cannot feel it.

Pain in the inner man is a symptom that something is wrong in the inner man between us and God. God provides for us the help and sustenance and strength and in His mercy we in America are so blessed, we are turning against God.

If the physical symptoms tell us that pain is a symptom of something that's wrong I think we need to accept it pain in the inner man is a symptom that something is wrong between us and God.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Does the Bible Have Authority? In Your Life?

Just spent over 3 hours watching a very helpful, challenging and inspiring lecture on the accuracy of the Bible.

www.cslewisinstitute.org/node/1099/play

Some finals points that stuck with me:

there are 2 types of people in the world:

1) those who seek God

2) those who seek to avoid God

and both will be successful in the end

a person can say no to the bitter end


Romans 124Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.:

He gave them over, chilling words - He let them have their own way

a person can say to God

thy will be done

my will be done


God will never violate the picket fence of our own unwillingness


Does the Bible have authority?

3 options:

No - sweeping rejection

Maybe - problems exist

Yes - complete acceptance


Our culture is denigrating anything having to do with authority

Bible is always counter-cultural

Expect it

Question: Are we children of our culture or transformer or agents in culture - what paradigm do I embrace?


Belief in scripture will run against the current of the time


Men of Issachar understood the times and knew what to do


Know your culture, know your calling - be students of the world, and leverage your culture for the gospel


We should be seeking to be winsome - build truth into people, best thing to do transmute the currency of temporal to the currency of the eternal


Basic issues of stewardship (time-talent-treasure and truth and relationship: Take the temporal (time, talent and treasure) to things that go on into eternity: word of God and people

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Our language lacks words to express this offense"

My grandfather was imprisoned in Birkenau and released when his son, my father, could enter the German army.

This short film is important to watch, to remind us of our humanity, evil and innocent, and need for a Saviour.

www1.yadvashem.org/exhibitions/album_Auschwitz/mutimedia/index.HTML

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Worship

You may do it Saturday nights, Sunday mornings or Sunday nights but church worship, to me, seems like date nights with God. They are those set-aside times to focus, pay attention to the One I love, time to learn more about Him and extend my arms in Thanks and Receive more Mercy and Grace.

To worship in the everyday - not just on those "dates" - means to live into my new creation, as He is molding and shaping me. It means I respond to His Spirit leading me to a person, a service or time with Him. It sometimes means stepping out of my comfort zone and trusting He will give me all that I need for the moment. It is the time to build trust in my relationship with the One I love. Does my daily routine reflect my relationship with God? Can others tell I am spoken for?

Does this seem like a "girly" description of a relationship with God?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

50 in 50

AI turn 50 this year- half a century! (as my kids like to remind me ever so gently and kindly). It is knocking me around mentally and emotionally right now.

I am developing a list of 50 things I would like to do in my 50th year. It's growing, slowly. I've already accomplished one item - with the help (eager help, I must add) of our dear friends, the Bennetts. This past New Year's holiday I shot a .22 pistol and a 22 gauge shot-gun, because shooting a gun is on my list. Here's the rest. I take suggestions for filling up the remaining spots.

1. Shoot a gun
2. Visit Chicago
3. Have a pedicure
4. Have a manicure
5. Fly in a hot-air balloon
6. Buy an expensive wine (it's relative, expensive for me is anywhere between $20-30) and drink it!
7. Karaoke!
8. Dance lessons with Dave
9. Go to a movie alone
10. Go to a restaurant alone
11. Visit the wine country of Missouri
12. Teach Liam to ride a bike
13. Lose 30 pounds
14. Learn how to can and don't be fearful about it!
15. Quilt
16. Knit
17. Learn the bodhran (Irish drum, which I purchased 7 years ago with the intent of learning!)
18. Read all of CS Lewis' writings

UPDATE:
19. Smoke a houka - yes Rachel you have inspired me!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Changing from a Should/Have to Attitude to a Get to Attitude

My perspective has changed. I can't tell you when nor how, but it's changed. I used to be the sort of person who looked at life as Shoulds and Have tos. This didn't make me happy. It made me bitter and isolated.

But something changed.

I started looking at our prayer/praise time at church as an opportunity, not an obligation or duty. Instead of hemming and hawing I said,
"I get to pray!"
"I get to converse with the Creator of the Universe!"
"I get to sit and listen to his Word read from brothers and sisters who love Him and desire His presence!"
"I get to wait on the Holy Spirit and briefly and finitely touch His power!"
"I get to sing praises, close my eyes, lift my hands and stand in awe and wonder!"
"What a privilege when many around the world are suppressed and oppressed. Many around the world can not meet in communion. What a blessing to have this time!"

I used to dread Sunday mornings. I used to heave a sigh, walk to church and anticipate---nothing. Now I say,
"I am sitting with others who love the Lord, through their pain, happiness, sorrow, wants, needs, plenty...they all love the Lord and depend on Him!"
"I get to recite creeds, sing songs which are ancient and new, Christians around the world are doing the same. God is building and encouraging His church and I am a part of it!"
"I get to hear incredible teaching from scripture. I am allowed to learn more from the Word."
"Many around the world have to travel, walk, miles and miles for their fellowship. I walk 20 yards!"

I used to grumble and complain about picking up after the family (OK! I still do everything now and then!) but now I mutter,
"I love this family! They are fun, for the most part enjoy each other and it is a privilege to have each person in my life. I am serving them!"
"I have my wits about me, strength in my arms and legs, my kids can run and scream and play and have minds to create--I am blessed."
"My husband is a servant and gives his all to his job and his all to his family and first his all to his Lord. He is a manly example of a follower of Jesus and I am so blessed to be married to him and allowed to serve him."

I still complain about Walmart but now I say,
"Thank goodness there is a market close by, I have funds to shop for food, clothes and other necessities!"

I will continue to complain about our government because that is my duty and,
"I am privileged to live in a country where disagreement and discourse are expected and that's what keep our country afloat."

Looking at my circumstances with a new perspective, a privileged perspective, reminds me how much I am blessed. Instead of bitter I am thankful and instead of wanting to sit alone I anticipate fellowship.

How's your perspective?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sanctification

After one accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God, ones Lord and Savior - mediator between us and the Father - life is about sanctification. God loves us as we are, true but
He loves us more -
enough to move us into holiness.
Sanctification.
It means, like the smelter remove the gunk,
the goo,
the junk,
the trash,
the filth,
the yuckiness of sin which soooo easily keeps us down,
bound,
strangled and
hopeless.

He begins shaping and molding us into who He created us to be. That sounds like going backwards - what we were supposed to be? In the first creation. The original.

What wondrous love is this!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

I am, when in my best, when leaning on His everlasting arms, so thankful that God is still working on me! He doesn't leave me bitter, jealous, insecure, shy, weak-willed, lustful, greedy.... He works grace, mercy, patience, strength in Him, contentment, dependence on Him into my skin and bones, into my heart and mind. It's not easy. It requires me to get down on my knees and say, confess, "I am wrong. Please help me. Lift me up. I give myself to You." That comes when the Holy Spirit overwhelms me with His love and assurance that this surgery is for my good. He woos me.

While on vacation I read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. A must-read. A quick-read. A deep-read. One ghost's story concludes:

"Have I your permission?" said the Angel to the Ghost.

"I know it will kill me."

"It won't. But supposing it did?"

"You're right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature."

"Then I may?"

"Damn and blast you! Go on can't you? Get it over. Do what you lik." bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, 'God help me. God help me." Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard on Earth. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile; twisted it, while it bit and writhed and then flung it, broken backed, on the turf.

"Ow! That's done for me,"gasped the Ghost, reeling backwards.

Read the rest to find out what happened to the Ghost and the reptile. It's, well, it sent shivers through my soul.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Prophets of Old

I've been thinking a lot lately about Elijah and the other prophets in the Old Testament. What a job they had!

They were God's mouthpiece speaking, in-large, to a nation which had turned their back on Him. The prophets pleaded, brought dead bones to life, threw off their clothes, dug trenches, ate what the birds gave them and still, it seemed, no one would listen. Their's was a difficult life. They knew what God had for their people. They had access to kings and queens and were often scoffed, ridiculed and threatened. But still they persisted. They had the word of God. They had the Spirit of God. They pled with God for mercy. And still the people turned away and worshipped what the other nations worshipped.

God didn't remove these men from their positions, authoritatively, spiritually, emotionally nor physically. God kept them there - for the people's mercy, for the people's sake. God put these prophets in a position which would harden their heads - foreheads of steel (because I am sure it felt like they were banging their heads against the wall). But God did not give up. He didn't pull His men out of reach from Israel and Judah. He kept these voices crying out grace, mercy and truth within ear shot of the rebellious. He kept them there so the wayward would see and know that He still pursued them, He still loved them and wanted them back in relationship with their Creator.

God does not give up.

We do. He doesn't.

What an example of patience!

What an example of love!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Doin' Some Introspection

I discovered something about myself today, maybe uncovered is a better word. I like approval. I seek approval. I want people to like me. Not just like me but I want them to like what I like - to validate my preferences.

I won't go into the details how this revelation came about just to say as I was disclosing some deep feelings to Dave, talking through an issue, a lightbulb came on - I'm really bound up in this need for outside approval. And God, in His infinite grace said to my spirit, "It is slavery. It is bondage." I want to be free of it.

Instead...

...I want to walk confidently in who God has made me to be, not second-guessing His direction or how He's gifted me. I want to say no when I know a choice is not for me and not fear what others may think. I want to be focused on His will and not others.

I thank God that life's a journey - the time for sanctification, more time to learn and grow in His likeness, to grow in the new creation, to become who I was meant to be - the true me.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Super Easy Martha Stewart Project

Do you like hats?
Do you like to sew?
Do you have a pair of jeans that 1) don't fit; 2) are stained or 3) have a hole and don't just want to throw them away?
Have I got a project for you!
Last Christmas I found this craft project of MarthaStewart.com. I loved it at first sight but didn't have the time to try it. It's been on my mind since then. When CSIProject.com invited folks to their Martha Stewart challenge I thought of these caps. But I didn't want to make a wool cap in the middle of Summer! Who does!?

We've been cleaning out closets and have a few pair of jeans and always in a recycling/reuse/reduce mode I decided to make the beanie out of jeans. This is SUPER easy - takes less than, well 20 minutes really and the cool thing about Martha's site - she has a video with the instructions showing you every step of the way. So...
...if you like hats...
...if you like to sew...
...if you have a pair of jeans you'd like to recycle (or any other fabric - one hat takes 1/4 yd.)
...try this project!