Friday, December 23, 2011

About those Shepherds....

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
                                                                                          Luke 2: 8-10

A lot of times people talk about why the shepherds were the first to hear about Jesus' birth. The answer is usually that it was because shepherds were poor and on the fringes of society. Christ wanted to identify with those people. When taken with the visit of the rich and powerful wise men, the visit to the shepherds can show us that Christ came for all people.

I am sure that is true. But I wonder if there might be another reason as well. This isn't something I have heard before, but my theological reading hasn't been all that extensive.

I wonder if maybe God sent the angels to the shepherds first because.... God is a shepherd.

The Bible tells us that in the familiar 23rd Psalm. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." But there are numerous references to it as well:

A quote from Genesis 48 (Jacob speaking):

“May the God before whom my fathers
   Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
   all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
   —may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
   and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
   on the earth.”

King David, the man after God's own heart, was a shepherd boy when he was annointed.

Jesus, during his ministry, tells several parables about shepherds and identifies himself as a shepherd, perhaps as part of letting people know he is God. ( John 10: 1-21 )

Actually there are 118 references to shepherds in the NIV version of the Bible, according to  ( Shepherd references listing )  I think God has an affinity for shepherds and that is why he chose them for this.

Those are just some thoughts I have had on the Christmas story this season. What are yours?


Linus explains Christmas to Charlie Brown.  
Thanks, Charles Schulz


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Ginberbread What?

We were cutting out gingerbread cookies yesterday. We made plenty of angels, reindeer, trees, people and camels. But we also cutters for other holidays, so Jordan decided to go with a Watership Down theme. We, therefore, have a whole warren of gingerbread rabbits.

A bit unusual for Christmas, I admit. But it does show that a really good story can stick with you. Jordan has been joyously busy getting ready for Christmas and is excited about his upcoming trip to Disney World. We finished reading and discussing Watership Down two weeks ago, but even given all that it is still on his mind.

Watership Down is about rabbits, but it's a real boys story. It has danger, fights, even war. Parts of it are downright brutal. It's full of examples of courage, leadership and self-sacrifice. Well - written, conversational in style and real, this is what Charlotte Mason would call a living book. No twaddle here.

I am happy to have gingerbread rabbits because it shows how deeply Jordan has connected to a good piece of literature.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


"It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mostly in need of freedom. Without this, it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty."
                                                                                ~Albert Einstein

All parents, with very few exceptions, want what is good for our children and we know them best. I firmly believe that God has placed each child with the parents who have the best potential to give them the environment and stimulation they need.

I am a homeschooling Mom. I am not an unschooler. I have been at this six years and am still finding my way, experimenting with styles, methods and curricula.

For some the best way to learn is school, for others it is not.

So, what do your children need? What works for them? What ideas do you have to share? How's it going?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Virus

This is going around the internet in various forms. I thought it was worth sharing. 

The Advent Virus 

Satan sent this memo to his demons. 


From: His Infernal Majesty
To: All Demons and Denizens of Death


Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
  • A tendency to think and act generusly and lovingly
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry. 
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation and thankfulness.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and and with God.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
  • A realization that Jesus really is the son of our Enemy Above and the overwhelming desire to tell everyone about Him
This last symptom -- the most dangerous one of all -- comes in the form of inviting people to church, writing cards or letters or making long delayed telephone calls and performing acts of service in Christ's name. It shows up in all circumstances, leading people to praise God and love people. It causes them to take even the smallest opportunities to be like Jesus to those around them.

Be warned that this virus is highly contagious. Once the humans in your sphere of temptation get exposed to God's love, full recovery is seldom possible. I urgently direct you to do your literal damnedestto cause them to focus on the materialistic side of the holidays. Allow stress to take over. Get them so busy that they don't have time to reflect on the birth of their Savior.

If this virus gets out of hand we could end up wit something terrible like "peace on Earth"  -- and if that happens, let me assure you, there will be Hell to pay.

Do you have the Advent Virus? Will you spread it? How will guard against Satan's antidotes?

Fresh Salsa

I was asked to bring chips and salsa to a Christmas party recently. I remembered something of a recipe for homemade salsa and decided to make my own. Something of an experiment, but it seemed to be a success. Very mild. Requires overnight preparation.

Finely chop a quarter of a white onion and half a green pepper. (If desired, include a small amount of either jalepeno or chili pepper.)

Add a shake of chili powder, a bit of freshly ground coriander, a few shakes each of black pepper and lime pepper, a shake of cumin. Adjust to taste. Add cilantro and a bit of garlic if desired. Mix and place in fridge overnight or for eight hours.

Two to three hours before serving, cut up two pints of grape (or cherry) tomatos and add to mixture. Chill. Serve with tortilla chips or similar. Can be used as a vegetable dip.

Like most of my recipes this one isn't very precise. But I hope you like it and find it useful.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Joys of a Good Story

Jordan and I are reading Watership Down by Richard Adams together. Jordan begs for more of it constantly.

The protagonists of this story face a series of evils and overcome them. They are quick and clever and manage to defeat their enemies time after time. This is basically a good vs. evil story, and good wins, as is only right. We just completed a portion of the story that describes a daring rescue. Jordan kept shouting "Yes!" and "Alright!" as I read aloud. This is an exciting, well-written book.

Oh, and have I mentioned it is about rabbits? Yes, rabbits.

These critters think, talk, plan and dream but physically they act as rabbits would normally and they live as rabbits do --except for story telling and talking. Mr. Adams used a naturalist to guide him. The book is conversational in tone, certainly what Charlotte Mason would call a living book. Definitely a classic.

There are dark parts to this story, and humorous bits as well. There are parallels with real life. Some lessons could be drawn from the adventures of the characters. There are even some political commentaries inherent in the book, if you care to look for them.

But mostly, this is just a good story. The kind kids love. (I wonder if it ever could have been written today. Rabbits might be considered to childish or something. Kinda sad really.)

What books excite your children?

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Random Thing I Learned Today

Today I found out that it is easier to open bananas from the bottom instead of the top. A funny thing to learn on a homeschool nature hike, but where would you learn something like that in the normal course of events?

It happened because we found a banana peel on the ground and one of the Dads picked it up to put in the trash. “Ah. There must be a monkey around.”  (“Why?” ask assorted children.) “Because this banana is open from the bottom. Or maybe it’s just someone who has learned to open bananas properly. I saw a documentary once that showed that this is how monkeys open bananas. But I also have a friend who told me that it is easier to open bananas from the bottom. I tried it and found he was right. It’s easier to do and the banana doesn’t squish so much.”

It just so happened that Jordan and I had bananas for our snack. So I tried opening mine from the bottom. It was easier. And cleaner. Wow.

Well, you learn something new every day, right? What’s your something for today?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy New Year!

Today is the first day of the Christian year.

While even most churches barely give a nod to it these days, it used to be a religious high point for most liturgical churches. There would be changes in worship -- additions to prayers, new colors and a more festive atmosphere.  The idea is new beginnings.

I love new beginnings. This one is the lead up to the celebration of Christ's birth and I as I mentioned, is barely noticed. In fact I posted "Happy New Year!" as my Facebook status on the first day of Advent and got berated for not waiting until after Christmas, until I pastor posted a comment explaining. But, then I am not sure how much the secular new year on Jan. 1 is really noticed. There are parties and some people make New Year's Resolutions that keep for a little while, maybe, but the rhythm's of life don't change at that point.

I think most of us, in the U.S., are most attuned to the academic year. Things start fresh in schools and churches in late summer/early fall and wrap up in June. Even after we leave school and our own children have moved on, we feel that rhythm. It was the rhythm of our childhood.

Still, I like the Christian New Year, too. The idea of following Christ's life through the calendar.

What do you think?

Have a great day -- and Happy New Year!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Hymn of Thanksgiving

In Honor of Thanksgiving.

Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.
God's banners are o'er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into light.

His law he enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a Song let us raise
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
"To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!"


                                      ~ Katherine K. Davis

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Prayer for Healing.

Many of my family and friends are in need of healing in one form or another -- whether from strokes, disease, a cold, an injured foot, a hurting heart or emotional stress. I came across this prayer, written by John Burch and posted Faith and It captures some of what I would like to say. I hope you find it useful, too.

A Prayer for Today

When I pray for healing, Lord,
I sometimes feel so inadequate,
ill-equipped for the task.
There are so many I could name
who are in need of healing.
Those who hurt physically,
and others whose hurts go deeper,
whose scars cannot be seen to the naked eye.
Yet all need healing,
all need making whole again.
There are broken bones
and broken hearts, Lord.

You had a way,
a gentle and loving way
of dealing with hurts,
physical and spiritual.
You healed the whole person,
something medicine can never do.
You reached the very cause,
not just the symptoms.

When I pray for healing, Lord,
I sometimes feel so inadequate,
ill-equipped for the task.
All I can do
is bring their names to your feet,
holding them tightly in my prayers,
then hand them over
for you to touch,
in the way that only you
can touch.

Read more at:
Under Creative Commons License: 

Do you have any prayers to share?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Memorial

"Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."
                                                                                                     ~Abraham Lincoln

Today, in honor of Veteran's Day, my town dedicated a new granite WWII Memorial Monument to replace the old decaying wooden one. It was at the request of veteran's and the town paid for it without  using any local taxes or government grants. It was all private donations from local residents, organizations and businesses. It was put up this week.

Jordan took pictures of both the building and the dedication. He go to learn about Armistice Day, weight load limits, cranes, monument building, granite and patriotism.

I hope that he learned how important it is to thank veteran's. I think I will set an example. To all of you military men and women, current and former, young and old, living and dead, whatever war you served in or if you served in peace:


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Fall came late this year, but it came with startling beauty.

At least that's how I see it. It actually seemed that there would be no "peak" this season, no time when everything burst into color. In fact, just yesterday there was green mixed in with dullish autumn colors. But today.... bright and glowing with the light just perfect for viewing.

It was so beautiful that we gave up lessons and went to look. I have a feeling that this will be a short autumn as the trees are literally raining leaves.

Jordan brought along his camera,and these are his pictures I am posting.

I wonder if maybe it's because we had to wait so long for it that it seems so much better, so much more vibrant this time around. It's like that with some things, isn't it? I think maybe that's sometimes why God's answer to our prayer might be "wait".

Anyway, today has given us an unexpected blessing and I'm grateful we got to enjoy it.


What's your fall looking like?

Jordan taking pictures...

I wish I could get a picture of Jordan absorbed in a photo shoot. He gets so wrapped up in it. His face just shines and his whole body is involved in the experience.

Today, I looked at him, lying on the ground in a  pile of leaves utterly concentrating on what he was seeing through the lens. He seemed to be in a perfect spot. He took pictures of trees, of individual leaves on the ground, of geese, of a woodpecker, of anything that caught his eye. The light was brilliant, the leaves in their fall glory. It was just enchanting.

I do wish I could get a picture of him like that, but it would have to be a seize the moment kind of thing and he always has the camera at those times. I guess I'll just have to rely on my memory.

What pictures would you like of your children? Have you been able to capture them as you want to?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Diabetes Awareness Stuff

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Everything has a month I guess.

A friend of mine just died of complications from Type 1 Diabetes. It is treatable to a point, but it's tough to manage.

Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family and I hope to hold it off with a sensible diet and exercise. Apparently, as obesity has risen in our population so has this type of diabetes and it is now even seen in children fairly often.

Here are a few links for more information. I think they are legitimate, but use common sense.

American Diabetes Association (General Information)
About symptoms:
Tips and recipes:

A dessert recipe from a website for diabetics:

Apple Pecan Upside Down Cake
Ingredients: butter (one-fourth cup), flour (one cup), baking powder (one teaspoon), cinnamon (2 teaspoons), brown sugar (half cup), vanilla (1 teaspoon), toasted pecans (half cup), thinly sliced apples (3), granulated sugar (one-fourth cup), eggs (2)

  • Foil a baking pan and spray nonstick cooking spray onto it. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt in a bowl.
  • Beat butter in a bowl with brown sugar and granulated sugar with the help of a blender. Add egg white and vanilla and continue beating. Now add flour mixture in it. Mix properly.
  • Add the sliced apples in the baking pan and add the above mixture onto them and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool the pan and invert onto a serving plate. Remove the foil carefully.
  • Serve it warm with sliced apple pieces.

And some cool quotes:

Trying to manage diabetes is hard because if you don't, there are consequences you'll have to deal with later in life.
Bryan Adams

Diabetes is a word, not a sentence. 

Diabetics don't need sugar to be sweet.

Life is not over because you have diabetes. Make the most of what you have, be grateful.
Dale Evans

Have  a blessed day!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seeing Jesus Face to Face

A memorial service was held yesterday for my pastor friend, Charlie Crook, at the church he was serving when he died. Near the end of the service, the pastor asked us to listen to a song  and imagine that this was what Charlie was doing. Over the loud speakers came a recording of Charlie's voice, sing this song by Aaron Jeffrey. It was the most touching moment in a very poignant service. 

Restless days stand in a clouded haze
Before my weary eyes
As I pray your kingdom come
Like a thief in the night
You know this 
world can be unkind sometimes
When you don't bow to its whims
But one day you'll take me far from here
Where the 
sun never dims

Beyond my eyes 
Beyond the sky
Where tears turn to hope
And hope's the way of life
Beyond my fears
Beyond here
Beyond the realm of time and space
I'll see Jesus 
face to face

I know some souls who made it there
Oh God, I miss them so
They traded in their earthly cares
To kneel before your throne
But if I could see them now
I know they'd cheer me on
Down this narrow road I'm 
traveling on
That leads me home 
That leads me home

(Repeat chorus)

Charlie is indeed seeing Jesus face to face now. What joy it is!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Preparing for Death

This topic has been coming up a lot lately, especially with my twelve year old. I'm not sure why it keeps popping up in different circumstances, but it does.

We have been studying Ephesians 6: 10-20, the passage about the armor of God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

When we got to the part about our "feet being fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace," we talked about what it means to be ready. First, we discussed being ready to tell others about Jesus. Then, we realized that there was more to it than that. This passage was written to people who were being persecuted and might face martyrdom at any time. They needed to be ready for death.

We also attended a funeral this week. The friend who died was a Christian, a pastor and only 50 years old. The man who gave the message spoke of how Charlie was ready for death and how he would want us to all be ready, too, by knowing Jesus and being hopeful of Heaven. That lead to converstation in the car on the same topic.

There have been other instances when are talk went to this subject. My son hasn't been fearful or morbid in these conversations. He seems to take them in his stride and just be looking for information. He has seen death this year, as his beloved grandmother passed away from cancer. He also was seriously ill himself at one point though (thankfully!!!) he is fine now. My son also knows Jesus. I suppose we are just in a season in which this topic is on his mind and mine.

Are you prepared for death?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ultimate Blog Challenge #31

When you spend on credit eventually the bill comes due right? Some day you are going to have to pay up. Put yourself too far behind and you can end up getting overwhelmed.

All this month I have been participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, which involves posting 31 blogs in 31 days. This is my third try and this time I finished. I actually did it -- 31 posts in a month!

Why did it take three tries? Well, during a Challenge like this, skipping a blog post can be like buying on credit. Skip enough and you just can't catch up.

I did better this time. Not perfectly. I still skipped some posts and had to write five today. But I wasn't so far behind that I couldn't do it!

Along the way, I met some interesting people, learned a ton about marriage, economics, law, theology, and a dozen other things and discovered some blog ideas I'll be starting to use.

So, thank you, UBC! This has been very useful and thoroughly enjoyable!

An Unusual Hallowe'en Decoration

Hallowe'en is all about the unusual, right? So how do you get a decoration that is different? Think like an 11 year old!

This Hallowe'en bear is a reading fiend!!!

I gave Jordan the Hallowe'en decorations and told him to go to town. He did simply hang some of them. He also made a "haunted backyard" with scarily decorated pumpkins on strings rigged so he can make them swing towards people.

But first, he set up the above display. He wanted to find a book with a high-sounding name like A Scholarly Analysis of Eighteenth Century Literature That Turned into the Best Book of the Eighteenth Century but after looking around he settled for Geometry and Trigonometry for Calculus.  Around the bear are all the books he's either finished reading or is planning to read. They range from Calvin and Hobbs to Star Trek books to Mozart biographies. A rather widely-read creature, I must say.

I have no idea why Jordan wanted a literary bear in a pumpkin costume as a Hallowe'en decoration. It's just random.

But it's fun!

Many ancient prayers have a lot to say to us. This one seems appropriate for Hallowe'en with it's frequent focus on darkness.  (Not that I am against trick or treating. There's plenty of candy at my house and my son has a ninja costume this year. But I like to keep my focus on God.)

Look upon us, O Lord,
and let all the darkness of our souls
vanish before the beams of thy brightness.
Fill us with holy love,
and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom.
All our desire is known unto thee,
therefore perfect what thou hast begun,
and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer.
We seek thy face,
turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory.
Then shall our longing be satisfied,
and our peace shall be perfect.
(Augustine, 354 - 430)

Read more at:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Hope that prayer is as meaningful for you as it is for me.

A Propitious Event

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the sailing of the first missionaries from the U.S. to foriegn soil. They left from Salem, MA as Congregationalists and arrived in India as Baptists. Two of them, Adoniram Judson and Ann Hasseltine Judson went on to Burma.

What they accomplished there has made them folk heros to American Baptists. They were the first to bring the gospel to the Karen people. They translated the Bible. They overcame adversity with faith, persistence and ingenuity. That adversity included imprisonment in horrendous conditions, illness, the deaths of all their children and lengthy separations.

The verse that they chose to use as the text for their work was the Great Commission:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

The ministry that I am a part of, Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park, holds up Ann and Adoniram Judson as role models. Each year their stories are told -- Adoniram's in the men's camp (called Judson) and Ann's in the women's camp (called Hasseltine).

Next year the Baptists of the Adoniram Judson Association of the The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts will host a number of activities is and around Salem, MA to commemorate the sailing and the start of U.S. based mission work. Hopefully, they will give glory to God and be an appropriate memorial to these early missionaries.

How to Cook Without a Kitchen

I needed to provide food for a large group of teens and leaders and our host church had no kitchen.

First, I looked into takeout options. Too expensive. I figured I could make baked ziti at home and keep it warm using electric warming plates, but the amount of time between leaving my house and serving dinner seemed too long for that.

Then, someone suggested I use my crock pot. OK. That'd work. But what could I make that teens would enjoy? Would baked ziti work in a slow cooker. My first thought was that I would cook the ziti on the stove top and use the crockpot for the "oven" portion of the preparation.  Then, someone mentioned checking online for a recipe so I did.

I found a blog called "A Year of Slow Cooking" that had a baked ziti recipe. I used that as the basis for my meal, modifying it somewhat and adding an extra crockpot of sauce and sausages.

Here's how I did it:

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Layer baked ziti, sauce and grated romano cheese in crockpot. Add a layer of ricotta cheese and some extra sauce on top. Add a quarter cup of water. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

It worked really well!

I am also thrilled I found that blog. I am going to make good uise of it, and my slow cooker, in the future.

Have a good day!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Because He lives

We sang Bill Gaither's son "Because He lives" in worship this morning. One verse struck me:

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance ,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Well maybe it's just because I have a certain obsession with babies. As any of my friends who have one. 

But what I was thinking of was that there have been many times in history during which people have been reluctant to have children because of their fears of war, financial hardship or persecution. This song acknowledges that times are uncertain, but reminds us that we are in God's hands no matter what and our children will be too.

The song's chorus is:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Just because He lives.

How has He made your life better? 

Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Sometimes a bit of a hymn gets stuck in my head. Usually, it's because I have heard or sung the hymn stays.

Today's line was:

"His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me."

I didn't even know what hymn it came from, I had to look it up. Turns out that it is part of "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," a joyous hymn that I enjoy singing.

Here's a link to it:

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
The words are by Charles Wesley and the music by Carl G. Glazer. It is in the public domain.

This hymn was there before church this morning and I don't know why. Worship turned out to be about the resurrection and the fact that if it didn't happen, we are still in our sins. Maybe God wanted to give me some personal assurance of my cleansing and salvation, so he slipped this phrase into my thoughts. I don't know. At any rate I know both that the words are true and the resurrection is real.

Does this sort of thing ever happen to you?

Saving Energy

A few posts ago I said I was going to rite about energy conservation issues now and then.  Today, I have a website to share. It has common sense ideas for little things people can do to save energy, translating to both environmental benefits and money savings. Hope you find it helpful.

Do you know of a good resource for learning about energy conservation?

Flex your power --

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dance in Peace

"Don't rest in peace, Charlie. Dance in peace... and joy"

In the midst of all the remembrances of my friend who died a few days ago, I found one with the sentence above. It seems fitting.

First of all, Charlie was never one to rest much. Even ill he kept going and going. He loved music and he loved to laugh. There are loads of pictures of him smiling. Dancing seems more like him then resting.

I also wonder if dancing is more what Heaven is about than resting. Certainly, when we believers reach Heaven, we enter into God's rest. Theologically, that means God will have completed us. We willl no longer be being worked on, created. We'll be "finished products." Does it mean that we will be in a perpetual state of rest? In some places there is mention of praising God in Heaven. The Bible talks about praising with singing, tambourines, lutes, lires and, yes, dancing! Sounds pretty active...but I think in Heaven we won't get tired.

It's just a random thought that popped into my head because of a sentence. What do you think? What will Heaven, the final version of Heaven, be like?

Oh .... and, Charlie, you will not be forgotten!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

More than their share...

I was chatting with a friend and he told me about some new people in his neighborhood.

It seems they have built new houses, which they use as vacation homes. These homes are generally empty, except for certain summer weekends. BUT the heat is on year round to protect the artwork they contain.

My friend's wife was an accountant. She had as a client an oil dealer who works on an island full of such second homes. He told her that when he started a few decades ago, he would take out his truck in the morning, drive around delivering oil, and then go back home for lunch at which time he would fill the truck for the afternoon run. Now, he goes to one home, delivers the oil and needs to return home to fill the truck right away, because it is empty.

That's right, he empties a whole truckload of oil at one house, at which no one is living.

Um, I had heard that we need to conserve oil and other fossil fuels. When I related this to another friend, he wondered aloud how people could justify that level of consumption.  I wonder that, too.

So, I think I might start to write more posts on conservation, as well as being careful of my own fuel use. I am not sure what else I can do to help. Environmental issues are close to my heart, but I am not hugely knowledgeable. Perhaps we can all share some ideas.

Have a good day!

Necessity being the mother of invention and all...

I called a friend today and suggested we get together for tea sometime. "How about I come down now?"

I was delighted with the idea -- company is always fun. After we'd hung up, I realized I had nothing in the house to serve a guest. Normally, this isn't a problem. I always have the ingredients for some kind of cookie on hand and several recipes are the quick and easy type. The difficulty today was that my oven is broken. I can't open it. The service man is coming on Monday, but until then, no baking. So....

I looked around, gathered up some odds and ends, and made this:

Over low heat melt around 3/4 of a stick of butter. Add a 12 ounce bag of Hershey's cinnamon chips. Once they have melted add about two teaspoons of granulated sugar, a tablespoon of brown sugar and two tablespoons of milk.

In a large bowl, combine a few handfuls of stick-type pretzels somewhat broken up, about two cups of o-shaped oat cereal, about two cups rice Chex and about a half cup of raisens.

Pour the melted mixture over the crunchy stuff and stir until well coated. Spread into a 13x 9 pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm. Break into pieces and serve.

As you can see, all measurements are approximate. Also almost any plain crunchy things will probably work.

I was very pleased that my guest and my son seemed to enjoy my creation. I liked it pretty well myself.

Have you ever tried a food experiment with whatever was around? How did it go?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What is it About Chocolate?

All you need is love. But a little 

chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.

I am, admittedly, enthralled by chocolate. I don't go a day without it. I am even planning a unit study on chocolate for the kids. It won't be just recipes, we'll look at the history of chocolate, the geography of chocolate-producing countries and the botany of cacoa plants. We'll also talk about fair-trade chocolate and modern day slavery. But sampling chocolate will be part of it. Definitely.

That's a ways off, though. For now, I am going to content myself with some jokes and quotes and a quick and easy chocolate recipe.

chocolate cakeThe problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car. The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.

chocolate cakeMy therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already. - Dave Barry

chocolate cakeEating chocolate can have significant influences on mood, generally leading to an increase in pleasant feelings and a reduction in tension. - Peter Rogers, Ph.D., Institute of Food Research

chocolate cakeThe Greek term theobroma (Latin name for cacao) means literally food of the gods. Chocolate has also been called the food of the devil, but the theological basis of this claim is obscure.

chocolate cakeDon't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty. Chocolate isn't like premarital sex. It will not make you pregnant. And it always feels good. - Lora Brody, Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet

chocolate cakePut "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done.

  Quick and easy chocolate recipe. Not reallly fudge, but it reminds people of the Chocolate-Marshmallow version of that yummy candy. 

Melt two 12 oz bags of dark or semisweet chocolate chips slowly over low heat. A double boiler works well. Remove from heat. Add one bag of mini-marshmallows, stirring until they are well coated. Pour mixture into a greased 9x4 loaf pan and refrigerate for two hours. Cut into squares and try not to eat all at once. 

       Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food.   
  - Michael Levine, nutrition researcher



                   Arvind Balaraman                                                                    Salvatore Vuono                                      

Grant Cochrane